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On the first day of the new year, my family (one husband, one wife, on dog, one cat, and two ragged stuffed animals) made the trip from one side of Arkansas to the other side of Texas.
The stuffed animals slept in squished, pathetic positions under my arm.
The dog was sick. We had to make an emergency stop to remove a very soiled blanket from the car. I'll apologize to the earth for littering later. So sorry, Earth. Forgive?
The cat wouldn't shut up. Every few seconds was punctuated by strangled sounding meows.
Keisha played nine times.
The first time I went cliff diving, I didn't hesitate. I just jumped, eyes squeezed shut.
The exhilarating fall was the greatest moment I have ever experienced. As I landed, there was a moment when the water felt as soft as an embrace. In that moment, I knew I had landed wrong. I knew there would be pain.
The water turned to iron. I felt the impact crunch my the bones in my back. I forgot how to swim.
I missed solid ground more at that moment than anything in my life.
I miss you more than that.
I feel lost. Set adrift in a raft on the sea, face and lips burnt and chapped by the sun, mouth dry. Gazing listlessly up at the blue sky, so pale at the edges... So pale. Paler than the salt bleached thoughts in my head.
Where am I? Why am I here? Why here? Why am I in this terrible, crowded, lonely city? I could be anywhere. Anywhere.
I'm sick of being drunk. Of being mad. Of being depressed and apathetic. Of the frustration. Of not knowing what to do. I'm sick of this life. I want a new one.
He was a shell of a man, empty and dried up inside. When you shook him, his shriveled up heart rattled around in his chest. His shell was made of iron--armor without a knight.
I used to climb inside his shell. I took my paints and colored the walls. I like to think, despite the utter darkness, I created masterpieces in there.
He called me his heart, the one living outside his body, and he never let me stray. Had to protect me, he said. But I was restless, so I climbed inside and crushed his shriveled heart.
The dog woke me up so early, I nearly cried from the effort of dragging myself back to consciousness. I felt dizzy as I crawled out of bed and yanked on my clothes. I kept stumbling into walls.
But outside, in the frigid air, with the sun just beginning to rise, I was glad I was awake. The pink sky was unbearably pretty. A new life. Every sunrise in Arizona is like the sun giving new life to the earth. I wondered in Texas would be the same.
No. No, not the same. But beautiful. But wonderful. New and magical.
The power cord for my computer broke. Snapped right in half, little silver wires hanging out like the spilled guts of an angel. Angels are real pretty when they're dead, or so I've been told.
My cousin hit an angel with his truck last year. He says angel blood is glittery, and each drop is as individual as a snowflake. He says angel screams sound like singing, and when they cry, the tears float up towards heaven. He says hitting angels is a lot more fun than video games, so these days, he spends most of his time driving around.
I loved you most during that winter. Remember? When I ran off with that other man? You thought I was using you. An escape from an escape. An excuse to stay home. A risk to stop myself from making risky decisions. You asked me if I loved you.
I loved you. I hate you. I love you still. I look at your picture, and I miss you. But you were right. I was using you. Didn't mean to, honey, but that's how all my stories end. Didn't mean to. Didn't mean to.
Baby doll, just know, I didn't mean to.
They smiled the same. They cocked their heads to the side and used that same sad expression while biting at their lip rings on the same sides of their mouths. Same pretty blue eyes with the smallest hint of green.
They both made me feel the same tingling drunken mess of emotions. Love and hate and fear and wonder and that terrible desire to make them bleed and kiss them at the same time.
"Do you love me?" I want to ask. "Did you ever?"
I never ask, and they never answer. I never knew if I loved them either.
I like to feel words when they roll over my tongue and dropped from my mouth. Names. I like names.
Christen. Sharp and long like a thorn. "Chrissss" the stem and "ten" the bloody point.
Christian. Sharp, but brittle this time. The syllables break and shatter on my lips. Like shale under foot.
Christopher. Warm and flaky. Buttery. Like Pillsbury rolls right out of the oven.
Words are stronger than we give them credit for. They have more power than we let ourselves believe. Words are not just ink on a page. They are their own creatures, wild and dangerous.
I will not finish January. I won't. It's a terrible month. Dull and morose and full of vicious cold fronts. No. I won't do it. Screw you, January. You sucked this year. You really did.
Besides, it'd be cheating. The month is over. I won't pull another stunt like I did with September. I refuse. Once is enough.
January? Did you hear me? I won't do it. You were too full of hate for me. I can't duplicate that in words. I wouldn't want to.
No. It's better this way. I won't finish you, and you won't bother me anymore.
Today I have decided to live on the ceiling.
I could play jump-rope with the fan, skipping over each revolving blade to the tune of a children's nursery rhyme. I'll sit on the lamp and pretend it's a stool. I will stare up at the sunspots on the floor and wonder why the sun never shines where I can reach it.
"Look!" I'll say. "Look how clean I've kept the house! Not a single bit of trash underfoot."
Then he'll be proud, and we'll go out from ice cream on the moon, and maybe he will love me.
I always thought he was such a snob with his obsessive search for enlightenment and disdain for the masses. I thought him a bit silly, really. Always pushing his glasses up his nose and glaring at the world. Why, I wondered, were these so called masses so sheep-like when he, born of their ilk, had escaped their empty headed ways? Was he a god to have such wisdom?
"Knowledge should be free." he would say as he slipped a book into his jacket and sulked out the door.
But if knowledge is power, should power be so easily gained?
I am tired most days. The kind of tired that only gets worse after sleep. The kind of tired that numbs you to everything but the overwhelming sense of exhaustion.
Sometimes, though, I have disorienting flashes of my old self. Little tingles of magic at the tips of my fingers that make me smile and yearn for the power I've hidden deep beneath my apathy. But then I find myself wallowing in that hazy indifference, and I go back to sleep.
I want to sleep for years and years.
I want to wake up now.
I'll find myself again. Eventually.
Many thousand years ago, a lie was told.
And it was told again and again over the centuries. It was an innocent lie, perhaps told by a child to gain attention, but it grew and grew into something truly terrible. Now, so long after it first dropped blithely from the lips of the liar, we worship it as truth.
There are some, I hear, who dispute the lie with science. Others use philosophy. A few even use pathos, but I don't think their arguments are well received. Foolish windbags, they've been called.
The fact is, we can't remember truth.
My thoughts are sand today. Glittering in the sunlight, each grain with its own unique hue. They blur together, toppling over each other like children in a playpen, heedless of their parents' aggravated calls for caution.
"Be patient!" they cry. "Don't move too fast, or you'll be forgotten!"
"Who cares? Who cares?" the little ones laugh. "What's the point if we can't have fun?"
My thoughts are sand today. Clinging to the palms of my sweaty hands, then slipping through my fingers and scattering themselves into the wind.
"Who cares? Who cares? What's the point without fun?"
Smoke puffs out of his mouth, thicker and whiter than I expected. It looks like milk spilling upwards. Oddly hypnotizing.
It stays together in one mushroom clouded clump as it floats lazily towards the ceiling. I keep expecting it to disperse, but it seems to be quite determined to stay intact. Stubborn little thing.
Eventually fingers of air from the fan grab on and rip pieces away until it is nothing but haze--a veil hiding the features of the room from our bored and weary eyes. Too many hours on the computer.
Really, who writes about smoke?
I've said some wretchedly cruel things on this site. I've said some wonderfully adoring things as well, I suppose, but that's irrelevant.
I knew eventually people I know would find me. I couldn't keep my mouth shut about how much I loved writing here. Doom was inevitable.
Still, I cringe to think of what they will think when they read about themselves. When they read my exaggerated anger or love or spite or whatever the hell I've written.
Sometimes I don't mean what I say. Sometimes I think it just sounds good. Sometimes, though, I do. Good luck with that.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
I want to beat my head against the wall with each resounding realization that I am, in fact, stupid.
Dear god, what was I thinking?!
That-- That... ARGH! I just want to punch something. I want to make little children cry. I want to give heaven the finger and freeze hell over with...well, whatever dry ice is made of.
I want to flip the world over and pour into space all of the tiny foolish humans who don't deserve to live on its surface. Let them gasp for air in that unforgiving void.
One day soon I will wake up happy. One day in the near future, I will have hope. One day, and that day is not so far from now, I will be a joyful, successful, fully functioning member of society. I will cook without wanting to stab my husband. I will clean without wanting to throw the trashcan into the neighbor's window. I will laugh and dance and sing and take walks without bursting into frantic tears.
Tomorrow? I doubt it.
Will it be this week? Or next week? Or even possibly this year?
Hell, I hope so.
He's mad at me. (There's that "he" again. Sometimes I don't notice I've switched the poor boy from the more intimate "you" to the more distant and disdainful "he." Sometimes I do it on purpose.)
Anyway, he's mad at me. I won't go to bed, you see. It's bedtime. He has to wake up early tomorrow. (Doesn't he always?) I won't go. I don't want to. I'm mad at him too, and so, in retaliation, I am acting like a child. He treats me like one, it's only to be expected.
I won't go. You can't make me, meanie.
I'm burning through January a lot faster than I intended to.
I believe somewhere along the way I made the promise that I wouldn't finish this month. That promise will most likely be broke. Ah, well. Life is like that, and I am not the greatest promise keeper. You cannot trust my word. Sorry, but there it is.
I wish I could stop babbling. I wish I could shut off this silly brain of mine and close my eyes and sleeeeep. Oh to sleep and not wake up until all of this is over.
Not his fault. Not his fault.
Didn't I warn you? Didn't I? I thought I warned everyone who came too close.
"I am fire," I tell them. "I attract the moths and burn their wings."
"I am ice," I whisper. "I crack under your foot and plunge you into frigid waters."
"I am sin. I stain your soul and leave you worthless."
"I am dangerous and cruel. I am the terrible creature of fairytale lore. I break hearts, grind the pieces into paste, and bake it into bread. Fee fi foe fum, I smell the blood of a heedless man!"
Didn't I warn you?
I hate you:
Sometimes. I mean, seriously, I was passed out, and you tried to throw me into a freezing shower. What did you expect? A calm explanation about how that made me feel?
Everyone hates you:
Hate is a strong word. Let's use dislike. People think you're mean.
You're a mean person:
Yes... Well, you are.
You make your mother cry:
You do. On several occasions. You told her you were an atheist on her birthday, for heaven's sake.
Even the pets hate you:
Ok, that's inaccurate. But they prefer me. Mostly because I tease them less.
In a way, writing is my meditation. It is not calm or peaceful, and I do not empty my mind before I write. But it is about me, about searching the inner turmoil of my soul, about smoothing out my wrinkles and slowly, gradually, becoming a whole person. Sometimes it is even about other people, about finding where I fit in this strange world around us.
I want to be special. I want to be powerful. I want to have my dreams come true, even the ones about dragons and fairies and magic. Why can't the world work that way?
Let us dance together on this ice. A lake formed above the earth, teetering and cracking and slick. A frozen cloud of dreams and ambitions.
Let us dance and stomp our feet and slid towards the edges only to skate back. Let us flirt with danger. Let us carve our lives into the center, break through, and fall, fall, fall. Soar.
Let them never forget how we screamed on the way down--stars full of a light brighter than they had ever seen.
When I say I want send myself to hell with you, will you understand what I mean?
There are thoughts in my head clamoring to get out.
They crawl from my ears and tumble to my shoulders--memory dandruff. They drip-drop like tears from my eyelashes and sprinkle my cheeks with damp, freckled daydreams. They wiggle down to my toes and make my shoes smelly. They pop, pop, pop out of my pores.
I have thoughts in my head that huddle and shiver and refuse to be seen. They cram themselves into the wrinkles of my brain and watch with sad eyes as the other thoughts pass them by saying, "Bye! Bye! Goodbye!"
Incoherency is a fancy name for nonsense, you see. And today is a day for nonsense. (Green.) Today is a day to spout random words and say silly things. (Octopus.) As silly as you can think of, each time sillier than the last. (Monkeys playing pianos.) Some silly things are long (sidewalks), and some silly things are short (my temper). Some silly things are real (popsicles), and some silly things aren't true (unicorns).
Silly is a silly word, and so is slippery (soap). Silly is a slippery slope to slide down on silly days. The silliest word I've heard?
When I was six, I wanted to live it a light bulb. I used to think that the glass was illuminated, and so, in my mind, I had a house with walls that glowed. My sister said it would be too bright. My mother explained that light bulbs are lit by a wire inside them. My father told me to go back to bed. My brother rolled his eyes.
I didn't care. I wanted to live in a light bulb, and no one was going to take that away from me. So I covered my walls in hopes and stars.
Today I am going to see a shrink. Yep. A psy-cho-lo-gist. A woman I have never seen before who will listen quietly while I spill out my innermost fears and emotions. Maybe she should just read my 100words instead. Much faster, yeah? Or perhaps she will be like the shrink I had as a teen--rambling on about god and her nephews while I cried and played with play-dough.
Tomorrow I am going to the park. To swing. To scuff my shoes in the dirt. To meet an old friend and not to run away.
My brain is fuzzy. Hazy. A blur. Sh. Shhhhhh. Don't make sense. Quiet. I'm tired.
The shrink was nice. I liked her. She gave me medicine. I haven't taken it yet. Will it make me feel better? I hope so. I'm tired of feeling like this.
Perhaps they will get me out of this house. Perhaps on a bus. Perhaps to the library or a bookstore. Perhaps away, far away from here.
"I'm tired of picking up after you," he said.
Funny, I thought. All those clothes on the floor were yours. The dishes too. The trash? Yours.
Jewels and trash are mixed together in this month. You have to pick through the banana peels and old cereal boxes to find the good stuff. Diamond rings. Ruby necklaces. Pearl earrings. Entries with meaning.
Alright, January, you win. I'll finish you. I didn't want to. Didn't intend to. I certainly don't deserve to have you added to my list of accomplished months, but, well, I am a bit of an attention whore, and some of these entries deserve attention. Some. Not all. Not even most. But some.
And so, darling reader, it is time to pick through the trash.
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