Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Heaven still meant something. Didn’t it? It had to, to believe anything else was to acknowledge that the day to day drudgery of mundane sameness was all there was, and that was too unpleasant a thought to entertain. Yes, there were moments of joy, elation, ecstasy and genuine happiness, but they were fleeting and vastly outnumbered by stress, fatigue, apathy, depression, anger, hatred, jealousy… the list went on and on and the scales felt unevenly tipped.

The idea of heaven gave people something to strive for, an idea that calmed the fear of death and incented most souls to be kind to one another. Of course there were those who didn’t give a flying rat’s ass about kindness and instead derived their joy from of the misery of others, but wasn’t joy still joy no matter the cause?

I had been the source of Mark’s joy for a decade. Every day he shared his joy with me: fists, cigarette burns and belittling comments magically transforming his joy into my pain when transferred from him to me. The very last time he shared his joy with me I damn near died, and as the surge of electricity delivered from the defibrillators surged through my body to pull be back from death I heard someone whisper in my mind: Don’t go. I’m waiting.

That was three years ago. That was a year of physical therapy ago. That was a lifetime ago.

The longest lasting of my scars was my thickly grown reserve. I kept my heart sheltered and my trust locked away, unwilling to share either for fear of reliving the same kind of joy all over again. I had worked hard physically, emotionally and spiritually to ensure I would never again be a victim, but that kind of impenetrable armor made it impossible for anyone to get close to me. It was both lonely and comforting.

Sitting in the corner of my favorite coffee shop I quietly sipped my honey latte as I read the latest Christopher Moore novel, chuckling to myself from time to time at his wry humor. Glancing at the clock on the wall I gathered my things and rose from the worn leather chair I’d occupied, finishing off my coffee before heading toward the door, waving at the familiar staff.

“Hey!” I heard the voice behind me but paid it no mind, it was undoubtedly one of the staff but the next time it spoke a familiar bell went off in my head and made me stop. “Don’t go.”

Pausing by the door I turned and let my brown eyes scan the various seating areas, coming to a stop on the tall man who had gotten to his feet and was walking toward me. I glanced behind me, certain he was calling out to someone else but then he stopped directly in front of me and smiled as he extended his hand.

He seemed strangely familiar as I stared from his hand to his eyes and I could feel the frown on my face, “I think you have me confused with someone else,” I said simply.

He smiled wider, hand still extended, “I’m waiting.”

The bell in my head went off again and I struggled to understand why he seemed so familiar to me. Slowly, reluctantly I reached out and grasped his hand in a firm handshake. The touch of his skin flooded my mind with the voice that had called to me the moment I’d died, his voice, and the comfortable sound turned my armor to insubstantial smoke that disappeared in a puff of tentative trust.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Love Died That Day

It was an endless cycle that she was in and there was no way end it, not even if she truly wanted out. She woke every morning not knowing where she would be or what to expect. She knew she would be many places at once, she always was but she knew herself well enough to know that she would always became more involved in one case each day. Nothing and no one was ever the same after her touch.

From the moment she opened her eyes each day it was like watching a movie. Countless times over the eons she had heard that she was in control when in truth she wasn’t, there wasn’t anything she could do to affect the outcome of any situation; she was simply along for the emotional ride.

Some people were very determined to hold onto her when they really should be letting her go. Others tossed her aside as easily as a stone, having not felt her weight or her value. Grasping, needy, desperate, content, complacent, or toxic; everyone twisted her into what they thought she should be when all they needed to do was take her as she was. Unconditional acceptance and no demands to change were the things that made her rich and precious and fragile.

As her eyes opened with the dawn she saw them. They were standing in the center of a well appointed bedroom, the décor as elegant as the pair themselves. He wore tailored slacks of dove grey, sharply creased down the front and back, into which was tucked an ivory shirt of the finest silk, the Mother of Pearl buttons shining with subtle iridescence in the soft morning light. His dark hair was still damp from his shower and he spoke as he resumed moving around the room in his typical morning routine.

The woman was statuesque. Easily 6 feet tall her slender frame was wrapped in a red silk dress, flattering her figure to the fullest with a silver chain belt accentuating her waist while the sweetheart neckline framed her décolleté with a perfect balance of propriety and temptation. Ivory silk stockings sheathed her impossibly long legs and she slipped into red leather Vera Wang heels as their conversation continued.

Watching the scene unfold before her was like coming into a book only pages from the end, which had always bothered her, if she had gotten there sooner would there have been a different outcome. She would never know. And now she watched this couple dredge up past aggravations, past complaints, past hurt… past past past. Rarely was the death stroke anything current, instead past feelings were wielded like weapons quietly stored away… just in case.

She wanted them to yell at each other, to flail and rant and rave, any show of emotion was better than none. Her most common and painful killer was apathy and laziness. People became complacent, comfortable, and stopped appreciating what attracted them to each other in the first place. She no longer met him at the door in sexy lingerie, seducing him and stirring in him pleasure he’d never known. He no longer brought her flowers or told her how beautiful she was to him even when she looked her worst.

Apathy was deadly to her.

Their argument was nearing its end, after so many millennia she could sense it and she held her breath, waiting. They never shouted, never yelled, they simply agreed that they were done and as the door closed in their wake the click of the steel mechanism sliding into place was like a shotgun blast to the chest. The scene went black as she fell to the floor as she had done a millions times before; Love died that day but would blossom elsewhere from a seed called hope.