It’s calm before the havoc. The moment where all your hairs turn in the same direction in excitement. You’re waiting for something to happen knowing full well that it’s you you’re waiting for. The moment drags its feet in front of you and you’re clasped in between memories and fantasies of what could be. There’s no time left to create. As the seconds go by you grow angrier and more anxious. Why isn’t it happening? “The moments passing, but courage has yet to hit me”, you think as they cheer wildly in your head. If there was ever a time for hope this was it. Did she look your way? Did they realize how amazing you truly are? Are you just dreaming or is this actually going to happen. Wake up! Fly, there’s no more time, the ground beneath you is crumbling. You can’t stay here any longer. You must go.
The room was clean when he gathered his thoughts. In front of him lay a bookshelf with various types of things he’s read over the years. Some on self-help, some on business and others just for fantasy. He sat there discontent. Years of memories gathered around him as one’s room should. It had pictures of his loved ones and trophies of triumphant times long gone. There was a bottle of Don Julio with two shot glasses he had collected in his travels through Asia. He sat there alone with the night breeze his only companion. Through his mind he thought, “What was I supposed to do? It seems like a memory I should have remembered. I got to work, I aim to go to the gym and then I use whatever time I have left to figure that out. I want to do something but I don’t know what it is! It’s the imminent feeling you get when you’re so close to something but you miss the mark. Did I not say enough? Did I say too much? What was it….” He gets up. “Maybe it was to meet my soulmate…but that sounds too easy…” he muttered. “I can’t die without knowing…and I can’t bear living if that’s not where I’m going to…to find the answer I’ve been looking for.” He lays in bed to uncover the sheets and rest his head. The night has passed and the sandman has come. Slowly he reaches his hand out from under the blanket to reach for the ceiling. He grasps it firmly unveiling a tortured fist filled with a temperament of sorrow. Suddenly he relaxes his hand and collapses it next to him. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll know…” he whispers as his dream blanket his conscious.
As they wrapped their presents for the day it had crossed his mind whether this really mattered to him. As the sounds of wrapping paper surrounded them it brought along many different conversations. Mostly the anticipation of their happy faces we’re on each other’s mind. What kind of expression does a person make when they receive a gift? Does it make you happy or does the idea of it do? Theses we’re all the thoughts that had crossed his mind.
“Do you think they’d appreciate everything we’re going to give? I mean it is cold I’d figure they’d want gloves… you know?” Irma said as she cut along the lines of the wrapping paper. As Ricky taped around the edges and put bows on he muttered, “I don’t know… What’s worst is when they get upset and throw it back at your face, homeless people have a lot pride you know”. They both sat there with worried eyes yet they felt compelled to feel excitement. It was picking up outside with the winter season well into effect. As he looked outside a droplet of rain pierced the windowpane to race to the bottom. Ricky: “Was that the last one? We better get going, I don’t know if they’ll stay out when it’s raining”. Irma: “Yeah let’s go! I wouldn’t want to be out in the rain either”.
They drove around the city for about thirty minutes before seeing anyone resembling a homeless person. “How about that one??” she said.
Ricky: No…yes? I don’t know…they could be homeless or just a regular person having a bad day…”
Irma: Well that makes no sense, we can’t judge someone for being less homeless than another person, just pull over I’ll hand it to them.
He gleams back at her with a fainting smile. She was right, he thought. We can’t help them by not helping them either and if you do offend someone well then that’s just the way the world works. He turns his signal lights on as they pull over. She scurries to find the nearest supply box, while pulling down the window. “Excuse me! Uh…yes hello, we’d like to give you this gift box just as a gesture of good will, have a merry Christmas!” She can see his cold expression fade away. The gentlemen had a thick green coat the resembled a style long ago. His untamed facial featured gave resemblance to a man in the wilderness. The grey hairs on his chin gave light to his age and with callus hands he held up a sign. It read, “Anything helps, GOD BLESS”. The day was cold but the moment was the warmest he’s had in a long time. “Oh wow…you didn’t have to but thank you, god bless. I get to unwrap something this year. You guys are awesome” He said as he took the package. She smiled tenderly at him. Ricky with a straight face forced a quick smile towards him. As she rolled up the window he geared up towards the next random destination. This went on till the day was done.
“Wasn’t that nice?” She asked him as the last package was dropped off. “Yeah…it was” He responded. “And now you’re a better person for it, you did something good for someone today” she exhaled. “I don’t know about better…but we did do something good today” he said with a sad expression. In the back of his mind he knows nothing had changed. You’re going through the motions…but you’re not connecting to them, he thought as he looked at her with worried eyes. She couldn’t notice his stare as she walked inside the house. He sighs as he looks back towards the car. The rain was coming down now and there was a somber feeling in the air. He shook the idea from his mind. You did something good and that’s good right? He asked himself as she called to him from inside the house. “Yeah…that’s good…that’s good” he whispered as he walked toward the house.
“Have all the thoughts been thought?” I say as I walk past by the corner of my building. The poinsettia flowers were almost out of season this time of year. In front of me I could see the green houses that surrounded us. A small garden of red and blue assorted flowers filled the brim of the building. The green houses were about the size of a small house with a wooden entrance that you could slide open or closed. With the chips and dents the door was crying to whomever it may concern that if they dare close them it would be the last time. They were open. I could see the seeds and stems that we’re growing within each potted plant for the coming months. There were rows of them without an end in sight. A truck in the distance can be heard with its constant whirring and gravel like sound it makes when the dirt filled tires meet the floor. The sky was as blue as it could be with wispy clouds blanketing them in the background. It was calm. I stepped out on the gravel rocks around me. With their cracking and crinkling whispers, ever so slowly a thought occurred to me. Am I original? What does that even mean? Am I somebody that someone wished they could be? Or are all these thoughts already been thought? I don’t know what I don’t know I suppose as I kicked a few pieces of rocks around. A gust filled the narrow aisles and with the sudden dust it forced me to look up. With my hands in my pocked I sighed and forced a smile. It’s a beautiful day.
I can’t write the best songs. I’ll never be a famous actor. I’ll never save someone with an act of true heroism. I won’t be in the Olympics for as long as I live. I’m too short, and too old and far too slow. At the time I’m 26…what can I really do? I’m young enough to start my life but old enough to know I can only be second best. I’ll never be a concert violinist like the dreams I used to have. I’ll just be me. “I’ll just be me”, I whispered as I reached into pocket for my phone to see the time. It was 1pm. My lunch break was over and in my peripheral I could see my coworker had a question to ask me. She waved her hands with the countenance of one who’s worried.
As I gesture to reassure her I’m on my way another thought occurred. Then again…they’re also just them. They also write the best songs. They’re famous and they save lives every day. Why can’t I? Maybe…. this is why you should walk outside more often, I thought as I clocked in. As I glance outside one last time I had another thought. I never would have imagined a flower could look so stunning even when it’s wilting.
I don’t want to lose this feeling. I thought as the seconds pass by. The sensation of feeling unbelievable. The rush of emotions. Being completely in control it’s as if the universe is at my fingertips. Can we really be this powerful? I can smile and not know why. I’m not going crazy but I don’t want to go back to being so. I wasn’t moving back then and I sure as hell wasn’t happy. Now I’m moving and I don’t know where but it makes me happy. No one likes an ocean with no waves! We may not know where that ocean will take us but admit it! We’ll die if we stay here….I’ll cherish this moment forever. With absolute terror if lost, I’ll fight till the end to protect it. Just these few precious seconds is all I need to survive. Till the next wave hits me.
Slowly a zephyr blows through the streets shining with the pale moonlight. She glances up ahead. A man and his wife approach with benevolent stares. She smiles. The night was calm. It was just like any other Friday night out in the city. Cars were passing by and local shows can be heard in the distance. A piano with the song of Clair de Lune was resonating from the bar next door.
As he drives her home they begin to laugh about things that happened to them that night. He parks in the driveway. She gets out first holding her purse closely as if it could provide some warmth. She darts towards the house. He smiles and shakes his head at how silly she looks. As he looks on he sees a man standing near the doorway. The man wore broad shoulders covered by a warm winter coat and a fedora which was mostly covered by the light. He couldn’t recognize his face…and fear subdues him. Not so much that your heart could skip a beat but a goose bump of a thrill to send every hair to rise in line. As quickly as sound traveled he hears a blood-curdling scream coming from the man. It sounded like her but she was no where to be seen. He kept the lights on as he rushes to remove his seatbelt. In his panic he drops his keys. Fidgeting violently he smashes into his seatbelt as tears run down his cheeks. He is lost in both anger and confusion. He jumps out of the car. The man is in front of him now. She is gone. They begin exchanging blows one after the other. As quickly as they come the man with the fedora can still not be recognized in the flashing fury. The man in the winter coat pulls out a knife. He thrusts forward with doom that looms in front of the dagger.
He can’t stop him from coming. They get into a deadlock in arms with the unknown man holding the dagger. The mysterious figure slowly inches the dagger towards his heart with a mighty force. He resists with all the humanity he has left in him. He starts to scream in both creeping terror and courage. The dagger reaches the outer layer of his shirt. He has lost. Beads of blood creep out of his chest. Just before complete terror can reach him. He violently wakes up. His eyes were widened and jarred with the shocking realization. He glanced around the room to see if he was still dreaming. He clasped his hands together and felt both hands vividly. They were shaking. He was scared and breathing deeply. It’s as if it could all be taken away from him so easily.
“Dammit! He did it again! and he took it!” He shouted. Who is that? This is the third time and I can’t seem to shake this dream he thought to himself. His mind rapidly tries to drift into his dream before the waves of his subconscious can bury them. “Ok…I’m walking along with someone. Judy? But why? We’re both coming from some event or something” He whispered to himself. His eyes gaze lazily upon his room. The blanket of memories start to drape his vision as he reminisces. He can no longer remember but the fear remains. “It’s my heart…I don’t want to lose it…” He exclaims as he lays back down and stares at the ceiling. “What does it mean?!” he shouts as he scratches his head furiously. He inhales deeply. Exhaling a sigh of exhaustion he is finally awake. Maybe it’s nothing…he thought. “I hope so.” He whispered.
It was a cold September night. The lights were gleaming all around like stars waiting with stories to be told. From an aerial view the hustle of the city shouted with excitement. Cars were driving by gusting an ever familiar sound to the people on the streets. A distant police siren could be heard in the background. The ghetto bird was flying trying to find its target for the night.
“Where are we going?” she asked him. As he grasped firmly on the wheel, he picked up his cigarette to take a satisfying inhale. Quickly looking over at her he remains silent while he focused on the road. She fails to notice the glance. She focuses her attention on the radio as a song from Carlos Santana starts playing.
“I like this song” she whispered to him. I forgot how long it’s been since he came out with something new she thought. She looks out the tinted windows as the street signs flash by. They slowly turn into an abandoned parking lot. The flickering street lamps that resonated with a low hum filled the air. He parks and smiles faintly at her. “You’re going to love this…” He said as he parked and removes the keys.
As she gets out he walks towards the trunk of the car. Suddenly realizing there’s something to be seen she skips over to him. As his hands reach out to the sky while opening the trunk there are two large plastic fabrics laid down. He picks them both up while walking towards the grass. She can see that they are not connected but each one is stringed together in a parachute like fashion.
“Ah…the winds perfect tonight!” He exclaimed excitedly. The wind ruffles his jacket violently.
“Check it out…you see these parachutes? They’re not really parachutes. You can fly with them. The gusts are strong enough to pull you up tonight. This parks lies in between two mountain hills that the wind focuses exactly at this point. You know what I mean?” He explained as he unfolded both items on the ground.
The wind was picking up at that exact moment to where she could only hear tidbits of the explanation. She smiles confused. He understands. He clasps one of the shoots with both arms by the handles. As the wind howls she shivers while her hair dances wildly in front of her.
Suddenly he starts sprinting with his hands clasped in the air. With each step he creates a wave within his clothes to resemble sounds waves. The shoot opens up. Bright purple with blotches of red flowers fills the fabric. He jumps and just as if a clamp in a machine, he is lifted gently to a feather like presence in the night sky. He can see it all as time slows down. The buildings collapse beneath him in the distant night. Suddenly the town’s night sky illuminates with passion. He can see a school yard in the distance. A hospital and a freeway with an insurmountable a
mount of cars waiting to get home in gridlock traffic. He is free. There are no wings but even a man can fly if he wishes so. He grins uncontrollably and begins to laugh loudly. The wind muffles the sound. As he turns his shoot around he can see a yellow fabric open up in the now distant grassy field. She too… can fly.