A/N: If you can find 'Ashwood', the author on typetrigger, give her a go. She is a strong lady I know personally, and I figure prominently in 'train tracks'.
He was only fourteen when I found it. Shoved deep in the back of his closet, a box half-full(more) of it. I sank down on his bed for an hour or so, trying not to think about what was happening.
I brushed it off. I didn't think it could be that severe, from everything I'd heard it was normal for young men his age to look at magazines like those.
But then came the shoeboxes packed so full I had to pry the lids off with my fingernails, and once the lid had popped off the magazines would slip and slide, falling to the carpet in a glossy heap. Frantically, I cleaned the carpet with everything I had, determined to keep it clean. (less)
Oh, God. I've never been good at spelling tests. I've never been good at spelling. In class every Friday, standing in front of the board, my tongue chokes me as I try to remember how to spell a popular holiday or some mathematical action.
(more) The words and the letters are a jumble. I have trouble sometimes, even deciding which word is the right one. The doctors my family has seen have told me it is very severe dyslexia, and I've been undergoing tough lessons to learn the order of letters and the way they sound.
I stare at my father out in the crowd, his hands slowly signing the letters. He insists that I am smart, that I am wise, that I am the best. Or at least that I can be. My mother insists that I am beautiful and strong and that is why she is not here today.
The lights are dim, and my eyes are strained from staring out at the particular side of the crowd my father is on. He waves a hand, and I can see the glint of anger, frustration on his face. I bite my lip, straighten my black starched skirt over my legs, and wipe my nails clean.
I am stalling for time. I know this, and so does the crowd of eight hundred who shift in their chairs. So does the panel of judges who sigh and make little marks on their paper.
I am also letting my father down. I lick my lips, take in a small breath, and try to bring the word up from the depths of my mind. (less)
It's a case of heartbreak. She is laying on the couch, curled into the end, her pajamas and messy hair blending in with the beige coverings. Empty boxes of tissues litter the ground, shining colorful wrappers sprinkled among them.
Carnival music is playing. I hear children laughing, and a mother scolding her disobedient son. Blond hair flashes from between the bars.
I look to the center, and I can see my dark hair smudged into my skin smudged into my blue shirt in the wavy, clouded mirror.(more) I'm clinging to the bar rising from the head of my pale white horse, clinging too close. I breathe out, relax my shoulders back.
I can't look out, because then my stomach will start spinning again. This is why I'm here though, me and my therapist talked about this. Breathe, keep calm, think of something comforting.
I turn my head from the mirror, and my eyes meet the ground. Layer upon layer of dull red paint is chipping off, pitting the surface. I blink hard, trying not to think about how unsafe the rest of this contraption must be if they can't even keep the paint right.
The child next to me shrieks with laughter, her voice high and uncontrolled. I glance over, to take in her sheer joy, maybe soak in some of it, and catch a glimpse of the therapist standing, a railing between us. She has her hands on the garish orange, gripping it tight.
I move towards her, my left leg slamming into the side of the horse as my right leg falls to the ground. I can feel my thigh stretching too far and I push myself away, lurching towards the edge. The merry-go-round jerks to a stop as I hear an overweight man yell 'What the fuck is wrong with you?'
Forgetting his words already, I slam my tennis shoes into the burned black cement, glad to be off of the horses that will never stop galloping. (less)
The waitress at the coffee shop across the street glances around calmly, pulling a small rectangular package from beneath her apron while she backs into the shadows. There is a small metallic sound and he can see her lighting a cigarette.
(more) He sips his latte, turns in his chair so he can see her more easily, and begins to sketch it. (less)
I push my way into the small wooden shack, angling my shoulder against it. There are gigantic cracks between most of the wooden planks, large enough to let light filter through, but it was still built with a strong hand.
(more) The door slides up, over, jars against a shovel and slams into the ground. I suck a breath in just as dust fills the air, crowding against the light for oxygen. My lungs feel as if they are shrinking and I bend over as if I am puking and cough dust out.
My pockets are empty; I didn't think to bring my inhaler. I take a few steps back outside the shack and lean against a withering gray tree as I try to breathe more easily. Hands spread wide, I slap the dirt off my jeans.
After a minute or two of letting the dust clear, I enter the shack again. I can see my shadow blocking the rectangle of light stabbing into the darkness, and I push my feet forward through a layer of feathers. Dead, crispy leaves crunch under my feet, startling me.
I can see some crude paintings propped up against one wall, stacked on each other and leaning into the ground for support. A broken lamp stands upon a table and I pick it up, to see if it will work in any way. The base of it scratches on the wood and I realize it's a lot heavier than I expected it to be.
A kitten throws itself up from beneath the pile of feathers and darts towards the back of the shack. I ignore it for the time being and leave the lamp, instead picking up one of the paintings. Layers of crusty paint flake off into my hand. (less)
I don't have much of a social life. I sit at home, eat popcorn, and listen to some crazy heavy metal.
Hey. I *was* mariaincorporated on here, but when I came back it felt like it had been too long and I had changed too much to go(more) back to my old account. So here I am. If anybody wants to talk, inbox me, or check out my blog, fuckyeahitscourtney.tumblr.com. I'll do my best to keep up with these triggers, and sometimes at my blog I'm going to visit past ones, see what I can do with that. I'm also in the process of expanding some of my trigger responses.
Back in the spring, this site helped me through alot, and I really appreciate everyone who was there, even though I never had the chance to make things clear. The writings some people do here are inspiring, brilliant, clear, rough, raw, clean, so real you can feel the texture of the letters and their breath as they come alive. It can sometimes take a lot for somebody to post on the internet, where everyone can access it, and I really appreciate everyone on this site for sharing. (less)
It's already washing off, thin lines of my dark tan skin showing through the faded black of the intertwined lines. My mother still looks at it disapprovingly, acting like it's the gateway drug to skin mutilation. I thrust my middle finger as high in the air as possible and(more) yell that she can just fuck herself.
I turn away from the road and climb the pavement hill until I meet my friends. They tell me they could see me on the sidewalk at the bottom and laugh, say things that imply congratulations without being so sentimental as to verbalize it entirely.
A lanky teen tugs a pack of cigarettes out from the band of his jeans and hands one to me. I nod my thanks and draw my lighter from my back pocket but he beats me, holding his shiny metal Zippo a few inches from my chin. I slide the cigarette between my lips and lean, cupping my hand around the flame to protect it.
Somebody complains about the wind and the people next to her stand closer, shielding her from it. The teen stands closer to me and he scratches at the temporary tattoo, peeling away the faded black of the intertwining lines to show my skin. (less)
I can feel it, swirling around inside me and burning at me.
I stare at my hand set on the cool steel table and try to focus on it, take my mind off the pain.
My skin starts to boil, it is too hot for me.
It is peeling(more) off, away, down, falling.
I am molting.
His hard brown face stares at me from the couch, and his friend returns to the room.
So familiar, yet I never knew him.
The second man, short and pale, is holding a manila folder.
He shows it to the first man, my first, my friend.
The first man nods, stands up.
He thanks me for the information as he strolls out my door, his pace as slow as always, as if all the time in the world is spread out in front of him.
The second man peers closely at my face, tips my chin this way and that.
He lets out a short, high-pitched bark of a laugh.
He holds up a thin vial of soup-y liquid, shakes it in my face.
It lands on the soft plush WELCOME mat just inside my doorway, and the slamming of the door makes it jump.
I try to push myself up and away from the table, but my one hand has become two.
I find that my extra hands have come from my legs, and I crumple into the ground.
My stomach is churning, and I want to puke but I can't.
It's killing me. On my toes, all the time. Bending under an imaginary weight, flexing forwards and backwards, extending my range of movement.
You change your mind faster than my ballet teacher. The music swings, the tempo speeding up, and my hearts beats faster as my legs swing(more) up and around, trying to match the pace. I am too slow and you turn away, or I am too fast and you laugh when I fall.
I have nothing else but the dancing, it is my life. Even though I have lost my passion for it, it is all I can do now. It's all I can do, to keep up with you and your words, throwing myself about to the rapid drumming.
The drums slow to a silence that stabs through every one of my lean muscles. I spin to a stop, pausing to gaze out. I don't see you and I close my eyes, turning away from all the chairs. I close my ears, turning away from the hushed awe preceding the loud clapping.
I fall to a crumpled heap on the glazed floor, feeling the comfortable, familiar chill through my thin tights. The clapping contrasts with the dull thudding in my heart. The curtain falls. (less)
Holding hands, sitting next to each other on the bench, I could tell the old couple were a forever sort of thing. They probably met in their youth, played in the sandbox together, ate cookies and milk. They probably struggled through puberty together. I bet the first awkward admissions of(more) love tasted sweet on their tongues.
They stand together, as one. They probably felt that click in their soul when they first met, when you meet somebody and the only thing you feel is your pounding heart and the only thing you think is 'this is it.' They probably went through the college experience together. I bet that's when they got married.
The old couple walk down the pavement. They've probably been living like this for years, with a remarkable symbiosis. They probably know what each other is going to order at the restaurant and make each other's tea or coffee. I could tell it was an always sort of thing with these two, the way they worked together and communicated. It was obvious. (less)
We stare at each other across the room. It is a silent challenge, making the air between us thick. I feel like it is solid, that I should warn others not to stray too close because of the invisible wall.
He sets his wine glass down and says(more) something. I can see his lips moving but not, half-forming the words but trying to keep the sound in. His wife takes his children off his lap and takes them by the hand, leading them away.
He picks the wine glass up again, and stands. Pausing, he turns back around and sets the glass down again. The fallen streamers crunch under his feet and the solid black line leads him across the gymnasium like a leash.
We went to school here together, fifteen years ago. Since then, our school colors have changed, the mascot has changed, and the football team is no longer the best in its division. I've grown from denim jeans to pencil skirts, curled hair to buns, and Visa to Mastercard.
He sits beside me, but not beside me. He is on the same side of the table as me, but it curves between us so I can only see half his torso. I look down at my stockinged feet and try to ignore the feeling that he is staring at me.
Soft. His voice is still soft. Slightly more assured, but tentative, probing the air.
"Been a while," he says. I turn my head up and towards him, shoot a glare his way. His left hand shines in the light with a thick golden band, my own hand bare.
Fifteen years ago, he went from new guy to jock, gentle to loud.
I don't have to talk for him to feel my pain, and I walk away softly. (less)
He stares at me expectantly. It's one of those hot summer days, so hot his dirty blond hair is pasted to his white forehead in stringy tangles. I can feel the thin fabric of my tank top glued to my skin, moving with every one of my movements.
I fidget. I shove my hands into my jeans, and decide it's too warm. I bring them back out, and feel nervous. I think he can see my hands shaking. In goes my hands again, balled into little fists in my pocket.
He is growing impatient. His toe rises up, and falls down to hit the linoleum, very gently and slowly. I stare down at it, at the scuffed front of it shredding into pieces until I can see his sock through it. I feel as if the sun is so close to the Earth today that if I were to stare at it long enough I would suddenly discover I had psychic powers and I would be able to fix his shoe for him.
After a minute or two, I look back up at him. His lips, chapped, are pulled against his teeth, smashed in a little with the suction he is making in his mouth.
And suddenly, the world is sucked in against me. I can feel the air pressing me smaller, pressing me flat until I am cardboard. (less)