Monday, October 19, 2015

Joe was late. Joe had been late every day for the past few weeks, and Diana had been losing her patience. Her lips curled inward as she rapped her manicured fingers on the glass counter. She was no longer paying attention to the sounds and sights around her, for her irritation had grown to anger as it boiled inside of her. That horrible excuse for an assistant. He couldn't even sweep correctly! He started from the outward in- who did that?

Her breath quickened. She didn't care if he was Betty's nephew, she didn't care that he was still a teen. He had committed to a job and he had to stick to it.

"Shit." She mumbled, ceasing the rhythmic tapping of her fingers. Deep breaths. That's right. Calm. Think calm thoughts. Anger consumed her on a daily basis, plaguing her thoughts and surfacing in innocent conversation.

It wasn't like this before, not before Eleanor came. She was happy, she was so, so happy, she couldn't deny that. But she couldn't help but surface the thoughts in the back of her head that wanted to scream and shout and cry. Why did you leave me? Why did you choose your father over me? Was I not good enough? But she knew the answers for all of them. And that's what infuriated her.

The bell jingled slightly, and her head jerked up. In came an auburn haired girl, followed by a pale hooded boy in her wake. Joe. Her eyebrows furrowed.

Diana reached for the broom leaned up against the counter, and tossed it to the boy. He caught it on instinct. 

"Better get workin', Joe. Doing nothin' won't pay you anythin'." She said in attempt to hide the harshness that threatened to be heard.

He looked confused. What a clueless ass.

It wasn't Joe. No, it wasn't Joe at all. Diana wondered how she even mistook the stranger for Joe at all. The hood of his filthy sweatshirt had slipped from his head as he crashed into a shelf, toppling hair products left and right. Dark hair, not even close to the shade of sandy blonde that donned Joe's head. Blood rushed from her face.

Shattered glass littered the tiled floor. "Shit." That phrase was beginning to become one of her favorites.

As she looked from the floor to the boy, she expected him to start apologizing profusely or something, but nothing happened. He continued to stare at the girl.

Something about his face was familiar. Perhaps the papery skin and green eyes were what triggered her recognition. Perhaps it was the circular scar on his cheek, barely visible.

Circular scar.

That was it- she had seen him before. His face. On television, maybe? Certainly not someone she'd seen around town.

"You're that kid, aren't you? That kid who- who burned down that school? In that one place?" She stuttered, her jumbled thoughts exited her mouth in the most vague ways possible. The only reason that his face struck her memory was that her niece Gina taught at that school. She had been absent that day, Diana had discovered after many frantic phone calls.

"Shit, shit, I gotta call the cops- I gotta do something." Her thoughts were moving at a mile a minute. And as she rushed towards the counter, towards the phone, her foot slipped on the hair that Joe had neglected to sweep. Her head slammed onto the corner of the glass counter, and after that, there was nothing.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Lunar eclipses were rare and seeped in magic. Though Diana herself wasn't deeply involved in the stuff like some people on this block were, it still correlated with her divination and spirituality, so she decided to drag herself out to at least take a look at it.

She's still in her nightdress by the time she comes outside and lights a cigarette.



"Oh, right."

Diana is too busy looking at the sky to get a good look at the passerby, but as she finally pulls her eyes away from the currently uneventful sky, she manages to get a look at the person before they disappear around the corner.

She had seen them around the past few days, entering and exiting the apartment a few doors down. She suspects that they had just moved in, because before then she hadn't ever seen them. Maybe she should bring cookies tomorrow to welcome them to the building.


She wakes again to the shrill ring of a phone. The sky outside was a deep blue- the shade it turns just before dawn. It was early, far to early for someone to be calling her. She groggily reached for her phone, and glanced at the dimly illuminated screen on the outside of her old-fashioned flip phone.

6:07 am
Incoming Call
Unknown Caller

Diana rubs her sleep-ridden eyes and exhales loudly. It was most likely a telephone marketing scheme of some sort. Certainly not something she'd like to waste her time on at six o'clock, especially when she could be sleeping.

Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up, a voice seemed to be saying to her in the very back of her conscious. Pick it up, or you'll regret it. She flipped the phone open, giving in to her curiosity, and placing the device to her ear.

"Hello?" Her dazed tiredness is audible in her voice.

"Hi, sorry to be calling so early. Is this Diana Donati?" The voice on the other end of the line was deep and melodious. It was oddly familiar, and Diana could feel a chill running down the back of her neck.

"Speaking. Can I help you?"

"Uh, yeah, um, hi mom. This is Eleanor." A wave of confusion, excitement, and fear washes over her at the sound of the name. Eleanor.

"Hi, baby." Diana's voice is shaking just a little as she says this. She can't bring herself to say anymore. Bile rises in her throat, and tears prick her eyes. She doesn't even recognize her own daughters voice. Guilt twists in the pit of her belly. It had been at least 10 years since she had heard it last, and then it was still the piping voice of a child.

"I just got off the plane- I'm in the area. I was wondering if you'd like to, uh, get a coffee or something today? Talk? I'm really sorry about the short notice I-"

"Of course, yes, of course." Diana interrupts the young woman.


Diana wanders about the crowded festival in the early morning sun. It was her day off, but she can't bring herself to think about dogs. Or balloons. Or music. All she could think about was Eleanor. Eleanor, Eleanor, Eleanor.

She bends down to pet a particularly small and scruffy dog. It looks like the one that she got Eleanor for her sixth birthday. His name was Franco. Her chest tightens.


Diana left the coffee shop that evening in a daze. She was so grown, so old, and Diana wasn't there for most of the growing up.

She's married. She's an editor for her local newspaper. She has a son (His name is Kyle. He's three years old in June.) Her husband fixes people's roofs. She owns her own house. She volunteers at the local dog shelter.

All this information was bumping around in Diana's head, and she had no idea what to do with it.

She's shaking all the way home, and when she finally enters her apartment, she can't stop the mascara-stained tears from dribbling down her cheeks.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The day always started with a routine. Wake up. Start the coffee machine. Brush teeth. Pluck eyebrows. Do makeup. Pull out hair curlers. Do nails. Get dressed. Drink coffee. Smoke a cigarette. Work.

 Diana was always very meticulous with her looks. She spent almost an hour each morning, smearing all types of makeup onto her face, perhaps to make herself appear younger. Perhaps to remind her of the youth she had lost. As she looked at herself in the mirror each day, her heart would sink. Her hair was messy, sticking out in all sorts of directions. The wrinkles around her eyes seemed more pronounced than usual, and she could see a blister beginning to form on her lips. She was old, and she hated it. Her body was the obvious product of a long lifetime with it's sagging breasts, excessive cellulite, and wrinkles galore.

After a long awaited steaming cup of joe, she would make her way to the elevator (trying to ignore the obnoxious sounds of construction from a few floors above) and out the front door of the building. She would light a cigarette, and after a few minutes of hacking and coughing, would call a cab to work.

This wasn't the life that she had originally wanted for herself. After all, who would want to live in a building that was practically falling apart, and work at a beauty shop for a little more than minimum wage. After divorcing her late husband, Diana was left nothing to her name, and she went to live with her baby sister in Collingwood Heights. Luckily for her, Gina, her sister, managed to escape the rundown apartment for some fancy job in a high rise in the city, leaving Diana to herself.

But, she made due with what she had. She worked day time shifts at Betty's Beauty, which wasn't more than a few blocks away, and would do tarot and palm readings in the evenings. Occasionally, she would even baby sit the children that lived in the building.

Life was alright for her, though it was a little to monotonous and humdrum for Diana's liking. She wasn't as active as she used to be, but she still found herself longing for a change in her daily routine. A love affair, a heist, a murder mystery, who knew.

When she was 18, she eloped with her first husband, Eddy. He was that good-for-nothing burnout that her parents warned her about. He was a motorcycler, and she spent most of her late teens and early 20s roaming around the united states on the back of his Harley.

She would occasionally catch herself sighing with nostalgia, longing for the days full of excitement and passion that filled her youth. Though she would never admit it, she wished she could turn back time to live those years again.