A Tale of Two Kitties
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … an age of kittens, mittens, and foolishness, of darting back-and-forth: two high-octane balls of fur—one Dreamsicle orange; the other, coffee and cream. It was a season of darkness, a season of light; when one tried to sleep, the other would fight. Now they’re grown-up, each one a cat. Yet I miss the kittens, those two little brats.
How it ends...Maybe
***HERE IS A SMALL FACT***
You are going to die
If you’re reading this, then I’m very sorry to inform you that you are mortal. Hopefully this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. But, here’s the good news: I know when and how, if you ever want to know. Not in, like, a creepy way, like an I’m going to murder you kind of way, that’s just my ability. I knew my first grade teacher would die in a snowboarding accident. I know my cousin Eddie will die lighting a thousand balloons filled with hydrogen as an online video challenge.
I know my mother will die of asphyxiation.
It’s two years from now. My stepdad will do it.
What would you do if you had that information?
Well, I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing for that past year, ever since I had the courage to look into how she’ll die. I have a small wallet-size picture of my mother that I carry around everywhere, and every time I come up with a plan to save her—convince her to fight him, tell her the truth about my power, kidnap her and run away to Liechtenstein—I pull it out and see if her death changes. It hasn’t yet.
After a while, I began losing hope, I began growing impatient, and I stopped carrying her picture and started carrying my stepdad’s.
Those plans are a little different.
Right now, he’s going to die at age seventy-four of old age in a federal prison in Kentucky.
But I’m not about to try anything if it’s not going to work. So, every time I come up with another plan, I pull out his picture and see if it’ll work. It never does. I don’t know what his deal is, but nothing I ever come up with changes how he’ll die. He must be some kind of supervillain or something. Or maybe I’m just too young? Or maybe there’s just something about fate that can’t be messed with.
They say knowledge is power. But I’ve never felt more powerless. I’ve never felt more hopeless. Nothing I ever do or think of changes the fact that my mother will die. And my stepfather will kill her. What do you think is worse? Having that come as a surprise, or knowing it’ll happen and not be able to do anything about it?
I can tell you what I think. I wish I’d never known. I wish I’d never been born. I wish my mother had never been born.
I wish I could just kill my stepfather. But I can't.
Once Upon a Time...
Once upon a time, time was not.
The old man remembered what the child forgot.
While other babes did utter words
That common folk thought were most absurd.
This is the tale I tell to you;
You thought ’twas a lie, but now it’s true.
And once you realize the clue,
The former things are made anew.
Long ago and far away,
We were ever so close; right now; today.
A love so strong to light the way
Though many still have gone astray.
This is how the story goes.
I whisper the words that no one knows.
And in the secret of the prose
You’ll find it’s beauty- rows and rows.
The children gather roundabout
To hear the words from the elder’s mouth.
For, once upon a time, time was not.
The old man remembered what the child forgot.
Pride and Predjudice
It is a truth universally acknowledged,
That a single man in possession of a good fortune,
Must be in want of a wife.
That is wrong.
A man desires one thing.
He strives for power.
Whether through peace,
Is what drives him,
Is what holds him back.
It is a truth universally acknowledged,
That a single man in possession of a good fortune,
Must be in want of...
Enough is never Enough.
Pride is Power.
But Power is learning to live.
Favorite starting line
It was love at first sight. (Catch-22.) Me and Tommy Kennedy from across the street. That street being the black paved barrier between me and the brown haired boy on the other side.
The air was freezing the first time we met. Emerald orbs glistening from behind thick spectacles peering into my living room window, he saw me first. I was reading my favorite book, Gone With the Wind, and surely believed myself quite beyond my years for taking interest in such an adult piece of literature. My mother had laughed when I lugged the thousand page blackhole that would absorb a week of my time -which at nine years old, I believed was my most precious currency- home.
His Rudolph red nose caught my eye first. It was a perfect button, the kind I had always adored. I had smushed my cartilage until it turned sore, but I had never achieved the perfection of a button nose. His hair was the same color as mine, honeyed from days in the golden sun but gradually growing darker in the winter months. We locked eyes, my murky blues meeting jade, and from that moment on, I knew I would speak to the boy in the tenth floor Chesterwood apartment across from me.
It was love at first sight, I repeated over and over again following that fateful day. With my only trips out being the grocery store and the public library, it was almost impossible to catch a glimpse of the mysterious boy. In my mind, I was Scarlett O’Hara, he was Ashely Wilkes, and I was still convinced they were star crossed lovers.
Eventually, on a slightly warmer December afternoon, his gawky figure could be seen parading down the sidewalk, my sidewalk. I begged my mother, a raven haired woman, slumped over in her favorite leather arm chair, if I might venture down the street to the library. Before she could respond, I took silence as affirmation and was on my way.
“Hello,” I began what was sure to be a wonderful courtship with a simple greeting.
He stared at me with wide owl eyes while I slung my satchel across my thin shoulders.
Pushing his glasses up his flawless nose, the object of my interest returned with the practiced ease of a politician, “Good afternoon. My name is Thomas William Kennedy. I live on the tenth floor of Chesterwood Apartments, room 126. How are you doing today?”
“I am very well, thank you. My name is Evelyn Anne Smith. I live on the tenth floor of Rosecrest Apartments, room 89,” I copied him in order to sound as adult-like as possible.
He seemed to appreciate it because he continued, saying, “Your hair is very shiny. It reminds me of my mother’s.”
His compliment made me blush, and I knew we would be fast friends, “Thank you, I brush it a hundred times every morning and night.”
A sort of unspoken agreement passed through our child minds. We dipped our black shoes into the fresh snowflakes paving the dreary grey sidewalks. We walked on in silence until we reached the intersection.
Thomas interrupted the silence with a question, "Did you ever make a New Year's Revolution?"
"Resolution, you mean." I corrected, hesistant to point out his flaws. "Yes, I did. I vowed to read a book a week."
"Wow. That's neat. I only promised to excersise more because my father says I'm not as big as I should be."
"Oh, well, I think you should do things you like. I like reading."
"I like the way you talk," he admitted with a slow grin, "It's really fancy."
Scarlett had not yet instructed me in full as to how to properly end a conversation. We were approaching the part of the street where the doors back to our homes were. If he left, I would be back in my room again. Alone.
"Will I see you tomorrow?" I asked with a hopeful inflection and my bottom lip between my baby teeth.
He seemed to mull it over in his head, "I have piano lessons in the morning, but I'll make sure to come out after lunch."
"Do you like cherry pie?" I wondered with a sudden idea.
"It's my favorite."
"Alright, goodbye, Tommy."
He gave a small, bashful chuckle at the sound of my new nickname, so I vowed to use it again the next day. He waved as he stepped into the doorway. Then, we retired to our respective apartments. Once inside, I could see what I assumed was a faint outline of him from my dining room table.
The next week flew by in a whirlwind of bliss. I brought him a thick slice of cherry pie my mother and I had baked. Both of us quite loved to bake. We went to the library and even a park Tommy had discovered about a year ago. Without asking my mother, I piled in with him into his father's car. I was wearing a yellow sundress, and he handed me a bright bouquet of yellow blossoms he had plucked from the damp soil. I did not know how to make flower crowns, so I cheerfully tied them into my braids.
"Here, I'll wrap this and get some pencils to draw on it, too," I soothed, passing him the roll of bandages for his crimson knee.
Tommy had scraped his knee against a sharp rock when he leapt from the apartment porch steps. I had rushed to retrieve my nurse's play kit to bandage his wound. It contained a roll of plain white bandages, a stethoscope, and an identification card for patients. He would be my first human patient, and I could not have asked for a better one.
My mother was a nurse, but she does not like to talk about it. My grandfather always got mad when he would come to our apartment. I am not sure about what. He would just start shouting about some kind of mistake she had made during her time at the hospital. Maybe she had not treated a patient properly. I hoped Tommy would be okay.
"Here, write your name on this line and your birthday there. I'll fill out the injury list," I instructed.
I wish I had been a nurse when Tommy got called to war. The year was 1941, and we had been married for fifteen years. It was a beautiful ceremony with yellow blossoms braided into all the girls' hair. I suppose fifteen years was enough. I should have been grateful to still be with the boy from all those years ago across the street.
But I wanted more. More time, more laughs, more memories. I wanted a child too. A little golden haired ray of sunlight to brighten our lives. The doctors told us we could not have one. I held my breath in the emergency room. We both cried. There was nothing we could do.
Then, we cried over something far worse when he was drafted. He packed a small bag because they told him he would receive all he needed when he arrived for training. I was scared, but I could not imagine what he was feeling. I dreaded when he would be shipped off for Europe.
We sent letters back and forth for months. Then, I recieved a message that no woman wants to hear: my husband was shot. He was in the hospital, but it was not looking good. I wanted to help, to bandage him up like when we were younger. There was nothing I could do.
He died the next week. They sent his belongings back with his body. I could not bare to look inside the casket. All I could think about was brown bangs pushed up with blood, sweat, or a mix of both. Eyelids covering beautiful green eyes that would never see the light of day again. I would see a scrawny frame with legs too long for his coffin. But most of all, I was afraid to see bulletholes. To see the result of one man's fury let loose against the one I loved.
I did not look inside, not even at the funeral. I gave a short speech because nothing could capture my adoration for him.
I remember when my father died. He was wearing blue, dress shirt and slacks and all. My mother said he went quickly, no pain. Out the window, down into the pavement below. I do not know why. Maybe we finally ran out of money just like everyone else. Maybe grandpa was right and our whole lives were a mistake. Either way, he died. It did not matter how, or when, or why. He was dead.
My husband was dead. My father was dead. My mother had one foot in the grave. My grandfather has not seen me since I was five. I assume he is dead too. My grandmother died before I was born. Everyone I love is gone, swept up into the murky blue waters of the unknown.
When they asked me to write a piece about the war, me, a ninety two year old woman with brittle bones and a heavy heart, I almost laughed. What would I have to contribute to a book about the war? I mean, just because someone lived through something does not make them an expert. I know nothing about military strength or facts and figures. I can barely remember my own name sometimes. All I know about the war is what it means to lose.
One morning, when Tommy and I sat in a large oak tree in the park, I asked him if he believed in love at first sight. We were fifteen, two years away from marriage, though neither of us knew it yet. He said, "Of course, but only when I'm thinking about you and me."
Headstones are like hospital identification cards. I laid his from when he scraped his knee against his headstone yesterday. Cemeteries have always been like shelves I could not reach, for even if I wanted to go inside, I would not dare. I do not know why, but I went in for him.
So at ninety two, I want to make it known to all the young couples who aspire to love and be loved, be warned because along with fireworks, butterflies, and laughter, love is a street riddled with potholes the snow cannot hide for long. They throw you into ditches filled with sadness that nobody has ever escaped from, not truly. I am still in one, and I have tried everything to get out. I guess what I am saying is do not take what I am saying as all sunshine and rainbows. Do not take it as the manual to follow. I do not know everything, but I know that when you see a sweet, skinny, spectacle wearing boy with a button nose red from the cold, do whatever it takes to hold on to him.
Cold Side of the Bed
'When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold...'
I quickly sit up, in such a quick and swift movement, that for a moment, everything remains as a blur. I shake my head, then look around. I frown, no this can't be right, he wouldn't leave without saying anything.
Or would he?
I mean, we were just boyfriend and girlfriend - not married. We were only teenagers, irresponsible, reckless, teenagers.
Maybe he did leave, without a word, the second Dawn appeared, the second the Sun's rays started shining on everything for another day.
But would he? No, I don't think so.
I stand up, look around my room, poking in every place there is - just in case he's hiding. I search all over the bed, side tables and my room, in general, for a note that he perhaps left for me. I check my phone for any messages, missed calls.
Nothing at all.
''Huh,'' I say to myself, slightly annoyed, while still being slightly concerned.
I leave my room and check the rest of my house, only finding the rest of my family, but not him. Not Jordan.
''Morning, have you guys seen Jordan?'' I ask my parents and older sister - not concerned that I just told them he stayed the night.
My mother and father exchange a look, something in-between surprised and proud. My sister raises her eyebrows, with a big smile and says, ''Oooh...''
I shoot her a dirty look, while deep down I was amused.
My parents both shake their heads, sister too.
I sigh, while my father advises, ''Maybe he just left, maybe he was overwhelmed? Should you really be so worried?''
''He wasn't overwhelmed, nothing happened! He came over, just to hang out and decided to sleep the night here - he has nowhere else to go.'' I say, sadly.
My mother's expression turns to shock, ''What do you mean, 'nowhere else to go'...?''
I sit down, next to my sister, and say, ''His parents passed away when he was a child, he lives with his Uncle...''
''And?'' My father asks.
''He's an alcoholic, always out, always drunk, always angry and never there.''
''Oh.'' My sister says.
My mother's face is filled with sadness, while my father asks, ''Why didn't you tell us before?''
''He made me promise not to say anything - no one else knows.'' I say, looking down.
After this, there is silence.
Painful, tiring silence.
I have breakfast, coffee, and then hug my parents and sister goodbye and leave.
I need to find him. Disappearing isn't like him.
I start at his place, walking there as it's within walking distance of my home. Once I arrive at the door, I hold my breath and knock. Once, twice, three times.
I try the door, and it's unlocked, so I walk in - cautiously, as I'm aware that his Uncle could be here.
''Jordan?'' I call out, walking around the entire house, other than his room.
For some reason, the idea of going in his room scares me - a lot. I venture deeper in the house, to find no one. No Jordan, no Uncle.
''Jordan... come on,'' I whisper, suddenly feeling despair, fear.
I walk upstairs, where his bedroom is and stop once I reach the closed door. I take a deep breath and walk in, closing the door behind me.
''Jordan?'' I murmur, again.
I check his bed, closets and then stop when something catches my eye.
Something white, on his desk.
I approach it, and find that it's a note, a piece of paper. I pick it up, in shaking hands, and read it out loud,
''When you find this, you will know of my whereabouts, where I am. I am terribly sorry, to my Dear Eliza, for the pains and troubles. Before I left, I kissed your forehead, gently, softly, and whispered, 'You are my home, Earth, universe. I love you.' Please forgive me, and still live, for, a bit of loss comes with love - all the time. Please, live. Please, move on. Please, love me, still, after all of this. Talk of me fondly.''
When I finally understand what this is, and what this means, I drop the note as my legs buckle underneath me. I fall to the ground, and start crying, sobbing, whimpering.
My phone is suddenly buzzing in my pocket and I reach for it, body shaking. I pull out my phone and answer - still crying, ''Hello?''
''Honey. Honey... Eliza,'' My mother's voice murmurs on the other side. I can hear her voice cracking, shaking. ''It's Jordan... he- his body... was found...Golden Gate Bridge... I'm sorry...''
I drop the phone and start crying harder, worse. I'm hiccuping, sobbing.
'I kissed your forehead, gently, softly, and whispered, 'You are my home, Earth, universe. I love you.'
As the words rush through my mind, I whimper, ''Jordan-''
My voice shaking, body shuddering, heart breaking.
My eyes closed shut as I cry the hardest I've ever cried.
**The first line is from 'The Hunger Games', by Suzanne Collins! <3**
It was a pleasure to burn.
It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.
Ever since he was a boy, his eyes would glint with wonder when he held match after burning match in his small fists, staring on at the dancing fire for hours on end. Smiling with ecstasy as his saliva snuffed flame after glowing flame and filled his curious mouth with smoke, gaping his jaw like a fierce dragon with its newly-acquired treasures around the ruins of a crumbling castle.
It was an exceptional pleasure to wield such power.
As he grew up, Guy Montag would still experience these pleasures. His arsonist's lullaby would be sung by his coworkers, those who fight forbidden knowledge with fire. Sung by their symbol, the humble salamander fed by flames. All orchestrated and composed by their new world, reborn like a phoenix that had once fallen from grace because of its old acts of hubris.
No longer would there be hidden words, secret messages, conspiring whispers directed toward their glorious government. Montag loved this new world as much as he yearned for the afterimage of destruction ingrained in his eyelids, the rush of heat against his masked face, the stench of gasoline lingering on the engulfed building turning to ash before him.
Even if there were thoughts of what could have been etched on those charred books in the back of his head, Guy knew that the flames would never leave him.
His burnt fingertips would still itch to strike sulpher against phosphorus even outside of work, when he couldn't hold a brass nozzle to make a reaction. His eyes would still gleam like the embers they gazed off into. His face and hair would remain as dry as noontime in the Sahara, and the scars would remind him of how he had boiled oases as a job instead of drinking from them.
He may decide one day to burn the lies he had lived to find the truth behind it all, but would still look back at the beckoning fire as he escaped. Would he ever truly escape?
A boy who wants to die.
Is today a good day to die?
Maybe not. I haven’t finished my essay. Maybe I’ll die after that so that Mr. Eric won’t be disappointed.
And I also haven’t had sex. It’s a pity to not be able to do something that everyone hails as the best thing in the world to have done. But I have a feeling that I won’t be able to do it even 10 years down the road. Not unless I get her attention.
Maybe I’ll die tomorrow. Maybe I don’t even have to finish the essay, because how important is Mr. Eric anyway? He was nice, but not nice enough to make me want to stay in this world. There was no one nice enough to make me stay in this world. Except her, maybe.
Maybe I’ll stay one day longer so I can see her smile for one more day.
Or maybe I’ll stay a month longer so I can confess to her on the day we graduate.
But what then? It was like waiting for rejection. Was it worth it?
I wanted to have this girl but the effort was too much. It was so much it seemed more than trying to die. But I wanted to try. I wanted so badly to know how it feels like to have a girl.
I stepped off the ledge. Maybe I will try again next time.
A book from the future
“History tells us that great leaders face their downfall with grace, while fighters face their downfall fighting, and then there was Donald Trump that faced his downfall denying it’s a downfall” (taken from “The Man Who Said Too Much” Z-165, Charlie, intelligent press, 2064)
...denying was not enough. people who were up those early morning hours tell that the farewell press confrence was rechristned a victory party. the president had thirteen hours left on his term, eight years more than most would have preferred. he began the day early, watching television, and breakfasting on rare delicacies such as a Mcmuffin, Mcmuffin biscuit, and hashbrowns. the latter, incidently made from the now extinct Solanum Petota. he tended to place great importance on his meals, and was known to fire those who interfered with his feasts, or mock his choice of food . he is reported to have eaten well that morning. later, he used his elctric cart (he was recovering from aggravated bine spur for thevlastvtwo years of jis presidancy)to make his way to the oval office, where paper shredding was furiously taking place. the shredding of official documents was not something that bothered him, as he was well accustomed to such illegal practices all his life. but on that morning, the amount of shredding seemed to alarm him. he asked one of the aids why where there so many staffers cluttering the entire west wing, desperately trying to eliminate all possible evidence. mainly to save themselves from criminal liability. the aid explained that the staffers were having a competition and the stakes were high.
“remember mister president?” he said “you promised the winner an all expenses paid weekend in Mar-a-lago.” explained the aid. the resort which the aid was referring to, was burned in a freak golfing accident that july, a fact that the president was not expected to remember.
Jared kushner, who secretely turned state’s witness in the ivanka-gate inquiry greeted the president by his desk. the hidden microphone was on. his new position as head of the NSA may have been a historic mistake, the joke around the capitol was that kushner was slated to take over the space agency. in any case, kushner was collecting every bit of evidence he could get, to save himself from charges of gross negligence, animal abuse, witness tampering, tax evasion and child pornography. his deal to betray his employer , father in law and ex-wife were accepted eagerly.
“Jared, i want you to tell me, what are the polls showing?”
“well...are you Donald Trump, president of the United States?” asked Jared, making sure he had positive identification on tape.
“yes...yes I am!” said Trump and lost the train of thought. time was running out for Jared and so he changed the topic. “so mr. president, we need to reach a desicion about the deal”
″”“About the ivanka deal. ”
“what deal? i do a lot of deals, Jared”eals, Jared”
“which deal do you think?”
“oh...the mexican cartel deal?”
“yes. let’s think this through. ”
“first we give Ivanka to the cartel”
“yes...and they keep her in a nice place with rabbits and alfalfa. is there any alfalfa in Mexico?”
“Yes, mr. president. we made sure...now...”
“we pay a ransom. half me, half you half Ivanka”
“yes Mr. president...what’s next?”
“they release her. bring her back in style. ”
“we get a tax rightoff. plus the cartel hombres ....em...is that racist?...the cartel cavalieros give us half of the ransom back....em...i just..”
“what will they do with their half?”
“the muchachos. ”
“eh...well. it’s not my place to say...business , I guess...capitalism”
“capitalism” murmured Trump. he liked the sound of that.
“so....are we going to go through with it? it’s not too late, we can turn the trumpjet around. Ivanka will be disappointed, but she’ll understand”
“no! we go through! all the way! with the powers vested in me, i herby proclaim this deal....em.. what’s the word?”
“aporoved...sanctioned” said the aid wistfully. coincidentally, he was also wearing a wire, but part of another investigation.
“great! “said Jared happily and it is obvious from the released tapes that he was feeling relief , after catching his employer, in a blatant attempt to commit federal crimes.
″ by the way, just to be clear , I am Jared Kushner, isn’t that so mr. president ?”
“you sure are”
“and just to let you know , Mr. president, the date is january 20th”
“I’ll be going now, to give the green light call. to say that we want this deal”
“yes, yes...go..call them. we need to make sure Ivanka gets to pet the rabbits and the alfalfa”
jared left hurridly, perhaps worried that he would need to get a second recording of all that, and that it was critical to get it all while Trump was still in office.
“ladies and gentlemen” began the press conference, where he was supposed to say his farewells to the American people. historians debate what was his intention. but it is clear that many were left scratching their heads, and wondering if he was perhaps setting himself an alibi as mental instability or onset dementia “in a few moments I will be sworn in as president for the third time. and you know what they say: third time’s the charm. i feel proud to have been the youngest president elected, the longest serving, the tallest and most energetic of all who came before me. but what i am proud of the most is the fact, that I represent such a great role model for ordinary good citizens. I , too had had humble origins, starting out with nothing. but with hard, honest work I reached success in business and was chosen to be on that greatest of offices , that most selfless of positions: Reality TV. i feel blessed , and thank all those nice people who helped me to acheive these goals. I am reminded of two great presidents who came before me. one, Abraham Linkin (his pronounciation), who protected his nation from invasion and spent many years serving successfully in the private sector, before chosen to lead our nation, which he did for many years.
another president , who many great people of our time have compared me to is Franklin Delano Rosevelt, or teddy as his friends called him. a great man, who like me had struggled with dibillitating bone spurs, and yet carried on bravely. lastly, i feel that I closely resemble Ronald Reagen, who like me, defeated the Russians, and brought peace and prosperity to this great country. to tell you a secret, ladies and genrlmen , even this morning, i have been working hard with my son in law , Jared, to make a fantastic deal with Mexico. we are going to partner with them, and bring capitalism to the poor people of that shit...em..i mean country. ladies and gentelmen, as you see , the time to take the oath is at hand. ,I want to say before I go, that I hope to work well with the other side, heal the rifts that have come between us, and bring about peace and prosperity to all.” the helicopter which he was ushered to, took him above the white house. and for the last time, Donald trump saw the golden escalator he had installed at the entrance. witnesses say that they saw a tear sliding down his cheek.
Ahead of Me
She had stardust on her shoulders and when I looked into her eyes, I saw the universe
I don't want to leave her
But I had to capture the look in her eyes for myself
Let me go free
Hold me tight
Close enough to feel you breathe
With enough space so I can look you in the eye
So I can brush the stardust from your shoulder
So I can watch you pass by
I'll catch up one day
Just you wait