Finding Sarah

It was the night, when darkness crept in through the cracks, filling the empty spaces. Everything was still, unmoving and the silence was deafening. A cricket’s chirp echoed like the yell atop a canyon. Wind whipped and whistled through the window. Sirens, cars, water pipes created their own marching band outside. It was when the moon hovered above her window, staring with its blank, “man in the moon” face; this was when the woman felt overwhelmingly alone.

A letter has meaning. It fits into the alphabet. When taken out of the alphabet it is used to form words. Without words a person could not read, write, or speak. Therefore we need letters. Each one is important and meaningful, they are necessary. The woman thought of this.

She was not. She did not fit. Nor, did anyone need her to make something of a larger whole. The woman stared at her shabby, undecorated apartment. She considered, the walls had no color. She hardly had furniture. The air mattress she slept on at night slowly leaked air in a quiet, “hisss”, until by the morning she was lying flat on the ground. God must have sneezed when he thought to put her on this planet.

The woman walked to her drab closet. In it was a selection of no name clothing. Something simple for work. No fuss. She selected one of the khakis and a shirt. It was a mechanical process repeated each day out of necessity. Then she walked the four miles to work.

Leaves crunched under her feet and she crossed to the sidewalk. The woman watched the bus pull into the stop. A thought crossed her mind. She could do it. Quick, a little less painful then being a shadow on a wall. The tousled brown hair caught her peripheral as she considered. The woman decided to follow the boy instead. He wore nice jeans, converse and a polo. She wondered why he was in the alley.

The boy stopped and set something down. He turned and caught her eye. His emerald eyes pierced her skin like knives, they looked familiar. The boy jetted out the back fence before she could catch up to him. She paused where he had stopped. There was a piece of notebook paper tucked haphazardly into an envelope. The woman scooped it up.  Carefully, she pulled out the paper and opened it, where she found a handwritten note.

Dear Mom (Sarah Marie McDougal),

Dad needs your help. Don’t make any rash decisions. Please.

I love you.

Your son,

Orion James

She staggered backwards almost falling to the pavement. Her grandfather had been called Orion James. The bus pulled away from the stop as she walked to work. Sarah took the stairs up to her office, pondering the note.

“Sarah! I need to speak with you.”

The voice of her boss reached her ears. She looked up. James’ emerald green eyes met hers.

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Gremlin

Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones.

My demons are the way words crawl up and down my skin trying to find a way to enter. Hiding in the creases of my elbow until there is that one chance cut, and they can scuttle into my blood stream-flow into my body. Words are sneaky like this. Even if you are less observant than myself.

“Rachet.” “Gay.” “Homo.” “Fat.” “Dumb.” “Ugly.”

Don’t tell me it just slides off you. Words don’t slide, they hook into the crook of your wrist. Stick like glue onto your legs and stomach, stay until one day you grow tall and confident, peeling them off your epidermis. Yet, sometimes you can’t. We can’t. I can’t. 7th graders don’t.

“Snitch.”

A person who tells on another person, because they stood up to do the right thing. The word of the week. Her wrist bleeds out gay, short, fat, dumb. Her pills drown out ugly, homo, rachet. Words that the students’ batter into her head everyday as they shove her into a wall. So he writes a confession to the teacher full of names. Snitch. When really, he is a hero.

Dead. Is what she might have been. Lying lifeless, the words beating against her pale, ageless body, dangling from her toes trying to be set free.

It is the words clinging to our lips, spewing from the fire.

Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones.

Names are forever.