3.13.2007

The Hornet's Nest

[First, I must intro with the idea that this was not the four-thousand-some word essay that I've been working on all day. This is the beautiful/poignant/brief one that was in my head when I left Shaun's house this evening. Right now, it is 12:34 am. I will note the time when I'm done for the night. Also, there is beer and smokes adorning my desk like little-punk-rock-christmas-in-march ornaments. On a side note, that sentance was not near as cool as I want this piece to be.]

In my apartment, there are these huge bay windows that never close; especially in the warm months when I but imagine that this huge port town affords me salt hung breezes that never really breach my window ledges. When I call people in other states however, I tell them that this happens. I say that it is like my hometown but better--that when it is warm that the rest of the world remains locked in the dregs of winter, and that I am privy to balmy tropical winds that still smell of the sea a couple of miles in.
This never happens, by the way.
But on the outskirts of downtown where the ambulance and fire sirens are thick in thier decibels and where the sounds of women cumming from the partners they've likely garnered from the bar across the street echo in the courtyard is where my little home is, and a home I've so made it. There is me, and there is my cat, and after years of struggling to keep and build a family, this is what is left. Unfortunately, I love it. It's just too easy to be left alone; too easy to deal with both your glories and times of solace when there's no one there to see it.
This is where we begin to revisit the idea of beauty, and not with the offhandedness with which most women treat it, but rather with a verocity that makes it nearly clinical; it comes down to lists and plans and calendars. It comes down to little battery operated machines that treat my nails with the efficiency of a salon, flat irons and hair dryers and various silicone based product that tame my unruly mane into some hipster white girl's wet dream.
At work, once again, I am expected to be beautiful. Much like my time at the circus, I am paid well to groom myself effectively, to reinvent myself into some vauge and multiplyable ideal of what a tattooed freak can become. I have oh-so-carefully ditched the idea of an "outfit" for a look--and this look must be carefully nurtured and monitered; it must be revisited every morning in my attempt to brace myself for a job--a job that keeps me in a lifestyle I have become so quickly accustomed to. A lifestyle? Fuck that--I wish it was only so quantifiable--but it merely boils down to a cell phone bill, a rent check, and more recently the multitude of both drugstore and designer beauty that ranges in price from product to product from 'newly reasonable' to 'even still exorbitant'. Exorbitant but neccesary. It even makes me laugh; me who is the one buying these products, me who still thinks that for seven to seventy dollars an ounce I can gain some kind of control. It's less effective than it is mostly effectively ridiculous. Yeah, I know.

I am naked, and I am in my old neighborhood, and it is so late that it is early; and the sun is a few hours off from streaming in the windows to light my upturned hip draped in an old sleeping bag that I am only pretending is okay with me. I am having the same problem I always have with boys' bedrooms since living alone--the utility of them is exhausting; I just can't see how one human being can be so accustomed to what I deem uncomfortable.
"I'm pretty vain. Especially with my hair, you know? It's my thing, I s'pose." You would think this would be me speaking, but rather is the naked boy next to me in the chill of his open windows so much like mine.
"Vanity? Boys appreciate vanity?" I am litterally abashed in considering how this can possibly be true, especially considering the condition of his bedroom. All of thier bedrooms.
"Yeah, I mean, I'm sure you understand, you're pretty vain, at least, that's what I would assume from all the mirrors in your apartment."

Ah, my apartment. My apartment that I covet to the point of uncomfortability. Much like how the zipper of a sleeping bag might feel on your naked thigh at seven in the morning in a breezy bedroom that is a constant fifty degrees is redeemed by the beauty of a boy next to you, my apartment is lonely and expansive, but perfect. When there is no music playing it is deafeningly still and silent, and it is on one of these so silent and heavy afternoons that my bare legs are propped out of the big window, and there is a heavy curl of smoke about my outstretched hand, and then a goddamn hornet flys through my window. Goddamnit.
I have been lucky in my life in but two respects--I have never broken a bone, and I have never been stung by a bee. Never. That being said, I am catatonically scared of both of these things, specifically bees. I fear the sting of my throat closing and my hands closing around my throat and my vain attempts to dial 911 through the throws of antiflactic shock. My entire biological family is alergic to bees, and I assume I am not unlike them even in my naievety. And now there's a bee in my goddamned apartment, goddamnit.
This is terrible because I was just taking a break to smoke by my window, I had been previously enjoying one of the many simple pleasures of living alone, but this one is my favorite. Cleaning. I love cleaning when there is no one there to ruin it. Love to leave home and return to it in the exact same seemingly immaculate yet true disaster that I left it. I love the idea that people covet thier own homes so much that they will see mine and for a moment believe that I have somehow figured it all out. You should see it--my aparment, I mean. Really, it's beautiful, and there is a table in the kitchen where I drink my coffee and a wall that is covered in posters in mismatched frames that both retains and idealizes my illustrious audiophile past complete with every last singer and drummer and guitarist that has graced my own immaculate bedroom.

He is a musician, and I am a writer, and I am naked in his bed, and here is where I know that he will have fame that I never could. I smile rather than telling him I hate this, rather than telling him that my long slender fingers once felt the grace of an instrument, that it was my own choice rather than my level of skill that left me to my pencils then paintbrushes and finally to my notebooks and laptop. I always wish to tell them that at the age of ten, I was better than them. I was, seriously.
"You're so beautiful. I don't see how you can't be vain." I suppose that it is clear now that this is him speaking.
"Vain. Hmm." I am honestly considereing whether I am or not. "Vain, no, I don't think I am. My mirrors? I mean, girls have mirrors, specifically when they are gifts like mine were. I love to feel pretty, but be beautiful? That's different. I love to groom myself; in fact, I have discovered it again, I can perform menial hygenic tasks on myself for hours on end. But to be and also to think myself beautiful? I'm just not there. Not yet. Let's say I aspire to vanity. Does that make sense?"
He is shaking his head and holding back laughter.
"No. No Miranda, that does not make sense."
Hmm. His name doesn't so much matter anymore, and by that I mean that there are mutitudes of him yet to be met, and that there have been so many of him already. I just mean that in a years time, I will remember him as but as one more John on my list among many.

It doesn't make sense, of course it doesn't. It doesn't make sense that I'm comfortable crisscrossing the country and the world, with playing heartstrings like a competitive sport, with all of my independant bullshit morays and not with the simple act of getting a bee out of my apartment. I am litterally scared, and I am shaking, and there is this goddamned bee darting about my home with an abandon that yeilds me to think: "Oh my god. He's fucking staring at me."

They are all fucking staring at me, and I am several days off of all of the lights on and nakedness and the way he fucking touches me like he's clearly touching someone else, and though I have related this to my girlfriends several times they never seem to have the grace or remorse for this act as I wish that they would. They are never apologetic to this at all, as if this is supposed to be something that's normal; as if our collective lot as women is to reinvent ourselves into all of these other women, these girls that are perfect and driven and garner such adoration with thier highlighted hipster hair and vintage t-shirts draped from thier slender shoulders, thier perfect even cadence that demands love from these boys. These girls deserve to be held like he held me, these girls want the same things all of these boys do, are comforted when his fingers intertwine with thiers above thier head and his eyes are inside thier own--yet when this is me, I can only hold dear my cat and my too expansive apartment that is cleaned by the simple fear that everyone will someday realize that I'm not as put together as my home may seem.

It has been an hour, and the bee is on my curtain rod and I have retreated to the bathroom, shut the door and turned the lock. I gather all of my supplies around me, and begin again to harness some mixed up semblance of what all of those girls that I admire call vanity.
There are so many products and tweezers and wax and creams, lotions and body powders. Then, just when the flat iron comes out, there are tears that I hate not for my weakness, but rather because the humidity is making all of the fine hair framing my face frizzy. This might have been what snapped me out of all of it.
I am in my kitchen, and I can see it cleaning its wings on my curtain, and I am armed with a can of Lysol and a collins glass. I'll be damned if I let this bee tell me what I'm capable of. I carefully remove my flip-flops and stow them in the closet where they belong. I am scared, and I perch myself on my couch cushion, can and glass raised. I am there for several moments, wondering what might happen if something goes wrong, if this goddamned bee somehow gets mad and free like I might; might retaliate in the only way it knows how, how I might be left convulsing alone in my beautiful apartment knowing my cellphone is not within arms reach and I might very well die alone at the hands of something as small as one of my perfectly manicured thumbnails. I look away for just a moment seeking my phone, but return to my nemesis's gaze with the harsh and cold reality that even given the opportunity, I have no one to call. I could die without anyone knowing.
Fuck it. I'd rather die than know I can't even do this, and so there is conviction and thrust, and then there is a hornet trapped beneath a glass in my grasp, and there is a quick and heady plan of an envelope within arms reach slid beneath the opening, and then I am shaking, arms outstretched, seeking the will to lean out the window as I often do but this time it is to release this monster from a prison I have concocted: This is all my fault. All of this is my fault.
Then my phone rings.

The glass I set on my veneer coffee table complete with envelope at it's rim. As I answer the phone and I can still see this goddamned hornet from the corner of my eye deserately trying to free itself from a prison I created from a glass that I own many copies of for the expressed purpose of entertaing to keep true the idea that I'm okay. It's fucked up.
"Hello?" It's funny how even now that we know who's calling, we answer our phones the same way we did before this specific technology.
"Hey. What's goin' on." It's the boy I've been naked with as of late.
"Well, funny you should ask, there's a bee in my apartment."
"A bee?"
"Yeah, and it's in a glass, and I'm suddenly faced with the fact that I can't deal with it, and I have no one who will do it for me. My cat is no help in this resect, unfortunately." I set a book on top of the glass. I am afraid the envelope wont hold.
"Well, hey. You know. Just put it outside."
"It's not that easy for me."
"There are things that aren't that easy for you?"
And there it is. Right there. That all of them would assume that this whole world unfolds in my palm because they think that of me and that all of this we see is in my head quantifiable, because in my head there is always the proverbial hornet--this thing that would be so much easier should I have a partner to handle it for me, yet I can't seem to reliquish all of my single ideals to warrant it.
This is what psychologists and civilians both call a vicious cycle, and it is one I have acclimated myself to all to quicky. I am ready to die for my laptop and my cat and my bee for some idea of self reliance when the truth is I can't even bring my self to stick a glass out a window. Bullocks.
"Alot of things aren't easy for me." I am surprised at my honesty when my girlfriends have warned me against that.
"Yeah, well, me too, and I think we shouldn't be sleeping with each other anymore."
The bee is still staring at me, and yet my chest is rising and falling with an ease that it has not in weeks, because I finally want it to.
"Yeah. Okay."
"I mean, there's this girl, you know?"

This is the worst part, because I've already felt her, felt how she likes it, how she wants to be held and looked at, touched and coddled and fucked with the lights on because none of that was ever me. I wanted it to be me because it seemed like something people should want, but in the end, I'm left with just the question, "Will I die alone while he fucks her?"

He fucks her beautifully. Really, there is so much care and love and want and I know this because he's fucked me like I was her, and I'm the one who deemed this okay. I think it's allright for men to touch me as a confection they've already tasted, and I bitch about framing myself to be thier princess and yet I never demean this act to thier faces. I am more than ready to reinvent myself while simultaneously hating this act; I adore being fucked like I am not me.

Five hours in, the bee is still staring at me. I am silent watching it for some time, repeating the same actions that are never going to grant it's freedom--up the glass, down the glass, up, down, up, down, around.

I am reminded of all of my rituals, all of my products and hardware that make me pretty that never make me beautiful, never make me actually into that girl that gets the privelege of being touched like her own fucked up self. Up down, around and all over town, there are all these pretty couples, and in all of these girls I see the same bobby pins that I place in my hair and leave on thier nightstands, but never through the perfection do I see thier bees trapped on thier coffee tables from fear of them flying back through thier huge open windows.

I wish my fears were just left at bees.

[it's 5:41 am, and I am over a boy in just over five hours flat. That's a new record. Unfortunately, I fear what I always do--that I'm constantly seeking stories rather than life. That is a pervasive and damaging fear in and of itself.]
--M

[morning of 3.13 edit: A few things. 1. I've read this again, and love it as a distraction. I'll probably rewrite this once, make little booklets with Good on Paper like I once did with my little Poetry Zine, Everything Remains the Same. These will be given to my girlfriends, starting with Mary, Mindy and Mellissa. 2. Favorite lines? Oh yes. "I adore being fucked like I am not me." That's so fucked up it makes me teary. Oh, and "I will remember him as but as one more John on my list among many". I meant this litterally, and yet now realize the connotation of "John" as someone who frequents prostitutes. Oh, yeah. Damn that is sweet. The rest of it sucks, but is great as something cute to give my girlfriends. I will laregely scrap this, but I do miss writing some piece in order, from beginning to end in one sitting. I used to do that all the time. 3. The goddamn bee is still alive. Oh, you didn't realize that this was real? It's oh so real, and that fucker just wont die. Hopefully it'll be dead by the time I get home from work. --M]

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