Posted in Storytime

It Was Because of Him: A Short Story

It wasn’t the way she pulled her dull brown hair back in the morning, or the smell of her old, “warm vanilla” body spray. It wasn’t the way her left eye drooped slightly more than the right. It wasn’t her average brown eyes or her thin pink lips. It wasn’t her soft pointed nose, the one dimple on her right cheek, or the small, dark scar on her bottom lip. It was something else entirely.

He smirked as he ran his hand through his thick, cinnamon-colored hair. His green eyes flashed to hers while his nose crinkled ever so slightly. He was a little cracked around the edges. But she didn’t care, because most people are. He was a masterpiece with strokes of passion and colorful feelings that swirled into compassion. The world painted him with the purpose of being different, to show that pain can hurt, but can create so much beauty at the same time.

They had both climbed mountains, tripping a few times here and there until fate happened to place them in the same place, at the same time. But of course obstacles stood in the way, mentally in the form of anxiety and physically in the form of “friends”. Timing is something else entirely. She imagined him to be a large grandfather clock watching them run through his swirling maze. And as soon as they saw each other and began to get closer, he would toss a boulder in the path, for fun. His laugh would tick and tock until they found another way to each other, just to be hit with a bought of fog, so they lose their way again. Timing was a bitch.

But finally, when Timing wasn’t looking, they found each other in the maze. Both timid and shy, but both willing to try. Their love was like the snow, quiet and slow. It didn’t shout for attention, or wither in the cold. It slowly collected around them and the warmth of their souls kept them sane. The world seemed to slow down, giving them a chance to get to know each other beneath the surface. Sometimes it was a blizzard, and sometimes it was a sprinkle. It was perfectly imperfect.

But like the snow does, it melted. She could feel it in the way he started to pull away from her.

It wasn’t the way he nervously laughed when talking deeply. It wasn’t the way he told her how beautiful she was. It wasn’t the way he sang the Backstreet Boys. It wasn’t the way he messaged her how it wasn’t going to work out. It wasn’t the way he said “it’s me, not you”. It wasn’t the way he never messaged her again. It wasn’t the way he pretended like it never happened.

It was because it did happen. It was because she trusted her already broken heart to someone who couldn’t even give her his broken heart. It was because Timing is a bitch. It was because they had to hide it from the world. But mostly it was because that kind of love isn’t meant for everyone, especially her.

It hurt. By god it hurt so bad. She wanted to scream, she wanted to be mad, but all that came from her lips was “Oh well. I guess my hearts cursed to be alone until the day I die.” The tears did flow, but it wasn’t because it happened, but because of what could have been if he wasn’t such a coward with his words and feelings. Hiding behind Timing as if that clock would give her the excuse she needed.

But don’t fret, because although she is still sitting among the broken pieces of her heart, listening to Hope squawk that it might still happen while it hoards those broken pieces. She knows that one day, Hope will fly away and she will rise above the broken pieces to put them back together, alone. Because of the way she has learned to be the heroine of her life, not the victim.

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Posted in Storytime

A Big Deal: A Short Story

His fingers curled around the door handle and gripped it tight. The nervous energy in his stomach was beginning to make him feel nauseous. He took a few steps back, eventually releasing his hand from the handle.

Why am I so nervous? I shouldn’t feel like this. It’s not THAT big of a deal, Miles. He thought to himself, attempting to soothe his anxiety with a lie. Miles was experiencing something far from being “not a big deal”.

It reminded him of one particular day when he was seven years old. His father had taken him to the park and let him run rampant with the other children while he flirted up the doting mothers. Even though Mile’s mother had been gone for three years at that point, it still bothered him to see his father’s attention poured on anyone else.

The children were playing a game of freeze tag, throwing themselves up the playground stairs and dodging outstretched hands like a hot iron. Miles became trapped at a dead end about 15 minutes into the game. Tommy Anderson had him cornered with no way out. Miles heart began to beat faster with every menacing step Tommy took. His head darted around, searching for a way out.

His eyes happened to land on a small slit in the old playground plywood that surrounded them. Without much thought, Miles stuck his right foot into the hole and heaved his body over the wall. He fell several feet before landing on the mulch with a thud. He could feel his right arm snap under the pressure of his body and he let out a howl of pain.

Tommy and the other kids quickly dispersed to their mothers for protection as his father came flying into the scene. He was cursing and shouting at Miles as he pulled him to his feet.

“It’s not that big of a deal, Dad.”

“Really? That’s what you have to say for yourself? It’s not a big deal to be tagged in a stupid game, it is, though, a big deal to break your damn arm to avoid it. Why in the world did you jump ya idiot?”

“I don’t know.”

Mile’s father scoffed at his response. He put his hands over his eyes and ran them down his face. When they dropped to his sides, he stepped closer to Miles. He grabbed his shoulders and leaned into Mile’s face, “Look at me Miles.”

Mile’s eyes traveled up his father’s figure until their eyes met.

“I’m sorry I yelled,” His father said, “But please remember, I only yelled because I love you and you’re a big deal to me.”

Miles gave him a quizzical look. His father sighed, “You’ll understand one day when you become a parent.”

He would never forget the way his father’s gray eyes looked at him, full of love despite what he had done.

I don’t even think I’m capable of that kind of love. Miles thought.

He never had much luck with love. He especially felt this way the day he walked out on her. The way her brown eyes glistened with tears as he slowly cracked her heart to pieces with every word he spat. He watched it shatter as she pushed herself up off the couch and formed her lips around the word coward. He knew he was, but he would never admit it to anyone. Especially her.

Miles turned around one last time to look at her before opening the door to leave. My god she was beautiful.

For some reason, he only managed to walk half a block before he ran back to her door. He pushed it open, huffing and puffing from sprinting. He walked over to her as she held her face in her hands and he wrapped his arms around her.

“I love you. And no matter what, we will get through this together, “Miles said.

She turned her head and nestled it into his shoulder, “You don’t have to be afraid, Miles.”

He knew that he didn’t have to be frightened, but he still couldn’t get himself to open the door in front of him. Sweat was beginning to run down the back of his neck. He dabbed the sleeve of his sweatshirt against his forehead. He dropped his hands to his side and felt the trembling that ran from his toes all the way to his head. His adrenaline was high and his heart pounded harder and harder.

Then, a soft call came from behind the door, “Miles, I know you’re out there. Please, come in. You need to see her.”

He mustered up all the strength he had and pushed himself off of the wall towards the door. He snatched the handle, gave it a swift push, and flung the door open. It creaked as it swung open, making a soft thump as it hit the doorstop. It bounced back a little, but Miles caught it with the palm of his hand.

He made his way into the room. With every step he took, the numbness of his anxiety spread through him and made him feel as if he was floating.

When he reached her bedside, a wave of an unfamiliar emotion washed over him. My god she’s beautiful.

Nestled in a small bundle, a new little life. Half him, half her. A wondrous concoction of two chaotic minds. She held her up to him, and he gingerly wrapped his hands around her fragile figure. He held her like a china doll, afraid that he might break her. But when her nose wrinkled up and her little fingers brushed past his, every ounce of fear drained from his body and all he was left with was a love he never knew he possessed. He finally understood what his father meant and she was indeed “a big deal”.

Posted in Storytime

The Space In-Between: A Historical Short Story

*Note from the author: Hello! Thank you for your support of my writings. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgot about you. I haven’t posted in a while because I am currently working on my first novel and I am excited to share it with all of you! Okay, now to the story:*

 

The sound of screeching little metal wheels echoed through the house. The soft padding of little feet followed along with sporadic vrooms and pews. Daniel steered his little tin spaceship into the kitchen where his mother was hastily whisking eggs over a hot pan. His father paid little attention to the distraction as his eyes were glued to the morning headlines of January 28th, 1967 inked into the flimsy paper.

A hissing sound filled the kitchen as Mother poured the eggs out onto the pan. As if she was just thrown a hot potato, she flinched and frantically turned down the heat to the boiling pot of water next to the bubbling eggs.

Daniel blasted the little tin spacecraft into the air and did a “fly-by” of the stove. Before it could even reach its final destination of being tangled up in the phone cord, Mother snatched it from his hands and slammed it onto the counter next to her.

Without saying a single word, she glared at Daniel who quickly sprinted to his spot at the table next to his father. Mother let out a heavy sigh before pulling the tin of coffee out of the top cupboard and scooping it into the metal holder. She placed it on top of the boiling water and quickly returned her attention to the eggs.

When she was satisfied with their look, she scooped them from the pan onto a white serving platter. The one with the pink flowers that circled the flat of it in a figure eight. That one was her favorite. She rarely used it, however. She only pulled it off of its place in the curio cabinet when it was a special occasion.

The day outside was hot and muggy in Cape Canaveral, Florida and Daniel didn’t see a reason that any guests would be going out in such weather to join them for breakfast. Father, anyway, spent most of his days working until the sun went down. But, Mother told Daniel that yesterday was a bad day at work and father had lost some very close friends. Daniel didn’t really understand why that would be considered a “special occasion” in his mother’s eyes.

Mother sat the platter of scrambled eggs right next to the freshly brewed pot of coffee. Father barely even flinched, his eyes still glued to the newspaper.

“Honey? Would you like me to pour you a cup of coffee?”

Humph,” he nodded his head in approval.

Mother poured the coffee until it just reached the rim of the cup. She sat the pot back on the table and took a seat in her chair.

“Daddy look!” Daniel’s arm shot out and he began to point his chubby little finger at the back of the newspaper Father was reading. But before the tip of his finger could make contact with the inky tissue, the side of his hand knocked his father’s cup of coffee and it splashed onto the white table cloth and Father’s work pants.

“Daniel!” Mother lurched back in her chair and scampered up to get a kitchen towel.

Father frantically tossed the newspaper out of his hand, sending it floating to the linoleum floor. Father’s chair scratched against the floor as he pushed it out and ran for the kitchen sink.

“Hot! Hot! HOT!” Father’s hands flailed up and down as if it would cool the steaming coffee stain dripping down his trousers.

But, Daniel wasn’t so much focused on the incident anymore. He hopped out of his chair and reached for the newspaper. The sounds of his father’s hysterical shouting and his mother’s calm mumbles faded into the background.

Daniel had seen that man before. The one with the deep brown hair, slicked to the side. The dark eyes burrowed beneath thick eyebrows. Father has introduced him as Mr. Chaffee. Roger Chaffee. Father had told Daniel that they worked together and that he was going to go to space.

Daniel was in awe when he met him, the man that would be among the stars and the planets that had fascinated Daniel so much. But Father’s voice boomed in the kitchen and it shook Daniel back into reality.

His eyes shot over to his father who was now holding his hands against his face. Father was sobbing. His body heaving up and down as he took in gasps of air every now and then.

Daniel had never seen his father cry. Never.

Mother quickly escorted Daniel out of the kitchen, guiding him by his back with her cold fingers into the living room. She turned him around and knelt down by his side,

“Daniel. Do you remember Daddy’s friend from work? Mr. Chaffee? The one that was going to space?”

Daniel nodded.

“Well, yesterday, there was an accident…” She trailed off and stared into Daniel’s little blue eyes that were filled with confusion.

She started again from a different approach, “Do you remember how I told you that Grandma Smith went to heaven a few months ago?”

Daniel gave a swift nod.

“Well, Daddy’s friend and two other people who were going to go to space are in heaven now too.”

Daniel stood, looking towards the back wall of the living room, trying to wrap his head around what his mother just told him. He eventually looked her right in the eyes and said,

“Mommy? Isn’t space where heaven is? So, they just took a different way. Right?”

Mother looked into her son’s innocent little eyes and let a small smile make its way to the corner of her lips,

“Yes, Daniel. That’s right.”

She wrapped her arms tightly around his little body in a hug as hot tears rolled down her face. Father suddenly appeared from around the kitchen doorway, after listening to the entire conversation, and wrapped his arms around Mother and Daniel. And for the first time in years, the three of them sat, crouched on the living room floor tangled in each other’s arms. The space between them being no more.

Posted in Storytime

You are What You Eat: A Very Short and Humorous Tale

We were sitting around the kitchen table when my Uncle Leo walked in. He grumbled a few choice words as he shuffled across the floor trying to peel the Buick’s emergency break from the palm of his hand. With a swift jab of my elbow, Henry’s snickering stopped and he covered his cheeky grin with his fan of cards. When Uncle Leo made it to the sink, he slammed his new accessory to the counter with one loud thud. It startled me so much that my cards scattered around me like confetti and Henry let out a loud screech as he tumbled to the floor in a fit of cackles.

Uncle Leo, though, seemed less than amused with the situation. He sluggishly turned his head to the side, away from the afternoon sun, and his big brown eyes practically rolled back to his brain before fixing in on Henry rolling on the ground in laughter.

I, on the other hand, was more interested in evading the pugnacious Uncle Leo before things started to get out of hand. Henry just never knows when to quit, which reminded me of my father.

Before the situation had a chance to escalate, the sound of my Grandma’s truck revving up the driveway cut through the tension in the room and momentarily distracted both guys. I hopped out of my seat and lept over Henry like a gazelle to the screen door. I was out in the yard before my Gram could put the truck in park. She didn’t even have to ask to know that Henry was up to his callous tricks again.

She sighed, “What’d that boy do now?”

“Put super glue on the emergency break in Dad’s old Buick.”

“Good grief! He should know by now to avoid all those there relics.”

Gram snatched her purse from the passenger seat, near the dog, and flung open the car door. She slammed it shut and was about to charge ahead but was comically snapped back when her zipper got caught in the door. But with one swift pull, she yanked her jacket free. Resembling a bull just released from its pen, she stamped through the grass in her heels like a drunk goose. I knew Henry wasn’t going to last the whole eight seconds it took for her to throw her ecclesiastical morals out the window and swear upon the name of the good lord.

I followed her as she stiff-armed the screen door open in front of her and entered like she was a damn Queen.

“What the hell kind of shit are you pulling, Henry,” she barked, “You know better than to go on and mess with your Uncle Sal’s stuff like that you little brat!”

“Come on, it was just a…”

“Don’t you say another word,” Gram snapped as she pointed her wiry finger at Henry, “Don’t you dare tell me that this was a joke cause that ain’t no excuse in this house no more.”

Gram’s demeanor loosened as she dropped her hand back to her side and the red rage in her eyes calmed to their original caerulean color.

“Cause your Uncle Sal said those same words before he…before he blew himself up trying to scare the shit out of your Great Aunt Maria” Gram stammered.

The room became still as my father’s untimely demise was brought up. Uncle Leo, who hadn’t moved from the sink, only paused his fiddling with the break to turn and face Gram. I looked to the ground and crossed my arms. Henry finally picked himself off the floor, giggling like he was imagining my father as Wile E. Coyote getting blown up trying to catch to the Road Runner. But unlike the cartoon wolf now covered in soot, my father was now covered in six feet of dirt.

Gram quickly shook off the solemn mood and shot Henry an unforgiving look. Her sassy stature seemed to put Henry in his place as he half-heartedly apologized to Gram, and of course to Uncle Leo too. When she was satisfied, she put her purse down and walked back to the car to retrieve my Dad’s eager Dachshund, Pickle, from the truck.

As soon as the screen door slammed, my Uncle finally turned around proudly displaying his hand which was freed from the break. Henry reluctantly sighed and reached for the emergency break my Uncle Leo was holding out before him.

Before he left, Gram opened the screen door and let the dog scurry in past her legs. Henry gave Gram a somber look as he ignored Pickle who was jumping up on his legs as her tail wagged enthusiastically.

“Look Hun, I’m sorry I yelled” Gram apologized, “Here. Take one of these.”

Gram offered Henry a piece of chocolate fudge brownies she got at the store as a peace offering. Henry snatched it from the container and popped it into his mouth as he pushed the screen door out of his way.

“What a little shit” Uncle Leo mumbled as he rubbed his sore hand.

A genuine smile crept across Gram’s face as she placed the plate on the kitchen table. She knelt to the ground to give Pickle a belly rub and didn’t even flinch when angry yelps and coughs suddenly started pouring in from the yard,

“What the hell, this tastes like salty dirt! What in God’s green earth did you give me ya old hag!”

In tandem, My Uncle Leo and I looked to Gram.

“I find it funny how your father named this cute little hot dog Pickle after you fed him a whole jar of them when you were just three years, Rae” Gram said with a tinge of nostalgia, “When your daddy yelled at you that the dog was gonna turn into a pickle cause of it, you howled in a pool of tears and pickle juice ‘til your daddy scooped you up in his arms and told you it was a joke.”

“Uh, yeah I remember that a little…but what does that have to do with Henry’s hissy fit in the front yard” I asked.

Gram looked up to reveal a sly smirk on her face, “Your father had it right with his joke about Pickle, you are what you eat. And your Uncle Leo had it right with Henry being nothin’ but a little shit so…”

My Uncle Leo hoot and hollered as he bent forward in laughter. Gram and I began to chuckle too. Even Pickle howled to join in on the collective laughter. I mean, she was the one who helped make Henry’s special fudge brownie.

Posted in Storytime

The Things We Aren’t Supposed to Talk About: Act II

He pushed the pencil to the end of the desk, making a clear path in the grit that covered it. I need to clean this s*** he thought.

He returned to the pad of paper sitting in front of him:

She was like a soft summer rain. Beautiful in every way. Her laugh could brighten my day. We would sit by the fire, swapping stories like we did as kids, her arms tangled in mine.

Tahir could hear those familiar footsteps trotting down the hall at full speed. He quickly whipped open the drawer by his right knee and threw the pad of paper into it, slamming it shut just before the footsteps reached the door.

“Tahir! What’s up, man?” Derek said as he peeked around the corner of the office door. He pushed his wiry frame against the doorway, leaning in like a curious dog, tail wagging and everything.

“Uh, not much. Just trying to write my short story for this week’s column.”

“Oh, come on. You know that’s not what I’m talking about.”

“I really don’t know what you mean, Derek.”

“The cutie at the front desk with the brown eyes, what you wrote about last night on your blog.”

Tahir stared, confused.

Derek tried again, “Short black hair, orange spring dress, beautifully tanned skin…”

“Ah, yeah, that one. Um, it was a story Derek. We never really talked at all.” Tahir said.

Tahir remembered her as he walked into the office this morning. She was a beauty, and he was in love. She had short black hair that hung straight, framing her caramel colored skin. Her eyes were like uneaten chocolate candies sitting on white porcelain plates, fringed with long dark eyelashes that curled to meet her thin brows. Her lips. Her lips is what took his breath away. They were a plush, soft baby pink that when it crept into a smile, they looked supernatural in beauty. The peach silk dress she wore flowed over her body like water, highlighting every curve with vigor.

She was beautiful in every way.

Derek interrupted Tahir’s thoughts, “What? So she’s up for grabs? Dude, I call dibs now.”

“Derek, you can’t!”

“Unless you want me to tell her you like her.”

Tahir sighed, “Don’t just…I got a lot of work to do, Derek. Send in Julia, I need to speak with her.”

Derek huffed, “Fine. But if she says no to you, she’s all mine.”

“Deal” Tahir muttered.

Geez, he’s annoying. It’s not a competition…but if he asks her first, I’m gonna punch his smug little smile right off of his boney face.

“Tahir, you asked for me?” Julia stood in the doorway, gripping a stuffed manila envelope.

She wasn’t anything that beheld much beauty. Her skin was pale, making her gawky in appearance. She had dull hair the shade of a fat-free chocolate and dark beady eyes hidden beneath large purple frames. Her cheeks had a rosy glow, but would be considered too pudgy by any fashion magazine. Her sweater was a bright pink that covered her overused, grey muscle shirt. Her muffin top was highlighted by the flowing khaki’s she wore almost every day, but she was so used to sucking it in, no one could barely notice anymore.

“Ah, Julia, yes. I wanted to ask you how your trip to Ireland was.”

“Oh” Julia hesitated to answer, surprised Tahir remembered, “It was good! I had a lot of fun. It was really beautiful there with the green and rolling hills. I would recommend it the next time you feel like traveling.”

“Awesome, sounds like you had a great time. We’re glad to have you back.”

“Thanks, I’m glad to be back.”

A moment of silence followed, Julia fiddled with the corner of the envelope she was holding while Tahir stared at his empty screen.

“Tahir…I…um…was wondering. Did you…um…want to go…” Before Julia could finish her sentence, Derek flew into the doorway like a hawk and shrieked,

“Dude! Do you know that gorgeous, blonde receptionist you like?

“What about it?” Tahir asked.

“I asked her on a date, and she said yes. Boo yah!” Derek said as he sprinted down the hall towards his office.

“WHAT THE F*** DEREK! Geez, what a prick. I even told him that I really liked that girl. She was the prettiest I had ever seen.” Tahir looked to his window. “I’m never going to find another girl that that.”

“Yeah. Sure. I guess there’s not enough pretty girls to go around.” Julia said.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Tahir said, surprised at the lack of emotion in Julia’s usually peppy voice.

“Nothing,” Julia took two hard steps forward and tossed the envelope she was holding in her hands. It landed heavily on his desk with a thud, sending dust flying up into the air. Before he could get out another word, Julia was gone.

Tahir immediately stood up and lurched for the door. He grabbed the frame of the doorway and used it to gain momentum towards her office. He counted three doors before forcefully turning the knob on the fourth and pushing it open.

Julia sat at her desk, she didn’t even look up when he came in.

“Julia. What’s wrong?”

“Go away, Tahir.”

“Julia, listen. I didn’t mean to say that you’re not, you know, pretty. I mean…”

“Seriously. You think I’m shallow enough to be upset that you don’t think I’m pretty?”

“Julia!”

“Tahir, I like you.” Julia’s eyes looked straight into his soul as those words spilled from her thin lips.

“I’ve always liked you, Tahir. You’re smart, creative, and kind. I help you with drafts, grammar, spelling, and copying. I go out of my way to help you because I know that you would do the same for me. I like the way the one piece of hair always sticks up on the top of your head, no matter how much hair gel you put in it. I like the way you use your words to describe beautiful people and the love you hope to find. I like the way your awkwardly laugh whenever you’re with people you’re not too familiar with and so much more,” Julia sighed,

“But your view of love is as clear as dust.”

Tahir was stunned. His jaw nearly hit the floor.

“Julia…why didn’t you tell me?”

She paused her typing and moved her hands to her lap, spinning slightly in her chair to reveal her eyes glossy with tears.

“Because. I will never look like them or be like them, Tahir, the girls you always seem to write about. I hate thunderstorms, I can’t stand the bugs outside. I wear clothes for comfort. I’m not skinny. My hair doesn’t effortlessly flow down my back. I don’t wear glasses for fun, I wear them to see things. Dresses make me uncomfortable, and I would rather sleep 30 more minutes than put on a full face of make-up.” She paused and looked down at her hands in her lap.

“Plus, we aren’t supposed to talk about this kind of thing. If we like someone we have to keep it hidden like buried treasure. Because no one wants to take the chance. No one wants to get hurt. Please, just go away, Tahir. I’m already embarrassed enough as it is.”

“Julia, I’m…”

“Just, go.”

Tahir slowly backed up to the hallway and could barely feel his legs propelling him forward on his way back to his office. When Tahir got back to his desk. He sat there in some sort of trance. Here he was, thinking he was unlovable only to be loved by the last person he would expect it from.

He picked up the pencil on the edge of his desk and pulled his notepad out of his drawer. He looked at what he wrote earlier. Within seconds he ripped it from the bind, crumpled it up, and pushed the dust filling his desk to the side with it.

Then, he began to write:

Title: The things we never say to each other

“I like you” she said, her glistening brown eyes looking up at me…

Posted in Storytime

The Things We Aren’t Supposed to Talk About: Act I

I think it’s the sound the bottle makes when the pills rattle down the orange, plastic siding that gets me. It’s like a little bell that rings out across the room, announcing to those around of its presence. No, they’re not the drugs that you hear about in the news or see in action-packed movies and hippie dramas that focus solely on the crappy side of life.

No, they were the ones we aren’t supposed to talk about.

I sit on the edge of my bed, burying my toes into the fluffy carpet while my I squeezed a worn towel around my soaking wet hair. The smell of melons and coconuts wafted around my freshly cleaned body which was sporting smiley face PJ shorts and an oversized Brewers shirt.

After a good while of squeezing, I released the towel from my damp hair and tossed it across the room. It landed next to the laundry basket, on top of some books. I stared at it for a few seconds, deciding whether it was worth it to get up and fix, before shrugging it off and curling underneath the warm covers to protect my hair from the cold breeze coming from the open window.

I blindly reach for the bedside lamp switch before my forearm touched something and pushed off the table to the floor. It clattered as it hit the carpet with that unmistakable chime.

I groaned, picked my head up from my pillow, and rested my chin on my elbow while looking down to that orange blob on the floor.

I let out a frustrated puff of air before reaching down and scooping it into my hand. I pulled it close to my face and held it there. I fiddled with the white sticker plastered across it, bending the corner, then straightening it, and then bending it again.

With the repetitive movement, I zoned out, consumed in the thought of what exactly lead me to holding this bottle in my hand.

Maybe it was because of the long walks at night to the bridge and wondering if the water was as cold as everyone says it was. Maybe it was because of the naps I would claim to take, only to end up weeping while hugging a bottle of painkillers for comfort. Maybe it was because of the academy award winning performance I would put on every day, smiling and laughing as if I had never felt the sting of sadness before.

But I knew the truth. The truth that I couldn’t accept. That depression isn’t something that just goes away like a cold. It’s an illness, one that people have a hard time accepting as an illness that needs medication to be cured. Some think a good therapy session and friends is sufficient enough to rid you of this “first-world problem”.

But would you ever tell a cancer patient to “be happier, it’ll cure you” or a person suffering from MS to “walk it off, it’s not that bad” or an elderly patient taking their last breaths “keep breathing, it’s not that hard”. No. Because they are suffering from something that they can’t control. So why do people think it’s okay to say that to people suffering from depression, anxiety, bulimia, anorexia, etc. that it “isn’t something that requires medical attention” to just “work it out”, or “toughen up”.

But sometimes even if they believe that it is a true illness, pills shouldn’t be an option. No, that’s what weak people do. The strong people put a smile on their face and perceiver.

But when you take the box cutter from the office and hide in the bathroom, ready to end it all, it’s no longer something you can control on your own. It’s no longer something you can smile through. That’s not normal.

So here I am, laying in my bed holding my Sertraline, Zoloft, Prozac, whatever you want to call it, in a little, plastic orange bottle. Holding the thing we aren’t supposed to talk about. We aren’t supposed to admit we have because it makes you sound weak and privileged. But I knew for a fact, that if this little pill hadn’t come into my life, I wouldn’t have been here to celebrate my 21st birthday, hug my family, hang out with my friends, graduate college, travel the world, and meet the love of my life.

It saved my life. It has saved many lives. But, we aren’t supposed to talk about it.

I push the lip of the lid down and twist the white cap off while tilting the bottle toward my open palm. The pills trickle down the side, tolling like mini bells, until one lands on my hand. I close up the bottle, place it next to the lamp, and grab the water bottle beside it. In one motion, I toss the pill into my mouth and took a sip from the water bottle, with my lips immediately beginning to pucker at the surprising tangy twist the water held.

I gagged and spat, opening up the lid to reveal the over-powered lemonade I forgot I had made that afternoon before going on a hike with my friends. I rolled my eyes, scoffed at my own stupidity, and even cracked a smile at how funny I must have looked. I snickered for a bit before placing the water bottle back on the table and clicking off the lamp.

I snuggled back into my warm bed and listened to the sounds of a lively Saturday night on campus as they drifted in with the breeze. And in the distance, beneath all the laughter and shouting, beneath the sounds of cars and crickets, I could hear the very faint sound of little chiming bells that lulled me into a deep sleep.

Posted in Storytime

Have You Ever Tried to Fly? : A Short Story

Astronauts ready? Begin countdown. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4…

I remember it so clearly now:

The sun was creeping along the tattered deck. When it reached the tip of my gangly fingers I hopped down the stairs and laid flat on the warm crabgrass by the edge of the farmhouse. I watched the clouds inch by across the blue sky and geese flying in formation overhead, honking as if they were mocking me. There they were, flying high in the sky while my little body lay adjacent to the ground. Stuck.

“What’d ya doing Mei?”

“Nothing, Gran, just looking at the sky”

“At what? Ain’t nothin’ up there but air and birds.”

“I know” I said. I rolled over to my stomach and locked onto her old, faded brown eyes, “I was just thinking that it would be nice to fly like the birds.”

Gran plopped onto her rocker on the deck, “Who says ya can’t?”

“Uh…science.”

“Yah don’t know unless ya try. So, have you ever even tried to fly?”

“Gran, I can’t fly! I’m a person and I don’t have wings!”

“Superman ain’t got no wings from the looks of it and he flies ‘round like a gnat everywhere and stuff…”

“But he’s Superman.”

“And you is a little girl, Captain Obvious”

I rolled my eyes and flopped my back against the ground. I could hear Gran mumbled choice words behind me as she creaked her rocker back and forth in rhythm. Her crackled voice pierced the silence of the late afternoon,

“Instead of just lying there ‘n doing nothing, why don’t you go on and get the mail for me.”

“Fine.”

I let out a huge sigh, lifted myself up off the ground, and started down the long drive. Her mailbox was so far away that it took someone at least 40 minutes just to walk there and back. However, I enjoyed running to make it go by faster and release some pent up energy I stored like a winter squirrel, as Gran would say.

With the farmhouse out of sight, I began with a slow jog. Then it picked up to a slow run. When I was fully running down the gravel drive, I suddenly remembered what Gran said about flying. I guess she was right that I never really tried to fly at all. But that was about to change.

I picked up to full speed ahead and ran as fast as I could down the gravel driveway. My feet pounded the ground with each step and my hair flipped around in the wind. I kept running until I could barely feel my feet anymore and I launched my little body into the air with all my strength.

As soon as my feet left the ground, a sense of excitement rose in my gut and for a moment, I was flying. Soaring above the gravel road like a drunk goose. My arms were flailing in the air and my shout of excitement sounded like honk, but it was quickly deflated as the ground smacked a sense of reality back into me.

For a good minute, I let the fact that I just attempted to fly like a bird and failed, unsurprisingly, sink in for a minute. I eventually rose from the ground and assessed the damage. Bleeding, dirty, and shredded clothing. She’s gonna kill me.

It was near sundown by the time I finally limped my way back to the house, with one letter tucked under my arm. However, she didn’t say a word as I came in looking like I was tossed into a blender. She simply put her hand on my shoulder and led me to the hallway cupboard to retrieve her mini first-aid kit.

I was sitting atop the kitchen counter and Gran was on her knees tending to my wounds. As she slowly peeled the backing off each plastic bandage and placed then on my cuts, a smile began to cautiously make its way to the corner of her lips.

“What?”

“Nothin’.”

“Yeah right! Why you smiling like that?”

“‘Cause, I thought for sure you were gonna fly.” She let out a short snort before she burst into a fit of giggles.

“I did, though!”

“Ya did?”

“It didn’t last that long, but I did!”

She calmed down and wiped the back of her hand against her glistening forehead. She leaned back on her heels and let out a deep sigh.

“I’m glad you did, honey. It’s tough fightin’ gravity like that”

“Huh?”

“Gravity. The thing that’s keeping those scrawny legs of yours planted to the ground.”

I had almost completely forgotten about gravity. All of those physics lectures in class started to flood into my memory. Mr. Montgomery mumbling as he fussed around with the Bill Nye VHS. The classic theme song pouring out of the television and my classmates lips. It was there I had remembered I learned about Space. Where people float rather than sink to the ground.

Gran interrupted my thoughts as she clipped the first aid kit shut. I hopped off the counter, looking more like a patched quilt than a person, and made my way back to the porch. I sat down on the stairs which Gran settled into her creaky rocker. She flipped through a few pages of a book and eventually settled on a starting point.

As we sat there in silence, my eyes never leaving the disappearing horizon, I thought long and hard about my little stunt earlier. When the sun became nothing but an orange glow on the horizon, I turned to Gran,

“Gran, I’m gonna try to fly farther tomorrow.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Alright.”

Another moment of silence passed.

“And even further the next day. I’m not gonna stop” I said.

“Good. Ya know where to find the first-aid kit.”

 

Right here in my pocket…Thanks Gran.

…3, 2, 1, Lift Off.