obviously possible

or maybe we just see things like we’re told to see them,

like a flower in the grass or a light in the dark.

perhaps we see things the same, but they can’t be since our eyes see colours differently.

possibly i see what i want to see

like i hear what i want to hear.

or maybe it’s because i cannot see. obviously i cannot hear,

because i have an aid like a tiny microphone in a large field of people

and only those beside me can see it and only i feel it.

perhaps the vibrations i feel

when i cannot hear are like mini earthquakes on the earth.

or as tiny humans in a big universe we are like the birds in the sky

it is huge and we are small but we are one and together.

or maybe we are born from the will of our mothers.

or from the stars. perhaps both, to satisfy the public system.

our birth is symbolic because it is the start of an us,

but also of a me that will be an us.

or maybe it’s all a ruse and we’re just us without a meaning.

people give significance because they crave it, maybe.

Chilled to the Bone

Jesus, I don’t want to. Someone else can fucking sweep; why me? It’s like I’m a fucking doormat, I swear. I seriously hope the heat gets turned on tomorrow. Or someone replaces me tonight, maybe I can coax Angel, or Peter. I can go home and — fuck, I hope he’s home. If he’s out, he’ll be stressed and — he never texted me back did he? That’s okay. It’s fine. Mona said he just needed time. Yeah, time. Time I spend at work. I haven’t felt warm since the fucking sun’s been out — and, now it’s all clouds. Victor would say “You’re such a cat, always looking for sunshine rays.”

At least he’s not here, telling me I should’ve waited till next week, taken the week off and focused on the damn assignment, focused on school. He’ll be okay, though. “Just taking some time.” Probably miserable as hell and totally denying it, but it’s fine. It’s cool. It’s not like texting him will solve it. If he’s home, he’s probably listening to music and cooking. Fuck, I’m so hungry. I hope he makes something warm. Something soup-y.

 

Jesus, watch it! I’m sweeping for Christ’s sake. I know you’re holding fucking boxes of food but if you weren’t wearing headphones, or I dunno, yelled “Comin’ through!” I’d have seen you, you imp.
Where the fuck’s my pile at? I hope you didn’t fuck it up. Well, I guess the longer sweep the less time I’ll have to spend serving customers. “This meat too well done, do you think I could get another sandwich?” No, you can’t. “This isn’t what I wanted” Well, you pointed instead of telling me, so my bad, “This isn’t warm enough” I burned myself on the pan, you asshole, eat it. “Why is there tax on bread?” I have to count the fucking change without a cash, alright. Relax, sit your ass down and wait for your sandwich.

I should’ve brought an extra pair of socks. But at least it’s warm at home. I’ll have a nice tea and keep Victor company while he does his work. Maybe I’ll eat – maybe sleep on the couch so he can have his privacy. I don’t know, man. How should I handle his stress? His stress is stressing me. Mona said – yeah, yeah I know – I can’t fucking help much but it would be damn nice. I hate being a fucking rat, doormat, whatever, tip-toeing around his stress, worrying about him. If he’d tell me a bit more maybe that could – no, no you have to give him time. And space, if he needs, yeah. It’s perfectly human. He knows that. You know that.

 

This is the shittiest fucking broom. Doesn’t get the small crumbs. Maybe it’s advocating for the fucking ants and rats.

If someone else fucking runs through my pile one more time I’ll have a cow. Squat right here and have a fit. Like those fucking children who’re making their parents crazy — touching everything and bickering loudly — impatiently ordering as if I can make the food come any faster. Just get your kid under control if it’s that embarrassing — even though it’s not like anyone actually cares.

I just want a smoke, some time with Victor and a fucking tea. Something warm and cozy and shit; not all these strangers and stray co-workers. At least Allan hasn’t busted my ass because I’m “Still sweeping! What the hell, man?” And Victor hasn’t said “What about that assignment?” for a little while now — probably because he’s so miserable. Fuck I wish I could just hug him and force him on the couch with like fifty blankets and a tea and Ripley.  


Ripley’s probably sleeping happily in his corner at home. It’s so cute when he curls up so tightly taking as little room as possible, a warm ball of fluff.

If Victor knew what he was stressed about, if he knew he could go for a walk and let it all out in one steamy breath. He’d be fine. Oh, shut up, get over it, he’s busy with his own thoughts. He probably — stop assuming — maybe he thinks — I’m so out of it, so clingy or — whatever. Dude, that’s ridiculous. Stop worrying about him. Christ; this isn’t good for you.

 

I’m gonna go check on Angel, maybe she needs help. Fuck sweeping. Let the ants have a party. Customers need their “fresher than fresh” sandwich and Ansel probably needs help. Victor’s at home where he needs to be. I’ll be out of here in no time if I keep with Ansel and Angel. They’re probably desperate for interactions that don’t include “What can I get you?” and “That’ll be…” and “Here you go, sir.”

atlas and i

helplessness is the feeling i get when you don’t reply with more than one word answers for an hour. when your eyes don’t shine, when you won’t even look at me eyes cast down and brows creased. helplessness is like when i want to teleport from my bed into yours because it’s midnight and you feel as far away as the moon in the fucking sky and i can’t do anything about it. from my bed i stare at my screen in the darkness and i hope, fuck, i hope you’re not hyperventilating i hope you aren’t trying to isolate yourself. disconnect plays like a broken recorder in my head. god can you not, can we not, i’m right here i love you. i can’t help you though, not unless you allow me, and even then it’s still mostly on you. how i wish it weren’t

 

helplessness is feeling like a fish in a fishbowl like you can’t even swim you might drown but you’re a fish so you live on. as a human you need air but you have too much as you hyperventilate and fuck no don’t cry. don’t try to make yourself feel better though, no, don’t count to 5 don’t feel 4 things, don’t smell 3, don’t hear 2, don’t. or do, you’ll still be miserable.

 

helplessness is the feeling i get when i feel like shit but i want to feel better. helplessness feeds on boredom and my headache. it’s letting everyone down because you hate it, i can’t fix it when i feel like shit, and everyone else expects more of me. helplessness is when i know i’m not letting myself feel better, when all my worries and all his worries play in my mind like a black and white movie. helplessness is knowing i can feel better but not knowing when i’ll get the energy to finally do it. it’s knowing i’ve spent all this energy feeling like shit. where’s a fucking wall i can smash my hand against when i need one?

helplessness is knowing he cares and it makes you feel guilty but that is so wrong, you know how fucked up it is. but you still cry and you still wish to be shot out into the sky because you don’t deserve this — but yes you do. worse he doesn’t deserve this but he couldn’t care less because it’s not about that — of course it’s not.

 

and helplessness is when you want to crawl in bed, but what good would that do because the thoughts are still in your head and your headache is so strong you’re far past just needing sleep. you also don’t want to be alone, but being with others especially some takes so much fucking effort you might as well give me a paper cut in the worst spot.

helplessness is after an entire day you’ve stirred those thoughts in your head and you just want them dead, you don’t even care if they end up in heaven or hell as long as they’re gone. and long as you can smile and you try to feel something other than tired, and, oh so fucking helpless. as long as when we talk i don’t feel like crying, i don’t feel like teleporting into your bed, i don’t feel like i’m living the same thing over and over and over again and i can’t stop it, or worse i can’t bring myself to stop it.

 

sometimes i try to prevent helplessness. i know it’ll happen soon and so i put my foot down and i make some plans. i build a fort and get some armour and i’m ready. but as soon as the adversary comes, i’m crashing, burning the bridge to hell with all my thoughts. my armour was just leather not diamond. you never believed you could fix it but, god did i want to; maybe i built that bridge just so i could feel like i did something, as if i’d prepared myself. but you prepared yourself for disappointment even though you didn’t mean to. it made you want to punch a wall and you didn’t want to fix it, didn’t know how not to set yourself up for more disappointment. it’s not inevitable unless you make it.

instead build bridges so that together we can fix it and even though it’s still mainly on me that little bit of support might make the world fall off atlas’s shoulder. instead of being atlas, you carry me and the world and i am the one who makes it weightless as we work together.

 

helplessness is when you know you’ll need someone’s help but you don’t seek it because it’s on you. but that phrase has been playing like a broken telephone in your mind so now it means you’re all alone. you don’t remember it meant you can do this but you need to work on yourself before i can help you. how could you remember, how could you forget. you see his face and you know you’re not alone, but god, do you want to because then he couldn’t see you like this, because then he wouldn’t be so frustrated by your misery and by the fact that you let it be.

let it be is how i’m supposed to let misery be, but he means let it be like a chair you fix when it’s broken — let it be a problem you can fix. something you try to change and you have confidence, you know that he knows that you know that it’ll be helpful. not like a balloon you blow till it pops and fuck here come the burning bridge. i’m not helpful to myself even though i want to be. i let it be till he’s the one pulling me to a mirror – look at you, acting like atlas. you don’t need to, you can fix that broken recorder.

 

a couple days pass and rain comes and you feel the way others feel when the sun is out. you’re not seeing the burning bridge and you don’t feel like atlas anymore – instead you see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s beautiful like his face as he drives you home in the dim lighting of the streets. you see clear as if your glasses hadn’t been scratched and the colours reflecting his face in the streets are distinctly alluring.

it reminds you of the stars as you two sit in a field together and feel the wind. suddenly the stars seem farway because you feel like your feet are set down and you can move steadily. there’s no repetition in your mind, no need to count 5 down, no need to feel guilty. let it be.

rorschach

a window to the mind, a keyhole for the locked terrors. there is no key much like in life there is no path. perhaps since life has many paths this key hole has many keys. one for my future house, one for my mind, one for his, one for everything like a master key. in the depths of the school those keys fly around, their flapping wings loud and menacing.

 

which will you choose?

that which leads to owning a cat? that which leads to interest in science and spacecraft?

 

we define things by shape and size but on paper a cat, an old key hole, and a spaceship all have the same size. it’s all about angle. much like perspective and opinion changes us, it changes how we see things. someone else may not see the keys and you may tell them, chose anyway but if they don’t like that one they can drop it down the sewer and get a new one.

instead of a cat, maybe a dog. instead of space, maybe the sea.

 

it’s not me who chooses what others do like a higher deity

or two or three.

or even one for each season and

concept like samhain and his fellows.

 

black cats have green eyes that reflect us like this ink reflects me.

or is it just that i see what the cat sees which is me

as i crowd his face and coo soft kitty.

 

some fear black cats and tall ladders and mirrors but without the cat you won’t feel love and without the ladder you won’t find the key and without the mirror you cannot see.

 

even if you didn’t want to see, the key still tells you you have to

because then you’ll climb the ladder and

find a key or two or three. you’ll pick and choose

or want to use all three.

but that’s not how it works on earth or in space or in the sea.

the key is a hierarchy of living and dying

 

in the sea, there are fishes that are bigger than humans but on earth we and our machines are bigger – much bigger than cats.

 

in space it’s like under water; there are new rules and you can only breathe sometimes. with caution you live and you choose the key that says you need to adapt to this non-earthly environment. you’ll need a suit and a team.

they each have their own key

but we don’t have the same door

even if we have the same space ship because

they might own a snake or a guinea pig

instead of a soft black cat.

 

and on the day of samhain

they might pretend they aren’t home

even though you’re out in the cold rain

giving each child their own key

in the form of candy.    

 

perhaps the higher deity or your fifty

will seize the key

just as you seize the day and buy an orange cat instead.

 

i’ll then say “go buy a ladder and get a new key,”

and he may say “sit in a field and look up at the stars”

and your key hole will change into that one that allows you to go to space.

 

all key holes can change, with the help of who or what you ask?

whether a ladder, a mirror,

a thought or a high deity,

 

i don’t know. the point is, the key will let you know.

 

or maybe it won’t because the idea of knowing is appalling and you don’t want to, in which case you should sit at home with a tea and your orange cat.

the keyhole will take you where you need to be and the will in your choice of key will take you farther.

Why I have a Lack of Social Etiquette these days (or, the Absurdity that is a Student’s Mentality)

It takes me a while to remember that the world doesn’t stand still while I’m studying. It doesn’t stop because I have too much work to complete, and not enough willpower to go to extra lengths to do it properly. By properly, of course, I mean, with more preparation. It doesn’t stop when I’ve my books and stacks of papers and two binders around me and suddenly, I happen to have a two minute break (which is really just me walking into the kitchen with no aim, or going to get a ruler or some more supplies) and it’s not really a break, but hey, I’m not staring at a sheet of paper that has nearly illegible writing with creased eyebrows.

Sure, there are nice moments. Moments where I catch myself humming along to the music on the radio behind me, or when I finally understand what the hell I’m supposed to be doing – you know, those nice rare things. And then there are not so nice things where it’s an ungodly hour in the morning and I still have work to do, or I’ve spent hours at the table surrounded by book and I get to class the next morning and just deflate and blank out, brain gone, abandoning me in the dimly lit classroom.

Then again, there are both sides to this issue. And I get that the buried in schoolwork one isn’t ideal, but the other could be said as sounding better than it truly is. But that’s debatable.

I tend to forget about time passing  even when I’m farting around with absolutely no care in the world. Oh, missed lunch, damn, I’ll just have it right now because I can. In those instances, there are no brain farts, there is only simple forgetfulness and lack of moderation on productiveness, if you will, of time passing. But that’s the thing, I guess. While time passes in this sequences, there is no rush. You’re simply there.

And though one could argue that all good things come to an end, and this sequence traditionally does when it gets colder outside, I don’t really see it ending, not until you’re buried in enough work that you never ever have time to not think about time passing. I think it kind of just falters in patterns of say, five days when you don’t have a load of work that comes with having seven or more classes every ten months.

Back to forgetting time as it passes, I think it’s important to note that life goes on as these things get completed. The list of work gets checked, but more gets done too. You have two or more meals a day, you see friend for perhaps fifteen minutes while you aren’t listening to your teacher. Said teacher makes jokes and for a few seconds you feel better about the fact that as soon as you get home, you’ll pull a textbook out of you bag and lay stacks of papers around it and stay there for the next three or more hours.

And then, you have little interruptions. Dinner. A phone call. An email to send or reply to. Shirts to fold. Sauce to cook. Books to pick up. These might not seem convenient, but admit it, you can feel the weight and the tension releasing itself as you back away from that bloody desk of yours. Well, at first it kind of seems like your blood is boiling because you need to get this work done, but hey, while you’re completing those seemingly inconvenient tasks (in between the panicked watch-checking) you do feel relieved after this “break.”

Yeah, school’s a bitch. It drains you. It takes up so much bloody time. It’s reminds you you’re fucked while you’re getting ready for bed on Sunday. It plays with you; bad grade here, good grade there, awful grade here. It rips you away from old friend you haven’t seen, from social sites that you used to use for talking to said old friends (and you now use to look up local news and talk about the mount of homework you have to other irritated classmates).

Here I am thinking, man I wish next week I’m not going to so much as glance at this textbook, I can shove in under my bed or in the depths of my skinny locker for once. Maybe I’ll see my friends for more than fifteen minutes. But hey, I gotta get back to work, so I can’t even spare time to think about that right now.

Girl In The Uniform: Chapter Two

Chapter 1 x

Jelly 

On the train, I looked out the window as I waited for the emotions to pass. Tears rolled silently down my cheeks as my mind blanked, hazy. Later, once the tears had dried from my unmoved face, I read.

It was a long journey to BC.

Sighing, as I put my book down, I thought about when I’d seen Jasper, how all worry seemed to have evaporated, how it all seemed to be momentarily better. How I would live with that moment forever.

 

I woke, feeling disoriented. Sighing, I glanced at my watch. It was late in the day. I got out of the compartment, trying to find a trolley or a bar.

Minutes later, I was paying a fairly old looking lady. Her expression was questioning as I quietly muttered my order.

Back at my compartment, I ate. I’d slept a long time, which had been good, given my extreme lack of sleep the night before.

I ate slowly, trying not to be rash about the taste of the train food. I thought about my book, how the characters interacted. It was a method of distraction I’d used for years. Then, I’d thought about the speed of the train, how long it would take me to arrive to the station in Victoria, BC. Gulping as I tried to liberate my mind, I read.

It worked, because next time I paused to think about something other than the fiction novel in front of me, two hours had passed. I looked outside the window, only to see the darkened sky, lightened only by the moon.

I glanced at my watch, which indicated that the train ride would last a full twenty-four hours more. I smiled to myself nervously.

I slept for something else to do. I woke, getting up disoriented. It wasn’t dawn yet, but I didn’t bother going back to sleep. I read for a few hours, before going out to eat.

Afterward, I spent the next hours reading. then, I ate once more. And, feeling sick of reading then, I played games on my phone.

Next thing I knew, four hours had passed. I sighed, getting out of the compartment to stretch and find something to eat.

 

Outside, the woods surrounding seemed peaceful. The steam and polluted air of the train blew away, flowing the light June wind, in the middle of nowhere, where the tracks had been installed ages before.

Next, I slept, getting ready for the stop, in only a few hours. I fell asleep again, later. I woke harshly, standing automatically. My head spun. I read, waiting for the train to stop. Drowsily, I noticed in only had minutes to go. Only minutes before I’d get out, settling to find the school and its grounds.

Upon getting out of the train station, I hailed a cab, paying him as we approached the gates. The driver seemed surprised to hear that I was headed to the academy. He’d glance, bleakly my way. And I’d ignore him. I was used to it. I was odd, people knew that.

 

Driver 

I parked for a girl, who seemed small and nervous. She had short hair, and she was pale.

“To the UVic campus, please.” She said quietly.

I nodded, keeping my–shocked–emotions to myself.

She was small and lean. She wore baggy clothes, her eyes distant, looking out the window.

I could see it. I saw a distant family, quiet and often empty-housed. I saw a girl, wanting a different life, away from prejudice and family.

 

I knew she saw me, imagining, assuming. She didn’t comment, though. She was evidently shy and quiet, but I knew there was more to the girl.

 

Jelly 

I sat and noted the driver of my destination as loudly as I dared. I hated doing this, they almost never heard, and never bothered to read lips.

He nodded, and if I’d blinked I wouldn’t noticed the slight twitch in his eyebrow, suggestion shocked curiosity. I pictured him thinking, watching me. Assuming things, noting of my petite shape and baggy, boyish style. I didn’t mind, in fact, I ignored it.

 

The drive was fairly short. The car stopped and I checked the meter as he told me price. I nodded and handed him the money, thanking him. I got out, and glanced around. The grounds were big, with a large field, which extended farther past the building. The place was large from the outside, so I could only imagine the inside.

 

I walked in, and went to the desk. The guy handed my a set of keys and an envelope. He pointed in the general direction of the residences saluted me. I nodded, smiling slightly.

Getting to my door, I unlocked it and peaked inside. It was clean.

My roommate sat on her made bed, glancing out the window. She turned as I closed the door behind me. I smiled shyly. She returned the favor, chuckling softly. “Hi. I’m Mercury Sanders.” She said quietly.

“Hello. I’m Evangeline Doukas.” I chuckled at her expression. “Call me whatever you like, I know the name is unsettling.”

She nodded and smiled warmly. “Where’d you come from?” She wondered.

“I’m from Toronto, Ontario.” I chuckled. “What about you?”

“I’m from Alberta, in the suburbs close to Edmonton.” She muttered.

 

I nodded and sighed, as I moved to unpack. I hadn’t brought all that much. Mostly, it was just clothes and books. Mostly books. I stacked them on the shelves and left one on the dresser. I unpacked the minimal clothes I had, which were mostly undergarments.

It took barely any time. Mercury seemed impressed at my lack of clothing, but I knew she had done something similar.

 

I settled on my bed, sighing. Picking up my book, I began to read. I was interrupted by Mercury, who had gotten up, and looked at me expectantly. “Want to get our things and get look at the grounds?” She suggested, I smiled and nodded.

 

Mercury 

The girl seemed shy. She was tall, but thin; agile, presumably. She hadn’t packed much. Her books had a variety of genres and there were some from the same authors. All and all with wide variety.

Her name, a mouthful for a kid, had many syllables. My name had usually the same reactions I gave her. She just laughed softly, openly.

I would call her Doukas, just as the Sergeants would. I wondered why she’s enlisted, but didn’t ask. I did it for the job itself and for the experience. I was studying to be a military doctor. Something told me she wasn’t just studying to be a soldier.

I thought she was decent.

 

Jelly 

The grounds were huge. I was excited to see what I would learn and how much it would change me.

For now, I just returned to our room and relaxed. Everyone already received a text. I would call them later.

Finding Productivity

Mind blank, you attempt to get something done. Today, you’ve done nothing that is considered productive. After spending the day wrapped in fictional character’s worlds by watching two movies, and reading two books, you try to fix the feeling of lack of productivity.

In this attempt, you find that your mind is blank and uncooperative to all of your methods. No matter, you figure, scrawling your piss poor excuse of a handwriting on a sheet of paper in attempt to make a schedule for the week, and the next few hours. You try art first, but all that comes onto the sheet is some roughly drawn creation that looks more like a doodle. Next, you try an educational point of view, where you go online to research something random. This way, you can feel as though learning something was the good thing about today. Still nothing after zoning out while reading the page for the fourth time, you try writing. After staring at the blank page as if staring at your own thoughts, you scowl and shove the papers away.

Eventually, as you pace the house in boredom, you realize something. Maybe you don’t need to be productive in the traditional do something of yourself way, but what if you reflected on the things you had learned from those books and movies. What if the character development was analyzed in a way that would make the characters and the stories meaningful. Then, you’d argue, you had learned something.

Maybe that one girl in the book, struggling to be a sister and live in a foreign country is like the people in this world that suffer under the minimum wage and in poverty. Maybe, that young boy in the movie struggling with transphobia was a reminder that not only adults and teenagers are confused about identity and the unfairness of gender roles in our society. Maybe the movie and the book both related in how mess up and biased our society is. Either way, you think to yourself, maybe you can interpret their situations to make your actions more conscious and thought out.

By the time you’ve thought about all the different messages and which you should keep, you have passed at least an hour – which makes it seem almost more productive. You have exhausted your thoughts, and maybe letting go with a bike ride wouldn’t hurt. Indeed, it doesn’t. Even better, it starts to pour rain when you’re on your way home. Laughing, you ignore the fact that you’re soaked to the core. You ride the neighbourhood in the rain, enjoying the freedom given by the sudden rain, and by extension the bike ride itself. You chuckle to yourself as you enter the house, realizing with a smile that you have much to clean up given the pool of water forming at your feet.