Saturday, August 27, 2011

Do It Justice

Am I the only one here that remains stuck?  Doesn’t see it as others do?  Cannot comprehend what others are going through?  When it happened to me, to my family, it wasn’t the end of the world, just a changed world – a different place.  Though, I’m sure it’s different for some people, since there are many drastically different ways of this happening.  But yet, here I am, trying to find words to explain how I feel, or rather, how I should feel, but nothing comes to mind.  I’m stuck in awkwardness, and the line in front of me is slowly getting shorter.  I gulp down my own saliva and flatten my wet palms against my pants.  I think I’m more nervous than they are sad.

I breathe deeply to try to calm myself.  I play words over and over in my head, but nothing feels right, it all feels fake, forced.  Am I really sorry?  I’m sorry that they are feeling sad, but you can’t say that – you can’t say “Sorry you’re upset,” that sounds horrible.  Why did I come here in the first place?  To be respectful?  Show that I care?  The words that will come out of my mouth will show me for who I am, a fake, a fraud, a cheat.  I want someone to come pull me out of line, snag me and say “Have some water, you look like you’re going to pass out,” but there’s no hope for that. 

I think it has gotten ten degrees hotter since I’ve been standing in line.  The humidity is so thick that I can barely breathe.  I’m next, oh crap, what do I say?  How do I tell them that I hope things get better, because of course they don’t think that’s going to happen, of course they don’t want to hear it.  No one really wants to hear it.  I shuffle my feet like everyone else in front of me did and bow my head towards the family members in front of me.  I hold out my clammy hand and say, “I’m so sorry for your loss.”  They reply with thank you and empty nods of heads, empty handshakes.  That didn’t help them at all. 

I shuffle away, wishing I had said something better, wishing I could let them know that they will be together again – this isn’t the end of the line.  Life is ongoing, it’s continuous, but no one can see it when it happens to them.  They can’t know that tomorrow will be the same, but different.  That the person is still around, their energy still floating, in a safe space that we cannot touch.  They still feel for us, and we still feel for them.  They are not gone, they are not lost, they are certainly not forgotten, never forgotten.  I’m sorry for your loss just doesn’t do it justice.

I always feel so awkward at funerals or wakes.  I view death as a change of life, a next step, a different part - but I don't see it as a loss - and yes, when it happens really close to me, I'm sure I'll feel differently.  However, I like to believe it continues beyond what we can see.  So, I always feel weird, strange.  Even the one for my grandmother, I didn't feel a particular loss - which is horrible sounding, but I viewed it as her finally moving on, since her brain had already done such (Alzheimer's).  I saw it as a blessing for her, no longer having to live in the nightmare of her own mind.  She was scared half of the time, which is no way to live.  With that being said, I am sorry for my co-worker's loss, but I truly believe she's in a better place.  But I'm sorry for your loss just doesn't do it justice...

Friday, August 26, 2011


My feet sunk underneath the surface of the thick, wet sand.  I watched as the grains rubbed themselves across my toes, sank in between them, consumed them.  The tiny molecules worked their way up my feet, over my veins, across my ankles.  My body sank a little bit further into the thick soup, my heels parted the grains and allowed the weight of gravity to take me further into the dirt.  I wiggled my toes and they disappeared under brown, washed, exfoliated, renewed.

With a sucking sound, I picked my feet out of the ocean.  I walked on my heels, careful not the let the sand fall off my feet.  I arrived at a red, plaid blanket, strewn across the beach so carefully that it didn't have an ounce of sand on it.  I considered for a moment, then kicked my feet, flinging sand onto the pale, almost red, boy that lied there.  It covered him with a thud, the brown particles spreading all over his body.

He lifted himself up with rage in his eyes, squinting to locate me for just a brief moment before landing directly on my grinning face.  I dashed back towards the ocean, obscenities revolving around my ears, I hit the ocean waves hard, flowed into them as they crashed into me.  I dove underneath the next wave and lived for a moment in peace.  The air bubbles from the waves rushing around you, making your ears crackle, but behind it was silence - something you cannot hear in the city.  I let my lungs release the air that trapped inside them and swam out as far as I could before popping out of the water.

My brother was standing in the shallows, his face twisted, snarled, redder than the sunburn that he had gotten.  I don't think I would have continued to torture him into our teenage years if he hadn't been so terrified of the ocean.

I find myself stuck again - mind racing, but not settling on any one image, any one person, any one story.  There's a million different things going on in my head, and I cannot focus.  Working overtime last night definitely didn't help, as I didn't even really have time to relax - though, I did make fantastic at home mac and cheese with 4 different kinds of cheddar and almond milk.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Picture of a Woman

Who was this woman?  I knew what to call her before, what to say a few months ago.  She was a loving wife, an aspiring photographer, a real estate agent, but really, most of all she was a mother.  She prided herself on that.  But this woman that stood before me was a shell of that, someone so convinced that her life was over that she was willing to give it all up.  This woman was spineless, she lacked motivation, she had fallen into the trap of being content.  Her eyes frozen on mine, hollow in the deepest meaning of the term.  No more green reflecting the world with glimmers of hope and fascination, it’s all replaced by anger and hatred towards her situation, towards what happened.

As the picture of her clouded over from the steam of the shower, I didn’t bother wiping it off again.  I didn’t want to see this woman, I didn’t want to admit that this was where I was.  Couldn’t I live in ignorant bliss?  But that’s the problem, when you know what you once had, you can’t live without it – at least, not as happy as you once were.  I knew what I had to do, but I had no idea what to tell him.  What do you say to a man?  How do you tell him you’re no longer in love with him?  That you were never in love with him?  How do you say, “You were just a means to an end for me – yes, I was using you, but I’m terribly sorry about it.”

But had I been using him?  That was the part I would never quite get, because it wasn’t true.  A part of me had fallen for this man, but he wasn’t mine.  And that was the difference, I supposed.  He never stood a chance against the man that I loved, no one did really – but why did it have to be him, of all the thousands of other people in the world that I could have taken solace in – why him?

I wanted to destroy the mirror, but instead, I walked into the shower for the third time today.  I watched my fingers turn to wet, hot prunes.  “I have something to tell you…  I have…  I have to tell you something…  I have to be honest, look…  I have…  Ugh.”  I concentrated on the water rushing down my face, dripping off my nose.  I had to convince myself, for the hundredth time this month, that it was all going to work out.  Somehow.  The impossible had already happened – so what’s one more “miracle?”

This may, or may not, end up in my final piece for a longer work.  Haven't decided yet, but I wanted to get into her head again - so that I can continue writing her story.  Yes, it is ambiguous, but I don't want to give away too much about this novel until it is actually done.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To sleep, perchance to dream

If you have a queasy stomach, you probably should not read this...

Perchance to mess with reality.  But what if reality starts messing with you?

After coming home from a late day at work, I started to notice something wrong about our kitchen.  Ants, again, had crawled into our pretzels, over our crackers, found the little, tiny hole in the saltines container.  They were small, a light tan brown, that almost look like little moving crumbs.  If they weren't so easily multiplied, and if they didn't desire the same things I like (salty, savory food) maybe, just maybe, I'd be more entitled to let them live.  But when all is said and done, you have to bust out the can of ant killer, forget your morals, and protect your property from this seemingly small infestation.

What I found last night baffled me - it wasn't a seemingly small infestation anymore.  They had made homes in between the boards of our cupboards, nested on the roofs of our cabinets, and made little happy and trails all along each seam in our kitchen.  One area looked like a New York subway system.  I couldn't help but be fascinated by them for just one moment - how did they move around each other with such fluidity?  They look like such awkward creatures, but they never hit each other, even if there's 10 of them in a square centimeter.  They pass each other by with different lanes of traffic, and they know, without anyone painting down lines, how to keep their distance from each other.  So, I blasted them with ant killer and called it a day.

My dreams that night almost seemed so real, and I swear they were.  I woke up at one point wearing my necklace, and another having it off.  I take off my necklace every night, so I realized that I had awoken into a dream, but much too late.  My reality came bearing down on me - ants poured out of our cupboards, eating our food like a flock of locusts before moving onto me.  They crawled on my toes, around my ankles, and I felt itchy as they pierced and pinched my body.  The dream shifted into an even worse nightmare and I woke up again, without my necklace, and realized that I wasn't dead.  My husband was still asleep next to me, I hadn't just gotten eaten by ants and thrown off a cliff (how the cliff came into play, I could never tell you).

I walked into the bathroom, tired, sleepy, feeling a little off.  There was something pinching my eye.  It felt like I had been wearing contacts that got a little sliver of dirt pressed underneath them.  I looked into the mirror, staring into my red, puffy right eye.  A few veins were prominently heading towards my cornea, the red part of my eye was huge, inflamed.  And at the center of it all, on the farthest possible right hand side, was a little crumb.  No, not a crumb.  An ant, coiled around itself, dead.  I flushed my eye with water, doused it with saline solution, I put re-wetting drops in it, and not a thing dislodged this crumb.  I have to be dreaming, I told myself, this has to be a dream.  I used a cotton swab and swiped at it, my eye stung more and the coiled little sugar ant didn't move.  Finally, I washed my fingertips in saline solution and used my fingernails on my eye.  I scratched lightly at the surface.  The ant, in his last effort to stay alive, had attached himself to my eyeball in a little, piercing bite.  Was this my punishment for killing their colony?  For massive ant genocide?  Was there really even karma for that?  Did ants have karma?  Hot, frustrated tears rolled down my face - I pleaded with the ant inside my head, please, please just come out...

Yes, this actually happened to me last night - yes, it was horrible.  I went into a hysterical panic, started crying, woke up my poor, sleep-deprived husband, and it finally came out on its own - mostly because of all the frustrated tears.  It was the smallest, little thing I've seen before - but anyone that wears contacts knows what it feels like to have something underneath them - and yes, it hurts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Under Our Feet

She ran through the train.  Her frame was so thin that she had a way of sneaking between people, ducking and dodging and laughing.  She heard his voice, begging him to slow down, but he couldn’t help but laugh too.  Hers was infectious, she had the squeal that bordered on annoying, but really was just pure joy that reminded most people of their childhood – of sillier times, simpler times.  Her red, long curly locks tossed behind her.  They were bright red, the color most people dyed their hair in attempts to imitate, but hers was completely natural.  Everything was natural – from her perfect, flawless skin that captured the sunlight in crystals and released them with a flash of her pearly whites.  It seemed that she sucked up all the life around her, releasing it back with more ecstasy than the rest of the world could ever know what to do with.

She raced back through the dessert cart.  Laughed and twirled herself around to make sure his beige eyes were still running after her.  She almost sideswiped a man drinking at the bar, but was able to roll around him.  She murmured a laughing apology before hitting the last cart.  She was almost at the end of the train.  

The door flew open underneath her feathery grip and she jumped out onto the end of the train with her arms open wide.  She watched the world float by underneath her feet, turned around just in time to allow those beige eyes to catch a glimpse of perfection.  Her eyes danced with mischievous determination, her mouth in a joyful smirk, her hair falling on all sides of her shoulders, but still framing her peach colored face.  She grinned, “Told you I’d win.”

He walked up to her and tucked an unruly piece of hair behind her ear.  With the world passing beneath them, he cusped her head in his hands and kissed her.  They embraced for a few moments before he pulled away.  He had a funny look on his face, a twisted side-smile that she couldn’t quite place.  She was about to ask what was wrong, but hesitated a moment too long and he knelt down on one knee.  He opened a small, red box.

Words cannot describe how she felt in that moment, but the crystals forming in her eyes were enough.  They danced on their way down her cheek, then got swept off her face and sent onto the world rushing out from under their feet.

Inspired by my time in Napa Valley with my love - he proposed to me on the Wine Train, in the dessert cart, while the world passed under our feet.

Monday, August 22, 2011

All Borders are Porous to Cats

My friend and I were chatting on the phone, excited by the prospect of her moving in soon, excited to finally see each other again.  Finally, we'd be on the same coast after two years apart.  And I decided since she was one of the people that I bonded with over music, to casually look over some of my favorite band's websites.  And there it was.  The title of their tour page read, "All borders are porous to cats."  And I scrolled down.

"Oh. My. Goodness.  World Inferno Friendship Society!!!"


"They are playing here in October!"

We hastily made plans to go, the tickets were inexpensive, it was going to be awesome, amazing.  But the planning had me reminiscing about Boston.  All of the shows that I went to, and all of the random travels and tribulations that came with being a show goer/kind of groupie to my friends' band.  Not a real groupie, mind you, but just a girl that hangs out with them, drinks with them, loves their music, and sells stuff at their merch table in exchange for free beer.

My favorite moments were traveling back from shows.  Our ears still hot and ringing, our feet tingling from the bass vibrating the room, the drums pounding in our heads, the restless bodies bouncing and swaying to the music, sometimes pushing and shoving, but always in good fun.  It was the energy that I loved, I fed off of, so thick that it was absorbed into my very essence. These rides home always proved to be interesting - everyone still tense and buzzing from the show.  You take the bus, you transfer to the subway, and you always find new friends along the way or lots of laughter.

Heading back from the Against Me! show at Club Lido, my slightly boozed up friends started a sing-a-long.  As if we didn't get enough of their music at the show, we now infected other people on the bus - they joined in, our voices ringing throughout the seats.  Onlookers gawked, but with slight smirks on their faces.  It was infections, it was raw, it was us.

From a Rise Against show, most of my friends were never interested in them - which was really a pity since they were one of my favorite bands.  I found myself wandering back to the T (subway) alone, scared at the darkened streets and the faint hiss of street lamps.  Once I got myself into the subway, I spotted someone else.  He was wearing a band shirt, and I heard him chatting up one of his friends.  I didn't know if they went to the show, but it was the energy, the feeling that they had together - yeah, they had absorbed it too.  We chatted the T-ride away, and I felt safe even though it was almost midnight and I was with perfect strangers.  We bonded for one moment in time over that same, intoxicating feeling.  The high we got when we felt the music invade our brains, where the world melted away and all that mattered was the show, the band, and the people around you.  School didn't exist for tonight.  Hell, society faded into the background.  It was us and the wonderful world of music.

And finally, one of my fondest, albeit scariest, experiences in Boston was when I went to a World Inferno Show.  All of their shows have been fantastic in my book, with their cult following.  You'd see the same people at each show and it almost felt like, after a time, that you knew them.  In a way, you grew up with these people.  There was the kid that started vibrating when "Peter Lorre" was played - there was the girl that always wore a suit coat, dress, and high black knee boots - and there was the guy that dressed up in his finest suit and danced his ass off.

One of my girl friends and I walked home after the show, bummed cigarettes off of some guys to offered to walk us in the opposite direction.  We declined and went towards Mass. Ave.  Now, if you ever have walked the bridge at night, you understand how dark it is.  The pressing blackness of 1am is no different.  So many things in Cambridge were closed, but the bar crowd was still locked up, drinking.  There were few people on the streets, and the bridge took us directly over the black Charles River.  You could barely even see the river in that light.  A few streetlamps hung what seemed like miles apart from each other, only allowing everyone in front of you to be back lit.  A man's silhouette walked towards us. 

My friend and I let our imaginations get the best of us.  What if he was holding something?  What if he ran away with one of us into the darkness?  What if he just shoved us off the bridge?  We wouldn't stand a chance, and we wouldn't even be able to see his face.  It was the unknowing, blank face scared us more than anything, I think.  I held my breathe as we passed by three different groups of strangers, each of them chatting about their evenings, none focused on us.  Safely across the bridge, the world ignited - bars were letting out, the drunks were headed home, some gentlemen and ladies were getting lucky that night.  Our conversation became cheery and lighthearted, once again focused on the music.

Music, for me, has always been an adventure.  I never can truly appreciate a band until I can feel their energy, see them perform.  I can see their emotions on stage, their eyes serving as reflectors to every word, guitar rift, drum beat, bass slap that rolls out of them.  Everything that they intend to convey in thirty to forty-five minutes of brilliant sounds.

This is why I was drawn towards my husband, a musician.  He's my lifelong adventure, and his music often makes me strive to reach my own goals - to write that novel, or finish that painting, or just be inspired and let the music take me to someplace where society melts away.  And I can imagine myself anywhere - in a crowded bar, in a field with swaying grass so high it strings your knees, in a busy subway car watching someone try to keep themselves upright after having too much to drink, or just at home in the backyard with my cat by my side and a warm hand in mind.  Music makes me feel perfect, even if it's just for one moment in time.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Drawn into the World

Reflections of the world
Through dreamy, starry eyes
You’d have it all
The brilliancy of naivety
The things that stand unknown
The beauty of anew
Reflected in those blues
Dreams may never be seen
Nights to sleep in peace
Catchers drift and sway
Watching over you

Chase the pointing away
Replace fingers with words
Describe the world as is
Categorize, learn, assume
Draw the wrong conclusions,
Your eyes have changed
The color no long reflects
But holds emotions, unseen.

I'm really hoping that you got this without me explaining it - because the way I see it, words should speak to you with your own assumptions of the world.  No professor can teach what an author writes, because so many things can become changed - askew to what the reader's view of the world is.  I'm always open to discussing my work - but unless someone asks, I'll let this piece stand as is.