Ellusive Illusions

They all start with white wings.

I don’t know what happens

but they never stay white.

 

Mine faded to an ashy gray by my eighth

birthday.

I didn’t do anything wrong.

 

Some of them break.

Sometimes in the

middle of flying.

 

I guess we pretend we’re innocent,

pretend we’re better,

pretend we’re whole.

 

I’m sick

of pretending.

Leaving You

The easy part was walking away. The hard part was admitting that it was all my fault.

Raindrops sparkled under the street lights. The wind cut through my skinny jeans and tank top. You had my jacket. Maybe I should’ve asked for it back, but then it would’ve smelled like you, like designer perfume.

Bright red light spilled down on the sidewalk from the sign above the bar. It was some new place you had wanted to try. Their beer tasted like shit, but that’s not why I left. You didn’t even notice when I walked out. One minute we were ordering drinks, and then you started playing pool with some girl with a nose ring. Your ex had a nose ring.

Standing in the cool rain, I stared back through the window at you. You didn’t even glance towards the bar, towards my empty seat. My whole body shook as I turned away. You would’ve called me overly dramatic, but that wasn’t the first time that happened.

I didn’t cry when I drove home. Or when I deleted your number. You only sent one text: Where’d you go? You ok?

Was it my fault that you didn’t care? Did I not try hard enough?

I typed out long texts to you and then deleted them.

***

A week later, you called, interrupting my binge watching Star Wars. I let you go to voicemail. When you called again, I turned my phone off. I didn’t look at it again until right before bed. Then I listened to every message. I heard you crying and telling me you loved me. And part of me was relieved that you hurt as much as I did.

Bundled in my blanket on the leather couch, I shoved handfuls of popcorn in my mouth and fell asleep to Star Wars playing. The loud music from the main menu screen woke me in the morning. I checked my phone, convinced the phone calls were a nightmare. They weren’t.

The lump in my throat made it nearly impossible to talk, but I called you anyway. I was prepared to apologize. Somehow I ended up yelling at you.

***

It took me a month before I could go through your stuff. There wasn’t much. I threw out your toothbrush and some of the presents you gave me. I donated your old t-shirt. You probably tossed my stuff too.

Then I worked my way through our pictures together and the pictures I had of you. I stuffed them into a folder to torture myself with when I was sad.

How much self-pity can one person have? A lot. And that’s when I realized how pathetic I was. That moment, laying in my queen sized bed alone, was my worst. That’s when I knew I was wrong and you were right and I was incapable of functioning in a relationship. I’m sorry.

How Uncertainty Feels

My throat constricts.

The heat of the summer was-

Unknown and uncertainty floats-

This isn’t what-

What can-

What should-

How can I stress over and prepare for something-

No schedule.

Unsure.

Everything You Can’t Have

Dark clouds smudged the sky as Lily hurried up to her neighbor, Delilah’s house. Delilah answered the door. She was older (thirteen), a head taller, and already wearing heavy, dark eyeliner. Lily’s eyes latched onto Delilah’s white training bra strap. “Want to play?”

Delilah stepped back so Lily could come in. “Did you bring a wand?”

Lily flourished a twig that she’d found in the woods. Delilah squinted at it and nodded. “Good. Are you ready for your first magic lesson?”

“Yes!” Lily beamed, following Delilah into her bedroom. Glitter stuck in the pink carpet. Butterflies were still plastered to the yellow walls. Delilah flopped onto her bed and Lily sat at Delilah’s vanity.

Delilah pulled a polished, black magician’s wand without the white ends from under her pillow. “You’re going to circle your wand over an object, imagine what color you want to change it to, and say, ‘Colos muta‘.” Delilah demonstrated, waving her wand over her white, stuffed poodle. “Colos muta.” The fur turned bright blue.

Lily blinked hard, trying to understand what she was seeing. “It’s real. Magic is real.”

Delilah shrugged. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

Eager, Lily grabbed Delilah’s purple pencil box and waved her wand over it. “Colos muta.” Nothing happened. “Could I borrow your wand? Mine is broken.”

“No. Witches can’t use each others’ wands. It’s forbidden.”

“Says who?”

“Says the coven.”

“Can I meet them?”

“Maybe you’re just not a real witch.”

Lily recoiled. How could she not be a witch? She could see magic. She could wave a wand and say spells. “Delilah, please. I want to be a witch.”

Delilah crossed her arms. “Prove it. Real witches are telepathic. Say something to me in your head.”

Lily closed her eyes and thought really hard. I am a witch, just like you. Lily said it over and over again before finally opening her eyes. Delilah stared back at her, surprised. “You are a witch.”

“I told you.” Lily stuck her tongue out.

Delilah hopped down off of her bed. “Since you’re one of us, you need to look like one of us.” Delilah pulled her golden hair back into a ponytail before grabbing her eyeliner out of her vanity drawer. “Close your eyes again.”

Heat rose to Lily’s face as Delilah stood over her. She felt the pencil poking at her eye as Delilah ran the pencil over her eyelid. Delilah held Lily’s chin. “Stop moving.”

“You’re poking me.”

“I’m almost done.” Delilah stopped. “Okay, open your eyes. Now I just need to do the bottom.”

Lily’s eyes watered as she opened them. Delilah immediately started pressing the pencil against Lily’s lower lids. Lily tried not to move. She was about to give up when Delilah put the eyeliner down. “Perfect.”

Lily blinked her tears away and looked at the strange girl in the mirror. Even with her dark hair, she could’ve been Delilah’s twin. And in that moment, she saw everything she always wanted.

 

The Story of an Empath

Gold eye shadow brings out the green

in her eyes,

drawing my attention from across                                                                         the room.

The music blasting in my ear cuts

out.

My center of gravity shifts.

And I know.

 

I’m sorry for your loss.

That’s too formal.

Hey, I know I don’t know you, but I know your best friend just died and I’m sorry.

I sound crazy.

Weaving through the crowd, I try

to get closer to her.

But the weight of her grief squeezestheairfrommylungs.

 

Two hours and thirty minutes of avoiding her ends

when she taps my shoulder.

Her long, dark hair brushes against me as I turn.

Her eyes are glossy and bloodshot, but she smiles.

And my chest releases.

And the hurt heals to hope.

Ancient Dark

They knew what they would find when they got there. The stale, off-white walls of the mental institution drained the color from the place. Someone had tried to make up for it by buying yellow couches, but all that did was disturb the patients further. And nothing could mask the smell of body odor, blood, and urine. The closer the wardens came to Andrea’s cell, the worse the smell became. The head warden knocked on Andrea’s door.

She didn’t answer. He knocked again, and she knocked back. Then a horrible scratching noise started on the other side of her door. The head warden pulled a key from his pocket and let himself in. The door swung open, hitting Andrea though she didn’t seem to notice. She was too busy drawing eyes on the floor with a black crayon stolen from the coloring center.

Black symbols darkened her white walls. Eyes overlapped pentagrams, covering almost every inch of white. Swirling symbols decorated her nightstand and headboard. She’d even started to color her bedspread.

The head warden took a step into her room and her head snapped up. Her eyes were narrow and there was a disconnect. This person sitting on Andrea’s floor wasn’t Andrea.

The warden held out his hand. “The crayon, please.”

She hissed and drew faster, still staring unblinkingly. The warden cleared his throat. “Andrea, you are not a witch. You have psychosis. It’s very treatable as long as you follow our procedures. We can help you.”

Words poured from her mouth in a language unspoken for centuries. Fear bristled in the warden’s heart, and he shifted his weight to run. Then he felt it. It was as if his body had been penetrated by a ghostly hand. Cold discomfort went through him. It latched onto his stomach and forced him to his knees. Eye to eye with Andrea, he saw a primal darkness there and for a brief moment he felt one with something greater than himself.

The head warden died at 12:01 a.m. on an average Tuesday morning. Andrea vanished from her room at 12:02 a.m. No one bothered looking for her.

July Writing Update

I haven’t made an update post in awhile, so I thought I would start making them again. These updates allow me to connect with you guys more directly and share my long-term writing projects which I don’t typically post as they are in various stages of editing.

At the beginning of the summer, I finished editing my novel The Matter Bend. It’s currently being read by my trusted website designer and technologically savvy friend. When I get his feedback, I will hopefully be on the last edit of the novel before moving forward towards publishing.

Last month I picked back up and finished editing my novel Of the Same Soul. It’s a fantasy, romance about a girl who lives in the country of Ether where magic, dragons, and elves are just outside of her town. When her village is pillaged, her friend goes missing, and she does everything in her power to find and save him. It’s still in the early rounds of editing, but within a year I hope for it to be close to being published.

Currently, I am working on rewriting my novel which is still untitledThis one involves a witch whose mother just died and she’s trying to find out more about a mysterious picture she found among her mother’s things. I’m only on the second rewrite, but this story has really captivated me and I believe it will captivate others as well.

I’ve been keeping pretty busy this summer, and I appreciate any feedback that you guys have. If you haven’t already, check me out on Twitter at @Wedbushwrite or on Tumblr at Wedbushwrite. I post links back to my website whenever I have a new story or poem, and I also post a little more frequently on those platforms. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Unsent Texts

(To your ex)

I still love you.

Can we at least be friends?

Breaking up with you was the biggest mistake of my life.

Actually it wasn’t. You’re a huge douche.

Please, I’ll do anything to get back with you. I can change.

Listen, that friends with benefits thing sounds nice.

I’m dumping your shit on your porch.

Can I have my favorite book back?

Hey, how’s life?

Just thought you should know, I’m dating someone new.

 

(To your mom)

Stop stalking my dates on Facebook.

Stop trying to control my life.

No, I’m not having kids yet. Stop sending baby clothes.

 

(To your old best friend)

Saw this and thought of you.

We should get lunch soon.

Why’d we stop hanging out?

 

(To your crush)

You look nice 😉

Wanna grab dinner sometime?

I’m sorry that I’m so awkward.

Kiss my face.

Is it Love if?

Lavender straightened her desk at least twenty times a day. She’d wake up in the morning, drink her coffee, and fix her desk before starting her work as a freelance editor. On the good days, her husband, David, would kiss her before leaving for his law firm. Today, the front door opened and closed without a word. Lavender adjusted her papers again before reading another chapter of the manuscript she was editing. She highlighted at least five paragraphs in red and typed a detailed note to the author about how to fix it. He probably wouldn’t do it. She’d sent his manuscript back at least seven times already, which meant more pay but less new customers.

She moved onto the next manuscript, eyes roving over the electronic words until her head throbbed. Breaking for lunch, she reorganized her pens then popped a frozen pizza in the oven. Cooking was usually up to David.

Lavender burned her mouth on the cheese when her phone started ringing. “Hello?”

“Oh, so now you’re okay with talking? Are you even working right now?” David must’ve went to lunch early.

“I’m eating. What’s wrong?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

Should she even go there? “Please, talk to me.”

“I said I’m fine.”

“I’m probably going to have to work late. One of my authors needs to send me another draft.”

“If you keep working late, your dinner will get cold.”

“Then it gets cold.”

“But I work all day and then I don’t even get to see you.”

The same old fight. Lavender threw the rest of her pizza away. “You didn’t kiss me this morning. That’s on you.”

“I’m sorry. I’m just having a really bad day.”

“It’s okay. I love you.”

He hung up.

***

Lavender stopped editing every few minutes to adjust and readjust her desk. One second her papers would be angled too much to the left. The next second they would be stacked too high, and she’d have to organize them differently. As the garage door opened, she took David’s picture, positioned between her computer and printer, and put it face down. She tried to finish the chapter she was on, but David’s briefcase thumped onto the floor of her office. Loosening his tie, he kissed her cheek. She kept her eyes on the screen. “How was work?”

“Exhausting. Everyone always wants to sue everyone.”

“Welcome to America.”

“Why are you so mad?”

“I’m not. I’m just working.”

David crossed his arms. “I see. I’m not important enough. I just feed you. I’ll go cook dinner.” He left his briefcase by the door, and Lavender moved it out to focus.

The crappy author from earlier finally emailed her back just as the timer in the kitchen went off. She left the email unopened and powered down her computer hoping that would appease David. But fish wrapped in bacon with a side of green beans met her at the dinner table and all of it was cold. David sat next to her. “I’m sorry that it’s not your favorite, but we don’t have anything else in the freezer. You should go grocery shopping tomorrow.”

She attempted to eat a little bit of the salmon, but it was too fishy. “I don’t have time.”

David’s fork hit the plate. “But I cook. You don’t even try.”

“I’m not your mom.”

“No, but you’re your dad. Every opinion he has, you have. Why do we have to spend so much time with your parents?”

They didn’t. They saw her parents for Thanksgiving every other year and his parents for every damn holiday including President’s Day. She shoved her plate away. “Screw this. I’m going to live with my sister.”

“Fine. I paid for most of this house anyway.”

Her suitcase was packed in twenty minutes. As she started to roll out of the driveway, David ran out to stop her. “Baby, wait. I love you. Let’s talk about this.” It was like a movie. A movie that replayed at least twice a month, and Lavender didn’t think she’d ever get sick of it.

I Regret To Inform You

No matter how you try, you are destined

to be the same.

Same smile, slightly crooked.

Same fears, threatening your sanity.

Same anger, silent then explosive.

Mother molds daughter.

Daughter fights it.

Everyone always fights it.

 

We fight feelings,

bury crushes,

ignore what we know is true.

Put your life into a safe box and will yourself to believe

that this is all you want.

All you’ve ever wanted.

Because worse than chaos,

is regret.