Where you going with that load of nothing in your hand?”
An excerpt of a yet untitled “something”
So, I waited. I grabbed my crate of records and carried them over to the bed, dumping them all out, into a vinyl sea of disarray. I surmised the damage then opened the closest window and lit a cigarette. Not that it mattered tonight if I smoked inside, or not, as Mom and that man she married were out for the night, and my brother sent off to Grandma’s (again). I wish I’d gone with him. I wish I was still that little girl who could get lost in those long hallways, entertained by stacks of books and old board games. Surrounded by Bible hymns and Christmas lights that twinkled in the windows, oh, and the smell of cookies baking all the time. He gets to soak that all up now, him and not me. I’m supposed to have outgrown all that by now.
I look at all the faces staring up at me from my bed. I Inhale, then exhale. The sweet lightheaded swirl hits me like a dizzy spell from not enough sleep. I blink through the slight blur and shift my position so I’m not leaning on my wrist. The only pain I can still feel is my wrist. Everything else swells in that honey thick numb of denial, and “no, I’m fine”. All these faces, all these voices. It would be so much easier to live within their skin, hide away in their souls, at least for the rest of the school year. I could switch places with Michael Steele, talk the girls into changing their name back to The Bangs. I feel like “Going down to Liverpool to do nothing.” Or maybe I could disguise myself as one of the guys instead, slip into Roger Taylor’s skin, or Tony Hadley’s.
I look at Colour By Numbers, remembering that night in Robert’s room, how we tried to re-create the cover. Troy’s sister Elise was in from college, and she was along for the night with us. She did Troy’s make-up and tied multi-shades of yarn into his hair, to be Boy George. Robert was Jon Moss. Andie and I the other two. I wonder if Elise ever sent those pictures to Troy. She said they were for a project, for something “big”, maybe part of her plans to work for a music magazine in London, or New York. Andie worshiped her, well, all of us did really. Troy wanted to leave with her, to escape. I wonder if I could look her up, if she’d remember me, if she’d tell Troy where I was if I came to see her?
I was keeping the room silent in order to hear the door. I was waiting, pacing, my stomach turning to a slow acid burn. I didn’t want to see Troy, not now, not this reality of Troy and I. Though I missed the days when we traded our quiet words over the phone, our stories, and secrets, but, that wasn’t who we were anymore. I couldn’t shake the way he had said it, his voice loaded with that tone of disgust, the lies snapping the cord between any connections we’d forged together. I knew he’d come, though. I knew he’d use me as an excuse to pass the razor and straw back to himself, any reason worked for him. I needed what he could bring me more than I needed my pride right now.
Maybe they are all right about me, I consider. Maybe they see what’s inside. All the ugly, dirty bits of me that I try to make invisible, the things the Shadow Man sees when he takes the blood off my skin that I give to him, sewing it into his plaid flesh, leaving with me, stealing me away. Maybe the lies are all truth.
The door interrupts. I can hear Troy at the door. Finally. I can’t do this anymore tonight, no more of this weaving in and out of gory emotional crap. I need to light myself up, send myself off into Neverland, listen to music and write pages of endless nonsense. Maybe I’ll rewrite all the lies until they shine up pretty and new. Maybe I’ll write a goodbye to them all, disappear, finally go and see Elise, or some other place.
I can’t do this anymore.
I can’t do this anymore.
I can’t do this anymore.
I keep repeating it to myself as I walk to the door. My legs are heavy and tingling from sitting to long on my feet, knees bend underneath so long the blood flow got stuck inside. I feel like the floor is pulling me under. The door is closer now, I hear him outside, and I can almost taste that telltale drip down the back of my throat that comes right before the surge of no more fear that will follow, the staccato pulse through my veins, the pound through my chest, the welcome burn. I open the door, blinking three times and wiping my eyes to take in what I see.
“Robert? Is Troy with you?” I stutter in confusion, well shock really.
Did I call Robert on accident? Wasn’t it Troy I spoke to? Wasn’t it him, in his mouse-sized voice, that he’d be right over?
Robert reaches for my hand as he lets himself in, walking right by me and heading straight to my room.
“Do you have a suitcase, Lou?”
“Why do I need a suitcase? Why are you here? What’s going on? Robert?” I ask his back as I trail behind him. My head is starting to throb, right by my eyes. I stop and stand at the doorway, impatience flushing my cheeks, watching him and waiting for some kind of answer.
“You’re coming with me. This ends now.”
He is determined in a way I have never seen before. His eyes are soft, but everything else about him is strong and firm. I know not to argue, or ask any more questions. I swing my closet door open and pull out the tapestry bag my Grandmother gave me for my thirteenth birthday, the one I’ve never used. Andie and I laughed and said “It’s a Mary Poppins bag!” when she’d given it to me. I handed it to Robert now, and then slide to the floor, pulling my knees to me, and covering my face in my hands. I peek at him through my fingers, watching as he empties my drawers out on the floor. He picks through them thoughtfully, albeit quickly, and fills the bag. I stare silently as he grabs my sweatshirt and purple case with all my mixed tapes. Then he turns to me and holds out his hand. I take it without a moments hesitation and let him lead me out the door to his waiting car. I can see Andie and Troy in the backseat. That sight makes me hesitate and pull back, trying to break free and go back into the house. But Robert pulls me to him, closer, with insistence.
“Come on, Louise. Trust me.” Robert looks into my eyes, a slight suggestion of a smile teasing at the corner of his lips. I can’t possibly fight him. He knows I trust him. Always.
“Are we going down to Liverpool to do nothing then?” I joke as a “yes, i trust you”, my voice straining.
Going Down to Liverpool :: The Bangles