patent mary jane

names and their aesthetics

Auguste: salted caramels, trying to remember the dream you just woke up from

Isabelle: the feeling you used to get when you heard an ice cream truck in the distance, sleeping in

Zoe: worn out sneakers and loops in roller coasters

Esmé: soft hands, the sound of an audience’s applause the moments after you finish performing and are still on stage

Emma: humidity after summer rain and wearing a knit spaghetti strap top with no bra underneath

Ruth: peppermint candies and racing heart beats

Kaia: blurry vision under water, a maroon beret worn over tightly curled hair

Skylar: velvet chokers, black patent leather mary janes, starless nights

Anna: red chinese silk dresses, a thin gold chain bracelet

Ella: doves, thick black eyeliner, “Midnight The Stars And You” by Al Bowlly

5SOS. Black Balloon

Not sure how I feel about this. Let me know.

Her tears acted like adhesive, sticking stray brown hairs to her face as she pulled her palms down her cheeks and over her chin in rhythm with the sniffles she couldn’t control. Daphne Hood hadn’t the slightest idea what composure was, but she was still trying to keep herself from bursting into a fit of hysterics again. Her patent Mary Janes swung above the dirty ground below, cement covered in shallow muddy water and broken twigs, and she tried to count the dots from her fallen tears on the end of her tartan tunic, but she couldn’t count higher than eight as it was and it only made Daphne feel worse. The bench bit at her butt, freezing her extra short legs, but she held her breath that the sound of tires coming closer, crashing through puddles, would belong to one of her parent’s cars. She just wanted to go home. It hadn’t been an enjoyable day of Kindergarten at all and Daphne had such high hopes for the whole day considering they were learning about reptiles, mammals, and amphibians so they were allowed to bring their favorite stuffed animal from home to talk about what kind of animal it was. She had packed a large stuffed goldfish with her because it reminded her of her pet at home, Blubber 2 (the second coming to her original goldfish, Blubber). Instead, the day had taken a sharp turn for the worst right before clean up time and now she couldn’t recall a single pleasant thing that happened all day. Daphne had even forgot that Matilda McFarlane brought cheese slices and Granny smith apples for snack time and let Daphne have four slices of cheese when everyone else just had two.

Calum emerged from behind the wheel of his car with both hands waving in front of him, apologies pouring from his mouth like rain had been coming down from the charcoal sky only an hour ago. He jogged around the back of his still running vehicle and over to his little girl, the last Kindergarten kid to be picked up, sitting with her hands on her face while her teacher stood, tapping at the nonexistent watch on her wrist.

“Mrs. Hood is never late.” Her voice was as coarse as the material of Daphne’s uniform, thick and itchy, as she addressed Calum, who had dropped down to one knee to help Daphne into her neon rain coat which he had remembered to bring with him.

Calum debated reminding Daphne’s teacher that he and his partner were merely that, common-law partners, and not actually married, she still went by her maiden name, but he decided against it. He had put himself on her black list today as it was and he wasn’t interested in moving upward on the list.

“I know.” Nodding, he stood up after Daphne was zipped into her jacket. He held out his hand for her to hold, but she barely let her fingers hang off the pads of his. She was still sniffling, causing Calum to stare down at her with great concern. “The day was a little chaotic,” He lied. “I’m sorry again. It won’t be routine.” He promised. Calum wasn’t used to Daddy duty. He had just only returned home a couple days ago and was adjusting to the new schedule. Usually, Daphne’s mom was the one who was in the charge of the school runs and grocery shopping. He had volunteered for the week to give his beautiful partner a break, but so far, he was failing miserably at filling in. He felt like one very ill-prepared understudy. “Is everything okay?” After trying to earn Daphne’s attention with his thick furrowed brows, Calum threw his head back up to ask her teacher, but she was waving goodbye to Daphne already, her tiniest and most soft spoken student.

With Daphne’s backpack over one of his shoulders, he lightly held her hand to where his car was right outside the door and helped her climb into her booster seat in the back. He felt like he would have only been five minutes late if he had remembered the lock it into his car in the first place.

“How was school, kiddo?” Pulling out of the school roundabout, he asked loudly, over the ballad playing on the radio while glancing in the mirror with his large black licorice eyes to see her still sniffling. Daphne’s bottom lip quivered furiously while she gasped to catch her breath. “I’m sorry I was late picking you up. It was an accident.” He didn’t know why that would set her off this much. It wasn’t as if Calum was known for being punctual. Most of his life someone else kept him on schedule.

As soon as Calum had apologized again though, Daphne’s sniffles stopped for a full second only to be replaced by full-on wailing. Her head was thrown back causing her bouncing ponytail to be squished against the leather of the car’s interior as she threw her arms around herself as if she was turning herself into a  pint-sized straight jacket. Calum hadn’t seen Daphne cry with such passion since she was a newborn and had no other means to communicate. Her mouth was wide open and, while she could barely breathe, she was able to shout loud enough to give a siren a run for it’s money.

He knew he should keep his eyes on the road, but he tried to steer straight while checking in on Daphne in the backseat, glancing over his shoulder with a frantic jerk of his head followed by trying to study her through the mirror in front of him.

“Daphne, I can’t help if you won’t talk to me…” He tried to reason with her. “You got to stop crying.” Calum suggested, a sing-song tone in his voice covering just how uncertain he felt. “Use your words.” It almost pained him to quote Ashton. He had heard the drummer use that expression constantly, mostly with his son, Connor.

“Daddy….” Whining, Daphne kept crying, tears rushing from her panda eyes and into her mouth. She swallowed them all like little drops of liquid sugar, smacking her lips together as they glossed over them. “I’m so sad.” Her very tiny hands smacked the center of her face, bringing Calum’s pout and attention to her through the mirror, before she blew her nose directly into her bare palms.

Calum grimaced at the noise, knowing full well he didn’t have a single napkin in his car as he was trying to go without fast food for a while now that he was on a break from tour life, “Here.” He rummaged through the glove compartment, straining his arm, and pulled out a crumpled up old gas receipt before handing it over to his sad little pea. “Did you have a bad day, Daph?”  Sympathetically, he asked, but Calum felt confident he knew her answer before she started nodding her head. Daphne aggressively wiped her hands with the bill and then carefully laid it beside her, by her school bag, in the backseat.

“Do you want a sundae?” Just like that, his fast food free life was finished. He was already clocking out the fastest way to reach the nearest McDonalds. “Yeah?” He looked over his shoulder again to catch her sheepishly nodding into her neck. “Do you think you’d feel better after that?” Calum was sure that somewhere in some psychology book it would advise him not to use food as an emotional tool, but right now, all he wanted was to make his daughter happy and chocolate had worked before.

“I don’t know.” Whimpering, Daphne knocked her head from one shoulder to the other.

While Calum neared the tasty destination, he wondered if he should have called his partner, let her know that he was treating Daphne to an ice cream sundae before dinner time. He knew that as soon as he brought the little crybaby home that you would know something was up, but before he could come to any conclusion on what to do he was in the drive-thru line, pulling up to the speaker.

“You want chocolate, right?” It seemed pointless to ask, but Calum checked in with Daphne anyway as she inhaled very deeply behind him. He couldn’t help, but think about her small heart, probably beating way too fast in her undersized chest.

“Yes. Lots. Please.” For a moment, Daphne stopped everything in both her heart and head that were causing her to be in such a frenzy and looked straight into her Dad’s eyes that looked just like her own and made sure he had her order correct. Chocolate was not a game to the kindergartner. As soon as Daphne’s attention was back at the hem of her uniform, Calum allowed a small scoff out of his mouth, humored by her seriousness. He ordered her a small chocolate sundae and made sure to emphasize to the McDonald’s employee to go heavy on the fudge syrup and then, for himself, asked for a Big Mac and medium fries. As soon as he was told to go to the first window, he figured he would keep this McDonald’s visit a secret between himself and Daphne. He didn’t know just how his partner would feel about him having had a pre-dinner.

“So, are you ready to talk about your bad day, Daph?” Turning down the radio between messy bites of his burger, Calum tried. He hadn’t heard a single sound from his previous dramatic daughter since he handed her the cold snack. His eyebrows slid upward as he held onto hope that she would began to mumble out the truth behind her sadness, but instead Daphne just began to sniffle again, this time into her plastic cup of ice cream. He stopped at the red light and turned to face her, fudge sauce staining her crispy white blouse underneath her tunic as well as the bottom half of her face. Internally, he cursed at himself for not asking the girl at the restaurant window for extra tissues. “Daphne…” Sounding a bit like his own mum did back when she would try to coax him out of his own mood, Calum warned from behind the wheel. He slid through the green light, the last stop before they would be in front of their home.  

“I am sad.” Tripping over her bottom lip, Daphne blubbered before licking a delicious spoonful of ice cream off the back of her plastic spoon. “School was mean.”

He knew that his daughter was struggling with the basics of reading and writing, but he had never heard her vocalize it at all. She still played as much as she ever did at home when she was in school. Every day throughout the week it seemed as if there was a new bright picture on the fridge that she had colored with smelly markers herself.

“What happened?” Pulling into the driveway, Calum continued to try and coax her problem out of her.

“Chloe said…and…” Her mouth froze open while her nose bunched up, Daphne was on the verge of spilling both of her tears and ice cream all over herself. Calum reached around, once his seat belt was off, and clutched the ice cream cup, saving her uniform from the stains.

“Chloe said?” He maneuvered the treat carefully while getting out of the car. Calum left it on top of the hood and opened up Daphne’s door, smiling at her as she started to unlock herself from the seat. It gave him just enough time to grab her backpack and try to remember which classmate was Chloe. For the life of him, Calum couldn’t place a face to the name.

Daphne took up the driveway like it was a mountain, hiking with deep bends in her knees, and then waiting in front of the garage door for her Dad to catch up. Calum glanced up at the gray sky, praying it wouldn’t rain anymore, before reaching with ease over Daphne’s head and plugging in his garage code with the ice cream still in his hand.

“Daphne, you have to finish.” He reminded her, certain that she had already forgotten they were in the middle of an important conversation. She ran into the garage, her mother’s car nowhere to be seen, and rushed to the door that allowed her into her home. “You said Chloe said something…”

“She said…” Gasping, Daphne was sitting right in front of the door, a road block for Calum to walk around, and was trying to rip her shoes right off of her small feet. “That you don’t like me and that’s why you go away all the time…” She mumbled quietly, almost talking to herself. With one shoe still on her person, Daphne climbed up and began to walk over to her Dad, holding up both her hands for her ice cream. She was going to go sit at the kitchen and eat it right on the counter next to her goldfish.

“Daphne!” Calum was quick to snap. He stepped out of his sneakers fast as if they were keeping him from rectifying the situation and putting his little girl’s worries to bed. “Daphne, you know that isn’t true.” He handed her the sundae and with his hand on top of her messy head of thick hair followed her into the kitchen where he intended to stuff different kitchen clothes into the collar of her shirt to protect the rest of her clothes and then wipe her face clean of all stickiness. “I like you very much. I don’t know why this Chloe girl would say that.” He imagined the girl, like Daphne, was a young child, but it didn’t stop Calum from thinking she was an absolute snobby bitch.

“She is mean. She called me a potato.” Very matter-of-factly, Daphne told him, pulling herself up on the plastic step stool that was just for her and putting her ice cream down first before joining it on the counter.

“Well, Daphne, maybe, you should just avoid her. I’ll talk to your teacher.” As much as he didn’t want to, for Daphne’s happiness, Calum would do anything. “You know that I don’t like to leave you, I hate going away, but it’s my job.” He ran a hand down the back of her head and watched her continue to progress through her treat with sad eyes. “I’m really sorry you were so upset. Did you think that she was right? She isn’t…”

“You go away a lot so I don’t know…” Pouting, Daphne shrugged her shoulders all the way up to the bottom of her chin.

“I always miss you though, Daphne. I wish we could always be together.” The strain in his voice promised as he leaned in to kiss her forehead. He felt one of her hands, cold from the ice cream cup, take the side of his face and before he could pull away, Daphne kissed his nose and smiled.

“Thank you.” She whispered into her ice cream.

“Thank you for telling me.” Straightening up, Calum sighed and let out some of the stress having such an upset child had filled him with.  "And Daphne, when you miss me, whether i’m here and you’re at school, or i’m away on tour, you just call, okay? You can always call me.“

"Can I feed Blubber 2 some sundae?” Daphne had long moved on already from her sadness. Everything was okay now and she had more pressing issues to attend to, like giving her pet fish some calcium.

“No, fish don’t eat ice - ” Calum was weaseling his phone out of his pocket as it had been vibrating for most of the car ride, so when he looked up it was too late. Daphne was already tapping a large spoonful of vanilla into the bowl. All Calum could do was sigh with exasperation clear and accept that he had to clean a fish bowl before answering any of his messages.