By Candice Spitler

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Last night I cut myself.

It’s nothing major, just a slit on my palm running down my head line (a line on the palm which describes a way a person thinks). It doesn’t feel good. There is no emotional release. No torrent of relief at having accomplished something. It stings. I applaud anyone who can enjoy cutting. It’s a half-assed attempt at something everyone ends up doing. Dying is universal. For some, it’s an escape. For others, it’s a dead end. And for still others, it’s a fashion statement. It is the dripping of blood that brings you faster to reality than anything else. The hot, sticky substance that pours so generously from junky horror movies broadcast late at night.

I enjoy crying.

It’s easy. It’s free. My secret, nobody has to know. I can close the blinds. I can dally with the toilet paper. I can yank my knees to my chest crying, heartbroken, cussing as if it helps, and sobbing loudly on ooVoo (an online webcam similar to Skype) to a man in the Garden State. It’s the doubt I can’t stand. There’s a tone in his voice I understand, and it brings me to defensive arms every time. He makes me cry quickly and effectively. He’s getting too good at it and I wonder sometimes if I should leave him where he stands. I love him. Why else would I put myself through the grinder? He accuses me of being a drama queen and says I start things. I’m misunderstood.

Yesterday I dreamt of sex.

The day before that, I dreamt of a carnivorous vine that grew with each human being it consumed and disintegrated with acid. I witnessed a peaceful scene. A little girl was playing in the library sitting in corduroy jeans and bright blonde pigtails, her skin a light pink unmarred by age and the sun. She flipped through a pop-up book while the vine coiled up and down, all around the library. The thick sun-gold and orange-burst flower descended slowly from the roof. It was in the middle of flipping a page that the flower unfurled largely and swallowed the girl while she continued reading.

There’s so much to tell.

My mind is nothing like a labyrinth. My mind is no book for a person to flip through. It is fluttering pages that fall from Heaven, and I grasp at ideas when they come. There is an indescribable beauty in what I see and what I dream that I dare not put into words until I’m mature enough to match it. I cannot describe the golden sheets of hair with lovely amethyst eyes that refract vibrancy and bounce it within. I cannot describe the wetness of blood as it coats skin and hair and arms, flaking off after an hour of not showering. I cannot describe the inner strength and resolve it takes to heft a sword up and through an oncoming opponent. One day I will. And the world will know what drove me this far into an abyss, and that out of Heaven, I carved a resounding Hell.

I am a penny pincher.

I’d complain of money problems but it could always be worse. I have thirty-one dollars in bills that I keep on my desk in a blue steel safe with a yellow door and lock. In the Jet-Puffed glass jar on my windowsill, I have twenty dollars and fifty cents in silver coins. And in the Del Monte pineapple glass jar, I have a dollar and eighty-one cents. I have a job but I am unsatisfied. It is not so bad when I do comparisons, though. Two women who work where I do have graduated with bachelor degrees in education and still cannot find jobs here. Real jobs. They are forced to stay because the school districts overlook their applications. They have been out of school for three years.

I don’t like birds.

I was born in Titusville, Florida on May 26, 1991. It was a warm day outside (a lovely 86 degrees) before any real heat drove the patrons of the state to clamber inside their automobiles and fancy houses. The four o’clock flowers were blooming outside, baby-girl-pinks and macho-yellows, dancing in the wind decorating the perimeter. I was a big baby, my mother’s biggest. The last of my mother’s children before she tied her tubes like Christmas. Instead of raising me like the colt, she did it in the fashion of the finch. It works in theory. Not when the adult batters the wings of their young to the point that when they’re old enough, they can’t even imagine how to fly.

I wonder sometimes.

Most of the people I knew when I was in middle school are pregnant or have kids. Angel has two girls, but the law and miles keep them from him. Bianca was married at eighteen to her sweetheart, and she has three kids now. Renee was never married but she procreated indiscriminately; one girl from an African, another from a Cuban. I keep expecting her to create the rainbow. Heather has one girl, and she is adorable. Three-year old Jayden with her blonde pigtails and Puerto Rican nose makes me want a kid. I saw a young boy screaming behind me in line, my eyes ringing with his pterodactyl cry and I changed my mind.

Marriage is not a toy.

I don’t see myself as the marrying type. I would have to find a guy that understood me. Who knew when to duck the bullets and when to turn around to deliver them efficiently. Exes in the past have treated me as a Bengal tiger. They appreciated my beauty, the fluidity of my walk, the force of personality behind eyes that show a bare glimpse of a shore. When it came to wrestling the beast, though, none would stand against it. Some fled. Others ignored it. But it was a weakness when one of them profusely apologized, hoping to abate my rage. The Bengal hunted for a soul like hers.

I envied Bethany5

Growing up she had everything I wanted. Her mother let her do whatever. Bethany dressed sexy, dated guys publicly, and she could stay out late. Bethany got in trouble but everyone loved her. She is funny, sassy, and guys drool over her like steak. I, on the other hand, baby bird, was confined indoors. I wanted to date guys and dress sexy and do what it was I wanted. My mother didn’t approve of Bethany (and still doesn’t), but Bethany didn’t care what anyone thought of her. She is still like that this day. Bethany had sex at sixteen, and she told me it was fun and felt so good. I had sex at sixteen and it sucked. Maybe it was because she loved her guy wholly that made it more pleasurable? I don’t think so. In a bed full of rose petals and Marvin Gaye, or on a toilet with a guy wearing tube socks, a shitty lover is a shitty lover. He was so bad that there was a two-year-gap between my first lover and my second.

That is God-awful sex.

5 Not actual name.

                                Iris
                                smoke til the river runs, the oak- whittled angels with woolen 
                                stranded hair tangles in mirror pieces scattered on piles of fear 
                                and regret the loss of twilight forget the moonless abyss twining 
                                sheets of gold, meaningless pleasure conjures heaping useless 
                                treasure and I rose to the peak understanding naught but prose 
                                glittering in sin and yet flittering amongst silky faces of open 
                                blossoms as he traces oblivion with his wadded-up bills burning 
                                her innocence as she is yearning to strip the person she has become 
                                the covers flip down breaking the momentary daydream making  
                                smoldering love they realize

                                some never love in the light

                                smoke that filters through the cracked concrete with angels singing 
                                how close heaven is the mirror doesn't know what it shows cuz I regret 
                                letting go of the moonless end I once strove to achieve pleasure means 
                                nothing I want you rose bushes and dying petals glittering in a wasted 
                                ice-land the face of all that remains oblivion comes and I am burning for 
                                you to see me strip away flesh I just am breaking for you to see me 
                                smoldering in the bright of your eyes

                                understand you're all I have

Guys are toys.

I clung to that euphemism passed down by Bethany. It made my world simpler. Every guy was just a tiny toy, and when one derived all the pleasure from it, one would move on to the next one. In eighth grade, I finally understood Bethany. I dated a guy named Robert, and he was semi-popular. It was a step up for me in the social ladder. I had devotedly remained the outcast. The first kiss we shared was after the last bell rang, and the school kids scattered like roaches. The day was perfect in every aspect of weather. I waited anxiously for the sparkly look in his eye and the feeling of explosives in my stomach. What had transpired was horrifically disappointing. I hated every millimeter of slimy tongue with every strand of hair on my body. It was nothing I expected and I stopped. Disney movies lied.

I wonder sometimes…

if I stayed in Florida, would I be trapped as well? Bethany says no.

I believe her.

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I don’t envy Bethany.

She met Ariel6 when she was a junior in high school. He is Puerto Rican with a loving family who wanted them to get married and have the good life. Sometime after my family moved to Minnesota, Ariel got under her skin. He convinced her, poisoned her, to be the way he wanted her to be. He convinced her that a happy family needed a baby. Bethany went off her birth control. Her grades in school had fallen hard, and she dropped out her senior year. By then her life revolved around this Ariel. He had taken from her something she never recovered, her education. After the baby was born, Bethany and Ariel tried to make it work as the happy family. Turns out happy is a relative term. Currently, Ariel is serving a prison term of five years. He will be released and be forced on probation for a duration of ten years. Bethany hasn’t loved him for a long time. Ariel raped one sister, molested the other one—both underage. His daughter is going to be a fine educated young woman who knows the games guys play. I will teach her myself.

And put a hatchet in his head.

Maybe for the hell of it.

6 Not the little mermaid.

Never retreat.

I am fiercely loyal and sometimes I hate it. I am headstrong and dream of bloody images.

To let someone close would most certainly hurt.

I could try.

I have a realistic mind. It tells me how awful and how often I will fail.

I am the only person I can love and hate.

I’m tired of everything.

I am craving something larger than life. It’s more impossible than being God.

See what I see so at least one will understand.

Take me…

Take me…

…as I am…

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Candice Spitler was born in Titusville, Florida.  She has been writing for years.  Her mind is a dark place and some of her works embody that.  She doesn’t believe in censorship.  She wants to be a novelist and influence an entire nation.  She is her own worst evaluator.