The Muse

  
Tonight, there would be such a beautiful bleeding, torn open and laid bare, raw and untamed. She would give him everything… fire and spirit and blood… Herself. 

A willing destruction. 

When morning comes, there will be nothing but ashes and embers, burnt shards of who she was before… remnants of a life used to keep him, breathing and alive and dreaming. 

Ashes are better served at dawn and she would rise, only to burn again, night after night after night… If only to remind him of hope once more. 

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The Swing

 
Dawn bled out over us; the foggy gray light intensifying the emotions warring behind his storm cloud eyes. The only sound, the creak of my backyard swing, as we moved speechlessly back and forth.

The truth sat heavily between us, tangible and horrible and heartrending. Truth that would most likely destroy all of us, already had in so many ways. Words we couldn’t take back. Kisses that still stung. Betrayals that would forever haunt us.

I held my breath, waiting for the last stable piece in my world to drop and shatter. How many hard conversations had we had this last year, in the middle of the night, on this swing? Conversations we always walked away from…together.

But none of them had the potential to change everything so irrevocably, like this one could. No other before broke me like this one already had.

The silence stretched out, my lungs and eyes burning. I wouldn’t speak first. It was his move now. Forgive or walk away from all of this. I couldn’t bear the later. Please, Merrick…say something.

Creak…creak…creak…

Tears I thought already dried up, leaked silently down my face. He leaned forward. I closed my eyes and braced myself. I knew watching him walk away would be the action that finally broke the dam inside. I wouldn’t let him see my drowning. 

Then, cool fingers curling around my knee. Holding on for dear life. A deep, rattling sigh. Head in hand. And one word whispered into the growing light. One word, that said everything I was afraid I would never hear again…

Red…”

Split

  

I love them each, in impossible ways. 

One is my future, the other my past. 

One shattered me without apology, opening wide what I was too afraid to see.  The other will thread me back together, carrying my grief like his own. 

One brought me to life, breathing fire into frozen places. The other will sustain it, exhaling cool water over the burns left behind. 

One is the autumn I fell in love, the other a winter’s shelter. One is eternal spring, the other the summer I’ll never forget

Who am I to have been loved by both so completely?

Who am I to have been chosen to live and fight and love beside them both? 

They are mine…

But I no longer belong to them both. 

Chelsey Whitlow 

Red



Each mile we move towards the Texas border feels like a ripping away. Like piece after agonizing piece of my carefully constructed armor is being torn from my insides.  

Dramatic, much? 

Not usually. 

But now, is anything but usual. Now, is a leaving behind and an unknown forward. Now, is saying goodbye to constant motion and hello to empty space. 

Now…I’m just a motherless daughter. 

From the passenger seat I sit stoic, betraying the angry, unshed tears boiling beneath my freckled, sun-kissed skin. I stare, eyes fixed on the passing desert landscape all around me, feeling more raw, more exposed than I’ve ever felt in my life. 

It’s too much … too much has been taken already. 

How much more? 

The stranger in the driver’s seat next to me, wears my thunderstorm eyes and long, unruly ginger waves like they were always hers. This stranger, wears my face, twenty years from now, like a passport stamped with stories. This stranger, with my blood coursing through her veins, leans back into her sun soaked seat, like this road, right now, is where she was always meant to be. 

And all I want to do is disappear into comfortable shadows, and pretend my face, my eyes, my hair…still belong, only to me. 

Chelsey Whitlow

Jules

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When I think of him now, he’s clothed in shadow…

Blues and gray,

Cool and controlled.

 

It’s the only way I can carry his memory awake;

Truth covered in hazy, cold distance.

 

Oh, but when I dream of him, he’s armed with fire,

the way I left him…

Red and gold,

Burning and alive.

 

It’s the only way my mind will let my heart remember;

Sleep shrouding my sorrow.

 

I realize now…

I never knew real loneliness,

Before he spoke my name.

 

Chelsey Whitlow

The Point of No Return

courage

Have you ever reached that point when you realize you’re about to truly risk yourself, probably for the first time ever, despite the possibility of epic failure?

Have you ever reached that place where you really no longer recognize the person you were before you didn’t believe it could happen?

Have you ever reached that moment when you’re about to press go on that dream?

Have you ever stopped to just breathe before the prospect of big things on the horizon?

I’m hovering at those edges tonight. I’m about to take that hidden thing and throw it into the light.  I’m about to press go on that dream.

And as I sit here surrounded by the calm before the storm, I am both terrified and grateful. Because I’m standing at the point of no return.  I’m choosing courage over fear.

 

And I’m going to leap this time.

 

Saturday Scribbles – Thief

thief

 

Most of the time, I get ideas for stories or characters from my own dreams (my imagination seems to go into overdrive when I’m asleep), bits of conversations I overhear or my observations of strangers while I’m out and about. Not to mention pieces of my friends and family. Every once in a while though, I meet someone new and before I know anything about them at all, a story begins to fire off inside my head with them taking center stage. It’s never predictable when it happens and always catches me off guard. It’s quite startling sometimes. When introduced, I usually find myself smiling absentmindedly, nodding, but having no idea what the person is saying or sadly, even what their name is. It’s terribly rude I know, and thankfully it doesn’t happen often. But when it does, this rudeness can be blamed on the fact that I’m desperately trying to hold on to the fragments of story bouncing around in my head long enough to get them written down somewhere.

Oddly enough, this has happened to me twice in the last couple of weeks. And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about either person. On both occasions mutual friends introduced us. I think I managed at least a polite smile and a hand shake each time, but one look and the wheels in my head were already turning.

On both occasions the word thief came to mind. That’s a strange thing to think upon first meeting someone, but I can’t help these things when they pop in my head. They just appear. In these particular cases, I don’t mean thief in the law-breaking sense exactly, more in the sense that each of them stole attention of some kind. And on both occasions I couldn’t get my hand on pen and paper fast enough.

Both of these guys have stolen quite a few of my thoughts over the last several days and I have a story concocted for each of them. I’m just not sure where they will show up yet. My writing partner and I will be starting work on our second book this month. Perhaps one, or both of these guys, will show up there???

Anyways, I decided I would go ahead and share these two scribbles here, on this fine Saturday. It felt necessary today. Cheers Everyone and Happy Plotting wherever it decides to show up for you! You never know when inspiration will hit! (And I’ll go ahead and state an apology for the record, to those who cross my path from day to day….you might just end up in a story at some point….anonymously, of course. 😉 )

 

The Farmer

 

Unexpected grace in beat up cowboy boots.

Gentle hands, exquisitely calloused.

Quiet strength bleeding kindness.

Raw spirit beckoning ….come and see.

 

Thief of one city girl’s heart.

 

 

The Executive

 

A natural politician;

he works the crowd effortlessly…

with those painfully gorgeous blue eyes and that damn smirk of his.

 

People love him.

They can’t help it.

 

He’s electric.

Magnetic.

Mesmerizing charm.

 

Even my own jaded attention…stolen.

 

And he has no idea how dangerous he really is.

 

Chelsey Whitlow

Lucy

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The pocket watch bounced in rhythm to her fleeting steps as she rushed from Mr. Marlowe’s Tea Shop, pounding out an old melody of memories better left buried against her chest. Concealing the watch beneath her scarf and wool winter coat, she clutched the treasure closer to her heart as she fled.

As she hurries towards her old truck parked at the end of the block, the cold bites at her burning cheeks; pinpricks of ice, acute and more painful than usual. The further she gets from him, the colder she becomes, as though all the warmth inside her chose to stay behind with him instead.

How had he known? How had he recognized it? Where would he have seen the watch or her before? How did he know her name?

Too many questions…

Shivering violently, Lucy jogged the last few feet to the refuge of her rusty red pickup. Finally sheltered inside the cab, she gasps for air, cranking the heater as high as it will go.

In a rush, the words she knows are hidden on old paper inside the watch, begin echoing eerily through her mind. This time, the voice recalling these beloved words isn’t hers. This time, they flow from the lips of the stranger in the Tea Shop who called her by name….

The stranger who called her Gray.

 
You are unexpected possibility.

You are new revelry. 

You are a cure for the crush of midnight loneliness.

You are a thousand places I’ve never even imagined.

You are the temper that eases the burn.

You are the strength that compliments the fury.

You are the safe place that shelters the wild.

You are the soul I never fathomed would belong beside mine.

 

Chelsey Whitlow