Our writing prompt this week was a challenge. Every day we’ll be posting a new response to the following prompt:
First line: Manipulating people is so easy. I almost stopped doing it; almost.
In the text: I can’t help it. I lie all the time.
Last line: Sometimes it’s best not to go home again
Our next submission is from Brandon Paul. Let us know what you think!
Manipulating people is so easy, I almost stopped doing it. Almost, but I didn’t.
After the car accident that changed my face, it changed my thinking too. I realized that there isn’t anything I didn’t want. There isn’t anything I can’t have and there isn’t anything I won’t do. It’s true.
And for that, I’ve become a deep pit that no guilt can ever “ll. No one can ever give me enough love or attention that would satisfy me. No single person can be God to me and that’s fine because I don’t believe in any gods.
Last year, I took a taxi to the airport. I used airline miles from a person I’d never met and flew across the country, landing near the golden shores of the west. I walked along the sandy coast and looked out at the endless ocean. I sat on the borrowed chair of a stranger and enjoyed his meal. I half-heartedly listened to his story, all the while, watching wave after green wave rushed in toward me.
“Headed northwest, eh?” The man asked. “Which part?”
“Canada,” I lied. I can’t help it; I lie all the time.
“Well, I’m not going that far,” he said, “But I can take you as far as Seattle. I’m on the way home to see my parents.”
“Seattle works,” I nodded, taking a bite of a soggy sandwich. “I’d sure appreciate the lift.”
A wallet full of stolen credit cards helped with gas on our journey. My reserve of blow kept us awake as we passed by seaside shanties and towns colored with peeling paint. Salty air filled my lungs. Cool winds lifted my hair through the open windows. Seagulls screeched and cried. They warned me to stay away but I ignored them.
At the rest stops, in the shade of the towering evergreens, we inhaled more white powder. We emptied our bladders and took to the road again.
“Who’s out there waiting for you?” The man asked me. “Where will you go?”
“A brother, named Harry,” I lied. “Works in “nance. Has a place all set up for me.”
“You must be close?” the man said.
I nodded. “Yes,” I said, lying again. “Very.”
“I had a younger brother once,” the man said. “Wish I could see him again.”
I nodded again, seeing my own reflection in the window. “I’m right here,” I whispered so softly that only I heard the words.
Turning to look at the man’s familiar face, I saw the ocean reflected in his grey eyes. I saw the years that he wore in silver hair around his temples, the wrinkles starting up on his hands. I saw time that I’d never get back. Time I’d never be able to manipulate or change.
I looked forward to the blue sky and asked the man to stop in the next town. When we arrived, I shook his hand, waved goodbye and, from the side of the road, I watched his car disappear into the foggy distance.
Seagulls cried above my head, they cried for themselves and they cried for me. It was too late, I realized. Sometimes, it’s best not to go home again.