The Boxer and The Green Beret

She was crying hysterically as she drove her car down I-75.  The tears blurred her vision, but she knew the way home.

Home.  “How could she go home in this state?”  She thought to herself, “I can’t let the children see me like this.”  …and her husband, he’d had more than enough of the misery.  He was of the opinion that she enjoyed the pain, otherwise why would she repeatedly subject herself to what everyone knew would be heartbreaking.

He was wrong of course.  She hated this, feeling like this.  It’s that he was her son.  No amount of pain would ever keep her from him.

She reached into her purse on the passenger seat and grabbed the cell phone.  She would call her uncle.  He’d let her come over, she’d calm down then go home.

The idea itself grounded her, a bit.  “Hi…no, I’m fine…do you mind if I pass by?  I can’t go home like this.  Yes.  I saw him, it was awful.  Ok.  Ok, I’ll be careful.  See you in a minute.”

She hung up and took the exit, one past hers, to his house.

Her uncle was seated on the bed with his back against the headboard.  It was the most comfortable position for him.  He was a huge man.  6″5″ and muscle bound, at least he was, back in the day…  Even now, minus the leg he’d lost some time ago, he was a physically formidable figure.

His manner was gruff, he spoke his mind and didn’t care who he offended.  He drank too much on occasion and was apt to tease you mercilessly, but only if you let him know it bothered you.  Stand up to him, give him a little of his own back, and he’d be a loyal friend forever.  People either loved and respected him or hated him, no one after meeting him was left with a feeling of indifference.  His house was the last place you’d go seeking sympathy.  Luckily, sympathy was not what she sought.

She kissed him on the cheek, then plopped down at the foot of his bed.  She stopped crying by now but her eyes were nearly swollen shut.  She looked at him through the red rimmed slits and forced a smile.

“Hi baby.  You want a glass of wine?”, he asked.  She shook her head yes.  “Go get a glass from the kitchen.”

She found a juice glass quickly and returned to her spot on the bed.  “Jesus, I do have wine glasses you know.”  She smiled at him.  “I know.”  He took the bottle of wine from his nightstand and filled her glass with red.  “Thanks”, she said and eagerly took a sip.

“So what the hell is going on?”, he demanded, though he knew both the answer and the back story.  He’d been divorced himself, he knew the havoc it caused, especially when children were involved.

“I feel like a boxer, you know?  …and I’m getting my ass kicked.  They knock me down and I get up, they knock me down again and I get up.  I’m still getting up, but I’m struggling.  I don’t know how many more rounds I can go…”

He nodded his head, and offered her a cigarette.  She took one, lit it and handed the lighter and pack back to him.  He lit one himself, and took a long drag, before replying,  “Yeah, I know.”

“…did I ever tell you about the time I tried out for the Green Beret?”, he said as he put the ashtray down on the bed between them.

He’d told her plenty of stories over the years, and taught her a million lessons too.  His lessons would be considered harsh by today’s standards, even then many thought they were too rough, but they stuck.

When she was about seven he asked her if she knew how to play poker.  “No”, came the obvious answer.  “Well, you wanna learn?”, he asked her.  She was excited to play a game with her uncle, of course she did.

“Ok”, he said,  “…how much money you got?” “I don’t have any money.”, she answered.  “What else you got?  I see you have a ton of those stuffed animals, go get ’em.”  She scurried off, excitedly collecting all the fluffy creatures her arms could carry.  They sat down on the floor of the living room and the “poker” lesson began.  Within minutes, he’d won them all, and she was crying. Of course he gave them back, after some feigned argument about how they were rightfully his as he’d won them “fair and square”.

She never gambled again, even as an adult she detested the idea.  He was a genius in his way.  …too bad he didn’t have a lesson about smoking, she thought as she took another drag off the cigarette.

“No, you never told me the Green Beret story.”

He smiled and had a sip of wine.  “Well when we left the FBI, me and Jim decided to try out for the Green Beret.  They told us to meet them at this track, you know, to test us physically.”  She nodded.  “First we had to knock out a hundred squats, then run a mile.”

“Well, you know me, I had to show off, you know, show ’em how tough I was, so I killed those squats.  I finished while Jim was still at it and took off to run the mile.”

She smiled at him with familial pride.  “Huh!”, he laughed, “…the joke was on me.”

“I did the squats so fast I could barely walk let alone run.  My legs were rubber.  I’d run a few feet, then fall down.  The CO would come up next to me and start yelling, like they do, about what a piece of shit I was, how I should just give up now…”, he smiled.

“I’d get up, run a little more, then my legs would give out again, and here’d come the CO, screaming in my face, trying to make me quit.  By now Jim had finished his squats and ran past me.”

“…to make a long story short, I finished the mile, but with the worst time I’d ever done.”

She pulled a sympathetic face, and he grinned at her.

“A couple of weeks go by and we don’t hear anything back from them.  Finally I get a call.”

“We’d like to invite you to join the Green Beret, they said. Now, I knew they hadn’t called Jim.  So I asked them, what about Jim?  They said they wouldn’t be extending him the same invitation. I asked why me?  Jim had done so much better and my time was terrible.”

“The guy on the phone told me, We can teach you how to do squats, but we can’t teach you how to get up.”

“We’re kin baby.  You know what to do, and you’re doing it.  Just keep getting up.”

Lesson number one million and one.



S. Conde



The Immortality of Thought : Part Three

The woman stood up abruptly which caused the girl to open her eyes.  The woman extended her hand.  The girl reached out and took it.  The two women walked hand in hand, out of the house onto the simple wood slatted porch.

“Our thoughts are of the utmost importance.”, said the woman as she led the girl down the concrete steps.  The girl loved them, odd though it was to love such a thing as steps.  Thirty years ago when the cement was poured and just beginning to harden, three of her second cousins pressed their names, written in marbles, into these very steps.  Sometimes, the girl would sit at the bottom and run her fingers over the smooth glass marbles.  From the smooth marbles to rough cement, and back again.  She traced their names and pondered the permanence of things.  She always secretly wished her name was among theirs.

They stepped out onto the lush green lawn, which gave way gently under their feet, and walked over to the swing.  The swing was chained to a massive oak branch.  The woman loved the swing, as did the girl, but neither of them knew why.

The women sat and began to rock gently to and fro.  The girl lay down and rested her head in the woman’s lap.  The woman stroked the girl’s hair, as the breeze gently caressed her own.

“Remember, every thought which has ever been had exists.”

The girl closed her eyes and listened quietly.

“It will manifest as reality, either in this world or the next.”  The girl thought about what she had created so far.  “Thoughts do not die, they merely transform.”, said the woman.  “Your reaction to each situation you encounter acts as a building block for your world.”

“…but then there is no hope…”, said the girl.  “…if the bad thoughts just go on forever.”

“There is always hope.”, said the woman smiling kindly.  “A genuine change of heart, can transfigure the original idea.”

This made the girl smile in turn.  “You had me worried there for a minute.”

The woman laughed.  “There is no need to worry, you’re the architect of your world.  Just as you can create your own hell you can create your own heaven, in this world, the next and beyond.  The choice is yours, you get to decided which path to take.  Just be mindful of your decisions.”

“You have created this place and you have brought me here, which is in itself a small miracle.  Imagine all you’ll take back with you to the material world.  Soon you’ll be able to access this place at will.”

“What does it matter what I take back?”, asked the girl, “…if I’m unable to communicate the truth without destroying it.”

“There are nonverbal means of communication.  Learn them…and anyway, I didn’t say destroy, I said corrupt.  The kernel of truth will still be there when you speak, for those open to hearing it.”

The girl pulled a face, rolling her eyes and puckering her lips.  The woman smiled and continued loving on the girl’s hair.

“There are so many things which can not be learned by the intellect alone, or at all even.”, spoke the woman.  The girl let her eyes wander down the drive.  She focused on the old pecan tree off to the right of the gravel path. The woman barely needed to push the swing with her feet at all.  Still it swung.  The tree was at once closer then farther, closer then farther.  The great pecan tree was old but still producing; the driveway was littered with pecans.  The girl admired the tree, she remembered it so well, so fondly, from her youth.

“Didn’t you ever wonder why the teachers of awakening speak in riddles?”, asked the woman.  “I thought that was just how they talked.”, replied the girl.  “No…”, laughed the woman, “…it’s to free the mind of perfectly reasonable thought processes.  Certain concepts can not be grasped, only understood.  Sometimes, one and one make three.”

“Mother, father, child.”, said the girl.

“Mother, father, child.”, repeated the woman.

The girl turned her head and looked up at the woman.  She was so lovely.  How she had missed her.

“Pecan pie?”, asked the girl.  The woman nodded.  “Yes.”

The End


S. Conde





The Accessibility of Truth : Part Two

The woman returned to the humble task of folding napkins.

“If I were my mother…”, said the woman, “…I’d be ironing them.”

The girl smiled, finishing up her biscuit and gently wiping her mouth with the linen napkin before setting it down on the table next to her plate.  Her hands folded under her chin, and elbows on the table, she leaned forward.  The woman took it as a sign to continue.

“Just because these truths, or bits of information are lost, doesn’t mean they’re gone for good, or inaccessible to us as humans.  It just means that they’re more difficult to access.”

The woman picked up the pile of freshly laundered and folded white napkins and walked back into the kitchen.  She placed them neatly in a drawer then returned to the table for the girl’s plate.

“Think of a black hole not as a bottomless pit of darkness, but as an opening in the material world.”, she said as she rinsed the plate and put it in the dishwasher.

“It sucks up light, information, and shoots it out into an alternate world on the other end of the black hole.” She said as she again wiped her hands on her apron and sat back down in her chair at the table.

“Like a hose.”, said the girl tentatively.

“Yes…”, smiled the woman, “…very much like a hose.”  The girl was encouraged.

“Physically going there and retrieving the information is…”

“Impossible!”, interrupted the girl.

The woman winked, “Improbable.”

“However, we can access that world, and others, by tapping into the black hole within us, that is us.”, she said repeatedly pressing her hand over her heart in emphasis.

The girl’s brow wrinkled again.  They woman laughed lovingly.

“Energy from the Earth rises up within us, spiraling its way up through our bodies, awakening sacred energies that have always existed within us, but that reason will not allow us to see. This energy travels up through a series of electrical pathways finally igniting our mind and opening our eyes to that which can not be see mechanically.”

The woman reached for the pitcher to pour herself a glass of tea.

“Reason…”, sighed the woman as she lifted the pitcher, “…is the enemy of the improbable, trying at every turn to defeat the delicate and fleeting world of possibility.”

The girl smiled.  She liked the sound of that.  It was true, of course, but she liked how the words sounded. Like something monks might chant in a lost language.

The girl leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes.  “What about from above?”, said the girl with her eyes still closed, “What about from the heavens?”

Good, thought the woman.  “Yes, the energy flows downward as well.”  The girl smiled, pleased with herself.

“Energy…”, continued the woman, “…information, then flows freely from one dimension to the next, and the lost truths become accessible again.  There are as many ways to accomplish this as there are souls on the planet.  Some arrive through meditation, others prayer,  even a shock to the system can be an awakening of energies.  …some unique souls never lost the truths.  The soft spot on their head never hardened fully, blocking out the flow.”

The girl opened her eyes.  “Really?”


The girl raised a disapproving eyebrow at the woman and leaned back in her chair again closing her eyes.  The woman laughed…as did the girl.



The Corruption of Truth : Part One

“We, in our human form, are very similar to black holes.”

The girl looked disappointed.

The woman noticed.  “…not in a negative sense, I’m not speaking of a void…which I think is a misconception about black holes anyway…”  Her voice trailed off, following her thoughts.  The woman smiled with eyes closed and shook her head gently as if trying to nudge her mind back onto its tracks. “We are similar in that we consistently operate on two planes of existence.  …well more than two, but for our purposes, let’s stick with two.”

The girl listened carefully and followed, wide eyed, the woman’s every movement, as if the act of blinking would cause her to miss something important.  The girl watched every gesture of the woman’s delicate hands as she folded a small pile of linen napkins on the table next to her.  She observed the occasional sharp upward turn of her eyes when she was thinking, and tried to interpret the secret language of the woman’s body while absorbing the explicit language of her words.

“We are spiral vortices that suck up information.  Once a piece of information is within us it is very difficult to retrieve.  The only way we can share that information, on the material plane, is through communication…”

The girl nodded, her eyes locked on to those of the woman.  Blue on blue.  The woman searched the girls eyes for evidence of understanding.  Finding it, she was satisfied and continued.

“…which, of course…”, the woman smiled and rolled her eyes, “…is nearly futile, as communication always corrupts the original kernel of information.”

Now the girl was confused.  She wrinkled her lovely smooth brow.  “How so?”

“In order to communicate in a material sense, information must be processed within us, and in that process we color the information with our feelings, belief systems, rationale, experiences, and so on.  When the information finally emerges from us in the form of written or verbal communication it is no longer in it’s original form.  It is corrupt.”  The woman stopped to tuck a strand of her long, dark, silver streaked hair back into the bun she wore low, at the nape of her neck.

The girl nodded in agreement.  “…makes sense.”  The woman smiled, and refilled the girl’s glass of tea from the pitcher that was on the table beside them.  “Thank you”, said the girl as she lifted the glass to her rose colored lips. “Please, go on.”

“Then…”, exclaimed the woman throwing her hands up in the air for effect, “…to further obscure the original content of the information, the listener, or reader…the receiver, let’s just say, of said information, must internalize and process the information as well, leading to additional mutation.”

“Now…”, said the woman as she walked into the kitchen and removed the biscuits from the oven.

The house smelled good, in the way that only a house filled with love, warmth, and freshly baked biscuits does, thought the girl.

“…I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing.  Many interesting ideas are formed in this way.  What I am saying is that this is how many essential truths are lost.”

The woman put all but one of the biscuits in a cloth lined basket sitting there on the counter.  She folded the edges of the cloth over the warm bread. Then with the tips of her fingers, she picked up the last one and placed it on a beautiful blue and white porcelain plate.  She opened the stainless steel refrigerator and removed the butter dish. The girl watched as the woman buttered the last golden icon of the South.

“Do you want honey or jelly?  Or both?”, asked the woman.  “Neither.”, smiled the girl.  “I’ll have it just like that, thank you.”  The woman smiled, nodded, and returned the butter dish to the refrigerator.  “You’re welcome baby girl.”, she replied as she ambled over to the kitchen table where the two women, one young and one not quite so, were talking.  She placed the buttermilk biscuit directly in front of the girl, and handed her a linen napkin from the pile she had been folding.

The woman wiped invisible crumbs from her hands on the front of her apron and sat down as the girl bit into the biscuit.  “Mmmm.”, came the familiar utterance.  The woman smiled, happy to nourish the girl.



S. Conde