Monday, January 28, 2013

Over the rainbow, indeed…

Oh, look — the American Library Association has included Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots in its 2013 Over the Rainbow list of recommended LGBT books for adult readers…



The friendly ghost

But what should I do now? Maybe something fun, something to relax. Oh, a movie, I haven't seen a movie in a while, what's playing? Oh yeah, Kids — the one that got the NC-17 rating, that should be amusing. It’s at the Sony Nickelodeon. That's the theater inside the BU campus, right? I've never been there before.

I need something to eat. Okay, while I put on oats I'll take a shower, yes another shower, always something I can rely on. Wasn't I just here but I feel so different, what is it? Something about my body in the water and even when I'm drying off, the towel on my skin, yes it's still wet but who cares, who cares if it's wet, yes I'm chilly but I get to put on clothes, how exciting that I get to put on clothes and I even arrive early at the theater and some woman says to me: You look great, you'll be in one of these one of these days, trust me.

I figure she must mean Unzipped, should I go in and watch the end before Kids starts? No, maybe I'll walk around. Nothing to see, really, just a bunch of preppy assholes walking around — oh, wait, I know that one. Sort of. I mean I have no idea what her name is. Hi honey!

Hey girl. Do you go to BU?

No, I'm just seeing a movie.

Unzipped? I love his fashion.

No, I’m seeing Kids.

Oh, okay — are you going out tonight?

When I get back to the theater, they ask me for ID— are you serious?

I'm about to start telling them how I don't even get carded at bars, and you're going to cart me for fucking movie? But then I realize I do actually have my ID, in my bag, so I just handed to them with that glazed look in my eyes like how dare you.

Then I get inside and oh, this is kind of fun. Going to a movie by myself in the middle of the day, why don't I do this all the time? I guess because there's hardly ever anything I want to see. And, of course, the middle of the day, forget that.

And, forget these previews. And, gross, the actual movie starts with a het preteen makeout scene, you can see the sweat on their skin, little zits on her face. I thought Larry Clark was gay. I've seen some of his photos, and it's all shirtless boys. Like this boy, I guess— he's the one who's eroticized by the camera, his skinny body while he says: I'll be gentle.

Fake New York accents, what is up with these accents? All these teenage boys talking about virgins and pussy and how AIDS is a make-believe story. This boy Tully who looks like he's about 12 and slurs all his words in the voiceover, keeps talking about how he likes virgins, and then you see the girl from the opening scene, Jenny, going with her friend to get her HIV test, they're both getting tested but Jenny has only had sex with one guy. Tully.

Yes, you know it's doomed and is this some sort of cautionary tale for hetero teens who aren't even allowed into this screening except then she gets her results and it really is doomed and you don't know what to do. I mean I don't know what to do.

But here she is, driving around New York with shorter hair, right, wasn’t her hair longer before? Here she is, telling a taxi driver that everything's wrong and I'm thinking dammit, she's right, she's right. Everything is wrong.

And then there's a scene in Central Park, all these kids smoking pot and then two guys walk by holding hands and all these boys are yelling faggots, you fucking faggots, and one of the faggots, kind of cute and a little bit industrial or something, he starts to yell back and dammit I know that feeling. Oh how I know that feeling.

Then Casper, a white guy who's best friends with Tully who’s also white, he gets in a fight with a black guy who’s a few years older, and then suddenly his whole group of friends, mostly white guys but all races I guess, a few girls too, all of them are kicking and punching the guy in the face until Casper knocks him in the face with his skateboard and the guy passes out, blood all over his face and everyone is laughing.

He might be dead, that's what some of them think. They leave him there.

I don't know if I've ever seen the violence of teenage boys depicted so accurately.

Maybe this is kind of like Safe, in a way, although the style is so different. This is more like an MTV video. But is it also a queer commentary without queer characters? Except those two fags who walk by. And later a fag who does the guest list at the underage nightclub except no one’s dressed up at all, tank tops and cut off shorts, do people really look like this at New York clubs? Maybe it's not even underage, I mean they're serving alcohol.

Jenny walks right past the line, guest list, and truth be told she does look better than the rest — better hair, better make up — some guy hands her a pill, no actually he sticks it into her mouth, says it's better than K or ecstasy, she's trying to find Tully to stop him from fucking another girl, or that's what you think anyway, until the end when she walks in on him with a 13-year-old, he's just said the same things he said to her at the beginning: I'll be gentle. Of course I care about you.

And she walks in on him fucking this girl, and then starts crying, stumbles over to a sofa in the other room and passes out. Casper rapes her while she’s sleeping. The friendly ghost. We see his ass, muscular, pumping away while he's telling her it's okay.

And I'm crying, thinking oh this horrible world. This horrible world, and how do I live in it? I'm watching the credits with tears in my eyes and everyone's leaving. How will I get up off this chair, and go back outside?

At the very end of the credits, it says part of the proceeds go to teen crisis organizations. Aalk about crisis. I know those teenage boys. I mean I knew them. Those were the teenage boys I went to school with. Everyone went to school with them.

Afterwards I'm in the bathroom stall hugging myself and saying it's okay, Mattilda, it's okay. I wish I could call someone to hug me, but I don't know who that would be.

I call Sean. She says we should get cocktails.

I can't get cocktails right now.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

The rest of my life

And I don't know what to say, because this isn't how I’ve planned it. I wanted to invite them to Boston, spend a day together first, do something relaxing, appreciate anything we might have. Before confronting him.

And my mother's voice is different, panicking: Matthew, are you there?

I don't know what to say. Maybe I can just hang up, and pretend we got disconnected?

My mother's voice: Matthew, are you still there?

My voice: I'll be right back. I need to go to the bathroom.

I go to the bathroom and look in the mirror: fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck I don't know what to do I don't know what to do I don't know what to do. Should I confront him now? I have it all in my head, it's all there, I could do it now. I don't know if I have the energy. I sit on the toilet because suddenly I have to shit. I think about leaving the house, and never coming back. I think about rushing into the other room and smashing the phone with a hammer. I think about doing a bump of coke.

A bump of coke: somehow that sounds so completely wrong that it's perfect.

It's his fault, he's the one who brought it up. He could have waited. I wasn't even talking to him.

Oh, yes, little tiny diamonds, yes, this is the moment, bring me home. I look in the mirror again. I'm ready.

I am ready. I am ready. I am ready. Yes, that song speeding up in my head until it's just the beat, and I'm 6 feet off the floor.

My voice: Hello.

My mother’s voice: Matthew, oh, we were worried, is this a good time to talk?

It's fine. It's okay, I can talk now. I mean I wasn't planning to talk about this, but I've been thinking about it for a while. I've been thinking about it for a while, and as you know I've been in therapy and in therapy I've been talking, I've been talking with my therapist about everything, and to tell you the truth when I went to see him I said I'm here to get ready to confront.

My father’s voice: What do you mean confront?

Listen, I said I'm here to get ready to confront.

My mother interrupts: Maybe that's the wrong word, confront.

No, that's what I said – I said I'm here to get ready to confront, to confront — oh, you're making it so hard. Can't you just listen?

My father says: We don't know what we are listening to. We don't know who we are listening to.

What do you mean?

My father says it again, like it's a script, a script they've agreed upon: Karla thinks that you believe something sexual happened between us.

I'm trying to stay focused. Confront, what was I saying about confront?

I say: You know, I've been in pain for a long time, I've been in pain and I never really understood how much pain. I mean I never understood how out of my body I felt, I never understood until I was in my first relationship, or my first relationship with another boy, Zee, you remember Zee, right, when you visited San Francisco and we ran into him at Rainbow and he was so sad that I didn't introduce you. Oh, I mean I guess you don't remember. He was so sad, but I didn't want to introduce you because I didn't want to validate your place in my life like that. I never wanted you to know my friends.

And my father says: What does this have to do with what we’re talking about?

And my mother says: Matthew.

And I say: Zee would touch me in certain places and I would completely shut off. Anywhere near my neck. I would shut off, and I just thought that's what happened. I just thought oh, well he’s having fun, and I don't want to spoil it. Take this body, use it, soon we'll be done.

My mother says: That's another thing we're worried about. We're worried about your hustling.

And I say: I'm not talking about hustling. I'm talking about my life. I'm talking about feeling shut off all my life, totally shut off, out of my body, unable to let anyone in, always worried that someone would see my true self and they would realize I was evil, that I deserved to die, and that's why I always did so well in school, because I didn't want anyone to see what was underneath.

And my father says: I don't see what any of this has to do with…

And I say: Listen, I'm just trying to give you some context. I can't believe you won't even listen, you've never listened to me, I remember this time when we were driving on the highway and I was telling you about my day in school, and you just kept nodding your head and I knew you weren't paying attention. So I said: I'm just going to open the door right here and lie down in the middle of traffic. And you said okay, that sounds good.

And my father says: You were a kid.

And I say: I know I was a kid – I know I was a kid, but I never felt like a kid. I always felt like I was dying, like my body was broken. Adults would say enjoy it, enjoy it while you can, and I thought they were total fucking hypocrites, they liked it when I impressed them because I knew the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo, right, they liked it when I would name the different kinds of cheeses or when you would tell them how good I was at math or English or how I was reading the same books you were reading, like that biography of Stalin, how I was so smart, precocious, I was destined for great things: Doctor or lawyer, which would you prefer? But still they thought I was a clueless little kid, that I didn't understand anything real, and inside I knew that no one would ever understand. No one. No one would ever understand me.

And my mother says: I'm not sure where this is going.

And I say: You're the one who started this. You're the one who started this, and I have a lot to say, even though I wasn't planning on saying it now. I wanted to get together and spend some time with both of you first, I thought maybe you would come visit me and I would show you around Boston.

And my mother says: We would love that, we would love to come to Boston and meet Abe and see your place. Bill, wouldn’t we, Bill?

And I say: I don't think that's going to happen now.

And my father says: Karla thinks…

And I say: Yes, do you want to say it again? Do you want to say it again? You’ve never seemed to give a shit what Karla thinks— what's the difference, what's the difference now?

And my father says: That's not the subject we are on.

And I say: Right, your misogyny is not on the discussion table. This is about something else, right? This is about something totally different.

And my mother says: We're worried about you.

And I say: What are you worried about? What are you fucking worried about?

And my mother says: We're worried about your hustling.

And I can't help but laugh. I say: you're worried that I'm going to die, you’re worried I'm going to die of AIDS and it's like you've never even heard of condoms. You weren't worried I was going to die when I was a kid and he was fucking me in the basement.

My father says: Are you on drugs?

And I say: Am I on drugs? Am I on drugs? I am on so many drugs that I finally figured out how to think.

My father says: Do you need help?

And I say: Do I need help? Do I need fucking help? Look who's asking me now.

My father says: You're psychotic.

And I say: Oh, look — the psychiatrist is making a diagnosis. That's why you're asking me if I'm on drugs – maybe I'm on the wrong drugs! What would you like to prescribe for me, Doctor Freud, what would you like to give me to get me to shut up.

My father says: We don't have to listen to this.

And I say: Right. You don't have to fucking listen. You never have listened, Bill. Billy boy. All I want to say is that I know that you sexually abused me, that you molested me, that you raped me, and unless you come to terms with that I don't want to speak you ever again.

And my father starts yelling.

Of course I was waiting for him to start yelling and here it is, here's that point but it’s like I'm watching a sitcom and someone broke the laugh track, it got stuck on something else, something about how I'm psychotic I need help they're going to come up to Boston and make sure I get the right kind of assistance, obviously I wasn't seeing the right therapist, this is my therapist's fault, something needs to change, I'm in danger, it's about my lifestyle, they’re worried about my lifestyle and something needs to change.

And right around then something does change because I hang up the phone. I hang up the phone, and unplug it, and then I take a deep breath and I feel like a different person. I feel totally calm. I feel fine. I feel like I can go on with the rest of my life.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Between us

Turns out Sean had one of Richie’s tapes in her pocket, waiting for just the right moment and luckily we are waiting no longer. Four hours later and we keep turning it over and over, yes there's the part where “work me Goddammit” goes right into “She's Tyler Moore, she's Mary," and I know everyone in Boston is getting tired of that song but honey, every time I hear "She works up the block, she lives up a block" I can’t help thinking yes, my life, that's the story, bring it on. Even if Sean is saying "She's Murphy Brown she's scary”– well, that's true too, another line, Candice?

Speaking of working, now Sean's trying on Abby's dresses – it's funny how they actually fit Sean, even though Abby’s at least a foot taller. I guess they do all look a bit short on Abby – the supermodel look, right? Oh, Sean, yes, the pink one, yes, prom queen, bring it on.

The music is back to "Eternity, because you're ugly forever," and Sean is saying Winona Spider. Winona Tried Her. When Vivarin. Winona Revive Her. Winona, Winona Desire.

Winona Tried Her — that's the one, Winona Tried Her.

Then I realize the sun is coming up and oh, why don't we have curtains? Sean starts freaking out because apparently she has to work at Glad Day today and she needs to go home to change but maybe there isn't enough time, no, there will be enough time I mean she can walk to work from her place but first she’s taking a shower here to wash away any hint of Abby's makeup table and where the hell is my pot, I can't find my pot anywhere.

Forget it – I cut up a Xanax and a doxepin and snort it with little bit of coke, yes, perfect. And, just because I'm the sweetest girl in East Boston, I make a shiny little silver origami envelope, cocaine-to-go just for Sean and her bookselling career. Finally she's out of the shower and it's my turn — oh, the shower, the shower will solve everything, right?

Except my loneliness – Mattilda, don't say that. Let's just focus on sleep, yes, sleep, yes, I'm trying to sleep but really who am I kidding? This is ridiculous – why do I even have a bed? Sure, I like getting under the covers but every time I reach that delicate place between here and the next world my body does this thing where I shake from inside like there's a tiny earthquake in my bed but honey, this is the East Coast, we don't have earthquakes here so why does my body keep doing that, turbulence in the bed and I'm wired, again. And again. And again.

Finally I give up and look at the clock, 1:30, too late to fall back asleep I mean I wasn't sleeping anyway or maybe, maybe just a little? I go in the dining room and sit down at the table in my robe, trying to figure out what to do. What to do about Boston, what to do about my life, what to do about this horrible world, what to do about those stupid fucking kids outside, what are they doing out there already, what to do about the weather, is it cold or is it hot, what the fuck am I going to wear? What to do about smoking because I really want a cigarette, now, and Abby isn't even here smoking in my face, oh, where the hell is Abby? What to do about religion, yes, what to do about all the horrible religious people in the world, what to do about my acne, what to do about my body, what to do about something to eat, should I eat something, I'm not hungry, but should I eat something anyway? What to do about music, what should I play, I really can't decide, everything sounds awful, I try Moby but that's too sad, Cajmere is too clanky, I can't deal with that tired Danny Tenaglia mix. Billie Holiday? No, no, no. Memphis Minnie?

Wait, did Sean leave Richie's tape?

No, of course not, she would never forget something that gives her status. What is wrong with my head, oh, why does my head hurts so much?

I'm not doing more coke.

And just like that, the phone rings — oh, shit, it's my mother.

Matthew, oh, what a surprise! I've been trying to reach you, but I've only succeeded in talking to your roommate, Abe, he’s always so friendly, how is he?

I don't know.

What do you mean?

I mean I don't know.

Where is he?

That's what I don't know.

What do you mean?

I haven't seen him in five days.

Five days. Do you think something's going on?

That's what I'm saying.

Do you have any idea what it might be?

He went home to visit his parents, and he hasn't come back.

Do you think he decided to stay longer?

His parents are in a Christian fundamentalist cult.

Oh, are you living with a Christian fundamentalist?

Of course not. That's why I'm worried that he hasn't come back. Maybe his parents have done something to him.

Oh, well, that's a stretch.

It's not a stretch — their church is on the US government lists of cults, and you know there are plenty of terrible cults that don't get anywhere near that list, right?

I wanted to talk to you about something.

What is it?

Well, Matthew, you'll be so proud of me, because I’ve finally learned how to drive on the highway.


Yes, really. Your mother is driving on the highway. I made the decision that this had gone on for too long, that this couldn't go on any longer, and then I started driving a little bit at a time, just one or two exits at first, but now when Bill and I go on a trip I'm going to drive half way.

Does it still scare you?

A little, but I'm determined not to let that intimidate me. Oh, I knew you would understand — no one else seems to. Even Bill.

He never listens.

What do you mean by that?

I mean he never listens. He probably just starts yelling at you when you talk about it.

Well, come to think of it, he did yell at me at first, because I needed some support, so I took him with me and he would yell Karla, you're driving too slow, put your foot on the accelerator Karla, you're going to get us in an accident.

And then what happened?

Well, we didn't get in an accident, and I learned to put my foot on the accelerator.

But don't you think it would be better without him screaming at you?

Yes. You're right about that. But I've been thinking about something you told me about a long time ago.

Oh, what is it?

About how you were raped.


Was it someone in the family?

Yes. I already told you that.

I know, I know. But there was never anyone around.

And here's the moment where my heart stops. I mean I can't tell you about the moment, I can only tell you about the moment after. Because there's my father's voice. I mean first there's my father's voice, and then my heart stops, and my father’s saying: Karla thinks you believe something sexual happened between us.

And my mother says: Oh, Bill, I didn't know you were on the phone.

And I don't know whether to believe her.

And my father says it again: Karla thinks that you believe something sexual happened between us.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On top of the world

I've probably called a hundred times. And then Sean has probably called another hundred times. It's been four days since Abby was supposed to come home, and we haven't heard a thing. All I have is this note, and I keep reading it over and over again like it's going to tell me something:

Mattilda, I couldn't sleep, so I got up and did a bunch of coke and now I feel much better. I was going to bring this on the plane with me, but that's probably not a good idea, right? I don't want it to go bad, so I'm leaving this rat poison for you in my absence. Just snort a little, and think of my pretty face. Have some coke and a smile! Love, Abby.

P.S. There's a lot more where that came from, now that I'm a professional hooker with a daddy who pays me in poison so don't worry, I'll be all right when I get back. See you soon, and don't miss me too much.

Let me tell you about willpower: I made a promise that I won't do any of that pure white pure white until Sean and I figure out what's going on. But, that doesn't mean I can't open the vial again to take a look. Oh, wait – wait, someone's answering. Someone's answering the phone!


Oh, hi, is this Christina?

Who's calling?

Christina, it's Mattilda, Abby's roommate.

Excuse me?

Mattilda, Matt, Abe’s roommate. How are you doing?

Oh, hi.

Is Abe there?

Why do you ask?

Christina, listen, Abe was supposed to come back four days ago, and I haven't heard anything. Is he still there?

You don't need to worry, he's okay, everything will be okay.

What do you mean? When is he coming back?

I have to go.

That's all we get — from then on, the phone rings busy. I call Sean, and she thinks we should drive down there. To Bel Air, Maryland? We don't even know the address. Should we just look it up in the phone book under Christian fundamentalist cults?

It's on the US government watch list.

Oh, great – do you have that list?

Mattilda, I'm just saying.

I know — I know it's on the US government watch list. I can't believe this, I can't believe she's stuck there. How long is this going to go on?

Mattilda, I don't know. I'm just as worried as you are.

I know, I know — what are we supposed to do about it?

Should we get cocktails?

I don't want cocktails – I want Abby to come back.

Not drinking isn't going to bring her back.

Whatever— okay fine, fine, let's get cocktails. Do you want to bring Avery?

I thought you didn't like Avery.

I don't – I mean I didn't.

I told him you were a whore, and now he's embarrassed.

Oh, great – did you tell them that you're a whore too?

Mattilda, it's different.

What's the difference?

Everybody knows about you. It's not a secret.

Did you tell him you got arrested?

Mattilda, I didn't get arrested. They just took me in for questioning.

Oh, that's interesting — because when you called Abby, you said you needed bail. And I'm the one who went down there to rescue your fucking ass.

I was confused.

That's an understatement. I didn't even know you had a thing for Avery.

Gross — he's fat.

I cannot believe you just said that — are you kidding?

Mattilda, I don't do Asian.

Sean, that is disgusting.

I'm just being honest.

That's not honest, it's racist bullshit. He's not even Asian. He's from fucking Tunisia. Tunisia is in Africa, you idiot.

Okay, Africa. Let's just get cocktails.

I am not getting cocktails until you tell me why you were so fucking jealous about Avery.

I don't even know why you care.

I care because Boston is fucking tired. How am I supposed to have sex with anyone unless they're paying me or in the fucking Fens. I have no idea how to make it happen. I know we were drugged out of our minds, but still it was fun, we had fun, I liked his body, it was kind of romantic.

You were on X.

So what — you’re coked out 95% of the time.

It wouldn't have worked out. I was doing you a favor.

Oh, great – you were doing me a favor — well, thank you so much for the fucking favor. I wonder what happens when we’re fighting.

We are fighting.

We are not fighting — I'm just telling you that you're a fucking tired bitch.

Okay, I'm a fucking tired bitch. Let's get cocktails.

I need to eat something first.

I'm not hungry.

Fuck you – I need to get something to eat before cocktails. Let's meet at Thai Dish.

I don't like Thai food.

Oh, right — you don't do Asian.

I wasn't talking about food.

I wish you were. Why the hell are we friends anyway?

Do I have to answer that?

It’s always the same with cocktails — number one: Yes, this is just what I needed. Number two: Oh, perfect.

Number three: The next one's on me.

And then I'm in the bathroom — scratch what I said earlier about guys only wanting to have sex with me in the Fens or on ecstasy or when they call my ad — because I forgot to mention the bathroom, right? How did this guy get hard so quickly, I mean he came in after me, right? He grabs my dick and we look at each other — he's the type with overly plucked eyebrows and too much cologne, but I kind of want to kiss him anyway but then someone else comes in and he hurriedly pushes his dick into his pants.

What's the rush — isn't this a gay bar? And then the next guy is actually hotter, I don't even pretend that I'm not jerking off and soon enough he's doing it with me, but then he says sorry, I've got  to go, my boyfriend’s waiting.

And then I'm back upstairs and Sean’s saying what took you so long?

Fourth cocktail: Coke, yes, we really need some coke, where can we get coke?

And then I remember oh, the coke Abby left for me, and then the fourth cocktail is done and we’re out of this bourgie hellhole, I don't know how Sean convinced me to go to Club Café but at least now I know I can have some fun in the bathroom, which is downstairs by the gym, do the bar and the gym share the bathroom when the gym is open?

Sean wants to know how much coke — honey, I don't know how much. When we get home, she looks it over like she’s a professional and says oh, this is at least a gram — no, more. I should take it home to weigh it.

Are you kidding?

No, I got a scale.

Where did you get a scale?

Michael’s source.

Oh, the anonymous Michael’s source.

It's not someone you know.

Well, you better start figuring out how that scale works, with all the work your nose does.

I know. That's the point.



The first line is always the best. There should be a stop sign on that first line, right? Stop, savor it, feel the rush, take it all in, wait just a few minutes. But then there's the next one, can't do one nostril without the other.

Okay, the second one is pretty good too, this is the best coke I've ever done, except that time when Abby and I did the government coke study, and everyone knows the government has the best coke, right? You had to sit there for an hour or no, more like two hours with electrodes attached to your head filling out a multiple-choice questionnaire that said things like A. I feel on top of the world. B. I'm feeling pretty good right now. C. I'm starting to feel depressed. D. Nothing’s going well in my life. E. I'm feeling suicidal.

And then, just when you got to the suicidal part, that's when it was over so they gave you orange juice and made you sit in the lobby until the coke was out of your bloodstream or whatever. At least I got the coke, and not the placebo, which is what Abby got. I never knew coke could feel so good, like bounding joy rising through all of your pores at once, almost like ecstasy, I mean for at least 15 minutes or so I really thought they had given us ecstasy. Maybe a half hour. It was not good.

Anyway, this coke is good too, not as good as the government coke, but good enough for me to think about it. I'm ready to dance but Sean wants to look through Abby's stuff to see if we can find any clues, what do you mean clues?

Sean’s already in Abby's bedroom, opening up the drawers of the desk — girl, what do you think you're going to find?

The first thing she finds is more coke. A lot more. Six more vials, filled to the top. Wow.

Where did she get all this, Sean keeps asking. Where did she get all this?

I've already told her that Abby has a trick who pays her with coke, and now Sean says: I should be a chick with a dick.

You are a chick with a dick.

But then I decide I better take that coke out of the room, just so it doesn't end up in Sean's nostrils, but where should I put it? Maybe in my camera case? Too obvious. Under the bed? It might get lost. No, not the bathroom cabinet. Oh, I know, in the freezer. Or will the glass crack? Oh – with my multivitamins, perfect, I always need more vitamins.

When I go back in Abby's room, Sean's got Abby’s black bob on and she’s staring in the mirror, studying her eyes.

Oh, yes, bring it on.

Let's get dressed up.

Be my guest.

I want to put on makeup.

Go ahead.

Should we do another line?

Of course.

The funny thing is that even though Sean doesn't know how to do makeup, she already looks like someone's messy ‘80s teenage daughter, I mean she could totally pass and then the music’s on, why wasn't the music on before? Oh, this song, I love this song —where did you find this?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

To hell

Juniper comes out with the little glittery ecstasy box, waving it in her hand like celebrity is here, a round of applause for celebrity. Then she opens it up, takes out a capsule, pulls it open and somehow Sage is there with a mirror to catch it, Lisa sweeps it into five small lines and I'm looking at Abby like is this really happening but she's got her eyes closed, nodding to the beat. Juniper hands me a purple straw and says ladies first and oh yes oh yes oh yes honey I didn't expect it to burn I mean I know it's a waste to snort ecstasy but what an amazing waste and Abby shakes her head no, I’m fine — that’s a first — and then I can't help staring at the last line until Juniper hands the straw back to me.

Are you sure?

Oh. Honey. It's. The least. We could do. We invited you over. And then abandoned you.

But honey, the music was incredible. You're incredible.

And then it's time for the left nostril, this might be the best moment of my life as Sage hands me my Kool-Aid and I drink the rest and then walk towards the bathroom and go right to the sink, stare at myself in the mirror – honey, my eyes are gone. Then I'm trying to piss and someone's knocking – Lisa, come in. Oh, forget it, I can't piss, let’s go. Back in the living room Juniper is waving around some sparkly thing and Abby’s twirling around with her eyes closed and yes, here it comes again, “X, X, X — trava — ganza.”

Have you seen this, Sage says, and she starts bouncing some kind of glow-in-the-dark ball that lights up every time it hits the ground and honey, this is too good, and there’s the vocal slowing, slowing, slowing down until it stops for good and Juniper comes in and everyone's so tall, I'm feeling left out but Sage says don't worry, at least you can walk.

And walk.

And, walk.

Down the stairs in a hurry and out into the night air, oh the air, you didn't tell me about the air, and there's no one around. I take Abby's hand because she looks a little scared, are you okay?

Where are we going?

To the Loft.

Are you sure?

Where do you want to go?

I don't know.

But yes I'm dancing now, dancing in the street because I can still hear the music the way the deepest part of the night becomes a game for your eyes in the sky and we are walking. We are walking and walking and walking, turn, yes, turn, up in the air, twirl around for street signs, street lights, yes the buildings the cars, only a few, even that guy up ahead who’s staring like what you doing out? What are you doing out? And wait, stop, I can't believe how close it is —oh, the buildings, I love these buildings, the way someone arranged them like toys, I never noticed that before.

Somehow Juniper and Sage are already down at the doorway to the Loft and the rest of us are all back by the street and Sage comes running up in excitement and Juniper says Sean was right, there's a padlock on the door. I just had to know. I just had to know if Sean was right.

Abby’s shivering and I realize I'm freezing too, should we go home?

Wait a second, I say, wait a second. And I turn around to look up. We all turn around, and there she is, Andrea, there she is in all her sparkling glamour. Lisa says who? Andrea, I say, and point. And she says: Oh. Andrea. Of course. She's beautiful.

Not as beautiful as you.

And here's a taxi, just like that, we open the door and it smells like cinnamon, peppermint, vomit, Pine-Sol, no don't notice that part — cinnamon, peppermint, oh, this is nice, the soft warm seats and then into the tunnel and Abby says I'm sorry I got so dramatic earlier. My eyes are closed and I reach over for her hand. She says it again: I'm sorry I got so dramatic.

Don't worry, I say, don't worry.

I don't believe in hell, she says. But sometimes.

When we get home — oh, this is great, who lives here?

Mattilda, we live here.

Oh, right, I love it. Let's put on some music.

Mattilda, I'm going to try to go to bed.

Oh, bed, oh.

I'm setting my alarm for noon, but don't let it wake you.

Sleep? I don't even know if I'm going to sleep.

Then I'll see you in the morning, when I get ready to go.

Where are you going?

To hell.


Just kidding – you know, to visit my parents.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Darling I love you but can't you see

Avery leaves and I'm worried I'm starting to crash, so I stare at the light bulbs on the vanity and let my eyes roll back, that's better. I'm drying myself off, and Abby comes in.

Mattilda, she says, it's so hot in here, Mattilda, it's so hot, I can't stand it.

Abby’s splashing water on her face, and I open the window wider, even though it's freezing.

Abby looks at me, and when I see her eyes I can tell she's been crying or maybe she is crying or maybe she just wants to cry, it's like her face is shifting so fast I can't tell, is it the light? Abby’s staring in the mirror like she doesn't know what's on the other side. “Darling I love you but can't you see, it's over for me” comes on and oh, I love this song so I say: It's over for me.

It's over, Abby says, but she sounds like she's serious.

“Should I say it again?”

“Should I say it again?”

Then it's back to eating ice cream off the floor. Sage is a genius — I wish the Loft wasn’t closed, maybe Sean was joking. But Abby says Mattilda, do you believe in hell?


She turns toward me, her face all red: Do you believe in hell?

Of course not. Are you okay?

How. Do you. Know. That we. Are not. Going. To burn. In hell?

Abby. What is going on?

Mattilda. I just want to know. How you know. That we are not. Going to. Burn. In hell.

And then Abby starts to shake, and she's really sobbing, and I wrap the towel around myself so I can put my hand on her back. Abby, it's okay, it's okay, that's just your parents, it's brainwashing, it's bullshit, there is no hell, you're not going to burn, and she looks at me and says: Mattilda, I don't want to go. And I'm not sure if she means she doesn't want to leave this house, or she doesn't want to go to her parents’ house, or she doesn't want to go to hell.

Abby says: My parents. The church. My sister. Even my sister.

Even your sister believes in hell?

Even my sister. I don't want to go.

Oh, Abby, you don't have to go, we can just stay here, we can stay here forever. No one is making you go back to Maryland.

Mattilda. I have to go. I bought a ticket.

You don't have to go.

Mattilda. I have to. Can we go home? To our house.

Sure. Just let me get dressed.

Mattilda. I love you.

I love you.

Abby leaves the room and at first I think maybe I'm not high anymore but then I close my eyes and oh, yes, this is where I want to stay, can't I just stay here, here in my head blasting off into the sky, yes just run this hot water on my hands oh the way it all travels through me, should I get back in the shower, no I have to go out there for Abby and I'm starting to feel sad, even though these colors are nice, oh yes, these colors, and when I put on my clothes again I feel awkward, all this cloth against my skin but when I get back in the living room Sage is taking a hit off a huge bong. Perfect — that's just what I need. She hands it to me while holding her breath and yes, this is just what I need. I look at Abby and she looks calmer, and then Lisa shows up in her platforms, those are the platforms I want, combat boots with 6 inches extra, but I don't want to look like I'm copying Lisa.

Of course, Mattilda, we don't want to miss The Loft.

What time is it?

4:30. I know. We’re almost too late.

Abby, should we go to the Loft?

Abby nods her head, but wait, Sean said the Loft got shut down.

We're going anyway. Want some more acid?

She hands me the Kool-Aid.


I'm. Just. Kidding. I meant vitamin C.

Oh. Vitamin C. I love vitamin C.

Yes, these drums and chants rolling around in the background and is the music getting quieter? I look around to see if anyone else notices. Until it's so quiet that you can hear Juniper laughing from the other room or maybe that's in the song, I'm looking around to see and then suddenly the volume goes way up and it's “get somebody you need somebody”– oh honey, oh honey, this is so good, we should come here every night.