Chapter 20: Gone Girl
You have to know that when you lose someone very dear to your heart, you lose a part of yourself. When Alice disappeared, I did not realize at the time how much I would grow to miss her. How much I would miss her smile. She rarely smiled, but when she did she shined like gold. When you fall madly in love with someone, every detail does not get unnoticed. For a nonlover, he or she will think you’re obsessed but true love is an obsession. You really can’t live without them and when you do, you really feel empty. I could go on and on about Alice and how she changed me, but let me just write that there were many parts of her I missed but I will only list a few to spare you the sob story. Her strawberry lipgloss. Every time I ate a strawberry or even smelt one, I pictured her. And the last thing I’ll list is her voice. Dani Daniels really got it but some days I was not interested in Dani Daniels. I mean, it’s kind of wrong for a man or a woman to focus on more than one pornstar. It shows that you want variety in women or men and maybe that means you should have more than one partner. But I don’t think it really means that. I think it means that we need more than one pornstar to satisfy our craving for the one person we want. Maybe Dani Daniel’s had Alice’s voice, but sometimes I found Maddy O’Reilly was way hotter. There were times where I would want a country girl kind of porn so I would turn to Dani for that pleasure. But sometimes I wanted some raw fuck-me-on-the-desk kind of porn and though Dani did shoots of that sort, I sometimes felt Maddy had the right body for the moment I was seeking.
I wrote before that I wouldn’t share this information with you but if you want to know the real me (“warts and all” as Shrek 2 puts it) I think you need to know the dirty stuff as well as the clean stuff. But to spare you the vomit session/erection, I will stop there.
It probably was wrong of me to compare Alice to Dani and Maddy anyway, but I’m trying to point out that Dani and Maddy together equal Alice. It might not make sense, but it’s true. I don’t want two partners, because I’ve found two partners in Alice.
Let me explain it in a less pornographic way (though, granted, sex is a part of life), The Greeks had a theory that when you fall madly in love with someone that you have literally found your other half as if half of you were split when God created the world (actually, I’m not sure if God created the world in the Greeks’ point of view as they had many gods, but that’s beside the point). Therefore, that would mean that a human being was made up of two people. The man made up of two legs and behind him the woman made up the other two legs along with arms, breasts, heads, etc. Basically, the Greeks theorized humans as monsters. It might read freaky, but let me assure you that if you think about in a romantic sense, it’s quite fantastic.
Anyway, this is what I believed Alice to be: my second half. So when she was gone I really did feel that a part of me was literally gone. And to some extent, it really was. Without her, all I had was a grey cloud to smile at. And believe me, I rarely smiled.
And so when the plane landed, I thought I was losing my mind. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. There were no red cars, no stewards named Alice, nothing that even remotely connected to Alice’s presence in Toronto. I felt as if everything I had done had been pointless and that made me extremely angry with my dad for taking me out of it all because Alice wasn’t in Toronto, she was in Kelowna! And I had left. I had left the girl I loved behind in the dust.
When my mom and dad were sitting at the breakfast table the next day they told me that they wanted to speak to me about my future. I chewed my Lucky Charms and just told them to speak.
“Art, something happened to you in Kelowna like I was afraid it would. Your father and I have been talking and we both agree that you shouldn’t go back to Kelowna at least for the next school year. Your father says that you were acting quite strangely even in the ward. Writing on the wall? Art, that’s vandalism and you know better than that. From the recommendation of Dr. Window, we’ve found you a psychiatrist here in Toronto and you’re going to meet with him every week for the next few months. Of course you’re still going to go to university, just here in Toronto. Hopefully being home will help you recover faster. When the universities begin accepting applications again, I want you to apply to every university here in Toronto. That includes U. of T., York, and Ryerson.”
I chewed louder as my mom finished her speech and my dad began his.
“Art, we’re not trying to punish you. From what I’ve heard, you didn’t have many friends at U.O.K. anyway so a new start shouldn’t be that hard on you. Know that we want the best for you so we don’t want you to feel that you’ve been jailed here. If you really want to go back to Kelowna, we’ll talk about it in two years. But I’m sure you’ll forget about the school and just move on with your life. Maybe in grad school you’ll go back to Kelowna. Who knows? You have your whole life in front of you.”
“Your father has also told me about this Alice Sterling person.” I threw down my spoon into my bowl and glared at my dad’s cold blue eyes. “We don’t have many of the details, but she’s issued a restraining order on you. Art, can you tell us what you did?”
I didn’t look at my mom. I fell in love, that’s what I did.
My dad put an arm around his wife. “Grace, I don’t think Art wants to talk about it. Whatever happened to him is quite personal.”
I hated when my parents spoke about me in front of me as if I couldn’t voice myself. I looked up at my parents. “May I go?”
“Yes, you may go,” said my dad as he also began to stand up. “Art, we’re not trying to punish you. We’re just worried about you.”
I grabbed my bowl and spoon, downed my glass of chocolate milk, and placed everything in the sink before heading into my room. I wanted to scream and throw my pillow across the room. Nothing was making sense. I needed Alice to keep myself sane. Without her, I would go crazy.
Kaylee knocked on my door as I gripped my red hair with two hands as if trying to rip it out from my scalp. “Come in,” I said and sat upright on my bed.
“Mom and dad told me you were back early,” she said as she sat beside me on the bed. “What happened?”
“I got a bit carried away,” I replied. I didn’t know whom I could trust and even my sister was a suspect.
My sister laid her left hand on top of my right hand and looked into my creamy blue eyes. “Art, just tell me what’s bugging you. Are you here because of Alice?”
I didn’t want to tell her because I knew that if I told her what was going on with me, she would think I’m crazy. Everyone would. She would tell me to give up and move on and I might have just done that this time because Alice’s presence wasn’t here. She was gone.
“Yeah, but that’s over.”
“She put a restraining order on me.”
“Why would she do that?”
“Last year I sort of kissed her without her permission.”
“She issued a restraining order for that?”
I had to think fast. Was I really going to tell Kaylee the truth? But the truth was, I had no idea why I had been given a restraining order. It was all a lie! I had two options: tell Kaylee that I had been wrongly accused which would then force me to talk about Alice’s artistic journey or become Joe and make up some shit like I hit Alice or something along those lines. Guess which option I chose.
“I made many advances on her even when she told me to stop.”
My sister looked down at the floor shaking her head, ashamed. “Art, what about meditation? Did you even try it when you were away?”
“I didn’t think it was for me.”
“And trying to get Alice was?”
“Kaylee, you just don’t get it—”
“No Art, I think I understand it perfectly.”
“I couldn’t help it.”
“Art, what you did is considered abuse. Please tell me you at least didn’t try to, you know, fuck her.” It was my turn to look down at the floor. “OH MY GOD! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!”
What was I doing? Everything I was saying was a lie. Did I really want to be looked upon as a freak, especially by my sister? No, but I didn’t feel there was any other way. I wasn’t ready to tell Kaylee the truth and the lies were so much easier to say. Besides, she probably wouldn’t believe the truth even if I told it to her.
My sister got off my bed and quickly headed into her room as if I was some parasite. I felt extremely guilty for lying to her and I needed something to relax me so I clicked ►on my MacBook once my iTunes opened. The first song that played was “Diamond On a Landmine” by Billy Talent. I lay on my bed and listened to the words as they were almost screamed at me. Then I decided to do something extremely stupid, I looked up the lyrics to the song. Once I accessed AZlyrics.com, I started reading the words. I memorized three lines and planned to act on them: “A dozen roses lay on the floor”, “diamond on a landmine”, and “I’m just a puppet, she pulls my strings”.
After the song stopped, the next song I heard was “Not Myself” by John Mayer. I synced “Diamond On a Landmine” to my iPod as “Not Myself” softly vibrated my eardrums. My goal was to find or purchase three things: a dozen roses, a diamond, and a puppet. But as the words “not myself” kept repeating and repeating in my ears, a few tears started streaming down my cheeks because I wasn’t myself. I was acting completely irrationally. Alice was not showing her presence and I wanted to be noticed.
I then decided to put one more song on my iPod Nano: “Not Myself” by John Mayer. The idea was that while I wandered Toronto in search of my items, I would play “Diamond On a Landmine” on repeat. Then, when all my objects were scattered, I would play “Not Myself” to feel the full effect.
The hardest object to find would be a diamond and I wasn’t about to go to some jewellery store and purchase a real diamond; I wasn’t stupid. But I knew my sister had some fake rings so I just had to find one of those. But then I realized that my sister was in her room and right now we weren’t on good terms. No, all of these items I would have to find in Toronto. I checked my Toy Story watch and noticed that both hands were on top of Woody’s face where the twelve was so one red and one blue hand were dividing his face in half.
Twofaced, was all I could think about. And that was I: Twofaced, Jekyll and Hyde. I was a boy, but a monster underneath.
Now that I knew it was noon, I showered, changed into a black sweater, and burgundy jeans (they were a birthday gift I bought for myself), threw on my green coat, and walked outside. A light snowfall had begun and I stuck out my tongue as a few white flakes drifted onto the pink surface. My first hunt was for red roses. I knew there was a shop just a bit past my house on Ranleigh Avenue so when I arrived at Yonge Street, I crossed over to the west side and headed into the little flower shop. “Diamond On a Landmine” was blasting through my headphones as I purchased the dozen roses. But when I left the store, I had no idea where I was going to drop the roses. But then I remembered the quote: “A dozen roses lay on the floor”. I had to go inside somewhere.
For the puppet, I headed to Mastermind. The store was a few blocks north of where I was and once I got there, I found an old fashioned Pinocchio puppet hanging off, I guess, the puppet stand. With the dozen roses wrapped and in my hand, I planned to leave the roses there but I wanted to make another statement so I made it clear who I was really giving the roses to and in order to do this I had to head to the kids book section of the store. With the puppet and roses under my arm, I scanned the spines of the children’s books until I found what I was looking for: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I pulled the book off the shelf and dropped it to the floor. Then after I made sure no one could see me, I ripped open the packaging of the roses and dumped them on the floor and right on top of the book.
Then, with puppet in hand, I scoped the little ring section of the kids jewellery stand and soon found a small fake gold ring with a fake diamond in it. After my purchases, I could see from the corner of my eye some of the roses peaking their bulbs out of the children’s section.
I left the store having someone else clean up my mess and with my two purchases, I dropped the puppet just outside ALEX CONVENIENCE and the ring just outside Spectacle. Then I waited, but nothing happened so I headed home. I had stopped playing “Diamond On a Landmine” on repeat and walked home to “Not Myself”.
When I was inside my house, I decided to play “Feel The Effect” by Tokyo Police Club basically just so I could feel the effect of what I had just done. As the song blasted through my speakers, I leaned back in my chair and closed my eyes as I heard the first “I feel the effect”.
I planned for the next song to be a song that would basically let me know if anyone had been paying attention to my messages/my cry for help. It was stupid, but I wanted to be recognized. I wanted to know that this crazy game was still on. I knew I was definitely losing my mind but ever since I had left Alice, nothing seemed to make sense anymore. I was lying to my sister about basically sexually abusing the girl I was in love with and I had a bad feeling I was soon going to be lying even more. I had to see a fucking psychiatrist now! How often was I going to fake it and would anyone see me through me? Or worse, what if I actually became the fake?
Then “If You’re Gone” by Matchbox Twenty played and suddenly I felt extremely traumatized. But as I fought back tears, I realized that maybe someone was listening and watching me.