Monday, 20 May 2013
I'm sort of surprised how many changes I've made to this piece, though somewhat grateful. It's shaped into a fully fleshed piece in its own right rather than simply the somewhat moving and colorful bit that managed to stand on its own in spite of being, originally, part of a longer piece (which, thus far, I've found pretty much discardable).
I started writing short stories because I wanted to actually start writing; writing was, originally, a task I did very rarely and sort of just assumed I could resume when needed in the future. Granted, I still write sparsely but that's due to my own writing habits rather than the thought of writing barely crossing my mind.
However – having done short stories for a while now –, it's an form I rather like. You can get a more pointed focus, I often find, in short writing and you don't have to stretch your attention to multiple topics. If there's one idea or theme you really want to wrestle with, you may have a better chance of finding closure or answers in short stories.
Of course, I imagine part of it just may be my own reactions to merely a glimpse of something: you want to know more and you're left with so many questions. Those that do get answered almost seemed so hard-won; you guard them because they were the few that made it.
Her legs were curled up on the sofa, facing the screen. Her dark russet hair shaded a fourth of her face, skirting just barely her shoulder and filtering the sight of her right eye. Two pairs of shoes had amassed on the floor in front of us, kicked off when at first our fingers had knotted and our tittering had refused to tip toe, choosing to die by smothering in the couch.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Well, @XxbutterflyknivesXx tapped me for this so here I go. The idea is 16 things about-yourself/you-like.
1. I'm still becoming a writer because I want to see God.
2. I use someone's name when trying to get to know people (and also because I'm terrible at remembering names and this helps). It grabs zir attention (a truly difficult thing to keep for people, it would seem) because you address zem directly, points that ze's notable to you because you've remembered zir name, and makes a sentence more personalized.
Or, at least, so goes my reasoning; I don't know if it actually works as well at it might logically seem to. People have a tendency to generally not gravitate to reserved, and often dry, Me at initial meetings (which can extend into further acquaintances).
Within the past few years, it's turned into my own quirk of a way to signify that someone has grabbed my attention or that I see and recognize zem and would like to get to know zem better. While I've never bothered to keep track of how often I've used people's names, I don't think I do this as much with those I know well or am close to (given they should already know that I want to know them as people, etc.). But for those I don't know as well, it's a sort of signifier (even if I'm the only one aware of it or what it means).
3. I have attempted over a period of time to test out every type and amount of sleep in an attempt to reign it in. For reasons I have no understanding of, my body wants 12 hours of sleep or more; there is actual medical evidence of people having this condition with no known reason and no known cure. In college, going to sleep became an ordeal because you slay half of your day this way and completely obliterate the ability or morale to do work. When my depression would get particularly bad, I'd stay in bed for as long as 24 hours. While I think it was the depression that kept me from wanting to get out of bed, I think my body was perfectly fine with going back to sleep. It literally never tires of it.
I think the best sleep I ever get (with a feeling that the sleep was actually regenerative) is going to bed on complete and thorough exhaustion or when my body wakes up after a short interval of sleep (3, 4.5, or – at most – 6 hours) on its own because I've been forcing myself to wake up after short hours (ranging from between 15 to 30 minutes or the previous hours I gave). Of course, 12 hours of sleep results in me being tired again in 6 hours and the short bursts of sleep are not remotely retainable.
I kept myself strictly aiming for no more than 4.5 hours or sleep but getting between that and 8 hours for two or three months not too long ago. This eventually gave way to my body sleeping as much as it could again.
I'm just sick of being perpetually exhausted.
4. I love individuals, hate people, and idealize humanity.
5. I tend to attach a lot of symbolic value to things (one of the fallouts of being a writer?). For example, I, undeniably, adore Caroline. I've known her ever since Junior year of high school, she's wonderfully loyal, and an amazing friend who has always stuck by me, no matter what. But, in spite of those things (or maybe they are because of this), Caroline also came to me through Victoria. Well before she was my Freshman, she was Victoria's. And, as we already know, I think very highly of Victoria. She could've just as much as said anything in high school and I would've taken it into consideration. So, in a sense, Caroline comes with Victoria's seal of approval. I doubt Victoria put that much thought into it. She probably met Caroline and simply took to the girl. But Caroline will always have that sense of approval and connection in my eye. That sort of, "Well, anyone who's a friend of _______ is a friend of mine," rationalization we often use; I don't know anything about you – but you're from ______'s camp and that's enough for me. That sort of loyalty and trust that goes with such a sentiment.
Likewise, Lauren was one of the first people I ever met at Williams and was in my Freshmen orientation group. We got along, had a bit in common, and did some activities together. Nothing exceedingly great. I think we saw each other a total of 5 individual times after orientation over my four years at Williams. We weren't exactly best buds or anything (though she's a pretty cool person so I'll always be fond of her). Yet she was one of the first people I met and got along with in a new state at a new school miles from home and familiarity. She will always be someone I consider important to me because of this, regardless of how close we stay or become over the years.
For yet another example, we randomly made a pact we were going to get a pug at one point, Lizzie. As such, this will still occur.
6. I have a creeping suspicion that I have some form of anxiety. This actually is terrifying to me.
As I've said already in a million different places a million different times, life is performance for me a good 90% of the time. And it's so thoroughly tiring. Beyond having to use just about all my concentration to read social cues and follow them whenever I interact with people, every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every fortnight of every month of every year is a continual and constant process of keeping control of my emotions and keeping myself stable. Not even happy, just maintaining stability and keeping myself from depression.
While it's a taxing process that circumvents what I can do during a particular moment (despite the insistence of tasks or activities I should do and micromanagement of others every other day), I still have control. Anxiety, quite simply, is not control. I imagine it's controllable; I know there are those who manage panic attacks and the like every day. But it's yet more work to tack on and I don't know I have the strength for it. Nor the time.
7. I imagine the above is the reason I cannot stand when others don't bother to play nice or even bother to show an attempt at being friendly when I consistently do so. I am holding back and keeping in check my emotions in spite of that difficulty when I would much like to have the freedom to yell or be blunt about my feelings (if this xanga is not evidence enough of) or simply react slack-jawed because it's effort to even display emotion or even talk sometimes and you can't even muster being friendly back at me?
8. I can be a massive pack-rat. It's partially because items carry not only memory but information about their time and place and partially because items can often be reused or used later.
For an example, I was pasting and cutting some files before realizing that I didn't want to move them quite yet. Stupidly, I hit cancel. Well, the transfer was in the middle of moving a video of a band induction ceremony (thus the only version being the one I had taken). Canceling is caused the video to be half moved, creating a new 4 minute copy of the 8 minute clip. Panicking and not being able to think of any way to restore the file or if I had (stupidly, I had not) made a copy of the file, I decided to look through the my backed up files from before I dual-booted my computer with Windows and Linux. I have about three backups from different years. Not only was a copy of the video in one of them but it's not the first time some file has been lost (not always my fault) and I had it stored in an old backup.
People keep telling me that it's an inane habit and yet I have so many instances in which I've found joy and use from my packrattiness.
9. I never fully understood the whole concept of not being friends with your exes or members of the opposite sex (maybe because my bisexuality sort of would mean a person would have to worry double time) due to your current SO feeling uneasy about it.
First off, (if you can't trust the person to that extent) you're probably going to have a bad time.
Secondly, most of my friends are female and a few of my exes are some of the closest friends I have. I've always believed a proper relationship, even if failed, should bring the people closer together and that has definitely happened for a few of them. Arguably, you could say that all of my few best friends are female. As such, I fully intend to stay friends with them and that will include future activities like going to see shows or getting lunch, etc. If I'm with someone, it is with full commitment so long as I am with zem. If you can't trust my word on that…well, deal?
10. While I've often jokingly noted that most Bruce Springsteen fans are twice my age, I've been lucky in that my favorite artist is still alive and producing work (even if I've been critical of that later work). I don't think many people get the luck of having their childhood artist, the one they grew up on and memorized and spent far too much time obsessing over, still alive and active. Hell, I've been to two Springsteen concerts. Nothing legendary but I still get the bragging rights to say that.
And, sure, Black Sabbath and Ozzy are technically still around. But, for every other artist I listen to, I've either stopped or had my expectations lowered or they're no longer active/living.
And I'm becoming keenly aware that that's not going to be forever. There isn't likely to be a moment where I trail a bunch of his shows or see one of those legendary live performances or even get to look forward to new material because he's either going to retire or, unfortunately, die.
But even beyond that, – in death – it's not like I'm going to be able to follow what he's doing in the news or read interviews, etc. An individual, even if from afar, who was a mainstay of my life since childhood will be gone.
11. 99% of my sense of humor can be pinned down to irony. I realized this when walking with my cousin one time; I was (and still somewhat am) so surprised I'm able to define it so cleanly.
12. Part of the frustration of none of my cousins nor siblings nor myself being taught Haitian Creole is that I'm fairly certain I'm going to adopt children, on my own, in the future. And when it'll come to passing on heritage…there won't be much to do that with. My mother once got angry at me that I didn't post something on Facebook after the earthquake in Haiti. While I want to learn more about Haiti, – at this point in time – is it really all that surprising that I didn't? I don't speak the language, hardly know any others Haitians outside of my mother's side of the family, and have no real clue about the culture other than a collection of maybe five stories from my mother that all date back to before she emigrated (thus, thirty or so years ago). The little bit that I do have is a few Haitian recipes that I've grown up on. This means I can pass on a taste for Haitian cuisine (which I most certainly plan to do) but that's about it.
I haven't tried learning a new language because I'm generally bad at learning them. Plus anything which doesn't captivate my attention is going to be a struggle due to my depression and I already have more than enough things I have to do that aren't interesting and, thus, become a struggle to do. Plus, given that the English language is my area of study, I find wordcraft to truly be an art form and a beautiful one at that. There's something very satisfying about a skillfully crafted sentence and, having been as anal about grammar as I have, I think it's an utter waste to use words carelessly or sloppily. While I would never deter anyone from learning another language (I actually tend to look at zem in a much higher light for accomplishing something I haven't been able to), I would feel terrible for foisting myself into another person's language only to use it poorly and sloppily and hold it back from forming itself into the more complex capabilities language has potential for and becoming a far tighter and elegant system just because of my own ineptitude.
And yet I really would love to learn German or Creole. And it would at least give a stronger sense of heritage to my children. Recently, a feelings been creeping up on me that I may just bite the bullet; we'll see.
13. Speaking of grammar…
Technically speaking, I am not a prescriptivist when it comes to grammar. I believe language can change and does change. Indeed – as a system formed organically (and often haphazardly) from a grassroots sort of process –, I often think language should because it often manifests itself in ways that are nonsensical and poor. Basically, I think our language's rules should have reasoning behind them – and those which do not pass a test of sense should be discarded – but I do, at the end of the day, believe our language should have rules. I most certainly do not think that the fluidity of language gives us free range to run will-ze-n'ill-ze through language rules or rejoice at contradictory diversity within its body of rules. And, when at an impasse, I do tend to give precedence towards older rules and trends: this includes just about any usage that has prevalence in the language as well as any that may be created in the future (because, after all – at the end of the day –, I can't control how you use language). Generally, this tends to make me feel quite at home amongst prescriptivists – for a time.
While I haven't read through the whole blog yet and cannot necessarily give it a stamp of approval (it does, after all, have the phrase "Prescriptivism Must Die!" emblazoned on it), the blog Motivated Grammar gets its name from the same belief as mine. From zir site:
Grammar should not be articles of faith handed down to us from those on high who never split infinitives but always split hairs. Grammar should be rules that allow us to communicate more efficiently, clearly, and understandably. I’m not advocating the abolition of grammar,[explain to me why this comma exists] but rather its justification. I’m not quite sure what that will entail in the end, but I’m starting out by pointing out grammar rules that just don’t make sense, don’t work, or don’t have any justification. All I want is for our rules of grammar to be well-motivated.
Questionable comma aside, the above is beautiful (I tend to react more strongly to certain explanations when said explanation puts into words perfectly, for me, some feeling I was having difficulty expressing or even expressing clearly).
I should note that this doesn't apply to pronunciation, though the Midwestern accent is the most beautiful of English-speaking people (because I clearly have no bias; though I am also rather fond of the Irish accent and the Brooklyn accent, with Boston often piquing my interest). While I would probably prefer a standardization of pronunciation, that is literally impossible (plus there is some fun to that diversity). I was in argument with two friends of mine over whether Shakespeare would have to be standardized and I vehemently disagreed until we realized that I was under the impression we were solely talking about the text (silly English major). I'm inclined to believe that spelling (and possibly grammatical usage, though changes in that aren't likely to disrupt your Shakespeare too greatly) is likely to remain very standardized with the advent of the Internet Age and rising levels of education (and that's really all I'm concerned about maintaining). Of course, both were quick to point out (to my own persistent bafflement) that most high school students find they cannot understand the bard.
Also, in regards to the plural of octopus: the term comes from the Greek, ὀκτάπους (oktapous, "eight-footed"). If we follow the Greek to the plural form, we would get octopodes. The term octopi comes from the mistaken assumption that the term comes from the Latin (it does not).
I would probably accept the term octopuses, given that it follows standard English grammatical rules, but I'm not apt to like it.
Also, down with the singular They.
14. I really hate the term "bitch". As the above might give indication to, I'm not generally into abandoning any word. On the other hand, I generally despise reclamation of hate-terms.
You might argue that "bitch" isn't only used as a term of hate but I might disagree. I said to my brother once that there's never a non-gendered usage with it. It either frames women into that old stereotype of just bringing down all the fun everyone else is having by voicing their opinions or it connotes weakness and being dominated (particularly disturbing when you tie it back to the notion of the word meaning "female"), often sharing equal usage in this case to describe males.
I was technically wrong. When used as a noun, I think the term possibly escapes gendering (e.g. "Julie and the gang are up in this bitch!"). However, that, as far as I can see, is the only instance.
But even beyond that, I don't like the term because – like the term slut – it tends to carry a connotation with it that tends to overshadow its definition.
Okay, a woman who dates a guy just for his money and then movies on might not be a good person. Wouldn't it make sense to describe her as a bitch?
Arguably. But let me counter. Take the movie Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay: there's a scene where Kumar is reminiscing with his friend and love interest, Vanessa. He points out that she put used tampons in a Professor's purse (we're going to ignore the fact that they're literally tying the image of a period to why this woman deserved what she got; I can make my point without it). Even before Vanessa responds, I knew what the answer would be, in that sort of way you know something by routine.
Her response: Oh, come on. She was a bitch and you know it.
The problem with this (and, being connotation, I can't really prove it but you may anecdotally perceive this) is that the justification really isn't just that she was mean. I think it's important to note that it's Vanessa saying this. Bitch often is wielded as this sort of silencer. No girl wants to be a bitch and, if you are one, you sort of get whatever's coming to you. Unasked, you deserve it.
Vanessa's statement really reads as, "She was a bitch and, thus, she deserved it." And that's how the phrase is often put forward. She was a bitch. Umm, okay, on what criterion?
But, unless I'm mistaken, it just feels like it's carrying more meaning that it ever bothers to say. It's not just meant as a justification – like I said, it's meant as a silencer. She was a bitch; end of conversation, case solved. And it operates much as the terms queer and faggot and fairy used to: terms no man wanted to dare be called – and so universally agreed upon in their detestation as adjectives that they just operate as silencers. My mother once got into a fight with a guy pulling out of his driveway (I think; I was young and can't remember that well). After bickering back in forth, she said just one word: faggot. That was the moment he stopped bothering to argue (though there was a brief wash of surprise over his face) and just went to write down her licence plate. And I don't mean to display that as my mother beating up on and bullying this man; he wasn't very nice and may've started the shouting match. But the point remains: whatever the actual definition of the term, it has a stronger one as a silencer meant to end discussion. "Just don't call me that." And, in that way, it makes the caller lazy (and I generally make a strong case for the defense of expletives). Rather than calling zem a noun whose definition is often vague in comparison to the sentence it's used in, we should actually describe the faults of the person and make a proper argument.
Seriously, I really don't like that term.
15. I (over-?)analyze anything and everything constantly. Even if I forget to mention that I, eventually, came to agree with an argument you made, I'm likely to think over what you said well after the discussion is through. I'm earnestly interested in reaching a conclusion that makes sense and is justifiable and, if you're capable of helping me reach that point, I very much would like your input. If I disagree or stick in opposition to a point, it's because I earnestly believe it (or am not willing to accept the other argument quite yet), not out of any malice or ill-will.
As such, dismissing my point of view or not bothering to argue a point is one of the most insulting ordeals (yes, I know, I'm forming a list of them) you can put me through. I'll generally heckle after a point or a semantic because I'm earnestly interested in coming to an understanding of it. I'll never let go of being dismissed or being told I'm wrong (when I fully believe or aren't fully convinced that I'm not) because you're saying my reasoning is faulty. Rather than working with me towards understanding, you've pushed me aside (deeming me unsuitable of understanding) or've circumvented the argument process and, rather than pointing out why my reasoning is wrong, decided to deprive me of understanding. This is unacceptable and, above all, cruel. If you don't have much interest in the topic, simply mention so (I was also going to say if you didn't have the patience to explain it but that's stupid of me; impatience is unacceptable when it comes to other's needs).
I don't think it's unreasonable to want to have an point of view explained and I cannot fathom how others can not perceive blinding insult at dismissal of a query.
16. In spite of dating what some feel is a high amount of people (I really don't feel that it is), I am very rarely, truly pulled towards any one person, though I'm usually willing to try a relationship out if asked. I generally have high opinions of many and fall into crushes easily (I generally consider a crush any light infatuation that generally doesn't last very long because it isn't based on a large base). And, occasionally, there are those people who I start to seriously contemplate whether I should. But, in general, these aren't the things which cause me to consider, quite seriously, the risk of going for someone. The difference between the last two is that, in the former, I may consider the risk worth it; I may or may not ask zem out. In the latter, I know it's worth the risk because I am so thoroughly drawn to this person that every bit of me feels it.
Obviously, that last one is not a common occurrence. And it's one that tends to be predicated on having a past with the person and knowing them fairly well (given that, most generally, it's personality and opinions/ideals that make me attracted to a person). I suppose this is a phenomenon which could have only occurred later in life as I got an idea of the type of person I'm attracted to. Still, very rarely does anyone truly come along that thoroughly blows me away (though I may partially blame that on how little we truly get to know any one person that we meet over the spans of our lifetime), though they (often surprisingly) do occur.
Alright, time to tag some people for this: @IgorLollipop, @under_the_carpet, @mkmm87, @LyricalVent (we've been trying to re-figure-out/reclaim who we are for so long, maybe trying to write out just a fraction of it will help)
Wednesday, 08 May 2013
I find I keep coming back to this one.
While the last cover of this song I posted took a more sentimental ballad approach (drawing more on the loneliness), I like this one too because it draws more on, and highlights, the self-loathing that's there (and, God knows, I tend to like self-destructive/destructive themes and narratives).
In spite of, ultimately, being a song about new beginnings and the importance of fostering a new relationship in spite of insecurities and fears, "Dancing in the Dark" works so well because it toes the line between upbeat and dance-y (hinting towards the excitement and anticipation of new beginnings) and fear and doubt (particularly in oneself).
But here, suddenly, the lines
I get up in the evening…
and I ain't got…nothing to say
sounds so straightforward. As if such a dismal premise almost ought to be expected as a matter of course. Framed by that, the following shout of
I go to bed – feeling the same way…
sounds terrifyingly desperate, as if she wants out but has absolutely no idea how. The following
I ain't nothing but tired…
man, I'm just tired and bored with myself…
sound even more biting than the words already seem on the surface. All of this has built so that, by the time we actually get to the forging-a-new-relationship part,
Hey there, baby…
I could use just a little help
sounds almost like an embarrassed question, as if the other person may be your last lifeline.
Message keeps getting clearer…
radio on and I'm movin' 'round the place
I check my look in the mirror -
wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face!
Man, I ain't getting no where…
livin' in a dump like this
There's something happening somewhere –
I just know there is
You can't start a fire…
You can't start a fire without a spark
This gun's for hire…
even if we're just dancing…in the…dark…
You sit around getting older –
there's a joke here, somewhere, and it's on me
Shake the world off your shoulders –
c'mon, baby, the laugh's on me…
Ohh-oh, ohh…stay…on the streets of this town…
and they'll be carving you up alright
They say you've gotta stay…hungry…
heyyy, baby, I'm just a-bout starving tonight!
I'm dying for some action!
I'm sick of trying…to write this book
I need a love reaction…
c'mon, baby, give me just one look
You can't start a fire…
worrying about your…broken heart
This gun's for hire…
even if we're just dancing…in the…
You can't start a fire…
worrying about your life…falling apart…
This gun's for hire…
even if we're just dancing…in the…dark…
dancing in the,
dancing in the,
dancing in the dark…
Sunday, 05 May 2013
"You're drunk," Chrissy noted as a shadow passed over her.
"I found some whiskey," Amy slurred, offering only a penetrating smile that wallowed in its own complacency.
"Which kind?" 'Rome asked, inching up from the cafeteria chair he had been reclining in.
Amy staggered over to a table, her arm jutting outward to grasp hold of it with such force that the table vibrated against the friction of the concrete floor. All three of them watched her back as she stood there, hunched over as the table continued to shake in her grasp. With a rasping intake of breath, she brought herself upright.
"I didn't very much care," she drawled.
Giving herself a soft push, Amy fell into a nearby chair, sliding a few inches across the floor. "I used to drink all the time, you know." With a crooked leer, Amy gave a nod to her company before raising the bottle for a drink.
'Rome was standing; Chrissy was sitting entirely upright; James hadn't moved. Amy's hair had fallen over her face, casting shadows that seared the glow the full moon gave everything as it flooded the room from the ceiling; every bit of electricity in Fernbrook had been killed during the panic and evacuation.
"Why did you stop?" 'Rome asked.
The bottle clinked as Amy slid it onto the table. "Alcohol," she mused, "stops the mind from thinking. It stops the body from yearning. It deadens the senses and dilutes reality." Amy's smile faltered before becoming slack. Her gaze bore through 'Rome, through the wall and the cells behind him, and past the very atmosphere outside into a time which no longer existed and feelings which no longer knew their nature.
"We're taught to yearn, you know that?"
It was barely a whisper but there were no noises to fight it. No one moved. The whiskey sloshed within as Amy clasped her hand to the bottle's neck before bringing it back to her lips, her eyes still staring off into dead space. Teeth grinding as she groaned, her voice crawled out:
"Before they came to get me – I was six, you know that? There…was a time when I was six. And my teacher – Mr. Johnson – once commented that I didn't draw within the lines one time. It was a random assignment to keep us busy – even I knew that; 'didn't see the point. And, for whatever reason, I spent the rest of that year doing whatever he said we should do exactly as he expected them to be done. Nothing…was more important than that he should consider me a good student. I was to be a model and everyone, from my parent to my teachers, were to be able to safely look down on me knowing that I did as was expected. I didn't make waves. I didn't make trouble."
Amy's eyes shot to 'Rome who was just before the table. Before 'Rome could utter a single suggestion, Amy gingerly placed her hand on his arm. "You are possibly the only person I know I would lay my life down for, 'Rome, but I promise you I will lay you down if you dare to touch this bottle."
Both hands were pulled in as Amy doubled over, her back heaving as the sound of her hacking gave forth to wheezy laughter. "But when I stopped eating," she guffawed into her hands, "well, it was a little hard to be so perfect." 'Rome stood stonily where he had stepped back to with the exception of his hands which were fidgeting uncontrollably; Chrissy was standing where she had been sitting; James still hadn't moved.
Amy's chuckling devolved into a listless grin. "You want to be perfect and perfect doesn't starve itself. Perfect doesn't hide food; perfect doesn't count calories; and perfect doesn't ever feel it has to!" Her voice pitched at the ending, riding into a snarl as she pounded the table at each pronouncement.
As if waiting for the echoing to abate, Amy just sat there.
"Oh…" she murmured slowly, "but I had to.
"Because perfect wasn't me and I had to be…perfect." Never breaking eye contact with the wall, she downed another gulp from the bottle. Whiskey had run down her chin and into her lap before she bothered to wipe it away with the back of her arm.
"Danielle thought I was perfect." Amy's eyes darted up to see none meeting them. "She thought I was positively brilliant." 'Rome's hands had stopped. "She used to hold me and tell me how she knew – the second I couldn't open my mouth while others were present, the way I would try to skip showering just so I'd have more time to work on my drawing, the way I could escape into my own world in spite of everything else that was going on around me, the way I'd push a few strands of hair behind my left ear whenever I was nervous, the way I wanted to learn everything in spite of being taken out of school so young, the way I rarely made eye contact – that she was going to be mine."
Amy scoffed, shaking her head, as she peered down the opening of the bottle. "She used to say that she didn't believe in suicide notes because the entirety of our life was a death note; what were you going to say when you left?" Amy laughed as she took another swig, chuckling as she tried to swallow her intake.
The bottle clinked against the table once more as Amy slid it onto the table carelessly. "You know – everyone talks so highly of her now. Even if they're indifferent, they know her name," Amy balked, hunching forward in her chair as she eyed the three in front of her. "They talk about how kind she was, how her charity knew no end. They talk about her patience, her tranquility, her selfless nature. Want to know how she died?"
It wasn't really a question.
Amy contorted into a twisted grin that etched sorrow, regret, tolerance, patience, and – above all – hatred into the very structure of her face, the sort of complexity that we construct to cling onto the golden calf of a pulse and respiratory-intake. "It wasn't suicide and it wasn't to make more room here; they don't do that: they know that it gives the citizens hope that their family may still be alive and it keeps up the charade that we're kept here with our best interests in mind." The grin was already receding from Amy's face as all emotions and movement shut down other than her memory and voice; it had been so very long since she had last been here.
"It was a fight; two idiots and she got in the way trying to reconcile. They didn't even check to see if she was O. K. after hitting her head: they just ran."
'Rome still stood there, the longest he had ever stood still; Chrissy had wound up, sitting, on the floor, her gaze unwavering; James watched on as he had at the beginning, was now, and continued to be.
"That was it."
Amy scowled at the floor, seemingly ceasing to linger on the subject. Somewhere in the labyrinth around them, water was dripping. "I try to end up…in a different bed – every night – because I am terrified to go one day without having my flesh pressed up against someone else's." The words slurred until they trailed away into the silence. Amy pitched forward into her hands, her fingers twitching for strands of hair to twist themselves into as she tugged at her scalp. "Because maybe," she growled from within her veil of black hair, "it'll make up for every scream of fear, every fist that punched a wall in frustration from being given no recourse or choice over what they wanted to do, or every bruise or broken nose or finger that I caused. Like maybe I'm giving something back to people. Maybe I'm not really so utterly alone." Amy's elbows rested on her thighs as she rocked her feet back and forth between the heel and her toes. "And, by that morning, I feel empty for once. There's nothing inside vying for attention or just making noise. Everything is blissfully silent. It's only momentary, maybe until I fall asleep and only for five minutes once I wake up, but it empties my body like my brain ensures me not eating would do, as if all other yearnings would cease and all of life would be explained and answered if every last bit was emptied except for my bones." Her fingers twisted themselves more firmly into her locks. "People get it into their head that they're so edgy when they hurt people. They think they're being clever or maybe they're being intellectual." Amy spat it, like the words choked her very insides and she wanted them out. "'Oh, that hurt you? I have the right to say what I want!' 'There's nothing good about humans; we're all animals. Why don't we just accept it?' 'I was hurt in the past: toughen up!' So it's that simple?" As Amy's hair moved back and forth with her movement, the three saw her eyes glaring out from behind the strands. Focused and unblinking, they were no longer lost in time nor space but acutely aware of their surroundings. "I chose, the moment I saw Danielle's body go limp, to make certain that no one would take advantage of me the way they had so thoroughly tossed her aside, regardless the casualties. I know pain. I see it flood the eyes as I stare them down or the way the light dies within yet again just to live another day. I've carried it's blood, soaking, on my hands. It's selfish. I know because I make that choice every day."
Amy sighed, her hands kneading the sides of her head. "I stopped…drinking, 'Rome, because it makes you think twice about the pain you'll cause; you might even hesitate about whether to make clear that they understand their place and then you spend the rest of that week making sure you didn't make a mistake. Or maybe you become too friendly and then someone else can hurt you all over again. Or, sometimes, it grips you so firmly with guilt that anything else becomes secondary. Other times, you forget that there's anyone really there; every punch and kick is a hit against everyone who ever struck you first, unprovoked. And then you forget to stop. It doesn't feel remotely bad anymore. Ohhh," Amy shuddered, "it's the best damn thing you'll ever feel.
"And, suddenly, you don't know how to stop."