Beauty-in-the-breakdown by Sarah Joncas

Keep Art Alive :: “Beauty in the Breakdown” :: Art by Sarah Joncas

Oh, have I been too discreet?
How long am I supposed to wait?
I think about you nightly.”

Jane stays in again, another illness without a diagnosis, pulled curtains and a hushed, husky tone of voice. She is hiding again, but no one seems to notice. The phone sits beside her, precariously balanced between the cool side of the pillow and the heat of her untapped desire. The hallucinations start around the third night of sleeplessness. She lies there, eyes tracing the intersecting images as they dance across the makeshift screen of nothing, and everything. Some of them turn into heart shapes, some into initials like the kind scratched into tree trunks and scrawled on the back pages of yearbooks. She ties them together by crossing her eyes, imagines the marriage of J’s and K’s, the way his name would wrap around her own, her identity gone blurry now in all the wasted wishing. She turns her head to the right, lips pursed into an almost-kiss, willing the sound of a contrived ring tone to vibrate the bed sheets. If he called now would she have the will to speak?

The knocks will come eventually. She can only play this disappearing act for so long. The crowd will stomp their feet and demand an encore, the band will pull you back out without a costume change, the sweat still beading across your forehead, dripping into your bloodshot eyes. Smile for the camera, smile at the audience, sing your god-damn heart out. The confessions bleed out, his and hers and hers weaved into each lyric, and the nameless faces just sing-a-long. The tape skips, as if the over-play has begun to unravel the insides, but no one notices. Drive faster, play harder, lose yourself in the heat, the beat, the curtain call. Maybe a tryst with a fair-haired, fake-named boy in the back will help ease the pain. She plays simulated name that band games behind her closed eyes without even leaving a wrinkle in the duvet. A world-wide tour without leaving her bedroom, it could happen.

They were supposed to be half-way to Nashville by now, Jane thinks. She had reserved a room in the back of an old bed and breakfast, a leaning for sale sign propped up in the overgrown grass. It was only three nights but it could have been the next best thing. She had waited there, bags at her side, the car engine humming along. The parking lot was deserted, the shoppers all gone home, the signs slowly down and out. Jane thought that it all looked like that scene from Back to the Future, when Marty takes that first ride into the past. She smiles at the reference, knowing all to well what it feels like to want to go back. Every thing you do leaves a mark though, and all this turning around and wistful wanting, it makes the picture fade. One more backward glance and she might disappear completely. This could be better than a mob hit, this kind of love removal machine.

Its all nonsense now. Jane, darling, just sleep.

Oh, what am I supposed to do?”

Can You Tell :: Ra Ra Riot

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