Weary Wanderer

I stand at the bottom of the stairs and look up at steps that go on forever. Some are shallow, others are close together and some are so steep. All of them take me on a journey. I’m so weary and even though I try to psych myself up to take that first step, nothing happens. My feet stay rooted in the same spot and I struggle to move forward even an inch. My eyes water and my chest hurts as I strain to move, to continue on. I take a deep breath, close my eyes and visualize moving forward and reaching one step followed by the next. I see it in my mind’s eye so clearly. Triumph spills down my throat because I’ve taken that first difficult step. My eyes snap open and I’ve only got the tips of my toes on that first step. Fatigue swamps me and I scoff myself because obviously I’m not good or strong enough to go anywhere. I hear voices telling me that I’ve got to try again, and again, and again, and again, and again. So dazed I sway and try one more time because maybe the voices got it right this time. 

©Esther Valencia

Summertime Blues

The sun is shining and pressing down on everyone
Birds are chirping looking for water
Sweat trickles down backs and sits on upper lips
My arms shiver and my hands feel numb as
Coldness seeps into my bones, aches settle in
Humidity rises and coats the city but inside
AC blasts frigid air that is debilitating and torturous.
There’s never a season were I can stay warm enough.

©Esther Valencia

Random Snippets

April looked at her calendar and realized she’d been working for the last twenty-three days straight. Her boss David was a workaholic father and when his wife walked out, he commandeered her into taking care of his daughters. The girls were six and so adorable, but she needed a break. Grabbing her phone, she sent him a quick email explaining that she had food poisoning and would be laid up next to the toilet for most of the day. David White hated sickness so she knew he would tell her to stay home and as far away from him as possible.

After a leisurely breakfast of bacon and pancakes from a box, she decided to do something fun with her day off. The annual Huronia Flower Show was happening and this year she was determined to grow and keep flowers alive on her rooftop terrace. She rode her Schwinn that she had spray painted rose gold and after locking her up, she bought a ticket and walked around looking at the abundance of blooms.

April was reading an information card about a yellow orchid with lilac striations, when she heard a voice she knew all too well. The deep rumbling of his voice sent a shiver down her back and she looked around to see where he was and how she could hide. He was at a booth on her right and luckily there were enough people around that he probably hadn’t seen her. He was about six foot four with long black hair that reached his waist when he let it down and chocolate brown eyes that had flecks of gold. His beard was thick and highlighted his full lips that in moments of extreme weakness she dreamed about. In jeans, dark brown work boots and an evergreen t-shirt that showed off arms that could lift anything, he was the type of man who she wished would look twice at her. April turned away and decided to go to the far back section that had all types of roses. In such a high traffic area he’d never notice her.

As she looked at some soft peach tea roses she noticed that a group of elderly women and their grandkids surrounded her, so she was able to relax. April had just picked up two small planters with peach and cream tea roses, when she heard his voice. She turned and he was right behind her.

“Oh hey, April. How are you?” His expression was mocking.

“Oh Joseph, hey. I’m good. What are you doing here?”

“I’m glad you’re feeling better. My brother said something about you having food poisoning, so I’m glad to see you’re quite alright.” He said dryly as he looked her up and down. It felt like his gaze lingered on the small bit of cleavage her cream sweater was revealing.

“Please Joseph, don’t tell him you saw me today.”

“It’s just Joe, April.”

“Please Joe. I just needed a day. I’ll be back tomorrow, promise.”

“David really needs help right now April. Pretending to be sick is kind of juvenile and I thought you knew better.” He sounded disappointed and April felt defensive and a bit angry.

“Do you think I don’t know that. I’ve been working for weeks with no days off. My days start at five and don’t end before midnight mostly. Last night was the first night I slept in my own bed since his wife dumped the girls on him. When was the last time you watched your nieces? Don’t lecture me, when you’re an invisible uncle.” She abruptly turned around but Joe reached out and cupped her elbow. April felt goosebumps all over her arms and tried to take a deep breath, but all she could smell was him, a mixture of sea spray and pine.

“April, wait.” Her name on his lips caused flutters in her stomach and for a moment she wished they were in her bedroom, completely alone. She looked back at him and got lost in his eyes. He said something but she couldn’t hear him over the roar in her ears. Her gaze dropped down to his lips and the ache to feel them grew. He tipped her chin up and searched her gaze and April saw the heat banked and her breath caught. The moment might have lasted forever but a young boy running from his friend slammed into Joe by accident and he crashed into her. He managed to keep them upright by wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her into his side, but the moment was broken.

 

©Esther Valencia

Outlaw Warrior

He can show you humanity,

Fly past rings and spheres,
Glide through flushed stars,
Open back doors and side ones,
Introduce you to neighborhoods,
Quite unlike your norm.

He can help you build memories,

Exploring each other’s palettes,
Skipping through candied sprinkles,
Past meaty sauce drenched noodles,
Into whip cream laced corners of
Neighborhoods new to you.

©Esther Valencia

#Resist

Woke up today,
Sun was shining.
Took the time to pray,
Ready to keep fighting.
Like a bird of prey,
Focused on striking,
Racist foul play,
That keeps on rising,
Like a hellish souffle.

 

©Esther Valencia

After The Tone, Record 

When I was twelve, having someone call my house wanting to speak to me and not my parents was cool. My friends and I talked on the phone like our parents and felt like we were so close to being grown ups. 

Today when I see a call on my smartphone screen that isn’t my parents, I mutter “what the fuck” and wonder why the person couldn’t text me. 

Today when my screen becomes useless and my only options are accept, decline, message or remind me, I sigh at the waste of time.

Today when an unknown number appears while I’m in the middle of watching the tenth episode of Say Yes to the Dress I wait to block the telemarketers and collections people on the other end.

Today as a grown up I don’t want the intimacy of hearing another voice over the line. I now prefer emojis and hierogifs.

©Esther Valencia 

Wishful Thinking

Standing on the margins
Looking out into the gardens
They laugh and hold hands
Joyous at the reading of the banns
Hidden from their gaze
Her eyes clouded in a haze
She surrounds her heart
Hoping to deflect the darts
Shards of loneliness and envy
From all angles such frenzy
Wishing his arms could hold
Her until they grew old
©Esther Valencia

Static Routine

1. Wake up and stretch
2. Drink room temperature water with lemon
3. Open Instagram and marvel at the glam lives of strangers
4. Shower while daydreaming of luxury vacations with random celebrities
5. Notice that time is slipping away and jump out
6. Get dressed and check Snapchat for new filters
7. Grab lunch and head out the door
8. Stand too close to strangers on the train daydreaming of a chauffeur
9. Smell a breakfast sandwich as the conductor yells”train traffic ahead”
10. Walk into work and hope the hands soon read closing time

©Esther Valencia