Stories

This Hasn’t Been a Very Magical Journey So Far – Homeless

Her Feet

 

Stuck inside the room he didn’t want to be sitting inside of, Hank Williams went to a place where the impending centipede rainstorm couldn’t rain on him.
He opened his eyes and looked at her bare, naked feet pressed together like sisters. Her toenails were painted a dark shade of red. The color of blood in the dark. The same color as her hair.
Hank Williams liked her hair color. He liked this color on her toenails. He liked her toes. He liked her feet in general.
Her feet were awkwardly wonderful things. They were long and gangly and looked like they didn’t belong to her, like her feet were surgically removed from another girl and then implanted on the ends of her legs.

She wore them with confidence, however. She knew her feet weren’t perfect like the rest of her and yet, at the beginning of each session, she always slid her white low top sneakers sans laces off her feet, stripping them naked and proudly exhibiting her one and only physical imperfection.
A man who only had hair on the sides of his head was talking but Hank Williams wasn’t paying attention to a word he said.
He only paid attention to her feet.
They were very beautiful to him and a large part of what got him through sitting in this room he didn’t want to be sitting inside of almost every day.
The man who only has hair on the sides of his head should be talking about her feet, said Hank Williams’ brain.
Then I’d listen to what he’s saying for once.

 

 

Her Face

 

Hank Williams began to feel brave. It was her feet. Her feet were filling him with courage. Hank Williams looked up from her feet to her face. Her face was not her feet.
Her feet had toes instead of eyes so Hank Williams could, for the most part, stare at her eyeless feet as blatantly as he wanted.
Her face, however, did not have toes. It had pouty lips and a nose and eyes. Eyes that could see where his eyes were looking, forcing Hank Williams to be much more cautious and subtle when admiring her face.
Hank Williams loved looking at her face even more than he liked looking at her long and awkward feet. Whenever he looked at her face, the thunder in his skull that sounded like it had lots and lots of legs went away, as if forced back beyond the mental mountain ranges where it came from. Her face was that powerful. And her face had the power to do that to him because her face was the most beautiful face in the world.
Hank Williams realized he hadn’t seen every face in the world but still knew, for a fact, her face was the most beautiful face in the world, therefore making her The Most Beautiful Human in the World.
Hank Williams didn’t know how he knew this for a fact. He just did. He was pretty sure, however, it had something to do with how her face made the thunder inside his head go away. No, not something… said Hank Williams’ brain. Everything.

 

 

Whatever You’re Feeling

 

The man who only had hair on the sides of his head was still talking but Hank Williams didn’t hear him anymore. He was too focused on The Most Beautiful Human in the World, watching her as she stared at her long and gangly feet propped up on the cushion of her chair, her knees tucked underneath her chin, and her arms wrapped around her ankles.
Just as he was reminding himself to be inconspicuous in his admiration of her, The Most Beautiful Human in the World looked up from her feet and locked eyes with Hank Williams.
Then smiled at him. A smile that looked like a black cat holding a dead canary in its teeth. A smile that terrified Hank Williams. Not because her smile looked lethal but because it presented a problem even more painful and problematic than death. It made Hank Williams feel like he was falling in love with her.  “…Hello?” a voice said. The voice was soft and delicate, like the sound of a cloud sliding itself into a pair of worn-in slippers.
Hank Williams looked at the woman who’d addressed him. She was young, professionally dressed, had thick black-framed glasses on the end of her nose, and her hair up in a bun that almost looked edible. If it weren’t for The Most Beautiful Human in the World sitting in the same room as her making her pale in comparison, Hank Williams might have found her attractive.
“Did you hear what I said?” the woman asked Hank Williams. “No, ma’am. I didn’t.” “I said, are you okay?” “Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for asking.”
“Are you sure? Because you’re rocking back and forth in your chair. Are you aware you’re doing that?”
Hank Williams realized she was right – that he had his arms wrapped around his body and was rocking back and forth in his moderately cushioned chair.
Hank Williams stopped rocking back and forth glanced over at The Most Beautiful Human in the World. She wasn’t looking at him or the counselor. She was looking down at her feet again. Hank Williams wished he could join her but knew he couldn’t. The counselor had addressed him and now Hank Williams had to address her back even though he didn’t want to. Nothing good ever came from not addressing the counselor after she’d already addressed him – a lesson Hank Williams had learned the hard way.
Roughly aiming his eyesight somewhere near the bottom of the counselor’s chair so she knew he was directing his attention at her, albeit not directly, Hank Williams addressed her.

“Yes, ma’am. I know I was rocking back and forth,” Hank Williams said.
The counselor readjusted herself in her chair then uncrossed her right leg from over her left leg and then re-crossed her left leg over her right leg.
“Barbara. I’ve said you can call me Barbara, okay?” “Okay, Barbara.” “So, is there any reason why you were rocking back and forth in your chair again? Or should I say, what were you feeling that made you do that?” Hank Williams paused. “To be honest, I really don’t feel like talking right now, Barbara.” Feeling his anxiety rise, Hank Williams wanted to close his eyes. He’d been looking away from The Most Beautiful Human in the World’s face and feet for too long. He heard thunder beginning to crash in his head again, striking louder than before, sprouting more legs than before. Legs that, if Hank Williams wasn’t careful, would run all over the wrinkled topography of his brain in the form of hundreds and hundreds of centipedes.
“You can talk here. It’s okay. No one’s going to judge you. You’re free to say whatever you’re feeling,” Barbara said.
“Whatever I’m feeling?” Barbara nodded. “Whatever you’re feeling,” she said. “Okay… Well, I wish you’d leave me alone, Barbara. And I really wish that crazy, mumbling psychopath who only has hair on the sides of his head would shut the fuck up for more than one minute because I’m pretty sick and tired of hearing his voice every day.”

There were a few chuckles from the group of people sitting in the room that Hank Williams didn’t want to be sitting inside of. He looked up at The Most Beautiful Human in the World and discovered that she was not one of the people he elicited a chuckle from but that she was looking at him and smiling.
Hank Williams knew he had lost his TV-watching privileges for the rest of the day but he couldn’t have cared less.
The Most Beautiful Human in the World was smiling at him again.

 

 

Umbrella

 

As soon as he sat down beside The Most Beautiful Human in the World, Hank Williams felt the warmth of her body materialize inside his head.
It seemed to hover in place over his brain, pulsating in the most comforting manner imaginable. He still felt the threat of centipede rain very much there, as it always was, as it always would be, but now with the sudden addition of The Most Beautiful Human in the World’s warmth hovering over his brain, suspended like a glowing, open umbrella, the possibility of a torrential downpour wasn’t nearly as threatening as normal.
Intimidated by what her mere presence was doing inside his head, at the level of comfort in his own skin she was causing, Hank Williams stared down at the table instead of engaging in conversation the way one would normally after going out of their way to sit down beside someone.

The table was white and scraped and had old food and drink stains in numerous places across its surface. Hank Williams didn’t know if The Most Beautiful Human in the World was looking at him but was pretty sure she wasn’t.
At least not yet.
If she was feeling anything like he was feeling, and some weird nagging sensation inside Hank Williams told him she was, then she was most likely staring down at the table with him.
This comforted him, the notion that he was doing the same thing to her that she was doing to him. So much so that while continuing to stare down at the table, Hank Williams surprised himself and began speaking.
“Sometimes centipedes rain onto my brain from inside my own head. Like an endless amount just continually pouring onto my brain. And the centipedes are raining from this one singular cloud except I can’t see it. I mean… I know the cloud is black or gray or something, but I can’t picture it. And the harder I try to see the cloud the blurrier it becomes and the further it keeps moving away from me. But even though it moves further away from me the centipede downpour only gets worse and then my brain is totally helpless to this storm that makes absolutely no sense. And it doesn’t make sense at all… Like why would the storm rain harder and harder onto my brain when the cloud responsible for producing the storm is moving further and further away from my brain? But it is moving further away. And I know it’s moving somewhere further away from me by moving somewhere deeper inside me. Someplace I don’t know about. And the longer I go without seeing it the more dangerous the rain cloud becomes. And the deeper it goes into hiding the harder the rain cloud will eventually crash onto my brain from this severe distance inside me. And then all I can feel are the millions of tiny centipede legs running all over my brain, making it impossible to focus on anything but their scurrying into the healthy avenues of my mind… I dunno… I dunno why I feel like I can tell you all this. I just do, I guess… Sorry…”
The Most Beautiful Human in the World glanced up from her food and looked over at Hank Williams.
She smiled at him. That smile of hers that looked like a black cat holding a dead canary in its teeth. But this time her smile didn’t scare Hank Williams. And he didn’t look away from it
either.
“It’s because I’m your umbrella,” she said. “I can’t make the rainstorms in your head stop, but at the very least I can keep the centipedes from raining on your brain. Do you know what I mean? Do you understand, darling?”
Hank Williams realized he’d never heard her voice up close before. He liked hearing her voice up close though. Her voice was even prettier up close. “Yeah, I think so,” Hank Williams said. “I think that’s it too. We’re each other’s umbrellas, aren’t we?” She nodded.
“I’m your umbrella and you’re my umbrella and that’s how this works,” she said. “Okay, yeah… That sounds fair. I like that.” “I like that too,” The Most Beautiful Human in the World said. “But I don’t wanna call you Umbrella. Umbrella is a pretty name but it’s not pretty
enough for you.”

The Most Beautiful Human in the World stared down at the table and nodded to herself while smiling out the side of her mouth.
“I’m Hank Williams,” Hank Williams said. “Is your name really Hank Williams?” she asked. “Yeah. I’ve been called a lot of names in my life but Hank Williams is the only one I’ve ever liked because I chose it myself.” “I love it,” she said. “You look like a Hank Williams. You look like a sad country song.” “Thank you,” Hank Williams said. “I’d love it if my name were Hank Williams,” she said. “But you’re much prettier than a Hank Williams. So what’s your name then? If you’re my umbrella and I’m yours, I feel like I should know your name, ya know? Your true name. Not what everyone else calls you but what you call yourself.”
“My true name?” The Most Beautiful Human in the World said. Hank Williams nodded. The Most Beautiful Human in the World thought about this for a second. “Patsy Cline…” she said. “I never realized it until just now but my true name is Patsy Cline.”
“Patsy Cline, Patsy Cline…” Hank Williams repeated, as if testing her name out on his tongue. “I like it.”
“You do?” Patsy Cline said. Hank Williams nodded.

“I like your bat nimbus too,” he said looking up at the bat decoration turned halo hovering over her head. “It makes you look supernatural. Or like a witch or something. But like a good witch.”
Patsy Cline giggled like a little girl serving air in small pink plastic cups to dolls and stuffed animals at a tea party.
“They left it up just for me. I begged them and begged them to put up some Halloween decorations this year. Just a few. And then after they finally did, Hannah began screaming at them. Something about how the decorations were giving her father AIDS. So the techs started taking them all down – the pumpkin one, the ghost one, the black cat one. But I begged them to leave this one up because I loved it so much. And when Hannah said it was okay, that my little black bat wasn’t giving her father AIDS, they left it up for me.”
“I’m glad they did,” Hank Williams said. “It looks very pretty hovering over you.” “Thank you,” Patsy Cline said smiling. “I think so too.”