Posted in Books & Stories

Lost Thoughts — Volume Two: Listen

As I walked through the gates of hell I could hear nothing but their voices. I was alone, completely alone. There was not a soul in sight, neither living or dead, not even a bird that flew overheard, nothing. Everything in the world appeared to be at a standstill, including the last grip I had on my sanity and my humanity. When I stopped walking everything went quiet, but the moment I made a move I could hear their voices again. I knew could not turn back, there’s never any turning back when you’re being thrusted forward by something greater than you. I kept walking the railroad and their millions of voices only kept whispering, wailing and singing with every step I took.

I put my hands over my ears to block out the torturous sound but it changed nothing. They were still talking just as much and I still couldn’t make out what they were saying. What were they trying to tell me? I did not speak Polish, Hebrew, Italian or any of the other languages spoken by the departed soul and even if I had, there were too many of them for me to understand a word being spoken. Maybe they were simply speaking gibberish, the language of the dead, one that the living could not comprehend. But they weren’t just talking to each other, they were talking to me.

The overbearing sadness of the place lingered in the air and long after it had been deserted. I kept on walking in steady steps under the grey sky along the railroad as I felt the rumble of the train coming from behind me. I tried to step off the railroad but I couldn’t, I could only walk faster but the faster I went the louder their voices got and I could not bear to hear them anymore. Although I could not make out what they were saying, having to hear it drained the very essence of my soul. As much as I walked I never seemed to get closer and I only grew weary instead.

“Stop!” I shouted back at the voices of the dead, “Just please stop!”

Their bodies were gone but their souls and voices remained. I was surrounded by barbwire fences and watch towers no matter where I looked and the building complexes never seemed to get closer. My heartbeat caught the rhythm of the approaching train and I fell to my knees in exhaustion, desperation and fear.

“Stop! Be quiet!” I begged the never- ceasing voices of the departed souls, “Please be quiet!”

It was useless to attempt to block my ears because it changed absolutely nothing. The ground underneath me was warm but the metal rails were cool. I latched on to them in an attempt to propel myself forward and reach the end of the railroad before the train caught up to me. Surely if it did, I would join the millions of voices speaking all around me. Their sound drained me and it became an ever-increasing struggle to keep moving forward. I grabbed on to the wooden planks below me, digging my fingers into the dirt and gravel along the way, and crawled forward.

“I’m begging you! Please be quiet!” I kept on shouting back at them.

The static noise only kept on getting louder and louder as I went. They didn’t want to be ignored; they wanted my attention.

“Silence!” I cried out, “Silence!”

I could no longer lift my head up as I crawled relentlessly so I closed my eyes and tried to detach myself from the noise. Eventually I came to a halt in front of a pair of jackboots. I touched their smooth leather with my tired and used up hands and let my head flop over the other one. I had made it away from the train, I thought, but the voices were still after me. They destroyed me and I wanted them to stop. My heartbeat slowed down and I looked up at the man in the jackboots, it was Rudolf. Never in the history of the existence of the human soul did I imagine ever being relieved, or even thankful, to see such a man in front of me.

I did not know why he appeared to be alive like me amidst the realm of the dead but he also did not appear to be shaken or tormented by the voices. How could he not be after what he had done to them, and even remorsefully begged for forgiveness for his actions? Surely since he was the person in command the souls would be quiet if I asked him to make them stop.

“Please Rudolf! Make them stop!” I pleaded.

I begged him on my hands and knees to please make them stop at last until he bent down, grabbed me by the shoulders and jerked me up to my feet in one swift and effortless motion. I had no energy left in me to fight but I wanted him to make them stop! Just stop! He grabbed my wrists as I raised up my arms and yanked me closer to him so I could look deep into his dark and empty eyes.

“No, let them sing,” he said, completely undisturbed by their tormenting voices and at absolute peace with himself, “I’ve already silenced them once and if you do it a second time you deserve the same fate as me.”

And then I woke up.

The breath came back into me forcefully and my eyes flicked open instantaneously. My heart was erratically beating in such a way that I honestly thought it was going to literally thought it was going to explode out of my chest. I placed my hand over my chest just to remind myself that I was indeed still alive, that my soul had returned to my body after my deep slumber, and to hopefully ease a few of the chest pains. I was covered in sweat to the point that I felt like I had just stepped out of the shower, except that I wasn’t clean. So much for taking a shower before falling asleep on the sofa the previous night!

Calm down, calm down, calm down. It was much easier said than done after something like that. That hadn’t been just a dream. Things had went way beyond that. I had went somewhere, literally went somewhere. Everything was so vivid and so real, there was no way that had been just a dream. I let my head flop back on the armrest of the couch and did deep breathing exercises so I wouldn’t have to take anxiety medication. I dreamed often, constantly really, but not like that. That had been much more than just a dream. But what exactly had gone on? What the hell had just happened?! It was as though my soul had transcended time and space.

I had probably been fidgeting around violently in my sleep for quite some time because my cat who always slept with me was on the floor not far away with her backed arched and the hair standing straight all over her body. How long had it taken for me to calm down? I didn’t know. I had not slept very well because of what happened and my body felt sore the moment I tried to move. I eventually found the courage to get up and take a shower to cleanse myself from whatever my soul had done while my body was sleeping. I even skipped class that morning and went straight to a scholar that could interpret dreams for help with putting my mind at ease because what had happened was not easily explained.

That wasn’t just your average dream with a superficial meaning. I hadn’t gotten drunk, taken any medication or anything else that could’ve impaired my state of mind last night. I wasn’t feeling ill. I hadn’t done anything, watched anything or thought of anything even remotely similar to what I’d experienced during my slumber. I had gone somewhere, my soul had gone somewhere while I was asleep. I was always taught that during the night God takes our souls and returns them once we awake those whom He wills and keeps those whom He wills. But what exactly had happened? What did all of it mean? What did it have to do with me?

I had never experienced anything like that before and I couldn’t easily shake it off. No, it was too intense for me to just let it go. There was no letting it go even if I had wanted to and honestly, if it had been just up to me, I would’ve loved to simply have forgotten about it. Go away, please be quiet! But no, I did not want to die the same way Rudolf did. Had I really seen him?

“The image of Rudolf is a very significant symbol for you Leila,” the scholar told me, “what he told you about himself is the same as what he wants you to know about yourself.”

“What?” I asked, completely confused and dumbfounded.

That is your interpretation of my dream?

The scholar did not answer and I knew then that our session together was over. Even after all the crying, my recounting in painfully clear details what I’d seen, how I’d even smelled and tasted the grime that clung to everything, and my shaking hands that one sentence was all I got for an interpretation. I went to school for my afternoon classes more confused than anything. What the scholar had told me only further puzzled me the more I thought about it.

No, let them sing, I’ve already silenced them once and if you do it a second time you deserve the same fate as me.

What did that mean? What had I ever done to deserve such a fate? I had done just the opposite in fact! Contrary to him I cared about people! Even strangers! I was pursuing a degree in human rights and I was on my way to helping the oppressed at the level of the law! I was the exact opposite of him! I would personally help insure that people would never have to go through the atrocities he helped carry out ever again. How did what he told me about himself have anything to do with my own life? I could not be farther from him in every possible way.

“Leila, are you listening?” Prof. Gusak asked from across the room.

“Yes sir,” I mumbled in a low voice, obviously still distracted.

I yanked my scarf over my head closer to my face and tried to focus on the lecture but I couldn’t. My mind kept going back to my dream night and day. I analyzed every single aspect of my existence in constant futile attempts to decipher what Rudolf had told me, or tried to tell me because I didn’t understand the meaning of the dream no matter which way I put it. What haunted me the most was how realistic and vivid it had been. I couldn’t get over it. It dominated every aspect of my waking life, my every moment spent alert was spent thinking about that. I couldn’t shake it off, the chills still clung to my skin. I still heard his voice, their voices, even the room was dead silent.

The image of Rudolf is a very significant symbol for you Leila, what he told you about himself is the same as what he wants you to know about yourself.

And what could that possibly be? I’d been over that a million times! We were nothing alike! Not in the slightest way! So what was it that he wanted me to know so much?!

Rudolf’s words and the scholar’s words didn’t fit together no matter which angle I tried. The only lead I could pick up on was literally silence. I’d always known that silent and listen were spelled with the same letters and really, you couldn’t have one without the other. I thought that maybe he was now being tormented in the grave because he hadn’t listened and he had silenced others but no, that thought didn’t go very far, he appeared completely at peace. I was the one who had been tormented, but why? What did this have to do with me? What was there more to say? Everything had already been said. My two cents was like a drop of water in an endless sea.

Or so I thought. But apparently others thought otherwise. I thought of going to see the scholar again but decided against it. I knew that he’d said all that he had to say and that if I pressed harder I would only get another cryptic message that would only serve to confuse me even more. Maybe it would’ve been easier to forget but my mind wouldn’t let me do that. Never forget, was that the message of the dream?

No, that didn’t fit. How could someone, anyone, forget something of that magnitude. The world couldn’t forget even if it tried. That would’ve been too easy for an explanation of such a deep dream. Attempting to dream again was to no avail either. I saw nothing but darkness, heard nothing but silence. I knew that it had something to do with silence but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. If the sound of their voices wasn’t haunting enough, the sound of silence was also deeply, if not equally, tormenting to hear.

I kept going round and round inside my head when it came to my dream. My mind only danced in circles, especially at night when I was left to lie down in my bed all alone in the darkness with nothing but my thoughts. Why did something that ought to have been so simple affect me so much? Why did it have to be so complicated? Why couldn’t he have just told me in simple normal people words?! At least that way I might’ve been able to do something about it instead of just sitting around and wearing myself out over it!

Leila, are you listening?

To make matters worst I’d become an insomniac because my mind was always spinning restlessly around the same words. Silent. Listen. Listen to the silence? No, that was just dumb. Finally I got angry and frustrated and decided that I needed some air so I went outside onto my balcony and walked into a star-filled sky. It was only me and the angels out there with a refreshing and cool breeze gliding smoothly through the trees in the distance. I looked up a the constellations silently asking if they would reveal to me the mysteries of life but it was always a one-way conversation between us.

“What is it that you want?!” I shouted into the empty night sky, “Just tell me once and for all so I can finally put this to rest! I’m listening!”

That’s when it occurred to me that Rudolf never wanted me to neither speak nor remain silent, he only wanted me to listen.

Advertisements
Posted in Books & Stories, Reblogged Posts

Lost Thoughts — Volume Two: Renegades

I woke up one morning feeling different. I just knew that something was out of the ordinary. I closed my tired eyes again and took a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. The smell of sweat lingered in the air of the dark room I was in. The only thing I could hear was the silence. It was just going to be another bad day, I was going to have to face that, that’s all. I exhaled loudly, a little louder than I should’ve, before rubbing my tired eyes and getting up. I wasn’t ready to face the day, I didn’t really want to. The first problem I encountered was that I woke up in someone else’s room. I needed to go to the bathroom too much to look around it so I ran out down the hallway in hopes to find the toilet before I did it in my ugly ripped jeans. They were dirty, and they weren’t mine either.

In the bathroom I came face to face with a problem much bigger than having to pee. As soon as I walked in I came face to face with my reflection in the mirror and I noticed that something had changed. But not just a little something, everything had changed! That person in the mirror wasn’t me! I had been a short, red-haired and green-eyed girl but that guy in the mirror wasn’t. I touched my face just to make sure that crap was indeed real, that that was indeed me, and sure enough it was. It wasn’t all just some weird nightmare. The person I now saw looking back at me in the mirror was a tall young man with long brown hair, dark brown eyes and tattoos. Lots of tattoos. I had a big problem on my hands.

I pulled down my pants and sat on the toilet even though I no longer had to in order to urinate. I was freaking out inside of my own skin, or at least someone’s skin! After I finished my business and I stuck my face in the mirror again. Long flawless face, neat eyebrows, a crooked lip ring on the right side, clean shaven and a huge neck tattoo in a language I didn’t speak. I was a guy, I was literally a guy. My first instinct was to slap myself to wake up from a horrific nightmares but much to my displeasure it wasn’t even a dream. It was reality. So being a guy wasn’t what was horrible, what was horrible was that I didn’t know who the guy was, or who he was supposed to be. Panicking, I stomped out of the room and into the living room where I found a guy sleeping on the couch and another one watching TV. I had no idea what the hell was happening and much less who those people were and what they were doing in my house. I thought it was my house at least?

“Hey Jizz, you alright man?” the guy watching TV asked me, “You look pretty puzzled.”

Jizz?! What the hell was Jizz supposed to stand for?!

“Eh, yeah… I just feel, sort of, odd today,” I muttered out unsure of everything.

He was a short, blue-eyed creepy-looking bald guy wearing a tuxedo. He had the palest skin I had ever seen and a big evil grin on his lips stretching from almost ear-to-ear. He seemed to know me, or at least he knew Jizz.

“You know, you got pretty shaken up in the car accident last night,” he went on, “are you sure you don’t want to go see a doctor?”

A doctor, how convenient! Jizz’s voice — my voice — was low and scratchy. I would’ve given my new body just over twenty years or so, and the voice matched up with the one of most young men in that age group.

“No, I’m fine,” I lied.
 I was far from being fine.

“Alright man.”

The other dude on the couch subsequently got up after he heard us speaking loudly. I must’ve had a blank expression on my face since he didn’t look impressed. That guy had messy burgundy dreads, bright green eyes, more tattoos than I did, and probably too many piercings for his round little face. He looked like he could’ve been a model but sex, drugs and rock and roll had messed him up pretty bad. He rubbed his tired, bloodshot eyes before yawning with his mouth wide open like a cat would. The inside of his mouth revealed most of his teeth rotted away by drug use and a tongue piercing that looked like it was about to fall out.

I simply stood there and stared around the filthy room in front of me until I heard someone pounding on the door. I wasn’t able to react right away. The mess in front of me was too much to swallow at once. That place was a dump to the finest degree. How could anyone live in filth like that?! Even pigs had a higher standard of living than that! It looked like I was the person in charge of the place so I went to open the door since the pounding didn’t stop even after a few moments. Some cute blonde girl pushed me out of the way as I reluctantly opened the door and stomped right in. She immediately started yelling at the guy with the dreads but I was too distraught to listen to what she was trying to get through his head. I couldn’t help but fiendishly smile as she slapped him in the face though. After she was done she just walked out empty-handed like nothing had ever happened.

The dude seemed unfazed, even still in a daze. The creepy tux guy smiled creepily from the side of his face too but didn’t speak. My first instinct had been to laugh but I couldn’t quite get it out of my mind that I still had a whole life to figure out.

I slowly walked to the middle of the landfill-like room called my living room looking down at the roaches crawling on the dirty floor. I then stopped and faced the two guys in front of me and took a deep breath.

“What exactly happened last night?” I asked honestly, somewhat afraid of what the answer was going to be.

“You put my tape recorder in the microwave you son of a bitch!” yet another guy yelled out from behind me.

I turned in a jiffy to look at him. He was a skinny, short brown-haired guy with a menacing frown sweeping over his face. His dark brown eyes fiercely looking in my direction almost like he wanted me to evaporate in his gaze.

“You were in a car crash with that drug dealer guy last night, you escaped unharmed but he got taken to hospital and he got arrested,” the guy with the burgundy hair sheepishly answered my question in his soft voice, “you know they tied him to his bed and shit.”

Oh wonderful, now I do drugs.

“Oh,” I muttered, not knowing how else I was supposed to react.

I figured I was in much deeper than I originally thought. I went back into the room I assumed was mine and sat down at the desk in the corner of the room near a dirty little window that I could barely see out of since it hadn’t been cleaned in so long. I picked up a little book lying in the center of the desk on top of a pile of other junk. It was Jizz’s diary. I figured that might answer a couple of things, about Jizz at least, because how I went from being a woman to some young man overnight while I was sleeping could not be explained with even the best of science.

I took a glance at the clock at the same time too. It was eleven in the morning and it was raining outside. I had no idea where I was; not the street, not the city, not the country, and not which galaxy for that matter. As I read the diary I found out that Jizz — I — was a journalist and that the place I was currently in was California, although Miriam, who I really was inside, was from Idaho. I had a band called The Sexy Killer Barbies in which I was the singer. I also found out that I was addicted to drugs, had a bad girlfriend, and had no life.

There was a guy in my band who played bass, his name was Brady and he was my best friend. But he was also a junkie and I didn’t want him in the band anymore. Then there was Craig, the guitarist whom we all hated. There was one last guy named Allan but we all called him Pogo over his love for the nasty corn dogs of the same name. I didn’t quite know what piece of the band he was supposed to be since all he did was play with kids toys and Silly Putty onstage.

We had a Value Village drum machine instead of a real drummer and we had a real important show coming up on July 4th, 1990 out of town. I didn’t know when that was supposed to be because when I’d gone to sleep the night before it had been January 29th, 2010. So I had a show to sing at sometime, but I had no idea what the hell our music was about! I’d never even heard it! I quickly ran out of the room to go see the others.

“What day is it today?” I asked, somewhat afraid of what the answer was going to be.
 “Saturday July 4th, 1990,” the guy with brown hair who accused me of destroying his tape recorder replied apathetically, “but we don’t have to perform if you don’t feel well.”

“No, I just have,” I stumbled with my words, “no, I’m fine.”

I went back into my bedroom which was just as dirty as the living room with what looked like vomit near the closet door that had fallen off the hinges. I turned the place literally upside down but finally managed to dig up some lyrics and a bunch of other band-related junk. In my panic I didn’t know what I was doing. Why in the world did I agree to perform?! But it was too late to back down. I was going to do it. I’d have to do something. Amongst the rubble in the room I managed to find the set list for the show so I shoved it in the pocket for my old jeans. I took a deep breath and rearranged my new long hair before going to sit calmly in the living room with the others. The black leather couch looked infested with mold but it was cleaner than the floor so I flopped onto it. Before anyone could speak or even move there was another knock on the door. The dude with the burgundy hair got up to answer it as if he as expecting someone.

“You owe me $200 Brady!” the guy on the other side of the door yelled loudly and angrily.

So now I knew that burgundy-haired boy was Brady. I had found some money in my gross room so I decided to run and get it and give it to the guy demanding it since according to my diary Brady was my best friend. The guy at the door literally ripped the money right out of my hands and left giving all of us dirty looks as he did so.

“Thanks man,” Brady told me, looking relieved. “No problem, I replied, “you’re my best friend, no?”

He smiled as he walked away to pick up his bass in the corner of the living room and started playing. The guy who accused me of destroying his tape recorder picked up the guitar and joined in. I figured that was Craig and the bald tux guy was Pogo. At least I now had identities for the guys in my house and in my band. As they started jamming in the living room I went back into my room to listen to some demo tapes we had recorded, probably on that infamous tape recorder I had destroyed, and listened to the awful sounds coming out of the headphones over and over again. My band was terrible! We only had ten songs so far so I figured I wouldn’t have too much of a time performing them. That was the first piece of good news I had heard all day.

After multiple hours of listening to that ruckus through the headphones I went into the kitchen to make myself some food — Miriam was an excellent cook but I couldn’t comment on Jizz — but as I opened the fridge I saw that it was mostly empty, apart from a couple of beer bottles and multiple plastic containers filled with rotten cheese like somebody had a fetish for such disgust.

“Since when do you eat?” Brady asked laughing as he joined me in the roach-infested kitchen after he finished jamming with the other boys.
 “Well everybody eats,” I replied, not knowing if it was supposed to be funny or not.

“Drug addicts don’t eat,” he said as handed me some white powder in a little clear plastic bag, “here you go.”

That stuff must’ve been cocaine, yuck. I politely accepted the dope, even thanked the idiot for it, and retreated to my room once again. I searched through the closet to find some clean clothes to wear, or at least cleaner than the pants I had on. I had no underwear, mismatched socks and no shirt. I’d recently gotten a new chest tattoo since it still hurt quite a bit. I found a decently clean black shirt so I put it on and swapped my pants for some orange pants that looked like prison suit pants but they were clean so I didn’t hesitate to put them on. I didn’t care what I looked like. Considering the kind of hell my poor house had been through over an indefinite period of time, the clothes I had on my back were the least of my concerns.

Lastly I put on a black and white classic Adidas jacket and just barged out the front door and walked down the street in the pouring rain. I had to remind myself not to venture out too far because I didn’t know where I was going and in the year 1990 I didn’t have an iPhone with a GPS in case I lost my ass somewhere in a big strange city. I stopped at a little random restaurant at the end of the street to dry off and to pig out all while still listening to my band’s demo tapes. In my life as Miriam I had never before seen one of those huge apparatuses that you shoved a tape into to listen to it on the go. And then when one side of the tape was over I either had to rewind it or turn it over. I couldn’t have survived on my own with all of that weird and retro technology that was like a godsend back in the day.

After I finished my extra large portion of the special of the day; a cheeseburger with fries and gravy and a drink of choice, I walked back to my little house in the middle of Waterloo Avenue. I had barely dried off and the rain sure wasn’t stopping but what the hell did I care? I tried to focus on the words on my demo tapes. I could barely hear a thing, it was all just yelling and puking noises with some more bogus banter in the background not to mention the other absurd noises that were supposed to be the melody of the tune. I was definitely discouraged that that was my band and that’s what I had to put up with. I didn’t hold it against Jizz for putting the tape recorder in the microwave just so he wouldn’t have to hear that shit anymore. I wasn’t happy about it to say the least, but I definitely wasn’t the type to back out either.

“It’s all or nothing,” I reminded myself out loud.

Once I got back home the guys had started yet another jam session but the second time around the beer had made it out of the fridge and the empty bottles were lying all over my living room. I’d never had much of a taste for beer in my actual life, but who was I kidding, I grabbed the very last bottle, chugged it down like a big man like Jizz could and joined in on the carnage. I started singing and I managed to make it through all of the songs the guys decided to play. I was just a tiny bit off but it was nothing compared to that carnage they were making.

Once the carnage was over I sat down on the smelly couch and let my head tilt back and just breathe. I glanced over at the clock again, we’d have to get ready for the snow soon. Craig said that some dude was supposed to be arriving at any moment, I figured it was the band manager or something like that that would be arriving to take us to our destination so I figured I should get ready. The other guys, whom I ultimately figured were my roommates, all got dressed in crazy makeup and outrageous outfits including some downright girl clothes at times. Not knowing any better, I imitated them.

As the afternoon went by, my new existence wasted away the seconds and the minutes. Soon it would be time to head to the venue and once again I had no clue what the hell I had to expect. All I had to bring was my megaphone since I didn’t have a real microphone for my off-key singing.

After everyone got their equipment ready in the band van, a big fat guy that I reckon was the band manager the boys were talking about drove us to the venue. It took about an hour and a half to get there. That was enough for my bandmates to get completely wasted on our way there. They all pressured me to join in the debauchery but I repeatedly refused, saying that I had a stomachache, although according to them sniffing coke was supposed to help my aches and pains.

A classic rock band opened our show and entertained the crowd of only about thirty people for half an hour. It was just past eight that night when we took the stage for our 4th of July show. Everyone booed us as we walked up there. I had so much stage fright that I felt like throwing up and somewhat even regretted not consuming drugs and getting high out of mind before winding up there in front of those people. Just before I started to sing I noticed that everyone in there were dressed like absolute freaks, and my makeup and wild hair was pale in comparison. The few actual fans of the band in the crowd had shirts of me and on those shirts I was a true freak as well. I was in a freak band in a freak world. But that wasn’t even me!

After I managed to get through our ten short songs I demanded to go straight home. Since I was the frontman and the person who kept that freak show going, they did what I told them to do. During the trip back to my place all of my guys were completely wasted so I decided to chug down a couple myself until all of my stress was washed away. I needed it. For a big chunk of the day I had been in a blank daze but all of that mixed in with the adrenaline from the show was beginning to wear off and I realized just how actually tired I really was from all that bogus crap called Jizz’s life I had to put up with during the day.

* * *

The only thing that woke me up after I dozed off on the couch amidst the increasingly creepy things crawling on my floor was the loud ring of the phone. It was right next to me on the little table so I simply reached out my arm and picked it up.

“He’s dead Jizz! He’s dead!” a female voice screamed on the other end of the line.

I had no idea what was going on and I really didn’t feel like dealing with it at God only knows what time of the night it was so I hung up.

“Who was that?” Pogo asked me.

I hadn’t noticed that he was nearby. Some sort of debauchery had gone on before I fell asleep but since I was drunk I couldn’t quire remember.

“I don’t know,” I muttered while looking at the phone before looking over at him, “and how the hell did you get into my house?”
 “We live together Jizz,” he replied blankly, “don’t you remember?”

No I didn’t. I not only had no idea what was going on and now someone had died! Someone I was supposed to know! Feeling completely lost and not knowing what to do, I simply crawled over to my bedroom, flopped over my cheap mattress on the floor of a bed and dozed off into a dreamless and peaceful sleep. An alcohol and drug-induced sleep I should also note. Such behavior seemed to have been the norm for Jizz so what the heck. There was no longer a difference between Jizz and Miriam anyway.

The next morning I woke up amazingly sore, more than I had ever been in my life. The first thing I did was look around the room. It was Miriam’s room. I quickly rushed into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. It was myself again! I let out a huge sigh of relief! Thank God! I was me again, back in my house in Idaho with my cat and my stuffed toys and my normal life and everything. Let’s just say that I was happy being myself and that I’d never complain that I didn’t love myself again.

Posted in Books & Stories

Lost Thoughts — Volume One: Sixty One Years

The rain wasn’t stopping. In fact, it only seemed to rain more and more. I hated being wet but I knew I couldn’t miss the bus so I ran outside across the street and took shelter underneath the concrete canopy of a now vacant building that used to be the bowling alley. I hadn’t noticed him at first, but there was an old man also standing in the shadows there. I minded my own business and let him be, but after a few minutes he walked up to me and started talking to me.

“Are you waiting for the bus too?” he asked in a barely audible voice.
“Yes,” I said softly, “when is the next one coming?”
“It should be less than seven minutes. One passes every twenty minutes or so.”
“I’m just a foreigner trying to find my way, all of this is new to me.”
“Don’t worry child, you’ll adapt. I promise.”
“I hope so.”

The old man looked like he was well into his eighties. He didn’t have much left on his head, but the few hairs that were still there were whiter than snow. He had dark green eyes behind those thick glasses and the pattern of a map seemed to have appeared in all the wrinkles covering his face. He didn’t seem to be bothered by the chilly weather either because he had nothing but a light jacket on while I had on multiple layers.

“You know young man, when I waited for the bus with Dima Mozdzierz it was a lot like this,” the elderly gentleman spoke after a brief moment of silence, “the two of us served in the war together, that’s where we met actually. We were friends for sixty one years afterwards.”
“What happened to him?” I asked since the old man spoke as if the friendship had ended.
“He died a month ago. We talked on the phone every single day in our old age. Our wives and are children are gone and when you’re almost ninety you have nothing better to do than to talk on the phone all day.”
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
“It’s been pretty lonely without him. When you’ve known someone for so long it leaves quite a big hole.”

The bus arriving at stop put an abrupt end to the old man’s sentence. I ran across the parking lot and waved my arm at the bus for it to stop so it didn’t drive by since there was nobody waiting for it there. It stopped and I signaled the old man who walked with a cane that he could come. There were only a few people on the bus that early in the morning so I basically could have any seat I wanted. The old man and I sat together in the front section and continued our conversation.

“I knew something was very wrong when Dima stopped calling one day,” he continued “because he called every day. No matter where he was; at home, in a hospital bed, or traveling back to his home country, he always called me.”
“At school, when I still lived in Lithuania there was a kid in my class that stopped coming one day too,” I replied in a pensive tone of voice, “I never knew him, but I never forgot him either. I was eight years old. Back then I did not understand the value of life, nor how short it really is, but it’s really sinking in now.”
“At war I’ve seen so many people I cared about be blown up, and Dima is the only one who ever really stayed.”

The two of us continued our chat until I was about to arrive at my destination. I let the driver know my stop was coming up and the old man seemed to be sad that I was going to leave.

“No matter how good or bad your life gets young man, wake up each morning and be thankful that you still have one. And quit saying that you don’t have time, you have time for what you make time for in life.”
“Thank you for the wise words sir, may I have your name please?”
“Just call me Duke, and you?”
“My name is Dima.”
“Dima! Well is seems like God finally saw that I was alone and sent a replacement!”

I smiled and looked down for a brief moment as the bus came to a halt. I didn’t want to leave the old guy, but I couldn’t be late to a job interview if I actually wanted the job.

“If I get this job Duke, I’ll be riding this bus every day.”
“Well you better impress the head honcho there Dima! I’ll be waiting for you!”
“I’ll do my best.”

I nodded my head at Duke as I stepped off the bus into a clear blue and sunny sky. I hadn’t even noticed that the rain had stopped. I waved as the bus departed again but Duke didn’t see me. I almost had second thoughts of going into that corporate office simply because I wanted to hop back on the bus for one more minute, but I knew that if I wanted to chat with Duke again I needed to get a good job, so I walked in.

* * *

Every morning as I climbed onto the bus I paid for two fairs and waited for the old man to get on at his usual stop while I saved him the seat where we first sat until then. Even on weekends when I didn’t work I climbed onto the bus anyway and the old man Duke and I rode around the city simply admiring the architecture of the historical buildings and talking about anything from the weather to some adventures from our days back in our homelands.

But one day the old man stopped coming too.

Posted in Books & Stories, Personal & Opinion

I’m On My Way To Getting Published!

Indeed, I am. I’m still incredibly early in the publishing process and I still have so much to learn and to get done before my first book comes out but we’ll be getting there soon enough! A while back I was cleaning out old files on my computer and discovered a ton of my old poetry and since I’ve wanted to publish something of my very own for an eternity I decided, why not?

It might give me the motivation and the confidence to finish up some old stories that were also discovered on my computer to also be published sometime in the future. I’m already off to a good start in getting the first draft of one together so this is definitely something I look forward to getting done and that I’m actively working on right now. Below is what the cover of the poetry book looks like so far.

InnermostBookCoverPreview.do

I gave myself a big pat on the back for creating that all by myself, albeit that I had tons of help from Canva and online tutorials. 😉 There are no words to say just how much I’ve wanted this for so long and it looks like 2018 will finally be the year in which all of my dreams (or one of them at the very least) will come true!

Stay tuned for some more updates as I make more progress. Right now I don’t actually have much of a timeline and much less of a plan so I guess we’ll just find out when we get there. This is also be a good learning tool for me when it comes to the world of publishing so hopefully everything will be as great as I imagine it!

Posted in Books & Stories, Français

Lost Thoughts — Volume One: Cereal & Schizophrenia (Original French Version)

Je me lève de mon petit lit dur et je me dirige immédiatement vers la cuisine. En passant pas la salle de bain je ramasse mes pilules pour la schizophrénie et la dépression. Je prends les deux gros contenants bleus de pilules du cabinet de médicament et je les regarde férocement. Je déteste prendre des pilules, surtout avec le déjeuner. Je serre les contenants entre mes doigts et je marche a travers du corridor où m’attend come toujours mon bol de céréales que mon oncle me prépare à tous les matins depuis les années que je vie avec lui.

Je lance les contenants de pilules sur la table noire et je vais ramasser mon fameux bol de céréales qui étaient sur le comptoir près du levier de cuisine. Habituellement, mon oncle le place sur la table mais ce matin mon bol est sur le comptoir à cotés d’une pinte de lait renversé et des céréales étendus sur le plancher. C’est aussi bizarre que mon oncle n’est pas présent pour manger avec moi ce matin. Je mort ma lèvre et je vais ramasser mon gros bol de Cheerios trop plein avant d’aller m’assoir sur la chaise de cuisine fait de bois que je déteste tant. La surface de bois dur est inconfortable et me casse toujours le dos. C’est en partie pour cette raison que je suis toujours frustré et en colère le matin.

Je regarde intensément les Cheerios qui flottent dans le lait blanc passivement sans bouger un muscle. Bizarrement, il n’y a pas aucun bruit dans la maison. Après quelques minutes de regarder les céréales je m’aperçois que les Cheerios dorés forment un genre de visage qui ressemble à mon oncle. Dégouté, je me lève brusquement et je regarde autour de la pièce. Mon oncle n’était pas dans la maison. L’inquiétude et la peur d’être seule envahi mon petit corps seulement vêtu d’une veille robe de chambre noire et blanche. J’envale ma salive et je regarde encore intensément autour de la pièce. Je marche autour de la table sur le plancher froid fait de tuiles blanche hyper luisantes en fureur pour quelques minutes avant de me rassoir sur la chaise.

Je prends une vielle fourchette sur la table et je la serre fortement entre mes mains. Je sens ma pression artérielle augmenté dans mes veines quand je deviens fâché. Il n’y a rien que je déteste plus que manger seule et avoir à regarder un dégât de lait et de céréales sur le comptoir. Je déteste vivre dans un environnement sale! Je sers ma fourchette chaude et pleine de sueur encore une fois avant de violement poignardé mes céréales. Le lait et les gros Cheerios éclaboussent partout sur la table, ce qui cause un autre dégât. Je grinche des dents et je lance ma fourchette de toutes mes forces sur le mur rougeâtre de la cuisine. Je regarde mon bol de céréales en colère en prenant une poigner de Cheerios avec ma main et les mettant dans la bouche.

J’essaye de toutes me forces de savourer les céréales mais le lait est trop chaud et les Cheerios trop mou. Avec chaque mouvement de mâchoire je deviens de plus en plus dégouté. Ces céréales ne goutent pas bonne, donc je les crache par terre. Je me calme des nerfs un peut en réalisant qu’il n’y a rien d’autre pour manger, et mon oncle n’est pas encore ici. Avec un soupir je prends les céréales une par une et les mets dans ma bouche. Elles ne goutent pas bonne mais j’ai faim donc les manges quand même.

Après avoir fini la moitié du bol et être plus ou moins encore en colère, je me lève et je vais chercher pour mon oncle. Je me dirige en direction de sa chambre mais au lieu d’arriver devant sa porte de chambre, j’arrive face à face avec un mur blanc. Un petit bruit bizarre, comme une télévision qui fonctionne mal, donc je frappe le mur et reçois un choc électrique au lieu d’avoir ma main entrer en contacte avec le mur. Stupéfaite, je regarde ma main surprise et horrifié. Ma petite main blanche est encore intacte. Je regarde ensuite le mur avec des gros yeux plein de colère. Je ne sais pas si mes yeux me jouent des tours mais le mur semble bouger maintenant.

Je cours de l’autre coté du corridor jusqu’à la cuisine et je ramasse mon gros bol de céréales jaune et vert encore à moitié plein. Les Cheerios entres les mains, je lance le bol contre le mur bizarre et il commence à fondre devant mes gros yeux bleus horrifié. Le mur révèle un genre de projection holographique dans laquelle je peux voir mon oncle me préparer mon bol de céréales plus tôt ce matin. Il dépose le bol plein de Cheerios sur le comptoir pour y ajouté du lait quand une grosse chose noir sort du bol et aspire mon oncle. Je ne remarque pas si la projection continue de roulé mais de toute façon de dois trouver une façon de ramener mon oncle dans ce monde!

Je me dirige vers la cuisine mais j’arrête brusquement au milieu du corridor. Je regarde derrière moi et j’aperçois le bol de céréales par terre près du mur blanc. C’est à ce moment que je réalise que j’ai mangé mon oncle! Je me précipite a tout bout de champ prendre le bol et récupéré le plus de céréales possible mais la plupart ont été mangé et les autres on fondue avec le mur. En remettant chaque petit morceau de Cheerios à moitié manger dans le bol, la chose noir sort et se retransforme en mon oncle, mais il n’y avait pas de tête!

Je me précipite tout de suite cherché la boite de Cheerios et la pinte de lait renversé. J’en mets dans le bol mais rien ne se passe. Je commence à pleurer dans le bol quand je le prends entre mes mains et je le place sur le comptoir où mon oncle l’a mit ce matin. À ce moment la chose noire mystérieuse ressort du bol et m’aspire à mon tour.

Posted in Books & Stories

Lost Thoughts — Volume One: Cereal & Schizophrenia (English Version)

I get up out of my little hard bed and immediately go into the kitchen. Passing by the bathroom I pick up my pills to treat schizophrenia and depression. I take the two big blue containers from the medicine cabinet and look at them menacingly. I hate taking pills, especially with my breakfast! I squeeze the containers in between my fingers and walk to the end of the hallway where my usual bowl of cereal is waiting for me that my uncle lovingly prepares for me each morning ever since I’ve been living with him.

I shove the pill containers on the black table and go pick up my infamous bowl of cereal next to the kitchen sink. Usually my uncle places it on the table but this morning my bowl is on the counter next to a pint of milk tipped over and spilling onto the floor with cereal all over the place. It’s also odd that my uncle is not present to eat with me this morning. I bite my bottom lip and head over to grab my big bowl of Cheerios that is way too full before sitting down on the wooden chair that I hate so much. The wood surface is too hard and uncomfortable and is constantly breaking my back. That’s part of the reason why I’m always angry and frustrated in the morning.

I intensely look at my Cheerios floating around passively in the white milk without moving a muscle. Oddly, there isn’t a single sound in the entire house. After a few minutes of looking at my cereal I notice that the golden Cheerios are forming some kind of face that looks like my uncle’s. Disgusted, I abruptly get up and look around the room. My uncle wasn’t in the house. The fear and anxiety of being alone overcomes my little body only covered in an old black and white bathrobe. I swallow hard and look intensely around the room one more time. I walk around the table on the cold floor made of incredibly shiny white tiles in a fury for a few minutes before sitting back down on the chair.

I take an old fork from the table and forcefully squeeze it in my hands. I feel my blood pressure rise when I get angry. There is nothing that I hate more than eating alone and having to look at a mess of milk and cereal on the counter and the floor. I hate living in a dirty environment! I squeeze the hot and sweaty fork one last time before violently stabbing my cereal. The milk and the big Cheerios splash everywhere, subsequently making another mess. I cringe and throw the fork at the reddish wall of the kitchen with all of my might. I angrily look at my bowl of cereal while grabbing a handful of Cheerios with my fingers and shoving them in my mouth.

I try to savor the cereal with every fiber in my body but the milk is too hot and the Cheerios are too mushy. With each chew I become more and more disgusted. These cereals do not taste good, so I spit them onto the floor. I calm down a little realizing that there is nothing else to eat and my uncle still hasn’t arrived. With a sigh I grab the cereal and put them in my mouth one by one. They don’t taste good, but I’m hungry so I eat them anyway.

After finishing the bowl and still being more or less angry, I get up and go look for my uncle. I walk towards his room but instead of finding his bedroom door, I come face to face with a white wall. There is a slight bizarre sound, like a broken TV, so I hit the wall and get an electric shock after my hand hit the wall. Stupefied, I look at my hand in surprise and horror. My little white hand is still intact. I then look at the wall with big eyes full of rage. I don’t know if my eyes are playing tricks on my but the wall seems to be moving now.

I run to the other side of the hallway all the way to the kitchen and I grab my big yellow and green bowl of cereal, still half-full. With the Cheerios in my hands, I throw the bowl at the weird wall and in starts to melt right in front of my horrified big blue eyes. The wall reveals some sort of holographic projections on which I can see my uncle preparing me my bowl of cereal early this morning. He puts down my bowl of Cheerios on the kitchen counter to pour in some milk when a big black thing comes out of the bowl and vacuums him up. I don’t notice is the projection keeps rolling but either way I need to find a way to bring my uncle back into this world!

I walk towards the kitchen but I stop abruptly in the middle of the hallway. I look behind me and notice the bowl of cereal on the floor next to the white wall. In that moment I realize that I had just eaten my uncle! I quickly make my way to the bowl and I pick up as many pieces of cereal as I can but most of them had already been eaten or melted in the wall. As I put each little piece of half-eaten Cheerios into the bow, the black thing comes out of it and retransforms itself into my uncle, but he didn’t have a head!

I quickly grab the box of Cheerios and the spilled pint of milk. I start putting some into the bowl but nothing happens. I start crying into the bowl as I take it into my hands and place it on the counter where my uncle had put it this morning. In that moment the mysterious black thing comes back out of the bowl and vacuums me up as well.

Posted in Books & Stories

Lost Thoughts — Volume Four: Keepers of Me

Keepers are said to be departed souls who return to the metaphysical world to provide guidance for fellow humans. Keepers are not guardian angels; they have not ascended into heaven. Keepers are souls who have once been human, whether it was 1000 years ago or yesterday. The legend says that keepers can come in many forms; a faint presence, a glowing orb, or even in the form of a human being with flesh and bones. Not much is known about Keepers apart from ancient legends written thousands of years ago. It is said that every human has a keeper, but many are unaware as keepers manifest themselves in various different ways.

The legend says that keepers come back to Earth to guide us but are able to retreat to their vortex beyond this universe since their souls are free. Since the atomic energy that composes their souls can vibrate at two places at one time, they are free to come and go as they please. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, and our human bodies are nothing but a transition phase for the soul; we come from nothing and we are nothing when we die. But not all souls become keepers, nobody knows why some are somehow selected to return to Earth, but for some reason they do. Keepers keep many secrets and are a mystery to earthly beings, but they only feed off two things; love and truth.

I was lying on my bed crying, with only the street light down below illuminating parts of my room in the dark night. The street lights generated enough light for me to clearly see the fresh wounds on my arm and the bloody razor blade on my night table next to my bed. As tears escape my ears everything became a blur of faint colors as the dim light could not penetrate through the tears. My body ached with stress and despair, my mind felt like a bomb about to blow and my heart was crying out for help. I wished that the sheets could just have suffocated me in my wake. My whole world seemed like it was coming down, crashing hard as it hit the ground. My soul shattered under the fire of pain and the absence of momentary hope.

Each vertebrate in my spin seemed to throb, begging my mind to cease the pain and my heart seemed to shake my entire core. The cuts on my arm burned as the blood coagulated and sealed my skin together again. I thought it would’ve helped me forget the emotional pain but it didn’t; my whole body was declaring a state of emergency. One by one all my hopes had vanished just the same. My erratic breathing seemed to slow as my mind gradually shut down. I felt like my pain resonated throughout the entire universe, maybe it did.

I let out a sigh of relief as my tense body seemed to relax. It was almost like a hand touched my every aching bone and filled it with the essence of serenity. I couldn’t move onto my back, but I felt a presence behind me. As my mind became more aware of my surroundings I realized that something was indeed touching me, it wasn’t just in my head. But I wasn’t afraid, I felt a sense of calm and pure bliss sweep over me. I eventually managed to sit up in my bed and look at what was behind me. A young man about my age was sitting there right next to me with one hand on my shoulder, easing up the tension. Needing comfort, I latched onto him and he took me in his arms as I kept on crying. His body was warm, and he had a heartbeat! His gentle touch relaxed my racing mind and brought it to a peaceful place. The rhythm of his heart soothed me and brought me to a place almost beyond this world. He was a godsend! I clutched onto him, never wanting him to leave.

“Please, please don’t go!” I whispered in a hoarse voice. “I never will,” he whispered in a soft voice.

I wrapped my arms around him and caressed his soft skin the same way he caressed mine. His body was warm against mine and I completely indulged. I tilted my head up to look at him and grabbed a strand of his long hair. The young man had long sandy wavy hair and pale blue eyes on pale white skin. He had a long face and little pink lips with no distinctive features other than his long grunge-era hairstyle. He looked at me with sad yet sympathetic eyes and softly stroked the skin of my face, wiping away my tears. Eventually, I fell asleep in his hold and woke up a few hours later, still in his arms with my head on his chest listening to his steadily beating heart. I climbed up over him and let my chin rest on his chest as I looked deeply into his eyes in awe. My keeper.

“What’s your name?” I ask him in a soft whisper.

“Kevin,” he whispered back to me in a gentle tone.

“Are you my keeper?” I ask.

“Yes I am,” he replies with a gentle smile and his hands caressing my face,” I am always going to be here for you.”

I rested on my side and he positioned himself behind me and wrapped his strong arms around me. I placed my little hand in his and closed my eyes.

“Can you stay with me tonight?” I ask him.

“I will be with you every moment of every day,” he reassured me, “now get some sleep.”

He held me close and I drifted away to a far away world to the sound of his breathing. I woke up the next morning some ten minutes before my alarm clock. Kevin was still there, hold me. I turned over to face him, filled with exhilaration at the thought of my very own keeper. I was so relieved to have someone there to hold me and love me unconditionally like only a keeper could. His body was so warm and his touch so gentle. It was everything I needed, and I never wanted Kevin to leave.

He let go of me and sat up on my bed and I sat up next to him. He wore some black cargo pants and a plain back shirt. His unruly hair was gold-like in the sunlight coming through the window of my room. He looked so sublime, he was perfect. He took my arm into his hand and turned it so he could see my scars. He pressed it to his lips and each cut disappeared with every kiss. I watched in awe as the scars all faded away. I touched where they used to be because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I didn’t even know Kevin but I already had so much reverence for him because he loved my so passionately and so purely. My skin was soft, there was absolutely no evidence that I had ever cut myself there.

“Are they going to come back?”
“Not if you don’t make them come back.” “How is that even possible?”
“It’s possible in my world.”

Kevin gave me a tender kiss on the forehead.

“Are you like my guardian angel?”
“No, I’m just a keeper. Angels are from a completely different world. I don’t know exactly how they come about their business, but angels are not human. I am.”

He took my hands into his and I leaned over and put my head on his shoulder. I closed my eyes and clutched onto him. My keeper. I was so grateful to have him by my side. I knew nothing about keepers or much about life in the first place, but the young man next to me made me see a whole new facade of it that I hadn’t been able to appreciate before. I had given up but he had given me that faint glimmer of hope that I had been so desperately needing.

“So you were human before?”

“Yeah, I was a create of the earth before this, just like you.”

“Do all dead people become keepers?”

“I have no idea dear. I don’t know why or how I got here. I don’t know much more than I did back when I was still human. I don’t know if this is a punishment for what I’ve done or my chance to redeem myself.”

“What did you do?”

“I did something bad and I guess now I’m paying for it. But just know that I love you.”

My alarm clock went off to disturb our perfect moment and Kevin patted me on the shoulder, indicating that it was time to get up and get ready for the day. I reluctantly got up and picked out some clothes out of my closet. I grabbed some faded blue jeans and a purple shirt with black stripes. When I turned around to talk to Kevin I noticed that he was no longer in my room. I looked all over but he wasn’t there. He was gone. I was disappointed and frustrated that he had disappeared just like he had never came in the first place.

“Hey don’t worry, I’m still here!” he said as he came up behind me and pulled me into a tight embrace.

I put my arms around him in return and instantly found relief. He kissed my neck and I went back to getting ready for school.

“Am I the only one who sees you?” I inquired as I was brushing my long brown hair.

“Well, not really,” Kevin replied, seemingly thinking hard, “you see, keepers feed off energy humans give us and if it’s needed we can appear to others but that’s rather rare.”

“What kind of energy are you talking about?”

“Love. Right now I’m replenished on energy but to have me around like this in the future you’ll have to emerge yourself in agape.It is the purest form of love, unconditional love. Feel agape from deep inside your heart and soul and I’ll be here, always.”

I closed my eyes and let the love flow from inside of me for a short while but I couldn’t sustain it.

“Don’t worry, it’ll come.” Kevin reassured me, “For the moment just focus on the now. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Kevin?”

“Yeah?”

“Can you hear my thoughts?”

“No, but I can feel everything you feel. That’s where the agape energy comes in. No matter what, I will comfort you if you want me around.”

I touched his hand just to remind myself that he was real and smiled to myself. I felt so much relief from the inside out. I felt like I could take a breath without it burning like fire deep inside.

“How long will you be here?”

“I don’t know, but don’t worry about that alright?”

I smiled at him and finished getting dressed, putting on some light eyeliner to compliment my hazel eyes and tied my hair up in a ponytail since I couldn’t get it to be the way I wanted it. I walked downstairs into the kitchen where my mother was making breakfast with my two younger sisters. Ever since my dad had died when I was seven, things were awkward at the table. There was a piece of the family missing and even after nine and a half years, the pain was no less. I had always been daddy’s girl, but my daddy was gone. My youngest sister Carrie wasn’t even born when he died so she was lucky to escape the pain I was constantly feeling.

“Well you’re up early!” my mother commented as I walked into the kitchen.

“Yeah I’m gonna walk to school and grab some breakfast at Gilmore’s on my way there.”

We said goodbye to each other and I walked out the door. Kevin walked with me and grabbed a hold of my hand as we neared the end of the driveway. He held my hand as we passed over the bridge and headed over to Gilmore’s. We both walked into the small restaurant and stood in line behind a few other hungry customers.

“Do you eat?” I asked Kevin.

“I can,” he replied looking at me with tender eyes, “but I don’t have to.” “Do people know you’re here with me?”

“No, they don’t. They aren’t aware of anything.”

I ordered one of Gilmore’s world famous bacon and egg sandwiches and headed back out with Kevin following me. We walked hand-in-hand all the way to school as I ate my breakfast sandwich with the other hand. Despite the frigid morning air, Kevin kept me warm with his overwhelming presence.

“Do you know what happened here?” I asked Kevin as we walked into the school’s parking lot.

“No,” he whispered to me, “I don’t know anything.”

I swallowed hard and clutched his hand tightly.

“Well, I guess you’ll find out.”

The two of us walked in and made our way down the halls to where the memorials were set up on the wall.

“What went on here?” Kevin asked me in a soft whisper.

“Two girls got killed in a drunk driving accident two weeks ago.” I replied in a shaky voice, “I’m the one who was supposed to be the designated driver but I bailed early.”

Kevin put his arm around me and comforted me greatly as the memories of that night came back to haunt me.

“While they were bleeding to death in that car wreck I was goofing off with a homeless man at the corner store on the end of the street here. I stopped in to buy a snack on my way home and I ended up giving it to him. He was a cool old dude you know. We sat there as he ate his chips and told me about his life before his daughter got killed in a drunk driving accident.”

I broke down crying and Kevin hugged me tightly. I couldn’t shake that thought out of my mind. I bailed on my friends to hang out with a homeless man who told me some heartbreaking story of how he lost his precious daughter while my friends were actually dying in the same kind of nightmare.

“Don’t blame yourself for this, this isn’t your fault.”

“I know it isn’t, but some people blame me anyway.”

Kevin looked at me with compassion in his eyes as he stroked my cheek with his big hand. I remembered that he could feel everything I felt too. He hurt just as much as I did. Kevin’s loving hand calmed me down and comforted me like he had promised me he would. I held him tightly in my arms and indulged into the serenity his aura gave off.

“I know it wasn’t my fault that they got behind the wheel drunk and I know that they could’ve called a cap or someone else could’ve taken them home but there’s just this part of me that hates myself so much for not being there when my friends needed me the most.”

Most people didn’t blame me at all, but some of the girls’ closest friends needed someone to blame for their poor judgment that night and that person ended up being me. While the majority were supportive, the few who gave me harsh words really got to me. They made sure to remind me every day that both of them were dead and it was because of me. They really made me believe that if I hadn’t bailed early, things might have gone differently. At times, I believed it too. I wiped my tears and walked to my first class holding Kevin’s hand. I squeezed it as it brought me comfort to know that I was no alone. I walked around the classroom aimlessly before finding a seat.

“Does this mean you can give me all the answers?” I jokingly asked him trying to lighten the mood.

“Only the ones I know,” he replied laughing, I’m good in language and science but not so much in math.”

“You don’t have supreme understanding of the universe now that you’re dead?” “Not here. I only know what I learned on Earth and what I can currently observe.” “Do you believe in multiple lives, you know, considering you’re still here?”

“It would be inappropriate to say that I don’t, but this isn’t exactly my idea of the afterlife.”

“I guess that makes you the perfect companion for me because this isn’t exactly my definition of a life either.”

I finally picked out a seat at the back of the room at sat down. Kevin sat next to me and reassuringly placed his hand on my knee.

“That’s why I’m here,” he replied as he leaned over and kissed me in response to my feelings.

“Do you see other people’s keepers too?” I inquired to make conversation before the bell rang.

“No, it’s just you and me.”

“That’s kinda cool. I guess we both have a lot to learn about life.”

“I’ll make sure you have a good one, that’s my promise to you. I know that I was sent to you for a reason and I won’t screw this up. I know you have a lot of questions and I don’t have a lot of answers, but just know that I love you and you are not alone.”

I placed my hand into Kevin’s and let his love and strength wash over and guide me for the rest of the day. My school day went without incident. I stayed away from most people except this freshman girl named Rosanna, who asked me for directions in the big school. The two of us ended up sitting together at lunch with Kevin sitting behind me, completely unnoticed.

“Man, sometimes I wish I was invisible like you,” I muttered to him.

“No you don’t. Life is something to be cherished and celebrated. I wasted mine. Heck it hadn’t even started yet, but it’s gone.”

“So does that mean that I will get old but you won’t?”

“That’s right, I’m always going to be seventeen and I’m always going to carry around regret.”

After Rosanna and I finished eating, I sat down in a deserted hallway to spend some time alone with Kevin before my next class.

“What is it that you did that could possibly be so bad?” I ask him, “Did you commit suicide or something?”

“Yes I did.” Kevin’s voice was nothing but a soft whisper.

I took him into a hug and held him tightly.

“How long ago?” I asked him.

“Longer than you’ve been alive. But I’m here now and if I can make things right for you it will have made it all worth it.” he replied in a sympathetic voice.

“I love you already Kevin.” I whispered in his ear and squeezed him tightly.

I could see that he was a broken young man but that he had a big heart. He wanted to make things right and I desperately needed someone to comfort me and to help me deal with the pain of losing two of my closest friends. I hated myself for what happened to them instead of being grateful to God that it wasn’t me. My parents said it was some sort of survivor’s guilt or something but I didn’t really understand my own emotions anymore. Why did I feel the way I did? I didn’t know.

After school I walked home with Kevin and sat down on my bed next to him. I slouched my head over his shoulder and cried. He held me close and his presence was very comforting since nobody had really been there for me. My dad wasn’t around and my mom worked long hours plus she had other children who were still young to take care of. Kevin and I laid down on my bed and I let my head rest on his chest. He ran his gentle fingers through my hair and serenity swept over me. I indulged in the love and comfort he gave me. I didn’t know him but I already loved him. I knew that a keeper’s love was infinite, even though my limited human understanding could never comprehend it.

“Does everyone have a keeper like you?” I ask him as I looked into his deep blue eyes. “I don’t know how it all works,” he admitted, “but I do believe that everyone is watched over whether they are aware of it or not.”

“Did you watch over me before this?”

“No, all of this is new, I’ve never done anything like this before. I died nearly two decades ago but it’s only now that I’ve come back so to speak. I don’t know where all that time went, because I don’t remember it.”

“Well you’re here now, don’t ever leave.”

“I won’t.”

During the first few weeks of school after the accident, Kevin was always there by my side in each moment, but after that he only came by when I gave him agape. The trade of energy between us was overflowing and it was easy to sustain. During the hard moments I only had to think of him and his loving arms were around me. I spent every night with him and brought him everywhere with me. I spoke to him at length before I

went to sleep and he became so much more than just someone to watch over me. He was my best friend, my protector and my lifeline.

“I love you Arlene,” Kevin whispered to me just before I went to sleep.

“I love you too Kevin,” I whispered back, “I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Honey, who are you walking to?” my mother asks as she was passing down the hall. “Nobody,” I replied in an absent-minded tone.

“You were obviously talking to somebody,” she pressed on as she walked into my room. “I was talking to myself,” I dismissed.

She didn’t make too much of a big deal out of it but told me that I should get help to deal with my grief. What she didn’t know was that I did have help, he was holding me in his arms. I also ended up forming a friendship with Rosanna. She was my only real friend left after Sabrina and Melanie died. Their friends didn’t like me because they blamed me for their deaths but Rosanna was very understanding and supportive. By the end of the school year we were best buds. She had just moved to the community during spring break, during the same time as the accident, and I was the only person who had really welcomed her.

I ended up spending my summer with Kevin and Rosanna at her grandparents’ farm in upstate Wisconsin. My mother thought it was a good idea and she was right. It gave me a new perspective on both my life and the tragedy as well as giving me a good opportunity to get my emotions in check. Rosanna’s grandparents had a beautiful antique-style home and warmly opened its doors to me. Rosanna and I had to share a room and each night after she fell asleep I had my nightly conversations with Kevin. He was always faithfully by my side with his head resting on the pillows and his sandy- colored all over my face. I had been the happiest since the accident.

“Who is that Kevin guy you talk to at night?” Rosanna asked me one evening before we went to bed.

I was taken aback that she knew about Kevin but I also realized that it was my own fault that I hadn’t been more discrete about it. Not wanting her to think that I was crazy, I decided to tell her the truth about Kevin.

“He’s my keeper,” I told her.

“Do you really believe in all that keeper stuff?” she asked me, seemingly confused. “He’s real real Rosanna, he’s been with me ever since the accident.”

“Good for you, I’m really happy for you.”

She didn’t seem to believe me at first but she was fine with it. She embraced Kevin even though she couldn’t see him, touch him or interact with him. At night she even gave me an extra pillow and an extra blanket for him even though he didn’t need it. For a while I acted as some sort of mediator between Kevin and Rosanna so they could communicate with each other. After some time Rosanna came to believe that Kevin was indeed real and that the legend was true. I told her about agape and all the valuable lessons about life and love that Kevin taught me. She was just as amazed when she heard my stories as I was when Kevin shared them with me.

At the end of the summer we both returned home to our normal lives and returned to school in September. During that whole time Kevin never left my side. During one hot afternoon we got a spare in our last class so Rosanna and I decided to hang out outside in a nearby park and that’s where she saw Kevin for the first time. For the first time she could see him like I did, complete with flesh and blood and everything. The three of us were equally mystified and overjoyed at the same time.

“I’m so happy to finally meet you!” Rosanna exclaimed once he appeared to her. “Me too!” Kevin exclaimed too as he wrapped his arms around her.

I could tell by the sparkle in Rosanna’s eyes that the transfer of energy because Kevin and her was amazing. I smiled as I watcher her grab a strand of his hair and stroke his cheek. The three of us reveled at being able to finally all be together in a way that we could equally enjoy ourselves. Rosanna didn’t seem to be in touch with her own keeper though, but Kevin was always with us when we were together. Kevin and Rosanna loved each other as much as I loved them, it was nothing short of wonderful to be always surrounded by such love.

All that wonderful love was dampened when my mother got a call from Rosanna’s parents saying that Rosanna and I had some weird obsession over this imaginary boyfriend we both had and that they didn’t want me to hang out with her anymore. I felt so betrayed that she would do something like that to me after having believed to the point that Kevin actually revealed himself to her. And not to mention the months we spent together making memories of the three of us! I was so hurt by what she did that it felt like that car crash all over again. Maybe she hadn’t died, but she certainly felt dead to me. Even Kevin seemed to be heartbroken over the situation.

“This Kevin person, was he the one you’ve been talking to when you said you had been talking to yourself these past few month?” my mother asked me.

“Mom, Kevin is real,” I insisted, “Rosanna sees him too!”

“No she doesn’t honey, she only went along with it because she’s concerned about you and your wellbeing.”

“What are you talking about mom? The three of us spent so much time together!” “After the accident happened you were grieving and you made up Kevin to help you cope with your loss.”

“No I did not!”

“It’s good to turn to spirituality to help you cope with your loss and to hold on to a future hope but sweetie, Kevin isn’t real.”

“Yes he is mom! He’s real, he’s right here!”

Kevin was faithfully by my side during the whole ordeal but he told me not to defend our relationship. I didn’t listen to his advice and my mother ended up telling me that I was delusional and that I needed therapy. The next morning at school Rosanna approached me just like nothing had happened, like she had never betrayed Kevin and I.

“How dare you!” I shouted at her in front of everyone as she approached me in the hallway.

“Arlene, listen,” she pleaded, “let me explain, this is just a big misunderstanding!”

“No Rosanna, there’s nothing to explain.”

“Arlene please, I had to make up a lie so my parents don’t lock me up in the psych ward! I believe Kevin is real, I know he is!”

“Well I’m the one who is going to be locked up in the psych ward now!”

“I’m sorry Arlene, please forgive me, I was just trying to protect myself. And where’s Kevin? I want to apologize to him too.”

Kevin had been right there the entire time but Rosanna seemed to be oblivious to his presence. He was invisible to her again.

“You can’t see him because he hates you!” I snapped back before I turned around and walked out of the building and broke down crying on the sidewalk.

“I don’t hate her sweetie,” Kevin whispered to me as he took me in his hold, “and you shouldn’t either.”

“I guess it’s just you a me now,” I whispered to him as I buried my face in his chest.

He held me tightly as he always did and I ended up ditching my first class that morning so I could spent time alone outside with him. He advised against it but I wanted to be with him in the cool morning air to collect my thoughts. My mother was called since I had skipped class and I got in trouble again because of it. In defiance to my mother asking why I skipped class, I told her that I wanted to spend time alone with Kevin. I knew it wasn’t going to help anything but I wasn’t going to give up on Kevin over some hypocrites and unbelievers.

Rosanna still wanted to be my friend after the whole thing but I no longer wanted anything to do with her. Kevin encouraged me time and time again to forgive her and take her back but I was too hurt to do so after the betrayal. Rosanna didn’t really have any friends other than me but I had Kevin and he was all that mattered. I loved him so much and I wasn’t about to give up after all that he had done for me. My parents sent me to therapy and I told my therapist all about how wonderful Kevin was because I did not want to forsake him over a lie any longer. He told me on numerous occasions to deny him but I loved him too much for that and I made sure to show him that his endless love for me was reciprocated.

I spent long nights in my room by myself with Kevin since I had no more friends and things between my mother and I were hostile. She had convinced herself that I had some mental illness that made me crazy because I was seeing people who weren’t there and that I needed therapy. It hurt me deeply but it was comforting to know that Kevin was there. I could clearly see in his eyes that he was hurting too since he could feel everything I felt but a keeper’s love was infinite and he wasn’t about to give up on me. I wasn’t about to give up on him either over some notion that I was completely crazy.

“You should forgive Rosanna,” Kevin whispered to me one night while he was holding me tight.

“I know I should,” I replied tiredly, “but I’m still so hurt Kevin.”

“I know you are, but remember that I’m here for you and I’ll help you heal. That’s why I’m here in the first place! And make peace with your mother, dear.”

“She’s the one who’s going to have to make peace with me!”

I cried thinking about all the hurtful things she had said to me. Not only had I just lost two friends in a freak drunk driving accident, but I had lost Rosanna and ultimately her as well. Kevin was all I had left and people treated him with such hostility and accused me of being completely insane. Sometimes I came to believe them even if Kevin was nothing short of very real to me. The news of my “imaginary boyfriend” somehow spread to school and people began making fun of me too, and Rosanna was one of them. I couldn’t understand why she would do those things to me. Not only did we spent countless nights together in the company of Kevin but she even had the audacity to ridicule me in front of everyone.

After one particularly horrible day at school, I came home and locked myself up in my room and took out that same razor blade that I had cut myself with the first time. I had left it in my night table and I proceeded to create twelve bloody lines on my arm. My soul shattered under the fire of pain and the absence of momentary hope. In the middle of that crisis I called to Kevin in agape and he was there in a heartbeat. He took me into his gentle hold and was about to press his lips to my bleeding scars before I stopped him.

“Don’t,” I whispered to him, “let me show my mother first.”

“Why would you want to do that?” he asked me, seemingly puzzled.

“Let me show her my scars, and then kiss them away and I’ll show her my arm again.” “And what exactly are you trying to prove by doing this?”

“I’m going to prove to her that you’re real.”

“Do you think that’s a good idea?”

“Do you?”

“No, because I’m afraid she’s going to do something drastic because you cut yourself.” “She can’t do much worst than shun me like she already is.”

Kevin advised me to just cover up my arm and not show her since I wouldn’t let him erase them but I went right ahead and made my arm visible during breakfast the following morning.

“You’re not going to school like that!” she sternly told me after my siblings had left the table.

“Kevin is real mom, “I told her, “I’ll prove it to you.”

“And how do you think you’re going to do that?”

“He’s going to kiss my scars and all of them will fade away like they never were on my arm.”

She looked at me defiantly, not believing a single word I said. I gave her a defiant stare in return before I went up to my room and handed my arm over to Kevin. He tenderly kissed every scare and one by one they vanished and my skin returned to it’s soft pink state. I went back down and showed my mother. She didn’t know what she was seeing, and she even touched my arm to make sure they were really gone, but she still didn’t believe that I had a keeper named Kevin. To her the scars were just another crazy stunt for attention.

“She thinks I only want attention,” I whispered to Kevin in a sad voice. “Do you?” he asked me.

I grimaced at him, hurt at the fact that he thought that I was just doing that for attention too.

“The night I came to you I know the hurt was real,” he went on, “but now you’re angry. It’s not about grief or confusion anymore.”

“Go away Kevin,” I dismissed him before laying down on my and wishing that the sheets would suffocate me in my wake again.

Dead silence filled the entire house up until I heard my mother dial a number on the phone. I didn’t pay too much attention until she told the person on the other end that she was calling about me because she was afraid for my safety. I grunted loudly and slapped my head on the pillow next to me. I started to cry again and called on to Kevin to comfort me. He was there in the blink of an eye to make everything okay again just like he had the first time we met.

“Are you aware of what goes on in my life when you’re in the other dimension?” I ask him as I put my head on his chest.

“Yes,” he replied in a soft whisper, “but I can’t see or hear, I can only feel.”

“I’m so sorry I treated you so badly earlier. Please forgive me.”

“Already forgiven.”

He kissed my forehead and I traced his soft lips with my index finger afterwards. He kissed my finger and smiled at me like he always did. I caressed his soft cheeks with my hand and traced the beautiful features of his face. His face was only inches from mine and I could feel the tingle of his warm breath on my skin as I looked deeply into the sea of his eyes.

“Why did you commit suicide?” I whispered to him.

“I just couldn’t live with myself,” he replied as he closed his eyes, seemingly hurting.

I kissed his left eye as I put my fingers in his sandy hair and stroked it gently. I loved him so much, it was impossible for me to picture him hating himself so much that he thought suicide was the only way out. I kissed him and reveled at the amazing love he gave me any time I asked for it. I began to imagine that we had been sent to each other so we could help one another and fix each other. My fingers ran all over his scalp as my lips gently pressed against the skin of his face.

“Ain’t I the one who is supposed to kiss you?” he whispered to me grinning.

I grinned back at him and he took a hold of me and shifted our body positions so he was the one who could kiss me and stroke my face just like I did to him. I put my hand on the back of his neck and pulled him down towards me and we both kissed each other passionately. The feel of his hands on my neck and collar bone was enough to really make me crazy. Mine breathing rapidly accelerated but his slowed down since he didn’t need to actually breathe. Our perfect moment was disrupted when I heard my mother’s footsteps coming up the stairs. She then barged into my room without knocking and began to talk apprehensively about this apparent mental illness that I didn’t really have.

“I know you’ve been hurting a lot Arlene,” she told me, “but you need some help and I’ve arranged for you to live with your aunt and uncle in Portage. They have some good facilities to help you there too, so pack your bags.”
“You can just send me away!” I angrily shouted back, “I am not your property! I have a say in this!”

Kevin put his warm hands on my shoulders and softly whispered to me to comply with my mother for my own sake but I pushed him aside and had a screaming match with my mother. Kevin begged me to hear him out about the whole thing but I didn’t want to.

“No Kevin!” I shouted at him, “I’m not going!”

“Yes you are!” my mother shouted back at me, “And you’re going to get rid of Kevin!”

“I’m gonna get rid of you!” I defiantly shouted back at her, “I’m gonna pack my bags and go on vacation far away from you with aunt Marie and uncle Bill!”

She didn’t know what to reply to that. I looked over at Kevin who was still standing by my closet and grinned at him, knowing that we’d spend all our days together at aunt Marie’s and uncle Bill’s. My mother’s plan didn’t sound so bad after all and I more than willingly packed my bags with Kevin’s help. We smiled at each other the whole time and I marveled at how he could turn an awful situation into a pleasant one. Spending some time alone with him at my aunt’s and uncle’s house, I couldn’t have asked for better! And the timing was perfect too. I climbed over the bed and smooched him to say thank you and I grinned to myself in delight.

That same afternoon my mother decided to make the eight-hour trip to Portage with me to get me out of the house as soon as possible. I was riding shotgun while Kevin was faithfully behind me in the backseat with my luggage. He reached out his hand and began to play with my hair during the long and boring ride. The skies were overcast for a while before it began to rain heavily. The big raindrops were more than the windshield wipers could handle and it became very hard to see the road ahead. The streetlights were nothing but a distant blur until we hit the highway. Everything was black in the late evening and neither my mother or I could see anything. I turned around to ask Kevin if he could see anything more than we could but he was just as human as the rest of us and he was no help.

“When are you going to leave Kevin alone?” my mother was nearly shouting at me, “He isn’t real! Get over him!”

“Mom! Watch where you’re going!” I yelled back as she was swerving on the slippery wet highway.

Another fight broke out between us again and my mother ended up slapping me in the left temple area when the back of her hand. I quickly glanced over at Kevin in the backseat but noticed that he wasn’t there so I didn’t hesitate to slap my mother back twice as hard on the side of the face too. It caused her to swerve violently again on the wet road but she had time regaining control of the van as we kept on going from side to side in the rain. Ahead I saw a white dot in the distance as it quickly got closer I realized that it was a set of headlights headed straight in our direction. The vehicle ahead was serving too and I quickly called on to Kevin in agape for him to comfort me but nothing happened. I screamed his name much to the frustration of my mother but nothing happened, he wasn’t there.

I could clearly see the truck headed exactly for us in a head-on collision despite all the rain. I braced myself for whatever was to come and silently pleaded for Kevin to come rescue me in my time of need. As the truck was about to hit us, I saw Kevin standing in front of it with his arms stretched out on the front of it, seemingly trying to push it in the opposite direction. And then everything went black. All I remembered was something cold surrounding me completely. I didn’t feel anything else other than cold. It was almost like a dream-like state.

* * *

Bright lights were all around me and I could hear faint voices in the background, possibly coming from another room. I focused more on what was surrounding me and I could hear a constant, steady beeping sound. The beeping sound like on those hospital machines. The thought didn’t sink in immediately, but then I realized that I was in the hospital and I was hooked up to those machines! The beeping then increased as I was hyperventilating. Doctors quickly rushed to me and gave me some sort of sedative. I woke up a short time later and I could feel something on my head, like a hand. I opened my eyes to the bright lights again but my eyes slowly adjusted and the hospital room became clear around me.

On my left Kevin was sitting on my bed and had his gentle hand over my head, calming me and keeping my blood pressure down. I examined him from head to toe to make sure he was okay after the accident but he didn’t have a scratch. Only his hair was messier than usual, but apart from that there was nothing different about him. He still had on the same dark clothes and the same look on his face. He was just like he had always been.

“Everything is fine darling,” he whispered to me, “you’re going to make a full recovery and so will your mom. The other driver is going to be fine too.”

I smiled softly at him and he gave me a tender reassuring kiss. He stayed on my bed until I fully aware of my surroundings and my condition. I didn’t have any serious injuries, but I was pretty banged up. Kevin then walked around my room talking to me and eventually turned on the TV. The six o’clock news had just come on and I tuned in since Kevin seemed to want me to watch them. The first thing they showed on the large TV screen was a picture of an awful car wreck with a white silhouette in the form of a man standing next to it. There were no details or features on the silhouette, but it was obviously the one of a young man. The wreckage was something to see. Both the vehicles had been completely destroyed, there was nothing left.

Here’s an update on yesterday’s devastating car accident near Portage. A small family van collided head on with a freight truck heading in the opposite direction. First responders on the scene said the crash was due to poor visibility during yesterday’s storm. In this photo you can clearly see what’s left of the wreckage in the middle of the highway along with a mysterious white silhouette seemingly looking over the crash site. Everyone survived.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! How was it possible that I survived that crash? Both vehicles were totaled! I looked over at Kevin who had returned at my side. I looked deep into his diamond eyes with such admiration and gratitude. He kissed my forehead as tears escaped from my eyes as the full scope of the situation sank in. Kevin had saved my life. He seemed to be overwhelmed with emotion too as he took me into a tight hug and took a series of heavy breaths even though he technically didn’t need to breathe. His touch calmed me down and relaxed my stiff, aching muscles.

“You saved my life,” I whispered to him through my tears.

He didn’t say anything. Instead, he leaned over and kissed me again.

“Can you die?” I asked him.

“I’m already dead,” he replied chuckling, “I don’t think I can die again.”

“Are you hurt though?”

“No sweetheart, I didn’t feel a thing. Don’t worry about me, it’s my job to worry about you.”

A sweet gentle smile appeared on his lips as he said those words. It was another perfect moments until a doctor and some nurses walked in to check up on me. They all smiled broadly when they saw I was awake. They told me I had only been out less than twenty-four hours, which was quite something considering the severity of my injuries.

I had broken nearly every bone in my body and had a severe concussion as a result of a skull fracture on impact. As horrible as my injuries were, I was grateful of just being alive after such a horrific crash. I also knew that no matter what happened, Kevin would always be there by my side to help me get through it all. And he was. It took over a year for me to walk again, but eventually I did. My mother had only crushed one leg in the crash but it took her multiple months to walk again too. I never got any updates on the other driver, but I knew he was alive.

My mother had never seen the photo of the crash site they had shown on TV until over a year later, when I showed her on the internet. She was in awe as she looked at Kevin’s silhouette and the pieces of the wreckage scattered all over the highway. She still couldn’t believe that we had both survived the crash, it was nothing short of a miracle.

“Kevin is real mom,” I whispered to her as we both looked at the picture.

She didn’t speak. She didn’t seem to know what to believe. She could no longer deny that Kevin was real since she had experienced his presence and seen his aura. However, she still didn’t seem to believe that he was my keeper. On the good side though, she left Kevin and I alone. She no longer made a big deal about my friendship with him. I didn’t need to go to therapy and I wasn’t sent away after all. The whole ordeal just made me love Kevin even more. I owed him my life! We only grew closer and closer. At school I eventually made more friends, with Rosanna not in the picture. I wondered if she had gotten in touch with her own keeper if she had one, but since Kevin had no interactions with other keepers the only way to know would have been to ask her.

Eventually my mother met another man through a mutual coworker in whom she was interested. I encouraged her to pursue it and she did. I was happy for her that she had found someone after my dad and she seemed to be happier than she had ever been in a long time. Kevin and I were both elated that she had found someone and could finally be happy. I had Kevin so I didn’t anybody else, but my mother had never been able to get in touch with a keeper. In the summertime when I finished my school year my mother wanted to travel to Ohio from Wisconsin where Jeffrey, her boyfriend, had been transferred after getting a promotion. She wanted to bring my siblings and I but I didn’t want to go and decided to stay home instead. I was going to spend some time with Kevin and some friends I had made in school instead. I helped my mother pack up her bags to go spend two weeks with Jeffrey out of state with a smile on my face as big as hers but at the last minute Kevin told me to stop her from leaving.

“Why don’t you want her to go?” I asked Kevin, confused because he had been so happy that my mother had found someone.

“I have this awful eerie feeling about it Arlene,” Kevin had a sharp edge in his voice, “just don’t let her go.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I can’t tell for sure, but I just know it’s not good.”

I didn’t want to damped my mother’s happiness but Kevin had never been wrong before and I decided to put my trust in him again. I trusted him that he truly knew what was best for my family and I so I listened to what he had to say and did what he told me.

“Don’t go mom,” as she was finishing getting ready.

“Well come with me!” she told me with a warm smile.

“No mom, please don’t go.”

“Why not? What’s wrong?”

“Kevin told me something bad was going to happen.”

She let out a loud sigh and gave me the not-this-again look. I begged her to listen to me and to not blow me off after the horrific car accident Kevin had saved us from. All she did was get angry though, and give me that lecture about how Kevin wasn’t real. I looked over at him and he kept telling me to not let her go. I lost the argument though and she ended up leaving and slamming the door in my face but not before giving me some harsh words about my relationship with Kevin. I dismissed the whole thing but Kevin was obviously distraught and kept on begging me to call my mother and convince her to turn back.

“I can’t Kevin,” I tried to calm him down, “her mind is made up.”

“There’s gotta be something you can do!” he pleaded with his spiritual body shaking like a lead in the wind.

“What’s wrong anyway?”

“I don’t really know, I just have this deep feeling from deep inside of me that’s telling me that something’s not right.”

“Is there a way that you can go watch over her even when she doesn’t see you? I’ll give you all the energy I have.”

“I don’t know, but we can try.”

Kevin disappeared from my presence but I kept on giving him all the energy I could manage. I prayed that wherever he was, he could somehow help my mother or help me help her that something bad was going to happen. After a few minutes I was no longer able to sustain the agape and the energy field crashed. I was afraid that because I couldn’t sustain the energy that I wasn’t going to be able to help Kevin. I was anxious for him to come back and give me some news on what went on. Time seemed to tick forever before he appeared next to me at the kitchen table. I was so relieved to see him but he still seemed so tense.

“Call your mom, right now!” he commanded in a tired voice.

I immediately grabbed the phone on the kitchen table and dialed my mom’s cellphone. I was barely able to breathe as I waited for her to answer. I heard a few too many rings before I heard her voice. I looked over at Kevin, not really knowing what to say after she answered.

“Tell her to pull over,” he told me.

“Mom,” I began, “please pull over.”

“Why sweetheart?” she asked me in a confused voice.

“Tell her there’s a tanker up a head on the other side of the hill and that it will hit her if she doesn’t pull over.”

“Mom, there’s a tanker coming your way and…”

I could no longer speak.

“Tell her Arlene!” Kevin almost shouted at me.

“What’s with the tanker? And how do you know that anyway?”

“Do you see it mom?”

“Yes I do, it’s right here. How did you know there was a tanker coming my way?”

“Kevin told me mom, now pull over right now!”

For a few moments I heard nothing but dead silence. I shouted my mom’s name over the phone until her blank voice told me that she had just seen the tanker explode right in front of her.

“Are you okay?!”

“Yes honey, I pulled over.”

I collapsed to the floor in relief that she had listened to me. Kevin was still with me but I could no longer touch him. Every time I reached for him my hand would go right through him.

“I’m running out of energy,” he told me, “don’t worry. You rest for now and I’ll come back later.”

I nodded my head as he disappeared from my sight. I stayed on the line with my mother until the first responders arrived on the scene. Somebody had called 911 and the police officers on site were rerouting all the traffic. She told me she was returning home before she hung up and I patiently waiting for her until I heard her insert her keys into the lock of the front door. I quickly rushed over to her and hugged her tightly. Both us let out a massive sigh of relief as we held each other. My rigid muscles finally relaxed as she held me in her arms and thanked me endlessly for having convinced her to pull over on the side of the road. When she let go of me she looked at me with such a horrified look on her face.

“What is it?” I asked her.

“Kevin,” she whispered.

“What about him? Do you see him?”

“No I don’t, but he was with me on that highway wasn’t he?”

“Yes he was, he’s the one who told me about the tanker truck.” Chills ran down her spine as she thought about it.

“Only a keeper would know something like that,” she whispered, “only a keeper could predict that the truck would explode right next to me.”

We looked at each other for a few moments before she threw her arms around me again. We were both overwhelmed with emotion and began to sob in each other’s arms. Kevin showed up a few moments later and put his loving arms around us too. I grabbed a strand of his hair before I stroked his face. After a few moments our tears dried up and the three of us sat on the couch and talked for a while. My mother was mystified that she had just been saved from another accident. She seemed to finally understand that Kevin was indeed real and that he was looking out for us.

“He’s real,” she whispered to herself in a barely audible voice.

“Yes I am,” Kevin whispered in her ear as he put his arm around her but she didn’t seem to notice.

“Is he here?” she asked, still seemingly oblivious to his presence.

“He’s right beside you mom,” I whispered to her.

She looked over at her side but she still didn’t seem to see Kevin. However, she lifted up her hand and reached out where Kevin was sitting and although she couldn’t see him, I could perfectly see that her hand was caressing his face. He smiled softly at her and then looked at me with that same smile. He put his hand over hers and she seemed to be overwhelmed with the same feeling of inner serenity that I felt from being in Kevin’s presence. My mother then looked at me with a blank, mystified expression on her face. I hugged her again and we both wept some more. Kevin put his arms around the both of us and we both felt his amazing presence.

“Who is Kevin?” my mother asked me.

“I’m just a kid who screwed up,” he replied to himself. “He’s a teenager who committed suicide,” I whisper to her.

Tears escaped from her eyes as she listened to me telling her how Kevin took his own life before I was born and how he came to me the night I contemplated taking my own life as well.

“What’s his last name?” she asked me.

“I don’t know mom,” I replied, “he never told me. It doesn’t really matter anyway.”

“No it doesn’t, but you say he was human before?”

“Yeah he was, it’s cool isn’t it?”

“It’s nothing short of amazing. I love the young man although I’ve never met him.” “Maybe one day you will, Rosanna saw him.”

My mother was taken aback. We had completely put the Rosanna story behind us a long time ago and both forgotten about her completely.

“I remember you saying that,” my mother whispered, “gosh I hate myself for what I’ve put you through.”

“But Kevin was there to get me through it all,” I reassured her.

“I should’ve been there for you after the drunk driving accident but I wasn’t! And on top of that I’ve put you through so much with Kevin.”

“That’s fine mom, we’re all still alive aren’t we?” We hugged each other again.

“Do you want to come out to dinner Arlene? Just you and me?” “Sure, of course!”

“And Kevin, does he eat?”

“He doesn’t really, but he’s coming regardless.”

We both laughed at once and went on our way to the restaurant. My mother and I enjoyed a good meal and Kevin sat next to me across from my mother. Once again I was the mediator for the two of them to talk and my mother was in complete awe as she got to hear his thoughts and opinions. After our meal was over, just as we were heading out the door we came face to face with the driver of the freight truck that totaled our van. It took all of us by surprise to see each other, but at the same time everything was relieved. He broke down in tears and hugged us all, so thankful that we had made all out alive and in one piece. For a moment he looked in Kevin’s direction but he ended up looking past him.

“Are you the one who called 911?” my mother asked the freight truck driver.

“No,” he replied, “they told me a boy named Kevin did.”

My mother and I looked at each other with tearful faces. I then looked at Kevin and he gave me a kiss on the cheek. I hadn’t previously known that he’s the one who had called for help, I had never really thought about asking because it’s not what concerned me.

“Kevin?” my mother chocked out, wanting not to cry.

“Yeah, nobody knows where he called from,” the driver replied, “or how he knew about the crash in the first place. His voice isn’t even on the audio recording but the operator was speaking to him!”

My mother and I knew. We grinned at each other before saying goodbye to the freight truck driver and going back home.

“He never told me he’s the one who called,” I told her. “How in the world did he do that?” she asked me.

“I don’t know, I don’t think he even knows himself how it all works, but we’re never alone as long as he’s around.”

“And he knew about the tanker going to explode in the ditch too.”

“Yeah he somehow did.”

Kevin and I were always together and our love for each other only grew deeper with each and every day that went by. He was still evasive about my questions regarding his past and his human life. He was obviously ashamed of it and confessed to me that he had remorse, but he still refused to tell me. I eventually just let it go since it really wasn’t important. His old life was gone, he had a new one with me and that’s all we both really cared about. My mother was never able to see him but despite that she always made sure to somehow include him in the household. He even had his own room in the house! It was also obvious to me that he loved her just as much in return. He helped all of us heal, and there came a time that the pain had completely vanished like it never came.

One night I was watching the news by myself with my mother and my siblings out in town and Kevin resting from energy in another dimension when Kevin’s picture suddenly appeared on the TV screen. I immediately turned up the volume and tuned in to the newscast to see what they were going to say about him, especially since he had died before I was born and apparently nobody except me could still see him! The photo soon switched to the mugshot of another young man named Nate following by Nate in an orange jumpsuit being led out of a courtroom.

Nate Anderson, 18, and Kevin Hegarty, 17, were responsible for three murders in Nashville in 1993. Amelia Sinai, 13, and her sister Natalie Sinai, 18, along with her boyfriend Gregory Sims, also 18, were savagely shot to death right in their own home one morning while they were getting ready for school later that day. The murders were apparently a result of Nate’s jealousy towards Natalie after she left him for George. Kevin Hegarty committed suicide after the murderous rampage, his body was found next to Amelia’s in the living. He died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Today Nate Anderson had yet another life sentence added to his already lengthy prison term after stabbing a correctional officer who later died in hospital.

I didn’t know how to react to what I saw. My breath left me completely as I listened in horror to what Kevin had done with his friend Nate. I threw the TV remote across the room and broke down crying. I screamed and hit the end table with my fists as it sank in that Kevin was nothing but a murderer! My whole world seemed like it was coming down, crashing hard as it hit the ground. My body shook uncontrollably to the point that I eventually had to lie down because I was so upset. I had never felt to betrayed. I had shared everything with a murderer, a teenage killer. I had let him into the most private and sensitive areas of my life, told him all my secrets and let him sleep in my bed at night. He had saved my life and healed all my pain, but he had committed murder and that was unforgivable.

I was so hurt and angry at myself for having loved a murderer the way I did. I truly hated myself for having let him into my life the way I did. I hated the entire realm of keepers for having sent me a murderer as a keeper. I went up to my room and cut myself again. It wasn’t for attention or to prove to anyone that Kevin could heal my scars, but to try to lessen the immeasurable pain of betrayal and loss that I was feeling. Conflicting feelings went round and round inside my head. I still loved Kevin, but I couldn’t accept loving a murderer. I yelled out to the sky that Kevin and the entire realm of keepers better not ever come into my life again. At the same time I was so angry at Kevin for leading me on the way he did and not being forthcoming on the multiple occasions he had the chance to tell me the truth.

I felt lightheaded from being in shock and cutting myself so I let myself drift into a dreamless sleep. I woke up again a few hours later to a still empty house. My cuts burned as I passed them under hot water. Kevin was no longer around to kiss them away. I broke down crying again as I thought of all the memories shared with Kevin and all the time I spent with him. I owed him my life! I owed him a lot more than just my life. Deep inside me I felt sympathy for him and eventually compassion too. His bad choices obviously haunted him profoundly and it saddened me deeply. I was even angrier at myself for having disowned him the way I did instead of trying to understand first like he had begged me to do with Rosanna. I had lost her and I ended up losing him too. As angry as I was with him, I still wanted to talk to him and try to understand the full scope of the situation before passing any more judgments.

I tightly closed my eyes and left myself be overcome with agape but I just couldn’t do it. I was too angry at Kevin and hurt by his actions to immerse myself in pure love for him. I put my hand over my bloody arm and begged for him to come back and erase my scars but nothing happened. I had never felt so alone. After two years of always having him by my side, I ended up alone. In between my hatred and my tears, I tried to sustain the agape to talk to Kevin one last time before I decided whether he was worthy of being forgiven for his crimes or not. I took a deep breath and let my mind drift off back to that first night I met Kevin. I remembered how his gentle touch comforted me and how serene it felt when he held me in his arms. The agape came flowing over me again just like it did on that night. I turned over onto my back and saw that Kevin was there. I was overjoyed and went over to him.

He looked at me with a blank stare and I saw the gaping head wound in his left temple area. Some of his hair was soaked in blood and his left ear was soaked in it. I gasped in shock and reached out to touch him but my hand went right through him. I looked at him in pure horror, that’s what he looked like after he shot himself! My heart broke for him and I reached out to hold him again, focusing especially on sustaining the energy. His body was cold in my arms and although I could interact with him, he wasn’t breathing. The features on his once-beautiful face looked tired and worn out. His blue eyes weren’t as bright anymore, and his overwhelming peaceful aura had faded away. I held him tightly against me and poured my love over him just like he had done to me in the past in hopes that it would heal him the same way it worked on me.

“I’ve failed my mission,” Kevin whispered in a bleak, tired voice.

“I’m so sorry Kevin,” I muttered through my tears, “please forgive me. I never meant to hurt you.”

“Of course I forgive you Arlene, I love you, and I always will long after I’m gone here.”

“What do you mean gone? Where are you going?”

“I’ve failed Arlene.”

His voice was just a soft whisper filled with angst as he told me to stop giving him agape since it no longer did anything for him. As much as I begged him to stay, he didn’t have a choice but to say goodbye. He expressed regret and sorrow before he slipped out of my hold and disappeared from me. He hadn’t been able to heal my scars no matter how much he tried and was no longer able to sustain his own energy. There was no way I could reach him, he was gone. I buried my face in my pillows and pleaded to higher powers to send Kevin back to me so I could properly make amends. Nothing happened. I thought back to what I had seen on TV, that Kevin had shot himself next to Amelia’s body seemingly regretting what he and Nate had done.

I called on to Amelia in agape just like I used to call on Kevin in hopes that she could give me answers to the missing pieces of the puzzle since Kevin was no longer around and I never got the chance to ask him why. When I reopened my eyes, I saw this teenage girl standing at the edge of my bed. It was Amelia! She came over to me and sat next to me on my bed. She was a beautiful young girl with long shiny brown hair down passed her shoulders and deep green eyes that complimented her small round race and a few freckles. Her little pinks lips were out of the way to reveal a perfect set of white teeth and a welcoming smile.

“You came!” I exclaimed.

“The keepers heard your prayer,” she told me in a gentle voice, “whatever you request of me, I’ll do my best.”

“It’s about Kevin Hegarty.”

“What about him?”

“Why did he shoot you like that?”

“He’s not the one who shot me, he didn’t even know I was in the house. Nate wanted to kill my sister for leaving him but the three of us ended up being in the house.”

“So Nate’s the one who shot you?”

“Yes, he’s the one who shot everyone. Kevin didn’t even fire his gun before he shot himself.”

“I presume you were already dead when he committed suicide?”

“Yeah, Nate had already shot me point-blank in the face but I do know that Kevin didn’t know I was even in the house. When he stumbled across my body on his way out he just couldn’t live with himself so he decided to put an end to it right there.”

Amelia spoke in a very sympathetic tone of voice towards Kevin and Nate. The glimmer in her eyes showed that she understood their actions and she didn’t show any kind of anger or resentment towards either of them.

“Do you forgive them?”

“Yes I do, it’s a part of me having peace of mind, even here.”

“I just don’t understand why it all ended the way it did. I mean, we loved each other so much and then he was just gone! Do you think it’s someone not forgiving him?”

“I wouldn’t know, but it’s definitely something plausible.”

I sincerely thanked Amelia for her insights and her time away from eternal bliss and proceeded to speak with Natalie and George. Natalie had come to forgive Kevin, but not Nate and George hadn’t forgiven any of them. That’s where they problem was, Kevin had not been able to get the proper closure and forgiveness he needed and ended up wrecking his relationship with me. I understood why he wasn’t able to forgive him, what Kevin had done was unforgivable but I loved Kevin enough to try to reach out to George and help him move on from the tragedy.

“You’re not able to move on aren’t you?” I made conversation with George who had appeared in front of me.

“No,” he muttered back, “I can’t.”

“You can’t forgive Kevin.”

“What he did was unforgivable!”

I felt his pain. I had felt so betrayed when I learned that Kevin had helped his friend murder three innocent people and never though I was going to be able to look at him again but as I looked deep inside of myself I realized that nothing changed my love for Kevin, and I wanted to forgive him and fix our bond. It also saddened me deeply to see even the departed stuck in limbo because they weren’t able to let go. I realized at that point that I needed forgiveness too. I had never truly forgiven myself for the drunk driving accident. I shared my feelings with George and he listened attentively just like Kevin had done.

“It wasn’t your fault,” he told me in a gentle whisper, “they aren’t dead because of you. It wasn’t anything you did.”

“And it wasn’t anything you did that made Kevin and Nate kill you!” I replied doing my best to hold back tears.

George sighed deeply and looked up at the ceiling, deep in thought. It was true, what happened wasn’t George’s fault and he shouldn’t have to be the one who constantly suffers for it. I knew from the look on his face that he understood that. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath myself, letting my mind drift away into limbo. Somewhere along the way I decided to let go of my guilt regarding the tragic deaths of Sabrina and Melanie. What happened wasn’t my fault, it was an accident. For the first time I felt like I was actually able to take a breath, a real breath of air. A feeling of calmness swept over me and consumed me for the short moment it lasted. I had lived with guilt for some two and a half years, but I was finally free.

“Feels good doesn’t it?” George commented.

I let out a sigh of relief and as I opened my eyes I saw Kevin standing at the edge of my bed. His face was very pale and his eyes were dark and lifeless. The gaping head wound was no longer visible but Kevin was no longer vibrant and full of life like he had once been. He was formally dressed with his hair neatly combed back, he looked like a person who was about to attend a funeral. I sent him agape but nothing seemed to happen. He still stood there like a walking corpse. George left my side and walked over to Kevin’s side of the room where the two of them looked at each other, each seemingly waiting for the other to begin.

“Forgive yourself,” George commanded Kevin with a somewhat sharp edge in his voice. “I can’t do that,” Kevin replied in a soft whisper as he bowed his head.

“I’m done with this. I’m not going to let this dictate the rest of my eternal existence!” George went on. “I’m letting go today!”

In that very moment when George forgave Kevin, a show of lights sparkled around both of their auras. George’s aura stayed bright but Kevin’s faded away. He was still dark and lifeless while George was radiant and lighting up the whole room. George commanded Kevin to forgive himself again but there was no visible reaction in Kevin. I soon saw Amelia and Natalie join in with both of their auras shining bright too. I crawled over to the edge of my bed and joined them too. The five of us were standing in a circle in the middle of the room with each person’s aura helping to illuminate the rest. I looked up at Kevin with compassion and sympathy in my eyes and threw my arms around him. His chin was pressed down against my shoulder when he let out a deep sigh too and I felt a surge of energy all around me.

His aura engulfed me and the biggest sense of pure bliss came sweeping over me like a hurricane. Kevin’s aura had always been very comforting but it had never been quite like that. I got out of his hold and looked up at him again and saw that his eyes had become shiny and radiant again. His heart was beating again and he had regained all of his color. His golden locks of messy hair were softer than they ever were and a gentle serene smile appeared across his lips. It was finished. Kevin had forgiven himself and had received the forgiveness of the people he had hurt along with Nate. The five of us looked at each other with smiles on everyone’s lips. I had never felt so much love in my entire love, I was completely surrounded by it. In a flash of white light the Lord joined us and I got to stand right there in the midst of his amazing glory.

I watched in complete awe as one by one George, Amelia and Natalie were taken up to heaven. Only Kevin and I were left in the awesome presence of the Lord. We looked at each other for the fraction of a second and hugged each other one last time. We said our last goodbyes and Kevin gave me one last kiss on the forehead before the Lord took him up to heaven. As he ascended he waved down at me with a big smile on his face. He was so happy, he had finally gotten his wish after almost twenty years. He was forgiven, he was free. After they had all ascended into heaven all signs of their auras and their overwhelming presences dissipated like they never existed in the first place. I sat on my bed and let my mind go blank. I had just witnessed the most amazing thing in the world but I already missed Kevin terribly.

Reality came back crashing in when my mother knocked on my bedroom door. I was startled after still reeling from my recent experiences but managed to compose myself as she walked in and sat next to me. She asked me what I had been doing up in my room all alone on such a nice day but I dismissed her and told her that I was tired and that I simply needed a little rest from time to time. I didn’t tell her anything about the Lord making things right between Kevin and the people he had wronged in his human life but I did slip up and mention that Kevin was gone. My mother was taken aback at my comment and asked me what was going on.

“Kevin was taken up to heaven,” I whispered to her holding back tears.

She wrapped her arms around me and held me into a tight hug as we both cried. I eventually confessed to her the whole ordeal with Kevin in the last moments of our relationship and how the Lord had redeemed him. I was comforted that he was finally in his happy place where there was no more pain but I still missed him terribly and grieved for him because I had loved him so much for the two short years that we had spent together. I felt like I was the luckiest person in the world to have gotten the chance to know him like I did even though he was gone.

“I hope he knew that I loved him before he left,” my mother whispered to me as she grieved for Kevin too.

“I know he did mom,” I reassured her, “he’s with dad now and we’ll see both of them again one day.”

The mood was sober in the following few days but I reminded myself of how much Kevin and I really loved each other when the thought of being without him was unbearable. His voice always remained in the back of my mind to somehow comfort me and give me advice when I felt alone and didn’t know where to turn. I eventually rekindled my friendship with Rosanna and the two of us were able to reminisce and comfort each other with the good times we both spent with Kevin. With his help and his love I became a new person and I always wanted to honor his memory by being the change I wanted to see in the world and by giving others what he gave me, hope. It delighted me to share his wisdom with others who were willing to listen.

As summer came to an end I was getting ready to move away for college in the next few weeks and was aimlessly wandering around the basement while my mother was doing the laundry. I watched her take my clothes out of the washing machine and shove them in the dryer. She then looked down to see if there were any clothes left in the washing machine and bent down over it to pick up something. In her hand was this small stainless steel link bracelet that I had never seen before. We were both puzzled since it didn’t belong to either one of us and it didn’t belong to any of my siblings. She gave it to me and I decided that I might as well wear it since I had it!

The morning before I left for college I decided to pull up some pictures of Kevin, Amelia, Natalie and George to carry around with me in my wallet so I would never forget the convictions and values all of them had taught me since I knew that it would be too easy to get caught up in my new life and lost in the great big world out there. For some reason I wasn’t able to connect to the internet to get some so I texted Rosanna and told her to send me some when I got to college. She agreed to print some and send them to me once I got settled. A few days after I arrived there I got an envelope addressed to my name with four pictures in it. As I looked at them I couldn’t help but notice the bracelet on Kevin’s arm. As I looked more closely it became clear to me that it was the bracelet my mom found in the washing machine!

“How can this be?” I exclaimed to myself alone in my dorm.

I opened the window of my room and looked up at the cloudless blue sky in awe. I smiled to myself as I traced each link with my finger. I knew that Kevin hadn’t left me and that he was always going to hold a very special place in my heart. I closed the window and immediately called my mother to tell her what had just happened. She just as flabbergasted as I was when I found out but we both rejoiced at the thought that Kevin was still very much in our lives. The bracelet became my little memento commemorating our time together and with it came all the sweet memories of him being there when I had no one else and him saving my life twice.

I proudly wore the bracelet wherever I went and never took it off. I only seemed to have to poke it around with my finger and Kevin’s overwhelming presence was still with me. I couldn’t see him or talk to him but his aura still lingered around my dorm and the classroom. My mother commented that she sometimes indirectly sensed someone there in the house with her when she was alone, and I simply smiled to myself as the thought that even though Kevin’s work might have been done with my life, it would never really be over. I stayed in touch with Rosanna but she never mentioned Kevin’s presence still lingering around her like my mother did. I didn’t tell anyone else other than my mother about the bracelet or my experiences with Kevin but the things he taught me were my motivation for everything I did.

I ended up putting his picture along with the other three on my night table so they were the last thing I saw when I went to bed at night and the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning. Seeing them made always me smile. It might have been better for the world if Kevin had never existed, but it would not have been better for me.

Posted in Books & Stories

Lost Thoughts — Volume One: When I See You Again

Dear Someone I Used To Know,

It’s been almost two years to the day since we last spoke. I know that you think of me, you cannot persuade me otherwise. There is no doubt in my heart and soul that at some point since that last July day that I have crossed your mind. Maybe I haunt you, or maybe you smile sweetly when you think of me, but I know that you do.

You and I have a long history. Maybe our time together was short lived but we made memories that even the devil himself cannot corrupt. We poured our hearts out to each other, held each other, loved each other. I will not lie, you also put bitterness in my heart when you left and never turned back to look at me again. Despite that you promised me even on that last day that you’d always be there for me I don’t really hold it against you. It is not in me to harbor negative feelings towards someone, although I do believe that you cannot hate something or someone that you’ve never really loved. I loved you. I told you that on numerous occasions, and you dared to say it back to me, and I believed everything that came out of your mouth.

I was definitely enchanted to meet you; you put nothing but feelings of goodness inside my soul. When I cross your mind, what kind of residual emotions do I leave you with? Do you miss me? Do you have regrets? Do you look at my photos the same way I look at yours? Do you smile when you think of me? Or is it too hard and you’d rather not do it? For a long time I prayed that you’d come back to me but nowadays I’m happy that you’re gone and I don’t feel sorry that things ended because other things such as pain, anguish and regret never really do.

From time to time I do frown when you cross my mind, I’m not going to lie. It was very hard on me the way you left things, and it’s altogether possible that that part will always sting. The easy part was indeed saying goodbye, but the easy part is over now, and I’m still here contemplating things I cannot change. I remember us sitting at my kitchen table and you talking about everything under the moon from the richest man in all of Turkey to God’s grace to the pepperonis on the pizza you bought for me. I could tell you everything that was on my mind and you’d talk back to me with wise words and encouragement no matter what else was going on through your mind. So don’t pretend that I’m not still crawling around in there somewhere.

Most certainly you’ve seen me at least once when you close your eyes at night. When some of our old friends ask me about you I reply with a simple I don’t know but in fact I do know. Maybe I’m a coward and maybe I’m simply the one who doesn’t want to admit it to myself that you moved on, that you look like you’re happy on all of your pictures on Facebook and that you have a beautiful family life while I’m still sitting here all by myself like the very first day that we met. I’ve never met another one like you, did you meet another one like me? If we saw each other again today you would tell me that I’m not the same person you used to know and I’d tell you that you’re correct, and I’d also tell you that to me you’re nothing more than a stranger. Just a stranger. Just like before we ever crossed paths.

I don’t know why sometimes I smile when I think of your smile and other times I am tormented by simply the thought that you’re somewhere out there probably disregarding me just like that time when we said our last words to each other. I wish you well, I really do. I do not wish ill on anyone, not even you. We both tried our best but it seemed like destiny had other plans for the both of us. If it brings you any comfort, if you ever actually come to read this which I’m pretty sure you won’t, I’m doing fine. Destiny didn’t quite rip me off after you left me in the middle of winter; the coldest winter on record in fact, and that was before you even rode off in that truck in the middle of the night.

I used to count the days since you’ve been gone, I got up to about 163 before I finally gave up, gave myself a good slap in the face so I could finally wake up and move on with my life too. I see that you did that quite nicely. I also heard, however, that you asked some of my friends how I was doing but they couldn’t answer you because they hadn’t seen me in months. They didn’t tell me how you were doing either because you probably left that part out also. Do you feel guilt for what you did? Maybe it wasn’t a choice that fell entirely on your shoulders, but you’re still the one who chose to do it. I knew that one day it would come to that but I didn’t expect the aftermath to be like this. What would you say if you saw me again? That I turned out decently? Or that you should’ve stayed because deep down you knew that I’d be lost without you?

Sometimes I wonder the same about you, but on most days you’re nothing more than a distant memory in all that is currently waiting for me. Even the memory of what you once looked like has begun to fade away with everything else; the way you smelled, how your diamond eyes shined in the sunlight, how tight you’d hold me against you. Until the next time you cross my mind again I will end this letter by telling you that I’m much happier now that you’re far away from me. This way I know that you can’t hurt me anymore. And maybe one day we’ll both have the answers to all of our questions because I know that one day I will see you again.

Sincerely,
Someone That You Used To Know

Posted in Books & Stories

Lost Thoughts — Volume One: The Heshin Immigrant

April 17th, 2017

Dear Tamar,

You may not remember me since we haven’t seen each other in many years but I’m you’re cousin Jasmine. I am your mother’s youngest sister’s daughter, we used to play together a lot before your family moved to Tehran almost a decade ago now. As I’m sure you’ve heard, we live in America now and we have been since the end of October last year. I’m sorry that we haven’t written earlier, I know dad said we would keep in touch so it wouldn’t feel like we left at all but things have been hard these last few months.

New York isn’t really how I imagined it would be. It’s not bad, not at all, but it’s been very difficult for all of us to adapt. When I imagined America I imagined all of these big mansions with private pools and endless prosperity but reality hit me hard when my childish and superficial fantasies crumbled one by one. I imagined having everything I’ve ever wanted but so far there’s been nothing but poverty. All of our savings are already gone. Neither one of us could’ve imagined how expensive this city would be. Both mom and dad work two jobs and I had to quit school to take on a part-time job and do only a few correspondence classes through an alternative school so Amir, Erwin and Fatima can go to school.

I want so much to make my dreams come true Tamar. There was nothing left for me in Heshin but at least it was familiar. Here everything is so new and strange and I don’t know anybody, I literally have no friends and I still don’t speak English all that well. I have so many big dreams that I want to pursue and make happen for me and I know that it will take a lot of hard work and perseverance and I hope to get your support because I don’t really have any here at home. My parents are always at work and when they come back they are completely exhausted it’s almost like they are strangers now and Fatima and the twins are much too young to understand or process the full weight of this situation.

The neighbor in our crowded duplex is also tough to deal with. Although our house in Heshin was crowded too at least there was harmony inside. We’re really blessed to all get along so well when some people don’t even speak to their families but right now I need more than that. Derek, the guy next door is noisy and disrespectful and has absolutely no consideration for anyone other than himself. At first he ignored us, then he started calling us towel heads, and now he has no problem harassing us. In just five months I’ve already had to call the police on him twice but they do nothing and the situation hasn’t changed.

I had such high hopes for this new life when I arrived but now I’m discouraged. I’m not giving up though, and I’m not going back. I’ve never wanted anything more than I’ve wanted this and I’m going to pursue it no matter what but of course that is much easier said than done. Although I’m literally surrounded by millions of people I’ve never felt more alone. It’s only really now that I’m discovering the frailty of humanity and all the confusion and contradictions within me when it comes to just who I want to become.

I need a hope for the future. I have so many dreams but for now that’s all they are, dreams. In the face of much adversity I must hold on to the hope that one day they will all come true because otherwise I have nothing good to live for and I might as well just kill myself right here, but at the same time I don’t wanna die here. I don’t wanna die in this dirty and dark place in which I am writing this letter right now. When I close my eyes for the last time I want to do it with a smile on my face knowing that I’ve lived a good life and accomplished everything I set out to do. The thought of it is so beautiful, but I must open my eyes and turn this into a reality.

How are you and your family doing? It doesn’t seem like we’ll be able to come and visit you for a while unfortunately. You are all however welcomed to come by and see us at any time as it would be wonderful to see some familiar faces. Have you completed college yet? The last I heard you wanted to be a nurse, if that’s what you ended up pursuing after all. I know how sometimes there’s so much we want to do that it’s hard to choose just one thing to chase after at a time. As for me it doesn’t seem like I’ll be able to study law in the near future but I want to take the opportunities America is giving me to become a writer.

I hear that it’s very easy to get published here as long as you take the right approach. I know I’m getting ahead of myself because I don’t even have a single word written yet but at least that door has opened here in New York. I don’t seek fame and fortune (although I’ll admit it would certainly be very nice to get out of poverty and be able to afford a proper education for myself and my siblings), I only really want to accomplish a lifelong dream. Remember when we used to write little screenplays as kids at your paternal grandma’s house?

For now I don’t really know what else to say, I feel like I’m only repeating myself and I don’t want this to be all about me, so I’m going to end this short letter now and put it in the mail tomorrow. I hope to hear back from you soon and I hope that you have some good news to share with me.

Much love and blessings,
Jasmine