I’ve hesitated to publish any of my short stories or prose or vignettes or whatever, any of my fiction, online for a lot of reasons…I guess the main reason is that any time I’ve ever shared a story or a poem with someone, they immediately want to know who it’s really about. “Is it about me? Is it about someone I know?” It’s fiction, it’s made up. Sure, it’s been inspired by people and places and movies and songs and everything in this goofy life of mine, but it’s made up. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s fiction. OK? OK! OK.
But it is mine. Kat’s. Written by Kat. Copyright Kat. Trademark Kat. Not yours to copy. Amen. So here we go…something from the Kat Fiction Archives in West Ashevegas:
I couldn’t write that day. I had no words left; the guy with the green eyes tore all my words away, leaving me shaking and vulnerable.
The guys with the green eyes always take my words.
I remember the tall one, the lanky man with the camera always within reach. With every click of the shutter, he snapped away at my soul. No, that’s not really true.
With every click of the shutter, I felt more and more alive, electric. With every flash of light, I became beautiful, graceful and all the things I never was before; all the traits of the pretty girls I’d envied and feared were mine in the moments in front of his lens.
When the proofs were in my hands, I’d marvel at the confidence and radiance of the woman in those photos. She was happy and in love and loved in return. I knew she was some part of me, but she wasn’t the ‘public’ me. She was the private me, the one only the tall man with the green eyes knew.
I have a photograph he took; I only saved a few, and this was one of the last images he snapped of me, just a quickie candid shot taken before I argued that I was too grungy to be on film. In the photo, I’m looking up at a waterfall, only you don’t see the waterfall, just me gazing upward. I kept it because it reminds me of my ignorance. We’d just spent the whole weekend together at his request, and the hike to the falls was the icing on the cake of our adventure. I stared up at the rocks and the water and thought about how fantastic it was to be sweaty and dirty in the midst of all nature’s glory with a man who obviously loves me. I felt so comfortable, so safe and at ease with him and with myself.
Only an hour after that photo was taken as we drove out of the woods and back to the harsh realities of the city, the green-eyed photographer announced that he didn’t love me. Not only did he not love me, but he could never love me because I was much fatter than any other woman he’d dated. It just wouldn’t do for a man as sexy as he to be seen with someone like me.
Someone like me? I wanted to ask what that meant, but I had no words. I rested my head against the cool window of the car and watched the world whiz by.
Later that night, I sat down with my journal and discovered that though the ink in my pen still flowed, my words had dried up and wouldn’t come out onto the page. The next day, he emailed me the photos from our trip, said he’d hoped I wasn’t mad and hoped we could still hang out. I hit the reply button, but found I still had nothing to say, so I hit the cancel button and mourned the loss of my ability to communicate.
Seasons changed and in the winter of the same year, there was another green-eyed gentleman, the gameboy. When he wasn’t fawning over me, he was playing a computer game, some computer game, any computer game until his green eyes were bloodshot. He adored me. The gameboy told me he loved me. I said it was too soon for me to know yet about love. He said we should move in together. I said if we’re still together in six months we should consider it. He said goodbye, said I was distant and cold and good luck finding someone who would put up with my crap. I said nothing, because of course I wasn’t able to utter a single syllable in my own defense. All my words followed him silently out the front door and into the night. I watched the taillights of his car until they disappeared.
Years later, I met another green-eyed man, the man who gave me the hour-long hugs. Under the apple tree, he hugged me tight to him beneath the stars and as I breathed the scent of his neck, my words flooded back in a rush. My muse was alive and well. Inspired by affection, I wrote poems. I wrote stories. I sent letters. I fired off a million and one emails to everyone I knew. I scribbled little bits of nonsense on Post It notes. I filled my journal and ran out of ink in my favorite pen. I posted ramblings on the Internet. I had so many words I just couldn’t keep them all to myself.
He hugged me. He touched my face and I blushed. He scratched my back at lunchtime while the summer heat made my skin sticky. I could hardly keep still long enough to savor those times; I wanted to scamper off and write it all down.
The man with green eyes who gave me fantastic hugs one day decided he couldn’t be around, that the child whose hand was tight in mine was a burden he didn’t want to be saddled with as he gallivanted through life. She’s not a burden, she’s an angel, she’s part of me, she’s amazing and fantastic…all the things I wanted to say, but I couldn’t even scream in pain. My throat had closed and again my words were gone.
I thought the words were gone forever until I met the man with the brown eyes. The sound of his laughter broke the dam that held my communication in check. I could say anything, write anything, expose my secrets and he still smiled. He held the hand of my child and made everything right in my fragile world.
Today in the sunlight, I will stare at him hard to make certain that his eyes aren’t the slightest bit green.
The curve of an arm
Backlit by the morning sun
The scent that lingers
Just behind the jaw
The feeling of bliss and
Before they disappear