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11/01 Direct Link
I’ve always imagined that Suzanne lived in a weathered gray bat and board house with a brick courtyard in front. It has French doors that open onto the courtyard, which you enter through an arbor covered with big floppy roses. There is a birdbath on one side of the courtyard, which sits between two cushioned Adirondack chairs. It is filled with sand, agates and blue and green beach glass. She offers you Constant Comment tea with honey and mandarin oranges, which you sip as you rummage around in the bird bath. Actually, this is who I always wanted to be.
11/02 Direct Link
Did she think she could convince them to bury them elsewhere? Unlikely, but she wanted to see it as it occurred. Let them know she was on to them. But she didn’t see them anywhere near the pots, so finally she went inside to make a cup of tea. They were always too fast for her, and the game had lost its charm. Maybe it was time to let the flowers go anyway, as winter would soon draw its cold damp shawl around her home and the flowers would shrivel. She’d replant in the spring, when there were no nuts
11/03 Direct Link
As Agatha took the bread out of the oven, she heard a tapping on the door. She turned to see the girl looking in curiously through the glass. She was tiny, not over 5’2” tall, and reed-thin, delicate looking. Her eyes were bright and interested beneath the mop of multi-colored hair and the pierced eyebrow. She wore tight low-cut jeans, ragged slip-on tennis shoes, a t-shirt with a picture of a flying devil on it (do they call that an incubus?) and a short, black hooded sweatshirt zipped halfway up. Agatha motioned her in.
11/04 Direct Link
“Oh, I like to hike out here near the water. I’m not a rebel or a runaway or anything. My family lives in town. They are all super loud and busy all the timeand there are a lot of us and our house is small. Sometimes I just need to get out where I can think. I like the quiet. Sorry I was so nasty out there, when I knocked over the bird bath, or whatever it is. I mean, I’m sorry I knocked it over, and that I was nasty. Sometimes I just lose myself for a minute.”
11/05 Direct Link
Oh, excuse me – it looks like I have a visitor. Make yourself at home and I’ll be back in a few minutes.” With that, she disappeared out to the courtyard, where Courtney could see her greet an old woman. The two went to sit in the Adirondack chairs where they appeared to chat quietly, and then sit still, not talking at all, each with her eyes closed. After a few minutes they opened their eyes and Agatha spoke. Courtney couldn’t hear what she said, but the old woman began running her fingers through the sand and rocks in the birdbath.
11/06 Direct Link
When Courtney reached the end of the drive, she picked up her bike and began to pedal toward home. As she pedaled, she quickly forgot about Agatha and her birdbath and clotheslines. She thought about what had happened at school today. In between her English and her U.S. Government classes she had come across her childhood friend, Tracy, crying in the girls’ restroom. They hadn’t really been friends since the summer after eighth grade, when Tracy’s dad had left home and she’d had to get a job in the peach cannery to help her mom pay all the bills.
11/07 Direct Link
So Courtney had left. Now she wondered if that had been the right thing to do. Maybe she should have told someone. But she hadn’t. She had gone to class, and hadn’t thought about it again until school was out. On the way home she had remembered and wondered what was happening with her. She wondered if listening would have helped. Not if if wasn’t wanted, that was for sure. You can’t listen to what isn’t told, and you can’t force someone to tell you something they don’t want to talk about. She’d try calling her when she got home.
11/08 Direct Link
Jaxon and Chenille were in school, in second and fourth grades. Chenille was learning to read and had begun to sit in the window seat with a book whenever she could. Jaxon was not a reader, he still read slowly, trying to pronounce the words he read. His third grade teacher had asked for a conference about his reading the year before, and he had subsequently been placed in a Special Education class, where he got extra help with his schoolwork. The one thing he didn’t need help with was soccer. He was constantly kicking and bouncing his soccer ball.
11/09 Direct Link
In the meadow below the house are the clotheslines. They are made of polished driftwood posts. I love their silvery gray finish. It just begs to be stroked. The lines are made of soft hues of braided strands of silk,which I braided by hand. Each morning I choose a dozen cloths from the basket I wove from sea grass. I love to touch them. They are gossamer -fine, like the veil of a bride, only colorful. Oh, the colors...they beg to be taken into my very soul, to fill all the empty places that the light never finds.
11/10 Direct Link
But here is a secret that most people don’t get. It is the agate dreams that are under-appreciated. The cloaks are dramatic and you don’t get to have them very often so they are memorable, not to mention the dreams they bring, but it is the agates that are the tiny jewels that keep you in balance. They are so smooth and glossy you want to just feel them run through your fingers like water. And you can do that, just let them cascade like sand. But you may only take three. With agate dreams, less is definitely more.
11/11 Direct Link
We talked about everything - our dreams and fears, our plans to live together in New York when we grew up and graduated from college. She wanted to be an actress and I wanted to be a writer, so we thought that whould work out. we could both do what we wanted to do there. Probably in the East Village, because it was about the only place we’d actually heard of. So we went along like that for what seems now like our whole childhood, but was really only about four years. It was when we entered high school things changed.
11/12 Direct Link
What all this comes to, really, is a big doubt in my mind. It doesn’t seem like Nancy is having fun - on the contrary in fact. And I am not really having fun - I’m okay, but I mostly just stay by myself or with my family. Yet we are so far apart now, it is like there is no chance that we can bridge the separation. And that makes me sad, and it leaves me with questions about friendship. Is it worth it to be friends with another person if it can just end without you even wanting it to?
11/13 Direct Link
“Oh, hello. We didn’t even see you there. I hope we aren’t intruding.” “Not at all. How can I help you today?” “I am Marjorie and this is Ellen. Our daughter is Belle. We are looking for a special sort of dream. You see, we have just learned we’re going to have another child, and we want a family dream.” “Let’s go to the field. That’s where the cloak dreams are. I think that’s what you want.” They headed down the pathway to the field by the river, where the dream cloths hung, still today, as if waiting for something.
11/14 Direct Link
“I ask that you place your donation in the crock. May your dream be exactly what you need.” Marjorie, still looking affronted, reached into her pocket and took out some money. She placed it in the crock which sat at the base of one of the clotheslines. Agatha took the cloth down and wrapped it around the two of them. Wishing them well, she followed them back up the path toward the house, knowing she would see them again, that their cloth would be back again in the morning. Knowing they would be changed by the dream they had chosen.
11/15 Direct Link
Has it even occurred to you that to keep a friendship intact, you have to be a friend? Just cause a friend is having a hard time, does that mean you should just give up on her? If you were a friend, you wouldn’t turn your back just because your friend ignored you. If you knew her, you'd know what you had to do. You’d keep calling. You’d go to her house and not let go. Maybe you were tired of that friendship. Maybe it really got too hard for you so you just gave up. No one from Nowhere.
11/16 Direct Link
Humming softly, she carefully hung the cloths. Today was sunny, so the cloths would flutter. She hung them randomly, without designating which one should hang by which other one, like she did on gray and rainy days. It seemed more important that they be arranged in a welcoming way on a rainy day, when people were more introspective. She wondered if the dream that Marjorie and Ellen had taken had brought them the desired result. She wasn’t sure what they had hoped for, but it had been clear they were looking for a certain dream. People seldom dream on command,
11/17 Direct Link
"I have nothing more to offer. I have work to do, so I’ll wish you well and get to it.” With that, Agatha turned and walked up the hill to her house. She wasn’t angry, just not interested in trying to convince someone of something they weren’t ready to hear. Maybe Marjorie would get it someday, maybe not. Everyone comes to what they need to learn as they are ready to hear. No sooner. No matter now many times they hear it, or how loud the voice that says it. When they are ready to hear they will.
11/18 Direct Link
Today, she could barely see them. A rich fog was rolling in from the ocean, obscuring them from view. She could hear them and she was glad she hadn’t ventured far from the shore today. It would be hard to find her way back from the open water. Today she got out her fishing rod, baited a hook with some of the bright pink salmon eggs she bought at the bait shop in town. They looked so artificial and were probably toxic with that bright red color, but they didn’t spend enough time inside the fish to do any harm.
11/19 Direct Link
Suddenly she remembered the blog response. How could she have forgotten about it? It had disturbed her. Should she respond or just ignore it? It isn’t like a blog is exactly private space, so it could have been anyone. Maybe it had bothered her so much because she knew the writer was right. She could have been a better friend if she’d had more nerve, if she hadn’t thought it was all about her, had thought about what Tracy was going through rather than just feel rejected. She shook her head roughly - she didn’t want to think about all that.
11/20 Direct Link
Courtney sat up and began to peel the banana. Listening to the sounds of the water, she heard the putting of a little motor. As she chewed, she heard it coming closer. For some reason, she was surprised. It hadn’t occurred to her that this was a dock that anyone still used. She wondered if she should leave before they arrived, but even as she wondered it, she could see the boat approaching. It looked like, no it was Agatha, the woman she had met yesterday. She decided to stay and see if she needed help tying up the boat.
11/21 Direct Link
She shivered and rode a little faster. The fog was coming in, and she wanted to get home before it got colder. If the weather stayed like this, her parents wouldn’t let her return. They said it was best to stay off the road when it was foggy. She could see their point, but she also had ears and could get out of the way long before any vehicle came close to her. But she obeyed them; she always obeyed them. Sometimes that was the problem. She didn’t get to exercise her own self-determination. Or so she told herself.
11/22 Direct Link
When she got home, everyone was up and breakfast was long over. Her mom looked at her questioningly, “Early bike ride?” “Yeah, I woke up early. The sunrise was nice today. I found this little dock I'd never seen before, and I went out and laid in the sun and wrote in my journal.” “Where did you leave the note?” “Oh, I”m sorry. I forgot to leave one. I don’t see the big deal about leaving a note. I mean, where could I go besides riding around? It’s not like I have a lot of choices out here.”
11/23 Direct Link
Her mother put the teakettle on to boil. “Might as well take advantage of the calm while I can,” she thought. Maribel Carter was what could be called a reluctant mother. She loved her children, and had loved being pregnant with them. She just had a hard time keeping track of them once they were on the ground, so to speak. She had never meant to have this many. She had thought one would be just right. Courtney had always been an easy child to take care of, and she’d thought herself lucky to have gotten a child like her.
11/24 Direct Link
Today she had invited Courtney and her little brother, over for a fish barbecue, so as soon as she tended to the bird bath and dream cloths she’d build a fire in the back courtyard, where her usual visitors weren’t invited. She’d had a turbulent dream herself last night. Usually she was aware of her own dreams. Since she had begun brokering them to others some time ago, she seemed to have a clearer conduit to her own. However she had not been able to make sense of it. It had been about traveling and meeting others on the road,
11/25 Direct Link
“Where is she?” he demanded. “Who?” Agatha asked calmly, knowing exactly who he was referring to, but wanting to buy some time. “My girlfriend. I left her here a while ago. Whining bitch.” “ Why are you here? It doesn’t seem like you like her much. It doesn’t seem like you have much to offer each other. Why don’t you leave now, while you’re still mad? Maybe you can talk later, when you’re both clearer?” “This is none of your business, lady. Where’s my girlfriend?” “Come in and have a seat in the courtyard. Why don’t you tell me about her?”
11/26 Direct Link
The young man sat quietly for a long minute, thinking. “I guess it started when I was about fifteen. I was in high school. trying to fit in there. I hated high school. I just couldn’t see the point of it. I had no friends, because I’d just moved here and had never met any of the local kids. The first kids that paid attention to me were partiers, people who just wanted to get high and have a good time. They never really seemed like friends that much, but they accepted me, and there was always something to do.
11/27 Direct Link
“No, she really never got caught up in that. She’s always working. She has to help her mom with the bills, so she works at the laundromat in town. It’s not much of a job, but there was nothing else she could get.” “I’d like to help you, if I can. I might be able to help you find your balance. Maybe then you can find your dream.” “How? I barely know you. How do you think you are going to help me?” “First of all, by trusting in the possibility of help. Then we’ll see. Here, take one of these little shells.
11/28 Direct Link
“Find our own way? Whatever. I thought he was my way. Now I don’t know. I’m just so tired. School is bad, I don’t even have any friends, and I hate working so much. Now my mom has a new boyfriend. What a loser. He just hangs around all the time and I feel like I’m always in the way. Lately he’s been trying to talk her into moving to the city with him so they can both get better jobs. I don’t think he’ll get any better job just cause there are more of them available. He’s a loser.
11/29 Direct Link
What I can do is try to live with my eyes open. Pay attention to what I do and say, as well as how people react to me. Maybe I can learn to be a better person, one who doesn’t hurt others without even knowing it. I suppose no one really tries to hurt someone else. It just happens, most of the time. I’m such a Pollyanna sometimes - like Anne Frank who (before she died of TB in a Nazi concentration camp, said, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” Geez, how could she think that?
11/30 Direct Link
The last of the Memory Sundays had left an indelible memory. It had been her turn to choose the day’s activity, and she had planned an outing to the Lawrence hall of Science. They had a circus exhibit that she had heard about, and she was excited to go and check it out. She’d heard that you actually go to put on a costume and walk a tightrope. They had just finished breakfast and were doing the dishes when the doorbell rang. When Tracy had answered it, a lady was standing on the doorstep, and she asked for her dad.