Saturday, April 29, 2017

#8 Eclipse

Every now and then I get a little bit nervous that the best of all my years have gone by. In Hal South’s apartment I finally built up the courage to do it. I turned around. And looked in myself.
I used to play soccer. I think back on the lessons I learned from soccer at times. To have a clear goal in mind and to do anything to complete that. Somewhere in these past few weeks, I must have lost sight of my goal.
It’s kind of ridiculous. I’ve started stealing, living in the streets, and eating raw fish straight from the river. I turned away from Hal’s chessboard knowing I’d become a queen, and I began to move back across the board, retracing my steps.
I walked back to the river, and was surprised to see a rainbow glistening in the mist of the rushing waters. I was ready for my new beginning.
I walked through the park, past my tree, and up towards The Victorian. I headed through the front door, and called the elevator. I heard the distinctive “ding,” and was heading into the elevator when I felt a tap on my shoulder and a familiar voice. One I hadn’t heard since a party in the cemetery countless months ago. They said, “turn around bright eyes.”

Friday, April 21, 2017

#7 Game of Pawns

“Nothing is more intolerable than to have to admit to yourself your own errors”- Beethoven
I’ve always lived with the philosophy that I should never second guess myself. An outside observer could question my actions since I met Guillermo but I have no regrets. I like to live my life like a pawn. Only moving forward, never moving back. I try and follow my path in a straight line as best I can, though I have had some crooked moves like when I first visited that pawn shop. Anyways, I have to keep going on without questioning my past and I should, in theory, become a queen.
While the whole town was invested in their cleaning business, I decided to pitch in. Well, I guess I cleaned in a different way. Guillermo and I, the local kleptomaniacs, cleaned up and down The Victorian while the city cleaning was going on. We were stealing everything we could find, a bag of cash from Sophie Stone’s apartment, some booze from Baker’s room, we were making good time hitting every apartment up until the third floor. Then Guillermo kept lookout while I bashed in apartment #309.
It was I, the one busting into the apartment, that screamed and not Hal, the one sitting in his own home. I was caught red-handed. Thoughts of spending my life in jail, living in a 5’ by 5’ cell were flashing through my mind. But it seemed that Hal was not thinking about sending me to jail. Looking into Hal’s cool grey eyes, it seemed that he may not be thinking about anything. The eyes darted up to meet my eyes, then returned back to the chessboard in front of him.
“Your move,” he said.
I inched back out of the room keeping my eyes on Hal, yet he never returned my gaze. He was deep in thought in his game of chess, carefully thinking through every possible move he could make. I, on the other hand, was at a loss for my next move. Maybe I had reached the end of the board. Maybe this was the time to switch pieces, and make my next move in any direction I want.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

#6 Bigger Fish to Fry

“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Gaia, happy birthday to you.” The voice in my head was an excellent singer as I walked down Simone Boulevard through the pouring rain. I thought about what I wanted for my birthday and concluded that the Ring I got last Thursday was my birthday present to myself. It's not like I could afford any other presents. Folks hunched under their rain jackets brushed by me rushing to get to shelter, but I didn’t rush. Rushing is for people who have a destination in mind.
I had made no attempt to protect myself from the elements so the rain was soaking me to the bone. I was rubbing the Ring between my thumb and forefinger as I approached Rainbow River, exposing the precious metals in the Ring to the full force of the storm. I followed the sound of the flowing water past the fishing shop towards the river until, out of nowhere, a bolt of lightning struck somewhere in town, illuminating the surrounding area for a split second. In this light I saw a lone figure, sitting on the bank of the river. Baker Shefield.
I pocketed the Ring and approached the only other person willingly weathering the storm.
“Why are you out here?” I asked.
Baker turned around, clearly startled by my presence, but still responded, “I’m hiding.”
Neither of us said anything for a minute with the rain filling our silence. Then Baker said, “What are you looking for out here in the storm?”
I thought for a moment, unable to respond. I couldn’t think of a reason for anything I’d done since I got my birthday present, except for that some strange force was guiding me. Then all of the sudden a flash of lighting beamed from the sky and struck the river right next to us. I dove away from Baker and ran downstream. What was I looking for? Eventually I stopped running and looked at the flowing river. Fish were floating lifelessly by, not resisting the flow of the current at all. I reached over, grabbed one, and took a bite.

Monday, January 23, 2017

#5 'Twas a Thursday

I’ve been spending a lot of time people-watching. I like to watch strangers go by, imagining their exciting lives full of action and adventure, starkly contrasting my monotonous life. One day, last Thursday I believe, a particular man came to my interest. He was sitting at a bench across from me, with a familiar look on his face. He was using the same vague stare I use to discreetly watch pedestrians. I saw his eyes darting back and forth in a nervous manner, and then he bent down and zipped open his backpack. He took out a shiny figure and placed it by his side on the bench, then promptly got up and left. I walked over to see what it was and immediately figured out what the lonely salt shaker meant: he was the salt and pepper bandit. Fueled by curiosity and just plain befuddlement on why he would steal so many salt and pepper shakers, I ran and caught up with him.
I don’t remember exactly how our conversation went but the man, Guillermo, quickly admitted to his thievery under the condition that I tell no one. Little did he know I have no one I would tell anything really. Anyways, when I asked him why he likes taking the worthless shakers, he surprised me. He described this rush, his adrenaline pumping, heart racing, and a focus of being in the moment that he has never felt doing anything else. It sounded... exciting.

I wanted to try it. I thought about anything worth taking, and I immediately knew what I had to do. I remembered going to the pawn shop a few days back, and seeing it, the One Ring. I walked with purpose over to the Pawn Shop on Blackbird Boulevard and strolled in with an air of confidence, but with a mind filled with terror. I fiddled with the jewelry on display, and when the time was right, I slipped the beautiful Ring into my pocket. I looked around at the ancient swords and knives on display for a minute, to dissociate myself from the gems, and then I slipped out of the store quietly. I couldn’t believe the rush I got from this petty shoplifting. My hand trembled as I reached into my pocket to pull out the piece of jewelry, to pull out my precious Ring.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

#4 Sight and Blindness

“Are these those cuties that you used to eat when you were younger”
My Mom was really stretching it, trying so hard to connect with me. “I should have never gone on this walk with her” I thought. “Oh yeah, I used to love those!” I said out loud.
Strangely, the train tracks were lined with these orange peels, like lights down a runway, signaling where to land. Or like caution tape, blocking off the tracks for none to enter.
As a kid Mom told me to stay off the tracks, but after 17 years here and no trains, she’s given up on that traditional piece of wisdom. However, on this day, the rumbling of the tracks startled my mom and I, and I jumped to her side and pulled her off the tracks, just in time to avoid a train from blindsiding us. We watched the cars go by, baffled by the unusual train. Finally, as the caboose went by, I saw that guy Munny standing out the back window, throwing more blood orange peels onto the tracks. I mean I know writers are weird, but I didn’t think they were THAT weird.
The train disappeared into the distant fog, and my Mom and I decided to walk home. She’s the safety first type of woman, and the whole almost getting killed thing was enough action for the day. With the Victorian looming ahead over the fog, just a block away, I decided to break the silence. “Let’s walk through Howell Park” I said.
“Gaia! What have I told you about parks at night!” she replied. For some reason her excessive safety never rubbed off on me.
“I was thinking about my childhood, can we go where you taught me how to climb a tree, you know the one right?” I said. I had this force, pushing me towards the park; I had to see the tree.
“Can’t we go tomorrow...” I quickly turned around, away from my mother’s words and began to walk through to the park. “Wait Gaia!”
She hurried behind me to catch up, and we entered the dark, foggy park.
I could feel the tree before I saw it. A force pulling me closer, against my will. Through the fog I could see two figures, and the bigger one spoke to me. “So you mock my blindness? Let me tell you this...”
“What?” I said. The fog descended and I couldn’t see but 3 feet in front of me. I lost sight of the tree, and I turned around to my Mom. My mom? I couldn’t find her.
I ran through the fog, using my memories as my sight to retrace my steps. I was too late. I came across her body, strewn on the ground. The ground began to split in two, and an aura of red began to emanate from the crack. I rubbed my eyes, making sure I could still see. By the time I looked back at the ground, she was gone.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

#3 Dry

I woke up with my pillow smeared with blush, and my face looking like a zombie with my makeup in all the wrong places. I was so exhausted last night that I forgot to take off my makeup again. I rolled out of bed and stumbled into the shower. I couldn't wait to hit reset on my appearance and wash away the filth of the day before. I turned the handle and... one lone drop dribbled out of the nozzle.
Are you kidding me?
I checked all my faucets with no luck; those pigs at the Victorian shut off my water. I was a little behind on rent. Just a little! and they had the audacity to cut my water... Ridiculous!
I ran out of my room, slamming my door behind me so Ellen could hear I was coming for her. That brat at the front desk has been rude to me ever since I moved in 2 years ago. I try and be friendly, heck I even got her a Christmas card, but that woman has no kindness in her.
I was about to walk into the lobby of The Victorian when someone tapped my shoulder from behind. I was so caught up in my anger that I hadn't noticed them coming, and I was a little surprised by the tap. No, that's a lie, I was extremely startled by the unexpected tap. "HUWHA" I exclaimed out, not quite forming a coherent response.
"Oh sorry, I was just wondering why you slammed your door so hard, you could have broke it." replied the woman in the hall. It was just Jackie Wackerman, the helpless janitor of my floor. I usually don't have a problem with her, except for her aggravating tenancy to be late all the time, but today I was mad. "Why'd you turn off my water!?" I yelled. "What. I... No it wasn't me, it's off for..."
"WHY" I interrupted. She was off on her mumbling again, trying to deflect blame off herself. She did the same thing when she took 6 days to fix my clogged toilet, and refused to take responsibility. I saw Cecelia Fisher poke her head out of apartment 4 to check on the commotion, but when she saw it was just Jackie and I, she was uninterested and went back inside.
"The water is off, it's the pipe, it just wasn't, this morning, Ellen told me, I, it's off." Jackie continued on saying little nothings. "TURN IT ON!" I shouted and walked right past her out the front door. I think I was scaring poor Jackie, and I probably should have felt bad about it, but I really wanted that shower.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

#2 Pest Control

A tear fell from my brown eyes, the only part of my face not covered by makeup. The only part of my face that reaches the world in its natural state. The tear carried a streak of pastel down my face, and dropped onto my pillow, leaving a colorful spot on my white pillowcase. I look up at my wall. My wall of Polaroids, showing all my memories from high school with my friends. My friends smile at me from the photos. I saw one photo of my friends and I in the park late at night. That was the night we broke the slide at Howell Park. We thought it was so funny at the time, to mess things up around the city. It’s kind of sad how selfish that was.
Someone started banging on my door, and I hesitantly got up to answer. Lately the Victorian has been overridden by pests; not the common house-rats or cockroaches, but by a rabid pack of reporters. I opened the door to a reporter who promptly invited himself in. I told him to get out and he said he would if he just got one quote from me.
“What do you like about this town?”
What do I like about this town? I thought about the buildings. Old and weathered, as if they were ready to fall at any moment. I thought about my school. Uninterested teachers, droning away at mindless classes. Then I thought about my friends. Selfish, doing whatever they can to get ahead. I thought about why I even stick around with them, because they sure as hell didn’t stick around with me. After my scaring experience last week, my friends didn’t even care what happened to me. They just wanted to party more like nothing happened. I thought about--
“Umm, hello? What do you like about this town?” The reporter snapped me out of my train of thought with his question.
“Oh yeah, I like... I like the trees.”
“Alright thanks, finally someone who cooperates in this damned city.”
The reporter left my apartment, slamming the door as a parting sign of self-importance.
I looked back up at my wall of memories, printed on paper and coated with the thinnest layer of glossy plastic. A different photo jumps out at me. It was of my friend stealing beer from the back of Pat’s Drugstore.
I need new friends.