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dabbling in reverie

The musings of a small town 20 year old working on some colorful patches to add to her quilt of life. Warning: the occasional elephant will be passing through

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Character Sketch, Gladys

“Have you ever tried a plum?” Grammy Gladys asked as she gingerly shined the dark fruit with the hem of her yellow and blue striped shirt. 

“Those are only for old people,” I replied without looking at her, completely absorbed in my task of peeling faded paint from the porch railing. 

“OH you’re a fresh little girl, Sarah,” she snapped back. I stopped what I was doing and watched her from my perch on the stair step. She sat below me, in an old wicker chair placed strategically in the shade. Even in the shadows, her tight platinum curls glimmered with her every movement. She shifted with annoyance, “This chair is so uncomfortable, it’s doing absolutely nothing for my back,” her voice was extra nasally, the summer pollen and my dog’s fur were doing a number on her allergies- something she reminded my mother of sharply every morning.

After several huffs and groans, she settled herself and turned her attention back to the plum. She lovingly raised it to her mouth and sank her teeth into it, their whiteness standing out vividly against the deep red of the fruit’s flesh. She closed her eyes and slowly chewed, an expression of pure bliss on her face. “Oh, Sarah,” she said through a mouthful of plum, “It’s so sweet, just try it.”

“I don’t like plums!” I announced turning my attention back to my task of exposing the pale wood beneath the paint. 

“ Just try it!” She once again insisted, her tone rising, “And stop picking at that paint! Your father needs to spend some more time focusing on this house and less on work. My god it’s falling apart, your poor mother is living in shambles,” Grammy Gladys was yelling at this point.  Through the screen door, I could faintly hear my mother repeating one more week to herself over and over again. 

“No plums!” I exclaimed, hopping off the deck and onto the dulled tar driveway. I ran over to a forgotten about pile of chalk and picked up a well used piece of blue. On all fours, I drew the outline of a flower, the afternoon sun beating down on my head and exposed neck. The wicker chair let out a sigh of relief as my grandmother eased herself out of it. She walked to the edge of the deck, I could feel her watching me. The blue was laid aside and pink petals emerged. 

“If you use yellow, orange, and red, the middle of the flower will look more real, honey,” she directed me from above, “No, don’t strike lines, use lots of little dots. See? Much better,” her tone was gentle, but held an air of smugness to it. I hopped up from the ground and scrambled up the three stairs to stand beside her. Together we looked at the flower. Not taking my eyes away from it, I reached my hand out. She placed the half eaten plum into my outstretched palm, then lightly scratched my shoulder with her long, red fingernails. I took the tiniest of nibbles. I looked up at her.

She took her gold-wired glasses off and wiped at the sweat that had pooled beneath their frames, “Its good, right?” She rubbed the glasses on the soft material of her shirt, then replaced them. I gave a small nod, despite the protest from my little girl taste buds. “That’s a good girl. And just look at how lovely your flower is. You might be a great artist one day,” she put her arm around me, “You get that from my side.” She kissed me on the top of my head, her Estee Lauder perfume filling my nostrils. 

I smiled up at her, and she turned her head to look at me. She smiled back, her dark eyes sparkling maliciously, “Oh those teeth of yours are coming in terribly. Smile at me the way I showed you. There, that’s so much better.” 

The State of Confusion

More often than not, being left alone with my thoughts is a very dangerous thing. I’m a total champ at the game of what if, and lately, it’s the only game I’m playing. Instead of playing life or risk, I’m sketching out a thousand possibilities and becoming way too uptight about whether or not I’m doing things right. After hearing my parents and their friends talk so frequently about what it is they would have done differently, it’s like I’m watching my life from the sidelines, questioning every move I make and yelling at myself for not getting more in the game. 

I’m always going back and forth between living at school vs at home. Home hands down has so many pros (the biggest being the shit load of money I’m saving) but when I’m in my car driving past campus during these summer months, I can’t help but think about how much life it will be buzzing with in a few months, and I feel a little envious of everyone that will be right there in the center of it. Granted, I can just push myself to go there more often for things unrelated to class, but there are so many times I miss living in a community with all your peers and just being able to get together at any given hour. I miss the independence. In a few years, I’ll have more than enough independence and be yearning for the dependent years of my youth, but I can’t help but feel that I am most definitely not taking advantage of my reckless years. 

In addition to my living situation, I’m always focusing right in on next summer, when I plan to go to England for seven weeks for a study abroad program. I’ve been planning on this trip since freshman year, part of me moving home was so that I’d be able to afford the expensive excursion. Yet I’m watching all my friends snag internships, and I haven’t even begun to think about applying for one yet. This summer would have been the ideal time to complete one, and next summer might be last chance to do one…I’m so freaked out I’ll have to choose and won’t make the right decision. 

My mantra is, and will continue to be, that everything happens for a reason. But right now, it’s so difficult to just take things day by day and wait to see my actions outcomes years down the road. Right now, my gut instinct on certain circumstances is failing me. I’m worried I’m so focused on being practical when it comes to certain things that I’m completely ignoring the possible experiences I could gain from them. 

Waitress Frustration

After coming off of one my busiest nine hour shifts ever yesterday, I think it’s entirely fair to say that I saw both the best and the absolute worst of restaurant diners. Unfortunately, my interactions with the scumbags who I had the good fortune of waiting on stick out much more vividly than those with pleasanter people. In the course of a day, you can wait on more than 50 nice people, but all it takes is one jerk to completely offset the harmony of your shift. 

 What baffles me beyond belief is the manner in which other people actually think it’s acceptable to treat another person. People act like the fact you’re handing them food automatically makes them better than you. It’s not even just waitresses, this attitude is directed towards anyone who is providing a service of sorts, and it’s disgusting. I try not to make assumptions about the customers at my table, I try to look at them as an equal and I expect that they do the same, but more and more people are falling short of such expectations. Providing you with artery clogging fried food does not mean in any way that you have any type of advantage over me. 

The things customers get upset about are absurd, and the way in which they blame their server for certain things are just stupid. If I were to do something like bring you the wrong meal, yes that’s my fault. But if your steak’s not the exact right temperature, do not take it out on me. There are multiple parties that allow a restaurant to run smoothly, and if you really think I’m the one doing everything, you’re completely naive. The cooks will be happy to fix their mistake, you might even get a free dessert because of it.  And if your server forgets to bring you one extra butter, it’s really not something worth losing your head over. On a busy night, we’re all dealing with up to 20 people at once, cool your jets, because I guarantee you’ve made a minor mistake at your own place of employment at least once. 

 I would never in a thousand years think it would be okay to sit down at someone’s table and ignore them as they introduce themselves(My name’s Sarah. I provide you with it so you don’t have to snap your fingers to get my attention), give them a dirty look when they ask if you have everything they need, get angry at them because the restaurant provides pepsi products and not coke (god forbid), swear at them, call them “hun,” shake my head at them, leave them $5 on a $100 dollar bill (seriously don’t even leave anything, I’d be less insulted), etc.

 Based on my interactions with the other 75% of my parties, I know I’m a good waitress and that there are just as many as if not more nice people out there than asses, but as time goes by, the nitwits of the world just dig a little too deep beneath your skin. After waking up three times last night due to beyond irritating waitress nightmares (they’re a real thing, and to any of my table waiting friends who haven’t experienced them yet, they’re coming) and nursing a sore shoulder this morning from all the tray lifting yesterday, I had to vent my frustrations.

 To the people who are pleasant and treat their waitresses and waiters nicely, thank you so much, you make the job worth it. But to the crass, cranky and rude people out there, I truly feel sorry for you, I can’t imagine what it is that’s making you so miserable that you have to treat everyone else around you like dirt. To put it in your terms, I hope that the bug that’s crawled and settled into your ass finds its way out real soon. 

A Start

There’s a story idea I’ve been molding and shaping in my head, but getting the start of it down on paper has been tricky. I jotted this down today in African Lit and I’m kind of liking it…enjoy my sloppy first attempt.

Falling is easy.

When you give your body over to the compelling pull of gravity, control is out of your hands. There will be no interruptions, nothing which will prevent you from spiraling downwards.

The space around you screams in protest as you cut through layer and layer with no end in sight. But you’re going too fast to care. 

Your mind delays its departure from safety, taking a moment or two to catch back up with your hurtling body. It watches as you fall, yelling after you, “What have you done?”

But sooner, rather than later, the invisible strings tethering it to the inside of your skull are stretched too far. It snaps and suddenly it coils back inside, finally in the moment with the rest of you. Falling. Living. Falling.

Taking that intital leap is tricky. There’s that moment of hesitation, the itch in your feet to run far, far away from that tantalizing ledge. Every nerve ending begs “no, don’t do it,” but the pumping of your heart drowns those cries out. You count its beats.

Thuthump one

Thuthump, two

Thuthump…

You close your eyes and give into the faith gnawing at your restless heart, lean forward.

Falling is easy.

Landing, landing though.

That’s the scariest part. For no one truly knows what waits at the bottom to land upon. Once you’ve fallen, will you be able to rise back up?

I’ve known you all my life, yet I feel I’ll never really know you

You cannot change the past.

The time lost is gone, and it is pointless to attempt to recapture it.

But the future can be molded. 

And I will make the effort.

Because when you’re gone, I don’t want to blame myself for the lack of relationship that existed. I do not want to be able to say, “Sarah, it’s your fault. You didn’t try.” I refuse to live with that regret.

When I look at you, I see one flat color. I want to know the variations, the hues of your shadows, and the shifts from dark to light. I want to be able to fill up a book with words to describe you, instead of writing a simple and sparse chapter. I want to use all the potential love I hold for you. 

I don’t want to lose you and have to ask who you were. I want to undeniably know.  

All I really want is for you to want to know me too. 

What is this world coming to?

I like to keep my tumblr space a positive place, but today I came across an issue I couldn’t help but rant about.

I remember having to read The Giver in 6th grade and thinking that up until that point it had been one of the most disturbing things I’d been exposed to. The idea of euthanizing an innocent baby was too much for my 12-year-old mind to wrap itself around, it was too horrific. 

Now that I’m twenty, I realize there’s a lot of crazy shit that goes on in this world. The safety goggles were removed a long time ago, and I know of events too tragic to even dwell upon. Yet that image from The Giver still haunts me, and today I read an article that made me want to throw up.

I completely understand that every political party has its extremists. Extremists make up a small portion of each party, yet its their ideas that seem to hit the mainstream most explosively. 

Two philosophers, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva have proposed the idea of “after-birth abortion”. The two suggest that when certain complications arise after birth, people should have the choice of after-birth abortion. “Circumstances” can include a previously undetected disability, such as down syndrome, or the child’s family’s well being being put at risk with the birth, speaking in terms of social, psychological, or economic cost. 

Giubilini and Minerva states that a mother aborting her fetus due to discovering it has down syndrome is the same as a mother giving birth to her child and then discovering it has down syndrome. Choice should be available prior to and after the birth of the child. They claim that a newborn baby undergoes no significant change as it passes through the birthing canal and remains as insignificant as it had been when developing.

In my own personal opinion, the soul enters the body the minute the heart begins to beat. Regardless of when anyone thinks that a fetus becomes a person, there is absolutely no sense to this suggested plan whatsoever. There is a huge difference between pro-choice and murder. To decide you don’t want something after it has entered this world, and the best way to be rid of it is to murder is beyond punishable. It strips you of your humanity. What the fuck is happening to mankind that this plan could even be discussed amongst the politicians in this country? There are so many people out there who are desperate to have children and can’t.. and these jackasses think that instead of giving a child a fighting chance, or giving it up for adoption, the best solution is to kill it? That’s fucked. It truly frightens me to think of horrible things people are capable of. 

Wake On up From Your Slumber

I shut down. Last summer it was as if someone just pulled the power cord out of me. I retreated into myself, I didn’t care about seeing anyone or doing anything. Working, reading, and sleeping sufficed as entertainment. I figured it would shake once the leaves started to fall from the trees, and for a while I acted like it had, but it was a facade put on as easily as a Halloween mask. I just didn’t feel like me, my energy was zapped, my zeal to be young was fading. I turned into a recluse. 

And suddenly, I feel myself coming back. I’m craving the warmth of my friendships. My brain is enjoying stimulation and being challenged. Inspiration is finding it’s way back, music has found its way back into my fingertips. A new balance is taking place and I adore it. I’m learning to accept change, and to embrace it. I’m slowly but surely finding ways to step out of my overly comfortable comfort zone. I want to learn new things while perfecting the old. Each new day presents so many opportunities that I’ve previously been shutting down. I have this urge to live every day to it’s fullest. Wake up early and go to bed late. Laugh like a hyena and soak in new experiences the way a little kid does. 

Maybe it’s the spring pulling me out of my hibernation, or maybe I’ve just grown tired of this hazy slumber. There’s a summer of possibilities laying right around the corner, and I’m ready to take full advantage of it. 

To All of You

As of late, I’m noticing a certain trend amongst the people I know. Maybe I’m the biggest offender by far. We’re all freaking out about next, and finding what it is that will make us happy. Apparently, happiness stems from success, having done big things in your life that earn you recognition or give you that sense of “wow look what I just did.” And I mean, those big moments will certainly be critical high lights when we’re looking back, but they’ll stack up with other memories, collecting dust in our mental libraries. 

Life is not about monetary success or widespread glory. When we all die, it won’t matter if we were a good doctor or a good waitress. What will matter is what type of person we were, the friend we were, the citizen, the mother, father, daughter, son, spouse, so on and so forth. It won’t matter the number of things we did for money, or the amount of promotions we received, it’ll be what we did for others, the acts we do out of the kindness of our hearts, and our overall appreciation for life. 

It’s so so easy to get caught up in creating a plan and following it. We all draw up these maps of goals, a treasure hunt all seeking ultimate happiness. But the fact is we can be happy right now. We may not know what tomorrow will bring, whether or not we’ll use our degrees, if we’ll be able to afford a home after graduating college, what we will do when our kids grow up and we’re left with an empty nest, if we’ll ever actually find the “one,” but none of that matters.

What’s important is to realize we are here. That every minute is a gift, and every one spent stressing over reaching milestones that will come with due time is a waste. The point is, you just need to be. I, just need to be. Happiness is not something we strive to achieve, it’s a state of mind. Life is not a resume we need to worry about filling up with things that will set us apart, it’s a canvas to be filled with moments and experiences that define who we are, yet bring us all together. Surrounding ourselves with people we love, participating in activities we enjoy, eating our favorite foods, laughing until our belly aches, listening to the birds, singing along with classic songs, feeling the sand beneath our toes, finishing a good book, watching a great movie for the umpteenth time, seeing a name that gives you butterflies flash upon your phone, driving with the windows down, smelling yankee candles, playing with your dog, whatever tickles your fancy!- these  are things that make us happy. It’s these moments that truly define the every day success in our lives. Someday very soon, or very far away, we’ll be living in the future. But in this moment, let’s just live and love in now. 

let the moment seize you

The air contained that certain bite that can only be found in a New England winter. My unprotected nose was turning a vicious red, envious of my head and hands which were covered in a thick matching wool set. Indy trotted along happily beside me, putting in the extra effort to keep up with my strides. His pink tongue dangled out of his mouth, the way all dogs’ do when they are utterly content. We alternated between the dirt stained snow and the pavement, currently coming up in chunks due to ice seeping into its inconceivable cracks. Indy always insists on taking the outside, no matter how much I protest. He’s such a gentleman. 

For twenty minutes, we bond. I don’t talk and he barely makes a sound, yet we are simply  happy to be with the other, outside and on a brief journey for no particular reason but to enjoy it. We communicate in a series of tugs. He tugs me when he’s found the perfect spot to do his duty, and I tug when I decide he’s had more than enough time to efficiently smell whatever mysterious pile he comes across. 

We’ve explored various paths to travel, but we found our favorite on that particularly biting afternoon. We followed the road leading right of our house. The street is lined with tall trees, in the winters the branches bend inwards from the weight of the snow, creating a white tunnel where the tips meet in the middle. In the summer, the sky may as well be noted as green, the canopy so bursting and vibrant. Being the end of January with little snow in sight, branches just loom above, with a narrow strip of grey blue fitting in between.

The mocking of the cold air was making itself all too present when we came to an open field, breaking up the monotony of the hovering maples and pines. We were drenched to the bone in the most beautiful rays of light I’ve ever seen. The sun was just beginning to sink itself into bed for the day and was at the epitome of its splendor. Indy’s chocolate fur sparkled in this sudden burst of warmth, and my face began to bask in it for all its worth. It was really such a simple moment, an everyday occurrence that we sometimes take for granted, but it was such a spectacular feeling. It was as if the sun had plucked us two insignificant beings out of all others just to say hello. Our current happy state was enhanced to one of pure love for that current state of being. 

Now when we walk, we will take that route, hoping to catch that moment yet again, holding out for that warm embrace. 

paws off please

Yesterday I told a lie.

I mean, it was by no means a terrible one, pretty much harmless when it comes down to it. But still, it was a lie.

For as long as I have worked at my current place of employment, every friday saturday and sunday, our waitstaff is blessed with a visit from an older couple. The wife is a truly lovely woman, always friendly and a generous tipper who loves to chat. Her husband, on the other hand, is the epitome of dirty older pervert. His taste is young and thin, preferably with a giant rack. My humble twins aside, I’ve somehow worked my way onto their VIP list and every friday at 1:30 I get to look forward to them sitting in my section.

I would have absolutely no issue waiting on them if it weren’t for the fact Slimey requires a hug before and after his meal. At first, I obliged, blinded by his grandfatherly appearance, but the more he whispers in my ear and suggests I must like him for hugging him, the more disgusted I’ve become.

So much so that I’ve begun to feed him ridiculous excuses as to why I can’t give him hugs. This past friday when he asked if I was forgetting something, I told him without blinking my brother was carrying a particularly nasty virus (not a total fib) that I could be contagious with and did not want to risk getting him sick. His wife blanched at the thought that I had just delivered them food, but I didn’t care.

I’m sorry, the old adage that the customer is always correct is so far from right. You’re paying for fried haddock, not the opportunity to hold my body close to you. If that’s what you’re looking for, I suggest delving into the depths of a back alley. I suppose I could tell him I’m uncomfortable hugging him, but I don’t mean to offend- quite the irony really. And as sad of a truth as it, my selfishness can’t be a reason to drive away truly loyal customers. 

All I know is, to any guys out there, just because you will one day be old and grey and automatically deemed harmless by the female sex,  that does not mean you can take advantage of the attention you receive. What seemed awkward when you were twenty, thirty, fifty- it will be even creepier when you are in your seventies. 

Fireworks

Time spent with you is like being at a fireworks display. 

I’m anxious for that first spark, scanning the sky eagerly for the first flame to burst into life. My whole body is thrumming with this anticipation of what’s to come, knowing that those precious minutes spent lying in the grass watching the sky light up will be amazing. 

And it always is. As the first pops fill the sky, there’s that lingering silence between each explosion. That hesitant warm up of flames meeting with the black. Once the tempo picks up, the booms fall into a rhythm of their own, colors blending effortlessly, magic being created. There’s no stop or pause, just go go go, no awkward silences or moments of uneasiness. Those fireworks just light up the sky and leave sparkling remnants in the eyes of the audience. Sparks drip slowly towards the onlookers, causing that slight intake of air when you think they’ll surely light fire to the ground below. But they never do. 

Time is passing so beautifully and rhythmically that you can hardly believe there will be an end to all those fantastic golds and reds, blues and greens. But the bursts pick up speed, and suddenly it’s like you’re on your favorite ride and the world seems to be spinning too fast around you. I know the finale is coming, that soon the last shimmer will disappear. That every passing minute only brings us closer to the end. 

Lurking sadness creeps upon me, because I know in a few seconds, the show will be over. Sometimes you’re fooled. The first intense set off of a hundred rockets was only a tease, the show can go on for a few more minutes. And you try to soak in as much as possible in the extra time given, but somehow, you know it won’t be nearly enough. 

Then the lights really do stop, and it’s over. Everything seems darker, stiller, the brilliant sky has been drained of it’s magnificent hues. I fold the blanket beneath me slowly, even though the show is over, as if to just linger in it’s fleeting presence a few minutes longer. I know that in time, the fireworks will once again light up the sky, but once you’ve seen them, life is instantly dulled without their presence. 

I hate watching you go. 

We were decorating the trees the other night (and when I say we, I mean mom and me because Abby and Jeremy are now too cool to partake in such childish activities) and I felt this rush of excitement coursing throughout me as I pulled each ornament lovingly from its box. The tree was all lit, the ribbons in place, all that was missing were the hundreds of baubles to be placed accordingly amongst its branches.
I started to unwrap a box filled with ornaments bought at macy’s years ago on a hooky excursion. I think I had been sick, and my mom being the wonderful lady she is thought a trip to buy Christmas ornaments was just what I needed. I was only 11 years old at the time, but that afternoon still stands out perfectly in my mind. And the red and gold glass trinkets remain my favorite addition to our collection after all these years. They’re mom’s too.
What made pulling those few pieces out even more special was the way my mom’s face lit up when she saw them. I was instantly seeing the five-year-old version of her- all giddy and in awe of the glitter and precious detailing. Her crazy curls bouncing with every step, she lovingly carried her two favorites over to the tree and placed them in the crem de la crem of locations on the tree. It’s those moments of childlike pleasure that make me love Christmas so much, even the smallest of things are magical. 

We were decorating the trees the other night (and when I say we, I mean mom and me because Abby and Jeremy are now too cool to partake in such childish activities) and I felt this rush of excitement coursing throughout me as I pulled each ornament lovingly from its box. The tree was all lit, the ribbons in place, all that was missing were the hundreds of baubles to be placed accordingly amongst its branches.

I started to unwrap a box filled with ornaments bought at macy’s years ago on a hooky excursion. I think I had been sick, and my mom being the wonderful lady she is thought a trip to buy Christmas ornaments was just what I needed. I was only 11 years old at the time, but that afternoon still stands out perfectly in my mind. And the red and gold glass trinkets remain my favorite addition to our collection after all these years. They’re mom’s too.

What made pulling those few pieces out even more special was the way my mom’s face lit up when she saw them. I was instantly seeing the five-year-old version of her- all giddy and in awe of the glitter and precious detailing. Her crazy curls bouncing with every step, she lovingly carried her two favorites over to the tree and placed them in the crem de la crem of locations on the tree. It’s those moments of childlike pleasure that make me love Christmas so much, even the smallest of things are magical. 

Slowly We Come Out to Play

In the three semester’s I’ve been in school, I’ve found that the last few weeks of school do funny things to students..we actually become sociable within the classroom and come out from the cloud of obscurity it is we’ve been hiding under. Without fail, I always end up becoming closer with classmates as our class meetings dwindle into the single digits. 

In the past week alone, huge bridges have been crossed with various class members. I’m realizing the guys in my english courses aren’t (or may actually be) the arrogant tools I took them to be. The quiet girls in my art class are surprisingly bursting with energy and love to talk about anything and everything, which is fantastic. I had an amazing conversation with the girl who sits next to me in intro to drawing today, and she opened up to me in a way that a stranger never has.

Just as I thought I was pumped for new faces, I’m a bit sad to move on from this semester. Coming out of your shell is a challenge in a room with 30 strangers, but when it happens, the results are wonderful. If only the getting there didn’t take so long..