Pact (W/S1/E4/I10)

After a few moments,
The sun began to set.
Jessica smiled and hugged her Big Dog.

Jessica: “I think I understand you, yet.
Where do you want to go next?”

Joshua turned a little red.

Jessica: “No! I meant like, where next geographically.
I remember all that you’ve said.
Oh! Maybe I can come see your place?
I’m sure it has all kinds,
Of little knick-knacks and memorabilia
That will get me into your mind!”

Joshua: “You’ve already seen my place.”
Said Joshua, Matter-Of-Fact.

Jessica laughed but shortly realized,
His expression had not cracked.
Then realization hit her.
And it made her almost cry.
She pushed past Joshua into his van,
And then she gave a long sigh.
She saw his bedroll and more supplies,
She saw a road toilet and fridge.
Then she thought back to times before,
And all her thoughts began to bridge.

Jessica: “I know you liked to sleep in here,
When we were on the road.
But you really don’t have a home to speak of?
Let me lighten your load!”

That was one of the longest moments,
In Jessica’s entire life.
But Joshua took a deep breath,
And simply said: “Alright.”

Jessica: “You have a room at my place.
No ifs, ands, or buts.
And no matter who you meet, Joshua,
I am one you can trust.”

Sweetest Sixteen (W/S1/E4/I9)

2006

Ann: “Why am I blindfolded?” Ann giggled,
As Joshua led her down the hall.

Joshua: “No reason. Don’t worry.
There’s no surprise at all.”

Ann chuckled and sat down,
In a chair Joshua led her to
And then she felt upon her face
Something somewhat new.

Ann: “Are you growing whiskers?”
She asked playfully
Though she smelled the paint.

Joshua: “Yeah, but that’s not what you feel.”

Ann: “Yeah, I know it ain’t.”

Ann smiled as Joshua continued,
His artistry on her face,
He crafted a rainbow butterfly,
On her right-cheek’s space.
She’d just come from swim practice.
She hadn’t changed out of her suit.
And she wore colorful shorts over her lower half
Bearing images of tropical fruit.

Ann: “So now that you’re done,
Do I get to see?

Joshua: “Just a minute more, darling.”

Joshua helped her out of her seat.
He led her just a little further,
Into a darkened barn.
He pulled the blindfold off of her face,
And she was instantly swarmed.

“Surprise!” Came the voice of all of her friends,
With painted faces and crazy clothes.
Lights and fog machines radiated,
This was quite the show!
Music thumped from a corner DJ,
And Joshua pulled her close for a dance.
What followed was the greatest night of Ann’s life.
Soundtracked by soaring trance.

Just As Good (C/S2/E2/I3)

The men stood in a semi-cricle
All wore baggy black fatigues
Hair stood up on Rayen’s neck,
She knew these men would not cease.

The head man’s voice was level
As was the barrel of his gun
And he spoke quietly as he said

Man: “Don’t even try to run.
We know what you’re after.
Just hand it over, see?
Then there won’t be any bullet holes,
And you can go scott-free.”

Then tension rose in Rayen’s silence
The man’s eyes’ pierced through her soul.
Then Braden spoke up from around the corner.
And his words filled that silent hole.

Braden: “You can have the tape. I’ll bring it now.”

Rayen said, “Braden! Stop!”

But just as she did, Braden came around,
And all he did was drop-
The microcassette in front of the men.
One picked it up, and they ran.
Rayen glowered at her grandson.

Rayen: “How could you give it to those men?!”

Braden smiled in boyish glee.

Rayen: “You didn’t? Where is it then??”

Braden produced a microcassette
From his right-hip pocket.
It was black with a blue stripe down the side.
Rayen’s heart leapt like a rocket.

Braden: “A copy is just as good as a tape.”

Rayen: “Well done, Nahuel my son.
Let’s get it to the Police ASAP.
And listen to what we just won!”

The Park (W/S1/E4/I8)

Jessica: “I am trying to be honest!”
Jessica quietly whined.

Joshua: “I’m not saying you’re lying to me.”
You just need to unwind.

After drying off and before heading home,
Joshua and Jessica took a walk.
The awkwardness they both had been feeling-
Inside was close to shock.

Jessica: “Well why’d we have to drive this far-
North to get to a park?
There are hundreds of them here in Atlanta!
We probably could have walked.”

Joshua: “This is the park that I met Ann.”
Joshua said with a sigh.

Jessica stopped right in her tracks.

Jessica: “This is near where she died?”

Joshua: “No. Not quite. It isn’t the park,
Where I played my last game.
We met over in that sandbox.
… You don’t think this is lame?”

Jessica frowned and looked around,
Trying to assess why-
Joshua would bring her to this park.

Joshua: “Sometimes we’d bring kites to fly.
We were part of a homeschool group
That met here every week.
Some of the kids would even tease us,
But we were really meek.
Everyone seemed to think that-
We’d be married someday.”

Jessica: “Honestly Joshua, what’s going on?
Do you expect me to be like: ‘Yay?’
I told you I’d let you show me,
All that makes you you.
From kids and colors and dancing,
To parks and tales of blues.”

Joshua: “And I thank you for it, Jessica.
I’m not trying to make you mad.
I’m just letting you know who I am,
By showing you all I’ve had.
You’ve been a really good friend to me,
You’ve helped me through thick and thin.
I just wanted to spend some time with you,
And let you look within…”

Then their walk abruptly ended,
On the tailgate of Joshua’s van.
He went inside and got his guitar,
And began to sing about Ann.

It was a song Jessica heard a few times,
She knew he’d made it up.
But she liked to hear his baritone voice,
So she listened and shut-up.

Joshua’s Song: “People say they know me.
But they don’t know this man.
They don’t know the things I’ve seen,
They don’t understand.
I’ve been through Heaven
And I’ve been through Hell,
But nothing beats the feeling I get,
When they ring that bell.

My Ann has gone from me.
She’s living in the sky.
Now I don’t know what else to do
While time passes me by.
She was all my hope and world.
Now I’m just coasting along.
So I write songs like this one,
And I wrestle all day long.”

But as Joshua trailed off in his song,
And instead of the next verse,
He looked straight into Jessica’s eyes,
And played her something he’d rehearsed.

Joshua’s Song: “My body’s lonely.
My body it is weak.
My soul is weary
Of crying in my sleep.
But friends like Jessica-
Have pulled me from her grave.
This is why I wrestle now.
For the hope that really saves.

Jessica you’ve shown me,
That my love is not dead.
She lives inside of me,
I remember what you said.
And perhaps one day soon,
You’ll open my eyes still more,
And I’ll be able to give to you,
The things you’ve been longing for.”

Jessica stared at Joshua,
And he awkwardly looked down.
She raised his chin with her hand,
And gone was her frustrated frown.

Epic Poetic Stories by Joshua David Ling