I was with Brett for approximately 370 days, 5 hours and 8 seconds.
He was my carpinomen, and in our society our carpinomen are supposed to supposed to be with us forever. Till death do us part.
He loved me. He trusted me. He was faithful to me.
Together we were better. The world was in sync and made sense. The kind of sense I find when I turn to numbers –with their strategically balanced conventions and nonsensical demolition. Apart, the balance in the world faltered and the skies drew dark thundering clouds across themselves like anoraks, causing reality to glitch and my mind to gasp for air. Apart we were nothing. I was nothing.
When he grasped my arm within his large thick knuckled fingers during class and said in that ludicrous tone of voice he had, that we were going to the beach we went. When he told me that we were going to go to the road that my dad died on, for grieving purposes supposedly, we went. Looking back now I can see the venom in his eyes and his lips nonchalantly curling into that wicked grin he had whenever we reached that road, the one he had never intended for me to see. The one where his sadistic character could be glinted at through his translucent skin; his veins, his bones, his muscles, everything, all engrained with his sardonic mind set. The venom had seeped so far into his cells that like a tree his façade was the only living part of him. The inside –dead.
He was unchanging like the sun in the sky, bright and overpowering, dictating over the desert. No matter how much I wished he would wake up one day and change realising how much he truly cared about me, he didn’t. He simply carried on hurting me, draining me of all life. He was trying to make my insides die. Just like his had done.
We used to lie down on the beach together, our toes pressing down on into the yellowing sand and our fingernails clawing at the grains indifferently. Realising that like this beach with all the millions of grains of sand that were gathered here –we were just a small part of a massive whole. A whole we couldn’t understand. Brett didn’t like it; he used to look up to the sky and demand control and dictatorship. He wanted to control fate. He didn’t like how the stars so obliviously twinkled down on him.
Me? I’d created my own paradox. I detested the systematic system that derives the way we live and love thanks to Brett but I’m still analytical –I still adore order. It doesn’t make any kind of sense.
Brett let out a bunch of swear words whilst glaring up at the darkening sky. We’d skipped school and the day was slowly coming to an end. “Why the hell are we here?”
My teeth gnawed at the edge of my tongue and I let my external intercostal muscles relax forcing CO2 out of my lungs. He was going off on one again. “Because you took us here.” You took us everywhere.
“I ’ate it here.”
I stared on up at the stars that were beginning to poke out of the sky. It looked so peaceful up there.
“Me, you, we’re gunna to get out of hell hole someday. We’re going to go far, far, far away from here.”
I didn’t reply.
“What you thinking?”
“You can’t be thinkin’ nothing!”
“I was thinking about…” My eyebrows knitted together, “about… the stars.”
“That’s original.” He grunted, rolling onto his side and pulling out a cigarette from his pocket. He clamped his incisors around its sheath.
I swallowed, “I was thinking about how steadfast they are. They just don’t move –they’re fixed in place, they're dependable. No matter where you go, they're still there stuck up in the sky as if fastened onto the abyss by blue tack.” I pointed up at a cluster of them shaped like a pitch fork in the now threateningly sky, “It’s us that move, all the time –the world rotating, the world swirling around the sun every 365 days and 366 after every 4 for a leap year.”
“You don’t want to go.” He read into my words.
“No.” I drew back my arm, “I didn’t say that.” I turned my head to look at his- the contours of his muscles in the starlight throwing themselves into disarray, knotting themselves up into a frenzy. “All I said was the stars don’t move. Nothing else.”
He grunted in reply and drew out a lighter. The light from the moon caught on its metal skin before he flicked it open, the flame illuminating his face once again. His stubble, the dark circles under his eyes, his frown, all blatantly screaming ‘warning self disrupt mode’ at me. I should have made a run for it. I didn’t.
“Ffffssnn..." He spluttered, "...Nice try. I’m your soul mate, your ani-viclum, capiman whatsit called. I can see into your mind. We’re apart of a whole. You can’t lie to me.”
“I didn’t lie. Technically we’re already on the move. I was only pointing out the facts.”
He was quiet for a moment. A deep unsettling silence. The stars continued flickering and my insides rumbled. Brett had taken me out of school before we’d even got to lunch.
I heard scuffling. He scrabbled to sit up, clawing at the sand restlessly to get a grip and lever himself up. It took him a while but he eventually managed it. After taking a long drag on his smoke he tossed it on the floor and stood up, not even bothering to stamp it out. He started to walk away, the cig left to smoulder on the now charred grains of sand. They glittered, the temperature causing them to start the transition into glass.
Like his heart had done. Cold hard translucent glass.
“Brett! W-wait!” I scrabbled upwards grabbing the small moth eaten blanket we’d been lying on. “Brett! Don’t, don’t do anything stupid!”
When I reached him I gently placed a hand on the small of his back, causing him to wurl around and throw his elbow out so it collided with my jaw.
The pain ripped through the ligaments and connective tissue on my mandible. I felt myself falling backwards, the blanket dropping out of my hands, my mind plunging in darkness.
“Stupid!” He was leaning over me by now. His breath ingesting into my lungs as he breathed it into my nostrils, the smell tinged with carbonizing smoke. “Yeah that’s right J, call me stupid go on! You know you wanna.” He nudged my jaw with his steel capped toe. I let out a wail, forcing my face into the sand, inhaling grains that clogged up my throat and sent my body convulsing.
“That’s what you’re trying to do right? Make me feel stupid, with all yur fancy, proxy scientific phrases and darn right annoying snotty attitude!” He pulled on my ear lob fiercely. “Oooh! Look at me! Look at me!” He mimicked, “I know about stars and biology and how the world works!” He rammed his toe into my rib bone, “I'm going to be a doctor! I-I know about essay writing and numbers! I’m analytical Brett! I’m flipping analytical!” He jammed his other toe into my kneecap. I heard a faint crack.
“You know what J? People don’t give a damn. People just don’t give a damn. All they want to know is whether you’ve got their damned name on your wrist. If you don’t then they don’t give a damn.”
When I glanced up at him he wasn’t even looking at me. He’d just beaten me into a pulp and all the time he’d been staring up at the stars declaring the contrived social system that we live in bogus. Declaring our love bogus.
He screamed and shouted at the stars all the way back to the car, leaving me to fester alone on the beach whilst he brought the car around to come fetch me as it was quite far away.
Whilst he was gone, I wriggled onto my back, flinching as my muscles ached from his viscous attack. Today had been one of the worst ones. I pulled the blanket over my torso shivering but I soon found that it barely reached my feet so I threw it off. I closed my eyes, sheltering my subconscious from the notion of being discarded, being an outcast. Instead I pondered on the concept of humanity. Of how we like to nestle down in our beds, pull the duvets to our chin and peer with inquisitive but non evasive eyes at what we can glance through the cracks in the mirage that surrounds us. We’re all puppets. We're all instruments of our own downfalls. Brett too. Deep down us humans -we’re scared.
I tried to remove his signature from my wrist the very next day.