The storms of life that we all weather are what define us. Looking at the gloriously deep colors, feeling thunderstruck with epiphany, seeing a brilliant bolt of lightning - these are the feelings I want to share. Nothing is black or white. Everything has shades of gray.
Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness.
Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress.
Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/
Time goes by,
suddenly you’re wise.Another blink of
an eye, the sun is getting high…
In the five years that I’ve known Byron, he lost almost everything in
a house fire, and for over three years he and his daughter had to shuffle
around from home to home while they rebuilt.He had broken his hip twice, but persisted through rehab and still
managed to show up to class anyway.Rain,
sleet, walker or wheelchair couldn’t keep him away.Not bad for a man upwards of 90 years
Byron and I were classmates.In
my head he was a friend of mine, but I hesitate to say that aloud because the
truth is, I wasn’t a very good friend in return.Outside of writing class and our group lunches
after, I didn’t give much of my time to him.
In my second year, I got a little braver with my writing, and decided
to begin work on my memoir project.With
trepidation I wrote about a brief fling I’d had with a 41 year old man when I
was just 19.This class consisted mainly
of seniors whom I was becoming quite attached to.Slowly they’d taken me in as a sort of
surrogate daughter, a feeling I’d been missing for a long time.I wrote about this infatuation during my
Denny’s era when I worked the night shift.I described the staff, and how the cook in the kitchen used to play
Robin Hood and feed us poor workers all sorts of yummy things once the
management went home.As I’d begun to
read the story aloud, however, I realized I’d forgotten to edit it and take out
the sex scene.It wasn’t graphic, but
considering the audience and my extreme shyness, it just didn’t seem
appropriate.I forged ahead, blushing be
damned.When I finished, there was
silence, and I thought Ooops.
Byron leaned his tall, lanky body forward and looked at me with big
hands clasped together.I braced myself,
as he spoke in his gravelly voice.“I
used to own a Denny’s in Southern California.I always wondered where the food was disappearing to.Now I know!”
The ice was broken.
And it thawed completely last year.As class commenced for the new quarter, I knew better than to offer
critiques because I was having a shit day and would end up taking it out on
everyone’s work.Keeping quiet in my
little corner, I felt sad because I could see Byron’s mind deteriorating on the
paper before me.Scattered sentences,
repeated paragraphs, his weakened voice lost track of the words, and all around
the room the silence was heavy because nobody wanted to speak the truth.
Afterwards, as I wandered slowly to the parking lot, a young man
approached me and motioned to the car where he had just settled Byron into his
seat.“Mr. Citron would like to speak to
you.” The aide said politely.I walked
over, trying to muster a smile.
“Hi Byron!”He looked me square
in the eye.
“Why didn’t you comment on my story?”
“Um,” I stammered.“I’m… tired
today, I guess.I didn’t say anything
“But you didn’t say anything about mine.I hope you wrote some things down.I need your help!”It was almost a reprimand, but the thing
about Byron was that his scowls and growls were often hiding a smile.
“Next time, Byron, I promise.”I
sensed he knew the story was a mess, and was calling me out for not saying so.
A month later, several of us were having lunch after class, and I
asked Byron how he was doing.It was a
blustery November day, he was bundled up in his chair at the Chinese
restaurant, his grumpy demeanor topping my usual dourness.
“How ya doing, Byron?”He
thought for several seconds before answering, his square jaw moving slowly back
and forth as he rolled his words around in his head.
“They said I have bone cancer.Shooting me up with all kinds of drugs, different treatments.I don’t know what for.”With a sudden shift, he began to talk about
the weather, and how he could never figure out his damn email.I just sipped my water in silence.
Last week I learned the end was near for Byron.Expected, yes, but sadness engulfed me all
the same.I told my friend Josh who had
waited on us at our last holiday luncheon in December.“Was he the feisty old guy in the
wheelchair?” He laughed.“He was cranky,
but he was alright at the end.He was
Yes, feistyis a word for Byron; at 95 years old he’d
survived his share of life.
I wanted to write a letter to him, but the task before me was
daunting; how to say farewell without saying goodbye?He was a smart cookie, and would know if he
was being written off.So, I pondered,
and in my dilemma I buried my denial.If
I didn’t write the letter, Byron wouldn’t die.He’s a feisty old guy, he’ll hang on, demanding his sugary Cokes and fatty
butter from his caretakers.
I wasn’t strong enough to visit, and truthfully I wanted to remember
him at a more festive time, with his friends.I’ve sat by one deathbed too many in my lifetime already.
My mind kept floating back to that day at the car, Byron chastising
me.I remember being surprised at his
having noticed.For most of my life, it
was always my outspoken ways that went noticed, and rarely with
admiration.It is my silence that goes
unheard, and ignored.Byron had heard my
Everyone comes along in a lifetime for a reason.I needed to be heard when I had nothing to
Byron passed away in his sleep this morning, I hope with peace in his
heart.Another stone laid to rest in my
time for you, time to buy and time to choose. There’s never a wish better than
this when you’ve only got 100 years to live…