Two buildings, almost touching, stand next to each other on a skinny side street. They are tall, gray, and stained with abandoned phone lines pressing against hard cement. A connection is lost. From the alley crack smooshed between them, there is a black paved road that separates one from the other. Together they stand apart.
One silver tear drop earring, as elegant as any sadness could be, sat dangling off the edge of an antique sink.
Another silver tear drop earring, as elegant as any sadness could be, sat misplaced between couch cushions, wondering what had gone wrong.
They each remembered when they first met. “We’re one in the same!” They had exclaimed at almost exactly the same moment. Together they draped themselves proudly below a woman’s heavy earlobes.
The woman loved them. She wore them all the time. She wore them to dinner parties, work, and even gardening. She loved them so much, she refused to take them off. She wore them in the shower. She wore them to bed. She wore them everywhere until one day, when she wasn’t paying attention, one of the earrings slipped.
Where had it gone? She tried retracing her steps. How could this have happened? She looked through her garden. What will I do without the other? Her loss hung heavy upon her head.
I opened up a book and the words fell out. It was cold and windy and from a storefront reflection, I could see the surprised look on my face. Inky fine print flew from the page. Jumbled. Tossed. It mixed together like salad.
I tried to gather them as fast as I could. Their shape, their letters, their voice was too slippery. Wet rubbery ink littered the streets with sayings. Their sentences bounced against the ears of pedestrians.
“Love I’m sorry lost stopwatch.” I tried to make sense of a stray sentence down the block, but the words had become tangled. Their letters were loose and their punctuation was damned. I squinted, but their meaning was lost.
I recognize that I might not have the stark, conservative look that you’re going for this year. I am not a red globe ornament or a string of white lights. I am however, just as bright as the rest and arguably more festive than any other decoration you have chosen to display.
I started off hanging from a telephone wire in the Hispanic section of town. For several nights out of the year I would glow different colors to symbolize the comfort of home. People loved me. I brought cheer to the poorest of neighborhoods until one day someone said I was a fire hazard. Reluctantly I watched as my place on the block slowly unraveled. Rest assured, my personality would never spark a conversation about destruction. Although I am unique, loved by many, and talked about by all, I do not have a fiery disposition.
My resume includes functions such as: Mardi Gras. Halloween. New Years. And even a few nightclubs. I have experience with all types of people.
While your white and red tree looks quite tasteful in the dining room of our town’s beloved country club, I think it could use a variety of color. I hope you will consider what I have to offer useful.
There once was a girl who lived on top of a building. She knew of only one elevator button. It was through the glass that she saw in horror, the whole world was far beneath her.
Ants marched in and out of shops. She could barely make out the faces of tired, homeless men, their empty Styrofoam cups splayed out past their legs. The women with their good intentions, held doors open for others, tipping a healthy, but non-boastful, 15% for coffee. Cheap. Their worth combined was still not enough.
The girl pressed her fingertips to the glass, peering past her own eyes. From the elevator, the world was quiet. A mass of violent energy, silent in its crucifixion of isolation, whirled its body below. How could she ever be a part of it?
She slammed the elevator button back up. Take me back. She drummed her nails against the rough jean of her pants leg. Go back!She pressed the button again and then again.
The elevator, caught in its routine, stopped abruptly between the 16th and 17th floors. It was here where she would contemplate her view from the top.
We’ve been together a long time now, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to call it quits. When we first met, I was young, flexible, and could handle anything. Even your rigidity.
When we touched, you were like ice. Cold and sturdy, you never caved. At first I thought your solidity was key to our success, but then something happened. I became restless.
My weight was too much for you and I could feel it. When I begged for comfort, you refused. You held fast to your position, making it clear that you would not budge. You would not cradle my body in your non-existent arms. You would not soften my aches and pains.
Last week, I met someone new. Someone who was both sturdy and supportive. You were my first and I will always remember you, but sadly, you are not my last.
I like to think of my paper, my notebook sheets, as having texture. I want the lines to stick like staples punched through to the other side. Their long, skinny forms, plucked up from the page in an effort to rise above. I want the page to feel rough and gritty. Hard and torn through in spaces just empty enough to fill with small rips of imperfection. Lines like ridges would guide my pen in a steady cadence. Trotting through a white desert, my landscape would guide me in the right direction.
Instead my page is one long ice rink. Its smoothness leaves no gaps big enough to see through. The torn spots and crinkled edges are invisible. My paper has flat lined.
My instant reaction is to pump it back to life. Electricity in the shape of a fat black marker needs to run down the center. Cutting up sections of white plains with inked out projections. Just so there’s something. Just so there is a pattern that is slightly out of shape.
I will not get a rise from my paper. Instead, I will continue to run my fingernail across the surface. I wait for the bite of a smooth edge sharpened.