All pics @ Johnny’s Bird
It’s my last day in London so Mavi offers to buy me lunch. Sitting anxiously on a sunny patio outside Café Alto, I reluctantly shove forkfuls of salad between my quivering lips, the leaves salted by my tears. To our right a homeless woman begs aggressively for change. “Spare a few coins?” she spits, stumbling toward us.
“I’m sorry Darling, I really would, but I’m only carrying cards,” says Mavi, not lifting here eyes from her Blackberry. Furious, the woman plunges her dirt-caked fingers deep into the bowl in front of me, tosses a handful of wet leaves into my face and storms off. Vinaigrette dressing merges with the teardrop rivers streaming down my cheeks, trickles down my neck and seeps into the crease between my tits. Mavi screams obscenities in Italian.
We leave before finishing our food, partly because I’m now sobbing and partly because the eBay auction for the one-off Justin Bieber T-shirt that Mavi is currently bidding on ends in twenty minutes, and it’s really important that she doesn’t lose. The waitress offers us a pitied smile and says our meals are on the house.
On the plane to New York I swallow a Valium and dream that I’m deep under the ocean, swimming like a fish, fast and eager, until suddenly I fall off what seems to be the edge of the earth. I wake up violently. I spend the remainder of the flight turning the dream over and over on the tip of my brain, trying to find some profound meaning in each and every one of its tiny details, but fail completely. I’m sad I think, I can’t tell anymore.
My mother picks me up from JFK and tells me that my skirt is too short and that I probably need a haircut and that she loves me. On the car ride home I pop a Morphine pill that this boy called Huw gave me last night as a leaving present, knowing full well that taking it means I will vomit violently for the first five hours of tomorrow.
By the time we arrive home my body feels like jelly so I lie face down on the kitchen floor and go limp; for some reason at this moment this behavior feels both appropriate and necessary. “Is this a new hobby of yours?” asks my mother sarcastically as she steps over my lifeless body. My brother Rob walks up behind me. My eyes are closed but I know it’s him because I can hear the scuff of his Converse against the wooden floor. He never was good at picking up his feet.
Rob curls up his frail, still boyish body next to mine, breathes deeps and runs the tips of his fingers slowly down my spine. “Feels good, right?” he says. “I’ve stopped biting my nails, finally. It was really hard. But now I’ll be extra good at tickle-rubbing.”
“Cool,” I say, slowly lifting my eyelids. He’s grown a mustache. I guess that means he’s a man.
There’s a long silence, and then: “Is this… are you… bleh. Wait, fuck…” he stutters, then smacks himself in the forehead, as if to kick start his brain.
“How stoned are you?” I say, my face reflected in his dilated pupils. He closes his eyes carefully, trying to gauge his wastedness. “Not very,” he concludes, then adds, “I’m really happy that you’re home, you know. “Nothing good has happened to me in a long time. Why is it that good things happen to bad people?”
“Are you referencing something in particular?” I ask.
“Not really. It’s just that… Sometimes, I think I wish I believed in God.”
“No, actually,” he says, pawing at his face sleepily. “I don’t even know why I said that.” And as I lie here, half conscious, he keeps talking, speaking in his weird, oblique way that’s at once worrying and comforting. And as he spits words at me, one by one hitting my face I think, What you say means everything and nothing, don’t stop.