this is fiction

When I was in Jersey my mom gave me a copy of The Good Life by Jay McInerney, it's a well written book with a story that sucks you right in. After reading it I was hungry for more of McInerney's prose and decided to go all the way back to his first novel Bright Lights Big City, a book I never read but held the faint memory of the movie and Michael J Fox playing a somewhat unbelievable young coke addict in NY. I could have finished this book in a day but I loved it so much I drew it out over a week. Bright Lights is written entirely in the second person, not a common narrative for writers to use. The voice of the narrator would run circles in my head as I fell asleep reading this past week and I had visions of writing a story in second person, instead I wrote the bit below which was completely inspired by that 1980's novel.

You love this city but you realize now that you need to leave it. You need to leave it before you get too old and too tired and fall into the rhythm of complacency and comfort that all of your friends seem to be sliding into. You are aware that you hate them for this, for the ease in which they move in and out of relationships as comfortably as moving into a new apartment, which seems difficult at first but once everything is in boxes is really quite simple. They always hire movers and you resent them for that. You love them but you also hate them for putting friendship after new relationship, even though you would likely do the same, you like to think you wouldn’t, that you would remember the years of friendship like battle scars, that you would be eternally grateful for the times they sat and comforted your crying ass, that you would never forget. And maybe they don’t, but it feels like they do and it makes you want to disappear, not die, but just fade away from the background, like leaving a party without saying goodbye. You think they will appreciate you more when you are gone. So you decide to move. You pack your things and you leave in the quiet of the night. When the plane takes off it is a good ten minutes before you can see anything. The city is wrapped in a fog like someone is protecting it from the cold. You see nothing. And there is a moment when you picture the plane exploding, the air traffic controller has looked away, it’s a split second but the smell of Louise has distracted him, it’s her new perfume, the scent fills the room when she shakes her head hard at a good joke, she doesn’t laugh, just moves her head back and forth, back and forth, and of course you would die as a consequence of someone else’s lust, that’s just how it’s been going these last few years. But the plane is steady and you fly above the city while it is entrenched in fog and you love flying over the city when you can’t see it, it’s as of that big white cloud is keeping it hidden like a secret. You can’t see it from this high above and it can’t see you and it’s just as well because you wouldn’t know how to give it a proper goodbye anyway.


comfies said...

i LOVE the way you write, t....

jennifer said...

Love your piece! and the book-- thanks for insisting i read it!