Thursday, December 30, 2010
Miranda is in her early twenties, newly married to an abusive husband. This is an excerpt from a short story I wrote called, Love is a Battlefield.
“Don’t be disgusting,” Patrick said, pinching the cigarette I’d just lit between his two fingers and taking it from me, pressing it out in the ashtray I was holding. Patrick hated cigarette smoke.
“I was just... I mean...” Shutting up because he wouldn’t hear me anyway... I watched him do a bong hit. The insides of the bong were brown with accumulated resin, and as Pat sucked, the water bubbled thickly, making me think of sucking up phlegm. The image, the sound, made my already pained and empty stomach clench.
Why couldn’t I smoke in the living room just this once? All I wanted was to relax after unpacking for two days. My fingers stung with tiny paper cuts from boxes on boxes and my thighs and back screaming from bending and lifting and straightening and... Closing my eyes for a moment, I tried to breathe, not to freak out. This was our first week in San Francisco. We’d just spent six long days in a truck together. We were trying to start fresh, renew our relationship, make it all okay again. It had so been falling apart, what happened? I remembered loving Patrick so much in college, going into his closet when he’d left for class and pulling his favorite sweater around my face, breathing him in. I remembered brushing my teeth after having a cigarette so he wouldn’t have to smell it on me. I remembered the first time I said, “I think I love you,” and he said, “Me too,” before passing out on my lap.
I remembered holding my breath and not crying while he screwed me against a wall in a deserted corner outside of the Cloisters in New York, because he said he loved me and if I loved him I’d do it even though I didn’t want to and I was so ashamed because anyone could’ve come by and anyway I really didn’t want to.
We were married now. Three days already. Pat had wanted to stop in Reno and play blackjack. I got drunk. He hugged me close and said, “Let’s go, let’s do it babe,” and off we went to Cupid’s Chapel of Love. Ninety-five dollar wedding. My eyes bleary, no makeup, hair gnarled and roots showing through the bleached blond, wearing a fatigue tee shirt with black sequined neckline and longish gauzy skirt Patrick hated, called fugly. Now it was on our wall for anyone to see, forever, fugly me, our wedding picture, with Patrick next to me grinning and light reflecting off his big forehead, receding hairline at twenty-three.
The wedding picture was one of only three things hanging in our new apartment, new city, new life so far -- there was also the dartboard, and another wedding picture, Patrick’s little treasure, which I hadn’t remembered him taking. The one where I was naked, positioned spread-eagled on the hotel bed, eyes hooded, mostly shut, hardly conscious... our honeymoon. Had he fucked me, or only taken a picture to hang over our new bed in our new home, new life?
“I need a cigarette. I’ll be in my studio,” I said, opening my eyes, trying not to feel the constriction in my chest or the throbbing behind my eyes or the edginess of my heart beating a little too fast, and fear creeping behind me like a shadow of a tiger falling over me and the faint sound of toothy breath so near all the time, it seemed, waiting to pounce. I kept my eyes straight forward, afraid to look behind me.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Stephanie is a young writer-to-be with a domineering mother and a hurting heart.
I feel … ick. Icky. Blah. Motionless. Immobile.
Because of Christmas coming up?
Because I’m done shopping, and now it’s just a waiting time, and I hate to wait?
Because I want – no, I expect – to write everyday, and today I just don’t want to
Don’t want to don’t want to don’t want to
Maybe by feeling this way, I’ll learn something about myself, or about other people,Maybe I’ll grow in my understanding of why my mother comes home and yells because my sneakers are not lined up by the door, one is askew and the other is touching the wall and sneakers are supposed to be lined up with their toes one inch from the wall and why don’t I do anything right?
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Cassie is my youngest outsider girl, just seven and three-quarters years old. She is to be the main character in a picture book I’m working on called, “I Like Her That Way”
Cassie: Sometimes Mommy is very busy writing all day, and she doesn’t have time to get dressed, she just stays in her sweats all day, dressing it up with a sequined scarf when she comes to pick me up from school. She hasn’t even bothered to twist her dreads, she just has them pushed back with a headband, and they’re all sticking out this way and that way, and I like her that way.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Eva is thirteen, stuck between being a little girl and a teenager. It feels like her mother doesn’t care about her anymore…
Eva: “You’re the worst mother ever!” I shout, basically throwing myself up the stairs – I hit the wall with my body, bounce off, fling myself up another step, crash, thrump stomp stomp.
I want to throw my laptop against the wall, just to show her, but I can’t even throw it on the bed. Aaagh! I can’t believe she made me take my homework upstairs just because precious little John, her precious baby who’s not even a baby anymore, just because he’s using the computer downstairs, and my laptop lost its charge and now I’m putting it gently on my desk and plugging it in because even though I want to show my mother how little she means to me, I need my laptop.
After it’s plugged in, I throw myself across the bed. I stop crying, because she hasn’t come up the stairs after me, and she won’t hear me. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t care about me anymore.
Before she had John, shit, even earlier this week…
I remember, sometimes she’d scream at me if I screamed at her. I remember how much that scared me.
But this time she just calmly told me to go to my room now, and she didn’t yell, and she didn’t come after me. It’s been like ten minutes, and she’s just downstairs watching TV with Daddy or playing a game on the computer with John, and she just left me up here.
I start doing my homework, but not on the floor, like she said, or my bed, where I could be comfortable, but standing up next to my desk. My chair is covered with clothes I haven’t put away when she told me to.
She used to put my clothes away for me.
She used to read me three stories a night.
She used to cry how sorry she was if I had a tantrum.
Now it’s like I don’t exist, it’s like…
“Eva!” she shouts up the stairs.
“What?” I say, and I don’t even sound mad, like, “what!”, instead, I sound relieved.
“When you’re done with your homework, come down, I want to read the Nutcracker to you and John.”
She always does this, she always tries to make me part of the family. It’s like she doesn’t even acknowledge that I’m mad at her, and plus I’m thirteen and not a kid anymore…
“I’ll be right down!” I say, and hurry up to finish my math homework.I’m not saying she’s right. But I feel a lot better, and I can’t wait to snuggle up next to her and anyway, she needs me to cuddle with her because she’s always cold, and she’s says I’m her heater, and I can go back to being mad later.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Karen, 19, remembers when she was twelve, and she and best friend Rose weren’t really trying to hurt themselves… right? Karen isn’t so sure about Rose’s intentions, even back then.
Karen: When we were twelve, Rose and I decided to become blood sisters. Okay, it was Rose’s idea, and Rose’s razor blade, but I was willing. I was usually willing to do what Rose wanted, at least back then, before we grew up, and things changed -- our needs changed, our desires intensified and morphed, and well… things were different then, they just were.
We – or I, anyway -- had no idea the damage a new razor blade could do. One swipe didn’t only elicit the few drops of blood we needed for our ceremony -- it opened a deep gash in my wrist, that flowed a red river and wouldn’t be stopped even when I clamped my hand over it.
Of course, Rose wouldn’t let me bleed-out alone, and anyway the ritual was already begun, so she slashed her wrist as well, and we pressed the wide wounds -- gaping like mouths -- together, said a quick, “Sisters forever, ‘til death do us part,” and then ran home to my house before we bled out for real.
My mother screamed when she saw us. She dropped the roasting pan, and chicken fat that would’ve become gravy splattered the walls and floor and then all of us screamed, from the hot fat speckling our faces and arms. I remember thinking, as my mother wrapped our wrists in towels and made us apply pressure -- thinking not that Rose and I were idiots for what we did, but rather that my mother was a crazy witch who should stop screaming at us, and my father wouldn’t have freaked out like that, but he was sure going to go nuts with worry when he came home and saw all the blood and chicken on the kitchen floor, and no one home.
“We should wait for Dad,” I said.
“Get in the car fools,” was all she said to that. “You idiotic... what were you thinking? Get in the car! Was this one of those suicide pacts I’ve heard about? What did I do to deserve this? Get in the car now!”
Soon, we were speeding down New Haven Avenue at about five times the speed limit. My mother continued, “Haven’t I loved you enough?” Then she was on her cell, trying to reach Rose’s mother, but we could’ve told her it was no use. It was four o’clock, and Mrs. Ramos would be at Last Stop Bar by now, on her third Bay Breeze, chatting it up with some fat guy or fireman or carpenter or out-of-work Karate instructor or divorced biker or someone... it didn’t really matter, so long as they bought her drinks and later took her home for a quickie, or sometimes even longer -- sometimes they stayed for a week or a month -- and generally they didn’t bother Rose, but anyway...
It was a big deal, our becoming blood sisters. We got stitches but no lollipops, and had to talk to three different social workers. No one got what we were trying to do, or that we didn’t mean to hurt ourselves.
At least I didn’t. As time went on, I wondered about Rose. I wondered how much she was willing to do to try and get her mother’s attention.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
New Outsider Girl, Sonny, is only thirteen. She’s beginning to get her teenaged personality, is beginning to get annoyed with her mother’s interference in her life, but… in some ways, she’s still a kid, and wants her mother to continue to take charge.
Sunny: My mother makes schedules:
Tells me “it’s 7:45, time to get dressed.” (seriously!), “it’s 5:00, time for homework”, “it’s 5:45, time to put on your karate uniform”, “it’s 6:15, time for dinner,” and worst of all, “It’s 10:00, time for bed,” like I can’t tell when I’m tired! She says if I don’t go to bed by ten I’ll be a bitch in the morning and she has to work and she doesn’t have time to deal with that so “Lights out now Molly!”
My mother hates messes:
Comes into my room to watch iCarly with me, looks around and grimaces and I have to say, “Why do you always do this, you always say you’re coming in to hang out with me and then you look around and think about how messy I am!” She says, “I didn’t say anything,” which to be fair, is true, but I know what she’s thinking.
My mother hates messes and makes schedules and it drives me crazy, but sometimes, it’s not so bad. Sometimes I’m so glad she does these things for me:
After Justin Hollister whispered in my ear, “Could you find out if Hannah likes me,” when I liked him, my mother stepped over mismatched shoes and scraps of fashion, around a giant stuffed dog, and squished between books and clothes and dolls to get to me, bawling on my bed, to hold me tight, and it was like she was never going to let go, and she cried with me, and she said, “What a mess we are. It’ll be okay,” until it was.
My mother has probably scheduled when it’ll be time for me to grow up, but she’s not in a hurry for that. Sometimes I think, I’m not either.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Allison has both weight and self-esteem issues. She takes most of her self-image from what others think of her, especially boys. Here, she tries to make herself into a doll. Allison first appeared in OGW 4/8/10.
Allison: I was going through this box of my things from like around fifth grade, and I found this doll with blond hair like mine only better of course because it’s smooth and straight and goes down to the doll’s butt. I’ve been growing my hair out for a year, and my hair only just goes past my shoulders, plus it’s ragged and all different lengths from when I stupidly had it cut short and “sassy” – that was the word I used, and…
Where was I?
Oh yeah, the doll. So, I uncover this doll and I realize that I have a black shirt with a pink skull on it just like the doll is wearing, and I have pink sneakers and the perfect pink and black plaid skort that’s in my “thin clothes” drawer, but maybe I can fit in it.
Maybe I can be just like this doll. I want to be like a doll. I want her smile.
The shorts part of the skort squeezes my thighs, but with black leggings underneath, it’s not so bad.
The doll is flat in front. My skull shirt is baggy and hides my humungous alien breasts pretty well, and my tummy too, kinda. I can be a doll.
With a Sharpie marker, I put pink streaks in my hair like the doll has. I know, I know, Sharpies are permanent ink… I know my Mom is going to tell me this, if she notices at all.
I am going to tell everyone at school that they made a doll after me. I am going to tell Trevor and he’s going to say “Of course they’d do that, because you’re a doll, Allison!”And then I’ll smile, secure like my doll.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Lola is another Fant, like Aleia (OGW 10/14) and Gemma (OGW 9/24/09, 10/29/09, 2/4/10, 5/27, 7/29, 9/16). Lola – half-mermaid -- was thrown back to sea by her parents and almost drowned before she came to live with her Fant family. Maybe this is why she is the angriest, most distrusting and solitary of the Fants.
Lola: “There’s nobody ho-ome, nobody home,” I sing with my earbuds stuffed deep.
It’s hard to dance in the little bedroom of our one-bedroom, four bed apartment, but I’ve moved the space heater to rest on the bottom bunk, Aleia’s bed. Probably going to go up in flames, but I don’t care.
That’s what everyone thinks, that I don’t care.
Well, maybe I don’t. Not right now! I think as I front-kick across the nine foot width of the room, listening to Avril Levigne sing, “She’s lost inside/Lost inside…”
I’m pent-up energy, a snake hissing inside, coiling and uncoiling, rattling. I am myself, scales on my legs, green face, shark teeth – the whole Fant package, half mermaid, half really really pissed off girl.
I don’t even know what I’m angry at. A lot of times, I don’t even know.
I just know that this morning Luke said something about Gemma being in trouble, and it’s not that I’m jealous – what do I have to be jealous of – but suddenly I was clacking my sharp teeth together like I was going to bite someone’s head off.
I could do it, too. That’s the scary part. These guys are my family, but I could seriously bite one of them sometimes. That’s why, when they went out to gather supplies for a rescue of their precious new fairy friend, I laced up my punky boots, put on a black dress with zippers and studs I got on St. Mark’s Place last week, and scrolled down to Avril on my iPod.Well, our iPod. Me, Aleia, Ian, Luke, we share everything. Nothing’s mine. No. Thing.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Aleia is a “Fant” (short for “Fantasy Creature”, also, child of a parent who was addicted to magic). Her mother smoked Sylph, the most dangerous of the magical drugs, and as a result, when Aleia tries to feel any kind of emotion, she turns to air. Aleia is a new friend of Gemma’s, the Fairy-girl in OGW 9/24/09, 10/29/09, 2/4/10, 5/27, 7/29, 9/16. Both girls appear in the novel I’m working on, Wings.
Aleia: Sometimes I think the worst thing about being part-Sylph is not being able to feel my heart beat. Or break.
After Gemma leaves to find out more about her mother, for a moment I feel something, something like a soreness inside, something like a green stick bending bending bending until –
The image blows away, and so do I.
See, the thing with us Fants is that our emotions bring out the elements of our deformities. I’m the most deformed of all. I don’t get to just sport a fancy glowing horn-nub like Luke, or have long, luxurious hair like Lola. Sure she has scales, but only on her legs, and she can cover them if she wants.
Me, I turn to smoke. Wind, if I’m really upset. Polluted wind, that’s what it feels like when my heart breaks.
Gemma wants to find her mother, who smoked Fairy Dust. Big deal, right? Not to me. My mother smoked Sylph, smoked the actual spirit of the air, made the spirits disappear and made herself disappear finally, like she always wanted.
Floating near the ceiling, not joining in the conversation with my friends as they discuss Gemma and whether they can trust her and where she came from and all that stuff that I don’t want to hear because it’s what made that beding greenstick feeling happen and then made me change from little girl to air…
Anyway, I am what I am.
My mother never could be. She was so tiny, with fingers like slender bird bones that floated over the piano keys. I liked to lie under the grand piano we had and the instrument was my sky, and I could put my hands up and touch it, feel the sky, feel it vibrate. Feel my mother’s heart, in her music.
Hear her voice, like sparkling drops of rain or sharp jewels… flowing like a stream or racing like a river… everything, everywhere. Mine.
But her music was all she had, all she thought she had. Forget my father or me -- she did. Forget that she made her first album when she was nineteen and she went on tour and she had fans and everyone said she was the next big thing.
She wasn’t, and so after a while, she forgot. She forgot everything, except how to play and sing and cry. Eventually, to smoke. Smoke Sylph until she disappeared into the breeze, and it was just the way she wanted it, I think, to be the air moving the chimes outside the window, but not to be in the real world of solid things like broken dreams and hearts.The ache in me makes me swell, like a dark cloud. But I cannot rain. I cannot feel what I want to feel, like everyone else. I can only sink into a shadow in the corner, and imagine that my heart is broken because I will never have a mother again.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
(add your comments) to Maree’s rant about what to do when you’re really mad…
What to do when someone yells at you and you didn’t do anything!….
“key” your leg so no one sees
punch yourself in the stomach
get drunk smoke dope forget
eat a bowl of Phish food with whipped cream
eat another bowl of Phish food with whipped cream
yell really loud in your car
tear a notebook in half
run around the block
run up and down the stairs over and over
count to one thousand
look at your hurt face in the mirror
swear a blue streak, whatever that means
go to your room and chain-smoke
get some fresh air
dig your toes in dirt
take a nap
cry cower runaway
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Nancy: Original Outsider Girl writer, Nancy (Crosses, 1991, 2001). Mother of Casey (OGW), confidante of Rain and Kayla (Somebody’s Daughter, OGW)
By Nancy Keenan
Grab handful of necklaces:
Silver moon goddess
Turquoise healing beads
Beaded Indian Mama
Clay wolf Casey made
Clay wolf Casey made
Scribbled of phone #’s
Pile into used Priority
Mail shipping box:
Each Day a New Beginning
Wood Nymph Seeks Centaur
My Many Colored Days
Twelve filled notebooks
Hubble: Views of Space
Big Mama Panda
Little Panda Bear
It all to my car.
Don’t cry sweet girl,
We’re going to be okay.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Corrina measures her life against popular girl, Sasha’s life. In reality, both girls have been hurt badly, but Corrina can’t see past her own pain.
Corrina: Sasha is popular. Sasha grew breasts in sixth grade. Sasha is thin. I don’t think she is pretty, but everyone loves Sasha. She’s all nice, she’s all weepy and broken. I hat the way she gets everyone’s attention by telling them the private details of her life. I’ve heard her father’s mean. He hits her mother. Maybe he hurts Sasha.
Sasha is a virgin, and everyone knows it. My friends and I make fun of her for it.
One time, after Math class, I wanted to talk to the teacher, Mr. Mitchem, because my sister was in the hospital again and my mother got drunk and was in jail, and I didn’t have time to do my homework and I wanted an extension instead of a zero… but Sasha got to him first. She was crying. Mr. Mitchem told me to leave the room.
Sasha and I were in the bathroom once together. I was mad because I went in there to throw up, and with her there, I couldn’t. I had to stare at my split ends, ugly brown frizzy split ends without style hair. Ugly blue eyes that didn’t sparkle like Sasha’s, and couldn’t call up tears at a moment’s notice like Sasha’s eyes could. I was tough. She was a weak, sniveling, spoiled…
Sasha: Sometimes I hold my stomach in all day. You’re lucky, you’re so thin.
Me: My mother says my butt is too big. It’s huge. How do you—
Sasha: I’d trade my breasts for your butt any day. I have no butt at all.
It was true, she had a flat butt, but still, everyone said she was so pretty. No one said that about me.
Sasha went back to the auditorium for rehearsal. She had a lead in Fiddler on the Roof. All I ever wanted to be was a singer and an actor, but when I tried out, they told me I looked too young (i.e., flat-chested!), and I could be in the chorus or work backstage doing sets.
I ended up working backstage because a lot of girls back there thought Sasha was a prima donna and they didn’t want to listen to her cry about her flat butt and big breasts.
Woe is her. Maybe her Daddy does more than hit her Mom. Maybe I don’t care.
I heard the drama coach saying to the head set designer how poor Sasha had so many problems. When I heard that, my eyes stung, because Mr. Opal was not only the drama coach, but was also my favorite teacher and the only person I would ever consider talking to about my problems. But like everyone else, he only cared about Sasha, apparently. I turned and walked away, and Mr. Opal didn’t even notice I was standing there. I went to the bathroom – alone this time – and put my finger way down the back of my throat and threw up and threw up and threw up. Fuck Sasha. Could Sasha do this? Someday someone would notice, and then they’d forget about Sasha’s problems and they’d talk about how sad I am. Someday.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Gemma is the adolescent girl with wings, a birth defect caused by her mother smoking Fairy Dust. Gemma is in New York City, searching for her mother, who ran away when Gemma was six. Earlier posts from Gemma appeared in OGW 9/24/09, 10/29/09, 2/4/10, and 7/29/10. In this, longer, post, Gemma finishes her visit with the Hag, who divinates where Gemma can find her mother.
Gemmma: “Spirit of Fire, burn away the masks which may hide Gemma’s mother from her --”
I close my eyes. I barely breathe. This is so stupid, and yet I want to believe. I want to believe this is a spell that will conjure my mother. I want to believe that tomorrow midnight -- the dawn of spring -- the Hag will turn into a beautiful maiden, and she will have fulfilled her destiny and magic will be real and my mother will appear in this circle next to me any second now, any second now I’ll smell her rosemary shampoo and feel her hand rest on mine and I’ll stop shivering and --
“Spirit of Water, wash away the obstacles that stand between Gemma and Maya--”
I smell incense, not my mother. Incense and rosewater and the slight stink of diaper, a smell I remember from when Jacob, my Jacob, was a baby.
Great, just great, the most magical witch in the city wears Depends. Opening my eyes a crack, I see her bare feet right next to me. They are smooth and milk-white, not the hairy, bunioned things I expected. But instead of seeing the magic in that, I want to scream, You’re not a witch! I but I don’t, I just sniffle again as I start to cry, thinking, It’s hopeless. This old woman will never find --
“Spirit of Earth, ground us... ground us...”
Ground us in reality, woman! Like, get a grip, I think, mustering up some anger out of my fear and heartache and starting to stand up again. With surprising strength, the old lady pushes me back down.
“Ground us in reality,” she says, which freaks me the hell out, I mean does everyone here read minds? Again, I try to stand, and again she pushes me down. “You must not break the circle,” she says, and then she totters away to the cabinet over the sink. I’m watching her as she stands on her toes and reaches in, pulls down a box -- not a shoe box but maybe a boot box -- and brings it back to the circle. She puts the it in the circle with me.
All of this has been as if I’m not here looking at her. Frustration is welling up inside of me like a tornado gathering momentum and sucking everything in. I’m shaking, I’m so mad. Where is my mother, that’s all I came here to find out! I don’t have time for hocus pocus bullcrap.
“What the --”
Before I can even get going on my rant, the old, haggy, witching woman gasps! She claps her hands to her cheeks, and her mouth is a ridiculous “O”. Putting her hands on the box, she says, “Look what the spirits have brought!” She pushes the box toward me until it touches my legs.
FUCKING WACK JOB WITCH, WHERE THE FUCK IS MY MOTHER! I scream in my head.
The bitch witch opens the box slowly.
Oh my Goddess. Oh my Goddess! I dive into the box with my hands, grabbing letters addressed with my mother’s handwriting -- oh God, I remember now how she used to dot her “i’s” with little hearts... Envelopes marked “Return to Sender”, envelopes addressed to me! Fifty letters, easy, plus drawings, a little watercolor of me, a silver ring with a dragon etched into it that says “Luis”. That’s my Celtic zodiac sign. I put the ring on, and my finger feels warm, and then the warmth rushes up my arm and to my heart. Other trinkets that clatter and tinkle as I scrape my fingers through the box, feeling my mother, physically feeling her presence.
I’m crying so hard, I can hardly see. I’m happy to have the box, but I’m going to rip the old woman’s head off for not just giving it to me. I want to boil her in oil. I want to shake her until she breaks into pieces and leave her on her weird kitchen floor in her weird, fake circle, a puddle of baby blue satin and tulle.
“You! You! You, you -- you had this all this time and you made me sit here and wait and you saw, you saw how upset I was, and you, you pretended to do magic, but I saw you! I saw you turn on the stove to make it warm! I saw you get my mother’s things out of the cabinet! You’re just, you are -- you are a LIAR! I HATE YOU!”
I drop handfuls of my mother’s letters back into the box, try to put the top on but am shaking so badly, I can’t even do that simple task, and I feel like such a loser and a chump. Finally, I get the top on and clutch the box to my body -- protecting it, loving it, holding on to it for dear life. I scramble to my feet and run to the door in a totally ridiculous way because I am still wearing my tight leather skirt and I can’t move my legs that well, plus my foot has fallen asleep --
“Fuck a duck!” I say, withholding a scream as I struggle with the chains and bolts holding me in. I can’t get out, I can’t get out, help me help me “MoFo!” I cry out. I can’t breathe.
The old woman puts her arm over my shoulder. I feel something like an electric shock, and for an instant I think I’ve been tasered! Either because of the taser or because I’m panicking, I can’t move! I call out with my mind for my Fant friends, “Help me!”
Suddenly, the shock fades, and like before, when Aleia touched my chest, I feel calm. I watch while a hand unfastens the door and opens it for me.
“Go in peace, Believe in peace, Create peace,” I hear, but it’s not the old woman’s gruff, warbling voice -- it’s a soft, warm, feminine voice that feels on my ears like a swallow of warm milk would feel.
As I leave, I turn to look, and instead of seeing the old woman, I see a beautiful maiden. She smiles. “Spring is early this year,” she says just as Ian comes barreling up the stairs.
“No!” I say to him, but it’s too late.
He’s yanked a pole out of the bannister, and is brandishing it like a sword, aiming for the hag/maiden’s throat.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Ramona is bulimic, and her therapist wants her to start each day with a positive affirmation, but it doesn’t work out that way.
Ramona: I stare at myself in the mirror. Actually, it’s more of a glare. I’m supposed to look into my eyes and tell myself, “I’m pretty enough, I’m thin enough, I’m good enough, I am enough!”
Instead, I say, “I’m fat. I’m ugly. No one will ever love me!”
I mean, fuck therapy. Anyway, it’s true. I see myself in the mirror, and I am fat, I am ugly. I’m not enough for anyone to love me.
My reflection stares hard back at me. I’m so crazy, I’m having a staring contest with myself, seeing who will blink first, LOL.
Blink. Blink, blink. My eyelids start moving fast, as if they’re holding back tears, only they’re not because I would never cry in front of anyone, even myself in the mirror. I try never to cry at all, because what’s the point? No one cares.
“No one cares about me. Mom would rather sit at her laptop writing than hear me talk. What I say isn’t important.”
I sigh. Theresa, my therapist, would say that I’m holding on to a resentment against my Mom, but I’m like, for what? For ignoring me? I have a right to be angry. I want to be angry.
It’s not just that my Mom doesn’t have time to read the poem I wrote her, like happened last night.
It’s that I remember, the last time I cried, she said, “Ramona, I can’t understand you when you’re crying! Go to your room until you can be calm enough to talk to me coherently.”
Well, I went to my room, and I wrote in my journal, wrote how much I hate him, I hate my stepfather, Cody --
I hate him hate him hate him hate him hate him
Then I scribbled in my sketchpad, a picture of how I was feeling, black lines without direction, over and over, a black hole of graphite expanding and then PWOOF, it dragged me in, and I did stop crying. I got all calm. I went downstairs, and I said, “Mom, can we talk now?” and I was gonna tell her the truth about Cody, and she was gonna take me into her arms like she used to when I fell on my rollerskates and my knee was bleeding, or that time I took the wrong bus after school and got lost and was all the way in New Haven and –
“Sweetie, I’m trying to make dinner now. This isn’t a good time.”
“Mom! It has to be now!”
“Cody will be home soon and you have homework, and I have to get this chicken in a pan.” My mother squinted at an open copy of The Joy of Cooking. She glanced at me. She sighed. “Please, Ramona, I’m busy.”
“Ramona! I said not now!”
Now, looking into the mirror, I say, “I’m thin enough for Cody. I’m pretty enough for Cody.”
But he’s ruined me for anyone else.Even for myself.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Cherish, teen mother and Outsider Girl, tries to find some time for herself and discovers it’s “not about me”. Cherish also appeared in OGW April 1, 2010 and May 20.
Cherish: Seven am, before the boy is awake. He got me up at four, then he went back to sleep. I tossed and turned, got up, made the coffee for my mother and me, sat down at my computer.
Free time. Writing time.
Only there’s an email from the Disney store about a sale on hoodies, and next thing I know I’m browsing their site for about an hour, and I’ve put like sixty dollars on my PayPal account and I’ve bought the boy stuff like a white tee shirt with Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas on it which I figure he can get away with wearing to school ‘cause the uniform is a white shirt.
I want him to stand out. I want him noticed.
That’s how it is now – screw me getting noticed, nobody ever noticed me for the good things anyway. And now I don’t have to worry about me anymore, it’s all about him.
I haven’t written one word. I have like six pages of a children’s book, one I’m writing for him, my sweet little boy.
When will it be for me again?
Was it ever?
But guess what -- I have a beautiful boy going into kindergarten this year, so who the fuck am I to complain?
Only, I can’t help it. I want a boyfriend, friends, a new hoodie for me, a full night sleep going to bed before one and up after nine and then a day to write and draw like I used to but—
He’s awake now, tugging on me leg, smiling in my face. Then he sneezes, and the dripping boogers make him cry so I have to go now, have to clean his face. Story over.
For today, it’s not about me—
It’s Not About Me.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Stacy would like not to be an outsider girl, but because of her OG best friend Melanie, Stacy has been dragged in(see OGW, 12/3/09, 1/4/10). Right now, she’s trying to write a letter to Melanie, who has finally been sent, against her will, to rehab.
Stacy: “Whuh-ut!” I roll my eyes as I shut the lid on my laptop. I feel like growling, so I do. “Grrrr,” but my little sister doesn’t hear that, or she doesn’t care, more likely. She knocks on my bedroom door again, and can’t see when my fingers curl into manicured claws that I want to use to scratch someone’s eyes out – hers, Melanie’s, my own, I don’t care. Fucking Melanie. Fucking Heather. Fuck me.
My sister knocks again, boldly, unashamedly, without fear – which makes me even madder. Now my claws dig into my palms, making half-moon circles as my hands become fists.
“I said, what!” I say.
At this, my sister Heather, six years old and oblivious, walks into my room. It won’t do me any good to yell at her now, she’s already here. I sigh, a sigh-growl – huuuh (yoga breath in), huuurrgh (and out).
“Whatcha’ writing? Is it a poem? Is it about me? Want me to write you a poem?”
I was writing a letter. I don’t want to – oh fuck it, let her see it! I open my laptop, which whirrs to life, and my letter to Melanie appears –
I am hurt that you would ask me to
“I can even write a song!” Heather continues. “Here it goes, ‘My sister Stacy is a witch,/ My sister Stacy has eyes that twitch,/ Stacy, oh Stacy, is so mean,/ She always makes me feel inbetween—“
“That doesn’t even make sense, you little freak!” I grab Heather around her little kid belly and pull up her tee shirt, saying, “I’ve got skin! I’ve got skin!” Squiggling my fingers on her belly, which is her biggest tickle spot, I crack her up.
“NO!” (gasp gasp giggle), “I’M NOT DONE!” (gasp, giggle giggle choke, giggle). She squirms away. She gets to my bed, climbs up on top and throws her arms to the side, not just singing, but bellowing, “My sister Stacy grabs my skin,/ Makes me laugh, ain’t that a sin,/ She’s all mad that I can sing,/ And she can’t and her friend Melanie went to rehab,/ Which doesn’t rhyme/ Ain’t it a crime –“
Heather jumps back as I leap from my chair to the bed. I grab her by the sneaker and pull her toward me. She’s giggling, and starts singing that Amy Winehouse song which it’s just crazy for a six year old to know and it makes me want to cry, only I laugh as I pull her all the way to me and she’s singing in a fake low voice, “They try to make me go to rehab and I say—“
“And I say/ No! No! No!” We sing together, and then I tickle Heather on the belly again, and she gets me in my tickle spot under the chin, and we crack up and the computer goes back to sleep before I could write to Melanie that I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to sneak her some blotter acid in rehab because then she’ll never come home.
“Do you wanna play with me now?” Heather says.
“We are playing,” I say, tickling her tummy again and then we’re laughing so hard, we fall off the bed.My mother’s all, “Cut that crap out, I’m trying to watch my show!” from downstairs, which is bullcrap anyway, she’s probably on the computer googling herself as usual and doing lines no doubt and Heather and I don’t stop, we just roll around and tickle and laugh, and I never do get to finish that letter or even smoke the joint in my desk drawer like I was gonna.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Eva: New outsider girl Eva walks with a limp, has a lazy eye, has an unfortunate haircut… well, read on and you’ll see.
I had a dream
I met my twin.
We wore the same earrings:
We met in my doctor’s office.
“Take a book, leave a book”
Says a sign on a basket.
There is a water cooler
At one end of the room
A mirror you walk by
To get to it
That I never look in.
I hate my doctor’s office.
Soon I will have to undress,
And I worry what she will think.
I smiled at my twin, shy.
“Your hair looks like mine,”
She said with a sneer.
I noticed her hair was some
Shade of brown-blonde,
My shade of brown-blonde,
Attempting to be a cute bob.
“Your breasts are kinda small,
I noticed,” I said, as I
I got a small, paper cone
Of water, limped with it
Back to my seat,
“You walk funny,”
Said my twin.
“You talk funny,”
I said, feeling meaner,
“Your nose is bent,”
“Your forehead is too high”
“Your zits are gross,”
“You have a lazy eye.”
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Gemma is the adolescent girl with wings, a birth defect caused by her mother smoking Fairy Dust. Gemma is in New York City, searching for her mother, who ran away when Gemma was six. Earlier posts from Gemma appeared in OGW 9/24/09, 10/29/09, and 2/4/10
Gemma: “Very interesting,” says the woman, peering into my teacup. “It says here that you must watch out for the hooved poet.”
“Aren’t you supposed to read the tea leaves?” I say in a tiny voice, not strong enough to argue, but anxious enough to be a little bitchy about some supposed prophecy coming out of the Lipton tea bag floating in my cup, especially a prophecy that doesn’t tell me shit about where my mother is. Plus I’m a little p.o’ed at the implication that I have to watch out for a hooved poet, not just any poet -- it seems like racism, or Fant-ism or something, and I take it personally.
I feel fragile, and everything seems personal, instead of just maybe this is a crazy old lady who wants some company and wants to give me some tea, and is trying her best. I’m the one who just wants to cry. I’m the one with the bad attitude.
Which is why I let the woman take my hand, and I follow her into a small kitchen with a slanted ceiling on one side, a scarred brown card table with rickety metal poles for legs, a half-sized refrigerator and a teapot shaped like an owl’s head on the stove. It smells like onions.
I feel so weak, I can’t even bear to help the woman as she pushes the card table into a corner. I can’t bear to stand up.
As if she read my mind, the old woman says, “Sit,” gesturing with a wrinkled, twisted hand, down at the floor, a floor made of a strange assortment of tiles -- patterns, solids, faux stone of gray, brown and red, a row of glossy black granite and a half row of pinkish marble, a large square made of smaller squares of purple and yellow, a circle of blue glass. She wants me to sit inside the circle. I don’t think so.
Goosebumps rise on my arms. I shiver.
“You’re cold, just a sec,” she says, stepping into the circle herself. She spins around, tottering, and I recover enough strength to reach out to steady her, getting a fistful of baby blue tulle which then suddenly I’m afraid will tear, so I let go, and she really sways for a moment, but catches herself.
She smiles at me and winks, then closes her eyes, which I wish she wouldn’t do because she’s going to break a hip or something, especially spinning in the long prom dress she’s wearing. “Spirit of fire, I command you, bring us warmth!”
It doesn’t feel warmer, but I can’t tell her that, and now that she’s gone to all this trouble, I can’t tell her I wasn’t cold anyway. My goosebumps are anticipation or fear, but --
WTF? She is opening the oven door and turning up the gas. A whoosh fills the oven with a flash of blue flame, and then heat does ripple out.
“So mote it be!” she yells, which is a strain for her little old lady voice, and for a moment she turns away, bent over with a dry cough that I’m almost afraid won’t stop. Like I don’t have enough problems, now I’m afraid for this poor old lady who’s supposed to be helping me. Yet I’m the one gently patting her back. I can’t believe this crazy lady is my best hope of finding my mother again. I shudder.