Gladys Gerbera, Yard Yeti Of Lore, stands barefoot in the shallows of a creek, the tiny waves a reminder of a distant shore. A long ago memory laps at her feet. Now, Gladys is THERE. Where she belongs. Where she is meant to be. Her tiny frame no longer head down and hunched as if walking through a gale. Instead, her spine straight, her head up, her eyes clear, and her face framed by a cascade of shocking pink petals of Gerbera Daisy. Her mouth, a tiny shockingly pink "o" of wonder. Perched on her shoulder, a hummingbird, its wings pulsating at 60 beats per second, fluttering a soothing rhythm against her cheek. The fact that Gladys can count each wisp of wing, from one to sixty, once caused her great alarm. About turned her batty. Her heart racing to keep up with her counting. Her pulse quickening until she was breathless. A need to run and no where to go. Gladys Gerbera knows now, how to be still. And so she is, even as the memories wash over, no longer an unchecked flood, but rather a steady stream of conscious remembrance of the journey from HERE to THERE.
A fussy baby. A colicky child. A shy toddler cowering behind her mother's skirt. Alone on the playground. An anxious adolescent. An adult in absentia. Not comfortable in crowds. Uneasy in chaos. Nervous in noise. More than occasionally overwhelmed. Gladys walks through life on a thrumming humming wire. Energy flows not only around her, but to such a degree, that she startles at the slightest touch. Her personal sonar detects the smallest move or shake. Her ready radar on the fly she swats a second before it lands on her arm. Her sense of smell attuned to the scent of a rose, not yet even in bloom.
Gladys knows that she is different, because everyone tells her so. Points her out. Sets her apart. Paints a red arrow over her head. A wild eyed child. An emotional wreck. A nervous Nellie. A suspicious mind. A control freak. A hypochondriac. Out of control. Neurotic. A worrier. A hand wringer. A pacing go-go-go girl, easily diagnosable on over seventy-seven pages of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorderlies.
Mellow out, people say. Chill. No big deal. Nothing to see here. You worry too much. Ah, that's nothing. You'll get over it. Why are you so upset? Give it a rest. Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't take it so personally. Don't get hysterical. Relax. Have a drink, it'll take the edge off. See a shrink. Pop a pill. Have your colors done. Get your chakras read. Zen on Zen. Get over yourself. Get a grip.
Gladys gets a grip. She learns how to clench her fists and grit her teeth. Grinds her molars in her sleep. Keeps her worries to herself. Then keeps herself entirely to herself. Disappears, retreats, creeps away inside of her head to the one single solitary cell where neurons are not firing, sending out scary messages scaring her to death. A precious unencumbered space where all she hears is the sound of the ocean, the waves against the shore. The ebb and flow of the tides. A restful repetitive respite where she rested. A blanket of balm.
Comfort and calm. Until her fifty-first year. When her hormones rekindled the flame, relit the torch and the raging inferno engulfed her. Hormones run amok. A body she no longer trusted nor forgave. Not just a change of position, a tickle or a tremor. This was a shifting of the earth, a slamming of plates, in the kitchen, and in the ground underneath her feet. Her clenched fists no longer hidden in her pockets, her grin and bear it, now a grimace and wear it. No up and down seesaw swings of mood, just one long hard slog from one day to the next. The clouds in her mind fogging the path to her corner of comfort.
Tucked into her bed, between eyes closed and the coming of sleep, she felt the flash. The blast of a furnace. The melting core of a nuclear reactor. Gladys ripped the sheets off her bed, tore the clothes off her back, raced down the stairs and out into the night. A naked fireball hurtling past the garden wall. No neighbor switched on a porch light, nor called out in alarm, as this was merely Gladys, the Gladys prone to spontaneous combustion at the slightest of slights. No, everyone rolled over and fell back to sleep, as Gladys torched the turf. Every cell in her being propelled by the energy she stored in her innermost self, hidden away like the AA batteries she kept in her purse for emergency use only. If she could not find the ocean waves in the tiny corner that was left of her mind, she would find the ocean in the wild and fling herself in. Put herself out. There was nothing, nothing else left to do.
On a distant shore, Eunice Everlasting, Yard Yeti Extraordinaire, a very light sleeper, a hypersensitive soul, felt a heartwarming glow. Over the roar of the ocean and the pounding of the surf, Eunice heard the flutter of a hummingbird's wings halfway around the world. The difference between Eunice and Gladys, is that Gladys considered her hypersensitivity a curse. Eunice, treasured her Highly Sensitive Personality, as a gift. Eunice arched an eyebrow, swept her hands up high over her pompous pompadour and pursed her tiny mouth into the silent "O" of wonder. Then she inhaled a deep breath and exhaled into the ocean mist.
On the other side of the world, Gladys wondered silently in the moonlight, the kind where the fog forms a soft halo and the air is much too warm for the season...could someone come sit beside me, slip their hand into mine and whisper, everything will be all right?
Instead, a breath, as light as a helium filled balloon, lifted her up, floating her across the yard, over the park, beyond the creek, bobbing under the bridge, then up up up hitching a ride on the current of air out over the ocean, salt on the tip of her tongue, kissing a mountaintop, gathering snow flakes on her eyelashes, as the air arched its back and swooned around the curve of the earth and the horizon erupted in the violet, peach, orange and yellow fireworks display of a brand new day. Gladys, holding her breath, now rides the breath of another, and gently glides to the shore landing unharmed on the soft sand. A hand reaches out, steadies her stance, and a quiet voice, like the ripple of a wave, says simply, "From Here to There is a great distance to travel alone. You never were. I heard your voice, you followed mine, and now dear Gladys, you are Home."
In the days to come, Gladys listened and learned. Hypersensitivity is not a dis-order among the Yetis, it is an order. A necessity. Yard Yetis are sensitive to high frequencies, to the flutter of hummingbird wings and a tear about to fall. Hypersensitivity is the ability to tap into your instincts. To always carry them with you or on a post it note. The ability to see what is coming before it arrives, and to know that it is gone before any hint of leaving. The ability to discern a tic, a twitch, a shrug, for what it is. A Yard Yeti is a Body Language Linguistic Specialist. Yard Yetis can look a fly in the eye before it lands on a sill. Feel the pain before the blow. Sense the sweet before the treat. Sense the heartache in another's eyes and look beyond an angry voice and see the fear.
Yard Yetis are Drama Queens. They pepper their language with adjectives that end in EST...bEST, brighEST, bravEST, boldEST, prettiEST. Most is better than More. Many are better than Few. Ultra. Ultra. Ultra. Fabulous. Magnificent. Delicious. Outstanding. Enormous. Ferocious. Grand. Preposterous. Incredible. Legendary. Spectacular. Farfetched. Mind blowing. Outrageous. Phenomenal. Extraordinary...and...
Yard Yetis, Eunice taught Gladys, are creators. Creators filled with the energy of life and the ability to transform it into something beautiful and new. Artists who cannot keep still. Artists who Must paint, or write, or dance, or sing, or tell tall tales. Artisans who vibrate to the earth's music and translate that energy into works of wonder.
Gladys Gerbera, her naked body now clad in a bright red jacket, blue jeans and yellow wellies on her feet, stands in front of an easel nestled into the grains of sand on the beach. She feels the familiar rush of heat filling her soul, but this time, instead of fearing the flash, she dips her paintbrush into the crimson palette and sweeps it across the canvas with a flourish. Brushstroke after brushstroke, she flourishes. The heat of her heart melting the colors into works of art. A vision. A vision of the brilliant sunset right in front of her face. Right where it waited, until this very moment, when she loved herself just enough to see it. Gladys Gerbera, the inventor of water colors, wades into the water, rinses her brush, and rises to the occasion.
Between eyes closed and the coming of sleep, Gladys had a hot flash and became Gladys Gerbera, Yard Yeti Of Lore. Her inhibitions tame, the painting exhibitions wild. Once ordinary and now extraordinary, highly sensitive, highly creative and extremely talented Wild Woman Running Naked In the Night. Running Naked Into the Light on the other side of the world.
Chapter 4 | Chapter 6