They curled up together like two foxes hidden away in a dark hole in a vast windswept plain. They lay hidden away, in each other’s arms, with the light flickering off their face.
A single pumpkin candle under a bed, and some blankets provided the light and warmth for them on that winter night. The air itself was a blue black velvet, fading away to a silver white tip that leaked out the glass foggy windows to the fields which were outlined in sharp full moonbeams. Really that world didn’t exist, and the only thing that was, was here, in the yellow light beneath the box springs. The bed was both very high up, and they were scrunched down, with bare inches of head room between their matted hair and the wire mesh underside of the bed frame. The ceiling was a burlap textured grain color, crisscrossed with black wire lines like bare tree limbs.
They were alone in the house after a long time away from each other, and after a constant wet damp dripping on their bed, they had forged ahead, geared up, and spelunkered their way deep in the caverns of folded quilts deep dusty floor boards underneath which underground rivers ran in gurgling metal clanking springs. The constant tip tap had receded into a steady dull thump. Outside that pale round globe bore everything invisible into the visible.
Before it had been dark, and the storms had rumbled deep in the metal. The frame of the bed shivered, the pipes in the ground shivered, and everything groaned with a tired summer humidity, bitten now with the southern winter crisp. There had not been any light outside, the windows had just been obsidian squares laid in the wall, with nothing beyond them. The house had been pitched underground, down a sink hole. It had been transformed into a submarine when the power went out and left them two trapped on the inside. The sudden deafening roar of rain on the tin roof had sealed them down deeper. A thousand years a part, and now together, a lone, but sealed in a tomb. Finally a bed, cold and too hard to sleep in, with blankets feeling like cold wet leaves against the skin. The only escape had been a life raft, a subterrain hole, that they had ducked down into, like a speakeasy in a back alley rain.
Prompt by Jaclyn Willner: A scene that takes place entirely under a bed
“So you think she will say yes?” One hand was clenched by her side and her eyebrows were furrowed in thought.
“Um… I guess? I mean how does this work? Are you supposed to be proposing to her?” he sat on the stool next to her, leaning over, slumped like a rubber slinky.
“Yeah… I guess?” Her lips pursed.
“Or is she? Whose turn is it to propose? You or her?” He raised his eyebrows their eyes met for a second beyond the awkward silence.
“I guess so. It’s not like there’s a book called “How to Propose to your Lesbian Lover” She snorted air out her nose and pawed at the chair she was sitting on.
“That’s be an interesting book.” He kind of looked off dreamily.
“Huh, yeah. True that.” She slowly replied, avoiding his gaze.
“But then what? So you think she will go for it?” She finally straightened up and began drilling holes in him with her eyes.
“I guess so. I mean I know she cares about you. How much more do you want?” A shrug from his shoulders.
“I don’t want to get shot down.” She looked down again and began fiddling with her feet.
“I wouldn’t either I guess. Have you guys talked about it?” A pointed finger poked the dot in the question mark.
“Yes.” Stiff, no tone.
“A little or a lot?” Some further prodding.
“A little of a lot. Like little bits here and there.” A finger tracing invisible lines on the table.
“I’m scared” she said.
“Go for it.”
“I guess so. Go for it. Ask Dad first though. I know she’s always joked about that. Wanting to have whoever she settles down with ask for her hand in marriage from Dad first. It’s kind of an old tradition thing. Our Dad asked our grandpa, and I think she wants to keep that tradition alive.”
“Should I get down on one knee too?”
“Hahaha yeah. Go for it.”
Prompt by Dan:
A lesbian asks her girlfriend’s brother if he thinks her girlfriend would say yes if she proposed.
I miss your touch. I don’t even know if I miss you, because it’s been so long since we were trapped in that dark room spotlit under a tiny warm desk lamp, as if anything beyond the yellow wasn’t real. That’s been a long time, but I miss your touch.
It filled up in me a happiness that I couldn’t describe. People like to boil things down to sex, to just hooking up and getting it on, but I think that’s just a very adult way of defending the heart. In the end, I just want someone I can hold, something solid I can touch and know is real beyond the doubts in my head. Another person, who isn’t just a distant idea that thinks and talks, but is infinitely far away from me as a person across the world on a wire. Someone who I know is real, because I have touched them, every part of their body, feeling the curve of their spin against my stomach, and the crook of your chin and neck on my face.
We parted ways, and on good terms to, considering the kind of person I am. I hold to these too strong, and they struggle in my grasp like a cat that has been hugged to hard. Cats will stay in your arms, but only for awhile, and if you hug them they get quite annoyed. Squeezing too hard is something I have a problem with. We parted on good terms.
The times in our lives when we are most alone, are the times when making a meaningful connection can be most hard, because we are driven in an always changing world. We know in the back our mind that we aren’t here to stay, that this is just a bus stop, and we as strangers are only making small talk to make the awkwardness pass away until our bus comes and we gone on with our lives across the world.
I’ve had enough lost friendships to grow used to them, and understand that that’s the way the world works, that I can always find new people and get on with my life. I am not pining for you, because I also understand what I was missing was not you, but your touch. I’m not missing you, and I wouldn’t change things or the way they happened. Maybe I would change the world we live in instead.
I hate romantic triangles. They’re stupid. In a movie, you get all this needless drama. Does she love him? Or him? You get an hour and a half of her choosing between two men, when really, its pretty freaking obvious which one she should choose. The rich douchebag jerk with the nice car, or the quiet humble funny guy? Yeah, realistic choice there. The fact she can’t choose proves that she isn’t worth having.
But she is. She really is, because it’s not black and white like the bullshit dramas. He really is a great guy. He’s smart and kind, and he can be a pretentious bore, he also really cares about her. I can tell.
I think I’m a pretty guy too, and I want to be with her so badly. We just fit together. She’s smart but honestly she’s just a goofball inside. I know her deep down, to that part of her that’s still a kid. That’s what I’m good at bringing out. We spent 4 hours just sitting on my bed snuggled under the blankets listening to the rain outside and talking about cartoons.
Like I said though, he’s good with her too. They get in these heated debates, always keeping one step ahead of the other. He respects her, and she admires him. In the end they usually end up agreeing though they don’t like to admit they are the same side, because their relationship is fueled on conflict and the colliding of opposites. They both really really believe in what they’re doing. They both want to change the world. They’re romantics at heart.
I can’t compete with that.
I mean I can. I mean, at least, I’m not doing this because I don’t think I can compete. I just mean, I don’t want to compete. I want them to be together, because it makes me happy to see them together too.
Thanks. Thanks for the time you spent with me. I wasn’t sure if those times could last, because even then I could feel this strain, this pull between two alternative universes, like looking down two different time streams of “What-If”, and seeing you living two different lives. Thank you for giving me that possible future, even if I am now saying good bye to it. It’s given me strength, and I take comfort in what could have been. A possible future, still untouched is a wonderful to-be truth.
And hey. You friend. Probably one of my best friends in the world, maybe more so because you stole the woman who stole my heart. Take care of her. She is my gift to you. I love you both dearly.
Prompt by Daily Fix
Dating a psychic is hard. No, I don’t mean one of those tarot card ladies who tell your future. I mean dating a telepath is hard. I once dated a guy, before I dated the psychic in question, and it was a pretty co-dependent relationship. Not healthy at all. I was really dependent on him, while he lived to serve my every want and desire. When you are in high school it feels like it makes sense. You see this one beautiful unique person and think they hold all the meaning in the world for you. They “complete” you the saying goes, as if, if you lived a part from them you would cease to be a whole person. I was incapable of being my own person, and he was too, shackled to my own selfish desires that battered his infatuated devotion. Well, dating a psychic is like that but worse. Much much worse.
Even before I speak these words, he knows what I want. When I lie to him, he doesn’t just see it in my eyes, he hears it in my head. It’s a one sided relationship. It’s a long distance relationship. Its both of those for me, because he’s in my head, and I’m not in his.
He gets stiff and overly concerned around me. He hyperventilates over every little thing, perhaps because he can hear ever unfiltered thought. It doesn’t mean anything, its just thoughts, whims, the stuff that passes through my head. It doesn’t really mean anything. I feel smothered and engulfed by his constant care, and I just wish he would get out of my head.
During the summer we both go home. We live on opposite sides of the country, which is honestly a relief because he can’t hear my thoughts over webcam. At those times, I remember why I liked him in the first place. He’s casual and free. He doesn’t second guess what I say. He’s a complete person. He’s not constantly trying to follow my every mood, guide my every step. And I am a complete person, who can pick up and leave him boxed up in my computer screen. It would work, if we never had to see each other face to face.
Prompt by Jacob Carr: You know what I’m going to say before my mouth even makes a sound.
And that is why I am breaking up with you.
The concept is good. I would like to work this into more of a narrative to strengthen the themes more.
“I’m a two faced liar. I mean that literally. Really. Everything I am fixing to tell you is a lie. I assure you.
I have multiple personality disorder. I have literally two people living in my head, two faces, or perhaps I’m just two halves of a person. I lie about everything to the point that its second nature. I feed off of honest moments. You were right when you told me that I lie to keep being vulnerable. I use people. I have them open up to me, because it puts me in a position of power over them. I help them, but I make sure to keep myself locked behind a door. It’s not something I like having pointed out to me. I push people away, and what makes me fun to be around, makes me also impossible to love.
It’s not my fault though. I am telling you, this isn’t me. There is me, and then there is not me, who lives in myself. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. This other person is what makes me lie. This other part of me is something people will never love. I had a psychotic break last spring you know? “
“No. I didn’t know.”
“Yeah. I had three people who were really important to me, die in the span of two months. My uncle died. Also this girl who I knew from school. I was like the last person to talk to her, and I didn’t know. My uncle committed suicide. He was like the last important person in my life. I’ve written off my family. Now I just live in my pickup truck, and sleep in the college parking lot.
After that things just weren’t the same. I couldn’t sleep, I had periods of time where I didn’t remember what was happening. I had another personality. I have another person living in my head.”
“Wow, that’s really extreme. I didn’t know. Why didn’t you say anything?”
“I can’t. Like I said. I just lie. In fact. I am lying right now.”
Prompt: Once again—-Life. Its just been an interesting couple of days of self reflection.
That wasn’t the end.
Moving on with a realtionship is really hard. There is some part of you that gets really tangled up in a relationship, and makes it hard to be objective. I’ve spent months miserable, fucked up beyond belief. In the middle of the most depressing and trying parts of my life or unlife, I have convinced myself that I was happy, and I was not. I was no where close. That was about as close to happiness as death is to birth.
It should first be made clear that I am dead. I died. Ghost, phantom, denaturized amplitude of a defunct harmonic soul wavelength. Whatever you want to call it. I’m dead, as in, my body is now maggot food. Was maggot food. Now it’s just bones, since I have been dead for… what is it? Thirteen months, yeah. I was 17 and now I am dead.
I had a girlfriend. My first and worst, mostly since I was a naïve nerd with romantic notions in his head. Romantic in the “Hero saving the princess” kind of way. Not romantic as in “romantic comedy.” No one was laughing.
I had a girlfriend and I was blindly in love or something. Or something? Just my idea of her, or what she could be, or what I wanted to be. In my magnified mind, I turned silly teenage flirting into a life changing, soul binding adventure. That is pretty typical of teenagers I guess. Every teenage couple wants to believe that they are Romeo and Juliet. What they forget is that, it’s a tragedy. A story really about how stupid people are between the ages of 13-19.
I didn’t die fighting a dragon, or defending her honor or life. I died from a allergy attack to some chemical I had never come in contact with and could have lived my entire life probably never being exposed to. It wasn’t a meaningful or heartfelt death. It was just scary, arbitrary and way too fast.
That has to fuck up a girl right? I imagine it did, but one of the great things about human nature is how we can adapt, change, and grow past our downfalls. Except that isn’t quite in my nature. I am dead. Every day is the same. I don’t grow, I don’t change. I am still a stupid 17 year, watching a future future frozen beyond my fingertips. She’s barely a year older, and she is packing her bags for college, like thousands of other young adults. She isn’t a kid any more. She isn’t even the same girl I fell in love with. Well fell in love with is a strong word. Infatuation? You know the drill.
Prompt by Kathaleen: write about a ghost who is haunting his old girlfriend who has already moved on and is leaving for college
There were three men standing at urinals.
“You better finish quick. Or I am going to kick you in the nuts.” And she probably meant it too. She stood behind the man in the middle.
Each of the men looked highly uncomfortable.
“What the fuck are you looking at, microdick?” She sneered down at the man uncomfortably shifting at the urinal two spaces over. There is of course, always a space in between each of these men. That small space was not enough to close the gap between her fiery glare
“We are not bringing this in here” said the Man in the Middle. A constant stream was splashing against the wall of the porcelain. Not his most ready to deal with Angry Wives time.
“And why not?” Blood shot out of the back of his head as she drilled a hole in it with her eyes.
“This isn’t really the time or the place.” He was trying to keep his composure. His pace quickened and his breathing was short and quiet.
“Yeah, and when was the time or the place for you to get on a plane and leave me behind, to go to God Knows Where.” She was yelling at this point, and the words echoed off the hard tile walls. They bounced back and forth, and wouldn’t leave, clinging like awkward memories of childhood. Like when you remember saying something really stupid, and keep regretting with a sharp afterpang for years afterwards.
“I had to leave” his voice was barely a whisper in response.
“You had to leave? Without me? We have only been married three months. Don’t tell me you found some slut down here in Maryland already. Some congressional castoff whore.” She snapped him on the back of the head.
“No. I had to leave, and I couldn’t tell you because I didn’t want to hurt you.” His back was still turned. His words just echoed off the urinal and came back hallow. The other two men rushed out of the room, without even bothering to wash their hands.
“Really? You think sneaking behind my back wouldn’t hurt me?” She was referencing to the many strange “business trips” that she had found out about only after he had left. The bills had been in his desk drawer.
The pissing sound stopped. He zipped up his pants and turned around. “I thought it would work out better. I am here for treatment.” Her eyes went wide.
“I thought you had gone into remission.” She sunk to the floor, her head against the sink.
“I had, but it came back.” He reached down and held her shoulder in his hand.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry!” She whispered. Not even an echo in that room could bounce in the dead air.
“ I am too. I should have told you. It’s okay. That’s why I have been away for the last couple of weeks. We think it’s going to be okay.” He spoke as hopefully as he could, his voice was filled with weakness and regret.
“Will it?” Those blue eyes that had drilled holes through granite and mountain, but now they were soft. Her lip was tight and worried.
“I hope so.” He replied, as he sank down on the floor next to her and held her hand in his.
Prompt by Jordan Hinahara: Write a lovers spat in a crowded public bathroom.
I have difficulty writing fights.
The air was thick with static cling and people’s muscles were tense, like passengers enveloped in the white noise roar before the plane hits the water going 600mph. The lights were dark and a single electric note sent a crooked bolt of sizzle and goosebumps across people’s skin. Adam was in the back, swamped in the buzzing dark.
The first song was an explosion, a salvation, a complete bum rush through oblivion, past hope. The crowd became a whirling kaleidoscope of love so violent it cut you deep, and violence so loving it picked you up its shoulders and shook you to the sky.
When Adam had been growing up, he had been the fat kid. Yeah the fat kid who grew up in Florida and didn’t do sports. I mean, what about sports? Why would you play sports when you grew up in the hot and humid dick of America? During the summer, you might as well wrap a hot wet rag around your face and water board yourself. It’s not comfortable.
So Yeah, Adam had grown up as the fat kid who didn’t like sports. It wasn’t till he left home he discovered what he had been made for. He was a bear, a top tier predator. It’s a common story. Fat kid hates himself. Fat kid finds out that he is strong.
Adam cleaned up, but he always was, at heart, that fat kid who didn’t run during PE. Who read a lot. Who shared his lunch with other kids. (cuz his mom packed like three sandwiches ya know)
Maybe growing up like he has meant he never grew up at all. He probably always will be that kid who shared his lunch.
All this meant that while the world sparked into a whirling typhoon, Adam was the swirling rock which it revolved around. Until it rammed smack in his side, that nearly knocked him to his feet. This was Mary.
Now, you know how this story goes. It’s pretty old, but it’s pretty good and worth telling too. At this moment, this is when Adam first met Mary. Yeah. This is one of those kinds of stories.
But let’s get this straight. The basics of a romance story, of star crossed lovers and all that bullshit is cheesy, but Mary wasn’t cheesy. She was real as salt and light. While Adam was, at heart a dreamer, Mary was a doer. She had grown up in a country, where her parents barely spoke the language. She grew up the oldest in a family of 5, while Adam grew up the youngest in a family of two. You learn to take care of shit when everyone is depending on you. That’s a lot of pressure, but it isn’t the kind of societal bullshit that gives a girl body issues. It’s the kind that calls her to adventure.
While everyone moved like water off rocks around Adam, that was just the kind of challenge that Mary was looking for. Because what’s the point of living if you aren’t pushed at your limits?
The night continued of course, and like leaves caught in chaos theory, the two dancers found themselves around, and upside down of each other. At times they were months a part, and other times they were so close and it was only them, in sync and set in the center of the pit, and nothing else. Weeks from one end of the pit to the other, months to the center, and years for the final song. Yeah, it was centuries all in that night, a complete sea of timelessness, as all reality lost synchronicity.
And what happened after that? Well I don’t know. But it has to be said that night was a beautiful fucking night.
Prompt by Jordan Hinahara: Write a meet cute (like if your life were a romantic comedy)
This is what I get for listening to Fucked Up’s “David Comes to Life”. A punk rock opera about “boy meets girl” and all that jazz. Such a great album.
So you may know me. Or at least know of me. You probably don’t really know me, not really close, not as a person. I am “The Most Trusted Man in America”. Yes. I am “The PostSecret guy”. I mean, you probably don’t even know my name right? But everyone knows me. I even got an article in the New York Times, yah know?
I receive thousands of secrets a day. Some are mundane. Like “I peed the bed when I was five and blamed it on my brother.” Some are big secrets, like “I cheated on you.” It’s all just secrets, big and small, that fuel people’s lives. I got one today that stood out.
“I have a good friend. He is my best friend in the world. When we were five we made a pact to be blood brothers and move to the Sahara Desert. I have always known and trusted him. I am having sex with his wife behind his back. I don’t know why I started doing it, but we are thinking about leaving him behind.”
That’s a pretty big secret. And it’s not just an easy quiet one either. I have a friend name James. We have known each other forever. In fact when we were five we made a pack to be blood brothers too.
The Most Trusted Man in America. That’s my job. I listen to people’s secrets. It’s a sacred pact, like being a priest. Somehow, strangers put their trust in me, and tell me things they can’t dare to tell their closest lovers. Things they can’t tell their moms or dads. Things they can’t tell their very best friend.
I think about when I was five, and I read a book about the Sahara. I heard about these vast cities and trade routes that had been lost under the shifting sands. I didn’t know the way so I asked James. I promised to be the leader, and he would be the guide. That’s where we were going to go. We would wander in the hills. Some sand dunes get as tall as a 30 story building. The next day they have moved 100 yards. Entire civilizations have been buried underneath and forgotten. I guess I have always loved secrets. And some secrets never get found.
Prompt: The PostSecret guy, “The Most Trusted Man in America,” gets a postcard that says “I want to have an affair with my best friend’s wife.” He thinks the writer of the postcard is his best friend. What does he do?