When You Were Here, by Daisy Whitney

That’s the book I’m reading right now. It’s a good book, but it’s sad. Teddy always wants to know the good books I read, so now that she has this link I thought I could post a few of the new books I’m reading. I got it at Barnes and Noble in the YA section in Wrightsville Beach, NC. It was a cool shopping center, but it reminded me of home.

There were all kinds of shops. Most were ones that we could find in any shopping center/mall. Like Belk or Coldwater Creek. It was a Towne Center. Just like the one in Mt. Pleasant. It was nice. I remember going there one other time, a few years back. We went to Belk and Coldwater Creek and Barnes and Noble and Claire’s and also Longhorn’s for dinner. It wasn’t a great meal, but we settled. That Longhorn’s is gone now. Now it’s some kind of diner, but that’s good for it, because it wasn’t very yummy.

In Wrightsville, there’s this place called Wings. It’s right over the second bridge to Wrightsville Beach. It’s a big salmon colored building with a bunch of beach and souvenir stuff. I love that place.

Usually when we go to the beach there, we never leave the beach, except to go to Wings and Redix, that’s another beach/souvenir shop which is just over the bridge-in between the two bridges. It’s more of a super store, than Wings, but it’s cool, too.

But, sometimes we go to that Towne Center. We ventured out a little further this time and found a great hole in the wall pizza place that I can’t remember the name of, but it had great Calzones.

It was a fun vacation, but from the time I got there to the time we left, all I wanted was to go home. It reminded me too much of Pop Pop. All his rules, all his life, all his electronics, his favorite chair, his favorite coffee cups, his favorite bed, all his favorites. I miss him a lot and I cried myself to sleep a lot. I miss him so much. I wish he didn’t have to die. I know it must have been his time to go, but why did it have to be so soon when everybody counted on him.

I still feel like it was my fault. Even though they pulled the plug, it was me who put the earphone in his ear and played the song “Asleep” by the Smiths, telling him in my own way that it was okay for him to go, we would miss him, but it was okay if he had to. I know it was my fault. Because I told him he could leave. I should have never done that. Now that song is ruined for me. I can’t listen to that song without crying. I can’t enjoy that song anymore. But I haven’t had the heart to erase it from my iPod. I haven’t had the heart to forget that song. It’s like I need it to know that he’s okay up in heaven and he’s looking down on us. And he keeps us safe. So I can’t get rid of the song.

That’s it for now. I’m going to go read my good book. “When You Were Here” by Daisy Whitney. And smoke a cigarette. So I don’t have to cry anymore. Have a good afternoon, y’all. Bye.

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Chapter Eleven: A New Way to See

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” Wayne Dyer

The next morning, when Cameron woke up, she couldn’t believe her eyes. She could see! She looked around the room and saw that the white clarinet lay on the love seat. She saw her clothes laid out for her. She saw Mark come into the room, yet she didn’t know it was Mark. He could tell something was going on, when she looked right at him.

“What’s going on? You look excited. Can you see me?” He said, exasperated.

“Yes. I can see! I can see!” She was so excited that she got up and hugged him. “Your voice fits you, you know.”

“It does. Does it?” Mark laughed. “Come on. I want to show you something.”

“What?”

“You’ll see.” He winked.

They walked into the hallway and he showed her some paintings on the wall outside her room. She thought they were amazing. The best abstracts she’d seen in a while.

“Who did these paintings?” Cameron asked.

“A good friend.”

“What’s their name?”

“Cameron.” Mark said simply.

“Oh cool. She has the same name as me.” She then got it. She blushed. “Me?”

“Yes.”

He took her to the counter where a blue, crescent moon, with a face was sitting. She fought back tears. She closed her eyes and held the blue moon in her hands. She then knew he was telling the truth. It was her art.

She couldn’t fight back the tears any longer. She cried and cried, but had a smile on her face the whole time. Cameron hugged Mark and said a small thank you in his ear. He returned with a your welcome. They stood there like that for a while.

Mark suddenly asked, “How about we call your mom and tell her the good news?”

“Definitely.”

While Mark was calling her mom. She checked out the clarinet. She decided, even though she could see again, she would still devote some time to playing clarinet. Cameron closed her eyes and played a slow, but happy song and thought of all the ways Mark had helped her. She smiled, contently.

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Chapter Nine: A New Way To See

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” -Bob Marley

After lunch, Mark starting putting each piece of the clarinet together, talking as he did so. He explained how the clarinet worked and what each hole did. Once the clarinet was put together, he let her hold it and told her how to put it in her mouth. After a few tries, she figured it out.

Then, he told her to blow. The first few times were just squeaks until she discovered how to do blow correctly. Mark moved her fingers over the wholes to the note C. She got that one on the first try.

Then he did D. She had a little trouble, but she caught on quickly. She figured out E before Mark had the chance to show her. F was harder, though. It was just the finger on the back hole. She tried that note for a few minutes and got it.

They went through each note and then again. Until she had it down pat. He showed her some easy songs, such as London Bridge and Hot Cross Buns. And once she finally got the hang of it, she tried to make her own song. It turned out quite well.

She thanked Mark after a few hours of playing. He said, “No problem.”

They laughed at some funny songs she made up. She finally felt like she found her calling. It was music and she was happy.

When dinner came, she ate quickly and went back to the clarinet. She played until she was too tired. She realized her lower lip was throbbing, but Cameron was too happy to care. She had really good dreams that night.

In the morning, Mark was in her room changing her sheets, while she sat on the love seat by the bed playing the clarinet. He asked her a question that she missed hearing. So, she asked what he had said.

“You know, you’re really good at this. Almost better than me. How would you like to keep that clarinet?” Mark asked.

“I’d love that, but these are expensive. Wouldn’t you rather keep it?” Cameron said.

“It’s fine. I have two actually. I have a black one and a white one.” He said.

“Oh okay. Well, I’ll pay you back for it.” she insisted.

“I can’t let you do that.”

“But, I want to.”

“Okay, but I won’t accept it. You should know that now.”

“Oh fine. Whatever.”

He laughed, “It’s okay.”

“Okay.”

When she was alone, later that day, she whispered to herself. “I’m blind, and I can play an instrument. This is cool.”

Then she went back to playing, as happily as could be.

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Chapter Seven: a new way to see

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” -Scott Adams

The next day, Mark flew into the room without Cameron noticing. He spoke to show his presence, “Hi, I have those CDs and player for you. There’s four different ones. All jazz, except for one blues CD.”

She was surprised to her he was in the room. Her mother had just brought her some clothes to wear besides her hospital gown and she had put on the most comfortable pair of shorts and a sweatshirt. She felt bashful and her cheeks, she assumed, were bright red.

Mark didn’t notice as he placed the CDs on her tray in front of her and plugged in the player. He popped the blues CD in and pressed play. It blared throughout the hospital halls before he had the chance to turn down the volume.

“I hadn’t realized it was on that loud.” He said, once the volume was down farther.

“It’s okay. That woke me up.” She said while holding back a laugh.

“I just put the blues CD in the player. I hope you enjoy it. I have to do some work on your chart, so I’ll listen with you and let you know when I’m finished. There was a rustling of papers and then a sound that could have been a pen on paper or someone scratching their arm, but she assumed it was the pen.

As the CD played she imagined seeing the band play and then a field of beautiful flowers, as if she were running through this field with Roger. Roger!

“Do you know what happened to my dog, Roger?” She asked in a hurry.

“Your mother said to tell you he’s at her house with Sheila, her maid.” Mark said casually.

“Okay,” she sighed in relief, “Thank you so much.”

“It was your mother.”

“Well you told me.”

“Well okay then.” He got back to his work.

Later he popped in a jazz CD and went to another room to help a patient go to the bathroom. She was alone with her thoughts. What would she do to “curb the boredom” like Mark said. She had to find a way to or she would surely die from it.

Mark came back in the room in a hurry, “I’ve got it!”

“Got what?” she said confused.

“Got an idea for you to curb the boredom. Have you ever played an instrument?”

“How would I see it?”

“When you get used to an instrument, you can find your own way.”

“Oh. I’m not really sure I want to try, but I guess I will. It doesn’t sound easy.”

“Once you know it, it will become more and more easy as you go.”

“Okay. I’ll try it.”

“I’ll stop by my house on my lunch break. It’s just down the street. And pick up my clarinet. We can try a jazz instrument, first, then if you don’t like it, we can try something else.”

“Okay. Sounds good.”

He left for his lunch break after about thirty minutes. When he returned he smelled like fries and burgers. She wanted something besides mushy hospital food really bad, now.

He said the thing she wanted to hear most in the world right then, “I brought you some outside food. Don’t tell.”

“Of course I won’t tell. You’re awesome.”

“Okay. I didn’t know what you wanted on your burger so I brought all the ingredients in a separate bag. All in little baggies.

“I like it plain with ketchup, but that was really nice of you.”

“Do you want the cheeseburger or the regular hamburger?”

“Cheese please.” She laughed.

“We like our burgers the same way. Good thing I brought two cheeseburgers and one regular. I’ll give the hamburger to nurse Michelle.”

“Awesome. Thanks.”

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Chapter Five: A new way to see

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” -Vincent Van Gogh

The next day Cameron received paint supplies and canvas paper from her defiant mother. She was very excited when she learned what was being set up in her hospital room. Mark, the nurse, was setting up the paints and asked Cameron what paint colors and what size canvas she wanted. He picked out exact brushes for her and guided her to the seating set for her. He helped her learn just exactly where the canvas was and helped her when her brush glided off the canvas.

He told her exactly what the painting looked like so far and helped her get just the right amount of paint. Cameron painted for hours like this. She kept painting and painting until it was time for her bath. She still didn’t feel the same. It wasn’t enough for her anymore.

After her bath, she was exhausted and ate her dinner slowly. She shut her heavy eyelids as soon as she was done and didn’t wake until morning.

Again, it felt as though she wasn’t waking up when she opened her eyes that morning. She was refreshed, but finally remembered she couldn’t see.

Blind. That word wouldn’t come out of her mouth. She just couldn’t make her mouth shape that way. She wasn’t ready to admit it, she assumed. Cameron took her walking stick with her and headed to the bathroom. She ran into a few things, but finally made it to the bathroom.

After Cameron did her business, she went back to the bed and started thinking about what she could do today. She still wanted to find her new place in the world, since painting wasn’t enough for her anymore. She couldn’t think of anything.

Two hours later:

“I got it!” Cameron said as she was eating breakfast with Mark helping her pour her juice.

“Got what?” Mark asked.

“Can you ask my mother to bring me some clay?” she asked.

“That’s a great idea! I’ll call her right after you’re done with breakfast.” Mark exclaimed.

“Thanks, but I’ve lost my appetite. Can you do it now?”

“Okay, I’ll just clean this up and-”

“No, can you do it now and I’ll just wait till you get back and you can help me clean it up, then?”

“Okay, sweetheart. I’ll be back. You must be really excited about this.” Then Mark left the room.

Cameron kept eating. She wanted to show him that she could eat without his help, even though she liked the company. She dropped her milk, accidentally, and cursed. She could feel it seeping into the covers by her leg, but couldn’t find it. She felt so useless. So, Cameron started to cry.

When Mark returned, she assumed he was frowning at her, but then he started to laugh and she laughed with him. She heard him pick up the milk-felt it too. She noticed her other senses had heightened since she lost her vision. It was interesting. Not nice or bad, but interesting.

Mark cleaned up the mess and said, “I reached your mother. She’s coming right over with what she said was her special clay.”

“That’s her clay. I’ve never been allowed to use it before.”

“Well that’s nice of her.”

“Yea, I can’t see and suddenly I’m allowed to used her stuff. Wow.”

“Don’t think like that. She’s just worried about you.”

“I guess,” she said, “Thanks, Mark.”

Thirty minutes later:

Her mother rushed into the room carrying too many supplies for Cameron to sculpt. Half of the supplies she wouldn’t be able to use, because she couldn’t see, but her mother brought them anyway.

She dropped a few things next to Cameron’s bed and picked them up, but dropped others while doing so. Mark helped her pick them up and gave Cameron a blue block of clay. In her hand, she sculpted a blue moon with a face on it, but didn’t realize she was doing so. Mark let her know.

Mark told her the face looked sad, then mad, then sad again. So she didn’t mess with it again. She was tired of trying to sculpt. She told her mother, as she was leaving, to take the clay with her. Her mother did as she was asked, with a frown on her face.

Mark was filling in a crossword puzzle, as he asked Cameron for her ideas about clues. He asked her, “What do you do for fun other than art? Like maybe music or another craft?”

“I have a bunch of Jazz CDs. Umm…” She couldn’t think of much else. Cameron wasn’t a very social person. She had been made fun of as a child, so she wasn’t really sure she wanted new friends. She had never tried.

“I have a few CDs you might like, then. I could bring them along with a player for you to listen. I may help curb the boredom.”

“That would be nice of you. Thanks.”

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why would he do that?

He saw me one last time and i should be happy, because that’s what I prayed for. Then, he talks about our future like he always seems to. After that, he deletes his Facebook. And doesn’t contact me again. It’s just rude. Don’t talk about our future together if you’re the one who’s going to disappear. It hurts a lot. Especially since I have no clue whether or not he’s going to show back up or if he’s started doing drugs again. I love him and I don’t want him to be hurt, but he can’t keep doing this.

Maybe I just shouldn’t think about him. There’s this cute guy I met the other night, named David (we’ll call him). And all I want is to get over him and be able to live a normal life again. To be able to date someone else, like David, but he just pops back into my life. I should’ve done what my mom said and just not listened to his crap on valentines day and just ignored him. I shouldn’t have even answered his call. All he wants nowadays is sex, but what about me? I thought he loved me. I just want things to go back to normal. I hate this. So many changes have happened and nothing seems normal anymore. I hate change. I HATE it. Why does everything have to change. I just want my Wednesdays with mick back and my sundays at the skatepark. And my mom to say I can stay without the threat of moving out or her kicking me out. I can’t stand this. I want the windows to go back to how they used to be. And my sister to stop yelling all the time. And the yard to have bushes again. I want my dad to do what he says he’s going to do. I hate change. I want to be able to see my dad again after all these years. But now i have a half sister and a step mom. And he has a new life. And i don’t like it. I just want it to go back to how it was. Daddy sitting on the green couch playing tickle monster with me. and gracie peeing herself when she was tickled. i want my mom to not yell about how her life was ruined by daddy. i want saturdays at grandmas house and after swimming in the pool come home and daddy makes mac and cheese. i want mick to love me like he used to. I want my world to go back to how it used to be, when i was happy and mick wasn’t there yet. so i dont have to deal with his bullshit.

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Chapter Three: A new way to see

Chapter Two

“An artist is not paid for his labor, but for his vision.” -James Whistler

Cameron was taken a few hours later to a part of the hospital called Recovery Hall, the name the nurses gave it. She was told she would learn how to deal with the blindness.

Cameron had studied brail in college. It was one of her courses, but it seemed much easier, when she could see it. She cried about eight times before she really got the hang of the brail. She cursed too many times before she got the hang of the walking stick thing they told her she had to use from now on. For a first time patient, she seemed to pick it up quickly.

Then, she remembered she could never paint again. She asked the nurse about options. She couldn’t see color. She couldn’t paint. She couldn’t see.

The nurse said if she thought of something she would definitely let her know. That was nurse Michelle.

Another nurse came into the room. Michelle introduced him as Mark. She said Mark would help Cameron tomorrow with her school work, so she didn’t get behind. Michelle also said it was time for her bath. They let Cameron sit back into the wheelchair and pushed her back to her room. As they did this, Cameron started to cry, but no tears came out. Too many tears before she assumed.

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