Playing it Straight
"So, Jake, are there any girls that you're interested in?" Dad asked, easily shifting the conversation from my best friend, Ray's girlfriend straight to me, as if expecting me to say yes and then ask him for advise on how to win her over.
INT. Minami Hisoka’s Room – Day
Dirty clothes and an assortment of garbage is scattered all over the floor. The bed is on one side of the room left unmade, a mess of sheets and pillows. Beside that is a nightstand that has drawers with socks and undergarments hanging out of them. A cutesy alarm clock of an anime girl stands on top, along with several uneven stacks of manga. Next to that, there’s a bookcase full of manga. There’s a window beside that with blinds and curtains drawn. On the other side of the room, there’s a closet and a computer desk that has shelves of figurines of female characters from various anime series. The only source of light comes from the lamp on the desk as well as the computer screen.
Seated at the desk is MINAMI HISOKA, a young man who’s dressed in oversized sweats. His hair is greasy and messy. There are heavy bags underneath his bloodshot eyes, which are glued to the screen, watching an idol group of anime girls perform on stage as he clutches a body pillow of one of the girls close to his chest.
Pretty in Pink
I’m at Bella Vita, celebrating my mom’s sixtieth birthday when I see her. She’s a tall, curvy woman who appears to be in her late twenties or early thirties. She certainly stands out with her long, wavy pink hair. She looks beautiful in her matching sleeveless, rose-designed cocktail dress and heels.
It’s easy to tell that she’s the center of the celebration, not only because of her looks, but because of how she’s making it a point to socialize with every single person at the party. Off to the side, there’s another table that has a bunch of gifts on it, all wrapped up in pink. I’m guessing that she’s either having a baby shower or a bridal shower.
As everyone chats over wine, I tell one of my mom’s friends how much I want to compliment the woman. Unlike me, Ginny has no qualms about getting the woman’s attention. Ginny asks the woman what she’s celebrating and the woman confirms that she’s having a bridal shower in a sweet, soft voice. We congratulate and compliment her. She thanks us on both accounts before she turns her attention back to her guests.
For whatever reason, I’m left feeling dissatisfied. Maybe it’s because of how short that interaction was or maybe it’s because I’m jealous. Here I am: a single, unemployed woman in her late twenties, who still lives with her parents and barely has any friends. In comparsion, this woman’s life seems much more fulfilled. She’s clearly taken. She has to have some kind of job. There’s no way she’s still living at home. She has to be living with her soon-to-be husband or wife. The amount of guests at her bridal shower is a testament to how many people are in her corner. Whatever the case may be, I can’t help but think of how lucky her partner is to be with such a nice, beautiful woman.
Waking Up with Wings
Maria tossed and turned in bed, trying to get comfortable, but she just couldn’t. She groaned and massaged the space on either side of her spine with her knuckles. It barely did anything for the aching, but it was better than doing nothing, she guessed.
For whatever reason, her back had been aching a lot lately, even to the point of hurting sometimes. It wasn’t like she had big boobs or had her period or anything like that. It just started aching at random times of the day. Every now and then, she’d feel jolts of pain, too. She felt like she had bones in her back that just weren’t there before. Or maybe they had always been there. Wouldn’t that make the most sense? Bones didn’t just appear out of nowhere.
She had no idea what the hell was happening to her and it wasn’t like she could trust anybody to give her any answers. She thought about maybe telling Sister Olivia, but she decided not to. As cool as Sister Olivia was, Maria didn’t trust her or anyone else at this stupid boarding school to figure out what was going on. These were the same people who threw holy water at her on the first day she got here because they thought she was a demon. This pretty much went without saying, but these people were crazy.
After some time, she managed to fall asleep. As she slept, she began to feel something tear through the skin on both sides of her spine. The pain was excruciating. She wanted to scream, but she just couldn’t. All of her screams were trapped inside of her, roaring inside of her head. Her face twisted in agony as tears leaked from her eyes. Through the blinding pain, it was brief, but she could feel someone’s fingertips brush against her shoulder.
Then, the pain was finally gone, leaving her sore and exhausted. Slowly, she opened her eyes and squinted at the sudden brightness of the room, her vision adjusting to the light. She saw Elisha and Sister Olivia at her bedside, dressed in their pajamas. It was strange to see Sister Olivia in anything other than her nun outfit. Maria could see her wavy brown hair and how well it framed her face and brought out her hazel eyes. She was really pretty. Compared to Elisha, though, her pajamas were less relaxed, more formal.
“Maria?” Elisha asked, softly. “You with us, girl?”
She nodded. “Y-yeah.” Her throat was dry.
As if on cue, Sister Olivia took a cup of water off the nightstand and handed it to her. Feeling weak, Maria shakily propped herself up onto her elbow and took the cup, gulping down all of the water before she gave it back and lowered herself back down onto her side.
“How are you feeling?” She asked.
Maria sighed, her eyes heavy with fatigue. “Tired.”
“I can imagine,” Sister Olivia sympathized. “Your body just underwent a massive change.”
Whatever that massive change was, Maria was too tired to care.
“You should go back to sleep,” Sister Olivia advised, gently. “We’ll talk in the morning.”
She didn’t need to tell her twice. Maria let her eyes to close, falling into a dreamless sleep.
The next time she woke up, her eyes trailed to the bed across the room to see that it was already made, then she looked to the alarm to see that it was a little past noon. Given what happened last night, Elisha must’ve let her sleep in. Speaking of, she sat up in bed, feeling like she had more weight on her back than she did yesterday.
Out of the corner of her eye, she could see something white. She turned her head to see a wing covered in white feathers. Wait, a wing? That meant... She turned her head the other way to see another wing. She gaped at the sight. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Did she seriously grow wings overnight?
Maria reached back to poke one. She couldn’t only feel the softness of the feathers, but she could feel it flinch, as if it were extension of her, like an arm or a leg. These were her wings.
She rose to her feet and walked towards the mirror attached to the back of the door. She turned to see that her wings had torn two huge holes in the back of her baggy shirt, grimacing at the damage. Great. How the hell was she going to wear any of her shirts now? Was she going to have to cut holes in them?
The key turned in the lock, the sudden sound startling her, and the door opened to reveal Elisha then Sister Olivia, who followed her inside. “Oh, hey.” Elisha looked at her, wide-eyed. Probably because of her wings. “You’re up.”
“Well, yeah.” Maria rolled her eyes. “Way to point out the obvious, Eli.”
“You sure you should be up already?” Elisha asked, worriedly, ignoring the comment. “You were in a lot of pain before.”
Now that she thought about it, Elisha must’ve woken up in the middle of the night and found her in pain. She must’ve been at a loss of what to do and left their dorm room in order to get Sister Olivia. She didn’t just ignore her and go back to sleep. Elisha actively sought out help. Although they didn’t do anything to help with the pain, they did enough in just being there for her, and that was more than she could say about most people.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Maria replied. “Thanks. I just...you know, grew these overnight.” She drew in her wings and spread them open again.
“Do you know what this means, Maria?” Sister Olivia asked.
“Uh, no.” Maria shook her head. “I’m guessing you do?”
“Yes.” Sister Olivia smiled with a hint of amusement. “This means that the priests have greatly misjudged your character. You haven’t fallen at all. You are, in fact, an angel.”
Maybe in Another World...
I grew up with this girl. I admired her for being able to talk and make friends with no problem. She was everything I wasn’t. She was everything I wished I could be.
Later on in life, I found myself missing her. After years of feeling like I was justified in ending our friendship, upon reflection, that justification gradually began to slip away, little by little, and I started to regret how I used to be. I used to push her away constantly. Even then, she still spent time with me. I didn’t even have the courage to tell her face-to-face that I didn’t want to be her friend anymore. I ended our friendship over the internet, back when instant-messaging was still a thing. My brother, who was friends with her brother, told me that she cried after that. I made her cry. Because of my own selfishness.
At one point, I arranged to meet up with her to get closure on shit that didn’t matter and on a whim, I tried to revive that friendship, but to no avail. I have no one to blame but myself. I had convinced myself that we were too different. But that wasn’t true. We played dolls together. We watched movies and TV shows together. We danced together. I just didn’t make the effort to try and connect with her about those interests. Even so, she watched my favorite show Sailor Moon with me. One time, I stood on her porch with a book about the Japanese language and she asked if she could see it, but I denied her, childishly possessive of an interest I wanted to belong to me and only me.
If I could go back in time, I’d know better than to shut her out. I’d know better than to be so selfish. I’d speak with her about American Idol and The Notebook and all of the other stuff we watched. I’d actually make the effort to connect with her. If I could do that, I’d imagine that we’d still be friends now, or maybe more.
Maybe the years of dreams I’ve had of her would be realized. We’d be together, kissing in bed, kissing in the pool. She’d only want to experiment with me at first, not displaying too much emotional interest. Subconsciously, I believe that this is my way of punishing myself for how much I used to take her for granted. I’d have to be there for her and support her over many dreams before she even started having feelings for me. I’d learn that her parents were homophobic. My parents would know that we were together, but they wouldn’t approve because they don’t like her. Against all odds, we’d see each other in secret. We’d grow closer and closer. She’d finally return my feelings and back me up against the wall, kissing me with a passion I’ve been longing for.
The story is bound to continue so long as I still harbor these feelings for her. I know that dreams are born from fear and desire, but I can’t help but wish that these dreams I’m having are bits and pieces of a life I lead in an alternate universe where I never stopped being her friend. That may just be wishful thinking on my part, but I find it to be a comforting thought to know that there’s a me out there in another world who hasn’t made the same mistakes I’ve made.
She undresses and gets comfortable in her bed, caressing her small breasts, wide hips and ass...
The attraction they felt was instant, intense. They fell deep in love, deep into sin for they didn’t only share the same interests and beliefs; they shared the same blood.
A Day at Horseshoe Bay
Christina and I held hands as we got off the ship so that we didn't get separated in the crowd. The sun was shining brightly in the clear blue sky. Although we were just walking, I could feel sweat begin to form at my brow. We headed straight for Horseshoe Beach, the pink sand warm on our soles and in between our toes as opposed to the scorching hot sands back on Long Island. We made our way past rows of umbrellas and lounge chairs until we reached the front, settling down in a spot near the middle before we took off our cover-ups.
Christina uncovered her tan bikini-clad body, her long curly brown hair falling down her back. Already having swimshorts on, I took off my tank top to reveal my bathing suit top. I combed my blonde hair back into a ponytail as we went into the water. It was lukewarm and clear, unlike the cold and murky beaches back home. We did some snorkeling and swam alongside colorful fish. She'd deny it later (because of the snorkel, goggles and lack of fins), but underneath the water, she looked like a beautiful mermaid who glistened in the sunlight.
Prisoner of Love
As Ryan regained consciousness, he shivered, cold. When he tried to move, chains rattled. That snapped him wide awake. He was bound to a chair in the basement. But why?
The door creaked open to reveal... "Olivia?"
His wife descended the stairs, wearing a white nurse's dress and cap for some reason, her blonde ponytail swaying. "Good morning, Ryan." Her voice sounded...off. Her green eyes shined at him with happiness. "Sleep well?" She carried a tray of food over to him and pulled up a chair.
"What the hell are you...?"
She placed a (manicured?) finger to his lips. "Shh," she hushed, holding up a spoonful of oatmeal. "You have to keep up your strength. Eat."
It was then that he recalled the hospital and the nurse who tended to him. "You're not..."
"Eat." The nurse shoved spoonfuls of oatmeal down his throat, almost gagging him, over and over again…