the jump

Swiftly moving through the woods. Wandering with a purpose. The air is cool, dark. Blue and grey. It’s foggy. Early in the morning. When everything is a shadow. The trees. The rocks. The clouds. All silhouettes. Unable to distinguish what is real. What’s alive. What’s breathing. What’s beating. What’s waiting. What’s leaving.

Am I breathing? Is my heart still beating?

The wind is asleep. Air still and thin. I’m anticipating a faint whistle. A breeze. Something. Anything. I’m expecting it. Whatever it is. And in this place of expectation, I get lost. Forgetting I was ever gone. Forgetting I ever was. Memories fade.

The anticipation gains momentum. Accelerates. Snatches me up. Is it here? Can you feel it?

Getting close.

At least I’m not alone. At least I have company. My shadows are with me. They tag along. Keeping a distance. Skipping and playing with each other as I carry the bags. There are two of them. Both younger. Nine years apart. I feel safe and secure knowing they’re here. Knowing that they are home. My sisters.

Layers of emotions rumble in my chest. Don’t forget about me.

The transition. The shift.  The static. That sacred time between night to day.

I inhale. I listen. I wait. And I hear nothing.

I feel a quake in my throat. The pressure builds.

And then, an opening. A marked trail. A path through the foliage. I see it in on the other side of the train tracks. Urgency presents itself. I hurry across. My shadow sisters follow closely behind. I don’t need to look around for them cause I know they’re there. They always are.

My ears vibrate. Holding back tears.

We tip toe through the opening and get to a clearing. Change of scenery. No more foliage. Now, more rocks. Dirt piles. A boat ramp that once was. Gotta be quiet. Gotta lay low. We must remain unseen.

I close my eyes. Trying to contain it. Breathe.

We’re on the edge of an endless body of water.  Standing on a bluff. Looking down at this crystal clear water. Lifetimes beneath us. Worlds beneath us. I’m hovering above their crowns. Enjoying the aerial view. They’re getting ready to jump.

I close my eyes. Standing at water level now. Looking up at them. Try to get my phone out. My camera. I desperately want to capture this moment. I wish I could be where they are. I wish I could feel their excitement. I wish.

My phone is out and I’m ready to take the picture. Eager to document this beauty. It’s almost too much. Filled to the brim. The type of beautiful I feel guilty for even attempting to capture. I’m a fool for thinking a picture would do it justice. Nevertheless, I attempt.

They lift off. Headed straight for the water. Slow motion. Time frozen. Watching it through this tiny screen. Scrambling to snap as many pictures as possible. The camera follows them under water. I continue to shoot.

And then they’re gone.

The pictures turn out better than expected. They’re motion photos. Less than a second long. My sisters are flying. Soaring. Holding hands. Their clothes act like wings. Turning in to fins as they hit the water. I keep playing this picture over and over. Eyes glued to the screen. Feeling a painful type of joy as I watch them fly. Deep longing and sadness.

This joy is a place I visit. And I never want to leave.

But I gotta go. I resist. Continuing to watch them soar. Wishing I could touch them.

Wishing.

Waiting. Leaving.

Missing.

Tears, flowing. There it goes.

Heart. Still beating.

Thank god. 

 

 

 

 

 

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ambiguity

I’m at a restaurant. A tavern. Or maybe it’s a church. No. A cafeteria. A dimly lit cafeteria with stained glass and high ceilings. This place is old school. Smells like a library. An auditorium with endless rows of seating. Creaky pews. A movie theater lobby without the carpeting. Wood floors allow for imaginary echoes. Restless souls roaming the halls. A time traveler’s airport.

I was placed here, to be here. Now. Whenever that is. Wherever it is. People stop and go. They gather in small groups of chatter. Scattered. Muffled. I am anonymous here. I choose to lay low. Fly under the radar. I wish to remain anonymous. Faceless. Nameless. Not caring to spend too much time here. Not caring to get wrapped up in conversations with strangers. Not caring at all. Conversations are investments. And I have nothing left to invest.

I’m drifting. Exhausted. My legs on auto pilot. Restlessly moving to a doorway out of this place. An exit. A passageway. And there it is. Where the ceiling dips. There it is. An entrance to a small room. The sleeping quarters. A bedroom reserved for me. A bedroom with two mattresses. Unkempt and laid out on the floor. They are sloppily pushed together. It’s time to get some sleep. It’s time. Now.

Come on, give in. This’ll do. My mind resists this hazy illusion of a body. Do I have to?

Motor functions slowing down. I get hot and light headed. I wish to remain standing. Fighting the fall. If I lay down, will I ever get up? Did I earn this rest? Dark spots appear before me. Silencing the questions. Blood rushes from my head. My fingertips tingle. Teeny tiny pricks. I’m losing my balance.

Dropping my bags, I lay down and cover myself in a blanket. Hiding in limbo. This place. This space. Between death and rebirth. I’m trapped in stillness. Forgetting how to breathe. Forgetting how to speak. Just what I need. I make peace with it. I have no choice. And now I’m sinking in to the bed. Floating. Feeling light. Feeling safe. Feeling good.

Close your eyes.

And then, a slight disruption to the process.  A man is now in the room with me. I’ve worn out all my senses, so I perceive no threat. Comfortably swimming in vulnerability.

I don’t look at him. Keep those eyes shut. Keep relaxing.

This man is no stranger to me. A person I’ve had occasional routine interactions with in passing. Amicable in nature, showing hollow excitement. Followed by friendly shallow conversations. I tend to keep them short because I have no interest in turning the switch from acquaintance to friend.

The nice guy.

He lays down on the mattress next to mine. We’re sharing this space. This experience of rest and transition.  But the mattresses are pushed together. So he is unusually close. I’m comfortable under my blanket and have no energy to say a word.

I’m preoccupied. Lost in this long lost feeling. The feeling of being immersed in something. Immersed in a resting state. A state of peace. A state of comfort. This state overpowers my feelings of discomfort. I’m content with where I am. Stuck in stillness.

His body presses against mine. And I remain still. Hoping he’ll interpret my lack of movement as a sign of disinterest and back off. Assuming he’s as good of a body language reader as me. That he knows how to take a hint. That he understands and respects boundaries.

But shit, I didn’t invite you here. Did I forget to close the door?

I’m tired. Exhausted. He puts his mouth on the back of my neck. He’s violating my personal space. But I’ve already drifted in to relaxation. Forgetting he’s there. Lacking the energy to speak. All I feel is a slight tickle on the back of my neck. It turns into sucking. Biting almost. I feel the pressure and it starts to burn.

Ok hold up, this is going to leave a mark.

Now what? I struggle to come up with words. How do I get this man to go away without hurting his feelings? Without jeopardizing our precious acquaintanceship that I value so little.

Fucking nice guys.

I’m paralyzed. I hesitate to speak. My neck is throbbing. I’ve reached my limit. I turn over and say, “I don’t think this should go any further.”

I close my eyes and he’s gone. There is so much I wish I would’ve said had I not held my tongue. Shut it out, go to bed. Get some sleep.

keep listening to your self. 

Muffle those voices. Slow the chatter. Allow your self to drift. Don’t let him ruin the process.

but the door’s still open. 

Shhhh..

 

 

opensure

 

Flashbacks of those winding roads. The ones littered with bodies. People. Cars. Ambulances in ditches. I’m dodging the bodies. Do I stop to see if they’re breathing? Do I get out and help?

Nah, they’re not real. They’re just bumps in the road. Bumps I have to avoid. No need to stop and check for a pulse. I can barely feel mine.

Speeding. Closing my eyes. Foot heavy on the break. This isn’t real. This isn’t real. This. Isn’t. Happening. The breaks are useless. The impact of my heavy foot causing more damage.

Eyes. Closed. No memory of slowing down. No memory of the pause. Parking. Getting out. Walking. No memories of that. Just feelings. Pains. Tingling in my legs.

Flashbacks of the helpers. Those people. The brown eyed ones. Dark skinned and gentle. Holding my limbs for me. Dragging me out of the car. Moving my legs. Stumbling with each step. Keeping my arms in place. Holding me upright. Up. Right. Through the tunnels. The stairs. Up. Right. Round the corner. Three flights we climbed. Or was it four?

My body heavy and limp. Restlessly limp.

Flashbacks of the lights. Those harsh bright lights. The table. The cutting board. The blurry faces. Those fair skinned believers. Signing papers. Blue eyed deceivers. The ones who strapped me down. Stole my breath. Stripped my humanity and left it in a plastic bag. Suffocating and growing mold. Giving me bruises in my sleep. Taking pleasure from my pain. Those ones.

The white devils.

My body quakes at the thought of them.

Bones turn to jello.

Throat swells. Chest heavy.

Just a blink. And I’m back. A safe house. A house. A Safe. A key. A plastic illusion of safety. This is only temporary.

What’s in the safe? Treasures? Money? Food? Are there weapons? Drugs? Tools? What’s in there? Is it really safe? Is it worth protecting? Are you never gonna use it?

Time to drift. No need for answers. Abandon ship.

This cycle.

Infinite.

Closure? You want closure?

Oh. Sure.

Closure.is.An open sore.

 

 

release me

I’m in the house again. A trusted friend accompanies me. The one who was there when he wasn’t. The one who held my hand as i took the poison. Who stroked my hair as i lay curled up in a ball on the floor. Moaning. Groaning. Bleeding out the last traces of him. The one who was there as I cried and begged for independence. That one. The real one. One of them.

I enter through the main door. She disappears into the hum of the building. Filthy nostalgia. What am I doing here? Seriously. What the hell am I doing here? Did someone call me here? Was I invited? Am I welcome here? Does he want me here? Do I still care what he wants? Pretty sure he’s the one who wants me here. He’s the reason I’m visiting this place. And that reason is beyond my comprehension. But shit here I am. Weaving through these unanswered questions.

I’m in go mode. Looking around the corner, I see a door cracked with the light on. He’s in there. Pretending I don’t exist. He’s in there. Preoccupied. He’s in there. Playing games. He’s in there. With what’s his face. The white dude. That one. Whatever his name is. They’re doing their thing. He’s trying so hard to send a message. I feel it. I’ve heard it. Now here the fuck I am. You’ve succeeding at invoking a response.

I’m quite familiar with this game. I know how he moves. So I keep it moving. I don’t make a sound. I’ll play along. I don’t see the harm in it. I’m still here. Amused.

This is a dream, after all. I am somewhat lucid.

Back to questioning my purpose here in this space. Was it simply to check on him out of pure curiosity? His body language says don’t bother me, so does that mean my work here is done? Can I go home now? Perhaps its a different purpose. Maybe I’m picking up something I left? Or dropping off something I no longer need? I don’t remember coming in with any bags. So what am I doing?

I’m running circles in my mind. Confused. Questioning my own intentions. Questioning everything. He’s got me questioning. Fuck. He’s got me.  

When I’ve felt stuck in this place before, I like to think of him as a drug. Reducing this complicated intricate person to an inanimate object. A pill. A tiny manufactured tool. Dehumanizing a human as a means of coping. I’ve read the label. I know the side effects. I know what happens with continued use. I know exactly where this is going.

So why am i still here?

Hmm. I’ve always had a thing for this shit. Like driving aimlessly on dead end roads. Finding a dark place to park. Abandoning my vehicle. And walking. Leaving my safe place in the name of curiosity. Seeing where the night takes me. I get a rush from this feeling.

Down the stairs I go. Away from the horrible lighting. Away from the memories. Down, down, down I go. Down to the basement.

Someone put in a new carpet. Brand new everything. It appears to be clean. Nearly unrecognizable. It feels safer. Comfortable. Muffled. Yet still this feeling. I feel trapped. Bound. Hiding from something. Avoiding confrontations.

I peek in to the room where we used to sleep. Fresh carpet blankets the floor in this small space. Stuffed animals thoughtfully placed in each corner. Signs of life. Little bears and giraffes. I tip toe around. This can’t be real.

I have an urge to take a shower. Wash myself of the memories. Peering across the room, I see a shower head. Recently installed. I lack patience. Ready to shower now. Not thinking of where the soap is. If there even is any soap. Not thinking of what I’ll be drying myself off with. Not thinking of the fact that the shower head has been installed above a pile of stuffed animals with no drain in sight.

Not thinking. Period.

This shit don’t make no sense. But shit, I just wanna be clean.

Nothing else matters. I kick the pile of stuffed animals out of the way. Turning the water on low. A trickle. I hold the shower head above my head. And then I see him. Out of the corner of my eye. Ready to talk. I laugh to my self. The droplets of water haven’t even fully saturated my body and there he is. Ready to talk. This is unreal.

I let him talk. Get whatever it is that seems to be on his mind out. He tells me about his life. All seemingly good things. All progress. I am happy for him. Genuinely. I hold my tongue.

Children start to fill the room. Running around us. Playing with the stuffed animals. Keeping things on track. Keeping us in check. Letting us know that they’re watching. That they look up to us. Raw and unfiltered judges. This is a supervised visit. Don’t do anything stupid.

As he speaks, I see the little black snake. Shriveled up. Crispy and delicate. Lying in the pit of his stomach. Protected by layers of distraction. Vulnerability is his name. He shows no one. Cause this tiny snake holds the key to that unlocks the gates to his underworld. With empty spaces I gladly dug. He is terrified of a breach.

Sometimes. Under the right conditions. With the right lighting. I can see it. The baby snake. The ashes. Glistening through his eyes. Begging to be let out.

Release me. Please. Release me. He begs.

I want to reply. To acknowledge his existence.

This is beyond my control. Beyond you. Beyond me.

Release me. He whispers. Let me breathe. The black snake pleads.

I apologize. For I am no gatekeeper.

Only he can set you free.

Not up to me.

you see?