Haibun Fiction 3 - Favorites
Global Haiku, Spring 2017
She sits on the edge of the dock looking out into the water. Splashing and spinning, children and adults all whirl around the lake. The trees nearby ruffle as a light breeze comes over the land. The sun shines perfectly onto the dock so she must squint her eyes. A still silence as she sits alone, the dock slowly bobbing as the waves catch up. Turning around, she faces the field of sand behind her. The long brown steps leading to grains and grains of itchy particles stretch out before her. In the distance a car door slams, and he catches her eye. Tall and tan, board shorts fitting tight, shirt fitting even tighter. His muscles bulge out of his shirt as he squints from the sun, unable to see her siting on the dock. Her heart races and her lips curl. She continues staring, knowing that he hasn't seen her yet. He shuffles through the sand towards the long brown steps. Closer and closer to her. Nervous, she feels the sun beating down on her neck. All in one swift motion, she gathers her hair in her hands and starts twirling it into a ponytail. The movement at the end of the dock catches his eyes as he continues to shuffle towards her.
I remember waking up, tired as hell, eyes droopy and swollen from crying all night. My throat is dry and my mouth is parched. I am tucked tightly in my soft sheets and comforting pillow, and I lay in bed for awhile. I wait..for him nervous out of my mind.
He would come home and dinner would be made, and it would be a bland conversation a routine that would happen only two days because he worked away from home during the weekdays, which I hated. But I was lonely, I wanted him every night. I needed him every night.
An old friend, J.C. who I have known since I was 16 we kept in contact with each other. J.C has been with the same girl, who is now her wife, since he was 20. They had one child together when he was 22. He has been stuck with her ever since because he doesn't want to make it hard for his child. I say stuck because a couple years after he married, he told me that he had feelings for me. I felt the same way, unfortunately. J.C and I would only come into contact with each other at least two times a year, where we would see each other at bars or other other social gathering events. Seeing each other after these years made it worse because his eyes told me he wanted to be with me. I've refrained from him for 20 years because I could not do that to my husband because he's loyal and cares so much about me that it would tear him apart. I hate myself for feeling this way. Shouldn't I feel guilty for loving someone else other than my own husband? Well, last night was the worst thing I could have done to jeopardize my marriage. It's obvious. The only time my husband was gone for work during the week, J.C's wife went on vacation to Italy for two weeks. J.C reached out to me and said that his wife and kid are not going to be at the house tonight, he asked if I could come over and eat dinner with him.
Obviously, I thought that was a good idea, because I was going to be fed but it was obvious that he wanted to do more than that. I did too. Being utterly anxious, and waiting for this moment for 20 years I had to say yes and not give up this opportunity. Why would I give up this opportunity if I had loved this man. I came over and he had a steak dinner, which I was impressed and it pleased me. I haven't had anyone make a succulent dinner for me for quite a while. We had sangria, and we talked the rest of the night and enjoying each other's company. It was quite cozy. The next morning I woke up next to him, looking into his green eyes. Running my fingers through his black soft hair. I did not want him to leave because I know that our lives would go back to normal and I wanted him to be in my life for sure. I couldn't let that happen because we are already married but we should've done this earlier than now. I hated myself for not letting me tell him how I wanted to be with him. From the bottom of my heart I wanted to but I could not because I could not hurt two people. I could not hurt my husband. He drove me home early the next morning because he had to go to work. He dropped me off and we were on my drive way. We were sitting there for awhile not saying anything. It felt as if this was the last time I was going to see him. He said that we should just leave, go somewhere else and never come back. But I said that that cannot happen because we both have kids. I mean all of our kids are grown up, would it really matter? I started crying and said, “I can't. I'm sorry.”
I walked into my house went into our room and laid in bed for hours until my husband came home in the afternoon. I remember laying in bed in my own familiar room. It was quiet . . . too quiet. I heard the garage door open and I immediately my stomach dropped. I thought of J.C. and if I should tell my husband or not. Thoughts running through my mind. But I kept thinking and I put my blankets over my head and started crying and wailing because my mind couldn't take it but ultimately my heart couldn't. I heard the knob turn and twist and he came into the room. Heard me cry, and immediately came over to me and said “ Are you OK!?” with great concern. I said “I'm sorry, I'm sorry.” for about a thousand times. He kept saying, “What is wrong, Please tell me.” He was right next to me on the bed, holding me and was not going to let me go unless I told him. I waited until I could speak, and I told him and how absolutely sorry about it. 6 months later I'm pregnant . . .
I am walking alone in the woods during the winter time. There is crisp white snow covering the ground and trees. Nothing has been ruined by human touch yet, everything is still pristine and smooth. The quietness of my surroundings makes me uneasy. I do not hear any sounds of birds in the trees or cars on the nearby highway, just the occasional soft rustle of leaves in the breeze. As I walk in solitude, I begin to reflect on the path that I have chosen for myself. I am alone. Once I was happy, but I can't quite remember exactly when or why my actions began to take a selfish turn. Thinking about how my actions have hurt the ones I love most and have, in turn, caused me pain. I stop and look at the snow on the ground once more. I bend down and examine the glittering powder. Naturally beautiful, it sits undisturbed by human interaction. Slowly, I scoop up a handful of the snow – my black gloves piercing the smooth flawlessness of the white mound. I think about how I am ruining something so simple and beautiful, yet I feel no remorse. Is this what I had done to my family? The ones I love most? A picture perfect life at home, ripped apart by my own selfishness and infidelity. I drop the handful of snow and it lands with a soft thud. A bird chirps. I continue my walk.
It's the first week back to school, but there seems to be a windchill this particular week. The wind is reminding us that fall is near, but it'll probably be warm the next week. This particular day I have gotten out of bed easier than most days so I spend a few extra minutes on my appearance. I usually try to look my best, but some days it just doesn't happen. I put on my jean jacket and mess with my hair so that it looks lived in, but not too grungy. I look at myself in the mirror and wonder who I'll see today. Every fiber of my being doesn't want to cross paths with him.
We broke up in July. It's september now and we haven't seen each other since May. We just have to coexist on this very tiny campus. We just have to move on and away from all our memories.
I mess with my hair a bit more and smile to myself because I know I'm beautiful and I'm okay. I grab my keys and head out. It's about 9:47a and I'm on my way to my first class. As I walk to class listening to my music, I glance towards the walkway which I will soon meet. In my line of sight is him. He's walking towards me and I know we're going to have to walk by each other. I collect myself to prep and strategize. Do I take the higher road and acknowledge him? Do I show him I still care? That's the real question. Do I avoid his eyes so that I don't have to relive what it's like to look in his brown eyes?
The time has come for us to “reconnect”. So what's it going to be? I keep my eyes up because I'm a proud woman and I am not going to avoid him. I'm looking up before the adequate time for us both to say something. I keep my eyes up and on him as he gets closer. He's not looking up. I feel the autumn wind as he passes me with his eyes down. Coward.
He Pretends Not to See Me
I saw a boy at the gym today. I don't go to the gym often and I like to say it is because I can never find time. We all know that isn't the whole truth because I could get up an hour earlier or skip that episode of Dexter. But anyway, I went to the gym today. As I got to the gym I placed my bag in a locker, in the ladies locker room, I found myself questioning taking my sweatshirt off, for I had on a tank top underneath that was a littler tighter than I was used to. I finally took it off, added it to my locker, and began my walk out of the locker room. As I opened the door I was almost ran over by a small group of men that had made their way passed me. I quickly recognized one of the men as a boy I used to know in high school named Mason.
Let me just say, I was not one of the “cool” kids in high school, I didn't go to all the parties or sit with the “cool” kids at lunch time. Mason, however, was one of those “cool” kids. He was captain of the baseball team and starting point guard of the basketball team. I know he knew who I was because we went to a small school with a graduating class of 2015, and he sat next to me in 7th period study hall our freshman year, and every year after that.
But anyway, he passed me and did not see me, I don't think. I decided to do a little light stretching before I started my workout on the treadmill. As I was running, well jogging we all know I was not in a full run, I kept catching Mason looking over at me. It became obvious that Mason had recognized me but he never smiled or waved when I would catch him looking. As my 30-minute run/jog was coming to an end I slowed down and hopped off the treadmill. As I got off I decided to go over to the free weights and lift for a little bit. As I began my walk I noticed Mason and his buddies walking right towards me as they left the free weight area. I smiled as they got closer and had begun to say “Hi, Mason” when his eyes left mine and went straight to the floor. He walked past me not even looking up for a second so his new college friends wouldn't know that he knew the short chubby girl with the ugly scrunchie and tight blue tank top.
It is a cold winter night over winter break, my senior year of high school. My friends come over because we have one more night of break left. We play a lot of video games and bored games because it is too chilly outside. As the night continues we began to notice that the snow fall was increasingly falling a faster rate. The news came on the TV and announced that there is going to be a blizzard tonight and lead into the next couple of days. They warned people to not go outside because the temperature was so low it hurt. We all go outside to play in the snow but my lips become more and more chapped and begin to bleed. Next I go inside to take care of my chapped lips. My mother told me I should not go back outside and play in the snow. The snow is my favorite I fixed my lips for the time being and venture on outside. We all played games in the snow and built forts, snowman, and snow angels that night. A snowball fight broke out after each team built their forts. My team built an igloo type fort so it was very hard to hit our team. This was such a special time because we were all snowed in together but it didn't bother us. We took it well and had fun with the week of being snowed in during the blizzard.
I watch the sun shine through the narrow window. The shape reminds me of you. Again, I'm reminded of the letter weighing down on me, burning a hole in my pocket. I'd put it in my trinket box if I could, but I don't want him to find it. This is the only safe place left in the whole house.
Suddenly, a wave of dread washes over me, and I feel as if someone is watching me. I tip toe over to the door and look through the peep hole; no one is there. That doesn't calm me, because I can't even be sure that my thoughts are safe. Before I know it, my heart is pounding and my hands are shaking. I'm seeing white stars. I need to sit down.
I steady myself and sit on the flat cushion on the light wood floor. Looking around once more, I pull the letter out from my pocket. His small, slanted writing stands out on the snowflake paper. The words still make me blush. I long for the day that I can truly be his. For now, I must endure.
I feel insatiably pulled by the moonlight reflecting off of the man's neck. He watches my breath quiver in the shadows, and I am unwillingly reserved to the corner of the room. I feel safe and dangerous in this brown wooden shed, and I quiver as I meet his eyes—blue silver stares silently at me in his pupils, and I am offered a newness and vulnerability I have not ever engaged in. I inhale deeply, sustaining eye contact with him. . . and I see a moth vibrating. What am I doing here? What am I doing to myself? Flick, flick, flick—the silence between us is completely open, and the lapping of the moth's wings taunts us. The man's eyes linger on my lips for a sugary second longer, and my heart gasps. Exposed in this moment of sensual surprise, I follow his eyes to the wings of the candle flame by the door. A coronation occurs in this bowl of wax—heat is dancing in dresses of orange and white, and a fiery king is being celebrated. The moth bobs and dips towards the festival, in complete awe of the candle's life light, and my shoulders relax. I watch the man watch the moth. His eyebrows furrow deeply and he leans forward subtly as the moth squeezes the space between his wings and the flame's wings—I sense how easily these seconds compress, lost in the danger the moth finds itself in. The man takes a step towards me, and I am deflated. I trace the lines of his neck with my mind, keeping my gaze in his. He stops and hesitates, and I cannot help but smile. I ground myself, nod to the moth, and run towards his lips.
The Letter Y
When I was younger in high school I had an English project that related to the idea of virtue. To express the idea of virtue I used branches, flowers, and stems with horns. Each of these natural objects in my project had a deeper meaning. The branches were the backbone of a human, while the flowers were the honor and purity of humans. The stems with horns related to unethical actions by humans. I crossed the branches so that it looked like the letter Y. One stem of the Y had the flowers while the other had thorns. It's the actions that people make that take them to the thorns or to the flowers. It's as if humans have only two directions they can go such as to the right with horns or to the left with the flowers. The ultimate person to make the decision is us the backbone which is the branch. If you step off track you can lose yourself and make decisions, you aren't proud of leading you to the horns. In all this haiku reminded me of the project I had to do in high school.
Maybe Next Time
As I pass I look up at the autumn trees blowing in the wind. She passes me and I see her smile curve in the downward position. I know I missed my chance to talk with her. Every day I pass over the same bridge to get to work and every time I see her. I get butterflies in my stomach the moment I see her and when I glance for the few seconds I think she isn't looking at me. I do a play by play in my head on what our conversations would be like, but I never put them to action. What if she ignores me? What if she doesn't even respond? All these thoughts bounce through my brain. By the time we are close I chicken out and end up locking at my phone or distracting myself with the nature around me. I am not a socially awkward person, but there is something about being rejected that makes me not able to talk or even look at this girl. I know that one day I will gather the courage to smile back. I just don't know when that day will be. Maybe next time.
Ears of the Beast
Cassandra woke up along the bank of a stream naked and covered in muddy debris. The leaves and twigs in her hair were nothing unusual, but the mud that covered her body and seemed to pull her closer to the ground was a little surprising. Even more surprising were the fat, camouflage covered men surrounding her. She felt one of them nudge her foot and start to say something, but before he could finish she struck his kneecap with her heel. His howl of pain as he stumbled down into the stream was met with the other man's roar of anger as he dove for Cassandra. She was dirty, wet, and really pissed off. She wanted nothing more than to tear into the men who had been leering at her, leave them looking like an industrial size paper shredder had gotten hold of them, but she knew better. So she ran.
"Where were you?! You were supposed to be back an hour ago, you had Vicky worried sick and we had to stay behind just to make sure you were alive and-"
Sam's words died on his tongue when Cassandra flashed him a glare that made even Wesley shudder a bit. “Shut up. I am not in the fucking mood.”
The trip back to the pack house was tense to say the least. Sam sat in the back, irritated that Cassandra refused to explain what had happened and Cassandra sat on a towel in Wesley's car with her legs crossed and her arms covering her chest protectively. Cass wasn't normally so modest, which got a few ideas running through Wesley's head as to what may have happened in the woods that morning.
"What." Cassandra would have spit daggers then if it was possible.
Cassandra glanced over at Wesley and attempted to calm herself down a bit. “Yes, Wesley, I'm fine. I just loathe having to keep myself from murdering people that have every right to be murdered.”
"We cud ‘av dem taken care av if yer want," Wesley said with a grin cast in her direction.
"No, if anyone was going to kill them it was going to be me. I'm just glad I woke up before they did something they regretted."
Sam's voice suddenly piped up from the back, deadpan and menacing. “They already did. They messed with you. That's as good a reason as any to kill them.”
"Shut up Sam. And neither of you mention this to Seb or I'll use your heads to decorate my fireplace."
"Yes Ma'am," Wesley chuckled, shaking his head slightly at the glare Sam threw to his cousin.
I am the boat and life is the ocean. Sometimes, life throws a lot at us and the ocean swells and tries to pull us under. But as with the ocean and its waves, they pass and reside. Much like that, life doesn't throw anything at us that we can't handle or get through. It may take help, but there's always a wave. The ocean is a great symbolic image for life for the ups and downs we incur. Personally, one of these waves were my back injuries, specifically my second surgery. I had my first injury and surgery performed freshman year of college and missed most of the football season. I did rehab for three months and was unable to workout or do much of anything during that time. Then, I was able to start my comeback. My motto for all of this was “a minor setback for a major comeback.” I am an extremely motivated individual, and I was particularly very on fire to return to the field and be success. I was able to start lifting and running over that Christmas break and got after it. Through much perseverance, I was able to return to the field and get playing time as a redshirt freshman. I went through the season and worked even harder the next offseason. So hard, in fact, that I became the third strongest player on the team, as a sophomore. This caught the eye of many. I went from not being able to lift ten pounds directly after my surgery to being one of the strongest kids on the team. Then came the wave. The Tuesday after Easter break, two days after my birthday, I reinjured my back. Ironically, this was April 5th, fitting the haiku perfectly. I had my surgery performed the last day of April. That's when the swell of the wave came crashing down, hard. It was explained to me that I would never be able to play football again. A sport that I was so passionate about and had been a major part of my life for twelve years was suddenly ripped away. It felt like my boat was sinking, fast. Part of my identity was being a collegiate football player, and I did not know how to adjust. That summer was very sobering and very hard for me. Thankfully, through my family and friends, I was able to find my self-worth and fill the gaping hole in my life. The wave had passed.
CHANEL No. 5
CHANEL No. 5 in her purse, she struts into her new life. Mandy is at a brand new school and she can hardly contain herself! Finally she can remake a name for herself, fingers crossed a popular one. She was so done being a nobody. Snow flurries smack her in the face as she rushes off the bus. “Ugh this better not have messed up my brand new Loreal Lasting Lashes!” she thinks to herself.
She sees Mia opening the door to the beautiful school. Mia, her cousin, is the only girl that Mandy knows here. Living with her aunt has been different but not at all hard to manage. I mean she's carrying a Prada bag, how bad could this be? Mandy isn't from this life but she doesn't think it will be hard to fit in.
“Mia!”, she calls.
“OMG Mandy! There you are! SO GLAD I AM GOING TO SCHOOL WITH THE BEST COUSIN EVER!”
“Haha, well I mean I'm pretty excited but honestly I am so nervous! So many new people!”
“It may be a bit of a journey, but I am sure you'll make it along just fine! Well, who am I kidding? If you have your CHANEL No. 5, you can survive anything!”
“Got it right here, darling!”
The girls laughed so hard that their abs hurt as they pushed the doors open together, excited to tackle their new life together!
© 2017, Randy Brooks Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.