January 2nd, 2003

Nescafe rabbit

Tie a yellow ribbon...

Ryken called yesterday morning while I was still sleeping. He left me a message, talking fast, trying to fit in "happy new year" and "I'm doing fine" and "I can't believe I missed the party". I almost cried for missing him. I've been missing him for a while, even before he left.
You get used to having someone around. You get used to the teasing, the big-brother playfulness, the brief, unexpected touches of incredible kindness. You get used to knowing his moods just by the feel of coming near him, the look in his eyes...all the little things that I used to do. And then I got busy and things happened and time went away and now he's in Texas and I miss him.
I love the guy. Always will. He kept me going when Angel was in Japan and I was crying myself to sleep (I'll never forget sitting in the Union, staring at a letter I'd just gotten, trying not to cry, and he got up with his tray and, walking past, touched my shoulder. "It's not too much longer. You'll be okay." Nothing more.), he puts up with my mood swings and my diva streak without complaint.
He told me he was thinking about the Air Force even though he knew it would break my heart, and he listened to me when I told him how He listened, and he promised me that he wouldn't let it break him, that he'd come through it. He knows he can hurt me (he learned that the hard way) and he doesn't want to. And he doesn't see how wonderful he is.
And now he's in Texas and I miss him. And he told Lily to tell me that he did cry when he left. He didn't forget.
Be safe, Ryk. Be careful, be safe, be well, be somehow healed of the things that have hurt you. Come back with your heart patched together somehow. Please.

...And now I am crying.
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    sad sad
Nescafe rabbit

Almost Heaven, West Virginia...

The radio this morning was playing "Country Roads, Take me Home." Curiously, that song will forever remind me of Nicaragua.
It was dark early, in El Hormiguero, which is a town where the only electricity was the kerosene-powered generator we brought with us to run the dental equipment and charge our opthalmoscopes. It was dark early, and the stars were bright and beautiful and so close, so very very close. Why is is that the exchange for civilisation is a loss of the stars? It was dark early, and we only had so much kerosene, carried on a cattle truck ride from Siuna or by mule back from the city, and the generator was loud and dirty. It was dark early. The local women brought us candles - twenty Cordobas for a dozen - about a dollar a pack. Each candle burned for an hour or two. We played euchre, which it appears is a game found strictly in Indiana and the Church of the Brethren. What a shame that is. We played euchre and drank seven-year rum, golden and dark and so smooth it would make you weep for the shit that is passed off as rum here. And Paul and Mark had their guitars, and Don had his harmonica (just the C one, mind you, so everything was in the key of either C or G), and I knew all the old songs they played. It became a game, almost, trying to find a song I didn't know at least the chorus of. It's not the first time I've been told I'm too young to know the songs I sing. And then they stumbled on "Country Roads".
Collapse )I don't know how I'd never heard it. They didn't know how I'd missed it.I love John Denver. But I caught on quickly, and ever since then I've never been able to hear the song without thinking of those nights in Nicaragua, in a little village called El Hormiguero - The Anthill - at the end of a long and winding, unpaved road, two days' travel from Managua.

To be fair, I should tell the bat story while I'm talking about Nicaragua. This is one of Mom's favourites in all my travel stories.
They didn't have electricity in El Hormiguero, as I mentioned. We had flashlights and we had candles, and the candles were cheaper and more reliable. They also didn't have plumbing, but the school we'd set up the clinic in had two very nice outhouses. Nice, as far as outhouses went. No stink, really, and the four-inch spiders were harmless, and the cockroaches that lived in the toilets only came out at night. It became custom to walk into the outhouse and stand quite still with one's candle, letting the spiders and the cockroaches and the miscellaneous other insects remove themselves to the dark corners before taking the cardboard toilet seat (wrapped in duct tape for extra damp-proofing) and setting it down on the toilet. And then it was custom to drip a little wax on the beam on the back of the door and settle one's candle in the hot wax so that one didn't have to hold the candle while doing what one had come to the outhouse to do.
It is important to note that the doors to the outhouses opened inward. This will come into play later.
So, one late night around 9 PM I go down to the outhouse, and I perform the rituals of ablution. And I stand up and reach for the cardboard toilet seat, and there is a flutter and a whoosh, and Something Black shoots up out of the toilet.
I like bats. I think they're cool. But when they come flying out of the toilet unexpectedly, and the wind from their wings blows out my candle, leaving me in a Very Dark Outhouse, I tend to think a bit irrationally. Okay, I panic. So does the bat, not having expected to be Peed Upon, I would imagine, or to be Suddenly Swatted At. It flutters around the outhouse, discombobulated and searching for its Usual Exit (the door, I would assume), I flail around the outhouse, forgetting that the doors open Inward, and manage to jam the door shut. In my panicked state, I am convinced that I've locked myself into the outhouse, because now the door won't open at all, and that the Bat is going to Eat Me. It took me a good hard several yanks before I got the door open, grabbed my candle, and came tearing up the walk toward the school, wailing that a Bat had just come Flying Out of the Toilet and tried to Kill Me.
Everyone laughed at me. It's all right. Now that I look back at it, I laugh too.
  • Current Mood
    nostalgic nostalgic
Nescafe rabbit

One Black Feather

This is a link because it's formatted, and long. This is also a link because it's a hard subject. If you're easily offended, don't read it.
Clarabear, this is the story I was stuck on for so long, and I don't know if I ended it right or well or not yet.
I don't know if the ending works...but it is an ending, which is better than none. But I need to know whether it's done, whether the ending works, whether it belongs. It was written so long after the rest of the story that I don't know if the style fits even.
Does it?
  • Current Music
    Mission Impossible
Nescafe rabbit

Snow.

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Went to get lunch today. Roads were clear. Snow was just beginning to come down in lovely huge flakes.
Came back from getting lunch, barely able to see the road, barely able to brake. There's a half-inch on the sidewalks and more coming down. Fort Wayne police, says the Man on the Radio, are dealing with 40+ accidents. Saw a fenderbender on the way back - didn't look too hard, was too busy dealing with not going above 30 miles an hour - not going above 25, actually - and being tailgated by a van.
A lecture: If there is snow falling very hard, do not tailgate. If there is so much snow that you Cannot See the Lines on the Road, do not tailgate. Particularly when you are in a Very Large Vehicle. Your inertia is equally large, and you stand the risk of turning a minor fender-bender into a Major Accident if the Smaller Car in front of you has to stop suddenly. Note that the Smaller Car in front of you is going under the speed limit because it's Snowing Out and the road is Very Slick and Hard To See. This should be your cue, as well, to Slow Down and Stop Tailgating before you Kill Somebody.
Damn. I hate stupid people.
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    cold cold
Nescafe rabbit

Can a doctor go on strike? You bet.

Doctors in West Virginia Strike (CNN reports). Almost 40 surgeons in West Virginia requested 30-day leaves of absence from their hospitals...and went on strike, because they can't afford to pay. Malpractise premiums are around $150,000 a year for the orthopaedic surgeon mentioned in the story (Interview here). Pennsylvania barely avoided a similar situation with a $220M bailout proposed by the governor-elect. Only three states in the Union have laws aimed at reducing malpractise costs. Indiana (thank God) is one of them.

How frightening is that, boys and girls?
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    anxious anxious