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OPENING WEEKEND by Clare Nazarena Tascio

OPENING WEEKEND

THE HARD PART IS THAT IT ISN’T HARD.

TO GO ON LIVING.

AFTER.

THE LIVING JUST…GOES.

JUST GOES ON AND ON!

WITHOUT ME.

AND I HAVE TO WATCH IT GO.

AND I CAN’T CATCH UP TO IT.

AND I CAN’T REALLY WANT TO.

SO IT GOES.

ON AND ON.

 

SOMETIMES I SIT IN THE FRONT ROW, BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS TO SIT IN THE FRONT ROW, AND BECAUSE IT’S LIKE SITTING REALLY CLOSE TO A BONFIRE.

I WANT YOU CLOSER AND BIGGER.

BUT SOMETIMES I SIT ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK. WHEN I’M THAT FAR AWAY FROM YOU I FEEL THIS HARD FISHING LINE PULLED TAUT BETWEEN US. LIKE I’M TESTING HOW FAR I CAN GO, BEFORE YOU SNAP ME BACK TO YOU.

I LIKE THAT.

IT FEELS LIKE I’M TOUCHING MYSELF EVEN THOUGH MY HANDS ARE ON THE ARM RESTS.

I ALMOST COME.

I DON’T LIKE SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE THEATRE.

IT FEELS LIKE A TRAP.

OTHER PEOPLE END UP SITTING NEAR ME, AND I CAN’T PRETEND IT’S JUST THE TWO OF US IN THE WORLD.

 

I DON’T WANT ANY FRIENDS, AND I DON’T NEED ANY FRIENDS, AND NOW I’M GLAD I DON’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS, BECAUSE IF I HAD FRIENDS, THEN THEY WOULD HAVE THEIR OWN OPINIONS ABOUT YOU, AND THEN THEY WOULD RUIN YOU RIGHT TO MY FACE.

 

I STARTED GOING TO THE MOVIES A LOT, SO I COULD BE IN A DARK PLACE THAT WASN’T MY BED. SO I COULD BE AWAKE, BUT ALSO ASLEEP.

THAT’S WHEN I SAW YOU.

I ONLY BOUGHT A TICKET TO SEE YOU BECAUSE YOU WERE TWO HOURS AND FORTY MINUTES LONG, AND I WANTED LONGER AND LONGER MOVIES, TO MAKE THE DAY SHORTER AND SHORTER.

I LIKED EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU.

YOUR FRAMES.

YOUR COLORS.

YOUR SOUNDS.

YOUR PACING AND YOUR SILENCES.

I FELT A FLICKER OF SOMETHING, LIKE WHEN YOU START TO FALL IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE, AND YOU CAN ALREADY SEE HOW FAR THAT DROP IS, AND YOU KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO GO FOR IT ALL THE WAY.

I’M SAYING I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU THE FIRST TIME I SAW YOU, AND I CRIED WHEN YOUR CREDITS ROLLED THAT FIRST TIME.

 

MY THERAPIST TOLD ME TO FIND THE “LITTLE THINGS.”

SIMPLE THINGS I COULD ENJOY.

SHE TOLD ME TO GRAB HOLD OF THEM WITH BOTH HANDS, NO MATTER HOW STUPID OR CHILDISH THEY MIGHT SEEM! I COULD SPEND ALL DAY BLOWING UP BALLOONS JUST TO LIKE HOW THEY LOOKED CROWDING MY BEDROOM! I COULD VISIT TEN PET STORES IN A DAY JUST TO PET THE PUPPIES AND KITTENS!

WHATEVER.

I DIDN’T WANT TO FIND “LITTLE THINGS” TO ENJOY.

WHAT A WASTE OF TIME.

WHAT AN INSULT TO MY ESSENTIAL HUMANITY, WHICH I THINK, FOR EVERYONE, IS A STRETCHING TOWARD “BIG-NESS.”

AND THEN I FOUND YOU.

AND YOU WERE BIG.

YOU WERE LONG, AND RAMBLING, AND BEAUTIFUL, AND FULL OF SO MUCH, AND NOTHING HAPPENING, AND EVERYTHING HAPPENING TOO.

YOU MADE ME FEEL LIKE I WAS FALLING IN LOVE.

WITH WORLD.

WITH NOT BEING DEAD YET.

 

I DECIDED THAT SINCE I COULDN’T KEEP UP WITH THE PACE OF MY OWN LIVING, I WOULD KEEP PACE WITH YOU. I DROPPED OUT OF SCHOOL. GAVE UP MY APARTMENT. CHANGED MY PHONE NUMBER. FILLED A GARBAGE BAG WITH CLOTHES. BOUGHT A NOTEBOOK AT THE GAS STATION, AND DROVE. TO EVERY CITY AND EVERY THEATRE THAT WOULD PLAY YOU FOR ME. YOU, FLUNG UP SO BIG ON THE SCREEN, THROWING LIGHT ALL OVER MY CRUMPLED BODY IN MY DIRTY HOODIE AND JEANS IN THE FRONT ROW.

 

I DON’T NEED  SLEEP. I BARELY NEED TO EAT. COFFEE IN THE MORNING, AND LEFTOVER CANDY, WHILE THE SUN RISES OVER THE HIGHWAY. SOMETIMES WHEN THERE’S A RAMP GOING UP ON A BRIDGE OR SOMETHING, I FEEL LIKE I’M GONNA DRIVE RIGHT INTO THE FUCKING SKY. AT NIGHT, IT’S RED BULL AND STALE POPCORN FROM THE DAY BEFORE WHILE I FIND THE NEXT THEATRE. ONCE I FIND IT, I BUY TICKETS FOR EVERY SHOWTIME I CAN THAT DAY. IF TWO SCREENS ARE PLAYING YOU AT ONCE I SOMETIMES WATCH YOU ALMOST ALL THE WAY TO THE END, THEN SLIP INTO THE OTHER SCREENING, TO WATCH YOU ALL THE WAY TO THE END AGAIN.

IT FEELS INCREDIBLE THAT WAY.

 

IT IS CLEAR TO ME YOU ARE A MUCH MORE LOVED THING IN THE WORLD THAN I CAN EVER BE.

NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY IN THE REVIEWS.

THE REVIEWS ARE BULLSHIT.

I THINK ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE CAME TOGETHER TO MAKE YOU, AND HOW MUCH MONEY AND TIME WAS PUT IN TO BRING YOU TO THE SIZE YOU SHOULD BE, AT THE SCALE YOU DESERVE.

NO HUMAN HAS HAD SO MUCH TIME AND MONEY AND PEOPLE PUT INTO THEM.

 

SOMETIMES I THINK THAT A PERSON’S LIFE IS A LOT LIKE THE LIFE OF A MOVIE IN A THEATRE. OPENING WEEKEND IS A PERSON’S LIFE AGE 1-18. YOUR FIRST FORAYS INTO FINDING YOUR PLACE IN THE HIERARCHY OF PEOPLE. YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCES WITH BEING PUT DOWN, CRITICIZED, OR PRAISED. PEOPLE WILL CONTINUE GIVING THEIR OPINIONS ABOUT YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, BUT THAT FIRST WEEKEND OF LIFE SHAPES THE REST THAT WILL COME LATER.  NO APPRECIATION LATER ON DOWN THE ROAD WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU WERE TREATED THAT FIRST WEEKEND. THOSE FIRST INSULTS. THOSE FIRST COMPLIMENTS. YOU NEVER FORGET IT.

THIS OPENING WEEKEND DETERMINES HOW LONG YOU WILL BE AS BIG AS YOU WANT TO BE. HOW LONG YOU CAN HOLD YOUR OWN ON A BIG SCREEN. BEFORE YOU ARE DEMOTED TO TV SCREENS, LAPTOPS, TABLETS AND PHONES.

YOUR FORM COMPRESSED TO SMALLER AND SMALLER VESSELS.

 

SO WE COMPRESS OURSELVES.

 

AND TELL EACH OTHER TO TAKE PLEASURE IN THE “LITTLE THINGS.” AFTER WE ARE RAPED BY THREE BOYS IN OUR COLLEGE DORM.

TAKE PLEASURE IN LITTLE THINGS, BECAUSE BIG THINGS ARE NOT FOR YOU ANYMORE.

YOUR LIFE.

YOUR SELF.

GETS A BAD RAP.

PEOPLE SAY SHIT ABOUT YOU.

THEY SAW THE VIDEO AND THEY STILL SAY SHIT ABOUT YOU.

 

I DON’T WANT TO LIVE MY LIFE ON SMALLER AND SMALLER SCREENS.

YOU ARE THE THING THAT MAKES ME FEEL ALIVE, EVEN THOUGH I’M NOT TALKING. NOT MOVING IN MY SEAT. BARELY BREATHING. YOU ARE MY LIFE NOW, TWO HOURS AND FORTY MINUTES. THEN ANOTHER TWO HOURS AND FORTY MINUTES. MY DAYS AND NIGHTS EXIST ONLY IN THIS INTERVAL: TWO HOURS AND FORTY MINUTES.

 

THERE WILL COME A DAY, AND VERY SOON, THAT I WON’T BE ABLE TO FIND YOU ON A BIG SCREEN ANYMORE. THIS IS A LITTLE LIKE RELIEF, THAT THERE IS AN END IN SIGHT, AND A LOT LIKE GRIEF.

 

I WONDER IF THOSE BOYS FELT EVEN A MICRO-BIT OF THE FEELING THAT I FEEL WHEN I’M WATCHING YOU. WHEN THEY WATCHED ME. THEN LATER WHEN THEY RE-WATCHED ME ON THEIR PHONES, ON THAT VIDEO. HOW DID THAT FEEL TO THEM? COULD THEY HAVE FELT ANYTHING AT ALL? THE DAY I SAW THAT VIDEO WAS THE DAY I STOPPED LIVING AT THE SAME PACE OF MY LIFE. THERE I WAS. SO SMALL. SO MANY PIXELS OR BITS OR WHATEVER THE FUCK. SUCH A SMALL SCREEN. IF THAT MOVING PICTURE OF ME WERE TO CLIMB OUT OF THAT LITTLE SCREEN I COULD CRUSH HER WITH TWO HANDS LIKE A MOUSE. MAYBE I WAS SIMPLY ONE OF THOSE “LITTLE THINGS” THOSE BOYS ENJOYED IN LIFE.

 

BUT IF YOU WERE TO CLIMB OUT OF THE SCREEN YOU ARE ON,

AND ACHIEVE A PHYSICAL FORM,

YOU WOULD BE BIG.

I WOULD BE THE MOUSE.

AND YOU COULD CARRY ME IN YOUR POCKET,

UNTIL I BLOOMED INTO A GUN.

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