jagged metal key

a short story

The door clicked shut behind him. He took a deep breath as he ran his thumb over the cold, sharp edges of the key. He knew the gravity of what he was doing; he understood the significance of this decision. It weighed on him near the point of paralysis, even now, with his mind made up. He paused, leaning against the doorframe, and let his mind run through it all one last time.

They’d met on a Sunday; she talked animatedly amongst of group of friends. He stood on the outskirts of all the conversation, picking at the edges of his now empty paper coffee cup, wondering what he was doing there. The occasional friendly stranger interrupted his thoughts to welcome him to the church and get to know him. Classic church behavior he’d thought, and though he hated small talk, he’d openly shared with each of them some version of his life not quite the truth.

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cold hard bleachers

a short story

Often she found herself sitting alone, in the darkness of her bedroom before the sun came up, or along the edge of a park bench with the chill of the night filling her body, unable to see past the dimly lit sidewalk in front of, no matter the place, or time of day, she always seemed to let the silence get too loud, let the darkness persist too long, and as a result, let the cavernous, empty space inside of her grow even deeper, even wider, further beyond repair.

To say she’d spent her whole life misunderstood would be a gross understatement, a painfully trite banality, feigning even remotely to attempt to acknowledge the depth of her isolation. She’d seen a macabre of therapists to no avail; prescriptions for every antidepressant and antianxiety medication had been prescribed, and still, her insides felt empty.

There was another world inside of her mind, a world even she had only begun to access, but it was that world that kept her from feeling any sense of belonging in reality; it was that world that kept her from relating to others, from forging deep connections with her peers. She knew that world wasn’t real, and yet somehow, she also knew it would overtake her if she weren’t careful.

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end of summer

a short story

Her nails were bitten down to stumps; chipped black polish heightened the gruesome look of her bloody fingertips. Her heart felt permanently in a state of distress; most days, she hung somewhere on the precipice of tears and panic. Nervous thoughts bounced across the spaces of her brain relentlessly; there was little rest for the anxiety inside of her.

Today was no different. She sat in a bright green lawn chair, trying her best to cherish the first signs of fall; the sun still hung bright in the sky, but a crispness lingered in the air as a reminder of the ever changing seasons. She talked about the weather and the news; she danced and laughed with her friends to the sounds of an end of summer concert. She tried her best to ignore the beating in her brain, the whisper telling her to worry; it all felt familiarly forced. She’d spent every second, for as long as she could remember, warding off an inner darkness, a sense of desperation and despair that seemed to lurk in even the most subconscious corners of her mind. She counted through the reasons not to worry; an inner monologue played through her head, rehearsed, completely memorized by now, a series of things she could tell herself to try to calm down. She focused all of her energy on only this moment, urging her inherent anxieties away. She reminded herself constantly that today was a good day, trying in vain to quiet the anxious whispers in the back of her mind.

Concert crowd, hands up, toned

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in rear view

Couple In The Snow

A fictional story. 

I looked him in the eyes, and I hoped with every part of me, that this time we would work.

“It’s always been you, you know that right?” I mumbled, tears welling up in my eyes.

Years of back and forth flirting, hanging out, and being forced together by the occasional community function, had been building into this one final moment. I pulled my coat tighter around me, as the winter wind cut through me, bracing myself to walk away.

It had been some cruel twist of fate that we’d ended up together for the night. Somehow we’d ended up at the same post-Christmas party, both back in town to visit our families for the holidays. We hadn’t talked in months, and I’d given up my holding out on my hopeless crush in exchange for hopes and dreams of heading for the west coast at the end of the school year.

He was his typical self; too cool, crooked smile; a casual nod and a wave without ever putting his beer down. A rush of feelings washed over me, but as quickly as it had come, I pushed it away, finding my way through the crowded house in search of my friends. Continue reading