Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Running Fish

It's been twenty-three years since the meteor hit our home. My mother was on field that day. I often think of what she might've thought a few moments before, how happy she was on the other side of the world uncovering new things. That morning she called Pa sharing news about her discovery and what she could contribute to the archaeological team. Pa praised her and smiled, the kind that said everything was alright and that Natalie was being fed and clothed properly and mother didn't need to worry about a thing. We never saw her again, of course. But I remember in a distant dream how she looked like: green eyes with brown hair brushing her frail shoulders. She wore diamond earrings all the time despite her field of work; I remember how they glinted next to her rosy cheeks. And jasmine. She smelled of jasmine and ocean water. She called me Lee, short for Natalie. Pa hated that name but has not stopped calling me by it ever since we lost her. He was tall and built; a complete contrast to my mother. He also had brown hair, but it was very dark and the gray in his beard stood out significantly against it. His gray eyes hid beneath furled brows and he often walked with a confident stride, fists on his side. He seemed strong but I knew he was broken inside.
“Lee, eat your breakfast please.” I sat at the table staring out the window at the gray clouds.
“It’s going to rain today, Pa.” I pushed the eggs around.
“You don’t have to be afraid. They’re just rain clouds.”
“I know.”

Our kitchen was small and dirty. We couldn’t keep up with the cleaning since we run everywhere: down to the shop, to Ms. Allison’s 5 blocks over for dinner, and 8 miles to my school. We don’t have cars around here. They were banned years ago. There are buses but Pa doesn’t make enough to afford such luxury. Today I had to be at school and we needed a forty minute start so I could get there on time. I don’t mind running, I can run for a long time without getting tired and Pa’s stamina is incomparable.  Ms. Allison said that he could probably outrun the cancer. She’s talking about the global cancer that many eventually contracts at around ninety years old. Even though the energy of the meteor increased the length of human lives by thirty percent, it also emitted a cancerous toxin that slowly built in the bones outward, collecting in tumors that made you toss and turn in the night. At least that’s what Mr. Archie taught in Biology class which was one of only four classes. There was also Math, Reading and Economics. I’m particularly good in reading but Pa wants me to focus more on Economics. “One day, maybe you can be the answer to all this misery,” he’d say on rainy nights. 

Musicians In Love

She was absolutely beautiful, he thought. His palms were sweaty grasping onto the violin as he gazed at her fingers dancing on the keys of the piano. Her dress was mauve and beautiful against her light skin. Her hair was swept back neatly, parted slightly off center and gathered on her back in a low ponytail. Even in the low light, he could see her skin reacting to the cool air and vast audience with goosebumps. She was dazzling.  Sometimes she caught a glimpse of him gazing at her as she played out the notes one by one.  But she didn’t mind, he was one added to the hundreds now giving attention to her musical monologue.  It was a wonderful night and it was just beginning.

Men dressed in stark black suits with white gloves along with fair maidens in long gowns chained to their arms sat in rows in the audience. 

An Image In White

Hello. This is me. I am here. It’s bright and quiet. It’s clean and silent. I can hear my arm brush against my waist. It’s calm and fresh. This is me. I am here.
She has brown eyes. Dark hair. Her nails are clean. Blue of her dress. Pink are her shoes. She is little. She runs across the blank white canvas. She runs on nothing. Blue ruffles trail behind. Pink footprints.
Left. A window. Right. A staircase. Which would you choose?
His name is Hal. He says Hello with a very deep voice. He has two big teeth in the front. His ears are also big and they are pink. His shirt has a shape on it with 5 points reaching, reaching…reaching.
There are clouds. Somewhere. I can’t see them. But she talks about them. She says they are white. I know what white looks like. She says they are round and sometimes they are not. They are in the sky. Up above. I look and it’s just white. I imagine clouds are blinking white eyes looking down at me. Sometimes round, sometimes not.
One day I saw it. The door turned a color like pink shoes. But it was darker. And deeper. And more…beautiful. And in the center was a gold handle. Hal said I can open it. So I do.
I can’t see anything. Everything is still white. And then I can see everything. First it was a small circle in the distance. Then the white faded away. And I saw everything. Some things were the color of the door and folded into themselves. Some things were also white. But there were some other colors to be named. Pink. Blue. And a calming color. It’s my favorite color.
She said they’re called birds. She also said the color is green. She said green is the color of trees. She said birds sit in the trees. What is that sound I ask. They are singing.
Today I found something beautiful under the trees. She calls it a pond. The pond has water and I like the way it sounds. Like blue birds singing. She said I can lay beside it in the shade of the trees. Can you hear that she asked. Yes.
Hal likes the pond. He sits next to me. Then he does this. He touches the pond and it dances.
Today she is talking about the sky. I see it, the white eyes looking down at me. They are big and white and they dance like the water. Today, blue is my favorite color.
I think the sky is like a big picture hanging right in front of me, very far away. It’s also like the white ceiling of the room I came out of. I wonder what it’ll be like to touch the picture.
When I am by myself I like to see things. I like to give names to the things I see. Today I named 7 things. Leaf. Rose. Ant. Mice. Wind. Sun. Airplane.
She said it was a nice name. She said it looks like a bird, doesn’t it. I said yes. It’s very far, like the sky. One day she said, you will see a ship. And I did something I have not done before. I cried. I’m just very excited to see a ship. I have an idea it might look like an airplane and it will glide along the clouds just like the airplane.



Betty & Lyle Buys a House

Betty and Lyle came a long way. 7 hours to be exact. It was a small town with a little gas station on the corner and a market that took 3 minutes down a long dirt road to get to. The fields were treeless made endless with the scorching sun that created a mirage-like haze across the distance. The radio was turned up loud on the way into the town. Betty turned it down now that they started seeing residentials. No kids playing on the street. A rusty truck would turn up every 30 minutes or so.
“How much longer?”
“I think 20 minutes.”
“For such an empty town, it seems like a very long drive to get through.” Betty chuckled. She was busy knitting something. Lyle was pretty sure that whatever it was made no use here. It was at least 90 degrees.
“I’m very hopeful! Susan told me all about the town. It’s small, yes, but I think it’ll be a great area to start a family. And my parents are only 2 hours out.”
“Yes dear. But let’s just wait to see the house first.” Lyle tried to mirror her enthusiasm.
Soon, they pulled up to the dirt drive way. In the distance they could see the house. A faded blue with off-white shutters. The porch slumped to one side, probably from the effect of rainy season.  The detached garage, or rather, shed, was not positioned parallel, but instead at an awkward angle that made the dirt road swerve slightly to connect to its entrance.
“Isn’t it charming? I’m so excited to see the inside! And will you just take a look at all these acres?”
Lyle mustered a smile to satisfy his wife. He was optimistic but skeptical. Maybe the walk through will brighten up the prospective. 
Betty skipped up to the front porch. Suddenly, missing a step, she fell and scrapped her elbow on the top step.
“Are you ok?” Lyle ran and helped her up. “Look at your shin!” Her right shin was red and bleeding. She held her elbow in her hand.
“What just happened?” Betty laughed through the throbbing pain. “I am too excited.”
“Your eyes are watery. Are you really ok?” Lyle grimaced. He wiped the blood away with the long sleeves of his shirt and put a little pressure on the area.
“Yes, I’m fine. I really want to see the house!” Lyle adored her optimism. It kept him going. They sat there for a few moments assessing the odd situation.
“Let’s just be careful of the steps from now on.” He gave an encouraging smile and took her hand guiding her up onto the porch. 
The door handle was once gold. Now the paint was chipped so it seemed like gold flecks sailing in the air like dust as Lyle gripped it. With the key in the lock, the door didn’t budge until he gave it a firm nudge with his shoulder.
“That could be fixed.” He observed.
As their eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, the living room came into view. The only light was streaming in through the kitchen window from the back of the house. The settled dust dispersed in the light as they softly walked along the damaged wooden floors.
“Look how big this living room is! Look at this fire place; I didn’t even know there would be one.” She walked over and felt the bricks. “This is original, doesn’t get better than that.” She turned and smiled at him. He again mustered a smile. It took a little bit of a push from his head to take another step.
“An air purifier in the corner would help this situation, wouldn’t it?” He chuckled and she nodded in agreement.
“After it’s all cleaned, can you imagine how beautiful it’ll look? It’s got a lot of character and charm. It’s exactly what we wanted.” She trailed off into the kitchen.
Lyle stood in the dusty sunlight for a few moments. His wife was happy. This place can’t be too bad. 
“Lyle, come in here!” Betty yelled from the kitchen. As Lyle entered through the rounded entrance, he saw Betty crouched on her knees peering under the kitchen sink.
“It’s leaking.” She looked up at him and pointed to the sink pipes. “My father always told me to check the pipes when looking at a new house.”
“Well, this isn’t exactly a new house.” He let out a breath of exasperation as he knelt down on his knees. “Let me take a look see.” It was certainly leaking. The water trailed down the side of the white pipe and puddled on the floor of the cabinet.
“Here. Wipe the water with this.” Betty extracted paper towels from the holder that was installed on sink wall. “The owners probably knew we were gonna need these.” She chuckled. Lyle sopped up the water with the thick paper towels and left it there to soak up the remaining water leaking from the pipes. He turned the valve of the cold and hot water switches.
“That should do for now. I’ll call the plumber later.” As he stood up, Lyle let out a sigh.

“It’s alright, dear. It’s just a minor fix. Here let’s go see the back yard!” She grabbed his arm and tugged him along towards the back door located next to a window that was a tad too small for the kitchen. 

Average Day

The sun rose and now its falling back  into the horizon where it came.
wendy found herself in the old shack. suddenly the wind picked up swinging the door wide open. bracing onto the old kitchen counter, wendy shielded her eyes from the flying dust. a violent gust pushed her over. after finding herself on the floor, the wind died down and the door quietly shut itself and wendy picked herself up to lean on a beautifully carved wooden chair. her eyes widened as she gazed around what seemed to be not a shack, but rather a beautiful and dreamy candy-shop.

"why young lady, what are you doing down there?" an old woman, with a basket hung on her arm, reached down to help wendy to her feet.

"i...i'm not sure, really.." wendy stuttered.
"you might want to watch yourself now, the wind is coming in a little differently around here.." and if wendy were clear from the dust, she could have possibly seen a twinkle in the old woman's eyes.

"what do you mean, ma'am?" wendy asked as she straightened out her wrinkly dress.
"i'm not sure. you'll soon find out." and with a smile, the old woman walked into another room.

Wendy stared blankly around her. a friendly looking man stood behind a counter in conversation with a customer.

glass jars with gum drops and all sorts of colorful candies lined the shelves above the man. around the tables in the cozy room were decorated with vases that displayed an array of delights, from licorice to lollipops and butterscotch colored candy chews. looking up, wendy saw the ceiling plastered with a gold and white wallpaper that shined with different colors.

beside her, she found a row of clear cases side by side filled to the brim with every kind of sugered dream found under the sun. she reached into the one filled with gummy hearts. taking a red one, she put it in her mouth.

her eyes watered as the taste melted onto her tounge.
"mllaaghhh...." she spat it out as quickly as she had put it in her mouth. the taste was bitter and sour,  and suddenly the aroma found itself at her senses. the stink almost made her vomit on the floor.

"my, what in the world is this..." she looked at her hand where she spat the gummy heart.









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"but mr. rabbit, why do you have to leave now?" wendy tugged at the rabbit's arms.
"my dear child, the wind is calling to me." he placed his paw on her hand.
"whatever do you mean, mr. rabbit?"
"i'm not sure child, we will all find out in the end." they both stared beyond the watery horizon as the sun began to set into a firey reflection. the gentle whisper of the wind brought tears to wendy's eyes.

"when will we see you again, mr rabbit."
"soon, child, soon." they both looked behind them at the group of friends. their eyes drooped and their smiles were down case. the rabbit walked over and gave a hug to them, one by one. first to his long-time friend, mr. man.

"you and i, we've been through a lot, friend."
"i won't forget you. especially not your heart-warmin' tea and soul-meltin' biscuits. no one will ever forget it, no one."
"this is for you, mr man," the rabbit handed him a vial with a champagne colored liquid. "i've successfully captured the aroma of my tea and biscuits, a request that's taken a long time to achieve. whenever you think of me, this aroma will bring back the sweet memories of our celebrations."

he moved along to lyle and lilly, the beloved orange tigers.
"mrs rabbit would've loved to thank you for your patience when the kids hopped around your garden. you always did make the best swample pie, lilly. and lyle, thank you for showing me the magical side of The Forest. our many adventures are engraved in my imagination."

"Grungent, you are the wisest fool i know!" the rabbit chuckled as he gave the old owl a hug.
"and you are the biggest eared fool i've ever seen." the owl's feathers shuffled in a graceful dance as he embraced the rabbit.
"i hope you never forget me. i'll never forget what you've taught me, grungent."
"my prayers are with you, rabbit. tell the children we'll learn to fly soon." the rabbit gave a slight bow as he turned to see the little rodents: codle, janey, wally, zip and zach,  lined up in a formal line.

"oh come here you little rascals!" the rabbit's arms spread open. the rodents ran happily and jumped on the rabbit.
"you don't have to go, mr rabbit." janey grabbed onto the rabbit's leg in a sad hug.
"do you not like us?" suggested codle.
"no, he has 'nother adventure to attend to, right mr rabbit?" answered wally knowingly.
"what kind of adventure?" asked zach
"a high-flyin, sharp-kickin, far-reachin' adventure! that's what it is!" piped zip
"yes, another adventure indeed!" the rabbit picked himself up from the ground. "you little ones behave yourselves now. grungent only has one pair of eyes, big as they might seem, he certainly can't keep up with all of you. learn as much as you can and one day, you will fly just like him." the rabbit winked at the owl.
"really?!" zach jumped at the foot of the owl.
"yes, zach, if you eat your vegetables and read all the books in the library."
"aw man...i hate readin" codle frowned.
"you willl learn to love it one day. grungent will tell you wonderful and magical fairy tales of far away lands. and if you open the right book, the magic will come right out at you!" the rabbit raised his hands to spook them.
"really?!" codle jumped up and down clapping his hands,"i love magic!"
"me too!"
"me three!"
"what kind of magic?" zach tilted his head in wonder.
"you'll see little one, you'll see." the rabbit smiled at all of them, tears welling up in his eyes. turning away he directed his gaze back at wendy. the girl stood with her hands clasped together. there was a look fighting confusion on her face. the rabbit walked over and gave the girl a hug.

"And you my dear child, will never be forgotten either. you've come at such a wonderous and confusing time. but i'm glad you did. very glad."
"i'm glad too." wendy forced a smile but her heart was torn in two.
"you do not have to be happy for me, happiness is shared. and if i feel no happiness right now, you do not either."
"but i am happy. and i know you are too" wendy smiled again, this time more genuninely.
"yes, i am happy, happy not for parting, but happy for the memories. happy for my friends."
and wendy understood.

a boat appeared, gracefully on the edge of the water and sand. the sun was nearly all the way below the horizon and the birds had retreated to their nests. somehow they sensed something was creeping up in the night. eleven shadows broke up the blinding orange as they proceeded towards the boat.








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The rumor that he was sad was aggravating to my brother. Troy was an unsuspecting jock. He had the whole hockey team on his side and when one of the nerds would cross their paths, Troy was expected to pay a humorous tribute to them. And the nerd who decided to cross their path outside the ice gym that day was his crush's little brother, Adam. Now Adam and Troy got along and even sometimes hung out after school. But on his way to math class, Adam needed the bathroom next to the ice gym. And here they were, in all their glory, the reigning hockey team at Salt Lakes High.



i'm in the back, night time, cold leather seats
street lights glimmer on and off down the damp, hushed streets

lights glow verdant, honey, crimson
we stop and the engine dulls to a quiet hum

a couple in a beat up coupe
deep in conversation, mute

i'm wishing i can listen in, hear the silent words
see the gleam of the dash, the smell of cotton shirts

verdant as they leave us behind and i'm left to watch the ghosts of tender moments
silence in the car but the constant strum of the heart, lonely

the tires splash over puddles shattering perfect reflections
we take a minute at a drive in

two elderly ladies, 1 in a pastel sweater, 1 in a plaid jacket
both with turquoise earrings and a necklace that matches

1 says something, 1 laughs merrily
i can tell they're best friends, having gone through