Friday, May 29, 2009


I moved 15 times in the five years I was in college, then my 16th move was back home. I went home looking at my old neighborhood with new eyes, wondering if I was indeed home again. I walked around the town center as an adult, not a teenager, but I still tried to look cool, lighting up a cigarette as I slowly leaned out of my car and curved my body in a suggestive manner to bump the door with my hip while my eyes dart back and forth behind sun glasses to see if anyone was watching. I saunter into the WalMart and head straight to the end counter like I own the place and ask for a box of yellow American Spirits. Then I smile a satisfactory grin as I maneuver my pointer finger around the pudgy cashier to point to the box of yellow American Spirits right behind her and sarcastically nod my head when she apologizes for not knowing that they had that brand.

I don't know what this is, but I feel as if everyone around me, even the causal bystander at the grocery store should know that I'm not from around here, or at least I'm not recently from around here. I don't know what it is, but I feel like I look and act like someone who is not from around here and everyone knows it, but I doubt anyone even takes a second look because now I'm older and I know what it feels like to live life as an adult. I walk into the drug store now and I don't even begin to notice the other people there. I'm always thinking about the next thing I have to do that I can't tell you if the person standing in front of me is recently returned from somewhere because I don't understand why I just got paid and only have $300 left in the bank. But perhaps it's a right of passage. It's an awesome feeling to have gone away to accomplish something and then come back home.

Being home was like striking the perfect balance between completely carefree, loving every minute of life and tasting sweetness tickle and tease my lips only to leave behind the bitterness because I knew that the end of something special was near. It is in moments like these that I enjoy life completely and wish I could be in that moment forever. But as moments go, they're always fleeting. I also know that I can't be in this place forever and I am just stopping by to figure out where my next stop will be.

I moved for a 17th time with my parents to the place that I know will be there home for the rest of their lives. It was fun getting settled into a new place with them. I was excited to venture into a new space and walk up different stairs and smoke in a smaller, cleaner backyard. I remember the first time I had a meal in that house, it was with my father as we sat on lawn chairs and balanced plastic containers in our lap as we ate take out and rocked out to Jack Johnson's latest CD. I always think back to that night whenever I hear the twangy bass drop and the mellow voice ask where'd all the good people go and I smile to myself and sometimes even tear up as I remember with fondness sitting there with my father in his new home knowing that it would not be mine forever. I was happy that my parents found their house; a house that they could make their own, it was then that I knew I could leave. I came home with a new found responsibility for my parents because I was now an adult, but they were all grown up and it was time to let them spread their wings, so I left.

I moved for an 18th time to a different state into a place I never felt comfortable in but always found comfort in and felt that I finally had a home of my own. But it was also a place where I always fantasized about living somewhere else. I would find myself spending hours on craigslist as I looked at available places and imagine what it would be like to live there and how I would go about my daily routine in that neighborhood. I would stay awake at night and picture what my place would look like if there were stair that went up to an open second floor loft instead of the narrow hallway leading to the bathroom. I would also picture scenarios of what my life would be like alone in the event that when I moved my relationship would move apart with me. When I could not picture my life any longer, I moved for a 19th time. I bought a house, a brand new never before lived in eco friendly, a little trendy, but very homey condo and I brought my relationship with me. It combines everything I've been searching for ever since I left home 10 years ago. It's clean and secure so I don't have to work about bugs sneaking in. It's in a very walkable neighbor which makes my life easier since I don't have a car. It displays all the elements of interior decor to make me feel like I'm in my mother's house but I can leave things in a mess whenever I want to because it is my house. It is my home and I'm creating a life for myself here. It may not have a yard, and I may share a wall and a ceiling with a neighbor, but I finally feel comfortable living here as well as finding comfort in it. I never look at craigslist and never imagine my home with renovations in my head. I walk in the door at the end of the day and know the 20th move is years away because I am finally home.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Anybody Listening.

I've been told that I'm a good listener. I'm told that I give very in depth, complex, thought provoking responses. But I wonder if that means I'm listening, like really listening or do I simply get distracted easily. Does my mind drifts to far reaching tangents and when I'm called on to give a response, it sounds in depth because it's so far off from the topic.

For example, I met my friend for our usual hump day happy hour pow wow. She's late, as usual and I'm half in the bag by the time she gets there (OK, fine, I'm not half in the bag...I'm on my second drink). 'I'm sorry!' she laments. 'My boss kept me late....' and she proceeds to tell me why her boss kept her. Now I won't go into detail (if you want people to listen: keep it short and simple, stick to the details, leave out any extraneous information like what color your bosses tie was that day, don't throw in 'which reminds me, make sure I tell you later, well since we're already talking about it, let me tell you now...I'm rambling, so much for listening to my own advice)

So, back to my friend. Let me give you some background. She's a legal assistant and her firm deals with a wide variety of cases, but on this particular case, the issue that came up was lack of payment. A personal injury cases settled and not every one got paid. After the money was spent, someone came knocking on their door saying pay me! So my friend and her boss spent the latter part of the day trying to figure what went wrong and who's to pay. Now, I'm no lawyer, but I'm sure that legally speaking there should be a definite solution to this problem. I mean isn't that the point in getting a lawyer, so they figure out your settlement and pay you, themselves, and everyone else? So my friend, is going on about how she should have caught the mistake, but it wasn't really her fault....and to be honest we're 4, maybe 5 minutes into the story and I'm already drifting in and out and yes, maybe it had something to do with the third glass of wine, but still, how am I a good listener??

I start thinking that if there's one thing to blame, it's the horrible economy and maybe that's what brought about all the greed and the bickering that my friend is talking about. Sure someone provided a service, expected to get paid, and didn't, but who is responsible for paying the bill? The attorney. But what if, as in this situation, the attorney was never advised of this provider, are they still responsible for paying? It sounds like a misunderstanding and all that needs to be done is for the provider and attorney to talk it out. But of course that's too simple. And of course that didn't' happen. It culminated in the worst threat that you could ever make to an attorney, and no it's not being sued, it's being reported to the bar. The provider threw the first punch making threats and claiming she has evidence that the attorney promised to pay when she doesn't. Ouch.

One thing my friend said that did stick in my mind was, 'the provider says, I wouldn't normally go to the bar, but times are tough, I have a family to look out for.' Will times get so bad, so bleak, so desperate that we forget how to be kind and understanding to one another because we are trying to just survive? Will survival, basic survival, be the catalyst for people's greed.? Now I'm not so naive to think that people aren't already greedy, selfish, and only interested in advancing themselves. I live in this me generation of excess and capitalism and never having enough and always wanting more. But when jobs are being lost, and homes are being taken away, and food becomes scare, a more primal instinct kicks in and surviving at all cost becomes a number one priority. When it becomes either me or them, it's scary to think what people are capable of. You see people at their lowest and you see at their very core what they are made of and I for one am afraid to look. I'd like to think that I'm a bigger person, a moral person, but when it comes down to it, what will I choose?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What I Want To Be.

She holds herself in such a way that it seems like a powerful, self assured voice should escape when she opens her mouth; she throws her shoulders back and angles her body in the mirror and her eyes fixate on its intensity, it's focused; it's her. Her mouth opens but her voice does not sound like she looks; it is soft and wobbly and lingers with a misplaced confidence.

Her open mouth gives it away. When she opens up and her soul escapes and she is exposed. Why is she afraid to speak? It's because her voice speaks the truth. If she opens up the real her will blossom out of its fragile, deteriorating shell, so transparent and multifaceted that the only thing there is a scared, insecure body; no self, no identity, just a self conscious body. Everywhere she goes she is so aware of herself and needs to maintain a certain look, and present herself in a certain way; if she's not looking she could slip because it's always harder to be someone else.

Since she could never let the real her come out, she just stood out - in the backdrop of other people's lives. She took bits and pieces from people and became a little more like everyone else so when other people saw her it would seem like a powerful, self-assured voice would escape when she opened her mouth. Little did they know what you see isn't always what you get because she was a prop in other people's lives and never the star of her own. So she put on the best performance she could; she threw her shoulders back and angled her body in the face of the world, her eyes fixated on the main actors, their intensity, their focus: their hers. Her mouth opens, "...and that's what i want to be when I grow up."

Monday, May 25, 2009

My Lifeline.
Part Three.

A couple of months later, I'm walking downtown when I see the Laugh perched on the back of a bench, her black boots are tapping on the wooden seat to the tune of some unknown beat that seemingly never ceases. Right foot, left foot, a quick right, and then a long left, tap, tap, tap. It is mesmerizing and almost hypnotic to anyone who pays attention. What sort of trance might I be under if I drown out all the other downtown noise, all the hustle of the streets and concentrate on the successive taps of the black boots? Tap, tap, tap. Black, tap, black, tap - red? A burning red ember falls and disrupts the tapping. the five foot three inch Laugh stands erect on top of the bench brushing the ash and sparks off her calf length red and black plaid skirt. The black boot is tapping again but this time only to beat out the glowing cherry. I hear a loud click, then see a flame burning in her hands that are covered by long knitted mittens that extend way past bent elbows. With a deep inhale, her exposed fingers are embracing a blend of tobacco and addiction still alive after the near death encounter of the fallen ember.

A cloud of smoke passes in front of me as I exhale into the crowd and weave closer to my final destination. I nervously tap my own burning flame, mimicking the reddish purple streaked, black booted figure perched on the bench. She turns her face towards my direction and I see she's looking for someone, her roommate or a friend perhaps? But how does one make contact with a witty, fast tongued blend of style and charm? Her face catches the light from the afternoon sun and the reddish purple streaks accentuate the dark glitter that sparkles with every squint of her eye. Then she blinks. And if you were close enough, you would be able to see she's stuck. The black mascara was applied a little too thick that day. The black mascara was trying too hard to hide something. Her top and bottom lashes are battling to untangle themselves between black globs. In that moment I notice a flaw, but it's covered up well, the naked eye would never notice it, but I notice. Another blink and her lashes are free; her eyes are open as she confronts the world with a piercing stare armed with black liner decorated with glitter and a streak of forest green across the lids for color.

The black boots are tapping again. My eyes follow the sounds as I see her head bent and the last of her smoke extinguished with every black tap. The flame is dead and she tosses her reddish purple man and faces the world head on. But this time her stare softens, her glittery eyes see something it recognizes and delicate lips smile. She raises her mitten adorned arms and shield her eyes as they squint against the oncoming sun. She's looking at someone. This is the someone she's been waiting for. I look around. Who is it? People race by me and I can't see anyone who notices her. I stop in the sea of moving bodies and disrupt the flow for awhile as people move swiftly to avoid hitting me. The mitten is waving; her exposed fingers make a peace sign. I stand looking around. Who is waving back? I turn to look again and the black boots are tapping once more on the wooden bench and the mittens with the exposed fingers are slapping the black and red plaid, the reddish purple streaks are tossed back, and the Laugh explodes into the air. It was the sound that first enticed me. I release a goofy giggle and feel somewhat sheepish for being a dork, but I'm not so burdened anymore, my load seems lighter, and my baggage somehow dissipated into laughter.

A pumping exposed middle finger is raised in the air, but she is still laughing. I see a flame as she lights another smoke. I reach down into my bag to do the same, then I climb up on the wooden bench she's perched on and sit down. I begin tapping my gray skate shoes with the black boots as my best friend gives me a playful punch and asks, "What took you so long?"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Lifeline.
Part Two.

I am at the lowest point in my life, or maybe it just seems that way because I'm sober, well not completely sober, actually I'm stoned pretty much all the time because things just feel easier that way. Yet, I'm sober in the sense that now I am forced to live and experience life without the aid of engineered pills that made me live in a world where everything was carefree and fun, bright and hopeful, full of love and acceptance. I love the world and everything in it so intensely and so purely, but once those pills were gone, so was that feeling. I no longer know how to interact with people without those pills. But that girl; that Laugh, that was the real thing. She sounds so eager and innocent, ready for anything this world throws at her, but is she naive enough to believe that she will always catch whatever it is? That doesn't matter. At this point, I need something, regardless how stable it is to hold on to because I am about to let go of this life once and for all. It was that Laugh that save me. Even if I never connect with the person who laughs, the sound alone gives me hope. I decide to write again, this time my journal flourished with optimism.

* * * * * *

March 1999

Faith, a concept created for the tired, the weak, the hopeless, created to cure these individuals, to give them, us, me strength. And it works, it really does if you let yourself have faith in faith, if you let yourself believe and to me right now, it's the one thing that keeps me going. Yes I'm breaking down, I've seen what our world does to people, it changes us, numbs us, corrupts us, fuels us, then leave us with nothing; except an accurate picture our ourselves, who we are and what we can handle. If people didn't have adversities to overcome, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I wouldn't know what I could handle and I pride myself in having made it through it all because I am capable, everyone is. So yes, it is possible to believe, to have faith because through it all and in the end this abstract concept gives me comfort in knowing that the tiredness and weakness, sorrow and misery will be drowned out and soaked up by all the goodness in this worlds. I know it's there.

* * * * * *

I always go to the back porch at 1 AM to smoke my joint in peace, but now I have a different reason for maintaining this routine. At exactly 1:14 AM every night, the Laugh comes out to the front porch to smoke a cigarette with her roommate or possibly just a friend, and as I am puffing into a higher level of being, I hear the Laugh laugh. One night as I'm walking back into the building, I catch a glimpse of the Laugh's hair: massive bundles perfectly balanced with clips that threaten to give way every time she throws her head back in laughter. Just as I am turning away the street light highlights streaks of reddish purple in her hair giving it a wild somewhat unruly manner. Is that a clue of the madness I am to encounter if I ever get myself in too deep? Or is it just a girl expressing her dynamic self? I would soon find out, but for now I just watch the metal elevator doors close and wonder if I will ever tap into such an interesting person.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Lifeline.
Part One.

January 1999

I feel like I am walking in someone else's skin. I feel like I am going through the motions of my life, but not experiencing it wholly and purely, because I am afraid to let my guard down, I think I am too good to feel vulnerable and excited and nervous. I look around me and see fresh faces on their own for the first time in their lives, yet instead of relishing in it, they group together and make sure they're not standing too far away less someone thinks they aren't part of the crowd, they laugh just a little too loud at a joke as if it's the funniest thing, yet their eyes shift for a split second and convey that they don't really understand. I wonder if they know that what they have isn't really independence, it's a repeat of high school and trying to fit in at all cost. Not me. That's why I'm standing far away, and don't laugh because I get the joke and it isn't funny at all. I don't need anyone because I have myself and I am the only person I can count own so I keep everyone at arms length because I don't want them to see too much of who I really am because deep down, I want to be part of the in crowd, I want to hang with the cool kids, but I'm afraid to let my guard down and be myself because I don't want them to know how fucked in the head I am; I don't want them to see me teetering on the brink of normality. My reality is a distorted reality. I'm so far removed from myself that when I look in the mirror, I don't see me, all I see is the false image of the person I project to the outside world, but when I look inside, I see just a body numb to everything I interact with. I move through my one and only life like a zombie. I am not a alive. I am...I am full of shit.

* * * * * *

I close my journal and once and for all decide that it is nothing but pages and pages of pitiful self righteous crap. I need to get out of here.

I look at the clock, relieved to see that it's finally 1 am. I open my desk drawers and reach into the back corner, my fingers grab a flat tin case. This tin holds the most precious things in the world to me; the contents of this tin are giving me life support, without it I wouldn't be able to hand this world.

I lick the joint one last time and admire my work. It is only now, armed with this crutch, that I feel comfortable to venture into the real, physical world; concrete to touch with my own two hands and abstract so that it only shows me darkness and failure, disappointment and fear, disillusionment and false hope. It is only at this late hour that my distorted self can coincide with the world that humanity inhabits.

The night silence rings in my ears as I unlock the door and make my way into the open. The world is dark and cold. I immediately notice the darkness, but the coldness deceives me. After walking a few feet into the darkness the piercing cold engulfs me and penetrates my body. I get to the back porch and I slowly tiptoe to my corner. The sound of my rubber soul connecting with the pavement is my only indication that I am alive; tap, crunch, tap, tap - that I'm physically existing in this world. My mind is so focused on the sound that before I know it I'm bending over the metal porch railing looking down into the lake. I focus my eyes on the lake below and wonder if anybody else can see me looking down at my watery reflection. The glassy water down below looks beautiful - or are my eyes so glassy that I can't distinguish between beauty and what's real?

I retreat to the back corner every of the porch every night to elevate my being and reach a consciousness in which I can escape; escape my reality, escape my existence. I sit in this dark corner and all I see is a dense fog hanging over the lake; the fog gets cloudier as I smoke myself into oblivion. It's as if an eruption of disillusion released it's presence into my life and never settled or dissipated but hovered on my shoulders disturbing my mind so that nothing could being me out this haze; a haze I felt I'd be making my way through out my entire life.

Tonight I am not alone at this late hour, the inviting sound of laughter from somewhere floats to my ears. In contrast to the misery that I slung over my shoulders, the low, somewhat raspy voice that exploded in sequences of laughter made a resonating impact on me. Who was this person who could laugh so freely in such a dark and cold world? I feel as if I could be part of that carefree world, but was I so desperate that I needed to hear something that wasn't there...only time would tell.

I go to bed that night haunted by that laugh. It made me desire, want need to live again; and I wonder if one day that could be me laughing and smiling again. No sound has ever moved me so; I think about it incessantly.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One of Those Days.

Have you ever had one of those days, where everything goes wrong? Not one of those days where you make huge mistakes or get awful news, but the days when the little things add up to create the perfect storm.

One of those days when you hit the snooze button one too many times but you rush to get ready and you're out the door on time so you think you won't be late, but you miss the light and as you stare at the

ThanksMac Q!

red hand trying to will it to change to the white walk man, you see something out of the corner of your eye and it's your bus crossing the intersection just as the yellow light turns red. You run because the white walk man says walk but you know it's useless, yet your arms still pump and your knees still hike until you reach your stop to find your bus leaving and your brow sweating. You wipe your forehead with the back of your hand but you know you missed a spot when you feel something wet hit your eye lid and when you move your hand to wipe the bottom of your eye, your fingers get stained black and you know your eye liner or mascara is running but probably both.

You get to work and try to be inconspicuous because you're 35 minutes late but the plastic venetian blinds bang against the front door announcing your tardiness to a full house. You see your boss' chair swivel around as you tiptoe past his office and he gives you a knowing look. You try to get settled but your computer lags and drags and takes it's time starting up, then you open your Outlook and sitting in your drafts folder is the extension you forgot to email for your deadline. You look at the clock and see that it's 10 to 10 and the file you needed an extension on is due in 9 minutes. You spend the rest of your morning trying to cover your tracks even though you know it's pointless, but you have to at least try, things are not so bad to the point where you should give up so you keep your head down and pound out letter after letter and after all is said and done you know you did what you could; by the time you go to lunch your file is done even if it's two hours past due.

As you wait in line at the deli, your stomach screams at you for not feeding it since last night and you suck in your gut and put your arm around your waist in an effort to calm the ravenous beast. You feel a little light headed but you keep your eye on the tray of juicy, succulent tofu and can almost taste the sandwich that's to come. You finally get notice by the man behind the counter as he points to you and you know it's your cue to order. He knows you, he knows you always get a tofu sandwich, yet he still asks and on days like this you wish his English was good enough so you could tell him to always have a tofu sandwich ready when he sees you walk in but you are unable to communicate this to him and when you tell him one tofu sandwich he shakes his head, you say one tofu sandwich again and this time you raise a finger to indicate one, but he still shakes his head and instead of repeating your order even louder, you look down at the tray and all the tofu is gone.

Thanks food in mouth!

The way your day is going what else did you expect. You were so focused on the tofu that you settle for the three ham sandwich because you can't think of anything else and the three ham sandwich is next on the list. As you eat at your desk you remember why you never order the three ham sandwich because there is some weird caviar paste in it that you have not yet acquire a taste for, so you try to pick at the parts of the ham and bread that are not saturated in caviar, but by the end of your lunch hour you realize what you ate amounted to about half of the top piece of bread.

The afternoon wears on and your stomach is still mad at you and you can't think straight because you have not had a decent meal since last night and get very little work done. It's almost time to leave and you realize that throughout the day the sky turned from a bright cheery blue to a dark and scary gray and you know that by 5 the rain will come because it is after all one of those days and you don't have a rain coat or umbrella to protect the new suit you just had to wear today. Like clock work at 4:58PM the thunder sounds and rolls across the sky and in a gradual crescendo the rain starts beating against your window and you have no choice but to keep your head down and walk out into a brutal downpour that makes for a perfect ending to a day that took a wrong turn because you hit the snooze button one too many times. The bus is late and crowded and you're soaking wet and standing smashed between two people who are equally wet but one is rather large and smelly and the other is talking loud to be heard over the bus driver announcing stops about missing her last menstrual cycle and whom the father could be if she is indeed pregnant.

Thanks quite peculiar!

You close your eyes and try to picture nirvana, but you can't because you need to concentrate on holding on as tight as possible as the driver speeds through yellow lights and whips around corners.

You start to feel relief when you see your building come into sight; you're almost home. Each step makes you feel lighter as you climb up the stairs and your shoulders relax a little as you know your day is finally coming to an end. You fumble with your keys to open the door and as you step inside you hear the sounds of an acoustic guitar strumming a familiar tune and then a deep bass joins to fill out the sound and then a crisp piano key strikes a chord until the harmonies of your favorite song hit your ears and your face softens when you see a friendly smile and arms wrap around you as you melt into the embrace of the person you love and you realize that it took all day, but things are starting to look up.

Monday, May 18, 2009

20. Eyes See.


"Hello, Ma'am. Are you okay? Do you know what happened?"

When I open my eyes, two faces are peering down at me; they look official. Maybe they are the police or the paramedics; yeah they are paramedics. There is an ambulance where the bus usually pulls up. I wonder how I got here. I wonder what's going on. I stare up the two men looking down at me and blink a lot because the one on the left keeps shining a light in my eye. I don't know what they want from me and I don't know how to answer their questions. I hope if I just stay quiet and lie still they will eventually go away and leave me alone so I can figure out what's going on. Now the one on the right is pushing up my sleeve and wrapping some Velcro around my arm. I look down at my arm and think how strange this contraption is and how equally strange the thing in his ears are, it almost looks like headphones, but the other end is a metal circular shape that he pressed against my arm. It feels cold and I almost flinch at the unexpected chill but I stay as still as possible. I really want them to go away and stop touching me, but I don't want to say anything, I feel that once I speak it will all be over and I'll have to explain to them the things that I'm piecing together in my mind. Maybe I should write them a note and tell them that I'm OK and they can go away. The one on the right places his hands on my leg, one on my shin and the other on my thigh and bends my leg back and forth and then does the same thing to the other leg, then gently places it back on the ground. I hear them talking to each other and to me but I can't understand what they are saying. I wonder if they are speaking in a different language, but they are talking to me like I should understand. I close my eyes and let my head drop to one side. I hear loud sounds and feel clammy fingers try to pry my eyes open; I let them push my lids far away from each other and the light is back. I don't try to blink because I know I can't. I feel the Clam peeling my other eye open and the shining light hits the back of my head and this makes me remember that I hit my head multiple times. The Clam closes my eyes and I stare at the inside of my lids and feel grateful for my own private darkness where I can think and be and write and note. I gaze into the darkness and feel my body lighten up and float away from the ground. I smile and stretch my arms out and start flapping like a bird to see how high I can get. I'm soaring higher and higher and I open my eyes to look down below.

But when I open my eyes I'm looking up and the two men are looking down at me, but this time we are moving and my arms are strapped to my side and I'm lying on a stretchy cloth with a pillow under my head. There's a loud noise constantly blaring as the vehicle I'm in moves extremely fast but I don't know where we are going. The two men are still trying to talk to me, but I ignore them and retreat to my private darkness. Behind my lids, I feel safe, no one is bothering me and I can reconnect with myself and my thoughts. The next thing I know, I'm being wheeled into a room with lots of beds and different people are looking down on me. A girl stands and looks into my vacant eyes and writes notes on a metal clipboard as the two men talk to her.

"I need a name."

"She didn't give us a name. There was no identification on her."

"Miss? Can you tell me your name, please? Hello? Miss?"

"It's no use. She is non responsive. She has not spoken since we found her."

"Did she have any belongings?"

"She had these in her hand. It's nothing. These notes are all over the walls where we found her."

"Are these notes hers?"

"I doubt it. That's all we have on her. We need to be leaving now."

I want to go to sleep, I want to dream, I want to escape, I want to find comfort in my private darkness but my eyes betray me and continue to stare at the ceiling. I feel someone touch my arm and then a tiny pinch and then my my body melts into the mattress. Something courses through my veins and awakes me from the deaden trace I forced myself into, I try to resist it but I can't, so I just let it take over me, then my eyes start seeing and for the first time I am starting to understand. I look up and see a gentle face looking down at me and rubbing my arm. I make eye contact and try to smile.

"Hi there. Glad to have you back with us."

"Where am I?" My mouth feels very dry as I speak for the first time.

"You're fine, dear. You're in the hospital. You fell down and hit your head, but you're fine now."

"Then why am I here?" My voice sounds strange and distant, like it doesn't belong to me.

"The paramedics couldn't ID you, so they brought you here. If you tell me your name, we can start getting your discharge papers ready."


* * * * * *

"Ms. Mime? Don't forget your sweatshirt."

"Thank you, and please call me Shannon," I say as I grab my hoodie and turn to leave the hospital.

"Ms. Mime? I mean Shannon? You didn't fill out your middle name. It looks like I have another Shannon Mime in the computer."

"My middle name?"

"Or initial is fine too."

"Oh, of course: it's L."

The End.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

19. A Way Out.

I am trapped in a dark place with lots of hallways and I am running from something obviously, because why else would I be running? The walls and floors are covered with notes but I don't notice the writing, all I'm focused on is getting away. The more I run the longer and narrower the hallway seems. I'm starting to feel claustrophobic. I'm dripping wet. Beads of sweat fall down my face and smear the notes on the floor, turning the ground slippery and gooey. I feel like I'm going to fall but I have to keep running, I keep looking over my shoulder to try and catch a glimpse of what I'm running from but I don't see anything; or anyone.

Thanks jek in the box!

I'm running so fast that everything starts to blur but I think I see an exit. I put my head down and focus on moving my feet and getting out, I can see the opening; I see light, I'm almost there, I'm almost free. I am inches from the door when I slip and fall, WHAM! flat on my back knocking my head against the pavement.

* * * * * *

When I come to, I'm covered with paper. Notes from the wall fell down as I crashed to the floor. My head and body hurt, but I don't think anything is broken. I slowly pull myself off the ground and use the nearby door handle to help steady myself. I don't remember where I am, but I know I should see what's beyond the door. I turn the handle and push hard, the door seems stuck, so I lean into it with my shoulder and with a little umph, the door flies open and I stumble out. What the?! I stand and look around with my mouth wide open: this is my stop. Then my eyes pop as I reach for the door as it's slamming shut. Dammit! The door clicks but I try to yank on the handle to get it open. It is locked. I bang on the door, as if believing someone will open it, but I know better. I lean back and bang my head against the door in frustration. My head hits something pointy that sends a shock of pain coursing from the base of my skull to my forehead. I rub the back of my head. I don't want to turn around. I know what I hit my head against. I refuse to turn around. I collapse to the ground still rubbing my head as I see my bus pull up to the curb. I'm tempted to get on and just go home, but my need to figure out the who/what/wheres of the situation keeps me seated.

I sit against the door for awhile trying to piece things together. My head really hurts and I can't think straight. I was inside in a place with a lot of hallways. I was running from something, obviously. Although now I think that maybe I was running towards something. But what? The walls and floors were covered with notes. I slip and fall and hit my - WHACK!

The door behinds me swings open and I fall to the ground. Before I black out, I see someone come out of the door and walk down the street. L!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

18. Normality.

L continues to haunt me; in my dreams and in my waking life. At night I dream about meeting L face to face. I'm in a crowd and I see a hooded figure and I just know that it's L. I tap L on the shoulder and when L turns around it's always just the back of a hood. When I'm awake at work I'll be typing a brief but when I read it over I notice that parts of it drifts into an L type note that I don't remember writing. When I sleep I'll dream about being trapped in a place with lots of hallways and the walls are covered with notes. I'm running towards an exit trying to find a way out. During the day I'll leave work and end up walking past L's stop not even remembering how I got there.

Thanks dabe murphy!

When I lie in bed and close my eyes, I'm pulling a hood down to cover my face and I'm writing frantically gripping my pen as hard as I can afraid that if I don't write fast enough I'll forget the words in my head. When I open my eyes again, I'm tugging at a hoodie trying to get it off and realizing I'm wet because I'm drenched in sweat and ink.

I'm teetering on the brink of normality and I can't tell what is real and what is fake. When am I dreaming? When I'm awake? Or all the time?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

17. What Note?

SM! Those are my initials. But I know I didn't write that, it sounds like one of L's note.

I sit at my desk and slowly push my chair back until it hits the wall. I want to get as far away from this note as possible. I prod the note with a pencil just to make sure it's real. It moves an eighth of an inch and I feel my heart jump. My hands start feeling clammy and I feel a chill grab my body. I'm paralyzed and I can't move my body, all I can do it lower my eyes towards the sheet of paper on my desk. As I try to read the words, my eyes start glassing over like I don't want to confront this. I force myself to read the note, but it doesn't sound familiar. It doesn't sound like something I wrote, but it is signed by me, it is on my desk, and it is my handwriting. Suddenly, I have a thought that someone is trying to play a joke on me, but I dismiss it right away because who would do that? Who could even get into my office? This is not a joke. This is real and now I'm really, really afraid. I don't know what this means.

Actually, a theory is forming in my mind, but I try to push it out of my head because I'm afraid to even think these thoughts; I don't want this to be true.

Thanks joe pitz!

I finally summon the courage to pick up the note but I hold it between my thumb and my forefinger at a corner and keep my arm extended like I don't want it to contaminate me. I put the note through the paper shredder and I feel my shoulders relax a little as I hear the satisfying crunch of paper as the note makes its way through the machine and I watch as it ends up as shreds in the bottom of the bin. There, that should settle things. Whatever that was is gone now and I don't need any explanation. I am just going to pretend like it didn't happen.

I'm starting to regret the day I first noticed L's notes.

Monday, May 4, 2009

16. Who am I.

"It's happening again. I'm becoming consumed by a force I cannot control. I spew venomous verbal vomit; it dribbles down my chin and stains my shirt. It will be a constant reminder of my inability to maintain the dark monster that eats away at my soul; my well being; my mind; my life; my love. How do you tame a beast that turns ravenous on a whim? If you don't know what causes it, how do you stop it? Sometimes I think that I don't really want to stop it because when I put my mind to something I can do it, obviously I haven't put my mind to this or else it would have stopped by now. I think it boils down to my expectations; the standards that I hold others to, but more importantly the standards I hold myself to. I position my bar very high and as a result I have a hard time making and keeping friends; boyfriends; loved ones. The bar I position for myself is even higher and maybe the reason I expect so much from the people in my life is because I except a lot from myself and when I don't meet my own standards, I get very disappointed and I feel as if I should be punished, reprimanded, and made to suffer. I abuse myself when I don't live up to my ridiculously high expectations. These consequences are inevitable, unavoidable, self inflicted, but misdirected. I lash out at those closest to me when I let myself down because I feel like I should be yelled at, but there is no one to yell at me, so I do the yelling. I am such a disappointment to myself that I feel like I should be physically abused, but there is no one to hit me, so I do the hitting. I do the yelling and hitting and disciplining and forcing and arguing and I deserve this, but my victim does not. I want to take this anger and frustration out on myself but I don't, I should, but I don't. After years of knowing this, I finally think I know what the solution is: I need to lower the bar. I need to stop trying to be an image of perfection because I am not perfect. I need to stop expecting so much from other people because they only have so much to give. I need to stop being so hard on myself because they don't deserve the abuse. I need to wipe my chin and take my shirt to the cleaners so I don' t have a reminder of how awful I can be, instead I can have a clean shirt, a clean slate to start anew."


I fell asleep at my desk during lunch and found this note pressed against my face when I woke up; L's note; my initials.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

15. Mind Games.

I needed a few days to collect myself after the elevator incident. More than anything I wanted to match the two halves together to confirm that it was indeed L's note. What I did instead was convince myself that I made a mistake, that it was just something that looked like the other half of L's note, that maybe my lack of sleep was making me see things that weren't there.

As I gathered my mail off the floor, I quickly tucked the note into the Safeway ad and tried not to look too closely at it, then maybe I could pretend that it didn't exist. The ad stayed untouched on the kitchen counter the next two days while I imagined scenarios to explain what I saw. I guess I could have easily figured things out by going down to the stop. I didn't. I had a new route to go home and I didn't want to interrupt that by going to the stop. Besides, I knew that going there would simply confirm that L's half of the note was still stapled to the door like it should be because it's crazy to think that it would be anywhere else. I was also trying to avoid going to the stop because there may be a new note and I didn't want to get wrapped up in the L drama all over again. I made my decision to end the relationship or obsession or whatever it was with L and I was moving on.

* * * * * *

By the time the weekend rolled around I was laughing at myself for being so foolish. How could I have thought that I saw L's note?? That was absolutely impossible. I was all mixed up with my dreams and lack of sleep. I was being very silly. I was starting to relax a little, but the note or whatever it was was still in the ad and I needed to get rid of it.

While I was making my grocery list, I casually grabbed the Safeway ad trying to pretend that I didn't know what was in there. As I flipped through it, my heart started pounding harder and harder in my chest, I didn't know when the mysterious note would pop up. I held my breath as I turned the last page and...


I felt a little perturbed. Where was the note?! I know I saw something in the elevator and expected to see something in the Safeway ad, something like a ripped page from the Crate and Barrel catalog or some other random piece of paper, something that would make me chuckle about letting my imagination run wild. Something, anything, not nothing. I fumbled through the other papers in the stack where the ad was, shaking things out to see if I missed something. I went through the recycle bin and all the trash cans in my house thinking that maybe it got tossed out my accident. I asked my boyfriend, he didn't throw anything away and neither did I, so I knew it had to be in the house.

Thanks bok_bok!

I went to my desk and emptied all the drawers to see if it somehow got misplaced and ended up with my bills, then I went through my boyfriend's desk and still nothing, then I went to the book shelf and shook out every single book. Then I went to the closet, the bedroom, even the bathroom on a desperate search, leaving everything torn upside down. By the end, I was crying tears of frustration sitting in the middle of my living room surrounded by a huge mess but no note. I don't know what I saw in that elevator, I was 100 percent sure that I saw something, but where is it now?

Was my mind playing tricks on me or am I just losing my mind?