Anger & Sadness
Builds in me like lava
Fighting its way to the surface of a volcano.
A hurricane forming in the ocean.
A tornado twisting in the desert,
Growing bigger and bigger
Taking everything in its path.
Then, I scream.
And finally, I fall.
A Song by Christmas
Renowned singer, Christine Carr has until Christmas to write the final song for her new album, but struggles when her A-lister boyfriend, Derek Dekker, dumps her publicly for his costar. Broken-hearted and embarassed, Christine escapes to the small town she grew up in for the holidays in hopes of inspiration. Christine finds comfort in her family, her community and Nathan Crest, the boy she left behind to chase her dreams. As an old flame reignites, and the deadline for her song approaches, Christine wonders if the path she chose for herself is the right one or if she could forge a new one in a familiar place.
There's no happily ever after
No silence filled with laughter
No pain without the dagger
No void that doesn't get blacker
There's just the tears filled with fears
And the screams no one hears
So you draw on a smile
Even though you feel vile
You walk the walk
You talk the talk
But when you look in the mirror
It couldn't be clearer
The sadness inside
That you've denied
Painted in your eyes
There's no surprise
But no one else can see
All that you may be
So you wipe your tears
Disguise your fears
Illuminate your teeth
And hide all that lies beneath
There's beauty in the dirt in which the flower sleeps before it rises to the surface. There's beauty in the intricate weaving of a caterpillar's cacoon before it breaks open to reveal the butterfly. There's beauty in darkness just before the light shines through to reveal all that is hidden within it. There's beauty in a barren tree covered with snow on a cold, winter's day before its branches fill with green in the Spring. There's beauty in pain before it becomes joy, and there's beauty in failure before it becomes success. Beauty lies not in what you see but what you don't see and what will be. To know true beauty is to have lived because success means nothing without failure. Money means nothing without poverty and happiness means nothing without pain. True beauty resides in the journey and struggle to success, because only then will you know the pure value and beauty of what you have in the end.
Tell me it’s okay
Tell me that the broken pieces of my heart will one day be mended. That if I just keep swimming I'll eventually reach the shore. Tell me that this isn't forever. That the crushing ache in my chest and the ever-flowing tears will stop, and I'll breathe again. Tell me I'll find my way, and that the days of wandering aimlessly through life without purpose will be long behind me. Tell me the sun will come out and light the darkness that imprisons my mind and cripples my soul. Tell me you see past my smile, and that one day it will be real.
Please, just tell me it's okay. Tell me because I don't believe myself. My once bright eyes have dimmed, and I'm struggling to swim. My arms have gotten heavy and my legs are numb. I'm in the middle of the ocean without a life jacket. The waves are crashing down on me without any breaks in between, and I fear I'll drown before I ever see the shore or the new horizons it will bring.
"And when my world goes dim, what will I leave behind? For the seasons are changing quicker and quicker, and I fear I have hardly the time to catch my breath let alone my dreams."
Not in 1952 Anymore
Hollywood Blvd. looks different than I remember. There are stars on the ground with names of people I don’t recognize, except for a few from my time. I read the one I am standing on, Pitbull. I wonder what this dog has done to be on a star. So much has changed.
I look around, everyone is staring at these rectangles in their hands that irradiate. They all seem so enamored by them. One person was nearly run over by a vehicle because he refused to look up. No one stops to say hello, no one makes eye contact or asks how you are doing. They just pass you by, and heaven forbid you smile at them and tell them to have a lovely day. They look at you like you are a martian who just landed from outer space speaking in an alien tongue. When did humanity become so robotic?
I agreed to be cryogenically frozen because I hoped for progress and change, yet, here I stand in the middle of a foreign Hollywood Blvd where all basic decency ceases to exist. Fifty plus years have passed and in some ways, the world seems to have regressed.
I was even told the President is an orange man who likes to grab women’s private areas, and children are being kept in cages. Quite frankly, I’m not sure how to feel about 2019 or about the future in general.
I walk dejected, wondering if I made the right decision when a man bumps into me and yells, “watch it!” I’m taken aback, but before I can apologize, two rather diverse looking women come to my aid.
“You watch it,” says the tall, beautiful African American woman. She is dressed in pants that stop well before her knees and a rather revealing blouse. I blush.
“Yeah, you bumped into her you jerk. Apologize,” interjects the hypnotizing, brown-eyed Spanish-looking woman dressed in a skin-tight dress that accentuates her hour-glass figure. There are names for women who dressed like this in my time, but I am too ashamed to utter the words.
The man scoffs and mutters, “damn feminists,” under his breath as he walks away.
“You okay?” asks the brown-eyed beauty. “Yes, I am fine. Thank you,” I respond in awe of the manner they spoke to a man. “I’m Madison,” says the African American woman, “and this is Rachelle.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” I say, “my name is Anne.”
“Nice to meet you, Anne. You look a little lost. Are you headed to a costume party somewhere or a character on the strip?” asks Madison. I furl my eyebrows until I realize they are pointing out my apparel. I did not get the opportunity to modernize my wardrobe and am still wearing my polka-dotted dress and black heels. I smile awkwardly.
“No actually, I was, um,” I pause in an attempt to form the words that explain my situation. “I am not from this time,” I say. The looks on their faces tell me that was not the right way to phrase it. “I apologize, I meant to say, I was cryogenically frozen in 1952 and just woke up in 2019.” Their faces begin to ease. “Oh, Dr. Greenberg’s experiment,” Madison says excitedly, "I was reading about that in my biology class at Standford. I’m shocked you made it without injury. You’ll have to tell us more about it.”
“Madison here is a huge nerd. She’s studying to be a biochemist,” teases Rachelle. Madison hits Rachelle in the arm with her elbow in a joking manner and says, “Says the soon to be Harvard graduate in psychotherapy.”
My eyes widen in awe. “You are able to go to college?” I ask. Their eyebrows furl in curiosity but quickly soften in understanding. “Women can do all sorts of things these days, including going to college,” says Madison.
“Oh?” I say, “I always wanted to study science but back then it was a rarity for women to attend college. My mother forced me to marry right after high school,” I say.
They raise their brows, “Married? where’s your husband?” Rachelle asks rather abruptly. Madison elbows her again and gives her a “you cannot just ask that” look.
“It is quite alright.” I say, “Yes, I was married. He died in an accident, just before I turned 35. Although I didn’t love him, with him and my parents gone, I felt there was nothing for me in 1952, which is why I agreed to be frozen. If I could not study science, I thought I could be a part of it.”
"Well," says Madison, "It's still not too late. Here, why don't you come with us, and we'll show you the ropes."
"Ropes?" I question.
"She means we'll help you get settled and teach you everything you need to know," Rachelle says.
"But first," Madison says pulling out her rectangular object, "let's take a selfie to commemorate this moment, shall we?"
"What is that object, and what is a selfie?" I ask. They giggle and ask me to smile as a flash goes off and captures our images. I look at it mesmerizingly. "Is this a modern camera then?" I ask.
"It's a camera, a phone, and a computer all in one," Madison says.
I blink profusely as my brain tries to adjust to this newfound information and technology.
Rachelle swings her hand over my shoulder and around my neck. "You have much to learn young Padawan."
"What is a Padawan?" I ask.
They laugh. "Just come on. First stop, shopping," Madison says.
Shopping. Finally, something I understand.
As we walk towards the shops, I wonder if perhaps I have misjudged 2019 and that there is more good than bad. If women can become scientists, I cannot wait to discover what else we can do.
Suddenly the future is not looking so dim.
"When I grow up I want to be...an astronaut...no wait...an actress...or maybe a doctor like you daddy!"
He strokes her sweat stained hair as it rests upon her pale face.
"Daddy?" she says, "why are you crying?" He wipes his flooding tears from his puffy red cheeks. "What? Me? I'm not crying. They're tears from how much you make me laugh," he lies.
"But you weren't laughing daddy, and I didn't say anything funny," she coughs.
He gulps. "You're always funny to me cupcake. No matter what you say."
She smiles at her father who drinks in his daughter's porcelain face. She has her mother's ocean blue eyes, the same eyes that hypnotized him when they first met and kept him hypnotized until they closed forever. His daughter's eyes are all that remain on her tiny, fever-striken face, and now, soon they too will close, never to open again.
"Daddy, I'm not going to grow up am I?" she says.
Sobs fill the back of his throat. He couldn't save his wife and, despite all the clinical trials, numerous tests and experimental drugs, he couldn't save his daughter either. He opens his mouth to answer but the held-back sobs find their voice instead. He crashes his face into his palms sobbing, unable to look at his daughter and tell her the truth. She strokes her father's shoulder with her frail, shaking hand and smiles brightly with her big blue eyes.
"It's okay daddy, I'm not scared. Mommy said she was waiting for me up there, and she said it wouldn't hurt anymore."
He looks up at her as shivers vibrate throughout his body. "You talked to mommy?" he asks. She nods weakly. "She visited me in my dream, and she said she couldn't wait to hold me in her arms. She was so pretty, daddy. I wish you saw her. She had big blue eyes like mine." He wished more than anything to see her, to hold her again and have her scent stain his shirts like before. His daughter was a baby when his wife died from the same disease that now encompassed his daughter. He used to show his daughter pictures of her mommy, and always pointed out his wife's big blue eyes. Although, as a doctor and a man of science, he believes that it was merely a fever dream, it oddly gives him hope.
"She had a message for you too daddy," she says. He perks up, intrigued by the words to follow.
"Did she now? And what did she say?" he humors her.
"She said 'it wasn't your fault. That you did all you could to save her and me, and that she loves you. And even though you want to do it, it's not your time yet.' What were you going to do daddy?" He sits up in his seat, taken aback by these words. His daughter couldn't have possibly known what he was planning upon her death. She couldn't have known that he set out to take numerous sleeping pills, now hiding in his pocket, and lay his head next to his daughter's as they both drew their last breath. He can feel his pulse racing. He takes deep breaths in an effort to regain his composure. He takes the pills from his pocket and stares at them. He walks towards the bathroom and contemplates heavily about his next move when he hears his daughter's voice.
He tosses the pills into the toilet and flushes them as he rushes back to his daughter's bedside.
"Nothing now sweetheart," he says, "Nothing. How are you feeling?" he asks, stroking her burning, scrawny cheek.
"Tired," she says breathing heavily, "It's getting hard to breathe. Will you hold me?"
He smiles down at his daughter as he weeps heavily, tears staining his cheeks and lips. "Of course I will," he says, crawling into her bed and holding her tight as his tears crash upon her brittle face.
"Dah-dah-dee" she struggles to say as her breath shortens and she fights for air.
"It's okay, it's okay. I'm here, baby,"he sobs. Her body twinges in his arms as it battles for oxygen only to lose miserably. He sits there, taking in their last moments as he weeps and screams uncontrollably. He wonders what posessed him to throw away the pills. He could have died with her, with them both, but here he sits with his daughter's small and lifeless body in his arms, all because of some words his wife allegedly said from beyond...if there even is a beyond. "Why!" he screams as he rocks back and forth,"Why!" He looks down at his daughter's motionless face and brushes her blonde locks from her small forehead. He's suddenly reminded of his momentary feeling of hope. Hope that what his daughter said was true, hope that she did in fact reunite with her mommy and hope that one day he would join them too.
Death is not painful for the one who dies but for those who bothered to care. Rather, life is painful. A twisted beauty, life draws you in with its false promises as it whispers sweet nothings into your ear, only to disappoint. As time goes on and we become older, the illusions fade. The pain and heartache have settled in as we desperately fight to clutch onto the other side of the grass; but alas, most never reach the greener side as they are left in the cold, dead and fruitless dirt. In the end, for most, death is not painful...it is freedom.
I can feel his warm, tequila stained breath on my neck as each individual hair stands up in defense. I close my eyes and take a breath. Just one more hour, hang in there, I reassure myself. His sausage-like index finger traces the line in the back of my neck. My chest clogs, and I gulp frivlously to keep from vomiting. His very touch makes my skin crawl as I imagine it did for all the girls he's touched before. I open my eyes and look in his direction. He grins menacingly, like Pennywise the clown about to claim yet another victim. Every part of my body aches to kick him in his tiny balls and jump out of the plane without a parachute, but I resist the urge and manage to flash him my best smile. You've got a great smile, he says, transferring his dry wrinkled hands onto my face, you ever think about modeling? I want to bite his fingers off, but I gently brush his hand off my face and say, No, never occurred to me before. Thank you.
I sink further back into my seat, attempting to keep as much distance between us as possible, but he's persistent, as expected. His hand is now on my inner thigh. My eye catches the flight attendants' who are watching us, as though waiting for what usually comes next. One of them approaches us, like she saw the look of disgust and fear in my eyes, and says, Can I get you guys anything to drink? Before he can decline, I ask for a glass of champagne. God knows I could use alcohol right now. Mr. Epstein, for you? he looks at me and smiles. Make that two. We deserve a toast, he says taking his hand even further up now. I clear my throat and excuse myself to the restroom. Don't be too long, he says after me.
I look at myself in the mirror and splash cold water onto my face. My green eyes are blood-shot from lack of sleep and stress. I can't do this, I think, what was I thinking agreeing to this when the police asked me to cooperate? There's a knock on the bathroom door. Are you alright in there? I suddenly have flashes to the bathroom scene in The Shining. Get yourself together, I tell myself.
Fine, I'm fine. I'll be right out, I yell. I take one last look in the mirror and take a deep breath like it may be my last. You've got this. Not long now. I slide the lock on the bathroom door and let myself out. I fix my dress and make my way back to my seat where he's waiting with both champagnes in hand. I missed you, he says handing me my champagne. I grin, I'm here now, I say. Yes, you are, he says placing his hand back on my inner thigh. Drink up, he winks at me. I take the glass close to my mouth, but quickly stop. How am I to know that he didn't spike this drink? Everything okay? he says.
Yes, yeah. It's great. I have to think fast. I just- I put on my best clumsy act and spill the drink all over him. Oh crap, I'm so sorry, I say, but he's quick to reassure me as he begins unbuttoning his shirt as the flight attendant makes her way back with another shirt. Don't worry about it, he says taking my hand and putting it on his bare, wrinkly chest. I clench my jaw in an attempt to keep myself from gagging. Mr. Epstein, here's another shirt, the flight attendant says. Thank you, he says taking the shirt and freeing my hand from his clutches. The flight attendant eyes me in an Are you okay? manner. I nod, smiling, but I am far from okay. I look at my watch. Only thirty minutes until we land.
Somewhere to be? he asks me as he buttons up his new shirt and hands his stained one to the flight attendant. I giggle. No, of course not. He buttons his last button and cuddles closer to me. He brushes my hair and tucks a stray piece behind my ear. Don't worry about the time, let's just enjoy each other's company. His lips brush my neck and my body immediately tenses up. You smell so good, he whispers in my ear. I humor him for a minute, but gently push him off. Are you okay? he asks. Yes, yeah. Just a bit nauseous. I haven't eaten today. His face falls, disappointed his advances failed for the time being. He quickly picks himself up. I wouldn't want you to pass out, let's get you some food. He calls over the other flight attendant. Please bring the lady the best sandwich we've got. The flight attendant nods. Thank you, I whisper.
His hand touches the small of my back and gently massages it. Thankfully, the flight attendant hastily brings me a wrapped turkey sandwich leaving no time for any more advancements. Thank you so much, I say as I grab the sandwich from her hands. Jeffrey looks at me as I slowly unwrap the sandwich and draw it close to my mouth. He licks his lips as he watches me take a bite. I watch his chest rise and fall a bit faster than normal. I focus on eating as slowly as humanly possible, and he seems to be eating it up. Good? he says. Mhm, I mumble with a mouth full of food. God, you're beautiful, he says. I smirk, using eating as an excuse to not verbally respond.
Mr. Epstein? The captain would like to see you for a moment, the flight attendant interrupts. Thank God, I think. Excuse me for a moment, he says. I nod as he leaves. I look at my watch again. I'm nearly done with my sandwich, and I've wasted a good twenty minutes doing so, which means we'll be landing any minute now. I take the last bite when he returns to his seat. Captain says to buckle up, we'll be landing soon. I nod handing over the remaining wrapper to the flight attendant. All better? he asks. Yes, I say, much. Good, I'm glad, he says brushing his finger across my lip. You had a mustard stain, I got it. I didn't, but I let it slide. He smirks, displaying all of his teeth like he's ready to ravage me. The pilot's voice comes over the intercom. We will be landing shortly, flight attendants and passengers please buckle up. I sigh in relief. Better hang on tight, he says as he grabs my hand and brushes it with his thumb. I clutch the armrests tightly as we begin to descend.
After what seems like an eternity, we finally reach the ground. Jeffrey tells me to hang back as he goes to speak with the Pilot. I look around frantically in search of the police, praying that they'll infiltrate the plane quicky, but nothing. I watch the flight attendants and pilot exit. Jeffrey notices the look of confusion on my face. I thought we could hang back and finish what we started. My heart sinks and the sandwich is quickly making its way back up. Um, maybe another time Jeffrey-, but he doesnt let me finish. No better time than now, he says as he picks me up and caresses my face. He begins kissing my neck. Stop, please stop, I say, but he won't budge. He pushes my back against the wall, and I struggle to push him off. Oh God, where the hell are they? I think. Tears drop like waterfalls on my face as I plead for him to stop. Stop being a little bitch, you know you want this, he says, his hand now creeping up my shirt onto my breast as he squeezes it roughly. I fight to get away, but he pushes me further into the wall. I groan. Please, I cry, Please stop. Nothing. I start to lose hope, slowly descending into my own mind to avoid being present. But, just as I am gone completely, I hear them. Jeffrey Epstein, you are under arrest, let the girl go and put your hands in the air. Just then, with his pants around his ankles, Jeffrey pushes himself off of me and raises both hands above his head, shamefully facing his fate.
I watch as they take him out, he looks back at me with betrayal and hatred in his eyes. I lose myself completely as I sob uncontrollably. Where were you? I scream, as a female officer comes to console me with a warm blanket and water. I take small sips trying to regain my composure. I want to wash myself in an acid bath in any attempt to wash his stench off of me, but I know it'll never be enough. His musky, cologne heavy scent will forever stain my nostrils.