Robert Bard

Archive for the ‘Mimesis’ Category

Food Shopping on the Government

In Mimesis on August 30, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Reginald had been raised all his life to be proud, and to never accept help. His mother had once told him that if he ever thought about receiving food stamps, welfare, or anything like that, that he would no longer be welcome in her house. It was not so much that she looked down on people that received them; she just knew that Reginald would never himself need them, and should never accept them. Reginald had been given all the tools and talents necessary to live life without government aid, and had been raised to feel guilty about accepting help of any kind. While he was at college, and in high school, there were all sorts of different forms of help that he could have—and perhaps should have—received for the care of his mental disorders. He would have been able to take longer on tests, perhaps have extended paper times, all sorts of things, but he prided himself on being able to do everything on his own—until he talked to Elizabeth.

Elizabeth had come from an impoverished family with little means, and had learned from a young age to take all that you can get, more out of direct necessity than pure greed. Her family had long been on food stamps, and now that she was old enough for them, she had sought them herself. Being of little means, and being a very persistent person, she had managed to secure a few hundred dollars worth of food stamps for herself, even though her needs were largely met by the family she was now living with. The way the system works, however, is that if you show that you don’t need it—i.e. don’t use it—then it is reduced the following month. Elizabeth viewed this as more of a challenge than anything else. Of course she could spend a few hundred dollars on food for herself every month. Who couldn’t? She frequently took Reginald out on grocery store trips to buy whatever they pleased, and Reginald came along, though he felt guilty for doing so.

They found themselves, this time, at a local grocery store, in the chocolate isle.

“Which one do you want, baby?” Elizabeth asked Reginald, as she gestured to various candy bars. Their basket was full of treats. Reginald loved grocery shopping, because he loved cooking, and when he was depressed, good food often cheered him up—gaining weight, however, did not.

Reginald felt uneasy. He wanted the chocolate (he had a soft spot for chocolate), but he felt wrong about letting Elizabeth buy it for him. It wasn’t like he had money to buy it himself, but he would rather go hungry than accept help from someone else, especially under these circumstances. Elizabeth could sense Reginald’s uneasiness. “C’mon babe. I know you want the dark chocolate and raspberry Ghirardelli. It’s your favorite.”

She was right, of course, but Reginald felt wrong about it. “It’s okay, babe,” he said. “I’ll go without it.”

She sighed, and threw the candy bar in the basket. “I don’t get what’s wrong with you. It’s not like it’s costing me anything,” she said.

This was all wrong, Reginald thought to himself. He had wanted to provide for her, and indeed, in the beginning of the relationship he had—until he had spent all the reserves of money he’d had, and with no more money coming in had run out. He hadn’t been able to find a job yet, though he had looked long and hard. He had always dreamed of being able to provide for Elizabeth, and it frustrated him more than anything to be so emasculated as this. He was useless, he felt, and instead of helping her, was only taking from her. This went against everything that he had ever believed, and how he had been raised. Both of his parents worked, and they felt their son should have a decent career and be a productive member of society. It didn’t bother him that Elizabeth was receiving government aid—he felt she deserved it because of her disability—but it bothered him that she would buy him things. He didn’t ask her to; no, he would never do that; she did it because she felt sorry that he had no money to spend on his own. He didn’t care about not having money; his parents bought all that he needed, and he had learned to live without the other things that he might want, such as going out to the movies, or going out to dinner. Free entertainment had now become the best form of entertainment. All he wanted was to find a job and take care of her, because that’s what he felt she needed. She was in a helpless situation, yet in a lot of ways she was the one helping him, because he was even more helpless. He felt incompetent, and worthless, and more than anything, angry. This was not a situation, he felt, which was destined to last.


The Most Momentous Moment

In Mimesis on August 30, 2011 at 7:01 pm

“Each day my thoughts are seldom far from you

And living has become a joy. I know

That I will always love you, my heart soothed


By every time you say ‘I love you so.’

I am consumed with longing for the day

That I can say ‘I do,’ so now although


My lips seem so courageous, this I feign

Because what I will ask you is so dear,

So please forgive me if I stutter when I say


That I would live a thousand lifetimes with you here

Beside me. Let us go then you and I*

To a life of happiness beyond compare.


I’ve waited for this moment all my life:

So will you marry me and be my wife?”


*This line is taken from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot.


In Mimesis on August 30, 2011 at 6:51 pm

*(As a brief note–and not part of the story–this material was previously published earlier on in this blog, but I have since moved this chapter to later on the story. Hopefully this does not confuse anyone who had read this before. Enjoy!)


Sometime after Reginald was almost hospitalized, he and Elizabeth were sitting in the car at a stoplight as she spoke on the phone with a collections agency about a car that she had owned previously. Her voice had been calm at first, saying, “I know I owe money. What I’m trying to get you to see is that the car was repossessed in September, so I don’t know why I have to pay for insurance for it all the way to the next July. Can I get a deferment?”

It hadn’t ended there. This was something alien to him. His parents had always provided him with a car to drive so that he could get to work, or to school, or wherever. They might have imposed strict regulations on using the car, but at least he had one. Now he was driving her to one of her appointments because the medical taxi that was supposed to drive her hadn’t showed up. It was frequently like this. No one seemed to be listening to her voice, especially not the person on the other end of the line. “I know that. I’m just asking for a deferment. I can’t make the payment right now. I’m homeless, and I’m unemployed. I have no money to give you. I just want a deferment so I can try and come up with the cash.”

Even now his parents were paying for his gas because he couldn’t find a job, and it wasn’t just the gas, it was the insurance. He had never paid a cent towards any kind of car insurance from the day he sat in the driver’s seat. His parents had paid it all. For all her life she had worked hard to pay for her own car and her own insurance and her own gas and every other car related expense. Her father had never contributed a cent towards it. In his defense it wasn’t just that he didn’t want to, it was that he couldn’t; he didn’t have the money to give her. When she got into accidents she paid for the car to be fixed, or bought a new one. Reginald’s parents always paid for the damage he’d done to their cars, the ones they provided for him. He’d had too many accidents to recount here, but the main underlying theme behind all of them was that they were his fault, and not the other driver’s. He’d hit parked cars on the other side of the road because he was too busy looking back at his brother who was trying to enter the vehicle as it sped away, backed into parked cars and driven off on multiple occasions, rammed into the side of a car while having an argument with his girlfriend on the cell phone while speeding through a red light, and slammed into a guardrail while a friend smoked a bowl in the back seat and bounced her head off the window and spilled the ash all over his seat. He’d had three accidents without leaving his driveway, causing significant damage to the car. He put enough damage on the same car to total it twice in one month. There were more; there were lots more. All of them had cost his parents thousands of dollars to repair, some of the time out of pocket because if they had reported it to the insurance company his premiums would have skyrocketed too much, or he would have lost his insurance. In total, his parents might have spent more money on buying and fixing cars, and on insurance to keep those cars on the road, than on his entire college expenses.

In addition to the accidents there were the speeding tickets. The most egregious of these was when he was going 96 MPH in a 55 MPH zone weaving in and out of traffic. He did this right past a State Troopers barracks. This was unbeknownst to him at the time, however, but he found out soon enough. His music was so loud (for anyone that is interested he was listening to Tool, the song “Stinkfist” at full volume) that he didn’t hear the siren behind him, and being a fairly unobservant driver it was a while before he checked his rear-view mirror. Apparently the cop had been chasing him for some time. This resulted in an arrest. His parents hired a lawyer, and the four traffic violations, including a misdemeanor and talking on a cell phone while driving, were greatly reduced to minimal points on his license. There were other times that, after blinding a cop with his high beams and speeding, the cop said bluntly that he could smell the alcohol on his breath, or on another occasion that they could still smell the reek of weed on his clothes, and somehow he had managed to pass their sobriety tests and come away with minimal points, if any, to his license, but most importantly without any DWIs or DUIs or anything of the sort. At one point he was shaking because he was afraid the cop would find the drugs he had on him, and when the cop asked why he was shaking he just told him cops made him nervous. The cop had showed up to court, reduced his two-hundred-and-fifty dollar ticket to a thirty-five dollar parking ticket, and said that they weren’t all so bad now were they (the irony in this is that the cop in being a good person was being a lousy cop, the necessity being that to be a good cop you have to be kind of an asshole, and always suspicious, making it so that being a nice guy, and a good cop are two qualities that are diametrically opposed to one another). Another time he had been pulled over without a license on him and wearing batman pajamas and a bathrobe midday, and the police officer let him off because he said he liked batman too. Whenever he got points on his license his parents would inevitably pay for driver’s safety courses that would take up to four points off each time. He’d had to do this numerous times, but even after all the courses, still had numerous points on his license, and an outstanding ticket that he had no way of paying for, but that his parents would eventually pay for, and bail him out again.

The person on the other end of the line did not seem to be getting the point. “You’re not listening to me at all. I can’t pay you because I don’t have any money to pay you with. I’m homeless. I’m not getting any financial assistance, but once I do I can start paying you back. I just need a deferment until I start getting financial assistance.”

The irony of all of this is that Elizabeth had worked in collections before and had enjoyed her job quite a bit. She had told him that the phone dialed automatically, and that on the computer the person’s credit score and history would pop up with all sorts of other information. She was quite nosy at times, and she liked the wealth of personal information that was readily available, with just strokes of her fingertips.

Her car had been repossessed, though, because she ended up not being able to pay the fees for it, but it wasn’t because of anything she had done purposefully. It was just a bad hand she’d been dealt. She had been in a car accident and developed chronic pain, bone spurs, and fibromyalgia had set in. Fibromyalgia is a disease that attacks your muscles in a fairly unknown way. It causes constant pain and fatigue, and the symptoms are similar to having an extreme case of the flu. At the time she was going to college full time and working full time, making Dean’s list every semester, with her first class at eight in the morning, and getting out of work at nine at night, five days a week. She would then come home and cook her boyfriend dinner, sometimes in lingerie, which he would decline and say that he had eaten already, and was too tired for sex. The stress of all this had wore on her until she broke down. She got tired of taking forty milligram Oxycontin twice a day with six seven and a half milligram Percocet in between, as prescribed by the doctor. It hadn’t taken away the pain. It just made it so that she didn’t care. Eventually the pain got so bad that she couldn’t get out of bed. She couldn’t keep her job. She couldn’t go to school. Her doctor told her that she couldn’t work for a year, and gave her six reasons why, and suggested that she go on disability.

During this time Reginald failed his first semester of college because he stopped going to his classes, but then managed to put together a string of five semesters of Dean’s list and one semester on President’s list, but he mostly didn’t work. While she had wore herself out from working so hard, he goofed off and experimented with drugs, including cocaine, LSD, and DMT (and of course marijuana and alcohol). This added to the drugs he had already tried, which included mainlining heroin and eating mushrooms. In fact when he mainlined a mixture of cocaine and ecstasy it had caused Isis to break up with him until he got sober, which took him a year and a half to do.

The inequalities of life were readily apparent in one car. In the driver’s seat was someone who was irresponsible, but who life had blessed with good health, well off and caring parents, and enough intelligence to do whatever he wanted to with his life, once he tired of being irresponsible. In the passenger’s seat was someone who had worked hard all her life until she had wore herself out, and who now was in constant pain and whose doctors advised her to not even seek a job or school for the next year, and yet no one was listening to her, and despite all her hard work, paying into all these government systems, she was unable to get disability, food stamps, or any kind of government financial aid because the system is not only fucked, it takes forever. It had been like this for months. She was (technically) homeless, broke, and in miserable health. Reginald’s voice is irrelevant. It is of the privileged class—the class that had supremacy for hundreds of years. Elizabeth is the oppressed, the underprivileged, the downtrodden, the hand reaching up for help but crushed again and again, but he, if he could somehow redeem his life will try to give her a voice and show her that all hope was not lost, because his one saving grace is that he loves her, and he will do anything for her.

Her voice was tremulous as she spoke into the phone, “I used to work in collections. I know that by law you have to give me a deferment if I ask for it. That’s what I’m asking for. Can I get a deferment please?”

The conversation could go on for hours. She had explained to him that collections agents are only allowed to say certain preset phrases, and they just regurgitate them back to you over and over, but by law if you ask for a deferment they have to give you one.

She went back and forth with the collection’s agent, and then the collection agent’s manager for quite some time, all the time just asking for a deferment. She explained that the constant calls from the collection’s agency were filling up her inbox and that her social services workers were not able to leave her messages when they needed to, and that this was exacerbating the situation by delaying the process of her getting aid, and that the fact that she was not getting aid was the reason that she couldn’t pay the collections. She explained that she really wanted to pay off the collection’s agency and restore her credit to some semblance of its former self, but that she would not be able to do it for at least a month, and that she was asking for a deferment only until she started getting assistance to help her. Finally the manager gave her some vague response about giving her a deferment for some indeterminate amount of time; it could be three days, it could be three months. Either way they wouldn’t tell her any more.

She hung up the phone and turned to Reginald, and said, “Sometimes, I just want to shoot myself.”

The Waiting Room

In Mimesis on August 30, 2011 at 6:38 pm

On one side of Reginald stood his mother, and on the other, stood Elizabeth. They had been waiting for hours already, and moving deeper and deeper into the heart of the hospital, passing stations at which Reginald was examined by more and more doctors and nurses. They had started at the emergency room waiting room, and then had been transferred to the psychiatric ward waiting room, where Reginald had been asked to strip out of his street clothes and put on blue “paper clothes.” Now, after hours of waiting, the nurse was telling Reginald that he could only have one visitor with him in the innermost waiting room. Reginald hated to choose. Here was the woman who had given him birth and been with him through all his hardships, his most constant advocate. She had fought so hard for him when he had gotten expelled from his school—both times—all to make him have a better life. On the other side was the woman that he had loved since elementary school, and the woman that he had hoped he would someday marry. It was really an impossible decision. He was frustrated to have to make this choice. He turned to Elizabeth, “C’mon, let’s go.” With that, he turned his back on his mother and followed the nurse into the interior of the psychiatric ward, abandoning his mother to the cold, bright waiting room. He looked back over his shoulder; she looked heartbroken.

In the interior waiting room Elizabeth held Reginald’s hand. “You’re going to be alright,” she said to him. “Everything is going to be just fine.” Reginald could feel his anxiety growing, but Elizabeth was like a shot of heroin right in the jugular, and calmed him down immensely. He felt he could not do this without her. There were other patients in the waiting room with them, eating strange, awful tasting hospital food, and Reginald could feel their eyes upon him. This close scrutiny made him perspire, and the cold drops of sweat ran down his brow.

Reginald and Elizabeth watched the waiting room television silently; Jeopardy was on. It was Children’s Jeopardy, and every once in a while Elizabeth would whisper the answer to Reginald. For some reason he thought this was a sign of Elizabeth’s brilliance, though the children on the show were no more than thirteen. As time went on, Jeopardy turned into Wheel of Fortune and Reginald could feel himself growing increasingly impatient. He was not like the loonies in here, he was thinking to himself; he was sane. His outbursts at home—though increasingly violent in nature—were typical, and no cause for alarm. He was excellent at rationalizing to things to himself, and could manipulate anyone with his words into thinking anything; now, he would manipulate them into thinking he did not need to be here.

As they waited to be seen by the doctor, Elizabeth held Reginald’s hand, and tried to calm him down. It was evident from Reginald’s face that he did not want to be here, and she spoke encouraging words to him. She was the only reason he was here, and the only reason he could be here. The thought of an involuntary hospital stay terrified Reginald more than anything in the world, but he trusted Elizabeth more than he had ever trusted anyone, and if she said things were going to be okay—though nothing seemed to verify it—he believed it. They had always shared a special bond, and it moved Reginald that Elizabeth not only did not run away during this time, but that she was here in the hospital with him, holding his hand. He knew that he had a long history of mental disease, but so did she, and though their love was in a way bizarre and dysfunctional, it comforted Reginald. This union of two kindred souls put Reginald’s heart at ease, even amongst so much anxiety. He knew he was not like the other people in this room, and the thought of having to spend an indeterminate amount of time confined within the walls of this hospital with them was driving Reginald to panic. Thank God, he thought, I have Elizabeth here.

After an hour or so in the interior waiting room, Reginald was called to see the doctor; Elizabeth came with him. They walked slowly along the brightly lit corridor. Hospitals make a person feel insane, even if they are not. The lights are blinding, cold, and sterile, and the walls are painted white with no ornaments on them. Everything that could be used to hurt oneself is removed, or hidden away—even pencils and pens. All the beds in the place have straps on them so as to secure patients if they get too restless, which adds to the paranoia and claustrophobia. Any sane person would not want to be in one of these places, even to work. They entered the doctor’s room, and sat down. The doctor was a large, robust, Indian man of about forty or fifty, and had glasses that made him appear slightly fish-eyed. When he spoke it always appeared as though he were just catching his breath. “So what appears to be the problem?” he asked Reginald.

With great difficulty Reginald thought about what to say. Though he had been having violent outburst recently, he did not want to be confined here. He simply wanted a strong anti-anxiety medication to relax him. “I’ve been having a lot of anxiety lately,” he said at last, “and frequent outbursts.”

The doctor looked at the chart, flipping through the pages. “Did anything precipitate these outbursts?” he asked Reginald. He was studying Reginald. His eyes moved over him as a mechanic studies an engine with a malfunction. It was hard to tell if the doctor even saw people anymore, rather than patients. The people who come in to mental institutions are perhaps at their weakest moments; they are fighting for their lives. The doctors work as though they are on an assembly line; they make adjustments or send the car back for repairs to the shop upstairs.

Reginald knew he was playing a game here. If he were to get the desired medication he would have to make the right moves. Unfortunately there was no disguising the truth in this situation. In some ways he would have to be brutally honest and just hope for the best. “I took some ecstasy and acid and I seem to be having a manic episode,” Reginald explained to the doctor; “To add to that my hands are shaking considerably.”

The doctor swiveled back and forth on his chair. His clothes looked tight on him in some areas, and loose in others. The suit did not quite fit him. Suits are not quite made for large people. The doctor scratched his chin and scribbled some notes into Reginald’s chart. Reginald could not see what he wrote, and he had always wondered what it had been anyways when he had seen doctors. They were always scribbling notes furiously. “Do you have a history of drug abuse?” the doctor asked Reginald.

Do I? Reginald thought to himself. He thought back to the years and years of drug abuse that he had been through. He had first had a drink at five years old. It had occurred when he was downstairs in his parents’ basement with a friend playing near the liquor cabinet. He had often seen his father drinking scotch, so he decided he would take a swig. Never before had anything ever burned his throat like that, and he rushed upstairs and started chugging orange juice. His mother had inquired as to what had happened, but he just said he was really thirsty, and she just shrugged it off. Later on, when he was around seven, he had gotten drunk off his parents’ wine with his younger brother when no one was home to watch him. He had started smoking marijuana in sixth grade, and had become a regular user by ninth. It was also in ninth grade that he started getting drunk more regularly and started smoking cigarettes. He stopped going to school and started getting high or drunk every day and ended up spending two and a half years in ninth grade. This was the beginning of Reginald’s substance abuse problem. By fifteen or sixteen he had started shooting up coke and heroin, and experimenting with mushrooms. He ended up getting arrested and quitting those drugs for the duration of his probation, but still drank and smoked weed. Somehow he never failed a piss test. His method of “smoke for three weeks, and then don’t smoke for a week” seemed to work for his monthly drug tests, and the probation officer let him off after two-and-a-half years for “good behavior.” He remained clean off hard drugs for a few years after probation, but by his early twenties he was back to shooting coke, and when he wasn’t doing that, snorting it as well—which never had the desired effect. He experimented with acid during this time, and fell into a nasty DMT habit, which nearly resulted in his committing suicide after a severely bad trip. This most recent episode had included ecstasy (which was cut with heroin and methamphetamines, as Reginald later found out), acid, marijuana, and a research chemical that Reginald knew little about. When the doctor asked him about a drug history, he was unsure of how much of this to relate. “I’ve done heroin, coke, mushrooms, acid, ecstasy, DMT, marijuana, and alcohol,” he finally related.

“How much,” the doctor inquired.

“Not much of anything,” Reginald said. “Just experimenting really.” It was true, in some ways. Reginald did do a lot of experimenting; the drugs he’d done the most of had been marijuana and alcohol. For the most part he had limited his use of the other drugs—not because he didn’t want to do them—because he couldn’t afford them.

“Anything else going on?” the doctor asked. The doctor’s skin was glistening with sweat. The hospital wasn’t even that warm. His belt was around his navel, his pants up outrageously high. It was like he was wearing a zoot suit.

“No,” Reginald lied.

For the first time, Elizabeth spoke up. “Show him your legs honey.”

Reginald felt betrayed. They might keep him now if they thought he was a danger to himself. He knew that Elizabeth was only acting in his best interests, but he didn’t give a damn about his best interests. He just wanted some goddamn Xanax to calm him down and get the fuck out of there. The doctor looked at Reginald with a quizzical look on his face. “What is she talking about?” the doctor asked.

“I cut my legs,” Reginald squeaked out. He really hadn’t wanted to say anything about it. The room felt cramped with the three of them in there in the small office. Elizabeth was sitting to his left, and the doctor was sitting in front of him. The door was shut, and even if Reginald wanted to run, he couldn’t get out of the interior waiting room; the door to the waiting room was locked. Reginald began to feel very claustrophobic. He suddenly felt as if he may not go home. For the first time in his life, he felt anger towards Elizabeth.

The doctor nodded. “Show me,” he said, and gestured for Reginald to get up. Reginald’s paper clothes crinkled as he stood up, and he pulled down the pants so the doctor could see his naked thighs. The doctor inspected the cuts on his thighs. “These are superficial,” he said bluntly.

Reginald felt relieved and offended at the same time. Superficial? he thought. I cut myself with a Buck knife! Outwardly he breathed a sigh of relief. This meant that the doctor did not think he was a danger to himself. “Yeah,” Reginald said. “I wasn’t really trying to harm myself.”

The doctor explained to Reginald and Elizabeth that he thought Reginald only needed a medication change, and that he was going to write Reginald a prescription for Xanax and Cogentin and adjust the other medication that Reginald was on. He wrote the prescriptions and told Reginald what Reginald had been waiting all night to hear: that Reginald could go home—and with a Xanax prescription as well.

Sound and Fury

In Mimesis on December 11, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Cacophony! Cacophony! Reginald could not get his bearings. He was screaming at his family in the kitchen of his parents’ house, brandishing a knife and waving it at them, threatening to kill them. This had been going on for some time. He couldn’t explain it. He didn’t know why he was doing it. He just couldn’t control the anger. It surged through him like a current of electricity and he just exploded. One little spark and the whole powder keg went up. He really couldn’t control himself.

“Yeah, dad?” he screamed. “Well I’ll come to your fuckin’ nursing home and beat you to death with a baseball bat! You’re gonna get old someday, and I’ll be fuckin’ waiting for you! Who do you think is supposed to take care of you when you’re old? First chance I get I’m pullin’ the fuckin’ plug!”

His dad was screaming back at him, all red in the face, drops of sweat dripping down from his bald head. The redness of his dad’s face was even more sharply contrasted by the whiteness of his hair, or at least what was left of it. His dad’s hair was white primarily from raising Reginald. His dad was yelling from a recliner on the other end of the room, in the family room that adjoined the kitchen. There was no wall in between them. Reginald’s mom, his brother, and Elizabeth were trying to diffuse the situation. Reginald’s brother stepped in and said, “Hey, I’m not going to sit around and listen to you threatening to kill the whole family. Put the knife down.”

Reginald didn’t want to act like this. He was hurting inside, deeply hurting. He just didn’t know how to express himself when he got like this. It was like riding a rabid bull. There was almost no controlling it. “Yeah?” he screamed at his brother. “Well, I’ll fuckin’ kill you too!” He took the knife, and for a brief moment was actually going to kill his own brother, his best friend since he was a boy, only two years separating them, but at the last moment started stabbing the cutting board instead. The knife broke, and the impacts on the wood made his hand slip, causing him to cut his hand. Blood started coming from the wound in a steady flow. Reginald began cursing profusely. Elizabeth got a towel and started caring to Reginald.

“Calm down, baby” she said. “Do you want to go for a walk? Get some air?”

Reginald agreed to go, and they went out the door, slamming it on the way.

“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” Elizabeth asked once they were outside.

Reginald was silent, fuming. His jaw was clenched, eyes staring straight ahead. His hands were balled into fists, and he held a paper towel that was turning red with blood from the cut on his hand. After they had walked about a half a mile in silence he stopped and turned to her. “I don’t know what’s wrong,” he said, his breath labored, but returning back to normal. “I can’t control it. The other day I spent an hour in my room listening to Mozart really loud and cutting my legs with a Buck knife, then with my razor because my knife wasn’t sharp enough. Today I almost stabbed my brother.”

Elizabeth reached out and pulled him into her arms, hugging him tightly. They stood for a couple minutes like that, and Reginald could feel himself relaxing in her embrace. “I love my brother,” he said. “People used to think we were twins. We went everywhere together. My mom even dressed us up in identical outfits for school picture day.”

He stood back a little bit so that Elizabeth could see him better. His eyes had a hyaline transparency to them, and his gaze was far off. “I feel wrong about the way I treated him. I used to try to knife fight with him when he was only two years old, and I was four. I beat on him viciously until he took wrestling and was able to finally beat me up. I always wondered if he took wrestling so that he could. I want to tell him that I’m sorry, but I just don’t know how. I want to tell my whole family that I’m sorry.”

Elizabeth nodded, and said, “This will come in time. They’ll understand.”

Reginald let out an exasperated sigh, “But what if they don’t? I haven’t exactly been the easiest to grow up around. All my relationships have fallen apart because of my mania. I don’t know how to explain to them that it’s the disease.”

He hugged Elizabeth, and they stood there for a moment in silence. “I think you’re having a manic break because of the ecstasy you did with me at the festival. You should probably go to the hospital and get evaluated,” she said.

This was Reginald’s worst fear. He had been evaluated before, but every time he minimized why he was there. He did not want to be kept overnight. He knew Elizabeth was right, but he didn’t care. He’d made it twenty-four years without visiting a hospital, he was sure he could make it another twenty-four years without one. He told Elizabeth as much.

She looked up at him as she held him a little tighter. “If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your family. Do it,” she said, “for me.”

He sighed, and the tension that was built up in him evaporated. There was no one else on Earth that could talk him down like this. No one. “C’mon,” he said. “We’d better get going if we’re going to make it to the hospital.”

A Chemical Reaction

In Mimesis on December 10, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Somewhere in upstate New York, Reginald was sitting in a tent with Elizabeth and her brother Benedict at a small music festival. Outside the tent there could be heard a thundering bass line that emanated from a gaily painted school bus equipped with monstrous subwoofers. The merry pranksters were alive and well, it seemed.

“The white pills are called ladies,” Benedict explained, “and the pink hearts are called, well, pink hearts.”

Reginald was concerned. He thought when we went on this trip that he was just going to be doing acid or mushrooms, or maybe even DMT if he was feeling adventurous, but his mental health professionals had strongly advised him against taking ecstasy. It would most likely cause a manic break, he’d been told, and on top of that it could have a negative interaction with his medications and cause an uncontrollable fever that would kill him. He looked at the pills with hesitancy.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve been told I might die if I take it.”

“You’ll be fine,” Benedict said. “Hell, you’ve shot it before. After that what harm do you think just taking it will do. Trust me.”

Benedict knew about Reginald shooting it before because Benedict had supplied it and shot it with Reginald. Last time Benedict had crushed up twenty E pills in some cocaine and they had spent the rest of the night shooting it up. Reginald had crashed really hard that night and had ended up sobbing uncontrollably in the backseat of the van he’d been driving, only to come back and shoot up more. Finally he had called Isis and told her what had happened. She had immediately broken up with him. It was curious now that his girlfriend Elizabeth was offering to do it with him. Hell, she’d actually had a more extensive drug history than Reginald himself actually had. In a way this turned Reginald on. Drugs had always been a taboo topic, but he couldn’t stay away from them. At least once or twice a year he would lapse back into using hard drugs and marijuana was a pretty constant thing. He wanted to do the ecstasy, and consequences be damned. If he died, so be it.

“How much are they?” Reginald asked.

“I’ll give them to you for ten a pill,” Benedict said, but then quickly added, “but you’ll want at least two.”

“How many are you taking, baby?” Reginald asked Elizabeth.

Elizabeth held up two fingers.

Reginald could feel a sinking feeling in his stomach. He felt this way every time he did hard drugs. He loved the way they made him feel, but the initial commitment was horrible. It was a very surreal feeling. He knew that he could die, but it didn’t seem to matter to him. He could hear every mental health professional he’d ever seen telling him not to, but he ignored it. He wanted this. He knew, as was the case with every time before, that he would feel better once he’d done it. He said to Benedict, “Fuck it, give me two.”

“Righto, buckaroo,” Benedict said. “I’ll get them to you in two shakes of a camel’s dick.”

Benedict turned around and searched through the duffel bag that was next to his air mattress. It was a considerable size tent, and the three of them very comfortably fit into it. After fumbling around for a moment or two he turned back to face them.

“Just pop two of these bad boys in and you’ll be rolling your panties for Christmas ornaments,” he said, with a wild mischievous grin on his face.

Reginald didn’t know why he would listen to Benedict. Here Benedict sat wearing three day old cargo pants, a shirt that said “Lick This!” with pictures of Girl Scouts on them, and a bandana wrapped around his head. He had gauges in his ears that were close to an inch, and looked like he hadn’t shaved in a week, bathed in about as long, and most likely hadn’t cut his hair for a year or more. From what Elizabeth had told him, Benedict had been diagnosed as a sociopath by two separate doctors, molested Elizabeth at an early age, and then laughed in her face when no one believed her. He also had a nasty habit of peeing in other people’s drinks. During one of his last relationships he had moved in with his now ex-girlfriend, and had taken to peeing in the fish tank, the food containers and about everything else in the house, as well as having anal sex with his ex-girlfriend’s fourteen year old sister and his ex-girlfriend in the same day. Elizabeth also had suspicions that he had slept with the mother, though she could not confirm this. Not only this, but Benedict was also the main ecstasy provider for the county that he lived in, and had in one year spent 80,000 dollars on drugs for personal consumption. Benedict had told Reginald himself that one of the drug dealers that he worked with would only take phone calls at a certain appointed time, and when he had walked into the dealer’s house on one occasion he had seen the walls covered with assault rifles and a couple kilos of heroin just sitting on the table. Benedict had spent some time running drugs for this man.

All these reasons aside Reginald decided to take Benedict’s advice over his mental health professionals’, and when Benedict gave him the pills and a cup of water (an open cup of water), Reginald swallowed the pills with the feeling that this might be his last night on Earth.

Better to go out with a bang, he thought.

They went outside the tent after taking the pills and waited for them to kick in. They got to talking about The Chappelle’s Show and how they all lamented the fact that it was no longer on the air.

“It was one of the best shows on television,” Elizabeth remarked.

They all agreed.

“Did you see the episode with Rick James?” Reginald asked.

“That was bullshit,” Benedict said. “I fucked a guy’s couch once, that nigga didn’t do shit.”

Reginald broke out into hysterical laughing for a moment, and it was hard to tell if it was the ecstasy coming on, or if he was just particularly tickled by the idea of Benedict fucking a guy’s couch. He laughed until tears came from his eyes, and just when it seemed that he had a hold on it he burst out laughing all over again. “I fucked a guy’s couch…” he said. “Jeez.”

Reginald wiped the tears from his eyes. He could feel the ecstasy coming on strong now. He was filled with euphoria. This was almost better than heroin, though he could be thinking that because he hadn’t done heroin in eight years and didn’t really remember it that well.  He got up, and they all decided to go see what music was playing.

On the trip down to the field, Benedict gave Reginald another E pill.

Reginald was filled with love. He loved Benedict, and he loved everyone that he passed, but he loved Elizabeth most of all. They held hands as they walked. Elizabeth had done herself up real pretty. She was wearing a green and yellow tie die shirt, and had green mascara on. Reginald thought she was the most beautiful woman in the entire world, and he was elated that she was here with him. More than anything he wanted to have sex with her, but he knew that would come. They now had a very active sexual relationship, and it was something they both thoroughly enjoyed.

The road down to the concert was unpaved, and there were many other fellow travelers along it. People were dressed in all sorts of unusual attire, and carried colorful lights and other marvelous things that caught Reginald’s attention. It was like he was a child all over again, and was wide eyed in the candy store, looking at an oversize lollipop. It was getting hard to walk, and Reginald was relieved when they finally got to the field. He could feel waves of unadulterated pleasure sweeping over him like a constant orgasm. So this is ecstasy, he thought, what the hell have I been doing with my life until now? He quickly made up his mind that this was his favorite drug of all time, and he’d tried pretty much every kind. Heroin was fun, but it made him doped out, and he had puked last time while at dinner with his grandma coming down from it. Coke was a blast, and it made him feel like god, but to be honest it was essentially simulated mania, and he felt pretty much the same when he was having an episode. The biggest difference was that mania was free, and lasted longer. Ecstasy just made him love more. That was the feeling he felt. He couldn’t understand why the government had made this illegal. He wasn’t dangerous while under the influence of this drug, but he might fuck everyone he sees. Man, woman, whatever, he didn’t care. Not only did everyone look better, but he was getting aroused just feeling Elizabeth running circles on his palm.

When they came to the field the music was blaring. Reginald could barely stand. They all lay down in the grass, and tried to relax as much as possible. Elizabeth started tracing her fingers up Reginald’s arm, and then back down again. He had never felt sensations like this before; it was like his entire body was the head of a gigantic penis. Every nerve was tingling, and his head lolled back and forth.

The stage was moving down below them, and there was a teeming mass of people that looked like a roiling pot of water on the stove, fluctuating, vicissitudinal, one collection of flesh, and sweat, and pleasure. Reginald wanted to get down there and dance, but was unable to move. The most effort that he was able to expend was to half sit up, resting on his elbows next to Elizabeth, and look from the stage to the woods, to the stars.

Benedict gave Elizabeth and Reginald their leave and went down to be closer to the stage. Reginald looked up at Elizabeth. She was so beautiful. More beautiful than anyone he had ever seen, and his relationship with her was so special. He loved her more than he had ever loved anyone before in his life. “I want to marry you,” he said. “Hell, if they had a priest here I’d marry you right now.”

She gazed over at him. “I want to marry you too.”

United in this moment of extreme bliss and euphoria the two lovers lay next to each other, letting the waves of pleasure roll over them. There could be no love greater than theirs. They had loved each other since they were children. Their idea of love was defined by the other person. They were the physical embodiment of love to each other. Romeo and Juliet didn’t have shit on them. Romeo and Juliet was teenage infatuation. What Reginald and Elizabeth had was a mature, steadfast love that had lasted for three-quarters of their life already, and showed no signs of stopping. Reginald was overcome by it.

“Let’s head back to the tent,” he said. “I want to be alone with you.”

Elizabeth agreed emphatically, and they slowly got up, though it was difficult. Reginald was stumbling the whole way back, and stopped to use one of the portable toilets. He was in there for some time, and when he came out Elizabeth said, “There were two toilets in there, and I don’t think you hit either one. I could hear you pissing on everything else though.”

Reginald laughed. “Nothing on me is there?”

Elizabeth shook her head.

“I didn’t think so,” Reginald said.

They made their way up to the tent and, after getting some gum for their grinding teeth and drinking plenty of water they got inside.

“I have never wanted to have sex so badly,” Reginald said.

“I know what you mean,” Elizabeth replied.

They had a separate, smaller tent than the one Benedict had, and it only had room for a queen size air mattress. Reginald started to get undressed, but was having some difficulty doing so. Elizabeth helped him, and then got undressed herself. The sensation of the cool night air on their exposed skin was delightful, and they were already quite aroused. Reginald kissed Elizabeth, deeply and passionately, and the sensation was incredible. It was electric as she caressed his skin, and he could never remember a time that he had been more in love. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He always had. Ecstasy was only intensifying every feeling that he had ever felt for her, and he was overcome with emotion. They made love, discovering one another’s body in ways they never had before. He was elated just to be alive, and to be with her, here in the middle of nowhere, the music driving their passion as they embraced.

I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

In Mimesis on December 8, 2010 at 7:38 pm

He had given her the power. She knew now that he wanted her, and how badly. She knew now that he’d wanted her for years, and that he’d had this aching desire inside of him. Even though they had spoken of this desire on AOL Instant Messenger and she had expressed a mutual desire for him he felt like Prometheus chained to the rock, the vultures ready to pick out his innards. He was on his way to pick her up at a temporary shelter for people with mental disorders, and his thoughts were racing. Surely she must be playing a game with him. She could not really desire him. He had too many flaws to be loved. That was why everyone had rejected him before. His brief encounters with sex had been disastrous. His first kiss had been forced on him (or more like he had been forced into it). Reginald had been with Elizabeth and her boyfriend Samuel at a party, and Reginald had been brought his girlfriend Dolores with him. All he had wanted was to be with Elizabeth and not Dolores, but probably sensing this, Samuel had pushed Reginald’s and Dolores’ heads together, uniting them their first kiss. Reginald felt like he was cheating on Elizabeth by being with his own girlfriend. He did not desire his girlfriend. He had only gone out with her because she had asked him to and he felt it was polite to say yes. He was envious of Samuel.

He honestly couldn’t even remember some of his other girlfriend’s names. They had been inconsequential. There had been another, the first girl to take off her shirt for him, and they had taken turns scratching each other, and nibbling up and down their chests and necks, feeling the sharp teeth tug gently at the skin, the excitement coming from the sense that the other person could bite as hard as they wanted, but chose to be gentle instead. This girlfriend would later cheat on him, and they never got farther than foreplay. His extreme social anxiety made it impossible to interact with any of the girls he was interested in, especially Elizabeth. There had been other girls that had come along and asked him out, and during those times he went out with them out of what he felt as courtesy, knowing that he would want Elizabeth to do this to him if he had asked her. One girl had been especially forward with him, and had taken to grabbing at his crotch during class, and he had massaged her upper thigh, on the inside. A teacher noticed this and asked that they switch desks, which was difficult for Reginald because he was afraid that everyone would see that he was aroused, as it was plainly visible through his jeans. He and this girl had taken to making out in parking lots, and occasionally left hickeys on the other person’s neck, and as some of their classmates described it, sometimes it looked like a gorilla had punched them on either side. This had culminated in Reginald receiving oral sex from this girl in the parking lot of a Raymour and Flannigan’s, but she was unable to make him ejaculate. Reginald attributed this to her not being very good at it, and wanted to have sex with her when they got back to her house, but she had declined stating that she was afraid it would hurt due to his size. Reginald took this as a boldface lie, and felt that the reason she wouldn’t have sex with him had been because he couldn’t ejaculate for her. She had left, like all the rest, under vague circumstances, and with his feeling betrayed, and unsure of himself, and he always felt himself longing for Elizabeth. He did not desire these other women, only her.

Then came Isis.

Apart from Elizabeth, Isis was the first girl that Reginald felt strongly about. The only problem was that they lived on opposite ends of the country, and were too young and didn’t have enough expendable income to see each other. Their solution was phone sex, which they engaged in sometimes in excess of four times a night. Finally Isis saved up enough money to visit Reginald and they had two weeks of basically non-stop sex. Reginald lost his virginity to her, which his brother walked in on. Perhaps they shouldn’t have had sex on the couch downstairs, but after waiting six months they didn’t really care. They didn’t use protection most of the time, once again because they didn’t care. As before though, Reginald had difficulty ejaculating, and more often than not had to pull out and finish himself off on her. Isis claimed that she liked it when Reginald ejaculated on her breasts and stomach better anyway. This pattern continued for the duration of their relationship. They would have phone sex and send erotic pictures of themselves to each other while they were apart, and then have sex virtually non-stop while they were together. The periods where they were together got fewer and fewer. First it was six months, then a year, then the last was a year and a half. Overall they only spent six weeks together.

During their last visit together Isis told Reginald that she wanted to wait for marriage. Reginald was furious. He felt betrayed, and that she was being hypocritical. He knew however, how to get her to have sex with him, and by the time they were in the hotel door, their clothes were off. She asked if they should go for condoms, but then decided against it. The rest of the visit turned into Isis trying to hold out, and Reginald finding ways to get her to have sex with him. One night he just suggested that they sleep naked together, but once she felt the warmth of his skin against hers, she was his. Once again, they didn’t use a condom.

Shortly after he returned home they broke up, and shortly after that she informed him that she was pregnant. He reflected on the irony in this. His sexual career was only six weeks long, and now he was going to be a father. It was only during this last visit that he had been able to ejaculate while inside of Isis, and the only times that they hadn’t used a condom was perhaps twice the whole visit. So in two times of Reginald ejaculating inside a woman, he was a father. His joke to her about having assassin sperm no longer seemed funny. What followed after this was the most painful decision of his life. Briefly during his relationship with Isis he had learned that Elizabeth was single, and he had considered breaking up with Isis in favor of Elizabeth, but now he had a child with Isis. He decided to marry Isis. It seemed the appropriate thing to do. He had made his bed. He must lie in it. Isis, however, did not see it that way. She insisted that the child be given up for adoption. A bitter struggle ensued. Finally Reginald caved and signed the adoption papers. Having sex could have horrendously painful consequences. For a year Reginald was too depressed to consider another relationship. He contemplated suicide often. Elizabeth was with someone else now. There was nothing for him to stick around for.

A chance encounter at a liquor store changed that. He hit on the cashier, and invited her to a party. She declined, but gave him her number instead, and suggested they meet up another time. That was the start of the most intense relationship Reginald had ever been in. It lasted a month. Heartbroken once again he vowed to give up on women entirely. He sought out a gay friend of his and exchanged oral sex with him on a few occasions. He attempted to have sex with him, but he could not get hard enough and the friend was too tight. He attributed this inability to his not really being attracted to his friend.

Finally, Elizabeth showed up. She dropped back into his life, and he confessed his love to her. She had still been going out with her boyfriend at the time, but things were on the rocks, and they soon broke up. Elizabeth had had a history of being in long term relationships. Reginald had known most of Elizabeth’s boyfriends, as they had traveled in the same circle, but he had never really inquired as to her sex life. He assumed, sometime erroneously, that she had had sex with all her boyfriends, and a lot of it. He was not passing a judgment on her; it was just what he would have done in the same circumstances. He knew that Elizabeth had had more sexual experience than him, but this was not a turn off for him, but it did intimidate him. Usually he wanted his women to be as virginal as possible, and was disgusted by the idea of a woman having multiple sexual partners. He was even further perturbed by the fact that a woman he was interested in might also have a sexual desire for other men. He held the belief that his women should be chaste, and that he should be the only man that they now desired, or had ever desired. This stemmed from an extreme inferiority complex, and especially if he knew that the woman he was with had been with a man whose penis size was greater than his, even by a slight margin. He was afraid that he would not be able to satisfy them, and that they would leave him because of his smaller size. He had this fear with Elizabeth, because he knew the size of one of her boyfriends’ penis. This was not unusual. Everyone in the school had heard stories. Apparently Elizabeth’s boyfriend had asked his dad one day what he should about preventing his penis from getting wet while going to the bathroom. His dad had been stumped, and asked what he was talking about. His son went on to say that whenever he sat down on the toilet his penis hung down into the water. This was a well known story in school. It was also well known that despite his size, he did not know what to do with the damn thing, and so all his sexual relations were still left feeling unsatisfied. Reginald feared that because he knew that he was smaller than at least one of Elizabeth’s boyfriends, and because of his relative lack of sexual experience, that he would not be able to satisfy her, and that she would not go out with him because of it. So much of his future rested on his performance in the bedroom, he thought. It never occurred to him that Elizabeth might see more in him than in his sexual performance. Despite being told by every girl he was with that he was at least bigger than average, he was incredibly insecure about the size of his penis. The only other penis he had seen in real life, that of his gay friend’s,  had been much bigger than his, and those he had seen in porn were often to the point of ridiculousness. He couldn’t help but think that she might laugh at him once he undressed. How humiliating that would be! For him to expose to her his body, giving her knowledge of all that he is, and in so doing offering himself up to her power, and then for her to turn on him. He next thought of the sexual side effects he had experienced from the medication he was on. Many of his sexual encounters had ended with his losing his erection, despite either being inside a woman or even mid oral sex. It was something he couldn’t help. What if that happened with Elizabeth? He remembered one of his girlfriends recoiling in horror as he tried to masturbate to get an erection again. Finally she had told him to just cut it out, and had taken her clothes and left the room.

He was nearing the shelter now, and was perhaps five minutes away, but still the thoughts were racing through his mind. He thought about his problem ejaculating. Would Elizabeth take offense to that, as some of his sexual partners had? The overwhelming anxiety was too much for him. He would tell her that he would not have sex with her today. He reached the shelter and called her so that she would come outside. She told him she would be right out, so he left the car running and listened to music while he waited. Finally, after what seemed like forever, he saw her come out the front, walk up to his car and get inside.

“You look great,” he said. “And you know I’ve never lied to you.”

She smiled, and they drove back to his house, chatting intermittently about what her day had been like at space camp, which is what she called her day therapy outpatient program, so named because of all the people she deemed space cadets. He couldn’t get sex off his mind. She did indeed look beautiful today, and she was wearing a shirt that showed just enough cleavage to be tantalizing, her breasts straining against the fabric. He couldn’t take the tension. Once they arrived home he suggested they go across the street to his friend’s house so he wouldn’t have to be alone with her. Then he wouldn’t feel pressured into having sex.

“Want to go hang out with Richard?” he asked.

“Sure, but I was kind of hoping we could get some ‘alone time’ at some point,” she winked at him.

He cringed, but she didn’t notice. With all this anxiety he was having he couldn’t stand the thought of having sex with her. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to (he did) it was just that he was afraid that she would be disappointed in him and that their friendship would be too awkward after that and that he would lose her. That was something he couldn’t bear.

They walked across the street and saw his friend Richard and some other kids he knew hanging out on the porch smoking marijuana. There was no reason for alarm. No policemen patrolled the area. They were quite safe. He called out to his friend, “What up, cocksucker!”

His friend was quick to reply with, “Not much you dirty mic. Tell me honestly, on a scale of zero to Irish how drunk are you?”

They both laughed, and he gave his friend a pound, and likewise greeted all the other kids there. “So did I just interrupt some gay orgy or what?” he asked.

“Yeah, you know, we were just blowing each other and jerking each other off,” his friend replied.

“You mean like this?” Reginald asked, and started making a long, drawn out, masturbatory motion with his hand, though going dramatically slow, while staring his friend in the face. After a couple of up and down motions he reached out to his friend’s crotch area and started pretending to give him a hand job in the same motion, then pretended to touch the two imaginary penises together.

“Oh, you never make it touch!” his friend laughed out.

Elizabeth seemed genuinely confused. Reginald turned to her and explained, “Oh, you don’t know The Whitest Kids You Know? It’s one of the funniest shows on television.”

His friend elaborated, “It’s called ‘slow jerk’. Basically, you know how when you think something is real boring you make a jerk off motion? Well it’s like the same thing, only real slow. It makes it real creepy. And then,” his friend started laughing, “he pretends to finish all over his face. You have to see it.”

They all laughed, and agreed that they should watch it, so they went inside and looked it up on youtube. One clip turned into a couple, and finally Reginald started feeling more comfortable. The presence of his friends eased the tension between him and Elizabeth. Suddenly Elizabeth took Reginald by the hand and tugged on it, and said “I think I left my purse in your car. Want to come with me to get it?”

Reginald looked at his friend, almost pleadingly. His friend sensed what was going on, but was going to be of no help. His friend said, “I guess I’ll see you in a bit then. We’ll be here.”

Reginald followed Elizabeth outside and they walked across the street. She turned to Reginald, “I hope I didn’t give the impression that I don’t like your friends, but I was hoping we could get more intimate.”

What could he say? It finally had come down to this. He couldn’t back out now. He nodded, and instead of walking to the car they made their way into his house, and up into his room, where they sat down on his bed. She remained about two feet away, while he faced her. He could feel his fingers trembling as they had on the couch before.  She took his hands in hers to calm them, and moved closer. The room was dim, as the light was fading outside, and he went to switch on the light, but she stopped him and dragged her finger along his chin. He began feeling enormously aroused and uncomfortable at the same time. Would she judge him like all the rest? He placed his hand on her shoulder and caressed her arm. She looked down at his hand, then back up at him and smiled, with all of her face. She leaned in and kissed him. The mixture of emotions was like an elixir to him, each separate emotion mixing together to make up what he felt. It was hard to pick out each individual emotion, just as it would be hard to pick out all twenty-three flavors in Dr. Pepper. Her lips were soft on his, and she kissed gently, and with reserve. It was not at all overpowering, and it was as if she sensed what would ease him into this. She reached down to lift up his shirt, but he stopped her hand and said, “I really couldn’t stand losing you after this. Why don’t we wait?”

She smiled and said, “You don’t have to worry about anything. You’re stuck with me. Remember?”

He could feel his muscles tense, but he lifted his hand off of hers, and she undressed him, and then he did likewise to her. Finally naked together they pressed their bodies against one another’s. She was warm, and her skin was very soft to the touch, even more so than his hands, which had not seen a hard day’s work in their life. They had both revealed themselves to each other, and had equal knowledge and power. She said, “How do you want me, baby? I’ll do anything.”

He decided to counter her relinquishing of power to him by giving it right back. He lay down on the bed and said, “How about you get on top.” He did not want the power. He wanted her to enact her desire for him. She crawled on top of him, and guided himself into her. This was the moment of supreme bliss and unity, the closest that two people can get. It was the culmination of their love for each other, this physical bond. He ran his hand up her back and grabbed onto her shoulder, pulling her close to him. The pressure of her breasts against his chest aroused him further, and he could feel his love for her increasing. He had waited for this since he had first had thoughts of sex. His love for her predated sexual desire, so when he felt sexual desire his first thought was to connect it with his love for her. She was perfect in his eyes because from such an early age she had been the ideal concept of his love, and what he judged all others against. How could another woman replace her when she was the definition of the word to him? This unity that he felt with her was intense, and as they made love he finally whispered in her ear, “I fucking love you. I really do. You mean the world to me, and I would do anything for you.”

She leaned in and kissed him and whispered back, “I fucking love you too, baby.”

I Less Than Three You, Semi-Colon Parentheses

In Mimesis on December 8, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Usesometeeth (9:12PM): facebook sucks. i hate using it sometimes. it seems like before i get a chance to get my goddamn point across it craps out. i just wish it was more like aim.

Yourmotherssexy (9:13PM): What were you going to say?

Usesometeeth (9:16PM): well i kind of don’t know how to approach this, but do you find me attractive at all? i mean, i love you, but i also kind of want to do more than kiss, if you catch my drift.

Yourmotherssexy (9:19PM): Actually, I was kind of thinking the same thing. By the way, you’re a shitty English Major. No capitals?

Usesometeeth (9:23PM): Yeah, I’m lazy. It takes time to capitalize. At least I don’t use ‘u’ for ‘you’ and ‘r’ for ‘are’. If u use them u r retarded. And probably sixteen. Anyway, I’m just worried that we’ll have sex and then we won’t look at each other the same, you know?

Yourmotherssexy (9:25PM):  I understand your point, believe me it’s well taken and I’ve thought about it before, but I think we should remove the sexual tension before we decide if we’re going to take this to the next level.


In Mimesis on December 8, 2010 at 7:21 pm

They sit on his couch.

They sit on his parents’ couch.

Inside his parents’ house they talk sharing in each other’s heartbreaking sorrows. She is in pain, and they lay in each other’s arms while his parents sleep upstairs. He is embarrassed that his pain is so trivial, and he runs his fingers through her hair to soothe her, saying, “I wish I could do more to help.”

She holds him tighter. “There’s nothing you can do, but having you here does ease the pain a bit.”

In this moment he sees the line between them. He sees himself, his life of privilege, of ease, free from want and care, a roof over his head, a car at his disposal, college tuition paid in full, health insurance, good health, and all of that vastly different from her, marking her as different, and somehow more fully defining what he is. He rejects his life and feels shame that there is a great inequality between them, in the hands that life has dealt them, but he recognizes her as being equal before his eyes, if not his superior. If it were not for his parents he would be in the same place as her, and he knows it. He wishes that he could provide for her. She is homeless, and is moving from couch to couch, occasionally staying in a temporary housing facility for the mentally ill. He, on the other hand, is still living with his parents at twenty-four years old, with no job, and no way to move out. Her homelessness is not the product of laziness, or a lack of drive to work. In fact her doctor had given a note with six disabilities that claimed should prevent her from working for at least the next year. No longer able to live on her own she had gotten in touch with her mother’s side of the family after about a twenty year gap and they had offered to take her in, and then kicked her out on the street a short while after because she had pierced some underage girls’ ears at a family party. He had implored his parents to take her in, but they had turned a cold shoulder to her. It didn’t matter to them that he had known her for eighteen years. His parents had only been recently introduced, and despite trying to appeal to his mother’s Christian morality by pointing out that here was a very real instance of charity where she could exhibit her good will by taking in a homeless person, and not just a strange homeless person, but someone her son knew, his mother did not want the invasion of privacy, and let the situation drop, and so left her son’s friend a step away from the street. He would never be without a home. His parents would always give him everything, but he was entirely dependent on them, and had nothing to give her, and it grieved him deeply that he could not provide her with a stable home, where she could rest and focus on her health. A great tremor runs through his body like a gust of wind through a forest, and he whispers in her ear, “You know I love you, but I just can’t tell you enough. I just wish we had our own place, and that I wasn’t unemployed so I could support you. I feel so useless.”

She looks up at him and sees the anxiety wracking his face, and says, “You really need to loosen up. C’mon, stop worrying so much. If I can cope, you can cope.”

The hurricane of his mind created a turbulent obstreperousness so loud that he had trouble hearing what she had said. He tried to quiet the beating in his chest, but she nestled against him and placed her ear against his heart, “There. You’re still living. I’m still living. We’re here, and I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me.”

The irony of the situation did not escape him. He was supposed to comfort her. He was supposed to be the rock, but he crumbled into so many pieces, a desert full of sand. He looked deep into her eyes and he could see them smiling back at him, happy in this moment after so many years of pain. What could this mean? He had nothing to give her except his love, and love cannot buy you groceries, cannot pay your cell phone bill, and most certainly cannot pay for your medication. There was nothing, he felt, that he could do about her housing, but he knew that if he could trade places with her and take all of her pain, and all of her hardships, and all of her suffering on, even if it killed him he would do it in a heartbeat if it would remove it from her. He caressed her cheek, speaking softly, “You know that if I had to choose I’d give all that I have to you.”

She nodded, and their eyes met, locked in place. He felt impotent, emasculated. He could not provide for the girl he loved. He had four dollars and twenty-seven cents in his pocket, the rest of the money he had in the world. He was of no more use than a suckling babe.

Say Anything, Say Everything

In Mimesis on December 8, 2010 at 7:03 pm

The bottom lock didn’t work, just the top deadbolt. Reginald pushed on the door and swung it open to let them both inside. The light over the kitchen sink was on, but the rest of the lights in the house had been shut off. He turned and looked at Elizabeth briefly before they stepped inside. His parents’ house was dim and he guided her over to where the couch was in the living room. They had been here before.  He said, “My parents must be sleeping. Wanna sit?”

They sat tentatively on either end of the couch, and his mind was racing, his heart pounding. Having Social Anxiety Disorder is not great when you’re trying to be smooth and suave with girls. He could feel his fingers shaking, as they always did because of the medication, but even more so now because of how nervous he was. So dreadfully nervous. What if she rejects him? He had known her for eighteen years. They had met in the first grade. There had always been a mutual connection between them, but even now he felt that grinding in his insides as he tried to talk to her. What if, after being friends with him for three-quarters of his life, she rejects his advance to move this beyond being close friends, and tells him she just wants to remain the way they are? Or worse, what if she thinks it is now too awkward and doesn’t want to see him ever again? Each phrase was like climbing Mount Everest. He struggled, he labored, and finally as he reached the top he manages to squeak out, “How about you sit next to me?”

She nodded, and moved closer to him on the couch. He was shaking. He was trying desperately hard not to let her notice, but he must have looked like he had palsy. Where was the fifties man of steel who would come in and say in a voice of velvet that he loved her and would do anything for her? Instead he just mentioned, “You want to see if there’s anything good on television?” He motioned towards the television and went to grab the remote, anything to distract himself from having to make small talk. The dreaded bane of his existence, small talk. There was a tension in the air and he could feel it, as palpable as moving through water. Something felt different.

She placed her hand on his to stay it from the remote. “I’d rather talk. I hope you don’t mind.”

He glanced into her eyes, but couldn’t hold it. Her gaze was penetrating. She was one of the strongest people he had ever known. All that life had given her she had borne like a saint. He idolized her. He could still remember that day back in sixth grade that she had told him that she would go out with him if he asked her to, but still there was too much doubt in his mind. He was a coward. She was so strong, and he was so weak. He could see that. Her strength made his weakness even more apparent in his eyes. His mind kept racing. He felt like he was sitting in the electric chair, his body buzzing with thousands of volts. He felt uncomfortable with her body this close to his even though it was what he wanted more than anything in the world. He suddenly felt the strong desire to get up. Talking’s fine. I’ll get the lights so we can see each other.”

She put her hand on his thigh as he went to get up. Surely she must feel his shaking. He wondered if she had meant to grab that close to his crotch. “Actually it’s kind of nice without all the lights on. Just sit.”

They paused, with him half standing, and her hand resting on his upper thing. The air was still, and the only sound was their breath. She said, finally, “Isn’t it great how silent the country gets?”

He sat back down and tried to relax. It frustrated him that he couldn’t read people. Even now with her sitting beside him he couldn’t tell if that was a look of boredom on her face, or if she was just content with being out here. He was glad that she was making the small talk though. He said, “Yeah, it really is nice. It lets you think.” He smiled at her. “You know, I’m so glad that we got back in touch.”

She looked up at him and smiled back, and even he could tell from her eyes that it was genuine. They had spent some years apart, it was true, but whenever they got back together it felt as if they had never been apart. It was if they had always been there all along. She said, “Well I’m sure glad you called me. These years have been rough, but it’s been a bit easier knowing I have friends like you out there. I love hearing from you.”

He couldn’t help but smile. He knew she meant it, and the connection that he had with her was one of the things he cherished most in this world, and it certainly brought him the greatest happiness. She was right, though, about how the years had fared for them. Just this past February she had tried to kill herself because the nerve pain she was experiencing was so bad that it felt like a hot iron was being pressed on her arm. The pain was constant, and after many trips to the doctor and no real help being given, she had decided to kill herself. He himself sympathized with her, though he could not compare to her suffering. His pain was only emotional, though in its own way extreme. They both had Bipolar disorder, though she was type II and he was type I. The difference between the two is that in type II you are more prone to be depressed, and in type I you are more prone to mania. This similar experience of life had given them much in common, and much to talk about. He understood why she would want to kill herself because he knew the disappointment he had felt when he had survived a snowboarding accident. He knew that living with pain, real or emotional, year after year, with the prognosis that you will have to for the rest of your life, can be very depressing. His reasoning for wanting to die was far less severe than hers. She was in constant pain, and sometimes the suffering was too much for her. For him it was more like he was bored with life or that he was tired after a long day. Recently he had become depressed because he had lost his faith in god. What was the point to living if there literally was no point to life? How could he keep on going when all science had told him was that life was just a spontaneous growth on a rock that happened to be the right distance from a star, and that we had grown like only so much mold? However it was their close encounter with death that proved, in fact, the catalyst needed for him to make up his mind to ask for more than friendship. He had come to realize that the most important thing in his life was her. His life revolved around her. She could give him a reason to live, and he prayed that he could give her a shoulder to lean on. His love for her had grown from a childhood crush to a more mature and deeper love as the years went on, and he knew now that he had to know if she felt the same way about him. Emboldened by her intimacy he said her name, “Elizabeth?” He put his hand on her thigh, but low, towards the knee. He tried his best to look her in the eyes, but he found himself squirming like a guilty convict. “I’ve been meaning to tell you something.”

She looked inquisitive now, and it only heightened his anxiety. He couldn’t think of how to approach the subject. His thoughts were all jumbled, like a puzzle still in the box. He knew what the picture was, but he just couldn’t seem to put it together. Finally, he said, “It’s really hard for me to say what I’m trying to say. I know we’ve always been open and honest with each other, but in one particular way I haven’t. I just can never tell a girl I love her!” He paused. That last part had just seemed to slip out. It was starting to come out in the open. Finally he blurted out, “I just wish I could hold you, now, as more than a close friend. In all the years we’ve been friends I’ve only ever given you a polite hug. I give my mother the same hug, and nobody is telling me I’m too friendly with my mother.” He wanted to kiss her, she looked so pretty in the dim light coming from the kitchen giving a soft glow to her skin and glinting off her eyes, her lips looking so soft, glistening, but cowardice checked him and he glanced away.

She turned his head back towards hers and looked him in the eyes, leaving her fingers trailing on his chin. “So hold me.” He wrapped his arms around her and she leaned into him, nuzzling up against his chest. He rested his head on top of hers and tried not to breathe too heavily, for fear of seeming weird. Her hair smelled faintly of lavender, with a hint of chamomile, and the scent relaxed him. He could feel the warmth of their bodies together, and he recognized this as the happiest he had ever been in his life.

He whispered softly, “I want to do everything I can for you. I know you’ve got a lot on your plate, but I want to help you. I’m graduating college soon, and hopefully I’ll get a good job if the economy holds out a bit. I know it looks like shit right now but I want to support you, to provide for you, and to be able to give you the things you need like doctors and good healthcare. Just ask me for anything you want, and you know I’ll do my best to do it for you.”

Without thinking for a moment she hugged him tighter and said, “All I want is you.”

He held her and for once things seemed to be coming together for him. Could it be that after all this time, after almost two decades  of waiting, that she returned his feelings? It seemed too good to be true. He caressed her cheek, his fingers trembling slightly, and spoke, “I love you. I always have, and I always will.”

He leaned in and kissed her softly, first on her forehead, then her cheek, and finally her mouth, and he could feel the tension melt between their lips.