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The Fuel

Thoughts with tiny bubbles

My head submerged underwater and my lungs breathed out the condense air as tiny bubbles floated over my face. The evening news showed deaths of Asian women in Atlanta a few days ago, but I refused to listen to the thought and immersed myself in the bath water relaxing my mind. 

Two days ago, an active shooter murdered 10 innocent people at the King Soopers Grocery Store, in Boulder, Colorado, nearby a cafe I frequently spent time in to write. There was a clearing force injecting my heart, to clean nonsense and only give space to those who loved me and no one else.

 

The rest of the world no longer mattered, and I felt forced to shelter in the comfort of stable friendships, critical people only, because those were my community. I didn't want to speak or process my grief to anyone around me. I wanted to close the door to the friends I have yet to meet or develop relationships with, and focus only on the current and immediate close circle of families and friends.

 

Those violence almost closed the door to a future filled with harmony, new friendships with beautiful lives and souls, and almost impeded my growth as a human being.

 

My drive and purpose in life came knocking on the gates of my brain, and asked it to open and relent compassion for my well being; through trauma processing and making connections with my fellow coworkers and customers I met on a daily basis.

 

I realized, my purpose was to send out beautiful energy and to help others in words, action, and love, more than I received. It was my calling to fulfill as a fateful destiny, for which I never chose but it chose me and happened accordingly. 

After witnessing those tragedies via social media and television, I almost lost my sparks. It stunted my creativity for a couple of days, from fearful thoughts that I might pose as a threat for a senseless and irrational human being. People who committed mass shooting, racism, rapes, violence, terrorisms at all levels, including stalking and gang banging, have no purpose in life, their souls full of egos. They felt the existence of good prevents them from their freedom to release the erratic behavior to oppress those who pose as revolutionary. They felt threatened in their subconscious by good lives, opportunities, diversity, tolerance, harmony, and peace. The crazies almost had their statements fulfilled, but that would only suppress growth of our future and ridicule our youth. 

Came back my thoughts to the knocking of my own heart beats pumping my subconscious. It asked me to write out my thoughts and gave me a newfound freedom of expression. It was my right to be Asian because I was born with it, and my right to want gun safety, and my right to grieve for my beloved Father, who died a month ago.

 

I had the right to process it, to not fear it, to be angered by it, but not to be negatively moved or provoked by it. I was the strong tower who had the right to sunshine, and it was an ordained future. Those vile acts and the death shan't lead me to captivity. I was free to express my emotion, because it was sane and creative, not vehemence of ghore. 

Submerged underwater, my brain cooled down, the door to my mind and heart opened for a life of adventurous journey, running with beating pulse pacing my life to enjoy it once again. The tiny bubbles kept floating over my face and I rose up exposing my shoulders over the bath water.

 

This was a thought processed, after a few dismal days.

 

Just write.

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No Babies, No Cry.

The crevasse of dirt ran down the path to the right side of the road like a long Earthworm sleeping on land. Summer in Colorado was torrid after a blizzard winter, and driving by dry farm lands scorched me in this car with no air-conditioner. I felt the Pontiac swerved but my thoughts flashed of Julie's face with her clear plastic glasses. I could careless of the passage I ignored at home about her, because she made me cry. This old Pontiac was red once, but now it streaked with bronze and copper marks from scraped paint. It was my soul deteriorating as an augury of life, and I wanted nothing more than a few Pabst for consolation earlier, but this mess got me guerilla driving. 

 

The steering wheel made me sick, and the leathery crap slipped out of my hands. Julie's face was on me again. I tried to hold it together, but just like trying to control Julie, it wasn't my time. Damn tree was too close along the path as the road ragged on the wheels and I hit that damn dead bark in the middle of nowhere. 

 

The crash was bad. I felt my neck popped forward out of my back and I knew I just about died. Nothing in my vision. There was dark and more dark, and the air felt light in my chest, lifting me up. I breathed in, and got shook out of my beard. It wasn't even a long one, and I even moisturized my beard. 

 

"Wake up! Get the hell out!" said a voice. 

 

I shook out and shook up, my eyes like a wild dog, searching for something I could focus on. The hand pulled my shoulders and dragged me out of the car. Whatever animal was dragging me, pulled the hell out of me like I was food.

 

"Stop! Get the hell off me!" I screamed, my legs kicking as my temples throbbed. The six pack of Pabst slowed me down and I gurgled out some and was about to vomit a pint or two.

 

"Stupid! You're stupid! Get up! or I'll kick ya!" said a man's voice. What kind of a man would help someone then kick him? 

 

He stopped dragging me and left me on a hot afternoon like a broiled shrimp on the ground, with my skin all pink and burned. Old white men cooked in his own flesh like seafood on a grill in times like these.

 

"Who the hell are you? Do you know who I am?!" I shouted and something liquid spat out of my mouth. My legs folded and I pushed up off the ground. "Mind your own damn business!"

 

"Lucky dog, you bastard! You thank me!" he said, his head cocked at me like a rooster in a hen. "Drank up and drived like you own shit!"

 

"That's my car, you asshole!" I told him. "Carl! Who the hell are you?"

 

He was short, with dark hair, his nose flat, like he was Chinese. A brown t-shirt and jeans with sneakers made him looked like a young college student. Maybe he was Chinese, maybe he wasn't, but I didn't care what he was. He looked double and my eyes watered.

 

"Paul!" the man said. "And you're stupid!"

 

"Paul?" I said. "You look like a Chang, or Van or something...."

 

"Why? Because I look Chinese?" he said. His arms beside him, and his face looked red and I saw sweat on his forehead. Might be because I was a heavy load and he pulled a fat man out of his car, or he was mad. "Just because I'm Asian, I'm supposed to have a China man's sounding name?"

 

I stayed silent, and looked into his eyes. "Nah...," I replied.

 

A soft peace was about me, as if I knew he was helping me somehow, but I wasn't supposed to know.

 

"We gotta go up a mile and talk!" said Paul. His right hand made a fetching gesture swaying and I felt like a small animal.

 

"What about?" I asked. I looked behind me, and the car was wrecked with the front bumper concaved in and some oil must have leaked with whisps of smoke exhausting out. There was a shadow of a body inside, but it couldn't be mine. I was outside, talking to Paul.

 

I looked to Paul, and didn't have nothing better to do and the dip of the crevasse looked like a cliff and I wanted to dive into it. 

 

"Don't even think about sleeping in that dirt," said Paul. "You're crazy if you do. Come with me!"

 

Paul was mean, and his tone was gritty like a chain smoker but clear sound of voice.

 

"Where we going?" I asked. 

 

"Quit it! Just walk," Paul said.

 

I followed Paul, with his shorter legs, as I caught up. My husky 6' feet body could sit on Paul and squash him, but I wasn't about to get rude to a man who said he had something to say to me. I walked and stayed calm, but Paul wasn't double anymore and my chest wasn't full of puke either. Inhaling the hot air, I swayed a bit, and almost tripped, but I staggered my legs and kept my stance. Paul ignored me, and kept walking. 

 

In the distance was a small house with a porch and a rocking chair in front. The sign on the top of it said, "Highway to Hell," in wood and white lettering and the "Hell" part was hanging down. My eyes felt wet and I looked back to the Pontiac and it was still there, down the road, kissing the tree with branches that looked like the witch's fingers.

 

Paul kept walking and stepped on the porch and opened the door as it creaked and walked inside. A few steps behind him, I looked around and realized this was some kind of bizarre something, because I must have passed this road before and never saw some small shack for a resting point. I followed Paul and walked in, and saw a few tables and chairs with yellow gingham liners.

 

"Just got in, Paul," said the waitress. She looked like a waitress, with an apron and a flowery Summer Dress and her hair was in a bun. Her brunette hair made her blue eyes prominent, and while she was beautiful with a heart shaped face and high cheek bones, I knew she was of age. She walked from the kitchen from the back to a table, and what seemed like a small house, felt vast inside. I looked around the room, and it was like stepping into a prairie cottage, with chairs of wood with soft yellow plaid padding and a blue gingham love seat to the left of the room. A small fireplace over the chimney was in front of me, and next to the hallway leading to the kichen in the back of the house.

 

"Yogurt please, Bonnie," said Paul. "Pro-biotic treat for me."

 

"And you, Carl?" asked Bonnie.

 

"How'd you know my name?" I asked. Bonnie sure was pretty, and if I wasn't in my sixties, I'd marry her.

 

"Stop thinking smack, Carl. What are you having for your afternoon snack?" Bonnie asked. 

 

"What are we? In kindergarten?" I joked. "Are you serious?"

 

"Just,....," Bonnie said, as she exhaled and seemed upset. "Milk and chocolate chip cookies, then."

 

She walked on to the back of the house and must be for baking or some sort, because how else would chocolate chips be made? I sure never tried.

 

"Julie," Paul said. "She's your only daughter. Why aren't you behaving properly?"

 

Paul pulled up a seat and sat down, as he leaned back and I stared at him for a moment. Paul was a bastard I didn't want to talk to right now, because who was he to ask me these questions at a time like this? I wanted to die about thirty minutes ago, and Pabst was helping, and now this Chinese thing was in front of me, asking personal questions.

 

"I really don't want to talk to you," I said. I stood at the same spot, and my arms tensed and felt my veins pumping my heart and hands. The heat must got me overwhelmed because my eyes rolled back and I dropped like a dead fly.

 

Paul immediately got up off his seat and picked me up, and threw my arms around his shoulders and laid me on the couch.

I inhaled and closed my eyes. Breathing for five full minutes, as Paul must have pulled the chair next to the couch where I laid and sat there. He waited for me to flutter my eyes open.

 

"Here, Bonnie gave me a glass of water," said Paul, holding a small glass half full.

 

"Thank you," I said. I felt my heart beating hard. 

 

"It's your coronary heart disease. You shouldn't be drinking this much," said Paul.

 

"Julie's getting married, and no Gypsy woman should be marrying another woman," I said. I cried, holding the bridge of my nose. "She's my baby girl, and now she's gonna marry some Gorger lesbian named Tristan."

 

"That's a nice, name, Carl," said Paul. "But, I don't look like a Tristan."

 

"You look like a Van," I told him. Paul sighed, and giggled. 

 

"Your daughter is a lesbian," said Paul. He smiled at me, and I looked at him with sharp eyes and moistened beard from the water dripping off my mouth. 

 

"She never told me. Now, she wants to elope with this woman,... or man. This thing," I said. My heavy chest heaved and my mouth frowned down and felt my heart dropped to my gut. "I wanted babies for her."

 

"Oooohhh, I see," said Paul. "Babies...."

 

I looked to Paul, and he smiled at me. He must felt smarter with probably all that computer knowledge all Chinese men knew and got chops for. 

 

"I know what you're thinking," said Paul. "That's Bill Gates."

 

"You're shitting me!" I said. 

 

"You asked, and you thought it," said Paul. He shuddered, and said, "Stop thinking racists things. Okay...let's start over."

 

"Julie never told me she was a lesbian," I said. "Gypsies don't do lesbians. We give birth to normal people, like everyone else."

 

"You have a beard, Carl," said Bonnie. "Not everyone has a beard."

 

"Bonnie,...it's okay," said Paul. Paul looked to Bonnie as she came out with some chocolate chip cookies and milk and placed it on the ground next to the couch where I laid. "That's good stuff. Bonnie is top stuff."

 

I looked at Bonnie with endearing eyes, but Bonnie rolled her eyes. 

 

"Divorced," I said. 

"Not interested!" Bonnie replied, and left to the kitchen.

 

"Carl! FOCUS!" said Paul. He took a cookie and handed it to me, and I accepted. The brown chocolate chip cookies was warm and soft and I must have slobbered because Paul handed me a napkin. I took it and wiped my whole mouth with it. Bonnie was talented and I kept chewing on the chocolate chip cookie. Paul smiled again and folded his arms. He breathed in and waited for me to finish my cookie. I gulped the last morsel down and wiped my hands with the napkins. 

 

"Thanks, needed that sweetness," I said. 

 

"Why aren't you smiling?" Paul asked. He smiled at me and I couldn't help but to return the kindness.

 

"She was my favorite," I told Paul. "She's the only daughter I'll ever have, and since her mother died five years ago, she's been driving up to Denver to meet some friends, or so she said. I didn't know she's been out with that Gorger lesbian."

 

"Tristan," said Paul.

 

"Yeah, that's his boy name. I don't even want to know his girl name," I told Paul. I closed my eyes, and breathed in.

 

"Tap your chest, three times with both your forefingers on your hands," said Paul. "Like this." Paul tapped his chest with his two fingers of both hands and I followed him. "Breathe, Carl," said Paul. "Say "I'm good and I'm kind, and I sure love these cookies."

 

"I'm good, I'm kind, and I sure love these cookies," I repeated. I tapped some more, even more than three times. I liked this tapping shit.

 

"So you think she's crazy now?" asked Paul.

 

"Yeah, she's nuts! What the hell do they do? These lesbians! Where do they go? How the hell are they going to be good Gypsies and raise children?" I screamed out all of the chest air and flumoxed anger. "I don't even know how to hug her anymore. Is she the same Julie?"

 

"I see," said Paul. "You think she's transformed into some outer space being who likes only women?"

 

"No," I said. "I'm a Catholic, and Catholics don't do that shit."

 

"Are you a practicing Catholic, Carl?" asked Paul.

 

"No, but I still am a Catholic," I said, defending myself, my core, and who was Paul to ask these questions?

 

"I've never met anyone who was a non-practicing Catholic," said Paul. 

 

"You're shitting me?!" I asked. What god-damned person has never heard of that before? I was baffled.

 

"I know....I'm an atheist," said Paul. "I don't practice any religion."

 

"You're going to hell, Paul!" I told him. What sort of cookie maker was this Chinese man about? He kept telling me what to do and told me to follow him to some shack and now he felt he was sane for telling me he was atheist? I had to ask him, "Do you think Julie should get married?"

 

"You know what I do think?" said Paul. His eyes wide and looked intently at me. "You drank and drove into a tree, and you told me that you didn't want to live. I think you need therapy!"

 

I felt the sweetness inside my mouth, and shut my mouth for a moment. Paul was right, I drank and drove carelessly and I hated Julie for wanting to elope with Tristan, the woman who was a man, who was actually a woman. I reached down to the ground, and took another cookie.

 

"Are you a cookie maker?" I asked, just softening the hard water.

 

Paul shook his head, and took a cookie and ate one, and said, "I don't want you to be a coward, is all."

 

"I'm no coward," I said to Paul. I swallowed the whole cookie and felt almost full. 

 

Bonnie stepped out and saw me, and looked down to the ground, and nodded. She went back to the kitchen.

 

"Are you a good father, Carl?" asked Paul. "Tap your answer on your chest."

 

"I'm a good father," I said, tapping my chest three times, and repeating it.

 

"Are you a damn good father, Carl?" asked Paul. "Repeat it. Three times."

 

"I'm a damn good father," I said, tapping my chest, repeating the words three times. 

 

The room felt still and I closed my eyes and breathed in. I stayed still and basked in the quiet silence and solemnity. It felt peaceful, and for once, I was happy. I haven't' felt this calm since Julie graduated college.

 

"Describe her dress to me," said Paul.

 

"It's got a thousand jewels, and a Sondra Celli knock-off. We got it dressed in Broomfield," I said. "The ruffles has rainbow colors, and the fabric is pink glitter with more beadings and jewels all over."

 

"Sounds girlie," said Paul. "All those jewels must cost much."

 

"We saved up for six months, and we're having it at Estes Park, in the small white church, but we're having a friend do it. We won't have a priest," I said. "I felt bad, because her Mom wanted her to be traditional, marrying a Romanichal and into the community. Not some Gorger boy and girl in one body and just having me as witness."

 

"If you don't do it, who will?" Paul asked.

 

"That's why I drank and wanted to die," I said. "I lost her, and now I'm gonna be alone. And she's a lesbian."

 

"Okay, let's go outside, we gotta go back to the car. I'm tired. You're crazy," said Paul.

 

"What?" I asked him. "We're not done talking."

 

"Yeah, we're done," said Paul.

 

I got up the couch and drank the milk. I lost the headache and the intoxication was gone, completely. I didn't know chocolate chip cookies was magical, but I was mistaken.

 

Paul opened the door, and stepped outside, as he stood for a minute on the porch, inhaling the now evening air. Summer nights was breezy tonight, and it felt smooth caressing my skin this evening. I stood next to him, and Paul began to walk before me. 

 

"You remember Arlene?" asked Paul. He looked above, and kissed his hand and waved at the stars.

 

"My ex-wife, Arlene?" I asked. My throat choked, because Arlene was a sore subject of a woman I once married too young, and had to let go out of heartache and addictions. She was my red, in my white suit.

 

"She never re-married," said Paul. "You never kept in touch with her, did ya?"

 

I walked beside Paul, pacing him, slowly together. "Nah, no need to. She was gonna be allright," I told Paul.

 

"She died a month ago. Breast cancer," said Paul. "She was at St. Joseph's in Denver for a year."

 

I gasped and stood still. Arlene never reached out to me and I never cared for her to. I knew she was going to be okay, because she was always a career woman, working, hard core business oriented and never backing down in an argument. She was the balsy type with black hair and angst for miles. Arlene was a kicker in the football team.

 

"She never told anyone, because she thought no one cared. Her parents passed before her, and she was alone," said Paul. "You know what her motto was?"

 

"What?" I asked, confused of how this had to do with me and Julie.

 

"No babies, no cry," said Paul.

 

I felt tears rolled down my eyes, and my body shook from the triggering conscience of understanding how Arlene never had babies. She was alone, all this time. 

 

"She was a good woman, Carl," said Paul. "She was just different. Ambitious, but she was kind. She put up with you for a good six years, didn't she? She almost ended her own life one night."

 

I didn't reply. But, I knew she did love me. I didn't cheat, but I was addicted and she didn't care for it, so she left, and I found Mary, Julie's Mom. "I thought she'd be okay," I said to Paul. I sobbed and smelled my breath of alcohol.

 

"That's what you think, Carl," said Paul. "I wished you can love a person just as she was designed, but not all ends well. She was alone in the hospital, but I was with her. And we talked, and that's how I knew about you," said Paul.

 

"Who the hell are you, anyway?" I asked. We were a few steps away from the car, as the conversation drawned out to a mile or so. 

 

"You son of a bitch!" said Paul. He punched me and kicked my shins, and dragged me into the car, and screamed into my ears, "It's not always about you and your addictions, Carl! It's about loving them back! You piece of shit! You fight for your life, you bastard!"

 

I fought for dear life, with my arms searching to fend him off, but Paul was a strong one with that tout Chinese Karate chop stuff physique. What kind of person would invite some man for cookies and milk, then attacked him near his car? I was about full cup anger and half cup of confusion, all drunk again.

 

My eyes opened as my head cocked back and my whole body shook as I suffocated from the air bag blown on my face. I was inside the car and I smelled smoke in whisps inside the car and I smelled fumes. My gut stuck in between the air bag and the steering wheel, I wiggled and couldn't move.

 

"Oh shit!" I kicked the driver's side door open, pushed down all of the air bag out of my face and crawled out. I crawled on the ground so fast, I didn't realize I was alone. I stood on the dirt and stepped back and almost fell into the crevasse of dirt. My foot got stuck and it turned out it was just a crack and it looked bigger than it seemed.

 

I took my foot out and stepped back on Earth, and pulled out my cell phone. Julie's number was my emergency contact and it rang a couple of times as she picked up the line.

 

"Hello, Dad?" said my daughter, Julie. She's my baby, no matter if she was lesbian or not. 

 

"Baby, I need a ride home," I said. "Got into an accident, but I'm okay. Where are you?"

 

"Dad, you're supposed to be at the rehearsal with me!" said Julie. "The wedding is tomorrow!"

 

"Why you want to get married so much anyway?" I asked, still irritated.

 

"I want to have a family, Dad. You'll be a grandpa someday. I want to have a family with Tristan. We wanted to adopt or something like that," said Julie. "Please, Daddy."

 

Tears ran down my cheeks and I sobbed, gasping for air, and thought of Arlene in the hospital and how she must have wanted to have a family with me, but never amounted to anything. I felt like a jackass, but hearing Julie, I was a happy jackass.

 

"I'll be there, honey," I told her. "I'm so happy you're getting married!"

 

"Oh, Daddy," said Julie. "If you only knew how much Tristan loves you. We want to do things right. We are crazy about you! You're my only Dad!"

 

"Pick me up, baby. I want to be at the rehearsal," I said. 

 

The tears felt warm and Summer got hotter with my cheeks and beard moistened from something that felt familiar and smelled like chocolate chip. I looked around, and Paul wasn't around. While waiting for Julie, I ran a mile up the road, and there was no small house, and no shack and nothing but barren land, and further up, there was a farm. I was confused and hurting inside of the memories left behind of Arlene, my darling wife whom I never cared to help. I fell to my knees and my heart broke in half. 

 

"I'm so sorry, darling," I said to Arlene, but she wasn't there. I looked above me, and kissed my hand, and uttered, "Thank you, Paul."

 

The End. Just write.

 

*Inspired by The Stand, a novel by Stephen King.

 

 

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Clementine, my son.

Love came to me during a sunny day with nothing but the glory of the skies above. The skin on my body was rippled with sweat as the water from the grove sprinklers sprayed over us, rooting the soils and splattered on my skin. Atop the second lowest branch, where I lived, the Earth was at peace and the wind breezed through the leaves with a soft gentleness upon my whole body, round, supple and naturally orange. 

 

My name was Pomelo, but others called me Junior, because I was a medium sized gent with a penchant for water drops. At times I screamed to the top most branch where Old Pomelo was and he always said, "Son, there will come a time when your worth will enhance human kind. Think of all the many oranges in the world and the vitamins we preserve. We are giants of lineages of fruits!" I believed him, no matter how low I was to the ground and how much rotting days approached. I was sure I would one day be picked for something great.

 

My buds came early last Winter, and the grovesman planted a special fertilizer upon Mother to feed her nutrients. She sighed of relief as her branches drooped and she breathed out "growth" from the eye of her bark and kissed each Pomelo with a drop of liquid love. Pomelos lived hundreds of years and at times, thousands, depending on the grovesman and purveyor. We were their birthed inheritance, and treasured investments, so we all trusted on their kindness for foods, lodging, births of new buds and fertlization.

 But,...all dreams of family and love plucked out of me when a grovesman came and poked me. He took his syringe, as large as 50 mililiters, and sucked out the spirit and vitamins into his tubes. The orange fluid flowed into the plastic bottle, and I wiggled out of fear. "Please pluck me and have me with a decadent joy. Instead of taking my life this way. Please, spare me the suffering and bitterness of a rotting body over Summer and Fall. Please...," I pleaded and pleaded. He was ignorant and kept depleting my vitamins and body fluids. I wanted him to peel me off, and I felt I was sacrificed as a useless scrab. Uneaten waste was my destiny. He left with those plastic tubes of my juices as I wept. 

 

"Don't worry, my dear," I heard a voice. Her soft motherly voice came to my leaves and I heard her next to me. It must be the next tree nearby. I looked up, and I saw her, another orange, with a different life, different trait, different beauty. She was the most gorgeous species I've ever seen. Her skin brighter than my dark orange, with her peels matched the sunshine above us.

 

"I am Mandarin," she whispered, and giggled. She was smaller in size, but so beautiful, with perhaps a nectar sweeter than I could ever imagine. "We will meet again, but for now, let's dive deep our souls into our buds and branches for the sake of life. Our buds will regrow, and a new progeny will come," she explained.

 

"Mandarin, you've gotta tell me your nickname," I said. "Mine is Junior."

 

"Mei-Mei," she said. "I was planted when Mother was just a small three feet high."

 

"Your Mother was an immigrant? I was native here, but Mother has been here for decades." I told her.

 

"I know. We were planted here next door, for a new life," she said. "The Grovesman worked inside the plantation for a study. We are their main focus."

 

I, Junior, never understood "studies." I hoped it won't left my soul rotting away in the heat that my peels grew fungus.

 

"Stay quiet, they're back," said Mei-Mei.

 

Mandarins were beautiful, with a gentle tartness on the palate that was small and meshed with the taste buds as desserts for men and women. Their kind were loved by Mother's ancestors. We were long lived friends and the descendants of their friendships. My heart on the buds of the branches breathed in a subtle pink hue of romance and love. I was mezmerized by Mei-Mei. 

 

The grovesman came back, this time with more empty plastic tubes, yet, the searched for Mei-Mei, and palmed her in his hand. He kissed Mei-Mei, and inserted the syringe inside her body, and took a seed from her Mother, out of the top most branch, where another Mandarin had died out of the extreme heat in the Redlands Orange Groves.

 

Mei-Mei cried as her peels moistened, and I felt her spirit crept up the branch and stayed there. I did the same, leaving my body and peels at its place, as I crept up my branch to stay solemn upon the sympathy of the Mandarin carcass before me. 

 

We grieved together, and often, we came out to the tip of our branch and cried together. Remininiscing the long gone friends who were plucked as we stayed in spirit in our branches and Mother caressed our souls with songs and melodies harmonizing with the wind.

 

Mei-Mei and I, Junior, bonded over Summer and over the dead carcass of friends unplucked and over-ripened. We didn't get plucked instead our bodies were preserved inside a covered plastic, and it was kept there as Specimen A and Specimen B. 

 

Fall came and our souls sang together, in baby blue romance, bringing our hearts melodies of ripened red hues of love.

 

"We join us here, as souls to be. Our bodies lives on.....We gifted them with our harmony, and our hearts lives as one."

 

Mei-Mei and I sang all the time, and over Autumn, when our leaves fell as we grieved our barrenness and lifted our words of hope and faith to the Earth, for a harvest next season, in fortuitiy. 

 

A month before Winter, a grovesman came and dug a deep hole nearby, and Mei-Mei noticed a seed was planted before us. I, Junior, didn't want to witness another Mother came to the grove without a welcome, therefore, I summoned the dead leaves to cover her on the Earthen soil, protecting her soul.

 

"Another Mother tree, Junior," Mei-Mei screamed. "Another family."

 

"We must wait, and we must warn them of the grovesman and the impending deaths and plucking seasons," I told her.

 

Rain poured, and the muddy ground almost covered the new Mother. She must struggle through it, but came a leaf, sprouting up. Not all seasons were meant to break you, because some were meant to strengthen you and birth a new life.

 

The grovesman chaffed the planted Mother, and fertilized her, letting her grew speedily over the soil. A month flew by, and the new Mother, stood tall, about a foot, with growing tendrils of leaves teasing me of new souls inside her core.

 

"We will have an extension of us, Junior," said Mandarin Mei-Mei. "I overhead the grovesman, researching of its budding season, and sending more water to splash over it. We will have some, too."

 

"What breed?" I asked Mei-Mei.

 

Uncontained of my joy, I perched over the tip of Mother's branches, and saw the new Mother grew. Months flew by, and a tiny flower came bursting out into the nothingness of the grove, bombastically exploding with colors of white and tiny buds surrounding it. 

 

"Heeelllllooooooo SUNSHINE!" the little voice said. "Hello Mother, Hello Father!" The tiny flowers cracked the barriers of sounds between me, Junior, and my Mei-Mei, Mandarin romance. 

 

"Father?" I asked. "There was never one."

 

"Mother?" Mei-Mei asked. "I was just a few buds amongst the many."

 

"Oh, not so fast with those self-deprecating thoughts! My name is Clementine! I am YOUR SON!" the tiny voice called out loud. It was vivacious and with a strong personality, and outburst of optimism inside him. 

 

Mei-Mei and I, Junior, sighed and embraced the sound of the gentle wind as Spring kept on, and Clementine budded into small oranges, smaller than Mandarin, with peels as dark and smooth as me. 

 

A grovesman approached, and plucked me first, then Mei-Mei, and our souls crept into the branches, but our bodies were to be the delight of man. 

 

"Should I creep up to Mother," asked Clementine.

 

"My son, there are many things, we must say to you," I told him, as Fatherly as I could. "First, my name is Junior, and I am a Pomelo."

 

"My name is Mei-Mei, and I am a Mandarin," she said. "Echo. We must name him."

 

"Yes, I agree," I said. "Clementine is your family name, and your soul is ECHO!" 

 

"That means.....I AM ECHO and I am a CLEMENTINE! I AM THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE NEW DAY!" said my son, Echo, the Clementine.

 

Our family stayed at the Redlands Grove since then, and new souls came and by, but life kept on, as fruits blossomed, and seasons never faltered, but families stayed together.

 

The End. Just Write.

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Letting go

My hands were deep underneath the Earth, fingers searching for roots to pull up as I knelt to soil level over the green sprouts of my carrots. There were no rabbits, just my soul in joie de vivre inside the life I earned for the writing I composed. I was a local author in provincial Loveland, Colorado, not quite suburbia, but countryside with a few lovely families nearby and a farm to tend. Snow melted months before and butterflies 🦋 flew by beside me beyond the trails to run in early morning. I pulled the elongated carrots and placed it in my basket next to me, and stood up to water the other vegetables on the plot of land. 

 

My house was not the biggest in the block, but it was good enough to hold me in peace and I made enough to sustain a living. A life I filled with the love of literature and the joy of writing and best of all, he made breakfast to enjoy it with me. Perhaps, the family was asleep, and I was a mother, a true gift I never knew I could have. The love of my life held me close and kissed me, and we enjoyed the eggs over-easy on toast, and hopefully, my Mom was still alive.

 

The dream I once knew made me lagged behind as I clenched it, and stubbornly dwelled upon it, over and over again. It caused jibberish and prayers to utter upon days and moments of my life, without a wholesome truth behind it and it was full of the fears that I was a prey by the devil who wanted otherwise. But, the butterfly kept flying near and so did the blue jays, finches, red-tailed hawks, and several eagles. It was pregnancy of faith that I needed to unleash, because I kept on the dream of that quaint house with a plot of land and the love of my life with a life of literature.

 

Truth was, I was on a journey only God knew of the plan. I could pray and pray and hope and hope, to thwart the enemy's curses and prayers upon me, but it only built these walls of fears over me, and it closed in to my life. 

 

So, I had to let go. No more dreams, because I had to work. I was always working, but my soul was complacent. My mind was focused on the dream, not the now. It looked ahead and hoped for a future, a plan unshakeable and unbreakable, but I realized now, it was God's plan that was worth my days and nights. I had to surrender everything, even my dreams, and the hope I had, everything to embrace what may come. The butterflies kept flying nearby, and this time, the eagle perched on a tree, the finches hopped on the ground near my feet, and phaenopeplas flew all around the fields in the farms nearby my house. These beautiful birds entertained me and kept me in love with nature, life, my heart and God. It landed near me, always, and the caterpilar made its cocoon in my tomato plants last Summer. It was a sign, to enjoy it, one step at a time.

 

Dei Gratia. Just write.

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