Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Four







"I had two sisters but I killed Anastasia by accident. We were swimming in the pond, my parents took us to this shack in the woods and there was a pond there and the pond was very dark but at the same time very reflecting and, anyway, Anastasia and Merna, that's my other sister, were swimming in the pond and it was cold, because it was winter, and, Merna's the oldest, I'm the middle, and we were racing from one end of the pond to the other end of the pond, and we were all naked, I was fourteen, and suddenly I'm very tall and I'm swimming and I'm winning the race and I'm watching the edge of the pond and the dirt and the dirty little rocks and I'm swimming very fast and my arms feel long and Merna's calling me a bitch and I stop. I'm at the edge. Merna's very wild and angry and Anastasia is in front of me and I grab a rock and smash her eye and smash her other eye and grab her hair and hold her under the dirty pond-water for a long time. It was an accident, I think. Merna was very angry and I was afraid of many things and I smashed her with a rock and held her under the pond-water."

"You're lying," Aaron says. "I don't believe it".

We're in my apartment. Aaron has sprawled his pudgy oversized body on my sofa. He is leaning very backward and resting his head on the back of the sofa and his arms are very long and his arms cover the top of the sofa and his very large very thin hands grasp the corners of the sofa. I am pacing in front of him. I moved my coffee table into the kitchen and now I am pacing in front of Aaron and it is very dark and almost like night outside my windows but it's hardly noon and the day seems all at once useless and boring.

"Merna is so lovely," I say. "You should see a picture of Merna, a picture from before the disfigurement."

"The disfigurement?"

"My mother stabbed her in the face and cut off her nose. My mother said she was 'correcting her mistakes.' That was ten years ago."

"Hmm."

"Let's talk about something else," I say. "Let's talk about global terrorism, or fashion design, maybe. Do you like fashion? Do you think I'm fashionable?"

Aaron slowly removes his arms from the couch and rolls them carefully toward his body. The arms touch Aaron's chest and slide smoothly toward his lap and stop on his lap and the arms rest on his lap painfully, and the hands and the fingers on the arms move like small insects towards Aaron's knees, where they become taut and solid, where they become fixed points on a three-dimensional grid.

'I am moving,' I think, 'I am not moving.'

"I feel a little crazy today," I say. "Am I fashionable? I don't know."

"You are fashionable enough," Aaron says.

"I kind of want to be a terrorist," I say. "I think terrorists are terribly fashionable."

"Oh?"

"I don't know. Maybe it's just fashionable to hate terrorists or something," I say. "I'm a liar. I don't want to be a terrorist. I want to steal everything all at once and take everything someplace safe and bury everything. That's what I really want."

"You shouldn't talk like that."

"I talk how I want. That's part of the deal."

I move to the refrigerator and I stop. The refrigerator has many magnets and beneath the many magnets are drawings drawn by Erik and the drawings drawn by Erik whose name is really Todd are all crayony and round and with breasts and little inflated penises and balloons and kittens and these drawings are arranged on the refrigerator door in an aggressive way and I am frightened at the organization of it and I can't open the refrigerator door and I can't even for a moment look away from the drawings and the refrigerator door. 'Erik has drawn these pictures for me,' I think.

"What is it?" says Aaron from the living room.

"Nothing," I answer.

There is a click and the front door is opening.

It is Erik.

Erik seems much taller and much thinner than before. His little clear eyes focus and refocus around the apartment. "I'm home," he says. "Who's this?"

Aaron slowly stands.

There is a sound like crinkling paper but louder and more agitated and Aaron is on his feet and Aaron's arms are long bulky triangles and Erik stands in front of him, his chin a pointy little knot in his face. I stand between them. It makes me laugh, standing between them. 'I'm the middle,' I think. I laugh.

"I'm Aaron," Aaron says.

"I'm Todd," Erik says.

"I'm Todd," I say, and I laugh some more.

Aaron and Erik watch me, their faces expressionless. Aaron and Erik's little eyes are clear and Aaron and Erik watch me together or simultaneously and their little clear expressionless eyes move only to blink and I blink and we are all blinking and it is painful to see their little clear eyes and to see their little clear breaths and to blink and see them and blink and see them again. I want suddenly to be alone and to sit on my sofa and maybe read or watch television or listen to NPR and to think about Lisbon and kittens but it's just useless desire and boring desire and I think about my refrigerator and the crayony Erik drawings and about Aarons narrow hands and narrow face and Erik's brown mess of hair and the dirty pond-water and about how I could at any time hold Erik and Aaron underneath the dirty pond-water. Two nights ago I couldn't sleep and I left my bed and sat on the sofa and I imagined little clear eyes watching me and I read a book and a magazine and I couldn't sleep and the book, the magazine, even the dark out the window was only painful and tiring, so I sat very still and stopped everything I had the power to stop. It's like that now, maybe. I think, 'It's like that now.' But I don't mean it because nothing is like anything or everything is like anything and there's hardly a difference anyway.

"We should sit at the dining room table," I say.

"We don't have a dining room," Erik says.

"Here," I say.

I point. We sit. It's cold but I'm too tired to turn on the heat.

At the dining room table we almost form an equilateral triangle. "Erik," I say. "Could you move to the left, maybe three inches?" Erik moves. Centered and equidistant from each of us is a People magazine with Kevin Costner on the cover and Kevin Costner's hair is thin and lanky and he is smiling but in a suspicious way, as though he knows someone is photographing him and he doesn't want to be photographed, and he is holding in his little hairy hand a white plastic bag. 'What is in the white plastic bag,' I think, but there is no answer in the headlines. Aaron and Erik look around and Aaron shrugs a little and looks at the ceiling and Erik taps the table. "It's my birthday," I say. "We should commit a terrorist act."

Aaron chuckles.

"What's in the white plastic bag?" I ask.

Erik's little forehead wrinkles a little and Erik leans back in his chair and there is a low creak. "I quit my job today," Erik says. "I don't work for Wal-Mart anymore. I liked the job, you know, but I straightened everything that could be straightened and there was nothing left to straighten or organize so I told my boss that I was a waste of money. I've organized everything now. I reached the pinnacle or something."

"I wish I could stab something," I say.

Aaron turns the People magazine over. "I can't stand it," Aaron says. "Kevin Costner was staring at me."

"We should go to the shopping mall. We could have a portrait made of us and then steal many things."

Erik turns to Aaron. "Have you ever been to Wal-Mart?" Erik asks. "I organized fucking everything."





We're at the mall.

"Seriously Aaron," Erik says. "Are you trying to fuck my girlfriend?"

"I don't 'fuck', I make love."

"It's all fucking," I say.

"She has nice tits, doesn't she?" Aaron says. "Nice tits when she's petulant."

Erik agrees.

The mall is flat and long and gray. I think, 'People move together and apart and each person, whether together or apart, is probably the same person and a completely unique person at the same time.' I slide into Nordstrom and Aaron and Erik follow. I imagine people coming apart into many simple pieces. I think, 'That's stupid.' A woman who looks like a school-teacher says, "Welcome to Nordstrom's." I look at the perfume counter and away from the school-teacher woman's face and on the perfume counter are many bottles of perfume and behind the many bottles of perfume are two young women wearing very articulate make-up and I look carefully at them and I think, 'What kind of make-up is very articulate make-up?' and I feel as though I've entered the wrong store and that these young women know that I've entered the wrong store and that they will soon escort me outside with their slim fingers gripping my shoulders, one hand on each shoulder, and their perfectly lip-sticked lips pursed into little ironic frowns. There is the sound everywhere of people talking. There is a piano and a man plays the piano and the man playing the piano is wearing a black tuxedo and white gloves. 'No,' I think, 'his hands are just very white.' Aaron and Erik are moving very slowly behind me and I'm moving very slowly and above us the long fluorescent light tubes are moving very slowly, slowly with the vibration electricity and slowly with the movement of air, maybe.

"The hands are just white," I say.

"What?" says Erik.

"I don't know what I'm saying. I feel like doing something terrible."

Aaron moves close to me and touches my shoulder and leans his face close to my face and breathes warmly on my neck. "It's not possible to do anything terrible. There is no such thing as terrible," Aaron says.

"She's just moody," says Erik. "She just wants attention. She is bored, bored and wants attention."

"I could kill you and you couldn't stop me from killing you," I say to Erik. "I could kill anyone and it would be easy." I move behind a rack of dresses and remove my knife from my purse and slash the dresses. "I can kill these dresses if I want."

"Stop that," Aaron says. Aaron's head moves around and his eyes watch for people.

I continue to slash dresses.

"Just leave her alone," says Erik.

"I can't."

"She'll stop eventually. She's circumspect, I think. She does this all the time. Once we got kicked out of Hot Topic for the same thing. She told the manager the clothes looked sad."

I slash the dresses and cut tiny pieces from the dresses and put the tiny dresses pieces into my pockets. I thrust my knife through the dresses and rip the dresses. I squat on the floor and slash the carpet and stab the carpet and the carpet is very thick and full and brown and I pull up triangular carpet flaps and cut them loose and put tiny carpet triangles into my pockets with the dresses pieces.

"Let's go," says Erik.

"No."

"I don't want to get caught."

Aaron shrugs.

"Who cares if we get caught?" I say. I toss a dress onto the floor. "There, I covered it."

Aaron starts to laugh.

I place my knife inside my purse. Aaron and Erik are watching me so I watch Aaron and Erik and my eyes and their eyes are sort of motionless in the way that eyes can be motionless and still move suddenly. I open my mouth and breathe deeply and lean back slightly and open my mouth until I can't open my mouth any more and I push the air from my lungs violently and form the air into a sound and say the sound until my throat hurts and say the sound so that Aaron and Erik are shocked and shush me and hold their arms rigidly in a useless way and I move past them and I run and push the air from my lungs and say the sound until I'm outside where it is cold and cloudy. Then I stop and laugh and wait for Aaron and Erik to find me. I touch the dresses pieces in my pockets and the dresses pieces are very soft and warm. Erik and Aaron are moving toward me with their hands in their pockets and Aaron is ahead of Erik and is very wide so that Erik almost disappears behind him. I touch my cell-phone and the dresses pieces and the leather of my purse the tiny triangles of carpet and I move these things together and let them touch each other until Aaron and Erik stand next to me, then I say something.

8 comments:

Tao Lin said...

"Erik seems much taller and much thinner than before. His little clear eyes focus and refocus around the apartment."

because aaron is overweight

Ofelia said...

Probably. I didn't really think about it. That's probably bad. I should think abou these things.

MadisonGlass said...

Don't think to hard. It's coming out perfectly. I wouldn't want you to ruin it by overthinking.

amber said...

and were the simple little pieces an accidental or purposeful reference of i heart huckabees?

i like the simple little pieces...

Ofelia said...

Hi Amber,

I don't know what you're talking about. You should tell me. I don't want to make references accidentally, and probably not on purpose, but I suppose accidentally is better.

Now I have to read through and figure out where I wrote "simple little pieces".

With Hammer And Tong...The LetterShaper said...

Very much enjoyed my time spent strolling through your site...as a poet and an avid reader, I found it both enlightening and enriching. I thank you...

Ofelia said...

Thank you 'with hammer and tong...the lettershaper'.


Amber,

I think I know what you're talking about. I have to think about now. I'm thinking.

Amelia Markson said...

don't think. maddie is right. don't think too hard! it's so good right now!