Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ghosts of Love

This is a fictional piece I wrote that may go into my book of short stories - I'm going through a phase of writing pieces that feel expository yet literary - they're right on the line where I can't decide if it works as literature, or if it just sounds more like someone's diary.  Anyway - here it is:

I was just getting over someone when I saw him. I was still a mess, sad and dismal, but that’s the kind of music he writes anyway, so it didn’t matter. He wears Converse shoes, jeans, fingerless black gloves, and long black jackets that hang on his wiry, tortured frame. Everywhere on his body are scars, tattoos that write out his life of one drunken night after another trying to make the pain of heartache end. He’s in love with someone almost as much as me. He loves so hard he tattoos the woman’s name someone on himself. One, an S, surrounded his nipple like a black snake. After they broke off their five-year relationship, it bloomed into a web of bursting thorns. This last time, he thought his days of loneliness were over. Her initials were on his ring finger, and his were on hers. Then things fell apart, as they are want to do. He couldn’t articulate how or why, just that they did. The tabloids said she’d given him a black eye and almost burst his ear drum in a high pitched screaming match. He spent the next six months removing her name with the end of his cigarette. He went into rehab and wrote the next album sober, hiding away from the world, afraid to open his doors, though fans continued to knock at all hours.

Rock stars always date models, and he’s no exception. I’d seen his exes and stood in awe of their beauty, the same way I do his. How someone like him could love a person like me doesn’t seem possible, but because he’s chased beauty for so long, felt himself hung by its noose, never catching love, he understands better now what love truly is. It’s the opposite of everything he’d been doing. Chasing beauty doesn’t mean there’s love at the end of the rainbow, but chasing love, real honest-to-goodness love, promises beauty, even if it’s inside a package he wouldn’t normally look at. Being part of his world feels like waking up one day with the ability to grant my own wishes. He loves me. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of me.

At work, all I do is fill up the coffee supplies in the kitchen and make sure everyone has enough pens. They talk to me like I’m stupid. I wear black everyday as if I’m going to a funeral because it’s a business-attire-required workplace and I’m not so fashionable as a model to be able to mix and match styles and colors like they’d know how to do. Besides, I’m three inches shy of the shortest possible height a model can be; therefore my legs aren’t as long and drapey as theirs. I do everything I can to stay trim, short of anorexia, which is what I’d need to do to eat away the muscles of my mother’s German thighs. I have a soccer player’s body, and when we’re out together, I make sure to wear high heels to lengthen my legs and to get closer to his tall frame as I can. People still wonder why he’s with me. I wear sunglasses whenever we’re out like Jackie O to make myself look more regal and mysterious. It also helps me see whenever the flash bulbs go off and avoid any unflattering photos that seem to land in the tabloids like baby feathers in the wind after a cat kill.

We were at my place making the bed; he’d just flown in to see me. I couldn’t get the time off work otherwise he would’ve paid for my ticket to meet him in Canada on tour. He wants me on tour with him but for some reason I can’t seem to say Yes. Even though they have a big tour bus, I don’t think I can handle the tight quarters, sharing the space with his band mates and crew. I told him I’d meet him throughout the tour whenever he was going to be staying in a place for a couple days so we could spend some time together.

He wants to meet my family. I tell him I don’t mind him meeting my mother, but I’m hesitant to let him meet everyone else. He wants to know why. I want to tell him because they’re boring. They’re not like us, like him and I. He holds me close on the bed and says not to worry about it, that if this is going to work, our families have to meet eventually. I nod and tell him okay, but let’s wait for that day. I like having him all to myself.

There’s something I’m supposed to be doing. I’m in graduate school. I have reading to do. I have a book I’m supposed to write but all I can think about is him. He’s not here right now and I can’t think. If we were together I’d feel more energized. He inspires me to do anything, to be anything. Of all the people in the world, he chose me. I’m the girl all the fans talk about, the one whose name they don’t know but they know of me. They know I make him happy. The clock says I need to be heading out the door to get to work but I miss him. I can’t leave until I feel okay.

After all of his albums about love and heartache, he’s finally found love, in me. I’m the one gave that to him. I just feel empty when he’s not here. My place is dark and drab. He’s everywhere out there I think. I turn on my computer and look up interviews he’s done recently, to watch him speak, see his hands move when he talks, smile as he answers questions about the album, and his inspiration for it. “This album is about your ex?” the interviewer asks. He grins and replies, “No,” at which I shutter. “I think of each song like a valentine to the girl who I hope will be my girlfriend, we’ll see how it turns out though.” The interviewer responds in kind with saying she’s keeping her fingers crossed and I turn off the computer to stare at the black screen in front of me and I wonder how many more times I’m going to do this; wonder what it would be like to be her, really her, not just me alone inside these walls with ghosts of love I never knew in real life.