The Lives of the Dead

Some of the most interesting people I meet are dead…

The Rule of Anarchy

Originally published March 26, 2015

Kha

In the time and place when I last lived it was impossible to tell the righteous from the evil.  Sometimes,  your enemy could be kind or generous or offer you aid in your time of need; and sometimes your own friends and family betrayed you.  Trust was a luxury in which no one dared indulge, not even in love.  Allegiances fluttered like leaves on the trees; showing first  one face and then suddenly, with a slight change in the wind,  exposing their pale, veined undersides to the sun.

I worked hard to avoid aligning myself with either camp, but this proved nearly impossible. I pretended to be feeble-minded so they would not demand too much of me; so they would not press me too often into service for their cause. If I could not be relied upon to do their bidding, I would not be asked. Or, if I were asked and I failed, I would not be thought a traitor.

But what was a traitor? A traitor to what? What was left to betray? Nothing was black or white, up or down, right or wrong. Everything was a muddy dun-colored pile of string. You could not tell from looking if it was comprised of one long one strand or a hundred short ones. But it did not matter if it was it was all connected or not. In the beginning,  it had all been of one piece. Chopping it apart did not make the parts manifestly different from each other.

They all liked to believe they stood for something unique but there was no difference. People ostensibly chose sides but in reality, loyalties were too easily bought and sold for sides to have any real meaning. People stood with whomever could best provide what they needed most at that moment…food,  protection, shelter, weapons.

There was no law…not of government, not of God, and not even most natural laws of man. Society did not exist, only quotidian anarchy.

This was all I ever knew in that life.  My ruse of playing the fool worked to keep me  out of any political tug of war and away from accusations, but it could not save me from random violence. I was killed by a bomb, along with the guilty, the innocent and the undecided.

_____

Buy the book!

 

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

Control Freak Marie

Originally posted 5/9/15

control freak https://thelivesofthedead.wordpress.com

 

Marie  (I got names on this one)

Margaret called me to tell me the news. I’d been expecting it for months; always on pins and needles waiting for the call to say that Mum was finally gone. She’d been deteriorating for a couple of years, but since the previous winter, when she’d taken a nasty spill on the icy sidewalk in front of her house, she hadn’t been herself.   She was mentally closed in. She didn’t care about anything any more. She’d lost her appetite for baking, for her favorite TV shows, for Bingo – for any of the small things that had previously brought her joy.

I’d tried to plan my life around her inevitable and impending passing. I knew when the time came, I’d have to go back home for a few weeks to help Margie sort things out, sell the house, settle the estate. I never committed myself firmly to any social plans that I couldn’t back out of at the last minute. I made sure to carefully document everything I was doing at work, so anyone else could step in and pick up where I’d left off.   I didn’t leave anything for the last minute, but instead made sure I was ready to go at a moment’s notice. I even had a packed bag stowed in the hall closet.

I liked having everything under control. People thought I was uptight and anal, but I found a kind of comfort in having no loose ends, planning for every possible contingency.  I had no patience for those who were caught unaware because they hadn’t thought things through. That was just sloppy living, as far as I was concerned.

I lived conservatively, saving as much as I could so I’d have a nice nest egg when I retired…in 30-something years.   I kept my resume up to date and made sure I was current on all the newest industry news and technology, just in case my employment situation changed. When I took a vacation, every hotel, every activity, every transportation connection, every moment, was planned.   I was not a spontaneous kind of girl.

So, when the Margie’s call came, I called the airline (I’d already done the research on bereavement airfares) and made my reservation.   I told my boss that the time was finally here. (She already knew I’d be gone for a few weeks, and knew how to retrieve my updated files and worksheets.) When I got home, I called the funeral home to set into motion arrangements which had already been made. I booked a car service to take me to the airport for my 10 a.m. flight. I called my neighbor who had my key and had already agreed to water my plants.   At 6:30 a.m. I pulled my bag from the closet and threw in a few last minute items. The car arrived at 7:00 and off we went. It was only a twenty-minute drive to the airport, but I wanted to be sure I left myself plenty of time, just in case there was traffic.

In the back of the taxi, I was sad but calm. Everything was under control.

I was searching through my handbag, mentally calculating how many people we could expect at the house after the services, when I caught some movement ahead. I looked up, curious, to see the side of a huge tractor-trailer coming at us at 50 miles an hour.   In actual fact, the truck had jack-knifed and wasn’t moving at all. We were the ones going 50mph.

The next thing I knew, I was here. Like this. Looking back.

I realize from this perspective how much of my life I wasted on planning. I should have taken more chances. I thought I was protecting myself from risk, but in fact, I was just boxing myself off from growth. Perhaps it’s just as well that I died young. I’m sure I never would have changed, and it would have been another fifty, sixty years of mere existence, and what’s the point of that?   At least now I have the opportunity to start again.

 

—-

Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

Coincidence or Communication from Beyond?

Yesterday, I was thinking about an old boyfriend, L.  I met him in my twenties and we had an intense yearlong affair, then he moved out of the country, back to where he was from.  We stayed in touch. We both had other relationships but in between, we always found ourselves back in touch.  Every few years, we’d meet up somewhere, spend a week together.  The old feelings and passion were still there for both of us.  He was the only man, until I met my husband,  who ever “got” me.  We adored being in each other’s company.  But he was deeply flawed — he cheated on every woman he’d ever had a relationship with.  He lied.  He was emotionally uncommunicative.  He drank too much.  He took advantage of everyone’s kindness and patience. He was selfish. We were good for short bursts but I knew that if we ever lived together I’d quickly be miserable.  He, however, held on to the hope that someday, somehow, we would end up together, maybe grow old together.

Then I met my husband.  Initially L assumed this was just another affair that would burn itself out like all the others before (because how could I ever love anyone more than I loved him?) He expected he and I would go back to the way we’d always been. I assured him that M and I were forever.

Although I’d loved L, I hated that I loved him. He had hurt and disappointed me so often,  it was a relief to finally feel nothing for him.

Even after M and I were married,  L would call me now and then to see how I was doing (maybe checking to see if M and I were still together).  He was living in Miami by then, and I in NYC. We’d become Facebook friends and kept in touch with occasional text conversations.  He asked me several times if I’d come visit him — with M.   He just wanted to see me.  So, when M and I went to visit his mother in Florida, about nine years ago,  we took an afternoon drive to  meet him and his girlfriend at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood.  It was a surreal place to meet.

I almost didn’t recognize him.  It was shocking and sad to see what he’d become.  He used to be absolutely stunning;  a smart, savvy businessman with a deep soul, who could always make me laugh.  Now he was a mere husk of his former self.  He sat there inert, barely speaking. She did all the talking. He wasn’t senile.  He simply had no spark.  This was a man who used to ooze mojo. Women would fall at his feet. (For me, it had been love at first sight.)  Now he was an empty shell with no life force. For as long as I’d known him, he’d been on anti-anxiety meds and anti-depressants. That, coupled with the heavy drinking and the fact that he didn’t take care of himself, had all taken their toll.   Health-wise, he was a mess. As a human, he was barely there.

Although he’d still text me via Facebook, over time his messages become unintelligible word salad.  He’d call me on the phone from time to time, but was nearly incoherent.  I eventually stopped responding.  I didn’t know if it was a permanent condition or if he only reached out to me when he was drinking and feeling sentimental. Either way, it was difficult and unpleasant to converse with him.  I no longer wanted to make the effort to peer inside him to understand what he was feeling, something I used to do so easily.

One day he called me and for some reason,  I picked up the phone. Surprisingly, he sounded like his old self.  Smart, funny, sensible.  He said he realized that if he didn’t stop drinking and get his shit together, he was going to die,. He’d started a program to get healthy.  I was truly happy for him.

But, as always, it didn’t take long for him to sabotage his own life and go back to his old ways. He was always one to take the path of least resistance.  His tragedy was that he was smart and deep enough to understand himself, and recognize what had to be changed, but he was lazy about actually doing the work.

Then, one evening about seven years ago,  I got a call from his girlfriend.  A few months prior,  one Saturday evening,  in their living room, he’d had a heart attack and died.  He was 60.

By that point, he’d alienated everyone in his life,  Even his own children didn’t go to the funeral.

I felt sad because I felt nothing.  After having loved him so deeply for so long, what did it mean that I felt not even a wisp of sorrow at his passing?

Back in the early days, when things were hot and heavy, we always promised each other that whoever died first would find a way to communicate with the other.  But that was forty years ago and I didn’t expect he’d remember or keep his promise from the other side.   He certainly didn’t keep any promises when he was alive so why would he keep any now that he was dead?   Besides, I didn’t want to “talk” to him. I had nothing to say to him, not even in my imagination. I was still angry at him for having thrown his life away.  I could not forgive him for squandering our love.  I was not at all open to hearing from him.

But yesterday, I thought,  I wonder…if I give him the opportunity, would he communicate?  Had I forgiven him enough to at least listen? I have learned that hearing the dead requires, at the very least, the willingness to listen.

So I said to him, wherever he may be,  “If you’re listening,  give me a sign.”  I thought about what that sign might be — it needed to be something significant to us but not so common as to be mere casual coincidence.  I thought about it.  We used to have an inside joke about Charlie Brown so I said,  “if you’re listening, show me Charlie Brown. That will be the sign.”

This morning, I woke up, opened Facebook, and one of the first posts on my feed was big picture of Charlie Brown

So, what do you think?  Mere coincidence or a message from Il Mondo Beyondo?   (I shall give him another opportunity soon.  See what happens.)

-a
—-

P.S.  Since I wrote this,  I saw yet another Charlie Brown meme on FB.  And then,  a couple of days after that, when we went to our local transfer station (aka “the dump”), and on the “take table” somebody had left a small framed panel cartoon of Charlie Brown and Linus.  And then again, somewhere else.  Charlie Brown seems to be popping up everywhere.

I don’t know if it’s because I simply wasn’t paying attention before, but honestly,  I don’t think I’ve seen any pictures of Charlie Brown in ages, and suddenly they seem to be everywhere.

Then,  to add another layer of weird,  yesterday, I was contacted by a client in LA (I have a party entertainment business,  www.bubbygram.com) whose name (first, middle, last) is the same as L’s second son (although he’s no relation.)

So, I’ve said, into the ether,  “OK, L.  I’m listening.”  Let’s see if he has anything interesting to say.

 

—–

Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog, please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days). When you think of others who might enjoy it too, it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media. Email a particularly apt link to a friend. Even better, talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also, I have just started a discussion group on Facebook, for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts. Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself. I would love get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

Bully Bait

originally posted 5/6/14

prison cell block

Le

Life works in mysterious ways. At first, I couldn’t wait to marry her. At the end, I just wanted her dead. I wanted her mouth shut; her body rotting in the ground, where it belonged. I’d been helplessly in love with her and she had betrayed me; turned me into a cuckold; made me a fool; built huge, flashing arrows pointing to my weaknesses.

If anyone had asked me, I might have said I loved her, but I guess the hatred and resentment was always bubbling beneath the surface. I hated being in her power; hated myself for not being able to break free. She baited me all the time: Compared my “assets” to those of my best friend, who, I was often reminded, had a “much better set.”   Mocking me for every mistake, large and small. Belittling me just because she could.

Maybe I should have just left, but when she’d torment me, she would always say, “Look at you! You aren’t man enough to do anything about it!” and because I knew she was right – I wasn’t man enough – I obeyed and did nothing.

She was beautiful and a bit exotic.   When I met her, I couldn’t believe a woman like that would be interested in me. When I’d ask her why, she told me I was her “diamond in the rough.” She said she would teach me how to be a man, and I believed her.

In the beginning, she doted on me and built up my ego. I didn’t feel like merely a man; I felt like “The Man.” Ultimately, however, no matter how much she tried to polish me, no matter how nice a setting she put me in, I was always the same old hunk of worthless rock. Soon, she hated me for it. She believed, if I’d only loved her enough, I would change. My apparent inability to grow a spine was a slap in her face.

In our dynamic, every time she gave me a challenge and I failed to live up to her expectations, she was elevated in my esteem; and I was debased in hers. With each of my failures, the chasm between us grew.

It was a brutal transition between her believing in me and her no longer giving a damn. I ached for the early days. I still believed I loved her because I remembered how she used to make me feel.

She took so much pleasure in tormenting me, and I accepted it. I believed I deserved it. My thinking went: “At least she’s still here; at least I can satisfy her in some way.”

I was pathetic. I wasn’t even man enough to stand up for myself.

And then one day, I snapped.

My father had just passed away a few months before. I hadn’t had much contact with him since I’d left home years earlier. I had no use for him. From boyhood, he, too, belittled me. At the time, I would not have said I was deeply affected by his death.

It’s funny, but I can’t remember the exact words she said that set it all in motion, but it was something that cut me so deep, it opened up all the wounds from my youth.   Every last scab was ripped off and they were all stinging and bleeding again:  The existential fear of my own worthlessness.   The self-loathing because I didn’t have the confidence to stand up for myself.  The inability to trust my own judgment in any situation, thus deferring to anyone and everyone, and never having a voice of my own.

In that moment, I remembered the bullies who used to tease me, especially the day I came out of school to discover they’d set my brand new bicycle on fire. I remembered my father whispering to family members and friends, and them looking at me and laughing. I was never sure exactly what he was telling them, but I felt it had to do with my most recent failure at sports or at school, with the way I’d mishandled a chore or errand. Nothing – and I mean nothing in my entire life – had ever impressed him. Even when I got married to that beauty, he made sure I knew he didn’t believe she really loved me. She must be some kind of gold-digger, he suggested, then corrected himself. “Nah, you’re never going have enough money to make it worth any gold-digger’s time.”

“Maybe,” he then suggested, “she’s going to take out an insurance policy on your life and kill you for the money” (the subtext being, “because what else are you good for?”)

She and I were standing in the living room, next to the fireplace. She was on a rant, haranguing me with the entire catalog of my flaws and weaknesses.  After a while, I didn’t hear the individual words; I just felt the toxicity of their intent.   I couldn’t breathe. The poisonous cloud was enveloping me, choking me. I had to make it stop.

I picked up the heavy, metal mantle clock, and without thinking, hit her with it on the side of the head. She crumpled in a heap. Dead. Oh yes. Definitely dead.

Panicked, I ransacked the house to make it seem as if there had been an intruder, then I called the police and told them I’d found her this way.

It didn’t take them long to figure out the truth. She was dead and I was crying crocodile tears. I had motive and opportunity. It took about ten minutes at the station for me to confess the whole thing. I was actually relieved that it was over.

At least in jail, it would be free of her incessant emotional assault. In jail, I’d be a disappointment only to myself.

I forgot, though, about the bullies. Prisons were full of them.

I was in my own private hell. It was as if every torment in my life had been distilled to its very essence and applied here. There were no lessons to be learned, only pain to be avoided.

After about four years, with another 20 before I was even up for parole, I wanted to die. Ironically, in prison, they do their best to keep you from killing yourself.   They prefer you alive so they can take their retribution one cut at a time.

So I committed suicide by bully.

I knew what to do to provoke them, and they did me a favor of literally beating the life  out of me.

Next time, I would like the confidence to stand up for myself. I would be interested to see where that might lead.

—-

Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog, please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days). When you think of others who might enjoy it too, it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media. Email a particularly apt link to a friend. Even better, talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also, I have just started a discussion group on Facebook, for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts. Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself. I would love get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

 

The Blowhard

first published 4/30/14

https://thelivesofthedead.wordpress.com

Ar

I used to think I knew everything. I was a famous man, and people listened to what I had to say, as if I were a credible conveyor of All Truth. In my defense, I have to say I did know quite a lot. I had a very sharp intellect and piercing wit. People paid to hear me speak and I expounded freely. How I loved having an audience! I believed I was better, smarter and understood more truth than anyone else.

I had no respect for anyone who didn’t agree with me. They were either blind or stupid.

Only now do I understand how little I actually knew. Here, I can see the absolute vastness of all I do not know or understand. Perhaps my soul never will.

I hope I’m not so insufferable the next time.

 

____

Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

To Feel Something, Anything

NEW!

 

 

(this was channeled over a couple of weeks.  Each time I revisited it,  I got more detail.  I could see the details of the room very clearly.  This image is not exactly what it looked like, but it gives the general impression of the back of the house.)

Guli

As a woman, happiness and satisfaction were not things I had the privilege to think about. I was taught from birth that my purpose was duty to my husband and my family. I had no right to demand anything for myself. I was hardly more than a slave. This was life.  No point in complaining about it.

When I was fifteen my parents gave me in marriage to a man many years my senior. I was no great beauty and walked with a limp from a childhood accident. They did not have much money and they were happy to find someone who would take me off their hands.   He gave my family some money,  as a gift to celebrate the marriage it was said, but in my heart, I felt he was buying me.

My husband had a shop where he repaired vehicles, motors, even hay wagons. He needed a wife and not many would have him.  He was an ugly brute — short and round, with fat, indelicate fingers. His body was covered in more hair than I’d ever seen on a human being.  He was more ape than man. And his manners were not much better, at least not around me. Only the most desperate family would give their daughter to such a man.  He knew it, and he resented me for that.

We lived in a one room house in back of his shop.  There was a kitchen area with a wood stove,  a sitting area where we might entertain guests (though we rarely had any), and a sleeping alcove.  To relieve ourselves, there was an outhouse in the back which was nearly unbearable in summer and bitter cold in the winter.

He drank often — sometimes alone in the shop, after he closed up for the day; sometimes I assumed he drank at the home of an old friend. He did this even though it was haram. I do not know where he got the drink. Perhaps from a traveling transport driver he was acquainted with. Those men were often a source of contraband.

When he was drinking, I was happy to be free of him for a few hours, although I knew it often meant trouble when he got home. If I were lucky, he would fall asleep quickly but sometimes there was  violence,. Often there was forced sex. It was easier be passive and let him do with me whatever he liked. It was over fast enough. Resistance would have only made him angrier and prolonged my misery.

I hated him on top of me, inside of me. His breath was foul and his hands and hair and body always smelled of motor oil and grease and cigarettes. Even so, there were times I longed to get pregnant, to relieve the nearly intolerable loneliness and boredom. I could happily devote myself to a baby. But then I’d ask myself if it would not be cruel to make an innocent child join me in my misery.  What kind of life could I offer, with such a man for a father? What if he beat the child, too?

It wasn’t for me to decide, however. It was in the hands of God, and I suppose in His wisdom, he decided it was better not to force an innocent to live in such conditions. I never conceived. My husband didn’t seem to mind. One less mouth to feed. That much less responsibility.  One less person to take my attention away from his needs.

After several years of this, I lost my desire to live.  I was nothing but a beaten mule with no hope, nothing to look forward to, no joy in my life. I contemplated suicide but I knew it was wrong, and that I would never get to Heaven if I killed myself.  And if I were going to spend an eternity suffering for my sin,  I might as well stay alive.

I didn’t intentionally set out to provoke violence in him, but when I stopped caring about doing my chores – cooking tasty food for him, chopping wood for the fire, washing his clothes – he would become angry, and the beatings became a daily thing. I didn’t mind. To be honest,  in a strange way, I liked them. They allowed me to feel something when otherwise, I was numb.

In the beginning, I did not resist. I stood before him and took his blows, and then went off to tend to my bruises in the most matter of fact way. without feeling sorry for myself.

One day, however, as he rained down his blows on me for allowing the fire to go out,  I became angry.  At last! An emotion! I felt something other than nothing!  I welcomed that feeling, and let it grow until I hit him back.  I didn’t care what he did to me.

I got in a few strikes and even drew some blood,  but he was bigger and stronger than me,  and he beat me unconscious and left me on the floor.

That was when I realized that if I could make him kill me,  the sin would be on his soul, not mine.  My suffering would be over, and I would spend eternity in Heaven, free of him forever. I knew he would likely not suffer any consequences for his actions in this life, but at least he could not follow me into the next.

And so, oddly, that became my reason to live:  to make him beat me to death.

It took nearly a year, but finally, he succeeded.

And the irony is, I did not escape eternity with him. He is here with me now and we will be together again in another life, although in very different circumstances which we have yet to decide.

 

—-

Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog, please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days). When you think of others who might enjoy it too, it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media. Email a particularly apt link to a friend. Even better, talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also, I have just started a discussion group on Facebook, for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts. Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself. I would love get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

 

A Humorous Interlude

First published August 12, 2018

I came across this humorous video which, though funny, explains reincarnation pretty damn accurately (at least according to my beliefs).   There are also a couple of really “heavy” nuggets of truth in there:

“God is a word that we use to fit infinity inside of our brains.”   

“There’s nothing BUT God, and there’s no such thing as God.”

I think that sums things up perfectly!

Enjoy!

Tools of the Trade

 

 

first published August 6, 2018

Lepo

I went to work as a carpenter’s apprentice when I was twelve years old.  My master was a man of considerable talent and I felt fortunate to learn my trade at his side.  He was generous with his knowledge.  He taught me to understand the properties and nuances of each type of wood – which was best for what purpose. I learned the intricacies of carving and joining, how to bend and shape the wood, how to work with expensive veneers, how to make glues and mix paints and prepare varnish.

My master had a son, who was just a small child when I first came to work in the shop.  Although his father hoped he, too, would learn the trade, as he got older, the boy showed little interest in, and even less skill at, woodworking.  In truth, he had few skills in anything.  He was a lazy child, spoiled by his mother.

Although this was a disappointment to his father, I had become a kind of surrogate son to him. It was clear the boy resented the close relationship and camaraderie I had with his father, our mutual respect, the easy way we communicated. I tried my best to stay out of his way so as not to antagonize the situation.

As time went by and I became a fine craftsman myself, my master and I became more like business partners than teacher and student. I dare say, I might even have taught him a few things now and then. We worked well together, each focusing on what we were best at.  Our furniture was in high demand and fetched a good price, making us both financially comfortable.

We worked this way, in harmony, for many decades.

When my master eventually died, his son inherited the building in which the shop was located.  He took a certain glee in turning me out, forcing me to find other circumstances where I could ply my trade.

Before I left, however, I did something which weighed on me for the rest of my life. It put me in a state of perpetual spiritual doubt.

When I packed my box to leave, I added my master’s fine tools to my own – his augurs and braces and chisels, imbued with the sweat and oil of his capable hands. I knew they were his son’s birthright but I also knew he would not put them to good purpose. In his possession, the would molder and rust in a damp corner until they were no longer useful whereas I could use them to create beautiful things and to earn a living for my family.

I took them and I went far away, to a place where he would not find me.  It might have been more convenient for me to remain close by as I already had a reputation as a fine furniture maker, but I did not want the inevitable trouble from the son, which I certainly would have had, even without the theft of the tools.

I found work easily, and soon had my own shop. I used those tools to create some splendid and artful pieces, and my family lived comfortably.

There were times, over the years, when I felt remorse for having based my fortune, as it was, on a sin.  Who was I to decide that my use of the tools was more important than his desire for them?   But always, the feeling passed.  I told myself it would have been a greater sin for those beautiful instruments to remain unused, unappreciated, unloved.  If the son was angry or resentful that I had taken them it was not because he had any sentimental feelings for them (as I most certainly did) but rather that he was upset that I took, yet one more thing that he believed he deserved to be his.

My own son had a natural instinct for wood and eventually he inherited those tools. As did his son after him.

I still wonder if I did the right thing.

—-

Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

The Aging Heiress

originally posted 4/27/14

glamorous vintage woman

Lael

I was vain, it is true. And my vanity caused many others to suffer. I was vain about things I had no right to claim as my own – my looks, my status (which was inherited, and then enhanced by marriage.)

In my 20’s, I was known as a great beauty. I was invited to all the right parties. Men desired me.

As I got older, I took care of myself as best I could, to maintain the illusion of youth as long as possible. After a certain number of years, however, age just catches up. A woman loses her sexual power over men. If this is all she has, if she’s put all her eggs in this particular basket, she ends up with nothing.

I had four husbands and excellent lawyers, but even money doesn’t fill that void, although I worked hard to prove that statement incorrect. Still, it was better to have money than not.

At 79, I was still elegant; still invited to all the right parties. My last companion was 53.  It was obvious to everyone except me that he was playing me. I wanted to believe that I still had enough wit, charm, and charisma to attract such a witty, charming, charismatic man.

When I died, he and my children (with whom I was never particularly close), got into a protracted legal suit over my estate. From where I was, I didn’t care who won. I could see how utterly pointless their battle was. The loser, in the end, was the real winner, although it took a while for that understanding to sink in.

 

***

note:

Today I was out for a walk and ran into two women I haven’t spoken to in over a year.  The first woman is a neighbor, and though we usually have a quick hello when we see each other on the street,  today we ended up yakking for an hour. Mostly, she talked a lot about her late mother, who had passed the previous year.  There was nothing unusual in that.  It made perfect sense in the context of the conversation we were having, although it was the longest conversation we’ve had, probably in two or three years.

From there, I went to the supermarket.  Right on front of me in line,  was someone who’d worked for me very briefly over a year ago.  We have not been in touch.  I asked her how she was doing, making light conversation.  She told me her mother had just passed away. While waiting to check out, she started telling me all about her mom,  her history, her days as an organizer.

I didn’t think anything odd about either of these encounters at the time. Later, however, I wondered if there wasn’t something a bit more than coincidence here.   They hadn’t simply informed that their mothers had recently passed. That’s  normal “news” you might share under such circumstances.  It was that they both spontaneously told me their mother’s story,  as if it were important for me to know.  In neither case was it at all in keeping with the very casual kind of relationship we had.

—-

Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

 

I’ve Been Workin’ On the Railroad…

NEW!

Tan

When I was a boy, our family lived in a small house on a hillside.  Down in the hollow below, which was partly natural, partly manmade, ran The Train. Although it was already there when I was born, its arrival to our area was within memory of most of the older adults. Few had actually ridden upon it but they were nevertheless in awe of it.   They knew how long it could take a person by carriage or even foot, to reach even just the next station. In their own lifetimes, they had seen the world shrink by half.

I absorbed their awe.

Each time the train passed through, with the echo of its whistle bouncing up and down the sides of the hills, I would try to imagine all the places such a powerful machine could take me — exotic places where the language and customs were unintelligible to me; where people wore brightly colored clothing and marvelous headdresses; where to sit at a dining table might mean eating unknown ingredients simmered in mysterious spices.  I loved books about foreign lands, especially those with pictures. I longed to find myself somewhere other than where I was.

While nobody I had ever met had ever gone more than a day’s journey by train (and for everyone, that was exciting enough!)  my own imagination was stoked once I understood that although this track might only lead to the nearest large city,  from there you could ride another train, and another train, and then another, and in turn,  you could go almost anywhere.

And thus began my fascination with the train.

When I was fourteen, I took myself to the local depot, which was perhaps an hour’s walk down the line, and presented myself to the station master.  I offered to do any kind of work he might have available.  He must have seen my enthusiasm (which is more than most workers have for their jobs) and gave me a chance.  I would sweep the floors, empty the dust bins,  haul coal to heat the office and waiting area.  I was barely paid more than volunteer work, but I was happy.  Whatever I made were contributed to family expenses.  It wasn’t much and I might have earned more doing different work, but my parents saw how happy the job made me, and I think they believed, as did I, that I had found my place.

I had the train schedule memorized,  reading it the way some folks pore over the Bible. I could tell a passenger exactly when the train would arrive without having to look. I loved seeing those who were lucky enough to ride, dressed in their traveling finery.

I always looked for opportunities to expand my service whether it meant carrying bags, assisting passengers up the steps, even loading and unloading mailbags and packages. I was always reliable, never complaining.  The Stationmaster appreciated my value, and would periodically give me small raises.

Eventually, one of the older gentlemen who worked in the back office retired and everybody else shifted up.  I was moved into the office where I was put in charge of what I considered to be important administrative and secretarial tasks. I am certain the Stationmaster had never encountered anyone so happy to do filing or counting or adding columns of numbers.

By now, I was able to save a little money from my salary in addition to giving most of it to my parents.  It was my travel fund.  Someday, I knew, I would get on that train as a passenger and not return for a very long time. Or ever.

It was around this time that I met a girl.  Her father owned a small shop in the depot down and he had enough money to occasionally take her into the city for an excursion.  Whenever she returned, I’d beg her to tell me all about it. She was happy to oblige. And so, we became friends. She told me of her adventures in the city, and I told her of my dreams of places far beyond.  She’d never much thought about what lay beyond, but now I’d stoked her imagine as well.

When I asked her to marry me, she happily said yes, and her family approved.  Perhaps I wasn’t as successful as some of her other suitors, but her father saw how she came alive when we were together, and he sensed that I would make it my priority to make her happy.  He was correct.

I went to the Stationmaster with my good news, asking for a better position with better pay.  He soon promoted me to the ticket window which was a position of great trust since I had to handle and count money.  I took my job very seriously and was careful to not make mistakes.

Now I had a reasonable income on which to support a wife, and perhaps eventually, a family.

We found a small house not far from the depot, at a rent that was within our budget.  She set about making it a home.

Before long, there were children. Four of them, whom I loved dearly and doted on. I gave them everything I could, but still managed to add a little bit, here and there, to my travel fund. My wife knew of this, and she, too, enjoyed the fantasy that someday, when the children were finally grown,  we would go somewhere exotic.  The fund didn’t have much,  but had I abandoned it,  I would have lost all hope of fulfilling my dream. With hope gone, I could not have remained so happily in my job. It was for this reason as well that she never asked to dip into that money. It was mine. It was sacrosanct.

The years passed and I eventually became the stationmaster.  In this official capacity, I was able to ride the train for free, but except for going back and forth between termini, there was not much point to it.  Once, when they were young, we took our children the city but with the hotel and restaurants, it was quite expensive and we never did it again.

The children grew and started families of their own. I was adding as much as I could to the travel fund so when I stopped working, we could really see the world.  It was a constant discussion – how long should we wait?  The longer I held my job, the more money we’d have to travel.  But the older we got, the more difficult travel would be.

And then one day, the decision was made for us.  My beautiful wife became ill. At first, the doctors thought she would quickly recover, but her condition worsened by the week.  Soon she grew too weak to leave her bed.  And in just a few months, she was gone.

I was inconsolable.

The allure of traveling vanished overnight. Without her, what was the point?  I bought her the most expensive, elaborate gravestone I could afford with whatever money was in my fund.

I was still working, but my heart wasn’t in it.  I went from home to the station, from the station to home.  One night,  less than a year after she died,  I was waking home from work,  lost in my own sad thoughts, not paying attention to anything but my own feelings.  I didn’t hear or see the train coming around the curve. And in an instant, I, too, was gone.

In its way, the train did take me to my final destination.

—-

Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog, please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days). When you think of others who might enjoy it too, it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media. Email a particularly apt link to a friend. Even better, talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also, I have just started a discussion group on Facebook, for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts. Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself. I would love get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

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