Friday, November 5, 2010

Journal Entry from April 23rd, 2004

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 cliché, the blocked writer, high as fuck, desperately trying to write something with glow, the night before a deadline. But as a cliché it felt full and useful. She had even gone to McDonalds to get ice cream, it was sitting in the freezer. It was like being in high school again, that awful rush of power the night before a paper was due. But it seemed necessary.

What was also necessary was the creation of something beautiful tonight. True, she did have to read something tomorrow night, but even that wasn’t the real deadline. It was nights like this when she would sit outside and feel that if she didn’t write something that moment, then she would sell her computer and give it all up forever. Balance was maintained with nights like this.

So tonight she was here, at the desk, “Variations on a Rococo theme for cello and orchestra” blasting in her ears. 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 began to type. She wasn’t entirely sure what she typing, but it sounded good, the words seemed thick and firm. Sometimes she could almost smell the difference between good and bad, it evoked an olfactory reflex. Good words smelled like tangerine and mango, with a base of gold and jewels all wrapped up in dark black velvet. Bad words smelled like steel rooms, white hallways, romance novels in waiting rooms that have recently been cleaned with Clorox. That got her thinking 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. It gave her the most intense feeling of comfort, thinking about those designer rooms, she pictured houses in Nantucket with wide porches, kitchens in Minnesota with red flowered curtains, wicker love sofas with white lacy pillows on sun porches filled with ferns 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.

All these things she thought about while she was mindlessly typing, and more things too, like soft serve ice cream, dreams about chickens, murder by being stabbed in the neck with a pen, random ims that would pop up, because she couldn’t spend any time on the computer with being signed on to AOL.

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.

Tonight she had sat in her backyard, preparing to write desperately, when a vision struck her. 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. 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 heartfelt 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.


  1. "Good words smelled like tangerine and mango, with a base of gold and jewels all wrapped up in dark black velvet. Bad words smelled like steel rooms, white hallways, romance novels in waiting rooms that have recently been cleaned with Clorox."


    Absolutely beautiful story. Oh the number of days and nights I spent dreaming those same dreams. If only... if only... then she would understand. Then her eyes would be opened. Then her heart would pour out love like warm maple syrup.

    Thank you.

  2. *sigh*

    "She had gone at her nostalgia with a pair of scissors..."

    Can I borrow those scissors?

  3. You three are always so sweet.
    But only one of you made me a ukulele video.

  4. I'm just waiting for the REALLY DRUNK POST for that.


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