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Paulina Angela

writings and ramblings

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Paulina Angela

message in a bottle

via Daily Prompt: Bottle   

DCF 1.0

Springtime is in its youth. It is a time when waters run rapid with excitement and  before summers heat renders the creek lazy and still. A perfect time for racing twigs and tree bark, for pitting pine cones against peanut shells. Standing on the narrow bridge, my siblings and I toss our vessels of found debris into the current, taking bets on whose will come first at the other side. Once it is established that our own stick is superior to any other we sprinted across the country road to witness the emerging winner.  Of course a stick is a stick is a stick and sometimes there is confusion about whose switch was whose.

On a day when brothers and sisters have no interest in imaginary boating competitions I think up something new. A romantic idea often seen in cartoons and movies sometimes even songs. I will put a message in a pop bottle. With paper torn from my notebook I write: My name and address along with instructions to whom in may concern please reply and we will be pen pals. I seal the bottle, ride my bike to the bridge, and dispatch the message to the current. Watching waters swiftly engulf the bottle I hope it will gain some distance before being washed ashore.

Well, that is the end of the story. No one ever wrote to say they received my message in a coke bottle. Probably, all I really did was pollute the river with glass. That is how I think about it now but when I was twelve I imagined the bottle launched into an adventurous journey leading to an exotic locale. I imagined the finder of my note to be so intriguing and likewise intrigued by me that we would become pen pals for life. I will also mention that it was many years before I gave up the hope of receiving a reply. My folks still live at that address so if you find it please write to me. I’ll get the message.message in a bottlethings in bottles:

  • messages
  • genies
  • poison / antidote / cure
  • medicine / elixir
  • boats
  • condiments
  • potions  ( most common “love”)
  • emotions / feelings
  • rockets
  • candles
  • beverages – ie; milk, juice, water, soda pop
  • spirits / wine
  • screams
  • specimens – live or dead
  • flatulant gases – aka farts
  • breast or mommys milk
  • bouquet – flower display
  • smoke – I’ve added this one for the pot heads

– honourable mention -Jim Croce wanted to put time in a bottle but was unable.

*if you can think of any more please share with me in the comments box

convertible

Revelationmustang scottySo Hotty Scotty bought a mustang convertible. Yay!!! I have never been in one and have always wanted a convertible!  Although, the convertibles of my fantasies are usually little blue miatas or a 1980s Mercedes like the one Mr. Nijhuis has.(had?)  Scott’s mustang  (oh, did I mention Scott LOVES mustangs. the list goes 1. mustangs 2. baseball, well all sports really 3. 90s music 4. me 5. smoking. 4 and 5 are interchangeable depending on how annoyed he is with me) is an unfortunate black with red interior. It is so tacky that I am both embarrassed by it and in love with it.   When I announce that I love it mostly for being the underdog of the cool car world Scott is offended. Probably because that is also my reason for loving him.

We now have six cars parked in the driveway. Two are mustangs ( the other a fox body, a term I only recently learned when someone at work asked me if Scott had a “fox body” mustang and I replied why would he need that when he has me? hahaha- me laughing alone). Only one car in the driveway belongs to me. The up side being it always appears as if someone is home. (although if anyone was going to burglar our street they would probably choose to rob one of the many new and ridiculously large mansions built by wealthy neighbors rather than our 1950’s brick box. In proportion to the neighbors house ours could be it’s outhouse, but the joke’s on them because they chose to live next to us). the downside being, that when he has all vehicles outside of the garage I have to be extra careful in how I park. I am a known klutz so why he would ever risk parking near me is beyond comprehension. When you think about it, if I accidentally back into his BMW with my lowly Escape it’s really his own fault.

Anyway back to the tacky convertible. (no wait sidebar- his other mustang I call the douchemobile. What?!? It has a giant cobra on the hood and says Dech on the back bumper! He pronounces it Deck but I say douche)  So the new (to us) mustang is awesome! I took my first ride in it this morning through the timmy’s drivethru. I felt so free riding in a car sans roof! I can’t believe I’ve lived 46 39 years without this experience. It’s like a divine revelation! Scott says he’s not surprised that I feel so free… since I opted to leave the house dressed in nothing but a sun-dress sans underwear.  We next stop at macs milk so he can check his lotto tickets. “You can stay in the car and keep your revelations to yourself.” he says, “Unless you can find a grate  to stand over Marilyn Monroe style.”  Those are my only options? That’s what you get when you decide to go commando. I wait in the car. When he gets back I suggest we find a quiet county road so I can climb in the backseat and perch atop the trunk like they do in the movies Scott says no.

me: why?  just drive slow, I will hang on to the roll bar

him:  why do you want to do that? I think it’s illegal

me:  okay we’ll wait until sundown – no we’ll wait ’til it gets dark and I can take my shirt off  yaya sisterhood style. Oh yeah! brilliant! total freedom!

him:  okay, settle down there 10 year old Pauline, I think you’ve had enough freedom

me: can you ever really have too much freedom?

douchemobile

I think he should get vanity plates – DCH MBIL

Moonlight

Imaginarymoonlit

Scarlet Leigh’s youth is filled with stories about the hidden orchard. Listening to her mother’s bedtime tales, Scarlet became caught up with imaginary enchanted apple trees and blossom whirlwinds. Beth had always described her secret place in a manner so marvelous that young Scarlet would dream of the day she might finally see it for real. Of course that was before, before her mother moved her here to live at Milkweed lane. Before her parents had split up and their home was bright new condo in the city. That was before and this is after. After the crying and arguing.  After the insults, shouting, and court dates. After all assets were as divided as her family .  Now Scarlet visits dad in the city every other weekend and during the week she rides a school bus (so lame) into Juniper Valley metropolis (as if!) for school. This  new school is soooo small (how small is it?)  So small that besides herself the grade eight class has only 18 students, and she is in one of the larger groups. The kindergarten class has two kids enrolled (seriously, one – two). On its whole Juniper Valley Public School consists of exactly 103 students.

The snow stopped falling about an hour ago. Although the day is late the sun has finally begun to shine and Beth wants to show her daughter the secret orchard.  When her daughter was little, Scarlet always pleaded with her to take her to the orchard now it seems, as Scarlet puts on boots and coat reluctantly, like it is the last thing she would want to do. Beth sighs, she is happy to be back in her childhood home, even if she and Scar are staying in the cottage across the pond rather than the homestead.  Either way Beth feels at home but Scar is a fish out of water. Well if they are going to go they had better get going the sun won’t shine much longer. It is the Monday of the October long weekend and the days are getting shorter.

Although she has walked the route from house to orchard hundreds of times, Beth hasn’t done so in almost two decades. The tractor path leads to the back field but beyond that she must navigate through the forest by memory. As Mother and daughter begin the hike Beth reminisces about her youth. From a distance one might mistake the pair as sisters but on closer inspection you can see Scarlet intentionally placing space between herself and the woman she calls Mother. Beth, now growing shorter in comparison to her teenage offspring is trying  desperately to reconnect.

Looking ahead at the point of entry the remembered gateway between trees does not seem so welcoming. Either the trees have grown together closing the gap or Beth’s memory is incorrect. She expects to enter just this side of the cedars, between a climbing maple and the big tree fort. On approach she can see the cedars now take up much more real estate and the big tree fort… not so big, meanwhile the climbing maple is so tall you could not pay Beth enough to even attempt a climb.

In the bush and under the protection of many branches the ground is relatively snow-less. Where once a path had been worn now not a trace. Beth looks around for the landmarks of her memory. Her brothers campsite in her mind is approximately 50 feet from where she entered. She expects a small clearing to pitch a tent and a fire pit. Beth circles the area, head down, determined to find the past and not noticing Scarlett’s boredom. She uncovers a few rocks that may have once formed a circle to surround something that might be an old chard log. In her head she was here just the other day but physically standing over the fire pit she feels as if she’s discovering  evidence of another life.  Looking up, the big picture, it is the same old forest, but up close everything has changed. Old feelings of familiarity do not belong to her anymore. Beth always thought these things belonged to her, she owned the view, she was wrong. Maybe her experiences and her memories can be counted as belongings, but the rest just belongs.

Time passes quietly as Scarlet follows Beth. Half an hour ago Beth swore she knew where she was going but after thirty silent minutes of trailing her wandering mother Scarlet finally says out loud what she’s been thinking.  “We’re lost, aren’t we?”

Above them a low slung hunters moon illuminates the woods. Scarlet wonders If Beth even noticed the light changing from gold to silver. Moonlight is a funny thing, it can inspire dogs to sing and lovers to yearn, under its spell snow twinkles and the world glows with luster. The thing is, it is not the moon who is responsible. Oh she’ll take all the credit but in reality moonlight is but a reflection. Like the earth, the moon comes alive from basking beneath Suns generous rays.

“I think we might be lost.” Beth finally surrenders and sits defeated on the remains of a fallen beech tree. Scarlet Leigh perches next to her.  Wanting to comfort her mom but leaving a gap between them she says “Its okay, I am not disappointed. How are we going to get home?” Beth smiles and pats her daughters knee. “Don’t worry, we will follow the dogs home.” Beth stands, placing two fingers under her tongue and a deep inhale she presses out one then another sharp whistle, high-pitched and loud enough to summon dogs from the next county. “The dogs will finds us. When they do I will command they go home, then we just follow them.”

Beth sits back down on the old tree trunk.

“Are you sure this will work?”

“Yep. always worked when I was a kid. Well, except if the dog is inside the homestead.” Beth chuckles and shakes her head. ” Don’t worry, the dogs will come.”

Both are silent as they wait to be rescued. A chilly gust whips between them and mother and daughter automatically move together. Beth reaches her arm around Scarlet while they wait beneath the October moon.

Farce

Farcevia Daily Prompt: Farce

mismatch

the bungling duo walk arm in arm

he to her right as she dragged him along

he couldn’t look forward she never looked back

if they combine their efforts they might find the knack

but she thought him foolish

and he thought himself great

nothing ever accomplished

fault seemed ever their fate

left at the altar

on the day they would wed as all would expect

he was so late that the guests had all left

she sobbed at the altar – but not on that day

for she had arrived much too early, with flower bouquet

Seemed like just about everyone knew she wouldn't show.

when later they met she shouted at him

what folly! what mockery your wit is so dim!

you’re foolish and daft and not much of a bloke

you treated our nuptials as if they’re a joke –

she shook as she wailed  “was our love just a farce?”

when he calmly replied – my dear… kiss my arse.

Acreage

univers.jpg

For nearing a century now the acreage has been known as Milkweed lane.  The first generation of Wealds to purchase the property and call it such are but a memory. To the current crop of Wealds they are nothing more than fable and legend.  The children’s children are fifth generation, grandchildren to Mr. and Mrs. Weald who have inherited the titles of “Pops and Mums.” For the family it is an achievement, a testament, maybe an affirmation. For turf and terra it is nothing so grand.  A blip in time, a moment of marriage with this particular strand of related creatures. This narrow section of earth supporting this particular clan in no way presumes to have claim over the beings. However, If the Wealds believe in such entitlements; such as man-made money and paper documents giving them control of the earth well… The land was here long before and will be here long after. A completely connected combination of sky with sun, moon with seasons, day with night. All elements born and raised from a universe which has already seen it all.

It is not difficult to predict what comes next.

Gladioli

Family Vacation, Trout Lake Photo by Brooks Kraft/Corbis .

Once you brought me gladioli

purchased from a road side stand

do you remember? I asked

presented for no reason

— unexpected and unplanned

he replied  “I still pass by that place,

it makes me think of you

…and all which that entails.

each time I read the sign

announcing glads for sale”

I’ll be your Symbiont

Symbiosisvia Daily Prompt: Symbiosis

This is for my friend and sister Kristine

symbiosis

         She was confident in their collaboration

she need him and he her

a combined symbiosis of function

both benefitting becoming blended

          Until the day came when harmony was interrupted

synergy became divided

she suddenly handicapped

he, however, walked not limped, away

          In reflection as her eyes became opened

recognizing the relationship had been biased

 commensal not mutual

she had been happily unaware that he fed from her

arrow

        In the  beginning he was happy

pursuing the alliance, the amalgamation of we

he and she

he had desired the togetherness

          But as the time passed he felt diminished

pieces of himself were disappearing

he swatted at the invisible sycophant

            He knew he wouldn’t die – she needed him alive

he hosted this parasitic party

she had to be removed

 

 

 

 

Dreary

autumn

Summers remaining days stood still. Unwavering heat combined with humidity and exaggerated hues left eyes weary from squinting. Dandelion seeds hover momentarily under stiff swelter only to be beat down by sudden rainfall. Summer was running himself ragged  and was at risk of burning out. He  needed relief. Sensing this distress Autumn arrived early. Barely September and already fall.

She bustled in like an eccentric old auntie,  capable and prepared to take charge .With her, Autumn bought compassion in the form of dreary days.  Damp, dour days, where wet leaves promptly change colour and drop without flutter. Directly into the dirt to immediately get to the business of decomposing. Ordinarily one might find this sort of  season bleak or disheartening but aunt Autumn had a philosophy:  dreary weather allows one to indulge their heartache and sorrow. Sometimes all you need is a little time to withdraw and heal. Dreary lets you do that without self-reproach.

This is how Autumn comforted Chrysanthemum.  Together they strolled the property, both wrapped in wool shawls, through the forest and passed the deceased beech tree. They ruminated while treading across soiled leaves of red and gold and inhaling the scent of damp rot. Observing that the end never smells as good as the beginning. Endings are not as exciting or as pretty  but have their own familiar comfort. In these days of hiding inside cozy sweaters, retreating beneath bulky blankets and being lulled by fireplace roar,  it cushions the ending.

Thanksgiving weekend comes… and goes without recognition.  The long weekend passing without mention or celebration. The family still mourns but on Monday Lauren retrieves the box of red ribbon from chrysanthemums cottage. This year the children have no interest in Christmas trees or festivity. Instead little Lauren has another project in mind. She empties the box of ordinary red ribbon and string and begins to weave.

Life at milkweed lane seemed changed. Pop’s has gone and now Mums announces her decision to move to town. Her sister, Aunt Bunny, also a widow, has a nice house on the main street of Juniper Valley. A lovely place where the two can easily walk to market or the café and visit with friends without need to drive. Autumn had also conveyed warnings of  Winter. He is not an empathetic season and this year will be a long one. Winter is a believer of tough love, therefore thinks it best to bury  grief with snow and ice. Freeze it into a solid being, like an ice sculpture, one which cannot be avoided. By the time spring came back around all despair would melt and the buds of change free to bloom.

This was the first Christmas season to pass by Milkweed lane. Well, the first anyone of this generation knew of. Pops was the resident raconteur and he was no longer around to tell the tale. The children still received gifts from relatives and friends but they had not asked nor wrote to santa. Mr. and Mrs. Weald also received invitations and gift baskets (which they were grateful) but no one expected anything in return. Billy didn’t even come home from school. He stayed in his dorm with friends. Students who had come from places out of province or outside the country and could not afford tickets home. Chrysanthemum left her cottage on the last day of the year. Her belongings piled onto the back of a truck, the family forgoing the usual New Years party helping with the move instead. On the first day of the New year a house-warming dinner was held at Aunt Bunny’s. In honour of the new start in the new year, another chapter, and the next season of life.

Autumn did not lie when she said Winter would be harsh. The roads leading into town are treacherous and the journey slow going. It was dark when they set out yesterday morning and it will be dark on the road back. These days, just this side of the winter solstice, being the shortest. Tonight the sky is low and not a star can be seen. Light is blocked by unseen clouds, not a twinkle not a northern light. Once they drive off the main drag of town they will be without street lamps as well. Relying on only the trucks headlights to lead them. Standing in Bunny’s doorway saying they’re goodbyes Lauren presents Mums with her ribbon creation. A small wreath spun from ribbons collected for christmas trees.

“My dear Lauren, these are your ribbons. Did you not have another purpose for them?”

Lauren hugs her Chrysanthemum and says ” I collected the ones from the forest too. The ones that I could find anyway. They are all  here. To warm your new home with some of the old.”

With well wishes and declarations of love, with hugs and smiles through tears the Weald family departs for home. As Mums and Aunt Bunny wave them away winters freeze cracks…just a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gauchos and Sweater Coats

Patternvia Daily Prompt: Pattern

pattern

Waking up in our shared bedroom. (that’s how it was back in the day, kids shared bedrooms and everyone shared the bathroom) My sister, Danielle, and I would find the days outfit laid out on our beds. Mom had  specific rules on how her children should be presented to the world. (She had rules about everything)  Hair, tidy and tied up, either in braids or pony tails (secured with baubles and barrettes), clean presentable clothing of her choosing and children never wore black (only shoes could be black).  Our clothes categorized as:

  • play clothes – old and comfortable, worn on Saturday and changed into afterschool.
  • We had pretty Sunday dress clothes (my favorite)
  • and of course school clothes. It was these clothes that gave my sister and I the most grief.

At this point in our school careers we are at elementary levels and not yet forced to wear the uniform of wool kilt and polyester sweater. That itchy ordeal will come later in high school.

So here we are, first thing in the morning staring down the dreaded denim gauchos draped across our bedspreads.  Danielle and I are only a year apart in age and are often dressed the same. Mom says it is cheaper to make two of each. (This practice of dressing us the same leads all we meet to believe we are twins.) It is the eighties and I am sure gauchos are no longer in style. Mom assures me they are, she is pretty old – like 28 or 29, so how would she know? I haven’t seen anyone besides us wearing these hideous not quite skirt-not quite pants creations so I think she is wrong. More than that I think she is cheap.

Maybe if we had more money she wouldn’t have to make our clothes from remnant fabrics.  Maybe she could have purchased current and trendy materials. Most of all maybe she’d have the money to buy the newer, up-to-date, stylish patterns. Ha! who am I kidding? My Mom prides herself on being frugal. We could be Richie rich and she would still get a thrill from getting a deal.  Instead she has that one second hand sewing pattern. Repeatedly used over and over again until even she is sick of it.  Oh, but wait… the pattern is still perfectly good. (one of her favourite catch phrases “Perfectly good”)  After every use she has carefully folded the pattern and put back in the envelope. ” You never know someone else might be able to use it.”

Sisters, (thank god we have each other) uncomfortably dressed for school wearing  perfectly good matching denim gauchos and choking turtle neck tops. Mine red hers blue- the different colour shirt is how to tell us apart. Standing at the front door ready to depart “Don’t forget to put on your sweater coat!”  Oh no, here she comes with two bulky sweaters that zip up at the front like a jacket but not a jacket -so not at jacket. She zips us in and admires her children  “perfectly good”. To Mom we are beautifully presented, tidy hair in pony tails, mary-janes on our feet and perfectly pleated gauchos of her own making. She kisses us good-bye saying, no singing, the same thing she will say everyday until we are no longer in school. “I love you, have a good day and watch for cars.”

sweater coat

You know we love her.

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