Take Another Look











{April 22, 2010}   which flash? which time?

“Muzak-haters, on the other hand, are terrorized by the stuff, because it turns everything uniqe about every era into the same homogenized mush, and moreover does so with ease, thus reinforcing their suspicions that there’s essentially nothing unique about their era or themselves; that their cherished individuality is nothing but a merchandised illusion begrudgingly maintained for them by marketers; that when you get right down to it, it’s all the same crapola…

Look around you. How many people can ever experience a great passion, a great love, a great cause? A product can stand in for those experiences. A surface can stand in for the depths most people will never know. That’s what it all comes down to: surfaces.” -alex shakar, the savage girl

This is where I must start if I am ever going to try and talk about how it was that E. Downing took my heart and snapped it like a birds neck. Surfaces. How one maintains the manipulation…how from the one experiencing the passion, the fall is long, beautiful, making cliff-diving seem like safety. But to the other person, the one being loved for more than they could ever understand, you become nothing more than a toy, if only because the depths of beauty threaten the security of existence. His kids never thought of me as a shiny toy, as he told me.

He did.



{March 24, 2010}   more honesty

Mike tells me I’m going to break his heart because I expected the best of people and that it was true love and that nobody else did that. He says I don’t have any defenses against other people.  I’m not a hard person to break. Maybe a long time ago, when I felt I was treated carefully and preciously I would have kept things to myself, or respected Downey’s wishes not to write about him. But he can’t respect a single wish of mine. Not that he would ask what I wish for, or care. Now I am treated like tobacco that needed to be spit out of somebody’s mouth already. I can’t find words for the rush of pain. It is much worse than what happened with B, and I didn’t think it could get worse. I don’t understand this. I try not to understand, and I try to understand, and nothing dampens. I tell Mike that Downey told me he didn’t want to be the guy that hurt me, that he wanted to me my friend, that it was really important. I said Downey respected me, so he said, so it was. Mike sighed and told me that everybody lies like that. I told him it wasn’t true, that it couldn’t be true. I emphasized this and emphasized this. I told him that we slept together afterwords yet Downey told me it was my fault we had sex. I keep thinking that I am more patient because of what i went through with B, but perhaps I am less patient. I was willing to wait for three months of silence and ambiguity from B. But there is no way to wait for that with all of the “fluid” lies piled on by Downey. I thought I knew him. I think I do know him. I think that is what he hates the most. Is it possible some people don’t want other people to know how incredible they could be? Maybe they need to lock it away in a closet so that they can not feel bad when they don’t try to do anything good. That sounds extreme, never trying to do any good. But all I know is I followed what he said. I tried, and I tried. And he failed me more times I thought was possible. And I forgave. And forgiving seemed to be a bad thing. I don’t want to be a doormat. But when I got angry, he responded as if I had become the devil. I believed him when he said he wanted to be friends, how desperately important it was, how deep his respect for me was. I believed him….. I always believed him even when he didn’t come through. I even know I could go up there and show up and he would pretend… you can never know what is happening, but I told christina that I felt like a stalker. She laughed in my face and said how could you be a stalker? He told you that he wanted to stay close with you. He is acting the same way he did in the relationship, which is ignoring all calls. I told B in a text, “thanks for being my friend. I hate how I love. I hate how I love. ” I slept with B because the vortex inside me grew and grew. it was tender and right, but could I handle it?  I love B, he is a perfect friend to me in his own way, which is so different from what I thought a friend was, that our evolution has taken on some kind of supernatural mystery. But B has his own life, and there is no pushing for more. That is part of the built in friendship. I do know that I have stopped fearing that B will kick me out of his life because I will send him an overwhelming email. I might still have a slight fear that I’ve crossed the line, but every single time, he reminds me that it is okay, it is alright, it is “all good.” The problem? I still wanted Downey, who treats me like dogshit. I told him so long ago love meant sacrifice and I meant it, and I would have and did sacrifice so much for our relationship. Am I really such a masochist? I just keep believing that he can be who he was the first three months. I saw something, and everybody says I need to let it go. But friends believe in each other… I think this is getting overboard. I am trying to move on to the next phase of my life. But not receiving a word from him even when I am talking about his birthday present is such a slap in the phase i forget how to breath. Downey said I did nothing wrong. Why can’t we be together again? I don’t know why it is so hard for me to understand, or why I want somebody back that everybody says is so selfish. and I know he acts selfishly. So very selfishly. But I still miss something and I hate myself for that. For caring at all about somebody who dares to treat me like this. Without respect, without dignity, with total and utter silence as if I do not exist. So I keep apologizing to him for my existence. I don’t know what else to do. It is horrible. And he is doing exactly what he said he didn’t want to do. He is causing me more pain than anybody has ever caused me in my life. More than my mom. More than my sister. More than B did in 2003. Much, much more. But can pain be measured? I don’t know. All I know is that the pain only stops for short recesses. Perhaps I am exaggerating. James said I was stronger than him and Martin put together, and james is really strong. But Mike had a point. When mike got off the phone, we sat in silence for thirty seconds and the electricity pulled me. I cried out to Mike that I didn’t believe I would ever be made love to again in the same way. I didn’t use sappy words like “make love” because that isn’t me. I just said I didn’t think I could be physical with anybody again ever because I just didn’t see how it could happen anymore, no more, I couldn’t be touched because it wouldn’t be. It wouldn’t be who I had loved. I had been with many people and I had never felt that way- as if somebody was made to fit inside my body- and so it could never happen again, the rules of physics denied it. But something about the silence gave me hope. There was chemistry in the silence, and for a little while, the thought of Mike drowned out the pain. Even though I would welcome a life of solitude. I don’t care if I never have sex again. I never cared much for sex- (with exceptions like B and Mike.) I know I am biased but I wonder if the only person I really, really cared, more than cared, wanted, needed, and loved sex was with Downey, and he wants me to be dead. Or worse… he wishes I never existed. I feel like the only person who knows the real him… and accepts that he is a total hypocrite to the world. It’s okay.. and it’s not okay. I had something else to add, what was it? I haven’t been doing so well these last eight months, so I think that might be part of it. A lack of structure isn’t good for me. And I told him a million times that being ignored hurts me unreasonably so. I told Mike that me and Downey seemed to leave things at a point where we might get back together someday. Mike doesn’t say things like “Nicole you are breaking my heart.” He told me he was getting more cynical every single day. (Um…He also mentioned meditating.) But he said it the other day. I think somebody understood. It is compensation. Somebody understood. One person. But that is all that mattes. One person understood something. Oh, darling Mike, thankyou for understanding, even if it was for a second.



{February 14, 2010}   Valentines Day, Second Chances

When we first spoke, I would sit there just listening to the sound quality of Downey’s voice. There was something about it that caught my attention, like a portrait you can’t stop staring at. I could multitask easily, so I would continue to follow what he was saying along when listening to the timbres. It wasn’t like he had this unforgettable stardom voice, it was just a nice voice. I liked how it was sharp, focused, quick and smooth but not too smooth. But later there were no more phone conversations. I remember how sometimes when he laughed he would snort. I remembered it because I used to talk to this guy I really liked from college, his first name was Tom, and one time I laughed so hard that I snorted. He was a bit of a snob, but we will get to that. Tom seems like a very common name, but I’d never known a Tom before. Tom was a writer and our conversations were as incredible as our kissing had been one night in the forest of Wisconsin. I remember really liking this guy mooning after him but forgetting him because he had a girlfriend. I remember that dramatic things weren’t so dramatic back then. I remember that I just wrote some music about it and forgot about him until we emailed back and forth and he visited Seattle, but only for a day, and he had a girlfriend back home, and back then I had some kind of broken heart syndrome, or I was pining for Burdough, and I was involved in my engagement party with Oxycontin, the only thing that took migraines away from me, the only thing that pierced through pain and held it at bay so that I was floating above it, as if immune to normal injury. He visited, and he tried to have sex with me, but I was too tight, and he couldn’t fit, and he didn’t want to hurt me, and we both fell asleep. I don’t know what we felt because I wasn’t feeling at the time.  Maybe there was relief. I can’t believe I didn’t care about a girl, a girl who had a boyfriend, but I was free in those days in a way that left me immune because I didn’t know any better. I was a child trying things for the first time but I had the body of an adult. Now I do know better and I don’t just write music about moral fatalities, I relive them in my mind over and over, feeling I should be battering myself for them. But mostly I remember having these multi-faceted conversations with him, and this is where it leads me back to Downey.  When I was talking to Tom, I laughed so hard I snorted but I didn’t realize it until he pointed it out. I was so embarrassed I turned as red as a tomato, a thing I did a lot those days- blush. “Did you just snort?” he asked, putting an emphasis on the word snort as if it was this unforgivable thing, this horrible social mistake that nobody could ever recover from. In his snotty mind, snorting was worse than homicide. “Yeah?” I think I said, or maybe I made something up, I don’t know. All I remember is that Downey did it a few times, and I remember thinking, so that is what it sounds like. But the idea of mentioning it, of drawing attention to somebody’s flaws, seemed so philosophically incompatible to me. The last time I saw him, he kept drawing attention to things like my mismatched socks, or the fact that I hadn’t packed a belt because when I originally got on the boat to visit him the dress I was wearing was down to my knees, and the jeans tight enough to cover my hips. But the next morning, carrying two or three bags, as I bent to get out of his car, he could see the back of my underwear, so he had to mention it, like it was a crime. It reminded me of Tom again. But why am I so careful to refrain from doing what others do? Will I someday join the snob club? I hope that Downey meant it as a joke, that his jokes were not malicious, but then again, I felt the hurt of it, and if I was still capable of turning beet red, I would have. But he doesn’t know that. He doesn’t know how many things embarrass the hell out of me that he saw. Maybe it’s the only saving grace to the whole thing. I felt so safe around him that I thought I wasn’t embarrassed by anything. But was that real? I thought it was. I felt comfortable and desperately, fatally attracted to somebody all at once. That combination had never suited me at all. I was either completely comfortable around somebody but felt they were utterly unattractive, or I was attracted but too shy to do anything about it. But something else changed that. I wish I had something guiding me saying which changes were for the better or the worse. I remember Brenden pointing at a picture of him as a teenager and saying that there was something in our eyes as teenagers that had gone and left and there were a million terms for it- like  hope and naïveté. I wonder what it is that changes. But the thought of giving up those phone conversations gets to me, it does. I’m tired of the losses stacking up like body bags. They don’t feel like losses so much as missed opportunities, which is worse, because I can’t find rest in the idea of how if I had only jostled a bit to the right, the whole thing would have gone differently. If I had just given Downey more space, if I had just never broken up with him, if I had just said, I will do anything for you. “It doesn’t work that say,” he told me. I think he is wrong. I think it does work that way. If he, who calls himself his closest friend to me, cannot adjust things to make it work, then who can? If your closest friend never talks to you, what does it say about you? That you don’t need people, or that you need people so much you are willing to endure silence for months if only to hear the sound of a voice that caught you. It caught you somewhere, anywhere, spun you around, and placed you in a world where anything was fun, anything was beautiful, anything was possible. Let me go back there, if only to find you there. Tomorrow is Monday. If I care enough, will I go? Or does caring mean not showing up so that he has the space he says he wants. Or do I know what he wants? I don’t know. I lost myself there in his forest, I lost my voice in his voice, and I’d rather he not see me looking for it, because I can handle anything,just not more embarrassment. Throw me against a wall, do something that is S&M, take control all you want, just don’t make it seem like I am somehow undesirable. It’s not something I’ve ever cared to prove to anybody. If anything, I’ve tried to be less desirable. When I was 15, it meant shaving my head. Now, I don’t know what it means, just that I need the freedom to be myself, and be accepted, and if somebody can give me that, I can do anything.

I wish upon a star.

I have a memory.

I was reading Jessa a book.

She had one she liked over and over.

I have a story I like over and over too.



et cetera