Petra Approaches

There is always so much to do! Even on her days off, Blondi feels the weight and pull of things she wants and/or needs to do. It would be easy to rush around till bedtime, picking things up, putting things away, wiping things down, on top of working on her latest art project, having a bath, doing yoga and sitting for a few minutes in front of a lit candle.

It would be easy not to give herself the time to soak in the scented tub or go up to the top floor for her yoga workout; it would be easy to make herself phone a friend or go see someone, instead. She should do these latter two, she knows; and maybe she’ll somehow manage to fit them in later.

Company is on the way, so she has a guest room to prepare. But before Petra arrives, Blondi needs to get some sunshine on her face; it was still dark this morning when she marched down to the frozen lake. Afternoon walks are always rewarded by a mug of hot tea sipped in front of the living room window, where she can look out over the town from above. Today she will share these meditative moments with Petra, whom she hasn’t seen since summer.

Her life may not be exciting — two middle-aged gals having tea — but it’s just the one Blondi wants.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Ooh Ooh That Smell

“That guy is always complaining,” says Dawn. The grizzled little man is going out the door. Blondi is washing up the last few things in the sink; Dawn is drying. “Every time I see him, he’s saying there’s a weird smell. No matter where! Here, at the rink, at the hall, at the store … he’s bitching and whining about it. What the hell’s up with that?”

“You don’t smell anything?”

“Yeah … the smell that goes with him everywhere. Does he not realize … ?”

“I don’t think he does,” Blondi replies, an eyebrow arching above one twinkly eye. “Just like the rest of us?”

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Posted in Fictional Reality

When Times are Good

One thing about being tied down to a business is that you can’t just board up the entry and walk away, even when that’s exactly what you feel like doing. And so Blondi unlocks the front door each morning, hopeful that the universe will bring in the people who appreciate life and each other, instead of those who make her grit her teeth.

And it’s a good thing she’s “stuck” here, she thinks sometimes, because most days she is blissfully content with the way of things. Customers are polite and courteous, and even warm and friendly. And that’s when Blondi feels good about what she does, and feels she has come home to stay, and wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.

cosy by the fire

Posted in Truth Not Facts

Santa’s Sore Feet

“I have no interest in stupid people or their stupid talk,” says Blondi. “Do they think I’m their frickin’ bartender?

It’s not as if I’m sympathetic,” she adds. “I recognize self-pity when I see it.”

Yet here she is, lips pressed tight in barely hidden disgust, listening to the whiners and complainers insisting on comfort food: someone to believe their sad tales of woe, of how hard-done-by they are, how screwed-over they have been, how they haven’t received their just deserts, how they were princes always, to all, and never appreciated for the selfless, dutiful royalty they really are.

After this, she may lock the front door and never again let anyone in.

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Posted in Truth Not Facts

Contact

“What’s the point,” she says, “of having an answering machine then?”
Dawn is at the door, somewhat peeved.

“I know, I know,” Blondi admitts. “I never remember to check for messages.”

“I’ve been calling all morning! Thought you must’ve fallen and broken a hip or something.”

“Shoot! Sorry … the ringer must be turned off,” Blondi says, moving out of the way so her sister can get into the porch. “Want a coffee or something? I’m having Baileys with mine.”

“Not really. I’m all coffeed out. Just making sure you’re alive. You’ll pick Gran up then?”

Gran will be at church this morning, as she is every year on Christmas and every Sunday of the year. The two of them will go out to Dawn’s for a big feast at dinner time and spend the afternoon listening to Uncle Bob play his fiddle. Gran will sing along; she knows every damn song he does. It’s dragging her home that will be the hard part; she’ll sing till midnight, given half the chance. The woman has more energy than 10 kids.

“Yep. Anything else I should bring?”

“Just yourself. And turn that ringer on, would you? I could’ve done without the trip to town.”

“Sorry about that,” Blondi laughs, “but thanks. Next you’ll be giving me one of those Life Call necklaces for Christmas!”

Dawn gives her a look. “Actually, that’s not the worst idea you’ve ever had. I hate it when you don’t answer the phone.”

Blondi not jumping up to answer the phone when her interests lie elsewhere drives Dawn crazy, to be blunt. You are supposed to leap out of the tub and run dripping across the floor to pick the thing up. You are supposed to leave your hot supper to cool while you chit-chat politely. You are supposed to abandon the movie you are watching with your friends, maybe even make them pause it and wait for you, while you make whoever is calling the top priority.

Blondi, however, is at no one’s beck and call, especially the phone’s. She has been thought arrogant and rude for choosing when to be available to whoever’s had the urge to call, and when not. The nerve of her! Eh? When the telephone rings, we must obey! For our desires don’t stack up in the least to those of the person who just dialed our number. We must bow down to the telephone tyrant.

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Posted in Truth Not Facts

The Apple Fell Far Away

“If you’d behaved a little better, your father and I wouldn’t have been so hard on you,” said the woman to her daughter, sitting across from her at the table.

Blondi hears Ginny’s mother blame Ginny for the abuse she suffered at her parents’ hands while growing up. Blondi only saw it the once — the verbal abuse, that is — the day about a week after the girl (the “lost girl,” as Blondi remembers her) had shown up in the café. She’d gotten off the bus en route to her parents’ home in Winnipeg, only a few dollars in her pocket, planning to hitchhike the rest of the way.

Dawn had been there a week later when Ginny’s parents drove the six hours to pick her up. Dawn doesn’t put up with the mistreatment of dogs or children or anyone else, not even for two seconds. Having seen her sister kick Ginny’s parents out of the café when they started calling their cowering 16-year-old names (pregnant, with no place to go but the last place on earth any kid deserved; so Dawn gave her a bedroom and Blondi gave her a job), Blondi reminds herself that it was years ago and Ginny is now a grown woman, a mother, who can stand up for herself against these manipulative people. She isn’t going to buy this shit anymore, this popular notion that “It takes two” and that she, a child herself at the time, was in any way responsible for the cruel and unthinking actions (and unthinkable words) of her parents. We teach others how to treat us, “they” like to say, but Blondi knows that it’s not true for adults and it sure as hell isn’t true for children. Just like “Haters gonna hate,” abusers gonna abuse, and it doesn’t matter how perfect or imperfect their targets are.

But Blondi listens. The woman knows how to push Ginny’s buttons, even after all this time. And after the woman is gone, which Blondi is sure she will be as soon as she doesn’t get what she wants (Ginny and the little one should be in Winnipeg “with family” for Christmas, she is insisting), the two of them — Blondi and Ginny — will have a little talk. Blondi will remind Ginny of how strong she is, and what a good mother she is, and how more than good enough she is, and how no child is to blame for the actions of anyone else, ever, and that now that she is an adult, she is still not responsible for the things others say and do, and that she has the right to decide for herself what is true and fair and honorable.

“Don’t feel guilty,” Blondi will tell Ginny, because most women like to please others, and most children, even adult ones, would rather please their parents than not. These particular parents are playing the “We want to be close to our granddaughter” card now, and Ginny is saying no. She will not risk allowing her child to be treated the way she was, not even once, and she’s not going to put up with it herself anymore either. The grandparents can visit, but Ginny and her little girl will never set foot in their home, never be at their mercy. But oh, she is mean! her mother is telling her. They love that angel child so, she says. This is killing them! They don’t deserve this!

There are tears, but Ginny is immovable. She cannot trust her own mother and father, especially not with her greatest treasure, who happens to be a defenceless child like she used to be, when there was no one around to tell her that it was possible for her parents to be very, very wrong.

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Posted in Truth Not Facts

Here Now

Focus on what’s in front of you, she tells herself.
Forget about what isn’t.
And so she does what she does every day of the week: measures flour and yeast and salt and turns them into bread, picks up dirty cups and plates and cutlery and runs them through the dishwasher, says hello and goodbye to people as they come and go, and keeps a smile on her face. There is plenty to be happy about, and the secret of being happy is being satisfied where you are at this moment, just as you are, instead of wanting something different.
Be satisfied where you are, she says to herself. Just let yourself be. Don’t insist on things being other than they are. That way lies misery. Instead, find the good stuff right in front of you. This, she thinks, is really the be-all and end-all of everything.

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Posted in Truth Not Facts