All of the words below are my own. These are three completely unrelated excerpts from my personal archives. I consider myself an author.
The 8 a.m. trees are blooming in vibrant pinks, some sort of fruit giving off a faint scent of sugar. Republic Square is bustling quietly, people in business attire moving faster than they really need to and stay at home parents scuttling after chubby toddlers, not fast enough. I find an empty bench and sit. I feel quite numb. On the bench a few feet to my left, a young woman plops herself down and pulls a book from the inner pocket of her oversized jean jacket. It’s too hot for it, but she’s wearing all black. She pulls a thin cigarette from her breast pocket and lights it with a match.
She takes drag after drag and I can’t seem to drag my eyes off of her. The cigarette dangles delicately from her fingers. She tucks it for safe keeping into her mouth, then opens her roughly used book to one of its many dog-eared pages. The cigarette bounces along with her lips as she reads silently to herself.
The girl shifts on the bench so she’s stretching her legs across the length, her cowboy boots pointing at me. She’s reading Jekyll and Hyde. I stare at the cover for a second as something bubbles up inside of me. I erupt with laughter. It’s too ironic.
I’m sitting alone on a park bench in hysterics. Tears are streaming down my face because suddenly I’m not crying from laughter, I’m just crying.
And she’s watching me in my hysterics and the cigarette is stuck between her lips and she tries to pull it out of her mouth and her fingers slide and they hit the glowing orange ember at the end and I can smell burning flesh. “Fuck,” she drops the cigarette on the ground as the wind blows her towards me, and it smells like Halloween, sweet and gruesome.
I’m wiping the salt from my eyes and we’re staring at each other. The blisters on her fingers are kissing, and then she’s kissing the blisters on her fingers. I wish I had lavender oil or a band-aid to give her. “Are you alright?” we call to each other in unison.
She slings her bag over her shoulder and she is walking towards me. I rub my eyes, and my index fingers come away smudged with mascara that was supposed to be waterproof. “It’s just a burn,” she says, waving her hands as if it could help to cool them off. “I’m Cecilia,” and she reaches her non-scorched hand out to me.
I hesitate for a moment, then reach for hers with mine; “Valkyrie.”
You Are Seven
She has a thin silver ring in her right nostril. She leans against her heavy wooden desk nonchalantly, the zippers on her tall boots jangling happily. She has a tendency to push her hair out of her face, tucking it behind both ears, making her cheekbones pop out but creating the illusion that her ears are larger than they really are. She’s young, probably thirty, smooth skin with a few thin lines around her eyes and mouth. Happy wrinkles, except the ones between her brows that she developed from knitting them together too often. You don’t know this, but she hates those lines. They’re the only indicators of her anxious nature. They remind her of the twin ones her mother sports. But you see them as complex. You think the lines make her interesting. She wanted to teach high school, but she teaches second grade now. She addresses those seven and eight-year-olds as though they’re full grown people. You appreciate that, in your young mind that has always been praised for its maturity. She has a crooked smile and slightly favors the right side of her mouth when she speaks. You think she is beautiful.
The morning is starting like a clumsy baby, tripping slowly from 8:24 to 8:25 a.m. You stretch, that almost orgasmic shudder passes through your body as you struggle to wake up with the blue sky cold and smiling over your head.