The following is a fictional story. It may not be suitable for children under the age of 18.For part one: A Stranger Upstairs
The sun is particularly bright on this summer day. The heat is in the air, but so is the coolness of the wind; brushing up against my skin like a thin shawl. The feeling, even with the heat, brings my skin to a chill. The grounds surrounding the old house are still. The garden to the front, the lonesome pool to the back.
A mile or so away is the country club where all the rich or slightly rich families go to bask in each other’s wealth. Close to that is a retreat with cabins fit for snooty elites that come for the stories to tell and not the vacation itself. I guess I am apart of that group, but I don’t care for it or any of them. While the families talk by the poolside and play various games, I search for my sister.
Her presence is not there, but someone else catches my eye. A beauty, a picture of youth itself. Small frame and firm in all ways. Her hair thick and lips to match. We share a glance, and for a moment, I forget about my sister entirely. I go to walk to the young woman, but another rich guest stammers in my way. A friend of my father’s I assume, I never care to remember any of them. As he talks incessantly, I look around to see the beauty is not there. Damn!
After nodding and pretending with earnest that I am following the conversation, I am released. I decide to go back home and see if my sister has returned. Through the gate which takes me to the pool to the back of the house, I see someone at the edge. For a moment I catch the sun’s glare and mistake the figure for my sister. I go closer. To my surprise it is the young woman from the other pool. She is but a few feet away as I walk closer. Now we are inches apart, I crouch down to get a better look. Her face is a soft oval, eyes the color of bamboo in the sun. We share a smile, and like that I take her upstairs.
I don’t know her, but after two hours, I knew more about her body than I probably should. Together in bed I caress her skin, soft, lush, firm. After resting from the plateau we silently agree to go for round three, but a loud thump from the wall stirs my calm. Her eyes widen at the thought of someone else being in the house. Quickly I rush to put on my clothes and run next door to my sister’s room, the origin of the sound. The young woman following me like a shadow at mid day.
I enter my sister’s room and find her laying on the floor, her head bleeding from the top, eyes glazed over. The young woman screams, my mind empties as my hands frantically find their way over to my sister to cradle her limp body.
Hours later and we are at the hospital, my parents are there, hovering over my little sister like two wraiths ready to take her soul. They look so forlorn. I’ve never seen them so concerned. I walk up to the bed to hold her hand, but my parents push me away with their eyes as if this is all my fault. I leave and go to the waiting room. Holding my face in my hands, I ponder the reason for why she went missing in the first place.
Midway into the night I leave and go back home. Beside the pool is the familiar girl who I shared time with earlier. Her eyes are downcast, but yearning. I go in closer as she asks me if my sister is okay. If she were a few years younger, they could be friends. Seeing her silhouette with the night framing her gave me a chill. Or was it because I felt eyes on me from the house? I guess I was quiet for too long and she embraces me, our lips firmly pressed together, tongues like wriggling eels. So much passion for a stranger.
I could not shake the feeling of that chill, even as other places warmed. So I looked up to see if anyone was watching. There in the highest window, the attic I presume, nothing; but eyes were watching from that blackness glossed over in glass. She tries to turn my head for more, but I tell her I have to go home. She insists that she stay with me. I honestly don’t want to be alone, so I let her.
We pass the kitchen and up the stairs. Down the hall I see the door and it is slightly open. Odd. It is a junk room that I never visit, and the maids have no reason to clean. My heart feels like sand heated by intense fire. I go forward, but she pulls me back. She has a bad feeling, but my curiosity is too strong. I am at the door, but something inside me says don’t go inside. After a deep breath I go back to my room, my new lover in tow. Under the sheets we go for that round three. As I drift into sleep, I feel the eyes are on me, watching, waiting.
Part three coming soon!
Author is Jasmine Clark. The work is fiction, and shall not be published, or sampled without the author’s permission.
Hello Groovy People!
Now that the summer has officially arrived, I am working towards my first love, writing. Although the last few months have been difficult, to put it mildly, I feel that it was not all for nothing. Others may see my change in passions erratic, and yes, I do seem to be going from one big adventure to the next. However, I believe that it is important to focus on what makes one happy. Writing is the thing that always put a smile on my face but was never given my full attention. With teaching completely behind me at this point, I want to go towards what I know I can accomplish.
You’re still here right? Ok. So back to what I was saying about writing. I love it and I have so many things planned for the future. This year I want to truly focus on marketing my book, Journey’s End. I also have a short story that I will copyright and post by the end of the summer.
I want to make more posts on my experiences in Japan that can really help the avid traveler. Is there anything you would like for me to share? Also, I want to start a travel series of the places I visit. My next destination in a few weeks is New Zealand! So look out for that too.
My biggest downfall is myself, so this new change and hard work will be very stressful. I have to remind myself that I can do it, so please stay tuned!
Hello Groovy People,
So I wanted to make a post about how I kept up my hair while I lived abroad in Japan. In 2016 I wanted to go natural, but at the time I was too impatient. The idea of doing my hair in a foreign country was terrifying, especially since I was going to keep it permed. The thing about permed hair on African American hair is that if you don’t keep it up, it falls out or has tremendous complications. However, I wasn’t sure if I could find an adequate hair dresser in Japan. After all Japan is known for being homogenous and lacks diversity.
So I began researching before I left America. There weren’t too many places, but from what I saw online they all seemed good. When I went to Tokyo I decided to go to one salon and see how it faired. I tried the first location on my list, called The Room 806. Before I travelled there I called first to ask a bunch of questions. It is always a good thing to ask before you go to establish the tone of the personnel.
I see it this way, are they able to give you honest answers and are they polite? If they are, then that is usually a good sign that you can trust them. I also asked about my hair and if they had staff who could do it. I was assured that the hair stylist was the best and that he could perm my hair with no problems. Now the reason I was nervous was because of prejudice. You often hear people saying that certain people can’t do certain other people’s hair. And for the most part that may be true due to many factors. However, never let such things stop you from giving people a try. So I made the appointment and went to the salon!
I went with my friend because it was my first time and I believe in safety first. Also, if you are alone in any country and it’s your first time going somewhere new, please go with someone!
Getting there was an adventure because it was located in Roppongi. Although not a big part of Japan, it was hard to find the salon due to it not being on the main road. If you have ever tried finding a location with google while in Japan, you may notice that reading maps are ridiculously hard. (I can make a post about that if you’d like!)
After getting lost twice, we finally made it! I met my hair stylist Ico-san (ee-co-san). He was a cool Japanese man who know exactly what I wanted. He took the time to make me comfortable and was so meticulous in trimming and styling my hair. By the time I left it was a few hours, but I did not have to wait for another customer. The great thing about getting my hair done in Japan is that I never had to wait for other customers. No double bookings or late starts! Anywho, Ico-san was wonderful and I gave him a tip (you don’t have to tip in Japan, but I could not hold my gratitude. Also I am very American so Ico-san accepted.)
I must say that before going to Japan I hardly ever went to the salon because of the long waits and not being able to see the stylist I wanted/needed. Luckily during my year in Japan, I was able to see Ico-san on multiple occasions and as a result, my hair was healthy. Well, as healthy as permed hair could be.
So if you are ever in Japan and want to get your hair done, please see Ico-san and say Jazzi sent you!
Room806, 5 Chome-16-52 Roppongi, Minato City, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan, phone number: +81 3-5545-5486, Hours: 11am-9pm Sunday-Saturday
On April 19 I had an interview in Brooklyn New York. I spoke about my book Journey’s End. This is the first of many great things happening! Enjoy.
The interviewer is Marilyn Silverman who is the Assistant Vice President, Marketing of the New American Chamber of Commerce. The radio show is called the Writers’ Café which can be reached on their website www.chambercoalition.org
Hello Groovy People!
It is May and in a few months I go to New Zealand. I’ve always wanted to go, but the lack of money was a constant buzz kill. With proper planning, and time, a lot of time, I made it a reality this year.
Why was New Zealand on my bucket list in the first place? Well, why not! It is a country full of natural beauty and the filming location of some of my favorite movies and t.v. shows. Those shows were Xena and Hercules, and the movie was the Lord of the Rings (the good versions).
I have a serious case of wanderlust so that is another big reason. Whenever I am in one place too long, I feel the urge to leave and travel far.
I certainly will take pictures to document my time there for you to see.
Hello Groovy People
The following is a really personal post. My deepest inner thoughts. I may delete it, but since I have such a small following, I may allow it to stay.
When I originally left Japan I did so with becoming a writer on my mind. The goal was to work a regular 9-5 that did not require much mental input so that I could dedicate my energy fully to writing. The job would more so act like a safety net, providing me with an income while I went for my dream.
However, my insecurities and my inability to tune out others led me to pursue teaching. Basically when I published Journey’s End, I spent some money on a spot in BookCon. The idea was that my book would be among the best and be seen! When I finally went to BookCon, I realized that my book was in a section that no one went to, and my lack of understanding marketing led me to believe that I could never compete in the writing world.
So defeated I looked at other options. It also didn’t help that I could not find an office job. So back to subbing I went. People close to me suggested getting a real job and so I planned on going back to school. Subbing, as wonderful as it can be, was not paying my bills, nor was it a decent income with healthcare.
Are you confused yet? I sure was. I was so ready to be fully dedicated to writing, but seeing my book in the back of a huge expo with other titles no one bothered to read was crushing. I felt that I had to go for a job that could sustain me. Yet, my plan was to stop teaching all together. I think the issue is that I give up too easy. I give in too easy. I’ve been conditioned to get a career in teaching because it pays the bills and has healthcare. But I don’t want to teach! Not anymore at least. At one time, yes, I did want to teach. But at this time in my life, I want to change gears.
I am constantly trying, desperately, to please others. To do what is acceptable by society, and the people around me. But what I really want to tell people is that:
Teaching was great and I’ve done it for over 10 years! I may have not been a traditional teacher, but I taught. I am exhausted, I am done and I want to focus on my first love, writing!
But, people don’t get this. They don’t accept this. They think that my thoughts, my desires, my true intentions are unrealistic. Yes, I can certainly fall flat on my face. But until I truly live for myself and try my best, how can I know? How can anyone know? I think I’ve gone through so much hell because I was not fully honest with those around me, or myself.
I think the biggest reason why I don’t say how I feel is because I fear rejection. Rejection in the form of people judging me, telling me I am not realistic. Or they misunderstand my words altogether.
But I am so tired of doing what I think is right for everyone else. Can I be honest? I loved teaching and always will love teaching. But after 10 years of my own version of teaching, I am tired. I no longer feel a passion for it like I used to. Writing has been something that consumed me as a child and I let it go for a more realistic and conventional life. Unlike most people, I truly see the reality of this one life. I don’t want to waste anymore time by pushing my love of writing to the side.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that teaching is what I used to be, but being a writer is me too. Now I want to be fully committed. I want to take classes on writing and seek out agents and publishers. I want to make my dream a reality. Hell, I made living in Japan a reality. I am teaching in a class now due to my determination. I want to say the same for my writing.
My purpose is not just teaching, but writing as well. But the sad part is that I can never say this. Not without the rejection of others. So I’ll do it alone, in secret, in my own way.
I doubt that I can make changes.
I doubt that I can do my best.
I doubt better things wait for me in the future.
I doubt if I will be here in the future.
I’m being crushed under the weight of terrible thoughts and disappointment.
I’m being suffocated under the weight of my insecurities and loneliness.
I feel helpless
overwhelmed and underwhelmed with life
I cannot be stronger because of how weak I feel
what more can I do?
what can I do that I haven’t done before?
if nothing changed then, what can I truly expect now?
pointless and petrified I sit here with nothing to ponder
but my own demise
my own self loathing
wallowing in self sympathy