A Man of Light

I watched a man dressed in clean blue jeans, a stiff striped shirt, and blue suit jacket talk excitedly about his plans and ambitions from a table over.

I’m an odd eavesdropper. Most people may pretend that they aren’t listening. They might look down and politely make-believe that our small, quaint, shared space is a place where privacy is easily had and dutifully respected. Most people might, but I do not.

For me, an interesting conversation is a work of art. The times that engagement with others isn’t forced but natural and easy are hard to come by. A genuine, active interaction, to me, is as beautiful as the ceilings lofted high in the Louvre. So I found myself admiring this rare finding and my spirit growing warm, airy, and light. I also found myself staring enchantedly at the conversation’s main artisan. My smile visibly elevating in amusement as, consequently, both participants’ voices dropped lower and lower.

This man was there before I was. He was not the most handsome of men, but his face and hair were well groomed, his clothes were sharp and clean, and he had this potent aura of confidence that greatly attracted me. I imagined his stature to be rather modest in reality, yet he sat up straight and tall, typing away, oddly calmly for a business man, seemingly unperturbed by my blatant notice.

The other man entered the large, open area in long, hurried strides. Mid stride he greeted my secret acquaintance, bending over slightly to clasp his hand while shrinking to his receiver’s full height. I paid little attention to this new arrival. His rushed entrance, aligned him with those other people of an entirely other realm than the first man and I. The type who always seem to be rushing, running, hastily moving in every direction, never in the place they want to be, and only entering themselves half-heartedly into every situation. He was not a man of great passion or ambition. He wanted things because he thought he should want them, not because of a deep unmistakable desire. He was a common working man; hard-working, respectable, but uninteresting on almost every account.

I meant to write a story sitting there. I meant to focus on the words and their interactions and my smoothly written prose. They were meant to have simply structured business conversation. Typical conversation. The type that hurts my ears with its lack of artistry and that I often watch with agitation just to roll my eyes at, taking mental notes on how I might significantly improve it. The boring man with the badly tucked shirt was meant to ask, in a great show of superficial enthusiasm, and the other man was meant to answer, stuffily with large hints of obligation. But when the man, whose shoes didn’t match his belt, did inquire about my sleek haired man’s current business, my acquaintance’s face lit up. His posture opened. Instead of leaning back in his chair, addressing questions with answers overly rehearsed earlier that evening, he positioned himself closer, leaning ever so slightly, with excitement that spilled over his careful demeanor. He gushed. It’s honesty caught my eye. The beauty held my gaze and I found myself attached to it. In awe and in luck.

He was a man of politics, in the way that actually matters. He took action on his beliefs. He stated his positions tactfully. He wanted more out of the systems he had been subjected to and the desire lit a fire beneath his feet. He walked the world like an aged monk walked across fiery coals; with determination, poise, and remarkable tolerance.

I heard little of the conversation. The capability of my ears lacks significant range, even when my breath is made undetectable and my movements scarce. But I heard he was running for a position in some field of education. He brought with him a great love for his past experiences and a great appreciation for his upbringings. There was a light that emanated from him as he talked about the endorsements he had recently received and the significance of the change he planned on bringing.

I can recall one excerpt of the conversation clearly now and one excerpt alone. It was the part that made me wish social normalcy wasn’t expected from me and I could interrupt excitedly. I could say I was interested in listening and sit between them both, intrigued, alert, happy. But social normalcy is the only thing really expected in polite society. When rules are broken, reception is poor despite any good intentions. So though the conversation drew my ears forward, my body stayed firmly in its chair.

“It is extremely important to me.” My secret acquaintance was answering a question I hadn’t quite heard. “I come from a community college background and if it wasn’t for the opportunities I had to move forward, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

There was very defined bit of pride that resonated in the ending. I admired the way he held up his humble past as a badge of honor rather than a symbol of embarrassment. He was a confident man; self-assured, self-aware. He knew that beginnings did not determine the ends.

The honest affection he had for the subject was not only noticed by me, but the man whom with he was speaking. The messy man, the boring man, was admiring him too. His eyes lit up with an excitement that seemed unfamiliar to him, but welcome. He shook the clean man’s hand excitedly congratulating him on his recent accomplishments.

“I can see how much you’ve been working and how much effort you put into it. Thank you for speaking with me about it. You’re doing a great job and you need to continue. It seems like work you’re really passionate about. How’s the competition?”

The words became fainter and their heads came closer as they spoke about political gossip. I smiled to myself as I was reminded of both my imposing status and a lesson I often forget: people are people wherever you go. While he spoke of his competitor’s campaign strategy, background, and emotional appeal it dawned on me once again that the people we read about in history books and gossip about on television are physically somewhere, right now. The world seems so much less daunting when you stop separating yourself from it. As he gossiped about his competitor, how good her campaign strategy was, and, yet, how he felt he had a solid chance against her I sat behind him placing myself firmly into a reality I often detach myself from.

They finished their conversation and the tall, smiling, boring man stood up, shook my man’s hand once more.

“Update me on your status!” He said while leaving, his long strides taking him everywhere in a hurry.

The clean man stayed standing, repositioned his jacket, and I could feel him noticing my watching. He bent over the table to pack up his laptop into a blue backpack. His accessories were so elegantly whimsical that I couldn’t help but smile while he lifted his bag to his back.

Ignoring his incredibly nosy onlooker, the man walked off. A bit more rushed than how he’d been sitting. I wondered if it was me or if he really had somewhere to go. Maybe he really had been waiting for that interaction. Maybe he had planned it. Could you plan excitement like that?

I had a strong urge to leave my belongings and chase him down the hallway screaming: Tell me your ambitions! Tell me your goals! Tell me where your life is heading! Let me be part of that light! Please? Won’t you? Let me feel that pure loving excitement I once had, once more.

But I didn’t. It might have been impolite to acknowledge my eavesdropping when he so politely ignored it. And when he walked away the open area that was flooded with natural light, almost always, seemed to grow a bit dimmer.




When you’re at your most vulnerable, do you find yourself in places that you once knew?
The places you feel like you spent your whole life?
Last night I found myself on Plaina Rd. Looking at the old forgotten rocks that my father placed for desert decoration and running across my old forgotten driveway. It was a simple enough setting. I can’t remember where I was going or who I was with, but I remember when she showed up. Her hair bleached once again, short enough to touch her shoulders. Wearing that green coat she always wore with the furry hood, a somewhat cheap looking edition. She wasn’t the girl I remembered, but she was the one I saw in pictures back when I was missing her. She walked passed me while I was running and I smiled and turned around in her direction. I always knew she would reject me once again, but I always did it just in case she smiled back and I could see my old friend again. She was walking with someone and didn’t stop to talk, but as I always have done, I ran after. She did smile at me. She always does accidentally and I guess that’s why I never stop coming back. She smiled at my silly remarks despite herself while I chased her down, but when I finally caught up to her she turned around and looked at me solemnly. We were stopped in front of my old wire gate, the one that let into the backyard. Nothing but dirt and a swing set, but somehow lovely all the same. And as I smiled at her, a joke hanging at the corner of my mouth, she turns to me and says, “I’m not yours, Faithe.”
I had always told her she was mine. That my world and everything in it was hers because of it. That it was me and her until the end of forever. We’d fight off the world together, and when she got tired of fighting I’d fight for her. And when she got married, to whatever man she chose, I would regale stories of our adventures, smile and give her away. But she had said it. Finally and completely. Words I always knew, but I filtered out of my reality. She started to turn away again, hands in her pockets, she’d walk into a backyard sunset. But before she turned completely, I spoke out.
“Hey,” my voice rang out, the entire front yard was silent as she looked at me the last time. “I wouldn’t want you to be.”
I was surprised at how much truth reverberated in it. I was surprised at my own calm at her words, but I had let her go a long time before and had just never said it. There was a lot of pain I could remember but none of it was present then. I rather her be happy away from me. I rather she love her life in the way she pleases. I rather she feel that love I had always given from the person she wishes it from. I rather let her be ok so I can be ok too.

These Days (An Excerpt)

I can almost feel you, you know.
The way I imagine you. I can almost feel your breath on my face as you lie down next to me, facing me. Mostly. Because every so often you notice me looking at you. You notice how the corners of my mouth seem permanently stuck into a high place, a happy place, a place of peace. Maybe for that moment you can feel how light my heart feels. So light I feel like I’m floating. Maybe you know that the feeling spreads from whatever part of me was touching you, so lightly. So lightly my skin didn’t feel it, but heavy enough that my soul caught on. You must notice, because you turn your face into my blanket. You hide yourself in it and let it catch your smile. I can feel your warmth emanate from that place. I can feel you loving me and it makes me float a little higher.
I can almost feel your hand right there. Beside mine. I’ve been afraid to reach for it because if I really lift my hand to touch it… I may remember it’s all in my mind. But if I stay still. If I close my eyes and watch you smile into my blanket, I can feel your hand in mine. I feel my middle finger stroke your index, stroke it just enough to light my soul on fire. And there I am burning, smiling, floating… All within the darkness of my eyelids.

And I can’t move. Because in that moment I’m in love. And I can’t speak. Because if I talk, you’ll disappear. And I can’t go live. Because I can’t go back to feeling less alive.


Death… Almost

He grabbed me by the arm, yanking me to my feet and angrily pulling me toward the door. Swinging the door open he shoves me onto the threshold. “See that?” his muffled voice rings heatedly in my ear. He’s mad at me. Not unusual. I imagine he wants to tear me apart, I can hear the pained restraint in his voice. “You see…” but I never did hear what he wanted me to see. I took off running. I ran. I sprinted, socks on my feet, across the concrete, through the wet grass, and over bushes until I stopped in front of the community gate: the only obstacle stopping me from being recaptured by the family I loved and loathed with two hearts, both confused and coexisting. I pondered for a moment about the implications of jumping that gate. I thought about what it meant for me to run away; if it was “right”, but it was fleeting, I didn’t wait long enough for the thought to change my mind. I quickly hurled myself over it, fast and easy, as if I had done it a million times — in my mind I had– and I took off running. Again. My socks blackening against the asphalt, the hole on my left sole expanding with every step. I ran off my cares, I ran off my worries, I ran off my remaining guilt, but when I began to tire and my legs began to slow, it all came back. All the feelings, the regret. So I ran again, straight across the street, into a cul-de-sac. Loud barking, a lit garage, two men… A dog had run at me, warning me back, seeming to say, “come closer and I’ll take your arm”. I smiled, go ahead, take it. I have little use for it now. I had no interest in living or any interest in what that dog could or would do to me. I was disinterested in every way and that was the worst thing for me. “Boy! Come back! Back, boy!” the dog obeyed, but I had already run back where I had come, taken a right, and run further and further down the road shoeless and suicidal. What a terrible mix. Eventually, I stopped running and started walking up and down the lonely road. I was alone, the road was alone, we were a pair and we stuck together. I walked out into the middle of my new friend and sat down, waiting for something, anything, to happen. I laid my head back against the blackness and looked up at the midnight sky. What a beautiful night it was. God really had out done himself. It would be a wonderful night to die. Comfortable in a t-shirt and pajama bottoms with a beautiful sky to stare up at, I waited for a car. A truck, a smart car, big, small, it wouldn’t matter. I waited for the inevitable. I waited for what I needed. And there I was left to thinking.

My family was crazy. That was obvious, but I was crazy too. I was lying in the middle of the road, wishing someone would come run me over. That made me crazy. I couldn’t deny myself the logic. All I wanted was peace. Peace of mind, peace of body, peace of heart. I wanted my soul to stop crying. I wanted a life free of fear. But that was something death could not give me. This was technically suicide. Suicide leads to Hell and Hell was all torture and fire all the time. Any good Christian girl knows that. So what was it that I needed? My friend had told me it was “fulfillment”. Maybe not religion, but something like it. Reasonable, I supposed. Who really knew anyway? So I prayed. Hard and long. About everything. Thanking God for my friends and the night sky, for my life, and the love that I hadn’t yet abandoned. Asking him to take me back and help in my pursuit of happiness. I got up and walked away, off the road, and back toward my bed, lighthearted and empty of regret. A few minutes passed and a car zipped by, running over the spot my head had lain.

Thank God for second-guessing.

The Relic


She said she was a relic, worn by age, time, and childbearing, along with the occasional man. She used to be great. She used to be wonderful, and a part of something wonderful as well, but now… She was old. Her body was wrinkled, her feet ached constantly, and all her thoughts were senile. In the house, every mirror was covered, hidden by the first thing she saw; dressers, blankets, and (when she could find nothing else) makeup. Mirrors were evil, she reasoned. They made you think of nothing but the past you lost by showing you your present. She walked through her rooms barefoot, not being able to feel nor see the cold marble floor. Windows covered to the best of her ability, she hobbled through her hallway stumbling across each light-patch. Light was also no good, she had told herself. It reminded her of beauty, she said, beauty she could never hold on to, and so she roamed her hallways like ghost, pale from the sunlight she refused to let in. Her feet, calloused as a dancer’s, tapped the marble with a slight stutter, and the sudden memory it brought finally killed her. The accident took her family, the fall took the rest of her life. Happiness she remembered and the despair she felt daily, doubled up in her stomach and she fell to the side. Her heart hurt and she couldn’t stop herself from falling, but fortunately the wall caught hold of her. Imagining it was her husband, she turned to thank him, however this slight movement made her unsteady and she began to slide down the wall. Falling, she attempted to grab a blanket hung before her in order to keep upright, but the blanket only pulled down its hidden mirror with them both. The thud of her body and the crash of broken glass echoed throughout the empty house. She lay face upward, sprawled out against the floor. The tapping had stopped and bits of light surrounded her helpless figure. The moment before her heart failed and the dancing spirits lifted her away, she saw a single glimpse of once lost beauty glimmering across a relic; one surviving shard of an old mirror.



She was falling. Falling into a darkness that was, although frightening, in its own way peaceful and serene. Her hair brushed her face and she closed her eyes. Even though her body was twisted and turned by gravity, she realized that this was the most comfortable she had been in a long time. How could she have  feared this, this freedom? It was the air that freed her and she relaxed her face against it. As she relaxed and started to drift to sleep in helpless serenity, she smacked the concrete with so much force that it awoke her.

Therapy Sessions


She was nervous and it showed in everything that she did. From her pink face to her twitchy fingers, it was extremely apparent that something was on her mind.
“You are in a safe place, Rebecca. No one will judge you here. It’s just you and I.” His voice flowed like honey, soothing, sweet, yet thick. Rebecca didn’t seem relieved in the slightest. In fact, she had become so fidgety with the coming of this new information that the usually over confident therapist began to doubt his vocal technique. However, he thought, in her defense, the irony behind that sentence was uncanny.
For a few moments he just sat watching her. She seemed to become more anxious as he watched, opening and closing her mouth periodically as if wanting to say something, but not quite knowing how to go about it. He wondered what sort of information was taking a hold of her like that. It had definitely taken control of her nervous system and need he even mention her appearance? When words actually found their way through to her vocal cords, the therapist actually raised his eyebrow in surprise.
“He…” she started. What was it? Rape? Beatings? Verbal abuse? Life threats? Surely he had heard it all… “He’s leaving me.” Hmmm… Shocked still. He heard this and was momentarily disappointed.
“And how do you feel about that?” What a therapist-like response. He needed to say something to guise his boredom, but it’s not like he didn’t already know. The disappointment settled. He would never admit it, but he was actually hoping for a rape victim. He hadn’t had one in a while.
“I feel… I feel a bit shaken up.”
And there it was. As if by queue, her feet, her hands, and all the rest of her body stopped their incessant movements.
“Mmmmhmmm,” he replied pretending to write down notes with his pen while really secretly using the ballpoint to mimic the unflattering shape of her head.

Frozen Toes


It was cold outside. The ice had started to creep up on the window panes and the wind could be heard whistling its sweet winter melodies. She was staring out the window in a sort of daze. It was quite warm in the house where she was. The stove lie flickering in the corner giving off more heat than she had originally thought possible for such a small contraption. In the back of her mind she noted it as a smart investment. But no matter how much warmth the fire gave off, the icy yearning in her heart refused to melt away. She felt the cold was calling her. She could hear it beckoning her out across the white winter landscapes and somewhere deep into her lover’s arms. The request, she longed to oblige. Who knew how long she’d be waiting at that window? She had waited so long already… All she needed was to walk across the hallway and straight through the door. She needn’t socks, or shoes, or even guidance. Her love would warm and guide her and his love would find her searching. In her heart, the cold grew restless. As storm was raging inside her. Her bare toes twitched in anxiety, but her daze remained constant, straight at the gate he was bound to open…
The phone rang. At first she didn’t hear it, but reality was soon becoming less distant. A second ring. She was lost in thought, but her trance had become much fainter. By the third, she had already stood to cross the icy, wooden floor. Upon leaving the window and touching her feet to the ground, a realization had risen. How silly it was of her before to think that she could walk outside in the snow without any shoes. This floor was bad enough. Outside… Her feet would freeze.



There was silence in the halls. No children shouting. No stomping of feet echoing through them. Just silence. And it was unnerving. Ana wasn’t used to all this quiet. It was true, she had asked for it more times than she could count. She had begged her husband to take them fishing, or camping, or on any other time consuming trip that she herself would find nauseating, just so she could have that one moment of silence, a silence unbroken by the wails of children and a peace unencumbered by the painful agony of barefoot trodden Legos scattered across the floor. She had asked her husband for a day. One day where the sounds of “Mom”, “Mama”, or “Mommy” weren’t immediately followed by the phrase “can you…?”
“But, Ana, sweetheart, Mother’s Day is in a couple of weeks and summer soon after. Can’t you….” She stopped him there. No. She could not… she would not wait that long. She needed her silence, her solitude, her silent appreciation, now. He must’ve sensed the impatience in her voice. He gave her a week.
But what to do? She sat down on the couch to contemplate. She had been waiting for this day a very long time and had made a list of all the possible activities. She could have a spa day, go shopping, talk to the friends she hadn’t spoken to in a while… See a movie, go to the beach, get her hair styled… All possible and yet… all so far away. There was so much fun she could have later, but now? Now, she could only imagine herself quietly sitting on the couch. She unconsciously began reclining, stretching her body out ever so slightly in order for her body to form fit completely.
“Form fitting” was why she had bought this couch and made it her personal luxury. Since her bedroom was so far away and couches so convenient, it was this ability that had really sold her, but that’s not what this couch was doing. It was not “adjusting to every curve” like the ad had mentioned. It was not “slowly fitting to perfection” like she had once experienced. No. This couch was just lumpy and there was a very specific bump piercing her side.
She got up from her position, reached underneath the cushion, and sure enough there was something lodged beneath her personal seat cushion. From what she could tell, it was hard and plastic. How odd… there wasn’t a television in there so a remote was out of the question… but it also had… hands? She yanked the intruder out unmercifully. Of course, it was Jonah’s favorite action figure. She scowled at it. How dare it impose on her comfort! It scowled back. The more she stared at this intruder the more angry she became and by the end of their stare-down she was bursting inside.
“Ahah!” she exclaimed as she flung it across the room. Bang! It had hit the wall across from her. She had seen a foot unceremoniously fly in the other direction and hoped to high heaven the blow hadn’t scratched her paint. She had just gotten it done. But, oh, she couldn’t worry about that now. Now, she was tired. She curled back into her original place on her wonderfully, form fitting couch, sighed, and closed her eyes.
“Mmmmm…” she mumbled with a smile, “…take that, Aqua man…”