the seeds, the trees

"But once in a while there's a great dynamite-burst of flying glass and brick and splinters through the front wall and somebody stalks over the rubble, seizes me by the throat and gently says, 'I will not let you go until you set me, in words, on paper.'" – Richard Bach

Category: flash fiction

Dec. 5, 2012 – 12:31 a.m.

When my beautiful city began to rot and stink around me, I thought about the first time we laughed – at the same time, we really laughed. I imagined it felt like birds flying. DSC_0029

Cigarettes! I quit

I opened my eyes one morning after getting into bed at 6 a.m. and trying to sleep, but I couldn’t so I just lay there thinking about a whole bunch of shit that doesn’t do me any good to think about, and I opened my eyes at about 7:30 because I swear I couldn’t take it anymore, and I thought that if I kept on thinking I would just go out of my fucking mind.

So I opened my eyes because I wanted everything to stop. I wanted to shut my brain down and I thought it might be less wild in the light. So I opened my eyes and decided I was going to quit smoking. I am going to quit smoking, I told myself. And it’s going to be really fucking hard. Look, you’re going to listen to a really good song in the car and you’re not going to be able to smoke a cigarette. You’re going to listen to Slug and you’re not going to smoke a cigarette. And these are the sacrifices you’re going to have to make. You are going to have to sacrifice. And it’s going to be hard. And when all your friends are smoking cigarettes around you, which they’re going to be, you’ll have to tell them that you quit smoking.

This is exactly what you’re going to say: “I quit smoking. And I’m not fucking around.” That’s what you’re going to have to say. And they’re going to offer you cigarettes, and you’re going to have to say, “No thank you. I’m not fucking around. I told you that earlier. I’m not fucking around. I quit.”

I was so excited to start my day. I thought I had a whole new life waiting for me, and I started wondering about all the ways my life would change. I was expecting big change. Change I couldn’t even imagine because it would be so big.

And now I’m high and want to give up because that’s what smoking weed makes you do, and I’m smoking cigarettes inside and the whole room smells like smoke and I’m pretty sure I’m inhaling all the smoke I blow out and I’m afraid I’m going to get mouth cancer because I chew my lips until they bleed and then smoke cigarettes, inside, and I breathe second smoke, I really didn’t want to write ‘hand’ for some reason, and I don’t know how you diagnose mouth cancer but either my lips will turn purple or I will grow a tumor on the side of my lip the size of a tennis ball. That is what I have decided. I am very sure that this will happen. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

Mr. Marinakis

Mum told me last night that I didn’t have to be famous. “Oh, you’re so immature,” she said, she cooed, feeling so sorry, after I cried and told her what’s the point of being creative, what’s the point of not being normal if you’re not recognized for it?

What is the point of my lifelong-mental twistedness, my turmoil, my singular tragedy if it bears no fruit? I asked. Except I didn’t say “singular tragedy” or “fruit” because no one speaks that way. It sounded more like, “Why do I have to deal with this shit in my head that supposedly makes me a writer if no one reads or wants to read what I write?”

And that’s when she said, sorrowfully, and a little smugly now that I think about it, “You’re so immature.” Then she said, which wasn’t very helpful but admittedly made me feel less alone, that several months ago she would have said, “Come on, let’s go jump off a bridge together!” She was ready to “check out” in April, she said, but then she saw this man who…I’m not exactly sure what he does, but I think he’s some kind of homeopathic mood doctor. She said this guy – this Mr. Marinakis – completely sorted her out, completely. She always uses lots of adverbs when she talks. That’s all she said. Completely. I let my mind fill in the details.

I see a stocky Japanese man, short but not small, the physique of a Japanese man who has lived in America for a long time and forsaken his traditional diet. He’s wearing a white lab coat (How original, my mind) and a blue, cashmere sweater; gray-black, knit slacks (So specific, my mind!) His office – or where he meets with his patients – has light, wooden flooring, reminiscent of bamboo (Well done, my mind. Use stereotypes. It’s easier.) There’s a few glass vases filled with colored Mancala beads.

When he looks at me, I can’t tell what he’s thinking. He can see through my skull at my beating brain and my brain is blue. He doesn’t seem to have anything in his pockets, not even a pen. I don’t know what his voice sounds like because so far we haven’t spoken. He touches my head without touching it. He talks to my brain. I remember the acupuncturist I saw more than five years ago. I was depressed. She made  a map of my organs with needles in my back. She said, indifferently, I had a wounded heart that would never heal. It made me sadder. Mr. Marinakis doesn’t say anything about my heart. I can’t see anymore. All I know is that Mr. Marinakis is probably not Japanese. “Marinakis” is Greek. His first name is Peter.

A(lone)ly

No one would sit next me to in class. Not even those I thought I had befriended. Acquaintances, at least? I felt very small with tears in my throat. When it was over, and I gathered my things to go, I noticed I had put my coat over the back of the chair next to me.