Sleepwalk, by Eric Mazariegos

The time has frosted our memory into a state of eternal slumber, one in which they are purgatorily kept for ancestries until the blue specs of cataclysmic collusions within our mind are forever lost into the ether that surrounds us.
        It has been three long days and the earth is starting to feel customary against my skin. It is coarse and wet, and I feel as if it has somewhat become a part of my flesh. The leaves under me poke and prickle, the chunky dirt has accumulated into a viscous clod surrounding my body’s imprint. From my ears down to my heel, I can feel moist dirt enveloping me and keeping my body put. I cannot move so much as to feel for your touch. You are so far away from me but I use all my strength to try and comfort your cold fingers. A bug crawls on the finger I extend towards you. I have no intent to shake it off; I have no strength to shake it off. I let it be.
        I look up to the sky. Thankfully, we are at least somewhere where we can look at it. It has become night. I would not know the time right now if my life depended on it, but if I had to half-consciously guess, I would say it is just about midnight. The stars are so clearly visible to us. There is a placidity to how they stay afloat among each other; each one completely independent on its own yet grossly intertwined with each and every other. My eyes start to water from not blinking. I am surprised at this since it has been too long since I have had anything to drink. Maybe it is the rain coming down on us that fills my pupil with blurry, azure visions of something infinitely more beautiful than the place where we are now. I do not know.
        I feel emotional laying here with you. You stopped talking yesterday. I assumed it was because of the lack of nutrition. It could also be because of the blood loss. I miss your voice so much right now. When we crashed I heard you scream but it soon turned into something beautiful. We were together at last in true unity. You and I were together, at an imminent yet hopelessly hopeful loss for our lives. Yet here we are, affirmation so close we can almost taste it.
         I am imagining that we are in bed together. I have woken up and you are still in your gorgeous slumber. I look outside, and it is the same shade of blue that it is tonight. The stars are all the same and they have become one amalgamation of white against black indiscernible by my vision alone. I turn my head towards you. You are turned away but I grasp your body so softly as if we were hugging face to face. You do not wake up, but only produce a tender movement of your hips and then your legs reposition themselves, intertwining within mine. I feel your heat emanating onto my stomach and chest. Your head is in front of mine, yet what I see is only a soft silhouette accompanied by sporadic strands of your blonde hair. I can see the outline of your ear against the night sky. I close my eyes and fall back asleep, my arm wrapped around your stomach, hand tucked into yours.
        Now though, you have stopped replying to my calls. You do not even cough anymore. Your voice was the only thing keeping me from doing something completely irrational. Why do you not respond? Please respond. The bug on my finger bites me, and I jerk suddenly onto my side. I am now resting on my forearm, looking unto you. Your hand was so close to mine, or at least I thought it was. Now that I am turned in your direction I see that it was too far, I would have never been able to reach it. These past hours, you comforted me with movement yet now you are motionless. Your body is turned towards the night sky as mine was formerly. But what I see now is no longer the person I know. You have started to decompose into the earth that surrounds you. I imagine the same is happening to me. I see beyond the peeling flesh though. I see beyond the dirt on your face that makes it black. I see beyond the leaves that are upon your body like sprinkles on a birthday cake. I see what I saw thirteen years ago when we first met.
        Many hours have now passed. I cannot feel my body anymore. I do not know if the bug is still gnawing at my fingers or not. The earth around me has now completed its coalescence into the foundation of my flesh. I want to look at you more, but my eyelids are getting far too heavy. I always thought it was a cliche saying, but now I feel it is all too true. Your figure starts to fade into my vision like the night sky before it. Your eyelashes, your freckles, your lips and eyes, all start to become constellations within my pupil. I am no longer sure what I am looking at; I have slipped far out of consciousness into a hypnagogic state of torpor. Are you really you? What is this light I see? You do not respond.
        But something else catches my attention. I am not sure if it is real or not, or just within my waning conscious, but within the last strand of my memory, I hear something. Can you hear it? It sounds like the high notes of Sleepwalk. It was the first song that we danced to. Do you remember? Na na na na… It was our very first date. It may have been the second. I am so sorry that I do not remember. It does not matter. We made our way back to my house and went up to my room. Do you remember? You sat on my bed and I put on the record. You looked up to me and told me that you loved the song. I looked at you with awe, as your eyes swelled and glistened. I could not contain myself and told you that I loved the song as well, but with more vigor, said that I loved you. You got up very slowly and started to walk towards me like some angelic figure. I was slightly dazed when you put your hands in mine. I looked at you, we were at eye level. I could feel your warm breath hit my face with such gentleness and care. I was so shocked, yet you comforted me. We started to sway back and forth, movements in sync with our human reverberations. I looked down and saw our feet in coordination with our movement, it was beautiful. Don’t you remember?
        I can imagine what we looked like from the outside of my bedroom window to passersby. I look up into that window, so vividly in contrast to the night sky; yellow light coming from beneath glass borders into the dark environs. There I see two silhouettes in each other’s loving grasp. The two spectres are very close to each other, almost one being, and are dancing to the music. Ding! Ding! Na na na na…

        The ballad is booming and on a repeating loop. I dance the night away with you, in your embrace for hours and hours and hours and hours, until we are too tired to dance any longer.

Wendy’s, by Eric Mazariegos

A fictitious suicide letter I wrote in the summer of 2012 on my long bus rides to work.



Dear someone,

I sort of remember that day as if it had only happened in the week past. My mother and I were on the bus, on the morning commute as everyone was; we were lucky enough to get a joint part time job at Wendy’s where we would work on weekends. The pay wasn’t much, at all, but I liked it because I got to spend time with her.
It was a darker day than they usually come; I guess God, or whoever, was saving the brighter ones for a special day. Who knows. The trees weren’t swaying in the dew-filled morning winds, they weren’t as green as they usually were. The streets were aimless zombies; dead with no purpose. The skies were so grey, as if the clouds had won the grueling, aching war of a battle against the sun that morning. My mother was rocking back and forth as the bus passed bumps and bumps aggressively. She was half asleep still.
We got to our stop and proceeded to walk out into the streets. My mother was so short that she had to get off the bus in a quick jumping motion as if she were getting ready to dive into a pool. We walked for about two minutes in somber strides before we got to the restaurant. We passed the shrubs, grass, and various flora that were planted in front of the restaurant. They squealed at us not to step on them. Unknowingly, we didn’t heed their call.
We walked around the perimeter of the restaurant before getting to the sliding doors, at which point we made a left to enter. The doors were such smooth ones; they didn’t creak or whine in metallic pain as they opened. I liked that. As soon as we entered we saw the usual 5:30 AM scene – my boss was mopping the floors with a satisfied look on his face. The floors were almost completely dry though, letting us know he had been here for a while already. The blindingly white lights from the ceiling bounced off the grey, speckled floors like children furiously playing tag. It was obviously empty but it felt more desolate that day, or at least that’s how I remember it.
My boss looked up from his ill-fitted task and gave us a smile with a firm hand wave. We said hi back, my mother being too modestly courteous as she always was, smiling in an almost apologetic manner. We retreated to the back kitchens. We had our morning routine down pat. She would enter the doors to the freezer room to get out the frozen slabs of meat and pre-made fries. I made my way to the cash register and started filling up the adjacent racks with cups. I was the cashier, so I stayed at that position essentially the entire day. With each stack of 4 or 5 cups emblazoned with the company logo that I put in the racks I tried to envision how satiated the person receiving them and subsequently filling them with iced refreshments would feel. They would feel amazing. The family coming in for an early morning breakfast, the man on his lunch break from working overtime, and the late night homeless man who was sure to stop by; I’d hand them all cups and feel as if I had accomplished some sort of monumental achievement. It was kind of stupid to feel that way, but it was my juvenile stupidity that kept me going in those times.
As I was placing the cups in the racks, I saw the double sliding doors start to open, and from them emerged one of my coworkers. My mother and I were always the first ones there, besides my boss, so we got to greet every one of them as they gradually arrived in the morning. On that day, Brenda. Brenda was a pudgy girl, fat and plump. She was Hispanic, and had terrible teeth. Surprisingly she was only 20, not too far from my age at the time. Her hair was always messily slicked back. She left pieces in the front to stick out freely because I guess she thought it looked nice or something. I thought it looked Medusa-esque or something. She wore a white collar shirt, part of the uniform, that was two sizes too small. Her brown skin contrasted with the piercing white in such a way that you could see her from perhaps three, four blocks away. She smiled at me as she entered through the doors, simultaneously fixing her frizzy hair and tight clothes. I smiled back and said hi, not pausing from my almost religious task. My boss was mopping still, although it definitely was overkill, and he waved back at her in his firm manner. She walked to the back where my mother was and closed the door. I could hear them chattering, yet about what a 50 year old could have in common with a 20 year old was past me.
With each cup that fell so neatly into the rack, my mind started to eventually doze off, and I started to think about things. I thought about what I was going to do that summer. I didn’t want to do anything outrageous like go on a road trip or really anything like that. I didn’t want to stay home though. I wanted to explore. I wanted to meet new people and do a lot of exciting things, however horribly cliche that may sound. That day after work I was planning on heading over to a group interview for a job opening at a bookstore that I’d been visiting since I was 15 years old. I knew I didn’t have much of a chance to get the position but it was a possibility at best. Besides, I didn’t really like working at Wendy’s. Well regardless, I thought to myself, I would probably go since I didn’t want to give up so easily.

These were the things that were going on in my mind before it happened. That horrible thing.

Imagine that you are riding on a bus, or a car, or a train or even a plane. You are absorbed into a book that you’ve been reading for a week, and you are almost at the climax point. Your head is bent in a crow-like fashion into the organs of the literary work and your hands are almost sweating from excitement. Suddenly, your vehicular locomotive experiences a bump in the ground, or air. Turbulence. Gruntled and disturbed you look up at whoever is operating the vehicle, almost, so closely, screaming your lungs out at them for disturbing or scaring your calmly intriguing activity. With a mundanely passive normalcy they wave their hand as if to say “yeah yeah sorry.”
This is how I felt when the robber entered the store. I was so caught up in my book, and the vehicle that I was on didn’t just experience a tiny bump in the road; it crashed. Crashed, and spontaneously combusted, slowly disintegrating into nothing more than metallic road kill.
  He walked with such cool fervor toward the counter, where I was filling the racks with cups. He wore nothing more than a blue hoodie and black jeans. They were so oversized that you could barely see his shoes. I doubt scum like him had even worn shoes that day, or ever as a matter of fact. Over his face he wore a red bandana. My mother kept a red bandana in the kitchen to cover her face whenever she would clean, since she used heavily harsh chemicals. My stomach cringed. It self emolated itself. I couldn’t feel my stomach.
I didn’t know what to say or how to even feel. This had never happened to me. This had never happened to anyone I knew. I felt that it shouldn’t have been happening to me. I mean, why would it be? I stopped thinking all of these baselessly hopeful things as soon as he showed me the gun though. It all happened so quickly, but at that particular instant, when he drew the gun to my face, time slowed down. It virtually stopped. All the special relativity stuff Einstein had been talking about was happening then. Time was viscous quicksand.
He reached into his pocket and proceeded to grab the black, brilliantly shiny killing utensil. I was sure to observe his every movement. He was kind of a novice at getting things out of his pocket to be honest. I didn’t know what he had in his left one; all I do know is that that particular pocket was the pocket the gun was in. It seemed like such a mundane task. That’s what made it disgusting to me. It seemed as if someone had ordered a large drink and was merely reaching into their saggy denim mass to retrieve two dollars. It seemed so normal. But to my avail it was anything but. I wish it had been.
Soon enough the man looked back up from his chore, if it may even be called that. He looked over to me in such a swift manner, almost hitting my face with his naively adamant demeanor. His bandana only concealed the bottom of half of his face, and I could see his eyes. You know how some people say that you can tell everything about a person from their eyes? The window to the soul. What malarkey. I couldn’t tell any one thing about this person that I had barely met. “Met.” What a proclamation.
My boss was in the background for the entirety of the robbing, not daring to make a move. It was weird though, that he didn’t. All the time I worked there he seemed to be such a rugged, tough man. People change in the face of danger I guess. With the mop still in hand, he looked over to the cash register scene with a broken face. I could hear my mother in the back still chattering away to Brenda, dumb towards reality. It was so stupid.
Brandishing the weapon in my face, the crook told me to empty the contents of the cash register in a bag he had so politely given me. I could smell the death protruding from it. I could smell the ghastly rust coming off of it so strongly, like the smell of a freshly baked cake pervasively filling the warm contents of your house. It wasn’t as pleasing as a cake though. If there were an antonymous item for how a gun smells, it would be cake. That’s the best I can describe it.
The entire time I moved so mechanically. Three times. That’s how many arm motions I had to accomplish in order to fill his bag of greed with the previous day’s money. My emotions were shot. They were diseased, and tainted. I felt nothing and I could imagine that on the security footage of that day, I looked fine, as though normally getting change out of the cash register for a customer. My god.
The rest is jumbled into my memory. How the robber managed to get away so quickly and safely, I honestly don’t know. How my mother reacted when she came out and found what had happened, I’m not sure. How my boss reacted after the robber left, I no longer know. I haven’t seen any of these people for years. I promptly moved out after the incident to an insane asylum. My mother begged me not to leave but I couldn’t stand living there any more. The Center, as it was euphemistically called, was a horrible place though.
I’ve run away from there now too.
In a way I’m sad that I’ve repressed these thoughts for so long, ten years to be exact. I no longer know any of these things because I have worked long and hard bludgeoning my memories. Far too long and much too hard. I’m tired of it all. That’s why I’m writing this letter. As I sit here, at the edge of an abandoned lake, legs crossed like a child with a crayon and notebook in hand, I can’t help but ask why it happened to me. I can’t help it. To who I’m asking, I don’t know.
I guess we’ll find out. We’ll all find out sooner or later.

Signed,

     Suicide letter of Thomas Lance

Marine

Seventh post.
A fictional piece told in second person.
An ode to our youth, to the things we never achieved, and to the people we could never become.

You are in a hidden room, located on the outskirts of an aquarium. You forget how you got there, but just know that the front door reads “Authorized Personnel”. It’s a blue room. There are two metallic doors adjacent to each other, and you just came in through one of them. On the opposite side of you is an opening, a missing wall like that of an open garage. It overlooks a bridge that rests on top of the ocean. You feel the sea’s crisp breeze envelop your face like aromas of cake baking on a hot summer afternoon. The light that comes in through the opening is enough to illuminate the entire cerulean toned space, and it makes the wet floors detailed and visible. There are splotches here and there of water left over from divers and researchers and fishermen coming in and out, splotches that resemble cattle grazing over vast expanses of grass, acres and acres of lush greens. Like children emerging from their classrooms at noon to
color courtyards full of basketball courts and lunch tables; each child a resplendent pixel on a scholastic graphic. You feel as though you are standing in the middle of a utopian paradise, but never realize you are nowhere near a paradise. It is merely a research room in the back of an aquarium.
       You walk towards the center of the room, attracted to some sort of box. There is a pillar, an altar of some kind. It raises up about two feet off of the ground, and on top of its cement mass lies the box. It’s made of metal or hard plastic. You convince your six year old self that it’s metal. You touch the box, feeling all of its alkaline grooves. The box is also wet. It groans in rust-fueled agony as you pass your chubby, soft hands over the antonymous surface. Like stubble on a forty year old face, the creaks of the box radiate their metallic years aloft your child hands.
       You look inside the box. You can’t seem to tell what it contains. You don’t know what it is. In noncontempt you bludgeon the box as if to seduce an answer from it. Nothing. You want someone to come in from the open door overlooking the sea, perhaps a diver, perhaps a researcher, to tell you what lies inside. But alas, no one comes. You wave your head in distress at the enigmatic obstacle in your way of understanding. It’s no use. You stay there, next to the altar, about ten minutes, trying to decipher the ancient pictorials of the box’s contents. The water on the floor, the water you are stepping in, easily glimmers in superior content at your ignorance. It glimmers as if to let out a sigh of ease towards your naivety. The water that splotches the floor glimmers in such a calm, placid way, as if stagnant with
infinite lethargy. You stay in the room, unknowing of its absurd agendas, only wanting to unravel the mysteries of the box you are so enamored with; only wanting to scratch the unrelenting surface of knowledge as everyone ever does. You stay for a few more minutes and leave at your mother’s call.
       You are on a bus in the slums of the city. In one hand lies your phone, causing a fracas of
notifications, and in the other rests a tepid cup of coffee that you would rather not drink. Your day at work has been long and you’re eager to grab some beer. The bus is tinted with a shade of blue, and the day is growing yellow with time. You pass by houses incessantly, and they are flashing you with their ostentatious facades. You observe various beiges, gaudy flora, fountains never-ending. The usual. The bus halts, carrying along with it your heaving momentum. You recuperate from the abrupt stop and start to reposition yourself. Out of boredom, you look to your left and see a painting of a swordfish on a wall of a trailer home. It’s surrounded by flowers of saturated, lovely colors; purple and pink. The swordfish is mighty, and titanic. It looks as if it has just emerged from the vast expanses of the ocean. You wonder why the two are placed next to each other. It’s just pretty, and that is good enough for you. The painting is old though, you notice. You can tell because of the fading tonal pallets and chipping acrylic. It stands out from the sea of houses so effortlessly; so naturally. The moment in which the stride of the bus passes the reminding mural seems to last forever, yet the fluttering feeling in your stomach suddenly is
distinguished.
       Green light. Explicative. The bus continues on its journey. You quickly and desperately turn 180
degrees and try to catch a last, final glimpse of the beautiful sight. A palm tree is in your way.
       You turn back in your chair, and put on the mask of anonymity you previously wore. Like a
businessman you readjust your 30 year old biology to show non-effort and lack of interest. In the orgiastic fray you spilled a bit of the coffee on your trousers. You proceed to clean it, while your neighbor next to you turns ever so slightly to avoid and evade your what-they-perceive-as perverted action. You glance to your side and smile sneeringly, yet apologetically as if to ease any ill-manifested disgust. It doesn’t work because the person’s head is turned away from you. You breathe, suavely slick your hair back with your fingers, and resume your common commute from your 9 to 5, along with the other sardines in that tightly cramped can of a vehicle.
       Later that night you return home after a night at the bar. Usual. It’s midnight and your head is
hurting. Maybe you shouldn’t have had that extra beer. Maybe someone put something in your drink. Hopefully not. You start making your way to your room, glancing over to your roommate with torpid passivity. He notices that you look curiously vibrant, glowing, pregnant. “What’s up?” he asks. You reply with an exasperated “Nothing.” Having retreated to your room, you drop your clothes, and quickly get into bed, the throbbing headache a fiery reminder of your deeds. You start to drift into sleep, into a hypnagogic trance filled with thoughts of the painting you saw that morning; marine waters flowing above your head cooling the cognitive dissonance.
    The passion is rekindled. The fervent interest absorbs every other infatuation of then, and drowns it. The curiosity grants life to flights of ideas; spasms of brilliance. As the night continues on, you envision yourself in a blue room with wet floors. In the center of it is a box. You don’t know what’s inside the box. You want to open it.
    The sea cannot be opened.

Coalescence

An essay about me written for my english class.
As the weather starts to change we become closer to the truth

Coalescence
To many people the relationships they build with others is something that possesses a very dear sentimental facet of their heart and emotions. This is a case of ubiquity, but I feel as though in my case, introspectively and personally, the relationships I have built over the years have in a way manifested themselves into a carbon form, life like. I feel as though the bonds I have built with others may very well be bonds between strands of DNA in my spectral soul. They make up what I am in entirety. These relationships come together to make the whole the sum of its parts. These relationships have made me the person I am today. 
        Physically, I can say that one person has made me realize the potential that I am able to achieve within this tactile world. It is not uncommon to see a pair of two adolescents walking down the street next to each other perhaps on a Saturday night. Moreover, it’s a common occurrence. However, the walks I have with my sister are more than mere strolls of the moment. Rather, they are promenades of mental growth. As my legs move back and forth, scratching the granular back of the earth’s skin, I feel neurotransmitters pumping away within the mental edifice of my mind. Indeed, physical exercise is important for mental health and that is something I have come to embrace with full fruition. My sister has been with me along this journey and through the thick and thin, we walk it out. Whether it is to the mall or just down the street to the store to fetch some sugar my mother needs, we always walk.. Some of the fondest memories I have of my sister include those in which we have walked endless miles down the street with no clear path in mind, with no clearer a path lying in front of us. The night is a blurry indigo, and vermilion hues are dancing in the background. I am behind my sister, having dropped something and slowly catching up. Her strides are those of lithe seaweed. I call to her, “Erica!” She turns back, her hair like pewter strands of heaven. I run up to her, as the world stays behind me in slow motion. 
        I am a heavily mental person. I have always enjoyed, perhaps to an extent which supersedes any other interest, learning new things. I love letters and I love the ideas that they form when put together. I love how words are like water, when spilled out onto a piece of paper, as water spilled out onto a dry and cracked cement floor does, taking whatever shape, seeping into whatever cracks they please, until they form expressive ideas that a person may cogitate upon. I feel like my mental abilities were finally awakened in 11th grade, after years of fooling around and barely getting by. I had a teacher named Leanne. She was an older woman with glasses that made her eyes look too small and shoes that made her feet look too big. She was a lovely person and I admired the charismatic, yet subdued, spunk that she brought to teaching English. She was the archetypal teacher, in my eyes. And that was beautiful. She opened doors for me that I never would have even known existed. That year I spent with Leanne in her classroom for one hour everyday was the best scholastic year of my life. The essays, the multiple choice tests, and the pure love of linguistics in all its vastly infinite beauty, were things that made me realize I had a deep, entrenched penchant for writing. She made me realize that there is beauty in unknowing, and that all I had to do was ask. She had a firm touch when critiquing my essays, but her feedback was as helpful as could ever be. She helped me excel in the field of English and paved the path for my mental acceleration as it is today. Thanks to her wonderful methods of teaching and even more marvelous, humanistic characteristics, I was able to achieve a 5 on the AP English test in May of that year. On the first day of senior year I almost automatically went to her classroom and we both knew why I was there. I hugged her and we rejoiced in the achievement made possible by the wings of my knowledge and the wind she provided, her support, to keep them elevated.
The topic of spirituality is one that I come across every day of my life. I was born and raised a Christian, and embraced the religion as I should have. My mother would take me and my sister to church practically every Sunday. We would sing the gospels and partake in the gaiety that ensued. I think this is why my mother liked religion; it was a happy thing, a form of escapism. Nevertheless, time went on and I learned new things and met new people. I’m so glad that I did. I have known my friend Aram since 3rd grade. At this level of acquaintanceship we are practically family and indeed I think of him as such. Aram was also born and raised a Christian, and like me he would embrace the gospels and dance with the power of the Lord. However we both, one day, came to the realization that spirituality has no place in either of our lives. Aram and I have since then embarked on a journey filled with philosophy and reason. We value the topics of existentialism, nihilism, and absurdity of our existence. We no longer worship any god, and we do not partake in the gospels of yore. We have come to terms with our spirituality and have bid it adieu. Aram has been pivotal in my conversion, I would say. Exchanging such radical ideas with another human being, as the ideas we do, honestly brings you closer to someone in a, dare I say, spiritual, way that nothing else really can. I value him as a friend not because he goes with me to the mall or gives me critique on what I wear, but rather because he values logic and reason over faith. I don’t know what I would do without him for this reason, and in the years to come we will certainly and inevitability endeavor into the warped chasm of our reality, never once stumbling across faith or religion as a scapegoat to the truth. 
I feel as though the aforementioned doesn’t estimate as much as it should in terms of how much each facet makes up of me. What I mean to say is that so far, 3/4 of me are explained, and 1/4 is left to be unveiled. Although in actuality, I don’t feel as if any of the aforementioned topics, single or compounded, could even come close to being how much the final topic makes up of me; that final topic being emotion.  Emotion is something that many people are disdainful of and look down upon. People will say that a man who worships emotion over reason is foolish and will produce fruitless exploits, or will cause calamities and travesties for years to come. I however, value human emotion as something bigger than myself, bigger than anything around us. The person who taught me how to truly appreciate the emotional bond between two human beings is someone whom I have known since the beginning of my time. She raised me and she handled me as a precious gem, a delicate object. This is what I have been told. This beautiful, splendid woman is my great grandmother. Her name was Maria, and was the only person on this earth with whom I’ve had a relationship so fervent, so hopelessly strong. I use the word hopeless because I really didn’t start to appreciate the wonderful person that she was until she was older. She was my great grandmother, so her age doesn’t seem to be much of a concern to me. But it does. What I’m trying to say is that Maria encapsulated every beautifully haunting thing about childhood. Childhood, she said, is haunting because one doesn’t know that it will only come once in their life. And, perhaps, even if that person did know and was told this by his or her parents, they would brush it off as seemingly unimportant and merely peripheral to their daily life. This absurdity about childhood, almost a paradox, is something that makes life even more beautiful. She told this to me when I was 16. I remember that age being the best year. And every year after that only got more beautiful because I got to spend it with her. I spent New Year’s Eve at her house. She made too much food for us, and we stayed up all night until she inevitably fell asleep. This was the routine. Too much food and staying up all night. It was honestly the living definition of childhood. I loved every single moment of those times. I, however, knew that every good thing must soon come to an end. Maria was no exception to the rule. That year she died. That year the greatest thing to ever happen to me was going away, on a permanent vacation to a place no one knows, but which everyone calls “eternal bliss.”

Aram, Erica, Leanne, and Maria. Such splendid beauties of human beings. Each encapsulating a certain aspect of human life; spirituality, physicality, mentality, and emotionality. Each rivulets of a pond starting its long journey down a mountainside, or a desert terrain. Each a droplet of water making up the whole. The Gestalt streams finally merging into one essence. A million trickles of water slowly, and uniformly, coming together at one point to make up something greater than each of them; slowly coming together in the dawn of day to rebirth into something more than they could ever have wished for.