Snippet Saturday #20: Lonely

For the first month of college, Liv and Indy used to lay awake and talk late into the night. It was like having a sleepover every single night. She’d loved it at first.

And then Liv had started to express interest in a sorority or in hanging out in a class the two of them didn’t have together. She always invited Indy along, but Indy had stopped going after the first few times. She felt like a burden on Liv–like Liv felt obligated to invite Indy along because of the history they had.

On one of their last nights staying up late and talking, Indy told her about how she wished she’d been born on a planet far away somewhere–a small planet that was just big enough for Indy and had no other people.

“If there are no other people, where did you come from?” Liv asked. “Don’t you need parents to be born?”

“Maybe I sprouted from a seed,” Indy said. That detail didn’t seem important to her. “Or maybe I was created out of interspace dust colliding together like how a planet is born.”

“Wouldn’t it be boring and lonely to live alone without anyone else?” Liv said, wrinkling her forehead.

“No,” Indy said. “If I lived my whole life alone, never knowing that anyone else existed, I wouldn’t know what it meant to be nored or lonely. Alone would be the only thing I ever knew–there would be nothing else to compare it to.”

No matter how she tried to explain it, though, Liv didn’t understand–a clear marker of someone who had never been lonely.

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Snippet Saturday #5 Amaurosis

She edged into the kitchen with her cane held out in front of her. The counter was coming up to her right…right…about…now. Yep, there it was. She switched the cane into her left hand and slide her right hand along the edge of the counter, until it turned a corner.

The floor creaked behind her. She whirled around, brandishing her cane like a weapon–but the scent of cinnamon and autumn relaxed her. It was just him. She felt him reach toward her and stepped away so the backs of her thighs hit the counter.

“Don’t touch me!” Not wanting him to think she was still angry from before, she softened her tone to say, “I need to learn this for myself.”

Turning back around, she searched the air with her hands and felt his close over hers from behind. His stomach pressed warmly against her back. The cane clattered out of her hand and to her feet–so loudly that she cringed.

“Muscle memory,” he said softly. His breath rustled her hair right at the roots. “I’m just showing you where it is so your body can remember it.”

He guided her hand to the rough wood and had her pull it open. He wrapped her fingers around a cold glass. Taking her other hand, he had her lift the pitcher of water and pour it into her glass. She felt the glass give slightly in her hand and tightened her grip so it wouldn’t fall.

As she did that, he let go of her and moved away so quickly that it felt like he’d just dissolved away from her. It left her suddenly cold, and she hated that she wanted him to come back.

Asking him to come back meant admitting why she was so afraid. It wasn’t just the desire to be strong and self-sufficient, no matter what senses she still held onto, but it was the broken memories of him. She knew the color of his eyes and his hair, the shape of his nose, the curve of his lips. What she could not longer do was put them together in her into a cohesive whole. Her mental picture of him had become a Picasso painting, and it was suffocating because she didn’t know if she would ever be able to resolve that in her mind and see him as he was.

Sometimes she would still try to open her eyes in the morning and then realize they were already open. She started to feel claustrophobic and clawed for the light switch or the door but there was neither. There was neither because she was stuck inside an unending darkness and no matter how suffocated or claustrophobic she felt or how many panic attacks she had, there was no cure.

Now when she turned her face to the sun, she felt its warmth on her face, but she could no longer see the red glow of the sunlight through her eyelids.

And the only thing that really helped to ease the panic welling in her chest was his touch. It was the only way she could feel better, and she hated it because she didn’t want to rely on anyone–least of all a man. She’d raised to be a strong, independent woman, and here she was wavering at man’s touch.

In the end, he was never the one she was angry with.

Snippet Saturday is my chance to share bits and pieces of my writing.

Foreign Friday: Sunny

Sunny is a South Korean film about a middle-aged woman who tries to fulfill her friend’s dying wish of reuniting their group of high school friends. The film alternates between two timelines: the present day where the women are middle-aged, and the 1980s when they were in high school.

This is an absolutely adorable film that very elegantly transitions between the present and flashbacks of the past. It beautifully captures the universality of the human experience. The closeness of a group of high school girl friends, the pain of first love, the way it feels like nothing’s changed when you’re back with that certain group of friends–even years later.

For anyone who wants to watch it, it’s available on Netflix Instant Watch.

Foreign Friday is an introduction to Indian and Korean culture in honor of my YA contemporary novel (tentatively titled) Shadows Fall Behind.

Snippet Saturday #4 Jessica

The next time I saw him, I was in eighth grade and on the brink of graduation from middle school. When my eyes fell on him, my heart either forgot it had been so long since I’d last seen him, or it remembered all too well.

For a second I thought I would faint–I’d never sen him so handsome as he did in the tux he wore that day. His hands were in pockets, and he looked kind of sheepish as he said hi to me. I was sure he could both feel and hear my pounding heart from across the room. I tried to tell myself I had no right being nervous since I was the one who turned him down, but I couldn’t help it.

We sat together and talked only to each other. For the entire night, we didn’t spend a moment with anyone else. I kept thinking that I could live like that forever–that I never wanted the party to end. It didn’t feel awkward between us, despite what had happened the last time I met him.

The more we talked, the more I felt sucked in. I noticed his knee brush against mine, and I saw him glance down when I stretched out my legs. I think that’s what gave me the courage to do what I did next. I kissed him. It was a short kiss, basically just our lips brushing together, but even the light touch felt like a static shock. I had to fight to keep my fingertips from pressing against my mouth when we split apart.

He looked surprised, so I felt like I had to explain: “I’m sorry. I know it’s selfish, but I just wanted to make sure you were my first kiss.”

I didn’t want him to know how strongly I still felt for him. The kiss–it really was my first kiss–was wonderful, but it built an ache inside me. My heart or soul or whatever it was ached and reached out for him even more than before.

Max | Jessica

Snippet Saturday is my chance to share bits and pieces of my writing.

Mystical Monday: Frost Flowers

It is as beautiful as it is rare.  A frost flower is created on autumn or early winter mornings when ice in extremely thin layers is pushed out from the stems of plants or occasionally wood. This extrusion creates wonderful patterns which curl and fold into gorgeous frozen petioles giving this phenomenon both its name and its appearance.

It’s incredible how many natural phenomena seem entirely magical.

Mystical Monday is about anything fantasy/supernatural/ethereal in honor of my YA Urban Fantasy novel, Synchronicity.

Snippet Saturday #3 Max

The next time I saw Jess (other than little glances and hellos since we were neighbors, of course) was at a family party a year later. It was a little awkward at first, but both of us tested the waters and moved forward a bit more carefully. We were rediscovering our friendship.

I tried not to stare at her, but I couldn’t help. The last time I’d seen her, she was Jessica Park, the girl who was my best friend. When I saw her at the party, she was Jessica Park, the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. Her hair hung just above her shoulders the way it had when I’d first seen her years ago, but now she had long earrings and makeup. She wore a dress, too, that stopped above her knees (and got even shorter when she sat down).

I couldn’t tell you what the color of her dress was or what it even looked like. I was just so aware of her. She stretched her legs out in front of her, and I saw how perfect and smooth the skin was. I made sure to look away as I talked to her.

Since I wasn’t looking at Jess, I didn’t see her hand as it came up to my face and pulled it toward her. She smelled sweet, like some kind of flower, and her lips were soft and warm.

She leaned back with a little smile and whispered, “I’m sorry. I know it’s selfish, but I just wanted to make sure you were my first kiss.”

I didn’t tell her then that she was my first kiss too. After everything that happened between us, I couldn’t decide if I was happy or furious. But even then, I knew that was a lie. You don’t decide what you feel–you just feel it.

I don’t know if it’s true that love is like a flame (if it is, why’s it so hard to extinguish?), but it really did feel like one at the time–in fact, it felt like it went from a flame to a blazing fire.

MaxJessica

Snippet Saturday is my chance to share bits and pieces of my writing.