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Not me, her

In 1987, I found myself trying to write about a high school girlfriend that had been molested by her father when she was a child. I was 19 years old, struggling to find my way through a screenwriting assignment about delivering character. The idea was to describe messy young love between two Sid and Nancy want-to-be's. But that failed, as I could not stomach oversimplifying her complicated past, events that shaped her life as a 16 year old with a mohawk, a smart mouth, a lingering stare. I understood that I had to start at the very beginning.

No one wanted to hear the story. When it was my turn to read in class, it even came to be that some of the other students asked to stand in the hallway before they heard another description of what happened in that lonely little house in the middle of nowhere. I was trying, and failing, and trying again to get things right, to explain how this happened, how it could happen to this girl, how this man found his way to acts of selfishness and d…

red, yellow, blue, green.

Spring in Moscow smells like oil paint and mud. Handfuls of black haired workers paint everything in sight, dripping fire engine red and egg yolk yellow, splashing middle blue and acid green on every banister and bench, every gate and metro entrance. They lounge in their coveralls, smoking cigarettes, eyeing everyone on their way to work. Everything is soft and wet and sticky, as one more layer of paint dries slowly in the sun. Everything I see has gotten a little bit thicker, cruder, more grotesque. I imagine the city will eventually become one giant lump decorated in these 4 childish colors.

The half-empty wine bottles on the kitchen table look beautiful the next morning. Coffee tastes especially delicious. Now E draws pictures of me with a guitar, or clouds and flowers and little birds. Sometimes N is half asleep, bringing my hands to her body in the warmth of the covers. There is a fragile peace and balance to my days now. And now the old wounds are naked in the sun, white and twisted like spiderwebs that could not fully be brushed away.

There is a new restlessness worming its way inside me. There is nowhere to hide here. And maybe, no reason to.

Today I saw a child's toy abandoned on the sidewalk - a little lamb, staring up at me.

Helpless, was my first thought. The next, was to buy something to scrape paint away, down to the bare metal.


Comments

willwilisovsky said…
Ah, but there is no metal.
This city is made of paint.
The rest is silence Brother Marco

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