April 18th, 2016

A Twist of Fate

By: DawnMarie Poirier

Here I was in my mid forties with nothing to show for my vast years on this planet, nothing but my kids. I had no job, no house, no purpose, and no life. I did have two vehicles and a failing marriage that never should have happened in the first place.  Sure it was nice in the beginning when we were making all these plans, even up to the trip to Las Vegas with Valley of Fire wedding but then shortly after all those plans went out the window. Instead of both of us buying a house that belonged to each of us equally, somehow he convinced me that it would be better for both of us to move into ‘his’ house that ‘he’ owned, a fact that he has not let me forget since. “How has my life gotten so messed up?” I groaned barely audible.

I began to survey my surroundings, coming to a realization I had not noticed before, there was nothing in this ‘humble’ abode to say I or my kids lived here. Nothing. The kitchen was done up in stainless steel and black with light pine cabinetry and hard lines along the edges, I preferred the warm red tones of cedar and softer curved edges. The floor was black and white stick on tiles and black curtains hung in the window, the living room walls were again light pine paneling with Carmel colored rug even the pictures on the walls were of racing kings, a true tribute to Nascar at its best.  I hate black and white with stainless steel and detest everything Nascar! Where were my dragons, my kid’s pictures, my soothing landscapes and my abstract designs by Escher?  I had two in my old apartment. One depicting a veranda scene with two distinctly opposite views of above and below melded perfectly together called Haute’ et Oeuvre’ which was French for above and below and the other of a towered village square with a mill and a river that appeared to flow upwards to the top of the tower where there’s a waterfall cascading down to feed itself and spin the water wheel called ‘Cascade’ French for waterfall. “Where did they go and why have I not noticed this before now?” I stood asking myself trying hard to remember a time when I had seen them here. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, he’s made excuses why I can’t melt my style with his because this is ‘his fucking house’ after all.

Just then the phone rang, “Hello.”  The soft deep baritone voice on the other end threw me for a loop, instantly taking me back to young adulthood. My mind flooded with faces and names of people I have not seen in over twenty years, two in particular stuck out and I was back in that basement in Arlington. I could smell the mildew and the musty stench of the marijuana being smoked. I could see the foil lined sound proofing on the walls and hear the extremely loud heavy metal music being played with the sound of their guitar and bass over shadowing the music. Crazy Train by Ozzy and I could picture the scene as if it were yesterday.

“Bunches?” the voice on the other end inquired again and I was overcome with shock because I’ve not been called that in over twenty years. At the mere mention of the word, my mind I was transported to the second floor of a white two decker with the living room done up in a pastel blue.  ‘Ahh yes, the justice of the peace’ and the thought brought a smile to my face. I could even see him standing there in his silver grey suit with the tie that didn’t quite match and all that curly brown hair brushed back so neatly regarding me with those pool blue eyes filled with such love and affection.

“Bunches? Would this be you?” the voice came again and I froze.

“uh-umm, yeah it’s me.” I stammered as wave after wave of old buried memories took over me, making me yearn for those long lost days of fun and carefree frolic. “Gizmo? Wow! Can it be?” I gasped with so much delight my mood brightened and I didn’t feel so down. He always had a way of lifting my spirits and funny how the old names still felt so comfortable after all these years. “What’s up? How’d you get my number?”

“Oh, nothing much. You know me, I always manage to survive.” He answered but his voice seemed much less certain and just a little too solemn. “As for acquiring said number, darling daughter gave it to me.” Now he sounded slightly more upbeat.

“Cool. Wow, great to hear from you since I haven’t talked to you for ages. Where you been?” I tried to contain the excitement in my voice. He hadn’t changed a bit and the conversation went on for hours, before I knew it the kids were due to be home from school, so I tried to end on a good note that opened up the chance to talk to him again.

“So what’d you call for?” I asked trying to sound nonchalant.

“Well, I wished to be the one to inform you of darling daughter’s and my intention to take up residency together.” His voice rambled detailing all their plans but my mind halted on that one fact.

“Ho! Wait a minute. Did you just say you’re moving in down the Street with our daughter Gizmo?” I sounded so shocked and hoped he didn’t pick up on it. This couldn’t be happening. Yes, it was good to hear from him again but moving in with our daughter and just a short ways down the street? This had trouble written all over it. Especially with my situation and my current mindset.

“Most certainly did. I wanted to tell you so it would not be a huge surprise when you stopped by for a visit.” He sounded so sincere. “Listen Bunches, I know I’ve done some horrible things to you in the past and even though it sounds like you have forgiven me and because I whole heartedly regret such actions, I wish to make amends to you and darling daughter before I die. Please allow me that opportunity.” His voice echoed with the weight of the world.

I couldn’t stop my mind from racing. Here I was with a failing marriage to a man I never loved, nothing to show for my life and no self worth. I was at the lowest point of my life. Suddenly my mind halted its pity fest zeroing in on what he had just said, “Whoa, did you just say before you die? The cancer is back in full force?” I couldn’t contain my overwhelming sorrow or concern.

“Yes and yes.” Came the reply.

That was it! I had to get off the line and process all this but needed to keep the communication lines open. I was in shock! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so I made the excuse of the kids arriving home and we agreed to talk further in the morning.

Over the next few weeks he explained how the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes then to his liver, kidney, and stomach and how he had to have a portion of his internal organs removed. So we made plans to and moved him into Cassandra’s house down the road. It was a nice two bedroom apartment on two floors that consisted of a living room, dining room, kitchen on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second floor and he seemed to settle in nicely. From there life faded back into the old familiar routine except I tended to spend more time with Gizmo until that fated day Cassandra called overly distraught. “Mom, Dad’s in bad shape.” She continued through uncontrollable sobbing, “They just rushed him to Angel Hospital. I don’t know what to do?” She was crying and sobbing uncontrollably now.

I tried my best to calm her down and get more information from her, “Ok, I understand you are upset and concerned but I need you to tell me where you are and what happened so I can come get you and we can decide the best course of action. Did you go with the ambulance?” I tried to sound as calm and reassuring as I could.

“Home. I’ve no way to get to the hospital and they wouldn’t let me in the ambulance.” She was a little more in control though still distraught. I hurried over to their apartment and we both headed to the hospital. I knew I had to be strong for Cassandra but inside I was falling apart. Just when I was beginning to see a possible new lease on life it began to crumble.

When we arrived at the hospital we were greeted by a doctor with a somber look on his face. “Hello, ladies. I understand you are here for Mr. Ellis?” his voice was calming and soothing.

“Yes. How is he? What’s problem?” I tried to keep from asking too much at once.

“I am sorry to inform you that he is in a coma and we are uncertain at this point what has caused the seizure that placed him there. We don’t know more than that right now.” He waited for the news to sink in. Naturally, we broke down, crying and sobbing. Over the course of the next ten days, while notifying the rest of his family and coordinating their visits, the doctors informed me that due to his living will and the fact he showed no signs of recovery, we would need to hold a family meeting to discuss pulling the plug. Thursday, meeting day, arrived too quickly for me. We all gathered in a little room off the main waiting area as one by one we went in to say our goodbyes. It was my turn and, although selfish of me, I found myself pleading with Gizmo to wake up. I wasn’t ready yet to completely let him go. I needed him here. “I’ve always loved you and needed you.” I sobbed gripping his arm and caressing his sweet gentle face.

It wasn’t long before the nurse came rushing in checking all the instruments and ushered me out of the room without explanation. Back in the meeting room we all waited for the medical team and I told them how the nurse and doctors rushed in. We all wondered what was up. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the medical team came in and explained that there had been slight brain activity and movement while I was talking to him. “Although, nothing significant, and not by any means promising, there was brain activity. However, his living will states that if he were in an unresponsive state or coma, if you will, without feasible hope for full recovery his wishes are that we terminate further attempts to save his life. That said, we need to decide, if today’s activity is grounds for continued treatment.” He stopped talking allowing us to think on this. “I will allow you to decide amongst your selves and will return later.” We deliberated for most of the day and into the evening, finally deciding that it would be his wish to be let go. It was decided that we would pull the plug in the morning after one last round of goodbyes.

Cassandra and I arrived the following morning with a heavy heart and in tears. Gizmo’s aunt was already there, “Well, how is he? Any changes?”

Before she could answer the nurse came in saying, “Why not ask him yourself?” I just stared at her in utter disbelief and she escorted me to his bedside. I simply could not believe my eyes. Not only was Gizmo awake but he was sitting up, watching television. When he saw me he turned toward me beckoning me in.

His voice was horse from the breathing tube but he kissed me and said, “I won’t leave you just yet.”

This is DawnMarie's first submission to tonywassom.com, and hopefully not the 
last! If you'd like to contact her (I'm sure she'd love to hear how much you enjoyed 
her story), send me an email to Tony@tonywassom.com and I'll forward your message to 
her, right away.


Rub the Sun

By: Tony Wassom

There are so many things I have yet to do,
Not just things I need, things I want, too.
I don’t always see others’ point of view,
Sometimes the sky is green while the grass may be blue.

A baby sneezes and religion has begun.
A father speaks about a ghost and a son.
A mother lives life and is buried undone.
Does anyone know if there’s any or even one?

I’ve learned weakness is the power of the strong,
Before you can be right you often must be wrong,
The shortest distance sometimes takes much too long,
Sometimes the best gift you can give her is your song.

Sometimes the best friend to have is yourself,
Sometimes the only one to trust is someone else.
Maybe a sure thing needs some work to be done.
I’m not afraid to reach out and rub the sun.

I don't fancy myself a poet, at all; however, once upon a time I wrote quite 
a few songs. This piece is a song I wrote and have edited to appear poem-ish 
in an effort to give life to some thoughts that never really made it off the page. 
So, if you have any thoughts on my repurposed work, I'd love to hear them! T.