Making Change

by: Rebecca Taylor

In a dark place is your heart

And it’s taking your common sense with it

I want to say the right things

But am confused as to what they are

I’m afraid you won’t listen anyways

Do I bother to give you the words I think you need to hear

Maybe you won’t want to listen

Perhaps you’ll walk away from me

This rejection is a chance I sometimes have to take

Sometimes we have to break silence

To make change.

Ninety Years of Memories

by Rebecca Taylor

**Previously published by Bread n’ Molasses**

“We were so young back then weren’t we, Henry, we thought we could conquer the world and now look at us. You’ve passed on and here I am going through all this clutter as the kids say, I call it memories. They want me to move into a retirement home, they even took me visiting there; the people and rooms are nice. I know this house is too big for me; after all, we did raise five kids in it. There’s just so much stuff here and I can’t take much of it with me, said Miranda Jane Cummings standing in the entrance to the spare room of her large grey house on the corner of Elmhurst and Bath streets. The room along with the rest of the house was filled to the brim with boxes, bags, and parcels in every nook and cranny imaginable. She stood looking at it all. She picked up a photo album and started flipping through it.

            “Well here I am; I’m going to go through this stuff. These pictures tell so much about our lives. Why here is a picture of Mary when she was born, I didn’t hardly know how to hold a baby back then being the youngest in my family and everything. And here’s a picture taken the day Jeremy started college. He was so afraid of leaving home and look at him now living four hours from home with a good steady job. Here’s one taken the day Aaron got his driver’s permit, you taught him to drive because he made me nervous on the road. Of course, roads weren’t as busy sixty-five years ago and well when I learned to drive, I just got into my uncle’s car; he’d left the keys in and away I went. Was my mothers ever mad, she said, get in the house and behave yourself. I was ten years old! That was one of the first ones around in our neck of the woods.” She put the photo album aside and continued going through the boxes.

            “Here’s a valentine Veronica made us when she was in first grade. The writing is so hard to read but it is one of those things that a mother loves. There’s a bundle of letters, you wrote me, Henry, when you went to war. We were so worried about you; I was a young mother, with two kids and another on the way when you left. You came back safely, so many others weren’t so lucky. You got to see those three kids grow up and we were able to have two more when you came back. Just look at us now, we have twelve grandchildren, fifteen great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. Oh, look at this, the horn from Michelle’s first tricycle, my baby girl, how she hates being called that, to me that’s what she’ll always be even though she is fifty-eight now, that makes me feel old, knowing that I have children who are seniors and retired, I guess I’m just lucky to be able to be here for it all.

            “Grammy,” called a voice from downstairs, “Grammy, where are you?”

            “Up here, in the spare room, come on up, Lacey,” called Miranda.

            “Grammy, what are you doing?” asked the young woman, tossing her fawn coloured hair over her shoulder and kneeling down beside the tiny grey haired woman.

            “I’m just going through a few of these boxes; it should have been done years ago when your Grampy was here but it just never seemed to get down and now your mom and aunts and uncles  are telling me that I should be thinking about going into a nursing home. I know they’re just worried about me because they’re so far away. You’re all so good to me, not a week goes by when I don’t have visitors.”

            “We love you, Grammy, and want what’s best for you. At Oakvale Manor, you will be surrounded by good, caring people plus you can make lots of friends and we’ll still come visit you. There’s so much going on there. Guess what happened to me last night?”

            “Oh, honey, I’d probably never guess in a million years, and I just don’t have that kind of time anymore,” answered Miranda laughing.

            “I got accepted to the teaching staff at Melville High, which means I’ll be moving back here and will be able to visit you even more often.”

            “That’s a great opportunity for you, so young and already you’ve got your life on the right path, seems like only yesterday that I was teaching your grandmother to read and now here you are all grown up, I should feel a lot older than I do but you all keep me young.”

            “Oh, Grammy, a woman like you will have eternal youth, we’ll see to that. Now, what have you got in all these boxes?”

            “Everything, little reminders from my whole life. I won’t be able to take it all with me when I go to a retirement home.”

            “You can’t take all the little things, like this old guitar-“

            “That was your Aunt Mary’s, she used to play that thing for hours at a time, I guess she outgrew it. Maybe I’ll give it to her for her birthday.”

            “Your memories, of this guitar and everything that went with it and all this other stuff, it’s all in your head and they can go with you anywhere and that’s the important thing. Home sweet home, the mat on your front porch says, it can be a place but it can be a frame of mind too. I’ve moved around so much these last few years going to school that sometimes I don’t feel like I have a real place to call home but as long as I have my family and my memories I’m okay. Home sweet home to me has been a fresh baked apple pie, like mom makes and the smell of cinnamon incense like Nanny has and sitting down at a table to have tea and a chat because that always reminds me of you.”

            “For being twenty-three you’ve learned some things in this world that has taken me a lifetime.”

            “That’s because I’ve had people like you to teach it to me.”

            “And I have ninety years of memories to take with me when I’m ready to leave this home. Thank you, I was feeling down about moving and you’ve lifted up my spirits, will you take me for a visit at Oakvale Manor, I’d like to see it again, with a different frame of mind this time. My home sweet home, mindset.”

            “You’ve got it, and wherever we go and in whatever we may do may we always feel like we are home sweet home.”

Game of Life

by: Rebecca Taylor

You won’t believe you can do it until you try

The best things don’t come easy

Sometimes we stay in one place

Fear of what could be next holding us there

We’re without wings and aren’t meant to fly

Doesn’t mean an airplane wasn’t invented

There’s always a way to push us to new heights

The best parts of our lives could go undiscovered

Unless we gather our courage in hand

And take a chance that pushes us forward

Are we meant to do certain things

Sometimes opportunities appear out of nowhere

But sometimes we must chase after them

Undiscovered paths meant to be walked on

That’s the game of life.

Mother

by: Rebecca Taylor

 

My mother, you deserve this day

Only you could be the one to make us who we are today

Thank you for caring about all the little things

Hugs and happiness you’ve brought about

Ever present in all of our lives

Relaxwhile we show you a Happy Mother’s Day.

Life Through a Mother’s Hands

**previously published by All Rights Reserved in 2008**

            We are elderly now; we have felt the world through our fingertips. Disfigured and full of arthritis, making a move is now difficult for us. What can you expect from ninety‑four year-old hands? Once we moved like magic making beautiful music come out of the piano that sat in my human’s parlour. How the children loved to sit and listen to us chime out old tunes. Now this old house where we sit is empty. The children have left home and moved away where they have their own lives, but I haven’t forgotten wiping away their tears and embracing them in their times of joy and sorrow. We have but ourselves to converse with, eight twisted fingers, and two thumbs who have shared a lifetime together.

            “The times we used to have,” said the right index finger. “Remember how long we had to hold onto the handle bars of Nellie’s bike, but eventually she was ready to reach out with her own replicas of a younger us.”

            “Being Miss Caroline’s hands have given us many adventures,” answered the left pinkie.

            “We first got to touch her beloved Isaac’s hands, their warmth radiated our souls, and I still wear his token of love seventy-five years later, even though he has been gone for more than a decade,” said the left ring finger.

            “Holding the wee babes just as they entered this world, all five of them and the life they have given us since then.”

            The calluses and blisters that we have gotten along the way are not a hard price to pay for the happiness we have received. These hands still sting with the want to smack Clark Davis when he dumped Annie at the alter. He decided marrying a Culhane, even for their money wasn’t an acceptable thing to do. The poor girl cried buckets, some of them soaking into our flesh as we cradled her gently like when she was little. Now she has what she deserves, a husband, children and grandchildren to brighten her days. I hope the whole family comes to visit soon, all forty-three of them; they’d give us useless old hands something to do.

            I wish we could go back to the days when we moved like lightening loving, fixing, and caring for everything in our path. The days when children came running in wanting us to caress their kittens and fix their dolly’s boo boos have all but gone, only to return on their brief visits and even then I seem incapable of doing even the simplest of tasks with my ineffective fingers. How they want to move but can’t. The strife knowing that we are no longer able to do the things we once did is overwhelming. We used to make beautiful hand crafted quilts for our children, grand children, and great grandchildren but now we can no longer hold a needle or the scissors needed to cut the cloth. We once did great things, we had a family who needed us, and we got out in the community and took food to the less fortunate. We played cards well into the night but now my hands cannot hold the things that I love. Our days of glory have come and gone but thankfully, even through the pain of each tiny movement we make we can remember how things once were, in us are the memories, the feeling of the wrapping paper on a homemade gift, the washcloth’s water and soap soaking into us as we cleaned a popsicle stained face, hands gripping each other. We were given everything in this world, the greatest gift, being a mother’s hands.

Planning Ahead

by: Rebecca Taylor

**Previously published by Twisted Endings in 2013**

He thought he knew how to live and take care of his family; everything had been going along so well. But he didn’t know what was going to happen, he couldn’t have known. He didn’t have a crystal ball or a secret connection to something divine. He was just a man, with a wife who had a baby on the way and now he was out of a job. He’d been working at the same place for over ten years and now suddenly all that he had put into being a good employee was being taken away. He had a month left of being the breadwinner for his family and by then his wife would be on maternity leave and he would have to collect unemployment. He should have thought ahead, he should have planned and had an emergency fund but he hadn’t. He had always figured there would be time for that, for now, thinking let us enjoy our money and have vacations and dinners out before the children came. Now, they were coming and not only would his child change his life forever but if he didn’t figure something out fast, they might not have a home for it to live in. He should have known never to take things for-granted, hadn’t his economics teacher taught him better, he should have known.

He picked up his lunchbox and his letter explaining that he was a good employee but that the company was downsizing and he was among those who would unfortunately no longer be employed at the River Ends Construction Company. He had worked assembling furniture. That was what his experience consisting of, cutting out the templates and putting them together based on the company’s specific blueprint designs. It wasn’t a job that other companies were screaming to find people for. It was Friday afternoon and he headed out the door towards his car. For a moment, he turned around and glanced back at the brick building, knowing that he would be back on Monday but that it wouldn’t be long before he would no longer be able to say that. He drove home, the half hour passing too quickly for him, knowing that he would have to tell his wife. He walked in the house and put his lunchbox on the counter. His wife was at the stove stirring something that smelled absolutely amazing. She was humming along to a tune on the radio. He watched her for a moment, savouring the happiness of watching her, giving her another minute to be oblivious to the changes that would soon affect their lifestyle.

“Hey, love,” he said placing his hands on her shoulders.

“Hello,” she answered putting the spoon down and turning to hug him. Then she took his hand and placed it on her stomach. “Your daughter wants to say hello too, she’s moving around like crazy this afternoon.”

“Then, it’s a girl,” he said.

“Yes, my ultrasound confirmed it this morning.”

“She’s going to be beautiful just like her mother,” he answered and then he paused, “we need to talk about something.”

Together they sat down on the sofa, hands intertwined. He took the letter out of his shirt pocket and handed it to her.

“We’re going to be okay,” she said after reading the letter, “I know that look and you’re worrying but that isn’t going to help anything.”

“But, love, the money, you and the baby, the car payments, the mortgage….”

“There’s unemployment and my maternity leave benefits. I know it won’t be our usual income but we also won’t be spending as much money on gas and car repairs. We can eat at home more, and if we have to, I’ll go back to work early because you’ll be here to look after our baby.”

“I don’t want you to have to give up your year off with our baby; I know how much you’ve been looking forward to this. You’ve pored over magazines and admired the baby’s clothing and all the accessories for the bedroom. Now that we know it’s going to be a girl, you have a plan for what you wanted.”

“I’ll scale back. The baby isn’t going to know or care if her clothing is high end or bargain brand. She’s going to be precious in whatever she wears. We probably should have learned to live more frugally before anyhow.”

The next three weeks went by quickly. Tony and Marcia Sutton came home from work each day to each other and they got into the habit of helping each other with the cooking. Tony learned that he actually liked cooking. He never had before. He’d had a change of heart, he decided, he needed to do it, to help his wife, so he might as well try and enjoy it. And he was doing it with his wife in the kitchen while they talked about their days and they traded baby name suggestions.

The day came when Marcia left the insurance office where she worked and went home on preventative leave until her daughter was born and then she would take pleasure in bonding with her daughter during her maternity leave. It was a week later when Tony left his job behind and went home to be with his wife. Despite the circumstances of him being home, Marcia appreciated his company and the extra help around the house. The time went by and finally they went to the hospital and Marcia delivered a beautiful baby girl that her parents named Maria Anne. While his wife and baby slept Tony went across the street with his parents to get a cup of coffee. They were running a promotion and a scratch ticket came with each cup of coffee. Tony’s mother scratched it and revealed the words “please try again.” Tony’s father was a bit luckier and earned himself “2 free cups of coffee.” Tony took a coin out of his wallet and scratched at the golden surface, “Winner of $8000.00” it read. Tony stared at the ticket in disbelief.

“It’s your lucky day, son,” said Tony’s father, “You’ve become a dad for the first time and you’ve got some money to help make all of your futures more secure.”

“I’m planning ahead,” said Tony, “I’m going to put this money in the bank. We never know what might happen when we need to have a contingency plan.”

Fine With That

**Published by Long Story Short in 2013**
by: Rebecca Taylor
You may have blue eyes or maybe they’re green
Or perhaps like mine, they’re brown
But I’m fine with that
We may speak with different accents
Or pronounce our words differently
But I’m fine with that
You may stand with your hands poised when you talk
And I tend to gesture from time to time 
But I’m fine with that
There are some questions I may not find the answers to today
Maybe the replies will come tomorrow or it may take a lifetime
But I’m fine with that 
You might never be a mathematician
And maybe I will never spell some words correctly
But I’m fine with that
Thunderstorms might always scare you
And I’ll probably never like heights
But I’m fine with that
The important thing is that we are people
All different but in some complex way all the same
All flesh and blood and bone                                               
As a world, we need to all be fine with that. 
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