The Man Who Waited (Fiction)

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        Alan had always loved Ethel. From the moment he stumbled out of Murphy’s and saw her face, he knew that he loved her. Usually, he didn’t just walk up to beautiful women, but with Ethel it was different. He had liquid courage in him and he had gone for it. He ran across the street without looking for any traffic and asked her out. She blushed and turned to laugh with her friends, but eventually she gave in. He had taken her to a movie and had spent over five dollars on her, which was more, than he usually made in a week. She was worth it though.

They dated during the year of 1931, so neither of them had much money, but they’d been happy. As the years went on Alan thought about proposing many times, but backed out because he was too ashamed to do so without a ring. He hadn’t worked a steady job since before the depression and he didn’t think it right to commit himself to her, when he couldn’t even support himself. Still Ethel had stayed around for several years because she loved him, but times only got worse. She told him many times that he only mattered to her and that she didn’t care about money. Eventually, she grew impatient of her pleas falling on deaf ears and left him. His pride had always been his downfall and forced him to watch his love walk away from him down Broad Street.

Ethel dated many men after Alan, but for awhile she refused to settle down, hoping, deep in that secret part of her heart, that Alan would make a grand gesture and propose. It never happened though. Her parents began to badger her after she turned twenty three and she settled down with Mark right before he was shipped off to Germany. It was a marriage of convenience, but she believed that she could learn to love him. Alan received an invitation to the wedding in the mail, but he didn’t go. He could have stopped it, if he had been able to afford a ring, but he was still bouncing back and forth between any odd jobs he could land.

During the Battle of the Bulge he was kept warm by his memories of Ethel, while he sat in the dark frozen mud of the trenches. The bombs exploded around him, like some perverted version of the Fourth of July and he vowed that if he made it back to America he would tell her how he felt. Surely, Mark couldn’t also survive the war.

The first day he was back in Hempstead he drove his car to Ethel’s house. He waited outside, in his parked car to work up the courage to see her. He thumbed the simple gold band he had finally been able to afford. Just when he had gotten up the courage to walk up to the door though, Ethel and Mark walked out. Ethel cupped her swollen stomach and Alan had driven away.

He bided the years by focusing solely on his career, determined to outlive Mark and finally be given a second chance. Years turned into decades and Ethel’s family continued to grow. Occasionally, Alan would drive past her house, just to see how she was, but he never went to the door. He didn’t know what he would do if he had. He couldn’t proclaim his love; it wouldn’t have been fair to her.

Decades turned into half a century and Alan knew that his second chance was just around the corner. They were both in their seventies. Alan felt evil for wishing Mark dead, but the years had turned him into a bitter old man. He’d never married and was satisfied to stay faithful to Ethel and forever alone.

It was a Wednesday when he got the call. He always screened and had let them go to voicemail.

“Alan, its me. I looked your number up in the phonebook. I know we haven’t spoken in decades, but I still love you. I just got home from the doctor. I don’t know how to say this, but I have cancer. I don’t have long so I just wanted to say goodbye,” the voice echoed through his empty house. Alan was paralyzed in his chair. He should have gotten up and picked up the phone, but he couldn’t.

Surely, she wouldn’t die. It’d be to cruel of God to have allowed him to survive for so long and never having the chance to be with her again. He’d lived his life for her, although it seemed she would never know. He put off calling back for weeks. He knew he was probably hurting her, but he couldn’t bear to say goodbye.

He finally picked up the phone on November 15th, the anniversary of their first date. He slowly punched her number into the phone and then waited as it rang. No one picked up and he was forced to leave a voicemail. How he had wished he would hear her voice one last time.

“Ethel, its me. I know I should have called sooner. I should have called years ago, but I couldn’t do it. I still love you. I never stopped loving you. I thought about proposing hundreds of times, but I never could afford that damn ring. I’m sorry. I hope you make it because I can’t imagine life without you existing in some way…” he was just about to hang up when the phone clicked to signal that some one had picked up.

“Who is this,” said a gruff voice.

“I’m Alan,” he responded.

“My wife died this morning, Alan. I’m sorry that I won’t be able to pass on the message,” the voice said twinged with emotion.

“Oh… that’s alright. I should have called sooner. I’m so sorry,” Alan said after a moment’s hesitation.

“The service will be this Sunday at St. Mary’s. I hope you come.” The voice said.

“Sure I’ll be there…” Alan’s voice trailed off. “Well I have to go. I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“Me too,” said the voice and then he hung up.

Alan slumped back into his chair. He felt hollow inside. He couldn’t muster one tear, but instead sat in his chair in a daze. It was over. He would never be with her. He slowly got up and walked to his bedroom. Opening the closet doors he pushed aside what little clothing he had and opened his safe. He kept the German luger he found at the Bulge inside and all of Ethel’s letters. He pulled the shoebox out, which he stored the letters in. He grabbed one and pushed it to his nose. It still smelt like her. Lifting the shoe box over his head, the letters rained down on him until they blanketed the ground. He placed the luger in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Perpetual darkness followed as his blood soaked the love letters through.

His body wasn’t found for weeks and no one claimed it. The only item of value that was found in the apartment was Ethel’s engagement ring; it was used to pay for his burial.

A Youtube Lament

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So I’m not very good at talking to a camera, but I want to get in on the conversation that’s been going on about youtube. First, a few weeks ago, SparkleofGlitter talked about the pressures of being a youtube celebrity and how foreign it was to her, whenever she went to a convention, then Ashley Mardell addressed the situation and I know countless have spoken about this, far more than I could list here, but the breaking point for me was Hannah Hart’s last episode.

It actually made me sad, and that’s saying something. MDK never makes me sad, in fact it’s usually the bright spot in my week, not to sound pathetic, but hey I’m living in a foreign country, dealing with the aftermath of coming out. Anyway, Hannah made a point this week of getting plastered, to almost prove she was still Hannah Hart. I never questioned this fact, but apparently more than a few people on the internet have. Towards the end of the video it turned incredibly poetic. She put a video of her sober self almost pleading to her audience, that she was still her, over the back drop of her drunk self.

Isn’t the fact that the past few months of episodes she’s produced been of  a sober Hannah, been more authentic than anything we’ve seen? And hey, we all know youtubers make a living off of ads. Hannah Hart however seems to always choose sponsors that would enlighten us. For god sake she has a book club. Other youtubers promote audible, but they don’t actually discuss the books they have been listening to with their viewers.

I know that there has been, for lack of better word, a rift forming between creators and viewers. As the audience of the site expands this is inevitable. I can’t even imagine the pressure that she and other well-known youtubers are under. They make a living by exposing themselves to the public, yet the public is always thirsting for more blood. In many ways I think the pressure they face is worse, than the usual trials a traditional celebrity has to face. They are their own paparazzi.

 We as a community should be happy that youtube has evolved into a forum that in some ways is being taken seriously by more mainstream forms of media. Youtube is democracy at work, we collectively have made all of these people “famous” and we should stand by them and believe that their integrity won’t be lost.

The website has exploded within the past four years and its evolving. I have no idea what it will become, but I still see it as a forum that can ignite change. I can’t tell you how many social causes I have gotten involved in because of some off hand comment or perhaps pre-moted soapbox: ie The Trevor Project, that a youtuber has pushed forth.

So let’s be patient as a community, I still have faith that this platform can be true and honest. We’re all figuring it out together, creators and viewers. Let’s not be so hard on them and let’s remember they’re people too. That’s all I have to say.

#YesAllWomen

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I’m a guy,

I see a girl and if I like her, its mine.

I’m a guy,

I yell at you in the street.

I’m a guy,

If you’re gay its just because you haven’t met me.

I’m a guy,

I’ve been taught the world is mine.

I’m a guy,

Even if you say no, I know its because you’re shy.

I’m a guy don’t hold it against me.

Society has told me its fine,

I’m a guy, please help me.

The Concussion

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There’s a large log that juts out of the ceiling and hangs over my bed. I’m short, so most times it really isn’t a problem. This morning though I woke up drowsy, had to pee, and stood up far to quickly. I smacked my face into the hard wood, which resulted in me biting down onto my tongue and passing out near the bed. When I came to there was dark, red, blood all over my shirt, sheets, and I had a throbbing head ache. I stumbled down to the bathroom, finally relieved myself and looked in the mirror. I had a bruise the size of a cherry and half of my face was swallow. That’s when I started panicking.

You see I’m used to medical problems, god my life is one, but I’m not used to having them when I’m living a lone in a foreign country.

I realized this morning that I’m mortal and that life can end very quickly. What if I had actually gotten a concussion? What if I had passed out, not onto the mattress, but down the stairs, I live in a loft. It was scary and it taught me never ever jump out of bed. Take a moment and just simply bask in the fact that you woke up to another morning, that’s how you avoid slamming your head into logs.

The Forgetful Man

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 I met him within the first three hours of landing in France. I’d just set down my one suitcase in my apartment, and decided that now was good a time as anyway to explore the small town, I had decided to make my creative prison, so to speak. Fighting jetlag, I wasn’ts particularily keen about my decision, but it was only one in the afternoon and although I’d been awake for almost twenty four hours, I still couldn’t go to sleep.

So I headed to the center of town, stopped at the first café I found, and sat down. A Scotsman was sitting to my right and noticed me immediately.

“I’m Stevie,” he said extending his hand to mine, before I had completely sat in the chair.

“Cait, just got here,” I said.

“Here as in the café, because I can see that, or Aups?” he muttered and then took a sip of wine. He was quite “refined.”

“Aups,” I replied. He flicked his hand up, as he gestured to the waiter.

“Une rouge pour la mademoiselle,” he says in a perfect French accent. The waiter hurried away and brought a glass of wine to the table. I pulled out a cigarette and lit it, I had a stash of Marlboro, that I brought with me.

“So they kicked you out did they,” he said as he motioned towards the cigarette

“Nearly, I actually came here to finish a novel,” I said.

“Fancy yourself a writer? I guess the young are allowed to have dreams,” he said as he downed the rest of his wine and once more motioned to the waiter.

“I suppose,” I replied not feeling like defending myself at the moment. I sat with him for over two hours, and learned that he was from Scotland, he loved the queen, and he thought that Julie Andrews had the voice of a fallen angel.

I left happy that I had made a new friend and passed out in my loft. The next day I was up early and went shopping for food. I saw Stevie across the street and waved at him. He waved back, but didn’t seem to remember me. I figured he probably had to much to drink the day before, he looked as though he might have been eighty.

Several days passed before I saw him again. I was sitting at the café answering emails and watching youtube, when he walked up to my table and asked in French, whether he could sit with me. Of course I said yes.

“I’m Stevie,” he said with an out reached hand. Its then that I realized he didn’t remember me. He may remember the past, but the present is covered in a fog that’s impossible to discern.

“Cait,” I said, not wanting to embarrass him.

Most times we talk, it’s about memories. He never mentions what he did that day, but he loves to tell me of the old days. When he worked in London, and had a secretary, when he was important.

 

I see him every day, but he never remembers me. Stevie, I promise I’ll never forget you.

 

*Names changed

An Execution Scene :

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In light of the botched execution of Clayton Lockett, that took place in Oklahoma, this past week, I feel that the need for a discussion of capital punishment is needed. I’ve been spending the past day and a half reading Insurgent, the sequel to Veronica Roth’s Divergent. One of the most touching scenes in the entire book is Tris’ walk to execution, on the cool, metal bed provided by the calculated Erudite, that would be her last. All that came to mind for me was the green mile that so many inmates, innocent or guilty, take in many states. Although her death is real for the reader for only one and a half pages, it is still poignant.

The clinical, unemotional, experimental death is one that our country seems to have gotten used too . If someone’s head isn’t being chopped off or if their body isn’t being fried by insane amounts of electricity, it is somewhat humane and dignified. The state has taken the place of God and has been given the right to determine whether an eye for an eye is the right path to take in light of murder.

I, personally, disagree. I am pro-life. Yes, I know commonly that brings to mind lunatics standing at the capitol with signs against abortion and women’s rights, but I honestly don’t believe in taking the life of any person, whether it be through war, capital punishment, or (until science proves when life begins) through abortion. Sure it puts me on the fringes of my democratic friends, but who cares.

Living in the mind of one about to be executed, specifically Tris’, humanizes the entire situation. If we as a society feel that murder should be dealt with retribution, then let the people effected by the violence pull the trigger, for really they were the one’s effected, not society. I think when you pin individuals against individuals the outcome, more than not, will be forgiveness not more violence, because honestly murdering a murderer will never bring the innocent back. Instead, it will only breed more victims.

Thanks for listening…

Death

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When I’m dying give me wine, or whiskey, or jack

Because there’s no point of ever looking back

I have my moment and my friends

But truly they can’t tell what is going to be the end

I just sit in here my warm bath, thinking of all the moments that have passed

Perhaps its to soon but here it is

No regret, no original sin

So I’ll lie here and be drawn away

Leave in peace that’s all I have to say .

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