But I keep complaining about these people, you know? These people that have lived before me, these people that are living with me right now. Those in the future. You know? To me, they’re all but a concept. They’re the future. They’re the people right next to me in this restaurant. You know? They’re all just concepts. We are all just concepts. We stand outside the dark jungle, torches in our hands, pretending we’re cornering the big dangerous tiger. We are, you are, the mayor in the city, the highest ranked advisor, the person to whom everyone turns to when the tiger has attacked and killed more than three people. But at the same time, we are, you are, the mother of one of those three people, you are the brother of one of those three people. You are one of those three people. What people like you and me find so difficult to understand, is that we are all the same persons. We grow up hearing scientists telling us that we consist of the same atoms that of which the dinosaurs consisted of: it grants us power, but it still keeps us powerless: your atoms are just as powerful as mine: my atoms are just as powerless as yours. Time is timeless: at the moment that my mother dies, I am born, again, at new, again, for the first time, for the last in forever; it never stops, it continues over and over again. You try to step out, to do something that has never been done before. You step out of the crowd, you are no longer neither the leader nor the follower: “Let’s go out and kill the tiger,” you don’t say it out loud, but the notion is aching in your entire body: do everything in spie, on the contrary, push every button that inspires the opposite. You step out. Into the jungle. Into the swamp, the dangerous river, the terrifying unknown, terrifying because you lack the ability to imagine it: no matter how long or how hard you try, you can never see a different color than what your physical body is capable of. Even if the homo species is capable of expanding the subsea timelapse to more than four hours, you still can’t see more than the primate colors’ combinations. Even if the homo species is capable of extracting some datas of whatever strange phenomenoms that exist outside our solar system, outside our dimensions, you will still never realize the true meaning, the lack of true meaning, which you still won’t understand. That is just how you are. You are the tiger, forever hunting until extinxtion, at your last pray, your last meal. You are the meal, the man, the woman, the flesh, millions of atoms originating in the million years stretch of the factory production of molecules upon molecules. You are the mother, the origin of the molecule factory, you are the producer of that factory, producing molecules upon molecules, combining acids and alcoids to create a very special electro-magentic shield that will grant you extra protection; yet that extra protection, even though it will last for millennias to us, it will last only for billennias to me, the creator, the original, the one and only, amongst other myriads of truths and insane calculations and improbable reasons. You know so little. You even pretend that the greatest gift of all amongst the homo sapiens is the gift of curiosity, the gift of trying to find out what and why and how. Yet, even though you refuse to acknowledge it, your greatest gift is simply the belief. Perhaps the religious belief, perhaps the scientific (oh come on: all proofs point at the big bang and dinosaurs and evolution and whatnot: but none of you have the force of empirical first-witness proof): you can be as scientific and curious as you want: as long as you do not faithfully, unrockable, stubbornly, stale-to-the-point-of-hydrogen-electromagnetism-y believe consistently, extensively, undeniably, in your own existense. Oh yeah, you pretend that you think “What if this is all but a dream?” And after that thought, you proceed in having so much fun you barely remember doubting your own unprobable existence in the first place. That is why you’re all special. Not because you just are. Because you believe you are.

Nothing at all

I dreamed about you last night! In my dream it was my birthday, and my mom had planned a great day for me, so I got up to take a shower, and then you were suddenly there, kissing and touching me. My mom came up to the bathroom door and asked me about some things and I couldn’t let her come in because she would see you there. I saw this whole scene in a B-rated movie a few days ago, I guess it got stuck in me. I woke up to my radio murmuring some strange low electronic songs, I had forgotten to turn it off before I went to sleep. I was at a party on friday and although I drunk four beers and one terrible mojito, I wasn’t really that hungover since I walked home from the city again. I keep on doing that instead of just taking a taxi, which isn’t that expensive, but I guess I’m not able to take that decision whenever I’m drunk. It was raining, and I think that at some point I was crying, but I can’t remember what about. I brought home a traffick cone and some iron rods from a building spot, just for the fun of it. Yesterday, I watched four movies, drunk two beers and ate a chocolate bar. Stuck my hand down my throat and threw up some of it. The party I’m talking about was pretty boring, actually, but that’s partly my own fault. The plan was to celebrate the beginning of our second year of this three year university degree. Everytime I’m out drinking with these people, I get so drunk and thus, starved on fun by spending every evening every week in my room alone doing nothing, I always do whatever comes to my mind. And then I wake up filled with regrets. Pretty pathetic, come to think of it. So this time I had promised not to let myself get out of control, and surprisingly, it worked. Except for when I was at the night club and had finished my bad mojito in two minutes and I said was just going outside to find someone, and walked home and supposedly cried a lot. But I feel fine now, no problem. We have a lot to read and a lot of work to do this year, but I feel pretty good about that too, actually. Although I really miss you. And if I could choose, I’d rather be five years old in my mother’s lap watching a BBC nature program, knowing that the life I have now is so unsubstantially far away that it’s nearly no concern of mine. I mean, I don’t even consist of the same things now as I did when I was five. You know, all my atoms and molecules are exchanged. You’re ten years older than me, so you’ve changed even more. But you’re still the same. I hope I get to feel you when you change even more. I guess I’ll get some work done now. We’ve only had classes for a week and I’m already terribly far behind. You said you were going back to your home country during winter? Maybe we’ll meet next summer, then. You gave me two compliments: 1, that I kiss like a tiger, and 2, that you liked my legs. I was so drunk when you said that thing about my legs. I hadn’t shaved, so I keep wondering if that’s why you said it, or if it was just because you liked my legs in general. But I won’t bother you with these questions. You know, when I woke up today after my dream of you, I recalled a conversation I had with a guy in Liverpool: I said that it felt like my life had come to a hault, that I was just waiting to die. Not in a suicidal way, just that everything felt sort of deflated now, like those balloons that haven’t popped but the air has still gone out of it and now it’s sort of baggy and you can’t untie the knot and blow in new air. Then the guy said “But hey, you’re only twenty, you’re a great girl with a smart head, you’ll go so many places! I’m even getting excited for you just here right now thinking about it!” And I woke up and thought of it, and it reminded me of something I saw in a movie or read in a book, it bugs me that I can’t remember where it’s from. But it’s one person who says to another, something like: “It’s a funny thing, that whenever there’s a war, there is surprisingly little going on in the whole world. Almost nothing at all.” In two months I’ll be at a french hospital, struggling with the language and fucking up with my work tasks, and I’ll enjoy it for sure, but even though I’m twenty and smart and my life is “just going up up up”, I still woke up this gray sunday morning, missing you, just waiting, breathing, waiting. I still miss you, I miss my mom. I will always wish I was five years old. And hope that I’ll dream some more about you. See you next summer.

FFC offspring

My life is just wasting away. But I don’t have anything else I want to do. I’m going to pass my exams. I’m going to have enough money to have an alright summer vacation. Maybe I’ll work, but only a little. I’ll pass my next exam. I’ll be real nervous about it but it will go alright. Then I will go on exchange to Europe, where I will have a hard, rough time, I will cry in the shower and not wanting to get out of bed, but I will do it and time will pass and it will be fine. The only problem with living is that time is so sharp. It never goes faster or slower. Movies and books and songs are just trying to manipulate time, but you know secretly that time is straighter than the sharpest knife edge in the world. And there are scientists trying to explain time, and saying things like “the faster you move, the slower time moves for you” and that if you look at the stars, you’ll see back in time, and all other sorts of things that are making me dizzy and I need to lie down and feel like I’m falling down to earth, not out into the universe. Everything will be alright. I say to myself, “what’s the worst thing that can happen? Someone I care about die, or I die.” if I die, then all my troubles are over. I won’t feel guilt or sadness because the people who care about me are now mourning and crying over me. Because I won’t exist. Killing yourself is only difficult until you’ve done it. But living is difficult all the time. Heck, everything is difficult. “But everything will be alright, as long as there is no war where you live, and you have a place to live and a fridge with food and electricity to keep the fridge running. You can read. You’re not blind or deaf or mute or disabled in any way. You’re the embodiment of success from birth. Only problem is maybe your crippling anxiety and your inability to explain that anxiety. But it gives you the creeps. And it makes you cry uncontrollably and inexplicably. And it gives you guilt, because why would you, the luckiest girl in the world, who has every reason to live, who is healthy and well educated and cultured and whatnot, why would this unlikely successful girl get sad and unhappy and scared? The world is yours. It’s in your hand. Yet, secretly every morning, you think to yourself: ‘The world is so heavy to drag. I hope I get hit by a bus today. And that my head gets disconnected from my body so I won’t feel too much pain.’ You’re a disgrace to humanity, but humanity is a disgrace in itself. The only thing disgracing humanity is itself thinking that parts of it is disgracing itself. You’re all just bullshitting the world, pretending a god will judge you one day, clinging to that tiny, weak belief that it’s important that you go to classes tomorrow because you need to do a thing. You don’t need that thing. Everything you are going to learn has already been invented by other humans. You’re not studying nature laws, you’re pretending to learn about humans as if you were not a human yourself. So who are you trying to kid? Just fake it on the exam, you’ll be fine. Fake it in front of your friends, they’ll be fine and you’ll be fine. Fake your whole life, because everything will be just fine." "Fine."  

I like beginnings. When you start on something new, you’re in clear water. Usually, beginnings have very clear instructions. You’re allowed to do mistakes because you’re not expected to know the rules thoroughly. New tings are exciting and fresh and unknown, the main thing that drives you is curiosity. I guess that is why I love to start new books. The first page is always the best one. Naturally, since it’s the first you read in a book, it has been perfected. Every next word follows the one before, as if in a dance. There’s a flow, a rhythm, that is dragging you in. It’s like being hungry, and tasting a piece of chocolate. Your dry and numb taste buds are waking up from their in-between-meals slumber. You taste the sweet, the salt, the fat, the dry, the wet. Your mouth loosens up, and for a second there, your sense of taste is overwhelming you, literally swallowing you whole. Your vision doesn’t blurr, you don’t go blind or deaf, but you forget all of that the moment you’ve layed the chocolate piece on your tongue. You just forget the other senses, simply. The next taste isn’t as lovely. It’s interesting, as well as the first taste, but it is not new, it is compared to the first one. It’s a follow-up. The first taste can also be the last, but the second cannot exist without the first. The second is usually a disappointment. The first one was so consuming and different, and all you feel is a thrill of experiencing something new, so the second one will always only be a resumé of disappointment of all the exciting things you felt with the first taste but which doesn’t exist in the second. It’s just a sad immitation, that’s all. The cocoa isn’t as present, and the sweet is more dull. Naturally, going from zero to hundred is impressive, but from hundred to hundred and one is nothing. The third bite is your last chance, a tiny hope that this one will confirm the magic you felt with the first, that it wasn’t just a small malfunction that occurred with the second. But you hold your stakes low, because deep in your soul, at the chore of your spine, you are very well aware of the truth. The harsh, breathtaking, earth shaking truth that the rest of the chocolate will never be as splendid as that first bite. Unless, of course, you wait another couple of hours, and your tongue is marinated in tasteless saliva. The rest of the chocolate plate, you eat with a mechanical gesture, the only thing that keeps you going is the desire of sugar and the memory of the recent explosion in your mouth which woke you up from the dead for a short time. I guess with books, it’s kind of different. The word flow doesn’t stop, just like a river won’t hold back for small periods of time, leaving the fishes in a constant anxious state, always hoping that this certain holdback won’t be the final. No, a book only stops until you shut it, or until you lose your concentration. But as all allegories, none of them are any good if you study them long enough. My first teacher told us that we could stop reading a book after the first fifty pages, and if it wasn’t good enough by then, it was okay to put it away and ignore it forever. I agree with her, but I have made some corrections. Instead of waiting and wasting fifty pages and fifty minutes of your life, you should only read the first twenty pages. By then, you’re far enough into the story to know the characters, their personalities, their fights against their existence, and if they will have a mental breakdown within the next fifty or the next two hundred pages. If you’ve come as far as fifty pages, you might as well finish the book, because at that time, you’ve gotten so involved with the characters that you just need to know what they are going to answer and what they are going to do. The responsibility you have to the characters and to the author, and to yourself, increases the further you come into the book. People always say that the great beauty of books is that you have the chance to live another person’s life in two hundred pages or so, but what they do not mention is that by living this temporary life, you also have to deal with all the horrors and fears and nerves to all the people existing in the book, in addition to your own struggles in real life. That is why, by page fifty, you already know all these things, and unless you continue reading, you will walk around with a constant wrinkle between your eyebrows, not because of a problem in your own reality, but because of all the unsolved fictional problems in the stories you accepted the responsibility of, but never solved. And of course, the only way of solving those problems is by finishing the books. This is why you should always only read the first ten to twenty pages of a book. In those pages, you have a drop of their life. As in a dream, you are thrown into a reality that doesn’t belong to you. You have no backstory, at least nothing more but a vague feeling of a personality and a history, as obscur as silhouettes against the horizon after the sun goes down. The only set of rules are the laws of existence, be or be not. Within those first «titalls» pages, you can by using your gut feelings, know if you’ll like the story or not. Whether or not you’ll learn something from it, depends entirely on your will to learn facts that may make your situation terribly uncomfortable. Besides, books are extremely overrated. We have an average of 30 000 different words in every dictionary, and still, several millions of books are produced every year, claiming to tell you something you didn’t know before and which you cannot know from any other book ever. Books are valued among snobs, because reading a book is investing your most precious valuta, your life, and you better invest it well since you can never know when you’ll be walking around with professors and intellectuals and royals and stars, and that’s when the litterature you’ve successfully or mistakenly wasted your time on will come in handy and sort out the gold from the corn. And then, when you lie on your death bed, with tubes down your nose and a nurse by your side and your family fifty thousand miles away, you’ll recite a poetic sentence written by a prehistoric author, and you’ll stare into the distant landscape with an expression meant to be thoughtful and reflecting, but which is mistaken as a confused and stressed mine, and the nurse pities you and nods while saying «Yes, indeed» before giving you an extra dose of morphine to ease your final contractions before your well-read mind turns itself off and you’re turned into fine ashes that are kept in a jar on a shelf for fifty years until your grandson has got no clue whether cremated remains are to be recycled or not, and then throws you in the trash can. So for the love of god, stop reading a book after ten pages if you already think it’s shit.

It’s that time of the month again. What I’m talking about is not bleeding softly and screechingly from my vagina yet, but it has certainly something to do with this. That three-day period before I start bleeding, when I cry so much I start looking up signs for depression on the internet. The crying can be triggered by anything. A picture of white interiors and green cacti. A song with lyrics I don’t understand but it feels like it’s about adolescence. I know that it will always pass, and that in one week or so I will wonder again what happened, and then I won’t think about it anymore until it starts again. It doesn’t worry me except when it happens. And I guess it shouldn’t worry me, since I know that this is a regular and natural thing and it happens to other girls as well, but I think the reason that I’m scared is because I no longer need outside stimulations to start crying: it’s enough to think about myself now, or my past, or my future. The things I did, but shouldn’t have done. The current situation where I can’t leave because I need to do my exam and I can’t drink myself to sleep because I am broke. The future, which I know that I secretly hate and despise with every fibre in my body. The careers I won’t have. Oh god, the things I could have done. Revolutionized fashion, made beautiful films, made magic with the piano keys. Painted the heaven and written about the true identity of the devil. But it’s like walking a tightrope, it doesn’t help looking down and facing your fears. I learn how to let it pass, like all things. I stop crying. I don’t tell anyone what think about in those seconds where I’m between two things, like standing up and sitting down. That god-awful moment when you stand on your feet, trying to sit down, but the winds of nihilism blows your mind right off into the sky and for a second you remember that nothing matters and the universe is too insane to be real and everything you are will be gone when you die. And yet, I always manage to sit down, eventually. So I stop crying. And I wait a week, the bleeding stop, I wait three weeks that are totally fine, and then the crying starts again. It makes you wonder whether your emotions are ever true, and you know they aren’t because emotions are nothing but electric signals and small molecules turning on and off all the cells which you are made of. You don’t have to worry, though. Two weeks later your hormones are “in balance” again but you see a picture of lavender fields in Provence, and you remember the 92 year old lady with dementia on the nursing home you worked at, talking of her honeymoon 70 years ago in the south of France, telling you about the wonderful purple flowers while you wipe her ass and stuff her intestines back up into her anus. And you start crying because of this pretty picture of the lavender fields, and it’s not because your hormones are altered.

I’m listening to your angry music and it’s really good. You look really weird and I bet you smell weird as well, but your music is really good. You’re there and I’m here and I’m spending my days by going to class and standing in the shower and drinking alcohol and skipping school. I wonder what you do when you wake up. When I wake up I sit on the toilet and stare at myself in the mirror and I drink one glass of milk and eat a cookie. I know milk is for babies and I only want to be your baby. Hey by the way, I heard about this thing called The Boat, where you torture a person by locking him inside two boats with only his head and his hands and feet sticking out. Then they pour milk and honey on his face and make him drink it, until flies and maggots and starvation have killed him. I think you would like that torture method, I wonder if you would think about this when you make your songs. You sing about your friends and being angry, and being in the desert. When I was nine, I dreamed I was in the desert. I’ve never even been in one in real life, but there I was, and I was walking to get to a city, but it was difficult because my shoes got sand in them. I had to stop after five steps and take off my shoes and empty them. Sometimes, I listen to your music and I forget the words, but other times I listen to both. I like that song where you write about going hiking, it reminds me of my dream. And I like that you end the song with a word that has nothing to do with the rest of the song. If I ever get the chance to meet you, I’ll ask if you want to come to this island I used to go on vacation to when I was nine years old. There are long lines of white houses there, and it’s warm, and you got these little water fountains outside of every house so you can wash the sand off your feet. There are probably cockroaches under the bathtub and herons in the water. We can go out to this swimming pool they have near by the water, it’s very pretty and neat, and next to it is a small area with green carpet which is supposed to look like grass. We can stand on the carpet and wear sun glasses and look at each other and at the pool and the wave breaker. I’m not sure what to do after that. Sometimes I get dizzy when I think about going to that island, because I think that if I ever go there, I won’t be able to return or go anywhere else. I won’t even be able to die, I’ll just be stuck in the same day or year until the earth gets burned to a crisp. Oh, and there’s another thing I’d ask you about, if I met you. Are there any problems?

I am what you would call “not exactly beautiful”. I am ugly, but that’s not so bad. There’s a whole lot of people who are ugly. And as long as you’re not hanging out with extremely pretty people, no one will care if you’re ugly because it isn’t something you decided to be. What bothers me, is that I’m fat. If I stop eating and become thin, I will still be ugly. But now, you see me and think “she’s ugly, and fat”, and you pity me and feel better than me because you are not fat at all, you are slender and athletic and you certainly give the impression that you don’t have to work very hard to look that way. I want to be thin, so you will stop pitying me, and start hating me instead. You’ll see me and think “she’s ugly, and thin” and your squishy electric grey brain decides to hate me. I’m not getting thin because I want to look hot, or look like the models, or look good in pictures. I want to be thin because you will assume that I am thin because of those reasons, and even though you will pity me because you think that I’m “weak”, you will also hate me, which is good, because that way I can hate you too. As I already do. I’ll just have a better reason to.


I can probably count all the times I have nosebled on one hand, but it’s still my favorite thing. All the times have happened after having felt for days that there’s a pressure building up inside my head, waiting to explode my skull and leave me dead. I rarely remember what I was so tense about, nor the circumstances before and after; all I can recall is that intense pressure and the blood dripping out of me. It’s hot and damp and wet, not very dramatic, no horror music or panic or distress at all. In fact, it feels soothing, and cooling. I have never been close to dying so I wouldn’t know for sure, but I believe it feels very close to that feeling when you realize you are going to die soon. Life is leaving your body, through your mind, and it’s dripping down your mouth and into a white ceramic sink. I’ve read that most people hate the taste of blood when you nosebleed. It’s pretty fascinating, though, that your blood is so full of iron that you can taste it, even from so little. But that taste sure does something to you. You get sort of sent into a more instinctive mode, you lose all cultural and civilised aspects, you’re all senses and eyes and taste and touch, waiting for it to be over. Nosebleed has many similarities to actions like washing the dishes, or going to work: you don’t think neither of the actions nor of other things. It’s a state of mind. You don’t become a robot, but it’s not far off. When the dinner is eaten and people have left the table, and you gather up the plates and the casseroles and start running the water and scrubbing the dishes, you don’t relish in that action. You’re just waiting for it to be over so you can go on doing whatever you think makes you feel alive. It’s the same thing with nosebleeding. It starts and you are both agitated and fascinated, something medical is happening to me, how exciting!, you don’t call an ambulance, you don’t call your mother, you just squeeze where the hard part of your nose ends and bend over the sink, leaving beautiful little red-orange drops of you.


I’m not doing what I ought to do. It looks like I take responsibility and maintain integrity while in fact, I could never be less responsible and I could do what I ought to do without losing integrity, instead, it would grow and blossom and become bulletproof. Instead, it is hiding in the dark corners in a forest, a necessary part of the picture but as immobile as grey stones in deep water. There is a notion, deep inside, clinging to my spine, moving rythmically and little and fast, and it either need to break loose or it will spread through my nerves, causing them to whither slow but steady, like a chronic disease. I should be out among people and breath and boil and bleed, and sweat, and work hard for the moment of  creation, because it is the only thing that destruction cannot touch. Instead, I rot and I sink and I stay with my parents because here is the alcohol cheap and the house is clean and this mold fits me perfectly.

The Sprawl

I went to the cottage with my parents but had to leave one day early because I couldn’t stop crying. We arrived wednesday night, the front door was jammed shut and my dad had to get some oil from the shack to open it. The grass in the little garden in the back was so tall and wet, mom said I could just pee in the garden, I didn’t have to go in the forest. Besides, leaves were crunching and paws were moving in the dark behind the rocks and trees. It had to be a hedgehog, the deer moved quieter and faster, and I couldn’t really think of any other large animals making that much sounds. I used my the flashlight on my mom’s telephone to look for the hedgehog, while she used my dad’s to help him see where he was putting the oil. I didn’t see the animal, but I stepped on a large, black snail just outside the toilet. The day after was great. The sun was shining and I was reading for my exam. My mom and dad were working in the garden, and I would have loved to help them, but I said I couldn’t because I had to read. I hadn’t even read half the assigned literature and it was only two weeks til my exam. The texts were interesting but the words were so slippery they went right in and right out again. I couldn’t tell you a single word of what I’d read, but if you asked me, I could tell you everything. The sun stood tall on the south sky and shot beams right at my left arm and neck, burning it even though I had put on some old sun screen I had found in a cupboard. After noon, my mom and dad started to talk about getting out in the boat. “Let’s make coffee?” she asked me and I nodded and in my mind I thought it sounded swell, really, and it was. The boat was full of water and mud but we washed it quickly and drove out. The temperature was soft and warm and the breeze was fresh, my dad brought two fishing rods and he and I threw out old metallic fishes and hauled them in again. We drove the boat north and got on a small island to drink the coffee and eat some old wheat buns my mom had digged up from the freezer. I got off the boat first and helped her out and she walked around a small cliff and sat down right next to a dead seagull. Neither she nor I saw the bird until my dad came as well and pointed it out at once. We giggled at it and drank the coffee from an old thermos in old cups, all from the sixties, when my mom was out with her parents drinking coffee from their new colorful minimalistic tableware. I fished some more and my mom sat facing the sun, staring at the sea, her legs straight forward in a narrow “V” and her back slightly crooked. She looked like a child when it is eating and losing its consiousness into the neverending intercepting waves, but it wasn’t this that made me cry. We went back and dad made us mojitos and we ate a good dinner and drank red wine and walked around the caravan site nearby. The sea had been full of moon jellyfishes at the day, but now it was filled with herring, and small pollocks would feast on them by herding the little fish into the rocks. The sea was literally boiling with jumping fish brimful of life, eating and getting eaten. Fishermen were quitting for the day, plastic bags full of mackarells chasing the smaller fish. The rocks and the seaweed by the shore were shining and glimmering with the millions of little fishes. The sea had only 15 degrees but the water felt summer warm when I put my hands down to catch them. The herring swam through my fingers and got stuck in my palms and panicked. I picked up some and held them between my hands, their little bodies clapping against my skin, their tiny anxious muscles against my large. The skin on my hands was filled with fish shells, like glitter. The fishes and the seagulls hunting them and their little chicks, the jellyfish and the flowers of late may, all exploding with life and fertility and productivity and the purple, vulgar naturality of death, neither this was the reason why I had to go home because I couldn’t stop crying. It was the visit we made next day, to my grandparents, my mother’s mother, feeble and nervous from a rotting body and bitter children and mental diseases, her stubborn and caring husband whose stoic and elitistic attitude towards life made him hated and admired and a superfan of The Soviet Union, which he visited so many times it’s a wonder he wasn’t suspected of being a spy. Two of my cousins came as well, two women on 27 and 25, the youngest sympathetic and well at hiding her bad sides, the oldest a doctor, married for five years, her doctor husband was also here to visit my grandparents. Both girls athletic, well educated, smart, societal, pretty to the top, parents divorced, their father denies all his family, thank god their youngest sister wasn’t coming as well. Every time I hear these cousins are coming, I share looks with my sisters and my mother and it’s true that silence can say more than words. We sat there from 1 in the afternoon until we sort of slipped out the door like old dish water going out the drain three hours later. My mom attempted to leave after two hours, but her mother cried that we couldn’t leave already. My grandfather said less than ten sentences, I said less than five, my dad said probably around twenty or thirty, which is unusual considering it’s him. He also brought his film camera and filmed a few minutes when my cousins took off their t-shirts in the heat and revealed their flat chests under white quality bikini tops. It got colder and colder and I sat in the shadow smiling and “uh-huh”ing and shivering and sending a couple of stern looks at my mom and she talked about the surgery she is having in a few days where 99 of 100 patients make it. My doctor cousin and her doctor husband discussing blood thinning medicines with my mom and her mom. My other cousin telling discretely and humorous that she and her boyfriend had broken up yesterday, for the fourth time in three years. When she asked my mom about my older sister’s love life, I got up and went inside but my grandfather was on the toilet so I stood and stared at nothing for two minutes before I went out again. I hugged my grandmother and smiled and got swept out the door, “Good bye, good bye, tell your mother I say hi, good bye”. I closed the door in one soft movement and imagined as many different ways possible to hurt and kill myself when I walked down the steps: a mixer in my guts, knives through my cheeks, a car at 10 miles per hour crushing my head and neck, throwing myself down from a scaffolding, pills, cutting wrists, getting diseases, voluntaring for charity somewhere in Africa and getting shot and bombed by rebels. One tear before we stopped at a grocery store, unregular breath as I waited for my mom and dad to finish shopping, sobbing four or five times when they went inside a garden store, slapping my cheeks and breathing into my hands so my eyes dried up. The sky had that dead whiteness from thin clouds, it was chill and I was still cold from sitting still for four hours in the shadow. I said to my mom “Maybe I should take the bus home tonight, I’ll probably get more reading done at home”. I said it to hurt her, an admission that I had been crushed and tortured by myself and the last five hours. Her face when she believed my words, my punishment for her life, my punishment for my life. One last night at the cottage before she comes home and gets a surgery where one in a hundred dies. She said she understood my panic, the angst before an exam, feeling you won’t be able to read everything, to be well prepared. I didn’t cry until I got on the bus. “Send me a message when you’re home safely.” We both said it. I sat almost at the back of the bus, I put on my sun glasses and sniffed up my snot, and tears rolled and rolled and rolled. Who could I tell, I thought, who can I tell the secret it is, that I had to go home from what could be the last night at the cottage with my mom, because I couldn’t stop crying? Who could I tell that I sat on a bus and cried for five hours? It was all so neat yet untidy, sprawled over my life, blending with past and present and future, like old ghost going through walls because in their times, there were no walls there. I got home and felt like I had a fever. I changed my bed sheets and tried to fall asleep, my little sister came home drunk and made a lot of noise, she opened my bedroom door and I pretended to be asleep, I didn’t even open my eyes. My mom and dad are coming home today, they will be in later than they thought so we won’t be eating dinner together, not tonight either. It wasn’t my period, and I wasn’t tired, and I wasn’t anxious for my exam. Even if I could tell someone that I had to leave a holiday because I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t explain why. It was the visit, but I couldn’t ever have avoided it. It was my cousins but I couldn’t avoid them either. And it was my weeping grandmother and my sick mother and my difficult father, but I wouldn’t avoid them. And the day after I am reading less than I would have if I stayed at the cottage and cried in front of my mom and dad.