She'd been like this all her life
or as near as she could remember.
The odd one out.
Mostly it didn't matter.
But for some reason, today it did.
Her mind's eye called back the little girl
with the tumble of hair near obscuring her face
sitting in her solitude.
(or seemingly so)
Wafting around her images long familiar and new.
Dear, dear old friends.
How could she have forgotten them?
Although they hardly seemed to mind one bit.
Odd, that strange familiarity.
The comfortable, noisy silences that seemed ever present.
Mostly, she had learned to live with it.
OF STUBBED TOES AND LATE NIGHT MILK
How long she had been there she couldn't say.
Darkness fell about her, warm and soft as her flea market find shawl.
It occured to her that sleep had rescued her for a while
although it hardly surprised her.
Sleep was often her saviour.
Stretching, she stubbed her foot against the metal step
that led to Mrs Grainger's windows above.
"Ach, well. Yes."
She more tumbled, rather than climbed back into the apartment
dragging the shawl and pillow behind her.
Tomorrow she would build steps.
But the night was near gone and it was all she could do
to remember to set out the milk saucer.
Rituals, you know.
A small piece of cheese would make amends for the late milk.
She liked the idea of "coming home".
PUDDLE JUMPING AND OTHER JOYS
The night rain left its calling card
in the form of puddles scattered here and there.
Conditions being as they were
it made for great puddle jumping
both over and in.
She watched the hurrying rush hour Rambo's
skirt them as though diseased,
and wondered where their childhood had gone.
In place of the hop scotch chalked in the courtyard
there beckoned the most wonderful rainy day diversion.
After all, what was the point of a rainy day if one didn't use it properly?
Like a circus acrobat, umbrella at the ready for balance
she skirted the outer edges, quite in danger of falling in, it seemed.
Steps carefully placed carried her the entire parimeter.
Tossing the bright yellow umbrella aside
with a flourish, she leapt from the heights of the carney diving board
into the gift the evening had sent her.
Seemed a shame to waste such perfectly good puddles.
VENTURING FORTH WITH A PURPOSE
The busy solitude of her home
was all the comfort she needed.
Well, aside from the stillness of the
activity in the courtyard below.
What a wonderful place to be.
Locked freely into her space,
she surveyed the chaotic order.
Today she would venture out again
and gather the necessities of her life.
and a new frisbee.
"Ach, yes, of course."
"Oh, and a jar of bubbles for Harley's boy"
"Well, that goes without saying, so I must wonder why you did."
"How very 'Alice' of you."
A three block journey in the city
yields many treasures.
With a child's glee she lifted the small stool from the bin alongside the old factory.
Leaving the jar of bubbles on Harley's windowsill
she navigated past Mrs Grainger's cat, lounging on the stairs
no doubt aware of the tuna in her parcel.
An hour of time passed,
the treasure restored
fitting her need.
"You puzzle even me."
"OH! There you are. How so?"
"One half daffodil yellow
the other evening sky blue."
"My stepping stool to adventures"
"Of course, I should have known."
You should have."
AN INTRUSION INTO THE ALLEY
She'd been too long at the beach that day
and smelled of sea breezes and cotton candy.
The warm night drew the scent around her...
comforting, childhood scents.
Passing through the three gates,
guardians of her home,
she sensed a stir, quite unfamiliar.
It prickled her still warm skin.
Scented candles and a bubble bath
were her focus.
Such a buzzing for such a quiet place.
She wasn't sure at all she liked all the to-do.
Mrs Grainger spoke in hushed tones with great animation
while her cat, clutched firmly against her ample bosom,
warily eyed this odd looking species, criss crossed with tape.
Jill was Jill tonight, which isnt a bad thing if you're Jill.
"It will be Sooooo exciting, I'll have him to dinner."
"For dinner would be a better choice of words."
"Shush, we don't know yet what's happened."
Words skipped past her..
sorted themselves in her mind,
until she'd sorted out that a new resident had arrived this morning.
Glancing over at Fred, the notes of his flute dancing almost visibly about the courtyard,
she saw his slow smile, then a directing glance
to the windows two floors above her.
FLEA MARKET WANDERINGS
Some imperceptible, not quite having form.
None the less, felt.
She tried to understand this new feeling.
Days passed one into another as her world complicated about her.
"Sometimes puzzle pieces just dont fit, as though someone has taken a bite out of them."
Such were her mutterings.
No vessel was she for their need.
It was all she could do to carry her own.
Fractures formed, hurridly patched, then watched.
The intrusion seeping in through new, unseen cracks.
Summer was ending and preparations need be made.
Flea market serape.
Several new books for images yet to come.
"Best be prepared, in case."
"Ach, yes, indeed.
There's such sense in preparing for a non-coming."
"You care for this not."
"No. Not yet anyway, but I'm perfectly willing
to admonish you when and if it doesn't happen."
With no thought to their relevance
(and questioning not)
she paid for the serape and the books
and the oversized blanket
she couldnt remember picking up.
Then she hurried home to patch the cracks.
FOR THE SLEEPING
The ritual done,
the time at hand,
she leaves the day behind her.
She carries to her night,
the days events, edited.
The old man in the park
smelling of stale beer and cigarettes
becomes a wise sage
with words for her ears alone.
How far will she travel?
Where shall she go?
She liked to think she could choose her own way
but the night traveler had plans unknown to her.
"No bed for me tonight." she murmured.
Fancy trappings always undid her
and tonight she needed peace.
Pulling the mock bearskin rug
(bless flea markets)
closer to the fireplace,
she settled herself in
for a night's journey.
Where would she go
and who would she meet
on this night of rain and remembrance?
Sleep stole from her softly
like the muted notes
drifing above her.
She resented the intrusion
and curled into herself.
The sound teased her
and beckoned to her
as though a new lover.
She didn't know which she feared more,
the sleep or the awakening
though analyzing the choice would offer a more pleasant distraction.
But the music sounded like home,
like her soul reborn
and she drifted into the night
as though to a lovers embrace.
And she was carried home.
He was a casuality of war,
having lost an eye
and a piece of his faith
and he was slow to heal.
She was a casuality of someone else's dream
losing nothing but herself
and the search for her spirit continued.
Comfort found in like company...
they, in need of healing...
of the body and the soul.
Old friends, newly met.
In her, he found acceptance
In him, she found a peace
in the physical world
that had long eluded her.
Coffee and company
on the stoop
in the courtyard
where the gargoyles
kept their vigil....