Sunday, January 16, 2011
I wrote this for Fat Zine late last year, the zine has subsequently gone out of circulation so I'm putting it up here, for your consideration.
So you've been around the world once or twice in your homemade dresses, and no, short hair really doesn't suit you but yes, you were emaciated in your teens. When you were younger you wore braces and you listened to the Dead Kennedys and now all your memories smell like health food, because Jonathan left his multi-vitamins behind, and they wound up at the bottom of your box. You have always looked tired and immortal, you have worn a lot of silly outfits, you seem like you were forever looking to the horizon for the end of the world. You have always gravitated to beaches, to seascapes, to sunsettings over waves, where you waiting for me?
I didn't have the money for iced coffee, and in June it's too hot to drink it hot, I wasn't prying but I was lonely and lost and bored. I hoped I would find a quarter or even a sentimental dollar bill crushed in a corner, but I didn't. I found yards of your acrylic hair and I found photographs that made me bitterly jealous and I found letters I had written you and letters that you had never mailed me. Will Rebekah be your loud college roommate? Yes, nothing else. And Nick will be that trip to Mexico? Yes, nothing else. And Brooke will be that party in her underwear. Yes, nothing else. Some of us were born in the digital age and won't even suffer the mercy of photographic prints; we will remain lost on a hard drive or hang suspended on some forgotten blogspot mid-air. It was what you do when your grandmother dies or your lover leaves, it was intrusive I know but I missed you so.
I am alone you know, I have nothing but one silver dollar and the very sleepless fear of a cold hand on my freckled shoulder.
I am a very old woman now, I spend my countless days in dusty reverie and old newspaper articles, I stretch out time between unnecessary meals and bleary cups of tea. I think about jewellery and I grow agoraphobic, a visit to the bodega downstairs may as well be a day trip to a carnival for me. I talk out loud but not always to myself, most often to you. I make resolutions, I plan out my life with great precision and I calculate airfares, laughing to myself that I will be quite fine. I am quite resigned; either I will die as I am or I won't, and neither option is particularly appealing. I sign in and out of my email account just as a way to tick off the hours. Occasionally I speak with someone, somewhere else for a little while and I feel deeply jealous. I envy her for her free time and her financial stability, I would take up baking if I was bored, but I myself can not afford an apple to bake or a tin to bake it in. Would that it were just mercury in my fillings! Some minor detail that could be realigned. But no, I am treading poisonous water, thick green disinterested water that cares not to hear what I say. I might drown, yes, I might float on, yes, and then there are numerous other options that I would not like to bet on; I am not a gambling man and probability was never my strong suite. Corpses float when they begin to bloat.
We're in an awful mess, and the ground beneath our feet is not even thick mud, not even cracked yellow earth; it's a gum splattered sidewalk without poetry, and that is our great tragedy. To have come to the end of the world together, to have looked over and still to be stoned by mere mundanities; food and water and shelter and subway fare, it's a bloodless death but a cruel one. It's Calvary, the road of the cross, a long walk of humiliation, only I wouldn't dare suggest that the path leads to anything other than self-preservation at best. More degradation at worst.
Am I abandoned? I can't help but feel it so. Should I wake up and acknowledge myself for the weight I am, the nuisance I present, the added pressure on a sinking rat's back? Should I be a gentleman for once and withdraw, without drama, and let you take to your grey veils and very black eyeliner? I have never been a heroine, why start now? It's stupid to think I could help you, it's pointless to think I have anything to offer you, and if I did your bleak ingratitude, your distaste for it all would suffocate me again.
Know this though dear, my dear Isadora, I have tried. I am loyal to my last teardrop and I have rolled with so many punches that I am dizzy now. I have weathered great callousness, I have weathered indirect aggression and direct cruelties, I have weathered storms of passion and long, long silent empty weeks. I never would have left you, I would have nursed you in the gutters of Harlem rather than seek my own safety in the Village. I never would have left you. I would have slept with you in subway stations all through Brooklyn rather than lived as a lover in Bushwick. And yet. I now find myself alone but I went nowhere. I find myself alone Isadora dear, but I haven't moved at all. I am at the mercy of food scraps again, again I am at the mercy of someone who is merciless and not through brutality, but lack of experience. I am at the mercy of a privileged sadist with a credit card and well-heeled parents and paperwork and a therapist and candy coloured sprinkles who wants me to fuck him. I find it pleasurable, I am no martyr and I pray to St Judas, who fell from a vending machine for fifty cents, for forgiveness, that he may absolve me for the numerous horrible acts of selfishness I have perpetrated; a guilt ridden back catalogue I would rather delete. St. Judas betrayed Christ, born of necessity, and still he wears a tongue of holy flame above his head. Surely then, surely there is another fresh start for me?