Tiffany Monique offers us a wing and a prayer

(personally, I think author Tiffany Monique is in(da)vinciable) Literati! Tiffany Monique, who conjured up the ghost of William the shaker of spears for her first entry returns now with something slightly more acidic as her second entry into The First Annual Peggy Dobbs Write-of-Passage Contest. If you are joining us for the first time, details …

(personally, I think author Tiffany Monique is in(da)vinciable)

Literati! Tiffany Monique, who conjured up the ghost of William the shaker of spears for her first entry returns now with something slightly more acidic as her second entry into The First Annual Peggy Dobbs Write-of-Passage Contest.

If you are joining us for the first time, details of the contest, which accepts submissions no later than Thanksgiving (although I personally accept submission whenever I can get it) can be found on our home page just under the carousel.

750 to 1,000 words, but must include the prompt: I swear, it’s not too late.  $500 prize to the winner!

Here is

The Heart has an Acid Trip

by Tiffany Monique

 

From: Chloe Kimber

Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 3:18 AM

To: Clark Kimber

Subject: a small favor

I’ve been trying to tell you this for a while now. I think you’ve suspected as much, but you are always so good at avoiding serious subjects through tangents and jokes. As you have mentioned, I’ve not been feeling well lately. I can’t pretend it’s a cold or something I ate anymore.

I think my wings have atrophied from non-use or something. The bra straps sit right over my openings, and I’m trying unsuccessfully to pretend that 1) the pain is not excruciating and 2) the smell is not overpowering. You’ve been so busy with your promotion, I’ve tried to keep it together, but I don’t think I can anymore.

My back hurts. My legs hurt. I can’t sit. I can’t lie down. I am only comfortable standing or walking until my feet hurt. I have taken so much Ibuprofen my stomach is having issues. I need my mother’s saffron and rose hip tea, but I don’t know when we’ll be able to visit again. I’ve not told you because I thought it would pass.

Anyway, I’m tired more and more often these days. I’m finding it harder to breathe. Really. I can’t even find my way to taking a full breath without it becoming a sigh. Sending this email became a marathon. It took days to write. I’d put down a sentence. Then I’d need to go rest. I’d try to cook, try to eat, and end up on the couch staring at the area rug. Squares and swirls.

A bit too melodramatic for your morning coffee? I’m sorry baby.

A couple times I tried to extend my wings. I closed the blinds, sat in the bedroom and kept a glass of water and painkillers at the ready. The pain was unbearable, and the smell – beyond rotten.

It’s sweet the way you always act like you don’t notice all the candles and incense. But I’ve watched you in the mirror when you first walk in from work – that half a moment where you are honest. It disgusts you. It disgusts me too.

Mr. Stone came by last night. He always starts by asking how things are going. I never answer the question. I just stare at him, withholding nothing, but never speaking a word. What can he do? He just stares back. I am beginning to wonder if I should even answer the door anymore. If it weren’t for his always writing notes on his stupid clipboard, I’d have told him about my issues months ago. Something about the way he looks at me, scribbling things down – so smarmy and sweaty, like his hands whenever he shakes mine. Creepy. I’m waiting for him to mention the smell. Like you, he always pretends it’s not there. He’s better at keeping a poker face than you though. Last night was no different. Creepy poker face guy.

You’ve already been through so much bringing me here, but you’ve missed the second appointment. Mr. Stone has basically said that if you’re not at the next one, he’s going to have to report us. And I’m really no help at this point. When Mr. Stone comes over I’m so done I can’t even occupy his time, so he’s never here more than 15 minutes tops. I am a stone that moves around the condo. I can’t pretend to like you, or hate you, or even to miss you when you go for your work trips. I’m too busy finding a way to bear the pain without screaming. Don’t worry. You won’t have to rush back to keep me from harming myself. It did occur to me, but I just didn’t have the energy to feel sorry enough for myself to go through with it.

After he left I sprayed the place down with air freshener and opened the windows. Pulling up the blinds was exhausting enough but after dealing with Mr. Stone, I felt like it took forever. I sat down by the window. It was a beautiful night. For all the moonlight and stars, all I saw was steal gray and iron spikes. I can only guess what he’s writing.

Clinical depression. Apathy. Despair.

Yep – all that and cold coffee.

I’m rambling. I’ve been rambling. I’m trying to keep focused. Focusing is just something else that hurts, and I’m tired of hurting. I’m tired of the smell. I’m tired of this condo, Mr. Stone, all of it. I’m tired of not being me. I swear it’s not too late for me to come back to my old self, but I have to admit I’ve lost my way.

Can you come home early? Love you.

– C

 

Literati!  Tiffany Monique is a multi-talented artist, writer, and singer actress and has an amazing talent to tolerate my seventh grade humour. She was even gracious enough to sing at the Third Annual Editor-in-Chief Surprise Birthday Party at the ranch of author Victor Villasenor in Oceanside, California. Visit Tiffany on her blog sites listed below:

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art@timobe.com / / www.timobe.com

21 comments

  1. Glclark says:

    Clinical Depression, apathy, and despair…………… Tiffany, you have bundled ‘the trilogy of suicide” into an incredibly well written short story. Even though Chloe tells Clark she “didn’t have the energy” to do it, she will, in the absence of an intervention, find the energy and end her suffering.
    I’m in awe of your ability to put all the emotions and feelings and self-deprecation into such an accurate and moving short story. Well done!!!

    • Thank you! After playing Shakespeare’s sister, I was worried this would come across too melodramatic. This story left a lot of details out, but I am so glad you got the kernel of what I was trying to say. And coming from you… thank you!

  2. Parisianne Modert says:

    The sad power of your story is that it both makes such depression personal by letting us into her thoughts and leads us to where her despair is headed. Correct me wrong, but Mr. Stone seems like the grim reaper calling on her knowing that with each visit she is more likely to take his hand and leave her life of low energy and cold behind. The mention of cold coffee near the end reminded me of you singing “Black Coffee” at Thorn’s birthday party, but the symbolism is of the approaching death and grave if I am not mistaken. Your story convinced me so much of the clinical depression crisis that I wanted to pick up the phone and say, “We are so talking, because I am scared for you.” A story which draws the reader in so powerfully is a successful story. Just let me know that this story is not about you, because otherwise I will worry. Very convincing and well crafted writing Tiffany.

    • My initial idea was that Mr. Stone was something like the social worker type that assesses married couples where one spouse is applying for a green card, the exception being that Chloe came from the world of Fae and has to deal with keeping that secret in this world (part of the rules, you know) on top of culture shock, and missing family, etc. Now that you mention it, Mr. Stone could very well be Death, watching for her to give him an opportunity to lure her away. Never thought of it! COOL!
      I love that song, “Black Coffee” (thanks for the remembering), and I love hot coffee… so I got it in my head, like cold eggs are gross, well, so is cold (not iced) coffee. And it’s just another way for Chloe to feel unwanted and to put a symbol on it. And then I thought, “all that and a bag of chips”, but the jacked up version.
      To allay your worries: I am fine. In love. Quite blessed and happy. I believe I’ve visited this dark place recently, but at no point did I opt to unpack. I didn’t like the curtains, so I left, and pulled my joy out of the closet. After a good dusting off, Miss Shug is doin’ jus’ fine.

  3. Salvatore Buttaci says:

    What depth this story has! I was drawn into it from word one and never took my eyes from it until after that powerful ending. Depression is a terrible burden and, as you pout it, a losing of one’s way. I wish there were some magic potion, some magical stardust to sprinkle over the heads of the sadly despondent, make them feel whole again.

  4. Chuck Chuckerson says:

    This has an exquisite flow to it. The move from paragraph to paragraph, point to point was so smooth and easy. Really great job describing her pain. Also I like what you said about suicide, how she just doesn’t have the energy to do it. When I was at my worst, that wasn’t what stopped me, but it is what stopped many of my friends. The good news is that as their energy returned so did their will to love. Hope it’s the same for her.

    • Coming from you Chuck, I am loving it. I really like your writing, and I am so glad that you (and other writers I respect here) are giving me positive feedback. It makes for a nice salve when I have things to work on improving and the responses are hard to hear. Thorn has already given me a re-writing assignment for something I sent him, and I am going to work on the very things you hint at here (flow… but also keeping the reader in the loop). Thank you.

  5. KYLE Katz says:

    With each descriptive sentence of going down the steps, deeper and deeper with the smell of hopelessness being released a little at a time.You have managed to let us ride with you, and we now know what it would feel like to go through a landfill of garbage. You choose to rely on the smell instead of tedious details which drew you close to the intimacy of your characters vulnerability. It is some point between the rambling and the unrelenting tiredness where your character pleads for her love to come home early. “Love You” in the mist of her darkness the glimmer of hope that she will surrender and spread her wings again? ……I know. Powerful!

    • Reading your stuff (even your comments) is like reading poetry. “It is some point between the rambling and the unrelenting tiredness where your character pleads for her love to come home early. “Love You” in the mist of her darkness the glimmer of hope that she will surrender and spread her wings again? ……I know.” – You are the powerful one Miss Sassyboots, and I am *so* glad that I did a good job and you liked it.

      • KYLE Katz says:

        You, my friend, are a very talented woman. Your talent in many arenas oozes out of your pores, like Sunday’s chocolate sauce on breakfast pancakes. I’ll be needing to pass on my sassy boots at some point. I Ididn’t have any daughters…so you’re it! love and xo’s. Be Bold Don’t Fit The Mold!(sort of like, live long and prosper!)

  6. trk803 says:

    Very vivid. I ache for her and want to heal her and shake her husband.
    Unfortunately (for one of us), I have some experience in the medical world and can’t resist the urge to diagnose. Depression? Chronic fatigue syndrome? The smell – a symptom of infection, uremia, a bleeding disorder? Smells like what? Dirty socks? Sick baby poop? Sulfur? Depression plus olfactory illusion?
    Mr Stone – first name: Grave? A real character or illusory? This lack of clarity is not a deal-killer just part of my response to this powerful tale of woe.
    I’m reminded of the movie “A Beautiful Mind” and needing hours after it ended to realize that the filmmaker was showing us Russel Crowe’s world as Russel Crowe experienced it

    • In my imagination, I think she has some form of gangrene and rot. Depression, definitely, but the olfactory issue is quite real. Her wings were rotting due to non-use, and had become infected. I used to work in an assisted living facility, and I remember the smells almost as vividly as the sights…
      Mr. Stone was actually the name of a family friend that I am quite fond of, but now I see as an honestly subconscious symbol for death, and formality of “fitting in”, which was precisely what was killing Chloe in the first place.
      Her poor hubby was clueless, yes. But only clueless in that he didn’t know how to engage that level of pain and sorrow. He did what he knew to do, which was provide… there was escape for him in it, but he should have been shaken… most vigorously.
      As for “A Beautiful Mind”, I see what you are saying, and I am inspired to work harder, because I respect that movie’s ability to let “us” see what he saw, despite us never really being able to suspend our disbelief outside of the movie theater… Thank you very much for your critique.

      • trk803 says:

        Thanks for the thoughtful response. I’m relieved that you took my comments in the spirit I intended even though I didn’t get my intent crystallized until even later. The origin and cause of the odor matters but what I’ve been told in numerous writing classes and workshops is that our job is to make the reader smell that smell by describing it clearly. Smells like. . . “a stopped up toilet in a busy locker room” or “a bakery just as the jelly doughnuts come out of the oven” or “the fly-covered carcass of a dead cat on the side of the road on the hottest day of the year.”

        • I agree with you, but sometimes I break that rule. I want someone else to use their own imagination and springboard from it. You have in your mind an idea of what “rotten” smells like, and it may differ from mine. I don’t need there to be a uniformed scent smelled here. But I do appreciate you sharing what you learned and I will put it to use, promise.

  7. Stars Fall On My Heart
    Stars Fall On My Heart says:

    A rub where it hurts would go a long way. Would he not come over just to do that? Even if he has to wear a clothespin on his nose for the trouble? Lovely story, Tiffany <3

  8. Diane Cresswell says:

    Tiffany what a fantastic piece of writing. The frazzled life when ‘illness’ sets itself up is a dynamic to watch to see how the ones we love can or cannot walk through it with us. Wonderful perspective.

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