A Fool’s Heart on the Half Shell (A Quartet Excerpt)

May 19, 2016:

Fuck this. Fuck it all to hell! Thunder screamed through the window like a fuming stalker, beating the glass, and smashing into the bedroom. In the dark a figure lie slumped over on the bed, dry heaving through mucus-infused sobs. Bantam tide pools dotted the sheets; tears the size of dead cetaceans. In the moonlight, the tree’s shadow moved like an arthritic witch twiddling her crooked fingers. Atop the desk, a cult of fruit flies had gathered for communion over a glass of stale wine. The room, littered with clothes and shitty poems, stank of marijuana and whiskey sweat. Every now and then, lightning illuminated the room, revealing for a moment the figure on the bed.

There’s not much to say about a girl with a broken heart. Nothing, at least, that hasn’t been said before. Without warning, nights like this barge in with scissors and hooks to tear through the fabric of one’s reality. Anna didn’t eat at all that day; just smoke and drank like some sad cliché, holed up in isolation in the dark of her bedroom, trying to cry the pit from her stomach.

Beneath a willow of curls hid cheeks painted with Jackson Pollack’s eyeliner. Her blue eyes bloody and wet. Her mouth had contorted into crow pose. Lightning continued to flash. Nothing made sense anymore. Had she convinced herself of an invisible thread that wasn’t really there? Sure, humans construct elaborate systems of meaning to cope with suffering. But it persists anyways. Meaning is like a sand castle at high tide. It stands no chance against the inevitabilities of the three dimensional world, where everything that lives dies just the same.

No meaning was to be found this night. Marlowe was off in the flatlands of some shallow mountain town, across continents, dreaming of God knows what. The stars were showing a completely different side of themselves to her, gashes of golden ruby hues, the soft pink lips of the milky way, glittered with heaven’s light; on Anna’s end of the imaginary rope, nothing but clouds. Clouds like dusty shoji screens. Clouds like antique nightgowns. Clouds like rabbit hides flayed and threaded. Clouds with secrets. Clouds with tempers. Clouds that cared little for Ptolemaic astronomy or Vedic astrology. Clouds that scoffed at mystery, spat at philosophy, and snored through whole readings of Genesis. These were the kind of raincoat clouds that showered in the dark while Velvet Underground played on vinyl. No wait, that was the girl. She seems to have exhumed herself from the bed.

Don’t worry; she’s going to make it through this. She’s going to shake it off. She’s got to. Her plane is set to leave in a week. And, whether she knows it or not, she’s got a meeting with a queer old Shaman.


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