Author of Breasts Don't Lie

Posts tagged ‘Moving’

Coursera: The Coffee Clutch

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I signed up for a course on Plot in Fiction through Coursera and can’t figure out how to post my assignments. Running up against many web walls, I decided to post them on my website.

Remember, this is fiction, made-up, not true.

My nasty little trolls (Jennifer G., Richard A., and Susie S.) can make all the comments they like but I will block you.

Here goes: The Coffee Clutch: Rising Action using 12 unrelated words.

All she wanted was a cup of hot coffee, French press, with whole milk and two teaspoons of sugar, sometimes within the first hour of awakening. She padded into the kitchen on bare feet, pushing aside the debris of unpacking, and the assorted filth of teenagers, swearing. Patience wasn’t her strong point, and her hand-eye coordination refused to engage without that first cup. She reached for the water heating appliance, not a teapot or even a pan but something her partner bought her as a consolation prize for dealing with his cranky daughters and plugging it in, knocked over the canister of beans.

”Fuck, fuck, fuck,” she said crouching down to sweep up the beans.

Managing to get the beans into the grinder and then into the press, Sara sighed when a large black bird, a crow or a jackdaw, flew into the window above the sink. Shards of glass and metal lay around her feet from the fallen press. Holding her breath, she looked for a safe place to step feeling more and more like a hungry tiger prowling its cage while outside, freedom taunted.

“What’s going on?” said a muffled voice from their bedroom.

“Nothing,” Sara said, pretend-sweet, reaching across to turn off the water; she flinched when its steam scorched her arm, and a boiling stream exploded onto the remnants of glass, metal, and coffee grinds. Red splotches colored her neck and face as panting she cleaned up the mess.

A memory of their first six months together filled Sara’s mind emphasizing the difference between the two realities. She looked at the tell-tale towel thinking that she was responsible for the messes in her life from the coffee to her relationship. Then her defenses settled back into place; this is the universe’s trick to get me to be nicer and go caffeine-free – not happening.

“Sounds like you need help in there,” her boyfriend said from far away. Nearby teenage grumblings set her nerves on the edge of crazy.

“Naw,” Sara said grabbing her coat and keys. “All aboard the USS Misery.”

******************

You are my peer evaluators. So, what do you think?

Yoga, Cows, and A Texan

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Saturday I had an urge, an almost unable-to-resist urge, to run someone down using a Ford Focus …

The car had a few dents, and I had a fleeting thought of “What the Hell.”

It’s been a trying week. We rolled into Frisco, a small Cowtown outside of Dallas, last Tuesday night at 10 pm. Stiff with sitting in a car since 5:30 am in some time zone, getting out for potty breaks and snacks, we stumbled into the apartment, trotting back to pick up the cat meowing in her purple plastic cage.

The next morning, the full force of the move hit me. I am in Texas. Without a job, a yoga home, a writing group, friends. Eeeoogh. Time to make the best of it.

So, I started out looking for yoga studios. This city is obsessed with hot yoga, my idea of a bad time. I come away from their heat mixing with my constitution creating cranky person prone to hissy fits. Then I expanded the search. I found a lovely studio just 25 minutes away in another city/burb/whatever. Entering the information on my phone’s Google Maps, it suggested a tollway. No way. Lots of very tall walls. How do you get on and off? Not happening, and I mapped another route. Getting there was not a problem. Lovely classes – I took two – leaving after 2 and ½ blissful hours in the studio.

Getting home from the studio was a problem – it took 90 minutes, a distraught phone call, and the above-mentioned urge. Without a doubt, I made a left when I should have turned right ending up in another city, full of walled communities, streets with no names or names I couldn’t find on my itsy-bitsy phone map, and limited places to make a turnaround. After cruising one street four times, I pulled into the BMW dealership, driving between two sets of cars to the man talking on his cell phone. He looked like a Texan. Smooth, hair slicked back, aviator sunglasses, and an incredulous look on his handsome-featured face. I rolled down my window. My face flushed with yoga and exasperation, but I smiled at him.

“Do you know you’re driving on a sidewalk?” he said.

“No. Anyway … “

“You are on a sidewalk.” He emphasized each word.

“I didn’t know that I was on a sidewalk. I need to find Preston Road,” I said trying to look friendly and feeling an urge to smack him silly.

“You have to get off the sidewalk.” He ran his hand through expensively coiffed hair.

“Other cars are on the sidewalk,” I said looking around. My hair was sticking to my face.

“You can’t get your car off this area without damaging the undercarriage,” he said waving his phone around.

“Look, there’s a dip in the,” and I paused for effect, “sidewalk. I’ll ease my car off the … sidewalk … if you’ll just tell me which way is Preston Road.” I turned my wheels towards him, inched forward a little bit to show him that I meant business. He backed up, made some vague hand gesture, and got in his car. Maybe he felt the need for some protection. Good call.

Completely confused by this time, I drove off without damaging the undercarriage of the car and with exemplary control having not hit him, his car, or the plate glass window of the dealership. I was protecting the remains of my yogic karma, minuscule as it was.

Against the odds, I found Preston Road and drove to the apartment. Flustered and cranky, I noticed the number of cows out grazing. They looked nonplussed. Peaceful even. One even mooed at me. Okay, I can do this, I thought. Opening both windows, I mooed along with the cow feeling … Texan. Not his kind of Texan, a kinder, gentler Texan-in-training who needs a road map.

 

 

Fear as the Dark Mother of Moving

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Yes, I am moving to Texas – the land of big hair and blue eyeshadow. I know, I know. But it’s my fear after spending ten of my formative years in Alabama feeling under made-up and under poufy-haired.

I keep thinking about fear, fear of moving, fear of my friends forgetting me, fear of loneliness from a general incompetence in making new friends, fear of the heat in Texas, fear that I am throwing out something important. The list goes on and on.

So, I went for a walk last night around Five Points late in the evening when the scraggly trees blend with the night sky. Total patches of the earth are black and vision-proof. I kept wandering the streets, shuffling my way along pavements occasionally stubbing a toe or tripping, bouncing off tree branches, feeling the spiders from said branches land in my hair, and working my way into a panic attack.

Like most Scots, when I’m worried, I walk and walk for a while, late at night, regulating my breath so the fear coalesces, snaking back into the dark edges to lay in waiting for the next time that it can grab me.

I can’t remember ever being freaked out about walking at night. I’ve walked this area for almost 20 years. I’ve survived the night of Dropping Spiders (one April evening I found three had dropped down crowning me with 24 legs – still makes me shiver). I have listened to the trains go past with the chug-a-lug sound, never changing in these two decades, and wondered about where I was going in life. I’ve sat on the swings in the park, surrounded by the toys of happily innocent kids and speculated if the wisdom gained is worth the innocence lost. In the dark, I have admitted my failures, where I’ve been mean or thoughtless, ignored then stared in the face my aging with the creeping vista of finitude, death. I’ve cursed and cried, laughed and said “I love you” where no one can hear me.

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I’ve met Kali, the dark mother, twice in one weekend walking these streets. During yoga teacher training, I walked my beagle-dachshund mix, PooPet, at 11:30 one Friday night. My doggie loved the darks holes, where the light had disappeared with the dipping sun and would scamper into places that looked fit for Moray Eels or Jack the Ripper. Nothing stopped her thirty pounds of courageous canine, but that night, we tromped along, meandering an uneven sidewalk when a silhouette stepped into the road. In a long robe, features obliterated, with a croak she whispered, “Don’t be afraid.” I remember opening my eyes wide, struggling to remain upright as PooPet jerked the chain to run behind my legs. When I gained my balance, the street was dark, leaves slithered in the breeze, and we were alone in the darkness. I didn’t think too much of it beyond, “Holy moly, we have weird ass people in this neighborhood.” But then the next night, walking the dog, another woman stepped into the light in the middle of the road. Even backlit I could tell that she was not the same woman. She lifted her arms toward the trees, and PooPet let out a bark that morphed into a whimper. The air stopped moving. I couldn’t breathe. Now I was seriously freaked out. PooPet was still, and for a moment, I could feel my blood move through my body, like I was being watered from the inside.

This Kali was formal, “There is no need to be frightened.” I think I said, “Uh, yeah, Okay.” At that point I was scared as fuck, running down that road to the safety of my townhouse. It didn’t stop me from returning to the training class the next day, but I was really, really, very alert between yoga poses.

Maybe that’s the way this is supposed to be. I am aware, actually frightened, that things could go wrong in a big way. But. I’m still going to move to Texas. My friends, come along for the ride but hold on. This will shake us up! Anyone up for a walk?

Om Kali Ma

 

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