Hades Hangmen, Tillie Cole.
• Please reblog/like if you use!
Hades Hangmen, Tillie Cole.
• Please reblog/like if you use!
Miscreants by Natalie Bennett
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Series: Badlands: Next Generation
Author: Natalie Bennett
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date: February 24, 2021
Love is madness.
Love is anguish.
Ours was ill-fated from the beginning
Crazier than crazy.
Sicker than sick.
Samael was the epitome of a beautiful nightmare.
Bryce: Part 4 of The Rebels is now available to read on @wattpad for free! Here is the link: https://w.tt/3agpeW9
Check in next Friday for the last piece of the story 😉
The Rebels Synopsis:
Peter, Victor, Brianna, and Bryce have lost themselves in battle, literally and figuratively.
Peter and Victor are in the fight of their lives. Constantly separated by the chaos of war they are ready to give up everything to runaway together, but multiple obstacles keep getting in their way.
Brianna has everything she’s always wanted. She is the first general in an all male army and a fierce warrior, but now that she has this position she’s about to find out exactly what secrets the military has been hiding.
Bryce loves his country and wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. But what will happen when the person closest to him might be a traitor?
“Really? You won’t show me your magic knife?”
Author’s note: Excerpt from my urban fantasy novel coming out later this year. Alex is a should’ve-been-dead-girl, junkie witch (Watcher) and bartender who’s going straight to Hell. Sathariel’s the demon soul reaper who’s been sent to take her there.
Only problem is, this Bad Witch refuses to die until she resolves some unfinished business involving Heaven, Hell and a generational curse.
In this scene Alex continues to pester Sathariel with her annoying questions about all things demonic.
Image credit: Pinterest
“How does it work anyway?” Alex asked, rolling her ankles in the air. “Taking people to Hell.”
Sathariel wrinkled his nose, amused. “Again with the morbid questions,” he sighed.
“Oh, come on,” Alex huffed. “You knew I was gonna ask, sooner or later.”
“It’s really not that exciting,” he mumbled, rubbing his eyes. “I go where The List tells me to go. I wait for people to die. Then the Admin opens a door, and I stab them and send them to Hell.”
“You- stab people?” Alex whispered, eyes widening.
“Well, damned souls aren’t going to take themselves to Hell now, are they?” Sathariel grumbled defensively.
“So do you use, like, any old knife, or is it a magic knife?”
He rolled his eyes. “It’s a soul reaping knife,” he said.
She whistled in awe.
“Can I see it?” Alex blurted, grinning.
Sathariel stiffened and scowled. “No.”
“Really?” she demanded. “After I showed you all this secret Watcher magic? You can’t show me your magic knife?”
“It’s not a ‘magic’ knife,” he said loudly, shaking his head with dismay. “It’s for dead and demon eyes only. So, no, you don’t get to see it.”
Após essa leitura, terei que colocar a Beth O’Leary na minha lista de autoras favoritas pela incrível capacidade de me fazer chorar e rir ao mesmo tempo. A escrita dela é deliciosa, mas profunda, e isso sempre me leva para lugares incríveis.
Leena Cotton tem 29 anos e sente que já não é mais a mesma. Eileen Cotton tem 79 e está em busca de um novo amor. Tudo de que neta e avó precisam no momento é pôr em prática uma mudança radical. Então, para colocar suas respectivas vidas de volta nos trilhos, as duas têm uma ideia inusitada: trocar de lugar uma com a outra.
Leena sabe que precisa descansar, mas imagina que a parte mais difícil será se adaptar à calmaria da cidadezinha onde a avó mora. Cadastrada em um site de relacionamentos, Eileen por sua vez embarca na aventura com a qual sonha desde a juventude. Dividindo o apartamento com dois amigos da neta, ela logo percebe que na cidade grande suas ideias mirabolantes não são tão complicadas assim.
Ao trocar não só de casas, mas de celulares e computadores, de amigos e rotinas, Leena e Eileen vão descobrir muito mais sobre si mesmas do que imaginam. E se tudo der certo, talvez destrocar não seja a melhor solução.
A protagonista passa por um período de luto que dura mais do que o esperado, e isso, obviamente, a afeta de uma maneira que ela não consegue enxergar uma saída. Diante disso, os amigos resolvem interferir, sem sucesso, até que uma visita à casa da avó muda tudo. Eileen, uma mulher de 79 anos, após uma vida de privações sentimentais, busca todos os meios de mostrar sua vivacidade, e faz isso muito bem ao se envolver em atividades da comunidade que são bem divertidas de acompanhar.
Apesar de, inicialmente, a ideia da troca parecer absurda, a prática não é tão irracional, e embarcamos numa linda história familiar sobre luto, perdão, superação e reencontro. A Leena e Eileen compartilham muito mais do que o parentesco. É fácil se apaixonar pelas duas, suas relações e situações. A Eileen é a fortaleza da filha e da neta, e isso me encantou. Chorei muito ao ver a construção de uma nova relação entre a Leena e a mãe, pois não foi nada fácil para as duas terem perdido o elo que as uniam. Ter que enfrentar um luto não é tarefa fácil, mas me peguei sentindo a beleza da vida em cada momento em que a morte era citada (coisa que a Carla aprovaria, com certeza!).
E o que dizer das amizades? Elas foram perfeitas! Os colegas de quarto da Leena recebendo e aprendendo com a Eileen rendeu ótimos momentos, e agora eu vou lamentar não ter tanta gente legal por perto - Leenas sortudas. Além disso, apesar de não ser o foco, os romances marcaram presença. Eu, como uma boa fã do gênero, amei cada interação, dúvida, sorriso e receio entre os envolvidos. Ao fim de tudo, eu não conseguia tirar o sorriso da cara - apesar dos olhos vermelhos pelas lágrimas de alegria.
Enfim, graças à Beth, estou num puro encanto, e acho que permanecerei assim por um bom tempo. Leitura super recomendada!
My sister and I were never really that close growing up. But when I quit basketball, that started to change. I had to find a new universe to live in since I had locked the door to the last one and thrown away the key. It took me a while, but I found a new universe to live in for a while.
I went to the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 with my sister. People had dressed up, there were Severus Snapeses, Dolores Umbridges, and even a Hagrid in the theatre. There were also a lot of emotions in the room. When Snape got eaten by Nagini, the cries and sniveling even led to someone with an icier heart than myself to shout “Be quiet!”
The audience was 90 percent female and I assume, because of their sadness, they all had a crush on either Snape, Alan Rickman, or both. Clara remained mostly quiet during the film, but afterward, she whooped and cheered along with everybody else as the credits rolled and the fans showed their appreciation as the names of the lead actors appeared on the screen.
When Alan Rickman’s name appeared, there was a collective orgasmic noise from the audience, which seemed to carry on till the end of the credits. Afterward, Clara had mascara all over her face, while I had popcorn all over mine. She had been crying and I had been stuffing my face, an apt summary of our two upbringings.
My sister overreacts sometimes. When she was about to move out, the contractors who were redoing her kitchen in her new apartment fucked up her floor a little bit. Which is not good, but my sister said: “They’re going to have horseheads in their beds.” Those two actions, messing up a floor and putting a horsehead in someone’s bed are not on the same level.
Similarly, it was a bit weird seeing Clara scream at the credits of the last Harry Potter film, mascara running down her cheeks. She had been wearing her Gryffindor scarf, despite being a Ravenclaw (what a fake!), and a kid on the street had noticed it and mentioned it to her father, who tried to acknowledge the child’s excitement without making too much of a fuss.
Clara had smiled at the incident, although I know she’d rather the kid hadn’t said anything at all. She hated when anyone noticed something, or worse, said something out loud, about her, especially her appearance. If she could’ve been a ghost, she probably would’ve chosen to be one. But then she was also able to let go and scream at a film screen after being a devoted fan for around a decade.
I guess being in a dark movie theatre makes it easier to let go as you may feel like you can hide in the shadows. I hadn’t been a devoted fan for a decade but even if I had, I would never have been able to let go like that. She was screaming at names on a screen because those actors had meant a lot to her.
She was almost acting normal as most humans would. It was weird to see. I looked at her and thought This is why she has friends and I don’t. It was pathetic, yes, but that was the first thought that struck me. People appreciate the quality of being able to express happiness and excitement. It’s a shame really.
I’ve never been able to pee in front of others unless I’m blackout drunk. But when I’m sober or only a little pissed, it’s impossible for me to get a single drop out even if the Niagara Falls is passing through my bladder.
Anyway, before we could leave the theatre after watching The Deathly Hallows part 2, I had to pee. For once, the line to the men’s toilets was as long as, if not longer than, the line to the women’s bathroom. I got in line behind approximately fifteen Severus Snapes. Once I actually got into the bathroom, I could see the reason why the line was so long. Only one toilet was working and the long pig troth urinal was completely empty. They were all waiting for the opportunity to close a door behind them. I doubt any of them had to take a shit.
They were probably very uncomfortable not being in their own rooms reading nasty Harry Potter fanfiction. They were all dressed as Snape because Snape fucks. None of them could pee in public, I knew it. I had found my people. Being the only one not dressed as a fictional character, I took it upon myself to be the one to break the trend. After all, I had always fluctuated between the dorks and the jocks, not really fitting in in either camp.
I gathered all of my courage and took a step towards the pig troth. The fifteen Severus Snape’s gasped en masse. I unzipped my jeans and whipped out my wand (penis, but I’m sure you got that), and pushed for all that was holy. Nothing happened. After about three seconds which felt like an eternity, I realized that this was never going to happen despite the fact that my bladder was close to bursting. I quickly zipped up and left the bathroom, acting as if I had just peed but without washing my hands for an expedited exit.
I walked around for a bit, pretending not to be waiting for the people in the queue to be replaced by people who hadn’t just witnessed my remarkable defeat. After around six minutes, I rejoined the queue. The guy in front of me turned around and gave me a look.
“Severus,” I said to break the ice.
“The troth was a swing and a miss, eh? Still, it was brave to go for it,” he said. I felt like stupefying myself in the dick.
There were of course also instances where I saw myself in the characters. And I think it’s obvious whom I would be comparing myself to, considering my enlarged ego and pretentious state of mind. Harry? Nooo, that noble prat is way too into people and people seem to like him, it doesn’t fit. Ron? The man’s a bit of an idiot, so no. Hermione? To a large extent yes, we’re essentially the same person.
Except, I would rarely raise my hand in class, I had that beaten out of me early on in life, and since then I’ve been a more laid-back kind of know-it-all. No, I think you all know who I’m thinking about. The Dark Lord. I wish I had his way of charming people in order to manipulate them, but alas, that was not to be. What was essential to come to this conclusion was of course the fact that I myself was 17, alone, and for the most part a sad, miserable individual with a desperate need to find any kind of self-worth.
Having struggled socially made it a lot easier to think that I was just a misunderstood genius, the rest of humanity being too stupid to understand my brilliance. You can just smell the cuntiness, can’t you? The optimal role model for a sad 17-year-old is not Hitler with a dash of magic. People who related to Voldemort during their teens will either become neo-Nazis or write about how they used to be pathetic cunts. Thankfully, I’m of the latter variety.
Dumbledore explained how Tom Riddle hated everything that tied him to other people. How he preferred to be alone. This allowed me to tell myself that I was lonely by choice and not because people had picked me out of a crowd to pick on because they thought I was a fucking weirdo. And that the people who disliked me, simply did so because they didn’t get me, or because they felt stupid in comparison and had to push me down to retain their status. While this was definitely part of what actually happened, thinking like this didn’t exactly set me up for great relationships with other so-called humans in the future.
Tiff rolled her eyes and the phone made tapping noises as she pressed it. While she did so, she asked, “What even happened on the date? Why is he saying things were awkward?”
Molly looked slightly embarrassed with a mix of frustration. “I’m not totally sure about that.”
Tiff glanced up. “You’re not sure?”
“Well, I don’t remember would be more accurate I guess.”
Understanding flickered in Tiff’s eyes. “Ohhhh. Yeah, I guess that was a tough time for you.”
Molly was looking at the floor while she said, “I just got so nervous, I figured a drink would loosen things up, and then I just started thinking about other things, and then I needed more drinks, and obviously I went overboard.” She smiled weakly.
“Obviously. Did you fuck him?”
“I don’t think so.”
“But you’re not sure? And you WANT to put yourself through the embarrassment of a second date?” Tiff smiled but her eyes showed concern.
Molly returned the smile, still slightly weak. “I know, right?” She appeared thoughtful now. “But, I think things will be different this time. Things are better now, and he was sweet about the whole thing. Am I crazy?”
Tiff shrugged. “I guess not. It’s weird that you seem to be so stuck on him though when you can’t even remember the date.”
Molly nodded in agreement. “I remember enough of it I guess. Maybe I want to prove to myself that I’m different now.”
“Sure. Just don’t drink this time.”
“That’s the plan,” Molly remarked sarcastically".
Tiff tossed Molly her phone. “There.”
“Thanks Girl. You sure you don’t want to watch a movie with me?”
Tiff sighed in defeat. “You know what? I think I will.” Tiff jumped over the back of the couch and took a spot next to Molly. Molly returned back to the movie selection and began flipping through.
“What do you want?”
“Mmmm a romance.”
“Ugh, no. That’s the wrong choice.” A smile played on Molly’s lips.
“Nope, nothing at all. What else do you want?”
“Yeah, yeah, ok.”
Teller’s Cove Chapter 22
by R.W. Van Sant
It was his first time alone in the old house. He found it unnerving. It was quiet; he could hear every creak as the house responded to the wind that was growing outside. He could even hear the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks in the cove. Jerry walked over to the stereo, put on an old Eagles cd and turned the music up. He did not see how Ted survived in…
“When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences. Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.”
I love that Hoover wants to experiment with other genres and cross-overs, however, this book really didn’t do it for me.
!mild spoilers ahead!
Book 795: Keeping Casey by Amy Aislin #KeepingHim #gayromance #friends #mmromance #bisexualromance #demisexualromance #mmsportsromance #hockey #gayromancereviews #bookreviews #books #bookbloggers
I said yes to this one when Gay Romance Reviews offered it because I love a MM Sports Romance and hockey in particular thanks to Ngozi Ukazu.* And it didn’t hurt that the last book I read by Aislin was a hockey romance and it was a decent read.
Keeping Casey introduces us to Ethan, a demisexual gay man who has a medical condition that will one day prematurely end his hockey career who is in love…
Ronovan Hester’s Book Review of The Judas Robe by author Larry Rodness.
#FridayFiction #IARTG #Mystery #Fantasy? #MagicalRealism? #Kindle #BYNR
DESCRIPTION OF THE JUDAS ROBE by Larry Rodness
During the height of the Spanish Inquisition a ruthless inquisitor by the name of Bishop Roberto Promane tortures a fellow priest, Father Sanchez, for information about the whereabouts of a relic known as The Judas Robe. The robe is believed to be the single piece of physical proof of God on Earth. Promane succeeds in uncovering the robe only to…
Ronovan Hester’s Book Review of The Judas Robe by author Larry Rodness.
#FridayFiction #IARTG #Mystery #Fantasy? #MagicalRealism? #Kindle #BYNR
DESCRIPTION OF THE JUDAS ROBE by Larry Rodness
During the height of the Spanish Inquisition a ruthless inquisitor by the name of Bishop Roberto Promane tortures a fellow priest, Father Sanchez, for information about the whereabouts of a relic known as The Judas Robe. The robe is believed to be the single piece of physical proof of God on Earth. Promane succeeds in uncovering the robe only to…
Author’s note: Excerpt from my urban fantasy novel coming out later this year. Alex is a should’ve-been-dead-girl, junkie witch (Watcher) and bartender who’s going straight to Hell. Sathariel’s the demon soul reaper who’s been sent to take her there.
Only problem is, this Bad Witch refuses to die until she resolves some unfinished business involving Heaven, Hell and a generational curse.
In this scene Alex wakes up next to Sathariel after a Very Interesting dream indeed. As context, Alex can’t touch Sathariel’s skin (and vice versa) without extreme pain.
And despite being in a human-shaped body for a few centuries Sathariel is still woefully ignorant on what normal human bodies do.
Image credit: Pinterest
Alex jolted from sleep with a yelp as her fingers grazed Sathariel’s. Hissing the demon flinched away from her. He awoke sprawled face down beside her, a sheet of parchment clinging to his sweaty face.
He shot Alex a suspicious glance as he lurched upright. Alex’s bleary eyes burned in the glare of bright sunlight streaming through the ground-level basement window.
“Shit,” she whispered, grimacing. “What time is it?”
“Good morning to you, too,” Sathariel grumbled. He squinted at his pocket watch. “About a quarter to ten.”
Alex cursed and scrambled to her feet.
“I’m gonna be late,” she blurted, darting for the stairs. “I have to meet Thayne in New Town in an hour.”
“Why’d you do that?” he yawned before she reached the door.
“You know,” he muttered, rubbing the back of his head. “Grab me. When you were sleeping.”
Alex felt hot blood surging into her cheeks and coughed. “I didn’t,” she snapped. “You touched me.”
“I’d never,” he spat.
She fumbled with the door knob as her face burned in the dark. “Whatever,” she huffed. “Deal with your wet dreams on your own. I gotta go.”
“What are wet dreams?” he demanded.
Alex slammed the door behind her without another word. She slumped against it, heart drumming so loud she worried he could hear it echoing through the wood into the basement. Her quick pulse throbbed between her trembling legs.
“Goddamn,” she whispered.
A lot of the things I say would sound terrible out of context. And in context. I’m a nice person really. But only on the outside. Sometimes not even that. I’ve murdered so many people in my head. Including my mother. I don’t hate my mom, but she drove me crazy for a few years, which was a bit like trying to contain a violent alcoholic. Sometimes I exploded and punched a door so hard it fell off the wall. That only happened twice. I feel like I did well.
Then my dad screwed back the door onto the wall without saying a word because he’s a nice guy who understands rage. That sounds horrible but it really isn’t. He’s never violent. When he gets angry, he’s just silent. He doesn’t punch you in the face, but the silence sure as hell makes you feel like he did. You don’t have to apologize, he doesn’t want that shit. You just have to wait between 48 and 72 hours. I’ve got too many memories of those hours. It’s not that there are a lot of them, it’s just that they are the ones that stick with you forever.
When I was about halfway through my teens my mom started to piss me off for seemingly no reason. Let me be clear, my mom wouldn’t be trying to piss me off, although it did feel like that and still does sometimes, but everything she did, regardless of what it was, would piss me off. Questions like “Empty the dishwasher, will you?” and “Could you take out the trash?” would drive me insane.
I was convinced that the way she drank a glass of water, her lips pursed so tight I doubt any water could actually get into her mouth, she did it that way to put me into a fit of rage. Yes, I was fucking insane. I am fucking insane. It still happens, even though I don’t spend much time at home anymore.
It was different with dad. He didn’t piss me off in the same way. Although when it happened, it scared me. He asked me to do something around the house once. The usual red-hot surge of rage I got when mom spoke to me ran through me like fire. But this was dad speaking, then why did this inexplicable rage flow through me? Sure, we had been growing apart for the last two years, but for me to feel the same kind of anger I always associated with mom had never been a part of that.
That moment served as confirmation of what I had always known. It was me. It had always been me. Mom was more or less the same person she always had been. I had changed and I was getting furious for no reason. That’s when I knew that I had to get out, as soon as possible, before things got out of hand. And just such a possibility popped up as I got accepted to go to university in London. If I got the grades I needed, which wasn’t supposed to be too difficult, I would be out of their hair by early fall.
Surprise, surprise, I didn’t get the grades I needed. I thought I had, but I must’ve misunderstood the conditions. The whole thing was quite odd, because the following year when I applied again, I was interviewed over the phone, and then invited to take a test and be interviewed in person. The test was ridiculously easy, and the interview went great. I was in. But for the time being, in the fall of 2012, I had to go with my plan B, which was Stockholm University, which meant I’d be staying at home for another year. I had found out I hadn’t made it into my London university of choice online in my room, and I walked through the living room and into the kitchen to tell mom. She saw how struck down I was.
“Do you need to cry a bit?” She asked.
“I tried, I couldn’t,” I said. This was true, I tried to push out the tears as if I was sitting on the toilet trying to perform a bowel movement, but nothing happened. Mom chuckled. The weird thing was that we were both dreading this. We didn’t know how to be around each other in our own home, and now we had to do exactly that for at least another year.
As I said, I eventually got into the university I wanted. Dad had to be the translator between mom and me when she shared with him just how much I was crushing her will to live. I wasn’t totally against her existence, just a genuine skeptic.
“I just hope that our relationship is something we can save when we don’t have to live together anymore. If that’s not a possibility, then… I’ll guess we will be saying farewell in a year,” I said to dad. He was sitting on the kitchen couch, I was at the table. It was late, the sky outside the windows was pitch black, the windows only serving as a blurry mirror of ourselves as we, as so many times before, tried to salvage what could be saved of the wreckage that was my relationship to my mother.
“How can you think like that!?” He was genuinely shocked.
Oh, I’m sorry that I’m a bit cynical while you are the kind of person who cares for the wellbeing of snails and spiders. He really did. It was incredibly annoying. He couldn’t talk about his feelings, but he also couldn’t step on a spider. I knew how to express my feelings, at least more than he ever could, but I also never ruled out a career as a hitman specializing in brutal murders of small children. My nickname would be “The Dentist” because I would pull their teeth out with a wrench before holding their tiny heads under the surface in a tub of old hobo piss until there were no more bubbles. I’d be wearing gloves, of course, I’m not that disgusting.
“If our lives will be better for both of us if we go our separate ways, then that’s the way it’s going to be.”
“But for Christmas and other holidays, you’re just not going to see each other, or what?”
“Maybe I won’t be home for Christmas.”
“What do you mean?”
“Maybe I’ll be unavailable.”
You mean dead, said the voice.
Yes, that’s what I mean, but I can’t tell him that. That’s like the first rule of being a kid. Being a son 101, Lesson 1: Don’t tell your dad that you’re planning to kill yourself if you don’t succeed at life.
“What, you’re going to be away for every holiday for the rest of our lives?” Dad asked.
“I don’t know, stop pestering me,” I said exasperated, genuinely stumped by this predicament.
After my high school graduation, there was of course the obligatory reception at the house, something I deplored since there would be questions like “What are you gonna do now?” and “Where’s the party tonight?” Questions I had no answers to because I was a fucking loser with no friends. I accidentally threw a drink at dad because I thought my glass was empty when it was actually half full, as a result of which I started looking for the most ideal place to hang a noose because I had seemed to be off my face when I wasn’t.
My cousin brought her boyfriend, they were both a year younger than myself, but somehow had more going on than I did. I got a very nice set of pens and a moleskin notebook from my cousins, Haha, because I’m gonna be a journalist, how applicable, even though everything is done on laptops now, great! Later that night when it was all over, I heard my mother’s footsteps outside my bedroom door, I scrambled to shut down my web browser, not because I was watching porn (Wow, really? Yes, really), but because I didn’t want her to comment on what I was doing, whatever it was. I didn’t want her to comment on anything. I wanted the interaction to be over as soon as possible. She walked in and just stood there for a moment.
“What’s it like writing with the new pen?” I think I may have died a little. Not just a little. A lot. The rage that sentence caused me is indescribable. Fucking homicidal. Well, would you look at that, apparently, I could describe it. I should’ve moved the pen. That way mom wouldn’t have had anything to say about the state of my room since it would have been in the exact same state as the last time she entered it.
She coming into my room to say goodnight had become an elaborate game of find five faults, or any faults at all for that matter. Since her trivial mind couldn’t come up with anything of value to say, she just looked around the room for something to say about it. It drove me fucking insane. This is why I should’ve moved that fucking pen so that we would just have had our mandatory fifteen seconds of silence before she realized that whatever relationship we had was now gone and she fucks off again. I just sat there, waiting for her to leave, frozen. Inside my mind, I was screaming my head off and tearing the walls down.
On the outside, I just sat there, like a fucking statue of rage and fire. It’s not like I didn’t want her to be there, not having a mom when you’re growing up seems awful. I just wanted to kill her and have my mother too. It’s a bit like how everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die. Well, not everyone. I don’t believe in heaven and I actually did want to die.
And of course, suicide bombers want to die as well but those motherfuckers are crazy. And what’s the thing with 72 virgins? If you’re gonna kill yourself, don’t you wanna get 72 women who actually know what they’re doing instead of 72 girls who have never seen a penis before and are kind of scared of it?
Maybe that’s what gets them off?
Scaring girls with their penises?
Yeah, it would make sense since they seem to enjoy scaring people with dynamite strapped to their bellies. Maybe the boom makes them cum?
Mom loved suggesting things she knew I hated whenever I asked what there was to eat.
“How about this cabbage thingy?” Tomatoes were also something she would constantly offer me despite the fact that I had only eaten one in at least a decade. She saw a big red button and decided to stomp on it. I would actually try to eat some of it but couldn’t stop myself from gagging.
She still wouldn’t cut me any slack. I went out for a bit, I needed some air. I came back in, showered, and sat down at my desk. I felt a twinge of hunger. Knowing that I could barely function and never concentrate while being even the tiniest bit hungry, I went out into the kitchen and opened the fridge and stared at its innards, surveying it, trying to find something edible. When I had tried for about half a minute mom finally decided it was time to speak. “I still think that you should try and eat that thing on the stove.” She meant the cabbage. I felt the anger mount in an instant, I closed the fridge door and started walking out the room.
“No don’t go!” I ignored her, kept walking, and sat down in front of my desk again. Mom came shortly after. “Why does it have to be like this? I don’t understand why just a simple issue like food can turn into such a big deal?”
“You know it isn’t the food.”
“Yes, but I still don’t get why you’re like this. I mean you’ve said that you know that you’re a douchebag most of the time, but still, the months go by and nothing changes!” She was crying now. This was the third, or maybe fourth time I had seen my mother cry, but she had never cried like this in front of me before.
This was different. Tears were streaming down her face in a constant flow and she had to grab a napkin from my desk to dry out her now red eyes. “I don’t like being treated like this, it’s not worthy of a human being. I miss you!”
“I don’t understand what you can miss. We’ve never really had anything to lose. You must miss the eight-year-old me, the little boy. Since then, sports have been my life and I was never home because of that. And since I quit, I’ve spent most of my time in here, so we haven’t seen much of each other because of that. But you can’t say that nothing has happened. Our relationship has been crap for over two years, and yes that’s mostly my fault. But in the beginning, I used to shout back at you, call you stupid and shove you out of the way. I don’t do that anymore. I just walk away. That has to be better than downright abuse?”
“Yes, it is, but I wish we could be in the same room together. I miss you, you the person.”
“I still don’t understand, what’s the difference? What can you miss? I mean we exchange a sentence or two every other week, no, it’s more than that, I think we’ve made some progress.”
“But I just want some everyday chit chat, not that we barely talk for two weeks.”
“You know I hate that trivial bullshit.”
“But I don’t know where else to start, to me that everyday chit chat is the lowest of the low when it comes to being with each other. But I’d love to discuss other things with you, less trivial things…” I ignored her last attempt at contact and thought that since I lived on the internet and was actually engaged in the news, and mom wasn’t too well-read, and probably wouldn’t have a clue about anything that I would bring up. And then, when I was being honest with myself, I didn’t see her as all that bright either.
“It’s hard when I get angry so easily, I can’t exactly stop myself from getting angry. I’ve said to myself countless times that, ‘Okay try to be nice now, I’m not going to become angry anymore.’ It never changes anything. It just doesn’t work like that.”
“What happens if you drill in that anger a bit, what happens if you stay in the room and try to come to terms with why you get so angry?” This was the million-dollar-question, a question I didn’t even have a semblance of an answer to, except for that I found her entire demeanor incredibly annoying.
“It just hits you in the face like a brick.”
“What hits you in the face like a brick?”
“The fact that I become so angry so fast and so easily and eventually, I explode and start to alleviate it physically.”
“What does that mean, how does that look?”
“Well, I’ve punched this bedroom door off its hinges twice, I’ve broken the armrest on my couch, but that was because my Xbox didn’t work, then when I try to not brake anything I really just manhandle the pillows on my couch, oh and one time when it was in the middle of the night and I couldn’t make any noise for fear of waking people up, I rocked myself to sleep in the fetal position, arms wrapped around my legs and grinding my teeth. I would’ve cried too, but I wasn’t able to.”
“But why do you get so angry, if you put words to it, what would it sound like?”
I sat quietly staring at the lamppost above the gable on the other end of the house, the only source of light except for the sunlight bouncing off the moon.
“It isn’t easy is it?” she asked. I thought about saying that I was still mad about still being here, about not having gotten away yet, but moving out wasn’t even on the map two years ago when the whole thing started so that didn’t really make sense.
Instead, I said: “What’s scaring me is that it’s not just you anymore, I’ve started to get angry at dad in the same way, while he, years ago, could say pretty much anything and it was okay.”
“He couldn’t say anything, he could still get you sad and angry,” she argued.
“No, not anything, okay, but you know what I mean, it has gotten worse. Now sometimes, very rarely, but still, it has happened that I’ve gotten annoyed with him, in the same way you annoy me. And it scares me because we used to be so close. This might sound odd, but I’m just going to try to explain, wait, not explain, I don’t know, I just mean that I don’t think that you realize that this whole thing is probably worse for me than it is for you. You stand here crying, but being angry isn’t easy either. I hate it. But I can’t stop myself. It depletes me, and I get tired, so, so tired. But what I don’t get is how you can say that months pass and I do nothing to change the situation. What about you? The other day when you wanted to make the dog go after me and I shut the door in your face, you said that I shouldn’t be stupid with the dog, and then I said that it was you who was being stupid, and then you answered with: ‘And that’s how it’s going to stay.’ What the hell does that mean? That you’re going to nag me forever, no matter how angry I get? That you’re going to do nothing, that all responsibility to fix this is on me?”
“No, it was stupid of me to say it like that. But even if you think I’m a fool when I’m being silly with the dog, I’m not going to stop being silly with her. I just don’t know what you want me to be like, what do you want me to do?”
“I don’t know.”
“I love you, you know I do.”
“Mm.” It was the only thing I could get out.
I was about to say it back when I realized I wasn’t sure if I did love her at all. I knew dad loved me. He had never said it, or at least I can’t remember it ever happening. No matter what I did, he was supportive and wanted to be involved in some way. Mom was never like that. She always took a step back. Sure, dad and I had more interests in common which made things a lot easier. We skied together, talked politics and history, and just mucked about.
It was easier to hang out with him. It was easier to talk about feelings till 3 am in the morning with mom, but that wasn’t a thing you could do every week. He always had feedback to give when asked, and sometimes even unprompted. He even found my YouTube channel, without me telling him about it. That bastard googled me. He came with advice on how he thought I could do it better. Sure, that can be annoying too, but at least he took an interest in what I was doing, something mom never did.
She would ask me about what I was doing, whereas dad would find out what I was doing on his own when asking wasn’t yielding satisfactory results because I was a moody teenager. The difference in the amount of effort each put in was staggering. My mom would say that she loved me, whereas my dad would show it. Show don’t tell, is what they say make a good story, isn’t it? I’ve been telling you a lot, so this whole thing must be a pile of garbage by that standard.
Anyway, when I asked dad for help with essays, he went through them three times and asked for newer, better versions as soon he was done poking and prodding. Some might call it intervening and pushing a bit too hard, but I liked that I barely had to ask him to help me with something for him to put his heart into it and push me to do it as well as possible.
He was even up for things that I hadn’t decided that I was going to do yet, things I was just considering, things I was just thinking about, being almost more excited than I was, although that wasn’t saying much. I had never felt that level of support from mom. She was simply not involved in my life, she only wanted to know a thing or two once in a while and seemed to be fine with that.
Until now, when our relationship was gasping for its last breaths, she seemed to be willing to do anything to save it. What made it hard was that I remained skeptical. I didn’t really think that there was anything of value to save.
“What’s the difference between talking to me and talking to dad?” She asked once.
“When I talk to dad, I get something back. If I tell an anecdote about Mitt Romney, I get one back about Richard Nixon. When I talk to you, I get nothing back. You don’t even understand what I’m talking about, and when you start asking questions that are obvious to me, it’s annoying because then I’m lecturing, not talking. It turns into a monologue, not a discussion.”
I don’t remember exactly how the following happened, but I had just made some joke about cooking in the kitchen and got a good laugh, and then mom decided to pitch in and “joke,” it was more like a passive-aggressive charge of misconduct, that she’s the one who always has to do the dishes afterward. I gave up on life within a fraction of a second. She sucks all the joy, all the amusement out of life. She manages to be the happiest person in the family but at the same time the most negative. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.
You know, after a while I had every reason to believe that my mother was as socially inept, if not more so than I was. She didn’t seem to understand that what she was doing was pissing me off, even if it was for exceedingly dumb reasons. Or she just refused to understand or take it into account. She was just as stubborn as I was, but I was an immature boy in my late teens, and she was a woman in her late 40s. It didn’t really add up.
She said once that she didn’t care about how angry I got, that she wasn’t gonna do anything about it. It made me question who she was.
“When you said that you don’t care anymore about how annoyed and angry I get, that you weren’t even gonna try to change anything, I felt like you gave up. You said earlier that you aren’t exactly ‘mom-like’ as a person, and when you said that you didn’t care how hard it is for me to not split open with rage, even though I’ve said, more than once, that it’s 100 percent my fault, I felt like… like you weren’t my mother anymore. Be the grown-up, mom, please. Be the adult. Because right now, I can’t be.” I can’t remember what she said back. Probably because she didn’t say anything back. I mean, what would you say to that, really?
It was the twelfth of October, a year after I had quit all sports. It was the first time dad and I shared a smoke. It was like when he wanted me to drink with him, only a lot less problematic. Clara once said he only offers me beers “because he doesn’t want to be drunk alone,” when the women don’t drink. She is a master at making anyone feel like shit. Just amazing. Not that what she says isn’t true, but she says it with such disgust in her voice, face, and entire being, that you immediately start searching for a place to hang yourself.
She’s probably so good at it because she feels like shit about herself, and so, just like dad not wanting to be drunk alone, she doesn’t want to hate herself alone, she wants everyone around her to hate themselves with her. And she makes it happen. She does it so, so well. I had smoked before, but not with dad. Shortly after I turned 18, I walked up to the grocery store and got some smokes. The cashier asked for my ID. I gave it to her. It took her about four years for her to figure out I was of legal age.
“Ok, so you can buy then.” I hated her for her condescension. I went down to the lake and smoked a few cigars. Well, they weren’t really cigars. They were cigarillos. Dad smoked two brands of cigarillos, cigars the size of cigarettes. Ritmeister and Bellman. When I got home, he could smell it on me. “Have you been smoking?” I could smell it on myself to be honest.
“Yeah.” And that was it. The first time dad and I shared a smoke was in October that same year. We were both slightly drunk, and I had been gone from the world of sports for long enough to ask what I had been wondering for quite some time.
“Hey, when you said you thought I could do well in all those different sports, you were lying right? You did it just to be supportive? I’m not mad or anything, it’s just that looking back, it seems clear that I was never going to make it.”
“Nope, I really did believe you could go all the way.”
“Cool.” I believed him because I wanted to, just like I did back when I was still playing.
I often turned my relationship with my mother into a joke, both because it was a laughable attempt at a mother-son relationship, but also because humor is the only way I know how to deal with the less than amazing things in my life. Many girls have a must-love-mom-policy when it comes to guys, and sure, I love my mom, I think, but at the same time, I want to smash her face in with a frying pan.
We were united only in our inability to live with each other. She drove me insane by being herself and trying to make me a decent human being. There’s no point, it’s a lost cause! Why couldn’t she just be happy with the asshole I am? She actually seems to be happy with the asshole I am, she seems to enjoy my tomfuckery when it’s not directed at her, which it mostly is. Back then, it often felt like my rage connected to her entire being was completely irrational, which in turn drove me even more insane. It was a vicious circle.
After a while, she just laughed when I told her to fuck off. And then she probably cried, but at least she didn’t do that to my face more than a few times. The woman who would come to be my wife said it well: “I think most girls think that if a guy treats their mother well, they will treat them well. But I don’t need you to love your mom, I don’t want you to love me like you would love your mom, that would be creepy as fuck.”
I loved my mom but at the same time, I hated her, because everything she did made me want to crush her face, and then promptly hang myself. And I told her that, which made her laugh and I loved her for that, but then she told me to empty the dishwasher which made me want to kick her in the cunt. It’s not the fact that she told me to empty the dishwasher it’s the way she said it. My mom is loving and dead inside at the same time.
When my sister was in the process of moving out, she cried because her apartment floor was fucked, and mom was equally “Come here” and “Grow up, you whiney bitch.” As a result, I could feel comfortable being extremely harsh to her. Most often she took it in stride. I came into the kitchen for breakfast one morning many years ago, Clara and mom were talking about Clara’s friend Isabella, who was expecting a baby at 23 years of age.
“For some, it just makes sense to be a mom at that age and for her it certainly makes sense. She’s such a mom and always has been, it doesn’t have to apply to everyone, and not everyone wants to be a mom as much as she does.” I laughed, looked at my mother, and said: “No, it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone.” She laughed too and said with an edge: “I love you people.”
It was late one night in the waning days of my unsalvageable basketball career. I was just in my underwear, my laptop already in my bed, it was about to aid me in my attempt to release some stress. You know what I’m talking about, wink, wink, Honka, Honka. I was just about to shut the door, but someone was on the other side, holding it open. I peered around the door.
“You can’t make so much noise,” she said. I had no idea what she was talking about. I had been doing some lunges to deal with my broken knees, but that was it. I wanted to rip out her throat, tear her head off her torso and play soccer with it, but instead, I said: “I couldn’t be quieter!” She looked at me disbelievingly.
“That doesn’t matter,” she said and left the room.
I wanted to scream and shout, break things, murder people, bludgeon them until they were unrecognizable for even their closest friends and loved ones. I wanted to blow up the fucking world. Instead, I let myself fall into my bed, I curled up, put my arms around my legs, and started to rock back and forth in the fetal position. I was so, so, so, so, so angry. And I was so, so, so tired of being angry.
I was lying on the bed, the duvet on the floor, my arms squeezing my legs so hard they were going white. I was trying not to break the world apart. I was failing. The world was breaking, or at least mine was. Or maybe it was my mind that was breaking. Yeah, that was probably it. But my mind was my world, so essentially, the world was in fact breaking. This couldn’t go on. I know lots of people cut their connection with their parents but that’s usually because the parents are cunts.
My parents weren’t cunts. I knew it was me. But I couldn’t handle it. And the anger was taking its toll. Mom ONLY spoke to me when she wanted something done or when she thought she needed to correct me (not once was she correct). Only the response to that shouldn’t be unquenchable tantrums like some common toddler. I hated her, everything she did enraged me and I didn’t know why. I still don’t. There never came an end. Just a different set of circumstances.
There’s a hole in your boxers, one of your balls is hanging out. The voice in the back of my head thought this was a great time to point this out as I lay in bed trying to control my anger. I plopped my ball back into my underwear with my index finger.
Everyone gets angry once in a while.
So, you’re saying that no one has ever killed themselves because they’re a danger to the people around them?
Are you trying to make your own suicide valid?
Isn’t it valid?
It is, I don’t want to be alive anymore.
Lots of people think they want to be alive because they are too stupid to realize that their existence is pointless.
God, you’re an asshole.
After it turned out I hadn’t got into my first choice of university and would be staying at home for another year, I needed a new desk chair. On my way to get it, I crashed the car into a family with two small kids. They were also in a car, fortunately. I rear-ended them going down a hill in the pouring rain.
I slammed the brakes as hard as I could, but it was too late and I slid into them. I stopped to talk to them on the side of the road, but everything seemed fine, they and their kids were all good, and the major damage was made to the front of my parents’ car and not to the back of theirs. One of the most frustrating things about my dad is his mix of overwhelming support and devastating skepticism and how quickly he can switch between them while completely forgetting where his mind was just minutes earlier.
Once I got home and told my parents what happened, mom was mostly concerned with my wellbeing, dad was more concerned with the wellbeing of the vehicle.
“Well at least you’re alright,” she said. Dad was laying on the couch, looking perturbed. His silent disappointment was actively killing me.
“What if something had happened?” Mom carried on trying to figure out what a concerned mother should sound like in real-time.
“Yeah, what if I had killed a baby?” I said to brighten the mood.
“No, I mean, what if something had happened to you.”
“Yeah, that would’ve been preferable.”
“Would you prefer to kill a baby?”
“No, I would prefer to die, rather than killing a baby.”
“You just can’t talk like that,” she said, revealing the limitations of her mind.
“Yeah, you do, don’t you?”
I thought that I would rather die even without killing a baby, but I didn’t say that. I just liked to drop subtle hints to see what happened. They never really responded, they had obviously accepted that I was a bit dead inside. Or they didn’t know how to do deal with it and thought that to do nothing was their best course of action.
Mom would often insist on talking to me, despite my obvious lack of interest. She asked me to change for her, but she never attempted to change for me. When she did try to take an interest in something I was into, she did it in the most inane, most asinine, most idiotic way possible. For instance, during the 2016 election, several times she came into the kitchen saying: “Now I’ve listened to Trump for 20 minutes.” WHO THE FUCK JUST LISTENS TO DONALD TRUMP SPEAK?!?!? Nobody did that, except the people in the arena, and the people unlucky to be stuck at an airport with CNN on their monitors.
But no one sought out his speeches for the sole reason of taking an interest in someone else’s interests. She deplored the man, but thought it would inform her about the American election? What the actual fuck? You listen to some analysis by people who know a thing or two, not just speeches by the most uninformed candidate for president in American political history. They weren’t even speeches, just the ramblings of a madman.
How that could’ve been her best idea of how to inform herself about the American election is beyond me. I guess the reason she tried to keep up with the news in even the stupidest ways was that she tried for a long time to talk to me about everyday things, trivial things. Nothing made me more homicidal than questions about nothing, questions about things that didn’t matter. Once she tried to talk to me about the neighbors. “From what I heard, apparently they had been gone a week…”
So trivial, I thought to myself, trying to make it very obvious that I was reading the paper. She would always interrupt my reading, start to read aloud from her part of the paper, and expect everyone to listen and chime in. In the morning, I’m not human, I can’t be talked to, but she refused to stop. It drove me crazy.
“…and when they got home they found…”
“…a cat in their glassed-in patio…”
“…and apparently the neighbor’s cat had been gone a week…”
No depth, no anything.
“…It was quite upset of course, with no food or water for a week…”
I wonder what it must be like, with a mind that never leaves the surface of human consciousness, which must be brought deeper by something, someone else, which is unable to focus on something remotely relatable to something that actually matters. (God, I was a cunt).
“…that made me think of that time when the cat ran out of our backdoor, we didn’t even know it was in the house, how easy would it be to leave it in there, do you remember?”
“Mm,” She had got me to speak. I had lost.
“Now I shan’t talk anymore so you can get back to your reading,” she got the hint. Finally. Half a second passed. “Did you get wet tonight?”
“But it didn’t rain for very long did it?”
“Because I started mowing the lawn yesterday, but I only did the corner because then the neighbors across the meadow came out to eat dinner and I thought that they shouldn’t have to listen to that. So I went and did some things inside but then when I came out again, it was so late that I thought that I have to get to work and get those things I needed printed out and when I got back the time was much too late to mow the lawn. And then I heard it started raining and I thought oh no, but it didn’t seem to have been that much. What about you? You were writing before, what was that?”
“Nothing special.” (It was this.)
“Oh come on, give me something.”
“Nah, it was nothing.”
“I assume you are planning to put back those jars in the kitchen.”
“Give me a question you want to answer.” Now she was asking me to annoy myself for her. The nerve.
Does she feel she need to share everything in her tiny brain, even when it has no substance at all, which is all the time. Why does she keep talking about complete bullcrap when I make it so obvious that I’m not interested? And why do I keep coming to her, when every time I don’t want to talk, she bores me with long speeches for stupid people, and when I actually want to ask her something, I only get answers I don’t want.
Why does she insist on trying to build a relationship that can never exist? We’re on two different levels, it’s never going to work. We have great talks sometimes, mostly because I do most of the talking but also because they have substance. And who brings that substance? I do. Every. Single. Time. She contributes, yes, but I’m always the initiator of the talks that actually take us somewhere. Is this what ordinary people talk about?
Cats, and grass cutting, and rain’s effects on grass cutting? It doesn’t surprise me that I don’t want that. What does surprise me is how many people can stand it. Including my parents. How do they live their lives without going insane from the realization of failure? How does a normal mind work? Do they even have these thoughts? Or anything close to it? Am I alone in a sea of idiots?
There are clever people in this world, I’ve met a few of them, do they have these kinds of thoughts? Take GYLC-André for example. He doesn’t strive to reach the top, he strives for everyone to reach the top. What the fuck is that? Communism. And he has never even dreamt about becoming prime minister or anything like that, he doesn’t even see himself in that kind of a position. Am I the only one who aims impossibly high and then just goes for it? I can’t be.
Mom came out of the bath once with a thought that blew my mind, since it was nothing, but it was presented as something. The meaninglessness was taken to a new level.
“When you lie there philosophizing, I had a thought, how do you clean under the bathtub?” She said to the room at large. We had one of those all-encompassing bathtubs with no clear way to reach under it. Seriously, that’s what you think about? She kinda outdoes herself when it comes to trivial thoughts, and that wasn’t even a good trivial thought. Not exactly hard to come up with. Even so, it took her a while to do it.
I don’t even have to be a part of a trivial conversation for it to drive me crazy.
“Guess what I found under the tub? First, I just saw a leaf, then it became a leaf with a shell on it. Turns out it was a snail. Apparently, it got stuck under there.”
“Poor thing,” dad said. In that moment I hated how gentle and caring he was. He always picked up spiders with a glass and paper and let it go outside. JUST KILL IT! How that gentle fuck raised what has become the person I am is beyond me.
One evening I was cooking for myself for once, mom decided it was a great idea to come and stand right next to me, breathing over my shoulder.
“Make sure you don’t spill anything on the stove.”
“Make sure it doesn’t get burnt.”
“You really should use a different spatula.”
“This frying pan is fragile, remember that.”
“Make sure you remember to clean up when you’re done.”
I picked up the heavy frying pan with both hands and took a swing. The food went everywhere, as did her face. One swing. That was all it took. One swing and she was gone. She must have disappeared on impact because once she hit the floor, her body was limp. There was nothing left. Her face wasn’t deformed really, but a pool of blood was forming around her head. I leaned against the counter. I wasn’t freaking out or panicking, I may just have killed my mother, but I knew everything I was going to be okay.
Well, that was graphic.
I blame society.
Of course, you do.
And those bloody video games.
Hey, I play those.
But I play them so rarely and I suck so hard they can hardly be blamed.
Shouldn’t you clean that up? The blood and the body?
No, this isn’t real remember?
Oh yeah, this is the inside of your head innit?
How do ya like it in here?
There’s an extreme lack of realism.
That’s the point of being in here, isn’t it? I thought. The voice chuckled.
I guess so. I like it. Admittedly it’s a bit violent and bloody, but apart from that, it’s really quite nice.
Hey, thanks. Are you enjoying the raw cynicism?
Ah yes, that’s one of the best parts.
But you do know of course that if you actually kill your own mom, you will have to kill yourself too, right?
Yes of course, who kills their own mom without killing themselves afterward?
Lots of people.
Well, that’s just rude.
Very. It’s very rude. People have no manners, it’s disgusting.
You do know that I’m just the voice in the back of your head, right? You do know that we’re actually the same person? Are you doing okay?
I’m having a bad day.
Why do you even want to kill her?
Because she’s driving me insane.
Why don’t you just leave?
This is my home.
Why does that matter?
It’s where I have my life.
You don’t have a life! If you left, what would you leave behind!? You have no friends, no girlfriend, you hate your mother for no reason, and the only job prospects you have are on the other side of the fucking planet! Do it sooner rather than later, when you graduate make sure you get out of here as soon as you can.
I can’t just go.
Let me ask you this, are you happy here?
Then what the hell do you have to lose!? Just go!
Fantasizing about different ways to steal the life of your own mother really makes you question your own sanity. Sure, some people deserve to die. But I just need to make it clear that my mother does not belong on that list. I would fit in so much better.
I’ve had enough of these fucking hallucinations.
They’re not hallucinations, they’re daydreams, I control them, they are an escape, an outlet.
So you’re saying that if you daydream about beating your mom to death, then you won’t actually beat her to death?
Pretty much. It serves as some kind of relief.
Seems to be working fine so far.
We’re all alive, aren’t we?
Good enough, I guess.
The great relief in all this is of course that nothing happens when you die. It’s like hitting a dog with your car. The dog doesn’t go to doggy heaven. It gets dragged off the road and thrown in a dumpster. Humans get put in nice coffins only because we’re so fucking self-important. No one goes to heaven. No one lives on. We just fucking die. I’ll just fucking die. God I can’t wait.
Am I insane? I’ll let you be the judge. But then again some of the things I hear teenage boys say to their mothers are just horrible. Maybe I’m not so bad after all. Although, while some look forward to go home to see their parents, the more time I spend away from home the less I want to return. I can feel us drifting apart.
One Christmas, mom gave me a framed embroidery that she had made. It said, “You can take my life, but not my lack of enthusiasm.” I asked her what she meant by it. She said she didn’t know, that she just liked the quote. Classic dumbass. Or not. Maybe she just figured out that I often fantasize about taking her life. Apparently, I can have it then. That’s an odd invitation from such a happy person. I feel like she’s always judging me. I feel like she has a negative attitude towards who I am as a human being. She has no sense of humor.
Every joke I dare to make is received badly. Hers are so fucking stupid, just their mere existence makes me want to set myself on fire and give her a great, big, long hug. The room goes cold when she enters it. She’s the fucking ice queen. Maybe it’s not all my fault after all. If she misses me so much why does she treat me with such disdain when I finally come home. If my jokes aren’t funny if who I am isn’t good enough, then why the living fuck does she even fucking care???
It’s like when a person who isn’t comfortable around dogs enters a room with a dog in it, and it makes the dog uncomfortable as well because WHY IS THIS HUMAN ACTING SO FUCKING WEIRD?! I’m the dog in this analogy because she seems perfectly happy being herself around me while I’m too scared of her to say anything. That’s one of my new theories. That it’s fear. That I’m scared of her.
When she’s in the room, I can’t relax until she leaves. She makes me anxious, I’m suspended in this weird super silent state until she goes. It’s fucking horrible. For a long time, I thought it was all my fault. I’m starting to think that was never the case.
There were numerous times when all I wanted to do was to go on a murder-suicide rampage and end it all. There were numerous times that I just felt like I wanna kill her, I wanna kill her so bad. I wanna bash her face in with a bat, it would feel soooo good, you have no idea. But instead, I just have to keep it in. I have to restrain myself. And it’s fucking killing me.
If you’re gonna kill yourself you might as well let your mom live.
Don’t you think she would be sad?
That I’m dead?
A bit. Maybe.
I felt like she was childish sometimes, my mom. When she asked me to clear the table once, and I continued sitting for about five seconds, dad got up and started to pick up plates and pans. She pulled his chair out. He had been on his feet for a full four seconds. “Here, sit, please,” she said. She didn’t want to have some discussion or anything. She was asking him to sit back down because she was so intent on having me do it. It drove me fucking crazy.
“I’d rather be on my feet,” he said. He had a bad butt. That’s right, not a bad back, a bad butt from falling down a ladder in an old house many years ago. The same thing happened often when her mother was around. Grandma couldn’t stop herself, so when mom asked me to do something, if I wasn’t doing it within one-tenth of a second, grandma was already doing it. One dinner, where nothing of value was being discussed and my mind was running wild with how much I hated it, grandma told me I had to learn how to talk about nothing. I guess she was right, but at the time, even that was annoying.
About six months before I thought I was moving to London the first time, I walked back up to my old school to see Veronika. I was eighteen years old, and I hadn’t seen her in years. I walked in, and after 2 minutes of walking through the corridors which had once upon a time laid the foundations of the horrible piece of shit I was going to become, I had found her classroom. It was dark. They were watching a movie. Something about nature and animals.
She stood next to the screen the film was projected on, and before she sat down, I was able to wave to her. She saw me and came out. “Am I supposed to know you?” She asked. My heart jumped. Didn’t she recognize me? Had it been that long since we last saw each other? When was it? I racked my brain for the moment I knew I had somewhere in there. A parking lot down in the town center. It was a Saturday. I had come directly from a game of some sort. Probably hockey. I was wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt which means it was late spring/early summer. Pretty late for hockey.
It was probably one of those games you play just before they turn off the air conditioning and let the ice melt for the summer. I hadn’t said much. I was with dad and they had talked adult to adult. Even though I almost talked adult to adult to both of them at the age of seven and a half and onwards. At least when I was alone with them. But now their collected age became more of a distance between us. It was slightly formal, even though we were all going shopping in very relaxed attire. We had said “Hi” and said a few meaningless words about the fact that it was Saturday and on Saturday you eat candy and that’s nice. Very basic stuff. The meaning wasn’t in the words, it was in the eyes. She was happy to see me, you could see it.
“Oscar, oh hi!” It had taken her an extra nano-second to realize who I was. Her face lit up. I wondered if the shock of her not recognizing me had registered on my face. I hoped not. We hugged for what felt like a long time. It was now the winter of 2012, I was wearing a big coat and a scarf. I probably looked like an adult. We started talking before we parted. I let her be the one who broke it. We talked for as much time as she had to give in the middle of a workday. She let the class work on computers for the next period, I don’t know if that was planned, or if she did that so she could talk to me.
She told me about my old classmates. Apparently, the class had been split up as they went on to Ängaskog, the school about a mile away, and the magic had disappeared. They weren’t the golden kids anymore. They were just the annoying shitbirds I had always known them to be. Christian and Lukas still visited her sometimes. One of the girls had become a punk rocker with black leather, studs, pale makeup, and black eyelids. This is insane because the last time I saw her she was wearing pink sweatpants.
My parents have never been what you would call coddling. I once tried to explain my food vs. working out theory, which basically lauded working your butt off and eating whatever you want. This of course makes no actual sense since what you eat matters so much more than how much you work out. But my mom’s only response to this theory was “Mmhmm.” She didn’t tell me I was fat, she just went “Mmhmm” with as much skepticism and disdain as she could possibly muster.
I’ve been gaining and losing weight intermittently for a few years now. During one of my fatter phases, mom told me about this new diet she had been learning about. She was obsessed with it. It was like it was her job. The problem of communicating with older people is that they forget things that they have said and then they get angry when you bring it up. This was one of those occasions. Months earlier, mom had dismissed my claim that after eating a shitload of pasta, I felt hungrier than I did before eating. She scoffed and thought I was being fat and silly.
Fast-forward to a mom obsessed with the Low Carb High Fat diet and she completely accepts my claim, and when I bring up the fact that she scoffed at me last time, says she doesn’t remember doing that. They’re so sure they’re right too. Dad became infamous in my mind for being excited about an idea one day, and wanting to have nothing to do with it the next day. He would become angry when I talked back to him as well. His complete lack of memory of the things he himself had said just days earlier was infuriating. But he could be funny.
“Mom has me on this new diet. She thinks am fat,” I told him.
“No, it’s just…” Mom started but was cut off.
“You’re not just fat, you’re ugly too,” he said. Bastard’s funny. The diet had increased my consumption of bacon by every available percent. The kitchen was filled with the smoke from the bacon in the frying pan.
“Oh, it’s oozing!” Mom complained as she walked into the kitchen. She couldn’t walk into the kitchen without complaining. I’m pretty sure she would die if she tried. Dad, sniffing his own armpit, said “Yeah, it’s the musky scent of man.” I should at least acknowledge that if my mom had tried to make these same jokes, they wouldn’t be received in the same way but she has zero comic timing and no sense of humor so they would probably be delivered with an air of genuine grievance rather than with my dad’s genuine joy from gleaming the slightest chuckle from someone.
I freely admit that I have some mommy issues. It’s the weird, unsexy version of a girl’s daddy issues. Not that daddy issues are universally sexy, just to people with applicable fetishes. One day, I grabbed my laptop and went into the kitchen to do some writing. Mom was already sitting in the kitchen, working on her laptop, which of course put a lump in my stomach, but there you are.
She became really excited about the fact that we were writing at the same table, laptop to laptop. She stood up and insisted to take a picture just because our two computers were opposite each other on the kitchen table. I started to leave because the excitement about this trivial meaninglessness made me murderous. She immediately started arguing, and I put my computer down and let her take the fucking picture, but I wouldn’t be in it, that was too much. I mean how is this worth taking a picture of? Is her mind really that limited to arbitrary bullshit that two laptops with the backs to each other make her go “Well holy fuck, I need myself a picture of that!” It drove me insane and I wanted no part in her trivial bullshit.
“It’s your turn to clean the bathroom,” she told me. There was no such thing as “your turn,” it was my turn whenever she felt like ruining my day. It wasn’t that she asked me to do it. It was the way she asked, and that she asked at all which drove me insane. Of course it shouldn’t, but you know I can’t help myself.
“Fuck off,” I said grumpily but then I chuckled as I saw the smile on her face. “I love you,” I said. She looked at me questioningly, because I never said that. No, you don’t get it, I NEVER said that. I don’t know what it was if I was drunk or tired or what. “It’s just that I really like how we can talk to each other this way. When I see how others act with their families, it’s just weird, how polite some are, and how others are complete assholes. Of course, I’m often the biggest asshole of them all.”
“Yeah but I know why, so it’s cool,” she said.
“So, if we hadn’t talked about it, it would’ve been different?”
“Of course, that would’ve been horrible. No, it’s fine just as long as we have these talks once in a while.”
I realized that the anger wasn’t normal. Since I was a dick to her, she would think I was an overall dick, like a complete asshole to everyone around me all the time. I remember when I had a summer job at the cemetery at the church she worked at. She asked the new janitor where I was.
“He’s tall, a bit quiet.” She described me the way she thought I actually was. You know, a bit of a dick. It took a couple of seconds for the janitor to get it.
“Oh him, he’s so nice and hilarious, and he works hard too.” Mom wasn’t sure they were talking about the same person.
“Were you able to talk to him without him trying to stare you to death? Yes? No, that’s not my kid.”
Working at the cemetery definitely was a bit odd. There was one time when one of the priests needed help getting one of the heavy, wheelchaired ladies who came for pastries and coffee (Have you ever heard of fika? Of course you have, you’re not an uncultured swine) up a ramp and through a door.
After I had pushed the heavy lady through the door, I asked “So is there anything else?”
“No, but thank you,” the priest said quietly. His eyes screamed, “Thank you for defusing this awkward situation.” She had been coming every Tuesday for weeks if not months, how can this still make you uncomfortable? Don’t be embarrassed about asking me to get the heavy lady in the door. If you need me to get the heavy lady in the door, I will get the heavy lady in the door.
There’s nothing embarrassing or weird about this situation. She knows she’s a heavy lady. We know she’s a heavy lady. Everybody knows she’s a heavy lady. Be cool. She’s on wheels which makes her less heavy. Everything is fine. Breathe. The heavy lady was like “Yeah! Push harder bitches!” She wasn’t apologetic at all. Damn right. She’s gonna die soon anyway, so why would she apologize for her existence?
Next to the garage for the tractor, lawnmowers, and tools, there was another garage with dead people in it. In coffins, I should say. It was a giant fridge for corpses in wooden boxes. On Fridays, we used to have a little barbecue and one time there was one sad sausage leftover. I said that we should go into the room filled with dead people and put the burned sausage between someone’s legs. To me, that’s a funny joke, but to everyone else, it meant that I was sick in the head. What’s not funny about a charcoaled sausage between the legs of a dead person?
So, where were we? Oh yeah, my brilliant mom who I hated with a burning ferocity because she told me to pick up my clothes that she had laundered for me. What a bitch! The conundrum was that I wanted to release all my anger and aggression upon her, but I still wanted her to be there afterward. You know… like a fucking mom. The kind of mom who still loves her kid after they commit triple murder in a bush in Arizona.
That’s gonna be hard if you kill her. And her bush.
You don’t say.
Sometimes it felt like she didn’t even try though.
“You know that everything you do annoys me to no end, but it’s not like you try to make it easier for me or anything. I struggle with this every day and you just go along as if nothing has happened. I know you guys have tolerated more shit from me than you usually do for these last couple of years because I’ve had a rough time at school, but please don’t think I’m like this. Don’t take this the wrong way, although I can’t see how you’re not going to, but you bring it out of me. I’m not a horrible person, well I am a little bit, I can be. Still, I’m nice, funny, clever, witty. In short, a somewhat okay person.
Sadly, it often seems to me that I’m the only one who knows that person. And Veronika, she saw that in me, I don’t really know how, but she did, somehow. She saw through the jerk I often am outwards.”
“I do think you’re a brilliant person, you know I do,” she said. I wanted to say “I don’t believe you.” But instead, I just left.
As I turned the corner of the kitchen, I saw that she was crying ever so slightly. I felt like I should apologize but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it because even though I had hurt her, I didn’t think her feelings were valid, like the asshole that I was.
When you whisper ‘you too’ back to her when she says ‘I love you’, are you lying?
I think so, at least some of the time.
I’d suggest you keep that up.
What the fuck do you mean, ‘Why?’ Lying is awesome, it creates an alternative reality where you’re seen in a different light, and trust me, you need to be seen in a different light.
So, let me ask you right now then, do you love your mom?
…I don’t know… I don’t think so… maybe.
Do you love your dad?
What’s the difference?
Has your dad ever told you he loves you?
Have you ever told him you love him?
That’s not how it works.
How what works?
Humans with penises. When my mom would tell me that she loved me, I would call her a liar. That way, I didn’t have to say it back. It was easier that way.
Most Swedes count themselves lucky to be Swedes. We love America, but we wouldn’t want to be Americans. It all just seems a bit mad. We gladly welcome the cultural imperialism but remain incredulous at the politics and its underlying values. Mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was about 15.
They cut out a bit of her colon, and now she has a scar down her stomach. It looks as if she has had a C-section. Which she didn’t have when I was born, but she should’ve, because I ruined her down there. I tore her nether regions apart, and there was nothing she could do about it. Now she pees her pants every other day because there are no muscles left to stop the flow, I took those with me on my way out.
“Oh, you want your cervix back? Ha! No, fuck you mom,” is what I imagine I said as I careened out of that womb two weeks past my due date like thick, gooey milk. Every time she gets inside the door of the house after being anywhere, she bends over because if she doesn’t, she’s gonna piss herself. And when she stands there, she looks at me and goes “You fat son of a bitch.” Yes, mom, I am your son, very well spotted.
The point I’m making is that it’s expensive to be ill in America. My parent’s response to my mom having cancer was to buy another house. In the US, if you get cancer and at the same time you decide to buy another house, you would have to be a billionaire. But my parents are perfectly ordinary middle-class people.
As my mom got cancer, my dad thought it would be a great idea not only to buy another house but better yet, to take out another loan to buy another house. This was perfectly fine, as at least to my rudimentary understanding of our personal finances at the time, my mom’s illness was dealt with swiftly and we incurred almost no economic damage.
This chapter includes just a few examples but it represents the entire clusterfuck that is my relationship with my mother. One day, I told my dad that I had a contact in the US who could get me some meetings with news directors and maybe get me a job. She decides to tell me that she read in the newspaper that day that Swedes have to fight misinformation in the US, that some Americans think that some areas are being “taken over” by Muslims where no non-Muslims go.
Sure, some Americans do believe that, but it’s far from everyone and not anyone I would ever bump into. You have to search far and wide for those people. But it’s so typical of my mom. She tries to make a joke, but she’s always so fucking negative, she sucks the joy out of anything, like a dementor on speed. Just as I was about to go to the states for three months in the fall of 2017, mom, Clara and I hung out at Clara’s apartment. There was alcohol which led to mom and I discussing our relationship, with Clara looking on as if she was watching an especially gruesome car crash.
“The way you act towards me makes me feel like you want our interactions to be bad, to be uncomfortable,” I told her. I saw tears welling up in her eyes, and for the first time in my life, it felt good to make someone cry. It was like a weight being lifted from my shoulders, that the words I had been saying for years finally had some real effect on her like she was finally listening.
She would of course say that she had always been listening, she just didn’t know how to handle it. But to the 18-year-old who confesses to their mother that they want to die and only gets back a “No, you don’t,” it certainly felt like she wasn’t listening and that I wasn’t being taken seriously.
She seemed to have taken my rooftop escapade when I was twelve more seriously than me literally saying the words “I want to die” as an 18-year-old when you’re arguably more able to accurately assess your emotional state than when you are twelve. I tried to explain to her, and for the first time, I think she understood, that it bothered me that she was trying to have more of a relationship with me now when it was dad who had put his time and effort into being with me growing up.
In many ways, he raised me and she worked late. She got home late at night and I got used to, and accepted, having a mother I didn’t really get on with, or know or understand fully, despite the fact that we grew up in the same house. The relationship I had with my parents was incredibly lopsided. She called me after about a week in the states and apologized for her shortcomings as a mother, for letting dad raise me and being fine with that, to summarize. I more than accepted her apology, I didn’t even expect or want one in the first place.
I didn’t put all the blame on her, but I think I’m grown up enough now to know that this is what our relationship is going to be, and quite frankly, I’ve seen so many utterly broken mother-son relationships which make me think that under the circumstances, it could’ve been a lot worse.
Just before I graduated high school, I was asked by the teacher in charge of my class if I wanted to go to this thing called the Global Young Leaders Conference. It was a conference bringing together outstanding high school students, from all over the world to discuss international relations and politics.
You could choose from three different locations, America, Europe, or Asia, basically, the three continents that matter if you allow yourself to be cynical, rude, and a bit racist. Having recently grown steadily more and more obsessed with American politics as the 2012 Republican primary was wrapping up and Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama was about to accept the nominations of their respective parties, I of course chose the conference taking place in Washington DC and New York City. It was a no-brainer.
I had to talk about it with my parents because it did cost a lot of money and my school would only fund a small part of it. But it looked like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and my parents are great even if I can’t see it, so they were in. At my high school graduation, I got a scholarship for 5000 Swedish crowns for the trip, which was less than a thousand dollars, but still not nothing.
My English teacher Caitlin, an American ex-pat, also gave me a guide to London as at this time I was sure I was going there for university in a few months’ time. We were quite close, Caitlin and I. I had liked my previous English teacher as well, I had asked to be in her group for the last level of English, but alas she didn’t teach that module. But I got Caitlin and was happy about that.
She had hugged me when I told her I most certainly had got into university in London. She said she liked the casual relationships she could have with students in Sweden. She told me that in the US, hugging a student would have been very inappropriate. I dunno what part of the US she was from but they all need to remove the very large stick that is evidently stuck very far up their asses.
Closer to the time of departure, I thought I had mixed up the flight date which had startled me a bit, I had thought for a second that I was going to miss the pick-up arrival slot and not get there at all. I didn’t think I was nervous, but my heart had fallen at that moment, which was strange if I was so fucking cool about everything.
I was sitting in front of my computer, intending to do the same last-minute checks I had already done a hundred times, but instead scrolling through my Tumblr dashboard, which for the moment was a bit too porn-filled for my liking. Tumblr wasn’t my main source for porn. I had Tumblr up quite often, so I didn’t want to have a dashboard filled with things that I didn’t want my parents, or anyone else for that matter, to see.
If I felt like jacking off, I didn’t go to Tumblr unless I was in the mood for a story instead of the more graphic alternatives of the webs quite extensive array of free porn sites. I just managed to scroll past some nastiness as my sister stepped into the room.
“Hey!” She said with an expectant smile.
“So, are you excited?!” she asked jumping up and down and clapping her hands together.
“Not really,” I said but not managing to hide the smile her childishness put on my face.
“Why not?” She countered, sounding disappointed, but not as ball-busting as usual.
“I’m not the kind of the person who gets very excited about things, you know I’m not.”
“Yeah I know, but this is big.”
“Yeah, yeah, it is, but it’s still kind of a ‘meh’.”
“Yeah, I am.”
“Anyway, you’re leaving so early tomorrow that this is probably the last time I’ll see you before you go. So, you know, bye.” She said, standing there waving with her hand cupped like a queen even though she was only three feet away from me.
I could tell she wanted something more, and so did I, so I stood up and hugged her. It was still a bit weird, hugging her, we had only started hanging out about a year and a half ago at this time.
“So, are you at least a bit nervous?” She asked when we broke apart.
“Nothing that I can feel.”
“Really, you’re not nervous?”
“Really.” With a scoff and a laugh, she left the room. I had no idea how I couldn’t have felt it earlier.
But obviously, I was nervous because when the alarm rang at 4:30 the next morning I had gotten about 90 minutes of sleep. I got up nonetheless, moving solely on something remotely relatable to adrenalin, something I usually didn’t vibe on. Dad was already in the kitchen.
“Hey there!” I gave my usual I’m-incapable-of-talking-right-now-grunt and proceeded to shovel down some yogurt and berries. This was the diet version of my breakfast, as my mom was pushing me to eat healthier, not having learned the quite obvious lesson that the best diet is not a diet, but a lifestyle change you can live with. Yogurt and berries were not things I could live with.
Getting up and getting everything in order took its time, so when I was eating breakfast, dad was looking pretty grumpy, but after countless mistakes, I had finally learned to ignore this. When mom buzzed around in the mornings it was different. It was like she felt more like a mom in the mornings. She didn’t make me breakfast without at the very least making me feel a bit guilty about it, and then she made me something obnoxiously healthy like oatmeal porridge with shredded apple. I mean if I’m eating oatmeal, at the very least I deserve some fucking jam.
Before I went, I had to call the GYLC office for some administrative questions. I introduced myself but the first thing they asked me was whose parent I was. I said I was my own parent as a joke but I don’t think they managed to grasp the possibility of a student making the calls themselves because, at the end of the call, the woman said “well, we look forward to seeing your son Mr. Blomqvist, he must be a very bright young man.”
No, he’s an idiot, I responded in my head.
I rarely get excited about things. Whenever something positive happens to me, I just seem to not give a shit. When I was about to go to New York and Washington DC for the first time, my sister seemed to be more excited than I was. And when I got there, you pretty much realize that, yeah it looks exactly like in the pictures. What do you expect when you go to Times Square, you expect to see a lot of billboards and creepy people in costumes.
And guess what? That’s exactly what it is, there really are lots of billboards and creepy people in costumes. I took a picture with a man dressed up as Edward Scissorhands without really wanting to and paid him two dollars for it. I didn’t know you had to pay. I couldn’t imagine that’s how some people make a living. I thought they all did it for fun or something. In the picture no one but me has ever seen, he looks at me like he thinks I’m scum, a fucking idiot.
I still don’t really understand tipping culture, it makes no sense to me at all. Just tell me what the price is, don’t ask me to make it up! So, Times Square didn’t disappoint. It was just like it was supposed to be. Which makes it so fucking boring. It was the same thing with London. I went to have a look at Buckingham Palace.
It looked strangely like a place where a queen would live, and did you know it, they’re fucking is a queen living there, holy crap! I also walked past the Houses of Parliament and it was uncanny how it looked exactly like that building I’ve seen a thousand times before. It was becoming increasingly obvious that my brain was not predisposed to amazement.
Dad left me at the airport as the sun was rising. We hugged. It wasn’t a big deal, I was only going to be gone for two weeks. Not that our goodbyes were any different when I would leave the country without knowing when we would see each other again. Always the same awkward, one-armed hug. I flew to London, switched planes at Heathrow, and landed in Washington before noon local time. I found the GYLC people pretty quickly and started talking to some Danish people.
We spoke in English because while I can understand a bit of Danish, it is a garbage language. It sounds like they have taken Swedish and Norwegian, shoved it in a blender, tried to drink it but they’re continually about to hurl. They don’t speak the language, they vomit it. The man in charge of getting us to the hotel where the conference was being held was cheerful for no reason, the quintessential stereotype of an overly social American.
It was hot too, we Scandinavians felt like we had suddenly become Satan’s dingleberries, fighting for dear life to hang onto his steaming butt hairs. I found a fellow Swede on the bus, and we amazed the crowd by speaking another language, they all seemed to have forgotten that they were bilingual too. He turned out to be from basically the same place as me, just another, fancier, suburb north of Stockholm, which was interesting because of its sheer unlikeliness.
Maybe Sweden is an even smaller country than I think it is. Although to get selected for something like this, I would assume that it’s mandatory that you’re from a somewhat wealthy Stockholm suburb. It’s not like we’re immune to discrimination and favoritism. When we got to the hotel, we were sorted into different countries.
No matter how much I would have liked there to have been a sorting ceremony with a hat that told you in what UN country you truly belong, alas, I think it was just alphabetical order, with a pool of students from each country being represented in each UN simulation country. I ended up in France, most likely for my love of baguettes and thinking I’m better than everybody else. The Swede I had spoken to on the bus was sorted into another country and that was essentially the last time I saw him.
Luckily for me, there was another Swede who had been sorted into France. I was a bit surprised when he first saw my name tag and the little line that said “Domsdal Gymnasium, Sweden” and started speaking Swedish to me with an accent from southern Sweden. You see, his name tag said he was from the Netherlands. His father was apparently some big shot at IKEA working all over the place, for the moment in the Netherlands. The name of the son of the IKEA-boss that I had just encountered was André Andersson, a very Swedish name so I never really thought he was Dutch.
We discussed accents, how we ended up here and quickly took a liking to each other. Other people sorted into France included Finley, the Canadian ballet dancer who I would come to bore with hockey stories because I’m severely socially inept and does not know how to carry on a normal conversation I’m not interested in, such as a conversation about, oh I dunno, ballet? There was Dax, the only American in the group, and seemingly the only American at the conference as all other Americans invited to take part would have taken the chance to go abroad to either Asia or Europe. Dax was about as American as you could get. Loafers, chino shorts, polo shirt, and braces (apparently all Americans get braces if they can afford it, even if they don’t need it, to get the straightest teeth possible, what a vain crowd eh? The only reason I got em’ is because my jaw would fuck me up at around 30 if I didn’t get them when I was about 11).
Dax would eat cheese on crackers without getting obese but he still looked like a deformed potato. And he didn’t seem like the kind of guy a school would nominate to go to represent them at a huge, international conference for international high school scholars. If he was the smartest kid in his high school back home in Alabama or whatever hellhole he crawled out of, then I must conclude that it must be a strongly followed tradition in the American South for expectant mothers to drink, smoke, and practice kickboxing during their pregnancies.
He was probably the most quoted person there for his saying: “I’m not an American, I’m a Dax.” There was a girl from Ghana who didn’t talk much, there was a girl from Tanzania who talked too much, the attractive Asian girl who thought she was intelligent but wasn’t, but could hide behind the fact that she was attractive since when she spoke, all the guys had an excuse to stare at her but not actually listen to what she had to say.
Once you had finished suppressing the boner in your suit pants (oh yeah, we had to wear suits in the crushing heat the entire time), you realized that what she had to say was devoid of all reason and logic. But her skirt was short and her cleavage deep, so it wasn’t like anyone wanted her to go away. And of course, there were a couple of hot underage Australian girls who liked to take up more space than they could handle and wear tight dresses and then sit down on the floor making it impossible not to stare at their crotch.
Come on, I was 18 years old and at the peak of my sexual frustration and all the girls were wearing short, tight dresses, I mean what the fuck was I supposed to do? Look them in the eye the entire time? Fuck. Off. Also, I was 18 and by underage, I mean they were 17, so don’t look at me like I’m some pedophile. Then of course there was the Danish girl. She was tall, blonde (at least at the time), had great assets, her smile made her look a bit dim, but that was it. She was the hottest of them all, but she went over the line with all her makeup and she became fake and Barbie doll looking, but she was at that level of perfection.
I of course have always enjoyed looking at perfect, but have remained cautious and suspicious in terms of approaching it. I mean her eyebrows were painted on, I doubt she realized that the societal stereotype “girls aren’t supposed to have facial hair” referred to hair on her chin, not hair above her eyes. She looked like someone who had taken the Brazilian wax to a new level. She too would be one of those girls from which it would be difficult to tear away your gaze, making the thirteen days hard both in terms of trying not to seem like a creep and in a very literal sense.
The week in DC went by relatively quickly, we went to the state department to talk to Eliza Steinberg about Jews (yes her name really was that Jewish), more specifically how anti-Semitism is still being taught in schools in a lot of places. It stunned me. We went to a lecture with Dr. Scott King from American University who talked about multi-culturalism and how when his family gets together it’s like the United Nations. Lols. Professors’ are rarely funny.
We visited the Czech embassy, every monument under the sky, and held model-UN sessions in the Hilton Hotel’s grand hall. There were team-building exercises, during which I got a headache, so I told our team leader, Private Feeble with a past in the air force, that I just needed to go to my room and take a painkiller. He said sure, but don’t tell anyone else.
Apparently, the policy was that they had to accompany us to the sick room and for us to have a lie down in the presence of a staff member. And any pills I would take I assume would have to be checked a thousand times. This was my first face-to-face encounter with the extreme, uniquely American, fear of being sued.
I guess there was a slight possibility that I would go to my room and overdose on methamphetamine and then the conference would be responsible for my death, except they wouldn’t, I would be. But of course, they couldn’t take that risk. The tall Danish girl played basketball as I did, and during our days in DC and New York, she seemed to take a liking to me. The team exercise had been dubbed “The GYLC Olympics,” which was about as cheesy and dumb as it sounds. One of the “events” was basketball if you can call throwing a physical therapy ball into a plastic box on the floor, basketball. You can’t.
As Molly the Dane and I had played basketball, the pressure was on. Molly even pretended to cry into my shirt, either as a joke or to flirt, something which at the time I didn’t dare to believe. Pretending to cry into my shirt was a weird way of doing things, but hey she was hot so it worked. Sidenote, the real deal is of course that if you’re ugly, that’s just disgusting. I know I’m not one to talk, but shut up. Society is disgusting and you know it. I could never write this story without being awful, the entire thing would just fall flat on its face. I’d have to lie so, so much. I’m an ass, I admit it.
On the last day in Washington, we went to the Holocaust museum. We were walking incredibly slowly and I was bored, I mean I’ve been to Auschwitz, that’s way cooler. Yes, “cooler” is the right word for… unlimited death. Molly was saying how she couldn’t understand how humans could be so evil, while I was staring at her tits. It was incredibly frustrating.
I wouldn’t call myself a psychopath but compared to others I feel like there’s something to it if only a little. People seem to enjoy the company of other people so effortlessly. I wish I did too. When Molly said she couldn’t understand how anyone could be so evil, I of course had to be melodramatic and said I completely understood, and she gave me a weird look. I get that. I wasn’t saying I condone it, I was saying it didn’t shock me.
I don’t get how anyone can’t understand how the Nazis could be so evil. The evilest ones definitely enjoyed watching other people suffer. We all do to some extent. Why do you think kids bully each other? Because they like to see others suffer. Kids aren’t Nazis, but all Nazis, including little Adolf, have been kids once.
To cheer up those who are bullied, the grownups always say that the bullies are bullying because they feel bad about themselves, so they want to push others down since they can’t push themselves up. It’s all basic survival instincts. So, don’t say the Nazis were inhuman. They were extremely human. Of course, not in a good sense. They showed the worst qualities of humankind. Qualities we all have. We can all hate, we can all hurt others for our own benefit or enjoyment. It’s not even close to inhuman, but it is hella fucked up.
I had bonded with Finley during the first few days, but as we left the Czech embassy, I bored him with another Canadian hockey story and on the bus, he chose to sit next to André, as I and the voice in the back of my head had our hourly battle as to whether or not I should kill myself. We both agreed I should have done it a long time ago.
André managed to be an intelligent nerd, class president, teacher’s pet, obsessed with musical theatre, but still somehow, cool. All the contortions he must’ve gone through to pull that off must’ve earned him a spot in Cirque du Soleil, had they only known he was out there. I leaned over and asked: “What are you talking about?”
Finley leaned in and said: “We’re discussing how to promote world peace.” I nodded but didn’t say anything.
Who does that? Good God, are they nerds or what!?
Don’t you consider yourself a nerd?
Sure, but this is on a whole other level, I mean, these guys are 17 and 16 and they’re discussing how to promote world peace? That’s just silly and downright stupid.
Just because you think that promoting world peace is a waste of time, money, energy, lives, a waste of everything, just because you see the world as a giant craphole and life as something you have to get over with, doesn’t mean that everybody else sees it that way. The truth is that you’re alone about seeing things this way. You don’t really fit in here either. The rest of these people talk like they’re addressing royalty ALL THE TIME. Who the hell does that? No one, it’s just weird.
“The delegation of South Africa is willing to blah, blah, blah…” Who told you to talk like that? Nobody. Yet, everybody does it.
We traveled to New York by bus. I would come to see much more of this during my future road trips across the American east, but the number of broken places never seized to surprise me. The amount of rundown, but not abandoned, houses that people actually lived in, the slowly crumbling bridges straining under the weight of our bus filled to the brim with brainpower, and the hundreds of oversized pickup trucks surrounding us.
We stopped in Philadelphia for lunch. We walked past Independence Hall, the house where this place became the United States, on our way to the most American-looking place I’ve ever seen. A food court in Philly. Plastic tables in the middle, food stalls on both sides, American flags hanging from the high walls. Noodles here, pizza by the slice there. Diabetes to the left, heart disease to the right.
We got our food and were out of there pretty quickly, the bus was leaving. On our way back, Molly asked me what I look for in a girl. The right thing to say here would’ve been “You,” and then just fucked her right then and there in front of Independence Hall. Benjamin Franklin would’ve been proud of me, the fucking playa.
But no, what I actually said was “I think it would be cool to date someone a bit older than me.” We were the same age. I really was too scared of what would happen if a girl turned out to be interested in me. I had no idea how to handle it. Even if I wanted to take it further, which I did, I didn’t know how. So instead I decided to carry on shooting myself in the groin.
In New York, we didn’t stay at a nice hotel, but at St John’s College, a Catholic university in Queens. Crosses were hanging above every door and statues of Mary Magdalene littered the campus. I was, to say the least, a little creeped out. This place came with a cafeteria and classrooms for us to have our “Leadership Meetings” in.
The leadership meetings were where we devised strategies for the next simulation and did other leadershippy exercises and whatnot. In one of these meetings, I talked about how Greece was “fuckin’ up the European economy” and how they had faked the state of their finances to get into the European Union.
Private Feeble said that was a good point but maybe use cleaner language during the simulation. I said maybe someone else should say it then. During those couple of weeks, I heard a few “Watch your mouth’s” from Private Feeble. I didn’t mind it because he seemed to like me, and the reason he told me off was more because he was supposed to, rather than because he felt like he needed to.
At the end of the day, as we were standing in line to get back into our creepy catholic dorms, André and Molly had a conversation leading to André saying to Molly: “You’re not cool enough unless Oscar says so, you’re not cool enough. Oscar is the cool judge. The judge of cool.” Even though it was just a joke dripping with sarcasm, I got a weird feeling when André said that. I had never been “cool enough.”
Well, only for a couple of days in the ninth grade when I had gotten in a few good jokes and I was atop the social pedestal for an hour or two when Jakob actually wanted to sit next to “Porn-Orre” (Yes, Orre is a nickname for Oscar). Jakob had flashed me so many times in the changing rooms by this point that the milliseconds of which I had by sheer inevitability been staring at Jakob’s rather lovely penis had earned me the nickname “Porn-Orre.”
I was in a terrible mental state, but I didn’t mind it that much. It had been much worse in the past. This was teasing, but inclusionary, something I had never previously experienced. It was as if I was finally included in something that someone might call “us.” A guy from our parallel class Paris, who liked to mess with me, locked me out of the changing room one day after PE and I just gave up and went home.
I really didn’t want to be in school, I was slightly suicidal, so I just left. But anyway, Jakob wanted to sit next to me at a lecture about food or something in the Domsdal theater (situated in the same building as my future high school), and consequently, I was the one dictating where all the boys in the class were going to sit. That had also been weird. There were some highs sprinkled in amongst the lows.
It was almost dreamlike as I remembered what was right now back then, namely standing in line to get back into the dorms of St John’s Catholic College in Queens, after a day of activities and long bus rides in New York City. I was happy to be physically far away from my former life. But I didn’t think I was, or could ever be, “cool enough.”
I have never been very good at being social, I have never really enjoyed being with a random group of people that much. Oftentimes, I have searched for loneliness to deal with having to spend time with a group of people. And while I was surprised by what André said, it warmed me up and the ball of anxiety in the pit of my stomach became a little bit smaller.
André was shorter than me (in a good way), better looking, more well-spoken (I overuse “fuck” to an extent that is, in the end, detrimental), and in better shape despite the fact that his only workout seemed to be singing and dancing in musicals and having to force his southern Swedish accent to actually form understandable sounds.
His jaw muscles must have been exhausted constantly. That night was barbecue night. It was the fourth of July, Independence Day. Or as an American would say it, if you would allow me to paraphrase: FOURTH OF JULY INDEPENDENCE DAY MOTHERFUCKING COMMIES GET OUT OF MA COUNTRY THIS IS THE LAND OF THE FUCKING FREE YOU GODDAMN SOCIALISTS.
Later in the evening, I watched the fireworks over a cloudy Manhattan. It was pretty cool. And lonely. After my shower and unfortunate walk down the corridor in just my t-shirt and boxers, (I was jeered at and asked by one of the leaders to go back into my room if they were so scared of us seeing each other like that, why did they have us live in dorms!?
They of course separated girls and boys and there might have been girls in the corridor and wouldn’t that have been the end of the world, eh?) I decided to wear a denim shirt and baggy jeans (I had zero fashion sense back then) which was an awful mistake since I not much later got dragged into a basketball game as I was walking to the field where the barbecue was. Molly, being the only girl on the court and an experienced B-ball player, wanted to show off and ended up tripping over and her knee started bleeding, I immediately started licking it up – no of course I didn’t, who would do such a thing??? *Clears throat and whistles*
I of course also wanted to show off, but it was difficult since there were about two million people on the court and the people who were the worst at basketball were also the people who seemed to think that if they didn’t hog the ball against everyone’s better judgment, they would die a painful death. Even so, I managed to show off a little bit, and as a result of which, I was drenched in sweat as we left.
“You have some good moves,” Molly said. Another invitation to a party in her pants that I would eagerly accept if she only indicated that she would be down with doing it in a bathroom or something, I thought. But I couldn’t just respond “Do you wanna go fuck in a bathroom?” So instead I just said, “Thanks, you too.” A social wizard, I was.
In the line for the hot dogs, which I then struggled to watch Molly eat without having to punch myself in the groin, Dax decided to join us. Molly towered over him.
“You’re a big girl,” Dax the idiot decided to say.
“Don’t say that,” Molly said, offended.
“She’s tall, not big, when you say big it sounds like you mean fat,” I told the American who by the way he ate only should’ve had about four teeth left.
“Exactly, Oscar knows how to talk to a girl,” Molly said. HNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGG. OH, COME ON ARE YOU SERIOUS?????? WHAT THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO TO GET TO CREAM IN HER FUCKING PIE??!!!! IT’S LIKE SHE’S GUIDING THE AIRPLANE THAT IS MY DICK INTO THE LANDING STRIP THAT IS HER INNER SANCTUM BUT I’M PERMANENTLY CIRCLING THE FUCKING AIRPORT BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF PRIVATE BEDROOMS AND THE CONSTANT PRESENCE OF SOME GYLC OFFICER AND DAX MOTHERFUCKING RHODES. COME. THE. FUCK. ON.
This was essentially what was running through my head. See, I told you I was a social wizard. We never had a moment alone, even less a moment alone when we could fuck. Which I assume was the point of the flirting. Not that we would hang out and talk, that just seemed ludicrous.
“Wanna go outside and play basketball tonight?” Molly asked me when it was all over and we were on our way back. Holy shit, she’s basically asking me to make out in the rain, I thought.
It’s not raining, it’s 100 degrees, you would be so sweaty, said the voice.
SHUT UP, DON’T RUIN THIS FOR ME.
We weren’t supposed to be out after a certain hour. I hated breaking rules. The rules may have been stupid, but after all, they were in charge of a bunch of people’s kids.
“Aren’t we supposed to sleep or something?” I said to Molly. At this point, my dick was on its knees begging me to stop screwing him over, so it could screw her.
The last night of the conference was spent on a party boat cruising along the Hudson River. The night was spent dancing, the white people jumping up and down on one floor, which is basically just the same as fish on land struggling to get back in the water, and people of multiple ethnicities grinding and doing more than jumping up and down, on the floor below where the music permitted such lude activities.
If that isn’t an apt metaphor for society at large I don’t know what is. I preferred to stay on the rooftop, watching the skyline and trying hard not to stare too much at Molly’s short dress. It was more or less impossible. The only dancing up here was directed by the song itself. “Take a step forward, move it back now ya’ll,” you know that kind of bullshit. People took pictures.
There was a girl who had asked me several times for pictures on this trip because she thought it was fun because she was short and I was tall. It happened quite often that girls would ask me for pictures so they could look small next to me, even when they wore heels. At least I think that was the point. This one girl asked me for a picture four times over the course of the trip. She and her friend, with a concerning “drunk” personality, were always around but I tried to avoid them.
Molly took a picture with me where she put her arm around me and I put mine around her, but then she did the same with a bunch of other dudes so I didn’t see it as anything special. At the start of the boat ride, around dinner, four of the girls from our group that I had actually been hanging out with wanted a picture with me.
My hair was long and disheveled, I had taken off my dress shoes and put on my red converse with rainbow-colored, glow-in-the-dark, laces. I had untucked my shirt, loosened my tie, and unbuttoned the top few buttons on my shirt. They all looked rather pristine in their dresses and heels. They didn’t ask any of the other guys for a picture like that, but it didn’t make me feel like someone who was popular with the ladies. It made me feel like an elephant caught up in a sorority safari trip. But it made me look like a pimp.
There was another guy who was trying to get into Molly’s pants more aggressively than I was since I was subconsciously going out of my way not to fuck her, making me very frustrated with myself. The other guy was an Australian rugby player called Joey who shaved his legs so he would be slippery on the field.
Joey was in way better shape than I was, but he was also Asian so maybe Molly was trying to avoid that small ass dick. (Excuse the racist stereotype but I am honestly trying to figure out how she was thinking, he was clearly more attractive than me). There was also a 6-foot-8, 300-pound South African fellow who posted creepy comments on Facebook like “I remember when you wore that dress at GYLC hehe,” whenever she would post a photo wearing the same short, sparkling dress years after the conference was over. Yeah, you remember it because you jerk off to pictures from that time 8 times a day, that’s why you remember.
It is of course possible that she went off and took pictures with other fellas to make me jealous and to push me to make a move. I’ve heard that people do that, but I’ve never understood it. If you show interest in another person, how am I supposed to take that as “Hey, come get me!” That makes no sense whatsoever! It just makes me think you’re not into me, which will make me start looking elsewhere, duh!
Girls were gushing over André though. They were wetter than the ship’s hull for some of that intellectual action. Granted, he was a cutie. He paid them no attention, which was a shame because he definitely could have got laid in a bathroom had he wanted to. He seemed uncomfortable with the attention like he never encountered it before.
This was a conference for high school nerds, so it wasn’t surprising that the female nerds would go after the most intelligent and well-spoken guy who was named president of the biggest UN simulation of the entire conference. Because if anyone can get some action, it’s that pussyslayer Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General at the time.
With all participants in attendance, hundreds of high school students, André was the one with the mic, running the proceedings. He did very well, and it was obvious that some of the girls noticed. They must’ve liked that they could look him in the eye without breaking their necks because of his lack of height, the ones paying attention to me must’ve just been after what they thought could’ve been a massive penis because of the whole big feet equals big dick rule. It’s kind of true. I’m at the very least above average, especially according to an American standard.
I made it as far as French foreign secretary for one of the smaller simulations, leaving me not satisfied, but also not disappointed with my achievements once it was all over. Some people on the boat paired off towards the end of the night, boys and girls, yeah, I know, what a bunch of heteronormative bastards, eh? I don’t know if I saw anyone kissing, but what I did know was that this was not a great place to fall in love. In the morning we would all split up and most likely never see each other again. As I write this it’s been five years.
I made some great friends during that trip. I haven’t seen a single one of them since I left New York that summer. The boat pulled back into shore and we got back on the bus that would take us back to Queens. On the bus, people started to sing the theme from the Lion King, “I can’t wait to be king” or whatever. Being dumbfounded, I asked: “Have you really seen the Lion King so many times that you know the lyrics by heart?” Everybody screamed yes as if it was obvious as if it was weird if you hadn’t.
My upbringing in popular culture consisted mostly of awkward Swedish comedies from the 80s and 90s about grown men struggling to be adults. As it turns out, Disney is quite popular with people my age. The next day, we had one last big meeting with the whole conference. Two people after one another used the quote “Don’t be sad because it’s over, be happy because it happened.” If the person before you say it, can’t you cut it out of your prepared remarks??? Or do you have no idea how to improvise?
The second woman did look pretty pissed when the first one said it like she had screwed her over or something. At least coordinate your shitty quotes first, God. We all hugged, I think some cried, I did not. I had started the conference wearing my long hair in a man-bun (this was 2012, before the craze, yes I did it BEFORE IT WAS COOL), but it gave me a headache so eventually, I just left it all hanging out, and sprayed some hairspray on it so it would look properly filthy.
There’s photographic evidence of me hugging Dax with a fry in my mouth, I have no idea where that fry came from. I got on the bus headed for JFK and once I got there, I had to wait for what seemed like an eternity but it was actually just between six and eight hours, which I think should be defined as an eternity if you spend it at an airport.
When booking the flight, we knew the time the bus would be at the airport. Finding the cheapest fares and a flight leaving at a safe time after the designated drop off time, accounting for delays, meant that I was sat at JFK International Airport for an entire day, feeling like absolute garbage as I was getting a cold and my sinuses were filled to the brim with phlegm.
The flight was merciless. The headache unbearable. Once I got to Heathrow, I had to run across the airport to make my flight to Stockholm, aaaaaand, of course, I got stuck in security where an annoying old lady told me I couldn’t bring some hair wax that I had in my carry-on with me. It had gone through at JFK and since when are the Americans lax when it comes to airport security if I may ask?? She took it from me, fine who gives a shit just take it, but then of course she had to search all my belongings for more murderous hair wax in the most senile, sloth-like, time-consuming way possible.
She even had what only could have been a hair wax detector with which she slowly caressed my camera. Because we all have hair wax in our cameras, right? I was walking on the spot, stressed out of my mind, trying to make her go faster. Whenever she spoke, I wouldn’t listen, I would just say “Ok, ok.” She finally ends the torture (I swear being super stressed must be worse than waterboarding, maybe), I get my bag and I run and barely make it onto the flight, in fact, I’m the last one on and they seem to be waiting for me. But once I’m on, I’m on.
I put my massive hood over my head and try to sleep. I can’t because my head is exploding. I mean I barely sleep in my own bed so why would I be able to sleep on a plane? I arrive back home, I hug my mom, and my sister who chose to come along for some reason, we get into the car and that was it. I was speaking Swedish again. It was weird. I liked speaking English all the time. I liked America. I knew I’d be back. I had locked ears for a few days. It felt like shit. It was over. I was home. God fucking dammit, why did I have to go back home?
I may have loved it, but don’t get me wrong, there are always things that will bug me about this wonderful place. History shows made by Americans that are about European history always lose credibility for me because do they even give a shit? It’s like they don’t have enough history so they’re trying to steal a bit of ours.
American history is even labeled as “American" history because it’s not historic enough to be just history. It’s also because they don’t have any history before the 1600s because nothing happened there. It was just a bunch of Native Americans living their lives, then the Brits went over there and ended their lives, making a bit of history happen, because in order to make actual history happen you apparently need white people and lots and lots of death. All the Americans care about is how they fucked the Nazis. But if you think about it, New York wasn’t bombed half to death so I really think the Brits should get a bit more credit.
When Americans go to Europe, they always say that they went to Europe like we’re one country. Where did you go!? It’s a continent, fucking specify! There are 740 million Europeans and we’re not all the same people, we’re very different. Americans pass it off as one place. Finland and Italy are very different places. In Italy, you can buy yourself a university degree and in Finland, you go to jail for smiling. But they’re both in Europe.
You wouldn’t pass off Minnesota as the exact same fucking thing as New York City, now would you? New York has 8 and a half million people from almost as many countries and Minnesota has three horses and a guy with a beard. There are 50 countries in Europe, the same number as American states, only with twice the people. So when you’re going to Europe, don’t say you’re going to Europe because you’re only on the third stage of specification. The Milky Way, Earth, Europe, are you really that fucking lazy?
“So where are you going on vacation?”
“Somewhere on this planet.”
When Americans talk about Europeans, I don’t feel included because I’m Swedish. Sweden is a part of Europe but when others talk about “Europeans" I just assume they mean hairy Greeks or Italians making catcalling great again by shouting “CIAO BELLA!” at every passerby who somehow doesn’t understand it’s the Florence equivalent of a shirtless man from Staten Island screaming “NICE ASS!!” while removing a dead rat from his belly button.
We managed to squeeze in a visit to the Empire State Building while we were in New York. After I had got back home, there was something about it I needed to write down. It was this:
I went to a conference for smart high school kids from all over the world in Washington and New York. Apart from all the UN simulation thingies, we did quite a bit of touristy stuff. For instance, we went to the top of the Empire State Building. When we were on our way down, we had to stand in line for the elevators. And of course, the line went through the gift shop. But what really bothered me was the fact that the people who bought a figurine of the statue of liberty or a tiara made of green foam for 45 dollars could skip the line. They got their own elevator. You’re trapping people like cows for slaughter and the only way to get out of that fucking line is to buy something that you’re gonna regret later. And the picture that’s taken of you before, whether you like it or not, is taken in front of a green-screened New York, not the actual New York, even though it’s just outside the window.
It was nice to come home though. Everything is cleaner, the bathrooms are actually bathROOMS and not just a fucking stall where strangers can watch you take a shit. It usually feels good to come home, but it also feels like going backward, and like life is slipping away from you, like time is standing still.
I was back at the dinner table again, unhappy, anxious, and frustrated, just like before. The pressure to always be creating something grew stronger and stronger. I always felt like I wasn’t productive enough, that I procrastinated too much. I didn’t understand how Clara could talk so happily about what was going on at her job at dinner.
How can someone so enthusiastically describe something so ordinary? And when she depicted so brilliantly the goings-on at the local supermarket and the characters that move in and out, how does she resist the temptation to write a sitcom about it?
— @mcquistonsource event 4: love
I thought, this is the most incredible thing I have ever seen, and I had better keep it a safe distance away from me. I thought, if someone like that ever loved me, it would set me on fire. And then I was a careless fool, and I fell in love with you anyway. When you rang me at truly shocking hours of the night, I loved you. When you kissed me in disgusting public toilets and pouted in hotel bars and made me happy in ways in which it had never even occurred to me that a mangled-up, locked-up person like me could be happy, I loved you. And then, inexplicably, you had the absolute audacity to love me back. Can you believe it? Sometimes, even now, I still can’t.
Cover Reveal ~ Like You Should by Kaydence Snow
Title: Like You Should
Series: Devilbend Dynasty #3
Author: Kaydence Snow
Genre: Contemporary/Dark High School Romance
Release Date: March 19, 2021
From International Bestselling author Kaydence Snow, comes a student-teacher romance full of suspense and forbidden heat.
My life is a mess.
No plans for the future, constantly disappointing everyone, and now some creep is threatening…