When I was little, I was a kid. And when I was a kid, I did things because I wanted to do them. I had no insurgent idea about right and wrong or good and bad.
I just was.
Others instilled inside of me the fears, doubts, hopes, dreams, love, hate, good and bad that leaked inside me and I carried this into society as I grew.
That’s how it goes.
One day, I was standing in my grandmother’s yard, awed by the beauty of flowers by the front step. Their bright petals with the dark colored faces stunned my thoughts as I stood motionless; the beauty captivated my little mind and I needed to be closer.
I bent down and smelled the brilliant blooms and just like that, I plucked the delicate flower from its bed.
I plucked it for my own selfish needs – for no other reason. I just wanted it.
I stole its little life.
I skipped away with my new trophy.
I would steal flower lives intermittently as my life swirled and changed. They were so pretty, so magical.
I wanted to be like the flowers I picked.
Then one day long after that day…
It didn’t matter how many flowers I picked.
They would always die. And so would my happiness.
Later, after many withered flower carcasses…
I let the flowers just be – as I just was – and I would visit them.
Leaves crunched under Becca’s feet as she walked toward the gazebo. She remembered to get flowers other than roses this time to spare her hands. A chill pierced through her pants as she sat on the curved, marble bench under the big oak tree and sighed.
“I can’t believe I am here again. I swore I’d never come back,” she whispered and looked at the gazebo on the hill, amazed at the thick mass of starlings that sat atop looking back.
“You’ll always come back. Always,” Charlie said, a touch of exasperation in his voice.
“What’s your problem?” Becca asked as she laid the lilies on the bench next to her.
“My problem is you said you were gonna come with me and yet here we are, still arguing about it. The flowers are pretty. Too bad they’re not roses.”
Becca pursed her lips, “Yeah, well, I had second thoughts. And the roses hurt my hands, not that you give a damn.”
“Second thoughts? We made a pact, remember? A promise?” Charlie said and stood in front of her.
“Did we? I don’t remember saying anything of the sort. Besides, you know how I feel about heights.”
Charlie laughed and moved closer. “You know how I feel about roses. And it’s not like you’d feel anything.”
“I guess I am supposed to be afraid of you now or something?” Becca scoffed and stood up.
“Okay, okay. I’m sorry, please don’t leave yet. I just want to talk,” Charlie pleaded and knelt on the ground. “Please.”
“Fine. But I already told you that I am staying here,” she said. “I like it here.”
“What? Are you kidding me? Six months ago you told me you hated it and wanted out. Remember? Remember that conversation at the cliff? We cut our hands and joined them for eternal solidarity? That conversation is why I’m here and you’re there.” Charlie walked over to the tree and tried to lean against it, his efforts in vain. “You’ve got no sense of loyalty.”
“Yes, Charlie. I remember. I remember everything. That’s the problem. Do you know what else I remember?”
A stiff breeze raked the temperature down as storm clouds claimed victory over the sun.
“Don’t.” He said and laid on the ground.
“Why are you lying down?” Becca asked as she zipped up her jacket. “I’m trying to tell you how I feel.”
“It’s exhausting, all this walking and talking. It’s different for me now.” He sat up slowly and looked at the flowers.
Becca laughed, “Different.” Her upper lip quivered as she rubbed her arms. “Seems the same to me, always blowing me off.”
“Are you going to cry? Don’t cry. I’m telling you, if you listened to me, things would be great.”
“I always listened to you and things were never great,” Becca shouted.
“Come on, it’s wonderful, I promise. I keep my promises,” he slid the dig in and Becca narrowed her eyes. “Do you still have the bottle? Did you bring it?”
Becca looked back at the car on the dirt road, “No.”
Charlie stared at her emotionless. “You’re lying. I know when you’re lying and I can tell you’re lying. Go get it. Come on, go get it.” He said and crossed his arms.
Becca walked over to the headstone, “Why are you doing this to me? You haunt my dreams, I smell you all the time and…” she trailed off as she watched Charlie move slowly toward her.
“Don’t you miss me, Becca? Don’t you miss me touching you and kissing you?” Charlie said as he extended his arms in her direction, a solemn look crossing his face.
Becca plopped down on the bench and pressed her face in her hands, “Yes. I miss you, I swear I do.” She sobbed.
“Then come on, we can be together forever. We can be lovers again and not worry about anything. It’s so beautiful. Please, Becca. Don’t be selfish,” Charlie said as he sat next to her on the bench.
Becca stood up. “Okay,” she said and walked back to the car.
She returned holding a small, brown bottle with a tattered ivory label. The type face had been worn off from years of handling.
“You did bring it!” Charlie said.
“Yes, because I had to show you how I really feel.”
“Oh sweetheart, finally we can be together forever,” Charlie whispered and stepped close to Becca’s body. She expected to feel heat or cold – something, emanating from his body.
She opened the bottle, looked into Charlie’s empty, black eyes and placed the cap into her front pocket. Then, she turned the bottle upside down and watched the liquid poor out onto the parched grass.
“What are you doing?” Charlie gasped. “I thought you wanted to be with me forever? Are you insane?”
“I changed my mind, Charlie.”
“You can’t do that. You promised. I’ll keep haunting you. I told you we’d be together forever. I wasn’t kidding, you know.”
“I know. It’s a chance I have to take, Charlie,” Becca said and threw the flowers on the grave. The starlings chattered and flew off together as Becca walked up the path.
In today’s world it seems like more take and take than give and take. When did everyone become so selfish? I’ve experienced over the years that the more we give, the more we get.
Here are some ways to give back. This helps out our neighbors, our community and our military. Giving back makes us feel like thrusting out our chest feathers and shouting, “I’m awesome! Look what selfless act I just did.”
Our troops are overseas and not feeling many of the warm elements of home. Warm them up with a cup of coffee. On the site, you can choose the amount of the donation you’d like to give. You can even add a personal message. The coffee goes to random U.S. Troops that are extremely grateful for your generosity. I have sent coffee to troops and the thank you messages I received were very heart warming.
What better way to give than actually giving part of yourself. On the Redcross website, there is information on the types of blood that are in high demand, what not to do before you decide to donate blood and locations to donate. If you are a first time donor, there is a link to click on that tells you about what to do prior to, during and after giving blood. Diet is important in blood donations, so cut out the fat and drink a lot of water before you head out to give blood.
As an animal lover, this is my go to site when I have a little extra cash and am feeling generous. Since the ASPCA is a non-profit organization, they need all the help and money they can get. Another great way to help out the ASPCA is to spread the word. With social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, it is easy to share a link and ask others to help out.
Since time seems like something that we can really ever afford to give away these days why not give some to those who could really use your help. At this site, all you do enter your location and a keyword of the kind of volunteer work you’d like to participate. A detailed list will pop up with various links of charities or organizations that need your help. Even better, you can register on the site for free to receive email updates and sign up for the newsletter.
This is a great website. You can browse by category and go through the different charities. You may even stumble on a charity you didn’t even know existed like Crime Prevention or Arts & Culture. The site has links on getting started and tips on giving every day like 50 ways to save animals, most of which involve a lot of common sense and very little money. Also, it has some useful information on ways to give time without overexerting yourself. This is wonderful because a lot of us do not volunteer our time because we have so little of it.
Hopefully this has helped you figure out a few ways to help some fellow neighbors, strangers or furry friends out. Donating time, money and belongings is a wonderful way to give back. Not to mention, it really amps up our self-esteem when we do selfless acts of random kindness.