The Last Candle
A collaborative piece by H1 and thePearl
Little Miss Kitty
It was one of those long-tapered candles that were only brought out on Thanksgiving and Christmas. This day was neither of the two, but Mother lit it: the last candle.
She held onto the base, flickering light illuminating her green eyes so they seemed to glow with emerald embers. Pin-pricks danced along my upper arms as I took in the sight: gleaming eyes back-lit with the flash of lightning, thunder grumbling, wind whipping, trees groaning under the weight of the tempest battering our freshly painted shutters. Mother looked the part of a witch, hands long and elegant on the strings of her violin as she crooned a dark lullaby to us. The music entangled with the clash of thunder, sending children’s eyes ablaze in fearful wonder.
We loved and hated this song.
Her voice was perfectly suited, all hollow and forlorn and ringing with a pain young minds struggle to grasp, but commiserate with nonetheless. Her eyes filled with tears as she sang the second verse, and every time, we wept along with her. We hated going to bed with sadness in our hearts, but we loved to see Mother transformed, an echo of some otherworldly being rising up with the pulse of each note, the timid woman we knew for once buried under the weight of her raw pain.
She changed the words. She changed the melody. The version she crafted is etched upon the very heart of me:
Oh, do you remember?
A long time ago.
How two little babes–their names I don’t know…
Went strolling along
On a bright summer's day…
Got lost in the woods– and I’ve heard people say–
She always paused there, hovering on the last note as if weighing whether or not to sing the next part. But then she always continued, egged on by small voices whispering, “Finish the song, mama.”
The sun, it went down…
And the stars gave no light.
They sobbed and they sighed
And they bitterly cried.
Poor little babies,
They lay down and died.
I always drifted off to sleep during that part. Mother lingered for hours by my bed, stroking my hair, humming, and sobbing. I don’t think I really slept at all that night, every flash of lightning re-illuminating Mother’s haunted eyes in my mind. A part of me was afraid of her from then onward. She held on so tight to me, it made me afraid she would never let go… and I didn’t want her to, not really. I just snuggled in closer to my little brother, curling around his small body to shield him from the touch of Mother’s brief break from reality.
James had always been mine to protect. Mother paid him no mind, sometimes forgetting him in the house when we went to the grocery store, never reminding him to brush his teeth before bed, neglecting to even make him a plate at dinner time. It didn’t bother me. We both knew something wasn’t right with Mother, and if she wasn’t going to look out for my brother Jamie, I would. I always slid food off of my plate to him, helped him put on his shoes, and brushed his teeth with my own toothbrush. Mother wouldn’t buy him one, but I thought maybe she just didn’t realize that three-year-olds needed to brush their teeth, too. Mothers don’t really know everything, after all. But sometimes she was even a little mean. Sometimes she pretended she didn’t see him at all. Those times I was angry with her– those times I resented being the favorite, the one who never got left home alone, the one who got extra stories and songs at bedtime, the only one who ever got a cake-pop at the coffee shop. Don’t worry, I always saved a bite for Jamie.
I know Mother secretly loved Jamie, too, because after I was asleep, I sometimes heard her talking to him. She didn’t say much, but she did whisper his name a lot when she stroked my auburn curls. I liked to imagine she was petting his head, too. The words wove spiderwebs in my mind,
…And when they were dead…
The Robins so Red
Brought strawberry leaves, and over them spread–
And sang them a song the whole day long…
Poor babes in the woods… Poor little babes in the woods.
It wasn’t until the eve of my fifth birthday that the prophecy so carelessly sung in Mother’s broken voice became real. Mother always hid my presents in the back of her closet. I found the little box wrapped in brown paper on my second foray into the fragrant folds of sundresses that made up her wardrobe. Success. My gift, all wrapped up and waiting for greedy little fingers to gently peel back the tape, to unfold, to peek at the label, and then hastily re-tape and stow again, only to be greeted with crafted surprise upon the morrow. I was ever so careful with my opening of the brown paper, though it looked like Mother had had a hard time getting it to stick, it peeled back easily as if it had already been removed before. The paper fell away completely, little bits of it crumbling under my fingers. It was the most curious gift I’d ever seen. Mother had wrapped up Jamie’s shoes in a glass box. The bright orange velcro straps winked at me in the darkness of the closet. There was a picture of Jamie in there, too. He was holding a cake pop, with little bits of chocolate clinging to his face. I felt a pang of jealousy. Was Mother taking him out for cake pops without me? It was then that I heard footsteps approaching, and hastily shoved the box and paper back into its hiding place.
Mother was standing with hands on hips when I poked my head out from behind the dresses. She laughed at the sight of me and scolded (but I could tell she didn’t really mean it), “You silly girl– you won’t be finding it in there this year!”
Just then, a tiny ball of fur darted from behind her legs and hopped up to lick my cheeks. The puppy was a glossy golden color, with kind eyes and a gigantic blue ribbon tied around its neck. I squealed in my delight, puppy kisses showering my cheeks and eyelashes.“We were supposed to wait until the morning, but he just couldn’t stand it any longer. He had to meet you now,” Mother smiled,” I suppose he wanted to spend your special day with you.”
“Oh, Mama– I love it!” I squealed.
“I’m glad,” she whispered, “What will you name him?”
I answered without hesitation. I’d met a beautiful dog named Lola at kindergarten. I knew that should be this puppy’s name. “Lola,” I said.
“Are you sure?” Mother hesitated, “... he is a boy dog.”
“Yes,” I said, “and he is Lola. Lola. Lola. Lola!” I buried my face into the cozy fur of his neck. “Aren’t you?” I whispered. He yipped and licked my nose in agreement. I loved him–and he loved me, too. From that moment on I pledged to myself that Lola and I would be the best of friends–for the rest of forever. Best friends. Besides Jamie, of course. I spent the rest of the evening playing with them in the back yard. Lola wanted to run into the woods that stood to one side of our yard, but Jamie kept shooing him back my way. We ran ourselves ragged jumping and laughing and getting grass stains all over. Pine needles and sticks and tufts of dried grass tangled in our mussed hair, sticking up at odd angles. We looked rather like a family of little scarecrows.
The three of us fell into bed that night smelling of puppy dog and pine trees, contentedness radiating through our bodies to our very bones. It wasn’t until I was drifting off to sleep that I remembered to ask, “Jamie— Why did Mama take your shoes?” But he was already asleep, little toes poking out from under the covers all purply and covered in dirt from running barefoot.
That night, I dreamt of sleeping under a blanket of stars, clutching a bundle of flowers to my chest, tears crusted to my cheeks– but I wasn’t sad anymore– I wasn’t afraid. I was wonderfully warm. I was wonderfully at peace. It was the most beautiful dream I ever dreamt..and in the dream, I wasn’t me: I was Jamie.
In the morning I woke up to slurpy puppy dog tongue on my ear. I couldn’t help but giggle. “Wake up, Jamie!” I shook his little shoulders, “It’s my Birthday!” The sun had barely peeked over the top of the mountains when Jamie, Lola, and I made our way to the backyard. We frolicked the early morning hours away, and Mother brought out a picnic blanket and a plate with a steaming stack of pancakes. There was a bright pink candle in the top of the stack. She lit it and we all sang. I tried to give Jamie one of my pancakes, but Lola scarfed it down before it ever made its way to his grubby fingers. We all laughed. I gave Mother a kiss and she squeezed me in a hug that was a little too tight. I tried to pretend that I didn’t see the tear tracks on her cheeks when she turned away, bustling with the stack of dishes to the back door. Before she went inside she turned,
“Kitty–” she began, seeming to choke a little.
“Happy Birthday, baby,” she smiled, “You and Lola have fun out here… but stay close.”
Her last words were lost in a swirl of ribbons as I darted across the yard, testing out the new pair of shoes Mother had given me along with the pancakes. They were pink, with tiny white flowers and glittery golden lightning bolts. The new shoes made me run extra fast. Lola tagged along behind, doing his best to capture the rainbow twirl in his tiny jaws. It was several minutes before I realized Jamie was missing. I stopped my running and Lola barreled into the back of my legs before plopping down to scratch his floppy ears. Jamie was nowhere to be seen. I called for him, but he didn’t answer.
“Lola, where has our brother gone?” I asked.
He just whined a little and went back to scratching. I crept closer to the line trees at the edge of the yard. Mother always said not to go in there, but Jamie was missing… Surely she’d make and exception for this…I slipped my toe over the imaginary line she had drawn in my mind, and I suddenly felt very cold. I stepped back into the yard. I should go get Mother. I should get a grown-up. I turned to go to the back door when suddenly a ball of bright golden fur and blue ribbons whizzed past my ankles and into the waiting woods.
“LOLA!” I screamed and darted after him, grateful for my fast shoes.
When I was a good way into the trees, Jamie popped up beside me, out of breath from running. “No.” He tugged at my braid.
“Ow, Jamie! Stoppit!” It was very unlike him to pull at me.
“No. Pwease. Go back,” he pointed at our house, barely visible beyond the trees. My head snapped back and forth for a brief moment between home and the golden blur quickly retreating deeper into the forest.
I looked at Jamie sternly, placing my hands on his shoulders, “I have to get Lola. You stay here. I will be right back.” I left him standing there, barefoot, with tears running down his cheeks. I heard one last pitiful, “Pwease,” before I darted off.
I didn't find Lola.
The day was turning hazy grey when I stumbled into the little meadow. Wildflowers and strawberries grew in great abundance, flourishing in the shafts of sunlight that shone through the open patch in the trees. These were the last lingering flowers of the summer. Fall had come on in earnest, and the air began to be chilly in the absence of the sun overhead. The ribbons had come out of my hair, and the light blue sundress Mother had put on me this morning was torn and tanned with dirt. I sat down in the flowers and wept. I didn’t know what to do, but Mother had always told me that if I should ever be lost, I was to sit down and wait. So I did. I ate strawberries until my tongue was raw and picked flowers to pass the time. The sky faded from grey to black and the first stars began to wink through. If I wasn’t so frightened, it would be beautiful.
It was as I reached down to pick one last dandelion for my growing bouquet that I saw him there: Jamie. He was sleeping in the strawberry leaves. I shook his shoulders, “Jamie! Wake up. What are you doing here?” He just stared up at me with a sleepy smile.
“Oh, you’re here,” he said softly, reaching up to swipe tears from my cheeks, “Don’t cry anymore. It’s okay. Come here.” He wrapped his little arms around me, and inexplicably, I felt all better– I felt safe. “Take off your shoes, Kitty,” he said, sounding too old for three, “Mama will be wanting them.”
I sat on the grassy ground beside him and removed my new shoes, placing them gently beside the scatter of flowers I’d spent the evening picking. “Will she put my shoes in a glass box, too?” I asked, feeling nothing but curiosity at the thought.
“Yes. She needs them– she needs them to remember you.” He took my hand then and we curled up, eyes trained on the stars above. They grew brighter as the night wore on, and I stopped feeling cold at all, but rather like the warmth of the thousand swirling suns above was shining on me. I smiled at the thought and Jamie spoke, one last time, “Let’s go, sister. It’s time to come home.”
He held my hand as we stepped into starlight.
Below, in the meadow, I saw myself lying there alone, beautiful–even in my dirty dress– with strawberries and flowers all around. The birds began to coo in a way that reminded me very much of Mother, fluttering through the branches in a flurry of wing and song. One by one the birds took turns draping leaves across my pale, lovely body until I had become part of the lonely field. My puppy crept from the shadows and crawled protectively onto my chest. I felt sorry that he couldn’t come home, too.
My eyes fluttered open, a steady flow of hot tears trickling forth, staining my face and falling like drops of blood to the ground… the ground where the two darling angels most precious to me were snatched away by the hand of God. The old wound which had scarred my heart all those years ago burst open with redoubled pain, aching sorrowfully for the children I had lost here. I retracted my hand from the tree and gazed up into its empty, barren branches. They creaked and swayed in the light breeze, giving voice to the silent moaning of my soul. The wind funneled down from the treetop and then carried skywards along my upturned chin, sending long hair whipping in wild tangles around my distraught face.
I inhaled deeply. The air smelled like bittersweet, poisoned honey. My faint exhalation carried on the winds and extinguished the feeble flame flickering on the small stub of candle held loosely in the fingers of my left hand. The wisps of smoke curled upwards and the ember glow from the wick slowly turned charred and black, finally crumbling into ash. That was the last candle, the last flame. I had refused for all these years, to accept it, clung to the vain hope that I could bring him back, but instead the other– my sweet little daughter– was taken from me as well.
I collapsed to the ground, leaning heavily on all fours. My eyes looked past the tender blades of grass waving gently in the Fall wind, and locked on a painfully familiar glimmer of glittery pink with white flowers peeking from the greenery a few yards beyond. They were shoes.
I uttered an ethereal, heartrending cry and lowered my head. It had been six years today. My limbs gave way and I lay on my side in the brush, the forest of lush green rising up around me like a garden castle. The strawberries grew sweet and ripe in tender clusters on all sides, and a handful of severed and wilted meadow flowers in various shapes and colors lay strewn about every which way. How many did she pick to bring home to me? I would carry them all home and arrange them carefully in her favorite vase placed on her bedside table, just as I had done with Jamie’s last collection. His were dry and crumbling, but these were fresh. Maybe they would make her bedroom smell sweet again, if only for a few days.
Lola hobbled weakly toward me and whined. Then he stumbled and fell beside me in the bramble of red berry leaves. He laid his head against the black case of my grandmother’s violin and turned his pitiful face toward my own. There, I saw my reflection.
I shot to my feet with a start, coursing with new energy. My hands flew to the violin and pressed the guard against the soft skin on the uppermost part of my neck. My fingers independently wove notes like a spider’s web as the bow swept slowly back and forth across the strings. The tune played itself, my heart bleeding the words along with it, those fateful lines which swept my darlings away from me:
Oh, do you remember…a long time ago?...
As the song progressed, my eyes shut themselves and the tears continued streaming down, but a bittersweet smile stole across my face. For in those words unspoken, the silence sang, and I heard their laughter echoing through the trees. I did not need to open my eyes to see them leaping joyfully together across the field, Lola frolicking alongside them. I did not need to open to see them dancing side by side in riotous squeals and merry tumbles. I did not need to open to see those bright, smiling faces, radiant with ecstasy, playing wildly in the wind. I even heard Kitty’s rapturous shout of victory whispering across the breeze. “I found him!” it called faintly, “I found him!”
I listened harder, the golden chaff swirling around, darting behind trees, sounds of laughter echoing where they would be, together forever: my babes in the woods.
America the beautiful
There once was a nation
Divided in two
One side was red
The other was blue
The side that was red
Belonged to the right
The side on the left
Was blue as the night
The people who lived there
Could never agree
And that was ok
Because both sides were free
Free not to listen
Free to ignore
Free to join forces
And so, so much more
They set up a system
To keep things afloat
That gave every person
A voice and a vote
They voted on issues
They voted on rules
They voted on when
They should open up schools
They elected their leaders
And who governed the law
But the system was broken
The system was flawed
Politicians turn tyrants
Motivated by greed
Who put their own wants
Ahead of our need
Both sides were guilty
This much is true
But lies and deceit
Often favored the blue
They played on emotions
And paid off the news
To change your opinions
And alter your views
“United we stand!”
“Divided we fall!”
“Don’t vote for Donald”
“He’s to blame for it all!”
They had to defeat him
He had to be beat
No room for chances
They needed to cheat
The election was stolen
It should always be fair
Unless you vote Donald
Then they don’t care
Red, blue, or yellow
Black, white or green
We all have a voice
And all should be seen
Our nation is grieving
We can’t let her go
But nothing can happen
If nobody knows
Stand with your neighbors
Stand with a friend
Fight for your country
Put this war to an end
The Kitchen Table
My mother was a master at being a homemaker. The house was spotless and she was always cooking and caring for someone. She spent her free time obsessively decorating herself and the house. I have visions of my mom wearing all white with frosted hair, heels and enough gold adorning her body to make Ft. Knox jealous. She was an 80’s mom that took her fashion cues from watching Erica Cane on All My Children and Krystle Carrington on Dynasty. I came home many times after school to see her talking on the home phone with a cord long enough to reach outside so she could sit by the pool and smoke while drinking a coke or an occasional rum and coke while gossiping. These were the Camelot years for my family. Well…mostly…
I pulled into the driveway in my canary yellow jeep. Roof off, a cassette tape of Depeche Mode blaring as I took the turn a little too quickly and crunched a few of my mom’s precious Lilly of the Valley flowers. I hoped out and fluffed them up before opening the garage door. There was a new BMW in the garage. “Sweet”, I thought. I’ll be driving that baby tonight. But wait, a new car, that must mean my dad is home. As I approached the door, I could hear him inside. “You cock sucker no good mother fucking dick breath prick!” my dad bellowed. “I will fuck you all the way to god damn Mexico if you don’t wire that money to me today.” He’s pacing and his face is red. He’s wearing a MC Hammer style jogging suit. White with Neon green and blue designs. He looks ridiculous. A thick gold chain lays brightly against his reddened skin. His glasses are tinted dark. A gold Rolex flashes from his wrist. He looks like fat Elvis I think. A mad fat Elvis in the basement of a house in Omaha, Nebraska. It doesn’t fit but it’s what it is. We live in an affluent part of town and everyone is pretty much living the same life except our family. We are odd but we don’t know. Fat Elvis is so irate that he doesn’t notice my six year old little sister walking around in a suit jacket carrying a briefcase with a pretend phone pacing around the next room screaming “You mother fucker, I told you to send me money!”. My dad doesn’t acknowledge me either. I take my sister, Jeni upstairs and find my mom doing laundry. A poster of Tom Selleck hangs above the washer. She’s looking at it. “Hey mom.”, I say. “Hi Lori honey”, she says as she gives me a hug and scoops up Jeni. (I don’t tell her about what I heard her say downstairs) She’s pregnant and the weight of my sister who everyone calls affectionately, “Beasty”, is a strain on her tiny body. I didn’t want her to pick up Jeni, I was worried about her being pregnant at 36. Jeni’s birth almost killed her. I would have done anything to protect my mother.
When Jeni was born her mother told her she needed another child like she needed a hole in her head. Now she’s pregnant again with child number 4. I wonder what she said to her when she told her about this baby. It doesn’t matter, my mom always wanted to be a mom and she is great at it. She’s the kind of mom that sees the best in everyone, even my dad.
Beasty doesn't like to be held long. She’s soon scrambling out of my mother’s hug and wrapping a tea towel around her neck. She goes to the kitchen drawer and takes out a knife and fork. The cat is hiding at the edge of the kitchen cabinets. Jeni is walking with determined confidence but as she rounds the corner, the cat leaps and attacks her. Not like a paw swipe but a full body pounce….claws out…teeth digging into the neck assault. My mom doesn’t seem to notice. I look from my mom to the Beast and back to my mom. Normal daily activity around here I guess. Beasty rips the attached cat from her corduroy blazer and starts chasing the cat, knife and fork in hand, screaming “Come back here chicken, I’m going to cook you!”. Mom is gazing at Tom Sellack above the washer and folding my dad’s big fat tighty-whitey underwear. “Do you want to go look at lamps with me?, she asks. “Sure” I say even though I’ve gone with her several times already to look at lamps and she just buys whichever ones she wants. My opinion means nothing. We have a lot of lamps. We have a lot of everything. One year she had 14 Christmas trees decorated in our house….14!
We leave the Beast with my dad, which is always a risky move, but we are lamp shopping…one store and then back home. I should have known better that it wouldn’t be one store and done. By the time we got home my mother had purchased lamps, a new kitchen table, Christmas ornaments (it was June) but they were on sale and they were angels and she loved angels and knew it was a sign she should buy them.
We made it home with our haul of goodies but when we pulled into the driveway the garage door was open with no car inside. My mom went into mom mode face. She stared into space going through whatever it is a mom goes through and just said “Emergency Room”, like she saw a vision. We head to the hospital closest to our house and sure enough they are there. The Beast is getting stitches and has a broken arm. My dad was talking to the Dr. and when we approach we can hear him say “Well, we generally need to do a potential child abuse report every time a child comes in but your story is so over the top that we know it was an accident.”. “Next time don’t use duct tape to attach anything to your child. Thank you Mr. Bourke?”
“Duct tape?” my mom whispers to herself
“She wanted to be a god damn helicopter Anita. I’m on the phone with Senor Aguesse about a helicopter deal and she’s hears me talking about it and she’s monkeying around me saying she wants a helicopter and I find her one to play with and she doesn’t want it…she wants to BE a helicopter…not play with a toy one…be one. After 4 hours of that bullshit, I tell her to go out and get me a stick and I’ll turn her into a helicopter. So I duct tapped the stick to her head.” He says this like it’s a normal option for turning a kid into a helicopter. My mom puts her hand over her mouth. “It just pulled out some of her hair Anita. The kids’s fine.”
“So how did she break her arm Jim?”
“Oh that, well after that Todd came home and they were playing outside. They asked if they could roll down the driveway in garbage cans and I said yes. Apparently Todd rolled over Jeni and broke her arm.” My mother started tearing up. “And the stiches?” “Come on Anita, don’t cry, the kids fine, they didn’t even numb the eye for the stitches, she’s tough.” My mom looks like she’s going to vomit. She sits down in a chair and I sit next to her both of us giving my dad a “look”.
The Beast emerges from the ER room in a wheelchair. She’s all smiles but looks horrific with bandages all over her face and a blue cast on her right arm. My mom leaps us and kneels down next to her stroking her patchy blond hair. More than a few strands were pulled out by the duct tape. She looks like a plucked chicken. My father is carrying around a big suitcase phone. It’s ringing. He leaves talking to someone in broken Spanish. My mom and I take Jeni and Todd to get ice cream. By the time we get home, it’s dinner time.
“What in the hell is that?”, my dad says. “It’s a new kitchen table. Lori and I got it today. Do you like it?”, my mom asks. “For you yes, but for me and anyone else in the world, NO! Someone is going to get hurt on that thing. It looks rickety as hell, my mom will break through that chair at Thanksgiving.” “Oh Jim, it’s rattan, it’s sturdy. No one will get hurt.”, said my mom to which my dad chirps...“And that glass top? That’s stiches waiting to happen with our kids. What were you thinking Anita?”
My mom looks dejected and my dad just looks angry. He goes into the living room to watch football and I help my mom cook dinner. “I love the new table mom”, I say. “It reminds me of something you would see in a beach house.” “Thanks Lori.”, is all she says as she peels potatoes. I want to ask her right then why do you stay with him, but I don’t.
We are at the new table and dinner is ready. Todd is late and walks in reading a comic book. He’s always reading comic books. My dad hates them. “Todd, put that thing down and eat. Your mother went to a lot of work to prepare this meal.” Says my dad in a gruff voice. We say grace. We pass potatoes. Todd asks for catsup. I get up to get it. I open the refrigerator door and the cat jumps out. “My chicken!”, Jeni squeals and she leaps out of her chair to chase the terrified thing. My dad screams at her to get back to the dinner table and that’s when it happens. The chair he’s sitting on starts to crack. His glass eye looks straight ahead but his good eye is piercing anger and fear as he lands on his fat Elvis butt on the kitchen floor. “I told you this was a piece of shit!”, He takes his chair and drags it into the living room. My mom follows him in. All of us kids just freeze. Cussing and cracking sounds come from the next room. My dad approaches the kitchen and I sit petrified. “Get up”, he says. We scatter together by the sink. My mom is in the doorway and is mouthing “stay out of his way”. He drags every chair in to the living room. Three sets of eyes peek around the corner. He breaking them apart and burning them in the fireplace. “You stupidiot”, said Jeni. (This was how she combined stupid and idiot.) We all laughed and had our dinner as a picnic on the floor.
A Jar of Hearts
I have a jar of hearts on my dresser. Most everyone does. My mother gave it to me when I was little. She told me to be careful who to give my hearts to, for one day I would run out. I took her words and my jar and set them down to think. I knew I was only to give my hearts to those I truly cared about and wanted them to care about me.
I felt obligated to give some to my mother and then also to my father. I gave some to my brothers and sisters. I gave some to my best friends and some to my neighbors too. When my relatives flew down to have dinner with us, they asked me for some hearts, and I, of course, obliged.
There were plenty of hearts to go around. I thought that my mother must be wrong, I could never run out. Slowly, one by one my hearts left my jar. I gave them to my favourite teachers, my friendly co-workers, my boyfriends who left without a word, my 'friends' who I would hang with for a week or two before they found someone new. I kept giving because that was what I was asked to.
No one refused my hearts, and so they left me. One by one. People drifted out of my life and soon my jar of hearts sat on my dresser. It had only a few hearts left. I knew what happened to people without hearts. They ended up in hopeless hospitals, waiting days and days for a cure that would never come. Doctors were not foolish enough to give their hearts to patients, there were too many begging for hearts, and not enough to fill their jars.
And so I closed my jar and hid it away. It stays, cushioned between pillows and blankets. Protected in a box from the world that takes.
My sister visited me the other day. She took my hand and gave me a twirl. We danced without music for the first time, and it felt better than giving away a heart. She told me about her new job. I only understood every other word, but I loved the way she said them.
I saw my old friend from grade school in the deli on his lunch break. We chatted and he asked to meet for coffee. I told him I had given up caffeine, so he suggested getting a bite to eat instead. So we did, and it felt like the concept of eternity being described to a small child. I was in awe and we clicked almost immediately, but I did not want him to stop talking. I did not want him to leave.
My grandfather died. He gave all his hearts to the hospital. It was over two million that he had collected. I listened as the speaker described his entire life story with a melodic voice of chimes. It was like knowing him for the first time, and I wished I knew him sooner. Apparently, I had an aunt who died at a hopeless hospital, and he did not want any more to suffer the same fate. I'm glad that some of my hearts went to a good cause.
A stranger saw that I was lost and took out his ear plugs and asked if I needed directions. He gestured and gave me landmarks to keep me straight. I told him my thanks and he nodded before muting himself back from the world.
I found my jar again. I put it on my dresser, where the sun can hit it and it makes the little hearts that are left glow. No, I do not have a full jar of hearts, but I have something even better. My experiences of people that I do not have to know well in order to love them.
I may not ever understand my sister. I may not ever be able to see my old friends without feeling like getting to know an old stranger. I may not ever be able to live up to my grandfather's passion. I may not ever be able to make an impact on others as they do to me, but I can love them for it. Love the moments that teach me to be kind and to love them without giving up my entire jar of hearts.
It is not that I will never give another heart away. It is that when I do chose to give away my hearts, they will be for more than a reason of obligation or because they ask for it. It will be because I care about them and I trust them to care about me.
those deeply rooted ways
waking up was a daily cruelty, an affront,
and she avoided it by not sleeping
― Gregory Maguire, A Lion Among Men
She tiredly rubs her face, trying to make herself seem more alive and awake, the deeper than usual bags under the eyes, a clear sign of her washed-out state. She didn’t sleep much after the shift at the bar, and to be honest, she didn’t even try, too exhausted to take in additional night terrors that could have come her way. Nightmares weren’t for everyone. She whispers into the air and closes her eyes for a moment, giving the body some rest, as there wasn’t much that she could do for her mind and thoughts.
She breathes in deeper, inhaling the cool air. It’s an early afternoon, the sun moving through naked branches on some trees and through orange and brown leaves where they still resist the passage of time and the upcoming winter. She’s sitting peacefully on a bench in the park, sipping hot dark coffee with too much sugar for any normal human being. Weary eyes, absentmindedly gazing at the pond nearby. Then after a few minutes, her stare shifts to the side as someone sits beside her. It’s a familiar presence, and she smiles a little as she gazes at the woman sitting down. Eleonore’s tired but vivid grey eyes observing her quietly as she shifts an expensive, rectangular shape handbag to her left. Then straightens the long sandy woolen coat and moves a strand of almost black hair behind her ear, a few strands of silver reflecting in the sunlight, sitting there for a moment before speaking.
I presume you got my gift?
She nods slowly and then looks ahead, thinking about one of her patterns that somehow never changed over the years, a sort of a tiny glitch in her system. When she couldn’t sleep and would be too exhausted to listen to her own, nagging thoughts, she would make phone calls. Just like she did late last tonight. And it was rather obvious that the call surprised them both equally. Yet, they talked. And no one shouted or threw any traces of guilt and resentment around. The hours just before sunrise were always the strangest to navigate. You never knew what you would gain or lose with it.
Yes, I did. Thank you.
She says politely and thinks about how long it’s been since they last talked and how awkward it felt now. And that what she really wanted to say was that she loved the little blue origami bird and that it moved strings inside of her that she forgot were even still there. Dusted by time and hidden in a box, in the furthest part of her brain with all other things that she no longer wanted to touch. Because it was safer that way, easier, less painful, compartmentalizing the memories so she could stay afloat. That was her only form of control these days; everything else seemed to be gone and out of reach. So unstable. The denial that she had kept all these years, becoming her only protection from everything that went wrong. And so much went wrong. Hasn’t it? She exhales slowly and gazes at the woman from the side, then looks down at her coffee and the steam still faintly coming from the cup.
Mom... I really liked it.
Her voice is low but soft as she speaks the words. She hears her mother take a deep breath, and a small but familiar rustling noise fills her ears. Somehow knowing that it’s the sound of her leather gloves being taken off, and confirmed as she feels gentle fingers covering and squeezing her right hand a bit as she holds the cup.
I hoped you would, sweetheart.
She blinks away the sudden moisture that threatens to escape her eyes and clears the throat, sensing the awkwardness return, her body shifting uncomfortably. Momentarily her mother moves the hand away and slips both of hers, onto her lap, the back straightening slightly.
It’s a nice weather today, but cold. You should consider wearing thicker clothes.
Eleonore shakes her head as a small smile creeps to her face, something tiny but soft growing in her chest. The other woman must sense the change in energy as she finally shifts her face to the side and gazes at her daughter with lifted eyebrows.
Don’t look at me like that, you know I’m right. Especially now that you’re only skin and bones.
I get by, mom. I’m tougher than I look.
Yes, I am aware.
Her stare becomes thoughtful as she gazes at her little girl’s body, trying not to look too intensely but noticing how slight she got. How limited space she took on the wooden bench and how loose her clothes were. And automatically, the stare grows concerned, overflowing worry slipping through the eyes that matched her daughter’s almost perfectly.
She outstretches a hand towards her mother and lays it gently on her knee while her chest rises and falls.
Mom, it’s okay. I promise. And...
She put the coffee on the ground for a moment and shifts to the other side, producing a paper bag to the other woman’s quite noticeable surprise. She opens it and passes a long shape covered in tinfoil to her mother.
There you go, a body filler coming right up.
She grins and watches her mother unfold the little wrapping, unsure, looking as if the strange package might explode at any moment in her face.
It’s a sandwich, not a bomb. So, I think you’re safe for now. It’s your favorite; lettuce, tomato, and lots of bacon. The unhealthy version that you pretend that you would never even touch with a stick.
She smirks and takes her own sandwich, which is at least twice the size.
Real size thing. For the tough people.
I see some things never change.
Her mother lifts an eyebrow slightly and gives her a subtle smile, and then starts to nibble on the bread while her daughter bites into hers with loud eagerness, making satisfied sounds as she does so.
And I can also tell that eating etiquette has stayed a faraway concept to you, as well.
Mmm, what can I say? I enjoy my food and am not afraid to manifest it. Besides...
She puts away the sandwich and moves her hand around in a sweeping movement, shifting the focus towards their surroundings.
This isn’t exactly the Ritz or Plaza, is it now? Fit in more with the scenery, mom, and you will be a much happier person.
Her mother sends her a long look but then takes a bigger bite of her food.
There you go.
She smiles at her but then inhales with some heaviness, knowing the conversation might not go so smooth for much longer. She rolls the empty now tin foil into a ball and begins to play with it, wanting to busy her fingers, welcoming any possible distractions.
So, how is dad doing?
She can sense both of them tensing up, and immediately, she squeezes the ball tighter, making the sharp edges of the foil dig into her skin.
He’s doing fine, and the business is going well.
Silence falls on them after that as none of them is exactly sure what else to say.
How is his health?
He’s healthy as a horse as always. Just stressed with all the things that have to be taken care of. The company is regularly expanding, which means there is so much more to consider and worry about. But you know him. He never slows down, no matter how many times I remind him of that. Not threats or pleads work with that man. He’s impossible sometimes.
There is a harsh tone to her mother’s words, which instantly causes her to look up. It was not like her to speak badly of her husband or even make it audible in the way that she spoke. It was on a very few, rare occasions that the respectable and always the perfectionist, Katelynn Jane Walton would let her displeased tones drift out so visibly. Hardly ever in their house, and even more rarely in public, where someone could actually hear and report it all over the whole town.
Mrs. Walton waves her hand dismissively and finishes the sandwich with one quick mouthful. Then rolls the foil and starts to torture it just like her daughter. It’s funny how we are always so sure that we are so different from our parents as children and teenagers, only with years realizing that we have more in common with them than we originally thought.
He’s being a jackass again, isn’t he?
Her mother sounds appalled, but then without warning, the corners of her mouth lift slightly into a smile before she can stop it. Well, well, well. Things have sure changed on the other side of the mirror, haven’t they, Alice? She shakes her head and gazes back at her hands, something else taking over her mind.
How can you tell that you are taking too much of someone’s time and space?
Her mother sounds surprised again; even if she is not looking at her, she senses her eyebrows furrow in slight consternation.
It’s just a question. Nevermind. I don’t even know why I asked.
There is silence for a moment, and all they hear are the birds in the background, some kids shouting in the distance, and water splashing gently in the nearby pond as the wind picks up a bit.
Mmm, I think you know very well. So, who is the person you occupy too much?
I don’t know if it’s too much. Well, maybe I do.
You didn’t answer the question.
She plays with her fingers for a moment.
A friend. He’s a good person, and he’s helping me out with things I cannot handle on my own.
So, you can guess that it’s a lot to be helping with.
Yet he sticks around. Well, there must be a reason for that.
Probably the saver complex or the babysitter’s unfulfilled dreams. Who knows.
Always so dramatic.
I’m glad I don’t disappoint.
Her mother lets out a small sigh and shifts on the bench.
Let me guess. You’re leaving him be because that will be “better for both of you”.
Eleonore looks up slowly and shifts sharply in the seat.
Isn’t that a better option? To let him rest, so he won’t realize what a waste of time I am?
Her mother doesn’t answer as the silence between them becomes thicker, and instead, she asks a question of her own.
Is that why you’re here today with me? To run away from that man and fill your time with little distractions?
Did you even warn him that you’re going to disappear from the face of the earth? Some don’t like that.
Her fingers press into the bench suddenly. All the physical symptoms that she had been ignoring since this morning (thanks to a lot of painkillers and coffee) finally catching up with her. She closes her eyes as the playful shouts of kids in the background appear to change into shrieking razors, the chirping birds seeming to drill holes into her bones. She inhales and exhales slowly as waves of nausea start to hit her. Not again, not now, please. I don’t want her to see me like this. She has already seen enough.
No, I did not.
She clenches her jaw tighter.
I will tell him later. Sometimes everyone needs a rest.
And do you really want that for him? The rest, the freedom? A peace of solitude for you as well?
Unexpectedly, she blinks faster as the inquiry breaks through her defenses, the words sinking in with power as something in her shifts, causing the symptoms to subside gently. It’s then when she realizes something. Something that overtakes her, but she doesn’t let it settle in completely, too scared to accept the truth just yet. No, too much. So instead, she focuses on the question itself. On the surface layer of all the things that had just stirred awake inside of her. Running through her as if electricity and lightning, causing the clarity that she was not yet ready for.
I thought so.
I want him to rest, mom. But I don’t need rest FROM him. Everything feels better with him around, and honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about it. I don’t... I don’t want to get attached again. Not after...
She feels her mother’s fingers on her jaw as she gently shifts her face towards her, making her look directly at her. Katelynn Walton gazes softly at her only child and tilts the head slightly as if wanting to see, even more, catching all the angles and reflections of light that could touch her eyes or face.
It will be alright, I promise.
But how do you know?
I just know, love. Let yourself let him in. I can sense that he’s worth the trust. You cannot stay closed up forever; particularly, when someone so special enters your life. Even if they slowly crush and crumble, all of your so well build barriers that you constructed, and that gave you the illusion of safety.
Her voice turns even softer.
Just don’t cross him out just yet before you feel like running again. Alright?
She swallows again and nods lightly as her mother’s fingers still hold her face. One more smile and she lets go.
I didn’t meet with you just to have a distraction; I wanted to see you and needed it. I’ve missed you.
I know. Underneath all of our disagreements and hard times, I feel it. It’s okay.
They grow quiet again, but this time in a more peaceful manner, their eyes drifting to the body of water in front of them. Something in Eleonore’s chest feels less heavy even as the slowly pulsating pain in her head increases, the faint sun above their heads growing somehow in power. She covers her eyes and massages her temples, buzzing sounds filling her skull turning into complaints and filthy sticky words. Don’t listen, just don’t listen, and maybe she won’t see what a mess you are right now. Her mother pats her knee and slowly gets up, fixing her handbag, soft elegance and grace radiating from her posture. The perfume that she uses gently embracing her as if the finest of cashmere shawls. Sometimes she envied the peace that her mom could manifest so well. Especially when all she could do was slowly crumble into her issues, some form of nervousness and damaged parts always lurking under the skin. She smiles at her gently just before she leaves, grateful for any moments that lessened the burden she was the cause of.
Slowly she lets words fill her mind with the confidence that amazes even her.
I promised myself to fix as many misplaced pieces as I could before things got worse. Charlie gave me an opportunity for some form of redemption, and I wasn’t going to waste it. The extra time that he gifted me with was very special. And I knew that I would never be able to repay him for it, but at least I could try.
She gets up and slowly sinks deeper into the city as the evening embraces and swallows her in its hectic bloodstream of rushing people. Into uncountable waves of sounds that seemed to pulsate like a restless heartbeat, always beating, always whispering so many tales of people she would never meet. Mmm, how much more precious each second felt when you knew your time was running out. She thought she should make it count. And not just the things that she had to take care of and what called her to make amends. No, she wanted to enjoy the small, subtle fragments of life that she had left behind. Each walk under the dark sky, each gentle breeze, and sounds she wanted to keep with her. Every tiny good moment, each earned smile and piece of comfort. Every little thing that she would miss, too busy with distractions, chaos, and sorrow. She would try to live now. Even if just in the mundane things that we all tend to miss sometimes. Too caught up in the future and the past to notice the now. The now in which we breathe and live. She shakes her head and smiles a bit as the cold air hits her flushed cheeks, the passer buyers not giving her much attention, maybe only a few sending her a distracted stare. Mmm, all the hardship and chaos left her a bit melodramatic, but that was fine. No one had to know, as she kept most of it to herself. She wraps her arms tightly around her as the cold moves under the clothes, penetrating every fiber of her being.
I hope to one day tell you all about me. The entire story that you deserve to hear.
She whispers and keeps moving forward, ignoring the wind and the cold, sinking into the night completely, without hesitation.
https://theprose.com/post/230936/with-all-my-senses ( the beginning )
Previous chapters :
Are people like snowflakes
or are they more like raindrops?
Individual pieces of art
or identical replicas of nothingness
The beauty is in the eye of the beholder
but no one sees me anyway
so what does it matter
if I'm a snowflake or a raindrop
I'm invisible nonetheless
At their core, they're made of the same thing
but look at the differences
how can they be the same?
Have you noticed that
you never see both together
Snow and rain, never together
opposites, yet they're twins
How horrid is it
to have a part of you
that you'll never truly know?
Uniqueness is not always a good thing
some people would kill
to be a raindrop
rather than a snowflake
I know I would.
of monsters and living things
I mean, I have the feeling that something in my mind
is poisoning everything else
She stirs on the couch, tossing a bit against the worn-out honey brown leather, something in her body strained despite how exhausted she was. Invisible strings pulling on the muscles and the weary mind. She moans out quietly knowing that something bad was approaching, sinking deeper into the soft cushions as the hectic noises from the bar and restaurant slip under the closed door, strangely enough providing her some comfort. The familiarity of the too well-known racket, soothing parts of her gently. The steady flow of loud conversations, glass clinking against each other, and all sorts of wooden surfaces. The laughter and happy cheers, blending somehow smoothly with frustrated shouts and complaints. All of that giving her a temporary grounding, an anchor to something almost stable. But it’s not enough to stop what’s coming her way, images starting to shift and move around her brain, voices like shadows whispering into her ears. She flinches in a half-sleep state and feels something tightening in the chest, pressuring it and making it seem as if her ribs might crack and break at any moment.
Why aren’t you coming?
You know it’s time.
You already drank your last shot. Everything else is gone.
Voices whisper softly, their sweet sticky words clinging to her bones, to the skin, to her bearly breathing hopes.
Why won’t you come?
Why won’t you... stay?
Did your love die in vain, little girl?
Her lungs move faster, chest rising and falling rapidly as a hazy fog unexpectedly covers her eyes, haunting and possessing her with a million tiny images of the past, bending and shifting until they become one - a person, made from flesh and blood of someone that would never come back. Dan. She sees him half standing in the shadows, his back and a part of the face lost in the darkness, while his hand moves forward as if backing her to come. Pleading both with intensity and softness that almost breaks her heart all over again. No, too much. Please. She begs the ghost as her form tries to fight the longing, her body in slumber shifting to his gravity as she finds herself standing in the same dark alley as him, feeling the cold pavement under her feet, stale and musty air lazily gliding against her skin. She looks around confused but doesn’t see anything further away, just blackness.
As if the only light left in hell was beating around them, like a faint pulse of something that would die anyway but somehow still lingered. Remains of life, that was long gone. She looks back at him and mouths - I can’t... I just can’t. He makes a step forward and his eyes spark with soft, tender amber lights, drawing her in as her chest starts to feel more pressure, threatening to explode if she moves even by an inch. She shakes her head, struggling as her throat tightens, tears starting to stream down the face and landing silently on the ground. Baby... I can’t. I’m so sorry. His stare turns confused and pained, his hand reaching out for just one more moment, before falling down numbly as if someone had just cut off the strings with a razor. A lifeless puppet returning to its inanimate form. Her body slumps even more while something unnamed in her cracks, and she knows instinctively that it will never return into its place. Never.
You could have joined him.
Did you not love him? Did you not care?
A different voice asks curiously, its tones meaning to be soft but cruelty slips out of it like disease, crawling eagerly down the pavement and sticking to her fevered skin, slithering its way up the body and filling her mouth and nostrils. Sticky, sticky, tar-black smoke. Choking her with fierce pleasure, gradually devouring her soul. Aimlessly she tries to catch her breath as her body makes one last effort before it gives up completely. I just need to... She lifts her eyes and watches with pure horror as a hand moves from behind the man that she loved the most in this world, and wraps itself around his shoulder and chest, clawing at him and pulling the limp body back slowly into the shadows. She’s unable to stop watching the scene with a terrified stare as the form behind him stirs and shift into a shadow of a man, his smile hollow and just as lifeless as that of the poppet in his arms. Jeremiah. She whispers but nothing comes out, just lips moving, the thick smoke in her lungs expanding, and turning into a rough metallic wire, tensing, smothering, and snapping her spine piece by small piece. So hungry for a life that it can’t obtain on its own. Just a leech, a murderer.
Clasp, lock, snap.
Worthless life, worthless death.
Clasp, lock, snap.
It comes and goes in waves.
She screams and screeches from the indescribable pain like an animal being torn to shreds as the vicious whispers in her mind finally die out. Head shifting to the side with so much force from the shock that her neck snaps swiftly, the crunching sound of her bones, the last thing that fills the space around her as she falls to the ground, letting the dirt soak in her blood. The remains of the person she once was. Just one more puppet on their list, gone.
A hand touches and nudges her a bit, making her jump and cry out so loudly that it pulsates through her eardrums, while she hits and punches in panic everything she can reach and touch, defending herself from every new possible monster that wanted her dead. The survival instinct stronger than the shards of ice filling her veins.
Hey, hey, hey... come one! No reason to be brutal. What the hell?
She hyperventilates as her stare slowly grows into focus, seeing Carl’s shocked face as he rubs out his arm, making some hissing sounds as the pain shoots through his muscles and bones.
Shit, Eleonore. What the fuck?? You said to wake you up.
He says the last words through his clenched teeth and then exhales slowly, attempting to calm down.
Geez, woman. I just woke you up, that’s all.
She makes an effort to create at least a fragment of a normal sentence while she finds her voice, the throat still tightened. She clears it again and tries not to choke up in the process, for a moment covering her mouth, her face turning a deep crimson color. Eventually, she manages to breathe a bit better and extends her other hand as if stopping any potential help that could come from him. She didn’t want to feel even weaker than she already did. Enough was enough.
I’m sorry, Carl.
She utters quietly while her chest falls and raises at an unnatural speed.
I’m really sorry.
He sees her still frightened stare and shifts, attempting to understand what just happened, and then exhales slowly. It’s as if she was apologizing for every bad thing that she ever caused. As if it wasn’t really him that she was apologizing to. He blinks rapidly a few times before speaking.
No, that’s okay. You probably left some bruises but I can always say my newest girl is a wild one. Yeah, this can work to my advantage.
He grins nonchalantly and she relaxes a bit, shifting the facial muscles in an effort to do the same. She grimaces at first from the memory of the still lingering nightmare that she just went through but eventually manages to lift the corners of her mouth in a more natural way.
This will teach you, to never walk up on a sleeping woman.
She says almost lightly this time and he nods thoughtfully.
Oh trust me, lesson learned. Your shifts start in ten, maybe get yourself something for the nerves? Let your bar be your kingdom.
She watches as his eyebrow lifts and then he winks at her, his stare becoming more boyish.
Ask me in a couple of hours, and who knows, by then I might just say yes. But for now, I’ve got work to do, and that will have to suffice me for the time being.
She puts a hand on his shoulder and squeezes it as she passes him; a silent thank you for his tolerance towards her brief insanity spectacle. She walks out briskly out of the little room, with still strained nerves, leaving the nightmares behind the door, and entering the kitchen soon after, making sure her mind is being occupied as much as possible. Knowing the perfect cure for her state didn’t reside in the bottom of a whiskey bottle but in his presence. But she was a big girl and knew she couldn’t call him for rescue every time the monsters from under the bed reached the hollow cavity in her chest, and her tired mind.
No, that would have to wait, as she wasn’t the only one in the need of rest. Charlie deserved a break too. Maybe. She hesitates for a moment as she swiftly mops the floor in the kitchen, her muscles eager to move and burn the problems away. Maybe she should let him take a breather from her? Could she handle a whole day or more without his medicine at this stage? She purses her lips annoyed and empties the trash cans, heading outside. She steps out into the cold air and lets it cool her fevered thoughts as she dumps the unappetizing remains of the day into a nearby container, crunching her face. Lovely, just lovely. She inhales deeper as the chilly wind fills her lungs and blows her hair in every direction, the skin on her arms catching goosebumps. Definitely not, t-shirt weather - she mumbles and goes back in, but then shifts her head back for a moment, looking at the narrow alley and just the one streetlamp that allowed some light to slip in. Maybe a small break will do us both good - she thinks silently. She didn’t want him to realize too soon how big of a mistake she was. It was a surprise he stayed as long as he did. Why push her luck, right? She needed all the delays she could get with him.
On the other side of town.
The streetlamps by the docks reflect themselves in the hectic waters caused by the approaching storm, giving the scenery outside the tall square window an attractive vibe. As if watching a captivating masterpiece, the dark inky background brightened by the orange and blue lights playing across the surface of the water, bringing the thought of fairy lights in Winter. Well, soon the snow will fall anyway, covering the dirt of the world with the pretense of innocence and purity. Beautiful but only masking the filth of humankind. He unclenches his hands against the sides of an irreplaceable, by now one of a kind armchair, and massages his strained fingers, then looks to the other side, smirking at the view of the man behind a desk. His eyes closed and elbows resting on the antique wooden surface as his fingertips press into each other in concentration, their shape reminding him of a perfect Piramide and the fools praying to false gods. And nothing much has changed since then, the lowlifes of this word just as foolish as always - he thinks and smiles to himself, watching the man stretch out his neck, moving it to the sides and murmuring words low under his breath. Without needing to open his eyes to gaze at the new company in the room, he speaks quietly.
What is it, Alister?
Nothing brother. Just observing and wondering if the meditation session is over? Should I say “namaste” now?
Jeremiah’s eyes snap open rapidly only to watch the other man smirk mockingly at him. He frowns.
I have kept myself busy and actually doing something worthwhile, not like some that I know.
You call that child’s play something worthwhile, brother? More like a waste of precious time.
You speak of that with such ego, even as you know that it has not failed before.
But it’s too subtle, we could have been done with it by now.
The other man's tone suddenly turns dangerously low.
That's not how it works, and I presumed you would be aware of it after all these years.
This causes the younger sibling to take an almost unnoticeable shift in his seat, the gleeful stare in his face slightly cracking like dry cement.
Well, dear brother, our usual ways don’t seem to work as well as before. Time to upgrade.
Perhaps. And just so you know, I am aware of your little doings. Don’t think I don’t know about an “assistant” of yours, that you send her way with a not too subtle threat.
The other man sighs with irritation.
Just something to encourage her.
You know that she has to come to us on her own.
Oh, and is that why you alter her slumber and dreams? What I do is no so different from what you do.
Those two methods are not the same. To play with the mind is art. To damage the body, now that is plain laziness. Over the years, you have come too accustomed to everything just being as you please. Where’s the challenge there, brother?
The other man shrugs, not really displaying any care in the subject.
As long as it gets done, it does not matter much. Don’t you think?
He stands up from the armchair and nods at his brother.
I will give her a few days.
He says with a slight warning grazing the air, moving and sliding like a snake at his feet.
But if after that time she does not show I will make sure to check what’s taking her so long, and what help she is unquestionably receiving.
His smile turns darker.
Even cockroaches can’t survive forever, brother. Always remember that.
He gives his sibling a long stare, gazing at him in silence. As much as they both protested against the methods used by the opposite fraction, neither of them did anything to stop the other. It was their choice how to play the game and see which one would succeed this time around. A game they were both playing as long as they could recall. Something they were made and designed for. An existence they, themselves could not turn away from even if they wanted to, obliged by a contract no one could ever question or break. Well, then it was probably a good thing they loved their line of work so much. Very well indeed. After a while, Jeramiah rewards him with a smile as well. Yes, it was very important to enjoy your line of work, especially when there was no expiration date on it.
https://theprose.com/post/230936/with-all-my-senses ( the beginning )
Previous chapters :
I’ve known about your existence since forever.
You never remembered that I existed.
But it was fine because I didn’t care. We never talked, and we didn’t need to.
Until we talked.
It clicked, you know? So many similarities fit into us, and conversation flowing smoother than water through your fingers.
The heartburn started. And then the tiredness but the boost of energy, the lack of my usual negativity.
I let you in, whereas it has taken others years to get to where you are in my heart now.
The fact that you’ve taught me what love is again and asked me to believe in soulmates.
And you got hurt today. I was so worried, much more concerned than I should have been.
It took me five days to fall in love with you. And you would never fall as fast as I did, not that you would ever choose me.
And now I’m left grasping at straws, little pieces of conversation, a desperate attempt to keep you and know more about you but.
Your heart belongs to another, while you unknowingly took my heart with you. I think I was always meant to be yours, but you weren’t destined to be mine.
I lost my soulmate before we even had a chance to begin.