“The smell of her hair, the taste of her mouth, the feeling of her skin seemed to have got inside him, or into the air all around him. She had become a physical necessity.”—1984, George Orwell (via beatboxgoesthump)
“Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.”—Mark Z. Danielewski
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson (via prima-volta)
I met a boy, not today, when I got here. He was standing beside me in the dark and I could barely make his face out. His wide eyed stare met my petrified one. But I met him today, really, and I saw inside his soul. I saw his anger, his frustration. And I heard it crying out for warmth, for peace of mind, for someone not anyone to pick him up and tell him everything will be okay. I know because I want that too and when I say it nothing changes, time wont stop. Reality, yeah maybe that’s the worst part, reality won’t pause or rewind it just keeps dragging you along like a body caught underneath a freight train. And even when you’re screaming and writhing in agony it doesn’t stop. The steam billows out like fog uncertain of where it belongs in relation to the sky. But it just gets absorbed, put back in and you keep screaming, keep fighting to escape but the wheels are moving so fast you’re scared just to put an arm out for fear it might get cut off. So you’re silenced and stuck in terror and fright until someone comes along and notices that your body is caught underneath this machine. Or until you’re screaming so loudly that someone hears. And maybe by the time they untangle you you’ve lost that arm or a leg or maybe you’re all in tact. Just luck I guess. But when you get out and sit for the first time you can’t answer all of their questions because you still think you’re under the train and it takes a moment for this new reality to set in even though it’s safe. But you’ve become so accustomed to the terror and the screaming that you can’t speak now, you don’t know what to say or how to talk without feeling that achy tightness in your chest. “Thank you,” you want to say but you can’t so you just cry. You cry until your eyes won’t give out anymore tears and all of that exertion lulls you to sleep.
“Space?” he replied, just to make sure he really heard it.
“Yeah, space, just me and you.”
“Yeah, you know I’ve always wanted to see the moon up close,” she repeated.
“Okay,” he beamed.
Space, just the two of us, she thought as she pushed the syringe down and lay back, soaked in pure delight. He tightened the strap and gave himself another dose as she sunk into the cheap mattress. Space, he thought, fucking magical. And they were rolling around, laughing and crying as the planets soared above them, stars crashing into the dark room. And the moon was there too. It made her light up. He’d never seen her so happy. They’d never seen anything so beautiful.
That was almost six months ago, and Lisa wished they could go back. She wanted to see the moon and fuck Toby underneath the solar system again. She wanted to feel it again. But it’s August now and she’s bulging out of her own skin.
They’re sitting on the small fire escape outside their bedroom. Lisa’s curled up in the corner, clutching onto an empty can as Toby moves through a brand new pack of Marlboros. He found them on the subway, they’d fallen out of some guy’s pocket and were instantly snatched them up. Temperature reached 113 today, the newscaster screeched through the radio. So, the couple sat, perched on the scorching metal so they didn’t suffocate indoors. It was much worse indoors.
“Stop blowing that in my face,” she snapped at Toby. He looked down and
paused letting the ash build up on the tip of his cigarette.
“You’re so disgusting, you know that?” she barked, angered by his silence. “You’re so fucking disgusting, puffing away on that thing. You know every time I look at you like this I feel like I’m gonna vomit,” she continued.
Lisa could feel the acid climbing up her esophagus and gathering in the back of her throat. But Toby kept his head down, slowly bringing the burning thing up to his mouth and taking a deep breath in.
“How can you keep doing that? You smell terrible. All your clothes, your hair, you smell like dog shit.”
Toby was silent.
“I can’t fucking stand you,” and with that she lowered herself in through the window and sunk into the frayed sofa.
“Fucking asshole,” she muttered out loud even though Toby was somewhere else.
He couldn’t hear her now. He just sat there, silent, lighting one after another until the pack was through. She didn’t know how much more she could take. Her belly was swollen and round and the sight of it disgusted her. Everything disgusted her now. Her ankles were fat, her hands puffy and clammy. Even her face had grown and she could feel her old body rolling around inside, trapped in this cage. She could feel him kick too. The little monster. He kicked and writhed inside her, aching to get out. And god damn it, she wanted him out. She didn’t really want him there in the first place.
Lisa fiddled with the plastic fan but no matter how hard she shook it or twisted the cord it wouldn’t turn on.
“Fucking piece of shit,” she yelled at the thing, slamming it against the wall.
Nothing ever seemed to work in the apartment. This fact upset Lisa and she began a screaming tangent with the fan. But Toby was finishing up with his pack and crawling back through the window. And the fan wasn’t satisfying enough so he became the target of Lisa’s hormone induced rampage and the fan became an object once again. She thrust it towards him, ripping the socket out of the wall and leaving a large gash on the side of his face. He was no longer silent.
“What the fuck Lisa?” he belted, letting his timid voice loose.
“You’re such a low life, all you do is sit around this god damn apartment all fucking day,” and with that Lisa stormed out.
She left Toby and his dripping trail of blood in the stingy bedroom. She needed some air. This was all too much and she couldn’t even look in the mirror anymore. The sight of her bulging body only made things worse.
It had all happened so fast. Toby, the baby. She was in college out West, left the shit hole her parents brought her up in and crossed the coast for college. Lisa was bright and adventurous. She was much bigger than a small Connecticut town, and California gave her exactly what she’d hoped for. She was no longer restless. But, it was the eighties and everyone was doing it. She’d never touched the stuff before. She’d never really done anything but drank a few beers in high school. Connecticut. They didn’t even have anything there. She met Toby at a friend of a friend’s apartment. Scruffy and tall, clad in worn out corduroys and loose t-shirt he was the most handsome thing she’d ever seen. He didn’t look like any of the boys back home. No, Toby was definitely a different breed. And after that night everything changed.
It was halfway through spring semester and Lisa was eager to begin her new life. She’d shed the small town mentality her parents imposed upon her. She no longer woke up on Sundays at 8 am, curling her hair and pulling on her stockings. No, she slept in now, well past noon, and read literature her mother would surely think of as dirty. Madame Bovary was certainly not the kind of woman a good little girl was supposed to admire. But Lisa was fascinated by her newfound freedom and absorbed as much knowledge as her bottomless stomach could take. And on this Saturday evening she found herself trailing along with her room mate to so and so’s house party off campus. Off campus. Now that was an adventure Lisa couldn’t pass up. Only the older students lived off campus. The seniors, the elite, the wealthy, the ones who had achieved true independence: a place of their own. She didn’t have much to wear to a party but her roommate gave her a simple silk dress and she pulled her hair back and smeared on some mascara. She had a simple beauty that most girls aspire to. Stringy blond locks draped her shoulders, her pale skin stood out from the other girl’s tan lines, and her piercing green eyes drew in anyone who crossed her path. She was not fully aware of what a radiant creature she was. And that is precisely where her beauty lay.
The girls walked across campus and five blocks down to a small brick apartment building. Little did Lisa know her future lay three flights up and two doors to the left. They entered number 2C, letting smoke billow out of the crowded space and into the hallway. Girls and guys were sitting around on mismatched sofas passing around what Lisa assumed to be a cigarette. Bottles clinked and clothes came off and Lisa stared at the scene in awe. She’d never seen so much freedom, so much enjoyment. Transfixed, she wandered into the kitchen, grabbed a bottle, and sheepishly inserted herself into the circle next to two girls whisking off their sweaters. Frozen, it took Lisa amount to feel the nudge on her arm. “Your turn,” a deep voice whispered and handed her the burning stub. Not wanting to look like a fool, she gently grabbed it from his hands and took her first inhale, passing it along and swallowing her cough. Her bottle was drained and some one passed her another one. The joint came around again so she took another puff and passed it along. Before she knew it she was throwing her morals and roommate’s dress into the bathtub as Toby, or at least that’s what she thought his name was, was nibbling at her chest.
Toby noticed Lisa from the moment she walked through the door. He’d never seen anything like her. She was barely wearing any makeup, her hair pulled back messily, and she looked like she’d just hopped off the bus from God-only-knows-where. But there was something ethereal about her, a certain air that flowed from her and captured his attention from the instant he saw her. He no longer wanted to fuck Eliza who was already unzipping her jeans. He no longer wanted to split that spliff with Aaron on the porch. No, what Toby wanted now was her. A little too dazed to get up, he lost her in the crowd but moments later she dropped into his lap, nudging herself in right next to him. And without saying more than a couple words he was grazing the mesmerizing creature’s shoulder and passing her a joint. Now Eliza was angry that he had brushed her off and he could hear Aaron calling out his name from across the room but, his senses were all tuned into Lisa and nothing else registered in his mind. Soon, she was laughing behind him into the bathroom and he was pulling her golden tendrils out of a knot. Soon, she sitting on the sink and he had her, all of her, right there at his fingertips.
From that night on the two were inseparable. Toby had never dated a girl before, certainly not a freshman, but Lisa was unlike anyone he’d ever encountered. And the morning after they first met he awoke and watched her sleep until she woke up, enthralled just by lying next to her. And she felt the same way about him. He was intelligent and adventurous, he’d read loads of poetry and took her to galleries. They’d drop everything and spend the weekend camping on the beach. He’d wake her up in the middle of the night and carry her over the fence to go skinny dipping in their neighbor’s pool.
Toby was a constant thrill and just the fix Lisa needed. Although they were both fascinated by each other they needed more. And a liquid cure was it. He’d tried it a few times before, and eased her into it. For, he was Rumpelstiltskin spinning her dream and she followed his lead. And soon it became more than either one of them. It became them and they became it. The spoon, the needle, those became their objects of attraction. The rush, the chase, the crumbled bills. That became their life and everything else faded. The galleries, the poetry, classes, everything seemed grossly unimportant and the impending needs of their addiction fueled their attraction.
Now Lisa was aching and yearning for another drop. She’d promised Toby that she would stop with the baby and all but just one drop wouldn’t hurt. No, it wouldn’t do anything at all. And she gathered up a few bills she’d shoved into her shorts and walked down to the park. Satisfaction was so close.
This fucking picture can’t just stay, so I got out the toolkit from behind the dryer and brushed off the thick layer of filmy gray dust that had been gathering over months, or maybe even a year, and I just bolted it to the wall.
I didn’t really know how, I just did it. I wonder who invented hammers anyways?
I bet they’re loaded. Hammers, even I have one, covered in dust but it still has that $8.99 yellow sticker clinging tightly to the plastic handle. I don’t really know what to do with it, but that $8.99 sticker is probably in every household,
in America at least.
My father could never change a light bulb, he’s not handy. Lazy, even, my mother used to say, my stepmother used to say. Well if that’s lazy then I am too, maybe,
pay someone else to do it, he doesn’t have time for light bulbs. Well I’m broke so I just did it myself, screwed the light bulb in, and hammered that crooked picture.
FUCK that was my finger, NOT the photo. Hammer? I guess I could sue the inventor of those, but he’s probably dead by now. I thought I had a high tolerance for pain
but this really hurts, really hurts. It’s a lot more blood than I thought, dripping down my wrist. Not my clothes, no, no, not my clothes. Silk dress, dry cleaning bill that I don’t want to pay for, or explain. Wow, I didn’t think my finger had this much blood inside of it. My shoes, ahh, now them too. Pitter, patter, pat, pat. Four drops, soaked through the leather, should’ve gotten the black boots, not the tan. Tan leather, that’ll stain my mother would have said, well she stained. My arms were stained and they weren’t tan leather. I wasn’t even wearing shoes.
Hey mom you weren’t an astrologist and those weren’t half moons.
Half moons, I called them because I didn’t know that tiny marks you left
made bigger scars and that the constellations on my arms didn’t make up stars.