And Here’s Why That’s Bullshit

“Wait,” Sandy said, chow mein hanging from her lips, “Wait…the Lemmings thing is bullshit?”

“Apparently so,” Derek replied, wrapping his own noodles around his fork and bringing it to his mouth, “Apparently every single thing they’ve ever told us was bullshit. Lemmings don’t commit mass suicide, going swimming after eating won’t give you a cramp and trust me, you can wait much longer than 5 seconds to eat something off of the floor.”

“I don’t like how much you said that last with such confidence,” Sandy said, biting into an egg roll.

“Please, like you’ve never eaten something that sat on the floor,” Derek said, “I’ve watched you eat week old pizza.”

“Yeah, that was in a box, in the fridge. I’m not pickin’ up gross ass musty pizza off the ground and eating it after it sat there for a week,” Sandy said, stuffing the rest of the roll into her mouth and chewing before picking up her drink from the table and taking large gulps to wash it down with.

“You know, I bet there’s tons of shit they just never expected us to stop believing,” Derek said, turning one of his spare ribs over in his hands and biting into it, “You know, shit like that. Is there anything your parents told you that matter, that they made you do that you’ve now stopped doing?

Sandy put her drink down and thought for a few seconds, twirling a few strands of hair around her finger before replying, “Flossing, I guess. I haven’t flossed since I was like 17.”

“What a scam,” Derek responded, nodding, “I agree with your decision not to floss. I’m sure a dentist would tell you otherwise but that’s because they need to protect the brotherhood, continue the scam.”

“Exactly,” Sandy said. As they laughed and continued eating, it was minutes before they noticed someone watching them from a table across the restaurant. Nobody said a thing at first, until finally Derek motioned at the person to come on over and they did. It was a young brunette girl, she looked barely 20, dressed rather modestly. She stopped at the table and stared at Sandy for what felt like hours.

“Can I…help you with something?” Sandy asked.

“You’re Sandy Price, right?” the girl finally asked, and she nodded cautiously. The girl sat down next to Sandy and stared at her. Nobody made a move or a sound, almost as if Derek and Sandy were wildlife documentarians and they’d just stumbled upon a rarely seen majestic beast in its natural habitat, that the idea that any sudden movement or sound could scare it away and end the magic.

“I’m…Amber Gross,” the girl finally said, “Um…a few weeks ago, I was attacked by a man in my apartment complex and while he tried to assault me, I killed him in self defense. They said this man was…um…that he’d done this before, and one of the names that came up was yours.”

“This…this man,” Sandy spoke, softly, almost as if she didn’t want anyone in the world to hear, “Did he have sorta blonde hair? A mole on the right side of his nose?”

“Yeah,” Amber replied, “His name was Rufus.”

Sandy flashed back to that night in the apartment with Derek for a moment.

“Is this about Rufus?” Derek asked, hushed, like he was afraid of what would come next. As if saying this name would spawn forth from the depths of hell a million demons hellbent on the destruction of the earth, and often when regarding Sandy’s anger, that wasn’t a far off analogy. Sandy slowly turned back to the window and swirled the gin in her glass.

“Rufus has nothing to do with any of this,” she said coldly, “Besides, how could he be involved in anything when he’s a thousand miles away…”

“He’s…dead?” Sandy asked, and Amber nodded.

“I just thought…I thought it might help, once I knew what he’d done, if I went around and told the other girls he’d hurt or tried to hurt, so maybe they could-”

And with that, Sandy leaned forward and hugged Amber Gross as tightly as she could, the two on the verge of tears the entire time. And while a part of Sandy was thrilled someone had finally given the guy what he’d had coming for years…another, much deeper part of her was immensely ticked off that it hadn’t been herself who’d done it. Who told this random girl she had the right to kill Rufus? Rufus was a part of Sandys past, and now this girl just waltzes in, sight unseen, and lays it on the table, “Hey, the guy who nearly killed you is dead, you’re welcome!” Sandy felt weirdly violated, like a part of her private history had been touched by this stranger, just as she’d been touched by Rufus himself.

“I’m sorry to do this so suddenly,” Amber said, now smiling a bit, “I really wasn’t sure how to approach you about this. I figured you’d want to know, and-”

“Oh yeah, no, I’m…I’m really very thankful that you came and found me and told me this,” Sandy said, “I have to…I have to use the restroom. Excuse me,” she said, making Amber get up so she could get out of the booth and then scurrying off to the bathroom, like a frightened rabbit. Amber sat back down and looked at Derek, who was watching Sandy go. Without looking at her, he sighed and said it.

“You reaaaaally fucked up,” Derek said, and this took Amber by complete surprise.

“But she…she seemed happy!” Amber said, “Why did…how did I-”

“Let me tell you a little story,” Derek said, now facing her, hands on the table, “It’s titled ‘Commitment; An Exercise In Trauma’. Once upon a time, there was a young lady, let’s call her S for this, to keep it simple. S met a man named R, mostly because S was mad at this other man named D. S and R had enough in common to really hit it off, and after a while they were becoming quite the serious couple until one night, in a fit of jealousy, and after a two hour fight in the kitchenette of his apartment, R attacks S and attempts to strangle her to death.”

“That’s what happened isn’t it?”

“Because of this situation, S has trouble trusting anyone again. D has to jump through various hoops and hurdles, all the while taking some abuse and unrightfully doling out abuse back at her simply because D is, well, frankly he’s kind of a jackass. S cannot live alone, she’s terrified R might come back, despite not having seen him in years now, and she won’t live in D’s place because she can’t stand the idea of living in another mans apartment. What if D did the same thing to her that R did? So, D relinquishes control of his own apartment and moves into S’s, so that she doesn’t have to move into his, and she’s in control of the place.”

“Are you D?” Amber asked.

“You’re not a very good storytime listener,” Derek said.

“You’re not a very good story teller, so,” Amber replied, making Derek smirk.

“I’m not going to lie to you, I’m glad you did what you did, but you just show up out of the blue after years and drop this in her lap? That’s a lot to deal with, and we already have a lot to deal with. On top of inheriting a shitty economy, unfeeling parents, a government that wants us to die and living just barely above poverty level, and that’s IF we’re lucky, we also have to work through trauma. Trauma, which, for the record, most people older than us don’t take seriously and say we’re making too big a deal out of.”

“I’m sure people your parents age had trauma too,” Amber said, shrugging.

“Yeah, the thing is, they didn’t discuss it. They buried it. That’s why they don’t understand, and that’s why they scoff at it, because they’re just not capable of comprehending the concept of confronting trauma and recovering from it,” Derek said, “We don’t want to do that, because we don’t want to become like them.”

Amber nodded, starting to understand.

Meanwhile, in the bathroom, Sandy couldn’t breath. She stood over the sink, hands gripping it firmly, not wanting to look in the mirror. It was taking everything she had not to break out screaming and curl up on the floor, eventually hyperventilating. She thought about the last time she’d seen Rufus, the last thing she’d ever said to him.

“One day somebody is going to fight back.”

Somebody finally had, and while it was well deserved given how he’d treated people, she was still so angry it hadn’t been her who’d done it. She pulled out her cell phone and flipped through her photo album, finally getting to the last picture they’d taken together, right before things got really, really bad. It was on a ferris wheel, and they were smiling. She had cotton candy in one hand, about to take a bite of it, and he’d taken her phone and taken the shot of them together. Why did this hurt? Why did she miss him if he’d been so cruel?

She collected herself, put her phone away and went back out to the table. Amber let her back into the booth, and then stood up, collecting her things and looking at them awkwardly and uncomfortable.

“I guess I’ll go,” she said, handing Sandy a piece of paper with her number on it, “This is in case you want to talk to me about everything. I’d like to listen. Nobody should have to go through this alone.”

“Thanks,” Sandy said, taking the paper from her hand. They watched Amber turn and exit the restaurant. Derek looked at Sandy and sighed, running his hand over hers on the table.

“Parents bring you up telling you not to lie, and then all they tell you throughout childhood are lies,” Sandy said, “And the worst one of all was ‘people are good’, but people aren’t good. Even the good people aren’t all that great, and frankly, I’m reaching my limit on people in general.”

“I understand,” Derek said, “You want to get some ice cream and go home and watch crappy ghost documentaries?”

“That sounds okay,” Sandy said. Derek nodded, got up and went to get some boxes for their food. As he left Sandy there alone, she looked back at the photo on her phone and exhaled deeply, wondering what it’d felt like when Rufus realized he was finally getting his comeuppance, or if it had happened too fast for him to even grasp the reality of the situation. Sandy knew it was wrong to think that those who hurt people deserve to be hurt themselves, she was staunchly against the death penalty, thinking the whole concept of teaching murderers that murder is wrong by murdering them was ludicrous, but she couldn’t escape the fact that inside, for just a little bit, she felt really, really good that somebody had killed Rufus. That somebody had finally taken control away from him, and shown him what all those women felt when he did it to them. She was just mad it wasn’t her, but then again, she wasn’t sure she even would’ve had the stomach for it. If she had done it, she would’ve not only had to live with the overall experience, but also that guilt on top of it.

It was soon after Rufus that Sandy started to try and dance again regularly, as a career.

It was soon after Rufus that Sandy and Derek started really trying to be together.

It was soon after Rufus that Sandy felt like she’d gotten her life back.

Abuse, especially physical abuse and violence, is hard to come back from. It’s hard to trust someone again, and while she watched Derek talk to the person at the front desk about getting boxes, she realized that while Derek had flaws, everyone did, nobody was perfect of course, he would never ever hit her, and that that’s how low the bar was set for most women. That was sad. “Well, he might yell at me from time to time, but at least he doesn’t beat me!” but the thing was, Derek rarely yelled at Sandy, and he did everything in his power to make her comfortable.

She’d weathered the storm, and gotten a lighthouse out of the deal. Somebody to guide her towards recovery, and that was more than others got.

I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, the satirical online newspaper of “Nowhere, US”, my podcast “Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality” or my writing over at Medium.

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I Don’t Give A Fuck About Birds

A few years ago, a pigeon flew into the comic shop I frequented while I was at the register.

Literally everyone else stopped and stood and gawked at this poor, confused bird and oohed and awed and I merely stood at the register looking at my phone, waiting for the guy to come back from fighting it to finish my payment. Reflecting back on this moment makes me realize just how absolutely detached I am from the world. And before I go on, I want to clarify, I’m not saying I’m better because of this. If anything, I wish I could be like everyone else. All people seem to need is a little distraction that they’ll tell to their friends, family, co workers. These stories will grow. The others who hear it will add on. Suddenly THEY were there and it happened to THEM too.

 “Yeah this pigeon came in while Mike and I were at the store and it screamed that his name was Rungar and that the owner had killed it’s father, and then the owner and the pigeon drew samurai swords and it got fuckin’ WEIRD, man.”

pigeonEventually the tale of the heroic pigeon who slain the murderous shop keep to avenge his fathers untimely death will be written in the aviary history books and told to the young chicks in school, when birds eventually rule the world like we all know they will. But, before we get too ahead of ourselves (I like to fantasize about bird societies as much as the next girl), let’s discuss my detachment from society. People just need little things to amuse or entertain them. A bird flying into a shop. People slow to a crawl to see a fender bender. I mean, Twitter basically was invented for this reason, filling people in on the mind numbing minutia that we all go through, day in and day out.

But what happens when you’re like me, and you’re so disinterested in the world, or at least the world as it pertains to people, that you wonder what’s wrong with you?

I mean, let’s face it. That’s not normal. I mean to me, a bird flying into a store isn’t new. I’ve seen birds in billions of places that birds are not expected to be. Shops. Restaurants. College campuses as they prepare their morning lectures on philosophy. Birds are weird, dude, they really get around. But I’ve seen it. Nothing interesting about a fender bender. No reason to slow yourself down to witness people calmly exchanging insurance information. Is it in the hopes that they’ll witness something better? That somehow this mundane simple exchange of insurance information will come to violent blows? And if so, what does THAT say about society? That we’re bloodthirsty? That’s…discouraging, to say the least.

Then again, I just about wrote an entire novel about a bird society and their pigeon warrior god, so maybe violence is built into human behavior.

It worries me. It makes me contemplate the possibility that maybe I’ve taken so much bullshit from people over the 28 years that I’ve existed that I simply don’t care to participate anymore. I don’t care about New Years. I don’t get involved in trending topics. I DON’T CARE ABOUT A BIRD FLYING INTO A STORE. In a way, I suppose I could also look at is as a blessing, because maybe it makes me detached in a good way? Like, maybe I’m above it all because I realize that low shit doesn’t matter. I don’t know, I’m just reaching to find any reason to not hate myself these days.

A bird flew into a store and the world didn’t change one bit.

But I guess if that’s what humans need to make their mundane, repetitive, tedious lives a bit more entertaining, even if for just a few mere minutes, than maybe it’s a good thing they can be so easily bemused, and I secretly wish I could join in too.

I for one welcome our pigeon overlords.

Hi, I’m Maggie Taylor. Like my blog? Maybe you’d like my other work too. You can view more content like my depressing space webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry” or my new site “Sad Party”, where I encourage people to revel in their sadness so others don’t feel so bad themselves. Also, you can donate at my SquareCash if you’re so inclined. It’d be more than appreciated.


I Want To See The End

I want to see the world end.

I want to be sitting in my bedroom when they run the sirens and I can see the flames raining down outside. I want to hear the screams, the worry, the terror. I want to know for certainty that we caused our own demise, that we were the reasons for our own downfall. Our greed, our gluttony, our materialism, our egotism. I want to know we did this to ourselves. I want to see it end. I want to see the world burn, and the fires blaze and the people cry. I want to be there afterwards, to see what kind of better future may possibly come from this, knowing full well there’s no such thing as a ‘better future’ so long as we’re involved in it.

I want to see the end. I want to wander the world afterwards and tell the leftovers that they’re responsible for this. That this is their fault. That their small minded put us here. That this could’ve been avoided, had they not been so simple, so narrow, in their beliefs. Willing to just, once in a while, listen to someone else. A differing opinion, an alternate viewpoint, isn’t admitting you’re wrong, but that you’re reasonable enough to listen because you don’t know everything, and that there’s nothing wrong with that. But here we are, it’s the end, and it’s all. your. fault. I want people to feel the isolation I have felt, the hopelessness, the terror and the madness and the utter burning sensation of loneliness that comes with being the one person the world doesn’t want. Now it’s over. Now the world doesn’t want everyone, so how’s it feel to be just like me?

I don’t want the world to end because I hate it. I don’t want the world to end because it deserves to. I want the world to end so that finally, maybe finally, people can understand for once how I’ve felt for my entire life, because I don’t belong in this world, so maybe we can all belong in this new one. I have to literally wait for the world to end, for everyone to feel lost and forgotten, before I feel like I can connect with my own species. That’s a real statement on society.

I want to see the world end. I want to see the ruin and destruction and ugliness because maybe for once I could see a world that has something in common with myself.


Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Happiness, stability, normality; these will all one day become expensive commodities that only the rich can purchase and have access too. The rest of us will stand outside the store window, gazing in longingly at the new happiness that we can’t afford. At the shiny new stability that we will never attain. The rich, they will purchase these without much thought, only because it’s the new model that their friends have, and just as quickly toss those out for the new upgrades. We might be able to buy some at half price or lower in second hand stores, but it won’t be the same. They’ll be used. We’ll know the difference.

We’ll watch the ads. Those fast paced ads with the new hit pop single and the dozen of smiling faces of people our age trying to sell us something we can’t afford, trying to force us deeper into emotional debt. Some of us may be lucky enough to know someone who could afford the new happiness, and maybe they’ll let us play around with it for a day or so, but that’ll be it. It won’t be a long lasting experience. We’ll be jealous, and start talking down about happiness, about stability, about how the knockoffs we have are the better alternative. About how the people who own happiness and stability and normality are self entitled, narcissistic, pretentious elitists who’re ruining the economy, who’re pushing more and more people into poverty and depression and that they don’t deserve what they have.

They say money can’t buy happiness.

Not yet it can’t.

But it won’t be long.



Let Myself Be Eaten By Coyotes

Maybe if I just lay here long enough, stay quiet enough, I could just let myself be eaten by coyotes,” Nina thought, laying on the dirt in the middle of the field. She’d driven out here with no real reason in mind, and now didn’t know if she wanted to even go back. She wasn’t even sure she could find her way back in this darkness, given the lack of signage way out here. Nina dug her fingers deep into the dirt, feeling the cool night breeze wafting over her, gently blowing her bangs across her eyes.

Maybe they’ll eat me, and they’ll be starving, and the meal they get from me could save them, finally rendering me useful in some grand fashion,” she thought, “And then some day someone will come out here and find my bones, or I’ll just be buried under the dirt forever and nobody will ever know what happened to me.

Nina felt a bug crawling on her unsleeved arm, and looked over to see a large beetle stopped on her arm, looking around. She sat up and held her arm in front of her, staring at this beetle intensely. After a few minutes, she picked it up with her other hand and put him back down on the dirt and watched him quickly scurry off into the darkness. She felt herself shiver and she grabbed her jacket off the hood of her car, pulling it over her tanktop. She stood up and walked to her car door, pulling it open and getting inside, searching for a radio station but getting nothing; just static. She exhaled loudly and brushed her bangs out of the way, then reached into her backpack and pulled out a tape recorder. She got back out of the car, sighed, cleared her throat and clicked ‘record’, pacing back and forth.

“My name is Nina Turan,” she said clearly, “I’m 35, and I’m a Pisces. I’m recording this on the unlikelihood that someone finds it and cares enough, or knows how, to press ‘play’ on something this fucking antiquated. I’m…going out of my mind with frustration, of every kind. General frustration, employment frustration, physical frustration, sexual frustration. You name it, and I’m frustrated by it. But that’s not why I’m doing this. Frustration can easily be overcome with the right mixture of techniques. I’m going to blow myself up in my car, and not because of frustration but because of sheer boredom.”

She pressed ‘stop’ and took a long, deep breath, wiped her forehead on her jacket sleeve and then resumed recording.

“Not boredom like ‘I just have nothing to do tonight’ sort of boredom but more like…I’ve experienced everything I’d care to at this point in life and now it’s like 50 years of this same shit day in and day out and that’s just not for me. And I’m not gonna become a cliche, like some YA novel, and just take off on a road trip, as if a few thousand miles in a jacked up Volvo with an 80s mixtape could easily solve all of my angst. See, up to a point in life, everything is a brand new experience, everything is exciting and a first. Your first car, first kiss, first sexual experience, first apartment, first job, all of that shit. Then, you hit this peak where it’s nothing but repeats. It’s like your life was canceled and sent into late night syndication on a channel that barely comes in anyway.”

She pressed ‘stop’ again and sat on the hood of her car, surveying the empty field before continuing on.

“Then there’s everyone around you who acts like they want what’s best for you, but only because they want it for themselves. Parents are a great example, saying things like ‘you don’t want to die, what about have children? a family?’ but not because they think you’ll actually enjoy it, but more because they want grandchildren. They want to be a part of society, the grandparent portion of life, and they couldn’t give less than two shits how having children affected your life. I can’t take care of children. I can barely take care of myself. Sorry mom, too bad. Life, society, has far more expectations for me than I have ever had for myself. That’s fucked up.”

She pressed ‘stop’ again and looked around, running her hands through her dark curly brown hair, unsure of how to finish this note to…no one in particular, really. She had also just seen a flaw in her plan, which was where the fuck was she going to leave this? Just in the dirt, next to a burning pile of metal and human remains? Jesus. She could never do anything right it seemed, not even kill herself. There was always something to fuck up. She pressed ‘record’ once more.

“Anyway, I guess that about sums it up. If anyone actually ever finds and listens to this, let it be known that once again my name is, was, Nina Turan. I was 35, with brown curly hair, I liked alternative music and I fucking hated Russel Crowe with a burning passion that could only be likened to that which Americans hate religious tolerance of any religion that isn’t their own. Thanks for listening. Goodbye.”

She pressed ‘stop’ once again and slid off the hood of her car. She took her jacket off, wrapped the tape record in it and put it on the dirt, gently patting it before getting back up and walking to the tailpipe of her car. She pulled out a bottle of alcohol, a rag and a lighter, lit the rag and stuffed it into the bottle of alcohol a certain length so it’d eventually explode when the two finally touched. Nina then shoved the bottle into her tailpipe, then got into her car and put her forehead on the steering wheel. She knew it’d only take a few minutes, and she raced through everything in her life that had ever happened. Every memory she had, good or bad, and knew she was making the right choice.

She heard a howl and looked up, seeing a coyote standing outside in front of the car. Their eyes appeared to lock with hers, and she slowly got out of the car and waved her arms at it, trying to shoo it away, but it wasn’t moving. She finally picked up a rock and tossed it at it.

“Get out of here you stupid fucking mutant dog!” she shouted, and after a moment the coyote finally turned tail and ran. She sighed, rubbed her forehead and then heard the explosion of the car behind her. She turned to see the car engulfed in flames, and completely destroyed.

“God dammit,” she mumbled, before picking up her jacket and the tape recorder and starting to walk down the road, “Now I’m gonna be late for work tomorrow.”


Now Is Not The Best Time

Sandy Price was laying in the bed, hands folded on her chest, breathing slowly, eyes glued to the stucco ceiling overhead. She could remember it clearly. She could remember everything clearly. She rolled over and looked at Derek, asleep, and grimaced. She got out of bed and walked softly to the kitchen, where she took a glass out from the cupboard, walked to the sink, looked at it for a moment and then instead reached under the sink for the gin. She poured herself a glass and walked to the large window at the end of the living room of their studio apartment, glancing out at the city. Sandy had always liked the city at night. She’d always liked night, in general, but especially the city. How it lit up, looked so vibrant and welcoming and warm. She now knew it wasn’t, but as a little girl, it comforted her to think that there was this place that was so safe and cozy.

She sipped her gin and heard a groan behind her. She turned to see Derek standing in the door frame between the living room and the bedroom. She sighed as he rubbed his eyes and approached her.

“Are you ok? Why’re you up?” he asked, and she shrugged.

“Why not,” she replied, “What’s the point of sleeping. Doesn’t make me feel any better. All my dreams are terrible. Might as well be awake at a time when I actually enjoy looking at the shithole we live in,” she said, motioning her hand with the drink in it towards the cityscape.

“Is this about Rufus?” Derek asked, hushed, like he was afraid of what would come next. As if saying this name would spawn forth from the depths of hell a million demons hellbent on the destruction of the earth, and often when regarding Sandy’s anger, that wasn’t a far off analogy. Sandy slowly turned back to the window and swirled the gin in her glass.

“Rufus has nothing to do with any of this,” she said coldly, “Besides, how could he be involved in anything when he’s a thousand miles away…when did I get so cold? When did we get so cold, and not just you and but the proverbial ‘we’. Nobody asks how another persons day was anymore, and nobody seems to provide simple acts of human kindness like holding doors open for old people. This isn’t a rant about the death of humanity, god knows that’s been overdone to death by bleeding heart liberals writing for websites with cutesy names like ‘Boodles’ or something. I’m a liberal too, but I’m not the kind who thinks simple technological advances like smart phones are going to cause the death of conversation.”

Derek sat down on the arm of a chair and rubbed his shoulder, sighing.

“What is this about then? Just how distant you feel about everything?” he asked, and she rolled her eyes and snorted.

“Yeah, distant, let’s go with that. Everyone wants personal space in a city that thrives on community. There’s nothing wrong with privacy, everyone is entitled to it, it’s their right to want to have their own time and their own space, but engagement, even on a level as simple as saying ‘nice day, isn’t it?’ is so crucial to simply keeping the lines of communication between our own fucking species going. We cannot allow ourselves to become this cut off from another. Those girls I teach…”

Sandy sat down on the window sill and looked at her nails, exhaling loudly.

“…they don’t judge one another,” she continued, “They help one another figure out their moves if they’re having trouble, and they rally around one another as a team to support eachother and the team as a whole. People say evil is taught. That’s debatable. But what I can tell you is actually taught is cynicism. Bitterness. Coldness. It happens when you’ve been hurt one too many times, when you want to withdraw because you feel you can no longer trust anyone; including yourself, because you keep making the poor decision to open up to just one more person, always knowing the end result is the same.”

“Sandy,” Derek said, “…did I hurt you? I know we’ve had our problems, but we’ve always worked it out one way or another. I know Rufus hurt you. I’m sorry. But how can you stand there and honestly claim that the end result is the same when you live with someone who cares about you tremendously and only has your best interests at heart?”

“…you’ll leave too,” Sandy said softly, letting her hair cover her face so she could hide, “You will. Someone can only put up with negativity for so long before ‘love’ turns to ‘tolerate’. I try so hard to be who you think I am, who you would love for me to be, but it’s not me. I’m an angry, upset young lady. Is that really who you love? Or do you just love the idea you have of me?”

Derek stood up and walked over to the window sill, sitting in it with her, looking out the window at the city lights.

“Remember a few years ago when we went with my folks to that ski resort? We spent a lot of the time inside, just sitting by that giant fire pit, sipping cocoa and reading and just…enjoying something for once without worrying about the financial ramifications? You looked really pretty with that fire light flickering on your eyes, curled up in that chair, just sucked into your literature.”

“What’s with the nostalgia kick?” Sandy asked, swirling her index fingertip inside her empty glass, “You think this is how we fix our problems?”

“I’m just trying to get you to remember something nice, that’s all. If we could go on vacations like that as often as our parents could at our age, I would love it. You want to dance, you want to teach girls to dance, but then you go to work and you seem so miserable and you only seem happy when you’re alone. When you have no responsibilities.”

“So you’re saying my argument is hypocritical?” Sandy asked, sniffling.

“Well, who isn’t hypocritical?” Derek asked, grinning, “But no, what I’m saying is that a lot of people can’t do both. You can. You do. A lot of people are so…dead inside or something that they just shut off their humanity and do what they must to survive, even if it means only caring about themselves or their family and nobody else. But you can do both, and, hell that’s admirable. You’re mad because you don’t know why everyone else can’t do what you do. That’s what I’m saying. You want to grab them and shake them and scream ‘Why is this so goddamn difficult for you?!’ but that’s the thing, it just is goddamn difficult for them. I agree with you, it’s sad, but…it’s for them to deal with. You keep doing the good that you’re doing, and you’ll feel better I think.”

Sandy pushed her hair out of her face and smiled slightly at Derek, her eyes remarkably pale blue, her skin so pale in the moonlight. She looked out the window again and shook her head.

“Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I want to just climb out this window and throw myself to the sidewalk. Just let it all end,” Sandy said, “But then I realize that suicide, at least for me, only seems like a viable option because I am surviving. The others who generally seem to kill themselves really do feel like it’s their only option, or it is their only option, as they’re perpetually unemployed or sick or homeless or something. But I have a place, here, and I have you and I have a job and I…I’m surviving. That’s why it’s an option, and not a necessity.”

“I’m glad you see it that way, because-“

“I miss my mom,” Sandy said, choking up, tears starting to roll down her cheeks, “I called her to talk about my first recital with the girls you saw and…and she wasn’t even in the least bit interested. She called it a ‘hobby’ the entire time. I want to please her so bad and yet I hate her so much. You have your family. Do you know what it’s like to not have family? To be that alone? I have your parents, and you, and the girls at the dance hall but…to not have family. A place you came from, a home…it’s exhausting trying to figure out where you’re supposed to be or even if you’re supposed to be. To not have a place of origin, a backstory, a prologue…is your story even worth reading?”

“You’re worth reading,” Derek said, “You’re the one who pays the majority of the rent on this place, that car is yours, you’re the one with meaningful employment. You’re worth reading. Each chapter it gets better and better, and we can make sure there’s a happy ending.”

“I don’t want to be distant.”

“I don’t want you to be.”

Some dogs barked in the distance, and a few cars drove by underneath them.

“Hey,” Sandy said.

“Yeah?” Derek replied.

“Promise me that if I do ever kill myself, you’ll write my sequel.”


Destination, Someone

Personality is like a road map.

Some are very easy to read, easy to understand, easy to follow. Some are a little more complex, not so surface level, and make you a bit frustrated when you think you’re supposed to take a right turn but instead make a left and infuriate someone even more because you’ve now said the wrong thing in reaction to the conversation. Then there’s some road maps that are stained and torn, that aren’t understandable in the slightest. They’ve been stuck in the glove box for like, 30 years, and everytime someone pulls that one out everyone groans and goes, “Ugh…not this one.”

My personality is that road map. It’s confusing, filled with wrong turns and bad directions. It’s almost impossible to follow, even with the pen marks someone once made on it for others to later use that are a sad attempt to ‘update’ the map for current use. Eventually the person using it gets so annoyed, they toss the map down in frustration or they ball it back up and violently shove it back into that dark glove box again. Some people would think this would make the map feel bad, but really, I’d rather be an incomprehensible road map than a road map that easily leads you everywhere with no questions asked. I like being the complex map.

“Frustrating”, “Challenging”, “Annoying”, “Impossible”, “Irritating”, “Useless”. I’ve heard all of these in reference to my personality, in reference to attempts to understanding me. Even those who’ve made the attempt eventually start to run into annoyances, wondering why they didn’t take an easier map.The thing is, while this, in theory, should make me feel even worse about myself, it’s a source of odd pride. I’m glad people don’t understand me, because it means I’m not the same. I’m different, and usually that wouldn’t be said with such happiness, despite people always tell you being different is good and being unique is special, because being different means not fitting in but why would I want to fit in with a species who’re so quick to dismiss me simply for such insignificant things like how I look or think?

The problem often isn’t the person being excluded. The problem is that society excludes people. That’s where change needs to be directed towards. Because society and pop culture has cultivated this idea that conformity is something to be attained in order to even be remotely accepted, there’s a lot of people out there who think that just because they’re alone means they’re required to be unhappy. Bullfuckingshit. Alone and liking yourself is better than surrounded by people who make you hate yourself because you’re not really being you. Be that fucking road map. Be the one with the coffee ring right in the middle, and who’s edges are all tattered and frayed. Be that road map and mislead people, teach them they can’t judge maps by a few simple red and blue lines. That’s the great thing about poor GPS tools. Yeah they can misdirect you, but they can also misdirect you into places you’d never expect yourself to go and sometimes have an adventure.

Sure, those road maps can take them to their destination.

But your road map can take them on a journey.