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Blue Dreams

By

L.A. Wolfe




Blue Dreams

By L.A. Wolfe


Copyright 2017 L.A. Wolfe


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The Avocado Grove Emily


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To Marty, Ashley, and Noah




Table of Contents


Blue Dreams

About This Story

The Avocado Grove Emily by L.A. Wolfe

The Avocado Grove Blog




Dreams/Nightmares/Dreaming Nightmares


It’s hot outside.  Maybe I’m delirious.  I don’t live in a house anymore.  We’re in a condo.  All the swimming pools join to make the ocean – the beach and seagulls too.  People play volleyball.  The breeze is good here. 




August 15

Powers Cross Resort

8 a.m.  Hungry


My name is Vanessa.  You don’t need to know my last name.  Plus, if anybody I know ever found this journal, I’d have to change my whole identity.


I used to be fit and eat wheatgrass for breakfast.  This morning I stuff down two bacon and egg breakfast sandwiches.  I’m still a natural blond, but it’s been almost every color except green.


This is my first day at Marianne’s.  She doesn’t understand I’m a few frames behind, since prom.


When she talks about Don, I shove my purse across the countertop in her kitchen away from a tangled mess of stuff – kitchen gear and cartons of what look like last night’s take-out.  She stops talking about men.  But I have a separate conversation with another mom, Waterpark Mom.  And I can’t smell the beer Marianne had for breakfast or hear about what almost happened with Don last night.  Waterpark Mom asks about the kinds of food we’re eating on our lunch date today and about the English class I’m starting at the college in a couple of weeks.


“And where did you get that bag, at the fair?  Wasn’t it last weekend?” She asks.


I see what she means about the bag, it looks handmade with a denim patch, a fancy dog sewn into the crochet.  The romantic story, my boyfriend bought it for me at that fair last weekend.  We stayed all day eating fried dough and corn dogs and (this ugly purse) was one of the last items left.  Real story, I bought it at Target on sale, the dog used to have a glittering rhinestone collar, but it came off and this was months ago.


We share stories from the summer.  Marianne laughs this time.  And I remember what it is like to have a family and friends.  I’m the cheerleader again and Beast is my boyfriend.


“It’s been a while since you’ve been back,” Waterpark Mom says.


I pull out my reader and see what’s going on in the neighborhood.




:::



Juniper



I am the girl in class with the boyfriend you wish is yours.  We know all the answers.  Teachers talk to us after class like we’re old friends.  We never get into trouble.



I am the girl you secretly hate but pretend not to.  Everyone wants to be friends with gods.



When things go wrong, you pretend not to be glad.  It must be a strange mistake.  I think so too.



When life is good.




Snapshot #1



My seventeenth birthday party.  Everyone is here – the volleyball team, the neighborhood, and Cliff.  Cliff arrives first.  What I remember after the space between Cliff and the door and what happens after I put his present on the table is this – noise everywhere.  Talk about college, living away from home, and chatter in my head.  My dad makes a joke about Cliff and his motorcycle and asks if he’s providing the entertainment.  “Can't he do seventeen wheelies around the block?”


Snapshot #2



“Got a boyfriend back home?”



His emerald gaze turns my way, completely my way.  He asks where I live and if this is my first time away from home.



And I talk about South Florida and volleyball camps and brag about my place on the team at school and how the coach expects a championship this year.



“My name is Dillon” shows me around the campus and at the end of the tour invites me out to dinner.



It has been less than two days since Cliff dropped me off. 




:::




August 15

12 p.m.  Hungry

Beast Sightings – Y


Beast.  Prom.  The other girl.  Waves roll underneath the loungers.  I lean over to stick my toes into wet sand.


“I wouldn’t if I were you.”


Beast sits on the chaise next to me.  And I laugh and ask where his date went.


“Last I heard she was a star on Twitch.”  And he tells me the people on the beach all do the same thing they did hours ago.


“Are you going to hang out here or not?”


There’s volleyball game going on, and I think about joining it.  I think about a lot of things – strolling on the sand to see if it feels real and discovering if anyone here knows how long this world will stay.  The beach stretches for miles.  And I wonder if I will ever see Beast again.




August 15

1 p.m.  Hungry

Beast Sightings – Y


I scribble Beast back and doodle him with a pair of fins and tons of scales and pretend he’s far, far away out in the sea.  Everything is quiet and I close my eyes.  When I open them, the ocean has disappeared.  And there isn’t a swimming pool at Marianne’s.  Beast is gone.




:::




Juniper

Snapshot #3



My nineteenth birthday.  Tiny party.  No one wants to be here because it is a repeat of what we do every night.  This is how the evening goes:

We’re quiet – there are no jokes about wheelies.




:::




August 17

2 p.m.


My counselor’s name is Patti.  She’s a sober Marianne.  I tell Patti about a trip to a waterpark from years ago – the good parts.  "We made sugar cookies and spent the whole day in the sun." And then I say how Marianne spends hours doing nothing. All she talks about are men.


I leave my first session with an assignment to read fun books.




:::




Snapshot #4



“What is this place?”



The place we end up, a cove of pines and Red oak trees overlooks a valley.  Every scary piece of news about a girl my age, a dead girl found in a secluded forest bubbles up inside my head.  Maybe this isn’t such a good idea.



And what about Cliff?



Dillon threads his hands through my hair.  And I forget all about Cliff.  (Cliff who endured the endless glares of all the Johnson’s because of his motorbike and who went to the last party at Ally and Don’s when we suffered Grizzly’s stories about her volleyball days, Cliff the most).  The voices of dead girls' fade.




:::




August 23

8 p.m.

Conversations with Waterpark Mom – Y


Waterpark Mom is here in the room with me and Marianne.


This isn’t about the wine you spilled on the carpet, it’s what Marianne told the other women after she thought you went upstairs


Her words stick in my head and make dark magic.  


“You surprised me,” Marianne says.


“I dropped a tray of drinks.”


“They all left.  No one bought anything.”


“Is it a consolation?” Waterpark Mom asks.




August 24

3 p.m.  Grumpy.


Marianne doesn’t eat and when she does, she eats diet food.  Even her bacon and eggs come from skinny pigs and underfed hens – she calls them free, as if this removes half of their calories and fat.


I dream of food the whole time we shop.  McDonald’s milkshakes and fries, and everything is supersized.


“The stripes are going the wrong way, Vanessa.  The shirts make you look fat.”


I hold up another style.


“Potato sack.”


My hands gravitate towards five more sacks just like the one Marianne despises.  I wait for Beast to appear and tease me too, but so far he hasn’t.


Marianne leaves with a wide smile.  How long will it take her lips to fall off and get regular again, the way mine are all the time?  And could I ever be happy at the mall shopping the way she is today?


“Have you ever tried a Spirulina smoothie?” She asks.


Marianne lives on this disgusting drink.  But it makes her so fast we are in the car on our way home, the foot traffic at the mall is way behind us.


“How about a flatbread pizza?”  Flat is code for skinny.


“Sure.”


And I flip my reader open and catch up with my friends on the ride back.




:::




Emily



My bags are packed and waiting in the front lawn.  And I don’t know if Grizzly will still be there when I get home; and if she is, whether she’ll have any ideas for what to do or where to go.  And some of this is wishing Grizzly and I get kicked out of Ally’s – it’s happened before, it will happen again.



Does Grizzly say “damn” one too many times on her tour through Ally’s house?  Or maybe she breaks something expensive.  But despite my fears, my aunt and my mom talk like old friends.  They barely even register I’m back.  The two of them sit on my aunt’s giant couch looking thick together laughing about something.



My aunt’s couch, like the rest of her home, looks like something out of a magazine.  Grizzly calls it elegant and says, “This should be behind museum glass.”  But when my aunt leaves the room, Grizzly complains about the slipcover; and she points at the couch and asks if I smell anything strange.  I tell Grizzly the most I notice is a vague aroma of a good, spicy meal.  And this reminds me of the chili Grizzly used to make.



I gaze at the outline of my aunt’s sofa and how it hides underneath the lazy slipcover.  And I imagine the sofa the way it looked years ago – a major whale and the kind of furniture we would have kept covered in its plastic (though Grizzly will never admit this). It is in this place we have a quiet conversation, about what happened between me and Soccer Boy.



My aunt says she’ll never kick me and my mom out.



And the woods never happened.  I’m like her original sofa.  All my stains are gone.







The vampire door opens.


Who are you?  What do you want?  There are all those eyes again.  I whisper my answers.  It’s my first day at Denman high.


I have done this before – traveled up and out of my head hundreds of times and floated above and looked down on everything, except there is a lot of beeping.


“You’re in ICU,” Gitt says.


I point to the monster gates outside of her house.  “This doesn’t look like a hospital. Are you having a party?”  Gitt Roberts’ parties are the stuff of dreams…


Soccer Boy strolls outside and swallows me up with big eyes.


“Who are you talking to?” He asks.


“Do you remember the cheerleader?  Got high.  Totaled her car?”


Neither of them say what happened to the cheerleader or me.


Gitt squeezes my hand and disappears behind her vampire door.


“Don’t tell them your name,” Big Sister says.


She’s Big Sister, been there, done that, told you so.  The imaginary friend I can’t control. Her hair is blonder than mine and longer.  And she doesn’t seem to mind if a whole tribe of fairy girls joins us for breakfast.


I point to the pink Halloween wig on my head.


“Wear it if you want, just be yourself all the way.”


One of the fairy’s whispers, “Tell me your name.”  She sounds as if she’s high, and she says I’ll go through my life over again.


I go through the whole day, I flat iron the cotton candy hair, put on the same, long silvery earrings; another lemming in the flow at the new school, except this time I know some of what Big Sister and the fairy girls were talking about.


I know the way to my classes.  There are other things too, the stuff about my name and being afraid to say it, being afraid of Soccer boy – I don’t know if this is what Big Sister meant, but I don’t pretend to be someone else.


My name is Emily.



“You know my name.”  Soccer Boy stops strolling with me.  His hands slide up to his hips, his nostrils flare.  “I’m the best quarterback at Denman, the best in the whole damn state.”


I shrug as if what he’s said isn’t a big deal.  And he pouts.  Nothing has changed.


He lied about the size of my underpants and the color too.  She wore these tiny pink panties, they’re cheap just like her – way too many flowers.


I watch him stomp away.




:::




September 5

8 a.m.

Beast Sightings – Y


Shade gets neon pink running shoes.  (She’s me from last year, the perfect me.  And I see her everywhere now).  She wears her new shoes in the dream and acts happening.  I wear the same outfit from last Fall, except I don’t wear any shoes at all.


“Sometimes dreams are just dreams,” Beast says.  “Don’t you like your new shoes?”


“What shoes?”


The volleyball boys and girls from the beach are here and they notice Shade’s “hotness factor.”  I tell Beast it’s a relief to watch the popularity circus from the sidelines and stick my feet in the sand.


“I don’t believe you,” he says.  “I bet she’d stumble in stilettos too and take them off.”


The memory of how we meet plays in my head.  This girl wouldn’t stumble into anything unless it was on purpose.


“I used to be that girl?”


“Not at first,” Beast says.




August 15

1:05 p.m.

Beast Sightings - Y



Don’t imagine this.  It will make you crazy.  But if you hallucinate, stay out of their way.  It is hard when they are everywhere, in your bedroom, in your breakfast, and even in your mirror when you wake up. They don't tell you who is real.



“I fell off the board, but everything was fine, these waves aren’t anything like L.A.,” Beast says.



“You lived in California?”  Shade asks.  “I want to move there and be besties with Rodeo Drive.”



And I see more old friends and faces from before the other girl happened.  Except now I watch some version of this played out with Shade.  My crowd turns into Beasts’ crowd wherever I am.  And for right now, Beast is a cool surfer.  Shade believes him.  I was never friends with this Beast.  “Are you joining the game?” He asks.




:::




Emily


I hear the crunch of each shiny foil being pressed by the stylist’s long, blue fingernails into my head, but I remember what happens here, what these popular girls do to my hair.  And when I crack my eyelids, I am back home again re-reading the text message that brought me here.


“Meet us.”


The stylist brushes goop on my hair.  And it’s as if she senses the strange calm in the room.  Her fingers fly.  I imagine all the protein molecules in my hair breaking down.


“You’re gonna love this,” Adrianna says.


My hair looks like it is highlighted with fruit punch and not the diluted kind Ally likes to make for Thom, but full strength, a deep, dark pink.  Adrianna’s hair looks wild, but my head looks like a messed-up candy cane – hot pink hair next to lighter shades of muddy blonde.


Gitt laughs and then Adrianna and Bev join in too.  But this time I do not smile back.


And what they know about the woods and Soccer Boy and the wig I wear doesn’t matter.


“I took a picture and sent it to Soccer Boy.  But it isn’t as good as the one of you dancing at my party, alone,” Gitt says.


And when their laughter ends I tell them about how hot pink goes good with the dress I’m planning on wearing (it’s red), except I’m thinking about my old Clipper’s jersey and being nine years old again, and the Clipper’s lost a big game.  My ghost dad says red goes with everything.  He tells me this on my long walk home.


“Are you colorblind?”  It’s the meanest thing I’ve said to him, since he’s been dead.




:::




August 24

10 p.m. 

Beast Sightings – Y


I’m sitting at a table with Emily and a few of her friends, Julio, Adrianna, and Bev.  This is Julio’s sister’s quince.


The last few times I’ve opened my reader it’s like I’m in the story too (and we’re not talking imagining I’m in the story).  This is what Marianne was whispering about with her friends.


“Vanessa believes she’s a book character.  “We’re all characters,” she said.


Adrianna pushes beans and rice around on her plate.


“When are we heading out of town?” Emily asks.


“Who’s leaving,” Julio’s dad says.  He looks at all of us.  “How come you kids aren’t eating?  The pork is good.”  He says other things about how one fatty meal isn’t going to ruin anyone’s diet.


But Emily says more about fitting into clothes than almost any other topic except for maybe leaving and going other places and some iPhone video of her and Julio.  Her voice gets quiet when she talks and even quieter when she gets to the part about the video.


Julio whispers.  Say nothing about the train.


“I’m going to Tampa,” Bev says.  “Cheerleading.”  The mention of the word ‘cheerleading’ reminds me of last year and the excitement of going on competition trips out of town.  But I start to wonder if any of these feelings are real.


Julio’s father nods as if he understands what I thought and knows make-believe messed up.  He mumbles about twenty dollars a plate to his wife.  And Julio scans the restaurant as if the answers to our questions are out there.  Am I the something here out of phase – am I screwing everything up?  I listen to his amazing and great ideas about leaving and how it will solve everything.


And I climb on top of my chair and shout over the music.  “You’re a dumb ass.”


Julio lunges for Emily.  I land on the floor in a crush of people dancing.


“Need some air?” Beast says.


“How?”


“The exit is far away, in another place,” Beast says.


“What about them?”


“They repeat the quince again the same way they know.”


Sounds of the party follow me and Beast all the way to a large glowing EXIT sign.


“You forgot your purse...”


“Was it something she ate?”


Marianne’s Camaro waits in the parking lot.




:::




I wake up after midnight.  Beast is gone.  I take Patti’s advice and read a fun book until my eyes shut.



September 10

9 a.m.


“I can’t show you how to play with time,” Fanta says.  We sit on Marianne’s porch.  It feels like a million degrees outside.  Shade and her friends drink smoothies with the volleyball boys and girls.  They take a break on the sand.  Everyone enjoys the brightness.


Fanta’s hair turns colors.  It matches my soda can.  He keeps showing off his super powers but he won’t help me finish an essay due Monday.  I’ve asked him a dozen times.


“Before the island.  Sometime in June… a crescent moon,” Fanta says.


“Go back to Aphrodite.”  Shade and her friends are outside.  Waterpark Mom says to ignore them.


Fanta gabs about Aphrodite and his brothers.  And I listen to how they escape from Hades for the second time.  “She isn’t good for you.  Don’t you remember she leaves and you’re stuck on some far away island with a busted ship?”


“Could Shade help with your essay?”  Fanta points to where Shade and some of her friends have started up a game with the volleyball kids.


“They don’t like me.”


“Since when?”


And he puts Hera’s glasses on and turns into one of the boys on the beach, he keeps the shock of purple hair and fits right in with everybody out there having a good time.




September 10

12 p.m.

Beast Sightings – Y


Shade and her friends go Food Network.  They squeeze into Marianne’s kitchen and make smoothies.  Spirulina smoothies.


“Spirulina sounds like it’s a treatment for a disease or maybe it is a disease.”  Shade acts like I’m not good enough to get cured.  She doesn’t make one of her fancy drinks for me.  And maybe my problem can’t be fixed by her silly drink.


Smoothie drops on the floor.  “Clean this up,” she says.  


I make a salad with bacon and turkey, tomatoes, and shredded cheese.


And when I’m finished, the counter is clean, the kitchen is quiet.  But I’m still stuck with the essay; and I remember how smart that version of me used to be and the friends I had and how we used to study together.  Where is that girl?  Does she hang out with Beast and Fanta? It's a hot afternoon. They all join the volleyball boys and girls for a game. I crunch ideas for the essay alone.




:::




I hear the crunch of each shiny foil being pressed by the stylist’s long fingernails into my head, except I can’t relax.  I remember what happens here, what these mean girls do to Emily’s hair.  I try to imagine I’m back at Marianne’s re-reading the text message that brought me here to Panic like a gateway.  Maybe if I read it again, I’ll go home.


Meet us.


But nothing happens.  There’s a blast of cold from the vent above my head, and everyone is quiet, even the stylist.  She brushes goop on my hair and it’s as if I’m Emily.


“You’re gonna love this,” Adrianna says.


“I’m not into fruit punch hair.”


Gitt laughs and then Adrianna and Bev join in too.  I do not smile back.  


The stylist tells me to “Open my eyes.”  And I expect a candy cane colored mess all over my head.  But my hair looks gorgeous – there are golden blonde strands next to lighter shades of honey, this is the hair color Emily imagines.


The popular girls act as if they see the Kool-Aid.


“I took a picture and sent it to Soccer Boy,” Gitt says.  And all of them giggle.


I remember what Emily says about the dress she’s planning to wear to the prom and how it goes great with her hot pink hair.  But she says it to save face.


This new blonde even looks good with sweat pants.  And these girls are laughing?


“Are you color blind?” I ask.


They don’t answer.  And I open my reader.




:::




Everyone stares at Grizzly, a few people pull out their phones and hold them up as if she and my Aunt Ally are on some reality TV show in the front lawn, and as soon as the action is over they’ll upload the video to the Internet.  I don’t care if it goes viral.  (This has already happened to me). Any moment now one of these people with their phones is going to ask me, “Are those your drugs?”


“Pack up now.”  My aunt get kind of nuts sometimes.


And Grizzly has had too many beers.  I don’t know if she ate much, the chili was cold, and some guy in the line kept telling me to move along.  I’m not hanging around here.  (I’m leaving town with the guy in the dirty video).




:::




October 8

8 p.m.


Shade stays in her room for the night, and Fanta tells me about how we escaped from Hades.


“Steel gray ships crammed the sky and blotted it out, even the light from the underworld moon.”


“How come I don’t remember any of this?”


Fanta smiles in the way he does – as if he knows about other places where book characters hang out (but he’ll never tell).


“How did we really get out of there?”


“Your boyfriend invited you to dinner.”




:::




I’m at South Side burger.  This place looks the same way Emily describes it – not much on the atmosphere (this is a run-down sports bar, except for the television).  Money here has been spent on good televisions, and they are everywhere.  The vinyl booths have seen better days.  And the seats are still wet from the last wipe down, I’m glad I wore long pants.  A waitress comes over and asks if I want anything to eat.  I ask for a double chocolate milkshake.


If I was into sports the way Emily is, I could at least get into the basketball game.  I try to follow the game.  The most I understand is the Miami Heat are playing the Los Angeles Lakers.  Emily likes the Heat, even though she will always be a Lakers fan and a Clipper’s fan first because of her dad.  I don’t know whether my dad likes sports and if he follows any teams.  Though many of Marianne’s boyfriends are fans of football or baseball; and she has jerseys from a few teams.  I don’t know the names.  The mascots are colorful.  And the shirts make comfortable pajamas.


The door to the bar opens and I expect Mickey and Emily to walk in.  I sit alone, sip the shake and look at the crowds on TV and the growing crowd in the room.  When I last saw Beast, there was another crush of people.  And I remember what he said about a doorway or was it an exit, we were both at Julio’s sister’s quince and he drove me home, the way he used to, the same as if we were out on a date from last year.


I haven’t been able to do what Beast said and go back to the 7-Eleven and have a Slurpee.  But is that why I’m here?  I don’t know how long to wait and whether Beast will show.  This isn’t our 7-Eleven and it isn’t any place Beast knows.  But he didn’t know about Julio’s sister’s party either and he found the ‘exit’ there.  Where is it this time?




>Messages (0) Ally

Sat, Oct 31, 11:06 AM



Hi Ally.  It’s Marianne. Can’t host the holiday block party. Remember our coffee? Good time.  know someone I might ask about the party?




:::




Everyone stares at me.  I’m at Ally and Don’s house on the front lawn.  And this feels like a reality TV show, except I never knew about it; I’m the star.


Some of the neighbors pull out their phones.  What I know is this: I don’t want this to go viral – the video of me, and of them at this moment where we realize I don’t belong here.


“Pack up now,” Ally says.  She says it the same way she does to Grizzly when she asks her to leave.  But Ally whispers in my ear.


We don’t know who you are, or what you want, but your world isn’t here.




:::




November 1

7 p.m.


For weeks, I don’t open my reader.  And I hide my phone.


I keep busy with essays.  (4,000 words are due before Thanksgiving).  But I need a break.




November 20

8 a.m.

Beast Sightings – Y

Conversations with Waterpark Mom – Y


Assignments are pushed to the side.  I’m off for Thanksgiving and spend all day with Fanta and Waterpark Mom out on the beach.  He’s fixing his ship.  Waterpark Mom looks the same from when I was six.  She wears the same swimsuit.


Fanta tells me about the supplies he’s gathering for his trip off the island.  He says he can change applesauce into whatever he wants.


“It’s dinnertime, and we haven’t eaten lunch yet.”  Waterpark Mom says.


I ask Waterpark Mom if she wants to share the fries Fanta made.  But Waterpark Mom isn’t in the mood to hear about his fast food magic tricks.  She says we’re eating at Marianne’s.  I tell everyone I’m not hungry for leftovers again, but then I think about the pastas and prime rib, the surf ‘n’ turf dinners Marianne brings home sometimes from dates; and I tell Fanta the fries taste like old rice.


We pass through Marianne’s tiny kitchen.  Shade and her friends are here too.  On the countertops, a buffet of food is already here – pizza, pasta, hamburgers, cold cuts sandwiches, and chips.  And Fanta says he has used his magic and created a food court here.  “Everything out of oats,” he says.


“Is this real?”  And I mean is she real – Waterpark Mom, Shade, all of them.  I don’t finish these thoughts, even Waterpark Mom is silent.  Occasions mix in my mind – Thanksgiving and Christmas, the holiday parties last year, math club competition, cheerleading, and prom.


I open the patio door and try to swim away from the inside and let the ocean swallow me up just like Beast said it would.


I imagine he’s here, checking out the hot bar and ordering a steak burger and fries or maybe he’s at the deli.


“Thought we’d have an early holiday dinner,” Marianne says.


She carries in bags of groceries.  The food court disappears, so do my friends – I listen to the echoes of our conversations on their way out.


“Is Aphrodite taking you back, or is she leaving again like before to go on adventures without you?”


“Read the sci-fi, then you’ll understand,” Fanta says.


“Hungry?” Waterpark Mom asks.


There’s enough food here to feed half the neighborhood and Marianne starts telling me about the six different kinds of pie she’s bought.  This isn’t for me and her; she’s inviting one of her boyfriends too, and I bet he has kids.


“It’s a ton of food, for us.” 


Marianne says, ‘us’ like it’s an apology and it makes me wonder about the holidays in her head and what she’s saying sorry for.


“Remember the party and the guy that kept bugging me about my butterfly tattoo?”




November 22

11 p.m.

Beast Sightings – Y

Conversations with Waterpark Mom – Y


Marianne warms up leftovers, a fried steak sandwich, curly fries, she asks, “Do you want the slaw?”


“I already ate.  Remember?  Where does it all go… the beer, the pizza, your buffalo wings?  How come you don’t gain a pound?”


Marianne shakes her head.  She pushes some of the slaw and some of her sandwich on to a second plate.


This is not my mother.  This is a woman with hair extensions.  And I pretend Marianne went out with some friends, a girl’s night – and after this the hair happened.  Marianne laughs.  I don’t like her laugh or what she’s wearing.  Her t-shirt isn’t flashy, it isn’t a blazing color like neon pink, but it’s tiny and she looks easy in it, especially with her new hair.


I glance again at her shirt and Marianne stops laughing.


“Is that a wig?” I point to her hair.


Waterpark Mom gets up from the couch.  “Cool it,” she says.


Marianne looks messy just now.  The things she said earlier about Beast and boys make me check the clock, but it’s late and I can’t go anyplace.


“Should she be giving me any advice about boys?”


Waterpark mom tells me to have the conversation.


And I blurt out how Marianne showed some guy her tattoo, even though this happened months ago.


“What a mess,” Waterpark Mom says.


Marianne used to make me laugh.  But there are strange voices in the house now, they stay soft and low, whispers in the dark.  I ask them answers to my questions about why Marianne has the metabolism of a teenager, why she looks pretty no matter how she wears her hair, and why my boyfriend killed himself.  But I haven’t heard any great wisdom.


A door closes and everything is quiet.  And I dream about ice cold drinks and new hair.  A search for scissors is replaced by visions of driving to the 7-Eleven and drinking Slurpee’s at midnight.  Me and Beast are still there – our ghosts bathed in moonlight.




November 25

7 p.m.


It’s Thanksgiving.  And I have this idea about how to get Shade to accept what happened – for us to be whole again.  I don’t know if the plan will work, if she’ll believe.


Dad calls and drones on about parties he goes to with people I pretend to know.  And we avoid discussing anything that matters, like the way our new living arrangement doesn’t work and how Marianne’s scared about taking me anywhere after I spilled wine on her carpet.  I ask him about sports and at first he doesn’t say anything, and it’s as if I’ve asked him a hard question he doesn’t know the answer to.  He says he likes tennis and he started playing a couple of months ago.  And this is all he says.


I almost tell him about Beast and my plans to visit the cemetery this weekend.  But I remember the fight on Ally and Don’s front lawn and what Ally said about the world.  And what Dad knows about my life is about as much as I know about the sports he likes.


And I imagine another version of me that does everything right.




November 26

11:45 a.m.


Ate an entire bag of Marianne’s favorite salt and vinegar potato chips.  (What I wanted was an extra -large bucket of chicken but was too depressed to go out for it).  We didn’t meet up at midnight like the original plan.


Here’s what happened at the cemetery:


Friends I used to know came.  I wonder if there will ever be a time when gatherings of people don’t remind me of something tragic.  I did not cry, even when I thought about the model girlfriend and almost asked one of the friends, “Did you know about her?”


But this is silly.  I know the answer.  On some days, she’s me at the beginning of the year, or another version of Shade, or she’s a girl in class, any girl Beast smiled at.  The gossip about her and Beast went around all summer.  And some of the friends came back to find out what happened.  


I hear about all their better places, but I heard before, in Marianne’s conversations with people and in e-mails from a few who kept in touch.  It is still a shock.


“Why should you want to return,” I asked (from universities, art schools, and trips to foreign lands)?  This friend learned a new language and that one bragged about her many boyfriends.  I left out the part about how I was doing.  I didn’t know how to describe the exits into books and how Beast is alive there.  What would I say, “I crashed a quince and Beast drove me home?”




November 26

1 a.m.


Tired.  Can’t fall asleep after the visit to the cemetery.


I hang out with Fanta and Aphrodite.  They lead almost typical lives (except she’s a Goddess and can do whatever she wants).  I’m at the part where he’s figuring out how to be more exciting so the next time she visits him she’ll fix his ship with a wave of her hand.  He’s considering body piercing, laser hair removal, and more interesting tattoos.  (She isn’t into hearts).


Aphrodite appears and starts speaking Greek and I understand.  She tells me, “Hades isn’t as cold or horrible as everyone thinks.”


She mesmerizes you with her words, and like Fanta she looks however she wants.  She stares at me for a long time – and I hope she’s transferring a little of her power to me and I’ll wake up looking like some version of her.  She says to Fanta, “Maybe we could bring a mortal down with us?”


I try to follow the rest.  I catch a few words about my visit to the cemetery, they know about it.  And then we’re traveling to where Hades lives.  We get caught up in the drama going on – Persephone and Hades fight about decorating.


The skies are dark in the underworld; you can barely see the outline of the clouds.  Persephone tells us about the war and how Zeus made it magical, but only in one place.  “There’s a neighborhood here where it’s so bright it hurts your eyes,” she says.


I don’t understand what Fanta means about the coldness not being terrible here.  But maybe having the ability to adapt to almost anything and change into whatever you want, makes it possible for Fanta to say these things.  The whole trip down to the underworld, Fanta, Aphrodite, and I listen to music.  The playlist is a mix of pop country tunes.  Don’s tunes.  And we sit on a sofa at Persephone’s house, it’s the same sofa in Ally’s house.  And it makes Persephone’s living room perfect.


I stare at the whale of a couch.  There are no jelly or juice stains and no slip covers.  And this couch moves…a lot.  I turn around a stare at what looks like one great eye – the outline blends into the sofa.  And I’m reminded of the sky here, there are no stars.  But, this eye twinkles.  And it reflects the candlelight burning in the room.


And I want to ask the eye about what it knows.




November 27

12:30 p.m.

Beast Sightings – Y


Marianne had a party while I was gone.  Energy from the gathering still lingers.  I smell barbecue, chips, beer.  And when I close my eyes, I breathe in smoke and feel a paper plate in my hands.  It’s heavy with the weight of watermelon wedges, potato salad, ribs.


I don’t know how long I sleep in the sun but when I wake up, the swimming pool next door and the one across the street and all the pools in my neighborhood aren’t pools anymore, they are back to being the ocean.  And the breeze is good here – wherever this is.


The volleyball game from before continues.  And even stranger than all those pools turning into the ocean, Beast lounges on the chaise next to me and we stare out at the view.  I think about strolling on the sand, sticking my toes into the water, and maybe swimming.


“I wouldn’t if I were you.”


It is as if he is reading my mind.


"This is an ocean and it will swallow you."




November 27

4 p.m.


The beach disappears.  There is only a napkin sized screened in porch.  Across a couple of lawns from Marianne’s house there are larger homes, these homes have swimming pools that look as if they belong in some worldly place you might go to on vacation the way they are all decked out.  The closest pool to us has rafts floating in the water, fat cushions on all the furniture, and flowering plants around the whole thing.


“Why all those floats?”


Marianne shrugs.  “His wife got the animals on sale.”


She pushes our flimsy plastic table and moves it a few inches.  “Doesn’t matter; that weekend isn’t good for any of my friends.”


She slurs her words.  I don’t know what weekend she’s talking about, and why we can’t get a hot tub.  I almost ask why her new boyfriend won’t chip in for one.  For a few moments, we both stare out at the grandeur on the other side and the preparations for a party.  There is pink everywhere, every shade of the color you could ever imagine, from cotton candy to lemonade, as if the princess of the celebration couldn’t decide.  Marianne and I are mesmerized by clusters of balloons, a giant tiered cake.  Marianne makes a comment about the weather and wonders if the party will be cancelled.


The wind picks up, the edge of the table cloth shimmers in the breeze, goblets fall over and plates flip into the pool.  The gusts get stronger, but no one comes out and fixes anything.  And we watch a lot of pink stuff blow away.  We are caught up in the drama.  And Marianne swears she heard a fight going on.  But I only hear the wind.


Later there are twinkling lights and sounds of celebration.  The lights remind me of the eye in Persephone’s living room.  The eye knows what happened at the party before the guests arrived, and if there was a fight or if it was the wind.  It knows why my dad never comes home and the reasons Marianne drinks too much.  And the flickering bulbs are extensions. They know where Beast is and when we’ll see each other again.


There is music playing and a ton of people.  Marianne says she doesn’t mind if I walk over.




###




Dear reader,


I hope you enjoyed Blue Dreams.  Please tell me what you think either at your favorite bookstore or on my blog at http://avocadogrove.blogspot.com/.


Thanks,


L.A. Wolfe




Blue Dreams is a short story fantasy based on The Avocado Grove neighborhood.


The Avocado Grove Emily is a collection of short fiction available on Smashwords.

I am currently working on the next collection of stories set in The Avocado Grove.




Excerpt from The Avocado Grove: Emily


October 31



October 31, 2013


“Man, aren’t you going to ask her to dance?”


And you morph into the girl that sits in front of me in math class and then into my aunt from Cuba, and then you are my latest girlfriend.  How you change into these people I’m not sure, but all of you easy going souls get bored sitting on the sofa sipping beer and wander off, and I follow your changing shapes through the crowd and the way your hair goes from long dishwater blonde to short bleached blonde to almost black.


“Which one?” I laugh.  I point you out to a guy I don’t know at all, but he’s nice enough so I play along.  “She has a cheerleading competition.”


“In Tampa, who’s he?” You ask.  I don’t even have to fumble for an answer.  This guy wants to help you with the classes you already make A’s in.  It doesn’t take you long to go turn the music up.


I stumble to the patio with you.  The music is fast and loud but we act as if it’s slow.  My hands find their way up under your shirt.


“Come on, let’s go finish this party in your car.”


Later we are surrounded by smoke and noise.  There’s a flash of red in your shiny blonde hair.  We’re caught in the crush of people dancing together in a speeding car.  Is the stereo screaming or are those sirens?


I’m messed up and you are not my mom.  But for a second, I am a small child again and you are my mom and you tell me, “You don’t look so good.”


“You look perfect.”  And you do – as perfect as if I just picked you up for our date.  You spent hours curling your hair and those curls sparkle in the moonlight.  “What did you put on your hair?” I ask.


But you do not answer me.  You push open the car door that moments before was crushed in but now looks as if nothing at all happened.  And the door seems far away and you seem far away too as if you are in another place.  I try to get back to the car as fast as I can but there’s only the road beneath my feet.  I can’t find where you are, you have disappeared, and after what feels like days I follow the road back home.  




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