0

She Is An Apocalypse

There is a hurricane swirling inside of her. Twisting and turning, ripping her apart, emotions scattered to and fro. It rages, it never quiets, it barrels through her thoughts and through her feelings, destructive and dangerous, destroying her from the inside out.

There is a fire roaring inside of her. Burning and raging, filling her every inch with embers of pain. It roars and flares up, burning anything in its path to ashes. It’s gearing up to turn her mind to cinders and toast her every hope and dream.

There is an earthquake rolling inside of her. It is thunderous and loud, rocking her beliefs and shaking her trust. Her morals quake and quiver, giving way to self destructive decision after self destructive decision. It is dismantling her inner establishment of confidence, turning it into rubble at her feet, burying it deep beneath.

She is an apocalypse, tearing down her walls and gearing up for a final burst, charging up her sun spots to eradicate every molecule that makes her. She’s a walking nuclear war, bombs falling endlessly, blowing every bit of her to smithereens. She is a viral outbreak, sickening herself worse and worse until there’s nothing left except a corpse that looks nothing like the girl they once knew.

She will burn brightly, she will fade fast, and she will be remembered fondly, not as someone who mattered, but someone who was fascinating to watch flare out.

She is extinguished.

0

Let’s Be Sorry For Everything

Sandy and Derek were sitting in their bedroom on the bed, legs crossed, a bottle of vodka on the table behind Derek and each with a shot glass in their hands. Sandy had her hair pulled back in a ponytail, while Derek was pouring a little bit of vodka in their respective glasses.

“So, the idea of this is to forgive ourselves, eachother or someone else for something with each shot,” Derek said, “That way we can stop being so damn angry about every little thing in our lives.”

“Okay,” Sandy said, holding her glass to eye level, looking through the clear liquid, “And if someone starts to veer things into a direction the other doesn’t want to go, then they can just veto that.”

“Sure, that sounds fair,” Derek said. Sandy threw her head back and took her shot, then wiped her mouth on her arm and exhaled, shaking her head a little. She finally looked at Derek and grimaced.

“Ugh, I forgot how sick Vodka makes me,” she said softly, “I’m really sorry that I made things hard when we were first getting together. I’m sorry if I made you so uncertain about me, yourself or anything else. You don’t deserve that.”

Derek smiled and took his shot, then gave a gross look on his face, nearly gagging, “Oh jesus, you weren’t kidding, that shit is tough. Ugh. Alright, well, I’m sorry if I ever get on you for complaining. You have every right to be upset, because shit sucks for us. I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like you can’t speak your mind.”

Sandy nearly blushed, feeling so lucky to have him, as he poured them another set of shots. Sandy pushed her bangs from her eyes and stretched her legs out, resting her feet in his lap, looking around their bedroom.

“I think I wanna redecorate,” Sandy said, “This place is lacking any sort of personality lately. I think we need to do something about it.”

“I’m good with that idea,” Derek said, as he finished pouring and started massaging Sandy’s feet while she took her next shot. She hissed through her teeth and shook her head a little.

“Well,” she began, “I guess I’m sorry for Reggie. When I was in college, I took this class about feminine representation in literature, specifically when written by straight guys, and how they’re rarely heroines and when they are heroines they’re overly sexualized because that’s the only way they can see us. Anyway, there was this girl named Regina, or Reggie, who sat in the class a few seats down from me. We started talking, we became friends and went to parties and stuff together since we didn’t wanna go alone, even though once there we usually just made fun of the people there. I guess she wanted to get to know me cause she was gay and one night she suggested we make out, just for something to do.”

“And?” Derek asked.

“…well, we did. We did…more…than just make out. Point is, the next day she completely blacked me out, like it’d never happened. So, for someone to make the claim that only men can see women as objects is an unfair subjection, because let me tell you, some women are just as predatory. Made me feel sick with myself, and so I just went and hooked up with multiple girls that year, so I guess I apologize to myself too for putting myself through that,” Sandy said, sighing and looking at her empty glass, “…I’m glad you never do that to me.”

“Of course not,” Derek said, “Bottoms up.”

He threw his head back and took his drink, exhaling afterwards, and then squinting. He finally opened his eyes, looked at Sandy and felt tears swell up in his eyes.

“I’m sorry for…” Derek started, but he couldn’t figure out the words he wanted to use. After a few moments of pause and reflect, he finally managed to say, “I’m just sorry. I’m sorry to everyone who’s ever had to put up with me. My parents, any friends…you, most of all.”

“Ditto,” Sandy said, “We’ve been kind of bad for eachother, but at least we recognize that, and we know it’s wrong, yet inevitably a part of being in a relationship, and we try to fix it, unlike other people our age who simply say if someone treats you bad once or disagrees with anything you say then you should dump them immediately. Ridiculous. That isn’t a relationship. That’s narcissism. There’s a difference between straight up abuse and disagreement.”

“Right, right,” Derek said, chewing on his bottom lip, “I’m going to get another bottle from the corner store, this one barely had any left in it. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

As he got off the bed, he leaned down and stroked her cheek with his fingers, then grabbed his jacket, pulled on his shoes and headed out the door. Sandy laid on the bed, looking up at the ceiling. Eventually, she got off the bed, got her laptop out and started doing some research. She eventually wound up with a phone number, which she plopped into her cell and dialed.

One ring. Two rings. Three rings. Four-

“Hello?” a voice asked, “Carter residence.”

“…Reggie Carter?” Sandy asked, wondering if this was a bad idea.

“Yes? Who wants to know?” Reggie asked.

“I, uh, I’m…Sandy Price, we…we went to college together and-”

“Sandy?” Reggie asked, her voice staying the same deadpan it had been since she’d answered, “Good lordy, what’re you doing calling me this late, or, at all?”

“My…boyfriend, guyfriend, whatever, we’re sitting around and just talking about things we’re sorry for and…and I thought about you. I thought about, like, the time we spent in school together and shit and how like, I don’t know, how we hung out and hooked up and I felt-”

“I am really sorry if I made you feel bad,” Reggie said, interrupting her, “I…I don’t like stopping people from speaking but I need you to know that, I feel really bad about it. You have to understand, my family was really close minded and conservative and I could never discuss anything about how I felt to anyone, so to find someone who…who I guess was kind of like me, it felt freeing in a way, you know? But I know I essentially came off as predatory and like I used you to figure myself out and I apologize if that’s messed with you over the years because that was not my overall intention one bit. I was just really focused on figuring me out after all those closed off years living at home.”

“I understand,” Sandy said, “I really do, like, god, living with my mother…she still doesn’t even understand who I am and why I’m not just like her, ya know. It’s so goddamned frustrating.”

Reggie giggled and sighed, “Sandy, I’ve thought about calling you, I really have. I just figured you didn’t want anyone drudging up shit from that point in time, like maybe you were just trying to black it all out or whatever, but I’m really glad that that isn’t the case.”

“What’re you doing up so late anyway?”

“Well it’s not like it’s a school night or anything,” Reggie replied, laughing, “No, my wife works nights so I sleep alone most of the time. I was just reading when you called.”

“Anything interesting?”

“Not really, symptoms of illnesses.”

“Are you a doctor?” Sandy asked.

“I’m sick,” Reggie said, stopping Sandy in her tracks, “I…uh…I guess about a year ago I had headaches and my hair started to come out a little, and I felt really nauseous, and I found out I have leukemia. It’s not life threatening just yet, so don’t worry, but it is…it’s scary, but we’re dealing with it.”

“I…I’m so sorry,” Sandy whispered, “I had no idea, obviously. I hope you’ll be okay.”

“Listen, why don’t we meet for lunch or something next week, and we can catch up more? I’m really tired these days, as you can imagine. I will call you tomorrow and we can set up a date or something,” Reggie said, and Sandy told her that would be fine. As they said their goodbyes and hung up both ends, Derek came back into the room with a bag. He dumped it on the bed, and out spilled another vodka bottle, a baby ruth and a horse racing magazine. Sandy held the phone to her chest, pacing back and forth at the end of the bed.

“…if I ever get sick, leave me, ok?” Sandy asked, “Don’t…don’t try and be all noble or whatever, just go. I don’t want to put you through that and have yet something else I’d need to apologize for in hell.”

“I like that you recognize you’re likely not going to heaven,” Derek said, smiling as he opened the bottle, “That’s nice, modesty is important in a friend.”

“There’s too damn much to apologize for,” Sandy said, sitting at the end of the bed, “I…we can have an entire drinking game dedicated to saying ‘I’m sorry’ but in the end, I’m going to just keep adding onto that list, having more things to be sorry for, and there’s no way in hell I’m ever going to get through them all by the time I die, that’s for sure. So, don’t become one of those people. If something happens to me, just leave and go about your life, because the last thing I need in addition to dying is also to hurt you.”

“That sounds fair enough,” Derek said, “…and you’re right, there’s too much to apologize for. That’s the problem with mistakes, it’s not something you do once or twice in your life. It’s something you continue to do forever. You will always make mistakes. They might not even be big mistakes, like hurting someone you shouldn’t have or whatever, but just little things, like parking in a handicapped spot and then someone else comes along who needs it. Mistakes make up the majority of our time here on earth. Memories are often just the things we’ve deemed good because they’re the things we didn’t make mistakes in. That’s why we remember them. We filter out the bad stuff so we can have nice things to look back on. But…when it gets down to it, the thing we do most in life is fuck up, and I guess that’s okay, because at least we know we’re not the only ones doing it. Everyone does it. That’s some level of solidarity, I suppose.”

Sandy reached for the bottle and took a long drink from it before handing it back to him. Derek unwrapped his candy bar and broke it in half, handing one half to her and then eating the other himself. Sandy filled her shot glass again and drank it.

“I’m sorry we decided to play this,” she said.

“Yeah, me too.”

0

So She Made Planets

She can create planets on a whim.

She’s had this ability for as long as she can remember. She can recall the first time she made a star, while playing outside one soft summer afternoon, at her daycare, waiting for her mother to come and pick her up. Everyone acts like it’s something special, but it isn’t, not once you’ve done a hundred thousand times, it becomes just as mundane as any other talent or skill. She can remember sitting with some other kids during lunchtime in elementary school, wowing them with her abilities to be able to create meteors from thin air. She became a magic trick; something kids asked for at their birthday parties, something adults used when out of town family members dropped in and wanted an experience. But she didn’t mind, she liked the attention, and she liked showing off her abilities.

There’s no life on her planets. They’re barren and cold, desolate, uninhabitable. All of these things are small, no bigger than a softball, but still, they’re hers, and she loves them. She spent a lot of her teenage girls in her bedroom, record player on repeat, laying on her back on the floor, just reaching up into the air above her face and creating entire galaxies. A black hole here, a milky way there, a star system, an asteroid field, you name it and she’d make it. She could entertain herself for hours with this. As with all novelties though, it faded with time. Life overtakes hobbies. The things that make you happiest fall by the wayside, even if they’re magical and not mundane in the slightest. She had to study. She had to date. She had to graduate, get into college and get a job. Not because she wanted any of this, but because everyone told her to.

“Making stars isn’t going to guarantee you a future,” they’d tell her, “People want real work skills.”

Resume after resume, essay after essay, lecture after lecture…spending countless, sleepless nights in the school library, trying to finish that paper due the following morning and instead finding herself blipping whole new worlds into creation in the palm of her hand, with the flip of her wrist. It got to the point where it didn’t bring her happiness, because it wasn’t what was “supposed” to bring her happiness. Marriage. A family. A career. Those were what happiness was to be reserved for. Not making stars. Not making planets. After a while, she’d spend all day long at work, come home and go to sleep. Go out with friends. Go out on dates. Soon she never made stars at all.

And then one day, she found she just didn’t want to, and this upset her even more. How could something so special, something so many people had, at one point in time, fawned over her for and told her was unique, was a gift, become so…so boring and unwanted? Even to the person who controlled said gift? Nothing lasted. People came and went. Jobs began and ended. Now she just sits on her bedside, in the dark, in her pajamas, repeatedly making planets and stars and meteors for the sake of doing something, anything at all, and not feeling totally and completely useless.

And then one night, she made a planet, and it was inhabited. This had never happened before. The people on it, they appreciated their existence, they thanked her graciously, they’d needed her to be. She was useful. Important. They enjoyed what she’d given them. They enjoyed her. She was loved. She created another and another and another, filling her bedroom over the following weeks with tiny, inhabited planets, and finally accepting this was who she was. She wasn’t like all the other people. She could do things they couldn’t do. She could make planets.

So she made planets.

And she was fine with that.

0

Let Myself Be Eaten By Coyotes

Maybe if I just lay here long enough, stay quiet enough, I could just let myself be eaten by coyotes,” Nina thought, laying on the dirt in the middle of the field. She’d driven out here with no real reason in mind, and now didn’t know if she wanted to even go back. She wasn’t even sure she could find her way back in this darkness, given the lack of signage way out here. Nina dug her fingers deep into the dirt, feeling the cool night breeze wafting over her, gently blowing her bangs across her eyes.

Maybe they’ll eat me, and they’ll be starving, and the meal they get from me could save them, finally rendering me useful in some grand fashion,” she thought, “And then some day someone will come out here and find my bones, or I’ll just be buried under the dirt forever and nobody will ever know what happened to me.

Nina felt a bug crawling on her unsleeved arm, and looked over to see a large beetle stopped on her arm, looking around. She sat up and held her arm in front of her, staring at this beetle intensely. After a few minutes, she picked it up with her other hand and put him back down on the dirt and watched him quickly scurry off into the darkness. She felt herself shiver and she grabbed her jacket off the hood of her car, pulling it over her tanktop. She stood up and walked to her car door, pulling it open and getting inside, searching for a radio station but getting nothing; just static. She exhaled loudly and brushed her bangs out of the way, then reached into her backpack and pulled out a tape recorder. She got back out of the car, sighed, cleared her throat and clicked ‘record’, pacing back and forth.

“My name is Nina Turan,” she said clearly, “I’m 35, and I’m a Pisces. I’m recording this on the unlikelihood that someone finds it and cares enough, or knows how, to press ‘play’ on something this fucking antiquated. I’m…going out of my mind with frustration, of every kind. General frustration, employment frustration, physical frustration, sexual frustration. You name it, and I’m frustrated by it. But that’s not why I’m doing this. Frustration can easily be overcome with the right mixture of techniques. I’m going to blow myself up in my car, and not because of frustration but because of sheer boredom.”

She pressed ‘stop’ and took a long, deep breath, wiped her forehead on her jacket sleeve and then resumed recording.

“Not boredom like ‘I just have nothing to do tonight’ sort of boredom but more like…I’ve experienced everything I’d care to at this point in life and now it’s like 50 years of this same shit day in and day out and that’s just not for me. And I’m not gonna become a cliche, like some YA novel, and just take off on a road trip, as if a few thousand miles in a jacked up Volvo with an 80s mixtape could easily solve all of my angst. See, up to a point in life, everything is a brand new experience, everything is exciting and a first. Your first car, first kiss, first sexual experience, first apartment, first job, all of that shit. Then, you hit this peak where it’s nothing but repeats. It’s like your life was canceled and sent into late night syndication on a channel that barely comes in anyway.”

She pressed ‘stop’ again and sat on the hood of her car, surveying the empty field before continuing on.

“Then there’s everyone around you who acts like they want what’s best for you, but only because they want it for themselves. Parents are a great example, saying things like ‘you don’t want to die, what about have children? a family?’ but not because they think you’ll actually enjoy it, but more because they want grandchildren. They want to be a part of society, the grandparent portion of life, and they couldn’t give less than two shits how having children affected your life. I can’t take care of children. I can barely take care of myself. Sorry mom, too bad. Life, society, has far more expectations for me than I have ever had for myself. That’s fucked up.”

She pressed ‘stop’ again and looked around, running her hands through her dark curly brown hair, unsure of how to finish this note to…no one in particular, really. She had also just seen a flaw in her plan, which was where the fuck was she going to leave this? Just in the dirt, next to a burning pile of metal and human remains? Jesus. She could never do anything right it seemed, not even kill herself. There was always something to fuck up. She pressed ‘record’ once more.

“Anyway, I guess that about sums it up. If anyone actually ever finds and listens to this, let it be known that once again my name is, was, Nina Turan. I was 35, with brown curly hair, I liked alternative music and I fucking hated Russel Crowe with a burning passion that could only be likened to that which Americans hate religious tolerance of any religion that isn’t their own. Thanks for listening. Goodbye.”

She pressed ‘stop’ once again and slid off the hood of her car. She took her jacket off, wrapped the tape record in it and put it on the dirt, gently patting it before getting back up and walking to the tailpipe of her car. She pulled out a bottle of alcohol, a rag and a lighter, lit the rag and stuffed it into the bottle of alcohol a certain length so it’d eventually explode when the two finally touched. Nina then shoved the bottle into her tailpipe, then got into her car and put her forehead on the steering wheel. She knew it’d only take a few minutes, and she raced through everything in her life that had ever happened. Every memory she had, good or bad, and knew she was making the right choice.

She heard a howl and looked up, seeing a coyote standing outside in front of the car. Their eyes appeared to lock with hers, and she slowly got out of the car and waved her arms at it, trying to shoo it away, but it wasn’t moving. She finally picked up a rock and tossed it at it.

“Get out of here you stupid fucking mutant dog!” she shouted, and after a moment the coyote finally turned tail and ran. She sighed, rubbed her forehead and then heard the explosion of the car behind her. She turned to see the car engulfed in flames, and completely destroyed.

“God dammit,” she mumbled, before picking up her jacket and the tape recorder and starting to walk down the road, “Now I’m gonna be late for work tomorrow.”