Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Gift

Tonight, this last night of 2006, I will be dining with my Musical Mother, the elegant, the talented, the stubborn, the independant, the determined, the magnificent, grand old lady of the ivories, Miz Minnie. She will be dressed like a tiny 85lb queen mother, her make-up will be flawless (she's been trying to get me to get with the make-up thing for decades). She will be finely coiffed, subtly perfumed and ready to party. Don't misunderstand me when I describe Minnie, she can be earthy, even raunchy, as well as elegant....though not so much in mixed company anymore and we will be escorted by two excellent gentlemen.

Minnie will celebrate her 100th birthday in 6 weeks and the party will rock. She will laugh, and flirt, maybe even rant, depends who's there and what the subject of discussion. And then, more than likely, with a little prodding from her Musical Children, who's ages range into the 80's, myself being the baby of the group, she will play for us....and some of us...2 of us actually, along with Minnie, will sing....Les Girls will sing...probably musical comedy type stuff...but our 3rd "girl" is a bit operatic, so who knows what we'll do.....thank God for my childhood days of improvising harmonies for my Dad's Irish tenor.

My earliest, happiest memories all involve music and my father. Usually singing with him or for him or listening to him sing as he taught me how to use my voice. Dad loved jazz and opera. Sunday mornings are still synonymous with that miraculous harmonious crunch of notes created by Art Tatum, Jackson Teagarden, Enrico Caruso...oh yes and Irish Freedom songs....Will my Soul Pass Through Old Ireland still passes, like a stiletto, through my heart and brings tears to my eyes.

Music, the ability to express oneself through song or instrument, is such a precious gift. It bares your soul. It strengthens your soul. It inspires, calms, beautifies, excites. And it gives that very occasional opportunity to glimpse the truth.

How lucky I am.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Every abuser believes that their victims are responsible for what they do or say to them and how they treat them.

Every abuser refuses to acknowledge the abused as an equal...but the abused does acknowledge the abuser, the abuse probably couldn’t happen otherwise, it’s hard to abuse someone who doesn’t respect or care for you. Of course that will change with any luck. Ideally we learn from our experiences. This is where the really serious psychological consequences occur because every abuse has the ability to shake the foundations of our ideals and beliefs and after a series of abuses we can start to question our very life’s philosophy.

Every abuse is accompanied by that rush of frigid air into the heart of the abused as just a little bit more of the love and respect once held for the abuser is chiseled away, until finally all that is left is a wintry void.

Every abuse is followed by an apology until finally the abused realizes that the faster and sweeter the apology the sooner the next episode of abuse.

Every abuse is conceived in the mind of the abuser and not the abused, thus, the abused, because they don't understand why the abuse began in the first place, constantly expects it to end. The abused initially develops a desperate optimism that allows them to survive an otherwise untenable situation, but this is often replaced by paralyzed silence as they watch the abuser, in their attempt to destroy them, destroy their own soul instead. This of course involves psychologically removing oneself from the situation, but it does make the abuse more bearable.

Denial helps too.

"Every" has been used as a literary device.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


As she opened her eyes and looked across the empty bed, Colleen was filled with a warm sense of well being, knowing that this birthday morn she was alone...he was not there...he had gone away...for good...she was free of him, of his base obsessions and miserely, ungenerous habits...and she had managed to find her freedom without guilt... guiltless freedom...what a concept.

Her thoughts returned to that morning one year ago. For the first time, the night before, she had made him dinner, a secret gift on her birthday‘s eve. It was with a certain delicious forbodding that she had done this, for it had been years since she’d cooked for a man, domesticity having fled her life along with all other accoutrements of married bliss. She had successfully cut men out of her heart for a decade and had been rewarded with feelings of confidence, strength and optimism, the likes of which she had never experienced in her 18 years of marriage.

But the previous night she had wanted to cook for him because he had asked her to...and she wanted what he wanted...she hadn’t even noticed that she was falling...falling into that shameless, hopeless quagmire of trying to be... what?.. what ever he wanted her to be.

"Gawd.." thought she..."What a fool....what a pathetic fool."

To have him in her bed as her birthday dawned seemed like sheer delinquent delight to her misguided psyche. He tended to drift off after an evening...perhaps he’d have disappeared for a week or more (no she didn’t see the writing on the wall, dispite pleas from friends to wake up, she was already drowning in denial and self-delusion). The one thing she wanted was to not be alone on her birthday, she wanted him there when she woke up...and there when she went to sleep....just one day....what a treat that would be...

"Boy, s'funny how things change." she muttered to herself, as she noticed the special oversized pillow she had bought for him discarded on the use to her...hmm..yah..funny.

Things changed that morning. Her cell rang at 8am, she was wanted at work, someone had cancelled and they were desperate, apologetic but desperate. As she walked into the next room she explained in a hushed voice that, as it was her birthday and a Saturday, she couldn’t help them. She closed off with a satisfied giggle and hopped back into bed.

"So when were you going to tell me it was your birthday?" he laughed.

"I didn’t want you to feel you had to buy me a present. I’m just glad you’re here." she aligned her body with his, pressing up to it...savouring it's heat.

"Had you told me, we could have gone out for a nice dinner tonight, instead of just a film." he averted his eyes as he mouthed these words, they both knew it was still only 8am.

"Oh that’s okay, a film's great..." she murmured, as demure and chaste as a 10 cent holy card. And then, for one brief moment, the scales fell from her eyes as she watched his face gleam with satisfaction, mentally calculating the amount of money he wouldn’t have to spend. A knife pierced her heart but she ignored it. "Just like the old days," whispered her soul, but not loudly enough to hear.

He left mid-morning saying he’d come back around 6 and they’d walk to the cinema. And she...she spent a wonderful day dreaming about the potential of the coming evening.... dinner... dancing... flowers....a long walk...who knew what surprises lay ahead...he was still a novelty in her life, she was still full of hope for the future.

Do I need to tell you what actually happened? Of course not....

She just wanted to believe and he...he knew it...