I’m Yours Now (A Short-Story)

Rain patters on the hood of my jacket as I begin running. I can typically clear my mind and focus on runs, but not with today’s weather.

My mind keeps spinning onto different thoughts, making me certain somebody is following me. I turn to see a bulkier figure, who keeps making the same turns as me. I try to run faster, but I can’t seem to lose him.

A strange man is now by my side, wearing a jacket and shoes covered in thick dirt that the rain is slowly turning to mud. I glance again to meet piercing green eyes.

“Hi,” he mouths toward me and looks away. We keep running.

———————————–

“You aren’t taking her with you,” my mom said with a wrinkled brow and stern tone.

“I will do whatever I want to; you certainly do,” my father screamed back.

“Why do you even care? You have never taken the time to know her! I feel like a single parent.”

“A single parent? Are you kidding me? You have never worked a day in your life! At least our daughter respects me for giving her all the privileges she has today. She knows that I only miss out on things because I am working my ass off to provide for this family.”

“She would be miserable without me! I’m taking her with me, in fact, we are leaving right now.”

After that, I thought I might never return to Boston.

Four weeks later, an older woman came up to my door and said, “You’re a beauty if I ever saw one! We are going to enjoy each other, I already know.” I was about to close the door, having never met this woman before, when suddenly, she said with the sweetest smile, “Now, why don’t you invite me in for a cup a’ tea sweetheart?”

I obliged and let her in, assuming a small-framed woman in her old age was harmless.

Once I poured her a cup of tea, she introduced herself as Rose and began explaining why she was there. After a few hours of small talk, she explained that I was technically under my father’s custody and because of that, I would be attending a boarding school in the city. It didn’t matter whether I liked it or not, but Rose hoped, “I’d like it, or at least come to like it”.

My mom was heartbroken when I told her. “But like the lady said,” I explained, “there’s really nothing we can do.” Part of me wanted to return to Boston, but I also longed for my mom to come with me. She refused. Only a month after we had taken off, I returned back to my city with Rose.

———————————–

Blurred visions occur before me. Light peers in through the sides of whatever this is. The sides are steel, the bottom has foam, and there are no windows. It seems like a shipping box. It’s too tight to be anything else.

I have no recollection of how I got here, only that I feel very sore. I hear car horns in the distance. But everything sounds faint. I’m moving, it’s bumpy, and I can hear dirt moving. I’m not in a box- I’m in the trunk of a car.

Wait. I’ve never heard of a gravel road in Boston. Where am I?

I try to slide the top off, but my arm is practically immobile.

———————————–

My eyes were drawn to a hummingbird zipping around my school’s garden. It flew from  red roses to sunshine colored daffodils all the way to the tree that arched above my head.  I wonder what it would feel like to know nobody will ever be able to catch you. Freedom. But not a slavery type of freedom. The type of freedom that lifts weights off of shoulders and inspires somebody to live their best life.

I crave this freedom, to live my life the way that I want to. My opinion doesn’t matter to those around me, even to my own family. If my father wanted what was best for me, he would not have sent me to this school and he would have been honest with my mother when he no longer loved her. He made us believe that we were a family, but never treated us like one. In a family, you make sacrifices for one another; something he’ll never understand.

If only that bird could convince me that her freedom isn’t as good as I hoped and that my life is fine the way it is. I would be cured of my longing if that were to happen; but then I would have to hope for something else and it would be just as painful.

———————————–

Now I long for the other freedom, the type derived from slavery.

It has been forty-two days since I’ve been here. I think. It is hard to keep track of time without windows. The space he keeps me in looks like an unfinished basement. It’s always cold, but even worse, it’s filled with a numbness that cannot be attributed to the cold because it’s bitterly internal.

Everything feels hazy. I am malnourished from living on one meal a day and depressed from being locked in this basement. I want to go home.

———————————–

Her name wasn’t actually Rose, It was Analise-Gerald. I liked how she picked her own name and I decided I’d do the same. Except, I was unsure of what my new name would be.

Rose and I talked about names and the best way to grow flowers and everything in between. She was one of the only people at that school that I could relax around and feel safe with. I truly enjoyed our garden talks, even when they were just about the life’s little things.

Today, we talked about marriage and how hers fell apart. She didn’t have any kids and I thought that was a good thing because kids never understand arguing. They feel scared and uneasy because they know something is wrong. They just come home one night and tell their parents that they should stop fighting and just love each other like they used to, but it isn’t that easy. Then she would worry because she still didn’t understand all the aggression and have to be carried off the kitchen floor and into her bed.

Or maybe that was just my experience.

———————————–

Of course I tried to get out. I tried everything. The vents. Picking away at the wall. Reasoning with him. Yelling whenever I hear any sounds. Everything. Yet I am still here. My best assumption is that he is lonely and wants a companion. I’m not sure how he could think that I will become complacent one day. I keep trying to figure out why he chose me, but I am certain that I do not know him.

Every morning he lingers after he drops off my food. I have no idea what he expects. It is almost like he wants to speak, but can’t. If he is planning on having a conversation with me, I at least need a nice mattress, three home cooked meals a day, and, most importantly, to not be here.

———————————–

“Juliet!”, Gina exclaimed as she saw me walking towards her. I ran up to her and gave her a hug. It wasn’t one of those hugs you give to somebody in class, but a long emotional hug you give to a sister. It was broken when she said, “Are you sure you can’t come back to WES prep?”

“I don’t think so… I have to go here, at least for now.”

“Good thing I only live a few minutes away! We can still have fun together, right? You aren’t going to replace me with some of your new cool friends, are you?”

“Never. You will always be my best friend.”

“Just making sure,” she said smiling, “So did you ever meet up with what’s his name? Justin? Joshua? Oh, that’s not right. But you know who I’m talking about.”

“Jacob. I wish. I haven’t seen him in awhile.”

“We should go visit him! Is he at Boston College or Boston University? We could just take the train up there and tell him that we are in the area, you know all casual and stuff, and then ‘accidentally’ bump into him at school.”

“I don’t even have his number.”

“Oh yeah, you’re shy, I forgot. If you’re not going to talk to him, could we at least go to a concert or something? I heard Marian Hill is performing next Friday. As Miss Music Lover you can’t refuse this”, she said in a matter-of-fact tone. And she was right, I couldn’t refuse it.

———————————–

“I brought you oatmeal today. And a peach,” he says as he sets down the food.

I give him a different look today, a look of contentment. Usually my face automatically glares at him, but not today. I have a plan that relies on me playing a part. I try to smile, but that is impossible.

“Are you all alone here?”

“What? No. People come and go.”

“But nobody actually lives here? You know, with you?

“Uh, no.”

“Maybe I could come up there and give you a little company. It isn’t doing you any good keeping me down here.”

“Maybe.”

“Why not?”, I said. As I walk closer, I see a flicker of fear cross his eyes. Fear of what though? It can’t be me. “What if we took a spin to the grocery store? You have to need to go there once in awhile.”

“I don’t think you’re ready for that.”

“Don’t worry. I’ve been before.”

“You’re going to try to escape if we go to the store together. We both know it.”

“You’re a bit paranoid. C’mon, I’ve realized that I’m yours now. I’ve accepted it. Just get me into the sunlight.”

Suddenly, he moves closer. I don’t know what came over him. I think he is going to kiss me. Or choke me or kill me. Either way, I know what needs to be done.

I shove a plastic knife down his throat as his eyes bulge up, giving me a look that says I trusted you and you betrayed me. It’s validated.

He isn’t thrilled to have to run after me while coughing up blood. But he did anyway. Amazing how fast he is. Or how slow I am.

I almost did it. I almost escaped. I should have waited longer.

———————————–

Our first kiss was awkward. We were both nervous about how to approach things outside of the friend zone. He was my first boyfriend, first kiss, first everything. I didn’t need some random guys to hook up with or to date some jock who doesn’t know a thing about actual relationships. Jacob always knows how to cheer me up and let me know he is there, but also respects my boundaries. It’s the little things that let you know if somebody is mature enough for a relationship.

So it wasn’t true. I did have Jacob’s number. But I can’t tell Gina because then I would also have to tell her about the countless nights we’ve spent together. I do not want to hide it, but the relationship isn’t technically legal. He is just a few years older than me, but we are at that awkward age where the law doesn’t permit certain relationships. It’s a harmless age difference, seriously.  

———————————–

I thought he was going to kill me. Get rid of me easily. There was no purpose for keeping me anymore. I had betrayed him. It wasn’t going to work out.

I was wrong. He keeps me as if I am some misbehaved animal that needs training.

At least he talks to me now. I don’t care about the interaction, but I like analyzing what he says and trying to figure out the psychology behind why he is so messed up.

Today, he is wearing a Boston University sweatshirt. Maybe he is a friend of Jacob. But how could Jacob be friends with somebody like him? Jacob is sweet and caring and has common sense. He would never prolong a friendship with a crazy person.

“Did you go to BU?”, I ask.

“Yes. I was a biology major,” he replies, “with a specialization in human anatomy.”

“That’s a difficult subject. What year did you graduate?”

“Just this year after the spring semester.”

My jaw dropped. It was too late to cover my reaction.

“Don’t worry. Jacob’s okay. I only want to get to know you better.”

———————————–

“What are you working on?”, I said as I leaned over his shoulder. It was a nice day to work outside, complete with crisp air and turning leaves.

“Nothing important. I’m working on an essay for my human anatomy and movement class,” Jacob replied.

“So you’re studying the science behind exercise?”

“Yeah. We had to choose a form of exercise and write about the biological and psychological sensations it creates. This guy in my class suggested we go on a run together and analyze how we feel, then compare it to corresponding scientific data.”

“Sounds smart”, I said smiling up at him, “just like you.”

———————————–

“I don’t get it. What is so special about you?”

“What?”, I ask.

“Seriously, what makes you so special? Why did he always talk about you?”

“Maybe I’m special because I’m not a psychopath,” I say. Wait. “Do you mean Jacob? So you do know Jacob? Like actually know him?”

“Of course we know each other. Now, before I do something you’ll regret making me do, answer my question: why are you so special? I have been studying you for months and I don’t understand.”

“How would I know? Nobody knows what makes them special. That’s what other people are for.”

“I was thinking it might be how pretty you are, but Jacob wouldn’t risk everything he cherishes in life just because you’re pretty.”

“You’ve never had a relationship, have you?”

“Once.”

“If you had, you would know that when you really love somebody, nothing else matters.”

———————————–

“You told Rose?” Jacob asks. I could tell he was irritated.

“Yes. I honestly thought she was cool. I didn’t think she would tell people,” I reply.

“We talked about how you can’t just throw this relationship around. I’m five years older than you, which might not seem serious to you, but it is a big deal for a lot of other people.”

“I know, trust me, I know. I will talk to her. I can fix this.”

“You can’t fix this. The damage is already done.”

“Maybe she can go to BU and say that she made a mistake and assumed our relationship was toxic, when it really isn’t.”

“They won’t care about that. It is still breaking the university honor code rules. I don’t know how this could be fixed,” he pauses, “I don’t even know how we could be fixed.”

———————————–

Click. Clack.

Click. Clack.

Those are the sounds of heels. A woman must be here.

“Come down here! He is holding me hostage! Get me out! Please, get me out!” I scream. The walking stopped. Dear God, please help me.

The door slowly opens. “Hello?” says a groggy voice.

“Yes, down here. The light switch is right outside. I need help walking up the stairs.”

The lights turn on and I see a familiar face. It’s my mom, but I think she was in a fight too. She looks black and blue and fatigued. I think she is even hobbling a bit. Just like me.

“Jules, I can’t–”

“WAIT MOM DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR”, I say realizing this is all too similar, “He did the same thing to me, it’s somehow a trap. He planned this.”

“What? No, Jules, I’m fine. He didn’t do anything to me,” she says running toward me, “I’m okay. You’re going to be okay too. C’mon, let’s go.”

“Mom, you need to leave. Now. He will be back soon. I know he planned this. He had to.”

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Hair

Hair

I was born with straight, brown hair. For the longest time, I thought it was boring. I thought to myself, wow, what I would give to have hair with a story behind it. Hair that bounces and speaks something of the personality of the person it is a part of. I wanted hair that I could twirl around my finger without looking like I’m spinning spaghetti around my fork. My curly hair friends exclaimed that my hair must be so easy to brush. I thought to myself Yeah, that’s true I guess. But I still want hair the bounces and curls around my face. That must be better. It’s different from boringness of straight brown hair that looks like a mouse might share. My curly haired friends grew up and got keratin treatments to tame their manes, and I had trouble understanding it. I didn’t get why they all wanted my hair. One day, I was brushing it after getting out of the shower at a friend’s house. She was amazed that my hair dried so straight and manageable without using expensive serums or special conditioners. I had always swiped the ones from hotels because I never gave a second thought to the conditioner I used in my hair. They all left it the same: straight, with a glossy shine. I imagined all the hours my curly haired friends had spent in front of a mirror, desperately trying to get a brush unstuck. It was extra effort I didn’t even have to think about. And that my friends is exactly how privilege works. Hair might not be that serious to you, so You can apply this story as an allegory to racial privilege, heterosexual privilege, male privilege, or socioeconomic privilege. They’re things we’re born with, like our hair. But those who have the advantage at birth often don’t understand the people who don’t. It’s part of our privilege of education that we learn about it.

Women

Women

I’m sick of people saying misogyny and sexism is dead, that feminism isn’t necessary, and men & women are equal. I wish these statements were true, but they are not.

The leaders of the free world (American government representatives) are mostly male, and mostly white males at that. A lot of the diversity of backgrounds and identifications comes from the women. In 2017, 19.4% of the 535 members of senate are females. Only 6 out of the 50 governors are female, and one of these governors, Kate Brown, is the first openly LGBT governor. We still have yet to have a female president, but it seems unhopeful to have a favorable female elected when women in other political positions make up a minority. If men and women are supposedly equal, why do females only make up a small part of our law makers and politicians? If women, a group who make up roughly half of the U.S. population, have yet to become represented to their fullest potential, when will more marginalized groups like LGBT+ and immigrants be properly represented? I think everyone should be given a fair amount of representation, and that is definitely not where America is currently at.

Before I go on further, I think we have great representatives and politicians who try their best to stand by all walks of life. I’m also not suggesting that people should vote based on somebody’s privilege, race, gender, heritage, or identification; however, statically speaking, Americans have repetitively voted for straight white males for many government positions. This undoubtedly shows bias. The common excuse for this is not enough females or people from underrepresented groups are attempting to run. While this may or may not be true, people fail to explain the underlying cause of this excuse.

Don’t blame the players, blame the game. Males have advantages that females do not have every single day. Here is a prime example: if a man and woman who happen to both be famous politicians, have consensual sex, the aftermath is quite different for the two if this hookup were to be leaked to the press. The man might face a question or two, but it would be unlikely that he faces harassment. He is then applauded and shown to the public as “a man with game”. The woman, however, would probably be called a “whore” and/or portrayed as somebody who has a reputation for sleeping around. The man might sleep with a different woman every night, but he would rarely be condemned for it. Why? I could say ‘because society is just like this’, but that is a very vague statement. I think the ability to have sex is an adult privilege, one that communicates that somebody is in control of themselves. Sex is an expression of power and control  over yourself to do whatever you want. Therefore, I applaud women for taking control of themselves and their bodies, and doing whatever the hell they please. Though if you are a woman, a lot of society doesn’t agree with me. That girl from my example, let’s say she wasn’t famous and the man was, she would be marked as a “whore”. She might be able to sell some air time or a book about her sexual escapades, but finding a job after an incident like this would be extremely difficult because when employers search her name, the internet shows countless articles talking about her immorality. Remember Monica Lewinsky? She was on tract to have a respected job at the white house and now she admitted that very few employers will even consider her for a job interview. Bill Clinton? Don’t worry about him! He is still living the life and having his life documented to entertain the world.

So yes, I used an analogy about sex to help you understand that males do, indeed, have certain privileges and respect woman do not yet have. But you got it: men and women are simply not equal in today’s world.

I applaud the women who are chasing their dreams, especially the ones who dream to become successful politicians. I have a friend who has that dream and is currently spending her summer scanning, delivering, and throwing away papers for our state’s senator. She is trying to understand the political world and knows she must take one step at a time. But really, it takes one step at a time for a woman. Why is it that a president who has no political experience just got elected president? Societal inequalities. He is male, white, and straight. Yes, people still judge others based on their privileges or lack thereof; and he is proof of that. Many great women have attempted that same thing and worked their asses off to get where they were, and, obviously, failed. After losing a presidential race, they’re done. That’s a real inspiration for hardworking women and minorities… It almost shows them that no matter how hard they try, they will never be able to compete with a man.

I ask you to take a step back and compare daily situations between men and women. Small situations an easily turn into an inhibitor for a women and an advantage for man. Additionally, equality is not just about paper- it’s about the moments that seem as if they are the simplest parts of life to the best and all that is between. Societal inequalities are taking down females, but we need to start focusing energy toward bridging that gap. I think empowering people to go for whatever their heart desires and never judging anyone based off anything that is not their morality is exactly what we as society need to try out best to do. We won’t be perfect at it, I know I’m not, but if we at least put forth a conscious effort, change can and will be made. We need to change the game.

My 11th Birthday

My 11th Birthday

Early in the morning, my mom went to work. That’s the way things were now- she had to work. I didn’t mind that she had to work because we spent all her free time together (and even some of her work time). Anyway, I’ve never been one to put a ton of energy or emphasis into a birthday. I got up early that morning and put on my new favorite dress, an early birthday present from my mom. Then, I waited for my father (who I probably still referred to as “dad”) to come pick me up.

When my father texted me that he was outside, I ran out to his car alongside my brother. Since it was my birthday, I said that I wanted to go get my nails done and have lunch at ‘that place that overlooks the lake’. That was alright with him. Oh, and that he should drop me off at Nana’s house because we were having a birthday celebration with the family (everyone except him). “WHAT?!? You don’t want to spend the whole day with me?”, he roared. I tried to explain that I simply wanted to be able to spend the day with all my family, not that I didn’t want to spend the whole day with him. This angered him more. I didn’t know what to do. He was yelling at me and finally stated that if I didn’t want to spend the whole day with him, I should get out of the car. I started crying and he said, ​”no really, get out of the car”.

Sobbing, I ran back into the house. My brother followed along shortly after me and I want to say that he gave my father a piece of his mind, but honestly, I have no idea. Maxx, my brother, gave me a hug and told me that we didn’t need him anyway. He called my grandmother, asked her to pick up water balloons, and then pick us up. When we got to her house, we had a really fun time having water balloon fights and food making​ contests. It was just the true family. Just the ones who really loved me.

That day (and unfortunately many others that ended with me in tears as well) crucially shaped how I viewed my father, but it took awhile for me to hold him accountable for his reckless and rude actions. I learned to never take moments or people for granted and to never surround myself with people who are underservant​ of my life. My 11th birthday was the last one he was present for, but my 10th birthday was the last one where he gave me a present or even a hug.

As I’m about to be 17, I remember this experience​- but I do not let it define me. I simply remember​ it and learn from it.

Daily Expression

Daily Expression

My appreciation for the expression of others
comes directly from the need to express myself.

I want to get piercings
and mark up my body
and make it my own.
Not because it’s pretty,
but because it’s uniquely me.

I want to drive at night
with the windows rolled down
blasting Bon Iver or Kendrick Lamar.
It’s a distinctive sensation
to feel the breezy wind
rattling the hair on my shoulders.

I want to wait
until I find a guy
who genuinely likes me
instead of settling for somebody
who doesn’t truly care about me.
I refuse to give into society
and their notion that love isn’t out there.

I want to travel
as often as I am able to
and experience cultures
that are drastically different from each other.
The world is full
of unique cultures and lives,
and I hope to experience as many as possible.

I want to express myself
and appreciate the expression of others.
Without truly listening
and truly understanding,
society is reduced
to a bunch of people wallowing about
alongside each other.

And what good is that?

I want to start putting in the effort
to look people in the eye
when they are talking.
So that I know
what makes them feel
happy, unique, and loved.

Taste Your Words

Taste Your Words

Things are getting bad again

Words start to feel like stones

And hugs like suffocation

While hazy moments of laughter

Cover the emptiness of my chest.

You’re not full, argues my stomach

You’re broken, says my heart

Every line that has been spoken to me

Telling me how to define myself

Comes back into my mind

Like a fog that deepens in the night.

Just keep your opinions to yourself sometimes

You’re actually smart?

No boy will want to listen to all that.

Crazy feminist bitch.

If you just worked on your stomach a little…

Try being less sensitive.

Get over yourself, it’s not all about you

Calm down, you’re being wild

You’ve been dating for 8 months, don’t you think you owe it to him?

 

I don’t like the way your words affect me

But I wish you tasted them too

Society Against Feline Abuse

Society Against Feline Abuse

Safa means ‘safe’ in Farsi

She explained as

We made the trek down

From the ranch house to the barn.

By the time we reached the bottom of the hill

The paint cans in our hands were boulders

And we set to work with rollers,

Covering the old wood the color of the open sky

And changing the decrepit and forgotten place

Into a home.

Four beaming eyes with pupils the size of saucers

Still slink away from me.

I know they’ve been hurting

And I know that they’re scared

But I don’t pretend to know what it feels like

To have your life in someone else’s hands.

But that’s why we’re here.

To open our arms

To make a home

To open some souls up to life.