Little Big Boy

Laddie at 6 months by Akuokuo Vallis

Watching the mail lady throw a package — onto the neighbor’s porch —  from her truck— some 30 feet away.   Fragile, it said.

Sounds like a new ringtone on my older sister’s phone.

Doggy day care  calling about Laddie — her 6 month old puppy —  Laddie.

Laddie can no longer be in the play group with Emma, Valentina or Abigail, the voice said.  And — Paula The Great’s mom just called.  Laddie is forbidden to be in the same room as Paula The Great.  Also — we’ve removed all the striped pillows from the doggy disco — the plain ones are fine — Laddie doesn’t go anywhere near the plain ones.

Downloaded the puppy-cam app  —  wanted to see for myself.

Oh no — Laddie!

My sister’s phone rang — doggy day care — again.

Just so you know — you’ll  be getting a call from one of  Prince Michael’s dads.  

 

Here Since Yesterday

eggy by Akuokuo Vallis

Would get up at 4:00 a.m. to avoid the morning rush.

You think you’re so grown up — but this is wrong!   I protested.

Pounding my fists in the air — pleading — preaching — meaningless nothingness to a bunch of boys — mostly — who just did not care, really. My twin sister said I looked like an aerobics instructor.  We were roommates and outvoted  — completely.

Co-ed bathrooms made no sense.  The never-been-renovated shower room was built for 20 — at least.  And that daily lineup at the urinals was just —  unpleasant.

Freshman year — in the Quad — at Brown — was  miserable.

Stopped by an ashram in Taos, New Mexico— only briefly, I figured.  Had heard about their chai  — blessed by a holy man — sitting ‘neath a sacred tree.  Think I saw him in the garden.  He looked happy.  Kind.

The bathroom looked like a dressing room with super long pieces of cloth dividing the stalls. Definitely different.  Quiet.  Intimate.

Hardly even noticed those Teva-wearing-caveman-feet clomp-clomp-clomping  into the stall next to mine.

 

Other Luminaries

Other Luminaries by akuokuo Vallis

Glad I changed my mind about med. school — still have that thing with blood — makes me disappear — almost  like magic — but not really.

Water is still running in the kitchen sink — just like I left it — just after I stuck my hand into it — trying so, so hard not to see those drops of red.  Shock — had to be.  Must have bumped my head too — because —  this time — it was different.

Not an out of body experience, I don’t think.  More like that place between sleep and waking where you’re not really anywhere  — not even dreaming.  Confusing.  Because I was  just about to pour hot fudge sauce on my lime sherbet — just about to lick the spoon — at Gifford’s — getting ice cream with my dad and sisters.  My dad always got the works.

I loved that about him — I miss that.

I miss him.

The UPS man was carrying a crumpled, opened box — chewing gum, snickering.

Can’t believe you bought a Thigh Master, he said.

Didn’t mean to slam the door — that hard.  A picture fell.

Then there was a deep quiet — worth exploring — but I couldn’t.  My right ear was throbbing. No blood though.  Not sure how that deer got in the dining room.  I stood up — and it turned back into a chair.

 

Dig in the Soil

plants by Akuokuo Vallis

Don’t look, don’t look, don’t look, my twin sister said

I zoomed in on the latecomer — anyway — and was instantly beamed back — a million years, at least — to recess — on the blacktop — where this girl — with her fingers sticking out of her pants  — chased — no, terrorized — other girls.

I’m a boy, she’d say, beating her chest like Tarzan.

Thought I’d forgotten that.

The Ikebana class started with a brief meditation and prayer.

Then I spent way too much time shuffling, scrambling, searching for the right words to say — because — I really did not know what to say.

Hey, you two!  You look exactly like you did in 5th grade — only taller.  Ha!

Pounding his chest — just like she used to — Jeannette said,  I’m Timothy now — by the way.

I pointed and gestured with my pinkie, You have a noodle in your beard.

Small world, my twin sister said.

 

Tastes Like Rocky Road

Disconnect by Akuokuo Vallis

Almost late for her Feldenkrais lesson because I felt a nudging, a need to pull over and get a book from a Little Free Library — on the way.

Can’t this wait, my mother said.

I wasn’t even reaching for that book — it just kinda tumbled out and fell onto my feet — upside down and open.

There was a note inside.

I will not let you forget me. 

It was handwritten on a plain piece of paper— nearly ripped in half and really crumpled— like it was meant for the trash can but somehow didn’t get to that trash can — because it found its way to me — instead.

A message from the universe, my mother said — sitting in the car.  Teasing me.

You’ve indeed found me again my love,  I whispered then wrote — on that really crumpled — nearly ripped in half — plain piece of paper — that was now tucked back inside that book– now sitting, waiting on the shelf.  I was giddy about what could happen next.

Too much grinning and thinking — I was a zoo animal — a hyena, probably —  until a little old lady  picked up that book — and put it in her purse.

 

Jack and Jill

Here Comes the Bride by Akuokuo Vallis

 

Seems like only yesterday — but — Kookaburra was just a puppy — when the neighbors  told me about their Just in Case Supplies.

They  were wearing matching purple sweatsuits — No, they’re violet, she insisted — because — violet is the highest frequency.  Their amethyst amulets were opulent in an understated way.  The gold chains were excessive.  A distraction.  I thought.  I did like their sneakers — Reeboks, I think.  Puffy like marshmallows — high tops.

Criss-crossing each other like automatons — inspecting and reinspecting — they were putting all sorts of numbers — codes, he said — on boxes — lots of boxes — piled up way too crazy high —  in their jam-packed garage.

I asked — just in case — if they would share their supplies — Just in case?

Get your own, she snapped.  Sounded like a growl.

When he died — not that long ago — those boxes —  the ones filled with their Just in Case Supplies — started disappearing — one by one.

His — not mine.

She still wears the purple sweatsuit.

 

 

He Said Spiders Are Spies

snake view by Akuokuo Vallis

Chop the head off — real good — or — you’ll be sorry, said the know-it-all handyman from across the street.  He was waving around a drippy, sloppy sandwich — talking to us — over here — about snakes.  His dribble-drabble-koo-koo-talk was heat induced —  I’m sure.

Looked like hummus with alfalfa sprouts and a ton of fermented vegetables on some kind of thickly sliced nut bread — not sure if those were sesame seeds or sunflowers seeds — but it was definitely homemade.  Why not just make it into a salad, I blurted out — covering my mouth with my hands — like I was 6 or something —  about to get in trouble in class — about to stand in the corner — all because that girl Augusta wouldn’t give me my new silver crayon back.  And my dress was too short — on picture day!

My twin sister just stared at me — like I was the crazy one.  I wanted to leave — but didn’t — especially since the handyman was so super proud of that severed snake head — acting like he saved us — saying he could save the whole universe — from something — inaudible sounding — if only they’d listen, he said.

You should get back to your work — OVER THERE,  I said.  Telepathically.

Then he starts  pointing out these little white snake eggs.  Have to be careful with these eggs. These eggs are already sending signals to their mom.  

Too bad you didn’t put that in the ground last week, the handyman said —  noticing the tomato plant — I just dropped.