I’m Five Again

WordPress Daily Prompt – Cringe

For a moment I’m five again. Strolling through an outdated theme park, taking in the toothless vendors and their unique but not at all unique wares. I grab a hold of the nearest bag before glancing up to realize that it doesn’t belong to any of my family. My heart skips a beat as I jerk my hand away and run ahead.

Luckily my family was there, though still unaware that I had fallen behind.

We’re in the Ozarks, a spread of vast mountains and hidden streams. My grandfather gifts me a baby doll because it’s almost my birthday. She’s perfect and clothed in a small white dress with blue flowers.

I drag her to the river with me where I insist on bathing her. My grandfather laughs and helps me dip her into the water.

My father stands behind, steam practically billowing from his ears.

“This is stupid. Don’t let her put the doll in the water.” He rambles on about how clumsy five year old me is and guarantees that I’ll drop the doll and she’ll float away.

It grates my young nerves. I’ve already spent five years being indirectly reminded that my father never wanted children. Despite that fact he already has two with a third on the way.

For a moment I lose my balance and let go of the baby doll to steady myself.

“See?!” My father snatches my new toy from the water and refuses to return her. “You’ll just lose it anyway.”

Now I’m ten, again in the Ozarks with my grandfather. It’s the first time I’ve seen him or his wife since I almost lost the doll years earlier.

My grandfather’s wife, much younger than he, feeds me all of the cookie crisp I could want. I lament about never having it at home. She takes my chin in her hand and leans in close, “I’ll buy you a couple boxes to take.”

She insists on buying me an ice cream cake and letting me watch Heidi on the Disney channel. Luxuries we can’t afford at home.

My father claims I need neither and sends me outside with my sisters while they discuss.

After dinner and cake she pulls me into their darkened den alone. “Your dad doesn’t want me to give you this, but here.” She pushes a cassette player and a Nat King Cole cassette into my hands. “Hide it.”

But it’s too late as my father wanders into the den to find out what we’re doing.

I smuggle the cassette player home but the Nat King Cole cassette is deemed “too grown up” and I’m forced to leave it behind. I hide myself in the corner of the dark den at midnight to listen to it before I have to leave.

The next time I see my grandfather I’m seventeen. It’s a Saturday and I’ve been at work all day. I don’t know if my father didn’t know my grandfather was in town or if he purposely didn’t tell me. I come home from my shift and find him leaving. He nods, hugs me, then is gone before I can even say anything.

I ask my dad about the visit. He cringes, shrugs and walks away. Years later, after my grandfather’s death I would find pictures from a full family get together that morning. Pictures that include my aunt, my sisters and my great aunt but not me.

And for a moment, I’m five again. Lost in an outdated theme park, upset that my family hasn’t realized that they’ve left me behind.

 

Paper

WordPress Daily Prompt – Paper

When I get down,
And wish I could hide,
I pull out a sheet of paper
And write down,
All the things you wanted me to be
All the things I’ll never do.
All the reasons,
I could never blame you.
All the ways,
That I could never be
The person I wanted,
The life I could lead.
I crumple it and toss it,
Bruising the smooth pulp.
I light it on fire,
And watch it burn.
I take the ashes,
And bury them in the dark.

B-Boy

WordPress Daily Prompt – Meddle

There was something about the smooth green steel that the trash bins were made of. It was smooth, cool to the touch and something about it was strangely comforting. John leaned against one allowing the bin to cool his bald sweating head.

It wasn’t particularly hot that evening but John had been drinking, much like every evening. He’d found himself being walked out of the bar by his favorite bar tender just moments before.

You’ve had too much, you need to go.

John may have paid attention had he had less to drink. Instead he focused on the bar tenders ample cleavage.

You’re so perfect. 

She simply shook her head before thrusting him through the wooden door.

Go home John.

Maybe John would have seen the group of college jocks who watched the ordeal with sly smirks and maybe John would have been aware of the subtle approach of multiple pairs of sneakers but the cool trash bin was easing the pulsing headache he had.

“You’re him aren’t ya?” A sharp kick to the knee sent John tumbling the opposite direction. “Fuck, he can’t even sit up. Jackson. Pull him up.”

A rough pair of large hands hauled John to his knees. A lanky blonde with scattered acne knelt to his level.

“You’re him.” Another hand, smaller than the pair currently keeping John upright, slapped his cheek playfully. “Yeah ya are.” In John’s vision the boy split into two before dancing back together.

“Who am I?” John mumbled. Beyond the blonde more legs gathered though John couldn’t tell if there were truly many pairs or just one moving through his blurring vision.

“Who am I?” A deeper voice chuckled from behind him. “You are. What did they call you?” The blonde glanced behind him as if expecting the answer but received only silence. “Oh yeah, I remember now. You would be so forgettable but how could we forget a name like Bitchboy?” Laughter echoed through the alley.

John tried to measure how many people were laughing, how many voices heckled and bounced the name off the old brick walls.

Without warning the large hands released John’s arms and a dozen kicks from all sides sent him to the ground.

“You know …” The blonde boy came back into view as he leaned over the trembling man. “They say no one could hurt you but I’m pretty sure Bitchboy is crying.” Without pause the blonde boy pushed John onto his back and straddled his waist. A shiny silver switchblade passed in front of John’s face. “Maybe we should just see what it takes to hurt Bitchboy.”

The shiny silver blade leaned against John’s neck as the blonde boy leaned closer to him.

“No one would stop me, no one would care.” The sinister whisper shocked John into some level of soberness. John’s ice blue eyes focuses on the blonde boy’s hazel pair.

“Then do it. You want to impress them then go ahead. Try to kill Bitchboy.” The boy sat back slightly maintaining his smirk. The cool steel blade pushed closer to breaking John’s skin.

“You think you’re badass?” The boy mused. “You think you’re important?”

“I said do it. You wanna kill Bitchboy then kill me.” He gripped the blonde’s collar and pulled him close enough to feel his warm breath. “I’ve tried a hundred times and it’s never worked but by all means, if you think you’re special …”

The Sum

WordPress Daily Prompt – Total

 

I have things to say,
But I just can’t get them out.
Not in the eloquent beautiful way,
Not in the form of a song.
Everything we’ve done,
All these steps have led us
To these moments.
I don’t want to go,
Please tell me
I don’t have to.
The sum of everything,
We’ve ever done
Is right here
Disappearing into your eyes
Catching with our breath.
Take my hand and tell me,
I don’t want you to go.

 

Everyone Can See

WordPress Daily Prompt – Tender

Tender tones disguised as conversation,
Can’t be hidden when our eyes meet.
Everything melts towards isolation,
I’m sure everyone can see.

Seconds crawl by giving pause to breathe.
Words stuck somewhere between you and I
Despite the struggle they can not be freed.
I’m sure everyone can see.

It no longer matters what we were before,
Or where we believed our paths to lead.
As the moment inches to a close,
I’m sure everyone can see.

Look Crisp

WordPress Daily Prompt – Crisp

My father always said that if you wanted to be taken seriously you had to look crisp. I took that advice to heart and, as I grew, accumulated quite the wardrobe. I gave each hanger a small push as I passed over them.

“Not you. Not you. No.” My fingers paused, poised for the push over a perfectly pressed white button down. Simple, clean … crisp, “You.” I plucked it from the hanger and tossed it around my shoulders. The smooth tortoise shell buttons passed between my fingers easily. “Perfect.”

Now a tie. A tie makes the man, another of my father’s pearls of wisdom. “Hmm.” My eyes scanned each tie carefully. This one had to be perfectly suited. Silk? “Maybe not.” Simple linen? I tapped my fingers against my chin. “I don’t know.” Perhaps a bow tie? “No, far too formal. Maybe for the funeral.”

My eyes landed on a simple blue linen tie. I passed it between my fingers feeling the soft fabric. “Where did you come from beauty?” Pausing in front of the mirror I held the blue tie to my white button down. “Oh, that’s very nice.” Without a second thought I draped it around my neck lightly.

“Hm.” I took in my reflection. “Pants will be necessary.” There was no pause in my search for the perfect trousers, I already knew which pair would be fit for the job. A simple black cotton pair that I returned to often. I tucked in the white button down carefully. I needed to look completely put together. “Crisp.” I laughed quietly, my father had been such a strange man.

My smile faded as I caught a glimpse of my thin figure in the mirror. “This hair will never do.” I had always been a fan of a simple combed back style. The right gel to hold it in place was also essential. With all the jerking movements I was bound to execute I needed my hair to remain firmly in place.

I finished off my crisp look with just the right pair of loafers. ‘Not too formal this time.” I let my gaze linger in the full length mirror as I straightened the tie. “Perfect. Now let’s go kill a man.” I paused for a moment allowing the words to sink in. “That’s quite sexist. It could be a woman too.”