Independence and Voodoo

“Do you have a question?” the Voodoo man asked, shuffling his tarot cards. I had too many questions “No” I answered absolutely.
….

I’d stormed away from Alaska the previous day; unable to continue our fight for fear my emotions might get the better of me. Historically this would have been exactly the moment I’d of called my mother for reassurance. Those kind of calls always comprised of me waffling for around 99% of the conversation whilst she cooed ‘yes’s’ and ‘mmm’s’. We’d tie up the call with her bestowing some words of wisdom before I said goodbye, lighter for the therapy. I couldn’t call my mum, so I went to seek Blonde instead.

first call

Unfortunately, Blonde was not my mother. To make things even more unfair, I was only telling her half the story, leaving out all the parts where Alaska and I debated a relationship with each other. I hadn’t wanted to share that, presuming she’d ask more questions; questions I didn’t have the answers to.

The truth was, I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about Alaska. I’d liked him immediately, his natural ease, the way his smile met his eyes, the hint of vulnerability masked behind a quick laugh. He’d seemed happy, light, I was attracted to that, who isn’t? But then I did what I always do, I dug. I dug until I uncovered problems he wasn’t even aware of himself for they’d been so long buried. He’d tried to make me feel the same level of vulnerability but he’d attacked my insecurities which had done the opposite of what he’d wanted to achieve, forming a rift between us.

rift over canyon.jpg

It wasn’t the fact he didn’t find me attractive that was the issue. If we lived in a world where you picked up partners from the local store, I’d of walked away with a blue eyed rugby player, he’d have picked up a small, blonde cheerleader, we were the exact opposite of what each thought was their ‘type’. That didn’t concern me, he had plenty of physical attribute for me to find him attractive just as he was, the problem was, he didn’t seem to share the same view point. Valuing me only for my personality and that simply wasn’t enough for me. It was one thing to not find me attractive, it was an entirely other to find me unattractive; every word out of his mouth made me feel more insecure.

Perhaps I’d had it wrong all these years, maybe physical attraction or how you felt about yourself really weren’t important, I mean Beauty fell in love with Beast (although personally I always found Beast more attractive before he changed into the man, but then, I was an odd child).

beast transformation.gif

Maybe looks really didn’t play a part in attraction and I was simply too vain to see past it? I liked the way he knew when to leave me alone and when to try and pull me out of myself. I liked that he was happy to listen to me moan (which seemed to be an awful lot). I liked that he wanted to love me when I wasn’t sure anybody ever would again. But I didn’t like when he felt vulnerable and attacked whoever was closest, I didn’t like how dark and bitter he was under the sunny disposition. And I really didn’t like how he made me feel about myself. All his comments stacking up until my confidence had been chipped away from what was once a strong statue of self assurance to nothing but a pile of rubble.

I wanted to save him from his own demons, and maybe by doing so, I’d be able to fall in love with whatever love really was. It was yet to be determined however, whether I could do that at the expense of my own self worth.

walking on the rails

Unable to communicate any of this to Blonde, I moaned about Alaska calling me fat instead, which wasn’t really the argument at all. We’d regrouped on the way to the car, Alaska had tried talking “all I’m saying, is you’re never going to look the way you want, but I value you for your personality, so what if you’ll always have a fat ass…”.

I’d lost my cool, anger blinding me I turned to him and let rip “Fuck you! My ass isn’t even that fat! Do you know what, don’t ever say anything about my physical appearance ever again! I mean it! Don’t tell me if I look nice or if you think I’ve gained weight, nothing, don’t say anything about how I look ever, ever again! You make me feel awful about myself and I only want to be around people where I come away feeling good! If you can’t do that, then you can get off this road-trip right now!” I screamed, he looked taken aback, almost scared. Blonde was silent, staring between Alaska and me.

“Seriously I will leave you right here and you can sort yourself out! I don’t care!” I drilled my point. “Ok, ok” he raised his hands in surrender.

stop taking

I was quiet all evening, avoiding conversations, reluctant to engage, I pretended to fetch a jumper from the car just so I could sit and be on my own for half an hour. As mad as I was at Alaska, the edge of my grievance melted by the time we camped down on the hosts floor for bed, a fear settling in that if I pushed Alaska and Blonde away then I’d have to face being alone again and I wanted to avoid that feeling at all costs! I stretched a hand towards him in the dark, our fingers entwining and squeezing tight ‘you might be bad for me but you’re here so please don’t let go’ my fingers pulsed, hoping he would hear.

We didn’t sleep well, Blonde had stepped on me in her nightly quest to reach the loo, Alaska tossed and turned, reaching out to hug me in his sleep.

I’d stared over my shoulder in the bathroom mirror the next morning, trying to access if my body proportions were particularly grotesque. I beat myself up for feeling so negatively, it bothered me and that in turn made me sad. The depression cycle spun until I was convinced I was the saddest, loneliness person that ever lived.

lonely

“Aren’t you going to come say bye?” Blonde asked after I’d piled my bags into the car boot and was climbing into the front seat. “I’ve already said bye to the host” I retorted, “well I think he wants a picture of us all” Blonde continued. I couldn’t think of anything worse than being caught on film at that moment, I turned to face her, my eyes dead “I am NOT having a picture taken right now!” insecurity sweating off me.

“Fine!” she slammed the car door and stalked back to the apartment. My hands were shaking as we pulled away from Atlanta, Blonde and Alaska asked questions “Where are we staying tonight? What time will we get there? Where shall we stop for lunch?”. “I DON’T KNOW! Maybe you two could work this stuff out for once!” I yelled, squeezing my hands into fists once again in an attempt to contain myself.

hiding under a blanket.gif

I reached into my bag, retrieving a large black blanket scarf and pulled it over my head. It was a rather pathetic gesture but so desperately did I want some space. After about twenty minutes I was starting to suffocate and the reality of the situation that I was a thirty one year old woman, hiding under a blanket in a car, was making me feel a little embarrassed. I slowly created an opening for my face and sat shrouded like a small old lady, gradually I let the blanket fall to my shoulders and finally discarded it entirely.

Alaska and I were barely speaking, continuing our fight via text message. We bashed messages back and forth until I became confused by a line in his message and needed it explaining. I glanced at Blonde who was in her own world, wearing headphones and watching an episode of Greys Anatomy, the phone balanced on her knee as she drove. I twisted over my right shoulder to speak to Alaska directly.

turning neck

“I think you’re just scared of letting anyone be close to you again” he started. “No, I’m not. I have loads of people close to me” I replied. “Yeah, old people, friends you’ve had for a long time, since before you mum and that. But what about new friends, you haven’t let anyone new get close to you since…” his head was cocked in compassion.

I thought for a second, racing over all the people I’d met “well no, that’s not true..” I tried to think “I guess after Bridezilla, I, well, I don’t want to be close to anyone, what if they leave me too…” it was hard being so honest “fuck, do I have abandonment issues! I’m like orphan Annie but without the cool dog or Daddy Warbucks!”. He smiled at this, I did too “You need to let people in” he continued “I don’t know how…”I was going to continue but his eyes darted to the side, I twisted in my seat to see Blonde had removed her headphones “oh don’t stop” she protested at the halt in our conversation “What?!” Alaska snapped, annoyed at having been listened into.

blonde car

My morning agitation had infected Blonde who swelled in her own annoyance by the time we reached New Orleans that evening. “I’ll stay with the bags, you two go and park the car” I instructed Alaska who had just bought in the last of the cases whilst Blonde remained with the car  outside the hotel. “Ok” he replied, shooting out the door.

I piled what bags I could onto trolley, carrying the rest and pulled it up the corridor towards the lift with all my strength. Alaska appeared a moment later “why aren’t you parking the car with Blonde?” I enquired. “What? You said to tell her to go park” he looked at me confused. “Noooooo I meant for you guys to go park together, shit, now she has to find somewhere to park on her own. At night. Then walk back here alone! I’d be so pissed if that was me!! She’s already in a mood!!” I chewed at my lip. “Ah she’ll be fine” he replied, lifting his bag off my back “I’m not sure she will” I protested before adding “thanks, that’s like a weight off my shoulders!” I smirked referencing the bag, he rolled his eyes at my poor joke.

“It’s Independence Day!!!!” I bounced about the room the next day. “Happy Independence Day!” I yelled at Alaska as his emerged from the bathroom, his usual curls fluffy and frizzy. We’d decided to wash and straighten his hair the night before in an attempt to cheer Blonde up. Alaska, although being a good sport had refused to keep his new groomed appearance, washing out all our hard work just as soon as he could get away.

floppy hair.gif

“Independence Day, that’s the one about the south and north fighting about civil rights correct?” Blonde asked, mid way through applying fake red, white and blue star tattoos to her face. “No, Independence Day is when American’s celebrate their independence from Britain” Alaska explained.

“Yeah! When you assholes threw all our tea in the harbour! I want my tea back!” I declared smiling (my jokes really were getting worse!) “Actually I want my colonises back! We made you what you are!”.

“Oh here we go!” Blonde exclaimed, dramatically sighing for comedic effect “don’t you start, I want Australia back too! That’s another one of my colonies! I own you all! Yeahhhh long live Britainnnnnn” I bounced on the spot. “Actually I’m Polish, no one owns us” Blonde insisted. “Yeah but you were born in Australia, presides, didn’t Germany or Russia own chunks of Poland at some point? I’m just saying…” I continued. Alaska stood in the doorway becoming impatient “Come onnnnn, we’ve got to go celebrate how everyone kicked Becky and the Brits ass!”.”You suck, don’t think I’ve forgotten about the tea!” I declared grabbing my bag and shuffling past him.

merica

New Orleans is a special town, there simply isn’t anywhere quite like it. Music vibrates off the power lines, colonial houses hide the secrets of history and people smile. There is a sense that the town is always building up for the next party. It holds a magic in the air, like anything could happen but you’d  walk away unsure whether it had all been just a dream.

Having filled our boots with jazz, street art, oysters and beignets, we each decided we couldn’t leave New Orleans without tapping into some of the famous magic. Alaska made an appointment for an African witch doctor who would ask him to throw monkey bones in the air and explain what it meant when they landed. Meanwhile Blonde and I made our way to the back of a store to meet a tarot reader.

Sandy coloured hair hung limp around the youthful face of the reader, he looked as though he’d wander in off the street one day on his way to some Californian beach; it was only his accent which revealed his routes as entirely southern. He made no eye contact as Blonde took the seat opposite him, I perched on the bench next to them “are you sure you don’t want me to wait outside?” I checked again, “no it’s fine”.

tarot.jpg

The teenager shuffled his cards, the curve in his shoulders hinting at a body not fully grown comfortable, his hair cast a shadow across his face as he asked Blonde “do you have a specific question you want an answer to? No, hold it in your head, focus on that question and then shuffle these cards” he handed her the pack. “Ok” she said ready.

“You’ve been fighting against something” he began “you’ve done all you can, it’s not your fault but you can’t keep continuing this battle, you’re never going to win, it will just cause more stress for you. You’ve made every effort but they’re not your issues to deal with” the man spoke to the table, Blonde hung on his words. I didn’t believe in all this stuff but I was intrigued regardless, was he talking about me? The road-trip? What was he saying? Had he picked up the tension between us?.

“You’ve done everything you can but it’s not your problem and if you keep fighting you’re just going to make yourself more upset. You need to let go and either leave this situation or accept it as it is” he went on. ‘No, wait, don’t tell her to leave! We’re suppose to be doing this together!’ I mentally screamed at him, flashing eyes of warning in his direction.

fine I'll sit here

“This wasn’t a path you’d have chosen alone but you’re on it now, it’s your decision to continue or to get off it but you’re going to exhaust yourself if you keep fighting it” he closed. Blonde was glowing by the time the last card had been revealed.

It was my turn; I’d grown slightly anxious whilst waiting, I didn’t like this sort of thing, I didn’t believe it, feeling it was just clever people who were good at tricking the vulnerable or naive by using basic body language and psychology skills. I sat in front of this odd man who hadn’t raised his neck once “do you have a question you’d like to ask?”. I pondered “no” I had too many questions.

I turned the first card over, The hangman. The reader pulled back slightly “You’re at a crossroads, this card, it attracts but also disturbs. It’s one of the most mysterious cards in the pack”. I continued turning the cards, revealing cups and swords and finally, a goddess.

hangman

He sucked in a deep breath “you’re at a crossroads, these swords, you’ve been let down, hurt but it’s in the past, you need to let go of that. You have a big body of work that is waiting for you, you have no choice but to create that but you’re being held back. Those around you are making it for difficult for you to focus, dragging you down. I see two paths ahead for you, the easiest route is to leave these people behind, to cut away from them.

That’s the path I recommend, it will be much easier for you in the long run. I don’t think you’ll do that though, the second path is carrying these people with you, they will slow you down, it will drain you, it will take much longer but you will get there. It will be hard for you though. There is success, this is the Goddess card, there is an end, success is waiting for you, and you will get there, you just need to choose which path, the easy way or the hard way”.

which path

Blonde and I emerged onto Bourbon street, the evenings festivities just starting to bubble. “Did you hear what he said to me?” Blonde bounced alongside as we headed south towards the store where Alaska had entered. I took a deep breath, feeling a little off centre from my own reading “errr yeah, what was your question?” I asked, afraid of what she might say.

“I asked if I should try and apply for medical school again considering I failed the entrance exam twice, I wanted to know if trying a third time was worth it or not”. Her answer surprised me, I looked at her as we walked “really?”. “Yeah, I think what he was saying is that I’ve been fighting with myself and holding myself back when I don’t need to and it will be fine” she danced. It surprised me, what she’d heard and what I’d heard had warranted very different interpretations.

Alaska emerged from a door, he looked up and down the street and stumbled in our direction, he face was crossed, he seemed disjointed. “Hey, how was yours? Ours was really good? What did yours say?” Blonde sang excitedly. “Don’t want to talk about it” Alaska snapped gruffly. Something about his face concerned me “umm let’s go get a drink” I advised, turning towards the closest bar.

the past

Blonde and I ordered whilst Alaska sat like a broken man, silent and brooding. “What happened?” I asked softly, placing a rum and coke in front of him. He shook his head, trying to shake the words out. “Are we going to go out tonight? What’s a matter with him?” Blonde yelled over Alaska’s head, bouncing up and down on his toes, I shook my own head at her, trying to convey a message not to push him.

She huffed, sipping the frozen cocktail from her straw. “What do you need right now? How can we help?” I leaned into Alaska, wanting to wash the look of pain from his face. “Oooh I love this song” Blonde yelled. Alaska raised his head, his eyes dark empty pools “I need her to get away from me right now!” he spoke through angry, gritted teeth. Blonde, who had heard the exchange was about to rebel, Alaska squared his shoulders ready to launch a verbal attack.

“Ok, Blonde, sorry but he’s really upset, it’s not you but could you just give him five minutes” I begged. “Why do I have to go, he’s the one in a mood” she complained. Alaska was braced to snarl, I grabbed him into a hug, more to prevent him flying at her than to comfort him “pleaseeeee, just give him five minutes, I’ll explain in a second, please” I begged with my eyes. “Oh fine!” she grabbed her drink and and walked away into the street.

hug.jpg

A short whike later, Blonde returned, tears trickling down her face from the rejection. I hugged her too then and looked up at the ceiling wondering if the Voodoo man had been right and I’d be better off leaving them both to it.

I watched from the other side of the bar, sipping my own frozen cocktail as Alaska and Blonde hugged, each apologising for not recognising the others needs.

The African witch doctor has seen straight through Alaska, highlighting how he took on other peoples problems to avoid needing to share his own. How those problems built up on his shoulders, all these people leaning on him, leaving him nowhere to lean himself. Alaska prided himself on keeping any inner turmoil hidden, it had terrified him that this little old man had seen straight through to the very core, shaking the ground upon which he’d based his hold in the world.

We headed further down the street, Alaska drank flaming tequilas in a corner bar whilst Blonde and I watched the fireworks explode through the gap in a side street. None of us were really in the party mood any more. The night air hung low, a fog of firework smoke, booze and what I’m sure I detected as the slightest hint of tea.

tea not war

Advertisements

S&M and the Atlanta fall out

The wipers waved angrily across the windscreen as Blonde navigated the barely visible road, all markings lost to the spray of vehicles ahead. I sat cross-legged and hunched in the passenger seat. Alaska, leaning over from the seat behind, had his hands on my shoulders, working at the swollen knots; battle wounds from the unforgiving road.

quasimodo.png

We were all hungover and tired; the forlorn word outside was nothing but a depressing watercolour of dull greys and uninspired greens, blotting together on the window beyond any recognition. I slammed my foot on the invisible brake as angry red lights materialised in front, glowing fierce in the storm. Pools of rain pulled at the tyres, Blonde’s knuckles had turned white on the steering wheel, I wasn’t sure whether from cold or concentration. The car moved in fits of adrenalin and slamming stops.

Fighting the pain in my shoulders and the tiredness in my head, I was struggling. As ever, the weather was reflecting my mood; a sad, depressing day full of tension filled air. A weariness had seeped into our bones, it wasn’t just the lack of sleep from Blonde’s repeated toilet trips or Alaska’s sleepy hugging, it was the constant company. I’d grown so used to being alone over the past year and having felt every second of that isolation, I wasn’t comfortable being around others for such long periods. I should have felt grateful for their presence but instead an increasing sense of claustrophobia was settling in.

car annoyance.gif

Every moment of every day was spent together, we ate, drove, walked, talked and shared beds; never a moment apart. That morning Blonde had knocked on the bathroom door as I’d showered, not five minutes later Alaska had yelled a question through. As the drive wore on, Alaska massaged, Blonde drove and I daydreamed whilst lighting split the sky in two, any echo of thunder lost to the drums of pelting rain.

Our sing-along driving hours had been replaced with drawn out conversations reviewing each others character flaws. They were suppose to be constructive and helpful but instead became akin to those drunken discussions across kitchen tables at the end of the night; where you think you’re being deep and meaningful but really you just sound like a dick. Evidentially these conversations always ended with Blonde or Alaska misunderstanding the other and anger erupting. I’d find myself mediating, explaining where the route of the misunderstanding lay.

finding the path.jpg

It was draining, acting like their counsellor, calming squabbling kids, all on top of trying to ignore Blonde’s competitiveness and Alaska’s changing intentions towards me, not to mention battling my own inner demons which I continued to fail to master. I wanted to be on the road alone, to be free, able to work on my own thoughts. And yet, as frustrating and insufferable as that car could be, I knew, even in my worst day, there was nowhere else I’d rather be than stuck in that bubble with those weirdos. The rain continued to beat, I leaned over and turned up the music whilst Fleetwood Mac played through their break-up ‘been down one time, been down two times, never going back again…’ the wipers danced along.

The original route had us heading to the edge of Tennessee to visit Dollyworld “why do you want to go to a Dolly Parton theme-park? What’s even there?” Blonde had asked. I didn’t know how to answer the question, it wasn’t as though my mum had been a huge Dolly Parton fan, as great as Miss Parton is, she aint no Bette Midler! But whenever my mother and I would sing  9 to 5 in her car, I’d always envisioned we would one day go to the park. It was one of the trips we had planned for sometime in the future; back in the world that never was.

Dollywood

My mind had flooded with the memory, we were going to wear giant yellow Dolly style wigs, I’d turn and laugh at how silly she’d look and she’d reflect the same reaction back at my appearance. The photo of that moment would sit on the fireplace of my future home. I built a mental scene around that image; my mum sitting on my sofa, pointing out the picture, she’d have the same one in a frame at her own house. We’d jokingly argue about who had worn the wig best, she’d insist it was her and I’d play shock, outraged that she’d try and take my wig wearing success away from me.

We’d both smile at the memory of that trip. But…We never got that picture, we never went on that trip and I never got to go for her. “It’s pretty expensive, don’t think I’ll go. You can still go if you want, I’ll just drop you off for the day” Blonde had decided.

lookalikes

“It’s fine, we don’t have to go” I’d felt guilty at the thought of costing us all a day for something only I wanted to do. “Hey, if it’s important to you then we should go! You said it was something you and your mum wanted to do right? I’ll go with you!” Alaska offered kindly. I pretended it didn’t matter, attempting to show I had some level of compromise in my personality. The truth was, I resented them a little, annoyed I would need to convince them to do something in the first place and worse, feel indebted to them if they agreed; I then felt guilty for feeling that way too. We left Nashville with the weather heavy and sad, the rain crying out the bitterness because I couldn’t. With Dolly lost, we headed south for Atlanta.

“Are you hungry? There’s a great Vietnamese around the corner” suggested the host, a slim Brazilian in his late 20’s. It ‘s not that I didn’t want food but the thought of an hour alone was too good an opportunity to pass up. Just as soon at that door clicked shut I sank into the sofa and didn’t move again until voices in the hallway announced their return. “Yeah, you look like you’d be into it, you can usually tell the ones..” the host announced to Blonde as they walked through the front door. “No, really? Do I? How? Does Becky?” Blonde pointed in my direction finding a confused look across my face.

Huh?

“What look?” I requested. “Oh nothing” Blonde smiled slyly. I looked at Alaska who was bringing up the rear “Err, the host has just been telling us about the underground scene here in Atlanta” he explained. Blonde took a seat next to me on the sofa whilst the boys settled on the floor opposite. “What’s it like in London? Is there much of a scene? From what I hear it’s pretty good in Europe” the host enquired. I didn’t want to sound uncool but I knew very little about underground music, if it wasn’t by Taylor Swift or a 90’s classic then I was lost “Errr, yeah, I mean there are some good clubs, I’m more of a pub girl than clubs these days but yeah, I think there is a good scene in East London” I was clearly making it up. Blonde laughed “show her the website” she told the host before turning to me “if it’s open we could go see it tonight, if you’re up for it?”.

I searched the site as instructed “looks like a nice club, what kind of music do they play?” I asked, swiping through the images of plush velvet seating, low lighting and neon lit bars. “Keep swiping” Alaska insisted smiling suspiciously. “Oh” I’d come to images of cages, chains, shackles, rows of whips and paddles and what appeared to be medieval torture devices; it slowly dawned on me that this was a very specific type of club! “And you want to go here tonight?” I raised an eyebrow towards Blonde “not to do anything! Only because I want to see it, I’ve never been anywhere like that before!” she defended, the audio-book of ‘50 Shades of Grey‘ having created a glossy version of this world in her mind.

Handcuffs.jpg

Alaska and I watched amused as Blonde let her curiosity and naivety bombard the host with questions “how did you know you were into this stuff? When did you first try it out? What do you do exactly?”. The host, delighted to share his passion, began to pull various instruments from his ‘special cupboard‘ and before we knew it was testing a cattle prong device on Blonde’s arm, explaining the various attachments. Alaska stood in the doorway of the bedroom laughing as this small, mild mannered looking man let Blonde and I play with his mechanical bed, raising the legs and heads up and down at the press of a button.

We returned to the living room, Blonde keen to hear more about this secret underground S&M world. “What’s your fantasy?” Blonde turned the question to me. “Nope. Not having this conversation” I could feel Alaska watching me, a bemused smile working it’s way across his face. “Why not? Come on, the host has opened up to us” Alaska encouraged. I shot him a glare. “Please go ahead! Share your turn ons then!” I rebutted at him. “Oh no, she asked you first” he passed the buck back. “Piss off the lot of you!” I dismissed. Blonde looked hurt “do you talk about this stuff with your friends back home?” she enquired. “Yes, we all sit around on Saturday mornings discussing whether we’d rather get it on with a fireman or a lumberjack” I answered dryly, pondering on my own remark “Fireman! Not into the bearded look” I added after a moments pause.

fireman

“So what’s there to do in Atlanta?” Blonde asked the following morning whilst preparing a breakfast of porridge for everyone. She was wearing Alaska’s favourite hoodie, it was making me feel territorial. Whilst the host made suggestions I leant into Alaska “why’s she got your hoodie on again?!”. “Dunno, she put it on in the car yesterday when she was cold and now keeps wearing it” he answered unmoved. As silly as it now sounds, at the time it felt like it was another attempt of Blonde trying to be competitive with me, as though she were sensing Alaska and I growing close, not wanting to be left out. If it wasn’t enough to wear my clothes or tell my stories, she was already winning on the weight war and now she was encroaching on Alaska too? “Hey, can I get my hoodie back?” Alaska interrupted Blonde and the hosts conversation having read my mind.

We spent the morning exploring the ‘World of Coke‘, sampling every flavour the corporate giant offered, emerging back into the sunny day hyped up on sugar. “What now?” I asked. “Let’s walk and see where we end up” Alaska offered. We wandered in the direction of a nearby food market and somehow walked right into the middle of America’s biggest convention of recovering alcoholics. I glanced at the pile of anti drinking pamphlets that have been forced on we as we’d waited for our meatball subs “I think I might be a terrible person…I don’t know what it is but all this talk about not drinking is really making me want a beer!”.

jet fountain atlanta

We sat in a row eating our sandwiches, watching jets of water shoot up from the ground to the delight of screaming children. “This is the sort of day where you need an ice cream van!” I exclaimed. “Mmm” Blonde agreed mid bite. “You’ve just had loads of sugar at Coke world!” Alaska pointed out. “And?” I was instantly sensitive, “well do you really need any more?!” he replied. “What are you saying?” I snapped lightly, “nothing, you’re the one who always goes on about your weight, I’m just trying to help” he answered innocently.

“I’m going for a walk” I announced discarding half my sub, Alaska stared dead ahead avoiding eye contact. “I’ll come” Blonde announced. I sighed, rubbing at my forehead in frustration ‘can’t I do anything on my own!’I groaned internally. “Errr, I kind of want to walk alone” I said through gritted teeth, avoiding eye contact myself this time. “Fine” came the unimpressed response before we both headed for opposite sides of the fountain.

My frustration at Alaska had been replaced with annoyance at Blonde for not sensing that I wanted space; the thoughts rolled around my head picking up dust and grievance. I marched around the square, my feet carrying me back to Alaska who had remained seated on the low wall. “I feel like I never get any time to myself” I moaned, aware of the irony. Alaska wasn’t interested in listening to me complain, in the time I’d been gone, a crease had formed between his eyebrows. “What was going on with you and the host in Nashville?” he shot.

fight.jpg

“What do you mean? Nothing” I knitted my own eyebrows. “Not like that! I know that, I mean he was giving you advice about me” Alaska continued. “Well yeah, I was telling him that you wanted a relationship with me but I’m not sure, because I can’t get past the fact you don’t find me physically attractive…” I began. “Ughhh” he groaned “it always comes back to this! I do find you physically attractive…” he cut in “just not in the way you want me to. I’m attracted to your mind, who you are inside. Looks don’t matter, we all get old and fat eventually, looks aren’t what’s important” he explained.

I watched a small child sit in the middle of the fountain and squeal as the jets rose around, imprisoning her. “Yeah, I know that! But I’m not old yet, I still want someone to find my physically attractive now. Inside and out!” I demanded. “You want too much from the world! You’re never going to find that! You’re asking for too much, it’s not realistic!” Alaska turned to look at me. Anger began to rise as he chipped away at my insecurities “it’s not too much! That’s normal, if you love someone and want to be with them, you find them physically and mentally attractive, it doesn’t mean they have to be the best looking person in the world but you can still find them physically attractive!” I argued.

I want fairy tales.gif

“What do you want from me! You want me to tell you you have a hot body and nice ass? You want me to lie?!” he raised his voice in frustration. “Fuck you!” I yelled back “you make me feel so bad about myself, like I’m this hideously ugly and obese person!” I could feel tears pricking at the back of my eyes but was too proud to let them fall. “I want to love you but you keep pushing me away. I love who you are as a person! That’s more important than physical looks! You’re never going to find someone who loves you for inside and out, that’s not real!” we were both standing now. I tried to walk away, fire burning my veins, he followed.

“That’s not true! My ex-boyfriends, they thought I was attractive for both sides, I mean maybe not so much at the end but definitely at the start! It does exist, I’m not as much of a troll as you seem to think I am, my ex-boyfriends…” I started explaining, walking towards the man-made lake at the edge of the park. “Oh here we go, always back to the ex-boyfriends! They were just lap dogs for you, and where are they now? Why did those relationships end hey? If they thought so much of you?…” he snapped. “Fuck off! They weren’t lap dogs! You know nothing about them or what those relationships were like. And I ended them for the record!” I was fully raging now, wanting nothing more than to push him in the water and run away.

leaving

“I’m offering you love, I see who you really are inside and that’s not good enough for you is it!” he tried “why does it matter if I find you good looking or not!”. “Because…” I didn’t know how to explain it, I tried to find the words without making myself sound shallow or vain “because it does, because I want to feel good about myself, because feeling attractive helps me feel confident, because I’m a girl and we’re brought up thinking it matters, because society tells us so. Because I’m not confident enough in myself for it not to matter, because!” I yelled, caring less and less for who might be overhearing our debate. Part of me wondering where Blonde had walked too and if she’d go sit in a bar with me so I could pretend none of this mattered. “That’s rubbish, you’re making excuses because you don’t want to let me in!” he concluded.

running away

We talked in metaphors “all you’re doing is putting up walls and if you keep going you’re going to end up in a box!” he shot. I was speechless for a moment “That’s rich coming from you! You put everyone in a box! You’ve never learnt to connect your head and your heart, you don’t let anyone in! All you are is a scared little boy who throws missiles at anyone who dares to get too close! It’s pathetic!” I retorted back.

He narrowed his eyes “You put all your emotional investment in your mother and never learnt to connect with anyone else! Now look at you!” he returned. “Well at least I connected with someone!” I paused “And I’m learning how to deal with stuff now! I’m doing it all on my own, with no help! I don’t need you or anyone! This is all just part of the grief process. I’M FINE!” I threw my words in the air.

He rolled his eyes”Ughhh you always use grief as an excuse but you’re drinking from a poisoned well” he insisted, his words stinging. I felt winded “That’s all there is to drink from” I whispered sadly. “No it’s not! You ignore the rain!” his words hung suspended, I stomped away.

you shut your mouth.gif