Another Choice

Things have been a little bit complicated lately. Before I say any more than that, let me be clear: they’ve only been complicated because of my own bad choices. I am, and always have been, my own worst enemy. I am overly fond of women and alcohol, and I have a pattern of self-destructive behavior.

It had been a long time since I’d been involved with anyone, but about a month ago, I met someone. She was pretty amazing, but I ruined it with my own poor decision-making. I couldn’t really even tell you how many times I’ve done that in the past.

This was probably the most painful break-up I’d ever experienced. I stayed sober for almost a week in an effort to earn her forgiveness, but my apology was declined, which was understandable. I started drinking again, and I also resumed my habit of cutting as a way to deal with my emotions. I had never cut so frequently and visibly in my life.

I’ve been on a downward spiral since then, destroying friendships and drinking myself slowly to death. I lost a close friend last night (again, my own fault), but this time, it didn’t affect me in the same way. There was the brief sensation of nausea and clamminess which accompanied the realization of what had happened – but almost directly afterward, my pattern of thinking began to change.

Instead of driving to the liquor store to purchase my customary two bottles of vodka, I asked myself: What can I do to repair this situation? My friend is gone, there’s no way to get her back, but I don’t want to fixate on that. After the breakup last month, I cried and moaned for weeks, convincing myself that I would never find anyone like her again. That my own behavior didn’t matter anymore, because I had already destroyed the only thing that I thought mattered to me.

But hindsight is an interesting thing, because of course I see now that my thinking was completely illogical. Other people will always come into your life, for however long you’re on this earth, and some of them you are really going to care about. When I care about someone, I have a tendency to lose perspective of myself, which is where the problem always arises.

So I said to myself: I can’t undo what I’ve already done. I will always regret it, but I also want to be able to forgive myself for it. Living in the past, and dwelling on the mistakes I made, would make it impossible to move forward in life. I’ve been stuck in the same place for a long time, sometimes even taking several steps backward.

I have a friend who gives me a lot of good advice that I never tend to follow. If I were her, I probably would have bludgeoned me with a blunt object years ago, but for some reason she’s never done that. When I was upset, she told me: “Instead of living for other people, live for yourself. Do things because they’re the right things for you, not for anyone else. Stop investing so much in people.”

At the time, I didn’t agree with any of these words. She and I are very different people, so our view on the subject will probably never be exactly the same, but today her words make a lot more sense to me. If I can’t be the best version of myself, for myself, then how can I have anything to offer anyone else? I would basically just be extending an invitation for people to stare at themselves in a mirror. When people look at me, they should see who I am as an individual, not a reflection of their own face.

Today, I made the choice to quit drinking again. Just because I fell off the wagon, that doesn’t mean I can’t get back on. Same friend once said to me (after inquiring if I was going to flip out on her for saying it): “You give up too easily. A blip is a blip – not a reason to go all the way back to the place where you started.” I will never be able to maintain control while drinking, like some other people can. And if I can’t be in control, I’ll continue to make all the same mistakes I’ve been making since I was a teenager.

I’m thirty-one years old, and if I don’t change something now, my life will have been wasted. I’ve already wasted so much of it. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow – but today I choose to heed my friend’s advice. (I’ve told her she should consider a career in motivational speaking, by the way.)

10/26/20

I hadn’t felt this way since my brief stint in college. And, well, the time after that. Both times I ended up in the psych unit for overdoses. I think it’s safe to say I’ll never take a bunch of pills again. It doesn’t work, you just throw them back up, even if you take an anti-emetic. It’s also impossible to starve yourself. You can dehydrate yourself, but that’s a different story.

I feel like I’m back in that dorm room, all alone. I even have the same song on. I just took some antipsychotics but I feel the same.

I was 18 then, I had an excuse. I’m 31 now. I have no excuse. This is why I do not refer to myself as a person. I am a thing. A monster.

I used to pull the blades out of razors and use them to cut. But that’s tricky, cos it’s very easy to hit a vein, which I’ve done twice. Nothing is as satisfying as a blade, but unless you know how to stitch yourself, pick something else.

I almost remember the night I lay on the floor, my blade in my fingers, the phone in the other hand. Another student had given me her number in case I needed anything. I dialled three or four numbers, then hung up. I got off the floor and put bandages over my cuts, then threw my white T-shirt away.

My second psych hold, when I was 19, I went without eating for six days. Today is my Day 1, and it’s almost over.

Excerpt from SUPERHUMAN: That Sex Scene in Jess’s Kitchen

That night, I decided to take Jessie out to dinner. She’d been very quiet all day, and I knew that her nightmare had really upset her. I wanted to do something to take at least a little of the anguish out of her beautiful eyes.

“Hey, baby,” I said cheerfully, walking up behind her and snaking my arms around her waist as she pulled a diet Coke out of the fridge.

She melted against me as she always did, and I smiled, sweeping her hair off the back of her neck to I could kiss her skin.

“Will you go on a date with me?” I asked, planting more gentle kisses on her soft neck.

She let the fridge door fall shut, then sank deeper into my embrace, dropping her head back onto my shoulder and turning her face to kiss my cheek. “Are you asking me out?” she inquired with a smile.

“I am,” I replied, nuzzling her forehead with mine. “Don’t tell me I’m striking out.”

She laughed – her first genuine laugh all day. “No, I think you’re doing pretty well, actually,” she admitted.

“Excellent,” I said. “Because, honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever really asked anyone out before.”

She laughed again. It was almost a giggle, this time. My Jessie had never giggled once in her entire life – until I came to stay at her place. Now, she did it all the time.

“Yeah,” she said. “You just yank off a girl’s clothes and then toss her into your bed.”

“Those verbs should have been past tense,” I corrected. “The only yanking and tossing I’ll be doing from now on will be done to you.”

“That sounded so dirty, baby,” she said in a low, husky voice. I knew I was turning her on.

“Tell you what,” I murmured against her mouth. “If you go out with me, I’ll return the favor.”

“How?” she whispered, taking my bottom lip between her teeth.

I shivered with want, pushing her gently forward towards the counter. I spun her around to face me, and she put down her can of soda.

“Get up,” I ordered gently.

“Me or my dick?” she asked with a playful grin.

“Both, hopefully,” I confessed.

Her expression sobered, and she hopped up onto the counter without hesitation. I pushed myself up on my toes to kiss her, and she tangled her fingers in my hair. I could feel her racing heartbeat beneath my palm when I laid it against her chest.

“I like it when you get excited,” I growled against her lips.

“I like it when you make me excited,” she moaned, her head falling back as I kissed the hollow of her throat.

“My pleasure, lover.”

I pulled her T-shirt over her head and threw it on the counter, immediately lowering my head to take one of her nipples in my mouth. She moaned louder, her grip on my hair tightening. I licked and sucked, unbuttoning and unzipping her jeans with steady fingers.

She lifted her bottom a couple of inches so I could pull off her pants. I took her panties with them, letting it all slither down to the floor. She shivered with the sensation of the cold marble countertop against her pussy lips, and I cupped her mound in my hand to warm it.

Her breathing quickened at my touch, and I smiled against her damp mouth. “What do you need?” I whispered, nibbling on her lower lip.

“You know what I need,” she said breathlessly, pulling my hair gently.

“Tell me,” I teased, kissing her delicate shoulder.

“I need you to fuck me,” she confessed, her voice elongating into a moan as I massaged the space between her quivering thighs.

“Fuck you how?” I whispered in her ear, biting the lobe softly.

Her moaning practically became sobbing. “Fuck me the way only you can,” she begged.

I loved making her beg.

“Your wish is my command,” I said lustily, kissing my way down from her throat to her belly. I darted my tongue into her navel, and she shuddered hard. That always drove her wild.

I paused in front of her pussy, reveling in the feeling of her overwhelming heat radiating against my skin. I blew on her soaking wet lips. She shivered and yelped.

“I love the sounds you make,” I told her, kissing her wetness. She spread her legs wider for me. Her juices were pooling on the countertop, and I licked them with a needy moan.

That’s when I quit messing around. I had made her wait long enough. I ran my tongue slowly along her slit, smiling as she clamped her thighs around my head, crossing her ankles over my back and pulling my hair. I slathered my tongue up and down, then pushed my way inside, gripping her hips as she arched her back. I pulled her tight against my mouth, delving as deeply inside her as I could manage. She was crying out above me: passionate, feminine screams of ecstasy. The knowledge that I was bringing her such pleasure never failed to set off a towering inferno at my core, raging higher and higher until it engulfed my entire being.

She screamed my name with so much emotion, I could feel my panties quickly becoming saturated. My pussy grew tight with need, and I pushed my thighs together as hard as I could.

I floated high on a distant cloud as I made love to my Jessie, delighting in the beautiful sounds she made. I drank her greedily when she came inside my mouth, gulping quickly while I continued to kiss and lick. Her cries quieted to moans, and finally to soft whimpers, so adorable as I consumed the last of her offering to me.

It took her a few minutes to come back down. Finally, she pulled on my hair, signaling me to come up and meet her. I paused on my way to swirl my tongue around her overheated nipples, and she emitted a series of sharp squeaks, her arms tight around my shoulders.

Finally, I made it back up to her, and I kissed her deeply, claiming her mouth. I felt her breath passing into me, and it filled me like some rare and powerful essence, encircling my heart and caressing it with tangible tendrils. My pussy tightened again, and I shivered.

“I fucking love you,” she gasped between kisses, clutching the back of my neck with shaking fingers.

“I fucking love you, too,” I whispered, pressing my forehead to hers. We remained perfectly still, breathing together, until she looked into my eyes with a serious expression.

“Get on the floor,” she demanded in a hoarse, throaty voice.

I smiled uncertainly as she got off the counter and yanked at the hem of my T-shirt. “Get down,” she repeated sternly.

“Why?” I asked, my smile widening into a naughty grin.

“Because it’s your turn,” she growled, sweeping me up in her powerful arms and lowering me gently down to the linoleum.

Second Time’s a Charm

I woke up on the floor in a large puddle of blood. I would have been alarmed – but I wasn’t, because I was the one who’d put myself there.

I recalled the butcher knife, collected from the wooden block in the kitchen, gripped tight in my fist.

I was still breathing. How long would I breathe? It seemed as if it would go on forever.

My white T-shirt was covered in blood, but I realized that I wasn’t wearing any pants. I couldn’t recall taking them off, but really, that was neither here nor there.

I looked down at my wrists, both of which I had sliced thoroughly, deep vertical cuts that still bled. But it seemed that they weren’t deep enough, considering the fact that I was still alive.

I glanced at the blood-stained knife lying a few feet away. It glinted dully under the light from a nearby lamp.

I was freezing, and I was shaking horribly. The pain was intense.

I tried to rise to my feet, but I slipped a little in the blood, and it took me a few tries. And then, when I was finally standing, I was left wondering why I’d bothered. Because frankly, I had no idea what I was supposed to do with myself.

It was hard to make my legs move, but eventually I propelled myself into a slow amble, shuffling forward into the kitchen. I could feel the blood dripping down my fingertips and rolling off them, but it seemed strangely cold to me. Perhaps what flowed through my veins had chilled to the same frigid temperature as my clammy skin.

I listened to the sound of my bare feet against the linoleum. It was like a strange, eerie melody, quiet and foreboding. I reached for the fifth of whiskey, nearly full, on the kitchen counter. My wounds made it difficult to twist off the cap, but I was determined, and eventually I achieved my goal.

I swigged from the bottle for a few long moments, then set it down and opened one of the drawers beneath the counter. There was some junk in there, things I couldn’t even remember placing there, along with a few pill bottles. Allergy medicine, my antidepressants and antipsychotics, ibuprofen, and a bottle of oxycodone that my friend Joe had given me. He’d broken his leg a few months ago, and this was his last refill of oxys. He hadn’t needed them anymore, so I asked if I could have them, and he complied.

I picked up the bottle of oxys and messed with the cap, having even more difficulty than I’d had with the whiskey. It took me half a dozen attempts to remove it. When I’d finally succeeded, I shook a couple pills into my palm, then popped them in my mouth and downed them with a little whiskey.

With this task completed, I just stood there for a few minutes, swaying on my feet. I was getting sick of the feeling of blood running down my arms. I was sick of being . . . wet.

With both the whiskey and the oxy bottle gripped securely in my fingers, I walked tentatively across the apartment to my bedroom. I sat on the edge of the bed and stood the open pill bottle on the table beside me. I just sat there, sipping whiskey and contemplating the nothingness of existence. The past was not very vivid to me, but I was blinded by the present, as if a set of fluorescent headlights were shining in my eyes.

I’d had that experience before. Headlights in my eyes. It was only on one occasion, but it was a momentous occasion at that: my most prominent memory amidst a jumble of disorganized thoughts. Seeing her face behind the wheel of her Toyota, staring at me with a stone-cold expression. Her cheeks were perfectly dry. The only tears to be seen were my own.

I glanced at the pill bottle. I could hear low whispers that seemed to emanate from its depths. There must have been some sort of tunnel beneath it, leading somewhere deeper than a four-inch orange vial.

I couldn’t quite make out what the voices said, but they were persistent, and they invaded my senses to overwhelm my already exacerbated thoughts. Their verbiage was a mystery to me, hidden behind a veil of blackness and secrecy, but their meaning was clear as the daylight that wouldn’t come for hours more.

I picked up the bottle with shaking fingers, propping the whiskey on the mattress between my knees. I shook the pills out into my palm, two and three at a time, and I swallowed them as quickly as I could. Which wasn’t very quickly at all, seeing as my throat felt as if it were closing.

It took me a few minutes to take all of the pills. I tried to count them, but my head was swimming, so the result was nothing but a rough estimate. Sixty, maybe seventy-five. I tried to look at the label on the bottle, but my vision was blurring, and I couldn’t make out the words.

My hands began to grow numb, and the whiskey fell to the floor. I fell back onto the mattress, my arms spread wide. I had a sudden vision of Christ on a cross. I couldn’t say with any reasonable certainty whether or not I believed, but still, the image was very clear to me, as if it had been seared into the tissue of my brain with a red-hot brand.

My eyelids twitched, and my breathing was erratic. I felt too full of pills and alcohol, as if I’d overeaten at dinner. I seemed to grow colder as the minutes passed.

Or were they minutes? It was possible they were only seconds. My eyelids were weighted with impossible anchors, and I couldn’t have opened them for anything in the world.

I didn’t register the moment I lost consciousness, in the same way that one never marks the precise moment one falls asleep. But even through the sudden darkness of oblivion, there seemed to be a cogent, tangible thought that hung as if by the silk of a spider’s web.

There would be no waking from this slumber.

10/24/20

I’d wanted to lie in bed until I died – but then the lawn guy came and I had to get up to move the pumpkins. He didn’t know how to get the bag on his mower, so I helped him with that. I’d bought a new mower the year before last, but then it died and I didn’t know how to fix it, so I just hired someone to do it.

He’s out there right now with his neon green hoodie, passing back and forth in front of the screen door. The weather is mild for late October. I’m sitting here typing this, mildly hungover (although I don’t get true hangovers anymore, my alcohol tolerance is too high).

There goes that neon green again. Makes me feel a little claustrophobic. But closing the front door would probably seem rude.

Since the dog died, we’ve started feeding the birds and squirrels again. But yesterday, there was were too many birds. As in, birds of Hitchcockian proportions. The noise was overwhelming. I’m surprised no one called the cops on me. If it weren’t for my little friend, Boo Boo Squirrel, I would not bother. Though I’ll definitely be putting out less stuff.

For about the past week, I’ve adopted my old dieting routine. One small meal a day, in the evening, and nothing else. You get to feeling like you’re gonna pass out round about six o’clock, but the calories from a few drinks bounces you back. It’s the only way I’ve ever known how to lose weight. Well, actually – I did it the healthy way when I was in my early twenties, but then I became an alcoholic, and that made things a bit more complicated. Oh, well. Can’t win ‘em all, as they say. I don’t know who said it – but someone said that someone said it, so it must be true. Same logic as internet knowledge. It’s there, so by default, it must be irrefutably true.

I don’t quite recall what I meant to say when I started writing this. I’m sure I must have had some sort of point, but I certainly don’t remember what it was. Or maybe there never was one to begin with. It’s hard to say.  

For Anne.

I looked out the window to see the rain trickling down the glass. I fixed my gaze on an individual droplet, watching it run in a crooked vertical line. When it disappeared from my sight and melted into the pool of water on the exterior pane, I felt an acute pang of sadness, almost as if I’d lost something.

I’d been waiting all day – well, not so much waiting, but dreading – checking a DM from someone I’d recently gotten involved with. Five minutes ago, I’d worked up the courage to read it.

Now I really wished that I hadn’t.

So here’s the thing about me. I’m an alcoholic, but I also have bipolar disorder. Which means, I get a little crazy when I drink. It didn’t used to be as bad, but lately, it had been pretty . . . well, pretty bad. I was always ashamed the next day, but it wasn’t as if I could undo what I’d done. Essentially, I’m an irresponsible thirty-one-year-old child. Couldn’t tell you how many relationships I’ve ruined with my drinking.

Anyway, as to the DM I just read. I went wild n’ out last night, behaved quite reprehensibly. In all honesty, her reply to my bullshit was quite mild, but it still hurt to read it. I couldn’t even manage to read it word-for-word. It was the last line that got me. I couldn’t remember it exactly, but it was something about me being a selfish, entitled child. Which was completely accurate – but still not fun to read.

Now, I felt that I was at an impasse. I’d been so depressed all day, I hadn’t eaten anything. But it was almost time for a drink. I suspected I might end up falling down the stairs.

I fixed my drink, my thoughts racing. I’d sent a brief response to her DM, which consisted solely of the words, I deserved that. Noted. I was at the point where I sort of hoped she wouldn’t reply. I hadn’t wanted to say nothing and thereby appear more like the selfish woman-child I truly was, but I really didn’t want to extend the conversation.

I wasn’t angry with her, of course. I was angry with myself. I was always angry with myself.

Most of my friends were undyingly supportive, no matter how wild I got. But sometimes, with certain people, I pushed it too far and spoiled everything. People told me I did it on purpose to sabotage myself, which I’m sure was also true. I didn’t deny anything about who I was. I made no excuses. But at the same time, I neglected any opportunity to change. In all honesty, it would be much easier, and a great relief besides, to simply be dead. But I’d tried twice before and fucked it up, and I did not want to spend two weeks in a pysch unit. I was talking to my best friend earlier that morning, and she informed me that, of her five suicide attempts, she only “almost succeeded” once.

Lightning flashed, and thunder cracked the night. I felt lost and empty, but didn’t feel as if I were going to cry or anything like that. There was just . . . numbness. I tried to keep a hold of my thoughts and not allow them to spiral. I stood in front of the window and sipped my drink, staring at my reflection in the glass.

I didn’t even recognize the person I saw.

Two of my favorite music artists, Lil Peep and Juice WRLD, were like male replicas of myself. And really, they were the replicas, since I was thirty-one and they’d both died within the past few years at the age of twenty-one.

Their music resonated with me, because I was them. Or at least, I was who they’d been. Reckless. Addicted. Juvenile. In pain. No respect for anyone but myself when I got upset. You’d think I might have learned some kind of lesson from the fact that they’d both died a decade younger than my present age, but that didn’t seem to be the case. In fact, as time went on, I just seemed to degenerate. Worse and worse until there was hardly anything left of me. Nothing but the deepest, most primal feelings that lurked beneath my usual stiffness and wrought havoc when I was drunk. Which I was. Every night. Yet another example of my weakness and selfishness.

I was the type of person who was meant to be alone. I made a much better friend than partner.

I sipped my drink, listening to the thunder. It matched the discord that raged within my chest.

I wished more than anything that I could think of a way to end it. It was a curious circumstance, when I allowed myself to ponder it. There were people who suffered so badly. The girl who chewed me out through a DM had a best friend, she was terribly sick and she could barely persevere through her days. I ached for her. I’d had a strange thought in the back of my mind that wandered to the forefront tonight – wishing I could trade my life for hers. Hers meant something. To both herself and her friend. Mine meant nothing to me. I would gladly exchange it. I was told she was a beautiful, generous person – and that’s what is needed in this world. Not burned-out alcoholics like me.

I felt simply thoughtful, no longer numb or depressed. I felt that an invisible eye had been opened towards me, telepathically transferring an important signal.

I set down my empty glass and wandered into the kitchen. My conscious thoughts seemed to fade, and I only knew motor movements. I felt nothing. I couldn’t see where I walked.

I only registered the moment my eyes slipped shut. I offered the god I didn’t trust a quick prayer, and requested that whatever strength I retained be sent to Anne.

September 24, 2020

The past few days, I’ve been reading the books of an author who recently blocked me on Twitter. I transferred my obsession with her books over to her, so I don’t really blame her for blocking me. Of course, now I realize that my obsession didn’t have anything to do with her; it was the books themselves. The grammar and editing are C+ at best, but the stories themselves are undeniably amazing.

I started with the most recent book, which brought in characters from the previous books, and I fell in love with absolutely everyone. These books are my world right now. I no longer care that their author hates me. I started the series from the beginning, and I plan on reading all of it. Unless I’m homeless in November – in which case, I’ll read however many I can get around to.

I spent months fighting with myself over changing my ways, constantly plagued by an overwhelming sense of guilt. All that’s gone, now. I’m resigned to everything. In the same way I don’t care about the “favorite author blocked me” thing, neither do I care about anything else. I haven’t been working much. I drink just as much as ever. And I don’t care.

I spent weeks terrified of ending up out in the street. My mind is numb to it now. Just the same way that my heart’s been numb since Mattie died. It’s a relief not to bounce back and forth between bouts of drunkenness and wanting to change. I don’t want to change anymore.

I can’t honestly say that I’d rather be dead. Quite the opposite. I’d rather have the funds to sustain myself and a respectable writing career. But in the event that doesn’t happen – and I don’t even see how it possibly could at this point – I don’t care. I don’t care about anything or anyone. It’s a mountainous weight lifted.

June 20, 2020

It’s only twenty past noon. So far today, all I’ve done is eat breakfast, clean the toilet, take a shower, and fold laundry – but somehow, it feels like the day should be over. As if it will take forever to be done with.

Which merely leads you to the question – what will you do when this day is over? You go to bed and wake up and repeat the process all over again, unsure what to occupy yourself with at any given moment, and oftentimes staring into space when you should have been doing something else. Looking at the list of projects you’re supposed to be working on, but unable to settle on one. Reading the same line in a book half a dozen times before closing the book and giving up.

I feed the neighborhood squirrels and birds when the weather is good. Yesterday, I saw one of the squirrels lying dead in the road. I’m not saying I blame whoever hit him – I’d like to believe there are fewer people who would do that on purpose than otherwise – but it still ruined my day. I woke up today feeling almost buoyant, but have since deflated completely, like a balloon that someone let all the air out of. Grand resolutions now seem to be nothing more than chalk squiggles on the sidewalk that the rain will wash away.

But I suppose that’s what all resolutions really are, when you stop and think about it. They matter for a few brief moments – i.e., however long you’re alive – but the fact remains that we all end up like the squirrel in the road. Sooner or later.

The Radio Flyer (A Dream)

I was at a gathering of some sort, like a family gathering, only it wasn’t my family. There was a woman there that I called “Mom,” but she didn’t look like my mother, she looked like Sally Field with graying hair and spectacles.

The people in the living room and the kitchen were making a terrible mess, getting food all over the place, and I was the only one cleaning up after them. Every time a piece of food fell, I felt like I had to pick it up. I would talk to the people sometimes, but only in disagreeable exchanges.

There was a lot of other weirdness, including a baby in a bag of apples that could talk (the baby, not the apples), but I don’t think that stuff mattered much.

I finally saw this one woman in a black coat. She was tall, red-haired and athletic-looking. She grabbed me and pushed me halfway out of a nearby window. Apparently, she thought I was someone who had committed a horrible crime, I guess she was some kind of cop, and she was trying to prove my guilt.

I called for my mother (or for Sally Field, at any rate), but she didn’t come. I asked the cop if she had done something to her, and the cop replied that she was dead.

The cop was looking at my recent self-made cuts, and she opened my shirt to see the scars on my chest. She said something like, “You do this to get high? You do this to forget about what you did? You cut and do drugs because you feel guilty?”

I tried to tell her I didn’t do drugs, I told her I’d only smoked marijuana once. (Which was true – I only smoked one joint in my life, the time I hooked up with that couple from FetLife at a local motel. But that’s not really part of this story.)

The cop started mentioning the names of all these other drugs, and I kept telling her that I didn’t know what any of them were, that I’d never taken them before. She didn’t mention my drinking, which I thought was odd, but since she wasn’t bringing it up, I didn’t, either. I kept trying to tell her that I didn’t feel guilty about anything, that I hadn’t done what she thought I did, but she wasn’t buying it.

That was when her partners appeared in the hallway. I think there were two of them, a woman and a big guy in a red hoodie.

The guy said something like, “If she’s a witch like her mother, she’ll burn in the sunlight.”

Then I realized – or maybe I’d already known it was there, I’m not sure – that the red-headed cop must have put something on top of my head when she pushed me out the window. She took it off now, and I felt sure that this would prove my innocence. But, much to my surprise, the top of my head began to smoke.

The cop let me fall out the window, I guess she thought that would kill me, but I fell to the ground slowly and hit with hardly any impact. This was the first time I was saved in the dream.

The cops appeared as if by magic. They had come to finish me off. The guy in the red hoodie lifted a scythe to cut off my head, but just at that moment, a huge red wagon (just like a Radio Flyer) appeared in the street, and a voice called for me to jump in. So I did. This was the second save.

The guy in the red hoodie chased the wagon with the scythe, trying to catch me. The wagon crashed into him and threw him off balance, but he got up again and followed after me. The wagon hit him a second time, knocking the scythe out of his hand. Third save.

I looked and saw that the wagon was headed for an opening between trees. It crashed through the trees and into a river. I knew that the cops were following, I think I could hear them yelling.

In the river, the wagon immediately began to sink, but before it did, I came to an overpass. A man who looked just like Christopher Lloyd from the movie Dennis the Menace held his hand out to me and pulled me up onto the overpass. Fourth save.

The man led me to a narrow street nearby. Suddenly I found myself walking a small dog on a leash. The river ran next to the street.

Now it was dark, and I looked at the closed doors on my right-hand side. An outdoor light came on, illuminating the back door of a dilapidated-looking place. The light was the last “sign” (the last save) in the dream. When the light came on, I knew the dream was almost over.

The most significant thing about it all was the rapidity with which the signs took place, like blinks of an eye, even though it takes longer to write them all down. It was like riding a rollercoaster. Well, I guess the Radio Flyer part really was like riding a rollercoaster.

Now, the door under the light opened, and a teenage boy appeared. He told me to come in.

There were plastic containers littering the steps that led down to the door, and the boy began moving them so the dog could get through. I handed the dog to the boy and asked, “Is my mother here?”

The boy said something like, “Yeah, I think so,” and I glanced into the place, trying to catch sight of the woman who looked like Sally Field.

Ever since the wagon appeared in the dream, there was a song playing in my head. It was a song that doesn’t actually exist, as sometimes happens when I’m dreaming. But it had a clear melody, and I can still remember it.

It only had two lines that kept replaying. I’m not sure about the last word of the first line, but I know that it rhymed with the last word of the second line. It was either of these:

This is my blood and this is my bone

This is my blood, I won’t let go.

Or:

This is my blood and this is my soul

This is my blood, I won’t let go.

I guess it doesn’t make much difference, either way.

I don’t usually get many signs from God, I sometimes envy my mother because she has occasional visions, so this was out-of-the-ordinary for me. But I did feel better when I woke up, like the dream had been a genuine message that I wasn’t alone.

 

Elijah: A Very Short Story

Once upon a time, there was a young piglet whose parents had been sent to the slaughterhouse. He was all alone, and he had nothing but the desolate landscape of his thoughts to keep him company.

One day while he was walking through the enchanted forest, he happened upon a mighty panther, so long and sleek and powerful. The piglet was sure that the panther would devour him immediately. And, without doubt, that thought crossed the panther’s mind.

But then . . . a beautiful and delicate fairy drifted down from the White Tree of Magic, and she informed the panther that the piglet was in possession of the purest soul she had ever borne witness to. The panther was a hunter, a merciless killer; and yet, the fairy’s words touched his heart. He spared the piglet, slinking past it on his way to some alternate feast.

The beautiful fairy did three revolutions in the air, waving her ornate oaken wand and sprinkling the dust of her race over the piglet. In less than a moment, he had transformed into a tall and strapping man.

“You are human now,” the fairy said to him. “You shall protect this world from evil and greed. You will live many years, and you will do incredible things. Henceforth, your name shall be Elijah.”

With a flutter of her lace-like wings, she flew down to Elijah and kissed his cheek. Then she disappeared.

Elijah still lives to this day, just as strong and pure of heart as ever he was. He awaits the last battle with steady hands and a patient heart.