Sunday, February 29, 2004
needing time away archetype
1. in the winter of 1996 i housesat for karen at the apartment in the center of the city. it was on the tenth floor then, although later they moved to a lower floor i think. i was all alone and developed this obsession with the building catching on fire. how would i get out the two cats, the caged rat and myself, and then keep ahold of us all, out in the freezing cold, waiting for the firetrucks? and what if the apartment burnt irrevokably down, to cinders and crumbling ash? i didn't know anyone in the city. i was so all alone that i had started singing songs to myself for conversation when i walked home from the big library every evening. it was cold. on new years day there was a parade. i went dancing at the goth clubs by myself, and then at night would not sleep and think about the apartment burning down, and rescuing the pets. later, i started sleeping for 15-18 hours a day and looked forward to dreams during the few hours i was awake and wandering the city.
2. in the winter of 1997 i was walking home from chapter arts cinema listening to a mixtape with large headphones and came across a car ablaze in the alleyway. the street girls gemma and the one whose name i never learned were watching it and leaning against each other. when i stepped a few steps towards it, gemma rested her chin on my shoulder, exactly like the duchess in alice in wonderland. two firemen ran past us carrying a hose. i asked gemma, what happened and she shook her head.
in cardiff i would:
- eat chocolate bars
- draw sketches of the stone animals that lined the castle walls
- travel to scotland in a fit, noticing the train and then jumping on without a thought, and then walk slowly through edinburgh, thinking about how huge the world was, stopping inside churches, and sleep eventually on a hillside and then a few hours later in a youth hostel where i met german kids in the kitchen and drank tea with oatmeal milk
- walk along the river
- ride the train to newport without paying for it, to visit rory, or see a show, or watch the clock statue that would pretend to fall apart every half hour
- go to the boot sale on saturday mornings and buy useless things, and then eat pasties from the jamaican place on the way home
- walk through department stores on the way to college and put on expensive perfume
- take my picture in the photobooth for a pound
- write letters
- take pictures. 120mm
- sit in the tv room pretending to be bored when julian was visiting my roommate, but watch him sideways the whole time, and get shivery when he looked at me
3. in the winter of 1998, we used to have parties, and i would wear dresses, and had no worries at all, and would play hostess, and find blankets for the drunken and the sleepers at the end of the night, and light cigarettes on the stove, and shoot videos with the school's cameras which were large and heavy on your shoulder. nicholas would write lesson plans on the computer in the middle room and grab for my waist whenever i walked past him. shawn would paint and smoke, we had ancient spices leftover from jon arp living there that hung along a string in little bags throughout the kitchen, we would cook tofu, drink vodka from the freezer, jamie cut her hair shorter and shorter, and we would all draw each other at walker's house, and walker would hide in his room and slowly quit me, the way muna has quit me. everything in my apartment glittered. i built pinhole cameras from cigar boxes. it doesn't matter. it doesn't matter.