Support Wishes

There are so many crowd-funded creations I wish I could support, and wish I could own!  One of my favorites is the Ombee adjustable stand up desk with swivel pads for standing and eliminating fatigue.

Another is the Stand desk, but that’s more expensive, and not mobile like the Ombee stand up desk.

I’d like to market my music with crowd-funding, but I don’t have any videos, and most of my songs are in the rough cut stage, so I have to afford studio time to make them marketable.

Several years ago, I purchased a share in, Story Forge, when I had $5 bucks to spare.  It was nice to see the project funded, and I do like the cards.  They’re a great resource for story-telling.  My brain, however, fights all my efforts at consistency and overcoming procrastination, but some new tools I got from Learning How To Learn have helping me advance my writing work.

If I could even purchase the anti-fatigue mats from Ombee,

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ombee-the-modular-and-mobile-stand-up-desk#/
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ombee-the-modular-and-mobile-stand-up-desk#/

that would be a great help in my ability to keep working at my make-shift stand-up desk called the kitchen counter and a few thick books. 🙂

I’m working long-distance with my writing partner now, and while slow, at least I’ve made more progress with her than I have on my own for many years.

The time of year plays a big role in my depression, often over-taking me mid-winter through early spring.  Light box therapy, and a new antidepressant I’m hoping will get me through the roughest spots this year – fingers crossed! – and I’m doing my best to stay present rather than in regret from the past, or anxiety of the future.

All we’ve got is now.

But without education, training, and dedication to my mission, current efforts are doomed, so planning for the future is important too.  I’d rather have a reliable map than keep going off course into the scary wilds of my life.

my life map so far

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Dog Days In The Garden

My shorts and shirt cling wherever they touch, sun scorches my back as I rip weeds between the tomatoes. Grass roots deep, but not deeper than my three-pronged cultivator snares them, ripping through the packed earth. Some grass and weeds grow close to the garden plants and removing them is like surgery.

The shadows lengthen across the yard, my work only half done. Water dribbles down my chin, cooling the narrow channel it finds to run down to my damp bra.  I’m tempted to dump most of the bottle over my face and neck, but drinking it is more refreshing for now.  My knees and back complain after several minutes of stooping, or staying in one position for too long.

A stray mosquito buzzes my ear – it won’t be long before the outlier signals the army for a blood meal on me, and I stride over to the carrot bed, some grass indistinguishable from carrot at the soil.  I thin nearly a dozen more carrots than I meant to, deciding to leave the rest for the next day.

The corn and squash languish in the sun, chicken manure and water are needed, but they’ll have to endure until tomorrow.

Dirt-smeared, sweat-stained, but satisfied with a day’s work, I trudge up to the cabin, dumping the last bit of water over my face, enjoying the rivulets that careen down my face and chest, even though I know a cool shower is not far off.

I say a prayer to the Universe that blight doesn’t strike the tomatoes this year, and, come harvest, that we get more crops than the bugs have.

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©seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Website Home

My latest endeavor: Get Creative e-business.

It’s my new business platform – anything from freelance writing, acting, singing, and all kinds of creativity to keep my inspiration hopping!

I look forward to the day when I have a brick & mortar business to have a site for, but for now, you can hire me for writing, singing, acting, or telling you how great you are. 🙂

Cheers!

DPChallenge: Dystopia, The Musical

Set Present Time. Suburban neighborhood. Backdrop sunny, blue sky, distant hills, but a dark pall hugging charred tree tops, suggesting recent fires, and dank atmosphere.

Act I
Scene I
Chorus in black-hooded robes, heads bowed, arms folded tight to body, hum discordantly – low in front of curtain. Curtain rises on street scene: once beautiful homes graffiti-ed, broken windows, smashed bird bath, broken fountain. The chorus retreats US center, in a crescendo-ing hum, then silence as grey-ish filtered early morning light rises on a disheveled lone female quickly searching through a garbage bin on the sidewalk.
A shot is heard – the female rises erect, alert, looking around for close danger. No one appears. The woman relaxes her stance, continues her search, and finds a torn one-armed rag doll. She stares at the doll a moment, then holds it close, silently weeping as music begins. She wipes her tears as she sings:

 What have we done? What have I become? Is this reality now?
I can’t believe this awful dream, I’ve got to wake somehow.

She puts the doll in her coat pocket.

Enter two children, dirty & hungry, salvaging. They see the woman and turn back.

“No, stop! It’s ok – I won’t hurt you!” The children stop hesitantly.

“I’m looking for food too. We can look together.” They look doubtful. The woman takes the rag doll out of her pocket. “Look, you can have this, if you want it?” She holds out the doll to them.
The boy steps in front of his sister, stopping her from going closer.
“I know you don’t trust me, but I’m really not going to hurt you, or take anything from you. I’d just like to help – and have some company.”

The boy relaxes and lets his sister take the doll.
“If we stick together, we can try to help each other, alright?”
The children nod in expressionless agreement.
“Are your parents alive?” The children look down, unanswering.
“Oh, you don’t know? I’m sorry.” The woman looks toward a fenced compound on a near hill. “Sometimes the Citadel cooks throw out scraps or bones, but you’ve got to get there early and be fast to get anything. Do you want to come with me?”
The children look hungry, but doubtful. “You don’t have to go near, you can wait by the trees, and I’ll try to get what I can – if there is anything today.”
The children follow the woman off SL.

Scene II

The woman and children enter in front of the curtain, SR, through a line of trees.
“You wait here. Don’t eat the mushrooms, they’re poisonous.” The woman points to mushrooms growing around and on the trees. “And if you see anyone, pick some and pretend you’re going to eat them, but don’t really put them in your mouth. The juice can make you very sick, especially when you haven’t eaten anything else. They’ll think you’re stupid and won’t bother you because they think you’ll die soon anyway.”

The choir chants low ominous sounds, becoming louder as the curtain opens to reveal barbed wire fencing with a metal prison-door like gate, and security cameras facing all directions. Choir falls silent.

The woman walks up where a window is seen from the fence, her face obscured by a tattered scarf. She searches the ground for scraps and finds none. As she waits, others begin gathering. The woman stands more erect, but does not look at anyone. A figure appears in the window looking out at the gathering crowd, and closes the curtain. Some soft cries and groans are heard among the crowd, the signal that no food will be thrown today. They begin shuffling off stage L&R. The woman and three men remain in hopeful expectancy. One man puts his hands on the fence as the others are too late to warn him. The shock jolts him, and he cries out from the powerful surge.

The window curtain opens slightly, and the figure in the window looks at the remaining few. Two large meaty bones are thrown out over the fence. The woman has drawn a knife and readies for a fight. Choir takes up chant, pantomiming the actors with voice and action in their group. DS man draws a knife and the woman lunges, slashing his arm. He retaliates, narrowly missing her shoulder as the woman ducks and slashes again, missing his leg. US man has grabbed a bone and the woman lunges at her foe’s face with her knife, meeting his shin with her foot, stomping down. Choir finishes tones in triumphant harmony, reforms original stance.

The woman grabs the remaining bone and runs, the man limping after her in pursuit. The choir takes up a crescendo-ing chant for the chase. As the woman nears the line of trees, the man catches her shoulder, but the children rush out screaming and running toward them, the woman using the moment to plunge her knife in through his ribs and twists it in deep. He falls dead. The choir ceases their chanting through rushing expelled air.

Act II
Scene I
Curtain opens on the woman and children sitting around a fire where a pot containing the meaty bone and gathered roots has cooked. They share one cup, sipping the broth. The woman watches the area for intruders, but none come.
The woman speaks: “When I was your age, my parent’s left my sister and me in the care of the Citadel home while they went to look for work – before the Citadel fell to Bolinger. They never returned, and my sister and I tried to find them when I was old enough to travel longer distances on our own. She knew about wild plants – what could be eaten, or used for medicine. Bolinger’s guards found us. My sister died defending me. I had fainted and they left me alone in the woods. I came to next to my sister’s body, and I cried through the night. No one came to help, and I had nothing to bury her with, so I covered her with nettles, leaves, and branches. I wandered through the woods hoping I’d find some help, and came across a family that let me travel with them, probably because I was still young enough that I wasn’t a threat, and acted as a look out for them when they hunted or stole food and things they needed. I learned to steal too, but I never got used to it, and I finally found work washing clothes for food and shelter at the Citadel. I spoke up to Bolinger’s men mistreating an older woman, and was beat and thrown out. I’ve been on my own ever since. I’d like to know what happened to you, if you’re willing to tell me?”

The boy looks at his sister, and back at the woman, and speaks: “We woke up one day last week and our parents were gone, and they haven’t come back”.
“Did you live far from where I first saw you?”
“No, we left our camp trying to find something to eat – and then we met you…”
“It’s OK. I know what it’s like being alone and lost – inside and out.” The woman smiles, and gestures toward his sister. “Does your sister talk?”
“Yes, but not since our mother and father left.”
“I’m sorry. I hope they find you again soon. We can stick together until then.”
“I’d like that.” The boy looks at his sister who has moved closer to him, and he says – “We’d like that.”
“We need to find somewhere to sleep tonight, and maybe I’ll find somewhere to work for food tomorrow.”
“I can work too”, the boy says.
“I think your work is taking care of your sister. It looks like you both could use a washing, so we’ll go to the falls. Have you been?”
“No. My father said to stay away because it’s too dangerous. The rocks are slippery and you could fall and die on the jagged rocks under the falls, and there are bad people who live there that like to eat children.”
“It’s trolls who like to eat children, and they don’t live at the Falls. They live in fairy tales and made up stories. Your father was right that the rocks are slippery, and there are jagged rocks in the water below, but that’s where the sweetest fish are too – when there are any to find.”

As the woman and children walk through the woods, the chorus begins a low hum and appear in staggered relief in the woods. They cease humming as forest dwellers who have been watching the woman and children’s progress step out to confront them.
A man speaks: “Where do you think you’re going?”
The woman says: “We mean you no harm. I am bringing my children to safe sleep for the night, and then we’re on our way out of these woods.”
“There is payment required for safe passage.”
“But we have no coin or goods to offer.”
“Then you’ll turn back the way you came, and hurry through, or you may not make it out at all.”
The girl holds out the rag doll which the man takes and rips off the other arm, throwing the doll roughly back at the girl.  The men laugh coarsely.
“That was all we possessed.” The woman picks up the doll putting it in her pocket, takes the girl and boy by the hand and turns back the way they came.  She speaks quietly and urgently to the children: “Don’t look back, and walk quickly. They’ll leave us alone if we don’t stop.”

Scene II
The sound of a waterfall is heard as the woman and children walk in front of curtain. Two of the forest-dweller men trail them at a distance. The woman turns to pick up the girl to quicken their pace, and glimpses one of the men. She pretends not to notice as the curtain rises revealing jagged looking rocks and cascading water. The choir appears on an US riser, intoning rising cacophonous sounds as the men move in for the kill. The woman lifts the girl to a higher rock, telling the boy: “Take your sister over these rocks staying as far from the water as you can. You can make it, but you must not stop, no matter what. There is a Citadel corn field down below that you can hide in and wait for me. Now go!”
As the children disappear over the ridge, the woman takes the opposite, more treacherous path by the water, slipping toward the edge of the falls, but finding crevices for her hands and feet as she goes. She finds the opening she once knew under the falls which the men do not see, and comes out onto the opposite side, stepping out onto a rock where the men will see her. She mimes difficulty ascending as the men leer at her and begin climbing to reach her. One of the men grabs hold of a rock protruding from the Falls, assuming that was the woman’s path, and loses his footing, falling to his death on the rocks below. The other man looks for an alternate route, and slips onto a jagged rock, lying there in obvious pain as the woman expertly climbs her way over the outcrop of rock and disappears over the other side. The choir has been rising and falling throughout, emphasizing the man’s demise, and the woman’s triumph. Close curtain.

Scene III
The children huddle at the edge of the cornfield below the stage, anticipating the woman’s arrival. Unfamiliar sounds, an owl hoot, or coyote howl, are heard in the distance, causing fearful reactions as they wait. The woman, scratched and hurt, limps toward the cornfield in front of the curtain, checking around her as she goes. As she comes offstage toward the cornfield, she spots the children and reunites.
“Are you alright?”

The children nod yes, but the woman sees a gash on the boy’s arm. “We’ll have to get that cleaned out so you don’t get infected. We can’t stay here because Bolinger’s guards will soon pass by, if they haven’t already. Did you see anyone since you’ve been here?”
“No one has gone by since we got here. I was afraid you wouldn’t find us.”
“I was afraid too, but we’re OK now.  We can rest for the night in Fairwoods – it’s near the brook where we can wash up, and if my old mistress is in her cottage, we might have something hot to eat.”

Exit SL

Scene IV

The woman and children are seated DS, the wooded area behind them, their faces are clean, and they are eating stew from an old chipped porcelain bowl.

“You’ll clean the bowl in the brook when you’re finished.  I’m going to try to catch some fish and we’ll leave it at my old mistresses door for feeding us such good rabbit stew.”  As the woman walks toward the brook the Chorus enters with low, ominous chants.  A lightning storm stirs up and thunder crashes as the Chorus chants the louder, urgent cacophonous tones as a bruised and limping man brandishing a machete lunges toward the woman from SR.  The boy sees the man and picks up a large rock, coming DSR, throwing it and connecting with the man’s head, just as the man has slashed the woman’s shoulder and arm with the machete.  She cries out, badly hurt. The man has fallen, unconscious.  The girl cowers US with the doll in her hands as the boy does what he can to help the woman USC and helps her sit.  He takes the shirt off the man and tries to staunch the woman’s wounds, but the woman is fading.

“Go and tell my old mistress – that I am done for, and you will work – for her – if she can take you.  Help – your – sister.”  The woman dies.  The girl cries and hugs the woman, and keeps crying as her brother puts his arm around her, pulling her away, and leads her off SL.  Curtain closes.

Scene V

The boy enters SR, a rough shack is USL, in a wooded area.  The boy has a large fish that hangs partially over in the chipped porcelain bowl.  He goes to the shack and knocks, but gets no reply.  After a few knocks with no response, he leaves the fish in the bowl in front of the door, and turns to leave with his sister.  A window curtain is slowly pulled aside in the shack and we see an older woman peering out at the backs of the children, and she closes the window curtain again.  The Chorus has been chanting slow, quiet, tones, and stops as the light fades on the shack and comes up diffusely focusing on the girl who has dropped her doll and stoops to pick it up.  The boy has stopped to wait for her.

The girl sings, with a quiet echo of the woman’s voice in the air:

What have we done? What have I become? Is this reality now?
I can’t believe this awful dream, I’ve got to wake somehow.

The children exit SL.

End.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Stressed

I’ve made some changes that will help my financial situation, even if only moderately.  John Steinbeck wrote in America and Americans: “I guess the trouble was that we didn’t have any self-admitted proletarians.  Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist.”  Well, who wants to be the proletariat?  I’d rather have the problems of the wealthy than the problems of the impoverished.  The chances of that happening, while not impossible, get slimmer with each passing year.  Mostly, I’d like to be comfortable, and not have to choose paying utilities vs. eating.

Richard Branson, the entrepreneur extraordinaire was asked at what financial level he felt successful, and his alleged reply was: ‘fifty million’.  I’d feel successful if I still had fifty dollars in my account at the end of a month!  Well, maybe not successful, but certainly less stressed out.

I can also use my local food bank once a month – as long as there’s food – and if worse keeps going to worst, many of my bills will be moot because I’ll be homeless (even though friends have offered their couch if it comes to that)!  I have the library I can connect to the internet with, and I can store stuff with various friends.  At least it’s just me now.  I know my poverty embarrasses my son, but I’m doing the best I can, for me.  And it’s not like I’m not doing anything!  I am working – but it’s a few jobs that are still only part-time, and not enough to afford much more than basics, and I’m also trying to build a life that I want to be in.  My son would like me to stay alive for as long as that’s possible, and that’s my commitment to him, whether or not I want to.

I have to remember that I was a success for a long chunk of time.  I raised a son, who is a good human being.  He had way more than I ever had, and that’s how it should be.  He’s in college, and while I can’t help him financially, he’s getting scholarships, and taking out loans, and at least he’s earning a degree which I hope will help him pay back all his loans quickly.

In the meantime, I have my band, and the rest of the world goes away when I sing – which is one of those gifts I wouldn’t trade for more money but no solace.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Saturday, Please Don’t Mock Me

No writer’s block will stand in my way.

I banish you, wandering thoughts!

Stay on task, write the book –

oh wait, a cute man just walked by, and I stopped to have a look…

No!

Back to writing, back I say, I don’t care that it’s such a glorious day!

There will be others, now don’t you fret, and you’ll waste them as you would have today if you didn’t commit to write, I bet.

Dr. Suess, you are not, well, maybe if we find a fish in a pot, and the fish starts talking, and telling you what to do – but if that should happen – I’d go to a doctor, if I were you.

Fine, I shall go back to writing my story, about people doing things, maybe it’ll get gory.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Art Workshop

Several years ago I participated in a women’s art workshop/healing retreat and I’d never do it again.  If I had known what it would be like on the first day of the weekend, I wouldn’t have gone back.  We met one another, talked about art and our first experiences with it, had food, and discussed how the next day would go as far as producing art as a group and individually.  The first day was great.

The group leader was welcoming and gracious, but became demanding and pushy as the workshop progressed.  I began a work that I felt happy with, and she looked at it and told me to keep painting, that it wasn’t finished yet, and I was truly stumped for a while, but decided this was the process of making ‘art’, so I continued on.

I’m not an artist, but this workshop promised to change our conception of art.  It was more like an ‘encounter’ group than anything else, and at the time I didn’t have enough sense to simply leave.  I also felt that maybe this would be good for me, so I endured it.

When we broke for lunch, I still hadn’t produced anything ‘from deep inside’, and one of the women mentioned that she was drawing her guardian angel, and I decided to do the same, except my theme was more about darkness and light.

I couldn’t bring myself to represent the darkness, so I chose solemnity and joy.

Here’s my final piece:

 

It feels very juvenile to me, although I worked hard on it.  I’ve always wanted to draw and feel jealous of those who can, but my talent lies elsewhere.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

One Of My Obsessions

kristin.eonline.com - "Monk: 100 Episodes...
Image via Wikipedia

Tony Shalhoub won’t leave me alone.  O.k., he doesn’t know me, but the guy keeps appearing in my dreams, and pops into my head at random moments.  And, to be fair, it’s not Mr. Shalhoub himself, but his character as he appeared in Monk.  Watching that show actually prepared me somewhat for my current job with a persnickety boss.

The office needs to be prepared to be opened in the way my boss, who is also a practitioner of mine, expects.  When I was trained to work there, I learned that everything is set up in a particular way, with items set in an exact position, and an atmosphere is established.

I understand that on a practical level and accept it, but I also see where it’s very high maintenance.  I don’t care because I’m not a full-time employee, nor am I all that invested in my part-time job there, but I’ve also dealt with a megalomaniac cult leader, and his followers, so my boss is a piece of cake.  I want to laugh whenever one of my office mates tries to soften my boss’s peculiarities with facial gestures and other body language because I’ve seen so much worse in my life.  My boss’s requirements at least make sense.

Part of me wants to tell the other workers that not only am I perceptive, I also don’t judge or begrudge my boss his standards and requirements.  My job is to do what I’m asked, as long as it doesn’t compromise my integrity in any way.

Anyway, back to Mr. Shalhoub: I think he’s one of the best actors I’ve ever watched, and his comic timing is impeccable.  I am so jealous of his talent and skill, and just want to meet him and hang out with him, hoping that some of his genius rubs off on me.  His wife, Brooke Adams, is also a wonderful actor, and I met her briefly when I was a kid and she was filming a few scenes in a movie that I can’t even remember the name of, and doesn’t seem to be listed anywhere online, but the scene I watched was of her getting in a car and driving several hundred feet and getting out.  She had to do the scene over quite a few times.  It was my first exposure to film-making, and I was absolutely enamored with it.  I knew I wanted to be an actor since I was about ten, so it was a special thrill to see part of a movie being made locally.

Maybe I’ll meet Mr. Shalhoub one of these days, but I think it’s cool that his work has impacted me regardless of whether I ever know him or not.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

May The Fourth Be With You

I’m sure that will be the title of quite a few blog entries today, but I couldn’t resist!

My son would get upset with me when he would eat with his hands when he was little and I’d say “use the fork, Luke!”  He’d yell at me that his name wasn’t Luke!  Now he just rolls his eyes if I ever say it.  I love Star Wars.  I vacillated between wanting to be Princess Leia, and wanting to marry Luke Skywalker.  Then I wanted to reincarnate as Princess Leia and marry Han Solo.  I wasn’t really up on the whole reincarnation concept.

I don’t believe in reincarnation – and even if it’s real regardless of my belief, I don’t ever want to come back here anyway.  A sincere fantasy of mine is wondering what it would have been like to grow up in a good-enough family.  Maybe I would have turned out exactly the same with all the same issues, but I doubt it.  I would have been braver, and I would have had tangible support.  My parents would have brought me to music lessons, or helped me learn how to pursue my dreams.  I do my best now – and I also have a large network of people who care – some I’ve never even met, and that’s what matters, but it would be nice if it wasn’t so taxing.  I am proud that I was a mostly good parent for my son, and presented him with many opportunities and supported his choices when he took the initiative to try new things.  I think that being present with him was my best gift to him, and regardless of my mistakes, he knows I did the best I could.

When my son was a sophomore in high school, starting the college process, he was being courted by dozens of colleges.  I cried when all the college applications and information starting pouring into our mailbox because it was so outside of my experience.  Those colleges wanted him, or at least wanted him to apply.  I applied at the only college I imagined would take me – our local community college – and then only because of my friend’s prodding.  Once there, it was one of my professors who suggested I apply to Smith College to finish my degree.  I looked at him and told him I wasn’t smart enough to go to a school like that.  He smiled, put his hand on my shoulder, and said: “Just apply”.

I was accepted that summer, on a full scholarship, and I was terrified.  I moved on campus and began what has become one of the most important experiences of my life.  I didn’t get a terrific job when I graduated, because I was still me, with all my untreated trauma issues, and there was a glut of English majors on the market then.  I was told by one potential employer to ‘go back and get a science or math degree’.  That’s what was really needed at that time.  I sent out a hundred applications and got two job interviews, neither of which hired me.

I finally found work as an office assistant, and was dreadfully unhappy.  Then I found work at a daycare, but only lasted there eight months.  I liked kids, but it was an overwhelming job, and was too close to home with some of the abused kids we worked with.  Then I was told of a band audition coming up and I went.  I was hired as a singer, and sang with them for a year, meeting my son’s father, the keyboardist.  We had a whirlwind romance and I was pregnant in two months.  He wanted me to not have the baby, but I felt differently, so I told him I’d leave and never bother him again, but I wasn’t giving up the baby.  A few days later he told me he thought about it and he wanted to stay with me, so he was resigned to my having the baby.  We tried to make our relationship work, but I think it was doomed from that day.

Our son is now in college, a bright young man who is very much his own person.  I wish he had a relationship with his father now that he’s older, and I talk about his dad with him on occasion.  Our son feels that it was his father’s job to keep in touch with him no matter what.  Maybe I should tell him it could be worse; his father could have turned out to be Darth Vader.  Of course, Darth Vader did redeem himself at the end.  I know life doesn’t often end on a positive note – it usually just ends.  I hope my son reconciles with his father because even if they don’t go on to enjoy a close relationship, he won’t be left with the regret of a wasted chance.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.