life at sea

1.

23:56. He’s lovely though, just talk to him, it’ll be fine. He won’t want it to be awkward.

23:57. Yeah I guess.
23:57. … … …
23:57. I just. Idk. Legit came out of nowhere. What is life. 

23:59. You can’t keep bottling this stuff up though! 🙂

00.04. I just hate this shit.
00.04. Like
00.04 I touched your sexy bits. At times with my face. You could at least give that face the time of day.

2.

At my peak fatness, I had tits. Not huge tits, but tits nonetheless. Tits that came together perfectly with the rest of my body, my awkward personality, whatever else, to form a giant target sign, hovering hard and cruel above me.

It’s Year 7, and one of the kids in my class is on a tit rampage – a real mean kid, tall and pinched and slapping me at every interval, grabbing and jiggling at every unavoidable, curvaceous fact of my body. The day wears on. With every hand that touches me a twisted little knot inside my chest tightens, growing and burning with a pure and unnerving vitriol, my consciousness descending slowly but surely into the depths of my mind. Slowly, surely, brain droning on autopilot, I pull out a 2B, insert it into my brass pencil sharpener and begin, methodically and obsessively, to twist it around.

At the front of the classroom our teacher stands, writing notes upon the whiteboard. Thirty minutes prior I had sat with my hand hovering in the air, trying to ignore the pain and shock ran rampant ‘cross my frame as, yet again, a ghostly pair of hands continued to reach out from the desk behind me to dig into my sides.

The teacher turns, and for a moment we lock eyes, and I try desperately to convey the situation in silence: Help. Help. You’ve got to help me. The hands reach out to slap at me again. A beat. The teacher turns, silent in his betrayal, and continues to write on the board. I drop my hand; let it falter.

I sit.

I wait.

For the umpteenth time that disembodied hand reaches out, this time for my shoulder. Inside me, the knot snaps. My world is all white and painfully bright, ears and eyes ringing with a pure violence and I understand in that second, that one, blissful second, how alone I am in this, pencil in hand, sharpener in other, shavings clinging to the wool of my jumper like gnats crawling over my body and – and –

And I whirl round, in one fluid movement, and bury that pencil inches deep into his thigh, snapping off the lead, the head of it left in the flesh of his leg.

Silence, now.

Blessed silence, and I am standing, broken pencil held tight in hand, the mist clearing from my eyes, lungs insistent and full, on fire, I’m on fire, and – and –

And there’s a boy next to me, a friend, face pale and shaking in shock, his leg pissing blood, hand still outstretched.

And behind me, the mean kid with the pinched face stands, eyes wide, mouth agape.

And to the side of me, my teacher, standing at the head of the class, whiteboard marker pressed limp to the board.

And I realise that I’ve made a terrible mistake.

3.

I stand dead still in a Carnegie supermarket, gooseflesh raising up the curve of my arm and up towards my hands, pressed cold to air-conditioned glass. In front of me, countless rows of ice-cream: sumptuous and dark, the fancy kind stuffed chock-full of chocolate-covered Guano coffee-beans and royal jelly honeycomb at twelve dollars a pop; the kind I’ll forever associate with parental dinner parties, my mother doling out matching frozen spheres drizzled with fresh berries and a pleasant smile, and – “more dessert wine, anybody?”.

As I stand a giddy piano refrain begins to flit tinnily out of the store’s P.A. system; a refrain that rings terrifyingly familiar. I’ve heard this before. Then:

“Makin’ my way downtown, walking fast, faces pass and I’m home bound.”

My body seizes. Deep within me a wave of emotion rises up, sick and hot and ridiculously, stupidly emotional.

“Staring blankly ahead, just making my way, making a way, through the crowd.”

My hand has grabbed tight and white hot onto the refrigerator’s handle and I’m bent over now, eyes burning with tears.

Da-nuh-nuh-nah-nah-nah nun. “And I need you.”

Fuck.

Da-nuh-nuh-nah-nah-nah nun. “And I miss you.”

Double fuck.

Da-nuh-nuh-nah-nah-nah nun. “And now I wooooonder – ”

I’m looking for an out, breathing hard, the air caught taut in my throat and choking, choking me, tears free-falling down my face, and the drop:

“If I could fall/Into the sky/Do you think time/Would pass me by?/Cause you know I’d/Walk/A thousand miles/If I could/Just/See-ayy/Yewww/Toniiiiiiiiight.”

I’m crying. To Vanessa Carlton. Oh, the shame.

A beat, and a timid hand, splotched with age but surprisingly forceful, snakes around my wrist. I turn, still crying, to face a veritable jellybean of a woman, about four and a half feet tall, dressed head to toe in royal purple, a felt hat with violet flowers perched jauntily upon her withered head.

“Excuse me,” she says.

“Yes?”, I manage, thankful for the contact, the support, that someone, somewhere cared enough to try and help me. She smiles, a warm and welcoming smile, and for a second, a single second, my heart lifts.

She speaks:

“I need to get to the ice-cream. Would you mind moving out the way?”.

Ten minutes later I am home, eyes stained red, box of wine in one hand and a tub of Connoisseur in the other.

My housemate, after a time: “You need to sort your shit.”

Me: “Yeah. …yeah.”

A beat, and he pulls out two wine glasses and two dessert spoons. Happy Saturday.

4.

My mother, at a full 10, running through the house, the oven on, pots boiling, half face of make-up, wrapped in a pink and fluffy nightgown.

“There’s three hours ‘till Christmas, can everyone PLEASE GET ON BOARD AND HELP ME.”

Me, ever the little shit: “It’s Christmas, stop being such a psycho!”

A pause. She stops dead in her tracks in front of me, eyes wide and shining on the verge of tears, mouth for a second – oh but for a second – twisting cruel and knotted into a grimace.

Then…

Then her face clouds over, crinkles, turns blank and pleasant, and she smiles.

“Christopher, could you please do me a favour and get ready? We’ve three hours ‘till guests arrive and I need you to set the table.”

5.

Our bodies slam together, hands insistent and exploratory, prospecting the lines and curves of each other’s bodies like two drunk, gay octopuses, lips smashed together and he’s pushing into me, his whole body onto mine, and we’re laughing, somehow, my brain at a million miles an hour: fuck the housemates this is great you’re so hot I didn’t expect this how does this happen I’m kinda lucky will anything come from this it doesn’t matter do I even like you it doesn’t matter shush touch the body –

He smiles, eyes twinkling in the dark of my bedroom, a few rays from the streetlamp outside shining through; illuminating his face.

“Kiss me,” he says, and I do.

A few days later, and silence, an awkward, heavy silence, an uncomfortable side-eye as we pass each other and a quiet, mutual agreement to let it be.

Part of me thinks: I’ve seen your penis.

A bigger part of me thinks: Yeah, and?

And then we sit, side by side, on a bed. It is midday. The sun is beating down in rays through his open window, the sound of birds and cars filtering through. Our hands sit together, not touching but close, painfully close, the errant hairs running ‘cross my fingers standing on edge as if craving human contact.

“We need to talk,” I say.

“We do?”, he says, voice genuine in its inquisition. He doesn’t know.

“Yeah,” I say, silent for a second as a sudden ball of emotion lodges itself in my throat, heart pounding, and: “Yeah. I really think we do.”

Here goes.

6.

That sweltering knot inside of me, rising up like anxiety on speed dial against my will, a cacophony of angst and emotional stupidity swirling violent through my brain, and I am marooned, staring blank at the shore and drifting, further, brain racing, a thousand miles.

Calm down. Think it through. Think it through. And then:

00.06. I think I just sensed his awkwardness and so responded in my typical fashion with more awkwardness.

00.07. Yeah totally.
00.07. … … …
00.07. So
00.07. So, are you gonna say something?

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