15 parts that are trying to be okay
by Randi Fellows
I am sitting next to a bully. The bully is a she, and she makes me very uncomfortable. I feel her watching me, holding her breathe. I do the same, not noticing until it’s too late, and the bully crawls inside me. We start saying things to my mother that aren’t even remotely true. “LOOK MOM THERE’S A DRAGON ON THE CHANDELIER” when we don’t even own a chandelier, when my mother doesn’t live here anymore, and I am the dragon.
This is the sort of joke the bully tells and I live vicariously through:
Your dog hates you and he looks at you like that because he thinks you’re going to hit him
That’s it, that’s the punch line.
Bully laughs, I sit on my bed, unable to move, clenching the sheets, dripping with sweat and humiliation. I wait for the next joke. I wait a long time.
I wait so long that I ask for the next joke. I want to hear her say it.
There is a visually disorienting segue and
I watch her with the knife
Hand flat on the table
Playing five finger fillet
Playing courage and faith
Playing another god damn game
While we are missing the point
There is a pause
The scene opens with a panning shot of the bully begging for her life
As I push her out of my body forever
And I hold my dog like it’s the first time
I’ve ever loved another living thing
It was a dream sequence
And when I wake up
My dog is dead
The bully is dead
The knife is gone
The days are getting longer
You name it “Winter”
You cover it with “snow”
There is nothing else to say about it
I AM NOT ALONE BUT EVEN IF I WAS I STILL WOULDN’T KILL MYSELF. I WOULD RUN AWAY INSTEAD. I WOULD LIVE IN MY CAR AND EAT BETTER FOOD. MAYBE FORGETTING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED IS HOW YOU GET BETTER SOMETIMES.
The post-it note on my locker reads:
“Is this your knife?”
We sat in the living room for hours.
We would chuckle, call it the “undead” room.
We are zombies. Get it?
Summoned by a great and powerful illness
To walk the earth and rot
It rained and my body fell into the soil
My body as gas
My body as you
It’s not so bad when I stop tearing the world apart
Measuring these small parts of space
As “time well spent”
I watch the bully from across the hallway. Different rooms for different reasons,
I write while she slowly, casually, breaks everything she owns
I caught her looking at me, so I apologized
What do we have in common anymore?
I took a hike today
Away from you guys
I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings
I just need some time to pass by
I called the bully today to say something to someone:
I don’t read books right now
If I make coffee, it’s not coffee, it’s hemlock
I pretend it’s hemlock
I pretend I’m Socrates with a knife and no other choice
Which, by the way, you left that knife at my house
I don’t know if you did it on purpose
But thank you for thinking of me when I can’t think of myself
I thought, again, about the knife, today. Where do you put a weapon when you’re not using it? Why aren’t you using it against them? Tell me the joke, say it, loudly, so that it’s not my fault. I wait for the joke. I wait a long time, but it comes, and I think it always will.
What have we been laughing about for the past two days, the poorly executed camera angles? The non-linear plot? The way cold weather determines what I’m allowed to love? Maybe the aliens watching from my bedroom window, praying for me, because there’s something saving me, I swear. It’s not fucking funny anymore.
It’s safe to be in this room
Because the boy in the corner said to me
“You can’t die here”
Part 12: questions afterwards, when you’re so sorry
I really hope I’m not triggering you
You’re here, with your body, I promise
Someone once told me that there’s nothing wrong with being sad
What you’re so sad about
Why the long face?
Part 13: a joke
We couldn’t stop crying
So I raised my arms up to the sky so that maybe
The scars would start glowing
And I would glow really hard
You would laugh really hard
A soft hush surrounding
They would abduct us, return us
So that we could forget
I saw her in the grocery store, sad as hell. We made eye contact. She looked small. Less like a bully.
Part 15: the bully tells the joke
My phone rings
The next morning my answering machine says
“My other gun is a knife”