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They lived just down the road in a tidy, little bungalow painted a soft blue-gray with creamy-white trim. The modest dwelling had an aura of happiness and serenity.  I would see them on warm days puttering together in a garden filled with a riot of bright blossoms complemented by eclectic yard art and musical wind chimes created in the tiny shop set just back of the house from bits and pieces discarded by others.  My mother purchased a whimsical, mosaic ball constructed of shards of tinted glass one autumn from under the multi-colored canopy shading the spot they occupied every Saturday in the local Farmer’s Market – along with a jar of the best huckleberry jam I ever tasted.  I would run into them sometimes in the grocery aisles or notice them gaily singing at Sunday morning’s service.  Their presence was ever accompanied by carefree sounds . . . laughing, whistling, singing, happy chattering.  Always they were together.

It would have been easy to dismiss them as a trio of “crazy, old, cat ladies” sans the multitude of critters. In all honesty, there may have been a cat or two around though nothing defining.  What was most noteworthy were their eyes. All three had sparkling, amazingly youthful eyes of distinctly different colors.  Over time, I came to associate other particulars with each as well.  Boots had eyes of uncommon green and straight, blondish hair with a smattering of silver.  I can’t recall any time I saw her without her signature boots. She wore them everywhere and with everything.  Gypsy’s eyes were brown and soft and inviting.  Need I explain why I tagged her Gypsy?  She would forever put me in mind of the stereotype associated with those nomadic, romantic peoples.  She was not a caricature, but from her flowing skirts to her golden earrings and dark, wavy hair, she had that same flavor. Curly most certainly had once been the quintessential beach girl.  Her eyes the color of a summer sky were underscored with a sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of her nose and framed by the platinum grey curls that could not be contained by clips used in the vain attempt to control the rebellious mop.  They were the embodiment of Bohemian regardless their advancing age.

I often wondered how they came to be the inseparable troupe they were.  It was unlikely they were sisters, though their closeness that often seen in twins.  They even finished one another’s sentences. They shared everything.  It was not unusual for Boots to retrieve the reading glasses from atop her head handing them over to Curly to examine the print on a box or in a hymn book.  Curly, in turn, frequently pulled one accessory or another from her own hair to gather Gypsy’s locks keeping them from interfering with whatever undertaking Gypsy was absorbed with.  Should Boots shiver with cold, straight away one of Gypsy’s scarves would materialize to cloak her.  I don’t believe words were necessary between them.  They were synced on a level sometimes developed by couples married a lifetime.

One winter day I was watching Boots and Gypsy from the street as I meandered past their cottage on my way home from school.  They sat at a desk in the window engrossed with the computer before them.  I was not surprised to see them tapping away at the keyboard switching on some mystic cue back and forth, pointing, pausing to laugh, only to return to the task they were so obviously enjoying.  I was so captivated by the scene, the sound of the mailbox closing startled me.  I found myself staring into a pair of amused, blue eyes.  Embarrassed to have been caught so blatantly peering into the home of another, all I could do was stammer and become intensely interested in the toes of my scruffy tennis shoes.  The resonance of Curly’s supple chuckle brought my eyes back to hers.  What was there to do, but shrug and smile?  The gentle touch of her hand on my arm, as if by some strange conjuring, released me from my anxiety and shame.

“I’m sorry to be a Peeping Tom, ma’am.  It’s just that you and the other ladies . . . well, it’s just that . . . you can’t be sisters.  Why aren’t you with your families,” the words had slipped from my lips before I could filter such an inappropriate inquiry from being born and trailed away with an awkward, “or something?”

Curly then gave me in her sweet, quiet voice words I would learn the truth of throughout the years of my own life. “Well, I suppose, it might seem odd to a girl as young as yourself, my dear, but in your future there will be both cheer and tragedy, glad times and heart breaks.  It’s sad to say, but men will likely come and go.  Your parents will not always be around.  Should you have children, you will raise them and they will leave you to lead lives of their own as will your siblings.  But if you are truly blessed as I have been, you will have those sisters of your soul that will be there with you through it all. They will laugh with you in your joy.  They will support you in your trials. They will encourage you to pursue your dreams. They will cry with you your tears of sorrow. They will be proud of your achievements. They will ground you when you drift from what is reasonable. They will find you should you lose your way. They will hold your confidences and keep your secrets.  They will offer the hand that helps you up when you have fallen.  They will come to know you and you them in ways no one else ever can.  So, at the end of the day, you are never alone.  We three have each other now that the loved ones in our separate lives have passed or moved on.  We are simply doing what we have always done . . . be there for one another when there is no one else.  We are friends!”

I have met some of the most wonderful, caring, understanding and supportive people of my life through this blog.  I never imagined what was here.  When I started this I was totally unaware of the potential to become part of such an amazing community of artists.  Yes, bloggers are artists!  Now it is like a home to me.  Here I rant and rave, cry and laugh, hope and dream, comfort and am soothed in return.  Here I am what I would someday be in the real world . . . just me! 
Update . . . My medical crisis was, in fact as many of you surmised . . . a lack of sensitivity on the part of my healthcare provider.  I will be undergoing an outpatient surgery procedure next week, but I’m strong and healthy.  I’m more resolved with my emotional status than ever before in my life.  That is because of my friends in the electronic world.  For the first time in my life, I KNOW there are people like me.  People that feel like me, think like me, and will be there for me. 
Thank you for your support.  You know who you are.  If you are new here, please see my Blogroll.  There are the links to my cyber neighborhood, the friends that have come to mean so very much to me.  Bless you all for your kindness and friendship.

I am fortunate to have some kind and caring people that I have association with.  Many of them have extraordinary writing talent.  One such sent me an e-mail today and I want to share part of what he wrote . . .

Today’s thought, use as you wish.
God is love,
love is life.
Life is pain,
pain is revelation.
From the days we skinned our knees,
cut our fingers, broke our bones to the days we abused our bodies and broke our hearts, we have endured pain.

Of all the pain we’ve endured, it’s the disappointment in ourselves and the broken hearts we have and barely heal that hurt the most.
It seems our new job is to be the caretakers of our hearts and choices.  Is there any hope?   Yup, I believe there is. 
Without hope, what’s the point?
Revelation is hope,
hope is life.
Friends are unconditional,
true love is “JOY!”
Have a great day … Greg

This was written in thanks to Justice Mercy.  She changed my life with a single word.  She is my sister bookend. 
I sent my impassioned plea into the darkness never believing my cry would be heard.  I thought I was reaching out to him, the one that refuses me, the source of my suffering.  My solace to be garnered simply from the ardent articulation of words painting a picture of my anguish.  The only expectation I had for my heart’s expression to once more be burnt upon the flame of his indifference.  He has never allowed such allure to move him, still this exposition vital to mending my ill-treated heart and recovering my damaged self-worth. 
The hand that touched me back was unforeseen.  The voice that answered not one I could have anticipated.  Never would I have imagined the one that would be entangled by the distress I vented into the cosmos.  Never would I have thought anyone could reveal a course to rescue that which is now lost in me.  Never would I have expected another wounded so much more deeply to have such generosity of spirit to offer succor to me a stranger.  Never would I have predicted such gentle, warm compassion could be offered me for my own healing. 
No matter the mechanism that brought us together.  Together we are now.  It makes no difference that he will deem himself the link that joined us.  The indignity of his maltreatment was only a catalyst.  The real connection of two souls never met bonded through the words of my heart’s pain felt in the shadow of a scar he left on you.  Your first contact tentative, my reply cautious, still I felt your grace and empathy.  You felt my misery and seeking.  We overcame the fear of trusting and found a place to heal the hurts inside. 
We share much more than him.  Our lives ran parallel courses.  That we would somehow become part of one another’s verve was predestined.  There is no other answer . . . you, a piece of his past . . . me, a discarded bit of flotsam in his current voyage . . . we, something new outside his influence.  Now that I know you, I see it was our sameness that drew him to me.  Now that I know you, I can but hope to someday be as worthy and gracious as you.   You looked down the shelf past all the chapters of his life and you found me . . . we, sister bookends. 

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June 2023