Unexplained Event #?

After my closing shift, I walk home. I could take the bus but the last bus passes before I get off work. Also, recently we started closing at eleven for the holidays. My apartment is only about a forty minute walk so I don’t mind it. The street is well lit and there’s sidewalk most of the way, just a few undeveloped lots that don’t have any. In my opinion, sidewalks should come with the street.

I usually listen to a podcast on my home to help me pass the time. On this night, like many nights, I was listening to “My Favorite Murder”, a podcast by two women who have an interest in murders and other true crime stories but mostly murder. Some might say it’s tempting fate listening to a podcast about people getting murdered while walking alone late at night. I consider it self-education. With every story, I learn about I become more knowledgeable about recognizing potential threats and unsafe situations.

The event happened in front of a small U-shaped shopping plaza. The sidewalk there was impassible because of some short trees planted between the sidewalk and the street. Either the recent hurricane or poor maintenance had caused them to lean far over the sidewalk. So, I was walking on the edge of the parking lot. The street and sidewalk were on my left; parking lot to my right. Ahead was the convenience store that meant I was a little more than halfway home.

Then I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It ran into my peripheral vision from behind me on my left side. I jumped a step to the right at the motion, thinking a person was running past me. As I did so, I saw it. I don’t know how to describe what I glimpsed. Bipedal, lean, hairless, naked, large head, shorter than me. It was hunched forward, arms pulled up in front of it. And then it was gone. It didn’t run off into the night; it just vanished.

At first, I dismissed this image as a trick of the light. Probably a car passing on the street but there were no cars coming or going on the street. Besides the street lights, there were lights in the parking lot so the area was well lit. I might almost believe it was my shadow except there isn’t anything for it to cast on. I’ve walked this same path for months and never been surprised by my shadow.

Besides true crime, I have an interest in the paranormal; aliens, bigfoot, ghosts, etc. I believe I saw something “other” that night. I’m not fanatic enough to claim that I saw “el chupacabra” or was abducted by aliens. No, this sighting will become just a memory, like the other unexplained phenomenal I’ve experienced. A memory that I will revisit from time to time; turning it over and over like a puzzle box. Maybe I’ll stop in the same place and examine the shadows one night but mostly I’ll put it behind me as something unexplainable but somehow true.

***

Author’s Note: This story is something that actually happened to me. It’s one of several events that I can’t explain but have no proof they happened.

Hurricane Harvey Log 3

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Author Note: This is the last of my logs from Hurricane Harvey.

Day 2 – Saturday

I kept my phone connected to power up until it went out early this morning. After that, I turned on power saver mode. On standby, I should have a little more than a day of battery.

Water turned off today. I have drinking water so that’s not a big concern. I’m more worried about how I’m going to manage the bathroom. When I wrote my apocalypse novella, I gave a lot of thought to how to use the bathroom without running water. I didn’t include it in the novella because it seemed too gross to discuss. I hope I don’t have to enact the plan I came up with.

Later

Water came back on but there are warnings to boil before drinking or using to cook.

I took a bag of trash out. When I opened the door, a black void greeted me. I grabbed the LED lantern I have been using to light the apartment. After I dropped the bag into the trash can, I turned off the light. It was not the total darkness I had seen through the door. The corner store has lights as does the Lowe’s that is just within sight. A glow comes from the distance.

Day 3 – Sunday

Water is back off.

I took a leap of faith and went to Lowe’s to charge my phone. There was not a dedicated area for people to plug in like I hoped but an associate pointed out an outlet I could use. Unfortunately, it was behind a couple of coolers and another associate made me step out. Thankfully he led me to another outlet that was on the sales floor.

While I was standing beside the outlet, a woman passing by asked me where the portable fans were. I said no and she stood there staring at me for a moment before finally saying, “You don’t work here do you?” I said no. She laughed and said I looked official. I’m not sure if my it was my Voltron shirt or the wires leading from my purse to the outlet that made me look “official”.

I managed to get a partial charge before the store closed early for the day. I am going to be turning my phone off for hours at a time, turning it on only for a few minutes to check for messages and news.

Later

Listening to Coast to Coast for the first time. It’s filling the of void my paranormal podcasts. Many of them cite Coast to Coast as inspiration but I have never sought it out before. Tonight I was missing my podcasts but needed to conserve my phone battery. My eyes were tired of reading and just music wasn’t enough. I switched over to the AM bands hoping to find a news talk show that wasn’t conservative.

“…men in black, aliens, glitches in the matrix.” This caught my attention and immediately I suspected I had tuned into Coast to Coast. The signal was slightly broken so I continued scanning. From one end of the AM band to the other, I encountered the show three more times. The last was the clearest. The guest was talking about synchronicity in his life, coincidences that defied logic.

How coincidental that I wanted to listen to a paranormal podcast and found the show that inspired a lot of them?

Day 4 – Monday

I’ve been reading Maria V. Snyder’s Study series. I read the first two books long ago. The third book came out but too much time had passed and I couldn’t follow the story. A little while later I bought all three book and set them aside to read one day. I’ve finally dived into the series. I’m almost done with the third book and I realized there is too much to resolve in what is left of the book. I thought there were only three books in the series but there must be more.

I went to the corner store and bought a couple of egg rolls off the roller grill. and a cold Big Red. It’s only been two and a half days since my last hot meal. Truthfully I could have gone longer but the ease of acquiring the egg rolls was just too much of a temptation.

I finished the third book of Snyder’s series. She pulled off an ending that tied off most of the plot in a fairly satisfying manner. I’m disappointed that the character described as having very dark skin was the ultimate bad guy and not being mind controlled like I hoped. Most of the characters are described as being various shades of brown so they weren’t the only poc in the book but they were the darkest and no one else was described as being as dark.

Day 5 – Tuesday

I woke up several times during my night but didn’t turn my phone on until 10 am. I looked for the icon in the upper corner to let me know a message had been received. None appeared so I checked Facebook and Twitter for the latest news. I turned off the screen and rolled over back to sleep for a few hours. Around 1 pm I woke up. I read a little and then I got up to shave and shower. My plan was to go to the corner store and get something hot to eat, eggrolls, hotdogs, corndogs, whatever they had ready and hot on their roller grill.

After my shower, I was standing in my room, dressed only from the waist down, when I heard a clatter and thump from the front door. A second later, my roommate appeared standing in my open doorway. I crossed my arms over my breasts and she turned away while apologizing. I quickly found a bra and shirt. And that was the end of my solitude.

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Hurricane Harvey Log 2

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Day 1

Friday the hurricane hit. Rain and wind pounded the apartment. I had to deal with the front door leaking and the ceiling leaking but luckily little else. I watched movies and ate the last of my refrigerated food in preparation for the power going out. Later in the evening, the wind shifted and began throwing rain at the bedroom windows. Water sprayed from the bottom of the window sills with every gust. The light rubber seal at the bottom of the windows, normally enough to keep rain out, could not stop it when backed by hurricane force winds. I placed towels on the sills to sop up the water and stop it from spraying into the room. They get quickly became saturated with water. I knew I had to seal the windows somehow. With water all over the place, duct tape wouldn’t stick. I grabbed two trash bags folded them into a strip long enough to reach across the window sill, placed them under the window, and closed the window on top of them. The water stopped spraying.

In a moment of celebration, I grabbed the soaked towel and hurried to get it to the bathroom before it leaked too much water on my bed. My bedroom window was over my bed so to reach it I had to stand on my bed. As I ran off my bed, the bedspread flipped up off the corner of the mattress and over my foot grabbing it. I fell forward almost as flat as a plank. My knees hit first and hardest. The rest of the impact was taken by on my hands and chest. As I fell, I knocked over a stack of clothes and blankets from a chair and they buried me on the floor.

I laid there for a minute feeling the pain in my body, the ache in my knees, the sharp pain in one toe that hit the ground, and the bruise to my ego. There was no one else in the apartment. There was no one who would check on me for days. There was no one I could call. If I had taken the fall worse, broken a bone or hit my head on the floor, I would have been alone to deal with it or possibly die. I pushed the clothes and blankets off me and sat on the floor. I checked my toe for a break but it seemed fine. Carefully, I stood and walked the dripping towel to the bathroom, very aware of how lucky I had just been.

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I Stayed; I Wasn’t Abandoned. (Hurricane Harvey Log 1)

Author’s note: This is the first, maybe only story, of my experience during Hurricane Harvey. It’s honestly the most important part of those days to me. I tried to incorporate this into the larger story of those few days but it just wouldn’t fit. So, I pulled it out as its own piece.

Seven years ago, I was on a bus when my sister called. She called to let me know she was moving out of our apartment (abandoning me). The rent was half paid, light bill past due, and she emptied the kitchen. We had been living together for nine years. We had moved five times together. Then she moved without me. I didn’t like that she abandoned me. But I couldn’t hate her. She was my sister.

I stayed in that apartment for another month and a half. The light got turned off, mosquitoes ate me in my sleep, a cold front nearly froze me. I made do with a small lantern to push back the dark and a radio to dispel the silence at night.

I stayed with friends for a little while then moved into an efficiency apartment. I lived alone for the first time in nine years. A friend introduced me to her friend who needed a roommate.

Six years later, now, Hurricane Harvey hit my city. My roommate left the city. She offered to take me with her when she left. I stayed. After the hurricane had passed, when the light was still off, I found the lantern and radio in my closet. I turned them on at night and for a brief moment I was alone in that apartment again. Abandoned, discarded, useless. But I wasn’t. I stayed (I wasn’t abandoned) because (I don’t want to be a burden)(She doesn’t really want me to go with her)(I deserve to stay) I …

I wasn’t abandoned. Everyday she sent messages asking if I was ok. She told me to drink the case of water she had bought before she left. She reminded me of the small grill she had in case I had to boil water. When she came back, she said I was never staying behind again because she worried too much.

The situations aren’t the same but a wound I didn’t know I was carrying is starting to mend.

In The Dark

Author note:  This is not a story.  It’s bit of memoir.  

Context:  I wrote this in November, 2012, the year after my sister died.  The file name is nanowrimo2012.rtf.  I must have been trying to do Nanowrimo that year.  I have no memory of having written this.  I rediscovered it years after I wrote it and then could not remember which file it had been in.  Finally I found it again.  

I don’t know what the first line means.  If it was part of a story I didn’t write or if it was meant to go with the rest of the essay.

This essay is depression, self hate, dysphoria, and grief.  It’s a snapshot of who I was at that time.  Part of who I am now.  I’ve grown as a person but I recognize myself in these words.

******

In the dark we traveled to far away lands.

Th buzzing angry hurt feeling doesn’t stop.  I can ignore it for a time but it’s always there.  Waiting for my distractions to end, for my mind to blank so it can fill the void.  I feel as though I will never be rid of it.  The bones in my hands and arms ache from despair.  Breathing is tiresome, moving my body exhausting, and thinking almost impossible.

I have no future.  Nothing waits for me.  This trial, this ordeal known as life has no end for me.  There is no win condition no goal to strive for.  Just death.  Maybe now, maybe later.  I’m so tired of life.  I wish to rest forever.

I dreamt of my sister.  We were looking for somewhere to talk in private.  There was a chapel or rectory.  We went inside and we talked.  She talked mostly.  Ordinary shit that had no real consequence but it was nice to talk to her.  I miss her so much.  I’ve been thinking about her more lately.  Remember in “The Body” when Buffy imagines she revives her mother and the paramedics come and they have a “gosh that was close” moment in the hospital.  Yesterday I thought what if my sister hadn’t died and I could see it and feel it and goddess it was wonderful.  It only lasted a second or two and then I was back here alone wishing for death or relief.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a world that didn’t hate me.  I don’t suffer as much as others because I keep a low profile, I don’t push too hard against the bars.  Sometimes I just wish I could be normal.  That I was thin and cis and the right kind of beautiful.  Sometimes I think I could starve myself and lose weight.  I would never really be thin but I could be less fat.  I could be closer to acceptable.

Most of the time, when I’m alone, I don’t think about being trans.  I just exist as myself and that’s fine.  When I have to go out, be around people, I have to think about how they see me.  How they gender me.

A couple of days ago, I woke up feeling like shit.  I cried lying in bed before even getting up.  Crying helped.  It emptied me of feeling left me a husk that I could order around.  I took some pain relievers and caffeine (together they work as a crude antidepressant).  I made tea and made lunch and twitched from the caffeine but felt okish.  On the walk to work I started to feel better than just ok, almost good.  Then I got to the mall and saw a few women and remembered I will never be able to just be me.  It will always be a struggle for me to be seen as a woman.

One Message

This is not a story. It’s kind of like a chapter of a memoir I don’t plan on writing. Chapter Five or Seven or maybe it’s the dedication. It sketches out several years of my life in the bare bones. If I was writing this memoir, later chapters would filling some details but this is the story of the story of these years.

Early 2009, I have accepted myself as trans but I am only out to my sister and her kids. Online I’m out and writing and blogging on LiveJournal. We won’t talk about MySpace.

A young woman messages me because we are in the same city and have some shared interests. We converse a few times before meeting in person briefly before I go to see the movie Coraline. A few months later she invites me to the college’s film club’s end of semester party. The following fall I begin attending film club meetings and movie screenings. I make a few friends.

In late 2010, my living situation becomes … unstable. I live with some friends for a couple of months. By January 2011 I have found an efficiency apartment; a kitchen, a bathroom, and a bedroom; that is cheap enough for me to afford but still very expensive. In April, a friend from the film club tells me about one of her friends that is looking for a roommate.

I meet my potential roommate to discuss terms and she finds me acceptable. June 2011, while I am moving in, my new roommate asks if I would like her to use female pronouns for me. I say yes. This is only the second time someone has asked me this.

Over the next couple of years, I meet more people who are accepting of me and I become more comfortable and confident as myself. Late 2014, I come out as transgender at work, the last place I am still presenting as a man, and “complete” my transition.

From a single message on LiveJournal I ended up meeting a chain of women who accepted and affirmed my gender. That one message changed my life.

Thank you.