Reaching Cloud Nine: Part 1

I found cloud nine three years ago.

And sifted through yellowed pages and soft toys I don’t play with anymore,

broken pencils and laughter on swings along with a park bench

and then I fell.

I fell hard on guitar riffs and broken dreams

dusting meaningless words off my shoulders

but it seems like it wasn’t enough,

Because I jumped again.

Into an abyss of worthless feelings and shards of glass from a shattered hourglass.

I contemplated jumping further.

I heard a laugh and as I turned to look

I felt a push.

and just like that I was falling all over again

arms flailing and control spiraling out of reach.

I land with a thud and the wind knocked out of me.

I see flames that don’t dry the tears i don’t remember shedding

I can’t hear the songs stuck in my head anymore

and just when I feel like I couldn’t go any deeper

I hear that damned laugh again

“You don’t deserve any better.”

So worse is where I go, I guess.

This time I fall on grass

slipping on tear drops and brush my hair out of my face

ignoring bloodstained veils and fake smiles.

Hope is even further away than clarity

and tragedy more prominent than remedy

Wolfish eyes threaten me all over again

“I can’t do this anymore,” I stutter.

Did I lose my voice along the ride too?

“Who asked you to jump?” he smirked.

I gulped down my fear as he advanced towards me, green eyes gleaming.

I was walking backwards stumbling right into the pit of despair,

but I stop.

“I think I’m done.” I mutter.

He disappears.

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Reaching Cloud Nine: Part 2

Blank.

I look up to see darkness.

One twinkling star. Another. One more.

They littered the sky spelling out the hope I’d lost

and I see a ladder drop out of seemingly nowhere.

A thud as she falls clumsily on the dried grass.

I frown as she dusts herself off.

“What you doing here?” I ask puzzled.

“Ready to go home?” she asks me.

I scoff. “Where’s that supposed to be?”

She shrugs and adds, “out of here at the very least.”

I look up again. and then down at my feet.

“I’m fine here.”

She rolls her eyes. “I did not climb down three fricken’ stories to go back empty-handed.”

I refuse to meet her eyes.

I realize I don’t wanna leave. I’m too tired to.

“Well I brought this,” she holds up the headphones I probably dropped in cloud nine like some sort of a trophy.

Tears spring to my eyes and before I know it I’ve snatched it from her and run my fingertips over the once smooth edges.

Familiar chords and beats decorate the air above me.

“Come with me,” she whispers. “I kinda miss you.”

I swallow my trepidation but it cuts through me like a dagger.

“I’m better off here.” I whisper back.

Right then the music flows through me.

Familiarity surges through me faster than panic ever could.

I take in a breath and my hand moves to the ladder with a mind of its own.

I hear a sigh of relief from behind me.

My hands clench around the splintered wood.

I shut my eyes tightly.

I don’t know if I should even bother…

A tap on my shoulder snaps me out of my reverie.

“There’s no end, you know that right?” she says.

“Please keep chasing me,”I sang, wondering if she’d remember the song lyric. I let go of the wood.

“Your southern constellations got me so dizzy,” she said without missing a beat.

“Heights do that to a person.” I said stupidly.

“I don’t really care. I’d rather not leave you.” she said with conviction,

“No.” I said, my voice haggard, unlike my own.

She shrugged again, like it didn’t matter all of a sudden. She continued walking towards the ladder.

My heart sank further when she didn’t look back.

She climbed the first rung.

I couldn’t hear myself think.

Sirens screaming with the lie I told.

Eyes wide I screamed at my legs to move, go after her.

I couldn’t.

I couldn’t move.

My chest constricted, as if water had filled my lungs.

I’d have preferred it to be honest.

I’d at least have known what was going on.

She turned to look at me and the sirens halted.

One breath. Two. Three.

Four steps.

When did that happen?

Her eyes bore into me, urging, pleading, as she slowly extended her hand to me.

I looked up again at the sky.

“Fuck it.”

She laughed and grabbed my hand.

“We’ll be fine you’ll see.”

Just this once, I let myself believe her.

 

Unexpected Consequences

The ball bounced over the wall and the boy ran after it cursing his luck. With every step he took, he came closer to what every teen feared the most – embarrassing themselves in front of their crush. The situation was especially bad for Erin because he was a geek and everybody knows what the popular people think of geeks. Loser. Crazy. Nerd.

He shivered as his brain supplied him with all the ways the encounter could go horribly wrong. Standing in the front of the gate, he cleared away the scenarios running through his mind and forced himself to stay positive. He paused for a minute assuring himself that nothing bad would happen and was feeling almost confident, before he looked down and realized that he was wearing the nerdiest t-shirt he owned, which was saying something because he owned a lot of nerdy t-shirts.

Any confidence that he had managed to capture flew out of his grasp. The anxiety flooded his bloodstream again and he decided that his ball was not worth the clammy palms and racing heart, even though it was limited edition and featured a beautiful rendition of the throne room of Dragonstone.

Just as he was turning to leave, however, the gates opened and standing in front of him in all his crush-worthy glory was Arden.

“Oh hello! This is your ball right? I was just coming to return it,” he said, as if he did not just give Erin a heart attack.

“Meep,” Erin squeaked, internally screaming at himself for being so awkward.

“Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that,” Arden replied with a confused smile and an utterly adorable tilt of his head.

“I, erm, yes. It’s mine. Sorry for bothering you. Thank you for bringing it to me. Or. Well. You know, wanting to, seeing as I’m on your doorstep. Oh. But, it’s not a door. So gate-step? Anyways I’m sorry for rambling. You’re probably busy. I’ll get out of your way. I’m sorry and thank you. Again.”

He started to walk away, blushing furiously but stopped when he felt a hand on his elbow. He turned to see Arden smiling at him hesitantly.

“Do you have to go just yet? I was just about to start watching the season finale of Game Of Thrones. If you’re free, we could maybe watch it together?” Arden questioned, lightly scratching the back of his neck.

Erin’s brain short-circuited.

“You want to what!? I mean, why would you want to do anything with me? Wait, is this a pity thing? I don’t want your pity. Or is it a dare? I refuse to be entertainment for yo–”

“Hey, slow down! This is not a dare or a joke or a pity thing! I promise you that asking you o– uh, that is, wanting to watch the greatest show ever with you is a purely selfish motive as, unfortunately, my friend circle would rather not deal with me screeching at a TV. However, that leaves me to watch it with you, so maybe I’m not so unfortunate after all.” He winks and gestures to his house invitingly.

“Well? What do you say?”

Erin hesitated. His self-esteem would never recover if this turned out to be a ploy to capture his shame. But Arden just asked him to watch a show together! His favorite show at that. He couldn’t not do this.

Which is how he came to the conclusion that he would. Purely out of loyalty to the Starks, of course. Not because he had a crush or because said crush winked at him. No, that would be stupid.

Eh. What was the worst thing that could happen.

Lots. Of. Things. So. Many. Embarrassing. Possibilities.

But-

“Sure.”

-Icarus

Ostriches And Loose Change.

“Jasey Rae” by All Time Low.

I press play.

Music was my release. Always has been, always will be. After such a pressing day in school (which I say to myself every day), I can’t do without it.

It’s not a coping mechanism, I try to convince myself.

Inner me knows better. I shake myself out of my thoughts and concentrate on the task at hand. Which happens to be finding a bus so I can get home.

Easier said than done, as always.

I sigh and switch the song playing.

Lights out
I still hear the rain
These images that fill my head
Now keep my fingers from making mistakes
Ironic how tiny droplets of drizzle cover the pavement in front of me. I look around as is expected, and see a friend of mine coming towards me enthusiastically.
Play it cool, my anxiety whispers.
Stand up straighter, my self esteem ushers.
I do both as nonchalantly as possible, taking out one of my earphones.
We exchange the usual hellos, and talk for a bit while she waits for her Dad.
Then the expected question. She asks how I’m going back home.
“By bus,” I say, motioning to the road in front of me.
The traffic drowns out my voice.
“I couldn’t hear you, what did you say?
My demons smirked and flashbacks of when I was younger clouded my head.
Tell my voice what it takes
To speak up
Speak up
And keep my conscience clean when I wake
My teacher telling me to be a little louder in class as I told a story, as my ten year old self looked at her shoes wanting to disappear.
My parents telling me that there was no point saying anything worthwhile if I wasn’t loud enough.
My friends hesitantly telling me that me singing well didn’t matter, because they just couldn’t hear me.
Or maybe no one wanted to, whispered my mind.
I blocked that out too.
Maybe that’s why I turned to writing, I contemplated.
This took all of about five seconds before I realized I’d zoned out, so I cleared my throat and repeated myself with a smile.
I’m used to that too, but what the heck.
Don’t make this easy
I want you to mean it
Jasey. (say you’ll mean it)
We said goodbye, and I gladly put my earphones back in.
I wish I’d stop thinking about so much while talking to anyone. It’s just simple conversation, but in my head I’ve dissected every single word and what it may have meant, could have meant.
You have a bus to catch Iris. Get it together.
You’re dressed to kill
I’m calling you out (don’t waste your time on me)
I finally see a bus that takes the right route and hop into it.
…is what I wish happened.
Instead I probably resembled an ostrich running across the road, wisps of hair flying across my face, and my clumsy self clambering into the bus.

With a raised eyebrow, the conductor looks at me, and then asks me where I’m headed to. I mutter the name of my stop and dig my hands into my pockets searching for change.

I feel the eyes of the other passengers in the bus bore holes into the back of my head.

They’re probably wondering why you take so long just to get a ticket. They’re judging you, as usual…

Constantly telling myself that I’m paranoid, I take out the required amount and hand it to him.

Dropping a coin in the process.

Now there’s an aching in my back
A stabbing pain that says I lack
The common sense and confidenceTo bring an end to promises

Cursing all over again, my anxiety laughs at me.

That I make in times of desperate conversation
Hoping my night could be better than theirs in the end
Just say when

“I’m sorry.”

Two words bordering on meaning too much and yet not enough.

I grab the coin and give it to him, and he didn’t seem too pleased as he handed my ticket.

Don’t make this easy
I want you to mean it
Jasey. (say you’ll mean it)
You’re dressed to kill
I’m calling you out, (don’t waste your time on me)

I grabbed a seat right before the next speed breaker, ignoring the pain that shot through my shoulder as I hit it against the bar.

Stuffing the ticket and the damned change back in my bag, I turned up the volume.

I’ve never told a lie
And that makes me a liar
I’ve never made a bet
But we gamble with desire

This is anxiety. Welcome to the world of 25% of people everywhere.

Sometimes I wonder what it’d be like to just do – you know? Act, not contemplate. Without thinking so much or let it get in the way of every single thing my body does or says.

It clings to me like a second skin, always there, subtle, but making its presence known, always.

I’ve never lit a match
With intent to start a fire

Take talking on the phone for example. To order a meal. Gosh, the irrational fear of the phone call, the person itself, them judging you- it all gets too too much. And I don’t know why.

Why is a question I’ll probably ask myself forever.
But recently the flames
Are getting out of control

It seems never ending…will I end up living my entire life scared? To ask for a napkin at a restaurant? To dial an unknown number? To just exist?

While everyone passes me by, talking animatedly, continuing with their lives because they don’t worry about every single thing that happens in their life.

Call me a name
Kill me with words
Forget about me
It’s what I deserve

Yeah, it’s exactly what you deserve. You totally deserve those stares and that constant pain of why you can never do things right.

But…I don’t. Do I?

No one deserves impatient receptions or waitresses, or to make phone calls they’re terrified of making.

But everyone deserves a chance to try and get it right.

I was your chance
To get out of this town
But I ditched the car
And left you to

Sometimes, I don’t know if I should feel sorry because so many people feel the way I do on a daily basis and like their feelings aren’t valid enough to even be spoken about.

Wait outside
I hope the air will serve to remind you
That my heart is as cold as the clouds of your breath
And my words are as timed as the beating in my chest

Meanwhile the practical part of me insists.

I’m not the only one who feels this way, and it’s totally okay. We’ll find a way. And some day we can buy ourselves a chocolate with confidence.

Until then, I got my music.

-Iris

The Picnic Diaries

Welcome to the first ever edition of the picnic diaries. Laugh along as we give our pov’s on how we can look as idiotic as possible.

12th May, 2017

(This was a long time ago, I know.)

I’m currently banished to Icarus’s room cos she said I was talking too much when the both of us were trying to write.
Moving on.
I’d love to say it was a beautiful day and we couldn’t wait to get out of the house, but the sweltering heat made it hard to look at the joys of mother nature. We dragged our sorry selves out of bed at 9 am or so, and decided to meet up to *coughs violently* cook something to eat for lunch.
Now that I think about it I’ve never heard of anyone calling lunch a picnic or having a picnic in the afternoon.
ANYWAYS.
It is of our viewpoint that dessert must constitute half of said picnic, so we made up our minds on chocolate mousse(so fancy.) and raspberry jelly.
For the actual meal? Instant noodles.
Note that we are very health conscious individuals.
We walked into the kitchen all gangster with a Labrador by our side armed with…nothing actually. I don’t know what I was getting at. Meh.
First up was chopping up the chocolate. I stared at the block(straight out of the fridge mind you) with a knife in my hand, quite puzzled.
Icarus offered to go get a pestle from her house so we could (Not kidding.)chisel the chocolate. By the time she got back, she found me banging away at a knife wedged in cooking chocolate with a mortar. Not my greatest moment.
It did the job though.
Don’t try this at home kids.
After spilling more sugar than we put into the saucepan, stirring the jelly mixture more vigorously than I thought was possible for my chicken arms, and packing no tissues(who needs those right?), we set off.
Icarus led the way with a flask full of hot water for the noodles, and I followed carrying a bag with the rest of the stuff.
We made our way to our usual spot and sat down Indian style to enjoy our meal.
We forgot to remember that noodles don’t cook themselves so we poured the water in after five minutes of acknowledging how there were no ants like last time, and waited.
Three minutes later we were shoveling half-cooked noodles into our mouths.
We were a real sight.
For some amazing reason, our luck has always held up regarding making cakes or desserts in general. We mess up something or the other in the process but somehow the divine force we don’t believe in pulls through and we end up making something which results in way too much self-appreciation.
All I can really say about the dessert part of it in this case at least is that raspberry jelly and chocolate DO NOT mix.
Separately, they were delightful.
(So British. I know, I know, Icarus thinks I have a terrible British accent. She’s so right.)
When we started eating the mousse we raved bout how we could inhale about two cups each.
By the end of one we were so full that we were flopped on the ground staring at the vines creeping around the wooden shack above and around us.
Of course the tumblr side of us took over and we starting clicking photos of the view which you can see down there. Pretty calming. Icarus said she felt like if we just kept looking up and ignored the empty swimming pool in front of us we could imagine that we were in a much prettier place.

Touché Icarus. Touché.
We trudged back home with Icarus holding the flask like a Chanel handbag and me walking backwards because we’re just that cool. As usual we laughed about how the so-called bi-monthly picnic took place thrice a year and how we spent way more time cooking than actually eating.
Good times.

– Iris

Normalcy.

Sometimes when the chemicals in her bloodstream took over and she found herself feeling sad, she wished she was normal. Someone who looked around and saw cars, motorbikes and retail stores, not the greed and gluttony of humanity. Someone who looked up to the stars and saw twinkling dots of beauty, not burning spheres of flame that would incinerate her in minutes. Someone who could make conversation without a side dish of stutters and awkward silences. Someone who was accepted by society and comfortable in their world. Someone, who was the opposite of her.

During these periods of less-than-happy emotions, she hated herself. She hated her figure and her baby features. She hated her chapped lips  and her ugly nail-bitten fingers. She hated her inability to concentrate on her studies and that she had no motivation or will power to take the time to practise her hobbies. But most of all, she hated her conscious mind for allowing this hatred because she knew that others had it worse. While others struggled to earn money and went hungry, she had all she needed to survive and yet she didn’t make use of her resources. And yet, she sat wallowing in self despair wishing she wasn’t born.

However, this mood passed, like it always did, unravelling the shadows strangling her. She could think again. She could have hope again. As she made her way into the sunlight, one slow step at a time, she built a wall  around herself, separating her from her negative thoughts. Pretending they were never there. As the sun rose higher and the wall grew thicker, she began to function again. Her heart beat steadily, her eyes remained dry. She could remind herself that she wasn’t alone; that she had family and friends who would help her. She could look at the cars, motorbikes and retail stores and see a species that was trying its best to keep its little corner habitable. She could laugh and smile and have conversations about the stars, the milky way, the universe, without feeling like she was drowning. She could make conversation with a stranger without feeling bad about her awkward personality. She felt better.

Even though she knew that the day, where the wall would collapse and plunge her back into the deep recesses of her mind, was coming, she was happy. With her no longer clouded mind, she realised that nobody was normal. Not her, not her family, not her friends, not the newborn baby, on the opposite side of the planet, named Javier.

And for the first time since her last breakdown, she knew that this was okay.

-Icarus

Standing alone.

The issue of bullying has plagued school systems for a long time. And in recent years has increased to alarming levels. Many cases leave the students with emotional scars that run deep and never fully heal, and some even have young children thinking that they have no other option but to end their lives.

This needs to stop. How can we just watch as these children get abused in every possible? How can we be idle spectators to their pain, as they distance themselves from the world for fear of running into their tormentors. Or maybe worse, plastering fake smiles and easy grins on their faces and pretending nothing is wrong. How can we ignore the bruises peeking from behind shirt collars and the colorful personalities huddled behind terrified souls? They are fellow human beings, just like us, and yet we let them fend for themselves, making them grow to hate their appearance, gender, sexuality and heritage. Making them grow to hate their very being. All just because they aren’t the definition of “cool”.  Oh, do excuse us for expressing ourselves the way we want to.

It isn’t enough to feel sympathetic and watch. There’s strength in numbers. If you’re worried about yourself getting hurt then it just shows your character more than anything else really. Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.

-Icarus

Edit by Iris.