Archive for thanks

I Remember You

Posted in life story with tags , , , , on 2010/03/01 by R L Burns

George – Here’s the piece I mentioned as it appeared at

I Remember You

December 24, 2009 by RL Burns · 4 comments


Photo: nattu

There are many things I wish I didn’t remember at all. Being raped at sixteen. A stepfather who beat the hell out of my mother, my sister and me. The hatred I felt towards him. Taking a gun to kill him and nearly killing myself instead. Rejection. The disappointment of every romantic relationship I have ever had. I went from a drunken, mentally, sexually and physically abusive husband to one who was emotionally withdrawn and distant – as usual, from one extreme to another, yes?  My stupidity in returning to that first husband twenty-odd years later, believing things could be different, only to find that nothing had changed after all. The pain of my grandmother’s death. 

Abandonment. The sexual abuse by a relative. The miscarriages. The pain of being mocked and used and abused over and over again. The self-loathing induced by my cowardice, my inability – or was it really unwillingness? – to stand up for myself; for letting these things happen. The physical pain I inflicted on myself by holding so much pain and rage inside. The loss of myself…that’s not really true. I never really knew myself, except for one brief moment in time, and I was too young to appreciate what was happening then. 

Instead I was a chameleon, changing my look, my sound, even my thoughts to match those around me. Afraid to be me – not even sure there WAS a me to be – because then everyone would know I was stupid and ugly. As long as I reflected them in a flattering light, they wouldn’t notice how distorted and warped I was. The pain of living a lie, of living without the one person who made me real, who made life (not mere existence) possible. A lifetime of dissatisfaction. The guilt I feel for whining about any of it. What did my grandmother always say? ”I was sad I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” I hate my weakness and self-pity.

And yet, there are some things I am glad to remember. The smell of my grandmother cooking bacon and eggs in the morning. The ice blue color of her eyes. Her smile. The look on my mother’s face when she was pleased with me. Riding my pony. The first time I read The Secret Garden or The Chronicles of Narnia or even The Picture of Dorian Gray. Riding on the ferry to Portsmouth with my mom, watching the sun rise. Playing with Paul’s “wah-wah” pedal while he played his guitar. 

The matching Easter dresses my aunt and I had for church one year. Sitting on the roof of the barn, staring at the bay, the wind blowing through my hair. Getting to sit in the front seat of my dad’s car when he had one of his girlfriends with us. Playing with Steph, singing, holding hands, laughing on the tire swing, giggling together under the covers at night when we were supposed to be asleep. The first time my son really laughed. The first time I saw in a student’s eyes that s/he knew I cared and that I could be trusted.  When Charley’s book was published and I knew I had done a good thing for him. The first time I saw Cheap Trick and the original Star Wars movie. And you, Michael.

The first time you smiled at me and touched my hand. Your voice.  Dancing with you at a junior high school dance.  Spending the day at the theme park…the night before we went. Walking in the moonlight with you, watching it play along the sharp planes of your face. The first time we kissed – by the lockers, wasn’t it? Hellstarr. Your bedroom. The Kiss records. The joy. The long, long, long talks we had — face-to-face or on the phone. The constant touching. The way you would (and still do!) cock your head to the side and purse your lips – ah, those beautiful lips! The tenth hole green of the golf course. Your mouth. Your jealousy. Your kindness. Your blazing blue – but grey – eyes that make me feel that you see me as a particularly tasty meal you want to devour. Your unconditional love and acceptance of me. 

The incredibly gentle, yet demanding way you make love to me. The way you sigh my name. The way you cry. The passion, pain and happiness I see in your eyes when you look at me. The contentment we find in each other’s presence. Until you, I didn’t know anyone could really love ME. I always felt I was less than nothing, until you found me. For the majority of my life I have felt only useful, not beloved, not pretty, not smart, not good. You are the only one who can make me feel those things. Somehow, you give me feelings of freakish strength and peace and happiness, just by being in my life – even from a distance. 

Belief in you, in what was, has held me together through my darkest, loneliest, most horrifying hours; has forced me not to abandon all hope. Belief in you and what is, and what can be, will get me through now. 

Thank you, Michael, for the most precious gift of yourself. Thank you for teaching me that love doesn’t have to be degrading or painful or ugly; that it truly can be beautiful and breathtaking and glorious. But thank you especially, for giving me back to me. For showing me, for allowing me to be, finally, who I truly am. And for loving me anyway.  Those things I will happily never forget.

Thanks Again, Michael

Posted in Poetry, Ramblings with tags , , on 2010/01/27 by R L Burns

After the scissors thing, I took another pill

I needed to sleep, was hoping to dream…

As my eyes began to close I tried to see you –

You know, the way we used to do,

At 1230 – halfway between your midnight and mine.

In recent months when I have tried

You have turned your back to me, refusing

Me even one glance of the beautiful, crooked smile

That breaks my heart.

This time, though, you faced me full on.

I didn’t recognize the house but I knew the computer.

You smiled at me – hesitantly at first, then brilliantly.

My heart lurched – then I was annoyed.

“Oh, so now you’ll look at me, huh?” I muttered.

You nodded and continued to smile.

“Well, go the fuck away,” I croaked,

And closed my inner eye and drifted off.

At some point, later, you were here

In my room, sitting on the edge of my bed.

Oddly I wasn’t even really surprised,

I just stared at you.

You smoothed my hair back from my eyes

You whispered to me

You tickled my back.

I couldn’t really hear what you said, you spoke so softly.

I heard my name a few times and other than that,

The only other clear words were

Petaowehankeshni – and

Toska ake wacinyanktin ktelo.

Did you mean that last line?

At last I slept.

Thank you.

Car Wrecks, Family and Friends

Posted in life story, Ramblings with tags , , , , , on 2010/01/07 by R L Burns

Yesterday afternoon someone basically ran my mom off the road and she hit a tree.   Her car is totaled but she is not.  I am so grateful.  My stepfather and I took her for spine, etc., x-rays.  She was given some meds and sent home with us.  I spent the night with her last night and most of the day today.  I am so very thankful that she was not more seriously hurt.  We will have the x-ray results on Monday.  A young woman at the doctor’s office was worried about mom because she was in an accident in December and she felt okay so she did not go for any x-rays.  Three days later they x-rayed her and found she had broken her neck…So, we are nervous about the results but are hopeful — and incredibly glad and blessed that she seems to be relatively unscathed.

While at mom’s last night I had a phone message from my oldest friend, Melanie.  She didn’t know about mom’s wreck but said she had some bad news she thought I might want to know that she didn’t want to email or leave in a phone message, so would I please call her in the morning.  I wondered what it could be – she had made it clear it wasn’t about her or her husband or daughter, so…

I called her this morning.  She told me that Tuesday (the day before my mom’s wreck), someone with whom I was once very, very close was killed instantly in a car accident in a busy intersection here in Virginia Beach.  I was stunned – and saddened – and probably even more so given what had just happened with mom. 

Ken S., once, was my very, very good friend.  In high school he was unfailingly kind to me – and for most of junior high school, too, if I am honest. 

At one point in my senior year of high school we dated for a “few minutes”, but he…well, we had a falling out when he asked me – totally out of the blue one day – what I would do if Michael showed up again.  (He knew us back in junior high, you see; lived in Michael’s old neighborhood.)

My resonse was, “Please don’t ask me that question.” 

He insisted.

I answered truthfully.

He never forgave me and went on to do a few really, truly, awful things to pay me back for that admission.  I was sorry and saddened by it, really, because I liked him immensely and he was bossy and funny as junk and we got on really well as great friends.  So…it has been nearly twenty years since I have spoken to him; I saw him once at Melanie’s church about five years ago but walked away without saying a word to him.  I am sorry now I didn’t try and be…forgiving.  I had forgiven him I just didn’t want to talk to him or open that door again due to the things he had done to someone else close to me in his war of revenge on me — which is all irrelevant now, I’m just, I suppose, trying to justify why I did not speak to him.

I have learned over the years that he grew up to be a good man, charitable, kind, generous, still funny as junk — the same Ken I had known as a young girl.  I am glad of that, sorry of his hatred towards me back then.  And very, very, very sorry that he died in such an awful way and at such a young age. 

And somehow, I feel a little guilty at my first thought when Melanie told me:  I am sooo glad my mom is alive!  That didn’t mean that I was glad Ken was dead instead of her, but it did make the continued gift of her life so much clearer than it had been even the moment before.

Thank you – especially Dev, Greg, and Angel – for the wishes and support…Mom continues to mend.

And Ken…rest in peace, my old friend.