Fix This Later
Memoir: A memoir? By Elizabeth Ross
When I was young, I was born.
When I was young, I lived in a small town in the mountains. The summers were temperate, and the winters were brutal. Often times fox’s wedding would paint the setting for a stroll in the spring. Fall coveted colors of orange and yellow that were strewn across the mountains.
(I hate this. Start over.)
With my hands in my head and the computer screen glaring at me, she came in behind me knocking tentatively at the door to my office.
“Hey, I’m heading out, do you need anything before I go?”
“No, I’ll be okay. Thank you though.”
“You know if you keep working this hard you’re gonna burn yourself out hun.”
“I know Sarah but they want pages by tomorrow. I have to get something down.”
“Why are you having such a hard time writing this memoir, I thought you wanted to write it?”
“I did. I mean, I do! It’s just hard to write about my life. I feel like people won’t care. It’s not like any of what I’ve been through is rare.”
“Yeah, it’s awful that a lot of people have to go through that, but won’t telling your story be a good thing? Ya know, get it out in the world and maybe other people won’t feel as alone.”
“You’re right. I just want all that I went through to matter. I want my damage to mean something, I want it to be good damage.”
“It does matter, it got you here with me. Isn’t that worth it?”
“It is very worth it. But I just have to get this all down on paper.”
“You’re a great writer, I know you’ll be able to get this done.”
“If I don’t?”
“We’ll figure it out, I can take some extra shifts at work.”
“You hate it there, you always come home complaining about Jeff or the dude who always microwaves fish. I don’t wanna put you through that any more than necessary.”
“If I have to, I have to. It’ll be okay. I love you, Liz. We’ll figure it out”
“Cheer up. We got this. Also, can you clean this place up a bit, it’s a mess.”
“Of course. And… I love you too.”
She wrapped her arms around me like a sling and stared at the few words I had written down. It looked so barren, how on earth was I supposed to get this to my publisher in just a few days. My only spectators being the empty boxes of Chinese food littered across the desk. She kissed me like she did every morning, the pomegranate of her lipstick permeating in my senses. She lingered on my lips just a moment longer. I hate when she kisses me like that. Like she wants to stay but can’t. It’s so solemn. The front door closes with a thud and I smack my cheeks, time to get back to work.
I was born in Flagstaff Medical Center on May 15, 1994. I was born crying yet was told never to cry. It was unbecoming of a lady, plus I would annoy my father who was playing poker in the other room. My earliest memories smell of cigarettes and booze. The next memories are devoted to their fights. All those screaming fits in the kitchen. I remember them yelling at each other, the night she came home smelling like someone else and that smack echoed throughout those hallowed halls. When I got older, I’d listen carefully. Imagining the kitchen behind my eyelids, where they were standing, where the cupboards were and what silverware they threw at each other. Each day when I woke up for school they’d try and clean up what happened the night before, but it’s hard to hide the holes in the drywall and the painful like of silverware. I started to take the plastic-wrapped silverware from school and hiding them in my room so I could eat with forks that weren’t bent.
(Does anyone even care about this?)
Sitting up from my chair and pacing around the room kicking around plastic cups which I had already drained of coffee days before. The screen flickered at me through my peripheral vision, like the antagonist of my own story. Every time I start to write about it the memories just come rushing back, those moments where I felt absolutely weak and nothing mattered. Each of those days I woke up and wondered why I woke up again. This had to be done nonetheless, If not for me, for Scarlet. I cracked my knuckles and went back to it. Where to start this time, not at the beginning, that’s too depressing. Maybe somewhere in the middle, it could be a little bit better.
As I started out high school I drowned myself in my studies, making books my only friends. I sat in the lab room and read on my lunch breaks, flipping through page after page. Watching the people fly past as they ran through the halls and planned for their dances. The teacher in the lab often talked to me, asking about how my classes were and how things at home were treating me. Most of the time I just responded with a shrug and she went back to her work. The day I came in with bruises on my arm, she pressed a little more. She started to ask questions about my home life and how things were. She started to ask about my parents. She asked about my jobs. She asked about why I skipped school so much. She asked about the bruises. I couldn’t hold it in anymore and all I could see was red. I threw something at her, something heavy. I think I broke her nose. I really am an asshole. The rest of the day was spent in the principal’s office, twiddling my thumbs around each other and letting the clock tick on and on. It wasn’t usual that a seventeen-year-old threw a tantrum like that, though it didn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. People said it was only a matter of time, with my home life and working two jobs. Paying our apartment rent as my father and mother spent their paychecks numbing themselves. Sometimes I think about what was going through their heads, did they think it was okay to press all this responsibility onto me, was it okay to grab at me and yell at me when I’m the one who paid for the food they shoved down their gobs. Fuck them, they did nothing for me. (Stay on track). After that episode I found myself not caring anymore, I didn’t hold myself back, sassing at my bosses and going through jobs like printer paper. Barely eating so I could save money. Nothing mattered to me anymore. At least not until I met Sarah.
I groaned out and took my hands off the keyboard in defeat, it wore at me. Writing about all of this and trying to remember all of those nights where I wished that I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. But it didn’t matter in a story, it wasn’t interesting or engaging there was no dragon to fight or demon to conquer, no evil supervillain. My damage didn’t make me special, I was just complaining. It didn’t matter what I’ve been through. What did people want to read, they wanted to read about a strong middle-aged man getting the special sword out of the rock and fighting off the evil man with an almost tragic past. They wanted the protagonist to get the girl and for the story to be wrapped up with a nice little bow. The exact opposite of what things were really like. I could write a flashy story with a lot more to offer than any sort of memoir. I’ll try that.
His armor glistened in the burst of the setting sun, the green plains rolling over each other as he made his way into town, the people waved and cheered as he pulled the dead monsters head along the roads of the town. He heaved it into the air and it rolled along to the ground stopping right at the feet of the town leader. The jarl smiled and approached him shaking his hand in his with a firm grip. The monster had been defeated, the fight was long and harrowing and he had to pull out every single skill and technique he had learned to fell the beast. It had almost killed him a few times throughout the battle, slashing his armor and piercing his shoulder. Bruises ran up and down his arms and a shiner across his face. The jarl walked him over to a large room with a lock on it, smiling at him and speaking softly. “It’s all yours.” He said and the door opened up, but there was no shining, glittering gold or prize to be had. Just an empty room, with nothing to gain.
(Well that didn’t work.)
The front door squeaked open and a wave of panic washed over me, was it already that late? I had been sitting here for eight hours and got nearly nothing done, I quickly tabbed out of the writing program and sat on the desktop as Scarlet’s voice came from the living room.
“Liz? Are you here?”
“Yeah, I’m here.”
“I thought I asked you to clean up a little. It’s still a mess in here.”
“I’m sorry that I don’t have time to clean up right now.”
“You’re right. How’s the memoir going along. I’m sure you’re doing great.”
“It’s going well, I should have enough to send it by tomorrow for sure.” (Lying through my teeth)
“That’s great. I’m proud of you, love. How about I order something from your favorite Chinese place and we can watch a movie or something?”
“I have to keep working, and I already ate.” (Why am I lying to her?)
“Did you eat? I don’t see any of the usual boxes around. Are you doing okay Liz?”
“I’m fine, could you please leave me alone. I really have to get this done.”
“Okay... You know, if there’s something going on. You can tell me.”
“Well, there’s nothing going on. So, thanks?”
She sighed and left the room, I opened back up the document and quickly burnt all of the evidence of what I had written today. What was I going to do? This had to be done tomorrow and I had nothing. I rolled back in my chair and groaned out, just low enough so Sarah couldn’t hear. Kicking the door closed and isolating myself with my failures. My stomach growled, but it only remained as punishment. I pulled my chair and put my fingers to the keys again.
So there I was, 26 years old and still, nothing mattered anymore, writing a memoir no one cares about. Will anyone read this, I highly doubt it. I’m nothing but a weed in the giant garden of the universe. With all of these stars and planets floating about and there being hundreds of millions of people on the planet besides me. What I do is insignificant, I can just as easily throw myself off a bridge tonight and nothing would change. All of these things that surround me and yet all I can do is sit here and pretend I know how to write. Pretend that I know what I’m doing and that any of this amounts to anything. This cosmic nonsense has my head spinning, everyone has things they love, things they are passionate about and all I can do is complain about my shitty childhood. I’m not some kintsugi bowl that the damage makes even more beautiful. I’m just a sad, sorry piece of human shit who’s about to make my girlfriends life a lot harder. Forcing her to sit in that shitty office even more so I can sit here and be even more of a failure. Why am I even writing this, am I just trying to vent. I’m an idiot. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot. Failure. Worthless...
“Liz, it’s almost two in the morning, are you coming to bed?”
I looked over to Sarah with tears kicking at the back of my eyes, the only illumination in the room coming from the computer that utterly defeated me. Sarah navigated through the ocean of mess and wrapping her arms around me. She looked at the screen and saw the hundreds of words on the screen all targeting myself. The tears started to flow from my eyes
“I’m sorry, Sarah.”
“Why are you apologizing?”
“I tried so hard to get this done. I want to help you out, I don’t want to make you work more. I know how much it stresses you out.”
“You don’t have to worry about that, money isn’t that much of an issue. Working a little more to give you time to write this is fine with me.”
“But it’s more than that too. I want everything that I went through to mean something. There’s no prize for living through all of that. There isn’t any sort of prize. What do I get from growing up with my parents abusing me, for making my own living? I haven’t gotten anything not so much as a free churro. Life hasn’t given me anything.”
“Life doesn’t owe you anything Elizabeth, its not some claw machine and when you try hard enough or get lucky you get rewarded.”
“Then what is the point then?”
“There isn’t a point to all of this. It’s all just crazy nonsense. Do you think I find meaning in selling car insurance? We have to find our own meanings in life.”
We sat there in silence together, with her arms wrapped around me as my tears began to wane, gripping at the back of her shirt as I let all of my emotions out. After what seemed like hours, I spoke up again.
“You have been the only good thing for me. And I’m sure I’ll find some way to fuck it up.”
“You won’t mess anything up with me, I’m with you. Even though you’ve been dealing with all of this for months, you’ve still tried to be good to me. In your own special way.”
“Is being an asshole my special way?”
“Sometimes, but I love you nonetheless. Come on, lets to get to bed.”
When morning came she was still next to me, I somehow didn’t manage to mess everything up with her. Leaving the bed as silently as I could, not wanting to wake her. Heading back into my office, the light trickling in and illuminating what seemed like a ghost of yesterday. I started to pick up the cups and bags of fast food. Trying my best to get it tidied up, tossing the last of the cups into the trash and sitting myself down in that chair again. The words I wrote to myself still stained the screen, I deleted them all with a few clicks and put my fingers to the keys once more.
I think I am a weed in the universe, endlessly sitting there in the garden, waiting to be plucked. No real purpose, but no real reason to not be there. There isn’t much to do, and the time is limited in this garden we traverse called life. There are other weeds, other flowers, maybe some trees that stand taller than the others. In the end, the garden is going to die and nothing we did will matter. But that’s not the point is it, it’s not about the nothingness of the garden. It’s about each little plant, each little weed making a small life for themselves. Maybe finding a prettier flower and settling down with her. I might be a damaged weed, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that right now, in this dimly lit room with my lovely partner sleeping in the bed across the way, I’m going to write about my life. All of the shitty things, all of the good things, all of the times I got better, all of the times I reverted. This isn’t for anyone’s benefit but my own, because I feel like I need to write this. It all needs to mean something, it doesn’t need to be good damage, I’m not a pretty salad bowl with gold in the cracks. I’m a person who is damaged and now can’t deal with the fact that I’m happy. So, here we go.
When I was young, I was born.
(Fix this later)
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