My time has come to a close on another trip to Japan. Over the past 15 years I’ve been blessed to visit 3 times, including a year in 2007. I’ve experienced a lot that I never dreamed I would do. I don’t know if I will ever be back, but I’m glad I’ve had this trip to soak in a beautiful culture once again.
Japan is a mind blowing country. I have never seen anything like it.
He parked down the street, facing away from the house. He sat there all night, parked against the curb. He flicked the lid of the Zippo back and forth the entire time. He gave up smoking years ago, but he didn’t give up carrying the lighter. He never stopped playing with that lighter. In years past, the sound would have driven a partner crazy. He gave up on partners, too.
The night was a moonless disaster. He sat in that car, knowing he couldn’t see anything. He kept his eyes focused and ready on the off chance he was right. He didn’t know anymore. The Captain seemed to have more faith in him than he had confidence in himself. He did as he was told. That bit of trust between the men kept them both alive far longer than either were expected to live.
It was getting close to midnight and he began to feel a bit restless. He checked his mirrors and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. The usual troublemakers were out setting off fireworks. There was nothing crazy, merely stuff on the line of bottle rockets and black cats. He knew he could have flashed his badge to scare them off, but he liked the idea of the distraction.
The house was dimly lit on the inside. There were no external lights. He carefully checked the side gate. It was unlocked. He smiled to himself. This might be easier than he thought. He made sure that his position was never given away in the light of the fireworks.
The lights were off and the shades drawn in the windows on the side of the house. He didn’t linger as he went around to the back of the house. The curtains were pulled back, allowing him to see into the living room and kitchen areas. There were no lights on, besides the glow of the TV. He paused, fading into the blackness of the night.
The only sounds continued to be the fireworks.
He walked up to the side of the sliding glass door, trying to keep most of his body out of view. The door was inexplicably unlocked. He was unsure of his good luck. He waited a few seconds after he cracked the door. He heard no alarms or beeps to be worried about.
There was only a few minutes now. Of course there was the possibility of a silent alarm. He knew he had to make things quick once he entered the house.
He didn’t see any movement inside. The slight audible sound of the TV was heard as soon as he stuck his head in. “It’s A Wonderful Life” was playing. He smiled. He always liked that movie. He wore an all black outfit. It was a cliche for a reason. His movements were slow and easy. He didn’t need any joints to pop or his shoes to squeak.
There was no evidence of anyone home. He made it to the hallway without hearing anything or seeing anything. His heart began to beat a little faster. He looked both ways and decided to go down the left hand side. That’s when he heard her for the first time.
“I thought you’d be coming for me.”
He froze. Blood left his face. Instinctively, he reached down to his sidearm.
“Okay.” He breathed deeply. “I’m not going to.” He raised his hands up to shoulder level with his fingers spread out wide.
“I’m guessing you thought all that noise would let you do this without attracting attention.” He didn’t betray any thoughts. His face remained trained on hers. “Well, I’m counting on the same thing.” He never heard the shot and neither did the neighbors.
I felt a growing need to get out into the woods, to leave behind the city and society. We do not need all this nonsense. We, as a people, need to find our roots and return to where God intended us to be. It feels natural to be away from a manmade existence. We don’t need every path paved. It is well within the realm of acceptance to veer off the beaten path and explore this world that lies beyond the limits of comfort. You don’t need wi-fi hotspots at all points of your day. Drop your phone and car keys off. You are past due for a date with your old hiking boots.
I had to get out. This was the moment.
“Miss Beverly? Ma’am?“ My secretary called after me as I walked out of my office. I just kept walking. I wasn’t going back. I couldn’t.
This formal attire was smothering me. I had to get out to the fresh air and trees. I had to get away from this city. I reached up and clutched at my throat, pulling my scarf down and out of my way. My heart started beating faster when I heard the Jeep chirp and flash its lights as it unlocked. I like to be self-sufficient. They were forcing my hand. I had to do it.
I was doing something I shouldn’t be. I whipped the scarf from around my neck and let it get caught up in the air as I threw it out the window. The buttons popped off when I ripped the shirt open, shooting in every direction. I had to get air. I had to get a chance to breathe purity once again. My life was polluted with pre-packaged meals and stop and go traffic. I am not of the mindset that we were ever meant to be stacked upon each other the way we are these days.
I needed my own space. I needed room to stretch out my arms and feel cleanliness of nature. I sped away as fast as I could. It felt good to be racing out of the city.
The buildings and exit signs were a blur behind me. I needed to find a place where I wasn’t closed in. I wanted to be away from a desk, responsibility and inauthentic expectations. All that was living a lie to me. I didn’t want to be that person any longer. I knew no other way out.
I made it out of the city. I drove fast without hesitation. I-95 is a long road with a lot of possibilities. It made me smile thinking of all of them.
I pulled over to a small gas station where the 95 hit 17. While I was putting gas in the tank, I took the top off of the Jeep. It wasn’t doing me any good. I wanted the wind in my hair.
I went inside the minimart to grab some supplies. I loaded up the basket with a couple bottles of wine, some cheese and a cheap pair of flip flops.
A teenage boy was working the counter. His name tag said his name was Bobby. I asked Bobby if he knew a good place to get away and take a few days off. Without taking his eyes off me, he pulled down a business card and handed it to me.
Bobby said his aunt rented the house out. It was right on the beach of Jekyll Island. I merely had to continue down 17 to the 520 and straight to the beach. That sounded simple enough to me.
I thanked him; flashed him a smile and a wink. He blushed. As I was walking out to the Jeep, I caught a glimpse of myself in the window. My shirt was still wide open, revealing my bra. I stopped short, trying to decide if I should be embarrassed. I smiled and continued on my way.
I tucked the bags behind my seat. I pulled off my heels, throwing them back there, too. Then I shimmied out of my nylons. I threw them on the passenger seat.
As I pulled out of that gas station, the wind took the nylons away. I watched them fly into the air. I pressed the accelerator.
The elves were perched upon his old coffee mug. Together they were stirring the creamer in with all their collective strength. Their small hands gripping the wooden spoon, careful not to fall into the steaming liquid concoction below.
“What do you think?”
“It looks good.”
“Yeah, that looks to be the right combination.”
“We better go.”
“Yeah, he’ll be up soon.”
The man walked into his dimly lit kitchen, rubbing his eyes. His glasses were propped up over his brow. He stood in the doorway, clothed in his usual plaid pajama pants and v-neck undershirt. Every morning was the same. He came into the kitchen and mindlessly pressed the button on the coffeemaker. Then he watched the precious coffee fall into the pot, always anxious for the first cup.
His coffee was waiting for him. Confusion swept over him. He always had to make his own coffee. His knew his wife and children were still asleep. It would be a few hours before he had any company, even the dog remained curled up. He slowly walked in to investigate. It had the perfect coloring. He timidly touched the side of the cup. It was hot.
Within his peripheral, he noticed movement out on the back lawn. When he looked out there, he saw nothing. The man unlocked the door and stepped out into the calm morning air. He smiled and shook his head. He went back inside and enjoyed the best cup of coffee he ever had.
When he stepped outside, the man noticed tiny footprints. There were a few blades of grass that were trampled just so. He noticed a slight iridescent glow to those peculiar blades. The footprints went across the lawn into his wife’s rose bushes. The man smiled. He hadn’t thought about them since he was a child.
It’s been 4 years with this incarnation of the blog, maybe 6 years here total. Thank you to anyone who has ever stopped by to read my words. Thank you to everyone who has left a comment. I love you all!
She made sure the house was cleaner than it had been all year. She scrubbed and cleaned deep into the home’s old wood. A little elbow grease made that place shine like it hadn’t in too long. Bleach and Pine-Sol made sure her effort didn’t go unnoticed. Her old sweat pants and stained t-shirt looked like Cinderella’s rags. She was a mess, inside and out.
She sat back and looked over the house, admiring the place which had been neglected. Work and caring for others had taken priority. She wandered into the kitchen and uncorked a bottle of Shiraz. It had been a rough week and she felt a little relaxation would be nice.
Soon afterward, she retired to her bedroom and scrubbed herself of the grime and sediment of the past. There needed to be nothing left to remind her of disappointment and heartache. She needed to feel fresh and clean for the coming New Year.
The winter season had always made her feel special as a child. The recent past dulled any happiness she might have found. She was determined to change all that. This year she was going to be happy and joyous. She was going to take back her life.
She emerged wearing her favorite holiday cocktail dress. It was a classic blue taffeta. She loved how it fit her. It flattered her figure without being ostentatious. This dress quietly announced her. The perfect heels and pearls completed the ensemble. She felt graceful and beautiful.
She wasn’t going to allow not having a place to wear it this year to keep her from the pleasure of feeling this good. This dress changed her whole outlook. There hadn’t been many moments where she felt good about herself. She made a mental note to change that.
The fire had been carefully built and lit, as well as all the candles in the house. A fresh pine garland was woven along the mantle. She made sure the oversized red bow was tied perfectly upon the front door. Each decoration raised her spirit a little more.
She sat down on a barstool at the end of the counter. The second glass went down smooth. Her spirits began to rise. Spinning the stem in her hand, she thought about her life.
Something stirred inside her, telling her that she had a good life. She was tougher than this and was tired of feeling this way. She wasn’t a victim and she was tired of being treated like one. She knew that she was an intelligent woman. She held a good job. There were men who found her attractive and behaved nervously around her. The thought made her giggle softly.
She poured herself another glass and walked over to her phone on the bookcase. With a few touches, she queued up a waltz. The magic of technology had music playing through speakers throughout the house. She smiled broadly and returned to her decorating. She began to dance around the room as she filled her home with the Christmas spirit.
Once completed, she turned off all the interior lights, allowing the fireplace, candles and Christmas tree to illuminate the room. The coffee table had been removed for the winter to fit the tree. This offered plenty of room for dancing and merriment.
Her soul was glowing. This pure joy had been missing for so long. She knew that she would be okay as long as she could remind herself of the simple joys in life. She could be happy as long as she kept dancing. While she drank her wine and celebrated life all evening, her heels could be heard click-clacking on that hardwood floor.