In the strobe light, her movements are just as broken as her. The way she swings her too narrow hips from side to side; the way she glides her shoulders one way, then the other; the way she holds her hands up to her head, pretending to stroke a strand of hair out of her face… they are all still photos – without movement. All pictures of a Now that looks like it is past.
Me, I feel relieved thinking that all those slices in between are lost, all those black chunks of time cut out. And that’s just another way of saying, I’m glad that no one can see how I can’t dance. Because I just shuffle from one photo to the next, trying to look as though in the darkness in between I’m not a complete fuck-wit of a dancer. While she, as broken as she is, is smooth as whole milk moonlight, not the shitty skim variety. This broken girl in broken clothes with broken nail polish and broken dreams. Broken even further by the strobe light… And I collect broken things.
And I wonder whether I will strangle her tonight. Wrap a string or rope or scarf around her porcelain neck and take her breath.
Now, really, it’s not what you think.
We met online.
Then still, it’s not what you think.
It was on one of those websites where people discuss which pills to take, in what dose and how to get them. Which artery to cut and how. How to best fasten the rope on your ceiling. And my favourite yet, which are the nicest forests (in a location near you!) to gas yourself to death in your little Smart Convertible – with a lovely view. Because you do want to get something out of the whole experience, don’t you? Best thing: They wish each other success like it’s a fucking maths test.
Madgirrrl14 here – the one dancing in the strobe light – was looking for someone to strangle her. Pretty modest, really. No demands on the material; piano wire, thick rope – either is fine. Where? Wherever the fuck you want.
If you are irritated by the ’14’ – She’s legal. Don’t worry about that. Either way, she was looking for some, say, end-of-life assistance, so I kind of volunteered.
Online dating fun fact: Girls are most afraid that the guy could be a serial killer. Guys are most afraid that the girl could be fat. This one expects the serial killer.
Me, I’m not a serial killer. Don’t get me wrong.
Here’s the thing. Did you ever enjoy a story about the holocaust? A movie about a personal tragedy in a natural catastrophe? A documentary about the people on 9/11? Domestic violence, cancer, addiction. Bloody underwear, broken glass and ashes. I need brokenness. We all do. That’s what makes us feel okay. It gives us perspective on our god-awful lives, singing a lullaby that says, ‘Hey, it’s not all that bad, is it?’ It makes those rough edges of ours seem quite smooth.
That’s the acceptable truth. The ugly truth is that it is entertaining. We are fascinated by catastrophes. We enjoy them, really. Come on, admit it, didn’t you ever wish that that influenza would hit? That the power plant would have a meltdown? Just to see? To have something to watch. You are the psychopath, not I. You are the one who enjoys. I’m just catering to your needs. I just write.
I don’t really mean to strangle Madgirrrl14 – I think her real name is Alex or Amber or Ashley, something dumb like that. I just need someone to make sense. Someone to give me something to write. Someone to tell me who I am. I need her to arrange letters on a golden thread, too fragile to strangle her. I need this broken thing to make something whole and substantial. But for now, I just enjoy how the beat beats up my lungs.
© Deva Mari