Oceans and Mazes
Etched on my skin
I scratch in a warning
I won’t let you in
My lover is a diver
My mind is the ocean
I am filled with endless caves
My head is a maze
One I told warned you, you would drown
You ignored me and tried to jump in
But I will always tie you in life vests
I refuse to let you drown with me
If I die
If you die with me
I die twice
This is your final warning
Plain and simple
The letters are here
You are not blind
And for once listen
Turn back now
My mazes are too dark
My soul is too cold
There are no blankets in here
There is only pressure
There is only sinking deeper
I have not discovered the bottom of my ocean
Please stop trying to see it
Stay on my surface
Do not leave this little boat of happiness
Do not try to see past my smile
The day is so nice up here, its all sun and warmth
Just because you can swim in a pool does not mean you can float in my ocean
Just because you showed me your rainy days
Does not mean you need to see mine
She is hardly a woman now. Her young eyes gaze upon a screen, focused, unmoving. Her skin illuminated by the bright computer monitor in front of her. The room is dark, and the only noise is her hands clicking on the mouse in desperation.
The screen lights up as she clicks on the testing icon. The first question flashes in black lettering before giving her one minute for an answer.
<< What is your name? >>
She types slowly, << Natalia Peters >>
She had spent a long time picking that name, scrolling through the name list for hours. She ended up picking Natalia on a whim, thinking it sounded pretty. She knew no one of the name, though she didn’t know very many people so far. No one with a name anyway.
The second question is up, << What is your Age? >>
She wants to laugh, it must have been a joke. Or simply a test to make sure the test takers knew exactly what they were doing. Everyone takes the test at the same age.
<< 18 >>
Natalia is eighteen years old and is just being given a name, a name chosen by her which makes it more promising. Before the test she was simply Student 099. She was the 99th person born in her year. Before she was classified as a student at the age of four, she was Child 099. That is how all people are raised here. Everyone’s big day is the test. The system has a way of knowing which are worthy to move on the next stage of the life cycle.
The test and the system were created in the year 0, 146 years ago. It was created by the Association, and the reasons behind this society is success and societal happiness. Natalia never questioned it. As she was raised it was implied that no one should ever, under any circumstance, question the Association.
The third question is up. << What is the highest rated skill on your Student graduation document? >>
<< Problem Solving >> She types, only glancing at the other document.
<< Second highest skill? >>
<< Creativity, Exploration thinking. >>
Natalia remembers yesterday, graduation. 200 students received their document, informing them of all they would need for the Test. It was their personality and knowledge levels listed separately. She knows that it is what the Association uses to determine what Work a person will do and where a person should be placed in the society.
Natalia remembers Teacher 003 as he handed her the results. He was an older man, accustomed to the system and its ways. He gave her the page slowly, as if trying to conserve their last interaction. He looked sad, his lip quivered, and his eyes showed a small sense of fear. He tried to hide it and swallow his guilt. He did something, something so strange for a teacher. He hugged her. It was a sensation Natalia had not felt since she left her early parental units. The warmth of a human embrace was something Natalia never thought she would cherish so much. It brought a smile to her face even though she knew Teacher 003 would receive light punishment for the action. She couldn’t understand why he did that, why he looked that way.
<< Lowest level skill? >>
<< Mathematics >>
<< Do you have a preferred work placement? List only one. >>
She had thought about this a long while too. Her interests seemed to be everywhere but nowhere with pride. She never wanted to be a teacher, or a mathematician, scientist, or doctor. She liked to doodle and learn. She especially enjoyed stories and interacting with others. Alas the work Artist died out long ago and there is only ever three Historians in the society at a time. All three of those positions are currently filled.
She typed the only thing she could think of, << Librarian >>
<< Please list a work assignment that would be displeasing. List only one. >>
This was easy, << Scientist >> sure there are other displeasing work assignments such at peace keeper and waste manager. But she was sure she did not have a chance of receiving those jobs. If she did it would not be the worst.
A set of blue letters flashes across the screen, << This is the last question. Are you prepared? >>
She selected the box what read, yes. She thought that this was another silly question.
The last question appears. She sucks in a nervous breath as she reads, << Should the society undergo changes? If so, please list them. >>
She types shakily, thinking quickly, she only has the minute.
<< We should have more ways to be creative, students should have more free time, we should pick names earlier, we should learn more about the association. >>
The screen goes dark for a couple of seconds. The computer analyses her results. Natalia’s palms go sweaty, all she can hear is the sound of her own hear, pounding rapidly in her ears.
The screen is plain white again. Words appear, words that should not have been possible.
<< Student 099, you have failed. Prepare to be terminated. >>
Her eyes widen and she stands quickly. The chair falls behind her and the lock on the plain steel door clicks shut. Natalia stumbles to the door, pounding her fists down on it. Why did the door lock?
A foggy white mists flows out of the vents, the horrid smell fills her nose.
Natalia can feel her mind fogging, she lets out a cry.
The last thing she hears is a voice over the intercom system. “Termination of Student 099 complete. Goodbye Natalia,”
When in public, I often try my hardest to avoid conversation. I go as far as to stare at my shoes in hopes that I will never make awkward eye-contact with anyone. I will hide under my mess of hair or in a pair of headphones that will blare sad music in my ears.
My social sadness seems to be terminal now. It is inescapable. It is a giant pile of rocks weighing on my shoulders that reminds me how awful I am. The rocks hit me in the head, I am a failure of a human. I can’t even stand to raise my voice loud enough to tell a barista she got my order wrong, or to ask for help in grocery store. These rocks remind me I am so far gone, too abnormal.
The reason I still go out every so often to sit in a café is unknown to me. One would think I would have given up by now. However, despite it all, despite the boulders, I force myself out into the world. I swim through the sea of city noise for a few blocks, until I reach the destination which seems to be the only thing pulling me away from my sanctuary of solitude.
I order my usual simple latte, even when said quietly its difficult to mess up. I grab the little green cup and sit a an empty table. The place is buzzing with college life. Students everywhere groaning about exams and homework assignments. It is funny to see everyone like this. It is so easy to get these kinds of things done early when you have nothing else to do.
I glance down at my phone, watching some sort of puppy video on Instagram. I smirk lightly to myself before looking up. A girl stands before me, her hand gently grazing the back of the chair across from me on the table. She has a sunny smile on her face that lights up her glistening green eyes. She greets me with a hello and a wave, asking if she can sit with me.
For a moment I am taken aback, why would anyone want to sit with me? I give her a vague gesture and she sits, slumping dramatically in the chair. She takes off the dark jacket to reveal a bright emerald colored sweater, it matches her eyes perfectly.
“Today is so nice,” she says, brushing her sunshine hair off her shoulder. I take notice of the freckles speckled across her nose, and the way she smiles even when she talks.
“Its raining,” I reply, my voice soft as ever.
“Exactly! Extraordinary isn’t it?” she laughs as she stares out the window at the dark grey sky.
“I suppose it is,” I smile too. There is something abut the way those emerald green eyes crinkle that makes me feel all warm.
She goes on to talk about everything, starting with the weather then telling me about her family and her favorite season. She talks about food, then travels then classes. I listen mostly, enjoying every single word. I try to absorb every little detail. She uses her hands when she speaks, and wiggles in her seat when she talks of something exciting.
Never has green been to intriguing.
Never have I
Ever seen the world quite like you
I shy from a spotlight
Thrown with simple praise
You despriately run at the light
Shoes made of lead
Head full of sorrow
Forced to face this world alone
You were the mother bear
Takin in all as your children
You, beautifully intelligent
Densely packed with knoledge
You were my library
You jumped into the flames so i could stay alive
Never have I
Ever understood you
Never have I
Ever thanked you
1000 rivers I cry over pebbles
You never shed a tear as you bore bolders on your back
How I am so blind
You placed your worn hands on my ears
Filter my world
Never Have I
Ever been your mother bear
Its time now,
I will take the boulders
You can rest
Let the weight leave your solders
Door Knob Girl
I stare at my crooked teeth
My wild hair
My mismatched clothes
Purples and reds mixed
Rosy cheeks and scrapes knees
A door knob girl
Sweatshirts are my friends
Cookies and chips
Boobs too big, they must be stuffed
Sweatshirts are my friends
Too too big
You really shouldn’t eat that
Secret nighttime sit-ups
Don’t eat today
It will be okay.
Hide it all
This world is too cruel
The sky is grey
And so is the bottle of vodka
Rum is brown
The tequila is the only thing
That keeps me warm at night
I down the shots
After I stare in the mirror
Crying after throwing my face down the toilet
Screaming at the ugly girl in front of me
All I am is a crying question
Slowly devolving as answers float away
In the warmth
Just hold on a little long
Nothing is helping
Nothing is working
My head is fuzzy
All I know is this fat
This hate is a pile of bodies sitting on my chest
Pushing me down
I’m so cold
My tears are the fire in my ice face
I can’t breathe
I see her in the mirror
She should have stayed a happy door knob girl
She should have stayed
I should have stayed.
How is heaven treating you?
I don’t know
Is it true?
Are their golden gates
Angels or beautiful cloud beds?
I don’t believe in god
Please don’t worry
Its not because of you
I have never had faith
But I had faith in you
And now, you’re gone
You are just gone and there is nothing I can do
I should have done something
I may not have saved you
But I should have said something
Something for you
You deserve so much better
Life hit you far too hard
And now all I can do is hope
Hope that you are okay
Hope that you found peace
Maybe you are warm
Because in the end you were so cold
I should have told you
I should have shown you
I love you
It certainly has been awhile
My almost love
We met on intentions
Years later horomones filled our heads and we..
Not in love
Not with you
Not this fast or so soon
You touched me and i held you
But it felt like the butterflies flew in all the wrong ways
My mouth felt wrong and your touch lingered on my body, in my mind like a disease
I am so sorry
My almost but never
Hard in love
You made me a beautiful imaginary princess warrior
You made me from silver and steel
You figured I would be a savior
I would please and appease
I would make you my universe
But I did not fall
I could not
You were the wrong kind of flower
And I was the wrong cup of tea
Hello, dear almost never,
West Finds Parks
When leaving a what or a who behind, most people would turn back one last time. Some would smile or wave goodbye. Some may even give their who a hug and cry because big changes are terrifying. Especially if you must leave a whole lifetime behind.
Standing with her back turned to an old broken home, a young woman holds a single large suitcase. She kept her hood up to cover her long red curls. She looks both ways on street, the only thing there is the street lights illuminating the crusted dead grass and brumbled side walks. The midnight is dead silent, no one in this town will ever know what happened to Addie Wilson.
Addie walked off, left of her never home, down to the bus stop on Harding Street. She cringed at the way the road and sparse gravel sounded under her shoes. Her old sneakers, they were once a red color but are so old they have faded to pink. They used to be her mother’s. she’s not sure why out of everything, she chose to bring those. It could have been that they were good for long distance walking, or maybe because they went with her fading red sweatshirt. All she knew now, in the darkness, sitting on Harding Street, she already regretted this.
She would never think twice about leaving. In fact, it was probably the easiest decision she’s made in her entire life. No, now she realized that even though she refused to turn back, she was still walking in her mother’s shoes. She only took one more pair with her, a newer pair of black converse. She wanted to save wearing those until she was away from this dirt-road town. She wouldn’t really be made new until she was far away from here.
Addie’s watch made her nervous, time slowly trickled past her until three hours had passed. According to the bus schedule, there would not actually be any bus for at least another two hours. Then, he sun would just be starting to show itself and the early birds would be peering out their windows. She couldn’t be spotted here. Not in her town. Not by the people who have known her since she was a baby. Though her hood was up and she was trying to be as discrete as possibly, she stuck out. Even though her fire hair cannot be seen, she looked like an amature drug dealer which would raise more concern than a Teenager up at this hour.
Addie pulls out her old map, there is a gas station three miles away on River Road. Now, river road is the stupidest name for that street since there is no river in miles of there.
The girl quickly decides to get walking, pulling out her flashlight on the bigger main roads where the only cars passing were people driving straight through and truckers. Though the was on a journey for distance, she was not about to resort to hitch hiking this early on. So she walks, and walks. Her feet don’t tire very easily at first. She makes it to the gas station quicker than she thought.
Staring back at her in the soot covered bathroom mirror of the gas station, is a girl she doesn’t recognize. Sure, those were her signature dark stormy eyes and her face was littered with hundreds of tiny freckles but the girl in front of her was not her. From the moment she left that house she was no longer Addie Wilson.
Her under eyes are starting to carry small bags of discoloration. Her youthful glow is beginning to diminish as the early morning goes on. The tiredness is evident. She had not slept in at least two days. Her hair is wild, cascading down to her waist. She never knew why she let it get that long. She never cared to take much care of it aside front tying it in a braid or two. She remembered how her mother used to brush her hair when she was little. She used to tell Addie that this was her most brilliant of features. She instilled into her daughter that women ought to have long hair. She would tell Addie to leave her long hair down to help distract from her freckles and fierce stare. A lady should never have a fierce stare. Her eyes should be soft and her smile delicate.
A sudden, wild smirk appeared on the girl’s face. Tiny, almost unnoticeable dimples appear on her cheeks, drowned in splashes of pigment. She quickly ties her hair into two braids. Taking one last good look at the Addie before her in the mirror, she pulls out her switch blade. The blade was one of the very few things that Addie’s father ever gave her. She takes it, with a dignified yet shaking hand, she saws away at the braids. One at a time they fall to the floor. There is a soft pat to be heard once they land. Stray red swirls fly around, getting stuck on everything in the tiny room. Her hair now barely touches her chin, in a choppy looking manner. She looks again, and decides, shorter. The knife made it way at her hair again and again until finally she is satisfied with piles of fire on the linoleum. A pixy hair style looked back at her. Now the smirk fits.
With her new boyish hair, she brushes off her shoulders, slips her knife in her pocket, and saunters off west. She went to find another street to sit on until a bus finally came. A small run-down bus. This would do for now.
Addie watches as road signs pass by, the morning sun shining an orange hue into her stormy eyes. She smiles to herself as she reads the sign that says she is leaving this god forsaken town. A rush of relief floods her. Her shoulders relax and she leans back in her seat, welcoming the long ride.
In a day, Addie was a while state away, by nightfall she found herself on a huge grey-hound bus that she would ride for the next 12 hours. A man, no a boyish adult, sits next to her. His eyes were tired and his deep brown hair was a mess, half pulled up into a hat. Despite looking like a train wreak, he was smiling. He only carried one bag with him, a rather large hikers backpack. All his clothes were either grey or black. Addie hadn’t realized she was staring t him until he said, “Hey bus buddy.”
She laughed lightly at the time, “How far are you headed?” She questions.
“As far as possible. You?” He replied.
“What’s your name bus buddy?”
Addie had to stop and think for a moment. Was she really Adeline Wilson anymore? Could she even call herself Addie? “Avery West,”
“That’s your real name?”
“Any name could be your real name so long as you say it is,” Avery determined.
“In that case Avery, the name’s Jace Park,” Jace says. His smirk is a slightly lopsided which Avery found adorable.
“Nice to meet you Jace,”
The two exchange stories. Jace decided he needed a change of pace which wasn’t the community college life he was living. Bored at home, Jace decided to start a new in a place still unknown to him. He had enough funds saved so he decided on a whim to leave. Avery told her story in a similar manner. She told her Bus Buddy that her mother was difficult to live with, never giving the gruesome reasons. She told the story of how after her father passed her family was never the same and that she was also a traveler.
Eventually the twelve hours passed, and the travelers were forced to leave the bus. Avery looked her new-found friend in the eyes and asked, “What if we travel together, have each other’s back and all that?”
He grabs her hand and nods, “Partners then,”
“Going everywhere and nowhere at the same time,” Avery says.
“Let’s go then,”
There, on the next bus, sat two young adults traveling together, for a new beginning
Happiness Is Terrifying
Happiness is terrifying.
Most days I find myself laying in bed, letting my thoughts overwhelm me. I stare at the white chipped wood of the door fearing someone will knock and pull me away from myself, but at the same time I just wish someone would push the door open. I wish even more that I could just get up and leave. Its such a simple thing to do, I could go on a walk, just to feel the outside air.
All I want to feel something other then the cold darkness that I have let myself stew in for months.
I wonder what the weather is like out there, I wonder if there is any sunshine left in the world. I wonder if there is color, or is everything still grey? The door is white, this room is black, I haven’t turned the lights on.
I haven’t turned the lights on since she left. I am afraid to open the door and see a world where she isn’t there. At least in this room I still have her picture hung on the wall. I am afraid to open the door to find a blue sky and green trees. I’m afraid to smell the pink roses because the last color I saw was red. The red was all she left behind.
The only other color I have looked at is the picture on my wall, the one of us together, her hair is golden like the sun and her cheeks are the color of roses. Her shirt is a light blue just like the sky she used to love.
I am afraid to go outside because after a week, the world forgot her. I am afraid to go outside because I don’t want to move on without her. I don’t want to leave her memories behind as I lead a newer life. I am terrified of being happy because she is gone, and she will never be happy again. I know I shouldn’t feel so guilty, it wasn’t my fault, but I do, because while I was outside embracing the world, she was inside. She was in here, taking her last few moments to reflect on our life, and she was not happy.
As scared as I am, I know I must go. My phone won’t stop going off, bills are piling up on the table. I have to go and show the people who claim they love that I am okay. I need to eventually find a way out of my head. I could leave here in the night, when the sky is black the only light would be obnoxiously white street lights. But one day I am going to have to face the sun and the blue sky. I will have to confront the inevitability that I will find happiness again. I will have to accept that the world is still full even in her absence.
Goodbye, my chipped door, and my thumbtacked photo. See you tonight my bed.
Hey there, sunshine, its been awhile.