Love is in the air!
Spring is in the air!
Goodness something is in the air because I feel awesome!
Why? I don't know! I don't care!
I just know that the smell of spring makes me happy and giddy.
I remember when I was in grammar school how excited I would get when spring finally arrived.
My mother was very strict and I wasn't allowed to hang out anywhere after school. The only freedom I had was walking the three blocks home from school and taking our dog Violeta for a walk.
It must have taken me half an hour to walk those three blocks because I wanted to savor every scent, ray of sunshine and touch of the breeze.
I would examine the flower buds and check out the leaves on the bushes. All of them!
I would listen to the birds chirping and the wind passing through the trees.
Every day as soon as I got home I would get the same lecture about being late!
Late for what, being locked down in hell? After she was done yelling at me, I would take the dog out so she could do her duty.
There was an old abandoned lot that used to be a playground across the street from our house. I would walk the dog over there, so that my mother could see me from the window!
There was still an old swing set left over from the lot's better days.
The lot was enclosed so I would sit and swing back and forth while our dog walked around doing her business.
When I was on my swing, because I felt it was my own, I was free or rather I would feel free!
I would be a bird flying high up and far away, going off to see faraway lands in places where my unhappy life with my mother couldn't find me.
Some days I would be a famous trapeze artist and I would go through my routine hanging upside down from the old swing.
When I did this I would get screamed at from my mother to stop, because I was dragging my hair on the dirty ground!
Had she never heard of shampoo before?
Depending on what mood she was in I would be able to stretch these outings for between fifteen minutes to sometimes if lucky half an hour. Eventually she would call me in and I was in lock down until it was time to go to school the next morning.
Weekends were the worse. She would get me up early in the morning to do chores.
If I didn't wake up right away I would get the cold water in the face with the mattress flipped over for good measure.
And they wondered why going through the police academy or being in the Massachusetts guard was a piece of cake for me!
The cleaning, the scrubbing, the yelling! This would go on until my sister came over to go shopping in Central Square. Freedom!
We would walk around all the stores, get something to eat then go back home. That would be the end of it for me.
Saturday nights usually involved her getting drunk with her boyfriend or having these outrageous parties. It was strange; these same young "ladies" would show up with a different guy each week (translation hookers).
I would just lock myself in my room and try to watch TV through the loud music. Once in a while one of the young girls, because they were barely in their late teens, looking back on it now, would come into my room and talk to me.
Here I was, barely twelve years old, bonding with a girl who was barely four, five years older than me.
We would talk about school, make up and boys. I always wondered what life events would force a woman into these circumstances.
Years later as a police officer I found out. Eventually the young lady would go back to her "date" and I would be left alone again with my dog.
The epitome of hypocrisy was that the next day I would have to get up at eight in the morning to go to church, by myself most of the times.
The sad thing is that for a while there I thought that this was normal! I thought everyone had hookers at their parties, got drunk and made their kids' lives a living hell.
But then at church I would see families together, Mom, sometimes a Dad, and kids worshipping, helping out.
There I discovered that something was seriously wrong at home. The nuns and the priest showed more of a caring, loving interest in me than my own so called family.
Walking home from church again I would stretch the walk as long as I could. I knew once I reached the front door of my house I would have to return to the despair of loneliness and desolation.
Looking back on all this, having gone through those experiences it has helped me have a deeper appreciation for the freedom I now have.
It also made me realize how fortunate I was to live in this country that affords me those freedoms. In some parts of the world, women never break away from that type of oppression. I am not going to lie, it took a few years of counseling and countless self help books to overcome some of the damage done during those years, but all in all I came out better on the other side.
Luckily I never lost that sense of joy over the seasons!
To this day silly giddiness surges through me when the weather turns balmier. I also make the effort to never let those experiences take away my zest for living; if I did then they would have won!
Oh, a blue jay in my window! Yeah I know I have a short attention span!
But it's so beautiful, the Blue jay I mean, not my short attention span!
Enough of this! Buddie, time to go find a swing set, dude!
Gee, I hope the parents don't call the cops because some weird lady is hanging upside down from the swings!