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Joy to the fishies in the deep blue sea

Documenting America’s Favorite Past... Time           June 16, 2006

“had a friend was a big baseball player/Back in high school/He could throw that speedball by ya/ Make you look like a fool” The Boss Springsteen

 

“i have to take your picture so just come on”

 

Ashlyn was rudely pleading with the star of the Bayla hitters to do as she was told to make him do.

 

“i don’t know what i am supposed to do.”

 

Russell Hughes was being neither polite nor cooperative.

 

“stand there. Look pretty like you always have. It’s the yearbook, you’re the ‘star’, i’m on the yearbook staff. Add two and two together Hew. Now just stand there and let me take a portrait and then you can go back to practice.”

 

“it’s Russell, Lynchcraft. And what if i just said no to this picture thing?”

 

“then i would have to get a picture of your big ass running off back to practice in those ‘conveniently’ tight pants and explain to Senor Loftan this whole situation and its entire stupidity.”

 

“now we couldn’t have the teacher mad at the teacher’s pet, could we? Where would have all that kissing up have gotten you at?”

 

“don’t end a sentence with a preposition Hew. And shut up. Stand up straight and smile or look baseball serious, or whatever you want to do, I just have to get this.”

 

He didn’t smile for her but did smile at her camera. He was the baseball star afterall and all of this must be accurately documented.

 

Ashlyn stood there in her uniform skirt and the long ago tucked in shirt hanging loosely all around. The camera, which she denied to put around her neck, took a flashless snap and swung by her side as she went back to her car and away from her ugly hew-ish past. Oh how she had grown.

 

Enjoying Tilting      June 17, 2006

a response to a tragedy

She had stopped believing in majick. It was fake and tauntingly false. Fools fell for and towards it, as they did for love, and books that contained it were labeled appropriately as fiction.

 

Her perfection with him may have been true but her supposed length of time with perfection was just as fictional as those stories with the boy with the lightning bolt. Things in reality always felt shorter than untainted dreams would have one believe they were.

 

Majick was no longer. A thing of the past.

 

She had wanted to kick him. Kick him in the shin. In the shins. The face. No feelings. Just pure bitchi-i’m over you-you’re out of my system-ness. If given the okay settings and chance, she would have. Probably. Right there in that Dollar General parking lot in Walden. No looks back. Hard and with no emotion, at least not anymore, she was prepared and equipped to rid of him of his title-less position in her life. Em or Gela or whoever was right.

 

He was just a boy.

 

A momma’s boy, yes. A Bayla boy, yes. A boy who danced dangerously all over her past, yes. A boy that she once got dizzy over, yes. A boy that was ever truly hers, no.

 

Then it happened. He was robbed. Robbed blind. Robbed of something that was irreplaceable. He was devastated. His family, too. News of his robbery spread like a nasty virus throughout the whole mountain and land. Even poor missed Gela heard about it way over in the south’s armpit.

 

She heard about it. Surprise confidant Lauren told her. Told her all about it despite her pleading denials.

 

Family and friends flocked. The math instructor from sixth came. Her baseball from first came, he was the uncle afterall. The brother-in-law to the deceased she supposed. The older-oh-so-gorgeous wrestling cousins came too. And she came.

 

She arrived after Maddenina and beautifulgorgeous and Bartis, because despite the over whelming importance of the situation at hand, She would always be insecure. Around Them.

 

She saw him. He said ‘hi.’ They hugged. She saw the smiling facade and the brokenness it costumed. He saw that she was there. They hugged once again, one last time.

 

It was short and sweet but fiction came over too, making it feel comfortably smotheringly long. She mingled with the little princess dahling cousins and impressed even herself with her outofnowhere small talk skills. Grade six math told her she was pretty. Grade one coach thanked her over and over, so much more polite than his son. They kept stealing glances throughout it all.

 

Time to leave. Trailing behind her mother, she saw him once more and took back her kick with a constricting sigh. Although she may never be his girl, and he was only a boy, he would always be her boy. And he had been robbed so unfittingly just the day before.

 

Majick did exist. And she believed in it. And its cruelty.

 

Yavid Durman necklace   June 17, 2006

“All of us get lost in the darkness/Dreamers learn to steer by the stars”  Rush

 

Her mother had let her wear it. Allowed her to adorn it at the service. It had hung down further than it does now because she had actually unexpectantly grown. Just a little though. It was designer, her mother would wear no other, except for what Mamaw and Papaw and given her long ago, when she was a different little girl all together. It looked simple and didn’t quite live up to its maker’s record of being diamondee and glitzee and all.

 

It was undemanding.

 

 Could be worn alone to bed or out with fellow sparkly pieces that she couldn’t afford but still owned. It had silver and gold and went with silver and gold. Perfect. For so long she put it on every morning by herself.

 

 Throughout her highschool years she wore it everyday to remind herself just how short her stay was. He had only been forty-four afterall. Her little crush turned love of life’s aunt had told her it was pretty and looked nice. She always liked that woman despite Gela’s protest.

 

 It’s aged now, she was only fifteen when she first showed it off. She’s twenty-five now. All grown up yet still braced to learn a great deal more. She stayed healthy and helps him at it too.

 

She once dreamed or aspired or even hoped to one day be a bigshot lawyer in the sleepless city o so far away. But now she’s what she never ever under any circumstances whatsoever wanted to be. And couldn’t be happier.

 

She cooks for him before he gets home. Daily she dusts her cased high-school diploma that thus far sits alone on her wall of accomplishments. He’s okay with that. She sweeps and mops and folds to old Elvis tunes because she still believes that the King is her one true virtuous soul mate. She still calls the south home and he tells her the big city would make her dizzy. Like he used to make her. He wants a houseful of children and she still wants to know how you can intentionally birth twins. Her own Robert and Benjamin after those who have left us.

 

She plays with it when he calls her at ten and twelve and three and when he is coming home. Their phone bills are quite high. He catches its chain on his lips when he kisses her neck and cheek and lips and nose and forehead hello once he gets home a little after five. Working nine till five.

 

Their children, if they have girls, probably won’t have necklaces like this. Not with this genuine gold or sterling silver. He’s done well for himself and for them, but he’s a union worker and makes nothing like her dad even at his best. Yet again, she couldn’t be happier. The children will grow up with the land, a present father with bearable hours, and a blonde mother that plans to head the PTA every single year.

 

She sits with it hanging down on her shirt. She wears rolled up blue jeans and a button down that once had been his but a stain she just couldn’t get out now makes it her’s. He sits across from her with his loosened tie, staring at it.

 

“You’ve always had that.” He says as a question.

 

“Had it as long as I can remember.”

 

Because now all she can remember is the part of her life in which she was undoubtedly headoverheels in love with him. Him, the human being that knew real forthright pain. And found the ability to conquer it and recover and discover the one that truly loved him throughout it all.

 

The next morning he helped that one true love put her decade old necklace on for the day. Before he left for work.

 

Lynn’s Lunch          June 18, 2006

“Watch your mouth/ Because your speech is slurred enough/That you just might swallow your tongue” Panic at the Disco

 

(read Yavid Durman beforehand. Or don’t, doesn’t matter.)

 

Lynn’s Market smelled incorrectly. What Ashley was doing she knew was completely wrong. Fitted the definition of wrong to a ‘”t”. Wrong: Not in conformity with fact or truth; incorrect or erroneous. This was erroneous. This was incorrect. And the moment Palmer asked her about it she would give a response that was not in conformity with fact or truth. Never left the house, right?

 

But sitting here at lunch with Taylor Anderson and the way he just made her smile felt completely right. He dug into the beginnings of a new joke while she played with her salad.

 

 They sat, entering their second hour together and he began to straighten up, a subtextal sign that he was getting out of the joking haze they had been inside all lunch.

 

 “How’s married life suiting you, Ashley? Ashley Wade. Sounds so wr-...different.”

 

 “To be honest with you dear Taylor, we are no longer in the honey moon faze... but I love him.”

 

Throughout her whole life which ended, or was beginning quite differently than she had planned, she was always sure of that one thing. She did love Palmer.

 

 “He has begun to work crazy hours. Chasing after daddy’s paycheck I guess, but he wants kids soon.”

 

 “Do you want that?”

 

 “Kids?”

 

 “No. You are a Southern woman. I know you want kids. One day. The paycheck, I mean, more money?”

 

 “I want my husband healthy and safe and at home. We were doing just fine in the beginning and I took comfort in waiting for my husband to get home, now I don’t even bother. Don’t ever know how long I will have to do that.”

 

 “Well, what do you do to past the time?”

 

 “I’ve taken up vodka and whiskey, of course my dear.”

 

He smiled a supposed-to-be-non-amused look in a cute way that she missed and Palmer probably still hated.

 

“Seriously. If you find yourself too alone and, bored I dare to say, you can always come down and clerk for me. I remember you once singing a tune about wanting to be a lawyer.”

 

 Her lips stayed stationaryily still, while her eyes smiled in a way that clearly stated ‘thanks but no thanks.’

 

“Suit yourself, but remember to never ever take up tequila sweetheart.”

 

Ashley leaned her body forward and her head fell backwards in a full laugh that Palmer hadn’t produced from her in a long while.

 

During this, Palmer’s body fell backwards in his car seat while his head hung low, all the while deciding not to lunch at Lynn’s for lunch.

 

Empty Nothings     June 20, 2006

“And Honey, I miss you and I'm being good. /And I'd love to be with you if only I could.”

- Bobby Goldsboro

 

(read Yavid Durman and Lynn's Lunch first, or, like always, don't. Doesn't matter.)

 

The candles were in the cabinet and hadn’t been used in a while. The sweet dresses were in the drawers and the tuxes were all tucked away, and both hadn’t been used in a while. The cute little says-of-nothings and obliging comments were overlooked and hadn’t been used or said between them in a while. The nuptials they had said before God were long ago and so was the happiness in their marriage.

 

 Ashlyn sat at home, isolated from the world except for her occasional outings with Taylor, which were even becoming un-enjoyable because of all the damn guilt that surrounded them. Her mother and father, whom always harbored hidden disappointment for her lack of college experience, had moved to their second dream house and away from the mountains all together. Just like she thought they always would. Emmaline lived in the mountains, but the snowy kind far away with that reclusive husband of hers. Ashlyn was alone in a two bedroom house that came with a husband.

 

He pulled in the driveway. Late, but early for him. Dinner had been cooked and eaten all up because she realized her estranged husband was a man of habit, and he seemed to catch on quickly that he must feed himself if he planned to arrive home so late. Ashlyn had grown accustomed to going to bed alone and waking up alone and felt no fault in making her husband nourish himself, she kept the house clean afterall. And that is why she couldn’t understand for the life of herself why she suddenly felt sickened at the idea that her husband was about to walk into a still awake house with his still awake wife reading, instead of making sure his plate was just right.

 

“You’re home early.”

 

”It’s ten o’clock Ash.”

 

”I meant early for you.”

 

 Silence.

 

 “Well, I would have fixed you dinner but-“

 

”You supposed I could manage. I’ve noticed.”

 

”Palmer, not now.”

 

”Not now, then when Ashlyn?”

 

”Am I not the one you ought to be asking this and pointing out you glitches!? Palmer, you haven’t been home any earlier than midnight for longer than I can remember-“

 

”You volunteered to be the housewife, if there is anyone to blame-“

 

”Housewife, Palmer!? Housewife implies that there is a house, a happy place of living and dwelling. There isn’t any living with you, we’re simply trapped in the same cage. Trapped by your damn aspirations that simply don’t include the contentment of me within them.”

 

 By now she had risen from the couch and he was inching closer and closer towards his estranged wife.

 

“Don’t punish me for my aspirations just because you failed at yours.”

 

 The typical silence and crying and all that usually accompanied a scene like this in the movies was quickly interrupted by Ashlyn’s fiery response.

 

“I didn’t fail at them, I gave them up. I gave them up for you Palmer, for us.”

 

Suddenly they jointly realized their proximity and his top-button-undone oxford and her had-it-forever-and-it still-looks-good tank. He dropped his gaze to her lips while she started for the rest of his buttons.

 

The candles weren’t used and the dresses and tuxes stayed put, but they still managed to fix something that night. And the cute little says-of-nothings were pulled out that morning. 

 

Fling Flung   June 28, 2006

“She said/ Babe/ You’re just a wave/ You’re not the water.” -Jimmie Dale Gilmore

 

Doesn’t reallly fit into anything.

 

Lynch clasped her pink painted talons around Webb’s arm.

 

“Webb— We have to go.”

 

 His glazed eyes simply smirked at her. His shirt smelled of fireworks, a burning grill, and waterfalls of beer. Lynch pushed his one syllable name mercilessly against her front teeth again.

 

 “Webb. Now or never.”

 

Unlike the guys around them, who were throwing their tongues down any breathing woman or innocent girl, Webb harassed Lynch even more violently by standing still.

 

“Fine.” Lynch said sassily.

 

And she was gone. As was the innocence of their once fun fling. Webb should have remembered a fling either flung out of style or flung back and hit you without warning. Hard.

----------

 

“Lynch!”

 

 Webb hissed out partly to spare his pounding headache and because he wasn’t completely sure her roommate was away. He had to remember his brain was only functioning on three hours of sleep, two black cups of coffee, and one record breaking hangover. He rasped on the door in one last attempt to get the blonde to open her small dorm room. He finally heard the out of order pitter patter of her stumbling self heading for the door. Maybe she had drunk more than he remembered. Afterall, he sure as hell couldn’t remember how much he had had to drink. Besides a lot. The door began to open.

 

“What. The. Fuck. Do. You. Want?”

 

 “Such language at such an early hour Ms. Lynch?” he code-ly apologized.

 

 Lynch was in no mood to decode. “Webb.”

 

She attempted again to open her eyes completely. They didn’t obey. She opted instead to pull her old gramma’s blanket tighter around her.

 

 “Yes my love?”

 

The door was only opened enough for her to be seen. Her and her disheveled hair and unremoved mascara.

 

 “What are you doing here?”

 

 “Can I come in?”

 

 “Someone’s here Webb.”

 

He’d seen Him arrive last night. As if on cue the fireworks had first gone off when he’d pulled up. As he had expected she first asked to leave as he walked into the jumbled party. Mr. Adrian Cobb. Of course he hadn’t listened. Surely that someone else wasn’t inside. Inside her room. Inside and holding, no pulling, the reigns to her aching heart once again. No way in hell.

 

 “Who is it Lynch?”

 

 “Who do you think Webb?”

 

The Biggest Sinners of All Always Get Some            July 15, 2006

“Said you'd take me for a little dance/If you had a little time on your hands.”-The Boss Springsteen

 

Sort of set in the same universe as Fling Flung BUT not really. It is only a contingent afterall.

 

“So how did freshman year at the big blue and orange tiger school of the south treat you?” Ream was still pissed that Auburn had gotten out a week earlier than Emree. It was only fuel to the fire of reasons why he ought to have attended that other school.

 

 “I don’t know. Nor do I have the energy to explain or figure it out. Just ask everyone else in your family. And all of your other friends. And basically everyone you have ever known, besides you of course.”

 

Ream’s look of enough please, I have heard it before shut Ashley right up and created an almost apologetic look to form in her eyes. Only almost though because it was Ream afterall, and if anyone needed to be apologizing, it sure as heaven didn’t need to be the long-haired blonde one doing it.

 

“I don’t know Ream. You and I both know I went there for the wrong reasons. I guess I am getting everything out of it that I thought I would.”

 

 Across the small one room apartment Ream simply smiled with his eyes. His old friend Ashley had come to visit him. And shop, yes, but she was the first and he feared only one to come all the way down or up or sideways to see him in the Georgia state capital.

 

“We need a drink.”

 

 Well suffice to say, a Sivad boy and an upset Ashley Lyn were incapable of having just a drink. Try a fourth a bottle of whine, then two beers, and then finally a fourth a bottle of tequila. Reasonable thought was out the window and a foreign concept to the two fair-haired Bayla alumni. The separation of him at his desk and her in the kitchenette had turned into the both of them cramped on his small Pier-1 couch, with tangled limbs and all.

 

 “You know Ream, I can’t even remember the wrong reasons now.”

 

And Ream laughed. What else were there to do after all that wine. And beer. And tequila? Then he remembered his role as the consoling one who used to have the job of making everyone feel better, with everyone meaning every larger than A size cup female. The one who used to get any piece of ass he wanted. So he quit laughing and formed the most reassuring look he could muster with a numb face.

 

 “My dear Ashley you probably can’t even remember your mother’s name with all that we have dranken or drunken (he was the science major, remember?) tonight.”

 

 He realized this humor only hurt not helped, so swing number two.

 

“You went because of Adrian Cobb. And you will never forget that.”

 

Shocked wasn’t an adequate adjective to describe Ashley’s face. Sure she had been frightened that was the reason, maybe even thought it once, but she had never heard it aloud and the palpable honesty of it all hit her harder and far quicker than the buzz of the alcohol had.

 

“Oh Ream.”

 

 “But, (!) that is far too much of a serious topic for us to be divulging in right now sweet Ash. We need to do something stupid and spring breakish and completely Bayla-ish that we can blame on intoxication in the morning.”

 

 “Finally get that limousine and go the westward sunshine state?”

 

 “That ship has sailed. The OC was canceled a decade ago, but we can go somewhere...”

 

 “I need air. Let’s just go outside.”

 

 “Oh you are so adventurous.”

 

The only reply Ashley gave Ream was the look that she used to pray would make him go weak in the knees. Probably still didn’t work, but she was too drunk to care.

 

They headed out into the cool late night or early morning air and just started walking down the sidewalk in a supposed-to-be awkward silence that was righted and deemed completely normal by the beer buzz, or tequila haze.

 

Then Ream did that stupid, spring breakish, old Bayla-ish days thing. He took his hands out of his pockets and started to tickle the area where Ashley’s love handles used to belong. Of course she squealed and tried to flee-skip away. Of course he caught up with her and tackled her into the green grass that smelled nothing of Adrian Cobb and all that was Alabama and Auburn and wrong reasons.

 

With Ream straddling on top of her he quit tickling and she quit giggling and they started a staring match. Or gazing match that never had a winner because Ashley ruined it by lifting her head up so that her lips touched his. Soon his tongue was tickling her’s in the fashion his hands had just been earlier. Just for fun. Completely contributable to alcohol.

 

----------

 

Ashley woke up in a foreign bed and before her eyes were completely awake she smacked her forehead with the palm of her slightly tan hand. She soon realized that was the wrong thing to do because she had the largest hangover she had ever had. When she regained whatever composure she was capable of possessing in the state she was in now she darted her eyes to her unknown bedmate.

 

 She had to keep from gasping outloud. After silencing herself, she darted her eyes away from him and down to her attire that consisted of what she had come into this world in. Damn. Shit. Fuck. And all those other words she had tried to not say outloud were being screamed in her already screaming head. Then it all rushed back to her in disheartening images that took the place of the screaming obscenities in her head.

 

 They hadn’t unconnected their mouths all the way from the random patch of grass outside of his apartment to his bedroom. What was air anyway? He hadn’t gotten laid in far too long for Ream Sivad terms and she just didn’t know what else she should be doing. Had she actually pulled him to her whispering about how much she missed him? There most certainly wasn’t a God, and if there were Ashley must have rubbed him the exact wrong way.

 

 She took her eyes away from her lack of clothing and gazed around the room at their shed clothes. Despite the previously learned lesson, she smacked her forehead once again.

 

Oh had she sinned. That gold and silver ring on her right ring finger seemed to blister into her skin reminding her of that so virtuous promise that had already been ruptured before. Now she had broken it with Ream. Ream Sivad. There couldn’t possibly be a larger sin.

 

She finally sent her shock and hated of herself to go for a nap as she mutely got out of the bed and began the horrifying experience of digging through all the ripped off clothes to find the ones that belonged to her.

 

 Ream never stirred as Ashley rummaged through the stripped wardrobes and didn’t  even hear the shower as Ashley nearly burned herself alive and cursed outloud at her stupidity for using his loofa to get his scent off of her. He finally woke up to find himself all alone when he heard a car screechingly speeding away.

 

But it was Ream afterall, so he probably wouldn’t be all alone for too long.

 

Asked to Summer Dinner             July 24, 2006

“Stop walking down my street.../Who do you expect to meet?” –Tom Petty

 

Summer after junior year was far different than Ashley ever imagined it would be. She didn’t stay where she had been in hopes of obtaining the unattainable. She didn’t make plans to go to the previously impossible. She returned home after spending a school year at the impossible, forgetting the unattainable.

 

She realized she ought to have worked harder at getting that killer summer internship that surely all of her fellow Bayla alums already had. She realized spending her last “real” summer break at her parent’s house on the mountain while they gallivanted around the country with their larger-than-her’s social lives wasn’t exactly ideal behavior for an early-twenty-something. She realized this all and chose to ignore it. Instead she divulged in the freeness that she now obtained with her parent’s absence and made her ritas and pulled that old radio out onto the back deck and baked like all the professionals told you not to.

 

Somewhere between rita numero dos and ‘american girl’ and ‘mary jane’s last dance,’ a chevy truck pulled up, while Ashley hazily sang about that Indiana girl. She would later remember not to keep the music so loud because if it had been a robber or heaven forbid something worse, as it ended up being, she would be completely unprepared. Again.

 

 Instead she drank and sang and drank some more while he flipped his tan feet in those old rainbows down her driveway and around the corner towards the deck.

 

With her shoes long forgotten in the back of her closet, along with that straightener, and wife beater top that surely was meant to be part of a set of pajamas, and her frayed jean shorts she most certainly was a sight.

 

 A sight that she would have never let him seen. Under any circumstances.

 

Around the time Petty started howling about how he had ‘given up’ and was telling some poor soul not to ‘come around here no more,’ he cleared his throat, startling her out of her chair and the lime out of her glass.

 

“What the he-...Can I hel-....I....Ream Sivad.”  

 

Xerox             September 30, 2006

“we can hold our heads down/ as we skip the goodbyes.” –Rachael Yamagata

Giocatore – player in Italian

Cambiamento – change in Italian

 

She was packing. Packing it all up. In went the polos and jeans with the flip flops crissed and crossed and shoved to the sides of her extra large vera. Her roommate was in the kitchen making for-the-road cookies and pushing herself into a state of ignorance to her roomie’s pending departure. Her roommate didn’t bake.

 

 But then again, Ashlyn Lyn didn’t make haste decisions that didn’t involve extensive planning and preparation. Today was different though, she had packed and filled her car with a full tank of gas and chosen to make no other plans. A small aspect she refused to dote on.

 

Ashlyn’s heart had done gotten itself broken once again. By the same breaker. Toree had gone and done it again.

 

 This time the star football player had forever crushed and destroyed all ties with the faltering freshman. They were in love, Toree and Ashlyn. Both of them did stupid things, got blinded, and followed the illegible guide to living in the name of adoration. Ashlyn’s only problem was Toree’s affection driven behavior was not conducted by herself but by a different girl entirely.

 

 Ambia from back home and Toree from way back home were now unofficially officially together, or back together, and batting eyes at the Waffle House, him and his coffee and her and her sweet tea. And Ashlyn was packing.

 

The Optician’s Son            September 30, 2006

“he said the way my blue eyes shined/ put those Georgia stars to shame that night/ I said he lied.” – Taylor Swift

Isaiah: From the Hebrew meaning salvation

 

He was picking out the fungus grapes with a huff every five minutes and a sigh every other breath. He was using those yellow and black tweezers that she remembered his mother had called grape forks. The sun was unmistakably bright and the green of the fields rolled as smoothly as the clouds in the blue sky in the way they made a depiction of perfection.

 

Her simple white tank and worn jeans were enough for the almost-cool weather while his simple shorts and shirt was simply him. It was a little after lunch in the vineyard and a little before the point of no return between the two of them.

 

 He heard her flip flops flick before she was positive it was him instead of his brother. But now her shoes had stopped flicking and he’d stopped using those odd tweezers.

 

“Hey.”

 

“Want some help?”

 

“It’ll stain.”

 

“I plan on it. My friends say this shirt is too boring.”

 

He simply smiled and glanced at another pair of those tweezers on the ground as an unspoken direction and carried on his work. Only glancing at her every other second.

 

They worked silently for an hour. He in a mindless fashion that exuded an air of repetition, while she strained to figure out exactly what it was she was doing. Finally he spoke up because he had figured long ago that she wasn’t good at that.

 

“You thirsty?”

 

”No.”

 

 “You want something to eat?”

 

“No.”

 

 “Ashley.”

 

“What?”

 

 Her hair had fallen over the course of the confusing manipulation of the grapes and she had a thin line of perspiration on her brow that would have normally looked sweaty, but with the setting light and his eyes, she just kind of glowed.

 

After he continued to not reply to her agitated inquiry, she finally looked up to catch him looking at her. Instead of uncomfortably questioning him again, she just looked back.

 

 She knew other guys had looked at her before, maybe not as much as some of the friends she hung out with, but one or two or more maybe had looked. She even acknowledged that some boys had possible watched her walk down a street or through a crowded mall once before. But while she looked back at Isaiah, she knew that this friend gazing back at her with his hazel Italian eyes actually saw her.

 

His lips that soon dropped to hers gave a larger buzz than any of the wine the grapes surrounding them would ever make up and made the perfect prelude to more kisses to come.

 

“Just wanted to tell you that.”

 

Vs.                  September 30, 2006

“No/ I don’t cry on the outside/ Anymore...” - Clarkson

 

They’d lost. Her younger brother would have even uttered the catch phrase of his younger generation: they had gotten creamed.

 

 But even her brother would have simply whispered it and only if he knew Toree was far, far off. Whether that be physically, or mentally, as he was now, in the passenger seat of his own truck, that Ashlyn was driving. He’d gone to the after-party, everyone had. He chose not to celebrate but tried everything he could to just forget. Jose or Jack, or good old Bud were of no use, despite his repeated attempt.

 

 His father had always been disenchanted with the fact his son would only make it to high-school level ball playing, and the fact that Toree had just lost the most important game of his final season was certainly yelling-match worthy for the third and the fourth Toree Irvins.

 

 Ashlyn was driving him to Parks, because she knew no where else that would take him. And her car was conveniently at Parks’ as well. They pulled to a halt in front of the empty house. Everyone was still at the social-gathering instead of shofur-ing drunk defensive linemen around.

 

He hadn’t slurred a sound the whole way back and she had opted to not speak in fear of his reaction or lack thereof. She knew he knew his father would still be smoldering when he finally went home. She knew he knew Johnson, Achilles, and Watson would give him a hard time come Monday, if not earlier. She knew he knew Watson and Ambia were having a special kind of celebration of their own as they silently sat in Parks’ driveway.

 

 She unbuckled and turned towards him as a slight, un-picked up signal that he ought to think about moving. He just sat eerily motionless. He, by definition of crying, didn’t cry. No tears rolled down, no chests heaved, and no lips quivered, but his eyes took on a look of strain and confusion that would certainly be far more painful than actual tears.

 

More painful to both him and Ashlyn.

 

“Come on Toree.”

 

A long anxious exhausted pause ensued for what seemed like eternity.

 

 “I’m not that guy, Ash.”

 

 She knew the answer. He knew she knew the answer.

 

 “What guy?”

 

“I’m not Watson, Ashlyn.”

 

And I’m not Ambia. Toree.

 

Watching the Goats of Life          October 1, 2006

“Run away to find a home/ happy now/ but you don’t see it/ runaway because you’re all alone/.../dead inside/you wait for something....” –Rock Kills Kid

 

“What’s it like to play by the rules all the time and never get rewarded?”

 

“What’s it like to play just enough to get by?”

 

“I have fun.”

 

I have fun.”

 

Isaiah just stared back. He wasn’t quite sure if that meant he had given up, or he had finally realized Ashley wasn’t even taking the time off from the playing field long enough to even be in the fight.

 

She had come over while his parents were at church and told her own parentals that she was shopping, or something. He was proud. Lying to the blood relatives wasn’t exactly by the rules. He hadn’t even lied to his parents. He told them he didn’t want to go to church because he didn’t believe. At least he didn’t believe in their Catholic ways.

 

“Did you invite me to just come down here and fight and watch the goats?”

 

“I didn’t ask you to come.”

 

“But I came.”

 

“Indeed you did.”

 

It was Ashley’s turn to back stare. Although she would never admit it under any circumstances, Isaiah frustrated her more than anything ever had.

 

 Others, in her bubble as Isaiah called it, never called her out on her faults. They also never regarded her perfections and successes either, but that is beside the point. Isaiah Barge called her out on her fulfillments of all things right and constant recognition of the rules.

 

All of the rules.

 Ashley decided to get back into the fight she wasn’t participating in. That Italian boy in his blue polo and the serene setting of the vineyard were the culprits for her rule breaking.

 

“So you want me to leave?”

 

“Didn’t say that.”

 

“You didn’t say you wanted me to stay either.”

 

“Around the world is a game I quit playing ages ago.”

 

“I don’t know what you want from me Isaiah.”

 

He hoped she got it. He would help her, but he knew this was the moment where self-reliant realization was crucial.

 

“I only want from you what you want from yourself Ashley.”

 

“I don’t know what that means.”

 

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

 

Yes you do. He could tell from the way her eyes constricted themselves from showing her true emotions that she indeed did know. It was time to give up on the image. The bubble. The life that anyone who took the time to actually look at would realize the lies and falseness.

 

 It was time to exit the fiction and join the livings ones in the scary, yet survivable world of non-fiction. Surviving wasn’t an option, but a must that he was more than willing to help her muster, if only she would let him.

 

“I want to go to the city. And I want you to come with me. I want you to bring me.”

 

Help bring me to the lights. Pretty please?

"We reach to the sky still/ In hopes we'd be able/ To see the bigger picture later on"
-Sally Taylor