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Per Aspera Ad Astra: Part I
I do not find things that happen abruptly very pleasant, nor do I think that bad things happen to good people, but I'll put the second one aside for now.
As far as introductions go, telling people my name has been more of a choice rather than a common courtesy. I tell people the name I prefer to be called if I like them, the name I was born with if I have to, and my fake name if I find them repulsive. Every day I see as many new faces as there are odds and evens, so it helps me keep track of whom I like being associated with.
One thing I will care to mention is that I can work. The only time I have to spend freely is Sunday mornings or Saturday afternoons. I hold several occupations including, but not limited to: babysitting, acting at a community theatre, volunteering, and gardening. My weekly income is roughly $400, but what is money without its green?
My favorite client/neighbor asked me to watch her baby boy all this week. I acquiesced somewhat because there's free Wi-Fi, but mostly because I love that little munchkin as if he was my own. He reflects his parent well.
She opened her door before I had even rung the doorbell.
"Goodness Essie, it's like you read my mind. I was right about to go call you," she said while trying to balance a week's supply of steaming Tupperwares.
"I guess the jig is up, Miss. I should lay off the pizza," I said, holding four fingers to my chin.
I could feel her awkward smile behind me. Deadpan is hardly recognized nowadays, I'm afraid.
Before I could enter the house, Master was already hugging my waist.
"Vanessa!" he says, "look I found this for you!" offering me a thin piece of bark, covered in lichens.
I smiled and said, "Oh thank you, Little Man! I love this."
Then we both walked inside -- I, following his lead, as I chucked the bark to the nearest flower bed.
I woke up to the sound of a toddler's crooning, which was strange because a) I never sleep on the job and b) Master only sings in the bathroom.
"So I'ma care for you, you, you..."
I reached in my pocket to check the time, but my pants were lonely both this way and that. I jiggled the couch I had lain on with no avail.
"Master...?" I called.
"I'm a slave for you. I cannot hold it. I cannot control it...."
I rushed up the stairs and knocked the bathroom's door. The child thinks that singing in the shower is considered singing in the bathroom, so weeks ago he decided that toilet performances should receive the same amount of recognition.
"Master. Phone. Now. And get off my mixtape."
He opened the door and offered my phone back.
"But I was just getting to the best part."
"Your name must have cursed you. And thank you for this," I said, accepting my phone. "I'll boil my hands later. But if you really want to sing, I'd be glad to show you."
We sat together on his mother's grand piano and I asked what song he'd like.
"It doesn't matter to me as long as it doesn't sound bad," he said.
So I sang.
"'Cause you're a sky, cause you're a sky full of stars...'Cause you light up the path..."
The keys toppled over each other as if they were competing for the best sound, but really, there could be no winner in the first place. A game in which the players are tantamount is either not a game at all or a loss for both -- that's what my grandfather told me when I nearly broke my neck after falling off of a dock years ago. At the hospital, he told me about Newton's third law.
"For every action, Vanessa, there is an equal an opposite reaction. You should be proud that you gave the water such a beating."
I didn't completely understand what that meant back then, but I wondered why that doesn't work with love. I still wonder why that doesn't work with love.
"Nessa, my turn," said Master.
"Oh, what? Yeah. Yes, sorry. Do you know the words?"
"No, but I thought of another song to sing."
"Go ahead then, Little Man."
"If your chick come close to me, she ain't going home when she post to be...I'm getting money like I'm post to be. Ooh all my -"
That had to be Master's dad, I assume.
"Erm, um, my turn!" I said. "And live in harmony, harmony oh love!"
A jaded, middle aged man beckoned.
"She's singing for you too, huh boy?" said Mr. Powell.
"Dad!" exclaimed Master.
I turned around to greet him, but I sort of just sat there awkwardly, smiling.
"And how are you?" he asked.
"Very well, and you?"
"Good, good. Busy as usual, but I'm holding on."
"I'm glad to hear. Well in that case, I shouldn't keep you."
"Oh, you're no bother, dear," he said, rubbing his eyes.
I chucked, and excused myself. I always considered sagacity a helpful trait.
When I closed the front door on my way out, I couldn't help but feel empty. That's always the funny thing about mind over matter; the physical and mental components won't agree, but they still go hand in hand. Like when you keep eating even though your stomach's full or like when you're exhausted at a party, but you still want to stay up. Or like when your heart says more, but your brain says enough. Yet I'm still not sure which component my heart is part of.
Mr. Powell is a sweet man. Albeit, intimacy comes at such a price, in which I am sorrowfully in debt. I leaned against the door and held onto the handle. His fingerprints were still tangible and I held his hand through the handle. I tried staying there as long as I could without raising suspicion, but ultimately I knew my time was already up since I walked out. So then I kissed the door, and left.
Maybe Cupid should consider taking physics.