#SwiftFicFriday Week 63 : Moonlight

“Go away. Just…” I took a deep breath, like my doctor had taught me to, let it out slowly, then took another. “Go away. I know you’re not real.”

I hadn’t seen her in over 10 years. She was part of who I once was, who I had been, that artificial construct I’d turned myself into. “Go away, Bria. Leave me alone.”

She kept turning up in my life. Always at night, like she was part of the moonlight. I couldn’t escape the moonlight, or Bria. Maybe it was my memories of her, that she somehow knew everything I was, was an artificial construct, meant to keep other people happy so they’d shut up, and leave me alone.

It had been an awful day at work. I got screamed at by some idiot white man, for not being able to install his 20 year old program on his new computer. “Dude. I’ve been doing this for 40+ years. When I tell you it can’t be done, I’m not lying. And I’m not an idiot that doesn’t know anything.” I wished I could have screamed those words at him. Those words, and many more.

You’d think, sitting on the vinyl covered kitchen floor, on the concrete hard foundation of the house, at freaking midnight, I’d be alone. No one to talk to. Just me. In the silence, and the dark.

But there Bria was. That same magic light in her green eyes. That same music in her laughter. “How could you tell me I’m not real?”

“Because I’m the only one who can see you.”

“You mean I can’t be real because our hearts can’t talk with each other? Because our souls can’t touch each other?”

“Go away, Bria, and let me die.”


“No. That’s not what your heart wants.”

299 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 66 of #SwiftFicFriday, hosted by Katheryn Avila. Slowly starting to find words again. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #SwiftFicFriday. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up regularly.

Because. You’re Safe.

The next night, I went to sleep, wondering, as I’d wondered for over 40 years, what women meant when they said to me, “You’re safe.” It was something I’d never understood. A mystery of life. I had all the same body parts as the guys they said weren’t safe. Lots of other guys were smaller than me. Lots would look at their lawn, and wish they could pay someone else to mow it.

I didn’t always have a good opinion of other guys. Was I safe because of the sports things I didn’t like, and didn’t do? Perhaps it was because I didn’t group off with other guys, and talk about banging someone who walked by. “I could tap that.”

Whatever it meant, I’d never understood it. It said to me, “He can’t hurt you. He’s not a threat to you. You can always escape him. If he gets angry, he’ll walk away.” It always meant, “He’s not a warrior type. He’s a non-threat.”

That night, as I wondered yet again, what it meant, I drifted off to sleep. And to sleep is to dream, even if the dreams are never remembered.

When Tommy got to the Halloween party, Ginger sat down next to me on the sofa, “I’m going  to use you to keep me safe from him.” Ginger usually never talked to me, about anything. She certainly never sat next to me anywhere. But, there she was, so close to me on that sofa, I couldn’t have avoided physical contact with her if I’d tried. She sat right next to me, and started talking about all kinds of things.

Tommy was a good friend of mine. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, unless that fly landed on his ice cream. That happened, the fly deserved to die anyway. I had no idea what Ginger was talking about, no idea how sitting next to me was going to keep her safe from Tommy. Hell, if he wanted a fight, I’d lose big time. Some 180 pound guy going against a brown belt in karate? I’d be dead in seconds.

So, I sat there, on that sofa, completely in the dark, with no idea what she was talking about, since I knew Tommy wasn’t going to hurt anyone.

It was one of those mysteries to me, what she was doing, and even what she thought was a threat. I sat on the sofa, and watched as Tommy and his room mate, Ben, said hi to everyone at the party, got their plates of Halloween candy, and their cups of George’s famous spiked sherbet punch, and went out on the back deck.

They stayed on that deck the rest of the party. After Ginger saw they weren’t coming back from the deck, she got up, and was suddenly the same Ginger I’d known for years. The one that almost never talked to me.

I blinked my eyes, and everything changed.

Lora, Bill, and I were in the computer lab back in college days. Wow, that was a long time ago. The mainframe was down for preventive maintenance. They hauled it down at 0500 hours every morning. We were the last three people in the computer lab. All three of us in the same class, with the same project due in a few days. All three of us trying to fix our programs, and living on caffeine and sugar.

After a few minutes, Bill declared he was hungry, and was going to get something to eat. He asked Lora if she wanted to go with him. “I’ll even pay.” Sounded like a good deal to me. I might have taken him up on that, but he hadn’t asked me.

Lora declined. For like, ten minutes, she declined. Over and over again. He couldn’t talk her into it, no matter how he asked, or how he financed the meal for her. Eventually, he gave up, “OK. I’m going to go eat now.” And he left.

I had to remind myself to not choke when Lora asked, five minutes later, if I’d walk with her to the 7-11 store, for munchies. A pretty girl asked me to walk with her at 0515 hours, across the campus, to the main road, where the 7-11 was? Only an idiot wouldn’t have said yes. I never turned down the chance to walk with a pretty girl.

We walked, and talked about the way class had been going, and how insane the access to the mainframe had become, with 30 minute use limits put on it, and a line to use the next open terminal that stretched out of the lab into the hallway of the building.

At the 7-11, we picked out the munchies we wanted. She paid for hers, I paid for mine. I was polite, of course, and let her know if she was short of cash I could pay the rest. After all, I did have a part time job, and an income.

With munchies in hand, drinking sodas on the walk back to the lab, my curiosity got the best of me, and I asked an obvious question. “Why didn’t you go eat with him? And why ask me to walk to 7-11?”

She had this pretty smile. A pretty girl, with a pretty smile. “Because. You’re safe.”

Then, I blinked, and the dream changed again.

My wife was driving, and her car was out of gas. “We’re stopping at the station.”

“OK. You want me to tank it up?” I don’t know why I asked. She always wanted me to tank it up.

“Yep.”

She pulled into the station, picked a pump, parked next to it, and handed me her credit card. “We’ll use my card this time.”

I got out, and walked around the car, to the gas pump, on her side of the car, and opened the gas tank, also on her side of the car. It took a few, but I filled the tank with regular unleaded. I made sure I closed the tank, and got the receipt from the pump when I was done. She always asked for the receipt.

As I filled the tank, I noted how quiet the night was. It had been a long day, she’d wanted to go on one of her shopping trips, at the stores in a mall three hours from home, because they had things our stores didn’t.

I didn’t argue, as it meant I got to spend time with her, and I already knew, if I didn’t keep her company, she would make my entire week miserable. Oh, she wouldn’t do it intentionally, or deliberately, but it would happen anyway. Because I knew she needed those trips to vent, to let off steam, and to de-stress from her job.

Filling the gas tank at a gas station 100 miles out of town at freaking midnight wasn’t fun, but the car needed gas. I just wished she’d have handled it herself that time, so I didn’t have to.

Then, I blinked, and everything changed again.

Julie got up from her desk and wandered over to mine, “I need to take a walk outside. Come with me.” It wasn’t really a request, but I knew I didn’t have to. Still. Julie. Never occurred to me why she asked me to go on a walk. I mean, the lab we worked in was full of guys who would have been happy to walk with her.

I got up, and off we went. Damn, that woman could walk. She did three laps around the building and parking lot. And she talked about everything. About the kitchen work she and her family were doing at home. The new car she was getting used to since the wreck totaled her Jeep. The boat her husband wanted, and didn’t know she was going to get him for Christmas. And food. Always food.

We walked for over 20 minutes. She was the only woman in sight. That got me looked at a few times, and had me wondering, “What, those guys never seen someone walking with a pretty woman?”

Then, I blinked, and I was in a room, alone, with a voice that was calm, and quiet, and I had no idea where it was coming from.

“Do you finally understand?”

“Understand what?”

“Because, you’re safe.”

“Don’t talk to me about that! You know that pisses me off! Everyone thinks I’m harmless! I know that, and you know how much I hate that!”

“You still don’t understand, do you.”

“Understand what? That I’m no threat to anyone?”

“No! That’s not it at all!”

Then, a word started to form in the air, in front of me. There was no way I couldn’t see it. I watched it come into focus. “#METOO”

I screamed at the voice, “I never hurt anyone! I never hurt any of them!”

“I know.”

There was a pause. A silence. I didn’t hear anything, not even my own breathing. Dead silence.

“They know too.”

I stared at that damn hashtag hanging in mid air in front of me.

“Because. You’re safe.”

There was Lora, standing in one corner of the room, “Because. You’re safe.”

A second voice spoke, “You kept me safe from him.” It was Ginger, standing in another corner.

My wife’s voice came from the third corner, “Yes. You fill the tank.”

Julie turned up in the fourth corner, “Take a walk outside with me, please.”

And that damn voice from nowhere asked, “Do you finally understand?”

“Because. I’m safe.”

It never had occurred to me before. I’d never understood, in 40 something years of trying to figure it out, I’d never seen the obvious. “Because. They knew I wouldn’t hurt them.” I stared at the hashtag, “#METOO” floating in the air in front of me. “They knew I wouldn’t lay a hand on them. I wouldn’t ask for anything.”

I finally understood what they’d said. What they’d all said, in so many different ways.

We can trust you. Because. You’re safe.

That’s when I realized the room was no longer dark, the sun had risen, and it was time to start my day.

#ThrusThreads Week 432 : What Is All This?

“You’re the one that wanted to see what’s going on inside my mind, this wasn’t my idea.” I’d warned her, but she wouldn’t listen. No one ever listened. So, she’d insisted on the link, a small chip in her, another in me, and they talked to each other, and shared our dreams, our wishes, all the rest.

After a week, she was going all Fruit Loops on me, because of what she’d learned about me, and about the chaos I live with, and in, all the time. Every heartbeat, every breath, endlessly. “I did tell you I didn’t think it was a good idea.”

“I know. You did.” She looked at me like I was a complete stranger, someone she’d never met. “But I never expected anything like this.”

“You mean, you never expected anyone like me.” I don’t know why she didn’t slap me then, because I knew from that damn chip she wanted to.

She gritted her teeth, and I heard that chip screaming, “We have to talk! I have to fix you! Everything is all wrong!”

“What is all this?” She waved at her head, and then at mine, where I chips were. “What is all this stuff?”

“It’s the me I don’t show.” Yeah, that summed it up nicely. “The me I don’t let anyone see, because I know they can’t live with it.”

She started to talk, but I cut her off, “You know damn well there are reasons I take Prozac every day.”

249 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 432 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Something I may have to write. Something much bigger than 250 words. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

Inside My Eyelids (13)

Of course, I never knew her, she was part of a dream. But I remember her name, and always will. I remember she stood on a tiny bit of what was left of the world, with her violin, and she played for me, as I stood on another tiny bit of what was left.

One by one, we’d watched people vanish. Everyone we knew, loved, befriended, grew up with, hated, wished would die, wished would live longer than we did. Everyone. We watched them vanish. One by one, into the cold, as their tiny parts of the world crumbled into dust which the wind blew away. One by one, the wind grabbed them, and took them beyond the edge of everything, and they were gone.

“I feel like I should know who you are.”

“Nava.” She didn’t ask who I was. She smiled, and held up her violin. “Now, old man. Before we too vanish, I would play one last song.”

It was a song I’d never heard. A song that needed no words, only the sounds of her violin, the beating of her heart, and everything either of us had ever felt.

As she played, one by one, the little bits of land, floating around her, slowly turned to dust, and they too were gone. Her music said good-bye to each of them. To each person she had ever known. To each heart that had never turned to stone.

Then, she played for me. Her music said, “I never got to meet you in this life, except to say good-bye. I wish we’d had more time to spend. I’d love to play you many songs.” As she played, the wind picked up, it blew her hair, and dress, and I knew what was to come. I know she knew too.

At first, it was only the edges of her little bit of land. A bit of dust, every now and then. Then, the bottom began to crumble, and I watched, and wondered, if she saw the tears I know I cried. Too soon, all that was left was a tiny place for her to stand. But, still, Nava played that one last song for me. As the last bit of ground beneath her feet began to crumble, and the wind took it away, bit by bit. She played on, until the last of that ground was gone.

And then, the wind carried her away.

To this day, I wonder what it meant, that dream of the end of everything. Where the world fell apart, and crumbled, as it turned into dust, and everyone was gone. To this day I wonder what it meant that Nava stood there, on that last bit of land, and played one last song for me, and me alone, before she was gone. To this day, I wonder why I was the last one left, and how long I was there, on that bit of land and rock that was all that was left of everything I’d ever known.

And to this day, when I look in the mirror, at my eyes looking back at me, I wonder if that dream, and all the others I have had, where I’m the last one left of everything, and every one I’ve ever known, is life’s way of telling me I’ll have to say good-bye to everyone, one soul at a time, until I’m the last person on this world I’ll have ever known.

577 words
@mysoulstears


Written in response to the prompt for week 147 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.

Inside My Eyelids (12)

It was one of those nights I didn’t want to sleep. “If I sleep, I know the dreams will be there.” In the process of avoiding sleep, I wound up in front of the bathroom mirror, staring at the me I saw there, hearing the words of an old song.

“A mirror, is a negative space with a frame,
And a place for your face
It reveals, what the rest of us see
It conceals, what you’d like it to be” (1)

When I closed my eyes, and shook my head to clear my thoughts, I heard the words an old friend, one who was lost to time, and to my past, had said to me. “Most people know. They know. And they will do anything to not have to think about it, to make it not real. Because, if it’s real.” They never finished the thought, instead, leaving me hanging, with no understanding of why people were how they were.

But those words echoed in my head that night. “Most people know.” And it combined with the words of that song. “I conceals, what you’d like it to be.”

I opened my eyes, and looked at the me in that mirror again, “Why?”

It was always the same question. My entire life was the same question. “Why?” As if the only thing that mattered, the only thing there was, was the question, and the search for an answer.

When I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror, at my eyes looking back at me, I wandered down the stairs to the kitchen. I didn’t turn on a light, but walked in the dark. I needed it to be dark. In the dark, the details went away. In the dark, no one could see me. In the dark, I knew I was free from the games of life. The pretenses that others made me, expected me, demanded me to wear.

In the dark, my facade faded, and I could be me.

And let my soul cry.

People had always told me, when you sit alone, in the dark, late at night, on the floor of the kitchen, something’s wrong with you, and you need to get help. Yet, there I was. On the floor, in the dark, trying not to think, not to feel, and maybe to not even breathe.

Until the ache in my soul faded just enough I could feel the fatigue in my body. It was time to face the dreams painted inside my eyelids for another night. To find some rest, however brief, to prepare for another day in a world where most people knew, but were too terrified of the truth of life, they forgot about it, or denied it was there.

My dreams did not disappoint me.

Mirrors appeared, hanging in air, nothing to hold them up, reflecting everything they faced. Reflecting the world, and the people I knew, the society I lived in. Rain and storms in one. Sunshine, blue skies, and wispy white clouds in another.

And that damn song echoed in my mind once more.

“A mirror, is a negative space with a frame,
And a place for your face
It reveals, what the rest of us see
It conceals, what you’d like it to be” (1)

That morning, I looked into the eyes in the mirror that looked back at me, and I knew. I finally knew. Everything in the mirror is two dimensional. It has no depth. There is only what you see. And I knew, suddenly, why, “Most people know. They know. And they will do anything to not have to think about it, to make it not real. Because, if it’s real…”

615 words
@mysoulstears


1 The song is “Mirrors” by Blue Oyster Cult.
Songwriters: Abbott / Roeser
Mirrors lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

I wrote this for week 146 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.

Inside My Eyelids (11)

Each step I took, I heard the sound of my shoes striking the ground echo down the length of the stone hallway. It was a dark, damp hallway, and as I walked it, I could feel the weight of the stone above me. Solid, heavy rock, that threatened to crush the tiny hallway I was in, and thus crush me.

The hallways walls emitted a soft, faint light, just strong enough to see the world inside it in black and white, with no detail. Only the endless echo of my shoes on the cold stone floor as I walked along.

There was no way to know how long I’d been in that hallway, no way to measure its length, no way to reach its end, or its beginning. It remained the same, in both directions, endlessly. To walk it seemed pointless, and yet, something inside me, some feeling in my bones, told me to walk, and that if I walked long enough, I would find something.

Walk I did. I couldn’t remember when I started walking. I couldn’t remember how I got in that hallway. Had I always been there? Had I found my way to the place, and then gotten lost in its endless stone?

One step after another, I walked. I tried counting steps, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Eventually, I lost count. I started again, counting by blocks of ten steps, and grouping those into groups of ten, and those into groups of ten. I lost count again, after countless thousands.

“Perhaps this is a circle. A large circle, that barely turns to one side. Just enough that eventually, it comes back on itself. And I’m walking in a circle. Endlessly. Without knowing it.” My mind tried to explain the hallway. “It’s a circle, and I’m trapped to walk the same path, endlessly.”

When I found a light hanging on the left wall, I decided it wasn’t a circle. I’d never seen that light before. Another hundred steps, and I found another light. A third one at 50 steps. Then one at 25 steps. Then, three lights. Between the first two, hung on the wall, was an old, wooden shield. Painted blue, with white and black circles. In places the paint had worn away and revealed the wood beneath. The blade of a large knife hung by a chain on one side of the shield. Another weapon hung by a chain from the other side. I wasn’t familiar with it, having never seen anything like it.

Between the second and third lights was a door. One look told me it was ancient. A sign of the door read, “It is the demons who take life.”

Maybe, after walking that hallway for however long I had, I’d lost my mind, lost my ability to reason, or to understand written words. Because I opened that door, and stepped through it.

Into a room filled with weapons. Swords, knives, whips, bows and arrows, spears, pikes, axes. Every weapon I’d ever heard of, and what seemed like an endless array of weapons I’d never imagined existed. I couldn’t see the back of the room. It was like the hallway, unending.

Beside each weapon there was that same sign. “It is the demons who take life.”

I heard her voice, her words to me, from years ago, “The Devil and his minions can’t create life.”

Then my own words, “Neither can humans.”

Then, the thoughts of my mind, “But both can certainly take what they are given, and modify it, change it, adapt it, for their own purposes.”

That sign was beside every weapon in that endless room, “It is the demons who take life.”

And I opened my eyes, as I realized it was daylight, and time for me to get ready for another day at work. But, since that dream of that endless hallway, and that endless room filled with creations used to end life, I have never escaped the words of that sign, “It is the demons who take life.”

644 words
@mysoulstears


I wrote this for week 145 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.

Inside My Eyelids (10)

It had been a rough night, filled with tossing, and turning, and destroying the covers on the bed. Finally, I gave up, got up, made my pit stop, got some clothes on, and made my bed.

Then I went to brush my teeth, only to forget to brush them, and instead spend my time staring into the mirror, and wishing I could see anything but her. She was there, in the mirror, looking at me, just like she had in that dream, endlessly, all night. Asking that one question, over and over, “Why?”

“Why are you haunting me?” I put a hand on the mirror, right where her cheek would have been. “What’s wrong?”

I knew damn well what was wrong. I knew she was trapped in her home, not able to get out, and visit her friends. Not able to work. Not able to go to the library, which had been her favorite place. Not able to do anything she’d always done.

“You’re someone I have only seen one time. Why are you always in my dreams?” Because I wanted to be able to visit her. Spend time watching movies, or listening to music. Spend time eating chocolates, and drinking soda. Spend time. With her. And be her friend.

That’s why she was in my dreams. That’s why she asked why, endlessly.

I looked to God in heaven, and asked again, like I have countless times before, “Why can’t I help?”

242 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 401 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. And more words in whatever it is that’s writing itself have turned up. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

Inside My Eyelids (9)

It’s the dreams that happen after I have to wake up in the middle of the night, for whatever reason, and then go back to sleep, that are the the most colorful. And the most difficult for me to cope with.

Last night, I woke at three-thirty in the morning. I’m old. I wake up every morning to go pee. Last night was no exception. After my nightly trip, I pulled the covers back up, and waited for the heat to build back up, which always sends me back to sleep.

Back to the land of dreams.

I remember walking. The same streets I’d always walked, all through my neighborhood. A long walk this time, one that took over two hours. As I walked, I wondered, “Where are all the houses? Where are all the cars? The trees. The buildings. The signs. Everything was gone. Everything. There was nothing to either side of me, nothing ahead of me, nothing behind me. There were no clouds, not birds, no planes, not bugs, the sky was empty.

It had rained earlier, though, I could tell because of the puddles on the street, and the sidewalk. Puddles that worked like mirrors, and reflected the images of everything around them. Those puddles were more confusing than everything being missing, because they were filled with images of everything that had been there. Everything I always saw when I walked was still in those puddles.

But none of it was left anywhere.

I walked from puddle to puddle, examining each one, trying to figure out what I was seeing in each puddle. The one in front of where my home had been still had reflections of my crepe myrtle trees in it. I watched the image of the bottom of my car in the puddle as my invisible car drove across it. The water didn’t move, there were no splashes. It was like my care wasn’t there. Like I was watching a movie screen.

There was a puddle a few blocks from home, where I could still see the buildings that used to be beside the road, even though there was no sign anything had ever been beside the road. In that one, I watched a passenger jet fly through the puddle, while no jet was anywhere to be seen.

Except in the puddle.

Most interesting was how, as I walked, I saw myself in the reflections of the puddles. As if the puddles were saying to me, “We only reflect what’s actually there.” And yet, there was nothing there to reflect.

I decided to try finding one of the street signs I saw in a puddle. A stop sign, at the corner of a road. It was crystal clear in the puddle. I kept my eyes on the puddle, as I moved my reflection closer to the signs reflection. Until I could reach out, and place my reflections hand on the sign. Except, there was no sign. There was nothing.

I wound up back at the puddle before where my house had been. I walked back and forth, left and right, even in circles. Nothing. My house wasn’t there. There was no sign it had ever existed.

There was a song, long ago, where the singer sang,

“Let me take you down
‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about”*

As I woke from my dream, I heard that song playing over and over again in my head, with some strange voice asking me, “What is real, and what is a dream, and how do you know?”

599 words
@mysoulstears


* The song is Strawberry Fields, by the Beatles.

Songwriters: J. Lennon / P. Mccartney
“Strawberry Fields Forever” lyrics © Sony/atv Tunes Llc, Sony, Sony Atv Tunes Llc, Sony Atv Music Publishing France, Sony/atv Tunes Llc Dba Atv Obo Atv (northern Songs Catalog), Wixen Music Publishing Inc Obo Harrisongs Ltd

I wrote this for week 144 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.

 

Inside My Eyelids (8)

I walked along the sidewalk, beside all the different houses of my neighborhood. Was I dreaming? I don’t know. I could feel the breeze, hear the cars on the main road outside my neighborhood, see the clouds in the sky move over time, watch birds fly from place to place.

I wondered if it really mattered if it was a dream or if it was real. I wondered if there was a difference between dreams, and reality.

As if the universe sensed my thoughts, it sent me on a walk through a forest, beside a small river, in the mountains somewhere. That told me I was dreaming, or at least convinced me I was.

Lacking anything else to do, I wandered along the trail I was on, through the trees, beside the river, realizing I couldn’t hear anything. No leaves rustling in the breeze. My feet on the ground as I walked. My breathing. No birds, no squirrels, nothing. No sound at all.

Until I came across a door frame the trail passed through. I looked around. It was a door frame, made of short sections of tree branches, cut to similar lengths, and put together to make a frame. There were vines and branches growing along its exterior, some reaching out a couple of feet from the frame, as if to tangle with the trees, to form a wall, and anchor the frame in place.

A short little man, maybe three feet tall popped out of the trees, next to the frame, “You asked about reality and dreams, I do believe.”

For some reason I nodded yes at him, “Am I dreaming? Or is this real?”

“What are dreams, and what is real? And are the two the same for everyone, or are the different for each person?” The little man smiled. “Do you see a door?”

“No. Only a frame.”

“Can you walk around it? Or through it?”

“Yes.”

“Is the trail on the other side the same? Is the air the same? Are the same trees on both sides of the door?”

“Obviously. It’s a frame, standing in empty space, nothing more. No walls. No buildings. A doorway that leads nowhere.”

The little man laughed. “Like all doorways, isn’t it?” He shook his head. “And if I put a door in the frame?” He waved his hand, and a door appeared. “Does that make what’s on this side different from what’s on the other side?”

“No. I can still go around.”

“What if I add a wall?” A walk appeared on either side of the door, that stretched as far as I could see in both directions. “And make it too tall to climb.” The wall reached to the sky. I could not see it’s top.

“It’s a barrier. It separates this place into two places.”

The little man laughed. “And yet, the path continues as before, doesn’t it. And the air remains the same. And the trees are still the trees.” The door opened, “Go on through. Pass from this world to the next, if you wish.”

I walked through the opened doorway.

The little man followed me. “I don’t see anything different. Do you?”

“No.”

We both looked back at the doorway, and the wall. “And yet, you have said this is a different place. A separate place.”

The little man shook his head. He frowned at me. “So limited. So sad.” And he was gone. So was the wall, and the door. Only the frame remained.

It took time, but as I walked along the trail, by the small river, I wondered what a symbol was, and if a doorway was a symbol. Like a line on the sand. Or perhaps, like the houses of my neighborhood, where I was walking once again.

Now, I find myself asking why attach so many rules to symbols, to things that aren’t real, and really only separate us from each other. Like the lines on a map. Or the fences between yards. Or perhaps our colors, religions, and politics.

Now, I wonder, do our symbols bring order? Or do they bring chaos? Do they bring peace? Or do they bring war? And do we even know they are only symbols.

Like that doorway, on that trail. A symbol. And nothing more.

714 Words
@mysoulstears


I wrote this for week 143 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.

Inside My Eyelids (7)

Sometimes, the dreams happen with my eyes wide open, and the sun shining outside. Even then, I still see them, every time I blink, every time I pause, and close my eyes. One keeps repeating, endlessly.

Someone I know. Someone I have only seen one time. I wrote a message to her once, “If you ever ask for my help, I’ll find a way.”

I haven’t spoken to her in years now. She’s gone. A classic falling out, politics, and religion, and all that crap that turns people into enemies, and drives friends apart. Yet, there she is, in that dream.

“You left, you know. It was you, not me.” Those blue eyes, drilled right through me.

“I didn’t leave you. I left your friends. Your environment.” Always, I tried to explain, even though I knew no one had ever understood.

“You told me you would find a way, if I ever asked for help.”

“I meant it then. I mean it now.” Somehow, I knew she would never ask. I knew she couldn’t understand. “If you were to ask, do you think I’ll say no?”

“Yes.” Those blue eyes were gone. I’d never see them again.

Regret? Maybe. Past mistakes? Of course. Fixable? Never. And that damn dream kept reminding me of that truth. And when the dream ended, there I was, like always, asking God to let me die. Knowing damn well it wasn’t my time. And that dream would happen. Again. Endlessly.

245 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 400 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. And more words in whatever it is that’s writing itself have turned up. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.