This book is dedicated to all of you who take the time to read my books, I appreciate you and I love you oh so dearly, just keep on keepin on.
“I’m sorry but I can’t…I’m just not ready for a relationship.” She looked at me for a moment, glanced at the floor, then let go of my hand.
“It’s okay I guess, but I can wait as long as it takes!” I was so damn hopeful.
She looked down again, “I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready.”
“I don’t care. I’ll wait as long as it takes.” I held her in my arms, the moon up above was full, shining brightly on the sand below. The ocean waves crashed rhythmically, a cool breeze swept through our hair. We slow danced to Fiona Apple’s song I walk a Little Faster. She kissed my neck. I kissed her lips, the world fading away.
We spun in circles and kissed, I felt so happy. “The last thing I want to do is hurt you.”
“I know.” I kissed her again and we held each other tightly. I just wanted her to be mine. I mean, we were already kissing, and even though our friends were at the bonfire, here we were by the ocean. In my mind I thought, “Why would she say no?” So I stopped kissing her and looked her in the eyes, “Do you want to be my girlfriend?”
Her faced looked so pained, as if someone punched her in the gut, “I’m so sorry, really I am. I like you, I really do, but I’m just not ready for a relationship.” She let go of my hands and pushed them towards me.
I felt so stupid. Why the hell did I ask? I guess it was the rejection, or just that the feelings were one-sided, but I felt like shit. “Let’s just go back okay. Could you forget I ever asked? Just forget it okay.”
She kept apologizing but I kept walking ahead. I was destroyed. “I’ll wait as long as it takes okay? Whenever you’re ready I’ll be here.” I had to say that.
When we got back to the fire pit I didn’t sit down. I grabbed my guitar and walked toward the pier, “I’ll be back.”
I passed by so many people. It’s the summertime so the beach is usually crowded. When I got a couple of lifeguard towers away, I started walking towards the water. The sand felt cool against my feet. I have a black and grey sweater on and a blue beanie. I sat down on top of lifeguard tower number three. “Fuck it.” I pulled out a joint from my Altoids tin and put it to my mouth. I fished my lighter out of my pocket and lit it. I stared at the waves, the air got warmer.
“Hey man can I get a hit?”
I turned to the left to see this brown haired girl, “You want some of this strangers crystal meth?”
She smiled a half smile, “I love crystal meth!”
“Do you really?”
She punched my arm, “No!” She started laughing and I handed her the joint, “Thanks.” She put it to her lips, inhaled then exhaled, sitting down next to me.
“Welcome, so why are you talking to a stranger?” I took the joint back.
“I don’t know, maybe I’m lonely, or maybe I’m going to take your guitar.” She got closer to me, “Or maybe…” She put her face next to my ear, “Maybe I’m a vampire.”
I laughed, I laughed so hard, “But you just breathed in smoke? Vampires don’t breathe!”
She smiled and laughed, “Fine I’m no vampire.” She pinched my cheeks, “I’m just looking for my soulmate.”
“Soulmate? Are you serious?” I passed the joint to her.
“Yes! Soulmates exist dummy, you just have to look hard enough!” She finished the joint and flicked it in the sand.
“So, smoking with a stranger by the beach is Searching for your soulmate?”
She took my beany and put it on her head, “I’m not searching for anything! I was just walking on the sand and…you know what?”
“We’ve been talking and I don’t know your name!” She smiled and held out her hand.
I shook it, her hand was so soft, “My name is Goku.”
“Lies! Is your power level over 9,000?” She chuckled and I smiled.
“Maybe! My name is Roux.” I grabbed my guitar.
“Roux? Is that short for another name?” I strummed a bar chord.
“Nope! Maybe! Just call me Roux okay?” I looked away from my guitar at her. She was wearing a grey hoodie and blue jeans. Her hands were in her jacket and she stuck out her tongue and scrunched her nose, shutting her eyes.
“You’ll never know my name muahaha!” She started laughing.
I smiled, “If you don’t tell me, I’ll explode into a million pieces.”
She leaned her head against the tower, “Then I’ll sweep up the pieces and feed them to my dog.”
“Gah! No! Do you really have a dog?”
“No, but I love animals! My name is Alise.” She pointed at the sky, a single cloud was floating by the moon.
“The cloud looks so lonely,” I strummed a few soft-sounding chords.
“Unless that’s two clouds that became one.” The waves crashed and my ears were getting cold, but I didn’t mind. My beanie looked happy on her head.
“I hope they’re happy.” The cloud drifted toward the ocean, the infinite sky.
“It’s so strange.”
“What is?” I looked at her as she stared at the stars above.
She gazed into my eyes, my heart started beating fast, “Even though we barely met, I feel like I’ve known you for so long. Is that weird?”
“That’s so weird I’m scared. You a stalker?” I chuckled and she punched my arm.
“I’m just kidding, yeah, it feels like I’ve always known you, or maybe you’re my stalker!” I ducked behind my guitar.
“Don’t think I won’t punch a hole through your guitar!” She pushed me.
“What are you a robot?” I set my guitar down and laid on the wooden platform.
“Yes! Can’t you see my red eye?” She squinted and started to laugh, then she layed down next to me. We both stared up at the stars, at the moon.
“How do you do it?”
She poked my face, “Poke, do what?”
“How can you be so happy?”
“It’s not that I’m happy, I just ignore all of the bad, I can’t just be gloomy around a stranger now can I?” She poked my face again, but I didn’t mind.
“I’m not a stranger anymore!”
“I know, but I kind of never open up to anyone, so it’s hard.” I poked her face and she smiled.
“Yeah I get ya, but one day open up to me please?”
“Who says I’ll ever talk to you again?” She smiled and pulled out her phone, “What’s your number?”
“I don’t have a phone, but give me your address and I’ll mail you a letter.” I took her phone, “I’m just kidding, but I don’t really sleep so text me whenever?”
“Awesome! I’ll text you every two to three business days.” She put her phone in her pocket.
“Sweet!” My phone went off in my pocket. I had a text message, “Dude we’re leaving.”
I grabbed my guitar and stood up, “You leaving already?”
She got up as well, “Yeah, sorry my friends are leaving and they’re my ride.”
She hugged me and squeezed tight, “It’s understandable! I should get going too. I’ll text you though!”
“I’m glad we met!” I let her go.
“Is it weird if I text you tonight?”
“Yes! Just kidding, no not at all! We can talk all night about clouds and soulmates.” She took off my beanie and tried to give it back.
“You can keep it!”
“Aw really? Thanks!” She put it back on her head.
“Only if you wear it every day, except for when it’s hot outside!”
“Sweet! I’ll wear it every day!” She smiled and hugged me again.
“See ya later!” I walked back to the fire pit and got my shoes.
I sat in my friend’s car with my head against the window, pretending to be asleep. They ‘woke me up’ when I got home. I walked in my room, changed into pajamas and went to sleep.
I woke up to five text messages. Three were from Alise, one was from Lizzy. She kept apologizing, but I just deleted the texts. Alise’s text messages were her telling me to wake up, then there was a picture of her wearing the beanie, “I love this thing!” I laughed and saved the picture. Today is going to be a good day. It was only 11:30, I have work at 2 o’clock.
I work at a ice-cream parlor, it’s a small shop with only three people working most days. Our supervisor is a laid back surfer who’s sleeping most of the time.
I texted Alise, “Good morning!” Then I walked into my kitchen and grabbed a green packet, the frozen burritos and put it in the microwave. I live in this one-bedroom apartment ten minutes away from the beach. I don’t have to pay rent because the landlord is a big-time drug dealer now and when she first came to our town I got her all of the clients. She’s a real down to Earth gal.
“Morning! I’m getting ready for work so I’ll text you later! Have a great day!” The message appeared on my phone.
“Have a great day slaving away, I’ll be making ice cream all day lol” I put my phone away.
My microwave beeped, and I took my burrito out, unwrapped it and put it on a plastic plate. I poured some mango flavored Tampico into a plastic cup and sat at the table. I put on some Nirvana and checked my horoscope. It said I would be inspired to do something out of my comfort zone today.
“Joe’s Ice Cream Shack?” I chuckled, she must be a great stalker.
“You stalker!” I took a bite of my burrito and laughed.
“Just a guess! I work at the Shell House. I sell seashells by the sea shore to tourists all day ._.” The boardwalk has many shops over the water, that’s to the right of the pier. My shop is toward the street on the left of the pier. Our amusement park is on land a bit to the right.
“That’s so awesome! Would you like to hang out after?” I put my phone in my pocket, finished my burrito, and drank my juice.
“Sure! I’m off at 8:30 so I’ll meet you after!” I walked to my room and got my uniform, black jeans and a black shirt that had white spray paint style writing ‘Joe’s Ice Cream’, clean socks and boxers, and I walked into my bathroom.
I sat on the toilet and started to poop, “I’m off at 9:00 so I’ll see you around then!” I wiped my butt and turned on the shower. I hope today doesn’t suck, honestly. I’ve been pretty happy today.
I took a shower and dried off, put my clothes on, shaved and brushed my teeth. I put deodorant on and grabbed my cruiser, wallet, altoids tin, and headed out the door. I locked my door and put my key in the small pocket of my pants. The sun was bright and it took some time for my eyes to adjust.
I threw my board and jumped on it. I untangled my headphones and plugged them into my phone. The Growlers played in my ears as I skated down the street for ten minutes and got to the shop. When I opened the door my shaggy boss was laying on the counter, “Turd Burglar!”
“Yo Mando what’s up man! How’s Arezo? She have the baby yet?” He was a tall slim tanned guy that had long brown hair and a full on beard that made him look like a lumberjack, and had glasses. He was wearing the black spray painted shirt, black pants and shoes.
“She’s good brother! Baby’s gonna be here any day now!” He bumped my fist.
“Sweet man! I’m gonna put my board away, I’ll be back in a bit.”
“Cool man cool, I was shreddin early this morning, the waves were glossy and my longboard was just gliding across the water.” He sat up.
“Ah damn that’s sweet man! I woke up too late for that, was at the bonfire last night.” I put my board in the shelf behind the counter.
“Cool man! How was it?” He put his hands on his chest.
“It was great! I met this down to Earth chick man, she works at the Shell House.” My voice went up an octave.
“No way turd! Alise?” He got off the counter and started putting different ice cream flavors in the blender.
“Yeah how’d you know man?” I handed him the box of straws.
“Turd she comes every Saturday and orders the same thing, a rocky road and cookies and cream malt with every flavor and all of the chocolate toppings. It comes up to be a ten dollar malt so she gets one a week!” He put a straw in the cup.
“I work Saturdays though?”
“She always waits until you’re helping someone else, but she’s always looking at you brother! He put a lot of different chocolates in the cup and put on the lid, “Here! Go give this to her!”
“Alright! Thanks Mando! I’ll catch ya later man!” I bumped his fist and walked out the door.
It wasn’t hot outside, but the sun does melt the malt, so I hurried down the concrete sidewalk. It was early, so there weren’t too many tourists. I walked past the “Soulmate Couple”, who were sitting on a bench, staring at the waves. “Yo Jas! Grace!” They turned and waved.
“Turd!” Jas bumped my fist and Grace hugged me.
“Where you going Roux?” Grace was holding Jas’s hand.
“Finally found a gal I like you turds!” I glanced at the ice cream that was melting slowly.
“Congrats!” They smiled.
“Sorry I have to run! Ice cream’s melting!” I started walking away.
“Good luck!” Grace was clapping.
“Kiss her you turd!” Jas was laughing on the bench as I headed toward the wooden planks of the boardwalk.
The waves were calm below the boardwalk, the many shops and food places were in the many rows. The Shell House was on the very right, overlooking the vast ocean.
I made my way to the shop, a small shack that resembled a log cabin that was decorated with many shells.
“Hi welcome! I’ll be right with you!” Alise was putting a small shell bracelet on a little blonde girl, “Here you go sweetheart, now you’ll have a piece of the ocean wherever you go.”
The little girl smiled and held her mom’s hand as she walked out the door.
“I swear I’m not stalking you.” I was nervous as hell but smiled.
“Are you sure about that? I don’t think I would mind if you did.” She punched my arm.
I pushed the malt in her hand, “This is for you.”
“Thank you!” She hugged me and kissed my cheek, “You’re mine now.”
“Sounds good to me.” I was so happy, I really was.
“I’m still looking forward to tonight though!” She started drinking her malt.
“Same here! Well I have to get to work, but I’ll see you tonight though!” I hugged her and smiled, her wavy brown hair was long and draped down to her stomach, and she was wearing the beanie! “And I can’t believe you’re wearing the beanie!”
She smiled, “A promise is a promise, and it reminds me of you.”
“You talk like you know everything about me.” I laughed, but her face looked pained and her eyes punched through me.
“I know more than you think sweetheart.” She kissed my cheek again and walked to a customer who was looking at necklaces, “Hi, can I help you with anything?”
I didn’t know how to react so I walked out of the shop. I wasn’t sure if I should be happy or confused. I checked the time and it was 1:15, so I started walking to Joe’s Shop.
More tourists were starting to come, the amusement park brought them from all around the world. I tucked my headphones through my shirt to my phone, the XX playing in my ears. The sky was endless, and the clouds floating in the horizon were just two clouds that became one so I’m so happy. I know that there will be so many memories to come, I can’t wait.
I walked past the bench where Jas and Grace were, but they weren’t there. I’m glad they have each other, this world is so much colder when you’re alone. Now we can go on double dates and all of those cheesy things that couples do.
I walked into the shop, Mando was making a ice cream cone for Lizzy, who looked back at me as I walked behind the counter, “Mando! Cool if I start thirty minutes early to get out at 8:30?”
“Yeah brother no worries! How’d it go? She like the malt?” Mando bumped my fist and handed the cone to Lizzy.
“It was good man she loved it.” Lizzy stared into my soul.
Her eyes looked like she was going to cry, “Hey.”
“Sweet brother! Glad you found a girl who makes you happy!” Mando gave her change, “Bye, have a great day.”
I punched in and stood behind the counter, “You wanna take a break man?”
Mando smiled, “Cool brother thanks!”
Lizzy walked out the door and Mando walked outside, a cigarette in his mouth.
The door opened and the small bells tied to the handle chimed, “Hi, how can I help you?”
“I’ll just look for a bit, thank you.” This girl had black Doc Martins, black pants, a black and white Subhumans shirt, and a grey hoodie. Her black hair was near her shoulders, her bangs cut straight.
“Alright cool, if there’s anything you need help with just let me know.”
I stood there behind the counter, thinking about Alise. I wonder if Jas feels like this about Grace, but then again they’re always together. They don’t have to work because our band Diamond Eyes, has become the biggest thing by the sea. Mixing electric guitars and poetry, along with the vocals of the two. I play guitar for them, but I guess I’m not as dedicated as I should be. I play every gig they need me, but as for lyrics or anything I never have ideas. Mando plays drums and bongos.
“Sorry I spaced out, how can I help you?” She was smiling and pointed to the rocky road.
“Can I have one of those in a cone?”
“Cool, yeah.” I dumped a huge wad of ice cream and crammed it into the cone, “That’s 1.75.” I handed her the cone.
“Thanks.” She handed me two bucks.
I put the money in the cash register and handed her a quarter.
“Come again!” I waved but she stood there, staring at me.
“You’re Roux, are you the same Roux from Diamond Eyes?”
I go through this so much, “Yeah that’s me.”
She smiled and nodded her head, “Cool. See you around,” She waved and walked out the shop.
I waited for customers, but today was a slow day.
Time ticked bye so slowly, but I wiped down the case and swept the floor. Mando came back in from lunch, “Turd!”
“What’s up Mando?”
“I’m so stoked you found a girl brother!” He leaned close to my ear, “What about your groupies? They’re going to be so pissed!”
“I don’t have groupies. Do I?” The bells rang and Alise walked in and awkwardly waved at me. “Hey!”
“Hi, sorry. Um I’m on lunch so I just wanted to stop by and give you this,” She put a multi-colored stone in my hand that was connected to a metal chain. I held it up to the light, “It’s a moonstone, I wanted us to always have something that connects us.”
It was smooth and looked blue, yet rainbow colored. She’s wearing one just like it. I put it around my neck and smiled, “Thank you so much,” I turned to Mando, “This is my good friend Mando.”
Mando shook her hand, “A pleasure to officially meet you!”
“Hi, I’m Alise.” She smiled and looked at me, her eyes shone so brightly, was she a groupie?
“Yo dude, isn’t it time for your break?” Mando winked at me.
“Sweet! Thanks Mando!” I bumped his fist.
“No worries brother!” He smiled and sat in a chair next to the counter.
“Thank you for this.” I ran my fingers over the moonstone, it was cool and smooth.
“No problem! I’m just happy to have you by my side.” I held her hand, it’s so warm. I ran my thumb over her fingers, she kissed my cheek, then paused and we stared into each other’s eyes, I held her in my arms. We pressed our lips together as we squeezed each other so tightly, “You make me so happy.”
“Do I really? Even though we just met?” I held both of her hands.
“Even though we just met, It feels like I’ve known you for my whole life, like you’re the missing piece.” She kissed me again.
“You’re so lovely I swear.” We sat down on a bench and held each other, “What’s your favorite dinosaur?”
She laughed, “Hmm…I’ve never really thought about that. Probably the Loch Ness Monster.”
“Nice! How come?” The cool breeze blew through her hair, she smelled like a jelly doughnut.
“Because her flippers look funny.” I wonder if these are the things Jas and Grace talk about.
“You’re so adorable.” I was lost in the moment.
“Shtop, you’re going to make me blush.”
“Good!” Something about her smile made me feel so happy, like life was going to be better.
“What about you? What’s your favorite?”
“Hmm…probably a T-rex, because it can’t wipe it’s butt or do things that other dinosaurs can.” She smiled a half smile.
“T-rex’s have big butts.” She checked her phone, “Oh no, I have to get back.”
“Do you want me to walk you?” I got up and she kissed me, a passionate kiss.
“No it’s fine! I have to run anyways, well I’ll see you tonight!”
“Okay, see you later cute stuff!” I watched as she ran down the sidewalk.
“Wooh! Finally turd!”
“Aww that was so cute!” Grace threw a pebble at me from the roof of the ice cream shop.
“Turds! You were spying this whole time?” Jas was holding Grace’s hand.
He chuckled, “Well, not the whole time…maybe! Nice necklace turd!”
“Don’t forget we have rehearsal tomorrow!” Grace was kicking her feet back and forth.
“I’ll be there!” I started walking toward the shop.
“Cool man, write us a song! It should be easy now that you have a lady friend!” Jas threw another pebble and I caught it.
I threw it back, “Alright I’ll try! I’ll catch you turds later!”
“Turd!” They both yelled, I’m so happy to have them as my friends.
I met them a year ago when they moved to our little beach town in that green VW that Mando drives. The two of them stay in the back house, they’re pretty much a married couple. Jas told me the story of how he met Grace and how they fell in love, their epic and sad adventure. It inspired me to write this, to tell you my story, and I hope you can relate to me, I really do. I’m not good at talking about my thoughts like Jas, but I’ll continue. Thank you.
“Ice cream makes the world go round brother.” Mando was sitting on the counter sipping a cherry milkshake.
I munched on a chocolate cone, “Imagine a world without ice cream? It would be horrid.”
“True that brother.” The shop was pretty slow on Mondays.
Time went by so slowly, but before I knew it, it was 8:30, “I’ll catch ya later Mando!”
Mando bumped my fist, “Have a groovy time Turdsky!”
“Thanks turd burglar!”
Mando’s laugh rang through the shop, his face turned red, “Ahaha! Gonna burglar those turds! Ah great man great!”
“See ya!” I walked out the shop and checked my phone.
“I’m off! Going to take a shower and change before I meet up okay?”
I chuckled, she’s so cute, “No! You can’t take a shower, you have to be a smelly Loch Ness Monster! Jk, see you soon!”
I hopped on my board and skated home.
There was a Uhaul parked next to my apartment, the layout is like a small house. I opened my door and walked in. I put my board against the wall and took a shower. I’m so excited, this day’s been taking so long. I dried off and put on my knee high Doc Martens, black pants, black Nirvana shirt with yellow letters and a yellow smiley face with x’s for eyes and a tongue sticking out of it’s smile. I combed my black hair to the side, the top long, the sides short. I cleaned my silver septum piercing and put on my black and grey hoodie that has patches sewn on it. Subhumans, Gojira, Suicidal Tendencies, Sublime, Deftones, Tartar Control and many others. I rolled up my sleeves, brushed my teeth, and locked my door as I left.
“Hey where do you want to meet?” I walked down the street, my chains clanging in the air.
“We can meet at the pier?” The night was quiet besides the occasional car passing through.
“Sounds good! I’ll see you there in a bit.” I felt nervous yet happy at the same time. I ran my fingers over the moonstone.
I stood there at the pier, people passed bye and I smiled, the wind was warm. “Good luck on your date turd!”
“Thanks Jas!” I’m so happy to have friends who care so much.
I saw her and my heart skipped a beat, holy shit. She was wearing a light-blue dress that went to her knees, the beany was on her head. She was wearing black trojan-like sandals. She smiled and punched me, “Stop don’t look at me.”
“I’m sorry, you’re just so beautiful.” I hugged her and kissed her, she squeezed me tightly.
“Shut up!” She smiled and blushed, hiding her face with her hands.
“Where would you like to go?”
“Anywhere, as long as it’s with you.” She gave me a half-smile.
“You’re so cheesy.” I kissed her and grabbed her hand.
We walked along the pier, the lights left a shimmering glow along the water. The soft crashing and receding of the oceans water sounded rhythmically in the air, her hands were warm. The moon was bright in the sky, shining on the land. The weather was lovely, there was a small breeze, but it was warm.
“I’m so happy.”
Her smile sent warmth in my heart, “Why happy?”
She squeezed my hand, looking out towards the amusement park, the ferris wheel and roller coasters and the sound of people screaming.
“I’m happy because I’m with you.” She kissed my cheek.
“I’ve never felt anything like this.”
“I think about you all day, I’m so comfortable with you, I want to focus my life around you. Everything I feel I want to turn into a song, just everything I want to give you everything.”
She stopped, her eyes looked watery, she held me, “You’re such a jerk! I’m supposed to be a badass robot!” She squeezed harder.
“When you hold me close I start to sink in you, I feel life like I’ve never felt before, tell me what to do, I’ve completely fallen for you.” I kissed her, her nose was cold against my own, we pressed our foreheads together.
She sang in a beautiful voice, “What is there to say? You make me feel this way, the things I feel, feel so unreal, I sink into you, I’ve completely fallen for you.”
“You’re so lovely I swear.” She looked so beautiful, the background faded away, her face was a portrait against the endless sea, the shops and the lights, the people and the beach and the sand. This girl is the one I want, this girl.
There’s those moments in life where everything is calm and clear, and the times you spend in someone else’s arms are times where you hold on tightly because life changes and people leave.
“Let’s walk to the end of the pier?” She squeezed my hand and started walking.
There were a lot of people passing, couples, kids, tourists. The summer brought so many people. We walked to the end of the pier, there were benches behind Ruby’s, “Turd!”
“What’s up Jas!”
Jas was holding a black guitar, Grace was sitting next to him on top of the bench, “Nothing much man, didn’t know you were coming here!”
I bumped Jas’s fist and hugged Grace, “What’s up!”
Jas held out his hand, “Hi, I’m Jas. You must be Alise.”
“Hi, nice to meet you!” She shook his hand and shook Grace’s hand.
“I’m Grace nice to meet you!” Grace smiled and shook her hand.
“Same here.” Jas and Grace scooted over and made room for us.
“I’m still trying to memorize the lyrics to Blade wheel, but I’m having a hard time playing it man.” Jas handed me the guitar.
“Ah dang, I’ll walk you through it tomorrow!” I strummed the guitar, the beautiful noise drifting through the air. I played some soft sounding single notes, then I strummed one of our favorite songs, Badfish by Sublime. We all sang the words, the vast ocean in front of us, the sea and the clouds and the life we live.
A crowd of tourists stood near and listened, a twinkle came in Jas’s eyes as the song finished, he stood up and we did too. “Hello everyone! We are a local band called Diamond Eyes and you lovely people get a free show.” They began clapping as Jas glanced at me and winked, from both sides our fans came and took a seat on the floor, the tourists sat down as well.
Allison sat down in the front row, giving me a thumbs up. “Turdsky!” Mando walked next to us, bongos in hand, “Ready to play some tunes brother?”
“Mando!” I bumped his fist as he sat down, bongos on his lap.
“Turd!” Grace hugged him, then sat next to Jas.
“I’d like to thank you lovely people for coming on such short notice, but here’s some summertime music for you!” Jas turned to me, “Roux, take your pick brother!”
I got excited, and smiled at Alise who was cheering, “This song is called Hold Me, it was written by Grace.” I played as rhythmically and beautiful as I could, Mando patted the bongos, Jas and Grace began to sing.
“I’ll hold you tight while the stars are bright,” Jas started.
“I’ll kiss you till the morning light,” Grace smiled, her soothing voice filled the air.
At the same time they sang, “We’ll be alright, be alright. Hold me till the morning light.”
I put my heart into playing, into the music, into each chord I played, life and death would embrace and rejoice, we are alive.
We got cut off by the police, “Sorry folks, but this here is a fire hazard! You need to disband immediately!”
Jas nodded, “Attention everyone! We’re moving this gig to the bonfire pits, everyone is welcome to come hang out! Don’t be afraid to talk to each other, we’re all Humans! We’ll be having a gig at Mando’s down the street on Thursday night, if a band wants to play please talk to our guitarist Roux here! Thank you!”
The crowd clapped as I handed the guitar back to Jas, “I’ll see you at the pits man!”
“Cool turd!” He pounded my fist and started talking to the fans with Grace and Mando. I stood there for a bit, waiting to see if any bands wanted to play.
“Hey…um Roux?” The girl in black was standing next to me, looking at me, then at the floor.
“Hey! You’re from earlier! What’s up?” I held out my hand and shook hers.
“I’d like to play with my band, Luna X Sol…if that’s okay?” She looked really nervous.
“Yeah sounds good!” I handed her my phone, “Just put down your number and I’ll let you know when you’ll be playing and all that stuff!”
She smiled and handed the phone, the name read, “Luna”
“Sweet, I’ll see you around!” She walked towards Jas and Grace after waving bye.
“You played so good!” Alise punched me and then kissed my cheek.
I held her hand, “Thanks! Do you want to go to the bonfire?”
She smiled, “I would love to!”
We followed the crowd of people down the pier to the fire pits, where led by Jas, everyone greeted the people who already had fire pits. In a few minutes everyone was laughing and talking to one another. The reason we have so many fans is because we meet every one of them, talk to them, befriend them.
The beach was a party now, Mando was playing guitar and singing while a fan was playing bongos, Grace was burning a stick in the fire pit.
“I wonder what he’s doing now.” The roar of the people had no effect on the area around the fire. Grace and Jas were sitting down burning sticks, I was sitting with Alise across from them.
“He’s probably cooking fish in a pan, or wiggling his brows,” Jas squeezed her hand, tears in their eyes.
“And she’s probably playing Amy Winehouse and making cookies. We’ll see them one day love, Frankie…Sis.” Grace wiped her eyes and smiled.
Alise put her head on my shoulder as we held hands, the fire crackled and life seemed to fade away, calmness surrounded us, and everything was beautiful.
As the people talked and laughed, danced and played music, here in our calm circle we sat, staring at the flames as the smoke drifted into the night sky. The silence and dull roar of us and the crowd collide to create something beautiful. In my mind I hope for the future, that things will change and I’ll finally be able to love, to hope and to dream. I sit here talking to you, and you are watching me, this girl, my friends. This is much more than just ink on paper, this is real. I exist and so do you. I feel pain. I feel love. Keep this in mind please. Things seem so simple, labels are put on everything, but look closer, at the big picture.
“I have to pee.” I got up and smiled at Alise, “I’ll be back.”
“Sweet, I’ll be here!” She picked up a twig and started burning it.
I weave my way through the crowd, my boots slipping on the sand. I put my hands in my pocket as I made my way to the concrete, it’s pretty cold out. I opened the cold metal door and walked in the dim lit grimy bathroom stall, the floor wet and it smelled like mold. I peed in the small toilet that had no lid and kicked the metal button to flush the toilet.
I walked out the stall, the people all over the place laughing and screaming, having fun. There was one sad face in front of me. Lizzy was staring at me, not saying anything, just staring.
“Hey.” I didn’t move, I just looked, waiting for a reply, but she didn’t say anything.
“You said you would wait…it was all a lie huh? You never really cared right?” She had a blank expression.
“It’s not like that! You just kept pushing me away and she was there and it just happened.” She smiled and wiped her eye, looking away for a moment.
“I hate you so fucking much! All of your empty fucking promises! I hate you!” She slapped me across the face.
“Who the fuck do you think you are? Bitch!” Before I knew it, Alise was on top of Lizzy, punching her in the face.
In any girl fight you would expect a lot of hair pulling and slapping, well usually it’s like that, but Alise was hammer fisting Lizzy.
“Holy shit a fight!” Everyone rushed over. Grace pulled Alise off of Lizzy and walked her towards the bathroom.
“Hey! Calm down! The cops are gonna be here any minute!” Alise was panting, full of rage.
“You alright man?” Jas put his arm around my shoulder.
“I’m sorry, I just got so mad.” Alise was crying.
“Don’t worry she deserved it! Let’s hide in the amusement park! We know the owner so we get in free.”
“I’m good dude, that was sexy.” I walked up to Alise and kissed her cheek, “Thank you, you’re so damn badass! Let’s go guys!”
Lizzy was being helped by fans, who put their finger to their lips as Grace smiled, “Shhh not a word.” They nodded and we casually walked away, sirens filling the air.
“How’s your knuckles?” I took a look at her hand as we walked past the shop, her fist was red.
“They’re fine, sorry I blew up.” She had her head down as we passed the pier.
“Don’t worry at all! That was pretty badass, I’d do that if a girl hit Jas!” Grace punched the air.
Alise chuckled, “Thanks, you two are really cool! I was in UFC for a good while, so if you need me to beat up anyone for you just give me a call!”
Grace smiled and cracked her knuckles, “Thanks! But I know how to fight too! A couple years of boxing!”
“Nice! We should spar someday!”
“Yeah! That would be fun!”
Jas leaned in close and whispered in my ear, “Holy shit man our girls are robots!”
“What are you two whispering?” Grace was glaring at Jas, Alise glaring at me.
“Nothing of course right Jas?” I looked at Jas who was running through the tourists.
I started running too, “Dammit man!”
“Turds!” Jas yelled, sprinting to the entrance of the amusement park.
The park was busy as always, the summer brought in so many people. We ran to the arcade and laughed, a employee was in the middle of a Dance Dance Revolution game and was laughing, “Yo Bushy Brows!”
“What’s up man!” The song ended and it showed a A in his score grade.
“How’s work going?” I bumped his fist.
“Pretty good! I’m on lunch!” He looked at his phone, “Shit, gotta go back in! See ya guys later!”
“Bye turd!” Jas yelled, while putting quarters in the machine. To watch a guy in Docs play Dance Dance Revolution is amazing, there we were just enjoying life.
I don’t have the answers to life. I don’t have the words to express my feelings, but the thought of living just to be alive, that’s something that you shouldn’t do. Be happy for the simple things, you’ll be okay I swear. Someday you’ll be happy, just stay strong. I love you I really do, and I don’t know what else to write, so I’ll let Jas take over from here. Thank you so much for listening. I’m sorry, if I kept writing, you’d be listening to someone else, thank you.
Part 2 Jas
I sat there on the motorcycle game, staring at Roux as he hit plastic crocs with his hands while Alise used a mallet to hit them, the crocs yellin, “Ow!” as they receded back into the machine. Grace was playing frogger, helping him get home. It was really nice to see my friends having fun. It’s been a while huh? How’ve you been? I hope everything is going great for you, I really do. Roux just got tired of writing so much, so I’m here again. I miss Frankie, I miss my sis, I miss everyone that’s not in my life anymore. What am I supposed to do?
Grace put her hand on my cheek, “Shush it’ll be okay my love.” She kissed me and everything faded away, all of my worries drifting into the sky. Grace knows me so well, I love her so much.
“Thanks, I just miss them.” I held her hand.
“So do I love, but we’ll see them one day.” She smiled and put a quarter in my hand, “Here, maybe Ryu can cheer you up.”
We walked over to the Street Fighter vs Capcom game and I smiled. I put the quarter in and the character screen popped up, I picked Ryu, Megaman and Venom.
I button mashed my way to victory, Roux and Alise were playing air hockey, Grace was staring at my screen, smiling. She’s so beautiful, her hair drapes all the way to her stomach now, mine is still near my shoulders. She smiled and I laughed as my screen said Game Over, “Gosh, you always distract me, stop being so beautiful.”
She blushed, “You stop being so cute!”
The thought popped up in my head, “Do you want to go camping?”
She squeezed my hand, “We haven’t been there in a year my love.”
“I know, but I think I’m strong enough to go back…really.”
She looked down, her eyes watery. She hugged me, “If you’re ready then so am I!”
“Roux! Alise! Do you turds want to go camping?” They both walked to us holding hands.
“Sounds good to me!” Alise smiled, as Roux looked nervous.
“Yeah I’d love to, um is it the same place?” He stared into my soul, such a great friend.
“Yeah Magrath. The least we can do.” Grace squeezed my hand as I stared at the floor.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t know.” Alise was looking at Grace.
“Don’t worry at all! But yeah, it’s a tough trip. I’m sure we can make it special.” Grace squeezed my hand and smiled, her smile breaking through my defenses. Her smile washing away the pain, washing away everything.
“We can go with Mando and Arezo in the morning.” I smiled as my friends smiled, as my lover smiled.
“I’ll see you turds in the morning!” I smiled, we went home and the rest is yet to come, life is beautiful.
I’m falling and I don’t know why. I’m falling and I don’t know where. Who am I? I’m falling through clouds, they’re beautiful. A field comes into view, it’s lime-green and has blue horses. Some are running, some are eating, some are talking about the weather. They’re all happy.
On the far end of the field I see a group of tanks storming towards the horses, flashes from their barrels hurt my eyes. In seconds the field is reduced to ash, trees are on fire. Scattered remains and feces of those happy blue horses cover the field, the tanks continue on.
I begin to cry, only because I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. I’m floating in the sky, as if held by strings. I get guided away from the white tanks, and the burning field, and the blue horses and feces. I’m floating above a small village with orange houses that have yellow tile on the rooftops. Outside of the houses are little syrup-colored people who look like waffles.
Out of one house comes a red lobster wearing a bib, holding a knife and fork. It’s too fast for the waffles, they can’t roll fast enough to get away, it takes ahold of them with it’s lobster claws, and impales them on a stake in the middle of the village. I want to help the waffle people, but I’m unable to move. The whole village was impaled, the lobster took its sweet time eating all of them, pausing to wipe its face with its bib like a gentleman. It devoured every man, woman and child. He noticed me, my face full of disgust. “Two years ago, this cult village of waffles kidnapped and ate my family.” He pulled out a picture from his top hat, a family portrait of him, his wife and six little children, two in white dresses, the rest in suits. They looked so happy. “They made me watch as they raped my wife and children. All of them, all of them.” He began crying, shoving more pieces of waffle in his mouth.
I couldn’t say a word, my mouth opened but nothing came out. “This is justified. Right? This is justice. This is justice.” His bib read Bobby. He continued to cry, shoving more pieces into his mouth, crying. The air was quiet, no birds sang in the village surrounded by trees, I drifted away.
It gets hot, there’s a volcano below me, the molten lava a calm pool. An occasional hiss as a gas bubble floats to the surface. A crowd of tall pink women, each flawless in appearance, each nude, appear at the edge. Pink men beside them, short and nude, stubby and fat, ugly and dirty, smelly and hairy. Teeth rotten, toes and fingernails long, ugly in every aspect, jealousy as a virtue. They snarled and hissed, grunting as they held spears. The women hopeless, in complete surrender as the men touched each one, not a single tear fell from their eyes as they were befouled in each and every way. Blood and feces smeared over each one, I didn’t understand why they didn’t jump into the volcano and end their suffering.
Each woman embraced the men, their spears dropping with a thud. They stared into the men’s eyes, the smiling men were pulled over the edge. As they fell, the women whispered, “I sacrifice my purity, I surrender all that I hold dear in the name of love. My wild mountain man.”
A tear fell down their face as they hugged tightly, their bodies melting, silence as they became one. I floated there, nothing remained but blood, feces and spears. Footprints scattered on the floor. Anyone who arrives on this volcano top will have only imagined a murder. No one will ever know what really happened. Why me?
I floated past rivers, past plains, over mountains, across so much land, to the ocean, nothing but water and ocean, endless ocean. I was in the sky staring down at the water, clear as glass. I could see every yellow fish, every purple dolphin, the grey tentacles of a giant squid. The peaceful sea creatures as they swam and sung and laughed and played. The happy fish got swallowed by darkness, an oil rig is on fire, letting out orange smoke. A sea of dead fish floated to the surface. The wailing screams of a giant squid choking to death, blinded and suffering. All of them dead, all of them. Why me?
I float away, up and up, far away. I pass those beautiful clouds once more, I’m in outer space now, the silence killing me, I think and think, pondering what I’ve just witnessed, and for what purpose? I become lost in thought, I sit crossed legged for the longest time, eons, centuries, hours, time is an illusion. To measure it is impossible, for time is infinite, time is nothing.
Deep within myself I find something beautiful, I find peace. “Take me to the next place please, I think I’m starting to understand.”
Immediately I began to drift back down to that violet planet, back through those beautiful clouds, onto the edge of a giant hill. On top of the hill are a bunch of children in orange dinosaur costumes, they take turns rolling down and roaring. I was expecting something cruel to happen, but they continued to play. They continued to be happy. I sat there just watching these kids play, they were having fun. What was I missing? What more was there, I can’t figure it out.
I sat there meditating for hours, days, months. These children continued to play, continued to laugh and be happy, they will never know pain or sadness, they will never be lonely. It’s so beautiful, so very beautiful.
Once again I floated away, the sky became dark and rainy, but the rain never touched me. The open plains were filled with purple clouds, the rain neon yellow dots falling across the orange landscape. A small red man and his blue dog were huddled in a nearby cave, a small green fire keeping them warm. The man pet his dog and smiled, “Everything will be just fine boy, the rain will let up by tomorrow.”
The dog barked in agreement. The man was happy and so was the dog. I sat in the sky for months, years, but the two were always happy near that fire inside the cave as the rain poured.
I drifted to the outskirts of a city filled with shining lights, it’s dark outside, and the stars up above disappear in the lights of the city.
A short old man tossed a sac over the railing of the bridge, a splash sounded in the night. “And with that I get away with another murder.”
He hobbled down a concrete pathway where a woman with an axe stopped him as she plunged it in his stomach. He hit the floor with a grunt as she hacked away at his body, turning him into a pile of meat. Nothing more, nothing less.
On the far end of the bridge two lovers were holding each other while staring up at the sky. They were smiling, so happy with each other. They kissed and made love on a blanket.
The beauty I have witnessed, the destruction, all of it. This journey, what does it mean? I suppose I’ll figure it out eventually. And so my journey continues.
There’s a forest, it stretches as far as the eye can see. A lush forest filled with animals and colorful birds. A boy and girl both dressed in black are walking slowly through the trees. Both had black headbands on, their boots stopped at their knees. They had wooden recurve bows, and a back quiver of arrows. They moved along in silence, the pathway winding and twisting.
They ducked behind a log, staring into the trees up above, waiting for something…something.
A rush of wind as a green and brown dragon perched on a tree, leaves and branches crashing to the ground. The two became focused, steady hands grabbed their bows and ducked down. The dragon glanced left and then right. The two slits in its nose fluttered as it searched. The two hunters silently moved near the edge of the tree trunk. Slowly, slowly they reached behind, slowly, slowly they pulled an arrow out, and slowly, slowly, calmly they aimed. In unison they shot, the arrows left their mark in the dragon’s chest, who roared and flapped its wings. It fell to the floor with a thud.
The two cautiously walked toward the dragon. Its body twitched, the girl pulled out another arrow and shot it in the neck. The dragon was dead. The two put their bows on their shoulder and grabbed the arms of the dragon. They began to drag it back through the winding path, silence filled the air. The birds chirped, the lush forest was beautiful and the two continued to walk. After some time they arrived to a great redwood tree. They climbed a vine to the top and looked around the land, there was nothing but forest.
Miles and miles of forest, “There’s a small opening in the trees.” The boy pointed off into the distance.
“We can stay there for the night.” The sun seemed high in the sky, why are they seeking shelter?
They climbed down and dragged the dragon towards the spot. Once there they pulled out large sharp knives and began to cut the dragon open. They made a small fire and began to eat.
I began to float away.
Over mountains, over volcanoes and rivers, over valleys and plains I flew. I was over the ocean once more. I float there, the sun so far away, a dull light against a murky-green sea. No warmth, just wind and quietness, the water is still and calm. A rock walkway peaks above the surface. A mermaid, more fish than anything, sits upon the rock, pondering life. It looks up at me and grins, “Life and Death, what are they?”
I sat down on the rock, “I don’t believe I have the answer?”
It’s tail moved back and forth in the water below, a swish swish noise in the air, “Well that’s a shame, I guess all there is to do is sit on this rock and ponder the many questions that cannot be solved, until my passing, but even then, there is a slim chance that anything can be done. And thus the riddle begins all over again.”
“I guess we’ll never know…” I stared out into the horizon, at the endless sea before me.
“Oh but you will someday. I am sure of it.” A smirk, and another swish of it’s tail.
I stared at the water below, “I hope so.”
It pulled some fishing line from the rock and put one of its scales through, “A gift for you my friend, please never forget me.”
“I don’t understand?” I tied the line around my neck, the scale was hard and smooth. It gleamed many bright colors.
“One day I will return to this planet and none will remember me, none will know I ever was here, sitting on this rock pondering the many reasons we are here. So please remember me, please remember.”
It looked so sad, “What is your name?”
“I am Teroth, I thank you so much.” I smiled, I stared up at the clear light-purple sky.
“I will remember you always, Teroth.” I began to float once more. The rock faded and was replaced by the soft sounds of a river.
The river is large, but it flows at a slow pace, it winds as far as I can see. There are lush green trees on both sides. Little grey monkeys are at the riverbank. They drink the water slowly, but are pulled in by crocodiles.
The air is humid as I pass a cloud of flies who are feasting on the carcass of a small elk.
There is a swamp below me, the water almost a mix of blue and purple. Trees are deeply rooted beneath the water, their branches thick and bulky above.
A lizard dashes across the surface and climbs a vine. Colorful birds fly up above. A dragonfly kisses the surface of the water and rests on a tree.
I begin to drift away once more. There is just so much to process, so much to take in.
The world begins to tremble, the ground begins to crack and fall away into the vast ocean. A small island is sinking. The people begin to scream, they panic. The ocean around them is dangerous. The waves are enormous, whirlpools scatter the coral, throwing them like sharp knives. The wind is heartbreaking. I want to help, to fly and take all of them, but I can only watch. I grasp Teroth’s scale and hope for the best.
The people jump into the water and transform into beings that resemble Teroth. They swim onwards into the ocean. I am relieved that they are okay.
Out of the depths come a giant creature, too big to fathom. It towers far above, so far. I am but a speck to this being, this God of a creature. Massive ocean waves tumble into the distance as it rises. It’s arms are massive, it’s fingernails sharp talons. Dragon wings on its back twitch as many creatures fall from them. The face resembles that of an octopus, the two legs it walks on are massive. A deep low growl fills the air as it begins to walk across the ocean, a single footstep covering tens of miles.
The destruction that followed is something no living being should witness. I watched as this creature destroyed and ate every creature that crossed its path. The creature caused tsunamis to flood the land, who created dust storms and tornados with its wings, this creature of destruction. I watched as the planet was enveloped by ocean. As this being returned to the deepest depths and slept. As the world changed.
I drifted far above into the cosmos, that small planet fading away into a landscape of darkness. The bright stars and multi-colored galaxies filling my eyes.
I sit and reflect on all that I have seen, everything. It seems like the quiet of the universe surrounds me. As if I am in a cocoon. I close my eyes and still see stars, I see Life and Death happening at the same time and I am silent. I am silent and take it all in, everything is for naught.
What else is there to do? I sit and meditate. I sit for so long. I sit and ponder over everything I’ve seen, everything I haven’t.
A planet next to me burst and crumbled, the orange color it gave off faded into darkness. Dust and chunks of rock floated where it once was. The death of a planet and all of the beings that inhabited it. All of them perish before my eyes. Why so much destruction? Why me?
I drift onwards, the universe vast and endless. I become consumed by the silence. I become sad, so sad, I head to the nearest planet. It is a grey planet, no color at all.
I pick up a blade of grass, I want to create, I want it to be lovely. The ground begins to pulse with a variety of vibrant colors. The blade of grass turns red. I’m standing in the middle of a canyon, the sky a light-velvet color, bright orange clouds sail through the sky, a light wind dancing through the green and yellow polka-dotted trees. A few birds soared through the open field and landed on a tree stump near me.
I smile. The image of a once plain and desolate world now shines with beauty. A group of multi-colored people approach me. They are all different colors. Some are blue with yellow stripes, some are orange, black and white like a tiger, some rainbow colored. They are all covered in fur and look like giant cat people. I smile, proud of my colorful work.
“What have you done to us?” An old cat person glared with hazel eyes.
“I have given you all color, don’t you love it?” Teroth guide me.
“So it Was you!” A purple and green striped woman yelled from the back.
“How could you?” A young green cat from the front yelled, tears falling down her furry face.
“I meant no harm, honest.” I put my hands up in surrender.
A buff purple cat approached me, “I am Fern, the leader of the Meowryth. This color is not who we are. This color is horrid, our beautiful planet is now hideous. Please change it back.”
“I don’t know how.”
“You must! Please I beg you!” Fern fell to his knees, sobbing.
“Grey…Grey. I can try.” In my mind, I pictured the world as it was before I came. The world’s color drained, all of the cats color sank and disappeared, the world became as it was.
“Thank you so much!” The cat people cheered.
“I’m sorry I caused you so much trouble.”
Fern put his paw on my shoulder, “It was out of good intentions, thank you my friend.”
“The pleasure is all mine, I must leave you now.”
“Goodbye Creator, come by anytime you wish.”
I waved as I floated away from that beautiful grey planet.
I float onwards, in search for something. What, I do not know.
I appear at a small red planet. I drift downwards and find myself standing in a small village. Small huts are made out of straw, the floor is dirt. Women are sitting in a circle, listening to the elder speak.
“My sisters, there is a plague haunting men. An evil spirit that causes them to want flesh, to devour everything in sight.” Her dark-blue face paint a series of patterns, her light-blue eyes shining fiercely, her blonde hair long. She stood six and a half feet, five inches shorter than myself. Spear in hand, dressed in a short tunic, trojan-like sandals and cloth covering her chest. The other women are wearing the same.
“What shall we do?”
“We will devour them with fire! As we speak they are making their way up this mountain in search for food. We will light the dry fields as they rush up our trails. Grab your spears sisters, this battle may be our last!”
The women let our a shriek, hollering and baring their teeth, hissing. The Elder looked at me, “Thank you for guiding us Wise One, I am humbled that you’ve come. Please watch from the sky, lest an evil spirit attack you.”
“Please be careful.” I floated above the village.
Many men in tribal attire sprinted from the side of the mountain, dashing through the field. Five of the best runners dashed with torches in their hands, creating a trail of fire, cutting off the men. The field ablaze, the women sprinted back and grabbed their spears.
Twenty woman warriors against fifty burning sprinting men, “We must cut off their heads!” The Elder held a double-sided warhammer, “Fear no evil sisters!”
The women charged, the Elder smashed three with a single swing as they gnashed their teeth, trying to eat the women. The battle ended with a final smash of a head, “Sisters regroup!”
The women gathered around, not a single one fallen. Their village was ash now. I drifted back down near the Elder, “What will you do now?”
“I suppose we will relocate and rebuild, lest the evil spirits haunt this land, thank you for your blessing Wise One.” They all bowed.
“I am so glad you are safe, really.” I waved as I floated upward, the women walking away, flame and smoke in the background. The Elder blows me a kiss. I float onward into the stars.
Planet after planet, star after star I drift onward, deep in thought. What was the purpose of it all? I continue onwards in search of answers.
On a small blue planet I watch as a boy and girl swing on the swings at a playground near an open field at a elementary school. The air is crisp and the moon is red. The lights are dull, the trees a dark silhouette of trees, their branches reaching for the stars, willow trees dancing in the breeze. A few stars shine in the sky.
“What else is there?” The wood chips scatter as they begin to stop.
“Where is there?” The girl’s shoes paused, the silence growing.
“Everywhere is there, and there is everyone everywhere.” The boy smiled, his brown eyes glowing in the reflection of the lights.
“And life continues to roll on and people die and people get born. Everything will be alright.” They began to laugh and continued to swing. I sat there above in the sky watching as they talked about life with such hope and wonder. I floated onwards past stars and suns, until I grew lonely.
Lonely at the thought that I shall live on and they will come to pass. What will I do when there is nothing left? I return to a small planet, a beautiful blank page. There is nothing but a cold desolate land of rock. A lump floating in space. I begin to create once more. Vast oceans for Teroth, lush rainforests, plains, deserts, mountains, volcanoes. All that I have seen, the many lands and beauty of nature, I create. An atmosphere now and life, so many creatures. Mammals, lizards, all of them.
I create Humans, beautiful creatures. They are my children, this planet is my first creation. I am so happy. I teach my Humans how to talk, eat, sleep, hunt, how to live. After time, so much time, I bid them farewell, and promise to return. I then leave my beautiful planet and head for another, hope in my being. I hope they can find solace in the beauty of all that I have seen.
Onwards I drift, onwards. I stop at a smoldering planet full of lava and volcanoes. A giant centipede burrows in the lava, swimming in the vast hot river of flame covering the land. The sky dark and soot falling down lightly. A eight-foot lizard runs across the river on its two hind legs, it leaps and pounces on a giant firefly. The beauty of this flame world surrounds me. I smile, was it me who created this long ago? Where can I find answers. I have been searching for so long. Does this journey ever end? A place where I can sit and ponder all that I have seen, all that I have done. Where shall I go now? The possibilities are infinite. Teroth guide me.
I rubbed the scale, it radiated with energy, a cool feeling calming my mind. I drift onwards in search for answers. I realize that not all planets are beautiful, I drift towards a dark planet, it is always dark here. I float above in the sky, are you prepared to see what I see?
In a dark street corner a prostitute shrieks as she is shoved into a car. Her skirt is ripped off, she struggled and sobbs, clawing at her attackers. One of the men punches her in the mouth, her lip bleeding. Her makeup smeared, a punishment, torture. They begin to rape her violently, she’s used to this life. She’s been doing this for years, her eyes glaze over, her body cold and rigid, she accepts her fate. The car stops at a beautiful two story house, and pulls into the garage. The two men in the back duck tape her mouth and carry her into the basement. The driver pours three glasses of wine. He smirks, “Such filth deserves punishment.”
The prostitute is tied up, naked with her hands above her head. One of the men is having his way with her, she’s on so many drugs. Her consciousness fading in and out. Should I end her life? Should I end them? Would it be justified? What is right, what is wrong? From the men’s point of view she is scum that deserves to be punished. She doesn’t mind, as long as she gets paid. It was her choice, she called them.
I watch as the men torture her with whips, knives, fire, chains, for hours. For weeks they torture her. She endured it all. Finally the man walks in, “You kept your end of the deal, I will keep mind. For I am a man of my word.”
He untied her and let her take a bath. He provided her with new clothes and handed her a suitcase filled with money, “Fifty million dollars. You’ll never have to resort to prostitution again.”
She cried, “Thank you so much!”
“You are free to go Mariya.” She took her suitcase and left in a limo.
I followed her as she started a new life of freedom and beauty. Starting a family, giving her children everything. Laughing and smiling. A beautiful home with beautiful friends, a beautiful life. During the day she would sit on her porch and watch her dogs play in the yard, her daughter would play in the dirt. Her son playing guitar and singing, her other son playing baseball with his father and his other sister. Her daughter beside her, reading. The life she always wanted, all of it coming true. All of this I saw in the light of her eyes, a flicker of hope, a moment so long. Hope that it’s just the drugs, an illusion of a deal struck, a hallucination, denial that this was not the end of her road, that she does not die in the basement of a beautiful two story home. That she isn’t raped repeatedly, cut, burned, kept alive by a thread. She dies with hope in her eyes. I can bear no more, I drift above the planet. My beautiful planet, where did I go wrong? Teroth, let’s start anew.
I cause the oceans to rise, higher and higher, flooding the land, washing away the horrors. Why must it be this way? Where did I go wrong? I should have stayed longer, should have watched over them and showed them the right way. A life of beauty, of love. Not to worship, but to respect all life. Not religion, but a way of thinking.
I spend so much of my being to create Humans again. The trees, animals, the land I keep the same, for that was perfection. I try again, I mix the dirt from the planet with my breath, I realize that they need love, a token that means so much to me. I sprinkle a bit of Teroth’s scale into the dirt. These Humans shall be of the sea as well as the land. They will have love in their hearts, and give thanks to the land. Give thanks to life and all of its beauty.
Once again I teach them how to live, hunt, talk, how to love. They began to call me the Great Spirit, I call them my Children. They live in small huts and live each day in harmony with the plants and animals and trees. They laughed and danced around the fire at night, the many stars filling the sky, drums and singing filled the air, I am happy. Teroth if you could see your people.
We live by the sea, and it is so natural for them to swim. They hunt fish with spears and rods. These children will live forever in harmony with the planet. They will always have each other, always enjoy life and its beauty. They will never be corrupt or sad. My people, my children I love so dear. Oh Teroth, they wear shell necklaces in your honor. You will never fade my friend. You shall live on. I know you’ll be happy to hear the news. I am overcome with the urge to visit Teroth, so I bid my children farewell and head for Teroth’s planet.
I float past stars, past suns and planets, past asteroids and emptiness. I don’t know for how long, but I continue, until I reach the ocean planet, over the waters until I reach that rock.
“Back so soon my friend?” A smirk of jagged teeth.
I am so happy, “Teroth! I have traveled so far, for so long and yet you are still here?”
His tail swished through the water, “My friend, you are in control of everything. Forward, backward, short, long. None of these rules apply to you. I am so glad you remembered me.” Tears fell from his eyes.
“Throughout my whole journey I kept you in mind! You have so many kin now, I made them out of dirt and your scale. They all give thanks and honor your name, for you have given them life. You will never be forgotten!” I sat on the rock, staring out into the distance.
“I am so happy, thank you so much Wise One! I am so happy. Words cannot express my gratitude, I am so happy.”
I sit with Teroth and tell him all that I have seen. He listens, he is so happy. We sit there for so long sharing stories.
Where to go from here? I do not know. I suppose time will continue and time will end and start again.
“I must go once more. There is still so much to see Teroth.” I wave as he swishes his tail.
“I will be here, waiting for our return, as I ponder life and all of its being.” He smiled as I floated away. Once more slipping through the many planets and stars.
A burst of color fills the vast dark space as I watch two giant space squids fight, colored ink drifting around, their bodies shimmering many colors. Their tentacles spinning. One goes limp, the other begins to eat it. I continue to drift onwards.
I see many shining lights coming my way, a cluster of comets. I grab ahold of one my size and wrap my arms around it. I zoom through space, being pulled along by the gravity of the many planets. I am so happy to be able to see this.
I pass by a giant planet so big it took up so much space. Too massive to describe. I am filled with curiosity. I let go of the comet and land on that planet. Everything is massive, so massive. I begin to grow in size, I walk above the trees, the giant trees are like grass beneath my feet. In the distance massive creatures are in a circle, watching two bull-like creatures fight. They were full of rage, full of bloodlust. One got knocked down to the floor, wailing in defeat.
The group of thirty stop to stare at me. Fangs glaring, fists clenching. A buff wolf stared me down, “You want in!” Drool falling from his mouth. I am filled with rage!
“Sounds like fun!” I clench my fists, my hair flowing in the wind. A minotaur has a guitar in his hands, another has wooden drums, the other ready to sing. The guitar strings so big, the drums so big the noise is very deep, like the bass but a thousand times lower and louder. It’s played fast, so fast. The lyrics are screeched, dark and demonic. We begin to circle each other, “The heaviest metal of the universe! Death! Violence! Hatred! Rage!” The screeched voice booming with anger. He punches and I dodge, As I’m punching back, everything feels funny, as if I’m being sucked back to Earth. I have so many flashbacks from when I was in a coma. I don’t know if any of it was real, but I am glad I got to see what I did. I’ll never forget Teroth, even if he was just in a dream.
I woke up in the morning next to this beautiful girl, this girl that I love and I kiss her cheek. Grace smiles, “Hey there handsome.” She turned over, her Pokemon pajama pants are a colorful reflection of my own, I smile as she sits up and moves her hair from her face, in her eyes I find solace, today will be okay. Everything will be fine.
“Let’s eat some breakfast?” I fixed my blue blanket as she walked to the bathroom to brush her teeth.
“What should we make?” She spit and turned off the water.
“Some eggs, toast and pancakes?” I checked my phone, Roux and Alise were all packed. I told them to head over. I turned on some 311 and walked into the kitchen.
“That sounds lovely, I’ll see if the Goons are awake.” She opened the blinds and the window, a cool breeze flowing through the screen. She lit an incense cone and we heard the call of Mando.
“Turd Burglars!” Mando and Arezo were on their yoga mats doing yoga.
“Turds!” Grace yelled as she looked at herself in the red-framed mirror on our wall.
“How goes it sister? We’re just hangin loose ya know? Stretching and relaxing before this trip.” Mando was sitting cross legged.
“Yeah, it’s going to be tough, but it’s something to overcome.” Arezo was standing now, rolling up her mat.
“True guys, Frankie would want us to go.” Grace looked calm, her eyes silent.
“We’re about to grub on eggs and pancakes you lovely turds!” I screamed, walking in the kitchen and pulling out the egg carton from the fridge.
“We’re here Jas.” Roux texted me.
“Grace, Roux and Alise are here, could you open the gate please?” I cracked the eggs into a bowl and began to stir them with a fork.
“Sweet okay love.” She walked out and hugged Mando and Arezo, who looked really pregnant. I put the eggs in the pan, the sweet scent of cooking eggs filled the air, music drifted through my ears, I was at peace.
Mando walked in and hugged me, “How’s it going brotha? Today’s gonna be a tough day, but with good vibes and love we can make it.”
“True brothaman, it’ll be alright.” I scooped the eggs onto a plate while Mando made the pancake batter and mixed it.
“Hopefully the water doesn’t turn off on you again! Ahaha! Mando’s face turned red and we both laughed.
“I don’t know if I can go in there again.” Frankie, why? Why did you have to leave? Leave us all alone, why Frankie why?
“Love! Jas! Jas!” The world turned black, like I was back there again, drifting.
The tide rolled back and forth, crashing rhythmically on the shore. “What does everything mean man?”
“What do you mean Frankie?” He stared at the horizon, a fishing pole in his hand.
“Life, death, and everything. I’ve been meditating on it, but can’t find a answer.” His boots moved the sand.
I sat there for a while pondering over his question, “Ouroboros Dragon, have you heard of it?”
“No man, what is it?” He wiggled his eyebrows like crazy.
“It’s said to be the creation, the beginning of everything. A dragon eating its own tail, an endless cycle of death and rebirth. Endless energy. So if when we die, the energy goes back to the universe.” I played with sand in my hand.
“That makes sense, but if I die man, if I ever leave you guys, just know that I’ll always be watching you Goons. Always.” We bumped fists.
I open my eyes and Mandos holding me up, “Sorry man, I just remembered something.”
Grace was holding my left hand, Roux and Alise were standing next to Arezo, looking at me with worried eyes.
“Are you alright brother?” Mando’s glasses showed my reflection.
“Yeah, I’m alright. Sorry.” I grabbed the bowl of pancake mix and poured some in the pan, the scent drifting into my nose. I love pancakes. “Sorry guys.” I hugged Roux and Alise, “How are you two?”
Roux scratched his head, “I’m good, if you need anything just let me know man.”
He’s such a great friend, “Thanks man, I appreciate it.”
“I don’t really know what to say to help.“Alise was holding Roux hand.
“Don’t worry at all! I can take care of Jas, you just be there for Roux!” Grace kissed my cheek.
“Always, it’s a promise.” Alise smiled, and then I realized just how happy I am.
“Love is in the air turds!” Arezo was rubbing her belly, “All of you lovely people.”
“Food’s done turdy turds! Let’s get our grub on!” Mando passed out plates and forks. We all got eggs and pancakes and sat down at the table. I passed out juice in cups. We all ate and laughed. Music drifted in the air, birds chirped outside, and life seemed so carefree. I’m so happy.
This year we can escape with each other, it won’t be the same. After we ate we cleaned up and grabbed our bags. We climbed in Mando’s green VW van and I laid on the bed with Grace.
“A bit nostalgic huh?” Alise and Roux sat down holding hands, Mando began to pull out of the driveway, Arezo played some Katchafire, and Grace was staring at the ceiling of the van.
I poked her cheek, "Look how far we've gotten, I'm sure Frankie would've been- I'm sure he's happy, probably wiggling his brows." Grace chuckled and she tried to move her eyebrows.
“He’s probably teaching your sis how to move her brows.” I laughed, today isn’t going to be that bad.
“What’s up Mando?” I turned to see him looking in the rearview mirror.
“Dude, I brought your shortboard and wetsuit! We can catch some waves this time around, spend time at the beach brotherman!” He sounded really excited.
“Sweet! Thanks Mando.” I stared out the front window, the sea was glossy as we passed the boardwalk, the waves gently crashing on the shore.
“No problem brother!” The screams of the amusement park faded away, the intensity of the moment put a stale taste in my mouth.
Alise and Roux fell asleep after some time. The music still flowed through the air, and everything felt like the calm before the storm. Grace was asleep, her head buried in the blankets. I put my hands on the back of my head, and stared at the ceiling.
Cars passed and passed before my eyes. Grace was breathing slowly, curled up. Alise was sleeping in her seat, “Hey um Jas?”
I turned to Roux who was leaning back in his seat, facing me, “Yeah man?”
He touched his septum, “Um if you need to talk I’m always here.”
“Thanks man, that means a lot.” I bumped his fist.
“Groovy vibes!” Mando smiles as we pass by the Mcdonalds. I wonder if Andy still works there.
Further on we pass the spot where I found Grace, my heart becomes warm. Life is about remembering the past as you live in the present, having hope towards the future. I love you, remember this as you read, I care so much about you do please be happy. Go on a hike, see the clear blue sky, swim in the ocean and be free, oh so free.
I dozed off and wake up to the back doors opening, “Wake up turdy turds.”
The air is so quiet, the birds aren’t even chirping.
It’s the same campground. I don’t know if I can go through with this. A gentle squeeze of my hand and I’m brought back to reality, brought back to now. This isn’t just some story where the characters are just characters. We exist, we think therefore we are. It’s so strange to have someone read what I’m doing, what I’ve done, but at least someone knows. At least you can understand.
“I didn’t think this place would be so crowded!” Grace was climbing out the back, looking around. It seems as though every campsite is taken up. People have tents and tarps up, they’re all playing. Some look familiar, but I can’t really tell.
“Yeah, but this time will be special.” The sun felt warm on my face, the cool ocean breeze kissed my lips. I refuse to even glance at the wooden bench where we carved our names last year, but I know exactly where Frankie carved it. I can see it in the corner of my eyes, fuck, Frankie dammit. My breathing gets hard, but I stay calm.
“Well let’s set up them tents you beautiful people!” Arezo was rubbing her belly, “This baby wants to nap!”
They are the same tents we used last year, just Frankie’s we left at home. “I’m gonna go to the bathroom, I’ll be back guys!” Roo pulled out his phone and swiped away. He began walking to the bathroom on the far right instead of the other one. I Hope that I can walk into the other one, but right now I just don’t want to think about it.
“I hate tents so bad!” I tried to put the pieces together but the front half kept caving in.
“Burglar! Don’t worry man I’ll help you right now.” Mando was setting his sleeping bag into the tent. Arezo was laying down, waving at the two of us, “I’m all done with my tent brotha.” Mando walked over to our tent.
“I’ll see you guys in a bit, me and this baby are gonna nap! I love you turds!” Arezo zipped up the tent.
“Love you!” I yelled. Mando pulled up half of the tent, helping me get the rest up.
“Get some rest Arezo!” Grace yelled, grabbing our sleeping bags and tossing them in, “No backpacks this year huh.”
“Nope!” Roux and Alise were sitting in chairs by the empty fire pit, a guitar in his hands. There’s always a guitar in his hands.
“Yeah Mando?” Mando was staring into my soul.
He was pushing his fist with his left hand, “I was wonderin Burglar, I mean if it’s cool with you, I’d like to have a heart to heart with you, talk a bit ya know? We can walk to the beach and sit a bit brotha?”
“Sounds good Mando!” I turned to Grace, but before I could say anything she gave me a thumbs up.
“Don’t worry about me! I’ll be hangin loose with Alise and Roux! Have fun you two!” She walked over to them and took a seat.
“We’ll be back guys!” I waved as we walked through the grass onto the pavement towards the horizon.
For the most part we were quiet, until we hit the sand, “It’s a tough trip brother, but you’re so strong. I’m right here ya know.”
“Thanks man, you’re pretty awesome Mando, I’m glad I know you man.”
“Listen, I know things are hard, but we’ve been through so much and we both have great women by our side. I love you dude, don’t ever forget that!”
“I love you too Mando, you’re my brother man!” We hugged and my heart felt so warm, I’m so happy.
The sky was clear and there were a few pelicans flying in the air, the breeze was cool, we walked onward in silence, lost in our thoughts, in the silence of life.
I can finally see the ocean, it’s calm and silent, the sunlight sparkles off the water, a shimmering reflection. The tide is really low, the waves kissing the shore and running away. I see the same spot Frankie was fishing, but I’m smiling not crying. I can always come to this spot and see Frankie with a stick fishing. This memory is infinite.
We took a seat in the sand, staring out as far as the eye can see, the infinite sea. There were so many people at the campgrounds, I’m surprised no one is here. Oh well, it’s nice to just be here sitting.
“Dang man.” Mando was sitting cross legged, playing with the sand, letting it run through his fingers.
“What’s up?” I was caught in a daze, time moved so slow here, so slow.
“Just time moves and moves and moves, it never stops brotherman. In a hundred years this book will be all dusty in someone’s garage, but then someone will read them and know who we are. They will laugh with us, cry with us brother.”
YOU, yes You reading this. We are talking about you. I LOVE YOU. Thank you for sticking with us through all of this. You’re awesome, you’re lovely, so very lovely. I love You. There’s a song by the Deftones called Sextape, I listen to it when I have a bad day, you should check it out sometime, there’s so much I want to share with you.
“There is a reason this is being written brotherman, for people of the future, for people of the past, for everyone. What’s your thoughts on Frankie man?” The ocean looks so beautiful.
Mando stared out at the waves, “The way Arezo and I see it brother is simple. Live in Love. Live in gratitude. Live on. Travel on. Carry on. Forgive quickly man.”
We continued to sit for some time in silence, meditating, staring out at the endless sea before us, at the infinite sky.
“We should head back brotherman, Arezo wanted to walk through the nature trail.” Mando stood up, brushing off his pants.
“Sounds good, sounds good.” I stood up. I swear I just saw my hands shaking, but my body is perfectly calm. I must be nervous.
We began making our way through the sand, time rolled on and on in silence, “Awh man!”
Mando scratched his head with his hand, his black hummingbird tattoo under his forearm, Arezo got it for him on his birthday April 7th as he turned 31. It’s a beautiful work of art. Arezo turned 32 on the 10th of June and Beatle promoted to middle school.
Mando was about to say something but didn’t, “What is it Mando?”
“Awh man!” He starts to laugh his laugh and slaps his knee, “I really need to do the two man! Like I’ve been holdin it for a while and in my mind I was like okay okay I can hold it for a while you know? Like I’m fine I’m groovin, but all of a sudden it was like bam! You’re gonna poop sucker!”
“Ah man!” I couldn’t stop laughing, here we are super far from the campgrounds or any bathroom, “What you gonna do man?”
“Awh man! I can’t hold it dude, it’s cool it’s cool I’m gonna find a little spot behind that hill man, dig a little hole and do it like our ancestors! Ahahahahaha!” Mando scooted, holding his butt behind the hill.
“What ya gonna use to wipe man!” Mando was laughing, the wind felt good, the sun was bright.
“It’s all good!” He yells, “I got my socks brotha! Ahahahaha!” Ah dude this is so classic.
“Ah dude! Have fun!” These moments are what makes the harshness of life fade away and the beauty that envelops our soul makes the hardships fade away into oblivion.
Mando walks out from behind the hill with his shoes on and no socks, “Ahahaha! It happens!”
“True man true!” We started walking again and life continued on. It always does.
Sometimes my mind gets bad. It seems like no matter what happens nothing will make it any better. I get so sucked into my mind, so lost in despair, it’s like my own personal limbo. I block out reality and enter this place, this own world inside my mind. It feels like I’ll never escape, but then I remember the little things and I’m back in reality.
“Turds!” Mando walked to his tent, Grace, Roux and Alise were sitting around still. Mando comes out with a bottle of hand sanitizer, he’s rubbing his hands and puts his bottle back, chuckling while putting on new socks.
“How was the third verse for Shadow Eyes? I can’t remember.” Grace was humming in the air, tapping her fingers on the chair arm.
“Um it went, lost in your eyes I see pain, the shadows underneath cover me, I’m drowning in rain, save me, I have shadow eyes.” Roux plays the notes as I sing.
“Thanks love!” Grace smiled, it’s so ironic how we have trouble memorizing our favorite song to perform. I guess we refuse to. It was the first song we recorded after Frankie, but yeah let’s keep going okay.
“This baby’s ready to get steppin!” Arezo was climbing out of her tent, she had on a green flowy dress and a bright yellow umbrella that had little ducks all over it.
“Sweet!” Alise got up and dusted off her light-brown shorts.
“Let’s get to walking burglars!” Mando held the umbrella for Arezo as they walked through the grass.
Grace held my hand, Roux and Alise walked ahead with Mando, Roux had his guitar in his hands. I’m caught in this moment, there’s so much nostalgia, it scares me. It really does.
“Yeah?” Grace was holding me close, the same field just it’s covered in tents, chair and fire pits, there’s no people in sight, but that’s the last thing on my mind.
“Could we go to the lake again?” She was staring out at the many trees in the distance.
“I would love that, It’ll always be a place we can go back to.” I kissed her cheek and I could see the little freckles by her nose.
“Sweet, thank you.” We could hear Mando laughing up ahead and Roux was strumming his guitar.
We walked past the entrance and into that same wooden path. Our boots making those familiar sounds. Birds were chirping, but my eyes were down below, so much just spinning in my mind. I don’t know, it’s just a lot to deal with.
As we hit the dirt Grace squeezed my hand, “Come on let’s go!” We began to sprint, “We’re headed for the lake! See you in a bit!” We ran and ran.
“Watch out for flying turds!” Mando screamed.
“The only flying turd here is you!” Grace yelled with tears in her eyes.
We walked past the small clearing and the lake was in view. The lake was dead, the bamboo hut was still there. Seagulls were flying and yelling, a cool breeze kissed our lip. The problems of life will pass on by, new people will be born on this Earth and they will go through so much, but they will come to this exact same spot and find harmony in the sound of birds, the warmth of the sun, the beauty of nature with the person they love.
“Frankie.” Tears were flowing from my eyes and fell into Grace’s hair.
She was squeezing me tight, crying so hard, her heaves hurting my heart even more, her face buried in my chest.
“Frankie why Frankie?” Her muffled voice echoed in the silence of nature, the silence of the moment.
I held her tightly as we continued to cry. Continued to drown in a pool of sadness, but although we drowned, we were drowning together.
“Love,” I squeezed her so tightly, “I’m so glad you’re here, I’m so happy you exist.”
“I love you so much!” We held each other for the longest time. It seemed time was slipping away, so much time passed as we stood there, holding each other as we stared at the horizon.
“We should start heading back love.” Grace was wiping her eyes.
“Okay, but promise me one thing first please?” I kissed her cheek.
She looked me in the eyes, hers are red and full of tears, “Yes?”
“Promise me when life tries to hurt us we’ll always come back to this spot and remember everything?”
She smiled, “I promise.”
I kissed her and held her, then we began walking back.
When we got back, in my mind I saw Mando and Frankie swinging around bamboo sticks while yelling, but the four were sitting down, talking about the trees.
“You lovely people!” Grace yelled while squeezing my hand.
“What’s up turdy turds?” Mando was rubbing Arezo’s belly.
“Nothing much dudes, we should head back before the sun goes down.” The sky was getting darker, the trees becoming ominous.
We began to walk back, and as the sun began to set, the vibe was just dark and gloomy. Dammit Frankie why? Clouds were nowhere to be seen, my feet crushing the grass below me, no one really talked. Roux wasn’t even playing guitar. It’s like everyone knew, like a stormy cloud covering all of us. As we got to camp stars began to appear in the sky above.
“I’ll um start the fire.” Roux bought firewood when I walked to the beach with Mando. He started putting little pieces in the fire pit, lighting a group of splinters with his lighter. He worked on adding more and more as Grace came from or tent with my sweater, we had the same sweaters on as last time.
“Thank you.” I put my arm through the sleeve, it feels as if this moment is but a reflection of last year. It scares me.
Roux got the fire big enough for a log. I sat with Grace in those familiar double chairs. The moment was filled with silence, Grace’s hand is cold, I rub her knuckles with my thumb. The sun faded away, and a sky full of stars appeared before us. The beauty of the moment, the quiet stillness of nature, the low hum of the old telephone wires. Alise and Roux were holding hands, Mando and Arezo gazing at the stars.
“I remember the first time I met Frankie.” The words slipped out of my mouth as I watched the flames dance. The air around us was stale. “I met him in junior high, this super tall guy who wore army cargo pants with a huge green shirt that had a pit-bull on it. His hair was like a jew fro and we would talk about government conspiracies all of the time.” I couldn’t help but laugh, and although we were all crying we weren’t sad.
“Awh dude! I remember when I first saw that goon! He was in the pit at that Anaheim gig, but that first night at the bonfire we were havin a great chat about Anarchy man!” Mando was burning a stick, the smoke drifting into the air.
“That dude was so cool at that bonfire, I’m so glad I met him!” Arezo kept her gaze up at the sky.
“I never got the chance to meet him, but I wish I could have. He sounds like a great person.” Alise said nervously, but I understood, the two of them felt like outsiders.
“I’m sure Frankie would’ve loved you.” I gave her a reassuring smile.
“I remember how he showed me the beauty of punk rock, not the fashion, but the mental aspect of being not normal is just fine. I dunno, he helped me a lot.” Grace’s eyes were glowing.
The air was so quiet, no bonfires ablaze but ours, I guess everyone was asleep. The dim light of Roux’s phone shone brightly in the darkness of the dying fire, the remains glowing like fish scales.
He cleared his throat, “Um, is it okay if we put out the fire? I want to show you guys something I found earlier.”
Roux waited for a answer, “Yeah brotha sounds good!”
We put out the fire, smoke and the sound of hissing fills the air, my eyes fixed upon the stars above, fixed upon you.
I clutch onto Grace’s hand as we follow Roux in the direction of the bathroom. Frankie man. “Roux I can’t.” My feet are stuck in the ground, I don’t want to move.
“Jas please, trust me man.” Roux handed me his guitar, “It helps when I’m feeling down, just strum a bit as we walk, sing Diamond Eyes. We all will.”
I began to strum the calm and elegant pattern of this song, I was crying. Grace chimed in singing next to me, and although it was dark I could see her eyes crying, “Gummy Bears was my friend…” She exhales deeply, the air rushing out of her lungs, “Why’d you leave!”
She stops, she can’t sing any more, she puts her head on my shoulder and we all stand there, “Gummy Bears was my friend,” Mando started singing, “I need you please, oh Gummy Bears where could you be! Awh man!” Mando hugged Arezo, his face buried in her neck.
I continued to play, Arezo whispered calmly, “Gummy Bears was my friend, so tall and so neat, Gummy Bears was my friend, I wish you could’ve met him…”
I put my heart into the ending solo, slow and light, rhythmic with my whole heart into it. The last note sounded into the air and stood there, lingering, refusing to fade away. A long moment of silence followed by Roux, “Is it okay to keep walking?”
I nodded and my foot moved forward slowly. The closer we got the more my heart began to sink into this black abyss, Grace clutched onto my hand, but the comfort she gave me saved my mind from going dark.
As we turn the corner I see the bathroom, but in front of it, filling up the whole parking lot and most of the road I see people holding white candles that are burning brightly, “What is-”
Before the words come out of my mouth one of the people in the crowd screams, “We’re here for you guys! You don’t have to face this alone, We’ve read what happened, we went through the same pain you have, Jas, Grace, Mando, Arezo we’ve shared the same story! It’s going to be okay! We’re right here with you!”
I smiled, I remember now how you share my pain, this group of people aren’t just fans that love our music, they’re you. They’re all of the people who’ve read the book, who’s been through everything with us. Find each other in your world and you can have a group of friends as I do, people you can relate to. I love you, thank you.
“I love you all, thank you.” Roux bumped my fist.
“It took me some organizing, having them stay away so you didn’t notice, but I’m glad it turned out good.” Roux smiled, he’s such a great friend.
“Thank you Roux.” Now that I look around, there’s so many familiar faces.
“That’s so lovely.” Grace whispers, crying as they make a path leading to the bathroom. Roux and Alise step to the side, a candle in their hands.
“Thanks brother man, I love you dearly.” Mando bumped fists with Roux.
Arezo hugged him, “Thank you.”
The people were silent, caring. We walked to the entrance of the bathroom, “We love you! Be brave! It’s going to be okay!” All of them were showing pure love to the four of us, and now I’m okay with walking in here again. I can do this.
I push the door open, the bathroom is quiet. I see the familiar showers, the sink, the stall. That single stall, but I’m not crying, none of us are. We just stand in front, Mando holding Arezo, me holding Grace in silence just staring at that single spot. Time goes by, and everything is fine.
“I love you Frankie.” Grace chuckles, “He’s probably moving his brows right now.” She tries to move hers and we all start to laugh.
“Ah that turd!” Mando laughs like crazy.
“Such a lovely turd!” Arezo moves her brows.
“Damn Frankie you turdy turd man!” We’re finally at peace.
We walk out of the bathroom laughing and smiling, “Thank you everyone! I love you guys so much, I really do!” All of these people show us pure love.
Thank you, so much for reading, for going through all of this. Life must be tough huh? Just sometimes you can’t find a reason to wake up in the morning. Everything feels so dull, just life is harsh, but please don’t give up. I love you. We all love you, you’re beautiful, so beautiful.
The silent embers drifted into the sky, time itself seems to fade away. I smiled as Grace kissed my shoulder, “I love you so much.” She whispered as everyone sat around a giant fire pit filled with wood. All of the wonderful people are sitting around, smiling and laughing, talking to each other. Here I am with Grace just enjoying her company.
“You are the reason I breathe.” I kissed her cheek, she giggles and squeezes my hand.
The fire is dancing in her eyes, “Yes?”
“Thank you.” She rubs my fingers with her thumb, “Thank you so much.”
She plays with my hair, “For existing.”
“Well you give me a reason to.” She put her head on my shoulder and we watched as Mando told a scary story.
“So this one time I walked past this old lady’s house down this dark alleyway because I was buying a cymbal off of craigslist and as I go to the door I look on the roof and there’s this giant bird looking thing and I ran back into my car and sped off!” Mando was standing up now, and everyone was laughing and listening. The people sitting on the grass and on the wooden benches were sharing stories, I know you have one too. I can hear it clearly.
“Okay who’s next?” Arezo asks, laughing as Mando sits back down.
“How about Roux?” Mando puts another log on the dying fire, sparks rise up into the air.
He hides behind Alise, “No way Mando!” He points at me, “How about Jas?”
“Ah Roux thanks a lot!” I stand up and brush off my sweater, “But I have to go to the bathroom.”
Mando chuckles, “Just pee in the bush brother!”
I start walking to the bathroom, “Not that one man.”
Grace grips my sweater, “Wait! Jas are you going to-”
“I’ll be fine, don’t worry.” I kiss her hand and begin to walk.
“Don’t forget to wipe your turd butt!” Mando yells and starts to crack up.
“Don’t worry I got my socks!” We both laugh so hard but nobody gets it. I start to walk again, “I’ll see you guys in a bit!”
They’re all silent, worrying and whispering. I love them all so much. Even the people that don’t talk much, I love them. I know they exist, I’ll make sure to talk to them one day.
As I walk the rocks beneath my feet make crunching noises. It’s so dark out I can barely see, the stars above are so beautiful. Why does life have to be so harsh? I don’t understand why there has to be so much darkness in the world.
The dim lights flicker outside, I open the door and take two steps inside. I walk over to the bathroom stall, the same one as last time, but I’m feeling perfectly fine. I’m at peace. I really am. I finish pooping and I wash my hands after I wipe my butt. I walk in front of Frankie’s stall, “I love you dude.” I smile and walk out of the bathroom. I poke my head in again and laugh, “Weewooweewooweewoo!” I stare up at the stars and smile.
Afterwords: We all go through so much in life. The pain and suffering, the joy and happiness. All of it is part of the world, part of this universe. You are strong, you are beautiful. I'm so happy you're alive, I really am. Feel free to contact me and we can talk about anything, anything at all. I love you, whoever you are, I love you. ~Ruben Kekoa Solano