catalogue for Philly film fest

This Way, Jewel
(surprisingly good)



Sunday 31 March 2002

first cut is the deepest


I had been sitting in my car for almost an hour when he finally found me. It was raining, and I don't think he could see me sitting there. He tried the door. I oblingingly unlocked it.

What are you doing in here? he asks. My red puffy face took a moment to register in his brain, then What's the matter?

Nothing, Dad...nothing at all, I say.

I had been talking to John on my cell. I had tried him three times before he finally picked up. I guess he had been running errands or seeing a movie. I knew better than to leave a miserable, panicked, incoherent message on his machine. I knew the moment I heard his voice, saying "You've reached blah blah blah, please leave a message", I would dissolve into a mass of tears. So I didn't. Didn't want to worry him.

I had gone through the only packet of tissues in my car 45 minutes ago. I was now forced to dab at my eyes with the used ones, tight little balls saturated with tears and snot. When that failed, I used the back of my hand and wiped it on my heather gray sweatpants, which I knew would not show the stains. I felt like my whole face was leaking, and I knew I had been crying long enough and hard enough that this little episode would yield an enormous, migraine-like headache.

I stared through the sunroof (I gather in 1990, they weren't called moonroofs yet) up at the trees in my parents' front yard. I became fascinated with the raindrops that fell on the glass, temporarily making little round blurs that disappeared in a few seconds.

It's funny, every time something shitty or dramatic or stupid happens to me, somewhere in the back of my mind I think, "Oooh, fodder for therapy this week!". Thus saving me the moment right after I sit down and we stare blankly at each other for a few seconds. I wonder how I would broach this event with JoAnn. Yes, I got upset. It was over shit that happened almost four years ago. Yes, I wish more than anything I could erase my senior year of high school from my memory. Yes, I sat in my car, in my parents' driveway, in the rain, for over an hour, trying to get my boyfriend to convince me not to kill myself. Again.

No one understands me, I say to John. No one understands this. Not even my mom or my dad. For once, I just feel beyond their understanding or their help. I think I understand you, he says. I want to agree, but I'm not sure it's true. Through no fault of his own. John deserves a nomination for the sainthood for dealing with me. And he lists all the reasons why I don't suck, why I am worth something, why I am perfectly justified in feeling the way I do. He smoothes things out, makes them simple, reduces them down to black and white and makes me feel foolish for ever believing what I do. Of course I'm wonderful and special and talented. It sounds like a disgusting stroking of my ego, and it's not, but I still hate it. One thing I keep saying over and over again: I should be beyond this. I should be above this. Beyond what, above what.

I came inside then, and ate my apple pie that had been sitting idly on the bar for over an hour. I began gathering myself to leave, went upstairs, and I could feel the headache coming on. I didn't want to look at myself in the mirror. My eyes felt so tired and dry and worn out and painful that I wanted to get a melon baller and scoop them out. I took some Tylonol (or was it Motrin?) and lay down on my bed, just for a second. A couple minutes later I felt my mother's weight on the bed next to me. What's up? she asks. Nothing, I say. And that's not true, of course, but I don't feel like explaining it all over again.