Changes

The Remarkable Use of “No.”

latesnow
A Dusting|Photo credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Claudia sits on her borrowed couch, sips Theraflu, and twists her hair from nervousness. She licks the edge of her gold tooth and sucks in the wild air of the night. It’s not hot. It’s not cold. It’s an in-between seasons kind of evening, yet there’s snow on the ground. She pets her cat Louie on the back of his head, scratches his little ears, and licks that gold tooth once more. She acquired it back in ’94 on a dare from her then-girlfriend, Cindy.

Cindy was a powerhouse. She had everything going for her, including being a mom and wife — house with the picket fence, Benz, and thousand-dollar breasts. She wanted Claudia, though, and she had her.

Then there was Dave. He was a news correspondent for a prominent journal in their city. He had red hair, freckles, and a laugh that reminded Claudia of Santa Claus. The things she did for that man . . . They snuck around town late at night, crept into places where a significant amount of money was definitely an option and had sex on every inch of furniture in her home.

He was married too. No kids. His wife caught them out together at a museum. That was the end of Dave.

Paula . . . Sexy. Sassy. Paula. She had moonbeam eyes, plump, kissable lips, and smelled like a broken heart. Claudia fell for her easily, even got her name tattooed on her left breast. A memento. A keepsake. Something she now regrets.

Paula wasn’t married, but she wanted an open relationship. She couldn’t see herself tied down to just one person and Claudia loved her so much she agreed. She made so many changes to her life and herself, she began to notice that she no longer knew what she wanted.

She wanted to be loved. She wanted to be lifted up and gazed upon as if the sun rose from the cleft of her chin. She wanted commitment — the totality of oneness with a mate, and happiness. She wanted happiness.

Leon, the gas station guy, changed her whole perspective on dating and she thought, This is what I want. Yes, this is it!

But Leon had a long-standing relationship as a coke-head and Claudia found out the day a few items began missing from her home. It broke her, the last straw. Her back shattered in places bones were not supposed to be.

Take away the addiction and Leon was perfect. And maybe that was the problem. He was so well-put-together that Claudia did not search for hints of faults or flaws. At the age of fifty-two, she made the decision to just say “No” and live her life without someone else attached to her.

When she did this, the doors of opportunity opened. New job. An advance of $2,500.00 on her first fantasy fiction novel. Relocation. Two new books edited and published within six months of each other. Bestseller’s list. And on and on and on, it went. Her life was an avenue of great things and she enjoyed skipping down the unknown path.

Until . . .

Laura. Five years later, she was forced to say “No” out of fear of who Laura could actually be and what she would potentially lose. Laura was single. No kids. No drug habits. No crazy antics of horrible events to come. And to Claudia, something was wrong with this. She was too perfect. Laura could not be true.

Because of her past, Claudia passed on Laura. She wasn’t going to take another chance at being the underbelly of a broken creature. She skipped her casually — afraid of what could be behind that unopened door. She used “No” so often after her, she forgot “Yes” existed.

She forgot life existed.


Originally published in The Junction via Medium.

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be humble

Lune #7 of 25

be humble, she said.

I will try–

he could not do it.


*A lune (rhymes with moon) is a very short poem. It has only three lines. It is similar to a haiku. A haiku has three lines, and it follows a 5/7/5 syllable pattern. The lune’s syllable pattern is 5/3/5. Since the middle line is limited to three syllables, it is often the shortest line of the three. This makes a lune curve a bit like a crescent moon.

For the next twenty-five days, except Saturdays and Sundays, I will share a lune with each of you. This is Lune #7 of this project.

Featured Writer for February

Ngang God’swill N. is a contributor to A Cornered Gurl and has been for quite some time. I have the great pleasure of watching this young man spread his wings and get rather vocal on Medium. Just from interacting with him and reading his work, I can tell that his heart is genuine and he has his mind set on reaching out to others and connecting with them too.

The piece I have selected to share is a non-fictional piece detailing the importance of letting boys express themselves, cry, and get emotional when they need to so that when they grow up to become men, they understand their emotions and know how to love genuinely and give vulnerable pieces of themselves to others. It is a letter in poetical-prose that touched me as soon as I read it.


Don’t Let Them Become Like Me

A letter to you all.

Hello you,

You may not have known or realized this, but remember all those times I couldn’t speak, that I shut the door and hid from you? Rember that I blocked you and rejected your calls. Do you remember all the days I couldn’t smile, when my voice was a shameful whisper?
I was begging you to save me.
I was begging you to read me, to reach me.

Photo by bimo mentara on Unsplash

It’s like this you see, a man must not cry. Must be bold and sharp, strong and enduring, like a super being. But where should I keep all this pain I feel boiling inside, this confusion that chokes me, this insecurity and fear that threatens to break me? Where should I keep these tears that drown my heart, flood my lungs and leave me gasping for air?

You fail to see that I am human too. When you cut me, I bleed; and when you kiss me, I feel those wild sensations too. I sleep when I get weary when my bones ache and my breath feels like a bath of boiling water. But you shut your eyes to all these and dish out violence upon my gentle heart. Stealing all the compassion, the love of my boyish heart, and the color of my toddler days. How much do you think I can take?

How can you now demand water from a rock? How can you ask me to give you love? Where do you think I will get it? I do not know love. Ask me for pain; that is all you’ve ever given me.

You were consistent in my dosage; generations, eras, millennia. It has always been the same, I remember. So ask of me pain, and I will give you all that you have given me, and like the good servant in the Bible; I will also give you all the proceeds it yielded.

I didn’t stop loving, the choice was never mine to make. Attention-deficit is all I have ever known, blindfolded and plunged into an illusion that tomorrow rests on my shoulders alone. Systematically, you heaped the world on my shoulders, one piece at a time till you could barely see me beneath it all. Slowly I slipped into the darkness underneath and sipped in the darkness. It was a gentle process, incessant and scheduled, till my soul became a shadow; with logic for a compass. Now you know why I dish out the most hurt;

Because I am even more hurt and broken than this world.

Somehow, in all this blackness, this journey of pain, abandonment, betrayal, and brokenness, you expect me to be something I’m not. Caring, sensitive, respectful; YOU LIE!

It is painful to scrape off layers accumulated over the years, I will have to relive all the wounds again; the fights and loneliness. The days I realized that my sister’s proper raising was more important than mine, that I was just not important.

How do you expect me to forget the entitlement lessons drilled into me on the battlefield, the silence where I battled with purpose and personality? Tell me how to forget family responsibilities on my shoulders at age twelve, or the pressure it brought. I was a man, RIGHT?!

How can I forget the sacrifices, the stories that haunt my mind; the horrors I have lived? The things I have done and the decisions I have taken that have caused so much hurt to people. Tell me how can I get back the pieces of my soul, the ones I traded to help fulfill my role as a man. Because I am at a loss, I am yet again in another chat with self; of purpose and personality. Will you let me find an answer again? ALONE!?

I have been a man all my life, and I understand what the pressure can do to one’s sanity. You can’t understand as I do, this penis is a personal cross.
Still, from the madness and insanity, I try to reach out to all that is mine. The love you stole from my heart, the laughter and warmth that once made me tick, the calm and cordial temperaments that once made me. The same things you denied me and gave my sister, then praised her over me, as though the choice was mine.

And it’s known that destruction is an easier path, but here, this pit, dismantling is near impossible. It is like having a go at a baobab tree, with a broomstick praying and hoping for a miracle; I will persist still. But for these little ones, these baby brothers you just birthed, please be kinder to them.

Here is a unique chance to right all the wrongs, to wash away the stain. Treat these lads right, tell them it is okay to cry, to love and to not always know the answer. Teach them that it is okay to be human, to make mistakes. Teach them that humanity is a team — brother and sister — and that life is a team sport.

Don’t let them become like me; let them be better.


Originally published inA Cornered Gurlvia Medium.