Reality by Rabia

Reality 

 In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.
Speech is born out of longing,
True description from the real taste.
The one who tastes, knows;
the one who explains, lies.
How can you describe the true form of Something
In whose presence you are blotted out?
And in whose being you still exist?
And who lives as a sign for your journey?

– Rabia  

Vinnie Changes the Rules of the Game

8

Vinnie’s mom checks the time on her iPhone. They’d been playing for fifteen minutes. It seems like fifteen years, she wonders if it will ever end. Vinnie’s dad is on his third cup of coffee. Vinnie is taking one question after the other out of his lunch box and crumpling them into balls and building a fence around Rupert with them. 

Suddenly, he stops crumpling the questions and says, “Ah hah. I found the perfect question. I’ve made a rule change to help you. First, I think I’ll put game recommended for smart people when I get a box for it,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom makes a deep sigh. She says, “What is the rule change, Vinnie?”

Vinnie says, “Since you both have trouble answering an easy question,  I’ve taken out the competition part. You are now partners playing against Rupert and Dexter.”

Vinnie’s mom glances at Vinnie’s dad and says, “We’re playing against a stuffed animal and a beagle?”

“Apparently so, dear,” answers Vinnie’s dad. 

Vinnie’s mom says, “I need a five minute break. It might be good for all of us.”

“I agree with Mom,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Mom?”

“Yes, Vinnie?”

“Will you set your iPhone timer for five minutes. If you both are not ready to play in five minutes, you get penalized and Rupert and Dexter will get your points.”

Dexter slowly got up on all fours and barks thinking he was being called to eat. Rupert sat on the table against the lunch box, his smile never leaving his face.

Vinnie’s mom left the dining room and headed to the bedroom. Vinnie’s dad didn’t bother putting on a coat before he heads out to the deck where the large round circle thermometer read both 140 F or -10 C. Vinnie’s dad prefers reading the Fahrenheit reading because it seems warmer. 

With his parents out of the room, Vinnie uses the time to prep Dexter in the only language Dexter knows, food. Vinnie walks into the kitchen, Dexter trails closely behind. Vinnie opens the pantry door, he finds his dad’s favorite snack, a soy based faux meat jerky beef stick. He takes the largest bag, opens it and turns to Dexter. Dexter immediately sits on his haunches. Dexter knows this is the default position for receiving rewards from adults. 

Vinnie opens the package, breaks a piece of jerky off and says, “Dexter, bark if you know the answer.” 

Dexter is not too bright, but food is an excellent incentive. After five tries, Dexter catches on. 

Vinnie’s mom hollers from the bedroom, “What’s Dexter barking at?”

Vinnie answers, “He’s practicing answering questions. How much time is left on the timer, Mom?”

There is a brief pause. Then Vinnie’s mom answers, “There’s one minute and five seconds.”

“You better get Dad, Mom. Rupert and Dexter are ready to play.”

On time, Vinnie’s mom, Vinnie’s dad, Vinnie, Rupert, and Dexter are in place for the game to continue.

Vinnie’s dad looks at Vinnie’s mom, “Isn’t it a bit early for a glass of wine, Dear?”

“No,” answers Vinnie’s mom.

“Do you mind if I get a beer?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

Ray Bradbury’s Writing Wisdom #14

Who are your friends? Do they believe in you? Or did they stunt your growth with ridicule and disbelief? If the latter, you haven’t any friends. Go find some. ~ Ray Bradbury

Today’s Reflection ~ Home

“I don’t care if we have our house, or a cliff ledge, or a cardboard box. Home is wherever we all are, together,”  James Patterson

We Are All Wounded

M became an indispensable guide during the height of my grieving. At one point, where I was wallowing in self pity, she challenged me to make peace with the past. I reacted predictably and spoke of my wounds. I forgot, for a moment, M also suffered a similar loss. Here is an excerpt from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:

“We are all wounded, Ray. Wounds heal and leave scars. We all carry scars. Our scars are an important part of our story. Each scar is sacred. Each of us purchased our scars at great cost. You’re transforming your raw wounds into holy scars. In time, each scar will be a reminder of Babe’s death and the grieving you endured. More importantly, each scar will become the symbol of choosing to live. The symbols are a part of the story, but not the whole story. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again. Available in paperback and ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Excerpt From

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again

Raymond Calabrese

This material is copyright protected

Ray Bradbury’s Writing Wisdom #13

Do not, for money, turn away from all the stuff you have collected in a lifetime. Do not, for the vanity of intellectual publications, turn away from what you are, the material within you, which makes you individual, and therefore indispensable to others. ~ Ray Bradbury

Vinnie Helps His Mom Out

7

Vinnie sticks Rupert’s hand into his lunch box. He moves Rupert’s hand around, first this way and then that way. “Pick out an easy one for Mom, Rupert. She’s in last place. I always thought boys are smarter than girls.”

Vinnie’s mom puts two fingers to her lips and lets go with a shrill whistle, “Hold on, Buster. Boys are not smarter than girls.”

“No need to get upset, Mom. I’m trying to help you out,” says Vinnie.

“I don’t want an easy question. I want the hardest question you have in the lunch box. I’ll prove girls are just as smart as boys.”

“That’s the spirit, Mom. Already, my game is more exciting than Clue, don’tcha think?” asked Vinnie.

“Vinnie’s dad glances at Vinnie’s mom, “Vinnie’s makes a point. Vinnie, I have a question about the game.”

“Sure, Dad. If I can’t answer it, either Rupert or Dexter can answer it. They helped me with the questions,” says Vinnie.

“When does the game end?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“End? It doesn’t ever end. That’s what makes my game great, Dad. It never ends so there is no official loser. Problem is there is no official winner. Rupert is still working on the last part.”

Vinnie’s mom interrupts, “Vinnie, this doesn’t make sense. A game has to end. All games have winners and losers. Let’s play to ten points. The first person to get ten points is the winner. I think we can all agree to that.”

Vinnie shakes his head, “Mom, you’re thinking like an adult. You have to start thinking like a kid. If kids ruled the world we wouldn’t have wars or bad stuff going on. All that stuff comes from adults.”

“That’s pretty good, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Quit taking Vincent’s side,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“I wasn’t taking Vinnie’s side. You have to admit he’s got a point, Dear,” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s mom’s face turns a tad red, she turns to face Vinnie’s dad. She says, “I’ll grant you, Vinnie has a point. But who has been in charge? It’s boys who grew up to be men. I’d like to see woman rule the world for a change.”

Vinnie becomes bored with the conversation and slips away from the table and heads to the refrigerator. While he is away, Rupert keeps an eye on the players. Dexter follows Vinnie to the refrigerator. Vinnie opens the refrigerator door and stands in front of the open refrigerator staring at all the choices. There’s nothing he sees that he likes. If Dexter were taking a multiple choice test, he’d circle all the above. Vinnie removes a plate with two pieces of left over grilled chicken breast and tips the plate letting the chicken drop on the floor. He puts the empty plate back in the refrigerator. Closes the door and heads back to the table. Dexter stays behind eating his gourmet snack. 

Vinnie climbs into his chair, “Where were we when the game got interrupted?”

Vinnie’s dad is happy to get out of a conservation where he was losing ground faster than a bob sled going downhill. “Uh, I’ll think about what you said, Dear. You make a good point. Vinnie, I asked you how we would know when the game ends.”

“Right, Dad. I told you it never ends. You just had a memory fail, Dad. Never mind, I’ll pick a hard question for Mom. If it’s too hard, Mom, I’ll put it back and keep pulling one out until you think you can answer it,” says Vinnie giving his mom his best helpful look. 

Vinnie’s mom rolls her eyes and watches Vinnie stick his hand in his lunch box and squirrel it around. Vinnie pulls out a folded piece of paper. He carefully unfolds it and shows it to Rupert, “Do you think this is a good question for Mom, Rupert?”

Vinnie shakes Rupert so Rupert’s head moves. Vinnie’s mom silently prays, “Lord, we’d try for another child, but what if she was a he and he was a Vinnie clone? It is too much for any human to bear.”