October 11, 2011
The strums of the breathy guitar riffs echo murmuring melodies throughout my memory. I recollect the vivid rhythms dancing the quickstep on my sensitive eardrums. His haunting presence standing sunken, slumped, and stationary, partway concealed by the metallic metal microphone stand. The earthy scent of tobacco encasing his ominous form in a cloud of smoke, thick and dense like the smog of overpopulated city pollution. I was the full audience: the floor level, the balcony, and the throng of teenagers overcrowding the stage. Raspy syllables thrust themselves through his cracked lips revealing teeth stained with a buttery yellow tint, words landed with thuds all around me like balls of word-hail. Soon a final trailing note twinkled, sound was void. It was my turn.

The melody was scarce, only a soft whisper of the song could be heard in the distance ringing around my ears begging to be noticed. To be heard. I parted my painted lips, revealing the almost crooked teeth, singing a note both barely audible and entirely understood. His eyes danced at my robust rhythm and soon became entranced with the flowing notes. Finally I was noticed. The way his dark judgmental eyes fixated on my flaws made me wonder if I was the equivalent of an experiment being observed, but I didn’t care. I only cared that someone was watching, noticing, understanding.

After I was finished, starving with the hunger of attention, I sat down. The dense leather of the sofa encasing my frail thin body like a cocoon ,a rush of adrenalin washing over me, I felt at ease. He walked gingerly toward me surveying the room with his hawk eyes and finally focusing their immense intensity on me, meeting my sheepish stare. Once he approached I was awestruck, the pure magnitude of his larger than life presence struck me like a trained boxer’s uppercut, and I was gone. Lost in a world of aloofness laced with the drug of naivety wondering if how, why, and when truly mattered.

My mouth was parched and yearned for his affectionate embrace. My whole body ached with the gratitude of being wanted, the fullness of a tummy stretched after a bountiful thanksgiving dinner. Feeling the vibrations of his footsteps hypnotized me, making it hard to breathe in and out on cue, the cue of his conductor’s stick waving back and forth in front of my transfixed eyes. Stunned, he plopped down next to me forcing a drift back into reality, only then did I realize that his fingers were trailing patterns upon my bare tanned thigh. The warmth of his surgeon’s hand made me float above my own body, a high you can only feel in the presence of true lust, true fantasy.

Velvet black curls rolled and rippled along my back like the undulating tides of a mysterious ocean current and his lithe fingers twisted and twirled along their gentle waves surfing the dark riptides with unprecedented ease. His mutters of coy, delicate devotion rang loud and clear. Tiny chewed camel butts littered the Persian printed rug dyed with drab jewel tone vines-now wilting. It’s texture rough from debris left behind by the migrating feet that trek across it daily. The once plush designs eaten away showcasing a skeleton complied of grey straw fibers woven together to form exposed irregular patches. His eyes darted from my mask, which had been a simple face of a young girl hours ago, down to his beaten boots, bruised with tiny scratches and worn with dusty scuffs eroding the toes already stretched thin with the musky leather.

All I saw was shame, he emulated a poised poet with each strike of a string combining them to form mesmerizing stanzas enticing the reader, the audience,the girlfriend, their balanced words dripping with sincerity, but with every glance toward his feet I sensed shame. His interlacing fingers in my freshly colored hair…shame. His palm resting absentmindedly near the hem of my dress…shame. The gaze, empty of any feeling, fixating itself upon me…shame. I was the object that forced a once proud performer to feel a truly ugly emotion, one that speckled him with splattered splotches shades of green.

His hand began to wander. His hand was soft, tender, and childish rendering a sense of innocence deep down in my heart; an innocence that almost extinguished the burning desire that was smoldering inside the pit of my stomach. But not quite, it still burned and the flames started to eat away at the innocent feeling, corroding it like acid eating away at a defenseless penny. I still wanted him, to feast upon him like a female lioness attacking her prey, even with the aura of shame illuminating his masculine features. My music, my voice, the instrumentals meant solely for me, anchored themselves into every carefully constructed critique he spoke to me. He disguised the subtle praises within a mixture of disconnected scolds because he was aware that he did not wear jealousy well. The way slobber formed at the corners of his full lush mouth made me ignore the words he was iterating and instead focus my attention to the tableau exposed in front of me.

Directly in front of the burgundy leather loveseat was an impeccably functional makeshift stage, the decrepit Persian rug lying helpless underneath it all. Toward the front was a pristine glossy cherry-red foot pedal that which each pre- rehearsed tap created a foreign sound shaped from the medium of audible watercolors, both fuzzy and visible at the same time. Then stood the cylindrical mirrored microphone stand glued to the floor in the shape of a circular base, the microphone held limp between the black prongs and the cord dangling toward the floor. To the left, the enormous drum set had positioned itself atop a splintering wooden platform, the chrome finish casting cruel reflections. Centered between the stand and the set was the crown jewel of the stage, a sparkling pearl finished penguin. Its lithe body propped up against a harshly shining metal stand shaped like the devil’s pitchfork, the strings stretched taunt across the torso.

A drift back to reality refocused my emerald eyes. You could say that I had an epiphany. You could say I came to my senses. You could say I gained my life back. Twisted as it seems none of these are the case. Instead of ignoring the hate radiating from his tightly pulled face I transferred the shame he was overflowing with. I borrowed it, I stole it, and I replaced it. Suddenly, senseless shame intruded upon my face. No longer did I feel like I belonged here, with him. No longer did I feel as though his love and touch was sincere; it was all an unforgiving lie. The song had enlightened me but not in a conventional way. My pitch perfect voice humming improved verses was the unneeded wakeup call. An alarm beeped and buzzed alerting my frenzied head that it was time to accept the fact that to him I was worthless, a mere material possession. The shame that he glowed with was a cover-up, covering up the guilt free selfishness that oozed inside of him.

Abruptly I came to realize that I needed him. The false affection was what I craved. Addiction finds you, you don’t find addiction; that contagious disease that eliminates your morals and eats away at your self-esteem. It had found me (he had found me). No longer could i focus on things that once gave me pleasure, I lashed out at anyone that tries to stand in the way of me and the aching sensation. It’s all consuming. The constant nightmare that was my life trapped me in a realm where self-hate, self-pity, and the emptiness of self-worth surrounded me. What happens when that starving hunger can only be satisfied not with a drug, a drink, or a sharp knife, but instead with a presence? A person (one smell, one touch, one taste) those are the things that keep you up in the middle of the night, a feeling of intense want. He was what I needed to breath; I could no longer survive without him; he consumed me. I fed my addiction not with contraband substances or bottles upon bottles of fiery liquor; instead I did lines of him, I swallowed his pill, poured shots of him. Wanting to be wanted….that’s what I wanted, I needed.

He didn’t care. He never really cared. He won’t care. I accepted that. It was my only option.

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