Life Raft

    And here this man stood. Asking nothing of her but a second chance. And she was terrified. She didn’t know what to do or what to say.

    He was perfect. As if she’d ordered him from a catalogue. Tall, athletic, dark (melatonin wise, which she so “affectionately referred to as ‘extra crispy’”). And he wanted her.  He wanted her crazy ass for some reason. God knows why. Something about her five years ago had absolutely captivated him.

    She only hoped and prayed that maybe the woman she’d become would further captivate HIM (her true love), but that was a long shot. For she was no longer the woman that he remembered. Back then, she’d been such a naive girl. She’d believed in love and traditional family.

    Now, at 27, she no longer believed in either. How could she? She’d wasted 3 years of her life on the man that she loved, and for what? To be told that he still wasn’t ready? How can you love someone for 3 years and still not be ready for them?

    She’d been ready. She wanted to be there for him. To hoist him up onto a pedestal to show him what he was and that he was capable of so much more than he believed. But, he didn’t believe in himself, and so, she had to move on.

*****

    Years later she married a Duke.  The man who had been perfect for her. She lived a pleasant and satisfied life. But deep in the back of her mind, in a fortress of thoughts that she kept only for herself.

    She wondered.

    What was HE thinking of?

    Did he think of her? Did he miss her?

   And if not… why?

For HE had been her world, and she had simply been his sustenance.

He had been her life,

while she had simply been his life raft

The First pt.2

“Mama,” she called in a whiny voice, “can I please please please go to Maya’s house tomorrow?”

“Again, Nina? You were just there last weekend.  I don’t like you spending too much time with that girl.  She has a bit of a wild side and I don’t like that her parents are never home. Plus you have a soccer game tomorrow.”

“I meant after soccer, and it’s not like we’re home ALONE, Mama. Justin is home and he watches us.”

“Justin is in high school. He isn’t an adult.”

“Mama,” she whined again.

“Fine,” her mother conceded with a sigh, “finish all of your weekend homework today and you can go to Maya’s tomorrow.”

 

Her heart was racing as her mama pulled up to Maya’s house.  She had never lied to her parents before.  In truth,she had no intention of going to Maya’s house, and hadn’t even called to ask Maya if she could.  

“Maya’s in the pool,” she squeaked as the green mini van pulled to a stop outside of the house.  She quickly unbuckled her seat belt and ran to the gate at the side of the house that lead to the pool.  Once she reached it, she squatted down and listened for the van’s retreat.  It seemed to take forever. She waited in agony: half scared to death that she’d get caught by her mother, and half worried that someone would come out of Maya’s house and find her there.  Finally, though, the car pulled away and drove off.

 She burst into an outright sprint toward the path to Lexi’s house, but when she got there she froze in front of the door.  She didn’t remember the code to knock.  So she stood there, shaking from the adrenaline of her run and trying to remember the code.  All of a sudden the front door flew open and a gun was pointed at her head.  She closed her eyes and began to cry.

“Please don’t shoot” she begged in between sobs, “I’m here to see Alexi.”

“God damnit Nina, what the fuck are you doing here?”

That voice.  She opened her eyes to find Lexi.  The gun was still in his right hand, but he had lowered it. Before she could speak, he yanked her into the house and locked all four of the deadbolts.  She stood there, staring at his beautiful face.  Everything that she’d rehearsed in front of the mirror left her head.  Lexi pushed a latch on the gun and then set it onto the kitchen table.  He stared at her with a mix of worry and something else that she couldn’t name.  Then he ran a shaky hand through his wavy hair and sighed.

“I told you to stay away from me, and no one ever calls me Alexi..”

“I-I-I’m s-s-s-sorry” she stuttered, dropping her eyes to the floor.  He grabbed her chin and forced her to look him in the eyes.  The look of worry was gone, and he had a smirk on his face.

“Why are you here, Nina?”

“I’m so sorry. I don’t know. You’re beautiful.  I’ll go,” the words just spilled out as she tried to jerk her face out of his grip, but he used his other hand to grab her by the arm.  He pulled her close and kissed her.  Her stomach dropped and her heart raced.  With the exception of Santino, she’d never been kissed before.  She puckered her lips, trying to kiss him back like they did in the movies.  He softly pushed her away and stared into her eyes.

“You’re beautiful.  I’m not. I am an ugly person, Nina.  I have an ugly life.”

He continued to stare at her.  She didn’t understand what he was trying to say.  No one had ever called her beautiful before.  

“I don’t care,” she finally answered.

******

“Why the fuck do you always do that, Nina?” Lexi asked in frustration.  They were at his house.  She tried to go to “Maya’s house” as often as she could.  Her mama hated it and tried to tell her no, but she’d figured out that if she did all of her homework and did some chores her mother was less inclined to say that she couldn’t go.  Lexi’s mom worked at a hospital and was almost never home.  The one time she asked him about his father he broke into a stream of spanish cuss words and then shrugged it off.

“That pinche cabron was never around.  He left when mama was pregnant with me.”

“Do what?” She asked him.

“Wear blue shit. You know I fuckin hate that.”

“I like blue”

“Do you also like scrapps?” He shot back at her.  She sighed and reached for his hand.  He pulled it away from her.

“Lexi, you know I don’t. I’m sorry babe.  I’ll stop wearing it.  I promise.”

“You better babe.  You know I hate that shit.  I swear.  You do it on purpose to fuck with me.”

She reached for his hand again, and this time he let her grab it.  She crawled into his lap and kissed him.  She hated it when he got mad at her.  Which happened often.  She loved him.  He pulled her closer and deepened the kiss, grabbing her hair to keep her from pulling away.  She stiffened as she felt his other hand creep up toward her breast.  

“Alexi stop” she scolded after she managed to push herself away from him. Crack. The sound radiated through the whole house.  Tears sprung into her eyes and she grabbed her cheek in shock.

“I told you.  No one calls me that,” he stated, placing the gun back onto the table calmly.  As she struggled to hold back her tears she wondered how she was gonna explain this bruise to her parents.

“Madre de dios, stop crying, Nina,” he said, pushing her off his lap and onto the floor before grabbing a pack of frozen vegetables from the freezer and tossing it to her.  She pressed the package to her face and took deep breaths to stop herself from crying.  With a sigh he lowered himself next to her on the floor and began to stroke her hair.  

“Lo siento mi amor,” he crooned as she shut her eyes and lay back against his chest, “I didn’t mean to hurt you, baby, it’s just that you do these things that you know piss me off and it drives me crazy.”

“Lo siento Lexi” she whispered back.

“Are you gonna be ok?” He asked quietly, “If you’re not I can go run errands instead.”

“No!” she almost screamed, bolting upright and dropping the bag of vegetables, “I’m ok, I’ll do it. If you go and you get caught I’ll never see you again.”

He sighed and kissed her unbruised cheek before picking up the bag and standing.  Without a word, he offered her his hand and helped her to her feet.

“Ok mi vida, then you should prolly get going.”

She nodded and then followed him to the garage where he kept the baggies.  She stood in silence as he counted them out and then handed them to her.  

“Don’t let anyone short you ok? I need you to come back with at least a rack,” He instructed as she shoved the bags into her training bra and panties.  She nodded and then headed for the front door.  The familiar feeling of terror rolled through her body like it did every time she did this.

“You’ll be ok, Nina.  No cop is gonna strip search an eleven year old girl. See you in an hour.”

“I know, you told me. I love you.” she responded as he shut the front door behind her.

A note from the author: Abuse of any kind is not okay and should never be tolerated.  If you or someone you love is suffering from abuse, report it.  

Loneliness

Sometimes she needed to be alone to be free.  The trouble was, loneliness was her own personal demon.  She was her own personal demon.  She craved it like a drug, but once she got it she let it tear her apart.  Once she was shredded to nothing she would surrender and let others use her.  It made her feel whole again, but people are selfish. Once she gave them what they wanted, they left her until they needed her again.  And when they left, she was just as torn as she had been before, maybe even more so if that was even possible.

She needed to learn to sit with her demons.  To hug and caress them.  She needed to tell them that although she accepted them for what they are, they could no longer run her life.  She could no longer let others use her.

Be lonely, be imperfect, be a mess.  Accept it and then move on because in the end it would always be she who was left there when everyone else had moved on.  It would always be up to her to be happy.

Kryptonite

They sat side by side on her bed, talking about everything.  Work, life, their relationships.  Okay.  Maybe we CAN do this.  She thought to herself.  Maybe they could just be friends.  But then again, he was sitting so close to her.  His left hand was resting on the bed behind her, and he was leaning into her a bit.  And then there was that look in his eyes.  The one that said it all so that he didn’t have to: how badly he wanted her, how amazing and beautiful he thought she was, and how he loved her even though he knew she was fucking crazy.  She had a love-hate relationship with that look.

And then it happened.  He stood up and shoved her back onto the bed.  It was the perfect balance of soft and rough.  Her heart raced as he crawled on top of her and kissed her.  He started with her lips: sucking and biting softly.  She let out a soft groan as he moved to her neck and kneaded her breast.  As his hands moved to unbutton her jeans, reality came crashing back to her.

“Darrell wait!”  She half gasped half screeched as she sat up, “we can’t.  We promised we were gonna stop doing this.”

He sat back and scratched the back of his head, “I know,” he admitted with a sheepish grin, “But I can’t help it.  I don’t know what it is with you.  I told you it’d help if you were ugly.”

“But D…I can’t do anything about that, and anyways, what about Mary? She’s pretty and she and you are just friends.”

“You right.  I don’t know.  It’s like you have some kind of spell on me.  Do you really want me to stop? Cuz I will.  I’m not an asshole, even though you wish I was” he teased.

She sighed and sat back against the pillows.  At this point both her head and her heart were racing.  She didn’t know how to feel and she wanted to scream.  

“Honestly?” She asked, searching for the answer in his eyes. He nodded.

“As a petty ass bitch, I want to tell you not to stop.  But as a friend I want to tell you that you need to figure this shit out so that you can let me go.  It’s wrong D.  I mean, do you even feel bad?”

“I do feel bad…I just…I don’t know.  When it comes to you it’s like nothing matters.  I know it’s wrong, and I know that you’re crazy, but it’s like none of that even matters.  I mean, I don’t even care that you fucked Swift, and normally that’d be a dealbreaker for me.”

His answer hit a little too close to home for her and she sighed again, rubbing her eyes in frustration.  She completely understood how he felt.  She also had no clue what it was that pulled her to him.  He wasn’t incredibly attractive, nor was he “a catch” in any other way.  But for some reason all he had to do was look at her, and she would do virtually anything he asked.  Maybe it was the fact that he wasn’t an asshole, or maybe it was how he made her laugh because they had the same sense of humor.  Regardless of why, they were drawn to each other despite the fact that they could never really be together.  

After a long period of silence, she looked up at him and shrugged, “so are you actually staying the night or are you going back to Joe’s?”  She asked.  He grinned mischievously.

“Do you WANT me to stay the night?”

“I don’t give a fuck, Do you want to stay? You can if you do, but you don’t have to if you…”

“Nina,” he interrupted in frustration, “how many times have I told you? You don’t have to act like a robot all the fucking time. It’s ok to have feelings.  Just tell me you want me to stay and I will.”

“You don’t have to stay if you….”

“Seriously? Shut the fuck up if you’re not gonna tell me the truth.  I know you want me to stay. I just wanna hear you say it for once.  You can’t hide behind your bitchy ass attitude with me. Tell me how you really feel.”

She started to roll her eyes, but his expression stopped her and she gave in.

“I want you to stay,” she admitted softly without looking him in the eyes.  

 

So he stayed, and for a little bit it was as if she was getting everything she’d secretly wanted for the past two years.  They didn’t even have sex.  They just cuddled, kissed, and watched a crappy horror movie (her favorite).  She knew that it was impossible and that she was gonna regret it later.  She could already hear her sister’s voice in her head: I just don’t want you to get hurt.  He’s your kryptonite.  You know he’s gonna hurt you.  That’s part of the reason you’re in love with him. But she didn’t care.  Life hurt.  But moment like this…they made it all worth living,

 

The morning came, and she dropped him off at his house.

 

On the way home she started to cry.  Her perfect moment was gone.  Darrell would go back to his fiance and she would go back to her boyfriend until the next time he called.
Friends can break your heart too.

Not Insecure

“Oh so you’re one of those girls,” Ellen said in the flippant way that she said most things.  It was actually quite a talent  and most days it was even entertaining.  Ellen could make any rude remark sound completely void of negative emotion, as if she were stating a simple fact.

“What girls?” She asked.

“Those girls who want an ugly boyfriend so that they won’t lose them,” she clarified.

She just shrugged, “well I guess…I just don’t wanna have to deal with other girls hitting on him. It’s annoying”

 

She didn’t mind letting Ellen and everyone else believe that she was “one of those girls.”  It was easier than the truth.  Insecurity is common and even expected from women, but the fact of the matter was…she wasn’t really all that insecure.  

 

One of the beautiful things about living her life the way she had was that she accepted herself.  Once she had gotten tired of feeling ashamed and guilty she realized that no one else really mattered.  As long as she loved herself and as long as she was ok with herself, well, what else really mattered?  So no, she hadn’t told her boyfriend to keep his hair long because she was insecure.  She had told him to keep his hair long because she was realistic.

 

Her sister and she had a game they would play every year in high school.  They called it Con because they liked to think that they were con artists.  They would wait until the middle of the school year when couples at the school were well established and comfortable.  Then they would spend an entire day doing everything they could to get the boys to dump their girlfriends.  At the end of the day, they would dump all of the boys and compare notes to see who had gotten the highest number of boys.

 

It was a cruel game, but in actuality it was an honest game.  Monogamy is a choice, and a hard one at that.  Approximately 70% of men cheat, as do about 70% of women  And when it came to her own personal experiences, she was always either getting cheated on or she was with another woman’s man.  

 

She was very secure.  She knew that she was rare and that he’d be a complete moron to fuck things up with her.
But then again, isn’t that what those other girls were thinking while their men were in her bed?   

Enigma

Where she walks no flowers bloom.  Flowers were too fragile for a woman like her.  They were too sensitive.  Just the slightest wrong move: too much water, too little water, too much sun, not enough sun…and suddenly they’re dying.  No. She never was one for flowers.  Sure they were beautiful, but so was she and she needed more than that.  She needed something solid and enduring because, good hearted as she was, she was still clumsy, and forgetful.  She was a fucked up hot mess, and she would kill you if you let her.  She needed a cactus. A cactus can look out for itself.