Friday, September 18, 2015

Warning Signs

“What are you even talking about?” She asked me over the top of her coffee. I was already on edge so I ordered a small tea but as usual Dixon ordered the biggest strongest thing on the damn menu.

“I’m talking about Delilah, being a bitch.”

“Well we always knew she was a bitch but I didn’t think she would really pull this shit. Not after everything you’ve done for her.”

“It’s not even what I’ve done for her, we weren’t really like that. It’s just what I thought we were more to each other.”

I could see the disgust on Dixon’s face. I almost didn’t want to tell her that Delilah unfriended me because I knew as soon as she found out she would be out for blood.

“How are you doing?” She asked me, her empathy clearly showing through. It hadn’t really hit me that the best friend I had ever had was gone.

I shrugged non-committaly and played with the sleeve on my tea. It was brilliantly sunny outside today which made the day seem suddenly harsher.

“Babe.” Dixon said quietly. “You’re better off without that bitch. Besides you’ve got me.”

“All I’ll ever need,” I smiled at her and she blushed.

It felt like shit, being broken up with. Not that we were actually dating but our bond went deeper than something so superficial. One day she was the only person in the universe who knew me mind and soul and now she wanted nothing to do with me.

I never even cried. I tried to, I think, sometime right after it happened, but I couldn’t. I guess some part of me wanted to believe it was for the better. I wanted to believe that it was a good chance to get myself together. But things don’t always go the way you think they’re going to.

Sometimes there are warning signs. Birds on a wire, seeing the backside of leaves, but sometimes you just wake up in the middle of the shit storm. And then that shit storm becomes your life, and you can’t even tell that you’re waking up on the ceiling.


But god I wish for the life of me I had it in me to hate her. 

Spaced Out

There’s nothing wrong with living in my own world. Things are easy there. Things make sense. My shadow mind and my real mind are just one mind , here, not two different minds. I can breathe in my own world because no one is looking at me. No one is thinking about me, except of course for me. There is only one voice in my own world, it doesn’t shake like my real voice. No, in my own world this voice knows what it wants, it knows what to say, it knows who it is. In my world I know who I am, or at least who I want to be. I don’t have to try so hard to hold myself together because I’m not in pieces. I don’t have to worry about being safe because it isn’t a question there, it’s a fact. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bucket List

Bucket List
1/ Remember to take my meds for a solid month
2/ Take a week off of work and see how far I can drive in seven days
3/ Meet an Inuit
4/ Volunteer for a summer in Africa
5/ Eat Lobster in Maine
6/ Buy a home
7/ Go to dinner and leave a 100$ tip
8/ Go to law school
9/ Publish something ( novel? )
10/ Meet a Clinton
11/ Practice Bikram in India
12/ Be a vegan for a year
13/ Own an octopus
14/ Learn to surf in Hawaii
15/ Learn to fly an airplane
16/ Witness a marriage proposal in public
17/ See the underworld of Disney
18/ Go on a Jack the Ripper tour of London
19/ Walk the entire Great Wall of China
20/ Sing on a stage
21/ Go on a chase with a storm chaser
23/ Bonaroo
24/ Be interviewed by Barbara Walters
25/ Own multiple houses
26/ Have a puppy named fish
27/ Be in two places at once
28/ Build a tree fort with my kids
29/ Go see a poetry slam
30/ Stay at a hostel in Amsterdam in the Red Light district
31/ Own a boat
32/ Name a star
33/ Find a four leaf clover
34/ Have a macaroon at Laduree
35/ Take one picture a day for a whole year
36/ Go on a safari
37/ Learn to shoot a gun
38/ Dive to the coral reefs
39/ Make a wish in the Trevi fountain
40/ Meet Oprah
41/ Get a tattoo
42/ Bathe an elephant
43/ Sleep in an igloo
44/ Attend NYFW
45/ Attend a gay pride event
46/ Ride a mechanical Bull
47/ Walk into a salon and say ‘surprise me’
48/ Have my palm read

50/ Flip a house 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Dream I've Had

I was browsing the romance section at the bookstore for a new trashy romance novel that I could spend the night devouring when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I whipped around and reached for the keys sitting at the top of my purse to protect me. The guy behind me looked shocked. His face was vaguely familiar but I couldn’t quite place it.

“Reilly Barnes? I’m Jackson Scott, I lived down the street from you for a while” as soon as he said it I recognized him. “You probably don’t remember me” he said shyly.

“Of course I remember you, how could I forget” I said. Jackson Scott and his two half-sisters and eccentric mother moved into our neighborhood the summer before I was a freshman in high school. I remember because every time one of the old people that lived around us moved away or died Dakota and I would pray that some hot twin brothers our age would move in and we would have one of those fairy tale teen romances.

“What are you doing in town? Did you move back?” I asked him cautiously.

“Actually, I never left really. After I graduated any mom moved to Washington I went to stay with my dad and took some community college classes.”

“Oh wow, I had no idea, how is your mother?” I remember that I was going through my ‘save-the-trees’ phase when they moved in and his mother was in every way the hippie I wanted to be. She cooked chia seed brownies, and taught yoga classes at the local community center and even had healing crystals in her bathroom.

“She’s good, married now. This is her fifth, she actually just opened her own studio in Washington”
“That’s great! I think my mom mentioned seeing that on Facebook sometime.”

There was a brief awkward pause and I re-shouldered my bag before setting down the book I had been looking at.

“Well, look at you, all grown up” he said. I blushed a deep red and pushed my hair behind my ears. “I almost didn’t recognize you”.

“Yeah, you too” he was taller now, if that was possible. His large green eyes were unchanged but he looked older, more grown up. There were deep worry lines lining his forehead and he had a five o clock shadow that only came with age.

But somewhere he was still the goofy, skateboarding stoner that I had a massive crush on when I was a kid. The first time I met him I was laying out on my front lawn on a blanket reading a book in the late June heat and he skate boarded by me in the street reeking of pot. He wiped out in front of my house and his buddies doubled over in laughter. I peered at him over the rims of my huge sunglasses.  I remember thinking that this was my moment, the moment that we met and fell in love.
I walked over to where he was and peered over him. He was still laying in the middle of the street and he had an arm slung over his face. He had ripped his jeans at the knee and I could see he was bleeding.

“Are you okay?” I asked him cautiously.

“Does it look like I’m fucking okay?” he jeered harshly. I took a step back, cursing my na├»ve stupidity.

I backed away slowly and he sat up. “I’m sorry.” I said before turning to go back to my house.
“I’m okay, just a scratch.”

“Yeah, he’ll live won’t you Jackie Boy?” one of his friends hollered.

I left soon after he stood up and his friends regained their composure.

I was always a hopeless romantic, especially as a kid. I used to devour books like they were candy, and from everything I had learned I was the dorky loser that was going to fall in love with a hot jock and we would then have a tumultuous relationship ending in a big display of is love and adoration for me at the end of our senior year.

In reality I was just a dorky loser who continued to devour books and never fell in love.

Seeing Jackson now, I still flushed with embarrassment thinking about the time I spent fantasizing about the boy down the street.

“You’re still reading these?” he asked picking a book out of my stack.

I blushed an even deeper pink color and stood up straight.

“Oh, they’re just, you know, something to pass the time. They’re awful but I can’t stop reading them.

You know what, give me that.” I said grabbing the book back. By now he was laughing at me and I couldn’t help but fight off a grin.

“Besides,” I added, “what are you doing here? I thought they didn’t let people like you in to places like these.”

“Contrary to popular belief, they do actually let dumb people into bookstores, we just tend to avoid them.”

Our banter was effortless and breezy just like when we were kids.

“Well, I should let you get back to this.” He said eying stack of books one last time.

“Yeah, right, sorry, tell your family I said hey.” I flustered awkwardly.

“Will do, see ya around some time Reilly.” He started to walk away and I returned to my browsing. 

Then he stopped short and turned around. “You know what, why don’t we get coffee sometime.”

“I, uh, sure. Here, I’ll give you my number.” I said pulling one of my many sharpie markers out of my purse and scrawling my name across his hand. “Okay, here ya go, look forward to hearing from you.”

Look forward to hearing from you? Who was I?


I stopped mentally cursing my awkwardness just long enough to say goodbye to him again and this time he didn’t stop to turn around. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Fox

There were maps on the walls of his room. Maps of our town, the towns around us, maps of the state, maps of the country, maps of Spain, and Canada, and Germany, and Greece. I asked him about it one day and all he said was that he liked knowing that there was more out there. Fox was weird like that. I didn’t mind the maps for the most part but it was kind of strange to be making out one minute and then staring up at blue and yellow veins of the world the next minute.

Whenever we were at his house we spent our time in his room. I think he was embarrassed of his family. He had so many siblings that it was hard to keep track of all of them and I think that at some point his mom just stopped trying to. He had three older sisters, they were graduated, or had moved out, I never met them. Then there was Fox, and his four younger brothers. My conversations with Fox’s mother were always brief. She was a frazzled woman and her attention span was short. That made sneaking Fox in and out of the house easy.

Fox’s father split after he was born. Then ten years later his mother remarried to Big Barry Junior. Big Barry Junior never left the couch, until the kids started to get loud, and then he would get up, knock someone or something around a bit, and sit back down. Fox always managed to distract me from whatever was going on downstairs, but it didn’t escape me that his mother wore turtle necks in the middle of July. I only ever asked Fox about it once, we had snuck into one of the little kids windows and then crawled into Fox’s room after his mother had gone to sleep and Big Barry Junior left for the bar.

“Fox?”

“Lyla?”

I elbowed him in the side. He had a serious inability to ever take anything serious. I took part of the blame for that. He said he couldn’t be serious because I had enough to be sad about and he couldn’t sleep when I was sad. I always rolled my eyes.

“I saw Baby Barry.” The third youngest brother. He had a black eye today.

“I see him all the time.”

“I’m being serious, is he okay?”

“The kid fell off of his bike, he’ll live.” I knew Fox was lying. He was sly and he could fool just about anybody but he couldn’t lie to me.

“You would tell me if he hurt you right?”

“Oh, so you can beat him up? I’ve seen you fight remember?” He pinched my bicep and I elbowed him again. We were laying side by side, the grin fell from his face. I told my father I was spending the weekend at Caroline’s house. We were quiet, he didn’t want to talk about it anymore and I could feel my eyes starting to get heavy.

I rolled onto my side and he rolled over to face me.

“Pinky promise?” I asked sticking out my pinkie.

“Pinky promise.” He kissed my forehead and I drifted off soon after that. That was the first, last, and only time we ever discussed that.

I was there when he was arrested. We were at a beach party. A birthday party I think, for whom I can’t remember. We were sitting side by side on the cool sand. It was dark and there were people teeming around us. I remember the smell of faint sea salt and bonfire. Sid was with us, he and Fox were talking about fast cars and I was trying not to notice that the girl Sid had brought with him couldn’t take her eyes off of Fox.

I don’t remember the cop cars pulling up, but I remember the sound of everyone fleeing. The cops weren’t busting anyone for possession or for underage drinking. They were here on a mission. My father was leading the charge, he had been police chief for ten years now. It had never bothered me before, not even when I didn’t get invited to parties, or when I was given dirty looks.

“Fitzwilliam Harold Royal,” one of the cops called. I stopped breathing. “You’re under arrest for the murder of Barry Jacobson.” They pushed him down on the ground and pulled his hands behind his back. Everything stopped. Then suddenly, Sid and I were screaming, we were livid, Sid was yelling at one of the officers and I was pushing against another one. They had pulled Fox onto his feet and were marching him towards a squad car.

Suddenly arms were around me, I knew it was my father because I could smell his aftershave but I wouldn’t look at him. I couldn’t take my eyes off of Fox. If I took my eyes off of him I would lose him forever. My father was reaching for his cuffs but someone stopped him. I was let go. Fox was in a cop car, it didn’t matter that my father was standing in front of me yelling something about impeding an investigation, I couldn’t focus on him anyway.

All I could see was Fox, the rest of the world was slowly falling away. I was frantic, I don’t think I remember breathing, or running, or collapsing. He was gone, the car had disappeared from the beach, he was no longer in sight.

“Lyla! Did you hear me?” Someone shouted behind me. It was my father. “Get in the car, or I’ll have you arrested.”

I held out my arms and looked him dead in the eyes.

“Lyla, don’t be such a child. Get in the car.”

“No.”

“Lyla.”

“I said no.” I backed up farther from him. His partner whispered something in his ear and he started to relent.

“I have to get back to the station, go home now, I’ll have someone follow you there.” Then he was gone.

Sid was getting back to his feet, he had calmed down but the fight was still behind his eyes. I had lost, I was numb. Fox was gone and there was nothing I could do.

“Come on, I’ll drive you home.”

We walked to his car in silence. I realized now I didn’t have any shoes on but it was too dark to find them. I shivered against the cold as I climbed into Sid’s truck. Wherever his date was, she was gone. Everyone was gone. Fox was gone.

“He didn’t do it.” Sid said finally, he was quiet and the wind made it hard to hear him. I didn’t know if I could speak. If I would speak, I didn’t know what words I would use. “He couldn’t have done it. I mean even if he did, it would have been in self-defense, we all know what that bastard does.”

I nodded slowly but I didn’t say anything. Soon enough we were back at my house.

“Take care of yourself okay? Don’t do anything stupid.” Sid said as I got out.

“You too Sid, be good.” He smiled weakly and drove off.

My father wasn’t home yet. The house was dead, I felt like I was dead. I was sticky from being in sunblock all day and my hair still smelled like a bonfire but I didn’t bother washing the day away. I wanted to hold onto whatever I could. I crawled into my room slowly and went to the back of my closet where I had thrown one of Fox’s old sweatshirts that I had stolen from his room.

I pulled it on and crawled into bed.

Fox wasn’t violent, he couldn’t be even if he wanted to. For all we knew this was only a precaution. But that wasn’t true. I had been the daughter of a cop my whole life, I knew they didn’t make arrests unless they knew they had caught the guy.

And I knew what that meant, that meant that he was gone. Fox was gone. Fox was gone.

There was something thrilling about swinging in the park half-drunk well after midnight bathed in moonlight. There was nothing funny but Sid and I were laughing hysterically. Maybe it was the cheap liquor that sloshed around in my diet coke or maybe it was the fact that we used to play on this playground together ten years ago. I wouldn’t have pictured myself this way, and it made me sad, to think about that little girl with the perfectly trimmed hair, shiny shoes and pressed uniform. I laughed wildly now, and Sid looked at me like I was crazy. Who knows, maybe I am crazy.

“Do you remember me?” I asked him. “Like when we were kids?”

He took a swig of his rum and coke and tilted his head back. He was quiet for so long I wondered if he had even heard me. I rested my head against the cool chain link swings holding me up. They squeaked under my weight, echoing against the empty night. A few lights in the houses surrounding the park were still on but most were dark.

“I remember you were sad.” Sid murmered.

I looked at him confused.

“Jesus, Lyla, you were the saddest damn eight year old I knew. Don’t you remember what it was like when you got here?”

I did. I remembered that Sid was the scholarship kid with the dirty sneakers and the paper bag lunch. At the time I thought he was the sad one. But I see now that he was the happiest kid I knew.
“You always had a new story” I recalled aloud. “Something about your brothers, or your dog, I thought it was annoying.”

He shoved me hard, almost knocking me off of the swing. I laughed again trying to right myself. Looking over at Sid I knew somewhere he was still that happy kid.

“I was trying to make you smile.”

We were quiet for a while after that. I wanted to know what he was thinking but I didn’t dare ask him. A car drove by slowly, music rolling out of its open windows. I shivered despite the sticky hear and ran my hands through my wild hair. The grass beneath my feet was starting to become dewy and I knew it was late. Or early. I should make it home before my father wakes up but I didn’t want to move.

“Do you think he’ll come back?” Sid asked. I couldn’t tell if he was talking to me or to God.
“He doesn’t have anything left to come back to.”

“He has you. Fox had you. And me, he loved us.” Sid said, his eyes glassed over and he looked like he was going to cry. This was the Sid I knew, this was drunk, sad, lonely Sid. He tipped his flask back but I knew it was empty.

“Fox just needs some time. But he’ll come back. He always comes back.” I reassured him.
I think about that night with Sid in the park a lot now. Now that I’m older, and healed, or whatever. I wonder if maybe Sid, my happy go lucky best friend spent the rest of his life waiting for Fox to come home.





A Year

It was a year of failed tests, torn tights and cold tea. A year of empty gas tanks and ignored phone calls. I fell apart and somehow back together all in time to realize that maybe I could save myself. That maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t as bad as I thought I was. I learned that my illness could also be my strength. That it didn’t matter if some days I couldn’t get out of bed because when I did, I did wonderful things. I learned to love the body I have, every wrinkle and scar. I learned that my bones were made of steel and my soul forged from star dust. I learned that people come into your life to teach you things and that doesn’t mean that they’re going to stick around. I let myself believe that the only form of love was devotion and I learned to appreciate the love I had when I had it. This has been a year of learning, and pretty dresses, and late nights. I fell apart only to have to piece myself together and I learned where all of my piece fit. 

Desolate

You were an empty parking lot just after sunset. There was something romantic about your emptiness. You weren’t sad or happy you were empty and ready to be filled by something real. You said you had a problem with apathy. I know now that you meant other peoples apathy not your own. You were a full moon, never quite as brilliant as the sun but still something to be worshiped. And worship you I did. You weren’t just the moon, you were the sun and the stars and I would have flown to the moon if you had asked me to. You never wanted to believe it, but there was something magnetic about you. You drew people close to you, sometimes the right people, and sometimes the wrong people. I was pulled into your orbit but somehow you shook me loose.