The light came on in the apartment. It was dark and shady in the room. From the outside only shadows could be seen, moving across the grey shades, ghosts passing by on their way to the other side. She doesn’t think ghosts exist, but she like the literary image. She imagines what it would be like to be a ghost. Do they have consciousness? Do they have thoughts? Feelings? Memories? Do they love? Can they love? Do they age? How long do they continue to be?
She imagines a child ghost. No gender, no name, but an age. A small collection of experiences. A small range of emotions. All summed up into this one final moment. What happened to this kid to transition from personhood to ghosthood? How did this physical body cease to supply sufficient energy and sustenance for them to live? Was it an accident? Most likely, how would it not be an accident. Who would purposefully end the life of a child? Whose intention would that be?
A killers. Someone whose job it is to take children to the grave.
The daisy grew, slowly but surely, out of the ground. Many people loved it as a seed and took special care to help it grow to its full potential. Over the years it stood through storms and hot weather. It grew thorns to protect itself and long white petals full of personality. One day a person came by and was struck by this clever and witty flower. After growing bored with the daisy’s natural state, the person plucked it from the ground in order to keep admiring it whenever it suited them. The daisy was still strong, even when put in a jar of water, and tried to keep its petals intact. Several days went by of the person showing off this flower, never taking time to appreciate anything other than their own bragging rights. One day, the person was overcome with what they saw in one of the flower’s petals, and plucked it off for better display. Next they plucked some petals they weren’t particularly fond of and threw them into the trash. Other petals became painted over in order to better please the person, or plucked for more prominent display. Soon, the daisy was a mere silhouette of what it had once been. The flower knew this was happening, knew it would happen from the moment this person first took an interest. But the daisy did not want to stop the person, or leave. The shared energy between the two was too enticing. It was dangerous and exciting, a matter of two beautiful elements coming together to form a toxic bond. The daisy offered its petals with loving contempt, wanting to be the pawn for once.
Don’t ask me what I really mean
I am just a reflection
Of what you really want to see
So take what you want from me.
The woman sat on the bench, two pages from the New York Times open on her lap. A few strands of grey hair fell out of the low ponytail, framing her tan, aged face. She wears a black leather fanny pack around her waist. She is mostly uninteresting. Most people walk by her without registering her presence. She continues to read her newspaper. She turns the page over and she lets out a barely audible gasp and freezes briefly. She holds the newspaper closer to her face in order to better absorb the article. She traces the faces of the people in the picture just above the article. She traces the faces of the people in the picture just above the article, sets the paper down on her lap and stares blankly ahead, lost in her thoughts. She picks up the corner and starts to tear out the article. The edges are rough, parts of other articles being torn into in order to free this one. She gets it out, hold it up, and stares at it, like it’s her most prized possession. She gently folds the article and places it in her coat pocket. She continues to read the newspaper, now with a gap.
The woman sits in the blue subway bench. She is wearing a red winter cap and a kind, loving smile. This smile is genuine. It’s not fake or rehearsed or photogenic, the smiles that everyone else gives out of obligation. No, she means her smiles. They have purpose. She is truly pleased when a little boy sits on her right with his parents. He reminds her of her grandson. In her left sits a man. They are strangers. He is classy and very uptown New York. He wears a big white and tan fur coat. His hair is curly, but short and gelled close to his head in a very fashionable way. He pulls his hand out of his coat pocket and several folded papers fall onto the floor. The woman immediately reaches down to help him collect them. The man gives that obligatory thanks and smile. The woman looks into his eyes and gives her genuine smile. The man can see the light in her eyes, and that she truly means it. Her light spreads to him and his smile changes, ever so slightly. He gets off at the next stop, still thinking about the rare genuine woman.
She has this unwavering faith in the kindness of strangers. She knows exactly how much to expect of someone to push them to be better without pushing too far. She is not nieve or ignorant, she simply chooses not to give up. She calls people out from a place of love. She truly cares and that’s why she’s yelling. She is witty and intelligent and can spar with the best of them. She is living her life with no regrets, fully aware of the mistakes she’s made and owning them, using them to propel her forward instead of letting them pull her back. She rides the winds of life actively letting them take her to where she needs to be and beyond. She may not know exactly what she wants, but she doesn’t let that halt her journey. She is leisurely striding with full confidence down the path of life and pausing to smell the roses. She is here for the fun of the journey, knowing wherever she ends up that she fully enjoyed the ride. She is the strongest cup of coffee with a splash of sweet cream. She is the breath of fresh air after you’ve been underwater just a touch too long. She is the cool summer breeze that gives you goose bumps. She is the pastel chalk flowing smoothly effortlessly into the sidewalk, creating sharp saturated lines.
The man sits on the seat inside the subway car. His fingers are laced together as he fiddles with a scrunched up napkin in his palms, swirling his thumbs around and around the brown tattered napkin, sporadically. He wears a heavy black coat that puffs out in the front as he sits. Around his neck is an old, tattered, dirty white scarf. One end is looped around his neck and sticking out onto his shoulder. The other end hangs down to his waist. Over his head he pulls the hood of a blue hoodie, which is under his black coat, hiding his glasses and nose. The top of the hood points up, like a gnome hat. All anyone can see sticking out of the shadows of this hood is a scruffy grey mustache, weathered cheeks, and a mouth that in its resting position is the perfect frown. His hands are wrinkled and weathered, but strong,. He works hard. He keeps to himself. But when his eyes peek out from under the hood, they are kind and gentle, partially hidden behind the glare on his glasses. The subway car fills up more and more at each stop, and the man just sits, swirls his napkin, and silently observes the chaos around him.