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I sit at my desk all day, my small desk, and people pass by, and they say, ďGee, what a small desk you have.Ē And I laugh. I always laugh. Because, you know, itís true. Iíve had to sit on the floor before, so this chair with the micro-padding? It ainít half bad. If I had my way, Iíd be sitting on the floor all the time, cartwheeling to the different offices, singing at the top of my lungs, ďHell, how are ya?Ē Instead of whatever it is I do know. Trust me, there are no cartwheels in the equation.
Wishing a lot lately. I wish I wasnít so shy, I wish I could talk like I write, I wish I could read peopleís minds. But then as soon as Iíve wished these things, I instantly take back whatever I've wished for. Iíd rather be shy than slick, at least I have the ability to write, some people donít even have that, and yes, it would be great to read others thoughts, but what if they only thought indifference in return? Or sinister side notes? What if I thought someone was wonderful, but really they thought I was a waste?
He said it was dishonest, how I looked so pretty. He pointed out when I wore lip gloss, laughed loud, mentioned someone new. I tried to tell him that Ďdifferentí wasnít necessarily bad, that I was trying to make my own friends in California, find myself like the slogan said on those commercials with the palm trees and the sand and that sultry sun. He said he didnít trust me, at least not when he wasnít there to look out for me. ďTo watch over me, you mean?Ē My voice cracked a little when he didnít reply. I knew the truth.
On the wall of our apartment is a Happy Birthday sign. The letters curl in the afternoon when the sun is high. I think there are homeless people living under the bridge by my apartment. Sometimes when I run at night I hear them shuffling under their cement sky. Rusty, tangled shopping carts appear on the banks of the river, plastic bags strewn in the dirt, laughter in the shadows. I thought about leaving a homecoming pie, perhaps a plate of cookies that they could eat as a mid-day snack. A welcoming gift. Rednecks of our neighborhood. Welcome to the Valley.
Iím just not LA hip, you know? Iím not Ďhey now, look at me.í I ainít got the money to be stylin', and I ainít got the time. And I canít take serious pictures, seven out of ten times Iím always moving, they get me in mid-thought, I look out of place, off in my other world. But it would be nice, perhaps, it would be nice, if there was substance underneath it all. If I was wrong wrong wrong and just stopped thinking for once, so I could let life step in, so I could accept what it is.
I took a sip and it burned all the way down. He would say, ďJust the way I like it.Ē But I prefer more sweetness in my drink, more color. The clear stuff gets to you faster, red and white will slow you down. Make it possible to remember the night. I donít drink much, but this girl I know, she thinks I have a problem. I keep telling her, you should meet my friends, you should meet my father. But then I stop myself, my father isnít a drinker, thatís a downright lie. If anything, heís addicted to laughing.
On the show, his offices were right next to the Seventh Veil. You think you know someone. Her legs were taut, all muscle, ripped stockings. ďCan I stay with you for awhile?Ē The last time I had seen her was in sixth grade. We had snuck into The Craft. How bad we were back then, watching R-rated movies when we were only ten. I nodded and pushed the door open. She carried her duffel bag with her bruised arms, her blue veins bulged through her skin. ďItís been a long night,Ē she murmured, before passing out by the kitchen sink.
If I was a man, I would have carried her to my bed. Set her down between the sheets, slept on the couch, or the dusty floor by my closet, just to make sure she didnít choke on her own vomit during the night, or call out to any ghosts. But I wasnít a man, or a strong person, I was just me. I tried not to wake her and lead her to the couch, the closest cushion, but her soul was so heavy, her body was so tired, the weight of wherever she had been was impossible to move.
I placed a pillow under her head, by the fruit bowl. I threw a blanket around her small frame, tucked in the corners so all her skin was covered. The blanket wasnít large enough to cover her feet, so I slipped an old pair of socks over her toes. She never budged when I did this, she only breathed deeply and then hardly at all. We were in shallow waters. I wondered if she would wake up in the morning. I spent most of the night boiling and re-boiling water for tea, sipping through the darkness of an impossible Thursday.
We donít even know if it really was a seal, but we could see the bloody insides, the tangled net of veins. Jagged bones stuck through the end of the creature, strands of string like organs reaching out to the sea, and the smooth skull was the only thing left of the face. We thought it was a squid at first, until we saw the red wound, the blue intestines, intricate colors swirling within the lifeless casing. Except the colors werenít swirling, nothing was swirling anymore, whatever it was was part of the sand now, the sea weeds and surf.
I listened to that song on the radio and sped down the highway. The best part of my day is when I'm driving, when I'm thinking of you. It worries me. Do I always have to be thinking of someone? When is the day gonna come when I can just drive and not think of the destination? Just listen to the car rolling down this road, not think of if you are or aren't going to notice how much I'm about you. What happens when I have no one to think about? Will I panic? Is that what settling is?
Shhh. I saw you briefly. I am not good with words, although I pretend to be. Do you believe that what we have is worth waiting for? I have a hunch that I want to believe. I want to believe that I am right about you. Itís the strangest feeling, how weightless I am today. I wore a dress and everyone wondered why, or maybe a few. I hadnít done laundry for many weeks, it was the only thing left in my closet that wasnít drying, that was clean. From this day on, what I wear, I wear for me.
I run now six times a week. I do sit-ups and lift my legs off the floor. Then I breathe. I am not tired, but feel my body tighten. Everything is confusing and I am quietly and slowly breaking down the walls I have kept up for so long, so long, before I even knew that there were boundaries at all. There are certain things you should or shouldnít say to people you want to know more about. Iím worried that I will be too worried about not being myself that I wonít say anything, that he will walk away.
It was one of those required introductions. Youíre the friend of the person I want to sleep with. Hello, Iíll be nice to you so she can see how nice I am. I didnít trust him. She fell too easily. Three times she smiled his way over dinner, and then when he went to make a phone call she excused herself. I saw her slip between the painted wooden door. On the other side of the glass she leaned into him. He dropped his phone. I concentrated on the plate before me. My hands were cold, but I wasnít shaking.
There's a certain barrenness to this place, it falls between the cracks of what should be important. Even now, I am convinced this city will fall away from itself, deep into the ocean, off the face of today. And all the crack heads and dreamers and devils will tumble down with it, sinking to the bottom of everyone, there but forgotten. If this city of angels fell, who would be there to mourn? The Meth addicts in Riverside? The hippies in Berkeley? I think of what we would lose and there's really nothing left to give. And so it is.
You can strip me bare. My friends, my enemies, I adore you. There is nothing really, nothing I would like to give except the solid opinion that we are all we are all, and when the locusts come, when they come for us I will stand tall, unlike you, or maybe just like you, maybe we will stand together as the sun colors our skin dark, darker, darkest, until we change religions, ties, language and barriers we do not know or own, until we come apart and the heat of what we could never be burns away burns away burns.
We sat together at the table. It was before twelve. I was in the low chair, the green one that had to be brought in from the other room. Last night I did not go dancing, but fell asleep on the bright yellow rug. When I woke up all the bars were closed and no one was home. I didnít mind falling asleep. I was tired from running all day, waking up and going swimming and then falling back to dreams. I have this guilt sometimes, that I should be going out all the time, that I should be going.
I think the reason I'm so nice is that I have a fat soul. I may be skinny on the outside, but I'm all meat inside, all cellulite and thunder thighs and chunky rolls. I do sit ups in the mornings, sometimes at night. I run down chandler, turn on bellaire and then oxnard, back on coldwater canyon, but in my head I'm thinking glub glub glub. I'm listening to my skin shake and shudder, even if my stomach is tauter now than it was a month ago, in my head, i'm thinking I'm fat. And it's the best kind.
The kind that weights you down and keeps you going, the kind you can feed off of, that can feed you when thereís no one else whoís willing to give you a bone. Like the dogs in my fatherís village. Not even the scraps. If theyíre lucky they can suck the marrow out of the broken bits, but usually itís just hard. The hard white and gray parts we donít eat. My soul is still heavy, I donít feel them eating through all the fat. I donít sense that Iím starving for the sun, for the light of someone else.
He told me that I was a goddess to him. And I already knew that he thought I was a goddess. And why was I bringing up something like that again? Why did I need reassurance? You donít need it, he told me. You have whatever it is. No matter how many times you think itís going away, itís not. Other people see it. Iím not the only one. You donít need to be reassured. Stop asking me. You already know what I think. My opinion is biased. I think youíre beautiful. I think every part of you is beautiful.
And itís actually torture, thatís what he said. It was actually torture, listening to me doubt myself. So he told me to stop. Would you justÖhe didnít say it. But I knew. So I apologized. Did his opinion still matter to me, even though we werenít a we? What he thought was law for so longÖI tried not to think of it. Instead I thought of painting. Or dancing. Sleeping naked. My big bay window, and the screen door that just wouldn't shut. I thought of the grasshopper that had clung on the screen, and wouldnít let go, wouldnít budge.
She yells out on the street corner...I'm free! I'm free! I'm free! When her and her boyfriend are no longer...
There is nothing else to do. Nothing. They keep talking about stuff, talk talk talk. But it's not really making any sense. They told her, don't do that, don't. But she did.
You smell like alcohol.
They take their time today, they take their time. Trim is what she'd like to be if she wasn't so damn nervous all the time. Maybe there will be something to do later on when she opens her eyes a bit.
ďWhat you are, youíre damaged goodsÖĒ
I sat back in my chair and thought about it. He was right. I was damaged. I was tired and I was pissed and I was relieved and I was happy and I was severely free. Free to the point of no obligation. I didnít have to call anyone when I came home from work. I didnít have to worry about feeling guilty when I talked to a passerby that happened to be a man, I didnít have to be sad or depressed,
and even though technically, as of right now, I was alone, I didnít have to feel lonely, because I didnít. I was happy, I was hallelujah fucking free, and for the first time in a long time, I felt proud.
ďHell yeah, Iím damaged goods. Damaged fucking goods.Ē
Just cause goods are damaged doesnít mean they still canít be good. And besides, anyone whoís ever lived has had some damaged goods in their past. Itís how it works, if you didnít have any damaged goods, youíd be a wallflower. And I guess some people would love that shit, but me,
give me someone bruised around the edges, because I ainít perfect myself. The end.
Iíd like to think Iím pretty persuasive. There was nothing to do tonight after the game so I went to sleep. Sometimes, itís hard for me to read other peopleís writing when I havenít written anything that day or in a couple of days, because then Iím thinking, ďOh, I should be working on my own stories. Oh, Iím slipping, Iím slipping, theyíve got me, Iím gone.Ē
Should Sleep now. Sleep. Tomorrowís another day. Aye.
I hate how Iím red all the time. Gotta run. Away.
Why hey, yíall, hey, yíall. These are things you should know. Letís go to Vegas, baby. Walk the strip, play the slots. Letís go to Vegas, baby. Sit pretty on the best bed there is. Naked, baby. You can be naked. Strip down bare, tear off all the hair. Just you and me and this slip from Frederickís. Store on Hollywood Boulevard. Together.
I check out his page, itís this online thing, you know? I check it out and there are girls all up in his business, all like, ďHey you, come on down we gonna have a good time.Ē
And Iím like, hmmm, well, heís confident, confident isnít necessarily bad. But see, Iím not cocky like that, Iím not going to all the bars, all the spots, although it sounds like it would be fun, but I canít do that, I just donít think that sort of thing could sustain me forever.
In my life, I picture if I could have him in it, from what I know of him, and what he likes, and what I think he likes. But theyíre just assumptions. I really have no idea who this guy is, I have what people tell me,
I have the way he talks to me, but we have barely spoken, only briefly, when he walks around the corner, and I am there. I blush when he comes around, those girls on his page, I canít be those girls, I canít be like hey there sweet love gimme a call letís hit up the club. Do I have attitude? Attitude is more important than age. But I donít think itís enough. With this. Iím okay with being friends. Itís enough that thereís someone Iíd like to get to know. Itís enough because he was wrong. Iím not broken.
My friend doesnít believe in love. I donít believe her. I think when she meets someone who makes her stomach do flips and he falls for her and gives her all he can. Truly. Sincerely. I think sheíll start to believe. Itís one of those things, you have to see it to believe it, experience the awe. Like Cirque De Soleil. Thatís love. All those colors, slow moving shapes, larger than life illumination. Do you believe in love? I think I do with some people and others I just have to walk away, keep walking down Sunset Boulevard. Street walker.
She gave me that book He's Just Not That Into You. I hate books like that, but it made sense. Shy = Not interested. Never around = Not interested. No communication? Not interested. I got it. Though I didn't need a book to put it together. It was funny, because I exhibited all the signs too. A part of me hopes no one Iíve known ever reads this passage or that book. They'd get it too. I'm just not into you. But it's not true, not with me. Ah, what do I know? Nothingeverythingsomething. Serves me right, I went lookingÖ
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