Still beautiful as ever, Willie thought as she watched Deacon Tim Walters shake the hands of the parishioners. The ceremony for her nephew had been a blur of screams and cries, so slipping back into her seven-year-old mindset was unwelcome. Timothy was thirteen, on the cusp of puberty and his face changing slowly but enough to catch her eye. Willie was about to turn eight, sitting on the fence with her two older sisters watching the boys play baseball.
"I'm just sayin--" Willie trailed off as Tim rounded from first to second.
"Sayin what?" Cynthia sneered.
"Sayin you can't go leave us and move in with Horace Adams!" Pernella chimed in. She grabbed her sister's left hand and inspected the ring. "He didn't even give you a big ring! What kind of man is he?"
"He's a good man," Cynthia assured them. Willie noticed Cynthia brushing her hair down over a new dark mark on her neck.
"Cynthia, what made you want to get married?" Willie asked. "How do you find the right person?"
"Sometimes you just know," Cynthia murmured. "It's like God drew an outline around someone and made you notice them. That's what happened with Horace."
"Why? Do you like someone?" Pernella nudged Cynthia.
"No!" Cynthia grumbled.
Stephen hit a home run and Thelma Boone, the only girl who played, ran home. She screeched and tossed the baseball cap from her head. "We won! We won! We won!"
"Whatever," Luke Walters grumbled. "Go get the shit."
"But I don't--"
Luke punching Tim in the chest quieted him. Tim grunted in pain and wandered over to collect the bases.
"I'll help," Willie said. She ran after Tim and reached for the base.
"Move," Tim grumbled.
He pulled the base away, knocking Willie down. She bit her lip and grabbed her knee, which was gushing blood. Tim turned around, saw her, and his brow furrowed.
"Shit. I'm sorry. Here."
Tim pulled Willie to her feet and ushered he towards his apartment. Before she could protest, Willie was greeted by the orange hue and cigarette smoke of Haywood Apartments. Tim grabbed her hand and she followed him up two flights of stairs and into a small dark apartment. Loud coughing masked the kids' footsteps. Tim pushed Willie into a bathroom and pulled a bottole of rubbing alcohol out.
"It's gonna hurt," Willie whined.
"Don't be a baby."
"Will you hold my hand?"
Tim grabbed her hand and pressed the rubbing alcohol on her leg. Willie squirmed and whined as the alcohol seeped into the scraped flesh. Tim carefully rubbed the bits of asphalt and torn skin away with the cotton swab. Then he pressed a bandage across her leg. Willie wiped her face as quickly as she could to keep him from noticing but Tim laughed at her.
"You're such a baby," he teased.
"I'm not a baby," Willie grumbled. "One day you'll look at me like a woman."
"You don't even know what that means," Tim teased. He helped Willie off the toilet seat. "You should stay young."
"Trust me, being an adult sucks. Everyone's mean and they expect you to know stuff they never told you and then they hit you and yell at you cuz you didn't know what they didn't tell you. It's just better to be a kid."
"Oh," Willie looked down at the floor then looked up in time for Tim to kiss her.
As soon as he pulled away, Tim pushed Willie hard onto the floor. She hit her back on the bathtub and started to cry.
"Don't ever tell anyone about this," he growled.
Willie cried and ran out of the apartment. Days later, she lied to her parents and said the bruise on her back was from falling off her friend's bike. She was scolded for playing too rough and given some ice. Tim and his brother were sent to military school several months later after a theft attempt left Luke with a bullet in his shoulder. The next time she heard of him, he was deacon. He did the service for her mother after cancer claimed her life and then officiated her brother's wedding.
Whoever Called it a Crush was Right and I Hate Them.
Goddammit, that song just played. The song that drifts me back into this lilac and indigo haze. The boy at the pharmacy that made my brain start contemplating that whole falling thing again. I haven't fallen in a long time. The deep thuds within my chest and flush of panic when someone comes near felt so foreign they nearly took me out. I worked at the store now, so I see the boy from the pharmacy often. Boy. I mean, we're both in our twenties so he's a man but all the men I've been with have left some pretty deep scars. Let's put it in the middle - guy.
Said guy sends me into a goddamn panic attack every time I see him. You would think this man was carved by Michelangelo and had the personality of a Funfetti rainbow sundae. Maybe I just have this way of knowing what someone has inside because if I showed this guy to you, you'd probably think I'm boy crazy. He's just an average male with male-smelling hormones that are drawing me in.
But, what if I am not just crazy? What if you can look at someone and see who they are and your internal organs all react at once to their presence? I don't really like to get all Jesus-y about my impulses, but I know that I have spiritual gifts that I am truly unable to control. Getting used to it is the equivalent of a "weird" character realizing their whole life, they've had this super cool ability. Mine is the ability to know, which makes me really uncomfortable.
As a child, I had an awesome memory. Not even trying to brag, but I always remember people's names and faces. I can remember things about people from first grade like I just heard them yesterday. But, when you are six and try to become friends by remembering everything you've ever learned about them, you are basically a young Jeffrey Dahmer. So, by eight, I had completely masked my ability to remember things. Unless it was school-related (since I am a SUCKER for a good fact), I played dumb. Over the years, once I was close to someone, I would reveal how much I paid attention though usually no one really knows.
And now the present, I pay a lot of attention. As a cashier, I have to do something aside from yelling that I need something over the PA and bagging 10 laundry detergents. I know things about my customers that they would never know I knew. Without that context, it looks like I am a stalker. But I'm not. I just am a firm believer that if you're in my life, it's for a reason and that I should be a positive reason and not a negative one.
So back to this male that has given me more chills than the cooler I have to stock occasionally, I notice a lot. He's super good at customer service, and I think he really cares about people. He makes jokes to people he knows but doesn't really talk to strangers (like me and some of my co-workers), which makes me think introverted or reserved. Then, all the assumptions just begin to cascade and I get lost in that haze of imagination and start grinning and giggling.
Then I realize I'm being strange. The heat from my blushing makes me sweat and hazes my eyes. The terrible thoughts hit like a tsunami drowning and I gasp for air. My eyes water and my body trembles. If I'm at work, my body quickly rectifies itself. I stop breathing then my breathing slows to normal. My chest tightens and my hands stop shaking. My mind goes blank and the teariness in my eyes clears up. I depart momentarily, and when I go back to wherever the guy was, he's usually gone.
My body is relieved but my heart always feels cold and empty. I feel like I ruin everything. I go home and dive into a bag of edibles so the pain subsides and I can at least enjoy the rest of my night. I turn on music, my Sad Girl Shit playlist, and let Bad Bunny serenade me with my troubles. I drift into the thought of my soulmate. Whoever he is and wherever he is. I think of things we'll do together - cooking high, playing at a playground at 3 am, cuddling while watching the garbage television I used to sneak and watch after school. I wonder what he'll look like when I meet him. The thoughts of panicking creep back but a funny joke he'll say or a compliment he gives me neutralizes it like it will to once we're together.
I wonder what will happen the next day at work, drifting to the thought of the pharmacy guy again. Disney plays in my head. I drift into the scene of Megara, playing with a white flower while grinning and reminding herself she's not in love. The scene I imagined with so many other boys (and girls at some points) as I fought my worldly hormones to jump on the first thing with genitals and my spiritual desire to be with someone that is meant for me. I thought that fight would end as I got out of high school and started college. I thought I was over falling for any boy that moved. I thought that all the heartbreak and subsequent self-blaming and chastizing would stop all of the thoughts eventually.
Maybe I'm right about this one and just need to get over everything from the past and learn to trust myself again. Maybe I feel these things for certain men because they're real interpretations and I should go for it. Maybe I'm just convincing myself to try since I'm tired of being alone. Maybe I should go to bed because I have work in the morning.
Once upon a time is such a cliché way to start a story but here we are. You know I suck at telling stories. Yeah, I know... Mommy sleeps so much that she can't tell you stories anymore. It's okay. I don't mind, Stormy, I promise. Mommy's just sick. The white powder just helps her go to sleep because she's too sick to go to sleep without it. Well, the best way to get rid of a runny nose is to put the medicine right in your nose--No you are not taking medicine like that from now on. It's only with Mommy's medicine.
What did you want to hear about again? Princesses, right? I don't want to talk about Mommy right now, Stormy. It's special medicine. You don't need to go to the doctor to get it. Because it's special medicine. No, it's just--Stormy, stop fucking asking me questions about Mommy. I'm telling you about the princesses, remember. I don't fucking know, okay. The princesses of Sweden. I don't give a fuck if Sweden has princesses; it's a made-up story. Shit. You know what? I'm not telling you a fucking story. Take your ass to bed. Don't start that crying shit. Go to sleep. You don't need a story to go to sleep. You're too old for bedtime stories anyway.
The Sanguine Queen
Cold pane of glass separating us,
Though you would never know unless
You called my name three times,
Then summoned my maid right after.
How I'd smile as I leap out,
Dragging black nails against your neck
As I pluck your eyes out and drink
Deep, rich Protestant blood
While you cry to the wrong God.
God can't save you now, darling,
Since we made that pact that I can
Devour every elementary school kid
That dares utter the name, Bloody Mary.
They did notice when the sidewalk narrowed and I fell behind, or when I stopped to tie my shoe, or when I cut my losses and just went home.
The first time (and hopefully last time) I ever watched Euphoria was a few days ago. It was my first date that I was kinda excited for, though it ended just like the other one with me just ready to go home. There's nothing wrong with the guy, but even tequila and weed couldn't make the night any better. Euphoria was, in his words, "too real for me". I don't know if it's real or not that the youth are struggling with drugs and fucking adults and running from their problems by hiding themselves in problematic behaviour. I spent my entire high school career waiting to get out of high school. I mean, fundamentally, there's nothing wrong with the show. It just triggered various memories from high school that I've slowly and surely been peeling from my memory like an old sticker you forgot was on your locker two years ago.
I don't go through things like normal people. I've lived vicariously through people like Rue and Jules that are fucking up their lives to forget stuff they've been dragged through. The only thing is, once the series ends, no one wants to go back and rewatch that shit. Once that painful fifteen-year-old life is in the past, you do everything you can to never go back to it, to the point where even the brief memory makes you want to hide under a bed until it goes away. I guess he just didn't understand. I don't blame him. I'm pretty hard to understand as a person I guess.
I didn't like him. I knew that from the jump, which begs to question why I would ever even go on a date with him. I explain it as God's permissive will, when you keep asking and asking and asking for something you think you want, and God lets you even though he told your dumbass "no" for a reason. For me, that was sex. Spoiler alert, I'm still a virgin, though there's now slightly more experience with being around a human overnight than before. However, even if I wasn't, I still don't think I would've wanted a repeat of the experience.
It was my first time, so I can't really say it was "good" or "bad". It hurt, but of course it did, because it was new and I've never done anything like that before. But, I mean enough about my body. The challenge has nothing to do with the physical. In fact, I'm not writing this out to judge him or rant and say he sucked or lament that when I enquired if this was going to be a regular thing, he told me no. I actually don't feel any of that. The physical pain stopped a little after I got home and the mental anguish of almost fucking up in a way that I would've regretted is slowly melting away as I talk more. There's no relationship and there really aren't that many feelings for him. Except for a twinge of anticipation for whether or not our contact is actually over, I can't honestly say that I feel much of anything.
The reason I jumped at this challenge was to impart some advice. Even if it's just for me in the future when I get the opportunity to be with someone again. Don't submit to anyone that doesn't love you. As someone into BDSM and all that shit, I learned that the hard way (*luckily, not physically; and this guy isn't who I'm talking about*), but I don't just mean sexually. I mean, you know when you vibe with someone. You know when someone just gets you and when you feel so comfortable with someone that you feel like literally nothing about you will scare them off. You know when there's something inside you that never wants one person to leave. I'd encourage you to chase that feeling.
My first love hurt me in a way that I didn't think I could be hurt. It left me scarred and it hurt. But, oddly enough, we're friends. Not even in that stupid "hoping he'll get better so I can have a happily ever" sort of way. He's like my older brother and I trust him with my life because despite that romantical love being unrequited, he still is someone I feel comfortable with, and even after my heart was broken, I noticed that I still trusted him despite that. Even though he hurt me, I can tell this person still cares and loves me and I still feel that same gentle comfort that I felt before and mistook as love.
My advice to you reading this is to not be with anyone that doesn't fill you with butterflies or make you feel understood. I don't only mean romantically; I mean period. The reason I went on this date, I later realized, was that I had kinda given up. I'm hard to understand. I wanted to try something normal with the wrong person and even though the signs were there to not pursue this, I did anyway because I thought it might have worked out and I'd grow into the relationship. But, I realized that that's not what happens. You just end up settling and hiding parts of you and while some people can do that and feign contentment for the rest of their life, I am not that person. I wouldn't recommend being that person either.
I'm not quite sure how to end this. I'm very happy I didn't settle because I felt I should. I'm really happy I wasn't just like, "This is fine" and went with the flow because I wanted to feel normal for once. I don't really have regrets because if it wasn't him that I settled for, it would've been someone else. Maybe someone that was fine settling and then I could've been in a relationship trying my hardest to force a puzzle piece that just wasn't fitting. I'm not quite sure though. The only thing that came out of this was a promise that the next time I'm intimate with someone, they're going to be someone I feel comfortable with and close to. I feel like after having this experience, that promise will be a lot easier to keep since I don't want to feel like I'm settling ever again.
There are so many newbies now! I think I'm kinda an OG? I have been on Prose for five or six years. I actually found it because of FastWeb when I was a junior or senior in high school because I wanted to make money from writing which I have literally NEVER learned how to do. Still don't know how to do it honestly? Anywho, I'm AJ. I'm a 22-year-old American that really likes cheese and is attracted to disappointment. I'm in college in my last semester, and I am crawling to the finish line like that poor daddy's long leg that was left a septipelgic when I pulled off 7 of his legs. I promise I'm not still that evil. I'm far too tired to do anything chaotic except shake Monster cans in Giant Eagle and give squirrels political advice.
I honestly am not online much anymore just because this whole adulting shit is exhausting. But, in the event that you peruse through the literal hundreds of entries I've made, you'll see that I like to do experimental work and that I love fantasy, sci-fi, and basically anything that makes you think. My favourite post on here is actually my story "Something for Lilo" (trigger warning: abortion) so, yeah. I think it represents me a lot as a writer. nowadays I'm kinda balancing all these huge ideas like ideas of religion and philosophy and science and politics, and even though it's like a mental marathon (and I do NOT run), I know that once I get time to start writing again, it's going to really shape my writing in ways that I can't wait to see.
What else can be said? I don't like the beach or mountains, both thanks to family reunions. I'm lowkey afraid of elephants and whales because I'm small and they can pretty easily kill me. Belugas are beautiful. I study biology. My favourite colours are lavender, grey, black, rainbow, and yellow in that order, and I was yesterday years old when I found out that you can put sparkles in alcohol (and today years old when I realized that it's just glitter and you will be up at all hours of the night). What's the difference between grey and gray? Only Grammarly knows apparently.
For anyone that read this, thanks for reading and to the person that made this challenge, thanks for making it! It's always fun to reach out to new Prosers and I really love the tradition we have here of getting people to talk to each other and get to know each other.
Opening up to yourself is harder than opening up to anyone else in the world.
Birds start the day announcing that they're horny.
The bees are portable condoms for the flowers.
Octopi present their penises to potential mates,
And penguins present a potential lover with a rock.
Fireflies blink in Morse Code "U up?"
Garter snakes rush females all at once,
And don't get me started on ducks
Or dolphins, Jesus Christ. So rapey.
Squirrels chase each other, playing Sexy Tag
And flatworms penis fight to decide who's gonna be pregnant
Worms stick together in the silent dawn, swapping sperm,
And snails have an intricate mucous dance while they fuck.
All of this, I say to my bewildered class,
Who are just waiting for me to stop talking about why
I find animal sex so fascinating and would happily
Spend hours helping introduce animals to each other.