Holiday Festivities
Previous Next Random Photo
Holiday Festivities • Posted: May 27, 2018 19:10:43Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

Memorial Day weekend is big in the US. It celebrates the bravery and sacrifices of our armed forces against those who would harm us, and in support of those who need our help. They are our everyday heroes, our strength, our constants, the emblem of all we aspire to be, for ourselves, for the entire world. On Memorial Day, we pay homage, in parades, with flags, during picnics, at the beach, at backyard cookouts, and church gatherings. In a very real sense, we celebrate all of us and the good safe life we all strive for.

But not everyone rallies to the cause, not even all veterans. Just two days ago, Friday, in Williamsport PA, there was a face I could neither successfully photograph nor forget:

She sat on the stoop at the top of the steps leading up to her front door. Her apartment was the last in a long line of attached single-story row houses, all of dark red brick, with white trim on the overhangs above their front stoops and on the railings leading to their doors. To her right was an alley leading around back of the row for garbage pickup. She didn't have much of a backyard. There was maybe 8 feet of space between the rear gate and the steps that led up from her basement along the back wall of her apartment. She had her garden, such as it was, just to the left of the walkway that led to the gate, behind the garbage can, and along the fence at the edge of the alley. This year, there would be tomatoes, little ones for her salads, and some bigger ones to cook with. She had chosen a cucumber plant and a couple of different squash plants, and the lettuce that she liked, Boston, with little heads just big enough for one or two salads before going to waste. This year, too, there would be flowers, a variety of hibiscus climbing the fence behind, and a row of pansies along the garden’s front edge. Her backyard faced south, so there was always plenty of sun, but seldom too much sun. She watered as needed, and pulled weeds if they began to interfere.

If you asked, she would tell you her name was Mindy. And today, as she sat looking out onto the street she lived on, she looked weary, anxious, irritated, maybe even angry. Her long gray hair hung off her right shoulder halfway down her bare arm. Her lower arms were crossed and resting on her bare knees almost level with the bottom of the buttoned vee in her washed-out summer blouse. A long holiday weekend stretched out before her. Everyone along her street was preparing, mowing, picking up, setting out flags. But she, she dreaded such weekends. They were a nuisance that disrupted her regular schedule and seemed always to be shouting over and over again at her that something was wrong with her, that she too should be out enjoying herself with friends and family.

Well, that wasn't what she wanted. Never did, never would. But still, there it was, year after year, holiday after holiday, harping at her, "You should be out enjoying yourself." It would just never quit. And frustration with it all showed clearly in her face.

She had had a boy friend once, two or three of them, actually, over the years. A couple of them had even lived with her in this very apartment. Tried fitting their crap in with hers and all. Never worked. Never worked at all.

She didn't want kids. She didn't want pets. She didn't like going out together and she didn't like inviting others into their tiny backyard for beer and barbecue. It just wasn't her.

She wasn't even sure she liked sex. Sometimes it was nice. Other times, it was an imposition, an imposition where all of a sudden she found she wasn't in control of her life or even of her own body, anymore. Some stranger was trying to take over. She wasn't up for that at all. And, never would be. No how.

That was how all three of her relationships ended. And, that was why she had no hankering at all to spend holiday weekends with people all trying to tell her how she should be running her life. She'd rather just sit here, on her front stoop, and glare at them all, especially when they smiled, said hi, asked how things were, and invited her to join in the "festivities".

No, thank you, sirs and madams. Such things are not for her. Not now, not ever. Now, if you wouldn’t mind, get.

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017