Drabble 169 – Connate

A photo of one hand holding another by the pinky.

I like being an only child. I never had to compete for attention. I developed an appreciation for being alone; if I’m too social too frequently, I get this horrible craving for being alone that turns me into a monster. I don’t know if that’d be different if I had a sibling growing up. But I’ve always had this curiosity about what it’s like to have someone close-ish to you in age who was always present. Would I be better at frequent socializing, if that’s how I’d been raised?

Who knows. It’s a relationship I don’t have, and while I don’t feel at all like there’s some gaping hole in my life where a sibling ought to go, it does bother me a big that it’s an experience that I can’t ever really have. I just have to imagine, which, while not necessarily a bad thing, always feels like it misses the mark.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 168 – Chimeric

A mosaic depicting Bellerophon righting a chimera.

I have always wanted very badly to be good at science. Unfortunately, my brain is always off doing something else when it should be studying chemistry or physics. I was passable at biology, geology, and astronomy, but once you start throwing in equations the part of me that enjoys learning turns off and starts thinking about, I don’t know, that time I asked someone if they wanted to be “bridge buddies” because we were in a group for having to explain the land bridge theory, and how that ninth-grade memory will probably never, ever leave me, and how I am still embarrassed about it 16 years later, or whatever.

I enjoy science as if I am a fan of it. I think it’s deeply cool, but unfortunately, I have crammed my head so full of song lyrics and obscure vocabulary that I can only sit on the sidelines with a giant foam finger, cheering it on. You go, science. I don’t understand what’s going on most of the time (unless it’s about rocks, which I inexplicably understand rather well), but I’m rooting for you.

Anyway, here’s drabble.

Drabbled 167 – Dithyrambic

A photo of hands in the air at a concert.

I’m not a risk-taker. I’m not an adrenaline junkie. But I can tell you with certainty that most all of the supremely stupid things that I have done have happened at concerts.

I wish I could explain exactly why this is. Is it just that I find the music so invigorating that my inhibitions go out the window? Is it that I wanted to be more impressive there than anywhere else? Is it all the fond memories I have of being a kid at concerts and having older folks look out for me? I may never know.

It’s not that I turn into somebody else once loud music gets going. It’s like some part of me is freed, the meekness and hesitancy evaporating. I have gotten hurt and will likely get hurt again. And yet, I’ll keep going, letting some weird and sheltered part of me run loose.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 166 – Hagiocracy

Albert Lynchs Jeanne d Arc.
Jeanne d’Arc by Albert Lynch

Sometimes the appeal of fiction is imagining things as we hope they will be someday. Utopian fiction has never really done it for me; without a series of clear steps for how to get from here to there, I just don’t find idealized visions of the future all that interesting.

I’m also notoriously uninterested in apocalyptic stories. I don’t need assurance that the world is on fire; that’s life in 2019, baby.

I like a middle ground. Stories about people who see that things are terrible and do something about it. Not just surviving, though that, too, is doing something (sorry, The Road didn’t do it for me and never will), but gritting their teeth and bloodying their knuckles and planting a tree in a desolate place, returning every day to water it despite it showing no sign of growth. This is what gets me, not the threat of eternal despair or the dangling carrot of someone else solving the problem. Let me get my hands dirty. Let us all get our hands dirty.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 165 – Susurrus

A photo of pews in a church.

I haven’t spent a lot of time in churches. My family doesn’t practice religion, which is not to say that they’re not religious, only that the only times I’ve been to churches have been during daycare, weddings, funerals, and my own baptism. Oh, and that time I was tricked into attending a religious festival on Halloween.

When I do occasionally venture into a church, as I did last weekend, I can understand the appeal. The hushed sense of reverence, the comfort of rituals, the assurance of a meaning, a purpose, a plan that we’re not capable of comprehending. It feels important in a way that most of the spaces I normally inhabit don’t. I like that about it, even if the space isn’t really for me.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 164 – Celerity

A field.

I’ve thought a lot about wilderness over the past few weeks, about open spaces and their rarity, about climate change, the imagined version of my future, and how that’s changing every day. I’m lucky to live where I do; I take long walks with my friends, finding lakes we didn’t know existed. I have mountains on one side, saltwater on the other. I’ve seen deer casually stroll out from the woods behind my house, and all day I get to enjoy birdsong. It’s easy to pretend that my impact on the world doesn’t matter when I’m surrounded by so much natural beauty. But it does matter, and as I grow increasingly conscious of that, I mull over other questions.

What would the world look like, what would it feel like, if it was more empty than I could ever imagine it?

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 163 – Aubade

Sunset over mountains.

I’m moving. Not far, but the idea of moving has me thinking about all the things I love about where I live now. The sounds of the birds that live in the marsh. The sunsets. The short bike ride to gorgeous, expansive farmland.

I will miss these things once I’ve moved. There’s plenty I won’t miss, too—bugs, especially mosquitos. The children running out into the road, directly in front of cars. How many people let their dogs run around without leashes.

It’ll be nice to be in a new home, but I don’t know that I’ll ever stop comparing the two. Moving, even setting aside all the physical labor, is hard. I’ll miss my gray walls, my constantly overgrown garden, the stupid hedge that I can never keep trimmed.

Because I’m moving, I’m going to be light on drabbles for a bit. I hope to be back soon, writing from a new house with new memories to be made in it.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 162 – Ame Damnée

A photo of fire.

I was fired from my very first job. Not fired in a dramatic sense—fired in a “quietly taken off the schedule” way. Fired in a “we’re never going to tell you you’re fired” way. Fired in a “you can keep calling and asking when your shifts are but the truth is that you don’t have any and never will again, and no, we’re not going to tell you that, either,” kind of way.

It was a shame, because I actually really liked the job. Despite customer service being soul-sucking and dehumanizing, I like talking with people. Unfortunately, that first job had a lot of expectations for what I should be doing (everything) that were at odds with what I was legally allowed to do (cleaning tables). As a minor with no cash register training and no food handler’s permit, you are, it turns out, not a valuable employee at a fish ‘n chips place, especially when the rest of the staff goes out on a smoke break and leaves you, a wide-eyed 17-year-old, alone to handle the rush.

I still feel kind of bad about it, like I should have tried harder. But I was seventeen, and was far better at that than working in a fish ‘n chips place.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 161 – Lucent

A photo of glowing shapes against a black background.

When I was but a wee babe online, I stumbled upon the infamous Ted’s Caving Page (which I would not recommend visiting without an ad blocker). It was one of the first pieces of web-based horror fiction I’d ever encountered, and at the time I wasn’t entirely sure that it was fiction. I didn’t know how to verify things, what terms to search to ease the part of me that was turning this single experience into a deep-seated fear.

I’ve never been in a cave. I probably won’t ever go into a cave, because the moment I step through its mouth (and that we call it a mouth is telling—like we’re stepping into the jaws of some creature to be willingly swallowed) is the moment I start panicking and have to leave immediately. But I find them fascinating anyway; maybe more so, because I really don’t know what’s hiding inside.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 160 – Heirofastidia

A photo of a rosary.

Sometimes you sit down to write and everything that comes out is too close to the truth. There’s a reason I write fiction—I prefer to keep something of myself to myself. It’s not hard to find the meaning in what I write, but I like to pretend that it is, like drawing a thin veil over the top. We can both see what’s beneath, but for decency’s sake we’ll pretend otherwise.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.