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Outside the ShadowsWhite walls greet me as I awaken, peppered with pictures, moments encapsulated, preserved for happy memories or ongoing torture. Ivory dress, black tux. Smiles for the camera and for the new life beginning. I don't know why I still have those pictures up. Maybe for the same reason I carry my wedding ring with me. Sometimes I wear it, telling myself it's just so I don't lose it. It's tighter than it used to be. I still spin it slowly when I'm lost in thought.
Everything is different. New apartment, new phone number. New clothes. Same bed, though. I still sleep on the left side, even though I could take up the entire bed now. It's too cold to stretch out, and now that it's only my body heat beneath the covers, it's not worth the effort to try and warm the whole bed.
I hit the snooze exactly 4 more times. Thirty-six minutes of sleep. I get up, and begin the same routine that happens every day. Get bowl of cereal for Alex, find towel, shower. I always lean my head against th
Affinityyour fingertips draw patterns
on the surface of me
and the ripples slide out
disturbing the sanctity of the depths below
and moving the sand at the bottom.
The Road to Glory - Pt 4It all came down to this. Four 5-man teams, decked out in PT shorts and matching T-shirts. Ours were black, with the words "Respect your superiors" on the back. We hoped this day wouldn't make those words untrue.
As we walked back into the fieldhouse, Rapid City's team was finishing up their mile run. We cheered them on, just as we did Spearfish's team. Then Custer's turn came. McCord and I pulled the guys around us. "We're gonna cheer twice as loud for Custer as anyone! I want to hear you guys make some noise." They nodded and started screaming for the opposing team to move faster. McCord, Nedved, and Skyberg had spent their lunch hour at Walmart, getting markers and posterboard, which they used to make 3 signs, saying Go Big Sioux. On the other side it said Go Blue Team. Considering everyone was in blues most of the day, they figured it was a nice generic rah-rah saying. We found it hilarious, although Clark pretended to be miffed that we didn't have a sign that said Go
The Road to Glory - Pt 3"Indoor presentation of the colors" is a fancy way of saying "Find your way through a room full of obstacles and put the flags in stands". We had practiced every possible combination of obstacles. I knew they could do this. I knew they needed it. But the pressure on them was intense. And all I could do was stand back and watch.
They formed up smartly and stepped off. Completely out of step. I cringed, every fiber of my being willing them to get it together...soon. I knew within the first two steps they made that this would be the lowest point of the day. And it was. They were unsure and shaken. And it showed.
Nothing I could say to them would make it okay, and I knew that. But I had to make sure they snapped out of it. They couldn't see how disappointed I was, or how worried I was that they wouldn't be able to pull it together. We still had two more events.
They halfheartedly marched back up the viewing area and slumped into the chairs. I parked myself next to Gengler. He was the one I
The Road to Glory - Pt 2"Ma'am. Wake up." My eyes opened instantly. McCord, my squadron's cadet commander and the other Color Guard trainer, was standing over my sleeping bag. I sat up, slightly groggy from lack of sleep, but mind already racing. McCord looked haggard. He had driven the 7 hours with 2 of our other guys from the squadron and had just arrived as I was falling asleep. They got less sleep than we did. "It's 5:30, ma'am." I frowned and looked at my watch as I stood.
Major Bonk, our squadron commander, showed up at 7. By then we had already showered and had a bit of practicing under our belts too. The guys were nervous and jumpy, and I knew we needed to get some food in their stomachs. We went off to McDonald's, keeping close eye on the time. They had to be ready for inspection at 8:30. They calmed a bit at breakfast, joking around and having a bit of fun. I on the other hand was incredibly sick to my stomach. Nervousness and worry had made my stomach problems flare up. I told m
The Road to Glory - Pt 1The sign said "Spearfish, 150 miles." We'd already been on the road for five hours, and the five guys behind me in the van had finally moved off the typical locker room humor and on to the subject of time travel. I listened absently as I drove, thinking instead of the long day ahead of us. I cast a glance in the rear view mirror and took stock in my team-- where they seemed to be at mentally and physically.
Meyer sat with his eyes closed, in silent meditation to the music being fed him through his headphones. Quiet and watchful, he was the oldest member of my team. This would be his last competition, for he would be turning 21 in a few months. He was my state flag holder, and we had pulled him onto the team only 2 weeks before. He had had some problems with his timing, but I knew he would perform well. He was also one of the fastest members of my group. I was counting on him to bring us a good time in the mile run.
Lohan, my team's alternate, was in the middle of yet another
All Here For A ReasonI turned onto a shady, well-manicured driveway that, for all intents and purposes, looked harmless enough. Maple trees lined both sides of the street, and a parade of Canadian geese marched across the road to a wide duck pond with a flamboyant fountain. There were blooming crepe myrtles and rose-of-sharons, and as I grew closer to my destination, neatly trimmed gardens with neatly trimmed bushes.
I stopped to let the geese pass. They looked at me; one hissed. I honked my horn and moved around them.
At the end of the road sat a collection of grayish buildings and a number of signs directing me to the appropriate parking lot. "Welcome to Ten Creeks Hospital," said one of them. "Please enjoy your stay." I parked in the visitor's lot. Surely I wouldn't be staying.
I was shaking when I got out of my car. I had spent the morning getting high. One foot in front of the other, flip-flop noises, hot sidewalk. Mulberry and magnolia trees, freshly shaved grass. A bench and pan for smokers. A set o
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