When the Chickens Come Home to Roost 

by Selma


“Young lady– obviously, you don’t know who I am. I’m Mrs. Manzanilla from Refaccionaría Manzanilla,” my mother announced in Spanish in a voice too loud for my liking. I wanted to run and hide. The way she said that, and the dignified way she looked when she said that made the poor cashier take a nose-dive into the deepest recesses of her brain. I saw it in the way the cashier tipped her head. She wanted to try to understand what this lady in front of her was talking about. As far as the young girl was concerned, there was only one Refaccionaría Manzanilla in the whole of Macondo and this lady was not that Mrs. Manzanilla. She knew.

She knew for a fact that Mrs. Manzanilla had never set foot into a Save Big Store; that instead, she sent her housekeeper into the store twice a week to drop off a grocery list. And that the necessary items then got delivered to the mansion. And besides, Mrs. Manzanilla’s daughter and her were thick-as-thieves. She knew exactly what that Mrs. looked like.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Manzanilla, but I’m just following protocol of a report from our security personnel. They’ve instructed me to ask you to step aside and to request that you voluntarily return the items that they saw you stash into your two bags.”

“And I say, you are wrong! I have no need to do such an outrageous thing as stealing from a place like this. I demand to see the manager.” The girl makes a phone call.

It was a busy Thursday evening and people were stocking up on items in anticipation of the long holiday weekend. The buzz of the cash machines, the intricate bustle of the happy shoppers and the upbeat tempo of the music in the store, drown the embarrassing tone of the commotion going on in front of me. But in my insides I felt a volcano erupting. I wanted to run away. I didn’t want to be around to see my mother get escorted to the police station.

On my back, I carried an overstuffed rucksack that was ripping at the seams. My mother carried a small buston bag with wheels — just as conspicuous looking as mine.

“Oh I understand,” my mother volunteered, “you see our overstuffed bags and think the worst… well I never! …” she slams her fist on the counter. “We came here with our luggage because we’ve just arrived from a short trip. We stopped in to pick up a few necessities. And you immediately assume that what you see us carrying in these bags are items stollen from your shelves. Well you are wrong…wrong, I tell you!”

Any minute now, any minute now the earth will rumble and swallow me up whole, I think. That will be better than this. I start to sweat cold.

The people in line at the cashier where we stand get directed to a different line. They look at us with scorn for disrupting the rhythm of their shopping experience. But that is all they do. To them, we are nobodys. No one bothers to know more, but to me, of all the inconsistencies that I have seen and come to understand since turning nine, this has got to be the worst.

And people will talk, a nagging voice announces inside my head. They don’t seem interested in the heated discussion going on right now, but someone will remember. 

I start to pray…

They escort us to a room in the back; the office. They ask us to wait.  My mother gives me a side glance and the zip-it-up sign to keep my mouth shut. No need to tell me Mom, I think, even if I wanted to, words have left my thoughts moments ago. All I have now is prayers. And those won’t buy me a pardon… 

Inside, we see a row of monitors apparently displaying every aisle in the store.

We are dead, I think, then I hold my breathe. Just then I notice that the monitors show a lot of static on the screen. I exhale. But the exertion of exhaling, or perhaps it was the part about holding my breath, makes me feel light-headed. I lean on the wall and close my eyes.

I hear the voices of men talking and above theirs I hear my mother’s unwavering voice. I do not know for how long this goes on; I remain fixed on my prayers.

“Come on child, let’s get out of here.” Mother takes my hand and together with my uncle, the owner of Refaccionaría Manzanilla, we walk out of Save Big.  He calls us a taxi.  He hugs my mother and pats me on the head. Mother and I sit in silence in the taxi until we arrive on the front steps of our house. I drop my rucksack and make a dash for the chicken coop. I remain inside until my mother calls me in for supper.

“Besides, it’s time for the chickens to roost,” she says. And then I begin to cry.

Shadow Syllabus

Reblogging because Work, feelings/insights like the ones portrayed here need to be circulated again and again. The Author IS the right voice in the right time. This piece serves to reaffirm our faith (if ever we feel we’ve lost it) in our own humanity. I am glad I stumbled upon this one (via Cheri Lucas) I hope you find value in it as well. Selma

…WordPress HOW TO DO WORDPRESS

by Selma 


My last post was a clear indication of where I stood concerning WordPress at the moment. I haven’t stopped looking for answers. As they say, every problem comes with its new set of solutions. And I might add, every New Day brings you new lessons to learn. 

Today, tenacity has landed me here. I haven’t read it all, but I want to update anyone who, like me, is struggling to make sense of WordPress. 

I can only talk about what this new information will do to me because ME is all I know. I know that I will not get it right after a few readings, but I also know that it will keep me learning and questioning. 

There is hope. Hope is a good thing. 

If any of this has brought even a glimmer of light into your WordPress Forest, then I’d venture to proclaim that my ordeal has been worth it. 

Here is that link:  https://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page

HOW TO WORDPRESS SUPPORT

by Selma


The sky’s the limit, someone said, but then someone contradicted, the sky is not the limit. The sky is not the limit I say… and I add, one is never too old to learn how to touch the sky.

HOW DO YOU GUYS DO IT?

As you all know, I am a new blogger. The truth is, I am new at many things this year, and that’s because I decided to be more gogo about things this year. I want to make 2017 a memorable year for me. And in so doing, I want to add something worthy to the lives of people who I haven’t had the privilege of meeting yet. But for that I have to stand out a little more still. Standout — that is something I have shied away from all my life. What compels me to gogo right now though, is my heartfelt desire to help brighten a little corner of someone’s life somewhere.

I want to share short stories. I want to share awareness. I want to share joy and hope. But that will require I do more. I don’t know what yet, so I will keep my eyes open.

There are tons of wonderful bloggers already. I follow a handful only because social media is not my forte, thus, it tends to still be a little too overwhelming for me. I am still trying to assimilate what I am learning.

On January 15th, I opened a Twitter account without telling a single person I know. To my surprise, Twitter turned out to be a generous platform for me. A week later, I was following a select 126 and 47 beautiful individuals were following me. I was thrilled! @SelmaWrites is my twitter handle if you care to know.

But then I found I felt constricted with how much I can say on Twitter and my soul yearned for a way to vent. On a whim, I decided to give this WordPress a try. But this wordpress has me perplexed like never before. I have my website. But I have nothing else. Not much by way of tech-savvy or marketing or the like. And unlike twitter (where by the way, my followers now amount to 1,210 as of this post) I do not feel that I am moving. I have contacted some of the happy people at wordpress and asked for help, but I must confess that I do not know what kind of help it is I need, so I do not know how to formulate a request. The last time I contacted them my complain was, ‘um, I do not have a theme on my website yet; how do I do that?’ And their kind response was, ‘yes you do. Its 2016 Theme.’  That shut me up!

I have tried getting my answers from the big world wide web, but again, I cannot assimilate what they say with how I need to react to things. In short, I just don’t know how-to DO WORDPRESS. So until I learn, I will just need to keep at it.

If anyone out there already has it together, and would be willing to direct my attention to short/shortish sites where I can get help to make this page a little better (and to attract a little more traffic) please drop me a line.

I have been watching these tutorials, two, three times in a row, each. I enjoy listening to them, but the way they move the cursor on the screen is just dizzying. They are trying to help I know, but I have concluded that unless one knows which way the cursor will move next, it is difficult to follow along. And sometimes, many times, what I see on the video screens looks a lot different from what I have infront of me on my PC.  Sad to say,  this is all I have to work with.

I recon there must be more people struggling like me, (maybe?) so this is what I want to leave you all with today. Video-Tutorials. Look them over. If they help you, great!! That will give me satisfaction. In the meantime, I will keep on trying to stay positive and not let this website get to me. Wish me luck!

https://en.support.wordpress.com/video-tutorials/#get-started

Kids see Things that Adults can’t see

by Selma 

“Today I am a round blue thing mommy. What am I?” said little Donny. As soon as he pose the question to mom he hugged his legs firmly and started swaying from left to right and back again; he laid curled up like a little fur ball on the floor. Sure that he had mom’s attention, he stopped swaying to receive his mom’s response.

“Hmmmm, let me think,” said his mommy, “are you a furry, round blue thing?”
Mom thought that perhaps he was pretending to be the little blue furry kitten pictured in his story book the night before. Why would anyone think of painting a kitten blue anyway, she remembers thinking.

“No. No fur on me”, laughed Donny, “keep guessing mommy.” He swayed to the left and again to the right and then stopped, eagerly awaiting mom’s answer.

“Well, are you a round blue thing that enjoys to be kicked around?”, his mother asked.

“Mmmmhn. Maybe. You can kick me around but that’s not what I am for”, said the boy with his eyes dancing on mommy’s face.
Mom was sure that the little boy was talking about the nice blue ball that his grandparents had recently sent for him. But, right after thinking that, a more recent image arose in her mind: “No ball kicking inside the house,” dad had said in an authoritative voice. Dad was bent over picking up the shattered pieces of the broke lamp. “Balls are for playing outside; not for inside the house — things get broken and hurt”, dad had punctuated. Dad’s reprimand had made Donny cry but he never kicked his ball inside the house again.

“Hmmmm are you a round blue thing that likes to bounce up and down then?” asked mom.

“No mommy. I cannot bounce. God didn’t make me for bouncing. Just for rolling.” replied the little boy.

“No?”, Mommy said in surprise. “You’re not your new blue ball?”

“No mommy. I’m not that.”

Mom looked away from the magazine she was paging through to get a clue from the things he was playing with at the moment. No mention of round blue objects in the story books he had around him nor anything blue in his vicinity. He was playing with his toy cars but those were not blue. Mom couldn’t decide what to say to him.

“Well, I’m afraid I will need you to give me a clue because I cannot guess what it is you are today Donny”, she said.

“A clue?” He was intrigued . He got off the floor and walked to where mom was sitting. “Well, daddy loses it everyday and he cannot go to the office without it. So every day he spends a lot of time looking for it. It’s daddy’s very important thing.”

Well, John is always misplacing his keys, that’s for sure thought mom, but Donny specifically said that he is a round blue thing. Keys are not round, mommy thought.

“I give up Donny. I cannot guess what you are”, she said at last. Even with his clue, she really couldn’t guess what he was pretending to be today.

“Mommy, today I am the little round blue marble on daddy’s keychain. The one he uses to start the car with.” He said this and then he folded his arms feigning anger, or perhaps that was pride on his face?

“Oh my Donny. You had me on that one. I would never in a hundred years have guessed that today you were the little blue marble on daddy’s keychain”, she ruffled his curly hair. “Now it’s mommy’s turn to ask you a question. Why is it that you are a round blue thing today?”

“Because today I am that little blue marble that’s hanging from daddy’s keys. The End”, said Donny. He emphasized the ‘the end’ just like mommy did at the end of every story she read to him.

And with that mommy knew that there was no point in her prodding him for more clarity. Today her son was feeling like a little blue thing that was very important to his daddy. It was no use trying to play detective or psychologist. Kids know what they know.

There is no Love in Violence

“Domestic violence rarely affects only those directly involved in the abusive relationship.” ― Asa Don Brown
Short of stepping on Curly’s tail, Becky stormed into the living room, slammed the screen-door shut and hurried to her room.
“What?” her mother asked from the kitchen, “back already? Did you forget to take something?” her mother continued.

Becky didn’t answer. Her footsteps were heavy as she went up the stairs. She closed the door to her room, pressed the play button of her CD player and turned the volume on high. She got inside her closet and sat on the floor on the corner closest to the window. The evening was pleasant and the sound of the birds on the tree outside the window was silenced by the sound coming from inside her room.

Her mother finished rinsing off the dinner dishes and wiping her wet hands on her apron, rushed upstairs to see what the matter was with her daughter. She knocked on the door with the secret code they had settled on for the month, but no tap-tap, the code of acknowledgement, came from inside the room. Mother knocked the same way again and again, but again Becky didn’t reciprocate. Mom turned the door knob and realized that the door was locked from the inside.

“Becky, open the door. Let me in. Becky, what happened? Did something happen with you and Margo?” Mom was getting worried. This was so out of character for her daughter.

She waited a few more minutes and knocked again. “Becky,” she said, a little more impatient this time, “talk to me. Open the door.” Becky got out of the closet, lowered the volume on her CD player and unlocked the door. Then she sat on the floor next to her bed. Mother knocked again and this time Becky reciprocated by tapping on the side of her bedroom table with their coded tap-tap. Mother turned the door knob and entered the room.

“Honey, did something happen to you over at Margo’s house?”
Becky hugged her knees and looked away from her mother. Mother followed Becky’s lead and sat on the floor next to her daughter.

In the short year that they have been neighbors, Becky and Margo have become best friends. They walk to and from school together, they spend endless hours playing outdoors and talking on the porch-swing, they walk up to receive holy communion together at Sunday Mass and apart from the fact that each girl has their own house chores to do, they are inseparable. Once or twice a month Margo’s mother has invited Becky to come along as Margo’s guest for a family dinner at a sort-of-nice restaurant in town. The dinners always left Becky a little perplexed but she dismissed the feelings Because she could not find the appropriate words to form the thoughts about the feelings, even in her own head. This being the case she never got around to saying anything about this to her mother. When mother would ask, Becky would talk about the food instead of the feelings she would bring back from the dinner experience with the Romanos.

“Yes, I decided to sneak in on Margo instead of calling out to her. When I looked in through the screen door I saw Margo kneeling on the floor. She had her hands stretched out infront of her and I saw her daddy loading her arms with heavy books.”

“You mean that it was like some kind of punishment?” her mother asked.

“Yes, exactly. It had to be. Margo looked sad and scared but she had her arms stretched out and her daddy kept putting book after book for her to hold in her outstretched arms. At one point, Margo got tired so she relaxed her buttom on the back of her legs and her daddy hit her on her back with a book,” replied Becky suppressing fresh tears that burned to come out.

“And you saw all that? ” her mother asked holding her daughter’s hand with one hand and wiping a tear off her own face with the other.

“Yes. But the worst part is that Margo saw me looking. I think that I will never be able to face her again. I am embarrassed to have seen what I saw. And I am sure that Margo is embarrassed for it as well.” Becky’s words punctuated the conversation and a long silence, thick as a morning mist, permeated the room. Her mother didn’t know what to make of the situation. And she didn’t want to say something out of place without thinking things over first, so mother and daughter just sat there on the floor.

In the year since they have been neighbors the mothers have not become close. They have exchanged pleasantries but unlike the girls, their relationship hasn’t advanced beyond that. For starters, Mrs. Romano, Margo’s mother is a career woman. She works from 9:00 – 5:00, sometimes later and like the rest of the neighborhood, Becky’s mother refrains from approaching Mrs. Romano to allow her the space she and the neighbors think she needs. Come to think of it, besides attending Mass with her family on Sundays and the occasional dinners out in town, Mrs. Romano seldom participates in anything in the community. Mr. Romano, on the other hand, works from home. According to Margo he is a translator of German Novels. He is at home all the time and it is he who attends to Margo and her younger sister when they return home from school. He is very polite yet reserved with the neighbors. He attends school meetings but doesn’t socialize with anyone at school. According to Becky, the Romanos move to a new town every two years or so and before coming to Macondo, they lived in Los Alamos. Apart from that, no one knows anything else about the family.

*****

“The abuser does not believe, however, that his level of authority over the children should be in any way connected to his actual level of effort or sacrifice on their behalf, or to how much knowledge he actually has about who they are or what is going on in their lives. He considers it his right to make the ultimate determination of what is good for them even if he doesn’t attend to their needs or even if he only contributes to those aspects of child care that he enjoys or that make him look like a great dad in public.” ― Lundy Bancroft Bancroft