JOY

Something strange happened to me the other day.

I was in the airport bathroom en route to Phoenix when two Latino ladies approached me. One was older with lines of age marking her face and hints of grey about her forehead. She was dressed in some heavy clothing for August and had a work apron on top of it all.

The other was younger, her wide black eyes more pronounced by the smoothness of her skin. A loose patterned sweatshirt hung about her over black leggings.

They spoke quickly in Spanish to one another as they approached me with some hesitation. The young woman said, “She would like for you to leave a comment.”

I scrunched my brow, unsure of what she meant. “You want what?” I asked.

“Senora, Senora, ” the older one said. She raced back over to a janitorial cart and brought back a stack of napkins. On one of them, someone had written some words in Spanish in a lovely, cursive font.

“See, see.” The woman pushed the napkin closer to me, keeping an expectant gaze. I stood dumbfounded, unable to read it. My one year of language class was not paying off.

“She wants you to write a comment,” the younger one spoke again, “of this place.” She held out her hands. “Of her work.”

“Oh, okay,” I said, finally grasping the meaning. The older woman laid down a new napkin eagerly, placing the previous one close by for an example.

“Olga,” she said, pointing to herself. Her smile brightened as I uncapped the pen and started to write.

When I handed it back, she thanked me repeatedly and then went right back to work, wiping all the counters down to even though they were already clean.

I’ve thought back on this interaction in several passing moments now. And what I always circle back to is the woman’s sheer joy for the comment. She had no idea whether i would write something good or bad. But yet she seeked it all the same – language barrier or not.

And I could see her dedication to the job, too. Cleaning bathrooms is not a pleasant job – and the ones at the airport are nowhere near the top of the easy lit. But here she was, so motivated and happy. Utterly happy.

And then I think about my own job and how a day with an emotion like that is nonexistent. I would never ask for a comment card for the feat of making the day that much worse. But why is it like that? Why shouldn’t I seek the same joy?

 

 

 

 

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REST EASY

The hammock groans
in my ear.
Each rope tightly woven
into place.
Fabric of opaque
diamonds pressed on my skin,
where the blood runs thin.

The chains clink along
with the leaves scratching
the patio floor.
They flip
and flutter,
swirling trails of yellow
and orange.

The dogs run free
around the fading green.
Following scents
made up
of mysteries.

The sun is setting
even though
the day has been
warm
and slow.

In the comfort
of familiar,
a lethargy sways with me.
I rest easy,
knowing nothing
about tomorrow
and focusing
on simply just
breathing.

SILENT COLLAPSE

There is an ancient battle
still alive
here.

The trees themselves
have begun a fight.

Uprooting
from the dense soil.
Exposing
their very inner workings.

They lean and sway
until they fall,
taking with them
others
ensnared
by acute branches.

With a loud clap
they collapse
in rows.
Each descending further
and further.
The weight more
with each groan.

Until
at last
many years later,
they finally crack
and waste
on the forest floor.
Just as another began
its fight
only days before.

CAPTAIN OF THE CLOUD SEA

Clouds fly
in the ocean of sky.

“What do you see?”
asks little Lee.

“Oh me, oh my.
I do think I spy
a ship
with it sails spread wide.”

“Pirates!” he squealed,
unable to keep even-keeled.

“Aye.”
I replied.
“The captain is looking at me
with a stern eye,
bright and white,
through a telescope he peers,
determining
if we are enemies to fear.”

Lee raised his fists
and gave a snarl.
And hollered:
“Don’t you run from me,
Captain of the Cloud Sea!
For I am Little Lee!”

From my lips
broke a smile
and after only a while,
Lee tugged at my sleeve,
and asked,
“What answer did you recieve?”

“He says he has come prepared.
He knows your name
for it is regarded
everywhere.
He calls at his crew,
Full speed ahead!
Look at how they move!
They are coming, Little Lee.
What shall we do?”

A devious grin spread across his face
and his youthful eyes began to sparkle.
“I have waited days
for his ship to come,
we will stand our place!”

At the sound of Lee’s defiance,
darker clouds began to roll in in waves.
The Cloud Sea Captain pushed forward
with no second to waste.

From her great, light hull
barrel guns protruded,
packed and ready,
the crew waited for the captain.
There would be no refusal!

Fire!” he commanded,
standing tall and proud.
And just like that
streaks of light
dashed through the clouds.

The air groaned
with the echo of thunder.
Little Lee stood
knowing that we did not have much longer.

Quickly, he ran across
the field of grass,
letting no obstacle prevent him
from his task.
He jumped and skipped across
every hidden rock.
He was headed for the pavilion,
that is where he would stop.

Behind him came
fleets of rain,
soaking the ground in
an endless daze.

I was not so lucky as Little Lee,
running in after him,
I found myself drenched
from the Cloud Sea.

“Don’t worry my father.”
He smiled ferventely.
“The Cloud Sea Captain
did not even get a drop on me.”

I nodded and knelt
to give him a hug
and said:
“My brave, brave son.”

He gave another look to the sky,
as things began to dry.
He pointed and gasped
for what was left of the pirate’s ship
had become just a single wisp.

He turned back to me
his eyes wide and said:
“Father, do you see?
The sun has already avenged thee.”

PAIGE ANDERS CHRONICLES – 5

That’s when Janet walked into my life, like some god-damned guardian angel. She had apparently been watching me since I had moved in across the hall and wasn’t a fan of the people who I kept dragging through the door. Trash I believe was the proper term she used.

And she really didn’t like the smell of schnapps that radiated off of my presence.

“Everyday,” she complained at my door, her face infused with rage, “you walk out this door waddling like a fucking duck. Stumbling into things. You like my wall a lot–particularly when it’s fucking three am and I’m sleeping.”

She screamed at me for what felt like hours that morning. The next time I pulled any of that crap, specially bringing around the trash because she knows who they really are–she lowered her eyes–she was calling the cops.

Now that last bit finally got my attention. Jail had been fun and all, but I certainly didn’t want to go back. Cops were not what I wanted to see when probation was still hung around your neck.

And then, as she just kept on yammering, I realized something. The person she was describing….the woman she was so pissed about….was my mother. I had become just like my disgusting, delusional mother.

In my shock, I started crying. I think at one point it got so out of control I had to sit on the ground, clutching my knees to my chest as a strange source of comfort.

I didn’t know Janet and it had become apparent that she hated me with the list of complaints she just presented. But even as I went into this fit of hysterics, she didn’t leave. She stayed right there with me. A little astonished and taken a back at first, but for whatever reason she understood. She sat with me and held me, not saying a word.

For the first time in my life, someone cared. She stayed.

WITH YOU

My head aches
from days of travel.

It’s funny.
With how much
I wander,
how I long for exciting
and new,
that at the end of it,
what I want,
what I truly desire
is just to be home.

Home.
on the couch,
lazily living
with you.

DEAR FRIEND

The pain in my heart
is not for that
who has passed,
dear friend.

The pain in my heart
is having to watch
you fall apart,
again and again.

Knowing,
as I stand idle by,
there is nothing I can do
to make you understand.

Grief is a hard thing,
a battle of the inside.
But its necessary
and unfortunately out of command.

Dear friend,
Time is a current
that flows with no restriction
and with it,
I am certain,
you will come back to me
feeling life more
than when you began.