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L A Lamb Sep 2014
Friday, August 01, 2014, Buttes-Chaumont Parc, Paris, France.



Why do I need feminism? We all have our reasons. We all have our stories. Let me tell you about my day:



I was sitting on a hill in the grass at Buttes-Chaumont park, a lovely historical area in Paris. I wanted to be relatively by myself so I could write in peace and smoke without drawing attention to myself. I’m sitting, book in my lap, a pen and cig between my fingers, when I am approached by a man. My main concern was determining whether or not he was the po-lice, but he had no characteristics of cops. He appeared emotionally stable and had good hygiene so I wasn’t too uncertain, (isn’t it kind of bad how we judge people on that stuff?), still, I wondered what he wanted, dreading having to talk to someone when I was merely trying to write in peace. I figured he was going to ask me for something to smoke.



He didn’t. Instead, he asked if he could sit by me. I look around and scan all the other vacant spaces he could sit instead, making it obvious that there was plenty of room to sit instead of right the **** next to me. It’s a pretty big park. “Si ca ta derange pas?” I wasn’t planning on staying long anyway, but I knew he wouldn’t be dangerous as there were many families and couples and runners and walkers, old friends and young kids playing. I felt safe enough, and he seemed harmless. I figured if anything, I could practice my French, which was always nice.



I said okay. He sat, and for a moment we sat in silence. I made myself a sandwich with baguette and cheese and offered him some. He politely declined. We started talking.



I asked if he was Parisian, and he told me he lived there for a while but was from Afrique. I didn’t catch which country, but I don’t think he specified which region. He asked about me, and I told him I was American, born in DC, but I came to France every so often and it was my first language. We talked about travel. We talked about the chaos in the Middle East, and how it was prophesized in scripture. He told me he was Muslim. I told him I wasn’t religious.



I told him I acknowledged the importance of texts, but I believe our ability to think has evolved in 2000 years and we have more information now than we did then. I told him there was too much life and I could not fit it all into one magic being which sprinkled glitter and said “Let there be” and we were created. I told him I really liked the Asian philosophies of Buddhism and Daoism. We talked about peace. We talked about Human Rights and the beauty of diversity, and how marvelous it was people could live among another in peace.



I said it was cool, and I even said it was cool that even as a black man in Europe and an Arab-American woman, we could talk freely without hostility and social division. We talked about closed-mindedness and Conservativism. I explained cognitive dissonance contributing to conflict, generated by opposing views and resistance/reluctance to consider new ideas. We talked about Psychology. I told him I was a writer and I told him about Cabaret Populaire in Belleville and the poetry community in Paris. I told him I love Paris. We talked again about travel.



He told me he was in Germany last weekend, and I told him I was in Langen Tuesday night. He told me he always wanted to go to the U.S.A. We talked about immigration. We talked about the American Dream. We talked about money. I told him I was proposed to the last time I was in Lebanon. We talked about reasons people marry. I reminded him today was the first of August, which meant I’d been with my boyfriend for two months. We talked about love. We talked about monogamy, polyamory and infidelity. We talked about Islam. We talked about racism.



We were sitting there talking for an hour or so, which I was especially grateful for, because besides having an interesting conversation I was able to speak in French for all of it, as he did not speak English (apparently he spoke German, though). I stood up to leave and told him “Enchanté,” but before I started walking off he motioned for me to look at his phone. I was wondering if he was trying to add me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram or something, but I am instead confronted by a picture on his screen of him laying on his back on a bed, with an ***** ***** as the focal point.



Furious, I asked him “Pourquoi tu ma montre ca?! J’ai pas demande a voir ca!”



The stupid smile on his face disappeared and was replaced by a look of slight hurt, confusion, and surprise.

“Bordelle! C’est dommage—mais c’est ca—des hommes et femmes ne peuvent pas parler normalment, vraiment!”



And for the vile words I wanted to spout, I scoffed instead, too much of a lady to shout or get emotional, but I made sure to call him out and stand my ground, exuding negative energy and making it clear with my few words that that was not okay.



I gave no impression of interest in seeing his ****, so why did he do that? Even if he thought I might want to (hell never) he should have heard me ask or vocally say “yes, you can do that.” However, I did not ask; there were no prompts, hints, innuendos or even suggestive, flirty phrasing that would serve as an indication of ****** interest on my behalf.



I don’t want to be cynical and assume all guys are perverts and avoid any conversation because I’m not a rude person (generally). I’m not sexist. I value conversations and friendships with people without emphasis of gender importance. I try not to assume that everyone is sketchy or has ****** up motives. Some people just want to talk.



I wasn’t going to blatantly ignore or dismiss him because he was a man, nor because he was black, foreign, or Muslim. But where the hell is he from that he was socialized and thought that was appropriate or wanted?

I did not ask. The worst part is that he seemed like a genuinely alright person, but then he had to ruin it by whipping out a **** pic. Gross. What’s even more gross is the sense of entitlement he had, thinking it was acceptable to do that. You are a stranger. And I don’t want to see your ******, you disgusting *******.



I really don’t like assuming **** about people or making generalizations. I’m not going to assimilate one ****** with every group they are assigned to and stereotype against every person of that respective group. But fuckkkk. It’s annoying and disappointing that what I thought was a pleasant talk and exchange of ideas with a friendly stranger was actually a plot to show me his ****. ****.



The moral of this story is to say why feminism is needed, because this happens to people every day. If you still need further assistance understanding, please allow me to elaborate:



1)      I need feminism because it allows me to stand up for myself and feel confident about stating that I’m uncomfortable with unwanted behaviors and I’m not going to tolerate them.



These behaviors include, but are not limited to:



1)      Showing me **** pics

2)      Assuming it’s okay to show a girl you met not even an hour ago a **** pic (Do not even say it’s because of a culture difference, because I know of Frenchies who don’t do that)

3)      Approaching me because I’m sitting alone (I accepted that because I assumed he wasn’t going to violate my mind like that (good thing I don’t have photographic memory) but I didn’t wave over and say “Hey, you look friendly! Come over and talk to me!”)

4)      Asking me how serious things are with my boyfriend

5)      Asking me about my bisexuality—only to invalidate it

6)      Assigning me behavior expectations because of my gender

7)      Trying to control the way I do or do not reproduce

8)      Expecting me to behave a certain way because of my sexuality

9)      Judging me based on my sexuality

10)  Openly discriminating against people and expecting me to be okay with prejudice

11)  Using racist terms… because you’re a racist

12)  Dehumanizing the oppressed





Because I don’t know what you studied about it (wait—most people who disagree with feminism haven’t and are completely misinformed) but:



Feminism is about equality, and it doesn’t feel very equal when I show someone respect but I get no respect in return. And if you associate feminism with fauxminism and misandry, please educate yourself. (If I had Tumblr still, you better believe I would’ve already posted this). To quote the great words of Jay in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: "Remember, don’t whip your **** out unless she asks."
Tyler Jenne' Jan 2015
“ The Last Time I talked To You”
By: Tyler Jenné

Verse 1: I look to you for guidance, but you were never there. I can’t take this anymore you’re tearing me up inside. I never know if I’ll ever see you again after high school. I looked towards you for advice, but you were never there when I needed you for help. I don’t know what I should do with the feelings I have for our friendship and we may never talk to each other for the rest of our lives.

Chorus 2x: When was the last time we talked to each other. I don’t remember the last time I talked to you, baby I just want to talk to you so much and I think about you every day of the week. I fell like I am falling down in a hole into a dark place. The only person that can bring me back is you.

Verse 2: I don’t want to suffer anymore of the pain your putting me through. Been having dreams about you. I feel like I am living in a lie of a life without you by my side. I almost feel like there is some evil grabbing my soul and turning it inside out. You don’t know how much our friendship means to me and if it boils down to the point where we may never see each other ever again. So please save me before it’s too late.

Chorus 2x: When was the last time we talked to each other. I don’t remember the last time I talked to you, baby I just want to talk to you so much and I think about you every day of the week. I fell like I am falling down in a hole into a dark place. The only person that can bring me back is you.

Verse 3: I just can’t live without you by my side. I think of you as a beautiful angel that was put on this earth to look after me. My soul is slipping away slowly from my body. I don’t know how to escape this demons land that I've created. I pray to god and ask him for forgiveness. I just want to die right here right now. I don’t see any reason for living this life of a lie.

Chorus 2x: When was the last time we talked to each other. I don’t remember the last time I talked to you, baby I just want to talk to you so much and I think about you every day of the week. I fell like I am falling down in a hole into a dark place. The only person that can bring me back is you.

Verse 4: I have to be looking for something to hold on, but there are some things that we have to let go of like life and death. Am I just a walking Idiot? I can’t seem to find the answer to my questions. I feel like I could just die in a dark hole somewhere other than the demons world I’ve created. I always think about you all the time. I thank god for putting me on this earth.

Chorus 2x: When was the last time we talked to each other. I don’t remember the last time I talked to you, baby I just want to talk to you so much and I think about you every day of the week. I fell like I am falling down in a hole into a dark place. The only person that can bring me back is you.

Verse 5: I ask the question why are we here and for what reason. I haven’t experienced hell quite like this. Nobody will ever understand the suffering I've been through. I better hold on for dear life. I feel like our friendship is slipping away. Why do you do this to me, what is it about you that does this to me, why does it make sense to feel so broken. Feels like I'm building up, just to be defeated. I will never forget you when we go to do our own things in life. (Never)

Chorus 2x: When was the last time we talked to each other. I don’t remember the last time I talked to you, baby I just want to talk to you so much and I think about you every day of the week sometimes why I’m wasting time. I feel like I am falling down in a hole in where I may never escape from, into a dark place. The only person that can bring me back is you.

Verse 6: I can’t handle it anymore if I don’t tell you how I really feel about you. I don’t want to find out how you will react. I just need to know from you if you truly love me as a friend. It’s killing me so much that you won’t tell me the truth. I keep hearing that the truth will set you free.
sincerely yours Feb 2014
(His Side)
I once heard this story about a couple of kids. There was a boy. And there was a girl. They shared a class. And the boy noticed her. And he watched, because that’s what he was like. He saw her laugh, they way she talked with teachers and her fellow students, and her big, round eyes. Sometimes, the boy would get really lucky and she would talk to him. He was amazed by her intelligence. By her humor. He fell for her even more. And those were the days. They would play cards in class and laugh along with the other students. They talked about things happening around them, about water balloons, and boring things that they made interesting. And they helped each other through the small things, and that was nice.
As summer came in, they continued to talk, but less so. The girl always asked about how he was. And he had the same answer every time. A mundane and dismissive response. Because he has heard that question so many times, he thought it wasn’t worth answering. He knew that people never cared, they only asked how him how he was to hear him say “Alright” or “Fine”. So that’s what he always did. And the girl grew impatient. And the boy began to realize that this question was more than he thought. She was actually asking. Actually caring. She wanted to know, unlike his parents, teachers, and friends. He answered sometimes with different answers. He was cautious, never very brave.
Then the talking diminished. He was scared, scared that he would be hurt. He felt like it was one sided. He didn’t want to pressure her with his crush and he didn’t want to be pushed away. So he cut his losses, and he went back into his shell. Like he was before he met this wonderful girl. And he fell back into the lull of no talking unless spoken to.

       Then school came back. Summer was over, just like that. And he was still alone. Always watching, always lonely. And then he saw her, in the same type of class. Everyone was out standing in the field, waiting for class to start. And there she was. And she brought him back in all over again. Her smile, the way she talked with teachers and students, her amazing eyes, her cute nose, and as he learned, her beautiful personality. And he waited. And waited. And finally, the moment happened. He talked to her again. And it was nice.
They started talking again after that. He realized he didn’t like being alone. He missed her so much. They saw each other a lot more and talked even more. He again, he fell even further in love with her. And then she offered to take him somewhere. A lake to watch the sunset. And he agreed, because he wanted to break from his shell.
They drove to the lake, laughing and singing the entire way there. And they brought their music down with them. They sat down by the water, skipping stones and watching the beauty drift by. And everything felt right to the boy. And just as the sunset drifted out of sight, he kissed her. Their first kiss. And it was nice.
So after that, it was “official”. They were dating. And they talked all the time. And they went out together. Like one night, where they picked a dark field from random and watched the stars go by. They laughed sometimes and sat together in silence other times. Their hands clenched together throughout it all. So they were happy and together. Some nights they laughed and some nights they cried. The crying nights were not bad, they helped a lot. They found each other. They both realized that the good things to outweigh the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t ruin the good things or make them unimportant.
There are so many things this girl did for the boy without even realizing it. She helped him. He now talked to his family and friends with ease. No more shell. Not broken anymore.
His college plan was to join the military. Because that’s what he thought was right. He didn’t like his life so he decided to try and let others benefit from it. So he chose military, for the high death rate. He was too cowardly to do it himself. But with her, he felt needed. Wanted even. Something to live for. So he changed his mind. He wanted to help people.
I hear that they are still together to this day. Still crying and still laughing. And the boy is still discovering, day after day of being with this girl, how much he can love her. How brave she is. He can never leave her because he never wants to, he can’t. He’s done it before and it wrecked them both. That would tear him up inside. So they stay, for each other. And they are happy.

(Her Side)
There was a girl.  She wasn’t anything special, just a girl. And there was a boy.  She never paid him any attention – he wasn’t much to pay attention to.  But somehow, someday, that changed.  It could have been the smile he wore, the way he carried himself, or the confidence he radiated when he walked in the room.  She believed it was watching him perform.  He was one of the school play’s lead roles, and his voice.  His voice. It carried that smile.  The very first word he exclaimed to the audience seemed to be all hers.
Life went on as normal: school, that class they shared, spending time with her friends.  It all seemed to be perfect, but no one knew how low she was; the tears only came at night.
The end of the school year brought water balloons.  A water balloon fight she organized, to be exact.  And he talked to her. He made her smile.  She never would have guessed that those ****** water balloons could’ve brought them together, but they did.  They talked every day, and she looked forward to the end of the day when they would play cards together. It wasn’t long before he told her how he really felt.  But she was scared.  She didn’t know how she felt.  She couldn’t remember how it felt to really feel.  
They resolved to a friendship, one she thought was strong.  She counted on seeing his name come up on her phone everyday as the summer progressed.  They spent some time together and, among the talking, she felt more confused, but she also felt safe.  There was finally someone she could talk to and someone who made her laugh.
She really cared about him.  Maybe, she thought, I could give this a shot.  But it wasn’t until after he left her house that day did she realize she should have kissed him.
As the regret sunk in, so did the feeling that she really wanted something more than their friendship.  After that day, she asked him to come over, to go out mini-golfing, to join her for the sunset.  She tried so hard; she was surer of her feeling now than she ever had been before.  But the rejections came.  She thought nothing of it at first.  It was just his dad saying no, or he had plans, but the reasons started to sound more like excuses.  And they kept coming.  She thought she was trying too hard, was too overwhelming.  Then his messages stopped coming.  When they did, they were brief and never satisfying.  She ******* up.  She was too needy.  He lost interest.  What else was there to think? But she thought about the times he told her he loved her smile, and she couldn’t understand what she had done wrong.  What had changed.  What made him pull away.
She went back to crying herself to sleep each night.  She would check her phone, hoping maybe she just missed it, but knew there was nothing there.  The cracks slowly started forming again.  She wondered how she could’ve been so blind so as to not see it coming.  It was obviously her fault, there was no other explanation.  She just missed him.  Did he miss her too?
Weeks passed, and the cracks eventually gave way.  She did everything she could to keep busy and not let it show.  She couldn’t show her friends – they would never understand – and, after all, the whole thing was her own ******* fault.  Loneliness ate away at her, just like time slowly consumed the remains of summer.
School started, and she was forced to see his eyes again.  But his eyes were on someone else.  He was a stranger to her now, and now she thought she knew his reasoning behind leaving her.  Because she wasn’t beautiful.  She didn’t interest him.  She didn’t have anything special about her.  And he knew that as well as she did.  His eyes were on someone else.  Why wouldn’t they be? It was obvious to her.
It seemed that everywhere she went she was tortured by his presence.  Then he started talking to her again, instead of ignoring.  She looked for every opportunity, until she found one.  She couldn’t get too close though; falling wasn’t allowed.  
Shortly after, he was on stage again.  Memories flooded back, and she couldn’t help but be pulled in like last time.  His voice was there.  Endearing and brave.  And his smile.  She was sure it was meant for her.
They talked more and more, and eventually his eyes turned away from the other.  She took another shot.  She wanted more than anything for it to work.  It did. He said yes to the sunset.  The last sunset she watched that year by the lake, and it didn’t have to be alone this time.  They talked as the colors faded.  And then he kissed her.
That night left them inseparable.  She loved him, and he gave his love in return.  Happiness had returned to her life.  She had someone to share with, to pass the long hours with, and to hold close to her.  He was beautiful.  He was hers.  And they were finally happy.  Together.
yokomolotov Aug 2013
While people talked about what Miley Cyrus was wearing

Ben a homeless veteran of war, had a heart attack, fell from his wheelchair
and died and people stepped over him.

While people talked about what Miley Cyrus was wearing

A forest fire burned in Yosemite National park and Sierra Nevada destroying homes, and
threatening wildlife including 200 year old redwood trees.

While people talked about what Miley Cyrus was wearing

Latonya lost her job, and in turn her apartment and in turn the custody
of her children.

While people talked about what Miley Cyrus was wearing

Yu fellated a man in a sweaty brothel who was nearly four times her age.

While people talked about what Miley Cyrus was wearing

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant leaked tons of radioactive fluid into the
Pacific.

While people talked about what Miley Cyrus was wearing

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people.

While people talked about what Miley Cyrus was wearing
Madison Sep 2018
When I was a little girl

I talked

And talked and talked and talked

Talked and talked

Talked, talked, talked.

That was before

I figured out that my mind

Danced when it was quiet

And that nobody cares

How many words you use

When all of them are put on paper.
I actually said something like this in a conversation and inspiration struck.
Kyle John Somer Oct 2012
Darlin’, they say you’ve got knives swimming through your heart beats.
That the blood flowing from your pin pricked fingertips to your mumbled fear lips
is dressed up angry, in bayonet holding coats of arms.
That your tiger tooth saber shaped blood is dragging its hands down your veins
slowly scratching in dates down walls of young membrane tombstones
shooting firing squad lines of pain as your body tears itself apart.
They’re saying that its only going to get worse from here.
With your pinstriped POW nerves vibrating like skyscrapers
as each pulse bleeds through you like a ten on the richter.

Darlin’  I’m dying to see you smile, but the washington rain is drowning you
and you're losing time for existing.
Shivering in that hospital bed as icicle cells freeze you to the bone.
You used to light up a room with all your bright sunflower laughter
but now your hands are cold like sad glaciers
pushing your shoulderblades under icy water
and all that seems to come out of your lips
are hospital bed nightmares and fluorescent smoke wishes.
Every morning your black coffee eyes brew up tears
they rain for hours.
but crying isn't dowsing this wildfire.
You’re trying to stay on your feet, but your ankle deep in gasoline.
Your breath is like a pendulum time keeper.
The white blood cell count like a stop watch for the grim reaper.
And you watch, eyes stinging, as you burn up from the inside out.
Temperature climbing mountains. Breaking ozones.
But they say you're on the decline.

Darlin’ I know they say you have bad blood.
They say that your heart won't gone on beating for a long time
and at night you cough up blood on your pillow creating a universe of helio constellations
but they don't know how hard you try.
I know right now london feels like its falling
Everything does.
Its ashes and ashes.
But like a pilot light supernova things can change.
Lets grab up fistfulls and fistfulls of ash in our shaking hands
and put them together
and let the weight of the world turn them to diamonds
and we can push them inside our nimble rib cages
and live a little bit longer

Darlin'

Can you hear me?















They asked me to speak at your funeral.
I talked about our weekend in the mountains
and how your laugh would bounce off the canyons in such beautiful frequencies.
I talked about how I met you
how my heart wouldn't stop feeling like avalanche symphonies.
And how you turned scarlet when I asked you your name.
I talked about your family, our friends,
how we would look at the stars for hours without letting our eyes breathe
because you thought the world of space.
I talked about your yellow rain boots and how you would always track the wilderness inside with you.
I talked about your fear of trains and thunderclaps and how in rainstorms you would curl up next to me and shake like an earthquake but you knew your were safe.

I talked about how much I loved you.
It started raining, I started breaking down.
And I talked about how hard you tried.

Darlin' they said you had bad blood.
That if we would have caught it sooner we could have saved you.

Darlin' I wish we had had more time.
I could have written you so many love letters.
Darlin' I wish we had had more time.





Death stole you away.

And signed your fate with a sickle cell pen of red ink.
L A Lamb Sep 2014
(written 3-18-2014)



I just needed something different, something to think about: an alternative night, a different scene with new environmental stimuli. It’s true that if the stimulus is unchanging we will adapt, but for me, I live best being able to react to different things. Yesterday was fun for that reason.



I was going to drive, but then Alistair said Yarab was going out too and he offered to drive. I considered the gas money and how I would prefer to drink and not worry about driving, so I agreed. At this point, you and I were in amidst a discussion regarding me coming over too late– or not at all– and I was in a particular mood where I didn’t want to think about the relationship strain. I knew I was causing it, but it was nothing new, and nothing bad. I just wanted to actually see my brother since I was so suffocated and domesticated. I wanted a night away from Giovanni’s room, which made me feel like your little housewife, your obedient certainty assigned love.



Why did we stay so ignorant when we started with uncertainty? It was a beautiful stage of development, a coming-of-age stage of accepting my sexuality and exploring sensuality. We we drunk college girls, amateur philosophers and ****-smokers, confused about the world but idealizing a better world. That was the ideal of us. The truth was too tragic, but we endured it for so long that for one night I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to get away. I didn’t want to think about you. So I didn’t. It was inconsiderate of me to consider you worrying and upset, but at this point I wanted to enjoy myself and have fun with my brother when I figured you’d be sad and disappointed no matter what happened, so I may as well enjoy myself. I thought hard about it, but decided since it was Alistair’s birthday, I didn’t have work until 6:00 p.m. the next day, and yes, it was St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to go out and celebrate. Sorry you didn’t want to come.



In the car, Alistair packed the bowl. They were smoking it on the way up and I declined but instead had a cigarette. Yarab said he was working with an artist who made glass pieces resembling scary, mystical-like creatures, and the bowl Alistair packed was one of them. It was mostly blue, and the front of it was a head where the **** would go into the top of the head. It had wide eyes, a big, sorcerer-like nose and big, scary-looking teeth. “Trippy, right? The line is called Enoch based off the book of Enoch in the Bible—which is actually removed in most but still a part of Russian Orthodox.” They packed it twice throughout the ride and I sat in the back, smoked my cigarette and thought about you and the night before me.



We were going to Harrington’s Irish Pub but it was packed (naturally), so we tried Cadillac Ranch (the bar was full there too), so we finally decided on Public House. We each had 3 Washington Apple’s between beers and conversations before getting food. I had two Yuenglings, Alistair had a Yuengling, three Irish Stouts and Yarab drank 3 Stellas. Alistair and I split nachos and a hummus plate. I’d never been there before, and I appreciated the upscale environment compared to cramped and loud local bars I was used to. It was quiet enough that we could talk and hold conversations, and our bartender, Sarah, was pretty, friendly and attentive. I thought about my restaurant experience and briefly thought about her and her life.



My favorite part of the night was when we were at Public House. The conversations were just interesting; they talked about Putin, Ukraine and Russia and how “of course the U.S. wouldn’t let part of the country join into Russia” and the proposal would be rejected by the UN; we talked about birdhouses and fireplaces and utilizing space in people’s yards, so that if the world changed for the worse and we needed to survive we would be able to; we talked about being arrested; we talked about the Zionists and the fake group of evil Northern European people who migrated and were rejected by both Islam and Christianity, so they essentially took over Judaism—and how the conflict between Israel and Palestine is a struggle for power with the Zionists and U.S.; all of this was relevant to our talk about how we don’t live in a Democracy but a Corporatocracy, and the world is determined by whoever has the most money and power.



Yarab talked about tolerance for other cultures and intolerance, telling us about the other day when his stepfather was at their house going over notes with a woman from Sudan. She and her company wanted to use a product (he was a rocket-scientist and worked on a greener product in 1967 which weapons would have less of an environmentally hazardous effect) of his, but before going over the professional aspects he basically insulted her culture and country, criticizing how wrong they were. Yarab said he was in the kitchen getting water and had to leave because he couldn’t help but laugh, saying how his step-father was brilliant but very opinionated and could be rude. “He’s a buddhist-atheist,” he said, and I thought of us chanting. I brought up Niechren Buddhism and the lotus sutra, expressing how nice it made me feel after. He said any way to get peace is a good one, but atheists shouldn’t be ignorant when talking about their non-beliefs because that’s just as bad as religious people talking about their beliefs. Alistair commended him on never forcing his beliefs on Alistair, and I asked what he thought of God.



He described himself as polytheistic, saying that there wasn’t just one god but many, and because of how everything in the universe connects and resembles each other there must be something to cause it, because it can’t be explained. I thought about the mystery of life and how it’s developmental to wonder about it, and felt secure in the fluidity of my beliefs which has a general principle, that life may not be a coincidence but it is comprised with a series of coincidences and connect factors which cannot always be explained or determined, but rather appreciated and analyzed to create a memorable life in which existence is valued. I didn’t ask further about his gods, but I figured the idea he held was similar to the atheistic view Alistair held and the scientific-spirituality I held as well.



It was interesting talking to another person about it besides Alistair, and the discussion changed and added to the one we had the night before, when Alistair and I were drinking ***** with ginger ale (while I tinted with green food dye). I’ve always appreciated drunk talks with Alistair because they were some of the most real conversations I had. I brought up the hour-long documentary “Obey” and confessed my frustrations about the consumerist-capitalistic society we live in, where it’s nearly impossible to change the system as we’re being monitored. Big Brother is among us, I noted, and I praised George Orwell as a prophet and how we are living in 1984 even though so many people fail to realize it and don’t care or consider the bigger consequences of it. There was something so mystical in our depressing little talk, and I felt empowered to reexamine my life and work towards something with meaning.



While maybe more spiritual than existential, I knew Yarab could understand these ideas and provide even more insight to the social issues which confined us, the same ones we were so immersed in. We toasted to Alistair’s birthday; we toasted to being Arab; we toasted to Franklin Lamb; we toasted to Palestine; we toasted to peace.



Alistair was in the bathroom and I asked Yarab whether it was possible to live outside Capitalism without rejecting social conventions, being isolated and living off the Earth away from society. He replied it was very hard not to feed into the system, and explained how even he felt like a hypocrite for living in the U.S. and being American when his family and people were in Syria enduring the hardship of resources, lack of employment and political regimes. He explained that it was necessary to be a part of the system but not buy into it, to use the system and eventually work towards changing it. “Like Robin Hood,” he said. I told him it was hard because it seemed so easy to get ****** into it, and he said work towards what you believe in. “You’ll have a clear conscience.”



Alistair came back from the bathroom, and he talked about going to Lebanon toward the end of summer. “I could study Arabic at AUB,” and I supported his idea. Yarab chimed in that he deeply respected my father because of his work. “He actually cares about what’s happening and he speaks from the heart.” I was proud of my father for his work, despite everything else, and thought it interesting that the one Syrian we happen to encounter in our small town was immersed in politics and actively followed my father.



“You should take over what your dad is doing,” Yarab said to Alistair, and Alistair agreed it would be a good thing to do. Alistair mentioned Fatima Hajj and my time learning about Palestinians and spent in refugee camps. “She died a week after Louisa interviewed her.” “Three days,” I corrected him, and I felt my insides turn as we reminisced on my accomplishments. Almost two years had passed, and I made no progress on my activism, besides an article. Two weeks was not enough to change the world, although from my feedback it was clear I had inspired many.



I told them both how I felt so stagnant and unintelligent, boring and unproductive regarding any progress of working towards something of importance.”Do what you can while you’re able. Even if you don’t see it grow, you can still plant the seeds. You can be a sheep or you can be a Lamb.” I was grateful that my brother had a friend who could think about the world in a way differently than the normal crowd of friends he had who just focused on losing themselves in substances with no thought of life beyond their boring little lives.



Alistair suggested I visit Beirut for a month to see visit Dad, make connections and see what else was happening in Lebanon, Syria and throughout the Middle-East, and my heart sank with nostalgia and the prospect of a dream. I could see us going to Lebanon, and if I went I would feel inflated with purpose, the way I felt when I went before, the way I felt I could change the world. Yarab agreed with Alistair and supported my journalistic endeavors, while Alistair mentioned Mediciens sans Frontiers. “I don’t know if I’d be able to,” and I thought about you, Camino and Arizona. I thought about ASU and AUB. “Rachel would understand if you went for a month right?” I didn’t want to listen what I knew would follow.

After finishing our food we went outside to smoke. Alistair drank his beer, I chugged mine and Yarab left more than half of his second Stella. “I have to drive,” so Alistair picked it up and emptied the cup in two stealthy gulps.We went back to the garage and the plan was to drive back to a house party in Accokeek. I didn’t know Elton, or what to expect, but from the company I knew they kept in Accokeek, I expected a drastic change in environment from the bar talk with two like-minded Arabs.



Alistair packed the bowl again, and I was offered to smoke but again declined. “We stopped smoking.” “Rachel smoked with me while she was waiting for you to get off work one day.” “What? Recently?” “Yeah, like two to three weeks ago or something. I was in disbelief. “Are you serious? We were stopping together! She didn’t even tell me!” I was angry, and resented feeling like a fool, believing that we made a decision together—only to discover my efforts were stronger than hers. “Don’t ask her about it though.”



“No! I’m going to. Here I am, not doing anything and she does it? Doesn’t tell me about it?? It’s not that she did it but she didn’t even tell me. Typical *****. We talked about it since and she just chose not to bring it up? And she’s here accusing me of things when I’m not doing anything wrong?”



“She’s probably projecting her guilt on you.” I thought about other times I didn’t know about something and remembered finding out and feeling so stupid. “Do you want some?” “Maybe I will.. but no. Not right now.” I didn’t want to talk about it anymore.



But I did. I asked you and we texted about it, and in the car I felt annoyed and unincluded, rejecting the **** that was offered to me. By the time we got to the house, I left my phone in the car. I was there to spend time with my brother, not get into a text fight over something that didn’t matter anyway. We went inside and I didn’t recognize everyone. I suspected I was the youngest, and I couldn’t help but observe I was the thinnest girl. People were playing beer pong and sitting at a table. Someone offered me a beer. I sat down on a couch. Alistair was getting hugs from girls and handshakes and fist-bumps from guys, and I made brief introductions with no real effort of talking to anyone. There weren’t many seats, and the most comfortable couches were facing the television where rap videos were playing. I hadn’t heard any off the songs that were on the playlist, and felt uncomfortable by the blatant sexuality and objectification of girls in the videos. The drunk girls were dancing to the music and singing along with the degrading, raunchy lyrics. “Can we smoke?”



I hesitated and held the bowl in my hand, staring at the green. I thought about putting it down. “I haven’t smoked in two months and twenty-one days,” I vocalized, and some guy (who didn’t smoked) responded “but who’s counting?” “Come on Weezee,” and after further hesitation I decided it was nothing new, and nothing bad would happen as a result. I brought the piece to my lips, lowered the lighter and inhaled. It was smooth, and I held it in my lungs for several seconds before slowly exhaling. I couldn’t feel it at first. It was passed around, and I took another hit. I thought about what you might be thinking about me, but pushed the thought from my mind. A guy made brief eye contact with me, and something about him seemed familiar. He had a beard and was wearing a hat, and I thought it was impossible I could know him. The other person who lived there asked if we could smoke in the room because the guy who asked me who was counting, and others, didn’t smoke. So we went. I hit the bowl once more and as we were standing I felt the high come to me, the surreal feeling of being and experiencing. In the room was myself, Alistair, Yarab, a guy with a ‘fro, Elton and the guy with the hat and beard. Someone packed the **** and handed it to me, but I refused; I was pressured and still refused. “I haven’t done this in a while, so no, I’m fine, and I’ve been drinking.” I think some were taken aback by how adamant I was not to push my limit, because it was so clear many people there viewed partying as pushing the limit.



Alistair introduced me to the guy with the beard and the hat as Mat, who worked at Chevy’s and now McCormicks, and I instantly recognized him. “Oh hey!” I said and hugged him, and he said “I thought you looked familiar. How’ve you been?” “I’ve been pretty good,” and I explained to Alistair that he worked with Alex at Bonefish Grill and was our server when we went in to her work once, years ago. They continued to smoke and I stood among them, half paying attention to conversation and half thinking about anything and everything else. There was a familiarity being among these people I’d never met, and the surrounding of burnouts. I wondered if everyone there was a server and that was all they did. I told Mat I worked at Buffalo Wild Wings as a server, my first serving job, yeah I like it okay, I guess, and he told me he knew Alistair through McCormicks. “I’m serving there too,” and I wondered how many restaurants he’d been through so far.



He told me he graduated from tech school and I congratulated him and asked, “which one?”, where he replied Lincoln Tech. I wasn’t surprised it was that type, and I told him I graduated from Salisbury with a degree in Psychology, which he congratulated me for. I felt it necessary to disclose I was taking the GRE in May and imply that, yes, while I am serving in Waldorf and my college degree doesn’t give me much to do in this area, I am going back to school and I am going to do more than stay around serving, like you. I was reminded of a poem I wrote and th
Cass was the youngest and most beautiful of 5 sisters. Cass was the most beautiful girl
in town. 1/2 Indian with a supple and strange body, a snake-like and fiery body with eyes
to go with it. Cass was fluid moving fire. She was like a spirit stuck into a form that
would not hold her. Her hair was black and long and silken and whirled about as did her
body. Her spirit was either very high or very low. There was no in between for Cass. Some
said she was crazy. The dull ones said that. The dull ones would never understand Cass. To
the men she was simply a *** machine and they didn't care whether she was crazy or not.
And Cass danced and flirted, kissed the men, but except for an instance or two, when it
came time to make it with Cass, Cass had somehow slipped away, eluded the men.
Her sisters accused her of misusing her beauty, of not using her mind enough, but Cass
had mind and spirit; she painted, she danced, she sang, she made things of clay, and when
people were hurt either in the spirit or the flesh, Cass felt a deep grieving for them.
Her mind was simply different; her mind was simply not practical. Her sisters were jealous
of her because she attracted their men, and they were angry because they felt she didn't
make the best use of them. She had a habit of being kind to the uglier ones; the so-called
handsome men revolted her- "No guts," she said, "no zap. They are riding on
their perfect little earlobes and well- shaped nostrils...all surface and no
insides..." She had a temper that came close to insanity, she had a temper that some
call insanity. Her father had died of alcohol and her mother had run off leaving the
girls alone. The girls went to a relative who placed them in a convent. The convent had
been an unhappy place, more for Cass than the sisters. The girls were jealous of Cass and
Cass fought most of them. She had razor marks all along her left arm from defending
herself in two fights. There was also a permanent scar along the left cheek but the scar
rather than lessening her beauty only seemed to highlight it. I met her at the West End
Bar several nights after her release from the convent. Being youngest, she was the last of
the sisters to be released. She simply came in and sat next to me. I was probably the
ugliest man in town and this might have had something to do with it.
"Drink?" I asked.
"Sure, why not?"
I don't suppose there was anything unusual in our conversation that night, it was
simply in the feeling Cass gave. She had chosen me and it was as simple as that. No
pressure. She liked her drinks and had a great number of them. She didn't seem quite of
age but they served he anyhow. Perhaps she had forged i.d., I don't know. Anyhow, each
time she came back from the restroom and sat down next to me, I did feel some pride. She
was not only the most beautiful woman in town but also one of the most beautiful I had
ever seen. I placed my arm about her waist and kissed her once.
"Do you think I'm pretty?" she asked.
"Yes, of course, but there's something else... there's more than your
looks..."
"People are always accusing me of being pretty. Do you really think I'm
pretty?"
"Pretty isn't the word, it hardly does you fair."
Cass reached into her handbag. I thought she was reaching for her handkerchief. She
came out with a long hatpin. Before I could stop her she had run this long hatpin through
her nose, sideways, just above the nostrils. I felt disgust and horror. She looked at me
and laughed, "Now do you think me pretty? What do you think now, man?" I pulled
the hatpin out and held my handkerchief over the bleeding. Several people, including the
bartender, had seen the act. The bartender came down:
"Look," he said to Cass, "you act up again and you're out. We don't need
your dramatics here."
"Oh, *******, man!" she said.
"Better keep her straight," the bartender said to me.
"She'll be all right," I said.
"It's my nose, I can do what I want with my nose."
"No," I said, "it hurts me."
"You mean it hurts you when I stick a pin in my nose?"
"Yes, it does, I mean it."
"All right, I won't do it again. Cheer up."
She kissed me, rather grinning through the kiss and holding the handkerchief to her
nose. We left for my place at closing time. I had some beer and we sat there talking. It
was then that I got the perception of her as a person full of kindness and caring. She
gave herself away without knowing it. At the same time she would leap back into areas of
wildness and incoherence. Schitzi. A beautiful and spiritual schitzi. Perhaps some man,
something, would ruin her forever. I hoped that it wouldn't be me. We went to bed and
after I turned out the lights Cass asked me,
"When do you want it? Now or in the morning?"
"In the morning," I said and turned my back.
In the morning I got up and made a couple of coffees, brought her one in bed. She
laughed.
"You're the first man who has turned it down at night."
"It's o.k.," I said, "we needn't do it at all."
"No, wait, I want to now. Let me freshen up a bit."
Cass went into the bathroom. She came out shortly, looking quite wonderful, her long
black hair glistening, her eyes and lips glistening, her glistening... She displayed her
body calmly, as a good thing. She got under the sheet.
"Come on, lover man."
I got in. She kissed with abandon but without haste. I let my hands run over her body,
through her hair. I mounted. It was hot, and tight. I began to stroke slowly, wanting to
make it last. Her eyes looked directly into mine.
"What's your name?" I asked.
"What the hell difference does it make?" she asked.
I laughed and went on ahead. Afterwards she dressed and I drove her back to the bar but
she was difficult to forget. I wasn't working and I slept until 2 p.m. then got up and
read the paper. I was in the bathtub when she came in with a large leaf- an elephant ear.
"I knew you'd be in the bathtub," she said, "so I brought you something
to cover that thing with, nature boy."
She threw the elephant leaf down on me in the bathtub.
"How did you know I'd be in the tub?"
"I knew."
Almost every day Cass arrived when I was in the tub. The times were different but she
seldom missed, and there was the elephant leaf. And then we'd make love. One or two nights
she phoned and I had to bail her out of jail for drunkenness and fighting.
"These sons of *******," she said, "just because they buy you a few
drinks they think they can get into your pants."
"Once you accept a drink you create your own trouble."
"I thought they were interested in me, not just my body."
"I'm interested in you and your body. I doubt, though, that most men can see
beyond your body."
I left town for 6 months, bummed around, came back. I had never forgotten Cass, but
we'd had some type of argument and I felt like moving anyhow, and when I got back i
figured she'd be gone, but I had been sitting in the West End Bar about 30 minutes when
she walked in and sat down next to me.
"Well, *******, I see you've come back."
I ordered her a drink. Then I looked at her. She had on a high- necked dress. I had
never seen her in one of those. And under each eye, driven in, were 2 pins with glass
heads. All you could see were the heads of the pins, but the pins were driven down into
her face.
"******* you, still trying to destroy your beauty, eh?"
"No, it's the fad, you fool."
"You're crazy."
"I've missed you," she said.
"Is there anybody else?"
"No there isn't anybody else. Just you. But I'm hustling. It costs ten bucks. But
you get it free."
"Pull those pins out."
"No, it's the fad."
"It's making me very unhappy."
"Are you sure?"
"Hell yes, I'm sure."
Cass slowly pulled the pins out and put them back in her purse.
"Why do you haggle your beauty?" I asked. "Why don't you just live with
it?"
"Because people think it's all I have. Beauty is nothing, beauty won't stay. You
don't know how lucky you are to be ugly, because if people like you you know it's for
something else."
"O.k.," I said, "I'm lucky."
"I don't mean you're ugly. People just think you're ugly. You have a fascinating
face."
"Thanks."
We had another drink.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Nothing. I can't get on to anything. No interest."
"Me neither. If you were a woman you could hustle."
"I don't think I could ever make contact with that many strangers, it's
wearing."
"You're right, it's wearing, everything is wearing."
We left together. People still stared at Cass on the streets. She was a beautiful
woman, perhaps more beautiful than ever. We made it to my place and I opened a bottle of
wine and we talked. With Cass and I, it always came easy. She talked a while and I would
listen and then i would talk. Our conversation simply went along without strain. We seemed
to discover secrets together. When we discovered a good one Cass would laugh that laugh-
only the way she could. It was like joy out of fire. Through the talking we kissed and
moved closer together. We became quite heated and decided to go to bed. It was then that
Cass took off her high -necked dress and I saw it- the ugly jagged scar across her throat.
It was large and thick.
"******* you, woman," I said from the bed, "******* you, what have you
done?
"I tried it with a broken bottle one night. Don't you like me any more? Am I still
beautiful?"
I pulled her down on the bed and kissed her. She pushed away and laughed, "Some
men pay me ten and I undress and they don't want to do it. I keep the ten. It's very
funny."
"Yes," I said, "I can't stop laughing... Cass, *****, I love you...stop
destroying yourself; you're the most alive woman I've ever met."
We kissed again. Cass was crying without sound. I could feel the tears. The long black
hair lay beside me like a flag of death. We enjoined and made slow and somber and
wonderful love. In the morning Cass was up making breakfast. She seemed quite calm and
happy. She was singing. I stayed in bed and enjoyed her happiness. Finally she came over
and shook me,
"Up, *******! Throw some cold water on your face and pecker and come enjoy the
feast!"
I drove her to the beach that day. It was a weekday and not yet summer so things were
splendidly deserted. Beach bums in rags slept on the lawns above the sand. Others sat on
stone benches sharing a lone bottle. The gulls whirled about, mindless yet distracted. Old
ladies in their 70's and 80's sat on the benches and discussed selling real estate left
behind by husbands long ago killed by the pace and stupidity of survival. For it all,
there was peace in the air and we walked about and stretched on the lawns and didn't say
much. It simply felt good being together. I bought a couple of sandwiches, some chips and
drinks and we sat on the sand eating. Then I held Cass and we slept together about an
hour. It was somehow better than *******. There was flowing together without tension.
When we awakened we drove back to my place and I cooked a dinner. After dinner I suggested
to Cass that we shack together. She waited a long time, looking at me, then she slowly
said, "No." I drove her back to the bar, bought her a drink and walked out. I
found a job as a parker in a factory the next day and the rest of the week went to
working. I was too tired to get about much but that Friday night I did get to the West End
Bar. I sat and waited for Cass. Hours went by . After I was fairly drunk the bartender
said to me, "I'm sorry about your girlfriend."
"What is it?" I asked.
"I'm sorry, didn't you know?"
"No."
"Suicide. She was buried yesterday."
"Buried?" I asked. It seemed as though she would walk through the doorway at
any moment. How could she be gone?
"Her sisters buried her."
"A suicide? Mind telling me how?"
"She cut her throat."
"I see. Give me another drink."
I drank until closing time. Cass was the most beautiful of 5 sisters, the most
beautiful in town. I managed to drive to my place and I kept thinking, I should have
insisted she stay with me instead of accepting that "no." Everything about her
had indicated that she had cared. I simply had been too offhand about it, lazy, too
unconcerned. I deserved my death and hers. I was a dog. No, why blame the dogs? I got up
and found a bottle of wine and drank from it heavily. Cass the most beautiful girl in town
was dead at 20. Outside somebody honked their automobile horn. They were very loud and
persistent. I sat the bottle down and screamed out: "******* YOU, YOU *******
,SHUT UP!" The night kept coming and there was nothing I could do.
Me, I play the piano
said one
me, I play the violin
said another
me the harp, me the banjo
me the cello
me the bagpipes, me the flute
and me, a rattle.
And they talked talked
talked about what they played.
No music was heard
everyone talked
talked talked
and no one played
but in a corner one man remained silent:
"And you, Sir, who remain silent and say nothing,
what instrument do you play?"
the musicians asked him.
"Me, I play the barrel *****
and I also play the knife,"
said the man who until now
had said absolutely nothing
and then he advanced knife in hand
and killed all the musicians
and played the barrel *****
and his music was so true
and so lively and so pretty
that the daughter of the house’s owner
came out from under the piano
where she lay bored to sleep
and said:
"Me, I played hoop
ball, chase
I played hopscotch
I played with a pail
I played with a shovel
I played house
I played tag
I played with my dolls
I played with a parasol
I played with my little brother
with my little sister
I played cops
and robbers
but that’s over over over
I want to play assassin
I want to play the barrel *****."
And the man took the little girl by the hand
and they went into towns
into houses, into gardens
and killed as many people as possible
after which they married
and had many children.
But
the oldest learned piano
the second, violin
the third, harp
the fourth, the rattle
the fifth, cello
and they all took to talking talking
talking talking talking
so that no more music was heard
and all was set to begin again!
Deb Jones Sep 2017
For personal reasons I don't have a deep faith, like most of you have, to wrap around myself like a mantle during a tragedy like this.

And I truly believe that Ashley's death is a tragedy.

I have wrote and rewrote this. Trying to find the right words to tell you how wonderful Ashley is. "Is" because she will live forever in our hearts. There is no "was"

And I finally realized I couldn't. It would take a lifetime. Or 22 years.

This started out to be my commemoration of Ash. Instead it has turned into something I probably won't share entirely.

Because I have lived a long life already, I know how the passing years eventually make grief bearable. How it knocks you to your knees and bends your back. But over time it becomes part of you and you learn to live in a new reality.

No one forgets a loved ones death. You just learn to live with the pain. We absorb it and carry the pain around with us forever.

My new reality is a life without Ashley in it. Where she never gets to grow older. But she also doesn't have to grow sicker. That gives me little solace. As I am selfishly wanting her back.

Type 1 Diabetes killed Ashley. It's an illness that is a battle every day. You fight to get through the day. To do the best you can and then get up the next day and fight the same battle all over again. You don't get a day off. Or a vacation from it. Because if you stop fighting for even one day you will have to fight 100 times harder to get back on track.

Ashley wanted to live a normal life. She wanted to do everything that her friends were doing. And her sister, made that possible. She watched over her, especially the last 2 years. They were together almost every day and night. I am proud of her. She grew into the adult she is by loving and treating Ash like a normal young woman. Adventuring with her.

Ashley lived with me from the time she was a toddler until she was 21. She was a daughter to my heart.

She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes the very same day I was. She was 18. We learned how to live with it together.

She was doing so well. Only hospitalized a few times. While I was hospitalized monthly.

Her last hospitalization, I picked her up after her discharge. She was still vomiting a lot.

I called and made her an appointment with my Endocrinologist for the next morning.

I want to go back to that minute. The one right before I reached out to touch her shoulder to wake her for the appointment the next morning. The minute before I realized something was wrong.

She wouldn't wake up. I pulled her over, her eyes were open in a blank stare.

By doing chest compressions on her, arguably the scariest experience any loved one can go through, I saved Ashley.

A helicopter landed in one of my fields and flew her to the nearest Trauma Center.

So we could have almost 6 days to say goodbye to her. We are all forever grateful for that.

She was declared brain dead the first day she was in the hospital. But I already knew that.

I am so angry at Ashley's senseless death. Losing a beautiful young girl. One who tried to wrap everyone in a kindness that was her unique specialty.

But, I know Ashley was tired. So very tired. She went 16 days without eating. Only drinking water or juice she vomited back up.

I KNOW how she was just so tired. I know that kind of tiredness. Not only of your body, but of your spirit and soul. When you want to isolate yourself from everyone because it's too much to face. To deal with. There is no bravery or sacrifice. Just the silent chant of pleas. Pleas to make it stop. Pleas for solace. For surcease.

The hospital failed her. Looking at laboratory values versus a patient's physical self.

And I wasn't there to advocate for her. The family that was there with her were scared. And helpless to fix her. How do you hold a hospital accountable, with its anonymous staff, without holding me accountable too?

There are things I should have taught Ashley. How to ask for things she needed. How to demand. How to scream.

But I didn't. I talked with her about things she needed. But I didn't see the ramifications of her not using all avenues to get help. I didn't teach her how to scream.

Even though my screams are just as silent.

I knew she was severely brain damaged the morning I first saw her. But really...I was in denial too.

It helped to be the one all the information was funneled through. But the cost to me was denial. I could explain everything to everyone. Over and over again. To family groups. To individuals as they arrived at the hospital and I walked them down that long corridor to the intensive care.

Using that walk to prepare them. To stand beside so many that came to say goodbye to her. But still suppress my grief into a hot ball that I choked on every day she was on life support.

I could only really grieve the way I needed to once I was alone. My sobs were private. Thinking of Ashley when I went to sleep. And of her when I woke.

Every thing Ashley did during that 6 days she was on life support was talked about. And used to foster hope. The rare blinking of her eyelids. The few tears that coursed down her temples.

I knew they had pressure cuffs on her legs. To help keep her blood pressure up. Until I saw the damage to her legs...I still thought there was a chance. The chance I refused to say outloud. As if I challenged what I knew to be true with false hope.

I knew she had significant brain damage but I still thought there might be a chance she would recover, be a different Ashley than we were used to, an Ashley that would need rehabilitation. An outcome that would allow us to keep her here.

Then I saw her legs. I was alone and noticed the pressure cuffs were off. I lifted the blanket and saw her legs. They were blue and mottled with large sections of skin gone. I knew then that she really was not going to recover.

The surgeon even discussed taking one or both of her legs at the hip in order to save her from the infection. But he said she was too fragile and wouldn't make it through surgery. And even if they did the surgery it would not save her brain injury.

My family and I privately discussed ***** donation for Ash. We knew Ashley would have wanted that too. I called a friend of mine that works with the donor network and she said of course Ashley could be evaluated for any donation. I kept in contact with her while Ashley was in the hospital and asked when we could talk to the ***** donor advocate/liaison. That became a moot point when Ashley started spiking temperatures with the infections ravaging her body.

When she was finally completely off sedation she was unresponsive. That poor baby. That poor, poor baby.

Her brain damage was severe. And her legs were poisoning the rest of her body. She really just stayed for us. To give us a chance to say what we needed to say and what she needed to hear in her final moments. And we held her and told her we were walking with her into the sunlight.

Because I have many medical credentials, I was the one that talked for the family. And then talked for the physicians.

I asked all my family to come to a designated conference room. When I talked to my family about removing her life support there was anger. But as I continued to explain to them there was just a deep inconsolable sadness.

When 4 of the doctors came in I told them we didn't need a rundown of all the reasons to remove her from the ventilator. We had already made our decision.

When we turned the ventilator off she could breathe on her own for a little bit. I told my family that she would go fast. But seeing that she was breathing they all left the room. To smoke, to text, to make phone calls.

After they were gone about 4-5 minutes Ashley's breathing began to slow down. I was the only one in the room. I asked the nurses at the desk to call my family overhead.

They still didn't come back soon enough.

I climbed into the bed with Ash and pulled her into my arms. I rocked her and crooned to her. Told her how loved she was.

She took her last breath in my arms.

When my family funneled back into the room I heard over and over again how Ashley must have waited until they left the room to die so they wouldn't suffer more.

My heart cried. What about me? What about me.

I am supposed to tell people how loved she was. How she shined. I think they all know that already.

I keep trying to commemorate her. To write a speech detailing her life and how much she gave of herself to others. How she was the hub a lot of her family circled around. She was unceasingly happy. She was so loved.

You know what I want to do? I want to scream. I want to rant and rave about the unfairness. Point to other people, people I don't know and say why couldn't they have been taken instead? I don't love them like I do Ash. Point to myself also. Why wasn't I taken?

I will tell everyone what they already know. About how wonderful a person Ashley was and how much we love and miss her. How we will grieve the rest of our lives for her.

The night I came home after Ashley died I went right to my mother. I told her Ashley was gone. And she held me, in the dark, with my head in her lap while I cried. She didn't talk while I sobbed. Just made soothing noises.

And that was what I needed. What my heart craved.

I appreciate everyone that called me just to listen to me cry. Some would not even talk other than the first hello. Just soothing comforting sounds. I won't forget the gift you gave me of just listening to me sobbing.

I want to share something that was happening to me the first 2 months during the time she was on life support and the months after. I have never experienced hallucinations before. But I did during that period.  I would wake up with my arms out to people. In the middle of a conversation. Trying to soothe them. Help them. I don't understand why I needed certain things, like the way I woke while dragging dining chairs in my room. Arguing I needed them when my son tried to stop me. Or the way I would stop breathing in my sleep and knowingly maintain it as long as I could. Or the other private personal things I hallucinated.

I called a psychiatrist and talked to her about what I was experiencing. And she told me that it was normal. It stopped after about 2 months.

Part of me knows I was trying to carry the grief I knew my sister and her kids were trying to carry. If I could, I would take their grief and add it to mine. Just to give them some peace.

My niece, Ashley's sister had a little girl a month ago. Her name is Ashley Michelle.

There is no death, only a change of worlds. —NATIVE AMERICAN PROVERB
September 20 was the first Anniversary of Ashley's death day.
Mitchell Duran May 2011
She yelled from the bottom of the stairs

"What the **** are you DOING!?"

My neighbor, Mr. Monroe with the mustache, ring on every finger and a parrot that talked, pressed his face to the glass to look down at her.

"What the **** are YOU looking at?"

Mr. Monroe quickly went back to his day time soap operas and corn flakes. He never left the house because he believed their was going to be a grand earthquake where everyone that was outside getting food, shopping or at the beach, would die. He told me he believed that his house was a fortress and that God or mother nature or what have you could never touch him if he just stayed holed up in his room with his corn flakes and bath robes and old Sunday newspapers.

"HEY GUY, LET'S GO!"

I gingerly stepped out of my place. I stared up at the sky which was blue spattered with white clouds that were inching slowly toward the ocean. It was a beautiful day.

"******* FINALLY. What were you DOING?"

"Just getting myself a little more ready then usual."

"WHY?"

"I'm nervous or something."

We were headed to a dinner with my parents. I was going to introduce them to Alice and wanted to make sure all my pampering was in order, my mother could always tell if I forgot to comb my hair or use deodorant, my father didn't care. I walked cooly and lightly down the stairs.

"Well you smell like a laundry mat people have been drinking and ******* in."

"Thank you baby."

I kissed her on the cheek, waved up to Mr. Monroe who had gently re-placed his face upon his living room window, and headed to my car.

---

"So what you are you gonna' say to them about me?"

"I'll tell them we have a lot of *** and like movies."

"Really?"

"I don't know. Why not?"

"Seems strange."

"Were strange."

"What if we get married and they say that at our wedding and its awkward and my parents get mad."

"I'm not thinking that far off."

"Well you ******* SHOULD!"

Alice opened the window and stared out at the ocean which passed by with blinking blue reflective lights, beach combers and sand dune cops. There were many surfers wading in the light blue water waiting for the NEXT BIG ONE. I thought it was funny how they could sit out there for so long, not doing anything, and call it some kind of religion. I liked the idea of doing nothing and it saving you, I wanted to join but I was afraid of sharks.

"Do you want to get married to me?"

"No."

"I wouldn't either."

We drove down the highway but hit a big block of heavy traffic. We were gonna be late.

---

By an instinct I acquired either by fate, magic or the hand of the GOOD LORD, I ordered a hamburger with curly fries. The waiter was a young kid fresh out of college with a messy head of hair and a slight limp stuck on his right leg, he said it came from a biking accident but the kid looked like a scrapper.

My mother was alone on the other side of the table while Alice intensely examined the menu. There were clouds in her eye not of insecurity but of determination for my mother to accept her and pull no punches, when she wanted something she got it, like me.

"To start I am so sorry about your father not being here. He didn't come home last night and I haven't heard from him all morning so I suspect he forgot and slept at the office to get an early start on this Friday morning."

"It's fine Mrs. Kindle. I just feel so BAD for you."

"No worries. It is sweet of you to say though."

"Very sweet Alice. Yeah, I'm sorry Mom. Dad's an *** like that sometimes."

"Yes he is."

The water was warm when the waiter brought it. I hadn't looked at the menu but everyone was ready to order. I was thinking about my father all holed up in his on-site construction office, sweating over blue print over blue print, re-examining every last comma, every last note until it was "perfect". He had tried to get me into the business but I always hated a path that had already been trampled and organized upon, I didn't see the point.

"So how did you guys meet?"

"We actually met at one of Joe and Abe's parties."

We actually had met at a hot bar with loud music and cheap drinks with the wind ripping men and women to pieces outside and the bar man said we looked like we would make a good couple but we had never even looked or talked to each other but because this one little bartender in this one little hot tiny bar gave us the idea that maybe, just maybe, we would be good for each other I bought Alice a drink and then, thinking it would be funny and how she hates cliches, she bought me a drink and we got very drunk within the dark heated bar with the people swinging back and forth with the loud quick hipster electronica madness that spun all around us invisible in the smoke and the liquor and the cigarette smoke and there, in that dark steamy bar, we talked and talked and talked until I got a little drunker then her and she took me home, which we laughed about in the morning after we had drank a couple glasses of wine and tried to have *** but were both to drunk to talk or have *** or even kiss for that matter, we fell asleep on top of each other's faces and both of our necks were twisted and hurting in the morning.

"We call it "Our Spontaneous Romance".

"Very funny."

"Alice, do you know what you want yet?"

Alice, keeping her eyes down on the menu not looking up for a second.

"Not quite."

My mother shifted in her seat, she was getting anxious because she wanted to eat and she was worried about my dad. He'd been "busy" with many "things" that he "didn't like to talk about" or was "too tired to talk about" and it made my mom shift and silently sigh after every conversation either about the subject or related too.

"I'm going to have the soup and the sandwich"

"Turkey sandwich and salad for me."

"Healthy."

"Have to be."

"One sec..."

"OK."

"No rush."

"Mashed potatoes and gravy and ribs, that's what I want."

"Very nice..."

"Very nice."

"Thank you."

Alice was nervous. She ate mass amounts of food when she was either nervous or in tight confined places where she needed to converse but had absolutely nothing to say, the large order was her scapegoat and she would later blame it on *******, anxiety and depression, half of which was probably my fault. Alice didn't want to meet the parents, she thought it pointless, a waste of time and pushing towards something that may not even actually happen. She believed being invisible in a phenomenal world was the only way to go through life and in some respects, I agreed with her but also, I knew deep down, she was a little crazy, as was I.

---

"Thank you for meeting Alice and I for lunch Mom."

"Not a worry at all, I'm sorry about your father."

"I'll talk to him later."

"It was very very nice meeting you, very nice."

Alice and my mother shook hands cooly and suspiciously underneath the 3 o'clock sun. They hadn't talked much at lunch and I honestly didn't know how it went at all, they spoke about their food and that was it. Perhaps they neither hated or liked each other, maybe they were simply indifferent towards each other's presence and what they meant to me at all. They smiled, Alice waved as did I as my mom drove away down the hot black top. Alice, still waving said.

"Horrible, that was just horrible."

"I thought it went right as it went, neither here nor there."

"We didn't talk about anything but the food."

"Maybe that's all there was to talk about, some people meet and have absolutely nothing to say to each other, happens more then you think."

"Sounds right must be right."

"Let's go."

We both walked to my car which was boiling hot inside, the kind of hot when you enter when one wishes they couldn't breathe. We quickly opened the window turning on the radio listening to an old blues station for a second. I but the gears in reverse and slowly backed out of the restaurant parking lot as Alice neatly put on her dark sunglasses and rubbed sun tan lotion on her face, leaving a small patch on the tip of her nose. I paused the car before entering onto the main road.

"Let's get married Alice."

"I was about to say the same thing."

I pulled onto the main road home, nearly getting in an accident with a road biker who shook their fist violently toward my gleaming fender. I lightly smiled, embarrassingly laughed to myself, merging on. We were off.
Patrick Austin Sep 2018
Our Backgrounds before we met...

I'm an only child born in Montana in 1983, from a divided home. Parents divorced at seven, Mom was unstable and unfaithful. Dad obtained custody of me and we moved to Oregon Coast to live with my Grandma. I had unhealthy visits and relationship with Mom thereafter. My Grandma died at 12 and at 13 my Dad remarried an alcoholic woman, I had a strained relationship with them until adulthood when she stopped drinking. I had exposure to trauma; alcoholism, mental illness, verbal abuse and juvenile troubles. I rebelled by using drugs in my late teens and early twenties, I lived on my own for a few years after high school but had little direction.

My bride is the eldest with two little brothers, parents stayed in same area of Portland during childhood with lots of family support and her parents stayed married. They had Christian values but some anger and anxiety issues at home. She was sexually assaulted at 17 and never had good closure with this. She told me her parents didn't provide her enough help with things like this growing up. Status quo was the backbone of the family dynamic, challenging emotions were discouraged. She rebelled by being reckless with herself, financially and sexually. She decided to join the Navy at 19. She lived alone briefly, but mostly with Grandparents & Parents before our marriage.

I loved how we both grew up reading Archie comics. No other girl I had ever met had that in common with me. I think we wanted a surreal life like the one in Riverdale.

2002

She and I were 19 when we first met in my home town on the coast at an arcade. We became friends and secretly liked each other. I was too nervous to ever make a move on her. We traveled together, she stayed with me, we used drugs together and drank at times. One night she drank too much and had *** with a guy I knew at a party. I was devastated by this. She was Navy bound and I didn't see a real future for us. The next morning she left and I didn't talk to her again for two years. I figured she would be gone with the Navy soon and that she must not have been interested in a relationship with me despite the time we spent together.

2003

I was depressed about this rejection. I dated an older woman who was interested in me but was no substitute. I eventually moved to the Portland area to work and live. I still had few plans and was lonely, in or out of the few brief relationships I attempted. I never found someone that I felt safe with or had a true connection, let alone true love. She ended up not following through with the Navy and continued working her way up in her job at the call center. She attended community college and dated a few guys. She dated one guy for a couple of years who was not a good match for her but stayed with him off and on despite issues. His family was wealthy and treated her well. He slept around on her as did she. At one point he gave her an STD. She also had an ongoing affair with a married man in the military that she went to high school with. He had a child and a wife with mental health issues. She was still hurting a lot at times and not always doing well.

2004

She reached out to me via email after two years of no contact. We emailed back and forth a couple times over the next few months. We talked about meeting up. We spoke on the phone and eventually met up in Portland. We had an amazing night getting to know each other again and work past the confusion of our earlier days of friendship. I realized that she did in fact like me before but since I was timid and trying to be proper and take things slowly she didn't understand my motives. She apologized for her actions at the party as well. She claimed she was in a really messed up place and was making bad choices at that time. Getting our feelings out in the open was good and she appreciated my attitude towards being slow to make moves on her when we first met. I was worried about falling for her based on our history but eventually I was determined to give it a shot. We soon after starting dating and being intimate. Our love was extremely powerful and beyond all others we had both experienced. She broke ties with other suitors and shortly after we talked about marriage and started planning a wedding for the next year.

I remember when we first held hands. We were so shakey and she was quivering on my couch as I had my arm around her. We felt so safe with each other. We could finally be ourselves and do what our hearts desired. We knew we were on to something new and so amazing. We were so patient with each other as we navigated our new love and emotional thresholds.

I remember when we saw Matisyahu in concert together. That was a once in a lifetime experience and a life-changing moment for us. I feel it set the tone for things to come in our future.

I remember how creative my proposal to her was, in the Arcade where we first met. I hid the ring in a prize container from one of those claw machines. Pretending I got the ring from inside by reaching into the machine on one knee I was so nervous and wasn't sure if I could pull it off before she caught on. She looked so shocked and surprised. I was so excited she said yes! We took pictures in the photo machine and had burgers afterwards, I'd do all of it all over again just to see her face in that moment.

2005

We found an apartment for us in Portland. I moved in while she was still living back with her parents until the wedding. She had to change her number because the married man she was previously involved with kept calling her about changing her mind about marriage and continuing their relationship. She was offered a job in Denver and we decided to move away together after our sandy wedding in Cannon Beach. I still had a very hard time and was embarrassed with my past history with her. Many of my friends knew what had happened at 19 and how much it hurt me but I was so crazy about her I think I tried to pretend it didn't happen or that it was not a big deal because we were younger. We got married and moved to Colorado soon after. We made friends at a church, I became more active as a Christian and really loved being married. We were very involved in keeping spirituality in our marriage. I began to notice her poor financial decisions and practices more. This caused conflict but we always tried to communicate and work on things.

I remember when we went down to my folks for New Year's in 2005. We sipped tea in my Datsun as we drove to the coast over the snowy mountain pass. We told them of our engagement. We were all so blissful and excited. We never knew what was to come. We didn't even know about the opportunity in Denver yet. Our story is amazing!

I remember when I wanted to go see her in Portland and the roads were iced over. I left my car at a park and ride before I caused a wreck. I took the light rail across town then rode a bus to the Eastside shopping mall. The bus to her house was not running because it wasn't safe so I walked the rest of the 4 Miles sometimes having to crawl on my hands and knees to make it up hills in the ice and then I finally made it only to just spend a couple hours with her and fall asleep on her parents couch. Her Dad drove us back the next morning to my car so I could get to work. It was all worth it just to see her for that little extra time. I would have done anything for her.

I remember when she was interviewing for the new position in Denver? I drove all over Portland trying to find little toy cars to help with her illustration about how a team is like a car having all four wheels and how they work together to accomplish a goal. I was so proud of her for giving it her all and succeeding at earning that position. Now that I think of it, that car analogy applies to our family and us. We all need each other to be better and keep on track and be a team. I am so motivated by that and our boys. I lose my way without that and I want to be her reflection and motivation as she has been that for me. I truly thought we brought out the best in each other when we were together.

I remember when we were given tickets to see Fiona Apple. That was so spontaneous and a great way to kick off our time in Denver together. We always used to watch our same movies over and over again. Like the Friends DVDs and White Christmas every winter break and The Wedding Singer. We walked everywhere and lived simply. "I wanna be the guy, who grows old with you"

I remember in our first Denver apartment when we took baths together in our claw foot tub in the big bathroom. We put a board over the top and played cards. I liked playing Uno with her in bed too. She was so funny being slightly color blind and in the dark, mixing up the greens and blues. We played Uno in Breckenridge too at that cool bed and breakfast in the fall.

2006

We had continued fun and adventure in our new home of Denver. She was doing well as a trainer for the bank and I started working in health foods. We went camping in New Mexico a couple times with friends and we both took individual trips to Oregon as well as one together for her uncle's wedding. We had marital spats on occasion but always bounced back. The issues we had seemed like part of a normal marriage and were far better than what I had grown up around. I realized that marriage was a lot of work but I was up for the task. She occasionally became aggressive throwing things at me or breaking things during conflict.  I believed I was the problem and tried to change for her in many ways. With two incomes we still had trouble making our bills at times. She had debts that I never knew about that started to catch up with us but I took care of getting them settled and we paid off her car and traded it for an older Volvo Wagon that we both loved, I even had it repainted her favorite color for a birthday gift. Overall things seemed like they were progressing in a positive way.

I remember when we saw Midnight in concert in Boulder. That was the peak of our hippy days. We were alive with pleasure in our healthy vegetarian diets and practices living in a time and place like no other. I want to be like that again. Reggae was our music. We had much in common.

2007

We really fell into our roles in our marriage and the community; church and culture, friends etc. Things seemed very balanced and appropriate for us at that time and that age (24-25). We had separate bank accounts and jobs. I had money in savings. We started the process of buying a house so we could invest in something. She became pregnant shortly after. I embraced the challenge with positive energy but we were both in for a big change. We started having more fights. I didn't have many friends and would write to old friends via social media just so I could to catch up and tell them things were going great with being married to make myself feel better than I actually did. She hated the dawn of social media and also felt isolated I'm sure. She felt I should be doing more for her and I didn't know how to do what she needed but I failed to ask a lot of the time. After one argument, she left the house. My instinct told me to look at ******* and ******* as a retaliation. I had not done this much once we were married because she always met my needs but when things were difficult between us I felt more emotionally isolated. She walked in and realized what I had been doing. She was very upset, and because she was pregnant, thought I was not attracted to her. The truth is I found her even more beautiful and in fact when I looked at ******* I tried to look at women I found less attractive than her so that I feel good about what I have. I mostly fantasized about how these women were more submissive and loving than her. That is the part I needed to feel good about and feel better about myself with because I felt very dominated and controlled. She has never forgiven me for this and I will never stop feeling sorry to her for my brokenness. During one particular argument that year she was getting close to being violent towards me again and I pushed her away on the chest with my fingertips. She got very mad and said I hurt her. I immediately felt terrible and apologized. I never let something like that happen again. I have always avoided violence towards others especially women and of course her. I was defenseless against physical and emotional abuse.

2008

Our eldest son was born at the beginning of the year, it was a traumatic birth for everyone. We wanted a natural birth with a midwife but we were transferred to a hospital and she ended up having an emergency C-section, nothing went as planned. We had a really hard time coping with the emotions of this experience. A lot of buried feelings and trauma from both of us started coming out. We moved a month later into our new home outside of town. No more walking or biking to places, we had to drive everywhere. This house was next to our friends from church. We thought this would make us feel less isolated but we didn’t really have the community with them that we had hoped for. They were upset that they didn't have a child of their own yet and being around us might have been hard for them. My wife stopped working and stayed home with our son. All these changes made for a very difficult time. I did my best to support them but this was the first time we shared a bank account and needed to follow a budget more than ever before. We had no debt at the beginning of the year with money in savings but then the hospital bills put us down about $7,000 and rising with new home and moving expenses and baby needs. My job could barely keep up. She and I had a hard time adjusting. We could not afford to travel home to Oregon and visit family as much and we felt more and more isolated. She started showing me more signs of instability, locking herself in the bathroom with kitchen knives and scraping her legs which continued off and on for years to come. Talks of divorce and suicide threats seemed to happen more than before. I felt responsible and tried to fix her ever changing issues with me.

I remember when herr ******* were full and swollen with milk. It is so beautiful the way she could feed our babies. I wanted her in every way, our bodies belonged to each other. I was there for her and our shared pleasure. I loved it when she told me that she was mine in the heat of passion. This spark could only be a bandage for so long but I didn't know that yet.

2009

I tried to promote within my company but was not selected, they were cutting budgets and employment all around me. I felt worried about our future. I had always thought the military might be a good opportunity and could move us closer to family back home. My father-in-law encouraged me to look into the Coast Guard. I felt this would be a good way to get moved closer to Oregon.  I ended up joining the Navy because we found out we were pregnant again with our second son and that was the only way I could join a military branch. She worked off and on as a nanny and later in the year at a coffee house working nights. We barely spent time together and when we did it was a lot of hard conversations or arguments about finances with making up intimately in the middle of the night between times of caring for the baby. She once scratched my neck with her fingernails during an argument. People I worked with noticed. It was a hard time and we knew change was on the horizon with jobs and moving. We did visit Oregon that summer though and had a great vacation at the beach with a borrowed 4x4 and staying at a hotel and picnicking out of a cooler as well as going to her brothers wedding. I was 26 and about to join the Navy to provide better for my family at all costs sacrificing myself for their benefit because I would have rather died than look like I didn't try my best for them.

I remember when our babies would kick and move around inside her belly. I loved laying by her and feeling her tummy. I would hum to the baby and hear them move and squirm. I loved giving our boys baths when they were babies too. We had our little bundles of our love, wrapped in a towel in our hands, so tiny and vulnerable. I miss those days and want to remember them with her, aside from this state of melancholy.

2010

The Navy recruiters would only take me if we rented out our home and had her stay with family during boot camp and training. We moved to a furnished apartment in Denver and put our things in storage. She was 5 months pregnant and our eldest was two. I shortly after was let go from my job. Our second son was born in April. I got a contract with the Navy at the last minute but didn't leave until August. We sold our beloved vehicles and lived off retirement funds for six months and moved down to Florida where her parents had just moved out of the blue for work, to stay with them until I left for boot camp. I applied for temporary work in Florida at a dozen places but had no luck in my three months there. I took care of our eldest a lot while she took care of the new baby. Being in Florida was a culture shock for us but we had our moments of romance and made the best of it. Eventually I left for boot camp in August. It was really hard and sad to be gone. She stayed in Florida and came to visit me with the baby at boot camp graduation in October. I then went to Connecticut for five months of training. It was also hard but at least I could call home every day and be in the same time zone. I visited Florida during the winter break and saw my boys and her. We went to Disney world and had a great time on her parents. We also made a romantic home movie I could enjoy while away from her. I flew back to Connecticut and tried to make the best of things. My roommate was very abusive of substances and I resisted the temptation for a long time but the threat of being submarine service bound and missing my family pushed me to drinking every weekend and getting messed up to escape before I left.

I remember when we drove to Key Largo, Florida and stopped at a crazy bird wildlife center. I remember our oldest was so amazed hearing a bird say hello back to us. It was so foreign and fun there. I am glad we all shared that experience together.

I remember our trip to the citrus grove in Florida. That was such a great day for our family. I always look back on that with really fond sentiment. I felt like I was in a beautiful family music video with them.

2011

I finished Submarine Training and got orders back to the Northwest. The plan was all coming together. I arrived first and bought a car and got our items moved from storage in Denver to our townhouse rental in Washington. She and the boys joined me a month later. I didn't report to my Sub for another month as they were at sea. She became pregnant again with our third son right after arriving. We had just bought a small car and were not planning on another child. Towards the end of the year I was working a lot and having a really hard time, being bullied and treated poorly at work plus our financial situation was still very difficult. Adjusting to the military was hard among younger men being 28. I dreaded each day in that environment but I tried to endure it for my family. I went to sea for a couple months at the end of the year stopping in Hawaii and California. During this time She reached out to her ex married affair partner after six years of no contact. She didn't tell me until later. She said she needed closure with him, we were not in counseling yet but she decided this was appropriate. I flew home early from sea and wanted to surprise her. The stress and trauma of this quick transition home after being to sea for the first time (which was also traumatic) made me want to drink and get messed up before flying. I arrived home and surprised her but I seemed off to her which I was but didn’t explain why, I have never done that since. I got to be home for two months almost work free while we celebrated the holidays and prepared for the new baby to be born. She started getting more involved with a church and building a community for us which was great. Our financial struggles almost led us to foreclosure of our home back in Colorado but by the grace of God we got it sold with a short sale just in time.

I remember when I came back from Hawaii and brought her a beaded necklace and she wore it naked with her big beautiful pregnant goddess belly and we made passionate hippy love together. I want to grow out my beard again and spend my life making hippy love and feeling free again.

2012

Our third son was born in January. It was a very positive birth experience and much less stressful than the other two. Shortly after I flew out to finish the other half of the deployment I had missed. I really focused on being positive and spiritually connected by reading my Bible at sea which was helpful. I called her when I arrived in Japan halfway through being gone. She was upset because she tested positive for an STD while trying to get on birth control. I became suspicious of her yet she was suspicious of me. We both got tested again and I was clean, she told me she had a false positive after all. This put a big strain on our trust, especially being so far away. This forced us to be honest with each other about some things such as her contact with her ex lover and my drinking to cope. We were both very upset until I returned home and we could start some counseling to work through things. Forgiveness seemed to be difficult for us. It brought up hurts of the past when we were 19. She also had severe postpartum depression that became worse after each birth. I was still having a hard time with work and the submarine environment. Our church friends tried to counsel us but it was not the most helpful. My submarine was scheduled for extended repairs and not going to sea for three years, I would be transferred before the end of that period. I used this time to bond with her and my boys. I wanted to get better involved in our community and do volunteer work and side jobs to earn extra money. Our boys were all given diagnosis's for autism which begun to fill our lives with appointments and challenges for years to come but we were a good team in dealing with all of it. It gave us something to work together on but took our focus away from working on our own personal issues and relationship with each other as much as we should have.

2013

We had new years with both sides of our family in a snowy mountain setting in Oregon. It looked like it was going to be a great year until her Grandpa passed away suddenly. It ripped our entire family apart but especially her. He kept the family grounded and she was very close to him, he really loved all of us. She and I started going on dates again because we had Navy sponsored child care. It was the beginning of a really good thing for us. Tragically one night after a date we were dancing with the boys on the patio and I tried to pick her up and I lost my balance and fell on her, breaking her collar bone severely. She needed surgery and was very mad at me for years to come. She has a scar, a metal plate and numbness in her chest. We worked through it with our community from church but she still is very mad at me. I feel more terrible about this incident than she could ever know. I would lose a finger in place of that incident if I could. I continued having a really hard time in the Navy and I didn't want to stay in but She insisted our boys needed care only the Navy could offer. She also said she would divorce me if I ever left the Navy. I took this threat seriously even though she assured me later that she would never actually do that. Against my own convictions I reenlisted because I wanted to do the best thing for my family. We moved into base housing at the end of summer and didn’t go out to do things as much anymore. The house was nice but it ****** us in, we also had less community with people around our home. I started volunteering at church more and doing work with special needs people. I felt like I was doing good things and that I had purpose all around. I think she appreciated this about me.

2014

We started seeing a professional counselor together and individually. It became a regular event. I worked on myself and she worked on herself. I had a lot of issues with my Mom and eventually broke off communication with her for my own well-being and the betterment of my family. I got past a lot of the bad feelings I had. She worked on her traumatic experiences and our relationship dynamics. Just when things were going well I got a new boss who made things hard for me and others at work and I started messing up more. I got in trouble for messing up a job at work and was given strike one on my record. She lost respect for me as a provider but I tried to stay strong showing her that I would continue to do my best.

I remember when we had an appointment in Tacoma and we had a brunch date together afterwards. She looked so beautiful that day, I took her picture and was so proud to enjoy  huevos rancheros and momosas with her. I remember going to the Tacoma Art Museum seeing the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit, we have a great time together doing new things and feeding each other's interests. I loved laughing with her too, sometimes we just bust up like nobody's around. I loved the sound of her laughter. I loved watching Portlandia with her, it is so funny to remember the funny place where we became close and be able to relate together.

2015

I kept working hard and being involved with family and appointments for my boys and her. I still maintained my volunteer work and part time side jobs. I got strike two with the Navy for messing up again... I had just gained orders to leave the sub for local shore duty. I could not get out of the extended repair situation soon enough. She was very disappointed in me and not so understanding. I worked through this situation with our counselor as did she. He always told her I am a good man and that I do a lot for her and the boys. It's true, I care more than anything about them, I made mistakes and I feel bad especially when I cause my family stress. I left for shore duty in April. It was a hard time adjusting to the new routine but eventually we seemed to make it work. That summer we took a trip to visit Texas where her parents had just moved from Florida. We spent a great night together for our 10th anniversary in a hotel in Texas and went dancing. We had a lot more time together as my work schedule was less. The more people we had in our home working with our kids on issues the less useful my input seemed. I was not included as much in making family decisions because they all seemed to happen while I was at work, despite my objections. We tried to get our budget under control but she still had anxiety discussing spending. She continued to struggle with depression and was put on medication because she had still been harming herself. She was put on Prozac daily and anti anxiety medication as needed. He family members were not very supportive of medication which upset her but I always tried to be supportive in seeking help and continued care for both of us.

2016

We had a busy routine of kids in school now and home school and preschool and appointments for all of us. She wanted to go to church less and less. I started drinking a couple beers at night almost every day. I tried to mask my stress from her mood swings. She decided not to go to church at all anymore and focused teaching the boys about Jewish traditions exclusively which was hard for me to adjust to and confusing for the boys. I loved her and wanted to be supportive. As usual I was submissive and removed myself from the Christian church and some friendships. I feel like we lost our community at that point. We searched for a good place to have a new community with Jewish people but it was like starting over. I felt like I converted to Christianity for her when we got together and now I had to convert again, either way I would have done it for her because I loved her that much. The kids were confused by this change. After trying and failing at many synagogues we finally found one that seemed right for us.

2017

We finally had some money in savings because I kept it a secret and ended up planning a trip to visit her parents in Texas but it fell through due to lack of military flights. Instead we spent three nights away in a nice hotel resort as a family in February. We had three days of pure family time. Playing Battleship and other games in our room as a family, watching movies and eating at all the different restaurants and getting room service. Going swimming everyday in the foggy pool. I love our family and how we can have a great time together doing nothing but at the same time so much. That was so peaceful and relaxing. I wanted to keep doing things like that together as a family before our boys got too old. Shortly after this vacation she wanted to go back to school, then we bought a third vehicle so she could. Shortly after this she changed her mind about school and wanted to buy another house instead. I went along with it to please her and we practically killed ourselves trying to get the move accomplished with not much help or money. We had a good year over all. We got away for a romantic anniversary together in the summer. Just before the boys were going to start public school in the fall, her parents moved back to the area. She had anxiety with this and cut off contact with her parents and brothers for a while. Her Dad called me very upset and I tried to keep the peace until they reconciled. I was doing better with work and made up for lost progress as well as making arrangements to change jobs in the Navy to something more fitting. Since the boys started public school, I planned on leaving for Navy training in my new position after the beginning of the new year when they would be at a more settled place in their routine.

I remember when we went to the Olympic Club for our anniversary and we stayed there for a night away. We drove the long way through the countryside talking about new music that she wanted to share with me and she made notes of it on my phone notepad. We brought our own cooler and picnic that included Session Lagers and chocolate. We checked in to our room and made noisy bohemian love on the edge of the creaky bed in our small European room inches from the door. Then we went to the theater downstairs and watched the late showing of a really interesting Sci-fi movie "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets". We took showers and slept sweetly together. We made love again in the morning before we had a delicious brunch outside on the patio. We took the long way home and drove around on new roads and found our way out of cell phone reception. We figured out the road less traveled to get back to our home. We loved being alone and away together, just one night can make such a difference and mean so much.

I remember going to the Forest Theater to see Tarzan with our boys. That was such a great time. I would love to get our boys into theater and go see them someday. I wanted to keep our dreams and goals together alive and not lose opportunity and fall short by losing our partnership.

I loved going camping in Seabeck. Loading the truck with all our gear and getting away. Archer got sick from the cowboy caviar and I had to clean him and the tent up in the night. I was glad we had each other to be a team in our marriage in that situation as with all the other times. These sorts of things are what escape a person's mind when they are determined to get a divorce.

2018

We had a lot less money than the year before, again buying a house took its toll on finances as did the boys school and after school activities. I stayed very involved taking the boys to appointments and sporting practices. We stopped going to synagogue but tried to practice Judaism at home as much as possible, which I was very supportive of and involved with. She was still depressed and talking about suicide at times. I encouraged her to get help as I always had. Eventually she was diagnosed as Bipolar 2 and manic depressive by a new provider. She started taking new medicine for this and was worried I would want to leave her. I assured her I would never leave her and that I always wanted to work on things with her and help her. I left for training in Mississippi February 8th. It was going to be hard but I thought it might be good to have some time apart from each other to miss one another and reflect on things as well as prepare for times when I would be away at sea. I got in trouble in Mississippi for giving junior personnel a ride and being negligent of people who might be underage and possibly drinking, this became strike three. I never thought this could happen. I became recommend for separation from the Navy shortly after and was stuck in Mississippi for six months instead of six weeks. She was supportive through most of it but seemed to fall into hopelessness. Money was spent by her that we didn't have without discussion. She quietly leased appliances and tires and purchased a vehicle as well as having a secret bank account and email address. I discovered through our insurance company that she wanted to leave our policy for divorce. I didn't know this and she had even told the boys she wanted a divorce before I even knew. I was caught off guard and confused. I kept trying to communicate and reason with her but she didn't want to talk. I refused to give up and wrote emails and a letter but it only seemed to push her away further. By the time I left Mississippi she had filed for divorce and a restraining order against me saying I was unstable and a threat. I couldn't return to my home. My whole life fell apart in just a couple months. I found out she had been talking to other men in the Navy and keeping more secrets. I assumed this was her way of taking control during a difficult situation. I really needed her support during this hard time of transition out of the military. I became homeless, jobless and without my family in a month. I prayed to God that given time things might change between us but it was of no use. Bipolar had consumed whatever was left of my bride and there was no turning back.

I felt that our love was not one to be cast away. Other people might not understand or agree but what we had was truly special. We may have surely needed some time and space to get counseling as well as reconfigure and repair our marriage but I didn't feel like our relationship was irretrievably broken. She was so important to me and I thought she was the love of my life and would always have my heart. I wanted to be her partner in love and life, watching our boys grow up and being there to support each other. Being that she is Bipolar I knew she will need a lot of help and I was more than willing to assist her in making sure she was taking care of herself and not throwing herself into harm's way, ensuring she sticks with a plan we agree to for consistency. I cared about her deeply and had much compassion for her. I didn't believe she was thinking this through or thinking about the future. I really wanted to look at the long and short game with her, neither seemed appealing to me if we progressed but here we are. Things are not going to be easier. She will still have to face her problems and deal with me on a regular basis for the rest of our lives no matter what happens. She can believe her lawyer when they promise she'll get the moon and stars out of this in the end but they only see half of the story. Above all they want our money. It would have been good for her to face me in person and tell me she wanted to divorce and we could have started talking about it with a counselor to figure out how that could even work. Instead she chose to avoid as much responsibility for her actions as possible by doing everything in my absence as if I am not a real person. I had to find out about it from our insurance company and was last to know.

Immediately after I hear the word divorce I looked into her cell usage history and find she has a new military boyfriend that she talks to 20-30 times a day. She felt she owed me no explanation for this and it was none of my business. A mature person would have let me know about this months before and I would have seen it coming but there was no sign until it was seemingly too late. She strayed down a dark path and never turned back.

Her proposed parenting plan was cruel and had no thought put into it. Two hours a week with supervision, no holidays but father's day? She said she’s not trying to keep me from the kids but this is the exact opposite of what she’s saying with the paperwork she filed. She seems very mixed up and still you continues to make rash and sudden choices. Like a completely bogus restraining order against me that contradicts so many facts she has stated herself on record during my Navy retention process. She was so bold as to want to change her identity and even put it in ink on the divorce paperwork as well to a whole new name. That is not the actions of a stable person. She has since changed her mind again on that just as quickly as everything else in her recent life choices. I can't trust that any decisions she is making right now are for the right reasons or that she is of sound mind. I have never seen her so conflicted and confused, grasping at straws and running scared from herself.

Using the legal system so carelessly and going back and forth makes me feel like she is not ready to be making big choices and changes for her and our family. It is very unfair that she can’t consider my feelings on things and what I wish for the boys as well. Very reckless behavior. She can’t anticipate that the day would come where she has to face me and talk to me like an adult. She wants to hide behind the legal system which only leaves much to be unresolved. Ghosting me is not really an option in a marriage of 13 years with children.

Having relationship conversations is too difficult for her at this time and she would rather avoid it and skip to divorce because she thinks that will somehow be easier. I suspect she knows she is making poor choices, possibly out of fear and lust for something new and less painful than the reality of things right now. Our marriage was nowhere close to divorce when I left. She was sad to see me leave and woke with me at 3:30 am to say goodbye, making me coffee and cookies for me to take with.

Our community and accountability seems to be gone due to the continued trend of isolation that she is drawn to. The God fearing loving committed wife I thought I had is gone or trapped inside a terrified shell of herself. She cut me off from her family members and I can't discuss my concerns about her with them either. She only seems to have community with those who are not going to discourage her from these destructive choices.

I understand we have had issues and struggles but we are no worse off than other couples during challenging times. I think that because we loved each other so much it just hurt more when things got hard. I can't accept or believe this is justified or the right choice based on the positive trend we were on before I left. This was the longest break we have ever had from each other and I think she just needed someone to be there more for her, no matter who it was. Time can heal all wounds and I hope that is true for our relationship as co-parents.

She still refuses to tell me about why she wanted a divorce or talk about anything beyond caring for the kids. I have fought the restraining and I can see my boys again but I am still not allowed to my home without her permission.

I have risen from the ashes in just a couple months. I rent a room from a nice couple from our old church and obtained a good paying job while I continue paying the household bills.

This is a really hard time, this difficult spell could have been a tool to better our relationship. I wanted to experience more beautiful memories with her. We had so many more beautiful memories and dreams left to create. This is what marriage looks like to me now as I lower the casket.
This is a timeline of the major events during my 13 year marriage. Amidst the reality, I injected all the lovely memories that refuse to leave my mind.
Mike Hauser Sep 2013
She's such a smooth talker
She could talk the rust right off of a nail
Given a chance at a Saturday dance
She could talk the slow out of a snail

I saw her wake up one morning
And talk the sun into sharing its shine
Then she went into the garden
And talked the melon right out of its rind

We went down to the ocean
Where she talked the blue out of the sea
That's the day I remember
She talked the love straight into me

My girl, she could talk a flower
Into giving its fragrance away
She could also talk the words out
Of a mute man with nothing to say

I took her to the park
She talked the kanga right out of the roo
That's the day she talked me
Into saying I love you

I've even seen my baby
Talk an ant out of its picnic lunch
One day on the side of the highway
A hitchhiker gave her his thumb

Whenever she plays storm chaser
This girl talks the wind out of its breeze
But she's not the only smooth talker
I talked her into marrying me
Patrick Austin Oct 2018
My backpack ready for anything, I left for a voyage across the pond. As fellow passengers climb aboard I met a 27 year old traveling musician named Russ carrying his cajòn. He told me of his travels from Massachusetts and pending divorce. We related on this and exchanged CD's. Behind us sitting on the Ferry were two young girls working on a puzzle. Russ imposed himself and tried to impress them with his musical endeavors. These girls were in America from Germany attending college. One was 17 and the other was 18 but I am sure they knew better than to play into his hand. After talk of language and culture we disembarked. Russ invited me to his show that night but I had plans to meet a girl at a board game pub. I walked to the bus stop while smoking my pipe and caught the number 40 from downtown to a trendy neighborhood up north.

After I stepped off I found myself amongst the overgrown players of games and drinkers of fine beer. Brittany arrived and we chatted over IPA's. I explained my recent challenges to get the topic of divorce out of the way before we left for Mexican food. She was very open in saying I should play the field and not have a serious relationship. I agreed with her take but could not read her as well as I had hoped. She said I need to get the rebounding out of the way and explained that she too is struggling with commitment. Being 34 with no marriage or children under her belt she feels that therapy is essential to figuring this out.

We walked to our happy hour destination and shared Nacho's while drinking "Colorado Kool-Aid". Both of us having spent a lot of time in Denver we could relate on much but I felt there was an elephant in the room. Afterwards we walked to a nearby record store and browsed while talking about music and interests. She needed to leave soon having obligations to housesit and watch pets. Dog walking is her profession since her departure from the world of corporate accounting. We walked to her unkempt sedan and she gave me a ride back downtown. We talked of hanging out again but our schedule may not permit for some time. I wonder if she will entertain my company without reservation, only time will tell.

I decided to phone my old friend from Denver who lives near and devise another plan for the evening. The sun was still shining and I had no reason to return home yet. I walked to a nearby brew pub while waiting for him to meet me. I sat at the bar with another traveler named Dave. He is an airline pilot close to retirement from the state of Texas. We talked about my time in the Navy and my pending legal woes. He's been proudly married for 30 years and counts his blessings that he is still in harmony with his wife. My friend decided to meet me at a concert in close proximity to my date with Brittany. Once again I would take the number 40 uptown. Dave bought my IPA and gave me words of encouragement and complimented my persona. It meant a lot and I thanked him as I said goodbye.

While waiting for the bus I asked for information from a woman in her early 50's. She works for a tech company nearby but was happy to help as I had a more pleasant vibe than most of her young, urban, unprofessional colleagues. While unsure of my way she directed my move to get off at the next stop. I walked up the hill another seven blocks to the show. While smoking my pipe along the way another bus rider was two steps ahead named Nate. He was curious about my pipe tobacco and we gave brief anecdotes about ourselves. He offered to buy me a quick beer before my concert. I took him up on this offer as we walked into a nearby market. He purchased several large cans of domestics and afterwards we headed back down the dark boulevard towards the Abbey drinking our brew. As I arrived at the former church venue we parted ways peacefully.

I ventured into the bustling scene concealing my open container while finding my friend. I sat just as the opening act started. We enjoyed three musical performances but the star of the show was the beautiful woman from Denver that we both enjoyed during our time there. Feeling that we should explore the venue where Russ was performing we made our way there. I was sad to discover the brewery was shutting down before 10pm and the band was long gone. We decided to walk to the nearby singles bar playing music so loudly it could be heard from a block away. This strange place was crawling with many folks of the beautiful sort but nothing seemed to be attractive about it. We had a glass of wine and a shot of bourbon. I spoke to the fellow DJ for a moment but there was no dancefloor to be found. We decided to venture on.

We walked up and down the avenue and discovered another Mexican food restaurant, beaming with the young and the foolish. Our community seating was met with overly affectionate couples to our left and valley girls to our right. Our Tequila mules hit the spot with our Nacho's and late night platter. The girls spoke of Denver people which I thought strange. Why so much co(lorado)-incidence in one evening? I injected myself into the discussion and was met with friendly conversation. Unable to finish my Nacho's I knew I had fulfilled my share of fun for the night. This was the fourth time I had eaten nachos this week. We proceeded back to the urban adventure wagon and made our way to the slums of the tech-boom. My 2am slumber was met with an air mattress of great quality and woolen blankets.

I awoke at 7am to the clouded sunlight peering through the sliding glass door. I laid awake with my stomach turning from the many Nachos not yet digested. My housemates called me about needing to move my car for restriping the parking lot. Fortunately I left my keys so they were able to do this for me. I smoked my pipe on the patio while my friend "hit the gym". When he returned we decided to walk through the arboretum by the university and enjoy the sunny autumn day. Afterwards he dropped me off by the ferry where I waited an hour drinking beer at the commuter dive.

During my ferry ride home I walked up and down the passenger compartment looking for a fellow rider to play cribbage. I had no such luck and headed for the observation deck. While the city vanished behind us I struck up a conversation with a young lady from Manchester who had just returned to living in the US. We talked about the nature of selfies and the conflict of living in the moment. As we spoke a man approached me who had overheard my request for a card game. We walked back inside and sat next to an abandoned puzzle with pieces scattered about the deck. Mark introduced himself and we shook hands. It was not until he shuffled and dealt the cards that I realized this 45 year old Asian man only had one arm. His ability to shuffle and deal was impressive. His skill with cribbage was more than rusty, after one game I had a victory so great I felt guilty. He too is going through divorce and seeking a new job. It was a great way to pass the time with a fellow passenger.

As I readied myself for the porting I noticed a familiar face, a young sailor I served with in Mississippi. Our time spent together was met with sorrow as we faced similar career challenges. I had not seen him for several months but he almost did not recognize me. I had lost 50 pounds, left the Navy and become single all in a matter of a few months. I assured him I was on the dawn of newfound joy and wished him luck on his upcoming deployment. I patted him on the head as he seems like such a lovable scamp to me at this point. I exited the terminal to saunter back home. I smoked my pipe while crossing the bridge enjoying the last hour of sunlight.

I settled my belongings at home while serving myself a can of chili and a cold IPA on draft from my housemates tap. I joined him for the end of a baseball game in the den and shared a few moments with my community. I slept for a couple hours and then made my way to work. So much can happen in a day.
Not poetry, but what is life, if not poetry in motion?
I'm on a train.

One of those red ones with black trimmed windows you can imagine rolling through the suburbs on the way to NYC. Not a subway car but a classier vintage with proper rows of cushioned seats and a lever to pull if there is an emergency. There are sparse shrubberies on one side of the tracks and the ocean on the other. Young trees and bushes stroll by.  A little wind is pushing off the ocean, massaging the car ever so gently back and forth as we move along. A gentle click-clack is on the tips of our ears.

We got on together. I hadn't known you for very long but the connection was stronger than anything I had ever felt or have since. You practically sat on top of me for the first few miles. Couldn't keep your hands off me,  staring in my eyes like you were searching for something lost but you couldn't remember what. The edges of your lips turned upwards permanently as if you were always at the verge of a laugh. You interlaced my fingers with yours and held on like you would be ripped away if your grip loosened for even a second. Slender fingers holding so tightly that they were becoming red.

You were excited to to be riding with me, about where we were going and all the things we would do when we got there. I would see you peer out of the corner of your eye, then lean over to brush your soft cheek against my budding stubble. Kissing and gently biting my lips insatiably. The suns rays coming in at an angle and lighting up your perfect smile and dimple.

I had to remind you we were in public.

I was lost in your blonde curls and the incense of your neck. I had fallen incredibly hard and so fast that my face hurt from smiling and my heart beat with vibrations I had never known. Not even a whiff of anxiety or neurosis. Some of the best memories of my life, as fleeting as they turned out to be.

I yawned and you put your finger in my mouth. I bent over to tie my shoe and you would poke my **** and laugh with your own reflection in the window, like this was the first and best joke of all time. Maybe it was and maybe it is.

The waiter came and informed us that a thing called "the bar car" existed. We both jumped at the idea. I didn't exactly notice at the time, during our excitement, but that's when the train started going faster and everything out the windows began to blur.

The bar car was a wild ride and we took advantage of our lo'cal. All kinds of fine wine, liquors and illicit substances were available. We tried them all. You were beautiful, your laugh infecting everyone around you, I was charming and held a captive audience.   It was a dark, loud and glorious blur. We were the life of the party and it chugged on till dawn.

We woke up in our seats, disheveled and discombobulated. It was dark out already. Did we sleep through the entire day? The train was slowing down, maybe approaching a station. The party was amazing but we were certainly paying the price for the black out. You moved over to the seat across from me to have some more space and lay down. I saw myself in the reflection. My hat, charm and smile from the night before had vanished. I must have left them in the bar car the night before.
      You had changed, beauty uninterrupted but different somehow. I couldn't put my finger on it. Irritated maybe? I invited you to cuddle and battle the hangover together but you ignored me. Like you couldn't hear me or didn't want to. I decided to let you be.

I got up to use the bathroom and thought I would go look for my scattered belongings. Maybe I could find a scrap of leftover dignity while you rested. I inquired to the conductor who directed me to the bartender in the bar car. He hadn't changed a bit, somehow untouched and unaffected by last nights antics that had effected me so dramatically.  Same black suspenders and white pressed shirt with impeccably slicked hair. I asked him what happened and if I had an open tab. While slowly polishing a rocks glass he looked up and made eye contact for a split second before looking away.
He said:  "Oh the bar car takes its toll. In the end we all end up paying one way or another". I still don't know what he meant by that or if he knew.
      I asked him if he found my hat and he said he would check the camera. We walked in to a small back room, while he was reviewing the tape, over his shoulder I noticed a tragedy.

We were drunk. I was going on to a group of new friends on one side of the bar, they were hanging on my words and I was eagerly explaining whatever nonsense they were drooling over. You were in the corner wearing that red dress I love, with your hair up in a tight bun. A few curls had escaped and brushed your high cheekbones, a thin line of pearls dancing delicately across your perfectly symmetrical collar. You were stunning and inebriated, swaying with each bump and motion of the train. A man wearing my hat put his hand on your side to keep you from swaying over and then he left it there.
I took a sharp breath.

It looked like you put your hand on his hand to move it but then it stayed and you both swayed together. As the air left my lungs and the blood drained out of my face I watched your lips touch the strangers. A small piece of my soul slipped away forever. I couldn't watch any further. When I asked the bartender how long it went on he fidgeted for a moment and uncomfortably muttered "quite some time". I never found my hat or the other part of me that left that day.  

The train slowed. I walked to the back, as far away from you as I could get, in utter disbelief. How could you? I thought to myself.
I mourned the loss of the you as I knew you yesterday, quietly and to myself. A tear  escaped my eye and rolled down my now fully formed stubble as I fell in to a random seat in mild shock. There were a few passengers back there so I had to pull together relatively quickly. After gaining some composure I knew it was time to get off. I knew we could never get back to yesterday morning though I would have said or done anything to do so.

The train had stopped. I went back to my seat and you were sleeping. I took my coat and gathered my things. The conductor looked at me confused as to why I would leave something so magnificent, I assume he had no idea what had transpired.   

I walked to the rear of the car and slid the door open slower than required. I stepped to the stairs and put one foot down on the step and the other on the ground. I stopped, rooted with my hand on the railing, lingering between two very different paths.
     I knew that it was time to get off, I knew this was the sensible thing to do, that I couldn't get past this offense regardless of how I had felt earlier the day before. The whistle screamed from the locomotive. The conductor looked at me and shook his head, I'm not sure if he was trying to tell me to stay or go but a decision had to be made.

The train lurched forward and I watched as the station slip away slowly. I sat in between the cars for a while and watched the ocean and birds. With a heavy heart and shoes I walked back to my seat. You were waiting. Crying. You knew. The bartender had told you. You didn't mean do do it, didn't realize what you were doing and thought it was me. He was wearing my hat and the whole world was blurry and dark.

I believed you. Self anguish mixed with alcohol was dripping from your pores. I knew you didn't mean it and were drunk, but could I ever forgive you or trust you again?

I loved you still.

I caught a glimpse of my reflection, a weaker version of myself looked back. As if an invisible chip in my teeth had developed and my shoulders lowered. The charming, confident man from the bar car the day before had been replaced. Something was off but not enough for anyone else to notice, just enough to know a change has happened.
       The train started to pick up speed again as we distanced ourselves from the station.  I second guessed my decision to stay but I didn't look back.

I found the man with my hat and punished him with a few blows in the dark. He knew he ****** up, apologized and took the beating like a man. I never got the hat back.

The engineer announced that we would be going through a tunnel soon and to turn on our lights and keep our hands in the windows.

It would be dark.  

We stayed away from the bar car for a while but the draw was irresistible. After a few hours we were there again but you never left my side.  Then you did. I was looking for you but you would disappear and not answer me when I called you name. The tunnel went deeper and darker and I didn't know where you were and I suspected you liked it that way. The train began to slow down again as we exited the tunnel.

I finally found you back at our seat, you had moved one row away from me. I asked you to come back, tried to hold your hands but you pulled away with vehemence. When I came back from the bathroom you had moved another row farther.
I knew I was losing you.
I begged you to return but you told me calmly that it was time for you to get off. At some point in the tunnel you had decided that you didn't want to go anymore . Your mind was made. You were going to catch another train at the next station.

When the train stopped I thought for sure you would reconsider but you didn't. Didn't even give it a thought. You just grabbed your coat and hat with one big bag under your arm. You kissed me on the cheek like a french stranger and were off. Going somewhere else on a different train. Just like that.

I rode the rails for quite some time by myself , many people getting on and getting off, passing me by. Every once in a while I would think I saw you at a station or in a **** though the window of another train. I often thought I could smell you but when I breathed deeper it was always gone. A ghost dancing on the edge of my senses.

A young girl in a headband got on the train. She was listening to headphones and dancing to herself as she bobbed along. She sat down in the seat next to me flashing a smile. She had a wedding ring on and I dismissed her immediately.  She didn't move from the seat or stop glancing my way. Eventually she confessed that she wanted to talk. I told her I wasn't interested but she persisted.  I hadn't talked to anyone on the train for quite some time and after some more mild persistence, I gave in.

We had a lot in common. We were both riding alone, desperately wanted attention and were thrilled to receive some.  After a few laughs she slid her hand in to mine and interlaced her fingers. I left it there. It was warm, comforting and wrong. She was married but I had been riding alone so long it felt good to have some company. She stayed and we talked. She was broken and I had a knack for fixing things. After a few hours of dramatic conversation I fell asleep with her head on my shoulder.

When I woke up  the train was flying up the track on the side of a mountain. Trees and rocks were a blur of green and grey. The engineer must be trying to make up for lost time I thought to myself.

The girl was asleep with her head on my lap. I looked down at her hand and the rings were gone. I woke her briefly to ask where they went. She said she didn't need them anymore and had thrown  them out the window.  She could of sold them, I said, but she said she just wanted them gone so she could be mine and fell back to sleep.  All of a sudden I couldn't breath. This train was roaring down the tracks, the once gentle click clack had become a loud hum. Suddenly too loud. This girl in my lap who had just gotten on the train wanted to stay. I considered her for a while as she looked up at me with big blue eyes, shining and wet, like a puppy in the shelter, terrified of rejection and desperate to be adopted.

At the peak of the mountain, just when the train began to even out, you waltzed back in to the car with a champagne flute in one hand and your bag in the other.

I don't know when or where you got back on, must have been a few stations ago when I stopped looking for you. Maybe you were wearing a disguise, who knows what you had been up to while you were gone. I'm not sure how long you were away but it was quite some time. That you had been through something was obvious, a new wrinkle had formed on your brow and you're once confident stride had changed to a cautious stroll. What actually happened out there I don't know.  I never asked and I don't want answers.

You looked at me and smiled. It was good to see that smile, like sun on my face on a brisk day.  You took a step toward me and then I looked down in my lap at the girl at the same time you did. I looked up. You and your smile were gone.

Everything I had begun to feel for this broken, head banded girl in my lap dried up like a puddle in  the dessert.  I quietly and gently nudged her awake and told her I had to use the bathroom. She put her head down on my coat and fell back into what ever trance she had been in, eyelids gently fluttering, eyes searching beneath them for what I would never give her.

I dashed up the isle and threw open the door, almost shattering the glass. The conductor glared at me and rolled his eyes as I barged past to the space between the cars.

There you were. Standing on the stairs with your head out the opening. The wind was blowing your perfectly formed curls around your head like a blonde explosion of familiarity. I yelled your name and you dove in to me. My senses erupted, my mind went numb as the train was nearing another station and I inhaled your essence greedily.

We moved to another car. I abandoned my coat with the married girl and never looked back. I hope she found what she was looking for. I  never could have been the answer she was so desperately seeking but I know I  helped steer her towards it.

You told me you had encountered some other people out there on the rails and they had reminded you of what we had when we first left the station. I never forgot.  

The train started to rock and get going again. We were back in the bar car and starting to brown out. We had to get off of this train right ******* now. In a desperate moment we looked at each other and put our hands, together, on the emergency brake cord. I looked in your eyes with your hand on top of mine. You kissed me while yanking down on the cord. Time slowed, the breaks squealed and everything exploded throwing luggage, people and the entire contents of the bar car in to a nondiscriminatory chaos . We got up off the ground, ran to the end of the car, dove off the side in to a soft patch of grass and rolled down a small incline. We watched as the conductor sifted through  the mess and interrogated the passengers, trying to ferret out the party responsible for pulling the brake. He spotted us off the side of the tracks and shook his fist while shouting every conceivable obscenity combination.

We laughed, held each other in the grass and kissed deeply.

We watched the train pick up speed and disappear in to the hills as relief spread over me.

You interlaced your fingers in to mine and we both looked out to where the tracks disappeared into the horizon, wondering how far of a walk it was to the next station.
Sharath Ram Jul 2014
Why had'nt we talked in months??
little is what is left to count and thereby we farewell,
far through grain,thorn sometimes,
tomorrow's not promised so why not now?
why not get over it between us?,maybe then promised!

Why had'nt we talked in months??
you loved me back to life,rain or snow let the whole world know- you m alive alike!,
you feel insecure 'i can guarantee "no"!
your picture,too insanely beautiful to hold my hands to me! got you nothing but ignorance.

Why had'nt we talked in months??
all the time we kept looking back at each other with so much to say and nothing much to end.
you never love me like you did, i starting to forget the way you look at me and
when you do, douse the burning fuel to my heart.

Why had'nt we talked in months??
saw you peeping through all the spaces with your gleaming eyes to me,
that moment the earth stood still, overcame shyness and then flew as though tomorrow's only existed!

Why had'nt we talked in months??
trying to remember you through all the sorrow i've had through an array of invisible light co inciding with my thoughts,
i had to keep smiling ,erasing pain as though never felt!
suffocating myself with a belief that everything was going to be back to square 1!
xx Nov 2015
I was asked about
my favorite love song;
I talked about your voice,
your laugh, and the other
sounds that you make.

I was asked about
my favorite scent;
I talked about our bed
and how the stain on our sheets
brings the smell of our love.

I was asked about
my favorite book;
I talked about our story
and how it is beautifully
inked on sheets of cream paper.

I was asked about
my favorite color;
I talked about the golden threads
of thousand sunsets as the sun never
stopped setting in your eyes.

I was asked about
my favorite place;
I talked about the warmth
of your arms and the beating
of your heart while we're miles
away from dreaming.

I was asked about
my favorite view;
I talked about your smile
and the silly faces that you make
that always make my day.

I was asked about
my favorite among them all;
I talked about you being my drug
and the flaws and the handsome side
of you, how perfect you are to me,
and how you are my favorite.
Faisal Nov 2014
I'll never forget  
That cozy coffee shop
Where u & I had first met....

I remember I had run
Behind ur car
Under that beautiful sun....

Heart was overjoyed
U had lowered the window glass
I saw ur lips smiled...

I had gotten late
Ran to reach the cafe
Meeting u was our fate...

When i saw ur face
I was taken aback
Time had stopped,
U had dazzled in black...

Those eyelashes killed
Once u looked at me 
The place, warmth with filled

I remember v had coffee ordered 
For a long time none of us talked
As none of us had even bothered ...

The silence turned musical
When u had asked, 
"How are u Faisal???"

I remember i had laughed so much
Listening to ur small jokes
"That faujis do such & such...."

It seemed time moved slow
While we talked  & talked
Amidst slowly falling snow.....

I had seen u off & cast a final gaze
Ur car had moved 
Cant forget ur beautiful face....

Wish life was a smooth ride
Wish v had never parted
& u were by my side.....
disconsolate Feb 2015
The first time we talked
your eyes
were always on mine
but my eyes
darted from the floor
to the corner of the room
because
looking at you
was (is) like looking
at the sun.

the second time we talked
I stood waiting for the lift
You called out "hey" from behind
i almost fainted
we entered the lift
and i realised
for the first time
your smile
was like a thousand suns
and your voice has
a slight accent
i still can't place.

the third time we talked
I was braiding my hair
you walked past
and i squeaked in surprise.
****
you turned to me
dressed in a flannel shirt
looking perfect as usual
and smiled "hey"
i could only hide my embarrassment
with a small laugh.

the fourth time we talked*
you were alone in your classroom
i walked past
you opened the door, "hey"
my hands fly to my hair
self consciously trying to tame
the lion mane that seemed fine
a moment ago.
i give a small wave
and we talked longer
than we normally would.

you were so near to me
i almost hugged you
i'm sorry
i remember staring at the floor
and the ceiling
and the walls
avoiding your intense gaze
as if what i was talking about was the most interesting thing in the world*
you were patient
you were nice
you smiled at me.

you are constantly on my mind.
am i on yours?
I don't know what these feelings are.
i hope i'm not in love with you.
because i think
you're in love with
someone else..
Sam Conrad Dec 2013
So I've got this story...
And it goes a little something like this-

There's a girl that I hurt really bad on way too many occasions that I love more than anything. Pretty much everything I write on here is about her. She became the love of my life, and I told myself she was the one I wanted to spend my life with. Except I was a ****. She was going somewhere to an event that lasted 2 weeks and was really important to her and let's just say I ****** it all up really really bad. She made a lot of friends there and it was a great experience for her, kind of like camp is for some people, how boy/girl scouts are for some people, and she learned a lot there, and had lots of fun too. I was so horrible to do what I did.

At least we're young though, and there's still time to grow...right? I'm only 18, she's almost 18, and we both have lives to live ahead of us. I feel like I need her though. She treated me perfectly in our relationship. I mean, looking back, there's nothing I can fault her for, at all. I just got ****** at stupid crap that doesn't even matter.

Except, she's into somebody else now and probably thinks I'm no good for her. She doesn't talk to me anymore. Anyway, I'm rambling, I haven't gone to bed, I took a bunch of pills, am getting sick, and it's 7 AM...so here goes. This story is somewhat censored, though.

_________________­___________
"The Worst Weeks of Our Lives"

I met this girl and she became the love of my life. She took me places I'd never gone before and her and I fell in love like some people wouldn't believe. Ask my friends. Ask her friends. No, her friends probably wouldn't admit to it anymore. But I choose to remember the things they said. Kids were like totally rooting for us all day every day. We were so perfect. It was great.

So with a few mistakes here and there, (mostly me...all me, really) we realized we weren't perfect. But it didn't hamper out love. Nobody is perfect, right? We realized that. Overcame.

But then, we went too far. Her parents drew lines we weren't supposed to cross. Oopsies. Her mom really put me in my place. I'll just leave it at that. Asked me when my 18th birthday was, so she could mark her calendar as the "day she could touch me". Told me I was a liar. Husband in the background drunk and screaming, as usual. Except screaming "that ***** ain't sorry. He ain't ******* sorry, ******* ******* marking up my ******* daughter I can show him how to be ******* sorry"

Lots more. I'll go crazy if I speak the rest. It was a hickey on her neck. We didn't do much more.

I got really scared. I mean, they were brutal. I wasn't used to that kind of brutal. Psychotic levels of brutal. All of the sudden I became numb. I stopped being so intimate with my girlfriend. They told me not to come around their house anymore. I started doubting myself. If I was any good for her. She cried and cried. Told me how sorry she was. For getting us in trouble, and for what her parents did. But it wasn't her fault. After all, I am the vampire that bit her neck.

After a few weeks, her parents dropped it completely. I didn't though. I was so traumatized. I'd been getting flashbacks. Nightmares. So scared, I was. I kept avoiding her, not only her parents. I mean, I didn't have a car anyways, so the only place I could go to see her was at her house. She reassured me I was allowed. But with no contact with her parents since the phone call that changed my life I was reluctant.

This was around 2 months before she was going to go to a 2 week event. A special event to her. One I'd even wished I'd gotten involved in. Really, I did wish. I just missed the application deadline. Throughout the next two months, we grew more and more distant. I was harsh on her. I hurt her. I'd get mad at her and then call her and talk to her until 3 in the morning. I made her hate herself, and then she felt bad about me feeling sorry too. "You always force yourself to be nice to me just so I feel better, but I'm ****, I'm trash, I'm nothing, I'm so sorry" she would say. Most of the time, she didn't even do anything wrong. One of my best friends died at the same time her parents killed me inside, I spent all my days sleeping and crying and when I wasn't doing that, I was getting angry at her (and quickly regretting it), manufacturing conflicts that were completely unnecessary. Not to mention I'd had health issues, and my parents kicked me out of my house a few months beforehand.

In the time before she left to her special event, I really tore her up. I said the dumbest things I've ever said to someone in my life. I'd never even said such dumb things to even an object, or myself. Why I would say them to a girl who saved me from suicide (I was very unstable and depressed when coming out of a bad relationship, and getting kicked out of home) and why I said it all to someone I wanted to spend my life with I'll never know.

The dumbest things I'll ever say to anything that breathes in my lifetime. I told her one night that the "only reason I was still with her was because if I left she'd hurt herself" (she had a history of self harm, even though she's the sweetest girl I've ever met) and another night I told her "If only she were going somewhere important I'd understand" and lots of other insensitive and selfish things that I can't even believe came out of my mouth. I mean, the whole basis of it was that her and I hadn't spent much time together (really because of my own selfish fears) and I was going all *** on her testosterone-fueled-rage style for days over and over and over.

Don't I sound like a horrible person? I was. I was horrible to her. As much as I hate to say it, I'll probably make similar mistakes again someday - It's like relapsing - but I'll make every effort I can to learn from my horrible past and never be that person again.

So when she went to the event, I was with my grandparents out of state and I downloaded my favorite sad playlist (Staind, great band) to listen to on the trip.

Yes, seriously. I told her that stuff and called her event unimportant and then I went away too. How stupid I was for what I said. I should have been slapped or something.

A day or two after I'd left, I realized how stupid it was of me. For the whole thing. That whole time. That whole span, those two months where I not only neglected her, but emotionally ****** her.

There's a song called "Tangled Up In You" that has the most wonderful and intimate lyrics and I listened to it and sung to it over and over and over late into the morning (I'm talking 3-4 in the morning) every night for like 10 days and along with a song called "Right Here" by the same band. I cried myself to sleep so extremely ashamed of what I'd just done to her.

I knew I was wrong, but what I didn't know was that she was crying her eyes out wrapped up in (someone else)'s arms at that event...
I didn't know she was getting all kinds of love and support.
I had no idea...not that it was bad, it was good because she needed it.

But it got her to thinking about me, what kind of person I was.
When we both got back, I started making more of an effort to spend time with her and go out of my way to talk to her, make her happy, and basically, stop being such a ****.
Except she just got confused and conflicted because she was numb and falling out of love, because I was nothing that anyone should love, to her, over that prior time.

Her mom broke us up about a month later, after some...you know what, I'll just leave that bit out...
I told you how the first phone call went. The phone calls I got from her and her husband in the end were just so much worse. I don't even want to think about them. I went into convulsions and kept dropping the phone.

I went back to these two songs to help keep my sanity and I belted out "Tangled Up In You" every day in my car... so loud I was losing my voice.

I'd had some communication with her, surprised her at her work one night, bought her flowers, wrote her my true feelings on some napkins, showed up when she got out of school one day, when she was deathly afraid, and surprised her with a smile and drew a heart on her hand...

Her and I were on the same page. She still loved me. She was just hurt. I still loved her. I was just trying to make up for the compromised mental state I spent so much time in. I had compromised hers too. I needed to get her out of it. She told me she would wait for me. That we were in a speed bump, that it would all be okay.

So some weeks passed, a month, and she still had my back. As strong as ever. Her parents found out I bought the flowers. They found out I'd been talking to her. But...

Knowing she still had my back, that she still loved me, and that she would wait for me...she called what her mom did (in breaking us up, in our break) a "speed bump"...I was okay with it. I mean, I really wanted to be a part of her life, but man, her parents HATED ME! (In retrospect, probably with good reason. Shame on me for the things I did to her. Really.)

We had some major issues (mostly due to my inability to shut my stupid mouth) and I decided that maybe some time to ourselves to focus on ourselves and think was a good thing. She could focus on loving herself again and I could focus on becoming a better person.

I mean, when her parents found out her and I were still talking to each other after they broke us up, they blocked my number on her phone, went to my church and made up extra stories to my pastor, (told him I'd came and banged on their door at one in the morning one night), when I called to apologize to them they didn't pick up, called me back later to cuss me out and hang up on me, logged into their daughters facebook account and blocked me, then told their daughter that I had called them when she was sleeping and cussed them both out, and that she was to have nothing to do with me again. They threatened legal action against me, too. Tried to make my life hell. They didn't want me around their daughter, ever again. A blind rage that went on for a very long time until every communication route was blocked.

She went to school and told her friends the false stories her parents told her, and her friends already didn't like me...I mean just look at what I had done before...it wasn't good. Not for me, anyway. Also her. She felt duped. Used. By her parents. She didn't know who to trust or what was real. Everyone was telling her how horrible I was.

I got a chance to talk to her one day. We talked for hours, face to face. Sat in the cold and talked. It was an amazing talk. We caught each other up completely on our lives. We talked about our love. Our past. Our emotions. All of them. Good and bad. But we told each other we'd always love each other. She stuck by me, and also reassured me that she always would. I left that conversation feeling so secure. The most I'd felt since way before I'd become a total **** to her. When her and I were so deep in love.

She's always wanted to go far away from college. She told me stories of her past and what her parents did to her, what she did to herself that were not good. Not good at all. She wanted to get away from her parents.

Meanwhile I was so caught up in the feelings she gave me when I was in her arms, I almost couldn't handle the fact that she wanted to leave. I pleaded for her to stay, in a time that her and I were both unstable and it was already taboo that we were even on the same property. But still, she said "she wanted to stay" because her and I work so well together...when we work together, that is, and I and her were both determined to work together. I told her I would do anything for her. In all of it though, I told her that the decision was in her hands and I would still love her the same if she left, and that I would wait for her. Because I loved her more than anything.

After that talk, things got quiet. I guess, too quiet. I was legally bound to stay away from her. I talked to someone she worked with and asked them to tell her hello for me. I thought though, we were on good terms following the talk, I thought she'd be elated to hear from me.

She never responded.

One day, a couple weeks later, she told me I really needed to get over her. That she didn't love me like that anymore. She told me she'd been falling out of love since the summer, and she'd gone crazy and needed space. She said she wanted to be friends, but no relationship. No relationship anymore. She said she couldn't handle it. She said she couldn't handle a relationship in general.

She made that message a bit accusatory. I'd been talking to two friends, one who I'd known for years and a new one I'd just made. Both overlapping friends with hers. Those two helped keep me sane.

She started that message with "I heard you've been messaging my friends, and to be honest, I haven't had the heart to message you back." She repeated multiple times that I needed to get over her. She told me that it wasn't anyone else's influence too. She even listed people. People who'd separated us. Hurt me. Hurt her, in a way, but encouraged her in others.

At the same time, she blocked me on facebook again. She had unblocked me when she found out her parents did it for her. Odd though...I thought she wanted to be friends. I mean, it was like the only way I was able to have her in my life at all. To read her facebook posts and her read mine. To have discussions with friends. We have a lot of overlapping friends.

Man, she killed me. One second I thought she was my soul mate and the next I was in the bathroom puking my guts out because she was telling me we'd never be together again.


So fast forward to today...I still love her. And she's basically in a relationship with someone else. She's also either on the fence about her sexuality, or decided she doesn't like boys anymore. I feel bad about that too. Its like I ruined male relationships for her. It's only been a few weeks since she told me I needed to get over her. She doesn't talk to me anymore. I go to high school events even though I graduated last year just to see her. When I don't approach her, she ignores me. I'm just another person in the room. When I do approach her, she has such a scared look on her face. She doesn't want to talk to me, but she can't be mean to me. She's falling in love with someone else and she's getting happier. She doesn't need me showing up everywhere just to depress her.

Yet I keep bothering her. Because I'm a sucker for her. I can't help it. I love her. I want her to be my future. But at this point I'm grasping at straws. So hard. I shouldn't be trying anymore. But I'll end up trying until the day I die. And only then will I stop believing in her and I. I know it's a pipe dream. But I'll hold onto it. Because it's the only thing I have left of myself now.

Last night, (I mean, right before I wrote this around 5 AM, it is now 8 AM) I played those two songs again. I forgot they were at the end of my playlist and I started shivering and crying my eyes out. I got chills. I got so cold. The tears just ran. They ran down my face faster than I've cried in a long, long time.

I'm only okay right now because I took a bunch of pills. Pills that have this kind of effect on me. They make me kind of numb. Kind of happy. Upper and downer both.

That's pretty much, my sad ending to a sad story.
I'm living the kind of life that only people like Shane Koyczan know how to explain to people.

Ironically, she loves Shane Koyczan.
I do too.
We grew up in broken homes and lived broken lives until we found each other.
Then we broke each other.

But she's falling for someone else, because I wasn't what I should have been to her, and she knows
But she doesn't believe in me anymore, the way I believe in her...because I wasn't what I should have been to her, and she can't hold onto me when I'm a 50/50 chance, of bringing her down again.
If only she would let me hug her again, kiss her one more time...I could die happy, knowing I poured all my heart and soul out into that last kiss.
But I'm a gamble. And she can't put her heart out on the line for someone who wasn't always good to her. She used to call me her "sweet boy" and she still tells me I'll always be her "sweet boy", but the fact of the matter is, it doesn't cut it to only be sweet s
I needed to write this. I've been going crazy. I told her I needed to talk to her but she's been avoiding me. If she reads this, I know its hard for her. There are more explanations I need to give her, I hope she will let me speak to her someday. I've found out a lot about myself in just the last few weeks. Stuff I don't talk about in this story. To you, my dear...if you read this, I'm sorry. I know it's tough. Its very tough. But look at the positive, dear. I'll keep living. Maybe I'll be okay someday. Your happiness is what matters to me. If you're happy, I'll keep myself going. I'm going to go to sleep now. Finally, I have some peace.
Nicole Dawn May 2015
I talked to a little girl today,
I have four cats,
She told me.
She was so excited.
It wasn't anything new,
But to her,
It was the best thing in the world,
No matter how old
Or new
The news is.

I talked to a little girl today.
"My mom's on a diet,
But she doesn't need to be."
She said.
"Why?"
I ask.
"She just should smile more,
That makes you healthier,
Right?"

I talked to a little girl today,
I showed her a young leaf.
She was so excited.
"It's a baby!"
She cried
In joy.
To her,
The world was so amazing.

I talked to a little girl today.
She taught me much more,
Than I ever taught her.
Maybe we should listen,
To sweet innocence,
Not yet hurt by the world.

Maybe then,
We would be in a better place.
This was a real conversation
like know just time mind life feel world lost say we're things think love there's does people night away way thought got words long reality want better left make end eyes day man human dark experience remember really right death memory going place high good live city thoughts soul meaning great pain home sky believe shall change living oh fall light choice god consciousness existence years cause hard feeling thinking fear times 'cause dreams ask alive heart need past felt days dream sensation truth true use power knowledge wrong stars understand baby tell state thing face wave broken old you'll wave new broken nature you'll **** mental look far ah drug moment best ago air lose sleep dare try leave beautiful blue born lives escape sublime doesn't body dawn friends waiting feels young daze game control perception gone story mean sun head given writing act difference reason poetry philosophy psyche little trying touch deep greatest wonder choose drugs exist we'll moments score hold play set run self forget coming hope word future dead wish burn music emotion rain stop gaze pleasure glass one's what's lies sense wake hit remain real work bad stay open brain art seek space present happy spent acid pill social we've they're half-light used land held gotta help lie path finally listen actually longing rave water cold seeking caught energy reflection information anymore venturous goes came red hide start truly hand evil divine subtle matter kind lonely yes told eternity keeps line black edge ego context dusk horizon gonna spiritual tripping dimension data die white **** seen means care getting saw places sure freedom looking hurt fool wind flow search chance la took broke existential summer content flowing belief praise empyrean empathy discovery chemical aeon couldn't who's turn forth bit question eye judgement pray passion sound personal worth memories sanity accept universe embrace lack knows free makes rise language decide consider temporal society gain wander 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Composed on 00:53, 21/09/2016 using Hello Poetry's 'Words' algorithm. We don't assume this means something.
John Stevens Jul 2010
When Mom died in June of 1991 Dad was rather lost,
like the rest of us. I started writing little letters in
big print so he could read them. He would not talk on
the phone so this was the only way to make contact.
I found out later that he carried them around in his
bib overall pocket and pulled them out from time to time.
Occasionally they would get washed and when Sharon
let me know I would run off another copy and mail it.
It became a means for me to remember the past and help
Dad at the same time. My kids loved to hear stories of
when I was a kid so I would recycle the stories between
the kids and Dad. Now as I read them it is a reminder of
things that have become a little fuzzy over the years,
also a reminder that I need to fill in the gaps of the stories
and leave them for my kids before it is too late. So here it is,
such as it is, if you are interested.

=======================================

    Letter­s to Dad

    Nov. 14, 1991

    Dear Dad,
    Your grandkiddies, as you call them,
    send you a big hug from Idaho. Sara is
    five and in Kindergarten this year and
    doing very well. Kristen is in the forth
    grade and made the Honor Roll list the
    first quarter of the year. We are very
    proud of both of our girls.

    Do you remember when toward late
    afternoon you and I would get in the car
    and “Drive around the block” as you
    always said? We would go up to Cliff’s
    and go east for a mile then down past
    Cleo Mae house and on back home. I
    remember you would stop at the junk
    piles and I would find neat stuff, like
    wheels from old toys, that I could make
    into my toys. I think of those times often.
    It was very enjoyable.

    I will be writing to you in the BIG PRINT
    so you can read it easier.

    It is snowing lightly here today. Supposed
    to be nasty weather for a while.

    Bye for now.

    John

    ——————————————————–

    Dec. 3, 1991

    Dear Dad,

    Just a note to say we love you. I miss very
    much talking to Mom on the phone and
    having you play Red Wing on your harmonica.

    I remember quite often when I was very
    young, 4 or 5, and we would go out to the
    field to change the water or something.
    The sand burrs would be so thick and you
    would pick me up on your back. I would
    put my feet into your back pockets and
    away we would go.

    These are the things childhood memories
    are supposed to be made of. Kristen and
    Sara love to hear the stories about when I
    was a kid and what you and I did
    together. I try with them to build the
    memories that they can tell their kids.
    Thanks Dad for a good childhood.

    Bye for now.
    Kristen and Sara send you a kiss and a
    hug.

    Your son, John

    —————————————————–

    Jan. 12, 1992

    Dear Dad,

    We went to Oregon for Christmas and
    had very good traveling weather. Do you
    remember when you and Mom went with
    us once to Oregon at Christmas and
    there were apples still hanging on the
    tree by the Williams house? We made
    apple pie from the apples that you
    picked. Turned out to be pretty good pie.
    There weren’t any apple on the tree this
    year. I thought of you picking the apples
    and bringing them into the kitchen in
    your hat if I remember right.

    We have had some pretty good times
    together. I was thinking the other day
    about a picture that I took of you about
    12 years ago. It captured you as I will
    always remember you. If I can locate it in
    all the stuff, I would like to get it blown
    up and submit it to the art section at the
    Twin Falls County Fair this year.

    I hope this finds you feeling well. I love
    you Dad. Kristen and Sara send you a
    kiss and a hug.

    Oh yes, I would like for you and Tracy to
    sit down sometime and talk about when
    you were a kid and record it on tape. I
    would like to put your remembrances
    down on paper.

    Bye for now.

    Your son, John

    ———————————————————

    Feb. 11, 1992

    Dear Dad,

    Happy Valentine’s Day!!

    Spring is on the way and soon you will be
    85. Just a spring chicken, right? I hope I
    can get around as well as you do by the
    time I am 85.

    Thanks for the letter. I will keep it for a
    very long time. It is the first letter I have
    received from my Father in 48 years.

    Talked to Ed the other day. He said he
    talked to you on the phone and that you
    were wearing your hearing aids and
    glasses. Great! Mom would be proud of
    you.

    Talked to a guy last week who is
    president of the John Deer tractor group
    here. He invited me to bring my “M”
    John Deer to the County Fair and
    participate in the tractor pull contest.
    Might just do that.

    Well the page is filling up using these big
    letters but if it makes it easier to read it is
    worth it.

    Bye for now Dad, I love you. Pennye,
    Kristen and Sara send their love too.

    Your son, John
    —————————————————-
    April 13, 1992

    Dad

    Though the years have past and you are now
    85, you are still the same as when I was a
    child. The memories of going with you to the
    field, when you were “riding the ditch”,
    surveying in a lateral, loading up the turkeys
    in the old Ford truck and taking them to the
    “Hoppers” - is just as if it were yesterday. I
    think of you playing Red Wing on the harp. I
    remember when during the looong cold
    winters we would play checkers. You would
    always beat me. I learned to play a good game.

    Not much has changed except we are both
    much older now. The values you did not speak
    but lived out in front of me has helped make
    me what I am today. I pray that I will be a
    good example before my children to help them
    on their way through life.

    On your 85th birthday, I want to wish you a
    Happy Birthday and thank you for being my
    Father.

    Love
    John

    April 13, 1992

    ————————————————–

    June 10, 1992

    Dear Dad,

    I hope this finds you well. The Stevens
    family in Twin Falls Idaho is having a
    busy summer. Kristen just finished the
    fourth grade and was on the Honor Roll
    for the entire year. Sara will now be a
    big First Grader next year.

    The other day we went out to eat and
    Kristen had chicken and noodles. She
    said, “This tastes just like Grandma
    Nellie’s noodles.” I hope they can keep
    these memories fresh and remember all
    the good times we had back in Nebraska.
    It is difficult to accept that things have
    changed and will never be the same again.
    We miss the weekly phone calls to Nebraska.

    It is clouding up and we might get rain
    this week. It is very dry around here.
    Some of the canals will be cut off in July.

    Bye for now.

    Your Son John

    Love you Dad. I think of you often.

    —————————————————-

    June 22, 1992

    Dear Dad,

    Hope you had a good “HAPPY PAPPY”
    day. This note is to wish you a late
    “HAPPY PAPPY” day.

    I was thinking the other day about the
    times you would take me roller skating
    out at the fair ground on Sunday
    afternoons. I really enjoyed those times. I
    remember how you could give a little hop
    and skate backwards. For me staying on
    my feet was a challenge.

    Sara will be 6 years old June 29. Seems
    like yesterday when she was born. Time
    has a way of passing very quickly.

    Love you lots Dad. The family sends their
    love too.

    Bye for now.
    John

    —————————————————

    Aug. 11, 1992

    Dear Dad,

    Just a note to let you know that your
    Idaho family love you. It was good to talk
    to you for a minute or two the other day.
    I miss the harmonica playing you would
    do over the phone.

    We are all well even though the place
    was covered with smoke from all the
    forest fires last week. It got a little hard
    on the lungs at times but the smoke has
    moved on now. Probably went over
    Nebraska.

    Talked to brother Ed the other day. He
    had just returned from from Nebraska.
    Ed said you looked good for 85.

    Bye for now.

    John

    —————————————————–

    Sept. 10, 1992

    Dear Dad,

    I am sending a copy of what Mom sent
    me a few years ago of what she
    remembered about growing up. I wish I
    had more. How about sitting down with
    Tracy and Sharon and telling them some
    of the things you remember about
    growing up? They can record it and I will
    put it on paper. I would really like that.

    We are ok here in Idaho. Summer had
    disappeared and it is school time again.
    Kristen is in the 5th grade and Sara is in
    the 1st grade. The family went to the
    County Fair today for the second time.
    One day is enough for me.

    I think of you often and love you Dad.
    Thinking of the good times we had
    together while I was growing up always
    makes me happy. You and Mom raised
    four pretty good kids.
    God Bless you Dad. We love you from
    Idaho.

    Bye for now.

    John

    —————————————————–

    Oct. 11, 1992

    Dear Dad,

    We are fine out in Idaho. We are having
    beautiful fall weather. It has not frozen
    enough to get our tomato plants yet.

    Kristen and Sara are doing very well in
    school. They brought home their mid
    term report cards and are getting A’s
    and a B or two.

    Remember when we would go out in the
    corn field and pick the corn by hand? I
    would drive the tractor and you and Ed
    and Wayne picked the corn and threw it
    in the trailer. You guys kept warm from
    the work and I was freezing on the
    tractor. Before that we used the horses
    named Brownie and - was it Blackie?
    The one that kept getting out up north by
    the ditch was Brownie. He figured out
    how to open the gate.

    I remember the times that you were
    hauling cane or sorghum from the field
    east of Mercers and I would ride behind
    the wagon on my sled.

    I had a very good childhood really.
    Thanks for being my Dad.

    God Bless you Dad. We love you from
    Idaho.

    Bye for now.

    John

    ——————————————————-

    Nov. 10, 1992

    Dear Dad,

    It is snowy here and cold. I have a hole in
    the back of the house I must get sealed up
    to keep the cold out. We are redoing this
    part for the kitchen.

    Kristen and Sara made the Honor Roll
    this quarter in school. Kristen’s teacher
    said he wished he had a whole room full
    of Kristens to teach.

    Sorry the phone connection was so bad
    when I called the other day. It was good
    to here you say “hello hello….” any way.
    Glad you are feeling better.

    Your account in the credit union is about
    $34,000 now.

    I was just thinking back when we were
    cultivating corn with that “crazy wheel
    cultivator”. The one that you drove the
    tractor and I rode on the cultivator and
    used the foot pedals to steer it down the
    rows. I remember sometimes it cleaned
    out some of the corn row. Cultivator
    blight, right? It was kind of hard to keep
    straight. Those were the days.

    I keep remembering little bits of things
    while growing up. Sometime I will put
    them all together for my kids to read
    about the “good ole days”.

    God Bless you Dad. We love you from
    Idaho.

    Bye for now.

    John

    ————————————————
    Dec. 17, 1992

    Dear Dad,

    The snow has fallen and the kids stayed
    home from school today. The wind is now
    blowing so it will begin drifting the road
    shut. Besides that the whole family is sick
    with a cold.

    We are putting together a Christmas gift
    to you but it won’t be ready for
    Christmas. It is something that you can
    watch over and over if you want. So
    Merry Christmas for now.

    Last night was the kids’ school Christmas
    program. Kristen started playing the
    flute this fall and played with a group for
    the first time this week. She did very well
    and I got it on video.

    Time to get this in the mail. Love you
    Dad.
    Bye for now.

    Kristen and Sara send you a kiss and a
    hug.
    Your son, John

    ——————————————————

    Jan. 11, 1993

    Dear Dad,

    We have a lot of snow on the ground
    now. I was telling the family about the
    winter of 49 where the snow covered the
    door and you had to scoop the snow into
    the house to dig a tunnel out then haul
    the snow out through the tunnel. That
    was a 15 foot drift wasn’t it? It sure
    looked big to this 6 year old. Then the
    plane flew over the house for a few days
    until we could get out and signal an OK.
    Those were the days! What I do not
    remember is how you took care of the
    cows and stuff during this time. I
    remember being sick and Wayne took the
    horse and rode into Broadwater to get
    oranges and something else. The big
    white dog we had went along and was hit
    by a car. Wayne had to use a fence post
    to finish him off. I remember feeling very
    sad about the old dog.
    We haven’t had this much snow in 8
    years.

    I trust you are feeling well. Our prayers
    are with you all.
    Bye for now. Love you Dad
    The family send a BIG Hi!!!!

    Your son, John

    —————————————————-

    Feb. 9, 1993

    Dear Dad,

    When the kids go to bed they say “Tell us
    a story about when you were a kid on the
    farm”. So I tell them things that I write
    to you and a LOT that I don’t write to
    you. The other day going to school we
    were talking about one of the first snow
    falls we had this year. I spun the van
    around in circles in the parking lot and
    they thought that was GREAT fun. Then
    I told them about the time that their
    Grandpa cut some circles in the Kelly
    School yard and hit a pole with the back
    fender. Do you remember that? I
    remember Mom bringing it up every now
    and then. Then there was the time you
    got a little close to the guard posts along
    the highway just west of Broadwater and
    ripped the spare tire and bracket off the
    old Jeep. Of course none of US ever did
    anything like that. HA.

    It is good to remember back and tell the
    kids about the things we did “in the old
    days”. They find it hard to believe there
    was no TV and I walked through rattle
    snake country to go to the neighbors to
    play. It WAS a good time for me and I
    had a GOOD Dad to help me grow up.
    Thanks again Dad. You and Mom did a
    very good job on us four kids. Sometimes
    we don’t show it often enough but I for
    one thank you and LOVE you.

    Soon you will have another birthday.
    Before you know it you will be 90. I
    should be so lucky.

    I trust you are feeling well. Our prayers
    are with you all. Bye for now. Love you
    Dad
    The family send a BIG Hi!!!!

    Your son, John

    —————————————————–

    Mar. 9, 1993

    Dear Dad,
    Time has a way of disappearing so
    rapidly. I was going to write you a note
    two weeks ago and now here we are.

    It looks like spring is just about to arrive.
    I am ready for it. I’ll bet you are ready to
    get out side and do something. Do you
    miss not farming? I think often about the
    farm and the things we used to do. The
    kids always ask for stories about being on
    the farm. I tell them about raising a
    garden, rattlesnakes, floods, the BIG
    ONE in 49, anything that comes to mind.

    The family went to Sun Valley about 70
    miles north of here Sat. with Kristen’s
    Girl Scout troop for a day of ice skating.
    Pennye used the VCR and played back
    their falls and no falls. It reminded me of
    the times you would get your old clamp-
    on skates on a cut a figure on the ice. I
    never was very good at it. You could hop
    up and turn around. I couldn’t stay of
    my back side and head. I still have a big
    dent in the back of my head from the last
    time I tried. Nearly killed me. So much
    for that.

    Next month you will have another
    birthday. 86 years! Before you know it
    you will be 90.

    I paid your insurance for another year
    I trust you are feeling well. Our prayers
    are w
Matthew Walker Sep 2013
I talked to a cat the other day,
No, that’s not lingo for dude,
I literally talked to cat,
I asked this cat,
“Hey cat, why are you always laying around?”
And it said told me,
“Because human, sometimes you just have to relax,
Stop moving all the time and take a moment to breathe.”

I talked to a dog the other day,
I asked,
“Why is your tail always wagging?”
He said,
“Because I find happiness in the little things,
I’m joyful because I have food to eat,
And because someone loves me.”
“But sometimes your owner gets mad at you,
Why do you go back to him?”
He said,
“Life is too short, it isn’t worth hating,
Forgive and keep on smiling.”

I talked to a rat the other day,
I didn’t have to ask him much,
“What’s the point of living when you’re known as ****,
What’s the point when you’re just a rat?”
He told me,
“Man, life isn’t about what anyone else thinks,
It’s about choosing to be who you want to be,
Accept that fact and you’ll be free.”

I talked to a bird the other day,
I asked her,
“Why are you always singing?”
She told me,
“Because music brings me peace,
In times of pain, it rescues me.”

I talked to a man the other day,
I asked him,
“What’s the purpose of life?”
He stared blankly for a few moments.
And then, with his head down,
He uttered three simple words,
“I don’t know.”

Sometimes its alright to look to the simple creatures,
Instead of the almighty man, for a little bit of wisdom.

Of course,
None of this actually happened,
Because animals can’t speak.

Or can they?
4/2/2013
Sarah Wilson Apr 2011
Hey, Cass.

I’m doing this letter challenge. A letter a day for thirty days.
That’s a third of our whirlwind summer.
Today’s topic is, “someone you miss the most”.
And at first, I didn’t think of anyone.
You weren’t even in the list of possible people.
But something triggered something, and you sashayed your way into my head.
And you’ve been stuck there for awhile.
So, this will be about you. Because now that I’m thinking of you, I miss you.
I miss you so much there’s a hole in my chest where my heart belongs.
I spent all of sixth grade on the other side of Professor’s classroom.
I watched you and the boys simultaneously befriend and annoy everyone.
Except me. I don’t know how, but I couldn’t feel anything either way.
Except when we started writing in English class. I don’t know.
I don’t remember much of what you wrote, except it was dark and scary and…
I loved it.
You had the best way of taking the nastiest words and making them beautiful.
I don’t remember the details, though. Isn’t that strange?
You did always tell me to look at the big picture. I’m still working on that.
And, anyway, nothing much happened until the birthday party.
The surprise one, where Amy picked up all the guests one by one from their houses for breakfast.
Sort of a reverse surprise party, and I told you, “this is the only surprise party I’ve ever had.”
And you tactfully reminded me it wasn’t for me, and I told you, “it’s close enough.”
We went to breakfast, and talked about how creepy the indoor balcony was, you know which one.
The one with the chain hanging over the edge. We shared a glance, and I knew we had to talk.
So we did. The entire day, we talked and talked and talked. Antisocial as they come, the both of us.
You almost convinced your mom to let you stay the night, but no. You left for Tennessee the next day.
That night, I pieced together and guessed the letters of your screen name.
[It had melted mostly off my arm by then.]
I found you, right as you found me. We both said, “found you,” at the same time.
We always connected in the most creepy ways.
And anyway,  we talked all that night. And the next. And the next.
I skipped sleepovers and birthdays and we talked our way through the summer.
I learned so much about you, from you. Too much.
And then you started cutting. And cutting. And cutting.
And then you went away for two weeks. I missed you so much it hurt to breathe.
You came back, and actually called me. I hadn’t heard your voice in two months.
Except for in my head, anyway. You told me how the asylum was.
“It’s the most beautiful place in the world, Sarah. I’ve never been so happy.”
We both agreed it was probably the drugs, and we laughed in our somber way.
You started writing more, and talking less.
You started cutting more, and smiling.
I just stopped altogether. School had started again.
I was talking to your ex-boyfriend’s best friend, and it seemed like he took your place.
Then one night, you weren’t there at all. Two weeks, I waited.
I called your house. Your number was disconnected.
I spent hours and hours and hours rereading our conversations.
I was scared of you, the absence of you.
But I was scared of us, too. You ****** me in, like quicksand.
But I never even knew. I’ve never seen you again.
Never spoken to you again.
I can’t explain our relationship to anyone.
The only one who understood what I couldn’t explain was your ex.
And well, I don’t like him anyway. So I pushed you away.
Very successfully, I hadn’t thought of you in years.
Until this letter, until these two girls who remind me of you.
They **** me in like quicksand, too. One of them’s gone already.
One of them is going to leave. And I’m so, so scared of all of you.
But god, Cassie, our entire summer was based on our fears.
So I guess you’d be proud.
Wherever you are, darkest angel, I do miss you.
I think, maybe I might have loved you. But we’ll never know.
Dance with your demons, and make sure you lead.
Don’t be afraid to step on their toes.

-Your favorite demon.
letter fifteen of a thirty-day challenge.
this one's for my darkest angel.

my internet's been down.
it's still not fixed.
Paddy Halligan Oct 2012
Third Date

She talked and talked and talked,
an East Coast, cultured accent;
        
"So what are you anyway,
half-German? ***, really?
But you look so......British, I guess..."

He stroked her knee.

She gesticulated loudly,
and talked.
        
"So you were at Princeton,
WOW, that's impressive."

He squeezed her knee.

"I baked cupcakes on Friday night,
  my Mom's recipe.
  I don't even eat cupcakes,
  what's that all about?!?!

He squeezed her other knee.

She wore a mid-thigh,
black and white dress,  
swirls, that sort of thing,
interesting cleavage.
        
He was back on the first knee.

She looked Italian
(it was 'Ristorante Acqua al Duo' after all),
Amy Winehouse eye flares,
head swaying,
resting on her palms,
swaying again.

He had his back to me.

She fingered the wine glass,
tall and generous,
devoured
the last inch,
came up for air and talked again.

He wore a blazer
and cavalry twill pants,  
loafers and no socks.

She was hot,
really hot,
fanned her brow with the dessert menu
"Tiramisu was so deeeelicious".
75 degrees on the Prudential window.

He  perspired,
fidgeted,
loosened his collar,
looked for the waitress.
I.

One night at the Troubadour I spotted this extraordinary girl.

So I asked who she was.

‘A professional,’

That was my introduction that on a scale of one to ten

there were women who were fifteens—beautiful, bright, witty, and

oh, by the way, they worked.

Once I became aware,

I saw these women everywhere.

And I came to learn that most of them were connected to Alex



II.

She had a printer engrave a calling card

that featured a bird of paradise

borrowed from a Tiffany silver pattern

and,
under it,

Alex’s Aviary,

Beautiful and Exotic birds.



A few were women you’d see lunching at Le Dôme:

pampered arm pieces with expensive tastes

and a hint of a delicious but remote sexuality.

Many more were fresh-faced, athletic, tanned, freckled

the quintessential California girl

That you’d take for sorority queens or future BMW owners.





III.

The mechanism of Alex’s sudden notoriety is byzantine,

as these things always are.

One of her girls took up with a rotter,

the couple had a fight,

he went to the police,

the police had an undercover detective visit

(who just happened to be an attractive woman)

and ask to work for her,

she all but embraced her

—and by April of 1988 the district attorney had enough evidence

to charge her with two counts of pandering

and one of pimping.

For Alex, who is fifty-six

and has a heart condition and diabetes,

the stakes may be high.

A conviction carries the guarantee of incarceration.

For the forces of law and order,

the stakes may be higher.

Alex has let it be known that she will subpoena

every cop she’s ever met to testify at her trial.

And the revelations this might produce

—perhaps that Alex compromised policemen

by making girls available to them,

—perhaps that Alex had a deal with the police to provide information

in exchange for their blind eye to her activities

—could be hugely embarrassing to the police and the district attorney.

For Alex’s socially correct clients and friends,

for the socially correct wives of her clients and friends

and for a handful of movie and television executives

who have no idea they are dating or

married to former Alex girls,

the stakes are highest of all.



IV.

Alex’s black book is said to be a catalogue of
Le Tout Los Angeles.

In her head are the ****** secrets

of many of the city’s most important men,

to say nothing of visiting businessmen and Arab princes.

If she decides to warble,

either at her trial or in a book,

her song will shatter more than glass.





V.

A decade ago, I went to lunch at Ma Maison,

There were supposed to have been ten people there,

but only four came.

One of them was a short woman

who called me a few days later and invited me to lunch.

When I arrived, the table was set for two.

I didn’t know who Alex was or what she did,

but she knew the important facts of my situation:

I was getting divorced from a very wealthy man

and doing the legal work myself

to avail lawyers who wanted to get a big settlement for me.


Occasionally, she said, I get a call for a tall, dark-haired,

slender, flat-chested woman

—and I don’t have any.

It wouldn’t be a frequent thing.

There’d be weekends away, sometimes in Palm Springs,

sometimes in Europe.

The men will be elegant,

you’ll have your own room

—there would be no outward signs of impropriety.

And you’d get $10,000 to $20,000 for a weekend.





VI.

The tall, slender, flat-chested brunette

didn’t think it was right for her.

Alex handed her a business card

and suggested that she think about it.

To her surprise, she did

—for an entire week.

This was 1978, and $20,000 then

was like $40,000 now,

I knew it was hooking,

but Alex had never mentioned ***.



Our whole conversation seemed to be about something else.



VII.

I was born in Manila

to a Spanish-Filipina mother and German father,

and when I was twelve

a Japanese soldier came into our house

with his bayonet pointed at us,

ready to do us in.

He locked us in and set the house on fire.

I haven’t been scared by much since that.



My mother always struck me as goofy,

so I jumped on a bus and ran away,

I got off in Oakland,

saw a help-wanted sign on a parish house,

and went in.

I got $200 a month for taking care of four priests.

I spent all the money on pastries for the parish house.

But I didn’t care.

It felt safe.

And the priests sparked my interest in the domestic arts

—in linen, in crystal.



A new priest arrived.

He was unpleasant,

so on a vacation in Los Angeles I took a pedestrian job,

still a teenager,

married a scientist.

We separated eight years later,

he took our two sons to another state

threatened to keep them if I didn’t agree to a divorce.

Keep them I said and hung up.

It’s not that I don’t have a maternal instinct

—though I don’t,

I just hate to be manipulated.



My second husband,

an alcoholic,

had Frank Sinatra blue eyes, and possibly

—I never knew for sure—

had a big career in the underworld

as a contract killer.

Years before we got serious,

he was going out with a famous L.A. ******,

She and her friends were so elegant

that I started spending time with them in beauty salons.

They were so fancy,

so smart

—and they knew incredible people,

like the millionaire who sat in his suite all day

just writing $5,000 checks to girls.



VIII.

I was a florist.

We got to talking.

She was a madam from England

who wanted to sell her book and go home.

I bought it for $5,000.

My husband thought it was cute.

Now you’re getting your feet wet.

Three months later,

he died.

After eleven years of marriage,

just like that.

And of the names in the book

it turned out

that half of the men were also dead.

When I began the men were old and the women were ugly.



IX.

It was like a lunch party you or I would give,

Great food Alex had cooked herself.

Major giggles with old pals.

And then,

instead of chocolate After Eight,

she served three women After Three



This man has seen a bit of life

beyond Los Angeles,

so I asked him how Alex’s stable

compared with that of Madam Claude,

the legendary Parisian procuress.

Oh, these aren’t at all like Claude’s girls,

A Claude girl was perfectly dressed and multilingual

—you could take her to the opera

and she’d understand it.





He told me that when she was 40

she looked at herself in the mirror

and said

Disgusting.

People over 40

should not have ***.

But She Was Clear That She Never Liked It

even when she was young.

Besides, she saw all the street business

go to the tall,

beautiful girls.

She thought that she never had a chance

competing against them.

Instead,

she would take their money by managing them.





X.

Going to a ****** was not looked down upon then.

It was before the pill;

Girls weren’t giving it away.

Claude specialized in

failed models and actresses,

ones who just missed the cut.

But just because they failed

in those impossible professions

didn’t mean they weren’t beautiful,

fabulous.



Like Avis

in those days,

those girls tried harder.

Her place was off the Champs,

just above a branch of the Rothschild bank, where I had an account.

Once I met her,

I was constantly making withdrawals and heading upstairs.





XI.

We took the lift

and Claude greeted us at the door.

My impression was that of the director

of an haute couture house,

very subdued,

beige and gray, very little makeup.

She took us into a lounge and made us drinks,

Whiskey,

Cognac.

There was no maid.

We made small talk for 15 minutes.

How was the weekend?

What’s the weather like in Deauville?

Then she made the segue. ‘I understand you’d like to see some jeunes filles?’

She always used ‘jeunes filles.’

This was Claude’s polite way of saying 18 to 25.

She left and soon returned

with two very tall

jeunes filles,

One was blonde.

This is Eva from Austria.

She’s here studying painting.

And a brunette,

very different,

but also very fine.

This is Claudia from Germany.

She’s a dancer.

She took the girls back into the apartment and returned by herself.

I gave my English guest first choice.

He picked the blonde.

And wasn’t disappointed.

Each bedroom had its own bidet.

There was some nice

polite conversation, and then



It was slightly formal,

but it was high-quality.

He paid Claude

200 francs,

not to the girls

In 1965, 200 francs was about $40.

Pretty girls on Rue Saint-Denis

could be had for 40 francs

so you can see the premium.

Still, it wasn’t out of reach for mere mortals.

You didn’t have to be J. Paul Getty.





XII.

A lot of them

were models at

Christian Dior

or other couture houses.

She liked Scandinavians.

That was the look then

—cold, tall, perfect.

It was cheap for the quality.

They all used her.

The best people wanted

the best women.

Elementary supply and demand.



XIII.

She had a camp number tattooed on her wrist. I saw it.

She showed it to me and Rubi.

She was proud she had survived.

We talked about the camp for hours.

It was even more fascinating than the girls.



She was Jewish

I’m certain of that.

She was horrified at the Jewish collaborators

at the camp who herded

their fellow Jews

into the gas chambers.

That was the greatest betrayal in her life.



XIV.

She was this sad,

lonely little woman.

Later, Patrick told me who she was.

I was bowled over.

It was like meeting Al Capone.

I met two of the girls

who worked for her.

One was what you would expect

Tall

Blonde

Model.

But the other looked like a Rat

Then one night

she came out

all dressed up,

I didn’t even recognize her.

She was even better than the first girl.

Claude liked to transform women like that.

That was her art.

It was very odd,

my cousin told me.

There was not much furniture

and an awful lot of telephones.

“Allô oui,”



XV.

I had so many lunches

with Claude at Ma Maison

She was vicious.

One day,

Margaux Hemingway,

at the height of her beauty, walked by.

Une bonne

—the French for maid

was how Claude cut her dead.

She reduced

the entire world

to rich men wanting *** and

poor women wanting money.

She’d love to page through Vogue and see someone

and say,

When I met her

she was called

Marlene

and she had a hideous nose

and now she’s a princess.

Or she’d see someone and say

Let’s see if she kisses me or not.

It was like

I made her,

and I can destroy her.

She was obsessed

with “fixing” people

—with Saint Laurent clothes,

with Cartier watches,

with Winston jewels,

with Vuitton luggage,

with plastic surgeons.



XVI.

Her prison number was

888

which was good luck in China

but not in California.

‘Ocho ocho ocho,’ she liked to repeat

Even in jail, she was always working,

always recruiting stunning women.

She had a beautiful Mexican cellmate

and gave her Robert Evans’s number

as the first person she should call

when she was released.



XVII.

Never have *** on the first date.



XVIII.

There will always be prostitution,

The prostitution of misery.

And the prostitution of bourgeois luxury.

They will both go on forever.



“Allô oui,”



It was so exciting to hear a millionaire

or a head of state ask,

in a little boy’s voice,

for the one thing

that only you could provide

It's not how beautiful you are, it's how you relate

--it's mostly dialogue.



She was tiny, blond, perfectly coiffed and Chanel-clad.

The French Woman: The Arab Prince, the Japanese Diplomat, the Greek Tycoon, the C.I.A. Bureau Chief — She Possessed Them All!



XIX.

She was like a slave driver in the American South

Once she took a *******,

the makeover put the girl in debt,

because Claude paid all the bills to

Dior,

Vuitton,

to the hairdressers,

to the doctors,

and the girls had to work to pay them off.

It was ****** indentured servitude.



My Swans.



It reached the point

where if you walked into a room

in London

or Rome

as much as Paris

because the girls were transportable,

and saw a girl who was

better-dressed,

better-looking,

and more distinguished than the others

you presumed

it was a girl from Claude.

It was, without doubt,

the finest *** operation ever run in the history of mankind.



**.

The girl had to be

exactly what was needed

so I had to teach her everything she didn’t know.

I played a little the role of Pygmalion.

There were basic things that absolutely had to be done.

It consisted

at the start

of the physical aspect

“surgical intervention”

to give this way of being

that was different from other girls.

Often they had to be transformed

into dream creatures

because at the start

they were not at all



Often I had to teach them how to dress.

Often they needed help

to repair

what nature had given them

which was not so beautiful.

At first they had to be tall,

with pretty gestures,

good manners.

I had lots of noses done,

chins,

teeth,

*******.

There was a lot to do.



Eight times out of ten

I had to teach them how to behave in society.

There were official dinners, suppers, weekends,

and they needed to have conversation.

I insisted they learn to speak English,

read

certain books.

I interrogated them on what they read.

It wasn’t easy.

Each time something wasn’t working,

I was obliged to say so.



You were very demanding?

I was ferocious.



It’s difficult

to teach a girl how to walk into Maxim’s

without looking

ill at ease

when they’ve never been there,

to go into an airport,

to go to the Ritz,

or the Crillon

or the Dorchester.

To find yourself

in front of a king,

three princes,

four ministers,

and five ambassadors at an official dinner.

There were the wives of those people!

Day after day

one had to explain,

explain again,

start again.

It took about two years.

There would always be a man

who would then say of her,

‘But she’s absolutely exceptional. What is that girl doing here?’ ”





XXI.

A New York publisher who visited

the Palace Hotel

in Saint Moritz

in the early seventies told me,

I met a whole bunch of them there.

They were lovely.

The johns wanted everyone to know who they were.

I remember it being said

Giovanni’s Madame Claude girl is going to be there.

You asked them where they came from and they all said

Neuilly.

Claude liked girls from good families.

More to the point she had invented their backgrounds.



I have known,

because of what I did,

some exceptional and fascinating men.

I’ve known some exceptional women too,

but that was less interesting

because I made them myself.



Ah, this question of the handbag.

You would be amazed by how much dust accumulates.

Or how often women’s shoe heels are scuffed.





XXII.

She would examine their teeth and finally she would make them undress.



That was a difficult moment

When they arrived they were very shy,

a bit frightened.

At the beginning when I take a look,

it’s a question of seeing if the silhouette

and the gestures are pretty.

Then there was a disagreeable moment.

I said,

I’m sorry about this unpleasantness,

but I have to ask you to get undressed,

because I can’t talk about you unless I see you.

Believe me, I was embarrassed,

just as they were,

but it had to be done,

not out of voyeurism, not at all

—I don’t like les dames horizontales.



It was very funny

because there were always two reactions.

A young girl,

very sure of herself,

very beautiful,

très bien,

would say

Yes,

Get up, and get undressed.

There was nothing to hide, everything was perfect.



There were those who

would start timidly

to take off their dress

and I would say

I knew already.

The rest is not sadism, but nearly.

I knew what I was going to find.

I would say,

Maybe you should take off your bra,

and I knew it wasn’t going to be

beautiful.

Because otherwise she would have taken it off easily.

No problem.

There were damages that could be mended.

There were some ******* that could be redone,

some not

Sometimes it can be deceptive,

you know,

you see a pretty girl,

a pretty face,

all elegant and slim,

well dressed,

and when you see her naked

it is a catastrophe.



I could judge their physical qualities,

I could judge if she was pretty, intelligent, and cultivated,

but I didn’t know how she was in bed.

So I had some boys,

good friends,

who told me exactly.

I would ring them up and say,

There’s a new one.

And afterwards they’d ring back and say,

Not bad,

Could be better, or

Nulle.



Or,

on the contrary,

She’s perfect.

And I would sometimes have to tell the girls

what they didn’t know.

A pleasant assignment?

No.

They paid.



XXIII.

Often at the beginning

they had an ami de coeur

in other words,

oh,

a journalist, a photographer, a type like that,

someone in the cinema,

an actor, not very well known.

As time went by

It became difficult

because they didn’t have a lot of time for him.

The fact of physically changing,

becoming prettier,

changing mentally to live with millionaires,

produced a certain imbalance

between them

and the little boyfriend

who had not evolved

and had stayed in his milieu.

At the end of a certain time

she would say,

I’m so much better than him. Why am I with this boy?

And they would break up by themselves.



Remember,

this was instant elevation.

For most of them it was a dream existence,

provided they liked the ***,

and those that didn’t never lasted long.

A lot of the clients were young,

and didn’t treat them like tarts but like someone from their own class.

They would buy you presents,

take you on trips.



XXIV.

For me, *** was something very accessoire

I think after a certain age

there are certain spectacles one should not give to others

Now I have a penchant for solitude.

Love, it’s a complete destroyer,

It’s impossible,

a horror,

l’angoisse.

It’s the only time in my life I was jealous.

I’m not a jealous person, but I was épouvantable.

He was jealous too.

We broke plates over each other’s heads;

we became jealous about each other’s pasts.

I said one day

It’s finished.

Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and say:

Break my legs,

give me scarlet fever,

an attack of TB, but never that.

Not that.



XXV.

I called her into my office

Let us not exaggerate,

I sent her away.

She came back looking for employment,

but was fired again, this time for drugs.

She made menacing phone calls.

Then she arrived at the Rue de Boulainvilliers with a gun.

She shot three bullets

I was dressed in the fashion of Courrèges at this moment

He did very padded things.

I had a padded dress with a little jacket on top.

The bullet

—merci, Monsieur Courrèges

—stuck in the padding.

I was thrown forward onto the telephone.

I had one thought which went through my head:

I will die like Kennedy.

I turned round and put my hand up in a reflex.

The second bullet went through my hand.

I have two dead fingers.

It’s most useful for removing bottle tops.

In the corridor I was saved from the third bullet

because she was very tall

and I am quite petite, so it passed over my head.



XXVI.

There were men

who could decapitate,

****, and bomb their rivals

who would be frightened of me.

I would ask them how was the girl,

and they’d say

Not bad

and then

But I’m not complaining.

I was a little sadistic to them sometimes.

Some women have known powerful men because they’re their lover.

But I’ve known them all.

I had them all

here.



She will take many state secrets with her.



XXVI.

I don’t like ugly people

probably because when I was young

I wasn’t beautiful at all.

I was ugly and I suffered for it,

although not to the point of obsession.

Now that I’m an old woman,

I’m not so bad.

And that’s why

I’ve always been surrounded by people

Who

were

beautiful.

And the best way to have beautiful people around me

was to make them.

I made them very pretty.





XXVII.

I wouldn’t call what Alex gives you

‘advice,’

She spares you Nothing.

She makes a list of what she wants done,

and she really gets into it

I mean, she wants you to get your arms waxed.

She gives you names of people who do good facials.

She tells you what to buy at Neiman Marcus.

She’s put off by anything flashy,

and if you don’t dress conservatively, she’s got no problem telling you,

in front of an audience,

You look like a cheap *****!

I used to wear what I wanted when I went out

then change in the car into a frumpy sweater

when I went to give her the money she’d always go,

Oh, you look beautiful!



Marry your boyfriend,

It’s better than going to prison.

When you go out with her,

she’ll buy you a present; she’s incredibly generous that way.

And she’ll always tell you to save money and get out.

It’s frustrating to her when girls call at the end of the month

and say they need rent money.

She wants to see you do well.





We had a schedule, with cards that indicated a client’s name,

what he liked,

the names of the girls he’d seen,

and how long he’d been with them.

And I only hired girls who had another career

—if my clients had a choice between drop-dead-gorgeous

and beautiful-and-interesting,

they’d tend to take beautiful-and-interesting.

These men wanted to talk.

If they spent two hours with a girl,

they usually spent only five or ten minutes in bed.



I get the feeling that in Los Angeles, men are more concerned with looks.



XXVIII.

That was my big idea

Not to expand the book by aggressive marketing

but to make sure that nobody

mistook my girls for run-of-the-mill hookers.

And I kept my roster fresh.

This was not a business where you peddle your ***,

get exploited,

and then are cast off.

I screen clients. I’ve never sent girls to weirdos.

I let the men know:

no violence,

no costumes,

no fudge-packing.

And I talked to my girls. I’d tell them:

Two and a half years and you’re burned out.

Save your money.

This is like a hangar

—you come in, refuel, and take off.

It’s not a vacation, it’s not a goof.

This buys the singing lessons,

the dancing lessons,

the glossies.

This is to help you pay for what your parents couldn’t provide.

It’s an honorable way station—a lot of stars did this.



XXIX.

To say someone was a Claude girl is an honour, not a slur.



Une femme terrible.

She despised men and women alike.

Men were wallets. Women were holes.



By the 80s,

if you were a brunette,

the sky was the limit.

The Saudis

They’d call for half a dozen of Alex’s finest,

ignore them all evening while they

chatted,

ate,

and played cards,

and then, around midnight,

take the women inside for a fast few minutes of ***.



They’d order women up like pizza.



Since my second husband died,

I only met one man who was right for me,

He was a sheikh.

I visited him in Europe

twenty-eight times

in the five years I knew him

and I never slept with him.

He’d say

I think you fly all the way here just to tease me,

but he introduced me

by phone

to all his powerful friends.

When I was in Los Angeles, he called me twice a day.

That’s why I never went out

he would have been disappointed.



***.

Listen to me

This is a woman’s business.

When a woman does it, it’s fun

there’s a giggle in it

when a man’s involved,

he’s ******,

he’s a ****.

He may know how to keep girls in line,

and he may make money,

but he doesn’t know what I do.

I tell guys: You’re getting a nice girl.

She’s young,

She’s pleasant,

She can do things

she can certainly make love.

She’s not a rocket scientist, but she’s everything else.



The world’s richest and most powerful men, the announcer teased.

An income “in the millions,” said the arresting officer.

Pina Colapinto

A petite call girl,

who once slid between the sheets of royalty,

a green-eyed blonde helped the police get the indictment.

They really dolled her up

She looks great.

Never!

What I told her was: ‘Wash that ******.’





XXXI.

Madam Alex died at 7 p.m.

Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,

where she had been in intensive care after recent open heart surgery

We all held her hand when they took her off the life support

This was the passing of a legend.

Because she was the mother superior of prostitution.

She was one of the richest women on earth.

The world came to her.

She never had to leave the house.

She was like Hugh Hefner in that way.


It's like losing a friend

In all the years we played cat and mouse,

she never once tried to corrupt me.

We had a lot of fun.


To those who knew her

she was as constant

as she was colorful

always ready with a good tidbit of gossip

and a gourmet lunch for two.

She entertained, even after her conviction on pandering charges,

from the comfy depths of her blue four-poster bed at her home near Doheny Drive,

surrounded by knickknacks and meowing cats,

which she fed fresh shrimp from blue china plates.



XXXII.

She stole my business,

my books,

my girls,

my guys.

I had a good run.

My creatures.

Make Mommy happy

Oh! He is the most enchanting cat that I have ever known.



She was, how can I say it,

classy.

When she first hired me

she thought I was too young to take her case.

I was 43.

I'm going to give you some gray hairs by the time this is over.

She was right.





XXXIII.

I was fond of Heidi

But she has a streak that is so vindictive.



If there is pure evil, it is Madame Alex.





XXXIV.

I was born and raised in L.A.

My dad was a famous pediatrician.

When he died, they donated a bench to him at the Griffith Park Observatory.



I think that Heidi wanted to try her wings

pretty early,

and I think that she met some people

who sort of took all her potential

and gave it a sharp turn



She knew nothing.

She was like a little parrot who repeated what she was supposed to say.



Alex and I had a very intense relationship;

I was kind of like the daughter she loved and hated,

so she was abusive and loving at the same time.



Look, I know Madam Alex was great at what she did

but it's like this:

What took her years to build,

I built in one.

The high end is the high end,

and no one has a higher end than me.

In this business, no one steals clients.

There's just better service.



XXXV.

You were not allowed to have long hair

You were not allowed to be too pretty

You were not allowed to wear too much makeup or be too glamorous

Because someone would fall in love with you and take you away.

And then she loses the business



XXXVI.

I was pursued because

come on

in our lifetime,

we will never see another girl of my age

who lived the way I did,

who did what I did so quickly,

I made so many enemies.

Some people had been in this line of business

for their whole lives, 30 or 40 years,

and I came in and cornered the market.

Men don't like that.

Women don't like that.

No one liked it.



I had this spiritual awakening watching an Oprah Winfrey video.

I was doing this 500-hour drug class

and one day the teacher showed us this video,

called something like Make It Happen.

Usually in class I would bring a notebook

and write a letter to my brother or my journal,

but all of a sudden this grabbed my attention

and I understood everything she said.

It hit me and it changed me a lot.

It made me feel,

Accept yourself for who you are.

I saw a deeper meaning in it

but who knows, I might have just been getting my period that day!



XXXVII.

Hello, Gina!

You movie star!

Yes you are!

Gina G!

Hello my friend,

Hello my friend,

Hello my movie star,

Ruby! Ruby Boobie!

Braaawk!

Except so many women say,

Come on, Heidi

you gotta do the brothel for us; don't let us down.

It would be kind of fun opening up an exclusive resort,

and I'll make it really nice,

like the Beverly Hills Hotel

It'll feel private; you'll have your own bungalow.

The only problem out here is the climate—it's so brutal.

Charles Manson was captured a half hour from Pahrump.



I said, Joe! What are you doing?

You gotta get, like,

a garter belt and encase it in something

and write,

This belonged to Suzette Whatever,

who entertained the Flying Tigers during World War II.

Get, like, some weird tools and write,

These were the first abortion tools in the brothel,

you know what I mean?

Just make some **** up!

So I came out here to do some research

And then I realized,

What am I doing?

I'm Heidi Fleiss. I don't need anyone.

I can do this.

When I was doing my research, in three months

I saw land go from 30 thousand an acre

to 50 thousand an acre,

and then it was going for 70K!

It's urban sprawl

—we're only one hour from Las Vegas.

Out here the casinos are only going to get bigger,

prostitution is legal, it's only getting better.





XXXVIII.

The truth is

deep down inside,

I just can't do business with him

He's the type of guy who buys Cup o' Noodles soup for three cents

and makes his hookers buy it back from him for $5.

It's not my style at all.

Who wants to be 75 and facing federal charges?

It was different at my age when I

at least...come on, I lived really well.

I was 22,

25 at the time?

It was fun then, but now I wouldn't want

to deal with all that *******

—the girls and blah blah blah.

But the money was really good.



I would've told someone they were out of their ******* mind

if they'd said in five years I'd be living with all these animals like this.

It's hard-core; how I live;

It's totally a nonfunctional atmosphere for me

It's hard to get anything done because

It’s so time-consuming.

I feel like they're good luck though....

I do feel that if I ever get rid of them,

I will be jinxed and cursed the rest of my life

and nothing I do will ever work again.



Guys kind of are a hindrance to me

Certainly I have no problem getting laid or anything.

But a man is not a priority in my life.

I mean, it's crazy, but I really have fun with my parrots.



XXXIX.

I started a babysitting circle when I wasn't much older than 9

And soon all the parents in the neighborhood

wanted me to watch over their children.

Even then I had an innate business sense.

I started farming out my friends

to meet the demand.

My mother showered me with love and my father,

a pediatrician,

would ask me at the dinner table,

What did you learn today?

I ran my neighborhood.

I just pick up a hustle really easily,

I was a waitress and I met an older guy who looked like Santa Claus.



Alex was a 5' 3" bald-headed Filipina

in a transparent muu muu.

We hit it off.

I didn't know at the time that I was there to pay off the guy's gambling debt.

It's in and out,

over and out.

Do you think some big-time producer

or actor is going to go to the clubs and hustle?



Columbia Pictures executive says:

I haven’t done anything that should cause any concern.

Jeez, it's like the Nixon enemies list.

I hope I'm on it.

If I'm not, it means I must not be big enough

for people to gossip about me.



That's right ladies and gentlemen.

I am an alleged madam and that is a $25 *****!

If you live out here,

you've got to hate people.

You've got to be pretty antisocial

How you gonna come out here with only 86 people?

That's Fred.

He's digging to China.

You look good.

Yeah, you too.

It's coming along here.

Yeah, it is.

I wanted to buy that lot there, but I guess it's gone?

That's mine, man! That's all me.

Really?

I thought there was a lot between us.

No. We're neighbors.



He's a cute guy

He's entertaining.

See, I kind of did do something shady to him.

I thought my property went all the way back

and butted up against his.

But there was one lot between us right there.

He said he was buying it,

but I saw the 'For Sale' sign still up there,

So I went and called the broker and said,

I'm an all-cash buyer.

So I really bought it out from under him.

But he's got plenty of room, and I need the space for my parrots.

Pahrump will always be Pahrump, but Crystal is going to be nice

All you need are four or five fancy houses and it'll flush everyone out

and it'll be a nice area.

They're all kind of weird here, but these people will go.

Like this guy here,

someone needs to **** him.

I was just saying to my dad that these parrots are born to a really ******-up world

He goes, Heidi, no, no; the world is a beautiful garden.

It's just, people are destroying it.

I’m looking into green building options

I don't want anything polluting,

I want a huge auditorium,

but it'll be like a jungle where my birds can really fly!

Where they can really do what they're supposed to do.

There were over 300 birds in there!

That lady,

She ran the exotic-birds department for the Tropicana Hotel,

which is a huge job.

She called me once at 3:30 in the morning

Come over here and help me feed this baby!

Some baby parrot.

And I ran over there in my pajamas

—I knew there was something else wrong

and she was like

Get me my oxygen!

Get me this, get me that.

I called my dad; he was like,

I don't know, honey, you better call the paramedics.

They ended up getting a helicopter.

And they were taking her away

in the wind with her IV and blood and everything

and she goes, Heidi, you take care of my birds.

And she dies the next day.

She was just a super-duper person.



XL.

I relate to the lifestyle she had before,

Now, I'm just a citizen.

I'm clean,

I'm sober,

I'm married,

I work at Wal-Mart.

I'm proud to say I know her. I look into her eyes

and we relate.





I got out in 2000,

so I've been sending her money for seven years

She was…whatever.

Girlfriend?

Yeah, maybe.

But ***, I tried like two times,

and I'm just not gay.

She gets out in about eight or nine months

and I told her I would get her a house.

But nowhere near me.

I didn't touch her,

but I'd be, like...

a funny story:

I told her,

Don't you ever ******* think

about contacting me in the real world.

I'm not a lesbian.

Then about two years ago, I got an e-mail from her,

or she called me and said, 'Google my name.'

So I Googled her name,

and she has this huge company.

Huge!

She won, like, Woman of the Year awards.

So I called her and I go,

Not bad.

She goes, 'Well, I did all that because you called me a loser.'

I go, '****, I should've called you more names

you probably would've found the cure for cancer by now.



XLI.

No person shall be employed by the licensee

who has ever been convicted of

a felony involving moral turpitude

But I qualify,

I mean, big deal, so I'm a convicted felon.

Being in the *** industry, you can't be so squeaky-clean.

You've got to be hustling.

Nighttime is really enchanting here

It's like a whole 'nother world out here, it really is

I’m so far removed from my social life and old surroundings.

Who was it, Oscar Wilde, I think, who said

people can adjust to anything.

I was perfectly adjusted in the penitentiary,

and I was perfectly adjusted to living in a château in France.



We had done those drug addiction shows together

Dr. Drew.

Afterward we were friendly

and he'd call me every now and then.

He'd act like he had his stuff together.

But it was all a lie.

Everything is a lie.

I brought him to a Humane Society event at Paramount Studios last year.

He was just such a mess.

So out of it.

He stole money from my purse.

He's such a drug addict because he's so afraid of being fat.

He liked horse ****, though. He did like horse ****.

This one woman that would have *** with a horse on the internet,

He told me that’s his favorite actress.

Better than Meryl Streep.



XLII.

The cops could see

why these women were taking over trade.

Girls with these looks charged upwards of $500 an hour.

The Russians had undercut them with a bargain rate of $150 an hour.

One thing they are not is lazy.

In the USSR

they grew up with no religion, no morality.

Prostitution is not considered a bad thing.

In fact, it’s considered a great way to make money.

That’s why it’s exploding here.

What we saw was just a tip of the iceberg.

These girls didn’t come over here expecting to be nannies.

They knew exactly what they wanted and what they were getting into.

The madam who organized this raid

was making $4 million a year,

laundered through Russian-owned banks in New York City

These are brutal people.

They are all backstabbers.

They’re entrepreneurs.

They’re looking at $10,000 a month for turning tricks.

For them, that’s the American dream.



XLIII.

If you’re not into something,

don’t be into it

But,

if you want to take some whipped cream,

put it between your toes,

have your dog licking it up and,

at the same time,

have your girlfriend poke you in the eye,

then that’s fine.

That’s a little weird but we shouldn’t judge.



She was my best friend then

and I consider her one of my best friends now,

because when I was going through Riker’s

and everyone abandoned me,

including my boyfriend,

I was hysterical,

crying,

and she was the one that was there.

And, when somebody needed to step up to the plate,

that’s who did, and I have an immense amount of

loyalty, respect, and love for her.

And if she’s going to prison for eight years

—that’s what she’s sentenced for

—I’ll go there,

and I’ll go there every week,

for eight years.

That’s the type of person I am.
Carter Ginter Aug 2018
Dear Bri,

My therapist asked me if
I thought I should
Write you a letter for closure
I was confused and said no
I was done with us
Over it
That was a few months ago
I can see now
What she might have seen then
I am carrying a lot of anger
A lot of pain and resentment
Because of the way you treated me
And how victimized you painted yourself
As you shamed me publicly
All over social media
For "cheating" on you when
We definitely have different understandings
Of what constitutes cheating
And then you took it a step further
To spread your delusions about me
When we could've had a conversation

You shamed me so hard at the end
Because "you didn't even know me anymore"
When you clearly didn't know me at all
I told you when we first met
I do not want kids and
I never want to get married
And you were surprised
After year and a half
When you bring it up
And I tell you again
I do not want that life
You cried and said we would be nothing then
So I bought you a ring
I figured, whatever
If we were going to be forever
I might as will compromise
Something you didn't understand much at all
Especially when it came to ***

After we broke up
You wrote me a letter
In it you attacked me for
Never having *** when you wanted
Since you'd have it with me
When you didn't want to
(Something I was very unaware of
And extremely not ok with)
Apparently I should've done the same
But I didn't want *** if you didn't
I could've ******* myself if that were the case
I didn't ask you to do that for me
I wish you didn't
Because love isn't about *** frequency
It's more about communication
And honesty
And I'm not perfect at that
But I tried

When I sent you an article
About why I avoid ***
Due to a ****** assault
You got mad at me
"What am I supposed to do,
Just wait until you're ready?"
Yes.
If you respected me
Then you would

And when I talked to you about
My interest in polyamory
You didn't give me a chance
To even discuss it more
You immediately said no
And that was that
You said you wouldn't change your mind
Which I should have known since
When I became friends with
A member of the church do you dragged me to
(Even though I'm an atheist)
You were mad because they were poly
And you didn't want me "getting any ideas"
And when that approach didn't work
You claimed that my being friends with them
Conflicted with your friendship with another member
Because they were connected negatively through an ex
Because we can't have our own friends?

But that's exactly what I needed
Because you shamed me so hard
For the things I care about most
That I lost myself in us
I no longer existed
Because I was "too radical"

So you didn't really love me
Because you didn't know me
You loved who you made me
Or whoever you saw in your mind
And somehow you were surprised
When I decided to leave
Because of course you did nothing wrong
But I was suffocating
So I left to explore myself
And my potential polyamorous identity

But then you were willing to try it
You didn't want to lose me
So you said you'd try an open relationship
But
Only under strict guidelines
And if I didn't agree to them
You wouldn't try
You called it "compromise"
But there's a huge difference
Between boundaries
And rules
That's not how polyamory thrives
So I left.

And a few months later
We talked about it again
You gave me more rules
"No other romantic partners "
Which would've required me
To leave who I was presently seeing
Just to have *** with randoms
And commit emotionally
Only to you
But I also had to agree
To eventually move up north with you
Regardless of my own life aspirations
Because I never really mattered to you
Only the fake picture you had of me

And all of those rules
Occurred while you simultaneously
Shamed polyamory
And me for wanting it
Because "I just didn't want to commit"
It is "an abomination"
"Disgusting"
Just because you didn't understand it
Because you were afraid of it

You didn't understand me
But you "loved" me
And you were the victim
Right?
I'm not saying I'm not at fault
But you are too
This series is extremely important to me. It has drastically helped with closure over past unhealthy relationships. They were all unhealthy I'm largely different ways and I did not write these to take away my own fault in the breakups, but I wrote this to rid myself of the unnecessary guilt I have been carrying around because of things that these exes have said to me or the ways in which they treated me. This project is about self-love. Not about hatred or wishing ill will upon others, because I wish them nothing but happiness. This is for me.
The Mermaid (Part One)

The evening was cool
and the sky was so clear
And ripples of waves
were all I could hear

The moon shone bright
and stars twinkled on high
Then from out of nowhere
came so seductive a sigh

I looked out to sea
to whence this sound came
And my eyes did believe
they were playing a game

For as waves lapped around
a rock out at sea
I saw a beautiful vision
who was staring at me

Naked as love
she sat all alone
On that rising edifice
of black granite stone

Her body so wondrous
that I shook with such lust
But a smile so pure
that my thoughts were unjust

Her hair was entangled
with luscious green kelp
That protected her modesty
without man-made help

It hung down over *******
so excitingly full
And covered the parts
that are made to enthral

My mind quickly taken
by this girl of my dreams
But as I looked closer
all was not as it seems

For legs this beauty
was completely bereft
And a long fishy tail
was all she had left

Then with a smile
that made my heart still
She slipped into the water
and I saw she was real

For she dived like a dolphin
under azure sea
And all that was left
were the ripples and me



The End........or is it?



The Mermaid (Part Two)

The man with the tear soaked eyes walked along the beach for the thousandth time, his hands were shaking and his lips quivering in the cold, he constantly looked out to sea, where was she, would she ever return, would she mend his broken heart. He had but caught a fleeting glimpse of this beauty as she preened herself on that ancient granite rock, but a glimpse was all it had taken; he was completely besotted by this angel from the deep.
Even now, weeks after the event he could still see every tiny detail of his wondrous vision, the sparkling brown eyes that outshone the sun, and the kelp entangled hair that seemed to be alive with light and glistened with the reflection from the moon. Her heaving ******* that had caused the man in him to want her body for his own ****** pleasures, and that oh so innocent smile that had replaced the pure animal lust within him with a more protective desire to take her in his arms and cherish her.
He had not kept her appearance a secret, he had told everyone he had met, and he had talked and talked and talked. He wanted to tell everyone about his dream girl, his mermaid from the deep, his beautiful fish tailed siren. But would they listen to him? The answer was no, a resounding no. He was laughed at, ridiculed, pointed at and made out to be the village idiot, just because he wanted to share what he had seen. But he didn’t care, he would see her again, he knew he would see her again; he had to see her again, otherwise, well otherwise he would go crazy.
Another tear ran down his face as he once again looked at the vacant rock where his angel had once sat and realised that maybe they were right, maybe he was mad, just a demented old fool, someone that had let his dreams overtake reality. His heart wrenched tear fell to the sand and along with his hopes and dreams soaked into nothingness; He turned away and looked no more, he must preserve his sanity at all costs so he walked away and returned to the boredom of his sad uneventful life.
So he was not there an hour later when a ripple formed in the water as a dream like beauty pulled herself from the sea and perched on her favourite granite rock. She looked around, but he was not there, maybe it was her imagination but she was sure she had seen love in his eyes, maybe if she waited he would return, but no, she was being foolish, she slipped off the rock once more and plunged deep into the dark forbidding sea, back to reality she told herself, back in the water where nobody could see her tears.

The End
sd Jul 2013
Do you remember?

Do you remember hanging out during the clinic?
We all got on the bus, heading to the clinic. K- and G- tried to make me sit next to you,
filling my seat with violins, trying to force me to sit next to you, but I resisted,
so embarrassed. I listened to my mp3player and talked to K- and G- and Sa- and J-. K- and I played punch-buggy and she got me way more times than I did. You and I  more or less ignored each other. We didn't talk for a while, until there was a break.
I don't remember how or why, but you ended up with one of my earphones,
and we were listening to my music, (thank god we like the same stuff)
and K- and G- came over and invited us to that elementary school game,
where you get in a close circle and grab hands with two people and try to untangle everyone without
un-clasping hands. I just grabbed two people's hands but K- and G- forced me to grab your hands
and I'm sure I was blushing.
Fast forward a while, 'til we were breaking again, all of us from P- High School huddled in a corner,
K- made me sit next to you, elbow to elbow, thigh to thigh. She was sitting half on my legs and you were telling me about the time that Br- ate your pizza and why you wouldn't give him any of your
Mountain Dew that you had in your backpack. You showed me the seven cans you had and the
power strip you brought to charge phones. Then you gave me a Mountain Dew and we talked,
and I was showing you the video that I always hoped no one saw me watching because of how
creepy it is, and we walked to the auditorium and
my heart was running a million miles a minute and my hands were shaking as we talked
and we sat together in the auditorium, listening to our Zune's and you were telling me about
how you had several seasons of Adventure Time on yours and then we watched
"Burning Low", the episode where Finn is going out with Flame Princess and it was so cute
but then G- ruined it by coming over and pulling out your earphone and watching the video for a few seconds. But he went away and we talked for so long and you made me laugh so loud that Ms. R-
shushed me.
Eventually we went to lunch and I didn't really eat because of my hypoglycemia and we talked forever over pizza and Mountain Dew.
Skip forward a few hours, going home on the bus, sitting side by side, singing along to songs, until we got back to the school, hanging out until our respective adults picked us up.
You and I were last, listening to my Zune, and I was standing on the feet of the piano, so we were closer
in height and I was petting your hair (the first time of what will be many) and we went outside to wait, listening to Caraphernelia as my aunt pulled up, deciding to "punish" me for not calling in time,
yelling out her car window that my "***** looked bigger." I glared and yelled that I didn't think my band-mate really needed to hear that and she laughed and I waved goodbye to you.
Not long later, Sh- called and we were talking and she said that
you said that you definitely liked me.
One of the happiest moments of my life, until then.
s Oct 2016
We used to swing under the big willow tree
We lived 3 doors down from each other
We were princesses who fought dragons
We could save the kingdom and find our prince by lunch time
Our moms laughed and talked about how cute we were
Four years old was a cute age

Fast forward a bit
We went into elementary school innocent and young
Boys had cooties
Girls had cooties
Kickball always ended with someone getting hit in the face
We would always sit out field and pick grass and shape it into a little birds nest
Life was good
Until your parents started fighting and I mean really fighting.
It scared me and I would have to go home
I would make you come with me
three doors down
Our moms didn’t laugh anymore
By Christmas break your parents were broken up and divorced
Eight years old was a confusing age

Junior high was mean.
Girls would rip you to shreds and then hang pieces of you on everyone’s lockers
Boys just wanted to make out
A whirlwind of uncontrolled hormones
We were the quiet ones
Always flew under the radar
Just trying to make it out alive
We found a little spot to eat lunch under the stairs where no one would go
We giggled and talked about boys who didn’t even know that we existed
I remember crying in the bathroom with you because people were brutal and we weren’t good enough
Our moms worried about us and how distant we were becoming
Thirteen years old was a sad age

Highschool is another story
You were put in the hospital for a month
I was left at school alone
I had to find more friends
I found most of them were fake
So I ate my lunch in a bathroom stall
Reading all the swear words that were carved in the wall
You were really sick and we grew apart
We were always close
We will always love each other
You tried to save me from myself
But I didn’t let you
Seventeen was an important age

Now we are at different colleges
I tried to **** myself while you were getting an A on your anatomy test
It’s sad
We don’t swing under the big willow tree or fight dragons anymore
Our moms hardly talk
You are a success
and I am a failure
We don’t really mesh
I miss you every day
I’m sorry I can’t be good enough for you
We were princesses who lived three doors down, we saved the kingdom.
I love you
I’m sorry this has faded
Just like everything else
Nineteen years old is a dying age.
Really just a story
Hae Sun Aug 2018
I could’ve woken you up in the morning and could’ve been the sun that rises even when we both live in a place where it never does.
I could’ve taken you to museums, at least 2 of where I’ve been to. The first one, we’ll have to take the bus because I’d tell you that I’m too lazy to drive but for the second one, I will tell you that I’ll drive you there.
My car would look at me as though it knows that there is another soul seating in the passenger seat – it was no longer some books, a box of pizza, or my dog.
I could’ve taken photos of you in that place, post them everywhere but subtly so that they can see that there are at least 2 forms of art in that photo — the one you’re looking at and the one I’m looking at.
I could’ve talked to you at night under the stars, in the same rooftop where I told you that I liked the cathartic experience of doing just what we could’ve done; the same rooftop where you talked about your life, at least some pieces of it.
I could’ve brought you to where I used to study. We could’ve walked the halls that stared at me for being too alone and too lonely only so I could tell them, “Hey, here he is, finally.” and they could’ve smiled at me because they know how long the longing lasted.
We could’ve taken a stroll in the shade of the trees or could’ve had a picnic there while watching the joggers and the sunset.
I could’ve introduced you to my friends – they’ve been meaning to meet you. They too know how long I’ve been stuck on an island by myself. They know who I was when I was eleven and when I was sixteen and I bet, if you gave them a chance, you could’ve heard the crazy things we did.
And maybe they could’ve liked you. They could’ve told me how lucky I was and probably would’ve warned me that if I hurt you, they’d stick with you instead of me.
I could’ve introduced you to my family — my mom liked you even then. I could’ve introduced you to my little brother who I would consider as the biggest and most important judge of character because I believe that children can sense goodness in people and he could’ve seen that in you.
I could’ve written you letters, could’ve left random little tokens I would've used for all the words I cannot muster to say.
I could’ve played the piano for you even if I just know, at most, 3 songs; even though I don’t really know how to read notes at all.
I could’ve introduced you to the artists I like and I could’ve known more of yours. I could’ve listened to them and I would have had to remember you every time.
I could’ve held your hand, could’ve eaten brunch with you, could’ve read you a poem.
I could’ve loved you — could have – if I was the given the chance.
But, I was and I could’ve used it but I didn’t.
my idea of an “us”
Shannon Ulmer Jul 2010
Chapter 1
A man wearing a black suit and tie stood at the pew of a church. He had an anxious look on his face. Where is she? He thought. It was his wedding day, yet the room was strangely empty. Not a single person had showed up so far. Not even the priest. There were no flowers, no music, nothing. All there was were empty chairs and an occasional cockroach scuttling across the floor. Maybe I got the date wrong...No, I doubt that. We talked about it all night. Just then the large mahogany doors creaked open and he saw her. Her dress…god it was gorgeous. Pure white, not a speck of dirt on it. It flowed around her shoeless feet. She appeared to be walking on air. He was utterly stunned, not able to say a word, not able to think. She was so beautiful…Her eyes, a deep shade of blue stared back at him and they became all he could see. But as he stared, something in them died. The light just left. The glimmer she always had disappeared. They looked more and more like glass eyes on a doll than the ones that belonged to his lover. Dark circles surrounded them as a thin film covered them and took away every bit of life that was left. And then they shut. The next thing he knew, he was standing over her dead body, crying. The soft velvet lining in the coffin turning the tears into little beads that rolled down the creases.
Chapter 2
My eyes opened and I took in my surroundings, wondering where I was until I realized it was just my own room. My pillow was wet with tears and my hands shaky. Then I remembered, she died. But that couldn’t be. It just wasn’t right. I rolled over in my bed too see if she was there. Much to my relief she was, her brown hair resting on the pillow. I reached out to touch it and took in the soft scent of lavender. It felt like silk slipping through my fingers. A soft moan escaped from her throat as she rolled over and faced me.
“Hi,” she whispered in a voice that was scratchy and barely audible but **** at the same time. I just stared back at her deep blue eyes and felt the tears build up behind my eyes. “What’s wrong?” she asked a pitiful look on her face.
“Nothing, just another bad dream.” I replied nonchalantly.
She sat up in the bed, stroking her hair. “You didn’t take your sleeping pill last night did you? You were tossing all night long.”
I just stared at her back. We both knew the answer. I hadn’t. I’d been skimping on my meds recently. I was getting married in a week and needed to give the meds time to completely wear off. I didn’t want the pills taking away my feelings. I wanted the full experience. Besides I thought I was getting better. There were no more voices whispering my name and I no longer talked to my dead sister, who apparently was just a hallucination my mind created to help deal with the pain of losing her. They said that it in no way meant I was insane. They called it a defense mechanism. They said it was my body’s way of protecting me. But I saw their thoughts in their eyes. I saw how frightened they were at my insanity, how they kept their distance from me, avoiding me like I was infected with the plague.
I remembered how healthy, how happy she had been. She’d had her whole life ahead of her but when she was nineteen I had taken her down to the Gulf of Mexico with Kasey, my fiancée. I couldn’t have one without the other. It was through Sarah that I met Kasey and through Kasey that I saved Sarah. I had figured that I would take the two most important people in my life to the beach for spring break but now I regret it.
I just remember Sarah’s smiling face, mocking me and Kasey as we held each other on the shore, our toes tickled by the gentle water.  Without warning a scream escaped her mouth as she was pulled under against her will. She didn’t leave the water until the following morning when her body washed up on shore. A shark had bitten one of her legs clean off. Her face was pale, her eyes open, not seeing through the milky film surrounding them and her lips stained a dark blue color. For so long I had been convinced that she had escaped. I saw her on the streets, in my apartment, in my car everywhere. Sometimes we just waved or said hi and we went on with our days but sometimes I had long drawn out conversations with her. I remember the day I proposed to Kasey that she had been waiting for me outside the apartment and we had talked for hours about how happy I was going to be with her and how I am so lucky to be able to have someone like her. Even seeing her body in that black coffin surrounded by white lilies didn’t bring the truth to me. It just felt like an insane dream when I stood up and recounted our good times during the eulogy and when I held Kasey tight in the cemetery where she now rests. I was absolutely convinced that she had lived. She couldn’t be dead I saw her, I talked to her, I hugged her. But all those psychologists said she was. They all said the hallucination was just how my brain was choosing to deal with it. Instead of becoming clinically depressed, I just chose to deny it.
Other than the hallucinations, I haven’t really dealt with her death. It still doesn’t feel real; even if I don’t see her anymore. Although she’s six feet under next to our parents, I can’t believe it. I’m just waiting for the day it hits me. The day I’ll want to do nothing but look at pictures of her as I’m locked in my room crying. But surely it won’t be soon. I’m marrying Kasey in a week and then everything will be perfect for a while.
Chapter 3
The weeks before our wedding was spent running about the streets of St. Augustine. Kasey boasted to me for days about how gorgeous she would be in her dress and how I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off her. We were having a small wedding, neither of us really had a family left and we didn’t have too many friends being as I could never keep one job for too long, let alone live in one place for a while. I usually ended up working as a waiter somewhere or in a small store. I really relied on Kasey for most of my money though.
Kasey had modeled at one point in her life and still had some money left over from it. I kept telling her to get back into it but she always said no, claiming the people in the business were shallow and ignorant. A little over a year after we’d met, she was getting pretty well known. Her agent was a scumbag who would milk absolutely everything he could from her, even if it meant turning to pornographic modeling. He was going to get as much money as he possibly could from her so he paid, literally paid, a new male model to date her. His name was Jacob Fischer. Apparently the guy was stupid enough to tell Kasey that he hadn’t been paid enough to take her anywhere really expensive. I remember when Kasey showed up at my house drenched in rain, crying. I tried to make her as comfortable as possible in my dinghy apartment. Apparently all she needed was my love. That was the first time that we admitted how much we loved each other. The only other time we admitted it was when I proposed to her. Our wedding day drew nearer and nearer until the night of our rehearsal dinner.
It took place at the Sun Dial, where I worked. We were all wearing our dress suits and the ladies wore dresses that glittered and shone in the dim lighting. We sat and drank champagne as we watched the city of Atlanta revolve around us. You could see the street lights and malls and other buildings. From our view the Golden Dome looked beautiful. I sat down sipping my wine and letting the constant chatter of the place engulf me. I was completely lost in my thoughts as Kasey sat down next to me and everyone began clapping. “Go on,” She whispered, “it’s time for the toast.” I stood up and the volume of the clapping increased.
I cleared my throat. “I can’t tell you all how flattered I am to be able to have Kasey’s hand in marriage. It’s very rare that a guy like me ends up with someone as beautiful as her,” I paused, listening to the dead silence and continued, “No really though, I am honored to be able to have her become part of my family.” I looked at the very last table and saw Sarah sitting there smiling at me. “And I’m sure that Sarah is excited to have her as her sister-in-law. Isn’t that right Sarah?” There was no reply, only stunned faces staring back at me.
Sarah was gone. I could feel all those eyes boring holes in me as my face grew hot. Kasey stood up and took my arm, “Will you excuse us please?” she pulled me of the rotating floor and towards the door of the restaurant. “What is wrong with you?” she was practically yelling. I could see the tears welling up behind her eyes. “She really was there. Sarah was sitting in the back of the room smiling at me.” I tried to tell her the truth. “No. No Parker. You’re the only one who saw her. She’s been dead for over two years now.” She looked me straight in the eyes, begging me to believe her. “You can’t just quit taking your meds like that! Normal people don’t see their dead sisters at the rehearsal dinner and most of them don’t talk to her during the toast!” I couldn’t say anything; I just looked at her. “I love you Parker, I really do. You’re the only person in this world that I feel truly understands me but you’re insane! Nothing will bring her back. I know you don’t understand that she really is gone but you have to move on. It hurts me as much as it does you. I loved her too and if you would just pull your head out of your *** you would see that there are so many other people that did too but we’ve all dealt with it and moved on.” I could tell she was trying really hard to hold back the tears but they just kept rolling down her face, painting it with bleeding mascara.
I reached out and hugged her. “I’m so sorry Kasey. I just don’t know what happened back there…” she pushed me back and stared at me in disbelief.
“You know what? **** it. You’ve completely lost your mind. How do you expect me to be able to marry someone who talks to dead people?!” her chest was heaving with effort. She was yelling at me louder than she ever had before. “Just…Just come find me whenever you find your ******* mind.” She shoved me away from her slipped in the elevator just as its doors closed.
“Kasey! Wait!” I called desperately after her. I stood by the window completely dumbfounded. My breath fogged up the glass that my hand rested on.
Chapter 4
I lay in my bed that night, staring at the water stained ceiling. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Thinking about how I had hurt her, of how she had run away and how I had been too stunned to go and face all those people that had just witnessed me talking to a hallucination. I hadn’t done that in so long…What happened? Why did she blow up like that at me? It’s not like I meant to, I mean just because it’s the first time I’ve done it in a couple months doesn’t give her a right to get so mad does it? I’m not insane…at least I don’t think I am. But maybe she’s right. Maybe I am. Insane and depressed. I thought as I rolled over in my bed and brought my legs up to my chest. My eyes landed where her head would usually be. I felt a wave of extreme hopelessness rush over me as I thought of her. I really did love her. But maybe she just can’t make herself love me. Maybe the insane aren’t meant to be loved. We’re all destined to a life of loneliness and tears. All those who try to help us don’t really care. They all just come and go like birds in the change of seasons. The world never stops changing, never stops moving. Neither do we, but we never go up, we only fall deeper and deeper until we’ve lost it completely. That’s when we start sitting in a rocking chair all day mumbling nonsense to ourselves. By then no one cares anymore; we all just become lost causes. There is no hope anymore. Not for us.
It felt like someone had ripped my heart right out of my chest. That was how bad it felt to know she didn’t want to be with me. I would rather her have died knowing that she loved me than have her living knowing she doesn’t give a ****.  This way she was dead to me, but only me; just like my sister was dead to everyone but me. She told me to come find her when I found my mind, but how do I find it if I’ve never lost it? I just can not believe I’m insane. Surely she would come back to me if I could just talk to her. She had always loved me no matter how crazy I got. What made now different? I had to make it up to her. I would find her in the morning and hold her tight for the rest of the day. We didn’t have to get married if she didn’t want to. If she was just looking for an excuse not to marry me, why didn’t she just tell me that she wasn’t ready yet? That would’ve been easier for me to take than this. Anything would be.
The beast that had my heart in their hands rolled it around, feeling the warmth and stickiness of blood on their hands. They held still for a moment and then squeezed it until it burst, gushing blood between their fingers. I screamed into my pillow and then succumbed to the unavoidable sobs.
Chapter 5
Sleep never came to me that night. I just lay there; thinking about her, imagining her, missing her. She was all I thought about. She was the only thing I thought about as I slipped some clean clothes on and headed out of the apartment that smelled like mildew.
The streets were too crowded for me to take my car and after ten minutes of waiting for a cab, I decided to walk. Besides, I didn’t even really know where I was going yet. I tried to think of where she would go if she felt like she needed to get away. Then it hit me, Oakland Cemetery. She would probably be visiting Sarah’s grave. I flagged down a taxi and went to find her.
Upon stepping inside the cemetery I became aware of the ancient graves. In a way it was a beautiful sight. The headstones jutting out of the ground; it just brought me a feeling of peace. A thousand souls rested here, many centuries old. Most people find it somewhat creepy, but it’s fascinating to me. There’s so much history buried beneath this earth, it just astounded me to think of all these people coming to rest all in one place. I could just imagine all the things these people did, all their accomplishments. I walked up hill towards Sarah’s grave. There it was. The graves were more modern here, no headstones stuck out of the ground, they all lay parallel to the bodies beneath them.  And just as I suspected a human figure was kneeling on the ground. It had to be Kasey, I mean how many people go the cemetery this early on a day when the sun shines bright and a light breeze tussles your hair? No one. No one would want to come here this morning.
I quietly crept towards the figure, whispering Kasey’s name. There was no response from the figure so I drew nearer and nearer.  With every step I took I noticed that something wasn’t right. Their backside was bare, and so far as I could tell, so was their front. They sat there, no movement at all, trapped in one moment of time. From the back, they looked like Kasey, they had the same hair and lying next to her was the dress that she’d worn last night. “Kasey?” I called out, waiting for an answer. Nothing stirred except for a couple of squirrels off in the distance. I reached out and touched her on the shoulder. I drew my hand back immediately as the awful stench of death filled my nostrils. I stood there stunned as the body fell back into the grass with a thud. It was definitely Kasey. She lay there, on top of Sarah’s grave staring up at me. There were long, deep gashes up her wrists. A knife clutched in her right hand, she had died, staining the earth with her blood. Her bloodshot eyes stared up at me with an eerie emptiness. Her face looked pained; you could almost see her last thoughts on it. Life isn’t worth living anymore, I’ve been betrayed one too many times so I’m just going to end it all right now and stop waiting for someone else to do it for me. My mind and body went completely numb. This wasn’t happening, No, I would wake up and it would all just be a dream. She couldn’t have killed herself, no, not her. She had always loved life. Always loved to go somewhere new, to get out there, try everything, and live life to the fullest. So why would she **** herself? It couldn’t possibly be my fault. I had never done anything to hurt her. I never could have. I had loved her way to much. I couldn’t be the re
Copyright Shannon Ulmer 2008
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Composed on 01:33, 27/02/2017 using Hello Poetry's 'Words' algorithm. We still don't assume this means something.
The first day I saw you, I knew that you were something else
A soul damaged by what the world had brought
I knew that you were just looking for a friend
Maybe a little something more

That day our teacher put us together, all of it changed
While the others in the pact worked off the act
We talked to each other like we have been there for long
You showed me the pain you felt
While I showed you that things will be alright
Every smile on your face
Every beam of light in your eyes
I miss those days where you were almost mine

I still remember all those long nights, where we talked on and on
I still remember the reds on your cheeks
From every moment I told the truth
I still remember trying to stand by your side, just wanting to let you know
I still remember waiting to see you each day
And feeling wasted when you would not show
Just one time I wanted to hear to say my name
I still remember how I was falling for you

We stayed friends for a while
I respected your wishes to stay that way
You were worried that you would loose my faith
When really it slowly grew
Just because I knew it was you

We grew closer each day
Our hearts still to the same beat
I thought this was something that could never go away
I made you a member of my growing empire
Everything was about to become part of legend
That was in till I tried to add one more

I still remember all those long nights, where we talked on and on
I still remember the reds on your cheeks
From every moment I told the truth
I still remember trying to stand by your side, just wanting to let you know
I still remember waiting to see you each day
And feeling wasted when you would not show
Just one time I wanted to hear to say my name
I wanted to make you mine
I still remember our first fight
I still remember seeing you cry
But I wanted you to know
I still remember how I was falling for you

When he came around we were falling apart
I felt he was an incoming danger
You thought that it was a lie
You stood by his side
I knew that he was trouble all along
But you wouldn't listen to a word I had to say

I still remember waiting for those long talks at night
I still remember regretting not warning you
Of the coming future that I saw
I still remember watching the lights in your eyes fade away
I still remember feeling the anger you held
Each and every time we met
I still tried to be there for you
But that devil burned everything we had
We both stayed friends with him
Then his real shades of black shown right through
I wanted to end his life
When I heard that he was throwing punches
They all stood trying to protect him
When all along I was trying to keep from others going through what we did
I guess its too late to even do that

I still remember all those long nights, where we talked on and on
I still remember the reds on your cheeks
From every moment I told the truth
I still remember trying to stand by your side, just wanting to let you know
I still remember waiting to see you each day
And feeling wasted when you would not show
Just one time I wanted to hear to say my name

My Dear Sunset Rose
Please just hear me say this
I am sorry for what I have done
I just wanted to keep you safe from harm
Just please remember this
I still remember how I was in love with you
Taylor McKee Dec 2012
I remember having conversations with you about all the things we would do. Camping, going to the zoo, having a barbecue. I was going to cook for you because you were always eating chicken nuggets while I was cooking myself real meals. I remember when you smiled because I said I wanted to spend all that time with you. I remember when you made me feel like those things might actually happen. I remember when you told me that I was amazing. And that you didn't understand why someone like me would like someone like you. And I remember how you felt when I said that you were being crazy and that I thought you were the most amazing person I've ever known and that if anything you were the one who was too good for me. I remember when I told you that you won my heart but hadn't come to collect the prize. I remember how you said you had two prizes to choose and it was so difficult for you. Not knowing who to pick. Afraid that picking me would be the wrong choice. Time and time again I do so many things that should show you who I am and what I am to you. I try to show you that there’s nothing to fear. But you won’t let me show you. Why? Why won’t you just believe me? Why would I hurt you? I can’t even stand myself when I’m mad at you for a split second. Why would I lie to you? I never lie to anyone, especially not someone who’s so honest to me at all times. Why would I fight with you? The only arguments we have are based off of you not agreeing that you’re beautiful and that you don’t need makeup and that you don’t need to spend so much time on your hair and that you look fantastic regardless of what clothes you’re wearing. Why would I ever let you go for anything? After spending so long fighting for you, I would never stop fighting to keep you. I would never hold you back. I would want you to be happy. Do you want to go somewhere? So do I. Do you want to drive to the middle of nowhere? So do I. Do you want to go out? So do I. Do you want to stay in and relax? So do I. Do you want to hang out with your friends, then go ahead. I can make plans; I have a life of my own. Do you want to be alone? I’ll respect that, like I always have. Why can’t you just go back to the days of holding my hands and getting that glorious feeling? Why can’t you go back to the time when you remembered that feeling you got when I held you. My embrace having something magical that neither of us could explain. Remember all the times we talked and talked and talked and found out we have so much in common. Remember all the days where you wanted to tell me good morning and good night, regardless of if we talked all day. Remember all the times that I put a real smile on your face on the days when you said you wouldn't be okay. All those days I told you that your smile was too pretty to go to waste. I even remember when you first said you hated your smile because your teeth aren't perfectly straight. I told you it didn't matter, because you have such a true happiness in your smile. That gleaming beauty that no one else could ever show, yet you still didn't believe me. Even if you didn't believe me, you still smiled. I remember the place and the time and the day that we talked about how things were going.  I remember you said you couldn't be with me but you wanted me to stay in your life as a friend, so I said I couldn't be anything to you. And I remember you started to cry. And I hated everything in the world that night. Things were entirely opposite of how they should have been. I remember all the times I tried to keep you out of my head but I couldn't. Now you won’t talk to me about anything. Like I’m some madman for caring about you. You act like all the things I say are lies. I don’t think I could make your life better, I know it. I don’t think I could make you happier, I know it. Just try to think of all those perfect words I said to you. All of the times I wrote something that left you speechless. Just think of all those times. Just remember. Quit hiding it away in your pockets like old receipts and pen caps. I can’t stop thinking about you because you’re the one ******* thing I want in this whole world. I don’ t care about your past. I don’t care about any “imperfections”. I don’t care at all. To me you’re everything I could need. And I can’t help but love everything about you. I just want to have love for you, though, instead of love for everything about you. And I have more love to give than anyone else you've ever known. I might not be better than everyone at everything, but I know I’m better than anyone else at what’s important. I know you could always trust in me. I know I could never hold you back. I know I would keep a smile on your face at all times. I know you wouldn't be waiting around for perfect moments, because I would make every moment perfect. When people ask you what the happiest time of your life was, you wouldn't say it was when you were younger and had your own place and did what you want when you wanted to. You would say that the happiest part of your life is now, because I would make every day better than the last. You wouldn't keep living in the clouds and staring at the stars, you would be with the stars and the moon. You wouldn't need to dream anymore because you would just dream of when you finally get to wake again. I’m not making things up. I’m not hopeful. I’m not optimistic. I’m not a liar. I’m not a dreamer. I know I could make everything better, all the time. Don't think it's too good to be true. You used to say I was too good to be true, but here I am. So just give me a chance to prove it. You’ll never regret it, I promise. Zebra.
The last part (Zebra) is only significant to one person.

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