Love

As children, love is our constant companion. It is not elusive. It is simply by our side, shielding us from the monsters under our bed and the nightmares in our minds. 

As we age, we demand love’s protection from more advanced opponents like jealousy, anger and doubt. But—unless we’ve nurtured and protected this delicate creature over the years—love will lose these battles. 

And, the more we analyze it, the more likely we are to lose it altogether. 

I remember feeling love’s hand against mine on the M train to Manhattan. If I’d just let it be, I could’ve enjoyed it longer. But curiosity got the best of me and I turned to catch a glimpse. And, as soon as I did, it was gone. 

Love is an expert at hide and seek. The more people you rally to help you play the game, the better. 

Today, love had nowhere to hide. 2.9 million people united across the world to find it together. And, once we did, we realized it’s the only weapon capable of ending the monsters facing us now. 

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Opposite day 

Left is right and right is wrong. The inept are in charge and the skilled are in doubt. Our connections make us feel disconnected. 

We’re are awake when we should be asleep and asleep when we should be awake. 

Comedians tell us the news while news anchors star in laughable parodies of today’s events. 

The most vocal are silent. The most active are frozen. The young feel old. The stupid feel smart. 

Just remember: Applying logic is the most illogical thing you can do. 

Nature nurture

When me and Sis would get to fighting, Daddy’d always make us go on what he called a Nature Nurture. He’d make us walk around in the woods and not say NOTHIN for like FOR-EV-ER and he’d point out big ol’ trees and clouds and stuff but we couldn’t even TALK. We were s’posed to just nod our heads and keep on walkin’. He’d say it was important to remember how little we are–that we’re part of something so big we can’t even see it and that we need to love each other so we can get through it together.

I think he just did it so me and Sis would shut up.

One of those days

Had she known the bag of chocolates would explode into every nook and cranny of her kitchen, she never would’ve opened it. In an instant, brightly colored, candy-coated confetti shot behind her blender, beneath her dishwasher and under her fridge. All she wanted was a tiny indulgence at the end of a rough day. And all she got was really, really pissed off.

“It shouldn’t be so hard to be happy,” she said, spinning around toward the trash can with such force that she lost her balance and jammed her toe into the barstool. “FFFFFFUUUUU–”

When her four-legged little munchkin came bounding into the kitchen and assumed his crooked headed/innocent eyes pose, she couldn’t help but laugh. “Hi, precious,” she said, reaching down to rub his ears. “Who’s a good baby?” She put both hands under his chin and scratched.

And that’s when she noticed the blood.

“PUFFY! Did you get into mama’s stash AGAIN?!” he held his head in shame and looked up from beneath guilty brows. “You have no idea how far that cute little face gets you, little man.”

She reached under the kitchen counter and grabbed a clean pair of latex gloves and a face mask, cranked up the stereo and headed to the back room. Operation Candy Cleanup had just been redefined.

 

Pancakes

“I swear to GAWD,” she huffed, straining to lean across her belly far enough to reach the syrup. “I just don’t know how she can be so dang stupid!”

Darlene flicked open the sticky syrup bottle top and proceeded to pour its entire contents over her butter-drowned half-stack.

“She’s just unsaveable,” she continued, slapping the bottom of the syrup bottle to  get at the last of it before signaling the waiter over.

“Yoo-hooooo!” Darlene jiggled a stubby, freckled arm until her waiter–and the rest of the restaurant–were all forced to acknowledge her. “Now, I don’t want to cause a scene here,” she said loud enough to cause a scene, “but I am completely OUT of syrup ANNND I thought I told you to keep my Diet Cola FILLED. Does this look filled to you?” She cocked her head to the side like a greedy little Yorkie and wrinkled her nose like she’d smelled a fart.

Just as he was about to answer, Darlene turned back to her friend and her pancakes. “I just don’t understand why kids today are so selfish,” she said. “I’ll never underst–” Darlene snapped her head back to look at the waiter, “Honey are you slow, or something? Go get me some seeeer-ruup and more Diet Co-Laa!” 

Darlene shook her head in disgust once the waiter disappeared again. “I swear to GAWD!”

Lullaby 

“Hush little baby, don’t say a word.”

Using Sir Monkey as a fluffy full body shield, Kayla slid out of bed and tiptoed over to investigate the noises outside her bedroom door. 

“Mama’s gonna buy you a mock-ing-bird.”

The song had a serpentine sound that hissed into her ears before slithering down her spine. 

“And if that mock-ing-bird don’t sing,”

When their eyes met, Kayla’s chest clenched. She couldn’t breathe. The room was getting darker.

“Mama’s gonna buy you a dia-mond ring.”

The sounds washed over her, throwing her head back and leaving her paralyzed.

“And if that dia-mond ring don’t shine,”

Suddenly, a blinding-white electric light shot out of Kayla’s mouth, eyes and nose. It lifted her off the ground and into the arms of the cooing siren. 

For a moment, she felt safe there. Like maybe that had been her spot all along. Here in her arms. 

And then everything went black.