teeny tale: something from a dream

It’s the kind of beauty that men hope to stumble upon. It’s the kind that people talk about. The kind that only some see for themselves while others are left only to imagine. It’s the kind you’d revisit day after day, because it’s the kind of beauty you miss when it’s gone, he said. And she said, yes, it’s something grand isn't it? To think they didn’t even know the wonder they were missing, and then all of a sudden...they find this. And he looked at her, and her evergreen eyes, and swept her sable hair past the ridge of her collarbone. Yes, it’s something from a dream, he said. 



I remember my father atop a splintered picnic bench. Tattered overalls, stained in sweat and dirt, and his skin, an apple red from the oppressive sun. I sat, splashing about in a play pool, wearing my favorite swimsuit – it was violet, the neckline trimmed with flowing ruffles.

“We nearly have two pennies to rub together, Helen,” he had said to my mother. My father was a laborer, picking up odd jobs here and there, yet there hadn’t been an odd job there for the picking in a while.

“It’ll be fine Charlie, we’ll get by,” my mother assured. But she, too, had become weary; her hopeful spirit, heavy in the thick air.

My mother was a baker, by hobby not trade. She was talented and resourceful; I’m not sure which came first: the cupboards were often better used for hiding spots than for storage, but somehow there was always the right amount of something for her to do her magic. It was what kept her smiling, moving forward. Even then, I could sense the purpose she felt with each knead of dough. Folks would pop by, knocking about on the back door, “Hey there, your mama got anymore of those tasty Helen’s helpings?” She’d sell them for what she could. People seemed to like them. And what she didn’t sell, we ate before they spoiled. My mother wasn’t a waster.

I watched my father that summer day, as he sat, staring, unresponsive to my playful quips. He’d break his fixation only to wipe the sweat from his brow – just before it’d reach his eyes – like a wound toy, moving mechanically, slowly returning to its original pose. And then he broke, rubbing his eyes, and for a moment I thought he had begun to cry; I had never seen a grown man cry. But he stood, staring blankly on, and let out a heavy sigh, kicking up the dirt drive as he exited. My mother quickly followed after. I sat there for some time, cautiously so, fearful to make a disturbance, my fingertips slowly turning wrinkly beneath the water's surface.

As the afternoon turned ripe, my mother came to retrieve me. I tagged along beside her, as she delivered packages of tarts and biscuits in the ease of the dusk breeze -- she with her task, I with mine. My eyes swept the ground, back and forth, as we moved from house to house. “Sadie, watch where you’re going sweetie, you’re sure to run into something if you don’t start paying attention,” my mother had warned. But I didn't, and by the time my mother had wrapped up her rounds, I had found what I was looking for.

The wind picked up that evening: a distant rain shower’s fair warning. Father moved slowly about the house, bringing the windows to a close. I had slipped quietly down the staircase, breaking away from my obedient, nightly routine. He looked up as the floor creaked, “Hey kiddo, you should be in bed.”

I walked straight up to my father’s sturdy base, outstretching my arm, like flora slowly reaching toward the sun. My clenched hand, holding two pennies, made its way to the inside of his tough palm. I remember rubbing them between my thumb and pointer finger after finding them that afternoon: my child’s mind, pure and literal, at work.

I could see in the perplexity of my father’s face, his mind pulling the pieces together. And then he wiped his eyes with the back of one hand, the two pennies nearly drowning in the other. My mother had stood, motionless, trying to shield her presence within the frame of the doorway. I turned and exited, thinking nothing of it, swinging my arms proudly and carefree, returning to bed, a child, untarnished.



I'm going to try something new: www.ziglets.tumblr.com

Tales, shorties and other thoughts that need punctuating will remain here.
Photos, inspriation and other visual creative will be posted to Tumblr.
It's cleaner and crisper, making it better suited for such.

Hope to see you there...

my really? rant

This print of whitie tighties (or tighty whities)
is $460. I find that absurd. 
My conclusion: typo. I'd say $4.60 is more like it.
Hmm, I wonder what a sketch of a tube sock would sell for...


getting ready.

It's happening this Friday: Sam Beam and I have a date. And in preparation, I'm listening to the Iron & Wine Pandora channel. No, it's not all I & W, I don't want to get burnt out, over saturated, drowned in the molasses that is his voice; I'd rather take slow drips of it instead. The other plus of this approach is that I get a taste of other ear-pleasing sounds, like this tune, "Horse In The Sky," by Chris and Thomas...

Okay, I couldn't help it...I had to post at least one...haven't heard this one in a while; such a pleasant surprise.

Happy hump day folks!


It's Time.

For a moment, my senses capture the freshly scented air that passes, and I wish I could bottle it up for a cloudy day. It's fresh, soft, like just-showered, gently perfumed skin. For a moment, spring is found. Maybe it has drifted from a neighbor’s home, someone else who's trying to urge spring on; they carry its scent in their textiles. And in these days where winter stubbornly hangs on, these little touches are more than delightful.

The temperature continues to make its cooler stance known, while the sunshine battles on, showing its face more often around these parts. The houses slice the sidewalk into strips of shade and rays; we walk slower in the warmth, hoping to build up a reserve to last the block, and then some. With each step, the extra weight felt from layers becomes burdensome. 

I am more than ready to welcome bare skin. Freckles. To bathe myself in a sunny glow from head to toe. To sit upon the porch, windows swung open, and let the breeze rejuvenate all that's gone stale. I'm ready to breath in air that's once again full of life. 


Tale: Trapped in a Moment

In that bar with the back entrance, the one up the steps through the alley, we had our moment. I’d never had what I considered “a moment” before, but I’m quite sure what we had was just that.

Your eyes caught mine scanning the room. A jukebox played on random, and a game of pool filled the emptiness that hung in the air between changes. Until then, my eyes knew nothing more than how to meet and retreat...until they got caught in yours. I was easy prey, hooked with the first try. You drew me in slowly, inch by inch. I remember feeling my whole self tilt forward. Feet anchored,I broke, just before falling, head first, to the depths of the wells that were your pupils. 

I stood alone; my palms began to sweat. It got stuffy. Didn’t it? On any other day I’d make my move and head to the bar, order a vodka and sit, my back facing you, hoping at some point in the night one of us would build up a false confidence, enough to get names. But you moved first, snaking through the crowd, and pulled out a crisp dollar to feed the machine. You paid extra to have your song play next. I knew it was yours because it broke the upbeat buzz, made others shift in their seats. You looked my way, eyes with a smile and a nod. “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…” And with that line, you had me there all night. 

I found you intoxicating, something I didn’t know any man to be capable of. I needed to get closer, to breathe you in. With a lean to the left, fondling a toothpick with your tongue, you stood intimidatingly so. That’s when I made up a trip to the restroom, so I could pass you. And I made up the group of people that were all around us in that moment, because I wanted a reason to brush up against you. And I know you turned to watch me walk by, because I felt the slightest warmth from your mouth reach the back of my neck.

With a trace of your cologne on my shirt, I had a two-minute fantasy in front of the mirror. The wisps of my hair curled from the heat and the glass was fogged with the moisture from my breath; I left it marked with the outline of my lips. I found my confidence, but two minutes too late: you were already gone.

I believe in everything but feelings that are real, which is why I no longer see myself in my reflection anymore, I see her. When the day comes, I put on the same pair of jeans, pin my hair up the same way and even have the last of my perfume on reserve for that same night each year, the 16th of March. I arrive around the same time I did that night, looking like I never left our moment. And I walk up to the jukebox and I play our song and touch the same buttons you touched, because it makes me feel close to you again. Then I wait. With my back turned, hoping this night will be the night I learn your name.


Tale: No. 2

His avenue of expression came in the form of graphite. But he had graduated from the ubiquitous No. 2 pencil to a more sophisticated version years ago; he was after all an artist, not a shop teacher or professional Scantron taker. It was the transition from action heroes to pieces of fruit and nude models that called for a more diverse palette: an array of carbon ranging from soft to hard, the former making it easier and quicker to shade.

Before the switch in drawing utensils, he had only known change to be disappointing, but this was different. His lines hit the pages smoother, hugging each curve, and the depth of color was richer; both he and the images he created were given an honest chance to come alive. The side of his right hand collected the bits that chipped away when he pressed the pencil with authority, hoping to get the blackest gray that gray could make. And the tip of his middle finger went permanently stained, as it took on the role of his favorite blending tool. The residue would travel on, from the paper, to his fingertip, to his slacks, and now and again to his temple when he’d pause, head down, searching his mind’s catalog for memories, visual snapshots to draw from. He found he liked this kind of change, although he doubted he’d ever experience it again: what more would he need? But with time, the crisp lines easily smudged. The glossy finish atop the sharp gray eventually dulled. And any finished product was left vulnerable: one quick swipe of an art gum eraser could rip the lines from the sheet, leaving the piece scared, damaged, and as a result, unfinished. This, he decided, was no way to leave his mark, if he was leaving one at all.

Having never doodled with anything more than a BIC pen, he paced the calligraphy section of the art shop. The florescent lights swung from above, and he found himself in an intimate interrogation of the shelves displayed selection: What makes you think you're more special than this here guy beside you? Best for “drawing and illustration” you say? Prove it.  He didn’t bother to ask the longhaired, 40-something-year-old employee his suggestion; his far-off stare left him looking like nothing of an expert, and everything like the stoner he always had been, and still was. He checked out, leaving with a pen box that came with a variety of nibs, a bottle of black India ink, and one sheet of dense paper, all in a bag much too cumbersome for its slight contents.

When he got home, he turned off all the lights and sat at his desk until the sunlight streaming through the window turned the room, and everything in it, a peachy hue. He felt silly, but it only seemed just to break in his new supplies under similar lighting conditions as those who first began their works in ink. There was something almost primitive about it. Then again, it wasn’t like he had wiped up a batch of cow urine and mud or beetle guts, but it was more of a process than just putting pencil to paper. He liked learning new skills and he experimented with lines he could and couldn’t make from each nib, each becoming more dramatic as moonlight took hold of the room, turning its inner glow cool. And with the help of a few candles, he continued his virgin pursuit.

Just as the wick of his candles exhausted their full potential, he woke. His hand still wrapped around the pen like a stem of ivy: sturdy, but easily pulled apart with a gentle touch. He was slow to retrace his steps, looking at the puddle of hot wax, then the scattered supplies, and as he stared blankly before him, eyes burning, he recalled the image: tall pines draping over a mountain side, a creek running below, and a full moon in the night’s sky, a layer of thin streaks ran behind it. He lowered his gaze quickly to the page – excited to test his memory – but there was no proof: what may or may not have been had fallen victim to the depths of a black well of ink. It was an unfortunate happening, but nothing close to tragic, as he realized, with a grin, that he had indeed made his first mark.


thought starter.

A quote from the International Design Awards 2011 Best of Show Winner's Piece:

"Inert objects -- and people -- lose their charm pretty quickly. It's hard to be inspired by something that never changes. So get moving. Never stand still. Gain momentum. Feel free to start small -- once you begin, it'll be ease to keep going."

Jessica Kuhn, online & associate editor of HOW Magazine poses the thought of whether these words take on any meaning "to you," the reader. I find that I, along with my friends, have reached that point in our lives where we feel we've either figured it out, are on the verge of doing so, or don't think we ever will. Me? Well, I think I fall someplace in the middle of the mix; however, I'd add that it's with a hard lean toward the latter. 

Regardless, what I find to be the more pressing question is this: is it fear and/or the comfortable boundaries we set for ourselves that keep us from reaching our full potential? This happens to be a question I ask myself too often. (Maybe that reveals something about me.) The "what" may possible be within the second layer of that question, which pushes the need to take a deeper look inside to truly figure out what's most important: comfort or the satisfaction of personal success (and I'd argue development). Wouldn't we all like to have both? 

I've been thinking lately that I'll have to start working even harder in my own personal journey of life to achieve such a perfect balance. I can always tell when things get too comfortable: I grow antsy. The one thing I will confirm is that I'm definitely not "inert." Let's consider Newton's First Law: An object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Now apply this physics to your life. This "unbalanced force" doesn't mean you come to a complete stop, it just means you take on a different pace, a new direction. For me, the "unbalanced force" may be a new passion, hobby or interest; I thrust myself into them, exploring just enough so that I come out on the other side, once again, in balance (although I have been a bit wobbly at times). 

A little shaking up does a body good; it keeps you from staying too idle, for too long. It isn't always easy to find the motivation on your own, which is why I don't. Instead I get a healthy dose of "forces" from those I surround myself with, who are more often than not the "mover and shaker" type (my kind of style). They're the ones who keep me inspired, which is just how I like to live.

What have you done differently lately? What's inspired you? 

Just a little something to ponder in the spare minutes of your day.



filling the repository

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
 E.E. Cummings

Love is...


teeny tale: the heart.

I remember the day he turned to me and asked how it was possible that the feeling of love could so easily be summed up with a heart, the heart, with a muscular organ that pumps blood, which was more than just another element in the equation of life. To him, blood wasn’t something he associated with feeling good, with feeling alive. No. Instead, it was that thing that was symbolic of pain, of being hurt. And he said that he guessed that part wasn’t completely misleading. Sometimes, he said, he thought he felt love (the good kind) in his stomach, sometimes in his head and on rare occasions even in his toes. Then he told me that to him, love was a total-body experience; it shouldn’t be confined to one organ. And he seemed so content with his conclusion that I didn’t want to tell him it was because of “that thing” that pumps through that “one organ” that he could feel that kind of love in all those kinds of places.

And, in case you missed it, here's the teeny tale from last February: conversation hearts.


olive, the littlest frenchie bulldog...ooo woo ooo

As soon as I close the door behind me, I hear the little pads of her feet hit the hardwood, her tags jingling. She greets me, presenting a toy or bone, and she sits patiently, trembling until I set my bags down to give her her first afternoon rub. I ask if she wants to go out, and her playful nature drives her to deke from left to right; she's stalling, although she and I both know how badly she needs to go. She watches me, with my coat buttoned, hat on and gloves limp, gathered in the clutch of one hand, her harness and leash in the other. I turn away, in an attempt to show dominance, but also to shield the smile--she's such a funny creature. Team Olive: 1. Team Me: 0. 

Once we finally hit the drive, she heads out toward the sidewalk and I can't help to wonder if she's walking me or if I'm walking her. And as we carry on, kicking up the freshly fallen snow, I have my answer: the near 30 pounds of pure muscle that she is, is pulling me right along; I love that she gives me energy when I have none. Somehow we're running, always she leading the way, and I try to keep a decent clip in my clunky rubber boots. It feels good to get the blood pumping, and I think it's best to keep her going, to keep her warm, while my fingers begin to numb. She's nibble, and as she's dodging branches, I'm being dragged behind chuckling at the fact that this pup is showing me up. She even looks back to make sure I'm keeping up, while I look down, hoping we don't hit an icy patch. And then a neighbor appears from around the corner, and our mindless romp comes to a complete. Halt. There are sounds she makes that I was unaware were even possible, and they come out when she spies another person, another dog, anything she wants to get a closer look at. But now that she has my endorphins pumping, I desperately try to drag her back, and eventually we scuttle off. She makes her mark with a piddle on this lawn and that corner and then bounds her barrel chest through the highest snow pile she can find, only to pull me with her to pick up her other mark; the cuffs of my pants fill with flakes. 

I'm glad she gets me out when the temperatures fall below 35: my preferred lowest temp. I wouldn't want to miss this extra time with her. Just the two of us checking out the neighborhood; she's taught me to be more observant. Together, we smell what people are having for dinner and who's house that wonderful fire smell is coming from. She takes note of the dogs that have been out for a walk and probably wonders where they are now, while I note the large footprints that are followed by two smaller ones and wonder which house that father and child live in. When we return home, I wipe her paws and she bounds up the stairs. And then I sit, to write, to leave my mark, and she climbs in my lap to join. On this day, I couldn't think of anything better.

as much for me as it is for you.

Sam Beam is Iron & Wine. Iron & Wine is Sam Beam. I've seen Mr. Beam perform before, but he was accompanied by a full band; it wasn't the sweet, melodic solo experience I had yearned for. He'll be swinging through my neck of the woods again to share songs from his new album, and rumor has it that it's a solo tour. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. In the meantime, I've been enjoying this NPR Tiny Desk Concert. In the chance that I'm met that night in April with more than Sam Beam, I'll be able to pop back here quickly after the show to calm my tattered nerves. (Bonus: this gem also ends with an old favorite, thanks NPR for this little treasure.)


Tale: A Girl Named Jennifer

To most, Jennifer was just another breathing, semi-warm body that passed them on the street. She was quiet, and not because she was shy, although she was, but it was more due to a lack of inspiration – starting up a conversation about how she switched to Fresh Linen fabric softener from Island Breeze didn’t seem all that arousing. At one point, Jennifer realized she had gone 72 straight hours without a peep, not even a casual greeting to a stranger. She was alarmed by the realization and tried to start up a one-way conversation with Milo, her cat, but even he had lost interest in what she had to say over time; maybe she were better off a mute.

Jennifer, or Jenn as those on her dwindling list of friends called her, was 32, but far from having things figured out. Some might say she’s rare, and not rare as in unique, rare as in needing more time to “cook.” She was just wrapping up one hellish Saturday of pondering the value of her existence; she was caught in the toils of self-worth. The patrons sitting in the Second Cup coffee shop may have thought she were actually reading Gone With the Wind while sipping a flavored latte with extra foam, but no: 1.) she had already seen the movie, allowing her to flip the pages at random, sometimes even two at a time; and 2.) a flavored latte was too advanced and “extra foam” was not included in her vocabulary, rather a black coffee acted as her tabletop companion. Jenn scanned the pages of her dusty decoy, letting certain words surface like “courage,” “reputation,” and “my dear” – she’d never been anyone’s “dear.” It all lead to thoughts of what made her courageous, or if she ever had been, and what kind of reputation she was building up; however, she couldn't imagine she had one.

It was a one-day journey full of pit stops, stalls, and countless dead ends. There was one road in particular that she couldn’t hold herself back from plowing down, the one that begged the question of what made her any sort of “unique,” and at the end of the day, she was one thought short of an answer. Yes, she was an only child, which made her a specific kind of special, but the fact that she was the only offspring of Sylvia and Paul wasn’t anything she could list on a resume or use to pick up men. Jenn had some oddball personal possessions that were up for contention, like the one delicate, vintage tea cup she picked up at an estate sale – it was Czech and had a matching saucer with yellow and gold deco – but the fact that it had orphan twins scattered all over eBay didn’t give her points in the precious novelty category.

As for Jenn’s outward appearance, she was pale, but lacking a sufficient amount of freckles and beauty marks for one of her fairness, which crushed her chances of having a distinct grouping of marks in the shape of Jesus, or maybe the constellation Orion. She did have one beauty mark right above her lip, but that didn’t count: its originality was already spoken for. It did, however, feed an ongoing source of interaction for Jenn; it often initiated dialog, but never graduated past that particular topic, or that stage in a conversation. People would approach her, pointing out her “Cindy Crawford mark,” and she would smile and part her lips, readying them for a response, only to quickly surrender them into a smooth, vague grin – a parting gift for stopping by to visit. Why did it have to be the same as Cindy Crawford’s? Why couldn’t it just be hers? It’s not like such a mark could only belong to one person, or that Crawford had a special allotment of them that she gave out to a handful of lucky winners; you can’t go around handing out beauty marks to people like T-shirts or sticks of gum.

In terms of Jenn’s fashion sense, she had none, which meant she either copied what she saw from a magazine; the style-conscious, often togged out gal, Vicky, down the hall; or off mannequins in department stores. Jenn wasn’t a girl who turned heads for her looks, but more often because people thought there was something familiar about her – like the sweater from the H&M window. Jenn definitely didn’t want to call attention to herself, so not being an adventurous dresser left her feeling sufficiently content.

Jenn’s predictable apparel wasn’t the only thing that was working against her; she was shaken of an interesting life from birth; “Jennifer” was the No. 1 most popular name in 1980. Unfortunately, her parents hadn’t been daring enough to veer from the given by removing an “n”; she could have been “Jenifer,” and that deletion of a single letter could have been the ticket, the one that would gain her access to a more intriguing life. Jenn found herself turning every time someone yelled her name, until she began to realize 9.9 times out of 10 it was for another girl with the same 80s name who was often prettier. There was something different Jenn always noticed when her name reverberated through the open air, through the voice of the countless unknown callers to the countless unknown “others”: her name took on an alluring attribute. It was during that ah-ha moment that Jenn accepted a name doesn’t make a person, rather a person makes a name. Regardless, Jenn still held a grundge against her overly popular name, as it induced some unfortunate situations. Like every time she'd go into one of those corner shops on vacation, the ones with silkscreen shirts of palm trees and fake bikini bodies, bottles of sand, and little license plates with names on them, she'd give the carousel a spin to the “J” names, to find the same thing every time: an empty metal rack displaying a lo-res cardboard picture of what should be there with her name on it, and of course a SKU number. The constant disappointment drove Jenn to settle for keychains and the like baring the sole initial “J”; they were easier to find in stock, and she liked to think it made her more mysterious.

Jenn exhausted the gamut of qualifying uniqueness factors until she found herself sifting through “The Black Pit” – the moniker she gave her handbag – in search of drugs to calm her pulsating temple. She wouldn’t give up; she had no choice but to do the exact opposite. If she wanted unique, she had to snatch it from every unexpected person, place and thing; unique wasn’t going to happen on its own. Jenn had to make a decision: she’d either carry on through life in her almost-non-existent way or get charged enough to resuscitate her life – she’d say yes to new experiences, see the world through new eyes, put herself out there more – and rip herself bluntly from her cozy comfort zone.

This day of daunting introspection kicked her butt; Jenn never wanted to feel so beat down again. She pushed back in the velvet-upholstered, thrift-store-find of a chair she had sat in for the last eight hours, the worn-in springs and fabric capturing her sunken impression. Jenn had noticed the brightly painted mural of downtown, the vertical grains in the tabletop, the horizontal lines of her hands, everything except what was going on outside. With her double-breasted wool coat buttoned high and a knit cap upon her head, she gathered her things, and herself, and caught the first glimpse of the falling snow outside. Opening the door, a whoosh of winter air awoke her senses. Without consciously saying “yes,” she tilted her head back, opened her mouth wide, and stuck her tongue straight out. For a full 30 seconds, Jenn let as many of those icy masterpieces fall and dissolve. And then she carried on with a smile, knowing the snowflakes she just caught would never be captured by anyone else; it was the start to something new.


Tale: Seeing

Do you see that? A man with a clipboard, gnawing at a pencil like a bit, who’s he? Why do clipboards give people weight in the world, power to look important checking off top-secret duties from the man above? You’re not going to ask. I’m not going to ask. He’s probably just checking off the last bathroom he emptied the trash from, refilled the foamy soap in, and wiped piss of the porcelain commode. I wonder if he has kids.
What about that guy? He's in his buttoned-up shirt, tucked in, pleated pants and herringbone socks. Is the pattern for show? Was it a conscience effort? Did he go that far to think about what the world would see when he crossed his legs like a dame? What about the junk the world can’t see? People will be thinking more about that, about why he crosses his legs like a broad; real men would find crossing their legs uncomfortable. He must not be real.
What about her? She’s working as a cashier at the grocery store. She checks everyone out, literally. Ringing up baby food, Slim-Fast, Wonder bread, your six-pack of Bud. She scans you, your stuff, and by the time you’re paying, she’s judged you. Don’t let her “Have a nice day” fool you. Who makes her a judge? She’s put-together; put-together people don’t work as cashiers. But the rock on her hand and her blown-out hair mark her as someone who’s well-off. And she is, but she works because it gives her something to complain about, like the old people who want their goods double bagged: paper then plastic. She’s sick of hearing how their milk ripped through the plastic once and fell all the way down the stairs, so she does it. Maybe she isn’t better off.
What about inanimate objects? Let’s say linoleum tiling. The kind you can pick up from Sam at the local hardware store, bring back and install in a day; it’s like peel and stick square clings for your floor. At the specialized stores someone named Diane rips you off, selling it as “contemporary” flooring, when all she’s really doing is upselling cheap. It’s the kind that runs wall-to-wall waxed and topped with shiny new cars at dealerships, littered with the aftermath of unsuccessful TP tears in the bathroom of the ladies room at Wal-Mart, and with sticky beer spots on the floors of frat-house kitchens. It’s usually feathered, tone on tone, while some of the others do their best to mimic their more-desired natural stone heroes. And during awkward conversations, or the ones you rather wish you weren’t apart of, you let your body stay present and let your mind drift away, finding shapes in the design. Maybe you see a naked woman, the face of a child, a character your subconscious just created; maybe it’s the devil in disguise. Then again, you may see nothing. It takes an extra layer of intrigue to make such discoveries.
And what if you don’t see anything? If that’s the case you see nothing in the ceiling tile paneling embossed with textures. At first that is, but throughout your life you may spend hundreds of hours staring at them. Maybe at the dentist office while your spit is getting sucked out of your mouth with a tube and the hygienist is asking you questions, knowing full well you can’t adequately respond; talk about getting the upper hand in a conversation. And all you have are those tiles to look at, and after those countless hours of affixing your gaze upward, your mind digs out memories of a science class that were tucked in the folds of your brain. There was pond water, paramecium, amoeba, and euglena. And then the smell of your lab partner’s ungodly taco-like body odor resurfaces and you start choking, gagging on spit, and water, and air.
And what do you see in love? Being able to agree to disagree? How sad is it that some have only known it as a slap in the face, followed by apologies, and a forced embrace. Others only get it when their partner’s voice is laced with booze. For me? I don’t know. Maybe it’s taking out the trash or organizing the bills. Or how you tell me my hair looks nice. For you? Maybe it’s when I pick food from you beard. Maybe it’s in a kiss on the cheek, followed by sexual propositions and screwing.
What have you painted your life with? Maybe you don’t paint at all. Maybe you choose to draw. Maybe you see in grayscale. Maybe my view is in ROYGBIV. Maybe it’s because the way I see the world is advanced. Because maybe we see only as much as we’ve let ourselves observe and experience. And maybe I’ve done more of that. But who’s to say? I’m sure there are things that you see that I don’t. Our picture of life may never be the same. Like the other day when we saw that old man walking through the cemetery with a single rose. I saw him as a grieving widower or maybe someone's loyal son, and then you told me he looked like a man who led two lives—the rose was for his deceased lover.


teeny tale: silent smile

you know, i really miss the snot out of you. & then he heard a lightweight sigh from the other end. not knowing if it were a sigh of relief or if his choice of words hadn't been well received, he second guessed his quick release of feelings; girls generally didn't care for snot. & then right before he opened his mouth to offer an apology, she spoke: your timing couldn't have been more perfect; that's just what i needed to hear. really? he asked. absolutely, i've been stuffed up for weeks! and she could hear him smile in the silence right before he laughed.


teeny tale: warmth.

Her pockets were filled with tissue lint, and a tube of sugar plum balm to pack her lips with a punch. The elements naturally painted her ivory cheeks with color, like the stain of two strawberries left on grandma’s linen tablecloth. Upon the misfit strands of hair straying from her knit cap, crystals clung, layer atop crunchy layer. Her tread slow, yet steady, made for sloppy impressions, and her narrow feet turned fat. Beyond the naked branches, between the crisscross of X and Y, she spotted a doe a deer a female deer. Its long limbs and slender stature highlighting a female presence, which made her feel safe. Yet the doe’s unbreakable stare and painful stillness provided the evidence: she was wild, and there would be no protecting where fear was found. A slight hang of the head marked her embarrassment, and without sudden movement, she carried on down the sloping spine of the trail. Her brief moment of incapacitation had been enough to send a chill throughout; the heat she built was so easily lost. Slowly hunching, she began huddling her own limbs, drawing them closer. Within her mittens her thumbs bowed and popped from their individual vessels to join the other four; just like how those who stand apart from others secretly wish to be included; even her thumbs had felt alone. Strength comes in numbers. And so, too, does warmth. The easy truth quickened her pace, turning it into an awkward jog. Beneath the icy surface that had covered her coat, a flood of excitement cascaded; just like the water racing beneath the ice of the creek below. She ran for the warmth that would keep her going, and for the warmth that would welcome her when she reached home.