Jet black hair hovers around a glass. Red lipstick lines the rim. A man slides out of a leather chair and lets a pale hand go as he moves away. She smiles and waits.

Her phone vibrates…her thumb swipes…Room 312

She waits so long it hurts and then she slowly rises and walks to the elevator.

Another phone vibrates…a picture of jet black hair, red lips, and a woman in a black dress he loved forever.

He stands up and in one brief moment his arm and hand whip the phone against the wall. It digs into the drywall. He paces around the room every muscle in his body is tense, ready for nothing.

“Dad?”

“Dad…?”

The tone is getting more desperate.

The pitter patter of feet rises to the second floor.

“Dad…?”

The man puts his face in his hands, looks up, and exits the room.

“Hey buddy, you can’t sleep?”

“I heard a noise.. I think somebody shot the house.”

“That doesn’t happen in this neighborhood.”

“But Brett’s dad has a gun”

“That’s for home protection. Daddy just threw his phone.”

“Why?”

“He doesn’t know but he shouldn’t have…let’s get back to bed.”

Days pass and the only thing that changes is an enormous box arrives at the front steps. It’s so big it barely fits through the double doors.

“What is it?”

“What is it Dad?”

“We’ll open it when your mom gets home.”

It’s late at night or very early morning as the packaging gets rips off. Underneath is an ancient big screen TV. He silently drags it on a carpet in front of the mantle. A 60 inch flat screen TV lies face down on the couch. He carries it out the door and sets it on the wet ground and turns the key to open the back door of his truck. He slides the TV in, walks back to make sure the house is locked, and drives slowly away.

Jet black hair exits a smoke sedan and turns the lock as the sun rises. All she sees is an old TV and a note. Her stomach drops.

She sets down her bag and pulls her heels off from the back. She glides toward the TV. You can see her calf muscles dance with her dress as she walks.

She opens the note.

“This TV is so Logan will be mad at me not you.

But, I wanted you to remember how much you hated these giant screens and the houses that collected them. How much you said you loved our simple life. How little you said you needed to be happy once. I hope you find it.”

Mascara runs down her face. She knows where he’ll be. She grabs the keys from the bowl and closes the door behind her.

Her fingers search for the unlock button as the door behind her opens.

“Mom?”

“Whose car is that?”

She looks in the driveway and sees an old green minivan.

“Mom…are you ok?”

She holds him in her arms as she cries. She searches again, but she can’t find the button to bring it all back.

Wants vs. needs.

Consumerism is always searching for ways to twist its way like vines into our lives. You need this or that thing. We all feel its pull. Its soft at first, even beautiful, but that’s the real venom of the trap.

We need love. We need quality sleep, real food, and clean water. We need shelter and the right to feel safe. We need time to just be both alone and with people and beings we love. We need nature. We don’t need much else.

We want the Lexus SUV. We want the three story house on the hill covered in Christmas lights and smiles. The vines are creeping above the windows now. We want that woman’s legs and her husband too. We want his beard and her tits. A collection for our mental masterpiece of what our lives should be like.

Even with just a thought, the vines grow. You have to stop watering them with the attention and media that give them life. You have to chop them back and allow them to be the decoration, not the main event.

We do that by paying attention. By being present. By watching the want. By creating space and doing our best. By caring for and loving what we have.

We do that by waking up.

No one wants a 1996 forest green Dodge Caravan, but at times it may just be what we really need.

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