The Tangled Tears
S. M. Bjarnson
Copyright © 2014
THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION. ALL OF THE CHARACTERS, ORGANIZATIONS, AND EVENTS PORTRAYED IN THIS STORY ARE EITHER PRODUCTS OF THE AUTHOR’S IMAGINATION OR ARE USED FICTITIOUSLY.
All rights reserved.
A.M. Thank You.
Thank you for all who read may you find peace.
We are all souls lost at sea. Wandering around yesterdays and the awe of could be; when will we be free to dream?
The sign read DO NOT ENTER, ROCKS BELOW SHARP, in clear 3rd grade English. We all knew what it meant, the letters involved in creating the sentence, how it was soon to be read by passing cars or traveling hikers. It seemed as though it was a landmark, touching the matter of life or uncertain passing. Anything could happen in that instance. Anyone could fall from some sort of grace which we were given as a reminder of this life. There is no explanation for tragedy, only the connection of enduring such pain after it was left behind. I hated that part most of all; being left behind.
True Love Never Ends
Winter M. Moion & Chatt Thurgood.
I smelled wet daisies as the light wind loped; the bark on the Aspen trees felt smoother than I’ve ever known it to be. Somewhere in the gray sky the color of blue strides out of place. The laughs and riddles bounce around it like a wave. The commotion you catch next are the bells and the mistakes loved ones chose.
In momentary conflicts they slip out from your livelihood. There you are left trying to grasp onto empty false air. The cracking of branches, grass being uprooted to new foreign grounds. There stood no shelter in sight, not even for Winter or Chatt.
I stumble to my step, catching glimpses of reality. Movement from this became improbable, turning your back on your home to find another desperate city longing for your companionship. No matter where I go the fatality of their demise will always be the forecast on my mind.
Shelter of above we are promised to believe in for so many years, our belief superficially isolated. The wonderful creature of light gone from His post in a moment’s notice? Tell me because I can sense the darkness swallowing me whole snickering at me; I am prey.
“Winnie, Winnie, Winnie, Winnie…” Eyes wide, searching canvases I’d relinquished to become accustomed too, there was no acclaiming her.
Lost in a world believing angels would come to the Savior’s song, the scene of the crime left fake feathers floating above the temptations of disguised demons. Shuttering as a taciturn chill shoots along my unbending spine. I shift my body, lost in the fog. Bullets of rain coming in definitive directions, establishing their own patterns amongst the tears upon my stained skin.
“She’s the only friend I have.” I whisper to everything in nature living.. My thoughts in chaos to point the culpability. One wonder of God promising safe waters, while the other brother concocts his own will.
Mud kicked up in-between cowgirl boots, I cringe at my corrosive thoughts. Dead. Repeating it to myself. Dead. Gone, vanished from existence. Never to live again in mortal attire. Clothing drenched, thoughts raging, sirens blazing. There was an uncanny of numbness, nothing but fading whispers and searching of souls.
Walking miles and miles, on no occasion do I come to the conclusion of avoiding. In search for the exodus door, to flee from this imminent adversity. I scan my footwork and swaying arms; power stroking along the side of convinced calamity.
I must have been pacing for hours, maybe even an evening or two. All I knew was that I had hit state border collapsing on the side of a street; road kill waiting to be pressed so far into the highway there is no evidence of this creature’s life at all.
A familiar tide of tones fill the air, my pocket bulges with noises. I have never longed to hear this very one though; my father’s ringtone. I blink away his misinterpreted messages of concern. I was alone and he had no right to be a part of that.
Jenks rang my phone four times, among other text messages from people who considered themselves my friends. Sympathy voters I suppose.
Winnie’s number blinked like a mirage in the desert. I threw my phone in uneasy angst, I know I must feel hurt; I bleed, but have no wounds to share. Here I laid, estranged on this abandoned roadway. Provoking myself into thinking everything will be okay.
Jenks, could you give me a lift? Text message sent wet dirt painting itself over the plastic of my screen. Positioned down on top of the dirt, drifting far from here. I find myself wafting in the unknown, it was almost tangible. I found myself picturing a world away from this one, one I could be in control of, one where happiness grew, and prosperity blossomed. Every morning is simply bliss, waking up to the sun beaming its glorious rays of warmth. Comforts that can make anyone feel at home, even me.
All that peace seems to disappear when I hear the screeching tires of a black street car pull up next to me, Jenkins.
“AJ! Are you okay!” Slipping his arm around my shoulders for support. Brushing nature’s perfections from my face, gently saddling me into the passenger seat of the car.
“After I heard about the incident I came looking for you. Left my phone on at basketball practice, checking it every 15 minutes. Coach kept yelling at me to save it for later.” Concern pressed into my atmosphere.
“Oh, why?” I fidget with my fingers, placing them underneath my tingling thighs.
“Because, I was worried. Here, you must be cold.” He grabs a blanket from the back seat warming me up.
“How did you know where to find me anyway? I don’t even know where I’ve wandered to.” Shuttering in near disbelief I was in the car with a boy I barely knew, a guy I had never actually wanted to know in my lifetime. There he was sitting next to me, trying to be a hero to this damsel in distress.
“Your dad told me.”
Last place he would even think of sending Jenks to look for me came to mind. Winter was 7 and I was 4. He had taken us to a summer cottage and we had played here by the lake. My eyes squinted I remembered this place to be better, cheerful and welcoming. All I saw in the limelight of it now was broken shutters and a screen door torn down the middle exposing a welcome sign barely hanging on to hope.
“Come on we better get you home.” He shifted gears higher and lower speeding and slowing at all the slopes and corners.
“If my father sent you, we have no choice but to return and manage the chaos at hand.” I gave him a look of both puppy and hungry monster eyes. Jenkins was confused on what to do next.
Leave it be Starts at
Voices lingering around town. The school halted scheduled hours. Everyone in disarray, no one safe from being taken. If Winter was the first, who would be the next? If bad things came in threes, shouldn’t I have been the first to make the sequence complete?
She was classical. I was more modern pop. I replayed the lyrics to my favorite song expiration for the beauty. Honest to only wanting to follow her spirit into the absence of light. Picking through dresses as many as I collected shorts. Her make up in perfect order, obtuse to the chaos lived inside my room.
My father figure gave disgrace on my absolute questions on morality and chances of survival. He looked not down upon me, but beyond. Through the vanishing wisdom I so eagerly earned. For everyday was a chance to teach and learn about the alphabet of the livelihood, she escaped from.
Why are we the way we are?
Why do we consistently, think that we have to fight everyone on everything?
Why as I stare out this window tonight, do I feel the hate growing strong inside me?
Will things ever be the same?
Will I ever feel love, actual love?
Shouldn’t life be better?
Shouldn’t I be able to move on through this pain?
I don’t know why I am here and she is not…
She was everything I couldn’t be, everything I needed to be, but didn’t have the power to become.
The world could have managed my loss.
Sorrow still shouted out for her.
I am nothing of that sort.
I am only an unfamiliar face in a crowd.
A finger print in society’s records.
An empty soul, among the fulfillers.
I am that beautiful face you pass by, because you noticed my sister standing on my side.
I am nothing special.
I do not even compare to you.
You have friends; you have love and excitement.
I walk in the wind. If I could stand in the wind for hours I would. Wishing, hoping, and waiting for it to lift me up into an embrace.
Taking me away from sorrows and troubling times.
As it waves goodbye, gently caressing my soft face.
Leaving me abandoned once again, by an emotionless thing.
I miss you, I whisper to the empty air, watching my words blow away.
How do I stop this torturing war, this undying battle?
I want it to end.
I want this to end.
I don’t want to be.
Why didn’t you take me?
Lost in Life
“Please trust me, AJ.” He gave out his hand and I looked at it dismayingly. Blanket placed in his hand instead of a warm motion.
“I don’t think its trust you need, Jenks.” The heat turns up. Peering out the windshield onto the busy road. Insults aimed at a welcoming gesture, along with the man who stood behind it. I ached to know that affection. I wanted to reach out and touch him. My thoughts led back to one thing; would he be worth losing?
“Now how did you really find me Jenks? We both know my father did no search or rescue for reasons we both are clear of.” I hesitated on my words. I kept distance not caring anymore.
“I remember some of the stories you use to tell in middle school about Winter and you. There was always one I heard most overall; the summer cottage in the park.” His eyes playing mismatch with mine.
“After I heard about the accident…accidents, weren’t they? They must have been, right?”
I shifted my shoulders up and down, shrugging away the thought of purposeful fate.
“I went looking for you. Everywhere I could possibly think of, anywhere I thought you would be wanting to be left alone. I searched for you.” Placing his hand on top of mine, it feels unfamiliar. I’ve held boys hands before. The heat pressing into my soft skin, I do remember his hands holding mine in a past circumstance. All I recall is that I don’t want to remember anymore.
He pulls to a slow, my house in the clearing. Catering to the whimsical, romantic feeling I never did get about that old Victorian house. It wasn’t a home if you invited me to observe, not even a little bit. There were blue and red lights flickering through the cracks and crevasses; who wouldn’t feel at home?
Making it come alive in a whole new scheme of things. I relax in seconds of calmness and certainty.
“AJ, you’re home.” Jenkins spoke softly into my eardrum.
“Where are we?” I stretch my swollen eyes open.
“Don’t worry; I’ve got you, AJ.” He held me tightly next to his chest; the rain subsided quietly as it had come. My father in view, his voice in range.
“Put her down. She is neither sick, nor lame. Requiring your assistance any further is discouraged.” My father looks at me in disgust, my clothing draped around me like a wet curtain on a hurricane day.
Jenkins places me down beside him, whispering to me if I am alright. I shake my head in a shiver, the wind perceives tonight.
“Thank you for the ride, have a good night.” I place the unused towel in his hand; the hand I held.
“No problem. Call if you need anything.” He gave me a stare that was promising.
My father huffed, “She won’t need the likes of you dear boy. I guarantee you that.” He said, with his snarl. Persuading me away from Jenkins and into the billowing gale perturbing inside.
Challenging the Patriarch
He locks the grand door behind him. With his head lowered, he starts to speak to me.
“Where have you been, out with some boy?” His quotations making marks upon marks. Rolling the tentative eyes I have.
“Like it even matters, Dad.” He stomped towards me with his evil daring eyes.
“Do you think you could be a little less conceited at a time like this, with the passing of your sister and that boy of hers?” He demanded, as he always did.
I kept my eyes steady hesitating on what exactly I should say. Blinking back tears making me vulnerable.
“Do you have any idea what it feels like having to worry about you? On top of hearing about Winter dying from something as reckless and stupid as bridge jumping, what the hell was she thinking; stupid girl and I bet it was that damn Chatt boy’s idea!” He slammed his hand against the marble table.
“I’m sorry I don’t know what that is like, sounds pretty rough, and your first time at this trick dad.” Sarcasm filters through my teeth with words I nearly mean. He is so engulfed into his ranting he doesn’t hear my remark; thank goodness for my sake I assure you.
“I knew the match of them was never a grand ideal, I perceived it so!” He paced around the foyer, stomping as he went.
“She isn’t stupid dad. They had a love for one another, one that no one can deny.” I trailed off saying something along the lines of…“You wouldn’t know anything about that though, now would you?”
“What did you say to me young lady?” His face was angry, his movements intentional.
“Well…” I began to say. His hand stopped my words before I could.
“How dare you disrespect me!”
Grabbing his hand right before another hit to the other side of my broken face.
“Don’t touch me, again.” I calmly stated in thick concrete.
“Just go to your room.” He stated, like I had made the mistake. Like I was the one who had plenty of friends clamoring at my door wishes to partake in the knowledge I could give to them.
In one swift movement I transformed from the sideline daughter to the one and only daughter. Family and close friends positioning their prize soul mate 6 feet below the crust of the Earth’s surface. Making no interpretation of whether or not they might survive, how well did they even know my beloved sister?
I rolled my young eyes, no sympathy from me to them. She had clearly been a notable figure in other’s eyes, in mine she was the light in my murky world. Without that light I’m blinded by obscurity, travelling through my own visions of skepticism.
The increments following made us aware we were alone. The house hung hollow and the creaks sung true to the relevancy that we would never hear the sweet melodies Winter chose to share with us. The cold had set in and before long we would be engulfed in frost bite. Our warmth taken away like a blanket in a blizzard. We awoke chattering at our teeth. Our shoulders shaking in disbelief and yet we will survive. Although we believe the hypothermia has begun to set in, it is our mindset that lets us know we still are roaring heat from within. Reminding us we have time to breathe. We have time to live, before it is our time to take that leap which brings us at the Reapers door.
Crying out to our God why this had happened, we had no choice but to answer that interrogation for ourselves. Someone to listen to our purpose, someone to calm our agony and remove it from our beautiful minds.
I’m running, it’s raining. Dark shadows surround me as I try to escape, my heart pounding. I see your face in the crowd.
“Help me,” I plead to you.
You turn away from my sorrowful eyes.
“Winter…” I scream. “Please don’t leave me.”
I chase after her, pushing through the group of people. I see her smiling waving as she begins to jump off the edge of the bridge once again. I run quickly and catch her hand, tears running down my face splashing onto her glistening smile.
“It’s time.” You calmly state.
“No, no Winter you have to get married, have kids, what about Chatt?” She shifts her weight as if she was just a floating light in front of me.
“He is with me.” She points down to a figure on the rocks, “He is waiting, AJ, I have to go.”
“No.” I call out yelps, but nobody is around to hear my cries.
My grip is weakening without a sense of her surroundings you shake your head and say two words I do not understand, two words I do not ever wish to comprehend.
“Let go, Autumn.” You start slipping out of my fingers, “No please,” I beg, there has to be a way. Not like this, Winter falling swiftly away from me. I shut my eyes as I hear her screaming as death takes her far away.
“Winnie I’m so sorry!”
Just like that she was gone, gone forever. I took up a permanent residency in my house, deep in my room, enclosed in an avalanche of quilts of comfort.
And sleep some more.
Then I stopped sleeping.
I couldn’t sleep anymore, I can’t stand thinking, wondering, and waiting.
There was a knock at the door.
“Autumn J, you need to get up! Go out and do something.”
He brings in light from the outside; I dig deeper into my empty abyss.
“Go to a movie or on a date.” He clears his throat in the annoying way he does when he wants to be heard.
“Fine.” I say, grabbing my jacket and keys rushing down the stairs.
“Well, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, it was just a suggestion.” He shouted.
“Yeah, but then I would have to stick around to fight with you. I’m not really in the mood to do anything with you right now.” I may have hurt his feelings, but I didn’t have the sense for it. Numb emotions meant no regret, no guilty conclusions. Except when it comes to Winter, I felt everything.
Later that evening I awake to his shouting.
“WINTER, WINTER! WHERE ARE YOU?”
“Dad?” I get up and stroll into his bedroom.
“WINTER WHERE ARE YOU BABY GIRL? DADDY’S HERE, I WILL SAVE YOU. WHERE ARE YOU?” He yells and yells. I shake him.
“Dad, DAD! Wake up, you’re having a nightmare.” He gives me a look that tells me I am not someone he wants assistance from.
“You are not Winter Magnolia, you will never be her, Autumn Jazmine.” He rolls over onto his side, without another word. I stand there not knowing how to react or what to do. I walk silently out of his room, standing at his door way.
“I know…dad. I know. I’m sorry she was the one that died that day, too.” His snores already echoing the area.
I sat there on that high off ledge of my father’s work building. Contemplating Winter and her short life. The rain clouds clutter above my head as I stare down at the worrying faces looking up at me with concerned eyes. I could jump; I could make all this go away, just fall back. I could forget about you, all together. Then maybe you wouldn’t haunt me anymore…
I smile back up at the sky circling around me letting each unique drop of rain soak into my jeans. The drops increase more and more, pounding with every increasing millisecond. I closed my eyes feeling relieved no one could see the real tears streaming down my face.
I stand up balancing my body on the narrow border of the top of the office building, dipping down my toes in a ballerina pose. I lean over the five story building below me, thinking of the disappointing factors.
Wondering to myself whether life is really worth living after all. So much pain, so much hurt and hatred. I will never be the same.
Tears streamed down my face. I just want to be enough, for once. I just want to be seen worth something, anything in my eyes or my father’s. I just want to be enough, to anyone, for once in my 17 years of life.
I want to feel that importance.
If I could dive, I would swim for years. If I could fall, I would want to for an hour. I look down below me is this really my fate? I let out a sigh closing my restless eyes to the darkness once again whispering, “Let me be free.” I let go, I push off I fall freely. But, you wouldn’t let me go, you wouldn’t let me be.
You grabbed onto my arm tightly with your muscles, not trusting your own strength.
“Let me go!” I yelled up to you. But, you wouldn’t, you held on.
“Now isn’t the time, AJ. You need to be strong little sister, you need to let me go, it’s time for me to go.”
No. I told myself, not yet. I can’t do this alone, please don’t leave me. But there were only whispers of the wind that followed my reply as if to say goodbye Autumn Jazmine.
As I stood on that high off ledge, thinking to myself is life really worth the pain, after all?
Yes, was all I heard.
A Call, a Cry, a Virtue
I punch in those seven numbers hesitantly. It was late into the night, maybe too late to be making this phone call.
“Jenks? It’s me.” I can’t seem to bring together the words I want to say.
“Autumn, are you okay? Give me ten minutes. I’ll be there.” I hear him rushing around, clinging of keys.
“No, no need to rush. I’m on my way to your place. If that’s alright with you?” I said hastily.
“Of course! I’ll be here.” His wording sounded sincere. Secretly I wish for it to be.
“See you soon AJ.” He took a finale exhale.
I awake to the heavy breathing of an animal, much larger than any creature I find imaginable. The dog or puppy was a large 200 pound Tibetan mastiff, staring at me. I remember where I am, how I got to this place on my course last night. I was in a wonderment of thoughts whether to stay or leave.
The first night I had slept over with a boy I was 8 or so my cousin’s birthday party. This night with Jenks was the first night I ever actually laid next to a boy, in the same bed, let alone the same room. It was the first time I actually felt comfort since the accident.
He was kind and gentle as he held me as much as I would let him. Although as time passed I didn’t have control over my dreaming and conscious states.
The smell of bacon and eggs enters the dark room, interfering with the brisk morning air. Jenks placed a tray of food to the side of me.
“His name is Charter.” He pats the top of his monstrous furry mane.
I shake my head in awe.
“You do this for all your friends that sleepover?” I wink with a flirty grin, forgetting the innocence. Acting cavalier but really wondering how many other girls have taken their place as I have here.
“No. No one has ever spent the night over, before with me…just you.” His honesty and defense seems to perk up as he hands me a glass of OJ. Guilty twinges begin to flicker in my stomach for saying something so assumingly, maybe he thought I was special. I shake the thought out of my head, Winter was the special one.
“I haven’t even kissed a girl.” Winking in his tone.
As I think to myself, honestly who could believe such a thing with all the chatter that runs down the hallways. I change subjects with a smile.
“Looks good! I’m starving.” We sit in conversation eating our delightful, somewhat uncomfortable breakfast.
As the plates start to clear, I gather up my belongings and head for the door.
“Thanks, Jenkins. I should get going though. My father is probably having a fit on my behalf.” My face still rosy where more than words had hit the day before. I pat his shoulder, not knowing the terms of our relationship.
“Wait, AJ, don’t leave yet. I want to show you something.” Propping himself out of the red cushioned couch.
My doubts floundered me we had no right in being together. We were an unusual match with nowhere to be made.
“What?” He shrugs my questioning gaze.
“Oh, nothing. What do you want to show me?” Shifting thoughts upon thoughts away from the mind of seclusion I never once had.
“This way. Follow me.” He begins to wave towards the back yard.
I squint through the overpowering snake grass as we climb through bushes and over tree stumps. Jenks leads me through a tall wooden gate.
“Close your eyes.” He whispers close to my ears. I can’t seem to focus, my pupils racing back to Winnie and the postpartum. His walking ceased until my eyelids were fully shut. I could hear water rushing as we stepped onto what felt like a stone pathway. He sat me down on a morning dew ridden bamboo bench. Shivers running circles up my spine, eyes tightly closed.
“Open.” He smiles. I gently lift my eyelids to see all the nature around us, its captivating me in a moment of splendor and wonder. My vision rests upon the Japanese culture hidden in between each and every crevice of this enchanted forest.
“Jenks, this is….beautiful. I can’t even believe it. This is all in your backyard?” My fingertips tingling as I brush against cherry blossom and blue orchids.
“You made this? You created all of this?”
With a shrug of his shoulders he replied, “I had a dream one night, I was lost, running and running, I couldn’t find my way. I couldn’t find any way actually.” He lowered himself down picking at the fresh green grass.
“I saw these trees that looked like they were a covering for something much larger.” His eyes gently moving from scene to scene. Perceiving the perfect memory of that time.
“I followed the stone path. I heard the water rushing behind the wooden door.” He pointed over to the entrance.
I nodded in awe, smelling the water lilies in the open air.
“…and inside the gate I found myself in a whole different world, a unique space, I found a new haven.” He sat up beaming with enlightenment.
“I found peace in that secret secluded place, where I could feel at home, again.” I was glued to his story, like it had been my own. I connected so deeply with this idea of something more than me or his memories.
“This is really breathtaking Jenks.” I trail off in my thoughts of wonder. I pull myself along as we walk toward the bridge, overlooking one of the few big ponds’ in the area. Koi fish gather under my feet as our stomps signal their feeding time. I turn to see Jenkins carrying a bag of small pieces of food for them.
“Pretty cool huh?” He snickered as he gave me a playful nudge proud of himself.
“I could stay here all day, every day.” I breathe in the clean air that makes my heart beat and makes it flutter, ready to soar.
Jenks hugs me tightly. I felt happiness form inside me for a quick moment we share much more than words.
It hit me, Winter.
How can I be happy when she is gone? How can I be so careless and selfish? Guilt takes the place of the disappearing sparks of happiness. Maybe, you were right dad. I let go, turning to run out the door, leaving Jenks with a simple, “Got to Go.”
He catches up with me as I flee through his front lawn, clicking the button to unlock the car doors.
“AJ, wait. Come on AJ.”
The confusion didn’t make him stop. I could hear him jogging behind me.
“I have to go.” I stated. I hustle quickly to my car before he could change my mind.
He is faster, bolting in front of me.
“Please move I say, I must be on my way.” I act grown up and mature for once, daddy would be so proud.
“You must be on your way?” He looks at me unfazed.
“I thought it would be a nice escape for you, you didn’t like it?”
“I did, I do. I really loved it, thank you for sharing it with me. It was amazing it’s just selfish of me to feel joy when Win…” I stop myself before I say her name.
“When she doesn’t get to feel anything at all.” Tears swell in my eyes.
He stared at me with awkward concern, “She would want you to be happy, AJ.” He brings me in for a bear sized hug.
“I want you to be happy Autumn Jazmine.” He held me tightly against his beating chest. I feel tears coming, but I feel nothing I am numb to feeling good emotions.
“Thanks.” I reply pulling away from his hurt attitude.
“I have to go.” I drive off in despair. Wondering if the chance of comfort or being wanted will ever arise again.
A Matrimony of Memories
I sink to the floor, emotion drowns me. I find refuge under my bed. I crawl with tears streaming down my face. I shake and shudder at the thoughts and memories that come to me, Autumn, she whispers. No, I call back. Tears fall and fall as if there was no end to it.
My father drags me out from underneath my bed, he picks me up and places me under the covers. I lay alone in my bed staring at the unfamiliar wall, wondering, imagining in the darkness. I let my mind wander and let my eyes exit. Tears stain my dry eyes.
“You know I think I love him.” She was laying on my bed, as she told me her day story.
“HA. I would hope you do.” I joked with a smile.
“No, no I mean like I really think he is the one, I really love him, love him.” She twirled around with joy.
“Yeah? Good.” I said, looking up from my book.
“So, did I tell you that he asked me to marry him?” She waited for me to be in shock, but I didn’t hear her the first time.
“What? Who’s getting married?” I stared at her in confusion.
“Are you even listening, Jaz? I AM GOING TO GET MARRIED TO CHATT THURDGOOD!” She talked slow as if I was a child.
“Really? You’re getting married?! That’s awesome!” We were jumping up and down on the bed now, something I never was allowed to do as a child. But, this occasion called for it.
“Yeah, we were thinking August 18th.” She shook her head with a smile, as her blonde hair flowed.
“Can I come live with you?” I stopped jumping.
“Yeah, of course I can’t leave you alone with daddio here ha-ha.” She winked.
“You know he will not be very happy about you getting married at such a young age, you’re only just about to turn 20.” I pointed out the pink elephant standing in the closet.
“I know right, but you think I would be able to make my own choices now.” She rolled her eyes.
“So, tell me how he asked you? Was it romantic, candles, roses, I bet there were roses!”
“Well, he had some old fireworks, so he suggested we use them and everything. So, we go out to his field and he starts lighting them off and everything. So, I start playing with sparklers and stuff. And then for some reason there were these little sticks sticking up in the ground, which I thought was weird. But, I just kept swinging my arm away. Chatt goes out to these little things and lights one on fire, he runs back and says let’s get on the roof. So, I’m thinking a whole field of sparklers, best idea ever.” Her hands express her excitement.
“Yeah, sounds like a freaking miracle.”
“Anyway, so we’re on his roof and by the time we get up to the top they are all lit, and they form letters that say, MARRY ME? I was so amazed and speechless I just sat there and started laughing like a rabid elephant.”
“Wait, what? Rabid elephant? How does that work?”
“You don’t want to hear it…it was pretty awful and by Chatt’s expression he though so also. He had this scared look on his face. So I just kept nodding up and down, yes, yes of course.”
“Ha-ha, that is so cool! Were you surprised?”
“Well, we had talked about it a couple times before, but I thought we were just talking you know, nothing serious.” She shrugged.
“Well, I’m sure you two will have a wonderful marriage, Winter.” I smile and give her a grateful hug.
Wednesday for Winter, Thursday for Thurgood
I slip in and out of a comatose state. Sooner than possible, Wednesday arrives.
I peek out the window for the first time since the rain has stopped. It’s a warm afternoon, the sun is bright, and I squint at the sky. My stomach aches from emptiness. I let go of the heavy blanket, letting the dark curtain take its place, shading the room, separating me from the reality outside.
I walk to the bathroom. Avoiding seeing any images into the mirrors, I brace myself for the showers cleanse.
The water starts pulsating, pouring onto my head, washing away the nightmares I’ve created. I crumble down in the shower, the water streaming over my frigid body.
Tears jog down my face splashing onto my knee caps. Fear and other unnecessary feelings and emotions seep out of the bottoms of my toes, so long, I push them away, drowning their memories with me.
I hold my breath, as my fingers linger upon my mother’s old clothing. Her dresses still hung in place, my father’s guilty conscious holding on tight to them. I guess he hasn’t gotten around to coming to terms of her leaving him.
I manage myself into one of her old black dresses. As it falls over me, taking the shape of my body personally. Staring at my reflecting self, my hair in a wavy tangle, I bring my fingertip up to touch my sorrowful shape. Disgusted and feeling unsatisfied I turn the mirror around.
Time has passed. Minutes, hours, her life is summed up in those short times. Weeks upon years, we grew up together. She never knew how much I loved her for being there for me. Or for being the person I never could be.
Their funerals’ followed the next week; Wednesday for Winter’s, Thursday for Chatt Thurgood’s. I slept through the motions each day, reliving each part of that reckoning day. Until I relived it once more in her wake.
The phone rang, but I merely stared at the flickering lights bouncing off the walls, the buzzing left ignored.
I haven’t gone to school since I don’t know when. What’s the point anyway, school sucks, and people are incompetent. I have no connection to things in this world that are disappointing.
I can hear my dad breaking down the door. For me to live, to get up and move on with whatever life I still seem to have beyond that dark door. I can’t seem to find my balance; the gravity pulling my feet back to earth. I only find myself, wondering when the world will finally end.
“Autumn Jazmine, if you don’t open this door, I’m going to drag you out by your hair.” He demanded with a strong voice, jiggling the door knob.
“I dare you.” I whisper to no one. I sit in this dark closed off room, a navy blue blanket covering the light trying to stream in through my balcony window. Surrendering myself to this darkness.
I stare at the walls, wondering what I am supposed to profess at these viewings. I imagine what people want me to say, how much my father would love to be glorified in her passing. How much he wishes it wasn’t Winter in that tomb.
I wrap my arms around my legs cradling myself, keeping myself together for just a little while longer.
Every moment I stand contemplating her and Chatt’s every move in this world. Thinking of ways to incorporate jokes and laughter, to make it a happy scene of celebration, instead of mourning.
I jot down ideas and positive thoughts about both of them. The love they shared and how it will be remembered for the rest of our livelihoods.
Tears began to fill up the pages, making words I have written indescribable. Wet ink runs down the paper, streaking lines of the things I never thought would happen. Who would ever want that…who even thinks these things will happen.
I put all her belongings in a box, I take down picture frames of me and her at the circus, at the zoo, at the movies. I put them away out of sight, hidden like she never existed, like I wanted to be right now.
As I head for the door, seeing notes and speeches that he thought would be appropriate for me to say at both funerals. I stuffed them in my purse and drove myself to the church.
I know what I had to say, not what I needed to say.
I arrive an hour early and see people setting up. I search the vacant church rooms, looking for time alone before the ceremony.
I see the closed coffin through a small window, forest green with gold outlines.
Winter, I whisper.
I look around the hallways of the church, closing the door quietly behind me as I sneak in.
I slowly breathe.
I press my hand against the polished wood.
“Oh, Winter why’d you have to go and leave me like this?” I let out a breath of frustration.
“I’m supposed to go out there in front of those people who claim to know you. They’re expecting me to tell funny stories maybe when we were little chasing fireflies, instead of butterflies. Good times, happy ones. I suppose I should tell them what a wonderful person you are, how you took charge and brought us up. They’ll refuse to hear the bad times, when Josephine left us or when our father forgot to nurture and raise us. He was too busy anyway. How you were everything he wanted you to be and more.” I step to the side of the wooden box, “…to tell you the truth I don’t know what I will say, but I suppose it will go something like this…”
I press my lips together, before I even begin to speak. Gazing through the crying crowd, I can’t seem to find a single person I know. I stand alone on that podium.
“My name is Autumn Jazmine Moion. People call me AJ or Autumn. Winter insisted on calling me Jazie…Winter was my…ugh, is my older sister. Almost two years apart, she was my best friend.” Deep breaths keep me constant, keep me going, and keep me focused on what needs to be said here today. I glance down at my notes, then begin to speak from somewhere in the heart. AJ
“Winter Magnolia had a very unique lifestyle, a very strange view on the world around her. I believe she believed in the goodness no one else was able to see.” I eyed down to where my father was sitting, with his coworkers, holding one of the female’s hands.
“She was careless, but only about putting herself first, when she knew others were in need. She made her way through this world with an understanding smile and a welcoming hug. She was everybody’s hero, she could make you laugh when you were in tears. She gave you a lift when you were left stranded. She was an outcast, a choice she made on her own but a friend to all. She always stood up for the weaker person and she took a stand to be her own.”
I went on to tell stories of how Chatt and Winter met and how they fell in love. How their romance never seemed to fray, how joy and happiness followed every step they took in this life and soon after.
I searched the audience for familiar faces, but they all look the same.
“I have always admired her strength, her confidence, and her willingness to press forward when things got tough and we had to learn to stand on our own for the times being.” My father tightened his jaw keeping his eyes on me in a stare that said don’t you dare.
“When we were little, as many of you know our mother left us, to become something more than a modern housewife or mother. We were left in the care of our full time commercial business man of a father.
It was then when Winter took charge and helped raise me along with herself. I tell you this story, not to bring up bad trials Winter had to face, but the ones she overcame. The one’s she conquered and so daringly fought to protect.”
My eyes let out tiny teardrops, “She was everything you could ask for in a good friend and a neighbor. I assume she is smiling down on all of us, if she were here she would express to us her gratitude for all of you attending today. I put together a slide show to express her life a little more clearly. I hope you like it.” I point over to the projector.
“Before I go, I’d like to share a few more thoughts. What we keep in our memory is ours unchanged forever. No one can disregard the love that Chatt shared for Winter. May they spend ever after knowing how much we care and love for them. She was the best friend I or anyone could ask for, the best big sister I ever could wish for. The best wife or mother anyone could have made, if she only got the chance to be. She will always be in our hearts throughout our lives and our journey’s.”
I hope wherever Chatt and Winter are that they have each other and they are both at peace, full of joy and have love. I know he loved her with all his being and with all his heart, he only had an eye for her and her for him. I am so grateful she was able to experience love before her and Chatt’s accident. Thank you all for your support and love towards her and our family at this time. We’ll miss her and celebrate both lives as if they were made together.”
“I love you, Winnie. You are forever my hero.” I stepped away from the podium and clicked the button to play. The room went dark and pictures began to pop up from our childhood. Her smiling face stained with orange popsicle; me in the background licking a red one, always safe and not reckless. The room makes an awe noise, and smiles break out and a couple of laughs’. Chatt and Winter’s high school dance pictures form collages with all their silly looks and smooching kisses.
It carried on as I carried out. Slipping out the back, hoping memories will soon fade.
I sit in the back parking lot sidewalk, taking out a cigarette. It’s a hot sunny day as I lean back onto the concrete staring up at the blue clear sky, a sign of peace I’m so told.
“Hey AJ.” A male shadow blocks my sunshine.
“Hey.” I sit up putting the smoke stick next to my lips. I squint to see Jenkins standing beside me.
“I was just walking in, I’m sorry I’m late.”
I stared out into the distance, “It’s alright I wouldn’t of come if I didn’t have too.”
He half smiles, “Can I sit down?” I pat down the hot cement next to me.
“Sure. No one else has taken the spot yet.” I put my sun glasses back over my puffy swollen eyes.
Leaning back onto the cement, I light the fuse.
“Pretty packed in there.” I half smile, “Well, she was loved by all.”
Without a word he takes the burning cigarette from my lips, crushing it under his black shoe.
“Umm, alright.” I shake my hands and brush off the dust.
“They’re disgusting, not to mention bad for you.” He exhaled, “I’m not going to be kissing any ashtrays anytime soon.” He stared at me with seriousness.
I shrugged, “No one asked you to, Jenks.” Actions saying I don’t care if you’ve liked me. I remove myself from the situation, him pressing against my back.
“AJ, that’s not what I meant, it came out wrong. I want to be close to you. I just want you to care about yourself.” I hear him trail off and stop his pace as I walk away into the shady trees far from anything near.
Chatt’s parents confiding in only the idea that he was happy. They wished for Winter’s proposal ring, as a means to tie up loose ends. With some bartering they relinquished the rights to have it buried with her; its rightful place. The head of the household not carrying either way. His words falling flat as I begged him to convince them to let her keep the last hope on this planet. I consorted that he not take away the one thing that would make her the happiest in this life.
Tell me I’ve been reborn, that the light at the end of the tunnel finally fallen victim to me. Am I rushing through crowds of unknown faces or just ones that I’ve belonged to?
I heard it raining outside. Rushing outside to find skies of dark with gray. I was still half asleep, aching comfort. I lay down in the wet grass, setting myself next to the flower’s she had once planted. I lay on my back, embracing the drops of solitude landing around me. I was tired and closed my eyes. I felt the cold for only a moment, until it faded away, like all my other feelings. Beats chimed upon my face. Rhythms chuckled around my chilly toes. Patterns danced across my tummy. I was asleep, far away from her, not in a cold world, but in a numb one. I nuzzled my head deeper into my grass pillow.
“Take me away. Lead me from this painful world. Let me be gone as you are.” I confessed to her. She was mute, as she always was during the day. Of, course, I knew why.
“Please…” I begged with the begotten. No one heard the cries I made, the pain that toiled among my tears. Turning over, I fell back into my hollow visions.
“Autumn.” The voice was small and forgetful.
“Autumn, wake up.” More distinctive, but I brushed it away to the wind.
“It’s time now!” This voice shouted at me.
But, when I opened my eyes, the voice was gone and so was the thought of being needed. I laid my head back down in my bed of dirt and weeds. Waiting, I assume to be soaked up by the warmth of the forgiving sun. Wondering as I whisper to myself, time for what?
I slip, I fall. I am stumbling around this black dream, again. My heart, beating wildly.
“Let me be…” I whisper to the undying breeze. I fall, I crawl, letting the rain beat down the side of my body I no longer claim. Laying in a puddle of unhappiness, the ache, the pain pulsating beside me.
“STOP!” I scream.
“PLEASE…” I beg. But, it is only me on the dirty floor now. I silent the cries, I am destroying solely my own self.
I wake up frightened and alone…Alone I think to myself? The windows shake from the wild wind, I wrap the covers up around my elusive body and try to breathe when all I want is to stop the heart beat coursing throughout me. You’re nothing like she was I gently remind myself. I know, I speak ever so softly.
I fall back into my delusions, exhausted with blues. I look around and no one is to be found, who am I searching for anyway? I hear wooden footsteps and shuttering fear defiantly creeps in. I turn to face my undeceiving fate, a welcoming hand hovers in front of me.
“Jenkins?” I question. He smiles gently, cradling me in his arms.
“It’s time to go home, AJ.”
Two weeks have passed since their funerals, three weeks since the accident. I almost go there daily in mind or physicality; to the bridge or the graves. Jenkins making odds and ends to make my acquaintance more than a passing memory.
He wishes more from me than I am able to give.
The doorbell rings, I assume it is one of the many people delivering baked goods to our doorstep; rolls and platters of plentiful food. I can see snow start filtering throughout the clouds. I stare out the window noticing snowflakes are taking place on top of Jenks’s car in the driveway, a tiny sparkle of excitement rises up inside me. I soon begin to kill it because I want no part of it, slowly I feel it dying inside me. He heads for the front door but, my father meets him halfway, he asks for me I can tell that by his wondering eyes. He shakes his head and Jenks hands my father a book, drives away back into whatever real world there is left. I watch him drift away into the distance, love me, I pray, take me with you back to some reason for reality.
He quietly enters my room dropping the heavy book onto my deacons bench.
“The Thurgood boy came over, he said he was Chatt’s cousin.” The room still filled with darkness.
“Jenks, Jenkins Thurgood. The one that brought you home.” He fumbled with his wordings. I could tell now he was shaking his head in my direction.
“I know which one, dad.” I wait for him to leave the room, so I can get back to this silent atmosphere.
“You know you can’t live like this forever, senior year is coming up and I expect you to do great things for your final year in high school.” Pushy as he always needed to be.
“Okay sir, you got it.” I reply, reluctantly. Holding in curse words until he says the unthinkable.
“Autumn Jazmine, I just want to let you know she is never coming back. To you or to me, her presence will certainly not be physical to us for a second time. She is gone forever. You might as well accept that now as I have.” He drags it out, making me hear every word like slaps to my broken heart. Good ole daddy, my how she idolized you of all people.
“I know.” I painful confess and remind myself of every single detail of that afternoon.
Back to School Again
Gone. Breathless. Lifeless. Dead. Words with all the same meaning, all having to do with one crucial event.
3 months since we last spoke. Since we exchanged laughs or tall tales of the folks around town. Where had the times gone when you were next to me facing everything with me, as a team?
School started Monday, like usual. At least that didn’t change. Summer passed like other months that needed to begin and end. I wake to get ready, to brace myself for all the apologetic faces, giving sympathy where it surely surpasses. It’s not as if their extended hands or their open apologizes will bring her back. As if their hugs or handshakes will make the feeling of the absence leave me.
My feet hang above my head in the open air. I imagine shoes upon them, but I don’t know what ones to put on them. Bare, they stay for now. Hours away from my first day of being a senior.
Darkness clouded the sky outside, 4 a.m. Tired and weakness are not in my body today. Although excitement and thrill weren’t beckoning at my heart either.
I put on a comic T-Shirt. I think whatever to myself in the mirror; my hair in a wave. I grab a jacket and head for the door, back pack draped over one shoulder.
“You’re going to school today?” My dad asked as I touched the front door knob.
“Yeah, better than being in here.” I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye.
He grunts, “Well, have fun.”
“Thanks. Hey, maybe you should go to work too.” I race out the door.
Walking into every classroom as everyone stares. No one is quick enough to make eye contact with me, except one. He is smiling, beautiful white teeth and magical emerald eyes; Jenkins Thurgood. Jenkins and I first met in the 2nd grade. He sat next to me in his superhero T-Shirts, myself in spring dresses. He teased me by pulling on my dark pigtails. Calling me cute and pretty in class, sneaking kisses upon my cheek. Like any other 7 year old would, I shyly smiled at him with almond shaped eyes. I smile and laugh as if things are normal.
Aaron the only real friend I seem to have, takes my hand gripping my innocence in the tips of my fingers. Holding onto all I seem to have left to live for now. I sit down and listen to the teacher teach. I hear about war, how it’s destroying factors affect the countries involved. I hear about peace and how the fundamentals of it are pure bliss. When someone is truly at peace one can only imagine the sufficient amount of joy your own heart beat can give you.
As I looked up from my English assignment, he was staring at me. I raised my head to meet his eyes, I shyly look around to see who he is in fact staring at. Other students have their heads down, boredom had taken them. I stared back at him with questioning eyes. He just stared at me. No angry or saddened eyes, but hopeful ones. He focused as he wrote something on a piece of paper and I got back to my homework. Why Jenkins kept staring at me, I hadn’t a clue. Sure, we had things in common and there were moments in time that bonded us to one another, but in all honesty the only thing we held in sync was the loss of esteemed ones. How could that be a basis of any friendship, not to mention relationship?
The bell rings and I race to the restroom, looking in the mirror, I was pretty, and some guys might classify me as more. I heard what others would say, the snide remarks of going as far I might even be prettier than Winter. Who knows with all the gossip of high school. I was a simple person. She had the personality, who cared about looks. Nonetheless I was just another face to push terms with. Jenks ranked high at Knight High School, head of the Lacrosse team, la-di-da. I’m chilling with awesome sort of vibes. I on the other hand no need to do outbreaks of any kind that was Winter’s suit.
I lead my eyes to the lines and crevices of the ceiling above me, closing my lids I try to focus on things I can form with squares and dots. I put together houses and stick bodies. I manage to put together the rocks and the seashore of that day. How the dark clouds moved over the light blue sky. Swift as the wind moved them along their way. I find her smiling. I see her jump…I see Chatt jump too…I open my eyes before the story line gets to the part I hate most of all; the conclusion.
I jolt in my seat out of memory. You know everyone is staring at me.
“Autumn, are you okay?” Aaron asks as he presses on my shoulder.
“Dang, clowns ha-ha, won’t leave me alone.” Nervous laughter breaks out around the room, bouncing from wall to wall, hiding itself on the glossy floor. I grab my backpack and yell “Got to Go” to the teacher and wave her off as she tries to assist in my misery.
People are staring, their whispers linger around me. I sit down in the library in my regular seat, at my regular table. Ready to study for some class, that I haven’t paid any attention too. I realize things may never be the same.
My academic book is heavy and I just gape at it, my hands in my pockets. I realize our father will not love me the way he loved her. I accept that. I get it. As I look around, glancing not on sympathetic faces, but just faces without the sym making them all pathetic. I laugh to myself, people probably think I’m crazy. Good, I think, I’d rather be nuts than be like you fake citizens.
It’s weird not having you here with me, Winter. You were always here to back me up, to encourage the spontaneity. Now here I am sitting alone, because you’ve left. I understand I will never be you Winter. Maybe I am finally realizing I don’t want to be. I think you would want me to have my own independence, become a person of my own. I realize all these people surrounding me, all these faces will never look friendlier to me, I don’t think I can fake liking them anyway. They make me sick. The bell signals the end of lunch and I stand up before there’s a clear exit and go on my way.
Colors of my life
Blue skies, blue oceans. Blue.
Orange sunsets, orange puddles of paint. Orange.
I hate school, I hate colors, I hate the thought of colors being alive.
“Autumn Jazmine Moion?” Taps appear on my left shoulder.
Purple flowers, purple lipstick. Purple.
“Ms. Moion?” The sound of a book vibrated my whole desk.
“It was her favorite color.” I confessed.
“I have been calling your name for the past five minutes, Autumn.” The teacher stared down at me as if I was a disease. I glared back up at her.
“I’m sorry?” A confused look on my face that kind of says, what would you like for me to do?
Everybody’s eyes were instilled onto me. Flies looking to deteriorate a nearby carcass.
“Excuse me, Ms. Moion?” Ms. Trey puts her hands on her hips to make a serious point. One I had no intention of taking note on.
“Yes. Ms. Trey?” Fed up with school already it’s only 4th period and I wanted to bail. I’m so excited for nine months of this, hooray for senior year!
“You can either answer the question or you can go see the principal.” She shook her finger at me as if it were to correct misbehaving manners.
“Excuse me?” Her face tightened.
“The question?” The class whispered OH’s! Way to be third grade senior classmates.
“The name of this painting would be nice.” She held up a picture of a small solo tree surrounded by mountains.
“Alright, well keep your eyes on the screen.” She moves back to the front of the room.
I slouch down in my seat, folding my arms. Thinking, of course, I am way too good for this school.
The bell rings. Finally.
“I’ll expect your reports on the photograph by tomorrow 200 words.” She tries to speak above the rushing of students exiting to salvation.
I pick up my backpack.
“Autumn can I talk to you for a moment?” She pulls me aside after everyone has emptied the classroom.
“Your behavior has been, well, unacceptable, AJ. I know you are having a hard time right now. I once had a childhood cat that died. It was very tough on me. There is no need for rude behavior. I know you are just acting out, going through a phase. I read a lot of books on your teen age struggles. Let’s try to be a little nicer tomorrow okay, sweetie?” She smiles as if it were to fix anything. Touching my arm, probably for comfort.
“Thanks for that.” I try to stay calm and not freak out. “Your cat died? Not your sister or mother? It was a cat and you assume you know how I feel or what I’m going through? You obviously don’t know anything about teens or loss. I hope you got your cat stuffed, because it is the only thing that will ever want to be around you!” My voice was hurt and deprived. I wiped off her arm. Mad that I even decided to come to school today.
Jenks found me laying on the grass, feet hanging on top of the wooden bench in the common area.
“Rough day? Principal Rowland is looking for you.” He stood above me casting a shadow above me. I pull out my head phones.
“Hey Jenkins.” I stare at the clouds, seems like it might rain.
“You skipping class already and we haven’t even hit Christmas break yet.” He grins, sweet smile that makes me both nervous and excited.
“Ha, well Ms. Trey has it out for me.” I shut my eyes wanting nothing more than to hide under a mountain of comforters.
“I’m sure you egged her on.” He winked, giving a playful nudge.
“I didn’t think you talked to me at school?” Rolling eyes not of my own.
“You don’t see anybody around do you? So it’s okay to be seen with you, right now.”
“Wow you are such a nice guy, I can’t believe we’re friends.” Getting back to the music.
“I’m just kidding, AJ.”
“Where are all your boys at anyway, didn’t think they left your side?” I kept my eyes shut, wishing I was gone, floating away from earth into the unknown of the white clouds.
I could feel his stare on me, but I did not look up.
“Escaped. Wanted to be by this lovely lady.” He put his head close enough to mine that I could hear his breathing, desperate as it was.
“What made you come looking for me this time?”
“I was late getting back from lunch with this girl…” Whipping my eyes open, trying to act casual. He noticed too quickly.
“Ha-ha, I knew you cared! I’m just kidding, I had to go home and I was late getting back.”
“Oh, your parents back?” Fiddling with ear buds.
“Yeah, New Zealand.”
“How was their trip?”
“Great actually, they…” He named off all these places and all these types of historical bones they found. The amazing lengths they went to become known for all these material objects carved out of stone. I drifted off not knowing anything he was speaking of, nor wishing I had.
“Hey, AJ? Are you still listening?” He sat up, giving my limb a shake.
“Yeah, I heard you.” Clarification to my inner lies.
Final bell rings, school is out.
I jump up and hustle to the parking lot. Jenks calls after me.
“Hey, can I see you tonight? I mean if you wanted to hang out?”
“See you later!” I wave back over my head, turning my face to give him a half smile, permission accepted.
Are you there?
I have never been much of a believer, but here it goes. I kneel down beside my bed. Trying to understand a little more.
“Ugh, hello. This is Autumn Jazmine Moion. I guess you would know that already, though, if you’re real. This is stupid, I’m sorry. I just wanted to talk, maybe, if you’ll listen. My sister, Winter Magnolia, died. I am not angry at you, I was just wondering if she was there and if she is with you, will you tell her I’m sorry, for everything? God, are you there? I’m alone, my best friend is gone and my dad is never home and my mom left us when we were little. Gosh, it sounds like I am complaining. The truth is, I don’t know what to do and I really don’t know what to say. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I don’t want to feel alone anymore, I don’t want to feel bad about myself anymore. I just want to try and be happy. I know I may not deserve your love or your help if you don’t want to I understand. I trust you and I know you can hear me.” I shrug slightly, feeling down as ever. I am not one who asks for support on anything I could do on my own, but my life called for it.
“I need your help.” I whispered, before getting off my knees.
“Amen.” I said as I headed out the door.
I think hard inside my head, I just want to know she is okay. I want to know she is safe from this world. I just want to know it will be okay. Tears fill my eyes as I stare out the glass door, a man on a bicycle peddles by, nodding his head and smiling as if to say, yes.
Where I am
Silence captivates the air around me, echoing the chilling emptiness. I know I am alone, but still I try to convince myself it is fabricated. I wait for her laughter to break into my hearing range. I wait for her to come over and tell me about her romantic date with Chatt. She doesn’t seem to come up the stairs and I end up hearing nothing.
Out on the trampoline, awaiting the sunrise of tomorrow. Stars hang above my sleepy head, while I contemplate the decisions of life. Dad’s light is on in his room, probably asleep with pages of work he doesn’t need finished for weeks. He doesn’t know I’m out here, he wouldn’t care though he never has. Airplanes and jets circle around the night sky flying people to exotic places or maybe to a loving home. I want a home like that. Winter never got a home like that.
Forty seven, forty eight. I count the stars that sparkle in front of me. I don’t like the sun, it’s too bright too happy, everything I do not feel right now. I close my eyes, to welcome more dark shadows into vision.
“Do you know, when you were little you would cry?” She told me these stories so many times.
“I had to come pick you up, hold your hand and tell you everything would be alright.” She was usually doing my hair or putting on her make up.
“You would cry and cry, like a puppy just ran away from home or something.” I would sit there in awe as she made everything seem less stressful, less intense.
“You’d be okay after a couple chocolate chips or a song or two.” She would smile and pat my head, as if I were a child again. I hum little songs, like Playmate or Mr. Johnnygoback’s, whichever fit the mood.
“You okay?” My eyes sprint open.
“Ugh, yeah?” Head jerks up.
“Autumn, what are you doing out here?” Jenkins hops on the other side of the tramp, bouncing me up and down.
“Checking out the breeze and moonlight?” Regaining my comforting spot.
“Can I come lay next to you?” He shook about on that side.
“Come on over. Make yourself cozy. My dad’s window is right there, though, so be careful.”
“Oh, really, I actually came over to see him. I am just going to go right up there.” He jumps off the tramp making motions unbearable once again.
“Don’t you dare!” I cohere him back onto the black mass above the yard.
“Alright! I’m making good progress.” I’m sure he smiled, but it was too dark to notice.
He makes me feel so good.
“Whatever. So, are you going to tell me why you are creeping around my house at this late of an hour?”
“I couldn’t sleep, thought you would be awake. Plus we have a date do we not?” He shifted his weight facing my direction.
“Hmmm…” I grunted.
“Well?” Falling over his indecisive words.
“I was just driving around thought I saw your phone light up out here, came to see if it was you.” He folded his arms tightly.
“What if it wasn’t me, what if it was my dad?”
“I would have split in the opposite direction so fast! Jumped in my car and driven away. Your dad scares me a lot more than you do.” We both burst out into laughter. He moves in closer, and I am yet to become uncomfortable.
“Wow, you really are beautiful.” He shifted his hand up my chilled cheek.
“What are you saying? It’s dark outside. You can’t see me.” I mutter off, breaking apart the compliment.
“I can still see your beauty, AJ.” Taking his hand away from my face, silently parallel to the stars.
“Thanks.” I grumbly joke.
“I’m just kidding! Man if you could see that awful people from the swamp thing you got going on!” He tickles my sides. The hatred of being tickled emerges.
I laugh and beg him to stop. My father most certainly would hear. He brings me in closer to him.
“It’s getting cold. I should get us a blanket.” This is going to get pretty cozy.
“How is this?” Evasion from the intense moments goes incomplete. He holds me close, wrapping his arms around my torso. I try not to make any movements.
“Ugh, it’s alright.” Smirking at my obvious commentary.
“What?” I turn my head to face his.
“Nothing. What were you doing out here before I joined the party?”
“I couldn’t sleep, like you said creeper!”
“I was not stalking you, I was just driving around and saw you were out here.” Defensive in his statements.
“I’m just kidding. I was just taking a breather, I am just thinking.” I scoot back into his chest. Cozier than I’ve felt in days.
“Cold night huh?” I could feel him grin.
“Yeah, chilly out here.”
“What were you thinking about?”
I shut my eyes reminiscing the old memories.
“Come on tell me.”
“Winter…when we were little.” I think hard about memories, making them erase even faster than I can conjure up to remember them.
“Oh.” His voice dipping into sincerity.
“Don’t worry about it.” I change rhythms.
“When Chatt and I were little we would play cops and robbers. He would always be the robber so I wouldn’t have to be the bad guy.”
“I never knew you and Chatt were cousins before you brought me that book.” Are we bonding? Does he like me? Would he? Could he?
“Oh really?” He adjusted his arms, turning me around so my face buried into his right shoulder.
“Thanks for that, by the way. I’ve only read a couple chapters, but so far so good!”
“I saw it the other day and I thought you would enjoy it as much as I did.”
“You read it?” I act surprised.
“Of course I did, I had to see if it was good enough for you.” Wait a minute? What did he just say? Good enough for me? Why was he doing this?
“Oh well thank you, I guess.” Smile discreet.
We lay in warmth of each other for a little while, not speaking just existing.
“Are you going to school tomorrow?” Breaks the waves of our solitude.
“I don’t know yet. I don’t know if I can handle all the faces again.”
“Yeah, it’s been rough, Chatt may have only been my cousin, but he was like my big brother.” He sighed, letting out a breath of air.
“I’m sure it’s just as hard for you as it has been for me.” I give him a caring squeeze. He keeps holding on after I lighten up my embrace.
“Thank you.” He brings my face up to his.
“What?” Shy to smile.
He looks into my eyes, a look I am not familiar to.
Presses his lips upon my smile. Kiss. Slow and sweet. Kisses me, so enchantingly, in a way I cannot describe.
“Well, I’ve never done that before.” His innocent remark makes me recognize I played a bigger part then I acknowledged.
“What you’ve made out with someone? Or you’ve never been kissed?” I push him away, as if the kiss was an act of contagious affection.
“Are you kidding me, Jenks?”
“Do I seem like the type of guy who gets around with girls?” His voice holds hurt feelings.
“Oh, come on! Like you weren’t the prime subject on every girls mind during prom season.”
“I’m sorry I don’t live up to the rumors around school AJ. I’m not a careless jock you assume me to be.” He moves farther away.
“Jenks, come on I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just surprised that you would choose me to be your first kiss.” I sit up on my elbows, keeping my sight low.
“Why?” His voice annoyed with my doubts.
“I don’t know, isn’t it supposed to be with someone special?” I take his hand, slowly lingering on his fingertips.
“Yeah, precisely. It was with you.” He pulls his hand away. Jumping off the tramp, knocking me off my balance, before I can chase his getaway.
“Jenks, this is ridiculous. I’m sorry, alright!” I hop off the vibrating frequencies of the trampoline.
“I thought we were getting somewhere, our late night meet ups, the way your expression changes once we’re together.” With a shrug of his muscles, I frown.
“I can’t seem to get over something between us. Tell me you don’t feel this connection? Am I crazy?” His words exhausted. My syllables disappear, I don’t make a single pronunciation.
I’d like to take him, hold his hand, and kiss him with my eyes closed. Turn the tables and remember why living was so worth experiencing.
Seconds passed too soon into minutes and all I realized was his taillights. Leading him away from where I stood, leaving me to stand in a vacancy of wonder.
I contemplate loving you, I really do. I become fond of the idea of us together years from now. For the longest time, I ached for your affection. At the end of it all I merely come up with two concluding solutions. 1. I’ve never wanted to be in love. 2. I don’t know if I can offer the love you need.
Before Josephine left us for fortune and fame, she would tell me suggestive things in the way of manipulating only yourself. I remember the times I found her staring in the long gated mirror.
“Am I dashing young Autumn Jazmine?” She would smile caressing her red lips. I shook my head up and down as any young girl who idolized their mother would.
“Are Winnie and I pretty too?” She would sit me next to her, batting at my hands if I tried to grab anything shiny.
“Well, sure you are. One day you might even be as beautiful as Winter is or even as breath taking as I am.” She laughed to herself.
“If you want to be beautiful dear Autumn Jazmine, remember these things I tell you. You must believe it, more than anything. You are the one and only person that should be important in your life. Look out for your own well-being and others will want to be a part of your world. No one cares about the old or the ugly.” She sprayed perfume and dabbed it upon her sparkly neckline.
“If you let others control your emotions, little girl you will never amount to where you want to be in life. You can be important and beautiful by yourself.” I didn’t understand clearly, but it made me sad.
“Now, don’t cry, crying is a sign of weakness. Remember that, dear child. The road may be lonely, but you can always find a companion to stick by you for the night. I am turning out wonderfully. I don’t need anyone and neither do you.” She still plays these lies in my four year old head. I reach out for a hug or meaningful hold. She looks at me disgusted.
“Autumn Jazmine, don’t clutch. Hate it when you do that. You are like your father in that way, so clingy! You’ll wrinkle my gown. Where is your sister, she is supposed to be watching you. Winter Magnolia!” Winnie ran into my rescue, carrying me away as I turned to get one last gaze at my mother. The last impression I had of my sweet mother was the stain of lipstick on her teeth.
I met up with Jenkins on one of our late night meet ups. He came reluctant. His voice unspeakable. My sentences freezing in the night air. I grabbed ahold of him and he half smiled.
“I’ve never been one to love. To see love, feel it or admit it.” I began with a course work of what I started to know. I didn’t want to give in to an imposter. The truth was I was scared. My father convinced us we would never find true love. On the other hand there was a perfect example of romance; Winter and Chatt. I told him only things I thought he needed to know.
“I like to think you are in love with me and nothing has ever made me more uncomfortable.” I stared up at his darkening moonlit eyes.
Shrugs, that is all he gives me.
“I also might actually feel some sort attraction towards your being.” I closed my eyes and actually wished for rejection. He stopped shuffling trying to keep both of us warm.
“I know.” Propping me up and kissing the hell out of those virgin lips.
“You knew?” Back down on the ground letting both feet hit the frozen ground.
“Been waiting for you to realize it.” He smiled and so did I.
Party with the Ghouls
Halloween PARTY! Oh, yeah! I like it! I do a little jig in my kitchen zone. Just got the text from Chai: Hey guys get dressed up and come party over at my house tonight.
“Yeah.” I shake my arms above my head. I’m going to party! I sing to myself and try to boogie down. Interruption of my skilled dance moves by Jenks, Aaron, and two other guys walking through the side door.
“Oh hey guys! What’s…what’s going on?” I stop, collect myself, and lean against the white wall.
“So, you hear about Chai’s party tonight?” They all burst out in waves of laughter.
“What’s so funny?” Blush, blush, blush.
“Ha-ha, I have got to wiz!” Aaron scrams to the bathroom.
“Thanks Aaron, you’re such a pal.” I smile as he shakes his head around, laughing like a jolly old lady with pudding.
“You are one crazy girl! But I like it!” Jenkins comes over lifting me up. Sets me down on the counter.
“Go ahead help yourselves.” The guys pilfering through the junk food in the pantry. I laugh, not knowing the men standing in the devouring closet.
“This is Jared and Drake.” He points over his shoulder. They grin playfully, I nod in making their acquaintances.
“So are we going to party or what ladies?” Aaron comes in marching his feet in parade mode.
“Oh my Buddha!” I turn, shocked to see Aaron dressed in a green tutu. Tights neglected to be placed on his pale skinned legs.
“I’m so ready for the party!” We all stare without a word, sitting in amazement.
“What? Is it my butt?” He turns around to show us his cheeks hanging out.
“Oh my, let’s go guys.” They all joke around with him, giving whistles and hoots. Applause for his appearance.
“Let’s go get something to eat and then head over to Chai’s Party.” Jenks takes control pushing us out toward the car.
“I’ll be right back, got to grab my costume.” I take a turn upstairs.
“I’ll wait in the car.” Jenks gives me a kiss on the cheek. We were playing on the same team. The guy with the most outrageously gorgeous eyes, Jenks.
We arrive at the party a little after it starts. It’s heavy in crowd. People are acting foolish it’s 9: 00 on a Tuesday.
I sat hiding behind the bushes. We are playing the game RAMBO. A game that is classified as illegal because cars chase you down. Danger was never a scare tactic when you were born in isolation, it’s what kept us alive.
The new guy at school, my personal comedian, was on our team, Aaron Jackson. He transferred from Mountain River High, a school in the next town. He is one of those guys that didn’t care who you were or what you did. As long as you were fun to be around, he was your best friend. Strangely enough he takes a liking to my friendship most overall.
“Come on guys, this way I can see in the dark.” Exclaimed confidently.
“Oh really, are you part cat? Because I’m allergic.” Some girl joked.
“No! I learned it on the internet!” Knowing his character he probably did learn it on the web.
We all laughed, I leaned against Jenks’s knee.
“Oh, sorry Jenks.” Trying to balance on my toes.
“Don’t worry about it!” Even in the dark I knew he was smirking.
“I’m serious guys, I did.” He stated, taking extreme charge.
Somehow we all liked his spunk and the crazy personality. He fit right in with our group.
He bolted toward the back of the car.
“AARON! What are you doing?” We yelped.
“Are you crazy? You are going to make us lose; the point of the game is to not be seen!” Drake yelled.
He jumped up on the trunk of the car.
“Rambo Supreme!” He screamed at the top of his lungs, and jumped off so fast that the people in the car had no idea what happened.
We all stayed quiet for a few minutes, then outrageous laughter broke out among us. Aaron walked out of the bushes, his arms raised above his head.
“Man that was awesome! Did you guys just see that?” High-fives all around fist pumps galore.
“I don’t think I could play even if I wanted to, that was too hilarious.” Comments made between laughs.
Everybody stopped him in the halls claiming his name as Rambo Supreme after that night. He liked being on top of the world. One thing was sure, that night he was champion.
Attention Get Her
“She obviously wants attention or she wouldn’t be playing so hard to get with Jenkins.” Monique pouted; she pushed out her pearly pink lips, puckered up for a brawl.
“Oh and who are we talking about now, Moni?” Kami rolled her eyes.
“Moni are you talking about yourself in third person?” Chai smiled politely.
“Whatever! You know who! Her sister died, like a year ago. She can stop with the dramatics. My mom had a miscarriage once; you don’t see me crying about it!” She put her hands on her hips, flipping her perfect aligned hair.
“Now that is exactly the same situation! You are completely right!” I stood behind her hearing everything that flowed out of that petite mouth. Chai and Kami gleaming heroically.
“Oh Autumn! Hey, didn’t see you there!” She whipped around with a fake smirk on a plastic face.
“Just hanging out, is there something you wanted to say Monique?” I bated my eyes, untroubled with her jealousy.
“Nope. Not that I can think of!” She shrugged lightly.
“I’ll catch up with you guys later. I got to go meet Jenks.” I walk past Chai and Kami, giving them high fives.
“Bye, Autumn Jazmine! See you later!” Monique is killing the kindness bit.
“Yeah, later Moni.” I turn away too soon, as she whispers under her minty breath.
“I bet he’s only with her because he feels sorry for her.” I try not to hear the words her voice is making, I ignore it until…
“I mean sure Chatt was Jenkins’ cousin. Chatt and Winter dated for like a minute, not serious at all. In all morality, I think you all should know she cuts herself.” Knives digging into my backbone.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you Monique. What did you say?” I was more interested in what she wasn’t going to say to my face this time. My eyes widen, she went too far, once again.
“Nothing. Just something Jenks told me.” She started to walk away, with a careless wave.
“You insensitive slut!” In unison my best gal pals attack.
“You never stop do you? It really shouldn’t be a big surprise, he dumped you for AJ. She’s gorgeous and way more fun than you!” Aaron once again jumps in to the rescue. Fury started raging in these faces. I should be too, but I just stood there unaffected realizing that she was a flamingo and we were alligators.
“Oh really?” Her skin blushing from true confessions.
“REALLY!” Both Chai Kami stood up.
“I’m glad she can speak for herself. Anything you wanted to say AJ?” She stared at me with eyes that gave her away. She stood scared, the one envious of me.
“Think they about covered everything in your screwed up life!” I smiled tapping them on their shoulders. It’s not that I couldn’t talk back to her and approach her meaningless accusations. It seemed impractical to waste energy on proving her wrong.
“My life is perfectly fine, just like it always has been.” Conveying half the truth.
“Sure, Moni! Whatever you say.” If I cared less, I would be a mannequin at the display window.
“I can’t believe he picked you over me! I mean seriously. I don’t even know what he sees in someone like you…” She puffed her furies. The word YOU used like a disease, making her feel vile.
“I know why.” Jenkins smiled coming up cradling me.
“Get over it Monique. It’s been done for a long time. So drop it already!” Jenks placing kisses on my cheeks. Making the jealousy in her blood run deep into her veins.
“I’m with AJ. She has something you never will have; a heart.” We all portrayed winning looks. Her eyes filled with sparkles of teardrops. I didn’t have time to feel sorry. Noise broke out around the hallway. Four against one, isn’t my style, but she needed to be taken down. It was time to put this to rest.
“Whatever. Don’t care!” She smirked, as defeat laid upon her shoulders, she walked on past the towering crowd.
“You know it’s true.” Murmurs still in hearing range.
The queen’s crown fell to the ground, shattering into pieces. As we dispersed it was trampled into debris. A ting of pain engulfed in my throat, a part of me wanted to believe what she said wasn’t true.
“What was that whole thing with Monique that about?” Jenks wondered as he passed me the frysauce for my French fries at lunch.
“Ha! What do you think? Your little girly friend thinks I’m your charity case.” I bit into my roast beef and Swiss cheese sandwich; bliss.
“What did she say this time?” He studied his fry, anxious about the beckoning answer.
“Why are you getting nervous?” Has he been talking to her like she said he has?
“I just don’t want us to get in a fight over gossip or jealousy.” He lifts his sandwich for another gigantic bite. I continued, harmless.
“She said that you told her you were dating me, because you felt sorry for me. Of course, I didn’t listen to her she can’t say anything that is true.” I raised my eyebrow to him.
“I did?” Admittance as if asking a question.
“What?” I placed my sandwich down and interlocked my knuckles.
“I did. But I didn’t mean it. I just wanted her to get off my back.” His gaze was low, not connecting to mine.
“You told her that you were only with me, because you felt sorry?” My voice trailed off, of course he did.
“Yes, but I didn’t mean it. It’s not like it meant anything.” He bit his burger.
“It meant something, Jenks. What are you embarrassed now to be seen with the girl whose sister died. I suppose I’ll go mark my pain in red ink wherever you came up with that idea.” I get up; I place money on the table. I smile at the waitress and walk out.
“AJ! Wait. Come on, I didn’t mean it. It was a stupid thing to do and I was put on the spot. I don’t know why I anything of the sort!” He sputtered out excuses; I didn’t have any pleasure of hearing. I get to the car only to notice its Jenks’s, mine was back at school.
“Do I really not mean that much to you? You couldn’t even tell Monique, that you were really with me. For the reason of just wanting to be.”
“No! AJ, come on! You mean everything to me now. More than I’ve known!” He shouts as thunder rolls.
“I guess I will never know. I’m walking home.” I turn and pass by him, it starts drizzling. It was only a few blocks to my house.
“I’m sorry I said that AJ. I didn’t mean any of it.” He stood in the cold sorrowful.
Now, it’s starting to pour.
“YOU ARE SUCH A JERK! Make up your mind on who you want to be before you become a bipolar boondock.” I start shuffling to the street.
“She’s just jealous! Let’s not fight about it. I’m sorry.” He was out of excuses.
“Jealous? I am sick of being envied for whatever this thing is between us.” Point to vapid air surrounding us. Aches arise to scratch away this anger.
“I’m sorry, Autumn Jazmine. I’ll go and tell her right now we are together for real.” His words float towards me, I push them away. “You deserve better than what my actions have misled you to believe.”
“I don’t deserve anything.” I spoke harshly, fed up with fighting.
Jenks followed me all the way to my house in his car, worried about the flu taking hostage of me. Which helped ease the anger. But not enough to take what he had said out of my heart.
I wish I could find you, Winnie. She would know how to handle this.
Tell me Something
She woke me early the next morning, taking me out to the garden. Where flowers were planted sun bathed in happiness. I lay down on the cool ground. The late fall breeze brushed over me as I turned to my side to stare at Winter’s orchard.
“Oh, what should I do?”
The sunshine darting throughout the clouds. My summer dress orange against the yellow tips of flowers. I pretend I can hear her. I shut my eyes, making the sound of her voice real. She ignored my question with optimistic philosophy.
“There are beautiful things in the world AJ. Lively colors, to be expressed. See them Jazie?” She pointed to the nature. Ignoring her good intentions. She dug deeper into the earth’s crust, planting more nutritious things. Skills, of course everyone will need someday when the economy goes down the drain. The aftereffect of a greedy man’s dream.
“How am I supposed to be happy, when there is too much darkness in the world? So much pain.” I turn away from her.
“Listen to me, Jazie. These things can heal you. Try and breath it all in, let it heal you. You are so stubborn. Stop holding onto your guilt for what happened. It was not your mistake.” She sat down beside me, playing with my long locks.
“I bet Chatt never made mistakes.” I whisper to her. She sighs, heavily. Giggles at the humor I gave her that day.
“Of course not! He only made and kept promises. He’s just dreamy, isn’t he, AJ! All around perfection!” She wiggled a dirty earthworm in front of my face. I eked in horror falling off my balance.
“Now forgiveness is what you actually need. You know that though. I don’t have to tell you.” She pushed the bulbs farther into their places.
“I don’t think that’s necessary Winter Magnolia.” My voice profound as my mother’s once was.
“My accident was not your fault Autumn Jazmine.” I shut my eyes drowning out the noise her peaceful voice made in my ears.
How could I believe you? You were just a ghost; a mirror image in the mind’s eye I was creating for comfort. I subconsciously told you what to tell me…didn’t I?
Awoken with no sunshine, but tears.
Time was my friend when it wanted to be. It leaned against me, exhausted as I was with it. We fought more and more lately. Her death a distant memory still repeating itself. Wherever I was in time, time was right alongside me. Gaping at the wounds he had caused and yet in some way tried to heal me. Winnie was gone. There were intentions to live again. Inclinations to become more then those rainy days locked away in my bedroom. Time had gotten ahold of who I was, so I let him take away what I was supposed to be. For a while, I no longer blamed God, instead I began to understand His objectives.
Young they may die. Forever may they live in memorial dedication.
Going With You
Dreaming was a superstition to me. Hidden meaning or symbols that would help you grow in your conscious state bore unrealistic to my knowledge. I dreamt though of an old memory of Winter last night. This is how it goes!
I packed the last boxes in my car. We were moving nearly 3000 miles across the American landscape. Winter in her own car, my father in his. We were all on our own. I coursed my way to the freeway, hoping this school was anything, but familiar. Winter just graduated and onward to her womanhood with continuing education. Some LDS college on the east coast of Virginia.
In the end we didn’t end up going.
“We’re not even Mormon, Winter.” I said one day, folding old clothes into a garbage bag.
“It’s where I need to be, I just know it.” Her smile flawless.
“I don’t understand why we have to move though. I thought the whole point of going to college was to get away from the people you live with.”
“Oh, you know I couldn’t live without you! Plus, Chatt is Mormon and he thinks it will be a good fit for us.”
“It’s my senior year.” Not caring to listen. Too ecstatic to hear anything the past few days. This was all Chatt’s fault, her boyfriend of four years now, going on 40.
“Dad, I don’t want to go.”
“You are going and your complaints will not change the matter.” He didn’t even look up to meet my eyes.
“It’s going to be my senior year, doesn’t that receive consideration?”
“You’ll have a new school. It’s not that bad. Winter isn’t complaining.” He adjusted his pipe.
“Winter is going to college, we’re following her there! Of course the angel isn’t complaining. If a protest of any kind was made it should be of her letting us follow her across the country to no man’s land.”
“I don’t see the difference. She will probably have a hard time since she’s in a new place.”
“It’s college everybody is new! She will be with Chatt.”
“Autumn Jazmine!” He stared at me before looking to finish moving arrangements.
“What about my friends?” The only solution was to plead. He chuckled politely.
“AJ, let’s be honest you don’t really have any friends. You have one and that’s Winter. I am doing you a favor in moving you close to her.” He smiled and looked at me like I was not enough to stand in his presence, as if I was someone he thought would just wither away.
“Of course you are.” My smirk was hidden beneath my lies.
“That’s my girl. You really should be thanking me.” Anything for you father.
I take one look back at this old house I have grown up all of my life. I hate school. I hate my dad. I wish I could just stay and leave me be. Maybe if I don’t arrive there, they won’t make me go. Maybe they will forget. I am so easily forgotten.
Chatt pulled into our driveway, dad seemed annoyed. I was grateful for the delay.
He practically flew out of the car.
“Winter! Thank goodness I caught you before you guys left. I had no right to ask you to go across country for me. So I decided that it would be best if we stayed here for the summer and decide in the fall.”
“It’s okay. I didn’t want to go.”
“Me either. I mean, seriously, Virginia?” Embrace her smoldering body. They both laughed, told you.
“So, we’re staying?” I interrupted.
“I guess so.” Chatt kissed Winter on the cheek.
“Sweet! I call my room!”
“I call dad’s room!” Winter shouted sprinting in front of the race. Although all our rooms were really the same size. I looked back at dad and saw that he was disappointed, let down. He required to banish this place, more than I held it essential to stay.
“Dad, we can move. I’m okay with it now.” It was late at night, his light in the study was on.
“Where would we move and without your sister?” Always about this Winter character.
“Maybe to a new town, another state. We both know you aren’t happy in this house.”
“Oh, now you think you know about emotional well beings?” He was stubborn, maybe I got that from him.
“I just think you need to get away from this house, too many ruthless reminiscences.”
“You’re moving? Away from me?” Winter came in behind me and sat on the arm of dad’s chair. He overlooked it when she did it, I had no place there.
“Of course, not sunshine! Autumn Jazmine was just being silly.” He glared at me.
“What am I your darkness?” The roll in my eyes was created by annoyance and factual information.
“She was the one that wanted to move in the first place!” Half stating on her behalf.
“Excuse me?” His eyes glowering in a way I need not push.
“Okay. Besides it isn’t the house it’s the things in it.” He stared at me like I was one of these despicable objects drowning him. It wasn’t me he hated so much, it was my mother, the one I unluckily had inclined to reflect.
“Then, throw away her stuff, dad. You’re the one that keeps ahold of her things like she is coming back.” He turned around to face me. Slander in his eyes, a smack in his hand.
“She didn’t mean it, dad. Right AJ?” Winter jumped into action as she always did before he could make one of two decisions.
“Of course not. How could I mean such hurtful things to my beloved father?!”
“You’d be smart if you listened to your sister Autumn Jazmine.” He patted her back, hugging her goodnight. He had never once raised his voice or a hand to Winter. He’d done equally with me on a regular basis.
“No doubt.” A reply that was the calmest in my thoughts.
It poured for a second time today, the wind still blowing. I talked to Jenks and we seemed to work things out. I chose to stay in bed, the next few days though. Letting this depressive state take me over once again. Curled up in these familiar sheets. Wishing to myself I was outside in the cold, with the rain dropping onto my bare skin. Numbness taking ahold of my body’s senses. I ache for it. I slip back into my comatose state drowning myself in self-pity. Forgetful of everything I need to do today; make graduation announcements, pack, prepare, and find an apartment far away from here. Not important I remind myself, not today at least, maybe tomorrow I will find the courage to venture forth.
I would be in English class right now, trying to write the same poem I can’t seem to finish.
Between two bridges I may pick my fate.
One leading up and the other smiling down.
Gracious and stubborn I steady my step.
Wondering and pondering my actions to either.
Maybe that one or maybe this one.
The choice is in my hands, the decision is mine alone to make.
Thanks to free will.
I walk four more steps to the middle, in no apparent direction.
Along the pebble walkway, I meet different people. I face unique trials, I do not want to face, all leading me back to my sister’s journey.
I understand consequences, as I would understand choices.
I understand the end of things, which usually do not halt in good.
I can never get pass this part.
My words fall lifeless, remembering the occurrence that happened yesterday.
I stare out the window, looking past the P.E. class, into the yellow and brown straw fields. Trees stand tall around the acres. Free, their branches fly in the wind.
“Autumn?” Mr. Forrester called my name once again. I try to block out his bellowing pitch. My teacher came and shut the blinds cutting off my vision to the outdoor freedom.
“Autumn Jazmine Moion.” Only my mother calls me by this such capitalistic name.
“Yes, John Louise Forrester, I heard you! Everybody in the whole class heard you!” He was embarrassed by his middle name no doubt.
“It’s pronounced Louis!” He demanded with a fist full of power.
The class erupted with laughter; I tried not to convey a smile. His nose flared, jaw tight, like a man would do. Aaron high five’s me, classic move.
“I’m sorry my class isn’t as interesting as watching those young fellas run around with their shirts off.” The class laughed harder, and his face went bleak red.
“What makes you think I was staring at them?” I acted amazed, but we all knew how this would end.
“Well, Autumn, I suppose you would like to tell Mr. Rowland how interested you are in the opposing sex.” His remarks were unnecessary. “I’m sorry I don’t teach hunky dudes 101!” He pronounced so suddenly, my thoughts already a glare; does every teacher at this public school have it out for me?
“Well, well, well. I am curious who you are referring to as hunky dudes, because I think that is 9th grade P.E. Unless you enjoy the opposite sex going through their squeaky voice stage. If that’s the case, that’s cool, but they’re a little immature for my taste.” I shrug as if I fought every day so hard to be in this class. OH’s broke out around the large classroom, I smiled wildly.
“Autumn! OFFICEIO!” He pointed and demanded, as if this were Spanish class.
“No, I can’t. I got to go to movie classo. If I go to the office then I can’t watch a film documented on someone’s excuse to be a part of some sort of society.” Being serious now, just as the bell rang, saving me.
“Just go AUTUMN!” He shouted into the hallway, as I got a standing ovation from my fellow students. Expressions from his annoyance made it clear he showed disappointment that I was not like my elder sister. With an objectifying wink I stroll out of class.
“What’s that about?” Jenks asked as I got another pat on the back.
“I was checking out the 9th grade boys P.E. class. Forrester caught me fantasizing.” I smiled with a shrug.
“What?” My remarks catching him off guard.
“I’m kidding.” I winked as he led us to the next class. We sat on a couch, and I pulled out my red tablet trying to finish my poem for the mid-term final. I re-read the last few lines, not noticing the movie starting. Japanese movie week, today something or other about a moving castle.
Opening to a blank page to finish this pathetic poem I cannot get away out of me. I start to focus on things I am actually good at:
I understand the end of things, which usually do not halt in good.
I know now, all too well that I am merely the prop in that masterpiece, not the prize in the welcoming horizon.
I step to my right, I lean to my left.
I look both ways before crossing, like I was taught as a child.
She stands on one side and I stand on the other.
That is not my path, it is only hers.
I cannot follow, where my foot prints will not stay.
I am the leader in my own charade.
I would only be a player on her side of the tracks.
Defeated at the end of the coming scene.
Decreasing with moral and standard, because I was not the victor in your play, my sister.
I stop for a moment watching a part of the movie. A magician is melting for some reason or another. His hair was orange reddish, but now is black. He is crying and now he tells himself, I see no point in living, if I can’t be beautiful.
“You and me both.” I whisper, but Jenks overhears.
“What did you say?” Confused by my comment.
“Umm…I was just thinking about my poem.” I smile as a cover; he puts his arm around my shoulder. PDA is most acceptable in Mrs. Challey’s classroom. On the projected screen a woman is shouting now.
“You think you have it rough, I have never been beautiful in my whole entire life.” She stomps away as old women do and begins to cry in the tormenting rain.
I stare at the words that don’t make sense to me, that may have made any intellect. My strength in surviving weakens and lightens with every increasing word. She has never been a part of me, and I was never attached to her being. I was alone, as I was solo born, no twin attached.
I do not belong there and she holds no permanent place here, but as a guest in my life and I in hers.
I may push her out; I may build a wall to keep her out and everyone beside her.
The choice, mine when I come along some place and by choice I have abandoned my soul.
I have to go forward; I have no time to look back now.
I have too, because it is what I was born for.
I will stand up, I will go on.
I have too.
I’ll hold my head higher; I will embrace my future’s cards.
Because one day it will be my day to shine.
She would gladly be there cheering me on my conquest.
I read it all through several times, proud of my accomplishment. I show Jenks and he reads it, like it’s an assignment.
His attitude lifts up as he continues to capture each word with every phrase. He gets to the end and he doesn’t look up at me.
“That bad…” Scared in my tone.
“Autumn J…this is amazing.” His voice is low; I see water swirls around his eyes.
“Oh, thank you, Jenks.” He held me and cradled my life force; he was enchanted with my words.
“You have such a great talent.” His face was closer to mine now.
“Hey! HEY! Jenkins and AJ, let’s keep our faces away from each other.” Mrs. Challey barked.
“Oh, come on Challey, we all know that if you had a boyfriend and you brought him to school you would be doing the same thing; especially if he was a hunk like Jenks here. Besides I don’t think we are the worst in here.” I winked. There were couches slid together beds made out of others and covers over everything. She thought about it for a couple moments.
“True. Just pay attention to the movie.” She giggled a little to herself. I faced forward and Jenks kissed me softly.
He held my hand, tracing the lines to our destiny.
Making Love with Our Eyes
Can you say I was misled from your virtue? From the curves of unending dramatic tension I alone increased upon myself? This life inside me is mine for the wrecking, mine for the abolishing, don’t you understand as I have so many years ago; I am a contagion of an unnecessary class.
Don’t tell me I was wrong, I was only doing what you asked of me; being someone I never had the capability of becoming. I am estranged from the thoughts of yesterday, looking beyond no tomorrow. I turn and shift every piece of weight I ever did once owe to you; but who owes you?
There was once a romance wasn’t there? A touch of rekindling something or other running beneath our blood streams. Creating a festival of excitement and exaggerated hormones. Making movements in every direction just to get away of the thought or feeling of you. Your deep stare, like somehow you knew what I never wanted to know.
I flinch at the undying notion to make communication of our of statehood. We of all people were wondering when it was to end. The demise was soon felt after the acknowledgment or welcoming antidote of exchanges of names. You wanted this didn’t you, a kiss with a mystery girl whom had never been a part of your world or any universe for that matter. She simple never belonged to be a definite life source. You wanted to take me away to your realm with laughter and love.
I was no prize to be won. No circumstances of you would ever turn me back to where I wanted to go. You couldn’t tell me how it happened. How everyday was a new miracle being born in front of our eyes, were you as I guessed, waiting for the end to finally begin?
Remembering the times when I’d lie so you would leave me alone, so indefinite I could end the morning and evening being solitary. Why do you do this? Making me cringe; I want you. Making me spin out of control; I need you. Would you promise an output any different than the one you have chosen for us, I leave you there, standing in the cold. Still I am in and feel as if I am the one being left. Your face looks unsure and still, myself can compromise as unknowing as well. Do you mean it when you profess I love you.
We are merely kids at play. Churning the butter into whip topping on a cake. The candle’s flame wavering in the limelight are we even old enough to feel this much despise? Or even create such encumbering lifestyles of harmony. Take your turn one day to know. I’ve loved you this much, why not so much more.
I don’t want to compromise, making movements surrounding you and somehow lurking around as if we were making love with our eyes. I’d touch your unbarring soul and you’d caress mine. My lips would linger upon yours as if I wanted this to last forever; as if it was going to. You’d lead me away to another fantasy, to another chance at freedom. Remember I was more than a chance at new breath. I saw it in your eyes, me being the one for you. Now I lay beside you, my naked body exposed, my thoughts unsure if I wanted that with you.
Whispers in my ears of doubts and small remarks of hope, of happiness. I couldn’t take the undying knowledge you had over me that somehow you would always know we would end up being with one another.
How much further would a demonstration of our affection take us? Too little to go all the way making this statement of love a visible one. Are we liars? In love with each other’s sadness or devastation. I almost wish for you to turn your gaze from me. I wish also for the stares to end and my days to be brighter. That you may save the moments I have given you and be happy with them.
I am ready if you’re wondering, equipped for the risk taking.
Lost at Sea
I awoke in a stutter. The breeze from the moonlight entered my room promptly. Whispers of the wind playing hide and seek with the hotel curtains, tantalizing my toes with a chill or two. The only memorable moments in her life had been like. Taken abundantly away, like the rising and receding water of the tide. The waves keep crashing over beckoning solitude on my skin and there I was just staring off in the sand of times. I lay there letting the tragedy beat me until I no longer own a past just a future.
Business holiday with my emotionless father was a last minute whim we both were surprised that he offered and I accepted. I watch the sunrise come up behind the ripples of the ocean. Winter never got to see the ocean. Chatt was going to take her there for their honeymoon, it was a surprise. I pick up a chilled rock heavily developed in the ground. I throw it far off into the distance dropping out of sight.
Anger starts flouting, pushing out streams of hot drops. Hope once again given up. Miniature rocks stick to the outline of my unspoken figure. People would stop and stare. Maybe question my sanity, but no one is around to judge my delusions of denial.
The waves clash against my curious toes. The water is cold, very cold, too cold. It seems like the ocean goes on forever. The sunshine beckoned unto me, like I was supposed to be something so radiant. I thought about losing you and allowing you to go. The more I thought about it the more I ignored it. I thought about loving Jenkins, but reminded myself I didn’t deserve to have that kind of adoration. I see no point in trying to prove my worth.
Piles of miscellaneous wood and seashells scatter upon the vacant shore. Wishes, I make. Promises, I break to you. I don’t know where to go from here; I am a sail boat without my sail.
A Seal to Break
It was well past midnight. The stars glistening the way they usually did during these cold November nights. I just got back from California. I would call Jenks but, he’s probably hanging out with his friends. So I drive to a secluded park in my town. I park my car at the edge of the gravel lot. I open the door to let in the fresh night air. Step out into the darkness putting on a checkered jacket, blocking out the chills.
The swings frosted with ice. Silent to take a seat in the scene of the evening. Sway forward than backward, making a list of wishes and a poll on possible dreams. The breeze on my face reminds me of a time when I was a child. I glance at the swing next me. The stillness of it makes me cringe. It will be her 20th birthday tomorrow.
“You lied to me, Winnie.” Spoken to the abandoned park.
“Being a senior isn’t quite as cool as you led me to believe, sister.” My eyes shut laughing to myself.
“How ridiculous is it that we are named after a season and a flower? Like really, nothing better on the list of names.” Sight casted down at the ground. Shameful for speaking about her name in such a way, as if anyone heard me anyway. Everybody loved her, but she really didn’t care about being accepted.
She would bring me along with her to parties or sleepovers. Not because she was forced to or was asked to. She wanted too. If it wasn’t for her no one would even call me anything than Winter’s little sister. I would be a background to the world, an old forgotten painting. She was a free spirit, so easy going, loved everyone who seemed to cross her path. She brought me along so I could experience events. I was the opposite of outgoing. Tiny group of friends. Mediocre if you wish for a further explanation.
Snow was falling now. I have a detestation for snow. Flakes coming down harder. I start to the parking lot glancing back to see the swings swaying as if waving a goodbye.
“Maybe, if it was snowing that day, you would have stayed home.”
A dark car is parked a little ways away. I can hear the music playing, the beats bouncing off its metal frame. I don’t want to even begin to imagine what they are doing in there! I keep my gaze steady and quickly move to the driver’s door of my father’s car. The car looked somehow familiar and in an instance I knew whose it was; Jenks. I look back at the car, the windows foggy. I can’t believe my luck! Irony slapping me in the face over and over. How repulsive! So much for being loyal, loyal as a camel’s spit!
I honk my horn and I flash my lights. He pops up his head to see what the commotion is; of course he cannot see that is me. He puts his pathetic head back down. I honk longer, flash my lights a little brighter. Now he is angry, he kicks open his door, his blonde hair embracing the wind. Struggling to put his button up over his bare chest. Compulsive to laugh, metaphorically speaking I was laughing like a red nosed clown on parade day. How messed up am I? Freaked out by my laughter, he took caution approaching the situation.
“What the heck, man! I am a little busy if you didn’t notice!” He points back to the car.
“Foggy windows with hand prints running down them, getting a little Titanic in there?” I smirk in the darkness. He can’t seem to find the humor.
“Titanic? What does that have to do with…Oh, Autumn. Is that you?” He shuffles to pull his clothes on tighter and with more disclosure.
“I was swinging. What were you doing?” My folded arms let little leeway for interruption, rather than corruption.
“Autumn, why are you out here so late? I was just…umm.” He mumbled over his words, trying to find the right thing to cover up his actions.
“You were doing what exactly, playing prince charming to some other damsel?” I tease. I don’t know what he thought was more shocking, the fact that I was laughing or the fact that he got caught.
“Now come on Autumn you don’t really think I would cheat on you!” His eyes never meeting mine.
“See, I thought being loyal meant not smooching other ladies. Glad you cleared that up for me. You look surprised to see me. I told you I would be back late tonight.” Nods in agreement.
We stood there in silence for a couple minutes, the girl occasionally peering out toward us, wondering what was taking Jenks so long. I would wave back smiling; not recognizing who the girl was.
“Well, I should be going it’s getting late.” I walk up to him pat him on the shoulder.
“Have a goodnight Jenks, tell your playmate I say hello. Maybe you can explain to her why you took so long out here.” I smile, turning back to my car.
“I made a mistake, Autumn. Come on this is means nothing. Nothing to me, like you do.” I hear his whispers, he shifts his arm back at the still car.
“Does she know that? Besides killing two birds with stones. I’ll catch you later.” I get in my car, and drive away. I stare back in my mirror to see him standing there half dressed, frozen in suspicion. My thoughts in a tangled mess. I thought I was special, like he had told me so many times before. You thought wrong, AJ, you know you’d never be given a chance like that. It’s not your fault, you’re not Winter. I know, I admit to my demeaning self. As I turned the corner I could still see him standing there watching my tail lights fade into the dawn of the morning sunrise.
Terms of Agreement
Knocks on my door always eager to wake me from the sweet slumber.
“Autumn Jazmine? Chatt’s cousin is out here, he wants to talk to you. Should I let him in?” Good ole dad, awake early enough to greet the morning birds. No sense of staying mad.
“Sure.” I grumble.
“Go on in, Jenkins.” My dad pushes the door open wider. Jenks pushes past my father, saying a silent thank you shutting the door.
“Autumn?” He whispered. “Are you mad, angry, upset? You have every right to be, what I did was unforgiveable.” Jenks acted grown up with his apology. I stayed mute under my sheets.
“I’m not mad.” I said, but he was on a roll to hear me say it.
“Are you listening, AJ? Because, I am sorry. I had every intention of being monogamous with you.” He trailed off explaining the whole situation.
“She just wanted to hang out, then it just got carried away. I swear I had no intention on being disloyal or anything towards you.”
“I just got caught up in the moment…I didn’t know what I was thinking. I just wanted affection.” He confessed, now I’m upset.
“I was gone for a weekend.”
“What? Did you say something?” He stopped pacing to look at me, I could feel his stare through the quilt.
“Not even a week it was only three days. Good heck, you go away two or three weeks at a time with your parents all the time. I go away for 72 hours and you act as if I’m gone for a year. Two states over is going too far. It is fine for you to go to abroad.”
“I’ve never had you when I’ve gone away.” He sat on the edge of the bed.
“I can only say I’m sorry so many times!” Sighs expressed.
“Can we can talk about it some other time? I’m tired.” I pat the pillow next to me, still not facing his direction. He slid off his shoes and got under the covers next to me.
I let sleep take me, drifting from dream to dream, waiting to be saved once more. I finally turn over, where he lays wide-eyed and aware. He places a gentle kiss on my forehead. I burrow my head into his strong chest.
“You are a dirt bag.” Had to be said by someone.
“I know.” His voice lowered.
“You are, there is no pretending it isn’t true. We should get it out there in the open. You are a really big jerk.”
“I get. I know, I am already beating myself up about it. I don’t know what I was doing with her. I know better.”
“Yeah, I get it Autumn I am a dirt bag.”
I smile, not knowing what to say next, so I kept silent. He pulled my closer and held me tighter.
I think he loves me…I think he cares about me. I exterminate the thought out of my head, before I can make out the last word.
“You know how I feel about you right? I have strong feelings for you, Autumn. Strong passionate feelings.” He looked into my eyes with a serious tone. Passionate feelings, whatever Jenks. I think.
“Yeah, sure.” Rolling my eyes sarcastically.
“I’m serious, the moment you drove away I wanted nothing more than to be sitting next to you holding your hand.” He picked up my hand, “…to have your purple fingertips touching mine. It made me realize you won’t always stick around when I screw up. I’m sorry, AJ. I really meant it, I only want you. There is just something about you. I don’t want to force you away from me, it will not happen again, I promise.” He lifted my chin up to connect with his, making a kiss between our lips.
“I know you are sorry, but I am still confused about that you did that.” I turned over not saying another word.
“I love you, Autumn Jazmine.” He whispered in my ear.
“I know, Jenkins.” Closing my smiling eyes.
Responding to Maturity
The next Monday at school, Jenkins acted forgiven. As if the previous weekend didn’t happen. He knows he is far from my good graces. He held my hand as we walked the halls to our next classes.
In a quick motion he drops my soft palm. My direction towards him finds his vision captured by a girl walking our way. I look confused, his eyes on hers. Maybe this is the little scandal from the other night.
“Hey, Jenks!” First name basis, interesting. Her eyes flutter as she says his name biting her pink lip gloss lips. The flirtations making me ill.
“Is something in your eye?” I ask concerned. She stupidly repeats her mistake in confusion, while shaking her head.
“AJ don’t.” Jenks demanded.
“Jenks, a little defensive of your little peach.” As her smile begins to fade I gather mine.
“I’m sorry! Where are his manners? Didn’t even introduce us, I’m Autumn, and you can call me AFJ.” I say politely.
“AFJ?” Found her voice once again.
“AUTUMN FETCHING JAZMINE and don’t you EVER forget it, sweetie.” Proudly put in a humble manner, grinning ear to ear. Jenks put his noggin down shaking it. Confirmation that I was indeed the embarrassment of the century. She stares at him, like he will save her from the prosecution. The last self-respect I let her keep gather up for her to spoke.
“I should head to pre-algebra. Just wanted to say I had a nice time the other night. Hope we can do it again soon!” His head shot up, fear struck him. That’s weird only freshman take pre-algebra. I wonder what she meant by…oh alright then, that confirms the theories. She begins to walk away, smiling at Jenks one last time. I turn to Jenks, still not facing me. I twirl around to face her.
“I didn’t catch your name?”
“Cache. Cache Cooper.”
“Drake’s little sister?”
“Yep! He’s my big brother, well I don’t want to be late, it was nice meeting you.” She turned practically skipping away in fear. Struck gold did yeah?
“Cache Cooper, aye? How is that working out for you?” I turn toward him with a sarcastic tone.
“It was one time.” Shameful to say.
“The only time! You got with your best friend’s little sister. You are an even bigger jerk than I could conceive.” Enraged with being cheated on and more importantly who the partner in crime was.
“Oh my heck! What else do you want from me? I can’t rewrite history.” He acted as if I was making a big deal out of display not worth his time.
“I bet Drake doesn’t know you hooked up with his little sister!” My voice escalating in volume.
“Autumn, be quiet, people will hear you!” Brushes off my words, caring about others thoughts over mine. This infuriates my core; I stop as he paces a few steps in front of me.
“Jenks, you cheated on me with Cache Cooper! Not to mention your best friend’s little sister. Jackass!” I yell, as crowds of students stop to listen to the new found gossip. Jenks rushes by my side.
“What are you trying to do, AJ, make everyone hate me!” He glares at me, squeezing my hand tightly. I look at him in disgust.
“No, you did that on your own.” I unhook my hand from his. Anger stirs deep in his eyes.
I walk away.
“Okay, AJ! I will see you after class.” The decency he had to say.
“You don’t get it do you. I’m beginning to think you never will.” I go into my classroom my head held high, courage glowing on my aura.
Thoughts rush over me from every angle, everybody wants to know what happened and with who. I keep my lips shut, my mind blasting with words. Was I not good enough for him? Am I not fun or exciting enough? Does being a senior girl make you unattractive and unwanted in the eyes of senior boys? You’re old news, Jaz. You knew he wouldn’t stay interested, it’s a miracle he was this long. Thank you self, love you too! But, let’s be honest, why would anyone want you, they only wanted Winter. I try to push out the hating voice pounding inside my head. Tears come to my eyes, but I push them away. Only one more hour and I am free to leave.
“You know something has to be wrong in that department, if your man is going to a freshman for affection. Who, let’s be honest isn’t good looking on a good day.” Monique whispers behind me as her immaturity flounders around her tight clothing.
“Monique! That’s my little sister you’re talking about, have some respect.” Drake annoyingly interrupts the vomit of hatred I’m about to explode on the female. She clamored on with the gals around her; them taking in every word of how to keep your man, your man.
“Oh really you would know all about keeping your-so-called man satisfied? They should just call you Déjà vu with a name like that I’m sure all they have are memories of other women. Boring repeats. I had no idea you were such an expert on being a mother loving whore. I’m sitting directly behind your incline of a bitch’s ass. I can hear everything you say, even if you whisper.” I smirk like I know better, I wish I had known better. She turns, facing forward, being snooty about it. As a familiar voice laughs beside me. “You quench your pretty little lips, because you know you’re as much of a slut as you have respect for.” She flips her head around giving me the most awful eye daggering look imaginable, but honestly does nothing to me. I elect to think it’s the way her expression looks most of the time.
Drake taps me on the shoulder, I look over my shoulder barely glimpsing.
“Hey, Autumn, I just want to say what Jenks did was not cool. I had no idea they were like that.” Forgetting Monique was shouting whispers behind me, I turn to face Drake.
“It’s not your fault. Your sister probably didn’t know about me.” I half smiled.
“Hope it gets better for you. I bet it’s been rough.” I turn back to the teacher at the board. Wishing I could get away from these philandering fools.
Lead Me Away
“Hey, AJ!” I walk out of Economics to find Jenkins standing next to my locker.
“Jenks?” 20th editions of history books I shove into my locker.
“Let’s go to my house. I got that new movie you wanted to see.” His gestures made it clear I wouldn’t be into it. “You know that one with the explosions and guns. Okay so it’s one I’ve been wanting to see.”
“Sorry, I’m busy today.” Motions to move away from the rugged figure.
“Busy? You only hang out with me.” Oblivious.
“I have plans with Aaron. Let’s get this straight you only hang out with me.” My backpack weighing one side of me down.
“No need to get nasty, Autumn.” Nasty I indeed had not gotten to, but let’s give it a try!
“All your friends must be hiding their sisters, maybe even mothers as we speak! I am the only one nice to you. The one person who may have loved you, who cares now though.” I take a few breaths. Stamp my feet away in defeat, but he catches me with words I would like to rip apart and burn.
“Fine. I’ll go find Cache Cooper. She has all the time for me.” Pressure pushed against my body onto his upper abs.
“I bet she has more than enough time for you sweetie. Don’t you wish I had that kind of time?” My fingers fumble on subjects I could care less about.
“By the way, how long do you think you can hold onto your crown before Drake gets ahold of you? Before every girl not only plays you, but leaves you standing in the cold.”
Drake stands behind me encouraging every single word, “…see who will think you are some sort of man when you have no explanation of one.” I keep my gaze steady, not backing down now.
“No offense to your little sister Drake.” A crowd of people forms around us, like all desperate high-schoolers do for a chance to star in some dramatic reality T.V. show.
“None, taken. Her doings not mine. She has to live with the bed she laid in.” Folding arms of with his virility still intact.
“Drake come on!” Jenks tries to bargain.
“You did this to yourself, man. Lied to me, made out with my little sister. Thought we were supposed to be friends. Not cool. You’re lucky she is even looking at you.” His eyes darting at me. The attention making me nervous to cave. Cracks begin to form, only if it were my heart instead of my pride.
The silence weighed on him, lying with his perpetuating smile.
My hands form round at my knuckles, what am I thinking?
“What are you going to do? Hit me!” His cockiness is cutting me down. He stared at me and in a second he knew what I really would dare to do.
I pulled my left arm back, jolting it right into a side of the metal locker. Frustrations, my imperfections I had taunted myself with into that one punch. Tears fill my eyes. Teachers and presiding characters fill the gap of the group.
His gaze slumps in surprise. Not believing the moments just shattered before him. My hand is in a smashed chaos; I’d never felt like a queen before. The crowd around me cheers at my victory or outbreak. Either way I can’t help but smile a little. Aaron comes rushing toward my side.
“What were you thinking?” He takes my hand and looks over the crisis. He shakes his head in disbelief. My strength unveiling who I might be.
I look back at Jenks, he sat motionless on the cold ground, with fear drowning in his eyes.
The pain was excruciating, but I held no hurt in the tone of my voice.
“Wait!” I look back at him as we round the corner. Shivers in his own despair along with mine.
“We have to get you to a hospital AJ! Now!” Aaron took me away wrapping my hand in his shirt. Aaron pushed me through the green doors as students made an aisle, still gaping in awe.
Here Comes the Lecture
“What were you thinking, Autumn?” Winter would have yelled.
“I was proving a point.” I simply suggested to reply.
“Are you crazy?” Paces the layout of my bungalow.
“Most likely, if we’re even having this conversation.”
The bandages on my hand were unfulfilling and itched like a poisonous something or other.
Aaron drove me straight to the hospital where I was greeted by my loving father. His composure reminded me he has not smiled at me since the incident of accidents.
I raised my hand and gave a wave. His rolling sarcasm hadn’t come into play today. He although didn’t run to my side aiding my harmful intentions of self-proclamation. He picked up his cell phone and dialed the health insurance company.
The nurse acclaimed in awe when the story was revealed. 2 fractured fingers, 4 broken knuckles had done justice for at least a few familiar spectators. I left the hospital with not much claim on victory but much more on pain relief. Thanks to my father and his new age ideas of mankind I was unable to achieve any painkillers higher then over the counter. Revamps of a modern way of thinking, I’m sure his secretary led him to believe. Despite the concern from the doctors, worry for pain tolerance in my heart and my bones. Dr. Graduated-Yesterday practically forced my father to accept the pains meds. Unlike my father, he did not make a scene, he shook his head and said a quiet thank you.
We trailed back home. I found myself leading a line of whispering looks and dismaying gestures. I excused the injured to her solitary confinement.
“Why did you leave me Winter? What am I ever going to do…” I would confess my deepest queries. Obstructions analyzed in my pathway to freedom. I can never think of what she would have said to me after that one, that would be satisfying or healing enough. I would end the conversation there; I miss you.
I shut my eyes. Admit the scorching pain to overweigh me. Formations of tingling creating a numbness in my bones. The cast around my hand possessive to a sort of reality. She was gone. I rested in the darkness of my specific coincidences.
“What are you going to do?” She laid next to me, clothed in white, always in white. I shrugged confirmation of not a clue.
“Do you love him, Jaz?” She would have calm down a little by now. Worried with my physical state, but also trying to comfort the mental perspective. Next to me, holding off any anger towards the situation away from the environment. I needed her now more than ever these days, wishing I could speak to her for a moment or two.
“I don’t know, Winnie.” Sincere to her blue eyes.
“Do you love me?” Of course I would reply.
“Do you love yourself, sister?”
“Should I?” Poetically adjusted.
“It should not be a question, Autumn!” We would both smile and laugh a little.
“You don’t need this pain you put on yourself. No need to grieve anymore little Jazmine.” She would have whispered close by my ear. I would turn away from her comforting tide.
“You don’t understand… I have no one. You have Chatt in Heaven. I am alone down here.” As she disappears, I remove her thoughts from mine. I slump to the ground, blending into the floorboards. I slip under my bed to cry and to sob, to be more invisible than I feel I already am.
Striding from You
Today I ran for as long as I could, as fast as possible. It was good to breathe again. Along familiar lines and hidden roads, always ending up in the same destination, the exact location. The bridge, the rocks, the rough torturing waters. I dare walk closer to the edge. I lean over and gape in amazement. The memories of the sequences come at me. Nonetheless wrecked with remorse. Fear and guilt creep up inside me. I glance and stare, sadness takes me for an eternal ride. Before it can take me hostage, once again, I turn around and run from it. Past schools and houses. Past the parks and buildings, past the trees too, erasing them from my vision.
Rumors questioning my sanity. Determination whether or not I falsified my whole life as a mirage. I was fleeing from existence, running from times I already gave up.
My true sister left this green Earth adventuring in her next position in the universe. The vanity of having a good time claimed her life and that of her lover. Both souls swaying against the midnight currents. We were all in history learning about fact, when my imagination only dreamed in fiction. Enclosed, I am claustrophobic in the body and skin I claim. Unaware of the fore comings. Definite I know that they try to take me under, to also evaporate my existence.
I am alive, leaning over I heave and tug at my throat for oxygen. Thoughts pushed out. Not to think about this or that.
Just trying to survive with normalcy for a while.
A black car drove by, not now.
I paced myself steady to focus.
“Autumn J, come on. Get in the car.” He was speeding beside me as I raced away from him, always trying to save me.
Grips of the broken hand, making a fist, stabbing more pain. Tears came to my eyes, my heart lessening in power. Not today, I think as I run harder as the wind dries them up. Sprint away from this town, from him and from you. Forgetful of things that have broken me.
Goodbye, crossing over the turnpike I elude the fantasy. I transform into someone new. I contemplate the makeshift observation as something always readily available. Communication has gone down and I am the only one onboard. I am the only one set here on the stage to survive. Once cast as her stand-in in the play. Each morning waking as the main character watching as I was accepting the bow for my own performance.
What were the requirements to a mourn? Was it sudden demise of a young student, the colossal triumph of the tragedy?
We waited as the verdict concluded their past in our lives.
We awaited the proposition of who would take the place as a remarkable fit citizen. We are all qualified, not offered the job.
Kiss of Forgiveness
I was sitting on the front steps when he pulled up. His car was daring. The cement captured my fake attention. Not to look too interested, like always. The sun was shining. Wind calmly brushing warmth by my toes. He sat down beside me. An effort to grab my hand. Carefully intertwining his fingers into mine. He tried to hold on tight, as if to hold back the fleeing. I wasn’t going anywhere, not today.
“You did a pretty good job damaging your hand. Not to mention the locker you inverted. I paid for the school damages, don’t worry about it.” He states, accusingly. “Good thing it wasn’t my head.” It was funny, I could have laughed, but didn’t.
“Yeah. I guess…” I was staring at the fields, watching as the north wind trickled through the growing grass.
“You okay, AJ?” He stared at me, but I kept my specific gaze. Might as well, let it go.
“Last few months, my dad has been having nightmares. A few times I get up to go and comfort his night terrors. He screams to himself, “Winter, Winter, Where are you?” I kicked a rock away from the pathway. “Every time I get up and try to aid his worries he stares at me with disgust quoting I am not Winter. I could never be her.” I let the words shoot out my mouth. No strength to pronounce them. He grasped me in a caring hug. I almost indulge myself in it, but try to keep my need for comfort composure.
“Honey, I’m so sorry. You don’t have to be like her. You are your own to be.” He pressed my head against his chest.
“I love you, just the way you are.” The madness still swirling tremendous inside, I refused to accept his ignorance as an apology. I wanted more. The natural pain killers making me weary to fight against his welcoming spirit.
“Thank you.” My eyes closed.
“Let’s go AJ.” He picked me up, and put me in the passenger seat of his car. I was freed from guilt.
I look out the open window. Vision moving back and forth in spectacle.
“Jenkins. Why’d you pick me?” My answer sounding insincere, but I wanted the sincerity part of it.
“You’re beautiful.” His smile was gracious; I didn’t want it to be. I wanted to stay angry for far longer than I held in me possibly. Aches in my proud indulgence telling me to walk away from his.
“I’m serious. You’ve only showed me the secret garden? The secret world you worked so hard on for an escape. What made me so special I received the gift to see?” Waterworks swirl around my eyes like pools above the drain. He began to speak, but then retracted his words. He lowered his head and shook it. Frustrated we were yet going over this topic once more. Maybe there were no words for explanation. There was a feeling inside no one could describe and perhaps that was the mute of his words.
“Jenks, I have nothing to give you. I don’t know what you want. I might as well be a nobody.” I admit, willingly.
“You’re not though. You are Autumn Jazmine and I just want you.” He put his head in his hands. “That’s all I need.” Any other girl would be ultimately satisfied with this answer. Any other girl, but me.
“Then, tell me what makes me so special. Tell me what makes me so good that I get to have a life at all when…because I really do not understand.” My words were spitting, and my tears creeping.
“There is just something about you!” He grasped my face in his hands.
“I do not know why things happen. Why some people survive when others die. Surviving isn’t the curse, losing the will to continue is the jinx. We are living for Chatt and Winter. They had their lives and wish the best for ours. They want us both happy.” His arms open, like I was the lost cause I saw my reflection as.
“No, I don’t think so. It shouldn’t have been her! You know that, everybody knows that!” I sighed, knowing all too well the standards I ached to live up too.
“This isn’t about your sister, AJ! This is about you, and who you are!” He placed a finger on a cold heart.
“People may laugh and stare, but you don’t care, you just brush it off. You have so much courage, you are not afraid to stand alone. You are the first person to stand up when someone is getting scrutinized. The first to be their friend. You stand up, because, you can and it’s the right thing to do. You are the coolest girl I know, you don’t fight, you don’t get upset or angry over silly matters. You are just chill most of the time.” Looks at my broken knuckles confirming the one outbreak. “I love it and I am so lucky to have you, you have no idea how grateful I am.” He placed his arms around my shoulders. “I showed you that, because you needed a new world. I wanted to give that to you…” He dropped his arms, holding onto my soft hands.
“I wanted to show you that there was a better world out there, an environment you could create, one you are able to control. A world that could save you from all your hurt and all your pain.” He kisses my forehead.
“I am frightened, though.” I grinned, he rolled his majestic eyes.
“Thank you, Jenks. It does mean a lot to me. I just wanted to know, know why I was special, all by myself.” I kissed his lips as he carried me away not only to his fairytales, but ours. The one we shared and started creating together.
Thank you, Needless to Say
Reasons in my head tell me I can’t possibly deserve this. There are times in my life when everyone around me is a gaping stranger sent into my world to tell me I am improper. My father always looking beyond me, never seeing who is actually there. His cleanse for his mourning leads me to believe the only thing he caters to think about is that he lost his divine daughter. The first born was taken when in a chance it was his 2nd he wished to become extinct. I realize I am imperfect. I acknowledge that her demise was a choice given by destiny and might have been the one mislead.
Doubts fill my mind and I wonder if the stupidity was lingering upon my skin, along with my cranium. Something inside me told me I needed him. I wanted him, he ached for me. Was I being foolish for trusting him again? Was I being the fool once more? Did I have reason to trust him? He had come to my house every day for three weeks straight. He would leave things, when I wouldn’t go to the door, little notes or letters, sometimes poems. Before he would leave he would look up at my bedroom window and wave to me as he drove away into reality once again. On the morning of the last day he came to my house, which ended his streak of trying for forgiveness. I told him a secret. You can make a heartbeat, you can break it in two so that it is broken, but you can’t make it heal.
Puzzles gathered all around my mind. He loved me, so he said. Did he? I wondered every night I put my head down to sleep. Sometimes, I would stop and stare at him to see if he had really changed, to see if he had a mask on. He never failed, there was no mask. No other side of Jenks waiting to surprise me. There was one. Who changed his appearance of an arrogant being to more attractive personalities. He changed for a becoming woman, who seemed to steal his heart overnight.
I kiss Jenks, coming back to our romance. He kisses me back. We just make sense he told me.
“We connect. There is just something about you and about me that makes everything better AJ. I know you feel it too.” He stared down into my brown eyes. I blinked away, embarrassed that I was able to be this special creature.
“I know.” I replied turning the afternoon into the evening.
“I need you, AJ.” He held me as I lay on his chest.
“Why?” I ask breathing out in a sigh.
“Because, I’m afraid…”
“You aren’t afraid of anything?” I sit up and confront his lingering sad eyes.
“I’m afraid of losing you.” He turned his head and looked away.
“What are you talking about? You’re not going to lose anything. Unless you cheat on me again and if that happens then I don’t know if I would ever talk to you ever again.” I made a joke, but he wasn’t kidding.
“Autumn, I’m being serious…I was so stupid before, I am sorry I ever looked at another girl. I have just been thinking about how much Chatt loved your sister.” He sat up putting his head into his palms. I sat there in silence. “He loved her so much that he couldn’t; wouldn’t be without her.” I sat there frozen, not wanting to think about her. “You know after their first date, he drove over to my house and he told me she was the one. I told him he was crazy you are only a teenager what did they know of true love.” Jenks positioned his chin on the platform of his knuckles. I listened carefully; I knew a tremendous amount of things about Winter and Chatt, but not necessarily specifics on Chatt’s side of the story.
“He said, you are only 14 what do you love? Action figures? We wrestled a little bit and then he gave up. Lying on the grass he said I just know Jenks, Winter and I are meant to be.” It was true when they were together there was a light surrounding both of their circumferences. They really just brought each other to life.
“What does that have to do with us? You’re not Chatt and I am not Winter.” Saying it so softly.
“Because, it’s what we are. We may not have the energy or the radiance like they did. But, we are nothing short of that kind of love.” He looked at me, with something new in his eyes. Real love.
“Yeah, they were together for four years, they basically grew up together through high school.” I am confused, why was he comparing us to them?
“So, we can be together for three years or 300, AJ. Let’s grow together. We have that love, Autumn Jazmine. I want that love with you, I always have.” I start to walk away with all this silliness.
“We are each other’s meant to be.” I left him on the downstairs couch. Striding up the stairs wondering what was happening. I wasn’t confused anymore. I knew what he was saying and what he wanted me to know. But, I was a few keys higher than shocked. Nobody has ever loved me like that; nobody even mentions they have loved me, except Winter…
He was behind my step holding me, in a careful hug.
“I have to tell you something.” I turned to meet his questioning face. I pulled him along outside.
We sat on the swing set outside. He held my hand as I swayed back and forth, patiently waiting.
“I was there on that day at the bridge.” Admittance to a secret that no one else knew.
“I know I picked you up.” He said, unfazed.
“No, no I mean I was there…” I was getting nowhere and I didn’t know what else to say.
“I watched them take their turn to jump, Jenks. I heard their screams. I saw them die…” I let it out, I held on no more, because it let go of me. “I hid in the trees for a while and I knew it wouldn’t be the same going home. I knew I would feel the emptiness. After a while I just got up and started walking. In hopes I would find her and convincing myself my mind played an awful trick.” I kept my head down, exhaling. Jenks stayed silent for a couple minutes; I shut my eyes as I tried not to picture her jumping to a definite demise she had no knowledge of. He grabbed ahold of my swing; he brought me close before the tears fell from my eyes. He gently, sweetly kissed me.
“I love you, Autumn Jazmine.” It was all that needed to be said. What could be said really and that’s all I really needed to hear.
“I love you too. Thank you.” The clarity of whom I was thanking neglected to show preference. I waited for a victory song, in my heart I heard it ring true.
We spent the remnants of the evening gossiping about our belonged families reviving the best days of our wonderful lives. I comment that we never brought up that appalling day. It was a day like this no key points that were brought to our attention about the fore coming of tragedies. A very minute that changes perception for every other day you notice for enjoyment.
The one item bringing us back together, each day was we seemed to find a piece of ourselves in one another. Each day finding a little portion in between the sleeves of our shirts.
Hop and love, tucked beneath the folds of skin. We began discovering happiness in the crevices of our bodies. Memorizing the feeling of life in our bones once more.
Out of Power
As I walked into that hallowed house, the power was out and it was getting darker outside. I could hear my father upstairs in the shower singing about jumping in the cold water. I smile in the shadows, sometimes I had to love him. I walk upstairs to my room wandering in the darkness what I was going to do tonight. There was another party I could go to, heck there was a party even if there was four people in the room. Jenkins had no intention of going.
I put on a yellow band T-shirt and head for the door.
“Hey, Chai! What’s up, you going to that party tonight?” Chattier than ever.
“Autumn?” Surprised I wanted hang out.
“Yeah! Ha, it’s really me.” I grinned a little. I heard her voice screaming with joy.
“Do you want to come over here and we can get ready together like old times?” She practically yelled.
“See yeah in a bit!” I hung up the phone and drove on my way. Finally, a night without stress or anything to control me. No dad, no Jenks, no one but me and that excited party.
We arrive at the party, the place is both glowing and crammed with underage minors.
People called out to us, Hey AJ, hey Chai. Everybody gave a sympathetic smile I laughed and waved it off quicker than it was given. We were chatting with guys and smirking at jokes.
“Hey Chai, I am going to go find the bathroom! I’ll check with you later.” I walk around the rooms and try to squeeze between kissing couples and crowds of drunken stupors.
I realize in the back of my head I do not belong with these people, I never have. I turn down an empty hallway, as Gram Gunter came taunting behind me. He had more alcohol in his system then a barrel in a brewery. He starts making obscene comments, pushing me against the wall, he nearly falls over top of me. Notorious for harassing every girl in sight somehow, always getting away with it; the principal in his pocket of fans.
The hallway was dim and cold.
“Don’t do this Gram.” I try to squirm from his tight grips. Lunging his drink across the floor.
“Oh, come on you do it for, Jenkins. Everybody knows you do. You’re a little hussy, you’re sister never was. Damn she didn’t have an ass like you do.” His teasing sickens me. I can’t seem to stand straight, I hate this feeling of weakness growing. The music grows louder than I can seem to bear. I shift as he tries sliding his hand up the back of my shirt. I kicked him in his groin pushing him off his balance for seconds at least. He whips around and grabs my hair. Shoving me to the pathetic ground.
“Chai! Chai! Chai!” I yell with all my might. No one seems to hear me, and for some reason no one is around to stop this act from commencing.
“Please, help…Jenks!” I begin to cry with fear. My voice begins to die out, having no more strength to save myself. I laid there twitching on the ground, wondering how much pain my body could take. Nobody wants to fall victim to someone else’s rule.
All the sudden I hear my name being shouted and my head hitting the floor. All I saw next were a psychedelic scenery of blues and pinks. The pain in my wrist vibrated to the broken pieces I had left of a hand.
Jenks shifted from his position, he was lying in a vacant room alone not far from the hallway. He heard a scream and then his name.
“Autumn?” He thought. Racing to the door he swung it open, seeing me pinned down by Gram’s body weight. As he looked at me he rammed Gram into the wall, he stared into my eyes to see the pain and hurt it was causing. Fury raged inside his own eyes as well. I crawled backward into a corner, wishing I had never been born.
“What the hell, do you think you are doing?” Jenks yelled at Gram pushing him against the wall.
“Stop.” I whisper, grabbing ahold of his arm. He thrusts one punch into the side of Gram’s jaw. Aaron comes up behind them rushing to the liberation, as well.
“You okay, AJ? Did he hurt you?” He gives me a look over. I shake my head I’m good.
“She is mine! Don’t you ever touch her or look at her again. You should have never came back to this school Gram!” He was knocked out. Jenks inched near me and I hugged my legs closer to me.
People started cheering his name. Aaron leaped from my side to take a look at the big man.
“Autumn, it’s me. I’m not going to hurt you, you’re safe now.” To my aide assuring himself I was okay.
“I can’t believe you people just stood there and watched this happen, what is wrong with you?” He yelled at everyone surrounding us, his voice echoing throughout the house.
“Are you guys kidding me, nobody stepped into to help Autumn? Not a single so called man here cared to stop a rape from happening?” The tone in his voice made it serious as he turned his view to me.
“Every guy, maybe even all you girls are just like him if not worse.” His thoughts came across negative. Everyone seemed to get the message though; they should have stood up.
His head and emotions in disbelief.
“I’m going to take you home, AJ. I am going to take you somewhere safe.” I shook my head slowly up and down.
I couldn’t hear the crowd, but Jenks was frustrated by their apologetic remarks.
He cradled me in his strong arms, I clasped to him. He begins to let all his barriers down. As we walk out the door, I almost imagine them collapsing with each step we take from that statement.
My hero in my dreams. He let go of the prideful status he relied so heavily on. As he held me closer, catching every tear that fell. I let myself go, I let myself be helped for once. I let comfort in, and then let the healing process originate.
“I love you Autumn Jazmine. No one will ever hurt you.” He whispered in my ear.
Thank you, Winnie.
Jenkins carried me into the house, my conscious state wavering. He laid me down on his arbitrary bed; propping the pillow behind my failing head. Eyes sealed shut.
I conceive to remove the blemishes I have been reflected of. I twitch in this uneasy solitude. Sleep deprives me of deluding thoughts; they take me hostage and I am a prisoner into which I have no glory of being saved. Only by a mere chance of death. Fear is struck in my frontal lobe, fear of what might have happened, if this protagonist didn’t step into the line of climax.
Thank goodness I had found myself a protector.
He pulled the covers up over me, pulling my damp jacket off. Pulling my phone out of the side pocket; ringing as if madness had struck it.
“Hello, no this is Jenkins, no she’s fine, just a little shaken up. She needs rest. I’ll have her call you tomorrow Chai.” He hung up the phone.
He texted my father that I was staying with a friend. He left the room, coming back with a glass of water and a cold rag to place on my temples.
“Thank you, Jenks…” Tears began to flow down my cheeks as the unknowing emotions evade. He held me closer, quieting my whimpers, along with the qualms.
“Don’t worry Autumn. I’m right here. I won’t leave your side.” He held my hand as I coasted away deeper into the covers. He kissed my forehead, his arms fitted to my sides. I felt relieved to have him in my life.
I nod, slightly.
“You’ll be okay.” He touched the creases of the cascading blanket as I placed myself under. Music began to play in a far distant room; something sweet and quiet. I wonder where it’s coming from. A light glow begins to form underneath the door panel and I smell Lavender or Lilac.
I wake up in the middle of the night, Jenks was making a bed on the floor. I patted the spacious spot next to me, there was clearly enough room on his king size bed. He twirled a blanket around and made a line down the middle and placed pillows down the center of the bed, dividing it evenly in half. Ridiculous I began to think, but then it made me feel better. He climbed onto the bed, he began humming and rubbed my back until I was calm enough to sleep. For the first time I didn’t feel the need to cry, for the first time I didn’t feel the need to be in pain anymore.
The thought of being alone, not only scares me, irritates and freaks me out slightly. It terrifies me quite questionably. I sit here in the morning wondering and waiting for something I do not know of, I am fearful of the skeptics. Jenks is missing from the room, maybe he is in the shower or in the kitchen. I gain courage to stand, I go exploring. I start to walk down a long hallway, looking at all the pictures on the walls. Dinosaur fossils line the each wall, picture after picture, the formations increase, until I am lead to a room labeled, “EXHIBIT.” As I look around with curiosity I turn the knob, I hear a gasp.
“Jenks, is that you, sweetie?” A woman leans over a ladder to look at the face in the doorway.
“No, I’m sorry…” I start to confess an introduction, but she says my name for me.
“Autumn Jazmine Moion. Yes, I use to work with your mother, Josephine.” She speaks getting back to her project.
“Yes, Ma’am.” I keep my head lowered.
“How is she doing?” She asks.
“I don’t speak to my mother. She left us, so I wouldn’t know.” I shrug. “I was just looking for Jenks. I didn’t mean to bother you.” I turn to leave, quietly.
“Oh, it is quiet alright. Jenkins is making us some hot chocolate, he should be up here any minute. You are more than welcome to look around, Autumn.” She flicks on the lights as she continues on her balance. Animal skeletons hang from every angle and are propped up on every table.
“Wow.” Amazed by the sight, I admit. She climbs down off the tall ladder.
“Thank you. I’m Janice.” She walks toward me and shakes my hand with a smile. She has a perfect hour glass shape, notable fashion, exquisite amber hair.
Winter would have loved her.
“This room is amazing. Do you collect these or is it a hobby?”
“Yeah, you could say that. Jenks’s dad is the best they have. He is in Africa right now on a scavenger.” She took off her gloves and put her hands on her hips.
“He’s an archeologist?”
“Yes, my dear, he is.” She smiles as if she just told a small child candy grew on trees.
“Sorry, Jenks rarely talks about you or his dad. Come to think of it, he never really talks much anymore.” She laughs at my discovery as she leads me to a patio where plants and windows are abundant. I can feel the cool morning air through the room.
“Of course not, we are not around much to be talked about, but we write to stay in contact.” She pulls an apple off one of the trees fully grown. She throws me one, I bite into something sweet and sour, but a new delicious to my taste buds.
“That’s why I am glad Jenks has you. You can keep him company when we are away.” She pats me on the shoulder, and gives me what people call a hug.
“My goodness, ever been hugged Autumn?” She jokes, I laugh slightly. Have I? Not since Winter died. She pulls back, gripping my shoulders.
“I’m sorry to hear about your sister and Chatt. We couldn’t make it back for their funerals. I know they loved each other very much. Jenks told me you and your sister were very close.” I look away; she was my best friend.
“I’m sorry I brought it up. No sense of bringing up difficult memories, when we should be rejoicing their lives.” She smiles and gives me a, if you need anything don’t hesitate to ask look.
“Yes, you are right.” I hear footsteps behind me.
“Jenks, nice of you to hurry with our hot chocolate.” Janice jokes with him.
“I was looking everywhere for you two. Good morning honey.” He kisses my cheek and whispers in my ear I love you. I look at his mother embarrassed. She smiles joyously, touching his chin.
“I am so glad you have her, Jenks.” She picks her things up and leaves the room. I turn around to face Jenks.
“Why didn’t you tell me your dad was an archeologist? This is amazing!” I twirl around the open area. He laughs at my childish excitement.
We sit down for lunch, Jenks’s mother has made us small tuna sandwiches. The sun is out and it is a warm afternoon.
“Here you go!” She pours lemonade into our glasses, I feel loved. I smile gracious for the effort.
“You are so very welcome. You can stay here anytime.” She winks at Jenks.
“I’m sorry, I should have asked or something.” I slowly swallow my gulp of lemonade.
“It is quiet alright, we trust Jenks, and so we trust you. No need to hide things.” She smiles once again, like Josephine used when somebody would call her beautiful, but this smile was truly happy.
“Thank you, it means a lot to me.” I say as I pick up another sandwich.
“I know it does, so you are welcome anytime. Call me Janice.” She walked out to her garden and started watering the plants and singing with the birds. How beautiful and caring she was. I felt joy and love start to bubble inside me, as I giggled.
“Thank you, Jenks. For bringing me here and saving me. I love…I love you.” I spoke softly.
“I love you too.” He replied.
“And if some crazy girl was trying to attack me, you would push her over and break her jaw, right?” He joked, making the situation and tension feel a little lighter.
“Oh, definitely, totally karate chop a bitch.” We joked together as if nothing else mattered and we were in perfect harmony, just like life should be.
Mother over Board
The snow is still falling and here I sit, still waiting. He promised and I believed him. Don’t do this to me, not today. My disappointment floats around my head. Winter and Chatt’s anniversary today. December 31st, New Year’s Eve. The one day I want him to tell me everything will be okay.
As I stare out at the billowing clouds my mind wanders back to her. Stubborn to ignore her requesting voice, even as it begs for my presence.
Acts made in the declaration I force myself into the welcoming sun. It’s been a year and four months since the accident. I grab my yellow umbrella and face the fast wind of winter’s air. I pull into a spot hidden behind a growing tree. In hopes she believes I am elsewhere. GO! I tell myself, there is nothing to fear on the other side of this tree. I’ve done this a million times. Today is special, today is the day they come together to be one. I grasp the handle on the door, hesitating before I step onto the black top.
Pin wheels by her plot of land turning in the breeze. I like the pinwheels; I smile as their majestic colors twirl. I prop open my umbrella and face everyday fears. Stationed in-between Winter and Chatt’s graves. It’s kind of silly in an obscure romantic sort of way. Not yet married but they were buried next to one another as if destiny allowed for their lives to continue in harmony. Even their head stones spell out each other’s names. The letters TLA; True Love Always, quoted above Chatt & Winter’s names.
I plant my umbrella above my head, like a day at the beach. The snow falls harder as time passes. I stare up at the white clouds, closing my eyes dreaming of happier memories and better days. Drifting back to that day, the day they buried both Winter Magnolia Moion and Chatt Taylor Thurgood.
I stare down into the dirt that now covers their caskets. I tightly grip my yellow umbrella; Winter had got it for me for my 16th birthday. She said yellow is a happy color, so whenever you use it, you will have to be happy. This called for a special occasion. I can hear a familiar voice behind me, protesting why her daughter is buried next to some boy.
“He isn’t some guy.” I hollered back, concentrating on the sun warming my black dress.
“Hello Autumn Jazmine.” Her voice has aged as I turn I see her physicality has also aged. I am the mirror image of her, which makes me emotionally ill.
“Good afternoon, Josephine.” I acted polite, just like she taught me. I haven’t talked to her in months. The vision of her murky I had not seen her since the day she left. Absence of the years doing wonders for myself.
“My, you are looking very beautiful these…”
“Stop!” I say putting a hand in the air, halting her words.
“Can you not accept a compliment when given one? Especially since you look as beautiful as I do.” She smiled flattering herself.
“25 years ago, maybe.” Correction with a grin.
“Be very grateful you even look like as I do. Maybe you would want to pose with me. We could do a mother and daughter modeling cover. Too bad Winter, didn’t have my genes.” She straightened her shoulders, professing that she was better than me and always would be. She is so heartless, with dark black eyes, I hated her. I went in for the kill.
“Too bad? She was surely the lucky one. I guarantee you that. She was more beautiful then you could ever be. Why would I want to look like you, anyway? You left your husband for a modeling career and a younger guy who probably can’t spell your first name. You abandoned your children before they were able to speak for themselves.” I stood a little closer to her then I was comfortable in her space.
“I would rather look like a rotten potato, than stare into a mirror than see your face staring back at me.” I can see Jenks out of the corner of my eye; he glances at me as he talks with his buddies. I wonder why he is here, I only saw him hanging out with Chatt a couple of times. Maybe he felt he should come and be supportive since he picked me up that night. But, as my voice got stronger he got closer to me.
“I didn’t come all this way to put up with your crude humor young girl.” She tapped her foot, I hated her feet.
“Well why did you come at all, mother?” The word mother, felt diseased coming forth. Not caring about her answer I turned around to face their graves.
“I just came to say, I am sorry to hear about your sister, Autumn.” She lifts her hand to touch my warm shoulder. Polite in a stranger kind of way. She aggravates me to too many points. I turn around to put her in her place. Jenks is only a few steps away, eavesdropping?
“You are freaking unbelievable! She is your daughter, Josephine. You remember her? Your first born!” I glare down into the emptiness of her eyes.
“Listen, little AJ. I don’t have to take this from you.” Her hands on hips, showing me whose boss.
“I am not your little girl anymore. Your daughter just died and you have no remorse. You have no pain or guilt in your stupid made up eyes. You only came because you somehow thought it would put you on someone’s good graces. Because, for one minute you wanted to feel angelic again. Well there isn’t anybody here to impress, so go! You are helping no one being here.” My voice slowed down, remembering the reason I was standing in a cemetery in the first place. I shift to turn my back; the action should look familiar to her.
“I don’t know what your problem is, Autumn Jazmine, but you could act a little happier to see your mother after all these years.” She can’t be serious. She was serious.
“Whose fault is that? How could I be happy to see someone I don’t even know!” I was shouting, faces turning our way. Josephine blushes. Jenks stepped in-between us as my father headed our way.
“Is everything okay here, AJ?” I rolled my eyes as if this was his concern. Josephine took interest.
“Oh, and who is this lovely young man?” Her eyes widen, in that way when she liked something.
“This is Jenks, mother. Is there any other stupid questions you want answered?” I could tell by her posture I was being an annoyance and by the sound of my voice I was more of a pester. Jenks put out a hand for her.
“Nice to meet you, Ma’am.”
“Nice to meet you as well, you can call me Josie.” She smiled a little too flirty for her age.
“Alright, Josie.” Humoring her, he said that silly pet name.
“I don’t recall you ever telling me about this handsome man, Autumn Jazmine.” She grinned with her Botox face, putting out her plump chest a little more.
“How could I tell you about anything? Your attendance record isn’t exactly star worthy.” I shrug my shoulders as if it was nothing.
“Oh, please forgive my daughter, Jenks. I promise you I am not as awful as she claims I am.” She half laughs with charm.
“She’s right. This is my mother Josephine.” I was all about to expose everything she was.
“Autumn Jazmine, don’t.” My dad was standing by me.
“Hello, Bernard.” Josephine annoyed by the interruption.
“Josephine.” He nodded his head; they exchanged glances, awkward air set in.
“As I was saying, this is my mother, Josephine. She abandoned me when I was four years old, for younger…we’re all adults here, let’s just say it for sex.” I smiled in the truth, her lips puckered. She rolled her eyes as I made correct assumptions.
“She walked out our front door telling us that she didn’t want us. That we were all a mistake to her, that we had no place in her heart. Because, there were better things out there, than having a family. Right, Josie? Did I leave anything out?” I spoke confidently, but inside the memory was tearing me down, bringing voices to sad tones. I turned around quickly back to the graves that laid before me, not letting them see the tears roll down my soft pink cheeks. Jenks was at my side holding onto the shivers of my hand.
“Please go, Josephine. You are no longer part of this family. You gave up all rights to be sorrowful a long time ago.” He stood with courage and might; he wasn’t going to forgive her.
“She needs me, Bernard. Who is she supposed to cry to and talk to, if not her mother?” She cries out, giving herself far too much credit.
“I don’t need you…” I pondered everything Winter had told me about my mother. She would tell me our mother loved us, but she was going to be gone for a little while. It was only later that I found out she was never coming back for us, ever, until now.
“I need her.” I trail off in my thoughts as my father pushes her away to the tuxedo black vehicle of the day. Leaving her in such a disappointing awe.
I come back to now. The non-fantasy present playing around the outside of my head. With a tap on my shoulder I find my father standing to the side of me staring down at Winter’s grave. We sat there in silence.
“Autumn Jazmine, I miss her.” He whispered to me.
“I know. Me too.” I stared at him for a second or two then turned my attention back to the passing clouds.
“Did they love each other?” He asked not knowing the answer.
“Tremendous in measure. They always did.” I closed my eyes thinking back to good memories.
“Happy Birthday, Winter Angel.” He places her favorite flowers beside my head. Close enough that I could smell the Jasmine flowing off them. As if to make amends to both of them. He starts to walk off.
“See you back at the house, Jaz.” He tossed me a candy bar and went on his way.
Fighting isn’t love. It was a simple truth, a simple truth that we all neglected to listen too. Therapists told us time and time again countless years of mentoring us into what respectable citizens our father deemed appropriate. It stood solo, like an island swaying through the waves of time, awaiting discovery. By infinite routine of exploration I claimed, Land Ho!
Sleep over with Forever
My father was away on business. Jenkins’ parents were in China. So we were allowed to stay together, at my house. Apologies were made as he confided in me he lost track of time helping his parents pack away their gear for their expedition. He was on the computer as I wrote down more words, giving into the endless dictionary I had become. Noticing the time on the clock that I had been staring at the same word for half an hour. Jenks gets up and kisses me as he tells me he forgot some homework at his house. After he has gone, I linger throughout the halls of the house and without warning I find myself stuck in front of her door.
W.M. hangs on the outside of the door.
Without hesitation, I grasp the knob, turn it and push it open. I stand frozen wanting to go back in time. There was her bed, perfectly made. Her clothes hung in color code. Art magazines perfectly stacked in a pile on her desk, just like she left them.
The memories drown me, before I can repulse their images. We were sitting on her flower rug she used to cover up after I spilled my chocolate milk. I was 13, and she was 15. She sat there telling me how much she liked a new boy at school, Chatt. A board hung above her desk as she pasted her dreams upon it. Promotions on how important it was that you place your goals and wishes in front of you.
The burn mark laid flat against the wall, when I threatened to burn the house down if she didn’t tell me who she had her first kiss with. Of course it was Chatt, but still I wanted to hear it. In the corner of her room a chair sat silent, not wanting to disturb the flow of the area.
The chair that I had sat down on when I came in crying, when my father first told me I would never be as smart as she was. Memories flooded and I wanted to rip myself from them, give them to someone else, so I could feel free.
I laid my sorrowful head down, literally making the pillows beside me sigh.
Jenks called as the lightening outside began. I didn’t bother to notice either of them. I let myself be swallowed in the hating voice sinking into my heart.
I get up hours later to find Jenks with his arm wrapped around me. Thunder was cracking outside; it was almost 4:30 a.m. I open my blinds to the darkness of the early morning. I ache for a cleanse, the raindrops falling onto my skin. I scatter to the outdoors, screaming and jumping with joy.
“What is going on?”
“A storm.” I hustle outside to feel water circle me round. Relief grows inside me and tears cease to drop with the rain. I spring my hands up in the air, acclaiming hallelujah. Dancing around, waving my arms wildly, just to let loose for a while. Just to be me for a while.
“AUTUMN! What are you doing out in the pouring rain? You are going to get soaked!” Jenks frantic and yells from the porch.
“That’s the idea! I’m letting loose, letting go. Come out here.” I motioned him over.
“You’re crazy, AJ!” He stands in the cold watching me act like the imperfect fool I loved to be.
“I know isn’t it great? I’m not coming inside until you come out here.” I turn around again and wave my hands higher.
“Fine!” After a couple moments of uncertainty he is right beside me taking a hold of me softly; looking into his blue eyes we have the same idea. He holds my hands as we slow dance to the music of the thunder and to the spark of the lightning. I loved the shape the storm established.
The porch is frosting over. Wind chilling over my fading smile. Snowflakes fall and there is no end to this winter. I hear the kids playing and their laughter bouncing off the snow men. My Aunts and Uncles are up and they brought every kid on the planet they’ve made with them. I start to head back inside for the warmth of a heater. I lock myself away, when a knock on my door appears. My cousin, who looks horribly like my aunts, grandmother, and sister…
“Here will you take him for a little while? I need some space!” Before I can protest, there laid in my arms little baby Drem. His eyes all amazed like he had never seen dark hair before, or brown eyes.
“Little baby Drem, I guess your mother never takes you outside, now does she?” His eyes grew one size more. I placed myself on the stairs, awaiting for her to come back. At least wishing she would come back, hopefully. His hands were chubby as I tried to make him smile. He jiggled and wiggled, his laugh enormous.
“You know Drem, you are an okay baby. Your name sounds like dread. I wonder why your mother didn’t name you something cool, like thunder!” He opened his mouth wide in surprise, hurray for babies.
He just pooped his pants!
“Oh goody! Let’s go find your mommy Thunder boy.” I lifted him up only to notice he gained an extra twenty pounds.
“Has anyone seen baby Drem’s mom?” Eyes set on me; yep I’m holding a baby. Enjoy the spectacle while it lasts ladies and gentleman.
“He smells like he went a couple times in his pants!” Cousins shrug. Aunts and uncles laugh mockingly.
“Well, I think she left and Drem’s dad isn’t around. So I guess you’re stuck with him for the night!” Grandma Joanne speaks up.
“No, I can’t take care of a baby! Seriously, no way!” I put him out in front of me no takers. He is just like me in this moment, I think. All alone, nobody willing to take me, no one even caring about what happens to me. He looked at me, with those baby eyes, saying it was okay he had been through this before. I cradled him, tightly in my arms, stink and all.
“I’ll have you…” I whisper in his ear.
“Good then it’s settled, the triplets will sleep in our room and you can have the baby crib in your room, Autumn.” Joanne patted my back like she had done so many times before. “Oh here Autumn.” She threw his diaper bag at me.
“It’s Grandma Joanne.” My grandmother corrected.
“Sure it is.” Shaking my head, walking away with a baby I just met. I took 7 months old, Drem to my room. A baby who was just like me. No one to care for him except himself.
Jenkins texted and said he would be over later that night. I held Drem in my arms as we both slipped off into the vague clouds of our subconscious.
We were solitary solders amongst the battle field of companionship.
The halls filled with my father’s side of the family. Turns out that you can really not connected with your family members, no matter how thick your blood runs together.
They all had fancy cars. Long names of the category of riches they owned. It was a strange thing I started seeing as the relatives pilfered through each carton of milk, each box of necessary food supply. Ole padre being the youngest and most of his wealth going to his mirage of a Juliette. Not by force I might add, clearly by the infatuation he clearly still was engulfing in her charm.
They are all decorated with the same features. Their heads all lined with thin blonde hair and blue aweing eyes. The sculpture in their faces surprising even models. Drem, have identical attributes as Winter’s and my father’s. It was a notable character they had in their faces. One I realize as I touch my own face that it was an idiosyncratic I didn’t display. Josephine’s format all prescribed to my being and not that of my father’s.
Overbearing is Underachieving
I just finished making dinner. The holidays had passed. Confused on where I stood with them. Tired from the long weekend with the family. Start going through the motions of cleanliness. The house cleaned, my hair trimmed, my nails almost painted when I hear a car pull up. I thought maybe Jenkins was coming as a surprise. But, as I looked out the window I found myself stricken with more than just surprise.
“Dad, there is a limo outside!” I yelled upstairs to his room. I heard him stirring, running to a window. It was near Valentine’s Day and Josephine contacted me more heavily than specific occasions.
“I’m going to be in the basement. Bring dinner down to me after she leaves. Tell her I’m gone.” He rushes past me nearly knocking me off my feet.
“What am I supposed to say to her? I don’t want to see her either. Let alone talk to that crazy woman.” Shout to the absent air he stood in seconds ago. I stare out the window to find her stepping out of the car, hand in hand with a guy who looked a year or two older than me.
“Yum!” I whisper to myself. I hurry and pull out my phone. I text Jenks, EMERGENCY, come quick. I barely hit send, when the doorbell rings.
“AJ! The door!” My father screams from downstairs. I open it with a smile, my red apron still hanging from my neck.
“Yes?” As if there were strangers in front of me.
“Oh, cut the attitude Autumn Jazmine. I am here to take you out. Now go and get ready.” She waved me off. I stood there motionless, it had been a couple weeks since her last appearance, and I had not been home thank goodness.
“Well, we don’t have all day. Aren’t you going to invite us in?” I did not move. She was such a princess, not a queen. Her boyfriend shifted his weight shrugging like this happened every day to him.
“I already made dinner plans.” I spilled out, probably confessing too much.
“Yeah, right? Like you could ever cook. Everything you made was appalling.” She laughed at her own humor.
“I was four, Josephine.”
“Well, I’m sure things haven’t changed that much. We will wait in the car, it is probably more comfortable then this house. I will give you 15 minutes and please do something with that wretched hair.” Her face made a disgusted look as if we were all scum underneath her. Jenks just pulled up and he was running to the door, past my mother who gave him flirting look.
“What? What’s going on?” He was out of breath, leaning over.
“We have 15 minutes.” I turned around and shut the door, my father bounded up the stairs.
“How did it go?” My father smiled, a little too happy of himself.
“What’s in 15 minutes?” Jenks questioned. My dad got a certain grin on his face, like he knew what had just happened.
“Oh, you are going out with Josephine! Lucky you.” Patting him on the back and a wink in his way.
“Dinner is on the table.” I rolled my eyes at his excitement.
“But, I don’t have any clothes to change into.” He confessed, nervously.
“That’s okay. I have some things that will probably fit you.” My dad laughed. Jenks was rubbing off on him.
“Not funny, father.” They went upstairs to my father’s closet. I followed them up and went into my room. Scan through everything spectacular that, Josephine would approve. I let my hair down, swirls fall upon my shoulders. I decided on a yellow sun dress. Not even back five minutes she was already bossing me around and hitting on this dream boy of mine.
“What color are you wearing, Jaz?” My dad shouted. What are we matching?
“Yellow.” We had no time to discuss this. We only had five more minutes, before she would be at our door again.
I stepped out into my mirror, I was pretty. My own beautiful to be, not Josephine’s.
“Ready?” Jenks knocked on my door.
“Yeah.” I grabbed a small white flower and placed it in my hair, the bow on the package.
Jenks was leaning against the wall as my dad began telling him all about the crazy Josephine.
“Wow.” My dad spoke softly, stunned by his daughter. Jenks turned around to see me, amazed as ever. He was wearing a yellow tie, with a black suit, clean cut.
“You look beautiful, AJ. Have fun tonight, you deserve it.” My dad kissed my cheek. Jenks took my arm as he led my down the stairs.
“Thank you for coming with me tonight. It means the world to me. Hopefully it won’t be too horrid.” I kid.
“I know it does. It’s okay, I owe you.” Kisses my lips.
“You are so gorgeous, babe.” His voice was sincere.
It had been an hour when I got a text message from dad saying, how is it going so far? I replied telling him that we weren’t even at the restaurant yet, because she insisted on going to a fancy place two hours away. He thought he would be funny and reply, Yum and a couple laughs. Thanks a whole lot dad. Josephine had explained how the modeling industry worked, beginning to end. It took nearly the whole car ride.
“Here we are.” I was quiet to whisper finally, making her boy toy laugh. As we stepped out into the crowded streets, everybody was dressed proper and in style.
“So glad, I left the safe abode, to come to this uptight, high fashion, hell hole for dinner.” I tried whispering into Jenks’s ear. But, the boy toy heard me and turned around. Smile as I gave him an oops look. We pushed our way through the glass doors; we had a reservation of course.
“Act a little happier, Autumn Jazmine. We are eating French tonight.” As if that was supposed to impress me.
“French? Yay…I love French fries.” Sounding a little too over the top.
“That’s more like it.” She didn’t catch the sarcasm bouncing off my words. We all laughed in concealed unison.
Our table was ready and we took our spots. She moved in a way like she was a monster on her prey. She was living a dream world where she was the enquiring queen.
“Do you have plans for after school, Autumn Jazmine?” Her shoulders perfectly square.
“Like college? I haven’t given much thought to that. When I do decide I will surely let you know!” My cheery attitude was opposite if her assumption of how cruel I would be to her. Of course my persona created that of a parody performance.
“There will be plenty of time for you to decide that later. As for now I speak about tomorrow after school. I’ve been wanting you to come join me in New York.” Her voice wavering in strength.
“You want me to do this why exactly?” Forking the pasta around on my plate.
“She wants you to come join the party! It’s a blast and how your mom runs things is so awesome, AJ!” Her toy of a boyfriend spouting out advertisement.
“Autumn is her name.” Jenks began to get defensive for some reason I couldn’t classify.
“And being sexy is her game!” Winks out all of his immaturity. I gave a glance to my once mother, she was bribing me with this younger man.
“Ok. Thanks, but I have plans!” Spoon full of carbs I was in complete heaven with this obese country. The food industry catered to every whim and wish. Everything imaginable was at your fingertips to taste. Bringing a mountain of desserts to the table I was thoroughly impressed with the selection.
Welcome to the Idaho state fair would you like to try a donut burger? Yes, I would like a clogged artery by the time I’m 30 years old. It was pure rich bliss, living in the area in which meat had survived extinction.
Back at the dinner table.
“I want you to be with me and I mean why you wouldn’t want to be with me. I am your mother and you are my daughter.” Her voice crisp as she tried the chocolate covered strawberries.
“I realize I come from the same blood line and maybe you pushed me out…”
“You don’t honestly think I would put my beautiful body through such a tiring process.” Caressing her perfect curves.
“I had my doctors perform a C-Section before any damage could be done to this fine figure.” Of course, the thought of birthing a child hadn’t even changed her perception.
“What I’m saying is that you may biologically be my mother. In no way do you act or get the reputation of being a mom.” Bits of ice cream finished, more than satisfactory.
“I may have not earned the title. The fact of the matter is that I am more your parent than your so-called father. I mean honestly you look nothing like him.” Her and resourceful playboy were at the edge of laughter, refraining for my sake, I’m sure.
She started clawing at the things I had already been questioning. Was it deception or was the truth in the words she carried?
“You’re just saying that, trying to yet again hurt me.”
“Oh, you poor child. You don’t believe me, ask him yourself. He was so pathetic, I ran off with a Russian sailor. When I came back to him he wanted to keep you. He didn’t care whose you were just that you were a part of me. That sorry man is not your father, the man who donated his sperm for a weekend was more a man than he could ever imagine to be.” She grinned callously, her morbid take on where life has led her made her believe she was in the right to tell me these things. Somehow I was certain, deep down it was true.
Jenks squeezed my hand gently. We weren’t laughing. We stayed silent beneath the surface. Screaming and screeching came not from me but from the twin toddlers across the restaurant.
“Can you believe they brought children to a place like this, it’s entirely inappropriate! Waiter, get the waiter I demand to be moved to another location more private.” Waving her hand in the arm, snapping for them to hustle to her needs.
“No, that’s okay. I think we’ve had enough for tonight. Jenks shall we be going?” He has my coat in hand before I can stand up. He read my mind every minute along the way.
I smiled sweetly at him as we made our escape, not once turning around to look at the woman who had never brought a good moment into my adolescence. I left her staring at me leaving her world forever. She was hardly dismissed, she was in the business of persuading. Her whole person was incapable of being anything other than a prop, for show. Especially with the radiance she thought everyone owed to her.
My goodbye smelled like currency and I left it for the waiter.
Birthday Dress with a side of Fried Rice
With the aftermath of the Josephine debacle, I had yet to confront the man I called father. He was the one who had raised me, named me. I was more part of him than I was of her, even if his conclusion of me was undistinguished. His coward stares now making more sense in my memories. His unconditional love for Winter, made it clear now, because she came from him.
Prom was in days of explosion and somehow I felt remorseful for even thinking about wanting to go to it. Chinese food called to me as it would sooth the fictitious person in me.
I am sitting alone; I feel more independent and happy that I made the choice to be on my own. Because, it was on my time and by my own free will. I stared as the small Asian people hustled around all the tables taking orders and busing booths. I started to smile as this little girl came up to my table and placed a folded piece of paper into my hand.
“Thank You.” I replied as she scurried away, playfully.
Mind if I join you?
I looked up and around the restaurant finding Jenkins hidden in a booth behind me. I nod and wave him over.
“How have you been AJ? I haven’t heard from you in a couple days,” he slid his hand over mine with concern.
“Awe, thanks, just trying to wrap my head around the whole surprise your mother is a conniving whore, who likes to play who’s your daddy games. Oh and not to mention today is my birthday.” I say reluctantly.
“I knew it!” He exclaimed. “Come with me, this will cheer you up!” he grabbed my arm and pulled me up and out towards the exit.
“Wait! Jenks wait, I haven’t paid yet!” I yelled at him.
“I took care of that, now come on!” He was swiftly going through the moving people heading to his car, flinging open the passenger side door.
“Get in!” He motioned.
I gave him a look.
“Please, will you get in? I promise I won’t tell you I’m really your twin brother or some weird shit.” His humor too soon, if you know what I mean.
I sit down in the seat anyway. He handed me a huge white box, with my name written beautifully across the top of it.
“Is this for me?” I questioned still in awe with the box.
“Yes, of course it is Autumn; it says your name on it, doesn’t it?” He excited to nudge.
I took the top of the box and began pulling back at the soft stuffing paper. What I found inside, was imaginative and beauty awakening. I look up at Jenks, him staring back at me nodding. I grasp upon the sparkly yellow fabric straps, letting the white undercoat fall upon the floor. Winter would have loved to have seen this.
“It’s beautiful, it’s so pretty. What’s it for?” I asked, feeling guilty I may not be able to look as stunning in it as it looks in this box.
“I thought it would cheer you up after the whole Josephine catastrophe. It’s a gift for you and for me.” Giving his playful wink. I shook my head, rolling my eyes.
“Okay, okay it’s a birthday present and I was really hoping you would wear it to prom on Saturday at 7:30. I’ll pick you up in my car or if you don’t want to take my car we can take a different one.” Nervously he tugged on his collared shirt, worried I would say no. As he kept babbling on about the flowers and dinner, He being nervous made this all a whole lot sweeter.
I touch his fidgeting hands.
“I’d love to be your date for the dance Jenks; sounds like it would be amazing!” I brought my face to his level smiling with joy, as he gently kissed my cheek.
“Good, because I want everybody to know you’re mine and were together, forever.” He put his head down embarrassed at his saying.
I laugh a little, “Whatever you say boy.” I winked, feeling relieved somebody asked me.
I call Chai up to tell her the good news, “Hey, yeah he just asked me to the dance!” I joyfully replayed the happenings of the day.
“He bought you a prom dress? ARE YOU SERIOUS?” She screamed through the phone! Chai on no occasion failed to be a loyal and supportive friend. She gave me the space I greatly needed. The months that passed and no call had been made from either of us, signified somehow a tighter bond into the friendship world.
“Ha-ha, yeah I was just as surprised as you were when I opened the box. It’s yellow gold sparkles and white silver undercoat.”
“Oh my goodness, you are going to look so flipping GORGEOUS in it Jaz! I’m coming over to see it right now!” She made noises on her side of the telephone.
“I can just send you a picture if you would like?” I explained to her.
“No, no, no I have to see it in person! I’m in the car see you in a few.” She hung up.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” I sat on the bed as she weighed the perfection of the dress.
“Perfect is more like it! I wish Drake would be as sweet as your guy is.” She insisted.
“I thought you guys were just friends, Chai?” I smirked.
She sat down on a chair, “I don’t know he is all Chai Anna, I know you love me, you know I love you, come on, be my baby.” Chai made hand motions of hugging and kissing. I tossed my pillow at her.
“Oh stop it! I know you want him!” I joked with her, knowing too well she had the biggest crush on him.
“Of course I do! Have you seen his abs Autumn?! He is gorgeous!” She played around, “I just don’t want to get played.” She admitted to karma.
I got up straightening my clothes and figure in the mirror, “He wouldn’t do that to you, I think he really loves you girl and besides you should always take a risk so you don’t have to wonder what if.” I told her for the millionth time.
“Yeah, yeah take a risk, don’t wonder what if, be bold, you told me, you told me.” She rolled her eyes at me a couple times more.
“I guess, I will give him a chance I mean we are all going to the dance together anyway. Wouldn’t kill me to give him something to believe in.” She confessed.
Chai had said it, a ting of pain eradiated throughout my chest cavity. How many times and wishes had I spent on that, hoping that one day it could become true. My mind wonders off to her saying. She had no idea the effect the saying had on me.
“Hey, Jaz you okay?” She stared at me as I loosened my grip on the edge of the dresser.
I put on a pretty smile, “Of course I am. Let’s go get ice cream!”
Chai and I started getting ready at my house; I had a big mirror in the upstairs living room. Mr. Moion had a vivid talent of disappearing, every time I gained the courage to ask the truth. Somewhere fearing that the physicality was indication for itself.
Every day is one more day I get to check off living in the Moion household. 86 days left until graduation! Most of the time I spend at Jenks’s house, not having to feel the coldness lurking around every corner.
He wants to go traveling after graduation, we both have the money too, thanks to Josephine and her undying guilt of abandonment. He wants to take me to places of great importance, not in objects but in feelings. I hope to travel along the world too, living a very new life.
“Pass the gold sparkles.” I put my hand out as she places the capsule in my palm.
“Here you go! Oh my gosh AJ I just can’t get over how Jenks bought you a prom dress, a crazy amazing dress at that! Not to mention the fact that it’s handmade too! Oh you are so lucky.” She laughed and her snorting broke out, I couldn’t help but tear up laughing so hard. Embarrassed, she covered her pink lipstick mouth. I put on the sparkles and finished my make up with black mascara.
“So, what time are the guys picking us up?” She asked trying to cover up her ridiculous attack of laughter.
“Umm… Jenks told me 7:30 so they should be here soon I think.”
Chai reached for her phone checking the numbered digits. Her mouth formed a big pink O.
“What?” I chuckled.
“Goodness! Its 7:25, right now!” I stared at her with sarcastic fear.
“Oh my heck! Hurry, hurry, let’s get our dresses on!” We both rushed out of the room, running every which way, trying to zip up dresses and find heels and purses scattered all over the room. All while keeping our hair and makeup in order as we ran along our ways.
“Chai zip me up!” I placed the dress over my head pulling it downward. I was nervous I might not fit, but I did, unique in my style.
The doorbell rings.
We both give each other an excited but, nervous look. Zipping the dress up, “I’ll go get the boys!” As she raced down the stairs, I thanked my inner peace for having everything work out right.
I smile into the mirror, reassuring myself I looked beautiful and dazzling. I touch my fingertips to my reflecting self. I can hear voices downstairs now.
“Make sure the hotel sheets are clean and be safe!” Winter would have joked. I blushed at the comment inside my head. “I love you, you are so beautiful! Have fun, tonight is your night! Be free!” She would have whispered. I smiled.
“Come on Autumn, let’s go! We’re going to be late for dinner!” Drake and Chai shouted. I put on my silver high heels and descended the stairs, hooking eyes with Jenks as he stared at with wondering awe, as if he melted into putty.
“Goodness finally AJ,” They grabbed hands and strolled out to the car. As I followed walking in front of Jenks he caught me by my arm and my heart.
“You look really beautiful, August Jazmine you are so gorgeous.” He was very sincere
“Thank you, you are good looking as well.” I kissed his cheek.
We arrived at Drake’s house to take pictures, “Oh come on mom, and hurry up this is embarrassing!” We all laughed and smiled as the flashes went off and she snapped more pictures.
“Thank you so much for taking pictures.” I replied as she handed me my camera.
“No problem, your mother would be jealous of your figure and your beauty.” She smiled.
“Thank you.” I gleamed, wishing it were true.
As we arrive at the dance, it is going the same way it always is. Long line for pictures, crowding at the snack bar and no one dancing. I think to myself not tonight, tonight I’m going to live! I look up at Jenks, giving him an eyeful of let’s do something crazy tonight!
“Oh, no.” He knows he is in for a wild prom night.
“Let’s go dance!” And before he can profess no we are out on the dance floor shaking our hips and grooving to the beats. Everybody just stares at us and I wave to them come on. I shake my head, “DJ, turn the music up! Let’s go guys it’s our last dance!” I pull people on the dance floor. More and more crowds of students enter the dance and pretty soon everyone is dancing and having a great time. It was a fast song, but I was tired and I smiled while Jenks and I just slow danced for a while, swaying and twirling side to side.
Party of the Week
Spring Break was next week, like it always was this time of year. Joy, in my life, probably spend the whole week watching COLD CASE episodes, with a little O.C. thrown into the mix for Winter’s sake. I was reading books that mattered to someone I would never know. The author’s story flowing out on to the pages making good measures at a connection to potential readers.
The customary weeklong spring break party was thrown by an important member of the graduating class. My mind began to invent ways for being overlooked for attendance at that charade. When configuring that plan my lovely friends volunteered me as the hostess, or the host in consideration for women.
“AJ what are you planning to do for spring break?” Chai and Kami, such twins, I swear.
“I don’t know, sleeping probably. Why what’s up?” I shrugged annoyed of these peppy girls. It was lunch time and the tables were filling fast in this food joint.
“Well, you know how we were talking about how cool if it would be if we held the week long party?” Their eyes open wide, like they just saw a famous person.
“Yeah, what about it?” Not totally interested in this conversation.
“Well, your dad is going to be gone for two weeks. So, we thought that it might be a fun idea to have a week long spring break party at your house!” Chai basically shouted with excitement. I didn’t think twice about it.
“YEAH! For sure, what a great idea, that would be totally awesome, guys!” My spunk, caught them by surprise, nervous laughter broke out around our booth.
“Alright then! We will help clean and everything! Don’t worry about a thing!” They exclaimed.
“Great! Let’s start on Monday night!” I gleamed.
“Yeah, good idea!” We rushed back to school with fun filled ideas fresh in our minds.
We were at the dollar store picking up extra supplies. Cups, plates and napkins. I was going to make desserts every night. Cheesecake, brownies, cookies, and ice cream. People were invited from our school and anywhere else, so someone was bound to come. Chai and Kami got a little too party happy and invited practically everyone they had ever met. I wasn’t surprised though, it should be fun.
“Aaron, can you stop playing with the toys seriously?” I smacked him on the back, as he rode around on a wooden pony.
“You’re not serious about having this party are you?” Aaron looked at me in that concerned way, like a father would look at his hurt daughter.
“Yeah, I am. Maybe we’ll get arrested!” I winked, teasing his fears.
“Ha yeah, hopefully!” He joked, but I could tell he was hiding something.
“Jenkins told me about your mom outing your dad. Tough mess, sister.” He flung a toy airplane over the aisles.
“Yeah. Welcome to my crazy beautiful life. Mayhem will follow if it isn’t by now apparent.” We shared chuckles as a sales associate searched for the person who was being a defiant kid.
“I’ve been wanting to ask you something about your party. I was just wondering, if I could invite someone…this girl.”
“Ha-ha, of course you can! Why did you even think you needed to ask?” I nudged him.
“Because, it’s who the girl is…”
“Are you serious? Monique? Come on, really her?” Shocked, I stood.
“Well, she wasn’t invited and I felt bad.”
“Are you hooking up with that hooter girl? Tell me you have more common sense than that, Aaron.” Shifting the basket of goodies to my other arm.
“No! Gross, come on AJ! I’m into Jewel!” His arms flying all over the place.
“Fine, invite her. If she even looks at anyone rude she is going.”
“Alright! Thanks AJ! You’re the best.” He hugged me, half jumping on me.
“Okay, okay! You don’t like her or anything do you?”
“No, no. I like Jewels, I just told you that!”
“I know I was just making sure.” I picked up some balloons and put them into the basket.
“I will be there all week! My parents are in Reno at some concert.” Rolling his eyes, he knew they wouldn’t care anyway.
“Okay, you can have your own room then!”
“Really? Yes, I love sleepovers at your house, especially since I have my own room!” He winked.
“Hey Aaron, hey Autumn.” Turning my head to see Jewel, smiling sweetly.
“Hey Jewel.” I waved; Aaron only nodded with a smirk, casually.
“Can I talk to you, Aaron?” Jewel wondered, with her eyes sparkling.
“I should get these things. We still need to get a few things before the party starts tomorrow night! Are you coming, Jewel? Aaron will be there?” Her face lite up. I elbowed Aaron.
“Well, if you want me to come, I will.” She was staring at Aaron, she wasn’t asking me.
“Yeah, you should totally come! It is going to be totally fun!” Aaron hung his arm around her shoulder, she was in heaven.
“See, you in the car Aaron!” I waved, bye to the love birds, continuing on my own search. Wondering to myself, where my prince charming had gone.
When we were little we would travel into each room, like it was a new adventure, a new world to be discovered. I shake my head; this week is about creating fun memories and not remembering bad ones. Wondering if all along she knew, what I was and loved me nonetheless. Forward marching on and suddenly it was clear to me she wouldn’t have cared either way. A sister would be a sister no matter who the mister was that created her.
Imaginary bars lined the outside of my windows.
Freedom laid in the words he spoke for himself not for the ones he persuaded me with. My mind soared a million miles to nowhere ordinary, than again it seemed familiar in all the ways I had certainly wished for. I was if you will, catered to the unhappiness living inside me. Feeding it every good memory just hoping it would survive for a short while longer, keeping me as a companion. Knowing all too well that when it finished with me that I would be cast away in the gutter of memoirs. It thrived on your sad times, leading you in every direction opposite of true north.
I’d lived many lives and yet again there I was running races against the clock trying to find which door to open. Always ending in such a façade I was a criminal to the happy life. I wished for nothing more than for it to be destroyed and taken from me. I am an addict to this hopelessness waiting to relapse back into oblivion. I am right back to where I began, not rushing to start the race, but lingering back and looking around scouring the premises for her face in the crowd.
I confronted the fear lurking inside my bones. Many months since the reality of my actual linage. He moved slowly muttering to himself about a late appointment, he will have to push back to a later date. His voice was quiet and spoke very little.
“I’m sorry, Autumn.”
“Shocking as this news is. I knew kind of the truth of the matter. I mean I look at your family and no resemblance refers to myself. In your defense Josephine is quite irregular and alluring. She is a hard soul to turn down.” My hands were openly tied behind my back.
“You are smart one, Autumn Jazmine.” He sat at his professional office oak wood desk.
“Intelligence isn’t what made it apparent. Observation did.” Nodding in unison.
“We should have told you sooner.” His grip on his knuckles was loose.
“Timing is everything.”
“It surely is.” He began to collect papers and I began to exit the conversation I had entered.
“I did want you. She came back to me begging that she would die without me, telling me she would change, that this baby would save us from divorce.” His romantic side was clearer as he made it apparent that he wanted to be in love with a woman who couldn’t love him back.
“I suppose it would have if she were capable of change.” My hand upon the banister.
“Will you want to be in contact with your real father anytime soon?” His voice spoke true, not knowing if it were sadness or potential to rid me from his life I was hearing a tone too.
“Dad, don’t worry I’ll be out of your hair and you won’t have to pretend to take care of me any longer. I don’t think another dad is what is going to fix the mess Josephine has left for me to live.” He stood there, as I struck a nerve. His position never failed, and somehow he looked as if I had made him weak.
“My comment wasn’t made for me to free yourself from our family…” I shut the door behind me as I heard the sorrows he endured linger out the door behind him.
Breaking Down the House
9 bedrooms, minus 3. Mine, my fathers and Winter’s. 6 bedrooms. 4 upstairs, 5 downstairs. 31 beds, minus 3. My father’s, Winter’s and mine. 28 beds, with an endless supply of inflatable mattresses, spread out among the empty rooms. My father was hoping for a rather large family, I suppose that ruined things when she arrived carrying another man’s child.
House was clean only to be smashed in a manner of hours. A supply was stocked. Beds were set. Food was intact. Better text my dad, just in case he got a call from the neighbors. Having a party for Spring Break, don’t be mad. I can handle it. Don’t call the cops! Smiley face. You would think a responsible parent would, say Oh, have fun be careful, don’t have too many people over. But, when I opened my text message it only read, No drugs, AJ and a number to a party cleanup crew. I shut it, thanks dad love you too.
Any stupid frisky girl looking to hook up with some fool of a jerk off, would be the place and time to do it. The night was cold and the party was hot. Everyone from our senior class was there, and it seemed like everybody from anywhere was there as well. It didn’t bother me. If you went outside, you couldn’t tell there was a party, if it wasn’t for all the cars parked in the small parking lot to the side of my house.
“Now, listen up guys! Before we get this week long party started, I just want to say few things.” Pushing my lips together, as if a sentimental moment was coming.
“Ugh, this is so hard for me!” I fake tearing up a little; people don’t get my joke, yet.
“Oh my gosh AJ.”
“Anyway guys, please don’t do dirty things or get all nasty with each other. If you’re going to, there is a really comfortable green padding outside that you can use. Okay? Don’t do drugs in my house and if you are going to, go outside or in your cars. If you’re going to be rude or start fights, go outside. That means you Monique. You can drink whatever you want, how much ever you want too, but if you need to puke…”
“GO OUTSIDE! We got it AJ!” A couple people butted in.
“Alright then! Have fun and be safe! If you need anything just ask Chai or Kami or me.” I smiled and people cheered on.
I sat outside on the side porch now, staring at the stars, wondering why Jenks, hadn’t come yet. Maybe he wasn’t going too. I sipped my raspberry lemonade; alcohol was no use to me. The sky was darker then it usually was. As I glanced over all the stars, one caught my wonder. It had a special sparkle, it wasn’t the brightest, but it twinkled differently from all the rest. It was as if it engulfed me and my wounded mind to the point where it spoke to my soul listening to my slumbering heart. The cold wind prickled at my skin, as I heard music being played behind me.
“I thought I would find you out here.” Jenks was leaning against the door frame, looking innocently sexy as he grinned.
“Hey, Jenkins. Didn’t think you’d be showing up. You know people usually make an appearance the day the party starts. The 2nd day or even the 3rd maybe but never heard of anyone coming on the last day. Thinking maybe you had run off with your little lover.” I turned away from him, gulping down more of my fruity beverage.
“Yeah, I’m sorry about that. I had a lot on my mind. Thinking about stuff.” He stayed behind me as I leaned forward starting to think about stuff.
“Must have hurt your brain all that thinking?” I put my head back closing my eyes, so I wouldn’t have to look upside down at him.
“What’s that supposed to mean? I had some things I needed to handle before I came here.” He sat down beside me, his arms on his knees.
“I believe you.”
“I was thinking.”
“You were thinking for 3 days? You don’t have to explain anything.” I adjusted my posture.
“Yes, I do.”
“You make me so mad, sometimes. I never use to get angry.”
“In a good way though, right?” He pushed against me, making me fall off the porch steps.
“Thanks a lot, jerk.” He gives his hand to help me up, but I already gained my balance.
“I’m sorry, AJ.” He laughs, slightly.
I glared at him desperately, putting my focus back to the stars.
“As I was saying, I was thinking about everything.” He spoke with such honesty and maturity.
“Like I said you don’t have to explain anything to me, if you don’t want too.” I waved off, it wasn’t a big deal.
“Yes, I do. You’re my girl and I should be honest with you.”
“You don’t have to tell me everything.”
“Goodness, AUTUMN! I WANT TO TELL YOU! Can you just be inaudible for 5 minutes?” He smiled with his open mouth, I sealed my lips shut.
“I was thinking about you and me. What is going to happen after graduation and everything?”
“Yes. What about it?” Shrugging away the serious mood he had set in.
“I love you, a lot more than I thought I did. I know for a fact you love me a whole lot more than you lead me on to believe.” His started to perspire. “Maybe you are afraid of getting wounded. For instance as long as you want this, I will try and keep this feeling alive in the both of us.” His words were familiar in my own train of thought. We were looking at each other now, enthralled in the moment. “What I’m trying to say is that, I love you, Autumn Jazmine. I always have. I will kick myself, if I don’t do this right. I am going to prove to you that I don’t care what people think, that I do love you, honestly!” He got off his step, called everyone out from the house and kneeled down in front of me.
“What are you doing? You’re going to get the soil on pants.” Being my reasonable self, but he laughed anyway, even if he didn’t think it was funny.
“AJ. Autumn Jazmine Moion. We have been through a lot together. What brought us together was nothing if not a tragedy. The thing that brings us closer is the idea that we can share their memory with one another. That somewhere they can live on through us.” His words were more truth my heart could take. Tears began to swell and a finale was coming to burst them from their cage. “We are still getting to know each other. I feel I know a part of you that you only share to a very few, a side that is your true self. Will you be my wife one day soon?” He took my hand and in the other he had a black velvet box, unopened. He smiled, happily.
“You sure you want to marry me?” I blurted out, not really wanting it verbal. His face changed, shocked. “I mean, yes, Jenks. I would love to marry you one day.” He got up from his knee kissed my cheek; he opened the box and placed on my finger a ring that said, [_ LOVE YOU ALWAYS -Jenkins _]. It was a small diamond in the shape of a unique heart. The large crowd awed behind us.
“Let me see it!” Chai and Kami pushed through the crowd, knocking Jenks out of the way. I stared up at Jenks, with sincerity in my smile, he nodded his head yes, as if he had accomplished a cure. His pals patted him on the back, way to go, man.
“Yeah, Jenks way to go!” People passed by giving smiles and awesome congrats, going back to the party.
I headed into the kitchen to get a refill on my lemonade, Monique stood on the other side of the counter splashing up drinks.
“What’ll you have?” She said with a trying smile.
“Nothing, I’m sticking with raspberry lemonade.” I tapped the empty glass in my hand.
“Oh! Ha probably a good idea, Autumn.” Nodding her on, and slipped behind her to the fridge and got a drink.
“You know Jenks, never kissed me, AJ.” She was standing behind me, whispering now.
“I know, Monique.” I whirled around to meet her oh so honest eyes.
“I was just making sure he wasn’t lying to you like he led everybody to believe he was some big hot shot.” She opened up her arms to make a big point. She made it, knocking over three bottles of pop on the floor.
“Oh my gosh! I am so sorry!” She got down beside me and helped me clean the mess up.
“I know his reputation, Monique. He’s changed.” I swiped up the rest of the soaked paper towels and placed them in the garbage.
“I hope so…For your sake.” Pushing up against the counter, like whatever.
“He wouldn’t do that. Because he has something you don’t: a freaking conscious.” Glaring down her shallow eyes.
“I wouldn’t do what?” Jenks smiled, sweetly like he was on the top of the world.
“Oh, nothing Jenkins!” Hopping off the counter and gracefully grazing her hand on his tight bicep. He gave me a look, but I just shook my head.
“Really?” Squaring his eyes to mine.
“Really Jenky Poo!” Faking my smile and being pertinacious.
I kissed him on his cheek and gave him a playful smile. We were listening to everyone tell ghost stories about every place they had ever been.
“You tired Jenks?”
“No…I mean yes. You know I woke up early and all that thinking has made me tired.” Winking his way through a little white lie.
“Well, then let’s go to bed, JENKY POO!” Rolling his eyes he took my hand as I led him the desired way.
Pleasure with your Fantasy
By the time we reached my bedroom there had already been thousands of passionate kisses between the two of us. Hot heat coiled around our bodies. Our breath short, but quick to catch up. The room was dark and cold, about to be warmed up. I led him to the bed, kicking off my cowboy boots.
“I love you, Autumn Jazmine.” His body ached for my touch. Pulling off his gray T-shirt, he let my fingers feel the indentions and firmness that powerfully stood upon his skin. My eyes connected with his, biting my lip he saw my weakness. He yanked at my damp clothing, wanting more. His gaze was sufficient and craved my intake. I rolled my head back, pulling on my black long hair. His hands fumbled with my shirt; playing a game with his grip. I inched back to the bed, propping the upper half of my perky body, ready for a challenge. His eyes were hungry, lingering towards me; they followed the curves of my lengthy body with the help of his hands. He slowly pulls himself over my form, making sure he doesn’t crush me. I feel no pain, I am numb to the negative feelings surrounding us. There we were in the moment and all my heart was circulating out is one emotion and one only; pure bliss.
“I love you too, Jenkins.” I pressed a kiss on his soft sweet lips; it was like tasting my favorite candy.
He lifted my body up, and placed it over his, swaying me around like I was weightless, what a feeling that was. He had love and desire twinkling in his eyes; mine mirrored the same back to him. I create kisses on his neck, he holds me closer. I lick his ear, making him ache deeper inside.
Jenks, I breathe, take me away, I whispered. He sighed gorgeously, making adjustments of his weight around me. He began kissing further down my chest, leading down to where my belly button hid. His hands gripping at my legs tightly, never wanting this to end. I catch his eyes as my tongue plays with my gentle lips. He grabs me, tighter, shaking his head in pleasure. My fingers run through his hair, pulling as he gets more enthralled in the moment.
“You want too…” I persisted.
“So…badly.” His hands on my waist, I liked him there in that moment, so vulnerable, lost in my control.
“Well, do you got the goods?” Jokes and smiles mix my message.
“Huh?” He grins, his smile so perfect.
“Protection, Jenks?” Shrugging away, building tension.
“Oh you mean, oh, no. No, no, no!” Yelling in my face, pushing himself off of the torso.
“I’m sorry, I thought you were aiming toward that?” Sitting up against my headboard, arms folded.
“Oh, no. AJ. I want to so much, that it hurts. I just think we should wait…” Explaining, sitting on the edge of the bed.
“Wait? For what?” I was definitely confused.
“I don’t know, until we are both prepared to take on that responsibility. To make that commitment to one another.” His heart beat steady to normal, mine was declining, back to unmoral.
“I am committed to you, Jenks.”
“I know you are and I am totally, completely, wholeheartedly devoted to you. You are everything I have ever wanted and dreamed about. I just don’t want this to happen and lead to something else that we regret.” His eyes were on the pictures of me and Winter when we were kids.
“Oh, you mean, me getting pregnant? Come on Jenks, We would be careful.” Dangling my legs over the side of the bed next to him.
“That’s probably what my parents thought, when they had their one night stand almost 18 years ago.”
“Jenks, your parents love you and they are happy.” I rubbed his back, warm.
“I know they do, I just can’t help thinking that they both got trapped into each other.” He stood up, frustration struck him.
“We aren’t trapped though, we love each other. But, I understand what you mean. We don’t have too, we can wait.” I got up to hug him.
“Great! I knew you would understand! Can’t wait until our wedding night!” Picking me up and giving us a twirl.
“Wedding night? We’re waiting until were married to perform in the act of coitus?!” Upset as I may have been but when he pulled me away from him. He smiled and honestly who can be furious at a guy who has standards to admire.
My Father the Prude
Visions filtered through my mind as I held the white gold ring in the palm of my hand. It meant more to me then the size it was, it weighed nearly nothing, but somehow it weighed down on me.
I tried so hard to picture us in the future in any kind of form. I was happy, I was beginning the first stages of letting myself feel that pure joy enlighten my body. For a moment I hovered over my figure, for a split slice in time I was very aware of the happiness I could have. He wanted to be wed he wanted to be married for eternity. He wished for forever, could I even give him a tomorrow with me? Winnie would be delighted. Her face eliminating ecstatically. Her words rushing at me asking how and when and even going as far as asking baby names. That was our life, how it should have gone. Her to marry and start a life with Chatt Thurgood and I to graduate from high school and marry his cousin, Jenkins. We would be a happy family, achieving some sort of stability in my mind.
I placed the everlasting circle in front of my father’s eyes. He glanced and I swear there was a sparkle in his eyes.
“You will be ridding us from your life as we last spoke then?” Scribbling his business notes as we carried on a somewhat notable conversation.
“It’s not like that, you will always be my father.” I assumed he wished for this for so many years, he’d be overjoyed with the thought of getting me out from his Moion name.
“Jenkins Thurgood is a very good man. I’m sure you both will be very happy with one another.” His words were soft.
“I know you would have appreciated for him to inquire your blessing before asking me. I rather think that way of thought is a bit old fashioned, even for you.”
“What are you referring to, Autumn Jazmine? Jenkins flew to my business conference. He stayed and begged for your hand nearly all week. He had plans laid out for me to see, assured me that you would be greatly cared for.” The folders on his desk were in a pile. Filing the papers beneath an anonymous binder, he gave me his full attention.
“You’re telling me that Jenks, my Jenks flew half way across the country to convince you of this?” Eyeballing the engagement loop.
“Yes, Autumn Jazmine a very respectable young man, a maturity I assumed was lost in your generation.” Speaking the truth, he placed his hand over his chest.
“I assure you he did that for your benefit.”
“Greatly appreciate the thought of my opinion on the matter. I know you probably thought it was not my category of interest to conclude a statement.”
“You are my caretaker.” Folding my arms in agreement.
“I am your father.” Stumbling on the word father, he felt the blame.
“Yes you are…” Picking up the ring and placing it around the proper phalange.
“Might we plan a get together if we ever find ourselves in the same neck of woods, AJ?” He shifted his eyesight just enough to notice the concern.
“Sure, that seems reasonable.” Walking to the exit.
“I am proud of you, my daughter for everything you have been through, carrying us through the blurriest of skies.” His authenticity astonished me. Opening drawers to his presidential desk, he pulled a velvet box out.
“I gave an identical one to Winter when she graduated. I had two made, this one is yours.” Untangling the silver chain he placed it around my wrist.
“Thank you, dad. I’ve always wanted to hear those words from you. It means the world to me you recognize that.” He went back to his paper work, fumbling through the pages.
Graduation was in a couple weeks and I hadn’t checked anything off my list of things to do before I leave. I remember the list as if it were my bible of worshiping. The wisdom I desperately needed was coming from myself. I packed myself a lunch and began to head out of the towering door. Pictures of you hung on the wall and I didn’t have a flinching pain to sob. I waved at you as I walked by, Winter. You smiled back, like you always did; proud of what I had become. Saluting me on my way to my victory. Thank you, Winnie.
I climbed to the mountain and soared above every leaf and branch that had brought me down. This, for me wasn’t about winning. It merely was a way of accepting. Neither triumph, nor valor came rushing across up to me. I came here to study, not to be studied, to lay down in the open grass, and breathe the free air. I was, after all a being of life; a creature of power.
One Last Goodbye
I will shout and scream into the clouds and people might stare, but at least I will know that I am alive. People might hear me and see me for Winter’s little sister, but I will always be me. Winter saw me, alive; I don’t want to let her down.
Thank you, Winnie, for waking me up and making me grow.
I’ll push back the tears, as I try to come to terms with losing you. I have to learn to let you go. I am trying to move on, because I know the sadness of everything that happened will take me over again and again, if I think about it too much. I have to keep going, I need to move forward. I was barely surviving; I was dying, just like you were. I am holding onto you, but you have already let go of me and of this world. I wrote you a letter, Winnie. I needed to understand, I needed to know why you left me. I now realize that, I have to go, I have to be strong. I need to be independent. Let me read it to you.
Dear, Winter Magnolia Moion.
Winter, my sister, my own sibling, my care taker, my best friend; someone who was always there for me, no matter what happened. Winnie, I miss you and I always will. I love you, sister, more than anything. I know our differences sometimes kept us apart, but I do love you. I can never replace your memory and I know now I never want to. There are a few things I would like to apologize for that I never really got around to saying I was sorry for. I’m sorry I was stubborn and didn’t always hear you out. I’m sorry you thought you had to take care of me and raise me, since mom left. I am so deeply sorry; I didn’t go with you on that day. I am so very sorry, I wasn’t by your side, to jump with you… I know it was an accident, I’m sorry I was selfish about it before. I blamed myself for your death and his. It wasn’t my fault; it wasn’t anybody’s fault, except fates. I’m sorry I couldn’t stop it and I couldn’t save you.
I dislike your yellow, assumptions, because now I live by them.
I hate how you always smiled when you were hurting, and how you told me everything would be okay even though you didn’t believe it. I am scared to live, but that is part of living. I await new adventures in my life and I wish you were here to experience them with me. I love Jenks, I really do. I hope one day that we will have the kind of love you and Chatt had. Don’t worry I tell him I love him. The truth is I don’t understand why you left, or why you had to go the way you did. I don’t know if I will ever understand, but that’s part of life. When you died I lost a part of myself I will never get back. I stood behind you as a shadow to your world. But, that wasn’t your fault, I liked it better that way, out of the spotlight where no one had to notice me or who I was.
I know I was afraid before, but it’s not fear that is holding me back, it’s you. I don’t mean for that to sound, harsh, but you know it’s true. I have come to some terms with many things, like the fact that you won’t be there on the day of my wedding telling me I made the right decision. Or how you won’t be there on the day I give birth to babies, comforting and telling me they look nothing like Josephine. I know you love me, and that will never change. I love you too.
I bet heaven is beautiful and you and Chatt got married, like you meant too, I’m sorry I couldn’t stand by your side. I’m sorry I could never say I loved you out loud. It hurt too much, but I know it meant more to you.
I need to let you go now, because I’m holding you back and you need to move on and so do I. I will let you drift away out of this world into the next. Because, I accept it now and understand things happen for a reason and you lived your life, and now it is time to step forward and be my own. Thank you for all those lessons you taught me, I will never forget you; your memory will always burn brightly inside my heart. I hope you and Chatt are together, I love you guys. Be happy, and I will try to be.
Help me be free, as I set you free.
This is goodbye, for now at least. I love you, sister. I will see you in the stars.
Forever Yours, Autumn Jazmine.
I closed the envelope, sealed it. Having tied one yellow balloon through the punched hole to let it fly. I watched it float away into the clear blue skies absent from me and gone from here. I smile, sigh of relief, fearing for a minute it would come back to me, that somehow I would have to keep holding onto it. As I keep staring, then when I couldn’t see it anymore I turned to walk away. Starting a new life with a charming guy, I breathe the new air into my body. He waves, asking me if I am ready to go, leaning against the rugged car. I nod slightly turning around to say goodbye once more.
“I love you, Winnie. See you around.” I twirl the ring around my finger.
“Yeah, I’m ready. Coming!” I turn to walk to Jenkins, my future, my destiny.
I look back not to ache for her presence once more, but to acknowledge it and accept it. For the first time that spring, my tears becoming untangled.
To my established family, thank you for being a part of my universe and accepting the contents thereof. May we reminisce in good day laughs and harmonious memories.
To my grandmothers, I appreciate your lives now more than ever. To my grandfather, I oblige my obedient love and respect.
To the aunts and uncles that ensured my siblings and our childhoods, you have made me recognize what family means.
Mom, I could never describe to you the amount of admiration I have for your personal strength. The duty as a mom you tried so hard to soar above. The distances you went to make everyone around you have a happy livelihood. Thank you for your everlasting beauty, as you have passed it on to us. May you always know you are loved and revered.
My father, oh my father, always pushing me to be out of the ordinary. Sliding success articles under my door at night, revising my essays and poetry. Always telling me a person can say no so many times, until they have no choice but to say yes. In reference to publishing but you get the gist.
To my sisters; May we find our inner beauty, along with the glory that follows. Success is a state of mind. No prize to be won by the outside world. To my brothers, may you find yourself along the way. Never give up or be distraught in your ways. May they lead you to your inner peace.
Keenan my husband, I have never met someone who has such a dedication to be more every single day, who strives with strength beyond quantity. May we live forever in love and harmony. May we bless our first child and any future kin with the belief of seeking out more of life then is given to us, may we always tell them they are loved.
I am most grateful for the state of affairs I have been given in my life, both promoting and disorderly. Each giving a new outlook on where and what kind of being I am to become.
Grand thank you to Brent Taylor at Teen Eyes Editorial for making my written words readable.
Greatness, is ours for the taking. Inside us for the making.
Forever is an Endeavour.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Photo Credit: Divine Photography
Author of The Circus in Me
S.M.’s origin of script commenced at the earliest of eons.
Growing copious ambitions to be a novelist. Exploration of choice roads in making this goal complete.
Deliberating self-publishing the best way for her, bringing into print Tangled Tears novel in 2013.
Proclaimed to a livelihood of a dream catcher. Imaginative power fueling her inspired projects; more Young Adult novels in route.
Clean of ink stains and paper cuts, she dabbles in scrap-booking & wood crafts, and enjoys cooking. S.M. lives in Idaho with her husband and son.
Would you brush your toes over the edge of the bridge? Dangling a foot or two. How coincidental it looked, how easily lives were embezzled on the rocky area lower to my stance. Scrabbling from our clench, an angel, is exposed of her wings in momentary flaw, soaring below the light of day. If perhaps the summer outing occurring as an idea of my own, I solemnly would be the collapsed daughter. The first-born sister sniveling only momentarily. Living carelessly with her one true love by her side, fanatical even through eternity. The good succumb early. Operation on Earth complete, encouraged to a more chic location. My adolescent soul chock-full of rueful fire. One moment leading you to maroon hopeful optimisms of tomorrow. Not one person identifies the vivacious commotion concealing my sanity. I AM A PERSON TOO. Comforts viciously torn from the light of today. Excusing one. Jenks, opening the curtains to show me the sunlight. The gloom becoming portions of fuzziness.