Memories

Daydreaming about yesterday
Looking to the past
with the knowledge of the present.
Times that were forgotten
People that were lost
Sacrifices that were made
in order to compensate
for the changing world.
Moments that were shared
Fantasies that are long gone
Familiar voices that remain unheard:
silent words unuttered.
Problems that seemed as if
they would never go away.
Precious gifts, still kept safe
tucked away in some special place.
Board games, once used non-stop
now decorated with dust.
Photographs that still remain
shadowing the past.
Unopened letters strewn about
carelessly forgotten.
Memories of once existing places
are non-existent: replaced.

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Where is Home? (2nd excerpt)

Kate awoke to the sound of her door being opened. Immediately her body tensed. Her back was towards it and she dared not turn around in hopes that he would get the idea and leave. She took short, shallow breaths, trying so hard to not make a sound, to become invisible underneath the sheets. Then, she felt him slip in next to her.           

“What are you doing?” Kate hissed, “Leave me alone.” She used every muscle in her body to try and push him away but nothing worked; he was too strong for her. It must have seemed like a joke to him, but it wasn’t, not to her. Kate was only fifteen. She had never had a boyfriend let alone a first kiss. Kate didn’t even know what “the bases” were. All she wanted to do was be like everyone else her age…normal, and she could bet that the definition of normal did not consist of her step-father climbing into bed with her. She didn’t want Russell in her bed; she wanted him to leave.

“Sexy…” he whispered with a disgusting smirk on his face. Kate was still turned away from him, but she knew his look all too well. His blue eyes were squinched into tiny slits; almost as if he was purposefully trying to block out her feeble attempts at fighting him off. Almost as if…but he wasn’t. Russell probably didn’t even notice. In the past few years that she had known him, Russell had gained a significant amount of weight which made it all the more difficult for her to physically push him away. Despite the inappropriate things that he did to her on a regular basis when members of the family were not looking, Kate could not believe that he had had the gall to do this. He had gone too far this time.

He was in her room, in her bed. Kate felt Russell trying to turn her towards him, but she resisted, kept her back to him. She tried pushing him out…away…anywhere but where he was, first with her feet and then with her whole body, but he didn’t budge; her slender frame was no match for his bulky one. Instead of him getting the picture, Kate’s resistance seemed to only encourage him. She felt him slide closer to her, leaning on her. The weight of him bore down on her body and almost smothered her. Kate opened her eyes which, until that point had been closed, and stared out the window at the old oak tree that sat in their yard. Its branches, although close, seemed far away. She tried to focus on the tree, and the leaves moving in the breeze, wishing she were anywhere but there. Kate felt his hand grab at her breast and tried to fight him more, but he held his grip. She closed her eyes again; there was no escaping this.

“I’m going to tell Mom,” she threatened, hoping that it would make a difference. Deep down, she knew it wouldn’t though. There was a reason why Kate hadn’t confided in any member of the family about what was going on, especially her mother, and it had nothing to do with the fact that it was not an easy subject to broach; it was more than that.

“So tell her; she’ll never believe you,” he said. He slid his hand down her body and anchored it between her legs. Kate stopped breathing and opened her eyes. She felt like she was suffocating. Why was this happening to her? Why was he doing this? She couldn’t figure out which was worse; the fact that he was in her bed sliding his disgusting hands all over her or that he was right about her mother. She would never believe her. Kate didn’t exactly know why this was the case, she had never given her mother a reason to doubt her, especially with something as important as this, but it just was. Kate knew that she would never be believed. She tried to push Russell away again, tried to pry his hand out from inside of her, but it was all in vain. Nothing worked.

Kate heard movement coming up the stairs which were directly outside of her room and started to panic.  She pushed Russell away from her harder.  She felt ashamed that he was there, ashamed to be caught with him in her bed, ashamed because she felt that she would be blamed for the current situation, that she would be told that it was her fault.  Deep down, Kate knew that she should believe that it was not her fault, but she couldn’t help to think that maybe, on some level, it actually was.           

“Get out. Someone’s going to catch you; you’re going to get in trouble,” Kate said. In trying to break free from him, she had turned herself around and was staring into his eyes with hatred, but he just looked at her. Neither her words nor the fact that someone was coming up the stairs seemed to faze Russell; he didn’t care. It was then that she realized just how far he was capable of going.

Russell put a finger to his lips and perked his head up to listen to the movement outside. Whoever it was had gone down the hallway and into one of the other bedrooms. He slowly got out of Kate’s bed and walked over to the door. He pressed his ear against it to make sure that no one was there, then quietly opened the door and walked out.

Where is Home? (excerpt)

Kate quietly walked upstairs to the comfort of her room, and closed and locked her door. At least her room was still safe, however small it might have been, or rather, as long as the door was locked she could escape the danger that lay on the other side. It was all wrong; your home was supposed to be your haven, not your hell.

It hadn’t always been like this. When Kate’s mother had moved her and her brothers next door in the middle of the night, things had been different; they had been looking up. By that point, Kate’s parents had been fighting non-stop for a while and in the process, her mother had made friends with the guy next door. Sure, Russell had been a little rough around the edges; he drank too much, had a wood shop in his garage and owned one too many plaid shirts, but he had piercing blue eyes, a warm smile and the ability to charm a married woman and her three children. Who could have known the type of monster that laid beneath his inviting exterior.

For a while things were great. Russell had welcomed them with open arms. He seemed to bring Kate’s family together in a way that they hadn’t experienced in a long time. Russell could never replace their father completely, but he quickly became like a second one. Kate, being ten at the time, would sit on his lap as everyone watched television together; how she had always done with her father. When Kate had been younger, she had gone through a phase where she hated brushing her teeth. Her and her dad had invented a game where she would sit on his right knee – his MacGyver knee – and brush her teeth while her father sang brush, brush, brush, brush over and over again. It was also the same knee that she would sit on to watch MacGyver with him, hence the nickname. At that age, there was no possible way that Kate could have really understood the show, but it had become a father-daughter ritual and she loved it. Given all of that, she thought nothing of treating Russell the same, and neither did her mother.

Kate wasn’t sure when the change had occurred, but things weren’t right anymore. Her innocence was gone and Russell had taken it away from her. The change had been gradual, so slow in fact that she never realized what was going on until it was too late.

A Secret Among Friends (excerpt)

Images. Images floating in my head. I turn towards the light but the dark consumes me once again. Once again I am back to that place. The anger, the anguish, the illusion. Pretending that everything is fine when it’s not. The face, the voice, the touch. Forever searing into my memory making it impossible for me to breathe at times. The misery, the pain. Reality. Just when I think I can’t take it anymore my mind returns to me. For years I tried to endure the loss, blaming everything except what was. That was where it all started. My mind playing tricks on me. Stirring up images I’d rather forget. Never freeing me. Always tying me down. Sometimes I find myself running from these images. Until I find out that I haven’t gotten too far. Far away is where I want to be and far away I am. Only that I’m not. It’s too soon. I don’t want to go back to the place. That place of fear, of knowing, of masquerading the pain. The pain that exists deep down inside. That never lies, but never shows. It doesn’t feel real anymore. I need the pain to feel real. Need to feel like there is something to cry about. I feel a sharp sensation gliding across my skin. The pain is released. A stinging starts to set in.

I dry my eyes and look in the mirror. Wondering who the stranger is looking back. The smile that would once brighten a room, gone. Faded. The eyes that would gleam with joy and excitement, lost. The replacement is something less. A kind of sweat sadness engulfs me. Of course the only ones who know are the people I choose to let in. Not many. Just a few. Enough to help me through my dark hours. Enough to keep me on track. Enough to be let in. I stare at the face in the mirror and she stares back at me. A solemn stare. A quick defeat.

My vision becomes blurry. The girl can no longer be seen. I feel the streams running down my cheek. The pain comes back within. It doesn’t feel real anymore. I need it to feel real again. The images are coming back. I need to focus at the task at hand. The gliding sensation comes back to me followed by the stinging. Relief. I take a gasp of air and release it heavily. The pain is real again. My head is free. The images no longer haunt me. I look at the mirror once more. Stone. Expressionless. The face no longer looks back at me. She looks down. Down at the object held tightly in my hand. Down at the red lines on my ankle. Down at the blood stained tissue on the floor in front of me. There will be no more weeping for the moment. All is well again. A free mind has been achieved. It is through pain that we grow in strength. And through strength we are able to achieve anything. Almost anything.

I crawl slowly across the floor. Softly. Not a sound can be heard. Not even the beating of my heart as it pumps through my chest. Silence is the key. If no one can hear, no one will know. The better for me. I peer at the vent that is shining light through my floor. I see nothing. I press my ear to the cool metal. I hear nothing. No one is there. I walk softly to my bed, grab a pillow, and return to the old heating vent. I cover it until there is no more light. The only light that exists comes from and old nightlight. I reach on top of my desk and pull my phone onto the floor. I feel for the plug and insert it into the jack. I move back. Away from the vent. Slowly sliding across the floor. The object still tucked away in my hand and the phone in the other. I find my spot in front of the mirror but do not look up. I have another task at hand before courage fails me and the darkness returns. The light is waiting for me at the other end of the phone. I take one more listen to see if anyone is awake, then pick up the phone.

I hear the dial tone through the receiver. The buttons glowing in the dark. Slowly I dial the familiar number. The phone starts to ring. I wait for the voice on the other end to pick up. I know it’s late but I need to hear the voice. It comforts me. Like awakening from a nightmare into the arms of a loved one. The voice heals me. Not many a day can I go without it. The ringing continues. With every new ring I feel my heart beat louder. Pounding in my chest. The voice picks up.

“Hello,” says the sleepy voice.

“Hi.”

“How are you?” There was a pause on his end. “That’s a stupid question. What happened?”

“The same thing that always happens.”

Another pause followed by a deep sigh. John was taking it in. Taking it all in. He does this sometimes when he doesn’t know what to say. I hate it. The silence can be numbing.

“I’ve change my mind,” I say.

“About what.”

“About tomorrow. I don’t want to do it.”

“Why.”

“Because it’s too hard. And the outcome will not be good.”

“You’re overreacting.”

“Am I? Am I really?”

John didn’t know anything. His knowledge came from the information that I chose to share with him. He didn’t know what was going to happen after. He didn’t have to see their faces. I did. I knew exactly what was going to happen. Exactly how it would be. How everyone would react. The out come would not be good. John didn’t know. He wouldn’t have to live there. He wouldn’t have to see the look of hatred and disbelief in everyone’s eyes. I would.

“It’s the right thing to do, Liz.”

“Right for who?”

“Right for you.”

I tried to speak but words faltered me. How could I make him understand? I couldn’t. There was no way he could understand. To John, he was looking out for my safety. I was grateful for that. But there had to be another way. I wish there was.

“I don’t know what to say.”

“Then don’t.”

“I don’t want to do this,” I paused. “I’m scared.”

“Why? It’s the truth, Liz. You shouldn’t be scared of the truth.”

“But I am.”

“Don’t you think you’re better off with things out in the open?”

“No.”

Things were better off the way they were. I couldn’t possibly hurt anymore than I already did. It wasn’t possible. If things stayed the same, nothing would change. I wouldn’t loose anyone I loved. If things changed, things would be different. I would loose everyone. I would have nothing.

“It’s not your fault, Liz.”

“I know.”

“No, you don’t. You say you do, but you don’t believe it.”

“I hate that you know me so well.”

“I’m glad somebody does,” John paused slightly. “You shouldn’t have to go through this alone.”

I shouldn’t have to go through this at all, but I am. Everything should be alright. But it’s not. I go through the motions of my day-to-day life like a canister. Hollow. Every gesture I make, every expression I have, is a facade. An illusion. I am all alone in this. It’s my word against his. I know how things will be. What the truth will bring.

“You know, if you won’t say anything, I have to.”

“I know, but I wish you wouldn’t. I wish you would respect me and not say anything.”

“Liz, I can’t not say anything.”

So many things are at stake. There is too much to loose. I will not be forgiven for this. My days of living in peace will expire. Forever replaced with conflict. Conflict is something that I try to avoid in life, no matter what the cost. That’s why I’ve lived with this for so long. I didn’t want to deal with what the outcome would bring. I still don’t. I just want everything to go away. I don’t want to be afraid anymore. But I don’t want it done this way. Not this way. If only there was another way.

“Are you still there?”

“I’m here.”

“Don’t be mad at me, Liz.”

“I’m not mad. I’m frustrated.”

“You shouldn’t be. We’re only trying to help you. I’m only trying to help you.”

“I know that. I just feel that it’s being done the wrong way.”

“There is no wrong way for this, Liz. Not for this.”

“Well than, it’s the wrong time.”

There was another awkward pause. John was getting frustrated. He was thinking about what to say to convince me. There’s no way he can convince me. This was a bad idea from the start. I should never have agreed to it. Should never have told him the truth.

“It’s never going to be the right time. There will always be on reason or another as to why it can’t happen. But the truth, Liz, is that those reasons…they’re just excuses. Every last one of them. Don’t tell me that it’s the wrong time.”

I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. Anything that I thought about saying would just start an argument. I couldn’t have that. It had to stay quiet. My voice couldn’t come above a whisper. I needed to control myself. I needed to control my thoughts. I needed to get off the phone.

“I know you’re scared. But you have me and everyone else backing you on it. You shouldn’t have to live this way. You shouldn’t have to live in fear. If you don’t say anything tomorrow, I will.”

“Alright.”

“Alright, you’ll talk?”

There was a sound of relief in his voice. I know that it had been difficult for him and everyone else as well. What kind of friend would not want to help out another if they were going through what I had gone through? I would be doing the same thing if I were in his situation. Only I’m not. I’m the one who is going through it. I’m the one who knows the outcome. I’m the one whose life is about to change. Not his.

“I’ll think about it.”

“That’s not good enough.”

“I’ll let you know first thing in the morning. Usual spot?”

“Okay. I’ll see you then. Try to get some sleep and not think about it.”

“I’ll try. Goodnight.”

New Beginnings (excerpt)

The sunset was perfect. It was one of the truly great ones that only happened after a rainy summer day, when the clouds passed long before the night started to settle in and the world smelled fresh and new. Kate sat on the sand. She was wearing jeans and a white tee shirt, her favorite thing to wear and although it had stopped raining hours before, she could still feel the slight dampness of the sand through her jeans. Kate didn’t care. There was no one that she wanted to impress tonight. She dug her palms into the sand, tilted her head back and closed her eyes, letting the darkness engulf her. The only sound that could be heard was that of the waves softly crashing against the shore. It was exactly what Kate had been looking for and she hoped that the sounds of the ocean would drown out the racing thoughts in her head. There were a lot of exciting things happening in her life right now, a lot of distractions, but she still couldn’t shake him. There romance had been brief, but it had changed her life forever. Like all of the great love stories, it had been tragic and though she hadn’t laid eyes on him in over a year, Kate was still sitting amid the pieces.

She heard movement in the sand and glanced back to see her best friend trudging towards her. Kate smiled, though Abbey couldn’t see it and turned her gaze back to the ocean. Moments later, Abbey sat down next to her in silence and handed her a glass of wine. Abbey always knew exactly what Kate needed and vice versa; it was why their friendship had lasted as long as it did. It was also why, when she had picked up the phone to ask Abbey if she could come out to the beach house for a week she didn’t even have to say the words; Abbey answered saying: When shall I be expecting you. And why Abbey sat in silence with her now. No facade necessary.

Kate brought the glass up to her lips slowly. She took a sip, allowing the wine to saturate her mouth before she swallowed. Kate sighed, stretching her legs out in front of her. She rested the wine glass on her lap, balancing it between both hands. She felt Abbey’s hand on her right knee, reassuringly. Kate stared at the dark shadow on her knee. This was what she had needed.

“It’s a beautiful night, isn’t it?” Abbey stated.

“Yes,” Kate said, softly. She slid her legs up, bending her knees and rested her forearms on top of them, still cupping the wine glass in her hands. She felt the curve of the glass, letting her fingers glide over the exterior. It was hard to imagine that it was once part of the choppy surface that lay underneath her.