Julia

By David Bransfield

It was the summer of 2009 and we were finally free from university and ready to drink, to party and to be once again with old friends. Jack’s parents owned a tiny cabin, too small to fit all twelve of us without some serious cuddling, that was located on a private road somewhere in the middle of the woods with only two other houses anywhere within 3 kilometers. So, being young and happy, we packed ourselves into cars and traveled off for another long weekend exactly like we had done the year before and the year before that. We arrived there as if to a warm daydream, where the music is loud, the beers are plentiful and the women are gorgeous beyond words.

I remember that I was playing beer pong when the golden retriever trotted up to us because I remember that he stood in silence, panting with a long droopy tongue, and his head moved after the ball as if he really cared who won the game. And I definitely remember the arrival of the little girl that came along after him thanks to the muddy panties she was wearing on her head. Her name was Julia, we talked a little bit, and Julia was just finished with fourth grade and she was always giggling and always smiling and also the dog’s name was Jimi.
That night, we all of us slept cramped together on bunkbeds in the only bedroom, a hot, damp room that stank of spilled beers and human beings. I was sleeping the sweet sleep of the drunkard until I was awoken suddenly in the dark by the sound of shrieks, of Ali yelling from above, “Who is that? Somebody at the window! Who is that?” Suddenly all of us were awake, everyone was talking at once, and not one of us was unaccounted for.
The next day, the only topic of conversation was the mysterious occurrence. Ali swore that she had seen a girl at the window and Julia quickly became our prime suspect. So when the golden dog trotted up to us to beg for food, I thought that we would soon have an opportunity to question the suspicious girl and get to the bottom of matters. But when she never appeared I decided to go and to check for myself. I walked with Jimi in the direction of the two other houses, and for almost half of an hour, we saw nothing but trees. Finally we arrived at the end of the road, where there stood two small houses, the first facing the other.
Jimi the dog sat in the middle of the unpaved road and watched as I approached the first tired looking house, storm tape still on the windows and dust on the steps,  and knocked on the door. “Can I help you son? Ain’t nobody living in that house for a while now.” I turned. The voice had arrived from behind me, from a older man that was stooped over and scratching at Jimi’s ears. “Yeah hi, I just came down from the Rem’s place ‘cuz uh, I was trying to return this dog to his owner and maybe talk with Julia. We met her when she came by yesterday. Is she your daughter?” “Well Jimi here is ours, but I don’t have no daughters. Just the two boys. Julia you say? I can’t say I know no Julia and I thought we knew everyone livin’ here in Wallenpaupack. You said Julia, right?” Wait no, but really, who is Julia? I made the old man swear to me that he was telling me the truth, no jokes, that he had never heard of a little girl named Julia. The next day me and my friends went and checked in down at the bait shop and the men there told us the same story. Never heard of of a Julia. In small towns like that, everyone knows everyone else. No surpises. Besides us who came by for a weekend every year, and some teenagers that usually stay a few days in August Wallenpaupack wasn’t a place that got too many strangers. At the bait shop they tell us it we should cut back a bit on the drinking, that it was just our imagination, that Julia never really existed. But me and my friends, we know what we saw. We talked to her. Spent time with her. Touched her hand even. And that’s why I know that I will never forget her, giggly, smiley Julia with those dirty panties draped over her hair.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery

Gravediggers uprooting caskets

with sharp, steel shovels-

each slicing step downward

through nerve-rooted earth

cooper pennies jingle in change

pouches dangling by their sides.

They chat casually of Jesus,

His painless resurrection

from the sealed tomb,

money-changers being chased

away from God’s holy temple.

–Michael Lee Jordan

Michael lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet, freelance

writer, photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. He has been published in more than

925 small press magazines in twenty-seven countries, he edits 10 poetry sites, and has 103 poetry videos on YouTube.

This week on Babbling of the Irrational

Night and day illuminate a relationship in Sarah Montenegro’s “And Yet”

Laura Bernas shares a dysfunctional family relationship in “Dissonant Family”

“The Good Fight”, by Christopher Pascale looks at the news, important and unimportant

A frozen moment in time is the scene for Arielle Bines “Stuck in My Head”

“Budding”, by Tanmoy Das Lala, looks at growth and maturity

If you are interested in seeing your work featured on Babbling of the Irrational, check out our submissions page.

Bliss, Blistered

By Seneca Zamora

Our hands didn’t fit.

You know, when you hold the hand of a person that you’re dating, or sleeping with, or is your mom or best friend, and it just FITS? Like your hand was made for their hand and to have it wrapped in yours for an uncertain amount of minutes is just fine. I hadn’t really ever qualified this idea as something to consider in a partner, but a recent conversation with my brother in law helped me to close a short but important chapter in my 28 year old life. “Look at this!” He says as he grabs my sister’s hand. “It just fits! Easy. Perfect.” My sister nodded in unamused agreement, nothing out of the ordinary. It just fit.

We met on the corner of Christopher Street and Bleecker in the West Village- the first day of his new life in the big city-fresh off the plane from Ireland! Like most things that happen to me with potential soulmates, it was a lightning strike.

“Do you know any good bars around here?”

“Well there are plenty of bars around here, but we’re headed this way. I am sure you’ll find something down here.”

As soon as my friends heard the Irish accent, they backed off. My love for all things Ireland knows no bounds. Having passed the where-are- you-froms and why-are-you-here background checks, the name and numbers exchange was a natural next step. I should mention that I have lived in New York for over 3 years and dated a grand total of zero people, so my expectations of hearing from him were low. In New York City, that’s called being realistic.

But I did.

And we did.

“I didn’t know that I was going to move to New York City  and meet my wife the very first day.”

The first 24 hours were a blur of “I’m dating him forever” and “this is absolutely too perfect to be true.” Ever the optimist, I began my walk down the path toward feeling number one, and he seemed to agree. When I told him he would probably turn into a New York asshole and ghost me, his response was “what’s that?” Can you imagine?

“What are three things you want to do now that you’re a New Yorker?”

  1. Join a soccer team. 2.) Buy a guitar 3.) Fall in love

“Oops…did I say that last one out loud?”

Smooth.

There are a lot of words that were immediately etched on my heart. Trips to Bali in September, visits to Los Angeles with me for a family wedding, cooking dinner in our apartment, and discussions about the names of our future children and how many of them there would be. Assuming that we were feeling the same way, these conversations did not scare me. I was glad to not be initiating them, but I was not afraid of participating, because I felt confident that we were feeling the same things. I was, on the surface, not given any reasons to think otherwise.

Upon leaving his apartment on a Sunday morning, I stopped at the door and said “Patrick, what’s your last name?”

“I’ll text it to you.”

I did find that to be an odd response, but in my flurry of feelings, I let it slide. When I got the response, it was a picture of an MMA fighter that I did not recognize, but thanks to the wonders of Google images, I figured it out.

I decided to forego the morning after Facebook stalking session, feeling so good about where we stood. Although, there must have been some hidden trepidation on my part, as I jokingly told my mother that I wanted to “trap him in a little box before NYC could corrupt him.”

Let’s fast forward through a week of missing each other, a perfect date, and nonstop feelings of heading in the right direction, and right into some bad news in Ireland, which ended with “I’m leaving on the first flight out.” While sad, the goal was to be back in a week or so. I actually felt a little relieved to have some time to myself without feeling the pressure of spending every day together for the rest of my life. His instant presence in my day to day activities and thoughts had thrown the rest of me a little out of sorts.

Another week went by, with more sweet words and “excited to get back to see yous,” immediately followed by the trip to Ireland being extended indefinitely due to a relative’s illness. The information about what and whom this affected were not more specific than that. We promised to continue to talk, Facetime, and see where the wind blew us. Disappointment was in the air, but so was hope, and the promise of seeing where we might end up, perhaps a trip to Ireland would be in the works (his words, not mine). Against my better judgment, we decided to try and stick it out. Ah, modern love.

My small but committed arsenal of girlfriends, warned me to be wary, and ultimately led me to discover some misinformation about Patrick’s social media presence. I had been given an incorrect last name from Day 1, and also blocked from seeing his social media.

The explanations came rolling in. The photo he originally sent me that led to an imposter’s last name stemmed from a joke he had with some friends. I should have guessed that, given that I had never met his friends, barely met him, and don’t understand Mixed Martial Arts jokes. That is a genre of jokes right?

Ever the optimist, I understood that I had been blocked from viewing his social media because he didn’t want me to see the struggles of his life and sick relative. In his words, the emotional walls were built. A weak argument, but I went along with it, offered my listening ear, but started to smell some rotting fish.

We continued to speak with semi regularity, but the vibe changed. My outreach was driving the situation, and I felt a shift, as all of us intuitive women folk do.

I decided not to check Facebook for a while. This may have been because I trusted that he needed his space, but thinking about it now, I think it was somehow to prevent myself from what I now know. I even began to entertain the idea of talking to other guys. In a moment of drunken weakness, I broke my silence. Our chatter was brief, but not unpleasant. He did, however, ask how my love life was. Normal, especially when I thought he was my love life.

Seneca lives and works in New York City in the education sector, and jumps at any possible wordsmithing opportunity. You can contact her at seneca.zamora@gmail.com

This Week on Babbling of the Irrational

For the week of October 30th:

Unspoken details of the past come forward in Tanmoy Das Lala’s “The Student Doctor”

“Coffeeshop Beginnings”, by Megan McDonough, tells a tale of attraction, nerves, and peppermint lattes.

Life, death, and those left behind are the subject of Maura Lee Bee’s “Pulse”

Harry Ricciardi looks at the emotions of bees in “Summer Teeth”, then at love in “Whatever”

If you are interested in seeing your work featured on Babbling of the Irrational, check out our submissions page.

This Week on Babbling of the Irrational

For the week of October 16th:

 

A storm influences more than just the weather in Matt Stefon’s “I Wonder about the Rain”

A common phrase becomes both figurative and literal in Jon Soares’ titular “Ivory Tower”

Christine Emmert faces the unknown and looks to the future in “Rounding the Horn”

“Why I Do This”, by editor David R Castro, is a tribute by those left behind to those who cannot receive it

Soodabeh Saeidnia returns with her twentieth micropoem

If you are interested in seeing your work featured on Babbling of the Irrational, check out our submissions page.

This Week on Babbling of the Irrational

For the week of October 9th:

Inner struggles not immediately visible possess the narrator of Abby Walsh’s “When Meaning shifts, Meaninglessness Follows”

Editor David R Castro’s “Do Golems Dream of Enchanted Sheep?” shows what it means to be human

Notions of holiness and sinfulness weave together in Lean Sohn’s “Hamartia, of Godly Transgressions”

“The Essentials”, by Jasmine Farrell, explores the titular essentials of life

Soodabeh Saeidnia’s series of micropoems continue, this time with number nineteen

If you are interested in seeing your work featured on Babbling of the Irrational, check out our submissions page.