Late 2002

On the Uselessness of Language


No, it's not what you think. It's what I think. Fuck what you think. There is you, and there is I. Two separate entities that are bounded and defined. There are set limits.

Mine is a problem of connection, or of getting across. How do you take a feeling you have and get others to feel it themselves? Even that is too ambitious. Just getting them to understand it would be sufficient. You probably have no idea what I'm trying to say. And that's exactly what I'm talking about.

I could tell you about what I feel when I see the sunlight shine off of snow. I could say something about how the moon looks to me when I think of it as a mirror instead of a star. What it all comes down to is a matter of choosing. Choose the word that most closely resembles what it is you feel inside. Then the other person will hear that word and the idea that reaches their mind is their own interpretation of that word. There is an argument relating to language that asks the question "which came first, the feeling or thing, or the word that describes the feeling or thing?" The phrase used popularly to describe this question is "the chicken and the egg" problem. But to my problem, it really doesn't matter which came first, it's still choosing. Language is not exact, it is not precise.

Before I go any further into this problem, perhaps I should try to describe something you may be able to relate to. My own kind of "chicken and the egg" type of idea so that perhaps if you're lucky you will say "aha!" I know what he means. Even though you really won't.

Doctors go through this everyday. In my opinion, it's one of the toughest things about being a doctor. How can you tell a doctor where or how something hurts? Sharp pain? Dull? Ringing sensation? Heartburn? It hurts when I swallow? Come on. It's a problem of transfer of feeling. The patient has a pain or problem in his body. The doctor can fix it, more likely than not, if he knows what it is. This is where the talent and training of the doctor comes in. Despite the infantile and uninspired descriptions of what is wrong with the patient, the doctor can still diagnose the problem. Think about what he's given to work with. "It hurts when I do this", "it bled a lot", and "it only hurts in the cold". I can't blame them when they miss something. I think the greatest technological breakthrough for medicine will be virtual reality. Imagine a body suit and a helmet, some sensors all over the suit. You put it on the patient and you run the heartburn program, the patient "experiences" heartburn. Then you run the "heart disease" program. Then you ask him which one he feels. That is as perfect a transfer of feelings as there is.

But back to my problem. Is there a way for me to describe how depressing life can be and yet how, at the same time, it can make me believe I'm the luckiest person alive? Is it bi-polar disorder? Am I exaggerating?
Why do you think we have music, poetry, movies, etc.? Words aren't strong enough. Words aren't precise enough. So we have tried to add things to language.

Some people may flinch when I say words aren't strong enough, but notice I didn't say they are weak. How can this make any sense? It does to me, but it might not to you. The wonderful thing about writing on this topic is that whenever controversy or conflict arises, when confusion on your part arises, I can hide safely behind the crux of my argument. I'm making sense in my head, but the words can't do me justice on paper.

Maybe I'm just not good enough yet. Well then what about Tolkien, Poe, Orwell, and all the others who unmistakably created unique and powerful feelings in me? These are the masters of language. These are the doctors of language. Poe said he didn't have talent. His method was a scientific one. But he still had a way with words. But it still wasn't exactly what they felt or had on their minds. But that's the idea behind writing. It's the striving that makes you good.

It's the same thing with Catholicism; they say you have to try to be like god. Of course, being like god is impossible, but it's the trying that will get you the closest.

It's amazing how many things we have in common with other people that we believe only ourselves experience. Once we get to talking though, we realize that we too feel those things. Having a conversation with someone is a different story that writing it down. Writing is tougher. Writing is etched in stone, it's done. Once you put it out there you can't talk to that person to clarify a point. Writing is standing naked in front of everyone with a gag in your mouth: no explanations. Does it make sense to you yet? Yes? No? Who the fuck cares if you did, I didn't think it would.

Curse words sometimes are the best ways of getting frustration across. Anger works the same way.
I will not become a doctor of language, but it's my belief that I can. It's the striving that counts. I will overcome the limitations of language and become a great writer. I am god.





(This was a speech I gave for a Public Speaking class)


"Any God who creates a sentient being out of dirt, knowing the being would be damned to hell, should have left the dirt alone." Great quote Tollo my friend.

I don't know how to start this, I mean come on, no one does. I figure it makes sense to try and write something special, you know, go out with a bang. So here I go.

Right now I am somewhere I really don't want to be, a place where I am very unhappy and frustrated. Have you ever been in a situation where, despite your greatest efforts, you just can't get a break? I have embodied this sad story for quite some time now and I must say, it is too much for me. Why does this happen? Like my friend Tollo says, if man was destined to be damned, why exist at all? I guess I'll find out soon enough.

As you can all see, I decided to wear my two favorite articles of clothing today: my Cubs jersey and my thug hat. I figured that I wanted to bring these items that are very special to me, wherever it is that I am going.

There are a lot of things I want to say in this note, and a lot of people I want to say these things to.

Mom, I know this will be extra hard for you because of your past, but remember how you always told me I was smart? Remember how you thought that I bragged about being smarter than everyone else? I don't know what gave you that idea, but hear this: trust me in that this was the best and smartest decision for me. I am in such an uncomfortable place that anyone else would also go to any extreme to get out of it. And so this is my way of getting out. Goodbye mom.

Papa, I always wished that one day I could be a father like you. I don't know how you molded me into who I am, but I can't see anyone doing a better job. The values you instilled in me had a certain amount of freedom and curiosity that they allowed me to figure things out on my own. You are the imperfect perfect father, you and I were cool with each other, thanks for that. I'm sure you will be happy about this, well not really, but at least you don't have to worry about the tuition anymore, which honestly, I never believed was worth 30 thousand dollars a year. A library card and a pack of friends could do just as well. Thanks for giving me everything I needed, and blocking everything I didn't need. Goodbye dad.

To my best friends, Jason, Tollo, Nate, I know this will shock and surprise you. I know that among us I was the conservative one, the one that always thought about everything twice, and then twice more. And once again, trust me, I thought about this a lot. Friends are forever, no doubt, and you guys are my rock to lean on when I need some help, even though I rarely asked for it. You guys know that I always want to take care of stuff myself, without anyone's help. But this time I didn't even have the chance, for you are all home, and I am in this horrible place. Keep going, guys, and remember: now you can really pour out some whisky for your homies and not just be fooling around. Goodbye guys.

Sophie. You will really be taken aback by this one. You thought the tattoo story was extreme, well this one goes over the line you might say. I have no idea how this will affect you. Try to follow my advice and get something to make you better out of this. That way I can feel like I helped someone. We really got along better when we didn't live together anymore, that was weird, but I liked it more. We were actually friends and hung out some. There is something about you that tells me you will be just fine in everything you do. I am 100% confident you will have a much better life than people twice as smart as you, and that is what matters. You are smartest in that way, the better way. Goodbye sister.

To baseball. I know you don't exist or anything but you did in me, so I must write something about you. You are like one of those stress balls to me. It's not about catching and throwing and hitting, it's about what it does for you. Instead of relieving stress, it elevated my spirit to a level where there was no doubt, no lack of confidence, a place where I looked down on everyone. I was the man. Maybe the fact that you haven't been in my life for the past year or so, well really two years, but let's not mention that, maybe that contributed to my decision. I missed that high horse, and that lack of constant elevation allowed me to sink, and I've been sinking ever since. I could have said this two years ago, although you were on my mind ever since I was six, but anyway: goodbye baseball.

Now this may sound weird, but I want whoever gets to read this first to hand a copy over to my writing teacher from first semester, John Keats. I would like him to grade it, see what he thinks. It would be funny because, you know, he couldn't possibly give me a bad grade. Not only because he never did, my writing was that good, but because there are no rules for this sort of thing. Come on, I have never seen a chapter in a textbook called, "How to write suicide notes." I guess it would be encouraging a bad thing.

It's time to make the pain stop.

I am sick of picking apart my life looking for a reason as to why I am in so much pain. What is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? I have had it with wondering what my problem is. Every time I do something I think is right and good, someone who has been given more power and authority kicks me down and holds me there. I am sick of this, so I have to make it stop somehow, this is the only way.

I always try to be original, so my decision to do this in my favorite place on this campus sounds about right to me. That little hall in Gasson, with the statue in the middle, and the paintings up high, I love that place. It is so quiet and peaceful, but I always thought something was missing. I will complete it. I hope I don't scare too many people, I mean it will be freaky to see some Cub thug hanging from the tip of that roof, hovering just above the statue. I will try to smile to not scare anyone, my smile may die too though.

Maybe I will see Tupac and Bruce Lee when I go.

This note may seem heartless or cold to those who don't know me, which is everyone practically. I mean come on, no signs of crying or heartbreak. My decision is purely rational. I think about things a lot, and come up with conclusions about everything. This was one of those things. It's like when you are dreaming and you start to run. You can't even get five yards out of your legs until you start tripping and falling. Imagine living your life like this, despite your greatest efforts to run towards your goals, you can't. But you don't know that when you are dreaming, so you keep trying. Through rationalizing, I have found out that I can't get there, I can't even get back up. So why would you look down on my decision? All I want is to wake up and get out of this damned place, so I will.

I wish the Matrix was real.

There are some things that I will miss, obviously, I can't be heartless about that. I am going to miss baseball, and the feelings it brought me. I am going to miss that moment between the time you lean in and when you actually kiss. I love that little time slot. Indecisiveness, excitement, it's really a great feeling, unless she backs away of course, then it sucks. I am going to miss all those moments where I made an ass of myself, and then laughed about it later. One of the things I will miss the most is the laughter that I caused. Not by jokes or planned speeches, but in life, in the "social" world. Just sitting around talking about whatever, and then break in with a comment that makes everyone laugh.

I wonder how many people will cry? How many will smile?

There has been one quote I have wanted to use ever since I learned it. But there was no way to use it, it just never applied. But this is the perfect time. Sometimes I think I am going to do this simply to have access to use this quote, but that would be silly. It comes from Socrates, which is another thing I will miss : "Now the hour to part has come. I go to die, you go to live. Which of us goes to the better lot is known to no one, except the god."

Goodbye life.




It's hard to imagine how two seventeen year-olds were on their way back home from Vietnam, but there they were, in the helicopter that was taking them home. The two boys were best friends since they were seven years old.

Mike had lived in the small New Jersey suburb for his whole life. His parents had raised him the way they had been raised themselves. Mike didn't curse, he went to church every Sunday, he played little league baseball, and he loved his mother more than anything else.

Joey's father was in the military. He was always moving around the world and Joey never really established himself anywhere. Every time his family moved, he felt like he didn't fit in. Joey loved to play baseball. That's how he and Mike met.

Joey had just moved in to Mike's neighborhood and the first thing he had asked his father to do is to get him into little league. It was the first thing he did whenever he got to a new place. It gave him some sense of continuity in his life. It was Joey's first game and Mike had hit a long line drive into the gap in right field. Everyone was yelling and cheering for him to keep on going past third and try for the homerun. He could hear his father's screams over everyone else's and so he stepped on third and raced as fast as he could towards home plate. Joey was the catcher on the other team and he was waiting for the outfielder to get him the ball. It was going to be a close call, but the throw was off. This caused Joey to wander towards Mike, who was running full steam ahead. They both collided into each other like they didn't expect it. Both hit the ground hard as the ball whizzed by. Joey's nose was broken. Mike and Joey became best friends from that day on. They were inseparable.
It was the first time that Joey had had a best friend. He would need him, being shy as he was. Mike helped him be comfortable with girls, growing up, everything really. He wouldn't have gotten to Vietnam without him. Both Joey and Mike were raised with patriotic values, and that had a lot to do with how they made it to Vietnam.

On the plane ride over, neither one of them was too clear about exactly where it was that they were going, only that it was a relatively new base. The United States had recently taken over the area from the Vietnamese, and the area was hot. The army needed as many bodies as they could get there. So Joey and Mike were on their way. They were told they would be kept together the whole time; the army conceded their wish when they found out who Joey's father was. The army would fulfill that promise until the very end.

Their first day in Vietnam was an uneasy one. It didn't hit them how serious their situation was until they got to their barracks. Everyone's head was shaven and all the other soldiers looked the same. Everyone stared at them as they walked through to their bunk. It was obvious these two soldiers were younger than everyone else, although no one ever said anything about it. Mike and Joey felt like it was the rest of the barracks and then there was them. Joey was nervous and scared. He wanted to go home. Mike settled him down and reminded him about what Joey's father had told them once when they were twelve. They were always asking him about what it was like to go to war. Joey's father had shattered the images they related to war.

"It's a lot of sitting around and waiting," he had told them. He loved to tell them stories from the battlefield, and they loved to listen. Joey's favorite was the ant story. His father was in a ditch near the front lines, and he was waiting for something to happen. One would get so anxious from all the waiting that the only way to stay sane was to daydream or smoke some weed. Even if Joey's father had smoked weed, he wouldn't tell that to his son and his friend. As he was sitting there, he told them, he saw some ants crawling around the mud. He started to follow two random ants, just to pass the time. After a while he noticed that one of the ants was hurt, and wasn't walking next to the other one, he was being carried. Joey's father still wondered to this day what had happened to that ant, and why the other one was carrying him along. He watched them for about five minutes as these and other questions passed his mind. He was intrigued at how this one ant struggled to carry another towards wherever they were going. As more and more obstacles got in the way of the two ants, Joey's father told them he kept waiting for the one ant to drop the other so he could keep going. But it never did. No matter what got in his way he never let go of his friend. Other ants passed them right by, but no one helped them. All of the sudden a gust of wind came through and it blew the injured ant off of the other ant. Not even Joey's father could see where the other ant had landed. The ant kind of stood around for a second, looked around, and then kept on going with the flow of ants.

That story always made Joey sad, but the camaraderie of the ants always made him feel really warm inside. Ever since he first heard the story he wondered what the story was behind the story. Did the ants have feelings towards each other? Were they friends? How did the one and get hurt?

"You can learn a lot from just watching," his father always told them after telling them stories.

Joey felt a little bit more relaxed, but he never got over everyone walking around with guns. It just felt unnatural to him. As they were unpacking their things, a captain came to talk to them about how things worked around the base and what they would be doing. Since it was their first day and they were understandably shaken, their job for now would be to keep the barracks clean, all five of them. As the captain was telling them where they could find the cleaning equipment, the first explosion sounded. Joey and Mike instinctively reacted; their hands went up near their ears and their knees buckled slightly. The captain didn't flinch, and instead turned around towards the entrance of the barrack to see what was going on.

"What is it this time?"

As he walked towards the doorway another explosion went as machine gun fire ripped through the base. It sounded like it was coming from everywhere. Joey was frozen in terror as Mike's face showed the anxiety of someone who knew he was in a life and death situation. The sound of machine gun fire seemed to get louder as the barrack they were in was riddled with bullets. All they could hear was the machine guns and explosions. The whole time they watched the captain, who was now running towards the door, until his body started to suddenly flail about. He fell to the ground and the relentless attack never even blinked. The two of them crawled their way across the floor and made their way towards the door. What they saw outside was hell. As Mike continued to crawl out of the barracks he felt a tug on his shirt. Joey did not want to venture outside.

"We have to Joey, we'll die if we stay in here."

One of the barracks was on fire, and there were bodies scattered everywhere. All Joey could see was the yellow of the fire, the green of the jungle that surrounded them, and the sparks from the barrels of the Vietnamese guns. Everything was being destroyed.

Mike and Joey managed to sneak around to the back of the base without being hit. They got to an old tree trunk that had fallen over and Mike deemed it good enough to hide behind. Once they felt they were safe they peeked behind them to see what was going on. There were so many of them, swarm after swarm of Vietnamese kept coming out of the forest. Joey was clutching his army issued knife to try and assuage the fear inside of him. Suddenly one of the Vietnamese men turned towards the log they were behind and began yelling something Mike couldn't understand. Mike and Joey ran into the forest without looking back. Tree branches smacked them in the face and their bodies as they ran as fast as they could. The explosions got quieter and quieter and the yelling subsided. The two boys kept on running as fast as they could. As the machine gun fire faded the only sounds that could be heard were branches being snapped and two seventeen-year-old boys huffing and puffing as they ran. Suddenly a huge explosion engulfed them in smoke and dirt, they had triggered a land mine. The force of the explosion threw them backwards in the air. They landed hard right next to each other, but they couldn't get up.

"Oh my god I don't wanna die!" Joey's panic was taking over him.

"Shhh! Stay quiet and pretend that we're dead."

The two boys lay there without speaking another word. Then they heard the Vietnamese coming. Joey and Mike closed their eyes and tried to remain motionless. The Vietnamese were now standing right in front of them, Mike could feel them and hear them talking. The poor boys' chests were rising and falling as it was obvious that they were breathing. The Vietnamese men laughed. Joey and Mike opened their eyes and pleaded with their faces.

It had been pretty far that the boys had run from the base, so when the Vietnamese finally did open fire on them, no one heard it.

This was the first part of their trip back home. They would not ride in a helicopter again, nor would they be in body bags the rest of the way. The army had promised to keep them together and there they were, riding in a helicopter that said "US Army" on its side. They were on their way home.



Confessions in a White Room

How do you begin? What do you do when you are finally awake after so long? Where do you start? What does starting even mean? Just go.

I am finally here. You have never met me and I have never been met. It will probably be hard from now on because people won't know why I do things. They will not understand what this all means. Hell, I don't know what it means either. But I do know is it means a lot. It means everything. Have you ever had something so important happen to you that it makes everything else change? I don't mean a relative dying or your dog getting run over, I mean something that you have done that starts a chain of events that eventually gives meaning to your life? I have. This is the story of the first day of my life. It happened one year ago, and I don't have much time to tell it. It all started when I was seventeen.

When I was seventeen I was a different person. I was always different, mind you, although you probably have inferred that already. Don't believe what you have heard about me until you finish hearing my side of it. Things always seem to make sense once you understand why something was done. I thought I was better than everyone else, and I thought that everyone else felt that way. It is true. Our brain is made that way. Even though we think we are subjective, we always tend to see how we are better than other people.

"Sure, he may get better grades than me, but I look at things in a way he doesn't."

So I knew this, but essentially I was in the same trap everyone else was in, I just didn't see it. It's kind of funny actually, now that I look back at it.

When I was in my last year of high school a lot of things changed for me. Before that, I was always comfortable. I knew that I didn't belong with these other people, but that was fine because I knew that I was better than they were. They were all rich snobs with no real feelings. They all cheated and lied and that made me sick to my stomach. The only difference they saw in me was that I didn't let them copy off of me during exams. So basically they were clueless of the huge gap that separated us. I don't know why they never saw it, but maybe if it had been spotted back then all this would never have happened.

I had friends, I had best friends, I even had a girlfriend once. But even in the most sincere of friendships, I felt like I was faking it. I was being what everyone thought I was, and it ate at me inside. But I thought that this was all part of growing up. It reminds me of doctors and patients. How do you know if you are having a heart attack or if it's just soreness in your muscles? How do you tell the doctor what you feel? It is impossible right? "It hurts when I do this." That might work but it isn't accurate. When you are a teenager they stress how hard it is and how everyone suffers from an identity crisis at that age, etc. So me and my naïve-ness were quick to diagnose what I had as being a simple case of "growing up". I guess that was my first mistake.
I was the class clown in high school. I loved to make others laugh, maybe because I was so good at it. I had no problem bursting out whatever I felt I had to say to get a laugh. But then senior year rolled around and something happened. I am still trying to find out what it was that happened. But having learned from my previous error, I don't want to be too quick to judge. That is pretty sane, don't you think?

I changed. I became insecure, I got quiet, I got shy. It was like I ran out of whatever it was that made me fit in. My gasoline was gone and I forgot how to get more. It's like waking up one morning seeing double and having it never go away. But since this is mental, I can't just go to the doctor. He would never understand. I don't think my friends noticed, because they thought they knew me well enough that I was just being mellow with them or whatever. I couldn't talk to girls the same way, I cared too much about what they would think of me. I had to make them all like me. Before I would insult the prettiest girl in the class and feel proud. But those happy days were gone. These were more of solitary thinking and grappling with myself. It wasn't that hard during my senior year, but I do remember that that is where it all started.

I always look at the times that I had a girlfriend and try to figure out how that happened and how it fell apart. It is actually a pretty good way to sum up my life. I liked this girl because she was pretty and she was not common in my school. I wouldn't go so far as to call her different, but she wasn't in the majority. This was attractive to me, so I liked her. She apparently thought I was attractive as well, or else it would never have happened. We somehow got to talking and every time I talked to her I would just nod, smile, and agree with whatever she said. I was so pathetic now that I look back at it. That is exactly the kind of person I hate: a fake. Anyway, she liked this "fake", and I got to believe that maybe I wasn't all that different; that she was all I was missing to fit into this world. It was all gravy after I asked her to be my girlfriend. I was happy. Well, not me, the faker was. Looking back, which I do a lot of; I can see how all the assholes get nice girls. They do what I did: give them exactly what they want. Pretend. But I wasn't doing it intentionally, not that time.

We had been going for about a month. She was the first girl I ever kissed, held hands with. I even told her that I loved her! It was crazy. We talked on the phone everyday for hours on end. We would see each other almost every day. And I noticed that every time I saw her there was only one thing I wanted from her: pleasure. Not sex, because my mind hadn't even started to think of that - yet. All I wanted was to touch her and kiss her. I felt awkward being around her when we weren't fooling around. That should have been a clue to me. Then one day she went on a trip, it was only for one weekend. When she finally got back I was aching to see her and hold her. So I called her and her voice seemed different. She wasn't excited to hear from me. It struck me as odd; she didn't want to go out or even meet me somewhere. I said "OK" and kind of dismissed it as being a random thing. But over the next few days she would continue to blow me off and never gave me a reason. But I kept calling her. One morning I was about to call her when I got to a realization: I would be overdramatic and then when I talked to her she would tell me it wasn't anything serious. Then everything would be better. I felt confident in my plan. So I picked up the phone and called her.

I was thinking: "Tell me what the hell is going on. Break up with me or see me."

In the back of my mind I was smiling as I pleaded my case. She was serious and her tone never changed. "I can't keep doing this. I can't be with you anymore. I'm sorry. (sob) I can't talk, I have to go."

Shock. Pure, outstanding, unabashed shock. Dumbfounded. I had never been crossed up like that ever before. I had always been able to predict or at least foresee the possibility of something happening. But this was totally beyond me. I don't think I felt so bad because I didn't have this girl anymore, but it was more the fact that I had never even expected it to happen. I tried to watch T.V. or play Nintendo or something. My mind was frozen. I couldn't even write. I couldn't do anything. It was horrible. It was one of the most genuine feelings I have ever had. But at the same time, the faker was horribly sad. Thinking of that now makes me wish that I only had feelings like that my whole life. Strong, real feelings. Even if they made me feel really bad, I wouldn't care. I think maybe that is why I did it. Let's call it the quest for reality. But I digress.

A month passed and luckily it was vacation time, so I didn't have to see her everyday at school, which I couldn't possibly have handled. But after that month, the first day of school came. All I could think about was how I didn't want to run into her because I wouldn't be able to handle it. I didn't have any ill feelings towards her, but I just couldn't deal with it yet. But of course, as fate (or whatever order there is) would have it, I ran into her within five minutes of being at school…on the first day. I saw her and she was looking at me. It was the first time I had seen her since she broke up with me over the phone. I froze. She walked over to me and her face was filled with guilt. She said hello to me but as she kissed me (we kiss hello with all girls where we are from) she touched my chest with her hand, something that I didn't expect and kind of caught me off guard. I mumbled hello and walked away from her.

My mind couldn't figure out what was happening. At first I figured she felt bad about being so mean to the faker and was only trying to rid herself of guilt. But as I saw her more and more, she talked to me the way she did when we were together. One day she said she had to talk to me after school.

I predicted what would happen: 1. She would apologize and ask to remain friends. 2. She would say she had made a big mistake and want to get back together. I was prepared. If neither of those two happened I would have been in for another shock. But even then I would be ready for it too. Unfortunately, I saw it coming. She wanted to get back together with me. That one moment of shock was merely a solitary pocket of random surprise that would never repeat itself again.

I thought it over for a few days and her friends put some pressure on me. They said I was being mean by not saying yes to her. I thought she had been pretty mean to me. I talked to her about it after school one day. I tried to convey that if we did get back together that it wouldn't be the same as it was before. I tried to tell her that she had been going out with a fake. She claimed she understood and I sensed that she had faked a bit as well. I couldn't see how two strangers could just get "back together" when we were never really ourselves. But after a week I asked myself one question: Can you say no to this girl? I told her I wanted to get back together. Lo and behold, everything went back to the way it had been, only she was nicer and seemed to like me more. I think she was just very thankful I hadn't said no. I was happy having a pretty girl that wasn't mean or anything like me so much. About a month passed and I began to feel this overwhelming sense of guilt. I was only being with her for the wrong reasons. I felt guilty, like I was being one of those guys that only cares about the physical parts of a person. I was that guy. So I stopped calling her. She got angry that I stopped calling everyday and I told her she was right to feel angry. I called her up one day and before I dialed I told myself I wouldn't hang up until I no longer had a girlfriend. It took me a while to actually make the call. I don't like talking on the phone, especially after all the crap she had said to me over it. But I did it and told her that I didn't feel like calling her, and that I should follow that feeling. I said that meant I didn't feel for her what she thought she felt for me. I ended it over the phone. I felt bad about that. You aren't supposed to do that. But hey, she had done it to me so I felt a little less guilty.

The problem after that was that I had to see her everyday at school, and it was even more awkward than before. We never really talked besides hello and how are you. Then another month passed and I started to feel that I had made a huge mistake. Every time I would see her I would want to walk up to her and hug her. I still didn't know her the way you should know a girl who you'd like to be your girlfriend, but I didn't care. I was attached to her. I let her know at a party. I actually smoked marijuana for the first time before going to that party, even though I didn't get high with it being my first time and all. I hear that happens to a lot of first timers. I don't know how that fits in but maybe the psychologists can give it meaning somehow. So I told her that I really loved her and that I had made a huge mistake. She said she had to think it over, and she looked different to me as she said it. She looked real for the first time, she was actually being herself.

Time passed. I took her out to dinner once. It was only slightly awkward. A few weeks went by and my friends were having a party, she had been invited with her friends. I talked to one of her friends before the party by coincidence. I was at a friend's house and this girl had called wanting to talk to my friend's sister. But she wasn't there and so we talked about the party and how it was going to be. She asked me if I had ever "followed up" on my request to get back together with my former girlfriend. I said I hadn't, that I didn't want to rush her or even bring up the subject, that I would just wait impatiently. She told me that I should ask her at the party if she had decided yet. It sounded like a hint of good news, and in a way it was. I would never have asked her otherwise, but this conversation made me ask at the party. She said she had made a decision: yes.

Looking back at it I guess we were both attached to each other and that we simply couldn't say no to each other's requests. This time it would be for real, I thought. She was real, but I wasn't quite there yet. She cut me loose about two weeks later. I was devastated, but this time I did see it coming. The way she was with me was odd and had no affection towards me. It didn't hurt that much and I moved on. I eventually graduated and went off to college, so I didn't have to deal with it on a daily basis anyway.

After all that I figured this was a great way to start off college. I told my friends that it was better to go to college single because in college you can get girls, a lot of girls. This was a way of making myself feel better, and I didn't actually mean it. But I did say it to them nonetheless.

College made me completely forget about high school for the first year. New culture, new language, new everything. It was a period of adjustment and that is what I became: an adjuster. I wasn't myself. I didn't want to step on any toes because I felt I had no right to, this was their country not mine. So once again I was a faker. But adjuster sounds less vile so we will go with that.

But the reason you are reading this isn't to know about all of my happenings in life. You just want to know what triggered the gruesome murder. They call it gruesome, but I still disagree. That was the first day of my life and that is what you want to know about. OK, I will tell you. You know something about me although you will never know exactly me. It is impossible to make you understand what it feels like. You will be jealous of me after this.

We were lying in bed naked. Her body was gorgeous and mine was simply there. She was on her side facing me, as was I. But I was awake, she was not. I looked at her as she lay there, so peaceful, so calm, so happy. Her skin was still a little red, she had a glow about herself. The most important part of my life was before me. I either did it or I would continue to get fucked over the rest of my life.

I whispered to her, "I want you to scream."

She remained asleep.

"I want to hear you scream," I repeated.

She kind of moved but came to rest once again. My right hand came up into the air the way athletes pump their fists up high after a great victory. Then it came down hard and fast as I jammed the pen into the side of her neck and her eyes suddenly opened wide. She was finally awake, and so was I. We were entering reality.

But you already know this, right? If you are here, none of that is new to you. I've repeated this story many times before. You want to find out why I am the way I am and how it can explain what I did. Seeing as how this is the last chance I will ever have to do anything, I can't just give it away like that. I would be cheating the magnificence of the story and of all the parts it contains.

It was September of 1999. It was my second year in college and I was still an adjuster, although the feeling of being an outsider was slowly being displaced by a more somber, powerful feeling. But it wasn't just a mere feeling, it was like having a knot in your head that keeps getting tighter and tighter until you know you can't get it undone. This is the feeling that you want to know about because you think that it is what started everything. I have wondered about it myself, was I born with this knot but only noticed it when it got too tight to come undone? Or was I normal as a child, and something jarred my head until it broke inside? I don't know, but as a child I didn't really have any traumatic experiences.

What's that? Yeah, she did drink, but never to the point where it affected me, so I just stayed away and tried not to get in the way. You know how people are when they drink that much, you can't make sense of what they do.

One time is still vivid in my memory. My father was at one of his trips to the farm and I was alone at home with her. I usually just watched television and stayed on that side of the house but this night I heard the wind chimes in front of her room going on and on really loud. I was a bit alarmed so I turned the volume down and listened. It was scary, the chimes going on and on, it was obvious that the wind wasn't making them rattle like that, so what was it I wondered. I tiptoed down the red floor of the back hallway until I got to the corner where I could see the door that led outside to the chimes. There I saw her with the door wide open, a steady breeze invading the house. She was kind of standing, staring at the chimes as her hands struck them repeatedly. Over and over, like she was getting something done. It was really scary and so I tiptoed back down the red hall, closed my bedroom door, locked it, and went to bed. The chimes were still audible but faint enough so that I didn't have any nightmares. But as you can see, if that is the worst thing I can remember, than I had it pretty easy don't you think?

This world pulls you in every possible direction, with nobody overseeing all the pulling. Live your life to the fullest they say, be true to yourself they say, don't do drugs they say, don't commit any sins they say. Come on!

I'm sorry. I'll behave. It makes me angry. What is a young person supposed to do? If living every day to the fullest means going out and getting drunk on Friday's and maybe fooling around with an attractive girl that you like, how can I do what "god" expects me to do? You can't win with all the pulling going on. I searched and searched for a calm space in my head and in my life. A place where I could just sit and let go, be calm and remain there. A place where no thinking was involved. Somewhere where no one is trying to sell you anything, or telling you how to act, how to look. A place where only genuine feelings exist. It was tricky though, looking for this place. Because I never really believed it existed, even though I wanted it so bad to be true. Kind of like Santa Clause you know? If I stop believing I might not get any presents. That is a scary thing for an eight year old to grasp. Like god too, if you don't believe you might burn forever and suffer a lot for a long time. For a nine year old, that is easy, I'll take "believe" for 1000 Alex.

My humor doesn't phase you. Does it scare you that I am trying to be funny?

Anyway, I kept telling myself to not believe in this place so that I wouldn't be let down when I reached a peak and saw more mountains ahead. But way in the back of my head I really did believe in it. There was another part of me that reminded myself not to turn too negative about the whole thing, because then I would forget about this place and then how would I recognize it if I found it?

Now you see the dilemmas that I faced. Maybe I was a little too hard on myself. Maybe I was trying to do too much on my own.

No don't go. Please, I always enjoy our talks.

Because they make me feel important.

Yes I understand, you MOTHERFUCKER!

Sorry. Sometimes I slip up.

Could you do me a favor and mail this for me when you leave? It's nothing, just a letter explaining some things.

Who? I think you know who, it's just a little something trying to explain why all this is happening.

Enjoy the weather, see you next week, I have much more to tell.


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