ANTHOLOGY COMPLEX


IN BETWEEN OBSESSION AND ADDICTION (1:1:4:32)


Piled up in the corner of the room are these black and white covered notebooks that don't quite make it to the ceiling. Written inside of them are tales of fiction that have a longing to become true. While this is each composition notebook's final resting place, there is however always one that takes the place of the other half of the bed I sleep in. The one that still has pages to be filled, and is not yet ready to join the others. These are the words of a therapist I was suggested to see many years ago. "Var intet radd." Those are the last words of a dead king.

The same day the therapist told me that I wanted my fantasy to become reality, I asked him if he knew that there was a word for the killing of ants. He says no, and I tell him that the word is formicide. I ask him if the reason for this word's existence is simply for classification purposes, say, John Doe kills ants in his basement so we need to classify him under the word "formcide," or do human beings really consider this act of killing ants to be anything but trivial. That ants deserve to be recognized as living organisms.

He tells me that he doesn't know, and then the silence that is suppose to be therapeutic comes. "What the hell am I doing here?" That's what I think to myself.

I close the door behind me, the door to the room that those notebooks sleep in, and on my way out I stub my left toe on the couch. Because of the way my mind works, I purposely stub my right toe as well. Max out the balance. Strange dreams, strange life, and somewhere in between, strange memories.

Sometimes the fantasy tries so hard to break through into the reality that it becomes painful. One time I had a dream where my partner and I were somewhere overseas and had a slave owner in front of us on his knees begging for his life.

As I'm standing there with my gun pointed at his head, I realize that I can't pull the trigger. It must be my first time. I also notice that neither my partner nor I have masks or suits on, I'm thinking this is one of the first events in the story about the thieves from New York. Anyway, the thing is I'm so angry and full of hatred for this man that I start to taste blood in my mouth, and then I wake up and find that I have been chewing on the inside of my mouth, and when I open my mouth, some of the blood falls down and stains my bed sheets. This is not the first or last time it happens.

After I finish stubbing both of my toes, I go to the bathroom and take a shower. I get tired of standing so I sit down facing the dial and I feel the hot water hit my body. I'm so relaxed that I eventually fall asleep and begin to dream. In the dream I'm standing alongside a row of parked cars, and in front of me in the distance is the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln all before me representing the first one hundred and thirty years of the history of the United States. It's a shame that the project was cut short in 1941 due to a lack of funding. Maybe if it wasn't, the completed sculpture would be represented in this dream.

After some time I find myself still standing in the same place next to the same car still looking before me at the memorial when a storm starts. What's interesting about this storm is that the rain is unusually warm, and there is no thunder, only lightning. I suppose it happens sometimes. After so long the warm rain becomes extremely cold and I wake up and find myself in the shower being hit by cold water.

I turn the shower off, grab the towel and then go to turn on the light, but when I flick the switch on, nothing happens. No light. I also realize that there is rain hitting my window and I wonder if the power went out. I open the bathroom door and peer outside into the rest of the apartment and notice that every thing that runs off of electricity is off. The power did in fact go out. Not too soon after I hear thunder. I open the door to my apartment and look out to the second floor hallway, no lights are on. Son of a bitch.

I go to my bedroom and put clothes on and then lay on my bed and attempt to figure out what I'm going to do with no computer or television. After a few minutes I get up to check if my flashlight still works. It doesn't, and when it gets dark in a blackout, it really gets dark. I decide to go to the store and buy another one, and as I'm closing my door I catch a glimpse of Lynne's door and I wonder if she would need one as well. I knock on her door, and David answers, this cool little kid. "Mom, it's your friend."

She comes to the door and I ask her if she needs a source of light. Not in those words. She says no, that they have candles and flashlights, but she says that she could use some batteries. On my way out I see that the rain has begun to settle down and that I might not really need my umbrella, but I take it with me anyway. I come to Chase Mart all the time for groceries, but in all my years coming here I have never bought a single inedible item.

When I walk through the front doors, I see a new yet familiar face at the register. New as in I've never seen her at the register, but familiar as in I have seen her somewhere before. I go to the batteries, and I realize Lynne didn't tell me what kind she needed, so I buy one from each rack, and then I go buy my flashlight.

As I'm walking towards the employee I realize that it's Julia, a girl from one of the drug session things I used to go to. I refer to her as a girl, even though by now she is a woman, because of the many years I have on her.

I hand her my items and when she looks at me I can tell she recognizes me even though we have never spoken before. Unlike Jamal, she doesn't have that look that implies that she is still using drugs. This one, she actually looks drug-free.

After the transaction is complete and as I'm walking away, she calls me a bastard. I turn around in question, complete confusion, and she says she can't believe that I would just walk away after what I did to her and pretend we didn't even know each other. That I must still be getting high and lost all of my brain cells even though I've never used an illegal drug in my life. Then that's when I remember what hides in between fact and fiction.

You're at this place filled with a bunch of people who want to better their lives, but they need the help of others if they want even the smallest chance to succeed. At this place they tell you their stories, and then they tell you their dreams. You are sitting there, a tourist among people who you do not belong around, but these people, they intrigue you. They show you what it means to rise when you are down. They show you that even the bloodiest battles with your mind can in fact be won.

Now you see a girl named Jane Doe get up to speak. You call her Jane because you don't know her name or who she is. If you had known about Joe at this moment in time, you might make a joke and call her Jae, and they would go hand in hand. Jane stands up there, and she tells you her story. She doesn't tell you about the rape yet because it's too personal, but she will later on when she's ready. For now, she tells you about how she sat in her bathtub, about how she wanted to commit suicide, a word used more than just for classification purposes.

Then she tells you about how she dialed her grandmother's phone number, how it would be her last cry for help. That if her grandmother didn't pick up, then she was going to do it. She tells you about how her grandmother's home phone doesn't have an answering machine or caller identification, so she lets it ring for a long time, but no one ever picks up. She tells you about how ending that call meant killing any kind of hope she had left, and after so many rings, how she kills the call.

Then Jane tells you about how a few seconds after killing the call, her grandmother is knocking at her door, visiting because she wants to play a board game. She tells you about how for the first time in her life, at that moment when she opens the door for her grandmother, that everything in her life is finally enough. The drugs and the lies to herself fell short for relieving the pain when compared to the rescue of her grandmother. That image in the doorway that would make well for a cherished painting and memory.

After the entire session is complete, Jane bumps into you, and being moved by her story, you talk to her. You find out her name is Julia and that she is desperately trying to change. This idea interests you, but you are not interested in her, and that is what ultimately causes your relationship to end.

I remember Lynne telling me that black roses are not natural, that they are created by botanists by manipulating the rose's genes. She also tells me that while a black rose may symbolize death, it can also symbolize rebirth. An end and a new beginning. But what sticks out the most to me is how they can represent the darkness of human nature.

After I get to know Julia, she tells me about how she was raped, and how her life spiraled out of control. She tells me how it wasn't just the rape, but that it was the rape that sent her over the edge, and that makes me assume that she had a terrible childhood, but I never find out if I was right or wrong about that.

After some time, she wanted to be more than just friends, she wanted someone she could go to when she needed, but after Maria I knew I wasn't what she was looking for. After I admitted to myself that I only liked her because I was interested in picking her brain, I kind of disappeared, and I haven't seen her until now. I'm guessing I didn't fully remember what happened between her and I because in those days, one day just bled into the next and my mind was already half gone.

So how do you explain yourself to a girl, or woman, who probably hates you and feels that you betrayed her trust somehow? I try to tell her I'm sorry but she tells me to just forget about it, and then I leave. How the fuck am I suppose to go in there and buy groceries if she's working there now? I certainly don't feel like walking all the way over to the next store. Damn it.