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Elizabeth woke up from her nap and pulled her almost-too-short hair back with the hairband she kept on her wrist. She felt bloated and had to squeeze into her fat jeans. Whatever. In any event, she was just taking her dog for a walk.

“Let’s go, Charlie!” He jumped up and she reached down to clamp the leash to his collar.

Dusk agreed with her. She no longer needed her sunglasses and the ocean air provided a gentle breeze. “This will be a good for us.” Her loving hound looked up and licked her wrist. “I love you too.” They took the usual path. In about a mile, the concrete path would opened up to a boardwalk that paralleled the beach.

After several peaceful minutes, she felt something extraordinarily different. She couldn’t put her finger on it. Charlie seemed content, so she didn’t worry. The path lights flickered on as dusk shifted away. 

“Oh! Weird. I haven’t seen anyone since we left the house, Charlie.”
He didn’t respond, but he did look up when she said his name. 

The air was thick with silence. She realized she didn’t hear the airplanes making their way to the nearby airport. “Charlie. What is going on?” She took in her environment. On either side of the path was grass, lined by layers of trees. She heard no birds, squirells or any other wildlife hustling around. Odd. She squinted through the trees. Hrm, usually she could at least catch glimpses of light peeking out through the green.

She pulled her phone from her pocket to call Julie, her best friend. This was spooky and she needed a reality check.

No signal.

She shrugged, “Well Boy, either I’ve gone over the cuckoo’s nest, or there’s something really weird goin’ on.”  Charlie moved closer to her, and rubbed his body against her leg as they walked. She smiled and kept on toward the beach.

The path lamps flickered off.

Charlie whimpered and sat down. She looked down, “Come on, boy. We’re almost there.”

He wouldn’t budge.

She impulsively unlatched his leash. He was a good dog, and always stuck around.

This time, he took off into the woods.

“CHARLIE!!!!” She heard him barking, and cursed the darkness. “COME HERE BOY!!!” Then, she heard the last thing she ever wanted to hear. A painful Charlie howl. She screamed for him as she ran into complete darkness. She followed his howls until suddenly, he stopped.

“Charlie?” she hesitantly kept forward momentum. Nothing.

She turned in circles. She didn’t know what to do. 

Then she stopped, much like a deer five seconds before, “BAM * CRASH * POW” into an unsuspecting car.

Get yourself together. she pulled her phone out of her pocket and searched for the flashlight app. She tapped it and shined it into the darkness.

She saw nothing, yet her hands were shaking. She dropped the phone. Face down. She lowered herself to the ground and tried not to think about the maybe snakes.

She gasped and sat down. She felt around her, and located her phone.

She looked up, feeling a presence and was surprised to see two red eyes. She slowly shined the app light, “Charlie? Is that you?”

It growled. Suddenly, she was in self-preservation mode, noting that she’s a “flight response” kinda girl.

She slowly rose to her feet and hauled ass.

The beast was snapping at her tail. She increased her pace. Finally, she was back on the path, and the light of the moon restored her vision. She turned her head back, and nearly tripped when she realized her aggressor was Charlie.

A demon Charlie. Charlie, but bigger, bloodier, burlier, and he was CHASING her. She stopped and turned. “Charlie, Baby. What happened ? Come here…” Charlie also stopped, crouched and stared her down with his lips pulled back in a snarl. Her voice trembled, “Oh my God, what happened?”  He slowly approached her and settled in the middle of the path. He stared. “OKAY! Well, Fuck.” she turned from him and took off down the path, not at all sure of her direction. She realized that Charlie was herding her. Great. I’ve gone psycho.

Ah, relief! She reached the boardwalk.

She folded over and heaved. Chubby girls should never be chased by their rabid almost dog in their almost neighborhood.

The beach was ahead; hotels lined the boardwalk. Surely there would be people.

She rose and peered over her shoulder to see demon Charlie trotting up behind her. A shiver trickled down her spine. This is my dog on Satan steroids. Convinced he wouldn’t harm her, she attempted to make sense of her surroundings.

She instantly realized two things:

1. No people on the boardwalk. What. The. Hell.
2. No waves crashing? What the fuck? 

She scolded herself for the F bombs, and walked across the boardwalk. She stepped on the sand. She heard what she suspected was Charlie behind her. She looked back and he snarled and continued to herd her closer to the silent water. She didn’t care.

Wait. What?

What she saw in front of her was not the ocean.

What she saw was sand and then… nothing.

Nothing.

I have lost my mind.

She inched forward and as she neared toward nothing, she looked down. Thump. Thump. Her heart might explode. Of that, she was nearly certain.

A deep gorge replaced the ocean, and in it was spitting sun-like fire. She couldn’t think, scream, cry or feel fear. Her body began to vibrate, as she hummed nervously. She slowly turned to see Charlie snoozing behind her in all of his demon dog glory. Well the traitor picked a fine time to take a nap.

“Turn around, Elizabeth.”

“Huh?” She turned back to the space that should contain water, dolphins, boats and other oceany things and saw the most repulsively handsome sight she’d ever seen. In front of her, standing on a glowing frozen flame, over the hole where the ocean was, stood a regent pale man clothed in a white robe. His eyes radiated the purest blue she’d ever seen. He held a large staff with a serpent coiled around it. On his left was a goat and on his right was a blue peacock. He smiled.

“Elizabeth. My love. You will wake up and remember everything. Ponder me. I will meet you again soon.”

“I… um… are you… God?” He laughed heartily and she slumped forward and collapsed in the sand and out of consciousness.

Elizabeth woke on her couch. She looked around, saw her phone on the table, and Charlie on the floor beside her. Whoa, a dream. Charlie sat up and licked her hand. She giggled and reached for her phone. Julie is not going to believe this. As she brought her phone to life, she realized the flashlight app was on and passed out for (perhaps) the second time that day.

… to be continued…

“Yes?” John held his phone to his ear. His eyes were still closed. What time is it? “Who is this?” An officer. What the hell is going on?
“You want to come by? Why? What’s the problem?”  He pulled his phone away from his ear and the glowing displayed 12:30 am. It was then he felt the bed for his wife. She wasn’t there. She didn’t come home last night.

“It’s related to Nina? Is she ok? What’s going on?” Oh, no. They wanted to discuss it in person. This can’t be good. He sat up, put his feet on the floor and turned on the lamp next to the bed.

Several minutes later, the officer he had spoken with on the phone  was sitting on his couch. He apologized first, and then told him his wife had been involved in an altercation. Yes, it seems she was robbed. Yes, she is dead. Yes, an investigation is pending. No, he had no idea why she was in that area of town. No, he had not spoken with her that afternoon.  No, there is no suspect. He gave him his card and left. 

She was gone. Nina. Gone. What did that mean? Gone?  He paced around the house, not really knowing what to do.

When the sun rose, he was still pacing. He looked at his phone. He didn’t want to call his boss, but he did anyway. Same as the officer, he was sorry. Then, he looked at his phone again and sighed. He called his mom. “She’s gone.” He sat down on the couch and looked at the wall. “She was robbed and murdered.” He leaned back and put his free hand to his forehead. “Yea, I am ok.” A tear streamed down his face. “I love you, too. Thank you.” She was sorry too. Thankfully, she said she would be in touch with Nina’s mom. “I know. She has already lost her husband and son. This will more than likely put her over the edge.”  He hung up the phone and his head collapsed in his hands.  

His thoughts were knitted together like a poorly made scarf, “I should have tried. I can’t believe it’s come to this. I didn’t love her enough. What was she doing there? Did she want to die? If I had just tried harder, we would have been together. I would have been with her. This isn’t real. This isn’t happening. I can’t. I don’t know. I just can’t.”

And he exploded into heart wrenching wet  sobs. He fell to the ground and writhed on the floor. He slammed the palms of his hands into the hardwoods repeatedly, until he couldn’t feel them any longer. He ripped off his wedding band and threw it into a wall. He rolled over on his back and wailed.

He woke up and pulled himself off the floor. He grabbed the back of his neck and massaged it. He sighed as his phone rang. Nina’s mother. He forwarded the call to voicemail. He stood up. He closed all the blinds in the house and hugged the walls as he stumbled to their… now his bedroom.

He slept through seventeen missed calls. The eighteenth woke him up. He rolled over, grabbed his phone off the nightstand, and looked at the caller id display. It was Myra.

Shit.

“Hey.” She was talking, but he didn’t understand a thing she said. He wondered how he had slept for nearly 24 hours. Maybe 12. He didn’t know whether it was day or night. “Are you there? Are you listening to me?”

“Yes, Myra. Sorry. What did you say?” She wanted  to see him. Her husband wasn’t coming home this week, afterall. “No, that isn’t possible. My wife. She is dead.” He hung up the phone. He laid back down on the bed and stared through the darkness at the ceiling. He didn’t want to be awake. He didn’t want this to be real.

It rang again. “Yes?” He stood up. 
“Oh, Officer Riley. What? Sure. Fifteen minutes? Ok.” He hung up the phone and sighed. “Shit.” He dialed Myra’s number again and told her she needed to go to the police station with him.

“Why?”, She asked.

“Because, they want to ask me a few questions and I am sure they will ask about my whereabouts the evening my wife was murdered.”  He couldn’t believe this was happening to him. When was she murdered? Was it last night? The night before? Nothing made sense. Time wasn’t right.  “Surely they don’t think you did it. You don’t need me.”

“Myra, yes I do! I need you to verify we were together.”

“No, I don’t think so. This would ruin my marriage. My life. I have a little girl! You know that! I can’t do that for you. I am sorry.” And with that, Myra hung up the phone.


This is part 2 of the story I posted last week (Finally, She Smiled). Hopefully, it would also work as a stand-alone. I promise to write something more light and fluffy soon.

Eh, I scrolled though a some pictures, and came up with corresponding haikus. It was fun and reminded me of a summer a few years ago and I decided to (and actually did) speak in haikus all day. Apparently, I was the only one that got the biggest kick out of the practice. My boyfriend at the time was thoroughly annoyed after about thirty minutes. I’m not entirely poetic or deep with the Haikus, but whatever. They are fun!

The horse eating hay
Should be out in the country
Hides in the city

We went snorkeling
While in the Florida Keys
A Bull Shark scared us

Ominous this day
Snow covers everything
Love, actually

Little Girl in Tree
She’s so brave, happy and free
She giggles with glee

We didn’t mind that it was rather rainy and dreary outside, as were blissfully tucked inside the comforts of our old home. I was grading English papers at our old but elegantly crafted hand-me-down dining room table. My husband was in the livingroom watching a soccer game between two countries we had never visited. The two rooms flow from one to the other and are only separated by furniture, so we were able to enjoy casual conversation. We were halfway through a bottle of Trader Joe’s $5 wine, and at least one of us was contemplating dinner. Take-out or cook at home is always the subject of great debate in our household. I didn’t care what we chose, because during dinner, I planned to tell him I was expecting our first child.

Suddenly, the room went silent. I reluctantly looked up from an essay written by a rather imaginative student and I noticed my husband was gripping the remote. He was now rigid, as opposed to the oh so familiar stature that says, “I have a drink and I’m watching the game” .

“What’s up?”, I asked.

He stood up and moved with great purpose to one of the windows in the livingroom, “Did you not hear that?” He opened our rather colorful venetian blinds and looked out. “No, I didn’t. What was it?” Just then I heard the unmistakable whistle of a train. We looked at each other and then we both dove for the front door.

Once on the front porch, we noticed the dreary afternoon had swiftly shifted to a dreary night. The air was so thick, I thought the moisture might immediately do away with my early formed wrinkles. We could barely see each other, much less anything beyond. I would have been completely spooked had I not thought the setting was so completely cliché.

Logically thinking, we live nowhere near a rail, and could not imagine how we could have heard something like that. We discussed how we had lived in this neighborhood for years, and we discussed how we had never heard such a thing.

Our conversation came to a halt when we heard the several short whistles again. This time the sound was so much louder than before.

I gasped, and looked at my husband, “Call your mother!” She lives on the street behind us, and I thought she could probably explain. She knows everything that goes on here as she’s an active participant in every possible neighborhood committee and has never failed to remind me of this fact. He dialed, and they exchanged the typical mother/mama’s boy greeting. Then he launched into the cause of our confusion. He said yes a few times and then he said no a few times more. He promised he would call her tomorrow and then he hung up the phone.

He looked at me and sighed, “She thinks we’ve had too much wine. She said there aren’t any tracks around us for at least 25 miles.”

I might have agreed with her, but then it came again in several short spurts, and I swear through the fog and through the thick trees ahead of us, I spied a faint and cloudy light. I looked to my husband, and the look in his eyes suggested he saw the exact same thing.

He regained his composure almost immediately and said, “OK, I’m going to get the camera. You wait here for me.” I laughed, “I don’t think so. I’m completely freaked out. We’re sticking together, babe.” He also laughed and threw his arm around my shoulder, “Well, we always do everything together. Why in God’s name would we stop now?” I nodded and once again, we dove for the door.

Once inside, I almost peed myself because I heard the sound again. Only this time… I swear to God… the whistle erupted from our front yard! We both fell to the floor and covered our heads with our arms. It was total instinct because the rumble of that mystery train shook the foundation of our house. Our wedding portrait fell from the fireplace mantle, and the gorgeous crystal frame broke in what must have been 150 pieces. I stifled a scream.

“Oh. My. God.”, my husband whispered as he lowered his arms from his head snf pulled me close to him. I imagine we looked ridiculous lying on the living room floor, gripping one another as though we were about to sink with the Titanic. We held each other tightly, face to face, and said nothing more. I think we were both so scared and in complete shock because our realm of vision became illuminated by lights protruding from the front lawn and we heard another whistle from this mysterious source. Then we heard the unmistakable sound of breaks. We looked at each other with bright eyes and if it were possible, I am positive we hugged each other even tighter.

The last thing I remember hearing before everything turned black was the urgent rattle of the front door knob.

Somewhere, in the very near fog, a conductor was heard saying, “Attention! Ladies and Gentlemen, we are experiencing a slight delay. For safety reasons, we took a slight detour to 2010. We appreciate your patience. We will continue our tour in 15 minutes”

Somewhere, near the back of the train, a woman stammered, “I-I h-heard the couple t-they stopped t-to bring aboard,” she paused to presumably regain composure, “produced that tyrant-you-know-who that caused, well, you-know-what.” Another woman gasped and said, “Mona! Changing history is strictly against code. We could all be executed for this!” A man piped in rather loudly, “How do you know? If we kill those two, our entire reality will change!”

And immediately, nobody could understand what anyone else said because they all had something to say and they were all saying it at exactly the same time.

In the heart of a small urban community, nestled between apartment buildings, thrift stores, convenience stores, and busy cross streets all filled with busy people going to important places is a tiny fenced area designated for man’s best friend. This is the place our four-legged friends can “let their hair down” so to speak and go wild. A chain link fence squares off this park. There are two entry gates. The first is a very small area that lets you bring the dog in and take off his leash, before releasing him to the eager pack. The only grass in this park lines the fence on all four sides. The back right corner is additionally lined with bushes, trees, and lengthy bamboo. The middle of the park is nothing but dirt. When the dogs take off like multiple train compartments, sniffing butts on the journey, dust storms accumulate. There is a water station located to the right of the entrance. This area has a large metal container, which is beneath a water pump.  During the summer, the pups also enjoy a child’s sized swimming pool. To the left of the entrance is a bulletin board, held up by two large wooden posts. Attached to one of the posts is a red-cross mailbox. Inside, you can find bags. You know, everybody poops, and everybody seems to wait until they are at the dog park to do so. This is what the bags are for. Gotta clean up the poop!

While the children play, the parents make camp on any of the many dirt covered picnic tables scattered about the dusty field, and make shallow conversation about the one thing they all have in common.

For example:
“Buster is extremely submissive.”
“Oh, I know what you mean. Hector would get his ass handed to him by the smallest of dogs.”
“Buster will eat anything. I mean anything!”
“Hector will too. We really have to keep an eye on him.”

Other people digest their homework, gossip on their cell phones, read books, or intently stare down their dog down praying the poop fairy won’t make a visit on this day at this time because it’s their significant other’s turn to clean up the poop and that person just so happens to not be here today.

You can tell which dog is partnered with which human because on occasion, a dog will break from the pack and prance over to a human just long enough to get the, “Oh, Booster, are you having fun?” question before taking off to rejoin the pack.

Each dog exhibits unique characteristics during playtime. It’s as though they appoint the referees of their extremely exciting games, to keep score and demand fair play.

This is how the designation must go:
Marley and Poky trot along the fence  as they see someone pulling a human toward them and Poky barks, “Oh look, Marley. Here comes Jasper. He’s a bad-ass.”
Marley licks Poky’s ear and barks, “yea, dude. He can totally be the referee today.”
Marley runs ahead of Poky and calls behind him, “Dude, don’t ya want to hear his bark first?” Just then, Jasper and his human step into the entry gate of the park and while the human unleashes him, he howls, “HEY BITCHES! Y’ALL MISS ME?”
Poky sniffs the ground and says, “Yea, Jasper can be the referee.”

Another special dog park characteristic is the relentless humper. For example, my dog usually makes a concentrated effort to hump every single dog, ranging from the pocket-book accessories to the “OH MY GOD, are you sure that isn’t a horse??” types. The diggers meticulously search for China and the mama’s boys chill under the feet that hang off the picnic tables.

This little slice of loud and dirty heaven is the perfect place for my pup to play. I can’t imagine how bored my boy would get if he couldn’t calculate his humping success rates each weekend. I can’t imagine how frustrated I would get if I came home to a dog who cured his boredness by eating every non-edible thing in sight.

depressionShe had been sad for so long that she merely assumed it was her personality. Lately, however, it seemed her depression engulfed her entire world. The pain was a raging ocean and she was drowning.

Her career was slowly collapsing around her. She didn’t care any longer whether she scored that beloved corner office. The one with two large windows in the place of dreary white walls.

Her marriage was empty and lifeless. She and her husband did not wear their rings anymore. Even though they live together, it was akin to one living with a ghost. She could feel the presence, but she was completely alone. He didn’t understand her pain. Happiness is a choice, he used to say. He didn’t understand why she simply refused to shake it. At first they fought daily. Eventually, she stopped fighting back. Then, she stopped talking. He stopped too.

She rarely spoke with her friends. At first she just thought everyone was just busy. Eventually, she realized she had nothing to say.

She caught her mother in a web of lies. Her mother couldn’t be trusted. False sympathy. False support. Her mother was still consumed with her own grief.

Her father passed away when she was a child. Her only brother died fighting in an unjust war.

She was keenly aware of her sickness, because she knew there was something inherently wrong waking up every morning in deep pitted misery because she actually woke up.

Nothing to gain. Nothing to lose. Nothing.

These were the thoughts that ran through her mind every moment of every day, for months.

She was a smart girl.
Before her sickness took complete control of her life, she made a killing as a Senior Manager at a prestigious law firm. She had been madly in love with her husband. She enjoyed lounging while eating gelato, reading paranormal fantasies on the beach, and kicking ass at work. Sure, depression had gripped her for as long as she could recall. But, she was only actively sad when humming on idle. In the good days, she was rarely ever idle.

She was still a smart girl.
She knew how people should behave when faced with certain dangerous situations.

That day. That afternoon. In the middle of a scorching heat stroke kind of day in mid-July, she punched Wachovia ATM into her iPhone’s map. Several places popped up, and she found the perfect walk up ATM. She parked her car 8 blocks away, and strutted down the sidewalk in her flashy red heels, her skinny Joe’s Jeans, and her most spectacular Gucci handbag. She tossed her long blond hair over her shoulders and pretended she was intently focused on something in her phone.

She smiled as she felt the the overwhelming presence creep up behind her. She felt a soft nudge in the center of her head.

“Do not turn around. Give me your cellphone.”

She handed it to the angel man behind her.

“Now, give me your purse.”

“No.”

He tried to pull it off her arm, while keeping the cold pressure on her scalp. She attempted to shove him off of her with a wimpy kick back, and smiled.

She. Finally. Smiled. She smiled as her left heel broke. She smiled as he shoved her to the ground. She smiled and held her breath.

She used as much feign force as she could muster and buried her purse into the concrete, underneath her aching body. She smiled because she felt fear, she felt pain. She felt. She smiled and he pulled the trigger.

On a typical pre-spring Thursday afternoon, a local woman and her husband walked their dog, through their sleepy beach town neighborhood. It’s a common thing to see dogs around these parts. Usually, the dogs are on leashes or playing freely behind the safety of fences.

The woman noticed a small black pit-mix sitting on a dull gray porch. Her dog whimpered and pulled against the leash, and the little dog just stared back.

Nobody was on the porch with the little one, so she called out, “Where’s your mommy? Come here little one. Please let me see the tag on your shiny red collar.”

Still on the porch, the dog cowered and backed away from the couple, closer to the house. The woman, Amanda, thought it was afraid of her own mammoth of a dog. She looked down at her Ridgeback mix. He’s huge, she thought, but harmless.

Amanda smiled, collapsed to her knees and cooed to the pup, “Oh, honey. It’s ok.”

She then turned to her husband, “Will you please walk away from us? I think our dog is scaring this little black beauty.”

Her husband took a few steps back, while keeping an eye on his wife. Amanda continued to call for the pup, who looked at her with interest but kept its distance. This road was too busy for the little unattended, four-legged sweetie.

Suddenly, a young boy in an oversized baby-blue shirt ran toward Amanda’s husband, screaming, “Lucy! Come here! LUCY!”

Amanda’s husband called to the boy, “Is your dog black? Is this your dog?” He pointed toward Amanda and the dog on the porch.

“uh-huh. LU-CCCCC-YYYYYYY!!!!!!” He came to a sudden stop next to Amanda and pointed, “That’s Lucy.”

Lucy took one look at the boy and jumped off the left side of the porch and down the side of the deep red brick house. She cornered herself between the house and the wall of a neighbor’s fence. Trapped.

She cowered and trembled.

The boy advanced on Lucy and looked back at Amanda’s husband, “She belong to my friend. Not me. She run away before and she wouldn’t stay. She done run away agaian and I’m gonna help him get her back.”

The husband looked at Amanda and raised an eyebrow. Amanda took their Ridgeback from him, gripped his collar and removed the leash. “Here”, she said, and threw the leash to him. Her husband gave the leash to the kid and said, “You can’t have it, but you can use it to take Lucy back to your friend.” The kid took the black leash and approached Lucy, who was still cowered in the corner. She trembled and growled as the kid got closer.

The kid mumbled, “she don’t know me, but she’s my Friend’s dog.” He continued to beckon for Lucy.

Lucy continued to growl.

The husband backed away, and looked back at his wife, “There’s no way we will get her. She’s terrified and feels trapped.”

The kid also backed away and started back down the sidewalk again.

Amanda’s husband stopped the kid, “I think the dog lives here. She seems very comfortable with this porch and this yard.”

“Naw, she’s my friend’s dog.” and the kid took off down the street.

Lucy bound out of the corner, blazed past the couple, the porch, and down the other side of the house. Behind the house was a newly installed privacy fence. It seemed to go on forever. Lucy hugged it closely and then disappeared behind it. Amanda asked her husband to walk away with their dog again as she rounded the corner toward Lucy.

Lucy peaked at her from behind the fence. Amanda called the dog. Lucy only stared. Amanda eventually stood up, slumped her shoulders and walked away. As she turned the corner, she noticed Lucy cautiously trailing her.

Amanda looked at her husband as she approached the front lawn of the brick house and smiled as she sat down indian style in the lush green grass. Amanda ignored Lucy as she slowly approached her.

Lucy sniffed everything in a perimeter of the woman. Amanda smiled at Lucy and held out her hand. Lucy suddenly decided she wasn’t afraid anymore and she took off full speed across the grass to one edge of the yard before turning around and running full speed to the opposite end. She watched Amanda and it seemed as though she wanted to play. Amanda laughed as she watched Lucy do this several times. Lucy had tons of energy and had no notion of slowing down.

And. Then.

Amanda noticed Lucy was no girl.

She called out to her husband, “Ryan! Lucy is actually, probably… um… Luke!”, and behind him she noticed the boy was coming toward them again. This time, another boy accompanied him.

The kid nodded at Ryan, “You still got our dawg?” Ryan looked down and said, “Your dog is a male.”

“Nuh. He ain’t. That’s Lucy.”

Ryan stared at the boys and was more than likely contemplating how to explain the difference to one so young.
He said nothing.

Amanda wrung her hands, burrowed her brows and felt determined to keep these kids away from this timid dog. The sun was sinking and the breeze wasn’t making the evening any warmer. Amanda sighed and turned to Ryan, “This dog does not belong to them.” He agreed as she climbed the dull gray concrete steps of the house and rang the door bell. “I can’t leave this puppy out here like this. If we can’t find the owner, we are going to take this little man home with us.”

Ryan nodded at her and she noticed the “We Lost Lucy” kids had disappeared from sight.

The door opened and a woman looked at Amanda expectantly as she tucked her short hair behind her ears with one hand while holding her toddler back with another. She was wearing scrubs and had dark circles under her eyes.

“Is this your dog?” Amanda asks as she points to the small dog that was still busy running from one end of the yard to the other.

“Oh my, YES!”

She gasped and pushed her son back into the house, “Come on, Buddy!” The dog eagerly lept over the steps and launched into the house.

She thanked the couple and said her kids must have left the gate open when they got home from school. They exchanged a few more niceties before saying good-bye.

The couple and their dog walked home laughing at themselves. They should have knocked on the door some time ago. In any event, why were those kids trying to get Buddy, and why in the world was he so afraid of them?

I had to go for a walk in my ‘hood and describe the things I saw. I plan to suck a lot with this whole writing thing… but you know, to become good… you have to suck suck suck.

++++

Today was such an awesome day.  The sun was still bright when I got home from work, so I slipped on my converse sneakers and stepped outside. I saw my neighbors. I waved hello. They were busy cleaning up their yard preparing for warmer weather. They have been retired for many years, and spend their days gardening and golfing. It’s the first I’ve seen them in months. Ah, snow birds. I imagine their winter home is equally charming.

The  warmth radiating from the sun was no match for the sharp almost-spring chill in the air. The only cars I saw sat idle along the side of the road for as far as I could see. People were milling about, smoking cigarettes, talking on phones, taking out trash or talking to their neighbors. I smiled at a weary woman in bright pink scrubs. She was carrying a box of pizza into her house. A rubber band held her mousey brown hair tightly. A slender almost-man with a crew-cut  jogged by. I didn’t wave  because he was looking down at his heart rate monitor and seemed extremely focused in his bubble.

The neighborhood golf course was beginning to look more vibrant with scattered patches of healthy grass. 

It was difficult to hear the kids giggling and screaming as they raced up and down the road on their scooters, thanks to  rush hour in the air highway over our heads.

Weathered privacy fences guard a majority of the old bungalows on this road.
The salty air and coastal sun tend to make everything look so much older than it is. 

The road leads straight to the locals beach, but I was stopped by a bright orange sign that read, “road closed”. Ah, construction.

I turned around and walked home.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

I was extremely vocal about this as a child. However, as I grew older, I became more practical and all the traces of my dreams were kept securely locked away in my heart. This change in my mind produced a successful Accountant and an unfilfilled mind.

When I was young, I made up stories about my barbies and recorded these stories verbally to a tape recorded I had received for christmas.

When I was a teenager, I wrote short stories and submitted them to magazines such as Seventeen. I also shared stories with my teachers, and loved all the feedback I received. I also wrote poetry to relieve teen angst and kept everything in a beautifully illustrated journal. I still have it today, even though the binding is torn to shreds and the cover hangs on with strings.

I started a novel when I was 18. It was a fantasy novel which involved several extremely developed characters. I still have the many binders I used for character mapping, timeline mapping, and world creation. I even drew pictures of the characters so I would have a better visualization of what I wanted to create. It was amazing. I never finished the novel, for some reason. I tried to get back to it about a decade later, and realized my mind was not the same, and I could not hold interest in the project.

I moved on to a different kind of novel all together. Again, I started mapping characters, collecting research materials, and creating timelines. I got stuck during plot development and put the project aside.

Through the years, I have had ideas hand over fist of novels I want to write. I always make note of the ideas in a “writing” folder on my laptop.

This past year, I decided to start taking writing classes. I finished one for beginners. This Wednesday, I am starting another called Descriptive Writing. I am extremely excited about this class, because I believe my downfall in the process is one of the most important things in writing. The Details.

I plan to document the course here, so I can review my progress over time. I have no plans to become published. If it happens, awesome. If it doesn’t, well… I never expected it anyway. All I want to do is express myself creatively. I want to call myself a writer. I want to write.

Meg Tweets