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Thread: Life Imitating Art

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Life Imitating Art

    I'm sitting in my bedroom. It's not quite like it used to be. I'm in the same places, but not doing the same things, and I'm not the same person.

    I'm sitting in an extra room. It has a bed, so I sleep there at night. Once, this same space used to hold my room. These days it holds new floor tiles, extra bookshelves, guest sheets, and boxes of things that used to be part of me, but now is crusted and discarded detritus of an old, angry, and very confused kid.

    Incense are burning to cover up the joint I just smoked through a window. I recognize the glow of a screen and the tap of a keyboard and the darkness of a still room, but that one isn't my memory. It belongs to some old, angry, and very confused kid. There is no connection.

    I'm thinking about my mother. A talk with her that day. We drove, and I was myself, completely. The language, the actions, the demeanor, was all my own. I was comfortable, she was comfortable. I made dry comments about music and where she grew up while she talks from her younger lungs and switches to a more indigenous dialect of casual vulgarity.

    I tell her the truth about everything. About my life. I tell her,"Sometimes, when I'm sitting in a class, staring out the window because some obscenely old man is talking in some accent I can't understand because they're always foreign, and I can see the seconds as if they were pine needles I'm so stuck in time, I can actually feel my brain dying. I can literally feel my own thoughts and mental acuity eroding away, softening in my brain juices."

    I tell her how much I hate school, despite truly loving my school. I explain hating the idea of school at all, hating classes, hating professors, hating it all. She asks me why I do it. I try to explain that every adult since I was born has hammered into me that you either work or you go to college, and a vast majority leave out the work part. I tell her that I was imprinted to know that the longer you go to school, the less ****ty your life eventually will be. I tell her that it's not like I don't hate work too. I hate doing things. I'm probably just lazy. If I had my choice I'd do neither.

    She talked honestly and she remembered things her other lungs had forgotten. She eventually told me she doesn't think I should go. I thought about it. I'll most likely always think about it. She asks me if I've written anything, if I still keep a journal, what my stories are like, both real life and otherwise. In a break, we both breathe and think. We talk about my sister. Honestly. Both of us. We're thinking, me about my sister and I, her about her two kids and who they are besides her kids. We're both in thoughts. The air goes clear.

    She tells me. "You don't have anybody. And that's the only thing that actually does worry me sometimes. Your sister is dating someone that is way too much like her father, and that's bad for her. And you're always alone inside, even when you are with someone. It worries me, that you don't have that, passion.

    I think of my life, and the one thing I feel most able to defend is that no matter how low the moment, my life could never be described as without passion. The things I've accomplished, the skills I've developed, the relationships I've shared with other people in my life. The things, often only indefinable concepts of abstract specter, that I see inside my mind, have passion some others could not conceive of. I have never seemed so apathetic as to be interpreted as passionless.

    "Without passion?" I say somewhat indignantly.

    "That passion with another person." She responds, holding a fist to her heart. "That feeling you have inside. That..." Her face and body try to explain something there are no words for, hoping there is a motion. "...feeling. I had it with Jack, and Hope has it with Jon. Even though it's bad for her, I worry about you, not ever having someone."

    I'm struck dumb, in the heart. I know the words she's saying, and I know what she's trying to communicate, but I have no idea what she means. I understand the intent of her words and I recognize the name of the feeling her face told me, but I have no idea what that feeling is. That sensation is foreign to me. I've never had that in my heart for someone. Ever. She's right.

    "No." ... "You're right. I've never had that. Not with any of them. I don't think I'm able to have that. I think that's just missing from me."

    She says. "A part of me, maybe the biggest part, just wants to tell you **** it. I mean, I know it's jaded and probably wrong to think and definitely wrong to actually tell you. But a part of me just thinks, 'Well, honestly, you'll probably just get burned anyway. You're probably better off.' You're not supposed to believe it, but a part of me knows that love always just ends in being hurt. They all hurt you in the end and you just end up bitter. None of it really lasts."

    The only thing I wonder now is why my mother assumes I haven't already been burned. That in all the time she wondered why I was always alone and tried to come up with answers, she never thought there could be an actual cause and assumed that maybe I was already too broken and bitter to believe in it anymore.

    We both have said all we were going to say. We felt what we felt and things were how they were and there was no easy direction to say we were pointing. We talked about my friends, she learned about my life. We talked about stories and she refused to believe that no matter how crazy of experiences I thought I'd had, that she was sure I wasn't doing anything she didn't know about and consider a completely normal life. In essence, she was scoffing at what I thought I couldn't tell her and letting me know how tame, or maybe how similar to her own life at that age, my times were now. I thought about it, and I think I believe her.

    But I never stopped thinking about what she was worried about. About what she saw in me. I felt a closeness with her now, knowing she saw how grey and shadowed my world was behind the glass and loved me anyway. And I thought about how I did feel alone. And that maybe I couldn't love. Not like that, anyway.

    And now I'm sitting on a bed, in a room, smelling incense. I'm coming up with lines like, "Covering up the smell of dog pee and mildew, maybe!" to questions about the air and distracting eyes with laughter. I'm helping my sister choose an outfit. I'm think about how little work I've gotten done this weekend because I came home and how much more I'll need to do the next few days to be ready. But really, I'm remembering words and sounds. I'm remembering myself telling her how long I would realistically still be looking at just to get an undergrad, and how pathetic I felt that was. I'm remembering stories of how a man and woman that are no longer that man and woman but now my mother and father grew up and fell in love. I'm remembering telling her how few real accomplishments I'd had this semester because I was so distracted with "school." How far my writing drifted and how few moments of creative inspiration or creation I've had. How all the parts of me that mattered had atrophied and slackened.

    I'm writing, and the light and the tapping of the keyboard bring up a memory that is not mine. I'm an impression of a painting. I'm thinking and I'm doing. I'm picking out jewelry that matches shoes and advising on a top. And I'm looking at the time, because it's almost Mother's Day.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Kind of in-between

    I like how you disconnect the human aspect of some things to express their foreignness. All the little things are good, and written very well. There is something looming outside of the story itself, and that is this kind of seems in-between a diary entry and a conversation you're having with someone. I think if you went either way on that, it could be stronger. Hopefully that makes sense.

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