Saturday, September 29, 2007

Chapter Three prelude

Last night I went to a girl's birthday party where nobody showed up but two other people. She had a blender, we had brought her a bottle of rum, she had fresh fruit. I spent my evening cutting myself on strawberries and somewhere in between them talking about men and sex, I all of a sudden found myself ranting about Israel and how I can totally be anti-zionist without being anti-semitic, how Iran and anyone else is right to not acknowledge them as a nation, how Iran has the second largest population of jews in the Middle East and no one is KILLING THEM because they don't hate jews, just Israel. Also in there was about the 700 club taking donations from Christians to "adopt" Russian jews to send them "back to their homeland", and how the last Iranian president was way less crazy and its our fault they elected a crazier one who also happens to be right about western politics, just wrong about gays, even though in one of Buddy's gay travel magazines they talked about how Iran was a good travel spot if you only followed certain rules which quite frankly you can probably say about Missouri too. It ended with me being the last one drinking, in the kitchen, explaining how the creation of Israel was one of the most stupid wicked things Western civilization has ever done all because we didn't want the jews in america and russia/poland/france/italy didn't really want them either.

Then I buried my head in Sean's chest and said "and now we're all going to die".

That last part is not true of course. I'm never going to die. I'm just going to deflate, slowly and painfully, and probably not fast enough for some Columbia students.

Also, I have to refrain from a repeat performance of this at Marty and Rebecca's (jewish) wedding next weekend.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Chapter Two

The first thing to say about all of this is that I am not a nice person. Was I born not nice, or raised not nice? That's for you and anyone else to figure out, but not here. The root of the matter is not important, only the effect.

The first not nice thing I can remember doing is feeding my baby sister watercolor paints. I thought that if she ate them, she would piss colors. Which she did. Which freaked the fuck out of my mom. I didn't do this out of any evil intention towards my sister. She was a non-entity to me at that point, a thing that existed in the house, like a couch or a bathroom. I did it because I was curious what would happen. No, thats not true. I knew what would happen, I just wanted to see it happen.

The second not nice thing I did was steal from my mother. First I would look. I couldn't stop looking through her things. And when I found something of hers I wanted, I took it. I didn't think of it as something that belonged to someone else. I thought since I had found it, in this house, it was as much mine as anyone elses.

Now, today, I am not what I would consider a bad person. I know what is the right thing to do in most situations, which came from a childhood of reading Agatha Christie novels and watching public television. I smile and talk to all my co-workers. I buy my friends presents, even when I forget their birthdays and they don't remember mine. When I go to a party, I remember to bring a gift of some sort, a bottle of wine, or a blender. I am very courteous and unfailingly polite and incredibly embittered.

My best friend Allison moved to Australia, and now I never write or talk to her. Not because I don't like her, but because it is inconvenient to my life. My best friend Peter died a few years ago at 28, coincidentally the age I am now. To tell you the truth, I don't know if he was 28 or 29, and I can't even remember his birthday though for years I spent almost every day with him. When he died, I guess I cried, though I can't remember now. But I felt worse about not being there when it happened, sudden heart attack. Because all the rest of his friends saw it and I didn't. And when I think about him now, he is a character that happened to me. He meant a lot to me alive, but even more dead? I can't say that for sure, but I am anxiously awaiting the next death of someone close to me, to see if I feel anything then either.

I could attribute this to no fear of death. But I am afraid of my own death. Just not anybody elses.

I keep wanting to see things. Things that are hidden from me. Things people don't want me to see. Things they are thinking that they won't tell me. Things happening outside of me that I am unawares. I feel very sorry for polar bears, but I accept their extinction as an inevitable conclusion and therefore my heart is softened, but in a Velveteen rabbit sort of way.

I wish this story were about a rabbit. Rabbits have a way of encapsulating all soft human emotions, making them fuzzy, joyful, and neccesary for survival. But I can't write a book about a bunny. I am scared of what would happen to it. I have read Watership Down. As a consequence, I am scared of picking up real rabbits, even pet ones.

So reading this, please keep in mind that while I am a wonderful person to watch your kids, I am exactly the type of woman who should never have kids. I am a wicked witch deprived of my silver shoes, and this is my attempt to reclaim them.

If I was an angel?
I'd be the kind that talked in pretentious riddles.
And gives you weird sidelong looks to make you think you said something stupid.
And I'd make you think I was mad at you all the time until you were in love with me.
And then I'd shoot you.
But only when you finally got the girl.

I'd wear sweaters all the time and glasses to hide my beauty and I'd run around drawing lipstick pictures on cars.
And then I'd send thunderstorms across the country and spell out I love you in lightning.

Cheshire Sphinx: Most of what happens in my life doesn't happen to me.

Chapter One

His dealer was a fat man, over 500 pounds. Randy said he had already lost 200 this year, which meant once he was 700 pounds and couldn't move around the house. And she felt bad that every day she felt self conscious going to the gym, when here was this guy going to the gym every day like he was, with his stomach down to his knees, and she felt that must be an act of bravery equivalent to penetrating into an enemy bunker. He sat on the couch, and didn't get up to say hello, just sat there, phone on one side, x box controller on the other. He was the kind of fat man who was really tall, but so fat that he actually looked like he should be short. His arms were long, and the forearms were skinny. They were scarecrow arms sticking out of his orange t-shirt. His blond fluffy mullet hung like bunny bangs in front of his eyes. Everything on his body seems pulled and pushed apart, he had been gone at with a meat tenderizer and left for spoiled.

The thing was, every time you went over there, you had to hang out a few hours. He didn't like too much traffic. So she had to sit there with Randy and try to look this big boy doll in the face while he was speaking. Only thing was, she knew how bad she was at hiding her thoughts, and she thought for sure that little sneer of disgust trying to be a smile was obvious on her face. So she spent as much of the conversation as she could looking at the back of Randy's head, or staring at the tv screen, which was just the x-box screen and didn't lend much of an excuse.

The whole bag was shake. It made sense, when you sell pounds, then there are large amounts of shake, and he put more in there cause he thought it was for Randy. Also, he spent an hour picking out all the seeds and stems. He really liked Randy.

Everything was in boxes still, he had just moved. She wanted to watch him unpack those boxes, those elephantine thighs rumbling around the room, the mass of skin and suet crawling, a jello lizard behemoth, a late descendant of primeval reptilians. He was a man trapped in liquid suspension.

Later, She sat at the computer desk, headphones on, mug of ice water beside the monitor. She was listening to Tchaikovsky, having bought that day two collections of him, plus one double disk of “50 Classical Performances”, the kind of thing you found cheap that invariably had “Flight of the Bumblebee”, and “The Nutcracker, Op.71.ACT II, Scene III, No.12:Divertissement. Trepak (Russian Dance)”. She realized this was all a cliche, the blocked writer, high as fuck, desperately trying to write something with glow, the night before a deadline. But as a cliche it felt full and useful. She had even gone to McDonalds to get ice cream, it was sitting in the freezer. That also felt useful.

Outside the ghetto birds were buzzing away. The spring night air required a sweatshirt, which was the best kind of air. The blood was rushed to her fingertips, she saw them turn circulatory red, patched with veins, the frosted nail polish gleaming harsh against the swollen skin. She closed her eyes with the cellos and the cars, and began to type. She wasn’t entirely sure what she typing, but it sounded good, the words seemed thick and firm. Sometimes she could smell the difference between good and bad. Good words smelled like tangerine and mango, with a base of gold and jewels all wrapped up in white cotton. Bad words smelled like steel rooms, green hallways, romance novels in waiting rooms that have recently been cleaned with Clorox. She thought about how rooms in the Pledge commercials always looked like they smelled. Gold and rich, with sparkling dust motes in the air, warm from the overpowering sunshine. That comforting summer baked smell. An intense feeling of comfort, thinking about those designer rooms, she pictured houses in Nantucket with wide porches, kitchens in Minnesota with red flowered curtains, patios with golden retrievers and begonias. In every pictures, the pitcher of lemonade on the counter or table, the plate of cookies. The cat sleeping, the small child playing. The perfectly washed floors. The nicely arranged rows of knickknacks, magazines, pots and pans gleaming.

She did this so if he ever decided to talk to her again, he could find her. She did things like that all the time, it was a game she would play with herself. At work she pictured him walking in some day. Outside smoking a cigarette she looked in passing cars trying to see if he was in one. She didn’t know what kind of new car he had, so she would play “What kind of car do I think he would drive” at the bus stop in the morning. But she never once thought about calling him, or writing him another unanswered e-mail. He hadn’t been around at all for months at this point. He had become in her head a storybook character, a memory already stripped of flesh and blood. When she thought about him, it was without a face. The details of the room instead maybe, or sounds. But never him. She had gone at her nostalgia with a pair of scissors, and someday she would throw them all into a mental drawer in the linen closet, to be lost.

Caring about someone is like letting them rent out a piece of your brain. They get this tiny small section, and the longer you know them, the more space they start to take up. So first they add a few light fixtures, some new shrubbery, then all of sudden they're talking about second bathrooms and new garages. When you break off a relationship with someone, friend, family, lover, or otherwise, you're evicting them. Or maybe they break the lease and move themselves, cause they think you're charging too much. Either way, you're stuck with this empty property, and you have to tear most of it down. But the first room they ever had will always still be there, and maybe they scratched something in the woodwork, or cursed it, but you can never ever get another tenant in there. They just don't fit. No matter how much time goes by, you can always just go sit in that room and it will be like they never left. This might seem cynical to some people, but she liked having all those empty rooms in her head, it gave her lots of options. Everyone decorates differently, so it's kind of exciting and eccentric. Sometimes she took her mental typewriter into a certain room and wrote letters to the former tenant that she never sent, because it was familiar and comfortable. But at the same time, it's good to know when to evict them, cause you can't have them taking over the whole goddamn house.

She saw herself calling him on the phone. She saw him answering, and her telling him to listen to what she had written. Then she read him the most beautiful twelve lines in the world, a perfect poem, a rare shining jewel among poems, the kind to make young girls cry and queens fall in love, as if those kind of people had an appreciation for literature. In the vision, she saw herself saying “This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever written, and you had to hear it first.” And he would tell her he loved her. And it would be perfect. A perfect moment. She could even feel the expression she would make on her face. She could see the light in his eyes, hear the Prokofiev in the background. And then she would write a novel based on their lives together, the first time and the second time, and even if it ended badly again, it would still be dreadfully romantic.

So she stopped typing for a minute and read what she had written.

In the beginning
A boy fell in love with a girl. The girl had big black eyes.
The girl who was a kraken said:
In the beginning I was floating in the darkness and the light would dance on my purple skin and I would push myself through the currents on long white arms.
And there was a speck floating in the darkness with me, following my wake, it was a tiny rock. And on this tiny rock were lots of tiny tiny creatures, and they lives tiny tiny lives and they worked hard and died and melted glaciers. And they had a god, his name was God. I could hear him talking to them as I floated along besides. But he never talked to me.
And one day I took a very big gulp and the little rock was swallowed.
God was angry, and he took away my purple skin and he took away my long white arms and he locked me in a tiny shell, with only my big black eyes. And there I stayed for ages and ages, with no light and no dark and no current.

The girl who is only a girl with big black eyes says:
And now I am here.
I sleep with a warm back and ankles entwined.
In the back of my throat there has been a trickle of blood all day. You can't tell when I brush my teeth, but when I bit his arm there was a circle of blood and it wasn't his. I can taste it when I swallow. It’s filling up my stomach. I’m never hungry.
I must be careful not to swallow the world or he will lock me up again. I must be careful.

Beings who can only relate to each other through symbolic representation are doomed to be imaginary forever.