H + D The Broken Vase

While our hero walked down the hall of the La Quinta, her feral cats bounded ahead of her, oblivious to the gravity of their mother’s situation.

It is the way with children. A room could be filled with hyenas frothing at the mouth and any child with loving a mother would start to name them one by one and beg to take one home. Happy, innocent and completely oblivious to the reality of their situation was the natural state of a well-adjusted child.

But our hero was also oblivious.

Oblivious from a sense of sense of dread and despair which is the odd thing about being a adult. They lose their childish optimism and slide instead into a state of intense focus on problems rather than the soft fold of solutions.

I happen to think, however, that our dear hero, as she slid her key card into the hotel room and coaxed the feral cats away from the mini bar and towards their bed, would have liked to have known her future poet was also reaching his end.

It was so much unlike her own tail of neglect and abandonment.

Her poet was walking into his kitchen with own feral cats.

It was actually her idea. He had taken them with him when he went to play tennis. When he left the house with them, his own Queen of Chaos was delighted that they would all be gone. The poet playing tennis, the children rough housing with friends until all three re-convened and slipped into pool at night.

It was a good thing. It was the sort of break and support that our hero would have enjoyed.

But, no, as her feral cats bounced up and down on their bed in the hotel, the poet came home to scream.

It was selfish to go with the children to the club.

It was rude to take them swimming.

Yes, she was invited, but that didn’t matter because even though she said she wanted to have an evening by herself, somehow this only fueled a rage.

A rage that resulted in her yelling and cussing and the children running upstairs.

“Uh… this is really dumb,” the poet said.

That is when she attempted to throw a chair. Either it was the wine or her own lack of control but she could only manage to briefly lift it and drop it on its side 2 feet from where she stood. But, hey, she got an “A” for effort.

“I don’t get it. You asked me to take them. I took them. Now this this.”

She let loose a scream that sounded as if her soul was ripping in half.

And  then, the strangest thing happened…

“Did you just piss your pants?” the poet asked.

“Yes, I fucking pissed my pants you fucking fuck.”

The storm disappeared going up the stairs, tripping and falling at the top. Another final thunder clap of cussing rumbled as she got back to her feet and into the bedroom.

The poet picked up the chair. He checked it for damage. He went outside. He pulled a beer from his refrigerator in the garage. He lit a cigarette. And then?

He laughed.

He did not laugh at her. He simply laughed about life and all the time he had wasted trying to duct tape a broken vase back together.

It was a pretty vase when he found it but it also had a leak in it. He tried to fix that leak with some tape and glue. Then it started to crack and chip. Repair after repair was performed. 

And now? Shit, there was no vase left to pour himself into it. There was nothing left but the duct tape.

What else could he do but laugh?

This was his end and laughing always felt better than crying.

Besides, he felt a sense of relief in letting it all go.

H+D The End is the Start


It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Our hero knew that much.

Sitting there in an empty parking lot outside of the stadium in the near darkness she felt, finally, for the first time in her life, completely alone.

Yes, the children were running around and crawling upon her and asking questions and making childish comments and whining. They were her feral cats. They would always be hers. She was keenly aware that they were truly a part of her from the day she herself were born.

But still… Children are children and tonight as she sat on the curb she was alone.

The day started as she had expected. Motherhood had taught her that they would not leave on time. Chaos hovered constantly among her best laid plans and while it took some time, she learned to embrace it.

“Hello, chaos,” she would say to herself when one child would hurl its little body onto the floor of the grocery store.

“Ah, yes… My chaos…” she muttered when a rash would erupt moments before family photos or a sudden storm would attempt to wash away the birthday party she had arranged months in advance.

But it dawned on her now that she had loaded the car herself. She had fastened the seatbelts. She packed the cooler. She checked to make sure the route was clear of construction. She arranged to have the dog fed. She blew out the candle her daughter insisted on lighting. She read the ingredients to make sure no one would have an allergic reaction.

All of this was done, essentially, alone.

On the ride to the town where she met him, she chatted with the kids. She thumbed the radio from one song to the next. She stared out the window. She wondered if this time would be different.

But she could hear him on the phone and she knew too well that the King of all Chaos was ignoring what she asked and what he promised and how it went last time. She remembered how all of that felt. He, clearly, either had forgotten or didn’t remember. She wasn’t sure which sin was worse… the omission or the commission. Did it matter? Not really. It still stung and the bitter pills starting to build up inside of her were leaving a permanent taste in her mouth.

There was beer.

There was the sickening smell of burning weed.

She embraced both in that parking lot before the game.

Why not?

She needed something, anything really, to mask that bitter taste in the back of her throat.

Of course a flask was to be hidden in her purse.

Of course he wandered off.

Of course she would look for him.

But she was honestly surprised when she did not find him. All of these years she was always able to find him if she looked long enough. Not tonight. It appeared her shepherding skills had finally failed her.

So she sat on a concrete curb.

The feral cats were settling down and joined her, one on each side.

“Is he coming back?” one asked.

“No,” she said.

And the ease with which the single, honest word escaped her mouth shocked her.

Slow tears rolled down her soft face. She felt them rest on the corner of her lips. She used to smile a lot more, you know?

“Fuck it,” she thought to herself. “It’s a crooked smile anyway.”

She wiped away her tears.

She stood up.

Now, standing and no long simply waiting and hoping, our hero could now see a hotel sign glowing in the distance. It was far. No one would ever try to walk that far with two little kids. It was impossible. 

But honestly, she knew she was not like anyone else. She did not cower in front of the impossible.

“We place one foot in front of the other and this is how we go we forward,” she said aloud.

He children were puzzled, but she pitched it as an adventure and because they were mostly her, they believed her and embraced her challenge to walk alone in the darkness with their mother to an unfamiliar hotel.

In the days, weeks, months and years that followed she looked back on that night and realized that it was truly the end. There had been a thousand little cuts before and after. But that one ran deep.

But what our hero did not know, because the best things in life are beautiful mysteries, is that as she started off on her trek in the night, there was boy like her two hundred miles away who had also found the end.

And for them,  “the end” was not really an end at all…

You see, just as you are at the beginning of this story, they too were both at their beginning of their story, a sacred story that they eventually shared together in a way that sweet little girls and big hearted boys dream of forging as their own.

You’ll like this story.

I know this.

And I’m very happy to be sharing it with you.

All good stories should be shared.