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The Writers' Network by The Writers' Network - 10M ago

And just like the previous 4,
She saw ‘the one’ in him, she found him remarkably perfect
“He would never hurt me” She constantly told herself
She gave in, head in, heart in, total devotion
And for the longest time, she believed herself in him, something she’s never experienced
It felt good, it felt great
She was head over heels in love with this one
“This one is here to stay” she reassured herself

Alas, he was no different
He ripped her heart into a million pieces, a few thousands more than the last 4 had dismantled it into
She was heartbroken, truly truly heartbroken

Whatever happened?
What happened to him being the one? Or was she to blame?
Perhaps the fault was in her
Perhaps she wore her heart too often on her sleeves

She was back to basis

Back to picking up pieces of her shattered heart.

And just as she picked up what was left of her heart, just as she tried to piece in each broken part into place, he came along
Another one

And with his well chiseled chin and perfect dimples,
She was taken away

On a ride she had taken before, a ride all too familiar

And then came another, and yet, another

And at some point, she realized she had been playing it all wrong, it wasn’t about chiseled chin, or his beautiful hair, or his perfect dimples, she realized, it was more than that, much more than that

It had to be, it had to be more than the physical eyes could see
Perhaps she had to see blindly to see truly
she had to close her eyes to see clearly
Because only then could she tell the lie apart from the truth

And there and then, she realized

She truly realized.

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The Writers' Network by The Writers' Network - 10M ago

In the shade of the towering poplar at the back of my house, I sit on the lower step of the laundry stand terrorizing a community of ants with a twig. I poke at their sand hills constructed in the cracks of the hot asphalt and watch them scurry for their lives. For an instant, I feel a surge of power, but then I stop to wonder why I am entertained by such a malicious act. My thoughts are interrupted by shouts. I look up to see my best buddies, Curtis and Gilles, racing their bicycles down the gravel driveway towards me, leaving a trail of dry dust streaming behind them. Curtis’ Schwinn Stingray comes to a sliding stop only a wheel length ahead of Gilles’ new Centennial.

‘I win! Beat you again, Baker,’ shouts Gilles, a wide smirk breaking across his face.

‘I gave you a head start. And besides, my tires aren’t designed for gravel,’ explains Curtis, trying to catch his breath.

‘Excuses! Excuses! Hey, Ray, grab your bike. We’re heading to Whitson River for a dip,’ urges Gilles.

‘We can’t get to the swimming hole on my property anymore. Old man Simard put up a barbed wire fence between our fields and hung up a big-ass No Trespassing sign.’

‘We can ride to Whitson through your field, stash the bikes and wade down the creek to the swimming hole,’ suggests Curtis.

‘Naw. It’ll take us forever to get there and then back. And besides, I don’t want anyone to swipe my new wheels,’ says Gilles.

‘No big deal. We can sneak on through their front driveway,’ proposes Curtis.

‘Old man Simard is crazy. Word is he keeps a shotgun loaded with salt shot by the front porch just for fun and giggles,’ adds Curtis.

‘No sweat, man. I know Daniel, his son. I trade comics with him. I’ll ask him to join us. His dad will be none the wiser.’

‘Daniel isn’t the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, either,’ reminds Curtis.

‘I guess he is kind of an odd duck, but he is harmless,’ I answer in his defense.

‘Damn good thing. He’s as strong as an ox. I wouldn’t want to be on his bad side,’ says Gilles.

‘Daniel wouldn’t hurt a fly. Poor guy gets teased all the time and never says a word. Anyway, daylight is burning. Let’s get going.’

I take the lead. We race our bikes along the gravel shoulder of the highway to Daniel’s place. I spot him at the back of the house by the old barn, feeding chickens.

‘Daniel, you want to ride to the river with us,’ I ask.

He doesn’t answer. He simply nods and walks into an old shed.

‘Where the heck is he going?’ asks Curtis.

Before I can hazard a guess, Daniel comes out, riding an old bike and grinning from ear to ear. The front wheel is missing a few spokes, and the brake pads whine and squeak as they rub against the twisted rim on every turn.

‘Nice ride, Daniel. That’s a sweet vintage model,’ I say to encourage him.

‘It’s a CCM,’ answers Daniel, smiling with pride.

We ride up the beaten tractor trail along the fence line. The grasshoppers pop up ahead of our tires and fly forward a few meters only to pop up again and again. We stop in the shade of a choke cherry tree to get relief from the scorching sun and eat a few of the sour berries. We fill our mouths with the sour unripened fruit and spit the seeds out in a juicy mess. Laughing hysterically, we take turns trying to call out tongue twisters as the inside of our mouths pucker and make the words incomprehensible. Rested we continue a few kilometers along the trail to the river’s edge.

‘Last one in is a rotten egg!’ yells Gilles. He drops his bike on its side and starts stripping down. Curtis and I follow suit, peeling our clothes off as fast as we can. The sound of a loud splash stops us. We look in disbelief as Daniel, fully dressed in jeans and plaid shirt, complete with shoes, wades in the river.

‘Rotten eggs! Rotten eggs!’ shouts Daniel, pointing at us and laughing.

‘That boy is nuttier than a shithouse rat,’ says Gilles.

‘Yeah, but he ain’t no rotten egg like you suckers,’ shouts Curtis dropping his shorts and sprinting down the river bank for the water.

After a few hours of skinny dipping and play-fighting in the cool current, we head back to Simard’s house. We are tired but feeling refreshed and revitalized from the cool dip. Daniel’s mother is in the backyard as we pull up. She takes one look at her son in his wet clothes and goes ballistic.

‘I warned you never to go into the river. You stupid no good for nothing imbecile. Didn’t I warn you. Can’t you ever get that into your empty wooden head. I’ll teach you to listen to me when I talk to you.’

We stand in shock as she grabs him by the collar and drags him off the bike. She swings him around like a rag doll with one arm as she beats him with the other. She doesn’t even pay attention to us or seem to care that we are watching. Daniel screams and cries, desperately yelling for her to stop while trying to block her blows, but she relentlessly continues to beat him like a dog. Not knowing how to deal with the situation, and frankly terrified that she would soon turn on us, we panic and speed out of the yard and down the highway.

We ride home in silence, not mentioning one word to each other about what we have just witnessed. I’m not sure why we keep quiet—is it the fear and horror of the assault or are we ashamed of ourselves for not trying to help him? Are we terrified helpless bystanders or cowards running from fear?

The next day I wake up as if nothing had happened. Just another sleepy Monday morning, like every other school day morning. I thud up the steps from my bedroom in the basement to the kitchen. My sister stands red-faced at the front door with her books and lunch-kit in hand threatening not to hold the school bus for me—again.

‘You’re always late. The bus parks at the driveway, beeping its horn, waiting for you. It’s embarrassing. Why don’t you grow up?’

‘Why don’t you go fly a kite?’

‘Mom! Ray is late again.’

‘Don’t forget your lunch,’ shouts my mom. ‘And don’t sit at the back of the bus with the English kids.’

‘What? Why not? Whatever. I got to go, Mom. Bye.’

My mom insists that I sit in the front of the bus with the French kids. It’s like the English kids have some sort of contagious disease. She rambles on about our responsibility as French-Canadians to protect our language. Many of these English kids are my neighbors and some are good friends of mine. I really don’t care what language they speak. I can speak both English and French, so I don’t understand the problem. Besides if anybody wants to speak French—nobody is stopping them.

I hop on the bus and sit down next to Jean-Pierre. Everybody calls him Mimi; I’m not sure why. He is a thin, wiry farm kid who is always getting in some sort of trouble. We are sitting directly behind Daniel this morning. I can see the blemishes on the side of Daniel’s face and neck from the beating he got from his mother.

‘Hey Ray. Let’s have some fun,’ says Mimi tugging at Daniel’s hair. Daniel slides over tight against the window.

‘Leave him alone,’ I said.

Mimi reaches over the seat again and snaps his index finger at Daniel’s ear.

Daniel cringes in pain and leans forward.

‘You’re such a jerk. How would you like someone doing that to you?’ I ask.

‘They wouldn’t dare,’ answers Mimi sitting back in his seat giggling like a fool.

‘One day you will pick on the wrong person and I swear you will get yours.’

At the school, Daniel slumps low in his chair at the back of the classroom—quiet, head down, eyes on his scribbler. The chair seems tiny under the fourteen-year-old’s oversized frame. Barely visible, a pencil protrudes from his powerful hands, a short twig growing from a stump. Daniel draws on his scribbler; the Incredible Hulk; his favorite comic character. He flinches at a crumpled wad of paper that whizzes past his head, followed by a cackling of laughter. He ignores the teasing from the jokesters and returns to his doodling, which continues, even after the teacher enters the room and turns everyone else’s attention to Math.

The bell rings signaling the end of class, and instantly the door is jammed with teenagers trying to get out of the room. Last in line, Daniel follows the group. One of his common harassers casually slaps Daniel’s books and binders from his hands, sending them cascading across the hallway floor. Frowning, Daniel kneels to pick up his things. The motion is routine, a reflex.

Later, at recess, I join some friends in the school yard for a game of soccer. Mimi plays on the other team and behaves himself, until he sees Daniel standing on the sidelines staring out into space. I knew there would be trouble when Mimi walked off the field and bee-lined for Daniel. The rest of the team and I run over, arriving in time to hear Mimi go into his usual routine.

‘Daniel, are you lost?’ asks Mimi circling him.

‘No, I’m not lost.’

‘No? Well, a gorilla escaped from the zoo this morning, and they’re all looking for you,’ says Mimi laughing and jumping around and gesturing with his arms like a monkey.

Daniel gives a nervous smile and tries to ignore Mimi.

‘Hey, King Kong, I’m talking to you. You look like you’ve eaten one too many bananas, ape man,’ says Mimi, as he pokes at Daniel’s mid-section.

‘No,’ answers Daniel trying unsuccessfully to avoid Mimi’s jabs.

‘Wait, what’s that on your face? Is that banana?’ asks Mimi.

‘Banana? Where?’ asks a confused Daniel confused.

‘Right there,’ answers Mimi, slapping Daniel on the cheek. And there and there,’ he repeats slapping him repeatedly. Daniel’s glasses fly off his face and one lens shatters as they hit the ground.

Daniel’s face turns red, his eyes tear up and his bottom lip quivers.

‘Aw, what? Are you going to cry now, King Kong? I thought you were a big ape, but you’re nothing but a baby monkey.’

‘Mimi. Leave him alone,’ I say.

‘Stay out of this, Belcourt. I’m just having some fun with Curious George.’

Sobbing, Daniel bends to pick up the remnants of his broken glasses. Mimi takes advantage of his vulnerable position and kicks him hard in the behind, sending him tumbling. Slowly, he gets to his knees and reaches for his glasses only to watch Mimi step down and crush them under his foot.

I can see the anger gathering in Daniel’s swollen eyes. He climbs to his feet and starts to hyperventilate as he walks slowly and steadily towards Mimi.

‘Holy cow. Now you’ve done it,’ I say to Mimi.

‘What? Are you going to cry, baby monkey? Are you going to call for mommy monkey to come help you?’

Daniel roars and rushes Mimi. The body slam, completely unexpected, drives Mimi to the ground. Daniel flails, throwing wild punches about Mimi’s head, many of them hitting their mark. Pinned under the big boy’s weight, Mimi yells for help and tries unsuccessfully to squirm his way-out. We stand in shock, watching the onslaught. Some of the onlookers begin to urge Daniel on.

The assault seems to go on forever. Finally a teacher arrived to break it up. Mimi’s face is a swollen balloon. Turns out he has suffered a broken nose and two black eyes, not to mention various bruises. He goes home for the rest of the afternoon and doesn’t return to school for a couple of days; recovering from his injuries and a broken ego, I would suspect. Daniel spends the rest of the school day in the nurse’s office trying to calm down.


Mimi’s physical and mental abuse of Daniel, which had been going on for some time, came to an abrupt end with that thrashing. I guess the malicious crushing of his glasses was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Daniel, the last in a long series of abuses he endured from many sources. I don’t condone violence, but I cannot say Daniel’s actions were unjustified. A person can turn the other cheek only so often; sometimes fighting back is the only answer to violence. And although Mimi was the only physical target of Daniel’s beating that day, I suspect that Daniel was mentally punching his abusive mother and every other bully who hit, teased or insulted him over the years.

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Why are some people able to connect with others on a much deeper level than the rest of us? Are they gifted? More intuitive? Perhaps we are all capable of such sensitivity, but only a few are equipped psychologically to bear the responsibility that comes with it.

Stacey helps relieve people of their aches and pains. And she loves it! Massage therapists share a certain trustworthy anonymity with hairdressers and bartenders. Within a few sessions, her clients are telling her their deepest secrets, their personal issues, and all their juicy gossip. She enjoys her relationship with most of her clients, usually contributing only enough to the conversations to suggest interest and keep the client relaxed. They bare their souls and leave the sessions feeling better in body and spirit. But lately she has to bite her tongue with one particularly nasty customer. Steve is a big, vulgar, middle-aged business man who can’t resist telling Stacey about all his sleazy encounters with prostitutes when traveling on business. He takes pride in how well he keeps his womanizing a secret from his wife. This evening, the explicit descriptions of his latest sexual exploits are too much for Stacey. Disgusted, she ends the massage with no intentions of ever allowing Steve back into her clinic.

Feeling especially tense and, yes, dirty after she gets rid of the smug braggart, Stacey decides to slip into the yoga class offered every evening upstairs from her clinic. Yoga is a phenomenal aid to relaxation and coping with the stress. And right now, this idiot has filled her with stress. Already extremely in tune with her body, she quickly catches on to the philosophy and techniques of the discipline. She is pleasantly surprised how calm, centered she feels going home later.

In short order, evening yoga sessions become an integral part of her routine several days a week. Soon she is reading about the history and philosophy of the ancient discipline. She comes across several references to different forms of meditation, yoga of the mind, as one writer called it. Practitioners claim that the benefits of meditation are evident in all aspects of their lives: greater productivity at work; increased personal satisfaction, heightened sense of identity; even a more rewarding sex life. She contemplates enrolling in one of the meditation classes, but her readings emphasize personal goals and achievements, so she decides to do it on her own. Soon she is delving into advanced techniques. She feels herself changing. She is less stressed, more satisfied with life; she sees the world and her role in it more clearly, and she is more content than she’s been in years.

One evening, an advance meditation exercise takes deeper into herself than ever before, to a realm unfamiliar to her. So unprepared for the strangeness of the experience that she is rendered temporarily unconscious. When she awakes, her body tells her she has been out for a while, forty-five minutes by the clock, although she has no sense of the passage of time. She is several feet from the mat she sits on to meditate, the coffee table and the love seat are out of position, and the lamp that was on the end table lies broken on the floor. She has several bruises on her shins and right arm, evidently from violent contact with furniture. Her hair and sweatshirt are wet and matted with a white frothy substance.

Afraid that she may have had a seizure, she sees her doctor for a medical check-up. Everything seems fine. She takes the week off work at the doctor’s request, but by Saturday she is antsy and accepts an appointment with one of her regular patients. Sylvia requires regular massage to control her migraines. She is in a terrible state because Stacie was unavailable for her usual scheduled Wednesday appointment. Midway through the treatment, Stacey senses something odd happening. As she massages Sylvia, her fingers begin to tingle and a cool sensation climbs her arms, crosses her shoulders, and runs up her neck and into her head. She is momentarily lightheaded, but succeeds in shaking it off. Although she is a little preoccupied, waiting for other strange sensations in her hands, the rest of the massage proceeds without incident.

The day’s strangeness isn’t over yet. Stacey’s sleep tonight is interrupted by a terrible nightmare. She is being abused and beaten by an angry man, her husband in the dream. The man punches her in the face, and just as her head hits the kitchen counter, she awakens in her bed. Sleep is elusive the rest of the night.

Sunday is spent pacing and wondering, ‘What the hell is going on?’ Monday afternoon, Stacey is massaging another regular, Diane, when the strange cool feeling comes back. But this time, the sensation starts in her forehead and travels down her neck, over her shoulders, and down her arms to her fingertips. Again she feels disoriented, lightheaded, but quickly recovers. As the previous time, nothing untoward occurs the rest of the day. But the next day…

Diane calls Stacey to report having intense headaches since the session yesterday, headaches unlike anything she has ever experienced. Could the massage have caused such headaches? Stacey admits the possibility, but stresses that such occurrences are rare. She recommends that Diane drink plenty of water to flush from the body the toxins released during massage that can cause flu-like symptoms, including headaches. A few days later, Diane isn’t feeling any better and plans to see her doctor.

The next day, Sylvia returns for her Wednesday massage in extremely high spirits. She has never felt better. She hasn’t had a migraine since Saturday, not even a hint of a headache. Being pain-free, she feels like a new person. Overwhelmed by the possibility that her life might be changing, she tears up and hugs her therapist.

After Sylvia has gone, Stacey sits quietly staring at the wall, trying to make sense of the events of the last few days. Time passes unnoticed; by the time she comes back to the here and now, she is late for her evening yoga class. Afterwards, Stacey apologizes to the instructor for disrupting the class by her late entry and asks him if he has time to stay. She needs some advice. When they are alone, she tells the instructor about her experience meditating, the strange nightmare and what happened with Sylvia and Diane. She has come to the conclusion that she absorbed the migraine symptoms from Sylvia and transferred them to Diane. Is it possible, she asks, that something happened to her during her meditation experience that could have caused this new ability.

The instructor points out that her hypothesis is far from proven, but he will accept the premise for the time being. He explains that the brain is a powerful, but mysterious organ. Brain activity can be measured in all areas of the brain, but all the functions of the human body can be mapped to a small portion of the brain. The rest is active, but we have no idea what it is doing. Many scientists have postulated that some of these areas of the brain might harbor metaphysical abilities that we have not yet discovered how to use, or perhaps have forgotten how to use. It is entirely possible that, rough meditation, she may have opened a corner of her mind to which the rest of us are denied access. Perhaps this newly opened chamber has given her the ability to collect memories, emotions and physical sensations from one person through her hands, then transfer them to another. The real problem is its apparent randomness at the moment. Stacey must learn to control the absorption/transfer process. If she doesn’t, the consequences could be disastrous.

The next few days Stacey experiments. She tries different amounts of pressure, using more palm and less finger pressure, then vice versa. She works first quickly, then more slowly. She evaluates the effect of several types of lotions and different types of hand motions. She discovers that if she quickly lifts her hands off the clients when her fingers begin to tingle, the sensation dissipates. She is relieved that she can control the absorption with such a simple motion. She fine-tunes the skill by transferring minor sensations from one client to another, and back during subsequent sessions. Over a week or so, she is becoming pretty adept.

Steve calls on a Friday morning. He needs a massage badly because he twisted a muscle while entertaining a female friend at a Vegas convention, if she got his drift. Stacey can almost hear the *wink wink* over the phone. Her first impulse is to claim she is fully booked, to hang up on the freak. But a perverse but satisfying idea crosses her mind. She schedules Steve for 4:00 p.m., then makes a call.

Diane arrives to the clinic at 3:00, as scheduled. She thanks Stacey for offering to help her with her migraines. They come every couple of hours, and despite medication prescribed by her family physician, they are unbearable. She is desperate; she can’t go on living with such pain. Stacey reassures her that the migraine will be a thing of the past after this session. She uses some of her yoga techniques to help her relax. Within a minute or two of beginning the massage, Stacey’s fingers begin to tingle. She smiles and welcomes the cool streak running up her arm.

An hour later, Steve swaggers into the clinic. Stacey invites him in with a smile and a promise of something special today.

‘Oh yeah! Does it involve a happy ending?’ asks Steve, suggestively.

‘I guess you could call it that,’ answers Stacey, smiling.

Submission by RJ Belcourt via https://thewritersnetworkng.wordpress.com/make-a-submission/

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