My therapist has this theory about why, instead of nice lovely solid restoring sleep, my nights are filled with long gazes at off-white walls that enjoy pretending to be blue at night, with half-baked plot lines and sentences I swear to myself I will remember come morning but I never will, I know. She tells me her theory on our fourth meeting this month, it’s May now and there are five Sundays when usually there are only four and so this isn’t even the last time I’ll see her this summer, as we’re seated next to but still across each other on that brown couch of hers. Her lips are dry. She licks them as she pauses to read the speech she has written for me in her head. Out comes her tongue, wet monster that it is, as her eyes flick back to read the script she’s hidden in the dark space of her skull to read the next line, the next paragraph. Moisten, moisture, more more more. There are words filling the space between her and me, settling into the middle couch cushion and forcing it to sag as if someone obese is pressing their hips into the dark leather. There is a weight to what she is saying and it’s significant, I can feel it, I can feel it in my bones. Maybe it’s as heavy as I am but I doubt that since I’m no feather of a girl. I should probably listen now, or at least go back in my remembering to where I was listening and then begin to start telling, again from where I left off, what exactly the good mind doctor was telling me.
She said I was sick, she said, sicker than before, she clarified, she thought I needed help, these manic spells that seemed to seize me in a way nothing and no passion ever could were not a good thing no matter how I craved them, she looked at me from above me even though she was half a foot shorter, she paused here, and the best way, she licked her lips, was to drink these white pills. Wow what a wonderful and simple solution.
Down the rabbit hole they went, every night before bed. The rabbit hole here being my throat and the white rabbit being 300 milligrams of the finest prescription crap money can buy.
Fuck shit um.
This was supposed to be a bedtime story.
Hush little baby don’t you cry mama’s gonna sing you a lullaby and if that lullaby don’t rhyme mama’s gonna try some other time and if by 3 you’re still awake maybe it’s a good time to start walking around or start cooking breakfast no throw that away that’s disgusting maybe you should look for your journal from three years ago no no no definitely time to start writing about that boy you met at that thing who looked through you like you were the last flimsy piece of a lollipop he’d been carefully melting with his tongue for hours like you were the world but bent and twisted and orange tinted and flavoured yes that boy the one whose hands fit into the bend of your lower back like no pillow or kitten ever could yes let’s write about him and how he kisses you when he wants to and how that’s a terrible thing but no now let’s write a story about a boy who can’t go to sleep
Once upon a time in a land far away there was a happy boy (Do you see the importance of this introductory sentence? It distances the real world from the fantasy. No matter how fast or far you run, and I run fast and I can run far, you will never travel enough distance to reach somewhere where there are happy boys and happiness and boys who you want to tell stories about).
Ugh wait I’m restarting. I’m sorry but I, the writer of this here story, am not such a happy person. I don’t know how to write about happy things or happy people or happy stories even if I really really want to. This is me, the writer of this here story, saying sorry for not being able to write a happy story. I’m saying: I’m really trying very hard but it’s just not coming to me but it’s okay I guess but I’m sorry.
“Writing things comes easy to me even though my penmanship is terrible because there’s no filter, no barrier, no inbetween between the terrible ideas and thoughts in my head and the terrible words and sentences on paper. But writing happy things doesn’t come naturally because naturally I’m not happy but sometimes some times and some things and some boys make me feel happy and that’s unnatural but it does happen. But not now.” I say, I the writer of this here story, to you, the reader.
Continuing. Restarting. Here is your story, which I owe you because I ate all your dreams like a pig.
Once upon a time there was a boy. His mother didn’t like the way he flew around the house and how he didn’t know the best way to sit was on his hands. She didn’t like the hum that boys make, the vibrating note of their existence, and she wondered every night as she took off her reading glasses and set aside her book, why her body had chosen to betray her and give her a son. Perhaps it was because she didn’t run marathons.
So this boy, who was good at climbing things like slides and trees and chimneys, would come home every night covered in dirt. This was proud dirt, dirt with stories to tell. Children know the secrets of dirt and so it wasn’t surprising to see him and his sister, Lola, studying the grime and listening to their stories. The miles traveled and the weather faced and the feet of famous people, all these past things that became stories that were part of the dirt that was part of the filth that covered this one boy this particular day. Lola and him would crouch, bellies to thighs, backs of thighs to calves, feet to the floor, and just imagine the stories that every bit had to tell. The colors hidden in the brown were perhaps the best part, or at least Lola’s favorite part. And then he showered, alone, looking for an hidden secret sneaky wounds and cuts and bleeds underneath his earthy second skin in a fevered hunt that was his own hidden secret sneaky favorite part, and he ate dinner with his loving doting stable wonderful fantastic family and then he went to bed.
But his mother didn’t like how he woke up in the morning before the sun did, how the humming began before her dreams could even end. So this particular night, it was a Tuesday, she took a page from the Tricky Trick Book of her friend Ellen.
Ellen had four boys and no man or hair. Everything she had lost in life, she lost to closed angry fists. But no fists had touched her boys and for that she was grateful and, terribly but also more interestingly, irritated. So she had a stroke of genius, the type and severity of which hadn’t come to her since she remembered the name of the song on the radio, since she leaned down into her own mouth and ripped words off the tip of her tongue and flung them out into the air to be used to be heard to be relevant and less haunting. Ellen took a mortar and a pestle to the white pills given to her by her therapist, who isn’t my therapist and whose couch is covered in soft beige leather, pounding and pounding away, really burning fat and building muscle, toning and firming, working and pushing, until the magic of love and physical exercise turned the pretty pills into a fine white mist barely settled in a wooden concave plane. It was hard to contain the glee and the powder, both legally belonging to Ellen, though she tried her hardest to keep both lids tightly screwed on.
And so, like her friend, the mother of our protagonist mixed prescription sleeping pills into the food of her beloved children. It was the only sane thing to do, the only self-preserving option. The Right Choice. The Good Way. The Snooze Button. Let the children dream longer; let the mother pretend to be dead longer. It was the point in a seesaw that everyone tried to achieve, that point of balance where you are on even levels but there are no feet planted on the ground. Perhaps that it what love is: self-preservation and drugging and pretending to be on solid ground and pretending to see eye to eye.
So the boy, who ate three servings of spaghetti and four of potatoes and five of soda and six of dessert, ingested enough medicine to kill a horse and that night saw the world and the moon for the last time. Which is really such a shame since he missed such a spectacular sight. That Tuesday night, or rather Wednesday morning, the moon was knocked off its orbit by a rather large and angry seeming meteor, asteroid, comet, or maybe it was God’s rocky fist whatever. It spun around and terrified everyone and people prayed and people kissed and people cried but the boy stayed asleep because he was dead, remember?
The moon crashed through his house, smashing his skull into so many pieces that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t have put him back together, destroying him so completely that all the crime scene investigators and professors and policemen or anyone else who supposedly has authority could never have known he had been murdered by his mother. In fact, they wouldn’t have known that there were three people, a mother and a daughter, named Lola, and a son, all with brown hair, living in the two story house on the street of the first left past the Laundromat, if you're coming from downtown. The moon had so completely destroyed their house, their street, the Laundromat, their country and everything that until that night had been cold hard fact, that policemen wouldn’t have given a shit about if they were blond or not. No one would ever know or care to know because, in the chaos that followed, no one survived.
The men on the moon became the men in the crater and they decided to take the blue planet as their own, after watching it for so long. The earth opened up and cried hot magma from her pores, showing everyone just how passionate and loving a mother nature is. People, when people still remembered that they were people, killed and loved and kissed and cried and stole and ate a whole bunch of Campbell’s mushroom soup.
The men on the moon had swords.
Isn’t that a cool little detail?