V-Day: What Happened at a Vagina Steaming Party.

“I got invited to a vagina steaming party.”

“A what?”

My husband looked over from A Catcher in the Rye.

“A vagina steaming party,” I repeated all nonchalant, turning the page of my novel.

He blinked, his eyes magnified by reading glasses.

“What on earth is that?”

“I really don’t know.”

He rest his book against his belly.

“Are you going?”

“I don’t know.”

I stared at the words of my own book, undecided.

“You should go.”

He commenced reading.

“Why?” I looked over, surprised.

“Sounds . . . fun,” he giggled, lips wrapped around his teeth.

We read awhile longer then turned out the lights. And I was right there teetering on sleep when he snort laughed in his pillow.

What.”

“Can you make rice at the same time?”

“You’re an idiot.”

I secret smiled in my pillow.

“You’re lovely,” he replied.

And I fell asleep, undecided.

How does one get invited to a vagina steaming party?

Well. I learned about it on Facebook, from a small local women’s group I’m privy to. The gatherings are earthy in nature —full moon celebrations, henna parties and the like— but I’d never attended anything.

“I think you should go,” Christopher handed me tea the next morning.

“Why are you so anxious for me to steam my vagina?”

Our son entered the kitchen at this time. Looked at us long enough to die inside, then backed away slowly.

“Because it sounds like a laugh and I think you’d have a good time.”

“But I don’t know these people.”

“Since when do you have a problem making friends?”

True.

But still.

“It just sounds really personal.”

For all the guts I spill on this blog, I’m actually quite private about a few things, my nether bits being one. And the idea of sitting in a steamy circle of exposed labia held very little appeal.

Still curious, I monitored the thread. My friend Kelly RSVP’d (yay) so then I started googling — with delicacy, of course. You can end up with a screenful of porn asking the wrong question. But what I learned is, ‘vagina rejuvenation’ is a thing right now, with a giant list of procedures.

They’re not going to insert anything, are they? 

I sent Kelly an urgent text, and she called me right away.

“Girl, no,” she laughed. “And Sam knows what she’s doing. She’s a board certified midwife.”

She is?”

“She delivered my babies!”

See.

I didn’t know the midwife part.

And that changed things entirely.

“See you there,” I replied.

V-Day.

Kelly and I walked along the river to Sam’s house, arriving at the rustic outdoor space in her backyard, purpose built for such gatherings. As we approached this building — dubbed the SHE SHACK — I had very good feelings.

IMG_7796.JPG

Inside, Sam bustled around readying pots while another girl sorted baggies of herbs. With introductions made and wine poured, I was instantly comfortable.

For some reason I thought this’d be a group activity, but a sheet hung in the corner concealing a birthing stool and I realized it was a one-person-at-a-time thing.

“Sam?” I sipped my small jar of white wine. She had apples, cheese, cucumbers, hummus, charcuterie and crackers out too, so this was awesome already. “Do you mind if I write about this?”

“Go for it, girl.” She bent over a giant tub of herbs, sorting. “The more educated people are, the better.”

Amen to that. 

I pulled out my phone.

IMG_7797.JPG

The 4th girl besides Kelly, Sam, and myself, was Ashley, a master herbalist. And she brought a LOT of ingredients.

IMG_7798

They stuck their noses in bags discussing properties. Measurements. And I watched like a curious anthropologist. This wasn’t some trendy slumber party ritual suddenly popular because Gwyneth Paltrow said so. This was a serious, ancient practice. And these ladies knew their stuff.

I learned a few years ago not to poo-poo herbal medicine anyway. I’m allergic to anything stronger than ibuprofen, and one day after suffering a toothache, a library colleague pressed a small brown dropper bottle in my hand.

“Tastes like ass,” she warned. “But it should help with your pain.”

What is it? I winced, hardly caring.

“Mostly yarrow root,” she said. “And keep it. You don’t look right.”

It tasted like twelve asses let alone one, but dang if my pain didn’t go away.

Anyway.

“You can go first, Jenn.” Sam snapped twigs off a scraggly dried bush — mugwort, I learned, then asked questions about my period.

Ashley handed her baggies according to my answers, which I assumed uneventful. But cycle length and cramp severity seemed to compute and I loved watching their deliberate decisions regarding my care.  And that’s exactly what it felt like.

Care.

IMG_7842.JPG

Comfrey.
Plantain.
Mugwort.
Calendula.
Raspberry.

A spoonful of this, a handful of that. I heard the words ‘astringent’ and ‘tonality’ and watched the pretty herbs pile in the bowl, my heart full of trust.

“It that just for Kabay?” Kelly slid blue cheese on an apple slice, crosslegged on the floor.

“Yes, this is the Kabay blend.” Sam crunched herbs in her fist.

And I felt all special.

200w.gif

Maybe the wine was taking affect.

But I couldn’t wait to get on that stool.

“I really don’t need the curtain,” Ashley said.

“Me neither,” I agreed. So Sam pulled it down, then poured boiling water over my herbs filling the room an earthy, wooden fragrance.

IMG_7843.JPG

“Ready?” she slid the steaming bowl under the stool.

I pulled the back of my long skirt up and sat down, its front length hanging to floor. Sam wrapped two thick blankets around my waist, draping my lower half, then tucked them around my feet. “You good?” She checked for gaps so no steam could escape. Her bedside manner was excellent, proving my earlier privacy fears a complete waste of energy, like most fears.

“You look all Victorian, sitting on that throne,” Kelly observed, offering more wine.

“I feel all Victorian,” I smiled, accepting a refill.

IMG_7844.JPG

Lights were lowered so only candlelight flickered.

And I waited.

For what I wasn’t sure.

Would it tingle?

Tickle?

Burn, as someone warned?

“Is it too warm?” Sam asked.

“Not at all.” I was a good foot above the herbs. “It could probably could be warmer.”

“Do you feel anything?”

I wiggled a bit, considering.

“You know? I think I do?”

I sat there a good 15 minutes, trying to conjure adjectives.

Failing.

So I succumbed to relaxation. To swirling incense and soft, thumping music. To the beautiful, maternal, communal way women can be, their conversation low and soothing like a background ohm.

And then I felt it.

A sort of . . . I dunno. Tingle is not the right word.

Reaction maybe?

Like a dimmer switch sliding off to on?

Oop. I think I feel something.”

“Good!” Sam started prepping another bowl. “Is it too hot?” She crushed dried rose petals in her fingers.

My tiny dancer suddenly gave me jazz hands.

I sat up straight, roses blooming in my cheeks.

“I think it could be hotter.”

Here.” Kelly dropped to her knees before me with a pillow footrest ottoman thingy. “Promise I won’t look.”

She reaching under the blankets, extracted the bowl, placed it on top of the ottoman and slid it back under.

“Better?” She retucked the blanket around my feet.

Yes, I nodded. Thank you.

Something was happening down there.

I just wasn’t sure what.

Nothing about it was sexual. Not even a tiny bit.

So if you’re reading this for a cheap thrill, resume your vagina searches elsewhere, perv. 

It was more like high-level relaxation.

A lower-body awakening, of sorts.

200w-55.gif

If you have to steam clean it, you’re doing something wrong, someone wrote on Facebook.

(Ha.)

Did it whistle? another friend asked.

200w-8.gif

Waca. Waca.

— this wasn’t about hygiene.

It was me wondering why more people didn’t know about this and what giant percentage the world’s women would never ever experience it because why on earth would you do such a thing. 

It’s indecent!

That’s hippie quackery!

Is it?

The sparkly magic swirling under that blanket was not my imagination.

And I wondered if it was mental, the well-being I felt. Like the elevated way one feels after a good sermon, a long talk with a dear friend, or a leisurely stroll in the dappled woods.

And the answer is no. My physical reaction was real.

Consider what herbs can do to the mind. It’d be foolish and somewhat ignorant to dismiss their affect on other parts, too.

” ‘Ello, steamy!” Christopher called when I walked in the door. “How was it?”

I plopped on the couch.

“Feel better?”

Better wasn’t the right word.

More like . . . different.

Hard to articulate, but yes. I felt different.

Especially the next day.

There was a certifiable spring in my step. A clarity downstairs, like my lady bits —if likened to the mind— had a deep, restorative night’s sleep. Bright-eyed and bu—

. . .never mind.

Yeah. I felt better.

Lovely in fact.

Physically, I’d compare it to the clear, open way your skin feels after a facial.

Even days later.

I felt like one of Boticelli’s Graces.

img_7861.jpg

I can’t believe you wrote about this. Have you no shame?

Oh, be quiet.

Women’s health is the nucleus of debate this days. And the (awful) word ‘pussy’ is actually mainstream news thanks to you-know-who.

I had to unpack some issues while writing this, tiptoeing around propriety wondering whom I might offend and why.

We’re conditioned to defining vaginas either sexually or clinically, but this experience was neither.

It was intellectual.

Spiritual.

Beautiful. Magical.

(*High five* if that conjures Supertramp.)

Anyway. That’s why I wrote this.

Because fear, misogyny, and misinformation swirl like noxious gas out there, making young girls and grown ass women strangers to their own bodies.

And this isn’t some feminist manifesto, either. I’m just saying there’s a big world out there beyond soap and water and I’m really glad I went. So are my bits.

Now back to my regularly scheduled program of books and Beatles and things that go bump in the night.

(Ha.)

Peace, love and mugwort,
Jennifer

Advertisements

My fancy Harrods afternoon, darling.

Don’t get me wrong. I like fancy. And my pinkie involuntarily drifts North with the right teacup. But Harrods kinda freaks me out. Ironic since our entire trip evolved from a single, ho-hum text.

Me: Don’t you wish we were at Harrods right now? Drinking champagne and eavesdropping?

(I’d probably just mopped up cat puke, and sent this strategically, of course.)

My husband (for example) would rather scoop out his corneas with a grapefruit spoon than sit in Harrods doing anything let alone eavesdropping.

—But not my friend Tecla!

Her: Um . . . yes? When?

Careful what you wish for and all that.

Because there we were six month later on a sparkly escalator. Gliding through British opulence. Lost between floors. Darting between diamonds and runway couture looking for The Champagne Bar.

No easy feat, I assure you.

Harrods is like a casino. Glittery. Expensive. Designed for distraction. A chandeliered labyrinth of escalators and corridors and pretty staff trained to sell you a better life.

We eventually found The Champagne Barwrapped L-shaped around a small corner in Ladies Wear. I mean, it sounded good. But all that glass and white lacquer conjured A Clockwork Orange and I wanted something a little more . . . Absolutely Fabulous. And not to worry, sweetie darling.

‘Spoiled for choice’ is an understatement.

Harrods deals eateries like golden aces with world class chefs at every helm. The trouble was finding them.

We actually got hungry looking for a place to drink.

200w-3.gif

So we started withtabbouleh and lamb charred medium-rare at Mezzah Lounge overlooking Knightsbridge.

IMG_7141.JPG

The rose tea was almost too pretty to drink.

And the tahini was so creamy I drank it too, because I’m ghetto like that.

IMG_7142.JPG

Also delicious was the people watching. No bootie-digging, lice-scratching kids up in the Mezzah Lounge, ya’ll. Large families with well-behaved children dotted the place. Next to us, three young Arabs watched YouTube on someone’s new iPhone X, plucking fresh fruit from a gutted watermelon with toothpicks.

Exotic women in bright pink saris glided through clutching designer handbags while another two in black burkas sat still and silent with a bearded man on a very long phone call. A Richard Gere-y Frenchman beckoned our waiter with a pressed cotton Rolexed arm s’il vous plaît andI breathed it all in. My happy meter wiggling at MAX.

God, I love London.

Even the bathrooms sparked joy.

Not for the attendant providing make-up and perfume for après-dining touchups — nah.

All that white porcelain reminded me of Titanic. 

IMG_7151.JPG

IMG_7152 2.JPG

See?

I wanted to perch in one of them water closets and WRITE. But perfume makes me nauseous and Tecla was waiting. And anyway . . . champagne.

We headed downstairs past

silks

and furs

and hankies

and bowler hats.

Everything fancy.

IMG_6484.jpeg

and pretty

IMG_7155.JPG

and perfect

IMG_7153.JPG

and — oh!

Your Majesty!

IMG_7160.JPG

*curtsies*

At last . . .

we passed through a magic portal on the ground floor where time and monetary discretion d i s a p p e a r.

Where greek gods lie naked in pools of crème fraîche, whispering naughty things.

J e n n i f e r . . . they beckoned, sleepy-eyed and sensuous.  C o m e.

(Foodies, hide your boners.)

IMG_7154.JPG

How can I possibly convey the Harrods Food Hall except to say it’s a culinary WONDERLAND. An epicurean cornucopia where caviar dreams and champagne wishes do come true.

200w-3.gif

We floated on an icy sea of lobster, oysters, and crab past an open kitchen grilling Wagyu fillets and $40 hamburgers.

The Sirens purred, their wanton whispers curling around my conscience. You are special, Jennifer, and your cellulite is minimal. You deserve that burger with sautéed onions, oyster mushrooms, smoked applewood cheese, and lollo rosso lettuce served with the side of your choice. We don’t know what lollo rosso lettuce is either. But you deserve it, girl. Go on. Get the mac and cheese for your side.

Jenn.” Tecla pulled my arm and I snapped-to.

Ribeyes. Sushi. Charcuterie. Champagne. Internationals slid forks and chopsticks and fingers in their mouths. Licking. Swallowing. Their mid-day decadence the pictures of privilege. And there we were among them. Jet-lagged and lamb-bellied. Smiling like idiots. Drifting past sashimi. Caviar. Sake. Shrimp. Corks POP! ping

*BOING!*

whoops, excuse me!

*blush*

—and vintage merlot spilling into sparkling crystal.

I seriously considered eating again. But wood-fired sourdoughs and baguettes lured us to the next room where buttery pies and jelly-tiered cakes gave way to a wall of stinky cheese. (Down boy, DOWN.)  And we saw it together. The pick-your-pleasure pastries shingled in decadent display near an art deco coffee bar.

THERE,” we agreed, claiming two stools circling the copper behemoth.

IMG_7158.JPG

Tecla ordered tea. But not just any tea.

The No.16 Ceylon Afternoon Special Blend with a Victoria Sponge, darling. I ordered coffee and pain au chocolat and we launched into my very favorite game.

IMG_7157.JPG

Guy next to me,” Tecla whispered sideways. “What’s he do?”

I pretended to stare past him, stirring my latte.

Thin. Tall. Hitler-y haircut. Straight nose. Straight posture.

I licked buttery flakes off my lips, considering his brand new clothes.

Black on black. Every blonde hair in place. Guarding his mouth with a coffee cup. Swedish, I concluded. Maybe German.

Architect.” I whispered back.

And we went around the circle, writing people’s lives.

It’s a voyeur’s heaven and I could’ve stayed all day. But it was time for champagne! And what the hell time was it? Casino, I tell you! Did we want a crisp Italian vibe at Canti Prosecco Bar upstairs? Or vintage Paris at Ladurée ? Maybe neither?

Feeling all que sera sera, we wandered past fresh roses and the Salon De Parfums to a new set of elevators, letting button-pushing strangers determine our fate. And the best thing happened.

The doors opened.

Not to retail.

But to quiet Victorian elegance.

–Ironed white table clothes. A vaulted atrium ceiling and a tuxedoed gentleman making love to Beethoven. Pianissimo.

200w.gif

Doneskies.

After a crisp flute of brut rosé and enough how may I assist you, madams I actually considered the $1100 Moschino My Little Pony Lunchbox Purse Thingy.my-little-pony-leather-cross-body-bag_000000005798912001.jpg

(Just kidding —I’d never.)

And really, I’d had enough.

We passed two stunning women on our way out.

Magazine-perfect, I tell you. Deer-legged and precariously balanced in Christian Louboutins, struggling to fold a stroller. They barked at each other in raspy Italian, their movements comically limited by matching fur coats and long, curved nails clacking against metal. Next to them a regally dressed toddler –all buttons and brown curls — stood still. A silver pacifier in her rosebud mouth. Waiting.

I cannot articulate why.

But this summed it up entirely, why I was done.

I like fancy.

I really do.

But I prefer fireplaces and cracked teapots in dusty old pubs.

—and so does Tecla.

We ran home to change for our hot date with a Potter exhibit at the British Library.

Dear God — I unclasped my pearls and pulled out my wand.

Thank you for today.

Tecla yanked off her boots and busted out her Hufflepuff scarf. I adjusted my Ravenclaw collar and double-checked my glitter.

Thank you for everything, really. Especially kindred spirits.

“Ready?” she asked.

Ready.”

And rocking on the underground, I thought of the chauffeur outside Harrods, standing next to a Rolls Royce pulled haphazardly on the curb, its back window cluttered with bags. He looked every shade of OVER IT, and I wondered if he belonged to the stroller ladies.

Hi, I nodded, and he tipped his cap, silent.

But his weary eyes said plenty.

Accio beer.

. . . . . . .

Me too, mister.

IMG_6532.JPG

Beryl’s Chicken Diary. (8)

Read from the beginning HERE.

……………….

 

DAY FIFTEEN

mac-n-cheese

 

This morning I flew out of the tub and waited by the back door. Jennifer smiled super big then let me out with some fresh water and last night’s macaroni and cheese. Ollie came by and sniffed so we shared it. Then we laid in the sun for a long time.

IMG_7167 (1).jpg

The other girls watched us, huddled by the gate.

I know what they’re thinking.

They miss the compost.

Well, tough.

I miss my toe.

 

 

DAY SIXTEEN

the most beautiful sister in the world

 

Jennifer unlatched the gate today, letting Wanda in my side of the yard. I know why she did this. She wanted to see how Wanda would treat me. Ollie and I watched her skirt around the gate, looking for a way back in.

Silly hen.

You could tell she wasn’t comfortable being separate from the others —-until she realized the compost was hers for the taking.

She ignored me completely.

Then Jennifer shocked me.

She let Babs in.

Oh dear.

I stood and watched my sister, super nervous.

My wounds aren’t exposed, I thought. 

Nice, hard crusty scabs. Both eyes open.

My feathers and comb need to grow back but I’m still the same ole Beryl, minus one toe.

OhGodhereshecomes.

Babs bypassed the compost, headed straight for me, her expression unreadable.

Please Babs. 

I held my breath.

Please don’t hurt me.

My sister crept close.

Examining.

Unsure.

She paused in front of me, cocking her head sideways.

Please don’t hurt me, sister.

I stood real still.

She raised her neck and I cowered low.

But when I opened my eyes, my sister pecked dirt between us, wiped her beak on the ground, then walked away.

SHE

WALKED

AWAY!

See that? I told Ollie, watching Babs settle in her favorite breezy spot by the A/C unit.

She didn’t peck me. 

You can’t see chickens smile. But we do.

We smile on the inside.

She didn’t peck me.

IMG_7114.jpg

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Continue reading HERE.

……………………………………………..

The next entry will be posted in two days.

If you’d like instant notification, you can sign up to follow this blog.

When you’re reading about me, you’re probably not worrying about the news.

So that’s good.

love, Beryl

 

 

Beryl’s Chicken Diary. (7)

Read from the beginning HERE.

……………

DAY THIRTEEN

Ollie

Jennifer put me outside for a long time today.

I don’t want her to forget she’s a chicken! she declared, which is the dumbest thing I ever heard.

If she spent ten days outside, would she forget she’s human?

Christopher says she never forgets anything, so I guess the answer is no.

If you’re wondering how I managed outside safe from fair-feather Jenkins, I’ll tell you.

Alongside our coop, Christopher built a wire fence with a swinging gate that when closed, divides the garden in two. 

FullSizeRender-4.jpg

He said it would protect half the garden from our appetites, whatever that means — but I say it was a fortuitous decision considering my current predicament.

Jennifer closed the gate so I was separate and safe then put me on the ground.

O frabjous day!

The sun felt delicious on my air-conditioned feathers! I walked a little funny on account of my missing toe, but sinking my nails in the hot dry dirt —well— that’s a beautiful sensation I barely have words for. Maybe a toaster feels the same when it’s plugged in.

I took a long dirt bath to clear away mites, picked around the ivy, then sat on the porch next to Ollie, the old lady cat my humans adopted a few months back. Ollie remembers I’m me.

Together we lay in the sun and I feel safe.

Let’s count bees, she suggested.

So we did.

IMG_7110.jpg

I like Ollie.

She’s chill like that.

P.S. My feathers are growing back!

Yay me!

IMG_7170.jpg

DAY FOURTEEN

movie night

I have a new routine!

Jennifer puts me outside in the morning with my own food and water. Sometimes I make eyes with my sister through the wire fence. I’m not sure what I’d do if she pecked me, so I’m happy to be over here and remember the good ole days.

I can still love her from far away.

Look at my sister. Isn’t she beautiful?

IMG_7099.jpg

I used to look like that.

I’m used to being alone now, though ‘alone’ may not be the right word. Ollie keeps me company outside. And humans keep me company inside. At night, Jennifer wraps me in a towel and holds me against her chest.

Sometimes we watch movies.

Last night we watched The Revenant.

IMG_6992.jpg

That bear scene reminded me of you-know-what.

My toe looks funny but it doesn’t hurt anymore. Christopher put a plank of wood over the tub so I can perch if I want to.

Did I tell you both my eyes are open now?

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Continue reading HERE.

…………………………………………

The next entry will be posted in two days.

If you’d like instant notification, you can sign up to follow this blog.

Meanwhile,

What did the Mexican farmer say to his hens?

.

.

.

.

O lay!

.

.

.

.

(Am I too hip for the room?)

love, Beryl

Beryl’s Chicken Diary. (6)

Read from the beginning HERE.

…………….

 

DAY ELEVEN

trapped

 

Ol’ spider finally trapped some food tonight.

I’m relieved actually, she was looking a little pale.

—still. 

Desperate buzzing is a very sad noise.

That poor fly tried to escape, tangling deeper as she inched close, creeping in such a way, I felt glad to be down here.

I couldn’t watch.

So I listened to thunder instead.

Rain tonight means lots of worms for the girls tomorrow. Makes me jealous, really.

I quite enjoy tub service, but I miss getting my beak dirty.

zzzzzzzzzzzz

Not fair!” Sophia yells, three rooms away. “You never let me—”

A door slams.

Dangit.

I want to hear what they never let her do.

I wish they’d turn on the lights.

The room is dark and the dark clouds are making it darker.

Christopher’s in there hollering about focus! and how many times does nine go into thirty-six!

That’s something we really couldn’t hear outside —arguing.

I don’t like it.

FOUR! Sophia yells, stomping so hard my bathtub trembles.

Ugh.

Thunder outside, thunder inside.

Now rain slaps the window like it’s mad about something.

zzzzzzz  . . . zz

. . . z

I stare at the soap dish.

Maybe she had eggs in the compost, that fly. Maybe she had a sister.

The soap is slivery thin like a waning moon, a single hair its prisoner.

We have a lot in common, me and that hair, trapped in white.

Spider’s over there wrapping her prize and I think about fate.

Maybe life’s divided in two.

One half thinking you know stuff and the other half wishing you didn’t.

I miss my sister.

I miss my old life.

IMG_6971.jpg

 

 

DAY TWELVE

it

 

Okay, sorry about all that.

Dwelling on the past 

+ 

Feeling sorry for yourself 

= Weakness.

 

I don’t know why that raccoon chose me, but he did. So now I just have to get on with it.

The big, proverbial it.

Tonight the moon’ll chase the sun, and tomorrow a rooster will crow whether we like the noise or not.

And let’s face it.

If that raccoon had gone after Wanda instead of me, there’d be three hens alive right now instead of four.

Chickens will be chickens.

Plus all the worrying would interrupt my healing.

Christopher keeps sighing at me with worried eyes and I’m not having that.

Not after all he’s done.

I heard him say maybe I should be an inside chicken and something about diapers.

If that means what I think it means—

Speaking of inside, I hope they don’t clean the windows.

Spider looks tired today.

Her fly’s all wrapped up like a wooly burrito.

One ambitious wipe and her life would be over.

I tried expressing this on her behalf. But it came out beCAW!

–and made my human jump.

A mistake perhaps.

They like quiet on the toilet.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Continue reading HERE.

………………………………………

The next entry will be posted in two days.

If you’d like instant notification, you can sign up to follow this blog.

Meanwhile,

We’re halfway through my diary! If you’ve enjoyed reading, please tell people about me. And share and stuff.

I have moderate vocabulary but big dreams. 

love, Beryl

Beryl’s Chicken Diary. (5)

Read from the beginning HERE.

………

 

DAY NINE

Jennifer’s poor choices

The humans have a girl hatchling, Sophia. She has very busy hands and hair like a bird’s nest. Everyday she sprays me with oil of the tea trees.  She also taps my torn comb with a delicate contraption called a Q-tip.

I enjoy her expression as she does this.

It’s quiet and protective.

Like a closing flower.

I’ve started making small noises again.

Today I managed Thank you, chicklette. My neck doesn’t sting anymore.

It sounded like this:

currrrrcurrrrrcuurrrrr

Sometimes I think she understands me.

I’m feeling quite happy today.

Christopher gave me a nice, warm, salty bath then hand fed me worms — quite different from the fat, wiggly ones outside. These were hard, from a plastic bag and didn’t taste as good. But I like he spent time with me.

IMG_6846.jpg

His hands still smell wonderful.

Like milk and tea leaves.

I think she’s ready to go outside! Jennifer announced, watching me fluff my feathers real big. She interpreted this as a sign of strength, but really I was just trying to keep warm.

Chickens —like humans— feel more secure with a leader.

And the way we establish dominance is by pecking. Most times it’s a quick thunk on the head like Hey you weakling! This is my yard, got it? But other times it’s serious. Resulting in blood, injury, and cannibalism.

If it seems brutal, that’s because it is.

Chickens die this way.

All the time.

I have limited facial expressions and even less vocabulary.

I had no way to say I wasn’t comfortable going outside. My scabs were new and paper thin. One little stretch in the wrong direction and they’d rip. And if the girls smelled blood I’d be in serious trouble.

Please don’t take me outside.

But next thing I know, I’m outside.

Placed on the ground where Babs, Wanda, and Jenkins pecked leftover curry.

They stopped eating and looked at me.

Missus Jenkins stretched out her neck to examine mine and I cowered down.

Dang I knew this would happen!

She reared up high and stabbed down HARD, making the other girls scramble. My scabs tore like tissue paper and I tried not to cry, but just imagine someone jabbing a fork in your open wound. I couldn’t help it.

Now imagine it’s your friend.

You’d cry, too.

Jennifer snatched me up fast.

I’m so sorry, Beryl, she whispered, squeezing me tight. I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry. 

She held me awhile then put me back in the tub, but didn’t leave my side.

Jennifer likes books.

Teapots.

Paper and pens.

Songs about yellow submarines.

She knows a little about a lot.

But not about chickens.

IMG_2358.jpg

 

DAY TEN

things that start with j: jerk and Jenkins

 

Missus Jenkins clearly doesn’t remember me protecting her.

When she and Wanda first arrived, they were scrawny little chicks. Scrambling around cheeping. Looking for hiding spots. Babs pecked their heads to establish dominance, but I told her that wasn’t necessary. They were practically babies!

So they followed me around instead.

I showed them the garden— where we eat, drink, and the best spots for sunshine.

Christopher placed them on our roost that first night, then locked us inside.

See? I nudged Jenkins. Isn’t this nice?

But she trembled against the wall.

So I pulled her under my wing.

Because that’s how we comfort each other.

You’re safe, I assured her. This is your home now.

And that’s where she slept for months and months.

Apparently she doesn’t remember that at all.

Now she’s full grown and super bossy.

Look at her.

Acting like she owns the joint.

IMG_7278.jpg

Jennifer calls her the Town Crier because she struts around making loud announcements anytime anybody lays an egg.

How do I tell her I’m still me?

Maybe she doesn’t remember.

But I do.

She’s also the only one who gets squirty poops after spicy leftovers.

So there.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Continue reading HERE.

*******************************

The next entry will be posted in two days. 

If you’d like instant notification, you can sign up to follow this blog.

Meanwhile,

Thanks for following along.

I’m glad you’re here.

love, Beryl

Beryl’s Chicken Diary. (4)

Read from the beginning HERE.

………..

 

DAY SEVEN

to the bone

 

I’m not mad anymore. Just sore.

And listening to humans is interesting.

I’m learning lots of new words like predator, nocturnalhydrogen, and peroxide.

They’ve also been researching how to make me better. The Google says I must keep clean and hydrated. So today I ate rice and drank electric lights from a small white bowl.

IMG_6844.jpg

I feel a little better.

Where did I leave off?

Oh, yes.

The hiding spot.

Sweet Christopher.

A funny look melted on his face when he found me. Like happy and sad at the same time. He picked me up and pulled me close, hollering for Jennifer to open the door and put a towel in the tub. I’ve since learned tubs are where humans wash themselves. I dirty the tub daily so they have to clean it before cleaning themselves.

I don’t get the impression they mind.

My eyes are orange, like pumpkins. Well, one is. The other is swollen shut.

With my good eye, I watched Jennifer examine my neck bone. That’s right, my bone showed. And it must’ve looked gross because she threw a hand over her mouth and looked away.

dirty

infection

pecking 

isolation

They say don’t listen to what people say, that talk is cheap or whatever.

But you and I both know the wrong words from the right people can slice you in two.

Or maybe it’s the right words from the wrong people.

Does it matter?

Hearing’s the only thing I can do right now.

Christopher tried lifting my injured wing, but I let him know it hurt.

I’m so sorry, Beryl, he said, stroking my non-hurty parts, his face sad again.

Christopher’s eyes are green.

Like pine needles.

I wish I understood human language better.

But at least I understand feelings.

I finally felt safe.

So I passed out.

 

 

DAY EIGHT

raw chicken and a spider

 

I spend my days in the bathtub.

It’s nice, as bathtubs go.

This one’s white porcelain with four little feet like monkey toes curling over a ball.

The walls are salmon pink with white wainscot paneling. And I’m not really alone in here.

An old lady spider inhabits a broken web in the small cottage window overlooking the back garden.

IMG_7647.jpg

If I stand in the right spot, I can see outside reflected in the gilded mirror above the antique sink.

I’m not ready to see myself.

Instead I watch the spider, slow in old age, except when she’s hungry.

We don’t really speak. But she watches me, too.

When Christopher puts fresh towels under me, she stares at me hard, her expression suggesting a lifetime of struggle.

Jennifer says it smells like raw chicken in here.

And I say she’s ridiculous.

What’s it supposed to smell like? Lasagna? She sticks her head in, sniffs, declares she doesn’t stink! then disappears again.

I know she’s not trying to hurt my feelings.

I cannot say the same for what she does sometimes.

 

 

Stir fry?

I don’t care.

Anything but chicken.

— overheard.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Continue reading HERE.

************************************************

The next entry will be posted in two days. 

If you’d like instant notification, you can sign up to follow this blog.

Meanwhile:

Thank you for taking time to read my story.

There’s high chicken-drama ahead, and ten days to go.

love, Beryl