Archive for the ‘writing’ Category
She pushed her hair out of her eyes and sighed quietly. Squeezing her eyes shut against the wave of despair rising up inside her, she pressed her cool fingers against the backs of her eyelids. She missed him terribly, but she was the one who had pushed him away.
The sadness welled up inside her chest. There was no way things could have worked out, and she needed some time to just figure herself out and think. She couldn’t deal with everything at once and had to delete some of the variables. Surgical removal was the only way to go, quick and clean. Once he was gone, she felt empty; he’d taken part of her heart with him and left her with a bleeding empty wound.
Her eyes were tired of crying, her heart tired of aching. She needed the closure, but she also wished everything could have been different. Why couldn’t it have worked out? Why? She knew why, but it was hard to admit it. Decisions are hard to make, and she made the one that seemed to make the most sense. Sure, it probably wasn’t the best thing for him, but it seems like it may be better for her.
Of course, knowing that didn’t help her feel any better.
I stepped out of the warm, crowded store and into the cool, damp air. The bags were heavy in my hands, filled with all the essentials like orange juice, bread, and cans of cat food. The cashier had filled the bags unevenly, putting most of the heavy things in one and only a few light but crushable things, like bread and eggs, in the other. Why did they always do that? I had the feeling that they had the intention of trying to fit all the groceries into one bag, but when they were halfway through and it was clear that one bag would be incredibly heavy, they took to filling the second bag with the light things they had originally intended as toppings for the first bag. I groaned softly to myself, shifting the bags slightly in my hands and rolling my eyes.
I walked around the store towards the parking lot, doing my part to keep the pedestrian traffic going outside. People were constantly milling in and out of the store on this busy Sunday afternoon. Watching a girl hobble past me on crutches, the bags suddenly felt light in my hands, the crisp brown handles pressing into the deep brown creases of my palms, somehow feeling like they had found a home.
It was raining outside and the large raindrops pelted my face with an uncertain drumbeat. I lowered my head, but not before a large raindrop hit my glasses, shattering itself into three smaller drops like a glass bottle against a brick wall. I quickened my steps, the stiff material of my skirt beating about my bare thighs and knees; the skirt was always so full and puffy, no matter how many times I smoothed it down.
I smiled to myself, thinking of a lovely compliment a friend had paid me earlier that day. The smallest bit of encouragement from her always inspired me to do more, to try more. Ducking into the car, I wiped my glasses off on my skirt, the thick muslin effortlessly erasing the rain’s existence. Still half-grinning to myself, I picked up my pad and pen and started to write in my messy, smeared handwriting, the rain beating against the cool glass and metal of my car.
I feel like riding a train today, watching the world pass me by while I sit wrapped up in a jacket, clutching my bag on my lap. Maybe I’ll slouch down and lean my head against the back of the seat, watching the plants and buildings swirl past me in a messy green and brown blur. I’ll have my music streaming into my ears, my hand half in my bag, touching the smooth metal edge of my camera. I find it comforting to have my finger on it when I’m alone.
Maybe I’ll listen to Secret Stars’s “Some Sinatra,” the sweet guitar and crooning voice filling my head and spilling out onto my face. That track always makes me feel this amazing mixture of sadness and happiness. It reminds me of my roommate in NY who was friends with the band and gave me a copy of the CD; I’ve played it to death ever since. (You can listen to the track on the MySpace page.)
There’s something comforting to me about riding a train. I used to do it a lot, but haven’t had the occasion to do it lately. I guess that when I’m feeling like I want to be alone, I want to ride the train. It’s usually a solitary activity for me, and it’s always been something very enjoyable. Maybe I’ll get myself a 2 hour ticket and joyride the lightrail for a while this afternoon.
So I lied when I said mañana; ’cause our tomorrow never came…
“Anita? It’s me. Remember that money I lent you? I need it, and I need it bad.”
Oh wait, did she need it bad or badly? English grammar had never been her strong suit and she often made all kinds of small errors without knowing it. It was okay. Once she got all that money and figured out the rest of the plan, no one else was going to care what kind of grammar errors she made, or how her accent betrayed that she was from the wrong end of town. Better to just leave it off on the next call.
“Harry, how are you? Yeah, it’s me. Where’s that money you owe me? I need it. I really need it.”
She felt like a loser having to call in all the money she’d lent friends in good will, but it was the only way to get what she needed. They would have to understand, right? They had to!
Doing some quick math in her head, she tallied up how much she could get from her friends. If they all came through, she could get a decent amount, and it would be enough to go to step two. Step Two. Just thinking about it made her anxious. What if it didn’t work? What if she ended up worse off than she was now? What if it was all a big scam to get her money? She would be out all her cash and she still wouldn’t have enough to get out of this dead-end town.
She tried not to think about what would happen if things went wrong and focused instead on finding the next person’s phone number on her list.
His arms looked strong without looking too thick, his fingers capable and deft with his camera. He clicked a series of buttons, turned a knob or two, and then started to frame the shot. The light was so dim that she could barely see him through the murkiness, the only light coming from a broken window in the far corner of the room. She heard the distinct suction sound of the mirror flap and knew that he had started the exposure. Careful to not even breathe too heavily, she waited to hear the second click that told her he was done.
“Do you think you got it?”
He turned slightly towards her, the light falling only partially on his face, and he nodded gently, a motion that was barely perceptible in the dimness. Turning away from him, she raised her own camera to her face, framing the scene in the viewfinder, walking back and forth to get just the right composition.
She wasn’t quite sure when it happened, but somehow she had found herself falling, falling in love. At first she thought it was him, but then she decided that she wasn’t romantically interested in him at all. It was more like she was falling in love with their friendship, and the way it was so easy to be around each other. She didn’t need to be any single person when she was with him. She could truly be herself, the way she was meant to be, without having to figure out what he wanted from her, or how he might expect her to act. She felt free when she was with him.
They moved silently through the building, peeking through broken glass windows to the bright sun outside. Neither of them spoke much, and simply enjoyed each other’s company and the sound of broken glass crunching under their feet.
It was officially summer, complete with the burning heat and the bright summer sun glinting in her eyes. Standing in the hot wind, she could feel her skirt beating against her long brown legs, the dry breeze burning upon her face. The grass was soft under her feet and she strode quickly across the expanse of green, her soles easily crushing the blades beneath them.
She wasn’t sure that it was the right time to visit the garden, as the flowers seemed to be wilting already in the burning summer heat, but she was there nonetheless. Scratching at an itch on her long brown arms, she felt annoyed with herself that she hadn’t come a few weeks earlier when the flowers would have been at their best. Now they were slightly browned at the edges, slowly wilting in the drying ground. Summer was here, and there was little rain to wet the dry dirt under her feet.
Reaching out, she grasped one of the dying flowers, but she suddenly pulled back with a gasp when she felt a sudden pain. A glossy red drop appeared on her fingertip, slowly growing larger until gravity pulled it down and turned it into a messy streak. Sucking on her injured finger, the coppery taste filled her mouth, running over her tongue and down into her throat.
living in a plastic world.
That Radiohead song always made her cry. Fake Plastic Trees. The lyrics were simply beautiful, and she flipped through her mp3 player, searching for it. When she found it, she put it on repeat and turned up the volume.
The guitar intro filled her ears, Thom’s sweet voice softly crooning just to her. Did they know how good this song was? Did they truly understand how it made her feel, how it reverberated to the very bottom of her soul?
She feels like the real thing.
She tastes like the real thing.
My fake plastic love.
Was that what her life was? Was her love a fake plastic love? She knew that she hadn’t been the best girlfriend in the world, and that she tended to be quite superficial when it came to some aspects of her life, but she hoped to god that her life wasn’t that sad, dying thing that the song described. She wanted to be real, to really feel, to understand someone else, and to have them understand her.
Maybe that was the most important thing in life, to be understood. She didn’t feel that anyone did that right now, and she had surrounded herself with close friends that were the most distant strangers she could have found. When they looked at her, they didn’t really see her. When they listened to her and laughed with her, it wasn’t really her, it was just some ghost of her soul.
How could she find these true people, these true friends that she needed? She didn’t know that she even could be true to them when she found them. Until she found them, she would listen to the song on repeat, hoping to find some kind of magical truth in it all.
War. Hunh! Yeah! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!
It was playing loud, almost too loud for her. His voice was scratchy and passionate, the brass obnoxiously blasting in her face. Raising her beer, she sang along with the chorus, spilling some of it on the floor as she shook her spindly arm.
She didn’t really get a lot of attention even though she was wearing loud colours, singing along brazenly, and had been drinking like a fish for the past 4 hours by herself at the bar. It probably had to do with her severe face and the cruel turn her mouth took at the edges. She had had a rough life, going from one lousy job to another, living hand to mouth, constantly having to move because she couldn’t always pick up enough to pay the rent.
This last place had been the worst. She’d finally saved up enough cash to get her own place, but then someone had broken in, stole all her money, and taken her crappy little television. There was no way for her to come up with enough money for the rent that was due in 4 days, so she took what she had left, headed to the nearest bar and became a fixture on the far barstool in the corner. No one seemed to mind that she was there as long as she had a drink in front of her the whole time and she left a buck for the bartender, an older man who looked as tired of life and hardship as she felt.
The TV at the bar was playing coverage of a war going on across the world, but she didn’t really care. She couldn’t worry about that war when she had her own to fight.
A Secret Wish.
She’d been alone for as long as she could remember. She’d always found a way to entertain herself, whether it was by creating pretend-friends as a child or by picking up various hobbies. She’d learned the basics of a number of different languages by the time she finished college, taking a random class here or there. It was easy for her to pick up the words and the accent, parroting what she heard in classes and on tapes. She was a born pretender.
It wasn’t until she was in high school that she realised that she was inherently lonely. Surrounded by friends, she managed to still find a way to keep a piece of herself away from them, a piece she kept close and never showed anyone else. She yearned to find someone who could penetrate the fortress of her heart, someone who could understand her. Ever the over-achiever, she set seemingly impossible goals, always meeting them effortlessly. To hide the loneliness inside, she filled her life with people, but people who could never see the real her under all the layers. She felt safe with them; she could be the person she desperately wanted to be: confident, powerful, a born leader.
If only she could find her other half, that someone who would understand her childhood, that someone who could see her through the fog she cloaked herself in. It was an unendurable yearning within her, a desire buried so deep within the core of her being, she didn’t know if she could shake it.
A Fork in the Road.
What she had to do was so clear. Intensely clear. She didn’t have to do much of anything actually. All she had to do was wait, and wait she did. She sat in that chair for over two hours, just waiting for… something. What was she waiting for anyway? It seemed to her that it would all be clear when it was meant to be, but she had no idea how long that would take.
Where was her sign? How would she know when to act? Was there going to be a sign and would she even recognise it when it showed up? She had no idea. Everything was so confusing, and she didn’t want to have to make any of these decisions right now. She was tired, so tired, after 4 days with minimal sleep. What little sleep she did get was obtained sitting straight up in the same hard chair she was in right now.
She picked at a scab on her arm, peeling the thickened skin off, the blood seeping slowly out of the open wound. Her head bent, she didn’t realise she was crying until a tear splashed onto her arm, barely missing the scab she had peeled off. Wiping at her eyes, she pressed her feet down against the ground, trying to centre her soul in her body between the sky and the ground, but failing miserably.
Suddenly she knew what to do, and she felt a new-found strength coursing through her veins as sucked in a deep breath of the sour, antiseptic-smelling air. Firmly standing, she headed down the white corridor to see the doctors.