Yes, No, Yadda, Etc.

Samantha brought Charles back to her apartment through seduction. A kind cold and calculated, with the lure of no strings, and it sold. He was made to expect one final fuck, a farewell. A no hard feelings, good luck with future endeavors sort of thing. That, and she offered to return the few dozen records he had gifted the girl over the years.

Upon his arrival, Charles noticed the changes in his ex after the months unspoken. She has lost a dozen pounds, seemed proudly content and level-headed, and had shaved her lush brown hair to stubble. The hair was the big shocker, but she's the kind of girl that can pull anything off. Her new appearance mimicked that of her soul at its lowest heart rate, at its most pure. Her eyebrows had lost width, too, as they were recently tweezed.

They shared wine and spoke well but reserved. It was congenial yet objective, and more clinical than a doctor visit. Her deceit was planned and uncanny. Upon inviting Charles to the bedroom, Samantha immediately took control of their intimacy. She undressed them both, and stayed on top of Charles, eyes open and glaring down at him in an almost predatory fashion. After the fuck finished, she got up and returned with two refilled wine glasses. Getting in bed, she clicked on to Discovery, a channel she hated but Charlie loved.

They drank the wine. For a good few moments it almost felt like old times. They were both sane and in bed doing nothing important as it had been when they were in love. Eventually, Samantha guided a sluggish and slurring Charles up and into the patio area in only his boxer briefs. The patio was past the kitchen, right behind of the house.

"I want you to tell me what you think of what I've done," she said.

Charles entered the patio. "Where's the light?" He asked as a door slammed behind him and locked. At this point he was too tipsy and indifferent to realize what happened. "Okay, got it." He spun in a circle noticing the patio room with its boarded up windows and exit door. "Looks the same to me," he shouted, "Just empty and no more band posters." He grabbed at the door to the patio's entrance to return to the living room, but it wasn't budging. At the center of the door was a diamond-shaped window missing its glass. Charles was drunk and perplexed.

Samantha slowly stepped toward the opening in the door and used it as a speak hole, whispering, "I've locked you in."

"What?" replied Charlie, continuing to struggle with the door's knob. "Open. Open up you stupid cunt! I only came here for the records."

Samantha peeked her head near the opening, "It's so hard to have an open and honest dialogue with you. This may seem insane, but you've driven me to it. You're in no position to be vulgar." Charles could hear the creaks in her steps as she left to the fridge and tinkered in the medicine cabinets. She threw bottled water and a couple of aspirin through the hole. "You should be sobering up."


Charles stood with his back to the crimson door dividing the two. Their voices were only slightly distorted by their separation, adding a distinct sort of echo and power to their words. "I have nothing to say to you on a personal level. Holding me hostage won't solve anything."

"You've held me hostage. You're manipulative and controlling and just because you can articulate yourself better at times doesn't make that alright. And it certainly doesn't mean I can't be just as crafty when I put my mind to it. Take this for example. This is all your doing."

The man noted how a voice he thought angelic could quickly take on a demonic tone given a quick change in context. He leaned his back against the red door. "This is a horrible thing to do to someone in this state of mind. I'm not saying anything to you regarding us."

"That's your choice. You don't have to, just like I don't have to open this door."

"You're fucking crazy."

"No. You merely perceive me that way. What I really am-whatever I'm doing-is entirely a response to your behavior. I'm doing something entirely rational for how you've treated me. If you're really thinking I'm a fucking nut now, you know what you are for driving me to this extreme. You're worse."

Charles was silent.

Samantha continued, "You're just pathetic. Everything about you is a scheme. You're just like you say your father is. You think seven steps ahead just so can predict people ahead of time. Guess what, that's not human. Then you say awful things, but your self-pity and self-hate is your excuse. It's not an excuse. You're an asshole and you know it, so you should change, but you won't. You're too hard-headed and hard-wired in your ways to ever be reached."

Charles stayed silent.

"Am I getting through to you?"

"...You've said it all before in variations."

"Shut the fuck up," She sternly responded. "You've got a glib response for any situation, no matter how unrelated."

Charles paused a moment, before adding, "Most situations aren't that complicated, at their core. Everything relates."

"You're so well-versed in this bullshit philosophy of yours. I know what your friends don't, that your hard shell is bullshit; camouflage."

"Yes, I've heard this," Charles insisted. "Yeah, 'Everything I believe is a gray area,' then you say I use this to be vague and hide weakness, etcetera, etcetera."

"It's the truth. The truth you can't confess. Locking you up isn't a desperate measure. I don't want to be with you, be in bed with you, or be near you. That fuck was as meaningless as you wanted it to be. I just want to hear it from you, about me, and about your flaws-the big ones. Not the petty ones where you say you procrastinate or something simple."

Charles said not a word.

Samantha continued to stand near the door Charles was locked behind. "You're so difficult, only because you want to be. It's pathetic. You're a grown man. I pity the girl you run into next."

Charles didn't speak.

"You're difficult just for the fuck of it." Samantha was letting it all out while Charles stayed locked up and forced to listen. "I don't care about you just as you don't care about me. But you hide, and you run away from problems, and you avoid any potential hostility with mad skill yet you pepper on the passive aggression like mad. ...Say something."

Charles took a sip of his water.

"Only you can't run now. You've shit your own bed. After so many years you leave without word. Yes what happened is fucked, but it almost pales now in comparison to how fucked you're being. You selfishly just want to avoid all hurt at all costs, but if you took the time to look closer or empathize at all for once, you'd see I'm hurting and it would hurt you more." Samantha was finding her rhythm. "It would hurt you more to avoid me than to simply spill it. And here I am trying to humanize myself because you have the ability to shut yourself off like a machine when you sense things are getting too hot. I'm a real person, though I'm not treated as one. I wake and shit and shower and shave my legs and curl iron my hair, and occasionally, I think of you. And it's always something good, and it's always something bad. I still don't talk to my Mom. I'm still in love with my dog. I still play your records even if I don't like them. I still hate kids. I'm still upset over what happened."

Charles said nothing.

Samantha brought her lips closer to the opening. "I don't want anything from you. I don't want you in my house. I certainly don't want you as my caged pet. All I desire is your honesty in response to mine. To say what you think and feel about me after what we've been through. Which may not be much, but if my life and well-being aren't significant to you at this point, you're an incredible liar. After everything, you could at least invest your thoughts so I can better myself as a person. I want that from you, not your avoidant personality. After years together I'd expect that courtesy, but the only way to get something out of you is under the pretext of fucking. I've needed to get this off my chest but all you do is ignore me. Now you have to hear my words. Give me your drunken honesty now that you're locked up and can't throw anything. You've driven me near insane. You waste of fucking flesh. You can't do anything well outside of cumming and being shy and ignoring things and playing the part of a broken man. My only solace is knowing you're worse. My madness can't begin to match yours. But today you've met your match. I'm lowered to your level and you're not getting out until you explain yourself." Samantha leaned against the door and slid down to a sitting position.

Charles was silent a good while, and sitting now, too. "It's so many things... it's..." Charles struggled to articulate, "a bit of everything. Even as friends, before us, I adored you and admitted it. Or maybe that's what I said I felt. I don't know what I am, like most people. I am a liar, though not on the surface." Charles leaned his head on the door. "I am... a liar to myself, with my delusions-white lies I've told myself to make my life easier, to make me more approachable, to make me seem more human. I've repeated them so often I don't doubt that they're true even now. In my mind I have a great deal of confidence, in reality I'm not sure it's a good deal. Like the way I act fearless during confrontation so I have no weakness to exploit. It's easier to not do this face-to-face, by the way, I'm not sure if that was your intention. ...Perhaps I'm oppressive, certainly I'm conniving. I would've notice how fucked it had gotten had I not fell for it myself. This is the stuff you want to hear, right?" Charles paused. "But I've a temper as well. When I grabbed you and pushed you, I know it hurt me more than you. You have no idea. I'm not pulling some self-pity trick either. I know it's no consolation but I'm not trying to console you. I hate you the way you hate me. Its funny you mention my gray areas so often when I only see things in black and white. I'm one extreme or the other. Anyone not a friend is an enemy. But it makes sense in a way: action and reaction, yes and no, yadda, etcetera."

"I walked out. I left you. I left you in the dark. I changed my number. You'd still catch up to me. You always confused me. The way I am with extremes, you are with moods. They know only hot and cold. And all these confusing things factor in, until I'm lost and the cost of sanity is to shut myself off. I am not good or bad, not that I want to be in the gray area, but neither side has sold me yet. So I walk the line and it's a great weight in trying to decide between the two. It's simplistic and maybe wrong, but we're either all unconditionally compassionate or we're all cannibalistic. ...I rarely articulate myself this well, it must be the wine. I don't know which of those I believe humans are, but as it stands, I love you and hate you. Regardless of that, my gut tells me I want nothing to do with you. Another part of me says something different, I'm sure, but I've shut it down, so it's irrelevant."

"I only really tell you the good things I feel about you, so I guess you want the bad. You're shallow and neglectful and ...indifferent, but not always. You have some naive belief that all your friends are well-meaning. You're just as conniving. You don't lie on paper but use truth at your own convenience. You know, you won't lie but you'll carefully work around things that will make you look bad. How am I supposed to react to your words like, 'I kinda like when men ignore me'? On one hand I thought less of you, on the other I understand. By the end of weighing all these things I don't know how to be a man or if I am one. That's just one example. But somewhere a line must be drawn, right? Even in gray areas lines are drawn to separate the grays from the grayer grays. Eventually the garbage was going to snowball to a point where something happened. Yes and no, yes and no, yes and no... I don't know. I'm trying to keep my train of thought." Charles was quiet a moment.

"You're equally psychotic. Don't try to weigh it. What am I supposed to say, everything at its utmost extreme? Are you like me in that way, black and white? Was I supposed to mention the weight you gained, or how I don't like when your ironed hair curls up after sex or a shower and gets all messy? Should I have mentioned your shy awkwardness and referenced your disdain for my friends? These are small things, like symptoms or something, not the real illness. And I know what this is about: our attachment and how you still want to be friendly. You've got a wide-eyed goodness and want to be friends with everyone. I can't not draw a line, because... life without lines is chaos. I can't be all-accepting and not have views like that. Having no views is a view. You approached me in your flirtatious way, then decided you didn't want to-drawing your line. Yet I drew my line around a different version of you. We cancel each other out."

Samantha said nothing.

"You're right on the money with most of my flaws. I ignored you for so long and it was dreadful, and I am worse than you, no doubt. Sadder still I resent you for not doing more, knowing full well you cared a bit and I didn't care at all. You're sly enough to fuck without love. While I'm primal and angry and close, and all these things you don't seek. And I really do resent you, for the games you've played. Sure, I like being difficult, in the way you like drama. You give attention only when ignored or berated. You'd rather a man treat you like shit than be bored. It's difficult to understand. I don't know who I am or what to be."

"You fucked up and fled the crime scene."

"I do what my intelligence and confusion and ignorance dictate." Charles paused, "Why insist on continuing this?"

"The need to know."

"Nothing can be known."

"Yet somehow you know that."

Samantha unlocked the door.

Her eyes began to moisten. She added, "You continue with the same self-pity. You're worse than me no doubt? Please, stop. I appreciate your ability to finally be honest, or more honest than usual. I've cried for you. More often then not it's not about hurt, but loss, stupid longing. It wasn't your hurt so much as it was the arrogance in your words, willing to discard everything that came before them. It was your inability to just 'get it.' It's the good in you that made me sad." Samantha left to sit down at her table.

Charlie got up and opened the red door. He sat at the table next to Samantha. They were not facing each other. He sat silent a great while. "I'm forever in limbo. I don't know what I want. My meanness brought about yours. I made you frown, but felt I deserved a chance for every time I made you smile. I left because I always fuck everything up and don't know why, and don't want to be a part of that mess. That's why I haven't been with anyone. I don't want to believe cruelty is the currency of the world, but it's the side I've seen. And anyone without a bit of sadism in their blood doesn't have a pulse."

"I don't agree with you," she said.

"I don't know what I mean. I don't know what's right. Maybe you were right to say you think life's a good thing. I don't believe all the good between us could just fly off in thin air. But nothing's perfect."

"Everything's perfect." She stood up, Charles soon followed. They faced each other in a corner of the cozy kitchen. "And you said life is a bad thing. It's neither. It's probably indifferent. Maybe you're right and we're all sadistic. I can be cruel and far from perfect, but that predator/prey stuff is mostly an excuse to be bad. And what isn't perfect? If we can think it and talk about it, we can change it. It's all just so strange."

The couple embraced.

They both wept a timid amount but neither party could see. Samantha said silently, "I don't want to hear from you ever again."

Charles kissed the side of her face. He pulled back to look at her, "I know. I understand."

"I know. That's why I hate you," said she with a smile.

Dedicated to that nameless person you perceive a certain person to be.

1 comment:

  1. wow this does not read like fiction. If it is, bravo sir. If not, you are a brave man for airing your dirty laundry under a pseudonym. Keep up the good work.

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