It rained the day of the funeral.
We were all standing around the grave, shivering in the damp coldness, hugging ourselves and each other.
Arms wrapped around out hearts, keeping our own lives safe, as we watched the burial of another.
Breathe in. Eyes crack open. Light. Blinding. Breathing. Alive.
Wipe the dirt from your face, climb out of your hole. Keep going. Another day. Crack the frost on the ground, brush the leaves from your path. Keep going. Another day.
Leave them in your wake.
The silver in the drawer is tarnished when they find it. She hasn’t had time to polish it recently. Not with the food rations and the terror and the broken glass and yellow stars. When they came for her and her family, they were cowering in the corner like animals. They dump the silver into [...]
I can’t handle rejection. It’s a cliche, I know, but I can’t. I am so paralyzing terrified of rejection that sometimes I don’t even try.
I wonder how many possibilities I have let go by being afraid. I wonder how many I have rejected myself.
Be happy, she said.
It’s only death. It’s only fear. It’s only the end of everything you know.
This is what optimism is.
He shakes his head.
This is what stupidity is, he says.
If I numb it enough, she says, it won’t hurt. You can smile then.
Stick in the mud. Stick to it. Sticker price.
What’s the use, if you won’t stick around?
Stick to it.
I’d rather be a stick in the mud.
Oh, won’t you stick around?
Just stick to it.
Temper the metal.
The blade is sharp.
God, it hurts.
They temper their insults in venom and spite.
God, it hurts.
Oh, the possibilities. A million ways to go. A thousand things to do. A billion thoughts to think. There are so many possibilities I don’t even know which one to pick. Overwhelming. Something that should let me do anything instead paralyzes me with fear. What if I make the wrong choice? What could have happened [...]
Oh, God. It’s so dark. It’s the kind of darkness that sucks up all light and sound and leaves you panting and frozen, waiting for something to let you know that you haven’t stepped off the edge of everything.
With sharp teeth and matted fur.
There is a nail in the wall. One nail in the middle of the empty wall. His picture used to hang from the nail. But when he never came home it got too hard to see the picture every day. She took it down. She moved. Now someone else lives in the house. They’ll hang [...]
Bunny rabbits on pink flannel. A canopy bed overflowing with stuffed animals and teddy bears. Empty now. A shrine to a tiny life.
The mother still cries.
It was such a small coffin.
Bunny rabbits on pink flannel.
The cargo bay is packed full of metal crates. The captain surveys them carefully. There is an uneasy feeling in his gut. He shouldn’t have taken on this job. If he is caught … the authorities won’t be kind. He knocks carefully on one of the crates and listens. A moment later, there is a [...]
She spikes the ball over the net. The timid girl cowers, misses, fails. Again. The rest of her teammates sigh. It’s a strategy to hit the ball where this girl stands. She’s so afraid. She always misses.
Gym class. Humiliation. What’s the difference?
The copper circlet is tight around his brow, cutting into his skin. A trickle of blood runs down his temple. He is their king, their light.
He must lead when there is nothing else. When there is no hope.
He spurs his horse forward.
The dawn is arriving, but the sun will not rise.