simmering memories Haibun Daily Moments August 27 2019

© clr Grand-Maman 2014

After spending a relaxing day reading, she decided to prepare her dinner.  Looking in the fridge, she was  lacking inspiration.  Groceries were in need, she sighed, yet she wanted to wait since she had busted her budget already two weeks ago.  She found broccoli stems she had saved, a bag of baby carrots, left over small potatoes that would spoil soon and of course her trusty jar of minced garlic.  Looking up at her vegetable and fruit basket hanging next to the pantry, she took two onions.

She fried the garlic, then onions then filled the pot with water and the chopped vegetables added several heaping tablespoons of beef bouillon, adding spices here and there and let it come to a boil.  Of course she added Worcestershire sauce…it was one staple in her recipes along with a dash or two or three of curry.  She stirred, adding more spices but thought she might wait a while to allow the ingredients to savour the concoction she was making.  She preferred to call it ETF (Empty The Fridge) soup.  But in the past few months there was less and less to empty.  Her fridge was sparse and that was partly trying to follow her more humble budget and also she was tired of throwing away food if she had not got around to cook.  Living alone means not over buying and calculating just enough “in case” family drop by.  Although, her timing was never that great either in those instances.  She tried to keep some things she had cooked in the freezer since she usually cooked enough for at least eight persons.

She stirred the bubbling vegetable liquid and lowered the heat to simmer.  She realized she needed to add more water so she transferred the pot to a bigger pot and then she added lentils she had rinsed several times to the stock.  As she added a few more dashes of this and that, she could not help but think of her GrandMaman.  How she wished she would have been more interested in cooking as a young adult and spent more time cooking with her.  She saw her cook as a teenager but once she married and left home, she rarely watched her do her magic in the kitchen.  She was such an amazing cook too.  The only thing she got down almost perfect was her turkey dressing.  And that was just by tasting, adding this and that and tasting over and over until it tasted like Christmas a long long time ago growing up.

She stirred absent mindedly, rapt in her thoughts that  brought her back in time. Perhaps that was why cooking was so comforting for many people.

swirls of broth
waves in a tin pool
bubbling with stories

listening to her old stories
turn of the last century

washboards and lye soap
horses pulling bread and milk
times of yore

© Tournesol ‘19/08/27

trust your instincts haibun

They called her Wolf Girl on the psych ward at the hospital . No one had been able to approach her …much. She was like a wild animal. If you came too close to her, she would howl; if she was hungry she would stand at your table, looking at your tray with the puppy dog eyes, no one could refuse her. The staff was curious about her but all, without exception, fell in love with her especially when she would curl up into a ball in the fetus position on the centre of her bed…thumb in mouth, lights ON. If ever a staff member felt pity for anyone sleeping with those bright neon lights and turned it off in her room, she would sit up, howling, eyes wide, holding on to her blanket for dear life. 

Her name was Torey.  Child services brought her in 3 months ago to Emergency for a check up and after examination by doctors as well as the psycho-educator in chief, they assumed she would get her discharge no later than 3 days (which was customary in “those” cases). But she never got that release and Dr. Shelley, the Psycho-Educator in chief would not release her. She had a different reason at each court hearing…this last one was selective mutism, and that this youth was sexually assaulted multiple times for years.

Torey was 11 by now but what did,   “hell did multiple times for years” even mean?  Dr. Shelley just knew that this child should NOT be placed in foster care without guarantees she would be safe.   The system had failed her in the past when this child had put her trust in adults who should have kept her safe.  Dr. Shelley knew there were NO such guarantees.  She  took it upon herself to ensure she remain the ward of the court and in the children’s psychiatric ward indefinitely.  She had hope that some day soon, she just may make a breakthrough. Torey may decide to talk.

It was December 24th,  three and a half months since Torey’s admission, and she was in her daily interview with Dr. Shelley. This therapist had a unique approach with youths with selective mutism.  Her past 10 years of experience working solely with teens who had autism spectrum had given her a new skill…EEP.  Her colleagues, mostly professors at the local university scoffed at her when she said it was actually a skill that had to be learned with working with “exceptional” youths.  EEL stands for Exceptional Empathetic Listening skills.  Dr. Shelley had a knack of drawing out the most difficult and resistant child into trusting her enough to start talking…even if it was one hour a day, that was a miracle in many cases she had worked on.

Torey was different. She was brilliant. She had a way of knowing what adults were thinking and what they needed. This is how they discovered her exceptional talent or sixth sense you. 

One day, Nurse Grant, who had been working on the pediatric ward on the psychiatric section for 20 years,  walked on the floor with a limp wearing tinted glasses.  Staff all inquired with sympathy what had happened to her over the weekend and she just brushed them off with a, “Ah just clumsy old me bumped into the glass bus shelter. With the darn sleet and snow mingled, I could not see an inch in front of me and I banged the corner of my left eye and slipped and sprained my ankle. Enough said, no need for pity from anyone, so I got these glasses to avoid your mushy sad looks. Now ya’ll get to work!”  She did have a bit of a bark and everyone went back to work. No one asked her again and most of the staff avoided looking at her in the eye…or rather, glasses…except for Torey.  She looked at her suspiciously, sucking her thumb. She circled around her looking up at her and raised her eyebrow. 

Then she followed Nurse Grant into the nurse’s lobby and sat right next to her on the couch while she sipped her coffee. Torey looked up and did the most surreal thing…she spoke! “He gave it to you, didn’t he?” she said  in a raspy voice. Nurse Grant almost spilled her coffee and looked at Torey wide eye, in shock.

“What are you talkin’ about young lady?!”

But Torey did not balk nor did she feel intimidated by Nurse Grant’s harsh tone.  She just looked up at her with those puppy dog eyes and gave Nurse Grant a hug, whispering in her ear, “I know what them do to you.”

Nurse Grant froze at first, then relinquished to this precious moment because she had a feeling that Torey did, in fact, know.  Torey’s compassion melted her heart.

Later that afternoon, Dr. Shelley was advised about Torey’s first spoken words in private by Nurse Grant who had to come clean of her own personal circumstances. 

Dr. Shelley, called Torey to her office.

“Well, now, Torey. You certainly gave us a bit of a surprise today and I have to say a very nice surprise. I want to thank you.” 

Torey had arrived arms crossed, ready to keep her silence but was cut off guard when Dr. Shelley was thanking her.  She dropped her arms to her side and raised an eyebrow and waited…she was the prize of detectives…she had to know for sure…

Dr. Shelley continued, “Torey, Nurse Grant has been in an abusive relationship for years and no one but no one has ever had the courage to confront her and plead with her to get out and to a safer environment. Today, Nurse Grant came up to me asking to live in the nurses’ quarters for the night staff temporarily until she finds a new apartment.  I want to thank you for doing something not one counsellor, nurse, doctor or psychologist was able to do until you did.”

Torey stared at her, sizing what she had just heard, and took her usual seat in front of Dr. Shelly’s arm chair and said, “Yeah, well, it’s about time she left that f…..g loser. She deserves better.”

That was the first session Torey felt she could trust Dr. Shelley and started disclosing the sexual abuse she had been exposed to by her father from the age of 7 to 10 and the abuse in foster care the months following her removal from her home.

Trust had to be earned.  Torey was not fool enough to trust just anyone; she knew who could be trusted and she chose to speak to Nurse Grant because she saw an ally…a soldier in the fight against abuse  in her.  As for Dr. Shelley, well, Torey, knew she had an exceptional way of listening and she was just waiting for the right moment to feel she could actually trust her.





 the frog tries to help
a scorpion cross the river
an act of kindness

halfway to the other side
scorpion shows its true nature

smell cunning cruelty
even words soaked in honey
instincts are wiser

©Tournesol 2016









Coming back home ~ Haibun

Such a glorious day today and even warmer than the past few days!  It almost feels like spring.  The snow has melted on her front lawn and one would not even believe that it snowed all day two days ago and the lawns were all white yesterday on her way grocery shopping.  She can’t wait to get out and walk to work and if she can manage to leave extra early, she might even sit in the park near her work.


Sitting in the park
Searching for buds here and there
Inhaling scents of spring

Closing her eyes she listens
First season’s concerto 

Swallows have come home
Checking out the neighbourhood
A place to call home

© Tournesol ‘19-04-11
Daily Moments April 11 2019 Coming back home Haibun

© Tournesol ‘19-04-11 

Daily Moments April 11 2019  Coming back home   Haibun 

snow, another four-letter word (Daily Moments January 23. 2019 Haibun )

It is amazing how much literature there is on the lack of sunlight and darkness affects moods and yet there does not seem to be as much on seeing ONLY WHITE F&$&ing snow. The skies are grey today and yet the brightness of the snow still makes her eyes squint and adds to the jackhammer in her head. It is said that January 21st is the most depressing day of the year. How interesting that it may be the most depressing but that does not mean that the following day it has disappeared. No siree, it lags on and on and on and lurks into February and depression infecting each day forward.

Today, she squints as she looks out the window, debating if she should go out to do some errands which would entail, getting dressed (winterizing with coat, boots, scarf, ski mask, snow pants, gloves or mitts and cleats) to the bus stop, waiting in the wind, avoiding cars splashing the slush on sidewalks and repeating the same thing on her return. It is like shampooing one’s hair: shampoo, rinse, repeat.

Fortunately, today it is a balmy –5C so she can lose the snow pants, ski mask and mitts. What a joy! It is snowing today and she stands at the corner feeling her cheeks blush with each kiss.

“Crunch, Crunch” her boots moan as she approaches destination. Taking a deep breath of the fresh air, she feels a shift in her mood and knows that this brief but effective exercise has fired neurotransmitters that are lifting her spirits. She sighs thinking of those who suffer so much especially this time of year and the risks that may entail…

mid-season blues 
like summer draughts bring despair 
in the dead of winter 
 
blindly seeking respite  
from the wrath of depression 
 
treading warily 
on grief’s temptation 
veering such demise 
 
bundling up with courage 
some may make that phone call 
 
hearing in that voice 
caring and supportive 
may give life a chance 
 
© Tournesol ‘19-01-23