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Ms. Peach to You
I work at a restaurant. It is Thanksgiving Day (I'm writing ahead. Sorry.) and I am here, instead of at my grandmother's stuffing my face. I watch the people file in; the silicone woman who sits at the bar, the men with faces as dirty as their boots who order a pitcher and sit for hours. No one will look at me -- afraid, perhaps, that if I met their eyes I would know their stories. "Absolut," I hear the woman say -- watch the tiny glass as she lifts it -- wondering...was it always so easy to replace family with vodka?
Let’s begin at the beginning: Nick, Justin, Josh, Adam, Neil, Jake, Sam, Joey, Mark, David, Anthony, Albert, Andrew, Joe, Sam, Nick, Mike, Brady, Brian, Marc, Blake, Andy, Mikel, Justin, Courtney, Justin, Robbie, Ryan, Kenny, Tobie, Ryan, Sam, Brad. Jesus fucking Christ. (Yes, I’m pretty mad, Pete. I said “fuck”...don’t tell mom. Actually, I’m beyond mad. The “Jesus Christ” proves that.) How in the world do I get myself into these situations? Watch yourself, Brittany, don’t smile that way, don’t send the wrong message; try being a bitch. I am not obligated to you. I am not obligated to love.
I found myself thinking about you for the millionth time in these past several days. You are not mine, nor is there any chance that you will ever be, but something in me remains unconvinced, or unfinished. A fresh thought: I could, perhaps, have you, but you cannot “be mine” because you cannot be anyone’s. Not even hers, that girl who is on your arm; she smiles, positively glows, but what she does not know is that you are separate from her, bound by your (comparatively) limitless mind, distant because even in dreams she hasn’t the capacity to imagine you.
I lied to someone today, lied so that I could blow off work and go to dinner with my father. It was delicious – the lie, not the dinner. Sometimes telling a lie feels much better than telling the truth. My mother would call me “The Great Deceiver,” but I wouldn’t care. She’s called me worse. In any event, lying can do a far greater thing than allowing for irresponsibility; it can free you from a world where the truth...well, where the truth just sucks. I hate that word. Sucks. It’s so illiterate. I never say it. (That’s a lie.)
We were on the phone for about an hour and a half, and I'm reeling. Stop surprising me. I hate being delighted. I can hear the smile in your voice when we're speaking, and I can feel the smile in mine. Sometimes I stutter...that's another thing I hate, when my words are coming from my brain so quickly that my tongue trips and there I am, flustered again, the girl who is supposed to keep her cool at all times, the girl who speaks much too quickly when she’s excited. There you are. Here I am. Where are we?
“If you were my kid, I would have disowned your ass by now.” “Swimmingwise, I’m a god.” “You should appreciate me more. I’ve done a whole damn lot for you, you know.” “I know what you think you know I’m thinking. Follow me?” “It’s time for things to change. It’s time for me to make some lives hell. I can do that, you know. Make lives living hell.” Thanks, George. I love you too, you egomaniacal, stupid bastard. If you died tomorrow, I don’t even think I’d bother to go spit on your grave. Wouldn’t be worth the gas money.
Sometimes I dream that I am an extremist. I wish that I could stand up in the middle of English class, flip my teacher the bird, and walk out. I can’t. Moderation is etched into me, but I’m learning. Sitting by you and absorbing what you are is....adding to me (change is different, change is 7:G, addition is 7:8). Sometimes I dream that I’m adding to you (100 million:100 million and 1). That would make me a pseudoextremist. That’s not a word, according to spell-check. Revolutionary. Move over, D. Webbie, I created a word. I am inspired. He inspires me.
You hate me now, and I think that’s positively delicious. I remember the first time you hated me. It was for the same reason, although back then we were both younger and more delicate. The secret was that you only tried to hate me then...you couldn’t. I think that this time there’s an honest loathing that you’re not going to be able to tuck away in a little secret space that’s easy to forget about. Second time around, things are different for me, too; I’m looking at you through eyes that aren’t blinded by the beauty of your words.
I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you. I want to call you, and I can’t. It’s a shame...I’ve wasted 100 words. Eye for an eye – you’ve wasted 100 of my moments.
Today a slutty waitress at work invited me to come out to a bar with her tomorrow night. She wears too much eye makeup and is entirely too vulgar. Several weeks ago I overheard a conversation she was having with another slutty waitress in the breakroom regarding racism. One statement she made (or was trying to make) pertained to multicultural folk in our nation: “Everybody’s fuckin’...you know, we’ve all fuckin’ got fuckin’...some other fuckin’...you know what I mean?” Sounds like something that would come out of the mouth of a woman who gives blowjobs in parking lots.
Pretty little blonde. Pretty little blonde that I broke, I took her toy, I made it love me, not her. I broke her. The toy was mine, mine willingly. It wanted to be. Pretty little blonde had no toy. Even when I took it and she cried -- I didn't love it yet, mind you -- I kept that toy. Pretty little blonde stopped speaking to me, and I cried for a while, but loved my toy. For a while it was grand -- until my toy broke. I dropped it. Now it doesn't love me, pretty little blonde, or anyone at all.
claustrophobia claustrophobia a scream can you hear me would you help me if you could press around me squeeze me and i’m trying to wriggle out from between these fingers but i can’t i can’t i can’t stop breathing stop hearing everything but a heartbeat my heart beating slowing slowing stopping starting stopping starting blood rush to the head crash pain slam into something i can’t touch won’t move i don’t want to need to have to need something someone somewhat searching finding losing loving living learning dying claustrophobia claustrophobia but there’s nothing here no one here but me. alone.
I think that she’s hilariously pathetic. I loved her once. I saw her with her arm draped around New Boy (whose forehead barely reaches her shoulder) and wanted to pause and puke. Hmm. I wonder when she’ll stop herself and realize that she was 21 around 18 years ago...? Grow up, honey, wake up and smell the....well, I don’t know. Not the roses. Those wilted long ago. That’s what I have to say about your third grade heart and your first grade head. Think of your daughters, if not of me. Funny. I thought I was your daughter, too.
Coming home from work tonight, I felt inexorably sad. I called my father when I saw no big red truck in my driveway – he was at his girlfriend’s – and I felt an onslaught of tears forming when I heard his voice on the other end. I hate that I have to ask my father if he wants to go eat breakfast with me...I hate that we never eat breakfast together. I miss my family. Actually, I miss my dad...because he’s all the family I have. My brother? Estranged. My mother? A bitch. I’m crying, and I don’t know why.
I’m looking at my buddy list and there’s your screen name. BrianSnelling; how creative – and the memories of summer rush in before I have the chance to stop them – a college campus, a movie theatre, a girl with a boyfriend and a boy with a girlfriend who saw something in each other, a red dress, a smile, a pool table, a song, a guitar, a watch, an elevator, kissing and knowing it was wrong, not caring, living a cliche for three short weeks. I am afraid to send you an IM. I don’t need that, I’m telling myself. Ha. Right?
Justin, upon the death of his grandmother:
This is what death does
to one who grins through his tears.
Your smile is thin now.
There are reminders everywhere,
even ones I don't recognize --
ones you wouldn't either...
not if you weren't looking.
The fire leaves your eyes and you are silent,
Then a frenzy of motion -- you're shutting it out --
but the memories beat against the door you closed
and you're moving again,
smiling that smile
that ends at your lips,
breathing and not knowing,
hoping it's just you --
hoping the world
"Fuck." That was all. Just "fuck", see you later, it's all over now. The man sat there, staring across the table at his son. Fuck, I read in his ten-year-old eyes. Fuck. The woman was striding away, the stupid bitch, not knowing (caring?) what she'd just done to her child. But I know, because I once was that boy; I know how she'll feel in a few years when he won't call…she'll remember saying "fuck" in the middle of a crowded restaurant, remember pushing her baby into the arms of a man she knew so well and hates so much.
This is today in my life, one through ten. I am the Magic 8 Ball; I will Try Again Later when all I need is for the answer to point definitely to Yes. One: Deferred from Yale. Two: My hard drive is fried. Three: Had a bad day at work. Four: Fought with my dad. Five: Don't understand calculus. Six: I'm utterly exhausted. Seven: It's my mom's visitation weekend. Eight: Have to spend Christmas with my mom's dumbass love toy. Nine: Memorize that monologue? Ha. Ten: I have tried and tried, but you are the only thing on my mind.
I'm reading the 100 words from my birthdate, and they are all about relationships. How terribly appropriate. Yesterday I called my exboyfriend; I asked for him and a girl came onto the line. I said, "Gee – I don't remember Brady being a girl the last time I saw him." Bitch. It was funny – today a boy who once told the world he wouldn't mind spending 10 minutes alone in a bedroom with me asked me "How are you and that one guy?" I was confused. "What one guy?" "You know, that one guy." I didn't know, and I still don't.
I wonder often if I've made the right decisions when difficult situations have arisen in my lifetime. Often I speculate about how things would have turned out differently, had I made a different choice; it's funny…everyone's actions really do create a ripple effect. I've thrown my stone into a lot of different pools of water, I suppose. How have my decisions changed people? I'm sitting here, contemplating what it is I need to do about a lot of things. So there it is. I'm contemplative. Sometimes I contemplate whether or not I really am contemplative. Confusion – yes.
You are too loud, and I'm getting frustrated with your prattle. I'm sitting here, typing, listening to you run your mouth and writing the first things that come to mind. You are a pseudointellectual. I really like that prefix – pseudo (it means, YOU WISH). There you go again, trying to contribute to the conversation, saying something that sounds intelligent when it rings in your own ears. An awkward silence descends over the group of friends, and there you are again, laughing and hoping that others will laugh with you as you chastise yourself for the fault you know you can't correct.
My god, what to wear? I’m driving. I’m ringing the doorbell and my heart is in my throat. You’re opening the door, standing there, beautiful as I remember. We’re sitting across from each other and the air is pressing in around us, pushing us together (I’m tasting the tension that I know you feel, I’m hiding my shaking hands). I’m watching you watch me, wishing I could touch you. I’m stirring you with my fingers but knowing I’m helpless; you’re barreling back into my life at the strangest time -- I’m needing you -- I’m wondering if I deserve anything.
It’s funny how I can feel myself breaking. In my car, driving to my mother’s for the millionth time, I put on John Mayer with the express intention of bawling to a song that reminds me of you. I need to throw something; I need to throw up. I opened my cell phone and saw that you didn’t call; I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Pathetic, I know, but ever since I got close enough to smell your skin again, I can’t stop the thoughts or the flame. Comfortable; broken-in, me and you. I am so helpless.
I really wish that you two would just sleep in the same room when I’m around. Even after all these years, I still find it hard to believe that you actually think I’m that stupid. I find condom wrappers and STILL you try to keep up appearances. I just want to pick you up, shake you, and scream, “I KNOW YOU FUCK YOUR BOYFRIEND.” Jumping Jesus Christ. Welcome to Safe-T-Town, where cigarettes are good for your health and nuclear fallout does wonders for your complexion. Nobody has any sex around these parts; we all know that the stork delivers babies.
Today, in celebration of the MOST SACRED birth of our LORD and SAVIOR JEEEESUS (PRAISE his HOLY, HOLY NAME) I recieved:
1) A hideous sweater
2) A hideous vest
3) Ugly gloves, to match the vest
4) A cheap ring, which, incidentally, broke
5) A “Spice Girls” keychain (in touch with pop culture, aren’t we?)
6) Some safety things for my car (There was a folding orange triangle in there. Maybe I can wear it as a stylish accessory with the vest, gloves, and sweater)
7) A...wait. I think that was it. Yeah, it was.
Know what I’m thanking our MOST DIVINE FATHER of FATHERS for? Receipts.
Shiver. Out the window, the road is creeping by - focus on that tree and suddenly it’s flying. Drop it into third, slam the accelerator home - the engine roars, thrown forward, slow smile. I have missed this. There’s something raw and sexual about it (It could be just my own association, but I’d like to think not). Later, the car unmoving, I looked over and saw your hands shaking. I grinned and you fixed me with an accusatory stare: “It’s your fault. You did this to me.” (Lusty eyes, you called mine.) No...it wasn’t me. It was the car.
I was walking out of my house today, on the phone with my exboyfriend-who-is-soon-to-be-my-boyfriend-again, when my father stopped me. "Why are you wearing a black bra with a white top?" he asked, a disgusted look on his face. I rolled my eyes - I was heading to the library, for Christ's sake, and I'd checked in the mirror. Nobody would be able to see my bra. For some reason, whenever I go anywhere, my father loves to do a good ol’ boob check. They're there, pop, and they aren’t going anyplace. Sorry.
(You know who you are.)
I'm not going to ask you to trust me.
I do wish you would... but isn't the road to hell paved with wishes(?) In any case, here I go.
I DID NOT LIE.
I may be jealous as fuck, but I am no liar.
Why, so many days after it actually happened, is this still bothering me? Was there a "miscommunication"?
Do I give a fuck?
Yes, because you're one of the VERY few people I do give a fuck about.
I couldn't lie to you if I tried.
Yesterday I did a really bad thing – I took advantage of you because you were a little bit tipsy. Didn’t matter to me, though, or to you – I do remember you saying “Are you going to take advantage of me because I’m drunk? Just letting you know that I wouldn’t mind.” You called me today, too, out of nowhere; I’d resolved that since I’d been bad, I WAS NOT going to call you until you called me first. Life has a strange way of fucking with my head. Somewhere along the line I begin either to underanalyze or overanalyze everything.
The girl sitting next to me is pregnant. I’m spying on her while she’s writing her email to some screwy boyfriend (“Guess what sweetie I have great news!” Yeah. He’s gonna think it’s really great). She’s homely, despite the screen name “Bombshell69675”. Interesting. She can’t be a day over 21, and she’s already popping out kids but trying to hold on to her youth; sexual email address, hot pink font. Ten months from now, sweetie will be gone, and she’ll be there with a whiny little bundle of joy (?) who makes her feel more the spinster than the bombshell.
She walked down to the side of the pond, holding a sandwich. Tired of eating, she threw it into the pond. A school of small fish gorged themselves; eyes glassy, they rose belly-up to the surface, the girl long gone. She’d given them too much. Without the small fish, the few larger fish that had lived there died. Scum overrode the pond within weeks. She returned, holding another sandwich, saddened by the deterioration of something that had once been, if not beautiful, at least pretty. She walked for a bit and came to another little pond…threw her sandwich. It figures.
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