“What does dark darkness even mean?” I protested quite loudly.
Mum immediately hit me on my shoulder which made my arm jerked back a little from the startle. The lady pulled my hand back towards her. She used both her hands to open my palm wide.
“There there there. Don’t be scared. Even though I saw darkness, I also saw a bright light. It comes from a strong, heated fire.” The lady closed her eyes. Her finger traced an invisible drawing on my palm. It made me tickled. I shuffled a little trying to fight the urge to withdraw my hand.
“Ah ah ahhhhh” she suddenly screamed. With her eyes still closed, she backed away. One of her hand blocked between us as if she was trying to not have to look at my palm. “The fire is so strong. It will chase away any darkness. No, not any fire. Your fire is so strong. Who? Who are you?” She screamed the questions out loud with her eyes still closed and her hands still holding on to mind tightly.
I just stared at the hysterical scene that just happened on her own for no particular reason. I wasn’t going to say anything. But I looked at my mum and she was looking back at me eagerly waiting for me to reply the lady. I rolled my eyes. “Uhm…I guess I work for the city…”
“No not that!” She shook my hand hard, “I want to know your true identity. Your true role assigned by God!”
“My what???” I truly didn’t understand what she was talking about.
“Mum,” after taking a quick breath, I turned to my mum whispering, “this fortune teller of yours doesn’t seem normal. Is she ok?” I grunted at the word “ok”.
“Hey hey hey,” the lady yanked my hand to get my attention, “I’m not just a fortune teller. I’m a mystic! I was chosen by God himself. I can communicate with him directly and he told me that you have a secret identity. That you can burn darkness with fire, that your mystical strength is…”
“Okayyyy. I’m gonna stop you there. I think we are done for today,” I pulled my hand back from hers. I stood up real quick from my chair while grabbing my mum’s arm. “Mum, we should leave. Else we’ll be late. I’ll bring the car over”
“Honey, don’t you want to hear what the lady has to say. She is very good,” mum still tried to convince me though she could already tell that I was more than ready to leave. She put a 100 dollar bill on the table while hurriedly packing her things. She mouthed sorry to the lady while chasing me outside.
Shit, I zipped up my jacket while taking a deep breath inside the car. That was close. I took out my purse to check on the business cards I had in the secret compartment. I wanted to make sure the lady didn’t say the things she said because she happened to see my cards. They were all still there. All the cards that said I was an exorcist.
I remember the sound of water. The way it slowly crashed through the pebbles and slipped through the rocks calmed me. It wasn’t a waterfall with intensive water falling from miles and miles above. It wasn’t the calm lake that remains so serene too the point of being cold. It was a little creek with water running through, soft enough to calm my mind but lively enough to know it was there.
The creek had no name. There was only one creek in town and everyone knew. Nobody needed to put a name on it. I would climb down the side of the road, and hid from the cops to walk under the bridge to go to a part of the creek that no one ever came by. There was nothing there but trees, the sound of running water and silence. I came there for the silence but the water movement made me still feel alive. I came there to write my poems. I came there to sing alone. I came there to get through my first heart break. I came there to fill myself with homesickness. I came there to take my senior pictures. And sometimes I came there just to be. I wasn’t there to be a great philosopher that trying to be part of nature. I wasn’t there to be anti-social and avoiding people. I was there to be alone with my thoughts. That little creek on the side of the road was when I figured I needed to learn to keep myself company. If there are too many thoughts and too many noises in your head, may be the way to go is to listen to them all. I liked myself because I learn to like how I think.
When I was in high school, I swore to leave that town as soon as I graduated. I did and I never looked back. But sometimes, I still think about the lively silence of that creek, about how my young little teenage years were there.
A quick write on the topic of place that inspired me. A fun prompt from Go Dog Go Cafe.
As winter whispers, my heart freezes. Every winter, it got colder and darker, and I could never get the image of you out of my head. I remembered your back in the dark. You were wearing a thick navy parka.
As winter whispers, the cold freezes my face and I always remember your kiss. The last time, you kissed me on my cheek. If I knew that would be the last time, I would kiss you on your lips and have one last taste of your cherry lip gloss. You didn’t even kiss me right that last time. You breezed through my cheek and told me you had to run.
As winter whispers, the cold wind blows through my hair and I remembered how it used to blow through yours. That day, a strong wind blew the hood off your head. Your blonde hair flew out and they looked sparkling under the street lights. You panickingly struggled to grab your fuzzy thick hood back on your head while crossing the street. The light wasn’t red and you crossed.
As winter whispers, I remembered your blonde hair bursted out covering half of your faced down body on the street. I remembered running towards you and crying till I couldn’t see clearly. I heard lots of noises. I heard sirens but I didn’t hear your voice.
Every time winter comes, they said I have seasonal depression. They don’t know how it feels having your loved one taken away by winter. If it was summer, if only it was summer, none of our tragedy would have happened.
This little prose is a response to a beautiful prompt this week by Go Dog Go’s Cafe.
Dad was an immigrant from South East Asia. He moved to the US then met mom here. Mom was also an immigrant from the same country.
In the beginning, he struggled to keep up with his Visa and legal statuses. So many requirements and so complicated. Dad was able to understand English decently, but still only decently. He wasn’t born speaking the language. So besides the time he had to spend keeping up with his legal status, he had to spend so much time trying to understand the instructions on how to do so as well.
Then when he was looking for jobs, it was difficult. He couldn’t do this, he couldn’t do that. He could only do certain things. The poor guy just wanted to feed himself and be useful for society.
He used to always be afraid of cops and officers and politics. Basically, anything and anyone that mention the word “immigrant” even though he stayed in the US completely legal. And he followed every rule he knew of to a T. He was still scared. He used to tell me “Listen child, predators and politics, they are the same thing. If they don’t chase you. Don’t go chasing them.” He avoided all political conflicts like a plague.
He was still living in the US. He had the same job for the last 15 years. He bought a house in California. The house was expensive, but he made decent money. He got his green card about 10 years ago, and he got sworn in as a US citizen about 5 years or so after that. And his attitude changed after that.
He watched all types of political debates. He knew all the state senators’ names. He concerned about what they voted because he was a US citizen then. The benefits Congress voted were for him. He disassociated himself with the “new” immigrants. He had a tough time in the beginning. It made him who he was. Now, all the new immigrants shouldn’t have it too easy. It wasn’t supposed to be easier for them than it was for him. The tax money that the government spent should not be for those immigrants. It should be for US citizens like him. The thing he used to tell me as a child “Listen child, predators and politics…”, I guess it wasn’t right anymore. He was chasing them politics now.
You tried to ruin me, but I didn’t know any better.
From the first day I met you, I’ve already knew I was trapped. When you were sixteen and people told you they loved you, you believed it, and I did. When you told me you loved me, I knew there was no escape for me. Your eyes, your hand, your warmth, your heated, passionate spirit of a young man – who could resist all that. I fell right into your traps.
Then we were 18. I went to college, you didn’t. You made sure to come to my dorm very often to scare away all the guys that were interested in me. You took me away in your ugly hotrod, to all the beautiful places in the middle of nowhere. Just empty nature of trees, of birds and of us. You told me one day, when you’d make more money, we would go to fancy places like the city folks often do. When you made lifetime promises like that and I said yes, I knew that was it for me. You cornered me for life.
Out of nowhere, you told me you would join the Marines. You didn’t station far but I could only see you during the weekends and holidays. At first I thought that was bad. Then you got deployed. For six months, I didn’t get to see you at all. That wasn’t fair. We waited four years for me to graduate then you left me for half a year on deployment, immediately after only half a year into our marriage. But there was nothing I could do so I let you go.
After you came home from your first tour, we finally got to enjoy our marriage life. We made enough money to go to the fancy places like the city folks do. It took years but you kept your promises. You always do. And I will always remember you as a man of his words.
9/11 happened and you said you had to go. I shouldn’t have let you go. I should have never let you go. I know, I shouldn’t say that. There are many of your colleagues here today. They now would all think how unpatriotic I am for thinking that I should keep you home while the country was in crisis. But…you didn’t come home. You never came home anymore. They gave me a flag and asked me to make a speech at this ceremony. No, not a speech, a eulogy.
I knew very well, that in a eulogy, I should say about how good you were as a man. But all I could think of was how angry I was with me and with you. I should have never let you go and you should have never been such an amazing man. You were such strong, loving and patient of a man that when I found you, I thought I would never need anyone else. You were all I ever needed. You trapped me in your love. That now, when you were no longer here, my life went down the drain with you. You tried to ruin me and you succeeded. My whole life I have not learn to love anyone else but you. So what do I do now?
The only forgiving point I could give you was that you also dedicated your life to me. For your whole life also loved nobody else but me. And didn’t you love me well.
So I hope you rest in peace. May you go to a better place where only the best humans on Earth get to go. I hope you are proud of all the things you’ve achieved, you are proud of me and you are proud of the man you grew up to be. Because I am so proud of you, and I love you so much. But you already knew that. You knew that since we were sixteen.
They are always whining, crying and they are so weak. I had to be careful around them. Last time I accidentally pushed one of them, he felt on the ground and hurt himself. Everyone started screaming and yelling at me. After that, I tried to not come close to any of those weaklings. Not worth my time.
They are also stupid. Things that people obviously know, they don’t. Jane has been in school and private tutoring for how long already and she still didn’t know how to do basic maths properly. Last time, I was forced to help her with her homework. It was just multiplication. There was nothing complicated about it. I had no idea why she didn’t know the answers already. She was just sitting there, scribbling on a piece of scratch paper with numbers that had nothing to do with the right answers. I lost my patience and hit her head very gently while calling her stupid. Mom ran out and yelled at me, again. I avoided Jane and other children like a plague after that.
However, thing was a little different today. Aunt Rose stopped by and she gave each of us $20 as gifts. I needed to come close to her to trick her out of her $20. She doesn’t do anything fun. What she needs that money for anyway. Me, on the other hand, can use that extra $20 for an epic battle in the arcade with Andrew. Time to stop avoiding Jane. So I approached Jane when she was watching some sparkle princess show on TV.
“Hey Jane.” I tried to smile as big as I could.
“Yeah?” She hesitated. “What’s up?” Of course she would find it strange that I came talk to her.
“Wanna play a bet with me?” I still smiled.
“What bet?” She finally showed some interest in this conversation.
“You are the tallest girl in your class right? So you are probably stronger than the rest of the girls,” I was starting my luring speech.
“Probably. Very likely.” She perked up, quite proud of herself.
“Me, I’m not even the tallest guy in my class. I think if we wrestle, you would probably win.”
“I don’t know about that. But may be…” She started to think.
“So how about we wrestle for the $20 that Aunt Rose gave us? The loser lost that $20 for the winner.”
“Uhm…I don’t know…” Now that money was involved, Jane started to wonder.
“Come on. You are for sure stronger than me.” I was pursuing her hardcore. “Isn’t extra $20 is amazing? I’m setting myself up to fail here.”
“Yeah…yeah. You are right.” She got hyped up. “I’m gonna win. I’m gonna beat you so hard you have to run back and cry to mommy. Let’s go!”
“Yes, you will” I was hyping her up even more.
While she ran away to get into her “fighting outfit”, I rolled my eyes so hard. Jane? Winning? Oh please. I was already laughing so hard inside. That $20 was for sure mine now. There was no way I could lose. She was nine years old, and she never had a chance.
I rushed to my mailbox. It definitely looked like the mailman stopped by today. No one else mailed me anything. I purposely cleared out all my mail just so I never missed yours. My mailman knew that. He only delivered me letters and packages with handwritten addresses. So the one he dropped off must be from you. I opened the mailbox and the green envelope looked familiar. Damn it. It was my mail to you got returned-to-sender. I knew you no longer lived at that address, but I was hoping this mail got to you in time. It didn’t.
Wire transfer completed. That was the last of the payments to Madam Zuzu. She should be sending instructions on preparations to me soon. This had to be perfect. So you shouldn’t worry. I’d make sure to prepare everythins right. Double, triple checking all the things she requested.
I knew you were more of a text person than a phone call person. But I wanted to hear your voice so I called you anyway. I memorized your number by heart. I never saved it into my phone. Firstly, because I would never, as long as I lived, forgot your number. Secondly, I didn’t know what to save your number under. No word could describe what you were to me. No word deserved to be the description of you. Dialed. Beep. Beep. Beep. I can’t pick up your call right now. Please leave a message. Thankssss!
Ouch. The needle poked me. I quickly licked my finger so the blood didn’t stain my work. Whatever. I was done with the your doll anyway. Madam Zuzu said it needed to be a handmade doll. This better worked. I only had a few of your hair left and I had to stick a strand inside this doll already. So hopefully that would not be a waste. Bought some sage today. Some incense. A best quality bottle of absinthe. I told Madam Zuzu that you hated absinthe, but she said that wasn’t for you to drink.
I brought fresh flowers for you today. Sunflowers. Your favorite. When I got there, there were already some white roses. Who did this? You didn’t like roses. I threw those roases away. Nobody understood you like I did. I squatted down, tracing my finger along each letter of your name on the tombstone. Carefully, one by one. It wouldn’t be much longer darling. This time we would really be together forever.
Ring. Ring. Ring. Madam Zuzu.
Yes, I have everything you told me to bring. I will be there soon.
I kissed your tombstone one last time before I left. Darling, next time, I would kiss your lips instead of this cold stone. This stone was in no way deserving to carry your name and this dirt ground should have never held you. Madam Zuzu guaranteed that it would work. A million dollars and half of my soul was a cheap price to pay.
I couldn’t wait to see you again. I missed you.
This little story was a response to the Go Dog Go’s Cafe prompt: End a piece of prose or poetry with the phrase “I miss you” —> Their prompts were always a creative boost for me. So much fun writing the stories.