Tag Archives: fiction

Like You Meant It

Across the damp and dark wooden beams of the ocean pier, I walked alone. Each step encouraged a quiet creak and added to the sea sounds that filled my ears. Where my grey mood ended and the sky began was impossible to tell, this invisible gradient was why I was here.

My favorite bench was near the end where the silent fishermen sometimes sat and the breeze was most confident. As I walked forward I begged the wind to push me around and to force me to be something other than disconcerted. It whipped around my face and through my hair, whispering secrets. I focused on forgetting. I didn’t notice the temperature dropping or the sky darkening, I only perceived my unceasing disenchantment. Only when I felt a hand on my shoulder did I emerge from my deepest thoughts, pulled from the bottom of the ocean into the bitter air.

With every part of me I hoped the hand belonged to the one person I desired. I wanted. I needed. I looked up, and felt my soul tear slightly. Part of my being disintegrated and flew off into the breeze as I saw that it was not whom I had hoped.

She said she thought she’d find me here and asked if I was cold. Up until that moment I hadn’t felt anything, but at the suggestion I realized I was freezing. The cold was in my veins and bones. I nodded and she pulled my hand out of my pocket and into hers. I kept my eyes on the cracks in the beams that revealed the ocean beneath us and the dark pavement covered in a thin layer of sand. She knew I needed quiet. A dark suitcase was in the front seat so she opened the door to the back seat.

As I climbed in I saw that the person I had so desperately begged the universe for was sitting right there, waiting. At first, thoughts flew through my head rapidly. What was going on? Why was he here? Did she arrange this? Soon I stopped breathing and thinking and being. I collapsed against him with repressed sobs and he held me tightly like he meant it. We drove away from the dark water and I settled into the soft comfort of arms.

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Read These Lips

Over the loud acoustic guitar and echoing words of the grungy yet attractive lead singer he leaned over and said to me, “You know, none of their lyrics are at all original. They’re just repeating the cliches of life.” I hated when he made fun of the things I liked. It was always personal and intentional. I also thought he was entirely wrong. I said, “Lyrics aren’t always supposed to be novel and extreme. They’re just supposed to make you feel a part of a collective, in the best way. As if someone else in the world actually understands what you’re going through. No one likes listening to something they can’t understand or relate to whatsoever. I mean, I think life is about realizing that even though we’re all so drastically different we have this underlying core of the same emotions. We all know what it’s like to want to be saved when we’re lost, to want to be loved, what it’s like to be angry, and depressed, and overwhelmed with excitement. This band does that for me, they’re just like me.” He stared at me for a few seconds, taking in everything I had just said. And then he said, “I can barely hear you over the music, what’d you say?”

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I Want You, But Not Like This

You were in the backseat, drunk as hell, as I drove you home through the snowy evergreens. I’d grown so used to being your chauffeur when you were too drunk that I slept in my clothes on the nights you went out with the boys. You’d text me incoherent messages until they woke me up at an hour of the morning that still felt like night and I’d drive to the bar you lived at more than your home.

Slurring your speech, you begged me to stay as I pulled into the driveway. You said I couldn’t leave you now, that you just wanted to fall asleep next to me. I hated you for getting drunk and making me feel like you loved me, I routinely fell for it. I could see that you only cared for me when you needed something from me, but I couldn’t bring myself to erase you from my life. I wanted and needed your love but you only needed my help.

You were too heavy for me to really support you but I kept you from falling on the icy cement and led you to your unmade bed. When you tried to pull me onto the bed with you I backed away. You stared at me, confused, unsure why I would try to refuse. I backed up into the cold wall of your room and you told me to stop being stupid and to come lay down next to you. Your eyes were bloodshot in the early morning light and your shirt was wet from some drink you spilled. I felt disgusted by you for the first time in my life as I saw what a mess you were. I grabbed the little trashcan from your bathroom and put it next to your bed then walked out of the room before my loneliness could change my mind. You called out to me but I could barely hear you as I walked out the front door. I sat in the cold silence of my car in the driveway for a few minutes to see if I was wrong, that you really did care for me, but you never came out.

I drove quietly away and away and away.

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Everyone’s Free

I always hate getting out of the pool in early spring. I pull myself out of the water I’ve grown to feel warm enough in and then I’m instantly shivering in the breeze as rivers run down my spine and legs. My towel never seems close enough or big enough or warm enough. I try and dry off enough so I can get inside and out of the bathing suit that clings cruelly to my damp skin. It’s not always like this though. Sometimes I get out and find it warmer than I imagined it would be. I don’t have to desperately fight the goosebumps with furious toweling. Instead I can feel the sun warming my very core as the drips dry off my skin. I can spend a while longer outside and slow life down.

I sometimes feel that way when I’m around you. Especially when you show up at my apartment and I’m not expecting you, and I’m wearing some old shirt from high school, and my hair’s in a side pony-tail, and you tell me I look cute. That you just miss me sometimes and end up here. You are the warm day in spring that makes everyone free. I dream of having everyday feel like summer because you’re here with me.

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our album days

We sat on top of the warped wooden picnic table and talked about romantic ideas, our fingers playing with the sand that filled the grooves of the wood. Like promises that last a lifetime without being broken and secret lives that are never discovered. It smelled like rain and we weren’t dressed appropriately for the approaching storm but it felt right to stay there. The wind was blowing my hair into my face and thunder boomed in the far distance. We talked about where we imagined ourselves in ten years and promised each other that we’d always come back here together, even if we weren’t dating, at least once a year. It was one of those days we never wanted to forget. Nothing substantial was happening but the feeling of being happy just to do anything with each other was for keeps.

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it was sudden

The lights have gone out in my house. No, my vision has simply disappeared. I know how to navigate around steps and tables and couches because I’ve done it enough in the dark but I do not understand anything. It’s not my house anymore. Everything is just something to feel and analyze and push away. I don’t want to live like this. This was not what I expected or what I wanted at all. I wish someone I know and love would also lose their sight. It’s terrible to say, I know, but I feel too alone in this dark world. I just want things to be simple and easy again but I know it only seems simple and easy now. I think things will be better if someone just holds my hand every once in a while. I think it would be better for that someone too.

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Mittens

I’ve forgotten my mittens. They’re sitting on the bed in my room and not on my hands. I don’t feel cold but I’m certain I should. I shove my fingers into my coat pockets and play with the gum wrappers and chapstick that live inside there. I don’t even know why I decided to go for a walk. Nothing is alive out here and nothing is solved out here. I get back to my front door and feel like someone else. The warmth hits me in the face when I go in and my hands start to burn. It feels like they’re missing something more than it did in the cold.

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long-term dreams

1.
You always forget the lyrics to the song we play fourth on our set list, the song I wrote. Right before every performance you write them down the inside of your skinny little arm in black sharpie cursive. You grab the mic when you start to forget and read your curly words of my lyrics. But I don’t think you are really that forgetful. I think you know the lyrics of this song are about you. I worry you will ask me about them. I worry you won’t ask me about them.

2.
Waiting for what probably won’t happen
traps me in this house.
I’m distracted from my errors
by broken promises and coincidences.
I’m watching the news too much
and eating too little.
You make it hard not to go back to previous plans for the future.

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a day for us

She walks across the parking lot like the sun comes over the mountains. She’s my best friend so I know exactly how long it will take her to reach my car. l keep the doors locked until the second before she grabs the handle. I’m not afraid, it’s noon and that means there’s nothing to be afraid of. I think maybe she’ll want to go get some lunch and I think about how breakfast feels like forever ago. She sits down in the passenger seat and puts the several bags of things she always seems to be carrying down by her feet. She’s always wearing flats. She smiles at me in the way a single thirty-five-year-old looks at a baby. I don’t mind though. I blink slowly and put the car in drive, asking if she’s hungry. She says she could go for a sandwich and I pull out of the parking lot. She’s telling me all kinds of stories and I’m trying so hard to pay attention. It’s not that she’s boring or that I can’t focus, it’s just that I’ve missed her and I focus on her little mannerisms. I’ve known them for years know and it’s nice to see them again. She pauses to tell me that I look different and that she loves my dress then jumps back into her stories. Being around her is like wearing a soft sweater in the house. It’s comforting to drive her around town, like I have since junior year. We get to the restaurant we like and order food and then it’s my turn to tell stories. She likes my stories and it’s nice not to worry about boring her. When she’s finished with her sandwich and I still haven’t started mine it’s her turn again. We couldn’t possibly finish telling all our stories in one day but we tell a good deal so that we can feel caught up with each other’s life.

After lunch we go back to my house and act like lazy bears who have the gift of speech and live in a house. I get bored of all the sitting so we go swimming then make some cookies. She wants to show me a bunch of video projects she did for school so she does and I watch. We’re being selfish with our time and deny the invites of dinner with my family and dinner with some other friends. We get a pizza and eat it in my car and talk about boys like you have to when you’re eating pizza in a car. We laugh like children and gossip like old women in all the movies. When we’re tired she borrows some pajamas from me and we lay down to tell more stories in the dark. There are certain stories we’ve been saving for the dark. We stay up too late and know that we’ll wake up late and she’ll have to call her mom and tell her she’s going to come home later than she expected. But her mom doesn’t really care. Her mom knows that this is how it is when she hangs out with me. We’re best friends and we go to sleep like the setting sun.

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my grey coat

I’m sweating through this red flannel shirt but I can’t take my heavy grey coat off. When you offered to take my coat off for me I said no it’s okay, I’m actually a bit cold. If I took it off now you’d know I just didn’t want you taking off my coat. I don’t know why I care what you think at all. This is the most awkward and confused I’ve felt in a while. Why did I call you up and say we should get dinner? I don’t need you anymore. I guess I hoped things could feel like old times, when I was much more comfortable with your touch and your gaze. We’ll probably never be that close again. You’ll stop seeing me as the girl you liked so long ago and I’ll finally grow tired of your hazy mind and inability to keep a plan. We still give each other butterflies with our dinner conversation but it doesn’t create any lasting fix. I eventually take off my coat and you notice so I say something about how I’m finally warm. You smile in a way that reminds me that you never completely understood me. I can tell the end of dinner will be the end of our memories together so I order dessert and recall perfect memories with you, just to hold off the end for a while longer.

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