Tuesday, April 25, 2017

# 7 - sunlight

Maya gazed at the commotion ensuing outside of her window. People gathering outside of the diner, leaving with syrup mustaches and beards, their fingers sticking to anything that they touched. If she squinted and looked a little farther, she could see children tugging at their mother's shirt sleeves, pointing at the gurgling pond that sat nestles between the police station and the water tower. Maya leaned her forehead against the window, feeling the sun creep over her face. It was warm outside, her favorite kind of weather, yet Maya hadn't felt the sun on her face in over a four months. Maya padded over to her refrigerator , opening it and feeling the cool air spill out into the small apartment. Her golden brown eyes scanned over the contents of the fridge. 

A bottle of Sriracha, the end pieces of a loaf of bread, and 2 large brown eggs.

She pulled out the styrofoam carton of eggs, and then opened the cabinet above her head to grab a bowl. The bowl had a fine layer of dust covering it like a blanket made for dust bunnies. After rinsing out the small bowl, her hands shaking, she cracked one of the eggs and began separating the yolks from the whites, just how her mother liked it. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

#6 - fairy wings

Maya couldn't remember how long it had been since her mother died. Ever since Christmas when her mother's sweatshirt had gotten soiled by some eggnog, she had been hesitant to leave her house for fear of her mother's memory fading even more. From her window, she watched the Christmas decorations being removed and the town return to it's normal dreary self. She had also watched a band of kids go to and from a tiny fairy town that had appeared in the alley way between Rose Records and the elementary school. Using binoculars she watched the children's eyes widen in wonder, their marker stained hands not wanting to touch anything in fear of breaking it. After watching the children she would return to her room. Although Maya was almost 17, her room was still painted pink and adorned with posters of fairies. She still had a pair of pink wings hung on the back of her door.


"Mom! Mom! Mom!" Maya called, "I want to show you a trick"

"Oh, Maya dear, what is it?" The small girl's mother replied sweetly, cupping the rosy cheek of her daughter. The mousy brown haired girl climbed atop the back of their couch, her mother brought her hand to her mouth in order to refrain from telling her little girl to be careful. Maya closed her eyes, and spread out her arms, and taking a deep breath she jumped from the back of the couch, her pink fairy wings on her back.

"Mom, did you see that, I flew!"

Friday, January 20, 2017

#5 - shirt stains

1.the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ's birth, held on December 25 in the Western Church.

In Winthrop Christmas was quickly approaching and Maya felt the opposite of festive. While all around her small town, people used the upcoming holiday as an excuse to ignore the strange event that occurred at the dinner party, it only reminded Maya of her own personal tragedy. Christmas's of previous years were spent making an extravagant gingerbread house with her mother, and bundling up in knitted scarves and caps in order to watch the Winthrop Christmas Tree light up in front of their apartment building. However, this year, she was on her couch, huddled under 5 quilts because her heating was out. Her teeth chattered as she flipped through channels on the television. F
ixer Upper, Spongebob Squarepants (it always seemed to be on), some Animal Planet show, and a channel that played "A Christmas Story" on repeat until Christmas Day. She skipped past all of those until finally deciding to leave her house, which she rarely did nowadays. Maya had left her house a total of two times since her mother died, once to go to the god awful dinner party held in Winthrop's basement, and the last time was to get a cup of apple cider from C's Coffee N' Bagels (they had the best cider, it was sweet and the cinnamon always tickled your tongue). Maya headed to her bedroom and selected a pair of black skinny jeans and her mothers university sweatshirt (it was hunter green and had "Virginia" plastered on the front). When Maya opened her heavy front door, a small red snow globe with a bright yellow duck wearing a Christmas hat inside was in front of her. She gingerly picked it up, and studied it, her eyes suddenly brimming with tears. Withdrawing back into her apartment and sliding down the wall to sit on the floor, she clutched the snow globe to her chest. Maya felt like her sanity had dwindled over the past few weeks, as she was convinced her mother was in fact, not dead. Someone had been leaving heartfelt gifts at her doorstep for 23 days, and they could all be traced back to her mother. The first day, it was a locket that had a picture of her mother in it, the second it was the perfume her mother wore, and so on. Now, a snow globe with a duck, her mother's favorite animal. How was Maya supposed to move on with pieces of her mom showing up everyday ?

After composing herself, she stepped outside of her apartment again. She descended down four floors in order to reach the lobby, and she exited the building. Winthrop always boomed with activity during the holidays. Eggnog stands and ornament shops lining the streets, and lights casting a glow over the town. She had just ordered a cup of eggnog and was lifting the cup to her mouth when an over excited child bumped into her, sending eggnog running down her chin and onto her mom's sweatshirt. She screamed at the child,


Before dashing to Debra's Mat. The bell tinkled overhead and in a hurry she shoved two quarters into the washing machine before taking off her sweatshirt and thrusting it into the washer. She sobbed as she watched the green fabric go round and round, goosebumps spreading over her skin as her white camisole didn't cover her arms. A cheer erupted from outside as the Christmas Tree lit up.

#4 - leftovers

Maya's apartment was filled with the thickest, heaviest kind of sadness. Her days had blurred together, only distinguishable by which neighbor brings a new casserole by to offer their condolences. She sits staring blankly at the wheelchair still in the middle of her living room when a quick knock comes from the door. The sound of paper sliding across hardwoods. The sound of retreating footsteps. All Maya has done for the past week since her mother had been taken away was turn oxygen into carbon dioxide.But she stands up and crosses her living room and sitting quietly before her door, was a small white envelope. She opened it and the following words were neatly printed on a piece of card stock :


We are excited that you are coming to dinner with us. Hopefully, you will make it through the night. This is a black tie affair, please dress accordingly. Take care to prepare your character roles. Your life may depend on it.

Time - 8:18

Place - 7th floor storage room

Maya flipped over the card and on the back one word was printed "cook". For a moment, Maya pondered whether or not to attend this strange gathering, and wondered if anyone else was going to go. She felt no inclination to go, so she walked into her bedroom and took a couple of sleeping pills to make the world fade out. Her vision began to blur as she stared at the empty chair once again. A while later (minutes, hours? Maya couldn't tell) maya woke with a start. She began to hear footsteps and chattering outside of her door. She stands groggily and pads silently across her hardwood floors, peeking her head out of the door. The inhabitants of her floor donned black tie attire and were heading towards the elevator. Maya decided that she would go to the dinner, it must be important if everyone's going, right? She went into her room and picked out a simple black dress, it was at the top of her pile of clothes since she had just worn it to her mother's funeral. Maya slipped on the dress, it used to cling to her figure but now it hung on her body like black trash bad. Maya sighed and turned around to open the door to her mother's bedroom. She tiptoed inside, careful not to disturb anything, like the room was a museum. Standing in front of the vanity she delicately picked up a diamond choker, and strung it around her neck. She tried to look at her reflection but her body and face seemed distorted like an abstract painting. Everything was in the wrong place. After picking some mystery casseroles out of the fridge, since her role was the cook, she stepped out of her apartment for the first time in weeks.
Down in the storage room, the air was stale. People were mingling, or at least trying to. Maya sat in the corner drinking a plastic cup of something bubbly, no one wanted to meet her eyes. Because no one wanted to try and offer sympathy to the girl who didn't have a mother. There was someone laying on the floor, Maya couldn't quite figure out why. She was trying to puzzle this out when everything went dark. Before Maya could blink, they were back on and another person lay on the ground. They were framed in a square of concrete, their limbs splayed at perfect 90 degree angles and a neat pool of blood sat like a pillow underneath their head.

#3 - spilled milk

Maya's least favorite season. Winter. She's walking back from the supermarket on Canary Street when she sees the police cars, lights flashing, outside of Winthrop Place. She drops her grocery bags, milk exploding all over the pavement. Maya tightens her white scarf, hesitating fora heartbeat before she breaks out into a sprint, pushing through the glass double doors and bypassing the elevator to take the stairs.After four flights of stairs and a million possible scenarios running through her mind she arrives at her floor. Panic seizes her when she sees a gurney with a black bag being rolled into the elevator.
"MOM!" Maya shrieks, sprinting down the hallway. Police officers and EMT's are clogging the doorway to her apartment and she pushes through them, bursting into her dingy living room. She looks around the apartment, taking a silent inventory. In the middle of the floor sits a black wheelchair, empty. Maya's stomach drops. Then, so does she. A group of paramedics rush to her as Maya's body shudders on the floor.3 hours later Maya finds herself in a barren room, save for a metal table and two metal chairs, within the police station. The cold metal presses against her back. Maya sits rigidly and shakes her leg , waiting.
"How long have I been waiting?" she wonders. "3 minutes, 3 hours?"
The windowless door swings open and she startles from her thoughts as a man with a suit and tie walks into the room, taking a seat across from her.

"Do you know why you're here?" he asks.

"Where's my mother?" Maya replies, ignoring the question. "What did you do with her?"

"Maya.. is it?" he says glancing down at a piece of paper that he has in front of him. Maya nods. She silently wishes that time could stick like a clock so that whatever was about to happen, wouldn't happen. "Maya, did you know that your mother has been sitting dead in her wheelchair for about.. 2 months?" Maya only blinks. This can't be happening. She blinks and blinks and blinks but it's still happening.

#1 (apartment 402 floor 4) - cold eggs

The day started with ... eggs. Scrambled, no yolks, just whites. No salt, just pepper, presented on a sparkling white plate. Fork on the left, butter knife and spoon on the right. Crisp white napkin under the plate. A cup filled almost to the brim with no pulp orange juice. Just how she liked it. "Mother!" the girl in pink pajamas called, "Breakfast is ready, just how you like it!!" She waited for a moment but all that she heard was the rain greeting the sidewalk four floors below her. She sighed, then padded through the apartment with her plush slippers. Knocking on the door, she twisted the knob and peeked in. "Mother?" she whispered tentatively, sliding through the crack in the door. She approached her mother, who was facing away from her. "It's me, mom, Maya" the willowy girl said softly. Approaching her mother Maya grasped the handles of the wheelchair and swiveled the chair around, wheeling her mom out of the room. "I've cooked eggs for you, just how you like them. And orange juice! Orange juice too!" Maya stopped when she reached the dining room table, spreading the white linen napkin on her mother's lap. Maya grimaced as a foul stench reached her nose,"Oh, mom you smell even worse today." she said, shaking her head. Maya crossed the room and picked up a bottle of Febreze, spraying the clean scent of cotton into the air, hoping to mask the scent that resembled that of a dead dog. After setting the bottle back down on the coffee able Maya glanced at her mother who still hadn't touched the eggs and plopped down on her faux leather couch with another sigh. Maya had had to cut off cable since her mother was unable to work and her job bussing at Serenity Diner didn't cover the cost. So, one of the only channels that her and her mother got was the local news. "Pool of Blood found with Suspicious Note at Abandoned Winthrop Park." read the headline at the bottom of the screen. "Mom? Are you seeing this?" she asked over her shoulder. Not hearing an answer, Maya tucked a stray piece of dishwater brown hair behind her ear and padded into her room. Her room was almost bare, despite the fact that she had been occupying this room for coming up on 19 years. After pulling on her one piece swimsuit and goggles, she kissed her mother on the head, told her goodbye (not receiving an answer) and rode the elevator down to the ground floor of Winthrop Place. Maya walked past the people lugging brown boxes that had words like "kitchen" and "bedroom" scrawled on them and walked out into the warm summer rain. Maya took a deep breath. Maya ran. She ran all the way down Arlington and onto Harbor Place. She ran until she felt her lungs about to burst and she stood ankle deep in the green water of Winthrop Lake. She wiggled her toes and the silky water tickled her feet. She walked forward until the water stood at her waist, teasing her belly button. Maya took a deep breath. Maya dove. The sound faded out and she was home. She pulled herself deeper and deeper into the cold green water that surrounded her until she felt the water pressing down on her skull like a million fleece blankets.A few hours later Maya stood in her dining room, lake water dripping on the floor and gathering in a pool by her feet. The day ended with eggs. Scrambled, no yolks, just whites. No salt, just pepper, presented on a sparkling white plate. They were cold now.