Ice February 20, 2019


February 20, 2019

Amy Lynn Reifsnyder


I’ve been sick.

I am sick.

You know, the headacheytossthesoup kind of sick.

My youngest dog has been, too. I’m blaming her mess on the new chewies she’s no longer allowed to have.

Me? I wish it was the chewies.

I’m sure it’s stress. Imagine …

Have you ever taken a running start and then let yourself glide on wet ice?
Well, imagine…

Imagine launching yourself onto a slippery slope, intentionally, knowing that you could fall, crash, slam, at any moment but in the meantime, Look, Ma! No hands! And besides, you were still moving forward, right?

Now. For unexplainable reasons, say you were sailing along, holding yourself up, giggling when you thought you might fall, relieved when you didn’t, and out of absolutely no where, someone drops a large, sharp-edged boulderleadstuddedwall smack dab directly in front of you.
You know you can not possibly careen around it.
It isn’t going to move.

And you’re going to hit it. Head on. Hard.

No chance of stopping. Nothing on which to brace yourself for the impact.

You just know you’re going.

And then, despite the Laws of Physics, you collide, crash, slam

And rather than a transfer of energy

The large, sharp-edged boulderleadstuddedwall absorbs nothing, and every particle, every molecule, every grain of sand or dead plant life that created this large, sharp-edged boulderleadstuddedwall suddenly shifts all, and I mean, all, of it’s restrained bound unified organized molten compressed disarray of destruction construction onto you.

And then it shatters. Crumbles. Falls apart.

And you, do, too.

My hands aren’t big enough to stop the collision.

My arms flail, trying to protect my eyes, my ears, my heart.

My legs have hit land.

I am destroyed. Broken. In pieces.

Me and the Boulder. Just like that.

Just like that.

And in real life without imagery or metaphor?
My mom called.
My mom.


Years of training and a swift backhand have taught me the value of going home immediately when Mom calls.
Even the neighbors know.

She’d call, and all the kids in a whistle-mile distance would turn their blanched faces toward me


Ame. You’re mom’s calling. You better go.

So, I did.

Along the way, I – I –

I don’t remember the trip East. Not right now. Not at 4:30 on a cold and frosty morning with a stunning full moon setting … and a bucket beside me, just in case.

I can’t remember anything past Audrey’s house. Past New Mexico.

Hell, I misplaced January once, and I missed Ohio on a previous trip. But there’s a big piece of Texas to Pennsylvania that does not come to mind.

My dad called. “Not my real dad” but the dad I grew up with. Where was I? Was I on my way?

Am I safe?

No. Really. That’s what he wanted. I didn’t delete the message. He wanted to be sure I was safe.

This could be funny if I remembered how to laugh.

The other one? After silence for five years, eleven days before he died, he asked me to forgive him.

Yup. Hallmark, I’ve got the script for your next holiday special.

Hell. I have more than one.

But I digress… I am stalling, trying to recall Oklahoma, Arkansas, Anything…

My cousin is a saint. She invited me to stay with her.

Apparently I walked around in circles repeating myself and asking questions that don’t have answers.

Thirty years.

Twenty-six if we count the phone call I got the Christmas after I got married. She missed the wedding but wanted to meet my husband and our foster child.
Hail Mary, full of grace …

Thirty years.

There is usually an expletive in the middle of that term, but I have tender friends who don’t approve of that sort of thing. Somewhere inside of me is the memory of once knowing how to be a friend. But I have forgotten.

Thirty years

Of anger, confusion, therapy, seizures, medication, mistakes, stupid living, faith, alcohol, and chocolate.

Lots of chocolate

Lots of walking

Lots of lonely. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of lonely…

Did you know, the letters in ‘lots’ spell ‘lost’?

Mistakes teach you things if you pay attention.

I tried. Oh, how I tried

To pay attention

But sooner or later, there is nothing to pay with

And now, here, on this clear and cold winter morning with a stunning moon setting

I have nothing. I am nothing.

I eat. I sleep. I work. I hug my dogs.

But there is a big piece of 28 to 58 that I can not recall

Laughter. Confidence. Determination.

I have nothing left.

My soul is broken

And I can not cry.