I walked quickly, staring forward, avoiding eye contact with the strangers on the street. It was a brisk fall day, the trees blooming with reds and yellows – one last explosion of color before their seasonal death. At the end of the paved road, a dirt trail began. I kept(more) walking. The grass was tall here, untrimmed – dead brown stalks grabbing at my legs. It smelled different here. The wind carried the water droplets off the lake and the air was damp. The sky was a wash of muted blue and grey, soft-looking and subdued. I was approaching the cliff now, and I thought I could see a patch of yellow peeking through the grass – hair, this time. The trees in this area were already bare of their leaves. As I came closer, I could see I was right. He turned slowly as my crunchy steps came within earshot – first his head, then his torso. "How'd you know where I was?" he deadpanned. "I got a tip you'd be here," I returned in the same tone. I moved forward, kneeled down, and slid my legs off the side of the cliff. I took his rough hand in mine and thought about how everything always worked out. (less)
I want this to be the kind of thing that burns me out. I want it to take over my life, where I obsess about it, forget to sleep, fuck up on the job, turn into a shaking, insane mess, because I can't stop thinking about you. What's the(more) point of living if you don't go all the way? I want to sink lower than I've been before, because all I see is a wide open space to dance around til I drop, a miserable heap on the ground, because I wasted all my breath on you. (less)
The neighbor guy was bent over, head engulfed in the giant rhododendron bush that grew on the side of his house, his neon-yellow T-shirt and blue jeans sticking out from the wall of orb-like pink flowers. I watched him from my second-story window across the street. I had never(more) gotten to know the neighbors. My Russian immigrant parents liked to keep to themselves, choosing friendships with others of their kind – never their simple-minded American neighbors.
He had been out there for hours now, digging around in the spring dirt. A light breeze played with the branches of the bush, the whole thing dancing like the skirt of a hideous, fluffy magenta prom dress. It was the first truly warm day in a week – abnormal for May, but not in Minnesota. I imagined the beads of sweat on his forehead, his heavy breathing, the dirt stains on his jeans. I stood watching for a second longer, then turned away into the cool lavender pallor of my room. (less)
People expect you to get over things. To assimilate back into reality – "normal life." The life you had before this thing that happened, that changed you. But now, you are different. Perhaps before, you hoped this experience would give(more) you directions to where you need to go. Instead, it's left you even more confused. You don't fit anymore, and it feels wrong, but you know you are happy. You wouldn't have done anything differently.
You do know that you are headed somewhere. So you center yourself, find the quiet voice within, and step boldly forth. (less)
I'd like to meet my match one day
The person filled with just about as much ambition as I am, so we can give each other hell, then make sweet love,
sing together as well
Two sparks moving toward each other, colliding, showering brilliant light on everything around them(more)
I'm looking to avoid safe
the ocean in my backyard,
open hearts, open minds
That thing that'll drive you day after day and year after year
That you'll never get sick of cause you love it so damn much
That "makes you get out of bed in the morning"
With early May sunlight pouring in sideways through the trees lining Summit Avenue, Theresa and I walked briskly to the University Club, bound for a lecture from the author of a book on the tumultuous nature of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's relationship. The building stood tall and regal, a(more) cream-colored A-frame with a hexagon of windows flanked by two wings in perfect symmetry. We walked with authority through the heavy front door, half-expecting to be turned away on account of our non-member status of the Club, but were met instead with smiles and ushered into a large room, lined with rows of chairs already taken by an overwhelmingly white-haired crowd. We slipped around the corner of the doorway and leaned ourselves against the wall. "Good thing we're young," I thought to myself. Standing wasn't a big deal – until the light hit Theresa.
Fifteen minutes into the talk, she began to bend forward. At first I thought she was craning around the woman in front of her to see the speaker, but she kept dipping forward at a steady pace, as if falling asleep. "Theresa?" I asked softly, touching her shoulder. No response. I took her firmly by both shoulders, speaking her name more urgently. She was going limp in my arms. My heart started pounding as I wheeled around, my wild gaze met with expressions of alarm from nearby spectators. Turning back to Theresa, her face now visible, I said her name again. Her normally alert, cornflower blue eyes had completely glazed, boring into me in response. I was jumping to conclusions, trying to remember signs of a heart attack, ready to call 911, and then, all of a sudden –
"I thought I was going to faint," she said calmly, as if nothing had happened. The world started spinning again. (less)
Amy was the most popular girl in high school. Not coincidentally, she was pretty, blonde, blue-eyed, skinny, blah-blah-blah. But she had her own unique calling card.
Amy was a queen bee without a king and liked to have her pick of princes. Every weekend when her mom was(more) working the overnight shift at the hospital and her dad was piloting passengers across the country, Amy invited over a different boy to her parents' mansion. Everyone knew what happened after that. As part of the notorious ritual, she always sent the boy home with a Hershey's Kiss – a sweet souvenir, but more importantly, proof of the induction to her self-proclaimed Kiss Klub.
Karina hated Amy. She saw her as nothing more than a slut and she longed to see the day a boy denied one of her weekend invitations. Karina had just begun dating Evan, a handsome soccer player, and thought having a boyfriend was the best thing in the world. So far, they'd spent several cozy weekends together. But she had heard rumors about Evan she intended to quash, by way of phone seizure and search.
That Friday, her parents were out and Evan had come over. As they began making out on the couch, she saw her chance. He was crawling on top of her, his butt in the air. Seductively, she caressed his face, then ran her hand down his neck, sliding it down his torso to his back pocket. She reached in, bracing to run as soon as her fingers made contact with the phone. But all they found was a small spherical object. Curious, she fished out her treasure, gently pushing Evan off. He tried to protest, but she shushed him, holding the object up to the light. It was a crumpled piece of candy foil. (less)
They liked to cause mischief together, the fox and the wolf. They lived in the woods behind people's houses, exploring by day, yipping and howling by night. Josie was a pretty fox – russet body, graceful black legs, bushy tail, head an elegant triangle with big ears perched on(more) top. Rory was her twin in every way, though larger and darker.
They liked to scare the people who lived in the big houses. Mr. Stuart had once been flipping hamburgers on his grill when Josie and Rory were passing by. They smiled slyly at each other and began creeping silently across the backyard in his direction. He looked up, yelped, threw open his sliding glass door and slammed it shut, leaving the grill unattended. Josie butted the bottom of the grill with her head, knocking it down with a loud crash. Mr. Stuart watched in horror through the door. The fox and the wolf scarfed the spilled patties and ran away laughing into the woods.
Sometimes, they were joined by friends – Tommy the owl, Liv the raccoon, Stan the deer. They would stalk Mort, the jumpy cat that belonged to the Turners. He wouldn't come outside for weeks after. Other times they terrorized little Annie and her friends at her birthday party, leaving the crying munchkins running back to Annie's mother.
One night, as they were plotting to disrupt the annual neighborhood bonfire, where there was always food galore, Stan stayed aside, pacing silently back and forth. Finally, he interrupted the group's chatter. "Do you guys ever think what we're doing is, I don't know, wrong?" Rory laughed. "No, Stan. We're writing our own fairytale. We're the wild gang that preys on their nightmares." (less)
"Like, MONEY," I said. "Why does it have to run our lives?" I knew she agreed with me, but she was the one with a real job, sitting in an office from 9 each morning to 7 at night, answering calls, meeting clients, and most importantly, always trying to(more) keep everyone happy. Money wasn't a problem for her, but time was. And I was swimming in time these days. (less)
"Barry Fox? I don't really care about him anymore," she threw out casually, setting down the glass of scotch. "You know, that whole thing was some kind of happy mistake I doted on like some," she gestured upward with her hand, as if reaching for the words, "some sick(more) child." She raised her cigarette to her lips, took a long, deep drag, and exhaled a shield of smoke to keep out the creeping thoughts. The other woman in the room sat across from her, looking out the window. She blinked and slowly turned to her companion, sipping her martini. "Well he's been hanging around this place lately," she raised her eyebrows knowingly. "Just thought you'd like to know." (less)
Tall, curved ceiling, voices echo. Voices
present, voices past – ghost voices. Floor
reflects fluorescent lights, doors line
one side. Old man reads, young men
play ping pong. A man runs by. This
is a place for waiting, a place to sit
(more) and breathe and contemplate and realize
that we are already living. (less)
all that separates us is a pane of glass.
we sit and look at the flowing mass of black water in front of us, carrying its history on its liquid back, ticking away time with each mini-wave
we talk, occasionally turn to smile at each other
through the glass(more) we talk about scientific progress, how fucked up this world is, what we're going to do tomorrow, our moms, good music, why we love autumn, and our endless, uncanny similarities.
we smile at each other
and all that separates us is a pane of glass
that neither of us is willing to break. (less)