Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dream On

I fell in love with "Mr. Cooked" (the husband) at our 20th High School Reunion.  He was single, STILL, and I had married pretty much every man I had ever met.

No, we were NOT High School sweethearts.  YES, we spent kindergarten to 12th grade together - but in this rural, northeastern Pennsylvania town, we rolled with a completely different circle of friends.

HIS were well behaved, over achieving, ass-kissing jocks. MINE were dark, sassy, smart(asses).

The only conversation I recall having with him was during a fiery game of Ringer in the woods behind our first grade classroom.  He was shooting a beat-up, bumble bee and I was using my magic, rainbow Oily.

At 6, my marble collection was priceless.  I loved their sleek, cool, glow and the melodic CLACK that erupted when clustered inside a double tied, velvet pouch - clutched in my left hand - as I bounced my way along back county roads on my Fair Lady, Schwinn bike.

There was no way I was going to let HIM win -  he didn't care enough to wipe the chocolate milk from his chin - or that his knee was scraped, his hair had no part, and his socks didn't match. 

 Kindergarten class - Mr. Cooked in the back row, far left - ADORABLE
 Monkey ME front row, far left (not much has changed)

Because students were segregated according to the alphabet - his last name starting with "C" and mine "K" - we never shared a homeroom.  But we did share many memories...

A deliberately ignored, urgently raised, second graders hand and the steady stream of gold that roll down the checkerboard, linoleum floor.

Playing kickball with fierce intensity.

Popping asphalt tar bubbles along sizzling summer, streets.

A moment of silence, following the tragic death of Teddy Gardner, who was crushed by a trucks lift-gate when he reached for dropped Halloween candy. 

Checking sofa cushions for spilled pocket change and in victory, rushing to the corner store to buy bubble gum cigars and cherry liquorish.

Knowing its best to eat your potato pancakes AFTER riding the wicked high, roller coaster ride, at Harveys Lake.

Singing "Jeramie was a bullfrog" and "American Pie" at the top of our lungs while bouncing on tattered, green vinyl, school bus seats.

Sneaking sips of Stegmaier beer from adults playing horse shoes at Rickets Glenn. 

Getting the first day of "doe" hunting season off - and worrying about them.

Watching a man walk on the moon, from a brand new colored TV.

Attending our first concert in our high school foot ball field.  Listen to "The Buoys" play their signature song "Timothy" and contemplating its gruesome meaning.

After graduation in 1977, we were both eager to get as far away from home as possible.  He went off to college and I went off to find myself. 

I deliberately avoided the 5th, 10th, or 15th reunions.  I wasn't willing to resurface until I accomplished something.

By the time we reached our 20th, I had successfully taken over the family business, skydived, and was training to run my first marathon.

Nothing that would qualify me as an over achiever, but enough that I could hold my head, not high, but steady.

He was the first thing I saw when I walked in the door.  Corralled in a mound of jocks, with a much younger, well endowed, beauty queen locked on his left arm.

I did my best to look the other way but there was something about him.  Cool and unruffled, he kept both hands buried deep inside his pockets. His broad, sturdy shoulders offset a taut, tapered waist.  His forehead and forearms were golfed red. His eyes were ... ALIVE!

With a stiff back and an elongated stride, I aimed for the center of their sphere.

I was mildly distracted by an paunchy classmate who felt it necessary to remind me who he was.

"Remember me, I'm your class president?"
"Sorry, I don't " I answered, "I must not have voted for you."

Everyone me, but Mr. Cooked got me.  He knew I was poking fun at a man who, 20 years later, still defined himself as "my class president."

 Our first dance - in a conga line - me giving him a leis. 

This was the beginning of a long distance, unsteady, relationship.

We jumped into bed almost immediately.  Afterwords, as I laid in his arms sobbing, he looked me in the eyes and said, "I know, I love you too."

Here I discovered it was MUCH easier to be with a man I could appease than to be with a man I loved. 

To say it was a volatile relationship would be an understatement.  I wrestled daily with intense rage brewed in insecurity.  If I raised my voice he'd fall asleep - almost instantly.  Seated on the couch, his head would bob back and his eyes would roll shut.

He accused me of being addicted to drama.  I accused him of being emotionally inept.

His weekends in Connecticut, rolled into weekday interviews, and when he landed a job, he moved in.

But I had more than my share of doubts.  He had never lived with a woman and I was convinced he had relocated to escape a sleepy economy.

Because he was a non communicator, I had no idea who he was.  In search of clues, I snooped through his brief case, broke into his internet account, sifted through his closet, drawers, and file cabinets.

Late one night, while rummaging through a perfectly lined row of slacks, I discovered a hideous pair of plaid pants in a loud pattern of teal, magenta, royal and lime green. My best guess is that these were a vintage pair of his Sunday bests, but why would anyone hold onto something this visibly offensive?

I didn't want to hurt his feelings but I also didn't want to be seen in public with him wearing them, so I hide them in the back of his closet under a slightly weathered, golf shirt.

Out of sight was NOT out of mind.

I told my mother and sister about them.  They were eager to poke fun at a man who owned such a gaudy garment.

I told friends, coworkers, even my therapist about what was hidden in my boyfriends closet.

Fashion faux pas were not his only flaw.

He referred to his briefcase as a "life box." When home, he insisted it remain propped open on the living room chair.

He had "car shoes" which he wore only while driving - they never set foot outside the car.

For dessert, he ate 3 vienna fingers cookies (no more, no less) dipped into instant coffee.

He refused to eat anything green and considered applesauce the perfect compliment to any meal.

Eventually, guilt got the best of me and after a round of late night drinks, I confessed.

"What do you mean you hid my pants?" he questioned.
He was clearly annoyed and I felt over exposed and embarrassed.

I did my best to explain, but nothing I said made sense - not even to me.

Shamefully, I climbed the stairs to our bedroom, opened the closet door, reached to the far back corner of the closet and discovered.... they were gone.

Unable to retrieve them, his annoyance grew to anger.

"I need my pants. I need all my pants!" he demanded.

I had no idea where they went.  I retraced my steps, told him how and when I found him, how I toyed over what to do with them, and how reluctantly, I hid them.

That night, he slept on the couch and when I woke in the morning, he was gone.

After sifting through his dirty laundry, I was convinced he'd never return.

I called his office but he was "unavailable." In desperation, I called his mother and then his brother and finally, his best friend.   To deaf ears, I confessed how I'd lost his pants and how upset he was with me.

When he returned late the next day he was still, visibly upset.  I begged for forgiveness knowing it was fruitless - the man I loved could not be manipulate or control.

"I'll buy you new pants,"  I bargained, "besides, they were ugly."
"NO they weren't,"  he scolded
"YES they were!"  I insisted.

And then...for the first time, he asked me what they looked like.

I described them by color, style and wear and tear - including the slight fray along the back, left leg cuff and the penny sized hole in the front right pocket.  

"I don't know what you're talking about," he said. "They're not my pants.  They must be one of your other boyfriends pants."

"NOOOO....., they're YOURS!"  I insisted.  "You wore them to was a were worried you'd be almost forgot your life box."

"My what?"
"Your life box"
"What the hell is a life box?!?"
"What do you mean what the hell is a life box?  You're the one that calls it a LIFE BOX!"
"What the hell you're talking about!"
" ... briefcase ...a LIFE BOX!!!"
"NO, I don't!"
"YES do!!!  You were late for work, you were wearing your ugly, plaid pants and no shirt... you turned and asked me to hand you your LIFE BOX!" shirt...why would he go to work without a shirt... that doesn't make sense...


"You don't have plaid pants?" I asked
"You don't call your briefcase a life box?"

It was finally clear.  THIS was all a dream.  A warped, befuddled, dream.

As in the Wizard of Oz, my brain was drawling from its episodic memory.   Working out my worries - subconsciously dissecting my deepest doubts and fears.

I have always been a vivid dreamer, but this was the first time I misconstrued reality.  

As the conversation continued, we both felt more at ease.

Its been a very long time since I've snooped.  In time, I felt less vulnerable and more comfortable with the idea of loving someone and especially, someone loving me.

I realized that, although he's still not good at telling me how he feels, he is excellent at showing me.  Never has a man been so giving, kind and generous - of his time, love, and self.

I woke screaming this morning.  Plagued by nightmares of Bret Michaels WITHOUT his bandanna.

Ladies... it wasn't pretty!

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy
Images courtesy of Google Image

for reading and commenting

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

About Me, Honestly

I'm disappointed in myself today.  I continue to wander away from my writing.  I'm so fucking competitive and needy.... needy of your approval.  Needy of your comments and your praise.  I have to stop bullshiting and just, fucking, write.

I feel like swearing today.  I don't care what you think about that.  I'm angry.  This is what I do when I'm angry and its better than fixing a drink or kicking the dog or cheating on my husband or shopping or eating obsessively.

I've been prostituting myself (again).  Joining sites, commenting, in hopes that they'll follow me.  I feel dirty today.'ve guessed it....I'm emotional.  Kerry's death anniversary is hitting me hard this year. I can't tell you why, it just is.  And thats okay.

He'd be disappointed if he knew how far I've strayed (he knows).  I'm sorry Kerry.  From now until the 27th (see, I'm trying to be realistic) I promise to write from a deep place...write as though no one is reading...   I love you Sparky, I know you're here but I miss you TERRIBLY....

"Self Portrait" by Kerry Magann

I started my day trying to redefine myself.  I wanted to update my "About Me" so that it showed a more honest me.  If you've been here before, you'd probably never read it, so I'm making it today's post.


About Me, Honestly...  written a week before the 8th anniversary of my son's death.

I am having a difficult time defining myself - even at 50, and after intense therapy.

Writing is something I kept hidden until I read Kerry's eulogy to a half filled church.  

I was so angry that day. 

WHAT, you couldn't take time off from your busy fucking schedules to come to my son's funeral!  FUCK YOU!!!  FUCK ALL OF YOU!!!   

What I wrote for Kerry was my truth, in that moment - honest, heart wrenching, frantic.  

And so, with that said...

My name is Shannon E. Kennedy.  Without the "E" its hard to say.

I am married to an extremely patient man.  I worry about him dying.  Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night to check his pulse.  I don't want him to leave me.  I need him.

I have a seriously beautiful daughter with a fierce, forgiving, nurturing, spirit.  I'm trying really hard NOT to worry about her.  Each night before I go to bed and first thing each morning, I surround her with glowing, healing light.  I visualize her healthy, happy, whole and thriving.  

My son, Kerry, guides me from an all knowing place.  His death teaches me how to live.

My loyal companions - Kittay and Miss Lucy, support me (emotionally, neither of them has ever had a job) through the warmth and depth of their eyes.  

I live in Greenwich, Connecticut because my father is here. His approval, love and attention has always been important to me.  When I'm near him, I feel safe. 

I want to write a book and yet, I don't read books.  I'd like to.  I'd love to say, "Oh, did you read THAT...wasn't it WONDERFUL...isn't she BRILLIANT..." but I can't seem to focus long enough to finish most.  

I haven't given up.  I'm currently reading Galway Bay, by Mary Pat Kelly.  I've been reading it for 6 months.  It's a LARGE historical novel.  It's wonderfully written and easy for me to follow - but whenever I'm reading it I walk away feeling small. 

I honestly don't know if I'll ever finish this book of mine - especially since I have no FUCKING idea how to write a book.  I'm damn good at eulogies, and letters to close friends, and I've been pretty proud of some of my blog posts - but I have no FUCKING idea how to write a book.  

Don't suggest I read a book on it (that would be silly).  Yes, I've attended workshops and lectures, and classes...I've talked to writers, I've listened, but I still don't get it.  

I haven't given up.  I recently started watching a VLOG about writing - short snippets of information -perhaps that will help. 

Alright, thats enough purging for one morning.  Besides, I'm bored with tears.  Please don't feel sorry for me.  I am not a victim.  I am a mother, wife, friend, writer... [following] my a true, authentic, path. 

Time to focus on that book of mine.  


in an effort to find an opening image - I typed "HONEST" in a "google image search" and this is what appeared...

Kerry (Mr. ALL about 27) hated the cowboys, he was a HUGE Redskins fan.  

Proof, to me, that he supports my growth, daily.  

(hey, thats body paint - incase you didn't notice)

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy
Images courtesy of Google Image

for reading and commenting

Sunday, May 16, 2010


A pounding fist, followed by the sound of metal thrusting, turning and twisting the tear that unlocks the door, demands my full attention. 

With a shameful, frantic stance I shout, "Do NOT come in - there is nothing for you here.  You cannot help me anymore!" 

Her mind does not register my demands as she aims her key at the horrific devastation that hides behind the door. 

Who could have guessed it would turn out this way - death by my own hand, at the age of twenty-three.  

Somehow, I went from alive to lifeless in one, fucked up flash. 

Growing up, my biggest fear was that I would let them down.  My parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, and teammates - everyone was counting on me.  They counted on me to excel both academically and athletically.  I was multi-gifted, or so they said.  I never felt it.

Somewhere along the ride, the roller coaster stopped. I dropped out of school, twisted my lily, white-boy hair into dreadlocks and drove cross country. 

When life got too dark, I put my tail between my legs and headed home.  It was hard coming back knowing I'd accomplished nothing.  I was a far cry from the screenwriter/entrepreneur I'd set out to be.  

At twenty-one I was deflated, but I was not mad, psychotic or delusional.  I had moments of happiness mixed with hopelessness - just like anyone else.  But I never took my pain seriously.  

Yes, its true, I had some oddities - deliberate eccentricities that set me apart from the norm.  

For one, I collected things relating to the number 27. 

New York Times articles from the 27th of any given month. 

Music from artists whose untimely death came at the age of 27 - Cobain, Morrison, Joplin, Hendrix.   

The 27 Club, they call it.

For pure pleasure, I wrote chunks of poetry, with 27 words per stanza.  

The Rosin Erection 

Way down from the gullies goes the ladder
From the fallen to the rising, rosin erection
A cool moon laid on cornflakes, 
Caulked blue bottles of gin 

And strong goes the way of their vagabond bellies
Hungered, driven weightless and mad
Over cotton streets in dreams like children hunting morphine
The blur that binds

You remember the blur, 
the way it hung from the grass in little beads
And the sound it made when you rubbed its juice on your lips

In the morning, it seemed to shine on the sun drops
Coming out through her pink breasts,
strung out on a gypsy web
Of dawn's soft slaughter

I met Mary, my sons mother, on the 27th.  My high school baseball uniform number was 27.  It was the 27th of May when I ended my life. 

Had I known I was capable of taking my life, I would have had myself committed.  I knew I had an explosive temper.  A rage of pain would build inside of me - lasting for hours or sometimes even days.  

When I wasn't working or wallowing, I filled my belly with Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Thompson and Vonnegut.  

I wrote everything out in my journals.  I have hundreds of half-finished, tales stored in the trunk that was meant to accompany me to college, had I managed to follow through as intended.   

This trunk now doubles as my living room coffee table.  I used this very same table the night I ingested the sleeping pills.  I laid them all out, crushed them with my pocket knife, mixed them in a half gallon container of ice tea, and chugged it down. 

If only someone could have stopped me.  

My official cause of death, according the the medical examiner - asphyxiation, NOT suicide.  

I know my mother will blame herself.  She will remember the last words she said to me, "Get your act together," convinced it was the straw that broke my spirit.  

Her clouded, perfect image of me distorts the truth of my pain.  But I too played a major part in this ruse.  I have always known what to say to convince them I was happy.  I use to think it was one of my many "gifts" but the truth is, it was a curse.  

She does not remember our deal.  It was always understood that if she lost her mind, or became terminally incapacitated, then once again, we'd go skydiving - only this time I'd make sure her shoot did not engage. 

Just as the Eskimos set their elders on a one way sail, I would set her free.  

It's just like we talked about Ma, only the roles are reversed.  Your disappointing eyes gave me the strength to end my life, but you did not cause my pain. 

I understand she needs to be the one who finds me.  She will bare the burden of telling the world that I am dead - cold, gray dead.  My skins lack of luminosity is the first thing she sees.  It will hit her and haunt her, forever.  

You came too late. 

A long strip of caution tape frames an overcrowded crime scene, preventing my family from getting near - robbing them of their final glance, their last chance at a kiss, a hug, a stroke of my hair.  

"I killed him!!!" she cries.  

Her raw, devastating screams puncture my heart.  

A pulsating, balmy glow blinds me and I buckle in the breath of emptiness.  

I remain in a state of slumber, recoiled from the sorrow that unfolds.  

In this death, there are no long, slippery tunnels, no fluffy white clouds to ride, and to my relief, I am NOT forever damned to some hellacious cavern or fiery pit.  

I am here, with all of you, but I am no longer bound by my physical form. 

I rest in fresh shade of tall, golden stocks of smooth flowing wheat - its sway quickened by the afternoon breeze - and inhale the tilled pasture that beds me and spreads between my fingers and toes.  

Above me, a lark weaves cloud dollops into a searing blue sky.  

Here, I stay until the distance brings the ring of my mothers cry - channeling me from my demise.  

Oh let me rest, let me wallow in this nest!

Cradled over my open urn - with weighted tears that spew from her cheek into my ash - she picks a chard of bone from my remains, places it on her tongue and swallows hard.  "I need a piece of him inside me," she cries.  

She will not let me rest, will not let me wallow in my nest, and so, I move, ever so slowly, into the light. 

I am grateful to learn that the bond shared between mother and child is eternal.  

She will tell the world that I lived.  Remind them of the goodness I have inside. 

She will read my stories, poems and journal entries...out loud, bold and proud. 

She will find a way to make them listen.  She will alert, inform and educate. 

She will remember me, tenderly, each and every day of her life.

And for this, I have hope. 

In honor and in memory of my beautiful son, 

2/16/1979 to 5/27/2002 

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy 
photo's courtesy of Google Image

The Rosin Erection by Kerry R. Magann

for reading and commenting

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Men and Me

A new, fantasy blog series by Green Monkey

Because I still toy with the idea of becoming a 
Harlequin Romance Novelist

(Adult Content not suitable for some, thirst quenching for others)

Meet Fiona, the one that got a way.  A fantastic, single lady who found herself fifth in line on the Sex and the City catwalk. 

She is creative, clever, quirky and competitive.  

By trade she is a "dream home" interior designer who is well known for her eclectic, non-gender specific, euro classic flair and striking use of pallet.  Her personal care and attention to detail has earned her success and praise from a flock of high end clientele.

She will spend hours fondling fabric, ribbon, bobbles and bead - anything that combines texture and color but is not worn.  

She has a vast assortment of white shirts that she arranges according to their style and distress. 

She believes her antique jewelry collection holds memories that bleed into her daily life. 

She is 5 ft 4 but projects 5 ft 11 – in flats.   

At first sight, I expect you to loath her.  My task will be to get you to relate to her on some level.
In Fiona’s words:  

My number one passion is men.  

My favorite type of man is one that appears, on the outside, to be strong but, on the inside, can be molded into everything I want … today. 

I run away from anyone that looks tailor-made or, makes my palms sweat.   

I like one man on my arm and another at arms length.  

As I single woman, I firm up weekend, man-plans by Wednesday.  

I am a great date.  I will have you convinced that you are the most important person in the room before you finish your first drink.   

When I was married, I made certain I had a playmate waiting before I closed the door.   

Now that I am almost 40, with three failed marriages behind me - I divide my men into categories of: 
  • Men I have been intimately involved with and remain friends
  • Men I am friends with
  • Men I date
  • Men I fantasize about
Sometimes, the lines blur. 

I can't imagine my life without a man, but that’s not to say that they define me.   They are more like a hobby.

I enjoy torturing myself with men I can’t have. Once I get them, I am no longer interested.  

I demand respect from men.  I never have casual sex, or casual anything for that matter.  If its not all about me, I flee.   

Men have fooled me but I have learned from my mistakes. Even so, I’ve gone out of my way to punish each and every one of them, and yet, I never hold a grudge. 

When this fantasy series begins,  Fiona is focused on Bruce, aka “Beach Rat,” a toy from her 20’s that she has played with, off and on, for over 20 years.

I shop for men like most women shop for clothes.  Since my man adorns me, I’ll pick one that fits each special occasion.   

Bruce fit hazy, late night trysts and lusciously long, summer days on the beach of my youth.

He was my first, if I had allowed myself to, love. 

Bruce is married now with a brood of five, freckled, fair skinned, children all under the age of 12.  He lives behind a white picket fence in a quiet, coastal, Connecticut community.  

He tells me his wife is frigid, frumpy, frugal, and well bred.  

I know, she holds the purse strings in one hand, the scruff of their children's neck in the other, and the security that comes from having both.

He is focused on the life he lost and lives in the shadow of his offspring's, bloodline bright, future.   

He is tall, athletic, and attractive.  Still.   

If only I could forget what it felt like to wake up beside him.  To make love to him - with eyes open, lights on - my legs and arms wrapped around him while he straddles me from the side of his, extra long, twin bed.  If I could wipe his moan from my memory - his stance, the long blink of his calm blue eyes - then perhaps I would choose to peruse more attainable men.

Despite the fact that he is trapped, or maybe because of it, he cannot be manipulated, no matter how hard I try.  I am the only thing he is in charge of and still, can’t have.   

Dear Bruce,  

I want you to devour me, explore me, sleep beside me, wake with me… talk to me. I can’t do anything, especially you, lightly and I will not share you.   Therefore, it’s best you look the other way when our paths cross and I will do my best to make certain your eyes cannot escape mine.  

Love, Your Fiona

Next in line, The Senator's Son

To be continued…

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy 
photo's courtesy of Google Image

for reading and commenting

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What Lurks in Paradise

Halfway into our "intimate and elegant" Grand Cayman adventure at the Turtle Nest Inn, I have nothing clever to say.

Thanks to the free roaming roosters, I am severely sleep deprived and slapstick silly.

The fowl begin warming up their vocals at 1:30 AM with a low, unassuming "cock" that steadily builds into "cock-a" - by 6:00 AM they are "cock-a-doodling" with a vengeance. 

Thanks to my feathered friends, nothing about "cock" is appealing.

It's not quite 9:00 AM.  I've read a few chapters of a best selling, highly recommended, novel that is so good I'm convinced I can't write worth a damn.

I retreat to the kitchen where I make a pot of coffee, over-boil brown eggs and hand feed myself sour grapes.

Afterward, I head to the living room, strap on my iPod and hula-hoop to a strong, Bassnectar beat.

With a sense of accomplishment, I march back up the cool tiled stairs to quietly tug on my sun-scorched husbands chest hair.  Fully aroused, he opens his eyes and smiles - his way of assuring me that I am loved.

I pester him until he packs the cooler and joins me beside the mature, wrinkled gray trunk of our favorite palm tree.  Here, I focus on a cluster of wind-ripened coconuts that dangle from the crotch of an umbrella of bopping plumes.

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our Island friend.  He's got enduring brown eyes, a firm, bulging belly and oh so sweet, puppy breath - a motherless, newborn stray discovered under a neighbors porch.

The French Canadian Keepers named him "Mango" but we mistakenly heard "Van Gogh."  Funny what your mind registers.   Despite the island reference, the name "Mango" conjures up Chris Kattan's character from SNL so we continue to call him "Van Gogh."

Yesterday, after a long stroll on the beach, the three of us dined on turkey breast, macaroni salad and pickles.  Somehow, word spread.  Now, whenever we open our cooler, cats appear.

In the haze of a leisurely lifestyle, I suffer a muscle strain along the right side of my lower back.  My best guess is that this is either a hula-hoop injury or the result of repeat, restless bolts from my cushioned lounge chair.

As much as I enjoy swimming along the barrier reef, I am afraid of what lurks within.  Sand sharks, moray eels, barracuda and stingray are common sightings.  If it's not included in the angel, flounder or clown family, I want no part of it.

For me, floating is effortless.  I can loiter alongside white caps for hours.  In contrast, my husband - eager to share an adventure, clutches his bright yellow life vest with both hands and frantically kicks his flippers.

We are polar opposites.  I'm quite certain that solo, we are unlikable.  On first impression I am overbearing, loud and outspoken.  He, in his aloofness, is often mistaken for being a prick.  Together, we sooth and compliment each other.

Along the shoreline, lumps of clear, green, brown and heavenly blue glass, turtle grass, plastic bags, wrappers and recyclables, intermingle with an assortment of mismatched flip-flops.

Ron, an employee of the Inn for more than 11 years, spends Monday to Saturday raking his way up and down the property line - but its like the mail, despite how much you pick up, tomorrow brings more than the day before.

Across the road, beside the Jerk chicken stand, is an abandoned house that deliberately bleeds Jimi Hendrix music into the street - all day and into the night.

Our bed is hard, the sheets are stiff, my pillow is flat.  

Our second night is marked by a murder - the fifth of the year.

Yesterday, a theft occurred in the adjacent condo while its occupants relaxed on the patio.

Last night, a fire in an adjacent bungalow persuaded us to abandon the island breeze and retreat to our air-conditioned abode where we dined on frozen pizza and watched complimentary DVD's.

Here, in your well-appointed, spacious living space, you feel trapped in your destination of choice.

As much as I try to focus on paradise, the impoverished islanders that corral us make me feel pampered, pompous and privileged; high-end characteristics I cater to when home.

The wilted, malnourished pitbull tethered to a clothesline stretched alongside our patio, feeds my tears.  She is clearly sick and depressed.  Half the time she doesn't care enough to lift her jaw heavy head from the sizzle of sun baked sand.

I sense the numbing trade winds are a welcome relief to the despair that lurks behind the boarded windows and unhinged doors of her owners shack.

My compassionate husband is focused on my sadness.  He has never been a great communicator - which at times, has added great strain on our relationship - but lately I've been able to recognize his endearing signs of committed love.

"You know, I saw Ron petting the Pit," he casually mentions.

This is worded perfectly.  Don't tell me what to do, or how to do it.  Don't steer me towards your natural course.  Love me enough to let me be me.

With that said, the current changes.

I stopped brushing the sand from my feet before entering the condo, stopped wearing my bathing suit cover up and stopped styling my hair.  I spent more time in the water and less time worrying about the negative effects of the sun.

I introduce myself to our neighbors.  I meet Marvin who, due to a birth defect, only has use of one hand.  Despite this, he digs a ditch that will support a post so that "Perla," his recently rescued pitbull, will have more space to wander.

I learned that his precious Perla is infested with heart-worms, but that her chances of surviving are good thanks to the generosity of our Inn Keepers, who make certain she is receiving the best possible care.  I know this is true because she wears a badge of honor - Blacky's tag and collar.

We read about Blacky online and in the Inn's welcoming literature.  As the official Turtle Nest mascot, this large, nappy headed stray, leisurely wandered his way into the hearts of locals and guests.  Blacky dined on left over steak, watched over swimmers and snorkelers up and down the beach, and snoozed in the shade of chaise lounge chairs until - at the age of 16, he passed on from an enlarged heart.

Thanks to Marvin, we also met Dominic and his big brother Montel.  They live down the way, by the yellow church, just beyond the cemetery.

Dominic is 8 and although he lives on an island, he does not know how to swim.  After three days in our pool, with gentle guidance and the use of our snorkeling gear, he now swims underwater.

Dominic explained to me that a "bad guy" murdered his Grandfather not too long ago, and that he caught the bad guy, tied him up with a rope, and dragged him to the police station.

I recognize a storyteller when I see one, so to encourage him to write, I suggest he and my grandson Jackson become pen pals.

Dominic does not yet know how to read or write, but Montel, does and he promises to help him. To insure that this will happen, we bait them with promises of New York Yankee's memorabilia. 

Before we leave, I introduce our neighbors to a couple who have just arrived from Montreal and are instantly comforted by a stray island cat that mysteriously snuggled its way into their room.

They were happy to carry on where we left off - to pet and sneak treats to Perla and to welcome Dominic and Montel as their guests at the pool.

My vacation began once I embraced all the Island had to offer.

My favorite moments involved time spent with our neighbors, walking Perla and Mango along the shore - watching Mango chase after Mark's shade and Perla playfully bite at the tide.

I returned home feeling warmed by one love and grateful for time spent with a man who respects and honors my need to find peace within myself.

Here's to honoring the true part in you.

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy

for reading and commenting 
Special Thanks to Ron, Donna, Alain and Marleine for allowing us to be ourselves.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison