Fiction

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

A short lyrical piece; as always, feedback, thoughts, encouragement, etc. are appreciated and can be sent to sojustmethen@gmail.com

It all started as a regret, or maybe a worry about a regret. Or maybe a worry about worrying about regrets. I can’t quite remember. All I know is that once it started, it grew like a weed in fertile soil. Suddenly the little nagging voices became a cacophony. They turned into raindrops that fell so hard and so fast that they left welts on my skin and blurred everything around me. I thrashed and I screamed in my mostly blind state. I felt my fists sink into flesh, but I didn’t stop, couldn’t stop. I was soaked and cold and lost and confused.

With time the deluge lessened to a shower, then a sprinkling, then a mist. And one day without me even noticing, when the end credits on that drama were done scrolling, the rain was gone. I blinked in the newfound clarity, and looked around. Everything was clear for the first time in a long time and all I saw was emptiness. I knew you had left but I couldn’t for the life of me remember when, or why.

I forced myself to stop looking for you and instead, looked at the mess I had become. With a sigh, I picked up the chunks that had fallen off and superglued, duck taped, stapled them back on as best I could. I saw that I had grown a whole foot in the rain and my heart had a distinct squeak. I had come through better. I reached up to the sky trying to grow even more when I felt a pang in my heart. Confused, I cracked open my chest to see what was wrong. I pulled out a microscope and saw nestled in my sparkling ventricle, a single grain of sand. It didn’t look like much, but I could feel it rubbing and scratching my tender new heart.

At first I was annoyed. I tried to get rid of it. I hawed and I clawed trying to rid myself of it. The more I fought the more I shrank until I was almost the same size as before.

I stopped.

I don’t know when I became such a super sleuth, but I realized that this grain of sand was what was left of the beautiful crystal heart you once shared with me. I realized, that my rain had devastated the landscape around me, and I could not even fathom what it had done to the fragile thing you gave me for safekeeping.

And that’s where I am now. Every time I move, every time I breathe there’s a little itch, a little irritation, but I stretch my hands up to the sky anyway. I will treasure that pinch as not only a memory of you, but as a reminder of what I am capable of. I can’t shrink anymore for fear of wasting away to nothing, so instead I grow.

Besides, I have heard it said that every pearl of wisdom begins as a grain of sand.

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Body Language

These are the first two chapters of a YA novel I’ve been working on. It’s a work in progress so I always appreciate feedback.

Chapter 1A

I slide in and out of consciousness. I see family and friends staring at me with tears and frowns and worry etched on their faces. I see nurses plugging me with holes and letting strange liquids into my body. I see doctors reading charts and shaking their head. I see a tray with food on it and a skeletal arm push it away.

I hear nothing. Smell nothing. Feel nothing.

Taste

Nothing.

Suddenly I am dragged into wake-ness. The room is white, blinding.

I hear beeps and buzzes and the murmur of voices.

Antiseptic burns my nose.

The sheets are rough beneath me.

Iron and cotton fill my mouth.

I am in a hospital.

Chapter 1B

Jamie stares at me. “Have you lost weight?”

“Uh yeah, maybe a little I guess.”

She’s silent. “I mean it’s not on purpose! I’ve just been exercising a lot you know and I’m actually happy since prom is coming up and I want to fit in a cute dress and I guess ive been eating less but that’s only because I’m not as hungry because of the exercise…”

“Yeah that makes sense. I’m going on a cleanse before homecoming for sure. I saw this really cute dress…”

I tune the rest of what she says out. I can’t believe she thought I lost weight. I look at my reflection in the windows across from our lunch table and see my fat face. I look at my hands and see sausages growing out of mashed potato palms. But maybe I have lost a little. I feel a spark of joy. Maybe it’s finally working.

Jamie and I take our trays to the trash. She glances at my tray.

“Cafeteria food makes me nauseous,” I say to the unspoken question in her eyes.

“I wish I had that type of self-control…” she looks down at her clean plate.

Then we head off to our separate classes. In history I stare at Mrs. Smith’s potato head and think she should go on a diet. In art, Mr. Jankins and his doughnut belly need to get off the couch for sure. In gym I get a bit woozy and have to sit out, but I don’t really like gym anyway. At the end of the day my mom is waiting outside to drive me to dance class.

“How was school?”

“Fine.”

We drive the rest of the way in silence.

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

There she is, bro-

ken, lying at the bottom of the stairs.

What a mess. Crap…what the heck am I going to do?

Sighing, he walks down the stairs, carefully stepping to avoid the blood.

He stares at the mangled corpse running through his possible options, I could wait until

night and bury her maybe? Or throw her in the lake. I can’t throw the whole

body though…I need small manageable pieces. Where could I

cut her up? He decides that the kitchen would

be easiest, because there he

could clean up the

blood

easy-peasey. And that way he wouldn’t need to cross through any extra rooms. He drags her straight from the bottom of the stairs into the kitchen. He feels a surge of satisfaction messing it up. This had been her space, her pride and she kept it immaculate. He thought it fitting that he was ruining the spotless white floors with her blood. He grabs each of the many knives in their kitchen one by one, testing the weight. Thank god she was a professional chef. He settles for the butcher knife with its heftiness and perfectly sharp blade. Granted, all the knives were perfectly sharp.

“Thank you, darling. Your OCD has saved me quite a bit of time.”

The knife sparkles as he strikes her.

First the arms:

Wrist,

Elbow,

Shoulder,

Repeat.

Then the legs:

Ankle,

Just below the knee,

Right between the ball and socket of the hip,

Repeat.

Finally the head,

Right where the spine meets the base of the skull.

Perfect, she would have been proud.

He wraps up each piece in trash bags with one of the coffee mugs that she loved to weigh it down. They had tons of them and each one had a cute or funny little phrase or picture. He enjoys matching the pieces with the mugs. ‘Hang in there’ with the right arm; ‘fall seven times, stand up eight’ with the left leg; and so on. He puts her favorite god-awful flowery mug with her head. He then piles all the bags on her perfectly clean granite counter, and walks back to the base of the stairs.

There is a large red stain there, and a challenge. The blood has soaked into the carpet and it won’t come out completely no matter how many times it is washed, but then again someone would notice if it was gone. It was a point of pride for her that rug. Persian, cost a fortune and she pointed it out every time someone was over. What to do? If I bleach it, there’ll be a spot and that looks bad, but I can’t get rid of all the blood otherwise…hmm. He decides to clean the stairs while he’s thinking.

There isn’t

very much blood on the

stairs only on the one where she

gashed her head. Here there is a large,

red, glistening, puddle that has

started to drip down

to the stairs

below.

He goes over the area with a fine toothed comb. He makes sure there isn’t even the smallest speck of blood left. This monotonous task allows his brain to puzzle over the rug and figure out what to do.

A slow smile spreads across his face, he’s figured it out.

Clean the blood with bleach and then cover up the white spot by spilling the paint left over from the living room on it. He hated that shade of blue anyway, it was her pick, and it would clash wonderfully with the rug. He bleaches the rug and then take the leftover paint and gently tips it onto the spot. He tries to make it look like the paint was knocked over and then hastily tried to be cleaned up. When he is satisfied with his work he returns to the kitchen to finish the job.

He takes the packages on the counter and packs them into the trunk of his car. He drives to the lake slowly and without incident. Once there he makes sure no one is around and opens the trunk. He takes each bag and throws them as far as he can in the lake

one

by

one.

He hums the whole time.

Buy the mug int eh picture here!