GIRLS CAN TELL
And I stress inventions, because first times are discoveries. They’re landmark revolutions. When we journey through a first time, doesn’t it feel like we’re making history? Like, we’ve encountered and broke through the unknown? And sure, nobody likes the unknown, but when it’s all said and done, don’t those first times make you feel special? Don’t you wanna smile?
I remember the first time I lit up a smoke. And the first time I clocked a kid in the face. I remember the first time I just said no to drugs. (And vaguely, the first time I said yes.) I remember the celebrated day I beat Super Mario Brothers Three - without any of the warp whistles. And the night I lifted fifty dollars from my mother’s purse.
I remember ‘em all. And good or bad, I smile.
I remember my first true love, Jenny Bannon. And how, since I was such a fuckin’ pussy, she had to ask me out. I remember our first date. And our first full, hard-on kiss. I remember that first quarrel. And the first time I provoked her eyes into tears. I remember the exact moment I fell in love with her. And the way she used to make me feel.
And I smile.
I remember our first fumblings at pre-marital sex. And how over a chaotic string of errors, we blundered into one. I remember the sloppiness of that winter twilight; the misguided innocence that gave rise to tense and unsure passion; the timid longings. I remember how each and every waking moment felt like a Greek tragedy.
Yeah, that night worked itself into a complete disaster - yet, it somehow played itself off as being magically exotic. Fucked up, I know, but first times are like that. They can be flawed by incessant complications, and still manage to enchant the soul.
You know, Jenny was my first time. I’m serious. My first time, ever. I was a twenty-four year-old virgin; one of those late bloomers. And it was my very first time.
And see, I smile.
Then, I stop smiling. Because this is like a goddamn chain-reaction. As soon as I conjure up our first, I’m faced with the last. I’m faced with tonight. The night, when everything hit.
You know, in the scheme of Love, that’s all you’re really allowed. First’s and last’s. There’s no in-between’s. Well, theoretically there are, but it’s not like one can isolate deterioration. Shit, it’s like a silent infection. It rolls up, slowly proliferates in its preordained way, and the next thing you know, you’re staring at tonight.
And oh, how I remember tonight.
For tonight, I’m a fuckin’ machine. I’m an indifferent calculation, one that processes the likes of brevity and efficiency. It’s rather debasing. In place of passion, I exhale routine. Instead of longing, I occupy automation.
Tonight, there’s no originality or excitement - just predictable conventionality. I’ve pinpointed our carnal movements down to the exact second. Hell, I’m more than a fuckin’ machine. I’m what you call artificial intelligence. Tonight, I’m the living dead.
But, don’t let this drama king jerk one over on ya. Being dead ain’t all knocks. I do get to watch life pass me by. Which, if you’ve got the right view, is simply breathtaking. And it’s not like I’m breakin’ a sweat over here. Goddamn dogs can play dead, so how hard do you think I got it?
And nowadays, you needn’t even bury the fact that you’re dead. Cause, guess what? No one really cares. Newsflash. Kobie Bryant is cheating on his wife, Matt LeBlanc has his own spin-off, and all Justin Timberlake wants is to luv ya, babe. Fuck, with all that sorry shit juicing through your head, who possibly has the time to take in a broken heart? Who has the time to even notice? Face it, kids, in this day and age, you can die for the rest of your life without anyone givin’ up two fucks.
Well, just as long as you can take the pain. You know, that unfettered suffering which accompanies death, dying and the such. You stomach the pain, and well, then you’re untouchable. Conquer it, and on top of the world, you are.
And okay, okay. I know what you’re thinkin’. Pain, death, deterioration, last times. Matt, what the fuck are you talking about?
Check this out. People hate change. On the whole, we find warmth in stability. It seems that we’re attracted to order, to perpetual consistency. If you haven’t noticed, there’s a motive behind why our society flocks to the exploits of apathy, monotony, and sloth. It’s for the simple reason that these actions mandate no change. Instead, all they demand is maintenance. Now, it’s with the introduction of change that the forces of chaos, specifically those of the unknown, are allowed to roam free. And like I said, nobody likes the unknown. Nobody likes being held in the dark.
Now, last times? Those are simple. A last time is just an ending. Endings breed new beginnings. And new beginnings? Well there rests your change that so many abhor. Come on, you ever endured the frustration of starting from scratch? Well, then you’ve felt the sting of a new beginning.
So where am I? Ahhh, deterioration. In a relationship, deterioration is unspoken change. Look at the word. You’ve a good thing going and then it deteriorates; it follows a downward spiral, changing everything in the relationship to shit. And most importantly, even though we don’t consciously feel deterioration, it prophesizes of the break-up; the ending, the last time. And thus, it tells of that horrendous new beginning.
This is why so many people take cover under the guise of death. They intuitively assume that within the process of deterioration, one can maintain. Thus, ultimately, banishing any change from their existence. Ever been roommates with a guy who just couldn’t quit his job because “Burger King needed him?” Because “how far would Microsoft get without their Employee of the Month?” How far. Or ever had that friend who’s an eighth year senior? Whose always fifteen credits shy of a diploma? Folks, these aren’t live broadcasts. These are the living dead.
And the sad part is, you can maintain within deterioration. I know plenty of accountants and social workers that hate every second of their nine-to-five. Yet every morning, these dear and treasured individuals wake to an endless sleep. A dad heads off to work. A best friend puts a coat and tie on, over a fitted shirt. A playwright drives straight into gridlock. A ballerina preps herself to “maam” and “yes sir” her way though intrapersonal memos and teleconference calls. These fuckers can’t stand a minute of their existence. One single minute. But in the back of their heads, nothing else fits right. Or seems so directly applied. For them, maintenance is the ultimate of all virtues, while failure is the definitive of all sins. Sure, they can’t stand a minute of their lives, but what they can’t stand more, is the idea of shaking off that safety net; of traveling through the unknown without guard or resistance.
So, their days are of little consequence. To everyone else in the game, these chumps are meaningless. No one’s seen, no one’s heard. And all this, just for the sake of consistency. Just so one can remain the same.
And it sucks, but that’s their choice. That’s the boon of free will. When it amounts to employment and education, one owns the option to exercise self-rule. Shit, wasn’t it Rush who said, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” And, come on, if Rush said it, its gotta be true.
But, that’s of employment and education. That’s not Love. See, regardless of what the commercials say, you are not your job or Alma Mater. You are not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fuckin’ khakis. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. And you’re definitely not your Special Edition Fight Club DVD box set.
You are a succession of emotions, Love being one of the highest orders. You can’t just tap out on Love and expect the fight over. What did I tell you about Fight Club? Love is bigger than that. Love is life. Love is truth. And it hath no fury, period. It doesn’t get mad or livid. It doesn’t get even. All it does is bring the pain.
And this is where pain comes into play. This is why people take it on. It’s not because they’re S & M freaks. It’s because of a fundamentally American creed that asserts: if I can overcome my pain, I can ultimately command it, along with my life purpose. It’s the dogma that’s plastered over every Gold’s Gym and Stallone sequel. It’s: no pain, no gain.
But beware, for this ain’t your run-of-the-mill pain. If you plan on takin’ this beast, you best come correct.
See, your average pain aims to physically harm or damage. But, this? This one’s a completely different ballgame. This pain seeks out your sour endings - those foul conclusions taken to lock and key. It digs at those unruly last times, and once unearthed, summons upon the brothers of Penance and Contrition.
This pain dines on the awkward endings of human frailty. It sows its seeds in funeral parlors and deathbeds. For fun, it parades through abortion clinics and divorce settlements. Simply put, this is the kind of pain that mind-fucks your most tender and sensitive failures - just because it can.
This pain runs only onto itself. It retains no charm, yet is irresistible to all. It is inescapable, yet never does a soul openly embrace its command. When it hits – and it always hits - it binds, shackling all ideals of proper decency and justice.
This is pain of its own caste. It’s undeniable and one of a kind. I joke around the subject and make laughs, but it’s far removed. Motherfuckers, this is pain.
And tonight, it’s mine. So come, let me show you my pain. Let me show you the way we get by:
· Allot seven seconds to her left ear, eighteen to her right.
· Assign half a minute to that spot, two inches below her neck.
· Wait for her to heave one of her good sighs.
· Hold up for two seconds.
· Run the right hand down the stomach, while the left moves up the back.
· Fasten the right hand to her left.
· Intertwine legs.
· Offer two shallow breaths upon her cheek.
· In. Out. In. Out.
You have no idea. This is my pain. This is my last time.
As our cadavers coldly thrust back and forth, ominous corridors spring skyward, extending to the Heavens. Looming above us, these passages besiege our deformed unity with an endless course of avenues, each reflecting every notion we refuse to put into words.
In a pastoral attempt to pull free, we associate copulation with autonomy. So, we fuck like it’s our job, praying for the path that’ll fetch our salvation. But these walls, they’re forever running. They rope in our jackrabbit-like haste with ease.
See, in these state of affairs, liberty will never be ours. This ain’t the Declaration of Independence. We do not have certain unalienable rights. Jen and I, we’re jailed to Love’s will. Only it can decide when and where we’ll be set free. As for the love birds? Well, we just receive roles, nothing more.
So it begins.
In hushed tones, self-absorbed contemplations stretch their feet. Remember those “notions we refused to put into words?” Well, like it or not, now they’re full-fledged questions. They whisper, "Do you really want to be here? How much longer this will take? When do you think she’ll let you go home?" I make efforts at blocking this interrogation, but it’s weighing-in with a might that crushes bones. Like I said, this is inescapable.
But, beat the system, I will. Take the pain, I can. "Fuck the rules," I think. "I’m Matt Singh. I have the will of a thousand men."
Wrenching into a shadow of my former self, I focus all available concentration towards the situation at hand. However, the more I vie for control, the more I break into consciousness. Funny, but in front of the light, even the will of a million men can fold. And, just like that.
This isn’t happening, I think. I’m probably just not in the mood. This has nothing to do with us. "Matt, you’re not concentrating. If you just relax, it’ll all fall into place. It’s been a stressful week, that’s all. This has nothing to do with you."
Jen grabs a hold of my mental hypocrisy. I mean, she’s always known that something was wrong, but tonight? Tonight she knows there’s something wrong.
My self-inflicted reassurances quickly wither into haughty disclaimers. "I will not let this fall apart. I refuse. I’m a motherfuckin’ machine. I’m Matt Singh. Jenny, I love you. And I promised that I’d never fail you. I intend on standing by that last part. This will not happen, baby. I will not fail you. Not tonight. Not ever."
But it’s too late. For this will happen. I will fail her. It shall hit. And just to piss me off, it’ll hit tonight. Trust me, I’ve no voice in these measures. They hail from a higher p