Deal With God

At that point I just wondered what his end game was. Protecting her? Admirable, but she’d never appreciate the condescension. Although perhaps on that note, it was her pride that was at fault. What I suspected though, was that it was born out of self-hatred. He did not believe that God loved him, in mercy or in grace. No. It was his moral virtue against the world. Nothing more. And nothing less. Maybe denying himself his heart’s desire was his way of punishing himself. Maybe that was his deal with God. Maybe if he gave up his quest for love God might forgive him of his past mistakes. Perhaps if he gave up what he wanted most, then God would call it even.
So he’d give up his dream of love and admire it from afar. From the corner table in a bar or behind a pen and paper. He’d drown himself in loneliness and punish himself for that too. He’d punish himself for still longing, even though he’d given up hope. He’d punish himself for laughing, for pulling her into his arms. It was only just a moment, no he’d hadn’t even asked her out. But it was just too much, too much good for him. He couldn’t afford to enjoy himself. He couldn’t taint something pure.
So he found his way through life in a series of empty bottles and cigarette butts. In as many friends and late night hours as he could fret away. It was the nights he hated most, that’s why he always went out. It was the nights he hated most, because then he’d think of her and everyone else he’d lost. It was the nights he hated most, because it was then he felt most alone.
And that is why he felt like the whole world was caving in.


She let him speak to himself his darkest fears when his grief had gone in for the kill. Told him she loved him, but handed him to his demons instead.

“Told he’d be his own Father’s infidelity, his legacy—a false charmer that would let hearts molder at his word.”

Said she loved him too much to stay.

Too much to lend a helping hand?

“And that’s where he’d lost himself, in a doubtful fear of becoming that.”

“I can’t keep beating myself up over you.”

You are not worth the pain I feel.

“It had broken the women who had cherished his birth and now had materialized those words in action, a disdain at the face she saw in him.”

If she had ever truly known him, she would have known it was his greatest fear.

“He had fallen into a place where he clawed at his character; his own insecurities were the Cerberus in the abyss he’d taken comfort in.”

No, if she had ever loved him, she surely didn’t now.



Quotations taken from “Rusted Tracks” by 

Rusted Tracks





I opened the apartment door with my pinky. Maybe carrying all the grocery bags inside in one go was stupid, but I always did it. My purse fell from my shoulder onto my forearm and I let everything hit the floor. The jar of artichoke hearts rolled out of one of the bags across the entry hall.
I liked the smell. There was something peaceful about it. Maybe because I knew it was his. I closed the door and looked for the kitchen. The apartment was silent. Immaculately clean. It would be an easy job.
An easy job? Fuck. I’d never have any idea if I was even doing this well. I had no way of knowing if I was doing the right thing. I just did what I knew to do.
I fumbled through the drawers and cabinets, turned on the oven, found a baking dish. Cutting board. Thank God he had a real cutting board and not some stupid slip of plastic. Bamboo. And a good knife. I liked him more and more. Good taste in cooking utensils.
The spinach was half in the skillet when the door opened. I wished he wouldn’t be so cool. He didn’t have to keep up a facade with me. But then, who was I to criticize him at a time like this? What control did he have over his filters?
“Welcome home, dear.” I leaned around the doorway, spatula in hand.
He smiled and put out his arms. His hugs were guarded now. But he didn’t let go quickly.
“Hey,” he said into my shoulder.
“Hey,” I smiled at him as we pulled back. “Dinner’s just a few minutes away.”
“Smells nice. You didn’t have to, you know?”
“Didn’t have to keep you from eating alone and sitting in your room drowning in solitude and depression? Yeah. I could have gone and done something awesome with my time like feeding the homeless.”
He made an expression of, “Well, okay, sorry I asked.” But I knew it warmed him even if he didn’t show it.
“So, Peaky Blinders?” I leaned down and pulled the chicken from the oven, setting it carefully on the stove.
I felt like I came off as so over-the-top to him. But I was always holding back. Did he have any idea that this wasn’t even 10% for me? Or was it? I was going full-throttle at this, wasn’t I? I just wasn’t being honest about it with him. With myself either. But I felt like I was holding back. It was the honesty. He was fragile before. Now he was like a butterfly’s wings.

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. 

Love suffers long and is still kind.

I had no idea if I was really helping at all. But I’d never abandon him even if he never showed what it meant. I was going to give all I had to see him heal.

Shit Coffee

She spun the coffee cup ’round, staring at it blankly. It was vague, almost flavorless. But that’s what you expect from Waffle House. It was good in its own way. She drank it black. Most coffee needed something in it. This didn’t. Shit coffee. Good shit. Basic.

It helped her get a grip on reality. That bit of classic diner feel always lent perspective. Juke box. Tacky booths. Staff from the oddest walks of life. There was always a regular in his 60s or  70s. Retired. He sat at the low bar and ordered “the usual.” It didn’t matter where the Waffle House was, except perhaps South Memphis, there was always that regular. Seemed like a trope from a TV Series. But she accepted it. There was a comfort to familiarity.

He hadn’t shown up. But she knew he would, casually strolling in with his hands in his pockets. He always leaned back a little when he walked. He’d flip his hair and sit down, pulling his hands out of his pockets and resting his elbows on the table.

He sat next to her. He had the option of sitting opposite, but he didn’t. In spite of his guards he wanted her close. There was that bit of his heart that warmed in her company.

Don’t let this light go out too. Please. Stay my little friend.

You know she’ll leave you too. Every woman wants to change you and she’s too different to handle you. And like so many others you’ll just break her heart too. And you’ll be lucky if she doesn’t break yours. 

“How are you?” She smiled. Warm. Inviting. Sincere. Earnest. She really did want to know.



He was larger than life. The touch of his hand was enough to make me feel like I’d never been alive until that moment. I’d never met someone so hopeful, while yet honest with the bitterness of reality. He had known heart break and God knows what else. And still he was undaunted.

It seemed like a fool’s errand. For as much as I knew I wasn’t a part of his life, I couldn’t stop my heart starving for that life to touch mine. Even seeing him for a moment was enough to turn me around and make me look at the world in a whole new way.

So through the years I came to love him deeply, to admire his hope and energy. He’d never be mine, but I was happy just to dance in the light of his warmth.

And that is why everything stopped when I heard.


I mis-key the transaction.

“How are you doing?” A smiling stranger.

“Fine, how are you?” I smile back.

And as I turn to count the change it all hits me again.

Fahad is dead.

I miscount the change again.


I lived hours away. I hardly knew him. There wasn’t anything I could do.

I saw photographs and I saw him faking it beautifully. He was still as dashing as ever, as well dressed as ever. But I knew better.

I fought my way to find him.

And then I saw. Still as dashing as ever. Still as well dressed as ever. But the light inside him had gone out. I touched his hand and it was mine that gave the life.

It had taken his brother. It had taken him.

Death is the ultimate thief.