Serenity (For Nala)

Nala, sleeping peacefully. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

You will always be unmatched.
No other dog will come into
this Auntie’s heart the way you did.
You wrecking-balled your way
through–adamant about what
was necessary for your comfort.

Jernee hooked herself onto you
and wouldn’t let go.
She had to be around you and
follow your every move.
The jealous one hated to share
my lap but when you visited,
that’s where you found rest.
She had to get over it.

You claimed my empty guestroom
as your own, spending countless
moments of solitude with its space.
I never had to search for you,
I knew that’s where you were.
“You will be missed” doesn’t
say enough. It cannot say
all that I need it to say.

How do I tell Jernee?
What will be her reaction the next
time we visit your Mommy?
Will the silence deafen her?
Will she look for traces of you,
ever-vigilant to find them?
I don’t want to know what
this world is without the care
and comfort of a dog.

I’m glad you held time as
long as you could.
Warrior-dog, sassy and sweet,
and a safe space.
Serenity rained from your paws,
and we quickly understood the
beauty of Boston Terriers.

Oh, Nala, I don’t want you to
let go of my heart, but
I’ll have to find peace knowing
the skies opened up to
welcome a fur angel.

Rest well, pretty girl.


**Last night, Wednesday, September 22, 2021, my best friend had to put Nala down. This sweet girl had been fighting her hardest for the last three years to continue living. However, she had a seizure and was rushed to the emergency vet. It was there, the decision was made to let this sweet baby go. Those of you who have followed me for years know both Nala and Jernee as Double Trouble and I am surely going to miss her. Words cannot express how much, they simply cannot. Thank you for reading.

If I Blink, He Disappears


I want to tell him that the days of us
growing together sneak up on me
at times — unexpected. I still love him.
I find myself searching through 
old arguments to see where we 
missed the point of clarity.
How did we not understand what
was right in front of us?

I have gray hair in places unthinkable — 
everything is aging and I’ve lost 
my way from him. I thought,
I couldn’t catch up to him — 
he wasn’t my speed. I ran
and ran and ran and kicked up 
dust in three different States, yet
we never saw eye to eye.

If I blink, he disappears. 
I want to hold on to the memories
of us for as long as my chest
heaves up and down and as far
as my legs will carry me, but time
is no longer of the essence.

Everything is aging.
I find myself searching through 
old arguments to see where we 
missed the point of clarity.
Our wrinkles tell the story of us
and the past lives we’ve lived.
He is still my fantasy unfulfilled,
my wants go unnoticed.
Should I tell him my heart 
still has space for him?

A friend of mine said she 
hopes one day I meet someone
because I’m such a great human. 
But am I, though? Is there something missing?
Something that could make me more?
I struggle with these questions — 
these questions of me and who
I was and who I should be.

If I blink, he disappears.
I want to tell him that the days of us
growing together sneak up on me
at times — unexpected. I still love him.
I do. I wonder if he knows this.
Should I tell him?


Originally published in soliloque via Medium.


Musical Selection: Luther Vandross|Better Love

YouTube

This is the Hard Part

The packing . . .

The first set, placed closest to my front door.
Seven boxes probably ten more to go.

I would rather unpack any day. When packing up things for moving, there is also discarding items no longer needed, giving away other items one no longer needs, but are still of good use, and cleaning up the now empty areas along the way.

I retrieved two boxes from my local Harris Teeter and I’ll get a few more from them this week. My old co-worker has three boxes for me as well. I’ll be meeting her sometime later this week to get those from her. And into the weekend, I’ll do more packing, throwing away stuff, and cleaning.

The weekend of October 22nd will be here before you know it. I have to reserve the movers, go and pay the pet deposit and pro-rated rent amount, and pack, pack, pack. Ugh. I’ll be glad when this is over and done. I am already exhausted.

Moving is not for the faint of heart or the unmotivated!

Clover

Photo by Monstera via Pexels

Part VI: All the world’s my stage

When Mama hands me my plate of food, it takes everything in me not to shovel it down my throat quickly. The waffles are perfect; nice and fluffy. I eat my cheesy scrambled eggs eagerly the entire time. Mama looks at me, smiles slyly, and nods in approval. A happy belly makes a happy Clover. She knows this. Daddy knows this. Soon, my classmates will too. I have two more days before school starts and I want to be prepared.

Mama and I went to get school supplies and a few new outfits last week. I like what I picked out. Now that I am getting older, Mama lets me select my own pairings in outfits and shoes. I like my style. Mama says I look like a cross between Punky Brewster and Meg Murry when I get dressed up.

I dance. My specialties are Hip Hop and Tap. I’ve been dancing since I was five years old. Mama said it was “essential” that I learn something to do with my body — mainly my hands and feet.

I am a ball of energy, as you’ve probably guessed. But I was once what my mama said was, “quite the handful,” when I was younger. She tells me now, “If I didn’t put you in dance, you’d be bouncing off the walls. Dancing is a great way for you to use all that extra energy God gave you.”

When I’m on the stage, nothing else matters. Nothing else is. It’s just me and the music. My body moves rhythmically and I follow the beat, focused on perfecting the choreography issued to us during practices.

One of the first things Mama did when we got settled here in Hopeulikit was to find a dance studio. Luckily, there isn’t one far from where we live. Bulloch County isn’t the biggest county around, but at least, they’ve things to keep a kid like me busy and interested.

Soulful Legs Dance Studio is the place Mama settled on. She spoke with the head instructor on two different visits, got their pricing information, talked things over with Daddy, and now . . . I will continue what I had been doing in Summerville before we moved here — dancing. She brought home two pamphlets; one for me and one for her.

I stared at the photo on the front of the pamphlet; a huge stage with so many girls and boys and instructors standing on it — posing for the photo. I smiled hard at the image because I thought of myself dancing across that stage on Friday and Saturday nights. Mama says I have an audition on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. I am going to be sure I bring my A++ game. Mama says if I’m selected, I’ll begin practice the following Tuesday evening after school. I am excited but a little nervous too.

Just a few butterflies in my belly, nothing to get all crazy about. I know I’ll be fine. I know what I can do and Mama dances with me sometimes, too. She’s still got some great moves. She glides across the floor so perfectly. Her lines are symmetrical and she doesn’t miss a beat. Mama keeps time with every song we play and I just stare at her. Sometimes I whisper to myself while she’s dancing, “That’s my Mama.” Yep. She’s amazing.


Photo by David Hofmann via Unsplash

Before I was born, Mama danced for some big-time theater in Los Angeles, California for about five years. Dad likes to talk about this — Mama, not so much. Something about tearing her ACL and being forced to quit dancing. I don’t really bring up the subject — her face sinks into itself and it seems like the whole world could get sad from the power of her feelings. I think . . . and you better not tell her, either . . . I think she feels like she failed at it, you know? Since she can’t really dance like she should and as hard as she used to that she has failed at it, somehow.

I tell her all the time, “Mama, you’re my favorite dancer,” and I mean it too. She sits back and smiles a half-smile and her eyes get all teary — gives me chills. Daddy told me one time, “Sweetpea, when your mama took to that stage, no one uttered a word. All eyes were on her.” When Daddy talks about Mama’s dancing days, he lights up — he gets so happy I can feel the sunshine leaving his body. But he quiets down a little also when Mama comes around. It’s like the stage is an awful place for Mama and well . . . every chance I get, every place I go to, I dance. All the world’s my stage.

It’s just better not to talk about it too much around Mama, is all. I’m just happy she takes the time to dance with me — to still feel the music and try her legs out. They still work. They still carry her. She can even balance her whole body on one leg for ten minutes! Can you believe that?! TEN WHOLE MINUTES! I was excited to see it the first day she showed me and you know what she said? “Oh baby, your mama used to do this for twenty minutes a long, long time ago.”

I look forward to the audition, but I’m really just ready to get it all over with and start dancing with a new team. I miss my squad in Summerville, but I think I’m getting used to newer things happening. At least, I want to get used to the new things that are happening. Mama says there will be three judges. The piece we’re working on is a mix of Jazz, Funk, and Hip Hop and we’re going to have one of my favorite songs mixed in, Craig Mack, Flava In Ya Ear. We are working very hard — day and night. We have fun, too, though.

I’m just hoping they like the routine well enough to accept me. That’s my hope — my dream. I know Mama likes that I dance, too. I know it makes her happy. I see her sometimes when I’m dancing. She looks at me like she’s missing something bigger, but she’s happy to still hold on to a bit through me. I’m going to take to that stage and rip it up for my mama.

I am . . . I am . . . Just watch!

Originally published in Hinged Press via Medium.


Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V