“Honey, I’m not going to let any man put his hands on me,” the first woman declared.
“I don’t know why a woman won’t just leave a man like that,” the second woman said.
“I guess some women like getting hit upside their head,” the first woman said, shaking her head from side to side.
The second woman agreed. “Evidently, they do,” she said, nodding her head up and down.
A third woman sat in silence, listening to the other two women. She declined to join the conversation because she knew the other two could not comprehend what it was like to be a victim of domestic violence because they had never experienced it. They would only understand when they were faced with an unrelenting force of evil that was determined to make their lives a living hell, and determined to not let them get away. She knew first-hand that it is never as easy as just leaving.
Red octogons, yellow triangles, iron fences crumbling like gingerbread. I observe my kingdom from the tenth floor, watching the fly-crusted bodies drift in their deflated kayaks. There's the yellow line, shimmering beneath the water, the line I weaved over as I rushed to stock food, to survive. Now I slurp my last bites of brown-sugar beans. Three extra weeks. All I did was eat and wait for the helicopters. Nothing.
With a finite sigh, I toss the can out the window. Then I climb, curl my toes over the sill. I think of Philadelphia, of rainbowed swimming pools, and jump.
The First Nightmare I Can Remember.
I was five. My young, chubby hands grasped my favorite princess sippy cup. I got out of the car, following Mommy. As we walked towards Costco, the papers she was carrying blew away in the wind, flying into the overcast sky. I forgot about my sippy cup as we walked into the building. While Mommy signed papers, I remembered that I had left the sippy cup on the curb outside.
I rushed out, and to my dismay, my favorite sippy cup had turned into a gigantic hot air balloon. I sobbed as the light-pink balloon floated out of view.
The granite walls are a flawless white, cool to the touch save for the warm ribbons of blood trickling down their surface. Once this palace of stone was a paradise. Now it was a prison. The girl shook violently, wishing she could run, but footsteps were already drawing near. Black combat boots paused inches from her bloodied hands.
"Get up." The girl crawled to her feet, silent tears snaking their way over her cheeks. There was blood. Blood everywhere... but it was not her own.
"Finish what you started," the voice whispered, pressing a cool blade into the girls hands.
As I walk into school, I imagine seeing couples kissing, holding heart-shaped cards and candy.
Instead, I'm seeing black and orange, ribbons being held to hearts.
The morning announcements confirm my suspicions:
"...Today is February 14th, Valentine's Day and anniversary of Parkland. Please take a moment of silence."
It has never been so quiet.
No one stands for the flag.
The silence perseveres with us.
Inspired by the stillness, I begin to write:
"Oranges and blacks
will not stop their bullets.
will not stop their silencers.
worth more than daughters and sons?"
I'd been sitting on the park bench reading by book for a few minutes when it started bugging me. I swatted at it a few times but each time, it dodged my book.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you."
My attention snapped to my left. To the man who'd just sat next to me. He had a wild look about him. Unkempt beard, messy hair, eyes that darted from side to side as if trying to spot a predator.
"Do that? Do what, exactly? I'm just reading my book."
"It's not really a fly. If you swat it, they'll fine you and send two more."
"Of course it's a fly."
"It's not y'know."
"Well what is it then?"
"A drone. A little microcamera in a metal insect form. They're everywhere. Watching everyone."
"Seriously? Come on, it's a fly. OK, if it's a drone, who sent it?"
"They" he glanced about in alarm. "They're everywhere. Don't swat them. I've said too much."
He stood and bolted out of the park.
I sighed and shook my head. "Bloody loony."
And then... Wham! "Got you, you little bugger."
I looked at the mess on the back of my book and patted my pockets for a tissue, sighed and stood to return home. "Typical."
The odd thing is, I'm pretty sure a couple more flies started buzzing me as I walked down the street.
I tried with a noose, overdosing 2 bottles of coughing syrup, drowning myslef. Guess death itslef doesn't want me. I am still struggling trying to cope with the harsh reality of life where ignorance is supposed to be a bliss. I went in and out of therapy, and all I can say it has been helping me alot. Writing letters and burning them down relieves me. A message out there, don't kill yourself. xoxo
To my future self
Hi, I didn’t expect to come this far. I’ve tried to kill you several times but I guess life has some things to store for us later. I hope you’re doing well, hopefully that bastard dad of yours is living somewhere in an old folks home. I can’t stand him. We all did. I hope my dreams of becoming the next picasso isn’t shattered. You’re probably on your way to create your own luxurious gallery somewhere in europe. Tell my future husband I said Hi. I am currently making a time capsule besides writing this letter. It’ll be filled with love letters from your friends, your paintings, your favourite stuffed toy and mostly, a necklace from Brian. I couldn’t thought of myself to wear it now. Maybe in the future I’ll be brave enough to wear it. I refuse to talk about Brian here. All you need to remember that he was your best friend. Deceased best friend, particularly. I’ll bury it somehwere and no worries, you will find it in no time. This year was horrible. Forced to work while struggling between school and a job that has you standing in the ungodly hours of 9 till 11pm. I hope you bought that bass guitar you’ve always wanted. How’s mom? Is she at least 70 by now? How is she holding up? Treat her good. I don’t want her to suffer anymore. If she’s dead, I want you to revisit her grave after you read this. Take some chill pill, drink some water and take a breath, I want you to be happy because these teenage years of yours are a wreck, and I hope I’m not missing school alot. Sadly, I have to end this letter. It’s way past my bedtime. I love you, and dont let the inner demons bite:)