À La Carte
Take me away
Into the night
Out of the glim of the street lights
Into your arms and
Into your heart
Tuck me away
Snuff out my dreams so I can stay a while
I’m afraid of being
I’ll never be a lover
I only bring the heat
Company under covers
Filling space between the sheets
Make me your faithful servant
For I am a gentile in your eyes
Unleash your inner beast
Tell me I’m too old to cry
I’ll never be a lover
I only bring the heat
Company under covers
Filling space between the sheets
Are we making music?
My heart never skips a beat
Just company under covers
Filling space in your sheets
Break me away
Into your mind
Show me that my love is blind
My life is consumed
À la carte
I’ll never be a lover
I only bring the heat
Company under covers
Filling space between the sheets
who once was a spark of joy in your mind
became a nameless blip of existence.
your excuses hardly fooled me
if they were excuses at all.
your words only frightened me
that i may be pushed away
when you told your first lie.
in that moment the trust we built
evaporated quicker than it came
and i lay in my bed
only wishing you had remembered.
The Life of the World to Come
What happens next,
after I catch myself talking out loud
to no one, alone in the evening in the
kitchen, when the echo of my voice
off the corners of the walls only
reinforces that I am alone,
the steam on the windows
mercifully transforming me into
a shapeless ghost, a darker space
within a greater blankness, and
the silence which answers my
question, the only answer that
could conceiveably be correct,
wraps itself around me like fog
and the lip of the canyon that
lies between then and now
suddenly silently senselessly
yawns open, like the mouth of a
sleeping baby dreaming of his
mother's milk, helpless in the night,
his mind filled with the only
truth, the only thing that matters?
My name is Na. I am five years old and Ma just finished weaning me from her breast. I bet you’d be surprised to find that you, too, have Neantherdal DNA because of interbreeding. I was shocked to find that I must now help gather food stuff such as berries, grasses and nuts. I’m too little for this but each of us must work together. I am a girl. We all do the same things whether we are boys or girls. When I become a little older, I must hunt for wild animals. We all work together and if someone is sick or injured, we all take care of them. I can expect to live for about 40 years. We can talk in our own language but you probably won’t believe this because we have no written language so there is no proof. If you heard me, you would say I have a loud high pitched voice. Da is teaching me how to make tools. Sometimes I play with toy axes with other children but I don’t have much time to play.
I am short and have little legs but I am strong and have a straight spine. My head is big and I think I’m pretty smart. I can see and smell better than you can. I am always busy but I am okay with this because I don’t know anything different. I love my Da and Ma and my family group. When someone dies, we bury them and put flowers on the ground around them. Ma and Da are artistic and paint pictures in caves. I want to learn to do that. They know how to start fires and boil their food. I don’t think there are many Neanderthals in the world because I never see anyone other than my family and some others in our group. Maybe I am wrong but I don’t know. I don’t have much knowledge of anything bigger than where I am but I don’t think I am missing anything.
I am Jason. I am 5 and Mommy and Daddy never make me do chores. When they feed me, if I don’t like it, I say so and don’t eat it. When Mommy and Daddy say for me to do something, I talk back. I am learning bad language from my older brothers who just play computer games and talk on I-Phones. I will get an I-phone next year when I’m in first grade. My brothers don’t like me very much and are mean to me but then, I tell on them.
I never see my grandma and grandpa because they live in Florida. I guess they don’t care about me because they have their own lives. When they get old, Mommy and Daddy will put them in a nursing home and never see them, except at their funerals.
I will never learn cursive writing because I will use a computer and I am not expected to learn math because I will use a calculator. Soon computers will think for me so I don’t know what I will have to do then. I don’t really have to think much already because my parents say they know everything. Daddy and Mommy will probably live to be old – maybe 65 or 70, but they’ll be very fat. Maybe I will be fat, too, because all we ever have is fast food. I think all of us will have horrible diseases when we get old. Mommy and Daddy don’t spend much time with us because they work long hours and feel guilty so we can have anything we want. When we are together, everyone is on cell phones and no one talks to each other. I don’t really play too much with others because they are always inside with their electronic toys. I don’t think I am happy but when I feel sad, I eat candy and potato chips and I feel a little better. I know that when I start my education, I will have to study all the time so I can be better than anyone else and make more money. Nobody cares about taking care of the earth so it probably won’t be there when I grow up and then what?
measured truths approach
line / noun
a long, narrow mark or band
Yet hours pass and still sleep avoids me. I want to scream at the top of my lungs, but instead, I just lay there numbly, eyes wide awake. Finally, I pick up my phone from the small coffee table and check the time, the bright screen filling the room with blueish electric light that has no mercy.
Great, just great.
I sigh and drop the phone on the covers, then I fumble around until I take off my sweatpants, throw the blanket away and sit straight. Let’s face it, sleep wasn’t coming, might as well end this little charade. I move slowly in the darkness and put on the electric kettle in Charlie’s kitchen, then stand there silent until the water boils. I put an Earl Grey bag in the mug, throw in too much sugar to soothe my nerves and then return to the living room. Tiredly, my stare falls on the moon hanging high in the sky, its light seeming to call me; so, I join it in its lonely venture in the night.
I see her sitting on the windowsill, just in an old, oversized t-shirt. It’s black with a green sign of some rock band on the front that I don’t even recall, way too big for her thin form. It’s silent, everyone is sleeping, but of course, she’s awake, sitting there and staring at the moon, the feeling of loneliness covering her whole being. She’s drinking tea, the steam and the smell of it still floating in the air, giving it an almost magical feeling. Like the delicate mist that hovers over a lake in the early hours of the morning, just before dawn - I stare at the late hour on my watch - well, close enough.
My gaze follows her as she sits there, deep in thought, lost somewhere in memories that I might never be allowed to hear. I back away to my bedroom, a heavy sensation in my lungs. Maybe one day she will tell me, forcing her won’t cause any effect, she has to want to do it. I can only try to speed up the process before it’s too late.
As I walk away, the floorboards creak beneath my feet, making me curse silently and hope that the sound was only so harsh in my head.
I stare at the window and a certain heaviness waves over me as I let memories glide through me. Painful waters that always move, dripping on the cold floor. I hear a low creak behind me, but my mind works slower than usual, and it takes me a moment to fully register it. I turn around but there is no one there. It doesn’t matter anyway. I know that I’m safe here. My gaze follows the low moon behind the glass as I let the thoughts embrace me, for the first time not fighting them, not this time. My fingers wrap around the mug tighter trying to feel the warmth in my head, and not just beneath my skin as my whole body seems to tremble from the whispers of my mind.
Slowly, I circle the faint, normally barely visible line on my finger, yet so clear in the moon, almost screaming at me with its paleness. I used to wear it in summer. In the summer before it all happened, when I was still happy. I wore it then, and I wore it after. Until I had to let it go. So, I could still breathe with these already heavy lungs, that could no longer carry the extra weight. Even if it was just the weight of a small silver ring, with a painted daisy, its petals fading out just like my memory of him. I can’t remember how he smelled anymore, so desperately inhaling the past, or how his fingers felt against mine. Unable to feel him, even if my heart was still filled with him to the brim. I sigh, feeling beaten up. Happy. What does that word even mean? I make myself focus, as my past tries to slip through the millions of cracks that made my mind, and I let it in.
The events that occurred after Dan’s passing away were just a big blur of pain and sorrow. Dark days filled with crying, drinking and moving away from my family, friends, and everybody I ever knew. I was like a zombie for what seemed like forever. I didn’t answer the calls, I didn’t go to work. In fact, for a very long time, I didn’t even leave my flat. But people still came, and looked after me, bringing me food, washing my clothes - but most of all, checking if I haven’t moved to any drastic measures. I couldn’t blame them, I seemed homicidal even to myself. Basically, people visited me to see if I was still breathing. At that time, I couldn’t care less. I spend my days aimlessly walking around the flat, sleeping or just rolled into a ball on the floor - whichever I had more energy for.
But that was only a shy prelude to my problems, to all that sorrow. Darker things were heading my way, much darker ones. I shot someone and took away his life. It was an accident, but it still happened, there was no way of turning back the time. All I could do, in the end, was to try to earn my redemption in any possible way that I could. I caused evil, and now it was hungry for me. Therefore, I needed and wanted to soothe it a bit before it swallowed me up completely. I felt that I owed something to the world; almost as if I had to let the universe know that I didn’t treat lightly what I did, not just sweeping everything under the rug. Like I used to before. I needed to find peace, or else my guilty conscience wouldn’t let me sleep at night - and I hardly slept as it was, amends were necessary.
I stare down at my hands. Those two men found me that day, as I laid on the ground, hundreds of voices invading my mind. If someone else had killed that man, they would have hovered over them and not me. It was their job to do so. To collect the reward for human errors, a sticky thing cursing to the next sinner in line that managed to cross their paths and take life with their actions. Planned or accidental, with cold blood or with rage - it didn’t matter. You took and now you paid. With big interests, a curse in the form of a disease spreading within your cells. Slow insanity understood by all names possible. Madness. It was a game to them, a game that they played so well, causing further mayhem in the minds of those who wrong them in any way. An endless spiral of cause and effect. Until they found me, I still had time to make things better. But I felt them getting closer each passing day.
Oh look, they come in pairs now, sinning together. It wasn’t enough that her spouse to be, had killed, she had to join in the fun as well.
Alister. Do calm your excitement, brother. Have some respect for the ones in pain.
The words fill my head, sticking to my brain before I can even think to stop them; my body flinching from the memory, salty tears stinging my eyes and falling to the ground. I hold tighter to the cup in my hands. This body was too tired for another show. All I wanted to do, was to go back to the numb state from before, cling to it, so nothing else could break through my defenses. I clear my throat, building up some shreds of leftover strength, reaching for my phone and turning the radio on. Letting the music tune out everything else, and listening to a familiar artist sing about what struggle and pain it is just to be human. I shake my head, staring at the moon and diving deep into the words of this little piece of art, and as my eyes close gently, a heavy yawn escapes unexpectedly from my mouth. I blink a couple of times, then search for the song in a music app and play it in a loop.
Slowly, I get up and succeed at not falling flat to the ground, safely reaching the couch. Somehow, the melody of the song, the soft guitar in the background that counts the rhythm, the easy gentle strokes of the strings. All of that finally letting me drift off to well-deserved oblivion. I have never been more grateful for any technology than this beaten up phone, that seemed to live through as many storms as I did. I smile tiredly - and hit as many walls as I did.
My eyes barely manage to open as the smell of fresh coffee fills my nostrils. My hazy stare finally stops moving around as I notice Jenna in the room, she seems very content with the world. I try not to groan at her steady optimism.
Ugh... what time is it, and why is it so quiet here?
Everyone left. Mister worry left for work, and Rob has some veterinary practice today.
Hopefully, this time he won’t faint from all the fluid-related substances.
I stare at her suspiciously.
Oh, you know what I’m here for, it’s my turn for babysitting duties today.
This time an actual groan escapes my throat.
So, does nobody trust me anymore? After all, I have survived this long with anyone’s help. Almost 25 years, people. 25-freaking-years of existence. Doesn’t that count for something?
She grins at me from the kitchen, sitting on a chair, cross-legged. Pastel clothes softly hugging her slim figure; a creamy fluffy sweater, and jeans that reminded me of faded warm rust. A big coffee cup nestled in her hands, the faint sun in the room catching all the highlights in her beautiful copper hair. My pulse starts to race, and the bad mood is forgotten just like that - brain cells turning faster and faster with each passing moment. I free myself from the covers, almost tumbling to the ground, cursing with force, while at the same time searching for my phone. I scatter things around, moving in a frenzy while she shoots me surprised yet amused stares. At last, I find my cell under the couch and quickly dust it off. Deep breaths, focus before you lose the right light.
What are you doing there? Because if you are looking desperately for a bathroom, I can help navigate you there.
What? No. Not what I’m doing at all.
I gaze at her distracted, body almost jumping in place.
I’m going to take some pictures of you.
Her eyes widen.
Of me, why?
Because the light on your hair is amazing, the position of your body, the just-right coffee mug...
I ramble on and she stops me with her hand.
Whoa, never saw you so excited about anything, by now I thought you might be a depressed goth or an emu with identity issues.
Nothing, just thinking out loud. But okay, if it makes you happy... just as long they are not nudes, I have an academic future to think about.
I stare at her, thinking for just a second that she’s serious but then notice her lips twitch slightly. My eyes roll without thinking and I position the camera in the right angle, seeing where the light plays best, often catching light orbs that attract me. It takes me over 20 minutes before I am satisfied with taking her (multiple) pictures. Surprisingly, she doesn’t seem to mind. Doing everything that I ask her to; shifting in all sorts of positions and putting on various facial expressions. She seems so natural in the way she carries herself, doing things instinctively without me even needing to say it. Finally, I put my phone down, and the place goes quiet. Then out of nowhere, I hear myself say.
Do you want to go out?
She lifts an eyebrow and nods.
Anywhere, I just need to get outside. Fresh air and all that wonderful crap, just let me use the bathroom and put on more clothes.
I glance at my bare legs and whistle through my teeth. Why did I always have to make a spectacle out of myself? As I walk away, I notice the questionable stares that she keeps sending me, and figure she’s probably wondering which psychiatric institute would be most pleasant for me. The corners of my lips lift a bit - I hope it’s somewhere warm.
4 hours later.
I’ve done something wrong and now I pay for it. It’s not treatable I’m afraid.
I state bluntly, after stepping into the nurse’s room. He looks up from his papers, surprised. For a moment he seems disorientated but quickly regains focus.
How do you know? There must be a way to deal with this, to help you. We can take some tests and see what the actual problem really is. The physical aspect at least.
I stare at him and feel defeat weighing me down.
But how do you cure a sin, Charlie?
He stares at me silently. I come closer to where he sits at a small, sand color desk and put a hand over his, squeezing it lightly; my eyes filled with sadness but still calm. I’ve grown into terms that there was nothing I could do to fix this. All I could do right now was to make it durable. Thanks to him.
There must be something.
I look closely at his face, hearing the determination in that warm voice. Unlike me, he was very strong and knew how to reach his goals through hard work and doing the right thing. I was never good at that.
But what, Charlie?
I don’t know yet, but I will find a way to make this better. For you.
My hand drifts back and I cross my arms, suddenly filling cold, a shiver slowly creeping down my spine, through my tired muscles.
Why do you put yourself through so much trouble for me, what good does it bring you?
Just knowing that your life will be better, easier, saner.
That seems like a lot to do for someone you don’t really know.
I know you well enough.
How can you say that? After everything we have been through, after all the mess that I have caused? You never know what to expect with me.
What mess, Nora? Walking into that hospital and helping so many people?
My eyes widen and he smiles.
Don’t you think that I haven’t noticed what you’re doing when I’m busy with work? That I don’t often hear from Joan how you read and comfort Mrs. Wilson, and that her state improves because of you? That you spent time with Morgan when you don’t have to? And how you make Susan more bearable to live with?
His voice floods with more determination with each sentence, and he smiles at me, seeing something that I apparently was unable to reach or notice. I feel a blush spread slowly on my face and realize how rare that was.
I... I know that you knew.
I just didn’t realize how much you saw. I thought that no one cared that much. That I was quiet about it... apparently, I wasn’t.
I flop heavily on a chair next to him and gaze at his concerned face.
So, where do we go from here?
Start with basic information that will help me out - and won’t cause you a panic attack or storming out of here like a mad woman on fire.
My eyes narrow, yet I don’t move or leave. I had things to say, things that only scratched the surface but that were needed. Basic explanation. Yes. Maybe.
Do you believe in curses, Charlie?
His eyes widen, and I feel a bit amused at his surprised expression.
No, I didn’t think you would... but it’s the closest thing that makes any sense. Call it a curse, or karma if you want. But I did bad things and I’m paying for them; the universe is not pleased with me. Well, so to speak, then again maybe it’s just bad luck or an unfortunate turn of events. Who knows. The facts are, I got myself in a messed-up situation and made it worse, by my natural stubbornness and not willing to let go of things. Even when the whole world screamed at me, to leave it alone.
I sigh and gaze at a nearby wall, staring at posters of medical issues without really seeing them.
But you know me, I never listen against everyone’s better judgment. Because I know better.
The last words come out, tasting of old rust and bitterness on my tongue.
But what happened to you? What did you do... Eleonore?
I look up at him, but for a moment don’t seem to recognize him, my mind clinging to the past.
I can’t tell you.
His stare turns surprised again but then it hardens.
Because then you would leave. And I need you, my sanity needs you. So desperately.
I watch as his eyebrows furrow tightly together, a complicated range of emotions showing on his handsome face. Emotions that somehow, I could not decipher properly, or maybe I just didn’t want to know, to go that deep into it. He inhales sharply, then sighs; his hand going automatically through his hair, ruffling it a bit. I blink at him and smile softly. Such a familiar gesture by now, a clear sign that he was stressed, frustrated and often embarrassed. I put my head to the side, feeling some strange calm embracing me, then I pull at his hand, so he doesn’t overdo it.
He stares at me, waiting, working on his breathing.
If you give me a little time, I will share fragments of my story with you. Not all of it, but just enough so you will worry less. Just enough that I can explain myself, and this crazy situation.
Fingers tap against the desk as he is taking my words in.
A curse, you say?
Yes, a curse that spreads like a disease, like a wildfire in me.
There is a moment of silence as he finally speaks.
Always so dramatic, you have to work on it.
I snort, stunned at the change of energy in the room.
I will try, mister Evans.
Oh, you will? Then go ahead.
Alright then. I have been having a killer migraine for many weeks now, and apparently... you’re the only one that ever makes it stop.
I sit back on the chair and relax, unexpectantly feeling something positive inside. Hope.
My eyes linger on his as his worry turns into a small smile.
This is going to be one complicated journey.
Well, where hasn’t it been with me?
He shakes his head at me, but I just brush it off.
One step at a time, Charlie. One step at a time, and we just might make it through all of this.
I put my head to the side. Or at least we can try, making the moments last as long as they would let us.
If anyone is curious to know more about the story.
https://theprose.com/post/230936/with-all-my-senses (chapter 1 )
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