Fourteen-year-old Bryn’s life entwines with the life of a stranger, whom neither believes is God’s answer to her silent plea for help. "Sounds interesting!"
Tuesday's Child Full of Grace
“Stop taking drugs,” heart shouted.
“It’s the last pack,” brain consoled.
“Don’t worry, it will be her last time,”
- Ritusree Banerjee
A young teenage girl, a stoner with a big monkey on her back, was in the back seat of an old car going through the throes of drug withdrawal and not looking very healthy. She had received several hit...
Here Comes the Sun
“Remember... start each day with a task completed.
Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone.
Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often.
But if you take some risks, step up when times are toughest,
face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden,
and never, ever give up - if you do these things,
then you can change your life for the better...
and maybe ...
Before There Was Music
“The hunger for love is much more difficult
to remove than the hunger for bread.”
- Mother Teresa
About eleven months earlier . . .
Christine’s neglect of me started at birth and continued through my seventh year. Then the next year, when my eighth birthday was on a Friday the thirteenth, severe abuse, including sexual abuse, was added, making my life much more unbearable. I never heard the words I ...
Blame It On the Stones
It was Friday the Thirteenth and I slept through most of it.
Maybe the afternoon will bring that momentous event I desperately need.
I wrote Friday the Thirteenth, sometime during the last weeks of school before summer break. It was June and I knew my birthday was coming up . . . on a Friday this year. But I wasn’t sure how old I was going to be.
Alone . . . and Afraid
Sometimes it’s better to be alone . . .
no one will hurt me.
After they leave without me early this morning, and I realize they aren’t coming back anytime soon, I find a safer place to hide from Christine and the Monster. A remote picnic table beyond the bathrooms, far from the main area, is a good hiding place. It has a little roof and three brick sides with open corners. No one can see me unless they get o...
“I became insane, with long intervals
of horrible sanity.”
―Edgar Allan Poe
I love to write poetry and I felt lucky to have had a wonderful teacher in fifth grade. She inspired me to appreciate reading and re-ignited my fire for writing poetry, and especially stories. She hinted that I should write short stories . . . true short stories.
My favorite teacher, in fifth grade the second time, Miss Smi...
There is no exercise better for the heart
than reaching down and lifting people up.”
― John Holmes
A retired Special Operations Forces (Special Ops) warrior left home in southern California late Thursday evening to cross the low and hot Arizona desert in the cool of the night. He is driving a twenty-four foot rig (motorhome) pulling a toad—an older Jeep modified with a Chevy 327 engine set up for some...
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.
―Henry David Thoreau
The sun is high in the sky and the kid’s savior has not appeared. God did say afternoon, so she waits. The pang of her stomach spasms tells her she needs to eat, but—without money or a handout—there is nothing she can do except suffer the pain and wait. She has other pains, some she recognizes, a...
When Two Worlds Collide
hen I First Saw You
When I first saw you sitting there.
Under a big pile of tangled hair,
I didn’t quite know what to think,
But oh my God, how you did stink.
You looked so sad and very lonely,
Even tho’ you were so comely.
You seemed afraid to talk to me,
And your pain was very easy to see.
When I looked into your eyes,
Therein I saw the fear that lies.
I know you wi...
“To the world you may be one person;
but to one person, you may be the world.”
- Dr. Seuss
Jim places the bar, still in its open wrapper, next to the water. The kid instinctively leans way back so he can’t touch her. He is too close, looming over her and appearing to be nine feet tall.
At the same time she’s thinking, Oh my God, oh my God, he’s giving me something to eat! Oh, thank you,...
Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.
— Huda Sheikh
AUTHOR’S NOTE for readers/reviewers about stuttering: The next few chapters contain stuttering in dialog, with lots of repeated letters and especially pauses represented by . . . (ellipses). Stuttering is difficult to portray in writing and can be just as frustrating for readers. I suggest reading ...
Kid With an Attitude
Some people cross your path and
change your whole direction.
- Joseph Campbell
"I w-would l-like th-that!" But what does he want from me? The only thing I have left is my life.
She needs to know what he wants. Not that it will change her decision. She just has to know; she can’t stand the stress of not knowing. Finally, her fatalistic feelings wear her down. “What do you want from me i...
“Don’t be too tough in the negotiations. If you’re going to skin a cat, don’t keep it as a house cat.
– Marvin Levin
“You ha-have a . . . um-motorhome?” ending it with a little smile and a slight upswing in pitch. Unknown to the kid, she just used, for the very first time, that innate ability that every female is born with—charm. Most girls her age have already been using it for at ...
Bryn Crosses Her Rubicon
I’ve put up with this horror for too many years,
And I can’t even count how many tears,
That I’ve had to shed,
Every day, just trying to get ahead.
They left me on the highway,
To fend for myself my way,
But that seemed to be the break,
That I desperately needed,
And it was God’s words to me,
That I carefu...
The Warrior Needs Help
Asking for help doesn’t mean you are weak.
It’s simply an opportunity to become
more intelligent about something you need to know.
Jessica Mahoney, Financial Advisor
PJ steps outside, closes and locks the door, leans against the motorhome and calls Jessica. While giving her a brief synopsis of the situation with the phone speaker on, he explains everything he can recall, starting with the first tim...
Friday Night Bath
Every man has the right to a Saturday night bath.
– Lyndon Johnson
Well, she is definitely not a man; and it is not Saturday night, but taking a shower is almost the same as taking a bath standing up.
She is weak and doesn’t think she can do the task by herself, especially her hair. As bad as she stinks, he delays it a few minutes to give her more time to relax, and also take some time to learn a little more about her...
Don't Go There, Baby Girl
Not all soldiers carry guns to save their country . . . some carry a stethoscope.
“You will have to be naked in front of two strangers, Baby Girl. Ryan will have a nurse with him. But you are already half-naked in front of me, and I’m a stranger. Ryan is a medical professional. He will give you a medical gown to wear. Being naked in front of a doctor is the least of your worries right now. He or his nurse will h...
Food and Palaver
“As soon as I saw you,
I knew you would be an adventure of a life time.”
– Winnie the Pooh
The kid is excited to help PJ in the galley, but tries not to show it. In spite of his promises, she is not sure how all of this is going to turn out and doesn’t want to get her hopes up. I will cut and run if he even acts like he is going to be aggressive toward me. But she knows nothing about li...
Little Lies . . . Big Dreams
And, after all, what is a lie?
‘Tis but the truth in masquerade.
- Lord Byron
“I-I . . . I have c-c-confessions t-to ma-ma-make . . . PJ.”
It must be serious; she double-stutteres half the words. “The confessional is open and the Priest is expecting you.”
She sniggers, and it’s appropriate to PJ’s sarcastic remark, but she soon acquires a look of concern She doesn&...
What's Your Name
hat’s Your Name?
by Bryn & PJ
What’s your name, Baby Girl?
. . . I am your moon.
Please tell me your name.
. . . I am your stars.
I told you my name, Baby Girl,
Can’t you do me the same?
. . . I am your sunshine and night sky.
If you ask me again, “What is your name?”
I’ll smile and say, “I am beaut...
Sometimes the hardest decision and the right decision are the same.
- Jessica Mahoney, Warrior and Military Wife
“How do you know Perdita Weeks? She’s not a famous actor.”
She cracks a little smile while ignoring the question. “Okay, call me The W-winslow K-kid, or The Kid if that’s what you want. I prefer The Kid, but will answer to anything if it gets my attention. Are we still go...
ravel Light - a Goodnight Lullaby
by Andrea Dietrich
Copyright – 2019, Andrea Dietrich
Used by permission
Travel light, my dear; softly go
beyond the night’s black shadow
to another plane. Out of sight
exists a realm of such delight
you may find relief from sorrow!
Lay your head on your pillow.
Sink into the Now. Tomorrow
“Freaking nightmares! Will they never end?
- Brynna Sara Lane
I am exhausted because of the events of this long day, but wide awake with the excitement of going shopping. Fighting sleep has been a problem since I was seven and never knew when I would be awakened into a living nightmare. Even a nap was traumatic, and this nap is causing some troubling thoughts going through my head. I can’t help being negative—...
I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.
– Jane Austen
With what we know about Jane Austen, I can’t imagine her life being any happier than I am right now. After she died her relatives removed everything and anything from what might have been an interesting biography for fear that it might embarrass the family. Little of interest was known about the real Jane Austen when she was alive, and even less ...
Rest Stop Closure
It has been said, “Time heals all wounds.”
I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind,
protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue
and the pain lessens. But, it’s never gone.
- Rose Kennedy
The Kid still has some disquieting concerns about where the T-shirt and shorts came from. It makes her a little nervous to think that maybe Mr. Nice Guy might have taken o...
Whose Clothes Are These?
When people treat you like they don’t care . . . believe them.
- Any Mouse
Let’s go home, PJ.
He is shocked. Surely she wouldn’t have said anything like that to Christine or Trevor. Is that a slip of the tongue?—a prophesy? Or is she messing with him? Her true personality is starting to shine, a bit early, he thinks, and this is the most relaxed he has seen her since their first encoun...
The Kid Goes Shopping
Whoever said money can’t buy happiness
never went shopping with a kid from the ghetto.
— Naved Cir
Her first shopping spree is a total success. She is overcome with joy as she picks out, with PJ’s minimum supervision, three outfits plus shorts and T-shirts, summer pajamas, under clothes, socks, shoes for outdoor activities, and a pair of slippers to wear inside the motorhom...
“I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future.
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
There are a few overnighters parked in the Winslow superstore parking lot—RVs, truckers, and even people sleeping in cars and light trucks. The Kid and I discuss staying here but make the decision to move on to Lupton for our first night. It’s less than two hours away, and that giv...
A Special Saturday Morning
The gull sees farthest who flies highest.
– Richard Bach in Jonathon Livingston Seagull
Today is the start of our first full day together and the start of her life-long dream that is quickly becoming a reality. Getting away from her tormentors is just the beginning of a life she has no idea exists for her. It will also be our first full day together and arrives after a short, but restful night of sleep.
We are wide awake a...
Zonked & Bonked - When Life Started
Everything is funny, if you can laugh at it.
—Lewis Carroll (From "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland")
“I’m going to go back a few years, fourteen years plus about nine months, to the beginning of life as I know it. Or more precisely, as it was told to me on a regular basis. I don’t actually remember the events, but I’ve heard the story so many times. It used to make me cry, but after I met Mr. Nice Guy. . . .&r...
There are many fun things I could do,
but there’s nothing I love as much as an exciting horse race.
― Miss Smith, fifth grade teacher
“While living in Rampart, the only adult to show me respect and treat me normal was my favorite teacher, Miss Smith, in fifth grade, the second time. My story wouldn’t be complete without telling you how wonderful Miss Smith treated her students, and especially me.
So Be It and Amen.
“May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one ...
You Can Call Me Bryn
Some of the most poisonous people show up
disguised as friends and family.
We are still on track to Cedar Crest and will probably arrive there around three o’clock this afternoon. Before this trip I never had the opportunity to talk while driving on a business trip. It definitely makes the trip pass more quickly, and can be very interesting and entertaining at the same time.
“Growing up, we all k...
You Are a Winner, Baby Girl
“Winners don’t wait for chances, they take them.
Neither Bryn nor I are hungry, but we stop at a casino on I-40 west of Albuquerque to stretch our legs. This will be a good change of pace and maybe even a little bit of fun for both of us.
I tell her she has to change into at least shorts—she swaps the boxers for shorts and puts on one of the fancy T-shirt that fits better. I suddenly have an idea, a stupid ...
I'm Staying With You
“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life.
- Joseph Campbell
I’m thinking about what Jess might be planning during our return trip to SoCal. We will be passing by one of our favorite summer vacation spots in Northern California on the trip south. Stopping there for a few days just might convince the three of us that we are a made for each other. This kid is going to be a perfect match for ou...