7 September 2017

2017 Fall Writing Contest.

Hello :)

I entered a writing contest recently and a number of the stories are up for the Readers' Choice Award!  Woo!

Please check out mine and others and vote for your favourite! 

The Last Time.
by: Stephanie Lloyd

2 August 2017

黒い穴。

I'm in this place that swallows whole
Where light can't penetrate
I bite and scratch and try to crawl
But I can't find a way
       Out.

My fingernails are stained with dirt
And blood trickles red between them
I bite and scratch and fight to crawl
But I can't find a way
       Out.

Then daylight peaks from miles away
But looms forever distant
I bite and scratch and struggle up
But I can't make my way
       Out.

Then by some brilliant miracle
I creep a little closer
Sunlight warm brushes across my skin
But it dazzles, so I linger
       Here.

9 July 2017

Guilty.

(song)
Every time we talk, it's a guilt trip
You say that it's you, not me
It feels like my heart needs armour
Because how did we get from A to Z?

You say you wanna fix the problem
But nobody knows just what it is
It feels like an uphill battle
But we're stumbling
Yeah, we're stumbling...

I just want my best friend back
My best friend
I just want my best friend back
You were my Valentine
You were my sunshine
I just want my best friend back.

I just want my best friend back
My best friend
I just want my best friend back
I'm tired of crying
I'm tired of fighting
I just want my...

I'm tired of the guilt trips.

5 June 2017

War.

This is more than fighting a dark and painful war.

It's fighting hundreds of mini battles every single day.

It's fighting battles often and from a place of defeat.

You take your stance physically but your mind clouds with

"What's the point?  Wouldn't it better if I lost?"

It's fighting battles often and all alone.

Friends say "Run to me"

And you smile and promise to call when you need a soldier.

But in a strange way you'd rather fight alone.  But not really.

But really.

Honestly, who drags their loved ones through war?

And who would join a bloody war?

Who would stand for the scarring without a cringe?

Who would stay by your side for those midnight battles forever?

You wonder

And you wander towards the blade.

You want to fight, but

It's been so long

And you still don't know how.

16 January 2017

Just Friends.

"You can't be serious!" James exploded.

I cringed and held the sleek, pink phone away from my ear.  "Why the hell not?" I demanded after a moment, throwing a new swimsuit into my luggage.

"Do I have to say it?"

"Considering I don't know what it is..."

"He's gay, Sammy," he answered flatly.

I rolled my eyes.  "This shit again?"

"He's prettier than you are, with all those curls.  Ask Amira!"

"NO!  You guys are just scheming."  I twisted my mouth to the side and eyed two beach towels while James swore at a careless driver.  I chuckled.  "Should I take my Dragon Ball Z beach towel or the cute sunset one?"

"Neither.  You shouldn't be packing anything.  Actually, do what you want.  Do whatever you want."

"That's exactly what I'm doing."

"Then you shouldn't need my input for this dumb as fuck idea of yours.  How much is your ticket anyway?"

I giggled and rolled up the anime-influenced option to be packed.  "No idea.  He covered it."

"Jesus."

"You know I hate when you say that!"

"You know I hate when you lead on gay men!"

"He's not gay and I'm not leading him on!"

"One sec, I'm parking."

James' car beep beep beeped in the background of our call and I had a few seconds to consider how our friendship had arrived here.

He was my ex-boyfriend twice over.  We were extremely close - maybe too close, if that were a thing.  Knowing that one more break up would have ruined us forever, we'd made a pact to be friends.  We went on a bar-hopping night out, pinky swore over our new status and never looked back.  Our relationship was probably in the best place it had ever been.

There were still moments, but...

But right now, he was annoying me.

"So is your young man also-"

"Oh my God, J, so he's like a full eleven months younger than me.  Use his name."

He chuckled and finally relented, his car door slamming shut with my purple cosmetics case.  "Fine.  Ryan.  So Ryan paid for your ticket?  You're sure it's a return trip?"

I laughed.  "Yes it is and yeah he did.  Shit."  I shook the now empty box of tampons that Amira, my best friend and apartment mate, and I shared.  "J, where are you exactly?"

"At Sov, grabbing some dinner.  What's wrong?"

"I need tampons."

"Jesus, Sammy."

"James!"

"No."

"Pleeease."

"I don't remember this being in our terms."

"It falls under 'emergencies'.  Come on, James, don't be an asshole tonight.  You have to come over to say goodbye to me tonight, anyway."

"Isn't your flight on Saturday morning?"  I heard a gentle ding and the familiar pop music of the pharmacy.  He was such a good friend.  My tummy warmed in a very non-friendly fashion.

"Yeah, but from Mo Bay.  I'm leaving work a little early tomorrow to get the bus down.  Up.  Whatever."

We shared a laugh at that.  "What size do you need?  God I can't believe I'm doing this shit."

"It's a pink box that says 'super' and has a lady playing tennis on the side."

"These are expensive!"

"I'll bring you back something really nice from the Bahamas."

"If the young Mr. Brown doesn't suddenly go crazy and do something unfortunate, then yes, you'd better."

"You're so dark."

"Tampons are really expensive.  Please pay me as soon as I get to your place.  I can't afford it if he's a killer."

"He's not a killer!"

"You met on Tinder!"

"You know, you're on Tinder too."

"Yeah but I'm not inviting girls from around the Caribbean to visit me for the weekend."

"Because you're poor."

"I will be, from buying all these tampons."

"Oh God, suck it up.  What are you having for dinner?"

He groaned.  "I'll just get the big family deal from KFC.  Text Amira."

"Reasons we're friends."

"Tell the guard I'll be there soon."

I couldn't help the butterflies.  We hung up and I called the guard house to inform them that he'd be coming.  After texting Amira that James was coming with dinner, I circled my room, reminding myself of all the conditions behind my and James' friendship.

We could never date each other ever again.  We could never be friends with benefits, even in extremely desperate times.  We could never kiss, no matter how drunk we got on our once monthly night outs.  We were required to be entirely honest about everything all the time.

Except jealousy over each others' future significant others.  Absolute honesty in every area but that one.

The pinky swear bound us.

I sighed deeply.  I was mostly fine with the arrangement.  In fact, we hadn't worked so well in years.  Bro-ship really had been the best move.  But every now and then... I couldn't help the feelings.  Over a five year period, James and I had dated, been official and then argued and fought our way to breaking up twice.  We tried being friends in between but that had proven impossible.  We cut each other off but Jamaica was small and we had such a strong bond.  So now we were... this.

Just friends.

My phone dinged with a message from Ryan.  Can't wait to see you, babe :)

He was sweet where James was sharp.  Soft where James was covered with jagged edges.  Simple where James was complicated.  Ryan laughed instead of making comebacks.  Even his sarcasm was gentle.

He didn't thrill me, but he was good for me.  I was 30 years old.  Maybe 'good for me' had to be enough now.

Same here, sweetie :) I typed back.  I'm done packing now and planning to get an early night.

Sleep tight, honey <3

I texted back good night at the same moment that the doorbell rang.  "Use your key!" I yelled from my bed.

"Open the door, Sammy, I have KFC and tampons!"

"James!" I shrieked and dashed to the door.  "That was mortifying, ass!"

"You know me, though, so you should have opened the door or expected it.  Move."

I rolled my eyes and stepped aside to let him in.  We bantered over dinner until Amira got home.

"Amira, you have to help me talk her out of this," he pleaded as she joined us at the table.

Amira laughed and shrugged.  "I tried, J, trust me.  But it is a free trip to the Bahamas."

"Exactly!"

"But he could end up being one of those split personality people!"

"He is not!  I know crazy men when I meet them."  I narrowed my gaze at him and he glared back.

"You've only actually met him once.  And if I remember correctly, you were very drunk."

"You remember wrong because you were off rubbing up on that girl with the cheap wig."

"Is that jealousy I detect?"

"It's disgust at her wig."

"You guys need to just shut up or get married and leave me in peace.  I can't live like this!  I'm legit just trying to enjoy this free KFC."

James and I exchanged one last, harsh glance and then he ended with "The chicken is on me, just don't forget the tampons money."

Amira's eyes popped open with her "What?!"

It was nearly midnight when I walked James out to his car.  Amira was snoring on my bed, where the three of us had watched a movie over dessert and a few drinks.

The July night was warm and sang with harmless insects.  Escorting James out sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, made me nostalgic for our days as a couple.  The good days, anyway.  Not the ones when he yelled at me from the car or I threw his shirts at his head.

There was so much history.

And so much drama.

"Seriously, Sammy," he said gravely when we got to his car.  He turned to face me and waited until I met his serious gaze.  "Be careful.  You've known this guy for, what, a few months?"

"Half a year, J," I murmured and focused on the blades of grass between our feet.

"Yeah well...  Stay in touch."

"It's just for the weekend and -"

"Jesus, why are you so stubborn?!"

"Why are you so controlling?" I shot back.  Our eyes met again and sparks zinged, heating the space between our faces.  He grunted and I stepped back.  "Thanks for dinner and stuff."

"And tampons, you mean?"

I shoved his shoulder and we laughed.  It could only be more tense and awkward if I slipped and fell on top of him.

"What do you like about him, Sammy?" he asked quietly after a few moments.

The question surprised me, but it shouldn't have.  Honesty.

"He's easy."  I barely heard my own voice but I knew he caught the low words.  "He makes things so easy, J."

James' eyes landed on mine again and we drank each other in.  Unspoken words jumbled between us, but  I wasn't sure what either of us was trying to say.

"I'll text you," I promised.

"Yeah, you do that."  He got into his car and drove off.  I blew out a long breath and turned to go back in.



End.

15 January 2017

New Year Resolutions.

A lot of people aren’t big on resolutions, but I am.  It definitely doesn’t mean I stick to mine lol but I do try.  In fact, that’s one of my resolutions for 2017 - to stick with things I don’t want to stick with.
I’m also resolved to write more.  I say this every year and I think I’ve been sticking with it.  Two down already.  One year, I’ll resolve to publish.  But... well... moving on.

I’m not resolved to lose weight.  Which is good, because I started the year on vacation and today, in the dead middle of January, I ate 2 slices of pizza and chocolate bread.  So yeah lol.  But I am resolved to eat more veggies and hit the gym more.  Especially since I have a car.

I’m resolved to be kind to myself.  I talk to myself a LOT.  I started during UWI, when my BSc. was actually driving me crazy, and I never stopped.  But my self talks get really negative really quickly.  I’ve always read that we should be as kind to ourselves as we are to our friends - maybe even more so.  But I’ve never been able to do that.  That goes way back and comes with a long story and lots of tears but yeah...  It’s 2017.  I started forcing myself to speak positively to my reflection in around November of last year and I’m resolved to do it everyday for the rest of my life.

I’ve resolved to read some non-fiction this year.  Any suggestions?!

And I’ve resolved to stop pining after a husband.  During the middle of 2016, I realized that I’m TOTALLY FED UP with the ‘single and waiting faithfully on my future husband and totally cool with it’ discourse (mainly among single Christians my age).  I don’t think it’s totally bad, necessarily.  People should be okay with being faithful while God works.  But I’m annoyed with how disingenuous and maybe disobedient it can force others to feel.  I mean, who actually skips happily through their singleness?  How holy can you be?

Ugh that’s a whole other conversation.  But anyway.  I’m resolved to not pine.  Well, not all the time.  I will sometimes.  But I’m trusting that my other resolutions will keep me busy.

I’m resolved to love myself sooo much this year that by December 2017, I won’t have to re-resolve it the way I’ve re-resolved other failed resolutions.

So, there we go.  Half way through January and 頑張るing through!  What are some of yours?

24 August 2016

Wave After Wave.

You flood my shores
Your waves crash upon the sand
Smashing the loose rocks I rolled into place
       for protection.

Your waters fill each empty space
Between each grain of sand
It all swells as you erase the emptiness
And deflates as
       you leave.

Wave after wave you attack and withdraw 
You erase old things
You wash up new treasures
Wave after wave and I can't help the thought
That this is precious for me, but for you
       it's not.