Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
You can also find Monica's writing here:
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Ride Your Pony Thank You Jesus

A motorcycle thunders past my living room window and Billy Idol's "Mony Mony" lingers in the air like smoke, instantly calling forth air-conditionlesss summer MTV marathon memories from my pre-teen years.

Ride your pony. Ride your pony, Idol's top lip violently curling heavenward.

Humidity hangs as heavily as the perpetually wet beach towels decorating the side porch railing. Dory, Nemo and the Paw Patrol gang, official flags of summer.

Feel all right, I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah...

Feels like rain. Smells like rain. Looks like rain. Air like the bladder of a pregnant woman, forced to release a deluge on this little town tucked in the rolling green hills of Central Pennsylvania. A tired breeze filters through the window in place of Billy Idol's growl and sends a tumbleweed of black dog hair silently skimming across the wood floor.

I think, once more, of the vehicle I try not to see parked near Serge's house every Friday night and Saturday morning. Divorce in a small town. Motherfuck. I have an intellectual response and an emotional response and they usually reside at opposite ends of my response spectrum, my ultimate response falling anywhere in between based on various interchangeable life circumstances including but not limited to my stress level, alcohol consumption and the time of month... In other words, my reaction to the soul-constricting circumstances divorce faithfully serves up is a pull of a slot machine lever; Some days I'm all cherries, baby, the champion of divorce! Other days... Eh. Not so much. But I'm ridin' that pony, getting back on the fucker every time I fall off. It's all about the kids.

Later. After the rain. After stumbling onto a treasure trove of chanterelle mushrooms while walking in the woods, Cory stops the car in the middle of the country road we're rolling over. Wordless and shirtless, he hops out and begins picking black-eyed Susans he will present to me with a shy grin so I can fill the giant mason jar sitting atop the kitchen table he built me from wood he also scavenged from the side of the road.

Me, in the passenger seat, watching him in the rear-view mirror lope through weeds and wildflowers. I pop wild raspberries we just picked into my mouth, one at a time to make them last longer, and think strange thoughts about them. Raspberries; nature's finest jewelry, I declare to no one as I peer at the dozens of delicate caviar-like pouches of juice that comprise a single raspberry. It really does look like a precious stone bauble that might adorn the hand of an aging wealthy socialite. Strawberries hog the berry spotlight most of the time, but raspberries have always been my favorite. Strawberries can be cloying, the good girl of the berry world, all straightlaced and churching. Raspberries are their sassy cousin. Zingy. Church? Girl, please. We goin' clubbin.'

On the way home, chanterelles, raspberries and black-eyed Susans jostling for space in my lap, I spot another one of those "Thank you Jesus" signs that dot the yards of Jesus lovers across the land.

Thank you Jesus.

The only time I've ever uttered the phrase with the straight-forward sincerity the sign conveys is when offering a thank you to the universe at-large after a negative pregnancy test in my teens or a narrowly avoided car accident, but never from a place of genuine gratitude to the lord and savior of scriptural times.

Thank you Jesus, I whisper to myself. And I smile.

Reader Comments (5)

A flower pickin' fella who appreciates you for you sounds like some straight up raspberry icing on the Other Side of A Lot of Pain cake to me, Monica. Enjoy it.

July 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLong Time Reader


August 7, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterfahrenheit

I recently started a new blog and I am serious about getting to work and getting my name out there. I am a mother of two young girls and writing has always been a passion of mine. However, I have never published any of my works before due to the fear of being rejected. I have come to the realization lately that, no matter what, I will be rejected, but if writing is what I love, then I might as well enjoy it and share it with others who will do the same, regardless of those who criticize it. Anyway, I was hoping you could check my first blog post out and give me some feedback. I do not really have a solid direction, other than sharing my life and being real. There is so much pressure on moms to be perfect (dressed well, makeup on, involved in moms groups and kids activities, baking with "healthy" ingredients, etc., etc., etc.) and I am not one of those perfect moms, although I do always strive to be better. I'm a good mom and I want other moms to feel good about themselves even when society is telling them they are doing it all wrong.

You can read my blog at:

Thank you so much,

August 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

this comment is in regards to the red blood post...

monica... losses are wins, too... you and a few people know that you try your best. that is all you can do, even if sometimes the best you can do is much less than the best someone else can do... but that is no reason to feel that you lose...

oh... and we are all crazy... whether or not we are all able to see/admit it...

August 17, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterfahrenheit

Great, thanks for sharing this post.Really looking forward to read more.
Best Launder in Ireland

January 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbestlaunder

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