I’m worried about where I’m gonna end up this fall. I know what I want the most is to go to Chicago, but if that if going to make things difficult economically for my family, it really doesn’t matter how much I wanna go. If CCS gives me a better deal than Columbia, hell, I’ll take it. It’s supposed to be a better school anyway, top 3 in the nation for art schools. And although Detroit is nowhere close to Chicago or any other big city, it will do the trick for now. I’ll go to grad school in New York, after I finish becoming a bad ass photographer/artist/art historian. I’ll open up galleries in NYC, take photos of super models in haute couture, do sessions for Vogue, Cosmo, Bazaar, W. And then, when I get older, teach at NYU or some other awesome university.
I really really want to do this. I feel it running in my veins.
I was really into narrative a while ago. I wrote this maybe a couple years ago, back in 08. I think it has a lot to do with that time I got dumped by my long distance boyfriend haha. Half fiction, half reality.
But I wrote it. Its def not finished but eh. I could’ve been a writer. Of novels for teenagers lol. Its really depressing at some points.
It has only been a day. Maybe not even a day, by a couple of hours. And even though I thought the pain would subside with everything else my head had to deal with throughout the day, even though I thought I cared much less than I took credit for…it stung. It stung now that I recall his words, so easily taken in by my unconscious self in front of a TV screen. Then and there, I was so easy to understand he actually needed a breath of fresh air, that we needed some time, that it was all for the best. I had even been able to say it with a smile on my face, happy that we were so compatible that even breaking up wasn’t as complicated as displayed on every soap opera I had ever watched. Screw soap operas, this was a clean break, where we both walking away smiling, wishing each other the best of luck, as we had promised to be the best of friends, as we had been before everything happened.
I could have cared less last night. Or at least I thought I did, because clearly my subconscious knew that sooner or later it would sink in. But my instinct, of course, was to block everything related to those last few afternoon hours, where my perfect relationship had been broken to pieces, and I hadn’t even bothered to try to pick them up and put them back together. I was numb. Deaf. Blind.
If you had been sitting right there, next to me, you’d have thought we were just having a movie night and a sleepover. Most of the people that know me would have made the same assumption. But the minute I called Casey and asked him to pick me up earlier than we had arranged with the excuse of extreme boredom, he already knew. Maybe not with details, but he knew. Because there was no one that knew me so well, that could notice that barely audible crack in my voice through the phone speaker but Casey. Like a big brother I had always asked for, but never got, he was there in minutes.
It had been a silent drive to Maple Creek. The only sound was made by the radio playing “Smile Like You Mean It” and the cars speeding on both sides of the road. I had no inconvenience with it, since I knew the minute I opened my mouth I would either start blabbing about some subject as unappealing as the weather, or I would scream my lungs out. So once again, I went back to my state of pseudo- wellbeing, smiling at the window and taking the music in, convinced that everything was perfectly fine, and that I had been the better person.
What a load of bull.
And so I sat last night, there, eating, as much as my body would take, and drinking twice the amount. It was lucky that exactly this day Casey’s parents weren’t home and his older sister was. And that today she seemed neither to notice nor care when we added some beer to the shopping list she had taken to Kroger with her that morning.
“Just don’t go out driving,” she mumbled, annoyed, as she put three six-packs on the table in front of us. It was mischief then, it had had nothing to do with any emotional breakdown at that time. If we had planned to drink for heartbreaks, it might have not worked out as smoothly as it did.
I kept both my mind and mouth busy with pizza, beer and TV, sitting on the floor of Casey’s basement. I even had made out a pattern to follow, and I was very careful not to break the perfect sync. A mouthful of pizza, a sip of beer. Chew, watch, swallow, repeat. I was concentrated, all throughout the four movies we watched, because I didn’t want to lose track of them either. It was just the urge to keep myself busy, my mind in particular. I didn’t want my thoughts to start wandering into places where I knew they wouldn’t come back from.
Casey turned off the TV, after “The Lord of the Rings” came to an end. I took my beer and gulped down the last of it, got to my feet and dropped back down almost instantly, feeling my balance wasn’t exactly where it should be.
“Oh, wow.” was all I could say, as I clutched to my forehead, trying to make my head stop spinning.
“I’m thinking that’s enough beer for today, Maddie,” Casey said, picking up the at least six bottles that surrounded me in my spot on the carpet. “You’ll have a hell of a hangover.”
He kept picking up stuff from all around, the bottles, the plates, and the leftover pizza on the table. When he was done, he sat down next to me and looked me in the eye.
“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked, pulling the locks of stray hair that covered my drunken face. I looked up immediately, sensing how my perfect bubble of ignorance was about to be burst.
“What are you even talking about, Case? I think we’ve both had too much to drink now. That doesn’t even make sense.”
“I’ll take that as a no, I guess.”
I tried getting on my feet once again, this time succeeding. I went into the bathroom and tried to brush my teeth without falling over the sink. When I was done, a pillow and some blankets were already laid out for me on the red leather couch. I crawled into it, feeling drowsy. My stomach was so full and I was so lightheaded that after a few minutes of lying there, thinking about it, I fell into dreamless dead sleep.
I woke to consciousness. I woke to seething, hurtful awareness. I wasn’t even sitting up when I started to cry. The tears came, to my eyes, to my cheeks, all the way to the blankets that covered me up to my face. Silent, as my tears usually were, but noisy in their own way, accompanied with sobs and the oh-very dreaded feeling of emptiness that filled me every time I cried. I lay there, my face wet, my soul slowly regaining sensitivity, from the numbness of last night, my heart now able to feel the pain I had successfully blocked with thoughts of inexistent serenity.
I felt rage now, I was angry. At myself for being so stupid as to think that I could get by without him. Angry at him, for his indifference at whether or not I really could do this by myself. ‘And just so you know, if you find someone in the future, its okay with me’ he had said. And stupid and in love as I was, I said the same thing.
I couldn’t think of how to stop it. It kept going, for an hour or so, without me being able to do anything, but sit and cry, and be miserable. I sat up in the couch and hugged my knees to my body. I rocked myself back and forth, trying to keep as quiet as I could, not wanting to wake up Casey or anybody else. I tried to quiet down, telling myself it was okay, and that I would be fine, but not really believing what I was saying at all.
I finally stopped sobbing enough to reach out to Casey’s laptop computer, sitting on the desk on the corner. I flipped it open and checked my e-mail. Maybe he did care after all, maybe he’d sent me a little note telling me he was sorry, telling me to forget all about yesterday… But I found only trash in my inbox, so I erased it all and halfheartedly proceeded to check the rest of my read mail. I dragged the cursor to the folder where I kept all his emails, the ones he used to send me when he did miss me. I resisted the temptation to open it and read, knowing that if I did I would only bring back the weeping.
I took to writing him one instead. I tried to describe how I felt, without saying “I love you”. I tried to explain with emotionless words, cold and dry, like the feeling inside me, the anger that seemed to boil and freeze at the same time, not making any sense at all. I blurted out my heart in a really complicated way, hoping he would and wouldn’t understand it, like I did myself. I took a while writing, senseless sentences, one as puzzling and twisted as the next. I read my final work carefully, not understanding a word of it myself, and clicked “send”. I closed the computer and started picking up my things.
Of course I had a hangover. I’d had a lot to drink and of course Casey was right. I made my way to the bathroom and started up the stairs, putting on my mask of I-am-perfectly-okay. He was already making breakfast in his pajamas when I entered the kitchen.
“Ugh, Case, what are you cooking? It’s making me wanna puke my brain out.”
“It’s just eggs and bacon, and you need to drink a lot of water and eat so that I can take you home.” He put a plate of eggs sunny-side-up and two strips of bacon in front of me, and sick as my stomach felt, I suddenly realized I was actually hungry.
I was done in just a couple of minutes. I rinsed the dishes, put them in the dishwasher, and went back downstairs to get my bag, while Case took a quick shower. Guys. They can be ready in about 5 minutes if they need to. I took my sweatshirt from the floor and put it on, and walked towards the bathroom to get my toothbrush.
“Are you ready?” yelled Casey from the top of the stairs.
“Coming!” I shouted back, slinging my backpack on my shoulder.
“Oh Maddie, do me a favor and shower when we get there. You stink.” He grimaced at me as he took the keys off the hanger and opened the garage door.
I scowled as I walked toward the car, and then smiled uncontrollably. The teasing made him seem even more brotherly to me. He started the engine and put on his seatbelt as I did the same. Suddenly, he turned the key back and the engine was off again.
I tuned to look at him.
“I know how much you hate it, but I need you to talk to me.”
I felt my insides turn. But I knew he was right. Even if I tried to say no, he would get it out of me, someway. Because he knew he had to, because my system could only hold so much.
“Um,” I swallowed hard. “We broke up.”
The lump in my throat formed again, and I felt my eyes flood with the tears I had successfully banned a while ago. I tried to keep going, to tell him what happened. But it was too late. The tears began falling on my lap, and Case’s arm was already around me.
“Get it all out,” he whispered as he stroked my hair, holding me tight like if he felt how I was falling apart, piece by piece. “I need you to get it all out.”
We sat in the car, my sobbing the only sound. It was a while until I finally got a hold of myself again. I gently pulled his arm off of my shoulder, holding his hand in mine. With his other hand he pulled my chin up, and he looked straight into my eyes again.
“I’m a mess, right?” I tried to smile, but it was so weak, it might have looked like a smirk.
“Oh, you just need a little maintenance, that’s all.” He smiled and turned the engine back on. “Let’s get you home, okay?”
I nodded and he started driving. When we reached my house, my parents were already gone.
“Oh wow, I’ve got some luck,” I said, “I won’t have to answer any questions about the red eyes or the smell of my breath either!” Casey started laughing as we got out of the car. I got my keys out of my bag and we went inside.
“I’m gonna grab something out of the fridge Mads, you go and do me that favor I asked you. You smell like a bum just come out of a bar.” He hung his jacket in the closet and took off his shoes, making his way into my kitchen, heading straight to the refrigerator. I didn’t linger. I ran upstairs, taking two stairs at a time and got into the bathroom. I turned the shower on and let it run while I cleaned up the smudged mascara underneath my eyes. I took off my clothes and then jumped into the steamy shower.
The water was relaxing; it even felt like I could be okay underneath the showerhead. But still I felt that emptiness. I wondered how it was even possible that I could be so empty, but yet feel like I was drowning. I was a whole big knot of sentiments, no beginning, no end. I sat down and let the water pour over my head, thinking about how it hadn’t even been a day, and already I felt ever as distant as we had never been.
It had, only been a day…
“Maddie! Maddie open the door! Mads, please, I’m begging you.”
The sound seemed distant. It was like muffled shouting inside my head, coming from somewhere, or someone I recognized but I couldn’t make out exactly who.
The water was still running but it was ice cold now, and I was hugging my knees to my body again as the water kept rising inside the tub. It took me a minute or so to remember where I was, and what I was doing there. I closed my eyes again, and brought my forehead to my knees.
“I’m naked Case, I can’t.” I said in a voice that couldn’t possibly go through a door.
“Maddie! Thank God, are you okay? I heard you crying and I came up but you wouldn’t answer me…” his voice trailed off and I suddenly realized I must have been here a really long time, for him to be that upset.
“I… I’m fine case. I’ll come out in a sec.”
I shut off the water, but I still couldn’t get myself to move any more than that. I looked around and spotted my clothes on the floor. I looked at them for a while, remembering… The tank top he had so many times said he loved, so many times removed by his hands from my skin…
“I love it on you,” he’d said, “but it looks better when I’m pulling it off you.”
And he’d smile, and take my face into his hands, and pull me close, so close that I was unable to hold myself back. And I’d be all over him, kissing his lips, his eyes, whispering nothing and everything in his ear, feeling his hands run all over my skin, his eyes looking into mine. And right then and there, we need say nothing more, for his eyes told me everything I yearned to know…
I was unbelievably hurt. And I hurt so much it was all I could feel. Not even the painfully iced water surrounding my clotheless body was strong enough to overcome it, the feel of no-more, of his distance, of his indifference. Rejection. I couldn’t even feel the warmth of my tears as they began to pour again, my face being so numb to outer stimulation.
I was so deaf to the world that I never heard when Casey managed to unlock the door and burst into the bathroom. He didn’t seem to notice anything but the bluish tone of my lips, trembling in the ice pool I had sat myself in. I looked up at him, and stared, with my sodden eyes, and then hunched back again, as I let my breath out it one, single, quiet cry. Casey pulled the towel from the hanger and picked me up from the bathtub.
“Maddie, you’re as cold as a corpse!” He pulled another towel from the bathroom rack and put it over my shaking body, something I hadn’t even noticed until my chattering teeth made more noise than my sobs.
“I need you in hot water, you’re going into hypothermia,” Casey said, his voice a little on the edge. He seemed panicked by my state. He took me to my parent’s room and turned on the hot water.
“Get in there please Maddie, I’m going insane here.”
I did as I was told, not caring what would happen next. I felt as the hot water burned my skin; I had probably been lying in the cold for about two hours. After some minutes I turned off the shower and pulled on my mother’s bathroom robe. I towel-dried my hair and went outside to meet Casey. I found him sitting on my bed in my room, his face in his hands. He looked up when he heard my footsteps on the carpet, and immediately stood up to hold me by my arms. He looked like he was going to say something, but the words were stuck in his mouth. He let me go, and I walked towards my room to get dressed.
It was sunny outside, a perfect summer day right in the middle of the end of the season. I walked outside barefoot, feeling the hot pavement on the soles of my feet. And as hot as it was, I was still numb.