To take my mind from my wobbly heart and quiet, sad goings-on over here, I have two stories for you tonight:
Story 1: Weeds Are Love.
One summer when I was 9, I got very very sick. What a suck-y way to spend a summer, at age 9, right? The only thing suckier would be, you know, a broken foot for 10 weeks. My brother, 6 at the time, came into my bedroom to try to get me to play. This is how sick I was: I--girl of the outdoors who lived there from sun up to sun down every summer day until my mother had to stand amongst the fireflies, batting away mosquitoes, demanding I come in for bath/bedtime--was completely despondent about this idea. In fact, he was so badger-y about me getting out of bed to play tag or whatever outside, I started to just weep weakly. In a really dramatic way, because inside my head I was actually an Oscar winning actress doing a death scene in which I was silently dying of consumption. Thank god, the director (aka our mother) yelled CUT! and made him leave. I fell into a deep, coma-like nap.
I vaguely remember, in a virus-induced sleep-haze fog, Chad coming in and quietly putting something on my bedside table. Later, when I fully woke up, I saw what it was: a small Dixie cup filled with dandelions. I asked my mother why he'd put so many dandelions on the table and she said, "Oh, I explained how sick you are to him and he felt bad. He went outside and picked those for you, because he thought the color yellow would make you feel better." All on his own, his 6 year old self own. I ask you: how many boys are this thoughtfully sensitive at that age? Not many, because I work with them.
At any rate, even at 9 I could recognize when my soul was touched. Dandelions are my favorite now. I like roses, yes. And fancy pants orchids and lush hydrangeas and sweet lilies and soothing violets. But dandelions feel like love to me; I rejoice when they come back to life in the spring and summer.
I'm telling you this because today, on our chaotically slow power walk, Miss M picked a couple of dandelions for me. I told her my Uncle Chad and the Dandelions story, and by the time we got in the car to go home, she'd picked almost an entire field of them for me. With some white clover because those are her favorites. So we combined them:
Story 2: Zorro Boy
Another micro-story I wrote and posted on Twitter. I don't know why I keep doing this; I think I'm just trying to write, period. Because I have no laptop; mine died a month ago. We have no money (I'm told) to replace it and this financial stuff is just compounded by the other stuff and if it were just me I'd whip out the mastercard and have a new laptop pronto tomorrow but it is not just me, and so. Crap, this is so BAD for writing, you guys. So I'm writing these quick little stories on legal pads, and then posting them to Twitter for some odd reason. And then I double post them here. I think I'm saving them, since I have no lap top. (This ancient desk top I'm currently on makes me want to stick a fork in my eyes, by the way) (But I will not--I WILL NOT--use my tablet or my phone to type blog entries. My brain would explode and/or I throw those things out a window halfway through the post.) (#firstworldproblems).
Also, for some reason, each part I posted via Twitter shows up fine on my phone. But when I looked at my Twitter page via my Kindle Fire, I could only see the last part, Part 8. And none of my other mini-story from the other day. Is Twitter fucking with me? Probably because of that one thing I said in my last post. Well, fine. Fine, Twitter! On the one hand, I worry that I'll look crazy. On the other hand, my heart is so sad and tired right now, so I don't really care much. (Apologies for the vaguery again.)
Okey dokey, moving on. Here it is in its entirety (again, wordier, because the Twitter Character Police aren't watching) (that I know of) (narrowed, suspicious eyes on you, Twitter):
When he was a boy, Billy wanted to be Zorro AND the Lone Ranger, but he wanted to be Zorro more.
One day, he stole his father's WW2 switchblade. He father had carried it in his pocket through every big naval battle he often told Billy stories about.
Billy pretended the switchblade was a sword, and he also used his mother's best black cashmere scarf as his mask.
Of course, good bandit masks require eye holes. And so Billy used his mother's favorite knitting scissors for those.
When the two scratched Zs--one large, one small, both lopsided--were discovered later that evening on the wall above the bed he shared with his little brother, he was marched to the backyard.
His father's gray eyes were like cold iron as he watched him cut down the weapon of punishment. What seemed particularly cruel to him, though, was his father's choice to take a slim branch from the old, gentle oak tree Billy and his friends liked to play pirate ship in.
Billy's eyes leaked a bit as the narrow branch smacked the back of his neck, then his shoulders--thwack!thwack!--but he never screamed. He never cried out. Never even flinched.
Because Zorros are always brave in that way, even if they're only six. **
Bravery and love have become very important to me lately. I ask the Universe for both of these, quite a lot. And I've just decided that tomorrow, Miss M and I should pick more dandelions. I'm hoping a lot of green with some big splashes of yellow and sprigs of white here and there will be soothing for the soul. (Wait. What? Are you still here reading? Oh my god! Get OUT of here! Go get some dandelions! Seriously. They'll make you happier. And they smell nice--kind of earthy.)
**This story was loosely based on a real event: my young father loved (LOVED!) Zorro and the Lone Ranger. And every summer, we'd visit my dad's boyhood home. My brother and I would sleep in the room he and our Uncle Joey had shared as children. And there, every year, above the bed were two scratched Zs--one big, one little, both lopsided--that my father had cut into the wall with a knife when he was a boy. And he was called Billy. But the rest of the story is made up. Except for the big, old, quiet tree that used to live in their front yard. We loved to play in that thing, and we did play pirate ship.
I don't remember if we picked dandelions or not.**