Wednesday, August 4

what i'm reading since i'm not writing


Once you were rodeo, you were always rodeo. You got injured and kept riding. You got injured more and kept riding. Tex knew men who rode in constant pain, even with the high-dollar pain medication they were given. And if it got too bad for you to ride anymore (was there such a thing?) then you started your own rodeo grounds, taught lessons, bred horses, trained, something. You didn’t just say goodbye to the saddles and ponies and cows and move to the city and turn into some mini-van driving suburbanite.
---

By 1969, a study reported in The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf showed that 80% of high school girls felt themselves to be overweight. In another survey, done by Glamour magazine in 1984, 45% of the underweight women polled thought they were too fat. The numbers are always changing, but not positively: over fifty percent of the ten-to-thirteen year olds surveyed felt they were fat. A third of those were on diets—in elementary school....Not many people realize the physical effects of anorexia nervosa. 20% of anorectics will die from the disease. If women are 52% of the population, and 7% of those have an eating disorder, that amounts to aporximately 109 thousand women dying; society’s “collateral damage.”

---

"If you were to want to do something that you don’t want other people to see, here is the place.”
Avi blinked. “Sir,” he said, “I’m not sure what you’re implying, but I don’t think I like it.”
Juan laughed. It was a strange sound to hear coming from this serious man. “You know, I was in love once, too.”
Avi forced a laugh and shook his head. “I knew I wouldn’t like what you were implying.”
Juan dropped into a thoughtful silence, and they continued walking. The trail begin it’s circle to meet back up with the start. “Avi, I hope you remember that we aren’t enemies. Because if what your friend said is right—“
“All due respect, he’s never wrong.”
“—if your friend is right, we might be in for some trouble. All of us. And that means that the two of us will need to know where both our allies and our nemeses are.”
“I’ll remember,” he said. And, snidely, “I’ll remember about the woods, too.”
Yeah, right.

---

“Hey, dollface, wake up.” A foot nudged his ribs sharply. “Come on, you’re a wimp. You ain’t hurt.”
Tyler was awake, but he couldn’t seem to move. I’m paralyzed, he thought groggily. The food nudged him hard enough to be considered a kick and Tyler yelped. “You aren’t paralyzed, stupid.”
Tyler opened his eyes and saw the whisper of a silhouette.
“Fuckin idiot, get up. Get up!”
Tyler was kicked swiftly again, but he didn’t see anybody. “Ok! Ok!” He got up, his eyes following the glimmer around the room. Jesus, hallucinations.
The voice laughed suddenly; a rough, barking laugh that was more a façade than anything. “You can’t even see me. That bitch been chasing you around all this time and you don’t even know it.” A glacial feeling was spreading over Tyler’s ribcage where he’d been kicked; he began to shiver slightly. “Anyway,” the voice continued, “you better be glad I saved your ass, otherwise you’d be just a little glimmer now too.”
The glimmer’s face came into focus enough for Tyler to see the smirk it held. He. This glimmer was male, with a strong jawline and short tousled hair. Tyler felt exposed the way it—he—seemed to read his thoughts.
“I guess since you’ve got shit for brains I better be sticking around to make sure that bitch don’t come back with bigger guns next time. So let’s get aquainted. You’re Tyler, I’m Ryan, blah blah blah, I’d shake your hand but you’re being a pussy and I don’t want to make you cry or anything.”Tyler thought, dazedly, that he must be in shock. Maybe he suffered a concussion. Maybe he’d die right here, at the hands of this—what? Glimmer? Is that the scientific term for it? Tyler asked himself. His head ached something horrible, and all he wanted to do was drift away, even if it meant surviving the falling dream again. It was better than this confusion, it was better than hallucinations, at least it could be recognized as a dream, it was better than standing here swaying with dizziness, it was better—better—

---

I’m ashamed of the person I was, and I often wonder if, three years from now, I’ll be ashamed of the person I was in February of 2003. Will I look back on myself starving and always saying no to Falcon and wish to bury that part of myself away to never be found? Is this the kind of thing I’ll hide from people later? The person I am bears no resemblance to the person I was in high-school. I don’t even look the same anymore. Maybe the girls at the high-school reunion would look at me and not remember that they gave me their virginity (or I took it from them, depending on how angry you want to be at me for it).

--

“You’ve got to be an idiot, hanging around here,” Zeke hissed.
Kale whispered, “No one recognizes me. They’ve all forgotten.”
“I haven’t.”
“Kill me then.” His eyes seemed too big for his face, doe eyes, but it wasn’t fear that made them that way. His eyelashes were fluttery and blonde, giving him away as a fake brunette. “Or are you bit…?”
Zeke laughed. “You’d be bit.” He shoved him against the brick wall, hard, then stepped back. “Except you aren’t the only one hiding from old legacies. You tell anyone who I am, I’ll tell who you are; they won’t be as merciful as I would be.”
Kale smiled and raised his voice so the onlookers could here. “Sorry about the misunderstanding,” he said, offering his hand. “Name’s Kegan Aaronson.”

---

After checking the entire house for burglars and ghosts, he stood in the entranceway and stripped off his outerwear that never did keep him warm. He got smaller and smaller as each layer came off, and the pile on the floor got taller and taller until he was just a skinny punky-looking kid standing over a lump of coats and sweaters. The blue had advanced from only his fingertips to halfway up his fingers. He moved each of his limbs to find all of them tingling and numb.
He’d already done the house check and the numb check, so now it was time for the fat check. His wrists looked the same as they always did (sharp bone on the outside reaching for the tendons jutting out in his hand); he felt his collarbones and they were still there, all right, but not any more than usual, either. He pressed on his chest and found only the unyielding sternum and ribs (he didn’t believe it, though, because when he watched Pirates of the Caribbean he looked on jealously as Johnny Depp’s skin sunk in between his chest bones, and he looked nothing like that). He lifted his shirt to see a stomach, distended from the binging, but it still didn’t manage to go much farther outwards than his hipbones. He ran his fingers over the instrument of his ribs, counting in his head, and was relieved to find they were all there—none had disappeared under fat in the last few hours since he last felt them.

---

April 19: the final day to back out of the Walk. It came and went with the country collectively holding its breath for their beloved sons and boyfriends. Neither James nor Damien mentioned the Walk or the date. They saw each other that day, and had a rare moment alone—under the willow tree in James’ back yard, they sat against the trunk and kissed. James put his hands in Damien’s hair and said for the first time, “I love you.”
Damien smiled. “I love you too,” he said.
“I promise, I promise I’ll come home to you. I’ll come home and you can have anything you want. We can get a house in Montana just like you’ve always wanted, we can be together and it won’t matter.”
Damien swallowed thickly.
“What, D? What is it?”
“There won’t be anyone to come home to,” he said.
James blinked. “Are you…leaving me?”
Blue eyes hit the ground uncomfortably. “I—I’m in it, too,” he said. “Prime.”
“What? What the fuck did you do?” “I took the test,” he said, “and I passed.”
“Jesus, Damien! Why would you do that?”
“To be with you.”
“There’s only one winner, D! There’s only one winner! One of us is going to die!”
“At least I’ll die with you,” Damien whispered.
“No! You can’t kill yourself for the sake of romance.”
“I just did.”
“You can still back out, go use the phone right now and call—“
“It’s 1:30. You have to call by noon.”
“It’s only an hour, D, they’ll understand.”
Damien shook his head. “No, they won’t. And I won’t anyway.”
“D! Please!”
“Together we can walk down everyone else. And then when it’s just the two of us, then I’ll just sit down and rest—and you can kiss me—and then you’ll win. And have everything that you want so badly.”
“Damien,” James moaned. It was a rough, primal sound of despair.

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