Thursday, December 30, 2010

Death of the American Dream part 1

Lilly Astor was not a musical genius. However, she could weave symphonies with each press of the keys. Often melancholy, her work had a sullen rhythm reflective of her life outside the walls in which she was now confined. Her long fingers jumped precisely and hastily from key to key. The stoic expression so frequently seen on her face never gave way. That is except for her eyes. Even when she was not weaving a masterpiece with her esquisite hands, her dark brown eyes always conveyed an empty loneliness.

The report was due at ten that night, and Lilly was determined to finish by eight. The clacking of keys on her computer echoed throughout the office from her cubicle. It had been a while since she had last gone out, and one of her closest friends had invited her to drinks earlier that day. Her long brown hair was slightly disheveled at this point from the fervent and intense working. As always her face made no portrait of the kind. At seven forty five she finished. She walked over the the communal office printer, grabbed her piece, stapled it, and put it in her boss's office.

She stopped quickly in the bathroom before she left. She was embarrassed when she noticed the state of her hair and the light sweat stains forming in the pits of her t-shirt. She urinated quickly, and grabbed a scrunchie after washing her hands and pulled her hair into a tight pony tail. She raced back to her cubicle to grab her jacket to hide the small sweat stains. Her office space was clean, and after picking up her cell phone and shutting off her computer she left.

The subway ride home was bothersome. A group of young ruffians were practicing their rapping skills, and none of them were very good at it. The bright lights flickered constantly and this car reeked especially of urine and feces. A handful of homeless people slept on the hard plastic seats.

She darted immediately for the shower when she arrived at her apartment. The near scalding water was refreshing, and helped wash away the troubles of the day. After the shower, Lilly stepped onto the ceramic floor and stared in the mirror. At first she couldn't see anything because the steam had caused it to fog up. She wiped it with a towel and began to scrutinize her various features. Her hair was long and dark brown, her nose was like a button, her lips were full, and her were large eyes large and loquacious. She gently cupped her modestly sized breasts, and ran her hands down her perfectly toned stomach and past her trimmed pubic hair to her thighs. She was a beautiful girl, but she did not see herself as such.

She did her hair quickly, but it was a fashionable do. She put on a simple black dress and an ornate silver necklace. she grabbed a black clutch purse and placed her feet in black pumps. After a spritz of perfume, Lilly walked into her kitchen and pulled out a small selection of alcohol for when her friend arrived.

There was a knock at the door. Lilly sped towards it as fast as her high heeled shoes would carry her. The person on the other side knocked again.

"Stop it," Lilly commanded "I'm just about to open it."

With a heavy sigh she unlatched the lock and turned the knob. Before she could oepn the door in its entirety, the person on the other side burst through.

"Honey," He walked straight to the cabinet in which she kept the alcohol "You can't keep a guest waiting."

"Theo," Lilly rolled her eyes and plopped on the couch "You were waiting for 30 seconds; You're just really impatient. Make me a drink while you're there."

"What will you have?" Theo fiddled around in her freezer in search for ice.

"Scotch. On the rocks of course." Lilly sat back against the soft cushion of the sofa. She combed her brown hair onto her shoulder with her fingers to avoid any unwanted crimping.

"You know that gives you chest hair," Theo giggled "Such a manly drink."

"Maybe it will help me in the romantic department," she withholdingly laughed "men always bitch about how difficult we are to figure out, but you're really just as bad."

"We can barely figure each other out," Theo walked over with two drinks in hand and sat down on a chair adjacent to Lilly.

He handed her a drink with a small amount of brown liquid and two sizely ice cubes. He drank a whiskey sour.

"Really?" Lilly sat up and took a sip of the beverage and cringed. It was a man's drink "everyone says gay guys just get each other."

"Not at all." He laughed and took a sip of his drink "There's a lot of things that people assume about people in my community."

"Che sera sera." Lilly placed her beverage on a coaster "Don't make to much of it. You shouldn't put too much stock in what others think of you."

"I try not to," He candidly admitted "but, even if you say you don't, there is still that small almost inoccuous voice in the back of your mind telling you otherwise. Eventually, that little inconsequential voice grows in volume and then before you know it your self esteem plummets."

"That's true." She knew he was right. She ran out of things to say so she decided to examine her friend as she did so many times. Theo was a rather attractive man of thirty one. He had dazzling green eyes and bold features that many men would envy. He had the hairline of a ten year old and his coiffe was always styled perfectly. He was exceptionally pretty. Lilly always suspected he wore make-up. As far as adornment went, he was what one would call a snappy dresser.

He was staring pensively at the wooden coffee table, almost burning holes into the various knots which caught his atttension. Lilly took another sip of a drink to try and think of a subject to which she could change conversation. She came up with nothing.

"So what are we doing tonight?" Theo finally blurted after a few minutes of silence.

"We're going to dinner and then maybe to a bar." Lilly stood "I'm sorry for the lack of conversation, I'm just exceptionally tired."

"It's fine," Theo stood as well "I was just thinking."

Lilly just nodded. She didn't want to intrude on his thoughts, nor did she want to hear them.

"So we're going to The Arthouse for dinner right?" Theo took both of their glasses to the sink.

"Yep," Lilly pulled a black cardigan off the coat rack "Then we can go to the palace afterwards."

"A gay bar?" He smiled and opened the door "Are you sure?"

"I don't feel like getting laid tonight," She walked out and pulled a key from her small purse "There's a less likely chance of that happening there than at a straight place."

"Sometimes I think you need to get laid more often" He laughed as he exited her apartment behind her. She locked the door.

When they got outside and attempted to hail a taxi Lilly began having strange thoughts and decided now would be a good a time as ever to vocalize them. Perchance he could help her sort out the feelings she was having.

"Have you ever thought about dying," Lilly could feel a heaviness in her breath "I mean: Killing yourself?"

"Yes," Theo said frankly as as taxi began making its way to the curb "I used to want to off myself all the time when I was younger. Are you having those thoughts now?"

"I'm not considering it," Lilly said without looking at him "I was thinking about what it would do to the people around me."

"Listen," Theo uttered in such a way that Lilly had no choice but to look her in the eyes "You will hurt everyone around you. You're life will be over physically and in every other way, but you will end the life of all the people around you too. They'll be alive, sure. But, they will never forgive themselves for not doing everything they could to stop you from doing it. You will haunt them for the rest of your life. And besides, there are so many people who have it worse than you. I mean, fuck, you're a successful journalist, men love you, you're fucking gorgeous; You have everything going for you...don't be so selfish."

"I told you I wasn't considering it," Lilly was close to tears and she turned away to hide from her dearest friend.

"Lilly," The taxi was pulling up "I know what it feels like. To be alone, and fell like there is nothing you can do to pull your self from the pit that you find yourself in."

"I-I said..." She was crying now.

"Listen," He grabbed her shoulders "I tried to kill myself several times when I was younger. It is the hardest thing in the world to convince yourself there is hope and that people love you. I know it is. You probably won't even believe yourself when you say it out loud. Just keep reminding yourself, and it will click at somepoint, trust me."

Lilly remained silent and hastily entered the cab. Theo followed behind her. She pulled a tissue from her purse and dried her eyes.

"Where to?" The driver inquired.

"Fourth and De Gault." Theo responded. His gaze was still on Lilly.

She didn't say anything.

The entire drive to the restaurant she had the sickening feeling of an unnamable horror. What it was or what made her feel this, she couldn't say. As the drive continued the feeling grew into a pensive paranoia monster which overwhelmed her anytime she tried to think of something else. At this point Theo turned his gaze from her to the road which made her feel even more alone at that moment.

They arrived at the restaurant. Theo insisted he pay and he began to exit the cab. Looking at the floor of the automobile Lilly said one thing that still haunts him to this day:

"Theo, I'm going to die tommorow."