The Bohemian

As the car turns the corner the new street accessed is in full view . A building of usual structure comes into focus .The design is striking, different in appearance and impression from the usual. As we continue slowly towards what seems like a dead end my focus on driving is shared only with my interest in this building that has caught and held my attention. I was in love with the design .  Up in the air as if stretching not reaching upwards . Two stories high , but not in the iced cake nor castle style architecture my eyes have become used to .
This was reminiscent of a tree house . The upper flat awakened memories of an Eco – friendly home miles into the swampy marsh of a partly uninhabited beach in South America . The quiet and mostly green expanse around the house completed this picture .

In the other parts of this community that we had driven through a little earlier a similar environment prevailed however , at that time my opinion of the area was the same as the thought voiced by another occupant of the car . “Too far away from the city and a little too secluded .” This house had changed my opinion and outlook . The area now held an unexplainable attraction . The environment echoed sweet sounds of good will . The simple elements of nature ; cool breeze, warm earth and its bounties formed a special bond that soothed . A special feeling of freedom in the unspoiled outdoors erupted in me .

Someone’s words drew my attention to two large fierce looking dogs approaching the stairs I was ascending , I quickened my steps with a watchful eye on the dogs who to my relief soon made it clear that they where not interested in a confrontation with our party . I walked through an open door and was again in love .

The inner ambiance was equally or even more arresting . The image and sensations of entering a warm bright log cabin concealed high on a mountain completely wraps your mind . This setting is aroused maybe by the rustic colors of the “old wood”(rough brown color) on large pieces of the wall . The clean smell of green and cool air bounced in and around the room . My mind immediately responded to this forceful imagery with a congruous picture of a large body of water and small paddle boats out back . Walking through the home there is a feeling of some adherence to artistic minimalism.  The simple but adequate furniture blend smoothly into the setting . All pieces seem at ease and made for the space occupied . Nothing jumping into view nor competing for attention, instead they compliment each other , harmonizing to show the gentle beauty produced by simplification of form and color

As evening approaches and the party nestles indoor there is a subtle heightening of sensitivity . As the lights are turned on a pensive air fills the room. A feeling of calm prevails over all else . The lights soft and yellow illuminate just enough leaving some areas with a grey overtone that impels the mind to focus inward. The tones of brown are even more prominent at this time , they come to life enriching the warmth and seamless flow of right energy exuded . The unique staircase amidst this artistic largess is certainly an interesting piece with its twisted treads winding their way up to a Rubik cube intermediate platform . This piece effortlessly draws my gaze over and over , as I struggle to find the fitting memory that it stirs .

I surrender to the moment and my mind is filled with memories influenced by the vibrations of my surroundings. My being slowly relaxes into the special feeling turned on by a late night walk down Manhattan’s East Village (made safe in my mind) black and white shades accompany my every move as I am urged on by the lights from the commercial nameplates and closed store fronts . Stories real and imagined are hatched by these pictures. My eyes moisten as I touch my ears as if to allow more of the crooning voice of a cabaret singer to enter and create the slow pull and soft release rhythm that her music plays with my body.

The memories fade as my mind settles and adjusts to the intense pleasure satiating it from the energy radiating in the room , engulfing my body limb after limb . I am present with the buzz of conversation but my elementary consciousness rest with paints, leaves, words and music . The end of a short creative drought .
The energy is so good , it swells in the atmosphere charging you with sensual delight . Everything, the furnishings the architectural design and the external environment all come together to cocoon the invited in a smoky, musing , free , placid and timeless space. The charges from these walls  take you from a visit to an old Berbice village home , to the loft of a 1970s So Ho artist .

This is a different experience , different from the museum of priceless objects (homes) seen at times . Sometimes tastefully displayed , other times assaulting the senses.
Here is a structure of quiet good taste that not only compliments its environment and enables the surroundings to show off its natural beauty, but also effortlessly changing someone’s outlook and perception of an area . This home with its many charms, has an intoxicating effect . It seamlessly transports you from one experience to another . It wraps you in a blanket of serenity and fills you with a gentle peace. Your senses are ignited and you leave with heightened awareness


ACUPUNCTURE EXPERIENCE

Who hasn’t heard of acupuncture? Most persons  have I assume, and I venture to say with various levels of understanding. Some, like me, know fairly little about this procedure but may at sometime have this treatment as an option for an annoying ache or some other ailment. I have for sometime now been plagued with a pesky lower back ache, the type that visits at odd times in your life, like on one of the busiest months of the year, or the day of your great niece’s wedding.

The pain from my latest visit was at its peak and I decided to try, no not acupuncture, but  consultation with a natural medicine practitioner .  This of course was decided on after consultations with a conventional specialist  yielded no relief and no serious findings.  I approached the exercise with caution but at the same time comfortable since the practitioner was recommended by someone I trust with these matters, however a little while into the consultation  some of   this comfort  soon disappeared when acupuncture was suggested . The procedure was painstakingly explained, some  of which I did not hear nor  grasp, since I was distracted by the thought  of having to face the unknown and thinking of my version of the exercise. Of course  my imagination had gone wild, I sat there going through my slide show of pain, torment, screams and moans . I was told to digest the information and then make my decision . I was grateful for that  approach, great I thought to myself I’ll see about that. However the pain itself and the uncomfortable postures that the pain continued to force upon me  caused me to pay urgent attention to my options. I decided to seek out persons with experience of acupuncture. Friends, relatives any  willing informant. The experiences ranged from neutral to wonderful, the absence of any horror stories was very encouraging and I decided to take the plunge .

I arrived for the appointment at the set time, entered the space, sat down and engaged in the usual patient practitioner  exchange all the while doing the same thing  that I had started earlier, not focusing on the task at hand. A few minutes later I was fully prepared for the commencement of the procedure, this is when I started to home in on everything. My mind started running really wild this time. I had clear visions of the ambulance arriving with blaring siren to transport me to the hospital in order to retrieve a get away needle that had disappeared  deep into my body from somewhere in my back and many other similar incidents of acupuncture gone wrong. It seemed that I was (thankfully) so engaged in my images of horror that I forgot the one thing that I would normally do in any such situation, just simply express my discomfort and discontinue the exercise. Instead I  sought to fight my wild imaginations with weak images of life with a better back . It was while struggling in  this battle that I was told that the greater part of the job was done, and I was now only required to lie still and wait the uneventful end of the procedure.

Minutes passed and I had slowly returned from my horror movie, I was at peace with the situation, realizing that all was well, that no drama was forthcoming and that the faint buzzing massage  I was feeling on the target spot on my back was the closest sensation to pain I would experience . I finally relaxed and allowed myself to be still and enjoy the wonderful energy that seems to never escape my awareness when ever I visit this space. The treatment ended, I left fully satisfied. My back felt better,  I had endured no punishment, and there were no extraordinary situations . It has been a little less than a week since the treatment and my back is still progressing. I am now able to do much more without pain or awkward posture.

As my back slowly gets stronger and I enjoy the freedom of movement without pain I find myself looking forward to future treatments with a good level of ease and confidence. I thank everyone,  my sister Norma and  Diane Sinclair whose  endorsement of the practitioner really helped in a big way  and everyone else  who so kindly shared with me their experience of  this wonderful Art, and encouraged me to give it a try.


Danger Mouth

The shrill ring of the phone filled my bedroom, as I struggled to a sitting position I glanced at the caller’s ID, it was Margie my friend of many years. I grabbed the receiver and whispered  “What”  an hour later I was still in the same position on my bed listening  as Margie unburdened herself.  According to Margie, Ana her teenage daughter could not understand the discomfort she felt because of her (Ana) frequent and sometimes long visits to the home of her new friend Marley.  I listened carefully to Margie’s account of the situation, Marley’s mother she described as “unstable” and the home environment as “chaotic” . I understood very well the reason for her fears of conflict in the friendship,even though there was no hard proof to back up the cause of her fears. At the same time I also understood Ana’s position.  Ana at this time lacked the experience that is sometimes needed to understand  complex individuals, she felt safe dealing with such persons, of course this level of confidence was due to her naivety and ignorance regarding the  unusual lifestyle of such  persons and the possibly nasty situations that could erupt when involved with such individuals.

I smiled sadly at Margie’s words and my mind moved quickly into a downwards tumble digging up  what I call “The wrath of misery” . There are some persons to whom I have bestowed such tiles as misery,  spit-liar,  danger mouth and lie machine . Why these titles ?  Because of their amazing ability to strike big blows of terror, torment , hurt and sadness using their extraordinary ability to compose and tell ridiculous lies, and to tell these lies  without an iota of guilt, with a straight face and  all the theatrics and drama of a Hollywood classic. I have no doubt in my mind that these persons are not normal, it is my firm belief that such persons are sick individuals who were perhaps deeply scarred  at some point in their lives, but as is said the scarred  go on to scar, unfortunately this I think is just seen by them as a normal process in life. I am always amazed at their need and  natural ability to create what seems to be the exact environment of their past, their place on the social ladder makes no difference, they strive to create an environment of strife, accusations and verbal bashing, in other words household war.

I recalled a home where  the  maternal head of this household was the trend setter, her  raised voice was a constant along with her many complaints and dramatic episodes of household losses perpetrated by different individuals, including relatives and close friends . Her reports of friction and discord with relatives, friends and neighbors were frequent. This individual seemed to thrive on conflict and misery, looking back she  seemed quite at ease and satisfied when engaged in recapping one of her sordid episodes, but on the contrary she seemed somewhat listless when things seemed calm. That home seemed  always to carry a characteristic energy of discord and a somewhat grey shadow even though its occupants were mainly young persons of that happy and carefree age. The person in question seemed always bent on having a current issue of   “someone stealing something”  or “someone said something about a member of her family”  or  “someone had done something to offend her” or she would just engage a family member in all out verbal war. But each day she wielded her hammer and it appeared as if no one knew nor cared where her hammer struck . Most of the persons surrounding her seemed quite at ease with her style, no one seemed stressed or bothered by her, everyone seemed quite prepared and able to match her verbal outbursts, or they just dismissed her and life went on.

A picture of Ana amidst this type of confusion appeared in my mind, and I wondered about her reaction. I felt somehow that like many young persons her observation of this lifestyle would not amount to much in her mind. She probably would conclude that the daily matters of the household did not concern her, and would probably not give it much thought, as her mother said, she explained that in her mind she was there to visit her friend and her friend’s mom just seemed somewhat excessive in her behavior, but she did not think that this was really any of her business . My mind moved to a story that Margie recapped to me in our conversation earlier, she said that this incident had caused her some alarm, but I dismissed it as hearsay, I told Margie not to bother with baseless gossip, but now reflecting, I hear a bell of warning being rung. According to my friend, Ana was chatting away with a group of friends when a member of the group of friends, who is also a relative of Marley’s family did mention in a sort of joking manner that Marley’s mom was not such a nice person, another member of the group questioned in what way, and the person volunteered that she is “miserable” and is always hatching a problem . Those words failed to evoke any insecurity or concern in Ana, nor did she seek to muse on them, she just heard, laughed like everyone else and moved on. Margie expressed the fear that some day Ana would regret her flippant attitude, she  burst out “How can she be so stupid, so mindless of such behavior, and continue to be a part of such an environment.” Older and wiser you realize many things, I agreed with Margie, I could see clearly the reasons for Margie’s fears, but I could also understand Ana’s reaction knowing her to be ill-equipped to process, to understand and to deal with such matters.

Many years ago a young lady was employed  to assist me at home, during the first few days of her employment she kept repeating stories about  her previous employer making her unhappy by constantly talking about her when she was not around, I allowed her to speak even though it bothered me . One day after being on the job for a few weeks  she asked for a few minutes of my time, she then proceeded to tell me with out a hint of doubt that my four-year old and his friend, another four-year old were constantly talking about her and laughing. This of course did upset me quite some, and I decided not to allow her to continue to lend her service.  I could not understand two four-year old children locked in gossip and making fun of anyone. I then fully understood the tales  about her previous employers and I  realized that according to her stories there was always a case of someone spying on her , talking about her or some such behavior. This type of situation is apparently pretty normal and acceptable to her, and simply explaining to her that not all persons find this type of activity interesting and rewarding did not change her outlook in any way . This is normal and very much acceptable in her community and her mind probably tells her that it must exist in all spheres, it just simply must be there, and so she must look and find it even if the only available perpetrators are just two four-year old children.

I am no Psychologist nor Psychiatrist but  based on my experience with these persons I am of the opinion that some persons coming out of certain types of  background have a difficulty or perhaps in some cases find it impossible to leave behind certain practices. Practices that may be acceptable and probably in some cases a normal part of everyday life in their former environment, this type of environment is not peculiar to any particular class in society, this type of behavior exists in different ways at all levels.  These persons  go on to live in perhaps different environments and interact with persons with different standards and values, but they continue to see certain things in the same old way, their expectations of certain scenarios in their daily life remain colored by their past, this type of mental attitude it seems creates the danger that fester in these confused environments. They set to work I think mindlessly creating their environment , heedless of pain and hurt caused to others. They set the mood, create the scenarios and confidently live their lives as they know it to be, blaming, accusing, harassing, hurting ,lying, tearing, and belittling anyone  they choose without an iota of pity, without guilt or any such consideration . The web of lies they spin  becomes their  truth, this is life as they know it, so naturally for them it must be the correct way, and they continue merrily to satisfy their hunger for confusion and corruption.

I hung up the phone and continued to sit in the same position on my bed. My mind reeling, my heart heavy . I had listened carefully to Margie without interrupting, and when she was through I said “Yes Margie I’ll speak with Ana, but not as a second voice of reason as you are suggesting, but as a voice shaped by experience, maybe, this will make a difference.”


CHANGES

How would you describe one’s complete change of reaction to unusual events in  life ? Weird, strange, words dance in and out of  my mind as I continue my struggle to comprehend a recent change I discovered in myself. I am referring to those events that cause you great embarrassment  and worry, the ones  you replay in your mind over and over long after the night light goes out. Some of them I can recall quite vividly:  The evening my girl friend signaled to me across the large dinner table  (we were out with  friends)   that I needed to remove a few strayed grains of rice from the outer corner of my mouth. The fall I had much earlier in life from my shiny new bicycle, much to the amusement of some onlookers.The stupidity I felt after waving at someone I thought I was acquainted with and receiving a blank questioning stare in return.I never really found it necessary to review the emotions and reactions brought out by such situations over the years,but a simple situation yesterday Dec 6th 2010 prompted me to reflect a little.

The morning was very rainy here in Guyana,  my corner of the world,   I nevertheless set out  to accompany my sister to the doctor.  We set off fairly  early in the morning amidst the rush hour traffic and the rain. We arrived at the hospital on time and without incident ,something worth mentioning considering the perils of the speeding buses in the white rain, and the huge waves made by all and sundry as they drove their vehicles boldly through the water accumulated on the roadways. I parked in the outside parking area of the hospital and we proceeded to enter the gates, as we stood on the curb waiting to cross the road, the thing on my mind was the inch or more of water that I noticed in the yard of the hospital, this water seemed to be going nowhere, instead, it looked more as if waiting to be topped with more water from the  looming shower. In my mind I thanked my stars that at the last minute before leaving home I had “followed my mind” and changed the footwear I had chosen for another pair that I had not worn in ages but offered cover and protection to my toes. Chatting merrily, we  walked through the huge gates of the compound, and just then the once looming shower burst free from its hold and cascaded in all its glory .With a wild scramble we managed to take out and  open our umbrellas, during this fuss I remember for a brief moment feeling as if my foot was some how moving too freely in my shoe , another step on that same leg confirmed the feeling. I looked down, and to my horror indeed it was so. The freedom was the result of the sole of my shoe leaving the upper part from around half way down the entire length of the shoe. I communicated this to my sister whose immediate response was “pull it off” .This I quickly responded was a no no, since I was very uncomfortable with the idea of touching the water soaked shoe, remember this shoe was soaked with water settled in a hospital yard. I proceeded to limp my way with ease into the doctor’s reception area, looking back I smile and wonder, since the distance from where this incident took place  to the reception area is quite significant. I do recall noting to myself that my limp would most likely not attract much attention given my location.

Once settled inside the waiting area at the doctor’s , armed with a pencil and two rubber bands we proceeded to put a hold on the now gaping sole . I had no idea that I possessed such dexterity, I managed to strap the sole back to  the upper section of the shoe using the rubber band and the pencil,without  touching the shoe, at this point I decided to be cautious and strap the other shoe in the same manner,”just in case ” I told my sister. About an hour or so later we were back on our way to the parked car. I gingerly limped along yapping away with my sister, suddenly I noticed the other shoe taking on the form of a huge frog, I paused for a few seconds and lifted my foot off the ground, sure enough just as I suspected the sole of this one had come apart even further than the first. My foot swirled around in the shoe as I struggled to control the swollen object on my foot, “just long enough to reach the car I is all I need.” I explained to my amused looking sister, I could see the calm amusement in her face. A passerby cautioned us to be careful as we approached an uneven patch of ground . We continued walking, and at one point I really think I experienced some moments of pleasure as the breeze moved between my almost bare toes and my feet touched the warm earth. Soon after we were back in the car and ready to go.

Later on as I recounted the event out loud for others something struck me, I realized that in my recount  not once did I use the word embarrassed or any other word with same or similar meaning . I felt as though I had  just described something fairly normal, missing was the drama that would usually accompany such words as “I wanted to fall through the earth” or “All eyes were on me, I felt like a cent ice”  I realized  that throughout the entire situation I was calm in control and on top of things. Not even when I artfully strapped the sole back in place inside the waiting area did I become self conscious or embarrassed. I realized  that focusing solely on the task at hand enabled me to take control of the situation, to dedicate my energy to the correct channel, hence the type of outcome that was achieved. What puzzled me was the new me, that person was unknown to me, that person stepped forward without a call, and in a very sure manner took charge. I wasted no time on thoughts of embarrassment, confusion, frustration, self consciousness or the likes. I just accepted what had happened and did what I considered best. Later I pondered how, why etc, and I am still not sure, but I sure welcome this stranger who seems endowed with many useful tools, and I look forward to other such changes amid the thousand and one changes we see in the mirror daily.


Abused Mind

I Ran into Mrs  Vafish today on my way to the supermarket. I noticed through the corner of my eye that a blue not so late model  “Ford Stellar” had just pulled into the parking space to my right. With a slight glance in that direction I confirmed my suspicion,yes it was Mrs Vafish, and of course like she had done before she was trying to pretend that she was not aware of my presence. She was trying hard to concentrate on making a “perfect park.” The car moved uselessly back and forth,there was no reason for this time wasting exercise, her face looking straight ahead, wore an exaggerated look of deep, and I mean far too deep concentration, such concentration for a simple mundane task. Her eyes bulged in her face, her neck strained forward, almost over the steering wheel, and the veins on her neck were just slightly raised under her skin. I waited in my car pretending not to see her, and just as she decided the coast was clear and stepped out from her side of her car, I rolled my window down, tossed a lock of hair over my shoulder and in the sweetest of tones I almost sang, “Good morning Sally, how are you.? “

She swallowed, quickly licked her lips, and with eyes focused somewhere between the building next door and the hood of my car she returned my greeting.     “Going inside?” she asked of me. For a moment I searched for my answer, I was a little surprised, Sally seemed her  usual sort of withdrawn self with her lukewarm friendly but closed attitude, however  today she seemed also tired and a little irritated. She reminded me of Rufus, Mr Vizee’s dog  just before he bit Mr Vizee’s outstretched hand with the fifteen inch fire wood descending on his head. “Yep I am going inside,” I replied, “how is Ledra?” I asked, a simple enough question one would think, deserving a simple answer, but goodness me an answer the likes of this one I do not recall in recent times .

Sally took a step backwards, folded her hands across her bosom, took a deep breath, turned her head slightly to the right side, and through almost locked teeth she hissed. “I called you yesterday, I called you four times today, tell me now you’re not avoiding me.” “What?” I managed to whisper while clutching my handbag for some kind of reassurance . She then slowly turned to look at me squarely in the face,and as I stared at her in bewilderment not fully comprehending, she squinted at me and whispered, “you heard, Elvic didn’t mention, ? Oh gosh girl, Ledra gone mad, she marrying Romel next month.”  “But Sally” I managed, all the while wondering what brand of mind altering drug had this woman taken. “Sally,what, what  is so wrong with that? I don’t understand, your daughter has  been dating Romel for sometime now, wit,with your approval,” I stammered. Those words seemed to push the lid off her cooker, the Sally familiar to me morphed into a combination of normal Sally and a resigned broken middle aged woman. Her shoulders drooped and her head hung like a weary bruised and hungry traveler. She looked at me like a naughty puppy seeking  pardon for its mischief. “I am confused, I am confused” she muttered, “I called to talk with you.” “Sally, listen girl” I interrupted,as I quickly made a few steps to remove the small  space between us, I gently held her elbow and lightly steered her in the direction of the Supermarket entrance,”let’s go inside for coffee at the coffee shop.” She did not answer, but we proceeded to the coffee shop.

“I thought I was correct, I truly felt that I was doing what was normal, wait and things would change. After all I was twenty, married with one child and expecting another .”  Ventured Sally as I sat opposite her sipping my coffee and listening to her as she continued to swivel  her  cup in the saucer. Sally had not touched her coffee, not a sip of it. Ever since we sat down she remained in her seat,  head down most of the time, shoulders hunched over, looking up long enough to glance at me and back again to the game of spin the cup she seemed to be playing. Her words poured, she seemed bent on purging herself of the poison of concealment, it was clear that she could no longer be the safe harbor for what seemed to be a very, very large vessel of pain, anger, and other such emotional distress. She once again looked at me briefly as she artfully ran her tongue over her teeth. “I was by this time aware of some things,I was not consulted, I was never even asked for an opinion on anything. My days seemed to be: take care of domestic duties, and be there when I get home. I realized that things in this camp, this camp,” she repeated as she smiled a lopsided smile and shook her head, “I say this camp because now, looking back it seems as if I was in a strange place, some other person’s home, not mine. Since things were done differently, the rules were not the ones I knew,  I did not have a job, I had no income of my own, so,Elvic controlled my finances totally, and I mean totally. I asked for what I wanted and for what I needed. I asked for myself, the children, the home everything.”

Sally paused, shifted in her seat and leaned forward, straight at me. I felt my heart skip a small beat as I became charged with suspense, and a little embarrassment, since the situations  revealed I found surprising and disgusting. She continued “Girl Elvic is your cousin, but I am not sure how well you understand, or know him. His ways are different to say the least. I know, to depend on a spouse the way I do is not that unusual, but listen,it can be a mind bomb, it can hurt. What I am trying to say is this, when you are a child at home asking of your parents is something you find  natural, it is expected, and even then it is in some instances done by allowances, keeping the asking to a minimum. But for an adult, this can be a very belittling exercise. At times I felt, not like a child, that would not be so bad,  I felt like an inferior asking my  superior. It felt so uncomfortable, that sometimes  I would go without  to avoid asking. However,over time it did have an effect, I felt “small,” I felt like a woman at a ballot box being told that she cannot vote because she is a woman.

I did not have a voice, since I was a supported adult. I learned to say yes, but feel or think no. Elvic either took advantage of this, or he was just doing what he knew. He made his strength known by causing me to adopt the ‘whatever he said was correct’ system. This he achieved not only by control of the purse strings, but equally by demonstration of his physical strength . “On no I gasped, he did not,”  “Strike me?”  Quickly volunteered Sally. “Oh, yes he did, a very easy feat for Mr foul temper. And don’t ask about leaving girl, not as easy as you may think, these things are complicated,you know you do not awake one day and find life this way, you weave this web over time, your daily circumstances, your life style these things create changes,they change you the person, you become someone else.” I glanced at the door way, then on to the sidewalk,just to put the feeling of guilt, and the unexplained thought that Elvic may be walking towards us to rest. Sally then looked at me and asked, “may I have a ginger ale.?” Puzzled, I paused,then quickly replied, ” yes, sure.” I still years later,try to figure out why Sally asked  me for the ginger ale, she had access to the waiter and all else that I had access to, my answer, “you never know.”

Shutting her eyes tight to avoid the happy bubbles from the ginger ale, Sally took a huge sip and resumed her word spilling.  “I had sunk my boat before I started to sail by not securing my own means of finance. I had not only  myself to take into consideration, but two others, who did not have a choice In this matter. I grew for years in this situation, I became very subdued, but miserable,and unhappy. Occasionally I experienced bursts of hope and energy, at these times I would embark on some project or the other, I would enroll in a new class, or some other enterprise . These would be short lived, due to one difficulty or another since no real support or understanding of what I was trying to achieve was there. I lived in a way one day at a time, I say this because after a while I did not contemplate my situation  too much, I did not plan ahead, I just seemed to drift along daily with whatever came my way. Of course my occasional enterprises at times sparked some very tense situations, from heated words to physical displays. At first I dismissed these and continued to try, but after some years my attempts  grew weaker and weaker.”

“My children grew, I struggled along, I became very distracted, each day I gave far less of myself or my best to the raisin of my children, and the same to household matters. I was now a sad, bitter unfocused person. I did everything as if under the control of a remote  mechanical device . I watched Elvic parade his ignorance proudly, I watched mistake after mistake, mistakes in finance, in morals, in whatever sometimes trying to prevent them, but ending in fight and futility. I then became even further distracted by worrying about matters of the future, financial security matters , etc., I continued in this manner for years, of course all the while I kept everything to myself, never confiding in anyone, this I think was another hole in my boat that hastened its  sinking. Coupled with everything else there was also the rough financial patches, some were somewhat exhausting since they were avoidable . ” Suddenly Sally leaned hard against the back of her chair, she wanted to know if she was keeping me from my shopping, to this I replied  “no, but why the objection to Romel ?”  this  was not very clear to me, though I had some idea . “Ah yes, Romel,”  Sally sighed, she pointed as she said Romel’s name, this gesture of emphasis made her appear a little intoxicated. “So sorry I got carried away.You see I recognize negative signs in Romel because of the experiences from my life with Elvic. Look , for example, yesterday my niece Lourdes asked Romel about his  expectations for  the new  year, they were chatting about business and the economy. Romel promptly stated that he was hoping to make a huge profit from his wholesale business in the next few months and that should enable him to update his vehicle, remodel his home and some other things. You see, he plans his life in big chunks, not small consistent steps, he just listed these things and then paused, as if unsure of what next. I tell you I was frozen  for a little while, everything sounded like answers I heard before, the lone difference was the voice, but everything else was Elvic responding .

“But Sally that is not enough, that does not mean that he will be the same,” I attempted “No,wait,wait,” Sally responded, I could hear the impatience in her voice, so I quickly withdrew.  She continued, “Mila I know the type, I know the signs, I have lived these things, I have experienced them,tasted them, believe me. I know the arrogance, the strange  value system, everything, I know also the goodness, the generosity yes that is there also, of course this can make you easily loose sight of the other side of things,but I see many of Elvic’s defects in him all the time,oh yes.” She swiftly raised her head and looked passed me, she wore the expression and spoke a little like someone in a trance. “For so many years I allowed my mind to be battered, I tried to remake myself to suit the environment, it was not always easy, since my spirit did put up a fight at times. But in the end I adapted for peace and order. I cannot tell you what took place daily, some of the situations that occurred, I cannot explain my daily mental state, the confusion, frustration, the heart-break, anger, every emotion that you can think of, it would take much too much time to recount, but I lived it all everyday for years.” Suddenly she snapped back to the present, she smiled and looked at me as if  seeing me for the first time, she continued.  “Now I am older I am so, so much wiser, I understand so much now, things that once  puzzled me no longer do, things I thought I could change, I know now I cannot, and I understand why. I believe firmly  that persons with childhood issues should have as priority one, specialist treatment, therapy, as soon as  they can afford it, I wish I had used some of the energy I expended on Elvic over the years, to instead persuade him to explore therapy.” She smiled her sheepish smile once again, and continued. “Mila I have paid a lot for the knowledge I now have, too much, much too much. You see everything I know now is of no use, for one, I do not have the money needed to do some of the things necessary, and on the other hand I do not have the interest nor the energy. I am just a burnt out shell now, I have  been beaten out of myself, what I am trying to say is I am no longer able to focus, just trying to concentrate is an impossible task, I cannot hold interest in most things for any meaningful duration of time. I have no real friendship, I recently started to have difficulties doing my daily tasks. I am now a memory of what I used to be, at times a bright  memory, at times not so bright. I can recall the things I liked, my interests, my plans, but I lack the energy and interest to  try to achieve any of these. I cannot process thoughts quickly and clearly like before. I seem to automatically reason in the same manner as Elvic, I have to make a conscious effort not to.

I have lost many opportunities to spend happy valuable memorable occasions with friends and family, I have missed many chances to enjoy many life experiences, enrichment experiences . I can go on and on, but the short of the long is, I spent most of my former years in a sort of theatrical mode, it was one act after another,this was my daily state. Unfortunately somewhere along the way the acting became reality,and I lost myself, the true me retreated and a new person was born. I don’t know, was my acting too good, did I over act or was the real me too weak for the mental blows.?” She chuckled and almost cried as she asked the question. However, I said nothing, and she resumed, this time she was even more intense, her voice was deep and raspy, as if her words were coming from a hot pot deep in her belly, a burning place.  “I am, as I think I said before a memory of what I used to be, I am still at times confused about some things, I still have flashes of hope, I at times wish and plan, I have moments of some aspects of my old self, I even see real possibilities at times, but I, ‘the real me  is so lost in the great maze of the  years of  ‘mental make over’ that I need to at least find one correct path back to my true self in order to make something of these sparks of opportunities .” She paused to reach in her bag for a tissue to wipe what seemed like a lone tear below her eye. I took the opportunity to ask in a whisper, “and Elvic now?”  She inhaled slowly, then with a hurried gush she exhaled and answered  “You see him these days, somewhat physically different, a white mop turned upside down, less firm wherever some muscle has remained, a phantom of former years . He is an apologizing phantom, he says he is sorry all the time, but the interesting thing is I don’t  know if he knows what he is sorry for, in other words, I really don’t think he knows what he has done . The type and extent of the damage. I do not think that he would comprehend the situation even if it was explained to him in great detail.

You cannot help to bring about such a wreck then just keep apologizing and seriously think that is enough, and basically, that is all that he is able to do at this time.”  She stood up,with her bag in one hand, she quickly raised and lowered her other hand in an expression of frustration “Mila, this conversation only gives an outline of my problems, I am not sure that even I would be able to recount everything accurately,you see I have put some of those experiences in a place that I do not visit, but, the scars are here with me, they continue to make me anxious, sad, fearful,depressed,tired etc, and all these states help to determine the quality of my life. So, you can imagine what most of my days are like, all mainly because I did not, or could not recognize certain personality traits,or maybe because no one said anything, probably because no one thought it warranted a warning. Well Mila I know different, I know how serious such a mistake can be,I am fully aware of the consequences, and I am determined not to give this cycle a chance, I will break it here and now, I will not allow this violence to continue, not with my daughter,” She leaned over my still sitting form and whispered  “I intend to fight for Ledra.”  I stood up slowly,and once again the picture of Rufus, Mr Vizee’s hurt dog flashed into my mind, but this time I was the one bringing him to mind, I felt every bit like the hurt Rufus as I tried to quell the surge of emotions rushing through my body, I barely managed to compose myself enough to look Sally in the eyes as the words rolled from my lips, I begged, “Please Sally, you’ll be fighting for me too.” I felt a little stir of embarrassment, but I had already passed the stage of caring. I watched Sally’s jaw drop so low I could now see the top of her throat. She grabbed my hand, and with a surprised but fond look on her face she warmly responded “Yes, sure Mila for you too,let us go.”


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