A Sudden Change
We progressed slowly up the walk and Beatrice held on tightly to my hand. As the lead caretaker answered the door, she spilled her ruse and I stared into blank space.
“I found him on the side of the road. I asked if he was lost, but he wouldn’t tell me anything. I’ve never seen him around town before,” Beatrice carried on in such a convincing way that I would have believed her if it hadn’t been myself she was talking about. I simply fixed my eyes upon the floor and zipped my lips. My mind was racing… were my parents involved in some illegal business? Why did everyone have to lie and act so suspicious all of a sudden? Why had I really been hidden away in that mansion all my life? Perhaps I was thinking too hard about it all. Surely, I’d read too many fables and fairytales… but, some were biographies and Bible stories…
“Come, child! Tell us your name,” the older woman said, yanking me out of my thoughts and back to the present. I looked at Beatrice. The expression on her face let me know it was alright to say it because no one on the outside had ever heard my name before. I didn’t exist.
“If you won’t tell me your name, at least tell Ms. Gertrude,” she smiled.
I glanced back at the old woman. My name wouldn’t sound right coming out of anyone else’s mouth, I surmised. I’d heard only six people say it before, and I would never hear them say it again. It just wouldn’t be the same. My name was a memory. Hearing my name called aloud would only serve to remind me of everything that was once connected to it. My heart began to beat faster. My eyebrows furrowed. I looked Ms. Gertrude straight in the eye and said, “I don’t have one.”
“What, young man?” she asked, quite taken aback.
“I don’t have a name,” I repeated.
“Why certainly, that can’t be true,” she said kindly, kneeling down. “Where are your parents?”
“I don’t have any parents,” I said nonchalantly.
“I’m sorry to hear that…” she said in a low voice. “Might I ask what happened to them?”
“I don’t have any,” I said again.
“How did you get here in London?” she asked with a look of concern. “Did you grow up here?”
I shrugged and looked to the ground again.
She pursed her lips and shook her head. Then, she stood up and said a few more words to Beatrice.
“Don’t worry, lad. We will take care of you here,” she smiled, looking at me again,
“You’ll open up soon, and then we’ll find you a nice, loving family.”
I did not make eye contact.
“I pray the best for you, young man,” Beatrice said, taking my hands and gazing into my eyes one last time. She pulled me into a hug and whispered, “Ms. Gertrude will take great care of you.”
She used to be invincible...
...did she really? That's what she told herself. That's what she told everyone. But, inside, she was dying. Slowly. Dying. She felt an overwhelming sense of dread and stress and torment, even to the point where she could no longer cry any tears. She kept the smile up for everyone in public. She tried to be there for those who were having a hard time. She pushed everything she was feeling aside, as it could not be worse than what others were dealing with. She was supposed to be thankful. She was supposed to be grateful. She was blessed. She really was. Why, then, did she feel this way?
She didn't know why. She didn't want to feel it. She didn't want to feel. She wanted to go back to the days when she was invincible. Where she could help others and not feel bad inside. She would go into her room and try to cry, but her eyes refused to produce any tears. She couldn't explain how she felt... a person who is friendly to everyone but doesn't have any friends. A person who is there as a shoulder to lean on and an ear to talk to but... was there anybody available to reciprocate?
People tried sometimes. They tried. They tried to listen and they tried to provide advice. They told her everything was fine. That she needed to be grateful. That she needed to stop letting depression drag her down. That she needed joy. She knew these things... She just couldn't do anything about it, and that made her sad. It made her feel very bad. There was no reason she shouldn't be happy. She was blessed. She had her bare necessities. People would love to be in her position; so many people who were worse off than her. She felt ungrateful... she had to have been ungrateful. Why else did she feel like this?
She prayed. She journaled. She poured our her heart in her closed quarters, mourning with dry eyes. Then, she'd take a deep breath and go back out into the world; flower in hair. Colorful clothes. Soft smile. Bubbly personality.
Nothing was wrong. Nothing could be wrong. If something was wrong, she wouldn't be like that, would she?
She sat there on the couch that evening, staring into blank space.
So many people depended on her...
...they thought nothing ever bothered her.
She told them it did, but they didn't believe her. They thought that, if she really felt emotions besides happiness, if she really felt pain, if she really had a reaction to anything, she would show it and that would be enough. She'd be unruly. She'd frown. and be mean when she's having a bad day. She'd fuss at people she disagreed with instead of having polite conversations and knowing when to stop and pray for them, leave them alone. She'd rant on and on about how everything was going wrong. She wouldn't work seven days a week. How could a person work seven days a week and be nice to everyone if she didn't enjoy the job? How could she act like this if she was going through stuff? She wouldn't be able to comfort others if she was in need of comforting. She wouldn't be like she was if she was really--
No one knew how it happened. She was just lying there on the couch. She was still smiling, too, and she had a flower in her hair. Her eyes were closed as if she were only asleep, but her heart had stopped.
I was the one called in to investigate the situation. After a couple of holidays passed and no one received her encouraging text messages or saw her inspirational posts on social media, they got worried and tried to check on her. They found her. Just like this. That's when they called us.
He headed into the kitchen to search for any evidence of poison while I looked over the rest of her belongings... read through her journals... nothing indicated she could have ended her own life. Everything yelled happiness, sunshine, and rainbows. She was blessed. But, there was no evidence of forced entry into the house. There were no suspects. Everyone only had good things to say about her. She had no visitors at her home. She never did. Only her family and God were her closest friends, as she liked to say, and neither her parents or siblings were around at the time. In all this... I found her computer. I searched her writing. She wrote stories... but they were just stories. She had a vivid imagination. She made worlds in her mind. None of the things found there could be clues to anything... could they?
Then, I found a red book. A little red book with a golden lock. Red was her favorite color, wasn't it? It was quite obvious. The password was quite obvious, too. 467. As in Philippians 4:6-7: Be anxious for nothing. Easy enough to crack. She wasn't anxious. Ever. I skimmed through the pages... there, I saw the words written in crimson ink: help me. Help Me. PLEASE. HELP ME.
I closed the book. I looked back at the couch.
It couldn't be true, though, could it?
Could she have done this?
I stood there, glancing over at the girl resting graciously upon the couch with her eccentric style and quaint spirit... I could still feel her positivity radiating. I couldn't stand it any longer. I broke down, fell to my knees, and started to cry...
My partner rushed in and knelt by my side. He asked if everything was okay. I held his hand, looked into his eyes, and smiled.
"Yeah. I think I am now."
LOL Merry SuperBelated Christmas
I just realized I didn't share the article here.
Last year-- ehrm, two years ago now XD -- I shared a preview of my An Intern for Christmas audio drama I was working on in 2021 and said you guys would have to wait 365 days for the complete version. Well, I managed to finally publish it on December 28, 2022. If anyone here was waiting, I apologize for not updating you all. I'll keep the text very short and sweet. The link will explain the rest. Thanks again, God bless, and I pray you all have a safe and wondrous new year. <3
Malachite eyes watch
~ helpless as sniper takes aim ~
his bluff : not enough.
Table set for two.
I stare down at the shiny plate at my expression, blue.
My weak smile hides my weary eyes.
My calm demeanor masks the tumult in my brain.
My steady heartbeats drown out the ache--
Alas, I awake.
It was all a dream.
In reality, work will be on my Thanksgiving plate.
Followed by dinner with them...
...and a side of inevitable thoughts of you.
You know that state of feeling broken?
Breathing and living but something seems wrong and you're not exactly sure what?
Thinking you should probably ask for help but you're not sure there's a person on Earth who can understand or know how to assist?
Not wanting to worry others...?
or bother them...?
or burden them...?
You're too empathetic, perhaps.
Feeling feelings when you'd rather not?
Too weak to ignore the voices?
The heart aching?
Muttering 'Help me' to God every other second of the day?
You want to be okay...
You just want to be okay...
So you smile.
You stay kind.
You keep worries in the back of your mind.
But they try to escape.
And, eventually, they do get out, don't they?
They hack their way straight through your heart, leaving you
But you don't want to be broken, do you?
You're thankful for God's blessings big and small, right?
You know that, in the end, it will all work out.
It'll all be good.
So you keep going?
Keep holding together on the outside though, on the inside, you're broken?
...maybe it's just me.
Where I come from...
You can point to the base of your thumb and figure out
where I come from...
You can say Three-One-Three and folks know just where you're talking about
where I come from...
Call it The D, call it Motor City, call it Motown or Hitsville, USA
where I come from...
If you're born on March 13th like me, you have to share with the holiday that celebrates
where I come from...
We're our own little melting pot, we got black, white, red, yellow, and brown
where I come from...
And if you don't know yet, you soon will see. Just take a look around the town
where I come from.
The Next Morning...
Early sun rays
filtered through the smudged window
illuminating the tears that leaked from her eyes
as she sat there on the edge of the bed weeping silently.
...He Was Gone
might it be
Could I lie
der an infinite sky
of stars at night
as crickets chirp
and fireflies light?
Is it too much to dream?
Things aren't as they seem.
Perhaps, a dream is just that-
I lie here flat
on my bed
Will I ever wed?
The answer... remains unsaid.
If so, shall be joy.
If not, I employ-
entertain- the thought
that the plan ought
NOT be so.
If so, it shall flow.
who am I to overthrow?
...perhaps you don't.
Call me odd.
Call me strange.
But I am in a constant state of prayer always.
You know those people who are always annoyingly on the phone (bluetooth or facetime) with a friend or family member all loud in the checkout of the local shop? Well, that's me...
Only, a little less loud.
I thank Him for everything from the big bold blessings like this wonderful world we live in, the everyday blessings like breath, food, and shelter, and the small things like the people who made the aglets on my sneakers. I will look at a house and ask Him to bless the hands of the people who worked to build everything from the foundation to the bricks to the fence and the windowpanes. Even the folks who recently cut the grass and the handbill folks who last knocked upon the door and left junk mail at the residence.
When I say grace, I not only thank Him for the meal itself, but also for everyone who helped to make it possible- from farm to table, so to speak. This also includes any animals. Even the birds who ate the seeds from one fruit and pooped them out elsewhere to create the plant that grew into the tree that bore the delectable treat I now have the pleasure of consuming.
I not only thank Him for these people and things. I ask Him to bless them. Whether they're still here in the land of the living (bless them, their families, their endeavors, etc.) or even if they've passed on yet (bless their souls).
When I'm watching TV, best believe I'm thanking God for everyone listed on the credits and even those who were overlooked. I'm asking Him to bless everyone who's had anything remotely even to do with the matter.
I ask Him to bless each person who's ever come in contact with me- whether I know it or not, and whether they know it or not.
I ask Him to bless you and everyone else on obscure corners of the internet who happen upon my work, be it writing, art, or even things they aren't even aware I had a hand in.
I ask Him to bless everyone I've ever crossed paths with in my life, and everyone I will ever cross paths with in the future (in person and online) and I thank Him for them.
For them all.
For it all.
And, as for my life,
for my world,
nothing will change.
Because every day,
every waking breath,
I am in a constant state of prayer
to my God