by Cosey Mo
Based on: "Rubbed Out," Humming by Duncan Sheik
Disclaimer: "Rubbed Out" is a song by Duncan Sheik, and is owned by Atlantic Records, or some other really powerful global syndicate, which I am not interested in going up against. I am poor, poor, poor, unlike Duncan Sheik and afore-mentioned syndicate, so please don't sue me. If this story makes you all mad and fired up because you feel that I'm infringing on something that belongs to you--and it does, in fact, belong to you--just let me know, and it will disappear. Poof! No lawyers or attack dogs necessary. Please keep in mind that I reap no financial profit from writing this story. I do this for fun, and for the glorification of Duncan Sheik and his music.
He’s told me that so many times, I am starting to believe
it. I have to catch myself every now and then, remind myself that it is
just something to be said in times like this—not something to start believing.
He’d die for me, gladly—Lord knows he’s told me so, again and again. But
that wasn’t his place then, nor is it, now.
Everything that hurt me, hurt Scott. And if it didn’t, then I would take my pain out on him, quietly, until he felt it, too. I didn’t let myself know it, but I was always hurting him. I ignored every one of his tears, ignored the thin line that marked the barren place where a smile had been. Even while he said that he loved me, said that it was okay, he was hurting. He would never let me apologize, and I duped myself into thinking that meant there was nothing wrong. I didn’t want to see that he was constantly justifying every unjustifiable action I took. If I were irritable and impatient, even abusive, with him, it was only because I’d had such a long day, working to support my trailer mom and her deadbeat boyfriend who were up to their ears in debt. He thought that was heroic. He thought I was stronger than a war-torn soldier for doing it. Really, I was too invertebrate to say No to my sucking, slopping leech of a mother, even though she's never acknowledged what I've given her, never a call or a note--not that I ever expected it. And still, I could not reject the woman who’d nurtured me when I was vulnerable and small, just like I couldn’t get myself out of my relationship with Scott, who saw perfection in every stupid thing I did. I just waited, and when I felt my feet slipping from atop the pedestal he’d stood me upon, I didn’t fight the downward pull of Scott’s eyes finally seeing me, like a tractor beam dragging me down to the muck where I belonged. And even then, even now, he wants to protect me. He still tells me that it’s okay.
He is right. I deserve someone like him. There is only dark and silence on my path to hell, and surely I should be able to take a small souvenir of this world. If there is any justice, I know that I will come back as a clump of sod, or a hot, stinking piece of pig filth. Surely, it is okay to take him, my only comfort, down with me. He justified it, then--he may as well justify it forever, in eternity, from life to barely-worth-living life.
Scott knows that I grew up bouncing from cheap hotel to cheap hotel, but he's not sure why I never had a real home, or money to buy one. He has an idea, though, I think--snatches of dream speech that he overheard while I slept, safe in his apartment. But, I never told him about the fire that took my family’s farm as my friends bounded through it. I was the only one who knew about the secret ways through the fields and off the land, and I ran, and I left them behind. I still hear their laughing, Rebecca’s tiny voice chirping, “Simon didn’t say!” I was only eight years old, but even then, as I was running with the fire's oddly dry breath hot against my back, I knew it was wrong. I don’t tell him because I know what he will say: “It’s okay. What else could you do? You all would have died if you’d tried to save the rest. You were young. It’s all right.” And I understand that there is no making what I did, just. So, I erased those pages from my diary before I let him read it. A poor attempt, but he never asked about the pink rub marks left over. I apply makeup to the scars I still have from the fire. Sometimes it rubs away where he touches me. But he never asks about it. He just looks at me in that way he looks at me sometimes, and I can sense the forgiveness in his hands as he holds me. And every time, I feel the same way. I don’t want to do this again, don’t want him to do this again, and then his warmth melts away my protests against the redemption. And I let him, even though I know he’ll curse himself later for pardoning me, now.
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