Small Wooden Chest

This story takes place on a brisk, early October morning in the year 2012. My brother and I were 3 days in on our week-long backpacking trip across the Uinta Mountains. We had done this particular hike the previous year and had enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it again. This would be the last time we ventured into these mountains.
I remember looking up on our frosted over tent this specific October morning and feeling the silence. There’s a sensation that is hard to describe when being alone, deep inside these majestic mountains. It’s as if sound and life have vanished and all that’s left is you.
My brother and I had hiked 2 days straight into these mountains allowing us to be completely removed from the outside world. As morning approached the 3rd day, my anxious mind woke me in anticipation for the fun adventure that awaited us. As I was laying in my sleeping bag surrounded by darkness and listening to the unique and almost forgotten sound of stillness, I heard a noise that has forever carved itself into my mind. A woman’s scream.
Coming deep from within the forest, this woman’s scream was abruptly stopped and followed by silence. “What was that?” my brother said with a grumbled, just-woke-up, voice. All I could say was “I…I’m not sure.” My mind began trying to make sense of what just happened. What did I just hear? No person could be out this far, considering we took a dirt road that hadn’t been traveled on in months, just to get to where we started our hike. Was that just in my head? I asked my brother “Was that a scream?” “Yeah… it sounded like a girl.” My brother and I just laid in what seemed to be increasing silence. My brother broke the silence “What if someone is hurt?” He had a good point. “We should probably check it out.” I replied. I tried to mask my fear as we exited our tent into what would be complete darkness if it weren’t for the faint stars. “Where did it come from?” My brother asked. I remembered it coming downhill from us which was close to a small lake. “that way.” I whispered, pointing downhill. We began walking in the direction of the sound we heard. After walking for a while, we stopped to listen for any more sounds. Following a minute or two of listening, I said, “I doubt anyone is even ou…” My brother quickly turned around with his finger pressed up against his lips. “shhhh” he said. “Listen.” As he pointed toward the lake. At first, I didn’t hear anything. But then, sure enough, I heard it. A low hum was coming from the lake. Not knowing what it was, my brother and I slowly inched our way out of the thick forest and onto the shore. If it weren’t for the dim light coming from the stars, we would have never seen it. Maybe 50 yards ahead of us on the shore were 6 dark figures all in a circle, standing a few feet in the lake off the shore. “What… what is happening?” I said under my breath. My brother didn’t answer as we tried to make sense of what we were looking at. Slightly secluded by the forest, we inched closer. It wasn’t until we had made it within 30 feet of these dark figures when we saw it. Right in the middle of these shadowy figures, a woman was floating a few inches above the water. For a moment, all I could hear was the blood pulsing through my body.
I don’t know if it was out of bravery or fear, but I yelled “HEY! GET AWAY FROM HER!” Instantly the low mumble coming from these figures stopped. Their heads all turned in my direction, some turning completely backward. A short, low laugh emerged from the one closest to me and immediately they all vanished, except the girl floating above the water. Right after they disappeared, the woman let out a heart-piercing scream and dropped into the water. My brother and I ran into the cold water over to where she dropped. “Where did she go!?” my brother frantically yelled after a quick search. All we ended up finding was a small wooden chest right where she dropped into the lake. I don’t dare open it. Will you?

The Murderous Santa Head

Memories of cancer (especially those without a happy ending) are not supposed to be fond memories. But if you were to ask my mother the period of her life when she laughed the most, she would tell you unabashed.
“While your father was dying of cancer.” This would quickly be followed up by “of course that was the period of my life I cried the most too.”

The details of my parents meeting and subsequent courtship are not important to this story.
( Although if you’d like to catch the essence of their story I suggest you listen to in the background.) All you really need to know is my father and mother grew up as different as possible. My mother came from an affluent, but cold family. My father’s family was loving but very poor. The thing their two families had in common was Christmas. Christmas was always a magical time and this lead to a great love of the holiday by both of my parents. But I digress, I bet you are still wondering what a Santa head could possibly have to do with cancer.

Well through a series of smart investments and sacrifice, my parents built up their own wealth. The year my mom turned 32 they considered themselves to have “arrived”. Two weeks before my parents left on their first trip abroad my father went in to see his doctor about a loss of appetite. The results came back, and my parents were floored. The diagnose hung in the air. Pancreatic Cancer. The doctor went over some options for treatment and then my parents left to discuss how to proceed. My mother launched into flight mode. She started canceling their trip and researching the best hospital so my father could start treatment right away.

“Put down the phone Hannah.” My father said.

My mother looked at him with confusion, her bottom lip quivering to hold back a flood of tears. Then my father calmly explained.

“We’re still going on that trip.”

At this point, my mother, my dear sweet mother, who had tried so hard to hold it together and be brave, lost it.

“And lose valuable time!?!” she cried! “Cancer doesn’t care if you want to go to Europe!!!” “it doesn’t care we’ve sacrificed everything to be where we are now!” there is only a 25% survival rate of the first year as it is! We need to get started…we need to get started…” At this point, my father crossed the room and held my mom as she pounded on his chest.

“We need to get started” she sputtered out between sobs. At this point, my father told my mother something that changed the course of her life.

“I’m not going to get treatment.”

My mother looked at my father with disbelief. He continued, “At this stage, there is only a 25 percent chance I’m going to make it anyway.” We’ve spent the last 10 years sacrificing and working hard. I don’t want to spend the next year having cancer being the focus of my life. I want to enjoy this life we’ve build together.” And if all I have left is a few months, I’d rather spend them laughing and living. I’d rather you spent them that way too. Promise me we’ll spend them that way.”

Well what could my mother do? You can’t really tell a man dying of cancer he’s an idiot. So my mother promised and they left on their trip. My father worked hard to make everything lighthearted and joyful. And my mom did her best to put on a happy face. That was just the type of man my father was. Even though he was the one dying, he was more concerned with my mother’s happiness.

One day as they toured Vienna, they stopped by a small store selling Christmas decorations. There on the shelf amongst Christmas plates and mugs they saw the Santa head cookie jar. My father made an off-handed comment that he thought the sparkle in Santa’s eye looked more murderous than jolly. This comment caught my mother off guard and she laughed so loud that the little Asian man next to her fell backward into a display of sweater-wearing reindeer. This caused both of my parents to laugh so boisterously that they were asked to please make a purchase or leave. My parents with their sides still shaking from laughter left, but my father quickly ran back in. He came out a few minutes later with the Santa head tucked under his arm. My mother started laughing all over again. “ I don’t want that murderous Santa in my house.” she said.

My father insisted. “This is the first time since the diagnosis that I’ve seen you truly laugh.” “I want this Santa around as a reminder to laugh.”

For the next several months my parents did just that. They laughed. They went on with life and made more memories. There was joy in their home until one day my mother found out the news. She set my father down.
“I’m pregnant,” she said.

The news seemed to hang in the air until my father coming to his senses jumped up and ran off.

“What are you doing?” my mother asked a little perplexed by his reaction.

“There’s a future little one coming! If it’s a boy I need to be around to show him how to be a man! If It’s a girl I need to be around to walk her down the aisle!”

My mother was overjoyed with relief. My father was going to get treatment! But their joy was short-lived. A scan came back to report that my father’s cancer was too far progressed for any treatment option to be effective. My father slumped down in the chair next to him and then fell on his knees. He held my mother by the waist and cried into her.
“I’m sorry…” he sobbed. “I’m so sorry…” I thought I was doing the right thing for you, but I want to live…I want the child to know who I am… I want to live.”

My mother gently lifted my father up and went into the other room. She came back with the murderous Santa.

“They will,” she said. “This Santa will always be a reminder for me of you and the promise you had me make to keep living and laughing.”

And so the Santa head has always been there. As a centerpiece at my father’s funeral, and in the hospital room at my birth. It sat on the mantle through my mother’s widow years and even during her marriage to my step-father.

As we packed up the possessions of my mother to move her after the death of my step-father, we were taken back when she directed us to take the Santa head to a thrift store. Her reason was simply that it was time for someone else to laugh and live because of it. Well, I can’t let this Santa head go to just anyone. Its new owner needs to know the history of this Santa and all that has been brought about because of it. My mother truly kept her promise to my father. She visited every continent, learned German, published her memoirs, and dedicated her life to helping others live and laugh too. It is my hope for the new owner that you will live! You’re not just buying a Santa head. Your buying a piece of my father’s legacy.

The nail clippers that saved a life

For sale: Antique fingernail clippers. Reasons to buy, the amazing story about the life they saved and the guardian angels that accompany the person who carries them.
This isn’t a ghost story about a spirit trapped in an object, waiting to be free. This isn’t a story about a doll that was so beloved by a deceased girl that the mother’s spirit protects the doll at all costs. This is a real story about a tradition held by many brave men and the reason why they carry something so odd with them all of the time.
My grandfather was a kind man. He spent a lot of time in his workshop, he liked turning wood. He made some fantastic bowls on his lathe. I remember camping with him in the summers. When he wasn’t asleep in his chair from listening to the birds, he was sliding a specialized blade across a piece of fallen aspen that he had found. He had a lot of these knives. They were crafted especially for carving wood. They allowed him to make shapes and patterns that wouldn’t be easily achieved with your standard penknife. Although grandpa always seemed to have one of those on his person too.
Summer after summer, we would spend time together. I began to notice that he had a few things with him wherever he went. For a while, I thought it was curious. We would leave the house and I would tease him, “Did you bring your knife?” Sure enough. He had it. One day, he replied “I’ve got everything I need. I have my knife, my keys, and my clippers.” I had noticed that he had nail clippers with him everywhere he went. But they were always attached to his keys. I assumed it was a convenience thing. After all, they came in handy when the knife slipped, and he nicked a finger-nail.
He handed me the keys, so I could start the car and drive us away. This time, I paid special attention to the nail clippers. They seemed simple enough. They felt heavier than the kind mother always trimmed my nails with. I asked grandpa how old the clippers were. He told me that he had gotten them back when he joined the airborne. The airborne was a unique group of soldiers that would use parachutes to position themselves behind enemy lines. Grandpa had served with them but didn’t really talk about it.
For some reason, on this day. He opened up and told me a story about a mission he was part of. He jumped out of the plane and began falling toward the jungle. That particular day was a bit stormier than he was accustomed to. The fall was hard to control. He managed to fall at a safe speed, but couldn’t really direct himself to a good, flat landing spot. He said it was more important to him to fall at a safe speed at the time. Although after this experience, he regretted that idea.
His chute ended up getting caught in a tree. He was left dangling just a few feet above the ground. The force of his harness catching his body weight had tightened the restraining straps significantly. He couldn’t get them undone because of the awkward angle his body was in. Gravity had him strapped in tight. He pulled out his knife and began working on the lines connecting his harness to the chute. It would be easier to cut those than to cut the harness without cutting himself. After all, a skilled wood carver never cuts toward himself.
After cutting the first line, he fell a short way before the other line caught him. The force of the fall caused him to lose his grip on the knife, which was wet from the storm. He was trapped. He told me about the fears that raced through his mind at that moment. He expressed his frustration that he had survived the jump only to be stuck like this, waiting for some more painful demise. Thoughts of starvation, imprisonment, and suicide by strangulation chased each other through his mind. As any man would do, he felt around for something else that could free him. He stumbled across a set of fingernail clippers. It seemed like a long – shot to him. But he began to work. Eventually, he freed himself from the remaining parachute lines. He was able to return to his squadron where they were able to save a few lives.
He has carried those clippers with him for years and not told anyone about the memories that lie in them. He believed that the souls of those people on that day had much respect for the simple tool that was used beyond its purpose and aided in their rescue. He believed that they offered some kind of protection to him. Even if it was just mental. He never suffered from any kind of stress disorder or emotional trauma. He believed that there was a reason he needed to keep those clippers.
Grandpa is gone now. I hope that this story fills you with hope to say that there is always a way out. Even if it isn’t designed that way.

The Clown

This Clown Statue was my Grandma’s who has schizophrenia. I lived with her to help take care of her during the last years of her life. The clown sat on her nightstand for as long I can remember. It was very important to my grandma because it was her “friend”. She would often talk to the clown as if it was real, in fact, she would have a full conversation with the clown almost daily. She would frequently hold the clown while she would stand in the corner of her room. While standing in the corner she would face the wall and hiss while she would scratch away at the honey milk white paint. Because my room was across the hall from hers it was not uncommon for me to wake up to the scratching and hissing. Whenever I heard this I would always immediately run into the room to stop her. I would take away the clown and put it on the nightstand and bandage up her fingertips because she would scratch to the point that she would bleed. This went on for about a year and it got to the point where it became a route for me to go into her room and stop her from scratching the wall. I had also just blamed the schizophrenia with little to no thought about the clown. Until one night I woke up to the hissing and scratching except this time the scratching didn’t have the normal sound of her ivory nails digging into the drywall. I sleeplessly wondered into her room, and I cracked her door open. As the door slowly opened I saw the wall she would scatch at, she wasn’t there, but I was alarmed to notice the amount of blood that was on the honey milk painted walls. I ran into the room I found my her, her head was face down and she was slowly rocking Indian style on the floor. Her hands were covered in crimson red blood and the clown was in her left hand. I ran over to her, frantic to see if she was okay, still wondering where all the blood came from. As I approached her she finally lifted her head and I was horrified at what I saw. Her eyes were gone, in there, places were empty holes with scratch marks oozing with blood. Her arms were covered in scratches inches deep and the scariest part was her mouth. She had used the blood to create a lipstick affect around her mouth that she was smiling. Kind of like what the Joker did in the Batman movies. When I asked her why she did this, she said in a hissing voice while holding the clown held “he made me do it”.

I quickly called 911. They rushed her away in the ambulance, she is now under full care at a psych ward. The clown remained in the blood covered room. After the incident, I told the doctors about the clown, but they blamed the schizophrenia.

Story of the Painted Egg

This painted egg was recovered from the rubble of an elderly woman’s home which had collapsed during the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake. The woman was taken to the hospital for injuries and eventually released to live with family. Her granddaughter, me, found the egg and asked her grandmother about it one day in 1999. The elderly woman explained that this hand-painted egg had been given to her as a gift during her travels to the Orient as a young woman. I have recorded her story as follows:
“1963 was a wild year for me. I had just divorced my first husband and thought I would celebrate. So I decided to go on a trip with just a pack and some money I had received from the divorce. All through the war years, the culture of Japan and the Orient had fascinated me, despite the fact that the Japanese were the enemy. So, without telling anyone except my friend Hannah, I left!”
My grandmother has always been a quiet, introverted person my whole life. I could not believe she was telling me that she had just decided to leave! She said that she first met a young businessman named Zihao on the boat ride across the Pacific Ocean. He was Chinese but spoke English well.
“Zihao was quite the handsome stud. He was just a couple years younger than me, and we hit off a great friendship almost immediately. He said he liked my red hair.”
They reached Japan, where Zihao was meeting some business contacts. He invited my grandmother along for a tour of some of the most popular places. Together they saw Himeji Castle, Mt. Fuji, and the Imperial Palace, and many other beautiful sites besides.
“And when he said he had to go back to China, I decided ‘Why not? I’ll go along!’”
He brought her to his hometown, a small provincial community she called “Shitsu”. I have tried finding it, but the closest I came is “Shizhu”, a small valley community in the mountains west of Yehushan.
“It was beautiful. The mountains were unlike anything I’d seen, the quaint homes tucked away in and sheltered by the blue peaks. The leaves were changing colors for Fall, and I fell in love with the place.”
And with Zihao, it seems. She spent a couple months living in this remote village with him and his parents, even though he traveled most days to a larger city for work.
“One day I was standing outside staring at the beauty of the mountains. A young girl came up to me and asked me something, but all I understood was the word “gift”. She took my hand and led me to a porch down the road where she had set up some paints and simple white eggs. She showed me one of them, and I smiled at her and nodded. She got very excited and sat down and started painting one of the eggs. It took her about thirty minutes and that beautiful little egg is the result. I thanked her and offered money, but she would not take it. When I showed it to Zihao that day, he smiled at me and said, ‘It is beautiful, just like you.’ I kept it as a reminder of that adventure and the wonderful love I felt on my visit to China all those years ago, including my love for Zihao.”
I looked at the painted egg with wonder when she said this. The case was cracked and missing some pieces from the earthquake five years before, and I pointed that out to my grandmother. “Does the cracked case or missing wood detract from the beauty of what’s inside?” she asked me. “The egg is still intact and beautiful, even if the case isn’t.”
I’ve had it on display in my house since then, but I have no posterity to give it to. I hope whoever gets it will remember my grandmother’s experiences and words.

Donald Trump crystal holographic keychain

My eye began to twitch to the same cadence of the fast flicker of the yellow fluorescent light. I suddenly felt a cold breeze, and a shiver raced down my arms. Goosebumps popped off my skin like kernels jumping in a bag of microwave popcorn. I instantly thought to myself, I am in a horror movie. I was certain that I had made the right choice by running into the dimly lit shed as fast as possible. I thought that nothing could go wrong in there. It is on the outskirts of the woods, and there is no way a killer would hide in it. The rusty pitchfork and handsaw hanging on the wall, the creaking door hinges, and the sound of a wolf howling at the largest full moon known to man were sure to scare off any attackers. As my heavy breathing started to subside, out he came. He slowly slinked out of a dark corner of the shed. I looked at him and panicked. I wanted to run, but my feet wouldn’t move. It was as if I were wearing shoes that were made of solid gold and 10 sizes too big. My heart was pounding like a 20-pound hammer and I could feel the sweat start to bead up on my forehead. I thought to myself, this is how it is going to end. I didn’t know for sure what type of weapon he had, so I didn’t know what to prepare for; nevertheless, I was un-armed so it didn’t really matter, or so I thought. The cold breeze that I had felt earlier had turned into a howling wind. The shed door was no longer creaking. Instead, it was banging against the side of the shed like a violent car crash. As he slowly inched closer to me I was praying that it was all a dream and that I would wake up just before he attacked. Then suddenly I remembered I had a guardian in my front pocket, but I was afraid that if I made any sudden moves he would speed up his attack. I gradually reached into my pocket, but there was a problem. When I was given the guardian, I was told that it was useless unless it was turned on. I was worried I would not be able to turn it on with just one hand, but at this point, I had no choice. I gradually reached into my pocket, grabbed the cap of the guardian and tried to turn it on. I wasn’t sure if it was on, but I was out of time. My attacker was close enough to me that I could feel his cold breath on my face and I could now see that he had an ax raised above his head. I quickly pulled my guardian from my pocket and yelled, “Make America Great Again.” The shed was filled with a blinding light so bright that I thought maybe I had been killed and I was on my way to the afterlife. Once I gained my composure I realized that I was lying in my bed. It turns out it was a dream after all. The blinding light was just my roommate turning on my bedroom light to wake me up. I peered over to my bedside table and saw my guardian, which was this Donald Trump crystal holographic keychain.

The Tile

Mark believed in love. However, now that he was 48 and still single, he wasn’t sure if love believed in him. He’d gone on countless blind dates, and tried all of the dating apps: Matched, Zoosk, Tinder, eHarmony… even Farmers Only. (He wasn’t even a farmer, the closest farm animals he’d come close to were the ones you could get from a drive-thru.) Mark was tired, and was beginning to lose hope.

One day after lunch, Mark stopped at the park fountain as he did every day. Ever since he was little he had loved making a wish and tossing it into the fountain. Normally he would close his eyes and flip the coin into the water. After today’s failed date though, he couldn’t bring himself to close his eyes. So he made his daily wish for love, and tossed the coin in. It ricocheted off of the base of the fountain and slowly sunk. He looked at the tile he had hit. It was beautiful. Had the tile always been there? He had passed this fountain every day, there was no way he possibly could’ve missed it. But either way, there it was along the base of the fountain. Its colors rippling and reflecting in the water. How had he never noticed it before? He wasn’t sure if it was the red bleeding into the blue, or the way the colors swirled together into an intricate and abstract design. But something about it mesmerized him.

As he gazed at the tile, an old story crept into his mind about an ancient stone that could reveal the name of someone’s true love. Mark shook his head, it was ridiculous, that wasn’t how love worked. However, the thought lingered.

He needed to have that tile. It didn’t matter how.

That night, as if in a trance, Mark went back to the fountain. Without hesitating, he jumped in. He chipped away at the tile and gently pried it loose with a screwdriver. As he stood in the fountain admiring the colors of the tile, he was blinded by a flashlight. It was a police officer, accusing him of defacing public property. He tried to explain the story and why he was in the fountain, but it was no use. She confiscated the tile and arrested him.

Defeated, Mark sat in the jail kicking himself for not turning the tile over while he had a chance. What if his true love’s name was written on the back of it, and now he’d never know? What was he doing anyway, was he crazy? Was it even worth believing in love anymore? With the questions still racing around his head, Mark slowly fell asleep.

The next morning Mark awoke to the sound of his cell being opened. The officer from the night before told him he was free to go, and that he could collect his things at the front desk. Knowing he would never see the tile again, Mark slowly collected his belongings. As he turned to leave he felt a tap on his shoulder, it was the officer. She handed him the tile and said, “something tells me you need this more than the city does.” As he was about to say thank you, a voice called from the other room “Annalyse the chief needs you.” Without another word, she turned and left. As she walked away, Mark flipped over the tile. It had one word written on the back – “Annalyse”.

The Legend of the Yogi Bear Fork

It was the year 1850. Gotlieb Henrich Kohler III was digging the new latrine pit in the backyard of the family cottage in Switzerland. With a grin on his face, he labored away in the hot summer sun. As he was thrusting the shovel that old man Kübler had given to him on his 18th name day he spotted an orange object poking out of the ground.
Gotlieb exclaimed as he reached down to pull out the beautiful specimen.
“An orange fork! With a bear as the handle! No one will ever believe me!”
Gotlieb grabbed his favorite shovel and the new orange fork and skipped off to tell his father.
“What haves’t thou in thy hand Gotlieb?”
His father asked as everyone crowded around Gotlieb. No one could believe their eyes. Such a wonderful fork it was. Everyone wanted to use it, but Gotlieb wouldn’t let it out of his sight.
A few months later Gotlieb wanted to take the fork to the Americas to start a new life. He was scared someone would steal his cherished fork. And so, he set off. He left home with nothing but the clothes on his back and the fork in his hands. Excited. Scared. Unsure as to what his future had in store. He found a ship sailing to New York. He agreed to scrub the decks in exchange for passage to the new land. No one had any idea of the fantastic fork he had hidden on a chain around his neck. Weeks came and went. Gotlieb labored away on the ship. He was sound asleep one night holding the fork in his hands when he heard screaming and explosions. He scrambled up to the deck and saw they were being attacked. Pirates! He watched as the ship was torn apart and his crewmates were slaughtered. He hung on to the fork as he leaped overboard into the stormy seas.
Only two things survived that night. Gotlieb and his fork. He was later found fisherman and made it to New York. The story of the survivor and the fork spread all over the city. Everyone wanted the fork for themselves. Gotlieb hopped aboard a train headed west to a strange land people called Utah. When he arrived, no one questioned him about his fork and he met a wonderful young lady and started a family.
The fork has been passed on from generation to generation. By some cosmic coincidence the bear fork resembles Yogi Bear and we started to call it the Yogi Bear fork. It now hangs above the fireplace in my home. Because great great great grandfather Gotlieb found such a perfect fork while digging for shit, our family has prospered. And so there it is, the Legend of the Yogi bear fork.

Lucky Horse

I consider myself lucky.

In 1985, I was born in Saint George, Utah. My Parents, Dale and Jeanne, were parents to 9 children. We lived on the southern outskirts of town and had acres and acres of land. We were homeschooled and played often with our extended family who lived close by in our isolated community. At a young age, I thought it was normal to live next store to your mom’s sister wives and 22 of your half-siblings.

If you haven’t put the pieces together, let me elaborate. I was born into a Polygamous Clan. My father Dale, was married to 3 different women, and had children with all of them. As I was born into this family, I was never given a choice whether I wanted to live this kind of lifestyle. Of course growing up, I didn’t know any better. However, when I was 16 years old, I started to question the teachings of the family I was raised in. I felt that I had been nearly brainwashed with ideas of religion, and how the practices of polygamy would someday help us return to our creator again in the next life.

On one occasion, I vividly remember myself, one of my mom’s sister wives and a few of my half-siblings, traveling to a nearby store to fill large gas cans up for the community. We did this about once or twice a month. Every time we did, I felt like I was traveling to another country, because I had no idea what the real world was that surrounded me. I didn’t know much, or enough about it, but I knew something just wasn’t right. And from that point on, I wanted to escape it all. That day, I bought a tiny, colorful, glass keychain horse.

I held on to this tiny horse, for many years. This horse gave me hope at times where I thought I wasn’t going to make it to the next day. I wasn’t in any physical harm, but I found myself daily in emotional despair questioning the foundations I was raised on, and not knowing what my future would hold. I hoped that someday, I could be as free as a wild horse running through a field. It was not easy escaping Polygamy. I had known nothing more than life in our community. I packed a small bag, with hardly any clothes. Just a hairbrush, a toothbrush, and some food for the trip to my new home.

Fast forwarding to the following year, I was lost and lonely. I lacked self-love, and self-acceptance. At times of hardship, and struggle, I was always reminded by the little glass horse, that the greater the struggle the more glorious the triumph. I knew someday I would find myself, and be free. For a lot of people, the past makes us who we are today. Years after cutting ties with the clan, and escaping the life I was once given, I am finally choosing to not look back. This is the last piece of my past that I own. I hope this horse can set someone else free, as it did for me. I believe I’m not the only one who deserves to feel lucky.

Green Glass Marble

I’m selling this marble. It’s glass, it’s green, and it’s ruining my life.

So here’s the deal. We’ve got this marble at our house and my kids are OBSESSED with it. They play with it constantly, which means they fight over it constantly, and I. AM. DONE. It all started last Christmas when Santa brought them a marble run complete, of course, with a bag of marbles. But Santa screwed up. Santa thought that giving the twins one bag of marbles to share (which only contained one big marble) was a fine idea. IT. WAS. NOT. This lone big marble has ruined everything. The marble run sits deserted in our playroom, along with all of their other toys, collecting dust. This green hunk of glass is all that my kids care about. And I’m tired of dealing with it. I am, quite literally, losing my marbles.

Now, of course you may be wondering why I didn’t nip this in the bud sooner by taking this atrocity away. I would have taken it away a lot sooner if I could have. But they’re 5-year-old twins. While they fought over it all the time, they were also united in one single cause – to drive me crazy. They knew I wanted it gone, and that was all the more reason for them to team up and keep it from me. I kid you not they had some sort of system. They’d use their little twin telepathy or language or something to communicate with each other and hide it. They would stop in the middle of fighting over it as soon as I walked in the room to stop them. They knew I wanted to take the damn thing away, and they were united in keeping that from happening. So they’d switch the marble back and forth between them, hiding it, playing a game of cat and mouse with me. It was like I was Tom, but there were two Jerrys I had to chase around.

Clearly, for me to be listing this marble, that means I must have finally gotten my hands on it, right? Let me just say that I have never taken joy in my children being sick. They’re my babies and I hate to see them hurting – and with twins it means everything, including illness, is double the trouble. But they both got hit by the flu at the same time, and amidst the puke and Pedialyte, I saw my golden window of opportunity. The twins were finally asleep – and I should have been doing the same, but then I remembered, THE MARBLE. It had to be around somewhere and the twins weren’t actively conspiring against me at this point, so I had to get my hands on that thing once and for all. I had been keeping my eye out for it the second I realized the flu was going to take them down for a while but hadn’t seen it since I had quarantined them to the couch in the living room. It wasn’t on the twins – they’re too smart for that. It wasn’t in their room, it wasn’t in the playroom, I even checked the fridge. Nothing. So I went back to the living room to check on the twins. They were still asleep and I sat down in between them. Just as I was about to switch on some good old HGTV, I noticed a glimmer, something reflecting in our fish tank. It was the marble. Right there, hidden in plain sight this entire time. The twins were clever, but this time mom came out on top. I got up from the couch slowly, darted across the living room, shoved my arm right into the fish tank, grabbed the marble and got it into my back pocket just as one of the twins started yelling about how he was about to puke again. After dealing with that episode I went into the kitchen to revel in my victory. I washed off the marble and then locked it in our safe, the only place I knew they couldn’t get to. And so here I am, in possession of the thing that has been ruining my life. And I want it gone.

The marble has got to go. But rather than chuck it in the garbage, I figured I’d list it on here and sell it. I just want to be able to say that I got at least a dollar back from the thing that will inevitably cost me thousands in therapy bills long after it is gone. To be honest I’ll probably just throw most of what I make off of it into the little stinker’s college funds – minus the price of a pedicure for me because at this point, I deserve one. But really, it’s got to go, and if you don’t have kids, or at least don’t have any like mine, I’d be happy to have you take it off my hands.

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