Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Short Story for Summer's End

The Perfect Summer Day, A Long Time Ago
Written by Elisabeth Zguta

It was an impulsive thing to do.  I was just hanging around with nothing going on.  It was warm for morning, so a hot summer day was a promise.  Then the phone rang.  It was a call from an unexpected  person.  We had a mutual friend who suggested that we meet.  “Yes a trip to the lake house is perfect today.”

We drove through the country roads unsure of ourselves.  I fiddled with my hair and he tried to keep his eyes peered straight ahead on the road.  I barely knew this person, but for some reason I felt as if I did know him somehow.  I just didn’t know his history.  We talked.  The more we said the more we had to say.  The conversion went from clumsy to familiar.  Finally a smile crossed his face.  I didn’t expect it to move me quite the way it did…it was shining somehow.  His blue eyes started to smile too.  That was the difference; the clouds were finally cast away from his eyes.  They had been covering his true self from my prying vision.

The lake house was small and cozy.  We sat in wooden chairs on the porch, which overlooks the pond.  We watched the birds as they crossed the sky above the reflective glass surface of the lake.  It was mesmerizing.  His older sister was there too.  She was friendly and didn’t ask too many questions, but I could see she gave me sideways glances with some kind of meaning behind the stare.  I didn’t know his history yet, so the look went right over my head.  We grabbed a beer after his sister stopped fussing.  The cool draft from the bottle helped ease what was left of our edge.  We laughed some more.  Now as I reflect on that day, that is what I remember the most – the laughing.  It felt so good to be free and just let go of all the tension, to just laugh.

It was getting hot as the afternoon sun filled the sky with bright beams of heated light.  We decided to swim and cool off.  That was a high point in the day for me because I love to swim.  So we walked out into the lake side by side.  On our toes we slowly let the cold water shock our outside skin until we were numbed.  Finally the tingles completed their purpose and I was able to appreciate the complete coolness the lake offered.  I swam out a little ways and back again.  He stood there watching with a faraway look in his stare.  I felt compelled to move forward, to see why he had gone somewhere else in his thoughts.  "Wasn’t the here and now good enough for him?" I thought.
As I moved in closer, he came back from the closet in his mind.  His smile found its way back again and reached his eyes.  “Are you happy?”  I ask innocently.  “Yes” he said simply.  Then he swam out and back to me.  We gabbed about the swimming, the water temperature, the sunshine, and probably many other simple unnecessary things. 

Then shock as he reached out to me.  I thought he might kiss me.  Instead he grabbed me, picked me up into the air and threw me into the water.  Dunked!  I was dunked!

When I came up for air all I could do was laugh.  I laughed so loud all the woods were alive.  I tried to retaliate.  Again he dunked me!  I tried again, and this time he let me dunk him.  I know this because he told me he let me.  Isn’t that what they all say?  Looking back he probably did let me.  I was a small girl and not very strong.  We had fun the rest of the afternoon.  Splashing and laughing.

I didn’t want the day to end, but of course it did.  After so much laughter and fun we headed for home.  I felt so close to him.  We spoke about our mutual friends and things that happened to us.  He told me of a time he was sitting on a swing in a schoolyard.  As he sat brooding, BB King’s car stopped.  They needed directions.  The great man sitting in the back seat noticed he was glum.  He left his comfortable seat and walked over to him, the lonely boy.  BB gave him some advice before he headed to his show. 

Sharing that memory with me seemed to make him smile, though his thoughts were distant.  It was a fond memory for him, but it made me wonder.  Then I asked.  “Why were you so sad when BB King, the king of soul, noticed?”

Then I knew in my heart he did trust me, because he told me his story, his history.  He had lost someone very close.  She was his first love, the one he considered his soul mate.  He was mourning her and dwelling on his loss that day.  He was contemplating suicide.  When BB drove up and said his kind words it gave him pause.  Those words and his reaching out to him, made him realize he needed to stay connected to life.  To this day he still has been searching for a way to feel alive and find happiness again.  Then he looked at me and said “Thank you for being happy with me today.” 
I remember that day of laughing, only because I was able to share it with him, a true friend.

I hope eveyone has lots of happy memories from this summer.  Enjoy these songs and have a great new school year all you students and parents.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Short Story - "Chances"

CHANCES written by Elisabeth Zguta  
Michael is returning to his homeland after years of making his way in the world.  He stands on top of a hill overlooking an old village and tries to remember the landscape.  Flooding his mind are images of himself struggling when he was a young boy.  The aches he felt in his muscles from this daily work in the hot sun, as he crushed the wheat for the richest man in town.  He was the man who owned everything.  The man who thought he owned everyone too.  Michael knew in his heart that no one owned him.  He had dreams of a better day. 

When his chance came to leave this unyielding place, he was off.  He flew like a kite through the sky, bouncing in the wind.  Michael went from job to job, searching and working his way up in the world.  He knew his responsibilities to his family.  He had his Mother and sister to support.  He always looked forward, each day another chance for a better life for them all. 

Now years later, he is here in the old village again.  He walks down the hill to town, kicking the sand with his foot, letting the sand fall where it will.  Life was still holding on to old ways here among the old adobe buildings.  There were children in the streets playing, laughing and happy.  He is comforted to know they are allowed to be young now.  Life can be hard, and Michael is here to pay back.  He plans to give because he has been so blessed in his own life.
He notices a woman with two young children, reminding himself of years ago when he was walking these streets with his Mother and sister.  He stops the woman, asks a few questions about the town, and how people are doing.  She has hope for a better future and works hard for her family to survive.  He is impressed with her determination and integrity.  He hands her some money, and when she protests, he explains it is his wish.  With many thanks she leaves with gratitude.

He spots an old man in a ditch, begging.  Michael wonders why he is there, and why no one is helping this poor man.  He asks the old man his name.  He replies his name is Ramone.  It is a name Michael will never forget.  Ramone is the name of the man who had worked him to the bone.  Ramone is the man who exploited him and the others in the town.  Michael asks him how the richest man in town is now in the ditch. 
The old man cries to please help him.  He lost everything because he was young and foolish.  Michael is not moved by his admission.  This man had the chance of a lifetime, and instead spent a lifetime not giving anyone else a chance.  Michael walked away.  He gave Ramone no judgment or money, but instead ignored his strife the same way the old man had ignored others. 

We all have choices to empower people to make a better world and future.  A small or large act of kindness can never go wrong. 

Teach the Children - Crosby & Stills

Please click the link above and enjoy one of the best songs of all times.

An idea can be dangerous. 

Just like Dante inspired many good and evil deeds from his revolutionary thoughts, so too you from mine?  Do you believe in destiny?  I hold there is no great design.

Should we wander our way through the arbitrarily chosen pathways, or follow a more reverent plan underscored with everything we do and touch?  Will our true purpose someday be achieved, despite our own variances we try to blaze? 

I believe we have a will, and given a chance to deter the destiny, that in itself shows we are not doomed to a master plan.  There is no map to follow.  We are all capable to make a change and affect others.  Now in these desolate times, when food sources are scarce, economies are weak, and morality is wavering in the wind, now is our chance to prove the hypothesis. 

Take the challenge, use your preeminent right of will, and use your best resources to make a stand.  Choose a life that is exemplary to your own ideals.  Let the world see your vision of hope.  Share your wisdom with others in the attempt to raise us all to a more perfect place. 

In this place I speak of there is no vanity, no ego.  In this world there is free will and empowerment.  This is what we should strive.  There is no such illusion of equality, because that would mean we are all the same, when clearly your vision is unique from others.  So no equality, but yes to empowerment, to bring everyone up to the best they can be with their resources.  To this I strive and I hope others will join the cause.

Be unique.  Be yourself and let others around you be themselves.  Only in individualism is there truly freedom.  Freedom is the only way to enlightenment.  Dare to empower others, so we can all be uplifted to our best.  Free yourself from the illusion we all need to follow destiny.  Instead make your way.  Your own conscience is your guide.

Any thoughts?