LGBTQIA • Bosnian • Writer • Photographer
"How did you know?" I asked, not sure I wanted the answer. I thought I had been careful. I thought she fell for the lies like the others. I wasn't aware that she was keeping an eye on me. This strange yet beautiful and wonderful girl. It was summer camp, 1993. My parents divorced two months before my mother decided to send me away for her own selfish reasons. She wanted alone time with her new man. The mechanic next door. I was only fourteen. And very upset. Upon arrival I promised myself to be mute. As rebellion. As a cry for help. Hoping my visit to this pathetic summer pass time would be short. Weeks passed and I convinced everyone I couldn't speak. To my surprise, it made me popular. I made many friends. All the campers were so intrigued by the boy who couldn't speak. And to be honest I learned to enjoy all the camp's activities.
The yellow lines on the highway sped by in a blur, and we flew through the night, and we felt free. But we weren't, and we knew it. We were running away from something and running away was never the path to freedom. I thought about telling John to turn back. I thought about suggesting to undo what we had done. I looked at him, only seeing his face when lights from passing cars lit up his strong features. His sharp jawline. His full lips. His thick eyebrows and long eyelashes. The little wave his hair made above his forehead. He was focused on the road. I wish I could tell what was going through his head. How he was feeling. The pain in his chest and it's severity. I reached out to touch his hand as he started to cry. I knew what we had just done was a life changing decision. I could tell he was heartbroken by the silent sobs escaping in the dark. Whimpers and gasps of sadness. Maybe even delight. We were still wearing our tuxedos. Mine, a navy blue. His, white like the roses at the reception. He was still wearing his engagement ring. Traditionally a ring for a woman, but after planning the wedding for two years, it was decided John would wear the diamond and his fiance would wear the ring meant for the male of the occasion. I started to wonder why he hadn't taken it off yet. He had plenty of time when I voiced my opinion at the aisle. Breaking the silence after the father said, "...or forever hold your peace." Plenty more time as we ran away from his family and family-in-law to be. So why was it still wrapped around the finger that lead to the heart. Was there an ounce of regret I didn't feel but he did? Did he still love her? His girlfriend of eight years and fiance of two? No. He left her at the altar. He stopped loving her four years ago when he met me. So why is he still wearing it? I didn't ask, because it didn't seem like the right time. So I tried to distract myself with the stars above us. I concentrated hard and tried to make out any constellations. The first one I discovered was Orion. I then focused on each individual star. Starting with Beetlejuice. One of the stars on Orion's belt. When I felt a tap on my shoulder bring me back to Earth. Back to the Oregon forest we were traveling through. John wasn't looking at me, but moved his hand from my shoulder to my lap. His hand curled up like he was carrying water. John's hand unfurled like a rose blossoming in the spring. A white and golden rock attached to a platinum ring was sitting on his palm. "For you," he said. I hesitated but picked up the expensive gift. I held the precious gem meant for another. It wasn't as heavy as the feeling I got thinking about what we had done. I have stolen another's lover, I was a thief. I was selfish. But, on the other hand, I was madly in love. And John was madly in love with me. The second he got engaged, he saw the perfect opportunity to escape what he thought he wanted to actually be with his soulmate. Me. The one. His other half, split from him when Zeus believed humans were too powerful. Whether we were on the path to paradise or damnation, I'm glad it's with him. I rolled down my window, allowing the cold air to chill our skin and bones and tossed the key that had opened the last door in the way of John's happiness. We had a bright future ahead of us. Little did I know that was just headlights heading right in our direction.
The Last Ghost Whisperer
The wind whispered through the dark, empty trees like a warning in a foreign language. Winter was coming, and with winter came the beings that created the season. The angels. Seeking refuge from the hot summers, bright springs and exaggerated autumns. They're not your ordinary snow angels on the ground. They're the ones responsible for the snow. They're the ones that delicately make each individual snowflake. Taking care of all the sleeping creatures in the forest. Keeping the trees alive during the cold season.
Roses and Daisies
Reporters are trained to develop a sixth sense, a nose for when a story smells fishy. And something about this one wasn't right. First of all, I knew that the young and beautiful Sabrina was a total fraud. She was the biggest face in the modeling industry since her first spread traveled through the world like wildfire a year ago. She posed as the friendly girl next door. Pretending to love puppies and feed orphans and all the warm feeling nonsense. She even supposedly donated all the money she got from her follow up cover a couple months ago. Lies! If she donated all she gained from her own work, how would she afford all the luxuries she has surrounded herself with? She was climbing her way to the top by tricking the public. And they fell for it! Well not me. I have been a writer for four years now and can see right through her character. Nobody believed me though. So I know there was only one way to prove my story. Catch her in the act! I will pose as paparazzi and stalk her. I'll blend in with the rest of the admiring crowd. I will do what I must. My male colleagues will praise me once reveal the truth. So I went on and planned it all out. I kept a close eye on Sabrina's schedule. Every time she left and returned to her home, I noted it. Luckily for me she had just completed her third spread and is in the relaxing and editing phase before anything is published. I've learned her daily routine and have discovered she has time to herself on Thursdays, right after the sun sets. I've decided to make my move and confront her. I came up with a plan to sneak in past the gate, through her strangely large yard, and into the Victorian home. It won't be easy but I need this story! So I set out, waiting for the sun to fade to nothing. Waiting for the patrolling security guards not to be around. Slipping over the black and spiky bars. I made my way to a wall covered in flowers. I climbed the roses and daises to a balcony. What happened next made me feel like I had been shot. A heavy pain in my chest. There she was. The stunning Sabrina. With her long black hair and olive toned skin. Face nude. Free of any social quotas and layers of make up. She was playing around with several golden retrievers on her bed. Holding red and green chew toys high above her head as the dogs did their best to topple her. Wearing a custom made night gown. Probably Gucci or Versace. She looked over and saw me. I thought she would scream or yell for help. The thought of an intruder sent shivers down my spin and legs. I was the intruder which made the feeling worse. Throughout my thinking I never imagined the actual confrontation. But she only smiled and said, "So you're the one who's trying to make me look bad." I was shocked that she even knew who I was. She got up and walked over to a table with two champagne glasses. The dogs followed her. Sabrina, looking so elegant and divine with her long and smooth legs, commanded them all to sit. She grabbed both the tall glasses and walked over to me, handing me one of the expensive drinks. "I've been keeping tabs on you as well. As soon as I discovered you were stalking me I knew I had to give you a chance for an interview. One model, seven dogs, and a gorgeous reporter," she whispered.
I've lived in this town my whole life, and most of the time that's fine by me. But in late fall when the sky fills with birds migrating south for the winter, traveling thousands of miles, I get homesick for places I've never been.
Perhaps it was a dream, she thought. Perhaps if she pinched herself, she would wake up. But she didn't want to wake up. She wanted to stay in this dream world where her father didn't come home drunk every night, where her mother wasn't crying and escaping her own abusive reality with all kinds of drugs, where her brother wasn't intentionally hurting others to make himself feel better by sleeping around and breaking hearts. In her dream, everything was the way it was supposed to be for an eleven-year-old living in New York City.
Only Charles and I
At first, we thought the black liquid was oil, that we'd struck it rich and that we'd be able to retire and live in leisure. After working for so many months in the same fields, we've finally reached our goal. We actually started writing down all the ways we'd spend the money.