Conversation with my [Non-existent] Prince Charming

“I’m just afraid that you’re gonna try and kill me or something.” I thought he was joking, but when I looked up from my phone and looked at his face it was nothing short of seriousness. Dark curls gathered like a wet mop on top of his head; his green eyes staring straight at me. His calloused hands rested on the sides of his sanguine colored recliner, gripping a can of Root Beer.

“Why would I kill you?” I smirk, amused at this accusational statement.

“Because…well…I don’t reciprocate any feelings back.”

I look at him with concern, “What are you talking about?” What did he know?

“The other night, when you came to apologize to me…after we got into that small tizzy…”

“Ummm okay.”

“Well…you told me you loved me.” I pause. Concerned that what I thought was a dream wasn’t a dream at all. But it felt so fake. It didn’t feel like it happened. Was I drunk?

“Okay…so you think that just because you don’t have any feelings matching what I feel…that I’m going to…to kill you?”

“I mean…yeah,” he stammers, looking down as if suddenly the ivory carpet looked interesting.

“Do you think you’re the first guy to ever reject me or something?” I paused. He waited, confused and concerned. I continued.

“You’re not. Do you realize that pretty much every guy I’ve had any feelings for rejected me? I’m not the most likable person around. I’ve only ever had that one serious relationship. Obviously he didn’t even like me in the end. In eighth grade, do you wanna know why I started having an eating disorder. Because I was rejected by some douche-waffle that I had a major crush on. I wrote him a stupid love poem, and shoved it in his locker. The next day I heard him laughing about it in gym class with a couple of other dudes. Laughing. And making fun of ‘some girl who spends too much time inside.’

“And do you know, my best friend at the time, who was a guy because I couldn’t make friends with girls, because I was such a tomboy, went and told that boy, that very boy that I had a huge crush on…the one that I made a poem for, he told the boy that I had a huge crush on him. His response? It was ‘eww, shes gross and fat.’ I died inside.” Tears welled up in the corners of my eyes. One slid down into the corner of my mouth. I licked my salty tasting lips.

“I literally started starving myself. Anything to make myself more appeasable to someone out there. Do you realize I emphasize how much I want to just stay single, that I’m better off by myself, so that if I end up being single the rest of my life, which will probably happen, I emphasize this so that I’m never disappointed with the results? I don’t fear being rejected. I actually fear being wrong. I fear that ‘what if.’ What if I ever did find someone—then what?”

He looked baffled. Not really sure what to say. His green eyes looks at me then down then back at me. “I think that you’re too hard on yourself.”

“And I think you overthink anything I do, and my supposed intentions.”

He opened his mouth to respond but quickly shut it, not sure how to respond at this point. I got up from the faded brown chair to plug my phone in at the nearby outlet. My back still towards him. I let out a long breath.

“Look, you’re my best friend. And just because you don’t have feelings for me doesn’t change anything. I appreciate our friendship…just as it is. And I always will. I used to think you had feelings for me but…honestly I know that you don’t. And that’s okay.”

I let out a sigh of relief. I turn around to the old, red chair across the room; it was empty.


Any events, persons, and/or materials are completely fictitious and any resemblance to non-fictitious events, persons, and/or materials are completely coincidental.


Untucked Wings

A forest dark and grim. A young girl shutters as she gasps in between sobs. Her blonde hair hangs in strings from days of neglect. She dared not care for where would she go now? She hesitated, but finally stands up. She looks first southward, where her old, dull, yellow, paint chipped house lies, but turns northward. A dark wind blew from the horizon. She knew not where this path would lead, only that she could no longer bear where she came from. The past was riddled with guilt and doubt. Boldly holding true to herself, she made her first step.

Out of the forest line, she awakens to the shine of a fading orange sun. Heavy and burdened, she made her way out to the plains. She hoped to meet someone there. Someone who could make this all make sense. She blinks her eyes towards the fading sun. Her hopes are scattered in front of her while her heart is cast upon her shoulder. The seams that were stitched together are beginning to crumble and rip. Would she ever trust again? Could she ever trust again?

Her faith makes her strong; the world makes her weary. No longer could she be concerned with the daily passages, for a mission had been taken exposing the frailties in who and what she is. The betrayal was too much to admit. The long lost effort is painful; the passing glances are too much.

Her father’s whiskey stained words echo in her head, but she presses on. Bird wings can be heard fluttering in the long grass in front of her, and for a brief moment a smile flickers across her face, pressing creases in the sides of her mouth. She yearns to fly like a bird and finally be set free. Free from the burdens that never cease from her heart. Free like the un-caged bird.

Falling to her knees she cries out to the blanket of silence that engulfs her. Crying for the love and laughter that had ceased long ago. Her father could never understand. He was, after all, the reason she left in the first place. But now…the deep breath of fresh air liberated her soul. She rises back to her feet.

She feels free at last, as she untucks her wings that were hidden inside of her. Her legs begin to go forward, faster with each step. Faster down the hill she runs. Glorious with arms spread, as if she were to take off at any given moment. And then she came to the bottom. The brief moment of freedom had ended.

She begins up the next hill.


*Though this story is very short, it was co-written with one of my good friends. We were messaging each other back and forth via Facebook, and together we created this story.*

Shallow Breath

9:57 pm: A chill runs down my spine, I shiver and cross my arms to keep the coldness out.

2:37 am: My phone vibrates. Her picture pops up on my screen. I slide my thumb across my phone to answer. Her voice raspy. I could tell she was crying just before she pushed the call button.

8:55 am: My last snooze goes off. I groggily open my eyes and stare up at the ceiling, wondering why I have to be an adult at age twenty-three. Light slivers its way across my room while the birds croak out their songs.

7:24 pm: I pull into the parking lot of her apartment complex. I have her code memorized and let myself into the building. Her door is unlocked. She sits on her couch. Cross legged. Her back to the door. “Hey….you okay? You haven’t responded to any of my texts.” The apartment is silent except the low buzzing of the of the next door neighbor’s music.

2:38 am: “Heyyy…what’s going on?” I say in a hushed, mellow voice.
“I hate life. I fricking hate it.”
“Well, I mean life isn’t always the easiest to love.” I know it has something to do with him.
“We just had a huge fight. I think we’re gonna break up.”
“Okay. Start from the beginning.”

3:09 pm: I finally get on my break. I put a dollar in the vending machine and push B4 for the Cheetohs. A quarter falls down. I read my text.

3:13 am: “I know it’s so cliché to say, but the right guy will come around when the time is right. You’re so young. But honestly breakups suck.” My phone buzzes in my ear from a notification.

12:46 pm: My phone vibrates with one new text. Her name pops up in green.

11:01 am: I punch in at work with a cup of coffee in my hand, black. It steams fresh, the smell lingers up to my nose. “Good morning, all” I say, cheerfully fake, and sit down in my seat, ready as one can ever be to take on the day.

3:26 pm: I step out for a cigarette, and reply to her text. She doesn’t respond. A car honks its horn in the distance.

3:41 am: I scroll through Facebook. Reading the random posts of my friends. His name pops up from a picture he is tagged in by one of his friends. It’s him along with some kids I don’t recognize. His hand on one of his buddies shoulders, and his teeth, white with care, are brimming wide with a hint of fake. I tap on his name to go to his page, and press the delete button.

7:26 pm: I touch her bare shoulder, which is covered in a yellow spaghetti strap tank top. Her skin is cold. Her breath short and barely there. Pills are scattered on the table in many colors. I grab her and look in her glazed eyes. I dial 911.

3:18 am: “Okay…you’re right. It just hurts ya know?”
“Yes. I do know. Remember when I went through my breakup not too long ago?”
“I was a mess, right? But I’m still here. It’s going to take a while for those pieces to get glued back together. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, as long as you keep gluing. But don’t stop because someone gets in your way. If they want to help, great. But don’t let your guard down just because they look like they wanna help. Some people haven’t worked hard a day in their life, and have no idea how to apply that glue. Next thing you know, and you’re in a sticky mess. Glue all over. And your pieces aren’t getting fixed right.”
“Your glue analogy is weird.”
“I know….you sound tired.”
“Psh, I guess I should get some rest. It’s going to be a long day at work tomorrow.”
“Same. But I’m glad you called. I wouldn’t miss a call from you for the world. You’re important to me. Remember that.”
“Thanks…well, goodnight.”

10:03 pm: She took her last shallow breath at 9:57 pm.

Unkept Promise

You look at me. I stare back at you. Your hair is long and stringy from lack of care.  Your blue eyes that were once bright and filled with joy, now stare at me filled with a lifeless dread. Our eyes interlock, and for a brief moment a smile flickers across your face. I force myself to smile back.

I didn’t want to be here. I can’t stand sitting here staring at you. Staring through a thick piece of plastic that grants me the ability to avoid your touch. You pick up the telephone that is now a faded black. I pick up mine. I have no idea what to say after thirteen years of silence.

“Hello, Pookie.” I cringe, and let out a sigh.
“Hi,” I mumble.
“H-h-how have you been?” I shrug my shoulders. What am I supposed to say, that everything’s peachy? “How is Kitty?” I hate that nickname.
“She’s…good.” I dare not say how she overworks herself with three jobs, or how her head, once full of Hershey brown curls, is now streaked with gray and always pulled back in a tight bun. Her skin is beginning to shrivel after years of keeping everything bottled in.

You were my best friend since I could remember; you gave me my nickname after we watched a puppet show with a dancing lion on PBS. You were the only one who cared about me. You always told me when I was a kid that if I would pray to God about anything, He would always answer. You’d whisper to me every night that God loved me to the moon and back, but that your love for me stretched past Pluto. Then you’d kiss me on my forehead, and whisper “Goodnight, Pookie.”

I shudder and push this thought of betrayal out of my mind.

“So…um…what grade are you in?”
“I’m in college…I’m failing math.”
You smirk, “Math was my worse subject.”  I roll my eyes. I’m nothing like you—nothing.

When I was seven you lifted me up onto our old gray mare’s back, and told me that if I would eat all my fruits and vegetables that I would grow to be as big as the horse.  I felt invincible sitting up there. Nothing could ever hurt me—as long as I had you to hold my hand.

“What are you doing after you graduate?” Your question pulls me back into reality.
“Um…” I shrug, “Graduate school.” Or move 2,000 miles away, “I’m thinking about Madison.” A lie.
“Madison’s a good school.” You say, proudly grinning.

In that split second I wish I could go back in time and whisper in your ear to stay. But nonetheless I can’t go back. I can’t erase all of your mistakes.

As if reading my mind, your smile dwindles and regret fills your eyes like a bag of dirt. “I’m sorry, Pookie. I never…I…I meant to come back.”

The world pauses for a brief moment as if holding its breath. We’re back on the farm; your cold, damp hand is clasped around mine. We’re running from him—the man with a shadow face. His breath is soaked in whiskey and bitterness. “Run. Don’t. Look. Back.” You tug on my arm through the cow pen and up the hill molded of red clay dirt.
“But. Kitty.” I puff
“No time, Pookie. She…will manage.” We come to The Oak, and you help me up the old pieces of wood steps nailed into the bark and into our secret fort.
“Stay here. Lay down. Be quiet. Don’t come down for nobody. I’ll come back.” but you never came back.
Kitty found me the next day with a man wearing dark blue and a shiny badge pressed on the left side of his chest. The man with a shadow face was gone forever, and you were nowhere to be found. I kept my promise—you never kept yours.

It was years later, and people still stared at me. They still whispered about me, but I never allowed them to know that I still hoped and prayed that you would come back. It was nine years later, shortly after I turned 18, that I found a press release from that day when you left me—“Teenager Shot Intoxicated Father Awaiting Trial.” Bitterness churned my stomach, and I walked away, deciding to forget about you, like an old plastic bottle in an alleyway.

I’m overcome with a cloud of forgiveness, and let out a sigh of relief.
“I know. I forgive you because you’re brother.” You smile, and slide your hand onto the plastic barrier. I put mine over yours. The years that were speckled with silence is now replaced with a white canvas ready for the new memories to be splattered on. So what would we paint in two years when you finally get your freedom?

The Orange Flowers

The white moon glows bright tonight; its pale face glaring down through a cloudless sky. My feet make a shush sound as I tiptoe my way across the dew layered lawn, and I spread my quilted blanket out. The air is drenched in chilly fingers, but I refuse to let myself feel anything but numb, and clench my teeth tight as I stare up at the black space above. The stars wink back at me.

The first time we planted flowers I was five years old. I had begged you for weeks to buy me the orange flowers because orange was my favorite color. Every time we went to the store I pointed at the orange flowers that were purposely placed near the store-entrance to entice kids like me who loved flowers, and you’d shake your head and say, “No, Little Chicken. Not today.” And I’d pout my lips and cross my arms for the next five minutes and stomp my feet as we continued on, until we would go down a random aisle and I’d see some other orange thing that peaked me interest. The final day I asked, we went through our usual routine, but then at the end we went back to the front of the store and you told me to pick my favorite one. So I picked the biggest ones I could find. They costed $4.72. 

We went home, and you took me to where you kept the gardening tools and shovels. “Little Chicken, there’s more to flowers than what you see,” and you handed me a garden claw and trowel, and you grabbed a shovel. We carried these tools to an area in front of the house that was secluded off with a brick line, and was overrun with grass and weeds. You began digging in the mess, and that’s when you taught me two important lessons: the first was about God, the second was that nothing get’s done without hard work.

“We have to first get rid of these weeds because if we don’t, then we can’t plant these beautiful flowers. We can’t just pull out enough where the flowers will go, because then the weeds would choke out the flowers and the flowers will die.” You continued to dig up massive globs of dirt held together by the roots of the weeds. 

“You have to shake the dirt out. To do this you need to grab a hold of the base of the weeds and start shaking slowly, as more dirt falls out then you can start shaking harder to get more out.” You say this as you show me how to do it. 

“Why can’t you just shake really hard at first?” I question. You smirk, as if you’d knew I’d ask that. “Well Little Chicken, because if you shake too hard at first, then the weeds break off and you’re just left with a massive ball of dirt and roots and then it’s really hard to get the roots out. Now you try.” And I grab one of the globs you dug up and shake it like you showed me. 

“We shake the dirt out because that’s the good stuff we want to use for our flowers. We get rid of the weeds because that’s obviously the bad stuff. Sometimes God does this to us. We all have weeds in our lives, nobody is weed-free. And those weeds take root in our lives. When we’re ready to allow flowers to take root in our lives instead of weeds we allow God to start digging at us, and to start pulling those globs of weeds out of our lives. At first, He is gently shaking them out a little at a time and then He will shake us more vigorously, until at last the weeds come out and all that remains is the foundation that we need for a beautiful flower to blossom out of.”

We continued on, you digging and stopping every once in awhile to help me shake the dirt out of the weeds. After three hours, we finally finished weeding and planting and watering the flowers. It’s one of the few memories I’ve cherished as I grew up, because although you could have done something in an hour, you chose to spend three hours on it to teach me a valuable lesson, one of the many you taught me throughout the years. 

I can’t help but think of those flowers now as I look up at what He created, and wonder what lesson I was supposed to learn after you took your own life. Too many questions and not enough answers ring inside my head, but the stars don’t provide any answers.

“You got my attention, if that’s what You want,” I say between chattering teeth. A breeze brushes my face that has a sweet aroma of flowers. Tears of shame and anger glide down the side of my face, I’m full of frustration because I know you’ll never come back.

“You never taught me how to be strong from a death, and that’s not fair,” I say in hushed voice.

The orange flowers grew back the following year, but years later they eventually died because I stopped tending them as I grew older. You never yelled at me, nor told me it was my fault, but I knew that deep down inside it pained you to see the mass of weeds overtake the arrangement that we worked so hard on. Eventually, you went through and planted Daisies and orange Tulips; they still grow there. 

It suddenly hits me, the day you took your life was your final lesson for me: life is too short to waste. Life is too short to live in the shadows. And even though you never fully allowed God to remove some of the weeds in your life, it’s important for me to live life to the fullest. Sometimes God speaks to us in mysterious ways, and even though I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again, I know what I have to do while I’m here on Earth     plant flowers.

Nothing Good Happens After Midnight

“It’s so stupid,” She takes a long drag on her cigarette. Her brows are furrowed in frustration, yet her eyes are layered with tears ready to course their way across her ageless face. “I don’t understand how I could be so blind. How could I not see this coming?” She looks at me.

I look into her eyes,”Because love is blinding.”
“But were we even in love?”
“Maybe not a deep love, but in one form, I think you did love him.”
“Well I hate love,” she looks down letting her cigarette drop, her foot squishing the last red ash out on the chilly cement. Tears started flowing down her cheeks and her body began shaking, “The worse part is that he called me a dog.”
I take a brief moment before continuing on, “Well, then be a dog.”
She looks at me, confusion written on her face, “What?”
I hesitate, “Be a dog…be loyal to everyone, love unconditionally, and get excited about going outside. Forgive and forget. Wake up each morning with joy in your heart, and chase the ball every once-in-awhile…it’s the little things in life.”
She stops shaking. I wipe her tears away and let my arms embrace her.
“It’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to suck for awhile. I know you though, you’ve overcome a lot. You attempted suicide and survived that. A boy who breaks your heart is not worth the shedding of tears. That just means you are still giving him the time he doesn’t deserve.”
“I know.”

She and I sit in silence for awhile. Her phone buzzes, and she looks at it. It shows she has a new message. I look at mine to check the time. 2:08 a.m.

“It’s from him. He says, ‘I was wrong, I’m sorry. Can we talk?'”
“Ignore it. Nothing good happens after midnight. He’s probably drunk or just wants you for the night. If he meant it, he would have just messaged you in the morning.”
She shuts off her phone, and slides it into her pocket.
“I do need to get going. I need to be up early.”
“Okay, but promise me you won’t respond. He probably doesn’t mean it, and he doesn’t deserve someone like you.”
She lets out a deep sigh, “Don’t worry. I won’t. I promise,” she gives me a large smile.

With that, she turns and walks away, leaving me behind with the campfire that had died down to a glowing ember.
I know she lied to me, just now, but I don’t want to run after her. I’d say something I’d regret or I’d end up causing a ripple in our friendship. After all, nothing good happens after midnight.

Dog Home (part 3)

Days spread into weeks, and my mother would often sit or lay talking to Sam. Passing the time talking about their past and reminiscing on happier times. When they were taken out to run in the fenced in area in the back they’d run off together playfully biting at one another’s necks. Then when they were done they’d stretch out in the grass admiring the new smells in the air and the clashing of squirrels running in the nearby woods. One day, Sam asked my mother how she came to call the streets her home.

“It all started with my mother,” she started. “My mom, she was what humans called a purebred. She had a lineage as far as the eye could see is what she always told me. Then one day, she got out and took off for a few days. When she came back, the humans didn’t know she was carrying four extras with her.

“Well fast forward, the humans were disgusted with ‘mutts’ as they called me and my brother and sisters. They tried selling us, my sisters Mitzy and Hiccup were found a home. My brother Chubby and I were put in a brown box that smelt like…like rotten food. The humans took us somewhere, I remember the drive was bumpy and long. I don’t know where we were left at, but I remember it being cold. We both huddled together in a corner of the box. Scary things kept making noises…”

“C’mon doggies!” The lady with the brown hair, who my mother came to know as Rachel, called out.
“Well…we best be getting back inside.” Sam’s joints cracked as he got up. They both jogged towards Rachel. She put a collar on Sam and then me and led them inside to their boxed imprisonments.

As soon as the metal cage door closed them in, they waited patiently for her to take her other two dogs out and let them enjoy their momentary freedom.

“So, tell me the rest of your story,” Sam whimpered.

“Well…there were so many scary noises we started whining. Eventually we did fall asleep, and awoke the next morning to birds singing. We huddled for awhile, and then I clambered my way out of the box. Chubby stayed behind because he was afraid. I told him I wasn’t going to stay here and that we needed to find food. He cried some more and stayed inside. I left in search of food. There were trees everywhere, but in the middle of them was an old road ridden with cracks. I followed it down for awhile, it seemed like forever.


“My paws were starting to hurt, but then I saw a house. And in front of that house was a porch and on that porch was a bowl of some sort of food. I ate at it hungrily and then felt ashamed that Chubby wasn’t there. So I ran all the way back to the box that smelled like rotten food, and barked at Chubby to come and get some food. He struggled to get out, but did manage to get out. We walked back down to the house and showed him the bowl. He happily scarfed the rest of it down. We decided to go under the porch where it seemed safe, and there we nested. We heard a voice, singing and humming to some sort of music that faintly floated in the air. ‘Oh my, the cats were hungry today,’ she said in a surprised voice. We continued to stay under the porch. Every morning that lady poured food into the bowl, and every morning when we were sure it was safe we would hustle to the food dish and eat it all.


“Then one day, the human lady caught us. She put out some food and when we stepped on the porch and started eating the food she rushed out the door letting it slam. ‘Now I know why the food was always gone. You git dogs! Scram! This ain’t for you!’ she chased us off. We yipped all the way into the woods down the street. After awhile we did go back to sleep under the porch, and the next day she put more food out. We waited a long time before making our way to the food bowl. When I went down to eat, I noticed it smelt funny. There was a liquid mixed with the food. I didn’t want to eat it, and told Chubby we shouldn’t eat it. But he chose to anyways.” Mother looked down at this moment; a deep sorrow filled her stomach. Sam sensed what was about to come.


“It wasn’t good food was it?”

Mother looked at him, “No. Whatever that liquid was, it killed Chubby. He died that night, as I lay huddled next to him. He moaned from agony and I could only comfort him by nudging him, until at last when morning came his body was cold and stiff. That’s when I decided to move away. I didn’t like leaving him there, but I had no choice.”


Sam sat in silence, taking it all in.


“What about you, Sam? Where did you come from?”
Sam pricked his ears forward, “I was born a stray, wandering the streets. I was adopted once, and for a year I was loved unconditionally, but then the humans were always gone and constantly fighting with each other, so they gave me up. I went to a place similar to this one, and I was adopted again by a man who lived by himself. A small child, named David, would visit every once-in-awhile and refer to him as ‘Grandpa’ and I was happy with him for years. I’d sit at his feet while he sat and read book after book after book. Sometimes he wrote stories about me.  Then all of a sudden he couldn’t keep me, and gave me to someone else, who was not a nice man. He hit me a lot, and would hardly feed me. He kept me tied up outside, and my chain never offered me freedom. Then all of a sudden I’m being taken away and now I’m here. Talking to you.”


As if on cue, Rachel was bringing back the other two dogs back causing a great ruckus between the other dogs that were going to be lead outside. After Rachel managed to get her next two dogs out, she came back with some food for Sam and my mother.


“Here you go Lizzy girl. I put some extra love in there for you.” My mother looked down at her food where a wet substance lay on top of her food. The first time any human gave her extravagant food without a secret death wish.


She scarfed it down happily.