She wanted to rent an apartment in Venice beach, California and walk around in an oversized white button up shirt and her underwear, just like in the movies. She wanted to scrunch her hair up in a messy bun with a chewed pencil poked through the middle, pour wine into a coffee cup pretending it was coffee and stand in the morning light as it peaked through her window. She ached to feel guilt free as she took her time in the shower only to get back into her oversized shirt that still smelled of her husband’s cologne. She wanted to procrastinate about writing while she strolled the Venice boardwalk gaining inspiration from the buskers, bums and tourists.
She wanted to stand on a soap box and declare that she was not built to be great and that she no longer had any expectations or dreams to be the best at anything; She just wanted to live and see where that took her.
She stared at the in-trays piled with paperwork that needed to be filed, fourteen in-trays. It was not the work itself that bothered her, it was the type of work, the meaning behind the act. She considered filing to be the lowest form of work, for her. Anybody can file she thought. Anybody can shuffle pieces of paper together, punch a hole in them and put them in a file. Is this where all her hard work in previous positions had got her? Is this the only worthwhile skill she had managed to maintain in her thirteen years of employment? Is this what her future was? The brief moments in her life when she thought she was somebody flashed through her mind quicker than she would have liked. Nonetheless deep down, maybe not deep enough, rang true the words she had always felt;
I am not somebody. I am just anybody.
There is a line. There is always a line. A line to follow, line to walk along, line to stand behind and line to cross or not to cross. There’s the white lines, the picket lines, the fine lines.
Sometimes I think the line chases me. Either I crossed the line some time ago and it has yet to catch up, or maybe I’ve been in front of the line all along. I jump between conclusions depending on the look on their faces. Majority of the time the looks tell me I have crossed the line for sure. Whether it was long ago or at that particular moment, I never can tell.
The line is an illusion. I can draw the line myself with my very own finger, pointing down to the ground and declaring ” I’m drawing the line!” In my mind I imagine I am holding a small piece of white chalk and dragging it along the rubbled bitumen. However, the line is still an illusion and the rules that lay within that line are optional. Some people laugh.
Some people nod with their shoulders slumped and not a single powdery mark on their fingers to show they have ever held the tool to draw the line.
Then there is the one liner. This is my weapon of choice.
I have this face. I wear it outside my own. Everybody laughs along with its interesting and funny anecdotes. They giggle at its facial expressions as I wave my hands around in theatrics. This face shows me the way when the only way I know is lit by darkness.
I see other faces. I dodge around my own to catch a glimpse of the life behind the face smiling and laughing without a care. I see the corner of a frown, the down turn of an eyebrow and tear sailing to the chin.
I asked her if her face was real and she said yes. The only truths I know are lies.
Racing to the bar at lunchtime for a wine and piece and quiet. The wine tastes as good as that first sip of coke, except better. Day -time wines have the amazing effect of turning the remainder of the day into a blur. The pills help but the frustration of the calm they bring can be painful.
They make me reevaluate. Before the pills I would work hard all day at my job, race to the shops for dinner ingredients, head home and make dinner feeling guilty that I didn’t go to gym but hoping that an effort filled meal would justify my laziness. I would stress the small stuff, pretend to have a shower but really claw at my chest trying to get the jailed psychopath out of her cell. She was trying to make me see that I was just a woman, locked up in a folder labeled ‘Good Citizen”
Is that what I am, a good citizen? So are all the other “good citizens” racing around their world working hard, paying bills, over compensating for their insecurities? We are all just doing the same thing. We are all dancing the robot and taking the pills to stay oiled.
I hate talking on the phone. I would rather write a ten-page letter, a postcard, a Christmas card, email or a ridiculously long text. I can blame that on my Mum. I remember back in the house phone days, each time the phone would ring my mum would roll her eyes back and with an unwelcoming tone manage to sigh out the word “Hello?” like it was a question of why not who. She was not shy in letting people know how much she disdained talking on the phone and still to this day if I manage to catch her off guard and she doesn’t realise it’s me that is calling, I too receive the almighty sigh.
However, what I have come to realise is that it is not actually the talking that I don’t like. Strangely enough it is the feeling of having to do something. It’s almost like a chore pressing the little green speak button and putting the palm sized device to my ear, menacing.
And don’t even try leaving a message on voicemail. There is no way I am going out of my way to call a message service to listen to a message about having to call you back!
I never thought that dream would come. My nights are often infiltrated by the fears of the world and bruised by the damned, but this was a long time coming. I remember the feeling of complete detest that boiled inside me when he spoke, the dream like haze wobbling around his shape. The way his scruffy beard seemed ridiculous where it had once seemed manly and sexy. Still the beer in hand, nothing had changed, he was never going to change! Finally my subconscious was catching up with what I already knew to be true, we were officially over and even the last few notes of love that remained in our book were growing cobwebs, corners turning in.
Our story still rests upon the shelf but I no longer wish to read it.