thejunipertree: (Default)
One of the only reasons why I keep my Facebook account active is because it keeps me in contact with Middle Brother. We're pretty much all the family that either has got. I mean, I have my father, but that's it. And Middle Brother only has me (he's my half-brother, but we were raised to ignore that fact). He updates rarely and its usually forwards of one kind or another, but they're there and it's a small bit of contact I'd like to retain.

He came over last night because he's moved back to the area and right before he arrived at the apartment, I was struck with the realization that I had not seen him since December. It left me unsteady for a few moments, with a bitter and metallic taste in my mouth.

We hung out for several hours, me and him, the Engineer and the Amazing Larry. Middle Brother sat in the recliner and drank his shitty beers and talked a lot of nonsense about aliens and programs on the History Channel. It was a good time and he left with the two of us making plans for me to visit his new apartment in the very near future.

When I logged into Facebook this evening, I saw that he had "liked" the page: I WISH I HAD MY MOM I TRULY MISS HER TAKE CARE OF YOUR MOM CAUSE YOU DONT KNOW HOW LONG YOU HAVE HER

And it made me cry. Even though it'll be six years in November since she died, we still don't talk much about her. I don't know if it's our family-taught brand of stoicism or our own emotional stuntedness, but we just don't talk about her. Once in a while, one of us will pass a comment about her, but it's always in a general our mom was a little bit nuts, in a slightly annoying and charming way. And whenever it happens, we both smile for a brief time and kind of share a small laugh over it because, at her heart, this was very true.

She could also be a real ball-breaker, our mother. And I won't lie and say that I don't carry many scars. She could be warm, when she let herself and when we, because it's not all her fault, let her. She loved us fiercely and would go to great lengths to protect us. One of the things she said in the lead up to her death was that she was scared. She was scared and worried for my brother and I because she wouldn't be there to take care of us. When she said it, I put my arms around her and told her not worry about us. And while it didn't settle her mind completely, it was enough to calm her.

She loved us. But, at the same time, she was deeply unhappy with how her life had turned out. Even back before the cancer was just the barest thought of an abnormal cell in her blood, she was miserable. Pregnant at 16 and married to an abusive narcissist. Divorced at 23, with two young boys in tow and no skills to survive. Married again to a man she didn't love because her attorney told her to "get married yesterday" because her ex-husband was making noises about a custody battle. A single mother, who initiated the divorce, in that time was not a sympathetic figure. Working an endless stream of dead-end, soul-killing jobs. Failed relationship after failed relationship. Drunk mother. Dead father. All of that and then cancer gnawing away at your guts? Yeah, I'd be a downright cunt about the entire affair too.

So, I don't blame her for being miserable. She didn't have many options. The disparity between her life at 35 and my life at 35 gives me The Fear and the idea of a very similar bullet I am dodging every day leaves me awake at night. No blame and no grudge held, but the scars remain.

Every year, they grow a bit fainter. I look in the mirror in the morning and see her face more clearly every day.

Last night, my brother had himself a good laugh over the thick crop of white hairs I have been growing as of late. I haven't dyed my hair since January or so because I haven't had the money, so my grey has gone dandelion wild. Despite the fact that he is older than me by five years, I'm the one who got hit with the shitty end of the genetic stick. Both of my parents were completely grey by the age of 25. He only has half of the faulty genes I'm afflicted with and from all reports, his own father still has a full head of jet black hair.

Her birthday is coming up in two months. I should go to the ocean for a visit. Labor day weekend, perhaps.
thejunipertree: (Default)
There is a particular word that I have been unable to remember for about two hours now and it is driving me mad. I used to be able to just bust it out at any given time because I thought it was one of the best words ever, and the fact that this specific concept needed a word to describe it tickled me to no end.

And now, it's flown the coop and I am left bereft.

For those of you playing along at home, the word that has left me and broken my heart describes the type of mouth the inner mouth is when an entity has two mouths. Like a mouth inside a mouth? The name of the little mouth.

(The above turned my brain inside out, trying to write it.)

Many of you, being of a rather nerdy bent like myself, will recognize this concept immediately in the Xenomorph:

which is, to me, the best movie monster of all fucking time.

or the Goblin shark:

which is my third favorite shark because I am ridiculous to the point of needing to even have lists of favorite sharks (speaking of sharks, SHARK WEEK STARTS TOMORROW OMG and I have been so wrapped up in my school drama that I have not thought to write about the impending annual festivities).

In looking for those two images, I came across a single .jpg of Xenoporn and am now trapped between wanting to bleach my goddamn eyes for the rest of my life and the burning insatiable curiosity to do more searches to see what other images I can find.

Further distress is caused by the realization as I write this that tomorrow night is the beginning of Shark Week, the second episode of the new season of Mad Men, and the next episode of True Blood (which is beginning to redeem itself for me from the shittiness of the second season, so I've been kind of psyched to see more). Shark Week premiere, Ultimate Air Jaws, is on at nine. True Blood is on at nine. And Mad Men is on at ten.

I know they are all going to be re-aired ad nauseum all night long, but I am torn between what order I should arrange this all into.

On top of that, Mister Kyle is coming over at 7 and there is just no watching anything in anything resembling a serious manner when he's hanging out (not automatically a bad thing, because it is fun as hell to heckle whatever it is we're watching and be ridiculous with Kyle, but some things I want to just watch and appreciate the hell out of).

My life as of late, as you can see, is beginning to resemble that of a shut-in. I think I need some more of the Big Blue Room type of activity. The weather has been so goddamn oppressive lately, like a hot wet sock shoved over your head, any time you step outside. I haven't wanted to do much in my free trip that didn't involve air conditioning and my couch. Today wasn't too bad though, so it gives me hope for a near future which includes a day trip to Cape May. I want to dig for diamonds in the surf and revel in the ocean around me.

It's been far too long.
thejunipertree: (the ocean doesn't want me today)
Last night, I completely broke down my altar and scrubbed everything clean. I crept out of the apartment in the wee hours of the night, down to the nearest crossroads, and deposited some offerings that should have been left quite some time ago. It had recently rained that evening, so everything was wet. I walked barefoot down to the corner, relishing the smell of Autumn.

Last night, I washed every ashtray I own. This is an awful lot of ashtrays.

Last night, I sat at the kitchen table and read for two hours.

Last night, I made dinner for the Engineer and I. Kielbasa and sauerkraut, with mashed potatoes. This is one of the best things I make, if you ask me. I don't cook it a lot because after a while, sauerkraut kind of burns into your brain, but on the occasion I decide to make it, it's always well received.

And last night, after I'd done everything I could possibly do and not look like I was stalling, I went into my bedroom closet, took down the cardboard box containing my mother's cremains, and opened it.

This was the first time this box has been opened since it was handed to me at her funeral last year. It's been sitting, plastic bagged and twist-tied, on the second shelf of my closet. I've been doing my best to pretend that it wasn't there, despite the fact that every time I open the closet doors, there the box is.

I've seen ashes before, I'm no stranger to that sort of thing, just not in this amount. There was probably about five to seven pounds worth, neatly collected away in another plastic bag, twist-tied, inside of the box. It still amazes me, in turns, how much and how little these remains actually are. A hundred pound woman reduced to five to seven pounds of ash.

I collected a plastic cup full, then wrapped that in tin foil, with a black rubber band around the rim for extra protection. There really wasn't anything else I could have used, to be quite honest. But, I was transporting this cup on an hour and a half drive to Cape May, and it really wouldn't do to have it spill. I love my mother, but the idea of having her ashes spread all over the interior of my car is not one that fills me with joy and song.

Thee Pumpkin Girl was to be my travelling companion and after a bit of a hitch in my plans to pick her up at ten o'clock in the morning (I woke up last and was rather stupid-headed throughout the morning), we set off with two different sets of directions and a full tank of gas.

We were quiet for the most part on the way down, with nothing but the shrieking hum of wind through the windows, occasional CD changes, and my bad singing to keep us occupied. I saw a turkey buzzard questing for food along the side of the highway and, later on, three hawks take flight with their wing shadows large and dizzying in my vision. The cup of my mother's ashes sat between us, in the black plastic cup holder I have wedged between the seats.

Our destination was Sunset Beach, in Cape May. My favourite place in the entire world, which I told TPG as we got out of the car and heard the gulls screaming over head. I saw the water, the waves rushing in, and my heart began pounding loudly in my chest. It had been far too long since I'd touched sea water.

I spread out my purple bat and spiderweb fleece beach blanket and staked the edges down with my bag and my shoes, TPG spread out her own blanket and we sat there with my mother between us, again. The beach was close to being empty, as it usually is, this isn't the kind of spot where people go to swim or sunbathe. The sand is rocky, full of small and sharp pebbles, the water is rough, and the undertow is scarily strong. But, it's the very tip of New Jersey and there's a sunken concrete ship just off the shore. And you can spend the day hunting for Cape May diamonds, something I teach everyone I bring here to do.

We sat like that for awhile, with our legs out in front of us and the sun warming our faces. The wind pushed my braids around crazily and lighting cigarettes was an exercise in creativity. I dug in the sand with my feet and picked through stones that caught my eye. Began to eat a cookie, but decide it would be better to rile the sea gulls up instead. At one point, I had about twelve of them camped out around us, with their sleek heads screeching about empty bellies, and when the cookie was gone, I started in on a green apple. Biting pieces of it out, I'd suck the juice for a few seconds, then throw it to the gulls. When the apple was finally gone, they settled around us, settling their little birdy bodies into the sand and looking up expectantly whenever either of us shifted.

TPG took photos of all manner of things: the gulls fighting over food, the sunken ship, she and I looking harried and wind-blown. I walked down to the water to wash the green apple juice off my fingers and wound up going in knee deep, entranced by the waves. Came back to the blanket for another cigarette, then the two of us headed to the water with my mother in her blue plastic cup.

The tide was just starting to roll in and the waves were beginning to get big. I wanted to get as far into the water as possible to scatter the ashes, but the undertow sucked at my legs and feet, putting me off balance and bringing me to just this side of nervous. Thigh deep in the water, with my skirt dragging through seaweed, I flung the ashes from the cup in a slow arc during a lull in the waves. Turning around to face TPG, I was immediately struck in the back by a huge crash of water that almost sent me to my knees. Now dripping wet to my waist, I looked at her and began to laugh.

We played in the water for about an hour, taunting the waves and shrieking with laughter whenever one of us got hit with a big one. I fell over several times and now completely soaked, decided to hell with it and didn't even try to avoid them. I let them strike me full on, no dodging and no jumping out of the way. I threw the spray in the air and watched it shine in the sun. I sat in the surf and dug a hole, had a little crab wash up against my leg, and found a heart-shaped stone in the debris.

Tasting salt in my mouth, I couldn't be sure if it was from the sea water or tears.
thejunipertree: (the ocean doesn't want me today)
The ocean keeps coming to me in my dreams. Angry and immense, lashing out against the coast. Waves tower above my head, seemingly thousands of feet in the air, to crash down and wipe away any who dared stand against it.

I've stood and watched the waves roll in. And every time I do, I wake with the taste of seawater in my mouth.
thejunipertree: (bite your face off)
Nothing like a shark attack off the coast of New Jersey to brighten up my morning.

Excuse me, alledged shark attack.

It's amusing how NJ officials are refusing to state what happened. I saw the photos of the bite and it certainly looked like a shark attack to me.

The teenager who was bitten got off easy, as well. They're saying that it was possibly a small great white and he came out of this with fifty or sixty stitches. Psshaw. Child's play. He's lucky to be alive, let alone still have all his limbs.

We haven't had an attack off our coast since 1975, which has always astounded me. There's a lot of sharks in these waters. Mako and great whites, even. And it's always been a point of interest for me, that they never attacked anyone. Until now, that is.

At least there hasn't been any huge outcry of Let's go kill 'em! Far too often that is the reaction of locals when a shark does what it is meant to do: hunt and eat.

In my reading about this incident, I came across some information that an aquarium in California recently had a great white being held in capitivity. For 198 days, I believe, which is a record. Before that, I think they were only able to keep one for about sixty days before it went tits up. This one, a female, ate heartily while there, grew about a foot and gained something like a hundred pounds. They released it, with a transmitter attached, after she killed two other sharks in the aquarium and began exhibiting hunting behaviour towards the other fish.

God bless her. I hope she lives for many more decades, safe from human meddling.

I love sharks, in case that isn't obvious. The great whites, most of all. One of my biggest dreams is to go on one of those great white watches off the coast of Africa or Australia, in a diving cage with those big beasts so close I could touch them.

I dream of it, frequently. Silent underwater, sharks all around. I always wake up with my heart pounding and my breath caught in my throat, fear bubbling up through my lungs. But it's exhilarating on a primordial level, to dream of the flash of teeth.

Last year, Miss Robin and Saint Rick took me to the Camden aquarium. And I spent the bulk of our trip with my hands pressed up against the glass of this one enormous exhibit full of sharks (I forget which kind, they were big son of a bitches, though). My face so close to the cool, dim glass that what's inside was all I could see. Eyes wide and entire body trembling as they swam up close before turning away.

There's nothing quite like the feeling of watching one of them slowly come right at you and completely forgetting there's a barrier of safety.
thejunipertree: (RAWR!)
Dear Sir/Madame:

If I don't get to see the ocean, and right quick, I am going to SUE. I am going to SUE EVERYBODY.

This photograph:

(the Engineer, me, and Miss Janette)

is from the last time I was able to go. It was two years ago. Two years since I have been able to touch seawater and/or shout profanity at the dolphins is completely unacceptable. I would recommend that this must be remedied, post haste.


one pissed-off little Goth girl
thejunipertree: (the Baron)
I had decided to go to bed early tonight, as I wasn't feeling up to par. Instead, I drowsed aimlessly and uneasily until I got up and paced around the apartment.

Last night, I took a bath. I don't usually use the bathtub, as opposed to the shower, because the tub in this apartment is so goddamn unsatisfying. I cranked the hot water up high enough to boil a pound of crawdads and washed my hair using a plastic cup. A tricky manuver, when you've hair as long and unruly as I do.

The water turned a strange blue colour, from the dye I use to change dirty blonde to black. Cupping it in my hands, I brought it close to my face and watched the play of the overhead light filter through the shower curtain onto the surface of the water.

Drained the blue water out, then ran more hot water in. Clean and clear, no trace of the blue tinge. Some weeks ago, I had bought these fizzy bath things. Three of them in all, of varying scents. The one I threw in the water now was vanilla sugar, a scent that makes me remember childhood. My maternal grandmother's kitchen, which strangely smelled of vanilla at all times despite the fact that the woman never baked anything. I was perpetually amazed that it didn't reek of vodka and Rolling Rock in that house, as that was pretty much all she ever ingested.

The water level rose to dangerous levels before I finally turned it off and I leaned back into it, until the back of my head rested against the cold and uncomfortable ledge. For about the millionth time in my life, I desperately missed the tubs I encountered in Britain. Now those were absolutely gorgeous. I could lie completely prone in one of them, stretch out full length. At 5'3", that's really not all that much to stretch out. But, the tubs in the States were apparently built for dwarves to luxuriate in. I remember lying in the bath in a hotel room in Scotland years ago, wondering how I could smuggle it back onto the airplane. One of these days, I'm going to save up the money for a session in one of those sensory deprivation tanks. Just for the pure and simple reason of being able to stretch out and float properly.

I slid down in my unsatisfactory tub, in my pink bathroom which has been jokingly described as 'palatial', until my hair fanned out in the water all around me. My knees bumped up against the faucet as I stared up at old waterstains on the ceiling. Closing my eyes, I drifted with water muting my ears. Nothing but the sound of my heartbeat and the rain falling outside of my oubliette of a window, remembering how when I was a kid we lived in an apartment complex with a pool. And I would spend hour upon hour just floating face up in it, staring at the sky. My skin ripened to the darkest its ever been in my entire life and the chlorine tinted my hair green. For months afterward, I had water blisters on my hands.

Despite having been born under an air sign, and not especially believing in all of that sort of stuff anyway, I am a creature of the water. There is nothing I like better then being surrounded by it. The ocean. Streams. The cedar water of the nearby Pine Barrens. Rain.

All of it.

And for this, before I go back to bed, I'll light a candle for La Sirene.


thejunipertree: (Default)

January 2011

2 345678


Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags