the short story born of nothing

lastly, i crafted this short story. none of the formatting is really the way it was in the Word Doc... but I have to get to work.

[you are a feminist / i am a misogynist]

It’s just before 4 A.M. and Taryn is lying awake again. She hasn’t listened to her mother. There is no bowl of water under her bed and she’s still having nightmares. What is that about anyway? Is that a part of Santaria? Like cracking an egg for bad spirits and negative energy, and placing it under the bed of the troubled and seeing it fried hard in the morning? Having recently seen it in a movie, she wondered.

Her hand wanders over to her phone, checking the usual sites as though someone has updated since she fell asleep at 1. This American Life is streaming an episode aptly titled “Break-Up,” which she reads as a command, and promptly hits play. Clips of Phil Collin’s “Against All Odds,” play in between the monologue of Starlee Kine telling the tale of her breakup. She’s lying on her back, but not staring at the ceiling. Taryn’s eyes dart around as her mind wanders off.

You’re the only one who knew me, at all…

Taryn didn’t cry for “them” when they broke up. She cried for her. It was about her, and she was okay with that. It was okay to be okay with that, right? She had explained to him, during one of the few times he laid on her bed, that she was on a pursuit of happiness. Through spending time with its other inhabitants, she’d discovered the “Chamber of Selfishness,” and it was where she needed to lay for a few moments. This is where she found herself now. Things needed to be about Taryn right now. But he knows that already, because everything was always about Taryn. When they were breaking up he made that very clear to her, as though it were news, but in fact it was just a reiteration of her previous statements.

She rolls onto her side and cradles her a pillow between her legs. It helps her back, but the pillowcases, though they’ve been washed several times, still irritate her skin. Ugh. He had such nice sheets. 4:36. “Do you ever think he’ll come back to me?” The contributor is on the line with Phil Collins. Taryn, jealous, chortles at the likelihood of her ever speaking to Phil Collins about a breakup. She thinks about the ‘Break-Up MEGAMIX” she made with her college roommate. “Against All Odds” was on it, but she can’t remember the other songs. Her roommate’s had been the more depressing half of the mix, as she had just been the dumpee. She remembered that too.


I cried because I hoped that I wouldn’t be so unobservant of other people’s emotions in preservation of my own, forever. I hoped that I wouldn’t always be unstable and verbally unexpressive. I think all the time- I can’t shut the words off. But you know this already. I’m sure you think I’m full of shit, with the way you’re disregarding me with your eyes. In my silence, I haven’t turned them off, I swear I’ve only muted them.
There are 15 notebooks of Taryn’s muted thoughts on the shelf over her workstation. That one time, on her bed, he asked if he could look through the one she was showing him. “I’m only showing you this one page… you can’t see the rest.” It wasn’t just about the books. He was only going to see the surface; she’d never let him finish the chapter.

Well there was that one time, outside of work… I’d spent the entire day on the verge of tears because I thought he was upset with me. In fact, I knew he was upset with me. The way I screamed and cried, I never do that... That wasn’t me. Feliciano loved her. From the moment he saw her for the second time, he felt an emotion that was unsurpassed. He was absolutely enthralled when she walked into a room -never quite able to take his eyes off of her. She knew this though and she resented it. He bought her flowers when she was upset. He bought her flowers just because he was thinking about her. He thought about her a lot. Taryn, on the other hand, just thought a lot, about anything. Lately they were mostly about work, or creation, and sometimes about Feliciano. Nothing in particular held her attention, but she could find herself captivated with the most mundane of topics. Like pens. She picked one up.

The flowers were lovely, yes, thank you. I’d never had anyone do things like that. I never had anyone dote on me in that way. But I don’t really want that for myself, right now. I don’t want… to be made to feel special, I already feel special. I don’t want to be made to feel sexy, or pretty, or loved. I already feel those things. What I do want is to share myself with someone who is, yes, fascinated with me, but he himself, a fascination. I need to be inspired, not just an inspiration.

Or I suppose a healthy balance of both… but I’ve never known much about balance.

Maybe that should’ve been the dialogue? It hadn’t gone anything like that at all. She didn’t know how to be direct without being cold. She didn’t know how to ease into it, so she didn’t. She thought she might break his heart, but had tried it out anyway. She was sorry, but not quite sure of the reason. She thought he “loved” her too much, and when she was being completely honest, she’d tell him she didn’t know why he did. Was she sorry for that? He thought she had a really “fucked up” way of showing him that she loved him back. She understands the definitions of words well, but not their correlation to feelings. How can something as abstract as a feeling (love) have a definitive, correlating action? It’s wrong to expect people to display the same emotion in the same exact ways… or at least she thought. In her muted mind she knew that she would never be able to settle herself down with him, so she sat him down and set him free. In that time, that was her loving him. When she cried it was because she hoped he would someday see that.

Taryn lies in her Chamber of Selfishness, wondering about being IN love. It’s 6:12. She dozes off thinking. What ends first, being alone or the loneliness?


She’s in her room hanging index cards of her newest favorite words, and as she gets to DEMONSTRATIVE, Feliciano is opening his mailbox. She hadn’t bothered writing her return address because there wouldn’t be anything else to say… and besides he would recognize her handwriting anyway. It read:

Me. Me. Me.

I’ve had this random quote in my head for months, “You know, the kind of person that starts every sentence with ‘I’?” I can vaguely recall it as being a part of a definition in an English class somewhere along the line. It was some sort of character flaw. I can’t seem to help myself. I’ve been trying, but if I’m working on self-expression, how else am I supposed to begin my statements?

Until I get this figured out:
Me. Me. Me.
I. I. I.
Maybe someday a You.
-and a few of Us.

I could tell you that you were never going to win, but you didn’t see it as a battle and I see Me as a war. Call me sad; I know you are but what am I.

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