Friday, October 01, 2004

fiction: lisa listens

Forget the past

Do you remember the first time he kissed you? Of course you do. It’s not something easily forgotten. How his lips touched yours, the expected softness, the unexpected harshness, the darting of his tongue. How your mind spun out of orbit into the infinity of his taste: risotto, white wine, cigarettes. And his tongue, his tongue, his tongue.

Don’t deny you liked it.

It’s all right, we all fall in love.

The secret apocalypse

When things end for you, they end very badly, wouldn’t you say? Not in a spectacular display of nova brilliance but rather in helpless sinking implosion, quiet as it is potent, silent as it is final. You never choose to show your pain because you think something so private should be kept hidden from everyone else’s eyes: your ex-lovers, your friends, your family, yourself.

Many times in history, people predicted the end of the world. It was greeted with a certain sense of desultory anticipation. Some people partied, some people sold all they had and covered themselves in ashes, some people stayed in bed waiting for the end. But the end never arrived.

The lesson, I suppose, is that every apocalypse is personal. Choose your own adventure and helplessly pursue the inevitable ending.

Is it that way for you?

Do you think you can change it?

That’s how love goes

Let me guess how it goes. After all, all love stories have been told, so it isn’t rocket science, is it?

Girl meets boy. Girl falls for boy. Some fucking or tenderness or whatever. Girl gets dumped.

It’s a story, I grant you. It has every hallmark: beginning, middle, end. The question is, is it a good story? Was the audience prepared for the ending? Was the principle of rising action observed? Was there enough verisimilitude? Is there closure?

You know the answers. They’re the same for almost everyone like you.

So by now you should know this is nothing personal.

The story of the perfect garden, part one

There once was an empress who could not abide imperfection. She summoned the wisest men in her domains and commanded them to build her a garden and to fill it with only the most perfect examples of things. This they did, determining a patch of earth of the perfect size and surrounding it with walls perfectly crafted. Then they set out and about and beyond the empire, seeking and taking things that were perfect. This they did for seven years while the empress fretted as she walked the empty garden.

Soon they began to return and presented wonders for the empress to marvel at and set within the perfect garden. Things she approved: a clockwork wisteria that bloomed at the third hours of day and night, a great tiger with emerald eyes and catercorner stripes, a statue of a gilded horse that allowed no rain to touch it, and a ceramic jar that foretold earthquakes, eclipses and tidal waves. Things she disallowed: a song that grew in the singing, a bird with a tail colored with six rainbow hues, a book that never told the same story twice, and a handful of pearls that were proof against poison.

The thing about pearls

Even if you swallow one, you can still die by allergies.

But the important part is that you at least tried, don’t you think?

In a world where people take poison as a matter of course, those who refuse have already won some small victory, don't you think?

I know you agree. Nod if you agree.

My first love

We were both seven years old.

We played at each other’s place, alternating days: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays were at my place. We cut paper and jumped off roofs. We built houses and made them tumble.

Puppy love, what can I say?

The story of the perfect garden, part two

In the years that followed, both the contents of the perfect garden and the warehouse of unwanted things grew until both were filled to the point of bursting. It became impossible to even enter the garden, much less walk in it. Famine and plague and all sorts of tragedies struck (the warnings of the miraculous jar went unheard, smothered by the weight of all the perfection above it) and the people grew to be unhappy with their empress.

There was talk about revolution but no one dared to act. She was that feared, even if her eyes watched over only her incomparable treasures.

Your guardian angel

I’ve watched over you for years, you know. Don’t act surprised. I know you know.

When you were twelve and you thought you had lost your parents at that amusement park, do you remember who helped you find them?

When you were fifteen and desperate to be accepted by the popular girls in school, do remember who told you what to do?

When you were nineteen and so stoned you couldn’t move away from the sudden headlights, do you remember who pulled you away?

No, no, please don’t start crying. I might get started too.

Whatever happened to Prince Charming

There is no prince in this story.

The sad truth of the matter is that he’s forgotten you by now.

That’s what happens when love ends. Dumper leaves dumpee and walks forward.

Memory is like that, you know.

He won’t rescue you.

You don’t need to be rescued.

You don’t need him, never needed him.

You know this.

I know you know this.

The story of the perfect garden, part three

One day, the empress died.

The imperial chamberlain, her most devoted aide, had the empress’ body washed with the most perfect liquids, anointed with the most perfect perfumes and covered in the most perfect silks, all taken from the towering heights of the piles in the perfect garden. He commissioned an orchestra to play the most perfect dirge on the most perfect set of instruments known to man, each one plucked from its place from the wonderful garden.

Then he had the perfect corpse thrown into the warehouse of useless things, which was then set to flames, along with its perfect neighbor, the perfect garden.

The moral that accompanies the tale

You can’t take it with you.

You know you can’t.

Now, what have you learned?

Instructions for a better life

1. Love is learned.

2. There is always a choice.

Happily ever after

Can you see it?

Open your eyes and see it with me: sunsets, shared cups of coffee, snuggling in bed with a book each, a soundtrack everywhere we go.

Can you see it?


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