Love is a human concept. Unlike others, such as Time, or Death (of which exists without us there to view it) - love is the story of the human attempting to capture the most wild. I find that notion utterly ridiculous and infinitely impossible, people attempting to label the most fluid.
I don't have a definition of love, nor do I want to create one. Definitions intend to be universal, to be clear and concise and a sentence or two that could fit between the thin pages of a mass-produced dictionary. But how do you define something that manifests itself into a different entity toward every person it meets?
There's an opinion floating around on the internet, a shower thought, even, that suggests there is no way to prove we all see the same colours. That my orange might be your green, and my blue - your yellow. The my vibrant red lips, to you, might be the most passive pinks and we would be none the wiser when our lips meet in the center. Love, I find, is much the same.
To my mother love would be me making her bed when she has the early shift, so she could come back home and lay on perfectly positioned pillows and a rug she needs to throw on the floor. To my father it would be calling him every afternoon at 5:30 after he finishes work, even just for five minutes so he can hear my voice. To my brother it would be not getting him a Christmas gift so he doesn't have to give me one back, to his girlfriend it would be getting something for him anyways so she could tease him for his forgetfulness. Love's shades make up every pigment of our skin, the clothes in our wardrobe, the pallets we choose for new apartments and our new rooms. It would be ridiculous to define such a thing, an impossibility even, right?
All this to say 26 letters aren't nearly enough to describe the nonexistent - to categorise the pure feeling of don't-leave-me we have for some people. All this to say I'm probably still too young to have experienced love, that maybe I will have a definition soon enough, and this entire philosophy will be moot in a few years.
Love is a human concept, and it is the best we've ever done.
Roses are red,
Not from your love,
but tainted and steeped
in my spilling blood
3 Strikes, You’re Out
"How was your meal?"
"Horrendous, last time I ask for a homecooked meal.”
“Didn’t I say dress formal?”
“I’ll have the stea-”
“She’ll have the salad, thanks.”
“Just looking out for your health, sweetheart.”
“If you want to look after yours, I suggest you let me order – sweetheart.”
| WET SANDCASTLES |
Each night under the twilight moon, children frequent upon the cloudy floors of heaven, waltz between willow trees and bathe in shallow creeks. They awake when birds call them to the outside green, their mother astounded by the smile gracing their surly lips - wondering of days when all there was to be worried for was the sun setting too early. Their small feet rush to race the last cloud of the dragging evening.
And as children pass through the fields, shiny black shoes kicking up sprouting flowers and growing memories – taller children (hidden underneath the frightful masks of adulthood) smile bittersweetly. Their own shoes and memories lay forgotten underneath wrecked toy cars and olden trees, out to bleach and corrode beneath the suns blister. Older men and women watch through recently scrubbed windowsills, tears gathering as their feet itch to run after the fleeing mirage.
The inevitable death of one’s childhood is most often mourned too late. Not understanding their loss, if not buried deep underneath their newly built homes. If not mercilessly strangled to a tainted photograph of what once was, of a war lost in rusted metal cans and fuzzy blue towels.
A sandcastles towers crumble easily from an incoming tide - the sand all but pliant underneath the force of the inevitable.
Mother would remind her own children every evening when the green leaves fell victim to the crunch of their shoes. Would whisper in minted breath and lipstick covered words to appreciate what’s in front of their curious hands – to enjoy what one day will be forgotten. She whistles to them a tune of her own dead memories, and they squeal before running out in laughter.
Father taught his children between the lines of books. Told them to sound each and every loop and line, to remember the scratch of pages between their tiny fingers. Showed them to not rush through the story, to fall in love with each and every hero and villain, to keep their tales close to their chest and lessons close to their mouths. He taught them that rushing through the slow walk of minutes and seconds will burn your wrinkled feet and turn your back hunched. He left them there, blowing dust off books and tapping the spines like one would with the keys of a piano. He played them lullabies all through twilight.
Marian would perhaps never forget these lessons, these tales. Yet, much like her childhood that lay between her trembling palms - she would not appreciate or perhaps understand - the warnings her parents had begged her and her brother to heed.
And yet came a day, not much different from many others, when the sun shone and wind blew, yet came the inevitable tide that swept her away into the thrashing ocean. The evening her brother flew.
| THE OLD WITCH |
A squawk of a bird caught the children’s attention, its wavering wings flattening against the winds. Marian watched as it glided and swam through the puffy clouds – like beige kites swarming in the sky, searching for prey in the boundless ocean beneath it. It’s glittering feathers and spindly claws tucked inwards as it continued its search, its predatory gaze moving through the rolling waves.
“They’re pretty, ain’t they?” Marian’s brother whispered under his breath, eyes following the retreating soldier.
She nodded, though she didn’t think they were that pretty. Their talons were a little awkward and scary, their eyes beady and a little dumb looking on either side of its head.
“Wouldn’t that feel nice? The wind between your fingers?” he continued to question. She noticed his hands unconsciously gripping the fraying ropes of the swing as he kicked his feet back and forth. The wooden seat was attached precariously underneath the tree – facing a cliffside painted in an afternoon glow.
Marian crinkled her nose in distaste and his question – if anything, it sounded a little restricting – having to abide by the rules of the sky, forced to move in parallel with the fleeing clouds like a kite tethered to the wind. She agreed insincerely.
Marian and Peyton were born 3 minutes apart from one another, both screeching the same tone and wailing the same complaints, both a healthy weight and little hair on their heads, both with reddened cheeks and innocent smiles.
Their mother wondered when the day came that they stopped being so similar.
“Wanna’ go annoy the baker?” Marian asked clicking her tongue, absently playing with the stains on her dress. The brown and greens spread across the fabric like bruises, and she giggled as she pushed the dirt around. It made funny shapes and forms, plastered into the cotton.
“You know he don’t like that.” Peyton frowned,
“That’s kinda the point, Tony!”
“Don’t call me Tony!”
Marian was loud - loud and impulsive – a perfect little knight in their fairy tales. Her hair reached out like welcoming hands, a fair blonde like that of her mothers (a colour many envied).
Peyton had always been more aware of people. He was quiet and considerate, his voice never the loudest in the room, but always the most caring. His posture was hunched into himself, like thin paper folding into intricate origami, and yet he stood on strong legs. He always beat Marian in races with his lithe form.
“Tony suits you better than Peyton.”
“Mummy clearly didn’t think so-”
“Yes, well, she named me Marian didn’ she? Cant exactly trust her judgment-”
“-and what’s wrong with Marian?”
“It so... boring! It’s boring, pretty and very, very blegh!”
“That ain’t even a word! And what’s wrong with havin’ a pretty name?”
Marian rolled her eyes. She had problems with pretty things. She would ruin her best dresses, untidy her most intricate hairstyles, and purposely write with her left hand. Despite their mother’s best efforts, she never quite got Marian to behave. She still scolds the young girl, but Peyton thinks it’s more to do with habit than any actual hope that Marian would change.
“Nothin’s wrong with it – now c’mon, let’s go anno- I mean… ‘visit’ Mr. Nestle.”
“You’re a right bully you know that Anne?”
“Don’t call me that, Tony!”
They rushed back up the mountain, squabbling and bickering like skittish birds pecking at the last worm. Their feet stamping expertly over broken twigs and logs, mounds, and unexpected holes – knowing the terrain better than their own house.
When they rushed through the wet hills and into the warm home, they didn’t get very far until mother was calling them back.
“There you two are! Go get your coats – we’re going down to welcome a new neighbor.” She told them, stepping down the stairs. Her dress hit her knees, soft and pressed, hair naturally curled and down. She always put that small amount of effort into her presentation, although many could notice she had a natural beauty. She held herself humbly, with a kind smile and sweeter eyes – although now, the hazel gaze was squinting something fierce at the mold looking patches on Marians dress.
“Marian?” she questioned in a dangerous tone – the mouth fitted comfortably around that 3-syllable word. She was used to how it folded around her tongue, how it was spit out in disappointment.
“Yes mummy?” the small girl questioned back.
“My memory may be wrong, but I seem to recall telling you to change out of your summer dress before playing outside.” Just as she finished her sentence, Marian ran past her, bounding up the stairs.
“Really? Sorry mummy! I’ll make sure to put it in the sink!”
Mother simply sighed, exasperated, a delicate hand coming to grasp her face.
“Go get her, Peyton, make sure she isn’t wasting any time trying to find a ‘suitable’ outfit.” She asks, moving to the kitchen.
“Of course, mummy.”
As Peyton bounded up the stairs, footsteps closely echoing that of his sisters, he hears familiar bangs and crashes of closing and opening closet doors. He knows before he enters the room that the floor would likely be flooded by a sea of garments and toys.
Opening the oak door, he is treated with the predictable sight, and jumps over a few pants and skirts to sit down comfortably on his quilt. She danced around the room, expertly stepping over everything on the floor as if it were littered with land mines. He heard her humming a song that sounded more like mosquitoes having a polite chat over tea with its dull tones and strange pauses. She almost steps on her brown leather book, and he’s quick to bend down and snatch it up before gravity pulled her back down (like the reliable dance partner it is). She continues to hum.
“You should probably hurry up – mummy’s waiting and soon she’ll start tapping her foot.” He teases with a serious and fearful tone.
“Oh no!” Marian gasped, “Not the treacherous tap! It echoes across the empty hallway, louder than the roar of the most vicious dragon!” her arms flailed around her, nearly tripping on a conveniently placed boot. He giggles, setting down the leather book beside him.
“So,” she begins, finally settling down enough the scour through the mess she made on the floor. Sometimes, Peyton thinks that she does this to pretend she’s a pirate, scourging for treasure across piles of rubbish. He wouldn’t be surprised, he thought as she inspected a shirt closely before discarding it behind her.
“Who’d ya’ think is the new neighbor?”
Peyton hummed and shrugged his shoulders, reaching into his bedside to grab his own book. The cover was a pale blue, though the edges were worn and browned.
“C’mon – lets put a little thought into this. Ooh! What if it’s a dragon lady that used to sail the seas with her crew – the ‘Book club’!” she giggled and pranced around the room.
“or – or maybe it’s a grouchy old grandma that steals Halloween candy from little kids pumpkins!”
Peyton frowned – he didn’t like witches, at least none of the ones in Marians stories. They were mean, bringing reality and sadness into a world of fantasy and joy.
“Hey, now.” Peyton focused once more on his sister. She was in the middle of the room, hands crossed with a grumpy look on her face.
“Why are you frowning? You’re not allowed to frown while you’re using your imagination. It’s against the rules.”
“No changing the subject!”
Peyton ignored her and began to pick up the clothes from the floor. He didn’t get very far before all he could see was the frizzy hair he accidentally got into his mouth as Marian put him in a familiar head lock. She had pushed them to the floor, and he yelped as his limbs twisted and buckled under her momentum.
“Don’t you worry your little head Tony – it won’t be an evil witch who likes to eat children.”
“Who will it be then?” Peyton grumbled, kicking out a boot that was uncomfortably digging into his thigh.
“It’s going to be a nice old lady who feeds us hot buns and sweets every time we help her up the stairs.”
“Like Mrs. February?”
“Like Mrs. February.”
Mrs. February was a sweet old lady that made rare appearances throughout Marians stories. She was known for her pretty teacups, and welcoming tea parties – where she would invite both villains and heroes, attempting to bridge the gap between the two (It never worked, but Peyton always giggled at her attempts). Peyton liked to think of her as the grandma neither of them had.
“Now come on! I think I can hear mummy’s tapping!”
They continue their search for clothes, with Peyton closely following anything Marian does to keep her on track.
Once they reach the bottom of the stairs, they take a detour on their mothers’ demand to go downstairs and say bye to their father.
“Dad!” Marian yelled once she stepped off the last stair, running to the man hunched over the counter.
He quickly turned his lanky form, grunting as she ran into him full speed.
“Hey there sweetheart – where are you two off to?” he asks as he bends down to finish tying one of Marians shoelaces.
“’m not sure, I think mummy mentioned a new neighbor – we’re gonna go see who it is.”
“Why aren’t you at work today dad?” Peyton asked, stepping calmly behind his sister. He sneakily gazed at the tall table, seeing leather covers and black ink scattered across the wood.
“I decided to do some work at home – Tuesdays are always busy, it’s nice to get away from all the noise.”
“Although,” he continued, a mischievous glint in his eyes, “With you two around - the office is looking like a right paradise.”
Marian ignored him, and unlike Peyton, had no issues nosily poking around the supplies on the desk.
“Is this another book, dad?” she questioned, accidentally dipping her hand in a pot of ink. Peyton rolled his eyes, already darting off to grab a damp cloth so she could wipe the dirtied fingers.
“Yes, I think your brother would especially like this one.” Her responded once Peyton shuffled back. The boy, now more curious, stood on his tippy toes to see the print and title plastered onto wooden backings.
“Fred Neur! Is this the fourth addition?” he questioned excitingly, gripping the blue book he had brought down from his room.
Fred Neur was a writer in the town over and had brought his book to his dad’s office for printing and publishing. Peyton quickly fell in love with the stories the man told, the tales of heroes and villains calling to his boyish heart.
Literature in the William household replaced gods and deities seen in others. It ruled the household with an iron fist, and its residents worshiped it like nothing else. Their mother, while not working and instead deciding to keep their home, had grown up in a library down by the bay. There, she had found their father, who had stopped by to talk with the owner about a new supply of books coming through town.
As destiny calls for it, their first meeting inevitably became first love and first marriage – and soon enough, their newly built home in the hills became a temple for letters and tales. 2 years later and the twins were born into a house where wallpapers were replaced by bookcases and each room had a writing desk. Their favourite poems were etched into their headboards and bedtime stories were a family event.
Marian, by the age of 6, had written her first story. It wasn’t a very impressive one, about a horse named Percival that began to terrorize a nearby town, but Peyton became her biggest fan. He would read it to her parents almost every night until she wrote a new one, which she did after a few weeks. There are only so many times that you can hear about Percival breaking windows and stepping on flower gardens before it became a tiring tale. Now days, she would write stories and poems (if anything, just to keep her brother happy) and he would read them. A loving cycle that made their dad smile all sappy and proud - and their mum, content and hopeful.
“Yes, and a little birdie told me he has already begun a fifth.” Dad winked down at the excited boy and finished cleaning off Marians hand. He looked around, checking in case anyone was watching (there wasn’t), before picking up a copy of the manuscript and handing it to Peyton.
Peyton smile was wide and reaching, and his feet floated as he gave his dad a kiss on his cheek before running back up the stairs.
Peyton had already cracked open the book – he’d been re-reading the previous edition for a few weeks now. Marian had to guide him from tripping into walls and furniture that scattered across the hallway. At the end of it, their mother was putting on a scarf, a wicket basket held snuggly in the crook of her elbow.
“Another one?” mother sighs fondly, tightening the wool around her neck. She watches in exasperation as Peyton nearly trips over the shoes rack, closely saved by a well-practiced hand.
“You’d think dad would know better by now.” Marian shakes her head but does nothing but continue to help Peyton into his coat without taking his gaze from the book.
She finally huffs in frustration, tightly grabbing his arm and dragging him out into the quickly cooling air. Her patience only extended so far.
“C’mon! I’ll beat you down the hill!”
Soon enough, the trio were once again walking through the damp grass, the long stems coming up to reach their knees as they raced along the pathway.
Peyton skipped from rock to rock, hand tightly around the small satchel resting on his hip. He quickly catches his large brimmed hat before it flew from the wind, smiling as the air hit his reddened face. Not far behind him, Marian followed his steps, familiar huffs and puffs of exhaustion escaping her like the revving of a car. It was getting colder by the hour; the first beginnings of a persistent winter fell down in layers – and Marian wondered about the temperamental weather near their home.
The thin coat of snow around them seemed fake – bright and fragile, crumbling near his feet when he jumped. Despite the darkening of the night, the snow glowed and overwhelmed his vision with its icy breath.
“Tony! Wait up!” Peyton rolled his eyes but paused in his journey.
“Jeez Tones,” Marian huffed once she was near, “How can you even run without trippin’? We’re basically walking on water here!”
“Stop being dramatic,” Peyton grumbled, but if anything, it made her worse. She gasped, placing a hand to her chest – but the icy air she inhaled shot the back of her throat and she began coughing. It didn’t take much to elicit laughter from Peyton, at least not when it was at his sisters’ expense.
“C’mon you two! We’re almost there!” their mother called them back, and Peyton was surprised to see she was already ahead of them. They began running again, continuing to jump across the landscape like restless deer and foxes.
They had seen the house from up the hill, the blackened dot becoming clearly against the white landscape. The neighbor’s house was towering and rotten, windows fogged and blurry with no light escaping them. The chimney blew out large puffs of black smoke, spluttering against the icy clouds.
Mother nudges Peyton, who had already began reading again, and sends him a reprimanding glance she had long ago learnt from her own mother. She watches in bemusement as the boy sheepishly lowers the book from his face, however kept a thumb in between the pages to mark his position.
They stand for a moment in silence, before mother once again knocks with her reddened knuckles. Before she could finish, the door slowly swings open, revealing an older, straight backed lady with squinting eyes. The twin’s glance at each other apprehensively, but with some hope in their smiles.
“Yes?” she answers in a grouchy tone, and Peyton notices how she grips a quivering cane between her blood red nails. His smile falters a bit.
“Hi ma’am, we just wanted to welcome you into our neighborhood – we live just up the hill, you see, and wanted to check in that everything was ok.” Mother explained in a calm, pleasant tone. She gestured down to the weighing basket, and a smell of newly baked apple pie wafted through the air.
“Name?” the lady griped, not bothering to glance down at the basket.
“The Williams, ma’am.”
“Very well,” she gazed down at Marian and Peyton hiding behind their mother’s long skirt. Without another word, she beckoned them into the dark hallway, her crooked finger twisting unpleasantly.
title: Her Flight
genre: Literary Fiction
age range: 16+
word count: Word count of this excerpt: 3313, Current word count of narrative: 17789
author name: Camila Ferrand
why your project is a good fit: This project will create a smart analysis of the loss of childhood from a unique persepctive - touching on subjects currently in the spotlight, including the femanist view, affects of domestic violence and the idea of creating a career.
synopsis: No current synopsis
target audience: Young adults, however older ages will also be able to relate and appreciate to the future events
education: Currently in highschool
experience: No passed experience, beside a couple of published poems
likes/hobbies: I enjoy writing narriatives and poems, painting and politics
hometown: Australia, SA
Sweaty Palms Grip at Control
Sweaty palms claw at linen bedsheets, desiring release from your terribly loving claws. Your smile shadows daggers, makes me aware of your danger, and I fall into this terryfing love.
An Underwhelming Exposé
It seems the day has finally come. I had imagined it more dramatic; I must admit – thought it would take social media by the balls and shake it to its core. My dear old mind had conjured images of hound dogs and reporters, of a safe ready to burst at its seams – secrets trembling, waiting to be spilled across the darkened nights. I had thought the worst – and, to my dismay, was entirely underwhelmed.
(When your mind tells you to prepare for a doomsday and all you get is an NDA from your recently divorced ex-husband, a lot of things begin to seem underwhelming.)
My nonchalance attitude to this entire charade will cause blood veins to burst – I can already tell. I can see the anger through your jumbled 279 character strongly worded tweet, can see the way you spit words like ‘cheater’ and ‘slut’ from your teeth in a way that would make most mothers flinch. I would flinch as well, had I not heard it all before. Truly, its underwhelming.
Tuesdays to me had also always seems underwhelming. It is only fitting that my horrid ways be revealed only hours before the sun had truly risen – before the darkness could truly hide. I suppose I could blame the empty whiskey bottle for my bravery, or perhaps it was cowardness – my drunk self picking up the phone and sending off photos that I had already put in my favourite’s album. How incredibly underwhelming, that my exposé was done by my own hand and no one else’s.
I had waited 3 years for someone to realise what I had done. 3 years hiding every text and covering ever scent of cologne. Of wearing turtlenecks in 30-degree weather and choosing nondescript black cars on public holidays. 3 years only for it to end when this gun I wielded to protect myself shot out a bullet that went right through my foot. Extremely anticlimactic, I’m almost pouting in boredom.
To my drunk self who decided this was a good idea: thank you, I suppose. I understand that I may deal with these consequences, deal with the blood quickly spilling from my limbs, watch as that silly little follower count drops and drops every minute or so – but I suppose I can finally wear dresses and off the shoulder shirts throughout summer.
This is not the ‘apology’ any of you want, I can see this clearly. You wish for me to repent, to recognise the awful human traits that I could not hide like the rest of you are so desperately trying to.
Next time I drink a bottle of whiskey in its entirety, I’ll make sure to give you one.
In the meantime, I’ll lock up that particular cupboard and stop preparing for the Armageddon. I’ll sign the NDA, and slowly fade back into the social media wall of fuckups and disgraces.
Good night my adoring fans (and to Michael, see you on Friday, my darling.)
A Deadly Foe
Danny crouched rigidly next to the body as he watched intently at the deadly wasp scavenging the carcass. A little step closer, his sketcher shoe stuttering against the dirt - the wasp stilling its movement. The young boy felt the sun boil his skin - each hair stood up in anticipation like soldiers ready to scram, and a droplet of sweat cooled his red face. His tongue rolls out like a puffing dog to wet his dry lips - and he raises his armed hand to his foe.
"Daniel!" he hears in the distance, and suddenly, the wasp is gone.
An Unwilling Prisoner.
I couldn't believe my own mother turned me in.
She left me here, in a place of strangers and disgusting vermin - without even a glint of regret. Even when I reached through the bars and pleaded, she relented. Told me, with that bittersweet smile plastered on her face, that it was for my own good. That is was time to grow up.
I guess I understood. On some level, I could tell that she had been getting annoyed with me. Would lecture me about being good, about God, about how I was doing this and this and this all wrong. Maybe I did need to grow up, but I didn't know if I could trust her after she betrayed my trust so.
I glanced at the glaring sun, already feeling the sweat glint off my back. The day was still young, fresh, and the strangers intimidated me as they surrounded the courtyard. There were rules in place, I could tell, from the stiff shoulders of some and the tear streaks down others. Rules I didn't know yet, but ones I will soon understand.
I quickly located the watcher, looking down from his post with glinted eyes and a fake smile. He seemed like he could be a nice guy - slightly round at the belly, still young and healthy, except something about him put me on edge. And I suddenly shiver, a seeping regret in my bones as I considered mother. Didn't she see what this place did to my brother? it turned him into a right animal, it did. I would have been much happier at home, hiding in between curtains and eating from the pantry. ‘No,’ my mother stated, ‘It's against the law. You have to go.’
I was lost in my mind when I realised the watcher was walking towards me. His dead eyes and fake smile almost made me curl.
“Ah, you must be Henry. Your mummy left a note - would you like me to show you around? I'm sure you’ll make lots of friends - day-care is the most fun you’ll ever have!”
Henry doubted it, but took the tall man's hand and waddled away. Damn his mummy, and her controlling ways.
The ghost in my house is leaving.
It came 3 months ago, when Abuela died of a heart attack in her sleep. I woke up to a coughing fit, gurgled screams and the sobbing of my Mama on the phone. That night felt like a dream, blurred around the edges, colours fading as days went by. I felt the water cupped in my too-small hands slowly dripping between the cracks, and yet no matter how much I squeezed and grabbed, the water would only fall faster. Now, I found it harder to remember my Abuela, only a soft smile and softer voice, that sang Spanish lullabies and told olden stories.
There were small things, tiny little things that made me think she might have overstayed her welcome, however.
I thought at nights, sometimes, I would hear the low rumbling of her vacuum cleaner sweeping the floors in short movements. I made sure to never leave too much of a mess on the floor, remembering how she would berate me for having to bend down and pick up my clothes and toys.
Other times, I saw her rosary move around the house, one day in the kitchen and another in the lounge. I knew she watched, and I made sure to keep the telly on a little longer whenever her favourite cooking show was on.
And every time I smelt lemons waft in through our open windows, I just knew she had come back from grocery shopping at the local ghost market. I wanted so badly to turn on the oven for her, so that maybe I would wake up to a backed lemon pie, but I could already imagine the expression on poor Mama's face. Instead, I left one cup of sugar out on the counter, and it was never there when I came back.
It's been 2 weeks, however, since I last heard the vacuem cleaner. It's been 8 days since the rosary had moved, and 3 days since I last smelt lemons.
Mama no longer cried at nights, no longer stayed looking at Abuelas portrait on the mantel. She hid the rosary in the car rather than in the house, and bought a new vacuum cleaner that worked far more efficiently than the last every could. Mama took most of Abuelas clothes to a charity store around the corner, and closed the house windows saying it was too cold for them to be open, no matter how many lemons tempted us.
And I watched as the ghost slowly left, no doubt feeling very unwelcome by Mama's actions. I was upset at Mama, how dare she move Abuelas things. Didn't she remember that Abuela had an old mind, and wouldn't find something if it was misplaced?
I tried to confront Mama, but she just sighed and patted me on the head, saying "It's going to be ok princesa, she will always be here", she pointing to my heart, "there is no need for life to pause because she is no longer sleeping in her bed and reading in her armchair."
With this, she left for Sunday church, and I was left playing with the idea that Abuela had just been relocating somewhere safer, more welcoming then a house she couldn't interact with.
I hoped my heart, as Mama had implied, would remember Abuela far more than my memories were able to. Would serve her better, treat her kindly, understand the Spanish words and lessons that i never understood. The ghost, shadow, memories, whatever they're called, of Abuela hadn't been leaving, just hiding, and I was happy in the knowledge that my heart would beat for both of us.
Abuela was home, and she was stubborn enough to never leave it. Death was a fool for thinking otherwise.
Paused on Repeat.
The man was hell bent on stopping time.
He gazed at his broken watch, the micky mouse ears ripped into fours and the glass poking at the poor cartoon’s eyes. He smiled happily, knowing he’ll never be late to sleeping again.
He looked towards the black curtains, where he could see some sun light peeking out between the gaps. He frowned – that wouldn’t do at all – and was quick to take some heavy-duty duct tape out from his drawers. Later (though he could not tell you by how much), he smiled contently at the blocked-out window and excessive tape, knowing he’ll never be late to waking up again.
He walked to the kitchen, and his frown returned, gazing at the microwave and its flashing numbers. The digits didn’t last long under the force of his 3 tonged fork, the class cracking in a satisfying crunch. And even though when he opened the microwave door, and the light inside didn’t turn on, he still smiled – knowing he’ll never be late to breakfast again.
When he took his cold breakfast to the living room, he turned on the tv and sat contently on the couch. When the morning news came on, he was quick to throw said remote into the middle of the black screen. When erratic colours shattered from within, he sighed in content and sank down into his leather couch, knowing he’ll never be late to his morning shows again.
When the clock tower on his street corner rang like a pestering neighbour, he rushed to his balcony and threw his cold un-eaten toast and ceramic plate as far as he could into the general direction of the offending nuisance. It was a clear miss, he grumbled – however the clock stopped its ringing and he conceded to try again when it decided to clang again.
Down below, a low grumbling caught his attention, and he witnessed a heavy truck slowly wheeled forward – picking up bins and bags from the sidewalk. He wanted to shout in anger, however instead just dropped his broken tv from the balcony once the vehicle was close enough. He was quick to close the curtains afterwards, and when the duct tape finally settled, his anger was swept away, knowing he’ll never be late to garbage-pick up again.
A flap opening diverted his eyes and he saw papers drop from his mail slot. Racing as fast as his long legs could take him, his handy duct tape served him another round as he layered the material over the open wound. He could have laughed, knowing he’ll never be late to pay another bill again.
He looked down at the papers that lay scattered on the floor, and his smile widened at one envelope. As he sat down and opened it up with delicate rips, he gazed lovingly at the photo he had gotten processed two sleeps prior. They stood to him the best day of his life, the night before his wedding. He would never understand how it had ended so horribly, with the love of his life screaming out a prayer for the Lord to forgive her for killing him.
He, after all, was never even late to the wedding, as she had accused him of. He was never late to anything, and it was something he took pride in. He smiled down at his forgotten memories, knowing he’ll never be late to living again.