Your Future or Ours

Where are you? The question runs through my mind almost constantly as I shove past people to get past the crowd. My plane is boarding. My bags are packed. Of course, you don’t have to be here. It’s not you that’s getting on a plane to Mexico…. But still I’d like you here. Something inside me hopes you’ll come, even though I doubt you will. 

I think back to last night. We fought. I can’t remember what it was about. There were a lot of tears, and a lot of yelling. At some point you threw a pillow. It knocked me against the wall with the force you’d thrown it with. Then suddenly you were there, making sure I was okay as I crumpled to the floor in tears. I had to leave. Had to get out of there. So I told you I’d be here tomorrow… told you to come if you wanted to see me again. Told you that if you didn’t we’d be over. 

So what’s preventing you from coming? Perhaps you want it to be over. But I doubt it. You still nursed a scratch I’d gotten from a nail in the wall after I told you that. You still cared. Tried to make me feel better, tried to make me take it back. So soft, so gentle.

So I search for other reasons… what have I missed? The realization strikes like a blow to the face as I realize what I’ve done. You have the meeting today. The meeting with The CEO of some or other big-shot fishing company. The meeting that could change your life forever. Our lives forever. I’ve given you a choice between your future and ours…. 

And then I see you. You’ve chosen us, it seems. Because here you are….

Falling Together


It’s not as if I don’t recall how you used me. How you played with my feelings for those few weeks, and how broken you left me.

I recall these things perfectly.

But, I also remember the taste of your lips. The fit of your hand over mine. I remember your eyes, and how I saw in them pieces of myself, of my pain.

And now you’re here, your eyes once again meeting mine, and looking past me, into something deeper. I look away. But you’re still there. We both know it. Just like we both know that I’ll look back. And I do. And this time your eyes spark with your smile, and I give in, letting myself disappear for a moment into a world where it’s just us.

You remind me, after all these years, why love is the most cherished human emotion.

There is something to be said for those who walk hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm, centre stage in one another’s lives. Those who walk at a slow, steady pace towards the cliff of love, and lower one another down on ladders so they may reach the bottom in one piece.

But we were never like that. And I have never been like that.

There is no feeling I love more than sprinting off the edge of that cliff, wrapped in a lover’s kiss and knowing, without a doubt, that I’ll hit the bottom and I’ll hit it hard. But also knowing that I definitely wont hit it alone. That when the time comes for this love to end, I won’t be the only one left shattered on the chasm floor.

So I get lost in those eyes of yours, and I let you wrap me in your kiss.

And once again, we sprint towards the edge of the cliff.


 

Lover

The moonlight mixed with the occasional yellow glow of a street lamp. The road was rough, but she held his head steady in her hands as they drove on. His legs curled across the seat on the far side of the car, his head cradled in her lap. The moonlight reflected off of his bleach blonde hair, the street lights turning his face bright. She could just make out the curve of his lips, and she traced them with hers. The corners of his mouth turned up slightly, and he squeezed her hand. Leaning down to his ear, her hair brushing his cheek, she whispered “I love you, baby.” He grunted in approval. She smiled. She knew he loved her. What else would cause him to be so at ease in her arms? He drifted back into his dreams, and she studied his face. All the crevices and cracks, all the lines that formed when he was thinking, they had vanished. He was peaceful. Relaxed. Younger. The boy that had been forced into a man so early shrunk back into the sixteen year old he was. Her fingers traced patterns along his cheek, tickling the stubble that formed there. She looked out the window, saw the glowing lights of the city as they zipped past. But she couldn’t help herself. She turned back to the boy. He was beautiful. Perfect. And she didn’t deserve him, though he’d argue that fact. He was more than she deserved. Out of her league. The thought made her laugh, shaking the boy a little. She shushed him back to sleep and continued her patterns on his cheek.   

Light & Shadows

The light danced in spirals across the ballroom. It curtsied and bowed, waved and smiled. “You really should teach me to dance sometime. You are magnificent,” came a voice from the corner. From the shadows. 

The light spun hurriedly, searching for the intruder. 

“Don’t bother looking. I cannot be seen. I cannot be heard. I cannot be felt.” 

The light straightened up and composed itself. 

“Brother,” it breathed, “it’s been such a long time.” 

“Same to you, sister. Tell me, how’s Mum?” 

“You know very well how mum is, seeing as you were the last person to see her.”

“Its funny how people always assume the worst of me. Mum’s fine. Just… resting.” 

“Alright, come out now.” 

The shadow swarmed from a corner and gathered together, taking the shape of a human. But a human made from shadow, wearing a robe of shadow.

“Now you, Dawn,” he said. 

The light flowed into a graceful woman draped in a golden dress.

“Why have you come here, Shade?” Dawn asked the shadow. 

“Using my name now, are we?” Shade retorted.

“Why have you come here?” demanded Dawn.

“I’ve come for the child, if you must know,” sighed Shade.

“Jamie? Why? What use could you have of the child?” 

“So nosey lately. Mustn’t get in over our heads, now, sister.”

“Over my head? That child is my responsibility and you won’t set a foot near him!” Dawn roared.

Shade flashed her a wicked grin and vaporized. 

“Shit!” Dawn cursed before following suit – vanishing. 

The child – Jamie – lay sleeping. He barely noticed the dark shadow dashing across the room. He didn’t even blink an eye when the shadow took him from his crib, or when he was suddenly thrown back into it when a blinding light flashed into the room. He just slept. And dreamed. 

At First Glance

At first glance he looked like your average teenage rebel; messy brown hair, lip piercing, eyeliner, etc. 

The closer you got to him, the more you saw. 

You saw the bruise he was trying to cover with base. You saw the way he kept pulling his sleeves down past his wrists. You saw the smile that didn’t really match his eyes, because they were dead. He didn’t want you to see these things. He tried so hard to cover it up so you wouldn’t notice. But you notice, and it’s almost a subconscious expression that comes to mind: pity. He doesn’t want it. Your pity will do him no good in the long run, and he’s used to fighting his own battles anyway. So he turns away from you. He doesn’t insert himself into your group of friends because they all wear that same look. Eventually he sits alone, comforted by the fact that at least he doesn’t pity himself. He takes what he gets in this world and makes his own way through. And he doesn’t complain. And he doesn’t wallow. 

He does. 

He acts.

Afraid of the Dark

A light scratching noise wakes me. My eyes flare open, sweep the room. Before I can think, my hand is under my pillow, wrapped tightly around the flashlight hidden there. I curl up into a ball, my arms wrapping around my legs.

The sound comes from my closet. They’re trying to get out again. Trying to feed. I cover my ears with my pillow, squashing my head into the mattress. It doesn’t help. I know they’re there. I know what they are.

A noise comes from under the bed. A slow, scraping noise. My stomach clenches and a scream catches in my throat. They’re lifting the floorboard… they’re coming. Slithers and hisses combine with chuckles and footsteps as they filter out. Sudden weight at the edge of my bed makes me freeze. I don’t move. I don’t breathe. They are here. The weight shifts. I don’t dare look up. It’s getting closer. Closer. Cold breath on my neck… goosebumps raise on my arms… a shiver runs down my spine. The pressure lessens. It’s retreating. This is not a comforting thought.

Suddenly I remember the flashlight. My grip on it tightens. In one move I sit up and click the flashlight on. The brilliance of the beam in the darkness of my room has me squinting. but I can see them running. They scamper away in search of shelter. I turn the beam on a small one that has gotten caught up in my sheets. The light burns its silvery flesh, leaving a horrid stench behind it. It bares its tiny yellow teeth at me. They’re not very sharp… not as sharp as some I’ve seen. Still, they could do some damage. I keep the beam focused on it, watching as it tries to untangle itself from my bed sheets. The light slices into its skin.

It unhooks its limbs from the bedclothes and scampers under the bed. I hear a thud as the floorboard slides back into place. With a small smile I place the flashlight under my pillow and settle back to sleep. They won’t bother me again tonight.

Tick Tock

Tick tock. Time goes by.

Tick tock.

The neon green catches my eye, and I stop walking to peer down at the beaded lizard. I take it in my hand, turn the beads to face the right way. Standing in the centre of a crowded sidewalk, hair dripping, makeup running in the rain, one thought runs round and round my head.

Who does it belong to?

Was this little green lizard made at a summer camp by a kid with red hair and green eyes and freckles all over his face? Did he give it to his mom when he came home and start telling her about all the things he’d done and all the friends he’d made? Did she listen? Did she appreciate the high and low notes of his voice and cherish the innocence present in his thoughts? Or was it another one of those “that’s nice, sweetie” things that parents say to little kids when they have something ‘more important’ on their minds.

Was it made by a little girl with black braids? Did she tie it to her big sister’s backpack? Did her wide-eyed big sister love it? Did they hug? Are they close? Do they stay up late in the blanket fort they make together every night, telling sad stories and happy stories, but never their own stories.  Never their own stories because that one’s just too real. Real like the near-constant pain of hunger they both try to ignore, because they know it’s still hours before the food kitchen opens.

Does it belong to the dad who only gets to see his son on weekends?

Or the grandma who’s slowly forgetting the names of her kids?

Does it belong to a woman who, once upon a time, used to be a twin?

People brush my shoulder as they hurry on by and I know I should move, know I have places to be and people to see, but I can’t. It suddenly seems small, our world of seven and a half billion people. Everyone leading their own complex lives with their own complex feelings and complicated situations.

And yes, there are those people who get up every morning and go for a run, their dog at their side and their sisters on speed-dial. The people who get to have lunch on Sundays with their parents, the people who sleep easy at night. There are kids who do well in school, and kids who don’t. Old men whose wrinkles are laugh lines and grandmothers who go to Pilates every week because that’s what they love doing.

I am struck with the infinite amount of stories I have yet to hear from people I’ve never met, and people I never will. I’m struck with my own inability to comprehend that even the smallest beaded lizard changes lives. And what will the owner of this one do once they realise it’s gone missing?

Maybe they won’t realise. But that little boy with freckles and copper hair will. He’ll notice and the fact that his mom didn’t will hurt. But he’ll make her another one, just like it, and place it back where she had it on her keys so that she never notices the difference.

Maybe it’ll only be missed when the girls are packing up to move into another group home, and maybe it’ll hurt twice as much because the older one is graduating and it’s the most important memory of her sister she’d have had to take with her to wherever she got her scholarship to.

At any rate, it’s mine now, and one day I’ll lose it, and someone will find it. And they’ll think about who owned it before. They’ll wonder if a short teenager with constantly changing hair colour and constantly changing taste in music found it one day when she was out in the rain on a crowded street. They’ll wonder why she was looking down in the first place, instead of up like the rest of the world. They’ll assume my story, and most likely get me all wrong but it’ll open their eyes to the sheer number of souls we share this planet with. It’ll be a lesson, and the lesson will be this; everyone has their own story.

Tick tock. Time goes by.

Tick tock.

What will your story be?