As time goes on, I’m realizing more and more that the person I loathe becoming and the person I want to become are in fact, the same person.

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“So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment. We are utterly open with no one, in the end-not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend.

We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart.

Perhaps we must. Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart. When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall.

You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in the thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children.”

-Excerpt from “Joyas Voladores” by Brian Doyle

It is not the shouts and yells in life that stir us the most;

no, not the screams of frustration or the wails of annoyance or even the chants of protestors that gets our attention.

No.

All of the noise and the yelling just makes us prone to shut it out, to ignore the festivities and the mournings.

But it is the whispers that throw us off guard.

The silent pitter patterings of the world interest us the most.

The loudest subjects in our lives are often the murmurs and the secrets.

Forever

By Joanna Moss

A boy and a girl in the back of a car,

Riding alone together.

One loaf of bread in the back of the car,

Shared secretly together.

A boy and a girl up in a tree,

Talking alone together.

Eating up plates of hot dogs and beans,

Eaten together with joy and laughter.

A man and a woman standing at the altar,

Facing each other, alone together.

Everywhere white and decorated,

Arm in arm, hand in hand, joy and tears mingled.

A man and a woman lying on a bed,

Alone together with their most precious possession.

Tiny hands, feet, and eyes,

A little baby boy.

A grandpa and a grandma laughing,

Alone together at an Easter celebration.

Grandkids rush about, smiling and cheering,

A loving glance shared.

A grandpa standing at a grave.

Alone.

He looks with sorrow at the tombstone,

His deceased wife alone up there,

He walks home in despair.

A grandpa lying in a bed,

Alone, taking his last breath.

Taken up on his winged soul,

A grandma greets him with a smile.

At last alone together again.

Forever.

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She smiled, he laughed.

They leaned on one another’s shoulders.

Walking down the lonely track, hand in hand.

Alone together.

Thomas finished writing in his Happy Journal. He glanced up. “What’s that?” He heard his annoying little sister say. “It’s my Happy Journal.” Tom answered Rose. “Me and Michela write in it.” “That’s cool.” Rose said back as she glanced around the room. “Do you need anything in here?” Tom asked impatiently. Rose looked up. “No. I’ll go.” She answered as she hurried out of the small room. Tom rolled his eyes. He went back to his journaling.

The moon is yours, love. I give it to you. Try not to lose it. : )

Tom smiled. Michela was going to love this. He sighed as he heard a “Ding!” He turned to look at his computer screen. Facebook was dinging again. Tom clicked on the chat box. He saw Michela’s innocent question lying there:

Hey baby, how’s it going?

Tom smiled and rested his hands on the keyboard. He sensed the keys smooth, worn, roundness as he began to type.

Hey Michela, I love you.

He hovered over the “Send” button, reflecting on his short reply. To the end he added:

Hey Michela, I love you. 🙂

Satisfied with his work, he clicked on the blue button defiantly. He couldn’t wait to hear Michela’s reply. Even if it was a short one, Michela somehow brought life to his dark world. “Which is why I’m dating her.” He reminded himself.

Michela waited anxiously for the reply. She had noticed that Tom was a little down recently. She loved him so much. “Ding!” She jumped a little, startled. She glanced at the chat box.

Hey Michela, I love you. 🙂

Michela smiled. She loved Thomas’ small replies. Especially the smiley faces. She wrote back:

Love you too. 🙂 I’m on my bed.

Excitedly, she clicked the “send” button. Michela pulled the down comforter closer to her cold arms. Her flower patterned pajamas starkly contrasted against the white blankets. She wiped her blonde hair out of her blue eyes. “Ding!” She heard the reply at the computer. Before she could reply, her little sister, Hope, sat up in bed. “Michela, what are you doing?” Michela glanced over her shoulder at her half awake sister. “I’m texting Tom.” Was her quick explanation. Hope sighed and thumped back down onto her bed. “Okay, but don’t talk too long this time.” Hope answered with her eyes closed. “I want to get some sleep.” Michela ignored Hope, and turned back to her screen. Thomas had replied.

Really? I’m on my bed too.

Michela was not surprised. She knew Tom spent most of the day in his room. Hope moaned. Michela glanced at her. She probably should stop texting soon. She glanced at the computer’s clock, 10:30. It wasn’t that late, but for Hope’s sake, Michela decided to stop texting. She reluctantly typed:

I have to go now, see you tomorrow.

After making sure the message had sent, Michela closed down Facebook, and then swung the computer top down. It shut with a small thud. Michela sighed. Now it was time for some lovely sleep. She laid down her head and closed her eyes. Soon, she was fast asleep.

In the morning, Thomas woke up at 7:00 AM as usual. He was not a morning person though. He moaned and turned over in his covers. After his alarm went off again in 5 minutes, Tom finally got up out of bed and grabbed his school clothes out of his messy closet. He grabbed his iPhone on the way out and immediately started listening to his favorite tunes.

 “It’s uptown funk and I’ll give it to ya! It’s uptown funk and I’ll give it to ya!”

Tom’s iPhone blazed with Ed Sheeran’s newest hit cover, “Uptown Funk”. After a quick shower, Tom ironed his collared shirt to wear to school. When he was done, he carefully put away the ironing board, and marched out of the bathroom. Tom flew down the stairs to the kitchen where a pumpkin muffin awaited him. He grabbed it, took a bite and heaved on his full backpack. Tom inhaled the muffin, and after he tied his shoelaces, his mother kissed him on the cheek, and embraced in a tight squeeze. “Have a nice day.” She said. Rose leaned out of the schoolroom. “Have a good time at school!” She cheerfully added. Tom left with a hollow goodbye. He sighed and pressed the elevator button. The button reminded him of the text conversation he had had with Michela the previous night. Whenever he thought of Michela, something inside of Tom lit up, and no matter how bad of a day he was having, her clear blue eyes, floral clothes, golden hair, fragrant perfume, little feet, and admirable laugh always brightened it up. Sometimes he felt like he leaned on her completely for his hope and cheerfulness. Yes, Michela had definitely helped during the last year. Her charm had brought him out of despair and depression, and when his family had moved to the city, it had made their relationship all the more easier. “Ding!” the elevator door slid open mechanically. Tom stepped in and checked his hair in the mirror, straightened his jacket, wiggled his feet to make sure they were comfortably situated, then pressed the “0” button. The elevator doors slid shut, and Tom felt the tiny cabin jolting downwards. He wished Michela were there; whenever they were alone in the elevator they danced. He had shared that tidbit with Rose. He often shared tidbits of him and Michela’s relationship with her. It was fun to talk about them. “Ding!” the elevator once again slid open to reveal the apartment door, and the gloomy, overcast sky beyond. Tom moved forward and out the door. He wasted no time, but quickly and professionally caught a bus, rode it to the mall then walked up the street. He pulled his thin jacket closer to him and quickened his pace. He waited at the meeting place. The meeting place was where Tom and Michela met every morning and walked the rest of the way to school together. Tom peered at the brick house where Michela was sure to walk out of. After a moment or two, a short figure appeared at the door. Tom smiled and waved. The blonde-haired girl waved back. Michela skipped over to where Thomas was waiting, and taking his hand, led him across the street. When they arrived at school, Tom glanced at his watch. 8:15, right on time. Michela greeted the guard as he opened the large, black, iron door to let them pass into the school. Tom and Michela stepped up the stone ledges into the building. Michela had woken up that morning feeling refreshed, and was looking forward to a day of relaxing school, whereas Tom thought he had better things to do than school. Michela giggled. She loved, loved, loved their young love. She didn’t want to lose Tom. Michela said goodbye to Tom as they seperated into their different classes; Michela was a year older than Tom. He gently kissed her hand as they parted. She blushed. Aleyna, a second grader gasped at the act of love. “How romantic!” Aleyna whispered to her friend Bradley as they walked down the hallway in a line. Tom hesitated at the math class door. He despised math. He felt like the teacher never really explained the arithmetic concepts to the class fully. Reluctantly, Tom placed his backpack next to him on the ground, and eased himself into the blue desk, awaiting Mr. Anderson. Michela wondered how Tom was doing. She knew he despised math. She drifted into lovely thoughts about Tom, awaiting the History teacher, Ms. Jones…