Thursday, March 7, 2013

An Old Flash of Story

Caught Between the Sun and Moon

The cold earth would not remember him. That was left to me.

Alone, I sat on his grave; bewilderment and anger filtered through packed soil. A dirt fractured voice, I heard, betrayed by flesh and desire. His one true love lay between us solid and silent, encased in steel and satin. They were forever. He would never abandon her, though she died without him. Their decades together stretched through molecules of silica, clay, and carbon. I was always outside—a part, but not really. I was simply an idyll, an occasional intrusion, to be cherished or ignored, when what I wanted was to be the rift in the continent of their love.

It started before I could remember. It always was: my world between his Sun and her Moon. I became a tide. High and low, pulled and released between orbits.

When I was with the Moon, she was cold and remote. Phases were her moods. She was full when we went to the movies. She held my hand as I leapt from bench to bench in the park while we waited for the Sun. After I pushed her away to cross the gaps unaided, she nursed my sprained wrist.
The night was her time. She sang: “La-le-lu nur der Mann im Mond schaut zu, wenn die kleinen Babies schlafen, drum schlaf auch zu.” She sang in a language she swore she did not speak, if you asked in daytime. As I dreamt, alone in her twin bed, she disappeared. The days were waning.

The dark Moon wandered the house. She searched. Things went missing, photographs and money put in drawers and beneath cushions. She forgot where she was and who we were. Over and over, she would sit with me and tell me of her childhood: of riding next to her father in a carriage on a crisp winter day, of teeth, lost when she was fourteen. Her dentures smiled from a jar each night.

He was the day. Hot and commanding, though his love was winter-cold. I could not touch his adoration of the Moon. I became a release from his vigilance. The Sun could be kind. He bought me gifts, listened to my stories, my loud music. He drove me places. I was special. There was something within me that was needed. He ignored the others. But, his need and anger scalded.

In my absence, they had each other. Only each other. The routine of their days diminished as they cycled through ages. Without me, they ate breakfast at the small table. He had his bran, she sometimes gummed toast. They wandered through the remaining hours with crossword puzzles and television. At night he slept while she wandered. He cared for her, nurtured her, made sure the doors were locked before dark. The Moon was locked inside at night.

I learned to stay away. I grew old enough to shun her chill and deny his heat. I imagined a life far from their gravity, a place where I could command my own Sun and become a new Moon. There was a day when I revealed my wounds, laid bare the invisible puckers of scar and charred flesh. Flaunting my damage, I longed for escape. It was a dream. Once caught within their orbit, I was always drawn back.

Later, I visited when forced, gibbous with adolescent righteousness, pretending to be a tepid stranger, unscarred and whole. Never again, would I linger on the edge of breakfast at the small table. I was too big for the Moon to rock to sleep. I freely spoke the language she forgot. The Sun no longer listened to my stories or brought me gifts. I could drive myself.

Still, he burned. Occasionally, across the crowded dining table, I met his eye. Sometimes I was defiance, he was the question. Or vice versa. He sat at the head, I at the foot. The Moon sat between, an arrangement as natural as rain.

Gradually, the Moon forgot the day. A night-time world embraced her as she drifted through the dark. The Sun learned to cook. He coaxed her to eat. When she wandered, he watched. When she finally slept, he retired to his room. She asked for nothing, locked in her own nocturnal orbit. He gave her what she needed.

The day they said the Sun was fading, I laughed. His defective heart sputtered. The others were angered and disgusted; they left me alone with my guilt. No matter how scarred, I was required to care. I knew he would shine once more. He would fight against his traitorous heart for each beat, if only, to be able to lock the doors before dark. For his Moon, who needed him.

In his absence, the Moon escaped; half-dressed, she roamed, lost in the driveway. I sat with her through the night, listened to her speak of carriages and snow, spoke to her in the language she forgot. I tucked her into the small bed as the Sunless day dawned. She slept while I locked the doors.

When the Sun left forever, the Moon waned and followed. He was buried first and deeper. In death, she guarded him, locked between him and the sky.

My wounds severed me from their world. As I sat on the unforgiving ground, I offered only tears to the earth that now kept them, leaving my scars to rot beneath the dirt.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


In a room inside a government building in Waterbury, CT, members of my family and I once again faced the man responsible for the deaths of my mother and aunt. We sat on a side of the room, perpendicular to the long table where the three members of the parole board sat. At the front of the room a large flat-screen TV held the image of the inmate. We could see him, but he could only hear us.

I know emotions were high for my sister, my niece, and my brother-in-law. For myself, I held on to the numbness that had steadily grown inside me since that awful morning of early-morning knocking at my door. I had wanted to come. I felt it was important. But I no longer knew why. Nothing said or done on this day would change anything. Though I often joke about them- my tough, sarcastic, driven mother and my crazy, hoarder of an aunt- there remains a deep hole full of "what-ifs" and longing that can never be healed.

I should still be angry. But I am not. I am numb.

I watched the screen and waited, witholding my judgement, holding on to the only scant scrap of hope I could imagine from this scenario. Was he truly sorry? Had prison changed this young man for the better? Can you look at an image on a television screen, listen to a voice, see into the soul of another human being and ome away with the assurance that all this loss was not for nought? No, but that was the fantasy I held to. I wanted a crystal ball.

It had been five years and I noted the changes.

He sat patiently, his hands folded against the front of his beige jumpsuit. His dark hair was cropped close, his goatee well-trimmed; it was easy to tell he had added muscle to his tall frame. He had aged. I waited to see if he had matured.

His daughter was now seven.

The parole chairwoman called the session to order. She listed all the things he'd done while in prison: he'd enrolled in drug and alcohol counseling, taken college courses. On paper, he was on the road to rehabilitation. He had jobs lined up for after release and he planned to live with his parents.

He spoke about what he'd done and what he'd learned. The board asked questions. He answered them with a quiet, humble voice.

In turn, my sister read a statement she had prepared, citing all the damage done to our family, letting him know of our continued pain, but also of our hope that he could find his way to a better life, learn to be a better father, and a productive, not destructive member of society.

My niece read an essay she had composed shortly after the Incident and followed it up with how that resonated now. She articulated her sadness, her anger, and her belief that his sentence was too lenient, that an early release would diminish the fact that he had killed two innocent women.

He was permitted to speak again. He wiped a tear as he expressed his sorrow, his guilt, and how he had a "life-sentence" knowing he had caused the deaths of our mother and aunt. The chairwoman called for a decision and we filed out of the room while the panel deliberated.

In our waiting area, we deliberated, too. Did we believe him? Could we dare?

It came down to one, simple thing. The words of remose, his apology to us, the family, those words should have been the first words out of his mouth as the hearing began, uttered because he believed them, not because he suddenly realized we were there and watching.

We were called back in and the verdict was read: parole denied, probation lengthened from three to five years. The board had not believed him, either.

And here I am, safe in my home, figuratively surrounded by friends and family, thinking about the advice I gave my niece before we went in to the hearing. Advice I learned after a different lesson. It has served me well. Like me, she thirsted for revenge, she wanted him to pay and pay for his crimes and the hurt she still feels; she was afraid they would let him go.(Though her words were what kept him in prison.) "It doesn't really matter." I told her. "In the end, we all have to live with what he did. And the only person you can control is yourself. You need to live your life. It will never intersect his again, whatever the outcome of today, unless you let your anger at him destroy you. Don't give him that power over you."

Am I following my own advice? I try. I am still numb. I am still conflicted. I wanted to believe him, wanted to see the positive, have faith in the changes, faith in his love for his daughter. I know I am naive. My anger and sorrow will return. I will again want him punished and will feel justified in denying him early freedom. Either way, I will continue with living my own life the best way I can. What he does and who he becomes is irrelevant.

But, deep inside, I hang on to the hope that it will sink in, that he will learn to feel remorse, that he will rehabilitate himself...that some shred of good will come out of this tragedy.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm Back.

It's a new year and I felt it was the perfect time for a new start. So what is my intention with this revised platform? Well, I have to admit, after lots of soul-searching, self-depreciating thought, where I questioned my purpose, my desire to write, and fought with my inner narcissist, I decided to let go a little. What does this mean? Probably nothing. But instead of detailing the minutae of my day or my rides or my writing progress, I thought I would share the things that chase that fading dark cloud farther away or post some creative writing instead of talking about the difficulties I encounter. Of course, the road to Hell... well, you know. So what do you say? Let's give it another go.