thereby hangs a tale

Life’s meaning is not from distant, lofty examples of public recognition of personal achievements. It can be found in everyday life; however, it may seem trifle or prosaic. For me, I see my mom in her old, invalid self whose back is arched like a bow and her left knee immobile and think she has reached the stage of the Old Woman as presented by Shakespeare’s poetic view of human life composed of Seven Stages of Man. Gone are the days of parental tyranny built on tirades, a rant of frustration, ire of a disappointed expectation, and a delusion of estrangement. Without the queen’s mighty power, she is now approaching the age of oblivion with one foot in the threshold of the last stage of a play called life.

I have recently read Samuel Johnson’s essay on authoritarian parenting. Johnson must have written it out of his childhood experience or observation from others. Johnson follows the Aristotelian definition of parenting as being naturally tyrannical. He admonishes the dysfunctional effects on the child’s mind and body, subject to the illogical rants of inordinate temper and crude ignorance on the part of the parent. To be a good parent requires no occasion for the assistance of high education or social standing of recognition, but unconditional love and understanding springing from the parent’s heart. A good parent encourages, nourishes, and loves the child who will return the jewels of parentship at the Latter Stages of Man. Therefore, it is all over but the shouting that a parent whose intermittent bouts of uncontrolled tantrum inflict pain and exact terror on the child will live in malignity of the disaffected child who mistreats now the old, infirm parent without the presence of love and warmth. What a pity.

Upon reading the essay, I saw the images of a young mom, mature mom, and old mom screened in a phantasmagorial display of the ancient time on a mind’s theater. From childhood until now, mom I have known is lonely, living in her castle where no one would bother or scare her fragile sensitivity that feels too much to confront life’s realities, including parenthood. How I will think of her as a parent is a foregone conclusion not with spite but with sympathy. With her left knee immovable by the osteoporosis combined with calcification in tibial arteries, I now only see an older woman on the verge of extreme pathos about the life she did not like much, among which her regret of not being an ideal mother. Although Johnson had a point in admonishing harsh parentship without love producing revengeful quid pro quo consequences, I cannot turn my shoulders away from my mom, who has none but me to take care of her in this world. I remember Mother Teresa pleading to all of us that charity begins right at home. That’s what I feel when I see my mom asleep like a baby. And thereby hangs a tale.

swept away – chapter one

3334d704022e42fad10b32d8694af248It wasn’t love at first sight, really. Although one look at him would suffice to appreciate the principle of beauty incarnate in his statuesque figure, it wasn’t the tall, well-toned body that she fell for. It was the eyes that played upon her usual stoic inner world, sweeping it in the whirlwind of unquenchable longing, wanting, and yearning: big, brown, warm, passionate, soulful, and doleful, all the marbles of his spirit sparkled in the windows of his soul. The faculty of her mind worked with her imagination in the peculiar alchemy of infatuation and turned the rut of life into a theater of fanciful motion pictures about love. That was what made her go through her existential life. For she always had to be in love with someone fictional, nonfictional in the highest ether of her imagination. For that was what she subsisted on to give her a burst of zest for life. What others would think of her was not her savior vivendi because she belonged to her class of her own, her own world of dreams and wishes, which was her own only in her muliebral meditation.

Alas, poor Iris! I know her, my dear reader! She was a descendant of Dido, a human-bred fairy whose lineage belonged to Clytie, who pined away for her unrequited love for Apollo and became Sunflower. For her own person, Iris beggared all description: tall, slender, beautiful, she was something of a Cassandra whose words were regarded as hallucinated riddles in divine madness as her punishment to refuse Apollo’s love. Maybe it was Iris’s cool, reserved aura from her being that held back romantic advances from men. But she was none other than a mortal woman with none other than woman’s reason, so she always found her love interest in men whose stars were high above in the nightly skies. Hence, she was invisible to any of them and existent to none of them like a wandering spirit, traveling the boundary of this world and the Netherworld at night. But Iris was content in that surreptitious way of unrequited love without a litany of woes and pains that relationship was fated to bring.

Always searching, always dreaming, Iris now found her Aeneas in him. But this time she wanted to manifest her beautiful self before his beautiful eyes because every part of her somatic existence ached for his attention and her spirit invoked divine intervention to charm his anima. She did not want to be like Clytie whose echo was still haunting in Valley of the Lonely Hearts. That was why Iris went to a wise woman known for her witchcraft of love spells and pharmaka, the ancient Greek love potion believed to be invented by Goddess Ceres. Iris’s preferential choice would be a love spell, which she thought would fit her secret purpose in the most portent way. With this secret machination of love, Iris resolved to make a trip to Arcadia, where the witch was already waiting for her because she knew she would come to her.

Smell the Coffee and Smile

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“Holiday~ Celebrate~” with Madonna singing ebulliently in celebration of her holiday from the radio, Sally woke up to the tune and stepped into a hello brand new day. It was also a beginning of a three-day long Labor Day holiday weekend, and Sally was only glad to stay away from the city chockablock with rushing cars and the usually slightly ireful and forever impatient drivers as well as lumpish pedestrians with luggage, perambulators, shopping bags, and suitcases. So she decided to opt for a quiet leisure of her own comprising reading books she had ordered at the recommendation of the last week’s The Avonlean Book Review. But first, Sally had to have her morning coffee with a nice breakfast meal at Hush Puppy’s. Otherwise, she would be grumpy all day long, and that would certainly not be a way to make her day pleasant.


Her favorite coffee of a day was always hot hazelnut-flavored with half-and-half because it tasted very smoothly sweet without sugar. She thought that Hush Puppy’s hazelnut coffee was the best in town. But Ms. Long, the proprietor of the establishment had recently been worried about a low sales net of her famous coffee because the city council egged on by a group of hypochondriacs was going to put soon warning labels on coffee cups that would say “Acrylamide contained in this coffee may cause a risk of cancer.” Sally knew it from the articles in the Times and thought it was always the people like Ms. Long whose honest-to-goodness way of running business consorting with her moral character and faith that suffered the waves of unfair backlash from the public. Indignant at such injustice, Sally wanted to cheer up Ms. Long in any way she could do within her ability and measure.

IMG_3995“Ms. Long, your hazelnut coffee is one of the best in the town, and I told it to all my friends and colleagues at work and suggested them they come by here.They are not hypochondriacs or bombastic health freaks at all. I mean what can coffee possibly do harm on people? The eminent Baroque composer Bach once said without a cup of hot coffee, he would be like a grilled goat. and as far as I am concerned, I have never heard of any one who has died from drinking too much coffee.” There was a flicker of smile flitting in the gracefully aged face that shinned with her incorruptible beauty from within. Ms. Long had never felt more comforted and warm than ever in her long life as a spinster. “Thank you, Sally, for your caring words. I will continue to make the best hazelnut coffee just for you.” There was in the air something that filled the whole of Hush Puppy’s at the moment. It was wonderfully conflated with the aroma of Sally’s hazelnut coffee that Ms. Long had just finished brewing. Sally’s spirit was flitting in the loveliness of the ambience, soaking herself in the moment of happiness coming from within. It sure was a pleasant morning for Sally.