Spotlight: In the Space Between Universes by Amanda R. Morningstar

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All stories lie somewhere between reality and imagination, between chaos and nothing. In the Space Between Universes explores relationships, identity, connectivity, and humanity through poetry and short fiction.

Amanda R. Morningstar is a mental health counselor. She uses poetry and story writing as a way to share her perspectives and as a mean sense of catharsis. Morningstar finds solace in family, science, self-care, and jumping on the bed. She lives in Michigan with her husband, children, and bearded dragon.

mrnstr

 

 

Perspective

 

Orange shag shudders as her feet swipe across its surface. Fibers whisper their disapproval in trios and quatrains. Driving bits of electricity up the walls to the hollowed-out closet. The mirrored doors frantically throw back images they would never want their children to see. Jagged pleas. All the angles necessary to bleed out imperfections. Even Venus knows how to cover herself. Two tone blue. The comforter rejects his status and becomes freshly born rug. Only Satan and liars can pull this off. Color shadows sweep across the frozen face of the south wall. Flicker off the computer screen, make the wall feel beautiful. If only for a second. (To all of this, she was oblivious).

She sent him a message. “Hey, you seem pretty cool. We should get together sometime and hang out.”

The ergonomically correct desk chair sits upright. Knowing it is worth the money that was paid for it. Plastic rolling mat soothes tired wheels. Office plants bring joy into its life. (The man had only put them there to fill the corners). Time and again, it watches as he checks his email. Mahogany desktop groans with discomfort as a hot coffee mug molds its stamp into the flesh. You drove us to it. The soles of his shoes converse sharply with the plastic mat. Keyboard echoes mute the silence.

 

FabFemme says: watz the plan?

HotDoc says: I made reservations at this little Italian place.

FabFemme says: 2 soon. Olive Garden?

HotDoc says: Well, I guess if it will make you more comfortable… I think there’s one       right down the road from my apartment.

FabFemme says: gr8, meet U there

HotDoc says: Okay then, I’ll meet you there at 7

FabFemme says: 7 is good.

 

Wine bottles synchronously make their way between tables and across the paths of hungry seventeen-year-olds and their high school sweethearts. Frank Sinatra melts plaster grapes into Venetian blinds and cloth napkins. You peek around corners and ask where the bathroom is. Two chairs move in to get better acquainted. Twin spoons dive into raspberry cheesecake and chocolate gelato. (It tasted wonderful, but she only remembers the calories). The chairs bump arms, legs tangle. Chairs believe in love. Wine doesn’t. The comfortable swipe of her hand across his puts the whole room at ease.

She checks her voicemail: “Hey, um, sorry I haven’t called. I’ve been pretty busy. I have this um, uh, thing to go to. Like a conference or whatever and I thought you would like to go to Chicago with me. You don’t have to go to the, just, well, um, give me a call when you get this.”

Haphazardly the comforter turned rug turned comforter suffocates under only twelve layers of padded bras and nail polish. It prays to the empty place under the bed to take away its pain. She joined in, but only for the sake of a lost earring. (Empty Space). The bottle of whiskey knocks three times on the poker lawn. Only the kings wrestle over chips in their first stages of rot. Mechanized laughter pulls at the strings hardwired into our arms and legs. Makes time travel possible. Everything is just positives and negatives. Even sound is magnetized.

 

“Hello?”

“Hey, It’s me. Did you call me just a little bit ago?”

“Oh, yeah— yesterday. Anyway, I was just wondering if you maybe wanted to go to Chicago with me. I have to give a speech and”

“Um, I think maybe it’s a little early for a weekend trip, don’t you?”

“Sorry, I just, well, how about dinner tonight?” He put his cards don on the table and frowned. “I fold.”

“Huh?”

“Nothing, dinner?”

“Oh, yeah, sounds fabulous. Why don’t you pick me up at 9 outside my apartment building? Do you remember where it is?”

“Yeah, sounds good. See you later.”

“Yep, bye.”

 

Bathroom tiles only shine when they want to distract you from the mirror. Warm toes leave radiations of steam on winter tile. Although the memory is quick lived. (She thought about being in control). The sharpened edge of the razor that had never before seen flesh now devours it. Blood leaves a stronger impression.

The wooden tiles tremor with excitement as awkward toes step toward awkward toes. Never before has the music seen rumors such as these. Symmetry wins over the artist every time. The tables wait, as tables often do, to hold everything together. But sometimes even tables fail. (He only remembers the way her ass looked as she walked away).

She sent him a picture of two shot glasses. Attached a message to the bottom: “Sorry things got so awkward, how about giving it another shot?”

The gold Zippo lighter sits naked on the cold green leather as the stripper finishes her $20 lap dance.

 

“Oh, hey. Is this yours?”

“No.”

 

Relationship Status: In a Relationship

 

Two twin beds pushed together are always more respectable than a king. Complementary cable channels flicker nonsensically upward and roundward. Baskets of fruit mirror paintings hanging on the bathroom walls. (She had expected the wildflowers). Plastic cups wrapped in paper stamped “Shiny Horse Motel.” You know this room superimposed on the next would result in single exposure. Your memories writhe in these walls. She can hear the scratching. He turns on the ceiling fan. Voices ring up from the electricity beneath their pre-socked feet. Autonomy wrapped in conformity.

 

Voicemail: “I think I’m falling in love with you.”

 

Primary red plastic chairs break up a monotonous white. The room waits. Future brides read pamphlets on lipo and botox. It’s your day. These walls do not deserve to be white. You watched as the clock accused you of things you had never heard of. The harsh lights leave scars on retinas and cancer on the tips of our noses. The air squirms as she smiles in sunglasses and baby powder. The air presses inward until she furrows. (Soon she will have forgotten her own face). It’s her day too. Words are thicker than blood.

Red Valentine roses still haunt the countertop. You can only smell them if you remember what they used to smell like. Strong new carpet lines this warpath. She looks at color swatches as the walls reminisce over primer and plaster. White couches will soon receive custom refurbishing, while the blank canvas toaster becomes a standard of higher living.

Feeling flush in the face is an understatement. But you can makeup your indiscretions. Just paint over them.

 

Text message: Are you okay?

Text message: No

 

His knuckles draw the line between sanity and forgiveness. Simultaneous euphoric suffocation. You never meant to tell him you exist.

 

“Are you okay?”

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