Sugary senses

On the table sat a bowl of sugar cubes. In it, she saw the first time she kissed a girl and the last time she let a boy break her heart.

She felt her fishnets snag on the siding as she tried to sneak out of her bedroom window.

She heard Mazzy Star through a cuddly pile of friends giggling at a velvet unicorn painting under the black light.

She smelled cheap pot and expensive, pastel-colored French cigarettes.

She asked him what it made him think about. And, when he said “Coffee?” she decided it was time to break up.

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Into the light

Kneeling down in front of her, he held her tiny hands inside of his—a prayer within a prayer—and looked directly into her eyes.

“It’s going to feel scary,” he said. “But it’s going to be okay. I promise.”

She looked over his shoulder at the entrance to the cavern, then back into his eyes. She wanted to trust him. She wanted to believe they’d be safe on the other side. But she couldn’t be certain. And that’s when she started to cry.

“Shhhh. It’s okay, baby. It’s okay.” He pulled her fragile body close to his, wrapping his arms around her tightly enough to stop her from trembling. “Daddy’s got you.”

They didn’t have much time left. The longer they stayed outside, the easier it’d be for the monsters to track them. He knew they would smell her fear. And he knew they would feast on it.

He wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist, and stood up again. He was glad she couldn’t see the pain on his face. They were so close now. So close.

He turned and began walking into the darkness. “We’ll be safe here, my darling,” he said, stroking her long, silky hair. “No one will be able to hurt us here.”

He carried her for miles. For seasons. For years. And, as she grew, he began to shrink under her weight. Eventually, he had to let her go. And for many more years, she walked alongside him in silence. Listening. Watching. Learning.

One day, she saw a light. And, as much as the thought of being alone pained him, he told her she should go. He knew the monsters were waiting for her, but he also knew he’d taught her not to be afraid.

As the years passed and his body weakened, he began to wonder if he’d ever see her again. If she’d made it. If he’d done the right thing. Completely exhausted, he kneeled down on the ground and put his hands on his head.

And then he felt her touch.

She held his tiny hands inside of hers—a prayer within a prayer—and looked directly into his eyes. “It’s going to feel scary,” she said. “But it’s going to be okay. I promise.”

 

Artists unite

The past few days, I’ve come up with excuses not to post anything here. Too overwhelmed. Too busy. Too tired.

Then, last night, I made a new friend: a tattoo artist here in Seattle. While I was under her needle, we shared our fears about the future and tried to figure out how we can fight against the growing ooze of insanity threatening to silence our voices.

Through this unconventional therapy session, it became clear to me that, as artists, it is our duty to help others verbalize and visualize the swirling thoughts that keep us all awake at night.

Now is not the time to freeze up.

Now is the time to fire up our own passions by uniting with others who share them.

Fiction

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See it swimming

She grabbed him by the wrist and dragged him out into the frigid water. It was too dark to see beneath the surface, but they knew they weren’t alone. And they knew they weren’t safe.

“You’ve lost your mind,” he said.

“Who says I ever knew where it was?” she answered. “No more talking.”

She kept him there until the fog disappeared. Until the sun rose again. Until the beach filled with voices. Until the ferries passed by. Until he couldn’t stand it anymore and asked, “Why did you bring me here?”

“Because,” she said, “This was the only way I could explain how I feel.”

 

Love

As children, love is our constant companion. It is not elusive. It is simply by our side, shielding us from the monsters under our bed and the nightmares in our minds. 

As we age, we demand love’s protection from more advanced opponents like jealousy, anger and doubt. But—unless we’ve nurtured and protected this delicate creature over the years—love will lose these battles. 

And, the more we analyze it, the more likely we are to lose it altogether. 

I remember feeling love’s hand against mine on the M train to Manhattan. If I’d just let it be, I could’ve enjoyed it longer. But curiosity got the best of me and I turned to catch a glimpse. And, as soon as I did, it was gone. 

Love is an expert at hide and seek. The more people you rally to help you play the game, the better. 

Today, love had nowhere to hide. 2.9 million people united across the world to find it together. And, once we did, we realized it’s the only weapon capable of ending the monsters facing us now. 

Opposite day 

Left is right and right is wrong. The inept are in charge and the skilled are in doubt. Our connections make us feel disconnected. 

We’re are awake when we should be asleep and asleep when we should be awake. 

Comedians tell us the news while news anchors star in laughable parodies of today’s events. 

The most vocal are silent. The most active are frozen. The young feel old. The stupid feel smart. 

Just remember: Applying logic is the most illogical thing you can do.