10.03.2008

lost and found

For some, life is read on palms---delicate lines of days passed, and those of a promised future.
The battles and loss of this man’s life is full-body armor. Prior to speaking, this is understood. If you care to notice.

His eyes scan and study everyone in the barroom. Brief facial expressions denote his interpretation. Dialogue is earned.

My eyes catch his unbreakable concentration. With a tilted stare, he searches me for understanding. Once satisfied, he continues.

"After my wife’s death, I was met with this group…well, my family---MY KIDS. I was lost."

8.12.2008

Wavelength


The sun is settling into morning while Mindy begins swimming. She swims to clear the residue of the previous night’s dreams. She does so each morning. Her worries and wants disperse into the ocean; fluttering away until distance is her savior. She relies on this clearing.

So far this plan has accomplished a decade's worth of success.

Today is different.

Today, she emerges from the ocean with mind and body as energized as the raucous waves that tousle her hair and kiss her tingling pores.

Today, Routine is not strong enough to distract Mindy.

Today, Martha arrives.

8.01.2008

Graph 5: The Parting


The beast soared overhead, cawing.

He lifted the rifle, aimed, and fired. It was a complete miss. Flying off, the crow cawed twice more. A reproach? Or was it mockery?

Higgy sighed. His eyesight had worsened; his body overall was deteriorating. He couldn't bear to look at his reflection in the mirror anymore. When had he gotten so old?

The walk home was only a couple of miles. He looked out over the tall grasses and narrow dirt road. Clouds had gathered, and he was thankful for the reprieve from the sun's glare. He wondered if Martha had left for the coast yet, and if she would ever return.

Her announcement had been a surprise.

"I'm going to San Diego," she told him Sunday morning last week.

"When?" he asked, putting down his coffee mug.

"Two weeks from today."

"You're going to see Mindy?"

"Yes," she said.

Her response was firm. She did not seem to want to answer more questions. He looked back at the newspaper he had been reading. She pushed her chair back from the table noisily and went into the kitchen.

The last time she had announced something was when she had the miscarriage.

"I lost the baby," was all she said. He hugged her, and she seemed to go limp in his arms. She never cried, though - something he never understood.

He couldn't help but think that maybe his day had come. She would leave him the way that Bill left Connie, or the way his own mother left his father two years before his death.

He heard the crow again, cawing from a near distance. He lifted his gun, and fired.

7.21.2008

The Illusion is Broken

He and his sister didn't speak much to each other as they drove in her car to his childhood home. The blinking red light had brought him this far, and the effort - he hoped - would be enough to set him free again. Free? His girlfriend would laugh at him. He could just hear her voice as she said it.

Living in Nantucket must have been a reeeaaallly hard life, I'm sure!

He could imagine the roll of her eyes, the way she snorted through her nose in disapproval. He hated loving her.

They continued the drive in silence. Then, suddenly, his sister sighed.

"Oh no, she's gone," she said sarcastically. "Good riddance!"

"But I thought you adored Pamela," Trevor said, eyes wide.

"Ugh. That bitch," she said. "Good riddance."

Trevor couldn't believe what he was hearing. Neither could he respond. So he stayed quiet and listened as Sarah began to tell the story.

7.19.2008

He knew as soon as his answering machine greeted his entrance with a blinking red glow in the darkness of his studio apartment.

Instinct.
Gut feeling.

Whatever its name, it was now partnered with anticipation---each tugging at either side of his mind---begging for the response of audible verification.

Nothing good came of a message on his house phone. Emergency use only. He had warned everyone. He pressed the button without hesitation's pause. The light stopped flashing and glowed a constant red warning as the message sounded.

"It's me. Your mom...She, ugh. She's left. She's really left me."

He ravaged the torturous beauty of rewind.

7.14.2008

Trevor had taken to saying that nature bored him. This wasn’t entirely true—he appreciated Nantucket sunsets and fresh-picked tomatoes and the mountain streams whence came cans of the coldest, purest beer and so forth--but it was a fair summary of a pale, petless man who slept indoors when possible, which was nearly every night.

Still, he was shocked to turn onto his boyhood street and see that the boughs of the trees on opposite sides of the pavement--oaks, say, or elms--overlapped thirty feet in the air, creating a canopy of gaudy-green leaves that led to the driveway from which he could see a small rabbit eating his mom’s neighbors’ garden.

6.23.2008

Her body was leaden as she stood facing the window. It wasn't him. She was sure of it. She opened her mouth, but nothing came out. She could not look away from the silhouette of him, not him, that man in the window.

She gasped for each breath. Her face warmed, then burned before going numb. The sounds of nighttime had all but disappeared. Thump-da-thump-da-thump-da-thump! Her heart pounded anxiously.

The sound of the pounding blared in her ears as she ran towards the house. She felt almost ethereal in movement. Fine lines of sweat ran down her face, armpits, down both legs and arms. The water drained out of her in a stream.

As she ran, the house started to slip backwards, away from her. She reached out her arms and started screaming. She could no longer see the man in the window.

She stopped running. Standing there, she watched as the house retreated further and futher away, until it finally disappeared.

6.21.2008

Pause

"7"

Pause

"8"

What was taking so long? Maybe she was so sensitized to fear that it was crippling her, making the 8 seconds that Nate had been in the house seem like an eternity. Fear, she has found, has a way of feeding on itself. She had to move on from this, but her mind would so often go back to that night, those hands, that calm. It made her fill up.

Pause

"9"

Pause

"10"

An early morning chill caught her and she was wrested, once again, from the memory. She decided that in two more seconds and she would go in. Just then she looked up at Nate's bedroom window and saw him, a silhoutte with the darkened bedroom behind him.

But...

it wasn't Nate.

6.16.2008

Preface

In those long minutes as she waited for his signal, she started counting out loud.

"1"

Pause.

"2"

Pause.

"3..."

Despite her efforts, the memories assailed her brain in fragmented pieces. Those fingertips pressing harder and harder against her throat. She had nearly marveled at how easy it was. All it took was that crushing grip, and the desire.

So this was how it was going to be, she thought. A calm had spread over her just moments before a nearly superhuman strength. And then -

As quickly as it had begun, it had ended. She could rejoin the world. She was not a victim but a survivor. Pick up the pieces. Move on. Things will get better with time. You have nothing to fear but fear itself.

And on.

"4"

Pause.

"5"

Pause.

"6"

...

6.02.2008

Graph 4: Road Trip

2:00 AM, Saturday morning.

We decided to leave at this hour to beat the Memorial Day weekend traffic. So far, pretty good. Only a few drunks spotted weaving back and forth, breaking at awkward moments. But, that was back in the city. Now on this desolate road paved seaside, we are the only cars viewable for miles. Although the moon glows a bright sky on the water visible in quick glimpses through thick forest, the absence of streetlights spans a darkened path ahead for miles. Brights are necessary.

40 miles to go.

I glance in the rearview mirror. He’s still there. The body of his car camouflaged by the night, he’s only headlights to me now.

Thirty minutes later, gravel crackles beneath the Jeep’s tires, and the Honda follows in sound and light, but is still lingering in darkened sight. We ascend for a few minutes then catch the quick turn into the driveway with the ease of familiarity.

Nate accelerates, slipping into the spot beside me, having been a watchful eye behind for the entire trip. I remain seated, rolling down the window for a well-traveled welcome kiss.

Ignition off. Sigh of relief. Emerging from the Jeep, my legs loosen their stiff driving stance and are chilled by the early morning breeze. I hear Nate saunter up the front porch, and recognize the snug slamming of the screen door. As his footsteps retreat into the foyer, I wait those few minutes needed for him to check out the house and lighten it to waking.

Bagged down with weekend belongings, I look for his all-clear signal. His blinking of his childhood bedroom’s light.

I wait.

5.16.2008

3



Bev honestly didn’t see what the big deal was. A Tupac money clip, was he serious? A sign? Of what?

“Tupac clip babe, don’t you see?

She couldn’t spend another moment straight-faced listening to his excitable musings. The more animated he grew, the stronger her urge to laugh poked at the corners of her mouth. Although juvenile, she adored this side of his personality. No matter how successful and ambitious he is, it only takes a quick bit of nostalgia for him to revert to his younger mind. How could she not marry this man? The way he attributed so much meaning to a mere act of coincidence keeps her entranced, even after seven years of dating. Sure, they had discussed the loss of Tupac after compiling their individual CD collections into one. And, although his Tupac CDs rested in the Tupperware archive, he was now resurrecting said CDs from the bin and placing them on top of the others on the corner shelf beside the television.

Haphazard conversations arose aplenty during their move. With each old room emptied, box moved and unpacked in their new premises, they talked about lives they’ve led, together and not, and fabricated their future in this new home. She wasn’t searching for signs. She was simply pleased that they had made this move, after this much time spent in separate homes. She kept silent her hopes for further progress. Start with a home.

Her laughter finally let lose, but it was heartfelt and caressed his bruised ego while her right hand stroked his cheek. He slipped the money clip back into his pocket, slightly dismayed, but knowing that he---or rather it---would prove to her soon what he already felt. He knew from experience that three signs are the charm. He was already one step closer.
When you’re searching for direction, you need to take any omen you can find. Such as an empty Tupac money clip. True, he preferred Biggie to Tupac and full money clips to empty, but his desperation was so acute that it demanded optimism. He had that half-retarded giggling feeling of the almost-damned, like his team was down 30 at the start of the second half and the coach just said, "Screw it, boys. Start gunning and see what happens." Salvation in a discarded hip-hop knick-knack? Hey, where else?

He studied his score. The portrait was of an unbandannaed, smiling Pac, suggesting sincere origins at the Tello’s in Central, as opposed to whatever thugged-out caricature the smug pricks at the Urban Outfitters in Harvard would have come up with. A good sign. He wasn’t frontin’, and neither was his Pac clip.

5.06.2008

Graph 3: The jogger


He circles back.
He slows down.

His sight repeats the two college girls already dressed in shorts and sports bras despite the lingering chill, and the guy his age pacing behind them---still wiping the sweat from his brow with his navy t-shirt. He'd passed them all a few minutes ago. During those few moments when he wondered if what he'd spied could be real.

His eyes were deceived. Ya, that's it. He wasn't wearing his contacts. His glance could be fooled in haste. As he backtracked, however, he saw from afar that it was in fact what he had seen initially. He could not convince himself otherwise.

No tricks.
No fooling.
No kidding?

Now striding a few paces from it, his eyes dart around quickly to see if anyone else is watching. iPods and breathless conversations distract passersby.

He is alone in his pursuit.

With a clear path ahead, besides, and behind, he angles himself perfectly for a seamless pickup. At a snail's pace, he gently scoops it up, cradling it in the palm of his left hand, and returns to his usual path, trailing behind his former self. The self that took a lot of convincing to believe in a true sight to follow.

4.08.2008

Boston

The next time she opened her eyes, she was in Boston. Groggy, she couldn't believe she had managed to sleep for so long. She wondered if Jonah would be waiting for her at the airport. She had told him not to bother, but secretly hoped he would.

How strange, she thought, to be here. Finally. Her stomach flipped. She felt anxious. Had she made the right decision? Panic.

Her cell phone started ringing, breaking her thought process. It was him.

"Hello?"

"Hallooo!" he said, his accent distinct.

She loved the way he sounded when he spoke. She returned the greeting.

"Hulllow!"

He laughed. She smiled.

4.01.2008

Graph 2: Audrey



The plane ride from San Francisco to Boston usually lasts close to six hours, but for Audrey, a panicky flyer, the flight seems endless. “Only three more hours,” Audrey thinks as she sorts herself beneath the blanket and sinks back into her window seat in an attempt to catch some sleep. But, the Zs fail to settle themselves upon her tired eyes since sitting beside her is Don, a man from LA whose addiction to pistachio nuts grows more apparent as the flight moseys on.

Don had introduced himself to Audrey as soon as he sat down, eagerly putting his hand out for a return deposit of her own. He looked in his early sixties, wearing bifocals that exaggerate his blue-gray eyes, which peer out from beneath a brown toupee that rests itself above his natural graying hair. At first, it appears as if he’ll sleep the whole ride. For three hours he sits with his hands perched atop his belly, head resting on his left shoulder, mouth utters a sleepy purr that sounds in succession with the rise and fall of his stomach. But, Audrey is not so lucky. As soon as she starts to relax into her own sense of sleep, having read her last magazine, he wakes, clearing the remains of sleep from his eyes and pulls a bag of nuts from his carry-on.

With each nut he cracks open and slurps into his mouth, noisily munching it away, then discarding its remains back into the bag from which he plucked it, and sometimes the floor, Don pulls Audrey farther from sleep. Of course he would offer her some if she were to open her eyes, but she remains blinded in hopes of his consumption soon ending.

She can think of nothing else to do but try and sleep. She had been up all night, since she can never sleep the night before a flight. She’d packed, unpacked and repacked her suitcase not knowing what clothes of her Californian wardrobe would accustom themselves to New England.

Finally she presses the call button for a flight attendant and asks for a headset. Don asks her why she wants one now since the movie has already been shown, and hints that it’s a waste of money. Audrey just shrugs and explains that the music helps her sleep. Don nods with a pistachio clad smile, and continues picking.

Audrey grins back as she turns on the top forty channel, submerging herself into a numbing state of being, where no nerves jitter and the cracks of emerging pistachio nuts are drowned out by a sleek guitarist’s emotional groove.

She sits back in her seat, pulling the blanket closer to her chin and thinks about Don’s meeting up with a lover and offering her pistachio kisses.

3.28.2008

The Beginning of the End


She watched the bath water go down, down, down. She sat there naked, her arms around her knees, her belly protruded. She felt not cold or warm, but numb. Then...did she feel a kick? She waited. Nothing.

A few days earlier, she had considered bringing up that dreaded topic with him. He was lying in bed, reading. She came into the bedroom after brushing her teeth. The word screamed in her head. She couldn't say it outloud. DIVORCE. It sang like a chorus.

Most people she knew didn't divorce until the love had faded followed by, or as a result of, a series of negative events - infidelity, most commonly, addictions, restlessness, mid-life crisis' of various degrees of severity - on and on the list would go. One close friend of hers had gotten a divorce after taking a trip to Italy with another female friend and realizing that there was a whole world out there she hadn't yet seen. Living in the suburbs, working the 9-to-5 no longer interested her. She was childless and still young, and her husband Thomas was happy with their life in the 'burbs - a life Lauren had referred to as "unbearably boring!"

She had nodded and listened to Lauren, pretending to be sympathetic. She looked at her and realized long before Lauren would, that she was making a mistake. But it was too late to tell her this - she had made up her mind. Out with the old, in with the new, as they say.

She stood up and looked down at her swollen belly, swollen breasts, down to her swollen ankles. She felt alien in her own body. She loved her husband so much. Why would she put him through something so awful as a divorce? One day some time after this, he would ask her this question again and again: Why? His eyes would betray confusion, fear and sadness all at once. Each time, he would look like as if he were about to cry, but the tears would never come.

She would list all the reasons, calmly. Gripes, mainly. Things that could be resolved over time, or just accepted through patience on her part. Their relationship could survive, but her bitterness would always be just under the surface, bubbling up from time to time, and then disappearing again, only to resurface and begin the cycle once more. Again and again.

No, those gripes were not the reason. His bad habits, his lack of ambition - all of those things were excuses. She wanted the divorce because she wanted to save him from her bitterness and her resentment. In her mind, she reasoned, this was an act of kindness. This was her way of truly loving him.

She rubbed her belly. And then, the baby kicked.

new



Fugly.

Shit. He didn't mean to think that--what kind of asshole judges a stranger with a made-up word that lazily sums up the intent of fucking ugly? But it was undeniably the first word that popped into his head when he saw her.

Leave.

That was the second word.

Why was he even here? Suddenly this secret-blind-date-sexy-stranger-no-one-has-to-know-fantasy had lost its charisma. But there she was, sitting in the agreed-upon armchair at the far right corner of the coffee shop. And she had already seen him anyway. Alright dickhead, let's get this over with.

"Hey."

"Hey! Glad you could make it."

"Yeah, well, it's not every day that you see your description in one of those ads."

"Yeah, I didn't think you'd find it. My friend kinda made me do it."

"Oh. Well, I have a girlfriend, anyway."

"Oh. Do you always look at personal ads when you're dating someone?"

"Uh, no. I don't know. I guess I was bored. I don't know. Sorry, I guess I'm wasting your time here."

"No, I mean, whatever. It's just cool to meet new people sometimes, you know?"

"Yeah. Yeah, you're right. Sometimes you just need that, I guess."

Dusk had descended by the time he left the coffee shop.

3.19.2008

small talk



i pick at my rapsberry/peach muffin, plucking the edges of its top in a circular motion, round and round until the sugary crust vanishes revealing a center of sweet dough and chunks of fruit that stains my fingertips. 

jesus.
look at me.
picking, plucking.
when did i become so methodical?
i'm turning into my mother.
no, my father.
i don't even like muffins.
i'm just a sucker for free shit at work.

1:oopm.
almost time to meet the green courier bag boy.
can't believe i had the balls to write him.

[note to self to not use words like 'balls' on our date.]

my mother wouldn't approve of that language,
nor of my meeting strange men in caf├ęs.
[another reason why i'm doing it]
she insists the city is filled with rapists and serial killers.
i've never knowingly encountered one.

well,
maybe with the exception of that guy who sits and watches me eat my free muffin every afternoon. maybe i'm being paranoid. or perhaps this is some weird obsession or perversion for him. is there a word for someone with a pastry fetish? there should be. he gives me the creeps.

time to go meet Ricky. or was it Richie.

3.18.2008

Clarity


I started looking at the online personal ads only after Richie sent me an email with a link to an ad that described him almost exactly: Average height, sandy blonde hair, great smile, green courier bag, 8:05 a.m. train, red iPod.

"Should I answer it??" he wrote beneath the link.

Richie was a charismatic type - one I could not help but favor when choosing to whom I would give the best projects; he was a prized member of my young staff. He reminded me of myself on the inside - the man I would have liked to have been at his age. A decade younger than me, he had more promise and a better future than I would ever attain.

"What would Leila think?" was my simple response. But in my head I screamed: YES!! Don't let life pass you by!

That was the part of me that I kept hidden away - a place where I stored thoughts that I would never share with my wife. Therein lay a myriad of desires, carefully kept out of view, and which I visited frequently - in the form of online pornography.

"Leila who??" Richie wrote back, followed by a virtual wink.

A few hours later, Richie was in my office.

"Can I close the door he asked?"

"Of course," I said.

He closed the door and quickly made himself comfortable on the brown leather sofa my wife and I had gotten as a gift from her parents. She hated the color. To my pleasure, it ended up here.

"I wrote her an email!" Richie said.

"Wrote who an email?" I asked, confused.

"The girl from the personal ad. You know - the one who sees me on the subway."

"Ah...yes..." I said. Somehow, I was suddenly disinterested in this young man's personal drama.

"Well," I said. "What happened?"

"We're going to meet this afternoon! At the cafe around the corner."

I knew the one he was talking about - the pretty young women who worked there made the lattes taste that much better.

"Yes, well what about..." I trailed off. I suddenly felt old. Why did I keep asking about Leila, his girlfriend of two years? Why was I thinking about her, when he wasn't? What did I care if he met this woman from the personal ad?

"It's not like I'm cheating on Leila!" Richie said, clearly annoyed. "I'm just...you know, curious."

I looked at him for a moment.

His excitement was the fantasy, the wonder, the greener grass on the other side. He was young. I would let him have this moment, make his mistakes, and come back to me baffled and wounded. I had my own battle scars. Why not let him have his?

Before & After




He rarely took a lunch break, preferring to work straight through until 6:00/7:00. Had he been that busy? Graphic design does take time. He thrived on lattes and the creative boost they rushed. Then he was promoted to Art Director, and although he filtered out the design work to his eager team of recent art school grads, he still remained at his desk, reading magazines and Web sites and fielding client calls.

That was two weeks before the accident.

Now, he breaks the workday into two halves. He still picks up a third latte from Barry’s Bean on the corner, but walks on toward the park instead of taking a left to return to the office. He sits on the same bench, somehow always vacant, and is shaded by an immense oak whose limbs greet with thick shade.

He watches her from this bench each afternoon at 1:00. He had not planned on eavesdropping on her everyday, but now he can’t help it. It’s not a weird obsession or perversion, nothing like that. He’s not even attracted to her. But, he finds comfort in the schedule she maintains. As he sips, not realizing the singe of his tongue from the scalding liquid, she picks at her raspberry/peach muffin, plucking the edges of its top in a circular motion, round and round until the sugary crust vanishes revealing a center of sweet dough and chunks of fruit that stain her fingertips. She dusts crumbs away from the book resting in her lap, turning slowly each remaining page of few.

Sipping, picking, cooling, plucking. Their daily rhythm now in synch.
He recognizes her habits and studies her from a shaded distance of safety. He is a stranger sharing in the peace of their ritualistic comfort.

She never looks up to meet his eyes. He can’t see what color her eyes are from this distance and that is the question he leaves with today. Another day he’ll wonder her name, what book it is, where she lives, does she work, is she a student. Each day a new question to ponder.

And yet, by the time he returns home, he still lacks an answer. But it’s these questions that keep his mind surfaced these days. For now, he’s staring his way to a solution.

3.08.2008

Up



she exhaled in reflief and hated herself for it.

his leaving was her arrival into the day. the eggshell walls of their brooklyn townhouse suddenly expanded. the air once again became penetrable. now she could actually consider the arduous task of getting out of bed.

when had this ritual begun? she wasn't sure. long enough ago for the hallway mirror to grow a coat of rust where its metal frame rested on the tub's edge [had he even questioned its relocation?]. into it she stared while melting into her morning bath.

not that she knew what she sought in its reflection. it was the seeking itself that seemed necessary. life was at a standstill. every day she prayed for an earthquake, a hurricane. when the words "car accident" floated into her consciousness, she did her best to stuff them back into the dank, dark hole of her mind. no no, that was an inappropriate prayer--neither suited for church nor for thinking about your husband's fate.

she shuddered, released the stopper, and tried not to watch the bathwater drain into oblivion. that would be depressing, after all.

3.07.2008

9 a.m.


He closed the door behind him and turned the key, locking the deadbolt. Click! He loved that sound.

As he walked down the front steps onto the sidewalk, he looked up at the sky and frowned. Dark storm clouds were already forming and he hadn't brought his umbrella. He turned around and for an instant thought about going back inside, but the thought of seeing her again, lying there in bed pretending to be asleep was too much for him. Walking through the rain was better than feeling her tears on his neck - that was one thing he couldn't handle.

Her sadness, her longing - he could feel it, and he couldn't stand it. She expected him to be the man, to step up and take over when things got too difficult. But he had never expected this. Through it all, she had always been the one in charge, the one who remembered the little things and reminded him about his dentist appointments or to buy milk for his morning coffee. Now that she was lost in this sea of depression, he didn't know what to do with himself, and worse, he did not know how to help her. She told him so many times that she knew he loved her, but his love was not strong enough to pull her from this dreary abyss.

As he walked on the sidewalk on the way to the subway, he thought again about the baby, and panicked. How could they raise a child when they could barely get along these days?

He thought back to that sunny afternoon on the boat. She looked so beautiful and happy that day. The sunlight seemed to shine only on her, or maybe he just thought that because he couldn't turn his eyes away from her. Those almond-shaped eyes, the way her upper lip disappeared when she smiled. He was overwhelmed then too, but with happiness. Would things ever be the same?

He felt a raindrop on his face. Those days seemed so far away.

3.06.2008

Awake




Months later, there is no forgetting.

These months that I had planned to spend preparing the room, shopping with mom and friends for maternity clothes, reading expectant mother books, cruising WebMD for articles and advice, watching my body change and grow—be the mother of our child—were now awash with sudden bouts of sadness and longing.

I want to rewind.

That drink. That toast. A dark and stormy. How appropriate.

We still had hope then.

I hear his footsteps, but keep my eyelids shut in semi-slumber. He warms my temple with a goodbye kiss. I catch a whiff of coffee.

Does he hope I’d wake? Is that why he lingers beside me?

Then, I listen to the faraway sounds of the hallway closet door opening and closing, a pause while he puts on his coat, keys settling into pockets, the front door squeaking open and closing snug, the deadbolt clicking into place.

Silence.

The Toast


The first few sips of the ginger and dark rum concoction burned my throat and made my tongue tingle. Here's to forgetting, I thought to myself. Amalia looked at me from across the table.

"Do you like it?" she asked.

I made a face. "It's ok," I said. "It's boozey," I added. I took another sip. The burn was still there, but the familiar hum of drunkeness was starting to numb me.

"Let's toast ourselves," I suggested. She held up her glass.

"To forgetting!" I said.

She smiled.

"To forgetting."

3.05.2008

sink, swim


She told him on the boat.

The ocean always reminded him how much was out there, and how little of it was his. Would the kid make his patch bigger, or smaller? Either way, he could talk himself into this. The transition to nearly monogamous had been nearly painless, and for the past couple of years he'd been saying he liked children. He had at least a dozen gray chest hairs.

It was a nice trip. She tanned; he burned.

Reflecting/Deflecting


My reflection stared back at me from the bathroom mirror. I examined her objectively; the way my upper lip disappeared when I smiled, the thin creases branching out from beneath my almond-shaped eyes. Those creases seemed to be getting more noticeable with each year, no, each day. I looked tired, world-weary. My face was shiny, my eye makeup was smudged. I looked at this stranger and wondered what the world must think.

He walked up from behind me, startling me. He started to rub my shoulders and smiled into his own reflection in the mirror. I wondered what he thought of himself, or if he did. He leaned down, put his face next to mine and looked at the two of our faces squished together in the mirror's reflection. He smiled again, kissed me on the cheek and left the bathroom. I glanced at myself, rubbed my eyes, and turned off the light switch.

3.04.2008

Graph 1: March 2008



As his truck turns into the driveway, she hurriedly brushes her teeth, critiquing her reflection in the mirror. Her dark brown hair is finally long enough to pull back into a low ponytail, which she fastens with plain black hair ties. Her olive complexion is tanned from their boat trip last weekend. She applies a thin layer of Vaseline to her full lips, and stares right into her own dark chocolate brown eyes. She smiles wondering if their baby will inherit her color, or that of its father’s.

a start

Beginning, middle, and end. But there is so much more to crafting prose than those three words let on. I've had the idea for this site for a couple of years, having so many first graphs on scraps and in misc Word files. They had potential, but where to go? Then a writing workshop sparked the idea, we all share commentary and writing exercises there, I could share my graphs with my friends/fellow writers, and see where we could take them. It wasn't until I discovered the ease of blogging that I decided to post.

This site is for my friends with hearts full of passion for words. Those who feel unsettled unless they release these thoughts into tactile being.

But as writers, we also carry the burden of being procrastinators. Our houses are the cleanest. Our minds are well-read. And Law & Order and CSI: Miami are favorites because they run 24/7 giving us constant preoccupation from the one task we want to be doing but may not always bring ourselves to accomplish. Unless there is a deadline...Then we are devoted to stress.

You are invited now to return to the fun of writing. Remember your first? The one story that sprang up and whispered to you tenderly and you welcomed the urge to share. Now the tales may be incessant because their voices are not as loud, they have much more distractions over which to speak.

Allow yourself to hear them again. Quiet the mind and enjoy the fun at hand. If you are here, then that is your start. Now make it a beginning.

Each month I will post a first paragraph. Those of you who are authors are invited to post graphs when you are inspired to. Others simply enjoy and comment about the read, or let me know via a comment that you'd like to be an author as well.

Maybe we'll create full stories. Maybe we'll reach dead ends. Who cares! Yes, rest your inner critic and judge and just got for it. Return to the writer within, the one you've always been.