XI: A distant memory {unedited chapters}

Kevin looked at her, the brunette at the bar.

She reminded him of something. Someone. He was old and tired and was not sure why he was at this bar full of twenty somethings trying to climb into each other’s beds, but he was here.

He drank his whisky slowly, savoring the spice.

She looked like….it was not her but the look in her eyes, the nothing. It was not a vast emptiness of lack of intellect, he could see the sparkle of intelligence, but it was a nothing a nothing he knew in eyes once years ago in the girl he first loved and who left without a word. A girl he somehow knew in his gut had been something special.

He remembered her dirty blonde hair, the look of her body unclothed in his button down shirt, the ends skimming her thighs in the light.

“This will never be, you know,” she said. He had not believed her. A man who did not love but had loved her. He had later married and done his duty, love his wife, loved his children but never loved again like that.

He had them to fill the space.

He remembered her wild hair, the nothing in her eyes, the intent nothing.

He looked at the brunette, laughing.

He downed his whisky, unable to be near her anymore. He walked out into the night, back to the hotel to call his wife.

IX: Ring, ring {unedited chapters}

Sorry, I desperately need to catch up on these.

He called.

He called her again, hoping against hope this time she would answer. He told himself it was because she was now unattainable that he needed her, he missed the smooth curves on her body, soft isn the right places and hard underneath.

He waited. He slept with other women, looking for what he did not know. He acted the same toward them and they fell in love with him. They fawned and called and sent texts asking ambiguous questions about his corporate life hoping he would come over and the shine was gone. The shine of being needed was completely gone.

Once his friend persuaded him to go to a boxing match and he caught sight of her near the ring, other fighters leaning over to whisper in her ear and he knew she must have forgotten He walked behind her later as she walked to the bathroom drinking in her scent and he realized he must miss her. She would return texts sometimes, never asking to see him.

He did not know what was wrong with him.

“Fuck.”

He stared at the blonde staring at him down the bar and he sighed. Might as well.

VIII: prizefighters and swimming words

She did not open the journal again for months. Instead she filled her time with work and the few friends she had gathered from the job. She spent weekends at the beach, alone, reading book after book and remembering some of the words she just moved her eyes over but not many in a trance she lost herself in other worlds of the author’s construction the words washing over her verbs and adverbs it never mattered what the book was about but it did matter that the words called to her.

She trolled flea markets and used bookstores, stacking the books by the side of her bed and on top of her TV, eventually obscuring it.

When she was not reading she looked out windows or over hills as she hiked, looking for the same smells and plants from Montant and smiling a little bit when a bird or a leaf reminded her of that week.

She went to prizefights, watching boxers dance in the limelight, people shaking their hands in excitement screaming name and curses and more. She watched the boxers dance around up over left right down each other and then one fell back with intensity and she watched. She went tot he bar where the hung out afterwards, friends yet enemies, swinging back tequila to nurse their aching jaws and sore arms. She talked to them and they fell in love with her grace which was funny because she had been seeking grace for so long and here it was in a chair next to boxers who smiled at her with slightly crooked teeth and broken noses and bruises. They told her secrets and gave her free tickets to more matches though she never went home with any of them they kissed her in moments of passion unable to hold themselves back and she smiled at them, looking at their lost eyes, hoping she would be more. She would hold their hand, letting their fingers and calluses slip through hers, hard spots remembering the gloves and wraps they had just been released from.

They loved her and she loved them and she walked home alone every night, picking up pennies along the way.

VII: A Single Hair {unedited chapters}

He looked out at the cattle, moving slowly in the morning light.

He looked down at his hands holding the reigns. He caught a glimpse – a shining long hair in the sunlight. Brown and lonely, clinging to his sleeve in the wind. He stared at it and flashed on the memories of past hesitating to touch the hair because maybe if he did so the memories would stop flooding his mind with remembrances of something he wanted to cherish for the rest of his life. Part of him wanted to chase after her and part of him knew it wasn’t meant to happen – it wasn’t meant to be what the movies said it would be not the kind of love that stays by your side forever it was the kind of love that is fleeting in it’s intimacy the kind that burns a whole in your soul forever.

So he stared at the hair shining in the sunlight and he hoped she was well and smiling like he remembered. So he stared at the hair grasping for him and remembered her grasping him back arched mouth open clinging to him in the morning light. So he stared at the hair and waited. He watched it lose it’s grip and in a floats he moved his other hand to grasp it and held the hair between his fingers, rolling it and his nose was filled with her scent sweet and salty and lingering and then he let go. He watched it float away from the cattle, into the sunrise.

He sighed.

VI Him {unedited chapters}

(I’m considering calling this thing Penny Collector. What do you think?)

He shall reman nameless. She decided never to put his name in her mind again. He kept calling, texting but she would only respond selectively to random queries had felt like responding to.

He would stay that way because because because she hated who she had been with him. Jack had loved him or tried to she had turned into a crazy woman. The need for his breath in her ear the need for his cock inside was beyond just physical there was something cathartic that came with him that made her want to explode and leave the world behind but then she lost herself she lost the person she had been inside of him as if with every orgasm he took more and more of her away, dissolved her insides and soul and built up someone some thing else. A person she did not recognize when she would look in there mirror and see the look in her eye, the quiet desperation to be in his arms to be touched or touch him for even an instant and the pain and desolate openness that would result from his leaving her to the point where she old go mad in her pain and need of him and try and hold it back texting innocuous questions about his corporate comfortable life needing wanting god she did not know this person.

She did not know herself as she slowly dissolved underneath him. And yet she needed that as if she were addicted to his presence. She fought with herself until she could do it no longer and then she would run and come back, tail between her legs the need for his touch growing so fast with so much pressure like a balloon in her chest that she could not help but find a way to reconcile and forget he was who he was because somehow she had convinced herself that he would grow change or hurt her less this time and he would make false promises she could hear it in his voice but still she accepted them and they went to bed to fill the addiction she needed.

V: pennies continued {unedited chapters}

Jack stared at the word more.

Pennies.

Not nickels, dollar, dime quarters, bills coins just pennies. The smallest least worthwhile form of payment the forgotten little coins that everyone loathed to carry, weighing down pockets and purses.

Pennies.

She generally disliked them and left them behind in trays and on tables, though she did have a habit of picking up pennies that were face up.

“Find a penny pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck,” she murmured to herself. She went to the kitchen and opened her bare cabinets and looked at the tiny morsels of foods that were still left then pulled down a jar of spaghetti sauce she had bought on sale last week opened the jar and dumped out the contents into the sink rinsing it all away with water from the tap. She rinsed out the jar and rummaged through her purse. Six pennies.

Jack dropped them into the jar one by one clink clink clink.

WIth that she began collecting pennies. Many of them. Hundreds, thousands millions. She did not go out of her way to get them she just saved her change and the pennies she found on the street, slowlyassuredy. when one jar was full she would buy another jar of the same spaghetti Saudi and empty it into the sink, rinsing the sauce away with tap water and then the jar and then placing the pennies in one by one clink clink clink.

lonlieness {unedited chapter}

She was not a medicine woman. She was not a witch. She was nothing supernatural, just a woman who made her life in the nowhere.

She looked at her son playing with block and a pan. he was gleeful at the moment and she sighed with happiness. Loneliness was part of he life and sometimes she felt like he would be the only repite from that actually he would be and she knew it in her heart she knew she would never have another and she knew it would happen to him – a short lived minute of happiness then a lifetime of hope that it would happen again. She only needed to pass the words in her heart long to whoever it was. It was not quite a tradition it was not quite a ritual there was no burning on incense or sage or spells to be recited it was something they had always done and that was all she knew it was something she was doomed and blessed to repeat and give to the next person the lonlieness and the knowledge of what would come to pass it was not fate that controlled us it was words in the heart that guided us from place to place and occasionally maybe someday it would guide someone to something other than this stillness of the heart the deep feeling that you get a small glimpse of what others have but you trade that for something greater the peace of heart the silence of pain and suffering for love the silence of depression and yet also the silence of more the wile of the better.

It makes no sense this story we’re telling. It does not have a purpose or a greater good it does not end in heaven or hell it ends somewhere else and we are striving for the nothing to know the highs and lows but then to get to the nothing where it is calm or so she hoped.

III: pennies {unedited chapters}

Weeks later Jack had a new job which was slightly better than the last one. It was an office job, writing descriptions of some kind or another for magazines and catalogs. it was easy and quick work and she genuinely kind of enjoyed work again. She still lived in the same semi decent apartment and at night dreamed of Michael – She had not had sex dreams as often as she did now. Sometimes it was just the feel of his face, she could never quite see him and slowly she was beginning for forget what he looked like except she could remember ever single crease, mole, wrinkle and valley of his body she felt her hands running over him and his over her body exploring slowly as if there was all the time in the world and she did not quite miss him it had only been a week after all.

She remembered.

One day jack remembered the journal he had given her – she had just woken from a dream where they say next together on a hill and she reached over to feel his face, her fingers twisting in his sideburns and stroking the soft skin on his neck. He was kissing her deeply and she woke up with a start, remembering the journal and the strange story.

She had not unpacked that bag as if leaving it as it was would contain all the memories of her short and strange trip to Montana a trip that had in all ways changed her life. She didn’t answer the calls from him anymore and she found that maybe she did not have that intense need and yearning for him since she left in a hurry. She was surprised he was still calling even, by now she though he would have let go with a shrug and gone on to whoever was net.

That bag as sacred in some strange way. She was not a religious person, but she held some things sacred, like monuments of places that meant everything, places and things to be worshipped. The broken lamppost piece from the fights in college, the shell from a trip to Mexico, a diner where she and her first boyfriend had kissed, the buddhist temple where she realized that nothing was real anyway. The bag that held the things she had hurriedly packed.

She opened it slowly now, as if being slow would keep the memories from tumbling out. She saw them as tufts of dandelions, delicate in their shape and not to be disturbed. Losing those last few memories would hurt beyond recognition. She had not idea what she would do if she lost them they were delicate and incomplete as many of her memories but she needed to keep them to keep going to keep the sense that she was allowed happiness even if it was only a week once in her twenties it was something.

The clothes were stil smelly and probably needed to be washed and the toiletries had exploded in their bag but there at the bottom was the brown leather journal, ties wrapped haphazardly and tied in a terrible bow. She slowly undid the bow and opened the journal it did not creak like a new book but softly folded open  – it had been waiting for her she knew  in her heart waiting for this moment in the dead of night when Los Angeles is as close to the quiet of Montana as it will ever be – in the middle of the page that had fallen open was a single word: pennies. It made no sense. SHe stared at it, looking at the prod pulling at her memory for a code a deciphering mechanism that would explain to her what that meant maybe something Michael had said, maybe one of the errant papers sitting around his haphazard trailer. but nothing came to mind as she searched through the little facts of history she knew and odd trivia points what could pennies mean?

“Maybe it’s a prompt.”

She scrummaged for a pen that works in the big cup on her desk and finally settled on a nubbly pencil that she had apparently tried to sharpen with a knife since she did not won a pencil sharpener.

She wrote.

“I have no idea what this means. But I think I miss him. I am forgetting his face.”

The looked at the small thing she had written for a few minutes, holding the pencil in mid air. She placed it in the spine. There was nothing else to write. Her mine was empty and she looked at the word again and it – did it just grow darker? that’s just silly, there is not such thing as magic no such thing like in the books she tended to like where the read world was tainted with something spectacular and vampires from history came to life and witches were discovered in family history, no that never happened. Yet, there it was, slightly bolder, like switching the font type from regular to bold with a keystroke control+b.

II: Ring ring {unedited chapters}

He called her because he couldn’t let go.

He knew he damaged her and hurt her, but in a sense, he didn’t give a damn. She would be there and she would answer his call. He was a good looking man and she evidently like him, in spite of the way he acted. He felt bad sometimes, but most of the time he was OK with it. It was her choice after all.

He called.

She had gotten out of his car two days ago. She had not called, not texted. It was unlike her. By now she was usually yearning for him, begging for him to come over without actually begging – he could always hear it in her voice – in the words tbat glittered across the screen – a sense of need even when she was just asking how his day at work went though she knew that it had been mostly fine since he was content in his corporate middle management occasionally he strived for more but it was never in ambition it was because he just wanted to appear more important and sleep even more comfortably at night knowing that he had climbed that ladder and was looking down at who he used to be he liked the way his business card looked and the stability of it all.

She did not answer. Maybe she was having one of her fits of discontent. He usually left her be around this time or came over anyway, sighing and repeating himself again and again that he was not meant for a relationship he was not meant to be needed like this and in truth (thought he never told her ) he came back for her body and her company. It was something like a hooker, except the price had nothing to do with money unless you counted the dinners out – it was more about paying emotional dues to get what he wanted out of her. He hated to think of it that way, he did not consider himself a hard person and he did care about her in his own way but caring could never lead to attachment (he was surprised it had gotten this far).

He remembered the way she looked whence walked in the door and how he responded to his touch, fighting the ecstasy his voice his touch his feel gave her. He smiled remembering his power over her.

He hung up without leaving a message She would call. She would call.

In a week she hadn’t called. He texted her innocuous comments, saying he wished he had someone there to share the moments with. She never replied. He was getting anxious now maybe it was time to move on maybe it was time to go on to the next girl and give up she had never made him completely happy anyway not that any girl could not that he’d let any girl do so. He had convinced himself through his own slow thought melding that he was not meant for attachment he was not meant for reliance he strived to punish her when she attempted to push that upon him and he always won with a sigh and a night twisting the sheets in her bed. But she had not called. It began to worry him.