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Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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« In Which We Stand Too Close And Too Long Beside The Window »

Personal Histories


The day we were born our mothers knew that we would be lonely and odd and that we would seek unsustainable happiness that would perpetuate a life of melancholy. So they chose to ignore the faith cast upon us, and for it, they have ignored us.

We would keep our trembling, bleeding fingers in our jacket pockets so that nobody can tell that we are thinking of death, that purple fright that is simply staying on the beach after the sunset, with no gas in the car, no bread and no blankets. I don’t know about yours, but my mother sure didn’t like to sew torn pockets, while all the other mothers smoked cigarettes and discussed curtains.

There was that time we wore those jeans and perfect shirts and decided to be perfect children. First, I unbuttoned the top button on my shirt and felt too relaxed for a perfect child. I thought, it is possible to be good and great and relaxed, but then the ends of my hair started to curl.

I became nervous, ate a tomato and its tinny and sleazy seeds kept gluing themselves on my shirt. Beautiful girls with long hair called me out to play. I stayed by the mirror, looking at my ugly, crying face, the tears that glimmer the freckles beneath my eyes and around my nose, and the front teeth that summed up the unwanted ten year old me that would make you crazy in some ten years. You did not go through this make-believe fashion show. You fell down the moment you stepped outside of your house, and, dirty and angry, as you did most of the time, you gave up.

I was born to a monotonous line of peasants and do-gooders, who were skeptical of all things mystical and transcendent, but God. Besides, for them, God wasn’t transcendent. He was a certainty, there in that empty corner facing East and in a basket full of apples, cheese and cream. You were born to merchants, to some teachers, all in all, to people who stand too close and too long beside the window. For all that, I am a naïve daring bitch, and, you are sensitive, hurtful son of a bitch.        

If I live to be old, I’ll confess all my betrayals. One by one, the friends I wanted and never had and consequently still want. The times I choked Shut up! I hate you! Shut up! so that dinners could end romantically. Lies, wicked plans, ridiculousness, disregard and disobedience we called My Personality. If you live to be old and dumb, you’d make me a friend.

You would speak to me as if we have just met, and I don’t know a thing about the dungeon where you keep memories of people that made you insecure. You will talk of those unfulfilled dreams of yours more fondly than of the children you bore. Old, honest, probably deaf creature who still can’t bring himself to acceptance.

Yes, both of us could have done better.

If you took a monk for a lover, you would have needed to show more. I wrote this several times in SMS I never sent to you. You never wrote and erased anything to me. Children who start reading early on in their lives, (a) become deviant perverts, (b) lonelier then others, (c) people oblivious of their cruelness. Thinking of you, I encircled (e) all of the above.       

When it rains I think of the waste emptiness within everybody. People will bear it until the afternoon and fill it with food and sex, at night. When it rains you are yourself and you are browsing the bookmarked motels, the bed and breakfast places by the sea.   

Rain or no, I hope you agree with me that we are all statues in the park at dark, noticed only that time when we were inaugurated in the darkness, ignored by everyone but the dogs who stop to pee at our bare bronze feet.It grosses me out when I see old people eating bananas. I hate when I talk about my family. I used to like both. I used to like you too but then your bedsheet started to smell like library books, used, abused, read while smoking. I'd love to sleep there forever. Well, until you grow old and start eating bananas. It disgusts you that you were circumcised and you loath that the paradigm of all your failures is just that an inch or two less of your majestic dick.

When I was five or so, my ears were pierced in my fathers’ village, somewhere between the houses of my grand uncles and the hayloft. They gave me a mirror and a red lipstick and said Soon you’ll look like Betty Boop. Hours after, my ears were still red and warm. I felt strange and taken. When you were six or so, that one day you were so happy and successful at everything, your grandmother said Come! I want to tell you something. As she whispered it to you, a rush of heat, discomfort and disappointment washed your cheeks.

It is because of things like these that we completely trust and forgive each other.

Sumeja Tulic is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Sarajevo. You can find her website here and her flickr here. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here. She last wrote in these pages about the only Arab city.

Photographs by the author.

"The Blind Man" - The Happy Mess (mp3)

"Kissing Mirrors" - The Happy Mess (mp3)

The new album from The Happy Mess is entitled Songs from the Backyard and it was released on October 14th.


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