Literary Bears

For the Love of Books


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A trip to the MET Museum

I can’t prove the following story, but either you will believe me..or you won’t. I have no control over your reaction, but I wholeheartedly believe it’s true.

In college, I had to take an Art course as part of the general requirements. I decided to take the Art History course because I’ve always liked history, and I know a trip to the MET was mandatory to pass the class. I’ve always wanted to go back to the MET and this would be the perfect excuse to make me go back. The course was very interesting, and I ended up making new friends in that class. When it was time to go to the museum, several of my friends and I decided we would go together.

As we approached the marble statue of Aphrodite, my friend commented on how much she loved the Goddess of Love, and I responded by asking her why. They all looked at me as if I were nuts. That’s when I came clean about hating love. It’s not that I don’t love anyone; I love my family. I just hate that we live in a society where we are forced to feel unfulfilled until we find someone to love. We live in a world where young girls are taught to look forward to Prince Charming’s rescue. This continues onto adulthood, with movies that depict women over their 20s as depressed because they have not found love. As if being single in any way reflected a woman’s value. They waved me off as a “bra-burning feminist” and as unromantic. Agree to disagree was my thought, but I stayed behind to hang out with Miss Aphrodite for a little longer.

As I turned to leave, I sensed some movement from the corner of my eye. There was no one there so I just turned to take one last look at the marble statue. She seemed to be smirking at me while giving me some side-eye. I blinked and figured I imagined it. I continued my trip through the museum, went home, and forgot all about the incident.

I suddenly found myself the center of attention everywhere I went. Men were suddenly and inexplicably drawn to me; it was extremely annoying. I couldn’t explain it, but I just KNEW Aphrodite had something to do with this. I opted to avoid people as much as possible, but it was hard. Women were now attracted to me as well. Aphrodite must have figured she would win if she covered all her bases. My life became impossible. I feared discussing my suspicions because people would think I was insane. The only person I could talk to was Aphrodite herself so I made plans to visit the MET the very next day.

Once in front of Aphrodite, I mentally asked her to please remove her curse. I told her I appreciated her as a goddess, but I was just not interested in spending my time with anyone, and to please take pity on me because she was making me miserable. I had a long conversation in my head with her and truly felt like she was listening. After some time, I left the MET feeling like a weight had been lifted off me. I looked around and noticed I had become invisible once again. Not one person looked at me, and I felt at home being the wallflower I was always meant to be.

On the train home, I sat down on the first empty seat I found, which happened to be next to a man immersed in a book. He did not look up and did not even seem to notice that I was there. I glanced at the book he was reading, Salem’s Lot. Oh yeah, I read it. Suddenly, he was startled and slammed the book shut and I smiled because I knew the part he had just read. I asked him if I was correct, and he seemed surprised either because he really did not know I was there or because I guessed correctly. He smiled and said I was correct and we talked about the book until we got to my stop. He actually got up to exit the train as well, and we laughed at the coincidence. As we were exiting the train, he asked if I would like to continue our conversation over coffee, and I smiled because Aphrodite won after all.

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This is a story that I started over a year ago, and never finished because I just didn’t know where I was going with the story. When my husband asked for a story as part of his birthday gift, I decided to pick this one up again. His birthday was yesterday, but I finished the story today so Happy Belated Birthday to my love! This one’s for you… Actually, they’re all for you.


Jake and Leslie, Sitting in a Tree

Jake’s heart had never felt so empty. He sat across from his best friend, Leslie, and just stared blankly past her. Leslie sympathized with Jake’s heartbreak, and offered countless hours of therapy and a shoulder to cry on, but she was secretly happy the relationship with Christine had ended.

Christine was the type of girl who felt threatened by her friendship with Jake. Leslie was used to that type, and they never lasted. She would never understand why Jake thought otherwise. When they were younger, she would often pretend to be a lesbian just to help his friend get a girlfriend, but they quickly grew out of that phase. Christine was just the latest in a long string of girls that could not handle their friendship.

Jake and Leslie met in 5th grade, at an age where girls and boys hate each other. Their unlikely friendship started during a game of Tag, when Jake made a comment about how he was “uncatchable” and “no stinky girls” would ever be able to tag him. Leslie took that as a challenge. He allowed Jake to believe the lies he spoke, but knew that he would regret those words. When Leslie tagged Jake, he seemed genuinely shocked to see that he was outrun by a girl. Instead of being a sore sport, he smiled at Leslie and they have been friends ever since. Making fun of a boy/girl friendship got old pretty fast, and they quickly became a staple at school. When thinking of Jake, your mind would always go to Leslie. They became inseparable and that friendship only grew stronger as the years went by. They went to every dance together, and it was a shock to no one when they went to Prom together.

But here they were… Leslie consoling Jake once again over a girl that she had immediately known was not worth his time. She had gone through this enough times to know that there was nothing she could do to speed up the process. She just had to be there for him, confidently knowing he would snap back soon enough regardless of what she did. She stopped trying to cheer him up, and she definitely learned not to set him up with her friends; that always resulted in one less friend once the relationship inevitably went sour. It was always the same reason too: they felt insecure with how highly he talked about Leslie.

Jake suddenly snapped into life and looked at Leslie with a huge smile on his face. Leslie smiled back relieved that he had snapped out of his sorrow so suddenly.

“What’s up?” Leslie asked.

“You know who I was just thinking of?” Jake asked.

Leslie braced herself for hearing Christine’s name. She would have to humor him while reminding him that Christine had made it clear that she did not want to see him again. So she casually asked, “who?”

“The girl that rung up our coffee this morning. She was really pretty. Let’s go by tomorrow so I can ask her out.” he answered.

Leslie smiled and said “If you loved the first, you wouldn’t have fallen for the second.”

He smiled back and said “you and that stupid Johnny Depp quote”

“But was he lying?! Welcome back sir. I was beginning to worry about you.”

“I was drowning in my misery when I remembered if it ain’t the kind of love you and Adam have, I don’t want it.”

Adam and Leslie met in college, and both Leslie and Jake knew he was the one almost immediately. Adam and Jake became instant best friends, and that made Jake believe that he would keep trying until he met the female equivalent of Jake; someone who did not try to separate them, but instead became a part of the group. So far, all the girls focused on Leslie, but he would not lose hope. Maybe the girl at the coffee shop will be the one. In the meantime, there was only one thing he knew for sure, if he loved the first, he wouldn’t have fallen for the second. Goodbye Christine.

 


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Your wish is my command… or is it?

 

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My name is Frank, and I’m a genie. I wasn’t born a genie, but when I was about 40 I started hearing wishes. At first, I had no idea what these voices were, but soon I started hearing “I wish..” even though no one was speaking. I know from popular culture that everyone seems to think they’re entitled to three wishes when they encounter me. This is why I never announce myself. No one knows I’m a genie… well, no one until now.

The first time I granted a wish was shortly after the voices started. I noticed an adorable little girl of about 3 or 4 running away from her father. They were playing and he was making monster noises and walking funny to make her laugh. The little girl was shrieking with laughter and running at the same time. It was quite a charming scene, when out of nowhere a car came zooming and swerving down the two lanes. The little girl was still running straight towards the car, but the dad started running full speed to stop her and at that exact moment I heard his desperate pleas “Please god. Don’t let the car hit her” I’m not god, but that sounded like a wish to me, so I imagined the car suddenly turning towards the opposite side, and noticed that what I had imagined actually happened. The little girl started crying because she picked up on her dad’s fear, but they were both okay, and I was safe to keep on walking unnoticed.

A couple of minutes after the first incident, I heard a small voice say “man, I wish I had some ice cream.” I looked around to see who said that. I noticed a little boy sitting on a bench with what appeared to be his big sister. The teenage girl was on the phone making plans with someone, and was completely ignoring the bored little boy. When I heard his sad little voice, I thought about it, and suddenly his sister looked down at him and smiled. She hung up the phone and said “Ready to go? How about some ice cream before we go home?” I smiled and kept walking. This was by no means a life-altering incident, but I saw the little boy’s face light up with happiness. I was two for two.

I felt good, so I kept walking around to see if I heard another voice. It wasn’t long before I heard “I wish I had come alone today. I’ll be back tomorrow for her number.” as I saw a middle aged father looking at the young waitress who was bringing the bill to his table. I love my family above anything else, so this really angered me. To see a man who seemingly had it all covet that young woman, in front of his family nonetheless, made me furious. That is when I realized I didn’t have to grant the wishes I heard. In retrospect, I know I could have made them stay behind as he followed the young woman to “pay the bill” but I didn’t want to, so I didn’t.

Every day since has been pretty much the same. I have heard countless wishes, and I have learned to listen carefully to the voices. When you actually listen to the person, you can hear the intention in the plea. I have learned to differentiate the greedy people from the truly needy. Pleas for a millions of dollars have gone ignored, while a plea for a dollar or spare change have always been granted. It’s the little things in life,  I have learned, that truly make a difference in someone’s quality of life.

I have never before revealed who I am, because I was afraid of being taken advantage of. As I lay on my deathbed, I feel I owe my family and loved ones an apology. I was witness to so many prayers and wishes that I’m sure would not have been made if they knew I could hear them. I’m sorry I invaded your privacy, but as I hope you’ve realized, it was completely out of my control. I suppose you want answers, but I’m not sure I can give that. All I have to offer is my best guess as to why I became a genie.

I have often thought of my early life while my wife is out, and the grandchildren are out playing in the yard. I never imagined my life would turn out the way it did, but I have never taken it for granted. All the hard work has paid off. At any given moment, I can still vividly remember the hunger pains, and the shame of having to beg. I remember the cruelty behind people who would spit at me, and throw garbage in my cup when I asked for change. I was given a second chance when I found a scratch off in the pocket of a coat that was donated to me. I have always been thankful, and have always found myself wishing there was a way I could repay the kindness that was done to me. I guess my wish was granted.

 

….and I’m back!! I hope you know who Frank is, but if you need a refresher, you can re-read Pockets It has been a while so it’s okay. It feels good to be back!


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A Little Bit of Magic

There were three of them. Of that, I was certain. Was I certain of my sanity? Not so much.

Believe me. I tried doing everything I could think of to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind. I closed my eyes, pinched myself, and then quickly opened them again to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Nope, I was awake, but this couldn’t be real. Unicorns don’t exist. I know that. Everyone knows that, yet they were right here. Although the pinch hurt, I wasn’t entirely sure that I was awake. That’s when I got the wonderful idea to call my friend Brittany. I hatched a plan, and this was it: I would call her to come over and watch a movie with me. I would not reference the unicorn wandering my apartment, and I would then know whether I was hallucinating or not. Either she would see them or she wouldn’t. Either way, I would have my answer.

Brit came over right away and the purple unicorn passed right by her, but Brit made no mention of it. So that was it. I had lost my shit. I could not have been drugged because I live alone and I never go to parties, or other public places. All signs point to me having a nervous breakdown, but why? I wasn’t stressed out about anything. I guess it just happens like that sometimes: You just lose your mind one day.

Midway through the movie, I sat there contemplating my next steps. I would have to be admitted into a psychiatric ward. As I sat there making a mental note of everything I had to give away before I was taken away, Brit turns to me and says “so we’re really not going to discuss the unicorns walking around?” I froze momentarily before relief swept over me. “So you CAN see them?” Ever the smartass, Brit replies “what am I? Blind? Of course I can see them. I was waiting for an explanation as to why you have mythical creatures just casually wandering around your apartment. I thought I was in that new Pokemon game, where I was supposed to catch them as I saw them, but figured that wasn’t it when you made no attempt to catch them.”

No, this isn’t a Pokemon game gone wrong, but why are they here? “Can we pet them?” she asked. “I guess so. They seem harmless enough. If they wanted to kill me, they had plenty of time to do it, so it doesn’t look like they’re after human blood.” I slowly inched toward where the pink and blue one were hanging out and offered out my hand so they could sniff me. “What are they dogs?” Brit snarked. I snarked back “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were a fucking unicorn expert.” That shut her up briefly. I pet both the pink and blue ones lightly so that they wouldn’t freak out, as she pet the purple one. They were the softest little animals you ever felt! They really liked to be pet, and they seemed to blush when you pet them; their fur turned a richer color, and they seemed to almost purr.

After playing with them for a while, Brit and I decided that we should probably look for help getting them into a safer environment. I searched cryptozoologists in our area, and hired one named Ryan solely because of his looks. What? I’m a shallow person. I never claimed to be any different.

Ryan tried his best not to show his skepticism over the phone, but agreed to come over. He was armed with pepper spray and would use it if I was the unstable lunatic he suspected me to be, but curiosity killed the cat, right? Ryan came right over and he must have lived nearby because he was knocking on my door within an hour. I answered the door alone in case he fainted when he saw Muffy (that’s what I named the pink one that took a liking to me). So I walked him into the living room where Brit was playing with Muffy, Mudgy, and Nugget. We named the blue one Nugget because he ate Brit’s chicken nuggets, and Brit named the purple one Curmudgeon, which I hated so we called her Mudgy for short.

I’m glad Muffy didn’t answer the door with me, because Ryan almost fainted when he saw them. After his initial shock, he asked if he could pet them. I said sure. He walked over to them with hands outstretched so they could sniff him. I smiled in an “I-told-you-so” way at Brit and she just stuck out her tongue at me. As he approached them, they all walked over to him and their fur immediately turned red. I thought he hurt them, but noticed they were just in love with him. How annoying. They spent all day with us, but they were as shallow as I was, I guess.

Ryan built a fort from our couch pillows and they all immediately followed him in. They played for what seemed like hours, as Brit and I both sulked outside the fort. When Ryan finally came out, he asked if he could sleep over. I told him strangers weren’t allowed to sleep over, and he was sad when he asked “and I guess you wouldn’t let me borrow them so they could sleep over with me” I didn’t want to seem rude so I said “You know. That doesn’t sound like a good idea. I really don’t want to attract attention, and how the hell would you even hide them when you transport them to your house?” Just then, all three of them shrank to miniatures so that they could easily fit in a little tupperware. I couldn’t believe those little fuckers. They chose him over me!!

Brit and I both glared at them. They really didn’t care. They happily followed Ryan around and did not object to being put in a tupperware. Finally, I said he could sleep over instead of risking them getting hurt during the transport. Once I said that, they all immediately grew back to their original heights. I gave Ryan a new toothbrush and a pillow so he could  sleep on the couch. He thanked me and laid down on the couch where they all immediately snuggled up to him. Brit said she was leaving and they just looked up at her and then snuggled back to Ryan. She left without another word, but I thought I heard her heart breaking when Mudgy did not offer to shrink so that she could go home with her.

The next morning, Ryan asked if it would be okay if he came back after showering and freshening up. I said I had a lot of work to do around the house, but would call him as soon as I freed up. I just wanted the three unicorns to myself so that I could build a fort and we could all play for hours. He was sad, but respected my decision. He told them he would see them soon, and as soon as he was gone, they all turned blue. Not the bright blue Nugget was, but a very solemn blue so that it was clear they were sad. I knew a fort would cheer them up, but they all remained blue and wandered near the door clearly waiting for him, effectively ignoring my fort.

AND that my dear friends, is the story of how Ryan and I moved in together. The unicorns made us do it, but then we fell in love and got married. Our pet unicorns couldn’t be more thrilled!

 


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Roommates

On Tuesday, Margaret told me she liked the little oranges with the seeds better than the ones I bought. I hated her for that. Margaret was the type of person that LOVED things, not in the way normal people love things. It was more like the way Annie Wilkes from Misery loved things. If Margaret is ever accused of kidnapping her favorite actor, I would not at all be surprised. (I would say her favorite author, but who am I kidding? Margaret can’t read.) As a matter of fact, if Johnny Depp ever goes missing, I’m going to automatically assume it was her. I will just call the police and point the finger. She’s such a psycho, but I digress…

On Monday, Margaret had told me there was something about seedless fruit that just made her want to eat nothing but fruit all day, and that I should buy seedless EVERYTHING because it was just so life-altering. She yapped about this ALL day, until finally I went out to buy some seedless fruit so that she could stuff her face and leave me alone. When I got home with the grocery bags, she looked at me like I was the second-coming of Jesus and said she loved me more than anyone ever could, and she meant it wholeheartedly, I could tell. I told her, “That’s disgusting, please don’t love me. Just stuff your face and shut up.” She ran to the couch with her freshly washed fruit and I did not hear a peep out of her until the next day. So when on Tuesday, she declared that she liked “the little oranges with the seeds” better than the ones I bought, I almost choked her.

Margaret and I had been roommates for 9 months by this point, nine miserable months. I knew she was crazy on my first night there, but it was too late. I had signed the contract saying I would be required to stay one full year, and breach of my contract would result in a lawsuit. I thought that was pretty crazy when I read it, but I would never again find an apartment in this area for this cheap. They claimed the contract was to control who could live there because they wanted to keep excellent tenants, and discourage the kind that “floated from place to place” from even applying for rooms in their house. Of course now I know better.

I’ve learned since signing the document that my landlord is Margaret’s mother who knows exactly the kind of nutjob she gave birth to. She forces tenants to sign a contract in hopes that Margaret will find friends. How sad is that? It’s sad, but then you meet Margaret. Once you meet her, all sympathy goes right out the window.

The night I moved in, I asked Margaret if she wanted to split a pizza for dinner. She thanked me for the offer, but said it was much too soon to be her “bestie”. I thought she misheard, so I repeated that I was only asking if she would like to order pizza for dinner. She told me, she valued my persistence, but now was not the time. On the day after I moved in, I found Margaret sniffing my shoes. I wish I was joking, but I’m really not. When I asked what she was doing, she claimed she dropped something and she swore it had fallen in my shoe, but she guessed she was wrong. On the third day, she started to comment on strange things like the smell of my deodorant, and the smell of my toothpaste. I didn’t feel like my life was in danger, but I thought it was time for me to go. I immediately made an appointment to meet with my landlord. She seemed to already know what it was about, and immediately apologized and made excuses. That’s when I found out she was Margaret’s mother. As sympathetic as she seemed, she was not going to let me out of my contract. I had no choice but to go back to my little loony bin.

It did not get easier to deal with her. She was constanly making strange observations, and was constantly in search of her next obsession. The worst was when she fell in love with a YouTube video about a cat meowing on a loop. Think about it. REALLY think about it. Do you have any idea how annoying waking up at 3am to “meow.meow.meow.meow.meow.meow.meow.meow..” is? And she didn’t just watch it, she created a playlist that would play it on a loop nonstop so that she could hear it every moment she breathed, whether awake or asleep. That lasted for six months. I almost jumped out my window, and I didn’t do it because I calculated the fall would not kill me, it would only break one of my limbs; an arm or a leg depending on how I landed. I decided that a visit to the hospital would not be a long enough vacation from her so I never jumped.

Time has passed, and I have planned a huge party to celebrate my freedom. People may think I was just released from prison, but that’s quite alright. It’s accurate enough. My last day in my cell is 2 weeks from today. Yesterday, I saw a young woman who was interested in renting the room. Before I knew it, I was yelling out to her, “Don’t do it! It’s not worth the cheap rent! They’re crazy! They’re all crazy!” Margaret and her mother did not even blink, they turned to the young lady and said, “that’s the crazy lady you read about on the website. Don’t worry. She’s finally moving out.”  and to me, Margaret said “there you go making up lies again. tsk tsk”

At that point, I decided to start this blog. If you having fallen a victim to that contract, please know you are not alone! If you have managed to survive the year, let’s have a drink! If you are currently under the contract, find strength in knowing many have been through it, and it can be done!! You too can survive this year!


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Little Brother

I was trying my best not to lose my temper, but sometimes it seems like Charlie’s main goal in life is to make me angry,to make me lose my cool. He’s been doing this for years, starting with the time he was born.

On that May 1st, I was 4 years old and my parents decided to take me to Disney World; they wanted to bond with me before stupid Charlie was born. They felt I might feel neglected or jealous once the new baby was born, so they wanted to make the most of the time we had as a happy little family of three. Going to Disney World was my biggest wish come true, so I remember it vividly. I made sure to watch all the movies right before our trip, and I made sure Mom packed ALL of my princess costumes. I had it all planned out, I would change twice a day, to attract as many princesses as possible. I remember thinking that they would offer me a job there because I would look just like a princess, and I would stay and live in the castle forever.

On our drive to Disney, we played all of my favorite songs, and all three of us sang along to them. It was so much fun, and I thought nothing could ruin my day. Just then, Mom started feeling uncomfortable and asked my dad to pull over so she could walk a bit, and get some fresh air. I remember being mortified because my mom had “an accident” in her pants. When my parents rushed back to the car, I assumed we were rushing back so that Mom could change her pants before someone saw her. An hour later, I found myself at a hospital because stupid Charlie decided to be born 5 weeks before he was expected, effectively ruining my Disney World trip. Typical Charlie.

Let’s fast forward to my Sweet 16 birthday party. Charlie decided to get me “the perfect gift” by spray painting “Happy Birthday, Pee Nelson!” on the city water tower. Mom and Dad have always called me Sweet Pea, stupid Charlie has called me Pea for short all his life. Apparently, he thought it would be hilarious to write Pea as Pee. As if that wasn’t enough, he got caught and was arrested for it. My parents had to leave my party early to go get him. Lucky for him, that was his first offense and they dismissed it. Good for him, but I missed my chance to dance with my Dad at my party, but at least I would have my chance at my wedding.

Sixteen more years passed before my wedding day. In the years between my sweet 16 and my wedding, there were countless fights, countless screaming matches, and countless tears. Stupid Charlie and I would never get along. I truly believed that his goal in life was to anger me. Nothing could convince me otherwise, and my parents were relieved when I left to college and never moved back.

I met the man who would eventually become my husband at a restaurant. My best friend and I made plans to meet at this restaurant one day, she text me she was running late, so I decided to order myself a drink at the bar while I waited for her. A handsome man, named David, struck conversation with me. He said he was also waiting for a friend who was running late. Finally my best friend arrived, but she walked in with stupid Charlie, and I was confused. He had a huge smile on his face as he yelled “Hi Pea!!” and hugged me. Just then David stepped up and asked “you two know each other?” My handsome man was there to meet stupid Charlie, who turned out to be his old college buddy.

Despite his poor judgement in friends, I agreed to go out with David. We fell in love, and two years later he proposed, I said yes, and we started planning our wedding. To my horror, he picked stupid Charlie as his best man. I explained to him that we weren’t at all close, and he did not have to pick him just because he was my brother. David responded that we were all family now, and he knew they would be best friends forever. I knew Charlie would ruin my wedding day, just like he ruined every event in my life since he was born.

On my wedding day, I braced myself for his speech. I was mortified when he brought out all the baby pictures, but he brought everyone to tears as he spoke about growing up with me as his big sister. He remembered everything about my childhood a lot differently than I did. In his speech, he talked about always trying to impress his big sister, and how his goal in life was to make me happy, but he always managed to screw up instead. The guests laughed hysterically as he recapped how for my 16th birthday, he had written Pee instead of Pea, because the other 12 year olds with him convinced him that was obviously the correct way to spell it. Even I laughed when he discussed the voting process that went into it.

It wasn’t until that day that I found out Charlie was the mastermind between David and I meeting. He overheard my mom ask me over the phone about my plans, and later asked her what I said. My mom didn’t think twice about the question, and wouldn’t have mentioned it to me anyway since she knew I didn’t get along with Charlie. In his Best Man speech, Charlie told everyone he knew me so well, he knew that David would be my soul mate. He asked David to meet him at that restaurant. The fact that my best friend also ran late was just a happy accident. He was so overjoyed to see that we had met on our own that he hugged me at the restaurant. He told David that I was also his Sweet Pea, not just my parents’ and that he knew that the person he adored most in the world would be well taken care of forever.

That night, I finally got my dance with my dad. I also danced with my little brother. I guess some people can’t help being annoying. He is no longer Stupid Charlie, he is now my little brother, Charlie.

Today’s prompt was: “I was trying my best not to lose my temper, but sometimes it seems like Charlie’s main goal in life is to make me angry,to make me lose my cool. He’s been doing this for years,starting with the time…” I really didn’t know where it was going except that Charlie would be a sibling. Instead of making it a story about fighting, I made it a story about reconciliation. Life is too short to hate your siblings.


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Moving Day

Today’s the big day! Today is the day I finally leave my crazy mother. I still feel guilty saying that, but sometimes you have to call it like you see it. My mother is insane, and there is no amount of sugarcoating that will change the fact. You may be judging me right now because you were probably brought up to love your mother above anything in the world, and believe me, I WANT to be one of those people. My mother makes it an impossibility.

Liz (my mother) is an only child. I feel that I’ve said enough, but let me just take you down memory lane so that you can see what I’m dealing with. As a child, I was the only child never invited to birthday parties, not because the kids didn’t want me there, but because no one wanted to be around my mother. I was hated by association. Liz was what you would call a pathological liar. To add to this, she was also a kleptomaniac. Things would go missing everywhere we went, and she would always lie about it. It was embarrassing, and understandably, no one wanted us around.

As a child, making friends was easy, it was just keeping them that was the problem. In my neighborhood, it was hard for children to be only “school friends”. The mothers in my neighborhood were very involved in their children’s lives, and they always scheduled play dates with one another. My mother did nothing to try to help out her only child. She thought it worked out even better because we would be able to spend all of our time together without interruptions. I have to admit she was very creative, and she made up all kinds of games for us to play. I thought it was the least she could do since she was effectively ruining my childhood, but I learned to get over it.

Once I was older, I no longer needed play dates to meet up with friends. I made many new friends and spent most of my free time at their houses, much to my mother’s dismay. My mother is very possessive and was really mean to my friends. She would belittle them just so that they would stop hanging out with me, and I would be forced to spend time with her. That was her plan, and it would have worked if it were not for Jim. When the guys met up to discuss kicking me out of the group, Jim was the only person to stand up for me. He reminded the guys that I was their friend, and that I was not responsible for my crazy and cruel mother. Jim convinced them to give me another chance, and in exchange we would spend all our time in his own home. That was a true sacrifice. Everyone loved Jim’s house. He had the best games, but unfortunately, we left a mess and Jim would be forced to clean up for hours once his mom saw what we had done. It wasn’t until much later in life, that I found out the extent of Jim’s loyalty.

Jim has become a huge part of my life throughout the years, and my truest friend. He is the brother I always wanted. When I told him that I wanted to move out of my mother’s house, he congratulated me and told me it was about time. If only breaking the news to my mother had been just as easy.

My mother burst into tears and asked me why I hated her so much. She told me I was all she has ever had and that she would end her life if I left her. She pulled the mental disorder card, and told me that her kleptomania would only worsen and I would be to blame. What I always forgot was that my mother was a pathological liar, and knew exactly what to say to manipulate me. It worked though, and I postponed my search for a new apartment. When I told Jim why I had to postpone my move, he told me to stand my ground and not let my mother manipulate me the way she has all my life. I knew he was right, but she’s my mother and watching her cry was a bit more than I could handle.

The day I snapped was the day she told my girlfriend, that she had to go away forever because I was all she had left and she was not going to stand around and let a stupid little girl take her baby away. When I heard this, all the built up anger exploded. I told her I had had enough of her childish behavior and I was leaving. As expected, she broke out in tears and told me how her mother had died, and she doesn’t have any other relatives because my paternal grandmother also died. (My father was a married man, so I doubt my paternal grandmother would have wanted anything to do with her, but I did not say so) I told her I was very sorry, but I had to save my own sanity. She threw herself on the floor, and I ran away. I’m not proud to admit it, but I knew that if I hung around, I’d be sucked right in again. I just promised myself I would call her later to make sure she was okay, and she was. She just bid her time until she figured out a new tactic to make me move back, but this time I meant it. I was not moving back.

I ran over to Jim’s house, and stayed with him while I found my own place. It did not take long. Jim is a mailman, and he knew of an apartment for rent right next to a very special lady. He told me all about this older woman, Ava. Ava was like another grandmother to Jim and he was very fond of her. He told me that if I moved there, I would finally have an idea of what a real mother-son relationship was like. He knew that is what I really wanted. Call it mommy issues, I don’t care.

My application for the apartment was approved, and today is the big day! Will took the day off to help me move. I didn’t own much so we were done moving around noon. Which was perfect timing as that is when we saw Ava come out of her house. I can’t really explain it, but I felt a surge of love for her that made me feel as if I had known her all my life. She was every bit pleasant and kind as Jim had said. She must have allergies because I noticed her eyes were watery, but she smiled and looked healthy so I really don’t think she’s sick. She smiled at me and welcomed me to the neighborhood. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m home.

 

I’d like to start off by saying my mother is a saint, and I have a very healthy relationship with her. No mommy issues here. Did the characters sound familiar to you? If they don’t please Click Here and you’ll see how this is Will’s version of the story An Answered Prayer. I couldn’t come up with new stories, but I also realized the ones I had are not complete. So I decided to explore my first story a bit more. Stay tuned for another website change to include book reviews!


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My Best Friend, Luke

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Luke and I are best friends. We met right before he started walking. I remember this vividly because he was practicing his first steps when I first saw him. I happened to be walking past a park when he smiled and waved. His mom looked up at me with a confused expression, but appeared not to see me. I was used to that. Most people look past me as if I don’t exist. Luke waved at me so I walked over to him and we started playing, becoming immediate best friends.

Luke and I had so much fun that day, he asked his mom if I could come home with them so that we could keep playing. His mom smiled at him and replied in a strange language I didn’t understand. I asked Luke what she said and he told me he had no clue. She appeared to not speak our language, but we were sure she would catch on soon. Since she smiled, we took that as a positive reply, and she did not oppose when I started to climb into the car. That’s how I ended up being a part of Luke’s family.

I never had a family of my own, and I actually don’t even remember much about my life before the day I met Luke. All I remember is wandering around streets waiting for someone to acknowledge me, but no one did until Luke saw me.

Luke and I are inseparable. He has grown, and we are finally the same height. I love playing with him in front of mirrors because we really look like brothers, more like twins actually. I’ve come to realize that only Luke can see me. Our favorite game to play is one where we have to chase each other everywhere until one taps the other. Now that Luke can run fast, we usually play outside so that he doesn’t get in trouble when I knock something over. I never get in trouble, not even when Luke tells them I did it, and I know it’s because they can’t see me.

Some time ago, Luke taught me to speak in Mom and Dad’s language, and he no longer speaks my language. When I try to speak to him in my language, he laughs and calls me a baby. That’s a bad thing, so I only speak in his language now.

This week I noticed that he doesn’t always answer my questions even though I only speak in his language, not mine. At first I didn’t notice a change, but then I realized Luke hasn’t been playing with me as much even when I follow him around and tap him. Right before bedtime, Luke acts surprised to see me and asks where I have been all day. This makes me sad. I realize I’m fading, and somehow I know very soon he’ll be like the rest of the world and not see me anymore.

Today, I went out for a walk by myself. I was very upset. When I looked in the mirror to see our reflection, I realized I’m almost completely faded. I was barely able to see myself, and Luke didn’t even hear me when I told him I was going out for a walk.

While out on my walk, I met Ivy. She told me my time on Earth was almost up. She told me I would soon be in a better place where I will always have many friends to play with, and many grown-ups to take care of me. She told me I did an excellent job watching over Luke, but that it was time to say Goodbye. I was the saddest I’ve ever been, but she told me not to worry. Luke and I would always be best friends and that even when Luke forgets all about me, his parents will remind him about me. She said parents always remember and that they pass along all the memories they have of Luke’s “imaginary friend” Ivy told me that is what my name is on Earth. She bent down to hug me and kissed my forehead. She told me to go say bye to Luke because I would be leaving with her tonight.

I went back to Luke’s room and waited for bedtime because that seemed to be the only time he saw me. I started to tell him that I would no longer be around, but I noticed he couldn’t hear me. He was falling asleep without me having the chance to say goodbye. I tried nudging him, but he did not wake up. I cried and told him he would always be my best friend, even if he couldn’t hear me. Then I went to say bye to mom and dad. They were watching TV and even though I knew they wouldn’t feel it, I hugged them and thanked them for being my mom and dad for all those years. As I walked past the mirror in the hallway on my way out, I did not see my reflection at all. Just then I overheard Mom tell Dad that she had felt very warm a moment ago, and asked if she should turn up the AC. Dad said he also felt warm, and I knew they had felt my hug.


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Shortcuts

Here’s a #TBT post. It was the first short story I ever wrote. I wrote it as a stress reliever when I was planning our wedding. The story is dated May 14,2014.  The prompt was: “Write about missing a plane”

Jerry looked at his watch. This time it was 7:15 am. His cab should have been here 45 minutes ago. He tried calling the cab service, but they kept saying the same thing, “your cab is on its way.” He tried calling another company, but they were all booked. Just his luck. THIS is exactly what happens for traveling to the middle of nowhere; this would never happen in New York. He was silently cursing out this miserable town and all the cab drivers when he saw a car approaching. He dragged his luggage towards the car anxious to hop in and finally get to the airport.

The car pulled right up to Jerry, and a very young man ran out of the car and took his luggage. He could tell the boy was sweating profusely and decided not to be too hard on the boy who was obviously sorry he was running so late. Jerry cut the boy off mid-way through his apology and told him he was forgiven, and instructed him: “Step on it! I have a plane to catch!” The boy was obviously trying to appease his upset customer, nodded and assured Jerry they would arrive at the airport in no time. He told Jerry, “You’re in luck my friend, I know these roads like I know my own home. I know ALL the shortcuts, we will make it on time, do not fret!” Jerry wondered why he was late in the first place if he was such a great navigator.

While the boy rambled on about the roads unknown to even the most adventurous residents, Jerry looked at his watch and calculated how much time he had before his plane started boarding. 1 hour 45 minutes. We can still make it he thought to himself.

Jerry looked out his window at the scenery. There was absolutely nothing he would miss about this old fashioned town. There was no service for his cell phone, no wi-fi, no technology, no fun. When he first arrived at his “hotel” he had stared blankly at the rotary phone they expected him to use.

When he snapped out of his self-imposed flashback, he realized the boy had stopped talking and had resumed sweating profusely despite the cool temperature. Jerry asked the boy if all was okay, and the boy quietly answered, “I may have took the wrong turn, but all is well. I know a shortcut.” After some more turns, Jerry looked at his watch, 1 hour left. He really didn’t want to lose his temper on this poor boy, so he restrained himself as best he could and asked “How much longer?” The boy said “Ten…maybe Fifteen more minutes. We’re almost there!” as he attempted to smile through the rear-view mirror.

Jerry looked at his watch: 40 minutes to go. He looked at the boy and calmly informed him that he HAD to step on the gas. He could not miss his flight. The boy literally slammed on the the gas, and after a few turns, they found themselves on a highway. FINALLY! Civilization!! Jerry thought as he checked his watch: half hour left. Jerry quickly pulled out his cell phone and turned on his GPS. He could have killed the boy after seeing his screen: they were driving in the opposite direction!

He proceeded to give the boy directions,”Quick! Make this left!” The boy obeyed. Jerry looked at his watch: 20 minutes. They were only five minutes away according to the GPS. “Make the next left… a left… go on the left lane.. the left… THE LEFT!!!!” and the boy took a right. “RECALCULATING” the GPS stated. “GODDAMNIT!! I SAID A FUCKING LEFT!!! A LEFT!! WHAT PART OF LEFT DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?!” The boy was visibly shaking. Deep breaths, take deep breaths Jerry thought to himself.

When they finally made it to the airport, Jerry threw some cash at the boy and ran inside to check his luggage.

“I’m sorry, the plane just took off.”

“YOU GOTTA BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!” Jerry thought, but what he really said was, “When does the next flight leave?”

“The next flight will take off in two hours.” That’s not too bad, Jerry thought.

“Please accept our apologies and allow us to buy you breakfast at the finest restaurant in the area.”

“That would be great. Thank you. I’ve had a rough morning, and haven’t even had coffee yet.”

“Sure. We’ll even pay for your transportation to the restaurant.”

As Jerry was escorted out of the airport, a sweaty young man runs up to him and grabs his luggage. “I know every short-cut there is! We’ll be there in no time!”

You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me was all Jerry could think.

 


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First Impressions

“I have died many times my darling, and I’ve always ended up back with you. A different version of you maybe, but you all the same”

Those were seriously the first words my husband ever spoke to me. I did what any sane person would do, I ran for the hills… in my head of course. I was not about to jeopardize my life by insulting a person who was no doubt a psychopath, especially not to his face. What I really did was plaster on a fake smile and said, “okaaaay… I’ll see you later. I have an exam to study for.” THEN I ran for the hills. I had no intention of ever seeing him again.

I had completely forgotten about The Creep when I spotted him at one of those “End of Semester” parties I avoided like the plague. I could have killed the friend that dragged me to this party once I spotted The Creep. I tried to sneak out of the party without being spotted, but stealth was never my forte. In my quest to get out as fast as possible, I managed to run right into some girl and spill her drink all over her date. Needless to say, I failed at my mission and was immediately spotted.

From here on, we’ll shorten The Creep’s name to TC, both because it’s easier and because TC hates being referred to as The Creep.

Okay, back to the story: TC walked right over to me, and casually asked if he had come off too strong during our first encounter. “Uh, yeah” I mumbled as I continued to try to leave the party. Either he was a psychopath serial killer, or he was clueless. Lucky for me, he was just clueless. He actually followed me around as I tried to find an exit, which made me panic more. Somehow I managed to lose him, and made it home that night safe and sound.

Now that the semester was over, I was free to go back home and not have to worry about TC all summer. However, as fate would have it, I ran right into him at the gas station as I was leaving to go back home. He yelled out to me “I know you’re playing hard to get!” This was probably the worst thing he could have said to me. I walked over to his car and told him “I am not one of those girls that enjoy playing games. I expect men to respect my feelings, so I do not play with theirs. It’s called mutual respect. The fact that I keep walking away from you, is NOT an invitation to play a game. It’s an invitation to take a hike. I’m NOT interested!” as I began to stomp away, I heard him say “I know” so I looked back at him, and he was smiling shyly at me so I glared at him. He explained, “I can take a hint, but I really wanted you to talk to me instead of avoiding me. Can I just have your email? I promise I do much better in writing than I do talking. Please? Just one shot, and I will leave you alone.” Then he added quickly, “you don’t even have to write back!”

I weighed this over. The worst that could happen is he would know my name, but I wasn’t sure he didn’t already know this. I mean, I did know him as The Creep. He already knew what school I went to, so what damage could be done by giving him my school email? I didn’t have to write back, and he would leave me alone. As far as I was concerned, this was a win-win situation. I made a decision to give him my email, and sealed my fate that day.

When I got home 3 hours later, I had dinner with my family and avoided the dreaded “so.. any-boyfriends-yet?” conversation. They knew I’d die a spinster, I don’t know why they even bothered with me. I ran up to my room that was slowly turning into a storage room. Don’t think I didn’t notice, MOM! I had to squeeze and shimmy over to my desk to turn on my computer. I had to research what displays the museum was running right now. I hadn’t been to the museum in months, thanks to the endless homework that semester. I saw that the History museum was running a new exhibit on Pterosaurs! How fascinating! I made plans to go over first thing the next day.

Once at the museum, I found myself looking for TC. I mean, if this was a movie he’d show up, ruin my day, follow me home, and then kill me in my sleep. But this wasn’t a movie and he didn’t show up. The exhibit was phenomenal, so why was I disappointed? I was annoyed at my realization that I expected to run into TC, so I went home and checked my school email. There were a couple school reminders, but there was also an email from Travis Cairo. I was too intrigued to laugh at the moment that his initials were indeed TC, but I would laugh about it for years to come.

Travis was indeed better at writing than he was at speaking. His email was a beautiful letter too personal to go in too much depth, but he won my heart with it. He explained he was awkward and a dork, but he felt he knew me from a past life. He told me that I was beautiful, but that was not why he was drawn to me. He said there was an inexplicable attraction to me that he had never felt before, and that he knew all he could ask for was one chance to prove he was much more than a guy with a horrible first impression. He asked me out on a date. I replied back that I would go on a lunch date, but that I would not accept a marriage proposal so he needed to tone it down. He had a great sense of humor and knew I was joking. The rest was history, my friends. Lesson learned: don’t be so quick to shut down the awkward dork. Many of them make great husbands.

 

 

Okay, that was today’s work of fiction. That is NOT how the Bears met, and Mr.Bear is not an awkward dork who can be mistaken for a serial killer… or is he? DunDunDun.. Just kidding. Oh, and today’s prompt was,”I have died many times my darling, and I’ve always ended up back with you. A different version of you maybe, but you all the same” I could have made this a horror short story, but I don’t know that I want to try horror yet. I might give myself nightmares, and I’m not ready for therapy yet. Happy Saturday!