Tuesday, 9 September 2008

3-Ring Circus

It was a hot afternoon; his palms were sweaty and his whole body was sticky and stuck to the car seat, even with the towel he'd put behind his back.

Wiping his brow with frustration, he swerved off to one side of the road and stopped, a cloud of dust swirling around the car and shimmering in the hot summer sun. He coughed and cursed at the failing air conditioning as he took the sweat-soaked towel and tossed it into the back seat of his battered, almost prehistoric excuse of a car.

He had to check twice in every direction with a pair of binoculars to make sure nobody was looking. Who would care about a teenager driving around in the Nevada desert, anyway?

He pressed the pedal hard and sped off the road, farther and farther away, escaping it like he would from a dangerous serpent.

It didn't matter where he went, as long as he drove.

The angry screams of parents and teachers filled his head. He was swarmed with frustration and indecision, both brought upon by those who were trying to steer his life for him.

On impulse, he turned the wheel dramatically, and the car balanced on its right wheels for a while before touching ground again upon a completed, sharp U turn.

He chased a jackrabbit and whizzed over its burrow.

In the shimmering, ardent air he saw the stern expressions of a thousand faces that threatened to study him, to label him, to judge him.

His eyes were almost covered in dust and sweat, but he pressed on, the sun only inches from his line of vision.

He made a series of random turns and realized that, in a long time, driving had been almost the only thing he'd had control of. All of his life was defined by charts and agendas, appointments with college interviewers and campus visits and meetings with a million clubs he was in but only attended a few times a year.

He didn't even know the color of his room walls from the countless books that had been piled in there, trapping him in his own little land of enforced restless brain-nurturing.

But there was a limit to which he could be taken. So, one day, he finally opted to give them the time of their lives and try to find him. They'd probably enjoy the change in routine and overdose of adrenaline as much as him. Or not.

He could not stand to be chained and abused like an animal anymore. And just like an animal, he wanted freedom, whatever the cost and whatever the outcome. He didn't care where he was going as long as he could leave his horrid life behind. No more confinement, no more verbal whips, no more being shoved around. He had been a monkey on a leash for too long.

And he was tired of being exposed as some sort of exposition, a trophy or a one-man show. Was it too much to ask not to have the spotlight all the time? Not to have to live up to everyone's expectations, to have a choice and a voice? He had finally gathered enough strength to take matters into his own hands.

He smiled, not knowing where the endless expand of sand, rocks and scrub would take him, but being glad that he had finally done something for himself, or just without someone else's voice telling him to.

The mountains in the distance became closer and bigger. But he drove and drove on. He was going so fast that he couldn't even see the dust he was leaving behind. The rocks began to tower over him, threatening to crash down and crush him like an insignificant bug under God's mighty thumb. But he pressed on, and he drove and drove.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Cyanide for the rest of my life...

She paused at one side of the hall and felt the world rush by, pushing and shoving like a ravenous fat man. She could feel him some 20 steps in front of her, to the right side of the hall, going into room 187.

In her mind, she imagined what it would be like if she tried to sneak up behind him and hug him hard, like she used to do, breathing in his wonderful, clean smell. "It's detergent," he used to say. "It's your soul leaking", she used to think, "and I love it".

English was pure torture; he had told her about this book, and the movie. The movie, of course, was not as good as the book. He took the time to highlight all the mistakes the movie producers had made; the flaws in the characters and why they did not seem real like they did in the book. But what she remembered most was how, after telling her all this and looking into her glassy eyes, coated with love and affection, he'd roll close to her in bed and give her little sweet kisses that made her giggle with happiness and tickles.

A sharp book edge brought her mind back to the classroom. She turned around slowly, covering the lower half of her face with her own book, and peered coldly at the boy who sat behind her. His arm was outstretched and the corner of his book was still pressed against her back. Unsmiling, he took his arm back and pretended to go back to reading as if nothing had happened, but he kept peering at her and remained curious and thoughtful at the twitching corners of her mouth.

The bell rang again and she tore off the page she'd been writing on. Before crumpling it and tossing it into the bin, she traced her finger along the lines and stars and many different styles in which she'd written his name countless times. She knew it was a waste of ink, but it was no more than she was a waste of love.

Her stomach rumbled not with hunger but with pain as she saw him come out of his class and walk past her with not more than a quick glance before his entrancing eyes returned their gaze to the floor. Arms crossed and self withdrawn, she walked into the bathroom and sat in the first stall.

A second bell rang and a few girls came into the bathroom, chatted loudly as they, presumably, fixed their make-up, and left. Head against the wall, she breathed in and took out her battered cat agenda. She opened it and a picture of them together in the park fell out. It had been a chilly autumn day, and they were both looking at the sky and just thinking about life. Strangely enough, she couldn't even remember who had taken the picture; all she knew is it had always made her feel warm inside, but now it only brought bitterness and a series of short, staggering gasps of sadness. She looked at it firmly, feeling the throat pain forming, followed by the blurry eyes. A drop fell on the photo, and she put it back into the agenda at a random page. With a furious sigh and a violently exaggerated swing of her arm, she tore a handful of toilet paper from the roll on the wall. She pressed it against her eyes and tried to clear her mind. She steadied herself and opened the agenda to a blank page. From the bottom of her backpack, she produced a purple pen, and she began to write slowly, pausing to think. Her writing became steadfast and hard. Her arm was tense and her wrist began to burn with pain as the writing quickened, but she didn't stop until the page was brimming with her irregular handwriting.

She re-read what she had written and put the agenda back into her backpack, from which she retrieved a red wooden box. Inside this box there was a plastic bag with squares of colored paper. She took out a shiny blue square and folded and folded, and soon the piece of paper became a crane.

Sighing, she put the small crane into the empty gap left in the wooden box, where it would be safe until she could put it with the rest back in the big trunk in her room.

"I know folding a million paper cranes could not grant me a wish, and origami won't win your love back," she whispered as she closed the box. "But if it did, I would fold paper cranes until I died just to hear you say you love me once more."

She thought this was corny and stupid, and it was a really selfish thing to ask, especially when there were millions of people out there dying because they didn't have the resources to stay alive. And here she was, feeling like it was the end of the world, asking the universe for compassion and empathy. But, even if it seemed pointless, it was her way of staying sane, the daily shot of cyanide that kept her on her feet and helped her deal with the pain caused by an invisible hole of despair that was eating up her heart.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lenifuzhead/109886677/

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

What I'd Do For You

In a dim-lit room sat a girl on a chair. The room smelled musty, dusty and old. It was truly unpleasant, but the girl had other things to worry about.

For an instance, she was tied to a chair and her frail, perfectly smooth lips were covered by a thick layer of duct tape. Her breathing was forced, though she knew not why, since her nose was not covered at all. She couldn't even think of other obvious reasons, such as the rope which held her in place, for she was in such great panic.

Why would anyone want to kidnap her? Yes, her parents did have some money, but she wasn't any ambassador's daughter or an heir to millions of dollars and a multibillionaire franchise...

An old, creaky door at the side of the room opened up and a figure emerged from the shadows. The figure's face was obscured by a hooded sweater.

The girl's eyes widened as the figure pulled back the hood to reveal a familiar face.

They had once been friends, but fate and love had separated them; the girl had once dated the same guy her capturer was dating. But still, why would she want to kidnap the girl?

Slowly and with an air of annoyance, the capturer walked closer to the girl and stared down at her. There were deep purple bags under the capturer's eyes, and her brows were lightly furrowed with anger and resentment.

"Well," began the capturer. "You never thought you'd find yourself in this situation, did you, Danielle? Your life was too perfect for something like this to happen, eh?"

Tears began to fall down Danielle's face and soft moans struggled to get past the layer of duct tape over her mouth.

The capturer made a mocking pout. "Aw, the princess is sad? Well, too bad. Life isn't always the fairy tail you filthy rich people live in."

She raised a hand and ardently landed a brutal slap on Danielle's face. A smile full of satisfaction and sadism lit up the capturer's face as she heard Danielle's muffled scream.

Danielle began to thrash around in the chair, tears flowing like two wild rivers from eyes that spat anger.

The capturer laughed at Danielle's suffering, at her inability to do anything to save herself. Still giggling, she raised her other hand and slapped Danielle again.

Almost immediately, the capturer's mood changed from blissful to furious. She barked out a stream of insults in a voice that became hoarse as the pain soaked through her mask of rage.

"How could you even call yourself human?! You know how much you made him suffer? I'm still picking up the broken pieces!" Tears began to run down her dirty face as she screamed wildly into Danielle's face. "You have no idea what love is, you whore. You never loved him like I do, you were never good enough for him. What was he, your slave or your lover? And even after you were the one who left him, you didn't want him to date anyone else. You are the most selfish person I know. And you're so plastic, too!! How could he ever had dated someone like you?"

She had to stop and take in big breaths to calm herself down; she had almost dried off Danielle's face for screaming into it so hard. The capturer turned around and walked toward the wall. She put her head against it and closed her eyes. Slowly, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a needle. From her other pocket, she retrieved a small bottle of red nail polish, one that she had found in Danielle's purse.

"Now," the capturer said, walking back towards Danielle with one item on each hand, "it's time to get ready for the great finale." She smiled and held up both items for Danielle to see.

Upon seeing these two things, Danielle started to tremble as if she had an internal earthquake. She had a pretty good guess of what the capturer intended to do with them.

"You look sad," the capturer said smiling and opening the small bottle of nail polish. "Why don't we add a smile to that lovely face of yours? It's perfect anyway, isn't it?" She took the small brush and painted a smile on the duct tape that covered Danielle's face. She then tossed the brush aside and stepped back to take a look.

"There! Much better. Now moving on to business..."

The capturer paused before opening the needle. "You know," she said, "I'm not doing this for money or because I am sadist...Well, maybe I am a bit of a sadist, but the point is I'm doing this to show you that being a bitch never pays off. And I don't regret that you might be prettier than me, or girlier than me or richer or better in any other way. What I really regret is that I didn't meet him before you did. Do you have any idea of how much pain we would've all avoided had I been in his life instead of you? I'll just say I think it would've been more than what you are about to feel."

With a smile and one last look into Danielle's frightened face, the capturer removed the safety cap from the needle and withdrew some red nail polish. She got rid of the air bubbles as she had so often seen doctors do, and sat on Danielle's lap.

Danielle had begun thrashing and screaming again, but in one swift movement the capturer held her head still and inserted the needle into Danielle's neck.

"I always thought there was something synthetic about you," she said very matter-of-factly, while pushing the red liquid into Danielle's veins.

The capturer felt Danielle whimper and shake as the liquid hardened inside her, slowing down and eventually stopping her blood flow. She stood up and watched Danielle's limbs go limp and her eyes roll into the back of her head. Feeling some pity for the dead girl, she ripped off the duct tape and let Danielle exhale her last breath.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/amehcaek/2352449300/

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


Everything gives you cancer. At least nowadays it does. I wonder if everything gave as much cancer a good 50 years back? Or is it just because of all the medical advances of the modern world?

What if we didn't know about cancer, would smoking still be bad? Would our lungs rot away?

This is similar to that question about the tree falling in the forest. If no one hears the tree when it falls, does it still make a sound?

Why do we ask questions, anyway? Why do we stop and think about what will happen? About how a roller coaster ride or a couple shots of tequila could send us into the grave? Everything could end this so-called life of ours. Life ends, anyway. And still, we choose not to smoke pot in college or not to stay up late so often just so we can live a few years more.

But something great could happen to me in those years when I outlived all of my friends. Not that it matters that I'll be alone and a bag of crap and old bones, does it? I did get those extra years I fought for when I said no to unprotected sex.

So maybe when I'm about to die I'll get really wasted, I'll do all the drugs I can find, I'll crash into all the parties in town, I'll have sex with all the chicks I can afford. Maybe then all that goddamned abstinence will be put to good use.

Photo: http://flickr.com/photos/bluegrrl/403189099/

Monday, 7 July 2008


Everything went by quickly, the forest was just a blur on the other side of the window.

Her earphones blasted music she wasn't really listening to. She just needed something to block out the rest of the world and leave her alone with the existential part of her mind.

The forest was an hour ago. She had already listened to 35 songs, but who was counting when you had life to think about?

There were a million thoughts rushing through her head; she wondered about the origin of all of the restaurant and diner names she saw, she thought about the colors of walls of houses and buildings, about humans, about life, the universe, anything and everything. She just thought.

She didn't like to drive because she had to focus, something that was near impossible when she was in a car.

Back home, at school or pretty much anywhere she went there were voices, people, advertisings, distractions. The whole world was a distraction she was trapped in. Half the time, she didn't mind, but came a time when she just wanted to pop out of her body and run deep into a forest, where the ground, covered with leaves and trapped humidity, would sink gently beneath the weight of her body. She wanted to hear the voice in her head against the quiet of the unperturbed natural sanctuaries where bulldozers and cement had not yet opaqued the landscape.

She didn't belong in the suburbs, with all those clone houses with their trimmed grass and SUVs, where the only way to tell everything apart is the colors. Everything was too controlled, too perfect, too engineered; it was unnatural and it made her sick.

Roadtrips were her scapegoats. She didn't talk, she didn't listen and she didn't have to feel her stomach acid crawling back up her throat, she didn't bite her nails nor did she want to hurt herself; she momentarily forgot about the lack of courage that kept her from running away from that bleak, commercial and hypocritical life she had.


Saturday, 5 July 2008


A large portion of our insignificant lives is dedicated to getting into a good college.

It starts with all those toys and baby books parents buy. They buy stuff that will help the baby learn and grow smart and whatnot. They even make the poor kids watch those crap shows about colors and letters and numbers that have those creepy mutant animals/whatever they are as hosts. And those shows just get weirder every day.

Then you go to preschool where to learn to mingle with other children and I guess that's the point in life where you're formally introduced to human interactions, communication, society, all that good stuff that you kind of hate later, if you happen to turn into a rebellious little social outcast teenager.

And then comes school. That's something we all hate but have to go through to kind of get a sense of what the hell kind of world we're living in. Oh no, wait, that's college; school is just the incubator. Anyway. You learn not only academic stuff but also the basics of society and how humanity works: the bullies (whose role is later taken on by bosses and the occasional abusive partner), the cliques, the things you put a hell of a lot of effort into just so life can squish you like an insignificant little bug (yes, I'm talking about tests and examinations...hooray!). We go through so much shit in school, all the while thinking, "man, I can't wait for this to be over!".

Oh really? But what comes after school? Another 4 (or even more! holy crap!) goddamn years of work, and this time ON YOUR OWN. No mom or dad to help you finish the science fair project or to wake you up in the mornings so you're not late to school. In less than a year you make this huge jump in independency (well, not everyone, but a good deal of people. And anyway, what I'm getting at is that we leave like 12 or more years of schooling - all that fucking tedious work - just to go into more? We are such goddamn masochists. Or whoever invented this was).

And then, you know, that's when you get ready to go into the REAL shark-infested pool. You know, not regular sharks, but the radioactive kind with two heads and metal claws for fins. Yeaaaah. Oh and the really fun part about the real world is that you spend your life working just so when you die they put you in a nice, expensive coffin with velvet inside and 24 karat gold details on the outside (including the handles!).

And what I've been thinking is all of this comes down to choices. Mainly your college choice, because that kind of sort of defines what you'll be doing until you kick the god-fucking-damn bucket and get your stupid fancy coffin. It's all about making the right decisions in life; paper or plastic, salad or fries, Princeton or this college in the middle of the woods no one's ever heard of...

I think it's the fact that there are so many options what makes it so frightening. It's so hard to know if you're making the best choice, especially when there are about 4 different voices in your head and none of them agree on anything. What if I fuck up and I choose the wrong major? What if I choose what college I'm going to based on where my friends are going? What if I don't get that scholarship I need and I end up going to a community college or just not going anywhere at all?

It scares me shitless that I keep changing my mind about stuff, that I can't really tell what college I'll end up in. Sometimes I worry so much about the future that it troubles the present I'm living in, and I fall into a vicious mental trap that doesn't let me sleep. And so I stay up until 5 am wondering about life, and I just wonder about everything and I know I've made the wrong choice worrying and that just screws me up all over.

But therein lies the beauty of life. We have the ability to make our lives what we want them to be. It's probably the best we can get out of it...Well, the ones who can, because there are people out there that just take what they can get and can't even bring themselves to think of other possibilities.

So, yeah, I complain about life. I bitch a lot. But think about it, life does suck for everyone, at one point or another. If you're poor, it sucks cause you have no money. If you're stinkin' rich, it sucks cause you have too much money and you have no idea of what else to do with it (after recreating yourself through surgery, of course). But, in the end, we will all die and get together in the after-life to laugh it off with a cup of coffee and some butter cookies.

Monday, 14 April 2008


The wind pulled on her skirt like a puppy. It was a gentle wind, pouring through the surrounding trees with a muted whistle, barely audible next to the rambunctious laughter of children and the mechanical grunt of the bulky rides.

She was a truly beautiful girl; I cannot say that her looks were the reason why I couldn't bear to look up at her eyes and let go of her hand. How could I ever tell her? How could I ever tell anyone? All I could do was hang on, hoping the warmth would fill me once again, praying for the adrenaline rush, the desire to have her close and touch her.

Perhaps it sounded sordid, but it couldn't have been any less acceptable than what flashed through my head for the rest of the night.

I had been safe in a haven of conformity, undisturbed by the pushing crowd and the ear-splitting scream of the Tornado riders. Standing next to the metal fence that separated the outside world from a spinning world of plastic lights, metal, shiny plastic and grease, I saw them coming toward us.

In the distance, the edge of the forest stood firmly, a dark green mass with lightly swaying treetops beneath a dull blue-gray sky. The afternoon had come quickly, and the clouds had descended even faster, bringing on the darkness earlier than it should have come and making the carnival lights stand out even more.

A sweet-sticky cotton candy smell slithered tentatively around my face as I saw them come closer and closer. "Look!" said Sue, tugging me out of my trance. "There comes your sister with that guy."

He held her hand firmly, but looked to his side and up at the twirling Tornado. Plastic lights, yellow and red, looked dim where they stuck to the metal arms of the rides, but they shone like suns in his eyes. At first I didn't notice, due to all the lights that bounced of his eyes, but there was something definitely peculiar about them. As he turned to look at me, his delicate ginger curls bouncing and his soft-looking lips parting, I noticed that one of his eyes was pure, light and honey-like, while the other was an intense, shady green.

I don't even understand why I stared at him like an idiot. Why? I truly felt like slapping myself, biting my hand, anything to get me out of the momentary stupor that held me in place like concrete.

I did manage to shake my head lightly and wrinkle my nose, pretending that I had wanted to sneeze but couldn't. My sister seemed extremely pleased with herself for having such a handsome date, and I felt dumb as ever as jealousy burned my throat. Introductions were made, and I almost stopped breathing when his lips curled up into the most innocent of smiles. My small lips pressed into a hard line and I quickly looked away. The beauty God was taken aback by my reaction, and he immediately lowered his head, stuffing his hands in his pocket. It wasn't your fault, I wanted to say. I wish I hadn't made such a bad impression on him. Although I felt guilty for treating him this way, I felt even worse for wanting him, for feeling such a flesh-consuming lust, such an overbearing desire to push him into the nearest wall and run my hands along his back, kissing his pearly, baby-soft skin.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not stop thinking about him; I was aware of his presence, his slender body strolling along with an effortlessly stylish (yet somewhat tense) walk a few feet away from mine. There had been no time in my life when I had hated myself this much. I gripped Sue's hand tighter and kissed her cheek a little too roughly, but she did not complain. Though I loved her, I could never let her know what was going on inside my head. It was so twisted, so strange and so complicated...Not even I understood it, I wasn't sure I could count on her understanding it, either.

The girls were anxious to ride the tornado, so we bought tickets and got in line. As we waited for the line to move, I turned to the Earthbound angel that was standing next to me. Both my sister and my girlfriend were to busy talking about some movie to notice my awkward approach.

"Hey," I began in a choked voice. "Listen, I'm sorry if I appeared...You know...Rude at first...I...It's just...It's hard to see your little sister growing up so fast, you know?"

He eyed me curiously and tried a slight smile that lit up his freckled face. "Yeah," he said, relaxing his body and sliding his hands out of his pockets. "I have a kid sister myself."

Somehow, I was glad for the connexion, eternally thankful for my forgiveness. But I still felt like the greatest jerk on Earth, the worst human being ever as I smiled my foolish smile.

We sat opposite to each other on the ride. It was a structure with 4 seats which reminded me of a flying saucer, but without the roof. I did feel much like an alien; I was alien to all of the strange feelings that had taken over me. I mean, why in the world did I feel that way looking at a guy? I never thought there would be a day when I would question my sexuality. At least not in this way...

The ride began with a slow spin that peaked rapidly. Sue and Jen were lost in their screaming, but I couldn't see beyond his face. All around us, light and music swirled endlessly. It all became confusing and blurry; the screams and the music were there but I heard no sound, and the lights still shone, but there was nothing brighter than his eyes.

Time melted away and nothing made sense. I was lost in a dark pool in my thoughts where the pitch black atmosphere was only slightly disturbed by the fast-moving carnival lights that were all over us like ghosts. I wanted to think, to come to some rational conclusion, but all I could do was taste the fear and anxiety in my mouth, so acid and sweet and exhilarating.

It seemed as if an eternity had gone by when the ride came to a sudden stop. I felt Sue tugging at me again, pulling me by the arm to another ride. I stumbled out of my feet and fell into the arms of the boy, colorful spots floating all around me. It was such a light-headed feeling; I felt careless yet I knew I had to react, but the colors were so sharp and yet so soft, and the noise had faded into such a lovely hum that, for a second, I could have sworn I had died and I was, perhaps, in heaven.

But I came back to reality just to be dragged around the games some more. As we rode more swift, spinny rides, our senses became distorted. The adrenaline and joy flowed in our veins and intoxicated us like alcohol. We even stumbled around like drunk dorks, laughing at empty spaces, at imaginary fluorescent specks of light that clouded our vision.

In one of those rides, I sat next to him. The girls had decided to bail on us and get some food, so we hopped into the small two-person cabin of the Ferris Wheel before we could realise what we had done. The spins were wild, but we were too tuned out to feel the butterflies. As we neared the top, he gripped my hand, his palms soft as doves. It was only a matter of seconds before he remembered where we were and who I was, so he withdrew it back. I felt extremely outraged; the touch of his hand had almost made me lean over and kiss him lightly on the cheek. That one thought pierced my soul in such a sharp way that I had to excuse myself as we met up with the girls again, and went home early.

It's hard to explain. I don't know why one random guy rocked me off my heels like that. Should I blame hormones? I am willing to bet it was a teenage impulse. Perhaps, more than just willing, I am hoping. What is it about these years that makes us so shameful about what we do? There is a mysterious force that has made me regret so many things I've done and so many things that I've felt. Worse than all, I have kept this to myself, turning it in my head over and over without getting any answers.

I went to the carnival a few days later, without any company. I rode in silence, deep in thought. Strangers looked at me with fright and amusement; my face was blank and my eyes were distant. I knew that my expression was that of someone who is burrowed under a tormenting feeling of doubt, under piles of insecurity and fright, lost in some hole in Planet X. But I walked and sat and waited...I listened and I looked around, waiting for the sound to break through the invisible barriers around my head and barge into my ears, waiting for the light to cut through my eyelids and reach into my brain, waking me up.