My reflection in black mirrors show me Hidden scars and imperfections, but I liked to see myself that way. However, my inner child said to translate my personal Traits on a blank canvas and this was what I Made A youthful goddess with an old soul surrounded by the hues of a purple personality. She was crowned with the shrubs of hydrangea, and her skin was an intuitive indigo. Even in the depths of her cool aroma, I could feel her warm golden heart. That was when it came to me— I was Art! ~a.o.e
Prose to Poetry (3)
Because when I read,
I don’t really read.
Instead, I pause
To feed myself
A beautiful sentence and
Like my grandmother’s lemon drops,
Or I sip it
Like my favorite herbal tea
Until the thought dissolves in me
Like warm medicine,
Infusing brain and heart
And flowing through the veins
to the root of each blood vessel.
Why am I burning up, even though I haven’t even had a fire set me to ashes yet? I can’t be crying over the smallest of things, having no motivation to do anything other than nothing.
Why am I sobbing in my room at random times of the day? Aren’t the other people in my life doing so much more and yet succeeding? Where did all my talent from years past go?
And yet, I can’t help with tears streaking down my face, staring at my reflection in my mirror. After all, did I really expect that I would ever have it easy? If I’m not struggling with outside forces, my mind will create its own struggles.
I’m crying over having to do the things I love, and even seeing the people I love. I’m always either flying higher into the sky like Icarus, high on the new feelings before eventually crashing into the ocean below. I’ve never been Daedulus, wise and patient, no matter how hard I try. I’ve tried changing myself again and again to try to save myself, and yet, it seems as if I’m fated to always be the side character who dies in the story.
Flying higher into the sky, then plunging back to the ground at deadly speeds as the sun burns my wings. I fall onto the ground and cry out in pain, then stand up and take off, only to repeat the process again. It’s a cycle of pain, and I don’t know how to escape.
Every day, we look forward to something good happening in our lives. Something that will motivates us to get up and do something we want to do. We always believe that if we try hard enough, whatever we are searching for will eventually find its way back to us. That the opportunity of a lifetime will walk through front does of our homes hoping to find its way into our lives. However, that’s when we’re wrong. As Madam C.J. Walker said, “Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, go out there and create them!” The key to not losing opportunities is to act before they are lost. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Opportunity is defined as, “an occasion or situation that makes it possible to do something that you want to do or have to do, or the possibility of doing something.” In our daily lives, there are many opportunities that are all around us, but we never really seem to make an effort to capitalize them. It doesn’t matter if it is staring right at us; we don’t do anything about it. Why? It’s because we’re afraid that once we’ve taken the chance, we may lose it, even if it’s something that we’re passionate about. Yet, we never seem to understand that even if we lost an opportunity, we can still go and create something new. Only if we let the opportunity go, and don’t take any action to secure it, will it be gone forever.
Have you heard the phrase, “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, you don’t want to miss it.” Probably. As you can see that, even with just this phrase, it’s opening you to the possibility of a world of unlimited possibility of a world of unlimited opportunities, and not just one that are given. As soon as we have the chance to be able to do something we love to do, we need to take advantage of it. Life isn’t full of rainbows and unicorn; it’s full of obstacles and tragedies that we may encounter along the way. In life, we only have one chance. With that one chance, we’re able to do something we love to do, because the moment that chance passes, everything that we have worked so hard for in order to get to the place in our lives that we accomplished or to be given a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity, will have been for nothing. In the words of Eddie Kennison, a former American football wide receiver. he says, “When opportunity presents itself, don’t be afraid to go after it.” It is only once in a lifetime that we are given an opportunity that we will never forget. Don’t let that chance pass you by. Hold on to what you want and don’t let go. It’s up to you if you want that chance, so don’t hesitate and don’t wait to take it.
In a Houston Barnes and Noble . . .
Tom McDeal and Ari Darkwood are as different as can be. Tom is a Texas boy, born and raised. After getting married and divorced twice, he shifted his focus to cattle herding, though he still wants to eventually find a nice girl and settle down – for real this time. His main goal is now to write a memoir about the trials and tribulations of cattle herding. He decided to go to the nearest Barnes and Noble today, which is in Houston, to find books for inspiration for his new project. The current ones in his cart include The Art of Yeehaw: How to be a Better Cowboy and The Life of a Cowherd. Ari, meanwhile, comes from a family of shapeshifters. Yes, sorcerers are very real, and yes, they are in hiding. After her family mysteriously disappeared a couple of years ago, she’s on her own now, which is . . . unfortunate for the world, especially urban Americans. You see, Ari is a kleptomaniac, and she’s very good at what she does. Stealing things and re-selling them is her main gig, and it’s very lucrative. (Her best job was selling the Statue of Liberty for several billion. Don’t ask.) Now, she also happens to be in Houston, and she also happens to be in the Barnes and Noble. She decided to take a small job today – books always sell though, especially new ones. She transformed earlier into an unremarkable Barnes and Noble worker for the gig (the name tag reads: Joe), and now she is walking through rows of books, searching for unattended baskets. She spots one on the ground in the middle of the “Country Living” aisle (Of course there is one here. Sigh. Texas.), a couple feet away from a middle aged white guy in a cowboy hat, Tom, who is intently browsing. He thinks he’s finally found the perfect inspo memoir, Scuffed Boots and Manure: The Day-to-Day of Southern Folk. He pulls out the book, about to put it in his basket, when he realizes: there is no basket there. Wasn’t it just on the floor next to me? he wonders. But then, he spots Ari, disguised as a shortish, bland-looking dude, darting away from the aisle, with his basket in hand!
“Stop right there!” exclaims Tom, dashing after the Barnes and Noble worker-disguised Ari.
“Crap,” Ari mutters to herself, turning around to face Tom. She forces a bland smile to her face. “How can I help you, sir?”
“Well,” says Tom, barely concealed anger in his voice, “I have a question for you, sir. Why did you take my book basket from me?” He gestures wildly at the basket clasped in Ari’s hand.
“This? Oh, this? The books, ah, they have faulty barcodes.” She grabs out The Life of a Cowherd from the basket, showing its back to Tom. “I was just going to the back to fix them for you.” Her armpits begin to sweat.
Tom raises an eyebrow. “Well, make it quick,” he sighs, the anger beginning to fade from his voice. Ari is quite surprised that he bought the bogus lie so quickly. “Those books . . . you see . . . they are very important to me . . .”
No, no, no! Are those tears in his eyes? Ari hypothesizes that the man has to have quite a large repertoire of issues for his emotions to change so rapidly.
“I’m writing a memoir,” Tom chokes out. “About being a cowherd. Because I have nothing left to do.” He blinks, and a couple stray tears roll down his face. “My first wife, her name was Bettina” – Ari narrowly avoids rolling her eyes. How did she get roped in so quickly to hearing this guy’s story? – “and she was the gosh-darndest prettiest thing. She was real good at cookin’ and cleanin’ and massagin’ my feet. But, she left me because she said I was too lazy!” With these words, Tom breaks into a large bout of sobs.
“Shh! Shh!” Ari hushes. She doesn’t want his dramatics to alert Barnes and Noble staff and ruin her job. “It’s . . . it’s okay, man. Continue on quietly.”
Tom sniffs, pawing his face. “My second wife was called Georgia. She was a bartender at Billy’s down the way . . . She stole me lots of beer, and for that I am grateful, because it got me through her leaving me!” He clenches his teeth, and tears roll down his face.
Alarmed, Ari throws her arms around him, patting his backed. “There, there. It’s alright,” she mumbles. Pulling away quickly – ew – she grabs a third book from his other hand. “And I have advice. You should be a country singer. You’ve got the look – and the emotion.”
At those words, a new light comes to Tom’s eyes. “I say – you’re right! I’m done with that memoir stuff. I’m off to Nashville! Thank you, good boy!” he exclaims. He runs away and Ari is left scratching her head at his inexplicably fast change of mind.
Well, at least now she’s stolen some books.
Murder at the Manor, Part 2
I was still in a daze as I entered the parlor, slipping into the shadows quickly. I strayed to a table near the edge of the room that was empty.
Margaret, ever the wiser, slipped into a chair next to mine. Her shiny dark hair was pulled into her signature, curl-cascading knot at the base of her head, and she was wearing a wide salmon gown studded with pearls. She very much looked the part of a pretty young socialite; the daughter of the city’s wealthiest factory owner. I was terribly unlike her; I knew I appeared to be nothing but an outcast. “Elliot,” she said softly, “you look simply dashing. I am sorry that I have not been able to see you before now.” I almost wanted to tell her of the detective but instead chose silence, nodding my head and smiling at her lie.
Butlers began to pass around tall glasses of water—much needed, I thought, after the heavy drinking I had seen. Smiling at me, Margaret took a sip.
“Tastes strange, doesn’t it?” she asked, looking down at the water with a grimace. “Like metal, almost.”
Curious, I took a sip of mine. It tasted like the normal well water that we drank, which was, to be fair, slightly metallic. But Margaret had far more keen senses than I.
As we took another lapse of silence, I took a look around the parlour. There was far too much noise as far as I was concerned; too many people laughing and talking in raised voices. But they looked happy too, which was baffling. I could not comprehend people actually enjoying interaction with others.
“Brother—” Margaret began. My eyes snapped back to her. Her face was red, and there were beads of sweat gathering at her temples. Was Margaret nervous? Such behavior was completely out of character for her. Yet she shifted in her chair as she said, “I have something to tell you. Something . . . I have needed to tell you—to tell you—for . . . so long . . .” From here, she drifted into a bout of coughing; hacking, deep coughs wracked her chest.
It was only then that I began to think that maybe there was something wrong with my sister. Had she begun to fall ill? But Margaret had never been sickly; even in her childhood. She’d always been healthy as could be.
“Are you all right?” I asked timidly. Leaning over, I touched her arm. But she did not stop coughing. It grew louder and louder, transforming into a nearly animal sound.
From here, my mild concern shifted to genuine alarm. I stood from my chair. I shouted something that I cannot remember at the crowd, not caring anymore about the judgement that would surely come. Margaret collapsed to the floor from her chair, clawing at the neck of her dress as if it was suffocating her. She gasped for breath, but she couldn’t find it. There was blood spattered around her lips.
“Margaret—Margaret, please . . . no . . . ,” I cried as several people rushed to her side, trying to loosen her corset, to open her mouth so that she could take in air, but it didn’t matter. She had already stopped breathing.
The world unfocused and everything went dizzy and dark. I backed against the table with a crash, barely registering it. People were shouting. The sound of my mother’s piercing wails filled the air.
“Mr. Murray,” rumbled a man’s deep baritone. It took several repetitions of my name for my eyes to clear and see him standing in front of me, feel him shaking my shoulders. I recognized him as Dr. Richards, my family’s physician.
“What did she ingest before she choked?” he asked.
“N-nothing except water,” I mumbled, my surroundings beginning to blur again.
I heard him shout, “By golly! Her drink was poisoned!”
I don’t remember any of the rest of the night’s events.
Murder at the Manor, Part 1
The noise at the gala was like the sound of thousands of carriages thundering by.
Perhaps not so loud, but loitering in a heavily shadowed corner of the Great Hall and being surrounded by so many – ladies and gentlemen of high ranking gossiping amongst each other, small children skittering about the polished wood floor, butlers swarming with glasses of champagne – was dizzying.
I preferred to sit in the library, one dusty book or another clutched in my hands, nestled in a shabby leather chair before the fireplace. I had a hunger for any world but my own; dragons and wizards were preferable to people.
Yet, there I was, praying that my family would not see me there in the spot farthest from the flickering, shimmering chandelier. Mother and Father would have laughed at my aversion to interaction, pointing me out to some particularly vicious friends. Sebastian would poke my shoulder and call me a fool, wearing an impish grin. Evangeline would try to drag me out of my hiding place in an attempt to introduce me to one woman or another. But Margaret . . .
Margaret was my favorite of the lot, for she would not taunt me or drag me away from where I cowered. She would stand next to me quietly, and there would be no need for us to talk. Her presence was enough, warm and pleasant like sunlight.
I craned my neck to look for my sister, but alas, I could not find her. I spotted a young woman that resembled her – chestnut hair in an intricate knot, corkscrew curls spilling down her neck – but it wasn’t my sister, for she was walking arm-in-arm with a man in a threadbare coat. The lady was one of the few belonging to the lower class attending the gala; perhaps a handmaid to some mistress who required her services after she got a tad too tipsy on the champagne.
The night slogged on. At some point, my mother stood before the masses and announced it was time for dinner. She tried to sound very humble about it, but I knew the meal had cost her thousands of pounds and had required several chefs to be hired.
The Great Hall emptied, leaving a few – a woman sprawled on a bench; a couple kissing with great passion and not much secrecy; and three men in a heated argument about who would get the first dance with Evangeline. I almost felt sorry for the buffoons – my older sister had much higher standards than the likes of them. It was then I decided to exit, finding my way to the parlor. As I entered through the heavy wooden door, I collided with someone’s shoulder.
“Oh, pardon me, sir,” she said. She had dark, expressive eyes and close-cropped hair, and she wore a new-looking charcoal suit. She clearly was one of the more distinguished guests of the evening, perhaps a doctor or lawyer.
“I—I apologize,” I muttered, intent on not speaking. But her face sparked with recognition and I knew that I was in for an exchange of some kind.
“I hope you don’t mind me asking,” she said, “but are you the youngest Mr. Murray?”
“Yes,” I responded, dipping my head.
“It is a pleasure. I am Cassandra Burton,” she said, extending a hand. I clasped it with mine, shaking it. At least I could manage simple etiquette without seeming incompetent. “I am a private detective. Though, if I am being honest”—she leaned in with a hand at the side of her mouth, as if telling a secret—“I spend most of my time at the Iron Pub. I cannot help myself.” Her lips quirked, and she winked as she walked away.
What a strange interaction. But Ms. Burton seemed to be a strange woman.
“Innocence and childhood fades away in time…”
I ran down the bustling crowd of the city. I heard that there would be a parade soon and I always enjoyed the red decorations, carriages, musicians that seemed to float down the street gracefully. My grandmother called behind me to slow down so she doesn’t loose a sight of me. My brother trailed behind me before rushing and catching my arm to slow me down.
“Woah there, slow down. We don’t want you to get lost in this crowd,” he joked, “we’ll never find you.”
I nodded, excited. I skimmed through the crowd for familiar faces. I saw some of my schoolmates in the crowd too that seemed to laugh happily, just as carefree. My foot tapped impatiently, wondering when the parade would start. A small group has already formed as I spot the red blotch of people in the distance. My grandmother grabbed my hand tightly and pulled me back.
“We have to make way for the people later. Also, don’t be too loud, it is not respectful,” she lectures me before others started to move out of the way, paving an almost perfect path. By this time the sidewalk is filled, people muttering and kids laughing. I heard a baby cry in the distance.
“Look ! It’s starting!” I shouted, just to be shushed by an elderly next to me. I closed my mouth and stared eagerly at the approaching red speck from the distance.
Slowly the music started to play. A group of people dressed in formal black clothing walked in a perfect straight line, carrying a banner, trailing behind. My eyes caught the carriage. The glittering gold lines trailed around, as my eyes trailed at this carefully made masterpiece. I squinted and saw a small square in shape of a picture frame. It had flowers surrounding it and it showed an elderly photo. I was quite confused, yet I tend to always catch something new each time. It was probably because of the overwhelming amount of people and props during the parade. I called out for grandma, pointing at the picture but when I got no reply, I looked up at her. Grandma’s eyes squinted and her face was rather solemn. I looked around, and I just realized that everyone around me had grown quiet, some diverting their eyes to look at the ground. I never noticed it before either, but the heavy feeling has now filled the air. I looked back at the parade and spotted the solemn faces of the people in the parade.
Could I call this a parade?
Slightly disturbed at the sight, I started to build a heavy feeling in my chest as well. I didn’t know why but I no longer thought of this as a parade. There was no shouting, no happy faces yet the total opposite. I was shocked I didn’t realize it before. I looked up at the passing carriage, getting a good glance at the silk that draped across it; it propped up against 4 peoples shoulders. I wondered if it was heavy. I think that was my last thought before I continued watching…
“Grandma,” she looked at me and waited for me to continue, “Was that a parade?” She placed down her chopsticks and smiled, a bit uneasy.
“It is a little bit like a parade, yes. For a different purpose of course. But once you grow up a little bit more,” she patted my head, “my little one will understand.”
Four years later I stood and stared into the crowd. The familiar tune played around my head. I envisioned my childhood, yet I get a total different feeling the before. I did not know what time exactly, but unconsciously, I knew it at that day, four years ago. Parade seemed to be a weird word to describe this, yet without words, I believe you all would know what I mean.
“Don’t you wish you were just a innocent, young child.” Someone whispered behind me.
“Yeah, but at times, your childhood ends before you know it and you are exposed into the real world.” Another whispered back. “Man its scary though.”
Yea. Real world, I looked up at the sky.
What a world!
This world was never a simple creation. I wonder how it was ever thought of Or if it was ever a thought to begin with. How can a world so big still be so small? What a world this is! Full of life Full of change Full of strife Full of pain Oh! how strange Is this world full of somethings Full of nothings— The creation of a God Or something else unknown. How I wonder, how I ponder If this world is all alone. ~a.o.e
In the Fields
A small laughter arose in the colorful fields, filled with flowers. The wind danced around the small child and leaves were picked up by the wind, swirling in a magical way. A dark figure stood still behind the vast forest that surrounded the valley. It was quite a strange sight to see. Why was the child alone?
The figure stepped into the clearing, revealing a half bandaged face and clothes of a tattered warrior. The little one stopped spinning around the flowers, now, a curious gaze upon the strange warrior. The warrior stilled as the child walked up towards her. With a tense figure the warrior closed her eyes, awaiting the cry and angry parents appearing before her.
The tattered clothes waved in silence. The warrior shift her gaze up, and hesitantly reach to her pocket. The child waited expectantly, as if it did not bother that the unknown warrior looked quite strange. The warrior pulled out something from their pocket, crumbled and wrapped. She shoved the crumbled mess into the little one’s hands. Worried the child was going to be afraid, the warrior smiled behind the bulks of hidden bandages.
The child looks at the little package in his arms and unwrapped it. A small scent of aroma flew from the unknown gift. The child looked up happily, “Thank you Miss! Thank you!” Yet the child was hesitant to take a bite out of the warm bun that rested upon its hand. The warrior nodded, in fact, she noticed how the child was almost to skin and bone.
“Miss, are you sure you would not like the bun?”
The warrior shook her head. The child’s eyes brightened as they dug into the bun with a smile on their face. The warrior turned around and one of the bandages that was badly wrapped, fell onto the ground as she looked up at the sky.
“Miss! Stay here, I will go grab some herbs for your injuries! Momma had some before she left“.
The warrior flinched slightly, but nodded carefully at the ground. She watched as the child’s small figure disappeared behind the dark, green forest.
The child ran quickly as they did not want the kind Miss to wait. Her injuries seemed severe and mother has always taught them to treat the sick with care, especially when the warrior had seem to given them her only source of food for the child.
“Miss ! Miss! I’m back !” The child ran back into the field. But there, silence greeted the little one. A small bag of the same, sweet aroma was left behind, as the child peak into the ragged bag. Pork buns! The warrior had left a few behind as a gift. “May your journey be safe! Your kindness will always be remembered..” The child shouted out to the empty forest, and a soft wind blew across the field in response.
5 year later…
A dark cloaked figure sat in the corner of the busy market. Another figure approached the ragged cloaked elder.
“Excuse me? Would you like some pork buns?”
The figure looked up. A scar ran across the eyes of the old woman cloaked; the younger greeted the elder with a big smile. The old lady smiled warmly, taking the buns and bowing her head slightly as a thanks. The young lady stood up and bowed to the elder and started to walk away. Behind her she heard a a small whisper come from the elder. “May your journey be safe little one. Your kindness will always be remembered..”