Friday, July 15, 2016

With Regards to Funerals and Forgetting

“The funeral was yesterday. It was a beautiful day; the kind of day that would’ve motivated you to pull me outside so that we could set up an impromptu picnic and experience it in its entirety.  It felt wrong, Kate. You know how in the movies, whenever there’s a funeral, it’s always pouring rain? Obviously that’s not how it happens. People die every day. The world can’t stop what it’s doing to mourn every person. The sun wouldn’t find any time to shine. Still, I wish it had stopped for you. Just for an hour or two, you know? Ha… You’d probably hate it if that had happened.

“The service was – I don’t know; standard I guess? This was the first one I’ve attended. It felt… lacking. Probably because you weren’t there. Everything feels sort of lacking.

“Your mother and father spoke.  Sammy spoke. I spoke. We just talked for as long as we could feasibly manage. I think we were afraid to stop. Despite the sorrow, each story gave us a chance to keep you here a few minutes more. With each word that passed through our lips, you stood next to us, the left side of your mouth curled into that mischievous smirk. When the words began to fade, you went along with them. We were not ready for that. I was not ready for that. I’m still not ready for it. I don’t think I ever will be.

“I’m scared, Kate. I’m scared that your features are going to fade in my mind. I imagine them being an old Polaroid beaten and weathered to hell over a decade, only barely recognizable by the photographer. I don’t want to forget your face; to forget the taste of your lips; to forget the feeling of your head resting on my chest when we lay together; the sound of your voice. Oh god. I’m never going to hear it again. The sweetness created with each word you spoke into the world will never be tasted by my ears again. They say that a person’s voice is the first thing that you forget about a person. I’m terrified that they’re right.

“The list of things I’m afraid to forget is too long to remember. What do I do? I panic. That’s what I do. The anxiety and pain eats away at me. I can feel it clawing into my chest. The fear opens me up and lets the darkness in. How do I fight that, Kate? I’m defenseless. I’m a little boy again, afraid of the dark. I’m losing my grip on the hand that pulls me through it; that shows me the path through the pain: your hand. What do I do?

“I think I have to write. I have to write like I’m my time is running out. I have to write like the darkness is about to tear a hole right through my chest and engulf me. I need to tell a story, your story. I need to grip tight on what’s left of you and move forward. I need to remember you. I need to write the story of the woman who changed my life; the woman who saved me; the woman who has done more good for and cared more about this world than anyone else I’ve known. You deserve better than to be forgotten. You deserve so much more than that…

“I’m sorry, Kate. I’m sure you’d tell me I’m talking too much. That I’m thinking too much. That I just need to shut the hell up and listen.”

And so I do. I look up from her tombstone and look around. Off in the distance a young couple kneels in front of a set of graves and rests a single rose in front of each one.

An older woman a few yards away stands next to her husband’s grave. She seems to be mid-conversation. I’m unable to make out any of the words.

Behind me a few paces back, a young man sits cross-legged, explaining in detail to his mother’s tombstone the bullshit that he has to deal with at work. He laughs aloud. “Yeah, that’s Tim. As thick as always.” After a few minutes, he stands up to leave. “Love you, Mom… Yeah, of course! I’ll give him a hug from you. I’ll see you next week.”

Rain begins to fall. It starts slowly, only a few drops here and there at first. But within a minute or two it begins to pour. I turn back to her once more and hold my hands up towards the sky.

“Ha… I guess I’ll take it. It might be a day late, but it’s something. I think you’re right Kate. I think things will be okay so long as I just stop and listen. I won’t lose my way if I just listen. I will not forget your voice if I just stop and listen. Thank you, Kate. I’ll stop by tomorrow. Be good while I’m gone. I love you.”

I head back to my car, letting the rain soak into the thin layer of clothes I have on. I pass by a man in a coat and hat bending down, placing a single flower in front of a grave. Just over the sound of the rain I make out his last words to his wife. “Happy four years, darling. I love you.” He straightens back up, pulls his hat down and coat up, and walks back toward the parking lot.

I walk a few paces behind him, admiring the man's commitment. A slight smile spreads across my face, as a feel a small fire lit in my chest, keeping the darkness at bay. I will not forget. If nothing else, I will not forget.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Silver Coins and Dragon Eggs

The peddler rolled a silver coin between his knuckles, counting the number of times he could get across and back. “Five…” The day was long and customers were a rarity. As such, he had little else to do. Besides, he’d been practicing. “Six…” He had yet to break his current record of nine laps, and a determination to surpass himself had taken over his mind. With a focus and care far greater than any silver coin warranted, he followed the movement with bewitched eyes. “Seven…”  With each lap he leaned closer in, as though he were the spectator to some captivating event his hand was competing in. Due to all this, you can understand why he failed to hear the small group of 4 approach his modest selection of wares.
The tall one tapped his foot with annoyance. As his annoyance grew, so did the rate at which he tapped. This, in combination with the peddler’s slow, stilted counting (“Eight…”) threw his rhythm off, causing him to step on his other foot. This, of course, only made him all the more furious. The short one giggled gleefully at his companion’s error, resulting in a red-faced glare being shot in his specific direction. “Nine…” Turning back to the peddler, he sucked in a deep breath. The shy one turned away and covered his ears.
“OI. WHAT’S IT TAKE TO GET SOME HELP AROUND HERE?” he shouted, giving the table leg a swift kick, causing the peddler to lose control of his hand. In that moment between the coin leaving his hand and hitting the table, the peddler’s world crumbled into minuscule pieces. This was it. There was no point to life any longer. His dreams, hopes, and ambitions just a sham. Why was he a peddler? He hated traveling, got terrible anxiety when having to talk to people, and could barely manage to sell a glass of water to a woman dying of thirst in the desert. By all accounts he was a failure. He blamed his mother, to be quite frank. She babied him during his childhood, never letting him get a scratch or have play-dates with his friends. Heaven forbid her little boy get his knees dirty or catch a cold. Maybe if he had been allowed to be a normal kid he’d have toughened up and done something with his life. He could have been a world-renowned actor, an athlete, an astronaut! Perhaps even a wizard had he stayed in school. Yes, if only he caught cold growing up. Everything would have been different.
After all that had occurred, the silver coin hit the table. With that first smack against the wood, the peddler realized that he was, in fact, lamenting about his life due to an inability to reach lap ten of silver coin knuckle-rolling. What a moron.  He pressed his forefinger and thumb against the bridge of his nose and let out a sigh. He needed to get his priorities in order. “My apologies”, he began. “Good afternoon. How can I…” He had finally looked up at the group in front of him. Upon seeing them, the corners of his mouth curled into a frown and he furrowed his brow. “Oh. Dwarves. Great.”
“What the hell do you mean by that?” The tall one who also was keen to shout more often than not began to get red in the face. The shy one refused to look up and kicked his foot back-and-forth at nothing in particular on the ground. The chipper one with strikingly good looks was distracted, looking at his reflection in the one of the pots hanging next to peddler. The short one who others noted was also daft stared at the silver coin, wondering why it had stopped rolling on the peddler’s knuckles.
“Oh, nothing. Nothing at all.” It was a half-hearted response for a reason. And a good reason at that, he told himself.
Before the one who was irritable often could respond, the gleeful, handsome one had broken from his own reflection and stepped in front of his tall friend. He flashed a quick grin before speaking. “Hello, good sir. My friends and I –“
“’Oi. ’Friends’ is a bit strong”, cut in the tall, irritable one from behind and slightly above the handsome one.
“My friends and I”, repeated the chipper, handsome one “were wondering if you’d be interested in purchasing something from us”.
Now, this seems like the type of thing that would be odd to here as a peddler. After all it is the job of the peddler to sell to customers, not the other way around. And you’d be right in assuming that this was an odd question. In fact, had this been a group of humans or elves, the peddler might have been so intrigued that he would have been tempted to inquire further about the item that was up for sale. However, these were dwarves. As a peddler, one must always be wary of dwarves.
                The reasons for this are numerous. Dwarves are collectors by all accounts. What they collect varies from region to region. This ranges from lumber dwarves, stamp dwarves, coin dwarves, seashell dwarves, etc. The most popular of the dwarves, as one might guess, were the ore dwarves. Though the reason for the popularity of the ore dwarves is technically unknown by any non-dwarf, human scholars have theorized that it’s due to the harsh working conditions that the mining dwarves must endure. This ability to live such a strenuous lifestyle exhibited the tenacity of the Dwarf race, and was a respectable trait that all others should aspire to. This was entirely untrue, but far be it from the dwarves to not use such a silly idea to their advantage.
Another much smaller school of thought, held by those who were considered inferior by scholars, maintained that the reason for the popularity was a result of a small group of miner dwarves striking more gold than any individual could possibly imagine. With this gold, the dwarves did what anyone would do: they built a kingdom. Rumors of the origin of the kingdom spread throughout the land, and all that anyone could guess was that the miners were responsible for it. This was much closer to the truth, but still, no dwarf in their right mind would admit to anything of the sorts.
A third thought was held by only one person, but he couldn’t quite remember what it was. He was preoccupied with a silver coin on a table.
What is important, however, is not that the dwarves are collectors. Far more crucial to why the peddler possessed such a blatant disdain for the dwarves was due to their incessant need to try and sell anything they collected that they considered “extraordinary”. These things include (but by no means are limited to. Some believe the list to be infinite in length. They are wrong, but not by much.) rocks that are perfectly oblong aside from the occasional jagged edge or bump, black string, leaves that have started to turn orange in preparation for the fall, moss that “absolutely grew on the south side of a tree”, 5-legged spider corpses, and so on. The peddler could not care less about purchasing any of these things. He was tired. The day had been spent on knuckle-rolling coins. An exhausting feat to say the least.
“Listen, I’m not interested. I haven’t been interested ever. I don’t want string. I don’t want dead spiders. I don’t want half-eaten moldy bread. It’s getting late. I just want to go home.” The peddler stared at the group, hoping that at least one of them would be understanding. Not the tall one, obviously, but one of the other three perhaps. Surely, someone had to understand.
The shy one who was always blushing looked up as though he were about to speak. His gaze met the peddler’s and he returned to his previous task of staring intently at his own feet.
“You’re going to love what we’ve got for you today”, started the vain one. The peddler’s pleas didn’t even begin to penetrate past his constant grin. “Believe me. With this in your possession, the entire world will be at your fingertips.”
“No, listen. I don’t –“
“It is exceedingly rare. Quite literally one of kind. You will become the sole owner –“
“Please. Stop. I just –“
“Oi. Shut it,” piped the one wearing an angry frown. “Let cheek bones over there do his spiel.”
“Like I said,” cheek bones continued with a smile, “You will become the sole owner of the very last dragon!” He thrust one arm up in the air, striking something of a victory pose. He looked and his peers, waiting for them to applaud him. When they did not, he cheered himself and held the pose.
The peddler was slightly confused, but mostly just exhausted. “You all are having a laugh, aren’t you? Very funny. Mess with the guy who hasn’t sold anything all day and just wants to go home. Dragons aren’t real; not these days at least. They’ve been extinct for almost three centuries. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be leaving now.”
“Wait! I can prove it, right now.” The good looking one reached into his coat pocket. The peddler snorted. A dragon in a coat pocket? That was quite possibly the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. Oh well. At least he had gotten a decent laugh out of today, if nothing else. He turned and started heading in the general direction of his home. He took four steps before hearing a loud bang behind him. He turned to see whatever joke the dwarves were clearly trying to play on him.
On the table was a white egg, roughly the size of an ostrich egg. There was also a silver coin and the nose of the short, silly dwarf who was staring intently at said coin, but that’s not terribly important. The egg didn’t look special, outside of being slightly larger than an egg one might expect to find in a dwarf’s coat pocket.
“That’s an egg,” the peddler said.
“Of course it’s an egg, you idiot. What, you thought he had an adult dragon in his pocket?” the short-tempered one spouted. “You might be dumber than he is,” he pointed towards the dwarf you would expect him to be pointing at.
“Errm. Why exactly, is there an egg on my table?”
“It’s a dragon egg!” exclaimed the one who couldn’t help but smile constantly. “The last dragon egg in the world!”
Now, all the peddler wanted to do was to go home. His day had been ruined a number of times, and he certainly wasn’t in the mood for any more nonsense. The dwarves clearly weren’t going to let him be until they had gotten rid of the “dragon” egg. This left him with only feasible option.
“How much for the ‘dragon’ egg?”
“Aha! I knew you were interested,” responded the one with perfect skin – for a dwarf that is. “It’ll only cost you –“
“Silver coin.”
The words were followed by the turning of two dwarf heads towards the table. They stopped once they got to the simple one, who was now pointing at the silver coin. The nervous one continued to stare at the ground in order to avoid catching any rogue glances that might end up in his direction. Once was already too much for today.
“WHAT?” shouted the one who always woke up on the wrong side of the bed, “WHADD’YA THINK YER DOING?”
“Hey, relax buddy. You know you start to slur when you get angry. Everything is going to be fine,” the chipper one said, trying to keep everyone as cheery as possible. He turned to the one who had attempted to sell a priceless item for next to nothing. “Listen. We can get more than one silver coin. We can get more silver coins than you’d ever be able to use all on your own. You could have a whole room of silver coins!” He threw his fist back into the air to emphasize the obvious awesomeness that he had just explained.
This excited the short, daft one. With a room full of silver coins, he expected them all to move and play with each other. Maybe the silver coin here wasn’t moving anymore because it was shy. If the coin had some friends to play with, it would be willing to move again. It was a brilliant plan, he thought.
The three of them turned back to the peddler to renegotiate the terms of the transaction. What they saw, however, was a missing egg and the lack of a peddler.

The peddler slept well that night. The dwarves were no longer in sight, and the thought of having an egg that large for breakfast the following morning put him right to sleep.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

With Regards to Love at First Touch

To My Love,

You know, next friday marks our 15th anniversary. It's a bit surreal when you think about it. I honestly can't believe that we've lasted this long, given how much things have changed over the years.

I often think back to the first time we met. It's one of the most vivid memories of my youth. And to think, I met you on the bus home from school of all places. It does seem a bit silly, doesn't it? The bus was packed with fed up, restless students whose stenches embodied the essence of the start of summer break. They were shouting at each other, reaching over the seats to chat with and grab their friends, unable to contain their excitement. They were prepared for hot sun that would beat down on the necks of all of us, our hair and faces dripping with sweat as we savored every moment outside of the stress of class and the discomfort of being strapped to a desk. I was ready to join in with their excitement up until the moment my eyes fell upon you sitting in the aisle, staring back at me. You beckoned to me, standing up to offer me your seat. I hesitated a moment before taking it. I didn't want you to think that I expected you do it, but I also didn't want to come off rude. I got settled in for the ride, when you brushed up against my shoulder. In that moment, everything changed.

Time stopped, kind of. The kids around us kept moving; kept shouting; kept bouncing up and down, waiting for the bus to take them home. But us... we stopped. The shouting couldn't reach my ears. If I was being grabbed, my body didn't respond. The stench of youth couldn't penetrate that moment. For that length of time, however long it may have actually been, it was just me and you. And from then on, things were different. I didn't want to be like the rest of them. I didn't want to go outside and hang out with classmates, or friends. I wanted you. I wanted you to engulf me in your presence. You were the only one I needed; the only one I wanted. When I had you, the rest of the world didn't feel as important. I didn't need to be the best student, or the best athlete, or the best anything, because no matter how things got, I could always depend on you. That moment was a kind of 'love at first touch' situation, if you'll pardon the cliché. And you've been with me ever since.

You were there on the first day of middle school, when I was going to a place where I didn't know a single person from before. You stood by me when I couldn't make friends. You looked out for me when people tried to use me for their own gain. You didn't want to see me get hurt by the outside world. You held me in a tight embrace when I needed to cry. You stayed with me throughout high school, pulling my hand to keep me moving through. You taught me how to make my mask. I've kept it, you know. My mask. I've updated it now and again to change to the situation I need it for, but it's the same one you helped with years ago. You showed me the intricacies of deception; of making it through the day without people glancing at me constantly, wondering what was wrong with me. You taught me never to take off the mask, save for when I'm with you of course. You even came with me to college, making sure that I never wavered in the face of a new world. You kept my mask from breaking when times got rough. You wouldn't let me sacrifice who I am for the sake of making a bunch of random people like me better.

Even now, you're still with me, although I have slipped away to come and write you this letter. And in your absence I can't help but read over these words and gain a foul taste in my mouth. This is not the truth. This is not my truth. This is you. This is your work. You have used me as your source of life since that day on the bus.

There was no 'love at first touch'. It was fear. Time stopped because the moment you brushed my shoulder, I was engulfed in terror. I couldn't move. My body froze. My eyes fixated upon your dark gaze as you came closer to me, peering deep into the core of my being, grabbing hold of whatever independence and potential I had, making it your own. My excitement left me because you sucked it straight from its source, replacing it instead with an inability to cope. It's not that I didn't want to play with my classmates. I physically couldn't. Every time I tried to leave you pulled me closer, whispering lies and sweet nothings into my ear to keep me from getting away.

You never cared for me; never wanted to keep me safe. You knew that you could drag me down further away from others, widening the gap between me and the outside world. You kept me from befriending others. You created a sense of paranoia in the deepest parts of me. I gained a fear that they were all out to get me. Within me you planted your seeds of doubt, and the have continued to blossom ever since. The mask. The deception. The lies. The fear. The terror. The trembling. The shaking. The panic. The nervousness. These are the tools of your trade. With these tools you have created me. You have been the role model that has guided my lack of growth and inability to gain independence. You are the one who has held me captive for so long that I truly believe that I have fallen in love with you. You have made love and terror inseparable in my essence, and I know that when you find me, you will have your way with me. And I won't be able to help but enjoy it. Ah, that sounds like you at the door, I suppose you'll read this. I wonder what you'll think. Alas, with these parting words, I bid you adieu:

Anxiety, thou art a cruel mistress. One that I cannot escape.

Yours Truly,

Yours, Truly

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

With Regards to Belts

I stared intently at the clock, watching as the hands crawled around and around, as though they hoped reaching the new hour would allow them to rest. The clock struck four. The hands kept crawling.

My arm extends out to the right, still reaching for someone that it refuses to accept no longer sleeps next to me. It can't feel the curve of her body in the mattress. The pillow is still fluffed, having not experienced the weight of a heavy mind and deep thoughts in weeks. I haven't washed the sheets since she left. They still hold her scent. It's the only thing I have left that belonged to her. It was the only thing that she couldn't throw into a box and throw into the back of her car. If I wash them, I will lose the only thing I have left. I'm just not ready for that. I will be soon, I swear, but not today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe.

As I sat up and dragged myself to the edge of the bed, I caught of glimpse of my reflection in the window. My eyes were bloodshot to all hell; the skin beneath them blacker than death and hanging on by a thread. I looked like a meth addict feels after coming off a bad high. I'm still wearing what I wore to work today. I must have forgotten to change when I got home. I honestly don't remember. The whole day has been a blur. Most days have been a blur. I think its... Tuesday? Thursday maybe? It doesn't really matter. Everything has been on repeat since she left.

The first step was the worst. Being struck by the hammer of a vengeful god couldn't have made my head feel any worse. My legs gave out from under me, as they recognized that my belt had cut have the circulation to my lower half when I was lying around. I fell backwards, first bracing myself against the bed with my arms, but ultimately letting myself fall back into the bittersweet embrace of the bed. The white bareness of the ceiling bore into my eyes, as the constant ticking of the clock impregnated my ears with a rhythmic .

I thought about my belt cutting off the circulation to my legs. It choked my waist from day-to-day, all in the name of keeping my pants where they were supposed to be. Even the cutting off of the circulation was a testament to the talent of the belt. It was performing its intended duty. Anything less would have shown the belt to be flawed. That was its design.

It was meant for choking.

I stood back up and undid my belt, holding it up at arm's length, staring at it as though it would speak to me...

Do it.

I should have been scared. I should have been terrified. I wasn't. The voice soothed me. It was the voice of someone convincing; the voice of someone who knew that my problem could be solved. I trusted the voice. I walked over to the door and sat down in front of it. The door handle was still a decent distance away, which would make things easier. I attached one of the belt to the handle and began to wrap the other end around my neck. I heard a light tap on the door.


I froze in place. Her tiny voice could barely be heard through the door. She sounded lost. She probably had another nightmare. I didn't respond. The door handle started to turn as she tried to push in. I held the door shut.

“Daddy? Daddy, what's happening? I can't open the door,” she squeaked, the panic emerging in her voice as she felt that something was wrong.

“Hey sweetie. Everything's okay. Daddy's just a little busy right now, okay?” I tried to sound okay. I quickly learned that it's hard to sound okay with a belt wrapped around your neck.

“Daddy! Daddy! Let me in please! I'm scared! I need you Daddy.” I could hear the lump in her throat forming. The first tear drop hit the ground and with it my stomach dropped.

“Sweetie. Sweetie. Listen to me sweetheart. Everything is going to be okay, okay? Did you have another nightmare?” She nodded her head with a ferocity that I could hear her hair whipping through the air. It made me smile, just a little.

“Sweetheart. We've talked about this. The monsters are only in your head. I promise. I've been alive since the dinosaurs were around, and I've never seen a monster!” The joke fell flat. The silence made me cringe.

“I didn't dream about monsters, Daddy. I – I h-had a dream about M-Mommy,” she sobbed, barely able to form the words through the snot and tears. In that moment, I wish that I'd been hit by a ton of bricks. It would have hurt less. I didn't have any breath left to say anything.

“D-Daddy? DADDY! W-where are y-you? T-Talk t-to m-me.”

“Ah... I'm... I'm here sweetheart. What... What did you dream about?”

“W-well f-first all three of us were together,” she seemed to be getting a hold on the sobbing, “and we were so happy... You and Mommy took me to the park, and took turns pushing me on the swing. And then, Mommy was pushing me and you were standing in front of me and watching me swing. But – but then...” The tears started to flow again, “then Mommy wasn't pushing me anymore. And you were crying Daddy. You were crying so much. I – I got off the swing and turned around to see where M-Mommy went. Sh-She was running away from us. A-and then I-I s-started chasing her, and I s-started s-screaming for her. B-but she wouldn't s-stop, Daddy. She kept running.” The sobbing wouldn't stop. She started to hyperventilate, gasping for breath in between each cry for her mother.

“D-Daddy. W-Why did Mommy r-run aw-away? W-What d-did I do wrong?” Her innocent little voice broke my heart.

“Sweetheart... Sweetie no... You didn't do anything wrong. Mommy loved you very much. She just needed to go for a while. I'm sure she'll come and see you soon. You are the best little girl a Mommy and Daddy could ever ask for. This isn't your fault.” I couldn't keep back the tears any longer. My voice broke and the tears rolled down my face.

Do it.

It spoke again, attempting to take away the pain; attempting to take away the thoughts of the little girl with the broken heart on the other side of door.
Do it.

And I wanted to do it so bad. It felt as though the belt was tightening itself around my neck, slowly taking the life away from my body. I didn't realize that I was sinking down to the floor. I felt light-headed. I liked it.

Do it.

“Daddy? Are you going to run away like Mommy?”

Do it.

“Daddy?” She pushed against the door.

Do it.

“DADDY?!?!” She screamed, putting her entire being into opening that door.

Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it.

My little sweetheart opened the door, and there I stood, my shirt and cheeks stained with tears. I gave her the largest smile I could muster.

“Hello there, pretty lady. Don't worry, I'm not going to run away. I couldn't leave my little sweetheart all on her own, now could I?” She giggled through the tears and ran towards me, jumping up into my chest. I caught her and fell backwards onto the bed, holding her close to my chest.


“Yes sweetheart?”

“I'm glad that you're my Daddy. I love you.”

“I'm glad that you're my sweetheart. I love you too.”

Monday, March 24, 2014

With Regards to Mirrors

“I’m going to kill myself tomorrow.”

I let it slip out in a whisper, not that it mattered. No one else was around to hear me, or at least I didn't think so. I looked up at the bathroom mirror, meeting the gaze of a beautiful young girl. She waved excitedly at me, her face taken up mostly by a huge smile. Her face was one I didn't recognize. There were similarities between us, but I couldn't pull any memories of the little girl to mind. The girl’s dirty-blonde, unkempt hair made me reach for my own because of the similarity. The likeness was striking, but that was explicable, right? I was certain there were plenty of women that shared in our particular hair combination. Besides, we didn't share that many other traits. Sure, the little girl had golden-brown eyes and thin lips that roughly resembled my own, but they couldn't be the same. The notion itself was ludicrous. Those eyes danced around as they looked at me. When she smiled at me, she squinted ever so slightly, lifting the corners of eyes into miniature smiles of their own. Her mouth opened wide with her smile, as though she wouldn't be able to contain the joy if she didn't. Even after her smile faded, the corners of her lips were always upturned, ready to open back up at the slightest hint of happiness.

There were no signs of pain in her face. Her eyes hadn't witnessed years of being alone, unable to connect with anyone on any sort of social level. They weren't struggling to stay open against the strength of an exhaustion due to the lack of sleep caused by the night terrors. There was no fear. There was no anxiety. They hadn't seen the things their owner would to herself in the years to come. There was no anxious looks darting back and forth, flinching at even the slightest sudden moment. Those eyes only knew an impossible hope and infinite potential.

Her lips hadn't been victim to hours of constant lip-biting, leaving permanent little indents along the bottom lip. They weren't chapped to all hell, making them almost unbearable to the touch. They hadn't known the loneliness of not being kissed in twenty-two years. They didn't know any of the ugly words that would be spoken of their owner. Those lips only knew kind smiles and sweet reassurances.

Those eyes. Those lips. The face of that little girl. None of those things were me. Not anymore. I hadn't seen this little girl in the mirror in sixteen years. I hadn't seen those eyes or those lips in so long. I touched my cheek, letting the tears hit my fingers. An overwhelming sense of shame filled my soul. What had I become in such a short amount of time? My entire body began to shake and give out. I braced myself against the counter, leaning my head against the mirror. Tears splashed in the sink as I began to sob. That little girl. That little girl just heard me tell her that I was going to kill myself. How could I do that?

“I’m s-s-sorry. I-I-I’m so s-sorry.” I could barely get the words out through the sobs and gasping for air.

I felt what I could have sworn were the fingers of the little girl running through my hair. I looked up, my eyes red and puffed out, to see her again. She was holding her hand up against the inside of the mirror, where my head had been. Her lips curled upward into a sympathetic smile, her eyes following suit. She wasn't here to judge me. She didn't want this for me. She just wanted me to be okay.

I placed my hand against the mirror against hers, and tried my best to smile through the tears. I’m sure I looked like an absolute disaster, but I tried to gather myself as best I could. I wanted so badly to hug her. I wanted to apologize for who I was and tell her that she would grow up to be better than me. She would keep her beauty.  She would keep that joy. She wouldn't be afraid of the world. She would be safe. 

She took her hand from the glass and made the shape of a heart with her hands in front of her chest. Her lips moved as she tried to tell me something inaudibly through the mirror. I could just make out the three words forming on her innocent lips. Three little words that I hadn't heard in forever. Three words that my entire body ached for. Seeing this little girl mouth those words to me sent sparks throughout my entire being. I felt a warmth spreading from my chest out to my fingertips. The corner of my eyes turned up for a moment as my lips twitched with excitement. I shaped my hands into a heart and placed them against my own chest, and told her something I hadn't told anyone since I was a little girl:

“I love you, too”

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

With Regards to Introductions.

So, here's the thing. I don't like introductions. I don't like the idea of trying  to use my words to make you see me in a certain light. While I understand that if you are reading these words it's because you chose and want to, I can't help but feel a bit arrogant in assuming that it really matters how I paint myself to you guys. This blog wasn't designed for such a purpose, and hopefully this will be the only post in which I talk about myself. Nonetheless, I know that it may be helpful to know a little bit about me, so that you might gain a certain amount of context for the rest of my posts. On that note, let's take an awkward moment to talk about me.

Not Me.
I'm Phoenix. Yes, that's my real name. No, I wasn't born in Arizona. Yes, I have been there. No, I am not a mythical bird of fire. No, I will not come back to life upon death (Well, at least I don't think so. I haven't actually tested this out, so I guess there's the possibility I could come back to life. I doubt it. And I most certainly am not up for testing it). No, I'm not Dumbledore's pet, Fawkes. No, I cannot cry on your wounds and magically heal them. Sorry to not live up to your expectations! Hopefully I've covered the majority of all city/state and Harry Potter jokes. Probably not.  At the time of writing this, I am a 19 year old student who attends the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA). I'm majoring in philosophy. No, I am not a stoner. No, I do not drink. Although, that doesn't mean that the stereotype doesn't hold true for a significant number of my fellow philosophy majors, or the rest of college students for that matter. 

My interests reside mostly in video games, reading, and writing. While I could get into a long discussion about video games and the misrepresentation and misunderstanding of them by a large portion of adult America, that's not the focus of this blog. However, reading and writing are both essential to both me and what this blog will be. Given that this is a blog that I have to personally create, the writing is more important, but reading shaped me into an individual with a love for writing.

Books are masterpieces. The words that make up the books we love are uncontested in their brilliance. Writing is an art form that to me will always be more beautiful and impressive than any other. A painting may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand words can create an infinite number of worlds. Within the same one thousand words, you can experience the entirety of the emotional spectrum: from an deep-seeded sorrow and empathy to a child-like joy to a heart-gripping terror. With a thousand words, you can create a world filled with elves and magic; you can create a story that shows the descent of a man into his greatest depression; you can create a character that embodies everything that you hate and despise in yourself. Words are truly brilliant. Words make me aspire to write. It is because of them that I want to sit here at a computer, introducing myself to a handful of you that might read this. The importance lies not in who reads my words, but in knowing that I have let my words out into the world. As long as I do that, I can strive to attain satisfaction.

So, that is what this blog will be. My words. These will not be words used to make me look a certain way, or make you believe a certain thing. These will be words that hopefully will make you want to read; will make you want to write. The will be words that I hope will make you see how beautiful words are. Most often, these words will be in the form of short stories. And I mean super short stories. Like 1000-word flash fiction.  However, on occasion i will use my words to vomit my thoughts in a decipherable manner. If there's something I wish to speak of directly, I will. This may be related to philosophy. This may be related to opinions on certain things. This will not be me talking about me, because I know me. I know that reading about me would be boring as all hell, and why would I subject you to that? 

And with that, I think this cringe-worthy introduction shall come to a close. Thank you for reading if you're still here. I greatly appreciate it. I'm also up for any sort of discussion, so you can leave a comment if there's anything you wish to say! Also, a quick shout out to my friend Tyler, who kind of inadvertently got me interested in starting this blog when he started his own over at He's a cool guy, and if you're into anime and gaming and things of that nature, you should check him out.
Until next time friends!