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March 31, 2004

Left, right, wrong

There is a loud wall clock in my classroom.
A constant, rhythmic tick that has driven me out of my mind.
I swear it's getting louder.
My heartbeat has matched it.
I'm breathing in time.
One. Two. In. Out.
I can see people around me, speaking.
Their lips are moving, but I can't hear a sound.
Just this confounded clock.
They're all talking to me. They're trying to tell me something. I know it.
I can't hear you! I scream, It's TOO LOUD!
I gesture wildly at the clock, arms flailing. It seems to have no effect.
The ticking of the clock is deafening.
It's reverberating in my ears so loudly that they start to ring. They start to hurt.
I clasp my hands over them to try and defend them from this oratory attack.
HEY! I finally bellow over the din, Can someone turn that FUCKING THING OFF?!?


All eyes are now on me.
Stares of confusion and concern.
The clock is shattered on the floor.
Shards of glass all around. In my hand. I'm bleeding.
I'm breathing hard, the sound echoing off the walls.
It bounces through the silent room, more conspicuously than the ticking clock.
Drawing attention to my idiocy.
I want to crawl under something big and hide. But there's nothing.
I start to hyperventilate, looking around frantically, eyes wide with panic.

A little mouse comes scurrying out from somewhere and jams a sedative into my arm.
He depresses the plunger. My pupils dilate, I relax.

The buzz of the classroom resumes.
I can hear voices, chairs scraping the floor, people laughing.
The clock is back up on the wall, in five or six pieces. Still working.
I can't hear it at all now.
I breathe a sigh of relief. Everything is ok now.
I direct a grateful glance at the mouse, now perched on the corner of my desk smoking a cigarette and playing solitaire.

He winks at me.
"Don't worry," he says as he flips over an Ace, "Works every time."

Posted by kati at 12:44 PM

March 25, 2004

The Butterfly

"I have wit, I have charm, I have brains,
I have legs that go all the way down to the floor, my friend."

When I stroll out alone
along the street.
The people stop and gaze at me,
to seek out my beauty from
from head to toe...

...and then I taste the sly desire
that gleams from admiring eyes.
They can see all my beauty which lies
concealed in my heart, perceived
from my outward charms.
So, this scent of ardent desire
surrounds me and fills me with pleasure!

...and you who know, who remember
and fret, you flee from me like this?
I know very well you will
not speak of your anguish....
and yet I sense you feel ready to die!

Posted by kati at 11:39 AM

March 22, 2004

Mirror Mirror

Why do you like the one-way mirrors so much? I asked him.
Because I do, he said.
That's not an answer, that's a child's answer. I said.
He stared back at me, unblinking. But I like them. He said. They're the only kind of mirrors I use.
But that's silly, because you only stand on the other side. You never get to see yourself. It's not even a mirror to you.
True, he said. But I get to see you. Even better, I get to see you without you even knowing about it. I can do it whenever I like, and you never see me.
I said to him How is that fair? It's hardly fair. And a little creepy, I might add... Creep. Where do you get your mirrors?
He laughed and scratched his head. I rubbed my eyes.
His hair was messy and my eyes were tired.
After a while, I started to giggle and forgot why.

And anyway, what does it matter to you? he said finally. You love mirrors, you look into them on your own, whenever they're around. Don't you naturally assume that someone might be looking back?
I rubbed my eyes some more. I inhaled. I exhaled.
Sure, I guess I do. But usually it's just me looking back.
Usually, he said. but not always. Sometimes I'm there.
Oh. I said. I guess I knew that already.
He was smiling at me. I could see that his eyes were tired, too.
We both had tired eyes. His were smiling.
He leaned in and his face was close to mine. I could feel my breath reflected off him. I could feel that I was smiling, too.
He kissed me. Sweetly. His lips were soft and warm.
I felt the laughter bubble up and out of me. I couldn't help it.
Then he was laughing, too.
We laughed together. Laughed for a long time, with our laughter ringing and echoing around us.

And when we stopped laughing, he was gone. And I didn't wonder where he went, or why, and I didn't mind that other people thought I was laughing by myself. I knew.

Posted by kati at 11:01 PM

March 21, 2004


One day, not so very long ago, five friends hit the grass for an early morning of discer in Balboa Park. There was a chill in the air, and the marine layer hung low over the trees. The moisture continued to accumulate, until the friends had reached Hole #10, when the clouds opened up an unleashed a torrent of precipitation - forcing the friends to seek refuge under a large tree. It was then suggested that perhaps a rain dance would help stop the downpour.

One skeptical friend queried, "But isn't a rain dance suppose to bring on the rain?"

"Yes," said another, "but perhaps the poor quality of our dance would anger the rain gods and have the opposite effect."

Willing to try anything, and eager to resume the game, it was decided that a rain dance might be just the ticket. Still crouched beneath the protective tree, the friends danced and frolicked, hopping around in their best attempt to re-create a rain dance.

After a time, it was safe to venture out from under the shelter of the big tree, and the rain was a bearable drizzle - enough to resume play. Imagine the delight of the friends when, only moments later, the rain stopped entirely and the sun came shining through the clouds. The delight was immense. So immense, in fact, that the friends had to suspend their game for a moment to fully appreciate the success of their rain dance. It was a great moment for the friends. One that they vowed never to forget.

But they all did...
...until now.

Posted by kati at 11:12 AM

March 15, 2004

Gone missing

I had this little friend, this funny little man who was very small and lived in my sock drawer. I can't actually say that he was a person, really. He might have been a little elf, maybe a gnome. I don't think he ever told me.

It must have been his angular facial features that made me think he was an elf. He did wear gnome-like hats sometimes, though. Gnomes are always dressed for winter with the hats and the scarves ... but I guess it was winter at the time. So maybe the hats weren't indicative of anything.

My little sock-drawer friend was great fun. He told me jokes, and wrote me silly little notes with elf-pencil drawings on them. He always had something creative and off-the-wall to say. He said he liked punk music. Just to be contrary, I told him I liked easy listening. He liked to ask lots of questions, but didn't really like to answer any. I didn't mind so much about that, because I was usually busy trying to think of answers. And he just loved jumping out of my drawer as fast as he could and startling me. If he scared me enough to make me scream, he'd fall down in the socks and laugh and laugh. He was such a prankster.

And just when I was really starting to enjoy his company, my little friend went missing. I can't imagine why ... maybe I scared him off. Maybe the other elf/gnome/drawerdwellers got on his case about consorting with a big person. Maybe he got bored of startling me or making me laugh. Who knows. But I haven't seen him in a while, and I'm holding out hope that he might come back someday. I glance around the back of my drawer whenever I open it, just in case he's hiding back there waiting to scare me.

Come to think of it, it's possible I've rolled him up inside a pair of ankle socks or something - in which case I guess he could be seriously hurt. Oh dear. I hope that's not what's happened. I'll have to check my socks.

Little friend, if you see this, then you're clearly not trapped in a sock. For this I am very glad. Come back and visit me some time. I promise I'll be startled.

Posted by kati at 05:54 PM

March 12, 2004

I wuv wearning new fings!

So we all remember "The Princess Bride," yeah? I know for a fact that this movie was a staple of many of our childhoods. Everyone knows about it, and many of us can quote it, and it gets referenced more often than most. I mean, let's be honest here, it is a fantastic freaking movie by anyone's account. It rules.

So of course, we remember the priest!
Tiny man, big hat.
Bit of a weird talker. We know the words.

"Mawwage...Mawwage is what bwings us togevva, todaay."
"That dweam wiffin a dweam..."
"Ven wuv, twue wuv, wiw fowwow you fowevva."

So, here's the good part:
I heard audio-tape of Prince Charles' wedding to Lady Diana in England, all those years ago when they were married and before she was dead and stuff...
and realized it's the same guy.

In one of the biggest to-dos in all of Britain, nay Europe, since WWII, in palatial and cross-shaped Wesminster Abbey, with millions watching around the world, some stuffy English priest performed the ceremony.
...like the priest from Princess Bride.

"We gavva, on this gweat day, to join the pwince and pwincess."
"May your wuv be wong and pwospewous."
"Wiv wife togevva in harmony and bwiss."

It was perfection! Way to go stuffy British people for getting this guy to wed the royals on televsion! It comic genius, and makes us all remember the movie we love so well. Do you think you have to be a royal to have him do your wedding? Because I think that if I found some boy to marry ... preferably british ... preferably royal, I'd want the little man with the big hat and the funny talking. That would really make my day.

Not that my hypothetical wedding would have to necessarily include a pwiest ... er, priest.

Posted by kati at 01:54 AM

March 10, 2004

Not for Nothing

For a while there is perfect stillness under the water. Everything is cool and clear, and there is an unmistakable calmness that comes with floating in it's darkness. Gazing up through the ripples at the world above, totally free of it's chaos. Time stops, the world ceases to revolve and becomes simply a snapshot of itself. It is blissful, euphoric, a massive deception.

The stillness becomes eerie with diminished breath, and knowing there is no more, the panic starts well up within. The panic rises and turns into fear, and before I know it, I realize that I am drowning.

An unseen current is pulling fiercely at my waist, keeping the surface out of my reach. I can hear muffled voices above me. A boat, or on the shore. Hovering over me. Distant, laughably calm. Ignorant of my struggle just beneath them. My lips part in a frantic cry, but I only draw a deep breath of the offending blue down into my lungs.

I begin to thrash wildly, desperately, feeling my life running out and growing steadily more hysterical. The still glassy surface belies the turmoil of my final efforts below. My choices and my mistakes, the once good ideas have now become the weights in my shoes, the rope on my wrists, the force I can't fight against.

I jerk from side to side, eyes wide, teeth and fists clenched, scouring my depths for some miraculous strength I know I haven't got. My vision is blurred, the surface is gone now. I can feel blood pulsing behind my eyes. Every muscle burns for air, but there is none.

The water invades, overtaking and coursing like fire through my body. It's relentless assault leaves only a swollen shell behind. My resistance is twists into surrender, and I submit. When all the air is purged, I drift down deeper into the darkness that lured me. Just below the shallows, my eyes open as they were in life, I can almost see what I should have done instead.

The stillness returns. The water is again calm and blue, in the depths as on the surface. Alluring. Inviting. Lying in wait for the next poor fool who might fancy a swim. If they were to look closely, the might be able to see my eyes staring back up at them, a cautionary tale about the delusions of swimming in this dangerous hole. But no one ever looks that closely, do they?

Posted by kati at 03:41 PM

March 08, 2004

Out of order

It was all rainy in SD over the last couple weeks. Rainy like it never is in San Diego. It was great. I felt like I was at home, and realized just how infrequently it's like that here. It was familiar in a physical way, and crazy, like I didn't know I'd even been missing it. I was in such a good mood. Pretty much just because it was raining. And after school BJ and I sat outside on the porch because the rain was so fun. It didn't occur to me that it was a little odd, us sitting outside and enjoying the rain. In San Diego. We're dorks.

This semester, Thursday is the end of my week.
and after tomorrow, I have a series of long work days.
I feel pretty good, dare I say plucky, even. I don't know if that's the best word.
It conjures something of a bird-like image when I say it out loud.
Like a really upbeat bird of some kind. Something that preens.

My nose is perpetually running and my ankle is still swollen, but these things seem to have no effect on my good mood.
It could be to do with the rain.
Or maybe cherry cider with whiskey before noon is the ticket. Or guacamole.

King Lear is a good play. Hmmm...
I've seen a lot of plays recently. Good plays. I feel lucky to have friends whose line of work it is to be good in plays so that I can come and see them. That's a pretty sweet deal for me. But I'd probably still be friends with them even if they weren't any good.

They are, of course. But I like to think I'd be charitable with my friendship even if that wasn't true. It would be wrong to be fickle and only be friends with the good actors. I mean, I can't help that it turned out that way in this instance, but that wasn't really my doing, now was it?

Posted by kati at 11:54 AM