Window

Those of you who read my blog and know me personally will attest to my dislike for the promotion of technology as connection.  But I read something this morning ‘Christmas Presence’, beautifully written and evocative, on Elan Mudrow’s blog and it made me think about connection differently. (Apologies, I’m not tech savvy to link).  Thank you Elan.  You inspired me today.

People go online for different reasons. Some to find love while others find it unintentionally.  Having experienced both, I prefer the latter.  I no longer look for love in the wider world, but have enjoyed the thrill of a ping early morning or late at night that reminds me that I’m in someone’s thoughts that day.  But, it didn’t satiate a yearning.  A yearning for connection on a deeper level, where the unsaid is understood.  So I returned to the computer to write for an unknown, unseen audience where words connect and found vibrancy in my life again.

As a community we come together to write.  We are here because we love to do this.  Writing is a paradox.  We are solitary when we write and yet, we write to connect.  When we do, we are writers.

We write because we love words.  We love that we can play with them.  We build them up, tear them down, pull them apart, stomp on them, tip toe on them, dress them up into something else, chew them, spit them out, savour them in our mouth and mind.  In the moment they are our toys, not to be shared while we play with them, then we release them to make them communal playthings.  Make of it what you may.

The best is when one holds someone else’s words up to light and sees something unintended that brings joy.  We see a soul.

That to me, is connection.  And, like an electrical current, and much like falling in love, invisible until ignited.

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Window

Framed behind glass, your words are lit

alone in darkness, they are brighter,

so I return, peer through the fissure

where light escapes

to catch a glimpse

of you, again.

a dawn bird

 

What’s in a name

Faceless

I mentioned in my previous post I was the invisible child.  This is an addendum.  I was also nameless.

Throughout my childhood years I was referred to by my older sister’s name.  There was no cultural reason for this.  She was memorable for her smile and warmth.  I was more wary of entourage, weighing pros and cons.  Somehow my sister and I just knew who was being spoken to, even though people called us by the same name. Such is conditioning.

Fast forward decades later, I visited a very small timber town in Western Australia.  I had made arrangements with someone by email and phone, so he knew my name well.  He greeted me appropriately when I arrived, then took me to meet his boss.  To my utter amazement, a few seconds later, he introduced me referring to my sister’s name!  There is no way in the world this man would have known her name.  (Cue spooky music!).  I mentioned in an earlier post, my daughter’s dogs are inseparable.  At 12 months Em rarely responds to her name.  When M (the older dog) is called, Em bounds in.  They are siblings of a different kind.

Because of my work in small regional towns, I prefer a degree of privacy.  People often know me by name until they meet me face to face.  So I have to constantly be alert when I place a coffee order because I’m “Anne”, Kathy”, “Patricia”, or whatever name that comes to mind.

I keep a low profile on social media and for good reason.  Long before breaches of privacy were being publicised, I noticed names of neighbours, clients, their children and also financial advisers I had not seen in ten years, were people who came up as ‘Add Friend’.  It was more than troubling.  When I mentioned this to someone, she accused me of being “paranoid”.  I really don’t think so!

There is one name that is immutable and irrefutable.  The one I identify with the most.  It is the one my children call me.  “Mum”.  It is a name I have earned and intend to keep and the most visible one to others as well.  I’ll explain.  I came home yesterday and fly out again today, so I met with my son for a hurried dinner.  We had a heartfelt chat over the meal.  It must have been obvious because the waitress mentioned, she could not help watching, the way mother and son shared quality time.

My smile is not memorable like my sister’s.  Nor do I have the charm of my mother.  So I’m happy to remain faceless to the world.DSCN8626.jpgBecause you know me best, through my imagery and words.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

 

The Invisible Child

via Daily Prompt: Invisible

 

DSCN6655.jpgIn a noisy household, I was regarded as “a good child”.  I never got in the way.  I’m not quite sure how I managed that because I was curious about everything.

Being “good” had its downside.  I recall although my family were well known in the community, someone commented they were surprised my parents had three children.  Although it was said in jest, the child in me was wounded.  And, snap! just like that, I became the invisible child.

The urge to write probably took hold in those early years.  My reasoning was simple.  If I could not be seen, I had no voice.  So I decided I would speak with my fingers.  That throwaway remark was the start of an interesting journey.  One I reflect on often.

I have changed over the years.  Found my voice, if you like.  I am no longer ‘a closet scribbler’.

Like a dragonfly, I make myself visible.

And, vulnerable.

Each time I write.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

 

 

 

Lunch with a stranger

via Daily Prompt: Dim

Unlike my usual style, this post, paints a picture with words …

I met her 20 years ago in the university cafeteria. We greeted each other, echoing the sentiment, “all men are bastards (but not the next one!)”. It drew genuine laughter from the source of deepest hurt. Today, she takes control of the spontaneity of our hug.

She has already ordered our smoked salmon. We toast social media for making it happen. My eyes glisten with affection for times once shared. She is still my beautiful friend, as she was then.

Soon I am puzzled by the dynamics of our friendship. I am from the suburbs. Judging from her love for chilled Veuve Clicquot at midday, she probably owns a seaside one. I am a worker. She works a room. She is still slender.  My body, on the other hand, is now a spacious home, that once housed my children.

She is constructed thoughtfully. Like art, she looks more beautiful when you step away from her. I am a random product of family genes. We do have one thing in common. I, too, visited a surgeon for years, but I was mended not enhanced. Scars, physical and emotional, graffiti my body and mind. Pain is a frigid companion in the aftermath of an accident.

The art of her surgeon is obvious. Like DaVinci, he had worked to a formula for that facial symmetry. I thought he got the math right, but not the measure of the silicone that flooded her cleavage.  She was ready to face the world again after “investing” $25,000 of her divorce settlement in her pursuit for new love. She was determine never to talk about children, fearing they would “carbon date” her. Unlike me, she laughs easily at this.

Decades later, she is no different. Time has stood still.  She is single again. Her profile picture is honest about what is not. Her tanned legs swing carelessly over the edge of a sailboat, red toenails defining her feet, behind the designer sunglasses she laughs provocatively at the sun. The Swan River below glistens like the two carats embedded in her ears. Her promotion is flawless. She is a screen siren. Sly responses from men whose computer keys are more functional than their once virile bodies ‘Like’ and Follow her Instagram faithfully.  She laughs, sex now is consummated with keystrokes.

Her sense of entitlement is effusive enough to dim the light of friendship.  How can this be!  Where did my friend go?  Did she lose her way?  Or did that happen to me?

As the table is cleared, we are no longer seated in an intimate, shared space of single womanhood. The distance between us is not geographical. I catch a glimpse of her world on the way out. Men, snug in their well-lived bodies line the walls where they can view those passing by, best. I recognise faces once prominent in judiciary, business and politics. Their mobile phones buzz incessantly. While their wives shop, they find company in a dating App, responding instinctively mid-sentence to computer-generated compatibility.  They pause and swipe right.

In the ensuing few seconds of frenetic texting, she looks up. Her smile is deft, she signals availability.

I walk across the car park, my steps heavy with a new reality.

I lunched with a stranger, today.

(Disclaimer:  This was a spontaneous writing exercise and a figment of my imagination!)

Until next time

a dawn bird

A Memory, the gift left behind

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I dislike shopping.  I find wandering around shops to buy a gift, is a chore.  It brings out the judgemental critic in me!  Why are people buying all that mass produced cr*p!

There are some gifts I love to give, and receive.  I remember one of those gifts today, because he gave me, the sea.

Then there are others, the ones I find when I rummage through memory.  Precious fragments.  Time has not destroyed the tangibility.

I recall several years ago he was offered a job that took him across to the other side of the world.  I drove 400 km one weekend to meet him for breakfast by the sea.  After breakfast, with the surf drowning our voices, I gave him a huge box in the car park.  He held it in his hands watching the wind toss the big, red satin bow from one side to the other.  He was overcome with emotion and said, “No one’s done this for me before”.  I urged him to open it, eager for him to see what I had seen three weeks earlier.

Sitting atop a high shelf in a gift shop was a teddy bear with intense, brown eyes.  I carefully set aside every other bear to reach him.  When I turned around I found the shopkeeper watching me with some annoyance.  I laughed apologetically and said, “I’m sorry, but I think the bear chose me”.

I took the bear home and hand made wool trousers in herringbone, bought a ‘premmie’ sized shirt and knitted a tiny, thin black tie with bamboo skewers (oh! the pain!).  I bought a tiny diamond stud for his ear.  The bear became a replica of my friend, as he was when he was interviewed for the job.

My friend opened the box.  He was speechless.  He placed the box down.  He hugged me for the longest time. Eighteen months later he was killed in an accident.  He was 43.

A week later I phoned his sister.  We talked for hours despite it being our first conversation.  I shared with her my friendship with her brother, and our passion for writing.  The 4 am coffees.  The arguments over the choice of words.  Toblerone left on the table silently, in a gesture of peace.  Red carnations on the doorstep when I wasn’t home.

Then I told her about the gift I gave him and the process that led up to it.

His sister started to cry.  She told me I had not bought the gift for him, but for her.  It was her source of comfort during a period of immeasurable grief.

We were both living in different Hemispheres.  She was holding the bear when I phoned.

I’m more convinced today than yesterday … give from your heart and not your wallet.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird