Journeys

Journeys are long and hard.

They can end sadly

Or just plainly.

Nothing can be done.

Nothing can be said.

But continue on.

Journeys are part of life.

You struggle.

You drive.

You continue.

You thrive.

But all can fail.

Life continues on.

Journeys reveal new journeys

A door can close,

Just use the window.

Discover a new way.

Never give up.

Just continue.

And pray.

A Story: Part 6

A Story: Part 5

The sun is blistering hot, as it drives into my bare skin. The breeze from the far ocean spills over me soothing my blistered flesh. I stretch across the blanket and…

I’m awake.“Where am I? What day is it? Has time even gone by?” Then I’m gone again.

“Janey…Janey…janey…” David just keeps mumbling to me as I lay here in despair.

“Shut up, David!” silence, and I’m gone again.

I shiver as I come closer to the glistening beautiful water. It almost sings to me, inviting me to its break. The sand beneath my feet is damp but warm still. It squeaks as I bury my feet deeper into its existence. Someone is coming closer…

My eyes open. Questions pour into my subconscious, “Why again? What is my life? What is the meaning of me? They said they wanted me; that I was the key to their existence? But why?” My mind is swirling, and if I open my eyes it will be worse, because the air surrounding me is chaos. The only way for it to stop is sleep. I’m gone again.

“Danny…Danny…”I picture his adorable face as my hand brushes a material beneath me… “Danny!” I leap from my bed, but the searing pain smacks me back down onto my bed. My head is spinning; I shut my eyes trying to contain the nausea. I can feel my heartbeat race, not seeming to be slowing down.  “Danny…”I try to stand, but the movement makes me throw-up across my bedspread. Small dribbles of goop cover my legs.

I need to know if my dream was a dream, but I cannot move. My eyes feel like they are glued shut. My arms and legs weigh a million pounds making it impossible for me to rise. I still can only hear my heartbeat…and a small pulse beating in time to my heart…”

“What?” The ever so quiet, minimalist pulse, vibrating upon my wrist. I remember the small flower, unclear of its true color. Attempting to bring my wrist into view, I pull aside Danny’s blanket…

“Danny!” This time I gradually pull myself out of bed and attempt to walk to my door. The room is spinning, but I must know the truth. I brace my arms on any firm object within reach, opening my door. It swings open with a whine and a cloud of dust engulfs my presence. Dust…? I travel down the corridor and every door is closed, but the doors seem untouched. Cobwebs covering their door-frames, like no one has been here for months. The air is musky and thick. I smell burnt wood with a mixture of dirt and sweat. I hear nothing, but moving down this hallway reminds me of the past screams that would torture my sleep. My legs almost sweep underneath me, I catch myself before continuing on. One more door…

“Danny…”his door is also closed, but it seems clean except for the scratch marks wrapping around the knob, like something was desperately trying to get in. “Danny…” The knob is cold as ice, and there are sharper edges now. It won’t open, the door is glued shut. “Danny…? Are you there,” I whisper hoping for an answer. Knowing there wouldn’t be one…

There was a sound. Like someone was trying to slide along the floor in short snip movements…

“Danny!” This time I raise my voice a bit. I plaster the side of my head to the door straining to listen.

Again, a sound.

The door won’t open. I kick it to see if it will budge. Nothing. If I ram my full force into it, I don’t know if I will be able to survive the pain or the headache…But Danny…Danny is worth it.

Preparing myself…Ram! Nothing happens, and the pain shoots through my shoulder to my head. The headache is bearable but the searing pain is troublesome. I won’t be able to survive that too many more times. Again…Ram! The door shifted…but the pain is worse,  and I am beginning to see dark spots. Again the small, faint noise exits the room. “Stay where you are…Danny. I don’t know…what will…happen to the…door.” I don’t know if he caught any of that, because my words seemed to slur from the dizziness. The noise stopped.

I think I can only survive once more. However, one more shove won’t help me succeed…pondering…thinking with a dizzy head is not helpful. I need a longer runway. The opposite door! The room across from his room is almost dead on. Without hesitation or conflict I open the door…

There lies a baby doll covered in dark goo…I do not need a closer look to know, because of the smell…they’re gone. The bed is upturned and every object is torn to pieces and flung around the room. Claw marks have painted this room’s walls, causing it to look like it’s in motion.

“Why am I here? Danny…Do I want to open that door? Do I need to know what I already guess…?” The tears come and clouds my eyesight even more. I cannot see it…I do not want to see this…

But that noise! There is someone in there and even if it is not Danny I must help them. I wander to the opposite wall bracing my stance. I look towards the corridor, sizing up the huge door blocking my path. My legs are shaking, and I only have this last chance…Danny…then I go.

My legs are burning, and my head swells; I see the door in front of me. I square my shoulder to the wood and RAM! Pain, tears, clouds, and then darkness. My eyes flutter open, and I am hanging halfway through the door. The wood only shattered around my body, but the door still hangs firm. I shift to see better but my shoulder…!

I can feel it, but I also cannot feel it; it’s like I have no shoulder at all. Ignoring the room for a moment, I look to the knob. There is a screwdriver driven into its lock, like someone had attempted to escape by unlocking the door. Probably without knowing our doors have no lock, they locked themselves in.

There is no noise. But I also really cannot hear because of the ringing pain in my ears. And my cloudy conscious blocking out noise. Danny…

I maneuver my body so that I can reach through the opening to grab the screwdriver. It’s wedged in pretty well, but thankfully only one arm is dead to me. I grasp it, yank it, it is freed. However, I lose my composure, I topple over myself, fall through the opening, land on my head and shoulders, and collapse onto the floor inside the room.  Bigger headache, and now matching shoulder of pains.

“Danny…Dann…” words will not escape my mouth…I cannot feel anything, except the pulsing. It’s louder now, pounding in my ears.

“Scoot…” The noise…I can’t see anything. This room is darker than the other; it is almost total blackness. “Squeak…” something is traveling towards me, at its slow but unwavering pace. “Squeak………….squeak………..squeak….” It has no words.

An eerie sensation travels down my spine. Goosebumps sprout over my arms and legs. The hairs stand on ends. The small pulse on the wrist heightens and my throat slowly closes. “It’s only Danny. Relax.” I say to myself trying to make myself breath again.

“Danny?” I say into the void.

“Squeak………..squeak……….squeak……….”Its body rubbing against the plywood, each time louder and more forceful than the one before.

Only slightly I hear a low wheezing breath breaking into the silence. I don’t know if it is louder or not, because my ears are ringing in fear. The noise continues, and it seems only a few feet from me. It stops suddenly. Only a hushed chill lingers between us.

Nothing…“Danny?” I whisper afraid of the…

WHAM!

The door breaks off its hinges and a figure lunges into the room. With searing pain, I fling myself out of the way. Then cram my pain-filled head between my arms trying to disappear. Pain is shooting over my entire body, but centered on my arm. I hear the scuffle, but the noises are dwindling in and out. “Dan…n…y” I try, but can’t speak. Then all is black.

Never Quite Done…

Kick It

“Why, why, why?” I cannot seem to get this right. Why can I accomplish my other goals but not this one? I was able to go skydiving, falling without control. To travel to Paris and see the wonderful beautiful art. I was able to walk through the terrifying, dark shark tunnel at Sea World. I was able to dance the tango with a partner in a competition. I rode on the back of a motorcycle with my arms stretched out embracing the wind. I sang in front of an audience with judges; along with other things I have accomplished. However, this one is the hardest…I guess I will skip this one and move on to the next, which is number 12…survive a triathlon…

Time has passed, and I have accomplished everything on my list…everything…that’s a lie. There is still that one lingering goal I cannot and will not do. That would be embarrassing if it was not reciprocated. Anyways I have a great life. I have been courageous in every other outlook of my life. I have strived to be the best in my field, and I have gained the highest award…Boss. I am the boss of my own company; I earned every second, and I would not take any moment back…would I? No, every moment has been magical in its own way.  I accomplished 19 out of the 20 goals…that is an ‘A’. I have an ‘A’ in life goals and as well in life. My life is complete and I will live contently and happily to the limit!

Heartbreak, after heartbreak, after heartbreak. I have given my heart to every man that has loved me, but in the end they always break me. Again we danced, we ate dinner, we laughed the night away, and then the moment of which I thought he would love me he pulled away. The distance grew. Why do they keep pulling away? I give them everything my heart can give. I love them unconditionally without ever going too far. Why can I not find true love in this empty land? My heart is whole, and it is mine to give, but they pull away leaving me feeling empty and forsaken.

“Happy Birthday!” they all scream for me. I am 25 years old and I feel no different. I am living life as I have done through my many days. I have experienced much and I continue without truly knowing where I am going. But I continue. I search the room looking into all these faces and I see nothing. I feel nothing. Every hug I receive I feel nothing…Why do I…

…You?

Across the room stands someone I thought I would never see again. They look the same; they have grown taller and…more handsome. His eyes…he catches my stare and heads towards me. I can feel the warmth grow in my cheeks, and I imagine I look like a tomato with arms. I look to the floor trying to calm my face, as a pair of shoes enter my space. I look upwards and there is the smile that has always warmed my heart. His eyes are closed but I can feel the happiness in his face. “Hello,” I mumble out as I can barely speak.

His eyes open, those beautiful green eyes, “Hello.” And he brings me into a comforting embrace. And I feel everything.

We wander outside to relieve our faces of the warmth. The air is chilly and it soothes my burnt red cheeks. We sit on a wall facing the ocean. The waves crashing against the coast matches my heartbeat. He is sitting right next to me with his eyes closed soaking in the air. There is a small hint of blush still within his cheeks, making him more radiant than before…if possible…

“Happy Birthday” he whispers still with his eyes closed, but his fingers intertwining with mine.

“Thank you,” is all I can say without the tears spilling down my face. Years have passed, but it seems like only days. The warmth of his fingers sends electricity through my veins. I feel my heartbeat soar, and I worry he can feel my pulse through my fingers.

“Joseph…”

“Hmm…” he turns my way and his beautiful green eyes seem to pierce my soul.

“Do you remember how you helped me with my bucket-list?”

“Yes. Did you ever finish it entirely? Those were some good times.” His smile grew to fit his entire face. His eyes slowly drift back to the ocean, but his hand still holds mine. “Why?”

“I never did my number 11…I was not brave enough to complete them all…” tears welling up inside me.

His arm wraps around me, and he pulled me close. “Well I am here now, I can help you with that troublesome 11. What is it?”

I bury my head into his shoulder, wanting to soak up as much of him as possible… “You. You were my number 11.”

 

Needed…

My Favorite

The girl stepped away from her precious home and turned toward the unknown. She understood this would not be forever, and what she was doing was for a good cause. Someone outside of her immediate family needed attention, and she would willingly give it to them if it would help them feel better. She piled her overflowing belongings into her small silver car and then she slammed the trunk shut. She gazes back at the house that has cared and loved her for many years, filled with her family, and she steps into her automobile and drives off.

A month has passed in this new house, and she craves the love she has left. This girl sits in her bed centered in a large room; she has no one near her and she feels alone. There is sadness. She misses her other home dearly.  But she also recognizes the good she is doing in this new home, which she has known since childhood. Still she yearns to return while her heart continues to call out. She collapses into deep sleep, clouded with whispers of tears.

Days pass, and the girl continues her good work. She does this work out of love; the love for family. However, she still feels lonely. She has always been surrounded by  unconditional love, but now in her moments of free time she is alone. She has no dislike towards this house which needs her, but she wants to be in her real home.

Weeks, it has been almost two months and she has hit her breaking point. She dreads another night alone. She dreads another meal alone. She dreads another night where she will not hug someone she loves goodnight. She dreads not saying, “I love you” in person, because she has for these two months said it through text. Of course the work she has done has been highly needed and extremely wanted, but she feels she needs to return home. There were some good times in this new house, but the ache for her home is a greater need.

“Good bye, Grandma. I am sorry for leaving before you are better, but…”

“All is fine my dear. You have been the greatest ‘at home nurse’ I could have asked for,” the loving old woman says as she pulls her in. Whispering into her ear, “I understand who you need…go…”

With tear filled eyes she hugs her grandma back and runs to her car. She travels away from this temporarily house and back to her true home. She pulls up to the curb and there outside the front door stands the woman she needed most. Mother.

Sickness…take a pause…

I wouldn’t say I didn’t believe my mother when she said she was sick, it was more I didn’t understand the level of sickness she was having to endure. But now as I lay in my bed and attempt to write this post I feel the headache coming back to me. So sorry mom if I seemed at all humorous to you when you were in bed, because now I must endure the slow recovery to my normal health.

Have you ever said to yourself, “You are not sick. Just believe you are fine and the sickness will not be there.” Well In the past I told myself this for years. When I swam, my coach would tell me the same thing, “if you don’t want to be sick, then tell yourself you are not.” Easier said then done, however if worked perfectly fine for her. She said she would only allow herself to be sick in the Summer, because she only had coaching. I however swam year round and my only vacations were holidays, and I wanted those times to be with family, not in bed. So constantly pushing myself to not be sick, just made me extremely sick when my body couldn’t take it anymore. Which is why I think my body sometimes shuts down. It is telling me I need a rest and I should take a couple days.

For the past 2 years I have not experienced that shutdown. I believe it is because I have one less stressful thing in my life. As much as I love and miss swimming, I think it was the best thing for me to stop. Yes, I might have been able to make it to the Olympics or even just Olympic trials, but I would have never been able to experience life through my twenties. So getting injured, even though I thought my life was over, was the beginning of my true self.

It’s funny how when you have time, even “being sick time”, that you can look deeper into your life. You see the things you cherish more, and you discover what truly matters to yourself. Family, friends, art, dancing, love, work, etc. I have much to cherish, and without stopping and pausing ever so often I might forget.

So in a way I say, “Thank you Mom. You might have given me a sickness which produces the worst headache in the word. And the constant terrible sweats, and chills. But you have given me a pause to reflect what I love most. Which is you, and my siblings. I love you!”

Whom Do You Hear?

Can’t Stand Me

The lights are blaring into my mind, and the chattering of people engulfs my essence.  There is just an audience of strangers ready to judge and comment on my performance. “Why am I doing this?” I question my reasoning’s as I stand behind this curtain about to take the stage. The curtain hides my figure and my fears. I have never wanted to be a singer; I have always been the girl who just quietly hums to herself. In my head I sound like this musical angel and there are no cracks or squeaks in my voice; I just hear soft, smooth, lyrics pour from my mouth without much thought.

The curtain is a stiff material and smells of alcohol, grease, and an unmentionable. I step away from the curtain, but then I feel revealed and less safe.  Because if the moment came that the curtain would rise I could clutch onto it and disappear into the darkness above. But I stand there, cowering behind the curtain, almost center stage, waiting for…

“Next up we have, Emily2Jane! Clap for her it is her first time here!” Thunderous applause erupts after his last syllable.

My hands are sweating and I drop the mike. The echoing sound causes my head to pound and ache. I snatch it up and the assistant off to the right gives me questioning look of, “Are you okay? You can give this up now if you still want to.”

I ponder this choice. Give up…that is not in my vocabulary. New Year’s resolution was to try and be courageous no matter the result. Although, if I leave now I could still keep this as a daydream…No do this for yourself. I answer with a firm shake of my head and the assistant cues the curtain to be raised.

Again I am flooded with light. I can see no faces. That makes this bearable, until the light dances off to my side and I see every face staring at me. The machine to my left brightens and the music begins to play.  My chance is here and everyone is waiting. I pull the microphone to my mouth and…squeak! I stop dead not wanting to continue. “I already accomplished my fear. I stood in front of an audience and put myself on the chopping block.  Can this be enough?” Looking back to the assistant. He is bright red but he circles his hand, telling me to continue.

I continue, but it is awful the whole way. I cannot hear my own voice, but I imagine it is what everyone usually experiences.  My throat is dry and weak with nerves as I continue; I imagine I must sound like I am just mumbling the words off as they appear on the screen. Nerves are not a fun thing to have; they make everything twice or three times as bad.

The song ends and I hear nothing. I want to run off the stage and through the door into my quiet life. But of course, I freeze with fear and my feet are glued to the center part of the stage.

“Well that was great, wasn’t it?” the announcer tries to diffuse the silence. If we were outside you would hear crickets. Nothing. Silence. And every eyes still trained on me. Mouths gaping open with wide eyes. My hands are sweating again. I feel the microphone slipping and I clench its handle tightly spraying sweat over my knuckles. I can hear a mumbled voice speaking, must be the announcer, only my heart beat is penetrating the silence. A hand opens, pointing off stage, trying to lead me out the right side back behind the curtain. Still there is silence. I reach the curtain and there is a small clap. It is slow and steady; then another clap joins in. Until the audience is clapping in unison. I stand halfway behind the curtain and half on stage. I thank them with tearful eyes and a small reassuring nod and exit to my right.

I have no idea if they clapped because they liked me or because I was brave. I have no recollection of my performance and I couldn’t describe it to you now. I only slightly remember the squeaking and this could have been my imagination. I am drenched in sweat and smell terrible. I need a bath and a large bowl of chocolate ice cream to help me recover. I move towards the exit and many hands congratulate me with a small pat on my back. I wish they wouldn’t because I can feel the sweat dripping off of me. I reach the coat rack and move towards the exit. The announcer calls back, “Come again, Emily2Jane!” and I leave.

A Story: Part 5

A Story: Part 4

Without opening my eyes I extend my limbs in every direction, and my hands stroke smooth material which seems to melt through my fingers. As my legs brush against the fabric my small hairs spring to life from the slight shocks of static. My feet repeatedly bury themselves and then expose their toes feeling the fabric glide off their visible skin. I can feel the warmth of the sun beat down on me and I hear a faint breeze shift in the wind. All is still and peaceful, but with my eyes closed I wonder about that figure. I hear a small bird, just out of reach twitter is own magical tune; however, it’s sound seems so far away. Then there is a tapping on the window.

Window? Bolting up I see the bird outside the dirty window whistling its song while ever so often tapping the window glass. So I am not dreaming. I am again in my room. But the fabric? …looking down I see a brown blanket draped under my body twisting into my bed sheet. This isn’t mine. I take the material in my hands and try and distinguish something recognizable. I can see nothing but my drizzles of drool spilled over a top corner. “Sorry” to whoever’s blanket this is. At the farthest corner, I see a cursive “D” spelling a word….Danny. Bless little Danny’s heart.” I feel bad about the drool, but he did snot-fest my shirt that one time…I will wash it out later, showing him the same kindness.

Strange I have no headache and no voices, maybe David has gone for good. Of course as I say this to myself I know if will come back to bite me later. But still with the thought of his name, he does not surface. I am just confused because I can’t even feel his presence like before.

I stretch my arms high above my head wanting to touch the celling. I feel no soreness or pain; I feel content and bliss. I prepare myself for the dizziness after standing, but nothing comes. This is strange…I almost glide over to the mirror in search of my eyes knowing I will see truth.

I fall back suddenly in shock. Looking in I saw orange. Not just plain orange, but fiery orange. I saw hints of gold and shards of red. I looked like a possessed human or even a ferocious monster. Standing, I peer into the mirror again my eyes are normal with the peaceful green and hints of blue and brown. But they also look alive. I can see my own reflection looking back at me. I wonder if my orange eyes had been real or if the light had hit the mirror in a new way.

I change my clothes quickly not wanting to see the bruises from the day before, and I see the layer of dust covering my dresser. Nothing has moved or is out of place; I lift the brush, beneath is shiny, new, and bare. How…? …No….

I open the door and all the surrounding doors are standing open, allowing any to enter. “Danny…” I rush to his room and there it is tussled and ruined with no sight of life. The little bear which he always slept with lays torn in my path. All the furniture is turned and trampled. Nothing is as it once was.

I scoop up the bear and wander back to my room. Each doorway shows another lost loved one. Gone without notice and what seems like, without a say. Each door similar to the next. Each door hanging on its hinges ready to give up on life.

Me too. Knowing that all these children, all these beautiful children are gone. I have no will to live either. I wander back into my room cradle the bear into the smooth blanket, my last piece of Danny, and almost whimper myself into a dead sleep.

Danny…Danny…DANNY! “Why Danny?” screaming myself awake not able to handle the reoccurring torturing nightmares. Since I have no recollection of the canceling, I know the shadows must have done this. My nightmares consist of me trying to save the children, but remain glued to the floor unable to save anyone. Then the shadows turn towards me and I awake. The bear is still swaddled in the smooth brown blanket, but now there is more drool and small dabs of snot from the day before.

I have not left my room. I have not seen another soul or shadow.  I don’t move because of the fear of being next, also because it will awaken my stomach. The doors all still hang open, including mine. Why bother. If no one comes I will die alone, and if someone comes it is my end.

Except for my stomach I would have laid there until I became dust and died. But the constant growling is obnoxious and I can’t ignore it any longer. Going to leave I turn back and scoop up the bear and blanket. I tie it as a sash across my chest keeping my precious keepsakes close.

The hallway seems deadlier. No noise. No life. No warmth. It reminds me of a book I read about ghost stories; the cemetery of headstones, each having a new original story to tell. Slowly I meander to the red door to reality. Maybe beyond that door all will be gone too. No shadows. No fear. No life. Maybe I am the only one still left living. The knob turns too easily, then I push way too hard, the door swings open suddenly, and I collapse to the ground. I lay there in silence. Catching my breath and thankful for the bear, because it might have saved my ribs. I brace my stance and push myself into a kneeling position….

Nothing. The small room with the dining table is toppled over and in disarray. The swinging doors to the kitchen are torn off its hinges and lay shattered on the floor. Dishes are broken and scattered everywhere. Every step I take another shard breaks into a million smaller shards beneath my feet. The diner is empty and every table is distorted. Nothing is the same. Everything is destroyed. I hear nothing except my breath; I am no longer hungry. No one is present, no children, no shadows and no customers, just me. Looking back over the path I have followed, I see nothing but the evidence of destruction. Something flickers in my side-eyed vision. A sign I have never seen. In blaring red lights it reads, “EXIT”. Curious…

I stumble across the broken dishes, torn cushions, and the spilled syrup covering the floor, towards that sign leading to oblivion. The door is glowing and the sun is pouring through the windows. I touch the knob and it begins to hum and sing into my palm. It almost feels alive. I turn the knob, shove open the door, it won’t budge. I shove again and I hear a crack. I kick and slam into the door. I continuously pound its wood until the door gives away and I topple into the light…

Thud…I hit the ground and I feel plywood beneath me. I open my eyes as the pain in my knees send a stinging sensation to my back. I see fabric wrapped around my head, and I feel it strangling the air from my throat. I frantically struggle to unwrap my suffocating body from the material.  My head is finally released and I am on a cold wooden floor. Danny’s blanket was the cause of restriction. Completely confused, I search of a recognizable building to know my surroundings. I see a dark form. A sturdy block shaped form slowly comes crisply into view. A desk…a dresser…

I am in my room…