Monthly Archives: December 2014

Way out in the water

Title from The Pixies song Where is my mind, betad by ecosopher.

Emma still didn’t know how this had happened. She had OCD, ADHD and anxiety problems, she was not dependable and practically unemployed. She was never on time and sometimes she said things without even thinking. She had been described as cute more times than she could count, but never hot or sexy, and she had ugly ankles.

So it wasn’t strange if more than once she had wanted to turn to this man lying next to her and ask ‘are you sure? Me?’ and when he’d say ‘of course,’ she’d have to ask ‘but why?’

That would sound as if she were fishing for compliments, but sometimes, like in the middle of the night, she was just genuinely curious.

He’d told her once, when they had first started going out, the things he liked about her; the way she saw the world and her excitement at the things she loved. He’d mentioned her brilliance, but it hadn’t seemed like enough. These things about her were good but they weren’t great, certainly not enough to have someone drop everything to come see her, to come live with her, to move to a new city just to be with her.

But that’s exactly what he’d done.

Suddenly she felt like she couldn’t breathe. She slipped out of bed and padded to the kitchen for a glass of water. She drank it slowly, the rhythm helping her calm down somewhat. She then washed her cup, and went back to bed.

She was about to close her eyes when his opened. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah,” she replied, “sorry for waking you.”

He shook his head and burrowed deeper into the covers. “It was your lack that woke me; you were gone.”

“I was just thinking,” she said.

“You think too much,” he said, and put an arm around her, pulling her close, and closing his eyes.

“I know,” she whispered.

She didn’t really understand why he’d done the things he did, or why he’d chosen her, but she wasn’t about to question a good thing, in case he started to wonder too. She was going to enjoy this for as long as she could-

“You think too loud,” he said, interrupting her thoughts without opening his eyes.

She smiled. “Sorry,” she whispered, and went to sleep.

The opposite of a love story

Based on true events

5 years old

“I don’t want to eat it!”

“Just taste it, it’s chocolate, you like chocolate don’t you? It’ll be over in five minutes.”

I feel my throat closing up. This didn’t taste like chocolate and it felt weird in my mouth. I looked up at my mama and knew there was no getting out of it.

***

10 years old

I look at the bright cover, the promising words; I could almost taste the honey glaze, the crunchy nuttiness, standing right there in the breakfast isle.

“You can buy it if you want.”

I look up at my dad, my eyes bright with hope. “Really?”

“Sure, change is good, every once in a while.”

I feel my heart lifting as I pick the box off the shelf and put it in the shopping cart. This could be it, the thing I’ve been waiting for!

***

15 years old

“What’s that you’re eating?”

“Muesli,” I mumble.

“It looks like someone already ate it and threw it up again in your dish,” my brother says, making a face.

I feel my stomach turn. The thought I keep suppressing now voiced was impossible to deny. I don’t say anything, I force myself to finish my bowl and get up to get dressed.

The next day I announce I don’t want to eat cereal for breakfast anymore.

***

18 years old

“Seriously?”

“I’m telling you,” I say, “I haven’t had cereal in 3 years.”

“But why?”

“Eugh, I hate it, it gets all mushy and soft, it’s so gross,” I say, “I ate it every day for 10 years, never again.”

“But this one is so good, we used to eat it all the time as kids!”

I look at the curved shapes on the box, empty promises and false hope.

“I dunno…”

“Trust me,” she says, and pours the cereal into a bowl and covers it with milk, then pushes it towards me, then pours out a new one for herself.

It takes me an hour to finish the bowl. She times it.

***

Present day

I walk down the breakfast isle, words jumping out at me, ‘tasty’ and ‘light’ and ‘fruitful’. I ignore them all as I head towards the spreads.

Peanut butter and Nutella, that’s the stuff for me.

Not for all the love in the world

Title from The Thrills’ song by the same name.

“It’s stupid,” she said, “this idea, this whole thing.”

“I have to do this,” he said, “it’s my dream.”

“You’re gonna get yourself killed.”

“I’ve wanted to do this my whole life,” he said, “you knew this when we first met, it’s been years, you didn’t think I just gave up on it did you?”

“And what if I had?” she said, her voice starting to break, “I foolishly thought that since we’ve settled down, bought a house- we have kids! You’re just going to leave?”

“It’s a once in a life time opportunity,” he said.

“Stop, just stop with the one liners,” she yelled.

“What do you want me to say?”

***

When they first met she had been so in love. She fell in love with his passion, he was a dreamer and she wanted to be part of that. She wanted to take his passion and wrap it around herself like a scarf that will keep her warm at night.

She thought if he would just turn that passion to her, her life would be perfect. Looking back she could tell how that had been stupid and selfish.

She ignored her friends’ worried faces and creased brows and she married him. His passion died down, he became more subdued and they settled down. He’d talk about boats occasionally, or maybe mention someone finding a lost artefact, but she didn’t think much of it. He had chosen her, after all.

She ignored the faraway look he got in his eyes when he talked about such things. Maybe it was just nostalgia for a life he never had, but then he’d blink and it’d be gone, and everything would go back to normal.

***

He picked up his bag and walked towards the door.

“If you leave-“

“This was never going to work out,” he told her, “we’re too different.”

“I thought you changed,” she said quietly, “all those years-”

“I thought I did too,” he said, “I wanted to change, for you, so badly, but-”

She nodded. “Once in a life time opportunity,” she said, resigned, “you’re a dreamer.”

“And you’re a realist,” he told her. It wasn’t an insult, he was just stating fact.

“When you come back,” she said, “I won’t be here.”

He couldn’t say he was really surprised. He nodded instead, picked up his bag again and walked out.

Cinderella, she seems so easy

Title from Desolation Row by Bob Dylan

Chloe unlocked the door to their apartment and walked in. She was tempted to close her eyes as she did so. She and Dylan had had a fight and she had a feeling she knew what to expect.

It’s been a whole day. A whole twenty-four hours where Dylan could have done anything. He did not try to call her, and he did not try to apologise, but she was here anyway. No doubt they had both known the moment she had walked out. Maybe even before then.

The small apartment was a mess. She doesn’t even know where half this stuff comes from, how so many things could accumulate from just two people. She picked up a purple garment which turned out to be her favourite dress and half heartedly dusted it off before tossing it on the nearest chair so it wouldn’t wrinkle.

She’ll have to put a load of laundry in tomorrow, she thought as she made her way to the bedroom, and probably vacuum too.

The door was slightly ajar but the room was dark. She gently pushed the door open to find Dylan sprawled naked on the bed, one hand on his stomach and the other loosely wrapped around a bottle of vodka. She could smell the alcohol from here.

She quietly approached until she was close enough to take the mostly empty bottle from him and walked out again, closing the door soundly behind her. He’ll sleep till noon tomorrow and then wake up and act like nothing had happened. She’ll follow suit and life will go on.

She threw the bottle in the recycling bin they had, ignoring the sound it made as it joined others like it and went back to the living room. She pulled out an extra blanket and pillow from the hallway closet, and then cleared one of the couches, tossing everything onto the floor.

She curled up on it, pulling her knees up and resting her head on her hands. She’ll wake up sore tomorrow no matter how she slept, but at least this way she could ignore her surroundings and keep warm till she was asleep.

She knew one or both of them needed help, but at this point she felt like nothing could be helped. They’ll fight when he’s sober, he’ll drink when she leaves, and no matter what, she will always come back.