theshamelesswanderer

The Musings of My Mind

Month: January, 2014

The Race

Mountains facing her, with a blue October sky. Frantically driving away from the daunting figments of her life. Evading the chances of an inevitable death. She runs from the constant fear and the darkness that never ceased to overwhelm. Sitting in that car, breathing harshly and hardly, checking the rear view for an unleashed demon, blood dripped from a fresh gash above her eyebrow, bubbling over with the heat from a fight she swore would have to be her last. A fight that was bound to win eventually. Andrew’s problem in life was that he had no self-control. He didn’t believe there was a limit to anything and once his excitement took over, there was no telling how far he’d go. The bottle, nor the needle was never what stole his soul, just his knowledge of power and how to use it. Meeting Andrew three years ago in a little bodega at Quincy’s Market, she never envisioned that bruises and death threats were what would follow. Nowhere in his bright eyes did she see the future that lied ahead. Carrying nothing but her wallet, phone and a bottle of water, Carrie ran yet again from the one thing in life she’d ever regret; remaining in the relationship after the first time he struck her.
They’d just gotten home from their daily 3-mile bike ride, and Carrie undressed while walking simultaneously, en route to the bathroom for a cold shower. Andrew, turned on by the naked site of his wife, walked over and wrapped his arms around her. “Andrew, I’m hot and sweaty,” said Carrie once he embraced her. She appreciated his affection, but deemed it the wrong time for anything intimate. Andrew persisted and continued to amuse himself, kissing her neck and running his hands along her breasts. Carrie forcefully pulled his hands off her body and spat out, “Andrew, we’re not doing this right now. I’m serious.” Thinking the conversation was over, Carrie walked over to the shower and began to close the bathroom door, when Andrew forced it back open, causing it to smash into Carrie’s forehead. Loudly screaming obscenities, Carrie clutched the impacted area as unwanted tears forced their way out of her eyes. She was tired of crying, tired of proving her weakness. A confused look rested in her eyes as Andrew walked over to where she was. He grabbed her face and stared coldly into what he used say were the meeting point of perfection and simplicity. “You shouldn’t have been standing that close to the door,” he says coldly in a voice so raspy, she knew had to be painful for him. Releasing her round face from the hard grasp of his callously dry hands, Andrew leaves the bathroom to go watch TV in the living room. A bleak year and some change passed since that morbid incident, but things had only gotten worse. Now, on her 29th birthday, Carrie ran away, once again, from the only enemy she ever truly feared. It’d been a week since he hit her and though she knew it wouldn’t last long, Carrie couldn’t help but wallow in the appeasement she so often longed for.
Driving down the 212 and passing signs for Clinton, Carrie replayed the events over and over in her throbbing head, causing her consciousness level to dangerously decrease. She dodged cars like they were the bullets Andrew shot. Her vision was blurred by tears, all the while speeding for her life to get away from what she hoped to be her past. Carrie rode in and out of lanes, meriting honks from cars swerving to get out of her way. She almost hit a few cars, but she’d hit them all if it meant getting away from Andrew. Her hair plastered to her face, Carrie reached up to wipe her tears and push her hair back. She failed to see clearly because the road before her was an image of mountains and houses up on the hills, then interrupted by flashes of glass shattering and face painting. It always boils down to the one thing Carrie shouldn’t have done, the one thing that could have possibly avoided the out lash of a raging mad man.
She knew he was going to bring a custom made cake home from the little bakery where they first met like he did every year since the first birthday he spent with her. They even got the owners of that bakery to make their wedding cake just a year before. She sat at the dining room table and waited for the sound of his key poking around in the keyhole of the front door. When she finally heard his arrival, a sound more awful than sharp nails on a chalkboard, the hair on the nape of her neck rose up and gave way to the goose bumps that tread her forearms. Carrie waited for the keyhole confirmation, but instead heard three, loud and piercing doorbell rings. Annoyed at the fact that he rung it three times, Carrie opened the door looking neutral and bland. Andrew stood there holding a box decorated with a pattern she could see in her sleep, a bouquet of Baby’s Breath, and a bottle of champagne. His smile was big enough to make her forget the real person standing in the doorway, making her giggle and washing away the frustration that once consumed her. Carrie widened the door to give him room to walk inside and grabbed the bouquet out of his hand, getting a whiff before closing the door. The moment was nice. It almost seemed normal. She was so taken by it that she went over to the table and placed the flowers down so she could grab him and kiss his lips tenderly. He put his hands around her waist, hoisted her up and whispered, “Happy birthday, my love” in her ear. Once her feet were once again touching the ground, Carrie skipped over to the kitchen and grabbed two champagne flutes from a dinner set they only used on special occasions. For the first time in a long time, she anticipated a good night with her husband and didn’t see what could wrong.
Abhorring her naivete, Carrie shook her head in an attempt to shake out her thoughts. Dashing through an abandoned road she learned about months ago when she was in search of peace, Carrie’s car lurched forward, threatening to break down. She rubbed the dashboard and said in a whimsical tone, “come on, baby, you’re awesome. Be awesome for mama. We can make it, baby, can’t we?” She switched gears and pressed down on the gas, urging the car to go faster; urging it to take her further away. Finally getting in the zone and feeling safer without any other cars around, Carrie’s cell phone vibrated and started dancing around in a circle on the front seat. The words on her screen seemed to be in big, bright red capital letters. In bright, whimsical white letters, almost mocking her despair, were the initials of her beloved. She looked at the contact name, AJ, a childhood nickname given to him by his deceased mother, and shivered. Squaring her jaw and bracing herself for the next few calls she knew he’d make. Carrie’s heart nearly jumped out of her chest and paralyzed her brain momentarily. Coming back to life at the sight of headlights in her rear view mirror, Carrie glanced at her phone again to see his name reappearing on the screen. Whenever she left the house for a few hours, Andrew would call and leave apologetic voice mails claiming that he worried about her safety and demanded her to return back to their home. He’d never try to find her, he’d never cause a ruckus, just simply wait for her at home with a hug and hot bath running. The reflection of the headlights glared at her, bringing her hope for peace to a solemn end. Carrie tried to shut off her phone and even throw it out of the window, but her attempts were sabotaged by the car behind her crashing into her back bumper. Carrie’s body lunged forward and her forehead collided with the steering wheel. She let out a weak shriek and tried to maintain her composure, then laughed at herself for trying to fight a battle that was never hers in the first place. Carrie’s phone went off, breaking the silence in her that was deafening the chaos. She reached over aggressively to finally just break it in half, but this time, she answered it. Peeking at the road to make sure she was on course, despite the frequent run-ins, Carrie clicked the answer button and put her ear to the phone. At first, neither of them spoke. They sat in an eerie silence, except when he’d run his car into hers and she’d hear him grunt. When he finally hit her hard enough that she almost ran into a tree and she screamed, he chuckled for a brief moment and then returned to his silence. Then finally, in a voice darker than the night embracing their horror, he said, “how far did you think you would get?”

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An Unrequited Craze

“You’re crazy,” he said,

Sending my mind on a quest of mixed emotions..

Eyes wide

Mouth agape

Shoulders slumped..

I fired back quick-witted responses..

Annihilating each; none seeming worthy enough to regain victory post defeat.

Defeat that could only be described as heartbreak.

You’re a beautiful melody lagging behind the summers haze,

You’re the streak of light bursting into a blind-shielded window..

Begging to be seen, heard

Embraced.

Accepted

You’re the heartbreak that threatened to crush every single one of my bones

The malice dripping from your every word was quite apparent

But ignoring it seemed to be the only option

Seemed to be the only thing keeping me from losing the few marbles you left me,

Keeping me from my reality.

The harsh cold truth of the love you lacked

A special kind of love you lacked for me that I’ve tried so hard to win..

“You’re crazy,” he said

And I so badly wanted to shout and scream and plead guilty to the accusations written in what appeared to be big, bold, letters.

Yes, I’m crazy

Yes, you’ve made me this way

No, I am not ashamed

No, I’m not going to ever change

And neither will you.

In that moment, I became aware of the mental clock that’s been ticking, ticking, ticking…

Reminding me of the wasted time

Wasted effort

Wasted tears

years..

Fear.

I may not be deserving of many things,

But you are not deserving of me.

“You’re crazy,” he said

All day, all night

These words reverberated

Yet, nothing resonated.

Once Again

Sometimes when I’m sitting alone

I picture your hands around me…your breath on my neck,

Your lingering kiss on my cheek.

You’re my sunshine in the morning light

&my moonlight at the end of a river..

With the stroke of a brush,

You intricately painted your soul on mine

&we formed our hearts around one another.

I equals you, you equals me…

It was easy,

It was bliss and it was perfection.

They say that nothing good lasts forever

So I made sure to never let you get to me..

I made sure to not stare at your smile for too long..

I didn’t allow myself to run my fingers through your curly, matted hair..

&I made myself forget your scent.

Then I forgot the way your hand feels on me..

But this battle between my heart and my conscience

Wasn’t an easy one because at the stroke of midnight,

I’d be awakened in a pool of sweat for you had once again..

Entered my thoughts.

For you had once again found your way back into my head

And I simply couldn’t get you out.

You had once again ruined my peace and revived

The demon, the beast, who denied of me of sleep..

Denied me of a life outside of you.

The unfortunate part of this would be that love can

Sometimes lie in a faded memory.

Love can sometimes lie in the darkest part of your mind

&reappear instantly.

For…you had once again found your way back to my senses..

Your smell rested on my pillow&i imagined you lying there with me..

I imagined our restless nights..

Our spiritual connection,

&I imagined you…

Because…nothing could suppress my thoughts of you.

Nothing could suppress my love for you.

For you had once again forced your way into my heart

& now our love lies

In the treasure box that is my mind

And only you hold the key,

Only you hold the recipe that contains

My deepest memory

Of what it is to really feel love,

Be love,

Experience everything about love.

For the rest of my existence,

You’ll continue to once again

Disturb my life…disturb my peace

Interrupt my sleep

And crawl inside of my dreams…

Until you know that I can feel you again,

Until you’re sure I can breathe you again.

And now once again,

The midnight is upon

My restless, breathless soul

And I await your entrance

Through my bedroom window

That leads to my heart

So you can once again…

Entertain my thoughts. 

Was Your English Lit Teacher Wrong About Symbolism?

101 Books

You always wondered if your college lit professor was just making crap up.

Turns out, maybe they were.

This article from The Paris Review offers a revealing take by many famous authors on how much symbolism played a part in their work.

Their comments were prompted by a letter from a 16-year-old Bruce McCallister in 1963. He was tired of the constant find-the-symbolism game in English class, so he took it upon himself to ask them what the big deal was with symbolism.

He mailed a simple four-question survey to more than 150 novelists. About half of them responded. The responses were varied, but most of the authors seemed to think symbolism is overanalyzed. Their comments were awesome:

The survey included the following questions:

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Rendezvous

 

“How did you manage to get away tonight?” I wondered aloud. Although I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the answer, I somehow wanted, needed to fill the void I felt was there. Behind my back, my thumbs found their way to each other for an intense game of thumb of war, while inside of my black six-inch stiletto pumps, my toes fought against each other in what I assumed was nervous excitement. Either that or fear. Awaiting his answer, our eyes danced. They danced the dance of long-lost lovers, of two stars who’ve been waiting for the other just so they can twinkle. I broke our timeless gaze in a bashful effort to eliminate my question from the love-stricken air, but before I could kick myself hard enough, he said, “I told her that I had unfinished business.” Before I knew it, and before I could resist him, he’d positioned himself inches away from my face and all the self-control I’d practiced on the way over to our agreed meeting place immediately parachuted out of the 32nd floor, curtain-shielded window, and I threw myself at the man I’d been daydreaming about for the last 22 years. The man who, in this very moment was placing his surprisingly still soft, heart-shaped lips on the side of my face. He had taken his love from me and ran away like a child. He was the man I told myself to forget about, and I’d been doing a great job, too, I swear. After enough rebounds and countless meaningless love affairs, I finally came to terms with the fact that he would be gone from my life and I learned to both live with and accept those terms. Then three years ago, at 2:36am, I received an e-mail notification from an address that seemed unfamiliar to me, but as soon as I opened it, the first word, maybe even the first letter revealed the identity of my first true, and only, love. At the time, I lived in a four bedroom brownstone on the Upper East Side, and needless to say, I had plenty of room. Yet, the oxygen that kept me alive, kept me from veering over into the darkness, began to slowly choke me. It began to take away the life I’d been given, the life I worked so hard to maintain. While I hyperventilated in my custom-made leather office chair, tears cascaded down my blank, blotchy face in what seemed like a single-file line; one tear at a time, as if not to interrupt the others. As if not to interrupt the parade of salty tears that would soon rush out of my sockets. Not knowing where to go or where to sit, I grabbed my laptop and ran to the smallest corner I could find. Still not understanding and knowing why, that night, my dark little corner helped me find peace and solace within myself. It helped me find the words I didn’t know I had. The strength I’d kept hidden in my walk-in closet. I spent four hours on the floor in my terry cloth bathrobe, reading and re-reading the one sentence he mustered up after not having communicated with me for 19years.  I fought myself over whether or not it was enough, whether I should respond, how comfortable we were with one another. Finally, at a point of rage and anger, I quieted my inner, smarter self and swiftly responded at 6:57am by saying, “this is a joke, right?”

                                 ➰

Now here he is, standing before me in pressed, fitted khakis, a Banana Republic long-sleeved striped button up with the top few buttons undone, oak wood brown loafers, and a smirk that could possibly shatter the earth; or maybe just me. His cologne wafted throughout the room and it made my body come alive in ways I wasn’t quite comfortable with. I mentally begged him to break the silence, seeing as how our emotions brought us together in a haphazard embrace, leaving us dazed and speechless. It seemed like everything at the time, but now I wanted answers. I wanted more than what his beauty could offer me, something I once held in the palm of my hand; his honesty. Like a shaken bottle of unopened soda, my anger filled me to the brim and began to overflow into what was supposed to be a lover’s reunion; what was supposed to be a wordless and thoughtless rendezvous that would be controlled by the love that kept us frozen in time. Like a puppy who’d perfected a trick over time, after all these years, he still held the same expression that made me wonder what was going through his mind. Before frustrations arose from not being born a mind-reading telepathic mutant, he finally spoke and ended the thread of thoughts littering the corners of my mind.

“You make a man wish he’d stayed to watch you not age a single day since the last time I looked into those beautiful eyes.”

Swooning immediately, I fought the urge to both run into his arms again, naked this time, and forgive him for leaving me broken in half while he picked up the pieces of his life. I wanted to make him suffer just a little bit longer, so I chuckled an “oh, please” chuckle and created more space between the two of us. The closer he was, the less leverage I had in all of this. Making my voice rise barely above a whisper, I calmly stated, “You make a girl wish she’d sent that e-mail to spam.”

Clearly shocked, but not moved, he filled in the gap between us, looked down to the Glass Mosaic tile built into the living room floor, and told me that I didn’t mean what I’d just said. No longer caring about the little things we call feelings or “saving face,” I broke my cool, nonchalant demeanor and gave way to my pain. I slapped his hand away from my face and spat out, “Don’t you dare tell me how to feel or what I mean. You left and then you get married? Fuck you! What’d she have to do, drag you down the aisle? Or was I the problem? I don’t even know why I came here and I don’t know why I allowed us to have meaningless sporadic conversations for the last three years.”

Breathing heavily and scowling, I walked over to the glass-top dining room table and grabbed my mauve croc skin envelope clutch, trimmed with gold metal edges. To be honest, I felt stupid. I was supposed to be mature and strategic about the whole thing, but after my award-winning performance, I’m pretty sure I’ve made myself out to be a complete fool. I wished to retract my words, but at the same time, I held myself back from doing an encore, except this time I’d yell directly into his face so he could feel the agony that’s consumed me all the years that’ve gone by. Instead, I graciously walked to the door, half hoping that he’d stop me; hoping that he’d fight for me.

“Annabelle, in the time that we were together it wouldn’t have worked.” I stopped dead in my tracks and assessed the self-assured, faux factual statement that came out of his mouth. Although I know it couldn’t have, I didn’t like admitting that to myself. I didn’t like the fact that he’d acquiesced his true emotions to sensibility and logic, when I could barely hold it together. Trying to regain the poise, cool facade I maintained earlier, I stalled by moving my clutch from its warm spot under the nook of my arm to clinging onto it with my freshly polished fingernails; four fingers up front and my thumb keeping it all together in the back. Killing the ten seconds I needed to recuperate, I questioned him by saying, “Oh and now it’s supposed to work? I’m sure your wife wouldn’t mind that.” I felt very confident and able to take down the world, until he sent the competition I was participating in alone, straight to hell.

“My wife and I are separated, Annabelle. I’m not saying that it’ll work this time around because of that, but I don’t want you throwing it in my face or taking it into account.” Actually afraid of what he’d just said, I took a step back and enlarged my glassy eyes. I didn’t know how to respond or even how to feel. Although our desultory emails over the last three years have been a light shade of beige instead a fiery, sultry red, I figured that someone would share information like that before awkwardly reuniting a few years later.

He continued by saying, “I mean, how long will we continue to play these games? Why do you always need an explanation for everything? You’re here, I’m here; shouldn’t that be the only thing that matters?” No longer being able to withstand eye contact, I dropped my eyes low and thought of every possible reason as to why I should grab my things and walk out of that room, but I couldn’t. My heart wouldn’t allow me to. So I didn’t. Henry came close to me and put his arms around me and at that point, I knew I could no longer resist him.

“This doesn’t mean anything,” I said wistfully hoping to hang onto any dignity I had left. His boisterous laugh filled the room and I felt my heart smile. Forcing me to laugh, I admitted that I missed hearing his laugh. I told him that I missed the way it always made me want to laugh even if I didn’t think anything was funny. I looked up at him and kissed him softly.

“Are you hungry?” he asked. I responded with a chuckle that turned into a snort and said, “When have you ever known me to turn down food?”

Henry put his arm around me and buried his face into my neck, causing me to drop my head onto his shoulder naturally.

“I’m glad you still snort. Gives off the illusion that time hasn’t passed at all.” He looked into my eyes awaiting my agreement, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t satisfy him again. This had all been too easy for him.

I swallowed my hesitance, sighed softly and said, “Except time has passed. A lot of it. We can’t do this Henry. If you want me, you have to figure out how to get me.”

His brows furrowed in confusion, probably going over the last few minutes, trying to figure out where we went wrong. I’d never tell him that the mentioning of time had allowed me to regain my sensibility, but it had. We were once children in love and he left me in the middle of it. How was I to know I was that same girl? Time had made me a woman, and perhaps I wasn’t prepared to know what time created out of him. I kissed his cheek and inhaled his essence. My bravery had reached its limit, so I walked away from him slowly without any eye contact whatsoever.

“At least eat me with, Annabelle. We can figure this out.”

Having already reached the door, I turned to him and said, “Not like this, Henry. Figure things out with your wife.”

I took one last look at him and walked out just as he yelled my name one last time. A tear slid down my face, but I wiped it away quickly. In this moment, the only thing that I would allow to prosper was the victory I felt. Nothing more, nothing less. 

Daily Prompt: Nicest Thing You’ve Ever Done

Immediately, every homeless person I’ve ever encountered flooded my brain as I asked myself this question. For some reason, I always come across them and end up listening to their life story of how they ended up where they are. Each time, I was told that I have a kind soul, a warm heart, and that God will bless me. It’s very easy to list the nice things you do for people, but is it just as easy to admit the ways you’ve been wrong? I’d like to switch this up a bit. Instead of the nicest thing I’ve ever done, I’d like to discuss the worst thing I’ve ever done. Out of fear of confrontation and hurting the feelings of others, I lie.

“Farrah, am I failure in life?” says the 40 year old man who abuses his family, can’t keep a job, and hustles money from his family.

“Of course not. You’re still living. You’ve made a few mistakes, but who hasn’t?”

My reasoning is this: I make a fuckton of mistakes every day that I able to breathe and exist. I don’t like to judge others on the things that they do. Sure, I’m probably judging you in my head, as most of us do, but my heart won’t allow it to fully process. The worst thing I do to the people I love is lie. I comfort instead of push in the right direction. I coddle instead of distribute the toughest love which most people equate to real love. Is it, though? I think so. You should want the best for the people around you. Help them in any way possible, no matter how they feel about it. The worst thing I do to the people I love is tolerate mediocrity and understand  the bullshit. When my friends are brutally honest with me and don’t tell me exactly what I’d like to hear, I don’t quite understand it. I become combative and defensive and deem them to be misunderstanding of my being. When in actuality, they are fully knowledgeable of who I am. That’s why they tell me the truth. In time, I’ve learned that you can’t just tell someone who is an alcoholic that they can have a drink today because they’ve had a bad day, simply to avoid confrontation. Simply to avoid the anger that comes along with truth-telling. You have to think ahead, see who they can become, and help them see that vision as well. I’m not a bad person, but I’ve been bad to my friends. I’ve betrayed their trust, and for that I am extremely apologetic. I sometimes think that I’m unworthy of them, but that’s just me being too hard on myself. This year, I vowed to change the way I am with those around me. I want to be better to, and for, them. And I will. The worst thing I’ve ever done was deny my loved ones the truth they deserve, selfishly avoiding the uncomfortable sensation that I feel when the brutal truth slips out of my mouth. 

Black Birds

All I need is my music to put me to sleep..

The sweet melody to ease my worries

Sweep away my pain

&Silence the anger.

All I need is a kiss from you to quiet the world,

The chaos and destruction

The voices that force

Catastrophes of mild proportions.

The blood flowing through my veins

Threaten to quit

As the thoughts inside of my head

Beg to be silenced

And the violence

Beguiles the belief

That hope is of existence.

So I patiently wait my turn

To fade away

And fly into the distance

With the black birds,

My soul attached to their wings

As we surpass the dangers below..

Except, you see..

As….as I lie awake

In the darkness of the night

The moon envelops me

In an embrace of warmth and peace,

The vibrant sirens form a crease

In the platform of life, making me want to leave

Because all of a sudden, I can’t breathe

Feel

See,

Or hear

As my senses have been jarred.

I’m glued to the inevitability of the

Destruction&catastrophes of wild proportions

And I try to scream,

But what flies out are black butterflies

Of death, terror, angst

And now my music won’t rescue my aching soul

For the tears of Mother Earth have begun to drown it out.

Your touch won’t free me

For I’ve been detained by these shackles

My skin is being bruised

And my heart begins to crackle,

Ready to explode

Begging to implode..

&that is all I ask for

Grant me this wish and my pleading will end..

The sounds will cease

And perhaps I’ll be free..

I can taste it on my tongue,

A mixture of deep blood&dirty, dirty rum

I can feel my insides rotting,

My body willingly succumbs

Becomes numb

&I won’t dare fight as I pray my time has come..

I can longer be fettered to the darkness

This world isn’t the same..

I thought I’d be rescued, but instead I’ve gone insane

My brain has collapsed

&you now live in vain

So I bid farewell

As my eyes close eternally

I can no longer inhale the brutality,

A formality of existing in this world

So it is by choice, I leave you in this filth

I’ve packaged up your kisses to get me through

I’ve bagged up your touch so I can remain anew

Refrain from being blue…

Blue as the sky that contains

The black birds.

Black as my soul that contains

Tar and mold

Of a world so cold.

Perhaps we’ll meet

In a realm filled with happiness,

We could use the change…

And so could the birds who remain

In their cage

Of a blue sky that serves as the world’s stage. 

– Farrah Daniel

Daily Prompt: Obstacle Course

Daily Prompt: Nice Is as Nice Does

Shamelessly Cliché

Is it just me or does anyone else feel an overwhelmingly sense of greatness when using a typewriter? I actually find myself pressing down on the keys harder than I have to, prompting moans and groans from my roommates. It’s a pretty annoying sound, I must admit.