the waves of the glittering Pacific
smaller than I expected...
His face was trapped in the ceiling tiles above my computer. I stared at the roof, feeling the bile rise up in my throat. I hadn’t noticed it at first. The line on the bottom could have been anyone’s smile, and the two black dots among the white plaster could have been anyone’s eyes. But after he had leaned over my desk the first time, shouting at me, I stared at the ceiling tile straight afterwards and ever since pictured the outline of his face every time I looked at it.
The maps lied. Distances between towns had to be longer. I drove the minivan dangling an elbow out a window. A bone in my neck grated as I changed gears. Wind cut bluntly over an arm. After long trips skin mottled red. Land lay flat, stretching into haze smeared by dust storms two days ago. My shoulders ached slightly from that full nelson Eric had me in yesterday.
If you’re a fan of Young Adult novels (or have ever been on YouTube) then you’ve most likely heard of author John Green. In recent times there has been a lot of debate surrounding John Green’s representation of women and whether it is positive or negative. As his target audience is generally young adults and teens, the way he portrays women is incredibly important as it creates a mould for how young girls may believe they are perceived by others.
There are scratch marks on his arms that don’t belong to me. Bite marks and bruises, old and new, on his chest and shoulders that don’t match my dental records. There’s mud between his toes from another adventure and I can see the pressure marks from his heavy backpack on his chest. There’s a festival wristband around his arm, but it’s not the same as the one around mine.
Out here in Blacktown, four dollars sixty and sixteen stops from Kings Cross, naked and sore I take an OxyContin out of a box on my bedside table and I hold it between my fingers.
I say ten milligrams.
My great-grandmother was born in a large puddle in Osaka. I’m not really sure what happened in the middle. It’s irrelevant to my story. But I was born in that pet store. The one with the photo of the smiling girl surrounded by puppies and kittens hanging out the front.
I didn’t hate my time there - it was by no means extraordinary - but I didn’t mind. I was fed daily at 2pm and every Thursday my tank was cleaned out. I lived alone with my thoughts, which was relaxing.