Sunday, February 24, 2013

In Unexpected Places

When I saw the Disney short, I thought that it was strangely similar to "Signs". It just goes to show how love can be found in the most unexpected places.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bus Stop 3 by Kaylie Crowley

Another ten minute write up! 

Anxiety sometimes feels like child labor.

Not literally, but figuratively.

There’s pain, waiting, more pain, more waiting, and nervousness and fear and disbelief.

Especially disbelief, you can never quite believe that it’s happening when it’s happening. It takes a long time afterward before you accept that it was real. Because, you know, it could have been a dream or something.
It was still sweltering hot. Even at 10:15 at night, my armpits and middle back were feeling damp. Which just increased my anxiety.

I didn’t sit down. The bench looked dirty, I mean whose job is it to clean bus stop benches? No one’s, that’s right, which means that lonely bench had been sat on by thousands of butts and pooped on by thousands of birds and I was not about to sit on it and mess up my white dress.

Oh, yeah, I was in my wedding dress. Standing. In the heat. At 10:15 at night. At a bus stop not waiting for a bus. And I had one suitcase and a beaded bag. And I wore gloves, little, lace white ones, because I’m a stupid romantic and I wanted this whole picture, this 1930’s “let’s get married before you go off to war” picture of us. So in love we couldn’t stand it.

Which we were, obviously. In love, I mean. But it wasn’t forbidden, it wasn’t secret, I wasn’t pregnant and running from my over-bearing father. He wasn’t a convict or a captain with a 42-hour leave. Neither of us were fugitives of any kind. In fact, I had stood in this exact spot hundreds of times, waiting for a bus, because in fact, I had been born and raised in this town.

But that stupid romantic part of me made up a whole different story. One of tragedy, hardship, unbidden love that wasted away for years and was only communicated through letters left in a squirrel hole in a tree with initials on it. And then—sudden, passionate, rash elopement and a lifetime of bliss!

That’s who I thought I was, standing there, sweating at 10:15 at night. And, I suppose, that is who I was.
What I hadn’t considered, apparently, was who I was waiting for.

We did the whole she-bang. The proposal, the ring, the wedding planning and announcing and oogling and spending all my daddy’s money. We had flowers and √©clairs and a stupid, embroidered pillow for my random kid neighbor to carry our rings on. But I had this feeling. Foreboding, I guess, if anyone uses that kind of word anymore. Mostly, I woke up at 2:30 in the morning, puked, went back to bed, and later when my alarm clock (mother) went off, I called him and said, “let’s go.” And then I took all day to stare in the mirror at myself, put on my wedding dress, and there we go. At a bus stop. Waiting—not for a bus, for someone to elope with.

I hoped it was my fianc√©, but at that point, I’d take anyone.

Funny place, bus stops. They’re really deserted when there are no buses scheduled for the next eight hours. I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t waited like that.

But that’s all I gained from this sudden, passionate, rash elopement. Because I waited, anxiously, and then realized that I shouldn’t be anxious, I should already know. I should know that he’d be there.

And I didn’t.

So I left.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bus Stop 2 by Kaylie Crowley

There’s this certain way big, diesel exhaust smells when it rains. Almost a musty, dusty smell but kind of pleasant. I mean, no one likes the smell of the carbon monoxide crap that cars choke up, but everybody likes the smell of rain, so it’s really confusing. It’s like the first time you kiss someone. You’re kind of disgusted that you just touched mouths, I mean, you don’t know where the other person’s mouth has been, you know? But you’re still glad anyway. And you want to brush your teeth. Anyway, that’s what I remember when I think of that day. The smell, of all things. That confusing smell.

I was sitting on the bench at the bus stop, looking at the same storefront I had sat and stared at for eight years. It used to be a nail salon, when I first sat on the bus bench, then the lady that owned it moved back to Korea, so it closed down. It has smelled like ammonia ever since. It was an empty building for a while, and then we think it was a Mexican restaurant of some sort. At least, there were a lot of Mexicans that went in and out all the time. Now it’s a pawn shop or something. Old t.v.’s were stacked in the front left window, usually playing some Spanish soap opera or infomercial for blenders. I could see guitars lining the crevice where the ceiling and the wall met, and the fat man and fatter woman who owned the shop were always having pizza delivered, even at 8:30 in the morning when I catch the red-32 bus to go to the east side.

Anyway, I was looking at that shop and smelling the gas-rain smell on Thursday, February 25, waiting for the 8:30 bus to go to my paper-pushing job and thinking about dying and never being found in my cubicle when I saw her. She looked like a painting, purple umbrella and silky scarf flying behind her. Carrying a little dog. In a trench coat! The woman, not the dog. She was perfect, I wanted to hang her on my wall and look at her while I ate my bran cereal every morning. She stood, waiting for the light to change so she could cross the street. She carried her little dog (terrier or some other pampered dog) in her left hand and clutched brown paper shopping bags in her right. I considered getting up off the cold bench and offering to help her, but saw my bus chugging up the street and changed my mind. I stood, grabbed my briefcase full of paperwork and Hostess snacks, and brushed the rainwater off my pants. I looked back at the picturesque woman and saw her drop her bag of groceries. She bent to pick them up and her little dog flew from her arms and into the street. She released her umbrella, her scarf blew into her face and cans of pears and pineapple rolled into the middle of the intersection. Even her turmoil was stunning. Before I knew what I was doing I found myself running onto the slick asphalt to her aid. Like a knight in shining armor.

I’m kind of a fast runner, I ran track and field in high school. When I was six and in first grade I beat everybody in Mrs. Farson’s class every recess, from the hoop to the fence. I remember running my last race senior year, as I was sprinting I looked in the stands and saw a little girl with a balloon and pigtails spill soda on her brother. What I remember seeing as I ran on February 25 was this woman’s face as she looked up and saw me. Her eyes registered mine, then they got wider and her eyebrows crunched her forehead. I smiled and she screamed.

And then all I remember was the smell. The rain and gas and road smell. Staring up at the rain, blinking and twitching as the drops smacked my face. And now I’m here, in the white-washed and the bed sheets and the paper shoes. Still watching Spanish soap operas, still frozen to the seat. But I’m not headed for pushing papers. Can’t head for anything. Still thinking of dying and rotting and no one noticing until the smell inconveniences them. I was staring at the ceiling and thinking of dead body smell and wondering how it compared to cripple smell, when I saw those eyes again. The eyes that belong in a masterpiece. My toes tingled and a slight smile twitched onto my face as she told me her name.    

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bus Stop 1 by Kaylie Crowley

I am performing an experiment (or, more of an exercise) that I'm calling 'the Bus Stop series'. They're really rough, purely first draft and continuous flow, but I'm just considering the possibilities of bus stops. What a place for people to collide. It is one of the few places where all are equaled, the status is leveled and every man, woman, child, no matter their age, income, or race, is depending on the same service. Waiting the same amount of time for the same mode of transportation. So, I give you Bus Stop 1.

I don’t normally ride the bus, see. People who sit outside in the winter have gotta have no other choice. And there’s always some homeless guy, digging through the trash and talking to himself. Stinking up the street. I hate busses. Three months ago I was in a car accident. Have you ever gotten one of those nasty seat-belt burns, the ones that, like, look like a serial killer tried to slash your neck and feel like a really awkward-placed rug burn? Because they suck,  itch like hell, too. You know what else sucks? The bussing system. Honestly, city council.

Nice to meet you, I guess. You got any cigarettes on ya? Listen, I may look like a shlub waiting for the bus, but I’m better than this. I’m not like the other bus-waiters and pass-holders, I have a car, damn nice one, too. And I have a job, and a tenure, I’m sayin’, so don’t look at me like that, bub. I look like this because I was up all night, see. Yeah, writing my book. Novel. Romance novel, that’s right, I’m a romance novelist and proud of it. And I teach a freakin’ ton of bright-eyed eighteen year olds how to write. They think now they’re in a big ol’ university they’re going to succeed at something. Of course they’re wrong, am I right? Heh, stupid kids.

Hey listen, you wouldn’t have a light, would ya? Because I got a craving something awful, and my ol’ lady doesn’t like me smoking, so I do it when I’m waiting for the bus. But I guess I left my…oh, thank you, thanks. There is some kindness in the world. Aw, that’s it. Warms ya up, eh? Join me, join me, we’ve got a while ‘til the damn bus gets here.  Sit on down, ain’t no reason to stand up I ain’t gonna hurt ya. Listen, like I was saying, my wife hates it when I smoke like this. You won’t tell her, I won’t tell her, that homeless guy digging through the trash over there won’t tell her, so all is right. All is good. It’d be better if I had my car back, eh bub? Listen, I bought that car when I got a big, fat raise last year. Bought the wife a nice pair of earrings too, I did. Now, lookin’ at me, you wouldn’t believe my wife married me unless it was outta spite for some better-looking guy. ‘Cause I’m saying, she’s a fine piece of God’s creation. Nags like hell and smokes like a chimney, but she looks just as good as the day I met her.

She stays with me for my money, probably. Bein’ a teacher-slash-detective-novelist doesn’t pay too bad, see. Eh, who am I kidding, she’s crazy about me. We got a kid together too, finest toddler ever seen in Denver. He’s four, name’s Ryan, and shoot he talks and runs around like an eight-year-old. He’s gonna be a doctor, he is, Yale’s already begging him to enroll! Swear to God, friend! Kid’s made for greatness, I’m saying, he, he’s reading books already. He’s four. We got a library in our house, see, full of every book you could want in a lifetime. Now, I’m not bragging or anything, bud, but I got a sweet set up over ‘bout five blocks. It’s a white house, with a porch and one of them tire-swings, and I got myself my own office, with a liquor cabinet and all. Dead serious. My son, Rhett, he’s four, he toddles to that cabinet and tries to get it open, hilarious! Kid’s gonna be a drinker, I can tell. I’ll slip him some scotch when he’s nine or ten and we’re at a baseball game. We do stuff like that, you know, father-son stuff. And my wife stays at home and cooks us steaks. He’s gonna be a lawyer, did I say? My kid, Randy. A damn lawyer! Made for greatness.

See, you’re wondering why I’m dressed like this, and why I got this beard, but I told ya, I was up all night, right? Writing a novel. It’s a great piece of work, too, got fairies and elves and all. I already got people calling me about publishing, uh huh. I didn’t have time to run home, see, had to make the bus. Otherwise I would’ve changed into a nice suit, cause I got nice suits, and one of them ties, a crazy, striped one. And my shower’s broken, bud. You don’t believe me. I got a nice blue house, I’m telling ya, eight blocks from here. Woah, woah, guy, is this your bus? Sit down, we’ll have another cigarette. Would you bum me, one? Look, friend, what is your deal? I’m not looking to rob you or nothing, I already told you: I got a wife and a seven-year-old daughter and a nice home and a car waiting for me. I’m successful, I’m fulfilled, k? No, No I don’t need your money! What do I look like to you, a charity case? You know what, take your pity and board the damn bus. I’m staying here, this isn’t the bus I need. And I ain’t got my bus pass, must’ve left it in my car. I parked just down the road, I’ll drive, ya hear? I don’t need no bus.


The Nerdiness continues, but in a new form of obsession:

I'm such a social butterfly.