Poem: A Fairweather Friend

It took dying to be alive. I figured… I’d tell the Earth my deepest darkest secrets knowing she’d never speak. She after all took a vow of silence, so there would be no leak. Every now and then, in the midst of my telling, a volcano would erupt or she’d quake under pain of knowing just how dark I could become. But it was living that made me so and I know I’m not the only one.

I told her, “If you think night is dark just wait till you hear my thoughts.” Earth quaked yet again. What was happening to my new friend? Am I to take it that she’s been laughing at me this whole time? Spilling my most intimate secrets to her laughter has to be some sort of crime.

I wanted what any being wanted… just to be understood. How could I know that telling her my pain would do no good? We all seek healing but none more than me. After all, I had to become a spirit of the sky in order to be free. Which, if I may say so, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

People can wish on my stars and send their Lanterns into my depths. But the moment I dare share my truest feelings, there’s no sympathy left. Hm… seems unfair. When I constantly change to fit their needs. But do they care? No. You don’t like the way I am, just give it a minute, a Gemini of the truest form. But now I’m the bad guy due to my cycles of life and storms.

Fine. I’ll spill my secrets to the Sun…at least he’ll give me an audience and will listen to my plight… and in return, I’ll assist in his light. A new friend and an amiable friendship is what is needed. So Earth, I release you from our agreement but there’s something that should be heeded.

Your silence on this matter has wrecked our  partnership and left me dreary and gray. If you wish ever to be a friend to anyone, maybe you should communicate in a different way.

As I part l, I hear a yawn and see Earth stretch her rolling hills. She’d been asleep the entire time, I went still. I’ve been talking to myself…well isn’t that just fine! *sigh* I’ve not the energy or desire to repeat the secrets  spilled. And so I leave with new friendship duties to fulfill.  Farewell Earth, it was fun while it lasted and I am as you would think…simple fairweather. But I think the Sun and I will be perfect together.

Sun: 😳🙄😒

Earth: 👀 😉

Poem: The Cure

I listen to her as she counts backward from 10 – and her cues in keywords for where we’ll begin. I sit still and try to focus on the image she wants my eyes to find – and feel myself slipping away into the depths of my mind.

I feel as though I’ve been holding my breath the entire time.  Some thoughts are his and others are mine. Planted there to keep me safe from the wrong things, but as I look at them with clearer eyes behind closed lids – I can’t help but think…

it’s all wrong.

Memory upon memory builds as I swim through the images coming forward begging to be seen – and it all just seems a part of someone else’s horrific dream. Certainly not mine, I didn’t think I’d ever have or feel such sorrow but it’s all I can do to get past today and reach my tomorrow.

She says in a voice that trails through my mind as a soft echo –  don’t just see your pain, feel it and bring resolution. Your mind is clear water and your pain is pollution. Resolve this now and leave it where it lays – in your past. Learn to heal from the things that didn’t kill you – and see how long you’ll last.

As soon as I decide to accept the things that are and what has been – I see the demon rearing its ugly head in my vision. Come to me – it says – the future is no place for you. The past has all the old comforts that you’ve been used to. I listen as it taunts and speaks with false love and tries to exude its power over me. I try to move my feet forward to release myself and be set free.

The more I try to move ahead –

the further back my feet tread.

Lost in a stream of consciousness with no way out

I begin to flail my arms then scream and shout

I hear her voice telling me to fight it – that things have already been so

I hear her guiding me out of the darkness into the light where I am free to let go

The demon screams its curses and strikes me hard in the heart of the matter

In a place where I grew complacent in my pain and thoughts were much sadder

The dead things have no place among the living – they are in the past and have fallen away

There is no need to wonder what could have or would have or should have been, no need to stay

I grasp at this knowledge and shake myself loose of that demon and his terrible lies

I shake myself free of the things that cause me pain, that foster my weeping and cries

I walk toward the light of the present where the pain is non-existent and no more

Then turn to see the demon racing forward – so I closed that door

I open my eyes to see her worried face

She asks what happened, what took place

I released the arms of my chair and relaxed my shoulders and felt my face go soft

She asks once more – what happened and I tell her, I shook the devil off.

Pain is temporary so we shouldn’t assign a permanent solution

Pain is the substance that causes us so much emotional pollution

Healing comes when we acknowledge and face the pain of which we don’t have to give

And only through healing will we ever truly be free to let go and live.

Super Short Post

I’m okay today. I’m better than okay – I’m good. But not perfect and I don’t think I ever will be. The noise is at a workable minimum. I can concentrate and think clearly without succumbing to chaos. So I’ll take good and run with it like a kid with scissors… well maybe not scissors. I just notice that kids will run with shit that they know they aren’t supposed to and I swear I’ve gotten in like over 6,000 steps in since Kai started walking and now running. He has run with my phone, all three of the remote controls (which is madness), my tablet, a spoon (that’s all he could reach, my bottle of water), a set of alcohol markers… man this kid. I think he just likes my reaction to him taking off. Because I make the same noise and say the same thing every time… “Aye…Get back here Speedy Gonzales!!” I swear he speeds up when he hears me say, “Aye!”

I just wanted to come and give an update. I was not admitted but did seek out some help from my psychiatrist. Another adjustment to the meds was needed and I needed to just chill out from the things that attributed to the suck. It’s not completely gone but I can function. I don’t trust myself to handle a tractor or direct traffic …but I’m okay. Not things I’ll be doing anyway so yeah. Life is resuming slowly.

I’m alright and present and sometimes, that’s all we can ask for.

I’m gonna stretch my brain a little tonight and keep writing. I feel up to the task.

I hope you’re all well and are treating each other… as well as yourselves… with respect and love. The times we’re in now are in need of such – soo…

Be good humans. ❤

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Poem: This Hill…

…is the one on which I choose to die, but how will it get me closer to you? Everything has a consequence or purpose – a curse in the blessing we must choose…

I think I’ve paid my dues. Every day I lose – my mind, my time…. stuck in the reasoning well within the rhyme. It’s all kinda hard to find …when you’re one step from failure and three steps behind.

And it all just kind of fades away.

then I’m left defending the pieces of myself

that didn’t fall to decay.

I assert that I am stronger than that which seeks to destroy me in totality –

bending over backward, contorting myself to fit in this reality –

It’s a shame you see… how it all ends

falling short of healing and forgiveness

never really able to make amends

What can I say of the one that despises her reflection and the face therein –

such self-hatred should be a crime or mortal sin. Where do I even begin?

Yet I wish to prove that I am fine to any that will hear.

I’m fine. Aren’t I? Am I being clear?

Present to this cause,

I show up here daily writing the wrongs

amongst all my flaws.

Giving myself over to this passion

with my own blood on my hands

Trying to sate a God that

I’m unsure even cares or understands.

There was a plan…

To break generational curses and lift soul binding spells – to release and relieve my mind of this personal and soul-searing hell

Yet, I choose to dwell… on the past where everything has already taken place and run its course –

So I sit here in dire need of release, the kind I must force.

“I’m fine” – I shout through the wind and rain

“I’m fine” – I say over and over again

“I’m okay” – Believing it less and less

“I’ll be okay” –  I say as I take a good look at this mess

Yes, this is the hill on which I must die – believing whole fictions of a life set to disappear right before my eyes. Spoken through clenched teeth, my wishes for this pain to cease

I’m fine…

…is all I truly need to believe.

We’re all bracing for these storms set to roll through over here. It’s supposed to be pretty bad so while we’re enjoying the weather TODAY and watching the sky for tomorrow our attention is split.

Never fails, always around Easter we get some severe weather. But that’s neither here nor there. Severe storms happen regularly here.

Life is just moving in it’s cycles. I just need to remember that. Everything has a cycle and all things are temporary.

Thank God. I don’t know how much mire anxiety I can withstand.

Anyway…it’s just Tuesday… or Monday part 2. And it’s been okay. Nothing terrible happened as my anxiety leads me to believe. All is well in the kingdom. My grey matter on the other hand… leaves something to be desired.

I’m dealing with it and have decided not to give in or give up the fight. I’ll come out of this stronger…frayed around the edges but stronger inwardly.

Be good humans ❤️

Be kind to others ❤️

Be gentle with yourselves❤️

Don’t mind me…testing out WordPress mobile.

Apparently from mobile you can create stories.

Instagram…you see the monster you’ve created???? Do you?!

Super short post. Just wanted to try this out and it’s a bit better than using my tablet. Well…waaaaay better than using my tablet. That’s just insane and I do it to myself all the time.

Alright ..mini update tho… I’m okay and my brain is just doing whatever it wants. Mumbling instead of coherent voiced. Hopeful the meds take care of the rest. I’m just be mindful of my stress levels since that seems to be the cause. I see my psychiatrist soon so that’s good but if it gets any worse I will admit myself.

I hate the thought of that but if need be it will happen.

It’s friday and snow is in the air…in April. Man I’m not the only one that needs meds…midwest weather I’m looking at you.

Be good. Humans. ❤️

Short Story: Carried Away

The Mayor’s Masquerade Ball was the event of the year. Grandeur was not exactly the word Lanie “Ladybug” Fields would have used to describe her current location. She knew the word, it being one of her vocabulary words for the Spelling Bee two years prior. She felt that sixth grade taught her much, but eighth grade completely opened her eyes and mind. The word she chose to describe her surroundings was ‘opulent’. A word she learned that year in History class when they talked about the Renaissance. Little did she know, that she was standing in a building constructed in that era. She marveled at the marble floors that looked as though it had been covered with a thin sheet of glass. She stood in awe at the high end plush furnishings, many pieces of which were antiques and heirlooms of the home. Off to the side of a French Louis XV Style, Giltwood Carved Style Baby Grand was a very large gold mirror that took up a good portion of the wall near the floor to ceiling windows. In the mirror, she peered briefly at her visage in her lavender and white ballroom dress with a matching harlequin mask adorning her face. Lanie took a quick glance over her shoulder before performing a quick spin that flared out the bottom of her gorgeous gown and received several giggles that made her blush in embarrassment.

She went back to assessing her environment, making mental notes about what she liked and didn’t like about the cavernous space now filled with well-dressed people, musicians, and food. She sighed as the larger than life paintings of ancient ancestry seemed to look down their noses at her letting her know that she would never be amongst their ranks. The well to do and hoity-toity of society who were just as famous dead as they were alive – which was not very much at all. If Lanie had another word to describe what she felt the paintings gave off it would have been ‘supercilious’, a word she would come to know that very night from the mayor herself. She rolled her eyes at the painting of a highly decorated and pinned up General close by, despising his silent authority over her as she picked him apart too. She felt he’d escaped one of the other artistic monstrosities gracing the walls and looked for his portrait. There it was…near the entrance, a battlefield full of blue soldiers with no one leading them. Lanie giggled to herself before turning back to look for her twin sister.

Off in a corner of the crowded room was Bailee “Butterfly” Fields. A pair of adults had her cornered and enthralled in a discussion about her experiences with Ms. Marguerite’s Conservatoire of Dance where she was learning the art of Ballet. Lanie watched as her sister clasped her hands in front of her and giggled at something the grown-ups said. Lanie scrunched up her face and went back to judging the paintings in the well-lit room.

Her gaze fell on the painting of a soldier flanked by two huge dogs, of what breed Lanie didn’t quite know, she just knew that the young soldier looked lonely. Like the dogs weren’t enough like something or someone was missing.

The lights in the room dimmed and before long music from the string section of the small orchestra played throughout the space. As if by silent command, the adults fanned out from the center of the floor where several couples took to dancing the waltz. Bailee ran over to her sister in her blue satin gown with gold accents embroidered into it with a matching butterfly mask. She grabbed her hand pulling her towards the center of the floor forcing Lanie into the dance.

“Guess what?!” Bailee said full of uncontainable excitement. Before Lanie could speak Bailee revealed her news. “The Mayor wants me to dance at her anniversary dinner!”

“Wow…that’s great Lee.”

“I know right? It’s going to be so cool. She said she’s going to invite everyone who’s anyone. What does that even mean? I feel like my head is gonna explode.”

“Please don’t. Not on my new dress. And it means that more people like these will be at the anniversary thingy.”

“What’s wrong Ladybug? Aren’t you happy for me?”

“Sure… I am.”

“But…”

“But what? I am happy for you.” Lanie gave her sister a halfhearted hug and continued to dance with her putting on the biggest “I’m happy for you” smile she could muster.

Lanie’s eyes trailed toward the painting of the lonely soldier. She noted that his eyes looked especially sad under the dim lights as if remembering a time when he had someone to dance with. As if, the world had gone on without him. She also noticed that the sky was darkened on the countryside where he stood with a white manor off in the distance. Perhaps, it was where his lady love lived and she had just broken it off. Engagement annulled. No going back and that’s why he’s standing on a countryside beneath stormy skies.

Just as her eyes were about to leave the painting, she caught the lonely soldier nodding in her direction. Lanie went still. She knew her imagination was particularly potent at home but never had she seen things move when she imagined with her eyes open in public. Carefully, she set her eyes on the painting and waited to see if he would move once more. As if prompted by her thoughts, the lonely soldier bent at the waist in a bow, straightened up then walked with his two dogs out of the frame of the picture. She looked down at the floor then back up to the painting. Still not there.

“Ladybug…what’s wrong? Why aren’t you dancing with me?”

“Uhhh…I think I need…I feel…oh my god,” she stammered, trying to speak the impossible.

“Lanie? Oh my god, you look pale. Come on, let’s go to the chaise.”

“Okay.” Lanie walked slowly over to the chaise lounge on legs that felt like they might give way at any second.

Once there, Bailee ran off to grab a drink from the refreshment table for her sister. Lanie, bent forward and rested her head in her hands, being sure to cover her eyes to shield them from the painting empty of its soldier. Bailee came back with the drink and sat next to her sister, cooing to her in soft tones to drink the beverage. With a shaky hand, Lanie reached for the cup then retracted her grip from the cup. Bailee leaned forward and placed the drink to her sister’s lips, watching her sip the beverage slowly. Some spell had fallen over her sister and she didn’t understand it. Lanie wasn’t known for being dramatic. She knew her sister just as she knew herself…probably better.

Lanie leaned back against the chaise with her eyes closed and a hand to her brow. Her sister began a quick fanning of her sister’s face with a program that had been left on the seat of the chaise. She sat quietly moving the air around her sister’s face, waiting for her to speak. Lanie sat up straight, opened her eyes and turned her gaze to the marble floors.

“What is it?” Bailee prompted.

“I …I don’t…” Lanie sighed, frustrated that she couldn’t bring herself to speak what she’d seen. She knew the backlash she’d get if she didn’t. Bailee was her twin and they shared everything with each other. Everything.

“Ladybug…it’s me…just tell me.” Bailee pressed as she set the program in her lap.

Lanie looked into her sister’s eyes with as much truth and honesty as a stare could have. She couldn’t hold secrets. Not from her sister so she bit her lip, took a deep breath and spoke her fears.

“It happened again.”

It had been happening since she was three years old but as she grew older the occurrences of her active imagination grew less and less. Childish habits faded along with memories as she grew. Soon, things like imaginary friends and play were replaced by her love of words, her school work, and her social life. While Bailee was consumed with ballet, Lanie was immersed in the nuances of English.

Lanie, as her sister knew first hand, was nothing short of phenomenal. Whenever they played as young girls, “Ladybug’s” world of fantasy came to life right before their eyes. Her imagination jumped off the paper she scribbled on that littered the walls of their bedroom. The characters of her stories pranced in their play space because her words lived.

Her parents felt she had become too consumed with the things she made up. So much so that they turned her attention to other things they felt would interest her and sought the advice of a counselor to help her live in the moment and be one with reality. Word a day calendars, thesaurus’ to help with her story writing and journaling, and encyclopedias to sate her growing curiosity about the world around her. They noticed when she was bored that she retreated into her world of fiction, which was okay…they didn’t want to destroy her creativity, they just wanted to see to it that she knew what was real and what wasn’t.

At times, for Lanie, the lines would blur and she would become lost in the make believe, seeing it live all around her. It started innocent enough with the introduction of her imaginary friend Princess LulaBell. LulaBell encouraged Lanie’s trips into fantasy and became her confidante when she felt she couldn’t talk to her parents or twin sister. Her parents thought it strange that she didn’t have the close knit relationship with her twin they thought she should have had, but the bond between the two had been stronger than her parents could have ever imagined.

That night at the ball, Lanie had what she would come to know as cathexis with her fantasy world. It became a mental and emotional bond so strong that pulling her out of it became hard without proper guidance, so they sought the help of a child psychologist. At the age of 13, Lanie had come to outgrow her childish instincts and mature into a young lady that enjoyed living her life in the real world.

The Fields’ left the party early to see to it that Lanie get some much needed rest after her seemingly unexplained spell. Her mother, Anna, sat in the back of the car with Lanie resting her head in her lap. Bailee rode up front with her father, Barry. Bailee chatted it up with her father about the night’s events, meeting the mayor, and her request to have her dance at the anniversary gathering.

Lanie lay in her mother’s lap with the image of the soldier walking out of his painting playing behind her eyelids. Her heart pounded in her chest at the thought of the soldier. She thought back to LulaBell and a chill fell over her body. By the time she turned eight, LulaBell had become nothing more than a figment of her very active imagination. The happenings at the party, however, had been something altogether different. It never happened in public before, the imaginings were usually confined to her bedroom or backyard or during reading time. She simply thought it and it happened, at least she thought so.

Anna thought her child was stressed out over the entire occurrence. Having to get primp and preen for people she didn’t know, the stimulus of the environment they were in, and the pressure to be social. She leaned forward and asked Barry to turn the heat up in the car, feeling Lanie shiver in her lap. Barry did as requested and turned on the radio as well. He drove the icy road home while consumed in his conversation with Bailee, inquiring intermittently of Lanie’s condition.

His eyes turned from the road briefly to look in the backseat at his wife who wore a concerned expression on her face. Before turning his vision back to the road, Barry noticed the inside of the car filled with light.  Bailee issued a worried “daddy” in his direction. A lumber truck had been barreling up the wrong side of the road. Their father went into quick action, swerving into the opposite lane of traffic to see the truck do the same to avoid hitting the car behind their black Lexus. Barry stood on the brakes pushing them to the floor in a panicked and desperate attempt to avoid slamming into the front of the truck as stark light flooded the inside of the car.

****

Lanie stood in the bathroom mirror willing herself to wake up and get a move on with her day. Her college English course, Academic Literacy, was in an hour and she was seriously dragging. She turned the shower on and went back to the mirror. The night before had been nothing short of ridiculous, according to her twin sister Bailee. They’d been clubbing and bar hopping all night, staying up just an hour shy of dawn. Luckily, Lanie’s class didn’t start until 11 AM, or else she’d have missed it and her wake up call.

A phantom of Bailee whirled through the apartment like a small tornado on speed, grabbing at books and clothing until she had gathered all the things she needed for the day. From one corner of the apartment to the other she whirled, unsettling the papers on the desk, brushing against curtains, and moving objects here and there in her manic search.

“Where’s my frikkin right shoe?!”

“Leeee…” Lanie yelled at her sister in a cracked voice. “Language!”

“I’m not cussing! Besides it’s not like dad is around to spank me or anything.”

Lanie glowered in the mirror, staring at her sister’s reflection, “Still…you go down the road of foul language and you’ll never come back. Language is…”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…just help me find my damn shoe!”

Lanie turned the shower off before the water could run cold and helped Bailee in her search. After 10 minutes of searching high and low for the black and white sneaker and coming up empty, Bailee decided on a different pair of shoes. As Lanie kept searching, she focused on the shoe, imagining that the shoe was somewhere hiding away from its twin. Somewhere neither of them thought to look and they looked everywhere.

Bailee chose her sister’s flats. They didn’t pair well with her yoga outfit but it was all she could do to keep from being late for her Yoga class. She spotted them in the closet next to her gym bag where both her gym shoes should have been.

“Oh well, these will have to do,” she said, balancing on her right leg while sliding the ballerina flat over her left foot.

“I’ll keep looking after I get out of the shower,” Lanie said, taking a stretch and then yawning her fatigue.

“Okay. Call me and let me know when you find it. I’ll come back and get it.” Bailee rushed out pulling the door with her as she left and took off in a run down the hall disturbing the flyers pinned to the corkboard in the hall.

When the door didn’t shut behind Bailee as she exited the room, Lanie spun around to see why. She walked over to the door and closed the door to see it bounce back open. She closed it again and the same thing happened once more.

“The hell…” Lanie said in half a whisper, quickly admonishing herself for the language.

She exited the room and stood in the hallway of the dorm and took a look at the door’s knob and latch to see if anything was blocking it. There was nothing there. She knew sometimes she would put tape over the latch so she wouldn’t be locked out if she were roaming elsewhere in the building or visiting another apartment. That hadn’t been the case. No tape or anything blocked the latch bolt. She turned her gaze to the top of the door to see if anything there was preventing it from closing. All clear.

Her gaze fell to the floor and there, behind the door, wedged between the door and door jamb was the left shoe. Lanie bent over to get a closer look and found that it was in there good but how she didn’t know. The door had been closed and they both would have seen the shoe for sure before it was opened. She squatted and tugged on the shoe to work it loose of the crack in the door. After a hard few tugs, the door gave up the shoe.

Lanie stood up, walked back inside, and closed the door behind her, this time making sure it closed and the latch caught the strike plate. She stretched and yawned once more while walking to her bedroom with the shoe in hand before plopping down on her bed near the closet. After giving the shoe a once over she tossed it in the open closet knocking down a department store bag with something heavy in it. Getting up from the bed, she froze in her steps at what her eyes landed on. She took a look over her shoulder and spotted the black and white shoe Bailee had tossed to the floor when she decided on wearing the flats. It lay there motionless on its side with its long white strings splayed out, but there on the other side of the black and white runner that she had tossed inside of the closet…lay another black and white runner. An exact replica of the shoe she had just tossed inside.

She walked cautiously toward the closet, eyes trained on the shoe uncovered by the bag, and trembled a bit. Once there, she bent over the bag righting it and its contents then picked up the shoe. The trembling in her hand had become more prominent as she held on to the runner. She leaned over to pick up the running shoe she’d tossed inside. There in her hands, she held two right shoes – the left laying on its side in the middle of the room. Lanie’s head began to swim and suddenly her surroundings faded into an engulfing darkness. She collapsed on the floor in front of the closet.

When Lanie came to Bailee was sitting on the carpeted floor next to her. A throbbing had overtaken Lanie’s temples. A series of moans issued from her lips as she came out of the darkness that had swallowed her up an hour ago. She reached for her head to rub at the soreness in her temples.

“Whaa…” Lanie started before being hushed by her sister.

“Don’t talk, just rest a while.”

“My head hurts.”

“I’ll bet. Shush…just lay still.”

Lanie did as she was told. She laid back and placed her arm over her eyes. Images of broken memories flashed behind her eyelids. Things she hadn’t thought of since she was 13 years old. The ballroom of the mayor’s masquerade ball, the extravagant marble floors, the people dancing the waltz on those floors that seemed to be made of glass, the smells of the food issuing from the banquet table, and …the paintings. She sat up quickly, causing her head to swim and the room to spin. To get it to stop, she rested her head in her hands and closed her eyes tight to shut out the light pouring into them.

“I remember now,” she whispered. “The paintings…the shoes…LulaBell. You…”

“You what, Ladybug?” Bailee said studying her sister.

Lanie lay back on the floor and turned on her side. It was all coming back to her, image after image flooded her senses. A chill fell over her body and goosebumps raced over her skin. She held onto herself for fear of falling apart. She squeezed her eyes closed and began humming a tune she used to sing to her sister during their playtime.

“Butterfly, butterfly where did you go…” she whispered rocking herself. “Did you find your home away from the snow?”

“Lanie…” her voice trailed as she listened to her sister.

“Butterfly, butterfly what did you see… did you lose yourself, or are you still here with me?”

“I’m here”, Bailee said her voice echoing in Lanie’s ears as if she were far away yelling through a tunnel. “I’m here…”

“Butterfly, butterfly come out and play…say you’ll never ever go away.”

Behind Lanie’s eyes, she could see her parent’s car, the black Lexus that they arrived to the masquerade ball in. The same car that wrecked on an icy road due to a lumber truck going much too fast for the weather.

She heard the screams of her mother and sister as her father swerved to keep from being struck head on. The horn of the truck blared in her ears as it grew closer. She heard the crunching metal on metal as the front end of the car scrunched up like an empty soda can. Lanie remembered how the airbags deployed upon impact in the front and rear of the car. She saw how her sister’s body was thrown forward and how the airbag snapped her head and neck back against the headrest of the passenger seat.  Concussed and injured from the blow, Lanie sat up slowly from resting in her mother’s lap. She called out to her father and sister but heard no response. She cried as her mother gained consciousness to see blood on the windshield and limp bodies in the front seats. She quickly covered Lanie’s eyes and whispered to her daughter to calm her.

“Heaven is just a breath away,” she said trying to still herself and keep panic out of her voice. “You’ll see her again, sweetheart,” she whispered, rocking Lanie while she sat trembling in her arms. “I promise.”

The truck driver climbed out of his rig to check the load that made a mess of the road behind him and to come see about the car he’d hit. He called out to them before approaching, asking if they were alright. When he made it to the passenger side of the car. A tight knot formed in his stomach at the sight of the shattered windshield and blood. He walked to the driver’s side of the car to check on the driver. His eyes stretched at the visage of Barry Fields as his head lay on the steering wheel in a sickening position.

The car the truck driver swerved to miss, rolled up on the side of the busted up Lexus. A man stepped out with his phone in hand and immediately called for an ambulance. He peeked in the backseat to see that Lanie and her mother were conscious but injured. Lanie cried from the ache in her body and in her heart. Bailee wouldn’t answer and deep down she knew why.

Lanie lay on the floor sobbing and shaking while holding on to herself. The images kept coming and she couldn’t pull away from them. She thought of her sister and father. She thought of the cold rainy morning that she had to sit through days later. She thought of all the flowers that were ordered for that day and how they dressed up the church she attended. She thought of all the people that came to pay their respects. She thought of how the rain pelted the headstones in the cemetery and how many people cried during the lowering of their bodies into the earth and how she all but willed her sister to get up from her resting place.

She thought of that night, sleeping in a house where her father and sister would never dwell again. She thought of how hard she cried that night and imagined her sister there with her until she actually saw her sister beside her.  It was then that she made her sister promise to never leave her side again. Bailee promised.

“As long as you see me, I never will.”

There on the floor of the bedroom, Bailee spoke in hushed tones cooing her sister. When Lanie calmed she sat up and looked at her sister’s face. She reached up and ran a hand over her cheek then pulled her into a hug. Bailee had been with her through every major event in her life and would not let a little thing like death keep her away from her twin.

She picked herself up from the floor and sat on the bed of her one bedroom apartment, her twin sister still sitting on the floor looking up into Lanie’s eyes. Lanie looked around the room to see Princess LulaBell seated in the chair at the corner of the room. LulaBell waved and tapped the watch on her wrist. Lanie took the hint. She got up from the bed and walked into the bathroom to shower. While she was in the shower, she remembered holding her sister’s hand at her burial. She remembered Bailee whispering funny jokes in her ear on the ride home. She also remembered the look her mother gave her in the car on the ride home after she asked Lanie if she was alright.

“You seem a million miles away, Lanie,” her mother said while pulling her in close to her after getting out of the car. “Where are you?”

“I’m fine mom, now that Butterfly is here.”

Anna was careful to hide the surprise she felt upon hearing what Lanie said. She nodded her head slowly and kissed Lanie on the forehead. She knew what was happening and she would do nothing. People grieve differently and she would not take that away from Lanie.

“Tell Bailee, mom loves and misses her.”

Lanie hung her head low in the shower letting the hot water run down her back …her mind as distant as it was that day in the car with her mother. She wondered how she could forget about the magic of her imagination. How long had the lines of reality and fantasy had been blurred? Unable to answer the things plaguing her mind, she decided not to question them at all, but to simply let things be. When she stepped out of the shower and walked back into the bedroom she noticed the room was empty. Lanie sat down on the bed and closed her eyes tight and thought of Bailee then imagined her sitting next to her and there she appeared. She opened her eyes and smiled then looked at the three shoes, one left and two rights, laying on the floor.

“You alright, Ladybug?” Bailee said, resting a hand on her sister’s arm.

“Yeah…sometimes I just get carried away.”