?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
09 April 2018 @ 08:49 pm
these things they pick you up and they turn you around  
unnamed female protagonist
there is a mountain, there are many mountains. there is the mountain one can see, but there is also the mountain beneath it. all that old, ancient earth, cresting and crackling, showing and concealing itself in the same gesture. there is a mountain between us, but it’s only a mountain. we’ve come a long way in recent months.

unnamed male protagonist
have we?

unnamed female protagonist
i’d say. used to be just hearing my name would give you the shakes.

unnamed male protagonist
that’s only because i left you to die.

unnamed female protagonist
i guess, in a manner of speaking, this is true, but it’s not the only truth on record.

unnamed male protagonist
what’s another?

unnamed female protagonist
where were you leaving yourself?

unnamed male protagonist
i wanted to make myself a stain on the pavement. that’s what i felt like, that’s what i deserved. that’s who i wanted to be, at least at the time, at least now, looking back on it.

unnamed female protagonist
that’s sad.

unnamed male protagonist
you don’t know the half of it.

unnamed female protagonist
yes i do.

unnamed male protagonist
yeah, you do. of course you do. you always know stuff like that.

unnamed female protagonist
but only because i think about it so much.

unnamed male protagonist
what do you think about?

unnamed female protagonist
the stories, mostly. the stories that were taken from us. the stories that were taken from me. the stories that were forced upon us. the stories we were abandoned to. the stories waiting patiently for us to remember that they are still waiting, patiently, for us to remember them. i also think about your stories, quite a bit i think about them, but then again, of course i do. you gave them to me for a reason, after all.

unnamed male protagonist
did i?

unnamed female protagonist
did you?

unnamed male protagonist
tell me one of my stories.

unnamed female protagonist
there’s that time you huddled in the shrubbery across the street, watching while my family loaded me into the car. you believed i couldn’t see you and you were correct. i couldn’t see you, i just knew you were there. i didn’t have time to confirm this knowledge, or give it context, i was too busy trying to tear out the last remaining bits of hair on my father’s head and clawing at the eyes of this total stranger claiming to be my aunt. i couldn’t believe it was actually happening. i couldn’t believe my own father thought this was an appropriate solution to a situation he’d never even tried to understand. i couldn’t believe you were there, in the bushes, standing there staring at it, letting it happen. or maybe i could. my opinion of you was in a period of rapid transition, as you might recall.

unnamed male protagonist
it’d pretty much have to be.

unnamed female protagonist
it’s never been anything you couldn’t recover, you know. you were scared. you let fear drive the ship. scared people do much more horrible things to each other all the time, and they recover from it. all it usually takes is trying. five or six “i’m sorries,” properly placed, a good letter, some respectful listening, maybe a little present. i like roses. i’m really not a hard woman to satisfy, in this respect. mostly all i need is for you to make clear that my continued presence in your life matters to you.

unnamed male protagonist
point of clarification?

unnamed female protagonist
yes?

unnamed male protagonist
what for you constitutes a "good" letter?

unnamed female protagonist
my criteria is arbitrary.

unnamed male protagonist
as it should be. got anything else?

unnamed female protagonist
there’s that time your parents tried to kill you.

unnamed male protagonist
you mean my childhood?

unnamed female protagonist
there’s that time you set fire to your dead father’s guitar.

unnamed male protagonist
that one’s pretty good. tell that.

unnamed female protagonist
you found it in the attic one day when you were hiding up there, burning japanese incense in a burner you made out of a beer bottle and sand and reading proust. you hadn’t known your father to have any inclination toward music, though you hadn’t really known your father.

unnamed male protagonist
he threw himself in the chesapeake when i was five.

unnamed female protagonist
wait a minute, now, who’s telling this story?

unnamed male protagonist
sorry.

unnamed female protagonist
you found the guitar up there in the attic. you found it and thought, i always wanted to be able to play the guitar. maybe you’d play it for me, you thought. you hadn’t even known you had this desire until you discovered that you had the tool necessary to teach yourself how to do it, or, at first, you thought you did. you pulled it out from under the broken end table it was supporting to assess its condition. that’s when you discovered the dedication. this had been a wedding present. someone actually gave your parents a gift for their wedding and marked this guitar accordingly. it had your parent’s initials with a heart between them and what must have been the date of their wedding, reason being it was four months before your birthday.

unnamed male protagonist
our birthday.

unnamed female protagonist
our birthday. functionally, it was not functional. no strings. chewed up fretboard. the body was warped and separating in places. it honestly looked like it had been used as a planter.

unnamed male protagonist
no it hadn't. i never said that.

unnamed female protagonist
the story needs to be free. let the story be free.

unnamed male protagonist
okay, but the guitar i burned hadn't ever been used as a planter.

unnamed female protagonist
anyway, what ruined that first guitar for you was that damn dedication. music shouldn’t lie, you thought, so you drove out to the drugstore for some lighter fluid and set it on fire that sunday morning, while your mother and uncle were inexplicably at church as they were every sunday morning. it's when you could burn things, on sunday mornings.

unnamed male protagonist
and i really should have burned it further from the house.

unnamed female protagonist
…but that’s a story for another time.


 
 
music: pteranodon - adrift