Are you dying?

Mom is a trained nurse. She is tough. When the bro and me were younger we so did not even dare to get sick during the week. Mom even brags about how good we were, always saving our sickness for the weekends. I can only remember staying home once and that was when I had Scarlet Fever and only than because we had a babysitter coming to the house.

My brother has asthma and rarely did he have an attack the precipitated a visit to the emergency room. I recall, again, only one incident. And it was late. Or later in the day on a holiday. I want to say Thanksgiving but am not sure.

This has lead me to going to work and pushing myself hard when I should be at home. In bed, sleeping and sipping hot drinks. Not cashiering and talking to/sneezing on my staff and customers. I have to suck it up though for I constantly hear my mom asking me if I am dead. (Inside joke dead or in the hospital the only way one was allowed to stay home).

Flash forward to yesterday when T is at M’s because Auntie K cannot watch him after school. Apparently he crawled right into K’s bed and told M had had been cold all day. I talked to him briefly re soccer and at first he wanted to go but two minutes later M is calling me to tell me he got out of bed and began to cry.

By the time I got home he had been let into the house and was curled up in his bed. I could feel the heat coming off him. I was able to persuade him to take a Tylenol which seemed to bring the fever down. Still had a headache and his tummy hurt. I fed him some soup and he was off  and into bed by 9 p.m. without a fight. Asleep in like 2 minutes.

Had to wake him up this morning at 5 to take him to the babysitter’s. Again I could feel the heat coming off of him and he began to cry. It hurt his head to stand and walk, his tummy was hurting again. I felt horrible but needed to be at work. I dropped him off with heavy heart and went to work.

My mind was not there. I went through and got everything done in record time. Everything from settling the store to getting inventory done. Watching and waiting for  8:30 a.m. so I can call the doctor’s office. In the two minutes it took me to get through this morning, our family doctor was fully booked up but we were able to get into the same day clinic.

I was frantic when Auntie K called to tell me T had a temperature of 103 but she had given him some Tylenol and he had eaten an orange. I no longer even had a thought about work. I watched the clock to 9:30 when my second got in. Raced through the doing of exceptions and tobacco daily inventory so I could be out by 10 a.m.

I ran across the parking lot which should give you an indication of how scared and worried I was. I may move at a fast walk but rarely do I break into a run. Got home transferred T from the van to my car. Talked with Auntie K for a few minutes and than we all went our separate ways.

T brings his stuffed dog into the doctor’s office. He ended up wearing my coat because he was freezing. And he cannot get comfortable. Wants to lie down but has grown so big that he is draped across my lap. He sat with his head on my lap and I ran my fingers through his hair and across his back. T was not happy. He had no questions and even my attempt at a lame joke went completely unanswered.

Finally we see the doctor. His temperature is down in the normal range. Ears and throat are good. Headache not good but manageable. It is the stomach that is of concern. And of course in my head dances the possibility that his appendix is the culprit. He told the doctor where it hurt while she was poking and prodding. Thankfully it was not his appendix.

Viral gastroenteritis. An inflammation of the stomach lining due to a virus. Usually includes all T’s symptoms with the added bonus of diarrhea and puking. Thank goodness T does not have those two symptoms. Diarrhea I can live with, but I am a sympathetic thrower upper. The minute I hear someone throwing up my own begins to rise. In all his life T has puked on me once, he sat up in bed and blach! I made the ex clean it up.

So we came home. And he took over the couch. Binge watching Teen Titans and suffering with the pain as best he can. He finally caved and had half an antacid which I was told to give him because it might help. I am making him drink a bit of milk and praying that he does not end up throwing that back up. (Milk thrown back up is disgusting.)

Where I may not look after myself and see the doctor unless I am in deep distress, I do not wait for T to get that bad. But there are sickness rules; if you are sick you are not allowed to play with your friends. You may watch t.v. but there is none of this racing around, you have to lay on the couch. T willingly follows all these rules. Which is when I know that he is truly ill. Oh yeah, and he had no questions for the doctor. Usually, he asks tons of questions as he wants to know everything. Today none of that.

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Did you know you are my hero?

My mom. She has always been my rock. My support. She doesn’t pull any punches with me, she never sugar coats it, the truth as she sees it is always laid bare for me to absorb. For me to learn from. When I was that horrid teenager I really did not care for her much and I made her life hell. Even in my twenties, we had a very rocky road. Now though, now we talk about everything and I realize just how many of her lessons I absorbed throughout my life.

As I have mentioned before my mom was the first and probably only woman on our block to be on her own in 1979. I remember when I was older she admitted to feeling guilt at leaving my father because some of the mothers of my friends would not let me play with my friends after that. But can you imagine how strong she had to be?

She left my dad, kept the house and began to raise not one, but two children. On her own. Without any help at all.

She learned how to drive a standard with my grandfather as her teacher. I am sure that I can imagine the conversation, the yelling that came from my grandfather, but she did it and got her license to boot.

She became the Nursing Unit Director of the psych unit at one of our hospitals. And than proceeded to work her way up and into career choices that to this day hold me in awe. She is so smart my mom. Anything she decided she wanted, she worked her ass off and got.

Her reward. The ability to retire at age fifty-five and move to Mexico. This was her dream and this she did at the end of 1999. I cried when she left. I cry every year that she leaves. I cry when she comes home. She is my mom, my best friend and I hate leaving her.

When I am with her, she gives me courage. She walks me through the plans to make my life happy. She steers me in the right direction and than wipes her hands clean and tells me that I am to get off my butt and just do it. JDI, her favorite three letters.

However, there is one thing my mom has given to me that I am failing to see in the younger generation that resides in the town I live in. I will not paint all those in this generation of 20-27 year olds with the same brush, but I see a lack of independence and cutting of the strings.

My mom, she never wanted me hanging onto her apron strings. She never wanted the bro to hang on. He just chose not to let go until she booted him out. Granted she probably did not want me to move out of the house at age eighteen but she allowed it. I mean how could she stop me?

I have stood on my own two feet forever it feels like. My mom fostered a strong sense of independence in me and a desire to do it on my own. I have some difficulty in asking for help because I should be able to do it on my own. My mom did how come I can’t?

I look at the dreams that I have. To write. There really is no other dream. I just want to write. Maybe make enough money so I could at least go down to Mexico to see my mom. Even if I do cry when I leave. (As an aside, every time I leave and I am sobbing, tears rolling down my cheeks, my middle aching with pain everyone is so concerned about me. And there is mom, assuring them that really I am fine, this is just me.)

I misinformed you. I have one other dream. My dream is that I will be a hero for my son the way my mom is my hero. We all imagine how our lives would be different if small things changed, but I know what I would be without my mom. I would be a selfish whiney girl child who blamed others for the misfortune in my life. I know this, I know she resided in me at one point and time. But mom drove her out as sure as if she was exorcising the devil.

She taught me to stand tall and firm in my beliefs. She taught me to have the strength to admit when I am wrong but to fight when I am right. She taught me to accept my weaknesses, embrace and learn from them. She did not teach me how to cook though, I can tell you that one! (Asked for the recipe for her banana bread and cookies and she could not remember either)

My mom, she has taught me all I need to know about being a strong independent woman. A woman who still needs her mom sometimes to reassure her all will be fine. A woman who has still crawled into her mother’s lap and cried her eyes out. My mom, she is awesome.

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I do believe that I have loved you since the beginning of time;

a soft sigh, a quick glance.

I hope you do not believe that bullshit.

How can anyone love another human being

since the beginning of time?

You swore to never abandon me and yet let us look around

I do not see a man standing near

waiting to hold my hand.

I see loneliness and pain,

strife and betrayal,

I see wars that you have fought

all in my name.

Why must you continue to batter me?

Force your way through the walls I have erected

never more shall I love you,

never more shall I give.

Begone, harry me no more, for I love you not

and cannot forever more.

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

May 29/17

 

 

WIP

Why did they follow me? I laid my head on the table, one eye closed so I could see the men that sat around me. I had drank too much. Again. So much easier to cloud my mind with alcohol than face the issues I had to.

“Princess?”

My Paladian. Why did he continue to wear that rusted armor? Why when it must be a weight upon his shoulders. I loved him. This man who chose to follow me despite the fact, no, the absolute certainty that I was going to lose here. I cannot even begin to reason why I have the followers that I do. Much better to remain drunk all the time. Way way better.

“Princess? We need to look at these.”

“What are they?” I squinted at the lines that squiggled and moved on the paper.

“It is the map you demanded. The lay out of the King and Queen’s armies.”

“Are they together?”

“The King and Queen?”

“Yes.”

This war was madness. I did not even want to be involved. My parents dove into what should have been a private family matter and made it about showing their power? I really cannot tell you. Once I found out that I was faced with this battle, I began to drink. And I have not stopped since.

I drank at supper time mostly. If my Paladian was lucky he would try to catch me just after the hang over left my body and my hand found the wine I demanded be placed at my bedside. Were he to catch me out it was hell. For he moved the carafe just out of my reach and I would have to crawl from my cot to reach it. After the first time when I fell to my knees and had to travel across the floor like a baby, I remained in bed until the shaking stopped.

I looked at my brute of a man. Well I sorta squinted at him but he was a marvel to be seen even through one eye. 6’3″, with a body that was mmmmm the abs on this man were tighter than hospital corners. His long blonde hair was caught back in a pony tail and he shaved nearly every day. Because he thought I hated the gentle scratch of his whiskers. When really I loved it. But I live in a time when women do not voice their preferences.

“Princess you need to look at this.”

He waved the paper at me. I lifted my head and he slid it before me. I looked down and as I did the table began to do the wave lift. You know what I mean, it appears that the table warps and moves like a wave. Usually that is enough to send me sprinting for the nearest latrine but tonight I swallowed my bile back down.

“Princess may I assist?”

My second in command. A Dwarf. Mathais is his name. He is smart. He is cute. He is short. I am sure without me my Paladian and Mathais could have already won this war. And yet they both remain by my side. Fools the two of them. Like really what on earth did these two men see that kept them at my side.

“Ah I see. Your father has loped around and cut off any rear retreat Princess. Your mother is off to the Southeast. That only leaves us with the Northern Passes.”

“Are you shitting me?”

I gaped at Mathais. The Northern Pass? What could possibly make my parents think that this was a good choice. Ah yes, my absolute despisal of cold weather. So they felt that if they punished me as though I was a wayward child, that I would cave. I am guessing that neither one of them truly knew who I was. This attitude was enough to make me dig my heels in and send someone ahead to have sleds and warm clothing waiting when we got to the mountains. Along with a casket or two of brandy. It is brandy that warms you on a cold winter’s night is it not?

“Wait what about the Southwest? I know that we would be passing through the desert but surely we could travel that way?” Thomas called from the corner of my tent.

Dear, sweet Thomas. He who believed that following me was going to make for great tales. He was going to create ballads and poems of wonder based on my deeds. He was going to be the greatest minstrel of all. Riding my coattails to get where he wanted to be. So far, he had seen me puke a lot but no real heroic deeds have I performed.

“The Southwest is dominated by Perius, and I am sure that he has joined with mother and father in plotting my ultimate demise,” I spoke bitterly.

Perius, my childhood playmate. At the time a prisoner ensuring his father’s goodwill towards my own. Neither of us knew this. Neither knew that we were being groomed to marry, a desire that I outgrew when I was sixteen and found Perius kissing my brother in the garden. When his father died, conveniently upon Perius turning eighteen my parents could not even mask their glee. Duke Margion had had appetites and a long standing idea for expanding his fiefdom. It meant annexing parts of my parents land hence Perius becoming my friend.

“Princess no one, least of all your parents want your demise. You know that,” the soft voice from behind me made me grit my teeth.

He still wore his priestly frock though he was a disgrace. The church had cast him out for he spoke still of the gentler Mother that we use to worship. She who provided the bounty of our fields and our wombs. She who bore the warrior sons that had helped to build our kingdom. This theme of one male god was unimaginable. No man brought forth life, he lusted and desired only to conquer and seed the world with his spawn.

I sighed. My team, small and worthless. What did I fight for? Love? It was not for my people that is for sure. I did not even know my people. What I knew were the stupid ideas of a girl child who as Princess was kept ignorant of the ideas and mores of the people she saw only as shadows.

The unthinkable was about to happen in my family. My parents had two children. Myself and my slightly older brother. He was exactly nine months older than me. Now that I am older and understand the anatomy and childbirth I find this hard to reconcile but my parents insist it is a truth. Older brother Kayia was meant to rule the kingdom. I was meant to make a marriage that enveloped more land, making Kayia a greater King than even my father had been.

My marriage to Perius had it gone through would have brought another quarter of the continent under my family’s reign. But well there was the small problem of Perius liking men, mostly my brother, and the smaller fact that I knew about it. That was a family meeting I wish I had been drunk for.

Kayia threatened to denounce the throne as ill gotten if my parents forced either him or Perius to marry. I had waved weakly from the bottom of the table where I and my Paladian (or rather another childhood prisoner, this one having become a lover) sat but we were ignored. It was quite the incredible argument I can tell you that. I do believe that that was the night my desire to become drunk and stay drunk may have begun.

My parents scoffed at Kayia’s threats. I groaned. You think that I am stubborn for deciding to trek over the mountains, into territory so new that no one knew what lay on the other side, ha, Kayia has me beat. Has. Had. My usage of present and past will switch around as each piece of the story becomes relevant.

Kyia. My brilliant beloved brother. I know that he is birthed of my mother, for we share similar features, but who my father is is a mystery. Kayia with the subtle influence of my mother’s looks, appears to be the exact version of my father. Only not so stern, not so angry, not so needy.

Kayia. Long and lean. A sturdy 6’2″. His caramel hair flows over his shoulders. Deep amber eyes that glittered golden when he joked and teased. That flared with love and desire as he glanced at Perius. Kayia, the stupid ass who helped me to start this war.

“Princess? Would you like another glass of wine?”

I lifted my head slightly from the table and gave the smallest of nods. The room did a spin-a-roo on me but once I had more alcohol in me I was going to be fine. Just fine. I knew that I needed to come up with a plan. I needed to have something firmer than just a direction to travel in. There were a lot of people depending on me. Again, I am not sure why. I do not offer them anything. I have made them no promises but it turns out that my parents might be crazy?

I live in a land where there are a vast array of cultures and characters. We do not turn any away but we do insist that they are kept in their place. Or rather my idiot parents insist that those they feel are beneath them are kept to their place. So essentially everyone who exists at this point and time. My parents believe they are so superior they want to be worshiped as gods.

I am so sorry for bouncing all over. Introducing you to people. Giving you brief biographies. Will this story have a happy ending? I am not sure. Am I scared shitless? Damn rights I am. I lead an army of folk, people who no longer want to feel inferior. Who no longer want to worship my parents as gods. How they have settled on me to be their savior I have no idea.

Paladian

I watch as my Princess raises her goblet to her lips. I know that the sour swill she drinks will cause her to black out. Cause her to forget for a short while the problems that she is facing. None of this should be her burden. Damn Kayia for doing this to her. He is not nearly as perfect as some thought of him.

Perius. He loved Kayia. Why he is angry with my Princess I do not know. This is not a subject that she will discuss with me. There is a secret burden that they share. There is a secret that eats at their souls and that is why my Princess is always drunk and Perius seeks to end her life.

Kayia. The golden Prince. His birth had been preordained. The stars aligned. Gypsies had told tales of his coming. Only one with the true sight saw the damage he would wrought. She was killed, racked before Kayia was born. No one wrote down what she foretold.

The King and Queen. Entities who had appeared. Who gathered their people together, welcoming everyone and all. They reigned in peace and no one encroached on their kingdom. Until they did. Like small gnats you cannot see but feel biting you in the middle of the night.

Kayia came first. And than my Princess. She was beautiful at birth. Or so the stories have told me. As a child her lips were a rosy red and pursed like a furled rose bud about to bloom. As she aged, they became less pronounced as she grew into her face. Beautiful auburn hair capped head. Long and with a lusty cry. She announced herself to the world and her brother’s howls could be heard to entwine with hers.

Telain was docile in the crib. She was intrigued by the shadows that danced across the ceiling. She grew quicker than most children are suppose to. At six months she was standing in her crib, bouncing on her toys, squealing to play with her brother. At seven she discovered her feet and how to move them. Her governess was forever on the run after that.

All knew. How could they not. No woman has ever fallen pregnant the same day that she gives birth to one child. The King bore it well. But the stress as the queen grew ever larger caused his hair to grey. He took to leaving the castle and riding in the woods. Trying to out ride his problems most said.

The Mad King

Oh they all laughed at me. As my Queen’s belly grew. I could see them snickering in the corners. See how they waited until I was around the corner before they began to mock the cuckolded king. I began to feel how I was losing my grasp, that my kingdom may soon fall. They told me of a boy King who would save us all. They told of a girl child who was going to destroy it all. What am I to do.

I love my wife more than any can imagine. I would never cause her heart ache. But within her belly she carries a monster. A child who is going to tear apart my kingdom, wreck havoc to all I have built.

I knew what I was going to have to do. I knew that this very act was going to destroy the relationship that the Queen and I shared. My sweet Queen. She who bore me the son who would carry on my crown. I could not allow the girl child to live. I would be there at the birth and smother the child. Failing that I will put her upon the rocks, upon the shores of the lake and something will take her. I would pray that something would take her.

The rage I felt lead me to leave the castle grounds on a daily basis. I fled to the forest, searching for vagabonds and derelicts. Anyone I could take my fury out on for my sweet Queen would not tell me what had happened to her. I bloodied my sword a lot that summer. And there were a lot of storms.

Most of the time I was able to chive and harry my steed homeward. But not that one night. I knew that there was something magical about this night. The air as I rode through the forest was hot, cloying, a wetness that hung over your body, your face, clung to your hair. My armor was heavy, pulling me downward until I slumped over the horn of my saddle.

My stallion’s head dragged close to the ground. I could hear his wheeze as the humid air began to suck the life from both of us. There was a reason this was happening. A stray thought straggling through my mind. I felt as though I was drugged. My stallion stumbled, falling to his front knees and I tumbled off. I laid in the grass, the stars glinting through the thick forest top. Was this my final day?

When the hag appeared, grizzled and rotten, I was resigned to my fate. I knew this witch. She had foretold the birth of the girl the same day my son was born. I had watched as her body stretched and ripped on the rack. The stench of the grave clung to her and I gagged as she stood watching me crawl forward.

“What? Have you come to watch me die?”

“You are not dying. Only detained.”

“Detained? Why?”

“Tonight she will be born. Tomorrow they will have bonded and nothing you do can tear them asunder.”

“Who will have bonded?”

Despite the fact her head lolled at a particular angle due to the enthusiasm of my jailer, I could in fact feel her disdain. As my steed neighed next to me, nudging me, I stared at her. She was dead and still was making me feel like a child.

“Idiot.” she scoffed. “Your wife, the babe and the boy.”

“Oh no, that is not allowed.” as I stammered out the word I realized how stupid I sounded.

“Ohhhhhh so the king is going to stop the bonding as he lays on the grass. Defeated by humidity and heat. I don’t know what else defeated you,” she snapped angrily.

“How are you even here? Have I gone a little crazy?” I asked. “And are you responsible for all my grey hair?”

“I had nothing to do with your grey hair. Dummy all your worrying and stressing over the new baby. Do not understand why you could not just accept it.” she actually turned her back on me.

“Alright I want the grey hair explained to me. I had beautiful caramel hair just like Kayia and now it is grey, white whatever color you call it!”

The witch glared at me. Pointed at her neck as though making a point. I nearly laughed but only she could give me answers. I took a deep breath and calmed myself. Finally despite the armor I was able to sit up.

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

May 28/17

 

 

 

 

 

Promises

Alone,

lost in the memories of before

I dream of folly.

I knew it was not true

but I want to believe in those promises.

I wanted to believe that the hope you gave me

I wanted to believe in the mirage I held

sandcastles built in the sky

balanced on the clouds of my dreams.

Tears I have wept, tears I have cried

dejected with the loss of your heat.

Alone,

lost in all those memories of before

and knowing it never meant a thing to you at all.

 

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

May 28/17

 

 

Would you jump too?

When I was a little girl and well let’s face it right up until the time that I moved out of the house, I did not get all the things I wanted. Cabbage Patch Kid phase, I was the only kid on the block without one. One of my friends had two and I was green with jealousy. I cannot quite recall the other things I wanted in life that all my other friends had but what I can tell you is my mother’s comment on all these passing phases. (And yes I realize that having a Cabbage Patch Kid now would earn me some serious cash but alas, I am missing out. Thanks a lot mom.)

My mother was a single mom in a time era where divorce was still frowned upon. But that is a subject for another story. Here we are discussing her absolute disdain for popular phases and my desire to follow them. (Just remembered another one, in grade 7 it was Melissa Jeans with a white stripe down the side. Finally got them as they were on the down swing. And the pair I had were defective. The zipper refused to stay up. I walked around half the day with my zipper down, showing off my scarlet granny panties for everyone to see before one of my friends alerted me.)

Our conversations would always start off the same. ‘Mom I really really need a Cabbage Patch Kid.’ ‘Jay, it is really close to Christmas just wait until Santa comes.’ So I was excited. Ten years old and although I knew Santa was my mom, I had expectations. I wrote a letter I believe to Santa. And than came Christmas. There was no Cabbage Patch Doll under the tree. What on earth! Santa always got me at least one of my asked for gifts on my list. Why had he forsaken me?

Now every smart child knows that the time to ask for a much needed item is not during the holiday season. So I waited. And waited. My Amma passed away just before Christmas that year and in January I was struck with (as the doctor put it) good old fashioned Scarlet Fever.

Finally I asked again for a Cabbage Patch Kid and this was my first (probably not but the first time I recall it) introduction to what would become my mom’s famous last words. ‘Jay-lyn Anne you are not going to die without a Cabbage Patch Kid. If all your friends were to jump off a bridge would you do the same?’ I think I may have made a smart ass comment about knowing how to swim but alas, it failed to impress.

Let us fast forward 33 years. There is a new fad in town. It is called a Fidget Spinner. It is a plastic toy for kids to keep their hands busy. Are you kidding me? It is literally a piece of plastic that kids spin around their fingers. M has indicated to me that it is kinda neat but I am appalled.

She bought K one. I said when I saw it, no way in hell is T getting something dumb ass like that. His dad has agreed to ‘make’ one for him at home in the shop. Not sure if his dad is waiting for him to forget or will actually make him one. I do not care. I refuse to spend money on something this dumb. Which brought back the statement ‘If all your friends jumped off a bridge would you too?’ and I understand now where my mom was coming from.

T and his dad came to the store to shop yesterday. We had a conversation about the Fidget Spinner and how I most certainly was not going to buy him one. With a slight pout and whine T asked me why not? I did not use the statement my mom used on me but I did tell him that the reason why was because his interest would last as long as it did for his talking Elmo and Chuck the Truck. He asked how long was that? I said one day!

As I said one day to him, the statement if all your friends jumped off the bridge would you do it too? And I finally understood what my mom meant.

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I look into your eyes unsure of what I see

for we share no love, no tenderness

Only lust. Only desire. Only time stolen

from the other that you love.

I know that you love her forever more

I have seen the tenderness with which you have held her

I have seen the desire, the mad lust

but not once have I seen the truth.

We are dirty and wrong, maiming those we love

but we cannot let go.

Your call to me should go to voice mail

but I answer with a breathless drawl.

I need you to release control, to flee

allow me the peace to be.

Such a sorry state we find ourselves in

no correction, no chance to survive.

You took my heart and scorched it.

You broke my soul in two.

I can live without you

but that does not mean I have let go.

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

May 27/17