Bizarre Prosperity

I don’t know how to describe the past two years, honestly. The title of this blog is all that I could come up with. It’s true, I haven’t been doing so well with the upkeep of this author blog, but that’s because my life has been evolving so dramatically since April of last year. I have grown so much as a person (as told by my previous blog). I have been dragged through the mud quite a bit, but I can tell you that my viewpoint has shifted since shedding that old skin and rising into a phoenix. Whenever I get shoved back down, I have my moment of self pity, but it is quickly over taken by thoughts of progress. Looking for every possible route or every possible outcome from that moment forward. There’s that word. Forward.

Somewhere along this road, I realized that the only person who would be holding me back in times like these, was me. I would wallow and induce episodes of self loathing. I was the one making my life miserable. And somehow, I figured it out. It dawned on me that life is honestly too short to short yourself. I want what I want because they mean something to me. I have to put in the work to get it.

About a decade ago, I had dreamed of living in a city where there was always movement. I wanted to be taken in by its current and move with it, breathe with it, thrive. I had spent my early years learning the value of everything I’m given. Everything in a much slower pace where people were complacent on staying right where they were because it never changed. But I didn’t want that. I wanted change. The curious little girl who stood in those woods behind my house and monitored plants and the earth as it changed with the seasons. I understood then that change was inevitable. Change is as inevitable as death. You can’t choose to die. You can’t choose to change. And while others are so happy with shielding their eyes and missing out on change, I craved it.

I have gone back to Kentucky several times since my move back to the South. Probably more so than any year I lived in Michigan. Each time, though it’s comforting to go back to some place that is familiar and you feel love, I don’t really feel like I belong there. Don’t get me wrong, it will always be home, but I feel somewhat like I’ve outgrown it. I worry that I may not ever feel comfortable with the idea of going back permanently. My gypsy spirit kicks into overdrive with the mere thought.

So, here I am. Living in another large city where no one here is from here. I rarely encounter Atlanta natives. Everyone has their own stories of why they are here, in this moment, and it’s all because of change. That must be why it feels more like home.

 

Passing

I have lots of story ideas that I jot down and keep locked away on a password protected interface. Sometimes, I leave them here, to finish and post them to you, my viewers. This is one of them, only it was just the title. Months have gone by and I have forgotten what it was for. Some passing thought or dream, surely. Possibly another blog about missing my dad.

Now, the title is ironically judging me. Scouring in the corner that I’ve left it in, spitting the dust back to the floor. It lurks, looking over other blogs that I have so lovingly written, lamenting over indescernable sentiments. No matter how much I promise that it wasn’t my intent to leave it for so long. So, here I am, coercing it back into my keyboard, caressing it with soft words and thumb taps. Generating something into existence.

When I was young, I fell in love with someone who set my soul on fire. He claimed I filled his lungs with fresh air. Things came crashing down two years later and I learned a hard lesson. Many moons afterward, we spoke and I gained my closure. Our love was still there, still real and we both felt it. One of the last things he ever said was, “We may never see, we may never speak, but you will always be a passing thought.”

I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

And quickly I go, all on my own!

 

Hello, my lovelies. You’re looking fantastic! I know, I know. Where the hell have I been? Give me a moment (or blog) to explain and forgive my rambling.

As I’ve said in a previous note, my life took a strong turn South (quite literally.) I had moved back below the bible belt, seeking comfort in the humid sun and familiarity of extreme hyperbole’s. I’ll admit, at first, it was glorious not to be in the cold and be surrounded by people who weren’t shy. I took a job at a site with my employer, thinking that I’d get more experience, but also that it would help me and my boyfriend at the time. We’d been on the rocks for a good bit a time and I wanted so badly to reconcile. To find our place again because I adored him. I thought, what better way to get us closer to each other, than taking away all the negative aspects that had accumulated while living in Michigan? Did I tell him this? No. Should I have? Maybe. But the worst happened and we ended up spending more time apart. We felt lonely with no friends around and both of us on opposite schedules. It was the inevitable icing on the shit cake that had become of our long relationship. We both went our separate ways, leaving me in South Carolina and now he’s back in Michigan.

It still hurts for many reasons. Our entire relationship was a struggle, mostly because he wasn’t ready for it to be solid. He was reluctant to date me in the beginning, then reluctant to move to Michigan, and then reluctant to marry. That eventually changed for him, but it also changed for me. Funny how that happens, huh?

I took a brave step and ran for Atlanta. I have struggled the most here, but I have loved every second of it. Not once have I thought about giving up and going home. Why would I? It’s been scary to be taking this adventure alone, but I have picked up some fantastic friends along the way. I am thriving, my loves! I have grown so much in the few months that I have been here. I have come to love myself more, which I didn’t think was possible. I have hardened my spine and stood tall in the absence of others. I have embraced every aspect of my life and am not afraid to live it. I have rebounded but entirely on my own. I feel like the animated wind from Pocahontas. LOL!

Has love visited me again? Yes. An enigma stepped in for a brief moment and reminded me that love is its own entity. Beautiful, difficult, soft, warm, insane, and passionate. I’m not with them now, but in our short affair, they have left their mark. I’m perfectly happy with that. Thank you, Commander Sheppard (you knew I would make the video game reference you despise – try not being in the military next time). 🙂

For now, I’ll keep drifting with the wind, like I always do. I’m sure one of these days, with as much light that I have, someone(s) will want to burn bright with me.

It’s good to be back.

Short: Please Send Money (rough)

Other writers and I know that inspiration can come from the smallest of things. A bird picking at a flat object in a hot, summer department store parking lot. A tree branch falling from a tall oak on a woodsy walk. A raven rapping at a window sill. Or a random pop-up Facebook message from someone you’ve never met. All of these things could be the flint to the fire that is a story idea. I’ll admit that those first few infant moments of a story are almost like the high we were looking for as addicts. It’s a rush, it’s exciting, and our minds almost can’t keep up with the powers that be who whisper their magic into our ears.

This is my most recent.

“Shit!” Benjamin harshly whispered to himself after a sip from the large, white coffee cup. A tongue scalding was just another thing that had went wrong that morning. His big toe still throbbed inside his sneaker from a moving box housing heavy kitchen supplies. And his heart was still heavy after reading the, “I’m coming to get the rest of my things,” text from Melody; the now ex-girlfriend.

He’d left the apartment in an effort to give her the space she’d requested. Some part of him still hoped that she would get her fresh air and return as the happy, comedic, and beautiful Melody he loved. He still loves. He also didn’t think he could face her without breaking down and making a foolish plea for her to stay. He knew he was the problem. He was clingy, he was insecure, he was jealous. She… She was Melody. The love of his life. Perfect in every way.

Staring at the rippling steam from the tar black coffee, he scanned his memory (as he has done many times) for any hint for the beginning of the end. Still, nothing stood out. Glancing around the shop, he watched as people spoke softly to each other, or stared at their phones. Mostly their phones. Even tables filled with three or four ignored each other’s company, seeking connections through a computer application. He, himself had his own piece of black rectangle made of metal and glass clutched in his knotty knuckles. How dependent we’ve become, he thought while catching a glimpse of his reflection.

He clicked the protruding button and stared longingly at Melody’s once loving gaze to the eye of his camera. Swiping to the right, he re-read their last messages to each other. So stiff, so formal, as if they were only acquainted professionals performing contractual business with one another. A virtual handshake once the deal had been struck, and she would leave the key next to the cerami rooster bought from the farmer’s market.

“Active 45 minutes ago.” The white lettering almost burned through his retinas. She was there. Perhaps with help, perhaps already sliding the key across the counter to the talons of the rooster.

As he tapped to enable his keyboard, a bubble popped up of an incoming message. The small, circular icon previewed a young girl, maybe a few years younger than him, caught in a moment looking over her folded knees to a sunset. The large hat she adorned hid most of her face, except a very intimate part of her profile. Her skin the color of brown sugar and stretched tightly around her small frame. She was no one Benjamin recognized and on any normal day, he would have just ignored it, but he was lonely and wallowing in self-pity. Like all the others huddled up to their coffee, he longed for a connection. Even a virtual one.

He pressed his thumb against her picture and read the first message, “Hey there cutie!”

“Hello. I’m sorry, but do I know you?” The letters clicked softly followed by the familiar swishing noise as he pressed send.

“I’m sorry no you don’t but I would like to know you. I really like your profile picture and you’re close by! How are you today?”

Benjamin hesitated. His profile picture was an obscure landscape that included half of his body. Maybe that was what she liked about it. She has to be spam, or a bot, or something, he thought while furrowing his brow and scanning her words again and again.

“I’m a little miserable today, to be honest.”

“I’m sorry dear. What’s wrong? Also, my name is Lisa.”

Her punctuation wasn’t great, but she also didn’t shorten her words. Benjamin was intrigued. The world wide web was saturated with all kinds of predators looking to thieve any part of your life. Maybe she’s actually real?

He found her profile restricted, but some of her information was visible. She was right, she was close by. At least according to where her location was listed. Just a couple of towns a way. A short drive for anyone.

What the hell. It’ll take my mind off Melody, even for a brief moment. That thought made his stomach tighten with guilt.

“Are you there?” Lisa typed with a smiley face.

“How did you find me?” Benjamin was still skeptical, but quietly laughed. Random messages like this used to be a normal occurrence when social media first had it’s startup in the early 2000’s. You looked around the world, you found people and connected with them even if you didn’t know who the hell they were. That was the exciting thing about it. In the blink of an eye, we were all connected and wanted to be connected. Somewhere along the lines, the bad intentions and news scares came out and any sane person became reclusive about accepting random friendship requests.

“I am new in town and was trying to make new friends. You were sHowing as onlinE and I Liked your Pic.” The pen icon came back up as she continued to write. “I’ve Been here A while and still haven’t maDe friends. I aM gEtting loNely haha! What is Wrong by the way? You never saId and i wouLd LiKe to help If you wiLL let ME.”

Benjamin’s face curled in slight disgust. It seems her grammar and punctuation have become progressively worse.

“You aren’t real, are you? Are you a bot? Someone who’s scamming for money?” He became agitated and secretly dared her for a response. Some part of him sought a confession purely for the satisfaction of being right. He couldn’t recall the last time he was right.

The pen shows up after quite some time. “PLEASE don’t tHink of mE that way. Like I said your Profile said you were close by. I don’t USually do this kind of stuff! If you just send me some gas money, we can meet in person.”

Angrily, Benjamin wrote, “I KNEW IT!” He then selected to block any further messages from “Lisa.” He was upset with himself for even replying to her in the first place.

He sat his phone on the table and slid a folded elbow under his head. This day keeps getting better.


Lisa fervently tapped the dirty keys of the old laptop, but Benjamin was no longer replying. She put her fingertips in her mouth, soothing her bloodied and ripped nails. Hot tears poured down her dirty face as she closed the lids to her blue eyes.

“You didn’t get him to send money?!” Yelled the voice behind the gun barrel currently shoved at the base of her scalp.

“P-Please! Just let me try again!”

“No more tries for you, pretty little bitch! That was your last time!” The voice gripped her matted blond hair and pulled her to her bare feet, bound at the ankles by thick zip-ties.

Lisa begged but her words were indiscernible. Her body shivered in fear and for warmth from the cold, damp place she and the other kidnapped girls were trapped. A large, warm hand clamped her trembling lips and her tears continued to pour.

All the other girls at the other stations turned to face her as the voice called out, “You don’t make me money, you won’t get to go home! You don’t make me money, you are a waste of my time!”

The gun barrel pushed into Lisa’s temple and with a flash of light, Lisa’s blood splattered onto the closest victim, and her body toppled to the dirty concrete. No one screamed.

10am

Same as it has been for the past few months

My mind is somewhere else when I’m stolen from a dream

Haunted by feelings that don’t seem to leave

Two different lives lived and divided by sea

I’ll never know if this is real; a subject you’ll never speak

But what if I wanted to do something?

But what if I didn’t want to dismiss it?

You’ve found a part of me that I’ve never seen.

I can’t.

I won’t.

I refuse.

Dear Michigan,

I have lived within your Metro-Detroit area for four years now. You’ve been cold and difficult, but I have grown so much since I crossed your state line.

I sought refuge from a toxic life in a place I claim to be my home. If I hadn’t, I would have been dead by now. Instead, you gave me the opportunity to learn how to breathe on my own. Breaking every tie that I have ever known and forced me to learn to survive. I’ve succeeded.

I’ve become more cultured, made life-long friends, and built a foundation to a life that I may not have ever left. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case. The South has always beckoned me, especially those mountains. Please, forgive me. I am never permanent. But some part of me will always be a Michigander.

Thank you.

 

To think that I can keep you out of mine

I’ve been staring at this blank page for a while. No one would’ve known. Much like how no one ever knows how much you affected me. Or how much you still do.

I’ve tried.

I’ve tried to hold in all the pain, all the pleasure; all the misery that is both happy and hateful. I want to touch you, to hear you sing to me, to yell playful obscenities when I need a good kick in the ass.

I’ve gone wild. Really wild. Tearing through everything just to obtain temporary satisfaction.

It’s been almost ten years. Three since I’ve last spoken to you. Even then, we couldn’t contain ourselves. Everything was still there, lying under the debris of the hurricane that took us both. Moving on never really happened. It won’t. What is this? Why is this?

All of the right ones have just been ghosts of you.

You’re out of your mind.