Sunday, September 2, 2012

FIGMENT PISSES ME OFF


I’m not exactly sure what it is about it, but the Figment (online writing place) community makes me want to… I don’t know… Like break something.

Up yours! BLAH.

this song isn't relevant at all
i just like it

Anyways, I decided to enter a contest. I wrote fiction for the first time in my life. hashtag yolo

I wrote about a boii and first love and hipster jokes and shat.

Here's the stoopid cover I made:

'ruby storm' by eugenia loli
My storayyy is called

Witch Girl
here is is...

        un
            It’s six thirty now. We’re all sitting in my sister’s room feeling a little out of place. A movie is playing on a clunky old TV covered in Lisa Frank stickers and print-out pictures of Jesus.

            Don’t get me wrong. She’s a perfectly mature teenage girl with a boyfriend whose lap she happens to be sitting on right now…on her bed…that has a foil Justin Bieber sticker on the headboard and a quilt with unicorns on it…

I think her room’s a bit of an embarrassment. Practically my whole family does. I mean, my dad has tried getting rid of a lot of her crap countless times. It’s always ‘vintage’ or from the seventies or something, apparently. My dad says that that’s what poor people say when they don’t have access to ‘the finer things in life.’ That really sets her off. Since I’m her little brother (by approximately six minutes), she uses ME to blow off steam, if her boyfriend isn’t around. It’s the same thing every time—she sits me down on the edge of her bed and gives me this huge rant about the importance of ‘kitsch ‘and ‘nostalgia’ and ‘toying around with femininity and innocent, air headed female archetypes’ and how ‘little girls are told sit still and shut up‘ and stuff like that. I mean, she has pictures of Courtney Love taped up on her wall, if that means anything to you. She even started hanging used tampons from the ceiling, once. This went on for about a month until my dad found out and almost went into cardiac arrest.

            Speaking of my dad, he’s sitting in a fluffy pink beanbag chair with his eyes glued to his Blackberry. He keeps on shifting around and grunting with discomfort so we can all feel his paaaaiinn. I stopped watching the movie a long time ago, but I can imagine that it’s hard to hear. He’s pretty flashy like that, making a big scene whenever he’s distressed.

            My mom’s totally in on the whole ‘poor baby’ thing. She eats it right up.
            Usually, this sparks my sister who lectures my mom about how the way she ‘constantly bows down to him for his every need’ shows that she has ‘absolutely no self respect’ especially for a ‘woman of color in her field’ and that her actions are a ‘huge step back for the future and well-being of womankind.’

            Most of the time, my mom responds with the classic, “Don’t use that tone with me! I’m your mother!” and then my sister calls her out for wearing too much make-up.

            I wouldn’t quote my sister so much if she didn’t talk so much. I don’t like, like my sister or anything. It’s just that, at home I kind of live life through her eyes, you know? She’s got all of the opinions on everything. They’re all there, so I don’t really feel like there’s room for, or even a purpose of me making my own. I feel like my parents just wanted one child, but they got twins. I don’t really do much, so they basically have their only child. Plus, it’s nice to be the quiet one. I get to listen in and study up on this human interaction so I can save and perfect my wit for my friends. I wouldn’t want to use up all of my jokes and run out of things to say around them, even though this tends to happen sometimes, anyway. Really, I would want to have it any other way.

            All of my friendships usually revolve around hipster jokes—we live in Park Slope, so…—and ‘scoring chicks.’ I would never think of it this way, but they already think I’m soft for hanging around my sister too much and listening to too much ‘hipster crap,’ whatever that means.

            To be honest, I don’t think hipster jokes are that funny. However, I do think that having a beard and wearing a tight mustard-colored turtleneck doesn’t mean it’s okay to be rude and pretentious. I laugh at the jokes anyway.

            I am not soft.

            So, I guess I missed a lot of the movie, but I think it’s okay. It’s about witches or something. According to my sister, it’s a ‘cult classic, worshipped by teen girls everywhere.’ She was the mastermind behind this gathering. It’s an interesting choice for family bonding time. All this has something to do with restoring family values—it’s really important to her. She’s always been insecure about the fact that our parents are never home, even though her boyfriend gets to sleep over every time they go away on a business trip.

            She talks to him whenever something’s bothering her. The thing is, I’m not sure whether or not she knows that he doesn’t listen to anything she says ever. He’s not watching the movie or anything (well, no one is, but my sister.) He’s just running his fingers up and down her back and staring down her shirt while she whispers in his ear about the ‘exquisite aesthetic world of nineties teen witch culture.’ I mean, I sort of see why she likes it so much. All the leather, dog collars, tight schoolgirl uniforms, and girls with daggers are pretty hot.

        deux
            After what seems like forever, the movie’s finally over. My sister’s boyfriend went home and it’s time for dinner. Of course my mom made fried rice. While most parents enjoy cooking for their kids, my mom would rather throw some old rice, eggs, and tofu into a frying pan and call it dinner. Despite our pleading, she won’t make anything else because it’ll be ‘too Chinese’ and we won’t eat it. Honestly, I think she’s just being lazy.
            I guess I can’t really blame her. She works very hard. She’s been on Wall Street for almost a decade and a half. She’s virtually the only woman at her office besides cleaning ladies and stuff. She wears a suit to work every day. My dad does, too. He’s a published law professor. Our family is pretty well off, even if my sister’s room and my old flannels and ripped jeans say otherwise. Needless to say, my parents are high up in the business world and also happen to be a little…conservative. Let’s just say they were beyond relieved when they heard about my sister’s new boy toy and even more relieved when they met him today.

            My dad stops eating for a second.

            “So, your friend… He seems like a nice young man.”

            “Mmhmm.” She barely looks up from her plate.

            My mom nods her head vigorously and says, “He’s very fit. Tall, too.”

            “Yeah.”

            No speech on gender roles! It must be a very special night.

            “Good job,” my father says.

            “Um,” my sister purses her lips together, “Thanks for dinner. I have to go now.” She gets up from the table and pushes in her chair. She’d barely eaten two bites of fried rice.

            I tend to keep close tabs on how much people eat at meals. I think it’s because I used to be overweight. I was that half Asian-half Jewish fat weirdo kid. I’d load up my plate with a mountain of fried rice, shove it down my throat, and barely chew before I swallowed. I’d have seconds, thirds, maybe even fourths. I’d never leave any food on my plate.

            I’m not totally sure why I ate so much. Was it that my parents weren’t around when I was little? That I felt overshadowed by my sister? I don’t want to get all analytical on you, but I think I was more than just a fat kid. I felt empty and numb. When you’re upset, how can you physically make yourself feel good? You can watch TV, but TV isn’t all that tangible. Plus, eight year olds don’t masturbate. Eating something, almost anything, is like immediate euphoria. When everything is in front of your face, it’s impossible to say no. A kitchen is an endless palette of tastes and textures. Any sadness can be satisfied by the instant gratification that comes from that beautiful crispy/crunchy/creamy/salty/savory/sweet gliding down your throat and kissing you with all its flavor. You don’t think about looking like a beached whale with your shirt off in the two seconds it takes to polish off a Boston Crème Donut.

            Anyways, I’ve trained myself to stop, and I’ve lost all of that extra weight. I’m stereotypically skinny and lanky. I call it the ‘Thurston Moore build.’ I even own a Fender Jazzmaster. Think about it; what if Thurston Moore, Stephen Malkmus, or even Eric Erlandson was fat?  That’s exactly why I stopped eating so much. I don’t want to turn this into some sort of anorexic girl’s sob story, but I do dream about the Nutritional Facts labels that tell you how many calories everything has and I never put butter on anything and I physically divide the food on my plate and plan out exactly how much I’m not going to eat.

            I never noticed that people don’t actually finish meals until I started paying attention to movies and TV more.

            I’ve decided that I’m going to take a bite of rice and leave like my sister.

            My dad breaks the silence.

            “So, did you happen to meet any nice girls at camp?”

            My cheeks get hot and I can’t see my face, but I’m sure it’s bright red. I can’t deal with this now. Maybe I’ll even skip the food. I start to get up.

            “Okay, okay. I’m sorry. So, are you excited for your little concert tonight?”

            I keep my head down and glare at him through the side of my eye. I nod.

            “Are you going to continue with the band after camp?” my mom asks, “Managing a band will look great for college.’

            “I’m not sure,” I say. I take the bite, get up, push my chair in, and leave.

            I guess I forgot to tell you, but I’ll fill you in now on the whole concert situation. I go to a rock camp. We play music everyday and we have a show tonight.

            Yes, I know what you’re thinking. There are all the ten year old girls who wear plastic hair extensions and sparkly fedoras and think Avril Lavigne is as punk rock as it gets. There are also a bunch of idiots that name themselves ‘Dinosaur Teenager Pie-in-the-face” and cover songs like “I Love Rock n’ Roll” or “Eye of the Tiger.” I will assure you that I am not among them.

            I feel like a bit of a poser, ‘learning how to rock’ and having my parents pay for me to rock. It’s embarrassing just putting it into words. There’s this song by Hole called “Rockstar.” One of the lines is, “We took punk rock/And we got a grade.” Like, what we do tend to miss that raw quality, like it was thrown together in a garage. Instead of the energy coming purely from a group of kids living off food scraps just to survive and make music, some of it comes from has-beens with their hearts set on their next paycheck, as opposed to creating art. I guess the vibes can get muddy from unclear intentions and outside influences and stuff.

            Whatever. I have fun. The resources available are pretty great.

            Our band isn’t that stupid or anything.

            And yes, I am your cliché yuppie Brooklyn kid. I wear soft cotton navy colored t-shirts from used book stores and hotdog places. I have a pair of worn, black slip-on Vans. I wear the same pair of jeans every day. I have a friend with dreadlocks. I skateboard. You got me.

        trois
            Our show is at eight thirty, so I decide to head over. It’s dark outside, but I don’t mind. It’s a warm summer night. As I pass by every shop, I get a whiff of coffee or a blast of air conditioning. I like the common sense and buzz of rich chatter and the wishy washy music that comes from various restaurants. We all enjoy the cool breeze caressing our skin and the simplicity of other people and fine cuisine, witty street art, and cracking jokes about the media and the government. This all essentially makes up the urban community that we all share.

            I should seriously stop thinking so much.

       quatre
            There are just a few minutes until show time. It’s dark in here. It’s pretty typical Brooklyn with exposed brick walls, fairy lights, and the faint smell of beer. Everything has an aura about it that’s kind of like a deep, purpley indigo color. It’s chill and bold at the same time. Like, it’s cool and air conditioned in here, but I’m sweating buckets.

            Okay, it’s time.

            I stand on stage with my guitar strapped to my body. It’s hard to explain exactly what goes down when you’re playing music, because you’re not exactly ‘playing music.’ Saying ‘play’ is oversimplifying things a little. It’s a full body experience. (It’s better than food because it’s so inconceivable.) I can describe the song we played like this: lemons squeeze dust detergent black cherry cough drops (but the ones that taste like medicine.) Think about the images the words plant in your head. The guitar is like a sweet fuzz that’s rich and creamy, but light and airy with a little kick at the same time. It bursts from the amps and is this glittery mist in the air, almost like fairy dust, that shimmers around everyone.

The deep bass pulls a bit of a punch and shakes your bones. It almost tickles, but in a really great way. Plus, the bassist is really beautiful.

Her name is Starla, but everyone calls her Witch Girl. It’s not just because she dresses in a lot of long, black or maroon flowy, lacy stuff and wears a pentacle necklace thing (kind of like the girls in my sister’s movie.) It’s mostly because of how quiet she is and how she always plays mysterious and aloof.

She doesn’t say much, but I can feel her strongest when we’re playing.

 Our combined energy—bass and guitar, male and female, deep and shallow—is a force so strong it makes up for her not talking. It’s hard to hear anything else, really.

cinq
After the performance, we’re greeted with parents, holding up iPhones and chunky SLR cameras. We smile and put our arms around each other, posing for pictures. We shake hands and thank people for their compliments.

These shows are always a bit of a disappointment. They’re always just a blur that never lasts long enough.

Starla and her mom come up to me. Her mom hugs me and exclaims, “You KILLED it!”

I honestly don’t acknowledge the hug as much as I stare at Starla, twirling her hair and intuitively apologizing for her silly mom. I intuitively tell her that it’s not a problem at all.

I want to throw myself on top of her, but I don’t want to make the first move.
She holds her arms out for a hug, but I grab her left hand (well, fingers) with my right hand shake it. I say something, although I’m not exactly sure what, nod in her direction, and bolt.

            Our band decides to go out for celebratory pizza. (Good thing I didn’t eat dinner—I might even have a soda.) When you’re with a group of people, especially one you explore and communicate with creatively, beyond material reality, things are different outside, when you have your own exclusive bubble of something that’s more than companionship. It’s like the whole world actually belongs to you guys and you’re not just getting glimpses from outside anymore. It fills every void that’s ever had a craving for chocolate.

The amber glow of a summer night is more of a beacon than anything else. The humidity is a hug and not a disturbance. I embrace the delicate pinch of a mosquito sucking my blood not just because she needs to eat but because every time throughout the next few days I reach down to itch the little pink bite, my mind with be flooded with the memory of this amazing night.

            My friend pulls me behind, so the rest of the group is walking a few feet ahead. He smirks, “Congrats.”

“Oh thanks,” I say, “You did good, too. The drums were really solid. “

“No,” he starts to laugh, “Congrats on cracking Witch Girl’s knuckles or whatever you did to her back there! She didn’t have any warts or anything, did she?” He thinks he’s so hilarious.

Starla’s head whips around and I kick him in the shin.

We get to the pizza place and I’m the first to grab the silver door handle. I don’t know if it’s just post-show jitters (don’t tell me that doesn’t exist), but I accidently fling the door open with a little too much force and end up smacking Starla in the face. My armpits get extremely prickly and moist. She says she’s fine, but I apologize a few too many times to be safe.

We find a nice, big table in the middle to dominate the humble pizzeria with our deafening adolescent squabble and crazed hormonal screaming (tsk tsk tsk, teenagers these days.) I slide into the vinyl booth seat, which doesn’t make a farting noise much to my surprise. Starla plops herself down right next to me. She sits on my jacket, but I couldn’t care less.

“Oh sorry,” she says.

“It’s cool,” I stammer.

We both scramble to move the sleeve from underneath her butt, which is not awkward at all, when our hands touch. She holds on to it before I can pull away. I stare at my hand, which has become increasingly wet and clammy. In case I forgot to mention, it’s intertwined with hers.

The funny thing is that I don’t shake at all. I just hold it there. She begins to stroke me with her thumb and a bomb goes off in my stomach, igniting my whole body with a cosmic, explosive warmth. I slowly pick my head up and my eyes meet hers, when I notice that they aren’t blue, but in fact a glittering grayish-sliver color.

The whole world stops for however long it is that we sit there, holding hands, and sharing each others’ gaze.

. . .
~fin~


6 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this story! The little bits of description in it are fantastic.
    Good look with eight grade! I'm actually starting tenth grade, would ya beleive it, but always get mistake for a year eight!
    xxxx

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    Replies
    1. thank you! <3 <3 <3
      oh.... sorry. when you said the thing about 'confused year sevens' i just assumed...

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  2. This was massively enjoyble to read, well done :D

    ReplyDelete