Wednesday, April 20, 2016

“I still think we should have called the police”, Liam protested.
“The police can’t fix everything. You shouldn’t be so dependent on them”, i replied.
“Lyds, we found a girl nearly beaten to death to the point of unconsciousness in the middle of the street. Call me cautious all you like, but that’s usually a situation where a law enforcement officer might be useful. Just sayin’.”
I rolled my eyes at that comment as stuck my key into the door. I turned it to the right to unlock it, only it wouldn’t budge. My eyebrows furrowed together in confusion and hoped to God that the door wasn’t already unlocked. I gently pushed to door and watched in suspicion as the door slowly creaked open. Ok it’s not that bad maybe i forgot to lock it, actually now that think about it i don’t remember locking it in the first place, i thought to myself.
“Well this isn’t good”, Liam retorted.
“No it’s fine i just forgot to lock it”, I replied.
“Um, Lyds.”
“Yeah”, i replied in a hushed whisper?
“I locked the door before we left.”
I turned to him and everything that kept my strong, independent, badass exterior stitched together was suddenly overpowered by unrelinquished fear. Liam and I exchanged looks that agreed to step slowly into the apartment and grab a weapon to defend ourselves in case there were any attackers. I tip-toed quietly to the left into the kitchen and snatched the biggest knife out of its set. I could feel my heartbeat in my ears and taste the rust in my heavy breath. I closed my eyes in attempt to slow my breathing or at least quiet it. I looked over and saw Liam holding a .47 mm by his low waist. I gave him a look that cynically questioned the gun's purpose. He walked over to my bed and checked underneath and all around it and I went into the living room and searched myself, but i wasn't looking for the robbers I was looking for the things that really mattered: my cash, the old photos of my grandparents, and the safe. I opened the pantry and moved everything: the canned goods and boxes of food that took a couple of months to expire to the bottom of the pantry, which didn't take long because I didn't buy much stuff for the pantry. Once everything was out of the way I knocked four times on the pantry wall and watched it pop open. I reached in with my right arm and felt the familiar sleekness of the polaroid photos and the roughness of the twine that held them together. I moved my arm up higher and felt the marble of the briefcase that held majority of my trust fund. When I took my arm back I sighed with relief as it gently fell against my thigh.
Liam startled me with him voice,”No one’s here, but it doesn’t look like then took anything.”
I simply nodded along to his words, ignoring them really. All I could focus on was the obscure feeling of violation in my apartment; resisting the urge to sit. I all could think about was what they might have touched, or sat on, or stepped on. Wondering with a never ending uncertainty; and being utterly bothered by the fact that no one would answer my curiosities. It was a feeling that made your eyes want to continuously scatter about in paranoia and never let you sit with your back to the door. I was almost expecting a pair of God’s eyes to appear in thin air. I walked into my bedroom even though Liam had already checked the whole apartment. Something made have a need to look for myself; an unnamed reason that told me to gather what little certainty I had left. I let my hand be light against the cream colored duvet and trail across it as if I were making ripples of water in a lake. Then I felt a piece of something hard underneath the duvet and i swung the covers off, needing for something to clarify this paranoid feeling of mine. Underneath the duvet was a black, steel crossbow along with a set of bolts next to it. A small note had fallen next to my feet with my name written on the front. I picked it up and found myself annoyed by the uninspiring, straight-forward message in smudged handwriting.
Train Station. Good Luck.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I swung my legs over the icy, fogged window that spelled condensation when you touched it. I ducked my head under slipping my way through onto the balcony that wasn’t supposed to be used as a balcony anymore, but because I was small I managed. The depressed skies of gray had decided not to tolerate the aggressive Monday dusk. I crouched down to expose my camera to the icy air and the sonata begun. Perspectives, various angles, and symbolism all began to bleed into my line of sight. Moments being captured into an iris into a lens onto a page and maybe one day, a gallery. An older women grasped my attention as she sat on the sidewalk in a mood that seemed grateful. Not begging, not pleading, not insisting; just waiting. I climbed back into my apartment and lifted up my mattress. I removed 200 dollars from the gracious pile. Liam walked out of kitchen eating a way too early breakfast, wondering what I was up to.
            “Hey, where are you-“, he asked.
            “I’ll be right back, going downstairs”, I called out to him in a rush.
There wasn’t any reason to rush, but I kept running, too impatient to wait for the elevator. Too impatient to wait for the red light, everything in my head insisted on go, go, go. I crossed the street in the middle of traffic and stood in front of the homeless women, breathless, with 200 dollars in my hand. I offered it to her and she took it like it was a dirty, unsheltered dog; unfamiliar, but obligated.
            “Thank you, dearie. Why, this is quite the gesture”, she said holding up the money, “Now Lydia, I must share with you some vital intelligence.” I responded with a simple raise of my eyebrows.
            She grabs hold of my hands and says, “At some time, in a dark underworlded place, you will rise in the midst of the supernatural internally and externally. Those that bathe in children’s blood are coming to forsake all that is ethically rich in this lacking town and you are one of many. Borne to lead, question, and create; Lydie Jeannine Pierrick. Elle renaît avec des flammes d'or et les armées de naufragés.
When she let go I could feel something swim into my bloodstream, it was like she gave me something I needed but took away something I didn’t. I turned around hesitantly and looked back to find the older woman had vanished down the street leaving nothing but her message behind. I waited to cross the street, for the light to turn red, waited for the elevator to take me upstairs, waited for Liam to let me in because I forgot my keys.
            “Do you have a secret boyfriend I don’t know about”, Liam asked out of the blue?
            “What?! No. Definitely not”, I replied instantly.
            “Mmhm. So then what is this about”, he asked showing me a note?

Dear Lydia, It’s been awhile, I know. But to be fair you did sneak out of the door first. I wanted to have a conversation with you sober, so that I can remember it the next day. Although from what I can remember I did have fun hanging out with you. Anyways I thought that we could meet at the park tomorrow evening and relive what we’ve forgotten. Until then.
-Your neighbor, Damon

            “Wow. This is wow. I didn’t think he’d remember me”, I said silently, but loud enough that Liam could hear.
            “Who’s Damon”, he asked impatiently?
I smirked. Good question.

 After spending the whole day together, Liam and I decided to take a midnight stroll through Collingwood. We constantly submitted to the nostalgia of childhood memories underneath the deep, night sky that masked the existence of stars. I looked around as we continued to walk and noticed a frail girl leaning against a lamppost across the street, like it was her only source of gravity. She looked odd, weak. I could tell that she was normally strong and independent, fighting her own battles, but in this state she looked eerie. Her body slowly drifted to the center of the Earth and Liam and I rushed over to the rescue.
            "Hey, are you ok?", I asked. I could tell I startled her.
            "I- I don't- Si, I'm totally f-fine.”
            "You look horrible, no offense."
"None taken, my friend is blunt like that." I couldn’t help wonder where her friend was now. Her eyes begun to glaze over and her knees helplessly gave up on her. I brought her arm over my shoulders and Liam went for the other side.
"Hey! What are you-- I- I'm fineee...", she protested.
"Come on, you sleep, and you'll be fine in the morning”, I couldn’t help but sound authoritative, just like my mother.
"... nice tat..." she mumbled half heatedly. I was quiet for a moment, remembering.
"Thanks, its new."


Monday, September 28, 2015

In that moment, the dark red skies opened up and welcomed a downpour of heavy salt water that slid down the curve of my face.
I prosed a question, “How did you find me?”
He smirked. “Twin telethapy.”
I scoffed and shook my head slightly. “Why did you come?”
“Its about the ‘bitch’. She di- committed suicide. Sorry.” His detached expression matched mine.     
“Is that all?”
“Lyds,” he sighed. “Your façade isn’t opaque. The gates have opened revealing that your heart isn’t the size of an acorn.”
I tried to bite down my smile but Liam’s words overtook my control.
“You care more than I do, otherwise you wouldn’t have come all the way down here.”
“I would have just called, but someone decided to fall off the face of the earth so it made breaking the news somewhat difficult. Which reminds me…”
He reached into his duffel bag and retracted a small rectangular box. He threw his bag over his shoulder and took a few steps closer to me and handed me an IPhone 6.
“Thanks.” I was too tired to pretend I wasn’t grateful. I put the box inside my purse and decided to set it up when we got inside.
“Well then we can continue talking in a less dramatic setting. Your place.”
“Fine, but you’re sleeping on the couch.”
I lead him to the apartment.

I awoke to the sounds of chattering on the news, the smell of turkey bacon, and cheese grits. The smell was comforting, but I hated the news. Liam knew that, which is why it was kept on a low volume. I opened my eyes slightly and saw Liam whistling with a dishtowel slung over his shoulder, putting things on plates for breakfast. His gestures were one of the best things about him; I missed how they made you feel. I yawned, then stretched out my arms and got out of bed, but when I stood up I couldn’t feel my right foot. I could only sense the feeling of a thousand pins sticking me from the inside. I tried to shake my foot to wake it up but ended up hitting it against my nightstand. The numbing feeling was replaced by one of searing pain, that made all your words lost for a quick moment. I took a deep breath and looked up at the TV. The top of the screen had the words ‘flash flood warning’ running across it. I sat on my couch and Liam brought me breakfast, a mug full of cheese grits and a plate with turkey bacon on it.
“You didn’t have make me breakfast,” I said to him.
“I know. I wanted to. You needed to eat something homemade before you get fat from all that takeout.”
I rolled my eyes, but he was right that’s all I have really eaten since I’ve been here.
“So what’s the plan,” I asked?
“What do you mean?”
“Like what’s next? Are we going to her funeral? Are you staying with me for a while? What?”
“Well her funeral was last week. I didn’t go, but I got an ‘invitation’. They treated it like a party or something and I didn’t care enough to go so. As for living arrangements I don’t know. I’m just sort of feeling it out for right now. Maybe I’ll stay, maybe I won’t.”
“Well I’ll let you stay if you make breakfast for me every morning.”
He laughed.
“Yeah and sleep on the couch everyday, no thank you. If we got a place together it would need to be way bigger than this.”
“Well they’re renovating the top floor so maybe.”
“Did you miss me?”
I nodded slowly.
 “Yeah a lot.”
He reached over and we embraced in a hug. He smelled clean cut as always and like Calvin Klein cologne.
“Well what’s the plan for today? Are you gonna show me around your glorious little town?”
“Actually I did have something planned for today. Wanna get a tattoo?”
“Actually I already have one.”
He took off his shirt to reveal a scribbled out rainbow surrounding the words ‘love is love’.
I smiled and was proud that after all these years Liam was proud of who he was.

“But you sure as hell aren’t getting one,” he said in a furious tone.
“I'm sorry I didn’t realize I was under eighteen. I'm getting one,” I argued.
We were walking to the tattoo shop in the never-ending spurs of rain where this guy, Julian Towers, does really good tattoos according to my co-worker. I don’t think there were any other shops in town so I figured why not. It’s on my list. I try and ignore Liam’s protests and arguments as we walk into the shop.
"You need to more time to think this through--"
"No. I don't. I've spent my entire waking life second guessing myself and thinking about everything.  It's time to live, Liam."
            "You're not around her anymore."
            "But she's always in my head, and in yours too. You've got one now."
            "Just take a breath--"
             "It's on my list, and this guy's suppose to be pretty good at what he does, so back-it-up, brother."
I turned around towards whom I assumed to be Julian, sitting casually on a couch; he was cute in that tortured soul kind of way. Usually I'd be very blunt and say that to his face but then I thought better not. He seemed deep, the type of guy to discover the real meaning in things.
"My name is Lydia, and I want a tattoo right here on my wrist."
I just remembered the scar on my wrist and had a feeling the questions were already starting to churn in his head.
He looked up at me through his long fanned out eyelashes and asked, "What do you have in mind?"
I was about to respond but something had transfixed Liam’s gaze and then Julian’s, so I followed it to the window of the shop to see the ugliest looking ducks I’ve ever seen. They just stood there glaring at us, so much so that it even creped the dog out, which had to mean something. Then, they left.
I turned back to Julian and said, "I want a small cross here, outlined in black and filled in with red."
     "Don't Lyds me, Liam--you're my brother, not my mother. Come on, you know this is the right thing for me right now."
"Okay, then, what style, I have several choices,” Julian interjected.
            "I don't care. You choose."
    He nodded,  "Okay, come this way."
I followed him into this back room and decided that I just wanted the outline of the cross, no red. I told him that as he pulled out a wide black binder full of designs. He smiled to himself and nodded.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

The obnoxiousness in their laughter ricocheted through the walls and assaulted my eardrums. I couldn’t stand it. Stories I'd heard told so often that I knew them backwards and not even the maximum volume of my headphones could stop them from replaying in my head. The tone of her voice was constantly filled with judgment and accusation and it lived inside my head.

It still does. That voice was the reason I turned mine off. I let mine float into nonexistence, along with the fads about fairies and the afterlife. She made the pinkness in my cheeks burn red and the mascara stain my eyes. I tried to swallow my tears but I always ended up choking on them. She had the power to make me question everything about myself even if it was right. She had a whole different set of morals that contradicted the orthodox ones everyone followed, but this didn’t make her different it made her ruthless and critical. She demanded respect like a God and punished you with fear and hatred of only yourself. Her strikes stained not only your skin but also your blood, so that even if you healed you’d never be able to forget. She made it hard to be good. Too much power was held in her possession. A person should never have so much power that the only thing you can refer them to is she. They should never have as much power to make you rebel against yourself and everything you hold true. And certainly not so much power that you run away in order to pick up the shattered pieces and solve the puzzle to find out whom you are. My left and right brain, possessed by her words, fight against each other for dominance. Questions fill up my head by the gallon and I feel like I drown a bit more by each one because the answers dance around along with the air. I crave and need both.

So I made arrangements to drift off into a ghost town where no one knew my name. I disconnected all my accounts from my family name and transferred all my trust fund money into my own account. I bought an apartment and paid all of the first 6 months of rent. My first night in my apartment I made a pack with myself to live; something I’ve never done before. I made a list of things to do and did one of them everyday. I’ve been here for two months and I’ve only done two things off the list: try sushi for the first time (I know pretty lame) and sleep with a random stranger, which I did last night. I was walking home late at night from working my usual hours at the Ivory. The place was usually pretty slow so our manager allows us a few drinks while we work and I indulge in this in a state of boredom. We closed up and I was heading home, but instead of simply walking across the street I turned right and walked down to the park drunk as can be. Then I woke up in the stranger’s bed and I certainly felt like I had lived even with my annoying hangover.


8:43pm I finished up the last of my take out and took one last swig of still water. I threw on some dark washed jeans and a black chiffon top that flowed along with the shape of my body. I filled in my eyebrows and added some tinted Chap Stick, shining light on my best features. I didn’t do much to myself before work, as middle-aged men were the regulars at the Ivory.

9:03pm I walked out into the street only to bump into a girl who had an eerie vibe to her. It was an extraordinary eerie, like she possessed her own magic; her own life. I crossed the street and was familiar with the lack of surprise I felt with the customers sipping slowly at their drinks.

12:57pm I left work and decided to walk to the park instead of going straight home. Maybe I was hopeful or just curious. I walked down the street casually, listening to the click clack of my heels. I tapped my fingers on my thighs in a continuous rhythm, alternating from index to middle finger and licked my lips helplessly. I took notice of the moon. Its usual milky cream tone was changed into a deep blood red. It looked as if a massacre had occurred upon that very moon. It looked sinister, like it was daring you to do something unexpected that would throw you off your usually course of life. 

Luckily for me, I didn’t have any other constant regimen expect for work. I imagined what it would be like to play truth or dare with the moon, I wondered who would win. Although the moon wasn’t really a moon was it was a Lunar Eclipse and anything could happen underneath the grimacing grin of a Lunar Eclipse. The possibilities tempted my mind.

1:03am I reached the park and was disappointed to find it empty, but my expectations lifted when I saw a silhouette of a man and what appeared to be a telescope. I did away with the hope of sneaking up on him, as my heels were obnoxiously loud. I walked closer and stopped a few feet away. His head lifted up from the telescope signaling that he was aware of my presence. My expectations jolted through the skies and my hopes of meeting my taboo stranger were alive. All he needed to do was turn around. One 90 degree head rotation could open opportunities that would hopefully lead to answering my lost questions. I denied myself the pleasure of connecting with the stranger before but I wasn’t as close as I was now. I prayed to imaginary saints for him to turn around. My head whispered Come on.

He turned with this: “Hey sis.”
My lips hung apart from each other in disbelief, leaving space for my disappointed breath to exit.
He stood there with my nose and hazel eyes that were more brown than green in the night, but would later seem mostly green in the day. He shared my curly haired texture of light brown and bronzed olive skin that was just shy of radiance in the blood red moonlight. Pink lips that looked like they’d been bitten and instead of my petite, hourglass figure he stood proud in his tall, lanky stance.
I simply replied back with, “Liam.”