Gonna be a tight one today because I’m being chased by the black dog and I have other things I need to do.
I really don’t have anything to say today I just feel so shitty and I have no one to talk to. I just feel like this is the end, I’ve been holding on for a long time and I just don’t think I can hold on anymore. All I’m doing is trying to forget and medicate with video games and writing (mostly video games) and I don’t think I can keep doing this. There’s just something wrong with me and I’ll never be who I want to be, I’ll just fade away.
“You can’t do that to me, I was worried sick,” my ‘aunt’ said as she squeezed the cheap plastic steering wheel of her overgrown roller-skate car. Shouting but in a hushed voice like we were in a crowded place. “You can’t stay out late like that without telling me, I must’ve called you a hundred times.”
I counted twenty two missed calls, actually.
I would much rather not have had this one-way conversation. I also would much rather not have had to wait the four or five hours it took for Wendy to go to sleep before I could slip out and get on a bus home. Lastly, I would much rather have avoided the various California-natives who frequented the late night buses. Talk about dick pics. Surely not as distressing as seeing someone in person, urinating on the floor of a moving bus, while singing Waltzing Mathilda in a sequin dress.
“I’m sorry.” I didn’t mean it. The word ‘sorry’ was sort of meaningless. If someone was truly sorry, they’d never do what they were sorry for ever again—or in the first place, for that matter. That wasn’t possible. It was a ritual that was obviously necessary for polite society to function. Despite the fact it seemed completely ineffectual—on women especially. The word was never enough; to be sorry and say sorry were two different things.
“I was sure—I was so worried.”
No effect, Dharma was still just as miserable as she’d been a moment ago, no magic word was going to change that, no vague promises I couldn’t keep. “Did you—?”
A moment of stunned silence passed.
Maybe I should’ve said I was sorry again, maybe I should’ve repeated it over and over again until she stopped talking. We were on our way to pick up my dress and shoes for the prom, which seemed fast-approaching.
I’d soon have to get my hair done, and put on lots of makeup. Pretend to be having the time of my life dancing to eighties music and drinking punch. I’d much rather be out in the dim darkness, making other people drink cool aid, a bit of an outdated reference.
“I could’ve said I was your mother,” she blurted.
“You could’ve lied to me, but instead you lied to me.” I feigned indignation. In actuality, my capacity for disdain, lies and half-truths was very little. A soul was required to feel pangs of sorrow and betrayal. Most of what made up my ‘normal’ existence was a lie, and it seemed petty by comparison. “What difference does it make?” Teenage aloofness was my staple.
“I just thought I could help you.” Her face contorted into something like a grim mask that might summon tears, but none came.
“Help me?” I asked, almost to myself. I didn’t even know I needed help.
“Guide you, give you a normal life, I thought you forgot. I tried so hard to forget, everything.” Dharma cut herself off, stuttering, making a wry almost wrenching noise, like she wanted to cry but nobody taught her how.
“Forget? Forget what?” I made my eyes wide, but I wasn’t sure what I was staring at anymore. If she told me she had had three heads, I would’ve believed her.
“He promised he’d guide us; he promised, but he, never got around to it.” My ‘aunt’ shrugged with a little ‘that’s life’ sad smile, trailing off at the end like it didn’t really matter.
“And then what?” I looked forward as we stopped to let a couple of meth heads cross the street. For a moment I thought I recognized one of them from the bus last night, but I couldn’t tell because this time, he was wearing pants.
“He was gone.” She’d said it like she was talking about the phantom of the opera or something.
“Tell me…about him. Dad,” I said as I studied the palm trees swiping past the window.
“He was—special. He was going to help us get ‘squared away,’ that’s what he said.” Her eyes got a little misty, and her face slackened, like she was reading me a bedtime story. “His father did the same for him.”
“Get squared away?” I watched the scenery fly by, the small sad houses of Santa Ana, baking. A couple of Hispanic women rolled past with double strollers with gold wheels.
“We weren’t born like this. When he was gone, and there was no one. No one to keep us on the straight path.” Dharma’s face became a confusion of worry-lines, like she was trying to unravel a ball of headphone wires with can openers for hands.
“What aren’t you telling me?”
“We’re here.” She parked outside the dress shop in Santa Ana, where I’d been measured and ambushed all in the same day.
“Is that why you sicked Captain Claw on me?” I called after her as she’d hopped out. “To get me squared away?”
If you want to pick up the rest of this bad girl you’ll have to wait until its released or if you’re on my mailing to get an e-copy at some point in the near future.