Behind the Scenes

“No you haven’t lost your sanity, you’ve lost your conscience,” says the Bagman, dark irises boring into the Truth.
“My conscience?” She counters, awareness lingering on the note of her tone. He thinks to himself that she’s much too clever for this stage act. He pulls down the curtain of a sigh when he sees the confusion in her eyes.
“Yes and it’s always such a telling part of yourself to lose.”
This time her naive smile turns to a frown, head tilting sideways in his direction. The movement is so fluid he questions his previous disposition. Was this really the same woman he once knew, and if so, what had happened to her?
“Why’s that?”
He nearly scoffs, surely she knew. Surely she had to know.
“We don’t lose our consciences, we choose to ignore them. That’s the thing about it, this has always been a choice.”
She stares at him for a while, the wind whipping in earnest against both of their backs. The capitol sits boorishly in the distance, a mere skeleton of a building, a simple vessel to the entities in question. She notices the chill in the tips of her fingers and wraps them around the center of his palm.
“A choice, you say.”
“Yes.”
“I don’t believe anything in life is ever really a choice.”
“Life itself has always been a choice. A choice made up by other choices, if you will.”
“How did you get so clever?” She tilts her head with a slight grin, attempting to get a better glimpse at his eyes.
“I started listening to you, instead of trying to prove my own lies.”

– B.

Codes

“Would you say you’re an open book?”

“I believe anything is readable so long as you learn to decipher the code in question.”

I think I used to want people to know what was going on in my head. I think I thought that if I could spell it out for them I’d feel less lonely and that it would make us more similar. Juvenile thoughts from when I was merely a girl.

They just rallied with their pitchforks.

Now my binding is torn loose and all of the pages have been strewn across a diagnostic. It’s still open, it’s just no longer a story in chronological order. People don’t like to read what they cannot relate to, they are not as fearlessly curious as some of their counterparts.

“That’s a good way to think. We should never stop trying to connect with those around us.”

My eyes cast up like daggers, the airy tone irks me because I do not feel the same way and I know that comment was charged with purpose. The aura on either side of the room is completely fluxed and I’ve no idea why no one is ever clever enough to learn this language.

I hear the voice whisper back, ‘because yours is indecipherable’, and I pull a grin because it is true.

I close my eyes off to a garden where I could plant my rose bushes and touch the tails of koi fish drifting by in their consistent ebb and flow. Where my irises fall to a human spectrum of sight and my breathing syncs with the peace of ignorance. Closed off to anything but the sound of trickling water and all the hidden whispers on the breeze.

“______? Are you okay?”

The words are like fingers snapping in front of my face and eventually I’m back in the room.

“I don’t particularly think people view us the same way.”

Like Victor Frankenstein and his Monster, you could agree one is good and the other is bad but which one is which will all lie in personal speculation. The truth is, good and bad don’t exist and societal preference hasn’t dawned on that notion yet. They haven’t dawned on a lot of things, if you ask me.

“I take it loneliness is something you’re no stranger to?”

“I believe loneliness is like a blanket. Sometimes it’s so thick and heavy it keeps out the light, other times, it keeps out the cold. Either way, you don’t get to choose if you’re born into it. They just wrap you up and send you on your way. The rest is yours to figure out and I suppose that’s half the fun in it.”

My tone is cool, concise and vacant. That is all it ever takes to silence a room.

Codes, clues and cues over Sunday coffee; and I am pulling my blanket up over my head and dodging reality like a reoccurring nightmare.

– B.

Breaking Upbringings

When I look at the rich I see the poorest of quality lifestyles. I may be bias, given my submergence in a ‘well brought up’ home, but you’ve got to realize that everything comes with a price. Money isn’t the true cost of these things, passion is.

I am the corpse pulled from the coffin of inbreeding. Nobody ever worked on their issues in my household, they just kept passing them down and trying to act like living out the American dream was success. We were all miserable, I was the only one bold enough to show it.

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Dragons

“You better be careful up there. I don’t think your mom would like this very much.”
“So long as we don’t track any mud in the house, trust me, she doesn’t care.”

My company fell silent and that was somewhat relieving for my concentration. One arm was wrapped firmly (albeit a little humorously) around the base of what I deemed a dependable branch. It was a strangled effort, gangly limbs attempting to counter the sturdiness of a great oak. The oak that stood the tallest in our yard. The same one that also happened to hover two feet away from the roof.

I pondered for a moment on which part of it could be considered the bone. Kids at school were always breaking bones, they said it hurt a lot. They talked about it as if it were bad, while I merely pondered on the prospect. I fell off of things a lot but I never broke anything. I did, however, go through a short period of obsession over my envy of casts. How everyone asked your story, asked to sign it.

I loosened my grip and for a single moment I heard my mother in the back of my head, ‘she’s cruel’. Was I hurting it? How would I know? Would it throw me off like one of those apple trees in the Wizard of Oz? That is not the first impression I wanted to make on it. Why was I always being so rough? So full of pent up fire?

I stared in silence at one knot in the trunk specifically. There were no eyes peaking out from the bark or branches twisting into a fist, but it sure did look like there could be.

“This is boring. How am I even supposed to get up there?”
The side of my lip curved down.

Whiny. Distracting.

“Uh, I don’t know, maybe by climbing?” I spat back, blonde locks drifting out from the leaves for a moment to shoot a disapproving scowl. The venom seeped a little deeper than usual, and I didn’t like the prospect of why.

She’s small, she’s never going to grow into a full size violin. You can’t play the cello, your arms aren’t long enough. We don’t want her on our team – she’s short and weak. You think she’s going to be able to change a tire? She’s quiet and secluded. She’s difficult. She’s not much of a lady.

“This is how it would be, ______. If we flew on dragons.” I envisioned their scales, the heat of their breathe on my hands. I’d murmur sweet nothings to them and they would coo back that I was their queen. They understood. “I’ll let you in from the window once I get up there, I promise.” It was so hushed I hardly recognized it as my own voice. I expected a ‘what’ to come shooting up through the branches, but she only smiled back.

“Wow! That sounds so fun! How do you always think of this stuff? What would you name yours? I’d name mine Coco.”

I would let mine name itself.

“Not if you had made the right friends…” I trailed off somewhere high in the atmosphere, the sight of slate coming clearer into focus. I spoke on the matter as if I’d any real experience in it, or if I’d even listened to what I was saying in the first place.

How do you always come up with these ideas? How could you not?

“What did you say?” I had to take a second glance to ensure it wasn’t only in my head this time around. Sure enough, there she was. Mouth gawking open mid-speech, a daisy twisting beneath her nose, determining whether or not she liked butter.

“Don’t worry. I’m almost up there, I can see you. Once I get to the top I’ll let you in through the bathroom window.”
Wait. If we could’ve just gone out the window, why didn’t we do that in the first place?”

Because dragons do not use windows, they fly.

– B.

(Introverts) Strange conversations I’m glad I was forced to have #12

“You always eat healthy, don’t you?”
I look down at a bowl filled with brown rice and mixed vegetables. I contemplate the fact I’m about to dump my entire sodium content level worth of A1 on it when I get back to my desk.  

“Yeah,” I sigh and it comes out wrong, as always. I can feel my fingers twitching. What to say, what to say, to make this conversation go away
“I’ve got my cheat meals, too.”

Cool. Now you don’t look stuck up, this is good. We’re treading lightly, making progress. Let’s end this quickly and on a good note.

I want to tell him the real reason why I eat this way. That I’m a vegan and that it’s really not that hard once you make yourself aware of the repercussions of your own actions on the planet. That I’m trying to be less selfish and hopefully work that towards building relationships because honestly, look at me. I haven’t crawled out of my hole in the wall in weeks.

I want to take him by the shoulders (metaphorically – let’s not make this weird) and say ‘watch this documentary, read this book, put yourself in their shoes, put yourself in your bodies’ shoes’ but I won’t. That wouldn’t be politically correct, would it?

I think back on High School, all the times I tried to connect with someone my age. Millenials don’t like me, they think I’m a little off. They’ve beaten it out of me, the rebellious pieces. Fuck, I used to be such a spitfire. 

“It’s not that hard, I promise. I think you can do it, too.” My eye contact breaks almost instantly. I’m left recalling the thought with a fucking piece of broccoli staring into my soul. 

I start thinking again, always thinking, endlessly. I try to remember his eye color. I can’t. I don’t think I can recall his shirt color either? What does his face look like? Could I remember it in a lineup? Why would I need to know that anyways? God, why are you following the rabbit down the bloody hole again? 

I see this man every single day. And countless others, from this office. Honestly I couldn’t tell you a single physical detail about a one of them if I tried. But I could tell you their little rituals. And this one, he was bound to talk sooner or later. He means well, he means well. He just doesn’t understand. 
 

“Yeah, what can I say? I’m trying but damn that takes some willpower.” He’s not trying, and we both know that. There’s a food truck outside calling his name. 

“That’s all it takes.” I smile.

I spend the rest of the awkward silence wondering why I can’t connect with people and why I can’t stand to see them frown, even at my own expense. I’m not coming to this microwave anymore this is too weird. 

 I look up and he’s got a little grin plastered. Maybe that’s all he needed to hear? Do people not talk like this amongst each other anymore? What’s the point of talking, then?  God, he better not think I’m hitting on him. 

He finally gets the hint and goes to turn around, “Real quick – what kind of cheat meals do you eat, anyways? I feel like I could do it with a couple of those but I’ve got a feeling yours are much different than mine.”

I laugh, it’s only half-genuine but at least a little less cynical than normal.

“Uh,”

I don’t have a lie rehearsed, I wasn’t prepared for this. This is worse than getting your six inch stilletto stuck in the grooves at the boardwalk in South Carolina last summer. How are you going to possibly end this professionally?

 “Wine.”

BIATA

An overdue run-in with the Twins of Happiness | Part 1: Our Emotional Spectrum Series

What some would call a peculiar, slightly nostalgic event wound me up at a picnic table outside of my local park with a duo I hadn’t really spoken with since I was a little girl. Now I can’t say for certain that my recalling of this event would help anyone. I suppose my original purpose for posting it was merely to a spread a message – their message – which seemed to have given me a much different perspective on my adult life and the way in which I deal with it. So perhaps it could help enlighten someone else, and I like to hope that’s a purpose of mine. 

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SYLL: Therapy Session

My therapist says that’s how you ruin a good memory. By overthinking it again and again until the facts begin to morph into something ugly. I, myself, can’t imagine the memory growing much uglier than it already is. But maybe that’s because I think about it a lot.

I don’t tell her that. Instead I just nod and stare drowsily out the window. Dreaming of a time when I can remember what the grass felt like. Or the smell of a summer breeze. I can’t help but notice it, even if they tell me not to. The sun is nearly blinding and I almost wish it didn’t remind me of the lighting in this place.

I have told her this before, I know I have. We’ve had this conversation. But if I ask her I know the answer will be the same. It always is.

‘No we haven’t.’

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