Unanswered questions (poem)

What does it feel like
to not think about you
Where random thoughts at more random times
are years past being new
What’s it like to not wonder
if I’ll ever see you again
What’s it like to not be left behind
or to hang on to hope so thin
What’s it like to not see your face
in so many years of memories
What’s it like to be the one
who is not missing me

Heather L. Flood

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The road will go on . . .

curvy-road

I spend a lot of time in my car.  My job and my home are 50 miles apart, so my round-trip commute is approximately 2 hours long.  I also live a half-hour away from my church.  So I spend a great amount of my week behind the wheel of my little car.

Ever since I got my drivers license my car has been my ultimate me-time refuge.  I can get behind the wheel of my car and hit the highway.  The hypnotic hum of the tires on pavement is better than any new-age meditation music or nature sounds.  It just me and the reflectors that keep me in my lane.  In the drivers seat is where I do some of my best thinking, praying, or just being quiet.  It was in that very seat that a realization fell in my lap that in the past several months I was unable to see.  I was blinded by my own anger and feelings of abandonment.

Life is a series of roads.  Those roads twist and turn.  If we follow God’s directions those roads will take us to where He wants us.  Too often, though, we choose to take navigation into our own hands.  We detour.  We make the road more difficult.  We take exits that we were never intended to take.  We get lost.  It is only with God’s direction that we can get back on the right path.

For the last several months I have tried to take navigation into my own hands.  In some aspects I am right where God wants me.  I teach an amazing class of kids on Sunday morning at church.  I am in school pursuing a degree in Social Work.  My marriage is strong.  But lingering in the background of all of that is the fact that over the summer I detoured and got lost.  It is only recently that I have been able to recognize that where I am is not where God wants me.

I lost a very dear friend over the summer.  He didn’t pass away.  Circumstances at the time simply brought the friendship to an end.  It hurt.  I was angry.  I blamed God for taking away a friendship that I felt I desperately needed.  That friendship was as important to me as breathing.

I am codependent.  I base my opinion of my myself on how others see me.  When this friend needed me I felt important.  I felt valued.  I had worth.  Yet the only one we should look to for our importance, our value, our self-worth is God.  I was looking to the wrong person.  I had detoured from God’s path.  I put the importance of that friend in my life higher than I placed the importance of God in my life.  I’m not saying that God ended that friendship as a punishment.  Please don’t get me wrong.  It was just time for that friendship to end.

Just as life is a series of roads, so are relationships.  Sometimes people in our life travel the same roads as we do, but eventually all roads come to an end.  Eventually every road leads you to a destination.  The same is true about relationships.  Some are only meant to last for a small part of your journey through life.

Such is true with the friendship that ended over the summer.  God brought us together as friends many years ago knowing that we would need each other to travel the same road together.  At times he kept me from getting lost, and at times I kept him from getting lost.  And in that time we both found our way to the true guide on our journey.  We both found a relationship with Jesus Christ that will lead us through the remainder of our days.

So while our roads traveled together for 7 years, over the summer it was time for our roads to take different directions.  In those 7 years he and I experienced a lot of curves, hills, and road construction, but we left behind a trip that was full of beautiful scenery.

And now finally, after months of mourning a lost friendship, after months of feeling lost, after months of trying to navigate the road on my own, it’s time to put the navigation back into hands that I should have never taken it out of.  When I navigate I get lost.  I have no sense of direction.  But when God is navigating I will never get lost.

He will heal my heart.  He will direct me on this path.  He will light my journey one mile-marker at a time.  He will lead me to where he wants me, and the road will go on.

Until next time . . .

Someday in Heaven (poem)

So much time has gone by
Since I saw you last
So many weeks, months, years
Have flown by fast
I know one day
I’ll see you again
And feel the comfort of your arms
And being wrapped in
I’ll smell your perfume
And see your sunny smile
And all the time without you
Will seem the blink of an eye
For what are months and years without you
When waiting for forever
What is a little waiting in life
When someday I’ll see you in Heaven.

By:  Carrie Leigh
08.27.14

Invisible (poem)

Screaming whispers
And deaf ears
Backed by propriety
Of unseen tears
Broken wings
Cast to ground
Blind to the shadow
Swiftly fought down
Outstretched hands
But nothing’s there
Searching for everything
In empty air

By:   Carrie Leigh
05.16.14

The Last Next (poem)

Until you look for the next
You’ll never realize last was last
Moments are fleeting
Time flies by too fast
What we hold onto so hard
What we give our all
Can disappear so quickly
Like summer flowers in the fall
What we think we can’t live without
Means nothing when it’s gone
Our heart keeps beating, we wake, we sleep
Life continues on
Assuming tomorrow will be a next
Only to discover yesterday was last
Burn bright, fade from life
Hold tight, let go fast
Look back tomorrow
See what has gone
Know sometimes there is no next
And the last will stand alone
The last will hold the memory
The unspoken, unknown goodbye
The last will keep its secret quiet
Of a next it forever denies
 
By:  Carrie Leigh
04.09.14

Their End (short story)

They sat in his car, drowning in the silence.  He was waiting for her to pour out the words she needed to tell him.  It was cold in the car, the heater having not yet overcome the frigid January air.  Her body trembled with nervous fear that numbed her to the frosty bite of winter.
 
“We could go back into the store,” he suggested between chattering teeth.  “It’s a lot warmer in there.”  He stared at her, hope barely masking the confusion on his face.
 
Despite the cold her palms were sweaty.  Her heart raced and screamed at her to not say the words that her mind was hell-bent on getting out.  She took a deep breath, the exhale making a cloud in the cold air between them.  She looked into his beautiful hazel eyes, trying to get one last memory of him before his eyes turned hard and hateful against her.  She hesitated.  She knew what her words would do to him, but she was ready to live with the consequences.
 
“I consider the day I met you to be one of the greatest days of my life,” she started weakly.  “There was just something about you that pulled me to you.  I could feel fate pushing me to you in a way that I had never felt before.”
 
“Watching me play my drums got you all hot and excited,” he joked, trying to lighten her mood.  She gave him a half-hearted smile.
 
“We became friends and I thought that was all I would ever be to you.  I also thought I was alright with just being friends.  You make me smile and laugh.  You let me watch you play and be your groupie fangirl.  I love being with you when we go out for lunch.”
 
She suddenly went silent.  She knew she could still put the brakes on the rollercoaster in her head.  She knew she could give him a smile and a hug and everything would be alright.  But she also knew that everything wouldn’t be alright.  He would go back inside to work and she would go home with a heart that still ached for him.  She knew that she had to stop the ache and the only way to do that was to break her own heart, and his.  She knew she had to let him go.
 
“I’m glad we’re friends, also,” he assured her as he searched her eyes for what she was hiding from him.
 
“The thing is,” she whispered, her head hanging low and her hair hiding her face, “I want more than just friends.  I want more than just lunch and a hug.  I want more than to be your groupie fangirl.  I want to be with you, Bobby.”
 
He sighed and leaned back against his door.  She stared at him, searching his face for what she hoped he would say.  Instead she saw the wall come down between them.  His truth hung in the air between them like a oppresive weight.  It stabbed at her heart.  Her tears froze in her eyes in the cold car and all she wanted to do was run away from him.  She wanted to take her words back and bury them in her frozen heart and run away from him until she no longer loved him.
 
“Heather, I will always consider you a friend.  I appreciate all of your support when you come out to watch me play.  I can’t give you what you want though.  I just don’t see you that way.  I’m sorry.  But we’ll always be friends.”
 
He opened his arms to her for a hug.  Her body longed to fall into his warm and comfortable embrace.  She wanted to lay her head on his chest, close her eyes, and listen to the steady, strong beat of his heart.  She silently wondered if it would calm the frantic speed of her own heart.
 
She didn’t move.  She couldn’t move.  There was no turning back from what her heart had started.  She got into his car with a goal of easing her aching heart.  She had only broken it more, but she knew that the only way out was to keep moving forward.
 
Pain and rejection crossed his face as his arms fell to his lap.  She could see that he knew she wasn’t done, and it killed her to know that he knew what was coming.
 
“You’ve never rejected a hug from me before.”
 
“I can’t do this anymore, Bobby,” she said weakly as she cast her eyes to the floor.  Her fingers tangled nervously in her hair.  Her heart pounded in her chest as frightened adrenaline surged through her chest.  She wondered how much a heart could take before it finally just exploded.
 
“You can’t do what anymore?  Please tell me that you can’t stay in this car anymore,” he joked, trying to distract her from herself.  “I’m freezing.  Can we please go inside.  If we are friends at all you will let us go in the store where it is warm.”
 
“I can’t do this anymore, Bobby.”
 
He searched her face, but she kept it hidden behind her hair.  “What are you talking about, Heather?”
 
A tear slid down her cheek as the words slid from her mouth.  “I don’t think I can be your friend anymore.”  She felt her heart shatter in her chest.  She wanted to scream at herself to shut up, to beg him to ignore the words she had just said, to fall into his hug and pretend that nothing was wrong with her.  All of that would have been easier than leaving the truth her mouth had just spoken between them.
 
“Are you having some weird girly moment,” he laughed nervously.  “Do I need to give you chocolate and back away slowly?  You are crazy, but that’s why we’re friends.”  The smile fell from his lips when he saw her tears.  “You aren’t kidding, are you?”
 
She just shook her head slowly.
 
“You’re serious, aren’t you?”
 
She nodded her head.  There was no turning back.
 
“What do you mean you can’t do this anymore, Heather?  This is exactly why I never trust people,” he growled.
 
She watch anger tighten his body as he closed himself off to her.  His arms folded across his chest as a shield against her.  She had expected his reaction, but it was still painful to witness.
 
“I didn’t mean to hurt you, Bobby.  That was the last thing I ever wanted to do to you.  I know that you don’t trust people as a rule and that you believe that everyone is going to hurt you.  I never wanted to hurt you.  But what about all the times you have hurt me?”
 
“I have never intentionally hurt you,” he spat at her, his voice filled with ice and venom.
 
“Maybe not intentionally, but I have cried over you more times than you will ever know.”
 
“It’s not my fault you are so sensitive.”
 
“You’re right.  It’s not your fault.  But what is your fault is your callous, selfish, insensitive heart.  You claim to be so lonely, but you push away everyone who tries to climb over your wall.  You do it because you think you are protecting yourself from getting hurt.”
 
“I should have protected myself from you.  Then we wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”
 
“Yeah, because a life spent alone is so much better than a life spent with someone who cares about you,” she threw at him, sarcasm dripping from every word.
 
“You’re right.  It is.  I wish I’d never met you,” he spit at her hatefully, his eyes holding hers in a vice grip.
 
All of the air was forced from her body as his words hit her like bricks.  She felt like she had been slapped across the face.  All she could do was stare at him with anger and disbelief.
 
“In all the moments that you made me angry or cry I never,” she raged at him, “never wished I hadn’t met you.”
 
“Then why don’t you want to be friends anymore,” he begged her, momentarily allowing his broken heart to show.
 
“Because I love you, Bobby.  I fell in love with you so fast and so hard.”  She tried reaching out a hand to touch him.  She wanted to ease his heart, and her own also.
 
“Don’t fucking touch me,” he yelled at her as he jerked his body away from her touch.
 
“Bobby, please believe that I never wanted to hurt you,” she pleaded.
“Yeah, well, you did hurt me.  I hope you are happy with yourself.  You made me trust you.  You made me believe that you were different from everybody else in my life.  I should have known better.  You can bet that is a mistake I will never make again.”
 
She took a deep breath and fought to keep control over everything that was rushing through her.  She bit back her words of anger.  She swallowed the sad pleas for forgiveness.
 
“I love you, Bobby.  I want nothing more than to see you happy . . . “
 
“What would make me happy is if you got out of my car.”
 
” . . . but trying to make you happy is eating me alive.  I’ve lost myself in your world.  You hold my heart, Bobby, but it means nothing to you.  You said so yourself that you don’t love me.”
 
“Did you want me to lie to you?”
 
“Your truth would have come out eventually, just as mine did.  Actually, I think I’ve always known that you never loved me, that you never could.  I don’t know if you can love anyone, because love involved trust . . . “
 
“. . . and nobody can be trusted,” he finished for her, “including you.”
 
“I’m sorry that you feel that way about me.  I tried to be the person that helped rebuild your trust in people.  Would you rather I had lied to you today?”
 
“I’d rather you get out of my car.  I don’t need you.  I never needed you.  Get out!”  His rage boiled just below the surface of his control.
 
“Bobby, please listen to me,” she begged.
 
“Get out of my fucking car!”
 
“I’ll remind you that you had a choice whether or not to befriend me.”
 
“I never had a choice.  You forced your way into my life.”
 
“The night we met you could have let my leave and never said a word to me, but you did say something.  Do you remember what you said to me?”  Bobby stared at her with fire in his eyes and ice in his heart.  “Do you remember what you said,” she prodded.
 
“I said ‘I thought we were friends,'” he mumbled, casting his gaze out the window, “but that is not the foundation for a friendship.”
 
“No, but it was all the encouragement that I needed.  A while later I sent you that message on Facebook.  You could have ignored me, but you didn’t.  You wanted us to be friends as much as I did.”
 
“Yeah, and look at where it got me.  We were friends and now you don’t want to be anymore.  I should have ignored you.”
 
“Bobby, I know that somewhere inside of you there is a heart, and I know it is hurting right now.  For that I am very sorry.  I have to do this for me though.  I hurt every single day because I love you and I can’t stop it.  I am tired of wishing and hoping for something that will never happen.  You are not the only one who is hurting me, Bobby.  I am hurting myself and I’ve got to stop it.”
 
“And you called me selfish,” he mumbled, his face still turned toward the window and away from her.
 
“I’m sorry that you feel that way,” she said softly, sadly.  “If I don’t do it this way then I would have eventually started to hate you.  I never want to look back and hate you.  You mean too much to me.”
 
“That’s too bad because all I will see when I look back is the cold, heartless, bitch that you turned out to be”
 
“It didn’t have to be like this, Bobby.”
 
“Yes, it did, Heather.  We were always destined to end up here.”
 
She opened her arms to him, hoping for one last hug.  He stared at her coldly.
 
“Get out of my car.  You are no longer welcome in my life.”  The finality in his voice cemented closed the fate that she had set in motion.
 
“Bobby . . . “
 
“Get out,” he demanded.
 
“I’m sorry,” she whispered as she fought back fresh tears.  She looked at him for a minute longer, hoping he would turn his eyes her way one last time, but he didn’t.  He kept his face turned away from her and that would be her last memory of him.
 
She reached for the handle and opened the door.  The cold January night air bit at her tears.  She stepped out of the car and closed the door gently.  He never turned to look at her.
 
“I’m sorry, Bobby,” she whispered into the frozen night wind.  She hoped that one day her words would find their way to his heart.
 
She got into her own car and drove away for the final time from the music store that he worked at.  She hoped that store would bring him as much solace as it had brought him joy since she’d met him.  She turned out of the parking lot into the road.  She glanced into her rearview mirror hoping for one last glimpse of him.  She never noticed the oncoming traffic until it was too late.
 
The truck his her in the driver’s side door.  She was killed on impact.
Bobby went back into the store.  He never turned around at the sound of the car accident, and he never thought of Heather ever again.
 
By:  Carrie Leigh
01.29.14
 

This short story actually ended up being a bit prophetic.  This is essentially how the conversation went with the drummer a week ago minus the car accident and death.  I wrote this back in January and lost it.  I forgot about it until I found it in one of my MANY notebooks a few days ago.  It freaked me out just a bit at how similar this story was to how the actual conversation ended up going a month and a half after I wrote this.

Uncrossed Paths (poem)

It hurts to let you go
To say goodbye to what could have been
There is a hole in my heart
That wants to let you back in
But the paths we’re on
Can’t stay together forever
We’re reaching for different stars
Reaching for fame and for Heaven
It ripped me apart to say those words
To know I would make you mad
To see the disappointment in your eyes
Shattered me, knowing what I had
I prayed that you would support me
I prayed that you would be patient and proud
I prayed that you would see my improvements
And praise me out loud
But you disappointed me, too
Your lack of faith in my put me in my place
And I saw our one-sided friendship
Written all over your face
And that brought it home that much stronger
How much I needed to say goodbye
Because if you can’t support me as I try to grow
Then, from the start, our friendship died
I’ve cried for what was
I’ll cry for what will never be
And somehow try to find the girl
From before there was a “you and me”
Goodbye friend who gave up so quick
Goodbye friend that had no faith
It hurts so much to see you go
And to watch crumble the friendship we tried to make
 
By:  Carrie Leigh
03.12.14

The winds of change

How many times have you been in a situation and knew that something had to change?  Maybe it was a romantic relationship or your job.  Maybe it was setting a new goal for yourself or a complete life overhaul.  I am going through a period like that right now.

The last several weeks I have felt an overwhelming pull in my heart that something needs to change in my life.  The problem is that I don’t know where the change is needed or what needs to change.

Is it my job?  I have been feeling very burned out lately.  I love my job and the people that I work with, but I feel like I am just going through the motions.  I no longer have the same excitement or enthusiasm that I had the first time I opened a microphone years and years ago.

Is it my personal life that needs to change?  I have friends, a few of them I consider to be very close.  But sometimes a girl needs more than just a friend.  My heart is lonely.  I’ve always prided myself on m independence and my comfort with who I am.  But even the independent girl who is comfortable with herself needs someone else.  I feel incomplete.

Maybe it’s a need to change or improve myself.  The thought has popped into my head a few times recently about going back to school.  After high school I spent a few semesters attending a community college, but I wasn’t going for me.  I was going because that was what was expected of me at the time.  I was taking classes toward a major that I not only had no interest in, but flat out hated.  I had my own dream, but I let other people talk me out of it.  I eventually dropped out an started working fulltime at a dead end job.

A few years later I finally started chasing my dream and enrolled in broadcasting school.  My grandmother paid my tuition.  She was happy to see me going after something I had wanted for so long.  She passed away two years I moved to Kentucky from St. Louis.

Maybe that’s why I feel guilty for even considering a career change.  My grandmother put such faith in me and was so proud when I got my first job in radio.  She pushed and encouraged.  She was my cheerleader while I was attending broadcasting school.  All the while she was in what would be a losing battle against lung cancer.  If I let go of the career I wanted for so long and achieved because of her I feel like I will be letting her down.

But the dream I wanted when I was fourteen years old and found when I was twenty-four may not be the dream I want anymore at thirty-seven years old.  Is it alright to admit that?

What do I do now?  Where do I go from here?  I have no other skills.  I’ve never wanted or even considered another career.

The need for change is pulling at me.  It’s swirling around me the way wild spring winds spin a weathervane.  But in what direction are those winds trying to point me?  And will I find that new direction before burnout drives me crazy?  I am searching not for something that is lost, but instead for someone who is lost.  I have lost sight of who I am and I don’t know how to begin to find me again.

I’ve heard people say that “change is in the air,” but I have never felt it as strongly as I do right now.  The winds of change are blowing, but in what direction are they leading me?

Until next time . . .

Glitter Girl (poem)

Lies disguised as friendship
Shadows hidden in light
Smiles masking the anger
Laughter so falsely bright
Climb into the head of the glitter-girl
Take a look around
See her deception-based reality
Built on quicksand ground
Wonder at the marvels
Created by her genius of lies
And watch the smoke-and-mirror rainbows
Make more of her hopes die
Revel at her waterfall of dreams
As they all slip away
And our precious glitter-girl
Slowly falls from grace
See how she falls
How she’s devoured by night
The sun will set on our glitter-girl
And forever dim her false light
Goodbye false laughter
Forced smiles and empty dreams
Farewell jaded glitter-girl
With you nothing is as it seems

By:  Carrie Leigh
02.04.13

If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning, putting off the inevitable need to actually do some work.  I follow the Facebook page for Writer’s Digest and they had a post for a writing competition.  There were two requirements for submitting a short story

1.  The short story had to be 750 or less.  ( I am not known for brevity with words.)

2.  The short story had to start with the following sentence . . .  “If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.”

I stared at the post for a minute or two wondering if I could write anything, if I should write anything.  I wondered what kind of others short stories I would be up against if I were to submit anything.  Then I thought that the worst that can happen is that they read my story and set it aside, but even that will never happen if I don’t submit anything.  I can’t get read if I don’t put my writing out there to be read.  I opened up Word on my computer and started to type.  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!!

This was my submission . . .

If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.  It may be small to you, but it is huge to me.  It encompasses everything that I am and everything I hope to be.  It has no dollar value, but it is priceless in my eyes.  What I have in my pocket I have carried since I was a child and I will carry with me until the day I die.  Do you have any guesses yet?  Do you know what is in my pocket?
 
I found it one day while skipping through life.  It appeared in front of me and said, “Carry me with you always.  Keep me close to your heart.  I will show you where you need to go.”  So it lives in my pocket so that when I get lost I can be reminded of where I need to be.
 
I once tried to describe it to a friend but it seemed that my friend already had one of his own.  His was not exactly like mine.  His was a different shape and color, but his was there to lead him to where he needed to be also.  He doesn’t keep his in his pocket.  He keeps his on a chain close to his heart.  How are those guesses coming along?  Do you have anything yet?
 
Let me tell you a little bit about myself, and then maybe that will give you a hint as to what is in my pocket.  I am a woman.  I am a mom.  I am an appreciator of music, pretty pictures, and a warm hug.  I am an optimist.  I look at the world and see joy in even the littlest things.  I love to laugh and try to help others find happiness as well.  I am a firm believer in following your dreams and I will do anything I can to help you achieve them.  I had people help me along the way to my achievements and see myself as paying the good deed forward.  I see great things for you.  I see possibility and promise.  Do you know what is in my pocket?
 
I have misplace the item in my pocket a few times in my life.  When I lost my grandmother to Cancer I sat on the floor at work and cried.  I reached into my pocket to make sure that what had been there for so long was still there, but it was gone.  I didn’t know where I had lost it and didn’t know where to begin to look for it.  I mourned my grandmother for a long time.  As the sunshine started to slowly return to my days I would occasionally reach into my pocket out of habit.  One day I discovered that the secret thing in my pocket had come back.  It was small and it was weak but it was there.  Over time it regained its previous size and strength.
 
Another time I got into a really bad fight with my best friend.  I was the world to me, and a simple miscommunication brought that world crashing down around my feet.  He and I didn’t speak for almost five months.  My heart was broken.  I didn’t know how to get through the days without him.  I reached for the secret in my pocket the way a child would reach for the comfort of a soft blanket, but just like when my grandmother passed away, my hidden item was gone.  It had disappeared without a sound.  There was nothing left of it.  The loss of my best friend and the lost of my most treasured item left my heart empty and broken.  I didn’t know how to go on without the two things I needed most to survive.
 
My best friend and I eventually made up.  There were tearful apologies and healing hearts.  My world came back together.  But did the item in my pocket come back?  Just like after the healing started after I lost my grandmother I reached into my pocket one day and there was the item again.  It was bigger and stronger than it had ever been.  It shined and sparkled.  It lights my way when the road seems dark.  It keeps me going when I have nothing else.
 
So what is the item in my pocket?  Do you know?
 
In my pocket I have everything I need to keep my heart going and my dreams alive.
 
In my pocket I have hope.
 

For something that I wrote in about twenty minutes on a whim just to see if I had the courage to submit to a writing competition I am happy with the finished product.  It felt good to plant the seed given with the lead sentence and to see what my mind could make grow from that.  It was fun to write it and I will do it again.  I seriously doubt that anything will come from my little submission but . . .

In my pocket I have hope.