Have you ever watched something burn? How the heat glows the length of a cigarette, turning paper to ash. Dancing off, carried on wind to someone elses jacket. Tweed hanging on the sad shoulders of an older woman. It pirouettes down to the filter in odd paths and leaves minor destruction in it’s wake. It travels until snuffed out. Controlled fires, manageable, observable. Watching closely or from afar.
They’re a lot like life when you stop to think about it. fire in general..
Because one time I watched this house on the news go up in flames. Two explosions. Blowing out windows and garage doors. Just smoke and red and black and heat. All flames and swift movements. And no one lifted a finger to put it out, not a fiber of their being making an effort to extinguish the mess..
When I was nineteen I made profiles on dating websites. I was lonely, but the thought of actually meeting people made me sick with anxiety. I stayed inside and changed my pictures. I sent sarcastic replies to creeps, smart and offensive. I was not on the internet for love. I was on the internet to feel better about myself.
“you are a beauty, I’d like to take you out.”
“thanks, i’ll take you out, dont be silly. I have an altima but you’re not big, I think the fiberglass hood could take your weight at forty.”
I’m a sweetheart.
I had just shed fifty high school depression pounds and still felt like ten tons at the bottom of the black sea. Salty and alone. There was only ever me. Me and my horrible insults. Me and wit that no one appreciated. Me.
The internet is strange. You can literally talk to anyone, from anywhere, about anything and there are zero repercussions. That’s why cyber bullying has become such a thing. Because anyone and everyone is tough with a keyboard. So confident, even the most awkward people become poetic and deliberate. Out to get what they want, out for blood. These people dont kill flies, they dont hurt things because they can..
I dont hurt anything intentionally, but give me a keyboard. I’ll turn your confidence to swiss on rye. I will shoot holes through you with the sharpest words. And like anyone else on the internet, I do it because I can. And because it’s fun. The internet is a playground for broken people. Full force narcissistic nihilism at it’s finest. The internet is an engine for depravity. It is beautiful and disgusting and people love to hate it. To blame it. this is who you are.
There was Chris, he lived somewhere in my city and we would meet up occasionally. it was exciting because I was still a teenage girl and feelings and bullshit. I didn’t like him, I didn’t even find him attractive. The only redeeming quality was that. Well. He wasn’t the worst person in the world and he always wanted to hangout late, like some mediocre looking creature of the night.
He dressed like anyone into actual hardcore was dressing in late 2009 and above the age of 17. So, basketball shorts, a hoodie, and a twenty four seven scowl. We smoked weed in my car in parking lots. We didn’t laugh. Not really. Maybe I did but I couldn’t remember anything funny he had said if I tried. We just smoked and I sat and i wondered where in fuck I thought this would go.
I stopped talking to him. I miss his best friend sometimes, but that’s all. I dont miss anything about him and most days I dont remember much either. Just the stale smell of smoke. We never once even brushed hands, I couldn’t remember looking in his eyes. Nothing committed to memory.
There was a female just two towns over. She reminded me of Amanda Palmer and heat. I wanted to fall for her. I wanted to be sad with her forever. at least the first week i was speaking to her that’s what I thought I had craved.
I didn’t know jack shit about her. I just knew her bangs made me want to crawl between the sheets with her pale skin and she wanted to shower me in gifts. She was full of the kind of pain that makes you outwardly kind to anyone that tells you you’re beautiful.
That’s why nothing ever happened between us. Regardless of how much I enjoyed the thought of her creamy skin melting into my own, she still had feelings. I didn’t want to hurt her.
We never even hung out. I told her I would never be what she would need to make her happy. I was searching for the same thing. We couldn’t both be the piece of shit. One of us had to be the martyr for the cause and I was selfish.
I will never be a martyr. I am not hardwired that way.
Eventually though. Eventually it all came to a head and I got swallowed by overwhelming waves. I couldn’t meet an interesting person if I tried. The extent of the internet is so vast, so wide, like a fucking ocean or night time sky and it literally had zero wonder to offer me.
so I shut it down. Not the internet, my insides. I shut it all down, all my fucking bullshit emotions and desires. I deleted the profiles. Every fake friend. And then the computer. I shut it all off. I snuffed out my inner cigarette. I put an end to the smoke and I had watched it all burn.
And I was left filled with soot and a handful of burnt homes in my wake.