Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Karaoke

As a Professional Writing major (Creative Writing minor), I have taken, and will take, quite a few writing courses. Well, last semester I took Intro to Creative Writing with Dr. Kara Candito, who is a fantastic person, professor, and author/poet. In her class, we were to write a short story for a writing prompt one weekend. Well, that weekend happened to be the weekend my mother passed away. Therefore, I wrote a short story about my last day with my mom, but it was written from her point of view.

After the semester ended, I decided to revise the story a few times until it was written how I wanted it. This semester, I entered it into the Creative Writing Contest that the Humanities Department holds every year. Well, that short story won first place in the fiction category! I get to read my story and a poem I have written at the Creative Writing Festival on Tuesday, too!

I was beyond excited that I had won. Not only did something I am extremely passionate about win, but it was my first time winning first place for anything truly competitive. It felt fantastic to be recognized for something I put effort into writing. It also made me happy that it was about a topic so dear to my heart. This has motivated me to keep revising old poems and short stories I have written until I have done all I desire to do with them.

So, in honor of my first win, I decided to share my story with you all:


 Karaoke


My baby girl, Elise, who’s not such a baby anymore, surprised me this morning. She showed up on my doorstep. It had been months since I’d seen my college girl because she lives with her dad when she’s not on campus. Unfortunately, she showed up as I was in the back of the ambulance. See, I had fallen out of bed this morning and couldn’t move. I was numb from the shoulders down. That’s the sucky thing about living about alone, no one knows if you’re in trouble. I hate hospitals, but after a while of trying to get up myself, I decided I should probably call the ambulance. You know, that God sure does work in mysterious ways, though. He brought her to me right when I needed her most. I couldn’t imagine what went through her brain when she got to my house, or the whole ride to the hospital. She was in the front of the too-cold ambulance talking to the driver.


When we finally got to the emergency room, they attached me to all sorts of machines that would normally bother me. The walls were too stereotypically bare and white. The bed could’ve been comfortable if I had never slept in any other bed in my life time. Then, I saw Elise. She was by my side the entire time. Her beautiful long blonde hair pulled out of her face in the scrunchy I gave her last Christmas. Her eyes, blue like the Dallas Cowboys’ star, didn’t even flinch when the doctor said my kidneys had failed. She simply nodded as he told her what they were going to do to try to get them working again. I was so distracted by her ability to remain calm that it didn’t faze me right away what the doctor had said. When it did, I felt my eyes freeze on his face as he described everything to my baby girl.
I remember thinking, my kidneys failed? Isn’t that a sign of life failing? What’s going to happen to me?
It’s because of Elise that I didn’t argue when they said I would be admitted for a few days. I was, as much as I hate to admit it, scared.
Now, seeing Elise sit at my bedside, stroking my hair, trying to make these damn hospital blankets somehow comfortable for me, is heart breaking. My twenty-one year old daughter shouldn’t see me like this. If only my kidneys would have held on a little longer, we could’ve had a nice visit. If I was strong enough to sing, I would’ve. We used to sing together all the time, in the car, at home, and at Karaoke every Friday night at Quote’s Bar when she’s visit from her dad’s.
Ah, Karaoke. Those are my favorite memories with Elise. We hade been going to Quote’s for the ten years her dad and I have been divorced. Even though the dim-lit bar reeked of smoke and was filled with drunken klutzes with hyena-like laughter, it was our special thing. Of course, up until a few months ago she had never been able to drink with me when we were there. Damn it, I bet she wanted to go this weekend and have her first drink with me. Why did she have to plan a surprise visit? I could’ve told her not to come this weekend. I could’ve found a way to talk her out of it without telling her the cancer had come back and spread all over.
“Momma, I see that look. Don’t worry about what I’m missing at school. It’s fall break; no one is there anyway. I’m here for you, okay?” She insisted.
“I’m sorry sweetie, I ruined your break,” I apologized.
“Don’t even worry about it. All I wanted was to be with you and see you. How that happens doesn’t matter. Right now, we just need to get you better so we can go to karaoke again,” Elise said with that optimistic smile she’s always wearing.
“Do you remember when you dragged me up to…,” I pause to catch my breath, “…that stage for the first time?”
I hadn’t sang in front of people yet because going to Karaoke was supposed to be Elise’s thing. I just wanted her to get a chance to sing and gain some more confidence. After four years of going out to Quote’s I had managed to talk my way out of getting up there with her. Well, at fifteen years old, Elise wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. That was when she decided to grab my hand and literally pull me up to go sing “Coalmine” by Sarah Evans with her.
“Oh, of course! How could I forget? You were so mad at me. You kept saying ‘I’m not drunk enough for this Elise!” She said imitating my voice almost too well.
“And you just didn’t care. You just…” I could feel my breath getting shallower, “…wanted me to do something crazy and out of…my comfort zone for once, and boy…am I glad you did.”
“Momma, you took over that stage. Everyone loved you!”
“Oh they were a bunch of drunk…people in a bar. They didn’t hold back their…laughter.” Man talking is starting to get difficult. Why? I’m supposed to be in this hospital to get better, not worse. What’s happening?
I’ve always admired how Elise pays attention to the good in any scenario. That night at Karaoke, all she saw was how much fun I had singing with my daughter. While, all I saw was the drunken idiots dancing and laughing at my horrible singing. This morning when I got brought to the hospital in the ambulance, she kept saying how good it was that I was finally getting some help, and that I would be singing my off key melodies in no time. All I could think was how scared I was of what was happening to my kidneys…and my life.
“They were laughing because they were having fun, not because you can’t sing. Although, you could use a lesson or two,” she teased.
I could reminisce with my baby all day, and I would’ve, but the nurse walked in and asked Elise to step out for a few moments while they inserted a central line in my neck so they could get medicines in my system more easily. The last thing I remember was my baby Elise kissing my forehead and smiling at me while saying,
“I’ll be right back, Momma. I love you.”


                                                                                                                                               



Until next time,
Kay
 

 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Nostalgia

As the end of the semester is approaching, I can't help but think of how old I am becoming. My life has flown on by, and I am remembering what it was like to be a child. So care free and innocent in the world. The harsh realities of my life were not apparent to me yet, and I miss that sometimes. So, I figured today's post would be a good time to share a short poem I wrote a while ago. It's not super great, but it fits my thought process this morning.


Nostalgia
How I miss the days when
fairytales were actually logical
Briar Rose and Cinderella were my idols
fireflies were a sense of freedom

How I miss the years when
days wouldn’t end until 
Daddy tucked me in
“house” was just a game, not a future

How I miss the times when
drama was being first in line
life was simple 

Until I grew up





Until next time,
Kay