This is a quickie warm up I did this evening, and I liked it so much that I even made the featured image. Excuse my inexperience with this language! It might be a short little quip, but I like it all the same.
I hadn’t had a fever like this since I was a child.
I tossed and turned in bed, my throat searing with pain every time I tried to swallow. The back of my neck was soaked with sweat, and I felt as if my whole body was on fire. Every once and a while, I dramatically threw off my blankets and opened my eyes, staring up at the pitch black void above me. Within seconds, the hair on my arms would raise in protest and a shiver would run down my spine, and I would desperately grab for my blankets to encase myself in their warm safety once again, only to begin burning within moments.
I broke up with you a month ago, and I’ve felt no loss, no pain, no sting, and no gain.
We dated for years, and I saw your face each day and your lips on my neck each week. Coupling with you in bed wasn’t my favorite, as my intimacy came from the warmth of the blankets, the sound of the waitress asking us for our orders, and the smell of morning coffee.
Several times you asked me, “Are you sure I’m the one you want?: and I said “Yes, I love you, and I’m with you because I want you.” and you said “Okay.”
I’m twenty five, and when my eighteen year old cat died, my Earth began to break and my sky began to shatter. Even with you by my side at night, I lost sleep, unable to feel safe, with my stuffed animals as a poor substitute for the furry round mass that used to purr against my chest, arms, and legs until I fell asleep.
You didn’t understand, as you were never a pet person. That was okay. I still had you to greet me when I left for work and beg me not to go. You were still there to ask me to make dinner and to watch over me while I was sweating with fever. You were still there when I slept.
It wasn’t long until I lost my job too, being gently let go be cause I just wasn’t fitting in anymore, or was it because I could no longer fulfill my duties, or was it cutbacks, or because I wasn’t interested in meeting the boss’ son for dinner last weekend?
As expected, I couldn’t seem to find work. You stayed to support me until I found work, work that I barely tolerated, where I loved on a good day and had meltdowns on a bad day and I didn’t need you to calm me down and I didn’t want you to be around when I celebrated. My heart grew distant, and I didn’t care for work much longer.
As my life dulled, my feelings for you dulled as well. Our love no longer brought me joy, and in time, I started to feel my resentment growing. I turned to my friends for all my needs, my intimacy, my companionship, everything but the sex I didn’t need and you seemed fine with it until you weren’t.
I had to leave before you grew to resent me too. You cried, begging me not to leave, because you could take care of me, I didn’t drink that much, let me have you again, I know you’re sad but I want to support you, but I said no, not because I was too depressed, too unfeeling, too dangerous, but for a reason I couldn’t say. In the morning, I found the empty bottles littering the living room. I’m sorry, but at the same time, I am not. I wouldn’t say that I just didn’t want to date you anymore, after five years of bliss.
I found another place to live, where I fueled irresponsible purchases with the money I made at a job I could barely stand. I drank to drink and smoked to smoke and cried as I hugged my pillows, wishing I could feel something, anything, even if just for a moment.
Six months and I was still the same. I laid in bed, the room beginning to spin because of how much I had drank that night, tears threatening to fill my eyes when I felt a small thump, and an excited rumble begin to erupt from her tiny body. She crawled onto my chest and rubbed her tiny, hot body against my face and licked and chewed my hair and made her unconditional love known to me as I gently ran my fingers through her impossibly soft kitten fur. She only grew to be more affectionate and to show me affection more fiercely than before, almost as if she knew that my body was beginning to starve from the lack of touched.
I smiled, because she was the only one to make me feel anything.
She felt like she was moving like molasses.
Waking up was a slow process, with burning, dry eyes and a heavy-set mind that never quite caught up to where she was. The cellphone on the nightstand rung out with a tone that was slow at first, but picked up after a few moments, as she thought it might make the ordeal easier if she were slowly introduced to it. It wasn’t. This was the ninth time that her alarm had gone off, and now, it was time to make herself get up.
Her mouth felt like sandpaper, and the water bottle she kept nearby was useless. Still, she clumsily twisted the cap off of it and took a long, deep drink of the plastic tasting water, spilling some on her jaw and neck. She didn’t care.
It only took five minutes to go downstairs, brush her teeth, take a piss, feed the cat, and stumble back upstairs to fall back onto the bed. The blankets were already starting to cool, and she gave a deep sigh as she fought to keep her eyes open. So far, her mornings were awfully similar to the mornings of people that she knew who weren’t the same, who didn’t get it, and who weren’t quite as tired as she.
An hour passes. She’s in bed still, tapping away at her phone, eyes warm and tired, hair still evidence of her slumber, and her phone’s battery slowly being eaten away by social media. It’s nearly time for work. Getting up and getting dressed was always an ordeal in the morning, but it was an ordeal that she must suffer through each day if she were to continue living on her own. Lightheaded, she managed to get out of bed and change into her work clothes as the buzzing in her ears began to dance with her vertigo.
Work was going to be a challenge, just like it was nearly every day. On the way there, she almost felt energized, as if stepping out into the fresh air and blasting her car radio was fuel enough to keep her going through the day. It never was enough. Within five minutes of arriving at her desk at work, the warm, hazy cloud was enveloping her again, and she stared blankly at the computer screen as it booted up.
Within an hour, the painful, physical need to sleep was crawling down her back. It didn’t matter if she got four, six, eight, of twelve hours of sleep. It was always like this. This heavy, encompassing feeling never went away, and the back of her mind always ached for something lesser, somewhere warmer, and somewhere darker. She yearned for the hot silence that her mind and body craved.
Seven hours later, and it was time to go home. She had nearly fallen asleep five times. Her bed was whispering in her mind as she turned into her driveway, and practically dragging her by the wrist by the time her front door was unlocked.
It was time to eat dinner and go to bed, then do it all over again. As she dragged herself up the stairs, she felt like molasses.
He stared at her as she pulled off her thin veil, her soft blue eyes glistening as she looked up at him. He had always loved how short she was. She had always loved how tall he was.
He had always loved her laugh, her smile, her body, and her gaze. He loved how she cooked, how she slept, and how she only used flower scented hygiene products. She smelled like a garden. He loved how she loved him.
She loved how he held her, how he kissed her, how he carried her, and how he cradled her. She loved how he drove, how he worked, how he read, and how he was allergic to mint and used fruity kid’s toothpaste. He always tasted so sugary.
It was only a matter of time before he knew that their child wasn’t his, as she hadn’t let him touch her for nearly a year.
Every morning, suddenly, I am awake. My hair falls in my face as I sluggishly rise from my overly pillowed bed, the warmth leaking out from my nest as soon as my feet hit the cool wooden floor. My chest feels heavy and my eyes burn from sleep. Sometimes I have an alarm to turn off, and other days I’ve woken up on my own.
Some days, I brush my teeth and comb out my hair, styling it in the same fashion as any work day. Loose around my shoulders with a plaid or solid colored headband. I apply a brown, matte lipstick and apply just enough eye makeup to hide the bags under my eyes and make it seem as if I had a good night’s rest. My cardigans always matched my headband and my skirts always had biking shorts underneath. My socks were always white, or if I was feeling daring that day, patterned with some kind of cute animal. I have an image to keep, as any accountant would.
Other days I let my body flow freely, wearing just a loose tanktop and a pair of basketball shorts around my apartment. My tattoos are exposed and my hair goes wild and unbrushed for the sake of freedom. I might be drunk by noon, and I might stay sober until the sun goes down. If it’s a special occasion, I might even order in takeout and get high until I feel sideways and don’t know which way is up.
Between my days, there’s one thing that is always consistent. The shop around the corner from my apartment complex always calls to me at the same time each day. Thirty minutes before the coffee shop closes, I stop in, either in my perfect work attire or my messy loungewear, and I see her smile and wave to me, her smile perfect and her eyes crinkling just so.
Some people have an allure to them, an absolute chemical and social attraction that draws in even the most strong willed of minds. He had a draw like that, and each time he came back to me, my life was ruined.
We dated for two years. He taught me to play chess and I showed him all the best spots to hang out. He read philosophy notes to me over the phone while I dozed off. I drew him pictures and left cute notes in his hoodie pockets while he saved up his allowances to take me to see plays and fairs. I was so in love, and he was so in love.
This is more of just a warmup, but since it turned out so well I decided to post it here.
My heart fluttered in my chest. I hadn’t actually traveled alone before. One of my hands gripped the handle on my luggage as I carefully pulled it behind me, the wheels clicking on the cracked pavement outside of the Greyhound station. This was just a layover between busses, and somehow waiting for the next bus the most nervewracking part of the journey.
I pulled open one of the heavy doors to the building, knowing I had to wait about half an hour for my bus. The inside of the station was… seedy, at best. The middle of the room was large and empty, with stray benches along one wall. The other had the ticket takers. I saw a sign advertising a deli towards the back of the room, right above some vending machines that had scratched, cloudy glass. Pressing my lips together, I thought it might be best to skip the probably sketchy bus station deli and not even think about anything from that vending machine. I’d rather wait four more hours to eat than possibly make myself sick on questionable food.
I turned around, promptly heading back outside where everyone else waiting for their busses were. I stationed myself next to a pillar in the middle, nervously putting my hands in my hoodie pockets. A mental inventory of what I had to eat came to half of a bottle of water, one can of coconut water, some nacho cheese, and a bag of goldfish crackers. In my luggage I had 3/4ths a bottle of strong vodka and some saltwater taffy. It’ll have to do.
Remembering that I had a pack of cigarettes in my satchel, I reached in and dug one out, along with my pack of matches. I quickly lit up, taking a nervous drag as I looked around me. Everyone was grouped up with other people. I was alone, in a strange city, hundreds of miles from home.
And then someone caught my attention.
I’m so sorry. I must grieve, and this is only part of the process.
It’s my birthday again.
My roommate, Joey, had practically assaulted me in order to put a stupid cardboard party hat on my head. I stood in front of the mirror, staring at it. The hat stuck out like a goddamn sore thumb compared to the rest of my look. My clothes are black, black, and you guessed it, black. I leaned in, examining my face in the mirror. I supposed it was about time to change my lip piercing to something less subtle. The stud always sort of got boring after a while, but for some reason, I always put that one in. Sighing, I figured it didn’t matter. I had work to do today. It was the only way that I could earn more time.