“Running”

It’s just
you
and me.

Concrete slapping,
and my heels
hard tapping.

Sun blazing,
and the heat
unwavering.

Chest heaving,
and the thoughts
all leaving.

When I run,
I don’t do it
for fun.

Emotions messy,
and my nerves
testy.

Mother Nature,
the only opponent
to match my wager.

It’s just
her
against me.

And for now
the winner,
yet to be.

Photo by Jeremy Lapak on Unsplash

©2021 Jai Lynn

This post “Running” appeared first on Jai Lynn.

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Vignette #33 “Listen to Yourself”

Life is not for the weak.

That much I have come to know.

It will pull you. It will push.

Life is hard. Living, though, makes it worth it.

It’s about the extra bit of cream you put in the coffee that was bitter from the start. It’s about the light hearted movie you watch instead of typing the report that night. It’s about taking a little time to sleep in even though the sun is glaring on your face. It’s about the friends and family that are there to hold you close when winter winds blow and bills demand attention and the work never seems to end.

If you need a break. You take a break. That’s it. In whatever shape or way you choose.

Life is not for the weak.

It will pull you. It will push. It will drag you down to the darkest depths of the ocean and bring you so high out of the atmosphere that breath is no longer an option.

But breathe you must. Because you are alive and therefore you are not weak.

You are strong.

So listen to yourself and when you need to breathe… take that break and breathe.

Otherwise
you
will
break……

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

©2021 Jai Lynn

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Vignette #29 “Wayfarer”

There is a path stretched out behind you. It’s concrete made with no bends in sight. As straight and narrow as the length of a computer screen, the width of an office desk, and the depth of the manager’s suit covered gut. The sun is the color of a fluorescent light, and the air is as stuffy as a hot classroom. Expectations, rules, the conventional like shackles pressing down onto your shoulders and binding your feet to the floor.

There is a path curving ahead of you, serpentine and shifting. There is no way to know what is going to come at you next on that mist covered trail. It changes its shape at every turn depending on the decisions you make, and there will be many decisions to make. Monsters lurk in the depths, some friendly and some not. Different than the behemoths you’ve fought before. These are stronger, and will swat the weak at heart away with a single slap across the face. There’s no tradition on this path to hang across your shoulders, but there is no guidance either.

And don’t forget the paths stretching to either side. You could go right where all the noise of the roaring waves is. Take off your shoes and let the sand crowd around your toes. Let the water call you in closer and closer till it caresses your skin. Let the call draw you in further and further till its over your head and all you can live, see, breathe is ocean.

Or, you could go left into the silence of the woods. Trees will stand over you and their leaves will cover you from the rain, while burrows will protect you from the wind when the storm comes to call. You can stay as long as you wish but this path can run around and around in circles confusing even the most skilled travelers. Everything will start to look the same until you forget there was anything different before.

You can even sit down and stay just where you are. The safest spot of all… at first sight. This is the one with the greatest risk to gain the greatest loss.

So, chose wisely.

Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash

“Cruelty”

Snark
has two faces.
One
for criticism
and the other
for telling truth.

Bitterness
has two sides.
One
for seeing the world
as it truly is
and the other
for knowing
that some things
never change.

Pain
has two
pointed edges.
One
for stabbing others
and the other
for stabbing yourself.

You ask why
I’m cruel?
Because
for too long
I have been
selfless
in giving myself away
until all
my kindness
had
left.

Photo by Caleb Shong on Unsplash

Living Life #26 "Do it."

Today is yours. No one can take that from you.

If you want to sleep in because your head hurts, then do it. If you want to sit and stare at the rain, do it. If you want to take a walk then just go, don’t come back till you have had your fill. If you want to pull all the books down from the shelves and build a fort to hide in, do it. If you want to do laundry and put extra fabric softener in, do it. If you want to let the dishes sit, then let them sit. And you can sit too.

No one knows how you feel but yourself. If today you are not right then that’s okay. Really, it is. One day you will feel right again. I promise. You have to have some bad to appreciate when it’s good.

So just remember.

Today is yours. No one can take that from you and that is the most magical thing of all.

Photo by Tonny Tran on Unsplash

Living Life #23 “Smile”

I have only seen her frown once.

Granted, I have never seen her outside of work but when you work as many hours as I do with the same people day after day… you tend to notice things.

In the early morning, when the sky is still painted night and the air chilled with dew, whoever she greets on her way in she’ll flash a smile. It doesn’t matter if her eyelids are still a little droopy with sleep, or her sweet voice a little heavier as if coated in honey. No matter what, you’ll still see that smile.

At our weekly meeting we learn about new procedures, rules, or programs we need to know how to run. If she doesn’t understand she’ll raise her hand and ask her questions, always with a coy quirk in her lip. As if in apology for speaking, when in reality she is voicing the question in all our minds.

Casual meetings in the hallway with everyone’s coming and goings, when if you’re lucky enough to meet her eyes, there that grin will be. It doesn’t matter that she already flashed it at you an hour ago when you walked in together.

Disgruntled customers are frequent and normal. I once watched a man spit at her, saliva getting stuck to her blouse and she didn’t even balk. That smile came to her defense and it calmed him, and the rest of us, down from coming to her aid.

When Tracy accidentally dropped a cup of coffee and it splashed onto her shirt.

When her computer broke and she had to stay late to finish her assignment.

When it started to pour just as she was about to leave the other day.

Everywhere she goes, she smiles. I don’t understand. Or at least I didn’t, until the day I saw that frown.

I was coming around the corner when I spotted her at the window. It was the only time I ever saw her eyes look so far away. Her arms were crossed tightly across her chest, and her hands were clenched around her elbows. I realized in that moment that she thought she was alone. I would have left it that way too… if not for the frown marring her face.

For someone who had always seemed so happy, and brought joy to everyone else… I wondered at the depth of sadness she must have kept bottled up inside. There was a lifetime of disappointment and worry in that upside down turn of her mouth.

I didn’t mean to stare… but that’s how she caught me. Her expression careened from sadness to surprise to a calm expression with her lips set into a straight line. I didn’t even know what to say, I was caught just as off guard as she was.

Are you okay? came to the tip of my tongue but my words weren’t working. She inclined her head at me then and passed by. That was the only time she didn’t smile, at least to me.

I wonder, sometimes, if she is as aware as I am of the powerful effect a smile, or lack there one, can have… because after I didn’t see one the rest of my day was wrecked.

Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

Living Life # 9 (a collection of vignettes)

“Undone”

Something was watching me. My breath caught in the back of my throat and I froze.

It was a nagging feeling, the type that says the oven’s on or the door’s unlocked. Not exactly the concrete creep of a touch to the shoulder but, for the fourth time today, I felt it. I wasn’t alone. 

First weaving through the high grass as I crested the hill, next meandering over the small bridge near the lake, and then sitting on the porch outside my front door. It was there, in all those places. And it was here, right now… this peculiar feeling. The best explanation I could give would be that it felt as if all my personal, private expressions were being noted. How earlier the way my arms had swung like reeds in the wind at my sides, or how my eyes had floated down to the water to catch something sparkling, or even when one of my boots tripped over the other and I tried to walk it off like it never happened. And I had been alone. Supposedly. Until in the next breath after each of those actions I suddenly became undone.

Each and every time, I turned. At the hill all I saw was the swell and buckle of the land beyond, the lake’s water had held still as if trapped in a glass and even though I heard the door creak on the porch it was held firmly shut just as I had left it. This time I determined would be different. It would be futile to turn, so I wouldn’t. Instead I would let whatever it was come to me. 

I released my long held breath and bushed it off as if I hadn’t noticed anything at all. I placed my hands firmly on my hips and looked off to the trees ahead trying to focus. The longer I stared though the more the feeling grew. Maybe I had made a mistake. 

In the tangle of the trees that marked the entrance to the forest, I could spy not a thing out of place. There was no wind so the leaves were still and the clouds above cast the shadows long and deep beyond the trunks. There was not a hint of movement. Trying to focus on anything else I strained to hear the birds but no songs touched my ears. My nails dug a bit deeper into my hips and I tried to tell myself maybe it was going to rain and that’s all the silence was. A calm before the storm. Instead, my heart insisted on not listening to this drivel. It pounded to its own rushed beat that even my own lies couldn’t stop. The truth it hammered again and again was this. There was nothing in the forest… but there was almost certainly something behind me. 

A ghost of a touch breezed by the back of my left thigh. I stayed still. The trees filled my eyes. Look to the trees, look to the trees. But maybe I couldn’t see the forest I was trapped in for those trees. No. Don’t think like that. Choose the high road. That wasn’t real.  

A trace of a tingle across my elbow. Look. No. Don’t. Look to the sky instead and try to tell one cloud from another, even though the imminent rain would make that impossible. 

A curl of breath against my neck. Too warm to be from the lungs of the nonexistent wind. My heart stuttered releasing my own breath from its cage and I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned.

The porch, the lake, the hills against a gray sky were all in sight… and someone was there. But still… they were the only thing I couldn’t see.