Grandiose 11

You dreamt about me?” Kauffman asks from across the table. We are having breakfast in the cafeteria. We both ordered scrambled eggs with toast and a cup of coffee.  As I grabbed for the hot sauce so did he and our fingers touched. I tried not to blush. He chuckled a bit.

He looked like his normal self again. His eyes glistening as the sun hit them. I was glad he was being nice to me again and when I had told him about my dream he didn’t laugh; he was surprised.

“I never had a patient dream about me before” He smiled.

“There’s always a first time for anything” I said, blushing. Was I flirting? I became upset because I was confused by my emotions.

“Don’t get upset. It’s okay” Kauffman told me as he cupped my hands between his. I looked him and he leaned forward and smiled. I smiled back.

“Now, I have a surprise for you. You’re going to love this” he said as he led me out the cafeteria. He had me by my right hand and we ran to the main hallway with the glass walls overlooking the garden.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Kauffman asked, breathlessly.

“It certainly is” I responded. Then he dragged me out through the exit door into the garden.  It was a warm day and the snow had melted away a few weeks ago.  I raised my hands to the sky taking in the sun, twirling myself around with glee. I was outside for the first time in three years.  I let myself fall onto the wet grass smelling fresh honeydew as Kauffman lands right beside me. We stare up at the sky and watch the birds fly by.

Lying there, Kauffman opens up to me about how he had lost his parents when he was young and had to take care of his younger brothers. He had to grow up fast at thirteen years old. I slid my hand into his as to comfort him.  For a while, after he had confiding in me about his past, we just laid there in silence. I didn’t think about anything really; was too happy to be outside.

I wanted to milk this newfound freedom until I had exhausted the day for all its worth. Abruptly making my way up, I made my way around the garden in total awe of the new born flowers.  Kauffman followed and watched me from afar. While sliding my hands through a shrub, I pricked a finger on a sharp twig that had been poking out.

“Ouch!” I yelped. Kauffman rushed over to me, pulled a handkerchief from his jean pocket and wrapped it around my finger.

“I think it’s time to go back inside; you’re going to need a band-aid.” He told me looking at my bloody finger. I didn’t protest as he led me back inside. He had a nurse attend to my finger in the session room.  She was quick and a bit rude, but my mind was preoccupied with other pressing matters.

The whole day I had the feeling that I was being watched even though you were always being watched here.  In the garden I thought I saw a man watching us from the extended garden, but when I had looked back he had disappeared. I couldn’t shake the feeling.

A strong lavender aroma from Victoria’s newly washed hair blended with the freshly brewed Columbian coffee from the cafeteria that alarmed everyone that lunch was ready. She placed the red food tray on my desk and smiled.

“They made peach cobbler, your favorite” Victoria told me, pointing at the peach cobbler. I never told her I loved peach cobbler. Only Victoria knew this. I didn’t say anything back because I knew how the discussion would end. I ate my lunch in silence leaving Victoria and Kauffman to chat over their lunch.

Again, I had that uneasy feeling that someone was watching me. I turned my head to the door but no one was there. Kauffman and Victoria were immersed in discussion about the poor care of the third floor patients. Many of them weren’t being fed because the nurses were scared of them.

Some were even being mistreated by the orderlies who took pleasure in beating them.  Six third floor patients died last week of alleged unknown causes. Corruption roamed free here and those who talked were never seen again.

I had overheard Demetrius talking to another Russian orderly, named Marcus, who was known to have the tendency to act violently against patients brag about molesting a second floor patient. It was common for orderlies to molest or even rape female patients. I was one of the lucky few that had not been subjected to such indignities.

For the most part, I was grateful for Demetrius. He always kept a watchful eye on me and protected me but I always wondered why. Why is he so nice to me? He treats everyone else like sewage rats but I’m the exception. I’ve always been skeptical of him; you always have to trust your gut. Sometimes I feel like he is just fattening me up like a pig for slaughter; not to sound morbid or cynical, though.

Savoring every single bite of the peach cobbler as the sweet and pungent flavors electrified my taste buds; as I finished my lunch. I tried not to think about the harsh reality seemingly construed like a blockbuster horror story.

Then a shrilling scream rounded the lively souls silent and my heart pounded like a mad man playing the drums. It had come from the third floor and soon I heard the pounding footsteps of orderlies and nurses running towards the screams.

“Stay here!” Kauffman yelled at me as he rushed out with Victoria. I locked the door behind them, just to be safe.  The officials will not like this or perhaps they are not aware of the increasing deaths and disappearances. I make my way to a corner and hide away from view. I have to get out of here. I fear the worst and I will not stand around and wait to be caught by the killer.

//
//

Grandiose 9

Kauffman came into my room briefly this morning with Demetrius and a new orderly.  They dragged me to the seclusion room on the third floor. I screamed all the way there. It was not a great place to be, well for me that is. I hated being in the dark. I dreaded going there again.

The third floor had dimmer lights than the rest of the building; that’s where they kept the psychopaths-the morbidly deranged. I heard them scream in madness all those dark souls and for a moment I thought I would join them. I refused to succumb to their madness. Image

            “Hey little girl, come back and play!” a convicted serial killer laughed. Demetrius and the new orderly forced me to walk faster. We reach the steel door that requires 6 gold plated bolts to keep it secure.  It was a small dark room with black walls and one light bulb that flickered all the time. The walls were covered with disturbing art from the other patients who had been exiled there. There were even stories of patients dying there and ghosts haunting the room.  I beg Kauffman to reconsider but he ignores me. I cry hysterically.

Demetrius and the new orderly try to pull me in but I hang on to the door like a 5 year old.

            “No!” I scream. They are pulling me from my legs now and I’m holding on to the side of the door for my dear life. Kauffman begins to pry my fingers off the door and I am pulled into the room, defeated. I curl into a fetal position at the back left corner of the room and shiver.

            “This is not a punishment. I am really trying to help you” I hear Kauffman say but am too busy crying to even acknowledge him. Kauffman leaves a few blank white pages and a box of crayons on an old wood student desk in the middle of the room. He tells me he wants me to draw something and heads out the room with Demetrius and the new orderly. The closing of the door as the bolts clank in place makes me even more delirious. The fact that he didn’t tell me how long I would be in there causes me to hyperventilate.

The only light bulb in the room starts to flicker, elevating my forthcoming panic attack. I remain in the corner not moving one bit. Somehow I fall asleep for a while; don’t know how long, though. There are no windows in this room or a clock, so I am oblivious to time here as well.

Before Kauffman had left, he had placed an old tape player on the student desk to play both Beethoven and Mozart. I suppose the music calmed me down. After waking up the first time, I began to cry again, realizing it was not a dream. I was actually in that room in the dark with just a glimmer of light from the incessantly flickering bulb in the middle of the room. I cried and cried for hours, begging for someone to let me out. No one came.  All that crying made me sleepy again. I went back to sleep for a second time. I don’t know for how long I slept that time either.

When I awoke, I begrudgingly crawled my way to the student desk and pulled myself onto the chair. It creaked and rocked from my weight. I considered my options. Perhaps Kauffman was watching me through a camera in the room and if I didn’t do what he said I would stay in here forever. I stared at the art on the wall in front of me created by past patients, most of which depicted suicide and other disturbing images. The ones who used a lot of the black and red crayons were the broken souls on this floor. There were a few rainbows and happy faces but only a few.

I think about what to draw, scratching my head with a blue crayon. I decide to look at the art on the wall instead as I slip out of the chair and make my way towards them. So much pain on these walls, I think to myself. Like I said beforehand, many of these cried out their suicidal tendencies. The more deranged ones drew dark images of a homicidal nature. Then there were the ones who just wanted to go home, like a patient named Emily, who drew a picture of her family.

It was the typical family picture a kindergartener would draw; a house with a white picket fence with the whole family lined up in front, smiling. There was also a dog there too. She even wrote the words, “I want to go home” in the green grass in black crayon. Emily had a personality disorder. She had murdered her whole family with a machete seven years ago on Christmas Eve. They never figured out why.

Tears streamed down my face as I slipped my hand through all the artwork, feeling all their pain. I went back to the chair and sat there, just staring at the blank pages on the table. I thought about Henry and what Demetrius had said. He had seen him too.

“That’s it!” I exclaimed.  I decided to draw a portrait of Henry so I could show it to Demetrius and confirm my story to Kauffman. Then he would see that I wasn’t crazy. A few minutes into the sketch, I hear the door unbolt and in comes a tall skinny blonde hair nurse with my lunch. It’s only lunch! I thought I had been in there for hours. The nurse smiles at me and places the tray of food to my right side. I smile at her for not covering my drawing with the tray. I guess some people still have manners.

I barely touch the food because all I want is to finish my perfect portrait of Henry. I make sure to accurately emphasize on his deep blue warm eyes, blonde hair, strong jaw and full lips. When I am done, I trace my fingers on his lips, pretending he is there with me. More hours pass by and I fall asleep once more. The door opens a few hours later, jolting me up from my sleep to see Kauffman walk in.

He doesn’t talk to me as he grabs for my sketch of Henry. He looks at it for a few seconds with a stern look upon his face, and then calls for Demetrius who is told to take me to the cafeteria for dinner. Kauffman was being cold to me and I didn’t know why. Then the strangest thing happened, Demetrius smiled at me. I was taken aback by this because he never smiled. I found this rather peculiar.

I didn’t feel much like eating. Knowing my chances were slim, I asked Demetrius if he could let me hang out in the community room instead. He of course, said no at first. It was forbidden to miss a meal because they gave us our medication with it. A few moments later, Demetrius, to my surprise, changed route whispering the following into my ear.

            “Only this time” he said as we made our way to the other side of the building back down stairs to the main floor. We walked through the long empty hallways in silence. I stared at the floor as I walked. I wasn’t particularly happy after spending most of the day locked up in a dark room.

About 20 minutes later, we reached the dark green doors of the community room. It was empty with the exception of the attending nurse who was enclosed in an office with glass walls. She looked at Demetrius who gave her a non-verbal sign which she acknowledged in agreement by nodding her head.

The community room was filled with vintage chairs, sofas and TV’s. The walls were covered in an out-dated floral wallpaper. It was like you were being transported back to the 70s. I made my way to a leprechaun green sofa that faced the largest of the four TV’s in the room. I didn’t bother to turn it on, I just stared at the dark screen. Demetrius went over to chat up the nurse, always having a watchful eye on me, though. I curled up on the sofa, my eyes growing heavy and falling asleep once again.

During my short nap, I had a nightmare or maybe it was a flashback. I couldn’t really be sure. I was holding a knife and was covered in blood. I heard water running and police sirens in the distant. There is a man dead on the floor but can’t make out his face. At that moment I lose the image as Demetrius furiously shakes me, waking me up. He is now dragging me back to my room. There has been a murder. One of the dangerous patients has stabbed a nurse and they are ordering a lockdown.

Hurrying back to my room, I can’t help but wonder if what I dreamt was a memory or just a nightmare. Nothing is clear. I have to figure things out soon because I don’t have much time. Kauffman is growing weary of me; I fear he will give up on me. I fear being exiled back onto the third floor. I’ll die there. Third floor residents don’t last long; they always die of mysterious causes or go missing after a few years. Nobody ever knows what happens to them. Two nurses rush past us, looking scared. I knew who they were afraid of. I knew who stabbed that poor nurse. And I also knew he would disappear sometime soon. 

Grandiose 8

It still falls, the snow that is. I’m walking down the main floor hallway, my head turned slightly to the right, watching the snow fall through the glass wall. Victoria walks ahead of me as she leads me to my morning session with Kauffman. Her hair is in a tight top bun today and she is wearing her signature lavender perfume. I called her Victoria, when she came in to get me and she went ballistic. Image

“My name is Marissa! Not Victoria!” She yelled at me.

“You look so much like her and you wear the same perfume” I tell her.

“You’re crazy, now get up and follow me to Mr. Kauffman. He is waiting for you.” She scolded, marching out of my room. I followed her out.

The session room is down the main floor hallway; the first room at the right. I am enchanted by the snow and make my way to the glass wall, pressing my whole body against it. I press my chapped lips to the cold glass and smile. The cold lets me know I’m alive. Victoria, however, is quick to pull me away, dragging me by my right arm.

“You’re such a child!” she yells at me. I don’t say anything back. I hang my head low and let her drag me to Kauffman. When we get there, she orders me to sit in the steel chair that stood in the middle of the room. She proceeds to handcuff my right wrist to the right handle of the chair.  Kauffman is sitting behind his desk, reading a thick red coverless book.  He barely notices us when we come in. I try to figure out what the book may be about but am left frustrated because I can’t see over it.

“No…No…No!” I yell. The handcuffs hurt me and I hate them. Why can’t I sit like a normal person? I’m tired of being restrained. I was glad when they decided not to use the white jacket on me anymore but insist on keeping me handcuffed at all times. I won’t hurt anybody. I promise. I tell them but they are not convinced. Kauffman hurries over to me and grabs my face, forcing me to look at him. I calm down at the touch of his warm hands.

“Its okay” he says to me as he looks into my eyes.

“Okay” I nod back, shyly. It was that easy. He knew how to stop the pain. Walking back over to his desk, he pulls out his chair and places it a few feet from me.

“Now let’s discuss last evening” he says to me as he sits down, crossing one leg over the other.

“You say, you saw Henry, tell me about it?” he continues to ask.

“No one believes me. I saw him. I heard him.” I tell him, tears streaming from my eyes now.

“He was there by the cafeteria exit, I saw him…I heard him call out my name” I said.

“Are you sure?” Kauffman asked.

“Yes” I responded, sniffling.

“Tell me anything else you can recall” Kauffman urged.

“I was ready to take my tray back when I heard him say my name. I looked around and I saw him by the far left cafeteria exit door. He waved at me. If only they had let me reach him…” I said, trying to stay calm.

“What happened to Henry? Why didn’t he come to your rescue?” Kauffman asked me. I had asked those questions to myself last night and couldn’t come up with any reasonable conclusion. Henry loved me. Didn’t he? Why didn’t he save me?

“I don’t know” I finally responded, shaking my head.

“If he loved you he would have saved you” Victoria said sarcastically.

“No need to banter her” Kauffman said to Victoria, coldly.

“I suppose we all have feelings, even deranged red-heads” Victoria sighed.

“Is that really necessary?!” Kauffman shrieked at Victoria.

“What?!”

“I didn’t say anything.” She smiled at him.

“Never mind you…” he told her with a wave of a hand, as to disregard her altogether. He put up with her over-bearing cynical nature because she was the best nurse assistant he ever had and also she was very intelligent. Perhaps she was too intelligent. Deep down he wished to have his way with her but fought the urges by focusing on me. I was his most important puzzle; he had to solve the mystery of my life that I have no memory of. I was grateful for him but Victoria was keen on destroying any chance of me ever recovering or escaping this nightmare.

Kauffman didn’t believe me, of course. He told me I was seeing things-that Henry was never there. I cried and screamed to him that I saw him. I was not crazy. I had another screaming spell and they had to call Demetrius to take me back to my room. I think I really did go bonkers for a split second when he uncuffed me from the chair; I swung my fist into his nose. He didn’t say anything; he just grabbed my arm and twisted it behind my back. I yelped in pain.   This quickly brought me back to my senses.

Even after punching him in the face, he remained unchanged. It was like nothing had happened. He walked me into my room, mildly edging me to back into the padded white wall. He stared into my eyes and I stared into his. I was ready for the beating to come. To my surprise, he didn’t beat me; he just stared at me for a while, and then headed back to the door. Leaving the door slightly ajar, he peered at me once more. I was getting tired of this game. What was he up to? Then he finally said something that made my heart leap up into my throat.

“There was a man…by the exit door in the cafeteria. I saw him.” He said to me in his strong Russian accent, closing the door quickly. I sunk to my knees, pulling at my hair.

“I’m not crazy” I murmured, excitedly.

Grandiose (5)

I’m back in the dark room again but this time I am no longer restrained by the white jacket, yet I am handcuffed to the cold steel chair. Kauffman is sitting behind his desk and I see the woman who calls herself, Marissa, even though she has a striking resemblance to Victoria, leaning over him. Her nurse’s dress has the top two buttons unbuttoned revealing an inappropriate amount of flesh. Kauffman, however, seems unwaivered by this as he pours over his notes.

“I’m so excited to assist you today with Elizabeth’s session” I hear Victoria say to Kauffman in an over exaggerated tone.

“Does she require any other preparations besides the sedative?” She continues to ask.

“No, just make sure she stays calm and bring in her lunch in about two hours” Kauffman tells Victoria, still looking over his notes. I twisted and turned in my chair causing the handcuffs to dig into my wrists.

“Stop, Elizabeth” Victoria shouts at me as she rushes to me. She holds my face in her hands and I’m nose is over-powered by the strong scent of cigar smoke exuding from her hair. Victoria always did love her smokes.

“Victoria” I whisper to her.

“No, my name is Marissa” she says to me like I am mentally challenged with a wink. She slowly lingers two fingers upon my lips as she slides them downward, over my chin and down my neck.

“Stop” I tell her. She chuckles and blows me a kiss.Image

“Is everything alright?” Kauffman chimes in as he walks towards us. Victoria steps to the side so Kauffman could look at me.

“Are you ready to begin?”

“Do you remember where you left off?” he asks me. I nod rather awkwardly, wobbling my head like a wobble-head. I had to force myself to stop.

Victoria snorts a bit and Kauffman glares at her. She heads off to the far right of the room and slides into a metal school chair. You know the ones that have the table attached to them and starts reading a book. I can’t tell what the cover says because my hair is obscuring my view. From time to time, I catch her in my periphery, staring at me.

“Now, let’s begin” Kauffman announces the beginning of the session as he sits across from me. I close my eyes and take in the scent of his after-shave; letting the words pour out of me as the images swarm my mind.

When I got back into my room, I placed my cup of tea unto a sturdy espresso colored dresser, reaching into my right back pocket for my cell phone. I immediately called Uncle Leo. The phone rang a couple times before he answered.

“Hello” I heard a raspy voice answer. It had been a while since I heard his voice.

“Uncle Leo, it’s me, Elizabeth” I cheered.

“Darling, how are you?” he gushed.

“I’m fine, thank you” I lied.

“How’s Victoria treating you?” he asked.

“Victoria, she’s a character” I said hesitantly.

“Yes, she can be a bit over-bearing but she’s a doll” Uncle Leo said in efforts to comfort me.

“Over-bearing is an understatement, she’s a real jerk” I said, feeling a bit ashamed for whining like a child.

“Oh, she’s not so bad, tell you what, why don’t you two come over for dinner?” he tells me.

“A home cooked meal sounds good right now” I reply with a sigh.

“Brilliant! I made my famous meatloaf.” Uncle Leo exclaims. I smile at this.

“Come ‘round 7:30, okay” he says to me.

“Okay” I reply. He goes on to tell me that Victoria is a great girl and that I should give her a chance. I tell him I would try to get along with her and reconfirm our dinner plans; taking note of his address.

My new room had the same maroon carpeting as the outside floor hallway but it was fluffier. I lay down on it and stare at the ocean blue ceiling. I don’t know how long it was, but I lay there emotionless for some time. I might have fallen asleep but can’t really be sure. A few hours later, I hear the door open and see Victoria towering over me.

“What would you like for dinner?” she asks.

“We can go out if you like?” she continues.

“What time is it?” I finally respond.

“It’s 6:30” she says.

“Uncle Leo invited us for dinner” I reply as I make my way up off the floor.

“Nice” Victoria yelps.

“Did he say what time?” she asks.

“Seven-thirty” I tell her.

“We should get going, traffic is a killer at this time” Victoria urges.

“I’ll call us a taxi” she yells out as she rushes out the room. I decide to change my clothes. While re-dressing, Victoria hollers that she would be heading downstairs to meet the taxi and again advises me to hurry up. It was close to seven by the time I was done.

In my rush to get downstairs, I bump into somebody coming out the elevator. He had been carrying a pack of manila folders that go flying into the air and rain down upon us, spilling all their contents.

“I am so sorry” I cried, beyond embarrassed.

“I can be such a bloody klutz sometimes” I blabber on.

“That’s alright, we all have our flaws” he jokes as we both bend down to pick up the disarrayed manila folders. Then as I hand him what I could put together of the mess, we have that epic moment where we look into each other’s eyes and smile in unison. It was just like that, magic.

“Hi, my name’s Henry” he says to me as he stretches out his right hand.

“I’m Elizabeth” I muster the courage to say as I shake his hand. I couldn’t help but stare at his eyes; they were blue, grey and green. I was in awe of them. We stood back up and I realized he was really tall; about 6’4. He had brown wispy hair, symmetrical face features and a strong jaw. He wore a chestnut brown blazer with a light blue white pinstripe shirt, blue jeans and dark brown loafers that looked really expensive. He also carried a brown cross-body briefcase with him.

“Are you new here? I’ve never seen you before” he said, breaking the silence.

“Yes, just moved in” I responded with a nervous smile, realizing I was still holding onto his hand. I quickly slid my hand out of his. Then my phone rang and I jumped. It was Victoria reminding me to get downstairs because the taxi driver was getting impatient.

“Sorry, but I must go”

“It was lovely to meet you, Henry” I said to Henry.

“Nice to meet you too” He smiled.

“Be careful now, don’t go bumping into more strangers” he joked, giving me a wink as I headed to the elevator.

“I’ll try not to” I laughed.

In the elevator, I couldn’t stop smiling. I kept on thinking about how great he smelled and how gentle and soft his hands were. But most of all, I was captivated by his eyes and how they glistened even in the dim hallway light. I finally knew what people meant when they said, “It was love at first sight”, stepping out into the cold November night.

The Origami Cupcake

The Origami Cupcake: Chapter 1


Mother never stayed for long. She always came dressed in her exuberant outfits and never matching high heeled shoes. “Flats are for ordinary women. I’m not an everyday woman,” she would say. Father let her do whatever she wanted. He never said no to her because he was afraid she would leave if he ever did.  He bent to her every whim and once drove from our home in South Jersey to Brooklyn to get her a cheesecake. She only ate Junior’s cheesecake and nothing else. You see mother grew up on the upper east-side of Manhattan. She is the daughter of a very successful and rich broker. You’d think she’d marry to a rich man but to her parents’ and her surprise she married my dad, Henry.  Henry was a server at this Italian restaurant called Vinnies when mother met him. He didn’t have a rich family like she did and had to work two jobs to pay for college.

They met one day in September of 1965. Mother had decided that she would go out to eat with her friends to eat after her last class. Her parents were very over-protective of her. They didn’t want her roaming around the city without a body guard with her. She hated being followed by a steroid using huge dude that scared her more than the strangers her parents were afraid of.

“Sasha, let’s go to Vinnies,” her friend Carmen suggested.

“We can’t go to Brooklyn, dweeb, my mother will freak!” my mother scolded.

“Oh c’mon, Sasha; It’ll be fun,” her other friend, Julia, begged.

“We always have fun at Vinnies. All those cute guys in Brooklyn; you know you want to go,” Carmen teased.

“Ok, ok. I give in,” my mother raised her hands in defeat. They took mother’s limo to Brooklyn. Indeed, she had a fabulous life. She didn’t know that this trip to Brooklyn would change her life forever. When they finally arrived at Vinnies; mother was having second thoughts about breaking her mother’s rules.

“Relax, S” Carmen told my mother.  Vinnies wasn’t an extravagant restaurant. It was pretty low-key but with an old touch feel. Inside it looked like one of those old diners with the tile floors and walls. It was pretty authentic and the cool spot for college kids. Everybody knew about Vinnies.

“Hi, may I take your order?” Henry asked my mother and her friends.  When he saw her he was so hypnotized by her beauty that his hands started to shake. Mother and her friends just stared at him. He was handsome. He had dark brown hair and blue green grey eyes.

“I love your eyes!” Julia gushed at Henry.

“Yes, they are lovely” Sasha told Henry. They looked into each other’s eyes and smiled.

“So, are you just going to stare at me all day or take my order?” Sasha asked Henry with a smirk on her face.

“Can I do both?” Henry responded.  Sasha blushed.  Julia and Carmen ordered chicken salads.

“I’m not a salad type of girl. The only salad you’ll see me eat is on my hamburger” Sasha said to Henry.  “You’re my type of girl, then” he responded. They both blushed this time. It was 12 pm by the time they left Vinnies.  Henry asked Sasha out sometime that evening but she declined.

“Why did you reject him? He was so cute.” Julia asked Sasha.

“What would my parents think?! They would never approve.” Sasha responded. She really did like Henry, but she knew her parents will never let her go out with him. She could picture it now what they would say.

“Absolutely not, you will not go out with that boy!” her father would yell.

“Honey, he’s just not good enough for you.” Her mother would tell her.  They controlled everything in her life, such as, what she ate, who she made friends with, what she wore. She thought that going away to college would lessen their grip but it just got tighter. They had people spy on her.  It was driving her crazy. Once they put a tracking device on her car and she had found it. To teach them a lesson she put it on this hooker’s car. Her mother went crazy when she thought her daughter was in Harlem.  As my mother remembered this she smiled. It was the most fun she’d had in weeks. She didn’t regret coming to Brooklyn and eating at Vinnies. She loved being with her two best friends and meeting her future husband, Henry.

“He was cute…..” mother said to no one in particular. Julia and Carmen looked at each other and smiled. They had never seen their friend Sasha so happy. She smiled all the way back to their dorms at NYU.

Chapter 2: The Perfect Happy Family

I just ran and ran as tears ran down my face.  The cold wind was like having somebody smack my face repeatedly. I couldn’t believe James was a gay. I mean I have nothing against homosexuals. I was mainly angry at him for not telling me this little secret of his. We told each other everything, like how he hated playing football. He only joined the team because that’s the only way he could get father’s attention. I was furious with mother. She was cheating on dad again and now with Mr. Quinn. If the neighbors ever got a whiff of my brother’s and mother’s secret it would be the end of us. What a tragedy?  When I got home, Clarisse, our nanny, was waiting for me in the living room. She was so angry that I had left without telling her where I was going.

“Where you’ve been?!” Clarisse screamed at me.

“Out for a run…I needed some air,” I said.

“I was so scared. You should have told me you were going out.” Clarisse responded

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled as I ran up the stairs to my bedroom. I was having a panic attack. My life would be over if the word got out that my brother was a gay and my mother was a home-wrecker. Our family would be shamed and we would lose our place and status. I couldn’t let that happen. I just couldn’t. I had to keep us safe; I had to keep my family’s secrets safe. No one could ever know. Suddenly, I heard a noise coming from outside my window. I went to see what all the ruckus was about. As I peered out my window I saw a tall muscular figure trying to get into the basement. I poked my head out to see better and I saw that it was a woman. Well, it looked like a woman. She had long reddish brown hair and was wearing a red sequin dress and black stiletto heels. She had some huge feet, I thought. Then, I put my hand over my mouth in shock when I saw her face. It was not a she but a he; and that he was my father! He climbed into the left backside window that leads into the basement. I don’t think he saw me, though.  I backed into my room again and threw myself on my queen sized bed.

“Oh my God!” I screamed.  My father is a drag queen! This day couldn’t get any weirder. I bet those were my mother’s shoes. Those must have been her new Manolo Blahniks. He was eying them when she brought them from the store last week. I thought it was weird but didn’t really pay any mind to it. We all have big feet. My mother and father have the same shoe size 12. I couldn’t believe what I had seen tonight. I felt like I was in a twilight zone episode or in a circus.

“Please let this be all a bad dream,” I said to no one in particular.

“Hey, honey,” I heard someone say and I turned to see my father standing by the door with a big smile on his face. He still had some red lipstick on his lips which he failed to completely wipe off. I wondered as I looked at him; how could a guy like him be a drag queen? He drives motorcycles for God’s sake! I still couldn’t believe I just saw my father dressed like a girl.

“Hi, dad,” I smiled.

“What have you been up to dear?” he said.

“Nothing much; just went out for a run.” I responded.

“Good girl,” he smiled.  “Well, I’m beat sweetie. Rough night at the clinic, you know. I’m off to bed. Have a good night, honey.”

“Night, dad,” I said. I heard him walk to his room and close the door. A few minutes’ later mom and James came home. Mom went straight to bed and yelled goodnight to James and I. James came into my room while I was eating my pain by way of a bowl of cookie dough vanilla ice cream drowned in whipped cream and chocolate syrup.

“What’s up?” James asked me. I didn’t even look at him. I just kept stuffing my face with ice cream.

“Hey Lisa, What’s going on?” he questioned.

“I saw you. I saw you with that man.” I responded in a harsh whisper. His eyes shot wide like he had just seen a ghost. Abruptly, he drew closer to me and lowered his face close to mine.

“You can’t tell anybody,” he whispered. He was so scared. I felt so bad for him because if kids at school found out he was a gay his life would be over. They will beat him up or worse.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked James.

“I was going to tell you but I needed to be sure….” His voice wandered off.  He then told me how he had been dating the man I saw him with for five years now and that he thought he was the one.

“Five years, James, Five?!” I screamed. “Where did you meet this guy?” I asked. James went on to tell me that they met at this gay club downtown when he was 14 years old.

“His name is Mark,” James said to me. “I love him, Lisa. Dad can never know about this. He will freak especially when he finds out that I’m dating his protégé.”

“Mark!” I screamed. “You’re dating Mark Beyer?!” Mark Beyer was our father’s main man at the clinic. Mark was father’s assistant. There would be blood if dad found at Mark was sticking it to his son. James and I didn’t speak for a while. We just sat there on my bed. Then out of nowhere James grabbed my arm and said, “We’re getting married, Lisa.”  I fainted.

 

 

Short Story 4: Beauty of the Breakdown

officeromanceBeauty of the Breakdown

 

I fall once again on my already bruised knees. “Why do you cry?” he asks me with his hazel eyes piercing into my eyes. I try not to seem bitter when I respond to his facetious remark. “I’m alright, bloody hell-I’m a mess,” I say with a smile on my face.  He didn’t seem to hear what I said and just walked away. How could he deny me so vehemently? I wonder. I got tired of fighting the tears and left myself be unrestrained.  Somehow, I thought I would completely fall apart or even actually go insane but it was genuinely peaceful. 

It is hard for me to let go of things or people. I’m still yearning for that connection that we lost a long time ago. He found somebody new and parades her around the office like the lead monkey in a circus. Many people advised me that it was foolish to fall for a guy at work, but as the rebel that I am-I did not listen to the warnings. When it blew in my face there was nobody to put out the fire in my heart. I acted like I didn’t care that he cheated on me with a younger woman. Nevertheless, everyone knew I was going to break sooner or later. They wondered. They stalked me with their eyes and haunted me in the bathroom. It was longer than I thought. Months passed and still I kept up appearances.

My roommate Stacy would liquor me up every night. “Drink up baby now-numb the pain,” she would tell me. I would adhere to her request and drink shot after shot of tequila. After getting wasted, I would jump in the pool and think what a tragedy my life was. These mess-ups keep happening like I don’t know what I’m doing. Sixteen years of dating and I have nothing to show for it. Have I not learned anything?! Am I not worthy of love? The pain he caused ran deep like a knife through my skin. I wished I could carve out my heart so it wouldn’t hurt me no more.

One day at the beach, I lay in the sand contemplating my assassination by way of drowning at sea. Obviously, I wasn’t going to go through with it. Suddenly, an epiphany, my realization was vivid. Everything that I had been holding in since that horrific day came out my mouth in screams. I screamed so much that I literally lost my voice and then it started to rain. After the rain stopped, the sun came out and I looked to the sky to see a newly formed rainbow. I hadn’t seen a rainbow in such a long time. It was magnificent. I had to comply with its beauty. I was so afraid of my feelings but that day I learned that there is a beauty in a breakdown.

Hello world and Welcome to the Daily Tales Of Minerva Rapter!

Short story 1: Loveless in New Jersey
People come. People go. I’ve come to make up excuses for the lack of a social life. Some people may categorize me as being just shy. I’m not really shy. I am perfectly able to articulate and express my thoughts. However, sometimes I just get these severe panic attacks or get really excited for no apparent reason. It just gets so awkward and frustrating when I get that way. I hate to blush so I get all mad when I think a guy is cute because I can’t and don’t take rejection well. Then, of course, this pet peeve of mine backfires and then guys think I’m mean.

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High school was a nightmare but I guess thousands maybe millions of people will agree with my sentiments. I never felt like I belonged because I was so different. I didn’t have money to keep up with the latest trends, so obviously I wasn’t “cool.” I had acquaintances not friends. Guys didn’t find me attractive and reminded me of it every day. They called me “ugly, monster, monkey, he-she”, and many other cruel names. I’ve always been insecure though. All the guys I’ve ever liked since my first crush in 4th grade have rejected me. Sad, right? I’m 21 and never been on a date or had a boyfriend. Infinite humiliation, pain, and anger that weighs my heart down like an elephant on a string. I can blame it on my father who never let me hang out with boys; hence my inability to interact with them and understand them. I can blame myself for letting myself be influenced by his ignorance.
I should have, I would have, I could have but I never did anything. I let myself be socially oppressed by the ignorant beliefs of my father. I don’t even talk to my father; he’s a stranger to me. I know that he was just trying to be a good father and keep me out of trouble, but the consequences of his strict discipline emotionally scarred me. I don’t let anybody in because I’ve been hurt too many times. I have no real good friends so I have to hang out with my sixteen year old sister. How pathetic?! I cry about it all the time. Many times I have contemplated suicide only to realize my own cowardice. I haven’t changed much since becoming a young adult; I think I’ve gotten more unfavorable.
I get mad at myself for liking a guy because the fear of humiliation and rejection torments me. There are contacts on my phone but they rarely call me. I’m the fool always calling hoping for an invitation to party, movies, something… People come and go out our lives everyday. Some we cherish, others we forget, and some just linger. Many people have come and gone out my life and I have yet to cherish one. Loveless in New Jersey-that’s my headline. I got troubled thoughts and the low self-esteem to match. What a catch.

Lies in my head

Short Story 3: Lies in My head

I am sorry. I have been regretful for the most part of my life. Constantly dreading what tomorrow will bring because I don’t know what’s going to happen. Sometimes I feel like my life is a reception of lies where the truth seems to lay hidden in maze. I can’t seem to find my way back to that time when I knew who I was. Nevertheless, I got to hither and yon in search for an answer to my many questions.

My insecurities keep me perplexed and oppressed while I stare at myself in the mirror. I ponder why I haven’t met the right guy. Why can’t I be the beautiful one instead of the hot girl’s friend? I just want to be in love with somebody. People tell me to be myself and I’ll find somebody, but I’m 21 and never been on date, never been kissed, and never had a boyfriend. In my head, the word, ugly, swarms my mind causing my heart to explode with pain. The tears run down my face like waterfalls and I fall to my knees like in a dramatic scene in a love flick. I’m not a drinker but when I get like this the two Bacardi Mojito wine coolers sit nicely in my stomach, warm.lies
Passed out in my bed, I wake up to the sound of pots in the kitchen. Mother must be making dinner about now. This depression has me confined to filthy clothes, messy dry hair, and ghastly breath. I spend most of my time in my head rambling on about the many things that are wrong with my life. I seriously need to get out of my head! I get these sick thoughts in my mind like thinking somebody is monitoring my every move so that they could manipulate me. I am crazy, right?! Late at night, when hormones are at their climax I fantasize about an unidentified man in my head. In my dreams, I dance with the devil and drink with the demons. They tell me, “just be pretty but naïve and anything you hear is what you believe.”

Black circles around my eyes because I can no longer sleep. My mind keeps haunting me with the lies that keep me a prisoner in the unknown. I grind my teeth and try to fight this corruption with a twist of my tongue, I challenge my mind. I find myself again looking at myself in the mirror but I don’t recognize the person looking back at me. It’s the coming before the storm and death lies in my bed undressed and says, “Just be pretty but naïve and anything you hear is what you believe.” So begrudgingly, I succumb to the lies in my head.

The Perfect Happy Family

hpShort Story 2: The Perfect Happy Family

People in my town assume that we are this perfect happy family because my father is this big shot doctor who married a supermodel and had two beautiful, popular, and smart children. However, things are never what they seem. We might be the “Joneses” but we are definitely not this perfect happy family.
Father may be this successful doctor who’s married to a former supermodel, but at night he dresses like a woman and smokes pot. Mother is a former supermodel who walked the catwalks of France, London, Italy, and New York. She also graced the cover of numerous fashion magazines. Now she cheats on her husband with various men from our neighborhood, which can be presumed to be also married. My brother, the popular football captain, is secretly a homosexual. He sneaks out to gay clubs on Friday nights to have sex with other men and also do drugs. He can never tell my parents because they will disown him and kick him out. If people knew what he was; his life would be over. I’m the normal one, I suppose. I mean I have my secrets but nothing overly-dramatic.
I know my family’s secrets but they are oblivious to each other. They keep up appearances, as do I, because we can’t afford to unveil our disguise. Smiles pasted on our faces like dummies we greet the neighbors and share neighborhood gossip. We buy and stay up with the latest trends. We drive expensive cars, use high-tech phones, and wear designer clothes. Nevertheless, behind closed doors each of us falls into our own darkness. My parents haven’t slept in the same room since I was 9. I’m 17 now.
Come Christmas time, we will throw our annual Christmas party with all its glamour. Father will joke around with the other suburban fathers; while planning to borrow my mother’s Manolo Blahniks for tonight’s rendezvous. Mother would be gossiping to the other suburban housewives about the latest neighborhood scandal; while contemplating whose husband she would have sex with tonight. My brother would be making out with an unidentified man in his room and nobody would know. That is if no one yet again wants to praise him for winning the championship game. A picture will be taken of us together with our pasted dummy smiles while the other families envy my “perfect happy family.” The camera man aims and we say, “Cheese!”