Living Life #4 (a collection of vignettes)

“The Red Bird”

She wasn’t sure if she saw the red bird first or if it saw her. It was one of those questions she would never have the answer to. Unless of course birds miraculously learned to speak English or she learned to tweet in bird. Since both circumstances seemed unlikely she left it at that. In the end it really didn’t matter. What mattered was that the red bird was there.

The first time she had seen it, she had barely acknowledged its existence. Instead she was more apt to sit and read than look out from the window next to her. Headaches didn’t cure themselves, only distraction and relaxation. So, the red bird had only got a passing glance.

The second time had been a few days later. It was raining profusely and the world outside was bathed in the dark stormy gray of the clouds and the vibrant green of the grass. She noted that the grass only looked that deep a color when it rained and some part of her wished she could see it more often. Then she remembered she really wasn’t fond of rain.

It was then that she had spotted the red bird again. It was huddled on the lawn, directly below her window. It’s contrast was so bright compared to the rest of the world. Autumn apple red wings, smudged dark shadow of a face and candy corn orange peak. It was looking right up at her.

“I’ve seen you before.” she had said.

And in answer the bird had flown away. It had been his turn to leave first after all.

This was the third time, a week from the last meeting. It wasn’t raining but it was cloudy. Her headache had eased but never left. There wasn’t much she could do. A different book was clutched in her hand, but it wasn’t open. Instead all she wanted to do was stare out the window, because she hadn’t tried that yet and she was too tired to do anything else.

The red bird didn’t take long to show up. It sat on the edge of her window sill just like the first time. “What took you so long?” she asked.

The bird bowed its head at her.

“I see. Well, I appreciate the company but if you’re busy I understand.” The red bird fluffed its wings and perched more snuggly onto the sill. It wasn’t going anywhere. She crinkled her eyes and smiled, the first in quite a bit. “Okay, then. If you’re keen on staying… I’ll tell you a story.” So she did and the more she spoke the better her head felt. So you see, it really didn’t matter who saw the other first.

Living Life #3 (a collection of vignettes)

“The Grape Eater”

It happened in aisle two.

The atmosphere of Shop Smart was bustling and all around there was movement. In one corner an overworked mother was pulling her son into the cart, while her son was pushing himself out of it. By the melons a tall girl was comparing one mango to the other, weighing each against her chest and no doubt looking for the best buy. To the left an elderly gentleman was clenching his fingers upward to the ceiling and shaking them back and forth complaining about clumps in the grated parmesan cheese. So, just another day… until I saw you.

Right there in aisle two.

I was minding my own business, as one does when grocery shopping. I had a small list: bananas, Oreos, and Mocha Swirl ice cream. All major food groups, and all scattered in their own habitats in the store. It was at the exact moment I had spotted the most yellow of the bananas when I saw you a few feet away, hovering over the red seedless grapes. At first my mind skated over. Grapes, sure they were good, but not on my limited list. Besides the drinkable version to me was more preferable for the cost, despite it being nay 12 in the afternoon… then it happened.

You. You in that maroon colored overcoat, in those black bell bottoms, in those disgusting gray tennis shoes which must have once been white reached into that bag of innocent produce and plucked. Plucked. I was so stunned all I could do was watch as you popped that innocent orb of juiciness and vacuumed sucked it into your mouth, leaving no trace of evidence behind…

The bunch fell straight out of my hand and landed with a crash onto its other brethren below on the stand. Looking around to the other patrons of Smart Shop’s finest I found no one else paying any mind. No one had seen. But I saw. I know what you did.

There must have been a look on my face. At that moment I had no control over any of my emotions. You though, Grape Eater, were spared my revulsion by swiftly pivoting away to deeper into the recesses of the store. The others weren’t.

“Are you okay?” Melon girl asked, holding two watermelons now in each of her palms. I didn’t know how to answer. Was I okay? Physically, yes. Mentally, maybe. Emotionally, no. No, I wasn’t. But I was in no mood to explain all of this to her. For some reason fate had willed this burden to fall into my hands and not hers. So I would spare her.

Giving a quick jerk of my head that was neither a nod nor shake, I grabbed my fallen bunch of bananas and scooted out of aisle two. Maybe I was just overreacting. I mean if the Grape Eater was planning on buying the bundle then it didn’t matter, really, whether one was gone or not. It wasn’t stealing. Just eating, preemptively. My synapses calmed at this thought. Any leftover abhorrence I pinned elsewhere. For example, Grape Eater, don’t you know you have to wash fruit first before putting it into your mouth?

But that was Grape Eater’s issue and not mine. Mine was on finding the Oreos. That was easy enough, my Double Stuf Oreos were waiting nestled in between all the other cookies of choice. I grabbed the pack and forced a smile. When I got home these would be well earned. I turned from the display and I stopped. At the end of the shelves was Grape Eater.

You were munching merrily and it was with trepidation that I looked into your basket. Behind the Chips Ahoy and jars of marinara sauce I saw the half eaten bag of grapes. You were trying to hide it, I know you were. Those cookies were placed so carefully to block any onlookers from looking deeper. The marinaras’ label were bright red and distracting to divert any other attention straight to its “Delicious!” marketing campaign. But I knew what to look for. I wasn’t fooled.

This time I followed you, walking right out of reach, as we entered the frozen food section. Grape Eater strolled casually by the peas, by the boxed pizzas and then paused at the ice cream. I swallowed. With grimy hands you reached in and pilfered a container out of the display. I felt my heart lurch when I saw the Mocha Swirl. There was no way.

You coasted by again as I bolted to the freezer and scanned the labels. Mint, Salted Caramel, Butter Pecan…. but no. No more Mocha Swirl. I looked again, and then again. The aisle was empty and you were gone by the time I let realization take hold. This was personal.

I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I was going to do it. Punching the heels of my boots into the tile floor I strode out into the wilderness of the store. The mother and son watched me wearily and the elderly gentleman sidestepped out of my way, each had to just take one look at my face.

The Grape Eater was waiting. Right in front of the tower of Barilla Pasta, on sale for $1.29 a box. It was as if you knew what you did with that smug bloated smile on your face, and you were proud of it. You, Grape Eater, chucked that empty grape bag to the side with a quick, purposeful flick of your wrist, then finally, met my eyes. So you had seen me, just as I had seen you.

As I opened my mouth, it happened. Melon girl, appearing from around the corner, now with two apples in her hands and a menagerie of other fruit in a cart nearby never saw the empty bag. It slid from right under her foot and flinging her apples she in turn reached out… and knocked down the whole tower of pasta.

Grape Eater never stood a chance. The boxes came tumbling down in an avalanche of linguini, penne and farfalle. After, when the dust settled I seized my moment. While everyone was distracted by the spill and Grape Eater floundering on the floor, I grabbed my Mocha Swirl from the forgotten basket.

No one paid me any mind. And it was satisfying.

Living Life #2 (a collection of vignettes)

No one was looking at her.

It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. There were no stares she had to match, no snarky smiles she had to contend with, and no direct bullshit she had to stomach with a straight face. Not a bad thing.

Not a good thing either. If they were looking at her that would at least give more hope that they were paying attention. All these words that were falling carefully out of her mouth were being said for a reason. The reason being she needed them to believe her. Still, they didn’t look up.

The woman on the left had glasses and wheat colored hair. The glasses in front of her eyes made her look studious, smart. Important. Her hair though was bland, lifeless. Scattered. As if the woman had more pressing things on her mind than listening to what the girl had to say. As if the girl was just another problem that needed to be solved.

The man on the right had dimples and a round face. Every time he smiled, which was more often than the girl would have liked, the little indentations appeared in perfect holes on his cheeks. In that round face those holes stood out where the rest of his features glazed over. They appeared every time the girl said something ridiculous, something that was true.

It took the time of three inhales and exhales before they realized the girl was finished. The woman kept typing away at her computer. The man kept scribbling his notes.

All of the words had fallen out of her and still they did not look.

Living Life #1 (a collection of vignettes)

Follow me here.

You’re sitting down at a desk, outside the window there are clouds for miles and the sky is threatening to rain, but you’re inside so honestly it’s not really bothering you. What’s really skulking around in your mind is the blank computer screen you’re staring at and you’re wondering the universal question what the heck do I do now?

Then your mind starts getting really dicy. You think to yourself that this really isn’t a desk your sitting at but a fold out table with water stains smeared across the surface. You realize that it’s actually raining now and man the window is open and now you’re getting wet and there are more stains on the desk/table now. “Tablesk.” The scrambled word falls involuntarily, and you have some regret. Your throat makes a choking sound.

But you’re laughing. No regret. The laugh eases into a smile because finally you found something to put down. You’re a writer.

So, you write.