Wednesday, February 25, 2015

THE HARD TRUTH - Snapshot Story


I roll the paint onto the barren white walls, hoping the color will cover the desolate feelings underneath.  The warmth of the chocolate brown shade warms me; gives me something to look forward to when I come home.  Nothing else makes me feel or enjoy.  The material comforts give spark to an otherwise blank canvas of pain. 

I turn when he enters, his mood foul and unforgiving.  Why do I stay?  Is it the financial stability, the fear of waking up in the middle of the night alone?

I can’t answer a question I already know the answer to.  I repeat these questions daily and the silence that follows is my denial.  Repeating the answers would make it tangible and real.  It would paint me as weak and unbalanced.  It would condemn me and ridicule me as a person of less determination than others surrounding me. 
Others I have pointed fingers at and criticized for the same reasons. 

Fucking hypocrite.

I turn to face him and smile, hoping to relieve the tension invading the room.  It adds weight to my sorrow, sinking it to the bottom of my roiling stomach. 
He stalks into the bedroom and slams the door.
The feeling of hopelessness burns up into my throat, making me wish I had something to drink, preferably of the alcoholic type.  I know many who turn to this type of medication.  It isn’t much different then popping a couple of Xanax.  It’s society bullshit if you ask me.  A drug is a drug is a drug whether you snort, drink or smoke it. 
Alcohol, among others, just happens to be legal.  It’s okay to stand in a crowded room of people slobbering and falling all over each other, the music blaring right along with their loud ramblings.  It’s great if you are one of them.  Everything is just peachy king if you are.  The struggles hung around your neck become weightless and your mind is dulled from the constant discussion of crap.  Instead, you talk about things that don’t really make a difference and dreams you know probably won’t come true.  The buzz helps you believe.  It whispers pure little lies into your ear and your fizzled brain opens up like an innocent flower to the sting of a bee. 

I stop my pity parade and notice the drops I’ve allowed to mar the floors.  Quickly, I sponge them clean and sigh with regret.  Glancing at the newly painted wall, I smile.  I smile because I love the look.  I love the entire change.  I envy the ease with which I can change certain things and not others.  If only a stroke of a brush was all it took.  The body was easy to cover.  Large amounts of color could be used and applied effortlessly.  You could dissuade yourself into believing it was easy.  Until you come to the edge where the wall meets the ceiling.  Your arm stretches painfully to reach it because you are too stubborn to ask for the help of the ladder only a few feet away.  After a couple of attempts, you realize help is not a bad thing.   Climbing up is not hard.  The edges are a pain in the ass but persistence wins out and you patiently complete the task.  You’ve already started so you have no choice but to finish.  I compare the experience to my life.  It’s amazing how similar a drastic change would be.  Some of it would be achieved with minimal effort while the other may be more of a struggle to acclimate to and conquer. 

I stand back and feel proud.  Part of me wants to throw what’s left of the paint against the other walls.  It’s a mix of relief and helplessness due to a situation that can’t be fixed. 
Why do we continue creating chaos then covering it with pretty walls and material gratification?  It’s almost as if the inanimate things could ever hide the ugliness that exists all around us. 
News flash:  It doesn’t. 
It’s much like concealing a wall that hasn’t been sanded and finished smoothly.  At first, the paint brightens and hides the imperfects but given time, they always come through to stare you in the face and scream their existence.  They always resurface.  If what’s underneath isn’t fixed, what’s used to cover is only temporary. 

I hear the shower and brace for the dismissal.  Within minutes, I am cleaning the mess and still glancing at my work.  It’s a comforting color yet dark and abysmal.  I still like it.  I wonder if I am projecting my grief on this wall.  Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so pretty anymore.  I stand back again and tilt my head.  Pushing the couch against it, I feel more at ease.  The couch is a light color and offsets the dark. 

I jump when a door slams and keys click in his hands.  He’s leaving and I couldn’t be happier.  Sticking around under the same roof with these feelings is volatile.  We both know this.  It’s funny how good we know it.  I busy myself with picking up as he breezes by, his cologne stinging my nose.  Sometimes I wonder why he puts it on to the point where it’s so obvious. 
I hear the ice machine going as he prepares a drink.  I fucking hate the sound of it.  It only announces the misery to come.  A happy drink time results in babysitting but a bad drink time is miserable. 
No sleep.
No relaxing.
Stress.
Worry.

That pretty much sums it up.  Do I deserve to be left in this state?  What I did was voice my opinion.  Does it push his buttons?  Definitely. 
But I happen to have a tolerance up to a certain point and then I blow. 
At least there is a tolerance.  I can’t say the same for him.  That side of the column has a big fat “zero” in it. 
Notice I am also pointing out my flaws:  The button pressing. 
I happen to do it continuously and I’m good at it. 
These thoughts continue as I watch him go, hoping he is safe even if I want to pull his hair out by the root.  Deep down I still care. 

The house is quiet and I long for a hot shower.  After everything is in its place, I move into the bathroom and revel in my gorgeous shower which doesn’t mean jack shit when I’m alone. 
I know I am contradicting myself.  Yay—he’s gone and crap—I’m alone. 
It’s the vicious circle of a doomed relationship. 

I fall asleep on the recliner and wake only when I hear the key in the door. 
Shit.
He stumbles in and I wonder if he drove in that condition.  Once he reaches the bedroom, I know it’s going to be  night night for him. 
I sigh in relief.  The arguing isn’t for me tonight.
Once I hear the snoring, I peek outside and don’t see his truck.  Hopefully, a ride or a taxi got him here.  I never know. 

***
The sun hits my face and I move, realizing I am still on the recliner.  My phone is buzzing and I scroll through my messages.  The door to my room opens and I brace for the fight. 
Nothing.
He wonders over to the pantry and the ice machine starts going.  I know it’s the Pepsi after a rough night. 

I glance back at him and he is staring at me. 
“Do you want to go eat somewhere?” he asks as if nothing has happened and all is good in our world. 
I take a minute to answer because this will determine how the rest of my weekend will go.  Outside, the day is beautiful, the weather perfect.  My stomach rumbles and I realize I’m hungry. 
“Let me get ready,” I answer feeling a twinge of defeat because I am enabling the behavior once again.   I shelve the argument of how fucked up what he did was for another day and walk past him. 
He grabs my arms and pulls me into his warmth.  My eyes water because I know the cycle and I also know this isn’t the end but my arms find their way around his neck because they need to.  This is his way of waving the white flag.  Somewhere deep inside, I hear the tiny voice telling me to handle things differently next time.
But the hard truth is.  It won’t make a difference in the long run.

The Hard Truth by Mina J. Moore






Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Changing Jody - Episode V

Episode V

My traitorous eyes closed and my hands rested lightly on his chest.  The jolt of his lips touching mine set me running.  I pulled back—my eyes snapping open. 

“I have to go,” I whispered, running a shaky hand through my hair. 

“Rose…”

I ignored his plea and walked as fast as these damn shoes allowed without breaking my neck.  Thankfully, Crystal was draped over the bar with none other than our manager. 

Shit.  I couldn’t just walk up. He could recognize me more easily than Blake ever would.  I hung a left and sat by the pool, pulling my phone out to text her. 

We need to leave.  Now. 

I glanced up and saw her scanning the crowd until her gaze landed on me.  I waved her over and was relieved when she kissed Steve on the cheek and walked in my direction. 

“What’s the deal?  I though you were going big tonight.”

I rolled my eyes.  “I’m not you.”

She smirked.  “So why the rush?”

I got up and started walking toward the elevator.  “I’ll tell you when we get home.”

I was glad she didn’t push.  It was obvious I was upset. 

We rode in silence for the first part of the trip.  I opened the visor to check on my face.  My lipstick was gone.  I pulled my hair back into my classic messy bun and noticed one of my earrings was gone.  Great.

These were my best pair—bought with my own money.  I searched the car floor, the seat.  Nothing.

“What are you looking for?”

I patted my chest to make sure it hadn’t fallen down the front.  “My earring.  The diamond tears I spent a fortune on—one fell out.”

Crystal frowned.  If it’s not in here you might as well kiss that baby goodbye.”

“Gee thanks Ms. Positive.”

She smiled.  “Maybe we can turn back and you can check?”

“Not in this lifetime.”



I was frustrated and pissed when I walked into our apartment.  Frustrated because my body was still humming in anticipation for what I had denied myself and pissed because my earring was most likely gone.

Crystal was humming a merry tune behind me.  She was obviously up to no good. I slipped my torture shoes off and sat on the couch. 

“What are you all happy about?”

She winked at me.  “I have a date tomorrow.”

I tucked my chin down and stared at her.  “Tell me it’s not with your boss.”

She plopped down next to me.  “It is.”

“Crystal, you’re gonna get yourself fired!”

She rose and hugged herself.  “Not if no one knows.  We’ll be careful.  It’s fun.  Tell me your insides weren’t a mess when you were faking Blake out.  You know it excited you—the fear of getting caught.”

I shook my head, not wanting to admit she was absolutely right.  I pushed at my forehead with my thumb, willing the oncoming ache away.  Damn drinks.

“Listen, I don’t usually drink; it made me daring and forward, I’ll admit.  But I can’t seriously consider any type of relationship with Blake.”

She nudged my shoulder as if to shake some sense into me.  “That would be winning the jackpot!”

I pursed my lips.  “I don’t see it like that.  He is the owner of the restaurant where we work.  It just wouldn’t be right.”

Crystal stood and shook out her hair.  “Well I am not letting a silly job stand in my way of happiness.  It’s not like we’re going to work there forever.  I wouldn’t be if not for my slave driver of a father.  I don’t need this job.”

I rose.  “And there is the answer.  I do need it.”

Crystal waved me off. “You’ll be making the big bucks when you land a partnership someday.”

“Yeah. Someday.  Not today.  In the meantime, I need to have some cash flow.”

She yawned.  “I don’t know about you but I’m whipped.”

It was contagious.  “Me too,” I replied through a yawn.  We both had to work tomorrow.  Thankfully it was the early afternoon shift.


The Plaza was a ritzy place on Ocean Drive and it wouldn’t be uncommon for a celebrity or two to pop in.  My tables were full and I wasn’t complaining.  The tips in this place were outstanding, especially on a Sunday.  I was tallying up my total for the day when I glanced across the room and saw Crystal talking to none other than Blake Steel. 


Episode V

My traitorous eyes closed and my hands rested lightly on his chest.  The jolt of his lips touching mine set me running.  I pulled back—my eyes snapping open. 

“I have to go,” I whispered, running a shaky hand through my hair. 

“Rose…”

I ignored his plea and walked as fast as these damn shoes allowed without breaking my neck.  Thankfully, Crystal was draped over the bar with none other than our manager. 

Shit.  I couldn’t just walk up. He could recognize me more easily than Blake ever would.  I hung a left and sat by the pool, pulling my phone out to text her. 

We need to leave.  Now. 

I glanced up and saw her scanning the crowd until her gaze landed on me.  I waved her over and was relieved when she kissed Steve on the cheek and walked in my direction. 

“What’s the deal?  I though you were going big tonight.”

I rolled my eyes.  “I’m not you.”

She smirked.  “So why the rush?”

I got up and started walking toward the elevator.  “I’ll tell you when we get home.”

I was glad she didn’t push.  It was obvious I was upset. 

We rode in silence for the first part of the trip.  I opened the visor to check on my face.  My lipstick was gone.  I pulled my hair back into my classic messy bun and noticed one of my earrings was gone.  Great.

These were my best pair—bought with my own money.  I searched the car floor, the seat.  Nothing.

“What are you looking for?”

I patted my chest to make sure it hadn’t fallen down the front.  “My earring.  The diamond tears I spent a fortune on—one fell out.”

Crystal frowned.  If it’s not in here you might as well kiss that baby goodbye.”

“Gee thanks Ms. Positive.”

She smiled.  “Maybe we can turn back and you can check?”

“Not in this lifetime.”



I was frustrated and pissed when I walked into our apartment.  Frustrated because my body was still humming in anticipation for what I had denied myself and pissed because my earring was most likely gone.

Crystal was humming a merry tune behind me.  She was obviously up to no good. I slipped my torture shoes off and sat on the couch. 

“What are you all happy about?”

She winked at me.  “I have a date tomorrow.”

I tucked my chin down and stared at her.  “Tell me it’s not with your boss.”

She plopped down next to me.  “It is.”

“Crystal, you’re gonna get yourself fired!”

She rose and hugged herself.  “Not if no one knows.  We’ll be careful.  It’s fun.  Tell me your insides weren’t a mess when you were faking Blake out.  You know it excited you—the fear of getting caught.”

I shook my head, not wanting to admit she was absolutely right.  I pushed at my forehead with my thumb, willing the oncoming ache away.  Damn drinks.

“Listen, I don’t usually drink; it made me daring and forward, I’ll admit.  But I can’t seriously consider any type of relationship with Blake.”

She nudged my shoulder as if to shake some sense into me.  “That would be winning the jackpot!”

I pursed my lips.  “I don’t see it like that.  He is the owner of the restaurant where we work.  It just wouldn’t be right.”

Crystal stood and shook out her hair.  “Well I am not letting a silly job stand in my way of happiness.  It’s not like we’re going to work there forever.  I wouldn’t be if not for my slave driver of a father.  I don’t need this job.”

I rose.  “And there is the answer.  I do need it.”

Crystal waved me off. “You’ll be making the big bucks when you land a partnership someday.”

“Yeah. Someday.  Not today.  In the meantime, I need to have some cash flow.”

She yawned.  “I don’t know about you but I’m whipped.”

It was contagious.  “Me too,” I replied through a yawn.  We both had to work tomorrow.  Thankfully it was the early afternoon shift.


The Plaza was a ritzy place on Ocean Drive and it wouldn’t be uncommon for a celebrity or two to pop in.  My tables were full and I wasn’t complaining.  The tips in this place were outstanding, especially on a Sunday.  I was tallying up my total for the day when I glanced across the room and saw Crystal talking to none other than Blake Steel. 



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Changing Jody - Episode IV

Episode IV

Exhilaration drummed through my entire body as I walked out of the bathroom and back into the throng of bodies on the terrace.  The music hummed in the background, making me feel dizzy with need.  Although what I craved was beyond me.  As if in answer, Blake appeared in my line of vision and raised his glass in salute.  I lowered my chin and gave him a sultry grin.  Rose was one hell of a flirt. 

Praying I wouldn’t trip on something, I walked slowly and it became my walk of seduction.  I smirked when his eyes took me in from my four-inch stilettos to the top of my head.  For once, having curves was a good thing.  He seemed to enjoy the view. 

“I see you found another drink.”

I looked down and smiled.  “Yes.  But I think this will be my last.”

He turned and grabbed something from the granite counter that housed a bar complete with bartender.  “I have one more for you.  It’s lite.”

I put the one I had down and took what he offered.  I wasn’t about to drink them both.  There were limits I had to adhere. 

Studying the cobalt blue glass, I swirled the liquid and tilted my head.  “Pretty.  What is it?”

“Blue dragon.  It’s a new drink we are introducing at the restaurant.”

My stomach flipped, bringing my reality back into focus.  Jody spoke in my head and I didn’t want to hear what she was saying.  I wanted tonight to last forever. 

“Are you okay?” He asked.

“Yeah.  Just tired.”  I took a sip and the sweetness hit my tongue, making me close my eyes.

I felt his hand cover mine as he took the glass.  I watched as he sipped where my lips had been. 

“Perfect.  Don’t you think?”
I studied his handsome face then lowered my gaze to his broad shoulders.  “Perfect.”

He grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the penthouse.  I followed only because I was too curious not too.  The living area was huge but at the end of the hall was the largest master suite I had ever seen.  It had it’s own seating area complete with a mini bar. 

I tugged my hand back.  “I don’t think I should be in here.”

He turned to face me.  “I just want to be alone with you—away from the crowd.”

I put both hands on my hips.  “For what?”

He smirked and walked over to a large black leather chair.  “For this.  Have a seat, Rose.”

My hands dropped to my sides and I sat opposite him, just to be sure he didn’t think I was loose. He leaned back all sexy and nonchalant while I perched on the edge of the chair, my back rod straight.  The drink was still in my hand and I was afraid to drink it.  My gaze swung to the huge king bed just a few feet away. 

“Do you want to go back outside?”

I thought about his question for a moment.  Would he think me a prude if I said yes?  We were in his bedroom but he hadn’t implied anything or made a move.  I could do this.  The champagne had helped, otherwise I would have already bolted.

“I’m good.”

“Good.”  He crossed his legs at the ankles.  “So tell me, Rose.  What do you do for a living?”

My brain scrambled around to answer his question.  I couldn’t very well tell him I was a waitress, the series of follow up questions would be too risky so I went with my major instead. 

“Law.”

His brows rose.  “I didn’t see that one coming. Nice.”

I smiled a secret smile.  That’s because you haven’t seen me in my natural state, which includes glasses and books.
           
“Well, don’t let the outside appearance fool you.  I’m really a closet nerd.”

He busted out laughing.  It was rich, sexy and hot.  He rose and gestured for me to take his hand.

“Come on.  I want to show you something.”

I glanced toward the bed. 

“Not that.” His eyes twinkled. 

I reached up and let him guide me to the massive windows on the other side of the spacious room. 

“Since you like the views.  Take a look at this one.” He grasped my shoulders; the feel of his skin against mine sent a shock through my entire body.  I allowed him to move me closer while he took a stand behind me.  I looked out into the night, my breath hitching at the beauty of the city and the lights.  I couldn’t imagine going to sleep with this view and waking up to it.  My entire life had consisted of apartments and rentals.  My parents were lower middle class and had to bust ass for everything they had.  Being an only child, I got a little more but not much.  I was glad they were both retired and living in a one-bedroom condo up north.  Their pension sustained them and I swore they would be comfortable when I became a lawyer.  All this wealth could make you take everything else for granted.  I never wanted to be that person.

“Well?”

“Splendid.  You’re a lucky man.”
 

He must have noted the slight resentment in my voice. He turned me to face him; his hands remained on my shoulders.

“I wasn’t always so lucky.  Hard work and patience got me where I am today.  No one gave me anything.”

Part of me felt ashamed for making him think I had doubts—The other still had a tad bit of skepticism.
He glanced down.  “I’ve never told anyone this and I never felt the need until now.  The doubt in your eyes is slaying me.  You’re not like any other woman I’ve invited up.”

“I’m sure they all throw themselves at you?”

He looked past me and out to the glittering lights.  “At my money but I haven’t had it as easy as you might think. My childhood was not—” He struggled for his next words. “Pleasant.”

My head snapped back on my neck.  “How so?” Now I was interested. 

“I was orphaned at the age of ten. This—” He gestured at the richness of his bedroom. —is my hard work and sacrifice.”

I could believe him.  My gut told me he was being sincere but I didn’t know him.  He was the rich owner of the restaurant where I worked, coming in once a month to survey the establishment and go behind closed doors with the management team.  I hadn’t heard any negative comments and everyone seemed to genuinely like him but I didn’t know him.

His hands moved to my neck and before I knew it, his face was coming closer.  My heart accelerated in anticipation of something that should not be happening.