Underneath The Waves: Chapter 1

Naked branches twisted and clawed at the faded weather worn window. Violent winds pushed against the old house, filling every crack and every imperceptible opening. The voice of autumn whispered through the walls.  Small stones, shattered leaves and dust lifted from the earth and pelted the house like a dry hale storm. 

 Despite having the whole bed to herself, Gabrielle was curled up in one corner, finding little comfort in the thin sheet that rested upon her naked body. The passage of time was marked by the scratching, tapping and rapping upon her window. Her eyes were open, sleepless and inattentive. Eventually, the sound of autumn’s breath outside persistently shaking her fragile two-story home finally drew her out of bed. 

Her feet landed upon the carpet and a pulse of normalcy undulated beneath her skin. Her head was heavy and she made her way over to the dusty window. The morning sun was veiled by a thick layer of clouds that drained the cooler from the environment outside, making it appear lifeless and dull. Her forehead rested against the cold glass window as she surveyed the overgrown backyard. Patches of mud appeared like holes amongst the uncut grass, the wooden fence had broken and missing planks with rusty nails sticking out every which way and the garden bed was a table of weeds.

In the centre of the yard was a thick tree stump. Tall grass shot up unevenly around its base. Its thick, dead roots were like fingers clinging to the earth with ceaseless might. These grasping wooden fingers were scared by slices from a rusty lawnmower. This lawnmower lay dormant in the small, tilted garden shed that was almost always locked and, because of the state of the yard, inaccessible. 

Every time Gabrielle asked her husband, Edward Adams, to clean up the yard, he would tense up. In fact, every time she asked Edward, “How can I ask you without making you upset?” he became even worse. 

Gabrielle shook her head. The grass wasn’t going to be cut. The remaining stump from the forgotten tree wasn’t going to be removed. The back shed was always going to be out of reach and, perhaps, so was her husband. 

“Where are you?” Gabrielle whispered, her breath leaving fog upon the glass window. 

 It was April the 28th and a void grew and darkened in Gabrielle’s heart. 

She grabbed her dressing gown from the side of her bedpost, wrapped it around her body and opened her bedroom door. She stepped into the small carpeted hallway with a yawn and with three firm thumps from the bottom of her fist she knocked upon her son’s bedroom door. 

“It’s time to get up!” She shouted in disguised exhaustion. 

There was no response. 

Without hesitation, she opened the door. 

“Get up!” 

“Get out!” A teenage voice responded in sudden adolescent rage. 

Gabrielle was stunned. She stood frozen against the half-open bedroom door. Her son jumped out of his bed, his feet quaking against the wooden floorboards.  He threw himself forward and slammed the door shut, the impact pushing Gabrielle onto her back foot and against the wall. She remained pressed against the drywall as her son, Jordan, stormed back into his bed. 

Gabrielle let out a deep exhale and tiptoed down the hall towards her daughter’s room.  She opened the door, spilling light inside.  With a few light taps from her fingernail upon the doorframe, Gabrielle said in a soft tone, “Darling, it’s time to get up, now.” 

Gabrielle hid the break in her voice as best she could, but Elizabeth noticed. 

“Okay, mumma.”

“Don’t use the pink soap, ok? You’ll have a reaction. I just got it out for me.”

“I know, thanks, mum.” 

Gabrielle closed the door softly and went downstairs. 

Elizabeth was thirteen-years-old and a light sleeper. She prepared for school to the rhythm of her family’s morning clock. A tap on her door, the flick of the kettle, Gabrielle’s yawn, the boiling water, the hissing steam from the iron, the scrapping sound of coat hangers, the ting of a spoon against a mug and the fridge door swinging shut after a milk carton had been placed on the counter. 

She would lay awake until she could hear the ting of a spoon stirring an instant coffee. That’s when she knew it was time to head downstairs.  But, Jordan’s outburst snapped open her eyes and paused the beating of her heart. Her pet hermit crab, Snippy, hid within its shell as Elizabeth held her breath. 

Crippling pains shot through her lower abdomen as she lay in the fetal position under a pink blanket. Elizabeth stared blankly at her bedroom door where Gabrielle had stood moments before. As she pulled her focus away,  she caught her reflection in a dirty mirror. 

Her eyes were a deep blue, partially hidden by waves of orange hair. Her soft jawline and the curves of her cheeks outlined an innocent face with a small button nose, yet, this would all tighten in moments of determination when her eyes became as tigers, peering through tall grass. At this moment beneath her blanket, staring blankly at the mirror, she was just a little red-headed girl with the remnants of poorly applied makeup on her face. 

The darkness faded from Elizabeth’s bedroom. The grey morning light soon overpowered the yellow lamp left on the night before that spilled light over her scattered homework papers. She reached over and opened a drawer. The bedside table had been in her room her entire life and fashioned an old sticker of a cartoon bunny with one ear torn off on the inside of the draw.  She pulled out a fresh pad.

The plastic packaging threw her mind back to shopping with her mother.

Last month, Gabrielle drove Elizabeth two towns over so that she wouldn’t bump into anyone from school. They went for a hair treatment, a cupcake and a book that Elizabeth’s friend, Sarah Goldman, had been rambling about for months. Gabrielle only released Elizabeth’s hand from her own only when it was impractical to exist linked together. At one moment,  while Elizabeth sat in the passenger seat,  she watched her mother journey across the front of the car, her hair catching in the wind. Elizabeth felt her own curly red hair with her fingertips and felt a strange sense of gratitude.

Elizabeth shook off the memory, lifted her heavy head, bent down and yanked her phone off its charger. 

Downstairs, Gabrielle was in the kitchen. She grabbed a cup from the dish rack and held it under a steady stream of cold water. The water’s slightly metallic taste never bothered her before, but for some reason, she couldn’t stand it today. She spat it out. The taste of copper and salt remained in her mouth. 

Jordan entered the kitchen to the sound of death metal playing from the phone that was permanently attached to his hand. He was a skinny fifteen-year-old whose shoulders were growing wider by the day. His unnaturally black hair hung down over his face and touched the tip of his shoulders. His face, which was almost always hidden, had green wide set eyes that rested under ginger eyebrows that frowned far too much, even for a teenager. His jaw was sharp and angular and thin hairs grew above his upper lip. 

He didn’t apologise for his morning outburst. It was becoming a common theme in the house; The family members would pretend nothing happened after certain events transpired. Gabrielle continued the tradition. 

“I printed some more posters for you.” She said. 

Jordan remained silent. His husky, Whisper, had been missing for three days. Jordan was convinced it was theft. After a long silence, Gabrielle tried again. 

“Someone will pick you up at four after your appointment today, ok?” 

Jordan looked up at Gabrielle for an unenthusiastic second and continued to eat cereal from his bowl. That was good enough for Gabrielle until she was cut off mid-sentence.

“I  won’t be driving you this morn-“

“I’m going to see Mr Williams.” 

Jordan got up and dumped his bowl in the sink, splashing milk and cereal into the air like a volcano burst.  He left the kitchen like he was the centre of the universe because as an angry teen, he was. 

Gabrielle was left staring at the sink, unable to muster the amount of energy required to drag Jordan back downstairs and force him to clean his mess. It wasn’t even eight o’clock and Gabrielle already felt defeated. 

Eventually, she was able to sit herself down on the living room couch with an instant coffee in hand. A morning news show filled the silence and Gabrielle stared blankly out the living room window. Guilt began to gain weight within her. 

As the disrupted morning ritual came to a close, Jordan opened the front door and rushed out. Elizabeth ran down the stairs and grabbed one of her books from the living room floor, hiding her face. 

“Have a good day, darling.” 

“I will,” replied Elizabeth. She pulled her hair behind her ear, accidentally revealing her terribly applied makeup.

“Oh…” 

Elizabeth’s eyes shot towards her mother. She felt a mix between embarrassment, shame and anger as her hyper-perception noticed one thing: criticism. She dropped her bag where she was standing and ran back upstairs. 

“Elizabeth!”, Gabrielle called, “Darling? You look beautiful!” 

Elizabeth ran back downstairs with a handful of makeup remover. She pushed past her mother. 

 “Stop, I didn’t mean-“ 

She grabbed her bag and barged past Gabrielle for the second time. 

“Move!” 

Gabrielle was left standing in the open doorway. The cold winds of Tuesday morning filled the house where life had been moments before. 

Abundant Heart was a women’s safe house centre, privately run by the funding of a small number of generous donors. They had six safe houses and multiple community programs. Gabrielle worked predominantly in the main office, but spent a lot of time working with women at The Yellow House, creatively named on account of its shabby yellow front door. 

The Yellow House had eight women in two different dormitories. The two dormitories were occupied by residents who were in medium or long-term Abundant Heart programs. There was an additional bedroom for emergencies or new residents who were yet to commit to a program. There was also a small room to the left of the entrance where the group leader lived. 

The double-story house stood between two empty lots on a quiet street. The lots on either side were overgrown with grass and weeds that ran up the metal fences flanking the house. This made The Yellow House look like a deteriorating townhouse in the middle of a jungle.  The leader of The Yellow House was Bron Brown. 

“You aren’t taking the day off?” 

Bron’s voice was a deep baritone, but fluctuated between the smoothness of black coffee and the discipline of a guard dog’s bark, depending on her purpose. She was short and stocky with a tightly pulled ponytail and a permanent concentration embedded in her eyes. 

A young woman tried to pass through the gap between Bron’s broad stature and the doorframe to get outside, but Bron stopped her with the back of her hand while keeping her full attention on Gabrielle. 

“It’s good to keep a routine,” Bron said directly. 

“Yeah, no, I’m just stopping by to check everything’s running smoothly. I won’t be here long.”

Gabrielle looked down for a split second, but tried her best to meet Bron’s gaze. After reading her demeanour, Bron turned her attention to the woman beside her, dressed in an oversized, male t-shirt. 

“Where are you going, Zoe?” 

“I’m just getting the letters.”

“That’s not your job.” 

“Alex prepared the table,” Zoe explained.

With the grace of a conductor, Bron turned the woman’s body and directed her back inside. 

“Go upstairs, get changed and bring me back the shirt you’re wearing, now.” 

Bron noticed white paint on Gabrielle’s hands. 

“Were you doing some renovations?”

“Yeah,” Gabrielle answered casually, looking down at her hands, “I just sanded most of the wall this morning. I’m just taking a break, really.”   

Gabrielle’s phone rang from her jean pocket. 

“Hey…” Gabrielle, turned slightly and took a few paces away from Bron, but tried to remain inside the circumference where it didn’t seem like she needed privacy.

“Oh no, everything is fine… Hey… Are you available to watch the kids this afternoon? No… Not yet, he’s not home… No… I know… No, It’s all good, anyway, Sam, I have to go, I’m at work… Ok, bye.”

Bron was looking at her, open for any comment. 

“I know. My kids are getting too old to have someone watching them all the time.” 

Bron smiled warmly at Gabrielle. 

“So are these ones, but here we are. Come, lunch is almost ready.” 

Another woman tried to get past Bron with an urgent skip in her step. 

“Did Zoe get the mail? Hi, Gab!”

“Hi, Alex,” Gabrielle replied with a soft smile. 

“She didn’t. Go on.” 

She ducked under Bron’s arm and jogged towards the letterbox. Gabrielle stared after her, contemplating her escape from the perceptive eyes of her coworker. She didn’t understand why she wanted to be at The Yellow House today just to run away.

At the sound of a smashing plate, Bron snapped her attention away and marched into the house. Gabrielle felt her breath deepen in her body with Bron distracted. She stared blankly up at the house, the sounds of hurried conversations and shuffling feet emanating from within its walls. 

“They all have it worse than me.” Gabrielle thought, and she pushed her emptiness deep within herself. Her moment of reflection was cut short by an aggressive rip of a hand break being pulled into place. She looked back towards the road. 

A man dressed in sweatpants and a faded t-shirt jumped out of his car. He took long, belligerent strides towards Alex, almost tripping over the gutter as he did. Alex took two steps backward in slow motion and covered her mouth with the letters she was holding, stupefied.

“Where is she?” he yelled with a fit of anger he was far too familiar with.

Alex was frozen stiff. Like a homing missile, the man’s face aimed at Gabrielle. 

The strides of the self-proclaimed downtrodden closed the gap between them. 

“Where is she!” 

Gabrielle didn’t move. She looked straight into the man’s anger-stricken eyes;  Sunken eyes surrounded by the dark circles of insomnia. Men in this state of mind were usually easy for Gabrielle to diffuse, but not today. 

She bent her knees imperceptibly, lowered her shoulders and squared her body against the man. 

“Good morning, let me try and help you.” Her words were firm, but her voice failed her. In the corner of her eye, she noticed the worry flash across Alex’s face from where she was standing timid by the letterbox. 

“Bring her out, now!” His arms waved about like a rabid chimpanzee. 

Bron returned with Zoe’s shirt in her hand. She marched up to the man. 

“Good morning, my name is Bron Brown and I run this facility. I believe this belongs to you.” 

She put the shirt in the man’s hands. 

The man assessed Bron with a quick glance. His eyes returned to Gabrielle, ignoring Bron’s existence.

“Where is she?”

“She’s gone.” Bron interrupted. “We had to move her to another shelter because of you.” Bron’s voice was even and strong. 

The yellow door shut and bolted.

“Would you like a cup of tea? I understand this must be difficult.”

The man’s face was less than an inch from Gabrielle’s. He had the stink of an unwashed alcoholic. With Bron by her side, Gabrielle felt the nerves take a step back. Control returned to her face, albeit a surface level of control. Her eyes didn’t falter.

With a sudden movement, the man jumped back and yelled at different windows of the house. 

“Zoe! Get your arse out here, now!”

Bron expected this behaviour and simply ushered Alex into the house. 

After a few minutes of yelling, the man retreated to his car. He looked like a frustrated animal. He leant on his car, he circled back and forth, he smoked a cigarette, he pretended to be on the phone, he paced up and down the street — always watching and talking to himself. 

Eventually, he left. 

“Well, it’s going to be a fun week,” Bron said in half-jest. The moment between a confrontation and dealing with the repercussions of that confrontation always made Bron laugh. Gabrielle was comforted by this trait. It was something she lacked deeply and was trying to learn throughout her professional life. Bron had a certain easiness in her mood when dealing with terrible situations. Despite Gabrielle being very good at her job, she was never able to be seemingly unaffected by the trauma she dealt with the same way Bron appeared to be. Gabrielle hid her thoughts and emotions well and dealt with them in silence. On some days, however, she could hide nothing from herself.

“I better get to the office. I’ll see you later.”

Before Gabrielle made her escape, Bron grabbed her arm with a gentle, yet firm, grip. 

“Do you need someone to talk to?” 

The tears glazed over Gabrielle’s eyes just enough to make Bron’s figure distort. Bron appeared like she was above the surface of the water as Gabrielle was drowning beneath. She waited until she could utter a sentence without bursting into tears and finally responded, “Tomorrow.” 

Bron let go of her arm, but not before giving it a small squeeze of comfort. 

The rest of Gabrielle’s day was spent at the office, consumed by paperwork, emails and stinging thoughts. At the end of the day, Gabrielle called Edward.  When he didn’t pick up, she dropped her phone onto her desk. She shook her head and took a deep breath. 

 Her phone vibrated and a message popped up on the screen. 

“I’ll meet you on the beach.”

It wasn’t a message from Edward. 

Gabrielle drove toward Black Stone Beach with an unrealistic prayer silently repeating on her lips. When she arrived, the car park was empty. There wasn’t a soul in sight. 

The sun dipped below the horizon and the next thing she knew, she was standing on the coastline with her eyes closed. 

Gabrielle’s feet were pulled further beneath the sand by the weight on her heart.  Freezing thoughts emanated after every beat, stinging her mind like harsh sand-filled winds upon bare skin. With each wave that rolled out she was pulled deeper. The water washed through her ankles, two pillars removed from the flow of time. 

A thought was making its way through the maze in her mind. A maze of ever-changing pathways where whispers echoed around every corner. Her feelings pushed this thought to the surface as it grabbed other thoughts and feelings and memories on its way up. It dressed up in doubt and denial and pain and fear until it eventually formed into a coherent sentence she could articulate, yet not truly believe.

“It will be all right.” 

She opened her eyes to the empty night that surrounded her, not recognising where it was she stood. The once-sunset beach was now covered in darkness. Gabrielle didn’t witness the sunset nor the moon rise. It was as if she blinked the light out of existence.

She looked at her phone. No missed calls and no messages. 

She watched a cargo ship drift over the horizon, approaching the midpoint between the two cliffs that stood on either side of the beach like a broken picture frame.  Yet, Gabrielle’s mind was far from the beach. She was in counselling sessions, she was in mother’s meetings, she was helping women find rest, she was calculating the family’s expenses; she was everywhere but in the present. She sank deeper. 

Her marriage meant more to her than she allowed anyone to see, especially her husband. When eagerness is met with apathy, apathy wins. Early on, Gabrielle would tell herself, “I’m in pain, but I’m eager.” Now, after sixteen years of marriage, her mantra no longer included the latter. 

Her phone slipped from her hand. It hit the water with a sound indistinguishable from the ocean’s breath of crashing waters and howling winds. The volume of the beach and the density of the night air blended everything into one shade of black, but for one feature; Gabrielle’s red hair dancing with the wind, a gentle flame burning in the emptiness. 

Tears rolled down Gabrielle’s cheeks as if her blue eyes were melting. They glittered across her freckles and took refuge in the corner of her mouth where her lips met. 

She pulled her feet against the suction of the sand that tried to keep her in place. She walked back to the dry land as the wind blew in from the ocean, gently stroking Gabrielle’s hair on its way past. She threw up her towel, like so many bed sheets before, and it caught the wind perfectly as she lay it down. She dropped her keys on the towel and turned back towards the sea. 

“How did it get to this?” Gabrielle thought, as her mind searched hidden passages of memories. She remembered her early years, the times when she felt alone. Her eyes closed as they recalled the first time Edward looked into them. That moment was the first time she truly felt her existence in the world. 

The beach was empty and though Gabrielle was only walking, she felt all the muscles in her face twitching. She could feel her cheeks pull and ache as they tried desperately to contain the pain beneath. She rubbed the sides of her legs, feeling the curve between her hamstrings and her quads. They weren’t as lean as they once were, but she was comforted by the fact that underneath her motherhood was still a powerful warrior, even if but a shadow of what she once was. 

Memories and feelings from her first day with Edward entered her mind as a light mist that inevitably left her drenched in bittersweet sadness. 

Her gait began to betray her now, partnering with the muscles in her face to destroy the composer that Gabrielle held so highly. Her steps became smaller as she hunched over her tightening abdomen. Yet, further into the sea, she went. 

Ice-cold waters shocked her body. She pushed forward, or rather, was drawn further into the water. She gasped as the water passed over her abdomen, waking up all five senses. She reached the point where her feet could hardly touch the bottom. Her whole body lifted from the foundations of the earth. Her body levitated, she felt like part of the water, drifting with the ebb and flow of the ocean. But soon the undercurrents began thrashing her body with a violence she didn’t expect.

It only took one second. One second for her to realise the current was too strong. Worry grasped her body. Panic beat through her mind. Just as a child looks to her parents a moment before bursting into tears, Gabrielle screamed out in desperation “Help!”

The beach became hidden in the night as the moon pulled the clouds over its eyes. Gabrielle kicked and paddled frantically against the current, but she had no idea which way to go. She kept straightening her body to see if she could touch the ground, but it was too deep. 

After choking and coughing up the saltwater, Gabrielle calmed herself down. She stopped fighting the current and used her energy to stay afloat. Her eyes darted every which way, searching for an escape or a saviour.

But all was darkness. 

Gabrielle floated inside the eye of her inner storm. The tornado of all her worries and fears. Inside this temporary calm was one desire. A desire for her broken soul to be wrapped around her family.  When Gabrielle’s body fell beneath the waves, she couldn’t feel the cold. All she felt was the warmth of her first child, fast asleep against her chest taking a soft, shallow breath. 

On the beach, her name was called by one of the men she had called that night. He screamed out for her, but was offered no reply. In a panic, he picked up her phone, called emergency, wiped his fingerprints and dropped the phone on the towel. He darted back to his car and disappeared into the night. 

***

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Bookshelf

The books on my shelf are my tattoos. The covers are comforts and windows to my mind. They are a display of my thoughts. Thoughts that run rampant in a dizzying spiral suddenly have points in space and time. My thoughts have buckets in these books. My questions have answers and the answers create more questions. 

The shelf in my mind is messy indeed. The ideas and memories and ambitions are scattered like papers shoved into random spaces. One day I retrieve a piece of paper with a verse in my curse. I don’t remember writing it, but it’s honest and true. Sometimes, it’s just a to-do. 

These walls. These walls confine. These white walls box me in. I’m trapped. I can’t breathe. I can’t get out a sentence. One single line. 

Time! 

Oh! How easy art would be if time I could not see! 

How beautiful it is to follow dreams without the sting of death within. 

How hard it is to work towards a goal so hidden, if indeed it exists at all. 

Pay the bills, flush it down, eat your lunch and it’s dinner now. The night is quiet, but not my mind. 

I pace and pace and cannot find. 

I can’t decide. 

Throw art away to survive, or kill the thought and slowly die.

***

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The Artist’s Way

I’ve recently been on an audio book binge. I never really liked audio books because I love highlighting things and writing in the margins of the pages of book. Granted, it’s rare that I ever go back to them and read the highlights, but I like that I have that option. 

This week I’ve been listening to The Artist’s Way. Besides its ultra hippie writing style and, how can i put this, femininity, I really like it. I’m actually attracted to ways of living that encompass such connectedness with self, inner self and spirituality. 

The book requires two things of the reader, Morning Pages and the Artist Dates. 

I started morning pages today and the first three lines were just, “F***”, over and over again. Frustrations run strong with this one, huh? The whole idea of morning pages is to free the clutter from your mind so that you can turn on your creativity like a tap. So, today I wrote well, my actually writing, I mean. I extended my concentration time and felt less stuck

Artists Dates is something I’ll post about later when I actually go on one. 

So, todays update; The writing is going well, but fears and frustrations are running high. I’ll just continue to work and see what happens. 

How are you all going? Have you read The Artist’s Way? 

I’m back.

Hello my friends! It has been along time.

I’ve revamping this blog to hold myself accountable. Well, really I’m hoping you all will be commenting and asking for updates on certain things, but I’m not even sure people blog anymore.

I have a question for you: What are your thoughts on having an alias when publishing work? In todays political climate and social media pile-ons, I worry that somehow the art itself will be thrown to the side because of political biases people cling to. Is this a worry for any of you?
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Ew, what political mumbo jumbo does this no-name ascribe to?”

I guess that thought is natural. But also, who cares? Since it’s on my mind, perhaps I’ll test it by putting it out in the open. I think both the left and the right are arguing over who should control the decisions in your life. I believe that the decisions of you life should be, well, your decisions.

That’s enough of that. Let’s get to the writing!

Since I’ve been gone, I’ve written 59 000 words of my first novel. It’s still at a draft stage with a lot of work et to be done on it. I’ll post little sections now and then to mark my progress, but so far I’m happy. Well, by happy I mean frustrated, exhausted, self-loathing and stupid. Yeah, that sums it up.


But nevertheless, it’s going. All I can do is keep writing.

There is a great quote I heard the other day, it was at the end of the audiobook ‘grit’, so I won’t write it word for word. Basically, the author said writing is seeing how terrible you are every day, but going back daily to refine it.

I’m still a terrible writer, but i’m giving it my best. My best is most people worst, but hey, childhood trauma or something… No, I shouldn’t give myself excuses. I’m excited to share my work with you all soon.

I’m also excited to read more of your stuff and jump back into the world of blogging! It’s been ages!

Anyway, it’s good to be back.








Underneath the Waves

Ayn’s feet sunk further below the freezing water by the weight placed on her heart.  Thoughts emanated after every beat and stung her mind like harsh sand-filled winds upon bare skin. With each wave that rolled out, she sunk deeper. The water washed through her ankles as if Ayn had always been there, removed from the flow of time. 

A thought was making its way through the maze in her mind. A maze of ever-changing pathways where whispers echo around every corner. As her feelings pushed this thought to the surface, it grabbed at other thoughts and feelings and memories on its way up. It dressed in doubt and denial and pain and fear until it eventually formed into a coherent sentence she could articulate, yet not truly believe.

“If I can survive, Jordan can too.” 

She opened her eyes to the empty night that surrounded her, not recognizing where she was standing. The sunset beach she had stood in was now distorted in darkness. Ayn didn’t see the sunset or the moon rise. For her, it was as if she blinked and the light was no more.

A cargo ship slowly made its way over the horizon, approaching the halfway point between the two cliffs where the moon reflected off the waters. 

Yet, Ayn was very far from the beach. She was in counseling sessions, she was in mother’s meetings, she was accounting for Edward’s business, she was anywhere but in the present moment. She sank deeper. 

She was up all night worrying about the kids, her husband, and her marriage. Her marriage meant more to her than she allowed anyone to see, especially her husband. When eagerness is met with apathy, apathy wins. Growing up, Ayn would tell herself, “I’m in pain, but I’m eager.” Now, after fifteen years of marriage, her mantra doesn’t include the latter. 

“Don’t worry, I’ll pick you up,” Edward said with an expression of exaggerated seriousness. Ayn looked at him without any control over her unveiled smile. 

They first noticed each other in the parking lot earlier that day. Edward’s Toyota Corolla ticked and cracked around him as it cooled down from the long drive. Edward loved that moment of silence before opening the door to the outside world when the sudden stop of the engine creates an artificial silence he couldn’t experience anywhere else in his life. 

When Ayn first noticed Edward, he was sitting behind the wheel of his car with his eyes closed, as if meditating. As she walked past his little bomb of a car, she took a side glance at him. She glanced at him the moment he opened his eyes. She saw a depth in Edward’s blue eyes where joy and sorrow weren’t opposite ends of a spectrum, but melted into each other. As calm and nonchalant as she tried to make herself appear, Ayn tripped over herself and almost fell flat on the pavement. 

This was the first time Edward met the gaze of mystery. Of course, he had talked to girls before, but as a wet eared seventeen-year-old, he had never noticed one so beautiful, especially one that looked at him as though he were more. In Edward’s heart, which now beat with what he could only describe as excitement, her tumble was the most attractive thing he had ever seen. 


“How are you going to run fourteen kilometers if you can’t even walk fourteen meters, Ayn?” She thought, shaking her head in embarrassment. She walked a little faster, imagining a scenario in her head where he jumped out of the car and shouted out to her. Maybe she should have dropped something. It could have been a Cinderella story with a glass running shoe.

She heard the door to his Toyota creek open and his feet scuff the concrete. She imagined his eyes on her the whole time. Finally, she reached the car park stairwell where she maneuvered through the open door, determined not to touch anything. Her feet sped down the stairs as quickly as possible to leave the boy far behind her without him noticing that she was hurrying away

“I didn’t fall,” Ayn explained, “I just, tripped a little…” 

“Well, like I said, I’ll pick you up.”

Ayn smiled at him not knowing what else to say, so she knelt down to re-tie her shoelace while praying to God that her face wasn’t red. 

Back on the beach, Ayn pulled her feet out of the water and walked back onto dry sand. She was wrapped in a white bath towel that had a small tear down the side. The wind blew in from the ocean and gently stroked Ayn’s hair on it’s way past. She threw up her towel, like so many sheets before, and it caught the wind perfectly as she lay it down flat on the sand. She dropped her keys down on the towel and turned back towards the sea. 

She got to her feet.

The beach was empty and though Ayn was only walking, she felt all the muscles in her face twitching. She could feel her cheeks pull and ache as they tried desperately to contain the pain beneath. She recalled how she felt finishing that first race and how Edward’s face wore the same expression as hers; the exhausted face that’s revealed only on runners who have passed their physical limit and can no longer hide why they are running. 

Memories and feelings from that day entered her mind as a light mist inevitably leaving her drenched. 

Her gait began to betray her now, partnering with the muscles in her face to destroy the composure that Ayn held so highly. Her steps became smaller as she hunched over her tightening abdomen. Yet further into the sea she went. 

Ice cold waters shocked her body. She pushed forward, or rather, was drawn further into the water. She reached the point where she could hardly stand without her head submerging and her whole body lifted from the foundations of the earth. Strong currents pushed her body in all directions bar the one she desired to go. 

It only took five seconds.

Five seconds for her to realize that the current was too strong. Worry grasped her body. Panic beat through her mind. As a child looks to her parents the moment before pain manifests in a helpless cry, Ayn thought “I need some help.”

The beach became hidden in the night as the moon pulled dark clouds over her eyes. Ayn desperately kicked and paddled against the current, but she had no idea which way to go. She kept straightening her body to see if she could touch the ground, but she had been pulled much further out than she thought. 

After choking and coughing up the saltwater, Ayn calmed herself down. She stopped fighting the current and only used her arms to stay afloat as her eyes searched all around her for some way out. 

But all was darkness. 

She was inside the eye of her inner storm. The tornado of all her worries and fears. Inside this temporary calm was one desire; to wrap her broken soul around her family.  To shield and protect them.

Hours later, As her body dipped beneath the waves, she didn’t feel cold.

She could feel the warmth of her first child, Jordan, taking his first shallow breaths upon her naked chest.

***

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I miss you guys.

I’m trying to write longer content. The above was the first (discarded) chapter of a book I’m planning to write. The ideas and characters are much different now, so it’ll be interesting to look back on this post to see how it has evolved.

What do you think?

I’m Getting Married!

I’m not quite sure where to start.

I never thought that I would actually get married. I knew it was a possibility, but it was never really a foreseeable future. It was always in a realm beyond my vision.

They say when you know you know, which I always thought was stupid, you know? It was a situation where I found the perfect woman and I had to rapidly shape myself into the man I was always supposed to be; responsible, reliable and ready for the next stage in life.

The first time we met was like walking out of a dark house when you’ve been sleeping all day. The bright light of sunset shocked my system and I became confused in my surroundings. How is it possible that the world is this bright?

She ordered whisky at 9:30 ….IN THE MORNING! Ok, so she was sick and apparently it’s good for the throat. Sounds like some real tomfoolery to me…

I knew straight away. I just felt it. A glimpse of the future. Like strolling into a patch of warm sunlight on a spring morning as the dew upon the grass is beginning to melt.

That’s all I’ll say for now. There’s love and fulfilment in my heart and I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with anyone else.



The Burning of Notre Dame

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My heart bleeds in the flames of Notre Dame. 

We look to the spire, the hand reaching for the heavens, as a symbol of ancient protection. These architecturally beautiful monuments of historical whispers are reminders that there is something divine in this world. They’re a symbol of the bridge between man and the spiritual protector. The burning, crumbling stone evokes emotions akin to a grieving child at the funeral of a fallen parent.  

The bells are ringing in your ears. The bells that sounded so often through the city streets. A vibration that would paint the city in light, if only for a fleeting moment each day. Bells that would say, ‘Remember the true nature of your existence. I’m your protector, your saviour.’

Perhaps the tears are a realisation that the divine protection, that the connection to the spiritual realm, has been been destroyed. Perhaps the men fighting the blaze, frantically trying to save the ruin, are a symbol of our half hearted repentance. Like a man overcompensating when his wife has decided to leave him. He begs and pleads silently as he cleans the house and takes her out for a coffee mid week. But, she’s already destroyed. He can no longer salvage this wreckage. 

I grieve for the loss of such a beautiful cathedral.

Yet, the church isn’t a hand reaching for the heavens as a symbol of ancient protection. It’s a hand reaching down. Despite the fire, the chaos, the despair, this divine connection will be mirrored in the hearts of believers who recognise true, ancient love.

In the end, everything will burn. So what do we do until that day? 

Am I Evil ?

Creatures lurk within the trees,

Alive, unseen without the key.

Gushing winds hide whispering thoughts,

Of ghosts and spells and elvish sorts.

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Damp is the dark bark’s texture beneath your soft hand’s touch.

Gaze upon the majesty whose roots run deep in mud.

The oak was born before your breath and lives beyond your trudge.

All that gaze on ancient art will drown in endless blood.

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Yet, all that do or don’t,

Will suffocate in time.

We try to swim afloat,

But, drink the reaper’s wine.

.

The evil thought you had tonight,

The one that gave a light excite,

Will be the ancient snake’s delight,

As much as spells occults recite.

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Written by Randall Evans

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This one isn’t quite done, but I haven’t posted in a while. I’ll be adding to it shortly.

The love I have for you…

I love to hold you with eyes closed,

To tell you what you need to know:

*

If you couldn’t use your legs, I’d lend my legs to you.

“Oh darling, I can’t feel my feet, are all your sweet words true?”

As true as I,

I’ll lift you high.

All through the love I have for you.

*

If you were blind, I’d be your eyes to see all pretty things.

“Oh darling, I can’t see at all, why must you break my wings?”

I will tell,

Your beauty well!

All through the love I have for you.

*

If your hair twisted and fell out, I’d love you even more,

“Oh darling, my head feels so bald, is hair falling to the floor?”

I’ll shave off mine,

To match with thine!

All through the love I have for you.

*

“Darling please, I’m fading fast.

With your love I could not last.”

I can not stop my heart from song,

I’m almost done, it won’t be long.

*

If your sense of touch was gone, I’d hold you even more.

“But darling, How my body’s cold! You’re killing me, I’m sure!”

Don’t worry dear,

I hold you near!

All through the love I have for you.

*

If you hadn’t hands to kiss, I’d kiss you’re little stumps!

“But, darling while you say these things, my hands are falling off!”

Blood is pouring everywhere,

Like a victim of a bear!

All through the love I have for you…

*

I’m sorry that I dropped you, I didn’t realise!

“Darling, am I in my blood and hair and hands and eyes?”

Do not yelp!

I’ll get you help!

All through the love I have for you.

*

“Darling please, I’m fading fast.

With your love I will not last!”

I can’t undo what I’ve done wrong.

I’m almost done, it won’t be long.

*

If you should pass now into death, I’ll follow quickly too!

“Oh darling please stop talking, sweet words you say aren’t true!”

Ok, my love,

Fly as a dove…

The love I have for you is through.

*

I’d love to hold you with eyes closed,

To tell you what you need to know:

I did not really love you so.

For love is something that you show.

*

– Written by Randall Evans.