Thursday, November 25, 2010

TLtS: To Fight the Wind

I dreamt a magic spell the other night for knocking down a breeze. First you kick a stone into the wind. Next you break a "cookie" into pieces. I call it a cookie, because it actually could be. It is the round symbol of Malkuth. In my dream it was actually a piece of round serrated tile. Whatever you've make it out of, it's circular and divided into quarters. The Northern quarter is painted citrine and represents earth (dirt). Sourthern fire and is painted black. (Black icing on a cookie?) Western segments is water and dyed my favorite color; russet. Finally, East, olive; air. You break off the appropriate chunch, in this case the olive piece and toss it into the wind. The wind should stop blowing. I suppose the same logic (?) would apply to stoping a rising river, putting out a fire and stopping a landslide!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

M&R: Claws on Concrete

Mrs. “DK” and her two grown daughters stood at the doorway of their apartment complex waving vigorously and calling goodbye too loudly. It appeared they would be doing so until Roxanne and Maeve were out of sight. The next half block would be a long walk!

The two sister-in-laws walked side by side with forced smiles on their faces. It looked very unnatural on Maeve. In truth, their expressions were something between good natured embarrassment and shock.

Through gritted teeth, still staring straight ahead without turning to her best friend Maeve asked, “Does everyone in this neighborhood get that excited about an invitation to lunch?”

Replying softy under her breathe (she sounded unnatural for Roxanne) “We’ve only been here with the new outlet for a couple of weeks. We’ve invited a few business people to Friday night dinner, but…” She shook her coppery tresses in confusion.
“They knew it was lunch? Right?”

“Yes, yes I referred to it as “tea” just to be sure.” Roxanne assured the brunette, while her voice rose in pitch. “I confused about something else too?” Out of the corner of her painted eye, she saw Maeve nod softly for her to continue. “I thought they were supposed to be Indians.”

Maeve’s dark eyes risked a questioning glance at Roxanne, without turning her head and giving away that they were talking about the brown skin trio behind them.

“You know Native American?”

“Oh,” Maeve sighed in understanding. The shoulders of her black brocade jacket slumping in the process. “They are Indians, as in “from the sub-continent of India”. Hindu I think.”

Roxanne giggled gleefully at herself, her sharp nose rising high with her laughter, her green eyes once more alive with their natural delight. “Oh, Indians!” Once upon a time she would have added how stupid that was of her. Maeve broke her of the habit ages ago. No one bad-mouthed her best friend. “Oh, those girls clean up real good!”

“Roxanne!” Maeve exclaimed as she grabbed her elbow.

“Oh honey, you know what I mean! They wear those beautiful evening gowns…”


Roxanne started to nod in agreement, then her chin came to a stop and she asked mischievously “Sorry?”

Maeve elbowed her good-naturally in response and then added absently, “That’s what they are wearing to lunch.”

“Is that what I agreed too? My English, their accents!” Roxanne’s bright red lips curled in consternation and she glanced about as they finally made the turn towards their company’s new warehouse/home. “In this neighborhood? In saris?”

Roxanne’s concern for their guest was well placed. Their family’s import/export business needed room and they could only find it this run down semi-industrial side of town. The realtor had described the surrounding neighborhoods as once “full of people who could afford to move out of their trailers into rental homes, but don’t afford lawn mowers. Couldn’t afford the ladders to take down their Christmas lights, either.” The Seinnans arrival was part of the current “gentrification” of the community. Still walking down the side streets was not an option. Roxanne’s concern was ironic because she and Maeve wore custom made dresses and handmade heels to match their outfits.

“I hear that some women might feel concerned about walking through this neighborhood, if they were well dressed, might attract unwanted attention, were petite or foreigners.” Maeve rattled off the list absently. They weren’t petite, particularly not Roxanne, but the rest of the list applied to them. They were sauntering down a street that salesmen coming to visit their store had second thoughts about.

“It might be best if us and the girls (Roxanne’s grown daughters) escorted them. You wouldn’t have a sari you would?”

“A closet full.”

Maeve arrived well before lunch with a selection of saris. She wore her favorite one; black and blood red, a gift from business associates of her husband’s. Although the colors weren’t her favorites, Roxanne made quite the bouquet of her daughters and herself, with a matching parasol to match each sari. Her daughters exchanged knowing looks about the weightiness of the umbrellas and the extreme sharpness of the tips. But, no one admitted to anthing, they were too excited about the luncheon. They headed off to the “DK” residence with Maeve and Roxanne in the lead. The playful party of five was half way there when Maeve pointed out something ahead. Four red-neck looking guys huddled around he hood of a truck.

Maeve saw more beer cans than tools. “Reminds me of your neighbors in Alaska skinning an illegal black bear in the back of their truck.”

Roxanne nodded in agreement. Maeve and Roxanne weren’t hard on the eye. The girls definitely were worth looking at and the guys were not giving them the time of day. A little black mixed-breed rushed out, tail-wagging to bark at them.

“More fright than might, you know.” Roxanne assured everyone and clapped for the sweet little doggy to come to her.

“Get away from my dog!”

The creature in question darted away. Roxanne offered a weak meaningful, "Sorry."

“ Ain’t Gizmo, is she?” commented Roxanne’s eldest, referring to one of the family dogs.

The speaker stepped from behind the pick-up grabbing up a big crescent wrench in the process. “People like you is what is wrong with this neighborhood.”

All four of the other women turn calmly and looked to Maeve. Her dark eyes looked up at the beer bellied Cretan with anger and dire wrath. Disturbed to the heart the man visibly shuddered. Maeve veiled her head with dark fabric, there is none darker. It fell back in folds that waved around her lithe feet as she lead the Seinnans on their way.

Braver at a distance one of the men called after them, “Dressed kind of gaudy ain’t ya?”

“Thanks.” Roxanne called over her shoulder with a laugh. “He thinks we look like goddesses; godly! My english!” she explained to the girls.

They laughed at her joke to the consternation of the four deyfusses behind them and went merrily on their way. The girls using their umbrellas as canes and sashaying along like Mae West. Only Roxanne noticed that Maeve never looked up.

Roxanne and her daughters can be a little overwhelming on the best of day. Big, loud and obnoxious (without a mean bone in their bodies), they could be a little intimidating. They towered over the slighter, browner, petite women. But, at the sight of the saris the Indian women screamed with delight. Mrs. DK had flowers for the “tea table” in a small yellow porcelain pitcher hand painted with purple iris. The riotous party moved back the way they’d come and in minutes they were within sight of the now drunker driveway mechanics. All four men, visible agitated moved towards the sidewalk armed with wrenches and fresh beers. Their dog yapped at its angry master and approaching women while spinning in circles on the lawn.

“Yeah!” bellowed the loud-mouth. “It figures you’d be friends with the towel-heads down the street!”

One of his buddies loudly encouraged “J.C.” The other two seemed uncomfortable.

Roxanne’s daughters still smiling and strolling had flipped their parasols, heavy, sharp end up and carried them high with both hands. Roxanne reached for the flowers that Mrs. DK carried. She dumped them on the sidewalk and hefted the pitcher in the air, sharp spout down.

“All you foreigners need to go back to where you came from!” “Yeah!”

“Let’s not mention that their mothers crawled out from underneath rocks.” Roxanne suggested sweetly while eyeing the temple of the nearest.

Instead, Maeve uncovered her head, snapped her fingers and said, “Here Gizmo!”
Behind her Maeve could hear the rapid breathes, smothered whimpering and anxious prayers of their guests. She could also hear claws on concrete approaching rapidly. A small bundle of black terror bounded to her mistress’ side and leaped joyfully for the summoning fingers. Then Gizmo saw the men. The other dog yelped and ran for the house. As much as it could, Gizmo’s curly death-black fur stood on end and she backed up until her haunches guarded Maeve’s ankle. Her deep guttural growl echoed off the concrete with a hum.

“Jake, can’t be far behind.” One of the sisters said.

They gathered in tighter around the Indian women as a 120 pound monster hurled by and landed at his mistress’ left side, a big glob of drool lay across his snout. If Jake was blacker than his mate, it was only because of white foam in his jowls. Jake was so big and fierce that he’d never learned to growl; didn’t need to. The big foul-mouthed guy turned pale. He tried to fight it, but he got dizzy trying not to cough up his last gulp of beer. As he fell back one of his buddies spun him away from Maeve’s black heartless gaze.

Another stepped up, palms forward. “JC’s drunk. Ignore him. We don’t want any trouble. “

Maeve glided on by, leading her party. Her dogs lingered on now silent and waiting. She called them as she turned the corner and they were gone. The guys bent to check on JC who was now coughing up blood. There was a noise behind them. Almost afraid to look the peacemaker turned. It was Roxanne.

“Forgot the flowers!” she exclaimed as she hefted the hem of her gown and scooped them off the sidewalk. She grimaced at JC now crawling around on all fours, as she departed. “Sorry.”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

M&R: Maeve’s Sly Sister

The French waiter in a French restaurant handed Madam Sienna a menu written in French.

Maeve Sienna laid it aside and asked what the special was. She ordered that as her sister-in-law Roxanne examined the offerings. Roxanne glanced at the waiter to see his response. It would be okay. On other occasions Maeve would say she’d forgotten her imaginary glasses or would simply order what she wanted. That didn’t always work. Roxanne ordered with a resolve that set the waiter back on his heels a little. It should have been a hint as to what would come.

“Did you ever think about going back to school?” Roxanne asked absently.

Maeve’s right hand fell. The table thumped. Her silver charm bracelet clanged. Her mouth fell open, of course. Her black eyes widened and began to tear in the effort to not laugh.

Red-headed Roxanne mistaking her hilarity for offense, gasped in concern. Maeve couldn’t hold it back and a howl erupted.

“Dearie, I didn’t mean anything by it. I was talking about me going back to college!”

As she threw back her ebony locks and flung back her right hand. The laughter that followed made it clear that Maeve was not offended by the question. The color that rose to her cheeks and the way she pawed blindly at her best friend’s hand proved that she was embarrassed for the red-head not for herself.

Roxanne recoiled in offence. Which only made her friend just laugh harder, startling Roxanne. Her shoulders fell and she had to join in the fun.

“I could do well in college.” Chuckled indignantly and unconvincingly.

Still chuckling Maeve began “As I recall you passed a few classes when you were studying political science because your advisor and you-“

“Maeve!” Roxanne burst out, and then started laughing again. “I wasn’t the best student last time around.”

Maeve’s pale white hand patted Roxanne’s ruddier, apologetically. Softly she added. “You’re smarter than me.”

“Oh, dearie!” Roxanne gushed, worried again. As Maeve’s head drops “Oh, dearie!” Roxanne exclaims.

Maeve took a deep breath. Her laughing face had turned stern for a moment. Then she shook her slender frame. “What sort of a degree are you thinking of?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Well, I can’t see you in a lab coat doing chemical analysis.”

“I can’t see me in a plain white coat, no”. she agreed shaking her dangling earrings and shoulders of her brightly colored gown.

“And theoretical physics? No, you are more of a people person.”

“Definitely, dearie.”

Glancing about at the crowded restaurant, flooded by strong noon time sunlight for a moment, Maeve suggested, “Well you’ve raised two batches of children and five husbands. I think you have a few things to share. How about teaching?

“Really?’ responded Roxanne hefting her ample bosoms in pride. Her right index finger tapped her plush lips in thought. “Actually, “Roxanne said turning to Maeve and raising a glass of wine. “I’m thinking about learning Greek. It’s my husband’s first language and he often uses it he speaks his daughters and back home in the Kaddafi Valley.”

The two friends touch glasses. Roxanne turns to as a crowd of chattering school girls invaded the restaurant.

“Probably have to go to school in Greece eh?” Roxanne mentioned aloud.

“Yeah, their dialect is Pontic. That’s only studied in Athens.” Without even a hint of manipulation. “I’d hate going by myself.”

“Stan has business there. “ Maeve mentioned hopefully.

“Not that much, dearie.”

“What would I do during the day?”

“You could take classes.” Maeve sat up a little straighter. “They have a French language program.”

“I already speak French and I don’t speak any Greek.

“Yeah. So, no one would notice that you can’t …” Roxanne paused there with a very sly smile on her face.

“You are so sly, sis.”

Friday, November 12, 2010

M&R; The Weather is Perfect

The low sea-green waves rolled insistently across the wide clean beach. The steady breeze the waves carried blew warm and moist into the cluster of villas below the red-roofed hotel.

“The weather is perfect! “ Roxanne sighed for the umpteenth time. Her deep bosom heaved with wordless delight.

The steady breeze blew back loose strands of coppery hair as her bright sea-green eyes gazed upon the idyllic scene. Not a cloud in the azure sky. Not a chilling raindrop. Neither a scorching wind nor an occasional pocket of cold air.

“The weather is perfect here! “ She sighed deeply again.

Around Roxanne (and her sister-in-law Maeve) lay a fenced yard full of succulents and potted cacti. Behind them came the laughter of their grandchildren splashing in the swimming pool nestled amongst the villas. Across the way sat Roxanne’s step-daughters in the shade of the other villa John Sienna rented for his family. The younger women sat closer to the sparkling pool and rowdy little ones, telling tales of their mutual youth.

Sitting at Roxanne’s elbow sat her best friend Maeve Sienna. In contrast to Roxanne’s sun blushed cheeks, was Maeve’s cloud white complexion. Whereas Roxanne Scamander’s hair glistened like copper in the light coming down from above and bouncing off the sand and sea before them, Maeve’s hung straight and dark. Today, Maeve’s black eyes glistened with the same mischievous sparkle as Roxanne’s. Both their mouths contained the same secret smile, as they eavesdropped on their “girls”.

“What was his name? “Eric.” “Anyway, remember we went on that field trip to the beach in the fifth grade?” “Who was this?” “ Eric! Ninja Eric!” “Ah! Didn’t he have like sixteen Ninja turtles?” “Different themes you know.” “Anyway, there was a guy there with a Parachute Ninja that Eric just had to have. You know, where there is a ‘kerchief with strings attached? Like, he already had sixteen, but he wanted this one. The guy said he’d swap it for Eric’s new watch. So, Eric does it. Well, the guy said if Eric changed his mind he could swap back. He throws the thing up in the air a couple of times. Of course, it was lame. And the guy was gone with his watch!” “He learned a lesson!”

Red-headed Roxanne wrestled against laughter with plump red lips and managed to succeed with a sip of wine. Her step-daughters fell over themselves with fits of delight

When Roxanne turned to share a secret smile with her best friend, she found Maeve’s face taunt and body tense with the effort to hear her daughter-in-laws. On Maeve’s drawn features laid an expression unlike the hilarity Roxanne expected. Maeve’s dark eyes darted to the woman that was as close to a sister and sibling as she’d ever know. Maeve returned Roxanne’s barely suppressed grin with a nervous tight smile, then turned to eavesdropping.

“Didn’t he have a crush on you?” “Well, yes, but..” “Oh, yeah she did. I recall us singing; Eric and Callirrhoe sitting …” All three sisters joined in. “in a tree; kay – eye – esse – esse – eye – en – gee. First comes love then comes marriage, then comes Callirrhoe with a baby carriage.” They all giggled. “Yes, I had a crush on him, until the chair incident.” Everyone burst out laughing. “It’s funny now! You know how boys are. I thought he was being such a gentleman holding a chair for me And then he pulls it out from under me. “ All the younger women roared with laughter.

But full-figured Madam Scamander didn’t join with them this time. She concentrated instead on the shadows fleeing across the blank expression on Maeve’s face as she listened; fascinated by their girlhood stories. Maeve never knew girlhood.

“Did he leave you a May Day basket?” “Ugh! I’d forgotten about that!” “I’d forgotten about the holiday?” “I remember daddy teasing me for a week! He almost stepped on it going out the front door!”

The three daddy’s girls bawled with hilarity until one of them yelled at their young sons for diving off the pool-side table into the clear water of the pool.

A glance of Roxanne’s emerald eyes caught a tear rolling down Maeve’s glacial cheekbones. She had no memories of her parents. Maeve always said the best gift her husband ever gave her was his family; the only one she’d ever know. A great sob shook her frame. She continued to glare out towards where the sea loses itself in the horizon.

The three sisters where now silent, startled at their mother-in-law’s sob. The children instinctually aware of “danger” by their mother’s silence grew quiet or were hushed by the first born kids.

Roxanne turned in her seat, more to her step-daughters and grandkids than Maeve. “Dearie?”

Roxanne asked in her naturally loud melodious voice. She added a tone of authority to the question as though it was an announcement. Everyone looked her way.

“I was just thing about a story from our childhood.”

A soft, “What?” escaped the lips of the eldest of Stan Scamander’s daughters. One of his other daughters pulled at her elbow. No response showed on Maeve’s pale wet cheeks and quivering blood-red lips. She had no idea of the gift Roxanne intended her. Before anyone could take a breathe to speak , Roxanne bustled on ward.

“Remember when daddy got transferred to Japan? And we had to go to school on the military base with all those army brats? “

Mouths hung open. Glances were exchanged. Even the happy go lucky breeze of Coronado Island stopped to listen to history in the making. Confusion began to flutter Maeve’s long black eyelashes. He lips stopped quivering.

“Anyway dearie it was us two sisters against all those terrible army brats.” Roxanne took her “sister” by the hand and interlaced their fingers. “and that awful Mrs. Bellinger, Mrs. Ding-a-ling wouldn’t even let us sit together. Remember how you had to go to the front of the classroom when you needed more wide-lined writing paper?”

As she spoke Roxanne began to nod . Maeve numbly mimicked her.
“You probably don’ remember this.”

She continued sweetly and firmly. Madam Stan Scamander could be and was often a force of nature. Today was one of those days. Her step-daughters now received the runt of her ample charms and deep-sea gaze..

“ I went up to get a sheet of paper. When I turned around you were coming up to get one, dearie. So, I wanted to hand it to you…” Roxanne’s bejeweled right hand hung in the air between them; index and middle finger extended, spread and horizontal, thumb pressed against them. “and when I did my finger twisted and there were two sheets of paper there. “

Roxanne chuckled. Maeve lifted her jaw and joined in. Her tears now dried.

“As we were laughing about this, a very suave Hispanic boy came up for a sheet too. I don’t know now what we thought suave meant in the second grade, but you said it a lot dearie! “

Maeve marveled at the blush rising to her cheeks.

“Any way dearie, when I went to offer the sheet to you and him, my fingers twisted again and there were three!”

Everyone around the pool laughed, including the wind whose voice was provided by the seashell wind chimes as the breeze moved on his way.

“Do you remember that sis?”

Roxanne had just offered Maeve everything her money had never been able to buy her; memoires of a handsome proud father, a graceful overly protective mother and a childhood! Roxanne was offering to share memories of getting her pony tail pulled on the play ground, frilly holiday dresses, the two of them play with Barbie dolls, slumber parties, the first dance their dad let them go to and with a little nudging Roxanne might even reveal the teenage rush Maeve never knew.

Of course, she answered, “Yes! But the main thing I remember about Japan…” Maeve turned her face to the ocean borne breeze to dry her new born tears; tears of joy. “ is that the weather is perfect.” She finished by squeezing her sister’s hand .

Roxanne squeezed back.