Twinkling Christmas Lights

I watch them putting up those tiny Christmas lights  as I enter my mother’s building.  White, blue, and red flashes of light signaling the holiday season–like prized race horses bolting out of the gate.  My breath is frosted.  Another aide called me in a panic.  In broken English, she pleads telling me about my mother’s rage.  I tell her that she wasn’t always like this.  Neither was I…

I try to appeal to her compassion.  I pray that she does not leave.  I have lost count of how many have been in and out.  In and out.  Like my breath.  Or the waves hitting the beach at Seaside. 

I look up at the massive high rise my mother still calls home.  I see tiny twinkling sparkles on bare branches. There is a soul fading.  I shudder.

I start crying in the middle of  the street.  I want to be a child again at the beach in Seaside.  My father and I would occasionally take walks down the boardwalk .   The mission was threefold:   frankfuters, dounts, and knishes.   “Now, don’t tell your mother” he would growl as he shoved a cruller down his throat.  Other than that we were silent.  I would listen to the cries of the gulls and the waves breaking against the beach.   My favorite book then was “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.”  It was really popular.  I think the bird flies away at the end. 

Distant memories.  My father is long gone.  Cancer.  Like the seagulls in Seaside.

There will never be a feeling of protection again.  Always walking in shrapnel.

Tiny lights.

Twinkling like …bait.

Signaling the end.

Or worse.



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