Floating

This is what happens when I allow myself to take a break from the work of writing lesson plans, episode reviews, and chapters of a vision of a kinder world:

         I was floating on the ceiling, again.  I didn’t know how, but I felt sure that this was not the first time I’d been up, above, before.  In the quiet, in the calm.  The racket of shouting was gone, and so was the smell of anger, and fear.

Back up against the corner of that doorway, I’d seen the hand that reached down for me, the one that had hauled me up the last two steps as I had wearily climbed the stair case, wondering what I had done, or more likely, my step-sib had done, to provoke this latest round of rage.  I had realized that somehow, in some unthinking way, my question had managed to escape my guard, sliding through my teeth like the rattling of the wind in the windows, like the rattling of my jaw now, as it took yet another blow.  That weariness merely grew heavier.  Finally, I thought, finally, maybe I will be able to rest.  If Dad takes me to the hospital, like he said he would if this happened, if I was in a bloody mess, maybe I could just stay there, and rest.

Then, I saw the railing.  I noticed it because I knew that I had never seen it from quite that angle before.  We were studying angles in geometry, and I’d started to enjoy it, when I could get into the library, alone, unbothered by anyone else.  The pictures stuck with me, those beautiful lines, joined together, at different angles.  Not like this one, where the wood had long since lost its polish, and it wasn’t even quite joined at the right angle to fit the walk around the hallway.  But it was quiet, up here.  No yelling, no feeling every slap to my face, the hard wood of the door jamb pressing into my back.  No smell of hatred in front of me, and smoke from the other room.  It was peaceful, up here.  Nothing to feel, nothing to see, but the back of a head, and my head, moving back and forth in that odd way, giving with each slap of that large hand, while the other held my body up against the doorway.  None of that seemed real, below, as I floated up above it all.

“…pitch you down the stairs.”

Pitch?  What does that mean?  Throw, right?  Down the stairs.  Wait, what stairs?  I looked, really looked, as if opening my eyes for the first time in weeks, and then I got it.

The vice grip that was holding me up by the back of my neck, even though I was down on my knees, or was it one knee, I couldn’t tell, from the pressure on my back, pushed my head down.  In sudden and live color, there was the carpet, of the landing below.  Not the hall, not the railing, a floor, way below.  The landing of the stairs, with every single step between me and that landing below.  And the pressure of that huge heavy hand, pushing me toward it, into the void.  But just then, the void seemed to beckon.

If I go, I’m going to take you with me.”

Would I ever dare to say that out loud?  Maybe it would be the last thing I’d ever say, if I said it out loud.

 

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Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil

our year 2021 CE =  12021 HE

(Day 1Day 5)

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
(free copies at: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

Please leave a review, if you can, on the GoodReads page.

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82 thoughts on “Floating

    1. Now I keep wondering how it will come out if I rearrange it to start with the “Wait, what stairs?”
      section…

      And it’s missing a beginning and an end, I think, to be a proper scene or story, no? I always worry that I think of things like this and write them on scraps of paper to file away, and have nothing to attach them to. No larger part in which to fit them in.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Thank you, Jill. On looking back at it, I realized that I must have learned something from all of those notes on the craft of writing, because I now see that my instinctive opening in-media-res did lead back to a beginning, middle, and sort of end, which I suppose is enough to make a scene complete.

          Liked by 3 people

      1. There’s nothing missing. The beginning and end is implied. The detachment with which it was written gives this story the devastating reality, the sense of being present that no reader can look away from. Which is the point. So, well done. As to a larger part, the very circumstances in which it was written; the attention away from day to day activity, the mask slipped.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Thank you, P. This is what I needed to see on how my studying and writing has begun to work, finally. I think it also made a difference that I had a lot of other things out of the way, and did not feel rushed to fill a chapter or scene outline. I see that writing narrative simply doesn’t work the same way that writing an essay or an article works.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Hmm, I’d been avoiding this sort of thing at least until getting Baby Acres/Floors and my Who By Fire WiP drafted, but now I see that maybe that was a mistake.
              Ok, will do.
              Thank you!

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Thing is that while this sort of thing is behind much of what I do, it’s the practical solution suggestion/implementation that I see as the priority. So I am always in a conflict over how to push this aside while I get the productive work done, since it is so hard to ignore the nasty neighbors long enough to do my work, making this creative stuff seem like a dangerous distraction most of the time.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Through various avenues of therapy: psychology, spirituality (other than organised religion), one aspect stood out: for oneself first and foremost; a healthy selfishness. It’s bound to serve others in the same quandary.

              Liked by 2 people

            4. Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, JYP.

      Oddly enough, it’s been so long now, and I have had so many changes of perspective, that this incident no longer bothers me as it used to. I still feared to post it, even with no names, but then realized that my entire family always knew, as my cousin admitted a few years ago, what was happening, and no one wanted to get involved. So, all that remains is the tiredness, and the realization that no one benefits from keeping it in the dark.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, but I didn’t feel defiant at the time, more like cowardly, on my knees, not saying a word.
      I was just so tired of everything that it really seemed not to matter or really even faze me anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, it has revived, a bit: I’m determined not to let this lifetime go to waste, and if my crazy ideas can contribute in the smallest way to building a safer world for all kids, then surviving this will have been worth it.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Thank you for understanding! People seem not to realize just how far, and just how acrid, that stuff goes and is. Though, since I also have trouble breathing many perfumes and cleaners, maybe I do have some sort of allergy or asthma induced by chemicals in general.

              Liked by 1 person

  1. Haunting… Hauntingly beautiful. For me, it’s a look into another world. Violence is very alien to me. I grew up in very nice social circles. Ones where there was even hardly any bullying. I still didn’t feel like I belonged, but at least it wasn’t nasty. I’m sorry you had to go through so much more nastiness. May you find your kinder world.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. I’ve been working on helping to build a kinder world, just in case what I am looking for didn’t exist. But you give me hope that some sort of a better world, like what you have had, does exist, for others, at least. I worry that maybe if I could go there, I’d stop working so hard to build more kindness here, and so I feel guilty sometimes, for wanting to leave the trenches and just rest.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. There’s still plenty of stuff to fix, even in the Netherlands. We’re a Tax haven for big business to dodge taxes and our covid relieve plan was among the worst in the world when it comes to climate stuff (saving big polluters with no real demands for change, if I recall correctly) and many more. The people are probably ok, but I feel like most countries the people are alright (I’ve not been outside of Europe though).

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Well, you are right that people are all the same in every country (I’ve lived in several), but our systems could help make all of our nations more equitable and safer for all of us.

          Liked by 2 people

            1. It appears that you do, at least from the view over here, but then, your country has done the hard work of soul-searching, since the Wars and Depression in between, to understand how to prevent what your entire continent suffered from happening again. I fear that we human beings may need that sort of suffering before we begin to do what you have done, over there in Europe have begun to do. This is why history, and empathy applied to our long term problems, are so important, and why I strive to get that across to my fellow Americans. The problem is that ours is such an individualist culture that we’ve forgotten the painful lessons of the Great Depression.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. I feel like the lessons of the Great Depression and the world wars are mostly forgotten by us too, but I think they’re still remembered by our leaders. Maybe we still remember them just enough to make a real difference.

              Liked by 2 people

            3. Yeah, I’m happy I live where I do.

              My read on how well the lessons of history are remembered might also be off. It’d be great if it is and we Europeans know our important lessons from history.

              Liked by 2 people

            4. Well, we all need to remember to read those lessons again, from time to time, but I am glad that at least some of your fellow Europeans are doing a better job of setting a possible example for the rest of us than my country has been doing lately.

              Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, this is narrative, and thus, a story, but still, a memory, lived long enough ago to finally inspire the possibility of hope, that maybe this experience can do something good, or prevent something bad, for others.
      And to stop hiding other people’s secrets.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. I just appreciate that you found it both moving and also hopefully thought-provoking, in a way that may lead to greater protections for more kids, and solving of those underlying problems which cause such abuse in the first place, too.

            Liked by 1 person

        1. Sorry about that: I felt like it was burning a hole in my brain, and I just had to get it out, but how to do so in a way that would be constructive, and I was so tired that I just used that feeling, as I wrote.

          I really hope that it is useful, as it is that experience, or those sets of experience, rather, that drive my efforts to educate about our past cooperation (Stayed on Freedom’s Call), our current need for empathetic thinking (my GED lesson plan posts), and our future need for planning with empathy and cooperative problem solving (Baby Acres/Floors).

          Liked by 1 person

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