Fiction · Stream of Consciousness

The Muse

I volunteered to take over the department inventory. This led me to running between office spaces and jotting down what was kept in what room, what occupied which filing cabinets, and what was housed in which cubbies. At the end of it, I settled that things were too spread apart. Items went missing before I took over, falling between the proverbial cracks. 

I printed the list of items we should have and just went at it. I counted single, loose items and jotted down the amount we had coupled with the amount still packaged. I reorganized the cubbies and shelves, making sure to compartmentalize the items within the columns. 

“You’re good at that,” Evelin said. 

“Let me walk you through,” I responded, dusting off my jeans. “In the first column here, we have repressed feelings. Secret affections on the top, followed by inner anger, pride, and sexuality. Right on the counter underneath that, we have, of course, fear of rejection that comes with each. As you can see, that’s way too much to shelve with the other items.”

“And what about these?” she asked, motioning to the pile I have laid out on the tables. 

“The first table here contains the memories I don’t know what to do with,” I shrugged. “Minor things that hold no significance to the Host. Bits of trivia that aren’t conversation starters. Really don’t know where to file these away.”

Evelin assessed the cluttered and the organized and nodded. “Seems like you have a better knack at this than the last person. This job really drove them up the wall.”

“What can I say,” I said. “I’m a natural.”

I kept up with work, making sure to sort anger in the proper receptacle, labeling the serotonin and dopamine properly, filing away the important, life-changing memories in their proper storage bin. I cataloged conversations by subject and audience. Archived text messages and letters. And tucked away the sentimental value of objects in their proper exhibitions.

But one day, something happened. 

Continue reading “The Muse”
Stream of Consciousness

Things Lost in the Woods

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

She stood at its entrance, noticing how the trees filtered out the bright sun. She felt its pull, its beckoning. She wondered if he felt the same pull. Wondered if he stood there just as she was, trying to make sense of the need to enter the woods. The breeze rustled through the leaves, swaying the branches. It swirled across the ground and spiraled the debris toward her. A welcoming gift. And in the end, she crossed its border, feeling the woods swallow her up.

“Everything goes quiet,” she thought with a smile, “in Night Ocean.”

Stream of Consciousness

“And if you’re ever around…”

Photo by Daniel Reche from Pexels

Do you still read these posts? Keeping track of a life lived on display? There are nights when I lay staring up at the darkened ceiling, wondering if some part of you still think about me like I do you. There are moments in my life, stories that unravel with the passage of time, and I find myself wishing there was some way to let you know.

Continue reading ““And if you’re ever around…””
Stream of Consciousness

A Trilogy of Heartbreaks Part 3 of 3

In the end, we were on separate islands. I had the boat, but you kept the paddles. No matter how hard I tried, the tide would drift me out farther into sea.

At night, our phone calls were sparse. An echoed sentiment of what we used to mean to each other. “How do you do?” to “I’m fine. How about you?”

Once I left you on hold as I collected myself in another room. I painted you a portrait with my tears, though I had no watercolor. Blank canvas – visual epitaph of our relationship.

You were the chapter I never read past. The book left in rough draft. A manuscript left on a train.

To say that you were the one who got away is a misnomer. I never had you in the first place. You belonged to the air, loose leafed notebook paper dancing a sweet bellow.

Stream of Consciousness

The Last Goodbye

I lean back into my seat. On the coffee table, a sprawl of napkins, coasters, and untouched drinks. Alcoholic, of course, because I’m in the bar again. Always the bar. I don’t even drink in real life, yet all these scenarios and conversations take place in the same bar.

From here, I can see Mackie and Anderson at the bar talking up some bird about their latest endeavors. And I don’t mean that in any derogatory way. They’re literally talking to a bird whose owner, a stage performer, is busy chatting up one of the headlining acts. A magician by the looks of it. The poor beast – the bird not the magician – looks unsettled by the words spilling form the mouths of demons. And I wonder where’s Chrysanthemum is at the moment.

“She’s picking her teeth in the restroom,” they say, settling in the seat across from me.

Again with the androgyny. Neither male nor female. A mix of best parts of the two. They’re wearing a blazer. Hair parted to the side. An undercut showing a road map of tattoos depicting the birth of the universe by the snap of their fingers.

“How did you know what I was thinking?” I ask.

They give me a quizzical look and smirk. “C’mon, are you still so surprised by that gift. On the one hand, all-knowing deity. On the other, a figment of your imagination you turn to whenever ever you’re having one of these – what do you call it? – crisis of disbelief?”

“Something like that,” I respond.

“And anyway, who the fuck cares? Now you called me,” they say taking a drink before spitting it back into the glass. “Jesusfuck, what the hell is this?”

“Grape Kool-Aid.”

“You ordered me grape Kool-Aid? Why?”

“It’s my imagination, isn’t it?”

“You existential, pseudo-philosophical dipshits.” They wipe their mouth with a napkin, crumpling it and setting it inside the glass to soak up the wine. Because, apparently, I can do that. “Now why did you call me here?”

I start before pausing. In the corner of my eye, I see her stepping out of the restroom. She turns and gives a dissatisfied look at her comrades and their new pet. The stage performer and the magician have disappeared. She turns to face me, lifts a knowing eyebrow, turns on her heel and heads out the door.

“I don’t need you anymore,” I say.

“You breaking up with me, kid? In a public place? Isn’t that a bit too cliche? Do you think I’m really the type to make a scene?”

“You are because you’re me. And I don’t need you anymore.”

“You sure about that?”

I nod.

“Well okay,” they say, getting up and buttoning their blazer. “But I’m talking the boys with me.”

“Of course, you have to.”

“It’s a Thanos-snap away, kid. Have you thought about this?”

“No,” I say. Because it’s the truth.

“Okay then,” they say and snap their fingers.

It happens to the bird first. Neither Anderson or Mackie seem to notice. Or care. Not even when they too begin to dissolve into nothing. The last words uttered from their mouths – “Cheers” – as they lift their glasses in no general direction until they’re nothing. One by one, they all begin to dust away, not noticing that they’re being erased from existence.

“I can’t say that I’m proud of you kid, but,” they begin, “this has been some ride. May the next one of me be more – I don’t know – benevolent or some shit.”

“See you around,” I say, standing up as my chair and the rest of the bar dissolve.

“No,” they smirk. “You won’t.”

And they’re gone too.

I turn and she’s standing there. “You ready, kid?”

“I’m older than you,” I say.

“If you say so.”

We begin to walk, her steps fall alongside mine.

“‘Where to now?” Chrysanthemum asks.

“I’m thinking a bookstore. That’s more my scene.”

In the distance, a figure stands. Clad in black. A relic from another time. They crack their neck. Neither man nor woman. And smile spreads across their black lipstick stained mouth.

“It’s been some time, hasn’t it?”

Stream of Consciousness

“We’ll rotate around the room on different planets”

There were times when I plotted the trajectory of my path. Where I’d end up, who I’d meet on the way. When I’ll marry and when I’ll have a child. When my job would take me places. And when I’ll pass on to the great beyond.

Don’t remember what it was like to write down these ideas, marking them up and making them poems. Reading them in front of the mic to an captive audience who heard every word spoken and watched my emotion unravel for their entertainment. All these years living without a map, without a outline. Making friends as I go and falling in love with people who I shouldn’t have even given a second thought.

But there are times when swinging from the noose left for me on the ceiling seems far more captivating than lying in bed wondering where things went south. And there are times when your voice pulls me out of whatever mess I’ve made for myself, and when did I become so dependent. When did I give you my reins?

Dress me how you want to see me. Sell me on the idea that I’m important enough to give a damn about myself. Listen to what these lines say before they’re snorted away.

Is there any reason why I call you up when things get at their worse? Because the swinging from the noose left for me seems far more interesting than dragging this carcass through this life. And maybe there’s a place where I can find some peace, but I highly doubt it. Because there’s so much I want to say, but each time I open my mouth…

…silence and a gasp for air.