Friday, 21 December 2012

I don't really want to know what's good for me

"We're all going to die anyway, what's the point?" she said, hair sprawling over my notebooks, cigarette burning between her skinny spider-fingers. "Work, school, family ... can't believe those things still exist"

I hated her cold, controlled way of laughing at things that are supposed to matter. Her strange life of living with no parents in her messy apartment was fucked up to say the least. An apartment she barely sleeps in, for that matter. I used to ask her why, and it was always a shiny story lined with glitter that started with her getting high for free and ended in that empty apartment. Of course, she would always be too drunk or high at the end of the night to realize she was all alone on her bare mattress. She would just fall into a heavy sleep, numb beyond control, wake up sober, get ready as quick as she could, and rush out of there as if she didn't want to realize that there was no food on the table, or someone to greet her good morning. I knew that as much as she joked about family not mattering, it hurt her inside.

"I don't understand why you won't let yourself be happy,"

She simply sighed, as if I was not worth the breath she could be using to inhale her cigarettes, and smiled. A pitiful, condescending smile that made me feel like a five-year old who had just been scolded.  She pulled out her extra cigarette from behind her ear and lit it on the edge of the one she was already smoking.

She turned over onto her stomach, faced me dead-on. "God and I just don't get along," she whispered, staring at me with those vicious brown bear eyes. They were old, and experienced, and welcoming death. So out of place on her young face and so obviously witnesses to something I had never seen.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

He was gone.

After years of chaos, the storm finally left along with him. But even the stillness was corrupted.
He didn't have a place here anymore, so I scratched him out of my life, like tabletop graffiti when you didn't do your best. There was a problem, though: His leftovers. The memorabilia that sloshed through our three years and spilled over the brim of our breakup like contaminated water. I couldn't take seeing them. It was like he labelled his name all over my life- especially my bedroom.

I ripped the notes and photos and letters from my walls, the clothes from my hangers, and the bears from my bed, leaving a spray of thumbtacks, clawed closets and lonely pillows that still managed to salt my wounds.

I grabbed his remnants and stuffed them in a shoebox- also from him, collaged in polaroids and pink crepe paper. I laid them to rest in their cardboard coffin and buried it in the farthest, darkest corner under my bed, away from sight and mind.

I thought that I would be okay, but they haunted me still.

4AM nightmares of nostalgia: Our ghost scratching my bed frame. A skinny finger tapping the back of my head as I try to sleep, calling for me to take one last look at the life I was attempting to erase from my memory. Your hand on my knee, your kiss on my neck, your laugh in my air. It was like a corpse under my floorboards- rotting and stinking, and so evidently there. I squeezed my eyes close, tighter than the grip you said I had on you, and evaded the thoughts like I was running through reckless cars on a highway.

But it was impossible. Sooner or later, I knew I was going to get hit.

Friday, 2 November 2012


He was silent, both hands on the wheel, staring straight ahead into the orange glow of the city streets. I held onto my elbows, kept my head straight, but couldn't stop my peripherals from watching him. Silence, a game of second-guessing and over-thinking.

I could smell his cologne faintly under the thin blanket of cigarette smoke embedded in his shirt. A simple silver watch gleamed on his wrist, ticking louder than the vicious rain outside. I wondered where we were going, if he had something planned or if he just likes driving at night. We were getting farther from the city, and I wished I hadn't agreed when he asked me if I felt like heading out tonight. I was perfectly happy in my bed with a book, when he mentioned a "drive" I expected conversation and maybe some scenery. Not a silent escape to God-knows-where.

I felt nervous, like we were going to rob a store and throw the money out on the highway, or get sickly drunk and sling the bottles into Church windows. I pictured us, casually walking into a convenience store and asking the cashier to give us everything he's got. Intimidating, but sexy. The cashier wouldn't take me seriously at first, but he would pull out the gun and lay it casually on the counter. The cashier would probably get a little angry, but we'd keep our faces straight, maybe a little smirk here or there, and ask one last time before we shoot one of the liquor bottles on the back shelf- that would teach him.

I snapped out of my daydream. Was I the only one noticing the thick silence? I wanted to slice into it and set free all the conversations we could be having. Why was I nervous? How was he doing this to me? I hated his cool composure and his stupid jawline, and I hated my mind for wandering and thinking of stupid robbery daydreams.

Finally, the car slowed down. The bright lights of a convenience store portruded the darkness like blood from a fresh cut. He stopped the car and looked over at me.

"Lets go."

Someone else's idea of perfect.

I knew a long time ago that I wanted to be a writer. Well, I thought I did. I know how easy it is to change what you want to be in the future- one minute you want to be a doctor, but then you realize it's too difficult so you decide you want to work in business instead, but business has no soul so you decide to be a teacher, but it doesn't pay well so ... the list goes on. I can recall around six professions I felt so certain of when I growing up- a doctor, a forensic investigator, an archaeologist (I blame Lara Croft and the Discovery Channel), a restaurant owner, a writer, and now, I want to work in Marketing, Advertising, or Media production. The ideas still aren't certain, but they're much more realistic and aligned to my goals now, at least?

As uncertain as I am with my future profession, I know by now that it will never be stuck in stone. As long as I enjoy what I'm doing, I'll be fine. However, there's this small voice at the back of my head and  I can't help but feel guilty as I ignore it. "What about writing?" it asks.

Writing, for a long time, felt like my first love. I would dedicate so much time to this blog, I would use notebooks, even. But as I grew older and got busier with college and life, all the time I usually spent sharpening my sword (or pen, in this case- haha lame) was was dissolved. Now, I'm not even sure if I'm good at it. I can't commit to an idea long enough to write an actual story, nor can I just leave my blog blank.

I read a lot of blogs, usually among the lifestyle genre, and they're always so good. I think to myself, "Wow, she's witty!" or "I really like how she writes," and then my little dusty blog pops into my head and I just feel crappy, knowing that I haven't been writing in it as often as I want to. I want to be able to write blogs like them. I want to be able to talk about a life lesson in such a profound, insightful way, so I can blow all my readers minds and make them come back for more. I'm going to start practicing, that's for sure, but right now, I just can't do that. I can't write about the lesson life just taught me, but I do think I'm skilled at something else- I can write about feelings. I can write about the little moments in the heart, and I can dedicate three hundred words to those moments. Hey, three-hundred is a short blog post, but those are a lot of words for one little confusing feeling.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I don't really have anything to say about this photo, but for some reason I feel so drawn towards it. This is me, in my messy apartment because my classmates and I were doing a project for a class. Well, I was watching a documentary as they worked on the project. My laptop is broken there, but I've already bought a new one. My room has clothes and books sprawled across the floor, and my shelf is so cluttered. My hair isn't as long anymore, but I trust it will grow quickly. There's nothing particularly interesting about this photograph, but I'll just leave it here for you to see.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Seeing, but never feeling.

Here I am, once again. Another late night, sitting on the edge of my bed after a long day of work. Clothes, shoes, books and papers scattered across the bedroom floor but they're just sacraments of reality to me. They're anchors, just like the rest of my home. The grey couch, the grey carpet, the grey walls- anchors that constantly wake my daydreams of Macaroons, white dresses, and bicycles in Paris. They steal me away from New York, city skylines and beautiful people, and force me into a routine so depressing I could slit my throat right here on this bed. Who is the culprit? The fantasy or the reality? Who is to blame for my yearning?

I blame the books. The black-and-white lined pages that composed majority of my childhood. They're the ones that educated me, that told me about places far away from this one, where even boring old meadows held the sweetest of surprises, and a boat in the sea meant only one thing: adventure. Books, they are the ones that ruined me. They brought my mind so far away but kept my body spotless and thirsting to be transformed, to follow the imagination into wondrous worlds of lives I'd never live.

What good is seeing the unknown but never feeling it? 

Those pages, they're dangerous. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Maybe tomorrow I'll find my way home

Do I stay? Do I leave? Where do I go? What about all these faces I'll probably never see again? Is this a phase? I don't know. I've been itching to get up and leave, fulfill my gypsy needs and just leave it all behind me. Find a new life. I know it's not that easy, but oh, how I wish it was. The people around me are no longer the people they used to be. They're nothing but anchors, dedicated to pulling me down and making the struggle even harder. What are they good for, what are you good for? We used to laugh, we used to play, now all we do is argue and all I do is find you annoying. I don't see myself being here much longer. Why continue drinking the poison? For hope that it turns into wine, I suppose. And that everything will go back to normal and I will be happy with the faces I know too well and the small city with no adventure.
I long for dirty windows of metal buses, chattering along dusty roads. Strange places, strange faces, nomads wrinkled with the wear of travel. I long for different cities every week, different people to dance with, different dogs to touch. I wish I could pack my entire life into a suitcase and just bid this one goodbye.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Lit up roads

I stand out on the balcony and watch the cars, twenty-seven stories below me. Our number. It's hard to tell how fast they're going from way up here. They all look like little fireflies inching to get to their Evangelines. So many cars in the world and so many significant stories for each. Your car is our place, our little bubble. Our private sphere where we say hello along with a quick kiss on the lips, where we fill each other in on what we missed and the funny stories of the day.  Your car, that has brought us on beach trips and parties and dinners. Where our friends sit in the back and we all feel like a happy family, driving through fast food joints and dropping fries on the floor. Where you still hold my hand if I'm sad, and put your arm around me if I'm crying, even if it's a manual. Where we scream out the window on the highway because our mothers make our veins bloat and college doesn't seem to give us a break. Where we laugh until our stomachs hurt, and sing along to the songs on the radio in falsetto. Where conversations only end when the road does. Where we have our most bittersweet goodbyes because you know you'll have to go home alone at the end of the day, and only our little tradition makes it somewhat easier. We've shared more interesting places but I'd much rather be at the in between of where we were and where we have yet to go. Who knew we would spend thirty-three months driving around in that car?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Impaired Vision

A deep inhale, the smoke filling my browning lungs and my nerves plateauing into a steady numb. A slow, practiced exhale of a stream of city smog, my contribution to our already grey skies. The after taste of bitter medication, my daily fix of cigarettes to clear my mind and block out my anger. Sometimes one stick a day, sometimes twelve in an hour. It depends.

A nervous bite of the lip along with a churning of the gut. Little goosebumps along my arms and an irritating strand of hair tickling my chin like a misplaced feather. Yellowed teeth tap dancing in my mouth- freezing from the cold. Feet hanging off the edge, butt hard from the concrete, eyes gazing out into the horizon of pollution.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

For something that may never come. It's my every-evening routine to come out here onto this bridge and watch the traffic ease over the ledges, looking for answers in the never-ending trail of lights and echoes of blowing horns.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Be a Good Baby, Do What I Want.

Red nail polish, chipped into little squares on her dirty nails. It's kind of disgusting, really, but charming in a way. It's so .. her. Careless, fragmented, lived. She wraps her lips around the pipe and inhales into a choking cough, tears creep onto the edges of her lashes and she gasps for air. I take a long sip of wine, I'm almost done with the bottle. My words are slurred and emotions are heavy as I watch her hold onto the glass pipe like she's five and doesn't want to get lost in a crowd of strangers. Her hair falls over her face but she doesn't bother to move it, her eyes are glazed but she's still with me. I know her, and she isn't anywhere near where she wants to be.

She complains that she isn't hit enough, but still holds onto the pipe, "don't you have anything better?"
Her teeth are the shade of white only money can create. I wonder if her parents know she's here with me, or if she's even crossed their minds today. Her family's pretty fucked up. I never ask, but she sometimes slips a hint or two in our conversations, especially when it comes to her mom's anti-depressants. Oh well, they're rich, and money is a great distraction from a fucked up reality.
I like to think of myself as her escape, even though I know it's the drugs, really. At least she chooses to share her little heaven with me. She always comes to me when she wants something fun, she tells me that I'm the only one who understands her, even though I don't even know her last name.

We walk over to the swimming pool, as we always do when the cocaine comes out to play. Our feet dipped into the sapphire water, I watch her lower her key into the powder and then into her nostrils, the obnoxious snort that follows and the clearing of her throat. I've never tried cocaine because it scares the shit out of me, but I always give it to her. I give her whatever she wants and never ask for anything in return, no matter how hard it is to get some of the things she wants.

I kind of like her more when she's drugged up compared to when she isn't. She still doesn't say much, but she looks at me with that knowing. I don't want to over-think, maybe it's nothing. But it gets to me every time. More than what she wears, more than how she fucking makes me feel, it's that stare she gives me that lingers. It's like no other love I've ever had before, no fights about what time we're supposed to meet up, what we're supposed to be saying, how we're supposed to fucking live. Basically, no bullshit. Hell, I don't even know. It's just some kind of easy-going bond we have. We don't want drama, we don't want complications, we just want to drink wine, sit in silence, and share a sapphire-blue pool.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Call your girlfriend

I wish I didn't have to do this, I wish I could rewind the clocks, go back to six months ago, before it all started, or maybe two years, before I even met Katie. Is that horrible? Am I horrible for wishing I could erase these two years with her? Or at least that I kept us as just friends? 

Please, anyone, ring the doorbell, knock on the door, call her cell phone and tell her it's an emergency. She continues fixing her makeup, talking about dinner plans for tomorrow night, oblivious to what I'm planning to tell her in a few minutes, once I get my script straight, once I actually know what to say as soon as she starts crying and hitting me. Do I let her, or do I grab her wrists? I don't know.

How did I get myself into this? Why did I let myself dive into a relationship I wasn't ready for, instead of wait for someone to come around like she did? Her, with shiny hair that always smells like coconut and exotic places I've never been, eyes that hold just enough mystery to make every meeting feel like the first, and that ... that something extra I can't place, her smile? The way she walks? I don't know. It's everywhere I look. In the spices in my kitchen, the neighbour's music that leaks between the cracks in the walls, even the flock of balloons the street clown hands out to children. "The conversation between your fingers and someone else’s skin, this is the most important discussion you can ever have," she said. Poetry in everything she says. Poetry when we talk into the night, lying side by side in her soft, ginger-scented sheets. Opening my eyes, telling that this is real, that she is the one, and that she understands that sometimes we are with the wrong people and it's hard because they wouldn't understand, but it is never our fault that fate has played us cruelly.

"It's time you tell her," she says, after six months, two weekend trips, eight slow dances, thirteen nights , twenty-four dinners, and possibly one thousand kisses in her doorway, in my car, in the dark. I know I should tell her, I look up to her brown eyes- They know me.

I continue to pretend that I'm reading, Katie doesn't notice that I haven't turned the page in the last ten minutes; she hasn't noticed much about me in a long time. I haven't noticed much about her, either. I wonder if she's seeing someone else, too. Katie, the sweet girl I met one day at the grocery, I should've known then that she'd be a safe choice among the potatoes and cartons of milk. Perhaps I did know, I was just hungry for someone to keep me warm at night and remind me that I'm handsome the way she did. Katie and her sweaters, her everyday-omelets, her scrunched-up-nose laugh. She really did make me happy, but now it's come down to a choice. I can't keep doing this to her, she doesn't deserve this.

"Tell her it's not her fault,"
"Tell her she'll understand one day,"

Katie deserves more than that, she deserves a good man who will never, ever cheat on her. She deserves someone who will gladly watch movies with her on a Friday night in pajamas every week of the rest of her life. She deserves someone who doesn't understand concerts, contemporary art and Pablo Neruda, so they can be happy in their art-less world together. She deserves someone who wants to visit the cats at the pet store with her, 'so they don't get lonely' she always says. Maybe I shouldn't tell her. She seems happy enough not knowing. We could just carry on until ... Until what? Until she gets frustrated that I haven't proposed? Until she finds out, until someone tells her? No. Katie deserves this.

She's brushing her hair and humming one of her songs. Oh, Katie, I love you. The way someone loves the sweater that always works for a day they have nothing to wear. I love that you know what drink I want whenever you go to Starbucks, I love that you kiss my forehead in the morning to wake me up, I love that you ask the waitress for Tabasco for me because you know I eat it with every meal.

I sit on the bed beside her dressing table; she looks at me and rolls her eyes, "You really need to shave. You look like a pedophile. And what is wrong with your shirt? What is that stain? Ew, that's disgusting, can you please clean up without me having to tell you? And can you comb your hair? God, you know, sometimes I really wonder how I let you out of the house looking like that," she says. Oh, right. This is Katie. I ignore her comments and try to retain the good memories I just had.

She is oblivious to my deep breath, to my knotted fingers. "K, I can't do this anymore." It escapes my lips in a foggy whisper and she sits, frozen. I only call her K when something terrible has happened. She lowers the hairbrush and looks at me.
Oh god, here it is. The question. What do I do? Do I say it isn't working out and hide that I've been cheating on her for the past six months? Do I tell her? What would she want to know?

"I've met someone else,"

Katie stares at herself in the mirror. She's silent for so long, it scares me. What now?

Monday, 28 May 2012

I want to take my time to be free.

To venture into a dark forest, dense with life- embracing adventure and the unknown. Hands bloodied from thorns, dirtied from mud, and shaking with fear, when will I ever be this alive? Let's build a fire, attempt to make furious orange glowing heat out of dead sticks on damp earth. Lets climb the mountains, 90 degrees shooting into the sky, and witness the virginal stars, untouched and untainted by curtains of clouds.  Lets swim in the ocean, blue-green broken glass glistening under the sun, searing our eyes with every eruption at the surface. Or perhaps we could just lay here, sheltered by the thick overgrowth of green giants older than our ancestors, and contemplate how funny it was that we believed life existed before this.

What were we doing? What did we know? The years we spent in schools and work, and all we learned is how to look out windows and dream about life as it passed us by, running its course in supermarkets, in movie theatres, in department stores. All these slaves to consumerism, I laugh at them. And no, not a giggle, a deep rumbling volcanic laughter that shifts continents and shakes the glass ornament planets on their chandelier. Let them spend their "hard-earned" money on clothes that will never make them happy, on shiny gadgets they will throw away in a few years, all these things corrupting and polluting our water sources, our skies.

Who condemned us to desks, threw collars onto our necks and sold us as slaves of the economy? He may have succeeded in conditioning the human mind to believe work equals survival, but he has surely failed to take away the human thirst for adventure.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

We were driving through the Hong Kong outskirts, where there was actual pastures and mansions. I knew we were in the richest part of the city, because nobody in Hong Kong owned houses but the rich, let alone mansions. We entered our house for the summer, astounded by the size. I don't really remember what was there, but Stephanie was, and the old knowledge of a film I had seen a long time ago, a film of my brother who had died and never returned. Now, the memory is like the windshield of an old car that has journeyed through unforgiving rain, I can't seem to place my finger on it, but aren't dreams always like that? Vivid when lived, then so easily gone when awoken. I looked out the window to admire the view, and there he was, my brother. Giving his usual motivational talks to the crowds outside. It went of for quite some time, and so was my happiness that he was alive. Then he said something that nobody believed, was it witty? Was it shocking? I can't remember. But he said that his sisters were in the house and we could prove it. I was overjoyed with tears, my brother! He had come home, he hadn't been dead all this time, just hiding. I told Stephanie, we raced outside into the crowds, bursting with happiness at the thought of hugging our brother again, but as I got closer to the crowd, I realized they were not surrounding my brother, but a TV. And then I knew, I had been watching a movie all along, and this was his plan. The tv they were watching showed no movies- no people dancing their scripts onscreen, just words that read "My dearest sisters, ..." he wasn't there, he was never there. He had died a long time ago but used this tactic to say goodbye. The tv went on about how he loved us and has taken care of us, we wouldn't need to worry about money for the rest of our lives, and how he's sorry for tricking us. All I could think was, "he's not here." I walked back to the house, crying at the false hope of hugging someone who had left so long ago. Ashamed that I had fallen for his hologram. And this morning, I woke up feeling so empty and depressed, as if I had really seen someone who had been dead for so long.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Somebody should have told her

30 minutes ago, I was sitting in the backseat of your car, watching you punch your steering wheel as you screamed your lungs out at me. I know I should have been afraid, any other normal person would have cried or stayed silent, but I giggled. GIGGLED. Horrible timing. What's wrong with me? Why do I always laughed when people yell at my face? I think I just like making them angrier, making them realize that screaming at me will not teach me anything, instead, all their anger is reflected right back at them. Your spit flew onto your lap and your eyes bulged behind your Raybans as your shouted about how I never give you any chances, how I never listen. But I'm listening to you right now, and all I'm thinking is "Psycho".

Monday, 12 March 2012

Pain adores me, God ignores me.

"Tearing through a hundred pages, what a tale of star-crossed lovers. Life is lived on other stages. Ships and princes all gone home. Alone again."

I always thought wine was supposed to stain your lips a seductive red, but mine are as bruised and purple as the grapes they are born from, typically. Late nights in the living room with a bottle to myself and twenty candles on the floor, and if I choose my music and book carefully, I could pull off the act that I chose to be alone tonight. Unless I count as five girls. Why are twenty burning flames so much more interesting to watch than two-hundred channels on the television? Their orange glows melt into one sea of fire that hushes me into awe, eclipsed by the boulder of my body, silently watching the light and licking my purple lips, hoping they will fade into an attractive pink so maybe something could work out for me, just for once. New age, African beats with some ambiance undertones to fool myself into believing that I'm a free soul, maybe I should paint with my fingers while I'm at it, but who am I kidding? These stubby things will just create blobs on any canvas. I'll wrap my hair into a messy bun and wear my glasses to show myself that I'm independent and secure, that I don't need to impress anyone because I have so much going for me. And just maybe cook up a simple pasta and convince myself it's sophisticated, and I'll ignore the ache in my chest, the stinging in my eyes, and god forbid I feel even the slightest bit of self-pity. No, none of that. I'll sit on the sofa, allow it to sink beneath my weight, and look out the window and into the city skyline, wondering why, until I finally muster up the courage to accept that yes, I am alone. Then I'll pick myself up, stagger under the weight of my body and heart- each as heavy as the other, and run my fingers along the hallway to my room, until I find the sanctuary of my bed- Where I can escape and feel absolutely nothing, even for just a few hours.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

My heart knows nothing's free

I've been told a few times that I have "no reason to be insecure." Sure, I know what you're thinking, "Joanna's insecure?" or "Oh juicy blog posts about insecurities!" but no, you're wrong. I didn't even know that I was insecure, actually. I mean, of course, every person has their insecurities, but my moments of self-doubt don't deserve to earn me the title of insecure. In fact, I feel like I've been branded by other people instead of coming to these realizations myself. Let me get this straight, guys- I am not insecure.

Which leads me to my next thought, why do people think I'm insecure? Is it because I don't fix myself up for school every day? Is it because I don't like unnecessary attention? Is it because I want to be good at what I do, and am extra hard on myself? Or do I just emit a 'lack-of-confidence' aura everywhere I go, 'cause that would suck. Personally, I don't feel like the loudest person in the room is necessarily the most confident. Neither is the one who shows the most skin. In fact, those are the people who feel the need to draw extra attention to themselves so they feel some kind of worth.

I used to be loud. Who am I kidding, I am loud when given the right company- but I've toned down. I guess my levels of introvert-ness rised when my dad passed away (it just happens). Now, I feel more comfortable in my own thoughts and I find identity in my hobbies and opinions, in what I do. I never feel like I need attention to feel satisfied, since when did that make a person insecure?

It's annoying having all these people going on about how you have no reason to be insecure, don't get me wrong, I'd love to hear those things if I actually was insecure, and everyone loves supportive company, but when they're reassuring you of a problem that doesn't exist, it's kind of .. weird. 

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The feeling I'll forget.

I know you're leaving but please just hold me and trick me into believing that you won't. My voice gets all croaky and ugly as I stumble up the stairs of words I can't reassemble into meaning. I focus my attention to the loose thread on your sleeve, it's so out of place on that white field of cotton. The irony is, this feels just like falling in love- I'm scared and lost and nobody can tell me what to do. Now all of our places will be tainted and all of our songs will be taunting melodies of yesterday's arrogant happiness- naive, un-expecting. Who knew heartbreak would come so soon?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Handstands in the Graveyard.

Fragments of a dream, stitching together what was a black night if not for the dim glow of cigarettes burning like fireflies. A soundtrack of the slight splatter of morning rain as we took steps down the garden, cold mud seeping into our shoes. I begged for guidance with my outstretched hand, nobody claimed it but the night. Lost and scared, I followed the wolves as they explored past the trees, feeling too young to be out that late, that far, with those people.  We walked the earth until the thick treetops blocked out the stars, the navy blue canvas now hidden with a heavy black cloth. I stood frozen as they did cartwheels across the inky landscape, light laughter somewhat tainted with cruelty. Bottles clinking against marble teeth and paper crowns upon curly ginger hair, they were the kings and queens of the night and my honour was suddenly greater than fear.  I watched their performance like a projection onto white walls, wishing I could dive in. My socks were muddy, my skin was cold, but these people did not see me, I was not even there.