Reality – 93

It was something akin to a routine, really.

She’d go to bed, she’d have trouble sleeping, she’d sigh and go to the living room so she wouldn’t disturb Lee’s sleep.

The city slept as she stared blankly out the window, hoping for sleep to come and feeling cold, quiet hours crept by. It never did, and her body always felt sore from exhaustion.

But then during a night – much like any other night – she noticed something across the street: the alarm clock read 3:41 a.m. and there was a man sitting among piles and more piles of newspaper. Fresh, plastic-wrapped newspaper ready to be delivered.

The man sitting across his motorcycle under the feeble streetlight had a newspaper in his hand and read it carefully slow. She just watched him as he licked his fingertips before turning a page; she observed as he sometimes looked around, sometimes stiffled a yawn, sometimes nodded sleepily.

At 4:03 a.m. a car came and a man stepped out to greet the other. The two talked a little, their voices echoing a little in the silent, humid street. The first man turned his bike on, climbed, and went away. The second man opened his shop’s door and struggled a little to take all the newspaper inside.

She felt sleepy all of a sudden and went back to the room.

The next day she crossed the street. She had never noticed the little cafe before, and how cozy and warm it was inside, and how the friendly barista – unlike her – had no shadows under his eyes.

She bought a newspaper and took it home to read it later, but never did.

But then it became something akin to a routine, her insomnia. She’d only be able to sleep after the newspaper delivery man had ridden away on his bike. She’d visit the cafe and greet the barista and buy a copy of the newspaper and toss it somewhere around the house where Lee would find it later. A day or a week later, but he’d always find it.

It was something akin to a routine, really, in all its simplicity.

Reality 93. Simplicity





Lee é um artista, mas consegue ser tão sonhador quanto pé-no-chão.

Não é rico, mas tem coragem e determinação de sobra. Nem sempre é honesto – consigo mesmo ou com outros – mas se entrega com facilidade… mesmo que na situação errada ou pra alguém que não merece.

Reality – 15

“You know what? Fuck it! Fuck-it-all! Fuck! It!”

He slammed the door closed as he threw his heavy coat on a hanger. She was startled and almost spilled her coffee – which never seemed to be more than vaguely warm when the weather outside was this cold.

He never cursed – well, not as much as she did anyway. She was the one who would swear her lungs out and feel her face redden and her pulse quicken until the moment he’d come and hug her or laugh at her or stare at her or whatever he did that was more effective than a tranquilizing dart.

She pushed him into bed and took off his snow boots as he mumbled uninteligible words that she knew to be not polite at all. Then she crawled to his side and put his head on her lap.

His breath evened as she played with his hair and nodded in agreement with every string of curses he let out. There, there. She supposed she could return all the good he did her and spoil him a little bit… even if her coffee was now completely cold.

Reality 15: Seeking Solace

Reality – 67

They were just so so sooo filthy. Filthy women with filthy bodies and filthy minds. Their lives were fetid and their hearts were dead. Unworthy, sad, pitiful. So terribly pitiful.

It had to be that way, it just couldn’t be possible for these women to be normal.

As a bartender, Anne saw a lot. Too much, maybe. Yeah, definitely too much for her own good.

Good women came with men. They were happy, most of them. Genuinelyhappy, too, and they hugged and kissed their respective soul mates. Even those that weren’t wearing a real diamond, or a diamond at all. They were in love.

And then the men came back. With male friends. And sometimes the male friends brought female friends… which also happened to be friends with the good women.

That made her want to puke on those pretty and short and overly sexy little dresses. They weren’t even sluts, they didn’t get any money. They only got the satisfaction from knowing that they were better.

Better than the good wives who were at home while the men were out with these monsters. Better than the good girlfriends who had no problem with their boyfriends hanging out with their peers. Better than the women who trusted and loved and wanted everyone to be happy because life was good and the world was good and people were good and they were in love.

Better because they sucked so much at life that they just had to destroy something to make themselves look less pitiful.

Anne hated the women who waited at the bar, who lurked in the shadows. She hated the women who looked for the men who were unsteady on their own feet and in their own minds. She hated those cowardly predators and those dumb prey.

She hated it even more when the men returned with the good women. And the good women recognized the filthy women and said hello and how are you and how is billy and it’s been so long since I last saw you girl and sit with us, let’s drink.

The men were embarrassed. Why had they done it in the first place?

 The filthy women were proud. The poor little girls were so clueless.

The good women just didn’t seem to understand why the air suddenly felt so heavy. Was it something they had said?

The bartender just sighed and decided that this bar, too, wasn’t for her. Anne stopped wiping the glass cup and let it fall to the ground with a loud crash. People were startled. She glared at them all.

“Have you no boundaries?” she growled. “No shame? No decency? Are you even human?”

Time to look for another job.

Reality 67: Boundaries

Reality – 56

She shivered not because of his caresses, but because she felt the cold air on her shirtless torso. She felt his breath, his teeth, his fingertips running down her spine as if she were sacred: a masterpiece to be admired and touched gently. She was no painting, however, and her heart was torn apart. She wanted her body to be ripped to shreds as well.

Anne inhaled his scent. It wasn’t his. The skin, the eyes, the hair… nothing was his. That wouldn’t do.

“Lee, please stop,” she breathed, her eyes blurred.

He did. He wouldn’t. He hadn’t stopped, ever.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“I can’t, not today” she said. “Do you smoke?”

“Occasionally, yeah” a confused look on his face “Why?”

Anne put her clothes on. “Bring your cigarettes tomorrow” she whispered, and left.

“Anything for you, princess” he grinned.

She met him the next day and brought him a gift. A perfume he usually wore, but he didn’t need to know that. He was smoking a cigarette and she couldn’t help but think his mouth curved around it just like his. She laughed – who would have thought she would have thought such things about “cancer sticks” – and he smiled back. Poor fellow probably imagined she had laughed because she was happy to see him.

Dusk made the room darker and he looked just like him in the dark. She smelled his perfume. There was smoke in his breath, he breathed just like him. She let herself go. She let him in.

His touches left hot trails on her skin because they were his now. She felt him in her heart and in her body. His name was in her mind, but never left her lips: it was a well-kept secret she would never tell. She screamed.

Her eyes were closed. His scent mixed with hers like it had before, his heat felt like a torrent to her core.

Anne thought she should feel dirty. She should feel bad, guilty, cruel; but she didn’t. Right now, with him, she felt in Paradise.

Reality 56: Anything for you

Reality – 51

Her legs felt weak all of a sudden and she felt bile rise in her throat. But no, she wouldn’t cry. She never cried. She couldn’t cry and DAMN IT she had a job interview in fifteen minutes.

She was strong, Anne said to herself. She was better than that.

Only she wasn’t.

She was weak and unworthy and stupid – oh so stupid – and completely worthless. How could she have believed all that bullshit? But deep inside she knew why.

She had believed it all because she had wanted to. She had wanted to feel, she had wanted to pretend that she was special and needed and loved.

Only she wasn’t.

As she watched their lips come together
he had never been so loving with her
and their hands clasp together
had they ever held hands like that?
and the woman’s diamond sparkle
no, oh God no
she felt her vision blur.

She wasn’t any better than the ones she had hated for so long.
Actually, she was now one of them.

Her knees gave out and she scraped them as she fell.

One of the others.

She felt warmth run down her cheeks.

One of the unloved.

Was it raining now?


She would be late for the interview.
She needed to get there, quick.


She needed to get away. To breathe. To wake up.

Reality 51: Troubling Thoughts

Reality – 34

He sketched and she just sat by the window. She sipped on lukewarm coffee, her head turned to the rainy world outside but not really seeing any of it.

He never wore the perfume she’d given him, she mused. Not after their first night together. She had actually never seen it anywhere in his tiny studio in all the times she had come over, she had to wonder if he somehow knew the reason behind the gift. What a waste, it had cost more than she could normally afford.

He didn’t smoke often, either. In fact, she only saw him smoking after he received calls from a person she didn’t know. He’d listen to the call and give monosyllabic answers to the mysterious person and then go to the balcony and smoke while staring up at the midnight sky.

She didn’t ask. He didn’t tell. He always smiled at her when he came back inside and she always told him to close the glass door because cold wind was blowing in. He always did as she asked.

He didn’t smell like cigarettes. He didn’t smell like cologne or sex or anything that could be easily identified. It was a scent that reminded her of stale air and mothballs, and she hated it.

He smelled like returning from a long trip; like clothes that had been forgotten in the back of a closet for a while. He smelled like “whoa, I’ve been away all this time and now I’m finally in my dusty, cozy, semi-abandoned home” and “I can’t believe I still have this shirt, I remember I loved it so much and I wonder if it’ll fit after I wash it”.

She hated it because it was familiar and distant; because it was pleasant to think of a home. She hated it because he didn’t smell like smoke and she couldn’t see anything but achromatic shades.

Gray clouds looming above the sad, dark city. Silver droplets on the glass. Wet concrete. A memory of a laugh in another cold, monochrome, and much happier day; of a touch in the colorless hours of dawn; and yet another of that whispered name that hadn’t been hers.

She tried to get up – her coffee was cold now and she couldn’t breathe – but his voice stopped her.

“Don’t move,” he said “You’re my muse”.

She didn’t say anything, but she hoped his graphite-covered hands could make her grayness look better on untainted white paper than it did in real life.

Reality 34 – Shades of Grey

Blood Red Candy – 13

She was rarely seen but her feats were legendary. She was always described as the wind, either as a breeze or a typhoon, and fleet of foot.
Never touched. Never caught. Never stopping.

That was her, and that was her when she was first seen by him.

His swords hadn’t succeeded to even graze her skin. His arrows landed on distant trees. His anger at his own failure had earned him a small smile from her lips.

That morning was pale and the temperature felt uncomfortable. The trees were dark and almost bare: all the colors of fall had fallen to the ground.

Those same fallen colors of that same dull season had come together to create the color of her hair, and he swore he’d never hate October again. The gray sky reflected in her eyes, and he knew he’d love cloudy days from then on.

He couldn’t hear her footsteps as she walked away on the natural carpet of dead and dry leaves.

His blade lay abandoned on the forest floor, his hands awkwardly empty. A droplet of blood ran down his neck from where her unseen weapon had touched him, forcing the attacks to cease if he wanted to live.

And now he wished he hadn’t stopped. He wished he’d died then, that he had never seen her and watched her move and looked into those eyes full of life and stared at those lips curved into a disdainful smile.

He was doomed.

She really was everything he’d heard about her: a hurricane of red and metal; a gentle zephyr that teased his senses and then slipped through his longing fingers.

Wind had stolen all the air from his lungs.

Blood Red Candy 13: Seeing Red

Reality – 09

It was a white and cold day. Johnny breathed against the window and drew suns and trees and flowers with his index finger. Mr. Collins’s daughter was babysitting him because his grandmother said she’d be right back.

“Where is granny?” Johnny asked the girl. She said she didn’t know without looking away from the TV.

Johnny frowned, his narrow eyes narrowed before he went back to drawing on the foggy glass. He’d draw a car now! A car with his parents and his granny and himself in it. No Collins girl. His fingertips were cold.

The babysitter told him to leave the window alone because it was cold and he’d catch a cold and she was supposed to take care of him. He said no, thank you. She told him to at least put a coat on and he said no again but she still forced him into an old, green sweater.

He hated that sweater, it was itchy!

She said he could take it off if he sat quietly by her side on the couch and watch TV and be a good boy.

Johnny ignored her and kept drawing. Mr. Collin’s daughter sighed and made a mess out of his short blond hair.

“Leave me alone, you ugly!” he complained. She laughed.

He didn’t like her because she was always messing with his hair.

She went back to the big, black couch and offered him hot chocolate if he was hungry.

“You parents should be home already” she said to herself after checking the old wall clock. “Maybe the snow is keeping them?”

Johnny didn’t know and so he kept drawing until he saw his grandmother walking outside towards the door. She was small and had so many coats on that she looked like a big blue cushion walking hurriedly on the snow. Johnny found it funny.

His grandma came inside and he hugged her.

The Collins girl gave him a peck on the cheek. He wiped the spot with the back of his small hand and then she laughed and left.

Johnny looked up at his grandmother and wondered why she looked so sad and old all of a sudden.

She picked him up. He asked about his parents and then he noticed her face was all teary.

“Don’t cry, granny!” Johnny said, hugging her around the neck.

“Johnny… do you know what it means to say somebody died?”

The little boy stared.

He and his mom had come across a small bird once. It hadn’t moved when Johnny poked him. His mom had told him that the bird was dead and that dead birds flew up and up to Heaven. What about dead people, he had asked. Why, people fly up to Heaven too, his mom had answered.

Johnny knew that dying meant you flew so high that you got very tired and didn’t wake up anymore.

He nodded.

“Oh no, Ashley’s payment!” the old woman sobbed and then she put Johnny on the ground.

She ran after the Collins girl. The Collins lived across the street.

Johnny stood under the doorway following his grandma with his eyes. She slipped and fell and stayed there without moving.

“Granny?” he called out.

He put on his boots and his winter coat and walked over to the old woman.

The Collins girl ran to them and kneeled by the woman’s side.

“Oh, my God! She’s dead!” she screamed.

Johnny rolled his eyes. Of course his granny wasn’t dead! He had watched it all and his grandma hadn’t flown, how could she be dead?

He walked back inside and breathed over the window again. What’d he draw this time? He hoped his granny would wake up soon and make him some of the really good chocolate she always made him. His babysitter’s hot chocolate wasn’t good at all…

Reality 09 – Death