fiction, life, stories, woman, writing

Waiting

The sound of pounding from all rubber stamps the tellers used drowned out the excruciating pain in the depths of her stomach. The wafting smell of ink and freshly printed paper adding to her nausea. Blinking back tears and breathing deeply telling herself she was going to be okay. She closed her eyes and for a few seconds she was able to just be. To become fully aware of her own being. To realize that at the end of the day, all she ever had was only herself, and it mattered that she realized that and give herself a little more attention than what he may have given her. She rolled her eyes inside her head to try and relieve some of the pressure in her head. Slowly losing herself in her thoughts that mattered to her before he had happened, and before every familiar face became a calculative measure of how it might be to be that person with many to love her and none to hurt.

When she slowly came to, and opened her eyes, the bank was dark. She worried maybe her grief had driven her to blindness. An upsurge of fear and panic emerged from the depths of her very expecting core, until the person sitting next to her shrugged and said, ‘imagine what a power outage like this is costing the market right now.’ A gentle unbidden smile in return before she got up, gathered her papers, and ran out of the bank lobby. The fresh air –unladen with the smell of ink– rushing into her lungs in deep breaths. First breath, burning, second breath, burning, third breath, chilling, fourth breath, adjusted chilling, fifth breath, calming, sixth breath, calming, seventh breath, normal.

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This Vaudeville Life

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It is often said that the things that happen once the curtain falls is what helps you determine what or who the person is. But what I can tell you, having stood in the scorching heat of that massive spotlight, is that it’s imperative you see the version of me on stage in order to put into perspective and understand by contrast what I am really like as I trod through life without the costume jewelry and powdered face.

Imagine this: At age four I was sold to a group of traveling performers that stayed with my family for a few days on their journey to their next city stop. Everyone had fallen on hard times then. I imagine my mother imagined I would have a better life, certainly a more interesting life, if I belonged to a group of out-of-commission musicians instead of growing up with a spade or pitchfork in my hands scraping at the dry land that refused to put forth anything but sallow yellow dust, unyielding in its entirety even if it meant the death of hungry mouths and wasting figures. The group consisted of both men and women, six of them in total. They pitied the couple with shrunken cheekbones who shared what little fare they had for the few days they chose to rest at the ramshackle barn in their empty yellow land. The least they could do was pay them back somehow. But they wouldn’t allow them to just give them money without being given something else in return, and because the choice was between a bad tempered scrawny cat or their 4 year old daughter, they asked if they could take their 4 year old daughter with them. The musicians figured it was better to subject the child to a life of wandering roads and some good music than one of poignant hardship and eventual death from starvation. And that is how I grew up with a group of traveling performers – some actors, some musicians, and one magician. Although the latter of the lot hardly ever performed since he spent a majority of this days with his rose colored nose dipped in cheap whiskey and wine. But even while I was adapting to my new life of amusement, music and performances, I remained unrelenting in my values like that of someone who had struggled miserably in life. Always consistent and almost naturally hardy in my core, like I had lived through the hardship the farm had promised anyhow.

I spent a good deal of my early teens wearing raggedy hand me downs and learning to play the harp for the theatrical acts. Of course life didn’t let me remain the gaunt girl with the skeletal figure playing the harp in the corner. The one I would have most liked to be till the very end. Life had plans. My auburn hair grew long and dark with curls in it. My breasts filled out the one size too large dresses I was passed down by the older women in the lot. My limbs lengthened and my skin turned an exotic brown from all the walking I did with the group. My unusually large rounded eyes added character to my performance in the theatrical bits, or so I was told repeatedly by the troupe leader. I was made to learn acrobatics from the acrobats in the group. From the day I was given my own solo performance my life became a cycle of solicited large audiences to keep us afloat and many an unsolicited attention from men with their wandering gazes and wandering hands. Despite the numbness I generally felt towards everything in life, fear…..and this is something people don’t tell you, but even in your state of being indifferent and unfeeling in anything, fear springs eternal just as hope does. That little protuberance of fear, the one that forms itself a little more prominently in the left side of your chest, will always be there. Even when you tell yourself you didn’t care whether you lived or you didn’t. And that was my contrast.

I used to perform to this musical number which was my favorite bit to do, and it was the act that either opened or closed our show. It was the one where all the musicians set up on the front row facing the stage and I danced alone, on stage, through metal hoops set up with shimmering bells dangling from them. It was the one where I forgot for the duration of the song that I wore clothes I did not feel comfortable in. It was the one song where I looked around to spot the children in the audience and wondered if it was a different feeling altogether to grow up with a family. To have a father and a mother devoted to loving just you. Sometimes the hoops I danced with were set on fire and even in the heat of the overhead light and the flames I was my most confident. No fear. No perturbation. And it is during this particular number that you will see my one stark contrast that puts into perspective the version of me on stage and the one behind the fallen curtain. It isn’t the contrast between the opulence of the velvet in my skirt on stage and my simple faded cotton dress I wear every day, or the color on my lips as I smile at the people to my constant lip chewing as I sit there thinking about a little more than nothing. It is mostly the contrast between the person I become in the most physically threatening moment during my performance and the person I become when threatened by fear, no matter how little, in real life.

I don’t wonder too much about my parents or the farm they picked me up from. That was not my life. That was not where I was meant to be. They tell me my life is better this way, with them, performing, and even though I cannot imagine how that might be so, I believe them.

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LOVE: This Thing, This Sense, This Experience (A first Valentines Day short story attempt)

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“We must give them something to aspire to,” said the oldest.

The first-borns had gathered there amidst the wise cedars known for having been the only living things to have seen the dawn of gods, and then those of men. “Destruction shall hail if we leave the last-borns to continue living without a course to follow. They will find that the meaninglessness of their existence brings forward darkness from the depths of their soul. This will ensure that they will become the cause of their own demise,” said another.
“How shall we determine what the course? What fictional stories should we chart as part of their memories, as part of their history?” said the third.
Then the oldest spoke again, “We must give them something to aspire to. Something that will make them never want to harm each other. Something that will make them want to embrace one another. Something that even when it isnt there, is always ruling over her hearts, their minds, and their souls.”
“Does such a thing even exist? Can such a thing even be created?” asked the skeptic of the lot.
“Thats what we were placed here to do. As the first-borns of this world, it is our duty to ensure that the mechanical dawns and dusks that this land will witness never causes such a languor among the last-borns that they question their own existence. Worst still, that they question the existence of another. It is our responsibility to create such a cycle of life that one born will learn to value the existence of another just as much as their own being.”
So the skeptic spoke again, “And precisely how are we to complete this task of creating such a thing, such an object, which should create such a power, such an inhibition over the last-borns and do it in such a way that its something merely fortuitous?”

Silence………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Then the most quiet one spoke, “It shall not be a thing or an object. It shall not be tangible. It shall not have a physical presence. For if it was, it shall become the object of their constant concern. They will dwell on it, and fixate on it, till it creates the threat of being destroyed, stolen, or even manipulated by those who will continue to question their existence. It has to be a memory, a sensation if you will. Inherent to their being itself.”
“Well said!” said the oldest first-born.
“It shall be a state that they will experience. It shall be inherent, as if it is something they have already experienced and therefore know how important it is that they should be able to experience it again. The last-borns will always assume it shall be a state that they may experience. It shall become something they will aspire to experience.”
“Will each one experience it on their own? And will each experience vary from the next?” asked the skeptical first-born.
“Good….we must examine every littlest hint with suspicion. Once we create this ‘thing’ we cannot reverse it. Its existence shall go out into all lands and linger as an inherent part of every being. We must examine every hint and make sure we have not erred.”
Then the quiet one spoke again, “If we want each last-born to value their being as much as anothers, then it must be something they should need each other to experience. The experience they will share with the other will be so that the two shall experience it exactly the same.”
“Would not the redundancy of it bring forth questioning and then darkness of the soul?” asked the skeptic.
“It shall be so that one last-born may experience it with more than one other. We cannot create a thing that only allows one last-born to value only one another. They must be able to experience it with all others. And no two experience will be the same. Their existence shall be allowed more than just one course. They must feel as if they are the makers of their own experiences. They must be given choices,” said the oldest.
“Then it is decided,” said the skeptic. “The experience shall exist. It shall be such a thing that the last-borns will always hope and aspire to it. It will make the continuum of dawn and dusks bearable. It will make sure the no thoughts of taking away or questioning the existence of another born will be created. It will make one born dependable on another to experience it. It will be valued more than the most precious physical thing, but will only exist as a sense so inherent to their own being they will not be able to remember when was the time first that they experienced it to know its desirable. It will also always be a part of their presentiment. They will continue to aspire to it till their souls have to leave their being.”

Silence…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

The first-borns gather closer to create this ‘thing’, this ‘sense’, this ‘experience’. As they complete their task, and before it is unleashed upon all the lands and all the last-borns that will come to be, the oldest questions, “What shall this thing, this sense, this experience of such importance to all existence from now on be known?”

Silence……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

As it spreads through the skies, waters, and lands, the quiet one replies, “Love!”
“It shall be known from this consequence forward as love. And all shall desire it so much so that one will learn to value another born’s existence just as much as their own.”

~*THE END*~

(Happy Valentines Day everyone!!! Learn to love one another *_^)

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