short story

Avalonmom727

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 9.13.14 PM

Yesterday morning, my mom texted me her usual good morning. Every Monday, it’s “Madison Monday,” which is just a funny way to get me through yet again another Monday. 

I have a conference in the city today. Woo, being out of the office haha, I texted her. 

She told me to give her a call later when I had a free time after the conference. She emphasised after the conference so I thought maybe something was wrong. 

Is everything ok? Is it funny or serious [emoji]? 

She just replied with not funny, but wished me luck at the conference. The day went on and after the conference I gave my mom a call before I hopped on the subway. I started blabbing to her about the conference and then I asked her what was up. She asked if I was done the conference, and if I was still needing to get back to work. I had finished the conference, I told her. 

Okay well, I just wanted to make sure I didn’t want you to still be at the conference when I told you this. I wanted to tell you that Aunt Shawn has passed away. 

I felt like I hadn’t heard her correctly. My aunt didn’t have cancer, she wasn’t diagnosed with a serious disease. She repeated it again when I asked what she said, afraid that I heard “dead” when really she meant to say “sick with something obviously curable.” I continued to walk down a street I didn’t know in Brooklyn. A taxi zoomed by me and beeped because I seemed to have crossed the street without the pedestrian signal. Where was I? It didn’t matter. I pressed my body up against a dirty building and tried to melt into the city walls. 

And so began a series of questions that I never thought I would be asking my mom about her sister. Why, how, who knows, who is upset, who cried, what’s happening, what did grandma say, what did my sisters say, what did dad say, who else knows, what about her kids, what happens to her pets. 

What I’m writing isn’t about how I feel, and I guess if you have to define it, it’s a multitude of things. I’m writing because I’m angry. I’m writing because death is all around me, and I’m being forced to face it in so many ways. I’m writing because it’s the only thing I know how to do, and I don’t know how one single picture or social media status can perfectly paint the picture of a woman, a mother, the independent-strong-minded woman that she was.

When I was younger, that was when I was the closest with my aunt. For a while we lived in different counties, but eventually my family moved back to Telford, PA so we could be with my grandfather who had been diagnosed with cancer. I remember crying, when I was first told that I had to move from Delaware County, PA to Montgomery County, PA (big difference, when you’re in third grade). I remember my mom said, but you’ll make new friends! 

I don’t WANT new friends! I screamed. But then she added, you’ll be going to school with your aunt because she works there in the cafeteria! That got me to calm down a little.

Some of the things I remember about my aunt are little memories. In all my relationships in life, both personal and in my family, I always remember the small things about people. The time my dad stayed up late with me and made me egg sandwiches, when my sister gave me her favorite top because she knew I liked it more, when my brother bought me that red coat from Macy’s. So small, but so significant. 

The little things.

 My aunt used to have a pantry filled with the best snacks in the world. It was like a tiny little Costco. Big boxes of potato chips, iced tea, Dunkaroos, cookies — all the kinds of snacks that would make our mom furious if she knew we ate them before dinner. My brother and I didn’t care. We would ride our bikes up to visit and hope that Aunt Shawn would offer us a trip down to the basement to pick out whatever we wanted from the pantry. She always offered, and we always accepted.

***

10489877_10154341787370436_6806795826162607158_n

My aunt loved the beach. I still remember the vacation I took with her and the family to Avalon. By accident (which I hope my cousins still realize was an accident) I killed one of my aunt’s favorite rats (they had several pet rats). I sat in the corner of the room crying hysterically knowing that I had broken my aunts heart. I remember how stern her husband was, he came into the room and told me that I need to go apologize “to my aunt.”  When I was able to see her after she had calmed down, I went into her arms saying how sorry I was, she said she knew I didn’t mean it, and that she knew I loved the little rat so much too. To this day I think about the little rat, but mostly because of how sad I made my aunt. 

***

And since my aunt loved the beach, she also had a large collection of seashells, which I remember going through secretly one time at her house, taking all of them out. Her husband caught me and scolded me, and I was so embarrassed. My aunt instead, reassured me that it was okay, and I believe she even let me take one home (but not her favorite, rare ones! Those she had to keep in the special little seashell containers). 

***

I also remember that my grandmother and aunt would always call McDonald’s “Mickey D’s,” which for some reason, I never knew people called it that. So when we pulled up to the big yellow “M,” I started laughing because I expected some cute, small town diner. My grandmother and aunt made fun of me so much, “How could you not know we meant McDonalds?!” We gobbled down some Mickey D’s and talked about all the clothes we were going to buy. 

***

My aunt also loved music, probably as much as my own mother who was constantly dancing around the house even though we begged her to stop. Shawn used to burn mixed CDs for my mom, with 80s club music, or classic jams like “You Spin Me Round,” and “Bootylicious.” Whenever I hear these songs, I always think of those mixed CDs. I hope wherever my aunt is now, her days are spent with ridiculous party jams from Destiny’s Child. 

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 9.15.51 PM

She also loved animals, like my mom. Throughout her life she had an awesome cat named Max, guinea pigs, tons of pet rats, and just recently, her two cats had kittens together. I think in total she had six cats, but she just couldn’t find homes for them, so she took them in herself. I hope the family tries to find new homes for them, and doesn’t just throw them in a shelter, because I know for a fact that’s not what my aunt would have wanted. Little Goose will miss you!

***

Her love for my mom is proof that the bond between sisters is one of the strongest loves to ever exist. My mom and her talked often, but not as much as you would think seeing as they lived a few miles apart in Telford, minutes away from their childhood home where my grandmother still lived. It didn’t matter, they always stayed in touch. I always knew when my mom was on the phone with my aunt, because she would be on the phone for hours. And that’s no exaggeration. They would talk about everything and sometimes, I would sit in her room and try to eavesdrop. My aunt always seemed to know a lot about everyone, and she wasn’t gossipy, she was just keeping my mom up to date with everyone’s lives. 

12986958_10208935537407348_7185310118430977075_n

She once told my sister that my mom is our rock, and we should remember that. I knew she was speaking from her heart, and from her experience as a mother. She did everything and anything for her two kids. Even when I heard stories about them misbehaving, there was my aunt, always ready to step in front of a bus for them. When my one cousin missed school on the day of prom (which was a big no-no, the rule was you go to school the day of prom or you can’t go..or you at least had to make 393287_10150465097624892_1263788287_nit to fifth period or something) my aunt told her husband to call up the school and demand she be allowed to go to prom. When my other cousin moved to Florida, I had never seen a mother cry so hard. I think she was depressed for weeks, maybe even months. She was unbelievably proud, told everyone on Facebook how her son had moved on and gotten a job. But I had never seen someone so sad that their son had moved away. Those are the little things I remember — her sadness, her pain that her children were growing up too fast. 

I realize now it’s because her kids were her whole world. I know she had more in life that was meaningful to her, but her children were the stars in her life that guided her through dark times. She would do anything for them, and if she was still here today, I know she would continue to do so. 

And even when her husband brought divorce papers into the house, she continued to love him. Even when he might have stopped “loving” her the way he did when they first married, she continued to care and love him.

James TW says, “sometimes moms and dads, fall out of love.” But like my grandfather used to say, “Everything happens for a reason.”

***

She babysat the two neighbor girls next door, Emma and Jacqui, and became a sort of motherly figure to the both of them. Much like my mom, who is also passionate about children, my aunt worked at the local elementary school, babysat for a majority of her life, and also worked at a children’s day care center. I think in life, that was what she was meant to do. To be with children, and to try to help them grow up to be the best that they can be. 

***

Shawn was the big sister, and my mom was the little sister. In many ways, they were twins. Everyone thought they were, too. They looked a lot a like, and later in life as I grew up, people would comment and say, “You sound just like your aunt!” Or they would say, “You look so much like your aunt.”

408950_10150465097779892_1929795547_n

A lot of my sadness with my aunt’s death comes from my own love of my mother. I love my mother with every vein and cell in my body. My mother is my rock, like my aunt said. Seeing my mother in pain, seeing her frustration that perhaps my aunt’s family didn’t step in and be there for her when she needed them, seeing her anger for not being there more for her sister, seeing and feeling the guilt in her voice for not being able to do more — it all but breaks me down.

Since my aunt loved my mom more than anything in this world, I promise her that I will be there for my mom no matter what. If she is sick, I will be there. If she needs help, I will be there. If she wants to rescue cats (which my aunt did), I will be there. If my mom is suffering from something, no matter how hard it might be for me, I will be there. I will be there, because I know Shawn wanted me to.

***

When I accepted a job in New York, my aunt was beyond ecstatic for me. She was also terribly sad for my mom, because she knew how it felt to have your first-born leave the nest. She wanted to throw a big party for me, with all my friends and family in attendance, to celebrate my new chapter. I look back on her enthusiasm, her willingness to open her home up. She said how she was so proud of me. She said that my mom is lucky to have an amazing, bright, smart young woman like myself. I held in tears that night, so as not to cry in front of my family. But tonight as I write this, I let the tears flow, because I will never again be able to tell you thank you, and I love you.

***

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 9.25.50 PM

One special thing about my aunt, is that she lived for her nieces and nephew’s accomplishments. Every time we made the honor roll, she would clap with enjoyment. When I started dating my boyfriend, she said (in her Aunt-Shawn voice) “Well he is just ALL KINDS of handsome!!!!” When I graduated high school, she was there crying. When I graduated college, she was there crying again. She commented on almost every picture I ever posted on Instagram, every status I posted on Facebook. She read every blog I ever posted. Aunt Shawn just had so much energy, so much love, and she cared that other people were successful, living life, and achieving their goals.

Aunt Shawn, wherever you are, I’m sorry that I couldn’t show you New York. I was just about to talk to my mom about you two visiting me as “the Weisenborn’s take over NYC.” I wanted to show you that all my hard work paid off, and how happy I am to have you as my “favorite aunt.” You will always be my favorite aunt.

Advertisements

A Fishy Relationship

A impromptu short story completed for my creative writing class, where I partnered with  avid writer Becca Lynn. Our prompt was on a relationship, with the incorporation of a goldfish somewhere in the story. 

 

fish

John and I never seemed like a couple that would break up over something so trivial. One day, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to leave him. I had to get out. He came home from work one day, and I don’t know…I lost it.

“I hate its bulging eyes and its white flecked scales and the round bowl that you have it in. It’s so oddly placed on that dresser, look at it…next to your dying plant that you refuse to water,” I paused, taking in the deer-in-the-headlights look on his face.

I continued my rant, watching him set down his briefcase and take a step back. Was he afraid of me?

“You never forget to feed the fish though. It swims around, in its pathetic prison—waiting for you to feed it!”

My voice echoed in our apartment. Thank goodness the window was closed. I’m sure the neighbors would be scared to hear such a fight from what they thought was a forever-in-love couple. They didn’t know about the fish.

“Jodi, no,” John mumbled.  “Why are you saying these things?  Where did all of this come from?  You know how much this fish means to me!”

I heard what he said but I didn’t care. I kept thinking about the fish, glancing over to the bowl with a sick feeling in my stomach. It’s not the fish, although, it was a little. The fish is just simple and boring. I don’t see a point in something that swims around, never changing its path, always remaining a sad, little orange creature that lives in a comfortable home on top of a comfortable dresser.

But he loved that fish. I could tell he was about to cry, or tell me why the fish meant something to him.  He took a step closer to me, his eyes glazing over and his eyebrows quivering up and down in confusion.

“Jodi, I just don’t understand.  We have been through so much together and now you’re getting worked up over a fish?”

He kept looking at me in those wide eyes, searching for any ounce of sympathy that I wasn’t willing to give him.

“I love you, Jodi, don’t you get it?  You make me so happy.  I would change for you, I really would.  I just love my fish so much.  I would do anything for you, as long as I can keep my fish.  You know you love coming home from work and seeing her swimming around in her little bowl chasing bubbles around in the water.”

He was running out of breath but didn’t give up.

“Well,” he swallowed.  “Now you’re the bubbles and I’m the fish and I’m chasing you.  Eventually she gets bored of chasing her bubbles but I could never get bored of chasing you.  I promise.  All I ask is that we keep her!  I wish you could see how much this would mean to me.  I want to swim through life together, with you, forever, Jodi.”

I looked down at the floor and took a deep breath.  I knew this wasn’t going to be easy.

“John, I can’t remain in a place created upon routine, each day the same thing,” I saw his mouth quiver.

“Jodi!  It’s a fish!  Just a fish!  One of the most simple, easy-going creatures on the planet!  You don’t even have to take care of her—”

“You bet I don’t take care of that thing!” I interrupted, shouting a little louder than I intended.

“Then why does it matter to you?” he demanded.  “This fish completes me.  I love her.  But I love you more!  Believe me when I say this, Jodi, I love you, and you mean the world to me.  I just need both of you in my life.”

He stood waiting for me to say something, probably hoping I wouldn’t go on about the fish. I had to continue.

“Each swim around the tank is just another day for that fish. You can’t even give the fish different color rocks at the bottom of her tank, remember? I suggested those purple rocks, at least give her a chance to have a change in scenery.”

I sat on the bed, looking away from the fish and John’s face as he desperately searched for air. Like a fish, I thought.

“You know what, I feel sorry for that fish. He’ll never get that from you: change. Life will stay the same, just like our relationship.”

I stood up and walked toward the window, my back is again to the fish, and to John.

I stared out the window and wished to say something else but I was lost. I was swimming in my own pool of frustration. I tried to understand what he was saying, but I only hated him more. I walked to the door and saw him hold out his hand.

“I never wanted the life of a goldfish,” I whisper, and I was gone.

 

 

 

A Happy Life

She often wondered if there was more to her life. She almost had everything she ever wanted; a job, a place to live, friends, a strong marriage. Every so often, she thought maybe she was just settling into a predetermined life.

She sat alone and had these thoughts on the balcony of the apartment, more frequently than ever before, as she waited for her husband to come home from work.

The sun was shining over the city, casting its rays on her stretched out legs, warming her body. Every so often a billowy cloud would float over the sun, creating a hazy glaze in the sky. Eventually, the sun was covered by one cloud that decided to stay.

She watched this cloud. No matter how hard the sun tried to burst through its whiteness, the cloud remained. She could see the outline of the sun, small and bright, but it never could escape the cloud’s presence.

She couldn’t stop staring at the cloud. Why couldn’t it just leave the sun be? All it wanted to do was shine down on the city, make its rounds around the sky. It didn’t need the cloud. But still the cloud remained.

The sun didn’t need the cloud. It was fine without it. It could shine on the city and cheer everyone’s day up, do all the things the sun was supposed to do. She couldn’t figure out why, but staring at the cloud and sun made her realize she didn’t need him.

His sweet and charming smile made her feel shy and small. He floated around the office, passing her desk in quick movements so that she could smell his cologne. She normally talked to everyone in the office, but with him around, she felt her own energy shrinking. Inside she felt bright and happy, but she couldn’t let out anything, afraid to say something she would regret.

She tried to dismiss these thoughts, and told herself could still have a great life, all the things she ever wanted–her husband included–without him. However, like the sun, she couldn’t get away from him. She couldn’t push away his presence, couldn’t forget how he drank coffee like her. Or the way he noticed when she would coordinate her earrings to her blouse.

Just then, she heard the screen door open and her husband walked onto the balcony. She jumped, startled at the idea that maybe he could read her thoughts and know she felt something toward her coworker.

“Hey, did I scare you?” her husband smiled and embraced her, his hair slightly touseled and his eyes a bit weary.

“Oh, no I was just sitting in the sun,” she said, walking inside.

“Huh, it looks cloudy at the moment. Let’s go inside and make some food,” he walked in and she shut the door behind them.

As she was closing it, she looked out towards the sky and saw the sun had finally broken free from the cloud. The cloud slowly crept away, inching itself away from the sun. As it moved, she was sure that the sun looked a little less bright, as if the cloud had given it something that it needed all along.

Maybe the sun needed the cloud after all.

Little Blue Bird

It was long after midnight. They were both perfectly placed on his bed. Her hands were resting on her stomach, and she watched her heavy breathing move her body up and down. He had one arm outstretched around her, and the sides of their bodies were pressed up against each other, but that was all.

He broke the silence first, saying, “Tell me a story.”

She smiled, “I don’t really know any.”

“But you always tell such good stories. Please?”

She thought hard for a moment and then took a deep breath.

***

There was once a little blue bird who lived in a forest with many other birds. Some birds had dark feathers, some had light. Some had long tails, some had short. But the little blue bird was different from all the rest, not just because she was blue, but because she had a purpose. Every day she flew to the far end of the forest to find things to build her nest. She left early in the morning and did not come back until dark. It was tiring for the little blue bird. But every day her nest would grow and grow. This made the little blue bird happy.

One day, the little blue bird was flying towards the end of the forest when she saw her friend brown bird. Brown bird flew next to her as she hurried to get more twigs for her nest.

“Blue bird, why do you always have to fly so far away every day?” brown bird asked.

The little blue bird kept flapping her wings, trying to pass the brown bird, but he kept up with her.

“Well,” she said. “I have to work really hard to make my nest. That’s what I’m supposed to do.”

The brown bird stopped flying with her and paused on a branch. The little blue bird wondered what he was doing. She didn’t want to stop flying because she had more to do. But she couldn’t get herself to continue her journey; she had to join him. He looked at her when she reached the branch, and all of sudden, he shot up into the sky.

“Follow me blue bird!” he screamed.

She didn’t understand what he was doing or why, but she couldn’t resist. She felt her wings flap, as she chased after him, higher than she ever thought she could go.

They flew for what seemed like miles, until finally, they reached the top of the forest. The little blue bird just stared.

The brown bird watched her.

“Little blue bird. This is what you have been missing your whole life. I needed to show you that there is more to the world than building your nest. I know you think that is your purpose, but there is so much more,” said brown bird.

The little blue bird didn’t know what else she should do. She just stared down into the dark forest, and she wondered what she was supposed to do when she returned to the bottom.

***

When she finished her story, she looked over at him. She saw the clock on the wall, which was telling her it was well past 2 a.m. She wanted to tell him who the little blue bird was but she realized it didn’t matter; he had fallen asleep.

Summer

Her eyes tried to focus on the spreadsheet that was opened up on her laptop, but she was too anxious. Her heart fluttered and she felt lightheaded every time she looked at the time. She tried focusing on each cell, slowly adding data to the columns, avoiding the righthand corner where the clock ticked. Her lunch break was coming up and she knew she would have to talk to him.

Kiss me hard before you go*

After she saved her document, she saw him stand up and walk over to her desk and heard him say he was going to get lunch, as expected.

Summertime sadness

“Are you coming with me?” he asked.

“Yes.”

They walked to his car and drove to a sandwich shop the town over. The radio played softly, but it was loud enough to drown out the beating of her heart which she was sure he could hear.

I just wanted you to know

 He pulled into a parking spot and turned off the car. She started to get out and he put a hand on her shoulder.

“Wait,” he whispered.

She looked at him, and waited.

“I just want you to know that I care about you. But this opportunity is what I need, and I have to take it. I’m sorry,” he paused. “What we have is special, but this is all I can give. You deserve more.”

“I understand, really, don’t worry about me,” she forced a smile on her face.

They got out and ordered sandwiches, the same way they did every Thursday. Except it was the last Thursday he was working in the office, and she never saw him again.

 That baby you’re the best

* “Summertime Sadness” Lana Del Rey, Born to Die

‘Leaving a Mark’ on This Blank Page

Although much of my complaints is work or school work, I have to say this semester is the best one yet. My Theory of Writing course is showing me how to become a more expressive writer, critical thinker, and excel at reading between the lines.

We finished Blankets, an illustrated novel by Craig Thompson. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read something with images, think deeply, cry a little, and feel every emotion in the book (a bit ironic, right?) Long story short (again), this book is Thompson’s narration of his life, his struggles with his art, and the story of first love and disconnected families.

One moment stood out to me the most in this book, and relates mostly to current situations in my life is the following, “Even a mistake is better than nothing.” The context is that one of the characters wanted Thompson to paint for her and he was afraid he would mess up.

What stands out the most in that quote is how bold it is. While it may be in a completely different context, I still took this moment to heart. Even a mistake is better than nothing, wow, is all I could think.

We have this idea that making mistakes is such a terrible thing. But, aren’t the mistakes we make a way to make ourselves better? There’s sayings like, “Have no regrets,” and “Everything happens for a reason,” because they are true. There have been so many mistakes and regrets I have, but I take them with me and make meaning from them, much like the novel Blankets discusses.

Throughout high school I had this idea that the people I was close friends with would stay true forever. At that moment where I graduated, the only true thing I was thinking about was how the sun was directly in my eyes; giving me a migraine, but I also was thinking about how this is it. That was the moment I never had to see the people who wronged me, the people who hated me, or the people who I loved.

It sounds like such a depressing way to look at graduation, but I disliked high school so strongly. I had always been a different kind of girl, someone who wanted to stand out rather than fit in, and we all know how disconcerned people are to differences. College is a growing experience for me, and I highly recommend everyone try it once in their life. In all seriousness, it has been a time where I realized who I want to be. All I do is try and reach that goal, and at the moment, I’m doing a pretty darn good job. But, the person who I am doesn’t start and stop with me, it’s the people I have encountered and spent my life with that have shaped me.

I have found, much like Craig Thompson, that even though friendships and relationships may not last forever, the mark they have on us never truly leaves. Thompson falls in love with a girl in the novel, and even though they are young and need to discover themselves, I can’t help but feel something for them. The fact that they both make such an impact on each other, even being a teenager, is astounding. The idea that someone can make such a powerful impact on your life is true to my life. Sometimes all you want is for them to stay and be with you, but eventually you come to a point when you realize they can’t.

There have been those friends who have come and gone and have meant nothing to me, and there have been those friends who have stayed but then drifted away (college does this, I have found). There have also been those friends who still remain, and always will.

It wasn’t until very recently, I discovered that finding yourself means making sacrifices with these relationships. It’s a sad realization, cruel and bitter, but it’s also something that I needed to bring to my attention. I start my real story here, and it’s much to my satisfaction rather than all of you reading.

The falling out I recently had with someone was certainly no easy one. This person has meant more to me than any other person on this planet. She had been there through every failure, every mistake, every heartbreak, every detail of my life; she knows it. Likewise, I have been there for her every step of the way.

We have watched people come and go, laughing, saying, “That’ll never be us.” But, if there is one thing I have learned from heartbreak it is you can never predict it. You want life to be perfect, candy-coated, but in reality no one plans out the bad things that may happen.

I never thought I would have a feeling where our friendship wasn’t worth it. I never thought I would think about her constantly, miss her, wish she would text or call, wish she would just reach out. I never thought I would stop trying to connect. I knew the conversation would be mundane, the same old, “What have you been up to?” The person she was becoming and the person I have become do not match anymore. I think as harsh as it may be, if she were reading, I have grown and learned and become who I want to be and I think she is still discovering that. I know there is someone who will change her, make her who she needs to be. Or maybe she won’t ever find out.

There are these moments in our life where we can’t breathe, and it feels like we can’t do anything but sit and stare at the wall. All the memories come swirling back to you in these moments, when you want to forget but you can’t. A break up, a falling out, a death; you won’t ever forget them. You can paint over the memories but there is still that tiny spot in your mind that reminds you it’s more than a memory, it existed.

I’ve always had a hard time saying I’m sorry, or admitting my mistakes. I know I’m stubborn and I hate to be told I am wrong. But, I refuse to sacrifice what I believe in for someone else and their satisfaction. I know I have said things in my past and present that I regret. I am so sorry to everyone. I am sorry that I never went to your graduation party. I am sorry I didn’t want to go on a date with you. I am sorry you didn’t love me. I am sorry you turned out you needed a therapist and I couldn’t help you. I am sorry that we couldn’t be what we dreamed of being. I am sorry I said those mean things to you. I am sorry we are over.

Life is meaningless without mistakes. I know she thinks I made a mistake. I know she thinks that I was the worst friend anyone can have, and I know for awhile, maybe forever, she will think that. I can only thank her for the memories. Thank you, for all that you have given me and all that you will continue to give me. I will miss and always love you, like the sister you were to me. You can’t ever understand what I went through, my inner-termoil, because you never listened. It is all my fault that I couldn’t try harder to reach out, that I gave up. I wish I hadn’t given up, but it’s what I needed to do. I hope that you can understand one day.

If I could speak to her, although I think I will never be given the chance, there are so many things I would say. I could lash out and yell at her for making me look like a villain, when I know who is at fault. I know that’s what I want to do, but I think now I would say to her, if you have to be mad, be mad not at me but at the fact that we need to change. We can’t be the same person we were at 14. We will never be the same. We thought that change was an okay thing to accept into our lives, but the truth is it’s a hard concept. You can’t stop it, and you can’t predict it. We can only live from it.

I want to continue to grow, to make meaning of this life I have been given. I can’t take everyone with me on this journey. I’m constantly on this journey to find myself, and even though I think I have reached a high point in my life, I know I will never end the journey. I know I will continue to make mistakes, but I have accepted it’s a natural part of life, of living.

 

“How satisfying is it to leave a mark on a blank surface. To make a map of my movement–no matter how temporary.” –Craig Thompson, Blankets 

Simplicity

She cast her eyes away from the train window she was looking out, and instead placed her eyes on her hands.  They were clenched together in her lap, right across her printed dress.

She twisted the ring on her pointer finger.  It was rusty now.  Its once silver band now looked like a light red.  The fake jewel in the middle looked back at her.  It was dull, and lifeless.  It was a simple piece of jewelry, nowhere near lavish.

He gave it to her last May.  She remembered walking through the city with him, hand in hand, when they spotted a booth that sold costume jewelry.  The lady at the booth waved them over, and she pointed out several rings.

“It’s like real diamond,” she said with a heavy accent.

He smiled at her, “Pick one out, sweetie.”

She glanced down at her ring again, and wished she could go back to that day.  They had been fighting the whole week, and things were uncomfortably tense.  Perhaps the lack of communication was a problem.  Maybe she was too moody towards him.  It wasn’t her fault, she was just upset about her pay not being raised.

Whatever the cause of the fights were, she didn’t like the effect.  Why couldn’t they work out these small problems?  She hated feeling unhappy with her relationship.  She hated feeling unhappy with herself.

The train conductor startled her thoughts by asking, “Where ya goin’ ma’am?”

She looked down at her hand again, rubbing the jewel to make it shine a little more.  She remembered how happy she was that day he bought the ring for her.  She jumped up into his arms, kissing his face.

“I love it!  It’s so simple, but I love it,” she had said.

She handed her train pass to the conductor.  As he punched her pass and handed it back to her, she realized to herself, it’s the little things in life that remind me he will love me no matter what.

Despite their rough week, he loved her still.  She was sure of it.

The conductor walked away, and she realized that the ring was simple, but it was a gift from him, so she should cherish it in every way possible.  She also realized she never answered the conductor’s question.

But it didn’t matter where she was going.  It only mattered who she was going to.