Tag Archives: Kate Flood

Into the Heart: Pilot’s Licence for a Porsche

8 Sep

{ Chapter 1 • Pilot’s Licence for a Porsche }

{ The Porsche 911 Accident }

{ The Porsche 911 Accident }

Pilot’s Licence for a Porsche

“Shit! What’s happening? The car’s moving to fast. We’re going on the wrong side of the road. Shit. We’re going over the bridge. The cars aren’t going to see us. Shit. My legs. I don’t want to be a quadriplegic.

“Hoist them as far into your chest as you can,” says a loud, deliberate and calm voice in my head.

“Shit! My head. My Brain. I don’t want to be a vegetable.”

If I cross my arms in front of my forehead, if there’s any glass, it’s going to have to go through two layers of bone before it gets to my skull. It won’t cut that deep. It won’t. My face. I can’t cover it all with my hands. Did I learn that on Oprah? Oprah’s life saving moments. Check date later.

“Shit.”

I crouched over then, in some kind of contrived crash position trying to protect my face from any flying glass that might come, but then I exposed my skull. Damn, I can’t protect enough of my body! The seat belt in this Porsche 911 was like a race car belt – there were two straps over my shoulders, so I couldn’t crouch all the way forward. I tried covering my head with my arms.

Our father who are in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done…I hear music. Fairground music. Like I’m at the Richmond Fair…On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this stay, our daily bread. There’s my twin. Why can I see Twin brother right now? There is a little movie playing in slow motion in my head. This isn’t movie time! I need to stay alive! Ahh, cute. There’s the two of us. We’re just babies sitting naked in the river among the rocks and the sun is glistening off the water. There we are on a ferris wheel.  Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. (God, would that one ever come in handy after this happened!).  I don’t want to be injured. I don’t want to die. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. I don’t think I have ever tried to use everything I have in me to stay alive. Don’t ask me what that was. I just pressed my feet into the floor like mad like I had my own breaks and hugged my body insanely tight and I…prayed. This wasn’t deliberate. The words just seem to come out of me automatically. I remember thinking, there is someone waiting for me. I’ll be good. I’ll be good. Please, I want to stay. He’s waiting for me. I know he is. I’ll find him. I have things to do here. It’s not time. I’ll do anything. I’m too young to die. I haven’t even finished my BA yet…

I glanced from the side of my head over at Alex somehow managing to keep looking forward and look at him in case this was the last time I would see him. “Goodbye Alex, I love you.” Out-loud or under my breath, I can’t remember – as he was trying to do anything to the car to control it, but it really seemed to be driving its own course on the wet asphalt. If this car ever stops spinning I have to get out right away. Stop already stop. My feet are pushing on the passenger breaks with vengeance. It’s not working. I think I am screaming, but I’m not sure, I don’t want to upset Alex or distract him. I can’t see anything. The car comes slowly to a halt. (I would find out later, this was not the case, but my body’s way of dealing with the insane speed, the things coming at us and impact of what we hit). The car is stopped I think I hear in my head. Get out! Get out! I hear in my head. I can hear the music turning over in the car. U2 no less. Probably With or Without You. Why is the radio on? It shouldn’t be working. If it’s on, there’s still a power supply but the lights are out. That means there’s gas. Shit, the cars gonna blow. It’s gonna blow. Cars always blow up in the movies.

Get me the fuck out of here now! I fumble for the door handle on my right. I can’t see anything. Everything is moving so fast I think I’m going to hurl. Why do they make everything pitch black in Porsche 911’s? I think I try to open it, but I can’t tell. I can’t even find the door. Where is the flipp’n door? I can’t find the handle. It’s not where it should be by my minds estimation. I don’t even remember opening a door handle. I feed my right leg out where the door should be. God, is there even ground under me? I felt like I was going to step sky and fall to my death. I try to find ground, I stand up before I am out of the car and immediately my legs give way from under me like a raggedy ann doll and I am falling. I can’t stop it. When I fall I don’t hit the hard ground.

I think somebody has caught me. Who’s there? Alex couldn’t have been there so fast. He’s still in the car. I don’t care.  I can feel my heels being dragged against stone. Must be the road. I can’t see anything. It’s pitch black outside. I feel blind. I’m placed so gently on grass. Why is there grass near the road I wonder? I want to fall asleep. “Don’t fall asleep,” a male voice says. “Stay awake ok?” the voice says. “Who are you?” I ask. “Where’s Alex?” “We were behind you,” he says. “Is that guy your boyfriend? He was driving really fast.” I hear a girls’ voice. There is commotion of voices coming in and out. I want to go to sleep please on the grass. “Is that your girlfriend?” I say to the stranger. I think he smirks or something. “No, we were just the two cars right behind you.” Oh. “Is that your girlfriend?’ I ask again. ‘What’s your name?” the guy asks me. I tell him, Kate Flood. “Do you know where you are?” he says.

I am too scared to look up. I am too scared to look anywhere. I just want to fall asleep on the glass. I remember just trying to look at the ground. The stranger is holding my back up with his legs and keeps pushing my wobbling head up. “Stay awake,” he says. “Oh my God!” I think to myself. I see blood all over my purple Sierra Design jacket. “Why is there blood? I’m bleeding, I’m bleeding!” I say.”Where are you hurt? Tell me where your pain is and I’ll try to see where the blood is coming from.” the guy says.  Then I finally hear Alex’s voice. He is standing right behind me now. He wasn’t before. “I’m going to go now.” What do you mean your going to go now, you just got here.” “They’re just going to take me down to the station.” Before I can say a word, I just see the rear lights of a police cruiser and he’s gone. I don’t remember anything in between except telling the boy he should get together with the girl. Then I am in the back of an ambulance and I think a handsome young paramedic is asking me if I know my name. “Yes, of course I know my name. Why do people keep asking me if I know my name? Do you know your name?” I say to him. He smirks. “Kate Flood.”
“That’s not what your health card says,” he questions. “Seriously? You want my whole name? Geesh! Why you asking me that? I say my whole name -with my middle two names – like the Irish Catholics have. “There. Satisfied?”
Seriously if there was anything I was going to remember don’t you think it would be my name?” I think he’s finding me funny. “Stay awake, ok. You’ve been in a serious car accident. You need to stay awake.”

The next memory I have, I am in the KJH bed by myself. No one seems to be around. It ‘s like pulling teeth to talk to anyone. Yo, can I get some service around here please, I think to myself.  I’m being sent for x-rays of my leg I’m told. Gosh, I just realized my parents happen to be in town tonight.  It’s my Dad’s 25th Anniversary for his Queens’ MBA. I try to get anybody’s attention,  “Listen, my parents happen to be here tonight, can you call them? They’re at this hotel.” I say to the nurse. They do, but it seems to take an eternity. “Did you call them?” ‘Yes, we called them they’re on their way.” Ahh Shit. Maybe I shouldn’t have had them called. They’re going to kill me. I don’t think they like Alex. Ahh Great. Ah well, as if I wouldn’t call. I’m taking by wheelchair to get x-rays. I’m still in a droopy fog. The x-ray technician comes out from behind the glass. “Ahh, excuse me.” She seems perplexed. “Did you know you had a screw in your left knee?” Oh my God, I think to myself. Are you frick’n serious? I had an ACL repair in that leg from a soccer injury. ( Another great story. Tell you in a another chapter). “The other leg lady, the other leg.” I say to her.  Geesh! She’s re-does the x-ray of my right leg that was hurting really bad. I had no idea why.  I really need to go to the washroom. Weird. I probably haven’t gone in hours. I come out and I am almost at my bed. There is blood all over the hospitals white sheets.
… { to be continued }
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Overheard at the accident from one of the eventual many people who had formed a crowd on Kingston’s main thoroughfare at 2 in the morning on alumni weekend: I’m not sure if the bystander saw the Porsche fish tale, catch air and take flight towards the bridge or saw the angle at which we hit the hydro pole, but he said to my ex,

“Do you have a pilot’s licence to drive that thing?”

I’d love to hear from you. What did you think…

I’m still standing,
Kate

Leave me your comments below or share…

• By Kate Flood
Locale: In the Autumn forest under a rainbow of trees
On Deck: Angel { In the Arms of an Angel } by Sarah McLachlan
My irish love said whenever he heard this song and the line, “You were pulled from the wreckage” he got sad and thought of me being in the accident. Endearing.

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Shhh…It’s Summertime in Canada…

9 Aug

I’ll have a new blog post coming soon… { when i get off the dock }

Until then, I hope you are soaking in this Summer!
There is no better place to be, then the great outdoors!

• By Kate Flood
Locale: Pool side with a breeze a blow’n…
On Deck:Dog Days Are Over” – Florence & The Machine
Dog days are not over…yet! I swear I pressed shuffle and this
song came up!
Thank God El Nino goes until Thanksgiving now in Canada! Fall is my favorite time of year..

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The Day my Life Flashed Before My Eyes and I Almost Died

25 Mar

{ Chapter 1 • Pilot’s Licence for a Porsche }

{ The Porsche 911 Accident }

{ The Porsche 911 Accident }

Pilot’s Licence for a Porsche

“Shit! What’s happening? The car’s moving to fast. We’re going on the wrong side of the road. Shit. We’re going up hill over the bridge. The cars coming over the hill aren’t going to see us. God, it’s pouring down rain. I can hardly see in front. The cars aren’t going to see us for certain.”

“Shit. My legs. I don’t want to be a quadriplegic. Hoist them as far into your chest as you can,” says a loud, deliberate and calm voice in my head. “Shit! My head. My Brain. I don’t want to be a vegetable. If I cross my arms in front of my forehead, if there’s any glass, it’s going to have to go through two layers of bone before it gets to my skull. I saw that on Oprah once. How to save your life in certain situations…It won’t cut that deep. It won’t. My face. I can’t cover it all with my hands. Shit.” I crouched over then in some kind of contrived crash position trying to protect my face from any flying glass that might come, but then I exposed my skull. The seat belt in this Porsche 911 was like a race car belt – there were two straps over my shoulders, so I couldn’t crouch all the way forward. I tried covering my head with my arms.

Our father who are in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done…I hear music. Fairground music. Like I’m at the Richmond Fair…On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this stay, our daily bread. There’s my twin. Why can I see Twin brother right now? There is a little movie playing in slow motion in my head. This isn’t movie time! I need to stay alive! Ahh, cute. There’s the two of us. We’re just babies sitting naked in the river among the rocks and the sun is glistening off the water. There we are on a ferris wheel.  Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. (God, would that one ever come in handy after this happened!).  I don’t want to be injured. I don’t want to die. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. I don’t think I have ever tried to use everything I have in me to stay alive. Don’t ask me what that was. I just pressed my feet into the floor like mad like I had my own breaks and hugged my body insanely tight and I…prayed. This wasn’t deliberate. The words just seem to come out of me automatically. I remember thinking, there is someone waiting for me. I’ll be good. I’ll be good. Please, I want to stay. He’s waiting for me. I know he is. I’ll find him. I have things to do here. It’s not time. I’ll do anything. I’m too young to die. I haven’t even finished my BA yet.

I glanced from the side of my head over at Alex somehow managing to keep looking forward and look at him in case this was the last time I would see him. “Goodbye Alex, I love you.” Out-loud or under my breath, I can’t remember – as he was trying to do anything to the car to control it, but it really seemed to be driving its own course on the wet asphalt. If this car ever stops spinning I have to get out right away. Stop already stop. My feet are pushing on the passenger breaks with vengeance. It’s not working. I think I am screaming, but I’m not sure, I don’t want to upset Alex or distract him. I can’t see anything. The car comes slowly to a halt. (I would find out later, this was not the case, but my body’s way of dealing with the insane speed, the things coming at us and impact of what we hit). The car is stopped I think I hear in my head. Get out! Get out! I hear in my head. I can hear the music turning over in the car. U2 no less. Probably With or Without You. Why is the radio on? It shouldn’t be working. If it’s on, there’s still a power supply but the lights are out. That means there’s gas. Shit, the cars gonna blow. It’s gonna blow. Cars always blow up in the movies.

Get me the fuck out of here now! I fumble for the door handle on my right. I can’t see anything. Everything is moving so fast I think I’m going to hurl. Why do they make everything pitch black in Porsche 911’s? I think I try to open it, but I can’t tell. I can’t even find the door. Where is the flipp’n door? I can’t find the handle. It’s not where it should be by my minds estimation. I don’t even remember opening a door handle. I feed my right leg out where the door should be. God, is there even ground under me? I felt like I was going to step sky and fall to my death. I try to find ground, I stand up before I am out of the car and immediately my legs give way from under me like a raggedy ann doll and I am falling. I can’t stop it. When I fall I don’t hit the hard ground.

I think somebody has caught me. Who’s there? Alex couldn’t have been there so fast. He’s still in the car. I don’t care.  I can feel my heels being dragged against stone. Must be the road. I can’t see anything. It’s pitch black outside. I feel blind. I’m placed so gently on grass. Why is there grass near the road I wonder? I want to fall asleep. “Don’t fall asleep,” a male voice says. “Stay awake ok?” the voice says. “Who are you?” I ask. “Where’s Alex?” “We were behind you,” he says. “Is that guy your boyfriend? He was driving really fast.” I hear a girls’ voice. There is commotion of voices coming in and out. I want to go to sleep please on the grass. “Is that your girlfriend?” I say to the stranger. I think he smirks or something. “No, we were just the two cars right behind you.” Oh. “Is that your girlfriend?’ I ask again. ‘What’s your name?” the guy asks me. I tell him, Kate Flood. “Do you know where you are?” he says.

I am too scared to look up. I am too scared to look anywhere. I just want to fall asleep on the glass. I remember just trying to look at the ground. The stranger is holding my back up with his legs and keeps pushing my wobbling head up. “Stay awake,” he says. “Oh my God!” I think to myself. I see blood all over my purple Sierra Design jacket. “Why is there blood? I’m bleeding, I’m bleeding!” I say.”Where are you hurt? Tell me where your pain is and I’ll try to see where the blood is coming from.” the guy says.  Then I finally hear Alex’s voice. He is standing right behind me now. He wasn’t before. “I’m going to go now.” What do you mean your going to go now, you just got here.” “They’re just going to take me down to the station.” Before I can say a word, I just see the rear lights of a police cruiser and he’s gone. I don’t remember anything in between except telling the boy he should get together with the girl. Then I am in the back of an ambulance and I think a handsome young paramedic is asking me if I know my name. “Yes, of course I know my name. Why do people keep asking me if I know my name? Do you know your name?” I say to him. He smirks. “Kate Flood.”
“That’s not what your health card says,” he questions. “Seriously? You want my whole name? Geesh! Why you asking me that? I say my whole name -with my middle two names – like the Irish Catholics have. “There. Satisfied?”
Seriously if there was anything I was going to remember don’t you think it would be my name?” I think he’s finding me funny. “Stay awake, ok. You’ve been in a serious car accident. You need to stay awake.”

The next memory I have, I am in the KJH bed by myself. No one seems to be around. It ‘s like pulling teeth to talk to anyone. Yo, can I get some service around here please, I think to myself.  I’m being sent for x-rays of my leg I’m told. Gosh, I just realized my parents happen to be in town tonight.  It’s my Dad’s 25th Anniversary for his Queens’ MBA. I try to get anybody’s attention,  “Listen, my parents happen to be here tonight, can you call them? They’re at this hotel.” I say to the nurse. They do, but it seems to take an eternity. “Did you call them?” ‘Yes, we called them they’re on their way.” Ahh Shit. Maybe I shouldn’t have had them called. They’re going to kill me. I don’t think they like Alex. Ahh Great. Ah well, as if I wouldn’t call. I’m taking by wheelchair to get x-rays. I’m still in a droopy fog. The x-ray technician comes out from behind the glass. “Ahh, excuse me.” She seems perplexed. “Did you know you had a screw in your left knee?” Oh my God, I think to myself. Are you frick’n serious? I had an ACL repair in that leg from a soccer injury. ( Another great story. Tell you in a another chapter). “The other leg lady, the other leg.” I say to her.  Geesh! She’s re-does the x-ray of my right leg that was hurting really bad. I had no idea why.  I really need to go to the washroom. Weird. I probably haven’t gone in hours. I come out and I am almost at my bed. There is blood all over the hospitals white sheets.
… { to be continued }
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Overheard at the accident from one of the eventual many people who had formed a crowd on Kingston’s main thoroughfare at 2 in the morning on alumni weekend: I’m not sure if the bystander saw the Porsche fish tale, catch air and take flight towards the bridge or saw the angle at which we hit the hydro pole, but he said to my ex,

“Do you have a pilot’s licence to drive that thing?”

I’d love to hear from you. What did you think…

I’m still standing,
Kate

Leave me your comments below or share…

• By Kate Flood
Locale: By the Canal, Canada’s Capital
On Deck: Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
My irish love said whenever he heard Sarah McLachlan ‘s song  “Angel” and the line, “You were pulled from the wreckage” he got sad and thought of me being in the accident. I always thought that sweet…

Christmas Fishtail – The Fifth and Final Car Accident …Almost

24 Sep

“Where’s Katie? Where’s Katie?”

My Dad was yelling into the belly of the van that was now headfirst deep into a typical deep Canadian winter ditch far off the road. We had skidded, fishtailed, nose-dived off the road and flipped and rolled.

“She’s in the corner Dad, underneath you. You’re on top of her.”

My Dad had fallen out of his seat and dropped down – or up – wherever the van was at this point.

It was two days before Christmas and we were on route to pick up the family dinner and last-minute Christmas gifts in town.  The road leading out of the cottage in this winter wonderland was gravel and snow-covered. There was a thick sheet of black ice under this one portion that could not be detected. My father was driving, I was seated passenger right and my twin was behind us in the first row of seats. The last thing I remember was the van slipping a bit right, and I started to say The Our Father under my breath. Been here before. Again, happened automatically quietly in my head. That’s all I remember. I don’t remember seconds before that and I don’t remember anything about the accident at all. Not the swerving, the fishtailing, my father’s correcting, nothing.

Apparently, we hit black ice and Dad did what he could to keep us steady on the road, but it was too slippery and the van caught a bad patch and after slipping and sliding we flew off the road and nose-dived hard and deep into a deep section of ditch off the right side of the road. It was one of those van with the long narrow nose where the front windshield is. The impact was enough to shatter the rear window and all of the contents in the back of the van came flying forward, past my brother, through the front and out the windows. The contents were scattered all over the snow bank like a windstorm had come through. Fortunately my brother and father were not too badly injured. Mt grandfather’s incredibly heavy steel toolbox was in the rear and when it came flying forward at mock – 80mph or what have you, it hit him in the ankle hard. It didn’t break, but definitely the biggest black eye of a bruise on his ankle!

Once my brother and Dad located me, I wasn’t conscious. They had to get me out. My father was on top me though and the van was flipped on it’s side, so everyone’s sense of gravity was a bit off and I imagine disoriented and in shock from the flight we had just had. Tim was able to get out of the door not on the ground and when in the front driver’s side to help get my father out. Then I think my brother went in and got me. I had been thrown forward and was tucked in the corner with my seatbelt keeping me in. I don’t remember any of this whatsoever. My brother and Dad helped get my body out. None of us have any idea how much time had passed since the accident started, our flight and coming to. My first dizzying waking point, was trying to open my eyes, but the world around me was spinning at such an untolerable speed that everyone time I would open one eye slightly, I’d shut it immediately to avoid the nausea that wanted to stop the speed.

The local mailman had been on his route and happen to come down this quiet country road. He saw the went to pull over his car, but he too put his car in the ditch. Obviously, some pretty slippery roads. My brother put my in the front seat of the mailman’s little car – some kind of hatchback. I kept trying to open my eyes, but the world was still spinning at mock whatever and now I was in this tiny car that seemed to make it worse! I peaked open one of my eyes and could see blood on my right hand. It was cold. I was cold. My hands were winter-red cold, damp and I was shivering. Why was there blood on my hand? What cut me?

“There’s blood! There’s blood. Where is is coming from?”

My brother looked around me. “Where is it? Where do you see it? Is it anywhere else?” he asked.

“I think just my hand. I can’t keep my eyes open to see…”

To be continued…

•••

Getting closer to the beginning…
Happy Autumn!
My favorite season…

~ Kate

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

•  Mood: Glad a myo-facial massage. Kind of.
•  Locale: Red Velvet Banquette, Pub, Toronto.
•  On deck: { Listen here }  Reflektor
by Arcade Fire

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

© All rights reserved. Kate Flood •

A broken Ventilator, a Nameless Crib and 2 Baptisms…

20 Nov

The Story of my Miraculous Birth Continued…

{ Baptism Celebration at Home • Manotick, 1974 }

I must have made up my mind, because 15-20 minutes later, I was born. I recently came home for thanksgiving birthday weekend to see recipe cards my mother had written with a few details of our birth. My father had found it and I had never seen it before. It’s really neat to see old stuff, all the more if you’ve lost a loved one, seeing her handwriting has the power to just put you back there in front of her reading it.  After she wrote the time and distance between my twin and I’s birth in parenthesis she had written, (The longest 15 minutes of her life!). Hilarious! I was born, but not off the hook by any means.

The doctors were not able to place me in my mother’s arms as per the norm, but in order to save my life placed me in a mechanical ventilator. As soon as they placed me in it the damn thing it broke on them! Can you imagine? I can just hear the semi sighs of relief that they finally got me out after 4 days, but they have to keep me alive and then to put me in a piece of equipment designed to keep me alive and it breaks! I think this next move it is  funny one. They a look at my brother who was doing ok in his ventilation machine and immediately took him out of his and placed me in his ventilator! Love it. (Sorry bro!) I don’t know when my father was invited back in. I do know that on top of this 4 day labour my mother had to go and have surgery.

{ My “2nd baptism” @ the church • Mom and Dad holding me • Ottawa, 1975 }

You see, one of the reasons her water broke is that she her gallbladder had ruptured. I don’t know the details of the following days except that Tim and I were placed in incubators to keep us alive and to help our tiny bodies grow. My parents were not allowed to hold us either yet. I would like to find out more details, but essentially we stayed in those glass incubators for weeks that turned into months. My mother had her surgery and eventually returned home and my father to work.

•••

There’s another entry coming as I chopped this one in half.

I have  about 5000 words a day to complete 50,000 for the Nanowrimo Write a Novel in 30 Days deadline!

Show your support and drop me a comment or visit the FB page…

What do you think so far?
Kate

Listening to: (itunes on shuffle:) Blue Light, Red Light { Someone’s There} by Harry Connick Jr.
Locale: Chapter’s/Indigo Starbucks Main Branch
• State of mind: Looking forward to seeing Canadian jazz artist Mat Dusk perform shortly.

Chapter 5 } My Soccer Slidetackle in exchange for a Torn ACL at 18

25 Mar

How tearing my ACL and consequential road to working out was not enough to stop me from getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the age of 22…

"Being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at a Fit 22 Years of Age"

My nickname on the competitive team donned me a trophy one year. “Team Terror.” I was tough. I was a little scrawny 5.5 tough gal. I ran like hell, battled but could hardly deke and I never gave up. My mother couldn’t come to the games. I’d be piercing down the wing, get pummeled by a girl double my size, roll it out through somersaults right back onto my feet again without flinching! She couldn’t stand to see what would happen at the end.

I’m switching back now to after the October 22 car accident. Trust me, there is a rhyme to my reason of the order of telling my story. When the accident happened, I had just entered my second year of University at Queens. I’d moved out of my dorm, “Addy Hall”, affectionately nicknamed “The Nunnery”  for its girl residence. I had rented a house just North of Princess and Division Road and was sharing with 3 other roommates. I shared with 3 girls who were a little more mature then my dorm mates as I was a bit older than the other girls having being kept back a grade and also been away from home and parental rule already at the age of 16 years old when I worked for as a camp counselor for a family camp called Red Pine Camp for two summers. The job required 48 16 and 17 year olds to live in shared cabins for the summer while we worked for particular departments.

I was fit. Always had been. Born premature, my twin and I were naturally think, often sending the school nurses and teachers into inquisitive mode with my family, wondering if we were fed enough. We had incredibly high metabolisms and lived on acres of farm land with plenty of room to run around. We were not malnourished by any stretch of the means. We also enrolled in multiple sports and extra curricular activities. In part, to make up for the seclusion in which my home was, my mother’s intent was to make sure we could meet other children in these sports enrollments, because we couldn’t exactly run down  the street to a corner store or walk across the street to any neighbourhood kid.

We were enrolled in gymnastics, tennis and soccer. Soccer was my brother and I’s main sport that we would continue in since we were to young to deke and grabbed t-shirts instead to stop the play. Which is a riot if you’ve ever watched little tikes first starting in soccerball. There is no “positioning” as the kids run around following the ball like moths to a flame! I’d love to see a fast motion video from aerial on a kids soccer game. We would both go on to play competitive soccer. When I started there was no girls teams yet and I had to play on the boys teams. This was no problem until an opposing team had the same colour of jerseys and we had to go shirtless. Shirtless at prepubescent 13 isn’t exactly a good move. I sat out many a game that year. I also did synchronized swimming which I quite liked dancing in the water. In elementary school we started long distance running and this would continue into highschool along side soccer and other track and field events, like long jump and 200-400 metre relay. I was one of those runners with a second wind. I’d start hard, plateau out in the middle and then out of no where I’d get a gust of steam and  start lagging everyone and try to pull up and pass whomever to get to ….second. Always second. I think it was an engrained Canadian, “Oh, no you go first” mentality like I wonder a lot of our Olympic Athletes and NHL hockey teams seem to play a lot.

I still remember running an 800 relay I think for my highschool at the big inter-school Track and Field Meet. I had started off and there were some strong runners that pealed of in front. I though, ok, there fast. There’s no chance I’ll catch up. I remember chatting on the track with a good friend of mine coming up the first long stretch of the oval trying to catch my breath. Then, I remember something inside of me, ok, I’m going to give this a go and looked straight ahead and mouthed to my friend (to be polite I guess), Ok, I’m going to take off now. Bye. And off I took with an energy and overtook a couple of packs on the corner, up the last stretch, overtaking another runner and ran like hell to the finish line! I cannot remember if I finished 1st or 2nd in that race – either finish was an accomplishment.

I loved soccer the most. Most of the girls I grew up with played softball. I am not sure why I was not attracted to this sport, but I think its had something to do with the fact that most of the girls enrolled in city softball lived in town, the same town where their fathers played ball a generation before. Girls soccer didn’t exist them so perhaps they were continuing the tradition. My parents shared they were quite strategic in placing us both in soccer (they are smart parents). Quite simply, it is the best sport for cardiovascular activity. I gotta say, I truly believe enrolling your children in sports from a young age is the very best thing you can do for them. It’s exercise, it works their bodies and lets them know they have bodies. It builds strength, self-esteem, friendships and respect. I could go on. I have never understood parents who come close to trying or try, only to respond with, “Jimmy doesn’t like it.” Well find Kimmy one sport that he does like. What happened to the ‘ol threat, “Well, you’re going to do it, and you’re going to like.” Children need a push from parents.

By the time I got out of playing with the boys I was playing Forward position, Left Wing. In my opinion, with the exception of “Striker, Sweeper” or Center Half, is the best position. We get to shoot on net, stay mostly on one ed of the field, and look really good assisting goals! (Shout-out to my Center who we often switched back and forth, Erin Hancock-Electirc!). Our team was good. Really good actually. For all coming from a small town, competing with the city teams and rivalling Nepean franchise with their matching nylon K-way windbreaker uniforms, we kicked ass. For many years, the semi and final would come down to neighbouring town Richmond Hill. It would even become a battle, 2 years for sure I know it came down to tie games, no goalies, and then a shoot out! The Dads loved it when it came down to this. It was like they were getting their male sportsman rivalry out through their daughters! I’m going to toot my team’s own horn. This is how good we were. One game was against our neighbouring province to Ottawa – Hull. These girls were mean. They were big, French, cursing and mean. They didn’t play fair. We played fair. I can still remembering them hollering across the fields to each other, “A la gauche! A la gauche Les filles, a la gauche!” Most of us were bilingual, but I though it was kind of funny, because it seemed they were trying to yell their simple French at us, but we knew exactly what they were saying! At the end of one game, their touch bald-headed Bruce Willis look-alike coach angrily approached the ref when the whistle was blown to announce the end of the game. His fist was punching the air, “Rematch, Rematch! We want a rematch!”. The coach thought we didn’t fairly win. Which is completely ridiculous. They were just being sore losers. We were laughing, enjoying the win and reacting in disbelief to his claims to the Referee. Especially to the referee who just finished calling the game. The Bruce Willis coach would not give up. The ref staked his claim,”It was a fair game. Game Over.” ‘Still, Bruce Willis was relentless. We were eating orange and dunking the orange thermos of water and ice all over one another as was custom. We had jut played a hard 2 hours in the dead heat of an Ottawa 40 degrees summer heat. We were pack’n up to go home. Next thing we know, out coach pipes up, “You want a rematch? Fine. My girls will beat you again. Right Now.” Insert record scratching noise here. “Hugh?” we gasped.This was on heard of. There are no “re-matches” in girls competitive soccer. God, are there anywhere?

Girls, you won the game, fair and square. This guy wants to question that. I have full confidence you wold win again.

“1st goal wins.” our coach says.

“Fine” says the french Bruce Willis coach.

We played again as night was falling. We scored in the first 5 minutes.

You’ll never believe it. The coach took another fit! “Rematch! Rematch!” he screamed. Flabbergasted faces dominoed through the team and crowd.

“Fine. Girls….”

We played again. And we scored again. And the Bruce Willis bald coach cried again. That was it though. Our coach and the referee drew the line.

We were a good team. Our winning treasure was our exceptional goalie (JP). She was fearless. She was tall and big-boned for our 15-18 year old bodies. She could stop a brick that changed direction at the last-minute. I know we always felt bad when our defence let the ball go past them, but I’m pretty sure we bowed our head and walked back to the center line, because she always stopped that ball. Hell, not only did she stop the ball, she scored for us one game from as near the center line as she could get on an open net. She had a hell of a kick. We one a lot of games with her shut outs.

I was the crosser, the passer, the assister. As left-wing, it’s your job to be where the ball is going to be before it is, pass it to the center who will take a shot on the net. Kinda Wayne Gretsky style. “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” ~ Walter Gretsky to Wayne Gretsky. It’s a glory role! Sometime, your switching back and forth, intermingling between the center and wing position depending on where the ball is. You have to have lot of stamina to run that much. I remember why I began to work out. It’s after I tore my ACL. It was a measly highschool game. I say measly because, my highschool team was ass. No one played competitively except maybe one other person, so my competitive league was where my passion was  and invested heart, blood sweat and tears. And the $80. it cost for enrollment. Heck, my entire competitive team came from our neighbouring separate school where as I was the only one usually from the catholic highschool playing on that team my entire child and teenagehood.

I’m just setting the scene. It was grade 12 and it was the semi final. Myself and a couple other girls mostly carried the game for the rest of the team. We could barely makeup for the rest of the team. It was a lot of hard work for little return. But it was good practice for the competitive season. My nickname on the competitive team donned my a trophy one year. “Team Terror.” I was tough. I was a little scrawny 5.5 tough gal. I ran like hell, battled but could hardly deke and I never gave up. My mother couldn’t come to the games. I’d be piercing down the wing, get pummeled by a girl double my size, roll it out through somersaults right back on to my feet again without flinching! She couldn’t stand to see what would happen at the end. I remember getting carded once. First time. A yellow card was flashed at me from the rep after the play had been stopped. I looked behind me.

No one was behind me except Mr.So and So and the field line.

“Are you looking at me ref?”

The red got angrier. Funny, I wasn’t copping attitude, I was genuinely asking in shock.

“Number 12. Keep you elbows in. Next time. You’re getting a red card and your out of the game.”

I felt horrible. I couldn’t believe whatever move I played was enough to get a yellow card. Only tough french butches and angry hill-billy brunettes ever got that card.

My arms  were glued to my sides the rest of the game.

I digress. Return now to the semi final highschool game that I didn’t care too much about. We were playing one of the city teams that coincidently two closer friends who I had worked with at camp were on. I was playing left-wing and I was trying to enlist my fellow forward to play tight to the center line when the ball wasn’t in our end to keep the defence moving forward. This facilitates a run-off between opposing forward and defence lines to run like hell for the ball nearing the net. On the opposing side, it also keeps the forwards away from the opposing net in order to avoid an offside. Very good tactics for both teams.

I’m tight on the center line when the ball get whipped into our end an nobody was there. Not even close. No defence nothing. One of their forwards was eyeing the ball and had a clear pathway to our goal. I was looking around and yelling at the defence.

“Who’s on her? Who’s on her? Get her.”

Noone was gaining speed on her at all.

“Fuck this shit!”

I ran from the opposite side of the field where I was meant to play and ran straight at her. She was just leaving the center line so I had a chance. I ran like a bat out of hell. I was still to far away from her to catch up enough to get the ball away from her. A strategic slide-tackle was the team’s only chance. A slide tackle sounds vicious and it can but it’s also the games allowable mode of defence that deliberate body attack  is tolerated. The idea is, the ball is getting attacked, not the person. Inevitably though, one of both players go down. It’s a ballsy move and you have to know that you are could be diving in the air and you’re going to hit the ground hard. There is no blow up mattress to cushion your fall. I eyed her positioning, dug into the ground hard, leapt up in the air high and swept my right leg under the ball under her feet.

“Clunk!” the ball deadlocked.

She was knocked over. My body fell on top of my left leg sideways.

“Snap!”

I fell to the ground and rolled up onto my stomach. I was eating mudpacked dirt. Did I get  her? Has the play stopped? The play stopped. I was laughing in the dirt. The ref blew the whistle. Phew. Breakaway stopped.

“I think I heard a snap!” someone on the field hollers. Everyone came running over. My two friends from camp on the other team came over to.

“Does she always sound like this if she’s hurt?” the ref asked.

I was laughing. I was in shock.

My nickname at camp was, “Accident Prone Flood.”

“Yes, ref, she does. Kate you ok?”

I continued to giggle until I tried to get up. My left leg gave way beneath me. I was helped off the close end of the field and had to walk the long way around to where my coach and team was.

I sat off for 10 minutes and iced my knee.

“Coach! Coach. Put me back on coach. I’m ready. I’m fine now.”

“Hang on. Just wait. Hang on, Sit back until I call you.” my coach quipped, waving his arm backwards at me to sit down.

“Ok Kate, you’re on. Get out there. There’s only a few minutes left to the game.”

I ran back down the wing just in time with the ball in play coming to me. I had been on 10 seconds and was running down the wing looking for my teammate to pass it too. Then, I was down on the ground in a split second. I’d been hit. Barely a tap, and I was down for the count. She apologized (They do that in girls soccer). The girl had honestly ever so lightly tapped my left leg and I fell like dominoes to the ground. Highly uncharacteristic. I also couldn’t get back up to my feet this time. I dragged myself off the couple of feet to the sideline so the game could continue ball in play.

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew I shouldn’t have caved way so easily. Ever. I was a tiger on the field.

“Coach, I think something’s wrong.”

“Not now Kate. Game’s on. Tell me when the games over.”

I knew something was wrong even though I couldn’t figure it out. I went to the local Medical Clinic in town I had attended since childhood. We were at least a 45 minute drive to any emergency department so this clinic would act as emergency as it was only 5 minutes away. I told them something was really wrong. It was an emergency. They balked and asked if I had an appointment.

“No, did you not hear what I just said.”

My new doctor who I had seen for a few years saw me, said nothing was wrong, dismissed me and balked at me interrupting the line. She sent me for a referral and I waiting a while before seeing anyone.

In the meantime, my knee was constantly giving way on me, and I would collapse on the fly for no reason at all. I still remember walking into the busiest club in Hull for my highschool Prom – completely sober – and collapsing to the ground upon entering the club door. Everyone thought I had too much to drink when really, I had ye to find out I had torn my ACL in my left knee and could not support my body weight.

Oh and going to see the surgeon and O-D-ing on their post drug surgery narcotics is a story all in itself…..

Thanks for hanging on…
I’ve got surgery in 4 weeks so I have  been pre-occupied with healing…

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STOP! 1749 People have stopped by to read my story! Please, I would love to hear from you! Wow! 100 more people joined over night to get emailed when I have a new blog entry!
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Apologies for the delay. I have been preoccupied with health concerns. I am attempting to write daily – weekly now.

Kate


By Kate Flood
• Listening to: Dead Can Dance, Vino Rouge, by my fire….
State of Being: Getting my swing back and tolerating my upcoming surgery…

Kate

Chapter 4 } Bikes, Shotguns and White Rabbits

11 Dec

{ Being held at Gunpoint at 15 years of age }

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“Shit. There’s rapids below me anyways. I think. Which bridge am I on? Fuck. Are those rapids at the mill or here? I can’t look over to see. I’d die anyways at that height. Wait. I’ve jumped off the highest diving board at Sawmill creek swimming pool. How high is that? Is that the same height? Would I make it? Fuck. I gotta run. And then my worst nightmare came true. Both. You know the nightmare where you have to run and your feet are frozen to the ground?”

Victoria Day Fireworks weekend –  1988. This was it. I mean, this was the highlight of Manotick’s social events for the year. All right, maybe Dickinson Day, but that was a whole other kind of water gun mania event. Victoria Day was a long weekend of freedom. A weekend for summer romances, confessing summer crushes and being a well a teenager . I wanted to go. I grew up outside of Manotick – on the fringe really – near Ottawa. I lived in a large beautiful home that my father designed and built himself with his father, his cousins and the contracted professionals. As a kid, it felt like it was in the middle of butt farg Idaho though. I wasn’t any different then most of my schoolmates mind you living in the outskirts of Ottawa.  Anytime I had the chance to ride into town with my parents for errands, I would. “What? There’s more people that exist outside of my 280 acres of field existence?”  There was a plus side to living out here. I couldn’t really be grounded. Really. This didn’t stop my parents from yelling it though.

“Katie, you’re grounded.”

“Uhuh.”

“Don’t you uhuh me child. You’re grounded.”

“Okay ma. I’m grounded.”

I’d go back up to my room where I spent most of my free time staring out the window and the hay fields that went on forever into eternity. I used to think if I followed the creek it would lead me to the Sahara Desert. “Grounded from what”?” I’d say out loud to myself. The non-existent store around the corner? My next-door neighbors 5 miles down the road? There was nowhere to go. Nowhere to get into mischief. It all required a vehicle and an adult to get you there. My parents did a lot of driving. I have a twin brother. There was always soccer, hockey, gymnastics etc. A friend of mine who lived even further out then I did was over visiting. We decided we wanted to bike into Manotick for the Victoria Day ballgame and fireworks. My older brother had bought my brother and I real purdy matching blue 10 speed bikes. We planned to ride them the 5 country roads it would take us to get into town. I asked my mother if we could go.

“No”

“Please?”

“No.”

“Come onnnn Mom. Please”

“Pretty please?”

“Nooo. I said No and that’s it.”

“Why not? Why can’t we go?”

“I just don’t want you go there.”

“Why not. You don’t trust us?”

“I said No and that’s my final answer.”

“Mom! Why not? We’ll be fine.” I interrupted her.

“It’s not you I don’t trust Katie.”

I was relentless. “Mom!”

“It’s everyone else out there I don’t trust Katie.” She yelled over me.

“Come on! It’s Manotick!”

“Alright fine. Go. But take the sidewalks. Don’t talk to anyone and you’re calling me from the payphone when you get there…and you’re home before dark.”

“Mom! The fireworks don’t start until it gets dark.”

“You’ll come home and I will drive you back in then. The road are not lit and there is no chance in H- – I am letting you ride back alone in the dark on those roads.”

We agreed and ran off giggling in 15 yearold hysterics and got ready to go. This was a big deal. First time out of the house on my own and on bikes! I had walked 5 fields down for tobogganing and summers with some childhood friends, but never this kind of distance. It was the summer of ’88. Cut off jean shorts were in. There is an undercurrent of how significant this event in my life was and what it would mean for me down the road. We were in the beginning prime of our teenage years, our puberty, our sexuality, our freedom. My parents were always protective. They had almost lost me once and I don’t think they ever wanted to take chances with me again. They were finally letting me go out on my own. This was a big deal. I was so excited.

We took off on our bikes. Thank God helmets weren’t a thing yet. Yuck. Would have cost extra anyways. ‘Would have ruined our meticulously combed hair. Jackie and I were still incredibly innocent girls. Jackie was a gorgeous girl. A spotlight of the high school fashion show and leggier then me. I’m sure my mother wished our cut-off jean shorts were bermudas. How could she complain? They came from her generation and have never gone out of fashion since. We took off. Our biggest challenge was the big hill right close to my home on Limebank Rd. The hill seemed so much bigger on bike I learned. We biked our way up, chatting and goofing around on the way. Rideau road was windy and we were having fun swaying our back tires back and forth and tracing figure eights on the roadway. No traffic to speak of. When we got to Regional Road eight we had to be careful. It was a main thoroughfare and really busy with cars speeding most of the time. I’m sure it took as a small lifetime to get there. We arrived at the grounds and hung out with our friends from school who all lived a short walk away to the Manotick Arena. There was a big ballgame going on and a few concession stands to get lost in cotton candy at. I’m sure we dug into some french fries from the fry truck and flirted our innocent way around the swing set where the preteens were hanging out. We laughed, goofed around and had a ball. Dusk was setting in and I knew it was time to make the trek back. Never quite the same on the way home is it?

We headed home. We were still right in the middle of “downtown” Manotick and riding over the Main Street bridge that first brings traffic into the center of town. We had been riding the sidewalks as my mom instructed and I was just as happy to oblige being away from the cars. The sidewalk ended halfway over the bridge. Riding in tow I was in front of Jackie. I slowed down and threw my leg over and hopped off my bike. She did the same. We were waiting on the edge of the sidewalk watching the flow of traffic waiting for it to stop so we could hop back on our bikes and ride the road until the sidewalk would start up again. We thought.

In the flash of a second I was staring down the barrel of a shotgun. I had never done this before. It is bloody terrifying.

There was no warning, no before, just this moment. There is a man coming at me and intently pointing a big gun right at my face and he’s screaming bloody murder loud at the top of his lungs.

“Jump off of the bridge!”

I want to run hard! I want to run fast! I want to get out of here! My mind is racing a million miles a minute. Tons of bits of information is coming into my head clearly and quickly. I’m on a bridge. There is steel bridge rail behind me that is at least 41/2 feet high. I’d have to turn around and hoist my leg over the bridge and jump. That means my back would be to him. I don’t know what he’s going to do if I move. I won’t be able to see the gun. He’s now waving the gun up and down at me frantically in fits and spurts. There is no rhythm to it. There is no way to monitor his next move. He screams even louder at me,

“Jump off of the fucking bridge!”

Every time he said “fucking” he waved his gun eve more angrily just on that word. You don’t have to accentuate it buddy. I’m scared shitless already. The “F-word” isn’t gonna wanna make me jump any more or less! Shit. There’s rapids below me anyways. I think. Which bridge am I on? Fuck. Are those rapids at the mill bridge or here? I can’t look over to see. I’d die anyways at that height. Wait. I’ve jumped off the highest diving board at Sawmill creek swimming pool. How high is that? Is that the same height? Would I make it? Fuck. I gotta run. And then my worst nightmare came true. Both. You know the nightmare where you have to run and your feet are frozen to the ground? Where you want to scream but you can’t?

I try to move my feet. Maybe if I shuffle slow to the side, I can duck and dive under the car that is stopped there. Why is there a car stopped there? This guy stopped his car in the middle of the road? Of all the negative influences movies have, they do provide reference points in times of unbelievable events. Yah, I’ll dive 5 feet under a car like a Charlie’s Angel and the hard concrete will soften my fall. Well, still better then a bullet through my head. Cue Drew Barrymore’s produced Charlie’s Angels slow motion image of Kate flying through the air music now! { I met her once. Zaphods, Valentines Day with Tom Green. But that’s another story } I can’t move my feet. I am telling them to move and they’re not moving. Why aren’t the moving now of all times? He seems to be getting angrier that I’m not jumping of the bridge. He’s got a gun pointed at my face. Does he realize the predicament I’m in? Seriously. He yells furiously loud at me again,

“I told you. Jump off of the fucking bridge right now!”

I think I need to scream back. I need to scream. I want to scream. Will it shock him away? I try to scream. My mouth drops and nothing is coming out. No sound. Nothing. I can’t scream. Inside I am screaming and nothing is coming out. I was terrified. Fuck. What is going to happen? How am I going to get out of here? How do I get him to back away? However long these minutes lasted I was initially cognizant of Jackie, but then everything around me disappeared. Of all the things going on in these moments, this man’s screams, his waving shotgun, my desire to run or jump and scream, feeling the hot summer concrete below my converse sneakers, the only single thought in my head was, “I’m going to die. I want to live.”

I never moved a foot. I never managed a sound from my mouth. My body was frozen. If I don’t move, maybe I will not disturb this man anymore then he already is. Then, out of nowhere, as fast as he was in front of us pointing his shotgun, something happened. Everything became very still and silent. All the sounds of summer I did here we gone. The background noise of a small town faded. It was clear I wasn’t budging or listening to his orders. Not that I was making decisions. It seemed like something was controlling me. If I jumped, I’d surely die. If I stayed, he’s going to blow my head off.  I tried running and couldn’t move. I guess I’ll just stay put then. Out of nowhere it seemed as though the air got lighter and brighter. I couldn’t see anything around us except for an isolated vision of this lunatic. A soft ball of light with no distinctive edges, just a fade disappearance into the atmosphere appeared around us, between him and I. He went from being frantic loud and crazy lunatic waving a shotgun at me in the middle of the busiest street in town, to slowly lowering his gun as though someone had gently laid their hand on his barrel and it lowered slowly to his side and he walked calmly in a daze back to his car, got into the driver’s side, started the car and began to drive off like nothing had ever happened. All in light of day in the one of the most charming rural towns on the Main street. My eyes seemed to follow him, protected by an imaginary shield and there on the side of the road closest to me was a longhaired blond woman sitting in the passenger seat. It was a small white rabbit car and there was a woman in the passenger seat the whole time this was happening?

Jackie and I turned our heads slowly and looked at one another for the first time in the minutes that seemed like hours that this holdup took place. We began to sheepishly laugh in the rhythm of a stalled stick shift car.

“Jackie…that, that, that was a gun!”

Jackie was still laughing, and managed, “I know.”

Our moods were interchanging between laughter and dead straight seriousness simultaneously. We needed to do something constructive now right? Unbeknownst to us. We were in shock.

“Jackie, we gotta get the license plate!” We both dropped our bikes, tires spinning, ran onto the road and ran down main street after this little white rabbit car. After thought: What’s a guy with a shotgun driving a rinky-dink shitbox like a white rabbit for anyhow? ‘Not a particularly masculating car now is it? Shouldn’t he have been driving a Chevy or Ford pick-up truck or something?

There weren’t any cars behind us so we were running in the middle of the bridge after this car. I squinted my eyes zoning in on the small plates and tried to read all 6 digits. I got the last 3 digits of the license place thinking Jackie had got the first 3. We ran as far as we could before the speed of the car had taken it far enough that we could not see it anymore. We both bent over and were panting in the middle of the road trying to catch our breath.

‘Did you get it?” we asked each other out of breath.

“U4N” we said gasping for air at the same time.

“Did you get the first three?” we said again under our breaths at the same time.

“No.” I thought you would.

“No.” I thought you would.

We laughed.

“Shit. Holy Shitttt! What the fuck just happened?”

Dusk was setting in.“Oh my God. It’s getting darker. We have to get home before dark or my mother is going to kill us.” We rode hard back the busy road, up the long side country roads, up Spratt to Rideau back to Limebank. Thank God the last part was all downhill this time. We slowed down near the driveway and turned into together.

“You going to tell your mom?” Jackie asked.

“Uh uh. No way! Are you kidding?”

“Yah, I guess she’d never let you out of the house again.”

“And how.”

We threw down our bikes, walked by the pool gate and tried to quietly walk into the house all sugar and spice like. My mother was most likely in the gazebo lounging where she spent most of the summer.

“Katie? Hi girls. Did you have a nice time?”

“Uhuh” we said in unison and closed the screen door behind us.


{ Cue theme music: It’s a toss up between 2 top hits for the summer of ‘ 88: “Good Thing” by Fine Young Cannibals for the bike ride in and my favorite at the time, “Sweet Child of Mine” buy Guns and Roses. How appropriate. }

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This is the official link to my novel blog:

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Where’s the holiday snow in Ottawa anyhow?
Kate
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By Kate Flood
• 5:17pm • Starbucks
State of Being: Whatever.
• Listening to : Dave Mathews, “Space Between”

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