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 http://tylzy.blogspot.com/ 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!