From the Girl who is now a Woman

She was sitting at her desk like any other typical work day. She had her usual apps open on her windows desktop. Outlook web mail, Access, Excel, Facebook, Cricut, and Pandora. She was designing a new a website while humming along to a song by Odesza when all of sudden her computer made a quick sound. She looked down at her windows bar to find a red symbol on her Facebook tab indicating that she had a message. Out of habit she clicked on the notification and laughed when she saw whom the message had come from. The message included a music video that she did not open, or listen to for that matter, on account of its popularity on the radio. She rolled her eyes and shook her head in a dissatisfying manner while deleting the message. She then closed her Facebook tab and continued on back with work.

The drive home was practically non existent to her. Her mind was foggy. Every emotion she ignored and hid while at work after receiving that message finally came too. She began to feel sick to her stomach. Questioning, “Was that supposed to be a joke? Some sick joke? Why would he do that? Bruno Mars? When I was your man? Come on!” She was wishing she’d never open the message once she saw who it was from. She should’ve just deleted it. Her feelings were extremely hurt and heart ached. She pulled into the driveway of her home and got out of the vehicle instead of parking in the garage. Her routine was disrupted. She walked into her house, straight to her library where she grabbed a notebook and an ink pen, plopped down on her brown leather chaise near the window. She dried the wetness that was found underneath her left eye with the sleeve of her, soft, cashmere sweater. She then opened the unused notebook to the first page behind the cover. Blank. She touched the pen to the lined paper and began to write.

She loved him so much that she hated him. I guess that’s a strange concept to wrap one’s mind around. However she was certain the very reason she hated him was because of the abundance of love she had for him. 

Why did she love him so much? Long ago? She asked herself the same question as she lie on her bed after seeing him earlier that day. It had been a year since they spoke but he called her, and like always she came to him. He needed a ride that day. He ordered food and asked her to take him to go pick it up . During the first part of the drive he explained that he got into some trouble and his drivers license was suspended. She listened without giving any advice or concern. She continued to drive and then it started. He began complimenting her and pointing out certain features he obviously hadn’t noticed before; because they were there months and even years ago. “Your lips look so beautiful and thick. Can I kiss them?” She looked at him with a half smile, “No.” then she chuckled saying, “You’re funny.” He tried to hold her hand and she pulled away. “Whoa! When did your hands get so big?” He asked her in astonishment. She rolled her eyes, annoyed, laughed and looked down at her hands. As she was flipping them over to look at her palms, “They’ve been this size ever since I was i can remember. I have my grandmothers Cherokee-Indian hands. They’ve always been pretty big for a woman.” 

She was extremely uncomfortable sitting next to him, she was pretty certain it showed because the conversation went silent, but only briefly. They had a quick ‘catching up’ conversation on account it’s been a year since they’ve spoken or let alone seen each other. Eventually those short 20 minutes came to an end. Before he got out of the car he asked if he could hug her. She thought to herself for a moment and agreed; knowing that this was it. -This would be the last time I hug him… Forever. Her conscious mind told her. She reached out her arms. This HAS to be it -she told herself again. They hugged and before he closed the door he bent back down and looked at her, “Don’t be a stranger now.” She smiled without saying a word and then drove off. When she got home she went for her bed to lie down because she was feeling overwhelmed with emotions. She was extremely confused as to why she was currently experiencing these feelings because she no longer loved him. In fact it had been over 2 years since she had any real affection towards him. 

A painful expression came over her face. “Why did I use to love him so much, long ago?” she asked aloud as she rolled over on her back to face the ceiling. She placed her hands on her tummy and sighed, “I mean he did everything to me that one person could do to hurt the one you love. Why did you stay with him?” She lay there silently waiting for a response but the room was empty. Just her and her bed.

She began to think about the day they met. It was pretty strange on account they met from being complete strangers. She was sitting in her moms driveway on her phone when he walked by. She noticed him but didn’t think anything about it. He obviously lived in or near the neighborhood. Simply just another passerby. One that she’s seen several times before this night. She found herself outside her mother’s home quite often than inside because she despised her mother’s then husband. Almost an hour went by and he was walking back the direction whence he’d come from. This time she wasn’t occupied so he stopped at the edge of her driveway and said “hi.”

“Hello.” She answered back in a questioning tone not knowing what he wanted. They exchanged names and he asked what school she went too. She explained that she was in college rather than the school he was referring too. That was it. 5 minutes of small talk.

A few nights pass by before she’d see him again. This time she was sitting on the concrete of her driveway enjoying the summer evening and to her surprise there he was again. This time he sat down next to her with a piece of paper in his hand.

“What did we talk about?” She asked herself while she was staring at the ceiling of her bedroom -slowly coming out of the memory she was reliving. She rolled over on her side and gazed out her window. She inhaled deeply and then her mind went back. There was a phone number on that piece of paper. His number. She remembered thinking that was odd because most guys ask for your number rather than give it. She considered it quite polite.

Her eyes began to close instead of continuously peering through the glass of the window. She was trying to remember that evening. The conversation was a bit fuzzy but she remembered two hours of nothing but smiles and laughter on that summer evening on Eastfield.

She couldn’t write anymore. She closed her notebook and held it tightly in her hands. She felt very anxious and uneasy writing this particular passage but she knew she had too. It needed to get off of her chest. Out of mind out of sight she thought. Backwards right? Well not for her. Once she writes it down the memory leaves her mind and no longer becomes bothersome. However she felt as though she should continue writing. Not continue because it was a great passage but because she NEEDED too; for her. So she re positioned herself on the chaise and re opened the notebook from her clammy hands.

She opened her eyes with a smile to see the sun rays coming through the trees from the opposite side of her window. That was it -she thought. That night was the spark. She continued to lie there on her side looking out at the greenery, when she winced. Her mind was going back to a memory that she buried deep within. She remembered the night him, and her hung out at her cousins apartment.

They were dating but not in an actual relationship just yet. It was still very new. She invited him to her cousins apartment because her boyfriend was of age and there was liquor. The apartment actually belonged to her cousins boyfriend. He was a police officer and was working at a local jail that evening. So it was just the three of them. 

She closed her burning eyes and laughed, “Ha!” She then shook her head because they did some serious underage drinking that evening in a cops home. Her eyes remained closed and she went back.

Drinking ensued, conversations were had, laughter was involved, and then she rested her head on his lap while he played with her hair. The next morning she woke up on the couch slightly hung over. There was nothing unusual to her. In fact she woke up happy because they had a fun and drama free evening. Which was great because her cousin was very dramatic and sobs just about every time she drinks.

“Wait a minute!” she yelled aloud rolling back over to her back and staring at the ceiling again. “She was dramatic,” she remembered aloud. “She talked about D putting his hands on her and being addicted to sex. Ha! I can’t believe I forgot about that.” She began to laugh because years passed by after that evening and she learned the story was in reverse. It was all her and not him. She shook her head, “anyways I don’t have time to dwell on shit that’s not mine.”

Staring at the ceiling she went back to the morning she woke up happy on the living room couch.

They all three spoke for a while and then they left. She took him home, but he was silent during the drive until she almost pulled into his driveway. “I think something happened last night.” She looked at him, “What are you talking about? What do you mean? Happened with what?” He wouldn’t look at her. While looking at his hands, “Something happened with your cousin.” She was silent for a moment trying to comprehend what he was telling her. Her stomach turned and hands went sweaty and cold as they gripped the steering wheel. He spoke again, “I know we didn’t have sex but I’m pretty sure we did stuff.” She angrily pierced the side of his head with her eyes without saying a word. He got out off her car and she watched him go into his home.

She drove back to her cousins and confronted her. Her cousin began to cry as she apologized. “It was an accident. I’m sorry. We were so drunk and then we blacked out. You feel asleep but we weren’t tired -So we continued to drink.” 

“So you’re telling me you were drunk but blacked out. If you blacked out then how do you know something happened? If you blacked out- shouldn’t you have been passed out?” Her cousin just looked at her with tears in her eyes.

She held her car keys violently in her fist. “This is the second time! The second time you’ve done this to me. First Robert and then him! Only Robert -you fucked while we were in a relationship. One and half years with him! Down the drain. I was supposed to lose my virginity to him. NOT YOU!” She threw her keys at her cousins face and imagined attacking her, but when she came too she realized it wasn’t worth it. She wasn’t worth it nor was he. “Fuck both of you!” she yelled as she swept up her keys from the carpet and slammed the door behind her.

She sat up on the bed and felt sick to her stomach. ‘Am I about the throw up?’ she asked in her mind. Not because she was remembering how her cousin and soon to be boyfriend betrayed her but how she continued to talk to both of them afterwards. That’s what made her sick. She ran from her bed to the bathroom and vomited in the toilet. She rested her head on her crossed arms that lay on the toilet seat.”Why was I so forgiving?” she asked herself. She thought for a moment. She lifted her head up, sat and rested her back on the bathroom wall with her legs stretched out. She tilted her head back. She was relaxed.

She remembered that she valued and respected that this boy told her, what her own cousin, probably would’ve taken to the grave. But not him.

“He told me. I respected that I guess. Hell! I even went to the doctor with that fucker when he thought she gave him an STD.” She smacked herself in the forehead. “Oh my God! I was so fucking stupid. Naive.” She got up and rinsed her mouth out. She looked at herself in the mirror. Stared into her own eyes as she rested her palms on the counter tops. “That should’ve been the first sign! Actually, that was a sign… but you ignored it.” 

Her cellphone rang. She closed her notebook and rested it on the windowsill next to her chaise. It was her boyfriend. He was away in Vegas on a bachelor party for his soon to be brother in law. They caught up on each other’s day and exchanged I miss yous’ and I love yous’ before hanging up. She walked out of her library to go make herself dinner. However she was depressed. So she ordered pizza and decided to have some wine.

The wine was numbing all of the feelings she just experienced from writing. It was exhausting. Exerting yourself and putting it all on paper, reminding yourself of the past. It was very hurtful. She realized why most authors drink and why Hemingway said what he said. ‘Write hard about what hurts.’ She took her glass of wine back into her library and this time she sat on the floor with her notebook and begin to write again.

After rinsing her mouth she felt relieved. She walked into the kitchen of her one bedroom apartment to get some water. This apartment was her second. It was cute, petite, and a lot nicer than her first one. As she grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator she remembered moving into her first apartment. She remembered thinking that she could have her boyfriend over anytime she wanted. That’s what he became -he was her boyfriend. “Boy did I regret that one.” she said to herself while walking back to her bedroom. 

She laid back down but this time under the covers. She started to remember the move in, the house warming party, the nights of him in her bed, the nights they made love, the nights they fucked, the arguments, the lies, the loneliness, the tears she cried at night. She rolled over in discomfort and began to stare at her ceiling again. 

Most people don’t have a house warming party until they physically purchase their first home. However she was 19, two years in college, a great job at Emory with room to grow once she graduated, a Ford explorer, and now a place of her own. She was winning! She shrugged her shoulders why laying in bed, “Why not have a party?” 

Her friends and cousins were there. His friends were there which eventually became mutual friends or associates to the both of them. That night was when it all changed. He disappeared for a few hours and several people heard him say that he was going over to his other girl’s house in Carrollton. 

She closed the notebook. Walked into her kitchen to pour another glass of wine. She rested her elbows on the the island in the kitchen. She began to sip what was now her third glass of wine while giving herself a pep talk. She felt the tension in the back of her neck going to the top of her shoulders. She rolled her neck a few times and then she walked back into the library. She turned the lights on because the sun was no longer providing a guide. She sat back down on the floor. Pen to paper.

It hurt her when she heard what was said. In fact he did leave but he came back about two hours later. While he was gone she began to drink heavily. Alcohol was her weakness. Actually he was her weakness and alcohol was her companion. When he came back she confronted him of what was said to her from several people. He angrily denied it. They argued, but like usual it was swept under the rug.  

She pulled the covers over her head, “I would say some pretty mean things to him. But. He deserved it, didn’t he?” She asked herself. “He brought the worst out in me and I, him.” Then she laid there thinking about everything she did for him. 

“I cooked meals for him anytime of the day when would stay at my place, I’d let him come to my home at 2 or 3 a.m. when he was done hanging out with his friends or some girl. I’d help him with his school work, I let him borrow money, I let him call me anytime he needed a ride. I’d let him drive my car before he purchased one of his own. Hell!! I risked my freedom and job moving precious cargo to and from Carrollton. If a man loved his woman, he would never put her in that predicament. He wasn’t a man!”

She pulled the covers from over her head to let the sunlight enter. In fact she removed all of the covers because now she was hot. She became so angry that her body temperature was slowly increasing. “He never wanted to talk, about anything. He always shut me out. He was always high. His friends, studio, and weed mattered more than me. Very rare did he ever take me out on a date. In fact I can only remember two! Fuck! He didn’t even show up to my college graduation ceremony. His ‘so called friends’ had some alcohol for me at their house afterwards.”

She called them so-called friends on account they all tried to get with her. “Girl, if you were my woman, I wouldn’t have you hanging out with me and all these other niggas. I would treat you right.” Another would say, “When you leave him, I’ll be right here.” The most popular, “He doesn’t deserve you. What do you see in him?” One even tried to have sexual intercourse with her and told her that it would be their secret. She would always turn everyone and everything down out of respect for her boyfriend and ultimately herself. She also ignored the fact that more than one person would tell her he didn’t deserve her. She heard it but never took heed. 

She got up from her bed and began the pace back and forth in her bedroom. “I was so pathetic!” she yelled as she threw her arms up in the air in disappointment. She began to remember all the times she would sleep at his house waiting for him just so she could be next to him. His mother allowed it too. Little did she know the times her son would come home and she’d been there for hours trying to stay awake. She even slept in his bed while he was in Panama because she missed him. Only God knows what he was doing but she hadn’t talked to him so the scent was the only thing she had. She was attached.”I just wanted him to love me the way I loved him. Miss me the way I missed him. I can’t believe my stupidity. I honestly hate him. Seeing him today disgusted me and now I know why!” 

She went back into her kitchen to grab a beer out of the refrigerator. She took a sip and as she pulled the beer away from her lips she looked at the bottle. “You? You’re the reason.” She walked to the sink and poured the beer down the drain and threw away the bottle. She realized that she turned to alcohol anytime she couldn’t cope. “I will not be that person again. Not for anyone.”

She sat on the couch of her living room and remembered him sitting there. He had been to her new apartment once. He needed a ride from his cousin’s house because he was under the influence and car less. She took him back to her new place. Nothing happened. She made sure of it because of all the times before. Not to mention she was seeing someone. However she once cared for him and hoped he would do the same if she called. It had been about a year and a half since there final break up. So she was prepared to say no if need be.

She got up off of the floor of her library after knocking her glass over. Luckily, it was empty. She probably would’ve broken down in tears if it had got on her notebook and carpet. More so the notebook than carpet. It meant so much to her already. She bypassed the kitchen looking at the bottle of wine sitting on the counter top and entered into her bedroom with the notebook in hand. She sighed as she began to flip through all of the pages she had written. She wasn’t sure if she should be angry, happy, or sad. This was coming from her heart, from the past, she was pouring her soul onto these sheets of paper.

This obviously was quite meaningful to her because she typically puts her work through the keyboard of her laptop. Not tonight. She felt the need to write from her own hand. It felt better. Felt real. She finally sat in her king sized bed and opened to where she left off. 

Breaking up was very hard for her. She never understood the reason behind it other than he just didn’t want to be in a relationship. She laid her head down on her living room couch. “I can’t blame him, he was young and not ready. I just wish I could’ve seen it that easily years ago and saved myself from all of the heartache.” The last time when they finally ended it she had moved back to her mothers house from her first apartment because she didn’t want to renew the lease. It wasn’t the best place to live. He called her pleading that she come outside so they could talk. She said No. She was done with the title. ‘relationship’ That was it. They were no longer together. 

A few times after that he would call her up. “What are you doing?” or “where you at?” was basically code for let’s meet up and fool around. 

I was soooooooo stupid. I did that shit to myself.” She laid there on her couch beating herself up about all the times she met him to have sex even when they weren’t together. His apartment in Marietta, back of her truck, in a hotel, etc. “Life! I guess you really have to live IT in order to learn, huh?” She rolled over on her stomach and buried her face in the cushion of her couch and she began to cry. She told herself that she would never talk to or see him again. That she would never shed another tear over him ever again. He wasn’t worth it. Her tears were more so from anger than sadness.

Once she was done crying she sat up and decided to write a letter. She went to her bedroom where her laptop was. She took the laptop back to her living room and sat down on the couch. She sat the laptop on her thighs, opened the WORD application on her windows computer.

“To the boy who broke my heart more than once,

I loved you but now I’m pretty certain I hate you.

I was good to you. I was great for you. I was there for you no matter what. Where were you? Where were you when I wanted to see you or sleep next to you? Where were you when I moved out of my apartment? I helped your mom and you pack up and move to Marietta but your friends helped me move back to my mothers.

Why couldn’t you ever be sober? Why did you always have to be high? It wasn’t just the Weed but you started experimenting with Molly and other pills. Was I not good enough for you to be sober around?

I loved you! Did you even love me? If you did, you had a really funny way of showing it. I shed so many tears and created bags under my eyes because I tried to get you to understand my feelings. I wasted my time and effort with nothing to show for it. 

Every time I finally left you alone, you would contact me. Were you trying to torture me? Was it a game for you because every time I came back you pushed me off to the side again. I eventually became ‘your hit it and quit it’. 

I remember looking through your phone when I heard you were cheating. There were texts and pictures from several girls. It hurt me to my core. I can tell you I’ve never looked into another man’s phone because of that. I feel if someone is being dishonest it’ll come to the light. No need in snooping. Not to mention I’ll never be with someone I can’t trust.

We never really did anything or went anywhere. Most of what I remember is hanging out on a couch at someone’s house or in the bed of one of our homes. Other people were always around. Very rare was it just us two. You know out of the few years we knew each other I can only recall going on two dates. Once to the movies and Applebees and the other to Hibachi because it was my birthday. I honestly don;t know what we did for valentines day IF we did do anything. I just wanted to go places with you. Didn’t matter where.

I did and still care about you and I hope that you turn out to be a great man with a stable job and home. Find yourself a wonderful woman to spend your life with. – 

“I was that woman.” She exclaimed as she stopped writing and looked up from her notebook. She then went into the kitchen and poured that fourth glass of wine which emptying the bottle of Cabernet that was sitting on her kitchen counter. “Almost done,”  she huffed underneath her breath. “You can do it.” She looked at the time and it was 10:00 p.m. She was shocked to know that she had been writing and contemplating for five straight hours. She walked back into her bedroom and saw the notebook lying open, asking to be finished. She climbed back into the bed, sat her wine on the night stand next to her. Ink pen in her hand.

I hope you eventually settle down and have some kids. Being with one person for the rest of your life is a little scary. However i hear from older married couples it’s totally worth it and couldn’t imagine their life without their partner.

If you choose to continue a career in music, I hope that turns out successfully for you. It can be very hard and require many of years. Be prepared.

Our relationship had its ups and downs. We had some good times and I will continue to carry those great memories with me as I grow. We were quite a silly pair together. Our personalities meshed well with one another. We had what the other person lacked. Think about it… we laughed often but those laughs eventually became silent and eventually non existent. It was mutual. I’d be fooling myself if I said this was all you. I know it wasn’t. I played a part. 

We became rude to one another because we were both young and didn’t know how to approach one another with an issue. I knew how to push your buttons and believe you me, I did. You hurt my feelings constantly to the point I never felt like I was good enough for you. I’d question myself often on why I was staying around. I knew there was a Man inside of you and there was good. I wanted to see it so badly because I wanted the best for you and I KNEW he was in there. I knew I was good for you too.

I use to be angry with you when you’d contact me out of the blue. My mature self now realizes that the person I needed to be angry with was me; for every time I allowed myself to come back to you, even if it was just for one night. Wasn’t your fault. I subdued myself to it. 

I would like to apologize for any Hell I caused you or any hurtful things I might’ve said. One time I said you were “Nothing.” That sticks out in mind the most because you made me feel like nothing. I took it out on you. I apologize if I was annoying or in the way of something or somebody. I’m sorry if I tried to force you to talk to me and open up when you didn’t want too.

I’d also like to apologize for an ex of mine. He knew about you and went behind my back and took your number out of my cell phone the same day you commented on a photo regarding banana boating on my Facebook. He had his friend call you but the girl he was dating was a friend of mine so she told me. When I confronted my then boyfriend about it -he lied so I cut things off with him. I hope you know that I was not and still am not that person. He lied and went behind my back. I don’t take that crap anymore. Thanks to you.

I’d like to thank you. You actually helped me grow. Made me realize what I want and don’t want in life. I know what I want and don’t want in a man. I’ve experienced how a young woman is supposed to be treated when dating. It feels so great when someone treats you like a Queen and wants to spend their time with you.

I also learned how to fight off temptation. Though I thought about it while we were together. I want you to know I never acted on my thoughts. I felt bad for even thinking about it here and there. I respected myself and I respected you because I loved you. I stayed true to you and to every person after that. I don’t believe in fighting fire with fire. I DO believe what goes around comes back around.

Last thing I learned was we never realize what we had until it’s gone. Whether it was good or bad. So I’ve learn to analyze my life and not what everyone else has. Appreciate what I have because it’s mine and that nothing is and never will be perfect. 

Lastly, A piece of advice. LET PEOPLE IN… or you’ll end up alone.

-From The girl who is now a woman”

She looked at the cursor blinking on the screen next to the word ‘woman’. She breathed a huge sigh of relief as she clicked the ‘X’ symbol in the top right screen of her letter. As she was trying to exit out, an icon popped up asking:

‘Are you sure you want to exit this page without saving?                  YES or NO’

She looked aimlessly for a moment and then she clicked the yes button firmly. ‘She was certain that she didn’t want any more reminders of him.

She closed the notebook and stared down at her aching wrist. She had finally finished.

But she wasn’t finished. “I’d also like to thank you because I’ve never cried over another man again when they make me sad. I’m much stronger now. Except for today.” She took the notebook and the glass with the remaining wine outside. She lived in a hilly area in North Georgia so it was quite chilly and windy.  She had a blanket wrapped around her as she stood in front of the fire pit in her backyard. She drew a match and tossed it in.

She sat down next to the fire to use the light to read the six hours of writing she put into this notebook. Once she was done reading it she closed it and held it tight in her hands against her chest. “I don’t hate you anymore.”

She stood up and gazed into the dancing flames. Still holding the notebook to her chest, “I also don’t regret you but I wish to never think of the bad again.”

Closure. That was it. She just gave herself closure. She accepted the past.

She dropped the notebook into the fire and watched the flames rise higher as the fire was being fed. The flames went from orange to green as the exterior of the notebook melted away. She sat back down in front of the fire to watch the papers she had written on for hours disintegrate into thin air. As if it never existed.

Wearing her long sleeved cashmere sweater, pajama shorts, and wrapped snug in a blanket she felt at peace.

-Phelinne Levi

 

Anywhere but here

Mountains
photograph taken by Phelinne Levi

Last Friday night I found myself driving around until I ended up at this little hole in the wall. I walked in and the bartender asked me if I was okay? I looked at her angrily and asked why she assumed something was wrong. She apologized and stated that I had a worried blank expression. She went on to tell me that I looked lost on account she didn’t take me as the kind of girl that would go to a bar by myself -let alone her place of business. I shook my head and apologized for being rude and that I was fine; I just wanted to go somewhere and have a beer without running into someone I knew. She smiled and asked me my order.

I grabbed my Michelob ultra and I walked to the outside patio where I sat down at a circular, black iron table. There was a short breeze but it was humid from the summer rain fall that happened earlier that day. I was alone. Exactly what I wanted. It was quiet; so quiet outside that I could hear the buzzing from the power lines high in the sky. I took in a deep sigh of relief and I started to drink my beer. Two hours later my pack of Marlboro’s was empty and there were 5 emptied bottles before my eyes. I was intoxicated but still upset. I sat there for a moment debating on whether or not I should get another beer. I got rid of that idea rather quickly because I hadn’t a clue who I’d call to come pick me up. I surely wouldn’t be capable of driving myself home if I drink another beer.

“Home?” I remember thinking. Where am I even going? Anywhere but here. That’s when I got the idea. I’ve always wanted to drive until the road dead ends. So I remember asking myself whats holding me back and I couldn’t come up with one solid answer. So I went to the bar, paid my tab, drank a glass of water , went to the restroom, and next thing I knew I started to drive. I was happy. I was being spontaneous. I didn’t have a suitcase or a toothbrush but I had a full tank of gas. I glanced at my clock to see it was 11:00 p.m. prior to me leaving the parking lot.

I started to gaze over the shadow of my knuckles that lie along the steering wheel out towards the open road. I began to think. I’ve got a new job starting up in two weeks which means my daily routine will be interrupted and what if my first day goes horribly? I felt so lonely because my brothers and sisters live in another state and I feel that my siblings and myself aren’t close like those who live together. My mother is always a call away but she’s 365 miles away if I’m ever in need of a hug. I missed my deceased grandmother because she was always the person I could talk to about anything without being judged or reprimanded. I got kicked out of my own home by a man I loved all because I told him I wanted to marry but I also wanted to work for myself and not his company. After a 6 year search I finally found my biological father last week but unsure if I should reach out to him. He lives in a 9.8 million mansion in Bel Air with three kids ages 17, 19, and  21. I’m some mixed country girl that could cause his family some serious havoc. I’m also not 100% Indonesian so my biological grandparents would disown me if Yudson and I developed a relationship.

My mind and heart was so consumed with thought and emotion, I had no clue where I was but the road stopped. It was 12:42 a.m. and I came to a dead end at a little country store in North Georgia. I don’t know why, but I began to cry, I cried so hard my chest felt heavy and I couldn’t catch my breath. I grabbed my phone with the attempt to call my mother but I put her first. I didn’t want to wake her with my hysterical cries on the other end of the phone. So I sat there until my uncontrollable crying subsided. I noticed a reflection in my peripheral and when I turned to look I saw a sign pointing to the direction of Burnt Mountain. I wiped my face and began to drive. Another hour went by before the winding roads and sight of deer began to cease. I pulled my car over in what looked like a vacant lot. I got out of the car and the air was cool to my skin and refreshing. The stars were beautiful. I never knew there were so many. I smiled and my mind felt at ease. I crawled into the back seat of my car and went to sleep.

My windows were cracked and I could hear the early chirping of birds awakening one another. I opened my eyes just in time to catch the sunrise. I took in a deep breath with some sort of satisfaction. I did it. I actually did it. I got in the car and just drove and this is where the wind took me. I sat on the roof of my vehicle for a few hours listening to the wildlife that surrounded me while gazing upon the beautiful blue sky with cumulus clouds that met the tops of  the mountain’s trees. I looked around at the Earth, “What shall I do on this lovely Saturday?” I asked aloud.

-Phelinne Levi

Open your mouth

owls
Photograph taken by Phelinne Levi

Open your eyes

uncover your mouth

love is within you

time to let it out

Let it be known

from the deepest valleys

to the highest mountains

these feelings you possess

Don’t hide it anymore

for the person before your eyes

may not continue to wait

and alone you’ll be left

So open your eyes

uncover your mouth

no need to be scared

just let it out

-Phelinne Levi

My thoughts on Social Media

I deleted my Facebook a little over a week ago because I was tired. Tired of seeing hatred in my news feed. Tired of seeing idiotic posts or dumb comments. I cannot tolerate stupidity. I just can’t. I was tired of seeing politics. Tired of seeing news about terror attacks and individuals losing their lives. Most of all tired of posting things up for people of the web to see, knowing its all a lie.

What has our world come too? We’ve literally replaced people with our cell phones. One of my biggest pet peeves is a phone at the dinner table. It happens to me no matter how much of a fuss I make. I’ve noticed that it too happens to others. It’s sad when you’re at the dinner table and you’re too busy scrolling through Social Media to talk to the person directly in front of you, who is then left to stare seamlessly into space because when they speak you don’t hear them. We’ve replaced board games around the kitchen table with family and friends with candy crush, (I’ve never once subjected myself to that treachery) or other apps that allows a person to play a game in solitary.

People are too busy wrapping themselves in other peoples lives that they can’t focus on theirs. Facebook paints a picture of how individuals lifestyle should be, leaving others blind to what’s directly in front of them. I myself am a victim of the abuse. I’ve posted photos of outings hoping that others would like it, but not everybody knows the story behind each picture or post. The arguments, the tears, the lack of effort, the strength, or the courage that lie underneath the surface.

I was tired of waking up in the morning; addicted to checking my news feed and notifications while relieving my bladder instead of saying my morning prayers to God for letting me see yet another day. For the past few weeks I’ve seen nothing but negativity on my social media to the point of frustration and stress filled my mind. Literally stress me out to where It was difficult to enjoy my yoga or focus on reading a single chapter from a book. I started to use my app less and less and the more happy I became.

I realized that this social media is an addiction. An addiction that is hurtful to myself and to others. People want to be liked, don’t get me wrong, that’s human nature. However to sit there and post things to show your life is better than everyone else’s when the truth is you’re actually hurting and hiding your sadness. Somehow thinking that when the notifications of likes and loves make its way to your cellphone you’ll become happy. Ha, silly people.

Violence, racism, bigotry, and hatred has been on this earth for thousands of years. The sadness and hatred consumes me and I don’t like being sad or having hate in my heart. I understand one should not be ignorant to what’s going on around the World but I’d like it better if I didn’t have to see or hear it every hour of each day. I started to unfriend people or unfollow their posts so we could at least stay Facebook friends and then I thought, “for what?” I have almost 200 friends on Facebook but talk to about 8 or 9 of them. Think about it! The reason most people have a Facebook is to be nosy and to see how that kid from middle or high school, whom is now an adult, is doing with their lives. Are they rich, poor, ignorant, educated, successful, a selfie fanatic, lover of politics, did they move away from their home town, are they married? Why does it matter? Why can’t we just focus on what and who we have already?

I pray for people to change. I pray that people will wake up. I constantly pray that my brothers and sisters will pick up a book instead of their cell phone. Memorize famous poem stanzas instead of lyrics to a rap song. Learn a new language instead of thinking it’s a waste of time. My mother does a great job so far but the world is rapidly changing around us and it’s very easy to get sucked into this “millennial” society.

I’m not saying that one day I won’t reactivate my social media on account I have family in Brazil, Europe, California, Michigan, and Alabama that I’d like to see. Again what is this world coming too where families don’t have reunions or make appoint to see each other for a holiday? However if and when I return to social media the amount of friends I have on my personal page will decrease drastically. The amount of Facebook posts about my personal life will not be shared unless I think it’s something seriously worth sharing. Addiction? Yeah it’s real! I’m already talking about reactivating my account and it’s only been 10 days.

Though I will not and shall not return to it until I feel ready and not reliant.

Phelinne Levi

Happy? Sonnet

Happy or comfortable is the theme

Every couple should ponder this query

Love should be able to conquer and gleam

Asking this question can make you weary

If you feel stuck in a constant routine

Then maybe that person is not for you

If their smiles make you feel like a teen

Keep them close and each other stay true

Don’t be afraid to leave your usual

For if you stay -unhappy you will be

If the love you two share is beautiful

One should not think twice to rest on a knee

I’m not saying love should be effortless

But questioning it often is something to address

-Phelinne levi

Cancer didn’t win

My grandmother had a very foul tongue, or so the phrase goes, she had the mouth of a sailor. Not what you’d typically expect when you hear “my grandmother”. She had pale skin in the winter which would turn into an unimaginable golden tone in the summer. Her strawberry blonde hair and green to hazel eyes came from her Irish mother and her olive skin and high cheekbones came from her Native American father. She was the definition of beautiful; inside and out. Just like all grandmothers to their grandchildren she was very special to me and I to her. Though it was never stated aloud, out of her sixteen grandchildren, I was her favorite and we all knew. She was always there to pick me up when I was down and help lift me up when I deserved praise. She wiped almost every tear of mine completely away with the laughter she instilled in me. She was a true comedian at heart and could turn every negative situation into a funny pointless one. She even offered an ear for all of my daily venting from frustrating work days or arguments with the boy I was dating at the time. I remember she would call me in the mornings to ask If I ate breakfast; if I hadn’t she would have me stop by only to meet me in the driveway and hand me a warm egg sandwich. That sandwich made my commute to work less agonizing and my belly full.

My how I miss her. A beautiful, kind, and fierce woman who didn’t take shit from anyone except for cancer. I remember when she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and her body scan showed that her bones had holes in them like a sponge, it was as if she was deaf when the Cancer Specialist spoke about her results. We left the doctors office and she carried on as if it were any other day. I remember contemplating to myself that maybe she was in denial or she just didn’t care. Come to find out it was the ladder of the two. When we went to her second visit after a week of being diagnosed, she found out that she had about eight months to live, but still refused chemotherapy. She even told Dr. W. to stick the chemo up her ass. The Doctor was extremely calm and patient as if she was already expecting my grandma to lay down the law on what she would and would not do. I remember my mouth gaping when I saw the Doctors facial expression towards my grandmother. When she turned around to wash her hands I chuckled softly because little did Dr. W. know that my grandmother curses at everyone, including strangers. I always found my grandmothers rants quite amusing. I apologized to her and then turned to my grandmother to let her know that was uncalled for. My grandmother looked at me with a childish, guilty face and shrugged her shoulders. The Doctor turned back around and uttered that it was okay and asked my Grandmother to come back in if she changed her mine. I respected Doctor W. ever since that day and how she handled the situation of an irate cancer patient. When we got to the car my grandmother made me swear not to tell a single soul about the length of time Doctor W. put on her life. I remember receiving chills down my spine, goosebumps across my arms, and knots in my stomach, but I swallowed the spit that accumulated in my mouth and whispered okay.

My mom and her two sisters had a conniption when they heard from me that their own mother refused the medication that could possibly make her cancer free. There were weeks of continuous arguments between my grandmother and her 3 daughters but little did they know that they were just wasting their time. All the while I remained quiet wondering why she chose to let cancer win. Not my grandma. How could she not put up a fight? How could she just give up? Finally after a month my questions were answered when she called everyone to her house on a Sunday afternoon. She sat everyone down and talked as gently but firm as she could. I remember watching her as she spoke and she didn’t look terrified, angry, weak, or hurt. She looked like the strong grandmother I always knew. She informed us that she was given eight months to live and before my grandmother could speak another word the living room filled with painful cries and moans. I looked around the living room at my mom, aunts, cousins, second cousins, brothers and sisters and then back to my grandmother. My eyes began to well up with tears but when I looked at my grandmother she pierced at me with those hazel eyes of hers and shook her head slightly. I knew that meant not to let a single tear fall down my face. Next thing I knew I grit my teeth, inhaled a few deep breaths and stud up.

“Shut the hell up! Everyone! Don’t y’all know you’re just making things worse by acting like it’s the end of the damn world? Do any of you know how hard this is for a single person to stand up and face a room full of loved ones, to talk about their current health condition all the while maintaining a calm composure?” I paused to catch my breath and the suddenly the sound of moaning and screeching cries were replaced with nose blowing and sniffles. All eyes were on me, “Just listen to her goddammit before it’s too late!” I slammed myself back into my seat, my eyes were filled with tears of anger and my heart felt as though it was beating 200 beats a minute. I looked at my grandmother and she smiled at me causing the trembling in my hands to cease.

“When Dr. Weakland told me I only had eight months to live it made me think. I’ve seen people go through the chemotherapy treatments, including my dear friend Wanda, y’all are familiar with her. Well what you don’t know besides seeing her hairless and frail bodied is that she would vomit multiple times a day to the point where she didn’t want to eat anymore. She was miserable with migraines, vertigo, and the constant probing of needles. She told me, ‘Phyllis don’t you ever do this shit if you get cancer- I made a huge mistake.’ So I thought about my last months or days on this Earth and I want to eat and drink whatever the hell I want without worrying about how to keep it down. I want to style my hair and do my makeup instead of letting chemotherapy take my hair and my strength. I don’t want a new wardrobe once I lose weight from medication. I want to be able to drive myself to the store, laundry mat, or the gas station without having blurry vision from the headaches and dizziness. Lastly I don’t want you, my family, to remember me in the same state as Wanda before her passing. I want you to remember me as your mom, your grandmother, or your great aunt that didn’t take shit from anyone! Cancer may be a cocksucker and kill me but I refuse to subject myself to the side effects of treatment. I’ll go when it’s my time to go and I, nor you, nor the doctors can do anything to prevent that. So I am asking all of you to respect my decision and don’t treat me any differently then you did before we found out I had this health issue. Okay dammit?”

I remember smiling after hearing what my grandmother had to say. I looked around the living room of her small house and saw that my family members were smiling too. Some less than others but there was peace that day. It brings me back to how my grandmother was always able to make the best out of a sour situation. I felt bad for ever doubting my grandmother’s strength and thinking that she was letting cancer win. What I learned from her is that you have to face your fears with a straight face. Maintain your composure, maintain your attitude, and always know your self worth, because if you don’t do those things it’ll change who you are. What’s the point of living if your scared all the time? There’s no fun in life walking on eggshells constantly. I understand cancer may have taken her life from us and this Earth but cancer never changed who my grandmother was. She was diagnosed at the age of 56 and her 8 month battle with cancer was stretched out over the course of 8 years. So needless to say my grandmother went out with a fight.

-phelinne levi 

 

Indescribable

Tonight I walked into my house after a long day at work; bypassed the kitchen to the bedroom where I slipped out of my work clothes into something more comfortable. I walked over to the bar grabbed a bottle of Plymouth Gin and concocted myself a nice beverage. As I took a sip of my Aviation cocktail I stood there contemplating whether or not I should make dinner. I shrugged my shoulders and walked right over to my laptop. I put Iron & Wine on the Pandora station and before I knew it my Word application was open and my fingers began typing away. My mind was repressed and then I realized I had three pages filled with words and my cocktail was no more.

What brought me back to reality were the aches I felt in my stomach. It was almost as if I was punched in the gut and and the sensation traveled to my anus. My mouth became dry and it felt as though a sock was stuffed down my throat. My chest became heavy and I noticed that every inhale through my nostrils was cold as if I was standing outside on a frigid January night. I stared at the blinking cursor on my screen while I tried to pull it all together. I couldn’t depict if I was nervous, hurt, or longing for something or someone. It is an indescribable feeling, which is very odd you see, because I am all too familiar with this feeling. In fact I experience these symptoms almost every time I write. So you would think I could better describe what it is or where it comes from.

It drives me to make another cocktail in hopes that it would suppress my emotions, but no, the feelings stay and I continue typing away.

-Phelinne Levi

Her

I took in a few deep breaths before removing my keys from the ignition as if I were about to submerge myself under water for more than two minutes. There it was. It never fails. This butterfly sensation in the pit of my stomach every time I turn my Volvo off to go inside this cafe. The sensation reminds me of my first kiss with Sara back in the 9th grade; however this butterfly sensation includes a slight twisting feeling of my intestines. As I got out of the car my palms and fingers suddenly began to sweat profusely. While closing the door to my vehicle I wiped my hands off one by one on my black slacks and started towards the door. Though drying my hands of their clammy substance didn’t seem to resolve the issues of my drenched armpits or that my legs feel like they’re about to give out from underneath me. Lord please let my sweat not show through this blue Oxford of mine -how embarrassing?  I sure hope she’s on the other side of this door today.

I walk inside the boisterous cafe and to my excitement there she is right behind the counter. The line is long and she seems to be occupied with her Barista filled duties brewing up lattes and cappuccinos for those weary of having to conquer yet another Monday. I don’t mind when the cafe is busy or the long lines for that matter because it gives me more time to admire her beauty. She’s tall and thin with olive skin and her dusty brown, wavy hair matches her tones perfectly. Her eyes are round and brown and filled with life when she looks at you. Her jaw is defined nicely enhancing her dimples and her perfect kissable lips. Oh how that smile makes my heart melt leaving me mesmerized for a few hours after leaving this cafe.

I will never forget the first time I met her. It was after Memorial Day and I had just got back from the beach and my face was starting to peel. I excused my appearance and she told me not to worry because she too was peeling. We somehow sparked up a conversation that lasted for almost an hour. Luckily she was in a position where work wasn’t overwhelming and I was able to receive her undivided attention. Ha, I remember she told me two jokes that day. I’ve never had anyone tell me a joke other than when I was a child so I was in complete awe. It was bar humor of course -one about a duck walking into a bar and for the other, Ha, she put on the cutest Irish accent and continued on about a gentleman requesting 3 Guinness stouts from the bartender. I laughed and smiled so much throughout our hour of small talk that my cheeks were sore and I didn’t realize how late I was for work.

From that moment on I couldn’t stop thinking about her. Our personalities meshed so well and we had so many things in common from scotch spirits all the way to the shared love of literature. I knew once I left that cafe I had just met my soulmate and I had to see her again. I couldn’t stop daydreaming about her. Though my daydreaming always brought a smile to my face and still does to this day. I began to think this must be lust because how can one yearn for another being this strongly after just meeting them.

My thoughts faded away as I notice her looking up at me from her espresso machine with those bright eyes, “Hey there! How are you doing on this lovely Monday morning? Oh -did you happen to catch the World Cup last night?” I smiled back and nodded my head, “I’m well and yourself? I only watched the last half but I’m stoked to see that USA is still in the game.” I finally make my way to the counter and order my hazelnut cappuccino from the cashier and to my surprise I look over at the barista station where my order has already been prepared. As she handed me my drink to go I thanked her and told her she should make one for herself on account the morning rush of coffee drinkers has only just begun. She smiled and told me how she enjoyed herself a cup of joe with a long drag outback of the cafe enjoying the first half of the sunrise. I smiled and envied her for a moment. A drag? I thought. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those. As I walked out I told her to enjoy the rest of her day and that I’d hope to see her tomorrow.

“Ugh! Why did I say that?” I yelled aloud as I kicked a penny that had lied along the sidewalk. Why do I do this to myself? Why must I torture myself? Why must I walk in to this forsaken place multiple times a week just to see her and nothing else? During the battle with myself I watched the penny travel on the asphalt towards my tire as I drew closer. I’ve got to learn to stay away! Maybe go to another cafe because I can’t handle this sick puppy feeling I get in the pit of my stomach every time I leave out that damn door. The feeling of knowing we could be nothing more than just a customer and his barista. Come on Scott! You have a girlfriend in your life who loves you and you love her too. I stopped a moment before getting into my vehicle and mumbled under my breath, “but not like I love her.” Once I got into my vehicle I slammed my door shut and rested the back of my head on the car seat. Eyes closed with a few breaths I ask aloud to whoever is listening, “Why did I ever have to meet her at this cafe?”

 

-Phelinne Levi

 

I am Shakespeare

As he looked up at the clouds in the sky,

Overwhelmed became he and started to cry.

He then looked down and buried his face,

holding on to their last embrace.

He drew her in and softly whispered in her ear,

“O’ my beloved please remember me -for I am Shakespeare.”

-Phelinne Levi

 

 

A Ballad about Autumn

Autumn has always been my favorite season;

it never fails to paint a beautiful portrait here on earth.

Boots, hats,and bonfires with fall being the reason;

Humans in awe when Asters of many colors begin to unearth.

Autumn means the changing and withering of leaves

that can be mounded ever so high for children to jump into.

The front brings in a cool yet calming to the skin breeze

which has mothers everywhere brewing up hot stews.

Autumn is often associated with the aroma of pumpkin.

Lattes, pies, cakes, soups, and fragrances bloom.

Families together sing along with the munchkins

while The Wizard of Oz plays in the living room.

Having someone who you love is what truly makes Autumn complete;

when the two of you watch the sunset and the withering leaves dance across the street.

– Phelinne Levi

I Want

“I want a Victorian style house on the boisterous streets somewhere in Louisiana. The one with a wraparound porch and shutters, oh and beautiful dark hardwoods and antique molding inside of course!

I want two gardens! The one in the front to be filled with colorful flowers and plants that attract beautiful butterflies. Maybe hang a few hummingbird feeders you know?! The one in the back will be filled with vibrant colored fruits and vegetables that will have that fresh crunch every time you bite in. A few weeping willows would look great! I’ve always found weeping willows to be the most exquisite tree on earth you see.

I want to open up a Café on Bourbon Street. You know serve up tasty yet potent espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, or just the simplest house brew. Actually come to think of it… I like the sound of a bar slash café. Yeah, mix up a few handcrafted cocktails and offer a few cordials on the menu. Wow! Could you imagine the type of business that place would receive?

I want to meet a man who will sweep me off of my feet with poetry, occasional compliments, and sweet kisses. Someone to hold my hand as we walk the busy streets at night and fall into a deeper love every single day. Someone who would sit on the couch while listening to vinyl and let our conversations and laughter, maybe even tears, lull us to sleep in each other’s arms.

I want to go on adventures and make thousands of memories. I want to travel and visit the clearest oceans and the whitest sand beaches that you only see in postcards. I want to go to Dublin Ireland and Paris France, maybe Barcelona but definitely Greece. We could eat foods from all over the world and visit museums for their paintings, statues, and history.

I then want a family to put in that big Victorian style house. I never thought of just having one kid. Two is a great number because the other child will never get lonely. However three sounds like a positive number considering it is a negative. I’ve always felt it would balance things out! Though that may be quite a stretch considering I’m almost thirty.

Anyways I want a-“

“Enough already! Look all I keep hearing is I want this, I want that, blah blah blah. Well you know what? Frankly I’m tired of hearing what you want because you haven’t nor do you plan on taking the initiative to get your wants. So either you do something about it or shut up because I can’t take your babbling much longer!”

-Phelinne Levi

Think Of You

Whenever I drive, no matter what song is seeping its way through the stereo or scenic route I decide to take, all I seem to think about is you.

You are my greatest inspiration whether it’s ink on paper or oil on a canvas.

I don’t know how but you release the creativity held within me every time I think of you.

Now you are barely a memory in the back of my mind.

Sometimes the image of you begins to fade away but I grasp it and hold on tight because I could never bear the moment if one day I can’t think of you.

    -Phelinne Levi