Ava-The Dancing Star


The following is a creative short story. Enjoy!

Ava’s eyes caught on the landscape out the back window. She let her mind fall away from the moment and drift. A leaf gracefully slid from the golden canopy. When would it change? Or would it? She shook her head and let it fall into her hands. She knew it wouldn’t. Not ever. It mattered not what everyone told her. She knew her reality. Her prison. It was like a steel cage with no key. She could peer out, but never escape.

She tuned reality out around her, instead choosing the peace of the music in her mind. She had the uncanny ability to replay songs, rich and full, like others played records or called up tracks on a CD. Whatever her mood, Ava could flip through the playlist within her heart. Like a slow and haunting melody, it would dance across her nerve endings, escaping from the ends of her fingers wherever they may lie.

Today, her fingers found the rough wood of her desk and she slowly tapped out the steady beat of Journey. She let herself be carried away on the word pictures that faded in and out of focus. She stilled her hands, then with care, slowed the tempo so each word was captured in time; each phrase hung like a framed picture against the blank wall of her hollowness.

 Just a small town girl

Livin in a lonely world

She took the midnight train goin anywhere…

Ava saw herself standing on an empty street, a light breeze washing over her. She was wearing a soft and worn out leather messenger bag across her shoulder and in it she knew every item and it’s significance. There would be precious little she’d take from here.

What she wouldn’t give to pick up and leave right now

A singer in a smokey room

A smell of wine and cheap perfume

For a smile they can share the night

It goes on and on and on and on

Her mind drifted over to “Him”. To his hands. She traced them in her mind, feeling the warmth and the hardness of them. They were rough and yet intensely soft. She knew, that made no sense at all, and yet it did. Her heart did a little skip beat when she saw him come into the room each time. He owned it. Completely. His was an unhurried and quiet presence. It calmed her, and yet it flustered her completely. She flushed now thinking of him. It made her glad, for once, that she need not try to impress him. His obvious acceptance of her was so unexpected and refreshing that she found she stopped trying and she just “was”. Did that make sense? It was as if her soul, often so tormented, simply relaxed and her whole being smiled. She smiled now. She smiled until she remembered herself…

Ava was both her mother’s greatest accomplishment and deepest failure, all wrapped up in one moment of weakness. Every single day of Ava’s life, the girl inside her mother screamed at her for being born. Ava was sure of it. Joy and pride had once brightly lit in the young mother’s eyes when looking upon her daughter’s blond head and creamy skin. It took a few precious years for that to turn that on a dime.

 Some will win

Some will loose

Some were born to sing the blues.

Oh, the movie never ends,

It goes on and on and on and on……

With unrestrained energy, yet grace, she let her fingers move the music as a maestro moves the symphony into it’s grand crescendo. She rocked back and forth and let her legs move and tap out new and stronger chords. A grin lit her face and she leapt to her feet.

Arms waving in the air, she moved the colors and magic that held the pictures around her in a static place and forced them to burst forth into life. The pictures came alive. She was no longer the sad girl on the corner, waiting while life passed her by, but she was the one with a full heart urging the girl to dance! To believe! Live!

Don’t listen to the world. Don’t let them take the joy! What right do they have to steal the music and write the ending? After all, HE saw her. She knew he DID. He saw past her bars and into her heart. In fact, maybe for the first time, there was a chance that the harsh steel bars didn’t hold her at all.

Ava had tried. She had. She’d done everything she could to make her mother’s eyes light up again they way they once had. But even though she could see love in her eyes… she never saw the unrestrained joy. It broke Ava. It did.

Lifting her arms up above her head she swirled them around and the colors danced in time to the music. Ava gave herself over to the music completely. She was done with reality. She wanted to run away with him. Right now. It was almost time, and she wanted to believe, if only for THIS moment in time, that it WAS possible. Why not? Why for everyone else in the world but her?

For now? She believed. She let her heart free from her prison. She took her fingers and pried open the bars, just enough, and set it free. It raced forward and it took flight.

Immediately the music took on a life of its own and it began to own her instead of her, it. She knew what kinds of looks she’d draw if someone were to happen by right now, but she cared not. Oh to be free! It was the most glorious feeling in the world! To be in love, and to race away with it! To imagine that he would look at her again, with those deep eyes, and truly SEE her! She never knew the power of the music until she allowed it freedom over her like this; and she let it move and flow, to twist and grow. She was like a bird in flight. It was beautiful. It was amazing!

The chorus spun over and over in her ears… in her mind.

 “Dont stop, Believin…”

She didn’t know exactly when the words had sowed themselves into her heart, but they had. Now all that mattered was that they were woven into the fabric of her very being. She had a will to fight against all the staring eyes and the negative voices that seemed to always believe her to be nothing worth noticing. She WAS someone… even if no one could see past these bars imprisoning her.

Ava reached out and took hold of the bars and she shook them. She wrapped her fingers around them till her knuckles turned white. She strained and pulled against them, but they held fast. NO! A tear slid down her cheek as she twisted against reality. It held firmly to it’s hold on her.

***

“Ava,” a voice called out as a knock at the door came.

A look of surprise washed over the older woman’s face, and then pity. Her eyes took in the gangly form of the young woman in the room, arms waving over her head, fists opening and closing. With a slight drop step, she took small circles in the room as she moaned to herself. Her blond hair was pulled back into a pony tail and had come loose around her face. She looked disheveled. There was gong to be some work to do to get this child ready if she was going to be on time today.

“Ava, dear! Look at you!” A woman dressed in neat slacks, with a colorful pull over nurse’s top, came into the room. Ava’s eyes registered her entrance, but she did not acknowledge her otherwise. Ava moaned louder and moved toward the window. “No honey, we need to get you ready. You have a dance lesson today!” She moved her away from the window and over to a mirror.

Agitated, Ava pushed the hand away that tried to help tame her stray blond curls that had freed themselves. She reached for a worn brown bag that lay near the bed.

“No, you don’t need to bring that with you. You’re just going downstairs today. It’s your dance lesson. You remember?” A few loud voices made their way down the hallway and a boy slapped the back of another as he yelled in agreement. Ava’s eyes followed them. “Here, let me fix you up. You want to look pretty, don’t you?” With that, Ava’s hands fell to her sides and her moaning slowed.

The woman shook her head to herself. Such a pretty girl, really. It was so hard her family that she couldn’t understand much and that she couldn’t communicate with most. But Ava seemed to have a connection with dance, and to music. She seemed to come alive when she was near either one. So Patty had fought for her to get into the music program here at the group home. She’d come so far since then.

***

Ava walked in the room. The music was already playing. The instructor was leading a group of awkwardly moving couples to the music by calling out steps of, “and a One, Two, Three, Four.” Ava looked around the room till her eyes fell to the one person who wasn’t moving to the music. It was HIM.

He walked over to her as if she was the only person in the room. His eyes held hers and he saw her. It wasn’t her imagination. He did. He saw her. Ava felt her heart speed up and her hands shake a bit. Calm down, Ava, she said to herself. Be cool here. She smiled up at him and offered her hand.

Looking down at her, he took her hand and swept her into the room.

For the next hour, there would be nothing else. There would be no prison. No walls, no awkwardness, nothing. There would be only him. He came each week to dance. To be her partner. To free her from the reality of her world. To be both her dream and her reality. If she couldn’t feel the hardness of his hand in hers, she’d swear he was an angel. She wasn’t entirely sure why he came, but she wanted to believe it was because of her… because he couldn’t stop thinking of her all week, like she couldn’t stop her mind from replaying this simple hour, every single one that followed it. She refused to be reasonable, but instead gave herself over to the music and to the feel of him, to the smell of his cologne, and to the nearness of his warmth as they moved in time to the music.

Ava sighed and smiled up at him. This was enough. For now it was. It really was.

***

Looking down at her, Larry couldn’t help but feel himself grin. She never really spoke much, but he seemed to understand her anyway. He felt lead to speak to her as if she understood what he was talking about. Maybe he was nuts, but he felt like she did. So in between songs, and during the break, he would look into her deep blue eyes and ask her about her week. He refused to do the easy thing and talk about surface things like weather and how dinner was. He filled in the gaps by telling her about his hectic week and telling her how crazy it was in traffic on the way here. About the guy who cut him off, how he restrained himself from yelling at him, and that it was because she came to his mind and he imagined the disapproval she’d show in her eyes and the way she’d turn her head and wag her finger at him. She had grinned at him then.

Ava always rewarded him each week by shining her award winning smile. It was a little crooked half smile that lit her whole face. One eye was a tad drooped, but the light in them when she saw him across the room more than made up for it. There was no way he’d ever want to put disappointment into those eyes. It’s what kept him coming week after week. He’d begun coming after he was asked to volunteer to come to dance classes as part of a program reaching out in the community… but now? Now it was for Ava. She was truly one of a kind. She was far more beautiful than most of the souls who passed through his days each week.

Ava was real. She was unhindered. She was like no one else. She didn’t seem to see the bars that imprisoned most people… she seemed so free. He wished he could show her off to the world. He wished he could somehow show the world how beautiful she was. Heck, he wished the world could be a little more like Ava.

He looked down at her as they stepped together in time to the music. She was beaming. He grinned. She was a shinning star. She was his dancing star.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Angels in the treetops


It was hot.  Very hot.  Sweat trickled down her neck as she scrubbed the last pot and put it on the tiny counter to dry.  She ran over the mental list in her head and decided on the next task on tap for the day.  She wished the heat would ease.  She stood at the screen door and hoped for a breeze.  The curtains stood stick still in the windows.  Not a breath of air showed any life aside from that made from the small metal fan that whirled and clacked on the end table.  The treetops may be swaying, but nothing inside the house moved.

Everything was tiny in this house.  It was a small cinder-brick house built for shelter, not for comfort.  Someone had painted it pink once long ago and they hadn’t the time or money to change that.  It was okay though.  They were a little family in the little house, and they were together.  Howie had come home from the war.  She was happy simply because of that if nothing else.  But life was a struggle and there was no denying it.  She drew a breath in and looked up at the sun radiating down.  The house was at least shaded partly by the towering tree tops in the front yard.

Turning from the door she was back in the kitchen in just a few mere steps.  She took down a box from a cabinet and set a pot to boil.  If she made up some of the dinner prep now, it wouldn’t be so hot in the house later when they all sat down to eat.  The baby was sleeping in the back room soundly and her little girl was off at school.  It dawned on her that the  body she constantly was working around wasn’t where he should be. Ricky was always underfoot.  His favorite place to play with his cars was right at her feet in that tiny kitchen as she worked.

At first she just assumed he’d wandered off down the little hall and so she went to search for him.  She didn’t want him to wake Ronnie.  But no, he wasn’t in with the baby.  It took her just seconds to search the house and find him gone.  He was no where to be found.  She tried to think.  Where could he go?  Panic welled up in her.  She fought it back and called out to him, “Ricky?”  Nothing.

She called him loudly enough to be heard but trying not to wake the baby.  Running to the windows she looked out them all and saw only empty space and dry bare yard.  Where was he?  Her heart began to beat faster and offer up prayers she had not yet spoken.  Where did he go?  He had been right here.  The house was too small to get lost in.

Again she searched the house and looked out the windows and screen door.  “Ricky?  Where are you Ricky?”  She called his name more urgently.  Nothing.

She didn’t want to leave Ronnie alone, but she had to find him.  She opened the screen door and felt her heart flop back into her chest with a thud.  There he was.  He had his little rump perched on the tiny lip of the stoop.  She hadn’t seen him because he was hidden by the bottom of the doorframe.  Relief flowed through every vein and she joined him out there on the stoop.

“Ricky, why didn’t you answer Mamma?  I’ve been looking for you.”  He just shrugged his tiny shoulders and continued looking up at the treetops.  She let her frustration leave her as she sat and watched him.  There was something about the way he was sitting so quietly looking up at the trees.  She didn’t want to disturb him.  Though hard to describe, she could tell something amazing was playing out, right there beside her.

“What are you doing, honey?”  She tried to follow his line of sight.  She watched the sunlight dance across the leaves as the breeze circled overhead.

“I’m watching the angels play in the treetops,” he answered quietly as he continued to focus on the overhead canopy.  His small voice was barely above a whisper and contemplative.  He was just 4 years old or so and yet he seemed to be weighing thoughts of the world in those short moments they sat there.

A slight breeze moved around Norma as she sat there beside her son.  Her heart beat a bit faster and she began to ponder things.  This child was God’s child, not hers.  He was just here for her to raise and to care for… but truly this boy was His.  He had plans for him, she could sense it.

It was in those precious moments she began to see little things that would one day lead to big things.  God was at work and she had a front row seat as she set about being a mother to her three children.  The angels were in the treetops.  God had great plans for them, plans to prosper them, not to harm them, plans for hope and a future.  Life was hard.  But as this promise from Jer. 29:11 spoke, God had plans.  It would take a life time to see the plans God would work out, but they were already well underway today as she sat next to Ricky on the tiny stoop in front of the little pink house.

(Written for my Grandma and Dad – based on their story years ago I’ve heard retold so many times over the course of my life.)

In the Image of the Father…


With a flash, the entire room was lit up, creating devilish shadows in every corner. Thunder roared like an angry beast as the rain beat the earth unmercifully.

She lay curled in a ball at the foot of her bed, under the covers, with all her most precious stuffed animals. Sweat beads dripped off the small girl as she lay in fear, silently praying her pleas to God for protection. She wanted whatever was out there to go away, she cared not where, just that it go away and to do it NOW!

With the next flash and ear splitting crack the small girl leapt from the bed and was running. She ran to the one thing that always made everything okay. No matter how big or how small.

As she rounded the corner, she prayed a quick child like prayer and stood shivering with tears still fresh in her eyes. She looked up into the caring eyes of her earthly protector, storm calmer, and hurt healer… her Daddy.

She looked up at him as he slowly folded his newspaper and lay it beside his chair. He smiled a slow and sweet grin at her. His eyes were warm and understanding. He reached out his arms to her. The small girl quickly crawled up into his safety and instantly forgot about the storm.

“I love you Chrissy,” he whispered as he kissed the top of her forehead, his fingers dusting her bangs from her eyes. She lay back against him and listened to his heart beating in a steady rhythm. It calmed not just her fears,but also her very soul.  He took her hand and gently traced the lines and patterns that made her unique.  He took her thumb and made slow circles upon it.  His hands were so much larger than her tiny ones.  

His warm embrace, gentle touch, soft words, and soothing acceptance of her in her darkest moments wrote upon her heart the love of her Heavenly father, so that she might recognize Him someday in her darkest adult moments; amongst the storms of life.

Her little heart had the foundation of what to search for, and what to find.  She would carry it with her forever.  It was a gift given that only he could give her.  If only all little girls could receive this precious gift, what a different world this would be.

God bless the earthly fathers who reflect their Heavenly Father’s loving arms. And God bless my godly earthly Father for the love he has shown me every day of my life.

-CC

Knee to knee – before the Throne


They sat knee to knee.  Her head was bowed and her spirit was fragile.  He wrapped his strong arms around her put his head down to hers and they sat together bowed before all of Heaven and began to pray.  Her breathing was soft but he could tell she had tears.  He lifted her up before the Father and prayed over her with a strength that was both calming and awe inspiring.  She drew courage from his words and from the answers of peace already flowing down upon them.  She always had chills the minute the first words left his mouth, “Father, we come to you tonight together.  I want to lift my wife to you…”

They were not sure where to turn, where to go, or what to do… so they did the only thing that made sense at all.  They simply came together and gave it all up to Him.  So many twists and turns had taken them down one path and up the next.  There was nothing sure or certain except that they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was in control.

So she sat wrapped in his arms and relaxed for the first time since the day began.  She relaxed because she knew that her husband would walk beside her every step of the way, and that God would lead those steps.  And in that there was a ray of hope enough that the darkness retreated back to the corners where it belonged, and the light took it’s rightful place in the center of their world.

Looking for the guiding light


Like a heavy thick haze, she peered through the pain unable to see clearly.  It weighed her down, pulling on her as if gravity had run amok.  Her head felt 10 lbs heavier and it took effort just to keep it upright.  Each step taken sent waves of pain into her skull.  Her heartbeat kept time with the throbbing in her forehead.  It felt like someone was inside with a mallet trying to slug their way out.  There were times she imagined this evil little demon pounding away and wondered if maybe someday he really would break his way out.

There was no way to explain the pain she lived with.  No way to give a clue as to what daily life was like from her vantage point.  She’d heard a lot of “suck it up’s” and heard the almost audible eye rolls from people when she’d say she had a headache.  She eventually found a way to grin through the pain and function nearly as if it wasnt a constant draw on her strength and even her humanity.  But eventually it would claim her.  One of the beasts would find a way to escape and she’d not be able to to function as he broke free.  He’d come at her from every angle and she’d be forced to her knees, forced to bow low to his power.  The beast held a skull cracker in his fist and she learned quickly to play dead so she could live to see another day.

Eventually the beast would grow tired of torturing her and he’d retreat.  When he did, she’d quickly build back up her walls so he could not escape next time.  But even as she added yet another layer of mortar, she knew in her gut that he’d return one unsuspecting day.  He’d plow through her walls and with it bring a darkness that was so thick you could taste it.

While she lay motionless, in a half dead state, she’d will her mind to quiet, to become thoughtless.  A mere fleeting thought, like the breeze of a butterfly, could cause such intense throbbing to begin that she nearly came undone.  Today she willed her mind to float on a bed of soft clouds and forced all colors from her mind.  Only a mindless white could still her mind and will her breathing into a still soft and slow pace.

Without moving, she began to look for the glow.  It was a soft and shimmery glow, just barely seen beyond the darkness of her misery.  It possessed an audible calmness.  It was what would eventually envelope her like an airy fog and protect her once it covered her in it’s embrace.  It was soft like a pair of wings she would rise up on under their care and power.

The guiding light always brought her back, always protected her, always chased the darkness away.  She was not the daughter of darkness.  She was born of the light.  No matter how hard the claws of darkness fought for her, the white wings would hold them back, taking the wrath for her.  She had only to lay still and allow the healing to come.  For the battle was not hers to fight, but His.  The battle was already won, before it even began.  She had only to believe, and to look toward the light.  She would rise up on wings like eagles, and the whole of her being was filled with the glory of the light.

Light would win this day, just as in every day past.  And she believed, even in her haze of pain.  She believed.

Finger itching, twitching, purpose bursting free


She sits quietly, silently, pen poised above the page. Emptying her mind of herself, she begins by letting letters flow through her fingers.

Words take shape, paragraphs form. Ideas, pictures… a story.

The reason she exists is to be a vessel, a carrier of the word. Without this purpose her life is pointless.

So she sits, pen poised, waiting for the words to come. Fingers itching, sometimes twitching; anticipating their arrival. When they come, they freely flow, moving like a stream.

Stories swirl, gaining momentum, finally bursting free.