Snippets of Life: a short story compilation

October 3, 2013
My desert is cold

With her hands so cold and her eyes so warm she felt him leave her. Maybe, this was what she wanted all along. Why she went on a collision course to destroy every meaningful relationship in her life, but it didn't change the loss she felt when he didn't ask her to come to his games or to sweep her fingers over his forehead. When she stepped in cold puddles she thought of him and when she listened to opera in the shower she thought of him too. He felt like a phantom limb, lingering around her body. She was simply struck with despair when she pulled open a drawer and saw his spare glasses or his muddy running shoes waiting by the door. It was like he was still there, but not like she wanted him to be. Then again, maybe he was better off without her. He was going places. She was just stuck, in this terrible town.

She got a letter from him months later. So formal and clever. He’d moved away from the cold and all the way to the desert. It suited him, she thought. She was only cold, while his personality seemed so warm and sandy. He inquired nothing in the letter, like he wanted anything, anything but her reply. She thought she was angry, until there were tears and sniffling. No, she was just sad. So very sad, for herself and what a pitiful person she turned out to be.
Their pixie girl

They knew not to acknowledge her when she had those bulky headphones over her small ears. She wouldn't talk back anyway. She had days scattered through the months when she lived in a world of only music. They would see her flutter her eyelashes and smile to herself. They imagined she was listening to the stars. Would they would whisper tiny and shiny things into her ears? She seemed so out of this world, so completely disconnected when those big speakers smothered her tiny fairy ears. Was she listening to classical or acoustic music? Was she listening to anything at all? What took her so fully away from this world and into hers? Sometimes they became angry. How rude of her they thought, but when they dug deep into themselves, they thought maybe, they had just been envious of how lost in sound she could sometimes be.

Though, when those clunky headphones came off, how magical it was to be around her. She had wide eyes that blinked up at you and strawberry lips that almost always hung open in wonder, and when you spoke to her she would seem so fascinated. It made her talkers feel 'oh so important', but they loved to listen too. She told wonderful and strange stories that seemed so shimmery and fantastical. Everyone would sit around her in a circle, while she moved around and enthusiastically spun her tale. Everyone gasped and ahhed at the folktales she dramatized, and all the time they loved their lovely pixie girl.
Sunday Morning

She woke from a long needed six hours, already anxious and jittery. She tried so hard to feel the calm that was floating in the morning outside her window, but still she felt the familiar ache of knots in her stomach. All of the worried thoughts that had been left in drowsy slumber, galloped out of the fog of sleep and into her immediate conscious. She bit the inside of her cheek and overanalyzed. She always tried to be better, but today she felt the utter exhaustion of failure and resignation.

She rolled her ankles over the sandy floor of their small house and watched him sleep. She glanced a quick glance at the small band around her finger as nostalgia tossed her around and threw her back. Regret gritted between her teeth and she tried hard to swallow it all back down her throat with the rest of it all. She felt the anxiety drop back down to her strangled stomach when he sat up and got too close to her face. She almost thought all the turmoil was worth it when he sweet talked her, just like this. With the vague shape of light around his eyelashes and mouth he coaxed all that anxiety farther down, and away. He pulled at her sweater for attention, and she tried not to think about anything. She indulged in the feeling of being needed, but soon she went away from him.

She moved herself to the bathroom and flipped the light switch. Suddenly, her stomach tightened around all the worry and forced it back up. Despite the ritual flipping of the switch, the light stayed off, and she was reminded of the electricity bill that needed paying along with the car note and the house note and they were out of milk. Everything creeped out of her at once and screeching and bobbing around her pounding head. She wanted to go away now. Away from him and the sandy floor and this godforsaken house. She pictured herself slowly tumbling down a hill, while he whispered imaginary things at her. It wasn’t meant to be this way. She had plans. She wasn’t meant to rot away in a crusty house with crusty floors. She could get away, now, but she knew that she wouldn’t. She would stay and watch as this house and this man tore her mind apart.

The sweater she wore felt heavier as she turned around the house mindlessly. Her morning was full of sighs and regrets for the most part. He had already gone off to work, when it was time for staring hopelessly at black numbers on white paper and running fingers through her hair. She looked up as a knock came from the door. She almost didn’t know what to do, but still she rose from her plasticy seat and opened the door. A shiny police officer stood in her doorway and explained something. She tried very hard to listen, but she wasn’t used to hearing real things anymore. He said things about her husband and that he was sorry for her loss. He gave her some papers to sign as she invited him inside. She wasn’t sure how to feel. Liberated? Sad? She felt lost instead. The man she was used to, had left her here with unfamiliar things and debt.

The officer told her all about the accident. He had been hit by a car and died on impact. She stared with glassy eyes and signed everything she needed to. She wasn’t sure what came next. Where did she go from here? She quickly excused herself from the imitation dining room and found herself sitting where they woke up, that Sunday morning. She reached under the mattress and found what she was looking for.
She could hear his empty whispers. Him, mumbling things to her and holding her around the waist. He held her hand as she raised the steely cold weight to her forehead. She felt peace now with nothing crawling up her throat and no crust grating against her skin. She rested her finger against the trigger and pulled.

A letter to Lua
My Dearest Lady Lua,
The other side of the island seems so far now. While I lay here, bored and useless, all I can think of is the morning before it all happened and the way you wore your long hair. When it is sunny or rainy I think of you, and when it is morning or night I think of you. When the waves are heavy and the air is even heavier, I still think of you, but you are alone, in the ground now, while I rot here in a pile of starchy blankets. I saw a lady two days after I arrived here, draped in a red polka dotted dress, and I recalled the memory of your's that swayed just like it. I feel more dead now, than you will ever be, Lua. I still can’t shake the feeling of your tight grip on my shoulder and the ring of that grotesque scream. The stars tonight also remind me of you and those winking eyes. My thoughts are scattered and I’m feeling a bit jumpy now. I can hear the nurses coming.

Until next time, Henry
A brief love

His love wasn't ordinary. It didn't feel ordinary. It felt freezing and angry and burning. His love felt different. When had his love changed into something he hadn't planned it to be. When did it start consuming him. Lovely red flames grasping at his ankles and wrists pulling him down down down.

His love wasn't healthy. It didn't feel healthy. It was blue and sad and tasteless. His love felt terrible. When had his love become obsessive. When did his grip start becoming uncomfortable and too warm.

His love was done. It was gone. It was ghost like and erased and gossamery. Like the aftermath of a war. He was a soldier bloody and changed. He marched out of his love exhausted and finished.

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