Archive for February, 2011


Alone in Heels (A Short Story)

As she stepped onto the crowded train, she could feel the eyes on her.  All of the male eyes and, yes, a few female eyes; they were all looking her over and passing judgment.  They were all passing their verdict on the end result of 25 years of existence.

We know you, those eyes said, you are a whore.

And she knew they were right.  After all, hadn’t he just told her that to her face not more than half an hour ago?  Maybe he didn’t use the word whore.  No, that was her aunt and all the other old ones talking.  They were the only ones who used words like whore without irony.  No, this was 2011 and people only said whore if it was being delivered with a smirk. 

No, what he had said was simply this: “I love my wife.”  And when she had broken down and demanded, “What about me?”, he had coldly replied, “You know why we were together.”  It was the were that hit her.  Past tense.  He’d referred to her in past tense.  Nobody had asked her if she was ready to become a ghost; a lingering phantasm of the past.  It didn’t seem quite fair.

You know why we were together.

Oh gee, I guess I’m just dumb because I really don’t know.  Why, oh why, were we together?  Enlighten me.  Fill my pathetic little head with knowledge.  Show me the light.  Ram your wisdom deep into me.

You were a whore and you were only there to be a whore.

She glanced down at her shoes.  Black high heels.  She almost laughed out loud.  What was she thinking wearing black high heels?  How was she going to get around the city in black high heels?  How was she going to fight the suffocating, poverty-reeking denizens of the rush hour commute in black high heels? 

If this was one of those grindhouse horror flicks that she loved so much, you would be sitting out in the audience and taking bets on just how long it would take her to twist her ankle in those high heels and end up graphically gutted for the amusement of bitter virgins everywhere. 

Black high heels!  For a commute on a train?  For an afternoon in a motel room with a rock hard mattress, no cable, and no room service?  Black high heels to carry her over into the past tense.  What the Hell were you thinking, bitch?  What the Hell is wrong with you!?

 It was, she figured, the type of stupid thing that a whore did because everyone knew that whore’s just weren’t that smart.

What was it Dorothy Parker — a woman who she once imagined herself to be — had said?  You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think.

She clutched onto the pole dividing the car as the train lurched to a violent start.  Looking at all those people on the car, knowing they were passing judgment on her — look at her with that red hair, with that obsessively starved figure, with that short dress, with those high heels, She may claim to be an intellectual but she’s obviously just another whore! — She felt a sickening hatred rising up within her.  She hated that feeling, that bitterness, that anger.  It was a side of her personality that her constant smiles and vapid flirtations were supposed to hide.  But that hatred was there and it was never stronger than on that day.  She hated everyone on that train.  She hated everyone who prayed for her.  She hated him for thinking she was a whore.  She hated you for thinking she wasn’t.  She hated everyone she had ever seen.  She hated them for having lives to go to, for having families to love them, for having anything that brought them any sort of comfort or happiness.  She hated them for not being hurt, for not having tears forming at the sides of their eyes, for not being her.

For not being a whore.

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1

Saturday night.  9:00.

            Like an angry infant, a phone shrilly demands to be answered.

            She answers.

            “Hello,” she says.

            “Hey,” a male voice somewhere else says.

            “Uhmm…yeah?”

            “Hey, babe, where you at?”

            “I’m…out.”

            “But you’re in the town, right?”

            “I guess.  Do I know you?”

            “So, sweetheart – you ready to do this thing?”

            “Do what?”

            “You know what.”

            “Who is this?”

            “You know who this is.”

            “I do?”

            “You do.”

            “I do.”

Click

2

            Saturday night.  10:00.

            Like an angry infant, a phone shrilly demands to be answered.

            She answers.

            “Yes?” she says.

            “Did you do it?  Is it done?” a male voice somewhere else asks.

            “Is what done?”

            “You know what.”

            “I do?”

            “You do.”

            “I do.”

            “Is it done?”

            “It is.”

            Click.

Promises, Promises

Anger is the most frustrating of all emotions.

I speak from experience because, though you might not always be able to tell, I’m actually a very angry person.  To be honest, I think most people are.  Sometimes I feel like the whole concept of “personality” is just a defense mechanism that we use to try to keep others from realizing just how close we are to losing control of our emotions.  Personality is what we use to disguise the fact that we’re all essentially just the product of lost dreams, failed loves, and questions that will never be answered.

As I sit here right now, All About Eve is playing on the TV in front of me.  I love All About Eve and I was very much looking forward to seeing it but I’ve barely paid attention to it.

Instead, I’ve spent the entire film trying to deal with the anger that I feel towards one guy that I barely even know.  Without going into too many specifics, he basically made some comments regarding how I choose to express myself. 

Yeah, I know.  That’s pretty vague.

But why I’m angry with him isn’t really that important.  His comments were stupid and self-righteous and, sad to say, that same was probably true of my response.  (The difference between me and him is that I, at least, am capable of realizing this.)  What’s important is why one idiot could manage to piss me off so much as to ruin several hours out of my weekend.

Well, truthfully, he’s not the one who ruined those hours.  I am.  I’m the one who allowed his pointless comments to mean something to me.  Through my response, I gave him a prominence that he really doesn’t deserve.

Why did I do this?  This is a question that I’ve asked myself many times.  Why can’t I just let this stupid bullshit go?  Why do I insist on giving in to my irrational, immature impulses when I know that it’s just going to make things worse?

Because I’m angry.

I was angry before this idiot even knew I existed.  I was angry long before I ever had a twitter account.  I was angry before Facebook ever existed.  I’ve been angry my entire life.  25 years is a long time to be angry but I’ve managed to do it. 

My anger is not born out of hate.  My anger is fueled purely by pain.  Everyday is a struggle not to give into that pain and, with each passing year, I get a little bit better at fighting off that pain.  But far too often, I get hit in a moment of weakness and I give in.

I wish I didn’t.

I never feel good about it afterward.

Every day, I promise myself that I will no longer allow myself to be victimized by my own pain.

Some day, hopefully, I’ll actually be able to keep that promise.

Yesterday, I found myself trapped in a haze of ADD and it was all because it snowed.

Our Neighborhood on Friday morning (picture taken by Erin Nicole Bowman)

Since, of course, I live in Texas, my response to this was to say, “What’s snow?”  Well, apparently, it’s very white, it’s very cold, and it forces you to stay inside, watching Lifetime movies and old DVDs while posting too much information on twitter and generally trying to see how much you can annoy your older sister until she asks you if you’re interested in playing “the quiet game” for a little while.

(Incidentally, I don’t know about your older sister but mine turned out to be remarkably tolerant and I’m proud of her.)

It also keeps you from going to work and I know some people claim that’s a great thing but for me, it was really, really difficult.  In fact, if not for the fact that my boss specifically called me to tell me not to bother to come in because he wasn’t going to come in, I would have braved the ice and snow just so I could spend some quality time answering the phoner and saying, “I’m afraid he’s not going to be able to meet with you today.”  Scoff if you will but I would have happily done it and I regret not being able to do it because not going to work threw me off my routine and I spent most of yesterday in an ADD haze.

Like a lot of things, though, an ADD haze is only a bad thing in retrospect.  While it’s occurring, it’s actually kinda fun.  For instance, I spent a few hours reading three books at one time while an old Dracula film (Hammer’s Dracula A.D. 1972 to be precise) played on the TV and Siouxsie and the Banshees played on my laptop and the microwave zapped up one of those “super pretzels” that I love so much.  Now you could argue that by doing 20 things at once, I end up truly experiencing not a single one of them but, to be honest, it’s so exhilarating at the time.  It makes me love ADD.

Unfortunately, the exhilaration of ADD is always followed by the times when the entire world just seems overwhelming and all the thoughts in your mind start to you weigh down, making you feel like you’re trying to run through quicksand.

Things like going to my job, watching a movie, spending Friday night with a certain someone, blogging, spending a few hours a night on twitter, or watching some silly reality TV show — these are the things that I use to pull myself out of that quicksand.  These are the things that I look at and say, “As long as I keep these things consistent, than I can force some sort of rhyme and reason on the chaotic mess that is my mind.”

The snow, as much as I loved it, took away all of my rhyme and reason for the day.  Luckily, that afore-mentioned special someone was able to make his way to the house after he got off from his job and that helped to put me back on track.

But until he arrived, I found myself spending what seemed like an eternity watching the icicles outside of the den door get bigger and bigger and bigger.  Seriously, I was scared to even let our cat near the door for fear that this one icicle would come to life and try to attack us.  Here’s two pictures of it, courtesy of my sister Erin:

I mean, seriously — that thing was scary!

Well, today, the sun is out, the temperature is above freezing for the first time since last Monday, and the snow is slowly melting.  And I know I should probably be happy but I’m sad to see it go.  I’m a Texan and as much as it disrupted my routine, I know there’s a good chance I’ll never see this much snow again for the rest of my life.

But that’s life.

You’ve got the celebrate what you have when you’ve got it and be prepared to accept that everything goes away in the end.

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