[the messy people party, final installment.]
he wouldn’t look at her, she wouldn’t look at him, and i wouldn’t look at them. the party was dreadful, the people even worse. and hasn’t that been explained, how awful the people were ? like i, slavering in one immobile spot. and he, falling apart in haste and host. and she, seemingly impervious and obviously acting.
but the cold, clean house ignited with the dull and boring sounds of socializing, sometimes pinged by raucous laughter or even more so by a silent lull. deafening was the noise, annoying were the people and though the house was bigger than them all, they were pressed for room the entire while.
because they all knew. yes, they all knew. they knew you were so thirsty for attention and because they knew it, they gave it to you. and maybe they knew i hated it. they knew with discomfort that he was on a chain, some even mutely laughed. i saw it in their eyes. they knew that she was careless and conniving and they didn’t need to see the invisible chains wrung around her sweaty palms. and perhaps they watched my own eyes, saw who they hovered over and who they skimmed right past. perhaps they connected my reservations (staring at my creased fingers; wasn’t it sad, wasn’t it sad) to these flitting gazes, perhaps they understood how deep my internal perception ran, even anticipated a story.
but that’s not how it panned out, no. they all knew, as i knew, the heavy, messy connections in the room, the discomfort, the comfort, the annoyances, the silent jibes, but they did not know mine. they were too invested in their own mess. what a mess. i’d say i’ve cleaned it up, but i’m no less a mess than all of them.
your eyes were narrowed. if they weren’t they should be, like a tigress stalking her coddled prey. he was soft and impressionable, easy to enchant. yes, your eyes were narrowed. you took up space, your elbows always awkwardly awry from your body and legs sprawled out obscenely before you, occupying every area with maximum discomfort.
you did not process a tiger’s finesse, lacked the monumental stature and lusty pride except perhaps in your chest. it was enough to enchant him. you could not stalk him with soft paws on softer leaves, with a glint in your eye foretelling of his future. you could only absently tilt your head past his face as he stared at you, which was daggers enough you didn’t meet his thirsty gaze.
you did have a tiger’s attribute, actually: it was your cruelty. your devastating ambivalence around you when your bare feet stroked their way through the cold, clean house with a lip-smacking sound like they were sweaty. and as you smacked around the house, your chin was slightly drawn to the ceiling though the rest of your skin was heavy and labored. behind plodded your puppy, who loved you despite your apathy, who you took for granted.
no one present gave you as much attention as he, if any at all. you spoke to people who spoke back in slurred sentences and no words, but you replied all the same, and this explained your folly that i do not have to explain to you. you spoke with biggish words which you didn’t know the definitions of, but no one else did either and that was why you were confident.
no matter what, you were confident because you could make purposeful mistakes and initiate awful actions but still garner forgiveness. blind, pathetic forgiveness, for a blind, pathetic tigress.
you were distraught. people pressed you on all sides, and you wished you could be closer to some and further from others, you wished that some weren’t there, you wished even more oft that you weren’t there. you were distraught, and it showed in the slump of your shoulders and the gravity of your face, the shape of your eyes and the darkness in them. it showed in the way that you thought your fingers were the most fascinating thing around, how you knew the creases at the knuckles were always going to be there even if your fingers weren’t flexed, and wasn’t that sad ?
and wasn’t it sad how he wouldn’t look at you ? and wasn’t it sad how he always would ? and wasn’t it sad how you wanted one but not the other, didn’t that make you greedy, wasn’t that sad ?
little else could had changed the situation you were in. you could have been feet from anyone in the room and still miles away from them, because your head was somewhere else, brooding on the situation by itself, leaving you to take things as they came, and hating it all the while. so you could have taken a breath and swallowed it, along with the pride and the sadness and the various other things, and become animated, talked more, grinned oft, made an effort to brighten those dark eyes of yours, pushed your hair back, command the attention of those you wanted, and dismissed the attention of those you did not.
you should have gotten up, walked around, participated, but inside you didn’t. instead you were scared of every variable, instead you hung your head and stared at your fingers and let your mind get lost and brood, instead you thought about how much you would like to be away from this place, or at least be alone, and these thoughts touched at the corner of your lips and they made your legs immobile and they made you shy and sad. so you would not get up and walk around and participate, and you would not command anyone’s attention, or tell anyone to go away.
you would frame words with your lips and not say anything, you held conversations in your head, you would act excited at times but it was a tiring thing. you would get up if only to look like you had conviction or decision or if only to hush up the annoying suggestions of some distant host. you did everything he asked, after all, even if he rarely looked at you. you would feel sick and not let yourself forget it.
the room was a mess and the people that thronged it more of a mess than the room could ever be because, really, the room was quite clean. the people, though, some with emotion dripping off their skin, some holding their emotion with two shaking hands, and still others consuming it in glasses of ice bearing liquid that was the cause of all this mess, as it was a terrible mess. you could see each layer of dynamic as they all interacted, and they were messy layers of dynamic (some did not even speak at all).
my eyes could have been fixated on this person all night and still i don’t believe the steely gaze would have been acknowledged, with or without the narrowness that shaped my eyes and the dullness in them that perceived the partaking. and he, in all his mess, sauntering around in excitable and sporadic fits of give-me-attention, executed with a perfectly honed attribute of humility, desiring an explicitly more messy vie for attention via the tender of all the mess.
quite the opposite of the latter, a boy that crouched over his plate spilled his mess out of every available joint, joints that creaked with his every breath. he was leaking his mess all over the table, as his joints were too stiff, his elbows too tight, his mouth too pursed and eyes adrift merely as a pretense; all this in attempt not to expose his hunger, and it was not hunger for what lay on the plate before him. like i said, it was a messy execution, exposed all over his body, unlike the way mine was merely exposed in the eyes.
and across from him, shaking skin laid herself prudently a fraction too far away, presenting in her posture a quiet demand for all the attention she could gain without putting in a remark for it. she mainly achieved this through use of her eyes, though they rarely met the ones across from her despite her body faced him pointedly, shoulders back and elbows up and legs crossed uncomfortably. that was her mess, her acute discomfort, spilling across the table to mingle with the mess already pooled there.
perched against a precipice was another mess, strung out in the words he said and the way he didn’t divert his eyes enough from who he hungered for. he grinned too oft, shifted his body too frequently, and though his joints were loose and lips were free, he lacked the needed swankiness, portrayed too much a portrait of earnest socialism, and still forgot to divert his eyes. i only noticed this because he tended for the boy i watched who consumed his mess in a glass of ice.
the layers of dynamic were messy, i say, and the people even messier.