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So the space shuttle Columbia exploded today, and now the hordes are posting on their inane BLOGS about how the heroes have lost their lives, and we should realize what's really important. We should not fight. We should spend more time with our families and "loved ones". We should unite. Join hands. Hearts. Well, to that I say BULLSHIT. Why do we need to witness others' tragedy in order to appreciate our own good fortune? One month later, everyone reverts to petty self-centered whining anyway. Stop pretending to care. If you truly did, you wouldn't need to be reminded today.
I'm not buying it. Sure, right now everyone's all tender and "raw" and building mini-shrines for the seven dead astronauts. Saluting flags, hands over hearts, drying eyes with tissues or sleeves or backs of hands. All involved and emotional and remembering already where they were when they heard The News about Columbia's explosion. The same way they were when they heard about The Events Of September Eleventh. Or when Di died. Oh so loving. Oh so sad. Oh so weepy. Everyone's a patriot. But by next month, when these words are published on 100 Words, everyone will be dicks again
This year makes it five since he died – either by suicide or from exposure after drinking and spending an entire night in the freezing Vermont air. That day in March 1998 when my mother called and broke the news, my world broke into more pieces than I ever thought made it up in the first place. He and I were such close friends, and at one time were more, but never made the leap into "lovers". One day I hoped we would be together forever and the marriage quilt his mother had shown us many years earlier would be ours.
You're in the other room, and I can't help but hear you breathing as you sleep. It annoys me. Rankles me. I must close the door to this room so I cannot hear you or it. It's not that I want you to cease breathing, as you sometimes suggest may be my desire. Not at all. It's just that I cannot stand the rhythmic, predictable, seesaw, back and forth, to and fro, high heavy tide that is your respiration. It's too much. Too loud. I shouldn't hear you breathing. I do not want to be forced to participate. Shut. Up.
This afternoon I saw a play that contained quite a bit of full frontal nudity. It was an all-male cast. Everyone who was nude was in relatively good shape (no guts; most with pretty nice "abs" and legs and all the rest of the usual parts). I'm always shocked to see a sad little flaccid dick hanging against a man's thigh like a sleeping bat. I always want to laugh. It's really hard to pretend you're mature when you all you want to do is giggle behind your hand and say words like "peepee" and "dingdong" to your friends instead.
The summer between eighth grade and ninth, Jeff and I kissed during Spin the Bottle and then boldly continued on a sofa in that darkened basement. "I Want To Make It With You" by Bread was playing. He tasted like orange soda. Later that summer, we were tangled up in each other on a hammock by my parents' pool. I think he tasted like orange soda that night too. (If so, he did it on purpose; it was a little joke we shared.) I would love to kiss him now, 26 years later, if only to taste orange soda again.
She want hims to think she's more sophisticated than she is. She's barely 17, he's twice her age, and they're gliding down I-95 in his red Cadillac toward the city. She's a glamorous lady being whisked away by her paramour with the foreign accent. A lady who knows she'lll be kissed by the gentleman she thinks he is. She's been kissed before but never by someone so suave. When they park behind the art museum, he wants much more than a kiss. When he takes her home that night, she doesn't speak. She never wants to see him again.
She fell in love a little with every man she allowed access to her body. Even those who didn't remember her name the next day or who probably didn't know it in the first place. Even those she didn't particularly like or enjoy being with. Even those who weren't considerate of her during the actual act or who didn't regard her as more than just a receptacle. All of them, she fell in love with, just a little, and she remembered all of their names and the circumstances of their meeting. She hated herself fiercely, but loved all of them.
He was revolting. He worshipped Monty Python. He wore a hat when one wasn't needed. He was chunky, unattractive, and nothing that the 21-year-old me was interested in getting to know better. Still, I went out with him anyway because he was rather intelligent and not altogether unfunny. I don't remember where we went. I don't remember what we did wherever we went. I do remember lying beneath him on his bed, fully clothed, being kissed by him and kissing him back madly. Not caring that he was chunky or unattractive. Or that earlier he'd worn an unnecessary hat.
Early in the morning, after spending the night, you press against my back with your front as we both lie in bed. You don't know if I'm awake and you don't ask. I don't say a word. You press yourself more closely against me, wrap your arms around me, and then slip inside as smoothly as a whisper. I don't say a word. I don't move. You rock your body against mine, into mine, first gently and then more urgently. For all you know, the gasp I finally release is just from a dream I'm having. An unfinished dream. Jackass.
He never knew that it was physically painful for me to not do all the things I wanted to do for him. All the little things that would show him how huge my adoration for him was. The hidden notes. The cookies. My heart pounded furiously just thinking about all that I wanted to do and give and even more furiously when I admitted to myself that I would never have the guts to go through with it. I couldn't stomach the idea that he would possibly laugh at me for being the ridiculous romantic I always insisted I wasn't.
All night she anticipates the kiss good night. If he tries to get away with just kissing her on the cheek again, she will turn her face quickly wherever it has to go so that his lips land on hers. Whenever he speaks, on this night or any other, she tries hard not to look at his mouth, because all she can think about is if one day she will feel it all over her body. So tonight she focuses on the television instead. Pretends not to be watching him in her peripheral vision. Tonight she just wants a kiss.
She felt she couldn't say NO because at one time she had said YES, and that automatically disqualified any refusal in the future. What he didn't know was that she had said yes to him the first time, and several times after, not because she truly wanted to be with him, but because she wanted him to like her. Respect? Didn't matter. And love? She knew better than to expect that. She would do anything to please him, even if it meant that by getting him to like her (if even for five minutes), she would wind up hating herself.
Hey, you. You in your stiletto heels and your jeans that hug the hips you don't even have, crossing the street in Soho, picking your way through the ice and not even laughing as you do so. You with your friends, all too fucking hip to smile. You and your humorless face, frozen into a bored facade with great effort now in your 20s and in ten years with the help of Botox. Trip. Fall down. Shatter, vapid bitch, so I can step on you effortlessly as I cross the same street in boots that actually were made for walking.
The only difference between now and 26 years ago is that then I hid from my parents in a bedroom in their house and now I hide from "him" in a bedroom in the apartment we share. I recently downloaded some music that I used to listen to back then as I lounged on a denim beanbag chair in a room lit by a blue lightbulb, and found that I didn't even have to close my eyes to remember everything I felt then, and to realize that I pretty much feel the same way now. I'm still 13 years old.
It's remarkable, really, how easily I can lie. How I don't even have to think about the lie beforehand, how it just makes itself up spontaneously, how it flows so naturally and smoothly from between my lips and out into the atmosphere like a perfect smoke ring. (And I don't even smoke!) It is a skill that I have perfected due to decades of frequent practice. I am extremely proud of my skill and never hesitate to demonstrate it to friends, family, acquaintances, and even people I meet in line at the supermarket. It is my best event. No lie.
The funeral is this weekend. I'm not sad. I "should" be sad but I'm not. Should I feel bad that I don't feel sad? Should I feel bad or sad that I don't feel anything? OK, so I lie. On a scale of 1 to 100 (1 being the least amount of sadness), I feel maybe a six. But even that six is fabricated because it's expected of me. I feel as if I should feel bad for not feeling bad or sad, yet I don't care. Most things rate a 94 on the I Don't Care Scale. Oh well.
I know nothing of world events. Even with all that's going on now. I know little about past events, current events, and events that will take place in the future ... well, I know nothing about them either, surprisingly. I don't read newspapers or watch the news. I don't read anything online about anything real. Rarely do I read anything beyond the first few paragraphs anyway, because I just don't care. If it's not happening in Allure magazine or on HBO, it's just not happening. I have my priorities straight. As long as I can order in Chinese food, I'm fine.
Oh, I'm sorry. Did you just say something? I didn't hear. I was too busy gazing at the little bit of flesh just behind your ear. That little spot that I can just tell is really soft and tender. That little spot that I'd love to just reach out and touch when you're not looking. I wish I could lightly press my lips to it or my fingertips, without you knowing. You wouldn't have to know. I wouldn't want you to. But I just want to confirm that it's as warm and smooth and lovely as I think it is.
In a rare moment of reverting back to my anorexic teenhood, I decided today that every day I don't work out (other than the one day I week I afford myself respite from exercise), I will not allow myself to eat. Yes, "allow". That way, I won't feel that my lack of effort in getting to the gym is without reward. Yes, "reward". This should provide me with incentive to drag myself to the gym on days when I don't feel like going, but I think it will probably give me an excuse not to eat instead. We shall see.
When you come home tonight, you will find me on your sofa, asleep, curled around a book. There will be a blanket wrapped around my body, and I'll have my hair in a ponytail atop my head. A half-empty can of Diet Coke will be just within my reach on the coffee table. Don't wake me. Just crawl into your bed, fall asleep, have whatever kind of dreams make you the happiest, and then, tomorrow morning, don't ask me how I snuck into your apartment or why I did it. Just take me out for breakfast and make my day.
How can it be that now when I look at him and imagine him touching me, I cringe with disgust so enormous and overwhelming that it seems to take on actual physical form. Disgust that runs its calloused hands over my body, tangles itself in my hair, tries to kiss me full on the mouth but forces me to turn my head quickly before its fetid breath can mingle for even a millisecond with mine. Amazing how I used to almost ache for his touch, but now that same touch almost literally makes me gag even when it's just imagined.
The entire time I was where you weren't, I pretended you were anyway, and in my head invented conversations between us. I had you laughing with me, putting your arm around me to pull me close to you for a moment before realizing what you'd done and then quickly removing it, quite possibly out of fear that you'd revealed more than you'd wanted to reveal. We are, after all, just friends. Then I realized I was daydreaming, and I could make us more than that. So I did. And you put your arm around me and didn't take it away.
"I'm coming home early." No words make me cringe quite as much. You say them as if I should be happy that you're invading my space. You tell me as if I should be happy that you are effectively cutting into my time. Even if we're in separate rooms – and we almost always are – your mere presence in this place changes everything. It's not like I'm doing anything special, really; it's just that your presence brings an energy here that I don't want or need. Stay away as long as possible. Your early arrival is not a treat to me.
It's been three weeks since an intensely cute young guy in a knit hat stood next to me by the cookies and scones at Whole Foods, spoke to me, and made me genuinely laugh, and vice-versa. Three weeks since I tried to find him in another aisle after leaving that area, and tried to think of a way to say something that didn't involve the words "We have to stop meeting like this." Three weeks since I wished we'd go back to his place and eat cookies while snuggled under a blanket watching stupid TV shows. Where did he go?
How can it be that you everything you say bores me to near tears? That you fill me with something as full-bodied as disgust just by saying four words to me? That I have less than zero interest in spending any time with you and the mere thought of being forced to do so fills me with a dread unlike anything I've experienced? And how is it that I used to hang on every word you uttered and couldn't wait to see you again? Now I just want you to shut the fuck up and never look at me again.
I'm an orange-yellow subway seat. You don't give me credit for doing what I have to do all day. You don't consider what I go through. Ever. You don't know the trauma I endure, having to witness so many bulging buttocks doing their buttocky thing. How many gassy asses press themselves onto my surface without regard for my feelings. You know nothing of how I exist. You think I don't mind the way I spend my life. Sometimes I actually manage to get a soda spilled onto myself, just so I don't have to face another uncaring ass like yours.
I feel like a big whiny fucking baby. Out of the blue, I emailed an old "beau" (one of my favorite people ever) to see how he was doing. We hadn't communicated in a while. I didn't know if he'd write back. But he did, and said that his little sister was diagnosed with cancer last September and died just after Christmas. I know it's hideously cliche to say this, but now everything that I've been whining about seems like total fucking bullshit. When I care about someone, I care almost too much. And now I feel completely helpless. Useless.
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