Inside My Eyelids (4)

She stands where she has stood for years, on the seat of my old desk chair, the one I inherited from my parents. I think they got it from their parents, but no one really knows. No one remembers that far back.

Dad never understood why I got her, my doll. Her eyes fell out when I was still a child. Her face got colored with magic marker, and paint, a dozen times. I gave up trying to fix it, and put a mask over it.

She stands there, in my chair, in the corner of my room, where she can see me at my desk, and my computer.

Dolls were for girls when I was young. Boys didn’t own them, and didn’t play with them. If a girl wanted to clear a room, she broke out her dolls, and all the boys left.

But, something drew me to my doll. I saved my allowance for months until I could afford her. That was Mom and Dad’s rule. My allowance was mine. I could spend it how I wanted, on what I wanted. But I could not ask for money. I had to make decisions about money, about what mattered to me, and learn to build up the funds to get what I wanted.

I’d wanted my doll.

She was my friend. The person I could always talk with. The person who would never argue with me. Never tell me I was wrong. Never tell me to be more mature. To toughen up. Or that boys don’t cry.

She was the only one I could hug. The only one who would put her head on my shoulder. The only one who would kiss the hurt parts, the skinned knees, the cut fingers, to try to make me feel better.

I knew she wasn’t real. No doll is. Perhaps, one day, with enough artificial intelligence, and enough advanced electronics, we humans might make dolls that could act like they were alive. That wasn’t going to happen in my lifetime.

I never gave her a name. She’d never needed one. When I spoke to her, I called her, “you”, because it made sense.

The worst fight I ever had, growing up, was over her. When the boys at the church found out I owned a doll, all hell broke loose. They taunted me, insulted me, called me a girl, named me “Sally”. Eventually, like anyone would expect, after months of torture, I made the mistake of responding to one of the boys. I told him what I thought about him, and his insults.

It took two weeks for the bruises to fade from my face.

I still have her. She still stands, in my chair. Like she did then. Now, I write stories of a warrior, with high tech armor that makes him invisible. With guns, and explosives, and the ability to do what he believes needs to be done. A warrior who defends little boys who like dolls. One who beats the living shit out of the fathers whose sons torture such little boys.

In my dreams, at night sometimes, my warrior talks with my doll, about how to change the world, make it better, turn it into a place that doesn’t kill the dreams of children, and doesn’t teach them boys hate dolls.

And she watches me sleep, as she stands on the seat of my chair, in the corner of my room, each night.

I would have it no other way.

582 Words
@mysoulstears


I wrote this for week 140 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. It’s been a hard time, getting through the house repairs. I haven’t had the energy, or patience to write anything in weeks. That’s changing now. 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.

The Old Guy Sat At The Bar

Jason pulled back the bar stool, and had a seat. The bartender quickly found him, and asked what he wanted to drink.

“Seven and Seven,” Jason quietly, politely asked.

The bartender wandered off to mix his drink, and the old man sitting at the bar, in the chair next to Jason smacked his empty glass on the shiny hardwood surface. “Oh, yeah! That’s good stuff.”

Jason thought of moving. He didn’t want to sit next to anyone loud, or anyone in a group. Before he could, the bartender returned with his drink, “Seven and Seven,” he placed the drink on a tiny napkin in front of Jason, then turned to the old man, “You want another round?”

The old man didn’t speak, he smiled and nodded yes, and the bartender wandered off again.

The old man looked through Jason. He had those kind of eyes, the ones that see past all the lies, the games, the masks people put on every day. The ones that see your soul, and know the truth of who and what you are.

“Had a fight with your girl, did you?” Jason started to get up, but the old man kept talking, “Nobody won, did they?”

Jason stayed on his stool, and stared back at the old man. He’d always thought he was a good judge of character, but when he looked at the old guy, he saw no lies, no masks. He saw the face and eyes of someone who’d lived live. Someone who’d seen life. Someone who knew.

“Yeah. We had a fight.”

The old guy took a deep breath. “Money?”

Jason nodded.

“Yeah. It’s always money, ain’t it?” Jason picked up his drink, and chugged half of it down. “So, you’re gonna drown it all, ain’t ya?”

Jason let his drink glass reconnect to the bar with a loud smack. “Yep. We just broke up.” He picked up his drink, and drained it, then smacked the glass down again. “And I’m gonna forget all about her!”

The old guy laughed. “Gonna let a fight about money destroy love and happiness?” He shook his head. “Yep. You’re an idiot.”

Jason, jaw dropped and he stood up, “What!”

“Sit down, and shut up. And maybe I can talk you out of making the same stupid mistake I made when I was young and full of hormones, and emotions, and pride, just like you are now.”

Jason couldn’t help himself. He sat down.

The bartender plunked new drinks in front of them both. The old man stared at his. “See,” he took a long chug. “I was in love once.”

“Hasn’t everyone?”

“Yeah.” The old guy finished his drink. “Yeah, everyone has.” He laughed. “But the smart ones stay in love.”

Jason shook his head. “You don’t know what she said, what she did.”

“I don’t need to.” He didn’t smile. There was something in his eyes, some memory, some regret, and perhaps a wish he could go back in time. “I was in love once.”

“What happened?”

“We had a fight.” He waved at the bartender, “Another round for us, Bill.” Then he shook his head, and stared at the reflections of light in the polished wood of the bar. “We had a stupid fight.”

Both men sat, waiting for their drinks. When they arrived, the old guy wrapped a hand around his glass, but didn’t lift it. Jason watched him stare into the liquid swirling in the glass. “I was too young, too stubborn, too idealistic.” Jason stared at his own glass. “I hadn’t figured out the truth. And I didn’t want to know the truth.”

“The truth?” Jason stared at his drink, picked it up, and took a swallow. He felt the familiar burn of the alcohol in his throat, and the warmth in his stomach.

The old man told him the truth, “She said a lot of things about you, didn’t she.” Jason nodded. “She called you irresponsible. She called you immature. She told you to grow up.”

Jason nodded, “Yeah. Something like that.”

“Hurt, didn’t it.”

“Hell yeah.” Jason took another swallow. “And she knew it. She let me have it with both barrels.” He looked at the old guy, “Why should I put up with that? That’s it, you know. We’re done.”

Jason thought the old man wanted to cry, but maybe the old guy had forgotten how. “What do you know about fights? About couples?” He looked around the bar, Jason did the same. “You know how many couples break up these days?”

Jason shook his head.

“Damn near all of ‘em.” The old guy took a chug of his drink. “Damn near all of ‘em.” He stared into his drink again, “And nobody stays married forever anymore.” Jason stared at his drink, and the old guy asked, “How long were your parents married?”

“Still are.”

“How long?”

Jason shrugged. “Twenty-five, twenty-six years? I don’t really know.”

“Have you ever wondered how they stay married?”

“No.” Jason took another swallow. “Never thought about that?”

“So. How do you think they stay married?” Jason sat silently. He didn’t have an answer. He’d never really thought about it. “Did they ever fight?”

Jason remembered the nights he heard them screaming at each other. The nights he heard the front door slam as his father left. The night his mother cried herself to sleep, and his father came home, and slept on the sofa. “Yeah. They did.”

“Why did they stay together?”

He didn’t have an answer. He’d never thought about it.

“You like music, right?”

“Yeah. A good band is good. But they always break up.”

“All of them?”

“No. Not all of them.”

“Why not?”

“It’s not the same thing, you know. It’s not.”

The old man finished off his drink. “Bill. I’m gonna need another.”

“You’re gonna need a cab.”

“Yeah. That too.”

“Let me know when, and I’ll call one.”

The old guy nodded, and resumed his conversation with Jason. “Why isn’t it the same?”

“Bands and couples. They’re not the same.”

“Now you just think about that a bit. And then think about how they are the same.” Jason shook his head. “Don’t band members fight?”

“Yeah, but it’s over a band. It’s not like when a couple has a fight.”

“You saying the band members aren’t family?” Jason stared into his drink. His mind struggled to make sense of the old guy’s words. “You saying families don’t have fights and break up, just like bands do? You saying they stick together for fame and money, and not because they’re a family?”

The old guy shook his head, and tipped his drink again. “I was just like you. Thought fights weren’t supposed to happen to people in love. To friends.” He gently placed his glass on the bar. “I was so fuckin’ stupid.”

He leaned toward Jason, “Dude. Fights happen. You put two people together, and sooner or later, fights happen.” He put his hand on Jason’s shoulder. “The smart ones figure that out, and learn to get past the fights.”

He remembered his parents, the morning after the fights. They didn’t act like nothing happened. They talked. Quietly. They apologized to each other. And their lives went on. Together.

“Fights happen. It’s not an ideal world. Not a dream world.” The old guy stared at his empty glass. “I used to love her. Probably still do. Had a fight with her. About money.” He took a deep breath, then slowly let it out. “I’ve been alone since then.” He looked at Jason. “She was my girl. My one chance at love. My one chance at being happy.” They guy looked at the floor. “And I fucked it up. Me, and my pride. She’d hurt me in that fight. And I couldn’t get over it.” He took another deep breath. “I couldn’t let it go.”

Jason said nothing. What was there to say?

The old guy smiled. “If you’ve got any brain cells in that head of yours, well. You’ll figure the rest out.”

Jason excused himself. He went to the quiet hallway outside the restrooms, where the pay phones were, pulled out his smart phone, swallowed his pride, and called her.

The old guy sat at the bar, and smiled. “I’m gonna need another one, Bill.”

What Happened To The Little Boy

What happened to the little boy
I was once upon a time,
So very long ago?

I know the answer
I’ve been told.
“You grew up.”
“You grew old.”
“The innocence you had
As a little boy,
Got murdered by the world.”

It always comes to that.
The loss of innocence.
The birth of pain.
Where as I grew,
I learned,
Time and time again,
Never trust anyone.
That way,
No one can hurt you
Again.

But I wonder
What was wrong
With that little boy?

That little boy
Wasn’t scared at all
Of the black kids
Down the road.
In fact,
He played with them.
And he had fun.
And they did too.

That little boy
Wasn’t afraid at all
To hold the hand
Of the girl next door
When she was sad.
He held her hand
So many times
While she cried.
And then he wiped the tears
From her eyes.

Sometimes he even hugged her.
And always,
Every day,
He was there.
As her friend.

Because he knew
In his heart and soul
Helping friends
Was the thing to do.

That little boy
Sometimes got angry,
And frustrated too.
And he screamed,
And hollered.
And if he got angry enough,
He got up,
And walked away.

But always,
He calmed down.
Because he knew
Being angry with his friends
Forever
Meant he’d never see them
Again.

What happened to that little boy
That I was
Once upon a time?

That boy and his friends knew
That sometimes boys just fight.
And fight they did.
Running into each other,
Wrestling on the ground,
In the grass and dirt.
And even in the mud.

But always,
When the fight was over,
Everybody knew
Why it had begun.
And that little boy
Always took the time
To work things out
With the other person
In the fight.

What happened to that little boy?
Where has he gone to?
In this world
That needs him
And his kind
So very much?

That little boy never once
Looked at a little girl
Dressed in jeans,
And a t-shirt,
With a ball cap on her head,
And told her she was evil,
And all her kind
Should just be dead.

That little boy never once
Looked at a little boy
That took dancing lessons,
Had long hair
In a pony tail,
And wore pink socks,
As a demon from hell
To be burned at the stake
To keep the world safe
From him.

That little boy always knew
If you had more to eat
That you needed,
Or wanted,
It was OK
To give it to
Someone with no food.

That little boy knew too
That if you broke the rules,
It was you that broke the rules,
And you should just man up
And take what was coming to you.
Instead of trying to blame
Everyone and anyone
But you.
That little boy
Never said at all,
“It’s not my fault!”
When he knew it was.

That little boy
Was not afraid to dance.
Was not afraid to sing.
Was not afraid to laugh,
And smile.
Or scream,
And cry.

What happened to that little boy
From so long ago
That knew so many things
I no longer know?

The Sins Of The Mother…

It was the night of the blue moon. Wouldn’t be another for years. Cindy decided to celebrate. She put on her shortest denim shorts. The low-cut ones. The ones her momma hated. “Girl! You ain’t that kinda girl!” Momma said those words a lot. She didn’t wear a thing beneath them. She pulled out a matching top. Red and white. That ended just below her boobs. She didn’t wear a thing beneath that either. “Girl! You ain’t that kinda girl!” She laughed as she remembered her momma’s words.

She sat down on the edge of her bed. Pulled out her makeup kit. She’d bought makeup just for this night. Just for the blue moon. Pale blue eyeshadow. Perfect. Fire engine red lipstick. Perfect. The best part? The pale blue, glow in the dark nail polish. Next came the pale blue spiked heels. When she was all done, Cindy looked in the mirror. “Hell, yes!” she thought. “Girl, you do look hot!”

She picked up her blue bag. The one with the blue moon on the side. And the fairy silhouette on top of that. She opened it, and pulled out the first piece of the bright blue bubblegum. She popped that in her mouth, and started working it. Then she looked at the chest of drawers along the wall. At the picture of her momma. Momma’d been dead for two years. And still, her words kept haunting Cindy’s life. “Girl! You ain’t that kinda girl! I didn’t raise no whore!”

Then the arguments would start. The fights. The ones where daddy always wound up leaving inch wide welts on her back, her butt, and legs. Welts caused by his leather belt.

“I’m glad you’re gone, bitch,” Cindy said. Momma’d had a stroke when no one was at home. That night, daddy’d got home from work to find her cold, dead body on the kitchen floor. One day later, he’d thrown Cindy out. Without a single word.

Cindy looked at her Momma’s picture once again. “What do you think of me tonight, Momma? What do you think of me tonight?” She laughed, then blew a bright blue bubble with the gum. When it popped, she smiled at the picture. “Daddy may have been submissive to your evil control. Maybe it was your tits and ass that owned his soul.” The hatred flashed in her eyes. Years of anger she could not control. Anger running wild. Knowing what she’d do beneath the blue moon that night. “But I never did! I never will!”

She walked to the door of her one room flat, and before she left, she turned once more to the picture of her cold, dead, momma. “Bitch.”

You should have heard the door to her flat as it slammed.

The 38th Friday Picture Show : Never Pick A Fight With A Pixie

Jen De Santis hosts the Friday Picture Show flash fiction challenge each week (except when on vacation). For my entry last week, I wrote about the pixies for the very first time. Please go read all the other entries. It’s amazing the stories you can write in 150 words. Thanks, Jen, for holding the Friday Picture Show.

 

On Monday morning, a pixie tie-died my car, I went nuts, grabbed a trash can lid, and a

The Picture Prompt from the 38th Friday Picture Show

broken broom handle and charged her. It wasn’t a smart thing to do.

She giggled, and waved her hand, and I froze, like a statue. A black handkerchief covered my face. The can lid vanished, leaving my arm sticking out. The broom handle turned into a bouquet of flowers. She’d whispered in my ear, “It’ll wear off in 8 hours…”

I looked stupid. And gods, but I needed to pee.

Never pick a fight with a pixie.

I Was Just Afraid

As I’ve continued on this new journey I’m on through life, in this world I never made, I’ve learned so many things. And today, I’ve learned something I never understood before. I’ve had panic attacks all my life. And I never knew it. Neither did anyone else.I can remember one day in 1983. I was at work. And nothing was going well that day. My day was awful. I don’t remember all the details of what people had said to me. Of how people had behaved. But I do remember sitting at the desk I was assigned to. Looking into a desk drawer. And I remember shutting that drawer. Hard. So hard that I separated all four of the seams in the corners of the front of that drawer. The entire drawer went a quarter of an inch further into the desk after that. The front of the drawer was visibly bent at the top right corner. And when you pulled the drawer out, you could see where all four pieces of metal that attached the front to the rest of the drawer had straightened out a bit. You could see the gaps in the seams at each of the front’s four corners. And I remember after I closed that drawer, I got up. And I walked away.

I have no idea where I went. I just don’t remember. I know I stayed gone until I was OK to work.

I can remember one day in August of 1976. It was a Wednesday. Every Wednesday night the high school aged youth of the church had a youth group meeting. That Wednesday night was no exception.

I still wonder how the hell a youth group got onto the topic of women serving aboard US Navy vessels. I just knew I got hammered for being rational and pointing out that having women on an US Navy ship that was deployed at sea meant there would have to be changes in the design of the vessel. And I remember how outrageously angry that got people with me.

Too the point I couldn’t take it any more. And I got up, and walked away. I walked from the back yard of a house that day, down streets I’d never set foot on. In neighborhoods I didn’t know were there. I’d walked until I had calmed down. Until I felt like I could behave again.

I have so many tales like this that I remember from my life.

So many days in July, August and September of 2010, when I went to work. And wound up walking on the beach. Because I couldn’t stay in the building any more. In that 12 weeks, I must have consumed 60 sodium naproxen pills fighting off the headaches I endured just by parking my car in the parking lot. Headaches that got worse as I approached the building. I remember the pills didn’t cure the headaches. Instead, changed my pain threshold, so I could cope with the pain I was in.

I can remember 3rd grade. When Dad joined the US Navy. And we moved. From our home in Merrigold, Mississippi. To an apartment in Middletown, Rhode Island. Everyone thought I had a temper, and my temper showed at school. I got put into time out lots. I even broke the bottom of a desk.

No one knew. No one knew at all. How much of the things I went through then were actually caused by panic. But as my understanding of things grows. I know. I can see where panic touched my life. Even then.

Most people think of panic attacks as people trembling with fear. Hiding in their home. Unable to leave. It’s a common assumption people make. That people have to behave as if they were afraid of their own shadows to suffer panic attacks. To have problems with anxieties.

That’s a common myth. Another lie. That society puts in place to make people comfortable with the way things are. I know this because I know what I sometimes do in a panic attack. I know what the law of fight or flight is all about. And I know that in a panic-stricken state, I would do anything to escape. Including fight.

It’s what I did in 3rd grade. When I was so afraid of failure. So afraid of not getting the best grades I could get. That I lashed out every time I failed. That I punished myself, for letting my parents down. That I panicked. Wondering. “What will they think of me! I’ve let them down!”

No one understood at all. I got taught lots of ways to manage my temper. Take a deep breath, hold it, and count to 10. And lots of other things. Like covering up the bad wood used in a building’s frame with drywall. So that no one knows it’s there.

I’ve learned the physical symptoms my body exhibits when my panic sets in. The tension in my chest, shoulders, and neck. The way that my hands shake, and I can’t stop them. My sudden inability to think at all. Other than one word. “Escape!” The way my pulse goes crazy. Rocketing up to near 100 beats per minute. And maybe even more.

And I’ve learned how to cope with those signs. To treat them as the signals they really are. To find my way through the events that triggered my attack. So that more and more, my attacks don’t rule me, and don’t determine how I behave. More and more I make the choice for myself about what to do.

It’s like for the first time in my life, I’m finding the answers I’ve always needed, and always sought. Answers to the problems I’ve always had. Problems I never understood before. Problems that no one around me ever understood. I was never “bad”. I was never “mean”. I was never angry, with a temper.

I was just afraid.

And no one ever understood.

The Demon Within

I am starting to think
That every one of us
Has a demon
That lives inside of them.
And the only reason
No one knows
Is because most people
Learn to hide it
So it can’t be seen.

I have a fight tonight.
With my son.
The demon inside me
Cam out.
Into broad daylight.
It was very hard to miss.

I’ve been in therapy now
For quite a while.
Coming back from
Major Depressive Disorder
That was caused
By a single event,
And an unspecified
Anxiety.

The effect that this has had
On my family
Is awful.
I can’t even imaging
How much it’s hurt
Both of my children.

How many children
See their father
Go through anything like
What I’ve been going through.

And even now,
Week after week,
There are new things
That I have to deal with.
Things that got buried
Many years ago.

As I’ve been healing
From the wounds
That caused my depression,
All these other things
That were buried
Years ago
Are coming out.

And I’m having to learn
How to deal with them.

One thing I do know.
That when such things
Are buried.
They don’t heal.
Instead,
They grow.
They rot.
And they slowly grow.
Becoming the demon
That I now know
Lives inside of me.

And I wonder.
Knowing what I’ve learned
About where such demons
Come from.

And about how people
Bury things,
Instead of dealing with them.

How many people
Do I know
That have a demon
Living within them?