You sit in your old man's recliner, wishing he is here to see this day. You feel the scratchy cotton that has come out of the stitches of the recliner; it feels all too familiar. In the middle of the room, Mother is prancing around excitedly, huffing and fussing(more) her hair and blabbering a hundred words per minute. She is ecstatic.
Today is the day you graduate and become a real man.
Mother puts on her red lipstick - the one she saves for special occasions. She hardly puts on the lipstick. She gives me a wide smile when she catches me watching her. She floats over to me and gives me a hug. I inhale her perfume and is reminded of the place where she last hugged me. The funeral parlor and Father's pasty white complexion in the coffin...
"Daniel." Mother sniffles as she holds me by the shoulder and stares at me, joyful tears in her eyes. "Look at you. You're growing up."
I suck in a breath and smile at her. After Father died, I was all but good. I failed school, I verbally abused my ex-girlfriend, I drank myself almost to the point of no return. Mother was barely home scrounging up whatever money we had left by working two jobs.
But I changed.
And I did, in fact, grow up. Today was a meaningful and memorable day for me.(less)
I remember when I grew up and it was only yesterday. Everyday I grow up a little more. I learn some lessons and I make some mistakes. The day after, these mistakes will be lessons learned and I will make more mistakes for tomorrow's class. It's a continuous cycle that moves one s(more)tep at a time but ultimately I am the living, breathing, coughing, sneezing, farting, laughing, crying embodiment of a Penrose staircase and each step is a new beginning.
Each day is a wonderful realisation of something new but eventually I will repeat that day, of course with knowledge gained. My knowledge gained tells me that I've more things to be thankful for but not enough appreciation. Give me more! Give me more! The more I get the less I have. The more I buy the less I value. I look around and see more problem solvers but more unsolved problems. I try to be upbeat but the music is downbeat. I earn money to make more of a living but the more I earn the less I live. I have a voice to talk but I communicate through machines. I have hands to cook a meal but I order food in. There is a cycle lane to work but I drive the car instead. I have books to read but I waste my time browsing. I have clean air to breath but catch myself smoking. I have the whole world to run on but find myself walking. I have legs to stand on but choose to stay sitting. I love the girl next to me but I spend my time arguing. I have a family but never take time to see them.
I am not thirty years old. I might have plenty of time to keep growing up. (less)
The sun slipped under the hill as I spend my last night under my parents roof. Tomorrow I'd be under a new roof. Our roof.
My head on the pillow, the purple twilight fills the room with long ago voices.
"Martha, are you asleep?"
"No." My fri(more)end whispered next to me.
A shiver ran through my body as she turned and our arms brushed under the sheets.
"What is love like?"
"Love," her voice was somewhat dreamy and she was quite long enough that I thought she had fallen asleep. "It's like the first sip of a fresh Coke in a dark movie theater. It's all wet and bubbly and full of...hope."
"I feel like that when I'm with you." My voice rushed out, afraid and excited, "I feel like I want to press so hard into you that we become one person."
That was when she kissed me.
A sad smile creeps across my face. In this bed we had tried to press hard enough to become one body. We tried for four years until she stopped trying.
Tears slid down my face and laughter bubbled out. I remember thinking I would never be whole again. I thought I was over.
Then one day I went to the movies. I ordered a small Coke and sour candy. Sitting alone in the dark I took a sip and remembered I didn't like Coke. When I put it down I missed the drink holder and the sticky liquid splashed all over the most beautiful man I had ever seen. He laughed and that was the moment I knew I wasn't over.
For a moment I wished to slip into two, send one back to her and one to him but now I'm grown up and have to be one, grown up. (less)
The wrangler adjusted his wide brimmed hat. He poked it up just a little bit to open his vision. The sun was hot and sweat dripped down his brow onto his eye lid. He blinked and the hot, salty tear stung his eye. He squinted his eyes and he(more) looked out across the quickly emptied town. He marveled at how quiet the town became. Through the dry hot air and the dusty haze, he could see the other man.
The other man's hand hovered over his right hip mirroring the wrangler's own hand. Both hands quivered and shook with their own small tremors like the tension in rope pulled taut. He was so hot; it was so hot and sweaty under the hat. The threat of life and limb certainly didn't help either.
In that second before they dueled, time crawled to a stop. The wrangler found himself thinking about how he ended up in this situation. He wasn't even going to come into town that day and yet here he was now on the verge of death or murder. Time uncrunched. He was back in the present facing down the man.
It could be any second now and the wrangler did not want to die. After the 15 second eternity, the man reached for his gun and the wrangler reached for his.
A shot echoed in the distance and the silence was broken. The wrangler wasn't sure what had happened, only that something about him was different and that he would never be the same person. (less)
Well, this is it, I thought to myself, legs hanging over the edge of the fire escape, I'm eighteen tomorrow. I'm eighteen and I have to fully devote my life to something I'm not even sure I'm ready to commit to. I'm eighteen and I'm actually going to have(more) to wear dad's cape, the one I've been hiding in the back of my closet for so long.
I'm eighteen and I'm going to have to protect the city.
I come from a long line of heroes. We're born into our position - Sons and daughters of a generation built to save. We don't even have a choice - As soon as we're able to speak and understand, they tell us exactly what it is we're going to do, how we're going to live.
I've feared this year my whole life. Though I'm an adult, and should have rights to my own body and mind, I don't. My kind is different. We're trapped here our whole lives. (less)
There is an iron fence wound around their lawn so tightly Abigail couldn't leave if she wanted to, and during the night she dreams of everything that she could have if her mother let speak to someone other than the rose bushes near the gate.
"I hear of crazy religious people out there, whipping their kids cause they think they need to be saved," her mother says one morning, conversation light as if she were speaking of the weather. "Do you think you need to be saved?"
"No, mother," she murmurs, poking at her eggs. "I don't believe in God."
Years later Abigail meets two children of the same fate, beaten and harassed because of a spark in their auras. She's not sure whether what they have is a weakness or a strength, but it sure as hell gave them the advantage they wanted.
"I hear about kids burning down houses too. Do you know anyone like that?"
"No mother. I don't have any friends."
Her mother smiles, and sips at her tea. "Good."(less)
Everybody is going out, having fun. And I'm here, in my way-to-hot room. If only my parents knew the things I want... 'It is forbidden! You are a girl!' Haha, not today mom! 'You cannot go out with those pants! People can see your ankles!' Haha, not today dad!(more)
Today I decided that I want to be a 'difficult child', a 'rebel'. Somebody who doesn't care about rules or other people.
I want to sneak out every night and come home late. I want to do everything that my parents have forbidden me. I want to step up and tell them I do not believe in a bullshit idea like 'god'. I want to tell them that I am not going to marry a guy I have never met. From now on I will be free. I will do what I like and what I think is best, no matter how bad my family will think of me.
I am now trying to sneak out, my legs are hanging out my window. If I jump from here on the roof of the garage, I won't break a thing. My hair is tied up, because I straightened it and my hair tends to curl. A lot.
If I don't make it and end up breaking my leg, I will try again next time. I won't allow my teenage years to be filled with staying at home, helping my mother with chores and longing for marriage. I will be free, even if I have to disgrace my family and the Islam.
I'll do the exact oppposite of what the Islam has taught me all these years! Satan, save a nice spot for me in hell, cause after I die that will be my new home, together with my fellow rebels!(less)