Dimensions

“Do you think we’d all have different personalities based on our different upbringings?”
There is a moment of silence and a puzzled look shot my way, “What do you mean?”
“If different dimensions do exist,” which I’m fairly certain they do, “and there are multiple versions of yourself, do you believe they’d all be slightly (or vastly) different based on their upbringings?”
“Do you feel upbringings are what our personalities are based on?”
“To a certain extent. I mean, I think it’s sort of like an algorithm. Of genes, interactions, choices, people we bring into our lives – at the base of all of that I believe is where our upbringing lies. We learn how to make choices, whether we like it or not. It’s rare we ever really make them for ourselves.”
For some of us that feels like bloodletting. For others, draining any remnants of the family pool is a relief. Either way, it seems when you have to take that route, the ending always leaves you with an empty set of veins.

By now it’s only the sound of our footsteps responding to my inquiry. My company finally lifts their eyes from the ground.
“I guess I’ve never thought of it that way.”
“I could be wrong,” there is a slight grin, “but if it’s really true I suppose that means we’re all interchangeable. You can be whoever you want to be whenever you want to be it. Nobody can say boo to you because somewhere you’re just being yourself.”
Eye contact is finally locked, I figure by the mirrored reflection it’s time for me to start explaining myself. I’m not even sure how to. Sometimes it all just trails from my mouth like I missed the water in my cup.
“What I’m trying to say is that I think we all have some level of control over who we are.”
“You want to have control over who you are?”
“No, I guess it’s just that I’m more afraid of who I’d be if I didn’t.”
This time it’s my own eyes counting the breaks in the tile. My veins feel so hollow they could shrivel up into dust.
“I think that is due to your upbringing.”
“Not if I pull my view from a different dimension.”

– B.

Codes

“Would you say you’re an open book?”

“I believe anything is readable so long as you learn to decipher the code in question.”

I think I used to want people to know what was going on in my head. I think I thought that if I could spell it out for them I’d feel less lonely and that it would make us more similar. Juvenile thoughts from when I was merely a girl.

They just rallied with their pitchforks.

Now my binding is torn loose and all of the pages have been strewn across a diagnostic. It’s still open, it’s just no longer a story in chronological order. People don’t like to read what they cannot relate to, they are not as fearlessly curious as some of their counterparts.

“That’s a good way to think. We should never stop trying to connect with those around us.”

My eyes cast up like daggers, the airy tone irks me because I do not feel the same way and I know that comment was charged with purpose. The aura on either side of the room is completely fluxed and I’ve no idea why no one is ever clever enough to learn this language.

I hear the voice whisper back, ‘because yours is indecipherable’, and I pull a grin because it is true.

I close my eyes off to a garden where I could plant my rose bushes and touch the tails of koi fish drifting by in their consistent ebb and flow. Where my irises fall to a human spectrum of sight and my breathing syncs with the peace of ignorance. Closed off to anything but the sound of trickling water and all the hidden whispers on the breeze.

“______? Are you okay?”

The words are like fingers snapping in front of my face and eventually I’m back in the room.

“I don’t particularly think people view us the same way.”

Like Victor Frankenstein and his Monster, you could agree one is good and the other is bad but which one is which will all lie in personal speculation. The truth is, good and bad don’t exist and societal preference hasn’t dawned on that notion yet. They haven’t dawned on a lot of things, if you ask me.

“I take it loneliness is something you’re no stranger to?”

“I believe loneliness is like a blanket. Sometimes it’s so thick and heavy it keeps out the light, other times, it keeps out the cold. Either way, you don’t get to choose if you’re born into it. They just wrap you up and send you on your way. The rest is yours to figure out and I suppose that’s half the fun in it.”

My tone is cool, concise and vacant. That is all it ever takes to silence a room.

Codes, clues and cues over Sunday coffee; and I am pulling my blanket up over my head and dodging reality like a reoccurring nightmare.

– B.

Spirits

What kind of teeth-rotting sugar do kids even like anymore? Surely not licorice, though I was never picky. If a sign said ‘take two’, I was the one who’d only take one. The adult on my left shoulder says it doesn’t matter what they want, it’s free candy. The narcissist on my right says we refuse to be the house on the block that gives out shitty candy. 

I settle for a mix of brand name chocolates and two bottles of wine. I tell myself I’m not answering the door. I try not to think of all the children in sweat shops that probably assisted in this holiday – any holiday, really. The plastic decorations that litter landfills, birds choking on gummy eyes and possums using the foam of cleverly punned RIP signs to build a nest. Wasted velvet and velcro from cheap costumes strangling a noose around human decency and thought

I’m putting out a bucket on a stand and if some bastard spawn wants to take the entire loads worth then so be it. Eventually they’ll have to learn the early bird gets the worm, even if it’s a crow. They’ll need to be prepared for the corporate throat slitting bloodbath, anyways, once time turns the corner and age dawns the cloak of the reaper. 

It’s a dogs world but dogs would’ve run it better. 

I wonder how many children will be sporting costumes their mothers forced them into. A cute, fluffy chicken when all he wanted to be was a zombie scientist. Why can’t we just let people be what they fucking want to be?

I remember a time when we used to throw parties. One year, a kids mom dressed him up as an inflatable shark. He tried to run up the hill, deflating fins flapping in the air as she chased him with the machine. He fell and started crying. I was dressed as a corpse bride. 

One year my brother dressed up as Boba Fett. They spent way too much money on the costume but he looked cute enough in it. The night before Halloween he accidentally dropped silly putty on the crotch and the next morning it dried to resemble cum stains. He was six or seven and they were on their way to Disney. My mother was mortified

They asked me one year why I chose my costume and I told them it didn’t matter. Being anything and anywhere else besides Earth for a night was all the escape my clever imagination needed. I said that every year afterwards, too. 

Now I don’t bother dressing up because I do so every single day. Halloween is the only time that is socially acceptable for me to let the skeleton shed its clever layers of meat and lounge on the couch with bottomless eyes and fangs dripping in crimson cynicism. 

I place one, the deepest of maroon merlot, upon the highest shelf in my kitchen. Because my skin tastes like pink moscato tonight and my stomach is lurching for solid food and it is not time to crumble to bone yet. 

I will save that one for a day I need a costume, or perhaps a piece of candy. 

– B. 

The Wolfhound

I’d a dream we traveled out to a local fall event and my eye was immediately drawn to a peculiar petting zoo. There was an average woman in distinct employee garb and to her left was a male lion. Mane swaying in the breeze, deep orange and tan fur only a foot or so away from the edge. You kept trying to reach your fingers across the fence to pet him as I looked into his eyes,

Odd. They would never put a lion in a cattle pen.

It wasn’t long before the woman noticed us, arms stretched out across the fence. She lassoed him, gently so, but it still broke my gaze. She shook her head in warning and let an assortment of sheep out next. It was clear what she deemed her property.

‘Sorry about that, it’s dangerous to pet the lion. Rescues and all.’

You started up a careless conversation, loud voice boisterously ringing in my ears. I felt sour, so I ignored her as a whole. She seemed to take to your conversation, but I drifted back off towards the building they’d walked him into. So slow, so languid, so tamed was his walk. Like a drunken misery, or a stumble into sedation. His composure seemed empty, as if there was no roar brewing in his belly anymore.

I almost turned around and walked the other way, off to find a drink or something to ease the familiar aching that was developing in my brain. Then out came the wolfhound.

He followed her shadow to the fence lining but no one seemed to pay any mind to him.
Deep shoulders stalking forward, head leaning down and bright yellow eyes glancing up. You two were busy conversing about the seasonal events and where the best location to get a good bite to eat was.

He had a tortoiseshell coating, deep black mingling with ebony and hints of auburn. It reminded me of the withered maple leaves or caramel.

He came to my post by the fence and sat down slowly. I looked towards the both of you to see if the attendant was paying any attention, she was not. I stuck my hand through the opening and got a good grasp of his fur. Wiry, lengthy and wild, but smooth. He did not draw back from my touch.

At first I merely gave him a nuzzle behind the ears, but those brooding eyes kept locking onto mine. I’d really no choice. I crouched down, he rolled onto his back almost instantaneously. He kept his gaze locked on mine, large paws encircled around my forearm. I couldn’t decipher what it was he wanted.

You were sitting at a table, watching a rather boring show that gathered the crowds of humanity like the sheep in the pen, while I was weaving through the herds on the outskirts of dusk with the wolfhound cradled in my arms.

He was heavy, but not heavy enough for me to lag. I remember my grip was like iron. I wasn’t going to let anyone else touch him. I wasn’t even sure of where I was taking him, all I knew is I couldn’t let him go. Not now, at least.

I don’t remember feeling panicked, as most would, but I couldn’t remember my purpose for being in this predicament. Nor where I was or how I’d ended here. I knew they’d either think I stole him, which I wasn’t entirely sure if I had or just planned to. Or they’d thank me for finding him after he ran off towards whatever it was he’d chased.

I kept trying to mull through my options. I could take him home with me, I could save him from this brutish lifestyle. But what if he belonged with the sheep? Someone had to herd them, right? His eyes were like looking into the moon, and it was getting darker by the minute.

I’d find a way to spin it either way but I settled on finding you, first.

I never found our purpose, me and the wolfhound, but I assume that was half of the point. Perhaps it was just to get out of the confines of the fence. Perhaps he saw another of his kind and no longer wanted to herd the sheep. Perhaps I didn’t, either.

He’d followed me.

That’s what had happened. I was certain now, the recollection clear as the path before me. He’d followed me and I’d turned around and felt a shiver hit my spine.

He never wriggled or writhed from my grasp. He laid still as baggage, the longer I held on, the easier he was to carry. Passerby’s would smile and gawk, they were faceless to me but I could hear the fluctuations in their tones, and I’d smile back but I wouldn’t meet their eyes. I wouldn’t decipher their features. This trek would stop for nothing and no one.

It wasn’t long before I rounded the corner to the fence line. The array of familiar tables sprawled out, the crowd had dwindled but the show had continued on in repeat.

Two more steps was all it took, to round the corner, my sight now visible beyond the trees masking the seat you’d chosen in the far back corner.

You were gone.

I set him down within the confines of the fence and told myself it was only momentarily, and he stood stark still, watching me with hooded recollection.

I called you, I believe, or perhaps I only heard the long, lost echo of your voice. I’d assumed to hear a bit of concern, or perhaps just confusion.

‘I went home,’ you muttered on the static end of the realm.

‘You didn’t bother to look for me?’

‘Why would I? You’re always wandering off.’

‘It was the hound. He followed me, I couldn’t just leave him out there.’

I’d no idea why I was trying to validate the chain of events to you, but perhaps I was just trying to make sense of the whole ordeal myself.

The line went silent for a moment.

Hello?

‘_______, what are you talking about?’

‘The hound! For god’s sake the hound, the giant looming guy in the cattle pen? With the sheep? You didn’t see him?’

‘No… There was never a hound.’

I looked back towards the fence, a breath of night chill whistled through a now empty terrain. I peered into the darkness but there was no sight of the moon, nor the hound.

I stood there for a while, in the stark night, and I think I knew in that moment why wolves howl.

– B.

Necessity vs. Want

Necessity, necessity. There are a lot of things in this apartment. I remember a time when they were a means of battle, a way to show success. The mere thought of it always made me depressed but it wasn’t about what I wanted it was about what I needed. 

The issue is I was never really listening to my needs. It was always someone else’s. Or at least trying to impress someone else. That doesn’t matter now, I’m free. My wings are growing back in so why is this so hard to decipher?

I look around a porch filled with stuff that really is unneeded, if you think deeply enough on it. But what is the difference between need and want? It probably lies in perception, right? What is my perception? That is the key right now, that is my salvation. 

I want more shoes but I’ve already three pairs of boots, one pair of tennis shoes and two pairs of heels. Why do I want more shoes? Is it because I want more clothes and therefore an excuse to match them up? For what reason? To impress people? I hate people. 

I’ve eight routine outfits I typically go through, all which can be mixed and intermingled with one another. That is a week and a half worth of work clothes. The rest is a plethora of pants, hoodies and t-shirts I wear on the regular. I’ve tons of those to get through countless weekends and a few, very rare, nights out. Sometimes it still feels like too much but that’s why there are bags of them lining my closet, I’m just too antisocial to leave the house long enough to take them to the thrift shop. 

Six to eight dresses at a time, which only three are every routinely worn. 

Food is a necessity, food is a good one. I’ve mastered that, besides of course the alcohol, but something has got to soothe my mind enough to let me get through a thought from beginning to end. I jump around a lot. Not easily distracted just easily stimulated. 

Perpetuating, languid, tired. 

So those are two things that I deem as necessities – clothing, in a limited but progressive quantity and food. Raw foods, whole foods, vegetables – no meat. Not in the way we currently… harvest

What else? My car? More of a luxury but I take good care of it and have no desire to trade it in for a newer model. That proves something right?

No, I’ve nothing to prove. It’s an unfortunate necessity though in our current society. I want a horse. I used to ask that question all the time as a teen, why don’t we still ride horses? Not for sport, not with all of the unnecessary and painful equipment. More for the bond and progression towards a common goal. Equality, in a sense. Less waste, less gasoline. We hide our devastation through the excuse of progression. We are wasteful and sick. 

I’d take care of my horse. I’d feel less alone with one. I can talk to my car but I can’t look into it’s eyes and feel something 

Alcohol is not a necessity but at the same time it is. Like I said, clear train of thought, slows things down. Makes them easier to pick apart and comprehend. That’s the difference between limiting drunkenness and sedation for pain. No better than taking any of the medications we’re regularly prescribed. Trust no one, especially not your doctor. 

So food, clothes, car, alcohol (personally) what else? Ah, of course, shelter. A home, preferably. But that is more of a comfort than a necessity, right? And again, what we deem as a home lies in perception. Though having something to shelter you from the rain and snow is good, too, I suppose. 

I’ve been without it before and I was just fine. It’s where the heart is but mine is dead. 

I wasn’t fine but I survived without it. God, we don’t really need any of this stuff, do we? All of our necessity has only become a way to make it easier. We’re lying to ourselves. We’re selfish, we’re weak. Put us all out in the wilderness for six days and the majority of us would die or need therapy afterwards. That’s pathetic, that’s pitiful, and we’re doing it to our animals, too. Our, our. Possessive. They’re not ours but we’ve made it that way. We’re disgusting. We’re dumbing everything down. 

I pull a hand through my hair. 

Necessity, necessity. 

Versus want. 

What do I want? Why am I thinking so much on this? Do I need it to be simplified? Do I need a reason for why I hate everything and at the same time simultaneously want to protect what and whom I deem as good. 

How do I even know if my perception is right? And why do people tend to lean towards that, anyways? What do they see in me? 

Is it necessity or want? Or have we completely lost the basis of either in the first place?

– B. 

Goodnight

Do you think that everyone in a sense feels lonely at the end of the day? No matter their current situation or background.

I do. I believe there’s a small percentage who are not cognizant of the fact, but I believe on the brink of every dusk we all feel it brooding (even if only a little) on our shoulders. 

Because no one will ever truly know what’s going on in your head besides you. They can get close, but we all sleep and dream behind the curtain of our own eyes. Asking someone to know you that intimately is asking the impossible. 

There’s irony in the story, though. If we’re all truly lonely at the end of the day, then I suppose that means none of us are ever really alone. 

BIATA