I am finished with the second edits of my first real (“real”) novella. I want to set it on fire. Throw it out the window. Die without it. I hate it. It’s wretched. It’s such a reckless reflection of so many things I don’t believe in. It’s not me at all. Why did I write it. All of it. There is so much of it. It’s all so stupid. Who would want to read that. Does it make it any sense? It doesn’t make any sense. Not at all. It is a whim on the tip of butterfly wing, about to get blown out with all the other specks of dust that don’t matter at all. I am going to get blown away with it, me in my little life, with my little words, and my little book. It will feel good. I want to shit this thing out of me like a disease and be done with it forever. Flush it down, watch it wash away. Let it be someone else’s problem. Let someone else sanitize it and put back into the drinking water. So that it can poison me again, and I can die all over one more time.
I lied. It wasn’t an easy break up! It was a fake break up and I knew it all along. Which is why I didn’t care. What, in years past, would have been a tidal wave was a mere petering on the sandy shores of another season of my discontented heart. Okay. That’s okay. I’m okay with it. What can I say: I’m manipulative. I knew the exact ebb and flow of in and out of this entire relationship. What can I say: I’m being manipulated! Help! Someone help me! I have no power or control here whatsoever!
I dig my toes into the sand. I soak up the sun. I wait for him to drown me. He is the ocean, I am the parking lot just over the horizon where people leave their dusty mid sized sedans and mini vans so they can pretend for a day that they live their entire lives at the beach. I keep their secrets. Their bluetooth devices. The reality of: he is the ocean, and I am just about to touch him, but I can’t, or I won’t, and I run back to the city to drown in a different kind of death. I’m blinded with neon. It is his fault that I had to run away. I would rather swim than ride the subway, but I can’t backstroke my way to work today, so I set my phone background to a picture of the water. That is the kind of closeness I can stomach today, with the clank of the cars and my head buried down while I listen to songs about someone else’s life on my way to living one that I am not very interested in.
I went combing through the archives because I had nothing better to do but rehash old words I had written years ago. It was bleak. Looking back at my dreams with that long look of pity in my eye. Oh. I could have done better. I could have tried harder. I could have dreamed bigger. I could have written more. I can always write more. And more. And more. Forever and ever. These words are like a river, and I am floating lazily down their back, hoping one day to drown inside of them, in bliss and asphyxiation.
I have said so many seemingly shocking things that I no longer have a barometer for what is and isn’t interesting. The hum of my voice as it leaves my mouth has always been monotonous, which is why instead of speaking I stare blankly just past the horizon. I wonder what is out there. I wonder what I haven’t seen yet. I wonder what is blatant and blaring and gauche over there. Here? Nothing is very scandalous. People politely fuck each other and fuck each other over, and it’s fine. It’s a tempered status quo. We’ve gotten used to it. The knock down, drag out fights are nothing worth nodding at any more – just let those people live their peace which is also their violence. That’s none of our business. I keep looking beyond, slightly squinting. Maybe if I stare at the sun too long, I’ll go blind, and then I can write beautiful poems about what it must feel like to still see. No. That is self indulgent. Mustn’t self indulge. Must be a natural beauty after spending hundreds of dollars on powders and creams and lotions. That is the only way to cope with this. Must let my dreams fade into the background and then completely forget about them so that I can continue to live in this landscape which is dotted with other women who are exactly, down to the fingernails, like me. Must be okay with it. I am okay with it. I am okay with being here. I am keeping my head down and being here. I just wish that it made for less boring prose. Being surrounded by like minded peers who value the same things as I do sure makes me feel content, but who wants to read about that? Where’s the war these days? How am I supposed to sell magazines when all we have is peace among nations? Why do my dreams die in the absence of violence? I have been conditioned to be a creature of survival. I will always strive to be the fittest, but once I am the fittest – then what? The chore of world domination? Yawn. I want to feel small again, like I can slip between the cracks, beneath the pavement, into the gutter, back towards the ocean, where it is clean and warm and I can waft away into some cinematic ether. It would be nice to know that everything is going to be okay. Instead, I know that everything is good enough, it’s eh, it’ll do. But it could be better. And it won’t be, because as soon as it’s better, there will be some better better just out of arm’s reach. Why are my arms so short. Why is my imagination so small. Why am I trapped inside the cage of a dream that wasn’t big enough. Why didn’t I dream for the entire world to be mine? I mean, I don’t want it, but it would be nice to at least have the option to have it. To say no. To look lofty, alit on some moral high horse, a champion of the people, with a sword that is on fire and my hair looking good. That would be nice. Is that my dream? To be the rebel, vindicated? Revolution, attained? Ugh, but if I attain revolution, then what do I revolt against if not my own revolution. Or – do I just keep turning, all the time. I can stand still on this planet for twenty for hours and that is enough of a revolution for me. That is enough of a dream achieved. I have done it. I have accomplished the revolution by sitting still for twenty four hours. Hooray for me. I should write about that. Right?
I haven’t cried. Am I supposed to cry? I don’t really feel like it. But that’s what I usually do. So why haven’t I cried yet?
I’m shocked by my own indifference. Or, is this indifference? Or is everything exactly the same as before, so why should staying the course be marked as indifference. This is just me inside the ceaselessness of my reality. Sure, I miss his company, but it’s not searing or painful. I’m enjoying myself more these days, and when I’m ready to have company again every day, I’ll have it. I’m not worried about that.
Nothing about this is painful. It’s just…how it is. I don’t really mind. It’s not that I’m callous, it’s more that I’m experienced in the ever changing circumstances of my life, so things like this no longer shock me. I’m not jarred. I’m not thrown off balance. I’m just here, flowing with the go. Here today, gone tomorrow, or gone today, here tomorrow. Either way, I’ll continue plodding through life, having a generally good time, with or without him.
It’s so pleasantly mutual, too! Just magically, one day, “We’re not fucking anymore.”
We didn’t miss a beat. We just split in half and kept on moving. It’s so seamless that I almost feel suspicious. Sure, I can get lost in a maze of, “Did we actually even love each other?” But, eh, I know there’s no point in that. Sure, we loved each other. We clearly love each other enough to not ruin the other person’s day over it. In fact, there’s genuinely no love lost. It’s unreal! There was no fizzle, no pop, no overwhelming display of emotion. Nature just ran its course on our relationship, and there we go, off into the distance, separately, but not one bit worse for the wear.
Suddenly, he’s so far away. And I don’t even know how to feel about it. Although, if I were being honest with myself, he’s been far away for a long time, but he was still in the room for long enough that it was easy for me to not notice that he had already left. Or, maybe I knew all along that he was gone, and I was hoping that if he was here with me, eventually he’d come back. But he didn’t.
It’s hard to admit that I have born witness to the deterioration of someone I love. I didn’t do enough to stop it. No – that’s a trap. I did plenty, but my strategy was all wrong. It was enough, it just wasn’t the right way. I tried, but it still fell flat. Maybe I should have grabbed the bag of blow and flushed it down the toilet instead of sitting there every morning and letting him bump up before walking out the door. Maybe I should have grabbed him and shook him and demanded to know what the fuck happened in LA instead of holding him through the night. Maybe I should have driven him to the hills and said, “Okay, are you ready?” after he asked me to shoot him in the head. Instead of recoiling and saying, “Don’t say that!” Maybe I should have fought harder, even though I know that fighting harder would have taken us down an unretractable road of physical violence that I’ve always been trying to avoid. Instead, I let thing slip through my grip, which wasn’t very firm to begin with because I was afraid of leaving bruises.
He’s gone now. Just like that. I don’t know to where, or to whom, but it’s not here with me. I am empty, but that’s much better than being filled with regret. In my mind, he is flying, which is why I don’t dare to call, in case in reality he is back in the dirt.
I was talking to a friend about a particular love interest of mine, and she said approvingly, “Do it. You’d make a great power couple.”
I bristled at that deliberation, “Any couple I’m in is a power couple because I’m in it.”