By Elizabeth Board
I don't particularly like acting, memorizing lines is not really for me. And so the thought of something decently good coming out of it never really occurred to me. We'd seen each other at rehearsals every Saturday, but never really talked. He didn't really talk. No one knew him, even the ones who had been with him for years. Then in one day everything changed. I woke up that morning begging some nonexistent deity to let me remember my lines, just once, and as the day moved on I could feel myself losing the words more and more. For every moment leading up to curtain call, I gripped that script hoping that the words would appear in my mind. At some point I gave up on that goal.
We were all backstage, wound tight, and decided to play our own hyper-sexual teenage games. On a bet and a dare and just our own sex fiend minds me and her kissed, and again. Like fucking trained showgirls. And the boys looked on taking in the scene, just a little bit shocked; men and their forever obsession with lesbian love scenes. I don't know how to explain what happened next because no matter how many times we go over it, in our heads and out loud, neither of us has any grip on what happened. I broke apart from her and somehow I wound up close to him. Somehow he wound up kissing me. He told me later that he felt so relieved when he felt me kiss him back. I don't know why I did; I don't know why any of it happened. I guess you could call it fate or something.
The play was a disastrous blur, emphasis on disastrous. Shakespearean iambic pentameter was never supposed to be spoken by teenagers. Or maybe only ones who just don't care. We changed in front of each other. Out of floor length skirts, bodices and formal wear and into the clothes of an entirely different generation all together. As a cast we went to Hooters but hardly anyone ate. We were there for the conversation, the sociability, not the wings. He asked me if I needed a ride home and I took his offer.
We were ourselves isolated together going 60 miles an hour down curving back roads. I had no idea what to expect, I think I might have been a little scared. He pulled over and as he rolled the blunt I got to know things about a boy I'd seen everyday in rehearsals, things that I hadn't even begun to imagine about him. As he drove, we slowly got stoned and traded tragic life stories in the moments between our inhales and smoky exhales. We pulled off at a park and sat taking ragged breaths. He told me he could make me love him, and I laughed.
A week later my phone rang while gallivanting dispassionately through the mall, and when I answered it was his voice on the other line. That was the last thing I could have ever expected. He wasn't even going to do it but then he dialed and we went out. It was something nonchalant but he kept calling and I kept responding. The days were filled with our alcoholic romances in the back seat of his car, discussing everything that we could. We slowly got to know each other and understand our underlying angst. His arms were always wrapped around my waist holding me and stroking my back. He's the only person I've ever met who can kiss me tenderly with a fist clenched 'round my throat.
In the early days I mused in my private thoughts about everything we shared. The things he said and the way he reacted to my own small statements. I became fragile in his momentary abscesses as I waited for him to retrieve a bottle from the trunk or run into a gas station for a pack. But he kept coming back to me intrigued by my flare for violence and his own malicious pursuits. We were locked in a mutual exploration of each other. Amazed by the secrets of brutality hidden away under years of social training. Malevolence is socially unacceptable when combined with passion but we made it our own fingerprint and left bruises and rope burns across our flesh. Love was the last thing that either of us was looking for. We were outcasts just tracing each other's wounds under the summer sky.
One time he pushed my hair out of my eyes looked into them and told me I was damaged. When he said that I just smiled slightly and dug my nails harder into his neck. The best response is no response. He thought I was so cold and distant and far away. During all of our late night talks over a bottle or two of wine there was always the looming knowledge that he would be leaving soon. College was made to destroy young lovers.
The night before he left we did the same things as always, drink, smoke, fuck, repeat, and then lay there starring at each other. He said that we couldn't be together and I thought he was breaking up with me, and so as he bent to kiss me I looked away, went limp, and most of all didn't kiss him back. He seemed confused and pressed me closer, holding me. He looked at me shaking his head and asked me what was going on. I looked at him fragile, confused, angry; and I had to tell him that he'd just broken up with me. He shook his head and pulled me to his chest, whispering in my ear "I love you." I was shaking against him frozen and frightened. The silence kept hanging there growing with our fear. His eyes begging me to respond. "I", "love", and "you" were the three hardest words I've ever had to say.
He's been gone for awhile now; he comes back from time to time. When he comes home it's like someone has pressed play because all the times in between don't even matter. There's always this feeling of being alone and unwanted right before he comes back. We live in our own little world of substance abuse and sadism but at some point our world will collide with the real one, and what will happen then? We always talk about our future together. He seems more ready to conform to society to slip in among the crevices to be just another lawyer, just another working man. I still live in the realm of fantasies, famous and infamous, criminal and criminally beautiful. I have such a short time to grow, do I really think I'll live that long? Or is my early death just another of my foolish escape fantasies? I think he proved my life wrong, he lived it before me. Cigarettes, booze, razorblades and blunts.
We are just two people with addictive personalities, in love or just completely addicted to each other. If we broke up would I have withdrawal? Would we need detox, rehab? How are we supposed to know if we're actually in love or just fading into our ever addictive personalities? Falling for what we think is love, our own minds' lies. Could we raise a family on our own addictions? Big house, two kids, a puppy and a kitten. Could I even live like that? Driving our children to soccer practice and band while he goes over depositions, opening statements, their last wills and testaments. Could I cook dinner for a family and keep myself together even when they scream? Our relationship is so dangerous, so fragile and every little thing seems ready to break it down. We fight about everything but then we make up, multiple times.
He still thinks I'm cold; he still thinks that I don't share enough with him. We fight over it non-stop. I've never told him that I like not being in control. I like passing out naked on the carpet eyes fluttering in my swimming skull. I like the darkness. He holds me petting my hair and waking me up occasionally to make sure I'm still alive. He doesn't know that sometimes I think I'm dying, and sometimes I can't even make myself care. He watches me drink and waits for what he knows will happen.
He says I over do it. Well, so does he. I guess we over do it, but then again I guess that's why we're in love.