Ch. 5: You can’t fling a fake zippo.

"Am I Dreaming" is a series for Eternal Sleepover written late at night by Emma about things that actually happened and things that didn't, things that were thought and things that were said by others, all blending on a subconscious plane. What is real and what is not is for you to decide." 

GOODMORNING! woke up slow, woke up and ran around beverly hills-grove. Remember to post on bluemarze that if any of my friends have any messy merch to send me some sexy selfies.

DOn’t really remember what we did in the morning: the usual. It’s usual and bland now that I have done it three times. I’m so happy that my life is not the same anymore,I had a flashback to me angrily walking up to east village in a red rage with a granola bar ii my hand that Cybelle made me buy because I hadn’t eaten. And I also remember standing outside in the rain at Tompkins, which clearly smells like piss and cigs. New York was depress and messy and it’s crazzzyyyyy how in denial you have to be to live there: to the trash on the street, the pace of life, the coke and coffee and weed to regain sanity, the crowded metros… The more I type the more I miss it, it’s the biggest gathering of psychopaths I’ve ever seen. It’s wonderful, really.

Also note: there are two suitcases under my bed that I don’t know how I might get home and I just chewed and spit out a cherry sour ball.

Windows are open and breeze is coming in, chains hang on hips and girls are in silks and it will be a week until we get money. You can’t fling a fake zippo. My brother has a tin box that used to hold Parisian candies and now it holds paraphernalia. Is everyone a stoner rn? Are we coping with the anxiety due to overexposure and fast pace of the modernity we have forced upon our own brains? have we gone to far? what’s the safe word?

My brain is peaches and flower and chokers setting into my esophagus. “I’m just from LA, but I’m moving in 35 days thank god,” she said with curled hair and butterfly clips and rainbow socks. Where would you rather grow up? wholesome or be corrupted early? I wish I could re-grow up a million times, I did it not the best time the first time around. I think I would have sex more and also make more art, care less what people said about me in school because now I can barely connect their names and faces yet at the time their presence held so much weight over me, but maybe it was all in my head and I excused my fears with imaginary pressures. Everyone seems to use the same excuses, are they valid excuses or actually adversities we face? Seems everyone is sick of the place they grew up in and how close-minded it is.

Here we go again, looking out the window, run into someone at a camera shop wearing the moon yeezys that look like they are cut out of moon cheese and morphed around a foot, bubbly soft and cheeky. They were a fan before he went crazy, I was a fan after.

Fan myself with a scrap of paper and keep every color of pen even though half of them are out of ink maybe one day they will work again.

Here’s some tincture to put under your tongue, it will make you high or something.

I hear an insta story playing instead of music, who is DJing?

I want to shoot someone wearing cut out jellos stars on their naked body and tits. Can be a guy girl or genderless.

“Last time I went to the cheesecake factory I didn’t get a cheesecake should I get a cheesecake today?”

Smush the cheesecake and scan it in instead.

Let’s make art that is really stupid because I’m really stupid.

She’s leaving in 30 minutes for cheesecake factory so we have to put the jello on her body now…

I’m driving down to Malibu and the sky is baby blue. I’m in the backseat and wind is twisting my terribly box-dyed hair into a nest and I forgot a swimsuit top because I’m so used to the feeling of being braless under a t-shirt that nothing was off. Rifle through suitcases and bags for styling to find a cobalt blue scrunch one piece swimsuit, says her and her boyfriend are on a strict health diet as we drive to get guacamole. I ask her what she likes best about her boyfriend and she describes their first date, which took place over a year ago.

Beach is blue, beautiful if you look one way out towards the horizon but if you turn around and look at the shore (for reference, you are floating about 50 feet off shore) it looks green and the houses on stilts look cheap but everything is an illusion. Hammocks drape under like spiderwebs and girls grill their bodies like hot dogs, 30 minutes, turn, 30 minutes, turn. I stay mostly underwater hoping the current pulls me out to sea. WOOOSH.

Drive back in the black listening to every california song there is. The one by katy perry, the one by the beach boys, the one by the mamas and the papas, the one by led zeppelin, the one by that one band… Scream along to all of them, I know my dreams by heart, I know the head bangs and where to air drum and where to air guitar and where to scream out the window to the guy driving beside us.

Drive back in the black, back to a home that’s a room to me. Sand in my sheets.

Chapter 4: Am I Dreaming or did we hitchhike from Vegas to LA?

"Am I Dreaming" is a series for Eternal Sleepover written late at night by Emma about things that actually happened and things that didn't, things that were thought and things that were said by others, all blending on a subconscious plane. What is real and what is not is for you to decide. 

How are we going to get from Vegas to LA in one day you ask? First I need to talk about how much of a muse for our generation Fii is. This person is currently seated diagonal from me on their bed with freshly shaved and bleached head, studded steel earrings, and a black justin bieber shirt. Yesterday they were in a silk robe siting on a stack of psychology and gender books smoking the remainder of a joint gazing longingly out of the window.

 
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Drugs in America: everyone is doing them. Prescription pills are a-ok tho, take some more so you feel less. Three meth safe sites right by my house, under their apartment in soho, around. Sammy and Jo used to drink coffee in the morning and look at all the crackheads lined up, some with kids some with dogs. Jojo can say crackheads because their are some in her family. 

Shrooms and ecstasy are the way to go, according to the three people in the room right now. PS anyone that goes crazy off of acid didn’t take acid they took RCs, research chemicals. 

Heres the lowdown on CBD:: it chills out your body and lowers your anxiety. It can be flower or from a pen. The body effects. It makes me not want to smoke cigarettes. Maybe we should keep CBDs rolled so she stops smoking stogs outside in the moonlight. 

 
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We went for a long long walk through nighttime beverly hills, where the pavement feels like velvet underneath your bare feet. 

I have been writing all of these entries between 10pm and 10 am, the same parameters given to everyone in this magazine: make it at nighttime hours. Today I ate so many cherries, rice cake with avocado, and seaweed salad. In New York I would have had a bagel and coffee coffee coffee. Granted, here I’m having coffee coffee coffee but its with turmeric and syrup. 

And now it feels like I am here. How did I get here?

I posted on my instagram the night prior, a tasteful selfie of me in savannah’s pink sweats rolled all the way down to expose belly and hips ala 2000s juicy tracksuits a la paris hilton. that with my new nevada tshirt (the one I got for 2 for 10 remember). And a soul responded, and I dmed them my number, texted them my current address, and got in the car with them.

We are in the backseat of a strangers car zooming through the desert at 80 miles per hour. 

what do you think about in the dark? i think about how small my world is because I find people with the same ideas about life as me. I hate to admit that I love LA because I don’t like what it means and what it represents and the lips and legs walking down the street. I want to move into an age of accepting natural beauty. 

I want to start doing things slower, eating slower, walking slower. See how it makes me feel, see if I’m still productive. Productivity lies in focus, and focus on tasks could bleed into ethics and completion. I think I am trying to find a way around the system, I have a lot of ideas so lets see if any of them work. It feels like there are too many steps to do things on an industry level and creativity should be kept pure and in the family with people you already have relationships and chemistry with in a day-to-day setting, and then you can complete any dynamic task or thought or idea together because you know how the other one ticks, what they mean when they say something, that takes a really long time to learn. Translating their reality back into yours, what it means to them compared to what it would mean to you. Most of us never learn that language, and therefore truly never speak to or understand each other. You cannot take anything at face value because there are so many personal associations experiences energies time thoughts and routine a layer beneath everyone’s dialogue. 

 I feel fragile. In New York there is no avoiding a feeling, it collides with you unexpectedly. Living in denial is quite splendid. 

When I played Sims I never bothered to go the hard route of making money and doing things while balancing all my health bars. I cheated my way through that motherfucker. KACHING and bank is 50,000 simoleons, energy up and everyone is at max green, reading cooking books at hyper speed so they can go from pouring orange juice to-fucking-creme-brûlée in a day. Patience and balance are not my thing… and I always feel like I can cheat myself. So far, the cheat codes are really working let me tell you. 

I’m under the water and talking more about horoscopes and spirituality and doing random yoga and wearing looser clothing with the windows open.

I can hear crickets and feel velvet blue night. I wholeheartedly believe that a woman’s intuition is always right, btw. 

Feel the weight of a cowboy hat on my head. 

HOW DID YOU GET TO LA???!!! quite safely and effortlessly thank you for asking. I should also probably ask people before I film them if it’s okay to film them but then they start acting all funny and I just want them to be them and show it for proof that sometimes people don’t pretend. The pretend is saturating into the real because we are operating everything by a glass shield. 

We go to Jheyda’s art show... her show draws the most beautiful crowd … everyone .. is .. so.. stunning. .. I go into her gallery and gaze at photographs that look like watercolor images.

The top level has arrangements from her room: tarot cards, lenticular images, real roses arranged around family photos and an installation of a living room and a piece of durags arching connecting two bedside tables with painted black angels and memorabilia. It was the most beautiful thing to be a part of. I went into pretend media mode. Im the magazine! Im the media. I’m talking notepads out scribbling down what people were saying and doing. Cybelle was video recording me waking through the gallery commenting on it and The whole time I’m just like howdydodee this is so beautiful! I shamelessly took so many iPhone photos because I wanted to remember all these beautiful details.

I got overwhelmed and me and cyb left and went to get chinese food and plot and scheme. We did a business meeting over dinner and decided to do messy tv episodes and what we want to turn messy into. What the future holds, I wrote it on my lined notebook and got some garlic grease on the pages. The bill is cheap and the waiter says don’t rush, we don’t. It’s where Jackie Chan filmed some scene in some movie.. 

Tin lunchboxes closed shut, kids playing pretend grown-up. 

Cybelle's Movie List

I face my back to the rest of the room and my face to a screen and my ears only hear lines dripping through my headphones and the shadows of my face illuminate with the colors of the opening scene..

I love movies.

like:

♥romeo and juliet 

♥kiki’s delivery service 

♥white girl

♥american honey

♥slums of beverly hills

♥but im a cheerleader 

♥daisy 1966

♥boys don’t cry

♥coraline

♥electric children 

♥priscilla queen of the desert

♥fantasia

playlist, strawberry stains

driving back and forth down the PCH, box of strawberries + a coffee. streetlight + sprinkler serenade, windows made for shopping & windows into worlds you may stumble into if you take a left onto rodeo. fall asleep early wake up early to fall asleep early and wake up late to stay out later.

❀ ✿❀ ✿❀ ✿❀ ✿❀ ✿❀ ✿❀ ✿❀ ✿❀ ✿❀ ✿❀ ✿❀ ✿❀ ✿

 
 

"who has a car?"

"can we go to the beach?" "please!"

slip into the chateau, only when the music is right.

french fries at red lights and green ones when we light (up).

american summer, supposed to be somewhere.. but the days bleed (so do my skinned knees) and july is almost gone.

dewdrops like lace made for ever-green grass.

hello kitty band aid, cherry kool-aid.

five dollars and a diet coke on the tile counter.

phone call home.

vanilla on her wrist, we paint each others nails red every other day.

once the sun burns off the clouds and out goes the power, bye bye cable TV. 

****also listen to 'Strawberry Swing' by Frank Ocean**** please

 

 
 

Chapter 3: Am I Dreaming or did vegas really happen?

I’m losing track of the days because I wish that I had more. I was driving back from Malibu with Haley and Cyb and Frank’s voice said “summers not as long as it used to be… everyday counts like crazy” and I just sighed looking into a dark velvet blackness dappled with chlorine lights. Thinking about how time is melting away like butter on black asphalt. It’s sometime halfway through summer next week, bank balance is still way negative. Every time I get a charge through the shop it deducts a few cents commission for the hosting site: ie I get hit with another fucking overdraft fee. Next week I’m entering into my first legitimate deal of my adult life time: acquiring a large sum of money under the guise that it will further my business and in turn make the people who are giving me the money even more money. 

Savannah says make the corn with just salt and pepper but I put on the spices and blacken them on the grill by accident. For some time is like water and for others it is like numbers. If I start counting I can feel the numbers, like if I notice that I am a being that has to breathe then I will start to count the breaths. 

the carpet is clean and squishy, this house is new with six boys in it and empty space between pieces of furniture. she makes images and i describe things: our worlds are completely different but together we have one world that feels multidimensional… i told someone today that life didn’t start until I started life with her: this life didn’t start, I added more senses to my self, I added more words to my vocabulary, I had to grow a few more eyes to see it all and a few more limbs to hold it all, I morphed from my metaphase Whatever life I lived before her was really quite nothing. 

Imagine this: my friend with red hair and a ski slope nose is my first crush in third grade then grows to be a stoner who carries around a book about steve jobs and rereads it over and over and over who then starts making music in the middle of the night and I start singing over his beats and becomes an accountant who then becomes a power washer for twelve hours a day on demand for pretty good pay gets a master bedroom in a mansion in vegas with a carpeted bathroom with a chandelier and a huge walk in closet filled with only college t-shirts lets me take the master bedroom while I am here and sleeps on the couch instead. It’s really odd huh? I wonder what people’s imaginary me is. You know, the imaginary me that they talk about when I’m not there, what she always does that actual me did one time, what she’s always like that actual me has no control over, how that is a whole seperate character and someone can like the idea of it but never really like you. Or vice versa- that one is harder to know because your mind gets in the way. I thought I could love everyone until someone I loved ******** ** ** ** *****. 

this is how it keeps going: don’t worry it gets better. The best art to create is life: characters should be preferably dressed silly, music always needs to be playing unless it’s a very dramatic or lonesome scene. Food if involved has to be either very beautiful or very very tacky, please no in-between. Car windows should be down, lights should be colored or down, subjects should be dynamic and thought provoking. activities, have them do activities. how about poker, we are in vegas after all! we sit around and play poker, three of five of us don’t know how to play. I think my luck is better than it is. I know the odds in my head from competing in math counts in middle school, but something always tells me that my karma bank is good and shit will go my way. it does or maybe I just like to notice when it does. hard to say. 

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I’m getting off topic by going too into my mind: you want facts! You want setting! You want scene! You want the hot gossip about what went down with me and my high school bffs in sin city las vegas nevada. We played poker, the boys went to work, savannah picks us up in her new car, we drive to coffee cup in boulder city. driving is the best when you don’t have to drive. it’s a music filled moving living room. we see the desert blow by and arrive at the cutest breakfast spot in boulder city, get a vegan special. the back tiki booth is covered in one dollar bills and the people are covered in spray tans. it always confuses me that sunny places sell the most tanning products: vegas, australia, california… We eat breakfast, me and cyb always share a plate because we can eat out more for half the cost. eating out is really all about the ambience to be honest,I way prefer shitty restaurants. They have a really good charm about them, the memorabilia nailed into the wall, cigarettes on waiter’s breaths, food that comes in big portions with simple sauces. You can laugh loudly and wear a hoodie. Kick your friends under the table, spill ketchup. I always spill shit. I don’t think I did at this breakfast though. We move on: to a treasure hunt at a vintage store. Elvis is playing in a far corner, anyone surprised? if you are please google “las vegas nevada elvis”. Kinda odd to have a city just themed after itself. who else does that? tbh? if it’s not what people expected than you failed, so the best thing is to not have anyone expect anything but then that means they have to be openminded and chances are that they aren’t. 

so vegas is vegas. 

by the way, no one gets out. 

hardly ever at least. 

somehow i got out and have come back again.

back again to the story. 

we go hiking at a spot we used to go to, you know how you say you always did things growing up but you maybe really did them 6 times but they were six really good times so it feels like infinity times of good feeling that happened in a space over awhile therefore it’s a sweeping memory? that’s what this is. we hike to a really beautiful look out spot, going up out of elevation and into a mountain that almost feels… humid? and is that a patch of snow wayyyyyyy up there? on the drive back the scenery melts away, green fading and hills flattening out, rocks to sand, back to a desert. the desert is really really beautiful, i notice for maybe the first time ever. 

that night we make tacos, vegan tacos for everyone. we wayyy over do the amount of food we need because abundance is a thing here, i pushed four corn on the cobs just into the trash, i have anxiety about letting food go to waste, have to eat it all. or im wasting.. what ? resources, money? resources mainly. resources can be money or money can be resources. anyway. we make too much food, we laugh, i feel so out of place. maybe i should really take more phone pics, im starting to and its making me happy, im still trying to balance everything but it feels like its making more sense these days: do everything you do without distractions. do it intentionally and mindfully and don’t be thinking about what you will do next, then everything gets done with due time.

i wake up and again house is empty except for Salt, i drink coffee and feel the silence of a big empty house that is usually filled with boys lifting weights or doing or drinking. the frat continues i guess. i think im gonna just come out and say it: its really normal to fall out with people in your life, i don’t know why we frown upon it so much. as long as you are changing your scenery around you should be too, and as long as you are changing you are learning. that’s how I see it at least. same is stagnation of the mind. 

dark red things are interesting me right now, cherry cut open so u can see the pit, bite them sideways every time for that simple pleasure. eating for me is a way of dissection and stay really, im talking about for fruits and vegetables of course, to see the veins and cells and the way it grew and took water in to create itself. mushrooms are okay they mostly weird me out like ..

i keep banking n the fact that things will be better next week and thats been going on for a year but also nothing has gone to shit yet, so…

Chapter 2: Am I Dreaming or is New York a hard maze for a deaf rat

"Am I Dreaming" is a series for Eternal Sleepover written late at night by Emma about things that actually happened and things that didn't, things that were thought and things that were said by others, all blending on a subconscious plane. What is real and what is not is for you to decide. 

my first entry was on june 28, im kicking myself for not settling into this concept earlier in the summer but it was too hot to think, i was too busy putting crosses on bug bites and trying to find a way to eat. ever had white rice with peanut sauce for breakfast lunch and dinner… but breakfast and lunch blur together and dinner is the crispy rice sticking to the edge of the pot. stole some gluten free bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from a place we accidentally smashed a jar of pasta sauce in, standing, staring at it on the floor. they said had to pay or they would call the cops, said they see everything, apparently they don’t. the guy who gives us free ie cream is going to wisconsin for a girl and because he can make a lot of money as a barista out there. paris is going to canada because her lease is up, just as she is settling into her apartment, she sighs. the lot of them are going back to atlanta, sammy hasn’t been here for awhile. it feels like the city is draining, swirling, and we are inevitable going to dip down , hair catching in the drain and clogging. our bathtub is laughingly referred to as the swamp because it takes three days to drain even after three bottles of draino. I made her happy with the stick on wallpaper for a while and then it started to peel off.

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im really big on making friends right on the streets and bringing them home but maybe people who would come home with a stranger aren’t to be trusted. at one party we stayed up all night painting on canvases on the wall and taking pictures, wonder what happened to that really sweet goth kid that I met? They told me about their acid trip for about forty five minutes, how they thought they had died the entire time and for a few days after that, and they were living in an in-between figment of reality of life. they looked around the room as if they still weren’t sure if that was reality or not. 

Brandon slept over and we went through photos and ate strawberry popsicles and all fell asleep because of the heat. top floor, hot air rises, little italy, that hot air smells like fish or garlic bread depending on the time of day. i look out on the street from my fire escape and see huge sparkling flowers hovering in the air, the street is closed off sometimes, people sing opera, i get sick of hearing that one guy sing the new york song again and again, holding the O in york longer and longer each time, clutching his chest. sometimes people applaud and sometimes they shout crude things at him, it really depends on the day of the week. it’s like disneyland down there, families happily having authentic italian food together and then purchasing make america great again hats next door. everyone on our block recognizes us, but we don’t really stop to talk often.

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We slept over at lexies, twice, she lives by tompkins park where there are bagels and skaters and pianos and people selling drugs and scouting for runways and ad campaigns. Its a good spot to meet friends at. We slept at hers, we went over, music off of an iPhone connected to a speaker, one is always low battery so its a juggle of chords and fumbling of switching playlists. I love to see who controls the weather of the room with music: usually the ones who have something to prove in the group or quiet ones who want to have a voice in the conversation but don’t want it to be their voice necessarily. Word gets around that we can read tarot, so strangers ask us sometimes. He asked that night, we both glanced at each other knowing it was going to be a heavy read. We looked back into the past before we pulled out his cards and had to find the way to break the truth to him in the simplest way possible. He left laughing, saying he only did it because he was drunk, saying they had to rush out because the falafel place was closing soon.

I get up from peeing and see it there, art that we made, it’s my handwriting but i don’t remember making it, I must have been pretty high. Lexie says it was sent to her with no return address and no explanation, she thought it was hate mail, beautiful beautiful hate mail because on it we have written “liar, liar, liar” it’s not about her, it’s whatever the voices were saying at the time. 

We sleepover next at Carie’s right next to Sammy’s old apartment, they moved their stuff one door down. Three girls live there, none of them have long hair so I always am looking for hair ties when I am there. Carie is in cooking school and trying not to drink right now, so she’s mostly quiet with her blond hair grown almost all the way out, just an inch left of it, the rest dark brown, dark dark brown, it might be black. She sits with fang (2 pound chihuahua) on her lap and backwards baseball cap and occasionally predicts our future (she’s a witch) or says something sinister or daydreamy, glancing around for corners of the room to escape into, always. First night we sleepover there, it’s her one year anniversary in NYC, for the occasion she cooks a peanut sauce thai pizza, cold thai noodles, and rice with tomato slices she cooked in an inch butter and garlic. Her kitchen also only has two surfaces and four people in it at once, it’s hardly a corner of the apartment. We are jumbling about four pans around and a cutting board and the three sauces she decided to make, always. It’s an event for every meal. We had tacos the next night and watched sponge bob in bed, then had french toast that was reworked into bread pudding for breakfast with tofu scramble and vegan bacon. I need to remember to write more postcards to her. We go up one night on Kat’s roof and look out at a psychedelic pink and purple sunset. I love seeing how different everyone’s eyes capture the world, and cameras, and kids I miss and didn’t get to say a proper goodbye to, hug one last time, they just fade into the I’ll see you again soon medium. 

she says the line in godspeed “you look down on where you came from, but you have a place to call home always,” reminds her of me. I came from a valley of synthesized sin and superimposed purity. There’s lots of mormons, lots of talk of no sex before marriage or eyes rolled at exposed thighs or stomachs in 100 degree heat. I run every day, its hot so I’m in a sports bra and shorts, catching all the sprinklers I can. The JV boys make sure to kindly remind me that I have nipples, my friends lie and say they haven’t had sex yet, their texts say differently when they pop up on their phone, stories change and lies do a limbo backbend to fit in with the facts. I came from seeing billboards of 18 naked ladies asses at age 8 when going to go get pizza, and sex hotline cards scattered in the gutters. Friends who did prescription pills and drank four lokos and did donuts in parking lots: they were my almost friends, I felt not judged when I was with them, but not ready to join them, always hanging in this weird balance of wanting to be a good girl and wanting to cause trouble.

I need a break from who I was settling into being there, stay on the move so you stay changing, keep no routine so you don’t become numb to live and everything starts to layer on top of each other and then suddenly 6 years have gone by. 

I’m trying to keep a good track of my days and nights now, its 11:17 pm NYC time, but earlier in vegas, we are 2 hours from landing, I wonder what lingers ahead, a dark future because it’s not illuminated yet. No one has a bright future, they just have things unseen. You have to get on your hands and knees with your cracked screen and phone flashlight and find the crevices to squeeze through and treasures underneath floorboards and ways out of here.

let's take turns being the adult

Just when you think one years over you remember that this one problem just starts all over again, you struggle once again, and this all happens over and over again, like a cycle. It’s hard if your only just a young child and having to take turns in the adult. You know that you’re definitely more mature but it’s still so hard. You want to do it, you want to drag the sharp object over your bare skin, you want to take your mind off everything and get your anger out, but you can’t. You remember it’s not allowed to be an option anymore and that when you realise things are getting just as hard.

 

You’re just wanting someone to understand, to agree and let you do what you want to-do, what you really want to do. You just want to be free for a bit, just a little bit. You aren’t alone, you have friends, a family, you have a home, money, water, food and you’re being educated. “what more could you want?” people question. You just want to be free, escape from the pain, the struggles. You want to be happy, having lows every now and then and millions of ups, not vice versa.

 

You saw her once, her short, curly, beautiful hair blowing in the faint wind, sadly she’s in the hands of a crazy monster, you see him. Did he see you? Another thing you’ll just never know. You just want to be the one to run around playing the crazy little chasing games that she’d just love to play with her older sister, but you know you can’t and you will never be able to. People are trying to tell you how you were treated, how you lived your life and really, it’s just truly pathetic, you continue to fight back thinking it’s the right thing to do... but then you do it and you just wish you kept your mouth closed because it was the stupidest decision you’ve ever made, because you know once again it’ll all just come back around and bite you in the ass.

 

You finally feel like things are over, just the old and no more of something new, but apparently that’s never the case. Who do they think they are? Making you feel like complete and utter shit. You should know by now, that happiness isn’t something that lasts too long before it all just comes back around and starts again, and if you’re lucky you get to be happy for a while but then the arrow comes and hits you even faster than it usually would. It just turns out that you can’t be overly happy unless you’re ready to face the insane overload of pain that comes as a side. Although you’re somewhat grateful because it’s the most amount of happiness that you’ve felt in the longest time. 

 

find sharna here

favorites — movies & little moments

 
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✮romeo + juliet (1996)

✮the soon-to-be Blood Orange album + the classic Channel Orange

✮Mickey Avalon self titled album

✮going dancing at goth clubs/ punk clubs (dress up, paint your face)

✮early 2000s music alllll the time

✮revisiting Gwen Stefani, hard

✮leave your phone in a drawer for as long as you can, let it die, don't charge for a few days, get off fucking social media, it's summer time

✮facetime screenshots

✮ the PCH, listening to songs on full blast

✮waking up and getting outside first thing, for a short walk around the block or ending up turning into a whole day outside

✮focusing a lot on what you love. if you haven't picked up your camera in a while, take 100 pictures a day, if you haven't read a book in a while, read 3 this week. do the most and do it every day, satiate yourself with it

✮going to the 99 cent store, get a few stupid things to do a photoshoot with

✮windows open, don't mind the bug bites in the night

✮essential oils: lavender on your temples, peppermint on your stomach (great for cramps)

✮when the traffic gets really bad

✮symmetrical art (religious art)

✮avocado on rice cakes, add olive oil and salt and pepper

✮peaches, fresh

✮backyard pools, skinny dip

✮los angeles bedrooms- broken blinds that let sun in, orchids, coffee in chipped mugs, warm wood floors with blow up mattresses acting as furniture.

✮stumbling into sunsets and rises, no need to climb to the roof- they practically fall onto your lap here (LA)

✮walks at dusk when the asphalt is still warm from baking all day

 

 

Chapter 1: Am I Dreaming... About the Past?

"Am I Dreaming" is a series for Eternal Sleepover written late at night by Emma about things that actually happened and things that didn't, things that were thought and things that were said by others, all blending on a subconscious plane. What is real and what is not is for you to decide. 

The eternal sleepover has been going on for a few months now, actually a year and a half. Ever since Cybelle came to visit me in New York in winter of 2016, was it really that long ago? I was living in a first floor apartment in New York City, the floor where the light never reaches. It was so dark in there it felt like 3 am at noon. It was a weird place to live really, my boyfriend at the time was living with me, sleeping in my bed, we met and he moved in a week later, he told me he liked me while we were sitting by the pond in central park. It’s funny that my only idea of moving to New York was visions of the park, running there or the cotton candy, hotdogs and ice creams and kids and old people and ballerinas and cobblestone and hills and strawberry fields forever.

Upper west side turned out to be rich white and didn’t feel unlike how I had grown up in Vegas.

In some cities you just feel the judgment in the air like you feel fog in San Francisco. 

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That’s kinda how that place felt. There was a construction worker outside of my first floor window. They would watch me sleeping, for some reason it never bothered me. Apparently the tennants that jumped ship before me and left the apartment left because they were robbed by a construction worker breaking through that window. My boyfriend said he would wake up to rocks being thrown by them at his window. He slept all the time though, maybe they were just worried about him. Our rooms were also all different colors, we taped those color changing light strips in the corners of our apartment, between the wall and ceiling. the room was orange blue and purple all day, our sun didn’t rise and set, our scenery changed colors. The sink was dirty and one of my roommates was trying to kill the mouse while the other was secretly feeding it. It was dysfunctional. I lost sense of up and down morning and night me and him wrong and right. I felt I had been asleep all december, the two block walk to the coffee shop was unbearably cold, cheeks pinched frozen. I grimaced and tried to make it through. 

January Cybelle came. She took one look at me and i saw the reflection of who i had become in her eyes. Same shirt for days and packs of cigarettes crumpled in corners. 

When she came I saw a future, something beyond the technicolor cavern I had crawled into, there was a way out. My apartment lease was up, everyone scattered like the roaches out on the sidewalks at the sight of streetlamp and footsteps. There wasn’t much holding us together, the railway apartment felt miles long with too many rooms doors and demons trapped between us. And yes we thought a literal demon was living there, so much so we did a group seance while my friend from Los Angeles was sleeping on the couch, we tried not to wake her. We also did a spell and froze her name in coffee water. It worked, I gave her a cigarette on my front steps.

I'm losing track of the time and of my words. They left, Cybelle was there. She was there and she let me have my nights bleed into days and said nothing of it. We had our space and our rules and ordered pizza and drank wine, I threw up on valentines day, I called him and broke up with him and ran into the snowy night for my friends apartment three blocks away, in Brooklyn three blocks are long. I was in striped pajamas and a polka dot fur coat, and I was listening to Solange. I was only listening to Solange that whole month actually. I tend to drown in one artist and let them heal or corrupt me with their voice in my head. Solange healed. I wanted to be someplace without cel service without anyone I knew or could attach myself to, someplace that was NOT winter. We decided on Cuba. 

I remember our street really clearly, the pink fence where blind kittens mewed for milk, the boy with a whistle who beckoned ladies out onto the balconies to lower their baskets for him to put the bread in. Our room was bright green bright orange bright blue. I played guitar with two strings missing and talked taxi drivers from $30 rides to $4 ones. Concrete walls and flat beds and a fan humming through the whole night, a TV that wasn’t black and white, it was blue. There were two beds but we slept in the same one. We kept this going, sleeping over endlessly the whole year, Cuba to Portland, Seattle, London, Paris, South of France and the Countryside, Mexico, Salt Lake City, Vegas.. it just never ended. We found places and people and came back to New York and got a place of our own. The sleepover never stopped, and a year went by of us sleeping in the same bed. 

Make sure to separate colors when you put them in the wash and you don’t have to worry about looking both ways if you are trying to secure that lawsuit. 

The sky is pale icy and the night is ending. We just got plane tickets to Vegas in four days and have no money to our names. Less than none actually. 

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Today I did some math and numbers and she tetrised things into a suitcase. I carved a punch in a punchcard with a kitchen knife to get a free coffee. 

Moon in my mouth crunch and break tops of my molars off. 

Nabisco snacks tucked into jansport backpacks TiVo the nascar races excecise on a elliptical and then eat four slices of French toast. Is this that thing called the American dream? 

Saw a jar of peanut butter being sold for $20 and screamed.

what if i can't find the reason for everything?

dont you ever think that the bad things happen to you for a reason? to help you learn, to make you a better person. im sure you do, but i dont think that way. and i need explaining. 

i dont get why “ God “ put this in this world to go through so much. To get sexually abused, to get harassed, to get bullied for some bullshit mistake. We have to suffer and go through this while he's up there just watching us slowly tear apart. Slowly breaking into little pieces not even knowing who we are anymore, trying to pick these little pieces that tore us apart to put back together so we can find who we truly are. I dont get why he puts us here to suffer and see who ends up being a saint? Wont it be enough in heaven

Sometimes i really want to end it, end my life. just stop breathing, just stop dealing with so much shit going on. I try, i really try finding my something thats worth living. But theres really no point for me anymore. Theres nothing. My mom tells me i remind her of my dad, she absolutely hates my dad with a passion. Do you think thats a good thing to hear? Knowing your fucken mom hates you and HAS to be forced to love you. 

i know theres something out there for me, i do. ill find it. or maybe i wont get to that day. maybe i wont be here any longer. but at this point i dont feel anything. ive been sexually abused, and at this point ive become numb. 

i know theres many girls that have gone through this exact situation. feel the same way i am feeling. maybe you’re reading this relating to many things. or maybe you’re not? but i just want you girls to know, were powerful. we can speak up, we dont have to be abused, used in any way. I know i know i might sound crazy. You’re probably thinking “ its not that easy .” TRUST ME. i know its not but it gets better. many say that, some dont mean it. but if you keep putting shit in your head, you’re going to live with the shit thats stuck in you’re head. whether its good or bad. so make it worth living. make it worth every second of your life. were just born to die, obviously. but why be alive and having a head full of suicidal thoughts, sadness, depression. i know its hard to get that out. but slowly start thinking about the good things in your life. your friends. family. your boyfriend. your girlfriend. your dog or cat. anything. memories will last forever. and if you cant think of anything that makes you happy. then you have to find something that’ll not only make you happy, but make you the person you are. strong. beautiful, gorgeous personality. a wholesome person. you’re perfect. fuck everyones thoughts. you’re going to make the best out of your life. 

promise me that. 

       i promise u, i will.... ashley -

 

find ash here

cul de sac— a short story

As the sun rose early in the quiet sea sprayed morning, the world awoke sluggishly into its usual lethargic routine. In the quiet coastal town of Saltmond businesses began to awake and the shop street was filled with the clattering of shop gratings rising. James Drake sleepily stared from the bus window and watched the low levelled sun turn the sea into a mirror, which reflected the rows of white washed houses that bordered the ocean. Slight ripples spread out like galleons from their home ports, heading out to traverse the ever extending ocean. The swans in the quay were not yet conscious although the bus flew past along the road nearby.

          Saltmond is a quiet town. Battered and peeling from the wet, windy and wild months (eleven out of twelve) of the year. It is the first thing you would think of when you think coastal town. Tired and damp, the smell of the sea perforating every house and building in the town. Jobs are few and far between if you aspire to be anything other than a shopkeeper or a fisherman. This is why James always dreamt of leaving. He had grand ideas of being something more than a lonely boy, from a lonely town along the loneliest and most forgotten coast.

         The the rumble of trucks shook the ground near the half built remnants of some ill-fated office block as the morning migration began. James watched as the men and women walked their way to work.  The few early morning commuters trudged through the damp, widowed streets on the way to their office jobs in the closest city. Along the promenade staggered lines of huddled crows lined the path to the bus stop. They stood and shook and stepped from side to side. A constant dance in the attempt to return the long lost warmth of their beds to their bodies. They hugged their white cardboard cups close to their bodies with the hope of retaining some extra warmth.

         Watching this routine reminded James of how much he had wanted to leave, at eighteen it was all he thought about. The opportunity to go to university, to make something of himself. He had no hope of that here. Saltmond had always been a dead end, life’s cul de sac. Many shops and companies had come here but most never lasted more than a few months. It was the same few families who owned most of the land and who ensured that the town never really progressed into the modern age. The streets were lined with the gravestones of long dead businesses (Boarded up shop fronts and walls plastered in graffiti).

         When the bus finally pulled up to the rain beaten stop he was filled with anger and self-loathing. How had he allowed himself to come back to this place!? He had finally managed to free himself and here he was again. Back in this town’s web. He had ruined everything.

          As he walked down the familiar streets he thought about how this had happened. The fact that he just couldn’t cope in a city, in the real world. Outside of the bubble the people of this town had built themselves. He could not cope at all in University. He rarely left his room and obviously had no luck making friends. In the end it all just became too much for him. He dropped out and ran for home with his tail between his legs.

         After about ten minutes of trudging along the damp streets he finally saw the familiar outline of his house appear through the misty rain that stung his face like thousands of icy daggers. In truth he had almost missed his home, the terror of the world had really made him crave the comforting familiarity. Still, with every step his despair from returning weighed him down more and more. So many memories flooded back as he came face to face with the low wooden door, smattered with peeling blue paint. The lion’s head knocker, which had always looked surprisingly polished considering the rest of the door, was now dull and tarnished.

         He knocked quickly on the door five times and almost instantly his mother burst through the door in a flurry of curls and gasps. She quickly pulled him into an embrace that smelled strongly of shampoo and nail polish. “You have no idea how much I’ve missed you!” she sobbed into his shoulder “I had better fetch your father”. James then quickly explained that he would prefer to surprise his father this evening. After a lengthy conversation filled with excuses for his exit from University his mother finished questioning him. “I think I’m going to visit Mack” James said “any idea where I’ll find him now”. Shock slowly spread from his mother’s eyes to the rest of her face. “Oh God!” she exclaimed “I thought you knew, Mack died three months ago”.

         Shock surged through every fibre of James’ being and froze him to the spot. Mack had been his best friend for as long as he could remember. They had grown up together.  Mack was the kindest person James had ever known although that never stopped him from having a wicked sense of humour. He had always managed to find the fun and good in any situation. He just couldn’t believe it, Mack had made James promise to come back to see him once he had made it big in the city. But now he was gone, it reminded James of this town’s fact, you either leave here or you die here. Tears began to form in the corners of his eyes but he quickly wiped them away. “You should visit Tom” his mother said her voice wet with sympathy “he works in the supermarket on Sea Road now”.

         James walked slowly along the overgrown streets, despair weighing him down like some Night Hag sitting on his back. The town now felt so much lonelier and overcast now. His last few pieces of solace seemed to be leaving him now. Still there was one small bit of comedy in this situation, James never thought that Tom would ever get a job. He was the rebel and layabout of the group. Last to work but first to claim the rewards, and no good at following orders. But now he was working in the supermarket. It seems the town had finally drained his rebel spirit.

         As James crossed over the hill he saw the supermarket, a new addition to the town. He wouldn’t have exactly called it a supermarket. It was not much bigger than your average grocery shop, still it stuck out like a sore thumb in the sea of old cottages and stone walled buildings. Its bright billboards added a small bit of colour to the town. It did give James a glimmer of hope, maybe the modern day will eventually reach this rural region of the country.

         The automatic doors opened with a quick whoosh as James entered the shop. It was mostly empty apart from the odd mom picking up a few essentials (milk and tea). James spotted Tom at the till at the far end of the store. He looked completely miserable. That devilish flame that had always been in his eyes was now long extinguished. He just stood there and stared into nothingness. Dark bags sat under his eyes and his hair was greasy and matted. He was suddenly animated when he spotted James and gestured to him to come over.

         “Hey, wow, James. Haven’t seen you in ages, I thought you were at Uni”. James quickly handed out the excuses he had used for his parents when he told them he was leaving. After hearing this, all of a sudden, Tom looked furious. ”I can’t believe you! Most people here would kill for the opportunity you were given, and you just dropped out because it was too hard!” Tom was fuming and James really did feel terrible. Most people here couldn’t even go to university and he had ruined his chances just because he couldn’t stick it. ”Look I am really sorry Tom you have a right to be angry but could you please just tell me what happened to Mack”. Tom calmed down after he said that and his face turned sad.

          He explained to James how no one knew how much Mack was drinking. After James left he did seem to begin to lose his flair but no one saw this coming. He had seemed to be perfectly normal until about a month before he died. After a while Tom stopped seeing  Mack outside of his house, but when he did he looked exhausted, pale and sick.  Tom knew something was wrong but whenever he tried to visit Mack he refused to let him in. When Tom finally got Mack’s friends and family to help him break in it was too late.

         James left that supermarket feeling much worse than before. All hope of a better life had left the town and he was filled with guilt for Mack’s death, he should have been there. At home he spoke little to his parents, ate quickly and went to bed early claiming to be exhausted from travelling. Although he slept in a familiar bed he slept uneasily. His dreams where haunted by Mack’s face, sickly pale and dying.

         He saw the first rays of light shine in through the tops of his curtains in the crisp early morning. James rose quietly, put his coat on and left out the back door. He walked down along the road to watch the new day rise from behind the sea.

         As the sun rose early in the quiet sea sprayed morning, the world awoke sluggishly into its usual lethargic routine. In the quiet coastal town of Saltmond businesses began to awake and the shop street was filled with the clattering of rising gratings. James Drake sleepily stared across the road and watched the low levelled sun turn the sea into a mirror, which reflected the rows of white washed houses that bordered the ocean. Slight ripples spread out like galleons from their home ports, heading out to traverse the ever extending ocean. The swans in the quay were not yet conscious although the early morning trucks flew past along the road nearby.  In the dark, cold morning James Drake stood on the edge of the road. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. As the trucks flew along he stepped into the road.

kids speak loudly to hide the fact that there is nothing to say.

Today I sat down in a bus that drove me in the very small French village that is my home, a place in the middle of trees and ponds. I watched the spectacle of nature passing by and reflected on the huge contempt I used to have for this place, in which boredom and laziness appear to me as so ubiquitous. The hours I spent writing about how life was happening everywhere but here are still fresh in my mind. For me, it was impossible to image leading a life so imbued in such routine, in tree streets where nothing ever change and where kids speak loudly to hide the fact that there is nothing to say.

 

So I was in that bus and I thought about my year, lived in London away from the people I had spent eighteen years with and the streets I am familiar with. A year spent dancing, discovering, writing, enjoying new feelings. The fact that I gained some calm and probably maturity allowed me to understand what I identified and named as the missing piece, this part of ourselves that we are all craving and looking for. It can take the forms of an obsession with poetry, of the need to always be surrounded by people, of the habit of listening to five hours of music per day. For me, it was exemplified by a strong need to go away - I needed, for my sanity, to leave France and villages, to see something else, other people, other places, other faces. I did it.

 

The feeling of the missing piece never go away, it just turns into something else. Now that I am back, I can feel it even more - this impression that I am constantly lacking something I am not able to name, making me scared of being alone. I am not saying this correlates with sadness or overthinking - I am simply self-aware of it. And if I pay attention, I can see it everywhere. In my friend who sleeps with whoever she meets, and disappears the next morning. In my neighbour, who smokes a pack of cigarettes alone everyday. On Instagram, in this competition to prove that one is living a better life than the others. In Rimbaud’s poetry. In the lines of my favourite song. In my favourite movie. We are all looking for something more.

 

If my first year in London taught me something, it is that this feeling indeed never goes away. It might simply signify that we are all idealizing what life should be, therefore living in a constant disappointment of reality. It might otherwise be proof of something inherently broken in our society. I don’t know, and do not have the legitimacy or maturity to say such thing anyway.

 

The trees at this time of the year are particularly green and the sun shines through their leaves. Am I thinking too much? Should I stop questioning my youth? Nature went by and so did my mind.

 

I think there is only one way for me to feel that void - be it imagined consequence or not: by writing, and living.

 

find hugo here

mornings in the light, a musing about summertime

I remember camping in the summer, waking early and still enveloped in the soft dyed light that peered through coloured canvases. I wriggled out from the tangle of sleeping bags amongst the murmuring of quietly pulled zips. Half falling out of the tents door, I stepped into the light. Just before it was light really, like I was looking at it through a layer of water.

And there was water, a low hanging mist that dangled playfully around my feet, twisting up the just emerging colours. It danced in between the overgrown grass in the rambling campsite, amongst the nodding heads of wild flowers, the childish dot to dot of vibrant tents and chairs, of flags with trailing bunting. I

t was soft but not like the quieting winter morning, much more open. The cornflower blue was just beginning to spread in the sky over the barely fading pinks and reds, those blushing hues of sunrise. They were making way for the sun as it began to find her place in the sky once more, stretching out her legs again and somewhere far off, or maybe not so far, I remember hearing a camping kettle begin to whistle. Another early riser.

read more of Hannah's words here

what are we doing this year? (quarter life crisis)

If you have reached the age of twenty, or are currently living this special year, a year in which, essentially, shit starts to hit the fan. Your high school friends randomly find success while you sit in bed amongst your depression crumbs. I was just lucky enough to have my life fall apart a week after I celebrated this special birthday. I’m trying to make it through the remaining three months of this year, maybe this will help you, maybe this will help me.

 

My crisis began on September 4th, 2017 as I awoke to my ex-boyfriend in bed. He was from Los Angeles, had super tan skin, and dreamy blue eyes. I remember him leaning over to kiss me, whispering happy birthday, and then getting out of bed to go brush his teeth. As he swayed over to his bathroom, the realization of turning twenty dawned on me, and I immediately began to deny all aspects of my birthday. This was not something that I felt ready for, but I had this amazing boyfriend, and really great friends...so I got up and celebrated appropriately.

 

Two weeks after I turned twenty and confessed to him that I was riddled with insecurities, he dumped me over the phone while I sat in my family’s backyard. I sat there for an hour and fought it, telling him that I simply disagreed, and that we were going to stay together. However, it was not until a month passed, filled with manipulation and him denying my experience with sexual assault, that I realized, hey, maybe this could be a fresh start? Maybe I could become this super independent woman who has an internship, no digestive issues, and knows exactly what she’s doing. I entered the month of November ready to take on whatever got in my way.

 

Well November did not make the cut. Neither did December, or January, or any of the following months leading up to now. I floated through the year battling my way through family struggles, mental illness, and financial issues

 

SO WHAT TO DO?!

Routine has always been something that I treasure deep within my heart. I’m a true virgo to the core, and as much as I deny it, I get off on the idea of everything being in order. When I ended my relationship, I felt as though everything was completely out of my hands. Whatever I was expecting to happen, was not happening the way I had planned it in my mind. This lack of control resulted in a spike of anxiety, where I would literally be looking over my shoulder everywhere I went. I did not feel safe, I wanted to drop out, and there was nothing I did that satisfied my hunger for solidity.

 

The person I knew myself to be had completely left. I did not know what I was passionate about anymore, the detailed plans I had for the year had fallen through, and I felt isolated. Isolation is a key ingredient in having an existential crisis. A lot of time was spent in my room, on my computer, watching videos of shiba inus. Currently, I’m subscribed to four channels in which viewers are presented with montages of shibas running around completely free from the weight of societal pressure.

 

I would go on runs and get home and sit in the shower, letting the ice water fall onto my back. Journaling was a thing, too, I wrote every day for two months, and each entry was about how I was nothing and that I felt nothing. I turned to art, as well, something that once gave me solace. Even though I was creating pounds and pounds of art, I hated all of it, it was all uninspired gibberish. I felt myself competing with someone, something, that simply did not exist. This competition I had created in my mind drove me to impulsive decisions and forced me into a corner that I still remain in today. This competition, I’ve realized, is a direct result of the society that young people are growing up in. Everything has a due date, everyone has a small amount of time to accomplish something that their ancestors took centuries to reach.

 

Do this today, finish this by then, accomplish everything that you’ve been wanting to by the time you are twenty-five. But at the same time, stay on social media, see others reaching the finish line before you’ve even gotten a chance to fucking show up on the field. Interact with your friends, maintain relationships, call your mom, go to class, and write that paper about that thing that in reality, has no effect on anyone anywhere! It’s exhausting, and I know you are tired too. Everyone is running out of energy during a time in their life where having motivation and ambition should come naturally. So if you are twenty, or about to turn twenty…...

 

Remember who you were when you were ten. A decade has passed, you’ve had time to recklessly experience life, and now you are being told that ten-year-old you is just a distant memory of a person. However, that person is still somewhere. You have to experience life, while knowing that people are going to try and filter you in order to determine whether or not you have what it takes to blend into the background. But goddammit, do not blend.

 

Do not form a life plan that allows you to feel comfortable. For your own sake, and for everyone elses, be uncomfortable. So uncomfortable, that what results from it will leave a positive impact on the people who interact with you on a daily basis.

 

Ten-year-old you did not know the difference between being uncomfortable or not. They simply got up in the morning, put on their K-Swiss’, or whatever, and headed into school to learn about long division. The simplicity of those times, allowed for the purity of imagination to blossom. That same pureness, and that same willingness to just live, is the only thing that can relieve you of that existential crisis.

 

So while this year may seem as though it’s a permanent addition to who you are as a person, it is important to remember that although you’ve experienced hardship, or a complete revamping of who you believe yourself to be, this year is about a choice. That choice being, whether or not to stay hopeful and ambitious for what is to come, or to fall into the depths of adulthood, struggling to fit a societal mold. It’s not always clear how exactly to make the right choice, but within the following years I’m sure we’ll figure out how.

 

find shannen here

It must be warm in Florida.

"Hello,” Mother said while she closed the door.

 

“Hey, how was your day?” Father answered from the kitchen.

 

“Long.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“I had to fire my assistant. He could hardly staple two pages together.”

 

“Oh. Tom-- Right? I liked him.”

 

“Well.”

 

Mother sat down at the bar stools. Her jacket was hanging on the hooks in the foyer, her keys in the pocket. She’d forget them later when she needed to leave for her yoga class.

 

Father sighed with annoyance.

 

“What?” Mother questioned him as she rifled through her bag.

 

“Nothing.”

 

“Oh come on-- I know we don’t have an argument scheduled right now but why not, right?”

 

“Don’t act like I plan any of this out.”

 

Father had been cleaning the house before Mother got home. He worked on the bathrooms and the lawn before moving to the kitchen and had planned the order so that he could see her when she arrived home. He regretted that decision.

 

“You might as well have. It’s so routine now I could practically time it,” Mother shot at him.

 

Father put down his sponge and sent her a glare.

 

“What can I say?” he questioned.

 

“What the hell do you mean?” she’d gone back to her bag. Still searching.

 

“What can I possibly say to you to earn your forgiveness? How do I need to frame this apology?”

 

“Jesus Christ.”

 

“No, I’m serious. What would make you happy?” He raised a finger to point at her.

 

“Don’t act like you give a shit about my happiness.”

 

Mother erased any expression off her face and rose. The prize from her search, a phone, was lifted to her ear and she scowled at him as she turned for the door. The ringing stopped.

 

“Hi--Lisa?”

 

Mother stopped talking and checked her bag for her keys.

 

“N-no that’s fine..”

 

She turned in her spot, patting her pockets. She looked at Father and shrugged for help.

 

“But you got the email right? About the trip?”

 

She followed Father’s finger to her jacket. Nodding a thank you, she grabbed the coat and shut the door on her way out.

 

Father rubbed his brow. He set down his work again and looked down to me.

 

“Clyde, come on, we should eat.”

 

I nodded and went to open the fridge. I searched the shelves.

 

“I think there’s lasagna on the top somewhere,” Father told me while he looked in the pantry, ultimately deciding there was nothing good to be had there.

 

I grabbed the glass container and place it on the counter. The foil was balled up and throw away, it reflected father’s wrinkled hands.

 

We served ourselves and watched the microwave together while the sun bathed our kitchen in orange. He pressed the button to open the door and I grabbed our plates. I set the food down on the coffee table while Father switched on the tv and found a movie. We ate lasagna.

 

---------------------

 

The next morning when I woke up I could hear them downstairs. I cringed as Mother’s voice rose to my ears through the floorboards. I dressed myself and froze in the starway, listening.

 

“That’s just not something people do when they’re married with a disabled child!” I could hear Father saying before I entered. They were on opposite ends of the room, Mother with her hands on her face and Father holding a frying pan with eggs.

 

My presence was acknowledged with sustained silence expect for Mother’s quiet, “I’m sorry.”

 

Father scraped scrambled eggs onto a plate for me and I nodded a thank you. I sat at the kitchen bar and ate while studying their expressions. It was almost as if they’d switched faces.

 

“I’m sorry,” Mother repeated when the silence seemed weak. She smoothed her hair and placed her hands on the counter.

 

Father set down his pan and turned off the stove, “It’s fine.”

 

I let my eyes drift from my Father to the clock on the oven. It read nine thirty which meant I was running late. Reluctantly, the remaining food on the my plate was scrapped in the trash. I grabbed by jacket and signed my goodbye to my parents before shutting the door.

 

My hand left the door knob and their conversation resumed.  As I neared the bus station, I saw a boy and his mother waiting for its arrival.

 

“There was never a chance we would make the nine fifteen bus, okay? That was never an option,” the boy said matter-of-factly.

 

He stopped leaning on the side of the bus stop enclosure and straightened his back. His mother took a sip of her coffee, ignoring him. She stared at the street with that hate I assumed was meant for her son.

 

“I don’t know what you expected of me! You’re know when I wake up, I can’t plan my morning around these situations!”

 

I didn’t know what they were talking about but from what I’d heard the mother had good reason to not pay him much attention. I settled into my seat on the bench and joined her in watching the road. It was quiet for awhile before we filed up the bus stairs and into our seats. The mother and son sat away from each other partly, I thought, because there were few seats adjacent to one another and partly because they were unprepared to be so close. The whole bus was quiet except for a woman calming a baby. She was too far away to hear.

 

The bus pulled up to my stop and I waited my turn to stand up. I eventually found my place between a man with an enormous backpack and a woman in a fur coat. Off the bus, I pushed myself to the edges of the sidewalk and studied my surroundings.

 

I was on the corner with the deli and the italian place. Across the street was a movie theater and neighboring that was a drug store. I searched the crowd, eventually eyeing Jason and motioning for him to come closer.

 

“Hey, what’s up?” He shouted unnecessarily through the sea of people. His hand were in the air as if more attention needed to be drawn to him.

 

I rolled my eyes. Grabbing his wrist, I pulled him after me and we turned down an alley that was abandoned enough to have a conversation in.

 

“My parents were fighting again.”

 

Jason let out an odd sound of frustration and hit himself on the forehead with his palm, “That’s really shitty, I’m sorry. I don’t want to talk about your parents if it’s going to make you pissed.”

 

I regretted to tell him that I never really got pissed but I didn’t feel like talking about them.

 

“Yeah, that’s smart. How have you been?” I narrowed my eyes while asking because Jason’s father had died earlier that year. He’d hardly spoken about it, but I wasn’t willing to press him.

 

“Fine. My mom says that we might move. Something about not being able to live in the house where he died, which I get, I guess,” Jason answered more honestly than I expected. It was silent for a moment.

 

“Florida,” he said a second later, “that’s where we’d move. Mom says we have family down there.”

 

“It must be warm in Florida.” I singed while watching cars roll past mounds of grey-white mush piled by the street curbs. Birds picked at the coldness that blanketed their usual feeding grounds.

 

“It’s always warmer somewhere,” Jason said, following my gaze. We watched the chickadees until an idea reached his head.

 

“The pond!” He said.

 

“The pond?” I questioned.

 

“The pond,” Jason repeated, “They put in a pond by the new housing development. My mom said she saw a deer there the other day.”

 

Deer didn’t seem terribly interesting but Jason was excited and I was ready to go somewhere.

 

“Sounds good.” I forced a half-hearted smile onto my face. We started back up the alley and looked into the sidewalk, deciding left was the way to go.

 

Jason entertained us with a story about how he and his father had gone fishing a few summers ago and almost fell in the water. He seemed high-spirited, and I pitied him but had learned not to let that show. One time while we were going on a similar excursion, I mentioned how his dad used to bring us souvenirs from his conference trips and that I missed that. He’d become more heated than I expected and I ended up bussing back home before we even left the street corner.

 

Knocking shoulders as we walked, he pointed out shops and places he liked. I watched him, content to be a listener while busses and bikes passed us by. Reaching the development took longer than I’d expected. Jason had said it wasn’t far before we started, but learning not to trust his word didn’t take me very long. We were going on half an hour when I spied the homes about a mile ahead.

 

“There,” I signed with a finger aimed at the brown roofs.

 

Jason halted and held the collar of my shirt for me to do the same. He raised his own hand to the sky and followed a hawk with his finger. Its outline was black against the pale grey sky, its feathers slightly translucent. The bird was silent while circling something on the ground our vantage point didn’t allow us to see.

 

“Whoa,” Jason awed, “Let’s follow it.”

 

“Okay.” The smile I bore, this time, was genuine.

 

We picked up our pace and were soon running. The ground was dry and we kicked up a cloud of dust through the field where the bird was. I held my arms in front of me to block the stalks of prairie grass that threatened my face. Jason did the same, but arrived under the hawk quicker than I.

 

We were almost directly underneath the bird, so Jason’s face was toward the clouds. He was squinting to focus on his prize. We were in a part of the field that had been flattened by a tractor’s wheels, so what the hawk has been circling was plain to see. When I reached him, my eyes were on the ground.

 

In the center of the clearing lie a tan body with a red stained coat. Skin turned leather, it was clear it had been left there for multiple days. Maybe weeks. Its back was to us, so I couldn’t see its expression. I didn’t know if I wanted to.

 

“I think he’s flying away, stupid bird. We chased him for nothing.”

 

Jason. I tugged my mind back to the present and to his sleeve I did the same. His face turned from frustration to weakness when his eyes reached the body. His shoulders slumped.

 

“Dead deer,” I signed with remorse. I was tempted, slightly, to use the courage I often found in my friend to take a step closer. Looking to him now, I found no bravery.

 

“Do you think it’s the one my mom saw?” He didn’t take his eyes off the thing.

 

He wasn’t looking at me so I couldn’t reply. I’m not sure he wanted an answer, but was doubtful his mother had been acquainted with the deer. My eyes ran up and down its body, tracing the shape of its antlers. Jason’s face was wet but I didn’t understand why.

 

“Has it been dead long?” He asked, as though certain I had the answer.

 

“Probably,” I said, “at least it looks that way. Its skin is hard and you can see the blood’s dried.”

 

Jason nodded and stuck his hands in the pockets of his jeans. He forced me to be an understudy in my role as the quiet one.

 

“I don’t feel like going to the pond,” He said after a while staring at the deer. He rubbed his eyes and looked up at the hawk.

 

“Me neither, the ducks probably appreciate their privacy anyway.” The heaviness of the situation was excruciating,  and my joke did little to lighten the mood. I received only a scoff of laughter before Jason, again, held my shoulder.

 

He aimed my gaze at the bird. His mouth was open as if he was about to say something and I waited for instruction.

 

“I don’t want the hawk to eat it,” He finally spoke, looking back at me. His eyes had a pink hue unlike them, and as unnerving as it was to see him this way, I agreed.

 

“I think we should stay with it and make sure the hawk doesn’t get close,” he said, looking to me for approval.

 

I was tempted to refuse, but was swayed easily thinking about the place I’d have to return to if I argued. We set to work gathering stalks of dead prairie grass as mats to lay on. We switched to our backs and watched the sky as the sun was killed by the horizon. The bird’s black mass loomed over us for about an hour before it gave up its efforts. Our heads turned as the hawk flew away. I thought I heard Jason say something, but wasn’t ready to question him. He took a breath and flipped towards me.

 

“Clyde, I want to stay with the deer.”

 

“We’re already doing that.” I was confused.

 

“No, I mean for the night. My mom won’t mind”

 

I didn’t believe him but his mother was forgiving. I was willing to follow his lead.

 

“Okay, I’ll stay.”

 

Jason smiled weakly back at me. He sat up and hugged his knees, rocking himself slightly almost as if he was scared of something. I regretted to comfort him and instead assumed the same position. I clasped my hands together and looked from him to the moon-- which told us our parents would soon be checking for us in empty beds and vacant driveways. I wondered our parent might call the police and prayed they would think better of it.

 

It was a while before I realized my friend had fallen asleep. I didn’t feel at all tired despite the late hour and decided I would be our lookout for the night. It was so quiet with the deer, eerie. And with the hawk gone it seemed so isolated in the field like we were the only three things alive-- or, not alive. But even in the moment I knew I was wrong. Soon other things that were alive-- my mother and father-- would prove they truly were by, what? Grounding me? Sending me to my room? None of that seemed important now.

 

“Hmm,” Jason groaned from his fetal position on our makeshift cot.

 

I ignored him and stared at the deer. It’s eyes were so glassy and huge, like the big black pupils could swallow you. I shivered. The its belly, I could tell, used to be white but the gash left by some sort of attack had rendered it a deep maroon. I half expected it to leap up, terrified, and sprint away.

 

I decided to sleep and Jason let out another growl while I positioned myself next to him. I mirrored his position again and pulled the hood of my jacket over my head. I should’ve felt cold but our campsite held some strange heat I didn’t understand. Its warmth sent me to sleep.

 

---------------------

 

I couldn’t feel Jason’s heat when I woke up. I rubbed my face, still practically dreaming, and rolled his side of the cot. When my hand reached for him and found no luck, I opened my eyes and sat upright.

 

The sunlight stung but through my squinting I could make out my friend’s shape. He was crouched near the animal; his hands in his sweatshirt pocket. I watched as he carefully took his right hand out and hovered it a couple inches above the deer. His eyes were wide.

 

I coughed loudly. Jason’s hand snapped back to his side. He stood and looked at me while brushing himself off.

 

“Morning,” he spoke with his fingers, now.

 

“Morning.” I watched his face turn slightly red and stood. A yawn escaped me as I stretched my arms back to life.

 

“Are you worried?” He questioned after a moment, obviously scared even to ask the question.

 

“No, are you?”

 

He didn’t answer, just ran his hands through his hair. I got the gist.

 

“You really shouldn’t be scared,” I consoled him, “there’s no amount of wrath that your mom could rain down on you that would be worse than my own.”

 

He scoffed, looking once more at the deer before coming my way. We began to pack up the camp as best we could. Each of us grabbed armfulls of grass stalks and marched them into the un-flattened parts of the field. We took off out jackets and beat them like carpets. They coughed up plumes of dust that we quickly swatted away. After a few moments, the clearing looked just as it had before; occupied only by the deer.

 

Neither of us said anything while we approached the body. It was almost as silent as the night before, expect for a few crows gathered on the telephone poles. We both held our tongues, waiting for the other to do something. Jason, being the one with a voice, took the lead.

 

“We’re sorry you died,” he began bluntly, “but we did all we could-- protecting you from that hawk.”

 

He paused and looked at me for approval. I nodded.

 

“It was nice. Being with you, I mean,” He stuttered quietly through tears.

 

I stood expressionless next to him, unable to provide consolation. My eyes reached the animal and it stared back at me with the same huge brown eyes. I switched my gaze to the ground.

 

“Bye.” Jason signed his final word; his jaw clenched. He looked at me, then turned around and started walking. I waited a moment with the deer then ran to catch up with him.

 

It was a silent hour before we got back into town. He waited with me at the curb until the bus stopped and hissed at us. We said short goodbyes before I boarded.

 

Once inside, I was brought back to reality. For the second time, I found my seat beside a man with a huge backpack. There was no fur-clad woman this time, though, and no crying child. The bus felt unfamiliar without those characters. I clung to the idea of the man with the backpack until I had to leave.

 

My feet moved slowly across the pavement making the short walk to my house take as long as possible. I met the door and froze. I could hear them inside, yelling, but couldn’t make out any of their words. I forced my hand towards the knob, but the door flung in on itself before I could reach it.

 

“Clyde!” Mother’s shrieked when she saw me. She was crying but I didn’t move from my spot.

 

“Oh my god,” Father’s voice sounded from the hallway as he shuffled closer to the door. He put his arm around Mother and they pulled me inside.

 

I looked out the door at the bus driving away for a second before it was shut in my face. I found myself crying, kneeling on the hardwood. My parents surrounded me. We wept.

 

Dear Terra, Love Lunar


The lunacy that Lunar sees.
Life forms arguing with oceans between,
Beauty in its form though thought only as a barrier, 
Why must she separate herself in such a manner?
A question to Earth from a curious neighbour,
Why oh why do you do nothing for your favor?
You're such a contradiction in all shape and form,
That even your children struggle to look to dawn.
They stay forever begrudged and always ached by something,
Consumed by greed and terrified of unfamiliar company.
How did you get here? Has this always been?

Do you enjoy the conflict? Satisfaction of a kink? 
Or is there something between the lines of unreason; something unseen?

So many questions answered with only silence,
Either Terra is a mute or she is blinded by violence.
A deafening repetition of an age old record,
Can she not hear her own soul beckon?
Has her skin grown thick and vailed her eyes?
Or is it love? Does she turn and turn her cheek to compromise? 
For your flowers are paved over,

Yet still proud you wear that makeup guise.

Now if love is the cause I can truly understand,
As it has made me locked on a gaze to stand,
For love follows no logic, only sure reason,
To feel that feeling; oh what a bittersweet demon.
So that must be the answer, your love is too strong,
You know your in pain, but for which you prolong,
To spend more time with your cherished,
Or rather you ever perish.
Some things require sacrifice, 
Some things are fatally selfish. 

Yes I know the struggle, 
I am in the same sea boat,
As I too would rather die slow, 
Than leave you alone in this infinity to float.

 

FIND THOMAS HERE