Category Archives: grief

death; loss; healing

Ships In The Night.

CHAPTER 48.

The white Pilot approached head on, swung in front of her, and slid into the first spot.

She backed up. Was this the church lot where she’d parked, last year? Music had just begun wafting from the main stage, and every pedestrian was headed toward the sound. The scene was strange. Cues were missing.

She leaned onto the wheel and braked, waiting. A young woman with long, thick honey hair exited the Pilot, walking purposefully toward the sidewalk and crossing the street. Covered in short culottes, a high, wide pelvis and strong legs drove her torso forward like the back end of a camel.

The white Pilot bore a New York plate.

The young woman was alone, moving as if on a deadline, her comportment in stark contrast to the two and threesomes heading down the sidewalk anticipating an afternoon of live musical entertainment. And, in from New York state by herself, no less.

Removing her foot from the brake, she turned and parked a space away, only to think again and pull out around toward a closer vantage point for audio. Something wasn’t right. Spying a posted Restricted notice, she knew then that this was not the lot she’d chosen the year before; in fact – wrong church – she would need to head one full block further east.

Sure enough. Pulling into her now recognizable north/south alley between the college library and its neighbor, the cathedral, she stopped her car and shut off the engine. Windows open, cross breezes flowing, the music – soaring above the historic homes on 6th and wending between the overhanging trees – could now be clearly heard, right from her driver’s seat. Lowering the visors and adjusting her shades, she settled back to sit alone for the private concert which, this year, would be her consolation prize.

He’d been the single source of hopeful anticipation wrought by the whole, sorry pandemic, he with his keen curiosity and teeming desire for discourse. She’d been riding on his wavelength for weeks and then – with no warning – shut out, bereft, absorbing whiplash like a crash test dummy. Now, her only recourse to move through the stages of grief, she would plant herself within earshot of the very thing which had captured her in the first place: his music.

Familiar treble strains carried their opening tune. Looking off, her eyes half closed in reverie. Momentarily startled, she turned. Here came the white Pilot, yet again, pulling up through the alley and passing her on the driver’s side.

The young woman’s profile was now visible, softer and more youthful than she’d appeared from the rear. What had moved this woman to reposition her own vehicle, on such a fine afternoon? She watched through the mirror as the Pilot continued in search of a place to light. What might be directing its travels?

Her phone vibrated.

“On my way.”

She stared. This was her ex, an hour ahead of schedule. In the care of his dying mother, he needed to borrow her printer to prepare urgent care home intake forms.

Irony flooded the parking lot. This was a moment produced and directed by the Universe, Providence at the helm. Human will. The power, of choice. The fork, in the road.

Wearily, with the impetus of a grandmother whose alarm clock heralds breakfast for the child in her charge, she placed the key in the ignition and turned on the engine, its hum attempting consonance with the concert filling the air. Putting the car in gear, she headed down the drive, turning westward. The music swelled, almost plaintively after her retreat, calling, calling. She kept driving.

Theirs was a fraught intersection. Lasting, in her mind, nearly five years he was yet again in need of her efforts. And, with the regularity of familiar habit, she obliged. Documents forwarded, printed, rudiments accomplished, they headed to the beach to walk the dog. This time, he would dissolve into his own grief, anticipating an emotionally absent mother’s death, and she would embody empathy. To any onlooker, minus any familial resemblance he could be her brother.

The dog was older now, tiring earlier and, after a momentary stop at the clearing to test a flock of Canada geese they were headed home. She noted the time. The main stage had long since released itself to the festival’s next act.

Across on the bayside berm, a bright blue compact caught her eye, the newest car color to trigger her since his lone visit just three weeks before.

Parked directly behind it was a white Pilot.

.

.

.

.

Copyright 8/20/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Please write your own songs. Thanks.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Just Say Nothing.

She had to blame something.

For sanity.

Nobody wanted her to find any happiness at the expense of the loss of their proprietary claims.

No mother, sister, old friend, ex girlfriend wanted her to take or get or receive or even be offered what was theirs to protect. How did anyone ever reach the conclusion that she was any kind of threat? How did she get labeled toxic? What was wrong with those who clustered in corners, conniving to exact pain upon her?

Was it the men, appealing to their women for advice? And, if so, why? Did she have too much testosterone? Was it because she wasn’t young, anymore? Was it because she spoke her mind? How could she not communicate how much she needed somebody, when she did? How could she fail, so completely, in this?

Was it the gifts? Did she have too many? Was she expected to accept her lot, and find fulfillment without being loved? Who knew what love was, except to say that having a need unmet was its absence?

There was so much more left, of life. She could inhabit her body for thirty more years. What would the response be, to her presence? Would she be wanted, in the room?

Action produced reaction. This was unavoidable, like every other law of physics. Move, and cause motion; speak, and generate word.

Best to remain still, and say nothing.

.

.

.

Copyright 8/18/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights reserved. No copying, pasting, stealing, pilfering, translating, or profiting. Go be your normal self.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Surviving The Abortion.

The spermicide stung.

A suppository, which dissolved on the inside, the bullet shaped insert created a sudsy barrier to the cervix.

The birth control of choice in the back end of the 1980s for a late-twenty something to whom the pill was entirely too deliberate and required a schedule of intent. Planned unpregnancy was unacceptable to the morally ambiguous.

The conception, therefore, was never expected.

Waking on up on day 49 in the context of a cycle which rarely deviated from 33, swollen, doubled over in cramping pain, crawling the length of the second floor apartment to vomit into the toilet and then the call to mother was also not to be predicted.

Being asked as soon as she arrived if there were any possibility of pregnancy was the moment of clarity, like the climax in a Woody Allen movie. Maybe because the topic of deliberate fornication had not, up until that point, ever been insinuated let alone confronted head on.

Starkly deliberate, almost methodical, was the manner in which mother and daughter prepared to travel to the lab to obtain the pregnancy test. The trip was entirely without drama, outside of what the situation inherently bore.

Sitting for the blood draw, followed by a need to urinate and the discovery of brown spotting indicating flow made the day shorter and the issue apparently self resolving. The test was negative.

The aftermath proved protracted. This potential mother had to face decades later the very likely reality that, in spite of one test result, what had since been revealed about the lability of hormone levels before and after a conception failed suggested that, for probably less than three weeks in the late 80s, the daughter had been with child.

Nobody survives abortion.

The woman experiences – unless drugged – visceral, cramping pain and nausea. The conceived embryo bears disengagement from the warmth of the womb and a perilous trip down the vagina at the hand of either muscular contraction or mechanical suction. But, once completed, the process leaves a wake.

Thought waves. Turbulent speculation. Transient recollection. Lifelong wonder.

Whether spontaneously induced, by the body, or provoked by surgical procedure the abortion separates the giver of life from life. How can this enmity not persist until time becomes eternity?

The awareness that life was, and then was not, plants its own seed. A name. Features, on a face. Hands. Feet. Grasping to assign place, a certain purgatory, allowing imagination to become a branding memory and remembrance to burn its own birth.

The sting, of death.

.

.

.

Copyright 5/13/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. No copying, in part or whole (including translation). Sharing by direct blog link, exclusively – no RSSING. Thank you for being trustworthy.

littlebarefeetblog.com