The Air Here Is Warm
Frank Ocean - Super Rick Kids
I lay in my bed under a close eye. My parents, for some reason, find it in themselves to be afraid to leave me alone. For some reason, no matter how alone I want to be, they don’t want to leave me alone and back off. It is completely stupid and in some alternate universe, I am being left alone. I am so jealous of the other me because she can sit for days all alone. She is able to have no one care about them for days at a time. I play with a small toy monkey Ben'd thrown at me when he found out I was on his roof. I don’t know why, but he hates when I’m anywhere near his things. I don’t know whether it’s that he doesn’t trust me or maybe he just doesn’t want me to be around. He acts strange whenever I sit in his room and he starts to exaggerate things to the extreme when he doesn’t actually have to. All he has to do is sit and shut the fuck up. I wouldn’t mind that.
I imagine me sitting in his room sometimes but, when I have this image slowly playing in my mind his room is spotless. I sit down and centered on the ground with my legs crossed and my hands rest on them and forever, we will sit staring at each other. We mutually enjoy the silence and no one says anything or does anything and it’s just the most perfect time to sit and stare at each other. In the end, small particles of dirty bury me and the room starts to rumble and growl at me then finally he stands and screams and I slip through the floor to not be in his room anymore.
A knock on my door echoes and I don't care too much about answering. I just keep pulling at the monkey’s fur. The knock repeats and I repeat ignoring it. It could have been my father, or my mother. If I am lucky it’s Ben, to come and get this foul monkey out of my hands and scream at me some more. My door opens and a very lean woman walks in. Her hair is long and blond. She looks around at my messy dim room and sits on the chair at the side of my bed. I look from her back to the monkey. She looks like I should feel desperately bad for her. I hated people like that because they made me want to feel sad for them. They make me want to cry endlessly alongside the. They make me want to hand over all of my “happy” and let them keep it until the day that they die. And that’s why I want her out of my room, because she is making me feel terrible. I won’t make eye contact with her either. I’ll just keep staring at the monkey and make it stare at me.
"I'm Jule." she tells me. I don't care though. She still doesn’t matter to me. I "I'm a close friend of your mother. I'll be your therapist for a couple of days." I still ignore her. "Do you want to tell me what's going on?" I clear my throat trying the fill the silence in my life. "I don't think your parents are giving you this as an option." she says softly. "I'll just be here longer if you don't respond." I sigh and I look up to my ceiling away from the monkey. Her voice makes me want to scream. It’s very soft and it has this hum in it that seem to be like a high pitched shriek.
"What is life?" I ask her. She scribbles that down into her notepad and looks back to me. I can’t think of anything else to say, or ask, or do. I just couldn’t think I hate this place. I absolutely hate where I am right now. It makes me erupt into angry that I can’t quite control.
"What do you mean?"
"It's like a cluster fuck of events. Everyone has a different life." I roll onto my side with the monkey to see her. She looks tired and taps on the note pad that sits on her lap. She was anticipating the minute I would open my mouth so instead of immediately opening my mouth I scoff and I yawn this phony yawn. My fingers slide from the bear to the bed. "My events include me waking up and going to school and if she's feeling up to it, Melony Hanson will have a couple of rounds with me. I come back home and I lay in bed and I lie there making up my own perfect world. I think of the things my family could be doing because they aren’t a whole. They just float away from each other and luckily for an hour a day we have dinner, but, that’s only if we’re lucky. The razor does its handy work. I then do my homework which is composed of bull shit I'll never even use because my cluster fuck of events never leads me anywhere." I groan. It feels strange to have a ping of excitement whenever you’re sixteen and you have no clue of what you’re going to be. You have to know. Everyone knows that you have to know what you want to be. In my bull shit life, there is nothing I want to be.
"Your parents told me you have been hanging out with your older brother, how is that?" I chaff looking into her eyes after the question leaves her face. That there is something I’ve never actually thought of. I just let it pass by in my life. I just let it disappear into seams of a timeline. Hanging out with them is absolutely okay. I don’t hate it but I don’t love it.
"They do drugs all day. They listen to music, fuck and do drugs." I utter. I bite my lip and I challenge the question that starts to leave my mouth… Is that a bad thing? I don’t know whether she’ll talk to my parents about this or just ignore the issue and just worry about me and tell my parents about me. I clinch down and I grow afraid. My stomach drops for an endless fall. I feel nauseas. What will they do if they find out that he does drugs, if they don’t already know that is? Will they send him away? “I mean, sometimes they do drugs and stuff like that… but not really. Maybe- maybe just that once.” I stammer biting down on my lip.
"Do you enjoy hanging out with them?"
"There's always that one person in the group that you can't find time to listen to or pay attention to and maybe they'll just disappear. That's me. I guess I could say I enjoy the company but, I'm ignored for fractions of the whole reunion."
"Do you have any crushes?" I roll my eyes and scoff. Who is there to like, Adam? I think that maybe he is the only guy I even know outside of my shitty family. He is actually the image of a perfect guy but, I’m not going to let my mind wrap itself around that idea because that’s just ridiculous… Adam and I… date? That is like shoving an onion into the center of a cake. It never actually works and I’m pretty sure he even knows this.
"Of course I don't like anyone." I cry making her rotate her foot. Is that a twitch or did she only feel like doing that. Am I agitating her?
"Why don’t you have any crushes?" she ask. Skepticism rings in her voice and it makes me a tad bit frantic. Was her thought of me: wanna be sad? What exactly is she thinking? I know she can’t be thinking too much about me.
"Because I don't need to like someone to survive." she pauses. "'Oh Jule, did you see that new kid? His shoes are so nice and his hair is so cool and his face is so cute and his body is so buff.'" she pauses her shaking foot and I only pick at the monkey more. "I don't even think they care anymore."
"Who are they?"
"You sit here and branch off on all of this bull shit that means nothing when not too long ago I told you that Melony Hanson beats the shit out of me every day." I cry. I put the monkey down and I nearly scream. I am slowly getting anxious. My mind tumbles over random things. What is her mind doing?
"Who is Melony Hanson?" I feel like some how everyone should know Melony Hanson because she is just that damn special.
"Melony Hanson is a senior and she use to watch her brother and I at the park when we were little. He brother and I stopped being friends. Her parents split up and he moved with his dad. Maybe you should be talking to her. She's the crazy one." I tell her. "Anyways, it doesn't matter what we talk about because I don't have a problem. I just enjoy being me. It's nice." I peel over everything I hate about myself and right about now anything would be great other than actually being me. Why who else would I be?
"Who are they?"
"You said you don't even think they care anymore." They don’t even matter right now. What matters at this point is me.
"They are the cool kids, the ones that make you invisible and they start the 'purple phase' and it's all so stupid. That's when people start to notice me. When the cool kids hop onto my band wagon and I'm like the conductor of this contraption. Not everyone has to like the conductor, actually if you tell them they're doing something wrong they start to revolt against you." I tell her. "I walked in on Melony while she was cutting and I told her she needed to stop and she rebelled against me."
"What did you tell her?"
"She didn't know what sad was. Sad is a feeling. She can't feel sad."
"That's interesting." No, that is correct. That is the reason why I am here now because it’s no longer a privilege I have. I can’t be sad anymore. They strip me of my rights and now I’m stuck trying not to feel sad because once I’m not sad anymore no one will care about what I do.
"I don't want you to feel like I'm giving in. It makes me feel like I actually need help but sometimes I go without talking and my body gets anxious."
"What did you do when you were little?" and once again, one of those questions that have nothing to do with me but I like that she asks that. I love the years previous to this one, the good ole days.
"I read books and listened to music. I liked writing poems."
"I use to play with the stars."
"How do you do that?"
"Ben got a microscope when he was 8 and he use to call me to the roof to look at the stars with him but, he would leave me to go play with his friends. I would talk to them because he told me that they were my friends." I jeer. "One day I fell off of the roof and broke my arm. I couldn't play at the park alone so Ben would always come with me and Melony had this weird crush on him." I sneer. "I told him and she pushed me into a tree breaking my arm again."
"Does that bother you?"
"No, I laughed as soon as I felt it crack."
"When did you start cutting?"
"Two years ago."
"I was eating lunch and a new kid sat next to me and I usually sat alone. He asked me if I was sad I told him no. He asked me why I wasn't and suggested I should be because I sat alone. I told him to leave me alone." I lay in my bed remembering his black hair. "He told me that he was sad and showed me his arm and I thought it was beautiful. I started on my left arm but he disappeared and I was told he'd gotten in trouble so I stopped doing it on that arm."
"Do you miss him?"
"When he first showed me, he touched my arm and my skin tingled a bit." I tell her. "His name was Tj and once I scratched a t into my leg." And I find myself ignoring her question as she pulls further forward on her seat.
"So you do?"
"He showed me a couple of new things and insight and helped me think deeper."I look to her. "I liked him a lot."
"Did you ever tell him?"
"No, he use to come over and write poems with me and he would pick and poke at my thoughts like you're doing."
"What else did you guys do together."
"We use to sit under his black light and paint over each other with dark light paint. We would write things we hated."
"If you guys were so close why don’t you talk to him?"
"Because he committed suicide… and he totally got away with it.”
"He didn't want to live anymore." I bite my lip. "Usually, you don't want to live and the last step is your body not wanting to live."
"Do you want to live?"
"Why wouldn’t I? The air here is warm and the people are easy." she scribbles that down. The people here are a load of easy. It’s the kind of easy that’s just hated to you for free. I can see how they all feel. I can see how my mother feels when she doesn’t notice I’m around and I can see the way Ben feels when I am around. But, Tj was hard and I could never actually see his feelings I just knew them because he told me. "He was the most complex person I've ever met in my life. He'd left me this poem, his journal and a tape." I laugh. "'Metaphorically speaking, we are all dependent clauses and it drives most crazy. With you, I'm independent and you are too.'" she writes more down. "That was on the last page of his journal."
"That's really sweet. Don't you miss him?"
"No, because he left me here with all of these easy people and he didn't even ask me if I would be okay with it. Have you ever thought about why whenever someone commits suicide the first thing for people to ask is 'why?'"
"What are you getting at?" I groan and I sit mirroring her.
"The world of the dead is the most complicated place in the world because everyone wants to try to figure out why these people don't want to live anymore and millions of other questions and I like the easy way out." I look to her. She likes the easy way too. She wears a skirt and a sweater and peaking out of the sweater was a cotton shirt. She has these ugly brown and purple socks and flats. She pulls things from her closet blindly. Her makeup is worn out and her hair tied back. She looks like me, like she'd been lying in bed all day. Maybe she’d partied last night. She doesn’t look like she has children. My mother is bothering her by asking her for this favor. She yawns and I smile. I lie back down pulling my covers over me closing my eyes as she watches me. I fall asleep as she sits there.