Posted in Short Story

The 25th (Part 2 of 6) by Cortney Joseph

T W O | Day One

I’d spent the majority of the night lost in my thoughts. And since he feared I’d done something crazy, Justin dragged my sister along to make sure I was fine. Seeing that I’d only been lying in bed watching my Facts Of Life DVDs, he insisted that we do some shopping while he was still in town. “I’m old.”
I could feel eyes on me, and when I turned my head from the mirror I was standing in front of, I could see Justin and my sister both staring at me. Sahara, my sister, looked at me and lowered her eyes before finally speaking. “You’re what?”
“Old.”
“Bitch, where?”
I sighed, shaking my head. The annoying sound of a Taylor Swift song and the fact that I couldn’t find anything in my size in this department store we were currently shopping in had me feeling the need to strangle someone. “My face, my body. My titties sag when I don’t wear a bra, they even sag when I do wear a bra. I’m just old.”

Sahara and Justin looked at one another. She was expecting him to slide in with some quick words to cheer me up, but he just turned away and went back to observing himself in the tan harem pants he’d picked out, smoothing his hands along his hips and thighs as he puckered his lips and blew kisses at himself in the mirror.
“Alright then, I guess the baby sister has to play the big sister role. Ocean, Sweetie, please listen to me.”
“You can spare the metaphors of life and encouraging words. I’m simply saying that I feel old. I am at that point in my life where I look back on things… situations, relationships, friendships, events and I can’t believe they’ve happened.”
“We grow, we grow older. That’s life.”
“It’s depressing. Do you know that I’ve had acquaintances… friends… people that have been in my life for twenty years? There’s one girl that’s been in my life since I was two or three years old. Who the hell knows someone that long, that’s in our age range? You don’t meet friends like that until you hit twenty-five… or thirty. Oh God-”
“What?”
I covered my mouth, sighing deeply as I looked in the mirror again. Immediately, I began to see wrinkles and lines. I saw myself aging rapidly. “I’m so close to thirty. I’m old, and I-”
“Haven’t done anything with your life, yeah, we know.”
We both looked at Justin as he dragged out the words, and he shrugged his shoulders before focusing back on the selfie he was trying to take. “Justin, please let her have her moment.”
“She can have it, Sahara. But she needs to realize that today is August 1st, and in thirty days, she will be twenty-five years old. There’s no turning back time, there’s nothing she can do to prevent it. Get over it, get used to it, thank God you’ve made it, and move on. It’s not even that deep.”
“But I am OLD.”

Justin sighed before turning and looking me dead in my eyes. “Let me tell you a little secret, Boo. You believe I’m the same age as you? I’m not; I’m thirty-three, and I look good as hell. Wanna know why? Because I don’t go through my life stressing over things that don’t even matter. We age, it’s life. Better be glad you’re black and that you don’t age like rotting banana. We expect things for ourselves, but things happen and we’re set back, it’s life. We’re not where we thought we’d be by the time we reach a certain age, it’s life. I thought I’d be a top movie star, A-List, by the time I turned thirty. But, I bombed auditions constantly. Then I found other passions and now I do whatever I want, whenever I want. You can either learn from your mistakes and setbacks, and keep pushing forward. Or, you can do like you’ve done for as long as I’ve known you, and bitch about how unfair it is that no one knows you because you choose to quit everyday. Choice is yours, and this is my last time speaking on it.”
He turned back to the mirror, quickly smiling before he snapped another selfie.
I just rolled my eyes, taking a seat in one of the empty chairs as I waited for him and Sahara to finish their stupid shopping. “Knew I should have kept my ass at home.”

The ride to pick up a quick meal from Sahara and I’s hometown, simple hamburger plates with homestyle fries, was silent and tension filled. I sat in the backseat, playing games on my phone as they talked on and on about all of their plans, special events, and everything else that kept them busy and paid.
Every so often they’d try to include me, but I had nothing of importance or value to bring to the conversation so I sat back ignoring them, pretending that I’d zoned out completely.

Once I was finally back in the comfort of my home, some six or seven hours after I was dragged out, I locked my doors and ran straight for my room.
My notebooks were right where I’d left them, four, all opened to clean pages with a pen sitting in the middle of one. After I stripped down to nothing but my bra and panties, I climbed to the center of my bed and spread each notebook around me. Grabbing my phone, I turned my music on and tried to get into a good mood and vibe, something to get that inspiration flowing.
Of course, nothing came to me, and of course, nothing but the realization of how much of a failure I am hit me. “I can’t even make myself write some simple shit. All these notebooks, for nothing. Pathetic.” I closed and tossed each one across my room, sighing before I fell back on my pillows and covered my face with my hands. “Why am I not good enough, why can’t I do anything?”
I was always taught not to question God, but when you’ve lived the way that I have… the questions kind of slip out on their own. There’s a mixture of sadness and anger each time I ask. “Why am I still here? What purpose do I have? That’s right, no purpose. Just a nothing, and a nobody that no one cares for.”
Taking a deep breath, I wiped away the few tears that began to slide down my face and pulled myself together; letting the music playing take me to a happier place. Travel The World (Love Uses Time) by KeKe Wyatt began and I mumbled along, finding myself wishing that singing had been the gift I was getting. The way I viewed my ‘gift’ and ability to write, I viewed it as a curse. A terrible curse. “Everybody else has the good side of it, and then there’s me. The flop, the failure, the screw up.”
My phone rang, cutting into the middle of the song just as KeKe was about to go in. I thought to ignore it, but since the tone was the one that I’d given my father, I quickly picked it up and slid to answer. “Hi Daddy.”
“What’s going on with you, Baby Girl?”
I cleared my throat, trying to even out then tone in my voice. “I’m not sure what you mean, Sir.”
“Haven’t talked to you since June, not that I haven’t been calling. I go on your social media and I see the statuses about you giving up. Sahara said she saw you today and that it’d been impossible to get you back in good spirits. What’s going on?”
I sighed deeply, wishing that people would just let me feel the way that I want to feel in peace. “Does it really matter what’s going on?”
“Yes it does. I don’t like when you get into these little moods, especially when you become unreachable. It makes me think you’ve gone and done something drastic.”
“Nice to know that you and everybody else feel that I’m going to kill myself. That’s just great!”
“Ocean…”
I sighed again, checking my tone after I realized that I’d yelled the last half of that sentence. “Sorry.”

He cleared his throat and I knew immediately where he was about to go. My father, like everyone else, believed that hearing nice words, most of which probably aren’t even their real feelings and thoughts, would make things all better. “Why can’t you see what others see in you?”
“Why can’t others just be honest and admit that they know the same thing that I know? That I’m not shit and will never be shit. Your other daughter ain’t shit, sorry you got a disappointment for a daughter.”
“STOP THINKING AND TALKING LIKE THAT.”
“I can’t. It’s the truth, and it’s been the truth and the sooner you and everybody else accepts that, the better things will be.” I looked at the clock on my nightstand, growing more annoyed. I wanted to fake like I had to get off the phone, but I don’t have anything going, and I’ve got nowhere else to be.
“I just don’t know what to tell you, Baby Girl. You’ve got to do better with those thoughts. You’ve got so much going for you. So much talent, an amazing God given talent…”
“Yeah, sure.”
My father cleared his throat, and instantly a picture of him shaking his head popped into my head. I could see the disappointment washing across his face, and I only wished that he finally got it through his head that he raised a pathetic loser. “I love you.”
And with that he hung up, leaving me to my thoughts and tears again.

I got up and picked up one of my notebooks, the one I used mainly for when I wrote depressing poems. It was nearly full, letting me know that it was time to buy another soon.
Falling back on my bed, I picked up the pen that’d almost gotten lost in my comforter and took a deep breath as I pressed the pen to the paper, watching as the ink bled through the clean pages a little before I finally wrote a title down.

A Mess :

Day one;

And the tears are falling uncontrollably.

I’ve lost my ability to keep myself composed in times like these.

I left that one as it was, incomplete and turned to another sheet, trying to force myself to dig deeper. You have a great gift. You’re a wonderful writer. You’re amazing! STOP DOUBTING YOURSELF.
I pressed the pen down the paper again, watching a little of the ink bleed through before I wrote another title and began writing the first thing that came to mind.

I Am (Part 1) :

I am

Alone, afraid, and always unsure of myself.

Wondering when that moment will come that I can

Look in the mirror and love myself.

Struggling to understand why it’s so hard to just

Believe in myself, support myself.

I sighed and ripped out both pages, balling them up before I tossed them across the room into the trashcan next to my small work desk.

______________________________________

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Twitter : MyPenWritesNice and/or WrittenByCort

Instagram : WrittenByCort

Facebook : Cortney J.

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Author:

Creative Soul. Artist. Perfectionist. Virgo.

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