Away We Go

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She stepped out from the convenience store at the end of the last shift of her life. Immediately, headlights appeared, speeding towards her across the parking lot. She smiled.

The car came to a pause before her. She grabbed her bags, got in, and turned to him beaming: “Let’s go.”

(In response to FranklyWrite’s 50-word story challenge)

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A Breaking of Time

She took his strength for oppression and packed her bags to leave. She took his silence for indifference and shut the door behind her.

He didn’t stand to follow. He didn’t speak to ask her to stay. He just sat in his chair, unmoving, and watched her go.

“30 years and it’s come to this,” she said to no one as she almost ran down the driveway. “It’s all come to nothing.”

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Guest Writing

A couple of weeks ago, Milton, from Plane, invited me to make a guest post on his blog as part of an assignment for a class he’s taking. I immediately and happily accepted. I was flattered that a fellow writer would want my words on his page, and I was excited to respond to the topic he gave me, which is one of the most personal and dearest things to me: my journey with music.

So, a big “thank you” to Milton for this cool opportunity.

Head over to Plane to read my post,  “Of Love and Music: A Relationship with The Smashing Pumpkins.”

Peaceful and Clean: In which we end

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I sit in the driveway holding the note I’ve purposefully left unread. After seven years, it’s the last remnant of him, the last of us being “us.”

I see the snow, falling peaceful and clean, and realize this is how I feel.

I unfold his note and read:

“Be happy.”

 

(In response to FranklyWrite’s 50-word story challenge)

If Only Alive and Well: In which my goals are in proper order

One of my closest friends is going through a really great time in his life. More than great, it’s seminal for his life being just what he wants it to be in the very near future. As he’s shared with me the steps he’s worked so hard to take that are leading him to the future he wants and will soon have, I’ve been thinking about what my own life being just what I want it to be would look like.

I know I want to someday make my living as a writer. I know I want to someday find someone I love who loves me back. These are fine, perfectly normal goals. The second one is virtually universal. The first one may not be as common (and will require millions of words more to accomplish), but neither are impossible nor out of the ordinary. If 10 years from now I am a professional writer in a healthy, long-term relationship, no one will stop and stare in wonder.

These are my two goals when I am well and stable. This is what I want for my life when my thinking is clear, my mind is healthy, and my view of reality is un-skewed. This is good because it means there are attainable desires I’ve pinpointed that I can work and hope for. What’s not so good is that my thinking many times isn’t clear, my mind isn’t always healthy, and my view of reality often is skewed, as though I’m looking through a sheet of cracked glass. These two goals I have – writing and love – are my goals only when I am well, and that hasn’t usually been the norm.

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The Room: In which I leave the key in its place

I live in a room. It’s filled to the very top with books, music, art, food, rows and rows of high heels, more clothing than I could ever need, and unwrapped packages placed here and there. There’s a king-sized bed in one corner and a fireplace in the other. The room is at basement-level, and there are two large windows at the top, one on either side, through which I can see the street and grass at the edge of the house, and the feet of people walking by.

I have everything I need in this room, and I am happy to live in it. I am happy to have been brought into it after so many years wandering alone outside. I am happy to continually be warm, well-fed, entertained, and at peace in this room. The door is always locked on both sides, and I am happy to see the gold key hanging securely on its hook by the door. I’ve been promised I am safe, and I know I am.

I am undisturbed in this room, except when the owner of the things stops in periodically, unannounced, and takes away a book, or a pair of shoes, or one of the unwrapped packages. I do not own anything here. I do not own the food. I do not own the albums. I do not own the clothes nor the bed nor the fireplace. I am free to enjoy most of everything, but there are some things I cannot use, though I can see them lying on a table, stacked near the fireplace, hanging in the closet. I own nothing in the room and I’m not the one who chooses what I can and cannot touch. The true owner comes and goes, and takes, as she pleases. And rightfully so.

As she comes and goes, the gold key stays hanging by the door, and I stay inside the room.

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This Is the End: In which I find what I was looking for

(Listen as you read for a fuller experience.)

I started driving down a certain road years ago. It was a long road, with curves and slight dips and rises that didn’t let me see too far ahead. But the road was steady and calm and clear. I didn’t need to give much thought to where I was going or what was coming along the way. I was driving down an open, sure road.

One day as I was going down this road, I started to see unexpected signs for something coming up ahead. They advertised a place of beauty and safety at the very end of a side road. “It sounds wonderful,” I thought. Day after day I passed the pretty billboards advertising this place. They painted it as secure, exclusive, and mystical—exactly like a place I had always wanted to find. “But,” I recognized, “It’s a dead end.” So I drove on.

Months passed and still the signs continued. The idea of the dead end started creeping its way into my mind. I started to watch earnestly for more advertisements on the side of the road. They became more explicit and tantalizing, and I now noticed the detail of their imagery. Whenever I came to an especially beautiful sign, I stopped the car and studied the billboard, reading over and over what it described, taking in every detail. The signs left no doubt; the dead end was all I ever wanted.

The road I had been traveling on for years no longer mattered. “It’s a dead end…” I continued to say to myself, “…But I will go there.”

So I kept driving, carefully following the instructions in the ads. I was obsessed with finding that one side road with that one final end. I drove for days until I arrived where I am now: sitting in my stalled car, facing the dead end straight on.

It is beautiful. It is safe, sure, and enticing. I can see that the billboards were not wrong; this is what I’ve always wanted. It’s what I’ve been looking for down that main road. The dead end is welcoming to me and there is a perfect spot in which I can finally stop the car and park. I can stop traveling and just rest. All around me are calm fields protected by dense forests far off along their edges. The dead end will always be clean and clear and exactly as it should be. The dead end will always be what was advertised —

— it will always be a dead end. There will always not be anywhere else to go from here. This will always be the end of the road, with no option to drive further, no option to turn to the side. The dead end is exactly what it said it would be, and there is nothing else to do but to sit, stuck, unable to drive onward.

This is the end.