Snow falls on the grass on this almost March day, trees already in prepubescent bloom.

What the fuck is happening? Global warming has her own plans, shaking things up on this insignificant, tiniest piece of the puzzle, planet earth. She is happy for the ugly, backward mess.

She won’t walk today, but will curl up in silence and self-protection closing her eyes instead; drifting off and dreaming about the walkabout will suffice.

In her dreams she sees an altogether different version of herself; a younger, happier, slender, soft edged person with a more vibrant future mapped out. She still dreams in Kodachrome where puppies, beach homes and neat, parasol living abounds. Where dazzling, white bright stars full of possibility coat the yellow sunbeams from her eyes. She has yet to be poisoned, injected and force-fed the grays and ugly realities.

This girl has a shot. A real, do-over shot at happy. As long as the imagination has not been stolen, she has the dream to endure.

She’s survived the brutal, harsh days when something bigger than fear, self-loathing and death took hold. She lived the limitations with a certain air of grace, donning the best, quiet mask she could. As long as there is hope, that God will not abandon her in these worst times she continues, liquid solid. She takes the uneven, shallow breath, however difficult embracing the day to get it right, finding an air that is easier and smoothed out.

The birds forgive her simple, humane existence. They know she is following the orders of the house, a guest in their home. This four and a half billion year old earth which carries her shaded past and unique, ghost filled history.

She is simply at the mercy of time, enduring with whatever shred of dignity she can muster.

To never forget the page. The page carries her when she cannot stand, crouched in fetal position on the bathroom floor. The page dreams the big dreams when she sees nothing through misty eyes. The page promises hope when she has exhausted all roads, and left dreaming behind. The page holds her hand guiding her gently towards the light, where the words are the wee bit brighter. Dripping icicles, the snow has lost interest in this corner of the land and gone off to find glaciers and ice hills, more appropriate temperatures to visit.

She wraps the afghan throw tight around her shoulders, rocking back and forth while humming her favorite tune hopeful to revisit the dawn of a new tomorrow.

-excerpt from The Red Bench

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