My Downstairs Neighbors

I have been standing at the stove for some 20 minutes, staring out the window. What I am cooking, I don’t even know, and it probably doesn’t matter..
The upright piano was leaning on the ramp of the Uhaul. Next to it, the small, dark haired female sat, feet over the side of the truck bed, elbows on knees, chin in hands. To the other side, a tall man with shaggy hair, hands on knees looking defeated. They have been attempting, single handedly, to push the baby grand piano up the ramp into the Uhaul..
Maybe it started when I first walked past their front door. Right as I approached to pass, it opened and I was immediately engulfed in a cloud of weed smoke. My nostrils burned and my eyes began to water. After that, I noticed the same concentrated stench would creep through the vents and in the open windows of my apartment like The Fog. The worst being in my bathroom, so strong was the smell that my guests often suspected me of taking up the drug for recreational purposes.
Too often the ghostly odour was accompanied by the most extreme lung hacking from downstairs. So weak was the insulation between our apartments, I could often be woken from slumber by the coughing fits. The lung hacking was then always followed by the thick sounds of vomiting.
My glorious Sunday mornings, languidly waking to a fresh new day, suddenly interrupted by the hack hack hack, puuuuuuuuke from downstairs.
But I think worse than that, was the music. Nearly always poorly played, electric toned keyboard music. And though it could be done, I struggled to pull a familiar tune from the clash of notes played. Never once did I hear any notes played on the very real piano I had no idea they were in possession of.
Occasionally at night, as I would just be settling into bed, I could suddenly hear off key singing from directly below me. As though in an attempt to haunt me from my well deserved slumber. The singing was usually accompanied by their joint giggling.
The brief respites came when they would play tasteful, easy jazz on the stereo. From Frank Sinatra to Ella Fitzgerald type tunes for hours on end. But nightmare became reality when they began what sounded like the beginnings of a garage band. No sooner would I return home from a hard day of work, that the click click click, of the drum sticks would start.
Thankfully this phase did not last long..
And oddly, I recall a radio story I had once heard about a woman so wildly enthralled and equally appalled by her new neighbors across the street. Unabashedly, open curtain type neighbors. They had pushed their bed up against the window. She couldn’t believe it, and yet, she couldn’t stop watching them. She became a member of their lives via her obsessive voyeurism. Them being intimate, them eating breakfast together, everything. They were young, and beautiful, and in love.
Then one day she realized she hadn’t seen them in a while. Then when they came back, they looked very different. The woman looked heavier, the man thinner, weaker. He was bald. It took them a while to realize this was the same young, beautiful couple as before. The bed that had been pushed against the window, was replaced by a hospital bed.
It is strange how your first impressions can be one thing, when all the while there is a different story playing out in real life.
And for a moment, I can see it..
A young woman who grew up wanting to create music. A young man, in love, follows her to music school. They pack up grandma’s baby grand piano and the keyboard she’s had since childhood, and move to a small, 1 bedroom, downstairs apartment close to campus. Close enough for her to walk to school each morning, and back each afternoon.
It is difficult studies, but she works hard. Mornings he is left alone. He wakes with horrible nausea. The only thing that settles him is marijuana. He smokes it until he is taken by severe coughing fits. He coughs so hard some mornings he eventually vomits. He smokes religiously to feel stable. Until she returns home to tell him about her day, to play him the music she is studying in class.
Most days he feels strong, young. But when he has had a really hard day, she will sing him to bed. She sings off key, but he still loves it.
This is not the real story. They are simply weed smoking college kids. Each day I would exit my car next to theirs. Inside dangled old concert passes from the rear view mirror, the cup holder with its never changing large soda cup from Sarku, full of cigarette butts. Car that hardly ever went anywhere.
Until now..
I must have lost focus, because I look up and the piano is successfully ensconced within the Uhaul truck. This is when it really dons on me, my downstairs neighbors are finally moving..

The Dream Catchers

When I turned 5, my mother finally allowed me to watch the work of The Women. She would wake me long before the sun rose. I would crawl out of bed, sleep still clinging to my eyes. We would travel deep into the forests on our lands. The trees were thick and no moonlight could penetrate through them. But mother had traveled this path since she, herself, was 5. Grasping my tiny hand in her warm one, she’d guide me over rocks and roots and around tree trunks, thick with age, never allowing me to lose my footing. Until eventually, we would break through the trees upon a wide clearing, filled with the women of our tribe. Each holding up an intricate circle, filled with a spider web design, laden with feathers and beads.

The Dream Catchers.

I had always assumed that what we did was make believe, false hope for those who dream. The first time I saw it, I thought I must be dreaming myself.

As the sun began to warm the sky, I watched the women, each one holding up a Dream Catcher, their long fingers dancing in front of each, drawing out invisible strands from their centers. I could almost see the ghostly threads drifting in the air, off each finger, like spider silk. And as the sky grew brighter, I stared harder, the threads becoming more visible, twinkling in the growing light. And suddenly there, on the end of each strand is something. Like some dark and leggy bug, clinging to the Dream Catchers, pulled away by the threads, by The Women.

There are hundreds of them. Nightmare creatures.

I watched my mother as she worked, drawing the small bugs closer to her face, staring intently at each as though she would devour them. And then as the sun came to crest the horizon and cast deeply into my eyes, I was blinded for a moment.

I wiped the tears from my eyes, trying to refocus. But The Women were done. Each leggy bug vanquished in a beam of sunlight. The silky strands were gone. Only the feathers dangling in the gentle breeze of morning..

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I had a record breaking 3 racist comments towards me within 24 hours. All different people. One patient refusing my care until I proved to him I could speak fluent English. And I understand this is a burden I must bear for being born Asian. But it is not something I can help, I didn’t ask for my genes to be this way, and it is not something I can do anything to change. I can’t lose weight, or put on weight, or dye my hair, or cut my hair in order to change how people will see me.

But the most disheartening thing, is when people tell me to “get over it.” I joke a lot about when people are racist towards me, and someone once pointed out to me that that is another burden I am putting on myself. I can’t recall the exact term used for it, but I have conditioned myself, as an Asian-American, to make light of my pain to make other people more comfortable with it.

What the fuck is that all about?

My heart hurts extra because I go to my friends and colleagues, 90% of which are White American, and some of them actually tell me to, look who I am dealing with, why am I surprised? Why am I surprised? Because I am dealing with Americans, and because I am dark skinned and they are white skinned and they have no idea what it feels like to have someone automatically just see that I am different. Before even asking me what my name is, or bother to let me say, Good Morning. They have never experienced someone stop and actually walk the other direction after seeing them.

And this is what it means when someone says, someone of colour must work twice, three times as hard to be an American.

And I hate to bring the added adopted factor into this, but they also have no idea what it is like to feel like an outsider it America, and have the added burden of knowing that even though I am an American citizen and only know what it is to be an American, were I ever to “go back to where I came from,” because I am an American, I would be just as much an outsider in Korea. It will not make sense to an American, but Koreans would see it on me. The way I dress, the way I hold myself, the way I gesture. Before even asking what my name is, or allow me to say, Good Morning. So where am I supposed to feel like I belong?

I shouldn’t have to feel like an outsider in my own country. I am not saying that I need people to get up in arms when someone exhibits racism towards me. I am not saying that people need to paint their skin and walk around in my shoes to fully understand my plight. But I shouldn’t have to deal with anyone telling me to, “get past the racist comments.”

Yesterdays Bells

About now, the leaves of the tree outside my window would be full and green. The Whispering Bells. Not its real name, but the name that came to me for the sound the leaves would make in the spring breeze.
My tree is no more. I remember the day I heard the small hand held chainsaws rip through her limbs. She was already asleep for the year and could let out no cry of protest. I watched the young men carelessly throw her hacked branches into the bed of a beat up truck. I cried for her.
Today, there is only the light tinkle of my wind chimes. Singing out for their duet partner. But no answer comes.
In the distance, across the street and through some more trees, under the shade darkened awning of their abode, a lone piano player. From a distance, I hear them playing The Beatles’s Yesterday..

The Dark Side of Mental Health..

I work in a Behavioral Health unit. The psych unit of the hospital. We get alot of patients, from major mental crisises, to unmanageable depression. The object is to help someone out of their crisis and hope they don’t have to come back.

But there will always be the patients who come back. The ones who count on us to help them, the ones who need us.

Because of that, there are patients that we get to know. We see them when they are at their worst, and we nurture them back to stability. We come to love them, in our way.

In a way, they begin to become like old friends. And each time I discharge them, I give a kick in the pants, and tell them I better not see them round these parts again… And then I give them a hug, and tell them that seriously, we will always be here if they need… And then they are gone.

And days go by, and weeks, and months. For most people, it is, out of sight out of mind. The doors of our unit revolve too quickly to dwell. But for those who have the softest parts of my heart, I imagine I haven’t seen them because they are doing so well in the world. I don’t let my mind imagine the worst.

But sometimes it happens. We live in a small town. And when I happen upon the news article declairing one of my most special patients dead… a piece of my heart breaks away.

There are downsides to every situation, but this is the very worst part of my job. Everybody dies, it is something a hospital is very familiar with, but when one of my patients dies, it cuts me as a failing.

Why didn’t you come to us for help?

I am not a doctor. I’m not even a nurse. I am the person who gets you coffee, who sets up and cleans the shower, the person who wakes you up in the morning, the person who tells you that the sun is out and if you’re not quick, you’ll miss it! I can’t take away your problems, or your pain. All I can do is offer my hand when you’ve fallen, and try my damnedest to help you remember how to smile.

And today, I pushed myself to get up, to go out and see the sun, to smile… because I would never be able to do that for you again. I smiled, because I would never see you smile again..

Vacation Pandemic – Day 1

I remember a time, not long ago, I woke up thinking I was in a dream. Surely any moment I would wake up and it would all be over, surely we didn’t elected Trump as our nation’s president…

I woke up this morning after being awake for nearly 20 hours, after 8 hours of work, then driving 277 miles in 4 hours and 40 minutes. I woke up thinking I was in a dream, and that any moment I would wake up.

But time keeps ticking, and I slowly realize that my eyes are really open. There is no waking from this. No number of dystopian novels, or zombie movies can really prepare you for this. This thing that happens on your TV screen, not outside your door. But the truth is, we are in a pandemic. And I watch as it spills outwards, ripples off of a dropped stone into a pond. I watch as it oozes closer, erupted lava, and we are running out of pillows to jump on. There is no where to run.

I still find myself laughing a little on the inside, who says things like that and really means it? But I close my eyes and all I see is Jason Voorhees coming towards me at his slow, but inevitable pace, machete full of virus…

But what really scares me, is the madness, the hysteria around me. The store shelves stripped empty by fear. Thoughtless fear. People buying the bandaids, but not the Neosporin. People shunning Asians as if each one of them carries the leper virus. Avoiding their shops and restaurants and forgetting that Asians once put their blood, sweat, and tears into helping build this country.

I find myself shaking, twitching, just trying to flick the remnants of this bad dream off and try to get back to my life. But the world is shutting down around me. Schools closing for the safety of our youth. Businesses trying to stay strong, to be a source of comfort and normalcy for people, slowly dropping like flies. Highway traffic tapering off to trickles. The world is shutting down around me. Like in Hollywood videos, when the power to a large city gets shut off. You watch the town from some high vantage point, maybe a birds eye view, as sections go dark, one. by. one. Until all there is is darkness. And silence.

Four years ago I woke up to a newly divided nation. Angry. So much anger and hatred bubbled to the surface. And there was fear. Fear of our own safety, fear of our neighbor, fear of our own president. And I didn’t believe that things could get worse.

Today I woke up to a shattered nation. Fear. We are afraid of our very selves. And to some extent, I think, afraid of what could come next.

I drove up to my parent’s place to spend my days off. Sometime during the drive it seemed, this town shut down as well. It, at first, felt almost pointless to be up here. But the truth is, the situation is no better at home. And at times like this, I would rather spend it with loved ones, than by myself, in true isolation.

Columbus Day was yesterday

There were alot of memes showing anger towards Columbus Day. One was a picture of his statue covered in blood and a sign with angry print saying, “stop celebrating genocide,” in the same red blood. And while I agree that the view has been twisted, I also feel that instead of just being angry, at our own nation, that we should be educating. These days it seems like people want to be angry at anything and everything. The truth is, we are a young nation, and mistakes have definitely been made. But we can’t change what happened. What we can do is educate people to understand why it was a mistake. As a nation we are already at a disadvantage, what other country sets themselves up to be divided the way we do? 50 separate states that take relish in rivalries and competition each sports season? And while I also admit that we have alot of holidays, most of which come with deep pasts, and the average person does not even know why they are celebrating it, save it is on their calendar. And most of the time, we celebrate them wrong. (Halloween is NOT about getting as much candy as you can.) But it is because we don’t take the time to understand the true meaning of each holiday. And I absolutely admit, that I have no idea where Valentine’s Day came from. And yes, I get disgruntled that I have no partner to celebrate it with. Cuz, that’s it right? That’s Valentine’s Day. Maybe the most criticized holiday. “National Singles Awareness Day,” “Greeting Card Sales Day,” “The Day Before All the Chocolate in the Nation Goes on Sale Day…” No one really knows. But it is met with negative feelings. But that seems completely contrary to it. It is the one holiday that is purely based on Love. What other holiday prompts you so strongly, to simply show Love for someone else?

It breaks my heart to see our young nation already so angry at itself. And definitely the last couple years, that anger has increased and come to the forefront. We have fractured and now lash out with anger, we might not have even realized we possessed, at our fellow Americans.

It was Columbus Day. It is on our calendars as a holiday. If you are angry that we celebrate it and acknowledge the wrong aspects of it, don’t use your anger to scare people into acknowledging the other parts. When you don’t know something and make a mistake, you don’t want someone to yell at you that you have done it wrong. You want someone to help you figure out how to do it right.

Turning 31

This last year has been bad, the worst. I entered my third decade of life and I’ve hated every minute of it. I have never been faced with so many challenges to my life and personal identity. I’ve never questioned my own self so much, and felt as though I’d lost so much along the way. I’m 30 and I feel like I don’t know who I am or what I’m doing. I’m 30 and I’ve never felt so lonely. But the truth in my heart is, I am who I am. Long ago I came to terms with the fact that I’m not cookie cutter. I do things my own way. And that not everybody is going to accept that, and that’s okay. I’ve spent so much time and energy trying to make others happy, that I’m not happy myself. And I’ve let people make me feel ashamed of myself. March to the beat of my own drum? The truth is, I don’t hear a drum. I bask in the sound of my own silence. And I like it. And I’m going to be okay. I’m going to have more bad years, and I’m going to have great years. In two days, my year from hell will be over, and I survived it. Today, while waiting for my coffee, late in the morning, the woman behind the counted looked at me, and told me she was proud of me. And that was all I needed. In two days, I’m going to turn 31, and I’m going to have the best year..

I have a Dream…

I have a dream… that one day the obnoxious sounds of hoodlum children running rampant in the neighborhood streets will cease, and my fellow neighborhood man will put down his hammer and chainsaw and realize his house can be fixed no more. I have a dream that one day, I wont be wrenched from early morning sleep by the unholy neighborhood sounds of what-have-you. I say to you today my friends, let slumber reign. Let slumber reign so that I may dream at last..

(Repost from 2 years ago)

Thoughts of a 30 year old..

I used to laugh at people who made the transition from age 29 to age 30. What were they so afraid of? It’s just another year, there’s going to be plenty more. But now that I’ve turned 30, I repeatedly blink my eyes in hopes I’ll wake up and find I’m 29 again and this year never happened. I didn’t go thru all the stress and pain I went thru, I didn’t gain 15 pounds I can’t seem to shake, I didn’t nearly lose one of my parents, we didn’t elect Donald Trump as POTUS… But alas, here I am, 30, and here are my thoughts:

My body: They always told me I’d lose my metabolism by age 30. Having been someone who always ate whatever I wanted and never had to worry about a thing, it is actually quite devastating to find this permanent spare tire around my middle. No one wants to feel less than they are. But the lesson to learn here, is that you don’t have to keep trying to be more than you are. No one has ever complained, mocked, or had a problem with my imperfections. I’m no longer in my 20s and if I’m hanging out with someone who laughs at my chub, maybe I need to be rethinking the people I am hanging out with. Or I need to laugh louder about their bigger chub.

I can no longer eat extrordinarily spicy food without my stomach protesting later. And I find myself saying, “what?” far more than I ever have. I used to jokingly tell my parents that it was simply because they are old, well now it would seem the jokes on me. Our bodies truly do seem to go thru all those horrible changes as we get “older.”

My money: For the first time in my life, it is tight. I am at this strange point in my life where I am making enough to survive, but that’s all. Living alone is pretty damned expensive, and people looking for roommates are looking for college students in their 20s. So what do I do? How do I live? Carefully. For the first time in my life I understand the value of working hard, and the need to think about how I’m spending my money, and the reward in being able to treat yourself to something nice.

I used to chalk it all up to career choice. I simply didn’t make the right choices when I was in college. But the truth is, those things don’t matter as much now. 3 years of experience is equivalent to a 4 year degree in most places. If your 4 year degree is the same as your 3 years of experience, then you can’t say you made a wrong choice. You are doing what you want to be doing. I am doing what I want to be doing. It isn’t glamorous, or exciting, and it doesn’t necessarily pay well. But it is what I am good at, damned good at, and it is what makes me smile.

My family: In turning 30, I reached the cut off point to sell my eggs. Sounds strange, why would I care? Do I even want to sell my eggs? Not necessarily. But knowing a piece of you has reached its expiration date just makes you feel old period. How did I miss the step at which people have kids? The truth is, I didn’t. I chose not to hike up the mountain along the beaten track. I chose to claw, fight, and drag myself up the hard way, and if it put me on a slower path, then it put me on a slower path. I am not at a point in which I am ready for children. My own parents didn’t have my brother and I until they were in their mid thirties and there was nothing wrong with that. They lived their lives first, found each other and truly fell in love, and had kids when they were really ready for them.

As far as falling in love? I’ve felt love for someone else a couple of times. But I’ve never met someone I could see myself with for the rest of my life. Does that make me broken? I’m coming to terms with the fact that I Am A Virgo. I am thought full, particular, stubborn, and wont act unless I am sure of myself. I haven’t met my special person. I am not sad for it. I am in love with my own independence.

My future: When I turned 30, I had a midlife crisis. I lost people I cared about, and at some point, hit a bottom that created an outward ripple. I lost myself. I wasn’t in my 20s anymore and I wasn’t sure what to do. It was a long journey to try to rediscover myself. And the truth is, I’m no one different. I did not magically wake up and find I was an adult. The truth is, I’ll never be an adult, in that sense. I will always need my parent’s help and approval on the serious things. Maybe there is an added expectation on me, to be responsible and a role model and have experience. But I can only be me. Everyone has their own journey to go thru. It was my errs and experiences that made me who I am. I am finally old enough to look back and see that. I am not apologetic for being who I am.

I am a Korean-American woman, I don’t know who my birth mother is, but I know who my parents are, an American woman and an English man. I grew up in small town Alaska and got my degree in Idaho, but spent most of my college years in Oregon. I have two cats and two tortoises. I like icecream, and I like beer, and I love icecream in my beer. I play videogames, speak fluent sarcasm, and watch documentaries for fun. I hide myself deep inside the enigma, buried in the pages of an open book. I am who I am, and I am not apologetic. I am me. I am 30, and in a month, I’ll be 31.

The Great Alaskan Adventure – Post Script

I don’t mean it to sound like I really hated my childhood.. Honestly, the older I get, the more I realize it’s the opposite.

This town sheltered my childhood. I grew up around complete families. I grew up surrounded by culture, and diversity. I grew up in a community of adopted children, and through that, my eyes were opened to the huge world outside my little island. I grew up enmeshed in the local Native culture, and through that understood the concept of respect. And I grew up in a town that is probably 75% wild nature, and through that I developed knowledge of more than just human culture. I watched our beloved Glacier slowly melt away, and understood that what we do really does matter. Climate Change is real. I remember the Exxon Valdez oil spill in ’89, and understood that life is more than just we see on land. I saw a wolf on the ice, I watched from a distance as it tipped its head back and howled, and I realized some things TV and Photos just can’t capture. That there is a real world out there, and first hand is sometimes the only way to really experience it.

It took me years to realize. But it all soaked into my development as I lived and grew. No one had to teach it to me. Like my mother never tought me her Spaghetti recipe, but I know it. Like my father never tought me how to shell fresh shrimp, but I know how.

I ran away from my childhood once I finished High School. I washed away the memories and never wanted to go back.

Juneau, Alaska was where I spent 20 years of my life. It is my childhood. I knew culture, I knew nature, I knew Love.

I simply mean to say, that through this return, I have realized that it is no longer my home. All things continue to move, and I had moved on. It wasn’t for me to stay there.

(Photo credits from 11 years ago.)

The Great Alaskan Adventure – Epilogue

Parting Shots..

The entire city of Juneau, Alaska is covered in a thick haze. Smoke from wild fires up north. It distorted a lot of the views. The mountains in the distance, standing like sentinel ghosts. And the heat was record breaking. These aren’t the way things are supposed to be there..

And maybe it was fitting for my return. All of my memories got distorted and turned on their head..

The truth is, Juneau is no longer my home. I don’t know it anymore. Everything is different. The shops, the people, the Glacier, the trees! Some things are the same. The beaches.. But none of it felt like “home.”

We spent so much time playing tourist, and seeing as much as we could see.. It wasn’t like I was returning to my home.

I’ve lately spent so much time confused about who I am and what I should be doing. The two people I reunited with, so head strong and assured in what they are doing. Why couldn’t I find that?

I don’t really know what I had been expecting. Some grand revelatory moment? Some golden answer to all my quiries?

Instead, it was like opening a box, to find it’s empty inside..

I had never believed or felt that I was really an Alaskan. Not the way some people do. But I suppose this trip confirmed it for me. Alaska is not my “Home.”

“Home” is still a place I’m searching for..

The Great Alaskan Adventure – Chapter 5

The Case of the Murdered Raven..

In the wee hours of the morning, a raven was murdered on the grounds of the Sacred Shrine of St. Theresa.

All the other ravens were up in arms. Squaking and crowing at any who passed by.

Crime scene photos were taken.

But no trace was left behind. It seemed the culprit had made a clean get away.

Was it Great Bald Eagle? Known for laying the smack down on smaller birds getting in his way?

Was it Big G Bear? Who possibly happened upon this straggling raven and had him for a snack?

Or was it possibly Mr. Wolf? Not typically know to these parts. A traveler. Passing thru. Murder and mayhem left in his wake.

Who could know? But the ravens demanded answers.

The heat was on, and the tide was rising..

Who would solve the crime.. of the Murdered Raven..

The Great Alaskan Adventure – Chapter 4

(You’re not going crazy. There is no Chapter 3.)

The Day After..

I don’t know about you, but 16,000 steps sounds like loneliness to me.. 16, 192 right now, as I type, sitting, perched in the window..

Yesterday, the world came together to celebrate the Birth of our nation.

Today, life goes on. The sun comes up. Stores open as usual. Crew ships dock. Life goes on..

Candy wrappers litter the streets. Orange cones still linger from blocking off streets. A woman in a police car drives block by block, stopping each time to pack up the “No Parking” signs..

I walk the streets, and I don’t recognize anyone. I don’t recognize the stores. I don’t recognize much at all. It’s like a dream you’re trying to remember, but can’t quite pull it out of the fog. My heart feels confused..

I reunited with a childhood friend, and I didn’t know him anymore. He looked different, but the same. He knew me, and I knew him, and I smiled… but I didn’t have the energy to meet a stranger..

Even the trees are strangers. The freakin’ trees!

How can a place be so familiar, yet so different? Was it like this for my father? Who moved from his home across the world to be with the woman he loved.. was it like this when he came back to his childhood home?

A teacher once told me that “Nostalgia,” is the longing for a time, not a place. Places change. This place has changed..

And 9 stories in the air, I watch a small tour ship, docked away from the other massive crew ships. I watch as it toots its horn and pulls away from port. I watch it disappear behind a building for a while, a long while.. I watch it reappear, turn right.. turn right again. I watch it go around it unsure circles, before finally finding its way and heading off, and I feel a profound sense of… loneliness…

The Great Alaskan Adventure – Chapter 2.5

Sky Flowers..

When she was younger, she’d been a little in love with him.. But then, what young girl isn’t a little in love? Something about him drunk dialing her and serenading her a song by Poison. Or maybe it was something else.

On this night, the docks were crowded with people. Drunk, and rowdy, and jostling everywhere. Everyone shuffling around, looking for someone else..

And then BOOM!!

And the sky sparks to life. Everyone stops, turns, and looks skyward. The night fills with colourful explosions. One after another. The next bigger than the last. It is the event of the night. 4th of July Fireworks show.

And yet something pulls her attention to the left. And there he is, standing alone, head tilted up in awe. The sparks of light illuminating his most likely drunk, and relaxed features. The slightly amused twitch in his lip.

The show was in front of her, but the heart stopping sight was to her left..

And then someone says his name, pulling him from his revery, and he is engulfed into the crowd..

———————————————————

I never liked loud sounds. Booms of explosions, banging of drums. It always hurt my chest. The deep sound bouncing around my empty rib cage..

I always avoided parades because of it. And thunder would cause me to cry. I couldn’t handle the echoing in my chest..

Tonight, the explosions are loud. They are numerous. Sky explosion after sky explosion. People cheer and clap. The sounds carry and bounce off the mountains.

BOOM! ..boom! ..boom… BANG! ..bang! ..bang…

It is a trick. It makes the night full of flashes and rumblings.

And I wonder if it also makes Juneau cry. The sound echoing around her rib cage..

Or if she feels happy. Because tonight, her chest is full with the people who love her..

———————————————————

George A. Romero was called the Godfather of the Dead. He wrote and directed the classic Night of the Living Dead.

He had this idea, in one of his films, that one could distract a hoard of zombies by lighting off fireworks into the sky.

(I think, another nod to what Romero thought of society..)

In the movie Land of the Dead, you hear the boom, then see the masses of zombies all stop, turn, and stare skyward. Awe-struck by the sparkly sky flowers..

At which point, the group of survivors either make a run to safety, or bash the zombies in the brains..