Epiphany #96 “One Moment”

            I stood in the doorway and watched her.  She was tired.  Exhausted.  She ran her hand through her long, curly red hair as she got up from the bed.  She took small barefooted steps across the tile floor to the white bassinet in the corner.  She bent over it, peering in at the noise coming out before she reached both hands in.  The small little bundle of blanket was making a racket now.  I could see his tiny little scarlet face pinched tight with mouth wide.  She held him tight against her chest and shook her head.  For a moment, I could see in her eyes that she felt as if she was bailing the sea with teacups.  She was overwhelmed and weary.  She bent to one side and picked a diaper up off the changing table on her way back to the bed.  She turned and sat down on the edge of the bed.  The screaming package was insistent, now, diminutive limbs waving wildly as she placed it on the bed.  She worked mechanically.  Opening the diaper, dabbing at what lie beneath, rolling the diaper into a nice little bundle and then replacing it with a dry one.  The screaming started to subside a little.  She picked it up again and looked into the little face.  It was only slightly less crimson than it had been when she first picked it up.  She used one arm to fluff the pillows up behind her and she moved back into them.  The quilted parcel was now cradled in her arms.  She made herself comfortable and pulled a blanket over her purple plaid flannel pajama bottoms.  Her fingers worked to undo the buttons of the top as she held the shrieking infant up to her breast and pushed the nipple into the caverous hole that now opened to accept it.  She looked down at the blonde head cradled in her hand and leaned back against the wall.  Her eyes closed for a moment and started to sing, “The ants go marching one by one…”  A coughing sound forced her eyes open and down.  She adjusted his head and he suckled greedily.  She continued to sing.  The baby quieted and his eyes locked with hers.  She smiled at him and raised him up over her shoulder patting him until she heard a satisfied burp.  She held him in front of her and smiled at the blonde curls that covered his head.  She brought him close and smelled him.  He had that wonderful new baby smell of baby lotion and powder. She whispered, “I love you” to him and cuddled him.  Finally, he was no longer the awful crying dirty diaper machine that she’d been living with for the last six weeks.  She was in love with him.

Epiphany #99 “Rashomon”

Epiphany #99 “Rashomon”

May 7, 2007 1.16 PM  Devan

The sidewalk rushed by in hues of pinks and light greys.  The sky was clear blue and no clouds marred the view.  The street was creeping by in boxes of black, red, and white.  I shifted in my ergonomic chair and tried to adjust the focus of camera 7.  I was going to have to go out and clean off the lens again, the thought of which sent a slight shiver up my spine. I had designed the perfect observation station.  It was the truly the study in point of view that I loved. I could see everything around me for what seemed like miles. It was beautiful.  Almost as beautiful as the red haired girl.

May 7, 2007 1.16 PM Sarah

            I walked down the sidewalk feeling the warm sun on my skin. I loved this stretch of sidewalk in the arts district, even though I could never shake the feeling of being watched. I looked up, it was absolutely cloudless and I loved the glorious feeling of the fading of spring and the beginning of summer melting together seamlessly. I had broken out a new pink suit for today and I was feeling positive as I walked purposefully toward my interview.  This was the day.  I could feel it. 

May 7, 2007 1.16 PM Officer Stanton

I like to keep things moving in my neighborhood.  It’s a busy little stretch of sidewalk in the arts district and the people are….well, interesting.  I don’t really understand what goes on down here, but I swore to keep it a little safer.  I looked up at the corner of the brownstone that sat at the crossroads of the district.  The cameras were busy.  Devan was awake, alert, and watchful as always.  I wondered if that kid ever slept and how in the hell he maintained those cameras. 

May 7, 2007 1.16 PM Peter Summerhill

            I glanced out the window as I wiped tables down.  Damn kids would sit all morning taking up the space of paying customers and nursing one coffee. They made huge messes for no more than what they spent.  They sat pretending to be artists with no idea of what it really took to express themselves.  Fucking posers.

            I heard the argument before I saw it.  The voices were loud and gruff.  I hated my location sometimes.  I thought being sandwiched between a bar and a tattoo parlour would be good.  Stupid of me.  I walked over to the window and looked out.  The voices were getting angrier and it sounded like they were about to come to blows. 

May 7, 2007 1.18 PM Devan

            I moved camera 15 so that I could see what was going on across the street near the café.  Two big, heavily tattooed guys were standing toe to toe on the sidewalk with faces red and angry.  I saw the café owner craning his neck to look out.  The red haired girl was walking brisklly up the sidewalk.  She stopped and looked behind her.  A taxi was stopped in the middle of the street and the driver was yelling at another car. His arms were waving wiidly and the other driver was rolling his window up quickly.

May 7, 2007 1.18 PM Sarah

            I heard the tires screeching and turned to look as the cab driver got out of his taxi and started screaming at a Mercedes.  The driver of the Mercedes was rolling up his window quickly.  I could see his face disappearing behind the tinted glass.  I felt a slam against my face and fell backwards onto the sidewalk.  The sky went grey and fuzzy around the edges.

May 7, 2007 1.18 PM Officer Stanton

            I was looking in the window of some faggy little shop with lots of little trinkets in the window when  I heard the yelling. I turned quickly and called it in on my walkie as I started to run across the street.  Just when my feet both touched down onto the asphalt, I heard the tires screech and felt a hard bump against my thigh that made me skip a little to my left.  I quickly regained my footing and saw the cabbie was out of his car and yelling at a silver 2005 Mercedes.   I assessed they could take care of themselves and skirted between them.  I headed toward the tattoo parlor with the beefy tat covered guys yelling at each other.  It was going to be a great afternoon.

May 7, 2007 1.18 PM  Peter Summerhill

            I saw the policeman get smacked in the leg with a taxi as he ran across the street.  It was just about the same time that I saw the flash of red and pink fall in front of the window.  I ran out my front door into the warm spring day, ripping off my apron and tucking it under a girl’s head.  Her face was bloody and her eyes rolled back as I asked her if she was okay.  I looked up and yelled at the policeman for help.  I don’t think he heard me over everything else.  I fumbled in my pants pocket for my cell and dialed 911.

May 7, 2007 1.20 PM Devan

            The girl fell on monitor 15.  The café owner was putitng his apron under her head and yelling at the people on the street.  Camera 22 showed the policeman trying to separate the two freaks at the tattoo parlor.  My phone rang shrilly and I jumped.  I looked at it for two rings before I remembered what I was supposed to do.  “Hello?” My voice squeaked from disuse. 

            “Devan, this is the dispatcher at CMPD.  Did you see what happened at the café?”

            I stumbled over the words.  “Yeah, I have it all on file.”

            “I’ll send on officer over, can you make me a DVD?” I nodded and swallowed hard. “Devan? Can you do that for me?”


            “Thanks.  The officer will be there within a half hour.”  I put the phone down and got to work.

Epiphany #21 Clothes

        She raised the dress over her head and pulled the smooth silk down over her form.  She smoothed it over her hips and saw the skirt flare gently around her mid calves. It was perfect.  She looked down and slipped on the block heeled pumps.  As her feet settled in and she straightened, she looked in the mirror.  She could see herself in three angles.  The fabric of the dress clung to her and she straightened the bow that hung on one side of the square cut neck.  She made a little spin and watched the dress flow out gently and slowly settle in flowing curves. 

            As she stopped her spin and looked in the mirror again, Mara thought about the night that she had planned.  She had finally been invited to a Hollywood party. She could hardly believe her luck.  She was actually starting to leave small town Ohio behind and concentrate on her career.  She was actually being billed as a starlet, which meant a fifty dollar pay increase in her packet every week.  Her pay envelopes every week were more money than her dad made in a month.  Who would have guessed that little mousy haired Mara from Dayton, Ohio would end up in Hollywood, actually costarring in movies.  She looked at the tag on the dress and saw that it was $25.  A few minutes later, back in her old dress, she was paying the clerk.  It was her first major purchase and she was exhilarated.

            Rudolph looked down at the bleached blonde girl in the pink dress and shoes.  She had been drinking all night and there were stains down the front of her dress from where she had gotten sloppy from the champagne. She had followed him around like a love sick puppy dog all night and finally, in frustration, he had pushed her away from him.  She had toppled backward on her heels and tripped over one of the little stone cherubs that were stationed all around the pool.  What stupid things, he thought.  The blonde had been prettier in the evening, but now she lay before him with blood pooling around her head and her skull exposed from a gaping cut.  It was his first murder of a starlet and he was excited.

            Sara silently took the brown paper bag from the funeral director. She knew that it contained the pink dress and shoes that her sister had been wearing the night she was killed.  She stared at the bag on her lap and felt the sadness threatening to engulf her again.  She didn’t know how she was going to live without her sister.  They had come into the world only seconds apart after sharing the same womb for nine months.  Her sisters move had caused their first separation ever.  She looked inside the bag and saw the soft mauve dress inside. She felt the weight of the shoes through the bottom of the bag.  She felt separated.

Christine walked down the street with purpose.  She had just gotten paid.  She looked up to see the familiar outline of purple neon around the window of Heathers, her favourite vintage stop.  She saw a gorgeous soft mauve dress on the dress form that Heather used as a display.  She put her hand on the doorknob and took a deep breath before walking in.  The little shop was no bigger than her bedroom had been growing up and it was stuffed with items from the past.  Christine looked around and marveled at the items that were beckoning her to step backwards in time for just a minute.

            “Hi, Christine,” she heard from somewhere behind the giant round rack that dominated the right side of the room.  She saw a peacock feather poke up first and then slowly, a midnight blue hat appeared followed quickly by Heather.  She was a stout woman that had bob cut auburn hair.  She walked toward Christine with her arms outstretched ready for a hug.  “It seems like forever since I saw you.  “You’re not cheating on me with another vintage store are you?” 

            Christine looked at her with mouth agape. “Heather, you know better.  Our relationship is special.  I would never cheat on you.”  She accepted the other woman’s hug and looked at her closely.

            “Well, look at you Ms. Stylish with your little blonde spit curls and your spectator shoes.  I told you those shoes would be spectacular.”  Christine grinned as she looked down at the brown and white shoes that Heather had found at an estate auction last summer. 

            “I couldn’t do it without you, Heather.  I would love see the dress in the window.”

            “Isn’t it great?”  Christine nodded as her friend hurried to the window and whisked the slick fabric over the top of the dress dummy.  She picked the shoes up on her way out of the space and turned.  “You’ll never believe me when I tell you about it.  Go…”  Heather motioned her back toward the dressing room at the back of the room.  Christine wound her way through the racks and shelves that all smelled of history and time.  She stepped behind the curtain that hung from an ovular fixture.  Heather handed her the dress and the shoes then grabbed the heavy brocade drape, jerking it around the curtain rod, concealing Christine behind it.

            “Wait until you hear.  I got it at an estate sale in Hollywood.  It belonged to a starlet.”  Christine raised the dress over her head and pulled the smooth silk down over her form.  She smoothed it over her hips and saw the skirt flare gently around her mid calves. It was perfect.  She looked down and slipped on the block heeled pumps.  As her feet settled in and she straightened, she looked in the mirror.  She could see herself in three angles.  The fabric of the dress clung to her and she straightened the bow that hung on one side of the square cut neck.  She made a little spin and watched the dress slow out gently and slowly settle in flowing curves.  She was exhilarated.

Epiphany #172: Arrivals

            Mara’s eyes opened slowly.  At first, it felt like any lazy Sunday morning at home.  Except for the pounding headache.  She tried to sit up, but found that her body would not move.  She blinked, trying to get some of the morning crustiness from sleeping in her contacts out of her eyes. They were dry and itchy with that wonderful burning sensation caused by her eye make up having found it’s way into her eyes rather than just decorating them.  She tried to assess what was happening, but was getting nowhere fast. It seemed as if her brain was sluggish and her body wasn’t even responding.She decided to look around the room but didn’t see anything that gave her the most remote clue as to where she was or how she got there.  The room was plain and white.  So white, in fact, that it almost hurt her already abused feeling eyes.  The bed was the only real furniture that she could tell, but she sensed that there was a table in the room where she couldn’t see.

            The man walked down the hallway slowly, savoring the moment of his impending arrival.  He padded down the hallway in his slippers, pausing outside of the first door in the hallway.  He put his ear to the door and listened.  There was no sound.  He knew that there wouldn’t be. He had insulated the rooms himself.  He had especially enjoyed the woman on the other side of this door.  He looked at the small screen that he had mounted next to the door and pushed the blue button that would allow him to see into the room.  There were four cameras mounted in the room and this allowed him to see the woman from every angle.  Her eyes were fluttering opened and closed. He could tell that she was trying to process what was happening to her.  He pressed the button that turned the monitor off and walked down the hall.

            Dakota was starting to panic.  Her mouth was dry and her throat was sore from screaming.  She hadn’t seen anyone since she had woken up here.  Occasionally, she felt as if she were being watched. The room she was in was blindingly white.  She had been drifting in and out of sleep.  She couldn’t feel any part of her body except for her head, which had been pounding since she had first woken up here.  She only felt safe when she was asleep, but suspected that she was somehow being drugged.  She had woken up to see little things changed. A table had appeared with a water pitcher on it.  Sometimes it was full of ice water, sometimes not.  There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.

            The man watched the woman scream silently on the small monitor next to her door.  He desperately wanted to hear her, but knew that sound in the hallway would be heard by others.  Not that he had ever had visitors.  It was getting to be close to time for this one.  She had dark hair and piercing hazel eyes.  He didn’t know what had attracted her to him. She was different than the others.  He would miss this one.  She even screamed in her sleep.  He watched her drift off to sleep again.  He turned the monitor off here, too. Then continued down the hall.

            Susanna was tired. She didn’t think she’d eaten for a long time.  Her stomach was growling and had been for a long time. She’d lost track of time because her sleep was all messed up. She’d stopped wondering where she was.  She’d stopped wondering why.  She felt terrible.  After she had woken up the first time and vomited from the headache that she had, she had been given a little more movement.  Now she could turn her head enough to actually vomit over the edge of the table.  She didn’t know how she still had anything to vomit, it seemed mostly like bile and left an awful acidic taste in her throat that burned.  She felt the bile rising in her again and she turned her head to throw up.  Her body convulsed against what she figured was straps.  She closed her eyes and swallowed hard.

            The man swallowed with her.  The little blonde girl was starting to lose weight already.  He didn’t really like cleaning up after the pukers, but it was a hazard of the hobby.  He didn’t like having to loosen the straps that held the girls down, but he also treasured watching them.  This one was getting messy.  He turned the monitor off here too and continued to the last room in the hallway.

            Krista was lying on the bed curled up in a ball.  There weren’t any thoughts in her head anymore.  She hadn’t moved in a few days.  The man watched her for some time every day, but it hadn’t changed in three days.  He knew that she had gone, but he was enjoying the thought of what he had done.  He smiled.  It felt odd, but it was good.  This girl was going to look beautiful in his album.  She looked so angelic with her blonde hair splayed out behind her.  He’d brushed it until it shone.  She was so beautiful.  He went to the hall closet and opened it.  He reached in and took the digital camera off of the shelf.  Digital cameras were so much better than film.  He smiled again as he thought of how these pictures were going to look.  He turned back around and stopped in front of the door taking one last look at the monitor as he put his hand on the knob and started to turn.

Epiphany #59: “Silent Partner”

  I watched him as he sat looking angrily over the water, but seeing nothing in particular.  His arms were crossed over his knees as if he were giong to be able to fend off anything I might add to the moment.  It served the dual purpose of making him invunerable to actually listening as well.  I looked past him to the ocean and watched the sea crash against the bluff.  The waves rolled silently in, up and over the beach.

     “Do you ever think about how the waves take little pieces of the beach with them every time they come in?” He didn’t move.  His silence was rushing across me harder than the water would if I were sitting in it.  “Is this the way this day is going to go?’ I asked him.  I was trying to be gentle and keep my voice neutral, but I could hear it climbing up the scales of stress. Before long, it would sound as if I was whouting, even if I wasn’t.

     He finally looked at me. His blue eyes that were usually so clear, were stormy.  His body accused me. He only turned his head slightly. Nothing else about him opened up to me.  I didn’t know which crime I was guilty of today, but as always I imagined it was some huge relationship faux pas that I would never be able to fix. It had happened countless times before.  I had a thick cord of failed relationships that trailed behind me, tethering me to this moment, needing resolution and fearing that it would never happen.  By this time, he was looking at the water again.  His breathing was almost imperceptible.

    “All of my relationships end the same.  There’s anger and yelling, then silence followed by me crying and never understanding what went wrong. I always end up with that awful static sound in my head like when the record hits the last song and the needle skips back and forth over that little dead air space of vinyl.  Truthfully, if I get that something has actually gone wrong and I’m able to truly understand it, it’s usually too late for me to fix it. Are you going to be like all the others?”

     He didn’t move at first. I felt nothing coming from him that was a change.  I watched the water in front of us.  It rushed in and slowly drifted back out.  I looked at him. Watched him.  His hands gripped his knees until I could see his knucles glowing white. I waited.  He took a deep breath in and then blew it out.  The moment of his breath releasing seemed to take forever.  His hands moved to his head and he pulled his fingers through his tight blonde curls.  He looked down at the sand and stretched his legs out in front of him.  There was tension in his body still, but his arms went to his sides and his hands dug into the sand.  I could hear the water sweeping in and drifting out.  I could hear his purposeful breathing as if he was measuring every thought that was racing through his brain like gemstones and deciding which ones were exactly the right weight.  One leg bent back up toward his body and finally he turned toward me.  For a very long moment, I was afraid to even look at him.  I couldn’t  bear to even imagine what his face was going to tell me. I expected the worst so that I would not be disappointed. After an eternity, his throat cleared softly and I looked up at him.  He held my eyes in his gaze for the longest minute and then I felt tears well up inside of me to spill out of them.

     “Whatever I did, I’m sorry.”

     “I know, ” his voice was so quiet that I almost didn’t even believe he had spoken.  His eyes still had the hint of a storm in them, but they were clearing.  I bent my legs up and wrapped my arms around my knees.  He reached over and touched my hand.  Suddenly the whole world felt open again.