semi-story: Common Denominator

Angry. Frustrated. Cold. Sad. Lonely.


Tears roll down her cheeks as she sits in her small studio in midtown Manhattan. Her apron is covered in hues of blue, green, and grey; the brush still in her hand. Joo-Eun Wasyl: the daughter of a Korean mother and Ukrainian father. Large brown almond-shaped eyes, blonde hair, and medium complexion draw unwanted attention to her on trains, buses, and busy busy sidewalks that epitomize the city. The city that only dares to sleep with open eyes, if at all.

She tilts her head back onto the cushion of the purple couch and closes her eyes. The tears begin to dry and leave heavy heavy black lines on her dark cheeks. The only remnants of emotion left on her face are jagged lines from the once perfect mascara. Her breathing calms. The three-handed face near the white white curtain reads 2AM. It’s been a long week of painting away the nightmares. Finally, a surrender as she lets the brush fall from her fingers and onto the hard wooden floor. The sound doesn’t bother her. She just allows her empty mind to pull her away from an unreal reality and into unknown depths of an undiscovered waterway.


There’s something after Joo-Eun. She turns. Her body is stuck in slow motion as she tries to get away from something coming after her. It’s small and shiny. She can barely make out the round shape. It’s too dark and the sand under her feet is too cold. She tries to yell, but no sound comes out of her lips. Silence. Slowly, distant marimba rhythms begin to call out to her. Joo-Eun can hear them, but they seem so far. It doesn’t make sense. Where is it coming from?

Slowly, she begins to open her eyes. Her mind only remotely taking in the surroundings. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out her phone. Still not quite awake, her thumb automatically hits the green button. Her hand pulls the phone towards her ear.

“Hey, what’s up?” Joo-Eun mumbles into the receiver.

“Uh, hi-” the voice cracks into small uncontrollable sobs and deep breathing.

“Amie? Are you okay?”

The sobs continue as Joo-Eun sits up straight in her chair–her heart beginning to skip beats.

“I-uh-I’ll call you bac-,” again Amie’s voice breaks.

Joo-Eun holds the phone to her ear for several more minutes. There is nothing on the other side. Not a sound. She finally hangs up the phone and throws it on the bed behind her.

Amie Field: the closest thing to a friend that Joo-Eun has and has had for a very long time. They met during their years at Fordham University and neither of them thought of moving out of the city after graduation. It had become their home. Then again, neither of them thought to live together either. Two strong personalities with Joo-Eun’s very private nature–the clash just would not be pretty.

Joo-Eun stops thinking about what could possibly be wrong. Maybe it’s nothing. She stands up and heads towards the bathroom. A long bath always does the trick.

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