It was the fall that surprised me most. Stumbling, suddenly in darkness, in a vile body that felt alien, so different, so limited, so odd - nothing to...before.
They never believed me, never believed what I said, when I tried to explain where I belonged (this tongue is clumsy and cannot say the words I need - I use words like "sky" and "stars" and "above" and "far" but none of them even begin to describe home - home is the closest approximation I have, but it is, I find, unhelpful)
They tell me that such things - I -...
"Come here," I whisper loud enough for her to hear me.
She gives me a look and laughs, tilting her head up to the sky.
The bark of the palm tree leaning over the ocean against my hand is hard but smooth.
Like the shore's winds blew away every crack and bump.
"Here," I pat my lap as I prop myself against the tree.
Mocking a shocked look, she kicks the sand up so it sticks against my wet foot.
I stare down for a moment as she comes to settle on my lap.
Her hair smells like salt...
We made a little church of our own when we promised to marry. You asked me when I barely understood how to love you, and I'd been innocent so long that I think the moment you told me you loved me you became ever more desperate to snap me up. Three days after the initial declaration came the proposal. I ran away from you and hid.
You're a terrible boy. Everyone says so. I'd heard the talk since the beginning of time and I'd seen the queue of sobbing girls you left behind you. And yet.... you told me loved...
My four-year-old son was out of control. He tried to climb EVERYTHING, he made crazy yelling noises all the time, he had about a ten-word vocabulary, and he slipped out of his room every night to sleep with his pet jungle cats.
And it was all his grandpa's fault.
I should have seen it coming the day my son was born. I held him in my arms, showed him to my father-in-law, and said, "Hey, Dad, ain'tcha proud?" And he just twinkled his eyes at me, and ran his hand through his dreadlocks, and grunted bemusedly to himself.
The Potentate surveyed his creamsicle tower cooly.
"Were my instructions not clear," he asked in the calm manner so many of his associates found so frightening. "Was the language I was speaking truly so difficult to decipher?"
Nobody spoke up at first, though everyone knew two things: the longer he went without an answer, the angrily the Potentate would get. The second fact, whoever spoke first stood a good chance of receiving the brunt of his displeasure. As was often the case, everyone opted for an intense anger spread over the whole group, then face being a direct target of...
Until now, she'd never thought of herself as pretty. After all, her parents had named her Agnes. Agnes. That was the name of some fat, frumpy girl. But she stood here at the mirror, the bell had long since rung and students had settled themselves in desks. The comb in her bag would have to do. Maybe something from the haze of hairspray left behind by the other girls would help set the ridiculously high bangs she had crafted for herself.
She threw the comb in her bag and headed out into the hall. It was empty as expected. Agnes...
An old sepia photo can be a bullet. It can tear through the lineup of neurons, neatly lined up like socks on a bed. It can make you aware that you are your latest incarnation. That you have been here before.
A mother and her child. Doesn't that child look familiar? Who remembers his own birth? Especially when it was 70 years ago? Today I am 27. I have been 27 many times now, projecting myself a year into the future so that I could live as 27 for a year, then my past self projecting himself a year into...
If your parents are going to name you after a song, there are a few things they should think about.
For a start, it needs to be a good song. Actually, no, it needs to be an actual name. Nobody wants a kid called "You know what they do to guys like us in prison."
But it still needs to be a good song. A really good one. Not some one-hit-wonder.
And it should be subtle. I mean, "Penny Lane" - that's obvious. "Layla"? Not so much.
Maybe I'll change my name to Layla, when the forms come through. Or...
Spinning. Thirteen years old and with my friends in some suburban backyard, spinning. Looking up at the nightime stars and spinning. Spinning until a single star became the axis around which the universe revolved. Spinning until everything made momentary sense and then dissolved away in fits of giggles and pratfalls on the grass.
Spinning, the car catching my rear bumper and turning me in a full circle so that the city became a blur.
Spinning in the pool, three somersaults in a row is what turned the pool into the ocean filled with the giant squid and the great white...
"I'll be 69 this year."
I lifted my eyes from my book, struggling with my irritation. Across from me sat a woman, her eyes clouded with reflection as she stared over my shoulder. "Forty years I could have spent with someone who adored me if I hadn't have been so blind."
I blinked. I couldn't quite tell if she was actually speaking to me. I folded my book around my thumb and waited. The ache in her voice spoke to the same in mine and I refused to look at my phone that had hummed more than once, someone far...