A Sweet Betrayal

Photo courtesy of sunnyday at flickr.com

Photo courtesy of sunnyday at flickr.com

This post is in response to the Trifecta weekly writing challenge. This week’s assignment is 38 words total, and the last 5 words must be: “That wasn’t what I meant.” The first 33 words are supplied by you! Join the fun.

 

“I know what you’ve been hiding.”

She collapsed at his feet, months of deceit spilling out around her.

“It was just sex. I don’t love him.”

He pointed to her stash of chocolate.

“That wasn’t what I meant.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes

These three photos were all taken from the same spot on my back deck at different times of day. The photo that appears black and white is actually in color; the morning light against the gray of the clouds had that strange effect.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Silent Screams

tulip-flower-garden

We sit on the sofa at night, three feet apart. But it might as well be three miles or three hundred. Yet, there’s a kind of comfort in it. I’ve come to know your profile like my own skin. The strong, square jaw with a day of salt and pepper stubble. The curly brown hair that you’re so proud of. I never tell you that it’s thinning up top; we like our illusions, after all. You always wear that stupid, sleeveless t-shirt while I’m bundled up in layers. Hot and cold. So many opposites between us.

You stare straight ahead at the television. It demands nothing of you. The constant drone of voices fills the chasm that we gave up on years ago. I hear myself telling you the same mindless details of my day as a silent scream wells up inside, trying desperately to escape. “I hate you!” But it’s not really you who feels the pounding of fists and the deep cuts of rage. It’s me I hate, for allowing myself to be buried like a tulip bulb planted with the promise of Spring. Only planted too deep, and forgotten. I should have been a glorious flower, admired and prized. Instead, I could never break through to the freedom of the light.

“I’m going to bed”, you announce.

I glance at the clock….8:30. Maybe tomorrow I’ll find the courage to end this suffocating funk and know what it means to be alive.

“Ok, good night.” I go back to my tablet and the safety of my denial.

 

This week I’m cheating, using this for both the DP Weekly Writing Challenge and the Trifecta Writing Challenge. I only have so much free time:)

Hair’s To A Better Year

20140216_163504Here I am in all my 2014 glory. Post-chemo, post-radiation, post-double mastectomy. My hair has come back in silvery gray with a lot more curl than it used to have. But you’ll never hear me complain. Any hair is good  hair. I’m not sure if I’m going to be staying gray for much longer. I get a lot of compliments on the color, but I’m just feeling a tad too young to be permanently gray.

This picture was taken yesterday after I completed my first race since enduring 9 months of breast cancer treatment. It’s called the Frostbite 5K, and it was also the first race I ever attempted, in 2011. My time in that race was 32:25, and I was very excited, as that was much faster than my practice runs had been.

Yesterday, I had a bad cold and cough and struggled to breathe well. I only found out last week that they had changed the course of this race to include more than a mile up a steep mountain road. I thought about backing out and waiting for the next 5K to come around, but I wouldn’t let myself give up that easily. I felt the absurdity of the situation and did it anyway. If worse came to worse, I could walk part of the way.

So how did my great adventure turn out? I’m proud to say that I beat that original time by 8 seconds, 32:17, in spite of the steep climb and the snot rags in my waistband. I placed 4th in my age group. Not bad for a puny, post-cancer girl! So am I satisfied now to hang up my running shoes and be happy in the knowledge that I can still run a race after all that’s happened? Really? You know me better than that. I left the venue thinking, “Now all I have to do is shave 90 seconds off that time and I can win a medal.” Game on.

Full Circle

Lisa's First 5K Feb 2011 002

There I was, February of 2011, having just completed my first 5k, the Frostbite. I was giddy with excitement, like a schoolgirl with a big secret. The secret was that I could really do this. I could really run with the big dogs and, while I certainly didn’t finish first, I didn’t finish in the back either, which had been my biggest fear in competing. Now, with a solid performance under my belt, I was “officially” a runner. I would go on to bigger and better challenges, and also to insidious challenges that would nearly level me.

It was almost exactly 2 years after this happy day that I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. I had completely changed my lifestyle. I was eating a healthy diet and probably in the best shape of my life. I almost laughed when they tried to give me the results of the biopsy. I thought they were making it up or perhaps had been looking at the wrong chart. It’s funny how healthy you feel when you’re blissfully unaware of the truth. I was running 15-20 miles per week and had just come from the gym to the mammography clinic. And they were seriously trying to tell me that I was in the clutches of a monster, living on borrowed time?

Well, the news eventually did sink in, and I realized that I hadn’t been feeling quite as well or as robust as in the early days of running. The long Sunday runs were taking it out of me. Sometimes I would have to come home and just collapse on the couch, asking for help with bathing my youngest and getting dinner on the table. I just chalked it up to stress and trying to keep too many balls in the air. But deep inside, I knew. I knew that something was off; I was trying to keep it in my denial box. That box tends to stay pretty full.

And so last year I began an odyssey. Not a journey of my own choosing, but one that I endured kicking and screaming the entire way. I was poked, prodded, poisoned, and irradiated. Every outward sign of my identity as a woman was stolen…my hair, my breasts, my hormonal rhythm. I was, for all intents and purposes, chemically castrated. Cancer is certainly not for the faint of heart.

After all was said and done, I came through the other side alive. Forever changed, perhaps a bit more cynical about the promise of the future, but just as stubborn as ever. Now I’m taking back control of my life, and a big part of that will be my return to racing. Today, I will participate in the Frostbite 5k once again. I’m sick as a dog and feel as if I have an elephant sitting on my chest, but I won’t be denied. This is my year to tell cancer, “Take that, you son of a bitch! You may kill me one day, but you will not own me.” Only, I ‘m going to say it really quiet, in case he’s listening. Cancer is very vindictive.

Tomorrow I’ll let you know how I did and give you the first glimpse of the new me. Stay tuned.

Love Gone Wrong….

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My friend over at candidkay.com intrigued me this morning with a writing contest she found on the Trifecta website. The challenge is to tell a tale of love gone wrong in exactly 33 words. You can’t use the following words:  love, sad, tears, wept, heart or pain. You can post a link on the site, and the community chooses a winner.

Here is my entry:

My eyes were glued to his red elephant boots as he stormed out one last time.

With tragedy unfolding, a burning question distracted me.

“Why the fuck is he wearing red elephant boots?”

Your turn!