Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Winter Three

 Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev /
Their feet were starting to freeze as they trudged through the deep snow on the frosty cold night.  The three of them had traveled in the freezing weather without sleep for several nights.  Mayi seemed to be the only one the cold was not bothering, but after all he was a polar bear.

Toby, the big grizzly was the oldest of the group.  He kept an eye on, and dispensed the discipline to Joho, the little black bear.  Joho had an over abundance of energy and kept running ahead of the other two mature bears.

The three bears met on the road as each had a purpose, a trip that they knew they must take but none knew why.  Each had a skill and intelligence to survive, which they carried with them.  Mayi was the biggest and helped carry food, he carried winter berries and nuts for the other two to eat. Toby had firewood. He was a practical bear and he knew the winter weather could got cold.  Little Joho was a skilled fisherman and could always catch enough fish to feed them all.

They continued to trudge along.  At sunrise they found empty caves to rest in and huddle together to keep warm in the frigid cold.  At sunset they were off again on their quest, still not knowing where they were going, or why.

Along the way Mayi would gather more nuts and berries.  Toby collected all the dry wood he found in the villages they passed through. Little Joho caught more fish than the trio could possibly eat.  The loads they carried slowed them down somewhat, and Joho’s friskiness got them off the path at times. Still they kept going. 

After weeks of travel, one frightfully cold night, they found the light at a cave in the side of a hill.  The trio moved cautiously toward the opening, for they sensed the cave was occupied.  Toby was the first to peek into the cave. apprehensive of what he may find; but curiosity drove him to look.  Joho was close behind, hiding his face in the warm fur of Toby’s back.  Mayi stood back watching guard, he felt that something was not natural. 

Inside there was a very small fire in the corner of the cave. Toby opened his eyes wide to see in the dull light.  Focusing he could see some forms near the fire.  Moving into the cave a little more he could see the forms were a  man and woman.  Suddenly he heard the cries of newborn baby.  Startled, he realized that in the dim cold cave a family lived.  It seemed to him that they were poor, for the little baby was covered with straw as it lay in the livestock-feeding bin.    The family looked rather cold and hungry.  Yet they seemed to show contentment unlike anything Toby had ever seen on a human face before.

When they reached the family, the father stepped aside and the mother held the baby for them to see.  The bears we astonished as they looked at the beautiful baby boy.  The baby seemed to be too wise to be a newborn babe.   He smiled and nodded, with a look of knowledge, at the three bears. The same radiant glow came from his face, maybe even a little brighter.  The bears felt a warmth surge through their big furry bodies, unlike any they had felt before.  The other two bears slowly crept into the cave, and stopped in astonishment at the sight before them.  The bears thought something seemed curious about this family.  The mother saw the three bears and smiled.  There seemed to be a glow radiating from her beautiful face and the bears felt at ease.  The new mother then nodded to the three and motioned for them to come closer.  They moved slowly into the center of the cave, each still carrying their load. The ‘wreath’ Mayi carried around his big neck was loaded heavy with bright juicy winter berries and huge woody nuts.  The load of wood on Toby’s back was so big and heavy he walked bent over. Joho held in his mouth a vine that tied together an abundance of fish he had caught during the trip, this dragged behind him.  All three bears then moved down to the ground on their big bear knees, then bowed there heads at the baby.The bears actually turned the corners of their mouths up in a smile. Little bear growls came out from deep in their throats as if they were singing or praying.  Mayi was the first to stand up. He shook his body and slid the wreath off over his head in front of the family.  Joho followed with his stringer of fish. Toby immediately started putting wood on the fire until there was a golden glow.

The father gave them a thankful look and gathered up the food.  The baby snuggled down in the straw, closing his eyes in the new warmth of the cave. The father and mother then ate the fish for dinner and enjoyed the sweet juicy berries and hearty nuts for dessert.

The three bears stood back in a corner of the cave later that night. They watched as shepherds and village folk came in to see the family.  These visitors also knelt down before the baby boy. Everyone seemed to have the same look of contentment on their face as they left the cave. 

When the evening settled down the bears snuggled together in the warm cave to sleep.  Maybe, they thought, they found the purpose of their quest.  Maybe the meeting on the path was no accident as each was drawn on a mission he did not understand.  And that star in the sky, it just could have guided them here to help out this young family.
For the first time, Mayi, Toby, and Joho felt completely happy and full of joy. This was a special adventure for them. The three bears snuggled together. They drifted off to sleep that night to the sound of joyous singing outside the cave.


Three bears in the cold travel through the night
Answering a call they know not from where
Searching for something knowing not what

Meeting on the road to travel together
Following a path traveled not before
Keeping close together knowing not why

Each has talents born within him
Warmth - food - intelligence
Holding their treasures knowing not for whom

Having instinct to guide them
Their hearts filled with joy
Following the path knowing not where

Finding the star guiding them on
Surrendering their treasures with hearts full of joy
Contentment they now know


Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Poet

I look for courage that I need
To pour my words out on the page
So much emotion builds inside me
I must find courage to fill this page

The words I seek some days evade me
With feelings growing strong inside me
Still I struggle with words and rhymes
My pen has yet to lead the way

When courage comes and thoughts are easy
And flowing fast and sure some day
I will see and then can say it
Today I know I am a Poet

Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Friday, November 30, 2012

Inside Myself

Image courtesy of stockimages / By papaija2008
I keep myself in darkness
     to hold the warmth
        inside me

I fear
     to leave the womb
         will be too much to                    bear

I seek the quiet within myself
           to ponder where to go

                                                                                           never facing light
                                                                                                   never will I grow

                                                                                                                 Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Thursday, November 29, 2012

House Sold - Life Goes On

Vacant house the essence of old life floating in each room

Smiling faces perched in dusty frames frozen in time

Forced visions of not who they were or could have been in life

But just an artist's concept of whom he thought they should be

Looking from afar not allowed to view this space once more

These faces soon erased for others not to know of them

Not to know the pain or joy that filled this house for a time

The essence of the new will fill each room - Life will go on

Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Meadow Painting

Image courtesy of franky242  /  

The picture I painted. It is perfect. It is vibrant and cheerful. I move into it to watch and live the scene.

A little girl, with soft, bouncy, brown curls, runs in the meadow picking brightly colored wildflowers. Not a care in the world as she takes the child size bouquet to her mother who sits under the shade of the oak tree.

They have lemonade, and butter cookies, and laugh together, and smile at each other with love, as each conveys a story. They watch the butterflies move vigorously from one beautiful flower to the next, consuming the luscious sweet nectar. Mother closes her eyes. She listens to the sweet music of Daughter's laughter as she plays with a kitten in the tall, soft, grass. The warm yellow sun embraces them all.

A warm breeze blows over Mother’s face and revives her from her trance.  She rises from the lawn chair and slowly places the white straw hat on her head.  She moves across the meadow. The wind is stronger now. Her pale yellow dress is blown out behind her, floating above the ground. Daughter cries out, Mama please don't leave me, but Mother continues on, not listening to Daughter’s cries. She ignores her and continues walking.

Daughter runs after Mother. The wind is too strong for her little body to move, she is tossed to the ground. She continues to cry out, until Mother’s form fades from her sight, forever. 

Wind picks up, sun disappears, and a sheet of rain erupts from a broken dam embedded in dark boiling clouds. Meadow and Daughter are drenched…

The colors of my painting start to run together. They blend into bleak chaos. My painting, not of oil, but watercolor, is washed away.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Learning from the Humming Bird

Image courtesy of dea go /
I am hopeful today
The world lives and so do I
The sky is beautiful
clear blue without a blemish
Young willows by the stream
A breeze captures their flowing branches
like the long silken hair of maidens
playing in the summer morn
I question if all life feels the way I do
Does it all look in awe at the beauty around?
appreciate and embrace this gift of life
we receive each day
Then I notice a humming bird
suspended in air
watching me
His wings move fast
as the blades of a fan
Tiny but strong staying in that one spot
with no effort at all
I turn from his stare
My attention to the blue sky once more
A high-pitched chatter fills the air
The humming bird is calling me
He moves closer still
with his chatter directed at me
I hear his wings vibrate
He still calls to me
We take a moment to look at each other
He in his world
Me in mine
But at that moment we realize
we live in the same world
Then in a blink of an eye
off he flew
He back to his part of the world
Me back to mine
I am hopeful today
the world lives and so do I
and pleased to know
All life embraces this beautiful gift

Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

House For Sale

Glowing sign erases the past
Bright flowers will smile in the sun
The house looks cheerful today
Someone can start with it new

Keeping the things that are yours
Destroying the things that are not
Keep them away from the owner
Her memories now in the dark

Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Voted

I voted today. I'm glad to live in a country where I have the right to vote.  I will also be glad to see all the campaigning, or should I call it, mud slinging come to an end. I have no problem with a person having a passionate heart for their candidate. I have no problem listen to the the reasons why a candidate should have one of these important positions in our nation. I believe in government. But what I do have a problem with are the disrespectful words and feelings. I have flash backs of the grade school playground each time I hear the immature, petty name calling. But, that is another reason it is so wonderful to live in this country. Being Americans we have the right to speak our feelings, no matter what they are, even opinions about our leaders.  So today, I hope everyone exercises this wonderful privilege the founders of our nation gave us. Don't forget our grandmothers who fought with a strong voice for the right of all women to vote.

In any game, someone wins, someone loses. So remember, when this game is over tomorrow, and we know who won, please all of us, respect the office. If we want other nations to respect us - if we want to make it difficult for those who hate our country to harm us - let us show them we are strong.

We all can stand together as one.

I am glad that I can say...

 I voted today!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Time Change

Picture - Andy Partak Imagery  

Cool and warm
The sun is low
An inviting look

Early fall
I love the change
Time is different

Come to me
The creative soul
I cry out to you

Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sleep Time

Cool weather makes me sleepy
I must leave my comfort zone soon
Under the blanket soft and warm
My mornings don't start until noon

Though I try very hard each day
To not let my day be a wreck
Comfort I find in this weekend
Since it's time to turn the clock back

Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev /  

No matter how cloudy the day

I know how to perk up my spirits

Take a walk past the sunflowers

gentle giants of my garden

Bright happy faces always smile

no matter the day

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Darkness in the shed
small and crowded
with me alone
                               my private place for relief

Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Retirement Party

I hear everyone chattering as they go down the hall to the lunchroom. They are giving me a farewell potluck, a retirement party. Like it's really for me, they just like a reason to eat.  My last day of work, the day I have been counting down for this past decade. It’s finally here.

I can’t believe the company president is here today to go over something with me.  At five o'clock I'm gone. I don't care what happens. Why can't my replacement deal with it? When has he ever been available for me? So many times I’ve needed to discuss something, needed his signature,  he never showed up. Now, today, my last day, he decides to show up, and at lunchtime.  I certainly hope there will be food left for me when I can get away. I am sure no one even noticed I'm not there.  This is the price you pay for having the top secretarial position in the company.  The way I could silence a room by just walking in. Always being left out of the parties. Not being part of the weekly donut day.  Everyone jealous, thinking they can do this job better. I can’t wait to see what happens to my replacement.  Waiting for the day she calls me because she can’t find something, or doesn’t understand the database that I have been trying to teach her for the last year.  Oh, and no one understands how difficult it is to cover for the boss.The lies you have to tell.  Well, my lying days, my days of stress, are all over. I will never look back on this place.  If I had the opportunity to tell them just what I think, what an ear full that would be.

Finally I can get away to the lunchroom.  Some of my coworkers have eaten and are already leaving. Someone asked what was the reason for the lunch, but whatever the reason they want to do it again soon. All the Italian beef is gone. A little potato salad is left sticking to the side of the bowl. The only thing left is a whole bowl of untouched macaroni salad, which I totally hate.   

The boss hands me an envelope. My retirement bonus.  I open the envelope, trying not too look too excited, and slowly take a peek. One hundred dollars! After twenty years service, that is it? And they even took taxes out!

I've heard retirement day is the day you find out how everyone really felt about you. All their true emotions can not be contained on this day. I wait for someone to get up and tell the funny little stories I've heard at other retirement luncheons. The stories about how the person exploded the copy machine toner in their face. How they accidentally erased all the billing files. How when they started the job, they waited a week to ask where the washroom was because they didn't have to go until then.

The buzz of the crowd quiets down as they finish their cake.  My replacement requests everyone's attention. Okay this is it.  This is when everyone opens their heart with the stories and emotions they have for me. This is where I am now the center of the day, the special person who has touched them all in some way. The good wishes for my future as a retired person they bestow upon me. 

But instead of a "roast" and heartfelt feelings from my fellow workers, she asks that I reflect on my years of service, what working here and what everyone has meant to me. Finally the first time in twenty years my words are important, they want to hear what I have to say.

Okay folks...

Brace yourselves...

Here it comes...

How I feel about you...

I’m going out with a bang!

Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

No Parking

I asked Mom again if I heard correctly. “Sure why not you’re off school I’ll take you to get your drivers license.” This was the day, crossing the bridge from being a kid to having a drivers license, so cool!  So what if I only got a C in drivers-ed, it was still passing. Okay, I couldn’t parallel park but most parking was in lots anyway.  Sure I missed class when they used the driving simulator but big deal I drove the real car.  Sure the instructor slammed on the brakes at the yield right-of-way sign; but the other car was coming from the left not right. 

The whole trip I went over everything I learned in class, everything Dad had told me.   Remember to buckle the seat belt, adjust the mirror, look behind you when backing up.  Then there is the trick they play when they tell you to park as if you are parking on a hill for the day.  My friend Sara flunked because she didn’t take the key out of the ignition.  Of course she would take it if she was really parking for the day, but the DMV officer flunked here. I pray that they don’t have me parallel park; please no parking.

The DMV was very crowded, no school so every mom had the same idea. Every kid promising, ‘I can always run to the store for you, or I can pick Jimmy up from school for you.’  Yeah sure, just give me that car. No more school bus just cruising through life now.  Starting to shake as I watch the red numbers flash across the neon board, 365 only three more.  I see my friend Ben coming back from the test. He didn’t pass.  I’m doomed Ben got an A in class.  The DMV officer pats him on the back telling him to try again next week.

Red lights blind me as 368 flashes on the big neon board. That’s me. I get up slowly and feel like I’m walking to my own execution.  Mom gives me that ‘you’ll do fine, but we can always try again next week’ look.  The short round DVM officer meets me at the door.  Without looking up from his clip-board, where my whole life story is imprinted on the application, he asks in his ‘I’ve asked this one hundred times this week’ tone “where is the car?”  I take him to the green Toyota, and again without looking up he looks at the tires, guess to make sure we didn’t drive here on four flats.  When he finally looks up from the car, the expression on his face looks like any human, he doesn’t really look like a monster. But I’m still petrified.

“Is this Fred’s car?”

“Yes sir,” assuming he means Dad, who is named Fred, and this, is his car.

“He’s your father?  Does he think you can drive?”

“I think so sir.”

“Well, then if he thinks so, I do too.”

"Yes!" I exclaim. "No parking!"

Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Friday, October 26, 2012

Swim in Time

An eerie short story....

Eighty-two years old I am and no one will believe a word I say.  They think I’m crazy, that I have dementia.  I know what happened in that pond but no one will listen to me.

It was a hot summer day; my friends Harry and Eddie and me had nothing to do and of course we would not admit we were bored and maybe wanted school to start soon. Being a kid isn't always so exciting and we would sit and talk about getting older, driving, working, being the adult in charge. All we wanted was for time to move faster so we could have these things. Our parents told us not to wish to grow up so fast, enjoy being a kid. They said life moves too quickly and we should enjoy the ride along the path, however slow it seemed to us at this time. We didn't want to listen to them. What did they know about the restrictions in a kid’s life; after all they were the adults in charge of what they wanted, in charge of the world. But today we were looking for kid things to do so we decided to sneak onto the old Smithburg property at the end of town.  It was a spooky old three-story house with a steeple and rotting clapboard siding that hadn't had a relationship with paint in decades. That old structure seemed to dare you to come in and explore it. But that isn't what called out to us that day. It was the big pond, the perfect place to be cooling off on a hot summer day and what twelve-year-old boy could resist that.

Every kid in town had been told not to step foot on the property because it was haunted by the Smithburg’s ghosts. No one remembered the Smithsburg’s ever living there, but all knew to stay away from the cursed property. Haunted or not the hot sizzling summer day was enough for us to listen to the seductive call of the pond.

“Joe, you sure this is safe to do?” Harry asked in a scared voice as we climbed the old wooden fence. “I don’t know of anyone who has ever gone swimming in that pond.”

“Chicken.  All we are going to do is swim. What can happen?  Or don’t you know how to swim?” I yelled back to him as I jumped down into the old yard filled with towering, determined, weeds and scary dead trees scattered around.

We all raced as fast as we could toward the pond. Once there we took off our shirts ready for the plunge into the cool water. As we surveyed the glistening water, we remembered the spine-chilling stories the old folks told about ghosts and ghouls kidnapping children, children who were never seen again. The three of us hesitated at the edge of the pond for a moment. Harry looked at us standing there petrified and shaking, now him being the brave one. “Who’s chicken now,” he shouted and jumped in feet first.

The water started to bubble as he went down in the dark blue depths.  Steam rose up and the water was boiling.   A blue light exploded across the pond with a loud crack that deafened us for a second. Then all was silent. The water was still and shiny like a mirror.  We stood motionless at the edge of the water afraid to even breathe.

“Do you  - think he is coming back up?” I asked Eddie. “Maybe we should go in after him.” Eddie shook his head with a horrified look on his face as the water started to boil again.

“ Don’t go in - the pond is haunted.  Harry is in trouble - or dead.  I’m going to get help,” Eddie stuttered, and then he climbed over the fence and ran swiftly down the road back to town.

Eddie was right Harry was in trouble. I had to save him.  I tried to remember everything I had learned in my life saving class. I closed my eyes. Held my breath. I jumped in head first into the dark boiling water, not even thinking what could happen to me.  To my surprise the water was cool, not scalding as I thought it would be.   It was dark in the water. Then I saw a dim light shining in the distance.  I started to swim to it and the closer I got the farther away it got.  It seemed like I was swimming toward that light for hours. The strangest thing of all, I was breathing under water.  Finally I reached the light at the mouth of a cave. To my surprise it was an entryway into a town.

This was an amazing place. There were buildings and streets. It looked much like home but also like pictures in a fairy-tale book my mother read to me when I was younger. I couldn’t believe this was in a cave under the water.  It was bright with daylight, but I saw no sun only a bright reflection from a mirror-like sky above.  I walked along the streets, which sparkled from the bright “sunlight” as if they were paved in crystals, blue, pink, yellow crystals. The buildings were wooden structures, painted bright whites and pale yellows and blues, all trimmed with colorful designs like I had once seen in another book of an alpine village. I knew this could not be real, I must have died and this was heaven.  I continued along the road lined with perfect shaped maple, oak, cypress and cedar trees.  Every tree that had every existed grew in this place. I neared a curve in the road and I could hear faint whimsical music in the distance. As I made the turn, there before me were large beautiful wisteria vines embracing an entrance to a park.  Beyond the gate there was a circus underway with hundreds of people enjoying themselves in the picturesque atmosphere.   I stopped in amazement looking at the sight before me, partly wanting to wake up from this dream and part of me wanting to stay forever and explore this new found wonder.

As I drank in this unbelievable sight a man, about my dad’s age, came running up to me smiling and calling my name.  “Joe, glad to see you,” he embraced me. I stood dumbfounded, my arms dangling at my sides wondering who was this man and how did he know my name.

 “Joe, it’s me Harry. Come on over and meet my family,” he then guided my stiff confused self over to a woman and three kids.  “This is Mattie my wife. The twins Jodie and Jamie. And the little guy is Joey, he’s named after you.” The little freckle faced redheaded boy looked up at me with a smile showing off the space where his two front teeth had fallen out.  “Hello thir,” he lisped through the tooth-space as he held out his pint-sized hand to shake mine. I looked at him then over at the two pre-teen girls snapping their chewing gum looking at me with silly smiles giggling and whispering to each other. They were my age and Harry was my dad’s age.  This made no sense at all.

“I’m sorry Joe I know this is confusing. It was for me in the beginning too. Mattie why don’t you take the kids over to the concession and get them something to eat. I’ll take Joe over to our place and let him rest a little. Give him a moment to take all this in.”

I watched his perfect little wife shepherd the kids and disappear in the crowd of people who seemed to be celebrating some holiday. This was getting way too eerie. Maybe this wasn't heaven.  Maybe I hit my head and was in some sort of coma. This had to be a dream. I only hoped it didn't turn into a nightmare.

I followed Harry out of the park and back down through the sparkly town I first entered. We walked for a short time then entered a picture perfect neighborhood filled with white clapboard sided houses, all with yards enclosed by little picket fences.  Apple trees and flowerbeds, overflowing with brightly colored blooms, swing sets and picnic tables, and brick barbecues were in every backyard.  Harry stopped at the last house on the block and swung opened the little gate and motioned me to enter.  I hesitated a moment then entered cautiously, now trying to will myself awake wanting this to be a dream.  This was scaring me too much to be heaven. 

“Sit. I’ll get us something to drink,” he disappeared into the house as I sat down in the over-sized Adirondack chair. Bees buzzed around from flower to flower, lured by the sweet nectar to pollinate and increase the fragrant backyard arboretum.  I heard a thump behind me. Turning I saw an apple fall and a chattering squirrel wildly run to his nest high in the tree. 

“Here we are Joe some of Mattie’s famous homemade lemonade.  This will refresh you.”  He handed me a glass filled with pale yellow liquid with crystal clear ice sparkling like everything else in this town.   “I know you need an explanation. This has to seem unreal to you,” Harry said has he sat down in the chair opposite me, “but I am not sure how to explain it.  I've never really figured it out myself,” he took a sip of his lemonade and looked around the yard.

He told me about the day he was with Eddie and me and jumped into the pond, finding the town the same way I did.  An elderly man and woman took him into their home and raised him as their own son. He grew up, became a doctor, got married and had his family.  Now we were both together again.

“I love this place Joe, seems nothing ever goes wrong. It’s always sunny and never stormy or overly hot like the day we went swimming in the pond. This is the ideal place for me to live and raise my family, my home forever.”

That’s what I couldn't understand, how could Harry be grown up with a family.  Just an hour ago he was a kid like me just looking to cool off on a hot summer day. Neither of us knew why or how this happened.

“I don’t know who you are, or how you know my name. I do know there is no way you are my friend Harry.” I got up to leave, but wasn't sure where I would go.

Harry got up and put his hands on my shoulders. “I know this is hard to understand.  You see, here time is different. It is fast, but yet it is normal, some sort of time travel maybe. I don’t know.  No one ever questions it they just accept it. It’s our life and we just accept it for what it is. You will too Joe, everyone does. You will get older, have a life and be happy like all of us. Just wait and see.”

“What if I leave right now, the same way I came here?” I stood tall and defiant and stared at him.

He laughed, shook his head and sat back down in the lawn chair. “I don’t know, no one has ever left, and no one ever wants to,” he took a sip of his lemonade and stared into the distance, “no one ever wants to.”


Well I stayed. He was right; it was the perfect place to live. He took me into his home to live with him and his family.  I went to school, a great school I really loved with more sports than academics. No bullies to pick on a scrawny kid, everyone was scrawny and all got along. Everything I wanted to do happened. Everyday was sunny never any rain or cold. Trees grew, flowers grew There was always enough food and snacks. I don’t know how it all happened, but it did and like everyone else I never questioned. I just enjoyed my life.

I grew older and decided to become an architect, designing impossible to build buildings that of course never were built. I didn't care. I was happy.

Love also entered my life.  I married Jodie one of the twins who had always been like my sister, but that suddenly changed and no one cared.  Actually everyone in town pretty much stayed within their own household.  Jodie and me had two kids, Randy and Sally.  Two perfect kids, they couldn't have been better if I had designed them myself. Funny thing, life was perfect, everyone was perfect, but some restlessness lived inside of me and I wasn't sure what it was.

My kids grew older, they got married, and I became a grandfather.  Life went on at a steady pace.  I started to notice changes in town, changes no one else saw.  I went one day to visit Harry. When I got to the end of the block I stopped quick and stared in disbelief, his house wasn't there.  Instead of the neat little house with the picket fenced yard where I grew up, there now stood a park with large shade trees, swing sets and children happily playing. 

“Where’s the house? Where’s Harry?” I shouted out as the children froze in their play and the mothers hurriedly pulled their babies away from the crazed old man. A young woman came over and put her arm around me and spoke to me as if I hadn't a brain cell alive.

“Get away from me,” I yelled pushing her to the ground, “don’t you see it’s gone. My old home, he’s gone, my father, my old playmate.” I sank to the ground my hands to my face sobbing, tears wetting my face and cascading through my fingers. “Gone – where – why?”

I let them take me home.  Jodie put me to bed and called Sally to come help her take care of me, telling her I had some sort of break down.  I couldn't get anyone to listen to me about Harry. Jodie thought I was crazy when I told her.  I thought she was crazy when she said she had no idea who I was talking about. How could she say that? Harry was her father, my stepfather, and my old childhood buddy. But as far as she was concerned, and everyone else, there was no Harry, she wasn't a twin but an only child. There was never a house on that spot. I just let them take care of me. Let them think what they wanted.  I never said anything more about Harry. Only I knew that he was real.

I lived a lifetime in that underground town. Seventy years to be exact. Life didn't seem as fun anymore. It was hard to get around the way I did once before. I started to doubt if anything was real. I started to notice more people disappearing and buildings gone with nothing but empty barren lots where trees and parks once stood.  I thought I should try getting out.  I remembered the way I entered and headed one day toward that spot.  It was a weed filled dark wicked looking forest. Not sure this was the answer for me, and I didn't have enough nerve to enter that place, I returned home.  I walked past the place day after day, it becoming more of a daily ritual than a real plan of escape.  It must have been the fear of the unknown that was stopping me, after all no one ever left, no one ever tried. 

My doubt about my life here got stronger each day.  As I lay in bed one morning I noticed there was no sunlight streaming through my bedroom window, no shimming golden light beams dancing on the dresser mirror as every other morning. A strange sound quietly erupted in the distance, with each eruption it became louder and louder.  What could it be, it sounded vaguely familiar but I couldn't get my thoughts to define it.  Then I jumped up from bed. It was thunder! I hadn't heard thunder since I was a kid living above the pond.  How could this be it never was cloudy, never rained all the years I lived here.

“Jodie,” I called but she didn't answer. I went through the house calling her name looking in every room but she was nowhere to be found.  I hurried outside into the pouring rainstorm with booming thunder and flashing lighting.  Half the neighborhood was gone. Barren land surrounded me. The more I fled the more things crumbled around me.  My only thought now was to get away from here.  I headed to the forest, by instinct I guess, survival was the thought in my mind and the portal in the forest my savior. I didn't hesitate when reaching the entrance as I had before. Moving fast I entered the darkness with on huge leap.

It was very dark and damp. The air smelled of rotted wood and moss. I heard noises above in the trees. Eyes focused to the darkness ahead of me, not wanting to know what was in those trees watching me, waiting for me to fall so they could consume my limp body.  The ground was muddy, the farther I moved ahead the more like quicksand it became.  I keep my forward trek to get away from the crashing and crumbling behind me. Home was on my mind. I needed to get back to my real home.  A loud explosion sounded directly behind me. Glancing back I saw the ground disappear into nothing but a black hole.  The quicksand and my advanced age slowed me, but my spirit to survive kept me going.  My heart pounded so hard I thought it would explode and I would be left dying here in this paradise that suddenly turned into a hellhole.  The scent in the air now smelled like dead rotted fish in the hot sun. The horrible odor made me want to vomit. Holding back the choking and gagging I willed my legs to move faster.

Thinking I could go no farther, I was ready to give up to the consuming blackness around me. Then there appeared in the distance a light, very far off but to me a fragment of hope.  Now all my concentration was focused on the light, the white pinpoint ahead, the sign to me that life could still exist. It seemed familiar to me.  Then I remembered following a similar light when I jumped into the pond those many years ago trying to save Harry. It seemed liked it took hours, days, maybe even years before I finally reached this light.  The bright sparkle shimmered and called me to embrace the warmth that it radiated. It looked like my mother assuring me all would be fine if I only would come to her. With one final burst of energy I jumped right into the blinding brightness. All went black.

I opened my eyes squinting into the brightness. I was soaking wet.  When my eyes started to adjust I heard the muffled sounds around me soon turn into voices.

“He’s coming around,” I heard a man’s voice say, “where do you think he came from?”

“Not sure,” another voice said, “here we are looking for some boys and find a second old man floating in the pond today. I don’t know where these old people come from. At least it looks like this one will make it. Kid over there doesn't know who they are. He still insists his two friends jumped in and never came out.” 

As they put me on a stretcher I looked around seeing ambulances, police, and divers all congregated around the pond. A covered form was being put into one of the ambulances. Was that Harry I wondered?  I tried to get up.

“Settle down old-timer, we got to get you to the hospital to get checked out,” the emergency tech said as he strapped me down. Over at the far end I saw twelve-year old Eddie looking at the water. He was crying.  I tried to shout out to him. He just looked up, bewildered and shivering, huge tears running down his cheeks as they took me away,


This nursing home is now my home. There is nothing to do but think of the past. Time passes differently for everyone.  Do we control our lives?  I think we are in control of much of it.  All I know is Eddie lived a terrifying afternoon that he would never forget the rest of his life, but he would have time to get over it. One day it would be only a memory, an old mysterious story to tell his kids and grandkids. At some point he wouldn't know if it was true or just a fantasy story he was told as a kid.  But he would have a long life, the way it should be.  Life is too short to wish for it to hurry. Enjoying the long road with every bump and curve is how it should be. I lived a full lifetime in a short seventy years that one afternoon. Not what I would wish for now.

Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Today’s Walk

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis /            

This is the road I am on today 

Enjoy the scenery while walking here

What is around the corner

Will be there when I walk tomorrow

Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer Agenda

Today is the first of August. End of summer comes to mind as this month makes its appearance. I shouldn’t feel that way, the calendar shows more summer ahead, but this is the back to school month, not September as in the past when I was school age.

Summer was a very long season as a child. The end of school in June was a relief – at last free – no more thinking! I remember mornings – sleeping in – waking to the warm breeze as it meandered through the window finding her way to my bed; gently caressing my face. The bird outside my window sang her morning song telling me a new day was waiting for me. I can still picture that morning sun – the glow and feeling as he peeked into my bedroom, a sight not duplicated in my adult life.

The first item on the agenda was getting outside to have fun.   I would meet up with my friends (usually the boys) and we would plan all morning for our afternoon activities. The activities would be productions with each person having a specific part and dialog.  Sometimes the game would be Flash Gordon, or cops and robbers, sometimes a game with our own made-up language, which got us laughing as we tried to figure out what the other person was saying. But mostly it would be cowboys and pioneers crossing the plains going west. We all had guns and holsters, our parents didn't worry this toy would influence us to a life of crime or we would become mass murderers. We were kids but yet we knew the difference between reality and fantasy.

The next item on the agenda was getting provisions for the journey. This consisted of thorn-apples from the tree in the front yard, either picking off the branches we could reach or just gathering the apples that fell to the ground, naturally discarding those with worm holes.  This took up the largest part of the morning, after all it would take months, or years to cross the plains. We needed enough to sustain us through the long seasons of travel and hardship.

When the lunch whistle blew, and their was a whistle off in the distance, from where we never knew only that it was lunchtime; we gathered in a different backyard each day for our meal.  Brown paper bags containing our sandwich and fruit, someone always had candy and would share a piece, and of course our Fizzie tablet.  The hosting mother supplied the glass of water to pop our Fizzie in.  We dropped it in the clear liquid and watched as the colored tablet swam to the bottom of the glass. Bubbles shooting to the top and the color swirling in the water like fireworks on the 4th of July.  Instantly the glass of water turned into a sweet soft drink - my favorite being the artificially flavored root beer.  I can’t imagine that today’s Fizzie tables make the same wonderful drink.

After lunch our “play” would start.   We played with enthusiasm and concentration as we acted out each scene. Our play went strong, non-stop, until the fathers came home from work.  As soon as the car was spotted coming down the street,  our play stopped and we immediately went.home  Mothers never had to call us home, we knew it was time, we followed the agenda.

Family time was the agenda item for evening.  Once in a while an amendment was made, you might play over at the closest neighbors yard, maybe catching fireflies or playing red-light – green-light, but not very often. Family time was on the agenda for the whole neighborhood. Some nights I would be with Dad as he checked out his garden, or played catch with him as Mom cleaned the kitchen, or shooting the BB gun at the sign in the vacant lot, or just sitting in the yard with lemonade listening to the folks talk about their day. There was no watching TV in the summer, most shows where reruns, and after all everyone wanted to be outside, it was too hot in the house.  This was the era before every building had air conditioning, we enjoyed being out, winter was time enough to stay inside.

Unfortunately for Mom we did get very dirty playing outside all day.  We made a ‘slide’ on the construction dirt pile in the vacant lot, dirt attracted to our sweaty skin like metal shot to a magnet.  Which ever activity was on our agenda that day, a nightly bath also was - unlike winter when a full bath was only a Saturday night event.  We could stay up late in the summer. After bath-time the agenda item was snuggling with Dad. We kept cool in front of the window fan as we watched the news, weather, and sports. This was a big treat!

I don’t know if summer was so much longer then, or maybe it was the fact there were no worries for us, everything we needed was provided. We were kids and lived in our own world. Whatever it was – yes – summer as a small child was magic. How I would love to again add that magic to my agenda.

Copyright 2012 Eileen A Partak

Friday, June 22, 2012


To escape and face reality can be a revolution of your mind

Ó 2012 Eileen A Partak

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Seeing Again

I begin this morning
Ready for the labors of my day
Crisp cool air – golden sun
His morning smile I have ignored for so long
Today he greets me with joy - memories of our past
I see the birds hurry in the sky - off to their bird duties
Singing morning verse thanking the maker for life
Off I go also to live the happiness of this gift
A day I am now glad to be part of
The sun and birds reminding me of the glory

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Broken Sleep

Darkness all around
Sleep no longer my companion
A noise in my room
Wondering if I am alone
But of course no one else wakes at this hour

Then the sound of a bird
One single chirp – silence
Did this one little bird have the same fight with sleep

Roll over once more and resist the urge to open my eyes
Again – the bird – he still tries to break the silent darkness
A single note – then a small tune
Followed by a new note from the next yard
A duet in the darkness

My struggle to keep sleep with me is now lost
The birds let me know a new day begins
One to fulfill my desires

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Yes to Writing - Again

What a beautiful morning!

All ready to write now after attending the AWP Conference last week in Chicago. Was a great conference. I attended 16 lectures in 3 days - getting up at 5:30 to catch the train - not taking time to eat - getting home late - I was so tired - wow!! Was that a great time - but I am kind of weird with the way I have fun. The highlight was meeting Jenna Blum author of "Those Who Save Us" one of my favorite books - have to read that one again. I am encouraged - again - that I am not failing as a writer - what I am doing is right for me and to just keep moving along with it.

You may have noticed my blog has been "asleep" for awhile - that is about to change - also the look and content. The words - the stories in my mind are such a part of me - they need to come out. I have been hesitant to let them go free for some time now - I have no idea why.  Writing can be depressing - challenging - invigorating - I will not give it up. Yes to writing - it is a part of me.

Now to balance all things in life - go forth and experience those events - be happy!