“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”

Donald L. Vasicek
First North American Serial Rights
About 600 words

Maybe it was the Mayan symbol for sun tatoo just down
over your rounded, smooth shoulder. Or the sleeveless,
flower print dress garnished with those white, little
daisies against the background of the navy blue cloth, that sort of
of clung on your hard body like a sack. I don’t know what
caused it.

I know I watched your breasts heaving against the
flowers, behind the cloth each time you took a breath. I
knew they were there.

And as you talked, I watched your smooth lips, like
quarters of fresh peach slices, cause some magic. Yes,
it was magic that day.

Up and until then, I always thought of you
as sweet, young and in China. I wanted to help you like I
do Panther now that the embolism took away most of his
right hind leg.

You know, sort of a be-there-all-the-time-guy to catch
you when you fall, I guess. Who in the hell knows? Well,
shit, I know and I’m bleeding to death because of it.

I walk the halls of life like a paper cup blowing
across a parking lot. First, I shoot off like a rocket.
Then, I pause. I wait. I need an attack. And something
comes along and pushes me so violently I zig zag and bump
up and down.

Then, just as brutally, I’m sucked up into this vacuum
and whipped like cream. I fly from side-to-side and drift
up into the air like God gave me a gentle shove. Finally, I
flutter to the asphalt parking lot and a Humvee runs over

Since that day I’ve been a stranger to myself.
It was the words you spoke that day. It was how you
spoke them. It was how you talked limitlessly, unguarded,
secure, happy and confident in yourself. You burrowed into
me with your shyness tapping your finger just above your
mouth on the right side. Your words. Your unruffled face.
The sparkle of your blue eyes against your pristine black,
so black, wavy, soft hair, mauled me. And yet, your hair
was sort of a rust color like Panther’s sheer black coat
when a sliver of sun slices across him like it did to you
across the table from me that day.

It’s a dichotomy, you know. Faultless black with a
wedge of rust in it. Nothing is perfect, or is it?
It were as though I changed from one minute to
the next that day. We met for lunch just like we had all
those times before. To talk film. Books. To talk
writing. Politics. Denver. Columbine. Jeff. Moving to
LA. The Women In Film Group. Your dad. Your mom.
Juney and Anthony. Baltimore. Your script.
My script. My, my, my.

And when you pushed the salad into your mouth, you
know, the lettuce, the tomato, the cabbage, the sprouts,
the sunflower seeds, the carrots, the cucumbers and the
pinch of vinegar and oil, I watched you like I beheld THE
CIDER HOUSE RULES. They sort of folded into each other and
disappeared somewhere inside of you.

It was like reading an Elmore Leonard novel. I couldn’t
wait to get to the next word, the next sentence, the next
paragraph, the next page, the next chapter and the end of
the book. Even though I was working my ass off immersed in
you without even realizing it, the essence of your being
permeated my subconscious mind. It nailed the fortress of
your sum and substance into me. I was hammered into a
consciousness that twisted my life around like a corkscrew.

Before that day, I perceived you as a sweet, young
woman who was bright, worldly, naive about the film
business and your heart, and attractive. I never gave one
thought to loving you. Not one thought before that day.

You were too genuinely nice to me. Too innocent-like. So,
so delightful. You accepted me for who I was. A
writer/filmmaker. Mostly positive, pleasant, but a pariah.

A renegade. I spoke like one about how we treat animals
and how we should treat animals. And about guns and
Charlton Heston and how I wondered if I should send him a
card of praise everytime someone was killed by a gun or
when he read the BIBLE on PBS. Somehow, it reminded
me when I first noticed that our town mayor was
someone who murdered animals and he went to
church every Sunday. How can that be?

You laughed. Just laughed and looked into my eyes.

I’m still not sure if you agreed or disagreed with me. The
thing that probably riveted me to you more than anything
else was how closely you and I were able to talk with each
other. We were able to be our human selves.

Isn’t that remarkable? It made me feel as though
we were one. Since then, I haven’t been able to
think about anything or anyone else except you.
Well, maybe, except Panther and my writing.

How can this be, darling? You’ve gone off with some
handsome dude, a good guy, and I saw you being pregnant,
and I didn’t even get to tell you that I love you.

“Annabelle, My Love”

First, just a slight sound. Sort of I’m frightened,
but I want to do this. Not in words, but her eyes,
there a murky green with rounded pupils as large
as dimes.

They shed love on me. “Please, help me. Please,
I want to die.”

I leaned down to her ear. “Annabelle, I love you.
I will always be with you.”

She suddenly felt warm next to my hand on her
shoulder. Emaciated, six years old, and dying.
I stroked her. I nodded to Dr. Green.

She removed a needle from her white smock,
in one of those large pockets.

“I love you, Sweety. I’ll always love you. I
will always be with you.”

It happened in a short second, or less. Dr.
Green slipped the tip of the needle into a
catheter on Annabelle’s right leg, which was
wrapped in a royal blue cloth. Dr. Green
pushed her thumb on the butt of the needle

I looked at Annabelle. Her eyes looked at me.
Then, she died. Her eyes, frozen in death,
stared at me. No breathing now.

Her shoulder, skin and bone, some black and
white hair, quiet and dead now.

Where was I to go without Annabelle? Home,
I decided. That’s where she wanted to go, I
knew. I buried her under the cherry tree in
the shade, one of her favorite places.

It is so quiet without Annabelle. Who can I
turn to now? Annabelle’s eyes instructed me
to follow the bright star in the East, Venus, I
believe, someone named it that. She said that
is where you will find your direction “without me.”

“Go there. It will give you information you do
not now have. It will give you information that
you can utilize.”

When I looked at Venus the next morning at
4 a.m., during my run, I saw my life in front
of me. It was clear.


For each of us in our time, there are major life
turning points. There is a break in the energy
wave patterns and complete change results.
Everything is affected this change in flux; some
things to a lesser degree than others. Examples
would be: 1. A traumatic situation or tragedy,
such as the death of a loved one. 2. A religious
conversion. 3. A point in therapy when
something clicks and from that time on the
patient begins to get well. 4. A mother giving
birth to a baby. The lesson is to learn to take
advantage of these new beginnings.

This is Annabelle’s legacy to me.

I let go of Annabelle. I am writing, something I haven’t
done to any great extent for eight years
since I began “The Sand Creek Massacre”
film project. Although there is a physical void
without Annabelle, she is with me…always.