At Carpe Diem, we are asked to write a haibun to the haiku written by Kala Ramesh., Taking Flight. The narrative and haiku must not be more thatn 150 words. Here is my narrative.
Her mother told her she was her “baton de veillesse”. Every birthday, her mother repeated the story that she was conceived on a Sunday afternoon. “You were planned. You are special.”
She knew what her mother meant with those innuendos and guilt trips, “after all I did for you.” When she finished college, she had to return home to help her parents support her three younger siblings.
“Is this my calling?” she often asked the Great Spirit. She felt this responsibility getting heavier each year. Once the youngest sibling had fled the nest to marry, she too decided it was time.
One June night, she left in the wee hours of the morning never looking back.
Cher Maman & Papa, Merci de me donner la vie; maintenant je vais la vivre. Votre fille, bien aimée xx
They spent March break at Mont Tremblant, skiing, skating and eating way too much. Her mother and step-father wanted to reward her for working so hard all year. Her marks had gone from C’s to A’s. Annie-Pierre had not skied since her father died of a heart attack on their Christmas vacation at Mont Ste Anne. He had started when she was ten years old, giving her a special marble each Christmas representing places they visited together. She had 5 now but was missing the very last one he gave her that Christmas. When paramedics arrived, she had run out to the ambulance begging to be with her father and she had dropped her last Christmas token he would ever give her.
last travel keepsake crafted with sparkle and glass lost forever
The thunder of the waterfall echoed in the distance. Cher looked up at the sky and noticed dark rain clouds. She would have to hurry home soon if she didn’t want to get drenched but first she was curious. She walked all the way here for an hour from the other side of the village. She heard there was a path towards a secret garden. Her great-grandmother told her about it just before she died. “Cher, go to the garden luv, you must not miss this last chance to meet true joy.” She thought her grandmother was in her moments of dementia when she said that but still…what if?
Cher was near the falls now and the booming sound of tons of water falling was impressive and a bit daunting. Should she continue, she thought to herself peaking in the little opening between the two plum trees…and then she saw…
wild flowers competing for attention bursting in colours
There were mini gardens within the largest most spectacular garden she had ever seen. Daisies, buttercups, marigolds, lilies, sunflowers and so much more. At the centre of the garden was a cherry tree and the fragrance from the blossoms were so tantalizing. There was a section beneath the tree that looked like a velvet emerald carpet it was surreal…too perfect to be grass…and yet it was with tiny clovers interspersed and part of this exquisite verdure. She sat beneath the tree, picking at clover leaves and tasting their sweetness. She lay on her back for a moment admiring the clear blue sky …funny how the clouds disappeared here, she thought. The scented cherry blossoms seemed to have a hypnotic effect on her…she closed her eyes, “Just for a few minutes, I am so tired”…not realizing she was actually sleeping on a bed of poppies. They were so minuscule and not visible to the naked human eye.
soothing relief entranced on a bed of poppies
She was bathing in bubbling hot springs and suddenly soft laughter of what appeared to be children, woke her up from this wonderful dream. She looked around and saw little people the size of her thumb dressed in glitzy costumes of gold, silver and her favourite of all…azure blues. They giggled louder when they saw her raiser an eyebrow. A chipmunk sounding voice shouted, “Come along, let’s set the tea and sweets. The human is awake…quickly now!!”
It took ten little people to push a porcelain floral cup and saucer towards Cher. When she realized the tea was for her, she reached out and picked it up saving them another two “human” feet would have taken another five minutes for them. The tea was sweet like honey and fragrant like cerise noir. She felt like a queen being served by these tiny people. Could they actually be fairies, she thought. She must be dreaming.
honourable guest visiting the Cherry garden Way of Tea
She heard a melody that seemed familiar as she put her cup down. Over by the daisies, on an elevated grassy turf, a beautiful petite woman with a white silk gown sang like an angel. She must be an angel, Cher thought, Oh, my I can’t seem to get out of this dream. Gosh! I don’t want to get out of this dream!
voix mielleuse refrain d’amour et longue vie transpire doucement ~ honey tones refrain of love and long life gently trickle
Closing her eyes, she let that sweet voice wrap her in a spiritual wellness. Each note lightened her heart, made her feel refreshed… reborn.
bathed in pure positive energy born again ~ born again releasing her grip softening chi
*Tetsuya says that holding on to the bow too tightly too long only weakens the bow. I must know when it is time to soften my grip. This garden is one way to be in the moment and float on a bed of poppies…drift away from worries, work. Here I am me, beautiful and perfect in all my imperfections.
Cher left the garden feeling refreshed and revitalized; she reminded herself to come back more often and not wait until the clouds turned dark and heavy…regular visits here would be a mindful choice.
Jonathan sat on the curb and waited for someone to give him enough change to meet his quota so he could finally reach nirvana. The night had been so slow since the snowstorm had started up and “pedestrians were just rushing to get home in their nice dry, cozy homes” he snickered to himself with a bitterness that was not like him.
Nightfall came slowly and the only customers he got were the odd city maintenance men taking a break at MacDonald’s for a hot coffee after plowing the streets of Montreal most of the night. He was shaking and knew he would not be able to tough the night here, so he dragged his shaky twig of a body to an air vent near the Métro Berri…just right to warm up enough and not die of hyperthermia.
Just as the sun was rising over the grey, damp and cold city, he woke up and walked over to rue St-Pierre to stand in line until le Centre du Petit Voyageur, a methadone clinic would open at nine o’clock,
Géraldine rocked in her oak chair looking at the window. Clouds were hiding mountain peaks of Mont Tremblant. She sighed glancing at the photograph on her lap. Papa was in the other room snoring loudly. She found comfort in this sound. It meant she had peace and quiet for a few hours before he would awaken in his unpredictable rages. It spiralled if he’d taken a few swigs of his homemade Caribou. He seemed to take to it more and more these days. He’d heat it over the woodstove.
La maudite poele à bois! He still had not purchased an electric stove. What fool still cooks on such appliances? Bien moi, c’est qui! Her sisters ran off as soon as they could to la grande ville de St-Jérome for Estelle and Marie-Claude met a ski instructor and moved to Montréal. They left her alone to care for Papa. They’d each promised on Maman’s deathbed to take care Papa but only Géraldine kept her promise. “C’est ben trop tard pour moi, à c’heure.” She gave up hoping or caring. She volunteered at Auberge Alys Robi, an old folk’s home and knew that was probably her calling. The staff invited her often to come work for them.
She sighed heavily, at least she had a place to go when Papa was no longer here.
Her rocking chair creaked as she searched for those mountain peaks still hidden in their fog.
Oh dear, she thought. Mother had to arrange this outing, now didn’t she? She looked at her second cousin, Emile Candiac in the photo with her blushing and pretending to be shy. If only they knew she was turning red from rage.
I wish she would devote more of her time making Father happy, instead she finds it is her duty to make me miserable. Well, I’ll hand to her, she has succeeded.
Can you imagine, how embarrassing this will be for me if word gets out at the sanatorium that I was escorted by Emile Candiac! All of my colleagues had refused courtships by him. He’s the laughing stock of our neighbourhood, let alone le Sanatorium Alphone Genest. Now I will be the joke of the town! Me! a second year resident nurse! They will all think I am so pathetic that my mother runs my social life as well as my personal life! Jesus, Mary, Joseph, what next? Will she order me to go to the New Year`s Eve ball with him as well? I must feign illness. I must!!
Mother thinks that at the age of twenty, I will be an old spinster if I am not wed. I don’t want to be tied down like she was so young. Is it my fault she was without a grain of intelligence or logic marrying Father at fifteen years old, a man thirty years her senior! Emile Candia is twenty years older than me and I am not interested in being courted or even considered for marriage with such dunce! An old disgusting one at that!
I’ve been saving from my meagre wages, to travel. Maybe I could go with some of the girls to the States. We could take the train and head out to Newport, Vermont for a weekend. That would be nice. I hear their fabric, especially cotton is of higher quality than in Canada and at reasonable costs.
Now how can I get the image of that disgusting photograph out of my mind?
This was the second drought in three years and Father said he may have to sell the farm. Mother was up in arms since it was her father’s father’s father’s farm when they immigrated from Ireland. The winters here in Canada were cold particularly in St Jacobs and the summers were scorcher. Unlike the cooler summers in Ballybunion. Father would argue with Mother, “But Luv, we have to be reasonable! Your forefathers were wise enough to save their life savings and leave their land before the famine sucked them dry. Now we may just have to make a sage decision as well. Maybe it`s time to just settle with some cattle. There is always money in beef.” Mother was silent but her body clearly stated how upset she was with Father.
Ellie was not waiting any longer for Father`s decisions. She was leaving at the end of summer which wold give her ample time to help her parents move. They knew she had a “pen pal” from Toronto and although they had let her take the bus for a visit a few times, they had no idea of Ellie’s plans to leave St Jacob’s.
Lindsay was actually more than a casual friend; Ellie had fallen in love…fallen hard. She was eighteen, fresh out of high school and ready to explore the world. Lindsay had already signed a lease for an apartment for the two of them and they would both go to George Brown College to study Hospitality and Culinary Arts. She loved baking and Lindsay`s strength was in cooking. They had it all planned. They would work in posh restaurants for five years, save their money and open a B & B north of Toronto in the country. More and more city people were paying an arm and a leg for a weekend getaway outside the city along with fine dining.
She would wait until a week before moving to announce her plans, and avoid any scene she may see from Mother especially; she was pretty sure Father would also be “disappointed with his little princess.” She looked up at the sky and it was almost like a warning of the storm she was moving into. Once her mother and father realized Lindsay was a girl, Ellie was prepared for the worst …a cyclone for sure.
“Come along now, Bonnie, you’re holding us all up.”
Six year old Bonnie was stopping to collect a stone here, a stone there along the way on their family venture along the shores of Ballybunion.
“Stop being such a slow poke! stupid!!!” shouted her teenage brother, Sean. He was already agitated he had to tag along on this “dumb trip” when his girlfriend was back home in Dublin. “But NO!!, Mum had to visit the old homestead” he mimicked his mother’s voice, “’tis where your great-great-great-grand-dad O’Donnell was born and left for Canada during the famine” As if Sean cared about that trip that lasted one hundred years and they all moved back and lived happily ever after in Dublin, he thought. Big effin deal!!
“I’m not stupid! I’m smart, Miss O’Connell said so, so there,” she shouted back sticking out her tongue for good measure.
“Come along, Bonnie, we’re all tired and hungry. And stop picking up all those stones,now, luv. When we get to Monroe’s up ahead, we can stop for the day and eat a nice plate of fish and chips. How does that sound?” Bonnie scrunched up her nose just thinking of the smell she remembered the last time she had fish at Uncle Gerald’s. “They’re not stones, Mum, they’re precious pebbles and each one has a story to tell. Miss Con…” Her mother yanked her by the hand with a grunt and a sigh and Bonnie knew she meant business. She stuffed her pocket with three more pebbles and ran along side her mum and brother.
They saw the cabin near the pier and Sean rushed to Monroe’s to order his meal…he’d had enough being stuck with females for the past forty-eight hours.
They started walking up from the shore, high grass and spots of heather blowing in the wind made a pretty picture for any artist. Suddenly, Bonnie stopped and noticed something in the heather. “Mummy, come quick!” Her mother came by her side and they both approached slowly in case there was an animal hidden in the bush. Mae O’Donnell’s eyes widened and she put her hand to her mouth in shock. “This can’t be! It looks like it but is just can’t be! Jesus, Mary, Joseph…it is!”
Bonnie tugged at her mother’s cardigan, “What, Mummy, what is it.” Tears poured down her mother’s cheeks as she lifted the porcelain doll from the purple heather. “It’s me Gram’s doll. I used to play with it in the attic when I came to visit when I was your age, luv.”