To Whom It May Concern: 2
The last we spoke, I wished for your window- a window. By now, assuming you are like me, you've discovered the view. Welcome.
This window has probably been there since before I first wrote to you. You could have long since found your window; Maybe you gazed out into the vast deep blue pushing and pulling against the sand, maybe your window let out into clusters of light bulbs dripping in fog, or to a winding staircase you can't see the bottom or the top of. Maybe the staircase sways with the wind, the small cracks softly whistle with the streams or your thoughts, and the smell of new pages, evocative in the clouds, are completely difficult to forget or ignore.
Whether the view is a stranger to you or an old friend, I would like to say welcome. Sort of like a door mat, but in a good way. Like the way I saw one.
There I was standing at that door again. I was looking at my feet, down at the heels I don't wear enough. Standing there felt trivial, like rereading a mystery. I follow along with it's redirects and ignoring the red flags as they hide in their burrows waiting for the right moment. But despite Cass telling me I could just walk in and that I'm "welcome anytime" it felt wrong. So, I knocked and I waited for Philip to open the unlocked door that he was waiting for me behind. The door opens to a short little girl I know as Lilly. That was the one part of the mystery I always forgot, Philip never answers the door.
"Hey Lilly, is he ready yet?" I say hoping to hide my nerves.
"He just got out of the shower, come in." she turned and walked away, unamused.
I waited in the front room on the piano bench. Away from the rest of his family buzzing with excitement and his parents secretly anxious to claim bragging rights for raising a son that serves their church and its purpose. They were shipping him off to a 3rd world country to live for 2 years. A dangerous foreign Africa and they were so excited, so proud, so blessed.
At this point I saw them as Hobbits, making fun out of giving away his things, never feeling the fear of losing him, or the grief. Not feeling at all how I was. He chose to leave me. He chose to let me go, as if I were a passing thought, and for what?
The ride there was short and quiet and we had arrived at the church before everyone else. The night had gone cold and dark and the neighborhood around us had settled with locked doors and prayers. I sat in the passenger seat, like I'd been for a year. He parked pulling the key out of the ignition and the quiet dropped to silence.
He sunk farther into the seat, his keys in his lap, his head resting on the head rest and he sighed.
This will be the last time we will sit in this car.
I couldn't look at him. I wanted to. I wanted to see his smile. I wanted to look in to his eyes. But I couldn't. My throat burned and my eyes threatened to fill with tears.
"Are you okay?" he asks.
I still couldn't bring myself to speak. I knew if I opened my mouth my words would suffocate.
"Will you look at me please?" His voice was soft. I looked, my heart rose painfully in my chest. His dark brown eyes stare into mine. He seemed calm. He brought his hand to my face and kisses me and I kissed him. We pulled away.
That will be our last kiss
"I love you."
"I love you too."
At the moment that felt like the worst part, dear Reader, saying good bye. But the worst part was going home. By the time I did, the last words I said to him played through at least a thousand times.
"Good bye, Mr. Missionary."....... Idiot.
It felt as though someone cut out my heart and used the rest of me as a stencil to drive home. I got out of the car and started walking towards the door letting my heels sink into the wet ,grassy, soil until my feet came out and I left them behind. I kept my composure up the stairs and to the front door of my house, had my hand on the door nob, then I looked down. 'Welcome Home' it said, scrawled in its familiar font.
It had been there the whole time and it waited for me, everyday, just the same way it waited for everyone else that came to the door. Whether it was for a stranger or an old friend. It will say 'Welcome Home'. That night, it said it just the way I needed to hear it. Even though I was left behind, I still had this. I had my home, my window and its view. I was welcomed everyday, and I could let my stencil self bleed its ink into words.
So I guess I would just like to say Welcome, and thank you for opening my window.
To Whom It May Concern:
When I picture you, you're at a desk. Hopefully you are fortunate enough to be elsewhere, like under a 100 year old tree in a part of the world where the breeze is warm, the grass needs cutting, and the feel of the bark at your back is as hospitable and trustworthy as it could be at 100 years of age. But under my suspicion, we are in someway similar to each other. It's more likely you are contained between four walls in a slightly uncomfortable chair and you freeze even at the thought of going back outside because the snow ball from hell came back from it's spring vacation, however short it had been. That being said, I guess my hope for you is that within your four walls, there is a window.
Now that I have you here, I have a confession. My name isn't Ann Cost, shocker, I know. As much as I wish it was, Ann Cost is actually a character I had created in a NaNoWriMo tribute in high school for my English class. I have now adopted the name as my pen name.
The text she inhabited only consisted of twelve pages. Within those twelve, she was daring, witty, and honestly, the best version of myself. She would sleuth along side a character named Jimmy Devly, a young writer searching for inspiration, and Morgan Gren, who was sort of a sheep, truth be told. These twelve pages were crafted in freedom because the only way my teacher could grade it was by word count. (This many words gets you a C and so on.) But the longer I wrote, the more attached to the characters I became and my mission evolved. If I was going to write, I was going to write well.
And so I edit and rewrite. I learned I could say more with fewer more vivid words but, that left me with fewer words. I emailed it to my teacher anyway. By this time, because of my editing and rewriting, the month was over and I had to turn it in anyway.
Feeling the weight of my grade being, for a lack of a better word, doomed, I went to bed dreading make up assignments and feeling so stupid for not just repeating what everyone else did. Which was what I thought of as very very very very lame.
The next day I received an email. It was from Mr. Palmerton my English teacher about my NaNoWriMo assignment.
Good work. You are very talented. I enjoyed what I read.
Your grade = B
I know you were a bit short of the word count for this, but I think you deserve an upgrade.
That was it. Having never getting praise from a teacher in my whole adolescent career before this email, it opened a window for me. I can do what I love really well and it was different.
This is how I connect to the world, to all the people just like me in contents of their four walls. I hope for all of you that you have a window too.
Brains begin to break.
Sharply snapping slithery shards.
Creeping cautiously they create
Openings obtusely obobjectified
Mercilessly mortifying its
Secretly they steal the silence's song.
You only see what I want you to see
You only show me who you want to be
You only say what I wanted to hear
So I can keep fighting for you with no guilt.
Morality, Lies and Abuse.
Is it wrong to protect your loved ones? To get help to the people struggling in silence and secrecy? Even though when you succeed they both hate you?
I was in a bakery. The dense cooking air rose with warm bread, my need for food buttered with want.
“Come on, you said you would.” George pushed me at the shoulders from behind. I don’t know how long, but I’d been standing still in the doorway. The door behind me closed as I stepped past the rug and clicked a boot on the tile. There was a menu board that swept from the door to the register, listing breakfast, lunch, and dinner items.
“Hello, what can I get you today?” the cashier had a ring in her voice similar to the mice in Cinderella.
"Two orders of pancakes, blueberry, raspberry whip cream," they exchanged currency and good day wishes, then he guided me to a table at the back of the restaurant by the windows. Guided me, like I was a lost sheep, the shepherd wishing to be back with the rest if the herd.
"Now, try not to look so sad, ..." He started another rant about the grief cycle,how I'm making progress."You deserve to smile."
Poor George, he shouldn't have to do this. Poor George can't help himself. His savior complex might have been an engineered piece of him. His parents were probably born this way too. They were the Neighborly folk with nothing but necessity and love. George tries so hard to stray from it but it's part of him, deep within. I saw it the first day we met.
During elementary school we had a big grassy field just over the fence that attempted to keep us on the playground. He was convinced he saw a bird crash land on the other side and tried to get the crosswalk lady to help him rescue it. No one would, but I'd been trying to con the crosswalk lady into letting me on to the field the whole three years I was at school so, I helped him. While the lady wasn't looking we climbed over. We found the bird a couple of feet away from the fence, dead.
"Looks like we're too late," I said, it's lifeless wings sprawled out on the green grass.
"No, we can save him," he said taking a piece of card stock out of his pocket, unfolding it then pushing it under the feathered carcass.
"It's going to be OK, Jim." After he carried it back to school, he hid him in his desk and told the teacher he wasn't feeling good so he could get into the nurse's office. I had to keep watch to make sure nobody found "Jim". When George got back there was only an hour left of school. On the bus he attempted a revival with a couple of Band-Aids he'd stolen. I helped by making a splint out of a Popsicle stick and string, all under Georges instruction.
We couldn't save Jim the bird that day and George was bent about it for a week after the funeral, but he tried.
Sitting in the cafe, eating the emotional equivalent to a band aid, I felt very similar to Jim. And just like Jim, band aids won't bring back the dead.
"So, are you going back to school on Monday?" He asked, his green eyes hopeful and trusting.
I'd been skipping and getting homework from classmates.
"Yeah, about that-"
"Come on, Robin, they're going to make you go to attendance school. And they won't let you graduate. We only have four months left, come back to school, enjoy it while it lasts." the worst part was that he was genuinely excited.
"What's there to enjoy?"
"Well, Sadie's parents are out on their annual winter getaway, so she's drinking again. She might get arrested this time."
"She'll never get arrested, her family donates too much money to the station she's practically immune to punishment."
"Not so fast, I recently had a chat with little miss immune and I think it would be worth it to go to school tomorrow to see it.'' At that moment everything seemed to loosen and excitement settled in.
"what did you do?”
“Come tomorrow and find out.” We finished our pancakes then he took me home to do my laundry. I was going back to Martin high.
Today I was going to meet George at school, he usually drives but he had to get to school early, early wasn’t for me.
There were four stop lights on the way to school, two had already stopped us, which had gradually increased the volume of our singing as we drove. At the third light, also red, my mom turned off the music.
"So, I hear there's a dance coming up, are you going?"
My mother, in her day, was Ember Willow gladiator of the social abyss that is Martin high school. she had grown out of the high school age and respectfully took on her life as an older woman, but unfortunately that never stopped her from asking about dances.
"Nobody asked me"
"So? Why can't you go with George?"
"He's just a friend mom, and if he wanted to go with me he'd ask,"
"Why not go....just as friends?"
"Because dating a friend doesn't make them just your friend anymore."
She rolled her eyes with one of her knowing smiles and the light turned green. Pulling forward I turned on the music and in that moment everything felt right.
There was a Truck, it’s blue hood glistening in the drowsy day light. Coming down hill from what must had been forever, it too came to its third stop light.
I turned to my left and I saw, seeing was all I could do. The sound of the radio muffled as time slowed and the blue hood was bashed with red and metal and mom.
Screaming, crying the sound came back. I flung myself up sweat and tears damp on my face.
"It was a dream." I tell myself, but it wasn't once. I'm in my room, safe. I'm okay, I'm okay.
I try to catch my breath, but the sobs come.
Fallow the leader.....
So much evil and corruption comes from leadership, if only everyone kept to themselves and lived morally. People do strange and stupid things. If only we could be taught and educated with perfect truth so they wouldn't. How did everything get so messed up in the first place? Were we all just a bunch of ignorant bums who were sent to learn these lessons because God was the only person who could make sense of everything? What is this life? What do we belong to? This can't be just some lame choose a side soul vote thing.... Good or evil. God or devil. Well I know nothing. Everything is confusing. If we have government to protect us and our rights if there was no government anywhere, no rules anywhere that could ever be enforced, would everyone go ape? For me I don't think I would be effected I'd still go to work and maybe I'd have more money to do things. But what is money without government? That piece of paper isn't really worth anything is it? Let's say money stays relevant. But then we have criminals and the crooked and the insane dangerous people. Society would still exist cops would be cops? Doctors would be doctors? Do we need rules to keep Doctors from drinking before surgery? Keeping cops from becoming criminals? Would everyone do things solely because they wanted to? Don't people already do that? Why do people become doctors? Money, benefits, stability, social recognition? Need in the industry? Want and real desire to help? What does rules and government have to do with any of it? A person is going to be who they're going to be. Why do some people create government, why do they get to say what goes to speak for all that live come are born in a specific part of the world? We all just want to live and the only way to do that, well the easiest way to do that is on land with other people with other skills. Who gets to claim the land and why and who gets to choose and what does it really matter? There is an evil urge that everyone has, to control things, people. Leadership is hard and mostly evil. You can't lead anyone. You can give examples, you can teach, you cannot control.
Who are they?
No one can hear the screams
of my annoyed pain
as they drum on and on
about how difficult it is to be
[insert whatever here]
what happened to dealing with it?
What happened to being strong?
is pain really poetic?
or are we?
Everything around me reaching up
Blue, still, and constant
unlike the wind pushing on my back.
Trees rushed above my head
the sky fills with treetops
I will always assume
We're right side up.
Until we hit the ground.