Midnight Carnival (poem)

In the emptiness of the night

where shadows linger long

where imagination runs frantic

and memories sing their song

When silence is loudest

screaming its haunting refrain

Giving voice to dormant thoughts

bringing them to life again

When the mind races a thousand miles

in the blink of an eye

And seconds pass like hours

In the dark there is no time

In the vacuous shell of today gone by

lingers only what could have been,

what perception allowed to be remembered

and what hides in the heart as sin

So get lost in the darkness

close your eyes and buckle in tight

and join the midnight carnival

Your darkest memories are the ride

Heather L. Flood

04.18.2018

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Self-destruction (poem)

destruction-feat

History always repeats itself
Life on a loop
as we make the same mistakes
that we swore we’d never do
As we’re edging ever closer
to the inevitable end
Life is just a showdown
Life is no longer lived
What will become
of prayers, hopes, and dreams
What are we creating
building a world on lies and schemes
We eternally blame others
as the world is goes to hell
Because nobody wants to own their part
in the worst story the world could tell
Self-destruction at its finest
Losing all control
Going down in three, two, one
The most enduring story ever told

Heather L. Flood
03.27.18

Thunderstorm ahead

Tonight is one of those nights . . . sleepless, restless, chain-smoking, mind-all-over-the-place . . .

I’m sitting in bed and typing this on my phone. Little bitty keyboard and Vienna sausage fingers . . . forgive me now for any hideous typos.

I don’t know that I have anything to say, but this seems historically to be the place I turn on nights like this.

Old demons are trying to come back. Some I am comfortable sharing, others nope.

I have abandonment issues. I make jokes about it, but it’s true. I try to convince myself that I am happy for the person and that I want nothing but the best for them. But the truth is, losing a friendship sucks. It hurts really bad. My heart is broken, because too many people have exited my life due to outside circumstances, and I never, NEVER, get the chance to say goodbye. Do you know how that feels? Do you know how much that hurts? To invest a part of yourself in someone and then for them to just disappear . . . I just can’t anymore. For once I am being completely honest with myself. I just can’t handle another loss.

It’s the closure that I need. If I had something to do with their departure, say an argument or a strongly worded letter, then I could understand the need to leave me behind. But people see the smiles and the infernal glitter trail I leave behind and they think that I am immune to sadness, and thus I never get the closure. The moment of finality that truly signals the end.

Just a heads up, folks . . .

I am not immune to sadness.

I am not immune to a broken heart.

I am not immune to feeling left behind, abandoned, worthless, unnecessary, extraneous . . . pick your adjective.

I don’t bounce back quickly. I hold onto the hurt and try to figure it out because you are no longer there to tell me what I did wrong, what I could have done better, what I could have done to help fix your situation. You are no longer there, and I am left behind, and it fucking sucks, and I don’t understand why you left me behind. Why did I have to be part of the fallout in your moment of selfishness? Why wasn’t I worth enough to deserve an explanation, or even a goodbye. Why did you just leave?

It’s happened so often in the past two years that I can only see one common denominator . . . me. And that makes it hurt even more.

There is some amount of security in writing this. The anonymity of tapping “publish” and knowing it might get read, but not fearing the judgement because I more than likely don’t know you. But in case I do know you, in case you are my mother, a coworker, a person I go to church with . . . don’t judge the glitter-and-rainbow girl. You know me, but you don’t know me. Sometimes even I have thunderstormy days.

Until next time . . .

Strangers (poem)

I saw your picture tonight
I don’t know who you are
Weeks and months have changed you
From the memories going back so far
I can’t remember your voice
Or the sound of your laugh
So much left to yesterday
When yesterday you were my half
Hopes and fears, scars and dreams
Silence, anger, pain
So much that we shared
Without you, I had to learn to live again
But who you are today
Is someone I don’t know
A stranger, a nameless face in the crowd
Who’s holding memories of a woman he no longer knows.

Five More Minutes

Scotty McCreery – Five More Minute
(lyrics courtesy of azlyrics.com)

Eight years old a couple cane poles sitting down by the creek
Our lines in the water watching those bobbers seeing that red sun sink
Mama’s on the porch yelling supper’s hot, y’all come and get it
We yelled five more minutes.
At sixteen it was twelve o three standing at her front door
Katie’s dad said midnight, but we needed just a little more
Yellow light flipping on and off, interrupting that goodnight kissing,
We wanted five more minutes
Time rolls by the clock don’t stop
I wish I had a few more drops
Of the good stuff, the good times
Oh but they just keep on flying
Right on by like it ain’t nothing
Wish I had me a pause button
Moments like those Lord knows I’d hit it
And give myself five more minutes
At eighteen turned my helmet in and walked to the fifty yard line
Just the coach and me after we lost eighteen to nine
And I cried man next time to get in here I’ll have to buy a ticket
Can’t you give me five more minutes
Time rolls by the clock don’t stop
I wish I had a few more drops
Of the good stuff, the good times
Oh but they just keep on flying
Right on by like it ain’t nothing
Wish I had me a pause button
Moments like those Lord knows I’d hit it
And give myself five more minutes
At eighty-six my grandpa said there’s angels in the room
All the family gathered ’round knew the time was coming soon
With so much left to say I prayed Lord I ain’t finished
Just give us five more minutes
Time rolls by the clock don’t stop
I wish I had a few more drops
Of the good stuff, the good times
Oh but they just keep on flying
Right on by like it ain’t nothing
Wish I had me a pause button
Moments like those Lord knows I’d hit it
Yeah sometimes this old life will leave you wishing
That you had five more minutes
Five more minutes

I heard this song for the first time today while on the air at work.  Sometimes song just jump out and their lyrics hit you right in the heart.  That’s what this song did to me today.  It made me thing of so many different moments where I still wish I could have had just five more minutes.  I’m not talking about those moments where you want just five more minutes of sleep, or your weekend to last just a little bit longer.

I wish I had just five more minutes to say goodbye to the coworker that passed away back in February.

I wish I had enough time to get to St. Louis and then just five more minutes to tell my grandmother goodbye before she passed away in 2003.

Just five more minutes of my son being my little baby, because he is growing up way too fast.  Blink and he’ll be a man.

Five more minutes of family vacations with my husband and son and not having a care in the world.

Five more minutes of my very first love . . . so magical and new.

Five more minutes to talk myself out of sleeping with some of the guys in my past.

Five more minutes of naivete before anger, bitterness, rage, and experience took its place.

Five more minutes of blind-faith optimism before jaded pessimism found a home.

Five more minutes of all the things that bring my heart joy, that break my heart and make me appreciate what I have in life, that fill me up and make me complete.

Five more minutes of music, dancing, poetry, writing, laughing, crying, hugs, kisses, and cuddles.

Five more minutes of passionate arguments, of worshiping with my brothers and sisters in Christ, of wandering this great big country from the rolling black top of the open highway.

Five more minutes of feeling a warm breeze in my hair, taking in the scent after a Spring rain, making a path in newly fallen snow, playing in a pile of colorful Fall leaves.

Five more minutes of cold winter days with a mug of hot chocolate.

Five more minutes of playing with my first best friend and the only care I had in the whole world was making sure I got home on time.

Five more minutes of joy, pain, happiness, sadness, and all the little moments I take for granted everyday.

Five more minutes of . . .

Until next time . . .

Chopstick friendships

Chopsticks . . . have you ever given them much thought beyond your carry-out order of chicken fried rice?  Whether they are plain, basic chopsticks made out of bamboo, or ornate chopsticks made from jade or ivory, one chopstick still needs its mate so that together they can fulfill their purpose.

chopsticks

Friendship is the same.  Now matter how you dress it up, no matter what the people look like, what their histories are, where they come from, without a second person to call a friend a man or woman is just alone.  They are just a stick.

Over the course of my 40 years on this earth I have had the privilege of being one of the sticks in many sets of chopstick friendships.  My first real best friend was name Jennifer.  She lived across the street from me when I was about 7 or 8 years old.  She and I were inseparable . . . until I moved away at the age of nine years old.  I never saw her again.  Since then there has been Molly, Jill, Tiffany, Bill, Chris, John, and Brian.  Did you see what happened there?  That very glaring and obvious change in the pattern of my best friends?

Each and every one of those people contributed something to who I am today.  I carry a little part of each of them in my personality and in my heart.  Some of the friendships ended on bad terms.  Some of the friendships ended because we simply grew apart.  But for a while, to each other, we were chopsticks.

It’s been a little more than a year since I was last a chopstick to anyone else.  Brian was my last chopstick friendship.  This has been a hard year for me.  I still miss him terribly.  I thought I was healed.  I thought I had let go of the anger and sadness that his departure lit up inside of me.  But then I saw him a couple of months ago.  In a freak coincidence, we were on the same road at the same light, and he was in the car right behind mine.  Since then he keeps popping up in my Timehop and Facebook feeds.

I have been reticent to open myself up to that kind of friendship again, like I had with Brian.  Maybe I’m scared.  Maybe I’m afraid of being let down or hurt again.  Maybe I’m still hoping that he’ll call or text just to see how I am.

Maybe I’m hoping that he’ll see this post and realize that he misses our friendship, too.

I’ll be honest.  There have been many times where I have almost sent him a text message, or almost “accidentally” called him.  But I can never bring myself to do it.  He walked away from our friendship.  He must have felt like he had good reason.  If he wanted our friendship to continue he either wouldn’t have walked away, or he would have contacted me again by now.

But just in case . . .

Brian,

I miss you.  I miss the way we talked about everything and nothing all at the same time.  I miss the way we laughed together at the dumbest things.  I miss you being the levelheadedness to my glitter and rainbows.  I miss arguing with you just because I couldn’t stand for you to be right, even when I knew I was wrong.  I would give just about anything to hear from you again, even if it is just one last time.  I miss my brother.  I miss my friend.  I miss Skitch.

 – Heather

Endless Winter (poem)

winter-black-and-white

Winter started long ago
Ushered by the summer wind that blew
No more bright days of warmth
Only a fragile memory or two
While summer burned so bright and hot
Snow suffocated all that gave life
Ice hardened everything it touched
A broken heart in eternal frozen night
While summer burned like an inferno
Winter left a path of death
Destruction that can’t be repaired
Cold wind blew in hate in a silent breath
When will the heat of summer return?
Will the desolation of winter ever end?
Will a frozen heart ever thaw?
Will a new season ever dawn again?

Heather L. Flood
11.22.16

I wish I could tell him . . .

My husband and I will celebrate our 12 year anniversary soon.  12 years!  That doesn’t seem very long compared to how long my maternal grandparents were married.  But in relation to my age, just shy of one-third of my life has been spent with my husband.

Sometimes I wonder where 12 years has gone.  It feels like we just got married yesterday.  Sometimes it feels like we’ve been together forever.

When we got married we went to Memphis for our honeymoon.  We both love that city, and I love Elvis.  We agreed that we would go back for our 10-year anniversay.  We will only be two years late, but we will finally get to go back to Memphis.  I am as excited as I was 12 years ago.

We’re going to take Amtrak down there because my husband loves trains.  We’re going to stay at the new Guest House at Graceland hotel (which replaced the Heartbreak Hotel, which we stayed at on our honeymoon).  There is so much we want to do and see again.  Graceland.  Sun Studio.  Hard Rock Cafe.  Beale street.  And of course I want to show my husband St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

I can’t wait to be back in the city that I fell in love with the first time that I visited.

One thing dampens my excitement though.  Brian.  I miss my friend.  You never realize how much you miss someone until you want to tell them something and you can’t.  I want to tell him about this trip.  I want to hear him make fun of me for being such an Elvis nerd.  I want to tell him about school.  I want to laugh with him.  I want my friend back in my life.  I miss him.

Tonight my heart is joyous about the anniversary trip with my husband, about revisiting places that first saw us as newlyweds.

But lingering quietly in the background of my days is the empty place that used to be occupied by my friend.  I miss him, and hope he’s doing well.  I pray for him, that he finds success in all he does, that he is following God’s plan for his life, that he is the strong man of God that he wanted to be.  I pray that his life is filled with peace, joy, and love.  And, selfishly, I pray that if he thinks of our friendship that the memories make him smile.

I would love to have my friend back.  But that is not part of God’s plan for either of our lives.  Not now.  Maybe someday.

For now I will smile when I think of him.  I will celebrate the years that saw our friendship go through so much.  I will remember the laughter and tears.  I will remember the hugs and the fights.  I will remember the support and advice.  I will remember silly nicknames.  I will remember.  I will hurt.  I will be thankful that he shared part of his life with me, and I am a better person for that.

And eventually a time will come when he will pop into my head and it won’t hurt to think of him.  But for now, I miss him.  For now I still hurt.

Until next time . . . 

Time heals all wounds eventually.

It’s the middle of the night.  Everyone in my house is asleep.  Everyone except for me.  I am restless.  I have spent the last two-and-a-half hours trying to fall asleep to no avail.  It’s not insomnia that is keeping me awake, but instead it is a reopened wound.

It is said that time heals all wounds.  I believe that.  If treated properly then eventually a wound will heal and will no longer hurt.  Eventually.  But the wounds that are constantly reopened will not heal.  And they continue to bring pain.

I had a wound get reopened today.

Almost two months ago I lost a close friendship.  It hurt.  I took it very hard.  My heart was broken.  I was angry.  And to make it worse, I saw the former friend every day, so that wound was opened anew each morning.  I remember praying to God, and telling him that if I could just get some time away from this person then I could deal with my hurt feelings without the distraction of that person being around.  That old saying of be careful of what you ask for . . . I lived it.  The person left abruptly, and the manner of his departure just added new hurt to an already aching heart.

But it’s been a month since that departure.  A month to work through my feelings of hurt, disappointment, and abandonment.  A month to work on letting go of the anger.  A month to finally be able to honestly see that he felt he had to do with his life, and I hope that he succeeds in the plans that God has laid out for him.  A month where the wound was left alone and allowed to begin to heal.

Then today I got a text that reopened that wound, and has left me completely wound up all over again.

Today I got a text from the wife of my former friend.  She making accusations, and telling me that I was the only person that could have done these things, that there is no one else that could have done it, and that she was going to pursue legal action for defamation.  Repeatedly I told her that I had no idea what she was talking about, and reminded her that I have not spoken to my former friend in a month.

The minute he walked out of my life I blocked him on Facebook.  I didn’t want the temptation of trolling his Facebook page to try to keep up with what he’s doing.  I would have been preventing my own healing.  I have separated myself from him as far as I can.  If he doesn’t want me in his life anymore then I will accommodate his wish out of respect for him, the years we spent as friends, and my own need for healing.  But yet I was getting accused of things that, if he took a moment to think about, are completely against my character regarding our years as friends.  It hurt to know that everything I had held in high regard for so many years was so easily thrown away.  It was like the wound was not just reopened, but created anew all over again.

I spent the rest of the afternoon replaying, in my head, things I wanted to say back to her.  Things that would not have been the adult way to handle the situation, but instead would have been prompted only by my hurt and anger.  But the things I want to say would not help make the situation better.  They would only make it worse, and I am tired of the situation getting worse.  I just want to move forward.  I want to put this all in the past, and look to tomorrow.

I climbed into bed tonight, looking forward to getting a good nights rest and then going to church tomorrow, but here it is 3 hours later.  I have prayed.  I have laid this all at God’s feet.  And I have turned to the only other place where I can purge myself of all of this so that I can find the peace that I lost earlier today.  Peace will come again, maybe at the expense of my sleep tonight, but peace will eventually come again.  The wound will begin to heal again in time.  One day I will look back on all of this and it will no longer hurt.  One day I will look back on this friendship and think not of how it ended, but the seven years of memories that I wouldn’t trade for the world.  One day . . .

But tonight I a restless.  Tonight I am not at peace.  Tonight my heart and soul is in pain all over again.  Tonight I am sitting on my couch chain smoking in the dark because tonight there will be no sleep.

Until next time . . .

Dr. Seuss was right . . . smile because it happened

I’m sitting on my couch.  It’s a Sunday afternoon.  It’s the kind of weekend afternoon where nothing has to be done . . . no errands, no chores, no places we have to be.  It’s a wonderful, relaxing day.  Days like this end too quickly.

On days like today I like to get in my comfies and just hang out with my husband and son.  We watch movies, nap, play, and just all-around do nothing except enjoy our day together being a family.  It’s wonderful.  Tomorrow I will be back to work where were are short 3 people of our 5-person on-air staff.  Tomorrow I will return to stress and 12-hour days.  But today there is only joy.

I just finished watching the movie, “Life of Pi.”  It’s a wonderful movie.  Today was the first time I had seen it.  Near the end of the movie the main character says something along the lines of, “it was the not saying goodbye that was the hardest thing.”  That is not a direct quote, but you get the point.  That one little statement made by a fictional character in a movie as he talks about a Bengal tiger basically summed up the basis for my anger, resentment, and broken heart the last several weeks, and especially in the last several days.

7 years ago I met a man who would come to be my best friend.  He and I saw each other through problems with relationships and family, heartbreak, sadness, job changes, my salvation and his, fights, laughter, tears . . . everything that a friendship can experience, we did.  One month ago that all came to an end when I was completely shut out.  I had no forewarning.  It was not discussed with me.  I was simply informed by him that I was no longer a part of his life in any kind of personal capacity.

Then this past Wednesday he came back from his lunch.  He typed an email, hit send, and walked out.  The email was his immediate notice to terminate his employment with the company.

I never got to say goodbye.

I was never given the opportunity to say goodbye to the 7 years that we were friends.  I never got to say goodbye to the times that I cried on his shoulder or he cried on mine.  I never got to say goodbye to all the times we were doubled over in stomach-aching laughter.  I never got to say goodbye to all the times that we went to each other for advice or to share a life experience.  I never got to say goodbye to my brother in Christ.  I never got to say goodbye to a friendship that started on a Saturday with the question, “you like DCI, too?”  I never got to say goodbye to the friend that I spent seven years making memories with.  It was a death of sorts.  The friendship was brought to an unexpected and abrupt end.  It died.  I never got to say goodbye.  Anyone who has ever dealt with a death knows that saying goodbye is a very important step in the mourning process.  Those who don’t get to say goodbye experience a much longer mourning period.

Wednesday I was hurt, brokenhearted.  I couldn’t think of him without crying.  How could he be so selfish?

Thursday I was angry.  I couldn’t think of him without cursing him.  How could that selfish asshole be so callous and disrespectful, not just of me but of everyone else at the station?

Friday I was pissed.  I couldn’t think of him without wanting to punch him in the face.  I couldn’t think of any memory from the past seven years and find even a speck of happiness.  It was no longer, “how could that selfish asshole . . . ”  On Friday it was, “I hope that selfish asshole someday is so convicted of the pain and hurt that he inflicted that is kills his heart completely.”  I was in an exceptionally ugly mental place on Friday.  I spent the day purging him from the radio station.  It felt good to remove him from my life.  But there is one place that I will never be able to remove him from . . .

Memories . . .

Today, I am still hurt.  Today my heart is still broken.  Today I am not angry that I wasn’t given the opportunity to say goodbye.  I know that I will never get that opportunity, and there is nothing I can do about it.  That opportunity was not missed by my choice.  It was taken away from me by a person that cared more about himself than the way his actions would hurt those affected by his actions.

Tomorrow I may be angry again.  Walking into that station in the morning and seeing his empty office may rip the scab off the wound.  Today though I have not accepted, but I am not angry at him.  Today I am not ready to let go of my hurt from this situation, but I am not controlled by it.  Today I can look back at events from the past seven years and smile.  Tomorrow I may again want to punch him in the face, but today I hope he is happy with himself, with his life, and with the possibilities of his future.  Today I hope he has found the peace in his life that on Wednesday he had quite obviously lost.  Today I will start the process of saying the goodbye that I was unable to say last week.  Today I will start the process of building a future without my friend, despite the last seven years spent thinking he and I would be friends forever.

Reason to smile pic

Unbeknownst to me, but always known to God, my friend was just a season in my life.  He and I were brought together seven years ago to serve a purpose in each others lives.  I don’t know what that purpose was.  I may never know what my purpose in his life was, or his purpose in my life.  God alone knows that.  Any feelings I have right now in relation to his abrupt departure will be dealt with over time, and the wounds will heal.  No matter what anger may be at the forefront of my heart, I will never regret the last seven years.  I will never regret the smiles, laughter, tears, hugs, jokes, nicknames, support, encouragement, and growth that we experienced because of each other.  It did not end the way that I would have preferred, but I have seven year of memories that will always make me smile.

Because It Happened

Until next time . . .