forgotten

Artist unknown… Forgotten?

existence is perspective
the sanded edges of memory
cause history to evolve
we aren’t who we are
nor are we who
we will be
it is foolish to believe
a memory is forever
that love is everlasting
or that you are important
the phases of lives
bumping into one another
like so many
soap bubbles
floating on the wind
please don’t let mine
pop
for here, inside this breath
perhaps i won’t be
forgotten
misremembered
sand beneath the
boot of time
i make myself real
in every brush stroke
each wiped tear
a hundred loaves
ten thousand cookies
millions of stitches
all the back rubs
and neck kisses
yes
this is my memory
and perhaps
where my name is lost
are just blank pages
i was never meant
to be
or maybe
they just await my story
not yet
told

Destiny

My feet swung idly beneath the kitchen table as he made my favorite sandwich. His fingers separating the slices of seven grain bread she loved but never eats. He unscrewed the lid and pried off the inner cap of a giant jar of her homemade peanut butter, which she also never eats. The air filled with that unmistakable aroma, which made me sit up and sniff the air. My lecture about how peanuts aren’t really nuts made him chuckle before aiming his gentle, comforting gaze at me.

“Do you know what they are then, miss-know-it-all?”

He always pointed out that I didn’t know it all. But for a six year old, I knew an awful lot. I just couldn’t always remember everything I knew. He told me they are called ‘lay-gooms’ as he drizzled honey from Mr. Montgomery’s farm over both pieces of the bread. Then chuckled again when I asked if they were beans, then.

He continued the preparation, making one for me and one for her, which she wouldn’t eat and I’d have to go bury in the compost later. It didn’t matter how often she refused to eat, he always made a sandwich for her, too. Every few days, she’d surprise us by eating a lot. He said her body knew when it needed something, even if her mind didn’t.

She scrubbed at a spot on the counter that had been there forever. She was up, which was better than not. And she was calm, which was a lot better than not.

She never talked when I was around, but I knew she could, because I’d heard her through the register vent in my room. I slept on top of it some nights, when it was really cold. Or when I was full of wishes.

I heard her the night before. Crying. I heard Papa too. Begging her to let him hold her.

I once asked her why she didn’t act like a real mama, but she hit me. And he told me I was never to speak to her again unless she asked me a question. I didn’t tell him that I’d tried to hold her hand. That was the real reason she smacked me.

Watching her try to get rid of that silly orange spot on the Formica, I started to giggle because her skirt was tucked into her panties. Papa slid my plate in front of me with a glass of milk and three apple slices in the little red apple bowl he said Mama had made for me before I was born. Back when she was normal.

He pressed his finger to my lips and shook his head.

“It’s not nice to laugh at others, little pickle.”

I frowned, looking up into his giant brown eyes. He was gentle to a fault, only raising his voice as a last resort. He was only a bear when he needed to be.

My lips smirked without my intention, but I looked away, realizing he’d have to fix her. Which meant touching her.

I braced myself to hear the worst.

But it didn’t come. He whispered, but all I could here was pickle. As I looked back, his expression made my nose wrinkle. My little heart beat against my lungs.

He sat the plastic plate and cup beside her, same as me, with three apple slices in the little Winnie the Pooh bowl that used to be mine. I remember him feeding me corn out of it once, and her throwing her china plate at the ceiling above our heads, raining tiny, white shards all over me. And into my little bowl.

His face suddenly had a big red line from his forehead, down his cheek where a big piece had fallen and sliced right into his skin. I’d never seen blood before.

You can still see part of the scar, if you look really close.

It was an awful memory, I shook my head to dislodge it and focused on the shiny, red porcelain bowl that held my apples. On the bottom, there was a hand-painted message to me. Her Destiny. She’d had my name picked out for years, crocheted a blanket with flowers on it the week she’d found out she was pregnant.

She’d known. For years, she’d said she’d known.

I looked back up at Papa who sat down across from me and bit into his own sandwich. Biting into mine, I giggled when papa smiled at me with peanut butter in his teeth.

Mama glanced over, abandoned the stain, and carried her plate and cup to the end of the table. Dr Henry calls it ‘ingrained behavior’. I like Dr Henry because he teaches me big words and always sneaks me MaryJane’s from his suit pocket.

“It’s nice to all sit down and eat as a family.”

His eyes didn’t match his tone as he stared at Mama. I imagine he spent most of his life willing her to come back. Pleading with God to let her suddenly wake up normal. Negotiating his soul. If only something, anything could give him back the woman he loved.

They’d bought this giant farmhouse with plans for a brood of ten. From all recollections, she’d been the most amazing woman on earth. And no one had to tell me, I figured out on my own that I was the reason she was now simply a shell of her former self.

I had killed her without taking her life.

Dr Henry came that afternoon. We talked for half an hour about what Mama had been doing during the last week. No outbursts, no hitting, no breaking things. Then he squeezed a candy into my palm, and told me to go look up the word ‘gravity’ in the big purple dictionary.

It was the same, every week. He would come, bribe me from the room with sweets and a task, then he and Papa would tie Mama down so he could examine her and give her medicine.

Papa closed the door behind me.

I tried to occupy myself. Summer was easier because I could run around outside. But it was cold and raining, and I left my doll upstairs in my room. I pulled the huge book from the shelf and opened it on the floor, thumbing through the G’s and underlining the word with my Strawberry Shortcake pencil.

Gravity: a very serious quality or condition : the condition of being grave or serious

I didn’t get to read the rest.

Her screaming and cursing was muffled, but startled me just the same. There was a thud, and grunting. She screamed again and I heard a soft crack, like a thin tree branch breaking under the weight of a man. Papa bellowed words I’ve never heard him use before, choking and coughing.

Dying.

I wasn’t supposed to know how to unlock that door, but I did.

I shouldn’t have been able to reach the knife drawer in the kitchen, but I could.

I couldn’t possibly have been strong enough to defend him, everyone said so for months to follow.

Papa didn’t wake up for hours. I laid there beside him, staring into her eyes, something I’d never been able to do before. My arm and collarbone were broken, but the pain started to feel just hot after a while. I thought maybe it had gone away, but he squeezed me hard enough to bring it back when he woke.

Dr Henry and Mama never did.

Six years, three months and twenty three days after I killed her, I finally finished the job.

That’s the really shitty thing about Destiny.

 

Sucker

You wouldn’t have paid any attention to them. A mouse and her quiet keeper.

She was short and plain. Long denim skirts with pale, button-down blouses. Her sandy hair, braided, then rolled into a bun, and tan ballet flats peaking from beneath the frayed hems of her skirts. If you stepped close, you’d smell the Thieves oil she used in place of hand sanitizer, and perhaps the faint odor of cinnamon and cider vinegar in her hair.

But Claire wasn’t likely to let you come that close.

Her counterpart, the male version of invisible, was much the same in jeans and plain, v-neck tees, except that he wore gray Cowboy boots. Cory’s gleaming smile was inviting, if you noticed him. But you wouldn’t. Until he wanted you to.

Or until she wanted you to.

Selling them Tic Tacs and bottled water, every evening, with the occasional can of dip, I contemplated what they were like in private.

Standing behind a cash register for ten hours a day will turn you into a daydreamer, voyeur, or the best combination of the two. And I found them to be good fantasy fodder, driving away in their shiny yellow SUV that didn’t seem to match up with their rusty pickup truck attire.

Pretty, in the way young church girls are, I sometimes wondered about her bras and panties. Perhaps she didn’t wear any. Maybe she wore the expected white cotton. But my money was on lace and silk. The diamond necklace and earrings she wore eluded to a femininity that was simply kept comfortable beneath the soft, lived in fabric draped loosely over her frame. She hid beneath those clothes, so that only Cory could enjoy her shape.

She stood in front of me late one Sunday evening as he strutted to the cooler to grab four bottles of water. Two more than he usually bought. Her shirt was opened three buttons, and her fingers ran over the teardrop pendant on her necklace, drawing my eye to her collarbone and the scent of her wafted over me through the humid, unconditioned air swirling lazily through the open glass doors.

“This heat is awful. You must be miserable without any AC…”

She’d never spoken to me before, and the lilting gentleness of her voice melted over me like syrup on a snow cone. My surprise must have been evident, because she blushed and brought her fingers up to hide her pert and very rare smile.

I felt Cory watching, but I didn’t want to waste a second glancing at him. Claire was leaning forward, looking at a display of lollipops on the counter, giving me a view of the coral pink bra hidden inside her taupe shirt.

The site of her, blossoming like springtime, was intoxicating. Men can be beautiful to look at too, but women will make your teeth ache. That woman, especially.

Cory strolled to the counter as her fingers lifted to turn the little acrylic lazy Susan packed with 1″ globes of flavored sugar on sticks. His fingers ran up her back and she shivered.

“You wanna sucker, sweetness?”

Her smile twisted into the kind of smirk reserved for private jokes and knowing glances. His hand cupped the back of her neck as he leaned forward and whispered in her ear.

“Watermelon or strawberry?”

She sighed, but her eyes found mine instead of his.

“Cherry. I bet Manda likes cherry.”

I swallowed and wondered if they could hear my heart pumping away inside my chest. I’m not the girl people flirt with. I’m probably more invisible than Cory, to be honest. Plain as a pancake, always wearing a smock or coveralls. Working two jobs to pay off my mom’s house as her brain turns to soup in the nursing home. My dream to actually make something of myself blew away with the smoke of my thirtieth birthday candles. Men didn’t notice me. And women in this town were more likely to become nuns than lesbians. But right then, both of these pretty people were looking at me like I was the lollipop.

“The cherry is good. But the blueberry is my favorite.”

The Tennessee was too thick in my voice, something I shouldn’t have hated but did. My cheeks burned as Cory pulled one cherry and two blueberry from the stand. I glanced up at him and he fixed me with a look that could’ve melted the trays of chocolate bars on the front of the counter.

“You close up in a few, dontcha Manda?”

Blindly scanning the barcode on his waters, I thought I must be hallucinating from the heat and the fact that I’d worked 16 hours straight. They couldn’t actually be flirting with me.

“Yeah, but I can’t lock up until the lot is empty.”

He grinned at me, and I glanced at Claire, whose fingers had abandoned the pendant and were now skimming the lace edge of her pretty bra. His hand around her neck had gone into her hair, and her face was an absolute knot of want and hope, with tiny threads of anxiety wrinkling her brow.

“What if the person in the lot was waiting for you?”

My eyes wouldn’t stay in one place, and neither would my mind. I pulled myself to look at the screen in front of me to find their total, but Cory’s fingers went around my wrist and the contact made me jump.

“Or maybe we could meet up at Jim’s for coffee in twenty?”

He unwrapped the suckers, slowly, one at a time. Lifting the cherry to Claire’s lips where her tongue swirled around it before she took it in her mouth. Then, one of the blue one’s went into his own with a slowness that made my knees week. And as he lifted the last to my own lips, everything south of my navel throbbed and clenched.

Staring at him, pacified by the cloying sweetness that coated my tongue and telling myself that I was foolish to believe that they were actually asking me to meet them, I nodded.

Yes, that’s all I did. Nod.

Cory slid a fifty onto the countertop then under my hand before his fingers traced goose pimples into the surface of my arm, then neck, then cheek. Claire’s hand slid down my other side. I thought my eyes might jump right out of their sockets as she rose on tiptoes, over the counter, and her breath came hot and wet against my ear.

“I hope you really will come.”

I was shaking as they walked away, arms wrapped around each other, whispering until they were on the other side of the building. I popped the candy from my lips and found that, somehow, during all of that, Cory had wrapped a slip of paper around the stick of the sucker.

If you do, I’ll make sure you do.
Over, and over, and over.
423-555-9105

It took me a second, too.

You get used to seeing things happen to other people and when they happen to you, you either deny it, stay safely ashore, basking in mediocrity, or you sprint into the ocean, thinking only about how good the change in temperature feels and never about the sharks in the water.

Especially when they look like waves.

I rushed through a fifteen minute closing routine in five and a half, stripped in the bathroom to shave my legs and pits with a disposable razor and gave myself the world’s fastest whore bath, thanking God I worked at a convenience store that carried decent soap. My short hair looked pretty good, considering the humidity, and my freshly washed face would just have to suffice. Girl’s like me don’t carry makeup in our purses. I don’t even own a purse. Not that I’m butch. You know. Just lazy and cheap. A wallet and chapstick fit conveniently into the pocket of my smock.

But I had a new t-shirt in my car. And when I got to the diner, I snuck into it and sprayed myself down with a bottle of essential oil air freshener my mom made me several years before her brain completely gave way to the Alzheimer’s. It smelled of lemongrass and basil. I was surprised it was any good.

The shirt was blue, with the Blueberry Fall’s logo on the left breast. The irony was cute.

The diner was empty except for Claire and Cory. He stood when I walked in, and her smile was enough to make me say, “Let’s just go to your place”.

But, I didn’t.

We talked and drank coffee for two hours. I thought I’d blown it when Claire laid her head on Cory’s shoulder and whispered that she wanted to go. But as we walked out to the parking lot, her fingers intertwined with mine.

At my car, Cory wrapped his arms around Clair from behind and stared at me as her fingers lifted to my cheek. She wanted to kiss me, but his lips were distracting. He took a step forward, pressing her against me, grabbing the back of my neck.

“You want us both or just her. No wrong answers here.”

I couldn’t bring any words to my lips, so I shifted, and showed him my answer. My right hand fisted in his shirt, I pressed my mouth to his and slipped my tongue to meet his. Claire’s nose rubbed along the curve of my neck as she whispered how good I smelled. But as her fingers slipped beneath my top, Cory pulled back.

“Follow us. We’re a mile east of Bogden on Westmill.”

I watched them climb into their SUV, sagging against the driver’s side door of my Honda and thinking this was too good to be true.

You know what they say about that.

I followed them, drunk on the possibilities, assuming it would be a one time thing, but hoping it might be more. I had a whole new fantasy before I even hit Westmill Road. A whole new life plan.

He had told the truth on that little note. But the price I paid for those orgasms probably wasn’t worth it.

It was like a dream, that first night. A human pretzel, writhing beneath decadent, satin sheets, tasting and touching until we were all too exhausted to move. Even the next morning, as Claire revived me, her fingers bringing both Cory and I around. He pulled her between us, then threw us on our backs, making a meal of both of us and then emptying himself across our skin.

I never noticed the knives and ropes. Perhaps they weren’t there.

Monday was my only day off. But it was a luxury to have the same day off every week. I guess they’d probably watched me long enough to know this. I had nowhere to be. And I didn’t want to leave.

Until she locked me in.

You would have never suspected them. And no one ever did.

I wasn’t the first. I won’t be the last.

Maybe, someday, one of us will escape. For now, I have to settle for my Sunday’s, because that’s the night we met. And so, it’s my night.

He always makes me come on Sunday, and I’m always his breakfast on Monday. But the rest of the week, I’m hers.

And I see plenty of those ropes and knives now.

But she’s always sweet enough to pacify me with one of those disgusting blueberry suckers.

Reversion

http://erbphotography.deviantart.com/art/The-Couple-161547410
The Couple by erbphotography

It isn’t simple
Resurrecting love
Indignation becomes
A dull ache of regret
A wearied tremble of
Misunderstood longing
A thick copse of
Bewilderment

Empty branches
Still stretching out
For a future
That was once sketched
In fertile soil
An orchard
Illustrated
By seedlings
Dreaming grandly
Beyond the pots that held
Us

Too many
Harsh winters
Faded that blueprint
Narrowing our landscape
Refusing our achy demands
For that which
Nurtures
That which
The earth itself
Should feed us

If only we could revert
To those beatific
Youths with
Dreams bigger than worries
Lust thicker than monotony
Joy brighter than resentment

No
Reversion can only be
Granted to
More simplistic things
Than love
If you wish to remain
A new plan
Must be formed

Reinvention
Instead of
Reversion
A task that seems beyond
My withered old tree
Roots too tangled
To turn his face to
The rising sun

But as I tug and
Shift to free myself
I feel the heat
And glory of
The sunrise before me
Combined with
The sweet warm
Memories
At my back
And wonder

How long could I
Linger
Between the two?

Could I
Reinvent
Reversion?

Vindication

The closed fist of accusation is unable to think, feel or hear.

Specifically if it is wrapped in a glove of fear and regret.

But here I stand, with open hands, open eyes, an open heart,

Listening and breathing and knowing.

There is nothing wrong with me.

I am simply me. As I’ve always been. And always will be.

Self aware, and becoming more so every day.

My insecurities have very few answers.

But my will to be whole in the face of unmet needs

Sits atop my own deviance and smiles.

I seek the impossible, because the word says, I’m Possible.

But as the possibilities work themselves out,

I pour sand in the holes with these words.

And dream of a future beneath them.

Sweet Disease

love is a disease by leAlmighty via DeviantArt.com
love is a disease by leAlmighty via DeviantArt.com

It’s an infection no one could understand. She was healthy, capable, and seemingly untouched by illness until one day, she simply couldn’t stand. Her heart seemed to collapse in on itself, and her lungs would not fill completely. She was more sad and lost than she’d ever been before, and her body was deteriorating at an alarming rate.

She sought out specialists and tests, scanning every inch of her body for whatever terrible thing was slowly killing her. Was it a cancer? A parasite? Some sort of virus or infection?

After a while, it seemed she was getting better. Her spirits began to lift with all the attention and affection from her family and friends, and she almost seemed intoxicated with love and joy.

Oddly, those around her seemed affected by her joy, as though it were contagious. When she smiled at others, they could not control their own emotions and would immediately smile back. When she laughed, everyone around her laughed. It was subtle at first, but when nurses, doctors and other patients began flocking to her room to visit the sweet girl… She knew something was definitely going on.

Her fear grew with each new “friend”, and as it did, the feelings in those around her changed as well. Her emotions bloomed in others. Her confusion and fright was mirrored or mimicked in every single person who came near. She realized she had to stay happy, stay pleasant, until she might get some reprieve when she was alone that night. She whispered to her husband to kiss her and tickle her, make her feel loved and cherished so that she might slather those feelings on everyone around her.

It worked for a while, but eventually her ever present tinge of concern crept in. He could not comply with her needs, succumbing to the negative emotions she was emitting, so she told everyone to leave and packed her things. She formulated a plan of escape, and ran away. Isolation seemed the only answer, because she could not bear to be responsible for anyone elses sadness, fear, anger or confusion.

She ran to the ocean, pleading with God to fix her, change her back, remove this sweet disease he’d somehow bestowed upon her. But every time she tested it, it was the same. She could not allow herself to feel anything but happiness around others.

Eventually, she became very skilled at forcing herself to be light and upbeat, and was able to return to her world. Her loved poured over all of those around her. Everyone forgave her absence as quickly as she returned. And for a while, she believed she could possibly live a normal life like that. Coerced joy, however, is very different than the real thing.

At times, negative forces would pull her thoughts and feelings wayward. But she persisted. She would never feed those emotions, and would always, eventually turn things around. Some believed her to be magical. Others thought she was just a gift from God. And a few grew to fear her, as the array of human emotions is not meant to be tampered with.

In the presence of those people, she could not control herself very well, once again causing a negative spiral that wrapped her tightly in an emotive war. An empathetic battle of will. And it broke her.

Her thoughts of self harm radiated from her, but these thoughts did not mimic themselves like her other negative emotions. These thoughts corroded the way her friends and family viewed her. Her self hatred made them hate her, and her suicidal wonderings became murderous intentions in her husband.

She knew she must run away again, but the negativity had breached her health, once again, and she found herself too sick to leave. And too fearful to change her thoughts, emit better feelings, trick herself into being happy.

When he came to her one night, her tears and sadness mirrored in his own eyes, she told him to kill her. She begged him to be done with her. But this only backfired, because she was pleading out of love. His response was to simply love her in return.

In his love, she found peace and devoted herself to loving. As long as she could love, she would free herself from the darkness that would try to drown her and end her.

And so she loved the world.

She looked for it in every sunrise and sunset, she sought after it in every face she saw and hand she shook, she poured it into everything she did and said. And held her other feelings tightly, only letting them spill free when alone with her words.

She found solace in her words and then in the words of others. She found a place where she could paint her world with words, and share them without the pain and suffering of her empathetic gift. It became her sanctuary. An escape from her hiding. Filled with people who understood her, and some who were infected as well. There was still pain to be felt and dealt, but it was just another lesson to learn.

She still suffers from that sweet disease today. She finds ways to live with it, new ways to love every minute. Eventually, she will surely succomb to it. But for now, she’s just that sweet girl who loves everyone and everything in the Universe.

Especially you.

 

Scared

scared_by_GirL_PoiSoned[1]
Scared by GirL-PoiSoned via DeviantArt.com

You climbed inside
Made me see

Opened my mind
Made me BE

Gave me power
To give back to you

And opened me up
To my whole truth

I used to be scared
Of everything

I used to doubt 
My everything

The world is big
I am little

My world is hot
Becoming brittle

Reality poses
Held by fiction

The combination
Incredible friction

Don’t be scared, and don’t be rocked. In your love, I am bound and locked.

I’m still scared, but only of me. Because of this love that my world sees.

I’m scared because my axis IS turning. I’m scared because I can’t watch the burning.

I’m too scared to run, or stay, or hide. I’m still scared that this is really life.

Frozen in fear
Gripped in terror

Scared that soon

Explosion
Will correct my error.