Jess Gatsby

Love is love is love…



A halt to reality

In all honesty, I used to think I was a very intelligent person. I grew up being told just that. Days were just tests to see if I could pass again and again, and I did. More on the scale of paper exams than social ones. But is any of that real? We see a shift in focus nowadays.


The light is always pink and purple over the lake in the mornings, barely visible through the blinds that I put up a little for the cat. It is hard to lift out of bed on the days that I have to work, sleep making my eyes hard to open, pounding in the front of my head making it hard to focus. The air has not been as damp recently as it is in the summer but still clings to me most mornings.


This morning is different. I feel lighter, though my head is still uneasy.


Yes, I know it’s the air.


It was filling with water now, as I got up, the lamp and the book were drifting away from the nightstand. My sheets were damp and swirling just above the bed as I dressed. I wasn’t trudging through the water as I walked around, readying myself for the day ahead. The water was all around, tinted a blue and green, but I moved quite freely. If it kept this up though, filling the world like a watering can, maybe getting to work was going to be difficult.


I pulled my coat on, the weather was cold today. Leaving the apartment, key in the lock, I looked over at the lake again. Just above the surface, a fog hung, blurring the lines of the boats that floated there. Kayaks from my neighbors. I never saw anyone use them, but they sat there blurred with the morning. I had half a mind to wave at them.


Driving to work was quicker than usual, maybe the other car’s drivers were still in bed afraid of being caught in the cold. The sky was pink and purple and blue, and full of light in a melancholy way. The twilight of the morning was playing the blues in the clouds and the road- well the ramp onto the road- drove up, high up, through these theaters in the sky like it wanted me to take the show with me. I stuck a hand out of the window and tossed a rose at the performers because the smoothness of the music was making me cry.


Wiping a tear from my cheek I pulled into my parking spot. I started parking closer to the front of campus because it was hard for me to get out of bed in the morning and this made me less late. I threw my bag over my shoulder and grabbed my coffee that tastes like sweet cream and heaven and walked the cement sidewalk up to the front of the library. The steps I took up the stairs clicked with the heels of my shoes and every step of the three floors I climbed spoke back to me.


Yes, I know it is too early for this. The coffee helped.


At my desk the words from the stories in the books on the cart were already loud, speaking and shouting in all different accents and using different vocabularies. Telling them to be quiet wasn’t an option, they didn’t have any ears. They just had words. I put in my headphones and tuned into silence or static or music, it’s a little fuzzy, to be honest. I worked with the books, calming them down a little and they were quieter and quieter until they were ready to be taken downstairs.


This trip was something else, to go down in the monsters instead of the stairs. I am not usually afraid of elevators, but these elevators are not usual ones. They were loud and shaky and if you didn’t pet them just right they would bite you. Not with their mouth, but with their words.


“You aren’t as smart as you think you are.” They say sometimes. I try not to listen, the books talk enough to me anyway. “Men don’t like you. You are ugly.”


Yes, I know, but I like it that way.


The books don’t normally defend me, but it’s fine. By the time they would have had a word in, I am already dropping the cart off and I set out for my morning walk. I stroll past the circulation desk hoping to go unnoticed, but the skeleton’s for the medical students notice me and climb and clamber over the desk to join me. They love being taken outside on colder mornings, it lets them air out their bones. The skeleton with the head on likes to talk a lot. The one without a head plays music sometimes, but not today. Today, he wanted to hold my hand.


“You look lovely today.” The skeleton with a head said.

I didn’t reply. It was best to not encourage him.

“How was your weekend?” He asked.


He always caught the eye of a few students on campus whenever we went out together. This morning was no exception. Students and staff walking by would turn their heads to look at my companions, some snickered and laughed at my expense, but it wasn’t worth it to tell them that everyone has skeletons in their closets, some are just more real than others. The pastors and hippies and monks at the booths that littered the walkway on crowded mornings sometimes spoke out to me, telling me different things about my bony, skin-less friends.


“If you come to me you will be saved,” they all say in different ways, but when this happens the skeleton without a head would start playing music and it took my mind off things. There was no one speaking to me today, which I preferred. Everything else is so loud. The skeleton with a head pointed out the clouds and the sky and the sun, and how colorful everything looked on a chilly day, not faded by the heat which is normally so oppressive. He went on and on about the way the colors of the trees and the buildings and the people painted such amazing mosaics, fitting the colors perfectly but imperfectly into a pattern that made sense and didn’t make sense. I did agree with him, but I let him explain and I just listened. The skeleton without a head was still holding my hand and squeezed it a little but there was no way to tell if this was a good thing. The skeleton with a head was still talking, talking, talking, and the skeleton without a head squeezed my hand harder and pulled me. I stopped walking and I could hear trumpets and jazz music playing from somewhere in the distance, maybe the trees this time.


I turned around to see where the sound was coming from and there was nothing. No color, no buildings, no people. Well, there were buildings, but not like before. They were grey and broken and cracked and the sidewalk was full of holes and covered with vines and leaves and this black soot that spread up into the air forming miasma. I covered my mouth with my sleeve and tried to breathe in, but it got caught in transit and I could only stare at the mess of the world behind me. The grass was overgrown and unkempt and in places, I thought I saw boots or jacket sleeves sticking out from the chaotic underbrush.  


The jazz kept on playing like it was an old nightclub or hipster cafe, and I looked to the skeletons to see if they were just as in awe as I was. It was hard to tell since the skeleton with a head had no expression and the skeleton without a head didn’t have a face. They were both quiet though. The air around us was filling with debris and darkening ever so slightly. I felt a tug at my sleeve on the arm that the skeleton without a head was not holding onto. I looked down and saw a lightning bug. Strange, we don’t have those here in the south. And definitely not in the winter. The bug had a pen and was writing something on my hand. I waited patiently since that is the polite thing to do. When he was done, I looked at what he wrote.




Yes I know, I was just thinking that.


I turned and the world shifted back into focus again, with the blue sky and all, and the jazz had stopped or had turned into laughter. The skeleton with a head told me it was time to head back to the office, so we did. The skeletons climbed back over the counter to re-hang themselves on the stands and wait to be checked out and I climbed back up the three flights of stairs to the office.


Climbing the stairs the heels of my shoes were quiet and the world seemed to still.


Sitting at my desk again, a new cart of books was whispering away, waiting to be opened and heard. They were more tempered than those before. I tried to remember the last time it was this quiet. The pipes in the walls for the water in the bathroom started to sing for a minute or two, but the books were speaking so softly it didn’t even bother me.



Hey guys

Hey guys, I put two new listings on my Etsy, I there is a digital print and the original piece. Here is the link to the digital print!

All the money I make from my Etsy immediately goes toward paying off my student loans, so anything you buy really helps out. 

Etsy Shop

I started an Etsy

Hey guys, I know it has been a little while but I wanted to share my new Etsy shop on this platform.


jessgatsby’s etsy

I just finished my masters program and I am looking for a job, but in the meantime I would like to start paying off my student loans. My goal is to pay off all my student loans in the next two years. So instead of asking for money with nothing to give in return I started an Etsy.

On my Etsy, which is just called jessgatsby, I will be uploading watercolor prints for download and a “print and story,” which is the print for the month and a story to go with it. I will also be selling the original watercolor prints. Every month I plan on adding a new print that goes with a theme for that month.

Please take a look at this month’s listings, the theme is “Dreamy New Year”. I am hoping that you will see something you like and help a girl out with her loan payments at the same time! All the money I make from this shop is just going to paying off loans.


Thank you as always,


Never Meant to Know

Hey guys, I know it has been a little while.


I wanted to post something I have been working on. I hope you like it.


Never meant to know.

The sun was barely peeking up from over the horizon. The orange and purples of the world shone over the mountains and trees and there was a large lake that reflected the scene and the sky back at us. The wind took my breath away as we hovered over the area, like a bird ready to take to her nest. I had never seen anything like this before. The world seemed so peaceful here, as if nothing bad had ever happened. As if life were simple and easy and there were no horrors to fear. The mountains and trees look inviting over the lake, who was beautiful and ominous in a natural, wild way. I wanted to touch the top of the water, walk through the trees, devour the mountain. This place was like a drug, and I wanted it, to take it all in.

All this and Eddie was disinterested, as seemed Cole and Everett. Nico’s mouth was open slightly- something that did not escape the others. I hope I didn’t look as stupid as he did, though the sight was captivating to me as well. I wanted to tell him to close his mouth, but I knew I didn’t have to. We couldn’t hear much over the blades of the chopper, even with the headsets on. I made out Everett mentioning something about appearances, he was always the one to put us in check.

The men looked strange here, in this natural place.

They looked too stoic in the suits and ties.

I am still confused about why, but I knew this trip was important. Reader, these events during training rarely made sense to me. I didn’t understand how seeing this made me a gentleman, but it was a welcome break from all the poking, prodding, and pruning that was going on back at the Society.

There I felt like an animal. Here I felt like a free one.  

“What is this all about?” Nico had mentioned before we boarded the helicopter that morning, at an hour that no one should be getting out of bed.

“Inner peace,” Cole smirked.

“Experience,” Everett shot back.

Eddie had laughed- “Enjoy the ease of this. It isn’t often we get a break.”

Waking up early didn’t feel like a break at the time.

Now I understood.




Monday Morning.

I  was sitting on my bed, waiting for the message that would signal what my tasks were for the day. My wife lay behind me, still sleeping. She was snoring softly, something she is embarrassed by, but I find it cute.

The sun had not risen yet, but the morning was already warm and sticky. People think living here is a vacation, but most days it is like you are walking through soup. Hot and wet.

I was still waiting when I heard her stir behind me. I felt arms wrap around my waist, and her cheek pressed against my back.

“Has he told you where you are going today?” She asked in a groggy voice.

“Not yet, I am still waiting.”

“Oh, he is such a dick.” She said, kissing the middle of my back. Such a way with words.

My phone buzzed in my hands. It was him.

“Finally.” She said. “Where are you off to today?”

I read the message.

“Fuck.” I started. “I’m not sure.”

The messages were always so vague.


Jess Gatsby

My first to last kiss.


I remember the first time we kissed. You were younger and I was too, but it was a mistake and I left you the next day.

I remember the time we didn’t kiss and you reminded me about it years later and I regretted not taking my chance.

I remember the first time we kissed. You were my crush for a year and I was shaking like crazy and your lips were really soft. Even now my face flushed thinking about you. And I am not sorry for that, but I am sorry for the things I put you through.

I remember kissing you for spin the bottle, but I don’t remember the kiss.

I don’t remember the first time we kissed, but I remember falling asleep on your shoulder, the day where what I thought was hate turned to something good. I do remember the last time we kissed though. I remember running off to hide, pretending it was nothing. I think you will be in my heart forever. I remember I thought I would marry you one day, oh, and then get divorced of course.

I remember a lot of our kisses, and how they were comfortable but nothing more. I remember your hugs and your laugh and your hands and the way you played piano for me. I remember hurting you more than I have ever hurt anyone before and that is my biggest regret, the thing I would go back and change if I could because you were such a good friend to me.

I remember trying to kiss you on the cheek and then you turned your head and that was the most awkward thing that has ever happened to me.

I remember kissing you and hugging you, but not where we started or where we ended.

I remember the first time we kissed, I thought I was hot shit. You were so cool and a big guy and I was a no one that you noticed. When did you first see me? I know it was before you let on.

I remember the first and last time we kissed. We made out for an hour in my bed. It was pretty cool.

I remember the first time we kissed. You were scared and I thought that was funny because I am not a nice person sometimes. I think we would have lasted longer if you acted your age. I think we would have lasted longer if I was kinder. I love that we are still friends.

I remember our first kiss like it happened a million times. I remember all the kisses after, I remember the hugs, the hand holding, the loving. I remember the butterflies in my stomach when I knew I would see you. I remember when you asked me to marry you, and how scared you looked and how you already knew I would say yes. I remember the day you almost left me, and all the days after. I remember all the nights we spent together, and all the ones we were forced to spend apart. I remember the first time you said I love you, and I remember the first time you meant it. I remember the first time I said I love you, and I remember meaning that more than I have ever meant anything before. I remember last weekend and how you are fed up with your job. I remember more about you than I even remember about myself. I remember these things as glitter of my life, and when I remember them my eyes sparkle. I remember the last time you kissed me was this morning as I lay in bed and you left to work. As I am writing this, I can’t wait for your return so I can kiss you again.

-Jess Gatsby

Image Credit

My love says to me. . .

“I think the most important thing for me is to see you smile,” He said.

His face was turned up toward the sun. It was hard to look at him, for the light was bright and my eyes were weak. I didn’t reply, because he had said this before in a different way.

“You know, I think the worst thing in the world to me would be…”

I didn’t hear him. I have heard this before. It wasn’t what he was saying that was important, but the sound of his voice. Everything he said to me I knew was true, so why listen again?

Honestly, I just love to hear him speak.


-Jess Gatsby


Hey guys, sorry for the lengths of time between my posts. Life has been super crazy. Hope you enjoy this little slice of heaven.

Wish you were here…


“No, a clock fell on him.”

“Well, it was just a clock.”

“A grandfather clock.”


I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but the one man was on fire. They were both wearing suits, their long hair was tied at their necks. They had been shaking hands for a while now.


“He hasn’t been dead long.”


I wanted to get up to ask how the man on fire wasn’t burning. He didn’t seem to be in pain and his skin, clothes, and hair seemed untouched by the flames. I tried to sit up but there was something pinning me to the floor.


“Well, who gets him?” The man that wasn’t on fire asked.

“Only time will tell.” The burning man laughed.

“Oh, that’s not funny.”


-Jess Gatsby


Hey guys. It’s been awhile. Here is some flash fiction that was inspired by Pink Floyd.

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