From Her Notebooks by Zoë Ruiz #1

Painting by Will Storie
Painting by Will Storie

I was driving and felt like the black sky was opening up. The black sky was becoming vast. Not vast like outer space is vast, vast like the sea. The sky was opening up to show me more black space, to envelope me in that unknowable darkness. Any moment there’d be a large creature with big eyes and long tentacles, reaching for me.  My eyes opened wide, ready to see the creature, but instead a word came to me: Lost. I felt lost. I started crying and the vast unknowable darkness turned back into the black nighttime sky.

My mother left to Colombia for two months and my brother left to Japan for two years. My sister and father live nearby but I stopped talking to them.  I am staying in the house where I grew up. This house on a hill is where we all once lived. We spent every day together for years. Now day after day I spend many hours in the house and it’s not haunted, it’s worse. Everything in the house and the house itself—walls, floor, roof—has absorbed our presence. I’ve decided it’s not me who was abandoned. It’s this place.

My friend who lives far away called me and I put him on speakerphone. After a while, he said, Where are you? It sounds like you are under water. I paused. I thought my friend picked up on my mood just by the pitch of my voice. Then I realized he was only commenting on the bad connection.


Zoe Ruiz is the managing editor of The Rumpus. She studied creative writing at UC Santa Cruz. She curates READINGS, a reading series in Los Angeles.

Will Storie is an artist, actor, director & comedian in New York. His playful, expressive canvases flow from a highly improvised drawing style and a love of color. His full gallery is on display at