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Refuge for the rational.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

By Request 

I saw your sister again. She was walking down the street arm in arm with a girl who was laughing intently at her clever quips. I couldn’t help starting at her as I drove by, and smiling, probably in an absurd way, but she didn’t see me so I guess it doesn’t matter. It seems like every time I see her she is with another woman—it reminded me of Gabriella. You remember her, I assume?

We were wearing the same shirt. And she had her hair cut in the same way except that hers was blonde and mine black. Of course I knew—you didn’t have to sneak around in such an insulting manner and send Dan over to hint to Mary that she should keep quiet about it. I was rather proud of myself; I didn’t feel threatened at all. She was just another one—we had never agreed it should be otherwise, even when we were involved—and she looked like a bad cover version of myself: she had no giant breasts to compete with, certainly no university education, and she wasn’t nearly as put together as she would have liked to believe; deep-down, she knew this too. She only had that name. People would tell her that it was beautiful, but I still think it’s ostentatious. I wasn’t angry or bitter or sad, I knew that the others existed, I had only never seen them.

You hadn’t seen mine either. That’s how you always blew things out of proportion, by suggesting that I should be upset. I rarely was, it was only that you wanted so badly for me to be that way.

I assumed that we could at least be friends. I assumed we would have disdain for you in common. It’s difficult to be fascinated by you without realising that you’re a truly horrible person. So, I tried to introduce myself. I stuck out my hand, which wasn’t taken, and made a comment about owning her shirt, to which she informed me that a lot of other people did too and walked away. It was only at this point that I decided I hated her—it had nothing to do with you.

Then, I got lucky. I had a horrible experience. I realised I was in a really shitty venue and that it was a Thursday night and that your band probably sucked. Then, you started playing, and all of my worst fears were confirmed. You were terrible. So terrible, I was embarrassed and wanted to sink into the floor upon which I was standing. My palms began to sweat as I lit another cigarette to distract from what I was seeing and feeling. You were writhing. That’s simply the only word for it. Mick Jagger dances around like a child when he performs, you writhe. On the floor. On your knees. And you and your friends like to think that it’s a result of depth. You were enraptured by yourself and completely unaware that your prostrations were akin to a rock-god or perhaps karaoke-god on the verge of giant finale. I remembered asking you once what it was like to be on stage in front of everyone and you had replied that you had no idea what happened up there. You lost yourself in the music…man. How deep.

The concept is over-used in high school and college English essays: Disillusionment. It’s so uncomfortable in real life. I stood frozen to the spot I was standing for the entire time you were on stage. You were so terrible.

I hated myself for buying into you, for believing that your “art” really was just misunderstood and under-rated. I had believed everything, and now I was watching you suck the life out of even the concept of art, in the same room as a childish girl in my shirt with whom you’d tried to replace me, and I couldn’t move. And I realised that you were a really awful kind of person. You had nothing to offer anyone except to control them. Your friend, James, had been so sweet to me once. He had kissed me on the cheek and tried to pretend that it was only friendly. But it wasn’t. We’d been talking for two hours while everyone else was inside and I couldn’t believe I’d found someone so gentle in your company. But that was the end. He started to avoid me after that and I knew it was because you’d told him he wasn’t allowed. I knew this because of that time I was over at your neighbour’s apartment with Mary, and Dan had come over and been surprised to see us and remarked, with what he pretended was sarcasm, that you were going to be really mad. We were never invited back there either.

When I realised what was happening, I started to laugh. I laughed as everyone began to disband from the stage. Someone asked me what was so funny and I laughed at them too. I laughed at them all because they were all so stupid and fooled. And I hated you. You had me believe that I loved you and you were nothing but a fraud, a complete idiot. I wanted to cause you pain.

I became distant. Everyone asked me what was the matter and I would only laugh at them, drink some more and light a cigarette. That wasn’t cool, was it? I was supposed to maintain that cool and collected posture all night, wasn’t I? No matter what, you aren’t supposed to feel things. This is what you’d taught us. And we lived by example.

I got really drunk. Not just slightly tipsy or accidentally beyond myself, but deliberately and intentionally smashed. Everyone crowded into your apartment and then came the speech. I was standing on the couch for well over a minute before I had the nerve to start speaking. I think Gabriella looked at me with a curious haughtiness and I’d taken a deep breath as I’d silently cursed her and looked up at the ceiling and began speaking over everyone’s noise. I was laughing so hard I could barely stand up. I’ll have to paraphrase it for you, though I’m sure you remember it quite clearly:

“Dear People. Could you turn this shitty music off? It’s bad—I like Pulp. I think James looks like Jarvis, but no one else does. I really wanted to have sex with James, but he (you) won’t let me. You aren’t fooling anyone! I’m sick of this stupid shit—you are all fake. All of you, except (I pointed at Gabriella), you’re just a fucking cunt. And you all do whatever he says, and that is sooooooo completely….and…(I remember this part quite distinctly) UTTERLY PATHETIC! (laughter—maniacal) BYE!” And then I threw the Heineken bottle I was holding against the wall. There can be such satisfaction in the sound of breaking glass.

No one moved. I can’t believe you all stood there and let me finish! I can’t believe it took Mary so long to drag me out of there! I had no shoes, I carried them because she was afraid everyone would attack me if I paused to put them on. This made me laugh. I still laugh about it sometimes—and that’s why I laugh whenever I see your sister.
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