One last time
do not cry for me
I am not sad
nor should you be
let us remember
all the yesterdays
the path we trod
the life we built
the love we shared
the memories we made
tell the stories
of days gone by
when we laughed
till we cried
let us laugh
as you hold my hand
hold me close
as I close my eyes
one last time
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see
When I was in elementary school we had library day once a week and we were allowed to take out one book of our choice. Thursday was my favorite day of the week. Although I discovered Judy Blume and Thomas Rockwell first, the thick, red leather-bound book I climbed a ladder to withdraw in fourth grade contained the body of work that has kept me enthralled for my life entire. I even took classes in college and grad school even though this king of the written word was not a part of my major course of study. I can still recite monologues I memorized in high school...and in the 4th grade.
My favorite solliloquy has ever spoken to me though its meaning has grown more profound as days turn into years till and eternal night draws near...
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Love Story (repost)
I honestly love you
Just the way you are
From here to the moon and back
In case you didn't know,
Nobody loves me like you do;
I will always love you,
Nobody but you,
It had to be you,
It was always you,
Nothing compares 2 you -
Dust to dust;
Dance me to the end of love.
If I could...
"So, when are you gonna give me a grandson?" my dad asked at my wedding reception. Everyone laughed. I rolled my eyes. I had no plans to have babies any time soon. I was still in graduate school; I had a career to begin. I had a husband to grow with before we added babies into the mix. I thought five years would be good.
August, a mere two years later, God and my husband agreed it was time. My dad was more excited than everyone.
I made plans to visit him during my Christmas break, but I cancelled a lunch date with him at his office to visit with my great aunt who was 92. I assumed I would have far fewer opportunities to visit with her than him.
One should never assume.
But I did surprise him that evening at his apartment. I hid when we saw him walking towards the apartment building. Minutes later, he walked in with a palpable heaviness of spirit and said, "She didn't come," to my stepmother. It broke my heart. I jumped out, "surprise," I screeched.
I know he was happy in the moment. He loved rubbing my little belly. But he had wanted to show me off to his colleagues.
I didn't know.
Four months later, two days before my son was born, my dad died. I was on bed rest from two weeks after I saw him at Christmas, and though he had been ill, I didn't know how seriously ill.
I was the only one who didn't. Indeed, when my husband visited him a month prior to his death, my dad, who had always been overweight, weighed some 95 pounds. He knew.
Two days before my son was born, my mom called and spoke to my husband. He left the apartment on some imagined errand to call her from a pay phone (I found out later) at which point she told him my dad had passed. They didn't want to upset me into labor, so he cried before he came home. Two days later, I gave birth and in the euphoric moments following, the doctor said, "By the way, your mom and husband didn't know how to tell you, but your dad died two days ago."
If I were to rewrite history, I still wouldn't have a baby earlier as much as I wish my dad could have held him just once.
That is not mt greatest regret.
Rather, I would meet him at his job that Christmas holiday and happily let him lead me around the office to meet his colleagues...the same ones who four months later rented a bus so they could all attend his funeral...where my husband represented us both while I, preparing to leave the hospital, cradled my newborn son, and wept.
There is only now
I am the last of those who hears the stars sing, who watches the air dance in delight and who walks between the raindrops in the light.
Eternal night approaches; the abyss is at my feet. The Mists of Time have enveloped the Earth, as they have done before…and will do again. The blessing, or the curse of eternal return is upon us.
It is written in the stars if you dare to listen with your eyes, see with your ears…
As I stand here on this precipice I am at peace for I have knowledge: the knowledge that though I am the last at this time I am not the last for all time. This is not the first time that this experiment called life on earth has devolved into oblivion. From the ashes life will rise, to ashes it will return…to rise again.
Humanity has existed far longer than recorded in the annals of history of recent millennia. It has been made ash and returned innumerable times, each iteration as ignorant of the last as of the next. Each version has gnawed away at every limb until the rot within has decimated life on earth, only to bloom again from the ashes of what never was. All memory erased, no lessons carried forth, each incarnation destined, perhaps damned, to become as fated to be, ad infinitum.
But, this time is different.
For I did listen to the stars, and to the silence of the Mists of Time. In the infinite darkness, I found a light. I found the words for humanity to make a better life than any that has gone before. Words that if taken to heart can make every life a better one and therefore the world as a whole a better place. And if humanity can evolve, perhaps this will be the last time we destroy ourselves. Perhaps next time, we will cherish ourselves and each other and build a better world together.
And so, I will speak these words to the ether and bury the parchment upon which they are writ in blood here in the face of this indomitable mountain as I give myself to the mists. To the infinite darkness. May these words echo in the vast nothingness till the spark burns bright once again.
THERE IS ONLY NOW
The past is like the stone of the cliff at my back: you cannot change it. Learn from it but do not live there for life is not there. The future is like that which is cloaked in the mists gathered before me. It cannot be seen. Do not live there, for worrying about what may or may not be is a waste of precious life. That does not mean do not dream or do not prepare for tomorrow. It does not mean don’t learn as much as you can, or don’t work hard to be better, to give effort, to live well, to love deeply. It does not mean if you fall, do not get up. Get up. Fall and get up again. It does not mean forget about others. Indeed, if we cannot learn that we are all threads in the same beautiful tapestry, destruction will find us once again. It does not mean forget about tomorrow.
It means do not build a life in the mists.
My name is Adam and I am an alcoholic - chapter 2?
[The first part of the story can be found here: https://theprose.com/post/556449/my-name-is-adam-and-i-am-an-alcoholic. This piece continues where that one left off. Hopefully, more to come as I try to solve the case for Adam.]
“Ma!” I screamed, banging on her apartment door.
I pushed past her, “Close the door, Ma!”
“What’s going on, Adam?”
“You are never going to believe this,” I said, pacing around her living room.
“Believe what? Stop stomping around, love. Sit down,” she said, patting the couch next to her.
“I can’t sit. I’m freaking out. Ma, I figured it out.”
She smiled. “You know who the serial killer is.”
“Who is he?”
“Not a he.”
“She? That’s unusual.”
“No, not she.”
Looking embarrassed, she said, “Oooh, a they. I’m sorry. I’m not very good at the new gender pronouning.”
“You’re a hoot, Ma. No, it’s not a gender issue. We might say the killer is gender fluid. Or even gender-less.”
“You’ve lost me, Adam.”
“It appears to be the AI programmed into the new VRAI hologram application.”
She looked at me a little dubious. “A hologram with AI capabilities is on a murderous rampage?” Her voice was edged with concern - probably for my mental health. “How exactly does that work, Adam?”
“Don’t look at me like I”m crazy. You are the only one with an open enough mind to believe me. If you don’t…”
“I’m sorry, love. I’m just trying to figure out how a body-less series of coding can commit murder.”
“Well, a hologram has a body.”
“Only in your mind, love.”
“Yes, well, when I took off the VRAI glasses, the cable from my computer was sparking and heading towards me.”
“Yeah, so that’s how it’s done. But I don’t know how it’s done. If you know what I mean.”
“How does the hologram get control of something outside virtual reality?”
“That is a question for the ages. Until I figure that out, the killings are going to continue. I can’t go to Chuck with my findings without proof and a solution. Even then, I don’t know if he’ll believe me.
“The only thing I do know is that, Suma – that’s the name of the hologram in the VRAI application - generic, gender-free name apparently chosen by the hologram itself – can only kill people playing with the VRAI hologram application. For now, at least. But I have to assume, if it’s figured out this much, it will figure out how to take the next step.”
“The next step?”
“Into the world.”
“Oh my God.”
“I know. I need a drink.” I sat down.
My name is Adam and I am an alcoholic.
My best friend is never late. She’s not just punctual, she’s the “if you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time, you’re late” sort of OCD punctual. So, when the clock struck 8:01, I knew there was a problem.
Our date was for 8:00 at our favorite restaurant, Reality Bites.
Having arrived early (for I am of the same mold as she), I had been reading a book at our corner table while I waited, so I didn’t notice at first that something was amiss.
“Do you want to order a drink while you wait, hon?”
“No, that’s okay,” I said, glancing up from my book to smile at Gayle, our waitress.
I checked my phone and noticed the time. 8:01. “Wow! I didn’t realize it was already 8:00. Let me call Jenna and see what’s up.”
“Okay, hon. I’ll be back,” she said drifting off to her other tables.
I called Jenna, but it went straight to voicemail. I would have called her home phone…but she got rid of it years ago. I still have mine, out of habit more than anything else, I think. Or a certain hesitance to change all the accounts tied to that number. I know how long I’ve had an account - store, credit card, utility - by which number is tied to it. The more recent the connection, the more likely it’s connected to my cell phone. Who cares, I know.
Anyway, I was at a loss: What to do? Jenna is never late so clearly something was wrong and I had no way of finding out what. I could have called her husband but we aren’t friends and I didn’t have his phone number. Never thought to ask. My evening quickly went from relaxed and happy to racing pulse and pounding heart. My imagination is nothing if not dark and tending towards the awful and macabre.
“Gayle!” I stage-whispered.
“Be right with you, hon.”
I figured I’d order a drink while I waited. She had to get there eventually, right? We hadn’t missed a monthly dinner in 20 years.
When Gayle came over, I ordered a gin and tonic and some baked goat cheese in tomato sauce.
“Jenna should be here soon,” I said, ”but she’s late and I’m hungry.”
“No worries, but tonight’s a busy night, so we are going to need the table by 9:30.”
“No problem. I’m sure she’ll be here shortly.”
Gayle came back with my drink and I sipped and pretended to read while I developed an ulcer over where Jenna could be.
By 8:30 I’d finished the goat cheese and ordered the fish special: sea bass with wilted greens and pomegranate seeds.
At 9:15 I asked for the check. I’d called Jenna’s phone multiple times and sent myriad texts all of which just said “sent” not “delivered.”
It was 9:30 when I got in my car to drive home. My imagination had run the gamut of possibilities and at that point I had her dead on the side of the road or unconscious in the hospital or stuck in the elevator in her apartment complex or in a heap of melancholy tears on her bathroom floor, missing her soon to be college-graduated son…I was out of my mind with worry.
When I got home, my husband was on the couch playing online poker. “How was dinner, baby?”
“Dinner is always great at Reality Bites. But I may have an ulcer. Jenna never showed up.”
He glanced at me before returning his attention to the computer screen. “That’s weird. She didn’t call?”
I rolled my eyes. “I wouldn’t have an ulcer if she’d called.” I headed toward the stairs and noticed the blinking light on the answering machine. I looked at my husband with raised eyebrows (he NEVER checks the answering machine) and pressed the button.
“You have one message. Message one, seven oh eight pm. Hi, sweetie! I am soooo sorry for the late cancel! Ricky whisked me off Boston to visit Billy to cheer me up - you know I’ve been blue lately. I was so excited I forgot about our dinner date until just now. Unfortunately, I don’t have my cell phone and Ricky doesn’t have your cell number. I only knew your home phone by heart. Isn’t that funny? The only phone numbers I know are the ones I memorized decades ago. Hysterical. Anyway, I hope your hubby gets this message and calls you so you’re not waiting around worrying like I know you would. Let’s reschedule when I get back. Love you bunches.”
I glared at my husband who looked up from his game long enough to say, “What?” before getting lost again in the world of flushes and straights.
A ghost story
she rose like a kite
when the midnight bell did ring
in the dead of night
a ghostly sprite
celebrate the light
of the moon shining so bright
through the wispy white
quickly take flight
bubbly wisps of smoke
forever seek ones to choke
and join with dead folk
dying of fright
it is time to dine
on a bloody heart and wine
sweet candy divine
you will be mine
I do love the chase
to engage in an embrace
as your blood I taste
your life erase
"Don't go! I need you, Mommy."
... .. .
.... .... ........ ......... ....... ........
open your mouth wide
put the barrel deep inside
click, bam!, ker-splat slide