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I'll be your sky
I come into the lounge with a fistful of index cards in my hands full of Greek and English. You have to know a lot with this languagean entire new alphabet, how things are spelled, where the accents and breathing marks go. Whenever I study it I always feel the need to say It's all Greek to me! and then later chide myself for being such a lame idiot. I practice by reading the word in both languages, copying the Greek down to memorize the accents and breaking marks and placement of the letters, warm latte in my hand.
When she first came, I thought she was a sweet perfect girl, innocent and foreign and shy. But now her past comes to me in small increments, her tragic European love story. She speaks like a deity with that accent of hers and takes pictures of simple things. She writes in a vague cryptic language, barely hinting at the past she carries on her shoulders, the story most people don't read (she knows how to hide what she wants to). In her past, there was sex, there were tears, there were drinks and drama. In her past, there was love.
I am a Catholic schoolgirl, blue cord skirt, knee socks and little shoes, cable knit sweater. God is good, God is great was the mantra ingrained in me (though all it did was make me more uncertain). From day one I was made to follow the rules. Knee-length skirts only and necklaces under your shirt please. No more than one ring on each finger. Cell phones and iPods in lockers at all times. Don't smoke in your uniform. No grinding at dances, leave room for the Holy Spirit, won't you? Be a servant of God, love Jesus. Do your homework.
I never understood how people could steal here when they came into school wearing $500 worth of clothes, rich bitches with Prada purses and Russian vodka and pot at home. What were they going to do with a measly $30buy lunch? I cried because $30 was 2 weeks of lunch for me, or maybe some skeins of wool and crochet hooks for the knitting club. I would have cried less if they'd have at least left my wallet for me, the Sesame Street one from Virgin Records I loved so much. They're fucking rich, I sobbed. What's the point?
Tired eyes and hunched back and hurting wrists. I should really learn not to dig them into my desk like that when I'm typing. I've written so much tonight I am exhausted, sapped of energy, of words and sweet-sounding metaphors. All I have is cold hard facts, sleepy sentences about the Articles of Confederation, the Treaty of Paris, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton. This is the last time I devote my night to U.S. history, writing nothing but essays and notes, making me tired and useless. What good am I without poetry in me, anyway? I've got nothing but George Washington.
Frank Sinatra was stuck in my head, sighing his lullabies through nights that never end, his fickle friend the summer wind. Why this was lazily drifting in the back of my mind I don't knowtoday was sharp, cold, a poster day for autumn, orange leaves hanging like death over the streets, threatening to crash to the ground (though leaves can't really crash, can they?) Me in my striped sweater from the Gap I love to wear, shrinking into the hood, chattering my teeth. No summer wind, no sighing lullabies, just fresh biting cold, crashing leaves and my cute sweater.
I never know why I waste so much time on baseball. All I ever get is hat hair and condolences like Maybe next year. My hopes get mangled each season, my mind carefully tracking the outs, the hits, the runs, the walks, singles, doubles, homeruns, RBIs. I smash my hands over my eyes because I can't bear to watch close plays, final strikes, final outs. I want victory like nothing else, celebration, singing New York, New York at the top of my lungs, throwing my baseball cap towards the ceiling. I want to win. It kills me that we can't.
It's so great to have her back, sitting next to me in a movie theater with our hands over our mouths as we try to stifle our laughter, our ears picking up the commentary of the boys behind us. We're young, giddy, easily amused. We're friends. I thought we wouldn't, couldn't have this anymore, this laughing, this hanging out outside of school, enjoying ourselves. I am so glad to see everything click back into place, the little sister I was missing for so long next to me again, her head on my shoulder, her arm hooked in mine. We're okay.
I always want to write about love, hurt, kissing, the taste of someone in my mouth, someone's hair in my fists, someone's skin warm against mine. None of this I have felt, but all of this I write as if I have, the sensations amassing gravity and falling in the form of words from my mouth or fingers or what have you, harsh, decorative, real. In 100 words I write about some moment from my day, some cold honest moment, when all I really want to do is make shit up, pretend I have loved and write down a vision.
The stage is my home, and it is there that I always feel safe in the strangest of ways. My stomach is always aflutter, my mouth always letting go lines I wasn't even sure I remembered, I am always hot in a heavy costume under glaring white lights, but still I love every second, and still I miss it more than anything else when it's gone. This is what I want most, a life on stage, a life of costumes and lights and lines and musical numbers with harmonies (the best parts), a life of monologues, soliloquies, and stage whispers.
It's October, not even Halloween, and already I want Christmas to come. I blame it on Singerswe start singing Christmas carols in September. Every Tuesday, Carol of the Bells and Do You Hear What I Hear? and I'm still singing as I leave. I want it so badI can't wait to walk home in scarves and hats and gloves, screwing my eyes against the snow, gingerbread latte in my hand, Charlie Brown Christmas tunes singing to me by ear buds. I am so corny, so in love with a spirit most others hatebut it makes me happy!
I have a palm full of Advil I knock back with a paper cup and lukewarm water, climbing up the unsteady bunk bed and laying against the floppy mattress with a scratchy blanket over me, my head buried in the pillow covered in shooting stars. When the light is out, when she's gone and I am alone, I cry silently, ashamed of myself, of my failing grades. Junior year is hardestit is October and already I'm flunking out of math and AP history and honors English. Worthless, stupid, not even sick, sniveling like a 2-year-old in the nurse's office.
Dinner and a movie but no kissing or handholding or screen names or Can I see you again? smiles and laughs. I feel like a loser, a loser trying too hard, a loser who's far from pretty and certainly not this guy's type. He probably never wants to look at my face again, thinks I'm a weirdo, wishes he hadn't agreed to this. Bad movie, bad date, bad girl. Me in my jeans and short dress and obnoxious red coat, smiling bashfully at him, so awkward and probably unattractive. I'll probably never love, be alone forever, a crazy cat lady.
Do you remember when you hated me, kept your life a secret from me? I hated you too for telling me nothing, for making me feel like shit. We love each other now and call each other Siamese twins, but still I see you drinking yourself stupid every weekend and bragging about it later in your own way, and I just want to slap you. You're different now, very different, and I don't think you've realized you've become one of them, a girl who needs to get ass and who needs to get smashed and smoke pot to be happy.
It was about five months ago that you twisted that knife in my gut, hissed hate at me through your teeth, kicked dirt in my face like I meant nothing to you, walked away without even looking back. I cried, I crumbled, I raged, I fortified, I stuck my nose in the air, I smiled. But inside I am still crying, crumbling, raging, thinking. Always. I think about you, what you're doing, how you feel, if you miss me, if you ever regret what you did. I wonder if in another five months I'll still feel like this. So pathetic.
What can I say in 100 panicked words? I can talk about studying for the PSATs all night, my grandmother in the hospital, having to take care of my five-month-old nephew, coming out of the bathroom with hair washed and teeth brushed and ready to hop into bed at midnight and sleep the night away when I remember my commitment and come rushing to the computer to type a bunch of crap, meaningless panicked crap meant to fill space. I am so harried, I have completely forgotten about thisand I am angry with myself for doing so. Poor me.
A shelf full of playbills, a mind full of musical numbers. This is me, the passion I feed so earnestly. Such an uncertain, scary, powerful passion. I laugh and joke and say I will live in a box on the street, or be waiting tables all my life, getting other lost causes to cover my shifts as I run out to another fruitless audition. Maybe I'll get a gig or two, earn a couple of bucks, get a brand new box. But I am truly scared. I have no idea where I'm going or how I'm going to get there.
I will go without food, wait tables, wear cheap clothes for this. This is what my heart lives forthis is why my pulse can be felt with two fingers positioned on the wrist or neck, this is why gas exchange takes place in my lungs, why my brain is constantly humming with activity. I live, eat, and breathe this, and without this I cannot be happy. I know this now. I feel this now. If I can't have this easy, I won't. I will be a paradox and suffer to be happy. I just have to have it somehow.
His eyes crinkle when he smiles and shows his toothless gums, his pudgy legs kicking (we call him Ogre Feet). He laughs his charming laugh and squirms when he's happy. He's found his feet now and won't leave them alone, and he tries to crawl when he's on his belly, except he only really accomplishes a pathetic army crawl. He's my little baby (except he's not really mine& how I wish though!sort of), and every time I look at his big eyes and pug nose my heart fills with love, and I can't wait to be called Titi Jessie.
BoysI'm damn sick of looking. I don't get hook-ups, relationships, dates. I don't get shit. I'm tired of waiting. Dances and coffeehouses be damned. I laugh, I smile, I'm happy. I'm lonely sometimes, and I feel stupid and square and ugly other times, but I try not to think about it. I have friends and I'm lucky. I try not to think. I live life on stage and cut out all else. I sing and act and close myself off from reality for a while. I love my life, so I don't think of the reasons why I shouldn't.
October has given me nothing but hate and reasons to cry. I want November to come so I can throw October away, turn my back on it and run from its sharp angles and cutting edges. All it has given me is a well of emotions I can tap into during rehearsals, one that can give my character life (which I'm not sure I should be grateful for). November is welcoming, reassuring. I am counting the days when this ugly orange month will end, will leave me in the brisk blue November air where I can regroup and plow on.
I know I'm not the perfect daughter. I know I don't get straight A's. I know I put things off. I know I'm forgetful. I know I'm not the fairest of them all. But I just wish you would see the girls who are beautiful, who are smart and excel in everything, and see them on the weekend getting wasted and doing pot and coke. That's not me. I don't need that, and I hope I never will. I just hope one day you'll see I'm better than them in the end, even if I don't seem as picture perfect.
Speech pathologist. The idea is almost laughableI can't even speak correctly myself. I fill perfect empty bubbles with sloppy dark streaks of graphite about preferred work environments and what captures my interest most and I am neatly packaged into a faceless common boring group of people. Congratulations, you are highly artistic and social and slightly investigative. You would make a perfect speech pathologist. If not, try special education teacher, radiologist technician, musician. My personality traits in percentages and the number of women so much like me. Funny that we are alike only in which pattern our bubbles were filled.
All I want to do is sing. I have no idea why, but all the harmonies, the different sounds connecting with each other, the pretty words, the sweet tunes all make shivers go up and down my spine. There's something so wonderful about getting the harmonies right, opening my mouth wide, feeling my diaphragm contract and expandcrescendo, decrescendo, pianissimo, forte, restthe sharp tap of the conducting baton on the music stand, the plunking of the old ivory keys, him at the stand and her at the baby grand piano, the desks and us and big windows opened wide.
Sometimes I have a hard time writing here. I am always tempted to be elusive and poetic and write about experiences that aren't mine just so I can sound pretty. But I want to be truthful here, in October. I want to write a month full of grains of my life, 31 little honest grains. Maybe next month will be a story month, a month full of 30 little grains I wish were true. I will be plaintive and dull but true to the monotony of my life (I swear it's not boring) for now. But Novemberjust you wait.
I felt real when I said my lines today, like an actress. This is when I experience confidence, when I think I might do okay, when I realize how much I love this. Sometimes I worry that because I figured it out so quickly it might not be the right thing for me. I don't have a picture perfect story of the discovery of my passion, the kind of story you tell at interviews. Maybe it's not always supposed to be story-like. I just want this to work. I just want to be happy. I can't see any other way.
I'm tired of writing about my life, boring routine days that can only be explained in dull monotonous words. There is nothing interesting in how tired I am right now, in how much homework I've to do this weekend, in how I'm failing precalc and how the last thing I want to do is have parent teacher conferences this week and get screamed at by Koller. All of this is stupid and pointless and will more than likely be meaningless a few years from now when I'm majoring in theater at some crappy community college and living in a box.
I felt like a rabbit today but I want to be skinny. I hate my big boobs and ass and flabby stomach. I lost 13 pounds on South Beach last year, so whatever, let's do it again. I want to be able to wear fitted shirts without sucking it in and be able to sit down without looking like a coach potato. I want guys to ask for my number. I am a typical self-conscious teenager squeezing her fat at the mirror. But I'm not calorie counting or jamming toothbrushes down my throat, so I guess I'm not that predictable.
I hate Sundaysalways have. Something about waking up and knowing you have to get up at 7:00 the next morning maybe, or knowing all that's ahead of you is homework and procrastination. Maybe I'd enjoy them more if I didn't leave everything to the last minute, but that's who I am and what I do. I think the only thing I actually do in a timely manner is this, and that's probably because this is something I like, something I will gladly motivate myself to do. Precalc and A.P. U.S. and Scripture, on the other hand& damn you, Sunday.
I love being in the teahouse, even though the chairs are metal and cold and the tables aren't even steady. I don't even mind the mouse and water bug sightings. I like to look at the signs the seniors adorn the walls withI like to sit on a particularly wobbly table and swing my legs back and forth to the tune of some song of the moment, humming or singing along even though I hate it. I like the talk and laughter and the pitiful attempts to get homework done. I like dancing across the blue and white tiles.
I'm probably way too old to be begging for candy, but I do it anyway. I don't even bother saying trick-or-treat! anymore. Now I just smile maniacally and tilt my bag towards the suspicious lady with broad shoulders and graying hair. I just want to have fun, grab some free candy, forget about the South Beach Diet and what year I was born and how much homework I have to get done for tomorrow for a while. I miss childhood, being carefree and always knowing what to do for Halloween or who to be. It's nice to slip back sometimes.
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