To hell with the Vicodin

cape cod kayak

 

I start things, I don’t always finish them.  At least in a timely manner.  I have a lot of drafts in my WordPress folder.  The way I work is, I get an idea, usually a sentence or a title, or I look at one of my photos and it spurs something.  But, the two things — a few words and an image — always go together in my mind.  That’s how I roll.  Often I get several sentences down, maybe even a paragraph or two, before I leave it.  That way I have something to pick up on when I come back.

You can imagine my confusion when I opened this draft and found the title with this particular photo and nothing else.  Not one word.  What does Vicodin have to do with a placid scene of two guys fishing from kayaks in a cove on Cape Cod?  What WAS I thinking when I dropped this here?  Anyone?

And before you ask, no I wasn’t on Vicodin when I began the piece.  That was the point of the title.  I do remember that.  Because I had tried to have a prescription for it filled, along with an antibiotic after a grueling oral surgery last October.  And an older woman who reminded me of my high school Math teacher, Mrs. Burns (a woman so terrifying that the French teacher across the hall once put a sign on his door that read:  First Aid for Lethal Burns) looked at my prescriptions and then told me all the reasons why the Vicodin scrip couldn’t be filled.  Something to do with changes in dosage — of the acetaminophen, not even the narcotic part of it — and my oral surgeon should have known that.  No, I couldn’t just have his office call it in because it was a Class 3 drug, I would have to go back to the office, a 70-minute roundtrip drive away, and have the doctor write a new prescription.  And my mouth was swollen and starting to hurt, and I was thinking, to hell with the Vicodin.  Which completely makes sense now that I’ve explained it to you doesn’t it?

Except for the photograph.

Your guess is as good as mine.  I welcome your suggestions.

Until a tiny thing trips you up (Flash Fiction)

 

London Eye pm 1

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a mother in possession of a young child must be in want of a crystal ball.

She wasn’t afraid of anything: Smoldering fire; hail storms of passion; blood-sucking leeches, reeking of desire.  Bring it on.  Her hobnailed boots were made for stomping, and she could dance, by god.  She could move.  She could run long and fast and still have breath enough to laugh in the face of all that friction.  Drive a truck with her old life across country toward her future?  Piece of cake.

She, and the man she knew would never try to change her, made a new life in a place where people lived on fried dough and clams.  A baby arrived one winter morning weighing less than the four-layer fudge cake she was planning for her birthday later; a clear-eyed boy careening headlong into the world so furiously that he took her breath away.

But time is a forward moving thing that cares for no one.  It will not pause for one second, no matter how nicely you ask.  She learned this on a ferris wheel as her child laughed between her husband and herself. The wheel lurched forward and backward, filling and emptying, still moving ever upward, and then slowly around and down, where she asked to be let out.  She walked away and watched as the wheel rolled upwards carrying her heart.

She pictured the wheel collapsing, sending the cars flying through the air, saw her husband and her child (who still believed she could make monsters disappear) hurtling downward while she had chosen to save herself.  She could do nothing to stop the inevitable.  Hobnail boots were useless.

She knew that all she had was now.

 


 

Written for the DP Weekly Writing Challenge: Flash Fiction.  296 painstakingly sculpted words.  The limit was 300.  As is usually the case, I chose the photograph first and let it tell me the story.  Apologies to Jane Austin for the bastardized version of her opening sentence in Pride and Prejudice.

Waiting. . . .

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.

                                                                       — Henry Van Dyke

I can be impatient sometimes.  (When my husband reads that line, he’ll laugh, and say sometimes?)

Mostly, I’m impatient about waiting.  Waiting on hold for customer service, waiting in heavy traffic.  Waiting for my husband to chop vegetables when I’m rushing to get dinner on the table.  It’s one of the character flaws that I need to attend to most.  And I’m trying.  I really am.

I try to schedule doctor and dentist appointments for the exact time the office returns from lunch, so that I’m in and out before things get backed up.  I try to avoid driving anywhere during rush hour.  I try to breathe slowly when I have to wait.  Often I try to distract myself with something else.

Which is what I am doing now.

My son lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  After the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday, it has felt like anything can happen.  We have all been waiting for the answer to the questions of who and why all week.

Last night, before I went to bed, there was news that a shooting had occurred at MIT.  Shortly after that reports of an explosion in Watertown.  I wondered whether it was connected to the bombing on Monday.  I think most people did.  And then, when I woke up this morning I discovered that it was indeed connected and that one of the suspects was on the loose, armed and possibly carrying explosives.  The entire Boston area was under lock-down and everyone had been told to stay indoors.  I’m pretty certain that shutting down an entire city like that to search for a suspect has never happened before.  At least not to my recollection.

Fear is a rat that ran up my spine.

I immediately texted the boy.  Are you home & okay?  I waited for his reply.  Thirteen minutes, I waited.

Here is another true thing about me:  In the face of unusual circumstances, I am apt to imagine a multitude of scenarios.  I tell myself it’s a writer thing, I make up stuff all the time.  Sometimes, depending on how much time I have, I can terrify myself.  Thirteen minutes is a hell of a long time.  More than long enough to imagine a desperate bombing suspect hiding at the house my son lives in and holding everyone captive.  Which would explain why my son can’t text me back.

That image, however wildly unlikely, was enough to set my heart racing.  I picked up the phone and called, whereupon I found that the first, more probable scenario I had imagined was correct.  He was still in bed.

Still, I’m glad I called.  It was comforting to hear his voice, to know that for the time being he was safe, and I could say aloud, I love you.

But now, I’m back to waiting and I hate that.  We are all waiting for something.  For answers to questions we haven’t even thought of yet.  For closure.  For peace of mind.  For the violence to end.

The mama in me wants to get in my car and drive to Boston and bring my 24 year-old baby boy home.  But, I know I can’t.  I know that like everyone else who has been affected by this, I will have to wait.

The waiting is excruciating.

boston boats 2

Fear of Flying

Image

A friend of mine asked me for advice.  She’s flying across the country soon and she’s afraid of flying.  Since I was a “seasoned flyer,” did I have any tips that might help?

Though I’m loath to admit it, flying scares the crap out of me.  I’m 30,000 feet in the air inside a huge hunk of metal that remains airborne only by the marvel of mechanical engineering and a proper maintenance schedule.  But I do like to travel and the fastest way to traverse large distances is to get on a plane and hope that the engine, the electrical systems, the landing gear, and the rivets holding everything together have all been thoroughly checked and maintained.  Preferably just before I boarded.  Yes, it scares me, but I’ve gotten used to it.  And I’ve devised a habit to ease my fear.   I meditate upon take-off and landing (statistically the most likely time for a problem).  Without fail, every single time.  It makes me feel better to do this.  It makes me feel a little more in control.  An illusion perhaps, but isn’t life?

Ultimately, my advice to her was do it and keep doing it, because you can.

Which brings me to the point of this post.   As I conveyed my seasonedwisdom to my friend, it occurred to me that maybe I should apply similar advice to other aspects of my life.  Like blogging.  That really scares the crap out of me, too.  The whole time I’m writing a post, I’m thinking; someone might actually read this blog, and worse, they might think my writing completely sucks.*  Which is why my first blogging attempts consisted of seven posts over the course of nine months.

We are all afraid of something.  And mostly, it’s the doing it anyway that sees us through.  Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do the thing you think you cannot do.”  She also said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”  Sometimes that may be just getting out of bed.

So read away citizens of the internet.  Or not.  The blogosphere is a mighty big place.  However, if you should stumble upon this page – hellooo – I’m here, still afraid of sucking, but writing anyway.

Because I can.

*I’m also terrified of crossing bridges.  Interesting that the common denominator seems to be falling, whether out of the sky, over water, or on my face.