Silent Tears

I bring it up while we talk of RAM.

It’s a light conversation.

I should be able to say it without a lump in my throat.

I’m really nervous about going under.

As the words come out, the lump rises.

Hun, it’s probably not even that bad.

He continues to work.

I know, just a small incision here, but the memories…

I trail off because the tears have come.

He sits next to me and listens.

Through my silent tears, I tell him my fears.

Through my silent tears, he reassures me.

I’m scared, I tell him on hitched breath.

You’ll be fine, he tells me softly.

I know I’ll be fine, but the past haunts me still.

I’ll be right there with you, to hold your hand.

I need you there to hold my hand.

A gentle hand wipes another fallen tear.

You’ll have me there and it will all be over quickly.

He holds me close and kisses my forehead.

A jest is made and a smile breaks through the tears.

He is my love.

He is my rock.

He takes silent tears and turns them into laughter.

He is everything I need in this world.

The silent tears are gone.

A smile and security replace them.

The Hesitation Before Clicking Submit

I submitted yet another short story to Chicken Soup for the Soul. This one was for their potential Positively Happy! book. Even though I think it’s a good story and my husband (who is mercilessly honest with me – so no worry of bias) agreed (after I made a few changes), I still hesitated before clicking submit. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s that I’m afraid I won’t be published and it will be confirmation that my writing is complete crap. Maybe it’s also the weight of knowing, if this story does get published, it will be confirmation that this is what I’m meant for and this is what I should be doing.

I don’t think I included the link in my last submission post and it may be dumb to give even more people the chance to beat me out with their amazing writing, but if you’re interested, I’ve included a link below that will take you to Chicken Soup for the Soul’s submission information.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Topics and Requirements

Good luck! And if you do submit or even get published, make sure to stop back and comment to let me know. We’re all in this together, right? Writer’s Unite! 🙂

Another Milestone

As small as the milestone may seem, I always like to take a moment to post about it.

Thank you! From the bottom of my heart, thank you! There are some days when I feel my writing is complete trash. On days like that, I try to remind myself that I have 142 followers (this number has increased greatly from the start of the year) and that is a sign that I must be doing something right.

Since I’ve been posting regularly at the beginning of 2017, I’ve gained 44 new followers. It took me almost 5 years to reach the 100 mark and now that I’ve taken it more seriously, it would seem other bloggers are taking me more seriously as well.

Your support means a lot to me. There are a few bloggers who I’ve noticed repeatedly stop by to view and like my posts. So I’m going to give them a shout out because I do pay attention to that kind of stuff.

The first is normabobb. This blog is a treasure! The posts are short so if you are looking for some quick inspiration, this is the spot for you. Normabobb – Thank you so much for your continued support. Your name is one that has consistently popped up in my likes.

Simoneteffect is another blog if you aren’t looking for a long story. The images are captivating. They follow the author’s journeys and tell a long-term story. Thank you Simoneteffect for following and liking my posts!

Jonathan Caswell is very involved in the blogging community. His blog By the Mighty Mumford contains many reblogs and also real, honest posts of his own life and experiences. Thank you for the reblog Jonathan and for always capturing my attention with your posts!

Darkness76 – If I remember correctly, you’ve been liking my posts for quite some time now and it means a lot to me. Darkness76 is a deep, interesting blog. The writing style is honest and beautiful. If you get a chance, definitely check it out!

My next shout out goes to Cristian Mihai. Not only does Cristian support other bloggers, he manages his own blog as well as publishing books. If you get a chance, check out his book 2:22 AM. Thank you Cristian for your continued support!

Maitreyi Mittal is another regular supporter of my posts. First of all – Thank you for your support! As I’m showing in this post, it really does mean a lot to me. I think the first line of her welcome page really captures the essence of her blog. It states that her blog captures “snippets from her life in poetry, prose, photography and the like”. If you get a chance, make sure to check out yet another great blog.

To everyone else that I may have missed – thank you so much for your support. I write my posts mainly for me, but to know someone out there is enjoying them helps it mean more.

What Is My Blog?

I’ve been reading a lot of articles and advice on wiring lately. Well not a lot…a ton. So much that I don’t do many of things I used to do (like browse Facebook or Pinterest every day). I’m investing my time and energy into my passion instead of investing it in what Gina ate for dinner or the latest memes rolling into Pinterest.

This researching and time investment has me questioning the existence of my blog. I obviously will not be closing it any time soon. Look at the name of it – An Attempt At Release. I NEED my blog in order to stay sane. I tend to bottle things up and then let them explode when the pressure gets too high. My blog helps keep those pressure levels lower.

I guess what I’ve really been questioning is the structure of my blog. I’ve been reading a lot of different people saying the same things:

  1. Post on a regular schedule (your readers should know when to expect your next post).
  2. Keep your posts on topic (or in other words, create a theme and stick to it).
  3. Choose a writing style that works and stick to it.
  4. Make sure there is a contact section (people need to know how to get ahold of you).

I don’t think I’ve ever adhered to number 1. I work at least 40 hours a week and am going to school full-time so some days I’m just too burnt out to write. I post mostly in the morning, but sometimes I post late at night (like tonight). I was doing really good with posting almost every day until school got into the more intense courses and I started researching the world of serious writers. It’s true I don’t have a ton of readers, but doesn’t the slight unpredictability of my blog make it more honest because it fits into my lifestyle? Or should I try even harder to stick to a schedule because that’s what people are saying should be done?

My posts are EVERYWHERE! Topic? What’s that? In the last month I’ve written about a somewhat demonic soul sucker (Daemon), my real-life story submission (My First Submission), the love between two friends (To Meet Again), and a poem type post about researching my craft (Into the Deep). I’ve even done posts about cooking (Broccoli, Chicken, & Rice). I like the freedom my blog offers me. It’s my blog. It’s my release from the world. Should I try and stick to a stricter guide for my new posts just because that’s the advice I’m hearing?

As for writing style… Again, when I have ever stuck to one writing style? I traverse between my experiences through poetry (Pain of Betrayal), a story about a grieving woman (Cracked & Faded), a book review (Orange is the New Black – A Review) and on to the ramblings of my mind (Help Me). I don’t know what works best. I don’t know what people like more. I like to do them all and so that’s what I do. Should I compromise just to try and follow the “rules” that worked for someone else?

I can’t argue with number 4. That is probably something I should provide. Maybe that will be my next project. I call it a project because I honestly don’t know how hard or how easy it is to create a contact form on my blog.

If nothing else, my blog is honest. This is me. All the crazy sides. All the ramblings. This is what you get. Me.

Am I stupid for not at least trying out the advice? Probably. But we’ll see where my own style takes me.

Daemon

The first time I saw him, I thought it was a trick of my eyes. Sleepiness wedging into my mind, a dream forming as I walked to my bed. Now he’s become my normal. He’s the face in my window at night. I don’t know who he is or why he’s here. 

That first night I saw him, I blinked and he was gone. Like I said, a trick of my eyes, a dream half begun. I had been walking to my bed and the window was in front of me. His face had been barely visible so it was easy to dismiss. 

The next night I saw him in my bathroom window. I was taking my contacts out and saw him in the reflection of the mirror. I looked to the window and he was gone. I looked back at the mirror and again dismissed what I had seen. He just wasn’t there.

Maybe I should explain that I have vivid dreams. When my parents were still alive, I would sit down with them and go over a childhood memories that didn’t quite add up. They would confirm that it was or wasn’t my waking life. Now I have a better handle on what my dreams are and what they are not. Yet some mornings I still have to remind myself that I had only dreamt something.

The third time I saw the man in my window, he stayed longer. I, again, was walking to my bed and saw his face. I blinked and rubbed my eyes. When I opened them, he was still there. I froze. Although he is now familiar to me I couldn’t quite tell you how he looks. 

He’s tall, I know this because my windows are high off the ground. He has dark hair, brown or black, I’m not sure. His eyes are deep behind the shadow of his brow so I have never had a good look at their color. What I see of them is the light reflecting off the whites. His skin seems to shift as well, never staying the same shade. Some nights he looks like a Nigerian prince, other nights I think he’s never seen the sun.

On a particularly bold night, I had rushed the window. I pushed it open and, although I couldn’t see him anymore, yelled to the wind.

“Who are you? What do you want?” After a week of seeing him every night, I called the cops. They walked around my house and yard with flashlights. They peered into my shed and into the corners of my garage. They found nothing out of the ordinary. I could see in their eyes they were irritated with me for bringing them out on a goose chase, but that’s not what it was to me.

I let it go and, although I continued to see him, I decided to look at him as a friend or guardian angel. He stuck around even longer after I made that shift in mindset. I would wave to him and wish him a good night. He would watch me brush my teeth or get into bed. Living alone has its perks, but having a witness to the weird things happening around you is not one of them.

I didn’t get freaked out by Daemon (that’s what I named him) until he showed up inside my room. I hadn’t seen him in the window that night. I laid down in bed, turned my table lamp off, and was about to pull my sleep mask down when I saw the moon light reflecting in his eyes as he stood in the closet at the foot of my bed.

“What are you doing inside Daemon?” I asked. I was shaking and more nervous than I had felt since first realizing he wasn’t a dream. He didn’t move and he didn’t speak. I moved as fast as I could to turn the lamp back on. I looked at the closet and he was gone. I slept with the light on that night.

I had named him Daemon because I had heard it on a movie. The name means “guardian spirit”. I thought it more appropriate than the usual “Fred” that everyone names an unknown entity. I had begun to view him as my guardian to curb my fear of him so why not name him something as meaningful?

The night after the closet episode, he was back outside the window. I thanked him for respecting my boundaries and went to sleep. The night after that he was in my closet again. I turned the light on and I swear I saw the clothes move. Nothing material had ever seemed affected by his presence, but then again, I’d only ever seen him in the window.

I continued to sleep with the light on at night. Daemon must not have liked that because I started seeing him other places. I went out with a couple friends. We hit up the night clubs and were having a blast drinking ourselves into Oblivion. I saw him across the dance floor, in the shadowed corner next to the stage. His eyes were locked on me. I sobered up faster than I had the night a cop pulled me over for a busted headlight. She, thankfully, had not noticed how intoxicated I was. I convinced my friends to go to a different club.

Another night I was working late and saw him in my boss’s darkened office as I walked out of mine. I ignored him and kept walking. When I got home, he was outside my bedroom window.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked. No response. “Why are you here? What do you want?” I sighed and crawled into bed wishing for an answer. 

I didn’t have a single dream that night, an extreme oddity for me. I woke the next morning feeling uneasy. When I got to work, I stared at my computer screen as it booted and wondered what all this could mean. I did some research to see if others had experienced what I was experiencing. Not a word, not even on the paranormal websites.

I went home that night defeated. It had been a rough day of work and finding no evidence that I wasn’t alone depressed me deeply. I watched my normal shows as I nibbled on a sandwich. I jumped when I heard a loud thump in my room. As I passed through the kitchen, I grabbed a knife. When I peeked through my door, I didn’t see anything out of place. I searched through the room anyway. I looked under the bed, in the closet, in drawers, everything was as it should be.

With a chill running down my spine, I decided to go to bed early; while the sun was still up. As I suspected, I did not see Daemon before falling asleep. I woke in the middle of the night with my sleep mask off and the table lamp turned off. I recounted my steps. I had definitely left the light on and I had definitely put my mask on because the sun had been too bright.

I reached to turn on the table lamp. I twisted the switch and it clicked but nothing happened. The hairs on the back of my neck stood in alarm. Goose bumps covered my arms and legs. I tried again to switch the lamp on; nothing. I grabbed my phone from the night stand and found it dead and unplugged. My heart raced and so did my mind. I laid back down and closed my eyes tight.

“If I don’t see him, he’s not real. If I don’t see him he’s not real.” I chanted this over and over in my head. He was a figment of my imagination, a dream. He couldn’t hurt me. I was dreaming. What do they say about dying in your dreams?
I heard him for the first time. Slow, steady, angry breaths. Each breath sounded like a subtle growl. I clenched my eyes tighter and felt my body stiffen. He was close. I could feel his breath on my face. 

My guardian angel was turning into something much more terrifying. I didn’t dare open my eyes. My arms were tight against my sides and my feet lay board straight. After a few moments, I summoned my courage.

“What do you want?” I whispered to him with my eyes still closed. There was no response. I asked the question again, with more confidence. There had to be a reason, right? He grew quiet and I could no longer hear his breathing. I opened my eyes and tried to scream but no sound came out.

His face was inches from mine. He was on top of me. I hadn’t even felt his weight, hadn’t heard my bed creak. His features were shifting over and over.

“Help.” My voice cracked and the sound that came out was more grunt than word. He brushed a finger across my lip and when I tried to speak again, no sound came forth. He touched each of my ears and everything grew too quiet. I was screaming, but I felt no vibration in my throat, heard no noise as I wiggled and struggled to get out from under him.

His hand was reaching for my eyes. I shook my head back and forth. He could take my voice, take my hearing, but not my eyes. Please God not my eyes! I felt a cool finger against my temple and my world went black.

My First Submission

Well there it is. Confirmation of my first ever submission.

I submitted a short story about venturing outside my comfort zone and into public speaking. I hate public speaking! In the moments leading up to my presentation, I feel nauseated and light-headed. Chicken Soup for the Soul will potentially publish a book about going outside your comfort zone and so this was the perfect opportunity to dip my toes into the world of official paid publishing. 

I have very little hope my story will actually be picked, but it’s a small step toward the future. Either way, I have decided to look at rejections as a victory because I am trying and a rejection slip shows that at least someone outside my immediate family has read my work. 

I think I will celebrate today in some manner. I’ve never submitted my work anywhere but here so I feel I should celebrate this accomplishment. Maybe I’ll go out to a nice dinner with my husband. Maybe I’ll just chug the last of what liquor I have in my cabinet. Not sure yet what form my celebration will take. Any suggestions?

To Meet Again

Hector couldn’t believe his eyes. He rubbed them with the ball of his hands and then shielded them from the sun. She was sitting on a bench reading a book and picking pieces of food out of a bag next to her. Occasionally she’d take a sip of her drink. She didn’t look up from her book. He watched her for another moment to make certain he was correct. It had to be her. He started to cross the street, but then hesitated. The wind blew a loose strand of hair across her face and she​ pushed it back in place. She had done it so delicately that it made him pause. She used to just thrust her hand across her face and push the hair somewhere behind her, not really paying attention to it’s placement.

Melina felt so comfortable that she released a sigh. After five years of soul searching and college, she was finally going back home. She was taking her time though. The journey back home was going to be one of peace mixed with adventure. She had a few sights on the list that she was determined to see and planned to do so on her way back. After Hector had left she had been depressed for a few weeks, but then his first letter had arrived. When the letters stopped she had moped around the house and, after a few weeks of binge eating, she had decided to spend her senior year happy. She started going to parties and having friends over. It had been a great year. When she moved East to go to college, she found it easy to make new friends.

A man sat on her right. She didn’t look up. Instead she slid over a touch to make room for him and crossed her legs, leaning to her left.

“Is it a good book?” Inwardly she grunted. Of course he would try to make conversation, because that’s exactly what you do when you see someone engrossed in a book.

“Yes.” She replied.

“What’s it about?” Melina set the open book on her knee and looked over at the man.

Sadness chewed at Hector’s heart when there was no recognition in her gray eyes.

“Look, I’m sure you’re a nice person, but I like to read my books in peace.” Hector stood and looked down at the confident woman he barely recognized.

“I guess I’ll leave you to it.” He turned his back toward her. “I hope you enjoy it Lina.” He took a step down the sidewalk.

“What did you say?” He turned around to find the book was closed and her legs were uncrossed.

“I said that I hope you enjoy it.” Her eyes glistened and a smile started to spread across her face before she bit her lip. She jumped to her feet and, without any words, hugged him. He hugged her too. Savoring the way her head cradled against his chest. She moved back but kept her arms around him.

“I can’t believe it’s really you!” Melina felt beside herself. He was here in the flesh. She touched his cheek to make sure his skin felt real and that she wasn’t dreaming. After a moment she pulled her hand back, embarrassed. In the moment he had turned to face her, she had become a 16 year old again. A whiny little girl who was at his beckon call. But that’s not who she was anymore. She was strong now, confident and sure. He wouldn’t take over her thoughts like he had when she was young. She stepped back to put some physical distance between them that might help with mental distance.

“What are you doing out here?” She asked.

Hector felt his heart drop in his chest. She pulled away so abruptly that he had to remind himself to drop his arms. Something had changed in her eyes as well. At first they had been full of love and he could see how much she had missed him. Now they were cool and casual, as if she were speaking to someone she had hung out with for a summer but never really known.

“I was was stationed out here, but am heading back home to see my parents.” Hector shoved his hands in his pockets as Melina crossed her arms over her chest. At least that was still the same. “What about you? Why are you so far from home?” 

Melina sat down and he followed. She offered him a piece of fruit from her bag, but he declined.

“Came out here for school. I’m heading home too.”

“What did you study in school?” Melina picked at the fruit in her bag.

“Marketing and Communications.” Hector looked at her, puzzled.

“You hate being in front of people.” Melina shook her head.

“Not really. After taking my first communications class, I got over that. I realized it’s fun to share my ideas and I have some good ones.” She added chuckling.

“Why are you going home? Why not find a job out here?”

“Why all the questions?” Melina shot back.

“Just trying to catch up.” Hector said and grabbed the bag of fruit out of her hand. He fished around for an apple slice and pulled it out just before she snatched the bag back.

“If you really wanted to catch up, you would just ride with me.”

Melina was just as surprised by her statement as Hector was. As soon as the words were out of her mouth she looked over at him as her mind raced. Why would she say something like that? He might actually take her up on the offer. She had worked so hard at letting him go and it seemed a shame to jeopardize that growth by spending a thirty-six hour car ride with him. Then factor in food stops, bathroom breaks, and overnight stays at hotels. Would he even want to see the sights she had planned out? Would she even want to see them with him? She could spend well over a week alone with him. He seemed to be studying her.

“You know what. I think I will.”

“No.” Melina said too quickly. She immediately regretted it when he looked away and scratched the back of his neck.

“I was only joking Lina. I didn’t know I repulsed you so much.” Melina shook her head to break out of the shock.

“It’s not that. I mean, you don’t repulse me. I just.” She couldn’t seem to formulate the words to express how she felt. “It’s just been so long. Don’t you think it’ll be awkward.”

“Yeah. It will be.” Hector said before standing. “I’ll probably see you around home then.” He started to walk away and Melina realized how much she had hurt him. Even if they hadn’t seen each other in years, even if she had changed so much, he was still the same sixteen year old boy letting her win races to the lake.

“Hector wait.”

The two sweetest words Hector had heard in years. It had hurt to hear her reject him so quickly. He hadn’t realized how little room she had in her heart for him.

“Let’s do it.” Lina was saying as he turned around. “I’m being ridiculous. It hasn’t been too long. And even if it has been, we will have all that much more to talk about.” Hector’s mischievous smile fell into place.

“I’ll make you regret saying that.” Her shoulders dropped and, for the first time in seven years he saw the smile he had been missing.

“I already am.”

A Conflict

“I’m just saying that it’s pointless.” Ariana stood with her hands on her hips, staring at her sweating husband.

“How is it pointless?” He said, a drop of annoyance making its way into his voice.

“Because if you’re going to eventually put that one in the bedroom and the unit from the shed into the living room, why would you put that in the living room now?”

“Because you’re hot now?”

“I’m fine. I can deal with it for now.” It was a stupid argument. It was small and dumb, but they were having it just the same. The placement of an air conditioner shouldn’t cause a debate that lasts longer than debate club meetings, but here they were. Jamar rolled his eyes and this irritated Ariana even more.

“You don’t have to roll your eyes at me. All I’m saying is you don’t have to do it on my account.”

“But you’re hot.” He emphasized the last word, as if saying it again with more gusto would change her mind.

“I am tired. We’ve been doing stuff all day and I just want to go sit down, chill, and eat my sandwich.” It had been sitting on a tray in the living room for over ten minutes now and she just wanted to take at least one bite.

“So go eat your sandwich. No one’s stopping you.” Ariana throw her hands up and turned back toward the living room.

“Fine. Set that one up in the living room. Don’t set it up. I don’t care.”

“I’ll set up the one that’s in the shed.” Ariana turned back around.

“But didn’t we think that one was too loud?”

“No. That was the one we got originally and then sold. I don’t think the one in the shed has ever been in the living room.” Ariana squinted at Jamar.

“Are you sure? I think it was out there and we had to turn movies way up to hear over it.”

“No. I’m telling you. It was the first one.”

“I don’t care.” Ariana finally said. “Do whatever you want. I am just hot and want to go chill for a bit.”

“Yeah, you need to go chill.” Ariana turned at that and walked back out to the living room. Jamar looked at the portable air conditioning unit and decided to install it to make his wife feel better. He’d install the other one later.

“What are you doing?” Ariana asked when he brought the tubing vent for the portable unit into the living room.

“Setting this up for you.” He started to move things out of the way. Boxes were piled next to the couch that sat in front of the only window in the living room. 

“Stop. OK. Just stop.” Ariana said irritated. He turned to look at her.

“Why? You’re hot. I’m trying to fix that.”

“I just told you I’m fine.” Jamar rolled his eyes again. “Look. I know you like to do things for me and fix stuff, but sometimes you’re over-zealous. I said I’m hot, yes, but I didn’t say it so that you would fix it right now. Just wait until later and put the other one in since that’s the one that’ll stay here.”

“But you said it’s too loud.” This time Ariana rolled her eyes.

“I thought you said it wasn’t.” Jamar shrugged.

“But you think it is.” Jamar said. Ariana turned and stared at the TV.

“Do what you want, just don’t do it on my account. I don’t care which one you put in and when you put it in. I just want to be able to chill, eat dinner, and watch my show.”

A few minutes later, Jamar sat down beside Ariana. The hum of the portable air conditioner was steady behind them.

“Doesn’t that feel better.” He said moving his hands around the air as if he could see the cooler air. Ariana looked at him sideways, still not wanting to admit she had been wrong, but also backed into a corner because that air felt oh so good.

“I guess.” She shrugged. Jamar laughed and turned her toward him.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.” He let her turn back around.

“Even if you are stubborn.” Jamar said under his breath. When Ariana turned to look at him, a mischievous grin was spread across his face. She nudged him with her elbow and he laughed out loud before pulling her in for a kiss.
I read an article yesterday, The 5 Sins of Storytelling by Laurie Alberts, and it had a few exercises at the end. This is the first one. “Create a brief scene in which conflict is apparent between two characters. The conflict can be small, say, over a choice of restaurant, or large, such as a divorce.” I could have gone with something huge, but I wanted to go for a realistic, random argument between a long-time husband and wife who fight over dumb stuff, but still love each other no matter what.

What kind of dumb arguments do you and your significant other get into? Do you mostly only argue over small stuff or do things sometimes escalate to major, almost relationship breaking arguments? Do you and your SO never fight? No judgement will be passed which ever way you comment. We’re all here to express ourselves freely.