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        Fifi was a spoiled brat. A beautiful blonde with golden shimmery highlights the sun loved to kiss. A petite and precious perpetually pouting prima donna. Kissed by the gods. Born to be worshipped and adored. A summery child with golden hair and fair of face. Not a trace of interest in anything or anyone else. She need not seek attention as others were drawn to her and lived neath her spell. Pampered, powdered, perfectly dressed. Fifi did not follow trends in fashion, she created them. What she disliked, she dismissed. What she craved was given, what she was given she used up and threw away.

        Fifi was a spoiled brat. She knew it. She liked it that way. Her way. She took it and everyone around her for granted. Fifi did what she wanted to do when she wanted to do it. In her time on your dime. Fifi never waited as she was waited upon. Never early or on time, rather, fashionably late. Fifi fashion.

        As she grew, the less she knew. Sitting in the front row, a sunny sight to behold, the teacher's pet with no regret. She picked her playmates one day and cast them aside the next. A line of admirers ready and willing to sit in her shadow. To flatter and please, only to be tortured and teased.

        A photogenic poseur, Fifi landed the perfect role. In front of the cameras, all eyes and lenses focused on her face. Listeners leaning in on her every word. A commentator. Sitting in her slightly higher, slightly softer, buttery yellow leather seat, able to dismiss her guests with a slight swivel and a simple shrug. Guests taken in by her steady gaze of sincere interest, which truly was merely her focus on the screen just behind their heads. Fifi was sincerely interested. Fifi could never get enough of..of..Fifi.

        Others did. Over time, the line of admirers began to fade, just about the time Fifi's roots needed a touch up. Just about the time the lines around her petty pout decided to rise up and pop out. What had always come so naturally for Fifi, began to droop and sag. For what goes up, shall we say, must come down. And that is how we find Fifi in the middle of a frown, driving fast across town, to make her first appointment of the day, to lift the breasts now gone astray.

        And on this day, garbed in a paper gown, the curtain on the perfect life comes down. This is the beginning of the Fifi tale, that infinitesimally small and silent space that marks her epic fall from grace.

        The doctor's hand patted and probed her perfect body, then stopped. She drew a breath and asked with tender care, "When was your last mammogram?"

        Fifi barely heard the question. Fifi didn't make appointments, her assistant did. Fifi never looked for flaws or lumps or bumps. Oh, true, she found them and marked them on others, brought them into sharp focus, pointed them out with heady advice. But she, no she, had never traced the outlines of her shape or form. She had never cared, because the care was always there. So she made a mental note, the first of its kind, to chastise her aide for missing the mark. For dismissing the memo. She waved her hand as if to brush aside the question, and returned to the most important subject in the room, herself.

        No, the doctor said. No, Fifi, no. You must go. If you love yourself, as I know you do, you must do what's best for you.

        Fifi stomped her way to the parking lot, wadding up the appointment form in her hand, furious that someone could be so bold and so cold to deny her what she wanted to do. She would find someone else. Someone she could flatter and please. Someone in her corner. Someone on her side. Someone malleable and eager to appease.

        After five different tries, Fifi sat at her dressing table fist clenched around the paper, four other crumpled sheets resting at her feet. Okay she thought. Okay. Okay. I will do it your way. Just this once. She gritted her teeth and forged ahead. Sitting in the waiting room. head held high, her blonde hair agleam, Fifi realized no one had noticed her entrance. Paid her heed. Acknowledged her presence. All the other women in the room sat head down, eyes buried in the blur of randomly flipped magazine pages.

        Her name called. There. That was better. Fifi. Fifi. Fifi.

        A lot of very personal poking and prodding and pushing and twisting her body into uncomfortable positions. Pressing. Pressing. Down. The woman who held her in her hands, spoke her name so softly and tenderly, Fifi wondered if they had met somewhere before. Then she led Fifi to a small cubicle, gently pulled the paper cape back over her chest, and told her to wait.

        So Fifi sat. In the gap.

        The gap between now and then.

        The time between stop and go.

        The solitary time between what is now and what will soon be.

        The gap between HERE and THERE.


        And for the first time in her richly blessed life, afraid.

        The first word she heard. Afraid. From the woman standing in front of her, a paper in hand. I'm afraid we've found something that requires additional attention. A biopsy. Further tests. Is there someone you'd like to call? No, said Fifi, no one at all.

        And that is how we find her, alone and afraid, with the results laid out on the desk, and her mind and heart racing to keep up with all the technicalities, the plots, the plans. Details. So many details. So much to absorb. To handle. Alone. She has no one to call, well not true, but the ones she might call have caller ID. Plus, she could not have anyone see her in this state. Agitated and anguished. The bruises and the stitches and her hair in a shower cap. Rolling down the hallway, under the glare of fluorescent, unflattering light. No, she would keep her own counsel. She would do it her way, soon, she told herself, soon. I will do what I want when I want to do it, again, very soon.

        It was her hair. Her fair and shiny hair that let her down. In clumps on the bottom of her shower and nestled in her brush. As the towel slipped to the floor, Fifi lifted her eyes to the mirror, her reflection pool, in a desperate attempt to find herself waiting there. What she found staring back at her was not was NOT. So Fifi wrote her name on the washcloth in bold red lipstick letters and held it up to the mirror, an act of defiance, see-me-here-this-is-FIFI...

        There beside her reflection in the mirror...the red letters plain enough for all to see...IFIF...IFIF...IF only IF...

        Fifi covered her face with her hands and in a soft voice so unlike her own, five whispered words hung in the air...

        Please. Do. Not. Forget. Me.

        Deep in a forest glen, standing tall and sure in the light pouring through the canopy overhead, Eunice Everlasting, Yard Yeti Emeritus, gathered the words into her hand and flung them into the night sky. Immediately, five little pinpricks of light echoed back in radiant flashes.

We. Will. Not. Forget. You.

        The next day, as Fifi sat very still watching the drip, drip of her IV, a woman, seated next to her, said nothing at all, merely reached over and took her hand.

And Fifi said. I will never forget you.

        Later, when Fifi sat in the chair while the stylist shaved her head clean, another woman sat at her side, bald as well, with a basket of wigs. They tried them on together and laughed at their silly poses in massive pompadours of red curls and black cleopatra bangs. Fifi took her hand in her own.

And Fifi said. I will never forget you.

        After her reconstructive surgery, when every part of her being hurt and swelled, a woman sat beside her and helped her sip through a straw. She smiled encouragement and told her that life would be better soon. Fifi leaned into her hug.

And Fifi said. I will never forget you.

        In Physical Therapy, when Fifi could barely raise her arm over her head, the woman, her therapist, said, "Good for you Fifi. Good for you."

And Fifi said. I will never forget you.

        When Fifi went in for her follow up appointment, the doctor, the one she had dismissed with such disgrace, smiled and said, "Off you go now. Off you go."

Fifi said. I will never forget you. I hope you will forgive me.

        The doctor, a stunning blonde, with extraordinary high and low lights, lifted a tiny corner of her wig, and said, "No more If Only Fifi. Forgive and forget. Forget and forgive. She tied a string around Fifi's little finger.

To help her remember, to never forget and to always forgive.

Over the years, Fifi tied more and more little strings around her ankles, her wrists and her fingers and her toes. Never to forget. Always to forgive. One day, as she was running a marathon for breast cancer awareness, a woman asked Fifi where she got her bracelets and if she could have one too. Fifi went home and began to gather strings and beads and markers. She worked hours into the night, making bracelets and anklets, in the wildest shades of pink, all with the same message...

We. Will. Never. Forget. You.

        Five little lights blinked on the horizon and FIfi rose to see the flash. There, in her garden, the women of care, the ones whose love held her dear, motioned her close. And there, in the midst of the love that never forgets, the love light that blinks just between eyes closed and the coming of sleep, Fifi Forget-Me-Not joined the Yard Yeti Women Of Lore.

        Fifi felt the rush of joy flood her cheeks and the yellow petals cascade down around her face. Her reflection no longer seen in the pool, but now in the eyes of the women tying bracelets to their wrists.

The Yard Yetis Extraordinaire.


Chapter 8 | Chapter 10


Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29