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Something is shifting inside me.
The fury is gone, but a strange, irrational buzz has replaced it. There is white static in my brain, and if I listen hard enough, I swear I can hear voices. I can't handle silence, but music irritates my nerves and makes me want to smash pieces of glass into my ears. I want to control the world with a single word.
"Move," I will say, and it will sever its connection with the sun and find a new home among the stars.
There are too many eyes on the walls, watching and whispering.
A shadow crosses my curtains.
It's the streetlight flickering
, I tell myself, but I look outside just in case. Just inches away from the glass, there is a man staring at me without expression.
The Scarecrow. Number four of the Witch's minions.
Like the skinny giant, he can't access my room because he means me harm, and my stuffed animals won't let him inside. Still, he stands and stares, and no matter how long I stare back, I can't force my mind to believe he isn't there.
These reappearances worry me. Why is she gathering her power again?
The change from Arkansas to Louisiana was made instantly obvious by the switch from smooth road to the bumpiest pavement I've ever experienced. "Casino money," my brother said, as if that explained anything. In the dark, the blinking red towers that loomed over the oil rigs looked almost pretty, and if you didn't know the orange glow came from a factory, you might even imagine it was the sunset.
My great grandmother died, and so the family piled into the car, said goodbye to the internet, and drove ten hours to her funeral.
Now to catch up.
I can see it in his eyes--the giving up, the nothing matters, the return to base instinct. When you can't see the future, what does it matter what you do with the present? He hasn't been ok for a while. Six months, maybe more. My fault? Or was it always going to happen, with or without my influence?
You are the dealer in my life. What you lay down in front of me decides whether my hand is good or bad. But the dealer is blind, and you have no control over the cards, do you?
Open your eyes.
I had, at first, wanted to look in the coffin. It would be my first time seeing a dead person. But when I glanced across the room and spotted that pale face in the silver box, I knew I shouldn't go closer.
"You don't need to see this," my brain muttered while trying to distract me with text messages.
They have all the family members walk by the casket at the very end of the funeral. Did you know that? So I saw her in her purple lace dress with her tiny doll hands.
"Told you so," my brain sighed.
For the past week, my brain has gone into survival mode. Or shut off mode. Whichever.
This prevents any unnecessary pain caused by remembering any traumatic events or from thinking about anything depressing, but, unfortunately, it stops me from thinking deeply about anything else. Writing has become difficult. Only brief excursions into my mind are allowed, so all that I seem to be able to write are incoherent streams of consciousness (a stylistically flawed writing method). That, or really boring explanatory paragraphs. So if that becomes my style for a while, I'm sorry. I'll try to get better.
The TV watches me, and in the corner of the darkened screen, I think I see her milk-white mask and shadow eyes. She is watching. Always. She of a Thousand Faces sees everything. It's a game to her.
I play the game too, though I haven't learned the rules. I play blind. I am not a skilled player, but a gambler thrown into some bizarre version of roulette.
Is this a good move? Should I do this?
I close my eyes and throw down my chips and hope to god I don't hear her laughing at my choice.
You smell like safety, like the warmth of a hug on a chilly night, like the heavy bliss of not-quite-awake. Your smell hovers around me after I leave--not clinging, just gently waiting for an opportunity to comfort. It's a softer scent than those of other men. Unobtrusive and quiet. If I could, I would bottle your scent and label it "Peace," or perhaps "Home," or maybe even "Love."
Because love shouldn't be a thing that burns like too-strong cologne. It should settle into the heart waiting for opportunities to make your mouth water.
Her mouth pulled down at the corners in a way no living human could imitate,my grandmother looked so tiny in her silver box with her airy lilac dress and pretty orange flowers.
"It's a doll," I thought. "A sculpture. There's nothing human--dead or alive--about this."
I could not accept that this was once a person, that this had ever been more than simple pottery clay molded into a withered body.
It was her hands, her frail, sunken hands, that convinced me. In those vein-mapped fingers was the loss of life her face couldn't convey.
I left a lot of my belongings back in Texas. His mother brought them over today. (Why she had them, I couldn't begin to fathom.) I hid in my room while my own mother talked to her. In the dark. Whispering into my phone.
I should have asked the woman to just burn it all. Too many memories are attacked to that box, tied into this scarf, linked on the end of those charm bracelets.
He wasn't evil. He wasn't intentionally cruel (I don't think). He was just a little boy trying to keep love from leaving him behind again.
"Listen," he said.
"You have ears." He looked at me with eyes wider than I'd ever seen them. If I looked too closely, their darkness would pull me in.
"But I can't hear. Not... not her. I can't hear her."
The air shivered in frustration, and in the corner of my eye, I caught the outline of a woman's scowling face above his shoulder.
"She needs your help. Listen."
I couldn't. This was risking insanity.
"I can't! I just can't."
Maybe truth can only be found once we are willing to be crazy enough to find it.
Her eyes shine too brightly, too wildly. Her hands clench, ready to break the world, to heave it into the center of a black hole and watch as it rips apart. Her mind explodes with images of stabbing, slicing, tearing, punching, screaming, killing, killing, killing--
The anger is shut off as completely and smoothly as flipping a switch. An exhausted indifference slides in to take its place, and she becomes a creature of absolute insignificance. Placid.
There is a slump to her shoulders now, a weariness pulling down the corners of her mouth. The price of self-control.
Forgive me, for I have sinned. My 100words calender looks like a checker board of blue and grey, a wasteland of neglected dates and barely coherent entries. There's really no point of finishing this month, but I can't abandon the two or three worthwhile days I managed to have.
I will keep up with December. I will. But is it ok if I finish this month too? I know it's depressing and colorless and will bring down the rest of the year like a group of sobbing single girls at prom, but I can't leave it like this. I can't.
I slept without monsters clawing at my window, and, oh god, what a relief that was. I dreamed of a tiny fairy instead who smiled every time she saw me and sent me lucky wishes when I felt sad. It was such a strange and wonderful feeling to feel safe in my bed, I stayed there for most of the day. Hardly productive, but who cares about that?
It has been a while since I've written anything worth reading, hasn't it? Today will not be the day I fix that problem. Have I lost the skill or just the motivation?
When your first sunrise becomes your first sunset, remember, little darling, there will always be more. And don't you ever forget to discover new things every chance you get. The world is strange, and the world is complex, but you never need to fear the step you take next. Yes, there are monsters, and yes, there is pain, but there is love, and there is wonder, and there is so much to gain in this new life you're about to begin. Remain a child for as long as you can, baby, but never be afraid to grow old.
She left without a word. Stuffed her clothes into a ragged backpack and slammed the door on her way out. The cat watched her leave from the bedroom window, and no matter how much it meowed, she never came back.
The physical hurts so much less than the mental.
He learned not to love her, learned that hate was easier. Looked for proof that she never cared and convinced himself that he found it. She let him believe what he could and hoped it helped, but as for her, she slept with the light on.
Someday you will forget me.
Deep dark pools of unfiltered madness; yes, I've seen your mind through the window of your eyes, and I am uncomfortable with what I found. Momma didn't raise no fool, and I'd be a fool not to kiss my rosary and pray god strikes you down before you do it yourself, but Momma never taught us how to kill a thing what needed killin' as bad as you. Bless your soul.
There are dogs howling at the moon, and they sound just like you do when you look at pictures of the you you used to be.
Goodnight, my sweet.
The phone she holds to her cheek is faded blue and inappropriately outdated, but the way it bends fits her cheekbone like an embrace.
"Sorry," it seems to say as it snuggles against her. "I can't help what comes through my speaker."
For a brief and fragile moment, she lets her expression crumple with sadness. Then, just like the way her momma used to smooth out the wrinkles of the sheets while making the bed, she smooths out the lines of pain on her face. Her eyes empty of emotion, and it is like watching the death of a sun.
The lights from the street slide onto our laps and off again, providing brief glimpses of each other's faces before the car slips back into darkness. You are humming along to a song I don't know, and every once in a while, your eyes leave the road long enough to smile at me. Your hand holding mine feels like the gravity holding me to earth (though I'd never say so out loud. I have a reputation, you know.)
I don't know where we're going, but there is comfort in closing my eyes and letting you take me to somewhere new.
He punched her in the groin once, just to see what would happen.
He bent her finger back in class until she told him why she was so upset.
He tried to throw her off a cliff into the water, and when she grabbed a tree root and refused to let go, he bit her until her skin crunched audibly and the skin turned black.
After watching a documentary warning against spousal abuse and choking, he choked her when she refused to watch movies with him.
When she said no to sex, he held her down and did it anyway.
There were other things. Things she was less willing to share, even in that safe, quiet room of the therapist's office. Things too humiliating, too strange, too confusing to say.
He forced her to shower with him and peed on her every time. "What I don't understand," she thinks, "is that he wasn't aroused. So why do it? What's the point?"
He made her take off his socks and shoes when he got home and demanded she dress him before they went to the store.
He cried when she left. Gave her money. Told her he loved her.
December still isn't open for writing. It's December 10th. I feel like I'm being punished for not finishing November when I was supposed to. That's a terribly egotistical way to view things, isn't it? Oh well.
In other news, the witch herself has found a way into my bedroom. She stood over my bed, hair twitching with shadows as her minions stared from the window. I felt a tendril of her hair (or perhaps a corner of her sleeve?) brush my cheek, and when I opened my eyes, there she was. I slept on the couch with the
The sunlight scorched her skin with the heat of summer, but she shivered in her bathing suit. So scared her teeth chattered, poor thing. Oh, how he loved the way her fear felt against his body. He held her, stroked her hair, whispered that she was safe, safe as he eased her closer and closer to the edge of the cliff.
They weren't alone. There were others. Why couldn't they see? Why didn't they help?
"Want to see something funny?" he asked. "Help me hold her down."
And they did. They did.
At the end, eyes averted, they walked away.
There are no words inside my brain. Just an endless scream of pain and rage. Oh god, my heart hurts. How can I write like this? Why on earth should I drag myself out of bed for this shit?
Look at me, you foolish, foolish man. Don't you see what you have? The potential for greatness that burns in your soul? Don't you see you hold her heart and life in the palm of your hand?
Listen to me, you godawful piece of shit! Clean yourself up, and you will be worthy of every bit of love she could give.
Baby don't lie. Never lies. Never lies. Couldn't tell a lie if it cost her her life. But that ain't true, now is it? Just a lie she told to cover those lies. Cuz baby don't do nothin' but lie.
This is where it happened. He explained how he had tricked her later when it didn't matter, but at the time, she thought it was normal. Good, even. She hadn't understood the consequences would stain the walls and floor and even the air of this room. She hadn't known the poison would grow into its own entity.
I will exorcise you.
The ocean was lit underneath by the green lights clinging to the seaweed. They looked just like the stars I used to paste to my bedroom ceiling. Here, my childhood flowed in and out of the shore, kissing my toes with swirls of sand. Gilded with moon-silver and whispering a lullaby, this was the dream I never remembered I'd had, the home I never knew I left.
I wish I was a mermaid so that when I died I would turn to sea foam and join the water for good. No coffins or flowers. Just salt and tear drops.
You write things I would write, and sometimes I wonder if you're me. A secret me. A me hidden deep inside that knows things I never will and writes the things I can't bring myself to write.
I am trapped in a fantasy, a delusion, a nightmare that convinces me I never escaped. I merely retreated into my mind and created a safer world inside. Those people who love and help me are creations of my imagination. It is only when you say things I could never think to say that I am reassured that, yes, yes, I am free.
I want to hold you, oh darling creature. To shush those feelings of self-loathing with kisses. I don't know you. (Or maybe I do.) I don't know if you're male or female (although I'm guessing female). I don't know if you'd push away my reassurances or cling to them like a child to her mother's apron. Sometimes, I pretend you're talking to me so I can feel the love you feel for
I wait for your words with nail-bitten fingers, hoping, praying that you'll finish so that the whole world can read what you've written.
His mind was the faded grey of a piece of fabric washed too many times. Looking at him, at his blank eyes and mild, empty smile, I wondered if perhaps a little darkness in the brain is preferable to a brain scrubbed spotless.
"It only hurts a little," he said. "It really helped. I used to be so depressed, but now..."
He laughs, but it is a quiet, shallow laugh. He frowns, but the rest of his face remains untouched by the downward slope of his lips. It's true; he does not feel pain. He does not feel at all.
100words still won't let me post anything for December (it's the thirteenth), so this may be my last entry.
I would like to say something profound, but all I can think is that I will miss you. You with the blue and you with the... is that a record or a condom packet? I will miss the philosopher and the dancer and the boy in red. I will miss my favorite three newcomers and the two that have been here longer than I have.
You may miss me, you might not, but at least for a while, you knew me.
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