Looking around her the huddles and circles of confidants abound, yet she’s not a part of any of them. She watches as they hug each other with such loving gestures. They ramble of their days without an ending punctuation. As one finishes their story the other begins in a flow of excitement and disbelief. Sharing stories with one another builds their life. She wishes she could be a part of any of these circles. She approaches one and listens partly to a conversation. She gives some input and receives a polite smile. Then the conversation changes to stories only the original members would know about and she finds herself unable to add anything at all. She sees rather abruptly she does not belong in the group, nor is there a desire from them to have her join. She tries one more group and the results are the same.
She comes home to her husband distraught. She explains how she joins these community groups to find friends and a life outside of home. She sits on the kitchen counter and cries. Her husband consoles her saying she should keep trying.
The next meeting comes and she feels a challenge brewing inside. She can make herself more interesting, more desirable as a friend. Somehow she should produce the same expressions of excitement and disbelief from a few sentences. She could peak their interest and be a part of any group. She listens to what they talk about. It’s gossip. Though she doesn’t like to gossip nor does she feel it is right she’s desperate for a bit of attention even if the sincerity lacks. She walks up to a huddle and waits for an opportunity.
“Yes, she said she wouldn’t do it again, but you know how these things go.”
They all nod in approval and she sees the open door.
“At least she didn’t do worse, like give her husband a woman just so she could have a child through her.” She ends her remark, sighs, smiles at them and walks away to grab a cup of tea.
The group looks around at each other, hoping she returns. She lingers by the snack table and strolls her way back to the group and starts another conversation.
“You know, I’m not sure that the volunteer program is bringing up enough volunteers.”
“Yes dear, it’s hard to find people who care.” One of them replies and stares at the other.
“Did they have their child?” Another begins the questioning.
“I’m sorry what?” She pretends she already forgot.
“Your friend did her husband have a child from that other woman.”
“Oh, she’s not my friend and yes he did.” She goes on to tell the story and at the end of the night she says good night to her new-found friends.
On Sunday at church, she tells her husband all about it and they laugh before the sermon begins. In the pew in front of them, a few women start to whisper to one another, as they hear the bible story of a man named Abram who slept with his wife’s maid to produce a child. At the end of the service, she walks up to some of the circle of friends and confesses. She doesn’t gossip, so that’s all she could think of telling. They laugh admitting how these bible stories are juicy. They promise one another to help each other be sincere and say goodbye to their gossip club.
A low growl emerges from either side of me. It seems to rumble in the same way hunger threatens me. The growl slopes down to a still whistle, which turns into a simple sigh. Though it disrupts the depths of my dreams, it doesn’t bother my sleep. I can keep calm and float back into that wonderful rest I need. I’m dreaming again of the things I forgot to do when the mood changes within the dream. The common things I dream of end and I’m aware of wild animals surrounding me. They draw closer to show their anger towards me. They first let the heat of their breath fill my lungs and they growl by my ears. I close my eyes waiting for a death I cannot escape. A single bite to my neck and I have nothing else to share of my tale. Then the growls subside and silence wakens me. I open my eyes to look around. Another nightmare finishes and the reasons for them I do not know, except to remind me of the stress of these last days. I curl to my side and drop the weight of my exhaustion unto my dearest body pillow. My back aches and I roll again to my back staring at the ceiling. I readjust the pillow, the blankets and close my eyes. From my feet all the way up to my chest, I hear again the rumble. This time it rises to new volumes, shifting its growl to croaks, hisses and gargles. It occurs to me that as I hear these disturbing sounds in the back of my mind, perhaps the instigator lies next to me. I think of the ways that I use to wake him and help him with his snoring, when I feel a tug at my left arm. I ignore it for my thoughts consume me and are of greater importance. I must figure out how to sleep and kill the beast that awakens me. The gentle tug becomes a push. I feel my entire body slipping sideways and when I become the woman overboard I wake up to scream.
“Sorry baby, you were snoring, so I had to turn you.” A grumble from the other side of the bed.
He turned me to my side.
I guess the monster is closer than I think.
A man signs up for a challenge. The challenge consists of walking blind folded in three different situations. The first is at a familiar place, the second at an unfamiliar place and the third with an unknown goal. The man accepts each task as they seem doable. At the familiar place, his home, though blinded he could remember and picture in his mind every object. He could visualize what the room looks like and he shows great ability moving around the obstacles. He enjoys accomplishing that task knowing that if he did lose sight he could still remember.
The next task he sees as a true challenge. In the unfamiliar place, he feels intimidation. He steps forward and discovers his surroundings. He could with touch, smell and at times taste describe where he is and what he encounters. He feels empowered with each task. On the last task they leave him at a walking trail without a goal or destination. For this task however, they do not cover his eyes. He doesn’t see the reason for this last task, yet continues.
When the man begins his walk he takes a brisk walk to finish the silly challenge. A few hours pass and though he’s fine in health and could walk longer, he stops. He complaints about the pain in his legs, the aches in his body and wonders when the task ends. He rests for a while and walks again for a short time. He then decides to jog for a while and see if he can arrive at his destination sooner. After another hour, he stops. He rethinks the original request realizing he doesn’t know if he’s suppose to find the end of the path, finish it or something else. He walks again and screams to see if anyone would respond, no one does. He continues while his frustration grows and with every step he feels more insecure in his purpose. He feels defeated as he talks to himself about the hours and days lost pursuing these tasks. After a few hours they come for him and take him home. Glad to finish the challenge yet upset that he most likely lost it, he asks about the goal of the last task. They respond, the goal is to walk.
Author’s note: There is nothing that drives a person madder than to not know where they are heading, even if they can see and all they know is they cannot do anything at all but wait. The waiting eventually ends, even if not in the outcome we expect.
Excitement and hormones encourage the blood pumping and the race begins, when it first slows down. When she feels ready to start this stage of her life, she finds out changes take time. Her body gains weight and she looks forward to showing her baby belly, yet the weight does not give her a sweet bump but a hefty look. She feels that everyone that sees her wonders. She can almost hear their assumptions.
“She’s really letting herself go. You think she’s depressed?”
“I thought she was working out, maybe she’s not as much?”
No one asks her what is new in her life and she doesn’t feel ready to share it anyways. Some people know from experience, you never ask unless its obvious. They wait to ask when they a see a woman rushing to the hospital, doing her breathing exercises and screaming. It’s safer for them to ask between contractions than being wrong. The embarrassment alone of being wrong and offending a woman who is not expecting and is in fact overweight is enough to send some to seclusion for days. They know, you do not ask.
At this stage no one can tell except her, the one with ravenous hunger, queasiness, potential mood swings and the frustrated dresser. However, she figures a way to calm the curious by a simple gesture. She rubs her belly and rests her hand under her belly leaving the observer quiet as they see she is expecting. Even so, who dares to ask?
A fresh morning air flows through the wind socks on the hats of several visitors. It flaps the free hats with wide brims showing the sponsoring brand of motor vehicles or airplane manufacturers. Grand Champions of the past wipe down the morning dew and wax the Ferrari red from the wings and bodies of their pride and joy. Years in the making, these home-built increase the white hair of their owners and lighten their billfold. There is nothing greater though than admiration from years of dedication, hard labor and courage to build and fly one’s own.
The crowds trickle in spurts carrying plastic bags from the last building. They carry new freebies from this year and a few hang from the loops of their pants or fanny packs. Paper fans, battery operated fans, candy, flyers, stickers, flags, key chains and remove before flight tags flinch at the mass of bodies moving down the corridors. Each visitor has a personal opinion, a story to share or a memory to create. Each salesman or booth worker asks themselves at every hour, when their lucky time will come. They know all too well what happens at each airshow. They know the crowds, the feelings, the pride, the comments and many at times they know your story too.
One man approaches and decides to speak to a particular company member. He asks her questions to test her knowledge on the products and aviation. She seems to know and answers adequately, therefore, the man needs to find a weak point. He names the several planes he flies and the times he flew them in and how he manages to keep them running on his own private airstrip. She nods and agrees those are fun airplanes and they do take plenty of maintenance. He impresses her more to state the various reasons to why he would not buy the product she sells. She responds to each concern and adds the reasons why the product would fit his flying. He continues to ask until he finds the weak point in the product. It does not match his equipment or avionics. He’s particular to a certain brand. He walks away shaking his head at the simplicity and irrelevancy of the product. She steps back to nod to a colleague, yes she is the lucky one for this hour.
A brain disconnect is an understatement. It’s easy to understand that with the physical changes in your body, stress alters your way of life. There are plenty of thoughts that float in a woman’s mind, more so when there is a baby on the way. Nevertheless, there is a pause. A pause that has no excuse or explanation. It is when in the middle of a conversation you cannot remember the topic anymore. It is where a place you drive to every day becomes a game of Marco Polo as you take the wrong turn and don’t remember the street names. Forgetting or losing keys is a thing of the past. Your present is leaving a toddler outside the door of a car while you strap your seatbelt on and see his or her face looking up at you from outside. Organizing the day is a blank sheet of paper or a blank paper towel, either one serves a purpose if you could only think of what it is you want from it. Tears flow in response to all of it as frustration becomes your ally to the feeling of dumbness. In the end, there is a point to this, your creativity and problem solving skills diminish. If only for a brief time, the baby feeds from your intelligence since conception. It sets in motion a new trait, the mommy brain. Though at times making connections is harder than ever, it also leaves eyes behind the back of your head and the supernatural ability to multitask in the seasons to come.
Author’s Note: Cheers to the mammas that make it work with exhaustion and sometimes with half the brain cells.
We do not ignore or forget that words have a power of life and death. We exercise freedom of speech to build the muscle of the tongue that it’s often hard not to hear or to quiet down. I find myself with a noisy mind too often and I struggle to rest. Today I heard, “The battle is won in silence.” In the midst of many arguments and speeches, can an individual win without giving voice to his/her opinions? If our tongues are not loose and free is it possible to gain someone’s listening ear? I too have many things to speak and share, yet today’s word is silence.
Before we learn to speak, our crying spoke for us. As we develop we begin to express with motions and signals. We point and we mimic sounds all before we begin to use words. After the words develop in our tongue, do we grow in any other form of communication?
Two men driving in separate cars could not communicate their anger through the noisy honks and whistles of the train, so they gesture at one another from inside their own vehicles.
An older woman born mute uses sign language and sounds to try to communicate to friends, even when she herself cannot utter a complete word. They try very hard to understand her and she delights in their efforts.
A woman walks alone after a hard day at work. She walks around the neighborhood trying to shake off the harsh words of her boss and the snickering gossips of her co-workers. Tomorrow she has to face them again and not say a word.
How do you win the battle in silence? Do you show who you are with your actions and let those words that rise against you fall into deaf ears? The battle is won in silence for the loud words, opinion and speeches will show truth or lies in time. Therefore is silence simply waiting?