Day and Night

Once upon a time, there lived a poor farming family. They lived in a small, isolated hamlet, but their land fell within the boundaries of a large, and very rich duchy.

Rarely did the meet anyone through the passing of days.

The wife bore a set of twins – a boy and a girl. The boy, blue-eyed and fair haired, stood stark contrast to his sister, a girl of olive skin and hair as black as a raven’s wings.

They came together into the world, one right after the other. He first, and she behind him, clutching his ankle tightly in her newborn fist.

They named him Day, and her Night.

Each year following, the two were inseparable. Time spent roaming the vast expanse of the farm and the nearby forest was filled with laughter and mirth.

But when the sun settled, and a deep darkness spread over the land, Night would bid her brother goodbye and climb out of their bedroom window, into the black.

Every time she’d leave, she’d remind him to keep the window open and unlocked, so that she may return.

Every night, Day would watch her slink out beyond the frame, ensure the latch remained open, and then crawl back into his bed.

He would wake to the sound of a soft tap at the glass and he would get up and open the window, helping her back into the room.

One day, the two were out in the orchard picking apples, when they heard the heavy hooves of a fast approaching horse.

Night ran out from the shade of tree, eager to greet the riders, while Day scrambled to keep up.

It was the Duke, riding one of his hunting steeds, with a party of other noblemen.

Startled by the small child, his horse reared, striking Night in the head.

“Peasants!” shouted the Duke. The party did not stop and continued on its way.

Day ran to his sister, who lay still and pale on the ground. A small trickle of blood ran from her temple to her eye; she looked just as though she was asleep.

He and her parents buried her the following afternoon.

That night, as Day struggled to fall asleep, he heard a soft taping at the window.

“I’m hearing things,” he thought, and ignored the sound until he fell asleep.

The next night he again heard the noise, only this time it was louder. Still convinced he was making it up, he put his pillow over his head and tried again to fall asleep. Eventually, he fell into a restless slumber.

On the third night the sound was no longer a tap, but an urgent knock.

Day could no longer pretend it was inside of his head.

He slowly got out of bed and walked towards the window. The pane rattled slightly with each rap.

He reached out and undid the latch. The window swung open, and the cool night air rushed into the bedroom.

A darkness, and nothing else.

Day paused a moment, before making his way back to his bed.

He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

As he did, he felt a small hand wrap its fingers around his ankle.

And in the morning, when his parents came to wake him, he was gone.

Think back to when

Tonight, I am electric to the touch. A wriggling, giggling eel. A lamplighter in the dark.

A wicked wick.

Today, I wrote. My lower back, a crooked crick. My bum, an indent. Bad posture, and too much tea.

Today, I ran with legs a fire.

Tonight, I walked. My cheeks, poppy flesh.

My lips, stung from a kiss.

That no matter how hard I try, I cannot forget.

Sometimes when I walk, I dance, and sometimes when I dance, I dance to this:

When I was eighteen, I walked to a photography studio on Quinpool Avenue to have my headshots taken.

When I was eighteen, I quit my job at Safeway and got a job as a server.

When I was eighteen, I read Crime and Punishment and learned to spell patronymic.

When I was eighteen, I dyed my hair red from box.

When I was eighteen, I didn’t like beer.

When I was eighteen, I wrote a part of a story to my boyfriend Marc:

Now, abandoned by his companion and in a nightclub which owed a lot to the whole early 90’s Goth/Vamp movement, Kevin wandered silently. His mind wrote great fantasies of blood, violence, and justice and he strode, unheeding, between the stares and the gropes of the dissolute dancers. He flexed the powerful muscles of his back, his unfolding wings eclipsing the strobes and casting great shadows over the denizens of this room.

His body shuddered as he inhaled the acrid sweat of the hallucinogenic, hormoned populous, hopped up on substances comprised of equal parts narcotics, equal parts expectation. Kevin’s mind began to elongate and expand – he felt a growth from within; his vanity extinguished, his interest peaked. Could these chosen adolescents, fueled by social malaise and suburban boredom be the reason he was brought back to life? What did he have to offer, to enhance their drab days of big bucks and fast cars? 

Although quite weak, Kevin noted in some form or other, a disgust and distrust of the environment he freely strode through. Banking on his good looks, flashy clothes and nine foot angel wings to distance himself on any would-be bloodsucker, he monitored the group.  

But he did not dance.

The more things change

She has a routine.

It’s performed, to perfection, each and every time.

First, a shower.

Hot, but quick. No wasted water. She always makes sure to have shaved her legs the day prior, and only grazes a razor underneath her arms.

Stepping out of the porcelain bath, she rubs a towel up and down the length of her legs, before wrapping it tight around her torso.

Her skin, pink. It tingles.

She takes another towel and wraps it around her hair. After applying moisturizer to her face, she walks to the bedroom, always on her tiptoes so to stretch out her calves.

Underwear is black lace. Bra is thin mesh, some pink, but mostly black. Simple underwire. No padding.

She paints her face lightly, but deftly.

Concealer, blush, mascara.

A dark stain on her top and bottom lip.

She has never had the patience for eyebrows. The length of her eyelashes will play interference, should anyone get that close.

When someone gets that close.

She drinks a glass of acorn wine and hums a tune to which she can’t ever remember the words.

Her dress skims the tops of her knees. Its sleeves light as air.

Never stockings. Just a thin layer of shine that she applies with both hands.

Two minutes under the sun lamp and her hair has dried into soft autumn waves.

She leaves her glass, unwashed next to the kitchen sink.

Shoes, black. Heels.

Coat, long. Longer than her dress.

Her phone, IDs, and keys, bundled together into a small, well-worn purse.

She can feel the tears coming. Feel them rising from the pit of her stomach.

They are the ache of a cut never healed. Of a burn never cooled.

They are what she hopes to forget. What she seeks in the night’s lights and the pulse of others.

Walking to the tram, she opens the program.

Who would you like to erase?

She plugs in a name, and watches him fade.

Her heart twinges.

Can you miss someone you never knew? Are they gone if they were never there?

Questions she can’t ever solve.

On the tram, the other riders mill about, chittering like under-sexed chicadees.

The echoes of conversations bounce off of fidgety fingers and nervous smiles.

A young man sits down to her left and asks her to where is she going.

The compulsion to kiss his stupid mouth brings a flush to her cheeks.


At the club she makes her way to the front of the room.

Standing close to the stage, she feels the music grind its way under her skin.

Her heart hurts with each beat. Like it might punch through her chest.

She dances.

It takes thirty minutes for the man to come to her. She cannot ever hear, because the base chips away at his words.

He motions to her face. To her body and hair.

She says nothing.

Her smile, tight.

She closes her eyes.

Resigns herself.

Resigns herself to her complicity for existing in this world.

She does nothing when he grabs her. He kisses her neck, grinds his groin into her ass, and brushes her breasts.

He then leaves, upset.

And she just stands there, feeling nothing.

No anger, or shame, or sadness.

Just emptiness.

Because this, and nothing else, will ever matter ever again.

Smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss

* All names have been changed to protect the innocent and nerdy.

The watery moon winked overhead.

The December winds played with Samantha’s loose, brown braids. Letting out a long sigh, she watched as her warm breath hung suspended in the cool sea-salt air.

As she unlocked her front door, she traced the top of her lips, remembering the kitten’s paw touch of Dave’s hand against hers.

Her first real first date.

Idling outside of her house, they had taken off their seat belts and held hands, making silent, but short lived eye contact.

Samantha hadn’t known if she was going to throw up or start crying.

When Dave placed his arm around her shoulders, she too shifted, nestling into the smooth groove of his upper chest, stealing glances at their reflection in the rear view mirror.

Samantha liked the way the olive tones of Dave’s skin stood in contrast to her own.  She had smiled when she felt him fiddle with the frayed pompom on the top of her toque.

Unfortunately, in an awkward attempt to turn up the heat, but not dislodge Samantha from her nook, Dave accidentally poked Samantha in the eye, hard, and with his elbow.

“Owww…” moaned Samantha.

Dave had shot ramrod in his seat, appalled.

“I’m sorry! Samantha, are you okay?  I’m – are you okay?”  Inching to the edge of his seat, Dave had paused, and then gingerly, reached out to try and stroke the right side of her cheek.

Samantha, trying her best to smile it off, wanted desperately to pretend that she wasn’t hurt, but instinctively shied away from his touch.

Slowly, slowly, she opened her eye.

“It’s…it’s fine. Really.” She said.

Dave shifted a little closer. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Samantha wiped away at her tears. “Yes.”

“I cannot believe I did that.” Dave rubbed at his furrow brow.

Samantha let out a timid laugh. “It’s totally okay.”

Turning to face her, this time Dave did place his hand on her cheek.

Samantha felt herself turn to stone.

For a second their faces seemed to hover next to one another.

Samantha’s cheeks burned hot, two glowing coals in the light of the dash.

Her heartbeat in her ears.

Dave inched closer.

Her breath paused, lips parted.

And then, as the car stalled, their teeth clattered together – a crack like that of a stack of pencils knocked onto a freshly swept floor.

Panicked, Samantha had quickly tried to kiss him again, but only got the peak of his nose and then the side of his chin.

“I’m sorry! I’m not very good at – ” She blurted out.

But before she could finish, Dave had placed his soft, shaking hands on either side of her face and pulling her closer, pressed his lips against hers.

Samantha pressed back.

Thinking back, as she tiptoed to the top of her staircase, Samantha realized with just a twinge of disappointment that she had completely forgotten to close her eyes.

Next time, she thought to herself.

Next time.

You can leave your hat on

What might have been said (in but another time, and perhaps another place):

When he slid into the seat one row over from her own, he also blocked her window.  It wasn’t that Linda frequently found her speedy postcard of Vancouver and Environs all that interesting, but now scrutiny of her fellow passengers was no longer possible.

Well then, nothing to do but inspect her workworn feet and check on the increasingly alarming progress of callus A-10 -so named for its location on her left pinky toe, and its growing resemblance to Atlas the Titan.  Nearby, B-9 and S-9 (Bugsy and Skittles) continued their mediocre existence, jutting symmetrically and aggressively off of respective knuckles, almost pathetic in their uniformity.  Atlas, meanwhile, had made impressive progress this week, angrily burrowing against the worn brown strap of her flipflops, his broadening shoulders tapering into a tiny head-like knot.

“You have beautiful feet.”

An alarming statement considering the circumstances.

Linda turned an appropriately cool glare onto the beaming visage of Window Blocker (or WB), his boiled-turnip complexion currently accentuated by the broad gleam of his “pearlies.”

A real meathead, she decided.

No man with integrity would wear a white polo in this heat and not sweat.  Thankfully, no question had been asked.  She resumed her rigid concentration on the floor in front of her.

“How about going for a walk later?”  This time she looked up quickly.

Who did this guy think he was? WB had moved straight from inconvenient jerk category directly into “creeper” category – in less than two sentences no less!  Linda, stroking the rugose jacket covering the business end of her steel toe boots (that sat on the seat next to her), spoke loudly.

“No, dirtbag, and save your asshat overtures for your immediate relations.”

A well dressed sikh man turned slightly at this and asshat had the good grace to flush and retreat.

“Sorry.” Linda mouthed to the well-dressed man.

“Don’t be,” he replied. “Nobody likes an asshat.”