I Hope You Are Happy

Another response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty – For this week’s challenge, you must write a fifty-word story. Not five thousand, not five hundred, but precisely fifty words.

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She lured him

from the abyss of aloneness

into the fluorescence of friendship.

But, for reasons unknown,

he returned thither.

She tried

and tried -

a million times.

The more she tried,

the further he drifted.

So, she let him go.

But, daily, her heart whispered,

“I hope you are happy”.

She Brought Him Home

Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty – For this week’s challenge, you must write a fifty-word story. Not five thousand, not five hundred, but precisely fifty words.

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“I’m expecting you”, she had whispered with a wink.

A flash of pink caught his eye and hooked on a memory: his sweet little girl and her delightful laughter as they played pretend with her tiny pink bear. His hand, poised to knock, fell to his side. He walked away.

I Broke My Own Heart

I’m helplessly in love
With a man, with a dream…
With the epitome of perfection
Or, at least, that’s how he seems.
He’s everything I want
And nothing I can get,
Unless God made another him
And I haven’t found him yet.

I’m in love with a man
I cannot call my own,
Who, no matter what we share,
Always will go home.
No matter that he loves me
He’ll never be just mine,
But he’s all I dream about
And think of all the time.

And so…

I broke my own heart.
I ripped it, I shred it,
I tore it apart.
I knew what I was doing
Right from the start,
But, still I did it.
I broke my own heart.

broken flower

——–

Inspired by Dr. Maya Angelou’s They Went Home.

Still I Rise

When I was a child, Black History Month (or African-American History Month) was something to look forward to (even though im not an American citizen and I’ve never even been to the US). Maybe it was just due to all those movies and documentaries that usually came on TV. I cannot really tell.

20010129 BLACK HISTORY

However, year after year, without fail, you could look forward to seeing most of the same old movies again. The Color Purple and Before Women Had Wings were my favourite. There was also one with Kunte Kinte that came in two or three parts. I don’t remember watching them all but I may have. Documentaries about Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and others were also yearly fixtures.

But those were the days.

These days I don’t even remember it’s Black History Month until around the middle of February. That doesn’t mean that I have forgotten the valiant work done by those who fought for equal rights for Black people. I actually learnt a great deal from all those movies and documentaries.

My friend has always been a fan of Dr. Maya Angelou but I have never really given her much notice. I heard of her first when I first heard the poem Phenomenal Woman and wondered who wrote something so wonderful. But then, that was the extent of my fascination. A few years ago I saw the words to another of her poems, Still I Rise, and I liked it very much. (I especially liked the part that said “Does my sexiness upset you?”. I have no idea why, but I liked that part best.)

Last week, I looked for that poem again and really read the words. Because it resonated with me so, I looked for other poems she had done. Her poem for Nelson Mandela, His Day Is Done, was very touching.

Nelson_Mandela_1918_2013_16x9_992

She made you feel the sorrow with her words,

The news came on the wings of a wind, reluctant to carry its burden.

but, at the same time, she allowed you to feel happy for having lived in the same lifetime with such an icon,

No sun outlasts its sunset, but it will rise again and bring the dawn.

She has a wonderful way with words. Even her tribute to Michael Jackson, We Had Him, was profound. I especially liked the first line of that one, “Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing…”

Another two of my favourite poems by Dr. Maya Angelou are They Went Home and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. You can find these and more of her poems here

Now, back to the matter at hand.

Of all her poems, today I will share the words of Still I Rise, for more reasons than one. Not only is it Black History Month and it is good to give praises where it is due, but this is a powerful poem.  It is an inspiration to me. It can lift your spirits when things, people or circumstances threaten to break you and it can give you the determination and the push to rise above them. Sometimes, that little push is all you need.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

- Maya Angelou

The Trek to Blue Mountains

If it were all up to me, and my inner naysayer had nothing to do with it, I’d lead quite an exciting life. I’m sure I’d be on some excursion or another every other weekend. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? Right.

I had quite an adventure last October. I quelled that nagging naysayer for a spell and took up the offer from a colleague to go on their annual trek to the Blue Mountains. Not only will it be fun, he said, it’ll also be a wonderful spiritual experience. Not that he needed to convince me. I’ve wanted to go to the Blue Mountains since forever and it was one more thing to cross off my bucket list.

So, on October 11, 2013, I practically dragged my cousin along and, with over 60 other people, we started our trek to the Blue Mountains that Friday night for a weekend of fun and spiritual growth and restoration.

image

My cousin and I (on the right) at the cabins.

I should point out that I do absolutely no physical activity. I walk, but only quite leisurely and only when absolutely necessary. Needless to say, that didn’t help my case at all.

On that Friday night, we left in buses from UWI, Mona and traveled to Mavis Bank in upper St. Andrew. We arrived there at about 11pm and after briefing us, they asked who would like to take the Rover (for a fee, of course) to the foot of the Blue Mountains. Where’s the fun in that? I scoffed. Let me tell you this, if you ever plan to go the Blue Mountains with the group I went with and you are not athletic, take the Rover. I learnt that lesson the hard way.

So here we were, about to tackle the highest point in Jamaica and we are heading downhill. Huh? I thought we were supposed to be going up. Well, we did go up. And up. And up… And up. After crossing two rivers and a little stream, I might add. It was a difficult and seemingly endless journey with only flashlights and the moon as light for most of the way. I’d have given up if I could but that wasn’t an option in the middle of nowhere. I had no clue where I was. Of course, there were several stops along the way but at that time a five-minute stop felt like five milliseconds. I kid you not.

Along the way, my knee started to give me a bad time. It hurt to walk. I wasn’t used to such extended strenuous activity but I had no choice but to continue. And continue I did. At one point, it was my cousin and I walking along the way, (there were groups before and behind us), passing darkened houses. I imagined the persons sleeping in their warm and cozy beds and there I was, with my very foolish self, trying to prove that I could climb the Blue Mountains. I cursed myself. So many things went through my head. I thought of Jean Da’Costa’s Escape to Last Man Peak and I felt like those children taking back roads and bushes in the night to escape the plague of pneumonia. Except I knew I wasn’t escaping anything so I must have been a blasted idiot.

Finally, we reached Jacob’s Ladder – the last leg of the journey before we reached the cabins. You all know that little song we used to sing as children, right? This did not disappoint. It was a zigzagging trail for the most part and every zig and every zag led us higher and higher. I was told it would take me about half an hour to reach the cabins. After one and a half hour I was still walking. I was so exhausted that, had it not been for my cousin (although she was just as frustrated), I would have probably threw down my blanket somewhere and slept right there along the path and continue when I was rested. At least by this time it was daylight and I didn’t have to wonder if anything was lurking in the shadows beyond the reach of our flashlight. Alas! We finally reached the cabin approximately 8 hours after we started. My cousin and I were the second to last set of persons to reach. By then, everyone was already asleep and we were beyond exhausted.

We fell onto the makeshift cot and slept and slept and slept and slept. We slept through all the Sabbath’s day worship. We got up once to shower and eat something. We ate a little. Somehow I didn’t have much of an appetite. As for the showering part… Ha! The water was near freezing point I’m sure. It’s a wonder I even washed my face or brushed my teeth! It was VERY cold up there!

The path to the cabins. This photo was taken in the middle of the day. Go figure.

We still hadn’t gone to the peak yet. The walk to the peak was slated to begin at 3am on Sunday morning because they wanted to catch the sunrise. They said it was about an hour’s journey. Ok, I thought, that’s roughly two hours for me. I couldn’t go to that far and not got to the peak! My knee was even feeling better. Well, it turns out I could actually go that far and not go to the peak. About 30 minutes in, I decided to turn back. I really couldn’t keep up and my knee, once again, started its protest. Added to that, a girl wasn’t feeling well so somebody had to take her back to the cabins. Of course, my cousin and I gladly volunteered.

Since we didn’t actually go to the peak, we stayed in the park area and took silly pictures.

Silly… but fun! :)

We left the cabins at approximately 12pm on Sunday for our trek down the mountains. That was actually fun! It was hours of walking in the rain! My cousin and I got separated from the group we were walking with. I think they ran all the way down. So, we were left to find our own way. We were a bit flustered and worried when we had to decide what path to choose when we came upon forks in the road and so much for following the footprints – the rain washed them all away.  Luckily, we didn’t get lost.

It took us a little over three hours to reach back to Mavis Bank. We just had one last river to cross. Except the little river was now a raging course of flood waters. About six strong men had to help us across. Finally, we had a mini-mountain tiny hill to climb to reach the point where the bus was to pick us up. By this time we were soaking wet and cold. All our gear was wet as well. And that is how we traveled home in the bus, with the air conditioning on. I couldn’t wait to get home.

But all’s well that ends well. I accomplished most of what I had set out to do. I remember while struggling up the mountains that I swore that I’d never, never, never, ever go on that trip again. Not even if they gave me all the money in the world (people say all kinds of things in difficult circumstances). But, in retrospect, I’d gladly go again. It was a new and exciting experience filled with picturesque and inspiring sights and the sense of peace and calm that pervaded the area was well worth it. Besides, if I go a second time, I’d know exactly what to expect,  what to bring to make the experience better for me and, of course, I’d definitely know to take the Rover!

And, although I didn’t make it to the peak, I got pictures – my motivation to make it there next time.

“On a clear day, you can see forever…”

That’ll be me at the top of the Trig Station next time :)

Have you ever been to the Blue Mountains? How was your experience?

Real or Not Real? Real.

Aside

It’s almost the end of 2013 and this post means I accomplished something significant in my blogging life - I posted at least once per month for every month this year AND I did a poem a day in April for NaPoWriMo. (I still can’t believe I followed through with that.) Yay me!

This is just a short post, though, and, quite possibly, my last post for 2013. I just finished reading The Hunger Games Trilogy (yes, I’m always behind… so many books, so little time) and I’m still living, in my head, with the characters in the book. I have a book hangover. Happens all the time.

This kinda explains it for me.

This kinda explains it for me.

With that said and done, I don’t think I am too late (or, too hungover) to say:

 HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!

I hope you all will have a splendid 2014!

BEST WISHES and…

“May the odds be ever in your favour!”

(I couldn’t not add that :) )

P.S.: The book is better ;)