I am small (too).

I am breathing for the first time in weeks – shaky and stunted and messy. Full of spit and saline and the sound that comes out when you are trying so desperately to keep it together. You know the one, something like, “huh huh huh huh.” Like your lungs are asking a question that your heart can’t answer. 

My hands say goodbye and please don’t go in the same reach, and last night my fingers were so cold you shuddered, offered your warm arm to me, gripped that glass of whiskey like your steely pupils know my hidden parts.

In the green room your hand stayed, fingers pressed to glass pressed to lips and laughing. Leaning in, I felt the curl of your resolve pressed between our foreheads and I was so grateful for your red booted turn and walk that my single press withered in your wake. 

We are grown now and wanting is not the same as needing, even though I have never been one to excavate that sort of distinction.

I always believe you when you say that we are going to be okay.

Okay.

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The Tiny Turtle: A Small Story for a Sweet Friend

This little guy.

So, once upon a time there was a vast and beautiful ocean. The ocean was so wide and so deep the it reached out and touched the sky. At this time the earth was young and all of what would become land was underneath the water waiting to be born.

Underneath the tide it was quiet and the water was warm. The ocean was full of life, and colonies of animals lived safely and happily swimming. They were full of color and breathed easily and blew bubbles and things were just the way they were supposed to be. There were an infinite amount of creatures, and they did not keep to themselves, but rather preferred to frolic and play together.

The smallest and most timid of these was the baby turtle, and though he was not the only turtle in the ocean, he was the most shy. All of the other creatures said his shell was the most handsome thing they’d ever seen and when they told him, he hid inside it, blushing his shell into a pure rose color.

The tiny turtle liked to spend his days slowly sauntering along the soft ocean bed smiling at the flounder and yellow tang, and nibbling on tall green grass and pebbles (because everyone in the ocean was a vegetarian). One day, as he wandered he came across a magical looking horse with a nose like a trumpet who seemed very upset. The turtle tried not to turn away and hide for he knew it was the best thing to be able to comfort another creature in a time of need.

Stuffy

The tiny turtle approached the horse slowly and asked in a whisper what was the matter.

“I cant get my trumpet to blow!” she said in a groggy sad tone.

“Oh my!” said the turtle “what happened?

“Well, I was swimming at the very bottom of this cave, and the water around me was soo very cold, that I felt like I couldn’t even move my hooves anymore, I was very frightened. My mother told me never to go that deep, but I wanted to prove that I was brave and so I did!”

The turtle was startled by this story. He had never though to go into the caves, much preferring the warm green water around the rest of the colony, because even though he was shy, he loved hearing the happy sounds of other creatures playing and laughing together.

The horse went on, “It was beautiful and scary in the cave, and I just kept getting colder the deeper I went, and I thought I could see a beautiful silver light so I swam just a little further. I could see some bubbles and more light and then… a great flash of lightning burst forth and flew past my flanks!”

At this declaration both the turtle and the horse shook with fear, even hearing something this unexpected was almost too much for the little urchins. “…” Go on!” said the turtle, hoping desperately the end to this story was happier than the beginning.

“After the lightning, I saw it!”

“IT WHAT!?” Screamed the turtle and snapped his head inside his shell at the sound of his own voice, it was so loud.

“Why, an Eel!! The biggest, most silvery Eel you ever did see!”

Both the turtle and the horse began to laugh at this. Eels weren’t scary at all! Though rare, and mysterious, they were much loved creatures in the colony, because they were so beautiful and always won all the races for their long bodied speed.

The tiny turtle’s tummy ached from all the giggling they did, and when they finally calmed down, he asked “Well! what did the Eel do?!”

Bossy pants

“Well, he flicked his tale at me in a wave, and said that I should swim back up or I’d catch a cold in the deep water!! It turns out he was right. By the time I got up here, I could feel my trumpet filling with snot, and now I cannot practice any songs. My mother is going to be so upset with me, and I don’t know what to do!”

“Oh gosh, horse. This is terrible! You play such pretty tunes, they will surely be missed on the floor. What can we do? hmmm”

The turtle thought and thought, and as he did, he began to slowly pace (almost invisible to any other eye) and tiny bubbles of concentration floated up and out of the corners of his shell. The horse looked solemnly at the coral plants sprouting out of the side of a boulder and sighed.

“I’ve got it!” exclaimed the turtle. “We just need to go visit my cousin the hermit crab. He can surely help you find a way to heal your trumpet!”

So the turtle and the horse set out to swim to the hermit crab, who liked to hang out near the sea cucumbers (who smelled particularly heavenly) and ask for his assistance. The turtle knew they would probably be scolded for disturbing the crab’s afternoon nap, but he couldn’t help feeling proud that he might be able to help his new friend. Sure enough, when they reached the edge of the cucumber garden, they found cousin crab, blowing sleepy bubbles toward the sunlit afternoon sky. The turtle softly jostled the crabs shell and very quietly mumbled, “cousin crab, wake up. we need your help. please!”

The hermit crab snorted and shimmied and spun around in a circle with a loud grunt and bellowed “WHO’S THERE?!”

Crabby

It’s just me, exclaimed the turtle from inside his shell. So sorry to www wake you. I…we need your help!”

“Well, out with it then! I’ve only got a few more decades to rest my shell. haha!”

The turtle and the hose shakily recounted the story, as the crab listened closely and nodded at all the right times.

Well, this is a simple enough fix, little one and you’ve come to the right place! You see, the slime these slippery smelling cucumbers make is the perfect cure for what ails you, and here we are near a surplus of the stuff! All we have to do is scoop some off of this mighty bolder and rub a little on your snout. You’ll be right as rain in just a few hours!”

“Ohh! thank you so much cousin crab! You are the best!”

At that the crab smeared a dollop of cucumber slime on the horse’s trumpet, and the horse coughed and sputtered and cried, “That certainly does not taste as good as it smells!” The three laughed heartily and patted each others shoulders.

The horse thanked both the turtle and the crab, and invited them to a concert that very evening where he would (hopefully) be playing a brand new song, and off he went to rest until it was time to face his mother.

The tiny turtle beamed golden and grinning, having helped someone in need and made a brand new friend. He felt less and less with each of these revelations, like hiding in his shell. It seemed that spending time with other creatures and not just near them could be even more rewarding than he’d ever imagined! The turtle was so glad to be helpful and tired from all the laughing and adventuring that he fell into a deep and sweet sleep curled up near the crab’s shell in the cucumber garden right then!

When the turtle work up, he had just enough time to wipe the sleepiness from his eyes and begin to amble toward the concert. along the way, instead of blushing and hiding when a stranger or friend swam by, the tiny turtle waved his stubby turtle paw and smiled up, saying “See you at the show!” He really was enjoying this new confidence and was excited to see his new friend performing.

the concert was beautiful, and the whole ocean floor cheered and cheered for all of the horses, crabs, blow fish and the sword fish (on trombone). Each new song was better than the last and everyone agreed that the horse sounded better than ever! at the end of the show everyone bowed and the horse turned to face her audience and asked everyone to stay just a moment longer for she had one thing to say.

“Earlier today I was very sick, and not sure I could play these tunes for you, and I had no idea what I was going to do until the tiniest turtle in the sea stopped by to help me. He listened and laughed and did not shy away from a friend in need, and for that I am eternally grateful. I am so very proud to know you, tiny turtle and I am excited to be friends for life with such a handsome and smart creature as you!”

The turtles shell did turn rosy, but he kept his head held high and smiled bigger than anyone had ever seen. He was ready to be seen and participate now more than ever!

It just goes to show you what a little kindness and an open ear can do for a bashful little turtle in the big, beautiful world.

Winning.

The End.

Something too small to see.

My hands start out twitching, slowly, almost completely unnoticed. When the tremors increase, I begin to sweat, starting at the place on my temples where my hairline has retreated, starting at the very center crease of the lifeline in the middle of my palms and leaking outward. Then they begin to shake. I sit under all 19 florescent overheard lights trying to steady them, to focus my vision.

I begin to get sleepy despite myself and my vision goes blurry again. I’m trying to see something that isn’t there. I’m trying to see the absence of you instead of waiting for your arrival to knuckle down. Trying for somewhere that isn’t this desk, somewhere I know how to be still.

It’s almost two p.m. and I am in trouble. The ways in which I am superstitious are embarrassing and comforting and I am shaking, sweating, silent. My molars are rubbing up against each other in the back of my mouth out of pure desperation and I immediately wish I had insisted on that mouth guard the dentist offered me months ago. I can hear them quaking in my sleep, the weight of their full court all caught up in my dreams making the blankets draping my hips water log themselves to anvils too heavy to lift.

It is an exercise in escapism; it is a dream about feeling my heart stop beating, the muscles in my fingers vibrating against my skin and the tiniest of disappointing gestures. A singular longing, somewhere that isn’t this desk. Somewhere that isn’t my bed. That tiny pocket in my jeans, the fifth one, empty of peach colored pills, and left dusty and dark as I jam my shaking digits in and out, hunting. The art of letting go.

Everything is going to be fine.

Photo by K. Fallon

Flights of fashion.

from Saturday, 4am, Seattle Airport.

I’m not sure I’ve written anything this early in the morning like, ever. Which, I guess, doesn’t inspire much confidence that these early morning moments are anything worth remembering but, here we are. I’ve seen some incredible fashion already this morning in the airport including but not limited to: a purple velour bedazzled track suit and a pair of  jeans which were entirely missing the fabric on the top of the thigh area. It seems like you never really know about current trends until you head to the airport at 4am.  

I know now that I am most certainly behind the times. Me and everyone who think fleece sweatpants and a grease stained t-shirt is appropriate travel attire. We’ve really got the whole fashion spectrum here.  

I live in a fairly large city and yet, at the airport, seeing someone who’s got some cool points is like winning concert tickets from your local non-profit indie rock radio station (shout out to KEXP) – just rare enough to be exciting. When spotting each other, two “cool” people at the airport are shy, almost bashful, sneaking glances at each other, almost saying “Please! notice me! I just need to know I’m not alone!” Reassurance is delicately and subtly passed around like the name of that really delicious and exclusive fusion restaurant that just opened.  It is brief, but meaningful and we all paid a lot of money to be there. However, these are just fleeting moments because it is a known rule that ‘cool’ people in the airport cannot stay in the same place together, they must spread out and become outposts of good taste and hope that all humanity hasn’t turned into some self-involved, poorly dressed suburbanite. 

As for me, I’m about to board my flight. Six hours in the air from one hip metropolis to the next. Working on forgetting where I really come from with every frequent flyer mile. Of course, I end up sitting right across the aisle from ‘no thigh’ jeans girl, who spends twenty minutes talking about how much kindles suck because its so much better to read an actual book (with which I agree, mostly, except someone gave me a kindle as a gift so I use it). Then she pulls out a Vampire romance novel, and I pull out my kindle to read Sub Rosa by Amber dawn, (which I highly recommend)  and I think, we are really just the same, all of us. 

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This is what I like to see. Don't y'all think I'd look fly in one o' those hats?

The Mona Lisa’s Legs (or) beginning of Exercise #47

Eight acts of rebellion:
1. Blond haired blue eyed birth
2. Surviving careening sled ending in ditch
3. Touching the cactus and escaping unstuck
4. Staying astride that plastic bucking bull
5. Remaining in the woods until dawn
6. Sipping your beer when you weren’t looking
7. Getting up over and over and over again
8. Sitting on the roof, howling

Eight things I’ve stolen:
1. A Donald duck pez dispenser
2. Office supplies: Pens, paper, copies, hours of time not working.
3. Your number one best lover ever spot
4. The loudest cry/shout.
5. 267 buttermilk pancakes
6. Clean moon cooled air and pine tree needles.
7. About 6,000 cups of coffee
8. Any delusions you had about keeping me

Eight things that were taken from me:
1. My lungs, heart, arms
2. My ability to run
3. My self worth/confidence
4. The way I felt safe
5. The will to stop
6. Your mile long legs draped over mine
7. How to cook for two
8. How to find your hips

Eight things I’ve given away:
1. My ears
2. About 900 cigarettes
3. My winter gloves
4. So many stories
5. My bed
6. My sanity
7. The last piece of pie
8. All the covers on a cold night

Eight things I deserve:
1. An infinite amount of chances
2. The sweet smell of mesquite
3. Somewhere quiet
4. Thunderstorms
5. Your hand in mine and sleeping
6. An aching belly full of laughter
7. To be listened to
8. To be forgiven

This is a free write based on Rachel McKibbens exercise #47.