Friday, October 28, 2011

Out There


That's what I was, and I was thankful that I'd practiced being blind as a child...just in case.
But this, this was not the same as toe-ing my way across my safe bedroom, bumping into soft, upholstered furniture, giggling at my own awkwardness.

I crawled sightlessly across a strange, cold, cement floor on my stomach. The coppery, pungent smell of thick blood filled my nostrils, and I realized that the blood was mine. There was little pain at this point. I'm not sure if that's because I wasn't hurt as badly as I made myself out to be, or because my subconscious was repressing the pain in an effort to keep me sane enough to escape this increasingly perilous situation.

Somebody had done something bad to me, and now that it was over and the Bad One had gone away, it was time to find my way back home. Blindly.

My fingertips traced the cracks in the floor. I pushed into them, using them for leverage to pull my weak and damaged body along. The slipperiness of the warm blood helped me to slide myself more hastily.

I had no idea where the exit was. A welcoming waft of air blew past me. I turned my face into it and smelled the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked blueberry muffins.




I followed. I grunted as I scooted, scaring myself by not crying. Surely I should be crying. How inhuman could I be that I didn't think this was worth a few sobs?

Fuck it, I thought. I'll cry later when I'm safe at home with my mom and a basket full of muffins.

But that couldn't happen either. Mom was already gone. Much more gone than I was at that point, and I almost cried at the memory of that, but stifled it when I remembered that I was wasting time thinking about this nonsense. I should have been concentrating on getting the hell out of there.

A wall. I bumped into it and felt along the bottom, struggling to reach a doorway. It seemed to take a very long time, but the closer I came, the louder the low hum of an air conditioner became. I don't know why I didn't notice that before. I could have used it as a guide.

I think I was in a garage. I began to notice the stench of my father, like motor oil and cigarettes swirling in my head. This made sense to me, because he had been a mechanic all the years I lived with him growing up. Nowadays, he's a truck driver, and I have no idea what he smells like.


The passageway was there. I felt along the bottom where the door meets the threshold, and I pulled myself up by grabbing the knob and hoisting my body against the wall. I was heavier and weaker than I had ever been. I wasn't sure if I would be able to walk after this. Just my luck to be blind and crippled in one little outing. This is why I should never have left the house. These are the kinds of things that happen out there.

The light spilled over me like pink, silk ribbons.




Friday, October 21, 2011

Two Lost Souls

The world was ending.

Well, I think I'll rephrase that.

Our world was ending; the world as we knew it was coming to a violent and abrupt cessation. The population had already gone violent, and the ocean levels had begun to rise. The sirens had long been silenced by an angry mob of looters, rapists or killers. No humans were expected to survive.

Sadly, there were no zombies.

I've always wondered what the end of civilization would be like. What could have caused it? A T-virus? Global warming? Unfortunate planetary alignment? The Bomb?

And how would I react to the knowledge that these were the last days? What would I do? Who would I call? Would there be tears? Would I suddenly develop certain conviction in my so-called faith? Would I repent and pray?

Of course not.

I spent it cuddled up on a couch with that green-eyed, prank-playing, cigarette smoking hero who's been the star of too many of my dreams lately. If he ever bothered to read this, he'd recognize himself in a heartbeat, and probably think I'd become some kind of obsessed stalker, but he'd be wrong. My subconscious picks him because he's safe. My subconscious understands that I'm afraid of commitment, and he's afraid of commitment, so he's been listed permanently under the "Fantasy Only" column. Safe. No commitment- no heartache. Safe.

Yet, there we were, doing the crossword together in the middle of the swirling ocean, floating past pieces of debris that used to be structured buildings and vehicles that we once called part of daily life. I knew it was crazy to be doing that thing with that person, even as I dreamed it, but it didn't keep me from enjoying the situation.

"Twelve down, a dead person, five letters, second letter O."

"Goner," I said, and laughed. and then he laughed too, because were were pretty much all goners at that point.

"You're so sexy when you do that," he said, and I pulled back a little to look him square in the eye. He's never said anything like that to me. He never gave me any indication that he thought I was attractive at all. He was supposed to be safe. Calling me sexy was not safe.

"What is wrong with you?" I asked him.

"I'm trying to flirt with you." He grimaced.

"We are sitting on a tipsy couch floating in the middle of a trash-filled, turbulent ocean with an undetermined amount of time left on this disintegrating planet, and NOW you want to try and flirt with me? Where are your priorities?"

"I must not be very good at it. I've been flirting with you all along. You just never noticed."

I wasn't horrified by his confession, but I was dumbfounded. Had I really dismissed him so easily? Have I been moving through life blind to his affections? As I turned back to my crossword to think more about it, he wrapped a strong arm around my shoulder and kissed my temple. We floated along, content with the warmth of each other.

"The brownies are done," he told me. And then I woke up. The kitchen timer was beeping.
Thank goodness. It was just a dream after all. Of course it was just a dream, I knew that, silly me. He hadn't actually been flirting with me.

I'm still safe.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Just When I Least Expect It

I don't remember why I had that half-man, half-monster face down on a cold, concrete floor with my knee shoved into his back. I can vaguely recall some sort of wild chase, some violence and shouting. The one thing I do remember for sure was that I was scared and unsure that I would be able to handle the situation on my own. The creature had uneven, nasty, sharp teeth protruding from his face, and my hand was inches from being devoured. I knew I was going to need that hand for later. I struggled to maintain the hold I had.

I was concentrating on that when my green-eyed hero showed up to rescue me. I had dreamed of him before, but he had never done much more than keep me company.

He charged in and made quick work of the monster. I can still hear the snarling and snorting and grunting. Some from the monster, some from him. His focus was more on disposing of the creature, not on saving me, but that didn't keep me from being grateful to him and his beautiful sea moss eyes.

When it was all over, I wrapped my arms around his neck to thank him. He seemed stunned at first. He hesitated. I could feel his confusion, but it only lasted for a moment. His arms wrapped around me, not only to return the hug, but to comfort me. I could feel his face turn into my neck. I felt the quick kiss against my hair.

Then I froze.

I can count on one hand the number of times I've been comforted by a hug. It always throws me off when somebody does it simply to make me feel better. It is a kindness I do not receive often and never expect when it happens.

Even in my dream, it threw me off kilter, but at least in the dream, I was able to relax. I laid my head on his shoulder, closed my eyes and accepted the warmth.