Writing For The Moment

It’s Okay if You Hate Me

He sat on the floor, his back against the dark wood dresser in his bedroom. His legs drawn up to his chest, his eyes cast down, not that he could see me anyway. He had responded to my voice.

 

“Daddy, what did you do?”

 

“Oh Kristi, it’s terrible, just terrible.”

 

“What daddy, come on, it will be okay. It’s always okay.” I stepped into my parents bedroom and then stopped.

 

The air was still as the room grew dark. Day was ending, the sun going down. The bedside lamp remained off. My sister had once again been reading to our father in the afternoon. The noise of my playing and mom cooking in the kitchen the reason they had went to his bedroom. Dad needed it to be quiet when she read to him. He was studying for a college course. His limited eyesight made the reading assignments drone on. Having my sister read to him made it go much faster. I hated how it took away our play, my sister and I loved to play together.

 

“Not this time, bug.” My father hiccuped as tears rolled down his cheeks.

 

“It’s okay if you hate me. It’s okay if you never forgive me.” He pulled his knees tighter to his chest.

 

“Oh daddy, of course I forgive you! I could never hate you!” I rushed to him, knelt down and wrapped my seven year old arms around his neck.

 

Warm tears dropped onto my neck as his body quivered with each breath. I hugged him tight promising I would not let go.

 

He hiccuped again, his arms not leaving his knees. I hugged him. He didn’t hug me.

 

“I don’t hate you daddy. I promise, I won’t hate you.”

 

“Kristi, I’d like you to go in your room for a while. The police officers need to speak to your father.” My mom had come in and flipped on the light.

 

I gave my father one more squeeze and got up to leave. My mother tossled my hair as I passed by. I looked up at her face, the corners of her mouth turned down, her lips stretched tight. The wrinkles on her forehead creased deep. She looked tired. Very tired.

 

Before I crossed the hallway to my room I peeked in my sister’s open doorway. Prone on her bed, face planted in her pillow, her sobs muffled.

 

“Lisa?”

 

“Lisa, are you okay?”

 

“Go away.”

 

“Sis, I’m here. No matter what it is, it’s going to be okay. Come on, tell me what’s wrong.”

 

“I can’t. You wouldn’t understand.” Between a plugged and runny nose and the pillow it was hard to make out her words.

 

“What did you say? I can’t hear you?”

 

“I said go away, you wouldn’t understand. You’re too little.” She lifted her head long enough to cut into my heart with her words.

 

“I’m not too little! I can listen. You just need to talk to me!” I stomped out of my sister’s bedroom and went into my own. One of the few times I was thankful I no longer shared a room with her.

 

My doll was on my bed. I grabbed her and a brush and began tugging it through tangled hair. I heard voices and foot steps coming down the hallway. Two officers in blue uniforms walked past my door. My mom passed by and pulled my door closed. I could hear them talking, deep voices, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying.

 

“What do you think the officers want, Molly?” I asked my doll as I continued brushing her golden hair. Strands of white, yellow and gold, with a hint of red mixed in her lovely hair.

 

“Do you think my daddy did something so bad the police men came? I don’t know what he did. Maybe Lisa did something bad, she sure is crying a lot.”

 

I stopped brushing, the brush once again stuck in my doll’s hair. Patiently, I pulled each strand out at a time, trying not to pull them out of her head altogether.

 

Rolling closet doors creaked breaking the silence. I strained to hear. Slipping off my bed, I tip-toed to the door. The adults spoke in hushed whispers. I pressed my ear against the door.

 

“Just wear what you have on…….” it was a man’s voice, I didn’t recognize.

 

“Mr. Espe, it’s time to go. Mrs. Espe, you can follow us to the station or come down in the morning. Here is my card, you can call me direct for information.” Another deep voice. I waited for my mom to speak.

 

I pressed my face harder against the worn door, my cheek burning from rubbing the wood. Shuffling sounds, sniffling, whomever was outside my door was crying. Feet stepped past and someone bumped into my door from the hallway.

 

“Lisa, Please go down the street to your grandma’s and tell Bill what is going on. He needs to come home, now.” My mother’s voice quivered as she spoke.

 

Why did my sister have to go get our brother? Why didn’t Bob, our oldest brother go? Lisa was so sad. I should go with her. But mom told me to go to my room. She didn’t say I could come out yet. I wish I knew what was going on out there.

 

The hallway grew silent. I sat down on the floor, my back against the bedroom door. I held my dolly tight against me.

 

“Molly, why do think daddy said it was okay if I hate him?”

 

(Excerpt from: ‘That is NOT Okay!”)

 

Copyright © 2018 by Kristina Lyn Reddy

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.

 

Reddy 2 Write
P.O. Box 33933
Seattle, WA 98133

Writing Exercises

Mission Complete

A sweet melody joined by an equally captivating harmony fought together, a small army, lifting their battle cry in an effort to break through the roar which filled the sky surrounding their safe house. Each one singing as though their note, line, was the headliner meant to steal the show. Together they formed a formidable force to be reckoned with and yet, unheard by all, save two. These two having honed the magical power of tuning out all sound that dare combat the notes high and low – on key and off – which began no more than a whisper and grew no greater than a gentle breeze – this was all their ears could hear. Soaring through the wind above, around and under tree branches. Diving low to the soft soil turned and watered in hopes seedlings would take root and nourishment would spring forth. Ears pricked by sound, their mission cut short, they retreated. The volume increased by intensity as the tiny army overtaken by impatience heightened by the need for sustenance hit a crescendo. Beaks open wide – a gaping hole exposing the need coming from the very pit of their stomachs. Satisfied, filled, as warm juicy sustenance was lovingly passed from mama and papa to babes. The nest grew still as the sweet sound of silence gave way to the hub-bub once again filling the air around their home.

Life After Cancer

Basking in Perfection

It’s barely past noon on hump day. The sky is grey and thick with clouds that block out even the slightest glimpse of the blue sky that I gazed upon this morning. And yet, I find myself, hands wrist deep in warm sudsy water washing the dishes with stuck on food that sat upon the counter from yesterday no less, with a smile on my face. There is a warmth in my heart that only comes from the feeling of being content. No, more than content, satisfied. No, more than satisfied happy. No, more complete than happy, accomplished. Or maybe it is all of the above together. A perfect combination of satisfaction, happiness and accomplishment with the overall understanding of being content.

This morning I woke to my ‘alarmy’. It is a phone app that you schedule alarms and choose the method in which you will turn that alarm off. You can either shake your phone a specified number of times, solve a math problem or take a photo with your phone camera. The point being by the time you have done one of these things you are awake and most likely out of bed. Thus you are more likely not to go back to sleep. I am anti alarm clock myself. I don’t recall the last time I owned one. When I got our puppy though I quickly realized I preferred to be the one who determined when we woke up than he. And so I set this alarm clock for the both of us. Each morning as it goes off I pick up my phone and turn it towards puppy who is sitting in his kennel waiting, albeit not always patiently or completely quiet. He begins to dance around in anticipation that I am going to let him out of his kennel. I shake my phone the appropriate number of times to turn the alarm off as I walk slowly across the bedroom to the puppy. I set my phone down on the fire-place mantle and proceed to put on my jacket and socks knowing the first thing I will be doing is taking a puppy outside to go potty. I’ll save you the details from there.

After walking Michael to school with Mr. Bailey (the puppy) I headed in a different direction than our typical daily route. Last night in one of those imaginary conversations with myself I had determined that puppy and I would take a longer walk this morning. We walked across Greenwood and north to 145th St to the entrance to LLandover by the Woods. A trail that goes down through the forest. It was actually one of our better walks with Bailey only stubbornly sitting down refusing to walk one more step a handful of times. You have no idea the accomplishment this is. He tends to stop and sit as any dog aproaches. Not out of fear but in hope of meeting the dog. He does the same any time a human being, young or old, is passing by. No matter if they are on the same side of the street or the complete opposite. Once in the woods Mr. Bailey was all in a-tither. He loved it! For once he was a few steps ahead of me the whole way. As we neared the end of the trail we turned around and headed back. Mr. B so far has never failed to recognize that we are ‘going back’. His pace quickened a bit more and I found that we were jogging up the hilly trail. Good for both of us. My heart began to race and my breathing labored. I was the first to slow the place. Bailey could have run the whole way back. One day I will too. At the top of the trail we slowed again as he realized we were leaving the woods and heading out into the noisyness of the streets. If only we hadn’t been heading home he would have fought me for sure. He seemed to be able to sense that the direction we were heading would lead to home and thus be worth walking on the busy street sidewalks.

Back at home Bailey spent some time out on the back deck giving Maya (one of our kitties) a hard time. She hissed and swiped ineffectively. Bailey did seem to sense she didn’t want to play, much to his dismay. Persistant as he is, he tried again and again to approach her but her mood never changed. Full on anger with growling, hissing and swiping continued no matter the direction he tried all the while his tail stub that it is wagging 100 times a minute. Finally I pulled B back and let Maya run down the deck to the yard. Not exactly where she wanted to go but better than the alternative of being with the puppy. Bailey and I headed inside where he curled up on the rug looking satisfied and tuckered out. I sat down to my computer and began writing. I began the first of what I hope will be a children’s early reader series about Mr. Bailey. This one is entitled Mr. Bailey Comes Home. Another will be Mr. Bailey Walks in the Forest. And another will be Mr. Bailey meets Griffey. I’m sure others will come to me as time goes on. I tried not to worry too much about the details just yet in regards to the vocabulary, number of words on the pages or in the book. I focused on putting the words in my mind on the screen. Editing will come later.

My home phone rang as I typed. It was mom. The one and only person other than telemarketers that calls my home phone. Each time it rings I think to myself its either a sales call or it’s mom. I hope for the latter. Mom and I had a lovely chat. Her greeting was filled with the smile that I know was on her face and her strong and warm embrace reached all the way through the phone line and encircled my body. We shared the blue sky that we were both reveling in here in Seattle for me and up north in Everett for her.

As per usual she asked how I am doing. Letting me know that she and dad pray for us every day but wondered if there is anything specific or new that they could lift up in prayer. I shared how I was doing and then let her know that Tom and I were just talking last night about Michael, our strong-willed child. So much alike and yet in this so different from his sister. On the one hand there are character traits in a strong willed child that when honed correctly are the design for a strong independent leader. On the other hand strong willed children can be tyrants, bullies, stubborn and disrespectful. Deciphering the difference, cultivating the positive traits and knowing when and how to discipline the negative is not easy. Mom offered godly wisdom with examples and scripture. Go to the source she said, the Bible and tell him that just as you are called to obey God he is called to obey his parents. Part of my job as a parent is to obey God and raise my child the right way. Which includes teaching him to honor his father and mother, to respect authority and to ask forgiveness when he doesn’t. The part I found intriguing was the idea of sharing with him that I have to obey God in training him to obey his father and I. So often kids feel like the parents are the ones telling them what to do and never being told what to do. That doesn’t seem fair. Hearing that I too am called to obey just as my son is was eye-opening for me and I hope it will be for our son as well. It was really nice to listen to advice from mom, a grandma who loves and cares for our son and only wants the best for him.

I went back to writing, taking a break here and there to hold my sweet, loving and still tuckered out puppy. After eating lunch I looked once again upon the pile of dirty dishes not getting any cleaner sitting there on the kitchen counter. It was then that I also noticed the little red light on the dishwasher indicating it was full of clean dishes. After emptying the dishwasher I ran hot water to get the task at hand done. As I washed each dish scrubbing away the dried on food I couldn’t help but noticing how I was feeling.  Content, happy, satisfied, accomplished, as though I had been doing exactly what I wanted to be doing from the moment I stepped out of bed until right then. And to think it was just barely past noon. More hours left in this day, more time to be with puppy, to write, to clean my house, to walk to pick up our son from school, to prepare dinner for our family and to clean up messes. Oh yes, there will be messes….. in fact puppy peed on the floor during part of this perfect day. In his defense he was so excited to be once again trying to convince Maya that she should play with him. She on the other hand was a hissing, growling swatting claws out mess of anger. He got so excited he peed! Oh puppy.