Posts Tagged ‘literature’

Fondly: This is Exposition

October 16, 2014

fndlygrphc

How did I get here?

How did I end up in a van full of sideshow freaks and burlesque girls? I wasn’t a part of this world—I wore suits and manipulated the public’s idea of needing.

Of wanting.

I was neither artist nor musician, my wife made sure of that.

But there was something about her. I was attracted to her; less like a bee to a flower, more akin to a moth to the flame.

So I got in.

Work would understand, my wife would not.

I didn’t really understand it either.

Truth be told, I was just happy to feel something again. Something other than remorse and loneliness. Something other than resignation and defeat. Even fear felt better, at least when coupled with big blue eyes and a smile that worked more effectively than a cattle prod turned up to eleven.

How quickly and easily the unassuming romantic can be swept away by a soft pair of lips—wrapped up between the legs of an idea far more pure than any one person.

The moment I got in that van I knew; I had a lot of decisions to make—a lot of changes to contend with, save for one.

One choice was made obvious and clear, for once you jump down that dark deep hole you simply must chase the rabbit all the way to the bottom.

Jumping head first ensured I would fall, never once thinking about the abrupt landing waiting just below.

I was too busy feeling weightless to notice my stomach drop.

Just where were we going, anyway?

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Fondly: Table for one.

September 18, 2014

fndlygrphc

In my reckless youth, living up to the cliche by searching the vast map of Europe for myself, I never had a problem being alone, free to witness or interact as I pleased.

More to wit, I once relished such exercises.

I could fall in love with a stranger and live out my life without saying a word or lifting a finger. I could fall into the shadows and watch stories unfold, or develop my own.

Somewhere along the line that stopped. With little warning and even less fanfare, going out with others became a chore, unthinkable alone.

The outside world didn’t change, but sadly, I had.

But then, lets be clear about something; having worked so diligently at honing my skill and rank of functioning alcoholic, sitting alone at a dark bar, staring into my old fashioned, was an entirely different exercise.

I could drink alone like a professional. What I could not do is sit down at a table for one and dine alone.

When I sat at a bar I was never alone. I wasn’t in a bar, I was in my drink—in my mind. I was at home.

Dining alone, however was an altogether different thing.

Perhaps it harkened back those lonely moments, sitting at a high school locker, a brown paper bag and book my only lunchtime companions. Such invisible spotlights can be rather blinding.

Perhaps I didn’t like the reminder that I was, indeed, alone. The reminder that the only better half I possessed was merely the left or right side of myself.

Or perhaps I simply didn’t like eating alone.

“How many will be dining tonight?”
“One.”

Fondly: Catch and Release

June 17, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

 

 

It was the same every summer.

From our first to our last.

It didn’t matter where we were. It didn’t matter who was watching or what lengths she had to go through to do it.

It wasn’t officially summer until she did it.

I remember one in particular. It wasn’t at the beginning, nor close to the end. It was nestled somewhere in the middle, when things could go either way.

Before they went this way.

We sat on the back porch of our home.

It wasn’t the first summer evening we sat out there, drinking good beer and scratching our dog.

Then she saw one.

And then another.

Suddenly our yard was an all-natural, eco-friendly dance club.

There were lightning bugs everywhere—some call them fireflies, but we never did.

I watched her jump out of her chair, and run down to the yard, barefoot and in her PJ’s. She lunged, and then paused. She waited and watched for them to show themselves for that split second.

And then she caught one.

I watched from the porch as she whispered something into her hands, occasionally illuminated through her fingers by the nervous blink of a captive audience.

And then she let it go, watched it fly away and came back to the porch.

As she sat down, she told me, “I named him Herbie. Summer can begin.”

She took a drink, and I looked at her.

This was the part of her I fell in love with.

Sadly, it was just one of many pieces, and we had become very different puzzles.

I still catch a lightning bug every year, whisper a name and let it go.

Sometimes, that’s all you can do with something so wonderful.

 

newestrings

Fondly: Spoonman

May 29, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

My wife didn’t like us to touch when we slept, or most any time we were awake for that matter.

She insisted we buy the largest bed possible to avoid such atrocities as one of my legs drifting over.

I had no idea what I was missing, until her. As we laid in my much smaller queen sized bed, she whispered quietly in my ear nine words I never knew I even needed to hear, until she said them. Nine words my wife would never say, at least not to me.

“Do you want me to big your big spoon?”

I said nothing more than a faint, barely audible “yes.”

Then I felt her leg wind into a tangle with mine, an arm tucking gently around my torso. I felt her beautiful, young body press against mine, until I could no longer tell where I stopped and she began.

Her breath was warm; steady, soft—a lullaby sweeter than music.

It really felt like she wanted to be there, melting into me. I believed it with all of my heart, as my brain screamed obscenities and called me a fool.

But to be loved in such an open, warm way made my mind’s opinions moot.

It was everything I ever craved in my previous life.

Everything I never had.

I never wanted to sleep any other way ever again so long as I lived.

I did my best to enjoy the warmth and intimacy of the moment; I tried to ignore that nagging feeling in my gut that there wouldn’t always be a spoon to help reassure me of my choices.

But there was for now.

Fondly: Awake

May 29, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

I used to lay awake…in a cold bed, next to an even colder woman. I would lay there and think about everything. I would think until my mind was overwhelmed and confused—turned inside out and tangled up.

It always started with the same thought:

I should leave.

This isn’t my beautiful wife. This is not my beautiful house.

How did I get here?

More to wit, what would happen if I left?

I would lose my house, my TV, my couch and over-priced dining room table.

I would lose 13 years of memories shared.

I would lose my dog.

I would be alone.

Possibly forever.

 

Alone.

 

What is alone like?

I wondered, and then pondered…

And then I had an anxiety attack.

I had never been alone. Not really.

Siblings and parents, roommates, a girlfriend and then a wife.

What if this was my one and only chance? What if I left and never found another person to share my life?

Nobody to talk to—nobody to spend holidays and weekends with, regardless of how those weekends were being spent.

It scared me. It scared me enough to stay.

And now, even after leaving, I lay awake, listening to the deep breathing of another warm body slumbering beside me for no reason other than a simultaneous fear of waking up alone.

Perhaps I needed to learn how to be codependent on myself, for a change.

Fondly: It Must Be Love

May 4, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

Madness. It had all fallen into complete madness. A freefall.

 

I had jumped. I needed to for the both of us.

 

It wasn’t always so bad—our life together didn’t begin with such bitter resignation.

 

We used to enjoy one another’s company.

newestrings

We spent our honeymoon in London, or more to wit, inside various pubs of London. Drinking was one thing we still had in common, if little else.

 

It was our last night before returning to reality. We spent it in our favorite local, just down the road from our hotel. We had gotten to know the regulars and bartenders, by face, if not name, through repetition and an open invitation to converse with anyone willing to talk.

hrvys

I bet the wife I could get the bar to serenade her, without asking. The prize, one pound coin.

 

And eternal respect for my charm.

 

I finished my pint, walked to the jukebox and selected the proper song, before making my way  to the bar for a refill.

 

I selected It Must Be Love by Madness. I’m fairly certain everyone in England knows this song.

 

As the song began, I noticed the regulars tapping their fingers, and bobbing their heads, gently to the intro. I began to sing along quietly, just loud enough for the people next to me to hear.

 

When the chorus came around, a burly, bearded old Brit with a cane and a can of snuff stood up and wailed out the chorus with everything he had. His eyes were closed, his face red, his pint was swinging along, spilling onto his had and the floor. That was enough to bring the rest of the bar in for the next chorus.

 

I walked over to the wife and took her hand. She smiled and blushed, a growing rarity as the calendars turned. I lead her to the center of the bar with the drunk, singing patrons all around her. I winked, and rejoined the chorus.

 

I still have that pound coin.

 

What I felt once upon a time; It must be love.

 

Madness.

newestrings2

Fondly: When I Was Your Age…

April 1, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

“When I was your age…”

 

When you’re dating someone 13 years younger, this is the moment your relationship changes.

 

It strikes a nerve—in both of you.

 

Suddenly, one of you feels young, while the other, extremely old.

 

It reminds you both that your love isn’t wildly accepted by the outside world, and maybe, the inside one as well.

 

It doesn’t change how you feel about her, merely the situation.

 

newestrings

Why couldn’t we have both been born in the same generation? Why did Grunge happen when she was four, while I was rebelling in college?

 

Why didn’t our nostalgia match?

 

Our passions were the same, and every bit as intense.

 

But she was still searching for something I had found.

 

When I was her age…sigh…I was every bit as passionate as I am now…and every bit as lost.

newestrings2

 

Fondly: Well-Aged Inapropos

March 19, 2014

fndlygrphc

“You’re the first grownup I’ve ever dated.”

Ouch.

I’m pretty sure she meant it as a compliment, but it merely made me feel old, and it made her seem really, really young.

When a woman dates a younger man, she is called a Cougar.

When a man does it, he’s a lecherous, creepy, dirty old man in the midst of a crisis of some sort.

Given that most women mature faster, and develop rational thought, that seems a bit unfair.

Given that I act like a 15-year-old in my thirties only proves a point of compatibility.

newestrings

I’m sure when she told me that, she meant it as a compliment. I’m sure she meant she’d only dated boys until now—boys with fast food jobs, and a strange obsession with video games.

I had already caught myself starting a sentence with, “When I was your age” far too many times, as I searched for our level of equality.

But at her age, she was merely searching.

When I was her age…I was too.

newestrings2

So why did I expect her to be different?

I didn’t even know how old, or perhaps young, she was until well after it was too late. I didn’t ever even think to ask. When your soul finds something that feels right, age becomes inapropos.

So does a house, a wife, and pretty much everything else.

ashtry

Fondly: Closer than Cheek-to-Cheek, and Slower than a Grind

March 9, 2014

fndlygrphc

The kitchen was dark, save for the fluorescent bulb, flickering above the sink.

I don’t know why we were even in the kitchen, and I couldn’t tell you if there was any music playing.

 pollbk

I can’t dance.

I’ve never been any good at any variation of it. My sister tried to teach me, during my awkward junior high years, and that was enough to know I was born to be a wallflower.

But we danced, regardless.

Close.

Closer than cheek-to-cheek, and slower than a grind.

Her warm breath hit my ear, my neck. I could do nothing but close my eyes and breathe her in.

I had never been more in love, nor as afraid in all my life.

And I sure as hell wasn’t ready for the song to end, whether it was ever playing or not.

 newestrings

Fondly: Fumbling in the Dark

November 7, 2013

fndlygrphc

It was dark before he even got home.

 

He, of course, forgot to leave a light on. This meant fumbling in the dark, something he should be used to by now in every sense of the phrase.

 

He didn’t do anything for the first thirty seconds through the doorway. He just stood quietly; his dog jumping in place in the mixed euphoria of his best friend’s return and dinner.

 

He took a deep breath, placed a calm hand on the dog’s head, and sighed before heading to the kitchen.

 newestrings

As the dog inhaled his dinner, he mixed a drink. Carefully—deliberately.

 

Solemnly.

 

The kitchen window had already transformed into a mirror, giving him a darkened, slightly obscured reflection.

 

He looked more disheveled than normal.

 

Usually, it was a part of his charm, but now he just look defeated.

 

Deflated and beaten down.

 

It wasn’t any one thing. It was every little thing. One thing after another, in every part of his life; raindrops collecting in a bucket that was just about full.

 pollbk

He didn’t bother taking off his coat, merely loosening his tie as he walked back to the living room, his dog trailing at his feet.

 

When he flipped the switch to turn on the lamp, he was met with a flash and a pop, followed by darkness. That was his last light bulb.

 

When it rains it pours.

 

He took a drink and sat down, as his dog curled up beside him, head in lap.

 

Left to fumble in the dark until sunrise.

mtchmid

Fondly: Not for me

November 4, 2013

fndlygrphc

She climbed onto the sink, her towel falling to the floor, her back to me.

 

She was putting on her makeup for a show; I was merely admiring the view.

 

She leaned in closer to the mirror to add her eyeliner and fake lashes.

 

I looked at her feet. They were filthy.

 

I had neither seen anyone, nor anything more beautiful in my entire life than in that moment.

 

But she wasn’t doing it for me.

 

And she had no idea what either fact did to me.

mtchmid

Fondly: Grip

August 27, 2013

fndlygrphc

Back on the porch.

The music was on, his dog playing in the yard, running in wild circles, as if it were the first time there. He had stayed inside too long for either of their own good.

It was just too cold.

He always said there was a difference between being lonely and alone, but the former was overtaking the latter. So he hibernated, sharing a jail cell with his thoughts.

He pulled away from everything but work, and even that had become a struggle. He had given in to the blinking lights, unable to tell which voice was his—which thoughts were healthy.

Which thoughts were true.

But his fractured brain, two hands holding tightly to that which it could not change, squeezing as hard as they could, were finally starting to loosen their grip.

Fortunately, it was just before he lost his.

Another season in every sense of the word.

But it was still cold.

And he was still alone.

hldymid

Fondly: From the mourning

August 22, 2013

fndlygrphc

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

 

She whispered it over and over again in my ear, neither of us letting go.

 

Neither of us able.

 

It was the dead of winter, the point that beats down the last of us standing, driving us inward—driving us down. It was overcast inside as much as out, as nothing but gray crept into the bungalow through the curtains. The cab idled out front, its lights on, the trunk already open.

 

She had spent her last night with me, not him.

 

That meant a lot. Or at least it meant something.

 

We held tighter, as she continued whispering the same phrase, over and over.

 

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

 

So many times I started to believe it.

 

So many times I wanted, more than anything, for her to stay.

 

But she had to go, and I was the one who convinced her as much.

 

So I closed my eyes and listened to her mantra, feeling her warm breath in my ear, each word a kiss, each word, mounting proof that ours’ was a tragic tale, more so than a divine comedy, unless it was one of errors.

 

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

 

newestrings

 

Fondly: Commuting to the apocalypse

August 8, 2013

fndlygrphc

It was just beginning to rain. Light, gentle. It barely got him wet. The overcast sky seemed to fit his mood. Apathetic and indifferent. He sighed, then unlocked his car door.

He didn’t start the engine right away. He just sat there, looking straight ahead, the street already devoid of neighbors’ cars by virtue of the daily commute.

He would not be talking to her throughout the day. He would not see her after work. They wouldn’t snuggle up on the couch together watching something mindless, more background for the togetherness than a form of entertainment.

He was alone, and it scared the crap out of him. He had never been alone before in his life. But he had a feeling he had better get used to it.

mtchmid

He took another deep breath and sighed again before starting the car and joining the other worker bees. He left the radio off. He never moved in silence.

There was already enough noise in his head.

The rain began to pick up as he got onto the highway, but he didn’t turn on his windshield wipers. He didn’t care. He watched the drops getting bigger, falling harder.

But he didn’t care.

Then he closed his eyes. He wasn’t trying to die, he just wanted to see if the universe thought differently. He accelerated. He could hear the rain, his engine roaring, occasionally the rough sound of the car hitting the shoulder of the road. He kept his eyes closed and pushed forward, the rain turning into the sound of static in his mind. His heart began to pound.

 newestrings2

But.

The universe didn’t want him that day.

Or perhaps, it merely wasn’t paying close enough attention.

ashtry

Suicide Jones: Only the Dying Fear Death

July 18, 2013

sj

1.

I remember shortly before my grandfather passed away, he began focusing on his own mortality. He knew his time left on earth was short.

Consequently, this limited time remaining amongst the living became his only focus in every conversation we had. Death was all he thought about.

Death was all he talked about. It was as if he were being chased, and even though he knew he couldn’t last much longer, he kept running.

He was a stubborn son of a bitch—and a real downer at holiday gatherings.

“I don’t have much time left in this world, Finnegan,” he’d always say to me, with tired defeat in his eyes.  “And let me tell you, dying is a pain in the ass.”

I hated hearing his doomsday soliloquies, and did my best to change the subject every time he brought it up. It was usually a futile effort that left me wishing I hadn’t quit smoking so many years ago.

I always felt like he was dwelling on the wrong things; that he should have been getting as much out of our time together as possible. All he could do, however, was point out the fact that this would probably be the last (insert any family oriented holiday rotating around ham or turkey here) we would spend together.

It was like breaking bread with the grim reaper.

But now, I guess I have to ask myself, am I afraid to die?

I did it once already.

pen

Fondly: Postponing truth

June 29, 2013

fndlygrphc

I knew the question before she even asked it.

She was just trying to process everything, and I understood, but I was tired; exhausted from justifying my decision again and again, trying to find the proper explanation to appease her.

If divorce were my client, and she was the target market, I was failing miserably at my job.

I knew the question was coming, yet I still couldn’t seem to find the answer she wanted to hear. Being a writer was working against me. It suddenly made her wonder about my ability to deceive.

Advertising was close, but it wasn’t fiction. She couldn’t see the difference.

To her, being a writer meant I was a grand and professional liar.

ashtry

I was sitting at my desk in our home-office chain-smoking; she was standing outside the door, just out of sight. How do you talk to someone when you can’t even see one another?

She asked the question, merely a disconnected voice emanating from the hallway.

All the cards, letters and poems professing an undying love—was any of it true, or just my innate talent for bullshit?

I sat quietly for a moment, trying to think of the right thing to say. Instead, I told the truth.

I told her, perhaps, I was writing what I wished were true.

She asked me the question, and I answered—poorly.

Perhaps this wasn’t the right night to tell her I found a place. Maybe I’d wait to tell her I’d be moving out at the end of the week.

Is postponing the truth the same as lying?

I did it for ten years.

newestrings2

Fondly: Half a world away

June 25, 2013

fndlygrphc

I wanted to be there—in person. Holding her hand, taking her to dinner, feeling her big spoon. I wanted to get in my car and drive through the night, just to fall asleep next to her.

Sending her a gift in the mail wasn’t enough.

Video chatting while she got ready to go out for her birthday with someone else just wasn’t enough.

But she was half a world away, in the pines, which was all I was left with until she returned.

The hard pines.

I was having a difficult time living without her. It was almost as hard, I would one day learn, as living with her.

And as she spoke—about people I did not know, adventures I would not have, I watched; her eyes, her lips. I couldn’t tell if it filled me with an overwhelming joy, or a divine longing and sadness.

And this is where the hard pines are bred. It goes beyond longing, to the point of heartache, with little moments of rapture in the mix.

I suppose I was still the loneliest man she’d ever kissed.

We had only just begun; did she run away out of fear? Was it her conscience, the pressure, or had I simply called her bluff?

For all I know, a simple lyric from a song could have done it; she was easily influenced—by nearly everything.

She called it a search for destiny; for a sign from the universe. She hadn’t lived long enough to learn just how indifferent the universe really is.

It’s a narcissism reserved for the folly of inexperience and those that somehow stay lost, regardless of time.

It justifies every bad choice they make.

But she reassured me I was the only one. The way she looked at me—into me—as she said it allowed me to believe, for just a moment, that I wasn’t just another one. Regardless of my gut feeling or my ability to read people, a talent I tried to reserve for my day job.

I liked to believe I used my powers for good, rather than evil. Even if it was a mild form of public manipulation. At least in advertising, we didn’t try to kid ourselves. We embraced it, rather than ignore it or justify it. In advertising, we were at least accountable for our work.

But I digress. Blinking lights.

She was half a world away, and I was on the other side. Deep down, I had a feeling that even if she hadn’t gone looking for the universe—even if she were in my arms, she would never really be here.

I just had to ignore it.

mtchmid

Fondly: Famous last words Pt. 3

June 22, 2013

fndlygrphc

I really had nowhere to go where I wouldn’t be alone with myself—my thoughts, my mind, a prison with no walls, yet far too often, impossible to escape.

So I went home. Only it wasn’t mine anymore, and I had no right to be there. The lock was changed, and I had to knock.

Upon the door I’d opened a thousand times before.

I wasn’t going there to hit the reset button. I had made my choice, and whether or not it worked out in my favor, it was the right choice.

So what was I doing?

She opened the door, and I just stood there, neither smiling nor frowning. I had no words, no pitch, no sale to make. She looked at me, and bit her lower lip, something usually reserved for more intimate moments.

Something I hadn’t seen in years, though we’d only been apart for a few months.

Something that stirred me, pushing me forward, through the door, into the house. Her eyes followed me as I moved past her, and then turned to face her.

She said nothing; perhaps she could see it in my eyes. I stepped toward her, as she grabbed my tie and pulled me closer.

What the fuck was I doing?

I put my hands on either side of her face and kissed her with every ounce of desperation and misdirected passion I had, pushing her back against a wall. Her dress rode up as she wrapped a leg around me, then two. I kept her pinned to the wall as her hips began to sway.

This was happening.

But what, exactly, was this?

newestrings

Fondly: Lines

June 14, 2013

fndlygrphc

I remember her feet, wearing her gloves, on the dashboard and thinking to myself, this isn’t real; this is a movie I’d write for myself.

We talked, we sat quietly listening to songs—our songs…We stopped at every state line and fucked. In fields, church parking lots, abandoned gas stations…

She moved me to her seat and found her way to me—back arched, sweat rolling down her ribs, past her tattoo, onto my chest. Every stop left a new nose print smudged onto my windshield, reminders that would last far longer than her orgasms.

Was this real? Was this right? Was this simply fucking across state lines?

I didn’t know, I just knew to take every moment.

She had taught me both the idea of love, and detachment.

As a result, I never knew how I really felt, outside of a deep, dark longing.

But at least, for a brief moment, true or not, I felt like a man. A man that was wanted—craved. Capable. The man I always pictured myself to be, in the deepest darkest corner of my subconscious.

I knew it wouldn’t last, but it didn’t stop me. I knew we wouldn’t, but that didn’t mean that we couldn’t.

Except we shouldn’t…

…and I wasn’t ready to face that simple, overarching fact.

Love. You don’t know if you really even have it until you realize that you never actually did.

It really is amazing how easily an orgasm can be confused as such, in any state, across so many lines.

mtchmid

Even though we are…

May 13, 2013

rogue

We are but delicate flowers made of candy, subject to the temperament and circumstance of that which we cannot begin to understand through notion.

Through our personal commotion.

mtchmid

We are slaves not only to ourselves—to our personal demons, but the winged creatures that circle the head of everyone around us. We are not special.

Even though we are.

 chp