Even though I just did
I don’t know how to tell you that I don’t care about dying even though I know I do. Well I don’t. I can’t. I even want to do it. Sometimes. More often lately. How can I not? This life is a trap. Or just mine. I see so many people free in this life. No trap. No cage. No locks. No keys. No need. Just love and want and happy and real.
There’s too much to live for that I don’t have. There’s too much happiness I cannot experience. Will not. Cannot. There’s too much of me in my life making it impossible to be that freedom I see in all the others.
Heaven is tired of looking at me whine. Hell doesn’t care. Even purgatory is in no rush to push me around.
Perhaps that is the saddest part: the indifference. I look at the world with love and not one set of eyes even notices I’m there. Not one hand reaches out. Not one mouth says stay.
I don’t know how to tell you even though I just did.
The slide was wet with dew, or else some unknown foulness... I held her hand. We both gulped. The swing screeched menacingly, pitching this way and that. Abandoned balls crouched like gargoyles in our periphery. It was not safe out...
Reflecting the Fire
"Where is that boy?"
The voice is gruff. Griffin knows immediately it is Father, back from work. It's not a good sign, because he shouldn't be home this early. Ten o'clock is early for his parents, and past Griffin's bedtime.
He tugs the blanket over his head, trying to even his breathing. He needs to make it look like he's sleeping, but Father can probably hear the beat of Griffin's heart through the thin walls of the house.
The door to his room opens, and a wave of panic sweeps over Griffin.
Father is not fooled.
"Stand!" Father demands, his hands clapping together. It sounds like a gunshot.
Mother stands in the doorway meekly, licking her lips in a nervous habit.
Griffin crawls out of bed and puts his feet on the cold floor. He stands, his nightshirt catching on a burr on the bedframe.
Father grabs him by the back of his shirt, and it takes everything in the boy not to whimper. Father is in his work coveralls still, smelling of oil and dirt and alcohol. His nostrils flare, and his bushy eyebrows hide the glint in his eyes.
"Have you taken money from me?" Father's tone is dangerously calm.
Griffin squeaks in alarm, his feet scrabbling for purchase as Father, with his great strength, lifts him into the air.
"Have you taken even a goddamn penny from me, boy?!" The room rattles as Father yells. Mother tugs at Father's arm.
"No," Griffin chokes out, clawing at the neck of his shirt.
Father tosses him to the ground, and Griffin skids across the floor, colliding loudly with a shelf. A book tumbles to the ground, and another one hits him painfully on the ear, and an hourglass shatters next to his foot.
Sand pours out, filling the cracks in the wooden floor.
Mother kneels next to him, tugging on his ear. "Griffin, you tell him the truth now," she says evenly. He breathes in the scent of her: firewood and earth and lavender lotion.
Griffin eyes his mother, and she nods at him. He remembers when he was nine, and he'd bought her a periwinkle from the flower girl on the street. She'd been angry, but he hadn't understood, because it was just one coin. And he'd earned it. Running a letter across town.
But money wasn't meant for him, it was meant for her. For Father.
"I--" Griffin started, but his throat closed up.
Father yanks him to his feet, takes a fistful of his hair, and pulls him from his room. When Father lets go, they are all three in the kitchen, the fire sparking in the corner still. Griffin shades his eyes from the flames, his eyes not adjusted for the light.
Father smacks the kitchen wall loud enough for the crack to echo in Griffin's head. "Don't you dare lie to me."
Mother presses her thumb sharply into Griffin's collarbone, which might afar look supportive, but from up close feels very uncomfortable. Griffin looks into her face, and she stares grimly back at him.
His body shudders as he realizes what he must do.
He did not take any money.
"I took the money."
All Griffin hears then is the ringing in his ear as his Father takes his first hit. He forgets everything else after that. The only things he can't forget is the soft padding of Mother's feet as she leaves the kitchen and climbs into bed, and the way the blood from his mouth drips onto the floor in a sticky, fire-reflecting puddle.
I'm sitting on your bed watching you rub lotion downs your arms. The smell of vanilla turns around and sits on your green blanket next to me.
"Hopefully you don't have to carry me home this time."
I focus on your face to see you smiling.
"Remember? When I got that burr in my foot and you piggybacked me all the way home?"
"Oh right! Yeah."
I laugh with you. Your freckles are like a spray of sand wind-whipped across your face.
Your eyes widen, looking behind me and you wave out the window.
I look out and my heart falls.
"Periwinkle!" Your boyfriend shouts his stupid nickname for you joyfully.
You run to the front door and into his arms.
I knew he was coming today. I was just hoping against hope he wouldn't. Maybe he would get the flu or have to look after his brother or just not want to come.
But here he is.
He swings you around before putting you down and lifting a hand to his forehead. It shades his face so he can see me walk up behind you.
His smile looks so genuine. His eyes are sparkling and his hair is flopping over his eyebrows. I wish I could hate him.
I smile back.
The hardest part is seeing him look at you. Seeing him love you. It's how I would look at you. You're happy and I wish you weren't. I'm sorry. The worst part of loving you is wishing no one else did.
The bullet entered directly above his right eye. He was not the tough man he believed he was, but with bullet placement like that it would not have mattered if he were. After all, dead is dead.
The road into Animas City was not a road, but was rather two ruts which snaked along, a wagon‘s width apart, climbing rather steeply up a long, rugged, windswept knoll. Pedro struggled the whole way up to keep the ornery burrow between those ruts. An observer might have thought them drunk the way they zig-zagged along the road, but it was really only on account of the curious burrow who designed to explore the clover in every direction other than the correct one. Fortunately, Pedro was patient. Pedro knew the burro’s ways, and as cantankerous as the burro could be, he was still better than walking. Walking would not do. A man does not walk on his way to dethrone a king.
The burro’s name was Pedro-Dos. Pedro-Dos belonged to Pedro’s unimaginative father Pablo, a man who would not be happy when he discovered his two Pedro’s gone, but neither was he a man who would follow after. No, Pablo was a quiet man, a submissive one, hardly a man at all. In all his years spent under Pablo’s roof Pedro had learned only one thing; that he did not want to be his father’s kind of man, quiet and submissive. And so Pablo had saved his money a peso at a time. It had taken nearly two years to save enough to purchase the pistola.
The pistola was a .45 Navy Colt’s, model 1819. It was an old pistol, with patches of rust that little mattered and would cause it no harm, it’s seller had assured Pedro. Pedro had tested it, taking the long way home from town and firing a single shot at a secluded saguaro cactus standing along the wayside. The pistol had worked well, it’s sharp bark echoing loudly off of the very sky itself before bouncing back to Pedro’s surprised ears, it’s bullet wounding the unfortunate cactus, but not killing it. As Pedro pulled the warm, empty cartridge from the cylinder his simple mind registered that there were only five bullets left. It rankled that he would need to be frugal. He ached to feel the pistola buck in his hand once again. It had been a delicious feeling, that solid buck. Still, five was plenty.
Pedro had been there when The Great King Fisher had ridden through his village one day. King Fisher had looked like any other man to Pedro, the gun on his hip no larger, the hat on his head no taller. The King’s horse had been a plain one, his jaws had been whiskered, his canvas pants shiny with dirt and grease just like the jeans of any other miner. He had not looked at Pedro as he passed by, but his eyes had looked no different than the other gringo’s. Pedro did not find the man in any way special, no more so than Pedro was, or anyone else. Pedro had been disappointed with the man, and with the stories that followed him. After that day Pedro refused to listen to the stories of The Great King Fisher, as he no longer believed them. Pedro merely looked at the many story-tellers with eyes gone deadpan, “He is no king,” the young Pedro would retort. “He is no better a man than I.” The unfortunate thing was, Pedro replied with this same line so many times, and to so many stories, that he actually began to believe that it was so.
And so Pedro had purchased the pistola, and stolen his padre’s burro. Unable to afford the holster along with the pistol, Pedro had instead rigged the pistol to a rope which he tied around his waist, so that it hung on his hip like the vaquero’s guns did, low-down and dangerous looking. He finally felt like a man with it hanging there, no longer like the boy who emptied the spittoons along with his father, and brushed the flies off of stranger’s horses.
And so Pedro and Pedro-Dos ambled into the town of Animas City proper while barely paying heed to the Boot Hill they rode past, half of which’s tombstones had been necessitated by King Fisher himself. Pedro-Dos stopped on cue at the hitch rail in front of the saloon, allowing Pedro’s stiff bones time to climb down, and to loop the reins loosely around it.
The inside of the saloon was dark after the bright light of day. Pedro took some time in the doorway adjusting. He was suddenly nervous, enough so that he used a sleeve to wipe the sweat from his brow, though it was not a particularly warm day. The hour was early, still there were the loafers one always finds at a cantina, two at the bar nursing glasses, one at a table shuffling cards. Pedro’s voice sounded unnaturally brittle in the quiet, manly room. “I look for The King Fish!”
”What’s your business?” It was the man at the table who spoke, the one shuffling cards. He looked different hatless, his hair carefully cut and combed, but it was undoubtedly he. King Fisher looked bigger indoors than he had when passing on the horse that day, the legend somehow more real in an enclosed space. Pedro tried to swallow before speaking, but found his mouth too dry. Annoyed at the extended interruption, the man asked again, his irritation obvious now, “What business have you with King Fisher?”
Pedro heard without hearing. His body tingled with the anticipation of… something. His senses were never more alive than in this moment. He smelled the cedary sawdust on the floor, felt it’s looseness below his sandals. He heard the bartenders rag squeak against an already polished glass, and the stomp of a horse’s hoof on the packed dirt outside of the door. A bead of sweat ran down Pedro’s brow, tickling the skin there. He could lie. He could say it was some other business brought him here. But this was Pedro’s chance; his chance to be unlike his father, his chance to be a man.
It took some effort for Pedro to get the words out. “I have come to kill ‘The King of Animas City’.”
”Why would you want to do that?” The man never stopped shuffling his cards.
Pedro was unprepared. He had no ready answer. “I do not know why. To be a man, I suppose.”
The man they called “The King” appeared to be disappointed with Pedro’s answer. “Then you will never be a man.”
The bullet entered directly above his right eye. He was not the tough man he believed he was, but with bullet placement like that it would not have mattered if he were. After all, dead is dead.
Wikipedia Says I’m Cool
I've been called vanilla, uninteresting, boring. But I have superpowers. These involve red wine, and texting late at night. I can see my demons in the dark. They say hello, promise to make tomorrow a better place, a gift I can't accept. I read a girl's profile once, she said, if you don't take care of your body, where will you live? I take another sip of wine, I've lost track of how many thousands have entered this body of mine.
There's a Wikipedia page, probably a joke, but isn't life. It has a layout like, "Birth" "Depression" "Disappointment" "Death". I think of myself in these terms. I read about Banksy, his propensity to be unique. Do I have these qualities? He doesn't even turn red under spell check. I think, if I made it big, I could have my name be real, like Microsoft puts chips in your vaccine and makes you a government clone.
Three things. The things that make me unique, different, an individual. One time at night I begged to be dead. I tried to name five things I wanted to live for, and named only three. Maybe these are the three things that make me unique. But they were all people. Do the constellations of personalities we surround ourselves with make our destiny? I lived, and I live for them. They are unique individuals. But do they make me, as a person, unique and interesting?
How many people have held the suicide hotline in their hands, on their nifty little iPhones, and cried because it costs too much money to go the ER? Does it take a hero or a villain to be that sick? Does it make me unique to have survived? Or am I one of thousands, millions, who have sat on the freeway and contemplated ending everything?
I think not. I think my personality is bland, white bread that has gone stale and no one cares enough to throw it away. Pity! That is my forte. There's one. I need two more.
The written word. I curse myself with my openness in my writing. It is too personal, too much. I bleed and I cut myself on the truth. But what is writing without bloodshed? I bleed. That is number two.
Number three is the combination of a white bread personality and blood. It is vanity. The assumption that once the perfect storm of written words hits, I am famous, someone's daily train of thought. I exist somewhere else. There is no such thing as white bread that bleeds. But I maintain my writing style, savvy only to those who need me.
Papa was a large, towering man. He would trudge through the house with heavy boots and overalls, hymns flowing from the lips concealed by his white bushy beard. Buttermilk flowed thick into the sky-blue translucent plastic cup. He'd finish his verse, sit in an armchair, and take a sip of his drink. Thick liquid melted into the yellowed strands of his mustache as he flipped through the thin pages of his worn Bible. It wasn't Sunday. Just another day. But a new day was a good enough reason for worship.
I learned to play Amazing Grace on the recorder. It was one of the more difficult songs, but it was familiar and I was enthusiastic about learning it. It took some effort, but I picked it up quickly, singing the words in my head as I smashed each of my fingers onto the plastic holes, determined to avoid empty notes. My determination left red rings on the pads on my tiny fingers, but it was a marker of success. I grew sad when they would start to fade. My fifth grade music class had a challenge called "Recorder Karate", and I got my "brown belt" for managing to master the song. I don't recall playing it for Papa.
I seldom went to church, but I learned most of the songs they'd sing on Sunday mornings from my grandfather's voice bouncing through the narrow hallway in the early afternoon. The times I did go, I'd perk up when they asked us to turn to page 43. I couldn't read the notes, at least not anymore, but I knew the tune well. The pews vibrated with the low hum of a hundred voices singing along, and it was one of the few times I didn't stumble through the lyrics. Papa never went with me- he'd written off Edgewood Church of Christ many years before. His relationship with his creator was his own to determine. I would soon follow suit.
In the last weeks of Papa's life, I stayed up with him reflecting on the decades prior. He was slipping into an illness induced delirium, but present enough to finally allow his vulnerability. He began to sing, and my mother stepped in the room to join us. We sang Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, but it was a moment filled with Grace all the same.
As I tucked a small ceramic angel into the breast pocket of the suit he was to be buried in, Papa's Greatest Hits accompanied a slideshow playing on a TV mounted in the corner of the room. My aunt and uncles mused over the familiarity of the songs, and his surviving siblings commented on the significance of each tune. I sat quietly nearby, reckoning with my private conclusions.
When I am lost and blinded by my pain, I find myself returning to the same memories. They are warm and rife with perspective, even though they've become less perfect as I grow older. As I type this, I am sitting at the table where Papa would teach me riddles, humming the melody since the words have since become so murky. I am not religious and despite my upbringing, I never really have been. Still, I cannot deny the swelling of my heart when certain notes begin to play. Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come. It was Grace that brought me safe thus far, and Grace that leads me home.
**WARNING: violence and gore. Reader discretion is advised.**
I heard the noise before I opened my eyes. The whirr of an engine raged on, but where was I going? Last I recalled, I was lying in bed listening to music when suddenly there was a loud crash downstairs. I rushed down to find my mother's lifeless body peeking out from behind the kitchen island. Just as I started to rush toward her, a dull pain coursed through my head. The world went black.
I finally gain the courage to open my eyes. I'm hidden under a scratchy blanket covered in burrs poking into my bare arms and legs. My hands are tied, so it's difficult to pull the blanket off my head. Once I finally manage to pull it free, I see that I'm in the trunk space of some SUV. I look around frantically, trying to find something sharp to cut the ties binding my hands. There's nothing.
A phone rings in the front and whoever is driving picks it up after the fourth ring. His voice is gruff and scary, but somehow familiar to me.
"What?" He says, answering the phone.
"I told you I'd take care of it! I'm on my way. Don't call me again or she might wake up," He says, hanging up the phone and tossing it into the passenger seat.
He doesn't know I'm awake. Good. That gives me time to think of some way to escape this nightmare. I start searching the trunk again, coming up short. There's nothing here that can be useful to me. I close my eyes, trying to steady my breathing and push down the anxiety threatening to cloud my mind. I run through my option, which are practically nothing, and decide the best way to break the rope is to bite through it. I set to work trying to chew through the rope but it's thick. I'm only able to pull a few strands free from the thread by the time the SUV comes to a stop.
The man gets out of the SUV and comes around to the back. He opens the trunk and sees me awake. He doesn't say anything, just grabs me by the arm and lifts me up. He's tall, has to be around 6 ft 5 at least. I stare at him, trying to memorize every detail of his face so that if, no, when I escape I can tell the sketch artist at a police precinct exactly who took me. He has scruff all over his cheeks as if he hasn't shaved in a few days. His hairline is receding but you wouldn't be able to tell from far away because he shaves his head nearly bald. He has dark eyes, angry like his voice. I can't shake the feeling that I've met this man before.
He throws me over his shoulder and starts walking toward some building. All I can see from this angle is the army green SUV parked on a dirt lot and some trees in the distance. We must've driven far because there aren't any trees like this in the city. We enter through a wooden door and the man drops me to the ground. I land hard on a pile of sand. The sand seems out of place in this shed. We're in the middle of the forest, why is there sand in here?
"Hello, Michelle. Thank you for joining us," a voice calls to me.
I look up to see Jamie. She's gives a curt wave and settles into a chair. Suddenly I remember where I've met Mr. Clean over there. He was Jamie's new "boyfriend" she introduced to me a few weeks ago. I told her I thought he didn't look like her type. She said I didn't know her well enough to judge. I laughed at that, but I guess she was right.
I met Jamie at a party about a year ago. I was bored, sitting on the couch not engaging with the drunk idiots and their weird mating rituals. I was dragged to this party by my then-boyfriend, who I dumped that night after finding him tangled up with another woman in the bathroom. Jamie sat down next to me, acting equally as bored. We spent the whole evening making fun of everyone around us and ended up becoming good friends. After that, she and I met almost weekly for a coffee. I thought I knew her, I thought we were friends.
"Jamie, what is this?" I ask, still trying to get my bearings.
"This? Let's call it an experiment," Jamie replied. "I have been planning this for a year, Michelle. Ever since the day I met you, I knew it'd end this way."
I watched as she stood and walked toward a table in the corner of the room. On the table was a knife, gun, lotion, and a flower crown made of periwinkle flowers. As I watched her move from item to item, gingerly picking each one up and examining it before placing it back down, I remembered something odd she had told me a few months earlier.
We were at a park drinking iced coffees and she was making a flower crown.
"Michelle, what's your favorite flower?" She had asked me.
"Sunflowers," I said, "What about you?"
"Periwinkle," She said.
We were both silent for a little bit. She, working away on her flower crown; I, looking out at the river before us.
"Did you know periwinkle's are often referred to as 'the flower of death'?" She said, "Back in the day people would twist their vines into crowns and put them on dead children or criminals being sentenced to death."
I stared at her, unsure where she was going with this little fun fact of hers.
"It's such a shame," she continued, "They're such beautiful flowers, but they have such a horrible name attached to them. I guess that's just the way things are sometimes. Even the most beautiful things in the world can be turned ugly just by being associated with something dark."
I didn't understand what she was rambling about, so I just forgot about it and moved on. Now, sitting here in this dark and dingy shed, I start to understand why she said that.
"What are you gonna do to me?" I ask, trying to sound tough but failing miserably.
"You? Michelle? I'm going to make you ugly, just like periwinkles. When people remember you, all they'll see is death and darkness. No more beautiful Michelle, prom queen, so quiet, yet so kind. So approachable even though she's the prettiest girl in the room." Her words sounded harsh. I don't understand why she's so angry at me. I never once gave off the impression that I thought I was the most beautiful. Heck, I didn't even acknowledge when other people said it. All I ever wanted was to fly under the radar. But I guess those days are over.
Jamie picked up the knife once more and started walking towards me. I tried to back away, but ran into the giant she claimed was her boyfriend. He picked me up and held me still while Jamie placed the blade against my face. I winced slightly, but kept eye contact with her the entire time. I refused to let her win. She thought she could hurt me by taking away my beauty, but she couldn't. I wouldn't let her.
She sliced the blade across my cheek. I felt warmth run down my face and neck, the open wound stinging. She took the blade to the other side and did the same thing. My adrenaline was kicking in, so I didn't feel it so much as see the blood dripping from her knife. She then took the knife to my chin and sliced off the end, causing pain to flare through my face. I whimpered, trying not to cry but starting to lose control. Once she was satisfied with my deformed face, she moved down to my chest. She dragged the knife through my skin, carving the letter "J" just below my collar bone. The pain became unbearable and I started to shake. Tears streamed from my eyes and a quiet sob left my lips. Jamie smiled, satisfied that she had finally broken me.
"You're hideous," she said.
She plunged the knife into my stomach. The sensation was unlike what I thought it would be. Maybe I was numb because she had already cut me so many times, but the stab didn't hurt nearly as bad as I thought it would. I let out a strained breath and her henchman released my arms. I stood there, staring at Jamie for what felt like an eternity. Then, the world started to blur and I collapsed to my knees. I watched, dazed, as Jamie walked to the table and picked up the periwinkle crown. She walked back towards me, placed the crown on my head, and sliced through my throat. The world went dark as my head hit the floor. I closed my eyes, like the closing of shades on a bright and sunny day. The life left my lungs, and I was no more.
(Caution: started ranting halfway lol)
Faith is harder to maintain than I ever imagined. It's fickle.
They failed me.
And I failed my faith.
That's when I stopped praying.
My cross was left there hanging in my room, in spider webs and dust.
My pure white sotana was left inside my cabinet, never worn again after the last time I served during Misa de Gallo. Never worn again after almost 3 years.
The church used to be my second home for a brief time of serving for 2 and a half years.
It was the place I ran to when I didn't want to be at home. When my home is filled with miasma of negative energy.
I ran into my beloved church cause I couldn't breathe at home. It became a habit eventually.
I used to only be at home for a day and a half, except for the night. Clearly, I spent most of my time away and I got used to it somehow.
The first time I slept in the convent was exhilarating. It has a different kind of excitement. Because we normally don't sleep in the convent. Since Father was there and we should be sleeping in the basement, underneath the altar.
My idea of belief is quite rigid. I suppose religion itself is quite rigid. I had doubts everyday, reading the Bible doesn't necessarily helps all the time since I was left with more questions day by day.
But reading the Bible randomly when you're down helps a lot. It's like you're talking to God, it was really comforting.
I know that church wasn't all good and stuff. I know there was a dark history to it. I was aware that people aren't perfect. I was aware that all of what we're doing is voluntary. I know that people have a lot of things to hide. I know those who served in church have a lot of different kinds of reasons. I'm becoming aware of it months after I became an official choir member. And I became more aware of it after a year for my investiture as a Savio, no that's the old term for that. We mostly call ourselves sacristans, an altar server.
It felt so good adding "Miss Dame" before my name while introducing, while donned in an all-white sotana. It felt so damn good.
But that investiture was a blessing and a compensation for what comes next.
We moved to a new house days before my birthday, after a week would be my investiture.
It was a blessing in disguise, that's what they call it.
But I didn't saw it as a blessing. It was a compensation.
Maybe for doubting God, maybe he gave those blessings and trials so I can be more worthy of those blessings.
His grace upon me, the jovial days of serving came to a hitch.
I noticed people were pretending too much.
Pretending too nice. No, I hate how they lied. I hate how much they keep lying.
Their tongue twisted like a snake's. Giggling while cursing.
Why are you guys serving, when you guys didn't conduct yourselves worthy of those responsibilities and commitment to church!
Didn't we promise to fix our characters? I promised to be good. In worthy of stepping on the altar! Bowing my head for God!
Why are all of you like that!?
Why is no one reprimanding him!
Why did no one told me?
I stopped feeling the belongingness. I started becoming uneasy. I was questioning everything. I know these dark sides but it felt different when you experienced it first hand. I suddenly saw things I wished they didn't do. Was church just a stage play for you?
I don't feel the same in church anymore.
I don't feel safe anywhere......anymore.
No, I shouldn't have been so welcoming.
I thought I would get reprimanded if I ignored my senior.
He has 4 years experience while I only had a year of experience at that time.
No one told me why he's out of church. The reason why he isn't present during our training. I was late to know, that he was suspended for months!
NO ONE TOLD ME HE STARTED SHOWING UP AGAIN NOT BECAUSE I ENCOURAGED HIM BUT BECAUSE I WAS THERE! THEY BECAME OUR NEW NEIGHBORS! I DIDN'T KNOW HIS PARANOIA! I DIDN'T KNOW HE HAVE SUDDEN OUTRAGE! NO ONE TOLD ME HE HAD A LOT OF ISSUES! THEY THOUGHT I COULD HELP HIM MEND HIMSELF! I ALSO DID! BUT NO! MY HYPOCRISY CAUSED ME HARM THAN GOOD!
I reported him to the higher-ups when he started insulting my parents! I didn't give a damn when he insulted me but my parents are off limits! He crossed the line for fuck's sake!
The youth council knows! The leader knows! The coordinator knows! Father knows as well!
So why didn't they dealt with him sooner? Another younger server became a victim after me! It escalated quickly, he almost got to jail.
He just turned 18, I was 2 years younger. He told my father, in front of the village chief, in front of the local police, that he was "courting" me. His father thought it was a child's play!
That was the first time I felt so weak, so insignificant. That those who had power could get away with such "trivial" things.
That was the first time I experienced power in my social life.
I later realized his father was a member from Knights of Columbus. Small world, I remember assisting him few times. Didn't realize it first.
I cope up with him for more than 2 months alone! I cope up with the aftereffects for another 6 months alone!
That's when I stopped coming to church.
I stopped serving after Christmas.
And I shut myself inside my room.
Until lockdown came.
Until I didn't want to set my foot out of the gates even if my "neighbors" changed houses.
Until I let myself rot inside my cage.
Faith is fickle.
I attest to that.
Will You Wait Me Out? Or Will You Drown Me Out?
She steps outside a small downtown bar, it's a cold, rainy Sunday evening, water glistening on the empty street in front of her. She sits on an old wooden bench just outside the doors, admiring the way the rain looks as it falls in front of the streetlights, taking in the faint sound of music pouring out into the sidewalk next to her. There’s people existing all around, some running for shelter from the rain, some stumbling in their heels, some passionately embracing one another without a care in the world. She sat by herself, examining each interaction she witnessed, even taking in the way the scent of the rain mixed with those standing across from her smoking cigarettes in their own worlds. Life seemed eerily peaceful to her, almost as if it was standing still. She closed her eyes, letting this insignificant fragment in time take her over, the stillness of it all. “No way” she hears from a distance, it's a voice she hasn’t heard in years, one she’d never forget. Her eyes quickly open, in shock of the familiar voice. “It is!” It says excitedly. Turning her head to the side, she sees a sight she believed she’d never see again, him. He’s aged a little, his long dark hair, now buzzed and slicked back in a beanie, no longer hiding those incredible green eyes. His piercings are absent, tattoos hidden under a black leather jacket that’s glistening with rain, he looks the same, yet so different all at once. Her heart sinks, it's been years since their last encounter, since their final goodbye. “I’ll be damned” she says in shock as she rises from the bench, nervously standing as the familiar soul excitedly runs up to her. “How have you been” he says with a smile as he leans in for a hug, embracing her with a warmth she hasn’t felt in what seemed to be an eternity. “I can’t believe it's you” she says as she clings to him, her mind replaying the past like a movie, reminding her of who they once were. “I could say the same.” He says softly, pulling away from her and gazing into her eyes that hold a sea of memories before him. “Last I heard, you were traveling on your motorcycle, I had no idea you were back in town.” She says nervously, trying with everything inside of her to keep from getting lost in the eyes she once fell so madly in love with. “Yeah, I went off to clear my mind for a few years” he tells her, triggering the memory of the last time he spoke those very words, the last time they ever existed as an “us”. “I hope you were finally able to.” She says with a faint smile, trying to mask the pain that slowly is bleeding through to the surface of her mind. He smiles at her for a moment, his eyes studying her as if trying to read chapters of a new book. “It was good to see you.” She says shakily, quickly turning away from him to step back inside the lively bar behind her. She walks calmly to the entrance, the neon signs casting colorful hues onto her face. “I never stopped loving you.” She hears from behind her. Immediately, her heart stops, her eyes swell with tears, and her nerves skyrocket. She knows silence won’t win this game, there’s no way to pretend she didn’t hear him, or to walk away as if nothing ever happened. She slowly turns around to face him, he’s standing just a few feet away from her, the rain falling onto the shiny leather of his jacket, his breath a misty cold fog in front of his face. “It was always you, I was just too stupid to see that.” He continues, stepping closer to her. She’s frozen in time, she used to wish for this moment, him coming back and saying these words to her, but those wishes were long gone, even if the memories still ached in her soul. “You think I stopped loving you?” She questioned, her voice cracking as she fights to contain the tears she knows will inevitably fall. “I’m not sure what I think” he mumbles, his eyes anxiously looking away from her, being lit up by the pink and blue lights pouring from the windows in front of them. She sighs heavily, she’s waited for this chance for so long, to tell him everything. “I never stopped loving you. Hell, I never stopped wanting you.” She says as her eyes look to the ground, trying to gather her thoughts as quickly as she can. “I still want you” he says quietly as he moves closer towards her, his tone serious, one she’d only heard on a handful of occasions. “I’ve hoped for years we’d run into one another again, that we’d get this chance” he continues as he pushes a strand of her curly hair behind her ear. His words seem to echo around her, causing tears to stream down her face. “I love you, I’ve always loved you. But you’re too late.” She says through her tears, her eyes meeting his yet again, watching as they fade before her. She pulls her hands out of her pockets, and lifts her left hand up into view, revealing a beautiful diamond resting against her ring finger. His expression shifts to shock, eyes wide, jaw dropped, for once it seems he’s showing a genuine emotion. “I thought you’d wait forever for me” he says to her. “Forever is a precious thing, and you took advantage of it for far too long.“ She expresses as she wipes her tear stained face. “I guess our forever doesn’t exist in this life” he tells her as he begins to shed tears of his own, his voice shaky much like her own. She moves in close to him, studying the man she once gave everything to one last time. He looks down at her as tears run down his face, she reaches up to him one last time, leaving a gentle kiss on the side of his cheek, a parting gift she knows he’ll cherish for an eternity. “Maybe the next life we’ll get it right.” She says, stepping away from him as she recalls memories of when they were teenagers in love, when sex on the beach and smoke breaks while playing piano were a regular occurrence. “Goodnight, my love” she tells him as she turns away, leaving everything that once was.
And walking towards what could be.
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