Archive for the 'Drabble' Category

In-Between Alphabet: R is for Really

Sep 19 2014 Published by under Drabble,Series:In-BetweenAlphabet

Really is a realist, uninterested in fiction when it has facts. Exclaiming in a loud voice, its curiosity overrides its reticence in its search for the literal retelling of events. Really has an honesty that can be taken in extremis, but its lack of doubt is refreshing.

She says Really, frown lines smudged into her forehead. And the doubt that colors her voice sinks into his skin like invisible tattoos. He deserves it, knowing he’s stood her up multiple times already. Why should she believe in his promised presence? Still, it hurts the way a heavy weight on his ribcage hurts, deep and crushing and silent. He remembers those early gold-dusted days when she had no knowledge of his failings, when she had no memories of what his excuses sounded like.  So what if his excuses were legitimate? How legitimate could they be if their jagged edges tear away pieces of her fragile trust? He reaches out for her hands, and tucks away the glimmer of joy when she places them in his safe-keeping without hesitation. At least he still has this. For now. She says Really, and he nods, willing her to give him one more chance to prove himself.

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In-Between Alphabet: Q is for Quite

Sep 10 2014 Published by under Drabble,Series:In-BetweenAlphabet

Quite is a drama queen, shifting from one extreme to another, never happy with the middle ground. It likes to step out of the crowd around it and be noticed. With a high opinion of itself, Quite surrounds itself in the extraordinary, the exceptional, and the geniuses. Yet, it’ll suffer no fools. Quite gets to the root of the matter, speaking the truth in a no-nonsense manner. It lives in a black-and-white world. It is or it isn’t, nothing else.

She says Quite, delighted, bowled over by the puppies engulfing her with their flyaway fur and slick tongues and gleaming noses. He has been replaced by faces much hairier than his, the outlines of his body blurring into the general background of other-things-not-puppy. It doesn’t bother him. He’s always known he may come first to her on most days in this present-day scenario, but he ranks far below puppies and kitties and other animals with pelts much fluffier than his. Instead, he laughs, his camera phone capturing her and the surrounding vague blurs of frenetic action. When they leave, though, her whole face and body collapses into the center of her being. “Can’t we bring one home? Just one?” Someday, he says to her, someday we’ll have a home with a big backyard and a white picket fence and room for a hundred puppies to roam, even as he can’t even begin to imagine a scenario in which a hundred puppies can fit into a normal suburban household. Someday, he repeats for emphasis. And the fact that he can say someday, that their future together is so assured as to be predicted and assumed satisfies him the way he never understood during the phases of his life he shunned companionship and even during phases when he longed for it. She says Quite, and it sounds like agreement, like confirmation. It sounds like truth.

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In-Between Alphabet: P is for Per

Mar 17 2014 Published by under Drabble,Series:In-BetweenAlphabet

Per is exacting, but in a general sort of way.  It likes distilling large amounts of data into compact packages, sets the figures marching in neat configured lines so that they all blur together into one organized mass instead of the individual parts they are.  Per much prefers the forest to the trees, but only if the forests are sorted by rainfall and elevation and density, and only if completely attributed to it in the first place anyways. 

She says Per, and he yells back at her, “Stop it.  Stop categorizing me.  Stop analyzing my every action and reaction and putting them in neatly-labeled boxes.  I’m not an either/or.  I’m not a blip on a bell curve.  I am me, in all my complicated vagueness. I am a gray-colored mass of indescribable me-ness.”  The color drains from her face, from her lips which press together until they disappear.  Her hands splay out in front of her in surprise.  She doesn’t understand, and it makes everything worse, because she’s the one who’s supposed to understand.  He’s not sure why it’s this instance that sets him off and not another.  It doesn’t matter as he stomps away to the computer, covering his ears with headphones in hopes the loud music will drown out the sound the vibrating hurt he left in his wake.  He can’t help her.  Not with a matching pain vibrating through his core.  She touches his shoulder but he stays stiff.  “I just need to be alone now,” he says, hoping to clear his mind,needing to curl into himself until there is nothing in this world touching him.  She walks away, and he is glad.  Slowly, too slowly, the hurt ebbs away, and when he slips into bed, beside her rigid form, he touches her shoulder in apology.  She rolls over and molds her body to the sharp corners of his.  Holding her close, he contemplates the complicated creature in his arms, and how he’s glad she can’t be categorized either, because it means she’s worth knowing, worth falling into bed with, worth all the heartache.  She doesn’t say Per for a long time afterwards. 

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In-Between Alphabet: O is for Of

Mar 06 2014 Published by under Drabble,Series:In-BetweenAlphabet

Of is curious, always wanting to know more detail.  It elucidates at length, distilling the topic smaller and smaller until it fits in the palm of someone’s hand.  Of isn’t content to see merely the general picture.  It scrutinizes each subject with squinted interest, examining and probing and categorizing until it’s satisfied. 

She says Of while her hands fly through the air, nails narrowly missing his eyes.  He ducks just enough to move out of the danger zone without bringing her attention to the movement, without bringing her attention back to herself and the fact that they’re sitting in the public arena of a fast food eatery.  The words spill from between her lips in waves; and she’s too excited, too passionate, too wrapped up in her thoughts to smile.  He pulls her earnestness around him like a cozy blanket.  Even if he doesn’t quite understand half the things she’s expounding on, it doesn’t matter.  Later on, the anxiety will silence her, shrink her to a fraction of her size, and still her expressive hands.  He’ll speak her words to the outside world, even if they don’t sound as beautiful filtered through the intonations of his voice.  He wishes she would show the world the same intelligent fervor she reserves for him, that he could convince her the world isn’t waiting around to mock her, that her past doesn’t have to mirror her present.  While her mind may understand, her heart refuses to comprehend.  She says Of, and he smiles encouragement at her, praying for the day those smiles manage to salve her soul. 

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In-Between Alphabet: N is for Next

Oct 08 2013 Published by under Drabble,Series:In-BetweenAlphabet

Next always follows behind, never allowed to storm into the fray first.  Another has come first and once there is a first, all are designated as Nexts, an army indistinguishable from each other.  Next enjoys closeness, settling besides like a warm puppy, one second squeezed against you, the next wriggling with impatience to move on. 

She says Next, fingers flicking lazy through the air, indolent body sprawled on the couch as if lacking any sort of skeletal structure.  He may have been bestowed with remote control privileges, plastic rectangle warmed with the heat from his hand, but he’s not deluded.  When he’s too slow to change the channel, she breathes out a heavy sigh and pokes him in the thigh, fingernail sharp even through denim.  Next, she repeats, not amused or fazed by the way he mock-glares at her in exasperation.  He could tussle with her over this, insist on his way, and he’d win.  But then the heavy weight of her head would lift from the hollow beneath his collarbone, and the pressure along his side would cool, and he finds this expectation rather distasteful.  So he presses the channel up button.  The colors of the television screen flicker to black before rearranging themselves in new patterns of movement.  He glances down, rewarded by the small quirk of her lips, the narrowing of her eyes as her quicksilver mind processes the images into coherency.  She throws out a snarky comment directed at some aspect of the program now inhabiting the screen, sly and cutting, eyes fixed on him.  He’s laughing before he’s even quite understood it.  She says Next once again, and his hands reach for the remote control, more interested in the play of her expressions anyways.

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In-Between Alphabet: M is for Maybe

Jul 08 2013 Published by under Drabble,Series:In-BetweenAlphabet

Maybe consists of the tension between two or more choices, and the inherent initial indecision connecting them.  Maybe only appears when each possibility is equally viable but not equal in consequence.  It is a set of one-way crossroads.  Once a decision is made, the other roads dissipate into the amorphous ether of never-was.  Maybe is made of both yes and no, both existing as a part and a whole, an individual-sized Schrodinger limbo.

She says Maybe and he barely manages not to grind his teeth in frustration, the tick of the clock seeming louder with each passing second, minute of indecision.  It seems like such a simple thing, choosing what victuals to ingest, but they’re locked in a struggle of epic proportions better suited to a swords-and-sandals film than in the close confines of their relatively mundane home, the air outside hot and muggy enough to add fuel to his impatience.  Intellectually, he understands her hesitation in making the final decision.  Yet, no matter how often he assures her that he doesn’t mind either way, that his love for her won’t diminish if she chooses to eat hamburgers over sushi or vice versa, she insists on dithering, her mouth tight, her eyes watching each twitch of his facial muscles as if she can read his mind from the slide of skin across his bone structure.  She says Maybe and he throws his hands in the air, stomping off into the bedroom to see whether he’ll die of starvation before she makes up her mind.

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In-Between Alphabet: L is for Like

Jun 24 2013 Published by under Drabble,Series:In-BetweenAlphabet

Like is a feeling: positive, affectionate, an acknowledgment of choice and preference.  It signifies an invisible drawing force.  Instinctive, subjective, Like can not be taught, only developed, never forced.  Like also indicated similarity, a comparison of features inextricably linked in one’s mind, neural connections developed from experience and observation.  It is personal, a subconscious extension of oneself. 

She said Like after they’d known each other for 9 months, 4 days, and 5 hours, give or take.  Her eyes didn’t move from his, pink spreading across her cheekbones like a watercolor stain, her fingers clasped so tight in front of her, splotching a matching white and pink.  He’d fumbled and stumbled and not known what to say.  So he’d said nothing as they stood together on the top of the parking structure, only turned his head away far enough to see the rising sun peeking over the top edge of the horizon. She’d taken that as a polite dismissal, turning with him, the pink of the lightening sky five shades paler than the one darkening her features.  When they’d parted ways, to their own separate places, he’d watched her go, watched each step take her further away from him until she’d disappeared around the corner.  That night, sitting in front of his computer, his chest ached, not in a heart-attack sort of way, no sharpness or teeth to the pain, no throbbing or shooting, just a dull ache, a bittersweet one, like seeing the credits roll after a particularly good movie, or the last bite of an ice cream cone.  Like an ending.  But he didn’t want it to end, even if he didn’t know what it was, and the more he thought of her, of her eyes, and the pink and white splotches of her knuckles, the ache grew and grew until he could stand it no longer.  He messaged her.  Like, he said.  I like you too. She says Like 8 years, 10 months, 8 days, and 3 hours, give or take, from that message he’d sent her.  He pulls her closer to him, entwines her fingers in his, and watches the ring of silver he’d placed on her finger years ago sparkle in the sunrise. 

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In-Between Alphabet: K is for Keep

Jun 17 2013 Published by under Drabble,Series:In-BetweenAlphabet

Keep tucks away sentiments and objects and sentimental objects away, always for an explicit reason, and they become a part of identity, an extension of this discrete breathing spark of life.  Keep pushes forward, one step in front of another, a repetition of actions and the forces behind them.  It represents both the outer physical make-up and the inner amorphous engine separating each individual from another. 

She says Keep, smiling up into his eyes, hands feathering over his arms in the dark of night.  A hot cup of tea appears before him, translucent steam curls in fractal patterns before dissipating, leaving behind earthy aromas.  He rolls his shoulders, his eyes a weary mass of burning aches from remaining open longer than the muscles were designed to withstand.  Black symbols dance around him in a wavering mockery of a foreign tongue, taunting him with visions of failure, of money crumbling to dust, of proof of his oft-wondered stupidity.  Morning is leaking into the dark province of night, his exam approaches him akin to a battering ram, and at this exact moment, giving up seems the least painful option. She says Keep, slipping a biscuit, crumbling at the edges onto the white paper napkin, beside the tea.  He drags her close to steal a kiss and forges ahead.

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In-Between Alphabet: J is for Just

Jun 10 2013 Published by under Drabble,Series:In-BetweenAlphabet

Just is the bare minimum, the thinnest outlines of an entity.  It categorizes, in the basest way, each into specific patterns built from childhood instruction.  Just denotes the implications of equality, fairness, the delicate easily overwrought scales of morality.

She says Just and kicks a pile of books askew.  Frustration spews from every pore as she rampages through the bedroom.  He sits along the sidelines, not sure whether to intervene on behalf of the victimized objects flung around the room in haphazard patterns, whether the risk is worth the potential for being sucked into the whirlwind whipping through the thin walls of their home. But soon he can’t bear the waves of hurt rippling through the air and he pulls her into his arms, whispers fantasies in her ear of perfect worlds and ideal people and other mythologies, a muttered stream of nonsense with no other purpose than to soak up her unhappiness.  The tense vibrations shaking through her limbs slow, her heartbeat keeping pace, until she bows in his grasp, weeping angry-hot tears into the fabric over his heart.  She falls asleep, exhausted, breath hitching in random spurts, the word Just lingering against the curve of her lips before it falls headlong into the soaked fabric cooling in the still air.

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In-Between Alphabet: I is for Is

Apr 29 2013 Published by under Drabble,Series:In-BetweenAlphabet

Is is a state a being, an existence, a presence of fact.  Is doesn’t acknowledge the past nor casts its eyes into the future, content instead in each fleeting snapshot image of the present.  Perhaps the Is that embodies now resembles nothing of the Is that embodies the next now, but both are true representations nevertheless.  Is can describe the most minute detail, microscopic in notice, or it can hold within it the grandest truth stitched into the fabric of the universe.  It can be rooted in the most obvious of reality, or it can speak of the complex profundity of the most hidden human condition.  Is is everything. 

She says Is in the midst of a quarrel, her hands slashing down in emphasis, the tips of her nails flashing white in the afternoon sun pouring through the window.  Frustration wells up within him, trickling through carved channels of affronted justice.  He wishes he could convey the thoughts rushing through his mind, that particular shape of emotions dwelling in him, but it becomes scrambled in his brain, mixed-up and confused and the words spilling from his lips are mere shadows of what he means.  They fly out into the air, these word-spirits, twisting and morphing, so that by the time they dip down into the canals of her ears, they resemble nothing of their origins.  She looks at him, hurt shimmering over her features like a heat wave over cracked tarmac, then volleys words back at him, words that hold no meaning except that they render him injured in a mirror reflection of her.  As she turns away from him, he realizes he’s won.  But winning scratches chalky and bitter in his throat.  He reaches out, her shoulder slipping away from underneath his fingertips, because the prize of winning is only loss.  He would rather lose a thousand battles if the consolation prize is her presence beside him.  She says Is, her features softening, the tear tracks drying on her cheeks, then reaches out back to him.

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