10.24.14

I'm going to Europe next year. It's always been a That'd-be-nice, Someday-I'll-go, It-costs-HOW-much, kind of thing. But now it's time.

Part of me wants to go about it recklessly because I've never been prone to intentional recklessness and this is the perfect chance to be just that. But really I just want to live. Instead of writing about stuff and thinking about stuff and creating an alternate-reality where I'm that person that does that stuff, it's time to really do it in the reality that I'm wholly a part of. Or trying to be wholly part of.

I'm out of practice with this whole writing thing. I don't know where I've been, but it's foggy and uncomfortable and I'm just so tired. I'm tired of being tired. It's time for something else.


9.14.14

There is inconsistency and there is willful
avoidance of the expected. I choose both
because some things should be avoided
and I'm naturally inconsistent.
Inconstant.
Is that a word? Sounds funny to
me, like a walrus plucking blueberries whilst riding atop
a portable birdbath.

It is a word. I just looked it up.

---

The words burn as they try to escape from the vessel that encapsulates the rage.

Wait, no, that's just heartburn.
We're good.

---

Snaps of color bounce across
a gray-slated plane of mediocrity.
A cry slips out of cracked lips, half agony, half unknown.

Damn. I dropped my bag of Skittles.


-eg



7.29.14

Denton, Texas - May 2012
© e.gosney 2014

"We didn't know it was the beginning."

"No, no we did not."

"Then how did we know it was something worthwhile?"

"I did."

"You did?"

"No. I just like to think I did. Sometimes it's nice to pretend."

"Are you pretending now?"

"About what?"

"About this being the end."

"No. This is real life. This is the end."

"Oh."

She had been gazing at the side of his face as he stared stubbornly forward. She turned away now, head and body, as he confirmed in words what she had sensed for weeks. Months actually. This was it. The end. And he didn't seem to care all that much.

"Well if he doesn't care," she thought to herself, "neither will I. I never really liked him anyway. Nope. Not even a little bit." Her face twisted slightly in subtle disgust as she looked up again, studying his stone profile.

"I did love you." Jerked from her resolution of disdain, his unexpected words aroused a hidden hope, and then stung her with past tense. His stare continuing to penetrate the infinite space in front of him.

"And I you." Her plum cheeks rose up beneath pillars of a smile as her eyes left the present to explore long-gone days. Scrolling, flipping, page after page of memories, until the past caught up and the pillars were yanked out from under the plum cheeks. Her face crashed into the darkness of the present.

"We didn't know it was the beginning," she began, "perhaps we don't know if this is the end."

"Perhaps," he replied. "But I doubt it."

Slowly he stood, studying his knees, the chair arm, then the door handle.

Her head twisted over her shoulder as she watched him leave.

"Sometimes it's nice to pretend."

-eg

© 2014

7.24.14

Me and Cath. Provo, Utah. August 2012
© e.gosney 2014

Scooping up a piece of cake, the air-pocketed texture rubbed across her anticipating tongue, shooting rich scents of memories through the nasal cavaties.

"This tastes like first grade," she said casually, leaning forward to take another bite. "Yep. First grade."

The chocolate bits clung to the crevaces of her molars, nostrils flaring in unsure pleasure as the scenes scrolled behind her eyes. Playgrounds and old desks, lunchrooms and pencil erasers.

-eg

7.21.14

Deer Creek Resevoir, Provo Canyon, Utah. April 2012
© e.gosney 2014

At home I arrive, crossing the threshold from the chaos of foreign affairs to the refuge of arm chairs and sweatshirts. I peel off layers of sticky clothing that cling to my flushed skin. Away with the shoes, the socks. Away with the painted face and bobby-pinned hair. Yanking on a corded anchor, I raise the blinds and sneak a glance at the outer world. Forcing the aluminum window upward, a breeze sweeps through the dimly-lit apartment, dancing off books and somersaulting over the coffee table, landing amongst the couch cushions and sighing out a hello.

It is night, the time of creation. Eyelids sag in pitiful exhaustion, little men tugging on sleepy strings to bring the lids to a close. Unable to move toward one decision or another, I stand as a statue in a forgotten garden. The moss crawls and creeps, latching onto my toes and ankle bones. It is so simple, to fall. But I cannot decide, for there is so much yet to be done.

Another push of wind catches my tangled hair, with moonbeams and fairy wings coming to join the fun. I exist here. There is not this way or that way, it is only present. There is no mistake, no progression. There is only a moment suspended in my stout figure, in my fogged-over and whip-lashed mind. "Give me this moment," I plead to the moon. But words have made all things flee.

I dare myself to move. Breaking the growth that has accumulated around my grounded feet, I stomp one step to my left. The shell cracks and crumbles, exposing me once more to the timeline I want so much to hinder. I step lightly twice more, snatching hanging clothes between tender-skinned fingers. I touch the wall, feeling its pulse connect with mine. It isn't the structure that is mine, but the idea. The freedom. The life I know and the life I have, ever so slowly, begun to adore. My palm presses against the white-washed wall and I lean in for goodnight kiss. I stop short, realizing the spell has brought me too far into the absurd. I pull away and shatter back through to reality.

Still, I can't help but whisper into the paint. "You are mine. I am yours, life. If only for a little while longer."

Safe from the unknown. Making love to an idea. Such is my life at six and 20.

-eg

7.18.14

Woodland Hills, Utah
© e.gosney 2014

I expect it to be a relief of sorts. Not the kind of endings, that something has finally ceased to bear down on my all-too-weak and all-too-impatient shoulders, but rather an exhale and a renewed breath. A completion of one part and the hope and excitement for the next.

It isn't ornate or involved. It is but one hand finding another and grasping it for the first time. Then the body fills up with something new, as the exhale makes room for ... that. That smile I can feel on my cheeks and lips but can't yet form. Not yet. That fulfillment I can imagine but have not encountered. Not yet.

He will take my hand and I his and I will dare not look, in fear it is an illusion. But then I will glance down, the unreachable smile will take hold of me, body and soul, and I will dare raise my gaze to meet his. Whoever he is. Blessed man who lines my imagination, whose unknown being fills the capsules of fairytale men I read about, of actors I see. And to think, those are all fake, stuck to the pages and the screens that gave them life. But the man I will someday meet is real. He exists. I like to think he exists for me and I for him, and though we exist perfectly well apart, when we meet, when out hands find one another's at last, we will begin to understand we never wholly existed at all before that moment. And we will never be the same again, nor would we want to be.

Indeed, I expect it to be sigh, a relief, a gasp of air as I attempt to breathe in every ounce of that moment when I finally find the one I dream of, the one I seek. And the moment he finds me.

-eg

6.14.14


Something felt a little off there. Something began, after so many years, to feel not-quite-right.

It was lovely and it was fun and it was, in a way, very much mine. But perhaps that was the problem. It was a little too comfortable, a little too familiar, a little too much of me in it and it in me. So there I sat, wading through shallow bits of pleasure and beauty and homey-ness. But even at home you don't always belong. Rather, you don't always belong at home.

I left for a while, and I wanted so desperately to get back. To have familiarity around me, because I couldn't find it within myself. I recognized the name they used to address me by. "I remember her," I would say to myself, dim-eyed, shrunken and dark inside a faux shell.

Inward a stranger dwelt, weeping for all that once was, all that could have been. Playing a part, I crafted a mask and clung to a hope that if I could only get back there, things would be alright. I could hide, I could heal, and I could escape.

And yet I am not there. I am here.

Dumped in an ocean of foreign customs and strange accents, sports teams I don't care about and street names I don't recognize, I made no effort to rise. I relished the sensation of sinking, thoroughly bored and full of disdain. Yawning, I sat and watched the water reach my mouth, my nose, my eyes. Air? I have no need for air. I have had enough of that.

But instinct, I've found, is stronger than arrogance. Gulping water laced with pride, my flailing arms broke through the all-too-familiar surface. Somehow, I found footing in deep water.

It isn't home, but I belong.


I wanted to try reading my stuff, so you can hear how it sounds to me. Nifty, eh?



©e.gosney 2014

6.8.14

As more and more of my friends get engaged, have children, buy houses, travel around the world, go to great concerts, create amazing things, I find my smile growing wider and wider. Somehow, the jealousy and frustration and half-hearted congratulations (if I expressed any at all) of my past years that so often accompianied such events have morphed into this inexplicable happiness at the sight of someone elses happiness.

How'd that happen, right?

And then, whether they want to share it or not, I grab some of that happiness for myself.

Now, don't get me wrong, I still find myself, at times, muttering, "What the --? Her?! SHE got engaged? What the crap am I doing wrong?!" and "Seriously? Another picture of your kid and your dog? Enough already."

Hey, nobody's perfect.

Well, except that one family. They are. Damn them.

It's really quite nice, to be more filled with joy at the news of other's successes rather than that twang of bitterness or regret. It's somehow relieving, and freeing. It's not just an emotional response, but something that physically swells inside me, bursting sparkles and sunshine out of my ears and mouth.

Wait. No. That's not physically what happens. Creepy.

But it is freeing, just the same.

You know how, when you're at a festival and the old-man band starts playing some country music and a few people start clapping along with the rhythm, and you want to, too, but feel kinda foolish, so you don't, and instead sit there tapping your foot like all the other cool kids? And then there are the 80-year-old couples who are grinning from ear to ear, clapping like there's no tomorrow (and for them, well, there might not be. HA! I kid, I kid.) And you see people smiling at them, the cool kids are even smiling at them. Then the little kids start dancing and you say to yourself, "Man, that looks like fun." And really you're wishing YOU could be one of those little kids or that 80-year-old, because they're just having fun. They are enjoying life. They're soaking it in.

With all the big news I hear from friends and family, somehow I've started to become the clapping 80-year-old, just happy. And not ashamed to be happy.

Maybe it has something to do with the satisfaction I have in my own life, as "uneventful" as it is. Maybe it's part of getting older. I don't know, but it's fan-freaking-tastic.

"Joys divided are increased" --Josiah Gilbert Holland




These are totally random, but fun. This was the day before I entered the MTC (Feb. 2013). Hayden has a Sonic Screwdriver. Love this kid. 

5.21.14

I dreamed last night that I was sent to prison. It was no ordinary prison, however. In the middle of an open-air mall there sat a very small, very dingy Payless shoe store with metal bars stretching across the storefront. I was escorted in along with another prisoner -- a tiny oldy lady who resembled something between a troll, a hobbit, and Kristen Chenoweth. The 10x20-foot space had cement floor and shelves of shoes from 2001, which were all covered in dust and dirt from the same era. Benches were crowded with people trying on sandals and tennies. As I shuffled past them, the little imp of a woman under my care, I took in my pitiful surroundings and watched as inmates tied up their Airwalk laces and walked out the door. "They can just leave?" I said, mostly to myself, as the little troll lady was most likely deaf. I quickly learned that all it took to escape these hellish confines was to find a pair of shoes that fit, and liked, and be on your way.

I wanted desperately to find a pair of shoes, but my hobbit-like friend needed help, and I felt obligated to aid her before seeking my own pair. She was no bigger than 4-feet-11-inches, with feet to match. But nothing seemed to fit her. And then, as if a light from the heavens beamed down through the cinderblocks, we saw a section of childrens shoes just two feet from where we stood. "This is it!" I exclaimed. "We're going to find your shoes and you'll be free and then so will I." But I quickly realized it wouldn't be so simple. She was a picky little devil, and nothing could satisfy her, although all the shoes were like Cinderella's glass slipper on her foot. One by one, she tried them on, discarding them each with a sniff and toss. I became more and more panicked at the thought of being stuck in that Payless prison. My panic turned to anger as I watched her impotence and arrogance and selfishness -- and then the words, whether they made sense or not, came pouring out. But without a sound. I could no longer vocalize my thoughts. I watched in helpless agony. "How dare she! Can't she see how many perfectly good pairs she's disregarding? Rejecting?! If only I could find a pair of black PF Fliers in my size, I'd be so happy."

I never saw that day. She continued to try on shoes as I slipped from dreams into reality. Somehow reality resembles the dream too much.

-eg

5.20.14


I heard it today. I heard my life. Through the chambers of a trumpet and across piano keys I heard my life. Smooth. Lively. Inviting. The kind of rhythm that brings a smile -- forces a smile. No. The kind of rhythm that slips a smile on to your unsuspecting face, like a pick pocket in reverse.

That's how I hear it, no matter what those people say. They tell me I can't be happy here, can't be happy alone, can't be happy until I have. But I do have. And I hear. And I see. All around me it swirls, unglimpsed by them, but a cloud of colors to me. I hear my life and I see the notes from my future. In the mist I watch the shapes of those yet to be, the memories and the unborn and the unmet just waiting for me to arrive. "I'm coming," I sing to them, dancing my way toward what will be, enveloped in the magic that is.

-eg

[photo taken at Disneyland in February, by me.]

5.16.14

I don't talk much about my mission. People don't ask and I don't bring it up. I'm very aware of the stereotypes and the stigmas surrounding returned missionaries, and I am bound and determined not be be clumped with them. But regardless of whether I choose to begin every Sunday School comment with, "Well, on my mission ...", there are some things worth sharing about my time with the tag.

I want to tell you about Manuel.


Manuel is about 75 years old. He can't quite remember what year he was born, and it really doesn't matter in the end. Manuel lives in a temporary, one-room house behind the homes of his daughter and his son. His own house fell down during the earthquake in 2010 and he hasn't been able to rebuild it yet. He was baptized the Sunday before I got to Til-Til, and was the first lesson I got to help teach when I arrived. He didn't understand a word I said, but instead of making me feel foolish, he sat back, patted his weather-worn face and simply said, "Que lindo, que lindo." He didn't care about words; he cared about the feeling they brought.

Manuel was in the military as a younger man. He traveled all across South America, breaking hearts in every country, and leaving a few illegitimate children behind to prove it. He owns a dog named Satanás (Satan), who is always tied up behind his house. He would yell, "Sále! Satanás!" when the dog would bark incesently. In other words, "DEPART! SATAN!"

Manuel came to church every single Sunday, riding the bus 20 minutes to get there and spending what little money he had to do it. That man wears a suit well, and a sweater underneath his suit coat even better. One Sunday he came, his tie dangling from his outstretched hand, and asked if I could help him tie it. I think it was that same Sunday that he gave the prayer in Sunday School and concluded with the words: "... Please bless the missionaries. Please bless the members of this church. They are so good and so beautiful. And please bless my neighbor, who's a little rude, but ...... oh well."
(I guess it might be less impactful in English, and even less so by the fact that you can't hear him say it while holding you're breath during the long pause before he finally finished the thought about his vecino. "Pero ....... bueno.")

Manuel is also the man I shared a hymn book with when the power went out during General Conference and we all sang hymns to fill the time until conference came back on. I had arrived in Chile just a week or so earlier. I didn't know how to communicate with him, or anyone, in Spanish, but sitting next to him in that pew, just me and him and a hymn book, I didn't need to say anything. We just sang. And it was perfect.

I don't feel this way about many, and I say it about even fewer, but Manuel is a kindred spirit. And he demonstrates faith and love of God in all he is. I never want to forget him. So that part of my mission is worth sharing.



5.11.14

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. 
[Sorry for the blatant disrespect Catherine exhibits here.]

video

5.10.14

Thought on Humanity:

There's this girl that lives at my apartment complex. She's white, with dirty blond dread locks, and an electric car that's covered in Coexist, Save the Planet, Don't Shoot Cows stickers. To be honest, I thought that would be me in another life. Probably for the dread locks. [I researched how to make my hair into dread locks in 10th grade. Didn't follow through. But I digress.] I saw her the other day, getting out of her electric car, wearing her bio-degradable pants, carrying about 10 bags of groceries. IN PLASTIC BAGS. I lost all hope in humanity in that moment. And I realized she should be stripped of her Chacos; her buckets of red paint confiscated. Plastic bags. Sheesh. Who does she think she is?

Thoughts on Pinterest:

1) Either I'm getting old or my friends are trying REALLY hard to be geniune hipsters, because there seems to be an over-abundance of knitting and crocheting pins lately.

2) One of these days I'm going to start pinning lots of baby things, then wedding and engagement related things, just to freak people out. It'll culminate with breast feeding tips, Teen Mom cover stories, "How to Pick the Right Sperm Donor" articles, and wedding/baby shower invitation design ideas. People will be so confused. It'll be hilarious. I'm just sad I won't be able to see their faces.

Confession:

I started collecting quotes like ... a ... person who likes collecting quotes, in 8th grade. I wrote them down, by hand, from the internet. Apparently I didn't have access to a printer. Or MAYBE that's the reason my handwriting is so great. Regardless, there seemed to be quite a few quotes by some mysterious genius named "Anon." I was intrigued. Who was this man? Where did he glean all his widsom? What was his last name? Was he a contemporary of Socrates? Shakespeare? Hemingway? It wasn't until my junior year -- three YEARS later -- that I discovered the mystery behind the four-lettered man. I'm more than slightly ashamed.

A Photo:
Found this guy in OKC. At the biggest -- OK, so really the ONLY -- skyscraper in the city.
Psh, brother, please. I'm gonna tell my own dang story. I'm not letting those jokers out there ruin my story with bad punctuation and misplaced capitalization.


4.5.14

I've heard ... before (I was gonna say recently, but it wasn't recently) that blog and Facebook profiles and all the stuff we post on the internet about ourselves is filtered and edited and ultimately a false representation of ourselves.

Totally true.

But, I still love looking at beautiful, seeminly perfect people's blogs and how they have endless candid photos of themselves (seriously, do they have a photographer following them around all day?) and they go on amazingly fun vacations and on and on. My life isn't like that. I like to pretend sometimes, and at this hour I can't think straight enough to try and analyze why I would do that, but that's OK because the point of this post is to even things out a little bit. I'm going to give you a glimpse of my life. My real, unedited life. It won't be pretty, but it must be done.

Alright, so, today. I didn't roll gracefully out of bed, tangled in crisp white sheets, the soft morning light streaming in through the lemon trees and my open window as a breeze brushed my cheek. Nuh-uh. I fumbled for my phone, yanking it from the charger, nearly choked to death as the green, thrift-store sheets latched on to my dried skin, my hair resembling a dead badger and my rancid breath seeping through cracked lips as I stumbled to the bathroom. Picturesque, am I right?

And can you believe the conversation I had with myself today?

"Wow, you've really gained some weight, huh?" It was a rhetorical question.

"Like you're one to talk. We can't even wear our pencil skirts we bought a couple years ago because SOMEONE'S butt has gotten so big."

"Ya know what? You can't go to the movies today. You've lost that privelage."

"HA! I wasn't going to anyway, you selfish----"

We'll stop there.

Wow. Let's just say Elizabeth's life isn't the fairytale you thought it was. Hobo bedding, bad breath, verbal abuse. Count yourself lucky you don't have to live this personal hell.

Alright, well, off to yoga and then my favorite cafe to write my feelings and have someone take photos of me doing it all.

Have a fantastic day! xoxo

P.S. I AM pretty fabulous, though, am I right? I mean, look at me!

3.25.14

"Apparently he's not gay," I said offhandedly, continuing the construction of my niece's Barbie Dream House. "He's dating an old high school friend of mine. A girl. Crazy."

I didn't look up, but could feel her looking at me, studying my face, searching for a sign of the emotion I wasn't showing. "So are we going out to lunch, then?" I glanced up at her as I changed the subject, regretting my decision to ever bring him up in the first place.

It'd been months — no, years — since him. The dates and photographs, meals and movies, then the awkward and halted goodbyes and a secret hope that some time would make him see. But I only openly admitted the hope for his happiness and that the space was good.

The gay theory was silly, but an extraordinarily effective way to mask my ever-present desires and crushed hopes with humor. That some how it wasn't anything wrong with me. It was him that had the problem. He had no choice but to reject me, and I, well, I let him go. To chase men. Well, it was humorous to me.

No one really bought that, though. That it was my decision to end it. Not even me.

"When's the last time you spoke to him?" she asked, knowing full-well that my lips were on lunch but my mind was still — and seemingly always — on him.

"Last August, I guess..."

It was August 28th. I remember the day. The weather. His blue button-up shirt.

Finishing the Barbie Dream House, I set down the screwdriver.

"Ready?"

"Ready."

We went for Chinese.

3.12.14

I found an archaic Tae-Bo video on YouTube tonight. I nearly died after 25 minutes of Billy Blanks' basic workout. No, seriously, I had to hurry and get dressed after my quick shower to avoid passing out as my body twitched strangely and my head slowly pounded, my blood contemplating where it wanted to go and when it wanted to leave.

I could say a lot of things about this experience. I could express how pathetic I am physically. How sad it is that I struggle with such an easy workout when, a year and a half ago, I was rock climbing and running daily. But that would be BORING, and for all that my blog is, it isn't boring.

Wait, right?

Ha. You think I care. You think I write this stuff for your enjoyment. False. I write this so my fans in Russia have something to read and so I can have an outlet for my 20-something complaints -- that is, complaints of a 20-something. Believe me, I have more than 20-something complaints to list.

I moved recently. To the city. I'll let you psychopaths who aren't my real friends ponder where that city might be, but let's say it's not exactly the city one dreams of living in at 26. Or, ever.
But! I do have a studio apartment where I don't have to mark my food with my initials, there are no cleaning checks, and so far the only creepy part about it is my downstairs neighbor who happens to look exactly like the black vampire in Twilight, except with vegetarian-colored eyes, a three-piece suit and a long-stemmed cigarette holder. Obviously I go running to borrow a cup of sugar from that dude on a daily basis.

I moved because I got a new job. I write now. Well, I write and make money for doing it. Nothing glamorous, which perfectly matches the city I live in (see previous paragraph). The people are rad at my new job. Wait, sorry, is that word too Utah? Rad. Ha. I love Utah, I do, but man alive, I never knew exactly how thick and detrimental that bubble could be. Eye-opener? Yessireebob.

I had a point to all this. I think. Probably something to do with wasting my time on social media sites and avoiding the real world, further stunting my complete lack of friends (for once, I'm not exaggerating. I have zero friends here). Maybe it was something about creativity. Communication? Jumpsuits. Zebra collars. 8-bit musical chairs. Aerobics at midnight. Acorn dust. Barbershop tanktops.

Maybe that bubble was a good thing for me.

-eg

2.25.14


Alone never tasted so good as it did after him.

-eg

2.24.14

Near Til-Til, Chile - Cuesta la Dormida 

I wasn't alone, by myself, for 11 months. For 11 months I had someone with me. Watching me. Making sure if I turned a corner in the grocery store to look at the Cheetos, they were right there looking at the Doritos. When I started those months, that was a big fear of mine. Being not alone. And I feared for the other person, because I wasn't sure how long I'd last before punching that other person—who I could hear breathing outside the bathroom door—in the face. And now, after 11 months, I'm alone quite a bit. I drive without a co-pilot, I see movies with empty seats on either side, I go down the chips AND soda aisles by myself. And two weekends ago, I was home alone for four days and three nights. And I discovered something about myself.

I talk to myself. All. The. Time.

This isn't an anomaly by any means. Other people talk to themselves all the time, too. Sometimes when they're alone. Sometimes when they're with others. In the office, the kitchen, the car, the grocery store. But it is interesting, at least to me, the way in which I speak to myself.

When I'm frustrated or confused: When no one is there to help me talk through problems, well, I guess I don't really need them. I talk and mutter and play the devil's advocate and bring up counter-opinions and agree with myself and disagree and change my mind. And my mind's mind. And then, it seems, I go write about it.

In the car: I'm not talking to myself. I'm yelling at the other drivers. Morons.

When I'm happy: When I'm regular happy, I don't talk to myself. But when I land an interview, or just get through an interview, when I find something sA-WEET at Target, when I find old music that busts my head open with memories, when it's raining like the ark has just been completed, that's when I laugh with myself. I get almost hysterical, telling myself about what I'm going to do, what I remember, how funny that person's name will be if she marries so-and-so, if they have southern-style chicken in the north, how badly I have to go to the bathroom, everything. Every is wonderful, even my hangnail doesn't bother me. And I tell myself so. Even that jerk of an interviewer is a great guy because I can let the laughter and relief burst through my mouth as I yell, "What a JACKass!" and remember all the funny faces I gave him in what should've been a professional interview. I love talking to myself. I don't have to justify anything. Me totally understands me. What an incredible thing, if I do say so myself. And I have said it. Outloud. To myself.

I don't know about you, but I think speech is incredibly powerful, regardless of how many people hear you.

This photo has nothing to do with my post, but it is in my top 5 favorite photos from my mission. I was in Lampa, Chile. 

*One last thing: I would like it noted that I spelled "anomaly" correctly in this post withOUT the aid of spellcheck. OK, that's all.

1.31.14

A piece I wrote in 2010 and found recently as I was sorting through my boxes in the attic.

The Frog
By Elizabeth Gosney

“Give it back.”
He looked at her, a shadow in the darkness. The night was dark and the alley even darker. He couldn’t make out her face, but that voice was unmistakable.
“Give it back,” she said again, this time slower, harder, as if the words hurt her mouth.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
He was lying. He knew what she wanted, but lying was easier than the truth. He knew what she wanted, but there was no way for him to give it back to her.
“What are you doing back here, kid? I just came out to get some air. I haven’t seen you in weeks, where’ve you been? Hey, let’s get out of this alley, yeah? I need some air — that club is disgusting. But you know that, huh?”
He consciously made his voice casual and unassuming to mask the anxiousness gnawing at his stomach, along with all the alcohol. The anger in her voice struck at him like fists, putting him on edge. He was unsure how much he’d had to drink,  and consequently unsure how able he was to think effectively.
“Come on, kid. Let’s get out of here. I’ll buy you a drink and we’ll catch up. Yeah?”
He faltered on the last word, his voice almost pleading. His slip in confidence startled him — he was used to having the upper hand in situations, but now he felt like a wounded gazelle on the African plains. He held his breath and squinted into the shadows, waiting for her response.
She took two steps toward him, just far enough for the green florescent light from the street lamp to catch the side of her face and illuminate her sharp cheekbones. This woman did not look like the girl he remembered; she had been soft, rosy, innocent and charmingly naïve. This woman was hardened, her face gaunt and gray. He’d forgotten how muscular she was, her broad shoulders accentuated by her thin, gray t-shirt. He was four or five inches taller than her, but the way she was looking at him made him feel small. Her rigid stance resembled that of a caged circus animal who’d been beaten and neglected. Her eyes were fixed on him, unblinking, as if he held the chair and whip. She was preparing for the kill.
 “I don’t want your drinks, and I sure as hell don’t want any more of your conversation. I want it back. Now.”
“Like I said, kid, I don’t know wha—”
“NOW!”
The force of her voice was almost tangible, pushing him backward in a startled, drunken shuffle. Reaching back with his hand, he steadied himself against the cold brick wall, the fear of a vengeful woman overtaking his imagination. He was a nice guy, wasn’t he? He didn’t make trouble, did he? Why was she acting like this? What had he done? — He was lying to himself now. He knew what he’d done, but he refused to admit that to her. This was ridiculous. He wasn’t afraid of some girl, angry or not.
“Look, kid. I’m gonna get outa here. You coming or what?”
Without warning she leapt at him from the shadows, driving her shoulder into his chest. His reactionary neurons fired like a 1912 Model-T Ford doused in stale beer, leaving him helpless to brace himself before his head slammed into the brick wall behind him. He slid down the uneven stone to the damp ground, grabbing the back of his head as the warm blood began running down his neck, seeping into his blue shirt collar.
She swung at him wildly, hitting his nose, his ear, his jaw. Blood filled his throat as he tried to cry out. He fell onto his side, half choking, half gasping. Wrapping his arms around his head, he squeezed his eyes shut and prepared for the next blow. He waited, lungs burned from holding his breath in anticipation of pain. But the next punch didn’t come. Slowly he opened his eyes. She stood over him, straddling his outstretched legs, her shoulders heaving up and down with adrenaline-fueled breaths. Her eyes were closed, her brows pinched together, and her hands hung limp at her side.
“What am I doing, David?”
She opened her eyes and looked down at him, pleading. He stared back through his guarding arms, silent, afraid of triggering another attack with the sound of his voice.
“I shouldn’t be here. But I knew you’d be here. And I hate you. But I, I need you. Because you have it and I want it back. David, give it back. Please.”
He could only stare at her. The combination of liquor, head trauma and her freakish mood-change put him on the verge of vomiting. Unwinding his arms from his head, he carefully pushed the upper half of his body off the ground and sat back against the alley wall. He breathed heavily, watching her. The fluids seemd to seep from every part of his head. Still afraid to speak, he looked down at his bloody arms and hands. He didn’t mind blood like some people did. It was like saliva, like earwax. It was just life.
She stepped over his legs and sat next to him, her back against the wall, her eyes straight ahead. He stared at her, not knowing what to do. He wanted to hit her. He wanted to run away. He wanted to throw-up. But he couldn’t move. He just stared.
“Do you remember when we met, David? It was a year ago. It was right here, at this bar. Do you remember what you said to me?”
He couldn’t think. His head felt like a balloon being squeezed between a vice. He spit the blood from his mouth and glared at the side of her face. What kind of game was she playing? Because he was losing.
“I said you didn’t look like the other waitresses.” He grumbled his response, and spit more blood from his mouth. His lips stung.
“And the way you said it, I knew it was a good thing. The way you said it made me fall in love with you.”
She looked at him, returning his stare. He could feel the blood pulsating through his battered face and head as the skin began to swell. She was being sincere, honest, kind. It was her way of manipulating him. He knew that trick, because he did it too.
“Do you remember our first date?”
She looked away, her voice was forlorn, yet laced with hope. It made him feel like the perpetrator and she the victim. And really, that was how she felt. That’s why she was here. He knew that.
“We went to the carnival. Yeah, kid, I remember.”
 “Do you remember the Ferris wheel?”
“Yeah, sure. It was your first time.”
His breathing had slowed and the blood had begun to dry. The stickiness of it was equally fascinating as it was irritating.
“Do you remember the car ride to the coast?”
He knew this was where she was headed. That’s why she wanted him to talk, to make him understand why she was the victim, not him.
“Yeah, kid, I remember.”
It was three hours to the coast, which meant three hours of conversation. She had wanted to listen to music, but he insisted they talk. Had he known that conversation would lead to a bloodied face in a dark alley, he may have avoided the alley that night.
He drifted away, his mind traveling away from the alley and into the blue, ’94 Honda they’d driven that day. He played the conversation in his head, remembering each dissecting comment of the three-hour talk, and how each one cut deeper into her shy and guarded person:
“You’re introverted, but more than anything, you want companionship.”
It was a statement, not a question.
“You’re confident in your abilities as an artist, but completely insecure in relationships. And you know why? Because every time you get close to a guy and open up to him, he leaves. So now you don’t trust anyone.”
He waited for a rebuttal as the car wound along the scenic highway. But she didn’t say anything. She didn’t even seem to be listening.
“Basically, the way I see it, you don’t take risks, so no one wants to take a risk on you.”
He looked over at her. Her body was turned away from him as she stared out the window. She probably hadn’t even heard him, which was too bad, because he’d made some well-worded observations. He smiled to himself proudly. He’d gotten really good at reading people. But his self-praising thoughts were cut short by a sniffle to his right.
“Woah, kid, why are you crying?”
“No one has ever — How did you ­— I didn’t even know — ”
She was sobbing by then, blubbering in confusion at how he could know all that about her. She told him he had said things about her she didn’t even know about herself, or at least not well enough to put into words. He couldn’t understand why she was so upset — if anything he’d done her a favor, helping her see things for how they really were.
She didn’t talked for the rest of the drive. When they got to the coast, she seemed almost herself again, but more pensive, more careful. On their way back, she held his hand and told him how special he was to her, how she was so grateful for him in her life. He hardly heard her, the radio was playing his favorite song.
He snapped back to the present, still sitting in the alley, still bloody and swollen. She was still there, staring blankly at the wall opposite them. She seemed to be playing the same scene through her head as he just had. She turned to look at him. She was crying.
“Why did you stick around? Why did you let me trust you?”
Lying now would be no better than the truth.
“Because you made me feel full. As in, satisfied. Most girls don’t do that for me.”
“Did you love me?”
“No.”
She turned away from him as her shoulders began to heave. He was too drunk and too sore to care. He looked down at his bloody hands again. Pulling his legs underneath him, he pushing himself off the ground. She didn’t seem like much of a threat now. He took two steps and heard her whisper.
“Please. Please.”
“I never took it, kid. You gave it. So take it back. I don’t care.”
She had stopped crying and lifted her head away from her hands. She examined her fingers like she was seeing them for the first time. Her head jerked around, squinting her eyes in disgust and confusion.
“You don’t care? You’re lying.”
He was. He did care. But not because he cared about her. He cared about himself and how she made him feel. He was selfish because life was easier that way. She didn’t understand that. She didn’t understand him. Hell, she didn’t even understand herself.
“Take it back, kid. Take control of your life. Stop blaming other people, wouldya? It’s not attractive.”
He turned his back on her and walked casually down the alleyway, out onto the street. If he went home and changed, he’d still have time to hit a few more clubs. He’d have to make up a story for his buddies — getting beat up by a girl wasn’t the way to earn respect.
© 2014 e.gosney

1.27.14

There are some questions asked and there are certain questions answered, and they are done in such a way as to excite the mind. Not because the information sought and the information reported is anything new or unique, but it is, just the same, discovered.

A mother asks a son what he refuses to ask himself. A lover phrases a question oh-so-precisely as to ignite thoughts previously unacknowledged. A simple prayer in the early morning hours becomes a moment of self-reflection and enlightenment. There are spaces — cracks, caverns — within each of us that burn and ache, waiting for the questions, the self-examinations, the answers. Nothing so profound as the meaning of life or the expanse of the universe. No, they are simpler things. So simple, in fact, that they are overlooked. There, in the corner of our everyday lives, in our blind spots, in the shadows. There, but so very absent.

We hear a joke, laugh and say, "It's funny because it's true." We aren't learning anything novel, but rather seeing it in a different light. And so it is with every aspect of our existence: The more we question, accept questions, shift position and change perspective, the more light we cast on ourselves. An inward casting.

But then there are the bits of us we imprison in the shadows. We chain them to the corner of our lives because it is so much easier, so much more comfortable, to ignore those pieces.

But when those blessed moments come — and they do, they always do — a gap is filled up, stitched back, and we welcome in a new version of ourselves, like the best friend we haven't seen in years, yet when they arrive, it seems they've been there always. And those pieces have always been there, they've just been waiting. Waiting to be seen. To be discovered. To complete us just that much more, if only we allow it.

1.28.14

I had a dream the other night that I was getting married. I had the dress, the boquet, the church, everything. I was walking into the chapel with my mom, a flurry of activity around me as things were readied for the event. I had a picture of the groom in my head: An ordinary bloke. Handsome enough. But amid all the activity, my stomach turned and I became sick with worry. I didn't know if he made me laugh. I wracked my mind for memories of laughter. But the only thing that came were the moments when I made HIM laugh. This wouldn't do. This was too cruel. How could I marry a man unable to make me even chuckle?

My concentration broke as I accidentally kicked over a bottle of water and watched it roll under a pew. I stared at it, like it was an alien. Tugging me on the arm, my mom broke my gaze and lead me to a dressing room to wait. I sat there alone, desperately trying to convince myself that this was OK. I could go through with it, couldn't I? Despite the lack of wit on his end? I could do it. I certainly couldn't back out now, not with all the guests arriving. If I could just sneak out the back door. Take a bus. Get away. Escape it all.

The alarm went off at this point, pulling me back into reality. I awoke, single, the sole occupant of a king-sized bed in my parents' home.

Now THERE'S something to laugh about.

1.12.14

I could sit here for hours — mechanically scrolling and clicking, scanning and double-clicking — if it weren't for the panic that comes. A panic that I must — I have to — go to bed, because I have things to do tomorrow.

But I don't.

Then I panic because I have people depending on me.

But I don't.

Then I panic some more as a list of things and people and events and responsibilities filter through my numbed mind. Yet each ones ends in,

"But I don't."

I don't have anything. Anyone. What could be a liberating experience of no expectations mutates into a crushing realization of worthlessness. Of my own worthlessness.

Yet I know that isn't true. Strange how I wish it were true for the mere melodramatic, pathetic, sad-story-for-the-sake-of-evoking-emotion-in-my-writing reason. There is so little interest in the everything-is-alright stories. Everyone knows that. And if you don't, well, now you do. What's exciting about normality? About average? About "just right"?

So, as much as I would like this story to be a heart-wrenching, soul-searching glimpse into a life that you thank the heavens you aren't living, chances are you are living it. Something like it. And chances are, you are equally disatisified with your disgustingly satisfying life, but seek somehow to make it unique amongst the emense evidences of ordinary.

Ordinaryness?

Oh, I suppose we are all special. We're all unique in some way or another. And this time of limbo for me is legitamately out-of-the-ordinary, with no job, no friends, no car, no money. But it is, by no means, a call for over-dramatization.

Although, it would appear by my preceding paragraphs, it is a call for hyphenation.

-eg