11: Working in close quarters can give two different experiences. It is far more enjoyable when you work with your partner.
A hand on the back,
A touch on the arm
Spin, twirl, sidestep
Nightly we dance.
January 12: Why am I surprised of which you take notice? It seems to always be the quiet ones that surprise you. My boots. Nearly two weeks later, you mention the boots that I wore with a particular outfit. I was taken aback, but pleasantly surprised.
January 13: The glistening ochre is a feast for the eyes. The pleasant scent wafting through the air includes cinnamon, allspice and a hint of ginger. The taste is a reward unto itself. Warm, sugary and delightful. The tip of my tongue flicks out to capture the tiniest bit of moisture left lingering on my lips. Mmmmm!!!!
January 14: Normal is doing my best. It is a series of ups and downs. Falling, and getting back up. The roller coaster of my life is normal. It is the ride of my life. But, on occasion, when I go completely off track, it can be scary, painful, discouraging and embarrassing. How do I recover from being derailed? Thankfully, I have lived this life long enough to know what helps me feel some control and peace when I'm flying weightless headed for that crash. For me it is never a 'next month', 'next week' or even 'tomorrow' issue. For me it is a 'next moment' because I know that if I wait, that 'tomorrow' will never come. I stop and create a switching junction right then and there. Getting back on track may not be easy, but who am I to throw away the gift of the moment? Life is about making the most of this brief and precious time on the Earth that I've been given.
January 15: The deep-throat call of owls conversing was the last thing I heard as I stepped into the house last night. This morning, as I stepped out onto my deck, I disturbed a fleet-footed doe that went racing through the yard to the cover of the woods where last night the owls spoke.
15B: A Test of Character
Being with you, I step outside of myself and look at who I am. I want to be a better person, just because you are who you are.
January 16: Fifteen years ago, we had fast food burgers and fries on the run, with cake and champagne to follow four hours later as a picnic in the living room. This year, it was a dinner out, but we still had shared cake in the living room eaten out of a styrofoam container.January 17: You've been carefully breaking the candy-bar into small pieces so that you can enjoy it across the span of the afternoon. You get to the last piece, a little too small to break into two pieces, although you know you should. You choke down the guilty indulgence and pop it into your mouth and begin to suckle the chocolate. You're snapped out of your reverie by the insistent BRRRRRRING of the phone. Silently you think a curse-word -- you surely can't say it, as your mouth is over-stuffed with candy. Do you answer the phone and pray that the person on the other end doesn't realize how oddly muffled your words sound? BRRRRRRRRRRRING. Another curse as you furiously start chewing and trying to slide the confection into your cheek like a chipmunk. Chew, chew, crunch, gasp, chew, swish .... BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRING. Now, you're in full panic as your jaws work furiously, you whip your head around looking to see if it's any of your nearby coworkers playing a joke on you (you KNOW they saw you put that whole candy-bar in your mouth!). You only have seconds before the caller get sent to voice-mail. CURSES! One hand tentatively reaches for the phone, as the other tips liquid into your gaping maw. Suddenly, you don't care that you're wearing a dry-clean only suit, or that you have poured half a cup of scalding coffee into your mouth -- as it now, mixed with chocolate-toffee dribbling out of your mouth, down your chin and onto your beautiful white shirt. You just want the phone to stop ringing. YOU. MUST. ANSWER. Spitting out the mocha-mess into your under-desk recycle can, you wrap your fingers around the headset, lift it to your cheek and force your scorched tongue to mumble "Hello?" It's a few seconds before you realize that you hear the dial-tone buzzing in your ear. DIRTY WORDS! You'd throw a temper tantrum if you could had the time but, for now, you must rush off to the restroom to try to save your suit. You'll deal with your recycle-bin later.
Summer is over.
Time to don warm socks and long pants.
Gone are sandals and shorts, relegated to the closet until next year.
The cool rains start, coming down in torrents, washing summer away.
The garden is dripping. The creek is high.
The closet door sticks because of the moisture.
Heater on to dispel the damp, lights on to chase away the grey.
I keep replaying last night. There was a small group of people present, all except for I who were scheduled to work. It was the last night that one of my 'kids' will work with me as he is moving on to better opportunities.
There were a series of hugs and goodbyes, as is usual with our crew -- truly a loving and supportive bunch of people who appreciate each other, but some extra special ones because of the occasion. We each hugged and said goodnight to each other, that is, all except 'us'.
We have a relationship that is hard to explain, and for the most part we don't try to -- we just enjoy it. But, we are so often asked about our May-September, good-evil relationship that we have become accustomed to it. How did I know three and a half years ago, that that sweet young man in glasses and braces would become one of the most important people in my life. Someone that I can talk to like we've known each other forever. Someone who simply loves and accepts and doesn't judge.
We knew the parting was going to be hard, especially on me. I've been dreading it ever since I started helping him get the internship -- back in October. Ironic, I helped him every possible way that I could. He interviewed me, used me as a reference, I proctored his licensing exam, and even gave him a free hotel night when he needed to take a trip to Philadelphia for a training. Each item, taking him one step closer to leaving. I promised him that I wouldn't make a scene. "No tears" I repeated with increasing frequency during our texts as he assured me that "some tears are okay."
And then the moment came. He stepped over to hug me. I'm not sure if we stepped away from the group, or if the group moved away from us, but in the end we were distanced slightly, but enough. We shared a few moments of private conversation while hugging. In all, it was nice. I didn't cry. He knew I didn't want to let go. As I broke the hug, I slid my hand down his arm to hold his hand for a few moments longer. I turned to stand beside him, facing the group from our separated position. I blinked a few times, took a deep breath, squeezed his hand, and let go. My mask had slid into place and I able to look at him again.
There was a chorus of goodbyes, as everyone headed for their individual cars. I started the car, and sat for just a moment allowing the smile to slide from my face. A ragged breath and the tears started to fall just as the skies opened up and wept with me. A quick brush of my hand across my eyes, and I put the car in gear to head home.
Between the fog, the tears and the rain, I'm not sure that I saw much of the road. But, I made it home. A few minutes later, there he was online. With a virtual hug, a heart and a wish for a good night, I knew that we'd not closed the book, but instead simply started a new chapter.
Sometimes the 'kids' get it right.
Last night, during a conversation with one of the young men, he said at first he never knew how to take me. I put on the 'tough' exterior ... hard as nails, nothing gets through, my-way-or-the-highway. He admits that at first he was afraid to approach me. So, he started interacting with me in a manner appropriate when dealing with a viper -- strike first, ask questions later.
But, he'd hear experienced workers talk about a 'me' that he didn't see. The sweet person who baked cookies, and would do anything to help them. One that they fiercely protected. A person, who on a minutes notice, when the engine in their car blew up the day they were supposed to leave, gave her car to one of the college kids so that they could get home for Christmas break, knowing that it would be a month before they'd be back. He thought for sure that there was a second person by that name working at our establishment, because that person wasn't the 'bride of Satan' that HE saw. She surely didn't need anyone to protect her -- she was a fine mix of porcupine and cactus.
But, then he started watching, he saw that side, too. He'd see his 'demon spawn' person react in a different way than he expected: a comment that his 'evil' person could handle **actually** made the person he was seeing cry.
He realized that there were walls keeping people away. Each new person started out at a distance. And it took them a while to get to a point where they'd get a hug hello/goodbye, or a spontaneous 'you're doing great'-hug, and even longer to get a 'I'm going to hug you because if I don't I'm going to kill someone else'-hug. (Those last were saved for only a select few.)
So, last night, we agreed that I'm like an M&M -- hard shell, soft sweet inside. Maybe a Tootsie Pop would be more appropriate. If you're patient, you eventually get to the center.
It's always me that initiates and plays footsie under the table. When you bumped my foot, saw me react, and then rubbed my foot w/ yours, grinning the whole time, I was embarrassed and blushed. (So, that's what it feels like!) I was also, secretly thrilled ... are you, when the shoe is on the other foot?