#AtoZ2016 : S Is For Senses

I wonder sometimes
If I’m the only one who does.
I don’t think I am.
But I wonder.
Is it something social people do?
Or is it something people like me do?

I know we all have senses.
Taste,
Touch,
Sight,
Smell,
Hearing.
But I know too,
We all have them in different ways.
Different levels.

Like the blind.
Their sense of sight is damaged,
If not totally gone.

Or the deaf,
Who maybe can hear some,
And maybe not.

I know we all have senses.
And I know,
What my senses tell me
Is not what yours tell you.

So I wonder, sometimes.
As I sit, alone,
And feel.

As I feel the different temperatures
In the air around me.
The different air currents.
My sense of touch tells me of them.
When I stop.
When I pay attention.
I can feel so much.

I can close my eyes,
Touch my fingertips,
And feel the texture
Of my fingerprints.

I can even sit quietly,
And if I pay attention,
I can feel other things.
Like the rhythm
Of my pulse.
The texture of the clothing I wear.

I wonder,
Is that something others do?

There are times I sit,
On the sand at the beach,
Or on the ground,
In a park,
Or a nature preserve.
And I listen.

And I wonder,
Do others listen?
And if they do,
What do they hear?

Do they hear the sounds
Of the ocean’s waves,
Of the gulls, and terns,
The calls of an osprey?

Do they hear anything at all.
Or nothing.
Is everything they hear
Drowned out,
Washed away,
By life.
By stress.
By the things they do.

Do they ever see the way
The sunlight strikes the waves?
The translucent color of the water,
As it just starts to break.
The flash of light,
Sometimes ribbons,
Sometimes diamonds,
On the faces of the waves.

Do they see the ocean’s spray.
The sand moving along the beach
As the wind blows,
The footprints of the birds.

Or do they see nothing.
Save for a splash of color.
An opportunity to take a picture.
A moment to pause,
To take a breath,
And then return to the real world.
The world in which they work.

Music touches me.
The sounds of music resonate,
Echo,
Play endlessly,
Within my head,
My mind,
My heart,
My soul.

I cover my ears
And I can hear the endless ringing,
The electronic scream
That’s always there.
That never goes away.
From my damaged hearing.

But I can always hear
So much more.

I can always hear
The music that moves me.
That touches me.
That reaches past everything.

Until all the noise falls away.
All the responsibilities.
The work I do.
All of it falls away.

And I feel the music
Touch my soul.

And I wonder.
Does this happen to others?
Do they feel this too?

Or have the lost touch
With their body’s senses?
Have they become numb,
So that even music
Cannot reach them anymore?

Sometimes, I wonder,
Is that how senses work
For other people?
Is that normal?
Is that how people are?

Or are they like me?
Do they feel,
Hear,
Touch,
Smell,
See,
Like I do?

And is it my senses
That tell me I’m alive?

Perhaps I’ll never know.
Perhaps I’m not supposed to know.
Perhaps no one is supposed to know
How someone else’s senses work.

I only know for certain,
I would not be who I am
Without my senses.

They are a part of me.


It’s April 23rd, and I’m a still one day behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. I expect to catch up on Tomorrow. Only 7 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : K Is For Keys

It started on 13 July 2010, and I will never forget the experience. That was the first day I walked out of work, got in my car, and left. The first day I reached in my pocket, and felt the presence of my keys.

I can never explain what I felt that day. Most would call it panic, others would call it anxiety. I don’t really know what the people I worked with at that time called it, although my memories of how they treated certain people I’d worked with suggests they called it deliberate bad behavior.

I’m not certain many of them believed in mental illness then, and I doubt they have changed.

That day was the first uncontrolled panic attack I had as I spiraled into Major Depressive Disorder. I had no ability to think, no ability to question, no ability to pause. I knew of one thing, and one thing only. I had keys in my pocket. Keys to my car. Keys to my escape.

And I desperately needed to escape. I didn’t need to walk on the beach. I didn’t need to hide in the secured lab. I didn’t need to talk to someone.

I needed to escape. To run. To flee. To save my life. My sanity. My soul.

The moment my fingers found the keys in my pocket, I stood, I walked, I left. I unlocked my car, got in, and drove.

I remember I stopped in the parking lot of the closest Walmart store to the base. I don’t know how long I was there. It may have been a couple of minutes. It may have been half an hour. I don’t know. Time didn’t exist.

I listened to my music, the doors shut, the windows rolled up, the volume turned up. I listened until I couldn’t think, couldn’t feel. Until the only thing left in life was the music I loved.

And that’s when I found myself. That’s when I realized I was in the car, in the parking lot at Walmart. That’s when I remembered I’d fled work, the office, the people, the environment.

I’d escaped.

And in doing so, I’d found a way to breathe.

I called the office I’d fled, and let someone know where I was, and I didn’t know when I’d get back. I called my boss, at the home office, and told him I needed to talk.

You know. I don’t even remember that talk. Not one word of it.

I went home, ate something, and when I could breathe, I went back to work. I knew I wouldn’t get anything done that day. By that point, I’m fairly certain everyone knew I wouldn’t get anything done.

I spoke with her. One of the three voices in that place, in that office, that environment, I could breathe around. One of the three voices I didn’t need to run from, didn’t need to escape, didn’t need to fear.

I can’t explain that. In the months that followed I learned, in the presence of any of those three voices, my hands didn’t shake. In the presence of anyone else in that place, my hands shook.

I spoke with her about the trip I was making to the doctor’s office a few days later, to discuss my depression, and start getting the help I knew I needed, but didn’t know how to get. Then, I went home. It was a lost day at work. The first of many in 2010.

That day when I touched the keys in my pocket, and all I could do was run.

I can’t explain it. I won’t try. I know this simple truth. As an individual, you either understand what I’ve written here, the story of the keys in my pocket, and how I ran. Or you don’t.

For some things, there are no words.

 

Mark.


It’s April 15th, and I’m a two days behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 15 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#MWBB Week 48 : 11:11

I hate those old sayings about couples. “We are one,” and all that crap. I really hate the one, “We are soul mates.” Tell me that one, “We’re soul mates! Is she your soul mate?” and I swear, I’m gonna bitch slap you. “She’s the missing half of my soul!”

Jesus. Get a life.

Even that one from Princess Bride. What was it? Oh, yeah. “True love.” Yeah. That crap. Tell me, “It’s true love,” and I’m gonna sing, “True Love’s Kiss” from Enchanted. You know. That first ten minutes when that silly cartoon part is on, and everybody’s singing about true love’s kiss.

I’m all about understanding, and coöperation, and being best friends. Yeah. That’s what she is. She’s my best friend. She understands me. I like to think I understand her, but hell, I don’t even understand simple things like what to say when someone asks me, “How are you today?” So, I gotta be honest. I probably don’t understand her at all. But I like to pretend I do.

I can tell when she’s happy. Usually anyway. I mean, she likes to cuddle when she’s happy. Or maybe I’ve got that backwards, and she likes to cuddle ‘cause it makes her happy. I don’t know.

I just know she’s my best friend.

You ever heard those duets. The really good ones. The classy ones. Not like say, Beyoncé and Kanye West. Mushy, market driven crap. I mean the good stuff. Like Kenny and Dolly. Or Streisand and Diamond. Or even Ross and Richie. Now those are duets. Two individuals, singing a song, making it more than either could make it alone. Yet both stand alone. Neither needing the other.

Friends. That’s what it’s about.

If we could sing, we’d be a duet. But we can’t sing. Or, you know. I can’t sing. I croak. In a monotone. It’s like I sing one note, and make it louder or softer. So, we’re not that kind of duet.

We’re more of a duet of instruments. Violin and Viola? Nah. Two cellos maybe? I don’t know. We’re not like that classical stuff. We’re more like two guitars. Acoustic guitars. Yeah. And we play different notes. We’re good alone. But when we get together. We’re better than we are alone.

Yeah. We’re like that. A guitar duet.

So, don’t talk to me about that soul mate crap, or how we’re each the other’s half. We ain’t any of that crap. We’re two separate people. Two individuals. But beautiful music happens when we get together.

Yeah. A guitar duet. I like that.

429 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 48 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

#MWBB 39 : Heavy In Your Arms

“It used to matter.”

“What?”

“What I wanted.”

Doc just gave me the look that said, “keep going.”

“It used to matter.” I took a long, slow, deep breath, held it in a few moments, and let it leak out slowly. I did that again. “What I wanted. It used to matter.”

He gave me that look again.

“I used to want to be happy.”

“Oh?” Sometimes, the man reminded me of Mr. Spock. ‘Cept he didn’t have pointed ears.

“Yeah. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to want? To be happy?”

“You know the answer to that.”

“Well. It used to matter. It doesn’t anymore.”

“Why?”

Damn, but that man could be so nosey! That was the trouble with meeting with the Doc every week. And him being good at what he did didn’t help any. I had to take another long breath. I kept thinking to myself, “It’s only anger, dude. Only anger. Just a feeling. Nothing more. Feelings can’t hurt you. Or control you.”

“Because of her!” Yeah. I practically screamed that. “Because of her.” Sometimes, all I really wanted to do was stand up, and go stare out the window at the park behind his office. Or just pace around the room.

I never did.

And I knew what he was going to ask before he asked, “Why?”

Because what she felt mattered to me. Because I wanted to make her happy. Because I hated all the things she loved to do, and all the times I went with her, and did those things. Because I couldn’t ask her to do anything I liked to do.

Because I needed the job I hated to make enough money to do the things she wanted to do. Because I had to burn through every hour of vacation I earned taking care of all the things she couldn’t get off of work to take care of. Because I only got time off by calling in sick to work once in a while, and taking a sanity maintenance day.

“Do you really love her?”

Yeah. That was the worst part of it. I did. I loved her. Maybe even too much. I couldn’t say no to her. I’d do whatever I had to, whatever I could, to give her everything she wanted. Because what she wanted mattered to me. What she felt mattered. What she dreamed of mattered.

And to help her have her dreams, I had to give up mine.

Don’t people do that for love?

When my session was over for the week, I left Doc’s office. But I didn’t go straight home. I stopped. At a Dairy Queen. Bought myself an ice cream cone. Sat in my car, and ate it. Listing to my music. Enjoying a moment without her.

Before I got home.

And I didn’t matter anymore.

471 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 39 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#VisDare 41 : Transfixed

We returned to Old Phoenix, as the sun was setting. “Follow us!” the cats mewed. They led us to an old warehouse someone had converted into a theater. There were several tables along the East wall. The cats led us to one. “Sit! Sit!”

Alice whispered, “This is Josie’s place.”

A man in a tuxedo, carrying a bottle of wine and two glasses approached the table. He poured a drink for each of us. A woman sat down at a piano in the north-west corner of the warehouse, and started to play.

“Josie!” Alice grabbed my hand, as a woman in a wedding dress, and ballerina shoes pirouetted across the floor. She stopped before us. Alice sat, transfixed, staring at the woman, unable to speak.

The woman took my hands, and placed them on Alice’s. “Help her.” As she danced, I wondered how I could help Alice.

150 Words
@LurchMunster


This is part 26 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

If you wish to read the entire tale, you can find it, starting with Part 26, running back to Part 1, here.

Play It Loud (VIII)

I play my music loud tonight.
I play my music long.
I play my music in the dark.
Sitting all alone.

Sometimes
I must be free.
Sometimes
I must escape.
If only for a little while.
If only for a moment.
If only for a few heartbeats
In the life I’ve been blessed with.

Sometimes
I play my music loud
So I can’t hear anything.
Only my music exists.

Sometimes
I play my music in the dark
So I can’t see
The world in which I live.

Sometimes
I play my music loud
To escape
From this world
I never made.

Sometimes
I wish there was a way
I could show you what I see
In this life
Every day.

Sometimes
I wish there was a way
For you to feel the things
I feel
Each day.

Sometimes
I wish you could know
The pain,
The hurt,
Of facing yet another day
In the grip
Of the depression
That runs my life.

It never goes away.
It’s always there.
I see it in the mirror.
Looking out a me
From my own eyes.

It touches everything.
Like a poison vine run wild.
Choking everything it touches.
Slowly.
Inexorably.
Relentlessly.
Every day.

I try to tell myself
It’s OK.
It’s like the story of Paul.
In the Bible.
Where he says God won’t take away
That thing that curses him.
That thorn in his side.

I wish you could understand.
There is no magic pill
I can take.
There is no medicine
That can take my depression away.
No surgery to perform.

All I can do
Is live with it.
Every day.
And manage it.
With the help of my doctors.
My weekly therapy.
And the medicine
I have to take.

To manage the darkness
That threatens to consume me
With every breath I take.

I play my music loud tonight.
As I sit
In the dark.
Alone.

For I know.
I just need some time.
To escape.
To be free.

From a world I never made.

Before I try once more.
To walk
In the land of gray.

#MWBB 22 : Right Now

I will never forget the night Jamie texted me, asking, “Dinner?”

I’d restrained myself admirably, responding, “Where?” instead of “With you? Oh, hell yes! Not even Victoria of the RED movies could stop me!”

She’d texted back, “I’ll B there N 5”

Five minutes later, I’d had a shower, dried my hair, put on my deodorant and cologne, shaved, and gotten dressed. I never knew I could move that fast. I mean, I never moved that fast to get to work, no matter how late I was. When she knocked on the door, I jumped into my boots, and opened the door in one smooth move.

She didn’t ask. She threw both arms around me, and planted an open mouth kiss on me, her tongue exploring my teeth, and my tongue. There are times there are no words to say. Times I just can’t talk. Sometimes, I think that’s a good thing.

When she’d had enough of the kiss, she grabbed my left hand, and raced down the stairs, to her car. She got in on the passenger side. I briefly hesitated, wondering what was going on, deciding, “Don’t ask any questions, stupid. Just go with it.”

Sitting in the driver’s seat, I asked, “Where to?”

“I need music and a drink,” was all she said.

Every alarm bell in my head went off at one time. I swear to God I saw the Lost In Space robot going ‘round in circles, flailing it’s arms around, screaming, “Danger! Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!”

But, hell, it was Jamie. The most gorgeous gal I’d ever known. And after a kiss like the one she’d greeted me with, I wasn’t going to run away like a 5-year-old kid, screaming, “Oooo! Kooties!” Who knew? Maybe I’d get lucky and she’d plant another of those on me. Maybe she’d pull my arm over her shoulders, and snuggle a while. Wherever we wound up.

“Music and a drink?” I thought, rapidly reviewing the list of every place I knew that served food. And coming up empty. Music was the big problem. Drinks were easy. Chili’s, Margarita’s, or any of a dozen other places would work for that. But music?

That meant something like a nightclub, or dance club. I felt my brain cells running for the hills. The loudness, the colors, the sensory overload of a club overwhelmed my ability to cope with it, and I wound up sitting there like a statue. But, Jamie wanted a club. So, I’d find one.

Midnight’s. That was the name of it. They had a sign out front for a live band. One I’d never heard of, of course. And it was Ladies Night, with women having no cover charge to get in. I took here in, and we sat down at a table. She ordered a Black Russian. I ordered a Sprite, knowing I would be driving.

We sat there, listening to the music, watching people dance. I’m not much for dancing, and Jamie knew that. When the first slow dance song started, Jamie stood up, grabbed my hand, and drug me out on the floor. She pulled me in close, put her head on my shoulder, closed her eyes, and pressed her whole body to mine.

My brain cells had just flat given up trying to do anything at that point.

Jamie had two more Russians. And pulled me out on the floor every time a slow song came on. After a couple of hours, she said, “Take me home. My place.”

I had no idea what that meant. I just wondered how the heck I was going to get home, since we’d used her car. I never expected her to drag me inside and plant an even bigger kiss on me. I never expected her to whisper in my ear, “Stay with me tonight.” And I certainly never imagined she’d strip naked right after saying that.

Jamie. Naked. Planting a whopper kiss on me. Pressing her whole self against me. Putting my hand on her waist. Grinding her hips into mine.

I didn’t make it home that night.

682 Words
@LurchMunster


My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 22 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.