Tuesday, December 18, 2012

the infinite jest

A sudden breeze blasted right through her. With a gasp, her infinite atoms scattered like glitter.

He reached out for the shape of her, but she couldn't hold herself together.

Instead, she evaporated into his hands, the only place on earth she ever wanted to be.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

the pale blue dot

You need me more than I need you;
I need that need more than you need me.

*

Nothing good ever came from following the rules. There are choices, and all the ones she made were wrong ones.

She knew he was the biggest one -thus far, anyway -and yet she pushed it, knowing she could kill it in an instant.

The trigger was in her hands, and yet she never pushed it.

Every time he deserved it, she played the tune with her fingertips, yet the trigger she would not pull.

Every slight was an escape hatch, but she blinked at the change in light. She knew someday the volcano would blow, but there was nowhere to go.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

the death of the T-Rex

I do think about it

joining you

wherever you are

I know how awesome it can be
but reality

reality is always the question

you, sir, are a butterfly

or maybe a bird

flitting here

landing there

flying T-Rex does not know where

I would swim over with my butterfly net, ready to stuff you into a houseboat

but then you postcard me from Brooklyn

but by the time I swam there

you'd be in Paris

determined not to be caught

not realizing that I don't want to catch you or cage you

just be with you

but you keep running away anyway

and, by the time I lay expiring on the Mongolian plateau, having missed you by a postcard once again

you'll postcard from wherever you are, accusing me of having never come to you

and my tears will evaporate into the Gobi

the only sea T-Rex can swim

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Needful Things

The door opened, and I open my eyes, blinking at the unexpected light. The blinks are rapid, and over quickly.  The whole thing is rather cute. Ever fragile, yet strangely durable, I tilt my head to one side, waiting for him to reach for me. It's always a good question:  Will today be the day he breaks the glass? or, will he just wind me up, only to put me away again?

For a few excruciating moments, he simply putters around, picking out clothes, sifting through the fabric choices like a vinyl connoisseur might pick through records.  I watch in silent obedience, ever mindful that he is far more fragile than me, yet all the more undeserving.

He finally dons a particularly jaunty outfit, and he looks good -quite good -and he knows it, though he does pause to ask me.  I only nod in response.  He is like a lion in winter or a peacock in summer.  What I think matters hardly not at all, but he shows his appreciation for mine with a breezy grin and then vanishes out the door.  I need not have been engaged at all.

Hours pass, and I sit still in the darkness, always steady, always waiting.  But the cracks are beginning to show.  Perhaps I am imagining it, but I swear I can feel them, spidering about my body, in all sorts of mysterious and unexpected ways.  I am not so steady then after all, but the weight of appearing so is literally breaking me apart.

But it hardly matters what I do, as long as I lay and wait. I am but a silent foil, a constant mirror of perfect attention.  My hands are clasped together in front of me.  I am so tired, but my eyes do not close.  It seems they never do.

A door creaks open, faraway and yet quite immediate.  He has returned home.  Patiently, I abide in patience, but he comes not to me.  Instead, I can hear him, afar off and yet as near as the next room, going about his business, groaning just as silent as me in his solitude.  It doesn't matter how perfectly still I may be; it is not enough solitude for him.  The entire space between us could be the universe, and yet the mere thought of my proximity suffocates him.  All of this focus upon him, all of these thoughts, all of this energy.

My hands are still clasped together in front of me.  I don't know how much time has passed, but the spiderwebs have taken over.  All this time my eyes have been open; sleep has been elusive.  He finally comes to me though, after all this time...

...but it is not for me that he has come.  He has only come to change his clothes.

Friday, July 27, 2012

slipped somewhere between

it was all just like a dream
now I can't wake up
I won't wake up
I was never awake at all

the lines of my life
seams on a body

nothing is real
not even this

we pretend like it matters
we all keep asleep
you keep asleep

Thursday, July 12, 2012

with years, but newer every day

past, as prologue:

she had always said she would do anything for him

future, as pretense:

[sitting next to one another, but both facing forward, pretending they don't have past history]

I wish I was by your side.

I think about you all the time.

(You're so successful now.)

You are too.  Look at you, so cute.

[she pushes a stray strand of hair from his forehead; it is intimate, but she doesn't really think about it. he makes no move to stop her]

(Why did you marry him?)

He pushed so hard, and I thought I could do it on my terms -he agreed.

But now he's pushing me... in a way I know you never would.

And I think, it would be better with you, because you would never push me -you would let me do my own thing.

But, you know, maybe the truth is, you'd rather be with the one who pushes to be with you, rather than the one you really love, because at least you know the one that is pushing you really wants to be with you.

[she's crying, softly, but doesn't care.  he's stunned by what she has said.  with a casual grace, she carelessly wipes away the tears from her cheek with a single swipe of her small index finger, and then stands up, and walks back over to her husband, leaving him staring out at the sea -alone, where she always imagined he most wanted to be: heartbroken]

Monday, July 2, 2012

sounds I only make when you are inside me

“He stood me up!”  She says this into the phone before I can even say hello.  I am fairly certain I am pissed (at him; at men in general) before I can even respond, she has gone on:  “I can’t fucking believe this!  I was going to make him dinner!”

I cringe at the word “dinner.”  We had discussed this before, albeit jokingly, how one does not make dinner for a “temp,” our term for a boy with whom we are just passing the time while we wait for the boy we want or don’t yet have to pull his shit together and work up the cojones to be a goddamned man and realize that “relationship” is not some big scary cuss word, like “cunt”:

“Cunt” is a seriously fucked up cuss word; “relationship” is not.  If only the difference were that easy to illustrate for boys.  

As I think this, I can feel myself rolling my eyes before I can stop myself.  I do that a lot -I think it; it pops up on my face.  I can also be as impassive as a piece of frozen glass, but, apparently, I just look like a bitch when I do that.  Whatever.  

Oops.  I rolled my eyes again.  I hope my inner monologue isn’t bleeding into my conversation with [we’ll call her “Emily”], which, thus far, has consisted of her freaking out and me nodding and exclaiming supportively.  

Fucking men.  Why do we waste so much of our time on them?  It’s not as if we can’t orgasm without them.  Frankly, when my girlfriends are being really honest, they admit that the big O has either never happened for them, and/or it has never happened for them while some guy was grunting in and out of them while whispering/yelling, “Come with me, baby.  Cooooooooooooooome with me.”  That shit only happens in movies.

There it is.  I just rolled my eyes again.  What is “Emily” saying?  Oh, come over for a beer.  Shit.  It is over 100 degrees outside.  Fuck.  To her, I agree with all sincerity, but my inner monologue, however, is slightly pissed -not with her, of course, but with the fucking waste of space male that is forcing me out of doors on a day when the heat index is approaching 110.  What a fucking asshole.

*

“Is this all we have to talk about... [pause] …men?”  I am sitting in [we’ll call her “Laura”’s] kitchen when she asks me this.  She has just made me a very lovely dinner, but, as I ponder my response, I am gripped by a very strong feeling of deja vu.  We’ve had this very conversation before, (or, at least, I have), perhaps the last time I saw her, which has been nearly half a year ago.  Where does the time go?  I sigh.

“We can always talk about politics, or the weather, or how work is going, but, honestly, we do talk about those things.  And, the thing is, human connection is one of the basics of life -we are social creatures, after all.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be with someone -it doesn’t make us ‘less smart’ or professional women.  It doesn’t mean we’re not liberated, and educated, and interesting.  It just means... we’re human.  And it’s okay to want to be in a relationship.”

“Laura” nods in agreement.  It is a blessedly beautiful day, a rare one for a city built on a swamp, where virtually every single day is an ugly morass of humidity or acid rain that makes my skin itch if I’m so unfortunate as to be touched by it; her windows and her deck door are both open, and there is a breeze.  It feels wondrous.

“Laura” and I are marvelously well-educated and worldly women, but we, like all women, are marginalized by a socialization of the genders that hasn’t advanced since the Neanderthal days to keep up with our modern times.  We want relationships, be they temporary or permanent, on our terms, but we are not likely to have them.  

We are incredibly beautiful, and genuinely interesting, but sexism is the great neutralizer.  No matter how far we’ve come, we are still stuck within a framework that rewards men (and punishes women) for hewing to a template that has never been honest about what it means to be a man or a woman who want sex and conversation, with a modicum -or more -of commitment.  In a word, we are screwed, but no one is coming.  

And we hate that show, “Girls,” but more on that later.

One of my favorite stories to share with other people, (usually other girlfriends, as we all sit around bemoaning the state of gender-political affairs), is a story that “Laura” told me, only it wasn’t a story -it was true:

A co-worker of “Laura”’s (a man) finally became engaged after years of “dating,” (by which I mean, “hooking up”).  Everyone at work (of course) congratulated him.  When it was “Laura”’s turn to congratulate him, though, the conversation took an interesting turn.  

He and “Laura” are actually friends too -so they are not just co-workers -and the one thing we women have consistently discovered from the (heterosexual) men in our lives, (who, by mutual decision, will not be fucking us), is that such relationships tend to be the most honest when it comes to gender politics, because no one on either side has anything to lose, (that is, sex, which, let’s be honest:  When you’re under [whatever age it is that people are when they stop wanting to have sex], sex is what you really want -good sex, and hopefully with someone who knows what they’re doing and isn’t a total asshole).

“Laura” congratulated this co-worker friend of hers, commenting that she (the intended) must really be an amazing girl, and he (the incipient beau) said, “No, she’s just okay.”

This response stopped my girlfriend in her tracks.  Of course, their actual conversation was slightly longer than “congrats,” “she’s just okay,” but that was pretty much the takeaway.  He told my girlfriend “Laura” that it was “time,” and that she (the intended) was essentially “good enough” [slash] “the girl who happened to be there,” (which would make a great title for a short story, now that I think about it), and all my girlfriend could think, she told me later, as we sat together across from one another at her kitchen table, was how he (the incipient beau) made it sound as though he had gone to IKEA for a kitchen table because it was time to upgrade from the card table he’d been using since college.

I pushed away the sweet chocolate treat she’d made for dessert, which was good, but too much for my lack of sweet tooth, and declared:

“ugh... I never want to be anyone’s kitchen table!”

“Me either!” “Laura” chimed.

*

But I was a kitchen table for several years.  And my “boyfriend,” (god, how I hate that word), was more or less wallpaper -annoying, but wallpaper nonetheless; something that was just... there.  Sure, he totally fucked up my life, but he managed to do so by barely registering on the Richter scale for me.  If nothing else, one must admit, that’s quite an achievement.

And this is something else that one must admit too -that it’s nice to have that wallpaper, just as, I suppose, it’s nice to have that kitchen table.  The problem is, it’s all so... impersonal.  Anyone could have been my wallpaper -and anyone can be a kitchen table.

When I (ineptly) tried to commiserate with “Emily,” I made the comment that, as bruised as her ego and confidence might have been, with time, she will eventually see that the behavior of this asshat who stood her up -or of any guy who makes us play their game but then shits on us when we do, has nothing to do with us -that is, what he did had nothing to do with her.  It wasn’t personal.  He’d probably run this game a million times before her, and he’ll run it a million times after her.  But, now that I’ve had time to really think about it, noting that “it isn’t personal” is possibly the worst thing in the world to say, and I am so sorry for it:

Human interactions are at their core personal, and yet we constantly circumvent this with the shittiest possible impersonal behavior towards one another.

Perhaps, if people really took the sacrifice and the time to be personal about their choices and their behavior, not just with respect to others, but also for themselves, then no one, guy or girl, would be running around, picking out wallpaper and kitchen tables that they only vaguely want and don’t need.

Everything matters, even the small things, and if they don’t, then your life doesn’t matter either -and you just wasted all your time.

Monday, June 25, 2012

What's the story, morning glory?

I approach the day with an appropriate sense of dread.  I crush the cigarette between my fingers against the sill behind me, determined to fill my body with as much poison as possible -while I still have the time -and then tug my collar up around my neck, push my sunglasses back up my nose, and then turn and walk up the long, grey street, where the tall buildings rise, nearly black against the sun, on either side of me.

I hate my birthday, which each year comes around with a reliable regularity that pisses me off.  I know I am growing older with the years.  A party to celebrate that fact seems pointless -and cruel.  If people really want to celebrate “life,” why don’t they just high-five each other every time they manage to cross the street without being run over?

Of course, everyone just wants a party, which is understandable -I guess -but the celebrations are always so grim, with a tinge of desperation, as if being “grim” isn’t flavor enough:  Everyone standing around, clutching a drink in one hand, and a plate of cake in the other -and, frankly, cake and beer don’t go together.  Cake doesn’t really go with anything, except milk, and milk definitely doesn’t go with a night of partying, unless -you know -dairy really “does it” for you, whatever “it” is.

I grimace.  The thought of partying with a glass of milk in a sea of vodka makes my stomach flinch.  What sort of sick twist would be into that?  I shudder, but it’s okay.  There is a pleasant chill in the air, and anyone looking would have just seen me shiver.  Fine.

I hate being watched all the time.  There is never anywhere to go that someone doesn’t know:

“NO PRIVACY; NO SECRETS.”  

The slogan is slapped up everywhere, but it is such bullshit.  Transparency is such a big joke, but it is a joke being played on us -the politicians and the big businessmen, (and it is always men), still do whatever they want, with impunity and almost no oversight.  

I look up, worried that perhaps someone can see my thoughts.  I know that day is coming soon, and I resent it in advance.  It’s all anyone seems capable of talking about:  

“ALL ACCOUNTABLE; ALL THE TIME.”  

Another bullshit slogan.  We huddled masses will dutifully be implanted, but the wealthy will likely hijack their feeds for a pittance from someone needy -just like they do now whenever they need to not be on camera.  Not that anyone seems really to care.  The resultant scandals are always too delicious, and everyone is too hungry and too stupid to realize that the scandals are just like the candy for the fat kid:  We, the idiot huddled masses, are the fat kid, and we are all standing over the Halloween sugar trough, too dumb to stop eating long enough to lift our heavy, cow-like heads and look around.

I pause on the sidewalk, suddenly remembering that -once again -I cannot remember how old I am supposed to be.  This is no joke -I really cannot remember.  I shove my hands deep inside the pockets of my nondescript grey trenchcoat and continue walking.  Pausing on the street too long is never a good idea.

I think back to David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, a now blacklisted book, which had brilliantly and presciently posited a future wherein each year was sponsored by a particular brand -so, rather than the year 2012, for example, it could have been “The Year of the Aldo’s Hypo-Allergenic Vanishing Tampon,” which was, in fact, a product that had been pretty big “for the ladies” toward the latter end of that year.  The notion of a year being sponsored and thus branded for a “feminine sanitary product” cracked me up.  Of course, that’s not what happened.

It is individuals who are sponsored now, a development I find deeply embarrassing.  It makes for long, painful introductions at cocktail parties -and things can be particularly awkward when a particular item or brand has gone defunct or has been yanked off the market.  Of course, my name is still the most humiliating thing, though I am secretly and intensely proud of it.  I have a real name, goddammit, not sponsored by anyone (but me), and no amount of corporate cajolement is going to convince me to change it.  I am me, and I will always be me.

Having a personal name marks me clearly as a passive dissident, or, at the very least, “ages” me, however old I really am.  The years now are marked off so oddly, (at least IMHO), that I have difficulty marking the time, which is why I thus struggle to recall my actual age.  I know we are currently in the 5th Year of Your Romney-Palin, but beyond that, I have never been able to keep a handle on my personal Cycle, which is how everyone really marks their years.  I’ve always been outside of time; I have always, somehow, been a little bit wrong.

When I should have been married, I was turning down proposals -and even left one hopeful at the altar (oops).  When I should have been finishing school, I was mired in personal tragedy and too busy trying to die to deal with life.  When I should have been having a baby... well, I wasn’t married, was I?

The only thing I have managed to do on time, (I like to joke), is my Birth year.  Beyond that, I don’t really know.  There is a Point in the personal Cycle for every year of life; each one is a milestone of some sort, and everyone is expected to “achieve” them.  For girls, there is Menses, (always whispered about -so as not to gross out the boys, of course), and Estrus, (also always whispered about -so everyone can pretend their parents don’t know, of course).  For boys and girls, there is Graduation, (minor and major), and Marriage, and Children.  and, of course, Death.  

There are many other Points between, but Death is the Point in my personal Cycle I look forward to the most.  It is not the Point in my personal Cycle that I am trying to reckon, though.  Instead, while I don’t do this every year, sometimes, I do try to figure out the years I have in cumulative.  Everyone now lives their lives so much in the present, the past has become completely unanchored from us -even for me.  

I think of it sometimes, (the past, I mean), as this essentialized “thing” that has broken off from the rest of us... and thus escaped:

Where was I yesterday?  

Answer(s the Past):  What does it matter, if you can’t remember?  Where are you now?  

Where am I, indeed?

I look up, the world hazy through my smudged sunglass lenses.  I am almost home.  There is only so long I can hesitate on the street outside, (before I begin to look suspicious, I mean).  Slowly, I push the door open, dreading the inevitable “surprise” party that will be waiting for me.

Someone hands me a slice of cake, and a drink.  I try to contain my grimace with a smile.  I can be pretty convincing when I try.  The small talk is reliably enervating, and I bother not at all to remember the names.  I was never very good at it, and now that everyone is merely an avatar for some product, I am even less motivated; I merely register the faces.

It takes me a moment, but the realization finally slices through my boredom:  There is only women here.  I do have male friends.  Had some jealous female “friend” of mine seen fit to not invite any of them?  Being a single and therefore “dangerous” female does have its drawbacks, I suppose.  Same-sex parties such as this is one of them.  I try to mask my sigh with a large swig of “party punch,” but we both fail -the punch is not that good and my grimace is fairly obvious.

My girlfriend, (Quinoa Face Mask -no, I am not kidding), sits down on the sofa beside me.  There is a look of concern plastered on her face.  I can feel the impending lecture that is about to fall from her lips even before she opens her mouth.  Her hand falls gently on my forearm; I brace myself for the disappointment.

“This is your Baby year, Anya,” she smiles at me.  The other women in the room smile at me.  I squint my eyes into what I imagine is my most winning smile.  I want to punch each and every single one of them.  in the face.  

“Ooh,” I twitter blithely, “but I’m not married...”  I let my voice trail off.  I cannot bring myself to say her “name.”  aloud.

“Anya.”  She leans in; her hand on my forearm feels like an assault.  It is the look of sympathy in her eyes -in all the eyes in the room -that I want to punch out.  “It is time.”

I grit my teeth.  I sincerely thought I had managed to escape this particular Point in my personal Cycle.  I hate these Points:  How much of my Cycle is mine if half the crap on it is stuff I didn’t and don’t want to do?  And, why do other women care so much?  My life is mine, dammit.

My girlfriend, (she of the unfortunate name, which always prompts me to wonder what it must be like, having one’s life tied to the success or failure of a particular product or company), is flipping through the “pages” of a digital book.  Even with the scant glance that I give it, I can see that it is a “datebook,” literally.  Pictures of boys, (with equally unfortunate names), flip by with every press of her finger.  I realize, as each potential candidate flashes before my eyes, that she plans to set me up with one of these boys, and probably more, today... at my birthday party.

Surprise!  Surprise!

Her finger pauses and then stops over a candidate she seems to find particularly fetching.  Maybe she wishes she were married to him, instead of the rather vacant man she is stuck with calling her husband now.  She holds the datebook up to me, but my eyes glaze over.  Gently, with the same hand that is holding the unwanted slice of cake, I push the book away.

Almost in slow motion, the cake slides off the small plate.  Quinoa Face Mask tries to jerk the digital book away from the cake’s line of fire, but she does so by jumping up, which is silly, because this then puts her directly in the cake’s line of fire.  The slice of cake smashes into her, ruining, with a bright splotch of frosting and cake, her perfect white lace dress, which looks too “wedding” to me anyway.  I am glad the dress is ruined, but I exclaim:

“Ooh... [can’t say her name aloud, no way] ...your poor dress!”

She glares at me, her lips firmly pressed together in a thin, angry line.  It is as though she thinks I smashed the cake into her on purpose.  I make a face.  At least it wasn’t the whole cake.  Everyone glares at me.  I am fairly certain I have successfully managed to nip the party early.  I try to save my gleeful smiles for later.

Peppermint Body Cream, [ugh], stays to help me clean up.  I can’t stand that she always smells like... well... Peppermint Body Cream.  I also cannot stand that she is standing in my kitchen, somehow always in my way, the way a dog or a child under-foot would also be.  I do not need her help to clean up the surprise birthday party that I did not want.

“You need to marry, Anya, and you need to have a child, before it is too late.”

I also do not need life advice from someone who reeks of cheap candy dish candy.  I pause before considering my response, but not that long, not really:

“Women are the worst cabal.”  [Her eyes widen in horror, but I continue, unabated.]  “This is the same attitude that allowed FGM to carry on for centuries, even into the modern era.”  [Now her eyes are so wide, I wait for them to pop out of her skull.]

“How dare you!” she sputters.

“There is no single life template -life is not one size fits all,” I interrupt her, “and, that aside, I don’t see this same pressure being applied to men, by men.  If anything, it is always women going about, not minding their own business -be it a man’s life, or a woman’s.”  [Her eyes are a little bit wild.  I am not at all certain she has heard a single word I’ve said.]

Female... genital... circumcision!”  [Now I am certain she’s not hearing me.  I’m actually impressed she manages to spit the word “genital” out.  I had no idea her vocabulary had such... biological depth.]  “You’re comparing marriage, and babies -babies! -to that... that... barbaric...”

“Yes,” I nod, “it was women who propagated that practice, just like you -my friends -are trying to force marriage, and children, on me.  And, why?  Because I am the only one who is not married?  with children?  Because someone pulled you aside and said your life would not be complete unless you did these things?  I am willing to bet that it was not a man who pulled you aside.  I bet...” I hold up my hand, to stave off her interruption, “...I bet it was a woman.  Hm?”

[She shook her head from side to side, her eyes frantic to make her point.]  “If... if you let men have their way-”

“-because men are wild animals, of course, and we women are the civilized ones,” I interject, with a roll of my eyes.  I am tired of that old trope.  It is the same reasoning that allows men to rape women, yet somehow everything is always the woman’s fault.

“-men will not take any responsibility.  And then who will take care of you?  And your babies?”

“What babies?”

“You know what I mean!”  She is practically screeching.  In my long, narrow galley kitchen, we are really too close together for my comfort.  I calmly cross my arms in front of me, giving me a very necessary feeling of barrier between us.

“You’re so busy, running around, trying to force other women to do what you think men want.  You know what?  I am willing to bet most men don’t care.

“Yes, that’s right.”  She finally leans back, and crosses her arms too.  “Men will have fun with you; they will play with you -but they won’t marry you.”

“Who wants to be married again?”  I narrow my eyes and cock my head to one side, which is sure to piss her off.  She presses her lips together, and there it is again -that thin, angry line.  I suddenly realize, with a quick glance at her ring hand, that she is not married, which is odd, given how old (I think) she is.  Rather than responding, she actually lets me have the last word, though the door slamming behind her when she leaves is word enough at last.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

the Butler

The sun hit my eyes way too soon.  Reluctantly, I sat up on the edge of the bed, letting my feet dangle.  The cobwebs were still on my brain, and I wasn’t certain at all why I was awake.

Oh, right.  The sun.  I closed my eyes and started to lean a little bit to the right.  Just a little bit further, and my head would be back on its pillow.

“You are running 15 minutes late.”

FUCK

“There is no need to be rude.”

Fuck, my brain had farted that out of my mouth before I could stop it.

“Today is the 13th.  It is birth control day.”

I groaned.

“It has been 1,323 days since you last had sexual intercourse.  Are you sure you want to keep taking your birth control?”

I gritted my teeth.  It took all my willpower not to pick him up and throw him across the room.  It was bad enough he was male, but he’d also cost me 2,030Cr (Credits), and replacing him would cost a fortune I didn’t want to spend.  I dug my fingernails into the palms of my hands and closed my eyes.

“You are now 20 minutes late.”

FUCK

“I should not have to work in these hostile conditions.”

Fuuuuuuuuuuck my brain. and my mouth.  and fuck him too.

I was actually shaking, I was so annoyed.  I glared at him with impotent rage.  I’d named him Alfred when I’d first brought him home, thinking it was funny and disrespectful, but, later, I learned that “Alfred” was actually Batman’s butler and quite distinguished -and with his posh accent, every time he reminded me of something, he never let me forget it.

“It has been 47 days since you last emailed Karen Müeller.  Would you like to move her to the top of your queue?”

No, I grimaced.  I’d moved her to the bottom of the queue for a reason.

“She is friends with the illustrator you want for your next project.”

Fuck

“If you insist on being abusive, perhaps you would rather I stop giving you these updates -that I am merely providing per. your. request.”

I’d nearly forgotten that I had been digging my fingernails into the palms of my hands the entire time; I was reminded as I clenched my fists even tighter.

“Ouch!” I cried.

He remained silent.  I knew he was thinking, “I told you so,” but he wasn’t going to say it.  His circumspection just made me hate him all the more.

Why had I ever wanted him so badly?  All my friends had had one -that’s how it had started... I think.  How had one of my friends described it?  “I don’t know how lived before!”  My brain snorted.  I know how I had lived before -with a lot less aggravation, but, now, he was as indispensable as he was despised.

I sighed, and finally moved from the bed.

“You are out of toothpaste, facial cleanser, and tissues.”

FUCK

[there was a long, uncomfortable pause]

“I have reminded you three times already this week.”

“Yes, yes, okay?! Goddammit!”  I knew it was embarrassing to lose my cool, but I couldn’t help it.  I’d brought this thing into my home; I’d brought this down on myself.  Every time he pissed me off, it was really just me being pissed off with... well, me.

With the close of my eyes, I sighed.  Then I opened them.  Before he said it, I already knew I was running 30 minutes late.

“Yes, yes, I know,” I agreed with him, the resignation stuck deep in my throat.  I looked out the window, at the belligerent sun, and then -finally -stretched to the morning.  Then, I picked him up.  At 2.4 ounces, Alfred wasn’t the lightest apparatus on the market, but he was the best -and his was the only brand that didn’t bother to call itself a “phone.”