Chance Encounter in 30 minutes

By Heather Arneson


I became a verb at some point my life.  Traitor was my name it seemed like, or a bell cradled in between bars hung around my neck.  I walked from one place to the next—could it be my GPS became a torture device’s lever—situated on a pressure point for anyone waiting to spring their hate upon me at any chance encounter?  Hitting too close to home?  I don’t even know who I’m talking half the time to nor what I’m writing about entirely; it just seems true to me, so much it hurts me to be mean now—I hate your behavior, because it’s so unlike mine.  That almost kills me because now I feel separate from so many people.


I can be an F U—a screw off like metal in a useless wall of words like you, made up of brainless apologies-from the abusers and abused to each other.  It all happened before Sandra came home from graduate school to live for a summer.  She had those wary eyes-contrition settled into a peaceful armistice in her daily expressions-breathing sentences so shallowly at times I had to ask her what happened over and over, until she finally snapped.


“I cheated on my fiancé!  I’m horrible.  I can’t even look at myself in the mirror.  He’s going to end the engagement, as soon as I tell him!”


“Dude, don’t.”


I can’t believe that the words just slipped out of me, like a dam breaking.


But Sandra just shook her head and kept repeating, “No—no—no.”


“Do you need to go somewhere?  Like talk to someone?  I mean…I’m here for you.”


“Devon, I love you.  Shhhh….can you hear it?  It sounds like discordant music, like string instruments.  Kind of menacing but swarming me and pulling me…are they pulling you?”


“Sis, I’m scared.  You’re sounding bizarre, crazy even.”


“I—wow…just as you said that I feel better.  Thanks, brother, you’re a lifesaver.  What am I even beating myself up about or listening to that craziness?  My mind is literally playing tricks on me.  For instance, he cheated on me way before I did.  I shouldn’t put this on you.”


“Is that what’s making you feel bad?  You know we all make mistakes.  Sounds like you guys just aren’t meant to be.”


“I just wish those noises would go away, though.”


“I’ve been feeling crazy myself.  We lost about five of our relatives and loved ones all within four years.  It seemed one by one they left us.”


“Yeah, no wonder we’re both feeling like we’re two tops spinning away.  Or, maybe I’m projecting?”


“No, I’m bat sh…”


“Sh…oh wait—it’s gone.”


“What’s gone?”


“My mind!”


“Ha-ha.  You know, you’re alright Sands.  I can’t believe both of us were going through so much, but we weren’t completely separate.”


“What do you mean?”


“I can’t put my finger on it, but while an orchestra was tuning in your mind, I couldn’t help but feel like strangers were talking about me.”


“Why can’t people just shut up more?  Shut their mixed-up holes and give us smiles when we walk by more?”


“Sis, I love you and we’re twins, and we’ve always been there for each other when we needed, but damn…why can’t people be there for each other like we are?”


“And tell each other to mind their own business?”


“Well, we live in Minnesota.”


“Yeah, but New York is no different.”

Published by: rhythmoftime

I love to write, cook, and take photos. As an INFP personality type, I truly care about others and my values. I'm a fraternal twin, have two older brothers, and I served in AmeriCorps. I love my family and my boyfriend. They rock! For years, I collaborated online with Stuart Armitage (UK). Our band, The Lyre Effect, released several albums, though we never met in person. Additionally, I've written a novel, novella, poetry book, and children's book series. Being into the visual arts from a young age, I've had my artwork featured in several gallery exhibits, enjoyed providing assistance on music video sets, as well as acted in and co-directed a few short films. Playing piano and singing are also passions of mine (wrote my first song and poem when I was 9 years old). Currently, I'm part of the writing group, Lead Us Ink, and published my first poetry book in 2015. In this technological age, I think it's important to share the written word, something that will always be sacred and personal. I hope this blog will help me to connect more with others, and I look forward to networking with readers like you. I want to find out about new music, interesting articles, and artwork. So, please, reach out to me. I might even have some good suggestions for you. Take care, and happy reading!

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