story teller: rewrite

blue bubble calamity clean


feeling of loss. to new beginning. to finding oneself.

The journal prompt of the day: “To be honest, I would rather…”

My knee is aching and I don’t even know what might have caused it. Maybe it’s the wear and tear. The strain of thirty-four years of living catching up with me. I push my journal to the side and skip all of my thoughts for a moment.

I would rather live in a fairy-tale but even that gets boring. Staying with empty thoughts seems to pause time but doesn’t resolve anything. Construct a new life. Rewrite the wrong.

But my knee; it’s bothersome and my meditation state gets quickly suspended. Unemployed and with the last of my money, at least I paid this month’s rent. Hunger, my parents’ fridge is always an option to rummage through and delve to the two-day-old noodles. I love how my mother hums to her playlist while baking.

“It’s an opportunity for a new start,” she says between her octaves.

Yeah. I already know that but it’s beginning to get discouraging especially when I cheated all the time. Stole from other’s lives. May it be their words, or dreams, or actions. The way that someone gestured their hands or smiled in a particular moment. A replica of various parts, various people, but it led to one event, becoming someone I wasn’t. And as my mother smiles at me, I smile back. Almost exact copy and harness her energy for a little longer because it does make me feel better, at least momentarily.

“You have your father’s smile,” and my mother’s words ruin my fleeting happiness. “What have you done today?” She asks.

“Laundry,” as if it is something to brag about but it’s better than saying that I’ve done nothing. Some accomplishment was achieved.

“Did you look at the posts?” Another question with an obvious target.

“Yes,” well, at least that’s not a lie, but did I like any of the jobs? No. None of them seemed appealing or nothing I might be qualified to do, and I slurp the tomato sauce off of the string of a noodle wrapped around the chopsticks. It’s easier to use the fast-food chopsticks left from some order-out meal and discard them than to wash a fork from a drawer. Yes, I had a whole conversation about it with my mother and obviously, I am a horrid daughter doing her own thing and not playing by the rules. But, I guess that’s better than not being able to recognize the person in the mirror. Although, I still don’t recognize the person reflecting back at me from the microwave screen. That stare of perplexing. After all, I haven’t been even following the rhythm of my drums but always some other Rockstar or contrarian. A rebel without her own scars. “I started journaling,” my mousy and meek admission stirs little interest in my mother.

“Like a blog?” My mom asks, not to abate her curiosity but rather for clarification.

“No. Not a blog.”

“Oh,” she sounds somewhat disappointed. “So nothing to make money?”

She’s not listening as always. “No,” I regurgitate with a slight assault. “It was advised though… by… experts.”

“What? What experts?” She stops and her playlist, and looks at me more confused than ever.

But I cannot hold it any longer, “My therapist, mom! Therapist!” I shout less annoyed, rather angrier because the truth that I held for such a long time as shame, seemed was forced out of me. I hate that I have to spell it out.

“Therapist? You don’t need a therapist. You need to apply yourself.”

“To what?”

“Work,” as if that was an obvious answer. “You kids with your dreams… Ambivalence is not a disease.”

“But it’s an emotional hedge,” I counter back but it doesn’t relieve my anger. “I have a problem… a problem I need to work through,” and sheepishly add knowing that ambivalence is not at the core of my present situation. Nor is it laziness. “I’m lost,” another sheepish admission.

At that moment, my father shuffles in, “We rarely strike gold with a first draft. Rewrites make true artists of our lives. Evolve!” He exclaims. His voice hits me like an elating symphony and leans to kiss my forehead. “Hi, honey,” then hands the basket full of homegrown tomatoes to my mother.

“You’ve been eavesdropping,” although disapproving, my mother smiles.

“Of course,” my father’s wholesome and loving kiss leaves a small indent in my mother’s cheek, as my father complete declaration and affection for his wife has never skipped a beat despite many of my mother’s threatening tones.

© Jacob Greb — 2020

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