an old wives tale at nautilus teachings


one old wives tale states,
“if the first tear you cry
comes from your right eye,
it is happiness.
if it comes from your left,
it is pain and sadness…”
it is 115 days
until her 54th birthday
when the first tear
gently glides
down her cheek
from her right eye.
for a few more minutes
her eye continues to leak.
frustrated because
she is running late
and now will have to apply
more mascara
she raises her hand to
catch yet another tear.
this one slides down her nail
as she catches the
salty wetness with her tongue.
she stares at her reflection,
patiently waiting.
when it stops
she applies the eye liner
and mascara
while at the same time
noticing the tiny lines which
now live at eyes edge…
the beginning of her countdown
to age 55 has begun-
as sadness washes over her
it engulfs her
and just when she is about
to spiral downward,
her two golden-doodles
Finn and Reef begin barking.
this snaps her back to reality.
She has spent the last 12 years
of her life
untethering herself
from the corner of protection
she has built, which houses
every memory of pain.
each one has been taped up
painted over and colored
with healing images.
she made a decision long ago,
on that hot day she remember so well…

it was the last time his fist
made contact with her,
but not the last day
words would be hurled at her…
this was the day she knew
it was time to be born again
being rooted in faith
she dared to walk the path
filled with courage, strength and a voice…
slowly she began to rise up
one baby step at a time…
it was the day she folded herself
into the corner,
placed her hands upon each memory
and kissed the walls goodbye
as a tear fell from her right eye…
could it be that she had truly
found happiness?
was there truth in this
old wives tale?
and, why now,
in her 54th year-
the one,
that if history repeats itself-
would be her last…
why would she begin
each day
with a cascading of
tearful happiness?
it had now been two solid weeks
of the morning dew
gracing her right cheek.
was there a message in it?
she decides to stop analyzing
this minuscule event,
chalk it up to allergies
and move on.
her eyes land upon
the red wooden steps
on the far side
of her boxed life.
she takes a deep breath in,
places one
mother may i step
in front of the other and decides
today, she will begin her climb.
she reaches under the steps
and pulls our her
red ball tennies of her childhood.
these were her magic shoes.
the ones that gave her
flight through the woods,
down the hill,
across the bridge,
hiding her safely
behind one of the
large, gnarly oak trees.
the place she felt
closest to God.
she would still herself here,
feeling her heart
nearly beating out of her tiny chest,
close her eyes
and cry out,
“God, please make me a fish
so i can swim far, far away…”

only then
would she calm,
her breathing slow
and she would muster up
the courage to peek around
the tree,
hoping to see a clear path ahead…
most times she did just that
and would continue on
her day,
singing, giggling and talking
to her imaginary friends,
wise old mr. hawksbill and
fancy finns the mermaid.
the coast was clear.
she looked up toward
the bright sun,
and whispered,
“thank you, God…”
a few steps into her journey
she is tackled from behind.
she knew to succumb,
knew fighting back
only made this
temporary torture worse.
she gazes up at him-
he is smiling
as she screams,
“get off of me, i’m telling mom …”
she places the shoes
back behind the steps
and walks barefoot
onto the first
steps landing.
her gaze is up
toward blue,
toward the light
which calls her name
and fills her with
grace and love.
she knows this love.
it is unconditional
and has been her secret
her entire life.
today she will
begin to ascend
the red wooden steps.
she will unravel
her knotted up memories
and share them for
the world to see…