Chibimagic's Weblog

Archive for March 2014

“The thing about Batman is, he needs a hard line because he doesn’t think he can stop.”

I nod and listen to him continue.

“Because The Joker is bad because he killed 10,000 people. But what about this guy, he killed 100 people. That’s pretty bad. I guess we should kill him too. But what about THIS guy, he killed 5 people. And that’s pretty bad too…”

This dinner started out pretty lame. I was hungry and thirsty from running, and in the distraction I defaulted to the usual small talk: TV shows, music, life whatevers.

“Music is pretty much the kiss of death,” A had said earlier that day at brunch.

“Yeah,” M agreed. “I only ask about music if I’ve exhausted all other avenues of conversation and can think of absolutely nothing else to talk about.”

A snickered and stared off awkwardly into space as if she were on a bad date. “Soooo…” she asked the empty chair across from her. “Do you.. enjoy.. music…?”

Funny.

“And at the end, his girlfriend says to him, ‘How fucking selfish are you, that you would place your own honor above the fate of the world?'”

Idealism vs pragmatism. Utilitarianism. The nature of reality. Zero disagreement. Zero bullshit. All night he has been nothing but upfront and earnest. I gulp it down like the ice water they’ve been refilling all evening. It’s my only criteria. I went into this not caring, but he’s surprising me.

Things have taken a turn for a better since we steered the conversation into taboo territory. We talk about politics. Religion. Children. Again, zero disagreement. Not that that’s unusual for these topics, considering the valley. But I’m feeling adventurous—or perhaps I’m looking for an excuse to sabotage this—so I bring up money. Who’s paying for dinner? (Because what better way to diffuse an awkward situation than to talk about it?) In my head he’s already racking up points for making me comfortable enough that I can ask about it in the first place. He describes his strategy to me: he would reach for the check when it was offered but give me a chance to object. Prepared to pay for dinner, prepared to split, prepared to let me pay.

This is not a boy that will keep me awake at night writing sad stories, I think to myself. I was looking for some fundamental disagreement. Something to scare him off so that I wouldn’t have to begin the slow hard process of opening up again. But I haven’t found it yet.

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Two years ago, in an effort to impress a boy, I bought a new dress, dragged my full length mirror into the other room, leaned it against the door, and took a picture. Within the hour, I promptly forgot about the mirror and opened the door again, sending it crashing to the ground. Though I picked up all the pieces I could find, tiny slivers continued to elude me for months.

One day, fresh out of the shower, I found some of those slivers with my foot. Cursing, I cleaned up the blood and pulled out the pieces I could see, but walking continued to be painful. Try as I might, I couldn’t locate the source of the pain. J offered me his eyes, his tweezers, his magnifying hobby light, but the only thing we found buried in there was flesh and blood.

I figured it was my imagination; or just the pain of an open wound. But two more times the wound opened up in the ball of my foot. I resorted to limping; to thickly cushioned socks and shoes. I feared this was the beginning of Being Old.

Six weeks later, in a fit of rage, or possibly boredom, I plopped down on J’s couch again: tweezers and his sharpest kitchen knife clutched in one hand, a bottle of rubbing alcohol in the other. Again, as I peered through the magnifying light at the slit in my foot, I saw nothing. But I poked. And I prodded. And I felt the hard nub of something that was not organic. I wrestled with my skin, pulling it this way and that. And something began to emerge. With a final nudge, the last piece of glass splinter popped from my foot.

While I had been living my life, my body had been hard at work. Slowly it had repaired itself and worked the foreign object to the surface. My efforts to accelerate the process had only led to more suffering.

I think of this story now, as I sit. Waiting for my heart to work out that last pointy shard. For it to rise far enough to the surface that I can pluck it from my body and free myself.

Was it real? It seemed so insignificant and dull, sitting there on the table. I set my foot down and eased my weight onto it. Slowly. Testing. Not trusting that it was over. Waiting for the sharp stab of pain. But there was none. I hobbled over to the hardwood floor of his kitchen and tested my weight there too. Still none. Step—wait—step. No pain; no blood. It was over.