Archive for December, 2008

However Shall I Be the Queen of New Year’s Eve With No Sleep??!!

Posted on December 31, 2008

Can\'t Stop It...

I lie in bed fully awake and restless. I am trying not to move and adjust too much as I know it’ll disturb him and then there will be two of us feeling as I do…frustrated with me and my mind. My brain seems not to demand nearly as much of me during waking hours as it does in the blackness of night. My thoughts drift through time. Seamlessly blending what was, what is, what could be…

I give in.

I now sit in the living room as the nascent daylight plots its daily coup against the night. Almost imperceptible in this moment, but the clouds are tinged slightly orange and I’ve seen enough city dawns to know that signifies roughly 45 minutes till the city is bathed in the glow of a new day.

For now, I stare at the water. Smooth. Slow moving. Regal, even. The first Ferry boat floats by and I notice that its reflection mirrors on the water and gives it a decidedly ethereal appearance.

This is not good. I am thinking too much. Assuming. Hoping. Trying. Hunting for belief in a mind that isn’t sure that there is even value in such nonsense.

I realize I speak far less than I used to. Verbally, anyway. I am just not sure that what I am saying could possibly be expressed in the way that I need it to be, so I choose not to say it at all. It’s better that way. When I do express and it inevitably gets fucked up, I find myself here. On the couch. Watching the daybreak. Going over. And over. Again.

I try not to highlight books during a first read through. Though it may be argued that the phrases and paragraphs that zing you from the get-go deserve notation, I mostly reserve that honor for a second go-round. I have been unable to adhere to my own rules in the case of Capricorn. At this juncture, I wonder if the whole exercise is futile, considering that my highlights span 90 percent the first hundred pages.

As to what happened…

“Everything that happens, when it has significance, is in the nature of contradiction. Until the one for whom this is written came along, I imagined that somewhere outside, in life, as they say, lay the solution to all things. I thought, when I came upon her, that I was seizing hold of life, seizing hold of something I could bite into. Instead, I lost hold of life completely. I reached out for something to attach myself to… and I found nothing. But in reaching out, in the effort to grasp, to attach myself, left high and dry as I was, I nevertheless found something I had not looked for…myself.” ~Henry Miller “Tropic of Capricorn”

The day has dawned a gnarly gray. I kind of love it. The clouds move just a bit too quickly through the sky and I watch the helicopters land across the water. There is nowhere I can go from here. Not now, anyway. Sadly, my bed won’t have me (or is it I who won’t have it?) and if I see one more infomercial, I may physically cry, so it is here that I remain. Watching the clouds. Seeking the discovery. Highlighting that which appears significant.

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The Year of the…

Posted on December 28, 2008

I defy you, "Definition"

I defy you, "Definition"

When do we decide a year is “good?” At what point does it get “tagged?”
I mean, I clearly know that 1998 was a mixed bag. ‘04 was so-so. ‘05 was hazy. ‘06 was better than most. And so it goes…

Still, I’m not sure if I am ready to label 2008 yet. And with 2009 only days away, I feel like I should be nearer to some semblance of summation. Yet, I still feel like this one could go either way. Loose ends abound.
Old thoughts recently revived and still incubating…not yet fully boiled. Not ready for confrontation or consumption, let alone conclusion.

And what shall I make of this unrelenting need to analyze in the first place? The ending of the calendar year is but a date among many thousands I have and will experience in this lifetime. Aside from the searing pride I obviously feel that the Earth has once again managed to circle the sun without major incident, there is no reason that December 31, 2008 should be any different than January 1, 2009.

Except that it is.
Shunning the demands of society and its expectation of propriety is one thing.
But it is oddly more challenging to eschew the notion that we must resolve and determine and let go and begin, simply because the calendar dictates that we ought to.

I’ve always been good with analogies. I love to make that which is incongruous somehow fit. I like to fill in the blanks. I thrive on it, in fact.
_______ is to _______ as _______ is to ________

Intrepid is to Insolent as Valiant is to Maverick
Evolution is to Life as Loiter is to Demise

And while that was hugely enjoyable, I am still no closer to placing the necessary closure on 2008.
Furthering my conundrum is the fact that my inability to place appropriate adjectives on the past 365 days is not due to inaction. To the contrary, this year has presented plentiful fodder for exam. I just feel unwilling. Because I know that what’s next is big. And no amount of intellect and qualifying and quantifying can make big feel small. Or easy.
Then again, I’m not much for small. Or easy.

Hold your breath.
Cannonball.

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Dear Capricorn, I’m Ready Now…

Posted on December 26, 2008

Thanks for the Madness, Miller.

Thanks for the Madness, Miller.

I probably owe her an apology. I am a thief in all regards (some more offensive than others) but the habitual and effronterous pilfering of literary works from my mothers collection, seems to render me more than a little impenitent. I suppose it could be worse. I could’ve pinched those rotten little Xanax.

Alas, I’m back on the Miller. Not actually all that dissimilar to the HST and Emerson I’ve been devouring as of late. Yes, these three mad geniuses forever hold my heart and my mind (which I am realizing are not mutually exclusive.)

Like all great loves, these men gut me and spin me and leave me examining and questioning and breathlessly begging for more. They make me die just a little at the end of each adventure together as I boldly prepare for the next time we’ll meet.
The singular aspect of my Miller love that differentiates itself from my love of the Others, is intimacy.

I’ve been to his house in Big Sur.
Somewhere a photo exists of me donning his signature brown beret he acquired in Paris during his escapades in the 30’s. I wasn’t supposed to touch the display in the museum, but I had to have that shot. I’d hoped his genius might seep into my brains. I may have just picked up the madness. Still, I’ll take what I can get.
I read Cancer on a cliff in Monterrey as the sun went down.
I remember looking up and glimpsing my mother looking remarkably beautiful with the late day sun shining through her freckles and turning her hair just a little redder. Her eyes were closed and I knew she was etching that feeling into her being to draw upon in harder times. I knew because that is exactly what I do. She looked so peaceful on that cliff. I immediately felt deep remorse for my actions.
I hadn’t wanted to go on that trip. And until that moment, I hadn’t let her forget it.

So now I’m onto Capricorn. I read Cancer twice (with nothing between…rapid succession, right in a row) and attempted Capricorn just after. But… it wasn’t Cancer. Five years had elapsed for Miller. One week had elapsed for me. I just wasn’t there.
I’m there now. It’s been seven years since that Californian Coastal adventure with my Mom and one day since my shameless thievery of her mysteriously unread copy of the second Tropic book. Mysterious only because I happen to know that she’s read that book more than a dozen times. I am choosing to believe that the like new copy was waiting for me. Purposefully or otherwise.
I’m about 30 pages in. I already know that I’m going to die a little more than usual when it ends. I am haunted by his ghost. Consumed by his madness.

I sit rejoicing in the repose of my life. Recovering from the experiment in lunacy that is the Holidays.
They live in a 1950’s Cape Cod surrounded by imposing trees which seem to threaten to crush the dwelling each time the breeze kicks up even a little. And the wind chimes. Dear God, are they creepy… My mother has developed one of those odd obsessions with collecting a chime from the small coastal towns they visit. There are at least 7 hanging on the wooden porch and I cannot help but feel that they sound like the not so clever “uh-oh tone” of a novice sound designer in an old horror film.

I know that it hasn’t too much to do with me. I am fortunate to have ability to dip in and out as I choose. Still, I do think that six adults, three dogs, two children, and several elephants in one room might overwhelm even the most unflappable among us.

“Nurtured all year then pressed in a book
Or displayed in bad taste at the table
Problems arise and you fan the fire
While there’s a wild pack of dogs loose in your house tonight.
Cut from bad cloth or soiled like socks
Add it up and basically people never change.” ~The Shins “Pressed in a Book”

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Overall, The Girl has a Crappy Holiday Attitude…

Posted on December 23, 2008

Light Beyond the Tunnel

Light Beyond the Tunnel

The Girl is a pleasure to have in class.
The Girl is very social. Though she occasionally talks during lessons she does get on well with Others.
The Girl is a social butterfly. She always has a smile and a kind word for her classmates.

The Girl makes gnarly-ass mean faces as she walks down the street.
The Girl has a general distrust of people and tends to believe that she is smarter than everyone
The Girl is pretty exclusive regarding who she allows into her inner circle and can’t be bothered to formulate nice things to say about those outside of it. Nor does she say mean things, though… so maybe she is somewhat salvageable….

The Girl is a shadow of who she once was… particularly during the Holidays.

I realize that I make expressly mean faces when in the presence of tourists. Especially in Times Square. Which I should know better than to walk through, pretty much anytime between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but certainly just before Christmas. Sadly, Times Square is the main artery that bridges midtown NYC with…well, everywhere else on Earth, so The Girl finds herself trudging and shoving and occasionally grumbling aloud far more often than is recommended by the AMA, AHA, FAA, FDA,NA, AA and the like…

Look, regarding the money tossing tourists… I’m grateful. Please do buy 3 dollar cans of soda from the illegal street vendors and poor imitations of Kate Spade bags from the thief with the bed sheet on the corner. Please enjoy our fine cuisine at luxe establishments like Red Lobster, Bubba Gump’s, and Friday’s. It’s good for the economy. Please, DO stop dead as soon as you get to the top of the subway steps and stare at the sky as you try to get your bearings and figure out if left is North or South. Don’t mind me and my 17 shopping bags. Don’t concern yourself with the 98 pound human who is now being bottle necked by everyone else who is pushing me into your newly purchased I Love NY foam finger. Please! Enjoy the view! I’ll wait.

Seriously, I’m not that angry of a person, but I do get a bit haughty regarding the cultural rules of visiting a new place. Especially a crowded new place. That I have to share with you.

Sigh. For the first time, I am excited for the dark and gray skies of January and February. When the Others leave and I am left to my devices.  When the invasion ends and the lull returns.

But for now, I wait. I dig my heels in and sway in the breeze hoping it blows quickly. Turns out, I just may love the wind.

“Tell me, you go over a man’s house for the first time, do you take off your shoes? Do you put your feet up on his coffee table? Do you walk in the kitchen, eat food that doesn’t belong to you? Open the door to rooms you got no business opening?” ~The Hunting Party

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When the Naked Truth Is Just Too Much…

Posted on December 20, 2008

Yes, this is MUCH too much...

Yes, this is MUCH too much...

I have oft used this space to say things which I hope are meaningful, if not entirely what I mean. Unfettered honesty is actually not as poetic in practice as it idealistically seems.
Thus, I frequently grab the hand of my dear friend the metaphor, and proceed into the dark and gnarly undertow of my thoughts in attempt to depict some sense through the chaos.
I select my words with exacting precision and try to avoid writing after taking Ambien (which seems to be my 29 year old answer to the drunk dial.)

I find that song lyrics are an infinite source of inspiration while attempting to express through writing. I have long classified myself as a lyricist (as opposed to a beat-head).
By my definition, a “lyricist” is one whose ultimate allegiance to a song, is based on the lyrically inspired journey the mind embarks upon while listening.
I am forever amazed by the depth of situational emotional encoding a meaningful verse can sear into my brain. I can say with much certainty that I will always know which tracks to turn to when I want to indulge my own broodiness (or end said broody behavior), when I am mid-mull on an issue, when I want resolution, or when I just want to say fuck it…
And I am guaranteed to get what I want, even if it isn’t exactly what I need.
I once hatched a plan to write a story using only song lyrics, but decided it would be more challenging to use the line that comes directly before the line I am getting at. For instance, to illustrate this admittedly convoluted idea with a current obsession, were I to desire to incorporate the line from Ladytron’s “Ghosts” which states that I “made you a prisoner inside your own frequency” I would WRITE the line just before it lyrically, which is “made a trail of a thousand tears.”
In the end, the story would be a jumble of lyrics which appear completely incongruous and discordant but upon “decoding”, would equal a completely linear thought process.
Yeah, I’m sure I was high when I came up with it. The idea totally necessitates that a reader really like Google, care enough about the author’s point of view to get to the bottom of it and (to a degree) dig similar music and/or be in a similar state of mind as the writer. Hmph. That’s a lot of requirements.
It could be argued that a more straightforward approach to speaking one’s mind might be more efficient. But maybe I just feel that those who aren’t willing to examine, don’t really deserve the truth. We are always saying something. Perhaps, there is a modicum of honour and integrity in the systematic selection of the souls we allow to dissect our truest intentions.

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Gone Baby Gone

Posted on December 18, 2008

Beware the Beast Beneath...

Beware the Beast Beneath...

I almost didn’t notice her.

The room is packed with people, all wearing varying shades of red and gold and my senses have stopped taking in the individual revelers… they blend and I focus on the canape I’ve been holding for an hour.
The power hungry producer type is speaking at me and I nod and smile in the appropriate spaces. I throw in the occasional “absolutely!” for good measure.

It is then that I see her in my periphery. I swing around but she is gone. My abrupt motion has startled the insipid man who is now expecting an explanation for my lack of focus on his scintillating tale. I feel obligated. “I um, thought I saw someone. Else. Whom I knew. Though, I don’t see them… now. So…sorry. Please, go on.”
He does.

No more than three minutes pass when I feel her again. I dare not turn because I know she is near. Very near. Eye contact near.

Perhaps we will all keep up appearances and pretend that we don’t know. After all, she doesn’t know that I know who she is. But she certainly knows who I am. I would never say a word. But she would. That is just her type. I fear her erratic nature. I fear the fact that I am the only one who knows exactly what this woman is capable of.

Fuck. Why am I still holding this canape? I have to get rid of this wretched appetizer now. NOW. It’s making my hand greasy. And the fat is congealing on the edges which is making me feel uneasy.
I abruptly excuse myself and set off in search of a vessel in which I might rid myself of the offending hors d’oeuvre.
I avert my gaze and shove through the consumption-happy lot. And walk directly into her. BAM!

Realization washes over her beatific smile, and she cocks her head to the side in a most nauseatingly coquettish manner. “Aren’t you…???” she begins. Please. Like you don’t know. She continues… “I don’t believe we’ve actually met, but I’d hoped that we would one day (I’ll bet you did)… I am SHE
I do my best impression of someone who is not repulsed by this interaction. “Oh, Hi! Yes, I’ve heard about you. I mean… I know your work.” Shit, Everything I say has one too many meanings.
She is oblivious and the Stevie Nicks song lyrics flow through my brain “you’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you, don’t you…”

Her laughter interrupts my contemplation “Oh, you are so sweet” (No I’m not) “Honestly though your photos didn’t do you justice. You look like a little DOLL. You should really tell Him to represent you as you deserve…”
It is too much. I am out.
“Lovely to meet you… I really need to…” I’m searching. I am… “I need to get rid of this um, food.” I indicate the ration which is now mushed in the napkin and hiding in my clenched fist.

And I am gone. She yells something about lunch and I do not turn back. She must never see the tears that sting my eyes. A product not of sadness, but a deep rooted contempt that even my most skillfully constructed facade cannot hide.

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An Open Apology to the Thief Who Stole My IPOD…

Posted on December 17, 2008

May Karma Be With You...

May Karma Be With You...

Dear “Person” Who Stole My IPOD,

Yeah, I know it was like a month ago. I guess I thought you’d eventually feel bad and return to sender. At this point, I’m grieving.

Sure, I have all the music on my computer. In better fiscal times, I probably would’ve pretended to be saddened by the loss but been internally elated at the opportunity to go down to the Apple store and upgrade my 2006 model for the sleeker 2008/2009 version. Alas, today is not that day.

My mourning process has been agonizing.

Thoughts of the thousands of miles we’d traveled together haunt me…

The memories of the countless late nights when you quietly comforted me in the darkness…

That time at Chappy’s when I realized that insomnia is no fun at all without Internet… you were there. And now you aren’t.

Still, I’ve had a month to reconcile these thoughts and mentally move on. And it was only today that it occurred to me that I owe YOU an apology, Kind IPOD Thief.

I am truly repentant for the gay pop rock anthems that you’ve endured. I’m sorry that you have to sift through Playlists with super-descriptive names like “Travel and Rock Out” (it was an inside joke, not intended for someone on the outside) and “Great Workout” which includes rad songs by prolific artists like Natasha Beddingfield and Fergie.

Still, I encourage you to navigate through the unfamiliar names and chart new territory. You’ll be pleased. Seriously, since you felt the need to steal one of three physical objects that has any meaning to me at all, I do hope you’ll take the time to learn the beauty of artists like Guts and Apparat and Ladytron and Elodie O.

And again, I’m sorry for the most intimate glimpse you stole into the corny parts of my mind. I assure you that if you move through the “Toxic” Britney Spears and “Africa” Toto stuff, the rewards will be plentiful.

Slightly defiled but totally getting on with it,

The Girl of the Water~

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One Way. Wrong Way. Dead End.

Posted on December 16, 2008

One Way Only? Please.

One Way Only? Please.

talk talk talk talk talk talk. Circle. Again. Once more. Pause. Pause. Further… talk talk talk.

Wild French electro-punk blares behind us.

Fucking annoying, and the trance-like lyrics pop in and out “I know that this is the end.”

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Meant for gay men in an underground Parisian drug den.
SHUT UP. The radio. Not you.
Plot. Plan. Lists. Commitments. Try. More. Fill in promise
Accusation. Acknowledgement. Rinse. Repeat.

I can handle all of this. This is fine. This is good. It gets dicey when you point out how callous I’ve become with regard to certain topics, as of late.

Why do I feel the need to argue the other side? Devil’s Advocate is not a full time profession.

That zings me hard. I am nothing if not sensitive. I do however have an affinity towards defending the indefensible.

Stop analyzing me, it gets in the way of my self-analysis and my ability to properly shut you out.
Ugh. You’re right. But I’m not sorry. If I were, I’d stop. I refuse to insult you by lying about my compassion towards that. I have none. Heinous. Mean. Evil. Hard. Uncaring. YES! Stop there. That’s the thing. I don’t actually care.
I see why you have to, but the Blind Faith is hard for me. Faith itself is a struggle. Do not attempt without the benefit of sight.

I’m living in my head. I invited you in because I owe that to us. Don’t be afraid. We come from different places. Opposing spaces. We need to meet in the middle, but the middle is scary. The middle is treacherous. I fare best in the extreme. You knew this. You know this. Maybe we can split the space. One line in middle. One line on each end. No lines in the sand.

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And Now For a List of Things I Do Not Believe…

Posted on December 14, 2008

As human beings, we are constantly seeking to validate our existence and define ourselves by openly stating that which we believe. We dress in the clothing that tells the world who we are being today. We choose words that we hope will be understood and lead Others to believe what we are “saying.” Thanks to modern rubbish “culture”, such as “The Real World, we somehow believe that it’s OK, progressive even, to break the proverbial 4th wall and stare into a lens which is not there and make statements like “I was really angry when so and so drank my Red Bull, because I was, like, tired and totally needed the taurine when I got home.” As if stating why we acted like complete idiots makes it more acceptable. Thus, I shall buck the trend.

Here are a list of things that The Girl will absolutely never, under any circumstance, believe

* That people truly change. Especially when they attribute said change to “Finding Jesus”

* That people on unemployment should be playing the Lotto. That’s MY tax dollar you are spending dude, and my dream is not to have to wait in line behind you as you debate the merits of Quick Pick versus picking your own numbers.

* That those who attend church services on a regular basis are Holy. Or righteous. Or Saved. Or Whole.

* Nor are they not.

* That I will ever hear John Cooper Clarke’s “Evidently Chickentown” and not think of that most chill inducing Sopranos ending.

* That women should be threatened by strippers. Or strip clubs. Or porn stars. Or Las Vegas.

* That we should chastise our men for lusting after strippers. Or strip clubs. Or porn stars. Or Las Vegas.

* That the producers of 90210 really had no idea that Tori Spelling was Aaron Spelling’s daughter when she auditioned.

* That I’ll ever think that it’s appropriate to listen to Dave Matthews while making out if you aren’t in a dorm. And have incense burning. You probably also own a lava lamp. Just saying.

*That I’ll ever listen to Amnesiac or Kid A and not think of my Dad’s funeral.

* That we control who we care for.

* That there is any reason for New Yorkers to go to Rockefeller Center to see the Tree. It’s a trap! Save yourselves!

* That there is any reason for Americans to NOT pretend they are Canadian when travelling in Paris. It’s self-preservation, people.

* That there is anything more peaceful than a Hawaiian sunset.

* That helicopters are not an absolute marvel of modern technology.

* That Big Brother isn’t already watching.

* That I believe in regret. I don’t. Yet.

* Except for in the case of forgiveness. I regret not doing more of that.

* That we should choose our path and work really long and hard to accomplish it so that we can retire and eat hot dogs until we die poor and watching “The Price is Right.”

* That Bill Clinton fooled anyone. We knew. But we love charisma.

* That the is no artfulness in dodging.

* That rule breakers aren’t as hard working as those who play by them.

*That this list itself isn’t completely hypocritical to its opening statement. It is. The Girl is actually just defining herself by not so slyly defining herself through flipping the script. Quite openly, in fact.

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Death as Proof of Artistic Validity…

Posted on December 11, 2008

Dark Depths and Twisted Fate

*If a tree falls in the forest, but no one hears it, does it make a sound?
*If a musician sticks to their “style”, but never has a radio hit and the fades into oblivion, did they prove anything by remaining “true to themselves?”
*If a thought floats through a brain and never has cause to flow out of a mouth, did it happen?
*Are tragic figures tragic if they aren’t “figures?”

I’ve been thinking about untimely death as of late. Tres’ morbid, I know.

Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, River Phoenix, James Dean, Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, H.S.T., Brad Renfro… the list continues.

The Brad Renfro/ Heath Ledger stories are a good example of twisted irony. Brad Renfro was considered a “promising young actor” in Hollywood Critics circles. He starred in 21 films but fell prey to the drugs and temptation of Hollywood. His January 15th 2008 passing received moderate coverage in the media and elicited appropriate sighs and head shaking. He was left out of the “Dead Star” Oscar montage.

One week later, Heath Ledger died. The media storm was immediate and severe. WHY? HOW? So much promise. Too young, too soon! “The Joker did it!”, they hollered. They said he was so brilliant that he completely embodied the dark spirit of The Joker during filming and it was his ultimate undoing. His montage was the final one shown at the Oscars and received the loudest applause. Hmph.

I guess I’ve been considering the point of being “tragically troubled” if no one ever knows. Thousands of people die everyday as a result of drug over doses and tragic car crashes. It’s safe to say some of them are probably even good looking. But they become a newspaper blip. Page 3. Below the fold. “Local News” or worse still “Police Blotter”

My brother’s heroin addiction has ailed him for more than a third of his life. When one of his closest friends OD’d and died last January, the media did not mourn. Why would they? Another junkie in another big city. Done.
My brother still cries. He had this boy’s image tattooed on his arm. Right next to that of our dead father.

I just wonder if the validity of human tragedy lies more in an idea than in the person. Musicians, actors, writers and artists share their beautiful sadness with the world in the most intimate way. They ask us to look at ourselves and our own defects. They provoke the very emotions that we are forced submerge in our daily lives in order not to appear fragile. Then, when they have lead us down those complicated roads and are suddenly taken from us, it could be said that we feel deserted. We need to find a new hero to lead us back to those scariest of depths.

The more damaged among us simultaneously embrace our sadness and tunnel deeper within ourselves to remain disaffected by the emotional weight of allowing others in. We are all in for the exploration, but we like the solo approach. The corridors we travel are tight and there simply isn’t space to troop with a team.

We see the tragic figures in everyone who simply got lost in the proverbial tunnel (famous or not). We know that the beacons of light can be hard to see. We “get” the very visceral fear that we will be utterly average should we ever truly let the infinite sadness go. This is the one thing we’ve always had. The one thing that we’ve always relied upon. The omni-present tragedy of the wide eyed being whose eyes and soul have seen too much.

“Assure me it’s ok to use my heart and not my eyes
To navigate the darkness
Will the ending be ever coming suddenly?
Will I ever get to see the ending to my story?
Show me what it’s for
Make me understand it”~ Crawling In the Dark

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