There are things I’ll never learn. How ideas come, like Star Wars or Star Trek or Indiana, world changing ones which make the writing of fiction harder. How to change style so that it’s not a stunted jump to uncomfortable collars, elastic and patent white, but an enjoyable slitted fit, a confident maker. What E equals. Who Snooki is. What it takes to fill you.
And I don’t see yet, but we are not the story I think we are. I’m the penultimate, necessary, gift receipted, and my own undoing. I’m that girl before Juliet.
I will stop caring and you won’t know it. You’ll be oblivious like you were to Sarah Chalke joining Roseanne, or Russell Brand leaving radio, just the one station specifically.
And the days sweep so that some sight lines are totally obscured and you forget what genuineness is, that genuineness is a word, not mistake, and every attribute you sought to high-school-lose, and acclimatise until you were someone else entirely, the man in the office that girl-gets, you accentuate until you’re the stereotyped version of yourself and you don’t know how you got there: think Zach Braff, after the indie film which should’ve cemented personality but somehow didn’t.
But there’s still time to rewrite your own version and not buckle to other people’s storylines for you: I think Zach’s on stage now. I watch you sink into carpet like it’s coffee and you’re Demerara and you almost integrate entirely, and the carpet is office gray.
Who will be left when you go? Who will I watch when you’re gone?
I wake up with the guilt I was programmed with at five, stapled to at six, and I can’t always pinpoint the reason. I think, last night, I dreamed of you undressing, and I wondered how you exposed yourself easily in front of audiences. I unlocked each navel and scar.
Maybe you’ll kiss onscreen more. You won’t let people cheat. You’ll have a fixed identity from day one, instead of a slow spill, steady evolve, re-written, re-dressed Kelly Kapoor one, which is not a criticism. Just I would’ve seen that potential sooner, and would’ve addressed it.
You could be the new Deschanel. You might meet Jennifer Aniston.
I couldn’t give a shit who you are to each other. I like lines like, “You had me at hello,” and, “Of course I love you, dummy,” but this is not a situation for any or all best lines you might come up with in life. Save them. If you’ve seen Titanic you’ll know dialogue’s wasted breath, sometimes. Convenient revelations like, “I loved you all along, Erin,” don’t stack up when you’ve spent seasons toying with ideas of not being, or being together.
“You’ve been sharpening nails on me like I’m a scratching post and I’m the idea of us and your nails are thrashing out if we’d be a perfect couple like your parents who hate each other and you. Your logic is screwed,” is what you should say. Instead you run down the street, get strangers to wind down windows so you proclaim what we knew you felt but struggled to care that you did.
Meanwhile, Catherine Tate’s in the office warming your seat, killing time until the next job hits, the one that finally breaks her in to the new life, and this stint is just a joyride, but don’t comment – you’re a part of your own catastrophe.
Jack says there’s not a day for what he does, what he is, but there might be someday and he hopes he lives up to the title, and the title him. But not everything’s a perfect fit, and in some shops the labels don’t correspond to the nationally recognised measurements at all. And sometimes you can know too much but praying doesn’t undo anything and wishes are fallacies spawned by books then movies and positive action can be carried out with zero good intentions and I used to like Angelina Jolie, I think, once.
In the first few weeks we’re hands behind backs, using playground games to direct the other to where we want them. But kiss chase was corrupt in that Max could run faster than me and got me 5 days a week through primary school. So we pick subtler games like Guess Who? or that one where you tell someone when they’re getting hot (Clue: if you were hotter you’d be a cooker or a George Foreman grill).
Jack asks if I watch The Office and I ask what else he likes and tell him I gave up TV for Lent one year, except school gave us Sundays off, said we could do what we want, presumably because we’d be confessing that day anyway, so may as well take the opportunity to sin.
“I always gave up sweets,” Jack says. “I like challenges and I like punishment,” and I ask if he knows the Stations of the Cross and he says, “Break times for me were meditations on badly drawn pictures, on graphic stained-glass windows and wooden objects. That’s when I learnt you should never let yourself get too settled, or happy, because love’s a sliding abacus-scale and those that feel their pain deeply get rewarded later,” where I’ve always thought a man would save me, and I can’t blame Renée Zellweger for that.
Sometimes, you don’t know, but what you’ve done is actually akin to a crime, and it’s not your fault really because the internet blurred boundaries first when, as a teenager, you could have cybersex with a stranger in any number of chat rooms, and it was never just you but you and Heather or Becky and Kim, and that pre-cursored LOL and was even before grooming came to light with any sort of consequence, before our parents got to grips with the true potential of the net and the inevitable danger of it, and after this there were hours spent on MySpace profiles trying to map people’s bodies based on sets of pictures they’d selected for upload that didn’t altogether create a true picture, but generally a quite attractive one, and you’d swap details, emails, end up on Messenger until two in the morning making innuendos about working out together with no real intention of meeting, and Facebook’s just as fake, in that every post’s a choice on behalf of its owner, so now you’re adding mutual friends and ones you’ve never met, because you’re sure that in the sets of friends of your 300, the 351 on your profile, your person must be out there, that the internet’s increased your chances of meeting that person, and it’s also filled you with all sorts of paranoia, and you’re less sure what etiquette is than you were in those first encounters in Tara’s bedroom, and then in Tim’s, and every gesture, message, poke, post, ill-advised add, is a step in the wrong direction, unless you always intended to border on stalker-like, over familiar, a step away from a police call, one warning towards the official meaning of the word harassment because all it takes is three.