Sorry Grandma

The plane trolled into it’s terminal and like always, everyone stood up like seething beasts. I understand why this is so intimidating to an elderly person, it’s intense for me and I’m only 33.

I was grabbing her cane from the overhead bin when I could feel him trying to shove himself past me. His hot, impatient asshole breathe on my back, “Excuse me I’ve gotta plane to catch, can you just let me, can you just, can you just speed it up!?”

I fucking hate it when I can feel someone’s breathe on me, I raised my shoulders to my neck in discomfort. My grandmother worried, patted my hand, “Melly, let them go first, I’m too slow.”

I looked the man in the eyes while addressing my grandmother, “Grandma, we have to get somewhere just as soon as everyone else and if they’re impatient than they need to learn some patience, it’s no problem.”

The man let out an exaggerated sigh and shifted back and forth on each foot, pouting like a toddler. I laughed at the thought of this type of man, so predictable, so very unoriginal. You know the one I’m talking about, the fragile one that doesn’t hear the word “no” very often. The one that throws a hissy fit when you tell him you aren’t interested in having sex with him, yea that’s him.

We were traveling to Spokane to visit her brother who was recently admitted to memory care, which is just a fancy, new-age name for nursing home. She wanted to visit him before he lost his memory completely, so I volunteered to go along with her. As a child, she and my grandfather took us everywhere, so it was an honor to spend the time and take her to visit her brother. Traveling always brought her so much joy and I know its frustrating for her to be limited more and more with age. I wanted this vacation to be all about her. I wanted her to feel confident, comfortable and cared for because unfortunately, those feelings become so fleeting at her age.

I think it’s hard to imagine for those of us who are lucky to still have our physical independence. Independence begins to disappear as you get older, you get slower, you need more help. I hate that they feel like their existence is bothersome to others. I hate that they always feel so rushed just because everyone else doesn’t know how to slow the fuck down.

Not with me though, at least at this moment, I could fight for her basic existence in a society that has no respect for people of a certain age. It’s not everyone though. It’s amazing how many times during this trip I was seen by people my age and even older as a “saint” for traveling with my grandma. Yes, I had a flight attendant call me a “saint.” I guess she was impressed by my patience. Of course, it was appreciated, I’ve always loved throwing people’s shortcomings in their faces in hopes for a lesson learned but this was different. It was different seeing people’s reactions to a young person having patience with an elderly person. You usually see them being dragged around and yelled at by family members or caregivers, sickening.

I wish we were more like Mexicans, where the elderly are respected and cared for by family members and not left to rot in nursing homes, what a fucking concept.

Yes, I was traveling with my grandmother who’s in her 90’s, but that doesn’t mean that she has to take a back seat and risk losing her next flight just because other people are impatient assholes. I hated that this was even a thing she had to think about. I hate that this is a thing most elders feel. 

Inconvenient, obsolete.

I wasn’t about to let her feel as though her needs were lesser than others just because of her age. I didn’t have time for that, we had another plane to catch. And in general, I wasn’t about to have this dickwad validate her prescribed insecurities.

I dramatically swung my backpack over my shoulder causing the impatient man to take a step back.  I smiled at my grandmother and she gave me that familiar smirk of catholic disapproval. It’s a mix of consent with “on the record” disfavor.

He scoffed, “Jesus, can you watch it, you almost hit me with your bag!”

I laughed, “Who do you think you are? You’re the one shoving your body into me because apparently, your needs are the most important ones on this plane. You know, you’re lucky you met me now and not a year ago. You wouldn’t be complaining about the bag that “almost” hit you, you’d have this cane lodged in your fucking jaw. You can call my EDMR therapist Carolyn Poole and thank her for that. Your impatience is unbecoming and frankly just disrespectful to me and my sweet grandmother so back the fuck up.”

He took a step back with his eyes wide and mouth open in perplexity. Not surprising from this shit-stained toddler. The line began to move. I held out my hand for my grandmother, “Alright Grams sorry for the language, let’s blow this popsicle stand.”

My grandma snickering, took my hand, nodded at the excuse for a man and gushed, “How do you blow a popsicle stand?”


Capulálpam de Méndez


Wow, this little mountain town is surreal.

Capulálpam de Méndez was built in the 1600s.

The town seems as though it was set up and ready for tourists but no one ever came.

Empty gift shops, restaurants, streets.

Where is everyone?

I think we are the only travelers here and we rarely even see locals. The tortilla maker had to check us into our hotel (the only hotel) because there is no one ever at reception.

While walking around the town we wondered if the rapture occurred right before our arrival. Seemed fitting.

After some research, I learned that Capulálpam de Mendez is an extremely closed municipality, meaning they govern themselves and don’t allow outside influences decide the fate of their town. Most residents work in government, education, or business. They used to be a mining town but eventually kicked out all the companies for taking advantage of their native people. In order to keep up their economy, they bottle their spring water, sell gravel and shifted into ecotourism.

Ecotourism is a form of small scale tourism that has minimal impact on their environment in order to preserve and respect the people and support conservation efforts. Tourists are watched closely by the locals.

All the money made in this town goes directly back into social services and to the people. No one goes hungry or lacks healthcare. The healthcare is a healing center that employs traditional healers who provide medicinal plant therapy, massages, temazcal and herbal baths.

I set up an appointment at the healing center where we will experience the healing traditions of this area.

We stumbled into this beautiful mountain town looking for a bridge that’s actually somewhere else and now it’s all starting to make perfect sense! .

Sweet Stranger

DSC07945Sweet Stranger outside of Oaxaca City.


Our trip to Oaxaca has come to an end and out of all of the photos I took, this was one of my favorites.

I will remember this little lady forever.  Everyone on the bus looked at me like I was crazy for sitting on the ground and petting her.

It’s amazing how resilient animals can be when they’re simply surviving.  It’s even more amazing when they’re still so sweet and loving despite the circumstances.  A quality I find admirable and will strive to improve in my own life.

We can learn so much from everything surrounding us, if we just look close enough.

One day I’ll own a rescue farm packed full of Mexican street dogs and I’ll die a happy old lady.

“Pro-Life” Crack Head

“Rae are you listening?  It’s procedure that we have an answer to this question.” Her hair was tight, she looked exhausted in her wrinkled scrubs.  Crocks, she was wearing crocks.  Nurses choice for comfort.  Nurses need as much comfort as possible I thought, they have hard jobs.

I had completely zoned out.  I snapped back to the question and shook my head yes.

She began writing in her notes.  “Very well, that is what we needed.  You’re strong sweetie, strongest sixteen-year-old I’ve seen.  I understand you don’t have your parents consent.  Do you have a signature from the judge?”

I looked at my oldest sister Ann.  She took it out of her purse.  She was always the most responsible out of all of us girls.

“Alright, the procedure you have chosen is dilation and extraction due to you being around 26 weeks….”

I faded out again. I figured my sisters would nudge me if there was anything important I needed to answer.

Four weeks ago I was told in Texas that I was too far along to have an abortion.

“Honey, we do not facilitate abortions past twenty weeks in this state.”

“Fuck,” I bit my lip hard and tasted blood, “Wait, in THIS state? What’s the closest state that will?”

The lovely Little Rock, Arkansas. I’m being sarcastic.  Abortions past twenty weeks were legal there I just had to plead my case to a judge.

I called Ann once, twice, she finally picked up the third time.

“This better be good Rae.  I am in the middle of a shift and—“

“I’m pregnant.  I need to get an abortion and I am too far along to get one in Texas.  Arkansas is the closest place.”

Not skipping a beat, she sighed, “Alright, I’ll pull out a credit card.  We can put everything on there and you can make payments to me.  Sound good?  I have to get back to work I’m drowning in patients.”

All three of my sisters stopped whatever they were doing that week and picked me up from the small town I was living in and drove me to Arkansas.

“She doesn’t even look pregnant.”  Ann, driving, turned around to look at my stomach.

“Ann watch the fucking road!”  Lynn had a fear of car accidents since she was a kid.  Fear of a lot of things actually.

“Yea but look at her tits!  Mine are still bigger.” Marie grabbed her own while visually comparing them to mine.

Ann looked at her in disgust. “Marie why does everything have to be a competition to you? Your pregnant sister? Jesus, we all know you have the biggest tits and the best body.  Everyone agree? Yes?  Let’s move on.”

Marie smiled and winked back at me from the front seat.

Ann and Marie were the oldest and closest in age and completely different in every way imaginable.  Ann followed the straight path and Marie liked to fuck the straight out of anything she could find.  They are both stubborn, actually all four of us are really stubborn, so there’s that.

Ann looked at me through the review mirror.  “Seriously though, how did you not know that you were pregnant?  Did you feel sick?  I mean you don’t look pregnant but you definitely look like you’ve  gained some weight.”

“Mainly in her tits!”  Marie started to laugh and slapped my other sister Lynn on the knees.

Lynn rolled her eyes, “Will you bitches just shut the fuck up before I jump out of this moving car.  She didn’t know she was pregnant alright? Leave her alone!”

My sister Lynn was always trying to protect me.  I once watched her take a beer bottle to a guy’s head for grabbing my ass at a party.  She is also just naturally emotional and feisty.  We shared a room most of our childhood.  I usually don’t allow her to do so much talking for me but I didn’t mind this time.  I was exhausted.

We went straight to the clinic when we arrived.  There was a group of religious protesters standing outside of the facility screaming. Disgusting photos, bibles, megaphones, you name it these fucking scum bags had it.  I felt nauseous and threw up a little in my mouth.  My sisters grabbed my arms, rushing me past the group.  I swallowed the vomit.

One women, ex meth addict, face covered in scabs and black teeth seething at my existence got in my face, “God will forgive a slut little girl, but he won’t forgive a murderer!”  I didn’t break eye contact.  She was spitting all over my face, I didn’t wipe it.

Lynn pushed the woman out of my face.  “Bitch, I will kill you if you get close to my sister again, I promise you that!”

The woman began laughing hysterically and Lynn began walking towards the woman.  Marie hooked Lynn’s arm and yanked her back towards us.

Ann shoved Lynn towards the clinic, “Lynn chill out.  The last thing we need right now is you fighting with some useless drug addict.  Let’s go.”

“Ugh fucking crack head,” Marie patted Lynn on the back and they smiled at each other. Ann smacked both of their arms.

The door was metal with bullet holes all over it.  It was locked which made sense considering the bullet holes.

Ann pressed the doorbell.

“Do you have an appointment?”

Ann got close to the speaker, “Yes, for our sister Rae.”

“Ok, I will buzz you in.  Keep your hands in the air as you walk in and the security guard will search you.”

Lynn lifted her pant leg and showed us her knife, “What?  I always carry this bad boy.”

Ann looked annoyed, “Go put it in the car you idiot.”

I looked back at the protester woman while she paced back and forth on the street yelling something I didn’t feel like understanding.  The door opened abruptly and the guard shuffled us in quickly.  He searched our waste belts but not our legs.  Lynn smiled.

It was a two-day long procedure.  After the first appointment we headed to the court house to see the judge.  She was a strong southern woman with a stern disposition.  She sat at a large wooden desk that towered over my tiny seat.

She gave me a quick scan and sighed, “Why are you here?”

Lynn in a sassy tone answered for me, “She needs an abortion and she doesn’t have permission from our mom and we don’t talk to our dad.”

She put her hand up at Lynn, leaned in and looked at me closer, “Have you thought this through young lady?  I mean as much as a girl your age possibly could?”

I could feel Lynn’s rage, she has always hated authority, she uncomfortably shifted her shoulders. Ann gave her a strong nudge.

I nodded at the judge.

She looked confused, “Why didn’t you just get this done in Texas?”

Ann, respectfully butted in, “Ma’am she is too far along to have it in Texas.”

The judge looked my sisters up and down irritated, “Can you ladies step outside for a moment.  I want to talk to her alone.”

My sisters distrustfully shuffled out of the room and closed the door.

She leaned back in, “What’s really going on?  How did you not know you were over twenty weeks pregnant?  You should be ashamed of yourself.”

I took a deep breath, “I have been in bed for months. My boyfriend doesn’t let me leave the house.  That is why I didn’t realize I was pregnant, I thought I was getting fat.  When I try to leave he threatens to kill himself and he has tried a few times.  He’s abusive, he’s a sex addict, he’s a piece of shit and I can’t be connected to him for the rest of my life. I was also taking a lot of pills so who even knows if the baby is healthy. Honestly, It’s this or I jump off a fucking cliff.”

She signed the paper, I got up and walked out.

My sisters jumped up from their seats as I walked past.

Marie grabbed my arm, “Did she sign?”

I handed Ann the paper.  They all let out a gasp of relief.

As we walked up to the clinic the next day, the same protester stood in front of the door screaming, “God will punish you for the rest of your life.  God will hate you and you will pay for your sins.  God does not forgive murders!”

Ann under her breathe coached everyone, “Just keep walking, she is mentally unstable, Lynn don’t do anything stupid.  Marie just slide past her and press the button.”

Lynn put her head down and squeezed the shit out of my hand.  It was taking everything in her to not beat the shit out of this woman.  Marie stepped in front and casually bumped the woman out of the way of the door bell, “Outta my way cunt.”  When the door opened the guard looked annoyed, “Kaylee you know you are not supposed to be on this side of the street.  Get back over there before I call back up.”

She backed up a bit, tripping over the curb, “Tommy, YOU know you are not spose to be protectin these satan lovers!  Gramma taught you better!”

He slammed the door. Of course they are related, I thought.

The rest of the details after I don’t feel to be too important. The drugs helped a ton.  When I awoke from surgery Lynn was asleep next to me and Marie was reading me passages from a conspiracy theory book about the reptilian race.

Ann interrupted, “Marie, give it a rest.  She doesn’t need to wake up to that bull shit.”

“Bullshit?  You want to know what’s some bullshit?  The fact that we had to drive this far for our sister to get a fucking abortion because some world order reptiles want to be able to control us like sheep.” She put the book on my lap and walked out of the room.

Ann sat down next to me, “They gave me instructions for your recovery.  I already paid.  They said you are free to go when you are ready and they waived the counseling.  They didn’t think it was necessary.”

We heard screaming coming from the lobby.  Lynn jumped up.  Marie came running back in, “That fucking meth head got in and she has a gun.”

I slowly got up from my bed and began walking toward the lobby.  As they tried to stop me, the woman met us in the hallway, gun pointed at my head.  Her hands were shaking.  My sisters stopped and all of the screaming went silent as I continued walking towards her until my head was touching the barrel.

“Do it you fucking pussy.”  I stared into her pathetic, confused eyes.  She looked away.

Time sped back up and Lynn tackled me out of the way to the ground.  The woman lowered and dropped the gun to the ground.  Lynn and Marie helped me up.  I looked at Ann looking at the gun on the ground.  Ann picked up the gun and emptied the bullets.

The clinic including the guard, all watching at that moment, sighed in relief.  I didn’t because I had never seen this look in Ann’s eyes and I knew she wasn’t done. Fuck.  Sweet, smart, well put together Ann turned the gun around and cracked the woman on the nose with the handle once, twice and the third time the woman hit the ground. Ann jumped on top of her and continued hitting her with the base of the gun as blood sprayed out of her face and onto Ann’s.  She stopped for a minute and looked up at Lynn. Lynn smiled, bent over and tossed Ann the knife from her pant leg.  Ann pressed it to the woman’s neck, “Where’s your god now?” The woman gasped for air, spitting and drooling blood and broken teeth.

Everyone in shock, watched and waited.  Marie touched Ann’s back, Ann jumped.

“Ann, no.  That’s enough fun for today.”

Ann looked at me and I nodded.  She tossed the knife back at Lynn and wiped the blood from her face with her sleeve, “This bitch better not have any bloodborne pathogens.”

No one said a word as we walked out of the clinic and to the car.  Lynn, pleased, skipped past Ann and jumped in the driver seat, “I think I’ll drive psycho.”

We sat in the car for a second until we all collectively broke the silence.  It was the first time I’d laughed in months.

Joshua Tree

I had been driving for about 7 hours.  I was tired, the sun was just beginning to set and my old dog was getting restless.  I heard Joshua Tree gets packed early, so I decided to scope out a good spot before paying for my site.  It was still sweltering hot out with no shade, so I left my old dog in the car while I set up my tent.  My dog was just about dead by the time I finished, so I cranked up the A/C and headed to the pay station in my car.

The ranger woman behind the desk scowled as I walked up.  I smiled.  She didn’t.  She was tall with a serious no-bullshit disposition.

“Would you like to pay for your entrance fee here?”

“Yes please, and the campsite as well.”

She looked annoyed. “There are envelopes down by the campsites for you to pay for the site.”

No shit, I thought.  “I saw the box but y’all are all out of envelopes.”

She hated every word coming out of my mouth. “Well, I can give you an envelope here.”

“Actually, can I just pay for both with you?”

She wanted to kick me in the face.  She let out an over-exaggerated sigh, “I guess that’s just fine. It’ll be 40 dollars.”

My ears got hot and I began to roll my neck.  An exercise I learned as an adult to try and calm my aggressive tendencies.  It didn’t work.

“40 dollars! Wow that’s an expensive campsite!”

She slammed her finger down on the map.  “That is because there are restrooms.”

“Am I paying for the monthly water bill?  We both know that’s a racket!”

She rolled her eyes.  “Debit or credit.”

I snapped sarcastically, “Let’s put that shit on credit.  I don’t want my account to bounce over a campsite.”

“I don’t need your sass little lady.”

I laughed.  “Seriously though, would you pay 40 dollars for a campsite with no water or shade in 100-degree weather?”

She leaned into my face.  “Joshua Tree is well maintained and a world renowned National Park.  U2 named an album after these trees for god’s sake!”

I slammed my hands on the desk.  “Exactly! Just the fact that I have to try and not think about that shitty album while I’m here should make it cheaper!  Fuck Bono!”

“Well fuck you too!  Oh yea and you’ve just been banned from the park.  Here’s your receipt for 40 dollars now get the fuck out!”

“Jesus lady you’re a savage.”

“Right back atcha’ sweetheart.” She threw the receipt in my face.

Small Town Shit

It was the town I grew up in, small town called Comfort. Comfort.  What a load of shit. There’s nothing here for me anymore.  Purposefully forgotten friends, family moved and the only reason I’m back in this piece of shit, is to take care of an old speeding ticket.  My plan was to show up, pay the outstanding bill and scurry back to the snug pocket of Austin, Texas.

Instead, as soon as I gave the unhappy women behind the desk my name, she smirked and asked me to sit down for a moment.  Being the idiot that I am, I did.

Thirty seconds later two fat pigs opened the double doors and threw me on the ground.  My chin smashed the concrete floor.  Not entirely necessary I thought.  My redneck ways have taken a hiatus since I moved.  The day I left, I took a piss on the town football stars face while he was passed out drunk. I can’t even count how many girls I knew that woke up confused next to his repulsive ass.  A fitting goodbye.

I was the moron who thought I could just pay off an outstanding ticket turned warrant.  In Austin, they would have just happily taken the money.  In Comfort, because the cops spend their days jerking off in their cars to high school girls, this was the most action they were gonna get for a while.  Face still smashed on the floor, I ran my tongue across my front teeth and felt a piece crack off.  I spit it from my mouth.

“My fucking tooth you pieces of shit.  I’m a small woman, what the fuck are you thinking?”

“Ma’am don’t resist.  We are just doing our jobs.”

I recognized that voice.  I looked up at the one with his knee against my neck.  Seth Miller.

I guess having to live with the fact that I sucked your tiny dick when I wasn’t even close to legal, ain’t gonna get me outta this one is it Seth?”

He smirked and picked me up off the ground. “Ha, not unless your ready to get suckin’ again Mel.”

Blood was dripping off my chin.  Seth and I were childhood friends.  He was always in love with me.  I completely ignored him after the drunken felacio.  I guess he’s still pissed.

They took me to the back of their shitty jail where a real dike of a woman stripped me naked and checked my ass for drugs.

“You got anything good in there sweetheart?” Her voice was deep and rapey.

“Just my sweet pussy, which is obviously good enough for you Rambo.”

She kicked me from behind and my forehead cracked on the wall.  Stars. A familiar feeling. My sharp tongue has always gotten me into trouble.

I gathered what memories I could.  Just earlier I fed my dog, I swept my hallway.  I picked up an organic green juice for my morning drive.  I listened to Neil Young’s Harvest Moon.  I stopped for gas and yelled at some construction workers for gawking…I felt warmth dripping down my face and when it hit my lip I tasted the blood.  A seemingly normal start to my day and now this pile of shit.

“Wheres my fucking phone call dike?”

“Bend over for me one more time sugar and you’ll get your phone call.”

I’ve played this game before…many times.  I slowly stood up, wiped my bloody hair out of my face, smiled, spread my legs and touched the floor.

She smacked my ass. “I‘m actually married….to a beast of a man honey and I looove dick.”

I laughed wiping the blood on my already soaked t-shirt. “Touche!”

Just because I live in the city doesn’t mean that my small town discriminations don’t blow up in my face at times.  That’s healthy, I thought.  She handed me the phone and I dialed my work.

“Is Jamie around?  Yea I need to talk to her…Hey Jamie, I‘m not going to make the meeting.  I‘m actually in jail in my piece of shit hometown.  Yea know.  I came to pay a ticket and it’s a warrant.  Hey, have we figured out if our insurance plan is going to cover dental?  I got a situation going on over here.  Some fat fucking pigs chipped my tooth.  Yea, thats right you, you fat fucking pig I‘m talking about you.  Okay girly yea I‘ll let you know. See you soon.”

I sat in jail for the weekend.  Seth came for a visit.

I‘m sorry Mel I didn’t realize it was you.”

“It’s cool Seth, sorry for ignoring you after that whole dick sucking situation.”

“It’s okay I was a pathetic boy.  I understand why you did.”

“Well I can see your not pathetic anymore tackling a tiny woman over a speeding ticket and all.” I  smiled sarcastically as wide as I could.

“You still look pretty with a chipped tooth.”

“Thank you Seth.  Stop being such a dick though man, you used to be a sweet kid.”

He looked at the ground. “Yea I know I get it.  I’ve learned my lesson…And you know I can help with the dental expenses if you—“

I interrupted, “Shut the fuck upI know damn well what your salary looks like.  I‘ll take care of it.”

He smiled. “Hows your mom?”

“Oh you know still pathetically chasing after married men, the usual. Your dad?”

“Still dying of liver failure.  The usual.”

I had almost forgot that I was still in jail.  “Hey when the fuck am I getting out of here?”

“Oh, actually last night you were free to go.  I just wanted to make sure and see you before you disappeared for another 10 years.”

“You savage.  Somethings never change.”

“Hey if it takes throwing you in jail to see your beautiful face and talk to you, you know I‘ll take it.  That hasn’t changed.”  He handed me my chipped tooth.

I went back to work that week with a broken tooth and a busted head and chin.

Seth died in a drunk driving accident about a month later.

I didn’t go to the funeral.