Every Friday after pre-school, Suzy and I sit in the grass out front, ripping up handfuls of the lawn and building grass mansions as Mrs. Hardy watches over us. When Suzy’s mom’s gold Jeep squeals into the parking lot, we simultaneously jump up, grab our matching unicorn backpacks, and hop in the SUV. And every Friday Mrs. Hardy flashes her friendly smile that matches our enthusiasm and waves goodbye as she hollers, “have fun, girls!”
Part of our Friday ritual is stopping at the Shell on the corner of Fifth and Kiel street. Suzy digs through all the cup holders and finds enough change to buy one Laffy Taffy for each of us, matching colors of course. On the drive home we sing our hearts out to our favorite big girl songs on the radio, our tongue and lips dyed blue from the candy. As soon as the Jeep screeches to a halt on the gravel driveway, Suzy and I jump out of the SUV, run through the lawn, into the house and up the staircase.
Halfway up the stairs on the right is my favorite place in the whole entire universe; a little door that opens up to a 6x4 cubby with a slanted ceiling, 5 feet tall at the highest point. The drawings on the cubby door make it clear that this cubby is for Suzy and Natalie, ONLY! We make sure to spend every second in our little hideaway, because Friday afternoon is the only day of the week that my Mom and Dad allow me to come over. And Suzy made up a rule that she isn’t allowed to go into our cubby by herself, except when things get scary in her house. Today, Suzy is the nurse and I get to be the doctor, but every time we play something new. One day we were pilots, because that is what I want to be when I grow up, but Suzy just wants to be a mom and have little babies to take care of.
I inhale sharply as I snap back to reality and realize where I am. No, no, no. I don’t want to be here, I want everything to stop. I want to go back to being 5 years old, back to our cubby, where everything was always all right. I want to see 5 year old Suzy, beautiful, kind, and happy. I want Suzy back.
I sob as the truth hits me. I will never see, hear, or dream with Suzy again. And it’s all my fault. As soon as I turned 15, my parents shipped me off to boarding school to ‘get a better education’ and ‘stay away from those wilder kids’, which included Suzy. At first, we kept in touch, but as all good things tend to do, we fell apart. She followed in her mother’s footsteps and I followed mine. There was a bit of a divide in our town, and her family was “trashy” while mine was “snotty”. I always worked hard to ensure a stable, happy future, but, my god, this is not the future I wanted.
The last time I talked to Suzy was a few years ago. I was home from Whitworth for the summer break and ran into her at the local grocery store. We hugged, made small talk, and promised to reach out this summer. We both knew that wasn’t going to happen. I forget about Suzy after that day, and instead thought about what gift I should get for my two year anniversary. Now I wonder, did Suzy forget about me? Or did she often think about those Fridays we spent together?
I tell myself that if I would have known, I would have helped her, but it’s bullshit. Deep down, I knew. By the 6th grade, I realized why my parents didn’t want me hanging out at Suzy’s. Let’s just say her mother was always developing habits, bad habits. Sleazy men, shitty liquor, etc, etc. And when I left town, her mother was the only person Suzy had.
Suzy’s death is on me. And rightfully so. I throw a handful of dirt on her grave and stumble away. Out of the corner of my eye I see Mrs. Hardy, her face stricken with tears. It was me, I want to shout! I pumped those drugs into beautiful, bright Suzy and left her to die, sprawled out on the staircase.
**Congrats, you made it to the end:) please leave a comment with some constructive criticism! I am new to writing short stories**
Writing A Dance.
A good read is an enchanting ballet. The dancer leaps and spins around the stage, imprinting a story in our minds. The audience watches the artist twirl on stage but it is the heart that remembers the tale. The stacatto rythm makes our souls dance with the dancer, and every perfect detail is a punctuation, ending an emotion and starting a new one in one swift movement. The words of a good writer will haunt you forever.
An easy read is a Tiktok dance. The movement and music is attractive to the eye but it doesn't invite love, only lust. A quick fix, and a quick fix is needed indeed, for the masses have no time. There is still creativity and punctuation, but there's no soul.
The ultimate abyss.
I am floating.
A lone survivor in a white space-suit.
I am surrounded by nothingness, a darkness, a void.
Where something once was and will never be again.
There is no direction here, no dimensions, it is just me.
Twisting, turning, falling into blackness.
Heaven and Earth are gone, oh, oh, oh, no!
There is nowhere to go, no place to be, no shoulder to cry on, no comfort for me.
The stillness is calming and claustrophobic, the silence is eerie.
The ultimate abyss.
Not Romantic Love
It's hard to explain, but short story short, I don't feel the same.
I love you so deeply, but not romantically.
I need you in my life, but I can't be your lover.
And I know, babe, that you have to leave me to find another.
If you are ever in need, please come find me.
And we can be best friends again,
with late nights,
and late loves.
My life is a whirl-wind. I pile on the hobbies and the side-jobs like Jughead at Thanksgiving dinner. Some days I am trapped on the merry-go-round, and Binky keeps pushing faster and faster until the world is just a blur of colors. One of these days I will fall off, right into Wonderland.
9 pm, Wednesday
The two clocks on the wall tick with perfectly timed intervals, mimicking my heartbeat. The taste of onion, salt, and oil fills my mouth, and the flavor intensity increases with each crunch. My attention becomes so focused on my sense of taste that the ticking of the clock becomes a sound of the past, invisible to my ears. But, the excitement in my mouth is not enough to make my brain forget about my aching back. I should go lie down on the squishy, yet firm, couch. I collapse on the makeshift bed where Mary slep the night before, and gaze around the living room at my wet clothes, haphazardly thrown about in an attempt to air-dry. My back still hurts but my feet are unusually warm, an uncommon and pleasant feeling. The mechanical whir of the air-conditioning brings on a strong desire to sleep. My bones are heavy. This is peace.
Grave of the Unknown Soldier
Sweat, tears, blood, fear.
Gunshot wound to the stomach, terror in your eyes. You know the end is near.
Red runs through your shirt and pools in the dust. Your fumbling hand has done nothing to stop the bleeding. A man with many blurry faces is shouting but you cannot hear,
your dying senses can only see the fear in is eyes. His nightmare is to become you.
"Mama, come hold me." A cry for comfort, love and peace. You want to be taken somewhere safe, far away from here. Away from the battlefields and bombs and killing.
Two years pass, and then a few more.
Your family wonders what happened to you in the war. MIA was all the note said. Nobody knows if you are dead. At night, your little daughters say a prayer, they really wish that Daddy was here. The young wife you left behind is broken, her heart shattered into pieces and locked into a memory chest, never to be reopened.
So I stand here today, at the grave of the unknown soldier, to thank you for the bloody battle you fought so well and to wish you peace in heaven after a hellish death.
And although your loved ones are now dead, I still wish them the best. I hope they had a happy life and know that you didn't want to leave them behind.
My sacrifice can never compare to yours.
I salute you, unknown soldier.
Depression is the dryed out oatmeal that was left out on the counter yesterday. It tastes bland and is hard to eat, but you still choke it down because it feels like too much work to prepare a meal.
Depression is the smell of cold rain on warm asphalt. It's overwhelming, unpleasant, and unavoidable in today's crazy world.
Depression looks like the homeless man sleeping at the park, disheveled, dirty, and too tired to even beg for money.
Depression is the sound of an old man shuffling up the stairs after a long, unwanted day of work.
Depression feels like you are laying facedown in the middle of a busy street, unable to move.