Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Anais Vionet Mar 2
(a story in senryu stanzas)

I get migraines.
- lucky me - glare can set me
off within seconds.

I always have a
pair of dark, polarized shades
with me - it’s a quirk.

When I was fourteen,
we lived in Shenzhen, China
very near Macau.

Macau, China, the
“Las Vegas” of Asia, is
the home of glare.

The Ritz-Carlton, has
a glittering galaxy
of bright chandeliers.

Those chandeliers move,
their silhouettes change shape - just
stab me with a spork.

Did I mention the
Mirrors? Every wall served to
magnify the light.

“You look awful,” my
mom said - our two week booking
became ten minutes.

“I just need sunnies,
those would work,” then I gasped
“I’ll look glamorous!”

We changed hotels, but
what a small world - my roommate
Leong grew up there.

We could have passed in
the yè shì as teenagers
and now we're roommates.
sunnies = sunglasses (UK slang)
yè shì = night market (simplified Chinese)
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Quirk: an unusual habit or way of behaving
Anais Vionet Mar 2023
It’s the Thursday morning before valentine’s day. Lisa and I are scrambling to get out of our suite. We share an Organic Biochemistry class and we’re running a hot minute late. As we pulled on our shoes Lisa asked me, “Do you have fun Valentine's weekend plans?” The question, since I have a BF, contained a suggestion of impending sexiness. We grabbed our bags and were soon out of the dorm.

“I do NOT have fun.. WELL??.. well,” I said hesitating - was this the time to let my secret out?
“Well?” Lisa follows up excitedly.
We’re out in the quad now, an uncovered rectangle of grass and walkways. It’s 37° and cloudy. It’s going to drizzle all day. We maneuver around the slower movers, bookbags on our shoulders and coffees in hand.

“You’ve familiar with, umm, Twib?” I asked.
“Twib! I’VE heard of them,” Lisa, chuckles, “they do some singing and plucking of strings, I believe.”
Yeah, yeah. They’ve gone underground, and um, their crush is tomorrow night”
“Oh, Wow,” she said, somewhat shocked, “Twib has crush?”
“They have crush,” I confirm.
“How did I not know this?” Lisa asks the universe, “EVERYTHING has crush!” she laughs.
“Everything has crush this year,” I agreed.“

We get to the bus stop right as the shuttle arrives - it’s perfect timing - and we board.
“I think “Crush” is a really cute name, better than “Spring Fling, for a dance name,” Lisa said.
“Anyway,” I softly announce, leaning into her even though we’re close and sharing a seat, “I’ve got three invites, so I’m taking Peter, of course, and YOU,”
Lisa laughs, “OK”
“And,” I add suspensefully - this was the surprise - “YOUR secret crush,” I add grinning and bouncing with excitement.

Lisa freezes, turns pale and looks at me like I’m crazy. “What?” she says hoarsely.
“Tom,” I said hesitantly, “Peter invited Tom..”
Now Lisa has a wide-eyed look and her cheeks have turned a flamingo pink color.
“He doesn’t KNOW he’s your crush,” I add quickly, reassuringly, putting my free hand on hers.
That seems to calm her, “You didn’t SAY anything,” she asked, scrutinizing me for any sign of deception.
“No, I swear, I said, making the sacred “x” sign over my heart, “We’d never. It was just a fun, surprise idea.” Suddenly the shuttle seemed hot and uncomfortable, I took off my scarf.

We shared the last 10 minutes of the ride bickering. After we got off, we made our bickering way to class. As we settled in (we sit together) I offered,
“We can cancel, I can cancel, it was a stupid idea - I’m sorry.”

“No,” Lisa sighed, “I don’t always adjust well to surprises.. OK.. let’s do it!”
“What was all THAT (bickering) about then??” I asked.
“Oh, that was just fun,” she smiled, “I was making you sweat. Ok, What’s the theme? What are you wearing? Where’s it going to be held?” Lisa finally started asking critical questions.

“It’ll be at Luther (college) and the theme is biomes,” I said.
“Biomes?” Lisa asked.
“Biomes - like grasslands and tundra,” I explained.  
“Ohh, ok, sure” Lisa chuckled.
“And I got a dress from Princess Polly. Sorry Fast Fashion,” I joked.
“Hey, you know,” Lisa agreed, “When biomes call.”  
“You got it,” I nodded, “and I’m excited because I got a dress for you too!”
“For ME?” Lisa exclaimed, “aww.”  
“I know what you like,” I claimed.  “You do,” she admitted.
“It was a surprise and time was short, you’ll love it,” I declared, as the TA took the podium.
“It’ll be a go-hard night.” I whisper.

“You should all have a PSet and paper to hand in,” the TA announces, as class begins.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Scrutinize:  "to examine something in a critical way.

PSet = problem set (homework)
crush = a dance that you’re supposed to invite your crush to.
TA = teaching assistant (a graduate student)
Eera Jun 2022
Remember the times you caught me crying?
used to make up excuses when you won't stop prying.
I had no courage to tell you;
how many times I've doubted you.
Cause you meant more to me;
than any of my insecurities.
I was miserable, wasn't I?
used to vent out my feelings, didn't lie.
I loved him beyond limits, you knew;
the girls were fully aware too.
Maybe our bond wasn't strong,
or else I could've forgiven you.
Maybe the world didn't know,
how much I really tried to.
You had your reasons,
he was sad and depressed,
and you chose to go address;
leaving me in distress.
You called me your best friend,
then why did you hide it?
I was right there, a meter away from your bed.
You called me your best friend,
then how could you **** him?
in the same places, you knew I loved him.
You called me your best friend,
then how could you not know?
how deep a scar, your actions will carve.
Our bond was like a holy thread,
anything it could sustain,
cutting it once and tying a knot,
won't make it pure again.
Sister or sinister,
I am not sure anymore.
Friend or fiend,
perhaps you were both.
I wish I could lend a hand,
but it's harder for me to stand.
Roots that run so deep;
I had to fall to my knees.
You have many best friends,
so what if you lose one friend?
You made a choice and walked that path,
no good will come from seeking the past.
Look ahead, with no regret;
for I consider you, my kindest crook.
she wanted to be friends again
Anais Vionet May 2022
My suitemate Sunny is from Nebraska. She’s 5’9,” and has cinnamon brown hair that’s half messy-bob, just long enough that she can twist it up with a pearl-studded comb, and half mohawk. She has the long, slanky elegance of someone who’s spent most of her 18 years outdoors.

She’s a cowgirl. There’s a well-worn sage-nova cowgirl hat hanging on her dorm wall and she has her own horse - a red-roan quarter-horse named Valentine - at home, of course. Her best friend growing up was a Sioux girl named Wachiwi who shared her love of barrel racing and lived on a nearby reservation.

Wachiwi was the first person Sunny came out to, at 10. Sunny was 13 when she came out to her family. “I like girls,” Sunny declared defiantly, out of the blue, one night after dinner, “not boys.” Her younger brother had snickered, her older brother rolled his head and said, “Oh, lord.” Her two little sisters seemed unconcerned. Her dad, after a moment’s thought, responded by asking her if she had taken the kitchen scraps out to the chickens yet.

Sunny grew up on a ranch and there was a rigid structure to her days. She would get up early and do ranch chores (muck out horse stalls, feed the chickens, gather eggs and set out hay) then study - but her first love was World of Warcraft.

Sunny was homeschooled and her stories of how that was accomplished are epic. For instance, they had three satellite internet services which she would have to switch between, throughout the day, like a gambler hoping to get lucky and every other Saturday they drove three hours to exchange books at the library. Whatever they did though, it worked. She’s unholy smart - like someone made a deal with the devil smart.

Sunny describes Nebraska as “basic, cliche and poor.”
“Wow,” Leong says, “you really paint a picture.”
“We all inhabited different worlds,” Sunny says, shruggingly, “Lisa’s from skyscraper clouds, Anais a palace, Leong a dystopian communist hellscape..”
“I wouldn’t say a palace,” I demur. “WHAT,” Leong screeches, throwing popcorn at Sunny.
“Stop!” Sunny says, raising both hands to ward-off further snack assaults.
“I just mean, if you were to go live in Nebraska - you’d have to go in on those terms - expecting something basic, unimaginative and poor, periodt.
“I couldn’t wait to excape.” she says, definitively, “I was thirsty.”

Everything about Sunny is deliberate, she looks you in the eye. Like a madwoman let out of the attic, she takes perverse joy in being fiercely blunt, raw and outspoken. She has a drive that can’t be mollified - she’s making her life over and you better not get in her way. The girl cracks me up - I could stand to be more like her.

Sunny’s joining my world this June for most of summer vacation. “Maybe you could show me Nebraska one day.” I say. “Maybe.. someday..” she says trailing off with a far off look, “but I wouldn’t do that to you, you’d go CrAzY in three days.”

“I’ll own that,” I say, wiping away fake tears.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Mollify: "to reduce in intensity."

Slanky = both slinky and lanky
Periodt = an absolute period - the last word - end of discussion.
Excape = future tense of escape
Thirsty = desperate for something
Cliche = unimaginative
Anais Vionet Apr 2022
Lisa comes into my room and flops on the bed. The day had been uncompromisingly gray, windy and cold. The night sky was a snowy, blowing darkness, an absolute void that absorbed the campus lights and reflected nothing back. “I’m missing Spring Break,” Lisa she says.

“It doesn’t even seem like Spring Break happened,” I say. “Most Yalies went to Puerto Rico this year, I think, from my sampling.”

“RIGHT?” Lisa said, “EVERYONE says that - we’re in sync. But I enjoyed Paris,” Lisa continued, “I liked your family - no - I LOVED your family,” she amends.

“THAT’s a strong take,” I say, chuckling.

“I watched basketball with your uncle (Rémi) and cousins and helped your grandma cook,” she explains, “I felt like a part of your family.”

“Aww,” I say, “You ARE part of my family now - you’re TRAPPED,” and we laughed.

They invented spring break because after several months, the student mind starts to notice a harsh reality - how much their dorm room resembles a cinder-block jail cell - and starts to wonder how a lifetime of study and stress over grades has gotten them no further in life than the average felon.

We’re at lunch. Lisa says, “Ok, what’s new with you?” Keep in mind we see each other ten times a day.

“Well,” I say, I’ve decided that “The Beatles are for spring.” Lisa laughs. “Stop!” I demand, “I’m going deep. Today’s song is Julia,” I say, “It’s John Lennon’s song to his mom who was run over by a car when he was a child.”  “I love that song,” Lisa says.

“Ok, what about you?” I ask.
“My song right now is “Move like a Boss,” Lisa says, “When I’m walking across campus, with my air pods on - I’m intense, don’t get in my way - I’m dangerous, I’ll Will Smith you - I scare me.”

“Good to Know,” I say, wishing I’d gotten a lemon brownie.

Then I add, “I’ve got this presentation on Monday that I haven’t even had time to look at yet. If I don’t get on it by this weekend it’ll be a nuclear-level disaster. I started on it yesterday and the Internet went down for 20 minutes. It was stressful - of course, you don’t know how long the outage is going to be when you’re IN it - and I had THINGS to do - is that convoluted? ”

“No,” Lisa says, nodding in agreement, “losing the Interweb’s traumatic.”
BLT word of the day challenge: Convoluted: "very complicated and difficult to understand."
Anais Vionet Feb 2022
We were in the cafeteria, having just sat down with our trays. The place, which looks like a modern, medium sized ski lodge, was almost empty. I’m registering more and more faces these days. Most are transient acquaintances from the dorm or classes. There were nods. My little group was my roommate, Leong, myself and a girl named Lucy from our chemistry class. Lucy can solve a chemical equation faster than either of us - she calls herself an idiot savant.

Lucy’s one of those overwrought girls who don’t believe food is necessary for survival and who stare anxiously at blueberries. Lucy’s tray has a spoon, a napkin and one small, plain yogurt on it. I got salmon, a bit of Pad Thai, a slice of pizza and some desert. You could feed a family of four from my tray. I always sit with my back to windows - it’s a glare avoidance thing.

Right after my first bite I saw Jordie. The world narrowed to Jordie. He was emerging from the serving area and seemed to enter the room like an actor coming center stage. He was dressed for soccer, complete with knee-high socks, shoes with cleats that clacked like a tap-dancer and little shorts - it was 39°f outside.

“Jordie,” Leong said, in a whisper that held the enthusiasm a cop would use to declare “GUN!”
I couldn’t register an answer, I was transfixed. Then Leong did something I’ll never forget - she raised her arm in a peremptory wave, signaling Jordie over to our table.

I turned to her in stark horror, but just as my lips started to form the words “***,” he was upon us. “Morning!” He says, as he slides in directly across from me and begins organizing his lunch. I look down at my plate, concentrating on my noodles like a bomb disposal tech, defusing a nuclear suitcase bomb.

“Beautiful day.” he says, looking out on the bright, crisp morning in back of us. Leong starts a conversation with him about soccer. It’s clear that she’s been talking to him but I’m not really listening. I’m watching him. Watching him fixedly, surreptitiously in my peripheral vision. Watching him eat, talk and breathe - he breathes just like a regular person only better.

Then Leong and Lucy start moving, gathering everything up to leave. I realize I haven’t actually eaten anything much - a bite of Pad Thai maybe. I stand as well, looking down, wrapping my slice of pizza in two napkins and stuffing it, an apple, a blonde-cinnamon-roll, an orange and three chocolate walnut cookies into my bookbag.

Jordie looks up from his tray. I have such a crush on this guy. It’s heady and embarrassing. His gaze makes me feel like I have awkward, grasshopper limbs. He smiles unreservedly and it hits, like a force multiplier, I’m sure I flushed crimson. I’m surprised how strongly I can respond to his just looking and smiling at me.

As we leave the cafeteria, walking towards the residence, I turn on Leong, “What was THAT?!” I ask, beginning to work myself up into something.

“I’ve been friendly with him - we have English class” Leong patiently explains, “I wanted you to meet him and get a chance to talk,” and after a moment of silence she adds, “and you never said anything!”

I shivered - the wind was freezing - only an idiot would play soccer out in this cold.

I don’t care if my crush is embarrassingly obvious to my friends. It’s pleasantly, invisible to others - I think.

I want to relish the pining - the lusting - it’s delicious. There are times you don’t want to talk to the guy - you just want to keep crushing.

You don’t want to learn things about the man - the red flags - and you always learn EVERYTHING, like what their major is or that they’re a man’s man.

In the learning, they slip from that lofty echelon of dream-lovers - you lose the hot, playlist feeling - the cheesy, corny, giddy, love SICK.

Maybe that’s where love’s real thrill is - in our imaginations. So give me the mystery - for now.
*Slang: someone’s “major” = a person’s kink

BLT word of the day challenge:
peremptory: means insisting on immediate attention
echelon: a level in a select group of individuals
Anais Vionet Feb 2022
Sunny and her love-object have broken up.

It was a selfie-inflicted wound - a slapdash pic taken,
that like a puzzle, revealed more than intended.

We try to be thoughtful and considerate but
we’ve only recently escaped from captivity.

Perfectly nice people are capable of unfaithful deeds.
Isn’t that what so much of great literature is about?

Our lives are written in disappearing ink,
and it’s not as if all kisses are meaningful.

We stretch for happiness or for fleeting pleasure
- we’re not married and only vaguely committed.

What would tempt you - what could you actually resist at 18?
Or now - but maybe you’re a saint.
BLT word of the day challenge: slapdash: means "haphazard," "slipshod," or "sloppy."
Anais Vionet Feb 2022
Leong squirms up to me at breakfast, in the cafeteria.

“May I ask..,” she said, looking around like a secret agent getting ready to make a dead-drop, “what contraceptives do you use?”

I thought this an odd question from someone who just broke up with her long-time boyfriend but, hey, I’m an open book.

“Isolation and despair,” I replied, which got me an eye roll.

“You’re never serious!” She admonishes me.
BLT word of the day challenge: admonish: a gentle disapproval
mary liles Aug 2021
i have never had to share
not a room
not a bathroom
not clothes
i have never had to share
and now i cannot share my heart
MSunspoken Dec 2020
Giant Golden
Breathing in
The sun

Tall and Sturdy
Dancing in
The wind

Wide Green
Drinking up
The rain

Long Powerful
Digging through
The Earth

Biggest, Brightest
Giving light to
The world
My roommate, my best friend, my sister- Merry Christmas, and thank you for the light you've given me.
Next page