The Blue Bench


There is a bench somewhere, probably nearby. You might have totally missed it before, but it’s there. More of a swing, really, though it’s mostly fallen into disuse as such over the years. Its color, however, has remained bright and vivid, as if it desires to teach the sky how to be just so. It’s a rather impossibly bright shade, making the bench simultaneously something old and something new.

This is an uncommon bench. This bench invites company. As you sit on the bench, you will find that its openness and space are not diminished. Rather, the bench seems bigger, longer, wider, brighter. So you add a friend. That bright blue bench seems bigger still. The more people who join you on the bench, the bigger it seems. The bench sees everyone as important and makes room for them.

The bench holds a lot of things, things spoken, sung, shared, and written. Joyous dreams. Mind-blowing adventures. Broken hearts. Torn souls. Stronger scars. Triumphant stories. Tearful whispers. But one of the most important things that this brilliant blue bench holds is a hand to always take yours, someone who has got your back and will always be there. Because the bench never met someone who wasn’t important. And everyone needs someone.

The Blue Bench

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To See and Be Seen


The Doctor: Well?
Clara: Well what?
The Doctor: He asked you a question. Will you help me?
Clara: You shouldn’t have been listening.
The Doctor: I wasn’t, I didn’t need to. That was me talking. You can’t see me, can you? You look at me and you can’t see. Have you any idea what that’s like? I’m not on the phone, I’m right here. Standing in front of you. Please just…just see me. (Doctor Who, Series 8, Episode 1: “Deep Breath”)

This is the cry of every human heart, isn’t it?”

“Please, just see me.”

How we long to noticed, to be seen. For someone to have the desire and take the time to look past how we appear to be, past the carefully-crafted social mask that each of us has developed, and look for who we truly are. For someone to see and still embrace us in all our messy humanity and imperfect progress. We long to be a destination, not merely a stop on someone’s journey or a means to an end.

“Please, just see me.”

Seeing someone takes time, it takes effort, it takes stretching and being willing to listen rather than talk. Seeing someone means learning about them, their good and their bad. It means accepting them.

Being seen means vulnerability, courage, and showing our belly, as it were. It means revealing feelings, possibly secrets, struggles, and hard places. It means taking a deep breath and trusting someone else. Trusting not only that they will listen and hear us, but that they will not cast us aside upon the hearing. Being seen takes risk; it takes trust.

“Please, just see me.”

What would it be like if we chose to see others? I know that we all want to be seen but, in order to be seen, it means that we must be willing to see others as well.

A Lesson in (Geek) Etiquette


I inhabit a world of geeks. If you have not been confronted by the passion of the geek by now, I salute you, because we are one seriously fervent and animated bunch. We usually make sure that you will remember us, one way or another.

That being said, I have apologies to make. In the past, I have been pretty unkind and even downright mean in my dislike of several comic book characters in the past, namely Scott Summers, aka Cyclops. I have disliked the way the character treats the people in his life, his insistence that his way is the best, etc. But I have realized that, in the past, I have been rather rude when discussing this character with others who may just like or even admire him for his leadership and what he has gone through in his tenure in the X-men universe. I may not agree with or like this character but that is no call for poor behavior on my part when it comes to respecting others and their position in the argument. So, to anyone I have treated that way, I sincerely apologize.

As much as our opinions and passions matter, I think one of the most important things we need to remember is our geek etiquette. What makes us so great a community is that we have a myriad of varied interests, likes, favorites, fandoms, etc. But we can also be exceedingly vocal and adamant in our passion for particular fandoms or characters or even specific versions of the two. Sometimes, we can allow those passions to overcome our good sense and in our desperate attempts to show that we are “right” and to win others over to “our side” or our way of seeing things, we can actually disrespect and damage our relationships with other people by unknowingly tromping all over something that might mean a great deal to them.

We might not know that this particular character or comic that we absolutely despise was an escape for this person when they were younger, a way to get away from the difficulties in their life at a particularly rough time.

We might not know that this character whom we find unbelievable and trite was the first thing that she bonded over with her brother, when before they had had nothing in common.

It might not have even crossed our minds that Matt Smith’s “Doctor Who”, whom we might consider manic and out of keeping with previous Doctors, calmed that frazzled mother’s colicky baby and gave her a few moments of peace and rest, which is why he is her favorite.

There are connections behind people’s opinions and favorites, thought they might seriously diverge from our own, that we might not know of because they are personal and close to their hearts. We are more than welcome to our own opinions, of course, but that does not mean that we cannot be kind and respectful in our passionate discussion, allowing for others to maintain their stances without our trying to tear them down when they refuse to “see it our way”. And this doesn’t just stand for “geeky” hobbies or interests. This practice can and should be applied to areas across the spectrum of our lives. We can be passionate AND respectful and possibly avoid damaging our friendships and relationships with others by stomping all over something that they might enjoy by detailing to them just how awful their choice in geekery, religion, career, or hobbies is. Trust me, we all get enough of that in our lives.

A Time Lord’s Auld Lang Syne


The night is waning, the year is bidding farewell, her family is asleep, and her world is quiet. Until she hears it. On her back porch, that whooshing thrum that echoes through the New Year’s Eve air. Standing from her blanket cocoon on her couch, she makes her way to the back door, reaching for the handle, only to have the screen door open without warning, leaving her to jump back from the blast of cold night air.

And there he is, standing in the snow-swirled doorway like the proverbial bow-tied Peter Pan at her window.

“Happy New Year!” he crows.

“Shhh!” comes the retort and he instantly shrinks down, hand before his mouth, eyes wide with mirth.

“Happy New Year?” comes the greeting once more, only much, much quieter.

“You’re on the western side of the Atlantic, love. It’s not New Year’s quite yet,” she says with a smile at the mad man with the police box, reaching behind him to close the door and shut out the cold once more.

“Really? My timing must be off, though I’d get here right after they knocked the ball off. Oh, well, no matter! Time left then!”

“Shhh!” she reprimands again but, this time, he just smiles.

“How are you?” he asks, crossing his arms behind him.

“Seeing out the old year and welcoming the new,” she replies leading him through her small house and into a living room warmed by a small fireplace. She offers him a seat on the sofa, if he wishes.

“What brings you here on New Year’s Eve?” she then asks as she sits.

He doesn’t answer for a moment but then his words are soft and honest. “To say goodbye as well.”

Her face falls as she reads his. “This seriously is it, isn’t it? You are saying goodbye.”

This adorable maniac purses his lips and nods slowly. “Times change and so must we.”

She cannot help but glance down the hall towards the bedrooms where her husband and toddler daughter slumber peacefully. “We do change, don’t we?” she murmurs softly. “I remember the first time you and your crazy box came to me. Seems like so very long ago.”

A smile, sad and joyous all at the same time, curls his lips. “I do, too. The Girl Who Stayed Behind.”

She chuckles. “Oh, I get a title, now do I?”

“Well, of course!” he replies, “It’s a thing I do.”

Reaching out gently, she cups that cheek in her hand. So young that face but so old those eyes. Neither of them says anything for the longest time, though everyone knows that the most significant words are spoken in the space between. In the silences.

“Thank you for stopping for me that day,” she finally says, “Though I have not regretted not going with you.”

“I know you haven’t; you think I haven’t kept an eye on you? You’ve had some pretty amazing adventures of your own,” he says, “I wouldn’t have offset that destiny for all the stars in the expanse.” He stands then, moving through her home as if it was his own. Coming to her daughter’s room, he pauses in the doorway, watching the toddler dream in her crib.

“Never stop dreaming, little one. Your mum didn’t and look what it got her,” he whispers his blessing on a breath of golden stardust. He then steps from the door, closing it most of the way again before returning to the living room and her couch.

“You don’t forget, do you?” he asks, and she instinctively knows what he’s asking about.

“Not the important things, no,” she replies lowly, “And you are one of the important things.” Reaching out, she takes his hand gently. “Don’t you ever think that you’re not. You won’t be forgotten, not by anyone who has ever met or been blessed by you. It doesn’t matter where you go, what you do…what face you wear…you will always be the adorable mad man with a box. You will always be the Doctor to me.”

His smile is wobbly, his eyes limpid in the firelight, as he grasps her hand with both of his, lifting it to kiss it ardently. “Thank you,” he whispers, “Thank you for that.”

Suddenly, there comes a faint beeping from the arm of the couch. Her phone. It’s midnight.

“Happy New Year, Doctor-dear.”

“Happy New Year, my girl,” he murmurs in reply.

The moments pass and she is alone on her couch once more, her house locked up safe and sound, and there is a void in the snow on her porch, a square large enough for a person to stand in. The fire has burned down, the world is quiet. The New Year has begun.

May it be blessed.

Credit to Ashley Feiler on Pinterest

The End of the Eleventh (Twelfth?) Age


Thank you, Matt Smith, you clever boy!

I am not a die-hard Doctor Who fan, not what you would call one anyway. I have not watched the series from its inception, up through Nine and Ten to get to Eleven. I started with Eleven, with Matt Smith’s portrayal of a manic, adorable Doctor with more than a slight case of the disorganized savant. I am a fan of Eleven (or is he Twelve?), having enjoyed his three series, the 50th Anniversary, the Christmas Specials, and his runs of “Doctor Who at the Proms” immensely. Yes, I have somehow managed to catch them all, without cable for the past few years.

As I said, I am not a die-hard fan. I do not believe that you must watch Eccleston’s Nine and Tennant’s Ten to appreciate Matt Smith’s Eleven. But that’s just me. Remember that I said that: it’s just my opinion. Personally, I loved the stories woven into Eleven’s series: Amy and Rory (The Ponds, as in ‘Come along!’), the full story of the Doctor and River Song, and Clara the Impossible Girl. I also loved the emotion, the passion, and intensity that developed through Matt Smith’s portrayal of the Doctor. From episode one, that not-so-subtle “Hello, I’m the Doctor. Basically…run!”, I fell in love with this manic, centuries-old young man who “needed a proper shirt” to face an alien race that was prepared to exterminate an entire planet to get rid of one escaped inmate. A proper shirt to threaten an entire race. Talk about ballsy.

I was on pins and needles over the 50th Anniversary “The Day of the Doctor” set to star Smith, Tennant, and also John Hurt (beloved from his days as “The Storyteller”) as the Doctor. I wanted to be able to see in theatres but plans would not allow, so my wonderful, fabulous husband bought the dvd for me for Christmas. And a friend was kind enough to download the Christmas Special “The Time of the Doctor” and send that along my way, too. So, today, I closed the chapter upon Matt Smith’s lovable Doctor. There were heartstrings pulled, triumph experienced, and tears shed.

So, thank you, Matt Smith, for your blood, sweat, and tears (and hair) that you dedicated to this wonderful character. It makes my heart proud to say that you could not have gone out in any better way than with these words: (I feel compelled to put SPOILER ALERT here, just in case)

.

.

“Times change and so must I. We all change. If you think about it, we are all different people all through our lives. And that’s okay, that’s good. You’ve got to keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I won’t forget one line of this, not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.”

And so will I. And I will visit, you clever boy, because the truth is: you make me happy. You make me smile. And that is no little thing.

NaBloMoPo Day 21: Artistic Bent


In our local coffee shop are sold prints and paintings by local artists. My husband came home one Saturday morning from his coffee run to inform me that I needed to go to the coffee shop later and look at the art because there was something there that would interest me. So, later, we took a walk with Elizabeth and, entering the coffee shop, Ben drew me over to where some new paintings sat and said, “Can you guess which one I thought you’d like?” It took me a moment but soon I saw it. Sitting there was a small 8×10 print of this:

If you know Doctor Who then you recognize this piece. In an episode in Series 5 of the restart of the hit British show, the Doctor and Amy Pon visit Vincent Van Gogh after the Doctor sees a monstrous shape in one of Vincent’s paintings in an exhibit. Throughout the episode, we find that Vincent not only has mental issues but is gifted with, at times, visions of the future. He painted the above, a depiction of the TARDIS exploding and burning, a catastrophic event that haunts the Doctor’s future, though how or why he doesn’t know.

I think it’s beautiful and the fact that someone studied it and Van Gogh’s style enough to recreate it made me squee. Unfortunately, it was a single canvas and it was already sold. Ah, well. Next time, right?

Utter Dichotomy


She was an utter dichotomy sitting there at the diner counter in her sundress, polka-dot, peep-toe, wedge sandals, a turquoise ribbon shining against her dark hair, the abundant curls of which had been hastily caught up into a makeshift chignon at the base of her neck, due to the unexpected heat in the restaurant. Wasn’t this why air conditioners were invented? Surrounded by Coca-Cola memorabilia and looked down upon like the moon by a giant portrait of Elvis, framed by vinyl records, she bounced her toe slightly to the beat of “Earth Angel”. She looked like a picture out of “Grease”, sipping on a milkshake while playing with her iPhone. The smell of sizzling meat and deep-fried whatever filled the diner as servers rushed back and forth behind the counter before her, making milkshakes and getting ice cream cones. In the background behind her was inconsequential chatter as she typed away with her thumb, putting down her milkshake so she could use her more dexterous index finger. She was writing it down so she would remember, though none of them ever would.

None of them would ever remember the strange man (whom she was still sure had a smorgasbord of mental issues) with the bright blue box that was bigger on the inside, ancient and inexplicably new at the same time. He said he’d borrowed it, sort of. He’d shown it to her, offered her “adventures throughout time and space. I love a good spot of adventure, don’t you?”

“No.”

“No?”

“No, I don’t like adventure.”

And she didn’t  She didn’t like the unknown, with all its variables and dangers and long, long ways from home. Life had enough adventure as it was. She was getting ready to start graduate school soon, leaving the school where she had been for four years, the friends she had made, the professors she admired, the campus that had become home. She was already scared enough of that; she didn’t need the whole of time and space to compound that fear.

He seemed intrigued. No one had ever told him no before, at least not that he could recently remember. So he sat down next to her on the steps just inside the door and they…talked. For a long, long time they talked. Correction: she talked. She told him about her life, her parents, her home, about her. Why, she never knew. Why did she open up the book that was her life to this strange stranger? But she did. She told him it all, punctuated by laughs and tears, anger and joy.

And he listened. Unlike when he had first come to her, he hardly said a word. He leaned his elbow upon his knee, his cheek propped upon his fist, and he listened. When she finally circled around to that day, he gave her a small smile.

“You’re right,” he said, “You have adventure enough here. Your entire life is an adventure, don’t you see? I suppose…I suppose I never really thought of it that way. I always thought I was offering adventure, never that I was interfering with one.” His smile is sheepish then. “Sorry about that.”

She smiled and laid a small hand on his arm, telling him that it was all right. She hadn’t thought of her life as an adventure either.

“Well! I will take my blue box and leave you to your adventure.” He bounced up from his seat, all his former energy returning.

“You’re part of it now, you know,” she told him as she rose herself, pausing on the steps, “You’re part of my adventure, even though I won’t go with you on yours.”

The strange man smiled and, coming back down the steps, reached out and gathered her to him in a hug.

She couldn’t quite describe what he smelled like. A hint of smoke, strawberry jam, silk spiced with incense…she just couldn’t place it. Finally, she gave up and hugged him back.

When he pushed her back, the strange man smiled and then turned her around and began shoving her out towards the doors. “Have a good life, look both ways before crossing the street, don’t take any plug nickels (whatever that means), and…” He paused as she was almost out the door.

“And enjoy your adventure.” He smiled was broad and bright as he stuck his hands in his pockets and rocked back and forth on his feet.

“I will,” she assured him before stepping out the door. When she turned around, the borrowed and blue box was gone, as was the strange man inside.

No. None of them in the diner would ever remember. But she would. She would always remember. With a smile, she finished up and turned towards the diner doors and the adventure that awaited her beyond them.

“Geronimo.”