Friday, January 31, 2014

Man, I don't even know

I didn't understand what ice was until your fingers grazed my skin while we laid together in bed. I didn't know what bitterness felt like, until i turned my body away from you.

The next morning, as suspected, you were gone. My whole body shook with rage, even before I could search around for the note I knew you hadn't left. 

By Sunday I had forgiven you, and by Monday I had made my decision. 

The first months were the hardest. By month four, I no longer cared where you were, or if you thought of us. You had made your choice, and I had made mine…at least, that was what I told myself.

Around month seven, I ran into you for the first time. You were different. You had cut your hair, and grown a beard. Where you once wore v-neck t-shirts that displayed your brilliant ink, now you wore a suit. Your glasses were no longer "hipster" but were now "professional." You looked at me, and everything inside me broke.

I could handle you not wanting me. I could handle the ice in your body. I could handle your choice to leave. To see you, in a business suit, with the color gone from your eyes was too much. 

Before the ice, you had been a dreamer. Your eyes would light up the entire room when you were wearing nothing but your guitar and a smile on your face. That was when I had fallen for you. That first night I looked up at you, as you closed your eyes and sang along to the song your fingers strummed, and we had realized the heat had been unbearable.

The day the ice came, I prepared myself well. I spent my day locked in the bathroom, steeling myself not to cry. You sat on the other side of the wall--this was our primary source of communicating as of late. Even when there wasn't a physical wall between us, something was always preventing us from reaching the other.

The ice was the final straw. The pink plus sign told me that our relationship was over…After all, you and I were dreamers with very different dreams. You dreamed of groupies and tour buses, and I dreamed of a picket fence and roses.

I finally let the wall between us crumble down, and I watched the color drain from your face…watched the color leave your eyes. So when I crawled into bed with you that night and I felt ice, I vowed to never ask you to stay. It was your choice to leave, should you want to do so. And leave you did.

Month 7, with my belly too big to hide and your shirt sleeves hiding what I knew so well, I knew that we were two completely different people. I smiled at you, grabbed your hand, placed in on my belly and promised to protect our child from ever feeling the ice inside of you. For a second, the color in your eyes came back. You snatched your hand from my belly, and walked away.

Month 9, after 7 days of being late, I realized that ice can melt just as easily as it can freeze. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Nobody ever tells you what you should do when you see your hero cry.
As a seven year old girl, coming home from school, I expected to be greeted with smiles.
Instead I found my father on the couch, with his head in his hands. 

I tried to run up to him but my mother stopped me. 
All seven years of innocence had me looking up at him "daddy, what's wrong?"
He looked down at me with tear soaked eyes and calmly responded "your sister might die."

Seven years old with an 11 year gap put my older sister at 18.
The age where she should have been just following her dream.
Instead, my dad found himself braced with the idea that his first child would undergo her second heart surgery.

When we were young, my mother always told us that you couldn't love someone a half, you could only love them a whole or not at all.
So my sister may not have lived with us, and we may have struggled so my father could pay her mother,
But she was still my sister, and no seven year old should have to worry about their sister undergoing heart surgery for a second time.

Nobody ever warns you what it's like to see your hero cry.
to feel your heart collapse as you stare back at them, because you have no words.

My sister made it out of her surgery just fine, but she will never know what it was like, the day I saw my father cry.

Monday, September 30, 2013


My name is Ria, and I have a problem.
See, I wear my insecurities in the form of oversized hoodies.
I don't binge and purge; instead I focus on doing the same with my words.

Each pants size I go up is binding,
Each shirt size constricting.
I feel like I'm suffocating.

I wear my insecurities in the form of DD boobies.
Put on v-necks to show off my assets,
some of the only things people think are worth seeing.

I wear my insecurities in the form of blue eyes the color of rubies.
But you would never notice them staring at my boobies.
You wouldn't recognize the sadness behind every smile,
or the self doubt in every hello.

Do you know what it feels like to never feel comfortable in your own skin?
To feel like you can never wear clothes, because someone is always making fun of you?
"Just because it zips doesn't mean it fits." 
"Fat girls can't wear skinny jeans."
"Muffin Top isn't cute."
Don't you think we know?

So this is me saying Hello.
I am Ria, the female embodiment of insecurity.

The girl always hiding behind a hoodie.

Monday, April 8, 2013


People are always telling me I have too many emotions.
But I wonder if they’d say that if they saw colors like oceans.

There are hundreds of colors out there for all to see,
And I wonder if you ever ask yourself what color you would be.

My father is red, always angry and yelling,
And my mother is blue, passive and underwhelming.

My older sister is green, envious of her friends,
Getting married while she’s still living end to end.

My little sister is yellow, still innocent and new,
She’s young enough to believe that dreams can still come true.

If I had to pick a color, I’d say I’m like a grey,
Just trying hard to smile as I go from day to day.

But some days I’m red, or blue, or even black.
And there are days that I pray the yellow will come back.

Blank Canvas

Use my body as your canvas: paint me black and blue.
Fill me in with shades of green, until I look pretty to you.

Use my body as your canvas, carve patterns into me.
Design me into the woman that you desire me to be.

Build me up to tear me down, help me when I fall.
Then kick me to remind me, I’m only five feet tall.

Don’t let me get ahead of myself, remind me of my place.
Listen to my dreams, and then laugh right in my face.

Make sure I always realize, I’m nothing without you.
Order me down to the ground, make me kiss your shoe.

Remind me why you love me, tell me that I’m smart.
Just keep me coming back to you, try not to break my heart.

I’ll follow all your orders, I’ll let you take the lead,
You’re no knight in shining armor, you don’t have a faithful steed.

You’re bitter and you’re mean, you’re heartless and you’re cruel,
But I’m the one who sticks around, I guess that I’m the fool.

Still there’s something good about you, I can see it in your eyes,
It’s buried underneath all the cheating and the lies.

Just knock me down to the ground, just cast another stone.
Tell me that I’m worthless, I deserve to be alone.

Body bruised and spirits broken, I’ll lay right at your feet,
Our love song is not beautiful, it might not sound so sweet.

Just between you and I, the pain I’ll always bear.
I cannot imagine a life worth living, if you aren’t there.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

            Choosing a victim is always the hardest part. People beg and plead with you, as if they didn’t know this was coming all along. People always complain about how they didn’t have enough time, as though I’ve never heard that excuse before. The woman before me was beautiful. She volunteered at an animal shelter, and she was going to get married next week. She didn’t know that day might never come.
            I had been closely following her for days now, creeping in the shadows. The stories always went the same when people spoke of me, so unoriginal. 
            “Mary Carter?” I called out from my hiding spot, though I was already well acquainted with who she was. She stopped walking and turned to face me. I watched as the smile on her face dissipated, fear instantly taking over her.
            “Please no. Please! I’m getting married next week! There wasn’t enough time!” I shook my head. Predictability was your worst enemy.
            “There will never be enough time.” I had already made my decision, pleading and whining just became annoying.
            “But what about Darren?” It was never really about the Darrens. It was about the Marys. The people who felt there was so much more to life than what they had experienced. The same selfish people who thought their lives were more important than someone else’s.
            “What about Darren, Mary?” I knew all about her. All about her past, and what she had done to get Darren.
            “I—I love him. We’re getting married. Please, take me after the wedding.” After the wedding—it was an interesting concept, but it might already be too late. After the wedding there would be another life to account for, and I wasn’t going to make the man lose two people he had the potential to love.
            “Somebody else loved Darren once too, Mary.” With a wave of my hand a mirror appeared in front of her. “Look familiar?”Mary looked as though her breath had been stolen, and I hadn’t even placed a hand on her yet. This was going to be fun.
            “Abby wasn’t right for Darren. She wasn’t mature enough. She was different.” Her reasoning made me sick. Any shred of sympathy I had for her had been lost in that moment.
            “Different because of her sickness. You stole her one chance at love!” Darren was a genuine man. I had looked into him before I found the real source of Abby’s suffering in Mary. People could talk all they wanted about how terrible and corrupt I was, but humans were the truly corrupt ones. Never had I seen a species so able to let others suffer for their personal gain. Never had a species needed to be punished more than the human race.
            “No—that’s not true!” She was hysterical, overcome by her emotions.
            “The sad part is that she lost her love, and her life. She had no more will to live. I had to come and take her.” Abby had gone quietly, peacefully. At seventeen years old she had accepted her fate. Mary was crying now, but I was indifferent. She deserved to suffer, just as Abby had.
            “But, I didn’t do anything. Darren chose me.” Darren, the poor fool, had chosen wrong. Abby had loved him the moment she met him, and Mary had seen that. Always competitive, she decided she wouldn’t stop until she had something Abby couldn’t.
            “You couldn’t handle being sidelined due to your sister’s disease. You wanted something you knew she couldn’t have. Doesn’t it hurt you to know she should have been at your wedding?” Abby was the first case that had ever gotten to me. Part of this job was remaining unfeeling, which was harder than it seemed.
            “Abby’s cancer had nothing to do with it! My parents always put her first because she was sick. I was the healthy twin! It wasn’t fair! They had a daughter who was going to live, and they focused on the one who wouldn’t.” The anger inside of me was no longer suppressible, and the wind began to kick up. In the stories people told of me, nobody ever mentioned my power to change the weather. Rain began to pour down around us.
            “You’ve had ten years to live without the burden of your sister. Ten years with no weight on your shoulders. All of the animal shelters and vegetarians in the world can’t replace your guilt. You know you helped drive the knife into Abby.” Lightning and Thunder crashed around us, trees cracking under the intense guidance of the lightning. The darkness encompassed us, until you could barely make out the buildings.
            “What will killing me do? Abby can’t come back here! She wouldn’t want this.” Oh, how wrong Mary was. Death changed people; it allowed them to see what their eyes had been previously blinded to.
            “Abby was the one who sent me here. We’ve had ten years together. Ten years to plot the ruin of your life.” People thought the choice was random, and sometimes it was. Other times, we took people at the request of others. It was completely my discretion, and Abby’s case—it had stuck with me.
            “I don’t believe you.” I could see her looking for a place to run, but there was nowhere to go. I could find her wherever she went, and we were no longer on Earth. Her spirit and I were descending steadily to a place I called home.
            “Ask for yourself.” I said, as our feet hit the ground and Abby approached me. She looked just like Mary did, but in a much more innocent and pure way. Abby was somebody who would have made a difference in the world, without ever stepping on people to get there. Mary had proven to be different from her sister.
            “Mary.” Abby’s eyes were cold, a technique I had taught her when she had first come to me ten years ago. I stood behind her, for moral support if she required it.
            “Abby, why?” Mary was crying again, and I began to restore Earth’s weather to normal. No more people had to die at my hands tonight.
            “Because you betrayed me Mary. I saw you go after Darren. I watched from my hospital bed as you left me to go be with him. You knew I liked him.” I had to turn away from Abby and Mary, because the sadness in her voice pained me. Reapers weren’t supposed to have feelings.
            “Abby, why wouldn’t you want me to be happy?” Abby’s harsh laughter made me smile. She was going to make an excellent reaper someday.
            “I could ask you the same question. But I’d bet you’d have a selfish answer. I want you to be happy Mary. That’s why you’re going back.”
            “Abby—what are you doing?” I asked, unsure of what had just happened. We had had an agreement.
            “You will suffer enough in time Mary. The child you are bearing is not Darren’s, and he will finally see you for what you really are.” Suffering is relative. For some, death is the worst pain they will experience. For others, their pain is involved in losing someone they love.
            Mary Carter, age 28. She had a child, was going through a horrible divorce process, and this was the life she had condemned herself to.
            People always plead that they haven’t had enough time. Mary Carter is proof that time can be your most fatal enemy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Surprise/ Kitchen Table assignment

Too Little, Too Late
Walking through the red oak door felt strange to me. I had come in and out of that door a million times before, but somehow this time was different. Something about the house seemed strange, too quiet. Pictures hung along the wall revealing old teenage crushes, and I held my husband’s hand tighter. This was going to be my breaking point, and I could feel it. Walking through my mother’s house felt like you had just stepped into a crayola box. She had never been a fan of white walls; instead she chose pastel oranges and blues for a more homey feeling. As a teenager I had never quite understood the difference between white walls and colorful ones, but today the difference was clear. For people who had loved this house so much, it seemed so much different now. Distant voices could be heard from the kitchen, and as we stepped closer, I realized my brother was speaking.
“Molly, help me get the islands. More people should be arriving shortly,” Finn said. My brother Finn had always been the more level-headed out of all of us. He stood at about six-feet, something he had received from my father, and he just looked like a stereotypical guido. He had chosen to embrace our father’s side, and we had all respected that. I left my husband and quickly walked to the basement, where the islands had been long forgotten.
Finn waited until we were in the basement and wrapped his arms around me in a tight hug. “I’m glad you came.” It was the first time we had spoken in what seemed like years, and I had to admit that I was relieved.
“I’m glad I did too.” I said, patting his back before we released each other from the hug. My mother had always done whatever she could for her kids, and this was the least we could do for her. I slid one island in place in the table, and then I turned to my siblings once more. “Had anyone heard from mom at all? Did anyone even know she was sick?” My voice was shaking, and I started to look around to avoid everyone’s eyes.
Almost immediately, I was overcome by what I saw. My three brothers and their wives respectively sitting around the table, looking at all of the pictures my mother had kept. It made sense that they were in the kitchen, rather than the living room. That kitchen table had been our livelihood, our solace. Many nights it had held half of the neighborhood, sitting and playing board games and eating whatever food my mom had decided to make that night. My mother didn’t have a lot of rules while we were growing up, but when she asked you not to do something, you didn’t. Nobody messed with her; she was a small, stubborn Irish woman, and she had a strong stance against drinking. My mother married a hard working Italian man, who quickly succumbed to alcohol. Watching my father slowly drink himself stupid broke my mother’s heart, and her spirits. She had become a shell of whom she was once, except when it came to her children. She made dinner every night and had it at the table ready to go by 5:30, and God help you if you were a minute late and you didn’t call.
 “Molly, you’re here!” my older brother Cian said, returning from the bathroom. We had not seen each other in three years, and it was good to be able to look at who he was now, instead of outdated pictures. Cian had piercing blue eyes, and thick brown hair that he used to wear long. He had traded in tie-dyed t-shirts and ripped jeans for a more business-like approach, and it suited him well.
“Of course I’m here. She was my mother too.” I said, upset that he would even think I would miss this. The past tense of the word got caught in my throat, and I saw everyone visibly flinch. My mother was not a saint, and everyone knows that the end is going to come eventually, but you didn’t ever try to sit down and contemplate it. “Was anyone with mom when she…passed?” I asked, hoping someone would say yes. The silence in the room was uneasy, and I broke into tears. My mother had had four children, and none of them had gone to see her before she died. The thought of her dying alone after all she had done for us, made me feel empty inside. She had put herself between her children and her husband during any number of his drunken tirades, and she always made sure we had what we wanted. Nobody had ever asked what she wanted.
 “That was what we wanted to ask you about Molly…did you know that she was in the hospital? She called Margaret andme last week!” My brother Robert spoke next. Robert was reserved; he had kept to himself through most of our childhood.
“No…Someone from the hospital called me and said they had a woman by the name of Eileen O’Connor admitted a day prior, and that she had not made it through the night. I wasn’t really focused on much else.” I said. Once again, my eyes began to leak hot teardrops.
 “So, mom had a will as we all know.” Cian spoke up, and we all nodded our heads, though none of us could really bring ourselves to speak. It was hard to think about, how she had just been calling us yesterday and now she was gone. It was funny, how one day someone could almost seem like an inconvenience, and the next you were crying when they were gone.
Sitting at the kitchen table we listened as my mother’s material wealth was redistributed among her four children. None of us said a word, simply listened to Cian reading the will and held onto favorite pictures as memories flooded back to us like movies, playing in our minds. We heard keys hit the counter and we all turned around suddenly, to find our mother standing there, a horrified look on her face.
“I don’t have enough potatoes to feed all of you.” Her voice made us all laugh, as one by one we got up from the kitchen table and hugged her hello. None of us really knew what was going on, and curiosity seeped through her crayon-colored walls like the heat from a hot summer day.
“Mom, why are you—” Cian stopped and cleared his throat. “Alive?”
“What do you mean why am I alive? I just called you two days ago. You thought I died because I didn’t call you for one day?” My mother’s eyes sparkled with realization. “The hospital called you about Eileen O’Connor. You thought they meant me.” She placed her groceries on the counter and sat down next to us at the table. She explained that there was another Eileen who lived across town a bit. Her hands drifted to the photos, and each of us in turn did the same.
There were pictures of us from the time we were infants, all the way up to now. My mother had kept every photo she had ever taken of us. “Finn, look at you in this one.” I laughed as I held up a picture of my brother dressed up as Barney the dinosaur.
“Molly, what about this one?” A picture of me in red lipstick and a pair of my mother’s heels, and I was all of about four years old. The central theme of all the pictures seemed to be the kitchen, most of them taken either at, or in front of the very table we were sitting at. My mother stood up and began to walk around the kitchen, silently preparing dinner as she always had. None of us got up, none of us even so much as blinked. We were there together, at what had been our favorite place at one time.    
At 5:30 sharp, we sat down to eat dinner, and it felt as though we had never left.