His Silent Tears: A Sign of Tenderness

An unconscious Pina Menichelli at the start of...

By Delbert H. Rhodes

 

Five years have passed since the accident and Vera remains comatose. The medical opinion of her doctors is that she would not regain consciousness. The doctors have done all they could, they can do no more; with two exceptions, all doctors suggest terminating life support. Ty loves his wife more than he loves anything else and refuses to give up; he believes that Vera will return to him.

Her loving husband never misses a day. Ty is a banker and quite busy but his wife is never second. Aiding Vera’s recovery, he always brings something to read to her. His favorite is a poetic piece that he wrote for his wife when they were dating.

Whenever reading the poem, the hurting man surrenders to his tears. Ty is never the crybaby type but any man loving his wife, or anyone, must show (at least) a tiny sign of tenderness. Besides, he too enjoys the poem, and it reminds him of the early days, the days when nothing separated Vera and him. They share a wonderful marriage; the couple has great children and even a happy dog. This sickness, this horror would not take away the man’s partner and sweetheart. Ty would never abandon his lovely wife.

Kissing Vera “hello,” the weary man relaxes by her bedside: he begins:

“What’s it Like?”

“Baby, what’s it like; feeling warm yet not to know, you lie there naked on a bed of snow? Roaring hot, the fever burns in your mind. Worry not; passion soars from time to time. Your heart pounds, like sunshine raindrops through the night, and crystal melts in the darkness of the light. As sweet flowers dance in the fibers of your hair, you would love to spread your petals, but you know you should not dare.

What’s it like; gathering tears of snow filled clouds and moonlit dew; a tireless sun at the dusk of daybreak awakens you, to arise ready alert alive greeting the day, taking charge of whom you are or walk away.

What’s it like; (when) the mind screams and the body aches, from all you missed; tearful eyes and lust-filled lips await the kiss. Hungry arms seduce the soul the spirit lives. To be saddened for joy grief-stricken for more of all there is.

Tell me, what’s it like, holding you close in candle lit smiles, caressing the night. To make a choice to choose for now, to know it’s right; (baby), do you know what it’s like?”

Sitting and staring at the words, Ty remains lost in his mind; he wants Vera back, and needs to know what else he might do. This moment: he must support his wife; and then from his heart, Vera’s distraught husband begs God for her return. He refuses to submit, to say goodbye.

Tired, Ty rests his head across his wife’s breasts; his silent tears seducing his sweetheart’s spirit, soon, Ty falls asleep…

Copyright © 1995-2012 Delbert H. Rhodes

Piano Square: The Finest in the World

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By Delbert H. Rhodes

The sky is overcast; specs of sunshine tenderly touch a tapestry of gray clouds. Outside his bedroom windows, the swaying of trees, trill of birds and scamper of squirrels are the welcoming voices of morning. The breath of the winds provides a loving chorus for an orchestral interaction borne by twilight. Seemingly, an invisible Conductor waves his wand through a symphony of trees.

Yes, a beautiful morning it is, and the spring in upstate New York is a most wonderful time. Thomas J. Seacrest lives in an old house; he has lived here for almost eleven years. The building needs a facelift, but he likes the place. The neighbors at home and in the town tend to cling (more) to quiet than to the nuisances of noise. This fact is of great importance. Tom is a solitary man, and the quiet calms him.

Stretching as he glances out the window, Tom smiles ever so slightly. The scenes outside always brighten the man; he adores the trees, and flowers, and the tiny insects, and birds and the wonderful aromas teasing his nose. The air here is clean, and the water flowing from the faucets, and filling the rivers, lakes and ponds is clear.

Tom looks about his bedroom; the room is spacious and comfortable. He is not (really) the furniture type, but has enough furnishing to suit his needs. In the living room, his favorite piece of furniture is the couch; it is solid, and long and the pillows are firm. The man loves stretching his body across it as he relaxes.

In two weeks, Tom celebrates his forty-fifth birthday. Today, he is happy about his job interview. This is a huge opportunity and the man has spent much time researching the company. “Piano Square” is an international company, and has a stellar reputation. The musical instruments sold in the stores are some of the finest in the world.

The materials chosen for constructing the instruments have a high rating of “supreme grade.” The companies supplying the resources, and in keeping with Piano Square’s operational profile, are not purely domestic, but international. The team of builders, the crafters, are highly skilled, and expertly trained. Even company sales people spend countless hours in training; they must meet rigorous standards before acquiring full membership. Tom is confident about his possibilities; he knows music, and he has completely studied this company and its histories. Today, Thomas J. Seacrest seeks the most important job of his career.

Often Tom has seen concerts in the garden, and on television whose orchestral members use instruments crafted by Piano Square. During these occasions, the airways fill his apartment with the purest tones the man has ever heard; the music always brings tears to Tom’s eyes. Having a musical background, Tom sometimes misses the days when he dreamed; and yes, he dreamed of a career in music. For deeply personal reasons, the dream remained in his mind; and though he loves music, today, the man walks a different path. A path that and thankfully keeps him attached to his greatest love.

Stephen Beus performs in the 2006 Gina Bachaue...

Tom is interviewing for a sales position, and though he is qualified for management the lesser position helps to build him, and from the ground up. If things work out, Tom intends to enjoy a long and lasting relationship with Piano Square.

The office building looms in the distance, and it gleams as its silky stone reflects the sunlight. The location for the office building is well-chosen; various companies have offices in this area, and the scene is a commercial dream. Nearby, different types of shops offer customers just about every kind of product. There are food stores, shoe shops, clothing stores, electronics stores; and, yes, even one other music store. Competitors ever stare each other in the face; however, and because of its professionalism and quality, Tom knows Piano Square to be the better place of business.

The elevator doors open to the fourth floor, and Tom looks out and into splendor. The décor pleases him, and he thrills about the prospect of becoming an Employee. A long, and winding hallway leads Tom to the Personnel Office. Thinking of the Interview, the man feels somewhat nervous; but who would not be, and calming his nerves he readies for the challenge. Greeting Tom, a radiantly ravishing young Receptionist escorts him to the Waiting Room.

Glancing at his wristwatch, Tom calculates that forty-five minutes have passed. The walls in the room are beautifully painted; they are light green with white trim. Lovely framed pictures expressing an antique appeal allure the eyes. Landscapes and seascapes pleasantly excite with the charm of an old world craft, and noticeably absent in the art of today. Tom’s favorites are the Spanish Galleons engaging stormy seas under starry skies. His mind places him on the decks of these mighty vessels. He is the brave and swarthy Captain piloting his ships, while fighting the fury of the seas.

On a far wall, two profiles of famous writers seem as though interjecting questions into the scenes. Poised, but posturing, the writers appear to quibble over suitable narratives for the panoramas. Tom fails to remember the name of one writer, but the other is his favorite, “Edgar Allan Poe.” Strangely, Tom feels, there is not one picture of a famous musician.

The lovely photograph of a Cello hangs in a low-lit corner. Delicately cloaking the instrument’s curvature, the light lends (a) sensuous stillness to its frame. The picture is stunning: it appears as a painting. Tom loves the sweet tranquil tones of the Cello, and those of its relative, the Viola. The tones are “mellow,” and they immerse Tom’s mind in worlds of wonder.

Remembering his childhood, Tom thinks of his musical beginnings. Remorsefully, and once more, he feels the pain of lacking a musical career. Yet the zealous achiever’s reading, writing and playing are superb. The horns, strings, percussion and some woodwinds remain as his instruments of choice. Now and then, the man considers composing a piano score, and to achieve such a feat has special feelings for him. One day, to hear his musical score played by any leading orchestra realizes Tom’s long and lost dream. “One day.”

(The receptionist informs Tom that the Executive Vice President, “Mrs. Collington,” is ready for the Interview.)

Walking into the lavish office, Tom encounters a familiar face.

Mrs. Collington smiles while offering her hand to Tom. Returning her smile, he wonders whether Mrs. Collington (Denise) recognizes him; but then, those were many years ago. (Mrs. Collington is Tom’s previous girlfriend from high school.) Naturally, the man does not care to negate an otherwised honest and objective interview. 

Mrs. Collington begins with her overview; however, permitting Tom to respond with questions or comments. She is quite intelligent and obviously has years of company experience. Tom cannot help, but notice how beautiful she is, and after so many years. (Time has been kind to Denise.) Also, and though the man realizes that this is a wonderful opportunity (and he would never do anything to destroy his chances of achieving his goal), Tom begins to feel something.

The man is starting to feel the urges of an old romance. Certainly, the man must contain these feelings, after all, things are different now, and in significant ways Denise and Tom too have changed. Tom composes himself, and subsequently focuses on “Mrs. Collington’s” questions.

One hour later, the Interview ends; and standing, Mrs. Collington and Tom exchange a handshake. (Her hand feels so soft and gentle.) Politely, Tom informs Mrs. Collington that he has enjoyed the interview session, and that he is happy to have met her. He continues, “When should I expect to hear of my results?” First: Mrs. Collington responds, “You should receive information in two weeks.” Next, the gracious woman (with a dilated pupiled smile) returns the gesture, telling Tom that she too enjoyed the session, and that she is (brightly) happy to have met “him.”

Tom walks out. He wonders whether Denise remembered him, but then the important thing, and the most important thing is securing the position. If things were different (Tom admits) the man would have attempted to regain some part of the old relationship; but things are too different, and Denise is married and “this time,” the man fights for his dream.

Still, Tom permits his feelings to embrace him, and he enjoys the lusting as his thoughts entice him. Moreover, and even after so many years and all the changes in the man’s life…yes, still, he loves her.

Two hours later: The telephone of the Executive Vice President rings; Mrs. Collington answers her line. Smiling and then kicking off her high heels: sweetly, Denise says, “Hi….”

Copyright © 2012 Delbert H. Rhodes

 

A Mental Mesh: The Question of Thinking and Understanding

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

By Delbert H. Rhodes

Life is a moment forever adapting and adopting, ever witnessing changes to all it embraces. Within this sphere, the human mind offers its hosts endless situations and circumstances, events demanding considerations and results.

Throughout our lives, we experience networks of thinking, but how many (of us) understand the processes involved, the electrochemical chain connecting the illustrious spans to the bridges of the mind. The system is complex and until time ceases, forever, this mental matrix would hold us in its hands.

Can we (always) understand every sound every thought every (thing)? The provisions of thinking afford us a sense of the world within which we live. Without thinking and understanding as humans, we would be lost in aimless not to mention mindless behavior (s). Join me, and in this discussion, we consider a number of situations, events common to us (all), situations that (could) strike the matches of the mind.

Daily use of automobiles is commonplace, but how common is the knowledge of the engineering, the mechanics? For instance, what actually happens after inserting the key into the ignition switch and then turning it? Or and if you have a newer model, either an electronic key or automatic starter button ignites the engine. Most drivers understand (only) that after completing ignition the engine should start, they engage the gearing, turn the steering wheel, manipulate the gas and brake pedals, direct the vehicle forwards or backwards and then off it goes.

Ok, and this makes my point, a lesser group of people (actually) care (or know) that the mechanical worlds of the engine and other related parts provide the resources to propel the vehicle, allowing drivers to attend daily needs.

In the human worlds, and in my opinion and experience, all events are (seemingly) met with the same type of attentive focus; we either know or not; or care or not.

Encountering situations and circumstances is relative; whether individual or group responses may vary. In a college classroom, the professor offers students food for thought, hoping to encourage active thinking. The students (individually) may have similar or differing points of view; as a group, they may engage in passionate discussion and debate. Left alone the individual may simply choose to daydream in disregard.

Do we understand why birds sing, or why dogs bark, and what is Meow? Why is it that and with some exceptions, only humans speak? According to the “professional thinkers,” many animals have the vocal constructs for speech, yet simply do not. What of the professional thinkers, why are we quick to accept their points of view, or at least lend to them greater credibility? Do degrees and dogmas offer better pathways to truth; and is the pathway any less encumbered when brightened by PhD, MD, or DDS? We are taught to think…Yes.

Please and here is a peek at my ignorance, tell me, does being “well educated” assert that the person is (was) “educated well”? Does he or she (actually) have acute knowledgeable understanding, and able to verbally or in writing, and or physically demonstrate and to what degree, of the skills regarding the area of study? (Huh!) EXACTLY.

Should I seek the doctor or dentist with many degrees or one whom has credibility? That is, one who has demonstrated the competencies in medicine or dentistry? Ok, most of us believe, and feel assured, that whenever our professionals have many degrees in their representative areas of study and or practice (hum-“Practice”?) they are “good doctors,” “esteemed professionals,” they are proficient. Therefore, we search for the best of the lot. Still, considering the possibilities, WELL EDUCATED may not mean EDUCATED WELL.

Speaking of education, I fail to understand why, and mind you, I am not a grammarian, some people say, “I had came” when the correct statement would be “I had come”; or, why others would say, “I had did” instead of and correctly, “I had done.” Surely many of us have friends and acquaintances who speak in this manner. Truly, many of us graduate from high schools and colleges, and have been “well educated,” yet speak poorly.

This is not true only of non-professionals, but of many in the mainstream media, and others in the commercial arenas. Occasionally, and while watching televised news, I noticed that the reporters, and on camera, continually misused the English (as we know it) language.

Years ago while listening to a talk radio station and a favorite program of mine, the host said, “I had did” and then I wanted to run screaming into the woods. Again, I am no perfect speaker, but incorrect is incorrect. We (all) should endeavor to speak correctly, but the problem is how could we if we fail to recognize the need. That said poor speech during company meetings serves no one, denigrating both the company and the speaker.

In commercial advertising, this fact also is true. Recently while browsing the web site of a professional photographer, throughout the site I noted poor grammar. Describing certain (lovely) photographs of her clients, the photographer used these phrases, “I been”; “I seen”; “The couple …were”; seriously, and are you kidding! Honestly, why would anyone choose to pay for poor representations?

Regrettably, many of us graduate from high schools and colleges without a proper education. Some of us receive a poor education because of academic professionals who are disinterested or lazy and fall short of proper instruction. This fact may be true, but students and parents share the blame. As students, we have a responsibility to attend schools and colleges with the intention to learn. We too must toe the line, we must accept the responsibility and without excuses.

Students, failing to meet educational requirements are sometimes suffering from special circumstances. Dyslexia, problems at home and other critical and unobserved emotional difficulties represent significant elements responsible for how students perform academically. Sometimes, the reasons are (simply) disinterest and laziness. Parents have a greater responsibility to be vigilant of (their) children and in every arena of learning. Actively preparing children for lives of responsibility is the role of parents. Parents failing in this quest have failed their children.

In the world of misunderstanding and failure to “get it,” lives the aimless and carefree. Here I offer the ridiculous.

Why are (some) women seemingly careless with their children? (Men, get off your high horse, you are next in line.) In example, in a parking lot a woman, with a young child in her arms, walks over to a couple, the couple has a dog. The woman with the child lowers the child to the ground in order that the child can play with the dog. The child is standing less than two feet behind the rear bumper of a parked car. The driver (of the parked car) begins to back the car out of the parking space.

Mommy, busy playing with the dog, notices neither the reverse lights (the reverse lights are on), nor the vehicle’s movement. Stepping away from my location, I (placing my hand into the air and in the “stop” position) alert the driver, he immediately stops the vehicle-apparently, the driver could not see the child; simultaneously I advise mommy of the danger. She (now) secures her child.

HELLO! It is a PARKING LOT and NOT a PLAYPEN.

Ok guys, your turn: Why is it that (some) men tend to enjoy reading a newspaper (or electronic notebooks or whatever) while driving on busy roadways or even bridges? COME ON! STUPID is STUPID!

In either case, and as adults, we have had enough time to realize that the world around us deserves our immediate attention to details.

Mommy, whenever out with young children they must (always) be secure and safe from potential harm. Men, you may believe that you are without idiotic behaviors, if so, then the belief is short-lived.

Folks: It takes just “one time,” and entire lives change forever. Yes, we (all) equally share (in some way) the title of stupid, and many of us continue, and no matter the known dangers, to do things that place others and us, and including innocent children, at risk of injury and or death. None of us is exempt from accidents, and daily, all of us (even minimally) are guilty of “active stupidity.” Therefore, be thoughtful…be CAREFUL!

The truth is and in my opinion, we can never think of or understand everything; we therefore, operate in (a) blind acceptance and throughout our lifetime. Daily we encounter things situations circumstances even tragedies that simply make little sense; these events and even after great speculation (sometimes) end in the bottom drawer, the world of the lost and the unexplained; the world of the unknown and the unwanted.

Summation: (remember I am not a scientist).

Thinking and understanding, are electrochemical inducements of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Therefore, would it be correct to say, that these are “intangibles”? In other words, when and how do we actually realize thinking? How do we “sense” it? Can it be touched, can we “feel” it? Is the mystery of thinking hidden somewhere in the brain and spinal cord? Moreover, if it cannot be touched, if we cannot feel it, then it has no surface or texture; and what of surfaces and textures, are the interpretations of these (also) not inducements of the brain (the CNS)?

Intangible?: according to “The American Heritage dictionary,” Fourth Edition copyright (c) 2001 Houghton Mifflin, p. 444, 1. Incapable of being perceived by the senses; lacking physical substance, 2. Incapable of being realized or defined.

Additionally and regarding perception, what is it? Does it truly exist, or are we (humans) automatons (“blank slates”) manipulated and controlled in accordance to some preconceived master plan of the professional thinkers. Further, can something without physical substance and deemed incapable of realization be also described as “unreal”?

Contemplating the question of thinking and understanding, momentary lifetimes evolve attempting to make sense of it all; a host of well-educated professionals is well paid, to guide our thinking, to interpret and define, to help us understand. Sometimes, we need only to seek the thinking and understanding of children, for and sometimes, in their innocence we find truth.

Thinking understanding and truth: perhaps ‘one day’ we would know; maybe ‘one day’ we would “understand.”

I wake each morning to the sweet sounds of birdsong; and it matters not whether the experience (the mental mesh) is tangible or intangible, and truly it matters not that I understand; however, and regardless how these sounds may be interpreted or defined, certainly it matters how I feel; and the lovely alluring songs thrill me; they make me happy. In this life, moments are few, but if we are fortunate, the few could be many.

Copyright © 2012 Delbert H. Rhodes

Crissa: In Her Final Moments

English: An HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter lands a...

By Delbert H. Rhodes

 

The battle has ended for her; a woman of forty years, Crissa Johennsen has had a good life. Since childhood, she loves family friends and country. Born to a military family this lady learned early the importance of respect responsibility and dedication. Crissa’s dad, a Bird Colonel, stands tall in the shadows of right and wrong; always ready to answer the call; and to go wherever needed. The Colonel’s men respect and love him, and follow him into hell and back without second thinking the venture. All her life, Crissa has held a great pride for her dad, and her loving mother.

Crissa’s mom teaches English Literature in high school. Mrs. Branson’s students love her and thrill about the books they read and the engaging daily discussions. High School is where Crissa and Jack (Johennsen) met. They dated throughout their college years and married soon after graduation. Both individuals felt the call and quickly joined the military. Naturally, Crissa’s dad feels pride for his daughter.

Home for the Johennsens is California’s lovely west coast, and financially; Jack and Crissa are comfortable, though a military lifestyle offers little in terms of luxury. The Johennsen family supports various charities and volunteers at local shelters, whenever time permits. Crissa and Jack are like-minded and nothing is more important to them than helping family and people and country.

In the Johennsen household: the discussion about children occurs often; each individual is eager to begin a family, but now is not the time. Crissa hopes that a girl would be first to arrive, but no matter, as long as the child is healthy, and happy. Doubtless, the lady jokes, our child would be quite beautiful…especially if she looks like me (ha ha).

Today, and on a hillside far from home, Crissa is dying; while attacking an enemy unit, Crissa sustained serious damage to her chest wall and underlying tissues and organs. The medic did all he could to help her; but little more could be done, other soldiers needed aid.

Trying to think clearly, Crissa understands the costs of war; the Morphine the medic gave her helps, but the pain would soon return.

A medevac chopper is slow on arrival; precious moments pass as Crissa waits to be air lifted out of the strike zone. Time is critical and she is unable to hold on. Lying in the dirt Crissa thinks of the wonderful years she has shared with her husband. She focuses on the many sweet moments; Jack and she has laughed, played, and cried. The irreplaceable timeless moments when staring into each other’s eyes, the sweethearts became lost in the purity of love. Crissa loves her husband more than life; and misses him; she needs him-now.

Realizing that she probably would never see Jack again, Crissa reaches into her breast pocket for a pen and writing pad. (Crissa cries for her husband, she sorrows for the children they would never bring into the world.)

Crissa grows weaker, nevertheless, this woman mobilizes a love greater than the horrors of her circumstances; depending on her training and an impenetrable will, Crissa writes a note. The task is monumental: Crissa suffers with breathing, and soon develops problems with vision, the feeling in her hands is numbing, stabilizing the note pad and writing is extremely difficult.

Making matters worse, the injured woman is losing too much blood. Still, and though death waits, the brave lady holds on.  Crissa is determined to complete the note, her final moments with her beloved Jack. Lifeless, Crissa’s hand slides down the page.

One hour later the medevac crew arrives. While assessing the injured, a crewman notices a piece of paper lying next to Crissa’s body. Respectfully: Crissa’s corpse is placed on the chopper; the crewman takes a moment to read the note: To my husband and great love, Lt. Jack Johennsen, Company Headquarters.

News of Crissa’s death quickly arrives at headquarters (the crewman delivers her note to the Lt.). The words on the page are familiar, they are a quote that Jack often said to Crissa, and actually, the quote is “Allure,” a poem that Jack had written for her.

With tearing eyes, sadly Jack reads the note: “In the shadows of the waiting horizon, a cooling sun silhouettes the sky; and in the moonlight brightly reflecting are puffy whites tip toeing by; vigilant monoliths are the mountains, embracing a valley of rivers and green; and the winds artfully whooshing, are the brush painting a scene. My swelling heart feverishly throbs, the view before me I fondly adore; and beside me the woman I love; and her touch the sweetest allure.” -I love you Jack…

The loss of his sweet and loving wife is more than the brave Lt. can stand. With tears bathing his face, and then clutching the blood stained paper to his chest, the veteran commander collapses to his knees.

Copyright © 2012 Delbert H. Rhodes