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The Cabin

Creative writing is still very difficult for me, but I appreciate these challenges. Writing Challenge #2, click HERE to participate!

Every morning around this time of the year, for about 4 weeks, I would wake up to the most beautiful smell: Pumpkin Marshmallow. The sweet-smelling aroma swiftly engulfed the cramped cabin where my family and I stayed during the Holidays. The scent was not overbearing, it provided just the right amount of warmth needed for those chilly November mornings! The sound of pots and pans raddling and clanking in the kitchen was just a little reminder that Thanksgiving was around the corner.

 

Mother loved Thanksgiving; it was the only time of the year that all the family came to town and enjoyed each other’s company. The holiday visit usually lasted about 2 weeks; once the it ended everyone quickly returned to their busy eventful lives in the big city! Everyone tried to stay in touch the first few weeks after Thanksgiving, but generally that didn’t last! It would go back to just being Mother, Dad, and the twins after the Holidays. The twins are Lily and Kyle; my family adopted them when they were about 6 months old. They are actually blood cousins, but according to documentation and family bond they are my younger siblings! In total Mother and Father shared 6 children: the Twins, Mark, Cassie, Paula and Myself!

 

I usually came to town a few days early to help with the Thanksgiving preparations. The week leading up to Thanksgiving we were required to get everything in the house impeccable, as Mother and Father prepped the food. Mother wanted floors and walls scrubbed spotless,  Fall decorations flowing throughout the house and the fireplace equip to burn chips of wood all week long. The house remained very busy and smelled delightful, between scented candles and home cooked greatness. As each day passed everyone’s excitement grew greater. The anticipation became almost unbearable the day before Thanksgiving Eve. This was also the day for the final touches on the menu and last minute cleaning sprees!

 

On the day before Thanksgiving, Family would start to arrive at all times of the day. Some would bring dishes of dessert and others would bring the liquid inspiration, not that anyone needed it. The men would gather in the den to watch sports while trying to smoke Cuban Cigars on the hush; Father would open windows hoping to air out the smell but it never worked! Aunt Francis would bring Christmas sweaters that she was able to weave together on her own. She was very good at what she did, but those sweaters were not always appealing. Every year she would request a picture of everyone in their sweater and it eventually became a Christmas card. Then there was Cousin Billy and Cousin Frank, they are brothers and I believe my 2nd or 3rd cousins; they always seemed to have a “new date” or “new friend” every Thanksgiving. It’s like those two were allergic to settling down.

 

Each year it seemed like our family grew; everyone was branching out and starting families within our already large Family. The cabin was always so full of laughter and love during these days. We all would sit and talk for hours about former memories and share outrageously embarrassing stories. Mother would always find a way to sneak in her photo albums; she mainly went for the same one every year. This photo album as outlined in the shiniest silver you would have even seen & if it was tilted in the correct position the reflection of light would allow the pages to shimmer. It was a very beautiful album. The album contained baby photos of my siblings and myself. Every year we created new traditions and even revisited old ones. Every year we argued, laughed till we cried and cried until we laughed.

 

*……..*

 

It has been a long while since I experienced a Thanksgiving so full of joy. Once Father became sick the holidays became dull and the laughter was no longer present.

 

He fought his battle as long as he could; but after 2 years of fighting it was understandable that he was tired. Mother took his passing very hard; she began to give up on life herself it seemed. The Twins moved out and off to college right before Fathers passing, so it was just Mother- alone. I asked Mother to stay with me because she didn’t need to be alone, but she felt closer to him at the cabin.

 

Days would go by before she returned any of my calls. Each time I talked to her she sounded more lost than before. I wanted to help her but I didn’t know if I could. She lost her life partner, the man she loved since the 8th grade. How could I possibly provide her with the right words and support to get her through this?

 

Each day grew harder; instead of healing I felt my Mother was withering away. Eventually she refused to leave the cabin at all. She refused to eat and take care of herself in any way. So I finally decided to move back with her. This decision shocked many of my friends; they didn’t understand why my older siblings did not volunteer to take care of our Mother. I tried to explain that everyone had children and families their own; to pick up everything and move thousands of miles would be unfair and unrealistic for them. However, it was just me. I lived alone. I dropped out of college shortly after father was diagnosed.  All I did was work a dead-end job and attend night clubs!  I felt as if my life was going nowhere fast and I needed to be with my Mother! I needed to add purpose and substance to my life again.

 

I did not realize until I packed up and moved with my Mother that I was also still in pain. I had not completely come to terms with my Father departing this earth when he did. I ignored what I was feeling for a long time.That was no longer an option when I moved back to the cabin.

 

My mother had not left the cabin for many months; she felt closer to Father there and I could understand that. We shared so many good memories in that place.

 

My 1st night back was uneasy; I heard my Fathers voice bouncing off the walls! I could feel his presence. I knew it was my emotions and completely in my head, but it felt so real! The smell of his cologne lingered through the cabin that night. I thought Mother may have sprayed it, so I walked down the hallway to her room. She was in a deep sleep. It looked as if the sleeping pills I gave her did the trick. As I looked around the room I didn’t see any of Fathers belongings. It looked like the room they shared and been wiped clean that he was ever there. I did not understand how Mother could get rid of all his things but still sulk in grief for his passing.

 

I grabbed for the handle on the door to exit my Mothers room, as I tried twisting the handle the door seemed jammed. I tried my best to wiggle it open as quietly as possible; I didn’t want to wake Mother. As I tried pulling the door handle for a 4th time I felt a cold chill down my spine; I spun around quickly and caught a glimpse of this dull grayish light. I shut my eyes quickly; I kept telling myself I was tired and just needed to get some sleep. My gut was saying something different! I turned back to the jammed door and heard a unclear whisper. I could not make out what was said. I thought it was my mother so I called out to her, but there was no reply. I assumed she was talking in her sleep.  As I redirect my attention back to the door I heard that faint whisper again, but this time I can make out what was said.

“You cannot leave me! We are a family! I will never let you go!”

In that moment I understood why Mother would never leave this cabin.

He would not let her!

Michelle A. 11/23/15

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The Man in the Captain Uniform

I cannot remember the last time I participated in a writing challenge; If I had to guess it was probably in my junior year of high school. I decided to try out the righting challenge presented by Ronavan writes.

I am beyond rusty, but I like the challenge and think I will use this to brush up on my “skills”

Here goes my short story attempt:

 

She stood at the window. Her face consumed with this look of sadness; Her eyes  empty. She watched! She waved! She endlessly pounded on the glass!

And she received no response!

She watched as the man continued to walk, never turning around to acknowledge her, never turning around to wave back to her. She continued to watch the man in the highly decorated Captain uniform slowly walk away; his stiff, unchanging walk, she could never forget. She watch until she could not longer see him and then she watched some more. She did not cry; she was to strong for that. She did not ask questions, because she already knew the answers! She simply watched.

Even at the young age of 6 the young girl understood that the man in the Captain uniform was a hero and he had to leave. She understood that no amount of crying would change that.

But what she did not know is that man in the Captain uniform could not wave goodbye without breaking down. As he drove away and seen that little girl in the rear view mirror , his eyes became full, watery and began to burn; he had to let out what he was feeling. He did not want to leave his precious little girl, but he loved his country and made an oath. He feared she would never understand or forgive him for leaving.

But he should not worry for she is strong! She is strong for for her mother and younger brothers. She makes sure they know that Daddy will be home soon, with hugs, kisses and stories.

The man in the captain uniform is a Hero, but so is HIS little girl.

 

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Flashback

The week leading up to September 30th 2014 was an unusual one. I felt like everything was moving so fast and so slow at the same time. I felt anxious, happy, angry, uncomfortable, irritable, huge, disorganized, & rushed! I felt all these things at the same time. It’s like these emotions couldn’t take their turn for the spotlight. They all wanted to be center stage at the same time! Yes Exhausting, I know!

My original Due date was Sept 26th, a Friday! But as we got closer to September they pushed it to the 29th. (My body was showing no signs of being ready.) So as we get closer to the 29th, I’m feeling all these emotions and not knowing what to do with myself. (I am about to have a baby people!! How are you supposed to handle this?) Well on the Friday, 26th I go to the Doctor expecting to find out what time I am supposed to be at the hospital on Monday morning. I don’t! They told me someone will call me over the weekend. Okay, cool!

Well they aren’t calling fast enough! So I am calling every hour on the hour to get information. (I know I may have annoyed some people. But I wanted everything to be perfect Monday.) By the end of the weekend I have absolutely no information about what is supposed to happen Monday. And I had given up. I was worn-out, frustrated & just didn’t want to be bothered at this point!
September 29th about 7am I get a call, “Michelle, Hi Michelle…are you at the hospital?”

WHAT?!?!?! At this point I flip out…the poor lady on the other end of the phone didn’t deserve the yelling I imposed on her, but I was so upset that I could have been prepping to have my daughter this day & I was not. The sweet lady did all she could to get information from the hospital. And yes, Kenevery and I called that hospital faithful all day to get information ourselves. Finally around 4pm that day I received a call telling me to be at the hospital at 5am Tuesday morning. I remember saying thank you a million times to the lady. And as I hung up the phone I just started crying. Haha, yes I cried! I cried my little eyes out. I couldn’t believe this was it!

That night I’m unpacking and repacking my bag. I’m sure I did that about 10 times. I’m pacing around the house; I’m trying to see what I forgot or what can I clean. When I finally got in bed I was tossing and turning all night. Kenevery, on the other hand, sure did sleep like a baby! I didn’t fall asleep until about 1am and I was back up at 3am, dressed and ready to go!

The drive to the hospital was quiet. The roads where silent, there were barely any cars out. The night/morning air was very peaceful. I tried to sleep on the way there, but those emotions were coming for their spotlight again!

So we get to the hospital & go through the boring checking in part. They hook me up to everything ask me a million and two questions and all I can think is, “This is it. OMG this is it.” They asked me if I wanted medicine or if I was going to do this naturally. I really wanted to try it naturally, so I asked to wait on the medication. (You know how you hear all those horror stories about Natural birth? Well i thought I was tough enough to do it.) Welp by about 4cm and 3 and a half hours in, I WANT THE DRUGS! (So much respect to mothers that deliver their babies naturally.) So they are giving me the epidural, I want to say around 11-12. And this process was not easy. I apparently have onset/ early signs of slight scoliosis (YAY me) and it was hard for the anesthesiologist to place the needle in the correct place! Consequently he stuck me about a million times; it was also difficult to get the medicine distributed to both sides of my body! But after about 30 minutes & a lifetime of needle sticks he got it! We were done with the needle! About another 30 minutes after the epidural I was numb. I couldn’t feel my legs at all! This freaked me out a bit. I would tell my legs to move and they would not, leaving me with this helpless feeling. This in turn left me restless! But the medicine was during its job so I wasn’t upset. I just felt extremely weird!

Time is passing at what seems like turtle speed! They are coming in every so often to check on me and the baby! And then “IT Was Time!”

“Grab her legs!” “Okay, when I say push, you push!” “Oh my God is happening!” are just some of the things I heard people saying, because at this moment time feels warped. Everyone that’s in the rooms doesn’t seem real, they are all just figures. All I can focus on was pushing!
Well I’m pushing; at least I think I’m pushing, because I feel absolutely nothing! I even had to ask if I was pushing! I felt as if I was pushing forever before I heard “here she comes”! And then BAM at 310pm, the most beautiful, precious, pure sound I have ever heard, my baby’s cry!
As they put her in my arms and I look into her eyes, to me there was no one else in that room. I felt like the world had completely stopped and it was just me and my baby girl, Kenzy!

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This day was marked as the best day of my life! I already knew I loved my baby before she entered the world, but actually looking at her face & touching her skin just made that love so much stronger!

September 30th 2014, what a day!