Doorbell Ditch

So I haven’t felt like writing lately. I’ve been stuck in my head with thoughts that hide, even from myself. Unidentified tears sting but don’t fall, because if I admit why they are there or where they belong, it’s too much.


Sometimes, it’s all too much.

And as you all know by now, never enough.

It’s chaos, really. A jumbled mess of reasons, just pick one. But, if I pick one, then it has a name. And a face. And a story.

So what story shall I tell today? Choose Your Own Adventure, remember those? C.S. Lewis before the movie. One thought triggers the next. If you choose to open the door on the right, where the sun shines and everyone smiles, turn to page 26. If you choose to open Pandora’s Box, turn back to page 1 and start over and think again and never get past the chaos.

I was baptized in a Catholic Church. I have God Parents, I spent time with them. But not at church. Billie and Danny. They lived in Dixon. I used to go for visits to their perfect home in their perfect neighborhood. The kind of neighborhood with cul-de-sacs and stucco, and street lights so you know when it’s time to go home. Doorbell Ditch where the neighbors don’t get mad and backyard campouts. HBO and MTV. Stacy and Justin and Boba Fett and C-3PO. Stacy always let me be Princess Leia. I remember Steve Miller Band, over and over again.

Black panties with an angel’s face.

Abracadabra. That’s the magic, right?

I remember pancakes and sleeping bags in the living room and family portraits that included me. I wish. For some reason I keep thinking about marshmallow fluff, but I can’t remember why. This was yet another home that made me feel safe and wanted and happy. The kind of place a kid like me wanted to grow up in. Yet another mother that taught me how to mother my own. Billie was always there.

If I was lucky, I was there for a week or two in the summertime. And Christmas break. I remember Christmas presents and neighborhood New Year’s Eve parties, walking from house to house, banging pots and pans in the street. In the summer, we played Hide and Seek in the dark and Danny would BBQ with a beer in his hand after a long day at work, feeding all the neighborhood kids and their parents from the cul-de-sac. They lived on the corner. Coca-cola. Danny worked at the place where they made the cans. Ball 4. It made him seem famous to me. Look for Ball 4 on your soda cans, that’s the place.

We walked to the high school with towels hanging around our necks to go swimming. Justin had lessons. He cried. He was afraid. I wasn’t, at all. There was nothing in Dixon that scared me. Not one thing.

Summers went from playing with literally ALL the Star Wars figurines to kissing blonde boys in tents. I remember a cutie with no name. I was novel. Only there for the week. Exciting. We were coming of age. I liked the attention, when everyone else was asleep in the tent. Why are secret kisses always more fun?

For the record, my mom was always good at finding people to take good care of me. She was good at finding ways to show me what life could be like, if only…even if she didn’t realize she was doing that. Or maybe she did, I just don’t know.

Have I told you that sometimes, I get really sad and I feel sorry for myself and for my mother that neither of us got what we needed or what we wanted from each other? Sorry that sometimes it feels too damn hard to be ok? Sorry that the pain has crippled me into silence and avoidance? Into chaotic thoughts and unidentified tears with so many words unspoken. Yeah, me, silent. Shocking, I know. But that’s why I write. So I don’t have to speak.

Lo siento, Mama. I know you loved me. I know it was never your intention to cause so much damage.

But the sorries are not enough to keep me from drowning in the water under this burning bridge.

And so,

I remain silent.

But not because I have nothing to say.


Stacy, me, and Justin. I think I am 9 years old here? I never realized how much my oldest child, Dylan, and I looked alike at this age, but I see it now…🖤

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  1. Billie Flannery says:

    Dear Annie, I just read your post. I’m so happy your memories with us were full of good times., I’m sure they weren’t alway perfect but we loved having you with us. Danny & I are proud of the strong beautiful independent woman wife mother that you’ve become. We love you sweetie 😘 billie 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Annie D says:

      Love you, Billie!


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