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Every End Is A Beginning

Beginnings. It’s what my brain is telling my fingers to shape this week. The series starts HERE with one of my all-time favorite pieces.  Today’s piece is a work of fiction, though my fiction often contains more of myself than I am ever willing to reveal in my own voice. Thank you for visiting,  for reading, and for sharing my words.

The grief of the soul assaults everyone in the murky claws of night. She is not exempt. It sinks its talons into her chest and drags her out of bed, her feet protesting as she is propelled down the hall. Is it because she hasn’t slept in a week that she imagines a shape in front of her, a shifting image that changes from leering to loving, from the first blush of amour to the final searing throes of goodbye?

She blinks, her eyelids sluggish from insomnia and torrents of tears. No she decides. Purposeful absence paints him everywhere. Waiting in the car next to her at a random traffic light. Calling at the end of the line with the next trill of the phone. Coming toward her through the stands at a ball game. Sitting just beyond the periphery of her vision at a play. Filling her unopened mailbox with apologies, with revocations, with the admission that he made a mistake when he tossed her away.

Those things never really happen, except in the vacuum where her heart used to be. It’s been hoovered from its moorings and steamrolled into the mud at the back end of a forsaken dirt road. She couldn’t find it if she tried.

Weak light from the refrigerator makes her squint at the bottle of water on the top shelf. Sighing, she grabs it and trudges to the sofa. I was sitting here the last time he walked out that door she thinks to herself as the water falls from her hands and seeps into the cushions and the carpet. Before she can blink, she is kneeling in it, her pajamas soaked and her wet hands blending with the cascading rivers on the landscape of her face. I don’t want to begin again I don’t want to start over I don’t want to…………………

Every end is a beginning.

She heard it spoken aloud, read it in the lanky shadows on the wall, and saw it printed on the insides of her eyelids when she heaved them shut. It stole its way to the wasted carcass that lived where her heart once pumped. With a jolt, it shocked her system into a new start, filled it with the will to begin again.

It wasn’t a dream. She knew it when she awoke on the floor, still damp from the spilled water bottle. Every end is a beginning she whispered.

Her mouth trembled as it formed the first vestige of a timid smile.

60 Comments Post a comment
  1. Each day a new beginning, a new way to find a good place.

    “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” -P Valery

    Each New Day Brings New Beginnings: Move Forward like a Kangaroo

    http://www.kewego.com/video/iLyROoafIomF.html

    January 17, 2012
    • Like Captain Kangaroo?

      January 17, 2012
      • Ha.

        January 17, 2012
      • Lou Mello #

        Absolutely, Mr. Green Jeans!

        January 17, 2012
    • In my case, I only wish the waking up happened as quickly as the fiction. But, I still found the place I needed to be.

      January 17, 2012
  2. You have been hanging around those English folk! “Hoovering” as a verb. Of course Amanda and Kate will see nothing odd in that. 🙂

    Good stuff you have going on here.

    January 17, 2012
    • I have always liked hoovering as a verb. I didn’t have the nerve to use it. 🙂

      Thank you.

      January 17, 2012
  3. “What doesn’t kill us, tends to makes us stronger” comes to mind.

    January 17, 2012
  4. You slipped into my being again Andra. Sometimes it’s a shock when I get here and read what you’ve so beautifully shared with us because sometimes I see aspects of myself, and others, and sometimes, glaringly, I see myself staring back at me. Today is one of those days your words are a mirror.

    Beautiful. Heartfelt. Heartwrenching.

    January 17, 2012
    • Lori, these comments always make me happy. That anything I write is something others can see themselves within is the biggest compliment anyone can ever give. I’m glad you’ve found your own set of beginnings. xo

      January 17, 2012
  5. hoovering… genius. This is a pretty spectacular piece, missy.

    January 17, 2012
  6. Great piece Andra, very emotive!

    January 17, 2012
    • Thank you. These are hard to do and easy to obsess over. 🙂

      January 17, 2012
  7. Andra, what a lovely piece. I think she speaks to experiences many of us have had, band through that gives us hope. More, more!

    Lisa

    January 17, 2012
    • Hope is one of the hardest things to find in these situations, I think. It’s hard to see when one is in such a bad place.

      January 17, 2012
  8. Beautifully put! This speaks to me, almost more powerfully than any of your posts I’ve read to date; since, like Lori, I see myself, at more than one juncture in my life. I too have cried buckets and felt as though I might never move forward again. But….

    I have long been a proponent of picking up the pieces and commencing again, a fan of the instructions here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKBRjZdy8WY

    New beginnings usually teach us things we didn’t know about ourselves, take us places we would not otherwise have found, and introduce us to wonderful folks we might otherwise never have known. I think we spend a lifetime acquiring wisdom and learning to put it to use. Here’s to continued

    January 17, 2012
    • One of my all-time favorite Nat songs, Karen. I love him. I think we get the hang of living life about the time we check out of it. I know it took me too long to learn how to do it. 🙂

      January 17, 2012
  9. Ouch! I could feel her pain here. The pain of lost love as great as death. I particularly liked the initial uncertainty as to whether or not this was a death (and in a way it is, the death of love). And I like her waking in the soaking wet water, like a rebirth.

    January 17, 2012
    • Jessie, you are such a gift. When I write fiction, the characters just want to do things. I don’t think about metaphor, because they’re not thinking about it. But, you are so right. Thank you for helping me see my writing anew.

      January 17, 2012
  10. Ooh! A starting-over! Synchronicity!

    January 17, 2012
  11. Bill Smithem #

    Instantly one of my favorites. Well done!

    January 17, 2012
  12. Your story title reminds me of a mournful old song called “Closing Time” by Semisonic that had special meaning for me.

    In it there is this line:
    “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

    I worked like a slave during the tech revolution of the late 1990s. 12-hour days were the norm and 24-hour days were not uncommon. My personal record was 36 hours strait one time.

    We were treated with god-like respect by thankful users. We got paid very well for those efforts.

    We’d quit early on Fridays around 6:30 to catch happy hour at Phoenix bars. We drank a lot, played pool, threw darts, sang Karaoke, swapped lies… and closed many bars.

    The song spoke to us saying,”One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer.” We obeyed.

    Then it says, “You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here”… with this refrain:
    “I know who I want to take me home”

    There were many a night I openly wondered who or if there was a special someone out there who would take me home.

    I haven’t heard that song in years, so found and played in off the Net.

    As the melody faded that same nagging question yet remains.

    January 17, 2012
    • I also remember that song. It does have a mournful quality, but in an upbeat way.

      I don’t have any answers for finding someone, and I heard so many thoughtless, mean platitudes in my single life that I try to keep my thoughts to myself.

      January 17, 2012
  13. This blog post resonates with how I felt when I went through an ugly divorce many years ago, and losing our child to cancer. Deep breath…. Yes, life does go on, just in a different way. It is hard but it is possible. I thank God for the faith he placed with in me and my friends and family that were/are there to lean on when times get tough.

    January 17, 2012
    • And, it’s so hard to consider life going on, isn’t it? When you cannot imagine how it will ever be the same?

      January 17, 2012
  14. Powerful piece! Her despair comes zinging straight through, and her hope, too, when it awakens. Starting over is so hard, so painful, so necessary…

    January 17, 2012
  15. Emotion is a curious thing for some of us “guys.” I go only about half as deep through life as my wife. I wonder if I don’t live it as fully, or if it’s a better protection device. Very thought-provoking, my friend.

    January 17, 2012
    • Men definitely process things differently from women. (Generalization alert. There are exceptions to everything.) And, I’m happy about that, because, my stars, if MTM were as emotional as I am, the air around us would probably explode. 🙂 You’re not doing anything wrong, and you’re probably the perfect balance to YLB.

      January 17, 2012
    • Interesting concept here… how men and women process and deal differently (in general). I’ve made the mistake of thinking that means the men (in general, specifically my husband) don’t “feel”. That’s not necessarily true.

      January 17, 2012
      • I think men (in general) internalize things more. They feel things. They just don’t always show what they feel, if that makes sense. I know MTM and I are pretty honest about what we feel, and I can always tell when he’s out of sorts. Whereas, EVERYBODY can probably tell when I am. 🙂

        January 17, 2012
  16. This post made me think about how much of my own story I’ve never revealed on my blog. It’s in the book, as you know, but lately I’ve been thinking about the parts I’ve yet to share with the readers who show up every day. Not sure what I’m going to do about that… just mulling it over.

    January 17, 2012
    • I’ve said this often, and I’ll say it again. People like to see themselves in what they read. When we are real, when we reveal real emotions and life moments, people who’ve been there see themselves in those moments. They may not be the same as ours, but they are relatable. Readers know the difference between what’s real and what’s contrived. I think the scariest thing is showing something and having a reader or several say ‘Nah’ or ‘Wow, you sure are CWAAAAAAAAZY.’ You have a lot to share, a lot of people who would love to read some of those things, and I think you should do it. If nothing else, you might find places in your book that need more or less, based on the reactions you get. And, you’d probably realize that you said something that made you throw up, and 1. you didn’t really throw up and 2. it wasn’t as bad/scary/horrible as you thought it would be.

      January 17, 2012
      • As you said, “my fiction often contains more of myself than I am ever willing to reveal in my own voice”… the parts of my story I don’t reveal on the blog involve other people. The internet is a free for all and it’s not always the best forum to test drive certain stories. I opened up about things I never thought I would in the book… and I know I will discuss the parts of my life in a open forum eventually. I do know I try to be real in the stories I tell about my life today… but it does make me feel unsettled in how little people know about what it took to get where I am. But we both know the day will come…

        January 19, 2012
      • Revealing self is never easy, and we have to find the ways that best work for each of us. I, too, become frustrated with people who see my life today and think “wow, she has everything. I’m so jealous of her.” I dare a single one of those people to live through my twenties and early thirties – all of it – and say that to me again.

        Everything I read from you is the you I know. You don’t pretend to be someone you’re not or sugar-coat your life. You’re happy with your life, and you feel blessed, and that shows in your writing. It’s one of the reasons people read your blog; they want to come, sit a spell, and go away feeling good and fed.

        January 19, 2012
  17. Oh, wow, a Road To Damascus moment! Love that story of the officious dangerous pharisee who was struck blind in an ending which became the most extraordinary of beginnings, if the story books tell true. Fantastic writing, Andra, vivid and compelling. And about our pet subject today…new beginnings…

    January 17, 2012
    • One of the hardest things in life, at least for me, is soldiering through those endings that only I can shape into new beginnings. I’m glad my character didn’t have to be struck blind to move forward, though she certainly cried enough to be robbed of sight temporarily.

      When I read your blog this morning (at 3 – 4am, like I usually do), I was moved by the synchronicity of the two pieces, how endings can be happy or they can leave us bereft, but living life means moving through them to the next thing, even when we cannot see the next thing.

      January 17, 2012
  18. earlybird #

    “It wasn’t a dream. She knew it when she awoke on the floor, still damp from the spilled water bottle.” – ouch. This is the worst time. ‘It wasn’t a dream’.

    Sounds like she smiled quicker than I’ve ever been able to do!

    January 17, 2012
    • I think I crunched two years into this post. Of course, most readers wouldn’t be willing to read two years of “I’m crying. I’m crying. I’m crying.” 🙂

      January 17, 2012
  19. Wonderful wise words, Watkins!

    The pendulum swings from Despair to Hope, and back again, a time or two, before settling someplace comfortably twixt the two. 😀

    Here’s to New Beginnings!

    January 17, 2012
    • The new normal is never easy to find, Nancy, but it’s always worth it.

      January 17, 2012
  20. Haunting and evocative piece. A “purposeful absence”…
    (And yes, I Hoover).

    January 17, 2012
    • I love the word Hoover. MTM told me a whole new story about himself tonight as a result of my using that word in a sentence. The story is worth saving for the blog. 🙂

      January 17, 2012
  21. Andra- this is beautiful- the prose is breathtaking. I want to write like you.

    January 17, 2012
    • Tricia, that is very kind. It balances out the agent who said “your prose is beautiful. i’m not interested in your book.” 🙂

      January 18, 2012
  22. Andra it was powerful! I wish I had an inkling of your talent! The story swept me up and took me along.

    January 17, 2012
    • I’m always glad to hear that someone gets lost in a story. It doesn’t always happen, but once in a while I get one there. Thank you.

      January 18, 2012
  23. You really do bravely put yourself “out there” in your fiction, Andra. This is a beautiful piece with an abundance of feeling and it sure does bring the pain of loss right to the surface. Beautifully written. Vulnerable and complete as it is, or the opening to a larger story. You have so much talent! Debra

    January 18, 2012
    • I think we have to make ourselves vulnerable to write anything that can touch the vulnerability in others. Still, people come up to me pretty regularly and say they can’t believe I reveal some of the things I do. And, I’m like, “Why? Do you have a perfect life? Does nothing ever bother you? Are we really supposed to present an image to the public that everything is perfect all the time?”

      I don’t belong in The South. 🙂

      January 18, 2012
  24. I meant to ask… where was the photo taken??

    You just say “on a guided hike in the white cliffs”.

    I know its not, but even to the fence on the rim, you picture reminds of side-step canyon in Utah in a magical place called the Grand Staircase. It is very rarely ever visited.

    In my photo galleries I misname it ‘Hoodoo Canyon’ in order to protect it from careless human caused destruction:
    http://www.pbase.com/azleader/sidestep

    January 18, 2012
    • Your pictures are gorgeous, and I’m glad to know where this place really is. MTM and I love to hike, and finding places that are off the beaten path is special to us. We appreciate them.

      My picture is along the Missouri River in Montana. The White Cliffs of the Missouri from Lewis & Clark fame.

      January 18, 2012
  25. Very beautiful piece and yet leaves me an uneasy sense, like someone hovering my stomach. Good thing it’s fiction.

    January 18, 2012
  26. Andra, that was just beautiful.

    January 18, 2012
    • Thank you, Cameron. High praise, considering the source and being an admirer of your writing.

      January 18, 2012

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