On a lot of those “How Fast Can You Type?” deals, I always have ended up with 80 WPM. And the fun thing is, that these are mostly used as a pre-interview means of seeing if I qualify. The best part is, that I have never had to type more than 3 words per call, serious. Those are the absolute worst. So I was trying to see how many words I could type in an hour, and if that ability would help with NaNo, if I decided to do it now. In one hour I typed 3669 words. I closed my eyes and typed. And may I say, ouch, my freaking wrists. At that rate, I’d finish soon. But that would be assuming that my mind didn’t get too preoccupied with plot and details and could just write.
One of the disturbances I had was that Drew was playing Metal Gear Solid (the PlayStation Version) so I spent most of the hour hearing, “Snake? You there? Answer me! SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!” That was distracting. It was also hard to get out of my usual “correcting” myself with spelling, because I would’ve spent forever trying to correct my spelling. After a while, touch typing becomes painful and your mind begins to think faster than you can type. It was a great experience in the end. In spite of my freaking wrists.
So, if NaNo is 50,000 words, and I can type 3669 in 1 hour, it would take me 13 and 2/3 hours to do. Not days, hours. So if I wrote for 1 hour until the end of November, I’d about have it.
And as I did 3669 words in 1 hour, that levels my typing speed to a lowly 61.15 wpm. Which, isn’t actually that low. After a while I began to feel fatigued. Sometimes I’d need to massage my wrist before continuing. I was also in a weird position because, unlike normal people, we don’t have a couch but an array of Love Sacs. Worth every penny.
So, this is what the 3669 words amounted to. I feel like I should do something with it, I was sort of planning to at some point. Maybe even if it wasn’t a whole novel. Enjoy if you want to read it! And Good Luck to all you NaNo-ers.
It was inevitable that it would come to this because I knew, in my heart, that there was no place left for me to be. It was a normal, cold morning. The lack of wind definitely aided in the fact that, to keep warm, I had to shove all the clothes I had onto my fragile body. I didn’t have a scarf, I ended up sweating after the work-out I had to do.
They would be so excited to see me. At least, I imagined that they would be excited to see me. I never really trusted people, their thoughts. The way their eyes wandered up and down my body, even if I smiled and assured them that I was completely fine. I felt accused, guilty of doing something I didn’t have to premeditate.
I put some Burt’s Beeswax chap stick on to prevent my lips from freezing and then grabbed my earmuffs and headed out the door. The apartment I was living (and working) in was safe enough that I didn’t have to lock up the door to my room. It wasn’t really worth checking out anyway – a soft poker table with the fold out legs (like everybody has in their first apartment), a soft mattress, a giant bean bag chair, a cat, and a computer that I didn’t really used because it didn’t like me at all. I smirked at the thought that anybody would want to steal from me. Most of my books were in French. I used an off-brand shampoo and conditioner. My clothes comprised of flannel shirts, thongs, and denim jeans from the thrift store. (Not the thongs though, I tried to make sure that those never had to come from a second hand source.)
I didn’t know what to expect, I was hoping that I would be home after filling up with cheese and crackers and broken promises, forgotten stories, and gossip. The bus stop was right outside my front door. However, this bus would take me half a mile to the bus I really needed, so I contemplated waiting for this bus or just walking on my own. I loved to walk, I hated to walk. It was probably the only relationship that has been consistent throughout my entire life.
I think everything was ruined once I slept with my sophomore roommate and she ended up hating me. I tried to apologize to her, but I also had to apologize to myself. Because two consenting adults ended up not liking each other after the fact meant that it was neither our faults. It really just was one of those life choices. I felt my cheeks tense up in the cold. My breath was slow and rhythmic, the cloud of smoke heaved out of my mouth. I still tried to imagine that I was smoking a cigarette, although smoking a cigarette would probably kill me before I even had a cell of cancer in me.
I never really saw the point of having five year reunions anyway. I mean, we just saw each other, right? Although my perception of time has been sort of out of whack since I had to stop writing my name and date on every single piece of paper I wrote. I was hoping t see her, but I was hoping that she wouldn’t be there.
She tried to call herself an introvert but it always depended on how she felt. On occasion she would be so boisterous that nobody could shut her the hell up. And she’d talk about nothing for hours on end. And that was my favorite thing to do with her. We would climb to the tallest part of a building and just sit. I’d eat lunch with her even if I just ate three seconds ago just to have these talks. My chest was wrapped tightly in a bra and three shirts, so it heaved as one would heave in a passionate and how moment. It was kind of gross.
I boarded the bus and threw in a few stray coins that, luckily, totaled up to the amount I needed to get on the bus. It would take me right to the university, right where I needed to be. Graduation was the absolute worst but I never ended up straying too far from anywhere I was familiar with. It was comforting for me to know my way around. It was one of the things I missed about driving. My internal telescope would allow me to track my way to a strange place, then pop right back onto the correct highway back home. I was always upset when people never seemed to understand what I meant when I would say, “Turn left on Snelling, get to 36 W, it turns into 35W South, then exit off France, right, left, right.” It was hard for me not to project my intelligence on others, but simultaneously all the anger that also spewed forth. It was all my fault.
The bus hummed and it bounced with every filled and re-filled crack in the road. The ice was tempting the wheels to make the bus glide down the gentle hill of the road and would prevent it from stopping. Luckily, that wasn’t the case. I liked to imagine such scenarios in my head.
When I’m on the bus, I eavesdrop on everybody around me. I heard this older woman telling a younger woman who was recently diagnosed with epilepsy that her husband ended up drowning in the bathtub because he had a seizure while he was bathing. “Baths were always his favorite thing, the stupid bastard.” It was so hard not to laugh. Sometimes I’d try to help somebody who looked like they needed help and they’d glare at me. Minnesota Nice seemed to be a phrase that meant Minnesota Passive-Aggressive or Minnesota Rude. We were all pretty nice. Don’t let Fargo give you the wrong impression of Minnesotans. I had never been to Brainerd so I wouldn’t be able to draw a conclusion on the accent. I say a lot of things in that accent ironically. I can because I’m from Minnesota. But you can’t.
The drone of the engine almost lulled me to sleep. I could tell how many stops I was away from where I needed to be. 16. I had gone up and down that road in the bus so many times. I really wished I had a car again.
The chut chut chut of every stop and every door opening intrigued me. I wanted to be sure that the reuinion wouldn’t be boring. I wondered how manyy people actually had jobs where they wanted to be, if their degrees were put to good use, if they wanted to make fun of me. Bullies will always be bullies, after all. The thought made me shutter because I was probably a bully. But I was coy and horrid. I didn’t like to hit people. When it came to fight or flight, I was usually a flight. I could run faster than I could hit. It was probably a sign of weakness. It may have also been a great key to what my strengths were.
My husband and I were newly married. I didn’t mention living with him because he’s not really relevant. But I guess I can speak about him – as awkward as it is being aroused on a public transportation bus. His smile was to die for, that’s for sure. I would die to have him smile. I would do anything for it. He was very tall, a snazzy dresser, was always polite and could keep a straight face if the moment called for it. I was always bursting into laughter. All I wanted to do was talk and insult people. Because insulting people didn’t make me a better person and I knew that I wasn’t a really good person to begin with. It was at a play where I first saw him. I knew that my intentions were probably more physical than what I had in mind. I spent years missing him, because he seemed to have better things going on than trying to keep in contact with old friends and the like.
I wonder how many friends I went to school with would actually show up. Would I recognize them? My eyesight was ll but gone. I had to keep wearing glasses, more constantly. My reading glasses had been upgraded to day long pieces of shit. I was only 24. Goddammit. This was not how I wanted to end up. But maybe I had it better than a lot of people. But, even if I had it worse, people would either want to be pitied. SO it’d literally be a pity party. And as much as I wanted to try to keep the words of my therapist close at hand, I could pity them better than anybody had been pitied.
I could smell the burger joint that was close to the baseball field of our rival college. They thought they were so smart. I bet they were, for the extra 10 grand they were spending each year on tuition. I tried to take as many classes as I could over there and the ones I ended up taking made me feel like a complete moron. It was kind of like being baffled every day, the same way you were baffled the first time your parents dropped you off at kindergarten and wouldn’t take you back home that instant. A deep, mourning feeling in the pit of your stomach. You didn’t know how to make a good impression when you were 5, and you still don’t know how to make one. The Mac Students could smell the fear off of you. And then they would try to exploit you with bagpipe music, a fantastic food service, and flowers because they were the equivalent of the 1970s revolutionary boho hippies.
I smiled a little bit at the thought. My head was rattling quickly against the window pane. I let my teeth rattle slightly so the noises outside of my head mimicked what was going on in the inside. My brain was a really strange thing. Did you know the brain named itself? And whenever I think about how baffled I am by that statement, I realize that it is my brain, which named itself, being baffled at the concept that it named itself. And I will never get over that. There is probably some sort of alien or intelligent species that would look down on us and be like, “You are totally idiots, so we aren’t going to share the secret of immortality with you.” And then we’d all die. Just as we were supposed to.
How would I brag about myself? Could I do it in a way that wouldn’t hurt anybody? Should I do it as obnoxiously as possible? Would I want to announce to people, outside of Facebook and Tumblr, that I thought myself of as altruistic God? Even thought good cannot exist without evil. Because if we didn’t know good, how would we know evil? And peace, love, rock and roll and the opera and what have you. Should I tell them that doing what you love, in my case writing, wasn’t really all that it was cracked up to be? That it was probably as sad and fake as all of our friends online? The internet has certainly changed us for the worst. I mean, sure, I can definitely search for how many quarts go into a gallon, but if I try to have a conversation, nothing about that conversation will be on things outside of the internet, unless they are intimate memories of our childhood before the internet really became a thing. *The* Thing.
I adjusted my earmuffs as I pulled on the cord. Ding. Let me off. It was time to face the demons of my recent past, and the angels of the same thing. I hated doing that sort of fake stuff. Ugh. I didn’t really want to be there. I was content sitting at home alone, going out to walk and tire myself out, then coming back home to sleep. The days felt longer as the sun went down earlier. It made me more depressed, however, so that wasn’t good for me. I had a fine adjustment of medication, but it was always a man against nature situation from the moment I was born. I’m here so far, so in your face Darwin.
I hopped off the bus and tried to not fall as the wet boots, that had snow melting on them for half an hour, hit the ice. I hated ice. Snow was fine, ice was not so fine. The bus stop put me next to a corner store. Across from it was a lively bar that was not my type of atmosphere. kitty corner to us was a hair salon that was too expensive for anybody who wasn’t as concerned as the worth of a $30 hair cut was. Across from that, a gas station I never went to even though it had been the cheapest in the city for as long as I could remember.
I began my march east towards the campus. How many people would be driving? How many people would have their husbands or wives or even children with them? Why would you bring children? Why would you want to bring the biggest mistake of your life to a college reunion and try to pass it off as success? Humans are a dying breed, mostly because fools are allowed th mate. I was all for reproductive rights, your body is your body and so forth, but come on. There had to be a limit. I mean, even I wasn’t ready to have children. I probably would’ve never been ready had my husband not brought it up. He’s so cute when he talks about family. But whenever he talks I listen, because the sound of his voice is soothing and sexy. It’s a real voice, not an act. Oh man. Why didn’t I bring him with me to the reunion? Oh, he was at work. That’s why. Au revoir, bragging rights.
The snow began to stick to the soles of my boots. I clutched my purse tightly around my elbow and walked in the most waspy fashion available. If a bus happened my way, I would have gladly jumped onto it than finish my ride to campus. Was it the left or south gate that I usually came through? I reached into my pocket to check the little post card that passed for a reunion invitation. I sighed at the ugliest post card I had ever seen. I crossed several blocks before coming across our local coffee shop.
“Just a little coffee,” I smiled to myself. I knew that I would have a delicious beverage and the shits for an hour, but that was a risk I was willing to take. I wasn’t trying to intentionally miss the reunion, I thought to myself, trying to convince myself that I wasn’t a hypocrite. I walked into the coffee store. It smelled like organic-non-blood-child-labor-free coffee. I ordered the largest, cheapest mix they had and sat down. I proceeded to add about half a quart of cream and enough sugar to keep Willy Wonka’s factory open for two months. I smiled to myself as I unwrapped myself from the anorak, the sweater, the long-sleeved flannel and ear muffs. I felt liberated. I sipped on the coffee and stared around without much focus. The reunion wouldn’t be over for six hours. And it would take me 4 hours to drink this and 1 hour to shit. I was fine. Still left for an hour to chitchat with the old buddies and pals that I had made. They were right, it was harder to make friends in the real world.
The coffee, sadly, was only an hour endeavor. I scrolled through my smartphone, reading articles, looking at pictures of cats, and replying to half hearted Emails. I really wanted to ask my mom to come and pick me up and take me far away from this place. She wouldn’t have it, she would probably drag me into the campus because she would do anything for free food. Not a long list of things, but a pretty decent notecard worth of things.
I went to the bathroom.
When I emerged I cocooned myself back up and headed into the cheerful cold. I stared across the street. Ugly banners welcoming returning reunion friends and that shit flew rigidly in the air. It was more foreboding than welcoming. I chuckled to myself. I could’ve done a better job at making a reunion than these morons. Something caught my eye.
There was a realm of endless possibilities built before me. This little boutique was full of knick knacks and jewelry that were too expensive for college students. Well, now I had been an alumnae for about a year. My turn to purchase something. I walked inside.
The inside smelled like sandalwood and some other meditative incense. It was like walking into a tree that was decorated with the half-assed sculptures of an old farmer trying to keep the government off of his land. Roosters and porcupines. What a combo. There were racks of jewelry, magnets, pins, shot glasses. It was an upscale Spencers. Awesome. I wondered how much a handmade, organic dildo cost. I was bulky in the aisles. I worried that I was going to knock something over on accident. Because then somebody would turn, wonder who the fatso was, and then shoo me out with a broom or something of the like. I knew I was a fabulous person and all, but they didn’t. For some reason there was an armchair resting in the corner. My mind devised several histories and stories: it was the one undamaged piece in a violent house fire that was said to be haunted; it was donated by an old lady who murdered her husband in it but nobody suspected the sweet old lady; that the chair was sewn together from the flesh of it’s previous owners and it needs people to sit in it so it can chomp them up to feast. This is exactly the type of guest chair that I would have in my house. My cat would’ve probably ended up jumping onto it and being killed and that would’ve made me sad.
Mirrors lined the walls of the store from top to bottom, at least where the windows and scary paintings made with leaves and the hands of children were. There were racks of jewelry that lined all the counters. Inside the counters, which had glass displays on them so I guess inside the glass displays, there was even more jewelry. Some was crafted in such a beautiful, loving way that I wanted them but they were priced twice as much as the slapped together pieces of shit bracelets that a toddler could make. I asked to see the latter. I never wore bracelets but this was a day that I was treating myself after my form of punishment. I rolled the bracelets on and off of my hands, one by one, in the most tedious way. The only employee in the front kept her eyes on me like a hawk and feather dusted the store with her hawk feather feather duster.
I peered out the window that looked out onto my campus. I tried to stall myself as long as possible. I knew there was beer, I knew there was meat, I knew there was gluten-free vegan shit. I was torn. I paced around the store for half an hour because I didn’t want to go into the cold. Yes, the enjoyable cold. Eventually I relented to my wanderlust and headed out of the store.
I inhaled and exhaled meditatively as I eyed my former campus. Great memories, some awful memories, and then I moved off campus because I hated everybody who dared treat their feet on the campus. Except the professors. UNless they were the professors I hated. Fuck them.
Everybody was only five years older than they were when I first started. Some of the professors who scoured my facebook were on sabbatical so I knew I wouldn’t be seeing them. All my professors of colors had left. I only had one. I had only seen one. Some kind of anti-people-of-color school. No wonder I didn’t fit in. I was greeted by members of the welcoming committee who were trying to be nice, but probably hated having to work over winter break. I would’ve resented me for having a reunion during a time I would’ve wanted to rest. I signed in at the table. I didn’t recognize the person behind the table but she seemed to recognize me and gave me a creepy, friendly smile.
I headed inside to see what I could eat, who was there, and then leave before my bus pass expired in 20 minutes. I didn’t hang out with anybody. Anybody I loved was gone. Anybody I hated was probably around. From the corner of my eye I spotted a glint of familiarity.
Fuck me sideways.
I turned away and knocked some damn grapes off of the craft service table. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. She turned towards me with that fake ass smile. Oh my God, I wanted to punch her in the mouth so badly. The only thing I’d be knocking out were her fake ass teeth. No biggie, right? Only thousands of dollars worth of dental work. I stared blankly at her as she headed towards me.
“Why, hello there…”
I exhaled out of my flared nostrils. I didn’t want to talk to her unless she could give me answers.
“Um, excuse me?”
“Felicity. Where is she. I know she’s here.”
I didn’t really know if she was here or not.