Automatic, Blue Lines, Brooklyn, Chicago, Free write, Key Yemaya Walker, Lake Lucerne, LES, Lower East Side, Mi Alma, N Lake Shore Drive, New York, The Smith, Timothy O'Tooles Pub, W Lakeshore Hotel Chicago, Words, Yo Luz Ro-De
Today, like other days, I made a normal request for a word to challenge me to write a new piece of something. I’ve taken a slight break, due to the growing workload, so upon a request, 3 friends provided 4 words for me to create new material from. Usually, I’d get 2 max and produce 2 days worth of work. With these words, I have tasked myself in creating a story using different mediums over a four day period to tell this tale.
My hope is to create something that you will like and enjoy.
The first word used provided by NY friend Yo Ro-De visit her blog here.
Walking through the threshold, he vaguely remembered the house. Something had led him to board the flight and fly to his hometown, and aimlessly return to his childhood home. The woman allowed him into her home, though slightly wary of this stranger. Gone were the trees hiding the house from the street. The kitchen had been renovated, and the wall that separated it from the dining room that ran the expanse on the entry floor, was removed to allow for a modern update with stainless steel appliances and tile walls. Wood floors replaced the linoleum that greeted at the entrance, during his childhood.
“You used to live here son,” she asked trying to look into his weary eyes. A slight pain was evident in his eyes, yet she noticed a calm that settled him.
“Yes,” he answered. “The kitchen was half this size,” he admitted as he waved off her offer of a drink. He did not know what brought him back to this house that he had not visited in over the 20 years since they had moved away. Glancing toward the den, he recognized the floor to ceiling windows as they still looked out to familiar trees and Lake Lucerne. He grimaced remembering the adventure he and his friends would have running through the woods surrounding his home. He remembered the cold winter day that they took old wood planks that they had found and wrapping them with grocery bags thought they could create a floating raft. Within seconds the sinking at the crest of the lake proved them wrong.
“We used to feed to ducks,” he reminisced, and then recoiled. “I apologize ma’am, something drew me here, and my family no longer lives here. I will not take up more of your time,” he retreated making his way to the door. He extended his hand, to shake hers, and she returned a hug to him.
“I know you will be okay,” she offered. “I can see that you are fine with whatever it is.”
“Thank you again,” he smiled. He righted himself, and walked toward the familiar street, grabbing his phone and calling for a cab. The cool chill of October air, brushed against his face, as he waited at the street, not really cognizant of thoughts of the familiar homes.
“Airport,” he simply offered sitting down in the taxi, he leaned toward the window thinking of last night in Chicago.
“You know what,” she smiled sadistically, “Fuck you,” she smiled. “Fuck everything about you.” He did not know what to think of this latest outburst, her eyes were too inebriated to read. He was tired of the repeated inconsistency and settled into the lobby chair, grabbing his Belvedere martini just watching her.
It was always the same, he thought, he wasn’t worried whether he feel right in this relationship, because this would end tonight, she just did not know as of yet.
He motioned to the server, and paid the tab. She navigated the dark hallway to the bathroom, as he rose and made his way to W on North Lake Shore Drive. The air was refreshing as he had already made sure that her room was paid for, her drinks were paid for, she even had her return flight “home.” He just knew that was no longer home for him. He could not like her, but he did not hate her. Pulling his collar to his neck, he walked the slight expanse of East Ontario to Mag Mile to hail a taxi and head away from Chicago. He stopped for a moment at Timothy O’Toole’s, to grab a Sam Adams, and standing at his favorite Chicagoland pub, reached into his pocket and looked at the ring. He knew better when he purchased it, but he did “love” her, he thought he could believe the words she offered, the actions she showed him…but he had taken his last “mother fucker,” from her, and realized she would never be where he was. Again, he smiled, knowing that there was no pain.
“How ya been,” Sully asked, remembering him. “Where’s that pretty little thing of yours,” he asked. A shaken head, quickly answered the question.
“Thanks Sully, always good to see you,” he closed his tab. Walking up the stairs he made his way toward Mag Mile again. He did not know where he was going when he got to Midway, it was just away from her. Again, he was not going to leave her in a lurch, but he was leaving. And finally, she would have a reason to leave him alone…for good. He smiled again, feeling slightly guilty. “She probably doesn’t know I’m gone,” he whispered to himself. He was not worried, she would not care.
Returning from the restroom, she had planned to apologize. She had enough of her bearings she had faculties about her, she just always felt that the things done in the past, had threatened their future. When she did not see him, she sat believing he was in the bathroom. She motioned to order another drink, and said, “put it on our tab.”
“That’s closed,” she was answered. Fear shook her. “Closed, what are you talking about.”
“It’s closed, he left…and not going upstairs, he walked out.” Fear shook her again, her phone was upstairs. “What did I do,” she asked rhetorically remembering what she said. Just when she had thought she had got it right, she had possibly messed up again. She was not a person who showed her emotions publically, and luckily made her way to the empty elevator before the tears began to stream down her face. In the elevator and hotel that was made for initiating a night of hot steamy passion, she was racked with pain, fear, and regret. She could not even bring her mind to think ill of him, just about what she had done. She made it to her room, down the darkly lit hallway.
“Wherever, Whenever, Whatever,” she muttered, “FUCK YOU,” she yelled eyes still full of fire and tears. She opened the door, saw his bag still there, and had hope. She felt the cold room, and knew better as she stripped from her shirt and jeans, forgot her night clothes, and wrapped her nude form under the comforter around the brown furry pillow cube that he had laughed and called “fudge’em’s,” from an old Dominoes Pizza commercial during the mid-2000’s. Her tears ran uncharacteristically. Furious warm tears soaked the bed as she cried herself to sleep. She finally worked up the words.
“Fuck him,” she cried.
He was mad that he looked at his phone. He did not want to talk to anyone, and just looking to see whether he missed a call from earlier, irritated him. As he made his way back home, he was mentally formulating his plan to go home, gently pack her things, and take them to her place, put them away, and grab his stuff, leave her key and move on. He boarded his plane, feeling impatient. He knew that she had four more days in Chicago according to what he had set up. She would find someone new, and they would not need to play this game again. On the plane, his marathon two days allowed him to drift off to sleep. The Makers Mark, did not hurt. Finally making it to New York, he made his way to his condo, grabbing all her stuff, and packing it into his bag.
“I bought this,” he smiled grabbing her undergarments and laughing. Still he felt uneasy.
Taking a cab over he thought of the finality. He took solace that he did not have to deal with her after their last night together. He used his key, and took the stairs while unlatching her key from his ring. Still wearing the clothes from the night in Chicago, he traversed to the 8th floor. As he made it to the 6th floor, calm in his decision, his phone rang, it was her and him answering the call was automatic.
“I’m sorry baby,” she surprisingly apologized. He shook his head, relieved she was not in New York. He would drop her stuff off, go to The Smith, then intelligently go home alone.
“Yeah, okay, that’s fine. We just have proven we don’t belong together.” He shook his head, still annoyed he answered. He thought that at least leaving her thing there, with her key, he could move on. He would let her keep the key, he could change the key, and take her off the list for his doorman.
“No, I’m serious, I was wrong, I love you, please lets fix this,” she tried not to plead.
“I’m done,” he admitted, “I’m dropping your shit off now,” he refrained from censoring himself.
He unlocked the door, and she looked up at the threshold wearing his Adidas shirt and shorts. She placed her phone down, without disconnecting, and jumped into his arms, it was automatic. He dropped her bag and instinctively accepted her.
She wrapped him in her fresh body. He, still grimy from Chicago and surprised by her being home accepted her into his arms. He removed his shirt and shorts, and breathed in her scent. He threw her against the wall. This woman he was over, he took her automatically. She cried like she had only once in front of him. He stroked her hair and neck as he knew that everything he told himself was gone right now, as he made love to the woman who still did not know that he was on the verge of proposing to her.
Their love was unfortunately real and automatic.
You can read Part 2 here and part 3 here
The manuscript Blue Lines is the fictional coming of age narrative of a young California woman Key Yemaya Walker, and her 2 year growing journey through school, love, and life period piece, written by Kenneth Suffern, Jr., taking place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between the years of 1997 – 1998. Loosely based on true events, and experiences during that time, told through the eyes and voice of the main female protagonist, a freshman first attending the school.
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