Thursday, June 29, 2006

Fake It If You Have To

I wanted to send a card to Sam postmarked June 28. I didn't, and now I've lost the postcard. I suppose it serves me right for buying it last August and still not having sent it.

Of course I'm reeling from this anniversary of the happiest time of my life. I've known for months that it would be heartbreaking. Maybe that's what's dulled the pain a little. Maybe I've fallen on that bruise unexpectedly so many times that it can't hurt when I expect it to.

I know I've never really written about Britain, what happened there - the events of each day that sunk me so far in love. I wonder if it's requited. I will write it, soon. Tonight, I think. "Soon" always needs help. I'll go back to England soon, too - within ten years, I think. What a long time, mon dieu. Et mon droit.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

But Yours Is Like The Moon; Every Month It Changes

Cleaning my room frightens me. I'm afraid I'll find all the horror that's just a few inches down from the surface. Love notes, candy wrappers, unsent letters, life plans on lined paper. There are logs of chats with the Ex-Guyfriend buried in my hard drive, encrypted behind an old password. There are forgotten telephone numbers taped to my walls and in my purse. Perhaps all together, these little privacies would make one big, dark secret.

At least it starts as a game. Imagine he came back, I laugh. Would I forgive him? What would happen? I think about what would be said. Don't speak until after I tell you that I love you. I love everything about you. Come here so I can touch your face. I open the window. It's nothing. A gesture. A chipmunk rustles leaves outside. It's nothing! It's a gesture, my God. What am I doing to myself?

Last night I had to find my school planner. Saturday night, I whimpered. I looked at the clock. Twelve oh two. Not even Saturday night - Sunday morning! It's Sunday morning! The CD is just there on the floor, celebrating all this time and five minutes ago and how much it meant to both of us. How many weeks has it been? And I needed to find my planner.

I knew where it was, so I aimlessly shifted things around in other places. After I'd found it I still felt I had to search for it. Instead I counted weeks, still with that feeling of being sucked to conclusions against my will.




Six. Seven.
Eight. Nine. Ten eleventwelve.

And sometimes when you're on,
You're really fuckin' on.
And your friends, they sing along,
And they love you.
But the lows are so extreme,
That the good seems fuckin' cheap,
And it teases you for weeks in its absence.

- Rilo Kiley, "A Better Son/Daughter"

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Only One There Is The One Who Doesn't Live There

Four forever,
Two together,
We'll play dead,
We'll play dead,
We'll play deadly

- Architecture in Helsinki, "Wishbone"

I get lost everywhere I go. Thursday evening I turned a corner and saw Blue and Purple's old house. I didn't want to see other peoples' cars in the driveway. I wandered up into the field. S-B M yelled something about Caroline and walked in his back door. I lay and stared at the sky. A man drove up. "Dad!" yelled a little girl on the playground. A few drops of rain fell. Airplanes quicksanded into the clouds. "London?" I inquired of each one. A tiny blonde chit was loosed from her mother's van and ran her little wobble for the woodchips. I marveled.

Surely my younger self was hanging around here somewhere. Being taught to play the games I had never had friends for. Ice skating in sneakers on the frozen grass. Piloting scooters up the bumpy sidewalk. Watching Purple unicycle up that same sidewalk. Running away from older kids who were setting up fireworks, or smoking, or something. Trick-or-treating, year after year. Gazing out the window at the yellow streetlight that lit the big dark. Those huge stalks the Ex-Guy hid in didn't look so big anymore. Was that my idea?

I really did expect to see the ghosts of us four girls there. We didn't show up. I guess we're still alive. I raced a runner and beat him. He didn't notice.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I Love You, I've A Drowning Grip

I can't you tell how bad it's been, the last two nights. Last Friday, Monday night, I was happy to laugh over something painful. Sitting on Swimmerette's lawn confusing Hannah, cracking up behind ice cream cones after the R movie. I'm pathetic, it's amusing, and I know it.

And what a wreaking it was on Tuesday night. Watch the girl fall to pieces over the CD she was so glad to snag. It starts with the delight over the reference to Harajuku. There's the little inkling that this song was written just for her, that maybe she should be a bigger fan. Then tears come, can't stop playing and replaying.

But she's done all this before. It's nothing new. She's the only person to whom she can't keep promises. How in the world did this happen? she wonders. Her memory's fading. She can't remember what she has done wrong. More and more these days, she has to say that she doesn't remember.

She's lying on the floor. There's a terror cinema on the ceiling. "There's tears in your eyes," says the memory of David, and tears roll down into her ears. When was I happy? she asks herself. There's just two answers she can think of. You know them, don't you?

Sound tumbles from her shelf. She's listening to British music, and she starts to wither in horror. She's in love! She's absolutely drowning in it. She loves a place thousands of miles away. She remembers with every airplane.

When she wakes up in the morning she hasn't changed clothes. Her makeup's still on. She remembers curling under the covers, screaming. Her ragged breath the only sound, until she couldn't breathe anymore. What was that? She can't remember. I suppose that was sort of silly of me.

Oh, how I wish there were a happy ending. I wish I could tell you that last night, she washed her face and went to bed the way you did. That when she woke up this morning, she had forgotten about how that horrible way Tuesday ended.

"White Flag" was playing at the dentist's. That was always the Ex-Guyfriend's song, wasn't it? That was the CD she put on at Rachael's house. That was the first song she played on her iPod. It was an accident. Accidents, that's how she wound up in church that evening. There was a Friday night, once upon a time, when she realized that nothing was more important to her than her boyfriend. She promised to go on Wednesday nights. By Monday it was too late, and every Wednesday since she's gone for no one.

I know why my shoes don't get worn out, she thought late that night, on the floor again. I don't do enough in them. What's that line, from that song? The girl with the holes in the soles of her shoes. That's "Story Of A Girl", isn't it? The one who drowned the whole world. Is it true that everybody likes that song?

The empty spaces started to scare her. She tried to sing to herself and it sounded horrible. She put on music. The song began, "Elope with me Miss Private and we'll sail around the world." It reminded her of another: "Still my heart, and hold my tongue." Her invisible friend was indifferent. She clenched her hands and cried harder at the sight: she's the only person who will hold her hand.

I'd like to see you
But really I should stay away
And let you settle down
I've got no claims to your crown
I was the boss of you
And I loved you
You know I loved you
It's all over now

And I was there for you
When you were lonely
I was there when you were bad
I was there when you were sad
Now it's my time of need
I'm thinking, do I have to plead to get you by my side?

- Belle & Sebastian, "I'm A Cuckoo"

Sunday, June 11, 2006

You Smiled Before the Cemetery

Thursday went on and on.

I showered too long and fixed my hair too fast. I'm enjoying the crumpled, frizzy, and voluptuous things my hair can do. Before me, the slightly attractive guy in church on Wednesday night might have looked unkept in a red t-shirt. I'm slipping straps and heeling high-tops. He looked right past me.

My crazy hair, my tiara, and I sail up, down, and around. Necker and Fai are suitably impressed by new Beatles paperback, from 1964. Brittany didn't understand the signifigance of the year. What has she spent her whole life doing that convinced her that gays are disgusting, drugs are sexy, and anything popular is great?

Necker has Trivial Pursuit Junior. "Dork," says Fai. The two of them are so good together that they've worn it out completely. It's a nice rut, even if they could stand to break it sometimes. Zebras are black with white stripes. Who knew?

I fail an examination, pass one, and walk upstairs. Our locker's shockingly empty. I cram my bag with the last notebooks. Those fugitive shoes of mine are still in residence, but there's not much chance of my being able to find Fai and appoint her their steward. I stuff them into my satchel.

Every one of my pictures are still taped inside the door. I try to get them off. Corners rip. I know I won't have time. Cursed desperation sticking down my escape. I tear out the ones I feel shouldn't be left. Sam. Alexis. Bouncy, Blue, Purple, and I. Then I take off.

Hours later I'm wearing new shoes and walking. "Have a good summer," says the neighbor boy on his bike as he sails past me. I've hated him. I wonder where he's been. Could that have been six years ago I loved him? We don't mention it. Look at us now, talking loud to make sure we hear each other behind our earbuds.

I'm dressed like the kind of girl who would beat you up. I couldn't. "You too," I say. The businessman who waits for me to cross the street is sort of fascinated when I wave to him. The old Indian woman is speaking loud Hindi to her plants as she turns the hose on the garden.

Sitting inside the doors of the library is Prissy. It's been a year to the day, and what a day it was, a year ago. Thursday, different people were shedding my same sobs. I check out Madonna's picture book.

It's summer. I can relax. It'll be good for my skin. I've been sunburned already, sometime inbetween jumping in the fountain, the cream soda, and that Beatles book. By Friday, I lost track of the date. Lots of people told me my hair smells nice. The weekend's gone on and on.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Le Savoir-Vivre

Yesterday I was singing off-key in the mirror and learned I haven't lived.

To live, one must want to die. There's a poem creeping around in there that I'm not lyrical enough to see yet. I was trying to come terms with that. I wanted to want to die. But I don't want to die, I said. I can't die! I haven't lived!

"Damn straight," said my soul, very quietly. She said it spontaneously just like that too, and left me more frustrated than ever.

And to those of you who mourn your lives
Through one day to the next,
Well, let them take you next!
Can't you live and be thankful you're here?
See, it could be you, tomorrow or next year.

- Guillemots, "Trains to Brazil"

So today I woke up in chemistry and learned to understand life.

The topic in chalk may have or may not have been free energy. The thoughts in my head pertained to life not being all it's chalked up to be. Is it, "Don't lie"? asked my fuzzy sleeping brain. Is that how to live?

"Can't be," remarked my soul matter-of-factly. By the time she came through the reception was a bit fuzzed, as if I were asking myself. "No, it can't," she assured me. "Everyone has to do an awful lot of lying."

How do you decide who deserves how much of the truth? I asked, and lapsed into sleep over empty blue lines.

It might have been half a second or half a dozen minutes before my soul had something more to say. That type of thing transcends time. "Remember 'respect for worthy life'?", she asked gently. "You wrote that yourself, Anna. Respect for worthy life. Respect for worthy life."

I think I do remember that, I thought. I think I was crying. I remember it was sort of blurry. I think I may have been really happy. But -," broke the thought, starting to foam, " - but that's hardly enough have a go on! Worthyness! What about changing minds? What if it twitches, what if it comes in tumults and turmoils? What if it chains me and walks me seaside by sheer force of will?

"Oh, Anna, don't worry," quoth my soul, a little tiny bit fed up, and retired. I sat, a little tiny bit uncomfortable, most of the way wide awake.

My soul came back for a moment. "Oh, Anna," she said. "Anna, oh, isn't that just it? Oh, Anna. Don't worry."