Bella stretched the elasticized material and shoved in her right leg. Then her left, much like her grandmother squeezed ground meat into casings during the high holidays. She pulled and tugged and rearranged the bulges in the midsection of her body. It’d be easier, she huffed, if she exercised and watched what she ate rather than fight the Spanx war, but the battle was not food related. Age had brought on undesirable flabs.
She smoothed her dress, satisfied everything was held tightly in place. Her eyes fixed on her neck. No amount of Spanx could stretch or hide those lines.
“Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men,” said Jesus, according to Matthew 4:19. And it has been thus ever since. And it has been the basis of most religions, whether Mormon, Scientologist, Muslim, Catholic. All religion counts on recruiting new members and increasing its population to find the way to eternal life. Why so much strife, then? Why brother against brother in the name of salvation? We need to strip down to our bare essentials and reconfigure what is truly important and necessary in our individual lives. And then, maybe then, in our humility, we’ll embrace each other.
A sea of blues blanketed Times Square. Turquoise, navy, denim, periwinkle, sapphire, powder, azure, just to name a few. I fell out of step with most commuters in my black and white outfit. For a minute, I felt like the odd man out who forgot to tune into WBLS. Every morning I woke to the smooth jive of Frankie Crocker. His morning chatter included weather, celebrity gossip, and horoscope tidbits. More importantly, he announced the color of the day. Then and only then I’d get up, ensuring my attire reflected Crocker’s all important choice. That was our high school solidarity.
When days grow longer, so long that the sun barely sets and water flows again, circulatory systems pump anew and all that was hidden surfaces. Pete emerges from his home and assesses winter’s damage. The roof needs repairs, a window or two need replacing, the truck needs new brakes. He schedules part-time jobs—waiting tables, guiding tours, pumping gas. Enough, just enough to make his own repairs, stock up for the long winter, and save the prudent 20 percent. When the days get shorter and tourists leave, he breathes again, at peace that he earned his place in this world.
Their busy lives centered on words whether spoken, written, or performed. Some graded papers, some read, and others interpreted through dance movements or artistic strokes. Whatever form they chose, they offered tiny glimpses into their lives as well as their individual world views. They presented snippets of life in this vast universe by crafting words. Word by word, they formed sentences. The sentences became paragraphs, and they wished more than anything that others would read their words voraciously. So this group of women with nothing yet everything in common gave thanks for the mysteries of life that bring people together.
“Reach far away from your body and gently lift your hips.”
I remained still. How do I command my core to move without assistance from the extremities? Should I blink my eyes like Jeannie and magically float? I turned my head to the right and saw a few baffled like me, but most had lifted their hips high enough to sweep their hands beneath. Allison saw my struggle.
“Press your arms and hands hard on the floor. Dig in your heels. Tighten your stomach.”
It worked! It boiled down to my body’s teamwork. That’s what my 100-word-group is all about.