« Each scene makes up one chapter of your life »

by Charlotte E. Wilde

« Each scene makes up one chapter of your life. » Sometimes I like to put quotes around something that I write, as if it weren’t me that said it, thought it. Somehow it feels like this makes it more official.

I eat the same thing every morning. Two eggs, one piece of toast. I think about cholesterol but secretly I wonder if I have something else entirely clogging up my veins. I keep eating the eggs because I guess I like to have something to worry about.

I cut them up before I sit down because I appreciate efficiency and I’ve already got enough trouble on my hands trying to prop open the book I’m reading with a piece of fruit, then the entire bowl (new book, strong spine, full of important secrets). Yesterday’s breakfast can already be found on page 73 which it feels a bit like sacrilege but it’s a price I’m willing to pay to forestall thinking for a bit longer each day.

Reading these words I wonder if there is a novel in me, too. Or rather, I wonder what novel is in me. I think it must have to do with E or V, but really, it has to do with myself, me, I. Humans are horrifically vain, aren’t they? People say it is this terrible egotism to write about oneself but I wonder, does anyone really ever write anything else? Pick your poison, pick your disguise: third person or a pseudonym, you’re not fooling a soul.

I fell in love with a writer once, which is actually quite similar to falling in love with ones self. He wrote the most horrible things. Beautiful things. Hard to describe really,  how skepticism turned to slivered sternums, like running until you can’t move your legs and the air feels thin and mean, the familiar heat of asthmatic lungs (so close to the heart, you could almost mistake it). He wrote things that touched me, that I then tried to emulate in my own writing—the simple horrors of modern life– gothic, grotesque, somewhat exaggerated existentiel dread.

My mother would say I’ve always had a flare for the dramatic and when it comes in short supply, I create my own or make some up. A copy-cat(e). I do it well, but so do we all, for what is living if not make-believe, death in reverse.

Later he hated me for it, when he realized I’ve only ever felt love for words. Couldn’t understand that a person is not their skin, and a person does not need to love your skin or your life or how you have only water, old takeout, and empty boxes in your fridge to love you. Wasn’t listening when I said, we are not the sum of our bones, and those who are, well, they’re doing it wrong.

Sometimes I go looking for him or someone similar, not the photos, not the facebook, not the instagram full of the most painfully ugly photos (I never could understand how a lover of linguistic beauty could not have an eye for it) but the words. Sunday afternoon lazily searching, and none of it alludes me except what I’m seeking which I suspect is some form of karma… or vengeance. A cruel trick, or twist of the knife, the hero’s prerogative (or is he the villain? This is my story after all).

In the end it doesn’t much matter much but I do still think of him sometimes, that intensity of feeling, our [missed] connection. And I wonder, after so long, what good is a grudge against someone’s nature? I eat the same breakfast for months on end. I am what I have always been, language heart, veins clogged with so many letters– his or mine or hers– enough to fill a novel perhaps, or just stacks of dear-johns that never made the cut.

It’s a shame really, but most things are. Perhaps it won’t be the cholesterol that gets me after all.



*written one week ago exactly.