Thursday, March 1, 2012

What's the point of bleeding if you can't even draw pictures with it?

I cut open my index finger at work today. It starts right at the edge of the fingernail and extends somewhere between one third and one half the circumference of the finger. I can feel my pulse in the capillaries, buzzing and pushing up against the edge of the cut, waiting for me to bump it or put pressure on it the wrong way so the blood can escape. I don't think there's anything blood wants more than to be let out of our bodies.

I can't play ukulele so I'm writing here instead. A few nights ago I had an idea for a story that goes like this:

These two kids, a guy and a girl, are walking along the train tracks and the guy wants to show the girl this waterfall that the tracks go over-top of. There's a bridge right over this forty, fifty foot waterfall. So they get there and he's peering over the edge, staring straight down into this plummeting water and she's standing a few feet back, cautiously stretching her body out so she can feel closer without having to take a step. The boy says, "Why don't you come have a good look?" and she says, "I'm scared".

There's spaces between the railway ties and she's been looking between them, right down into the water, and it'd only take a slight misstep for her to get her foot caught and trip and fall all the way down. So she just stands there quietly and the boy continues to talk, "I always wonder what it would feel like. To let go and jump and join up with the water and sink into the pool at the bottom. I look down and I always wonder. That could be me, I could be there in seconds. I think it'd be the best feeling - falling without any worries or fears - falling because it simply feels like the right thing to do".

The girl asks, "Aren't you scared at all?" and the boy replies "I'm terrified. That's why I've never jumped".

And that's the whole story. There isn't any point to it cause really it's just about how the boy wants to tell the girl that he loves her but he can't. Just like he can't jump off the waterfall. It's only a metaphor. They tell you that in writing class, "Use objects and metaphors to convey emotion", they say, because no one wants to read a story that goes "A boy loves a girl but can't tell her because he's too scared and insecure. The End". They'd rather read about falling into waterfalls.

But then, what happens to the metaphor when the boy does jump off a waterfall? Not the same waterfall - a smaller, safer waterfall - but still a waterfall. Is there a sudden epiphany or burst of inspiration? Does he swoop in, tilt the girl back and kiss her like he always wanted to? No. He just gets cold and wet. That's what happens when you jump off a fucking waterfall.


I tried playing the ukulele anyway, using my three good fingers. You only really need three fingers to play the ukulele. My pinkie knows all of the places it is supposed to go but is too stubborn and lazy to get there on time. I'm too impatient to wait for it so I go for a walk instead.

There's a plane in the sky moving the same direction as I am so I race it. I used to race planes all the time, sprinting after them, hoping I'd catch up and throw a grappling hook around them and have them drag me wherever they were headed. I'd quit doing that without even realizing it, without even remembering it was a thing I used to do. Only when I start to race again do I remember all the other planes I'd raced. How'd I ever forget this? A taxi thinks I'm trying to flag him down and pulls over but I sprint past. No taxi can help me catch that plane.

It keeps getting further away from me. No matter how fast I run they always get further and further away. Eventually the plane disappears behind a cloud and I give up.

There's a song about unashamedly celebrating the things you love even if you're shit at them. It has the line,
"Play until your fingers suffer".
Well, only one finger of mine was suffering so I figured that I might as well suck it up and try using my index finger to play. Instinctively, my body rejected the pain like when I broke my wrist and two days later decided "Fuck it, I'm still playing hockey". The weight of the puck on my stick alone made my wrist ache and even though I was mentally prepared to accept the pain when I tried to shoot or pass, there was a physical barrier and I just couldn't do it. "No, you fucking idiot", my body said, "your wrist is broken. Don't do that".

I kept trying with the ukulele though and slanted my finger so I was fretting with the side that wasn't cut. It was a bit awkward, and still hurt a little, but my body allowed it. I laughed, contently strumming away. A minute later, I noticed my blood being smeared across the fretboard.

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. I wanted to draw a peace sign in my blood on the back of the uke. I don't know why. Maybe because I couldn't do anything else. But I wasn't bleeding enough to even do that. All I could manage was a half-circle smudge that I had to wipe off.