Stained Glass

It was in a nondescript flat, wooden box in the basement, a leftover from previous tenants now long gone. Or the tenants who came of left before the last couple who lived here. Rosalind couldn’t really tell, nor was she particularly interested in dragging that heavy box upstairs to take to the corner for trash day. Something about the box piqued her curiosity, though, especially the light that seemed to shine through one of the uncovered edges.

It took her an hour to pull and drag the box up the wooden stairs.

After finding a hammer, she flipped it to the prong side and began pulling out the nails, carefully tossing them in a neat pile. The wood seemed old, and gave way to her strength as she pulled out a large, round pane of stained glass. Looking at the wooden walls in the living room and dining room and the square window panes, it occurred to Rosalind that this could not have been installed in the house because it was too big for any house. It belonged to a church, perhaps a church long gone.

As she studied the design and colors, she noted the familiar image of the Virgin Mary and Child, how the pane seemed to capture the sunlight coming into the kitchen as if to store its ray like a solar panel. The room began to fill with a warm glow, and the air was suddenly fragrant with the smell of fresh roses. As Rosalind began to fill with a certain and familiar quiver of her state of “tipsy,” it occurred to her that no church would have commissioned such a work for their sanctuary, for it would not have been deemed acceptable for the masses.

What was once thought to be basement junk was now a center of attention in her living room as found art to outsiders who visited her as it hung on her wall seeming to have its own source of light even as the sun set outside.

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Blood Coffee #30days #ww470

My cell phone alarm wakes me up at sunset, my morning call to stretch my legs and step out of my walk in closet where I sleep post-conversion to vampire.  And no, I don’t sleep in a coffin–I hate tight spaces as it is, much less a box fit for a dead body. I’m vampire, so that makes me alive and itchy near the sun, not dead. When I get my next    to the next paycheck I will spend a few dollars on some tinted windows for my bedroom and bathroom so I can start sleeping in my bed again instead of that sleeping bag in my closet.  For now, I endure the closet and try not to go into panic mode.

My first meal of the night isn’t really that different from most people who need a pickup before work: hot coffee. My stomach takes most liquids, including liquor, but since conversion to vampire I prefer beans soaked and roasted in blood, as well as a blend of Type A+ after pouring the hot brew into my favorite cup.  By the time I’ve finished my coffee, I’ve read my work emails, watched evening rush hour news, and texted my boss.

Not much difference from anyone else, save for the faint impression of blood left on the table that never seems to disappear even after scrubbing the surface. Might need to buy another table before inviting humans over for brunch.

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Insane.

That was the rumor running around town when it came to her. Crazy as cat shit, said no one to her face, but the label stuck to her whenever she showed up to the farmers market to buy eggs and string beans.  She lived in a brick house on the corner of Greene and Woodland streets near the edge of Vidalia Township.  No one visited that house, save for postal services who would drop off boxes once a month to her porch steps.  Her cats (hence the crazy as cat shit label) strolled around her fenceless yard, a dreary patch of dirt with a strange twist of trees covered in blue and green bottles. They never centered past her property and seemed to pose like sentries around her house in silence.  No one knew her true age, or how she managed to buy groceries, much less the packages that came from Amazon, or even less the taxes on her property that surely increased as would be expected of a town now popular with gentrified families seeking small town goodness near a bigger city.  She had no children or husband to speak of, no family or friends who would defend her reputation, so the label stuck.

Crazy.

And of course another name usually came in a harsh whisper:

Witch.

So said the neighborhood a bit louder and with more urgency when the newly arrived widower moved down the street on Greene and began to introduce himself to the locals.  A quiet but friendly man of advanced years, he was newly retired from the Army after decades of working as a physician in the Army Hospital in Germany. He had no children, and after burying his wife he settled for a small, neat house with a comfortable pension and sizable library to keep himself busy.  His rose garden was a pleasant distraction from the swirling gossip that landed near his door with the first neighbor welcome.

The warm welcoming came with a warning to avoid the crazy witch that lived on the corner. He thought otherwise.

As he sauntered up her driveway holding a dozen freshly cut roses, she took note of the familar gait of his walk as he moved towards the front porch. She stepped outside her door and gazed on the man meeting her eyes with recognition and warmth. She removed her shawl and draped it across the left arm while her right arm extended to the roses he clutched. He nodded as he clasped her bird like hand.

”Welcome home, my Love.”

trigger-warning

by Cherie Ann Turpin Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

trigger-warning:  50 years of rape culture/slut-shaming/misogyny/misogynoir that cannot fit into a tweet for the Washington Post
I can tell you what happened to me at Clark College when my first sexual contact with a man was being raped twice by a Morehouse athlete who thought he was scoring a new girlfriend

I can tell you about being plied with alcohol, then raped and threatened by a male roommate–then slut-shamed for it

I can tell you about the time a man giving me a ride to MARTA in Atl forced a kiss on me

I can tell you about being slut-shamed by a female relative who told my family I was a whore

I can tell you about the time five men followed me in Atl from bus to MARTA to bus with clear intent to gang-rape me–I rode that bus to the end of line and my flashpass kept me on that bus and they ended up stranded when I rode back to my stop

I can tell you about being sexually harassed–twice–by adjunct professors when I was an undergrad at UDC

I can tell you about being catcalled by a bunch of “bros” driving past me as I walked to meet new classmates at a pub in Burlington VT

I can tell you about being stalked and slut-shamed by the same person in grad school

I can tell you about being followed home by a man in a van in the middle of winter on a back road when I was at UConn

I can tell you about having my nipple bitten without consent by a man at a club while dancing–he did permanent damage and he smiled before I hit him back

I can tell you about being approached and catcalled by a man while walking in my corporate suit to a campus interview for a professor position at UDC

I can tell you about being stalked by some unknown man during my first year as a professor who thought it was okay to send flowers to my office and my classroom

I can tell you about being followed and secretly photographed by a fellow grad student in Saas-Fee for the purpose of slut/size/race shaming me by sharing his “art” with the other grad students on a dvd

I can tell you about being followed by a lurking man when I walked home from campus–and waited for me to walk towards my apartment, till he saw me with security

I can tell you that despite the scars from these cuts and gouges

my self-worth
my sexuality
my humanity
my womanhood
my spirit
my jouissance
my grace

shines
persists
heals

Prevails.

October 10, 2016

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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