Apartment Ceilings

Her feet stretched towards the ceiling and his were planted against the floor. My feet rested on the windowsill. Our faces were dimly illuminated by candles on the wall, dripping crimson wax into tin basins below. A fan roared near my face, and cool air rushed towards my cheeks.

She looked at the ceiling, a paper fan in hand as if it were a microphone, and began singing a childhood favorite. He looked at her, shaking his head with laughter. As she continued to sing, I joined in. Our off-key voices filled the air and leaked onto the streets below. As I stared at the candlelit ceiling, I watched the pulses of fire match the beat of the music.

 

Candlelit Thoughts

7/9

On weekends, especially Sunday nights when the rest of the world refuses to blink, I play 2010 Ke$ha into old headphones. I have the awful habit of leaving books in random places around my house until it looks like a disorganized library. I leave candles burning as I start to fall asleep. I dance in public, although horribly, and older people sometimes approach me to admire my spirit. I am scatterbrained yet determined, and I am brimming with flaws.

This week has been unexceptional, and I have had much time to myself. I broke out in hives, had an allergic reaction to my cat’s hair, and developed a fit of anger that aided the stigma of a redhead’s fury. To say the least, this week has not been perfect; however, days like these remind me of what it is to be human. For the people who read my blog posts and see my writing as interesting, creative, or whatever else could possibly be thought of, it must also be known that some days I spend more time worrying than I do exploring or learning.

I read The Glass Castle this week and the author, Jeanette Walls, wanted “to let the world know that no one had a perfect life, that even the people who seemed to have it all had their secrets.” Authors have no purpose if not to showcase the human experience: it is flawed, secretive, terrifying, and magnificent. Here is my humanity.

 

Unlikely Stories

6/29

An old lady in a stained blue shirt with hair like a midday’s cloud shared her story today. My friend Olivia and I decided to take a road trip and were welcomed to a town the size of a dust mite. It vaguely reminded me of the speck of dust in the beloved Horton Hears a Who. This older woman told us how she had lived in the town for almost 60 years, working many jobs and even refurbishing the town’s city hall, built in 1905. The town, although not large or significantly magnificent, had history that was as tangible as the summer air around us.

As we continued to explore the town, we witnessed a chubby, redheaded boy chasing a wagon down a slanted sidewalk. His cheeks were almost as red as the hair on his head. He continued to look backwards at us, obviously dumbfounded by our appearance. I don’t think he was expecting visitors. The more he became curious, though, the more his wagon flew farther away.

To say that we had found this small wonder because of pure luck would be a lie, as we heard about the Rocks Are Fun Cafe in the city and became desperate to see it. When we found it, the walls were covered ceiling to floor with stone masterpieces. The owner, an awkward man with a lopsided gate and a friendly smile, said it would take 10 and 1/2 hours to view all of his pieces for approximately 2 minutes. His shop also sold Pasties, or pastries with various fillings. He told us that he had sold 152,347 pasties. I only smiled.

We then visited a small town that was thriving with murals. Every shop displayed a mural that showcased its importance. It was a city where abstractionism met realism and texture collided with boldness. As an artist, the creations made my insides flutter. The city was a piece of artwork. It was a story of its own, needing no human to speak for it. The citizens of the quiet town told their stories to the walls, and the walls told every passerby. Eventually, when all of the people leave to larger cities, the city will continue to startle, smile, and speak.

I cannot speak of every individual met or every sight seen, but I hope it is known that each is remembered with Olivia and I. Traveling isn’t always about the endless stretches of road or the absence of work. It’s about the people you meet, the stories you hear, and the emotions you feel in each place. No location or person is a stranger once you have heard his story. The world is meant to be a friend. I am only beginning to make it mine.

Denny’s At Four In The Morning

6/21

There’s a certain comfort that comes naturally when you sit across from someone for 4 hours straight, talking about absolutely nothing and entirely everything. Now, not a boring comfort. The comfort where you spend 30 minutes creating a plan on how to grill chicken together in a movie theater, after discovering that you have both eaten subs in the same exact place. Or the comfort where you shed an embarrassing middle school moment, slapping the table when the awkward teenage experiences are discovered to be impeccably and equivalently dreadful.

As I sit across from you, singing Wonderful World at your somewhat unknowing ears, the smile I receive is worth staying out until I’m almost too tired to drive home. I spoke of letters, and maybe I’ll never write you one, but for what it’s worth, right now I’m just a woman sitting in a Denny’s with a man as the sun rises, happy and unafraid.

Everyday Exploration

IMG_0494

IMG_0158

4/2

We were traveling to the exact center of the Northern Half of the Western Hemisphere. Elated to be driving towards it for the pure sake of exploration, we did not care whether it was worth our time.

We discovered a forest of chainsaws as we were searching for this ridiculous landmark. Rows of pines that were severed with rusted chainsaws engulfed our vision. His silver breath chuckled, incredulity rendering his voice.

“Do you think every chainsaw marks a victim?” Wonderment filled her voice of silk. I nodded and stared at the weapons, curiosity gleaming in my eyes. What wonderful wonders the world offers, I thought.

A Window Spattered With Rain

3/24

The window was spattered with droplets of righteous rain. It had just turned to morning and I was a juxtaposed combination of desire and dreariness. In a fit of panic, I called my mother about the looming fear of college. My big city dreams and ideas of wonderment were disappearing in an average night. I wanted help. A kind word suggesting I would be okay despite having to stay in a small town for a few years. I did not receive such. My mother told me she did not agree with my big world decisions, my ideas of whimsicality, or the life of exploration I wished to have. She pestered me: “What if you are so normal?  What if you are just as average as everyone else?” The words swirled through the synapses in the spheres of my brain, creating a clouded confusion in my head. I told her, “If I was normal, I wouldn’t be me.” The phone shook with a scoff. She told me I would not become the dream I wished to be. Rain struck the window, and I saw my angered face in the reflection of the glass.

Nine years back, halfway through the life I now live, I was given an assignment to write a story. I imagined a story with lights which illuminated the world at all hours of time. I pictured a creation which was complete with originality. The teacher collected the assignments from myself and other students. She decided she would read the stories and we would guess who wrote each. When mine was read, no one said my name. The children turned to each other, pointing their fingers with exaggerated movements. After the teacher declined their answers to the point where a child becomes impatient, she looked directly at me. The others followed suit. They did not believe I was capable of writing what I wrote. They looked at me with shock. Some with jealousy. The feeling of jubilance overcame me, and a smirk crept across my face. I loved the feeling of being someone that no one ever thought I could be.

This feeling will be felt again.