Spoon and de Platé

As he turned the cream page, Toliver Spoon looked up from his book. It was there he saw Allison cleaning the counter in the kitchen. While he didn’t really want her to clean anything, she insisted because it calmed her, gave her time to think and work through anything that bothered or excited her. He didn’t know what bothered her, but he knew she would come to him when she was comfortable enough to do so.

The champagne sun poured through the window and glazed her skin with a brilliant sheen. Her soft blonde hair reflected the sunlight, giving off an aura as though she were an angel hiding among humanity.

Indeed, Toliver believed her to be just that. An angel. He wasn’t religious, but that didn’t matter because it was the association, how being a seraph aptly described her existence rather than as some supernatural being from heaven.

He thought this because she’d saved him. Before he met her, he lived as a broken man that time and loneliness had destroyed. He had been living in the shadows of his past, his emotional state deteriorated by his inability to find happiness.

In this lonely place, in that dark corner of his life secluded from the world and drowning in the lives of others around him, he thought it would all end the night he gazed down at the polished blade in his hands. He thought that his life couldn’t get better, and he feared that life would only get worse. He knew he was already at the edge of sanity, teetering at that penultimate moment before something would tip him into madness, and he wanted to end it all before it happened.

At the time, he hadn’t realized that he had already plunged into that black abyss. When things are at their darkest, when one can only quantify happiness by faded memories, something takes over. Something not outright understood, but unfortunate, solid in existence. Toliver had come to that point on the night he planned to kill himself, and he was fully ready to leave this world for the next.

That was when Allison de Plate came to him. Truthfully, she had been in his life before, but he never noticed. Even on that night, the night his dark half whispered into his ear, daring him to fade into the darkness, she came out of the shadows and into his life. Perhaps it wasn’t as symbolic as that because it had played out much more mundane. She merely knocked upon his door, and he answered, thus changing his life forever.

However, it wasn’t just his life that changed that night. Allison had changed, too. She was his neighbor, an unknown face among the crowd. That night, she was more than just a regular face hiding with all the others. She was a pretty face distorted by the wretched man she once called her husband. She was somebody he could see, and someone that could see him.

Standing in front him beyond that opened door, she nearly doubled over in pain. Her lip spilled blood onto the floor, her eye purple and inflamed, her left arm slack and motionless from when her husband yanked her too hard and pulled it from its socket. The man with whom she’d giving her live to through marriage had pulled a fistful of hair from her skull, leaving a large bloody patch above her right ear.

Looking at her that night as she shied away from the door with the expectation that he, too, would hurt her, he didn’t see himself the same anymore. In fact, he didn’t see himself at all. He only saw the woman before him, damaged as much on the outside as he was on the inside. While he couldn’t relate to the physical pain, he knew what she knew—likewise, she knew what he knew. They knew this because all broken people can see others who are also broken. They can feel each other. On this connection, they had immediately built a relationship more powerful that either had experienced.

Throughout that evening while he tended to her wounds, they talked about each other. She told him about her life in that apartment, about her husband, about how her father used to treat her behind closed doors. He told her about his life, about how he wanted to kill himself, wanted to end all the pain he was feeling. He told her things that happened to him, too, when he was little, but that no one else knew about or could even understand. In that, he was no longer alone. Neither of them was alone now.

In a hasty moment of rash judgment, they decided to run. They both needed to get away from their lives, and find new hope among the rotting stars. Maybe they would find those beautiful twinkling stars that everyone always talked about but that they had never seen. Maybe they wouldn’t. They didn’t know, but they needed to try.

Now, ten years later, they lived together. They never took to a relationship, but it didn’t matter. They loved with a love that was more than either of them could describe, more than anyone could understand. They found their stars, ones that shined bright within each other, brighter than the ones shining down from the heavens. It was brighter than the sun, hotter than the light shining through that window as she gently wiped the counter clean.

She finally looked up, and smiled. Warm and beautiful, timid and loving, he reciprocated with one of his own. When he returned to his book, he felt his chest tighten, his heart dance, and his emotions sang a song they both could hear. A song they both sung. A song that would last an eternity and more.

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The Journey Never Ends

The ending isn't a beginning, but a continuation...
The ending isn’t a beginning, but a continuation…

Today, I see bovines on bicycles in the street. Some of them are on unicycles and others aren’t on any type of cycle at all. Instead, they’re dancing near a band called Bull Dogs playing rock music. None of them sees me, though. I’m as invisible to them as they are to the rest of the world.

That’s just how my life is, now. Yesterday, there were literally bullets with butterfly wings floating outside my window. I’ve always loved that song by Smashing Pumpkins, so there were no doubt those little creatures would show up eventually. I wish I could’ve opened the window and let them in to play, but it’s sealed.

It’s always something different. At least that much I can be certain about. Like one day, I had Popples visit me. Another day, the world outside became icy slopes of Neapolitan ice cream. I watched children gorge while parents, in a moment of weakness to whimsy, slid down those slopes in trashcan tops, laughing along with their friends. Two weeks ago, I met SpongeBob and friends. It was amazing.

Sometimes, it’s not so amazing, though. Sometimes I can’t eat my food because it’s rotten with maggots crawling over the meal. Another time, the city was destroyed and nothing but monsters roamed the fiery streets.

None of those things compared to the man I met three days ago. He was a dark figure standing in my room. He had broad shoulders, and wore a long black trench coat. There was a hat atop his head, and the shadow cast from it blackened his face so that I couldn’t see him. However, I could see his smile, and I most definitely heard his frighteningly gloomy voice.

He said, “Hello, Sarah.”

My parents always taught me not to be rude, even to strangers. However, they also taught me to be wary and careful. “Hi.”

“So, what are you seeing today?”

“How did you know?”

“I know everything.”

“If you know everything, then you should know what I see.”

He laughed. It was a scary cold laugh. “Clever girl.”

I said, “What do you want?”

“Nothing. Just waiting.”

“For what?”

“Oh, this and that,” he said, and moved into the sunlight. His face was still so black I couldn’t see any features. “Please, tell me. What do you see?”

“Kittens.”

“Kittens? As in baby cats?”

I nodded.

“Are they cute?”

“The fluffiest kind. They all have tiny little meows, and they’re doing kitten things.” I said, and looked out the window. “Some of them are biting ears, while other are pouncing their brother or sister. They all have huge eyes, but I really like their cute little meows. It’s the best.”

When I looked back, he was gone. So were the kittens. I haven’t seen the kittens since, but that’s okay. The bovines I see today make me smile, and perhaps feel a little warm inside.

As I listen to the Bull Dogs play my dad’s favorite album, Never Mind the Bollocks, which they pronounce Bullocks, I look over to see my mom, dad, and little brother visit me. They’re not alone, though. That big scary man is back.

“Why did you bring him here?” I ask, but they ignore me. They don’t always, but sometimes. Instead, I ask him directly, “Don’t you have some other kid to scare? I’m not afraid of ghosts.”

“Who said I was a ghost?”

“I dunno. I guess ’cause you look like one.”

“I can’t argue with that,” he says. “What do you see today?”

“Why do you care?” I ask, but immediately regret it. My dad’s voice rings in my ears telling me to respect everyone. “I’m sorry. I don’t see anything anymore. Just you and my family.”

Suddenly, I feel my dad’s hand on mine. He’s warm. Really warm. My mom kisses my forehead, and I watch them sit next to the bed. My little brother plays with his toy truck, unaware that everyone is sad.

I look at myself laying on that bed. It had been a long time since I saw myself, and I don’t like what I see right now. I have pasty skin, blue lips, and matted sweaty hair sticking to my face. I wish I could look better for my family, but there’s nothing I can do.

The dark man tells me, “I believe I’m done waiting.”

I look up at him, and back at my family as they continue to grieve. I want to say goodbye, but I can’t. I know they won’t hear me. It’s okay, though, because I left each of them a letter to read when I finally left them. In them, I tell them about all the wonderful things I saw while in the hospital, leaving out all the scary things. I tell them how much I love them, and that they’ll be okay. I tell them goodbye, and that we’ll meet again someday.

“Love you guys,” I tell them before starting my new journey.