Living together

Lichen are a lifeform formed from algae and fungi, which is amazing. Apparently they join forces when they can’t survive on their own and form a different creature. And it’s not just one kind of algae or one kind of fungi, but lots of them! I am reading Entangled Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures, by Merlin Sheldrake. It’s really quite amazing. I love science, it opens up the world!

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: lichen.

Ogre

I am now a full grown Ogre

We mature at a different rate
than you humans
I don’t really pass as human
but since I am 5’4″
no one guesses I’m an ogre

I have been an Ogre since
before birth
my mother ill
attacked by antibodies in the womb
luckily the illness does not cross
the barrier of the mixed mother daughter
the placenta
but the antibodies do cross

I am born with my immune system
red hot and ready to fight

my maternal grandmother is an Ogre too
she cares for me while my mother heals
you are right to refuse help she says
you may feed yourself
and she lets me
I am four months

Two grrl cousins are also stressed from birth
one arrives early and survives
smallest child to live in that city
all they have for premies is a warm box
her parents are warned
she might be slow

the other is born in Bangladesh
mother very ill
mother damaged by illness
she survives too

three Ogres?
No
different mitochondria
from three different mothers different immune systems different parents

Ogre, dark angel, and martyr

And the others wonder why we fight

A woman says “I like you when you’re well.”
to me when I am sick
and my partner disappears
he says, “I can’t have a disabled partner.”
I snarl, “I am not disabled.
I am just on oxygen.”
But it is not true
I am disabled
And very annoyed

I avoid the woman for a year
and think about it
I am never “well”
if it’s an antibody disorder
and if I got it in the womb
what would I be like if I did not have it?
no one knows
and I don’t either

So I have done well
in the end
to survive a chronic illness since before birth

Ogres take longer to mature
but once we do
we are hell on wheels

And at last I accept it

I am happy being an Ogre
and I will be the best Ogre I can

And it will be fun
At least, for me

The extroverted feeler and “bad strangers”

My son is an extroverted feeler. I’m an introverted thinker. He’s a bit of an alien, but then we all are, really.

When he was four we flew to New Orleans. We were waiting in our herd. It was when you were assigned to herd A, B or C to load on the plane.

My son started talking to people. He went up to a stranger and held out his hand. The stranger shook it, slightly bemused.

“Hi,” said my son, “I’m (name). I live at (address). My phone number is (number). What’s your name? Where do you live? Would you like to come visit?”

The stranger answered in a rather bemused way and my son moved on to the next person and repeated the conversation. He worked his way through most of the herd by the time the plane loaded.

Even though I thought it was hilarious, I also thought we should have a talk about “bad strangers”. I waited until we were at the hotel in New Orleans. I said that it wasn’t always a good idea to tell strangers one’s name and address because some of them might be bad. He was quite enthralled by the idea that there might actually be a “bad stranger” that he might actually meet.

That night we ate dinner in a section of New Orleans that the hotel concierge sort of warned us about going in to after dark. Afterwards my husband went to meet a friend and listen to music.

My son had recently acquired a plastic bow and suction tip arrows. He had taken it seriously and had already gotten quite good at shooting them. He did not have them with him loading on to the plane, but of course brought them to dinner in New Orleans. Our understanding, I hoped, was that shooting them at people would result in immediate loss of bow and arrow privileges and result in confiscation.

So after dinner my husband had left and I was walking back to the hotel, a five foot two, 130 lb female, with a four year old who was holding a suction cup bow and arrow. Loaded and ready. I would describe my mood as alert, especially when my son started talking quite loudly. He was on the alert too.

“I hope we meet a bad stranger. I’m ready for them. I’ll shoot them with my arrow. I’m ready. No bad stranger will bother us.” He continued in this vein all the way back to the hotel.

As we walked through the fairly dark streets back to the hotel, I hoped that the “bad strangers” were too busy laughing in the alleys to bother us. No one did bother us.

And that’s how my extroverted feeler son learned about “bad strangers”.

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First published in 2009 on another website. For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: stranger. I took the photograph quite a few years ago.