love

All posts in the love category

Brisbane

Published Thursday, January 23, 2014 by Chasing Neptune

The first of a few pieces from last semester’s fiction writing class.

BRISBANE

“I tell you what,” Harold groaned, pulling himself out of the taxi, “Once I get home, I’m never flying in one of those glorified sardine cans again. I still can’t feel my damn feet.”

“Yeah, it’s a long flight, Mate,” the taxi driver said. He handed Harold his scuffed leather suitcase. “You from Canada?”

“America, thank you. And I tell you what, if I didn’t have to be back there in a week for my grandson’s wedding, I’d go home stowed away on a cargo ship.”

The driver laughed. “Nah, she’ll be alright.”

“Who? Who’ll be alright?”

The driver was pulling away from the curb. Harold gripped his suitcase and looked around. He gazed out over the Brisbane River, counting the bridges. Four. He could see four just from Kangaroo Point.

During the war, they had never used the bridges. There were only a handful, and when a man was bleeding out his ears, it was better to zip across in a ferry. There were still a few ferries on the river: red double-decker ones with kangaroos on the side and slim white ones bearing the name City Cat. But they were for tourists and commuters and were vastly outnumbered by yachts and sailboats.

Harold moseyed along the river, feeling the warm breeze on his leathery skin, remembering the way it rustled Gisele’s skirts, the way she would pat down the hems, her fingertips brushing against her nylons. Every time they walked, they would end up at Jubilee Bridge. They would stroll out into the middle, and Harold would stop, spin around to face Gisele, and kiss her lips. Gisele, looking up at the matrix of steel beams, would blush and say, “Isn’t this the most beautiful city in the world?” And Harold, always watching her bright green eyes, would say, “Yes.”

But that was nearly 50 years ago, and they had changed. Even the bridge had a new name now – Story Bridge – honoring a public servant who dedicated his life to the city. When he first learned the name, all Harold could think was, “That should have been me.”

As Harold reached Story Bridge, he felt eighteen again. It still arched up to two high points; its beams still crisscrossed like a steel spider web. There were lights now, outlining the bridge’s silhouette, and he had heard they glowed red and green at night.

He walked out to the middle of the bridge, fingering a bundle of envelopes in his inside jacket pocket. He remembered the words of the last one: I’ll be there.

And then he waited. He waited until he began to worry. Maybe he had gotten the date wrong: with the time difference, he could be a day early – or worse – a day late. Maybe he had misread the letter. Maybe she had lied, played him for a fool, revenge for breaking his promise all those years ago. Maybe she no longer loved him.

Then, as the sun dipped below the city skyline and the green lights lit up, he saw her walking towards him. She looked exactly the same, but instead of a pencil skirt and flowing blouse, she wore tight jeans and a striped sweater. She had the same hourglass figure, the same curly hair, the same green eyes – only, it couldn’t be her. As she reached him, she crossed her arms to shield herself from the breeze.

“Mr. Matthews?”

“Yes?”

“I’m Angela, Gisele’s granddaughter.”

“You look just like her,” Harold said. “I thought you were her for a minute.”

Angela smiled. “Thank you. Nonna told me I would find you here.”

“Why didn’t she come?”

“She couldn’t, she wanted to, she…” Angela looked up at the beams. Harold noticed that her eyes were puffy, red. He followed her gaze up to the beams.

“Isn’t this the most beautiful city in the world?” Harold asked.

Angela looked down at Harold. He saw the recognition in her green eyes.

“Yes,” she said. “Yes.”

 

How Daisy Loves

Published Friday, July 6, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

This was a draft that I wrote for my Creative Nonfiction class, which was passed over for We Ride at Dawn. Even though I did not choose it as my piece for the theme (time of day), this short still holds a special place in my heart. Enjoy!

Even if every clock in my house stopped ticking, I would still know when the five o’clock hour rolled around. At this time, I am normally lounging in my dad’s spot on the couch, munching on a handful of Cheezits to placate my stomach until dinner. Usually, Daisy curls up next to me with her head in my lap, watching the small, square crackers and waiting for me to drop one. However, the moment the clock reads 5pm, Daisy leaps off of the couch and trots over to the staircase.

She places her haunches on the second step and her front paws on the first. As she gazes out the window towards the gravel driveway, her back straightens and her ears perk up into high alert. She sits quietly, waiting for a grey Silverado or a blue Equinox to emerge from behind the row of evergreens. When Daisy finally spies one of these vehicles, she leaps to the floor. From my place on the couch, I can hear her toenails scrambling against the hardwood floor in the dining room, as she rushes to meet one of our parents when they come in the door.

When my parents and I first brought Daisy home, I didn’t love her. She was a replacement for another dog, who had passed away just two months before. I felt that to love Daisy would be to betray and forget my Annie, who was like a little sister to me. However, watching Daisy day after day, as she patiently and loyally waits on the stairs for my parents to return from work, and knowing that she still sits in the same spot on the staircase, waiting for me to come home from a week at school, makes me love her, too.

Every day at 5pm, Daisy reminds me that loyalty and love do not weaken when given to more souls, but rather, when shared, become deeper and more meaningful.

My Favorite Poem I Have Ever Written…

Published Sunday, November 27, 2011 by Chasing Neptune

How to Love the Ocean

Do not dive. Plunge feet-first

and kick the undertow. Tie

knots in seaweed. Shatter

glass into sand.

Breathe in salt and wind

and mist. Slide your fingers over sea

shells, and do not trust

blue eyes.

Worship the night sky: stars

and sails and wisps of smoke. Hunt

creatures in the deep — when their

scales brush your skin, whisper

                                                I will fear no evil.

Letters to those in my Inbox

Published Thursday, June 23, 2011 by Chasing Neptune

Dear Miss November,

You will never know how much I appreciate your enthusiasm and passion. I would not have survived senior year without my best friend. I am so thankful that we have managed to stay so close, even when everyone else fell off the map. You’re one of my favorite people.

Sincerely,

Miss Way

Dear Mr. June,

Thank you for your honesty. You have always been such a good friend to me, and I know that I can trust you with anything. I love you like a brother, and I hope that is enough.

Sincerely,

A Thankful Friend

Dear Miss April,

Thank you for listening to me and always understanding what I mean when I cannot find the words. You are more than my friend; you are my sister. I do not know where I would be without your encouragement. You are a constant source of inspiration.

Sincerely,

Miss Neptune

And now for the hard part…

Dear Mr. February,

I could never say this to your face, because I would be too afraid of your response. However, I am holding to the conviction that you will never read this, and that gives me a strange sense of comfort.

I just wanted to say that I am sorry. I am sorry if you feel as if I led you on last year. I am sorry for the abrupt nature of my text message, whose words lacked the compassion my voice could have held. You were gentle, genuine, and patient. I was nervous, frightened, and pressured – not by you, by everyone else – our friends, my mother, society. I didn’t mean not you. I meant not now. My last wounds were still infected, and I needed time to heal and become a better person before I could deserve the attention of a guy as sweet and thoughtful as you.

Part of me wants to try this again. I think that I could be better this time. I am no longer broken, and I have learned so much about myself in the past year or so. However, at the same time, I am afraid that if you are willing to take a chance on me, we’ll only be disappointed. Maybe I’ll get scared again. Maybe we won’t have any chemistry after all. Maybe you won’t like what you find.

I do not know what your intentions are in rekindling our friendship, and that makes writing this all the more frightening. For all I know, you are only talking to me again because I am basically the only one left in town. But a small part of me has begun to hope that maybe, just maybe, it is because you didn’t give up on me after all, at least, not completely.

I think that this is the most exposed I have ever felt when writing. I always try to protect myself. I figure that if I keep my true thoughts hidden behind a wall of confidence and sarcasm I won’t get hurt. This is one of my imperfections, one of many, but at least I can admit this to myself.

Again, I regret the way things ended, before they had even begun. I hope that if you do stumble upon this, and you do not have any romantic feelings towards me, our friendship does not become awkward and ruined. This catastrophe has just been on my mind lately, and I needed to flush everything out.

Sincerely,

The One Who Ran Away

“Before the Wedding” – A Poem

Published Saturday, June 4, 2011 by Chasing Neptune

“Before the Wedding” is the English translation of the poem & painting title.

— denotes stanza break, because this has been unclear in previous posts.

Antes de la Boda

           from the painting by Antonio Muñoz Degrain
 

The bones of her corset creak against her

ribs as she breathes, Necesito un momento,

por favor.

Eyelids drooping, she dreams of salt

water dried on her skin, of the warm breeze

tangling her curls. Of Valencia.

Home.

She clasps her right hand, wrist

bruised and aching from her father’s

demanding grasp. Wrapped tightly in satin

and trimmed with ribbon,

she is the gift. White and soft,

she is the dove. Her bouquet,

the olive branch.

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