“Oh. My. God.”
“Here she comes.”
“It’s the suck.”
“It’s the suck.”
“Suck of the world.”
She could never quite recall or understand when this name was fastened to her, but now it was so stuck that to rip it off her would be fishhook-like, tearing her flesh and infecting her in ways she couldn’t imagine.
There was another name, Maggots, but that was supposed to be an affectionate name, a pet name, the kind of nickname all the kids had at school, now pull yourself together girl, don’t you understand that all the kids are treated this way and all the kids have to learn how to take a little teasing so they can make it through the school day?
But “all” the kids aren’t razzed at the school dance because nobody’s dancing with them and all they can do is stand around gawky as if they weigh about 3 thousand pounds. “Whatsamatter honey, having a slow night?”
I don’t know, I try to be normal I guess, but (the guidance counsellor wrinkles up his brow in that “I don’t know what you’re talking about” way she will never see the end of, not even when she’s 50 years old and trying to communicate with a psychiatrist).
Don’t you make an effort to enter into the normal activities of the school day?
What about your social life?
“Suck of the world.”)
She has thought about the end of the world lots of times, especially while getting stoned with her brother or trying to keep a guy’s hands off her at one of her older sister’s drunken parties. Some married guy. Her sister phones her up and says hey. You’re wondering why you exist again? I guess you can come over. It’s as if she’s doing her a big favour by inviting her to an adult party. So she decides to come over.
Come over and watch people 15 years older than her get soused, whoop, fuck, and throw up. A guy named Chivas keeps topping up her glass and calls it a Chivas Special. Or is Chivas the name of the drink? She can’t tell, she’s dizzy and spinning around and puking and falling down. Her older sister is taking good care of her and her parents are not at all concerned, nothing bad can happen to her. Right. It’s still better than standing there at the dance by herself or finding notes stuck in her locker, CUNT. We. Do. Not. Want. You.
Some day there will be a name for this activity; they will call it “bullying”. For now, they call it “school”. For now, they call it “hung over and puking in the toilet and telling Mum I have the flu and being sent to school anyway and getting rocks thrown at me by the Catholic kids”.
Yeah, I meant to tell you that it’s
Oh okay, so it isn’t happening then. So I’m not getting those cold stares from my “friends” and those puzzled, puckered looks from teachers when I show up in class crying: “Do you have a cold today?” Yes, a cold that feels like the end of the world.
And it’s lower, lower, lower when she is sent to a psychiatrist and begins to chat him up, flirt with him, make him laugh in that
Old World way that shrinks always laugh, the
stupid fuckers. He looks like Sigmund Fucking Freud with that beard. She hates them, hates every one of them, and lies about what
happens. That’s what they want to hear.
“Suck of the world.”
A long, long, long time later, after she has finally beaten the alcoholism her sister generously bequeathed her in her teens, she will hear news reports about girls who killed themselves, girls who were only 15 years old, slender and pretty, girls who seemed to have absolutely everything she would have died for in Grade 10, but they died anyway, hung themselves, hung themselves because someone abused them, but it’s doubtful that anyone threw rocks at them or stuck notes in their locker.
No, this time it will appear on a screen, and absolutely everyone in the world will be able to see it.
Human meanness leaks out in all sorts of ways. Pieces of paper stuck to the inside of a locker with tape: “cunt”. Black magic marker on the inside of a biology text book: “stinking twat”. She will get in trouble for defacing a book and have to pay for it. You can’t rip out pages like that, it’s destructive!
You can’t rip out brain cells, blackened memories of a hell she barely scraped through. You can’t do anything but live around it, the carcinoma of social persecution. What was it about her that caused them to brutalize her so relentlessly? Why can’t she die? Is there another sort of life she can find beyond all this hate?
Living around it is like slinking around the outside of a shadow that is permanently sewn to your body. Don’t fool yourself, everyone can see, even though nobody has the nerve to say it now. You are here because of OUR generosity and you should be GRATEFUL we spared you, that we tolerated your presence! We gave you every chance to be social at those parties, and what did you do?
Old World psychiatrist looks at her over his
glasses. “Vhat you heff,” he pronounces, “is yoooth paranoia.”
“Paranoia? Isn’t that imagining you’re – "
“Yes, imagining! But zere is goot news. You vill outgrrrrow it.”
“Glad to hear it. Just one question?”