Potluck

 

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Excerpts From the Book You'll Never Read


 

Voicemail

It’s 3 a.m. and you’re probably out enjoying the exhilarating nightlife that Miami happens to bring.  I’m contemplating on whether or not I want to deal with your drunken antics, if you just so happen to answer the phone. I’m not use to getting phone calls from you, but when I do, you’re usually intoxicated. It’s something about a drunken mind that always sets fire to the spark that is already there.

It’s 3:15 a.m. and I’m not sure if my phone is working. I have not received messages from anyone all day. I’m starting to think something is wrong with my phone. I’m starting to think something is wrong with me. Am I too boring? Did our conversations lead us into a ditch, with no way of getting out? Did my inelegance lead you to believe that I didn’t stand a chance with you?

It’s 3:45 a.m. and I’m caged up in my room. The only place that seems to recognize me when everything comes crashing down. Everything is still but these walls are very much alive. Our late night conversations and my inner thoughts can be seen seeping out the edges of my soft yellow wall trying to escape. They say it’s not healthy to keep things bottled up, isn’t this why I called you?

It’s 4:05 a.m. and I did not call you to vent. I did not call you to see how you were doing at your new job. I did not call to reminisce on the past. I did not call to hear about the girls you’ve treated wrong because I am one of them. I called to talk about us because when you’re drunk it’s so much easier. You vomit out the words I’ve been dying to hear since I met you.

It’s 4:09 a.m. and, as I predicted, you never picked up. So I called again and again until my fingers went numb and I had no choice but to give up. They say it’s not healthy to keep things bottled up and unlike you; your voicemail is always available.



* * *
 

Muse

My brother makes his way on to the bustling highway of I-95 North. We were aware of the traffic but too anxious to leave at a decent time. He left a few things at the house and I also forgot to pack the most important thing, my cell phone, which I later realized I didn’t need after all.

The sunset was starting to settle in and we were 50 miles away from our destination, no traffic in sight. We rolled the windows and enjoyed the music that had broken out of our windows and into the car of the people driving next to us. We ignored their crazy face expressions and continued on down the highway.

It was the first time in a long time that I had seen my brother’s grin. We were never this close but somehow, being on the road brought us together. He asked if I wanted anything to eat, and I insisted that we should wait. He asked if I needed to use the restroom or stop anywhere, for anything. I said no, that’s okay. He always made sure I was comfortable, in any situation. No one has done the same for him.

As a child, he was teased and didn’t have many friends. He enjoyed solitude and made it his home. He wasn’t that shy, but he enjoyed his space. I always wondered if anyone had the patience to get to know him, the real him. As his sister, you think I would have been the one person he could run to. The one person he could pour his emotions into. I would have gladly accepted them.

We had twenty more miles to go. I glanced over at him and noticed he was starting to get tired. He quickly pulled over to the side of the road when I suggested I should drive the rest of the way. As I started driving, he softly turned the music down and for the first time we had a real conversation. I could hear the happiness in his voice as he told me about college and about the book he’d been working on. I asked him what his book was about and he replied softly: you.



* * *
 

Table for one

I overhear a man exchanging words with his friend while out to dinner. He says he’s had enough of his wife and they are preparing for a divorce. He’s seated a few tables over but I can hear him so well that it feels like he’s sitting with me. He mentions how she doesn’t cook anymore or how she lacks conversation skills. He also says she doesn’t write like she used to. She doesn’t read or go out anymore. He figures she’s not happy with him at this point. I think to myself, maybe it’s you, not her.

Across from my table, I notice a mother and her daughter. Her mom was so hooked on her IPhone that she was barely listening to what her daughter had to say. She mentioned she made captain of the cheerleading team. Her mom replied with “Uh huh, that’s great sweetie." Her daughter tilted her head down in disappointment and continued eating her meal.

I look over at the bar and notice a girl who looks like my sister. I knew it couldn’t be her because her hair was chestnut brown and my sister had jet-black hair. She seems to have been here for a while. She was seated long before I got to my table, which took at least 45 minutes. I forgot how busy it could be on a Friday night. She had a few rounds after she finished up her meal. Her friends were too busy picking up guys to even notice her. She look like she had a lot on her mind and alcohol was soothing at the moment.

I finished up my meal and waited for my check. As I waited, a group of girls came in and all eyes were on them. One girl was wearing a fitted black dress with silver Gucci heels. Another girl wore a navy blue dress that brought out the hazel in her eyes. The other girls had on skirts so short that if they dropped something they had to ask the guy next to them to pick it up for them. I’m sure he didn’t mind because his mouth was on the floor too.

My check arrived and I left a tip of $5. 00. I gathered my things and went out to my car. As I drove home, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the people I’ve encountered.  I thought about the atmosphere and how it changed as soon as I got in my car. I felt more alone in the restaurant than in here. I never was an outgoing person, so this was normal. I enjoyed putting my nose into other conversations and playing them out in my head later on. I enjoyed analyzing the people I see because I wanted to understand them more. I pick out little details in the people I love and remember them for a lifetime. No, I’m not creepy, I’m an introvert and deep down, I have always dined alone.

 

 

Alexis Chaney is a new writer on the scene with hopes of getting a novel published in the near future. She is currently studying Therapeutic Massage at Anne Arundel Community College 16’.