Tragic Love Story
(based on the truth)
by Flannery Wilson
© 2017, HIT Press
It carried me away
a force so strong
that it remains even now.
Love drove us toward death.
Cain waits for us there.
-Inspired by lines 104-107 in Inferno by Dante, Canto V, vv. 82-142.
Note to the reader:
This is not a work of fiction
But that is not to say that it is an autobiography.
It is both and it is neither.
It is not fiction in the sense that the contents of this novella are also an archive.
It is fictional in the sense that certain subsections represent ideas and thoughts
Rather than real events or occurrences.
The dates, as they appear under each subsection, represent points in time
In which certain memories, thoughts, fantasies, idealizations
Were expressed for the first time in writing.
Each subsection represents a shift in perspective of one mind
During one particular 12-month period
In the context of one individual life.
Could these be the made-up memories of a fictional character?
Of course. But I’ll leave it up to you to decide
Whether or not that matters.
Sadness is sublime.
But comedy is ideal.
note to self
remember not to self-destruct
(June 8, 2016)
I have come to realize, over the past few years, that I have the ability to make others cry — but only, of course, when my tears are genuine. My sadness becomes your sadness — and your sadness mine — when authenticity inspires the right words. In other, more mundane moments, my words betray me and I become alien again. I cannot take it back. The experience is often tortuous. Paradoxically, the sadness is also beautiful…sublime.
They meet. They write a story together.
This story was written by the two of them. He wrote parts 1 and 2. She wrote part 3. In other words, she finished the story.
(.June 26, 2016)
“I didn’t delete it. I promise. Why are you watching me type this while I’m on coke,” he said to her.
“You type like you fuck.”
“Ill take that as a compliment.” That smile she flashes him makes his day.
“This is way too romantic. So lets add some drama,” he whispers.
He pulls out a .45 caliber chrome desert eagle and shoots her in the face. As she falls he regrets his decision. Will he ever be able to shoot anyone again? Most likely.
Who am I? I’m the writer of all life. I’m the one who manipulates history. If you live on Earth you might have heard of God. I wrote that. Clever story isn’t it. Tommy over here is gonna go to jail. He shot his girl in the face. If you want to know more you’re going to have to wait and see what I write next.
While Tommy prepares another line of cocaine he wonders about his process. What did he learn from her? And her brain full of a myriad of ideas that she tried to communicate to the world. She always doubted that word and how Tommy used it. She always needed to be right, and in a way, she was.
You see, she knew that Tommy was going to kill her. She even bought the gun for him. What she didn’t know was why he would do it. Was it the wetness of her breath against his skin? Was it the fact that she never slept? Or was it the incessant cocaine problem. She would never know, her last dying sight being of the gun she had bought him.
She can’t do it. Her head hurts, weary from the previous day. She shuts up, and watches me, carefully, curiously. The song blasts in the background, a mixture of their pasts. The neighbor knocks on the door, axe in hand.
“Howdy neighbor, I found your axe in the garbage two days ago.”
“It’s not even mine.” She slams the door in his face.
As she turns around, she smells a rotting corpse. It is her father. His head chopped off, barely hanging to his neck.
The dead man stands up, facing her. Even in death he is a nuisance. She can’t picture it. Finishing him off. She looks at me, begging me to help her. I know how the story ends.
I know she will finish him off. I can’t help her do it. And I’ve become bored now, and I’m somewhere else anyway. Guess she’ll have to figure it out on her own.
“…in media res. You know what that is, right?” Her know-it-all tone of voice was starting to piss him off.
“Yes of course,” he muttered, “Frankenstein.”
“What? I can never hear you! Why do you always mutter under your breath? It’s like you’re plotting to murder me or something. Sheesh!”
She looks at him. Nothing. He isn’t moving, isn’t speaking. Feeling suddenly uncomfortable, she gets up and heads to the fridge.
“What’s been up with you recently?” The instant she felt the final syllable of that final word vibrating off her lips, she regretted taking the conversation in this direction. It had nowhere to go but down.
She looked at him again. His body was rigid and unmoving. His eyes were glazed over, and for a moment she thought he was stoned. But then she remembered that they had run out of weed yesterday around this time. She remembered because they had made a joke of it.
“Ha, ha, it’s 4:20. Shouldn’t we be packing another bowl, right about now?”
He looked at the digital clock on the oven.
“Maybe. But don’t you think that would be kinda predictable? I mean, if someone were watching us right now, I feel like they would be bored if all they got to do was watch our lazy asses smoke weed all day.”
Her expression changed slightly. I noticed a subtle glimpse of sadness; so subtle that it might have been nearly imperceptible to most other people. But I was different from other people. I knew what to expect. Tommy didn’t.
“That’s funny,” she busied herself in the fridge. “I was thinking the exact opposite.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well…” Her mild sense of unease quickly transformed into a full-blown case of embarrassment. “I was thinking that this was one of the most interesting days of my life.”
Her entire body shuddered as she sensed a shift in his demeanor. It wasn’t a good shudder, like the kind she had felt only twenty minutes ago when they were fucking. The shudder was unnerving; it caused the hair on her arms to stand on end. Something in the pit of her stomach groaned.
She quickly glanced in his direction — hesitantly. She didn’t want to see the expression on his face. She didn’t want her intuitions confirmed.
Better to be ignorant than hurt.
But she didn’t believe that. That was what Tommy always said.
Her romanticism — that resistance to realism and pragmatism at any cost — was finally beginning to catch up with her. She thought of that Noah Baumbach movie she’d watched recently. All her life, she had been made to feel that her writing wasn’t good enough. That she was somehow lesser than a bunch of bitchy feminists.
All of her dreams, her ambitions from earlier points in her life flooded into her consciousness for a moment, then receded just as quickly into the nooks and crannies of her brain. This is just like that passage in that famous French psychological novel, she thought, …something about a cookie and tea…a swan? She gave up trying to remember.
But it wasn’t all bad. That was the crazy part. She knew that in recent months, she had been happy. Each new day was more beautiful, more horrifying than the last. She knew that without horror there was no beauty, but this wasn’t a fact that she held consistently in her mind. As if every time the thought crossed her mind, she had to re-discover it, even though she knew that she had already seen it a million times before.
Tommy was waving his arms at her, trying to get her attention. He looks like a fucking gorilla, she thought to herself. She laughed.
Her mind arrived in the moment. She looked up.
“Yo! What the fuck is wrong with you?”
The addition of the word “fuck” seemed unnecessarily harsh to her. She felt angry, then sad, then angry again. And then…a twinge of dread.
“What’s the problem Tommy? I was just getting a glass of — ”
But just as she turned to leave the kitchen, she caught a glimpse of the thing that would end her life. And no, I don’t mean the thing that would literally end her life (the gun, duh.) It was the thing that she had always suspected. The thing that had irked her every day for the seven years that they had been together…
Every night, for those past seven years, she would lie in bed, close her eyes, and her mind would wander. Every night, she would walk down the same dark corridor, toward nothing, in no direction. But the corridor didn’t bother her much. It was the feeling underneath all of it. The feeling that accompanied the dream was always far worse than the setting. No one’s entertained by run-of-the-mill clichés like dark corridors, foggy alleyways, or Dracula’s castles anymore. Or maybe she was just bored by her own dreams.
It was only a few feet behind and to the right of Tommy’s stupid face. And he was none the wiser. She knew better than the rest of them. Tommy had always called it her “persnickety” side, but she could never understand what he meant by that. She suspected that he meant to say “pretentious”, but got stuck with “persnickety” because he was just the kind of person who would never admit to any errors.
As she continued to stare longingly at the shiny barrel of the pistol poking out of the closet, she felt the anxiety melt away. So beautiful, and yet so dangerous. She felt a momentary urge to fuck it, but the thought quickly faded away when she realized that there were so many preparations — so many errands to run, items to check off, people to fuck over, before all of her preparations would go as planned.
All of these thoughts crossed her mind…and evaporated. She knew that in spite — or perhaps, because — of the complexity of her plans, she was already immobilized. She felt the cold inevitability of it all. And it was beautiful. She knew it as clearly as if I had told her the answer before I had even begun to write this story.
She would be the one to go. Tommy would survive. That was the price she would pay for attempting to eliminate patriarchy from all of corners of the earth. The patricide was only supposed to be the first step.
But by now, everything had changed into what it had always been. Now she knew that her project would remain incomplete. But none of that mattered, because that was the way that it would have always been. We can’t regret anything once the idea of regret becomes meaningless; once we realize that nothing could have been otherwise.
This idea, both thrilling and terrifying, allowed her to continue, and it allowed her to accept her fate. It was in this moment that I fell in love with her. And now so do you.
Something terrible happens.
She is sad, so she writes a poem.
Beginning to end
(February 14, 2017)
It ended where it began.
The metaphor was also real
And vice versa.
She forgot, sometimes, that he had really almost killed her
In real life. In her real life.
By “forget”, she means “pretends to ignore.”
He was killing her in two ways
And for her the idea that he had seized upon her mind and her body like
A parasite was worse than any physical killing could ever be.
When he nearly killed her before
She was only half-conscious.
Awake enough to feel the blows to her head
Still too stupid to realize that it was her head
And even so, why that would make a difference.
Like reality occurring in the dark
Where emotions aren’t matched with images and
The brain does not help the eyes to turn on
Not because it can’t but because it doesn’t want to see.
We wrote a story, but did not read it like Paolo and Francesca.
That would have been romantic, heroic, or epic somehow, like in a story.
The story that we wrote was disjointed, non-collaborative, and angry.
The female’s character’s first words are “You type better than you fuck”
An idea conjured up by him not her.
In the first scene the man chops the woman’s head off. It is so manly she thinks.
He thinks he’s hardcore and violent and shocking.
She takes it as a challenge and when he leaves she stays awake all night until
The story is finished.
And then it’s not that she kills him or anything but instead
She’s ok with her fate. She sees herself caught in the web of time and she knows,
She knows that there is only one way, only one way to go.
And that can be comfortable. That alone can be comforting.
Maybe in the end he kills her.
What’s clear is that she doesn’t kill him.
She freezes. And in that frozen moment she accepts her fate, because
How could the cause of it matter when it’s the life that comes before,
That life which is always the same life.
This thought of fate frightens and comforts together because it can do that.
She told him she felt like a spider that had been caught and injured but not finished off.
He replied: “What do you mean.” She didn’t know how to reply.
She agrees to see him again. She knows that it is a mistake.
(March 9, 2017)
This is why we are fortunate to die
Take mercy on me.
Hell and heaven are on earth.
Real death extinguishes consciousness within moments.
Real death is merciful.
Two bodies exist, concurrently,
On the same earth
In the same moments of history
For those two bodies
Death injects itself into thoughts of the future.
We still have time left,
Until he overtakes us.
Two bodies exist on the same earth
At the same moment, more or less.
One starves its soul for the other
The other merely looks away
For those two bodies.
Real death is living.