Not In A Line Anymore
“Are you even listening me?”
“Oh no, you are not.”
But I was listening
to every single word
that she was saying.
Our roads are not a line anymore.
It has become a parabola somehow- far before the time she left.
I was listening, girl.
You wouldn’t get what I would say back then.
We were not in a line anymore.
Ik hoop dat je me blijft verrassen
I wonder if he remembers the time we played truth or dare. He proposed the idea like every suave 17 year old should ask, with the twitch of a carved jaw and the flick of an eyebrow that “he does absentmindedly.” But he doesn’t. You think he does. I thought he did. But trust, he knew. And I giggled and said sure like every stupid adolescent girl will for a handsome pair of brown eyes dusted with gold around 2am. We go a few rounds before it goes where it always did for me. By now I know that he didn’t get along with his family, he was a democrat, I knew his most embarrassing story, his aspirations. He wanted to work at NASA, and write books like I did. And he knew what I looked like minus the yellow sweatshirt and ponytail I had when we started. Oh and my middle name, but only because he asked, “what about you?” with a lopsided grin after I learned that his was Eduard.
I wonder if he knows I can barely write about him still and it’s been ages. I think about it sometimes. But I still only manage to sheepishly slip bits of him in here and there. Untraceable mentionings. I’ve tried. I’ve written out entire pages that may as well have been blank as they were when I started. After him I learned the art of talking about a 6 month period of my life for an hour and still saying absolutely nothing. It’s not that I’m not over it, I just don’t know how to access that place in the dark anymore. It wasn’t something confrontable, the only chance I had of survival was just to look straight up at the sun and keep moving while my retinas burned blue and green until another few months had passed. And when they did and I finally assessed the situation in front of me, my eyes clouded around the spots the sunbeams had left behind. So I scraped up the fried ends of what remained of the organ that had been harvested from my chest and barrelled on. And even still, here I am going on in my infamous circuitous manner that only seems to come about when I try to recall the things that happened between him and I. Sometimes I convince myself they weren’t even real. And maybe they weren’t.
I wonder if he remembers the part of the conversation that made my cheeks burn hot. The vulnerability I gave him before truth or dare at 2am went where it always did. The words I gave to this boy that still prick at the corners of my eyes like needles before I manage to swallow the lump in my throat with a smile. “Tell me something in another language.” He prompted. Fiddling with the eagle charmed chain that rested on honey kissed skin between his collarbones. His eyes burned holes into mine and I stared back expressionless. “Ik hoop dat je me blijft verrassen.” I said almost at a whisper. He never asked me what it meant and I never told him as he accepted my answer and moved forward with his unintentional intention.
And as I went to bed that night my mind ran dizzy over our conversation. I was so effortlessly taken by him. Sometimes when I was asked to list reasons why he gripped the wrinkles on my brain I made up a few. Because I was convinced nobody would get it except me and him. I was wrong because the only person who got it was me. I still smile when someone says his name, a shameful childish smile that should be slapped from my face. Because I was his fixation for a moment. Tattered butterflies swarm somewhere hollow inside me. I wish he asked me what the stupid words meant. Because I can’t seem to write them out. To put that dated truth into the universe for the beasts of the field to shred and devour. I know that when I do maybe I’ll have to face the irony of the statement that once made my heart do acrobatics in my chest.
I hope you continue to surprise me. There I said it. These are my wilted words to him. Frozen in dutch translation, preserved in the cryogenic chamber of his amnesia. If I saw him again I think I’d scream these words out of necessity. I hope you continue to surprise me. I’d chant it from afar and maybe he wouldn’t hear a thing. And I tell myself this is what it would take for me to be okay. If by chance a breeze carried my words to his studded ears, maybe I’d rattle on. “Consider me surprised. Consider me shocked! Really.. “ And swallow looking up at the sun to feel the familiar burn on the tears that threatened to form when I thought about the time we played truth or dare. Or the time when I shamelessly took you in perched on the counter while you did the dishes. Or the time I read you scary stories in my best British accent while you stared at me with a look I thought was near impossible to fake. And maybe I’d have the guts to look back at him. And as a tear fell. Staring into his eyes. Those damn eyes that managed to end the world as I knew it. Maybe I’d finish. “Or don’t, don’t consider any of it, especially not me. You never did.” I’d bite my tongue as I walked away suppressing any glimmers of hope that sparked from between us when his body was in proximity to mine. I’d pour gasoline and drop a match on every thought I had for us and watch the flames lick at my favorite memories of us that I had posed nicely in front of every time I broke for you. My fists would be clenched tight until the stains of cinder and soot danced around me. Uncurling my fingers and addressing the nail marks in my palms, I still think I’d find a copy saved. A salvaged pathogen unknowingly protected from the embers. Ik hoop dat je me blijft verrassen. The words bleed from my nails dug into my flesh. “Maybe I’ll have better luck tomorrow.” I’d gasp my throat raw from smoke. And then maybe, I’d turn and go home and try to write about it. And nothing would satisfy the everlasting fulfillment those words scabbed into my hand needed. And nothing would budge them or shape them into anything more than the hinge my next breath rested on.
She has dark, luscious hair that comes down just past her hips and the kind of smile that either entices or gives an impression of narcissism. Her thick lips are coated in the same red lipstick day after day, her face pale, but not overly so; she is skilled with cosmetics, clever at hiding prominent blemishes or miniscule flaws. In fact, she is clever at hiding anything she wants. Her striking, golden brown eyes continually peer out from beneath heavy, curving lashes with the same expression, the kind that means everything and nothing at all. It is impenetrable. Whatever she is thinking, whatever her feelings, she conceals them beneath that mask just as she conceals imperfections beneath powder and cream.
If one is to ask her whether she has been in love, she might laugh, but she will not have a satisfying answer either for the inquirer or for herself. She does not know what love is. She believes it is just something one cannot control, cannot contain, something wild and unpredictable and fun, like herself. She thinks one can fall in love overnight, after a few drinks and flirtacious glances across a table, perhaps. She thinks it comes without obligations, free of charge, that it is something to amuse herself with one day and dispense of the next; maybe in the morning, when the headaches caused by more than enough alcohol come to visit her, the night seems distant, and that certain man who appeared so attractive before suddenly becomes repulsive to her. But still, she says rumpus and crowds are fun. Addicting, even. At heart she is sick and disgusted, tired of lies, of being admired and put on display like some ignorant animal ... she hates the thought of the next party, the next drink, the next overly hospitable man she might meet - and yet she continues. She can’t stop. Isn’t that life? She says to herself. Just a tumultous merry go round of mistakes and disappointments and excitement? And once you get caught up in it, you can’t just leave and become virtuous like the people you once knew, that long time ago, the ones you shunned and laughed at for being plaster saints ... can you? You don’t simply become a “good” person overnight, the way you become wicked. It isn’t even worth an attempt, because you are sure to fail.
So she keeps on flirting and playing her game, day after day. Time slips from her grasp and the hurricane of life grows giddier, spinning her around in a continuous, wild frenzy. But at least she is surviving. Surviving with your own lies is better than dying with the truth.
Isn't it weird to see someone you once cared about after so much time?
Somehow, it's not them who have changed, but it's you. And you just look at them and they look at you, and you smile sadly inside, knowing it's a goodbye. Because even though they are the same, everything has changed.
Layer Upon Layer
It's the layered stuff that weights a person down in everyday life. It's the pile of half clean and half dirty clothes with no real place to call home that gets picked and riffled through instead of having a place to store them. It's the mud caked boots thrown in the corner and the rug that needs to be vacuummed because of the boots' bottoms and the gritty tile floor surrounding the bunched up soiled rug because you're just going to put the boots on again.
It's the layered stuff that controls a person in everyday life. It's the small fib that is uncaught that over a short time that now is a full blown lie that caused mistrust and ruined a nine year relationship.
It's the layered stuff that takes up roots in every aspect of a person's everyday life. It's the bad habit that nags at you to try better but you never do because it's easier and more comfortable to keep doing it. It's the excuses that we rotate to make up for our poor decsions that always come back to bite us in the end and label us as fake.
It's the layered stuff that keeps us listening to the record in our heads that plays the songs we wrote with phrases like, "If only I had time to clean my house" or "I'd feel so much better about myself if I could keep things picked up."
The lyrics that fill our thoughts like, "I can't keep lying and expect them them to trust me" and "I've got to stop hiding the truth from people who mean the most."
Phrases like, "I need to stop this damaging behavior for my own good" or "Why am I choosing to be stuck in my own misery?" that loop on repeat every single day.
Pen to the Paper 4
"Will I ever be… human-shaped again?" I asked my doctor.
Staring without blinking at my cube body, he said, "Maybe. But the procedure is very painful."
"I don't care. I just don't want to be a cube anymore."
"So, basically," he began, then finally blinked, "we strap your legs and arms to the top and bottom of a machine. This machine will then begin to push and pull using your arms and legs to stretch you out."
"This sounds fake."
"Well, this is fiction."
"Nothing," the doctor said.
"How long will the procedure take?"
"Not long. About twelve hours."
"TWELVE HOURS! Please, please, please tell me we can set it up now! I have somewhere to be tomorrow!" I said.
"We have the machine here. Last week we had to stretch out someone who had fallen into a machine at a basketball factory. And, yes, we played a round of basketball first."
I stared at him in disbelief.
"It's true," he said. "Best game of basketball I've played… just don't put your fingers near the mouth." The doctor examined the red scar along his fingers. "Trust me."
"Well, let's get goin'! I have places to be tomorrow! And, if we go now, I'll be able to get an hour of sleep before I get ready."
"Sure you will…" the doctor said. "Foreshadowing," he whispered.
I walked onto stage and was met with a relieved sigh. "Yeah, that's right," I said, trying to ignore the excruciating pain I was in, "I'm normal again."
The audience cheered.
"Thank you, everyone, for joining me for…" I rubbed my eyes. "For joining me... in room... for… assessment…" I collapsed onto the stage, exhausted from how little sleep I had the night before. How much sleep? None. Staying awake for thirty-six hours isn't exactly easy.
A man from the audience stood up and walked onto stage. "He's okay, everyone. He's just sleeping. But we all know why he's here. Pen to the Paper 4 has begun!"
Laugh Alone AHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHA
What have these day done to me?
I’m not the same person as before.
I’m letting the lack of color close in on me.
I N S A N E
Someone else told me to die today.
Called me “F-ing weird”
I kinda like it,
When they yell at me.
Telling me who I should be.
I laugh about it.
“Am I annoying you???”
I laugh alone.
No one’s there to laugh with me,
But at least it made me smile.
“You know, you deserve to die!”
As someone once said to me.
I love it.
Their reactions are priceless!
I really do love doing stupid stuff
But consequences must follow me.
I laugh alone.
Edita Castaldo was the prettiest girl in town...But, she was not known among the elite, since she was found among the riff and raff of the street. Her chocolate brown eyes sparkled with life at all times, and never had anybody but her family seen her without a wide smile on her lips. She had a very petite kind of build and face. Her hands were small and soft, even though she worked hard every day, caring for her younger siblings and for the garden and small field that they had. Her black hair was always swinging around in a high ponytail finished off with a braid. It was her signature hairstyle, and she never seemed to tire of it. Neither did those who knew her.
As fate would have it, Edita’s father, Emiliano, was a soldier. For years, he served his lord and master, never once doubting the orders or the wars. Until one day, when he woke up and saw the wrong that he has been doing, all in the name of his master and leader.
But, the moment that Emiliano Castaldo spoke up, he was a dead man. He was cast into prison, and his day of execution was set. The news reached Edita’s family by way of a family friend. Indeed, Lord Ambrosetti never even tried to reach out to them and explain the matter.
And as time passed, Edita grew more and more in despair. Her repeated letters, begging for mercy, was left unanswered by the Lord Ambrosetti. Indeed, one shouldn’t have found it too strange, for he was planning a massive party for his triplet’s birthday. Three days of partying, of wine and music, of pleasure and fun. And...The day after this massive party, the execution would follow...
It is here were our story starts. On the first night of the party...
Emilio glances around his surroundings, taking in the large ballroom. To the right side of the room, tables and chairs have been placed. It is here that the elderly have seated themselves, gossiping about the latest scandal, and discussing the latest child of disgrace.
In the center of the room, the floor has been filled with dancing couples ever since Lord Ambrosetti has finished his speech. The orchestra is situated against the back wall, and the whole night they have been playing without repose; pouring their soul into the music.
Emilio smirks and turns back to the buffet table, snatching a snack. With one bite it is in and on its way down, and he turns around, his eyes suddenly drawn to the entrance.
His eyes catch a hold of a beauty entering the room. The head butler leans in to her as her lips softly announces her name.
“Signorina Edita Luciana Castellano.” He announces loudly and then nods to the lady. She smiles gracefully and starts her descent down the few steps. Men glance up and then stare. Dancing starts to seize, and for a moment the orchestra falters, but at the urging of their conductor, they quickly pick up the melody again.
Emilio’s eyes stay glued on the young lady. Her black hair has two braids, starting from her forehead, that stretches to the top part of the back of her head, where they are united into a bun. From the full bun, the rest of her long hair spills down, reaching to the middle of her back. In a simple white dress with golden lining, she floats over the floor, heading towards him.
It feels like an eternity since he’s been staring at her, but suddenly she stops in front of him. She curtsies elegantly, and faces him bravely.
“Signore Emilio Ambrosetti.” She breathes out. “What a pleasure to make your acquaintance. May I wish you a blessed day and year, not just a wish uttered and prayed by myself, but also as is the wish of my family.” She smiles sweetly up at him.
“Signorina.” He bows, and smiles widely. “I don’t believe I’ve ever made your acquaintance, nor the acquaintance of your family.”
“Edita!” Allegra Ambrosetti squeals and pushes past her brother. Edita’s face blossoms into a wide and welcoming smile as the two young women hug each other. “I can’t believe you are here!” She squeals again, keeping a hold on Edita’s shoulders.
“Indeed, it is quite the surprise to see you actually made it all the way here.” Alonza Ambrosetti adds, tossing her long black hair over her shoulder. She keeps a regal posture, but her green eyes sparkle with joy as she greets Edita with a nod of the head. She then looks at her identical sister, amused. “Sister, you will attract everybody’s attention to us over here.”
“I don’t care! Because,” and she draws Edita in for another hug, “our best friend has indeed made it, as she promised.”
“Excuse me, ladies.” Emilio intercedes, the confusion clearly portrayed on his face.
“Ladies?! Why, Emilio, since when are we ladies?” Allegra teases her brother, once again taken aback by the similarity that they as triplets share. It’s really been strange to have him back home after ten years.
“Hold on, Allegra. Give me a moment.” He faces Edita. “Signorina, I heard your name to be Castellano. But...nobody in our family knows a Castellano.” Her face pales, but she keeps her pose. “Tell me, who is your family really.”
“Emilio...” Alonza warns. Edita shakes her head at Alonza and then looks him square in the eye.
“My father is Emiliano Castaldo. And I am his eldest daughter, Edita Luciana Castaldo.” He stares at her in shock, speechless for a few seconds. His eyes wander over to his sisters, and both immediately glance away, finding a sudden interest that they hadn’t had merely a minute ago, in the snacks.
“Emiliano Castaldo...” He mutters, and frowns. “Allegra and Alonza, of all the things you could do. Helping a peasant to save her father.” He spits out under his breath. He ignores the sharp intake of breath from the beauty, for his sister, Allegra practically throws herself into his arms.
“Please, Emilio. Don’t tell papa. Please. Let us do this. Signore Castaldo has only been good and kind to our family, and especially to you. Please.” She pleads. “He has thirteen children, not counting Edita, at home. They need a father. And he needs them. He doesn’t deserve this.”
“Allegra...” He sighs and then looks to the more responsible of his sisters. “Alonza...You girls have thirty minutes. At the strike of nine o’clock, I am telling father that a peasant has come to save Emiliano Castaldo. And beware you if word leaks out that you two lent a hand in this rescue mission.” He warns and stalks away, glancing over his shoulder one more moment, to commit her face to memory...Edita...A beauty that will never be mine...