The Nightwalker #3

You know why I keep letting Jack Frost hang around? Because he doesn’t talk.  In the 250 years I’ve known him. He’s never said a word to me. Don’t get me wrong. He digs those cheesy 80 anthems. 

I just want to reach out and touch you 

You make my fire come alive 

All I need is to be near you 

You get the picture, right? 

These things always start blaring through the air just as he comes strutting down the street 

Or popping up beside me 

Or my cigarettes freeze. 

Tonight was no different.

He was sitting in the window. His white hair covering his eyes. 

He handed me a cigarette this time. Without freezing it. And a drink. 

“I’ve been here before Jack.”

He looked out at the street. 

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. He’s shaken. I’m a scientist. I’ll just fix him.”

Jack laughed and hopped down flashing over a bench.

“I’m an immortal scientist. I’m still part human. At least in  form. I have tendencies. I’ll talk to him.”

Who was I kidding, I went back inside. Opened my books and settled down in the darkness. All I could do was wait. 

3am Full Dark

Midnight is considered the beginning of night. But everyone knows 3am is full dark. It’s when all of your night terrors hit. Your demons come out to play. 

My subject was asleep. All you could hear was the clocks in the room. The light in the bathroom flickered before dying. The room was quiet. I closed my book. Looking over the room slowly.  I could hear Clayton’s heart beat…thump thump thump the air  went cold like a freezer. This was different than when Jack comes around. For one, everything was layered in darkness. This was different, like a living darkness. For another, Clayton’s heart beat started hyping. Faster and faster. He was in terror. 

I looked over at Clayton. I could hear him trying to talk. His hands shaking. He was staring into the ceiling. 

“Nooo! Go away! Stop it!” 

He sat up in the bed rubbing his face. 

I walked towards him. 

“Clayton. Do you know what just happened? Can you tell me what you saw?”

“I thought you were supposed to see those things for yourself?” He said while fixing the covers around him. 

“I tried, I couldn’t read anything in the room. It’s just a regular night. Which suggests this is just your insomnia again. ”

Clayton looked at me. “No. this is r  r real. Something was here. In the room. I saw it and felt it. It was dark, and absolute fear. I could smell it. Like sulfur. It was standing beside my bed. Just tall and dark. It kept saying ‘Harvest’.” 

I looked around. “Harvest?”

“Harvest. Why?” 

“I don’t know. This feels familiar.” 

I walked out into the hall. The words ‘Harvest.’ Were  carved into the mirror on the wall.

This was getting weird.

27

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An empty room
a note on the table
Sylvia Plath,
And
Vizzini wrote about depression
about overcoming it
Only to commit suicide later…
Hemingway,shot himself …
Fitzgerald died from a heart attack
But depressed
Believing none of his work meant anything…

For writers
Depression seems to be a shadow
One that we can’t escape

That’s what I thought of …
Being the oldest sister
It shouldn’t have surprised me
Eric had always
Been very active
And from your first impression
He seemed to be fine
He’d gone to Africa after college
To work on journalism
And well drilling
Then moved to New York
I have three of his four books
Mostly poetry…
Some essays
A die hard romantic
And lover of children
And families
But he always had this
Shadow
I remember one night
He kicked back three drinks and some liquor got in his car
And disappeared for four days
Refusing to answer his phone
Or messages
I was about to call a close friend of his
To see if she’d heard anything from him
He never disappeared like this
It was more common of his
Brother
Disappearing
Smoking pot
Showing up once a decade
in Some random ER
But not Eric
Eric would be the one who stayed
With you in the ER

I finally received a text message
From him …
He just needed space
He’d said
“don’t worry I’m too vain to kill myself”
I couldn’t believe it
“That’s the ones who do …dumbass”
I answered angry
And then because I hate confrontation
I Tossed the phone in my top drawer
And waited
He didn’t say anything

He was the most personal person
You’d ever meet
Always wearing his heart on his sleeve
Unashamed
But there was a confusion
Even when he was younger
He wanted to connect to people
wanted to help them
But also loved his own space
Not isolating
So much
But keeping to himself
His only friends
Were women Mostly
He understood
Them
And fell for them
Over and over
And they fell for him
A photographer
With a heavy British accent
She knew him more than anyone
A screen writer who wrote him regularly
While she was away
And several others…
They all shared something

I remember he used to preach
When he was younger
And after our father died
He just stopped
He didn’t care a whole lot for religion
Or church
Everything was so charged
Everyone had an opinion
But he wasn’t like that
He just kept them to himself
Rather
He tried to understand people
And until they gave him a reason
An absolute reason not to
He gave them a chance

I was
Sitting in my window
Smoking
When I got the phone call
I knew …
And my heart sank
Into my chest

The night before his
27th birthday
Eric committed suicide
I went to his apartment
Sharon was there
The photographer
Reading old letters
He’d always typed out letters
And mailed them to everyone he knew
A reason wasn’t required
All he needed was to be thinking of you
And you’d get a letter …
She had 8 years worth …
So did several others ….
I realized
Then
That’s why he didn’t keep a journal
His journals were just fragments
But his letters were full…
He poured himself out
Hoping to help someone else

I looked outside
It was snowing …
In September
He would have loved that.

For writers
Depression seems to be a shadow
One that we can’t escape
It follows us through history
And we never see
I can’t begin to explain it
I can’t even write it
I’m just a writer
And the sister of
A writer…
Who knows it all too well.
We can carry our shadows
And cover them
We can project them
Or we can try
We can understand
Maybe we can write
Words
That haven’t been said before
And that’s difficult
Because everyone is saying
Something
But if we
Can make that connection
Boldly honest
Maybe it will help
Maybe …
Our shadows
Will make friends
With our demons
Maybe we will make it
Past 27.

Red

I met Sarah in a line
At six flags
Rambling off excitedly
Expressing words
With her hands
She had this energy
About her
Her pixie cut
And green eyes
That intensified
When she looked at you

She was especially
Excited
To wear her high waisted shorts
T shirt tucked in
Flats on

“See”
Pointing out a
Crescent moon shaped
Scar
Across her knee cap
“I have one there
And on my hand
It was swollen,and
I thought, Whoa I better get this
Checked out
It could be something ya know??
Like one of those things you see
On Greys Anatomy
Or
CNN
It was genetic
And they had to remove
Ligaments and scoop out tissue
And shit
It was bad
I was so depressed
I didn’t wear shorts
Or anything that would show the scar
For like two years…
But now I realize it’s part of my story
Ya know?”
She laughed and watched as our ride dropped off the skyline
excited screams fading out
High pitched and adrenalin fed

You forget certain things

Things you shouldn’t
Idiosyncrasies
How they curl their toes when they take off their shoes
How they cover their nose when they laugh
How they look at you
When they already know what you’re going to say

It’s certain things you can’t remember
You know you shouldn’t forget
But you do
Little by little
Trying to be perfect
Trying to
Guide it
But you can’t
Sometimes
You just have to let go
And enjoy it…

So that’s how I met her
I jumped across a platform
Didn’t even get on my ride …
Stopped her
And completely out
Of breath
Said
Something like
‘This is going to sound crazy…but…’
Her eyes went thin
Her lips turning at the corner

“crazy is the weather
It’s seasonal
Just say it.
Just do it.”

“I’ve been surrounded by people
Hundreds of people
All day
And yet
You’re the finest thing
I’ve ever seen…
What’s your name?”

You forget things
You miss things
Don’t forget the laugh
The eyes
The way her hands
Ring when she gets excited
Or nervous
It’s small things
But it’s
All there
How they toss their shoes to the side
Without caring
The flowers pressed in between
The pages of a journal
Filled with lines
About you
And even someone
Before you
Its life
And it gives and takes
Like waves
And we fight it
But the best
Thing
Is to move with it
You never
Know who’s island
You may end up on ….

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Michigan

“The military life,it’s good,hard if you’re married…you’re gone so long.
And always busy.
They like to keep you busy.”
Frank laughs as he rubs his hands
Together,
hands that are now
Rough from farming
And
Building a home for his wife
After moving from
Michigan
To Alabama
‘For the weather’
“God damned cold.
You haven’t seen anything
Until you spend
48 days without a break!
In negative 40!.
In Michigan
we’d hook
Welding torches
To pipelines
And heat them
run hundreds of feet
Of line underground…
It’s a Different world.”
He laughs again
Rubbing the back of his neck
“The military,it’s comfortable
Good if you’re young
I spent my tour in Hawaii
When I was in the navy.
But I left after I got the chance
I wanted a family
My kids are in now
A friend of mine stayed
Spent his time working with the marines.you know they use the navy for medical,well he just retired
He didn’t make master chief
So he’s out
But with a substantial retirement
Not what it could have been
Ya know,with master chief
But still good
He’s kind of glad actually
He told me
‘Im 41 ya know,and you still have to
Make it into the marines
Every time
Just like the rest of the boys…
And I’m fit as a bull
But damn
It’s getting hard.’

“The military is good
But I’m glad you’re in business
And writing
You can do everything with that
And have a family
An open mind.
You’re gonna see things.
Just like the rest of us.”

I’ve known Frank for two years
So I know he means this
Sincerely
In some way
I feel strangely like a bartender
I know what cigarrete he smokes
Marlboro Lights-short soft pack
He always buys two
So I always have them ready
And we talk about the weather
My brother’s wedding
His farming
His family
A daughter in MN
(For the weather and snow sports )
A son in the military
And others in Michigan
With the farm
And beer

He’ll ask me about school
And retirement
Meaning against his diesel and just shake his head
“You know in the 70s we had it
It was tough but you didn’t have to worry like you guys. I don’t know how you do it.
We smoked what we wanted
Until we didn’t want it
We didn’t have to worry
We worked
And we saved money
We dated
Until we
Fell in love
And then we married
And we fought
When our country
Needed us
It was simple
In some-well-most ways
It was simple
It didn’t feel simple
But it was
Nothing feels simple though
Until it’s done…
We do that,we do that though
Complicate good things.”

And that’s what we talk about
Building life
Homes
And being proud
Of what’s yours
But open enough
To really find out what’s
Around you
And what you can really get
If you try
That’s Frank

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Millennials

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I don’t want to live vicariously
I want to engage
I feel like in some areas
I’m an adult
And others
I don’t even know…
We are in our twenties
And we feel infinite
But I somehow feel the brevity
Of everything
Like when you run your hand across something old and you feel it’s ghosts
it’s a feeling …

It’s that space between what you see
And what you hear
The image that flashes across your mind
Between a touch
I don’t know what’s going on
But I feel …
A shift
Like I’m on the brink
And I don’t know what lies beneath

It’s that quiet solitude,fully submerged under water,that first breath,first blurred light when you break the surface…
It’s that rare
Heartbeat
When you lose yourself
And it scares you
Because you see yourself
As yourself

We decide what we become
And we decide what we become
So I choose
Because so often
Life is not what could be
It’s just what is…
And dreams are not dreams
They are often nightmares
And the real work hasn’t
Even begun
It’s hospitals
It’s funerals
It’s letting love in
And letting love go
It’s
Understanding that love dies
Not quickly
But a struggle
grappling it’s final breath
And even still
After this hell
Your heart
Will resurrect itself

I feel
time is moving
And we can be anything
But not everything
And I’m
Caught between
understanding
The price for the decisions
we are making
And the fact
we should also be hurtling off cliffs
Into the abyss of the unknown
Taking chances
Living for the present
Because this is all we have

I wonder what we will be
5 years
Even 2 years from now?
Will there be an empty room
With an empty book
For the words we never said?
Who will be reading
the letters I leave between the pages
That
I couldn’t help writing but could never send…

Understand it’s here,it’s happening
It’s now
It’s our future, our past
all tied together
In these decisions we’re making
(Sometimes hastily)
I hope we make it.
I have to believe we make it

I don’t have a five year plan
I don’t do that
But I hope
That one day I can type a letter
From Africa or New York
describing it to you in detail
And it will be read by a friend
I hope that I can close it by wishing
With hope that you made it
You got to your shore
That place that drives you
Constantly
I hope this
Because I hope we all win
I hope we all defeat our demons
I personally hope
We continue shedding our old selves
That we can look back
At some point in our uncertain future and understand
Like Eve said in the film
Only Lovers Left Alive;
“Life is about appreciating nature, surviving things, nurturing friendships, kindness and dancing”

I want to know
Really know
For my children
For my future self
la joie de vivre

I want to be more than just a millennial and less than zero