this year

I. February sometime, the best show I've ever seen, flirting with the girl next to me: passing notes, brushing against one another on accident. I never hear her voice, and lose her at the counter where I checked my bag. I bike home in perfect weather, my ears ringing.

II. October. New teeth. I walk home smiling, unaware that my mouth is full of blood.

III. Finally, a windfall. A new bike, wizard blue.

IV. No spring. Every year I identify the first day of spring as that day when suddenly everyone is done wearing winter clothes. Everyone is so beautiful on the first day of spring, and the gloom of winter seems gone forever. But this year we get no spring.

V. New Year's Day. I start the year bleeding and broken, drinking whiskey through shattered teeth, or trying, watching movies about the adrift and purposeless. "Where are you going?" I wish I knew.

VI. A spontaneous wrestling match. I lose.

VII. What the fuck happened to my arm?

VIII. My sister is coming home.

IX. "You're always smiling. Are you happy?" That question, that statement. It's hounded me for years. It reminds me of the most important thing anyone has ever told me. I do not know the answer.

X. I walked away. I kept going. That is enough.

XI. I laugh at the wrong things. I am afraid of the wrong things.

XII.The worst has happened and I'm still here. You have no idea the calm that brings.

XIII. Summer came late.

XIV. I never knew how much you bothered me until I saw you walking out the door and I could not keep from smiling.

XV. Caught on the Hill in a snowstorm.

XVI. I would forgive you, but I can never forgive myself.

XVII. Trying to rebuild my self. Patient, calm, content, at ease. In order to do this I am impatient, restless, unsatisfied, uneasy.

XVIII. I miss you.

XIX. I am leaving 2011 behind me. There are no expectations, no plans, no resolutions. I am taking 2012 on its own terms. Happy New Year.


a horoscope

A life unfolded in the stars:

She will not have a happy childhood, but who does? Children are meant to be unhappy. She will make decisions that her peers will laugh at, because at a young age we are taught to fear the Other. She will not fear the Other. She will play with toy cars and wear her hair short and scrape her knees and laugh and cry. When she experiences the soul-shattering hardship of losing her father she will become withdrawn, but she will determine to be strong from that day on.

Though for many children, the mockery of their peers might convince them to conform, maybe even to mock the Other that once they were, she will not. She will take the pain and make it hers. As she grows older she will have close friends, but not many of them--she will alienate many, because her standards will be impossible. And while she will be quick to forgive others, she will never forgive herself.

This regret will haunt her through her teens. Everyone she gets close to will remind her of someone else that she pushed away. The idea of closeness, the idea of friendship, will become too much for her to bear. Perhaps a close friend will survive her forced distance, but just as likely, she will be alone, surrounded by people for whom she feels no genuine warmth or affection. The artifice of it all will make her furious, but she will learn true self-reliance before she is finished with high school.

College is always said to be a time for experimentation, for reinventing oneself, but if there is one thing she will already have by then, it is a self. A real, solid self. This is a treasure she will cling to as she submits to the pressures that surround her, and the reason she never loses control. She will date someone without that solid sense of self, or maybe even several someones. That someone will cling to her sense of self. She will leave them adrift without an anchor, like a religious person suddenly stripped of their god.

She will have no time for religion. She has no time for people who are certain of anything. She will question everything. She will continue to alienate people with the conviction she has in her self, with her inability to forgive herself, with her refusal to be patient with those who don't meet her standards.

Sometimes she will wish that she had learned to rely on someone else, or wonder if she would have been better served learning to be happy rather than learning to survive. But, as they say, call no man happy till he dies--and she can go to her rest knowing exactly who she was.


administrative note

[This blog has been silent lately because I'm working on a new project, Vaudeville Ghosts (And Other Haunted Tales). Updates here will probably resume soon, but in the meanwhile, why not check out Vaudeville Ghosts and let me know what you think? -the author.]