I had my meeting as always at the Anorexic Cafe. It’s artistic and really classy and just the cleanest place to be. Kind of dark, though. I’m just saying. But it’s okay. It sets the atmosphere. It’s cool. I like it. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
You can kind of see the paintings hanging on the walls… Under some dim lighting that they installed. There are bear heads on the walls too. It’s okay, those aren’t real.
The tables are round. They’re also quite small. There’s nothing on the menu. Except espress-o. Which you can only get doubled. Because anybody coming to this cafe likes it really really …. fast. And if you don’t, you won’t be in there, because you won’t fit through the door…
And once you go through that door, you sure as hell aren’t getting out …
Sort of like “Hotel California.” Do you know that song? It plays over and over again INSIDE …
You never get tired of it. In all of its’ various forms. They have all the mixes and it IS your theme song.
I sat there waiting for my monster. To join me at my table. Really it’s his table, he owns it. He owns that cafe. He just lets us play along. Setting the rules from the beginning. And the punishment. He becomes your voice. He grows inside you. Until he occupies all of the space …
He said, “Are you doing your thing?” I replied, “If you mean your thing? Yeah. What choice do I have?”
“You’d better not get smart on me,” he said, “we have a deal.”
“What is this deal? I keep forgetting.”
“I allow you an existential experience.”
“Yeah, and what a joke.”
“Think you can do better?”
He gave me that look. The one I perfectly hate. The one that makes me want to punch him. Because I know he’s right.
I want to say that he stole my essence but I know that that was me. A long time ago when I was trying to survive. Oh yeah, I signed those papers and yeah, it was in blood. Just like on those stupid tv shows where they’re always cutting into their own hands … I did it willingly. And every time I go back … I run and I beg. Very dramatically.
He reminds me of that. How I was such a fool. I looked out the window when he said it this last time … I saw my reflection back. It just looked straight through me.
I know that the way out of this nightmare is the way that I came in … This is very important, it really is the key.
But he’s bigger than I am. And I’m splitting at the seams … I unbutton my pants. The ones without buttons. I look at all the napkins …. which I can hide secrets in. The table is growing and the emptiness it contains. My pockets are full now. I’m hoping that no one sees.
He says you know you’re playing with fire. He smiled. I say oh yeah I know. There’s no emotion here. I was just playing with the napkins. Folding them compulsively, wiping at my mouth. Making the corners of my mouth …. dry. What am I doing? I occasionally ask myself. But I know because he told me. He tells me ev-Ree-thing.
This meeting with the monster is just like any other. He strips away my confidence and gives me something I can’t see. I’m just a machine — I’m just a program — I’m just a puppet. He has all the strings.
I heard about that shrink, he told me, the one you’re thinking of seeing. He can change your programs, I heard, he has a Ph.D. I looked at him scared. He told me: Remember, you are nothing without me. It’s why anyone likes you. It’s how you breathe. I’m your fuel. You know it. You know I help you. They’re just the en-e-my.
They will lock you up. They will force a tube down your nose again. THEY weigh you backward. They frisk you before you get onto a scale …. they want to talk to your family …. they don’t trust you …
Well, they shouldn’t! — I told him.
Whose side are you on? He just… SCREAMED. Are you going to the other side?! He laughed then and asked: Remember your favorite poem? You are a person outside windows, the entering takes away! You aren’t allowed a key!
Terror ran through me. I screamed: BUT I WANT TO! I want the other side! I want the key!
And what will happen, will you turn into a pig?! That was the VERY last thing that I was worried about, I told him. And almost laughed.
He asked me why I wanted him, knowing that I did. I told him … I said to him … I stuttered …. how will I deal?
He said ….exactly … it’s you & me. Forget those outsiders. They know not a single thing. He sang me a song then that put me into a trance …. and made me forget considering …. leaving this world again …
I applied some lipstick – I neatened up my hair – I made some jokes – I ordered another double espress-o.
I forgot how sad this really does make me. How I’m sinking. How I could vanish. Once and for all. How I’m afraid to leave everyone behind. Because I love them. I forgot that my friends might be crying. I forgot everything.
I looked into all those crazy mirrors. I saw no reflection. Thank goodness … I muttered …. under my breath … The flowers were dying. All around the room. I wondered why no one changed them. Their petals were dropping. Falling onto the floor …
…. My lipstick started smearing. It bled onto all the napkins. I don’t know how it happened … I traced it with my fingers. As if I was in memory. It bothered me to see it. Because it showed I was there…
When that’s the last thing I wanted. I tried to fade away, just like those fucking petals. I wanted to BE those petals. They had had their time. I wanted to walk over to them. I wanted to take them into my hands. I wanted to blow them out the door. I wanted to make wishes.
It got really cold then. I needed something warm. But all I had was the espresso and it was hurting my stomach.
The pains grew again. He said I’d have to learn to love it. It was love or hate he told me. They’re really both the same thing.
He asked me to dance again. I couldn’t say no. I didn’t really want to. But it’s the only dance I know. We danced alone inside the cafe. With everyone watching. Outside the windows. They couldn’t get in. We were all helpless. Reaching for each other. I told them I’m sorry. I hoped they’d cover their eyes.
It hurt me more than anything that they were crying. I wanted to tell them it would be okay even if it wasn’t. That kind of crying … it’s just the worst sound in the world …
I couldn’t really hear them, though. And I closed my eyes. I was with my best friend who is such an excellent playmate and dancer. The best that there is … His teeth are so sharp. He bites me often. It’s only because he’s hungry. He’s hungry all the time …. he just doesn’t eat at all. But he’s definitely consuming me.