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I knew it like yesterday, the lights appeared sullen underneath the moonlit darkness of my subconscious. It didn't take more than a sparse moment for me to be sure of what you were looking for. Ten years have passed and I thought that I would have forgotten by now, but the wounds still remain fresh–as fresh as the blood of the first kill. I can still see the sheen of my mother's pearl necklace and the sound they made as they scattered on the pavement–plink, plink, plink. You stand before me like a mirror and I am your exact reflection.
I thought that you had fought the demons that wanted to consume you. I thought that going underground would save me, but all I can think about is your costume illuminated by the spotlights. The bat came to visit me again today. I tried to block him out by switching the channels. Click, click, click. Every moment that I vowed to turn forward hungrily tries to pull me back. I still think about the look in my mother's eyes, her voice is silent but I can still hear her scream and the gun that made that same fatal sound. Click.
She thought that it would be a thrill to fight crime. I could tell you that age does a number on your body, you can no longer squat without your legs going numb. The pain killers will have to suffice for now. She came to me that night, dressed in the exact copy of your costume. I thought it was you and my heart seemed to beat again. I held you and you were warm, but as I reached to remove your mask, you stopped me. "Don't," you said. I looked into your eyes and remembered, you were already gone.
I let the razor make love to my upper lip, removing the moustache I had grown in your memory. I remember how father used to trim his. I hate it. Feeling the smoothed portion of my skin I place the razor on mother's vanity table and continue to guide myself down the rounded staircase, hugging the curves and caressing the banister. They felt like you, cool and exact against my palms. My breath grows hot and I feel a hand rest on my shoulder. I turn around and he says, "What happened to your moustache?" I stood there and cried.
The city is in disarray; a vigilante must rise to the opportunity, to be the hero. I cannot forget how often I must defy the law in order to save the people, the innocent. So many have died because of my mistake–I let you live. If only it wasn't so hard to pull the trigger, use a man's weakest defense to stop you. If only I hadn't made that promise to myself so many years ago, it would have been easy. I think about the pearls and how they look at me, they know that I will avenge her death.
Synthetic rubber has always been my second skin, I never thought that I would ever remove it. I cannot believe that they told us to remain invisible, how am I supposed to do my job? Those mutants will give the city a sore eye, but who cares anyway, right? They're just afraid that the people will listen to me and not them. They're just afraid that their precious boys will be deviant sons and not mindless patriots. How many must die for you until you realize I am the answer? How many must be killed because they refuse to see?
They forced us to go underground, never to return to the world of the living. I had to hide my identity because knowledge is deadly, it will destroy you. Before any tragedy was ever instilled upon me, my dark friend, you gave me power. Conflict caromed around in my psyche like the jagged teeth of our enemies. There was no escaping the pain, the memories, the feeling of yesterday. I had to break free of my shackles. Nothing can contain me. I am your child, you are my creator. I serve you while serving him. I must be the vigilante.
I will give into my primal instincts and he will take me in his wings and I will soar. I stand before the grid-like windows and look out at the people below. They are so naive, so bought in by images and falsities, they do not even know that obedience is their downfall. Everything is growing, the gloom of the city, the heavy air that surrounds me. I see him come towards the frame and the shadow of those gridlines mark my forehead like an alienating X. I take in a deep breath. He pauses before me. I submit willingly.
I extend my hand to you, watching the mutant fall into the dark mud. Somehow he gathers enough strength to lunge at me with his clumsy fingers. My muscles tense and fist clench. Strike! Ka-blam! I hear the bone crack beneath my knuckles, his face gives in to the shape of my iron punch. I thought it was over, but he reaches out blindly and grasps my extended arm, hurling me into the mud puddle with him. You stand in the piles of mangled bodies dumbfounded by the violence. You pull out a penlight and shine it. Everything remains still.
The tears run down hot and I cannot stop the rivers from flowing, they want to burst from me like flaming gasoline. This is what I am, a vulnerable man. No longer am I the strong and resilient person I was ten years ago. No longer am I young and able to sustain long periods of physical strain. But I continue to test those limits, to test my vulnerability and falsely allow myself to believe my heroic exceptionalism. I shall turn those tears into anger, I shall turn that anger into vengeance, I shall turn that vengeance into something right.
I think that I have talked about superheroes for long enough, Batman in Dark Knight Returns was the inspiration for the first ten entries. I appreciate Frank Miller's ability to reinvent the Batman we are familiar with, he is no longer a character influenced by his past, it does not cause him to be vengeful. It is his present, the world he lives in causes him to remember his past, it does not guide him, but it tries to limit him. I like to know that superheroes are vulnerable, it makes them seem more human and ironically Batman is human.
When time ended now, I knew that the wicker waves of penumbras would make their home on the floorboards. We used to gather around our 100 watt bulb and whistle faint tunes to each other while holding hands, swaying ever so slightly. The echoes would ricochet over the hazy hue made by the scratchy afghan draped over the candy-striped chesterfield. I never quite understood what Mark saw in that piece of worn out "designer" furniture. But I remember how we used to pretend it was our fort, and how that night we lay against those worn springs, hopelessly in love.
I crawled out of bed and lifted the curtain to bathe the room in moonlight. The moon isn't as beautiful as it used to be, now it's just a paper cutout that flickers every once in a while. The light is provided by the power plant down the street, the streetlights over there cast a dusty red hue over the wooden fence on the 21st house. That doesn't seem normal, nothing ever seems normal anymore. I head over to the bathroom and lap at the water straight from the faucet. I try not to think about what it really is.
I could smell the coffee on your breath. For two mornings I noticed pink lipstick imprinted on my mug. I'm hoping that it was just my imagination. I can't believe you let some whore drink from my coffee mug. Who is this bitch you share our coffee with? I imagined you scooping those crystals into the coffee maker. The machine going drip, drip, drip. You offering her a cup and you pouring one for yourself. You probably also kissed her and took her to our bedroom. I can forgive that, but I cannot forgive the lipstick on my coffee mug.
The reflective mirrors are lined up in rows of 8, tilted to the right. The sun seems to make all of them seem like laser pointers, blinding. I remember when they were building the roof of this building. The builders hauled out those reflective mirrors and groaned under their weight. The architect wasn't pleased with the angle, he kept telling the workers to move the mirrors back and forth. I remember being afraid to sneeze. I look up at the mirrors now, lined up in rows of 8, tilted to the right and wonder, why are they up there anyway?
The washing machines are lonely with only one load of laundry spinning around. I can see your red scarf in there with the whites; I wonder why I put it in there. I remember in college when I used to find my clean clothes on the floor because someone else wanted to use the machine. I felt so violated. A man walks in, he doesn't appear to have shaved in days. He's carrying a small bag of laundry. He digs for loose change but comes up with some lint. I offer him some quarters to keep my washing machine company.
You know what's disturbing? I remember watching one of those tv crime dramas where they show a crime and then try to solve how the killer had done the deed. One was rather eerie. The man wanted to kill this one girl, I don't remember how they were related, he wanted revenge on some other guy. He tied and gaged the girl. He then turned on a fan and held fistfuls of sand and gravel in front of it. He essentially filled her lungs up with that stuff and she suffocated. That's like being buried alive, it's too darn freaky.
The scoop lies in the tub of ice cream. We were watching ‘Gone with the Wind' and all of a sudden there was ice cream on my nose. You licked my nose like an ice cream cone. I thought it was really gross. Then you stuck your finger into the tiny puddle that was forming in one of the ice cream grooves. I thought it was really gross. I got up and stopped the movie. I asked you to leave. Then I just laid there on the couch, savouring the last bit of ice cream, tasting vanilla on my fingers.
Shirley wants to wear her dancing shoes, the red ones with the white bows. The bottoms are all worn out but she doesn't mind. She watches her daughter Nancy as she practices her pirouettes. Nancy lives for ballet. Shirley remembers when Lawrence used to take her out dancing. She remembers the blue dress she always wore with those red dancing shoes. Lawrence hated to dance. Shirley loved him for taking her out dancing. Shirley snaps out of her fantasy and looks up at her daughter. She tries to tap her feet to the music but remembers they don't move anymore.
Brother says, "Tie your shoes." I look at him with that cock-eyed stare. I like how my laces slap against the concrete. I like how my shoes slide off my heel just a little with every step. I like skipping and feeling the shoes slide back over my heel when my feet touch the ground. I like how it's okay to be a kid. I like how my laces slap against the concrete. I like it. Brother looks at me. I smile. That was the last time he told me to tie my shoes. I miss how he says that.
The rocks make jagged jaws to my elbows, there are only threads holding us together. I know that trouble is brewing beneath moss-covered mistrust. We're entangled. There are mirror-images that only deflect those physical truths, there is more to this mundane drama. It shall devastate you, you shall recognize those democratizing forces and you shall jump over those rocks. We are independent in this socio-economic structure, we will not assimilate. I fear that those are the jaws that will consume me from head to toe. I know nothing except that I must break through everything I have ever made real.
My grandfather spins the wheel of history. He tells me stories about how he met grandmother and what the weather was like in his little village from so long ago. His eyebrows furrow as if in deep concentration and all of a sudden, as if on cue, he'd give me a wide grin. My father says that grandfather is an odd man. I like how he tells me stories because they are the only link I have with history. They are the only link I have with my father who seems so far away from the world. So far away...
I know that I shouldn't have done what I did and I regret it. They tell us never to regret the things we've done, just the things we didn't do. Well what if what you did was wrong, was bad, was stupid, shouldn't you regret what you've done? I am so conflicted right now, I just can't believe that I can be so impulsive sometimes. I hope that he shall never find out. I pray that he shall never find out. I regret having known you. I regret having done very stupid things because of you. I'm a stupid girl.
The streetlight shines like a beacon over the shady area on Yonge street. Maxwell the hotdog vendor shivers a little despite the summer heat and warm grill. His last customer indulged on the sauerkraut, he makes a mental note to refill it. His nose wrinkles because of the smoke; he's gotten used to being alone on nights. Sometimes he wishes that he didn't have to use those hotdogs as a pillow. He'd prefer a warm bed in a warm house and food. He'd like to be that man who ate all his sauerkraut. Taking without ever thinking about the consequences.
Yellow flowers are sprouting from the ground, they're so small and delicate. This is the first time I've seen them grow since they were planted last year in the fall. They say that daffodils are clown flowers because of their long noses. I find that quite amusing. They're pretty flowers. I have some that are starting to peek out of the soil because they're curious to see spring. It's funny how flowers seem to sprout up when you least expect them. I like waking up in the morning and knowing that there will be bright yellow daffodils to greet me.
There are words that you said that hurt me. One day you will eat every last one of them. One day. One day. I know that you don't think very highly of me, your words contradict the tone of your voice. I can tell what you're really thinking behind those eyes. They don't lie. People say that words can be said without intention but heard with meaning. You may not think you mean those things, but I can hear them. I know that they hurt. I know that if you ate every last one of them. You would be full.
Dawn falls over like a hazy hue, the trees are smoky shadow puppets. Through your camera lens you see the world in monochromatic colours. I hear it making noises as you zoom in to get your picture in focus. It all becomes a chemical reaction of ink when you develop those moments in your dark room. I wonder how you see the art in everyday life. How you make the mundane so interesting. How you spark creativity by staring long and hard at those yellow number two pencils and turn them into a moment's pause of contemplation. You're a masterpiece.
Teddy lost his head. I wonder how anyone could have hurt him, he was quiet and never spoke a word to anyone. I like to think that he had many thoughts that he would liked to have shared but was just too afraid to speak his mind. Now his head is gone. He seems so lonely without it. I cannot look at a body without thinking about poor Teddy's head. Those arms just do not look inviting anymore. His neck almost seems like a tease with his insides pouring out the top. Will someone return Teddy's head? I miss him.
Your feet hover above the ground as you dangle your legs over the tabletop. A few weeks ago you laughed when I told you that I would cut my arm off before deciding to tie the knot. You are unaware of my nightmares of little tykes running around me in circles, my arms aching from carrying diapers and warm bottles while pushing a stroller. You are gossiping with your friends, looking happy while rubbing your belly. You come towards me and announce that we'll be having another child in our lives soon. I scream, waking up in a cold sweat.
The world is not safe for the little ones. I fear they will not be able to understand the pain and suffering of the world. It is so tragic that life can be cut so short these days. The youth are no longer innocent. I must have cried tablespoons of sorrow for those hungry children in Ethiopia. The little ones can only quizzically question about their overextended bellies and cringe at the flies, but with little compassion or understanding (at least it seems that they have forgotten). Our vicarious emotions are lost. Our children suffer far more than a cut.
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