Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Zeve stands there under a pool of blood and with the angriest, most indignant scowl furrowing his brow. Ariun steps out to see what has happened, what she has caused. although always stoic, she breaks for a second when she surveys the scene. she looks at me open-mouthed, not enough to lock eyes with me, and quickly to the searing stare of Zeve. her lips are sealed. she is quiet throughout. she doesn't look at me again, just stands there waiting for something.

Zeve (wagging his finger furiously at Ariun's face): you'll hear from my lawyers, bitch! and my lawyers' lawyers! you think you can get away with this?! that anyone can?! this is me we're talking about, ME! (he pounds his chest.) i run this school, and this place, and the world! you were dead the moment this prank popped into your low-class head! i am so speechless i cannot talk!

a couple of bulky goons happen on the spot and lift Zeve by the armpits to drag him away. he leaves a trail of spotted blood and drips as he exits. Ariun doesn't look at me again. she closes the door in haste.

i am a bit shocked. i'm immovable. i don't know what to do next, what to say. am i out of the room? out of the commotion? it seems i am, it's not here anymore, it's another here, there. my feet must have led me out without me knowing, my cured feet.

the next day, Zeve committed suicide.

those two weeks ran slow, they went in slow motion, because they were singularly motivated by one thing: my healing and hers. we worked as a perfect tandem to solve a mutual riddle. it will never be the same again. the cloud of what-ifs and uncertainty rain upon me forever like what i want the weather outside to be. it's ironically sunny. and Ariun, too. i wonder how she feels? no one saw this coming. i did because i'm a writer, an artistic type, not meant for the corporate world. was it pressure? the emptiness of power? no love from Dad? we'll never know. there is a note but it's just a note. how can one note explain an infinite life? is it wrong that i don't feel guilty? is it wrong that i feel guilty? i never liked the guy, but just then, i started to fall in love with him. i loved him, because we are all one. one love.

life continued without my blessing. the days forced themselves through. i am wide awake as i go through this blackout. i don't remember anything i'm doing. another test, lecture, stroll in the park, i don't stroll anymore, nothing to stroll about, nothing to stroll to. life isn't a walk in the park, this has been made all too clear on a cloudy day.

when it is time to go to bed, i relish that. i sleep so much because i don't want to face my four-faced bedroom wall. i imagine there are rings coming from my bedroom as i approach it late at night lugging two brown grocery bags by the armpits. i fumble in my pockets to locate my keys whilst holding two lugs of weight. please keep ringing. i'm almost there. don't stop. stop. it stopped. too cheap for an answering machine. i'll never know who it was. all the cans have spilled onto the floor in the effort. the meaningless effort. but what if they weren't rings? they were street noises, mere street noises. the phone rings. i pick up. it's that lady

reminding me to do something about my student health care or i'll be banned for life.

it's Mom checking up on me.

it's Ariun.

everytime i crawl out of bed and begrudingly put on my shoes, i feel only pain. i feel no pain, and that's 'cause of Ariun, she fixed me, but is she fixed? who fixes the fixer?

i should call her up. i call her up. but i don't know her number. her home number. oh, her office number, she'll be there. i don't know the office number, never had to actually call it, they called me. i'll leave her a message, something to soothe her as she did me, something to take her mind off the horror of permanence. i'll sing her the Sore Feet Song. i can't sing. i'll play her the Sore Feet Song off youtube. i hope she likes it.

things are on a tangent now, they exist but at an angle, nothing is straightforward and upright anymore. i whistle waiting for the bus but it all comes out flat like my feet. i have to protect my beautiful mended feet from walking. i can whistle. every human can whistle. a song bug bores through my mind offering the comfort of melodies and yet the strangeness of a concept, it demonizes as it accepts, it dooms as it caresses,


college will pass, but Zeve never will. again. neither will my other friend who did the same thing. i tried to stop this finality, but you can't stop the finality with finals. you can only stop finality with fliers. i was gung-ho about the Suicide Prevention Club at my school, thought it was the only club worth joining, but playtime is over. games are games, life is life, and never the twain shall meet. Mark Twain's witticisms do not help. they can, but only in my mind, privately, for no one else to see, as i analyze it all.

some time later, time passed, past my pasttimes, i walked past a pole covered with a blanket of stapled fliers, all grimey and gluey and feathery from the rain. i noticed that one of my fliers of the suicide club was on there amongst the others. that had to have been Zeve's work, he was the only one i gave the fliers to, it was still a new concept for me, an idea of mine generating a seed in my infant brain, i hadn't told anyone else about it.

the police later determined after massive tests that the piece of paper the suicide note was written on the back of was one of my fliers as well. it was too faded to make out, a microscope was needed. that's not true, it's just that i wrote the flier with an invisible ink marker. no, it was clear robust smelly black marker, it's just that in my head i didn't really want to go through with it. the suicide. club.

i wondered if i had planted the idea in his head, that he was a walking bomb and me the fuse. the path to hell is paved with good intentions and made slick by infrequent rain on dangerous campus streets. it's not safe to go outside and walk at night or at day.

Ariun called me finally. she was that first lady all along with the robot voice initiating this whole procedure in the first place. i needed to do something corporate to save my position at this school, this school where i am to get a degree in non-corporate. that was the only way Ariun and i could have met, by following the rules.

Ariun has been crying, i can tell. when she speaks to me, there's not a hint of sadness in her voice. it's all gone. she is as stoic as ever. she's not cold, she's a warm person, the warmest ever who made me feel better. i let her words sink in before responding. i don't respond to her, just listen. Mom always said it's better to listen than to speak. when you are so agitated to speak, respond, comment back, you miss what the person on the other end is actually trying to say, you are too quick to filter the other person's buzzwords into your steel philosophy and too ready to attack-mode and protect your ideals. that's not listening, that's an echo chamber. that's not communication, that's masturbation.

Ariun takes a quiet pause and tells me:

"the tacks were meant for you."



Juliette said...

Mom always said it's better to listen than to speak. when you are so agitated to speak, respond, comment back, you miss what the person on the other end is actually trying to say, you are too quick to filter the other person's buzzwords into your steel philosophy and too ready to attack-mode and protect your ideals. that's not listening, that's an echo chamber. that's not communication, that's masturbation. - I love this paragraph. So very true. So masterfully put across.
Nobody fixes the fixer, nobody gives a fuck. Fixers are fine, they think.
I sometimes feel your pain on such a beautiful, toxic level that resonates within. Deep and covered from even my own acknowledgement.
You must walk on your mended feet or the mending is futile. Just walk in the right direction. The tacks are to keep you not mame you.
Ariun would surely adore the sore feet song, it's beautiful.

the late phoenix said...

juli: thank you so much for your analysis, i always adore it and you.

keep, not mame: i love how that's put.

yeah, i'm thinking Ariun spilled those tacks because she wanted to prick me just enough so i'd have to come back to her for her to heal me again. friends reunited, purposes maintained. true connections are rare in this life and must be held onto at any cost, that's the thinking...

Juliette said...

That's some good thinking, sweet Phoenix ;)