Love the Weather Legend

A strong memory of love.

In Provo, married, shared housing with singles, Provo River rumbling outside. Fiona Apple throbs decibel level ear damage. Wearing only bra, garment bottoms, so sexy, dancing, abdomen isolating circling like a middle eastern dancer. Young lovers. Separate from parents. Cherries popped, virtuously, stems neatly tied in mouths. Saliva exchanged, salvation. Sacred holy offering. Before the pregnancy. Before the checkup, Before the still born. Before the dusty box on the bookshelf, I showed future kids to tell them I knew for sure families were forever. A memory of a boy who was not. Their dead brother, buried. We will see him, meet him again. Rewind, the day we married, daughter of the morning early, much to the dismay of my mom who doesn’t like to get up at five in the morning. We booked the Claritin Inn across the street from Benihana. After the marriage where I learned I had a new name and a veil which would hide me we attempted to check in to the hotel. Virgins. Soon to be non-virgins. But the hotel would not let us check in. They didn’t care that we were Mormons who had desperately abstained from sex for 20 and 22 years, respectively, give a kid a break. So, our Nissan Pathfinder with duct tape on the back light and on the front dash, fuzzy counters, and the Claritin parking lot, enhanced by parking lights became our redemption sunrise. Anticipatory. Not as expected. Elation of catharsis. I did not know what this feeling was. Too powerful, I stifled feeling it. Later learned it was called an orgasm. And later still, learned not to stifle this glory.

Strange weather.

The siren shrieked. It meant take cover in your new Alabama home shelter, downstairs in the utility room with a concrete floor, clogged drain, cockroach on his back, ninja turtles on the foam bed. We, my five kids and husband and I, had never been through a tornado before. It felt weird to take it so seriously, nothing had happened, but we had watched Wizard of Oz enough to know the punch line could be coming. My phone battery at seven percent. Not enough charge to watch James Spann, the meteorologist for very long but honestly, what good does it do to watch them tell you the world is ending. Might as well check Facebook, disengage from my kids, like pronate cockroaches, wanting me to engage with them. When I die, I will explain to the verdict gatherer, sorry couldn’t talk to them even though distractions were eliminated and our eminent demise was upon us, I had three notifications. Nothing happened, tornado alarm stopped. No one really knew when it was ok to come back for air. Eventually we assumed because the sky was still there. Phineas turns on Zelda, the one that looks all 3D and like a wonderland journey that I want to go camping at and they eat things like brighten berries and mushroom synapses for energy. He invites me to play and again, I decline, how boring, no thanks, never. Kids bore me, so bad. I go upstairs into the storm shelter of my own making, the left side of my bed and turn on Call the Midwifes or Shameless, I can’t remember. I cry about their lives, engage, and love these fake people but can’t seem to pour passion like maple syrup into my own children who are growing so fast. I smell pancakes crisping. My husband is making them, Kodiak, the healthier ones, the less yummy ones. He makes time with them healthy. I lick the syrup up in my mind.

Legend that speaks to me.

The Sleeping Lady, Susitna, in war lied down after battle, wounded. Her lover, Nekatla spread her hair on the earth and Susitna died, solemnly, on the site line of Anchorage, Alaska, now melded with the city scape. She is a mountain, her hair spread out thin. Her raised face and her body gently curving down. No breasts. Like me. One is smaller than the other. I am surprised others do not notice. When I worked on McKinley Explorer tourist train that summer, after baby Elijah died and a cast of his foot and hands is placed in the dusty box on the shelf is all that reminds me, he was real. Legend, Fact, fiction, story, true, false, eternity, post-modern. The tourist from New York who scoffed at me and barked gave me the biggest tip. The first time I ever met a New Yorker and found out that harshness isn’t always what I think. His wife told me he liked me. My jokes. And she liked the legend of the sleeping lady. Because who doesn’t love a good, dead heroine to go down in the history books.

Guest post by Shannon Milliman. Shannon Milliman, CPTD, CLMS is a playwright, published poet, essayist, and performs an original, autobiographical, one woman play called Not So Supernova which is a raw, emotional story about the jagged edges of motherhood and marriage. Her play emphasizes finding humor and believing in the healing power of hope when life doesn’t go as you plan. She hopes to create a play dedicated to each of her children so hopefully she lives a long life.

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4 Responses

  1. Katie Ludlow Rich says:

    Incredible. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Natasha says:

    Oh my goodness. I love these stories so much. Some of those lines of truth rip through me and connect. They help me feel seen as a woman in this life. Thank you, Shannon.

  3. JC says:

    This was absolutely beautiful! You have a real gift! Please share more of your writing with us soon.

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