This is a spur of the minute blog, and I’m not going to write much. Maybe I will do a longer post later. I just wanted to throw something out there for some people to think about:

“‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”  LEVITICUS 19:33-34

I try to keep away from posts that are extremely controversial. I try to not be a very controversial person when it’s someone other than a close friend/relative around. However, I don’t think many people are avoiding this topic. The idea of letting Syrian refugees and other Middle Eastern people into the country is terrifying. Why? Because there is always that chance that there will be a terrorist amongst them. There’s a chance that one or more of them are lying and pretending to be something they are not so they can get inside the country and kill more people. HOWEVER, I am firmly of the belief that we can’t stop them from coming in. I really am. I thought about it, and even the part of me that was scared couldn’t say we can stop the refugees. Whether you’re religious or not doesn’t matter. It seems to be mostly conservative Christians that are against letting in the refugees, but I’m not going to stereotype. There are people from all walks of life that are against and also for it. I think the above quote was quite fitting, whether the Bible is something you live by or not.

And here’s the thing: the bad guys always find a way in. Is it harder if our guard is up? Yes. But there is always a way. And they are the kind of people that aren’t going to be discouraged if we as a country decide to stop the immigration. I mean…what about the planes that crashed into the towers? Obviously there are always people who will go to extremes to get what they want. There are people who are not afraid to die or to make others go to their deaths for this.

Every country in the world can erect a giant wall and allow no one in or out, but is that really how we want this to go? Is that how we want to live?

There are terrorists of every color and race. Men and women. We can’t stop them by stereotyping or through hate. In fact, this hatred for the people trying to escape the terrorists and their ways of life just fuels the fire that we are terrible and should be annihilated.

I’m not looking to change anyone’s heart with this. But perhaps it will serve as a thinking point. I can walk into a movie theatre tomorrow and be shot by someone who hates Americans, hates whites, or hates women. Or who just hates. Am I scared of that happening? Yes. Do I wish to do what I can to stop it? Yes. Does that mean I will never leave my house again? I could do that. But do I want to live that way?



Yes, I consider myself a feminist. If I said I wasn’t, all of my close friends and close family members would yell “Liar!” at me. I say “close” because I don’t typically go around shouting feminist things at people I’m not that close to…but if they choose to ask or a topic is brought up, it would stop being a secret after about two seconds into my thoughts and opinions.

As with probably many of people, I started hearing about and reading about the idea of “free bleeding” when Kiran Gandhi ran her marathon on her period without anything–no tampons, no pads, no menstrual cup, and none of those new underwear inventions that’s supposed to catch all of your period blood. Just free bleeding, as the name says.

Since then, I have heard both opinions loud and clear (it’s gross and disgusting–it’s amazing and liberating), and I have also become aware of the fact that it started as a hoax on 4chan. I have read several articles ridiculing people for “falling” for this hoax, but the thing is, if enough people “fall” for it and then carry it on, and then more people start following it, especially in action, it eventually becomes less of a hoax and more of a start-up fad. No, there are not even thousands, let alone millions, of women following this. However, it seems enough people are getting on board that I would say–it started out as a hoax, but people kind of changed it to their own thing.

I’m going to post three article links at the end of this blog, and one talks about the history of the idea of free bleeding. It started before this internet hoax, as I’m sure many of you could imagine. And just as a side note, I’m referring to people in first world countries who have complete access to and the means to provide for themselves “feminine products” but are choosing to say women shouldn’t use them or that they are not going to use them. I am obviously not referring to poorer areas/countries and people who have no choice because they can’t afford such things or have no access to them. I imagine it takes several different paths when you have no choice in the matter, and that is a discussion for another day.

My stance on the idea: I believe people should be free to do whatever they want to do with their bodies, so long as it doesn’t harm other people; however, for this particular idea, there is no way and no how I would ever do it myself or recommend it to anyone else. And it’s not due to anti-feminist thoughts or the idea that “menstrual blood is gross.”

First off, I think a large percentage of people over the age of 18 (and I’m aiming high for the boys’ sake) know that women have menstrual cycles and what that means. In fact, more than the actual science behind it, I would argue most people know that “menstruating” means that women bleed more than anything else about it. It’s not a surprise. Are some rules in school and workplaces outdated surrounding that? I’m sure. They probably wouldn’t appreciate women opening tampons or pads and passing them around the class/workplace, just like you’re not supposed to show bras or even bra-straps at most schools and workplaces. Obviously most people there are aware of the fact that most women wear bras. It is, in fact, usually more obvious when women are not wearing bras (not saying it’s bad, just saying you can usually tell). But there are rules stating we pretend they are not there. Why? Because most things written into rules and codes are usually outdated and speak of a long ago time…for example, there has been a lot of talk in the last decade or so about how laws are not updated enough to deal with internet and text/phone crimes. Does that mean everyone thinks these rules are up-to-date and fair? No…it just means either it’s too much of a hassle to fix them or amend them, or no one has decided to be less lazy and do something about it. Or the people up on top really do think these rules need to be there, because there are some people who are outdated and really old fashion in their thinking.

I’m not denying old fashion thinking doesn’t exist. I’m arguing it might not be as prevalent as a lot of people think it is. It’s just that the people in charge or in power tend to be older people, and they tend to be the majority of the people who are old fashion thinkers.

My second point, is that I don’t know of too many *men* who think menstruating is gross. None of my male friends, or my dad or husband, would ever respond “Ewwwwww, gross!!!” if I said I’m having cramps or I’m on my period or it’s “that time of the month.” Would my male boss/head of the department get a funny look on his face if I just said, oh, yeah, totally having cramps today because blood is coming out of my vagina for the next five days? YES. Why? Because I don’t have any familiarity with him, I don’t have that kind of rapport with him, and it’s unprofessional. Being unprofessional does not make it anti-feminist. Would I get a funny look on my face if he said to me, I really have to go and poop? YES. There are some things you don’t say in certain places, situations, and to people. It’s natural to have to do that…but why tell me? I don’t know you, and that’s a little too much information in the work place when you’re not a friend. Would some people be cool with either scenario no matter the relationship? Yes. Some people just are naturally okay with anything and some people try really hard to prove they are okay with everything. That doesn’t make it wrong for others to not be okay with it.

Do *boys* and immature males think menstruating is gross? Yes. However, men do not, so do not offend the men in your life by holding them accountable for what other people not in their category say and do. Boys think everything is gross. If I said to my husband or a close male friend, “I am in so much pain. This period is so bad, I’m literally bleeding through a pad every hour,” they would be concerned. Ask if they could do something. Or, at the very least, be sympathetic–that sucks…glad I don’t have to go through that. Which seems flippant, but it is sympathetic in theory.

Finally, I am posting below an article about how period blood is not unsanitary and how that should not be an argument about why women shouldn’t free bleed. The same sentiment was also echoed in another one of the articles, I believe. I am not a doctor or a scientist, and neither are these writers, so I can’t argue for sure one way or the other. My instant reaction is that it’s not sanitary to get your blood on things that other people might touch. If I cut my finger, are people concerned? If it’s bad enough, yes. However, do people run over and start rubbing my blood all over themselves? No. Medical professionals would put on gloves before dealing with all of the blood draining from my finger. The only time people would not worry about it would be if the wound was so bad that there was instant panic and a loved one was trying to help. They obviously wouldn’t worry about blood contact. I’m fairy confident in saying there are blood transmitted diseases. Maybe that doesn’t happen with menstrual blood. Maybe it does. If anyone reading this knows for sure one way or the other, please let me know. But, unlike the article that ranks bodily fluids in terms of how “gross” and “unsanitary” people think they are, I strongly argue against period blood being the worse. I think if I saw a lady walking into work with blood on her pants, I would not be even disgusted. But if I saw a lady walking into work and it was clear she had feces in her pants and seeping out, I would be disgusted. Sorry, but I would be. Same with urine. Would you be okay with men walking around just peeing in their pants and leaving it all day? I wouldn’t be. No way. I would say, that’s unsanitary…clean yourself up. It’s not anti feminist. It’s a concern for hygiene. As a society, we are concerned with hygiene. Even if you can’t get diseases from menstrual blood unlike regular blood, not everyone knows that (obviously…I don’t). So they would just automatically think that might be a problem.

Also, you would ruin other people’s stuff if it were acceptable in public. Work chairs, bus seats, friends’ vehicles…everything would have old blood stains and new blood stains on it. That would not be okay with me.

And as a final point, there is another point to address that one of the articles brought up. It was something along the lines of, if someone cuts their finger, people are concerned. If someone is bleeding in their pants, everyone is disgusted. I already said why not everyone is disgusted. Some people would be, others would not. There’s also the point that some people either faint or get faint at the sight of blood. Two branches here. First, if someone cuts their finger, they injured themselves. Your period is not an injury. It can cause some women a lot of pain, but it’s not a sudden injury to yourself. So why would someone be concerned if you had your period? And that’s why someone is concerned about another one cutting his finger. No one would probably be disgusted that you cut your finger, because, again, it’s a sudden, unintentional injury. You didn’t mean to do it, and you might need help (if it’s a bad cut). Second branch–If it wasn’t immediately obvious that it was menstrual blood, or if I reacted without thinking because free bleeding is not a norm, I would in fact be concerned if I saw someone with blood in their pants or running down their leg. There is more than one reason why someone would be bleeding in that general area (and you wouldn’t know which one, back or front, if there are pants on and it’s staining everywhere). If you have really bad ulcers in your colon or some forms of medical colon issues, you can bleed from your anus, and it’s a medical emergency. So there’s one reason for alarm. Two, miscarriages. Let me tell you about the time I started bleeding from my vagina and was not wearing a pad, so luckily it wasn’t that heavy at first. I was having a miscarriage. That is also a medical emergency in some cases. If the woman is far enough along, she needs to go to a hospital pretty quickly to make sure she stops bleeding, etc. So, yes, I would be concerned. When I have my period, there are times and days I’m pretty pale and look sick from either pain or going slightly anemic. So if you saw a lady with blood in her pants, pale, and looking like she was in pain, would you go, “OMG, gross, is that PERIOD BLOOD?” Or would you say, “Um, excuse me, are you okay??? Do you want me to get/call someone?” I think for most adults, it would be the second one (assuming someone around them was aware and concerned enough to even try to help).

All in all, whether this semi-hoax beginning will soon come to an end, or whether it will pick up some speed and more support from the general population, I don’t think it’s anti-feminist or misogynistic to not be behind free bleeding, whether you’re a guy or a girl. General concern about having blood everywhere is, I think, a general concern. It’s “disgusting” in that most people think you can transfer diseases through menstrual blood like regular blood (again, I’m holding off on whether that’s true or not), in that it stains everything and is generally hard to get out, and in that it does have a strong, not pleasant odor when there’s a lot and especially when it’s old. That does not make having a period disgusting. I think there are a lot of things out there that most people find cumbersome, uncomfortable, and just not fair that they have to do (wearing bras, wearing pants, public restrooms, etc)…but they do them anyways because we live with other people, familiar and strangers. If you’re in private, do what you will. If you’re out and about, you do have to consider other people to a point. This is just another one of those times.





I’m out.


I feel like I could write a several page essay about how most Americans have their priorities out of order. I say “most” because I know there are some people that do, and I say “Americans” because I have only lived in America, and I hear more about what’s going on here than anywhere else, so I won’t speak for other countries. If you haven’t seen or heard about Starbuck’s newest holiday coffee disposable cup design, go and check it out. I honestly do not drink coffee or tea or anything of the sort, so I have never set foot inside of a Starbuck’s. I didn’t even know they had a yearly design they came out with for the holidays. Someone who posted about it on facebook stated it was a disposable cup, and I’m going with that, because that’s what it looked like to me when I saw the pictures. Quick description–it is a red ombre design. It goes from almost a bright, cheery red at the top and fades into a dark, deep, blood-red-ish color on the bottom. I actually thought it was rather pretty, as red is high on my list of favorite colors.

The reason this even caught my attention at all is because apparently people are angry about it. I had trouble believing that a cup that looks like that, that you throw away after drinking your drink, could have anyone fired up. So of course I clicked on the article and read about it. Apparently, there have been tweets and some backlash toward Starbucks from the Christian community. They are saying this is an attack on Christmas and how dare they. Again, I knew nothing about the past versions of this holiday cup.  I looked at a couple of different designs. One had ice skates on it and one had snow flakes all over it. Both were red in the background and the patterns were white. I’m sure there have been designs with something more specifically “Christmas-y” on them, but these two designs beg the question of why they weren’t an attack on Christmas. Those two things say “winter” and “cold,” not Christmas.

Even if every other cup ever made by Starbucks had the words MERRY CHRISTMAS just spiraled up and down the cup over and over again, I’m not sure I would automatically make the decision that this is clearly an attack on Christmas. Maybe they got a new designer. Maybe they were freaking tired of the same thing over and over again. Maybe someone likes minimalist art and thought this looked classy (it kind of does, sorry. I’m not even a fan of minimalist art).

And let’s go the other way. Let’s say, the designer did sit there and think, you know what? This year…I’m making a more universally accepted cup. I’m going for something that no one will be able to look at and feel left out, or different, or irritated (hah, joke’s on you…happened even without a design at all!). So they left anything that clearly stated Christian holiday time off of the cup.

So. F*cking. What.

Really? *This* is what you’re going to make a stand against? This is what you’re going to make angry posts and tweets and whatever else about? This is what you feel so passionately about that you’re saying you will never drink at Starbucks again? Let me tell you, there are soooo many other things to be upset and/or angry about. There really, really is. And I understand that you can be angry about multiple things at once, and that sometimes, yes, little petty things set you off. But unless most people are very different from me, if it’s enough to post about, it’s really bothering them. I don’t have the time or energy to track down all of these people and read all of their prior posts, but if they’re posting about how offending and angry they are over this dumb cup, they better also be posting about how angry they are that people are starving in other countries, about how most African villages don’t have clean water, about how people live in oppression in Middle Eastern countries and places like North Korea, about how many children in this country live in inner cities and don’t receive proper education, about how many women are sexually assaulted and receive no justice for this, about some opinion on gun control, about some opinion on controlling the harder drugs that are killing people, about the war on terror, etc.

I mean, I get fired up about dumb things, sure. But I also get fired up, and more fired up, about important topics. And even if this is what you choose to be your end-all rant about society and how terrible it is, at least find something more to do than just tell everyone you’re boycotting Starbucks (and then most likely not follow through with it in a month or two, or, what I consider worse, once the cups disappear, go back to drinking it). Why don’t you organize a huge protest? Start going door to door and getting a petition signed as you pass out a pamphlet you made on the subject stating your opinion and why you feel that way. Start a discussion at work or at the gym or wherever you see people you associate with and convince them that this is a problem.

I’m not sure when this trend started, that everyone is offended by everything and is convinced that if everything in the universe doesn’t cater to them, that they have to flip their lid…but it’s ridiculous. So what if Starbuck’s really doesn’t like Christmas? Oh, no! Do you think there are more people out there like that?? What if you accidentally talk to one of them? Share your food at work with them? Give them a ride to the store some day? Listen, so many people are not actively or at all Christians, and so many people do not like Christmas. It’s fine. Life will continue. If the sales at Starbuck’s is actually hurting after this, I will be shocked.

So next time you pass a Starbuck’s, try thinking about the bigger problems in life. And maybe you will spend your thinking time a little more productively for a bit…


Opinionated Ophelia is the *worst*. Ug. Who ever invites her to anything, anyways?

Just kidding. Well, I mean, I’m not…if there’s actually someone you know named Opinionated Ophelia, just leave her at home, okay?

So, children, topic of the day is a two-fer. Age difference in relationships and how long before you “should” get married. For some reason, some people are extremely opinionated on both of these subjects. Why? I have no idea. But it happens. I mean, I have an opinion, but there are people I actually know (plus strangers on the internet and TV) who get *angry* over these topics, which never ceases to blow my mind. Like…why? Anyways, so here’s the break down:

I used to say, 10 years older than me and one year younger than me. That’s what I was working with for a potential boyfriend. I was never thrilled with the idea of younger than me, but I was also fairly young when I was thinking these things considering I was married when I was…24, I believe. So hard to keep track of the years haha. There is the saying that men mature more slowly than women, so that’s why women tend to go for older guys. I’m not sure if that’s not just a sexist saying, but I think there is something to the idea that when most women are looking for a committed relationship, they are thinking about nestling down. And they want someone secure and grounded, which would tend to be a little bit older men than younger men. However, there is that strange phenomenon of the “cougar,” but if I digress into that now, this will go on forever. However, I will say, I know of at least four women semi close to me that have dated men at least 10 years older than them, most way older than that. I think it’s weird, but hey, it’s not my life. If it works for them, it works for them. I don’t think there actually exists a “perfect age gap” for a successful relationship. My sister actually just started dating someone 12 years older than her, give or take a year. I think there tends to be more thought that goes into that than with someone who’s only, say, 4 years older than you. But that doesn’t mean it won’t work. It just means you have more to think about. He will go into the “senior” years before you, but some people stay in good shape and stay healthy for a long time. However, even more so than this topic, nothing gets Opinionated Ophelia more stirred up than…

How long you should date before you get engaged, and how long you should be engaged before you get married.

Oh, my. Do people get upset over this one.

And I wonder sometimes if it’s because they either had to work extremely hard to have a successful relationship or because they really don’t have a successful relationship and they are jealous of people who come across the right person at the right time. Or they are jealous of happy people in general. I’m confused as to why people think they know how long you should wait. Like, not only have people I know post their own thoughts about this on social media, but they share articles written by psychologists and other kinds of doctors and people who supposedly are smart and should know these things. And they have actual year amounts that you should wait. “You can’t really know a person well enough to consider marriage until you’ve been with them at least 4 years.” I’m not actually quoting something right now, but I’m almost positive I’ve read a sentence similar to that before. They actually gave you a number. Four years. My mind was blown. I’m not sure how they can think you can ever *really* know another person. I’m honestly of the opinion that the only person you can ever know truly well is yourself. I’m sure after a long time of living with someone you will know them well, but there are so many true stories about finding out someone is serial killer or something crazy after being married to them for decades…it’s crazy. If someone wants to hide something, they will. Dating them for four years won’t tell you that. And what about the people who get a divorce after 20 years of marriage? Sometimes relationship don’t work or fail on how well you know someone…it’s how much effort you’re willing to put in. It’s how much you love someone. It’s goals and dreams you share and support.

My point is, there is just so much that goes into relationships. And there are no two people alike. How can anyone honestly think they know what is best for everyone? I say, love and let love. I don’t think it will come as a surprise to people who know me that I support love as long as it’s consenting both ways and not hurting anyone (actually hurting anyone). Girlfriend, boyfriend, no gender terms, significant others, guy is older, girl is older, same age, different races…who cares? This could transition into a whole other topic, but I think this is enough for tonight. Remember, if someone is posting and/or saying something that is getting you down about your relationship, like, you can’t get engaged when you haven’t been dating for even a year yet! Or, how can you think to marry when you’ve only known them two years?? It will never last! Just remember that they don’t know you like you know you. Buck up, there, Buttercup. Keep loving.

And you can always envision back handing them. I don’t encourage actually doing it because, you know, assault and battery charges follow you for a long time. But hey, thoughts are free until Minority Report becomes a thing for real.



Or, Why Forgive and Forget Should Have a Well-Known Limit

This blog might make me come off sounding like an angry person. That might be because I am an angry person, but hear me out. I will try to keep it as neutral and logical as possible even though this is a topic that currently hits close to home.

The idea of “forgive and forget” is probably a healthy one. It’s good to not keep anger deep inside and to dwell on things and to constantly cut people out of your life for being idiots and/or jerks. HOWEVER…I get confused when people shame me for not playing “forgive and forget” after a metaphorical million times with the same person, or when I refuse to do it with someone who has done something I deem pretty unforgivable.

First of all, I’m confused as to why other people care enough to condemn me for holding onto my anger. Yeah, it’s not healthy, but neither is getting drunk and smoking cigarettes, and I don’t see them following around people who do those things and lecturing them. In fact, a lot of things are unhealthy. Eating a lot of junk food, staring at your phone for hours at a time, driving over the speed limit when it’s raining out… But apparently my ability (amazing ability) to hold a grudge forever is offensive.

But secondly, and most importantly, why should you continuously forgive and forget? I’m assuming there’s a valid reason why you were ready to cut them out of your life in the first place. To be completely honest, there are times I just meet someone or look at someone and just get this feeling that I won’t like them or won’t get along with them. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about people who were legitimately in your life and they did something to make you mad and/or sad, and you’re ready to say good bye forever. The logical thing is to take a minute to take a step back and evaluate. If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have many friends in my life. Most people make me angry at some point to some degree. It’s probably my fault. So I ask myself, is it worth staying angry over? Most of the time, no, it’s not.

So I’m not completely unreasonable, thank you.

But there are times when I make a mental list of reasons why I’m upset, and then try to factor in why I was friends with them to begin with and why it’s nice to be friends with them. If the “Why I’m Upset” side tops the other side, guess what…bye forever.

A friend of mine said that all of the time. Bye Forever. I think it’s hilarious. Another friend of mine would get angry about it and demand to know why it’s “forever.” But I digress.

It seems to me that there’s this idea that people need to have tons of friends and to be buddy-buddy with anyone that breathes. I find it confusing. Why quantity over quality? Yes, humans are social creatures by nature, but some like social more than others. I honestly find social to be exhausting most of the times. So it’s not hurting me any to weed out the crowd.

And I feel like it becomes a self-esteem issue at some point. Why should a person have to friends with someone who has treated them like dirt? Are you that hard up for friends? If you find yourself unable to have friends outside of people who treat you badly, you need to reevaluate a lot of things. Do you go out of your way to be friendly to other people? Do you try to find engaging and interesting things to talk about to new people? Do you make yourself approachable? Do you try to be controversial and make people uncomfortable for shock value? I feel like almost anyone can have good friends, but you have to try. I’m not exactly the most amazing person, but I have managed to find some truly genuine and great friends. However, there have been many scenarios over the years in which I constantly went through “friends” who were either psychologically abusive or just not good for me. Part of that was my fault. I constantly let their behavior slide and I told myself I just wasn’t worth having “cool” or good friends. And after each time that this “friend” would make me feel bad or make me angry or leave me disappointed, I turned on myself. So, to the people who think it’s unhealthy to not forgive and forget…which is more unhealthy? Refusing to forgive someone else and let them back into your life so they can inevitably upset you again, or constantly blaming yourself for the other people making you feel bad?

I’m not a certified psychologist, but I’m going to lean toward the latter on that.

You are worth more than that. In fact, when I do have an occasion of someone treating me like dirt and I feel awful, I think–and it’s probably true–I would rather be a little lonely than to surround myself with fake, terrible people. I’m not that kind of a person. Maybe they make good friends to other fake people, but that makes me feel bad. Why do it to myself?

So in summary, if someone gives you grief for refusing to forgive and forget, just explain to them that they don’t live your life and you didn’t ask for their opinion, so they can stop wasting your time. I like to be a little harsh at times. Deliver it with a wry tone and it makes them wonder if you’re mad at them now. That’s always fun for a while. But in all seriousness…you shouldn’t have to be friends with someone who treats you badly. Feel sorry for them because they don’t have a lot of friends? Feel free to tell them why you’re going to stop being friends with them. Give them some advice so they don’t screw up the next relationship. Or tell them to give you a call when they decide to stop being a bitch. Believe it or not, when I get to the point where I don’t want to be friends with someone anymore, I physically find it hard to even talk to them or look at them in the face, so I find this hard. But maybe it will give you some peace of mind. Some closure. But you have to remember: feeling guilty or bad for that person will not make them stop treating you like an object. It will just encourage it unless you step up and do something. Should you give them more than one chance? Yes, I think you should. But you have to choose where the line is. I personally advocate the “three strikes and you’re out” method. If you can list three “good” reasons why they are terrible…and I don’t mean like, they drive 5 over the speed limit and you don’t like that they break the law. But things like, they made me promise to go to this party with them that I really didn’t want to go to because I have social anxiety and then they stood me up at the last minute and I have to awkwardly leave by myself…or, you make plans to do something with them a week in advance and they make the decision to drink themselves drunk and stay up super late so then they are hungover the whole day you’re supposed to be having fun and they stop you from doing what you were doing to do…or, they constantly don’t trust you and talk about you behind your back…I feel like those can go on a seemingly endless list of “good” reasons.

Be good to yourself. Part of being healthy is being happy. Have good quality friends.


It was like a faery tale, one that her mother used to read her right before bedtime.  These things just didn’t happen in real life, right? Was this just a really long, really bizarre dream?


Evelyn was walking home from school one day when she saw her ex coming out of a fast food place right up ahead. Not only was he going to be face to face with her in seconds, but his latest squeeze was right in front of him, holding the door for him and laughing.  Her stomach fluttered—she had gym last period and looked like a mess—and without even thinking about it, she spun on her heels and turned down the alleyway to her left.  She was a senior in high school, a straight “A” student, inquisitive and not stupid. She knew young girls shouldn’t walk down alleyways by themselves, but it was broad daylight and she did *not* want to decide whether she had to talk to them or if she should pretend like she never saw them. His new girlfriend was a freshman in college, like he was, from one of his classes, and she was too pretty for Evelyn to deal with just right now. So the alley it was.


Simon wasn’t a terrible city to live in, so there wasn’t an immediate thought of being mugged or worse. Even still, she kept anxiously looking all around her.  It wasn’t very scary with the sun shining down brightly, but then she saw a homeless man sitting by a dark doorway, and her heart fluttered a little. Evelyn clutched her backpack with her hand, put her head down, and just went for it.


Apparently even with her eyes glued to the pathway in front of her, she was still prone to klutziness.  The tip of her shoe hit something, and she tripped and skidded to a stop a few steps away, trying to keep herself upright.


“Take it,” the homeless man slurred at her.


“Excuse me?” she gasped, whirling around to stare at him, wide-eyed. She took a step back, but he hadn’t moved an inch. He was clutching a bottle of alcohol, mostly drank. After staring at him for a few beats, Evelyn began to wonder if he was actually homeless. His clothes were a little dirty, like he had slept outside in them, but they weren’t bad, and his face only had a few days’ worth of growth on it. But everything about him screamed that he was drunk and hard on some kind of luck at the moment.


“Thassss,” he slurred, swinging his hand out to point at the ground in front of her. The bottle’s contents sloshed against the side. “Take it. Please.”  When Evelyn continued to stare at him, half horrified and half confused, he began to shout in desperate tones. “Take it! Take it!! For the love of God, please take it!”


“Okay, okay! Oh my God!” Evelyn bent down and snatched up the object that had almost caused her to fall and was turning this man to hysterics. “Fine. Wait…” Evelyn frowned at the book she now held. It was black, whether from the material it was bound in or from dirt and age, she wasn’t sure, but it was crumbling at the spine and the pages looked warped and yellowed.  “You want me to take this book?” she murmured, trailing off at the end. She thought, I need to get out of here.


“Take it! You have to get it away from me!”


“Okay, buddy, whatever you say!” Evelyn spun and took off once again, hurrying even faster this time. She was hoping no one heard him yelling and thought she was doing something to him. “Crazy man,” she muttered. “Who freaks out over a book?” But she reminded herself that he was drunk in the middle of the day and he probably had some kind of a mental disease. His demeanor was just off.


She was home in minutes after that, bursting through the door and bounding upstairs to her room before anyone could say anything to her. She just wanted to be alone for a bit, to think about Jeremy and that whore he left her for. Evelyn sighed. It wasn’t fair to call her that. Maybe she was a nice person. But that didn’t mean she had to like her or the situation.


She could feel herself start to tear up a bit—he had only called her to break it all off a week ago—so Evelyn threw herself on her bed and dropped the bookbag off the side, letting it thunk on the floor. That left her with her thoughts and the book, and so Evelyn opened the book to see what it was.


Nothing. The pages were mysteriously blank.


Frowning, she flipped through the whole book to no avail. All she found was, after starting over at the beginning again, two small numbers and a symbol printed at the bottom of the back of the first page.  37.


“What, no copyright date? I can’t believe that, with no title or words in general,” she muttered sarcastically to herself. Evelyn sighed and threw herself onto her back, letting the bed gently bounce her up and down for a moment. Figures. She almost ran into her ex, only to have a crazy possibly homeless man yell at her over an old, blank diary.


Her mother soon called her for dinner. They ate mostly in silence. Her father was working late again, and her mother didn’t have much to say. Then it was back up to her room for homework.


Math. It was the bane of her existence, she swore. Frustrated with the problems, Evelyn flipped open the blank book and scribbled,


“Dear diary, what is the answer to number 4 of my stupid math homework?”


Then she started doodling cats and clouds and trees on the bottom. Then she realized there was something on the page that she hadn’t put there.




Frowning, Evelyn stared at it for a long minute. It was right underneath what she had written. There was no way she hadn’t seen it before, was there? And what on Earth was with just random numbers in this book. Except…


Feeling a little giddy, Evelyn pulled her math book closer to her and stared at tricky number four.  “It can’t be,” she whispered. She grabbed the phone off of her night stand and called her best friend.


“Hey, girl, I can’t really talk right now…”


“No, wait, I just have a homework question really quick.”


“For real? Because that excuse doesn’t work anymore on my parents.”


“No, for real. Did you do math yet?”


“I’m almost done with it.”


“Did you get 42 for question 4?”


“Yeah. Why?”


“No, just double checking. Hey, what did you get for number 5?”


“113. I’m not giving you anymore answers,” she warned.


“No, no, just double checking. Again. Thanks! Seeyoutomorrowbye.”


Evelyn couldn’t hang up the phone faster.  Her eyes were locked on the book.  She snatched it and flipped to the next page.


“What is the answer to number 5 of my math homework?”


  1. Heart pounding, Evelyn started thinking she was losing it. But then, after a few seconds, ink appeared on the page. It started out very light and then filled in, as if it was bleeding through the page from underneath.


Call Chelsea and ask her


“Fucking shit,” Evelyn whispered. She thought she was going to faint.


“Evelyn!” Pounding on the door.


Evelyn jumped and gasped, almost falling off of the bed. “What?” she screamed.


Her mother paused and then opened the door. “What is wrong with you?” she snapped.


“Sorry. Sorry, mom. You just really scared me. I was…um…I was…really concentrating. It’s hard. The math. It’s hard.”


Her mother frowned at her for a while, but when she saw there was indeed books lying open on the bed, she shrugged and took the story in stride. “I have to go for a bit. Your father just called. He’s having trouble with the car again.”


Having caught her breath, Evelyn focused on her mother’s words. “Again? He really needs a new one. It breaks every other day.”


“Yeah, I know. Hopefully his bonus will come through without a hitch in a month or so.” Her mother sighed and closed the door, yelling behind her. “Call me or your aunt if you need anything.”


“Yep.”  Evelyn cast a sideglance at the book.  “Or maybe I will just ask the book.”


She thought deeply for a long time.


“Why did Jeremy leave me?”


The same amount of heart beats between her question and the answer.


You would not have sex with him


“Figures,” she muttered. But then she felt butterflies in her stomach. What was this thing?  She could ask. No, wait! Even better—


“What am I going to get on my test tomorrow?”


She looked at her watch this time. Exactly 33 seconds.


92 percent


“I can deal with that.” Because she was not going to study now.


“Are my mom and dad going to get a divorce?”




“Why not?”


Because they will need each other for the years to come


“Wow!” Evelyn stared at the book, her eyebrows arched into her hairline.  “Very deep, book.”


And so the rest of the night was spent with Evelyn scribbling in the book, into the wee hours of the night, until she fell asleep right beside it.  She had completely forgotten to ask it where it was from.


School dragged. She had tried to convince her parents to let her stay home, but they were fighting as usual and were too angry with each other to listen to her. After a five minute internal debate, she left the book tucked away in her bedside drawer. She barely talked to anyone, absorbed in her whirling thoughts and almost nauseating drowsiness.


When she got home, her mother was slamming drawers and stomping back and forth.  “What’s wrong?”


“It’s your father. Again. That piece of junk won’t start. Jesus Christ! It just never stops around here.”


“It’s okay, mom.”  She wondered if the book was sure they weren’t getting a divorce. “How about I go set my stuff upstairs and I will go with you this time.”


Her mother stopped and looked over in surprise at her daughter. “Okay, “she said, sounding less angry.  “Thanks, that would be nice.”


“Okay. Good,” Evelyn said with a smile.  She took the stairs by two, threw her stuff down, and she was ready to rush back out. Except…


With what she could only call a knot of dread in her stomach, Evelyn stared at the drawer. She ripped it open, grabbed the book and the pen she had been using last night, and then she rushed back down.


“Is that your homework? You’ve been doing so well in school this year,” her mother commented as they started down the road, sounding a little strained. Evelyn took that as her trying to sound nice and gave her a polite response, lying about the book.


Then a song came on that her mother loved, and she turned up the radio.


Evelyn’s mind churned. There were so many things she wanted to know.


“How many stars are in the sky?”


The answer wouldn’t fit in the book.  ‘Fuck,’ she mouthed.  Um….


“Will the sun explode before I die?”



“Will I ever see World War 3?”



Do Magic 8 balls really work?



Are ghosts real?



Evelyn took a deep breath. She would never have to sit awake at night and worry over not knowing ever again. She would never tell anyone about the book, of course. They would think she was crazy.


She looked down, ready to write something else. But there were words there before she could move the pen.


Are there not any real questions you have? Questions that are very important? Questions…that no one has the answer to?


Evelyn’s heart pounded. She forgot where she even was for a minute.


A question…perhaps…that has haunted you for a long time?



I can show you the answer. But you have to wish for it, first.


Was that what she was doing? Wishing for answers? She hoped she didn’t have only so many. But if she did…she should ask it. Now.


Hand shaking, Evelyn wrote, “Is there an afterlife?”


5 seconds…8 seconds…13 seconds…18 seconds…


Her mother gasped. “Evel—“


With the gasp, Evelyn’s head snapped up. The semi ran the red light and was coming 55 miles per hour right at her.





Evil Angel

Sleep used to be his only solace, and now he had nothing. Little Tommy stood outside, scraping a twig he had found into some wet dirt by the house. He didn’t know how to write anything yet, not even his name. He was supposed to start school in three months, and his father sneeringly said they would never take him if he was that stupid. Tommy tried to learn, but his mother was just too scattered to really teach him that well. So he scraped his twig back and forth, pretending that he was writing not just his name, but whole sentences that would tell the world exactly what he was feeling. They would be amazing sentences, full of big words and so intelligent even his horrible father wouldn’t understand. And then everyone would laugh at him for being stupid, and Tommy would laugh along.

The day was already hot and humid, and Tommy was feeling drowsy. His mother would be calling him soon, telling him to eat some lunch—leftovers—and then to take a nap. But he didn’t want a nap today. He hadn’t wanted one for at least a week now, because he was having dreams…and they weren’t the good kind.

“They’re called nightmares, little baby,” his mother had whispered to him one morning when he tearfully told her he had been scared in his dream. “Everyone gets them now and again, but I bet you won’t have anymore.” Tommy had opened his mouth to tell her more, but then there were heavy footsteps on the stairs. “Now shush, child, your daddy won’t want to hear none of this nonsense.” And that was the end of that.

But when it was finally bedtime again, he had no choice. He was exhausted from the day, and staying up late with his parents was never an option, especially not when his father started popping open more and more of those awful smelling cans, and so Tommy trudged upstairs. He took his time in the bathroom, for once finally paying a lot of careful attention to his teeth, taking a full five minutes to brush and rinse. He even started sticking that weird string between his teeth like he had seen his mommy doing sometimes, but he had to stop when blood filled his mouth. He hated that taste. He spat and rinsed with water, used the potty, and changed into his bed clothes as slowly as possible. But then it was time. The little boy stared at his bed distrustfully and then climbed in. His mother crept up, having heard the toilet flush and figuring he was ready to be tucked in.

“Quiet, now,” she whispered. She said the same thing every night. He barely even listened anymore. Her voice was like a little mouse, there but too quiet to really even notice. “Your daddy won’t like it if I’m up here too long, but let’s tuck you in nice and tight.” She tucked the sheets in under his body and made sure the tops were up to his chin. He didn’t have the heart to tell her that he loosened them the second she left. “You sleep good, little baby boy.”

He wouldn’t.

He didn’t.

The setting was his house. No one was home except Tommy…and something else. Tommy sat up in his bed, holding his breath. He couldn’t hear a thing, but he could feel it. It was just like when you were walking down the street and some stranger decided to stare you down for no reason. That weird twisting in your stomach that made you wonder if something bad was going to happen. Tommy flipped off his sheets, swung his legs over the side, and dropped to the floor. He marched down the stairs, no longer wondering what was awaiting him. He paused in the kitchen and stared up at the top cabinet above the old stovetop. Then he shuffled into the living room, his sleeping body tensing in anticipation. In his father’s rocking chair, ripped with age and stained with anger, something sat waiting for him. Tommy came around the corner and walked over to fully look it in the eyes. Dark hair that came in and out of existence. Black eyes with no whites around them. Pale, pale skin that reminded him of his grandpa when he died and laid in that long brown box. And red all around its eyes, red like the lipstick that his mother sometimes wore, red like the blood he had spit from his mouth when he dug the string stuff too far down, red like his father drew when he wanted to hurt someone, anyone. It looked sticky and dripped down from the bottoms of his eyes, smearing across his thin cheeks.

The first time, dream Tommy had screamed. He didn’t scream anymore when he saw it, because he somehow remembered that it got worse. The thing stared at him, silent. Then in one swift motion, the thing leaned forward, lifted a sword that was never there until that moment, and stabbed him right through the shoulder. And then the boy screamed, howling in pain as everything turned very, very bright.

Tommy didn’t feel like scraping fake sentences into the mud today. He hadn’t gone back to sleep after the dream last night, and he was more tired than usual. Today he just stood over the mud pit, blinking slowly and wondering if the world was really duller today or if he was falling asleep. Would that thing come to get him?

“Tommy, baby, come in here and eat something!” his mother called. Angela only spoke in normal tones during the day, when her baby daddy was away.

Tommy dragged his feet the whole way, feeling more queasy than hungry. Last he checked there was barely anything in the house, so he wondered what she had managed to throw together for a lunch for them. Probably not much; yesterday he heard his father comment how fat his mommy was getting.

As predicted, Angela had laid out two small plates, each with a modest salad of mostly lettuce and a few pieces of carrots and a bite or two of cheese. “It’s not much, baby, but we need to start cutting back a little,” she said with a sigh.

Tommy pushed around the lettuce, wondering if she had just gone out and picked rotting grass. It was clearly days old. “What’s the matter, honey? You seem so glum anymore.”

“’Member I told you…’bout those dreams?” Tommy murmured hesitantly. His mother frowned for a moment, thought, and then stared at him blankly.

“Uh, sure, hun… Are you having bad dreams?”

Tommy nodded his head, his eyes still glued downward to the plate. “Yeah…”

“Well, it will be okay, baby boy. They will go away. Everyone—“

“No.” Tommy shook his head, trying to fight back tears. “They keep comin’. The same one. Over and over ‘gain. I want it to go ‘way.”

“Oh, baby. What is it about?” Tommy stuttered his way through his dream, describing the thing as best as he could. Angela sighed and scooted her chair closer to her son’s. Putting her arm around his shoulders, she leaned in closely and whispered, “Listen, hun, I know this life isn’t the best. I know it’s not how a little boy should be raised.” She began to fight back tears of her own. “Sometimes it’s just hard, you know? Sometimes…well, sometimes, when things are bad or scary and I don’t know how much longer I can take it, well…I just close my eyes and say, this isn’t real. This isn’t real. This isn’t real. Do you think you can try that? You just tell yourself it isn’t real, and then it won’t be. Not right then, anyways.”

Tommy wasn’t sure about that, but he nodded his head and tried to take a bite to eat. He would try anything at this point.

Evening-time was bad. There were too many opened cans, and it all started too early. Tommy brushed his teeth and tried not to think about anything, especially tried to not think about why he had felt like he just had to tell his daddy about the thing they were watching on TV.

-No kidding, stupid! I’m sitting here watchin’ it, too!

Why hadn’t he stopped talking? Tommy splashed his face to hide the fact that he was crying, and he was extra gentle around the black skin.

As usual, after about an hour of lying awake and trying to tell himself that he could stay awake all night if he had to, Tommy fell asleep.

He woke up in his bed. The presence was there, but it really was just routine at this point. He threw his blankets off, slide off of his bed, and padded down the stairs. After all of this time, he didn’t even try to be quiet. He knew nothing else would happen other than what was to happen.

But maybe he could stop it this time.

He paused in the kitchen and stared at the cupboard and then continued his nightly trek into the living room. Around to face the chair…and there was the thing. The red blood-paint was darker this time and looked thicker. Tommy was ready. He stared right into its flat, dead eyes, and he closed his eyes and said,

“This isn’t real. This isn’t real. This isn’t real.”

Even though he wasn’t watching, the pain came, just like always. Tommy started howling…

The next morning, he could barely pick up his feet. His shoulder, in sympathy of his dream shoulder, had ached and felt funny all night. Tommy turned around to throw his blankets up around the pillows in some semblance of a made bed. And that’s when he saw it.

A tiny red circle right below his pillow on the dirty mattress. Tommy stared at it for a long time, swallowed, and hurried into the bathroom. A quick examination of his shoulder in the mirror didn’t reveal anything, though. The pain stayed with him all day, dull and throbbing.

Tommy huddled outside all day, too numb and tired to do anything. And then his father was home early. Too early. There were slamming doors and shouting. He tried to stay out of it, but his father didn’t need any encouragement tonight. Both he and his mommy were shoved around and slapped. It didn’t take long for mommy to stop yelling, There are no other jobs ‘round here!

Tommy decided going to sleep early was better than dealing with this any longer. At least the dream left after a while. Bitterly, Tommy wondered why his father couldn’t go away, too. His mommy could take care of him all on her own. Glaring into the bathroom mirror as he scrubbed his teeth, Tommy felt more anger than sadness for the first time.

Sleep overcame him quickly, soothing his pain. Dream swooped down afterward, unlocking Tommy’s future with a twisted, ancient key. Tommy awoke and sat up. He flipped his blankets off and slid off of his bed before hurrying down the stairs. This time, he stared at the cupboards for a long time. All was quiet. Then, the pattern churned. No thinking… Tommy slid a chair over against the old stovetop so he could climb up on top of it. His little hand found the cold metal that he vaguely remembered seeing there.

It was almost too heavy, but he knew this wasn’t real. Tommy dragged it into the living room where he rounded the corner and came face to face with the thing. It stared at him, no emotion, just void, horrid eyes. Tommy managed to raise the gun. Remembering his mommy doing it once, one time when she said she was all done with this damn shit, he pulled the piece back at the top until it clicked. Then it was easy to pull the trigger.

This isn’t real; this isn’t real; this isn’t real.


Tommy’s eyes shot open. His back hurt; his head hurt…everything hurt this time. Immediately his mommy was standing over him, her face a little blurry but he could see the worry.

“It’s okay, hunny. It will be okay, I promise,” she whispered frantically. She sounded tearful.

Sirens started screaming in the distance.


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