Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Picture Proud

I stood waiting in anticipation.  I knew what was coming.  The parents around me were restless in their excitement. The air in the classroom was electric.  I stared at the white curtain in the back of the classroom that separated the classroom from the coatroom.

Just a few more minutes...

The curtain fluttered and then was pushed aside.  Eleven kindergartners filed out in a row, nervous smiles on their faces.  My 6 year old was the fourth one out.  He wore a goofy smile and bounced a little as he walked. I aimed my camera and captured the moment.

The next five minutes I walked back and forth, behind seated parents, snapping pictures, trying to get good ones, trying to be subtle, barely containing the excitement within me.  My 6 year old stood in the middle of the line of kindergartners.  One of the bigger kids as the 20 preschoolers lined up on either side of the group of eleven.

It was then that they started singing.  Sweet voices mingled with moving hands and feet as they performed three songs.  Their teacher sat on the floor in front, conducting the group with her hands raised towards them.  The smile on my 6 year old's face went from ear to ear.

After the songs ended, the preschoolers each took a small bouquet of flowers and handed a bunch to a kindergartner.  I snapped the picture of two hands exchanging flowers as a preschooler gave her bouquet to my son.

Minutes later, I stationed myself near the front behind the teacher.  I watched with bated breath as she called the 6 year old's name and gave him a special crystal necklace symbolizing "light" and "vision", and then shook his hand afterwards.  I snapped the picture of his shy smile as she congratulated him.

She moved on to the next child and I gripped my camera hard, watching my son, me, still with pride.

Ten minutes later, the kindergarten continuation ceremony was over.  My son ran over to his Dad who crouched down to his level and gave him a Huge hug.

"I'm so proud of you!" the Husband said.

My heart swelled then.  I didn't get that picture but the image of my boy hugging his Dad hard and smiling with pride will forever stay with me.

It's frozen in my memory.

This piece is written in response to a memoir prompt from The Red Dress Club which asks the writer to remember a graduation.  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beach Time...

One of my favorite places on Earth.  The beach.  We don't get to go often but when we do, it's special.

My oldest son - 5 years old at the time - staring in awe at the ocean.

This was the last time we were at the beach.  Almost a year ago.  In Cambria, California.

My 3 year old son, my 5 year old, my husband and Grandma, holding the 4 month old.

Sand. Ocean. Family.

The baby's first time being on sand.

We live in Colorado, you see.  Lots of beautiful, majestic mountains but very little sand and ocean.

There was lots of digging and making sand trucks and playtime.

I made these three trucks - so proud was I.

And then we saved the best for last - feet in water, letting waves rush over toes.  Cool and nice.

Looking forward to going again this summer...

This is in response to a writing prompt from Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop which asks you to share photos of your most recent trip to the beach.  

Mama's Losin' It

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Can I Come Out Now?

It is 6:08p and I'm waiting for The Husband to get home.

My 3 year old has been screaming for the last three minutes, repeatedly, "Mom, can I come out now? Can I come out now?"

No, I think.  Not until your father comes home.  More for my sanity than for your punishment.  I can't handle two tackling boys who refuse to obey right now.  I'm thinking I'll handle that better when your father gets home.  Or at least he can handle it.  Even though he is sick.  Poor thing.  

So in your room is where you will stay.  It's safe.  It's quiet.  I know it's without your brother - which is like punishment to you - but so be it.  You'll see him in about ten minutes when your father gets home.  

There's a minute of silence from the 3 year old, and then he begins again, "Can I come out now?"

I shake my head.

No, I think.  Don't think I can do it.  These feet aren't moving.  I am sure they will move when your father gets home.  Right now they will remain still. 

Look, see.  You're quiet again.  Your brother is too.  

This is good. 

"Can I come out now?  Can I come out now?"  It begins again.

Ahh...now the baby is screeching, joining in your intense chorus.  Lovely.

Just lovely.

Daddy walks in, closing the front door behind him. 

"Daddy!  Can I come out now?"


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Evidence of My Father

Three cigarettes laid in the ash tray.  The first thing I saw when I skipped into my mother's bedroom on a sunny morning.

Three cigarettes laid flat with their ends burnt dark to ash.   They belonged to my father.   My father who was not married to my mother but to another woman and who lived twenty minutes away from us with her and her daughter. My father who often came by, usually after I went to bed at night.

He did again last night. They thought I didn't know.

I laid in my bed in my room in the dark.  I heard the doorbell ring, the door opening, my mother's warm greeting and my father's equally warm baritone.  A bark.  My father's black german shepherd, Lady, was here too.  My father's constant companion.

Footsteps down the hallway and ending in the living room.  My mother's continued into the kitchen as she pulled out food and drinks for them both.  Then the constant talking.

I threw back my covers and got quietly out of bed.  I tiptoed to my open door and peeked out.  I would see the back of my father's grayish curly afro and Lady lying beside his chair.  I'd lean against the doorway and watch him for awhile.  When my eyelids started drooping, then I hurried back to bed.

I laid in between the sheets listening to the sound of their voices until I fell asleep.

These morning-afters.  Happened alot.  What was left were those white Kool cigarettes with their burnt ends buried deep in a pile of gray ash in a clear ashtray sitting on the floor by my mother's bed.

Evidence of my father being here.

This post is in response to a RemembeRED prompt for The Red Dress Club that asked the writer to Write about the first (or second) memory that comes to mind when you see the above image of the cigarettes in an ashtray.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cola Goodness

Revised from what was originally submitted.  600 words:

She hunched her shoulders and closed her eyes.

35 years old, white, female - stabbed 15 times.

She sat up straight and sighed, opening her eyes.  She looked at the pictures, then reached for the red can and took a drink.

She closed her eyes again, reveling in the sweet, smooth cola taste rolling across her tongue and down her throat.  She loved the bite of carbonation that flowed with the sweet.  So nice.

She lifted the cup to her mouth and took another long drink.  Savored the swallow.

She hated when the victims were female, which alot of times, they were.  She hated even more when the victims died by the hand of a boyfriend.

Another drink and she put the can down next to the two cans sitting on her desk.  She reached over and pulled another file towards her.   She sighed and began the tedious task.


Two hours later, Sophie was laughing hysterically.  Her partner, Dennis Morales, just told the funniest joke.  She picked up her super-sized Coke and took a long sip.  She already had three cans that morning and she had promised herself she would be done after the third. But, it's lunch.  Very rarely did she and her partner have a sit-down lunch.  This fourth one was a bonus.

"I'm surprised you don't have holes in your stomach from where the acid is burning.  Or holes in your teeth."  He looked pointedly at her drink.

"What?"  She rolled her eyes.  "It's just coke.  Besides, this is it for me today."

"Okay." He gave her a doubtful look.

"It is!"


An hour later, Sophie and Morales walked away from the bloody body, underneath the yellow tape, and through a crowd of on-lookers.  Her face was scrunched.  Another female victim.  She shook her head.

"Poor girl," Morales said.  "We'll start with the first name on our list.  Already got an address."

"Sounds good," she said.  They walked past a bodega.

"We should head there now."

She stopped walking. "Yep.  First, I need to stop for something.  Wait here."  She pushed the glass door of the store open.  "You want something?"

"Get me a Kit Kat."

"Sure thing." She walked inside.

Two minutes later, she stepped out, drinking from a bottle of Cherry Coke.  The cool liquid soothed her throat and smoothed out a little bit of the tension her shoulders held.    She needed a little boost, after seeing the body.

 She handed her partner the Kit Kat.   "Let's go."


Two hours later, Sophie sat her desk at the precinct, massaging her neck.  Her partner sat across from her, talking a mile a minute about this latest case.

He paused.  "What do you think?"

"I can see where you are going with this.  Can we just go to the board?"

"Yeah, yeah, sure."

They both stood up, Sophie grabbed her super-sized cola and sipped.  It was empty.

Jeez! she thought.

"I'll meet you there, Dennis.  I'm just going to grab something."

"Yeah."  He turned and walked away.  Sophie walked in the opposite direction towards the vending machine in the back.  She smiled a little.  Her saving grace.  She stood in front of the soda machine, staring at the Coca-Cola button.  She took in the picture of the bottle of Coke - beads of water on its outer surface.  

Sophie stood in front of the vending machine.  It's okay - she thought to herself.   It was going to be a long night, after all.

She started digging in the pocket of her pants for change.

This is inspired by a writing prompt from The Red Dress Club which asks to write a piece based on gluttony - eating and drinking to excess. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Just The Two of Us...

So it's been just us...the Husband and I, without the kids...in Atlanta.

Sharing a room in a boutique hotel...having time with my family - an aunt and several of my cousins...walking to places...alone.

Just the two of us.

The first time in 7 years, we think.  And it's been lovely...

Mind you, it hasn't been three full days of just us, especially yesterday since he had his conference all day and I was with my Atlanta family all day (a great time, let me tell you...) but...

...mentally, it's been just us.

And it's been good.

I haven't worried incessantly over the kids (like I thought I would).  Maybe just once, when I was told by the Grandma that the 6 year old came home quiet yesterday from school and just wanted to be alone.  But otherwise, no worries.

Just snuggles deep within soft, comforting white pillows and sheets while looking through the floor-to- ceiling windows that cover the wall facing the bed, at a beautiful view of Atlanta...

Just relaxing on top of the bed, reading...

Just walking hand-in-hand with the Husband to wherever, whenever...


We're heading back home today.  Soon it will be Just the five of us again.  Not a bad thing.

But rest assured, I look forward to the next time it can be just the two of us...