The Older I Get, The Less I Know. Turning 25. Love. Dear Abby. A Fairytale, Brothers Grimm Style. A Little Sarcasm. Some Humor. A Reference to James Joyce. All In All, I Hope An Interesting Read. I Think That Sums It Up.

Caution: In a piece to make James Joyce proud, I’ve realized that the older I get, the less I know.  And because it’s 2:56AM and my head is killing me and I really need to go to bed right now, I’m not going to proof read, and I’m not really sure what I’ve written, but it’s probably filled with the most honest and convoluted thoughts I’ve admitted to myself in quite awhile.  Or, it might just be a bunch of caffeine-fueled insomnia resulting in drastic overthinking.

I still don’t know anything—or at least, anything I’m willing to commit myself to in writing.  After all, what if I change my mind?

It’s been known to happen.

Enjoy.

NEF

PS: If Dear Abby is reading, please respond.

 

I am nearly 25 years old.  In just five days, I’ll have been alive for a quarter of a century.  Granted, it’s not very long in the scope of things, and sometimes I’m not sure if Nicole Fuhrman at 25 is actually an old person or a young person.  Sometimes it feels like the older I get, the younger I feel.

I don’t feel like a grown up.  I don’t feel old enough to have a real job, get married.  I used to think I was ready for that—I used to have a whole life planned out.  It didn’t work out.

I’ve been in love twice. I think.

I was just turning 18 the first time.  Can 18 year olds be in love?  I think back and yes, it was real.  But then I think back again, and I realize how very young 18 really is (compared to this very mature age of 25).

Now I think back again, and I remember talking. Talking and talking.  Kissing. Kissing and kissing.  I remember how we had become so intertwined that his pain was literally my pain—and I was causing that pain and I wanted more than anything to stop causing it, and yet at the same time I was 18 and stupid and selfish.  And did the fact that I was stupid and selfish mean I didn’t really love him at all?

But I did love him.  I couldn’t breathe when he was gone.  I remember the red quilt on my bed, my roommate staring at me, and not being able to breathe.

I read somewhere that your brain doesn’t remember pain.  I don’t know if it’s true—but I haven’t found it to be untrue either.  I remember times I have felt pain; I can compare one time to another and identify which was worse.  And I can feel shadows of that pain sometimes—like when I miss my grandma and the loss feels just a little bit fresh.

But it’s not fresh, and it’s not like the first time.  So, so far, it’s true—I don’t really remember the pain.  But it had to have been pretty awful to not be able to breathe.  I don’t know if I have ever felt anything worse.

So if in science for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction—does that mean the opposite of the pain was equally as strong?  So was it love?

I don’t know if this is making sense.

Once, I wrote a fairy tale about us.  I called it Cut, and Cut Again, because that is what we did. Or I did.

Yah, it was me.

It went like this:

Once upon a time, a girl met a boy.  He was cute and funny and smart, and she liked him.  And eventually she loved him, and he loved her.  They were not just lovers but the closest of friends, and they were happy.  They were also young, and stupid, and selfish.

One day, the girl woke up to discover the part of her heart that had once loved him had grown thick and hard, the muscle callused where it had been too often bruised (whether real or imagined).  She didn’t know what to do. 

She waited, hoping her heart would soften.

It didn’t.

After a time, she realized some action was necessary.  Yet there was a problem.  You see, he was not just in that one part of her heart, but in all parts of it.  His friendship had wormed its way into every crevice of her life.  She did not want to be his lover, but she did not know how to stop being his friend.

 More time passed, and it was clear something had to be done.  Her heart hadn’t changed of its own accord.  Clearly, she had to fix it.

So she did the only thing she could think of. She took a steak knife and sawed away that ugly piece of heart.  Then, she went digging in his.  The pain was overwhelming, and she feared she had made a mistake.  This clearly was not the solution she sought.

Quickly, she pulled out a needle and thread and sewed the pieces back together.  Both hearts ached and continued to bleed, but nothing like the tide that had come before.  The boy and the girl sighed, relieved.

But time passed again, and it was not so much time at all, before she noticed again how hard that part of her heart was.  Those moments when it should have felt soft, it just felt uncomfortable.  She had been right the first time.

Again, she took up her knife.  She cut along the stitches, trying not to tear the flesh attached too roughly.  Some places had begun to heal, but she ripped that mending in two.  And afterward, she went to work on his.  But then the pain came…

This pattern continued, and each time, they were left with their bloody mess of muscle.  Until the day he stopped her.

Needle in hand, she had begun to stitch.  The pieces were frayed and uneven, and she had had to dig her stitches deeper into the tissue to keep them from slipping.  She was on her third stitch when he said it.

No. He had told her. Stop.

So she did.  They each had half a heart and another bloody piece of pulpy muscle (the place where they had kept each other), but they weren’t sure what to do with either.  Though she had tried to be thorough, to get out all the affection, she kept finding it in places, in places she hadn’t expected.  Though hard and thick and callused, deep beneath the surface was soft tissue and something like love.

Even though she tried to let go, to move forward, she continued to hold on—sometimes to the friendship, and other times, to whatever was left of what had once been love.  In the process, she ripped his heart to shreds.  And when all was said and done, hers wasn’t much better.

If you can hurt someone like that, is it love?

Does it matter that I didn’t mean to?

The list of things I don’t know is getting longer and longer.

I was turning 20 the second time I fell in love.  I think.

I’ve kept a journal fairly consistently since I was thirteen.  Even though I never planned on anyone reading it, most of the time I still censored myself when I wrote.  There were some things I couldn’t put to paper, doubts I didn’t want to think about.  Only in times of fairly serious distress would those thoughts worm their way out, black and ugly on the page.

I just rationalized them later.

Recently, I’ve started to admit some of these things to myself.  Things that may have indicated I made a mistake.  I still tell myself I don’t regret these things—after all, what is the point of regret? But once in a while, I sometimes think I feel just a little bit of it.

My second love was a rebound.

I jumped too fast.

I stayed because I was too proud to admit my mistake.  Because I did have feelings for him and I didn’t want to hurt him.  Because I didn’t want him to be wrong about me in thinking that I was worth taking a chance on.  Because I didn’t know what else to do but move forward.

Or again, because I couldn’t admit that I might have made a mistake.

Don’t get me wrong, I was happy.  I settled in (or I settled?), I made plans, I constructed a life around the choice I made.  I think I was happy, and I think I was in love.  I think.

But sometimes I don’t know.

But maybe I’m just overthinking it.  Maybe I really was in love and I’m being stupid and silly and not doing justice to how I felt at the time.

I remember being so sad when it was over.  I remember crying, crying and crying.  I remember missing our plans and our projects and his family and the life we had constructed… and probably him, too.  Right?

I remember wondering once if he was my best friend.  In some ways, I think he was.  But I think I also knew that he wasn’t, even then I knew it. I think there was always something missing, even though I wouldn’t admit it.

But did that mean I wasn’t in love?

And if I was in love, when did I stop being in love?  I think it was well before we broke up, although I was still sad when that happened.  I can’t pinpoint it though, and I can’t remember the feeling, and it makes me wonder if I ever really felt it at all.

I don’t know anything.

I am not sure I even know what love is, it has been so long since I felt it.

I think.

I’ve been pretty much solo for the last two years.  I dated, and I liked one person for a little while—but that was all, like.  Most recently, I haven’t really found anyone I liked.  I’m not sure if this is because I think dating is awkward and stressful and I can’t handle the pressure (God forbid they actually like me—yes, that is what I am scared of… not any sort of rejection or broken hearts, but rather the fact that they might actually like me while I’m still not so sure how I feel about them, and that is simply too much pressure for me.)  OR if it’s because I just don’t like them.

I was never this picky before.

Maybe it’s a sign of maturity.

Or I may just be finding things wrong with people.

Seriously, the older I get, the less I know.

I realized long ago that I don’t usually understand how I’m feeling or what is causing those feelings until I am trying to tell someone about it and saying all the wrong things.  I feel like I have taken this little idiosyncrasy to a whole new level with this examination of past loves—I’m not sure I really felt the way I thought I felt then.

Oh god.

Can this get any more confusing?

Except, I think I have to say, with the first.

If I have ever been in love, it was him.

Have we confirmed, then, that it was love?  Or am I just remembering wrong?

How tricky memory can be.

Maybe I still don’t know what love is.

But I don’t really believe that.

Oh, I can say one thing for sure.  Whatever it is I felt at the time, I don’t think I’ve ever felt it again. (Have you noticed how determinedly I avoid certainty? I can’t even commit to my own thoughts. Holy crap.)

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I have never ever felt the way I felt about the first with anyone else.  The second may have been close, but I don’t think he ever really compared.

Not to how I was feeling anyway.

I can’t really speak for their feelings or their memories. I know what they told me then—but then again, I know what I said then, too… and look how it changes.  Of all the relationships I’ve been in, several are “Oh god, what was I thinking???”  I hope these two don’t remember me that way.  I guess it really doesn’t matter either way though.

Anyway, again.

Whatever that feeling I was feeling was, let’s just call it love, because it gets too confusing to call it that feeling I was feeling. (Ha.)

Anyway, speaking of this thing called love:

This is the question I wonder above all—a question I posed once before:

Was that feeling the reckless love of a first? A heart that had yet to be broken?

Or was it something specific to the souls involved? If I had been someone else, would he have still felt the same?  If he had, would I?

Will I ever feel that way again? If it’s simply a matter of firsts, could a heart heal so completely to again love so naively?

And if it, rather, was a matching of character, if it were some special connection, can that happen again? 

I know I will find someone eventually—I’m not worried about that.  I’m way too young to be bitter and cynical, and I’m really not in a rush.  I’m busy with a career (woah.), friends (yay.), puppies (aww.), and all the other stuff my ambition drives me to do.  I know I will find someone.

But.

Will I feel the same way about someone again?

Will I feel like I’ve found the best friend that I can talk to for hours and still not get enough, someone I am so connected to that my heart hurts when his does, that I’d do whatever I could to stop any pain or frustration or worry or stress.

Will I find someone I can’t breathe without?

Does that kind of love exist when you’re 25?

Or is it reserved only for your first?

Is it just some mix of innocence, impatience, selfishness, and at least a little bit of genuine care for that person that makes it so special?

Now that years have granted me a greater grasp on sanity, I would like to feel that thing again—without the being 18 and stupid part.

But can that happen?

Again, was it the person? Or was it the simple fact of being the first?

I asked this question a year ago.

I’m still waiting for an answer.

Maybe I should try Dear Abby.

Posted in Fiction, Relationships, Short Stories, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

368 Days

368 Days

She’d been thinking about him a lot lately.  He kept coming back, again and again. She thought of him in the morning, when the air was crisp and smelled like fall.  She thought of the long drive through painted mountains, the smell of cinnamon in small coffee shops, and the plans for forever and a day.  She thought of him at 3:30 on Saturdays, when his team took the field, and every time she found a project on Pinterest that required more than stitches and glue.  When it started, she thought she missed the mountains.  And then it had been the feeling.  But now—now, she was pretty sure she just missed him.

Posted in Fiction, Relationships, Short Stories, Stories | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Word

A Word

She woke in the dark, as she did every night.  She reached for the phone on the shelf beside her bed, clicked the center circle, checked for his message.  And as every night for the last three weeks, she found nothing.  An orange tulip stared back at her.

She shoved the phone under her pillow and rolled over.

So much for sleep.

She rolled over again, kicked the sheets in frustration, her legs entangled in the not-so-cool cotton.  She fought the sheets and the rising ache.

The pictures were killing her.  The old ones, the new ones.  The girl with her stupid smile and flirty eyes.  The way she pressed her whole body against him.  It was disgusting.

It hurt so bad.

It had been weeks, weeks.  How could she still care?  Why did her whole chest twist at the sight?  And really, it wasn’t just the pictures.  There were so many moments, in casual conversation, as she watched TV, as she drove down the goddamn street.  Anything could stir a memory, a thought, an echo of a conversation. The hurt.

She couldn’t figure out how to put it behind her.  Some moments, sure, she felt light and free.  But it was as though a shadow always lurked just out of sight, as though she waited constantly for the next trigger, the next pang.  And it never failed her.  It always came eventually.

How to make it stop?  She didn’t know.

Well, she kind of did.  She knew what her problem was—she simply did not have anyone else.  And she wasn’t sure how to heal a broken heart without someone else… she had simply always had someone else.   She had always gone from one to another in relatively short succession.  It had worked for her in the past.

But she had no one new.  She didn’t really want anyone new.  Or at least, she hadn’t met anyone she wanted.

She just wanted to be happy.

Her phone buzzed.  She felt it through the pillow, a short buzz.  Probably junk mail.

She had to check it anyway.

Not junk mail.

I miss you.

Her chest tightened.

She didn’t know what to say.

What did it mean?

She read it again.

I miss you.

And again and again and again.

I miss you I miss you I miss you.

It didn’t change.  It was really there.

But again, what did it mean?  I miss you, butBut I still don’t love you?  I still don’t want to be with you? I still think we should just be friends? I still…

But it was just, I miss you.

She stared at the text.

It was still there.

If she were in a movie, she was pretty sure the I miss you would be followed by some very dramatic yet heartwarming declaration of undying love. I can’t breathe without you. You’re all I think about. You’re my one and only.

Ok, those were pretty lame.  She clearly was not in a movie.  Nor was she writing a movie (script, that is).  [Side note: sometimes the guys in those chick flicks bordered on creeper.  Seriously, how many girls would really like Edward staring at them as they drooled on their pillow each night?  A little creepy? I’d say so.]

Back to the issue at hand: I miss you.

In a pretty lime green bubble.

I miss you too.

In a boring gray one.

And then the wait.

Was that it? Would more come?  What was the point? Just a reminder? Hey, I just wanted to screw with your heart a little. No big deal.

She didn’t care.  She’d take it.

She’d rip her heart out again and again for just a word from him.

Minutes passed.

Her room lightened with the sky.

And it looked like just once would suffice.

Posted in Fiction, Relationships, Short Stories, Stories | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

01 Fade

Fade

 

April 13, 1925

I am quiet, and they are quiet beside me. I gaze silently at the gravestone, discolored by weather and age. The words are hardly decipherable, but I don’t need to read them. They are etched in my heart.

My granddaughter comes forward, slips her hand in mine. I look away. I hate for her to see my tears.

“It’s getting late,” she says softly, but I pretend I don’t hear. She says it again, louder this time.

“I’m not done,” I tell her. I am old. I will take my time.

“Grandma, the children…”

I look at them, sitting idly on another gravestone. Bobby’s face is in his hands. He sighs loudly, looks at his mother. I turn my eyes to Lindie, who skips through the cemetery, humming to herself. Each day, she reminds me more and more of her mother.

I nod. “You’re right. We may go.”

Anna kisses my cheek, gathers her flock, and ushers them toward the tall, iron gates. I spend one more moment by the grave, close my eyes, and imagine his face. He is not so clear anymore. Sometimes he is not there at all. The guilt is strong in those moments, the days I cannot remember his face or his laugh.

“It was so long ago, Grandma,” Anna would say. “Don’t let it bother you.”

She doesn’t understand; but I cannot expect her to. She was not there, and times are different. So much has changed.

“Grandma,” she calls from the gate, Lindie balanced on her hip. “Bobby! Stop right—Grandma, please hurry.” She chases after Bobby, who darts to the automobile. Strange thing, the car.

I sigh. Back to the living, I think. It’s time to put the past behind me. I take my time catching up. My old bones creak; my muscles move slowly. The cane digs into the muddy ground, and I notice just how brilliant the grass is, a bright and healthy green on a gray, dreary day. I do not belong here, among new grass and blooming flowers.

I am old. I am wilting, I know that. I do not fear it. But I am terrified of fading. Like him, my features will run, bleed together until I am gone. No memory will keep me, no picture will capture my features. I will fade until I am no more.

And when that happens, who will know my name? Who will hear my story? I fear that all I’ve learned, all I’ve gained, and all I’ve lost, will be for nothing.

“Grandma!”

I try to forget the grass, the flowers, and my fear.

 

 

It is late, later than I have been awake in a long while. Usually sleep comes quickly but not tonight. Tonight I remember too clearly to sleep, my mind sharp, crisp. I see the grave, his name carved into the stone: Thomas Loraine. His is not the only grave I visit, but for some reason his is the one I remember most clearly. And tonight I see his face.

I had returned home much before I desired, in early 1863. They told me I couldn’t go on, I was in no shape to care for another. My mother said my heart was too full. I never asked her full of what? Full of pain? Sorrow? After she passed away, on nights such as these, I would talk to her, and more than once, I asked her. I imagined her crackly, old voice (she was quite aged when she passed on) in my mind.  She would say, “Full of love, Elizabeth Mae. Just love.”

But for a long time, she said nothing. And the memories killed me, night after night. So I tried to forget the memories, and for awhile, I was all right. And then, one night (I can’t really say what triggered it) as I lay in the dark, my husband sleeping by my side, I realized I couldn’t see the faces anymore. They were gone. That was when the guilt became worse than the memories. That was when I vowed to remember.

But there were so many, too many, their faces fuzzy. So I decided that by remembering just a few, I could remember them all. And so I remembered Henry Gardner, Mr. Edwards, Jimmy, Charlie and Bill. And I remembered Thomas; I remembered Thomas best of all. I still don’t know why.

So I remember, because if I forget, they may join the ranks of the forgotten and unknown. I cannot abandon them to that.

I think of all this tonight as I stare at the ceiling. And then it occurs to me, an idea, a legacy I could leave. The bed groans as I sit up, and I groan with it. I fumble in the darkness and attempt to light the kerosene lamp. I try to be quiet, have no desire to wake the children, nor Anna or her husband. With brittle bones I set myself up at my desk, clear away the colorful paintings, the memoirs of a four year old.  Today I will leave my own memoir. My hand trembles with age as I date the paper, April 13, 1925. So long ago, just over sixty four years.

A knock sounded at the door, I write. And remember. I could hear Mrs. Reynolds…

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories, Stories | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Peter Pan

She was doing it again, talking about the future.

And he played along, unsaid promises he couldn’t keep.

“I still have a good three years till I have to worry about that,” she teased, and her laugh filled the car.

“Funny.  I can’t wait till you get old.”

Shit. He regretted it the moment the words left his lips.  They suggested he would be there, and he knew that wasn’t likely.  In fact, he wasn’t quite sure why she was still with him at all.  He hadn’t expected it to last this long—it never did—and really, she deserved better.  He guessed she just didn’t see that.  And honestly, he was just too selfish to tell her.

She smiled, and he knew she caught it, too—the implied possibility.  He couldn’t think of a way to take it back, so he just changed the subject.

   :::

She was mad at him again.

He wasn’t sure he deserved it—he didn’t really think he had done anything wrong.  He hadn’t cheated or stood her up or forgotten her birthday.  Really, all he had done was make other plans—what’s so wrong with that?

She was mad nonetheless.

He knew it boiled down to expectations.  They clearly had different ones.  He saw it.  He didn’t say it, but he saw it.  He knew that was probably a little selfish—well, maybe a lot selfish—but what could he say?  He still wanted to be with her—maybe not in the way she wanted, but still, in some way.  And really, she always got over it.  She eventually got over his little transgressions (and again, were they really even transgressions?), so she must not care that much.

He knew that was a lie.

But really, what could he say?

      :::

He said nothing.

He’d stick around as long as she put up with him.  And then?  Then, he’d go back to life without her.

Posted in Fiction, Relationships, Short Stories, Stories | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giving In

And it’s over, and I’m going under. But I’m not giving up; I’m just giving in.

 :: Florence and the Machine ::

……………………………………………………………..

Giving In

Her heart ached. It twisted.  It beat too fast, felt too heavy.

She couldn’t find the right words to describe it, the constant ache, the anxiety.  And she couldn’t figure out how to make it go away.  It made her face burn and her nose tingle, and tears welled in her eyes, threatened to fall.  Sometimes she didn’t even know why.  She just felt this sense of loss, this feeling of being unloved or unwanted.  Alone.

He didn’t think of her.  He had proven time and again that he didn’t often think of her, but this time it was worse.  He was away, she was left behind, and he wasn’t thinking of her.

The thought of days like this, weeks like this, seemed unbearable.  What could she do to make it stop? To make it end?  She just wanted the feelings to be over, to be over and done with.  She didn’t want to feel sad.  She was tired of feeling sad.  But she didn’t know how to stop.  And she couldn’t fight it forever.

 

 

She couldn’t tell you why she even cared.  She just couldn’t stop.

Posted in Fiction, Relationships, Short Stories, Stories | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fool

She had always known she was a fool.  She had come to recognize her tendency to leap before looking.  She was impulsive, and she did what she felt.  And when she felt differently, she did differently.  She acted in the moment, and when the moment passed, she acted again.  She was a rollercoaster.  She had come to expect that.  She didn’t know how to be anything else.

So she knew she was a fool.  But now, she realized, she was twice the fool—yes, it was that bad—not because she jumped in, but rather because she stayed.  It was a curse, her inability to let go.  In choosing constancy over change, she had taken dissatisfaction over solitude.  And though solitude was subject to the very change she renounced, she found dissatisfaction a much more permanent and unhappy state.

She had taken the tears, the frustration, the disappointment and neglect.  She had taken all the discontent of the familiar to keep at bay the unknown.  She had been the very saddest fool.

But she was done with that.

 

 

 

It turns out, he was the bigger fool.

Posted in Fiction, Relationships, Short Stories, Stories | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Unexpected

Unexpected

She wasn’t expecting him.  She had given that up long before.  She had stopped hoping to see a text, a missed call, a note, a letter, an email—any sign he still existed in a world apart from hers.  She had let go.  She had abandoned the plans and dreams, the memories.  She didn’t expect him.

So when she found him there, standing at her door in his black fleece, hands in his coat pockets, staring at the ground, she could find nothing to say.  She just looked at him, blankly, and watched him breathe, puffs in the cold night air.

He looked up.  He was familiar, and yet a stranger.  His eyes were the same blue, his skin the same white, the freckles in familiar places, and a tinge of pink to his nose and cheeks.  He was the same height, he had the same slouch, he wore the same khakis and shoes.  He was just as he had left her.  Except that he was back.  And for that, she didn’t know him.

“Hi,” he said at last.

She blinked.

He shuffled his feet awkwardly, looked down, and up again.

“Do you have a minute?”

His hands were still in his pockets, and she wondered why she noticed.  Then, she nodded.

“Um, can I come in?” he laughed, a little self-consciously.  It was familiar but out of place. Still, it awakened her.

“Oh! Of course,” she stepped aside to let him through the door. “Sorry.”

She stepped back, and he shut the door behind them.  She stood uncomfortably beside the couch, not sure where to look.  He looked around her apartment.

“This is nice,” he offered.  He pointed to the artwork above the television.  “I like that.”

“Yah,” she nodded. “Me too.”

He looked at her for a second, smiling, and said, “I kind of figured that.”

He laughed a little, and she didn’t know what to do.  He was teasing her.  Why was he teasing her?  This whole exchange was starting to feel too normal, too familiar.  She felt the shell around her heart start to crack, worried what might spill out.

“So what’s up?” she asked, wary now.

His eyes dropped to the floor, and his hands were back in his coat pockets.  He scuffed his foot lightly across the carpet.  Finally, he looked up.

“I’m sorry.”

“Sorry for what?”

“Everything.  Everything that happened between us—I know it was mostly my fault, and—”

She interrupted. “It wasn’t all your fault.”

He shrugged.

They stood in silence.

“I’m sorry I hurt you,” he finally said.

That part was his fault.

“You didn’t need to come here to apologize,” she said in reply.

“I know.”

They stood there, awkwardly.  She looked at the dog, the floor, the couch and TV.  She didn’t know what he looked at.  She hoped it wasn’t her.

“Well, I just, I found this,” he stumbled over his words, fumbling, disjointed.  Uncomfortable.

He pulled a thin silver chain from his pocket, at its end hung a crimson red treasure, a memory.  How long ago that was now—the trip east, its discovery in the sand, and the birthday gift.  The last birthday gift.

“Here,” he handed it to her.

“Oh, thanks.  I had forgotten about it,” she mumbled and rolled the stone between her fingers.  It had broken, and he said he would get it fixed… And it had sat in his truck, was lost in his truck, and eventually it was just one more thing he hadn’t done.

“I found it.  Sorry it took so long,” he laughed a little, and she smiled.

“Doesn’t surprise me,” and she laughed a little.

“Anyway, I just wanted to drop that off.  It was yours, after all,” he shrugged.

She nodded.  It was, after all.

After he had gone, she found herself examining the stone and the tarnished chain.  She couldn’t help the memories as they surfaced in her mind.  She was surprised to find they didn’t hurt, they weren’t painful.  They were just there, a part of her.

She had thought once that she had been in love.  Her very first love, he had been her best friend.  It had been an up and down love, an anxious love, a nervous and urgent and important love.  He had been part of every moment of her life, he was always in her mind.  She couldn’t breathe when he was gone.

But somehow she had survived, she had surfaced with some semblance of a heart—not completely whole nor completely ready but a heart nonetheless.  And she had met someone, and she had loved him.

When it was all over, when the necklace sat lost in his truck and her cell phone was silent, she thought maybe she had been wrong.  Maybe she hadn’t loved him, or at least, maybe she hadn’t loved him as much as she had her first.  And she wondered if she could ever love anyone like her first.

It’s funny how time changes things, like light shifting shadows, revealing what had been there all along.  She had once thought her first love, that was what she wanted again.  That was what she needed.  Yet in hindsight, it wasn’t the first love who had made her happy, it wasn’t with the first love that she had felt secure.  It was her second who had set the bar, who had shown her what it really was to love.  With passion, fire.  Selflessness.  Contentment and security.  With no need to worry, no need to doubt.  They had really been happy.  She had really been happy.

And she could finally appreciate that.

Posted in Fiction, Relationships, Short Stories, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Boy Who Had No Heart

The Boy Who Had No Heart

He couldn’t stop thinking about her.  It had been seventeen days.  Not that he was counting.  But it had been seventeen days.

He had kept himself busy the first two weeks—between work, school, those odd jobs and his friends, he kept himself busy enough to keep thoughts of her at bay.  When that second week ended, though, and the long holiday weekend loomed ahead, she crept her way back in.

He tossed and turned Friday night, haunted by unpleasant dreams that he couldn’t recollect.  The neon red numbers glowed 3:34 on the alarm clock, and he threw himself to the other side of the bed.  As his face hit the pillow, he caught her scent, the faint smell of her perfume.

His stomach twisted, and he searched the pillow for its source, for any other trace.  But it was gone.

Just like her.

He rolled onto his back and stared at the dark ceiling.  A fan whirred in the background, drowning out the occasional creaks and groans of the old house.

She was gone.  She was here, and then she was gone, and it was his fault.  He had been stupid, so stupid.  He had let her go—worse, he had pushed her away.  He had known, he had known she wasn’t happy.  She had told him what she wanted, she had told him over and over.  He just didn’t listen.  He didn’t hear her.  Or maybe he didn’t understand it.  He didn’t know anymore.  All he knew was that she was gone.

He rolled over, buried his face in the pillow and held his breath for as long as he could.  When he finally surfaced, he sat up and pulled his laptop from off his desk.

His fingers touched the keyboard and danced.

This is the story of a boy, a boy who had no heart…

Posted in Fiction, Relationships, Short Stories, Stories | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Momentum

Momentum

She was impulsive, and impatient, and when something was broken, she wanted to fix it.  Immediately.  She couldn’t forget, she couldn’t ignore.  It sat in the back of her mind, overshadowing every other thought, and weighed on her heart until the anxiety drove her to some kind of action.

Action, she came to find, wasn’t always a good thing.  Sometimes patience was the key; sometimes the “wait and see” approach worked best.  She really wouldn’t know—she had very little, and she had tried it very seldom.  At least action, even when misapplied, offered relief.  Because action created momentum, and momentum carried her forward—forward to the end, whatever end that might be.  Because really, all she wanted was to know the end.  If it wasn’t going to work out, why drag it on?

But the funny thing was, she already knew the end.  She had known it from the beginning.  Even so, she wasn’t one to give up.  Granted, it was probably less a reflection of an undue degree of diligence of character and more the result of an innate and unyielding resistance to any sort of change that kept her from abandoning her course.  She was the captain that had to see the ship sink before agreeing to abandon it.  And when the sinking was taking too long?   Well, she just might punch a few extra holes to speed up the process.

Whatever the action, for the better or the worse, at least it moved her.

Posted in Fiction, Relationships, Short Stories, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment