Expression

Expression is a noble attempt; one that must be made in lieu of telepathy.

I feel constricted, however, as my ideas form into that ever-inaccurate medium of language and attempt to convey an entire panorama of thought -that, honestly, has already moved on to different scenes.

Advertisements

Ascension

Girl

She lightly licked her pointer finger, her pink stub of a tongue barely flicking out. Holding it aloft in imitation of her grandfather’s memory, she scrunched her miniature features in serious concentration. She pulled the small finger and fist back to her body. Looking determinedly solemn, she nodded to the setting sun.

She glanced down to her other hand; its grip tightened reflexively, pulling purple plastic wrinkles tightly toward it. Purple streamers of plastic rustled in anticipation.

Stooping, she used her licked-finger hand to scramble a spool into its too-small palm. Looping curves of cheap string threatened to come away between her fingers. Regardless, her grip was certain.

She stared ahead. Taking in the moment, her grandfather had called it. She breathed deeply in, raising her tiny shoulders up to her ears to ensure it was the deepest moment-taking-in possible.

Her breath came out dramatically, lowering her shoulders and entire upper half clumsily. She paused. Then, she ran.

Dandelion spores scattered, grass blades bent, and a languishing dog yawned near its park bench owner. Her stubby legs drove her rapidly down and up the small rising knolls of the field, convincing her of an immense speed.

Now! Her left arm flung wildly up and behind her shoulder, releasing its purple quarry. The flailing plastic tails flew behind her ungainly man-made bird. They struggled and whipped and bobbed in the erratic running rhythm.

The kite caught, tugging at her right hand and its death-gripped string. She kept moving as fast as she could, nearly outstripping a few passing, drifting butterflies. They floated translucently away, as their sunset meeting was rudely interrupted by the large, purple, flapping object.

No butterfly nor bird ever bobbed and wove such a barely buoyant path before. The purple kite fluttered and flopped obediently. It followed closely behind her pumping legs, her taut string, her stubborn grip.

Let out some string, her grandfather’s gruff voice directed her mind. Stumbling slightly, she loosed some string from the matted bunch inside her clammy hand. The freed clump reached the flapping purple animal tailing her; straightening, liberating, lifting.

She felt the tug of success. Chancing a quick backward glance, she saw her kite rising, rising!

Stop! Her furious toddler-run wobbled to a halt. She immediately turned, releasing yet more string and running it through both hands. That’s it, keep her steady, grandfather complimented.

Orange-red beams from the Westward sun glowed up the bobbing string. The plastic purple kite flew high and sure in the light evening winds. She pulled a few sweat-wiped strands of blonding hair from across her flushed face, immediately re-gripping the twisting, pulling string.

She looked up at her kite. Her whole face smiled.

From a higher vantage point amongst the painted clouds, Grandfather looked down. The glorious rays spread across the entire expanse as he smiled in return.

 

Ascend

Prismatic Personality

Crayons

An individual’s personality is a multi-faceted diamond, and the friends she collects throughout life reflect a color within the prism -till she has a crayon box full of a wonderful variety.

My forest green sits near awesome orange in my mind, but they would have trouble with that arrangement in real life. Still, they would both rally to my aid if I were in need.

Also, I often envy my more flamboyant fluorescent friends, or even my dependable earth tones. I need to remind myself that I am simply my own shade in their collection, and can be content with what my solemn color adds to their life collages.

Inspector Mère

“Now let me get this straight,” Inspector Mère drawled, as she extracted a pencil and notepad from an inside pocket. “You say you were nowhere near the accused at the time?”

She peered down at the small man, her left ear raising as her left eyebrow lifted in a questioning expression. She pursed her lips and waited.

“Well, no, I didn’t say I wasn’t by him. I said he came up to me when I was working, and then he shoved me down and said I took his Lego piece.” Imploring eyes raised to Mère’s face, innocence emanating from the diminutive body.

“Hmmm,” Mère supplied. She made a note. “So, you were near the accused, yet you did nothing to provoke him?” The question wrote itself across her features yet again.

The accuser paused to consider. “Ye-e-e-es,” he slowly replied.

“Mmm-hmm,” the inspector noted aloud, as her pencil noted her observations on her pad. Scratch, scratch, scratch, it said.

“Thank you for your testimony. You may be dismissed,” she finally instructed, to excuse the fidgeting youth. He stopped kicking his own toes and ran out of the room.

“Next, please,” she announced to the door he had exited through. Another young man came in, adjusting his clothes and face.

“And, what testimony can you provide?” Inspector Mère inquired. On her paper, she wrote Accused, and underlined it. Then she stuck the end of the pencil barely between her lips and studied his face intently.

“I was playing downstairs and saw that he,” the accused paused, to point toward the open door, “That he had messed up my sets again. I came upstairs to talk to him, and he smiled at me and wouldn’t show me what was in his pocket.” He took a deep breath, then continued with, “And he stuck his tongue out at me.”

“I did not!” Piped a voice from the hall.

“Did so!” Retorted the youth in front of her.

“That’s enough,” Mère loudly stated, across their continued volley of accusations. An uncomfortable cease-fire silence fell. She looked at the accused, closely. He seemed to be intently working on a neutral facial expression.

“So, your statement reads that you attempted conversation with your accuser, that he refused to show you evidence, and that he mocked you.” The inspector looked at his face as she read and wrote, ensuring that all information was correct and met his approval.

He considered, then nodded.

“Accuser, please return. It is time for my report and judgment,” Mère called.

The first young man sidled back inside the room, evidently from a waiting place just outside the doorway. He walked forward hopefully, confidently. He stopped and stood near the other youth, just beyond his arm’s reach.

“I have listened to both accounts of the incident, and have made my decision,” Inspector Mère began. “Since descriptions varied, I have no choice but to assume error with each.”

The boys began complaining immediately; but she held up a hand, and a stern face. The noise eventually quieted; mutinous expressions waited for her to continue.

“Eric,” Mère addressed the accuser, “You were innocently working, then were physically assaulted by the accused.” She studied young Eric, who appeared slightly confused. “You were not doing anything, and Tom pushed you,” she translated, tapping the pencil against the open notepad. Eric’s face cleared and he nodded. Tom’s face clouded.

“Tom,” Mère turned to the accused, “You uncovered evidence of property damage, sought restitution, and were denied.” She studied her notes, then added, “And were insulted with a rude facial gesture.” Raising her gaze past the paper to meet Tom’s gaze, she was met with his somewhat suspicious nod.

“Therefore, Eric, you are instructed to turn out your pockets.” Inspector Mère said abruptly to the first boy. Surprised into action, he reached into the pockets of his jeans. Making an unreadable expression; he withdrew a blue rubber band, gum wrapper, half a plastic army man, two pennies, a smooth garden pebble, and two red Lego bricks attached by a blue hinge piece.

“That’s mine!” Exploded from Tom, who shot a hand out to take the Legos immediately. Mère was forced to intercede, stepping forward between them and retrieving the pieces herself.

“The evidence speaks, Eric,” she told Eric reprovingly. Lacking the sense to appear guilty, Eric pouted a glare in response.

“Now, Tom,” Mère said to the other, depositing three Legos into his hand, “You are required, by law, to make verbal restitution for injuring a family member.” She looked expectantly at Tom, waiting. Behind her back, Eric imitated her countenance, including the same raised eyebrows.

It was Eric’s turn to glower. He gladly did so, till he caught Inspector Mère’s eye. He looked down. “Sorry,” he mumbled to his hands.

Mère studied one child, then the other. “Both parties may be excused, on the condition that each promises to adhere to family guidelines of behavior,” she instructed to each disgruntled face. Quietly, tensely, the boys broke away and returned to their previous tasks.

Inspector Mère sighed, closed the notepad, and pocketed it with her pencil.

“Case closed,” she declared.

A Fitting Idea

Light Bulb

Take the shaped thoughts of another and apply them to your mind. Sometimes they fill a gap neatly, completing a synapse with a satisfying *click* of thought current.

Many times the expressions instead fall to the floor, with the other un-matched logical laundry.

Years later, you are getting ready for a change. Pulling at an exposed piece, you disengage the idea from its neighboring detritus and hold it up.

“What a cute thought!” You exclaim. “I wish I’d tried this on years ago!”

Cognitive Creation

“What?!”

Dr. Baerkaler cleared his throat professionally. “I said,” he repeated slowly, “That is a common side effect when you’ve lost some parts of your brain.”

I felt dizzy, and tired. I felt like I’d just given birth, for Pete’s sake. The doctor wasn’t making much sense. I’d lost some parts of my brain?

I looked down at the snoozing head of my newborn son. “Could you explain what you just said in more detail?” I managed. Surely, this would have been a chapter in that What to Expect book.

The doctor settled onto a guest chair and assumed his cheerful, patient, bedside manner tone. “You’ve just given birth,” He began. He met my gaze, so I nodded. Smiling, he went on, “It’s a major strain on the mother’s body to make and deliver a healthy baby.” Dr. Baerkaler paused, obviously so that I could process such a long sentence. I nodded again.

“As the baby develops inside of you, your nervous systems -pieces of your processing abilities and memory storing capacities- are used up by this process.” He looked at me cheerfully, despite my now-blank face.

“What?!” I managed, again.

Searching the ceiling briefly for inspiration, he looked back at me and slowly summarized, “You lose normal brain functions and forget things when your body is making a baby.”

I blinked. “Seriously?”

“Why, yes,” Dr. Baerkaler answered immediately. He sounded surprised that I wouldn’t know this. “And, now that you’ve delivered, a sizeable amount of functionality is gone.” He laughed a bit, in commiseration. “Surely, you’ve noticed it’s been draining out, so to speak, over the last eight months.”

I shook my head gently, in shock. “No, I hadn’t.” I said, nearly crying.

“Oh,” he supplied. “I suppose that would make sense, too.” He stood, and offered a slight, inadequately comforting squeeze to my shoulder. Bringing his medical tablet to his chest, he turned to leave.

“Is it permanent?” I timidly asked his back.

Pausing at the beige hanging curtain, he looked over his shoulder at me. I felt small, helpless, and dumb; a disheveled, ignorant mother swaddled untidily amidst thin hospital blankets.

Perhaps sensing my distress, Dr. Baerkaler smiled a reassuring doctor smile.

“Oh, don’t worry,” he said. “You won’t be needing your brain for a while anyway.”

Cafeteria Plan

“Next!” An average-sized man of medium hue lifted his neutral expression from his clipboard to the never-ending line of anxious, excited, impatient adults. A woman shuffled eagerly past him, and he made a mark on his paper.

I was nearly there. I could read a few words on his data sheet whenever he absently swung the clipboard down to his side. The information wasn’t entirely intelligible to me, but was some distraction from the endless waiting. And this was the Express Line.

Soon, I counted three people in front. Then, two. Then, one. The man didn’t even need to say, “Next,” and I was at his elbow. His face may have finally registered a different expression, but it was almost too fleeting to tell for certain. His right hand pointed to the dark hallway, his left gripped the clipboard, his eyes scanned his list.

I moved forward, finally. The wait felt interminable, though I knew I had only stood for about eight months. I had watched others be directed to the Ten Year Line, or even be turned away with a dismissive, heartless shake of an administrative head. I had reminded myself of these facts whenever impatience had crept in.

The hallway opened into a large room. In here, the walls were bare and curved upwards to meet in a peak high above my head. The floor was a clean, nondescript, waxed laminate reminiscent of the kitchen floor of my childhood home. Glass-fronted serving areas lined the far wall, and the room was full of queuing people. Chattering, shuffling human noises were amplified in the reflective, unadorned space.

At least this line moved more quickly, I noticed. Perhaps that was due to more workers attending to everyone. As I watched, a man at the start of the counters took a carrier from the stack. Pushing it along the grooved metal track, he stopped briefly at each opening and spoke with a helper there. Soon, he had his order complete and was walking away peering closely at it. He had finished in roughly five minutes.

I stepped forward after the woman in front of me did. She kept bobbing up on her toes, though she was only a bit shorter than the man in front of her. Whenever a new person started his order, her eyes followed his progress closely, hungrily. I realized that she had to be at least fifteen years my senior, though I was not always good at guessing age. I did much better guessing which musical instrument someone had played. I studied the back of her head and her bouncing curls. Definitely in orchestra, I decided.

Very soon, it was Curly’s turn. She snatched a carrier and plunked it down eagerly on the metal. She moved as if someone might suddenly cut in front of her; her left hand gripped the handle such that Death himself would have difficulty prising it from her.

I could hear some of the words the workers asked her, but not her responses. Those string players are so soft-spoken! “Boy,” “blessing,” laughter, and something about “energy” was all I caught. She was nearing the end. I suddenly felt panic.

A woman sitting at the first opening turned my way. She looked vaguely like my favorite aunt, though without the sarcastic twist to her mouth. She nodded helpfully at the rack of baby carriers, then smiled warmly as my hands reached forward and removed one. I heard the clunk as I automatically placed it on the stainless steel track before her.

“Now, dear. This is where we decide if you get one or more. Most people get one, but you’ll need another carrier if that’s not the case.” She smiled as a slight concern settled over my features. Then, she looked at the display in front of her. A second later, she looked up and smiled again. “Just one, dear. Congratulations.” She nodded and I moved on to the left.

This space held an older man who didn’t look like anyone I knew, unless I’d seen a frog-sloth hybrid at a zoo in my youth. He smiled as well, his wide mouth nearly reaching his small ears. “Now, we get to see if you’re having a boy or a girl.” He tapped his screen, then added, “Do you have a preference?” I shook my head. I didn’t see the point of having a preference if I couldn’t actually choose. He smiled a smaller smile, then announced, “Boy! Congratulations.” He nodded and I pushed my carrier down the row.

“You get physical attributes here,” barked a woman, before I was even fully in front of her. She tapped her button and drummed the fingers of her left hand. “Small, slight build; brown eyes; brown hair-” She paused to glance up and note my dark eyes and hair, then read, “A bit pigeon-toed, attached earlobes, photoptarmosis, webbed toes, etc.” She ripped off a printed page and handed it to me. I was able to see a gray body outline with mapped notes before she snapped, “Next!”

“Here is your list of other attributes,” an airy voice said, at the next counter. The voice belonged to what had to have been the actress who played Glinda in “The Wizard of Oz.” She waved a dainty hand of sparkly nails toward my left, dismissing me as effectively as her grouchy neighbor -but somehow more politely and regally.

I barely had time to read “Precocious, indifferent, hyperactive, intelligent,” randomly from a long paragraph, before someone clearing his throat interrupted me. I looked up to see an older man, who looked like my husband’s Orthodox Mormon grandfather, looking at me sternly at about the top line of his glasses – just as my husband’s grandfather did.

His left finger ran across his display as he read along:
Congratulations on becoming a parent. Your child will now be assigned random quirks and foibles. 1. He will delight in challenge. 2. He will avoid uncomfortable situations. 3. He will finish a fight. 4. He will leave a trail wherever he goes. 5. He will be responsible. 6. He will get frustrated at correction. 7. He will seek deep relationships. 8. He will not be a picky eater. 9. He will doubt. 10. He will become hyperactive when happy, or after swallowing Benadryl. 11. He will sleep well, never for more than seven hours. 12. He will respond well to reason.

He handed another paper to me, which I numbly added to the first two. I was feeling overwhelmed. He cleared his throat again, dismissing me.

“Did you go ‘natural?'” a voice behind me asked. I turned to see a nurse holding some sort of machine.

“Um.. ” I began, taken aback. I gathered my thoughts, then said, “I was going to go as long as I could and then decide.”

“Right,” the nurse said. She had a sarcastic lift to her mouth.
“Here ya go, then,” she said, then quickly applied the end of her machine to my exposed forearm. I gasped as intense pain flashed across my midsection. Forever later, or maybe a few minutes, I straightened up and hobbled to the last window.

“Here you are, dear!” A nurse enthused, as she briskly deposited a new baby into my unencumbered right arm. “Have a nice day!” She clipped out like a perky robot, then turned to service the next customer.

I looked down at my sleeping child in disbelief.

“Exit’s over here, dear.” Another grandmother-type was pointing to the door beyond her. Sure enough, a green EXIT sign glowed over it.

I gathered my papers, carrier, and child more closely to my body. Stunned at the suddenness of responsibility, I stumbled forward, then out the door.

Today’s Lesson

“All right now, class: each of you will receive a copy of this sheet of a family. You’ll need to color it, cut it out, then paste it onto card stock. We’ll be displaying them on the bulletin board for everyone else to see.

“You will only have a short amount of time to work on it, so color what’s most important to you. Maybe it’s the house. Or, you’ll focus on the mom’s hair and the kid’s clothes. I know I like to pick lovely colors for those flowers.

“When I say it’s time for scissors, you will have to see what you have time to cut out before we need to paste them. Sometimes, students only get the mom and dad out, and one of the dogs, before we need to move on. I had one classmate who removed the house, family members, and a flower very meticulously but the card stock was gone by that time and they had no background.

“If everyone is ready, then, you may begin. Hurry, but have fun!”