The thing about the ocean is I use it like a mirror. Not a mirror mirror on the wall kind of situation but a second soul. Yes, mirrors are like that. Read a fucking book.
What else…I put parts of myself in them for safekeeping. I use them as doors.
People don’t do that anymore. They don’t use mirrors the way they should. The ocean, I mean. Think about it—not spread over all the deepest deep of the world, but tall. On end. Think about the ocean standing upward on the horizon. Opening, like a door. A mirror, I mean. Think about passing through.
We’re all water. The earth is mostly water. Frozen water, sky water, sea water, mirrors. Dry land is a joke. Just like dinosaurs or the ice age. Please, you’ve seen a wooly mammoth and thought the same thing I have. Right, ok. Like that ever existed.
Lately I’ve been writing at the mirror (I mean, the ocean). It’s hard but not impossible. I press my cheek or forehead against the surface and then push at the pad of paper till something comes out. I go diving. Not for pearls or anything. Not for anything that anyone would want. The left side of my face is beautiful at four o’clock in the afternoon. That orange and pink light? God, it purifies me. Smoothes me right out. The shadows round my eyes get deeper and darker and just a little lavender, till I look like one of those natural but not natural beauties with horse eyes and lips that everyone wants to eat. My skin is just golden, lips like goddamn petals. Goddamn.
I am beautiful. Not fuckable—beautiful.
Mostly the left side of my face. The left side of my chin is just heaven. The way it slopes up to my eyes and cheeks and the curved drop of my nose. I’m beautiful in the mirror. Not a great way to get writing done though.
The book is coming. No one is asking anymore, which is a good sign, because I know I’ll never get anything done unless I can be a dark horse about it. I like to come up from behind. I like to show up at my own funeral. I like it when they think I’ve already failed.
Note: water was calm today. Couldn’t see myself in the mirror.
I want to ask how anyone gets anything done. I want to ask my mother, I want to ask my sisters, I want to ask and ask till my face turns blue and my tongue shrivels up, turns dead black.
I believe that names are promises. They must be, right? They must mean something. Even nothing means something.
The new medication breaks me up like this.
I think one thing:
How come the tides move like that against our boat ? How come the water is so gentle with me and so rough with my sisters? How come the sky and the waves in that order? How come everyone else is tethered? I’m aching for something but everyone just says shut up close your meat hole put a stopper in it again with the tears and the threats please come on we’ve heard it all before. Every door, closed.
And then the pill patrol comes in BOOM. Comes in CLAP CLAP CLAP. Break it up, break it up you crazy kids. You band of ruffians. You ragamuffins.
I hope that Molly makes green salad and fried chicken for lunch. I hope that Molly loves me even without her paycheck. Does she have children? Is Molly even her real name? Am I living The Little Princess out loud right now without realizing it? Maybe your house only feels grand when it’s not really yours. I hope that Molly loves me, god, I hope that somebody loves me, Jesus I’ll find the balls to give up if its any other way, man, I’ll start looking a pine boxes and picking out plots between the stone hills if you know what I mean. Shut up, we both know I’ll go out burning on the open water. Start practicing your archery, asshole.
CRASH. Bang. Ceasefire.
At the end of the day I have to slip through my notebooks to keep track of what my brain tried to string together. At the end of the day I have to say prayers and burn incense, otherwise my mother will get incensed and I’ll get burned by proximity. It’s a tricky fire to stoke, but one that I’m familial with. Imagine that every day. Imagine trying to put one foot after the other in the sand while the tide stinks and laughs at you and then comes for you with its tongue. I have a relationship with the Atlantic. I wouldn’t call it good or bad. I would call it the ocean.
Benjamin plays the piano soft and slow for me. He isn’t sad like the other boys. He isn’t trying to prove anything. I know because he doesn’t use cologne. He’s thoughtful and wears his hair in a ponytail. He’s sweet and knows that polo shirts don’t look good on anyone. He is the north star of my life. I know because every day I open my notebooks and there he is. Page after page of Benjamin. Benjamin on the ivories. Benjamin and the cats on the porch. Benjamin lugging water or carrying things up the stairs. Benjamin shucking corn and shelling peas. Benjamin going to the bathroom. Ok, well, that one is just a drawing of the bathroom door. But I know I meant to say that Benjamin is inside. I like when things are behind doors. I like watching and knowing and supposing. My whole life is about supposing. I Nancy Drew my life every day, why do you think I keep these journals? I’ve got to girl detective my way out. I’ve got to figure out the center of the maze. I’m not just another numbskull.
I don’t think I was ever a child. My arms and legs have always been just the right size, and none of my teeth ever fell out because I’m not careless like the others. I keep track of things. I make lists. I am a national treasure.
Benjamin lives at my house for one reason or another. For the same reason Molly does, I think. I pretend that it’s love he’s here for, but that may not be true. And anyway, it may be love but not from the right person. Like it would matter coming from anyone else. Whatever. I won’t say either way. I’m not a masochist. The way he plays the piano makes me want to fuck everything.
I don’t think that writers are supposed to be happy. I think that they are supposed to be alone.