Thrift store Quotes & Books With Bent Pages

Featured

I want to cover two essential subjects here today: 

Missing persons and used books. 

We will start with used books- 

I like getting used books – the first reason being that they are usually much much cheaper than the brand new ones and, most importantly, there’s always the possibility that someone had written notes in the pages or highlighted or left a plane ticket or photograph tucked in it. I order books off of thrift books, and they give you the option to pick the quality of the book you’re getting. ‘New’ and ‘Like new’ allllllll the way to ‘acceptable.’

I 10/10 will pick the acceptable ones. They have character, bent pages, usually lots of notes and thoughts written down in them, and they almost always smell like cigarette smoke. Coffee rings on the cover—what a win.

There is also the issue of Mass Media Paperback books, which Isaiah [middle name redacted for legal reasons] Crossman, Carey, Confusion? (Didn’t quite catch the last name) voiced his opinion last weekend as being something he “Didn’t like” (Not a direct quote). And I have to agree. I don’t like the little, boxy, easy to break books that are sold at a much lower price, however, I purchase them anyway (since they’re so inexpensive) so I can get even more books. I fuel the fire I hate—a vicious cycle.

It’s a sour deal, purchasing books – so many stupid options (like hardcover) who the HeLL wants a hardcover book? Just give me a regular-sized paperback with a few years of wear and tear on her, and I’ll be set.

What I love the absolute most of all – like I love this more than a bowl of blueberries and heavy whipping cream with a dash of stevia on top… is finding old classics with notes in them that are obviously from some English class. HecK YeS, my guys. Not only am I reading classic stories, BUT I am getting a taste for whatever miserable soul ended up in some English Lit. classroom.

I thrive off of it. Sometimes you can even tell if they liked the class or not – they’ll either have some excellent notes and in which I’ll imagine some nice gal with lots of cardigans and coffee punch cards reading it. Or it will have sparse notes and messy highlighting, and in that case, I imagine some boy who is only taking the class to have the minimum credits needed to play on the football team. He probably only wears sweatpants and smells like cheap hair gel.

Okay, okay, enough about used books and all that jazz. 

Let us move on to missing persons—specifically me. Theoretically speaking. Obviously.

I got this quote through a friend, Isaiah [redacted] Crossman (the last name confirmed) and it goes as follows:

“Some days all I want to be is a missing person.”

To which his wife, Jordyn Grace (last name undecided) said, “Ava, that’s you” (Also not a direct quote, it was either that or “That’s an Ava Quote,” and I can’t remember which so I’m just going to go with ????)

Anyway, I do relate to that a lot – which is an odd thing to relate to. I want to make it clear that I don’t want to be a missing person because I was kidnapped. After all, ew, that’s horrible, no thanks. But would I want to be a missing person because I took off with Peach and Winn in the night to go live in the woods and drink black tea and write horror novels and grow a veggie garden?????? Yes. Yes, I would.

(I would also like chickens for the aesthetic and eggs, but I am terrified of chickens, so if someone wanted to go missing with me???? To feed chickens, I wouldn’t be upset!!!!! Send me an email if you are someone who likes chickens and doesn’t mind being a missing person) 

So, overall, if I do go missing and you cant find me someplace in my dad’s hunting land attempting to be a wild woodland woman, please send out a search party because I have for sure been taken. I repeat, if I were to run away in the night, it would only be to Crosby, on my dad’s hunting land, and if I am not somewhere on that 105 acres, well, then we have a real problem.

I also found a quote or little paragraph thing about going missing someplace lovely and I will include it below:

 

Nice sounding, isn’t it? 

Who knows. 

Concluding thoughts- Thrifted books: good. Going missing: good, but only if by choice.

Safe sailing. 

-A.Ray

Ambersweet

Featured

A short story I wrote on lunch while listening to the same song over and over again for an hour ////

When I think of Jason, like really close my eyes and imagine him, I am back again standing in the orange trees. I can smell them; I can feel the heat and sunshine, I can hear his laugh.

Isn’t it odd that’s where memory lane takes me? I’d always walk there for a visit – I did then, and I do now, once in real life and now only in my mind.

These days I only think about him late at night, during the day I forget about him. Every morning my mind tosses every moment we had into the junk drawer. And every evening I go rifling through it for them. I can tell time has passed – all the icky moments are softened, polished, romanticized. All the good moments make my heart explode. I wonder if I’ll remember them in 20 years. Or if they’ll just get softer and softer until they fall apart. I won’t even remember to miss them. I’ll fall in love again. No worries, right? But does right now not hurt more than anything? Yes.

The last photo I have of him in my mind is there in the orchard; I’m looking at him in my rearview window – he’s dirty and sun-bleached—Smelling of ambersweet oranges and summertime, sunshine and dirt.

He used to pretend not to know who I was when I’d drop his lunch off, flirt with me like he was trying to pick me up. I always pretended to be annoyed. I’m fairly certain id kill to have him do it again. Have him lean against my open window, arms on the roof and head peaking in to talk to me- that smirk on his face, his stupid big amber colored eyes looking right into mine. I hate him. I hate how bad he makes my heart hurts, even now.

I had him memorized- from his grey t-shirts to the beat-up redwing boots. I know the freckles on his arms, the way he whistled. I hate that I know all that about him. Especially now. I want to shake it out of my mind – drop them off in a lost and found. Throw them out the window. 

I think about that last time I saw him a lot – I remember having this gut-punch feeling to go hug him again. Just real quick. Jump out of the car and wrap my arms around him. Tell him hello and goodbye once more. I didn’t. I just watched him walk back to the orchard. Felt my heart absolutely bleed. It was a frantic feeling, one I hope to never feel again. It was like the world was whispering to me ‘go go go go go go go.’ I didn’t go. Why didn’t I go?

I remember him turning back to me, throwing his arms up in the air, “I have a crush on you,” he screamed it. Hurled the words through the air. Loud. Click. My mind took that moment for keeps – I reply it like a movie: a favorite photograph, tattered edged and all. And I haven’t seen him since.

I should have gotten out of the car. Shook his hand, gave him a high five, hugged him real quick, kissed him or something or anything. I just watched him walk, then just drove away, and now I just regret.

This had to have been fate and kismet and destiny all working together – to rip this human from me. It feels like a group job. I wish I would have listened to my gut. Life was telling me, ‘here’s your last shot.’ And I didn’t take it. I just sat there and watched him. 

Every time I drive past the orchard, I look in, every ounce of my being hoping to see him standing there by the front: dirty hands and t-shirt, backward baseball cap, and that stupid, stupid grin of his. I used to pull in there late at night after I started missing him real bad and shine my headlights into the rows of trees – maybe he’d come walking out, maybe life would resume. Other times I’d just sit there and scream. Hurl the hurt into the air around me. Loud. Click – my mind wants to turn off. 

It doesn’t work like that. It’s like payback, I think. The world lets you feel all this bliss, just pumps you full of happy thoughts and feel-good moments, and when it’s over, you have to pay for it. So now you feel everything you got to miss out on before. I just feel cool – a little chilly. Like I fell asleep with the window open and fan on, and there are no blankets around. A soft pain. Persistent and so familiar.

I mark the days off in my mind – I’ve survived 265 days without him. Good for you. Move on. And I do, I go far ahead, and then I drive back to the orchard on the really ick nights and sit and scream. Heaving in breaths of that sweet orange air. My eyes sting, and the universe must laugh. 

“I have a crush on you,”

I hear it in the orange trees, still. I wonder if they remember him, this orchard, and these trees. Will this little grove forever be tainted with him? Will my ears ring every time I drive past? Will it ever get warm again? 

I just ache.

Physically present, but mentally a lizard in the desert.

Featured

Whenever I feel a way that I don’t know how to explain I try to tie the feeling to artwork or a movie or a song. Anything that can help me to understand it.

For about a month last summer I felt like the first couple of moments of the song One Head Light from the Wallflowers- not the whole song- just a few seconds of it.

For a good chunk of time, I felt like this painting of a girl laying on a green couch by Ramon Casas. For the longest time, I felt like this small snippet from the movie Call Me By Your Name.

Sometimes I’ll see something or hear something and everything in me wants my existence to feel like the essence of whatever that thing is. The song “Milk” – always makes me feel the best sort of melancholy. The movie “Someplace In Time”, the painting “Sweet Dreams” Giclee. It’s like someone pulled out a whole other existence within those things and I’m desperately chasing it. I want to exist within the feeling it gives me.

There was one day a few years ago I was driving to class and the windows were open in my VW and I was listening to some really good opera. It was warm and super early in the morning and the sun was just starting to show up. I was drinking a coke and had a pack of Fruity Mentos and it ended up being a really lovely day. For some reason my mind has tied the really good day to the coke and Mentos – so if you see me lugging those two things around its because I’m trying to re-create a very specific moment or feeling or essence or whatever you want to call it. 

When Faye and I were in Duluth there was a moment when we were driving – nothing really special about it. We weren’t talking, just listening to music – but everything was so seamless. The roads were all curved and winding and the air was messy with fall leaves and it had just rained and the earth smelled good and I could have carried that one moment of feelings washing over me for forever.

Or when I was leaving the movie theater this one time. I was the only one that had been in the theater – the hallways were dark when I was walking out, I could hear someone vacuuming and the parking lot was empty and it was so still and silent and like I wasn’t even really in the real world. It was strange and calm and so invigorating.

I wish I could bottle it up. Wear a particular feeling like I do perfume.

Have you ever seen the movie Rango? The cute little lizard guy gets lost out in the desert and he ends up just wandering and searching for water? He has this beady, bewildered look throughout most of the film – the whole movie just has this odd, adventure feeling about it. It teeters on the edge of the bazaar. It’s weird.

That’s how I feel right now.

There’s always a moment of relief when I can tie what I’m feeling to some art or moment or whatever- like ‘oh – there’s no way you can possibly be alone in this feeling, look, this person also had this feeling and turned it into this (insert music or movie or painting or book or saying)’.

It makes me feel normal? Or justified or understood?

Do I sound like I’m crazy? I’m crazy. It’s fine. 

If you see me this week and I have that bewildered, wide-eyed look going on about me just know that physically I am here, on earth doing normal person everyday things. But mentally I’m a lizard in the desert wearing a button-up Hawaiian shirt with no pants on, trying to find water.

That’s all I have for the void right now.

Safe sailing.

– A.ray

Monday Morning (the horror)

Panic – thick panic. My alarm is going off in a neverending loop of hell. The sunlight streaming through my blinds is too bright; the sound my clock is making is different than my normal alarm. This sound means ‘you’ve overslept. You’re screwed.’ The drone of my AC humms in the background; Penelope stretches in her kennel. I sit up fast, and my brain threatens to leak out of my ears.

I hate waking up late. Late = panic. And panic lingers – it lingers with you throughout the rest of the day. Whispering to you “rush, rush, rush” even though its noon and you’re just trying to eat lunch, or its 9pm and you’re trying to fall asleep. “rush, rush, rush.”

I hate oversleeping. The mad dash that ensues afterward? No good. The morning switches from getting ready and waking up to strictly timing yourself- how quickly can you shower and cake your face with makeup and walk the dogs and feed them and make it down to the parking garage? Can you do it all before 6:30? Will you be pulling out of the parking garage at 6:35? Will you? Or will you be late? Will you make it to the meeting on time? Will you? Can you?

It’s a horrible, gut-twisting blur and then boom. You’re parked and on the move again. The walk from my car into the office is stressful. I know I’ve forgotten something by this point, but I don’t know what it is yet. That will come later when I walk past the mirror to grab a coffee and notice something is off with my makeup or hair. Or I’ll realize I don’t have my lunch bag or maybe the coffee I burned myself brewing in a haze of rushing and anger this morning is still sitting on the bookshelf by the pantry.

Today I forgot to do mascara – I look terrifying with the heavy eyeshadow and then nothing else. Half my face is covered in a mask, and the remaining half is thrown together drug store makeup and lingering madness from this morning.

I didn’t eat breakfast, but I don’t do that even when I do wake up to my first alarm. However, since I am late and miserable anyway I like to dwell on that fact too – didn’t even eat breakfast, how horrible is that? Hm? I’m outraged.

Naturally, I do what anyone else would do; I crank my space heater, grab a coke (It’s 6:50am), turn on a crime podcast, and get working. The morning hours pass quickly and painlessly. Then there is lunch where I read for an hour. And then the second half of the show begins where the hours of 1:05 and 5:00 seem to stretch out into a neverending crawl that leaves me with a headache and papercuts.

Of course, it really isn’t bad. But what fun would writing about a perfect workday be? None. That’s how much fun. Zero. Zilch. Okay?

And if the workday really isn’t going well, its usually because I’ve overthought something that exists outside of work and have found myself in a web of stress paralysis and bitterness. We all know how I am by now. Keep up.

We’re here for the drama people, and if not the drama then the twist and turns.

Uaually at 4:15 is when my eyes start to burn.

This is when I get all slack-jawed and glazed over. I’m starving and dehydrated because I refuse to drink a healthy amount of water, and all I can think about is pasta and a nap. I usually take that time to water the plants outside – it’s a nice break. Gets me out and away from the sound of people actually being smart and productive and star employees.

The headpiece of my phone makes my ears hurt sometimes, and by sometimes I mean all the time, but I still wear it because I would like to look as professional as possible and one time my work pal Krystal told me that I look “Super legit” in one. So I wear it. (thanks Krystal) usually by 4:30, I’ve lost it someplace. It silently rings.

It’s also at this point in the day that my shoes feel too small, and I regret my outfit choice. Picking out an outfit is so tedious – trying to mix maximum comfort and style into one day just about kills me. Either I go overboard and look like a strange fashion magazine threw up on me, or I look like I put in only a few moments thought into my clothes.

My mother tells me I am all or nothing and have no moderation – I agree. I’m sure those of you who know me would also agree. My life choices and closet would contest, as well.

Anyway.

I want to talk about the sweet moment of 5:15 where I am speeding down the highway with all my windows open (my AC is broken, and I can’t fix it because I keep spending all my money on essential oils and books like the expert budgeter I am). I feel two big emotions during that time – I will provide them below:

  1. Terrified of getting a ticket, but since I have gone the last five years without getting one, I have a theory that the police don’t take VW bugs seriously, and I can get away with any speed. I like to dare Fate, Chance, and Kismet all at once on that one.
  2. WARM. It’s fricken warm, and I am not having the most fun ever in it. I get it everyone (Temple), there will only be so many days of warmth before we get snowed in, but seriously. Idc.

Anyway anyway, That was really a look at my day today. I wake up late a lot, so it’s not much of a stretch to say that this hot mess of a day is my ‘routine.’ *ew, David*

Well I have to go make pasta and read now so byeeeee.

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up

Hi everyone –

I have a confession to make. Or rather a statement? I have to get this off my chest. Pinky swear you won’t hate me-

I – I love the Twilight series…

* backs away from the light *

I know! I know!

Listen, okay? Put down the pitchforks. Stop running.

Hear me out, will ya? The writing quality- burn it. The characters- sometimes so cringe I have to put the book down for a moment to regroup. Bella’s life choices? So bad I physically ache for her.

But am I 100% invested? Did I read the first three books within six days? Have I been staying up till 3 am to read? Have I *looks away in horror* cried while reading them? Yes.

YES! Yes, okay?! I knowwwwww. I’m also confused and concerned.

Edward watches Bella sleep, and Bella can barely function half the time, and Jacob has no concept of the word “no” and boundaries. So why do I care so much?

No clue. Not one- but I’m deep in it. It’s like this horrible quicksand that’s pulling me under, and I’m LOVING IT. It’s a mess!

The books have to be the work of black magic. A spell, maybe? The universe trying to destroy the facade I’ve been building as a pessimistic, asshole much too self-absorbed and smart to want to read the twilight series of alllll things.

*faints, onto a fainting couch. Obviously*

But here we are three books and 100 pages deep, and I’m out of control. All because of a love story?! And one so poorly written?! How!?

See, when I was 13 or 14, my mum would drive me to the library a lot to read because I was kind of a loser, haha kinda yea. And guess what, things haven’t really changed. Other than I can drive myself now *clears throat*

And while I was there, at the library, I would read all the books I was told not to read. Because like, I’m cool like that? *finger guns in your direction and winks* you get it?

And I hated the books the first time I read them. (I did however like the movies) the writing sucked, and Bella was frustrating, and Edward reminded me of a dead cold fish floating on the edge of some beach. And listen- I wasn’t wrong, okay? But between 14 and 21 I must have hit my head because now I’m lying in bed crying at 2am reading about a vampire and a teenage girl screaming at one another in the woods.

SOS.

there has to be something wrong with me, guys. For real this time.

I’m sucked in.

I’m mesmerized and trapped.

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

And even if you tried to help me up I’d fight you. 100%. Leave me here on the cold ground to cry over a 17 year old vampire damn it.

I already pre-ordered the newest book that comes out next month. I ordered an Edward poster to hang in my room like I did when I watched the movie for the first time… I even looked at an Edward pillow I could put on my bed. It’s BAD, okay? I don’t understand.

I have no clue what’s happened or what’s happening or what I’m going to do when I finish that last book next month. What am I going to do?

I feel like I want to be a vampire or maybe just date one? *screams in horror until I pass out* honestly Ava. Get. A. Grip.

I know myself and being the irresponsible twat that I am I’ll read the whole new book in two days then climb down into my imaginary grieving pit where I cry over fake fricken people for a few days.

Like I broke up with someone – that’s how this is gunna go. Watch it play out. I’ll be bitter and distraught and contemplate writing hate mail to the gods of poorly written YA fiction.

Anyway, now that we all know Ava’s dirty secret… tell me… are you team Edward or team Jacob!?!?

I’m 150% team Edward. Aghhhhhhhhh.

If you’ve read the books please chat with me about them. If you’re also into books about teenage toxic relationships let’s be friends. If you’re also into creepy vampire and werewolf jazz message me- I think we’ll get along.

Okay, I’m gunna go read. Bravo Stephanie Meyer – idk what the hell you did. But you did it so well.

*pulls all my hair out*

Safe sailing –

– a.ray

the universe told me so

The parts I like reading the most are the ones that are crossed out.

Ideas and thoughts she felt like she needed to write down, but decided against. I think they’re the most authentic version of her.

I am so in love with her. And not just the her everyone saw at school or at the soccer games and such, I like the unedited, crossed out versions of her.

The ones that she decided against. I might even go so far as to call those my favorite parts about her.

We’ve known one another since we were little – we grew up side by side, taking the same classes in school and sitting close by one another; we live only a few blocks from each other, and someplace along all those years, I fell madly in love with her.

We weren’t dating- we were close, though. I don’t even know if she knows that I love her. That I am IN love with her.

She probably doesn’t think anything of me – Not like that anyway. I mean, she shares her secrets with me and we walk with one another to all our classes. We know one another. But she likes the jocks and the boys who beat up on boys like me. Until recently she was dating Danny, thank God they ended things.

She’s so much better than him. He doesn’t stand a chance and really, neither do I.

It’s 6:30 – I have another half hour before I need to get going.

I look around the room – at the posters and her shelves filled with photographs and mementos. Everything is organized and thought through, the bedding matches the curtains, and the mirrors reflect the evening light streaming in her windows so perfectly. It’s peaceful here – it’s where I feel most comfortable if I am being honest.

I always sit in-between the big decorative pillows on her bed. Right in the middle – her smell was so strong on everything. Her lamp light was dim- but bright enough that I could read. The open window let in all sorts of evening time sounds. The parents out teaching children how to ride bikes, dogs barking, and lawnmowers running. Her parents always had meetings late into the evening – she was an only child, so the house was silent.

I wasn’t sure how she felt about that- being alone so much. She must not have minded – everything she cared about ended up being written down. I tilt my head back, leaning into the pillows. I almost want to fall asleep – but I cant do that.

The clock reads 6:45, and I have to get going. I stand up and straighten out the pillows on the bed- make sure the bed looks perfect; I know how she likes everything in here. I stick the little book back under the mattress—tucked snuggle in where no one can find it, except for her and me.

The light gets clicked off, and for a moment, I can’t see anything in the room. I wish I could just melt into the carpet and stay in here. Surrounded by nothing and everything. Her clock blinks – almost seven.

She usually gets back around 7:10, but I don’t cut it close. I reach out of the window and let myself out- closing it behind me. I walk across the back part of the roof, thankful for the big trees that block me from the road. I shimmy down the back, and let myself out the back gate onto the biking trail that runs behind their home.

Sticking my headphones back into my ears, I take off again, finishing my jog. I always have this burst of energy and excitement after I get done reading everything she feels the need to write down. I love knowing what she is feeling – every thought running through her mind.

Don’t think what you’re thinking; I’m not some creep. I don’t do anything weird – I just read her little journal. I like to know. I care about her, what’s wrong with that? We’ve known one another for forever.

I cut out from the back path onto the sidewalk – that’s where she walks back home.

I know this – Like I know everything else. I know all of this because I care about her. I love her.

She comes over the little hill in the sidewalk – beautiful as always.

“Hi Joshy,” She says. “Have a good run,” She’s wearing a red sundress, and she has her hair piled up on her head, all messy and careless and beautiful.

I wave and smile. I can still smell her perfume.

It’s not creepy. I’m not a creep. I just care for her; I want to protect her – that’s why I do all of this. This is just how I make sure she is okay.

I turn and jog backwards, watch her walk away. I’ll see her tomorrow morning in class – only ten hours away. My heart beats so hard in my chest.

She’s everything – she has been since we were little.

But now i know her so much better. I’m in tune with her like never before –

At first i felt unsure about going into her room. Reading her jornal felt awkward and strange, but know its normal.

It’s not weird.

It’s my job.

I have to keep watch over her, the universe told me so.

The Woman In The Net.

I’m not sure where she came from, and I have no idea where she was off to, but I do know the determination and angst that was heavy in her eyes as she went there.

Sometimes situations fall into my lap, much like this one, that leaves me giggly and in utter awe of the universe.

Let me explain. 

The odd people, the ones a little off or unusual or different, that we all cross paths with every once in a while are like the exclamation point on the end of an otherwise dull paragraph. They jazz up something that was lame. This morning for me was so mundane, normal, and uneventful. Until I came past this woman walking in Plymouth around 6:30am.

An exclamation point. 

She was carrying a large walking stick, leaning on it as she went. A small woman, shoulders sloped forward, back bent, age was heavy.

She was walking fast- too fast almost. It was unnerving for some reason.

No one was around her, she stood along the edge of the wooded park area, on the path that weaved its way around town.

She had on shorts, ones that looked like they were made for adventuring- boxy and had lots of pockets on them, she had on a button-down top that matched the shorts – all of this was stark white. On her head, she had on a huge sun hat. But the real kicker of the outfit was the net that covered her entire body and trailed along the sidewalk behind her.

It was a huge net – and not the kind that I would imagine would be used to catch an angry tiger or a large group of chickens, the holes in it weren’t large. It was a net made for keeping bugs away.

It practically swallowed her. She had her left hand clutching it close around her face, holding it there. And the other hand was sticking out from beneath the net and held the walking stick. The bit that was left behind her looked like an odd wedding veil.

She marched on. Walking stick, bug net and all – going? Who knows where.

I thought about it all morning – what was that woman all about ? Was she terrified of the bugs? Was she crazy? Was this look some new high fashion that we’ve all been neglecting?

I think I would like the know the woman in the net.

If you, by chance, know the woman, please tell her that I am one of her biggest fans.

And that it that.

Safe sailing

-a.ray

a bizarre dream

This is a dream I’ve been having. I’ve embellished a little. I’m a story teller, so I’ve lied in some places. Edited out some. Dreamt it a few times and it changes.

It goes as follows:

I’m standing in a house. I don’t recognize it, and there’s no way out. I don’t feel panicked – I feel nothing. I just walk the rooms, looking at the art on the walls, listening to the sounds of the house. And I wonder how I got here.

I try the doorknobs – some of them swing open, and some of them don’t.

I can tell I don’t belong here-

Just as I can tell that there are usually lots of people here, but not now. I can feel them though like they’d just walked through – the idea of them hangs in the room.

There’s almost no light in the house – dimly lit. None of the light switches work. I wander the halls with my fingers against the wall as a guide.

I come to the living room, and there’s a great fireplace sitting against the back wall- on either side, two small windows. They’re open, and I remember that there’s more than just the house- there’s an outside. There’s also a little tickle of light falling through them – on either side of me. I reach both my arms out into it. Stretching, my fingertips trying their best to reach the little bit of sun. My eyes clench shut, and I hold my breath.

And it’s good that I do because the next moment I’m not in the room with the little bit of sunlight, not in the house or in the dark.

I’m lying in a fishbowl that’s sitting in a lake- the water is warm, and the sunlight beats down on me. My arms still outstretched, eyes closed, breath held. The water on either side of the rim almost touch as they dance in the breeze –

I wonder.

It’s also silent out here. Too silent. Unnaturally so. Like the lake was sucking all the sound out. I thought about screaming or splashing in the water, testing the idea out. But I don’t- I just float.

A fisherman is anchored next to the rim of the fishbowl. On the outside, he peers over the edge to look at me.

For a moment, I don’t think he’ll talk to me. I think he’ll keep fishing and pretend not to have noticed me, which is fine. I’m okay with floating.

But he doesn’t, he asks if I need a ride to shore. And I do so I get in the boat.

The man is old and worn. Deep crinkles in his skin, crows feet, tell me he likes to laugh- I can’t see any of that in his eyes, however. Only age and silence exist there.

The wind picks up- out of the blue and silence, it blows. Angrily.

At first, just the man’s hat blew away- rushing through the air and into the spray of water. Then his head left his shoulders- and soon, his shoulders in the wind. He was dissolving, like sand. Blowing around and around – and then he was gone.

I ducked low in the boat – eyes closed again. I was bending and crouching until my back was against the wooden bottom. And the boat swallowed me.

Just as before, when I opened my eyes, I wasn’t where I had been. Now I’m someplace new.

A yard, but one in the woods and horribly overgrown. The grass tall and waving around me- I’m sitting, and it reaches my shoulders. I can hear it here, it whispers to me. Tells me secrets.

To the front of me is a big tall house. Dark red brick and white shutters.

There was a boy on the porch – tall with broad shoulders. He stands facing away from me. I know him- but I couldn’t tell you his name. I can’t remember it, I don’t now and I couldn’t then.

I start walking towards him. He turns to look at me, but the baseball cap he wears casts a shadow over his face. We step inside – it’s all sunshine and summer breeze in here . Some French love song I can barely remember plays. He turns his baseball cap around, but the shadow stays on his face.

Who is he?

We waltz- not a big ballroom type waltz but a small, entryway version. He smells like the outdoors and bonfire. I can’t really smell him. I just know.

And then I start melting, dripping from my fingertips and arms, falling apart.

The music keeps playing, and here is where I usually wake up.

I hope dreams are another reality cause I think I have a crush on shadow boy.

Annapolis LN @ 10pm

Winn, Peach, and I walk at 10. It’s peaceful then, and all the houses are glowing behind blinds and probably overpriced curtains, the only people still out are sitting on decks and porches, probably talking about essential things.

It’s the perfect time to walk.

Annapolis LN at 6 pm is a very different place than Annapolis LN at 10. I practically don’t recognize the two – 6 pm compared to 10.

At 6 everyone is out and about – old couples walking slow and steady, parents with young kids on bikes and scooters, teenagers long-boarding, people running (for fun?), dogs walking, the occasional cat being dragged along. Chaos.

But at 10? There’s almost no one. The sky is illuminated with streetlights, and the air smells like flowers, and some charcoal grill that had been pulled out to make dinner.

It’s bliss. So still.

I like Plymouth pretty okay during the day- it has its perks – mostly annoying, but at night it’s kind of the best. Don’t know why- just how I feel about it.

Usually, on these walks, Winn, Peach, and I will either contemplate life, think on whatever book we’re reading, or pray. Ever since reading the book Circle Maker, I pray a lot on our walks – over and over. Important stuff.

It’s also the perfect time just to listen. I remember reading something by Dr. Caroline Leaf a while back about counting the things you can hear when you feel panicky or out of sorts. I do that a lot when my mind is idle – why not? It’s wild the things we hear every day, all day, but we don’t pay mind to or give a name to.

A lot is going on around us.

I also make up stories about people as I walk- every car that drives past gets its own adventure. The black Jeep that bounced past the bus waiting area was probably just heading home, but no. It’s a man who just signed his divorce papers and finally found a stamp- he’s going to go mail them. Or maybe he’s restless and can’t sleep, so he’s heading out to blast music and scream for a few minutes. Perhaps it’s a gal who’s going to pick up her daughter from a sleepover. Maybe her daughter has night terrors and decided a sleepover was a terrible idea.

Or maybe none of those things.

Tonight was a mixture of reprimanding Winnie, praying, and thinking about the books I’m reading. My mind has a bad habit of jumping around in no particular order to things unrelated to each other. It’s hectic up there.

We wrap up the evenings by chatting with my pal [redacted], who smokes out on the grassy hill by the underground garage. He’s the first real pal I’ve made up here in Plymouth. Who would have thought my first actual friend would be an older man who spends his time drinking and smoking out behind the garage? Actually, that seems pretty on point with me. He’s a cool guy, we chat about politics, and he reprimands me about getting my headlight fixed on my VW.

Anyway. That’s all I got.

Safe sailing.

-A.Ray 

the blues.

The plastic waiting room chair digs into my legs and back. Cold and uncomfortable. It feels like it’s made of bones or stone.

I draped myself down so carelessly at first; now, I shifted every few moments, trying to find a position that doesn’t make me ache. I focus on how uncomfortable it is. I try to think only of that- the uncomfortable-ness of the grey chair—nothing else.

The bucket at my feet begins to get dangerously full. The dark blue liquid flirts with the edge. Kissing the sides and pulling away. Darting. I hold my breath.

The woman sitting across from me stares at me and the buckets. She doesn’t even try to be coy with it. Just looks at me with bewilderment rapid in her eyes, I don’t blame her. I feel the same way- strange. This was all strange.

I don’t mind the way hospitals smell. They don’t smell like anything, just clean. Even though it’s filled with people and death and fear, you cant smell it. All you smelled is sanitizer and latex gloves – what I imagine the void smells like.

It reminds me of nothingness, the smell, and also the hospital. They’re cold and unfamiliar, and every nurse looks offended and tired. The silent waiting rooms and old magazines on out of date end tables. They, whoever They were, doesn’t want you here- that was clear. I shift more in my seat.

They’d given me the buckets as soon as I had walked in “Don’t drip on the floor,” They murmured. Already irritated.

I couldn’t think of a worse place to die than here in a hospital. I’d rather die at home or out on the woods – at home, I would be comfortable, and In the woods, I would be so far removed from the comfort that I don’t think my mind would break like it does when I come in here. Here, in the cold rooms and surrounded by strangers, was neither of those two things.

This place was an odd mixture of passing through and familiar. My stomach turned. Over and over.

I tried my best not to get it all over the floor, but it didn’t just come from my hands and arms. I felt it on my forehead, and it drips down my back- it was cold, like chilly water from the hose.

I wish they’d hurry. 

Everyone looked at me oddly. ‘what’s this guys problem?’ they wondered. I could see the words spinning in their minds- a reel of thoughts. Not all good ones- Their eyes told me.

They all looked pretty normal; I wondered what they were going through—none of my business.

Drip drip drip.

The dripping sound grows louder every time the blue liquid dropped from me and into the bucket. It echoes. Yells down the halls.

“Hello?” I wonders.

“Someone going to fix this?” It begs.

My clothes are soaked and heavy. My hair looks wet. I look like I’ve showered fully dressed then come to sit here – shivering in the emergency waiting room.

There’s a mirror hanging across from me. It’s big and cumbersome. My head reflects directly in the middle of it; I don’t look like myself.

My eyes carry heavy bags. Purple and puffy – looks like I’ve gotten in a fight recently.

My forehead is wrinkled into this painful-looking thoughtfulness – like everything within me hurt. My eyebrows are bushy and out of place. My cheeks flushed and pink. I look like hell.

Drip drip drip.

The buckets are dangerously full- very close to spilling over the side.

I tense – wanting the dripping to stop, willing it with everything within me.

It started two nights ago, The blue liquid.

She broke up with me over text. I remember being so light-headed. My chest heaving open and closed – sucking in air and shoving it out. I felt overwhelmed. Achy. Frantic.

I laid in bed- limbs spread out around me. All the while, feeling this angry sadness pump through me. Deep within me – a frantic mess. It built and built – my chest feeling like it might explode from the pressure.

And then it’s like my body couldn’t hold it any longer. It leaked out. First, through my eyes. My hot tears mixed with this cool liquid. Inky.

The Blues.

Now it was everywhere- pouring out of me practically. My heart keeps up. Pumping and pumping myself full of this agony and pain. My brain is doing nothing but showing me memories of her- a slideshow of heartache. And the blue seeped out, spilling down my arms, crawling out on my fingers, rolling down my back. It chased itself, dropping and dropping and dropping.

It was everywhere. And this perpetual state of sleepiness hung heavy above me. I wanted to pass out- sleep through it all. I wanted to lay in bed and ooze out the blues and dream of nothing. But no- the second I laid down, my mind was screaming, howling from the absence of her. Angry that she was gone and so hurt that she left.

I leaned forward – elbows on knees. My fingers knit in my sticky hair. My t-shirt unstuck from the back of the plastic seat.

The dripping sped up.

It got worse when I thought about her specifically. When I really pinned down details- like how her hair looked when she was done swimming or how she put on lipstick or even how she walked.

I almost wish I could drown in the Blues – maybe they’d never call my name and the buckets would overflow and fill the room and –

Drip drip drip

-It would consume all the space, and I would drown in it.

But I don’t want that- no, I just wanted it to stop.

I lean back into the chair. The ground around me is soaked; it pooled in the seat around me and dripped from my clothes now. Messy.

People passed- wide-eyed, confused.

I read once that you can die from a broken heart – snap and the heartstrings break right off, and it plummets, your heart.

I imagine it falling into your stomach- I don’t understand that. Does your body give up because it’s unprepared? It doesn’t know what to do? Acts rashly? Or is it just too overwhelmed? It cant take it.

Drip drip drip.

Why wasn’t I dead from that? Every breath hurt, every blink felt like 100 years. Every movement was painful. All because of her. How much worse could it get before my heart plummeted into my stomach?

Drip drip drip.

I’m so tired.

short story about arson

*had a short conversation with Hannah about arson. Got done and then wrote this*

////

wow, I was not expecting that,”

 

We stand there, slushies in hand, watching it burn.

 

It’s a chilly evening, my brain hurts from the slushie, my face burns from the fire, and my neck hurts from looking up at the flames and scorched trees.

 

We’re right in the middle of the road, the faded yellow lines right beneath our beat-up Chucks and Docs. Usually, I would feel this strange panic in my stomach on the road– always have. Every ounce of me knows I don’t belong standing in the middle of it, even in the middle of the night, even when there’s a building burning in front of us. But, right now, I think my mind is more distracted with the brain freeze I’ve given myself to feel anything about the potential threat of being hit. 

 

“This is retaliation,”

 

“Hm?”

 

“This was a retaliation. Her dad is in the army… he took the threat literally,”

 

I nod. It appears he did.

 

We don’t move for a long time. Just watch the building burn.

What was more shocking? That we threated someone today, that our house was on fire or that some old man had started it?

 

All of it seemed like a poorly written movie.

 

My slushie melted faster than I could drink it from the heat- it was just a cup full of flavor and red-dyed water now- much different than the cup of red, flavored ice that it previously had been. Ick. 

 

We could hear the scream of police officers and firefighters coming – the lights danced on the houses around us. It was kneejerk for me to hate the police – I’ve only ever been in trouble with them. I’m sure people think of the police and have pleasant thoughts of being helped, but I do not. I felt aloof – like maybe I should take of running. Only, we really hadn’t done anything wrong; we didn’t start this fire. But we did threaten the guy who did, well his daughter. So were we in trouble? Would they know? Was he in trouble?

 

The creepy neighbors across the street were on the porch, stupid little dogs barking at us. I wanted to flip them off- I hated em. The creepy old man who looked like he kept people in the basement, their creepy son who wandered around the neighborhood and his freaky wife who sat on the porch and bitched. Hated em.

They looked like they belonged in some cold, small-town film. Something that left you feeling unsettled and icky. Like Lovely Bones. Something strange – strange enough where you lay awake for no reason, thinking about it. The feeling in every part of you.

 

I turned to look at them, sitting, watching us watch them.

 

“Maybe we should leave,”

 

“And go where?”

 

“Anywhere,”

 

We contemplated this. Watching the firefighters spray the house down, someone barked out orders, and someone else listened to him.

 

How did we end up here? I’ll tell you.

 

We’ve been taking this girls; we’ll call her S., bs for a long time. Like a very long time. Being the bigger person, turning the other cheek. All of it. But then we suddenly had enough. And jokingly, I had said we should burn her house down. Only it didn’t sound like the worst idea ever. Not even close, if anything, it sounded like the best idea ever.

So this morning we went to a book store and bought a bunch of magazines. All of them, almost. Too many of them. We went overboard. But we had never sent a threatening message before, so how were we supposed to know? 

 

Then we put on a good record, in the very house that’s now burning, and started cutting out words and letters. The big colorful ones; we wanted it to look like the notes people get left in the movies—all threatening and anonymous. 

It took a while. We had a nachos break and a plant watering break and even had a small dance party. But we got it all wrapped up around 5.

 

We dressed for the occasion, baseball caps, and dark-colored clothing – sealed the letter in a security, self-seal envelope and jumped in the jeep.

 

I don’t know how many of you are professionals at this sort of thing – I am definitely not, and neither is she, so there was a moment when we just sat there. What should we do? Drop it in the mailbox or maybe leave it by the door? We took a couple of laps around the neighborhood while we contemplated our options and opted to leave it at the door. A rock on top so it wouldn’t blow away.

 

You’re probably wondering what the letter said? It was the threat – if she didn’t stop trash-talking us, we were going to burn down her house—all of it.

We probably wouldn’t actually do that; we’re bad at starting fires as it is. But she didn’t need to know that.

 

We didn’t sign it or anything, so we were hoping she wouldn’t know who it was from. But it turns out she did know, and now here we were- watching our house burn.

 

The biggest plot twist of them all.

 

I dropped my slushie cup on the ground, it rolled a little, spilling the red liquid. I kicked it, shoving it closer to the flames. I wanted to chuck it at the house, but the fireman were working so hard on putting it out. I didn’t think they would appreciate that.

 

“Maybe we should go start her house on fire?”

 

Shrugged.

 

“Maybe,”

 

“Actually yea, that’s a great idea,”

“Do you have matches?”

“No, but I have this nifty lighter.”