Monday, September 15, 2008

And the darkness comprehended it not

I gave him my phone number. I had to, really, circumstances left me little choice. I gave him my phone number and I knew it meant he could then call my home whenever it suited him, but I wasn’t worried, not really, only annoyed by the knowledge of the access it gave him.

I thought I was strong, I thought I was no longer afraid. I was wrong. Fear never leaves you once you have it. I spoke with him three times in as many days, and felt the way my words opened up a passageway for him to tread, to worm his way back into my brain and into my life, my words, words I said, which he could repeat and twist and turn and rape and turn into words I didn’t say.

I can feel the terror clenching my breath, I can feel the fear adrenalin tightening my muscles, stiffening my joints, locking my jaw into that position, the position of fear and defence. This from three phone calls, not all of them long, not at all. But by now, twelve years of recovery have fallen off, and I stand bone-naked again, and the mere sound of his voice, the intimidations in his tone, the insinuations in his undertones, are enough to send me down the vortex.

I didn’t have a phone line. I had it connected as a present, and I loved it, but now, after three calls in as many days, I know the sound of the phone ringing will hit me with an immediate pang of panic. He can get to my house, he can get to my life, he can get to me.

My friend taught me a monologue by Ntozake Shange, from her play For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. I will quote it here from memory, so forgive me if I get bits wrong –

”One thing I don’t need
is any more apologies.
I got sorry greeting me at my front door
you can keep yours.
I don’t know what to do with them:
they don’t open doors
or bring the sun back
they don’t make me happy
or get a morning paper
didn’t nobody stop using
my tears
to wash cars
cause of sorry.
I am simply tired of collecting
“I didn’t know I was so important to you”
I’m gonna give some away.
Can’t get to the clothes in my closet
for all the sorries.
I’m gonna put a sign upon the door
leave a message by the phone
“If you called to say you’re sorry, call someone else.
I don’t use them anymore.”
I’m gonna let
“didn’t mean to”
“how could I know about that?”
take a long walk
down a dark and musty street in Brooklyn.
I’m gonna do exactly what I want to
and I won’t be sorry for none of it.
Let sorry soothe your soul
I’m gonna soothe mine.

You were always inconsistent
first doing something
then being sorry
beating my heart to death
talking about you sorry
I will not call.
I’m not gonna be nice.
I’m gonna raise my voice
and scream and holler
and break things
and race the engine
and I’ll tell all your secrets about yourself
to your face
and I’ll play my Oliver Lake records
and I won’t be sorry for none of it.
I loved you
on purpose.
I was open
on purpose.
I still crave the intimacy and close talk.
And I’m not even sorry
about you being sorry
you can carry all the guilt and grime you want to
just don’t give it to me
I can’t use another sorry.

Next time
you should admit
you’re mean, trifling, low-down, and no count
straight out
instead of being sorry all the time
enjoy being yourself.”

I loved the monologue, I loved doing it, I loved it that my friend taught me it and helped me with it, and I felt I made it my own (yes, even though I’m white), but you know, I was wrong, because the ones I picked never, ever say they’re sorry. They aren't, either.


bindi said...

I love the monologue. its empowering.

Twelve years of recovery seems like an important thing to hang on to. Change your phone number AnnaMR.

But Why? said...


Great writing (both yours and the monologue).

Changing your number sounds like A Very Good Idea.

P.S. Thanks for pre-empting my question about the title.

montag said...

Once more I saw the film "The Trip To Bountiful".

We cried again.

I do not feel I can say more.

Reading the Signs said...


(The above is a stone to say I have been here, I have read and appreciated, but just at this moment there is nothing I can say in response - other than how good it is to be reading you again).

Anna MR said...

Lovely Bindi, delightful But Mutta, hei and good to see you both. I hope you don't mind me addressing you here together - you both speak of the monologue and the phone number, and you both begin with a B, and, well, that's reason enough, methinks. And yes, I've really liked this monologue too - I did it at a couple of poetry recitals, and it's just been a thing that sticks.

Recovery is recovery, though, and although things happened will never unhappen, I am stronger than I feel at my weakest moments. Believe it or not, but writing it out actually helps - the power of Word. I think keeping my nice number and putting the phone on the table if unwelcome phone calls arrive is the choicest way of dealing with them.

Anyway, super lovely to see you both, and hope you're both exceedingly well.


Nicola said...

Hello Anna,
I am glad you are finding it helping to write it out. We go on going on. It's good to have you alongside again.

Anna MR said...

Dear Montag, beloved Signs sees, hello and hei. I'm going to address you two in a joint reply, too, if you don't mind (and I'm sure you'll accommodate this my whim, being the nice folks that you are), because (as you may have noticed) I have had a bit of a thing about comment replies and just now replying to the lovely ladies up there, two at a time (and But - I am fully aware I have left you, too, waiting for a reply elsewhere for a total shameful decade, and believe me, I feel not inconsiderable agony over it) the fact of putting replies for two people in one comment seemed to suggest interesting combinations of energies and stuff and new things. Shut up, for I was going to tell you a story. Only a short one, mind, but here goes.

On the top of the world is a cinema house. It is called Chimayo. The road to Chimayo is lined with pebbles, brought there by visitors who read and appreciate. The film they play at Chimayo is called "The Trip to Bountiful". In the film, everything happens, and everyone's in it.

That's the end of the story, but not of the film or the goings' on.

Lovely to see you both, and thank you. I need to sleep now, and (regardless of differences in timelines and so on) maybe you do too.


trousers said...

I read this and it affected me - the power of the words and the concern I felt. I held off from commenting 'til now. So I now feel a certain sense of reassurance from reading your responses to the comments below the line.

Much strength to you x

Reading the Signs said...

(that was supposed to be a star but it looks like a bosom)
(and so does that)

(o) - well I'm sending you another pebble. Stones are good. We have spoken on this before but I know you won't mind the repetition.

Navas said...

Great monologue. Lovely to see you back here Anna. I have had a long, busy and absent summer but your quietness did not go unnoticed. Be with friends.

Merkin said...

Better and better.

montag said...

I like it.
What you wrote...I like it.

I am going to steal it from you and use it as the basis of a short story.
It's very Fellini, which is why we love it.

Miranda said...

Thought you might like this.

Hang on.

Anna MR said...

Nicola, you snuck in while I was writing my thing for Signs and Montag. Thank you for your support and encouragement, and yes, writing it out just helps, for some reason. Alongside is lovely. Thank you.

Hei housut, and thank you. I feel a bit guilty that I vent my bad feelings on-blog. The real killer used to be the silence I had to maintain and it helps me to break it, over and over again. Hope I didn't put you on a downer, though, a transfer of that sort is never my intention. Hope you're having a lovely Saturday. x

Signs of Bosoms, hello, and no, I don't mind the repetition, the pebbles, the bosoms, the repetition, or the bosoms. They are all good things, as are stars, and you. Mwah and mweh and a few repetitions thereof, sees.

Hei Navas, it's lovely to see you. Glad your summer's been long and busy (I am assuming you were busy with nice stuff - I recall you were going to Europe for hols). Yes, I've been a bit quiet, but for most of July it was mainly due to relaxing in the wilderness, the block hit me a bit later, so hope I'm not coming across as having been dementedly miserable for ages. Friends, yes. Good advice.

Merkin - better and better what? Not to worry, better is usually good, so I'll stick with that interpretation. Hoping your Saturday is better and better, too.

Montag, glad you liked and feel free to steal. Make sure to show what you made of your thieved goods, though, okay?

Miranda, delightful to see you, and yes, you're right, I did like. Where do you find all these people? God, I'm so out it's untrue. But yes, hanging, and thank you.

Navas said...

Bits of Europe, yes. The whole would have been slightly ambitious in the time :-)

Miranda said...

Then you will like this too.


Anna MR said...

Navas - there's something about "going to bits of Europe", be it for hols or other reasons, that feels me leaving like some stupidly-clever word play is just about to pop to the surface of my brain or, better still, just emerge through my fingers and onto the keyboard and into this space here. Ahem. While I wait for this to actualise, I will comment on the whole of Europe being slightly ambitious in any amount of time. This deft manouvre will leave you feeling like I've been enormously witty and clever in this response, which has taken way too long to reach you.

I see, Navas, to my shock, that you've become my "Follower". I have a Follower. I don't know what to say and what to do with my hands, but, unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I'll just briefly say: Thank you.

Thank you.

Lovely to see you. Follower.


Anna MR said...

Miranda, you were right again, I did like. I am somehow reminded of my singer-songwriter friend Rebecca, who also accompanies herself on the piano. I have linked to her stuff once or twice, but just in case you've missed them, here's a link to her. Listen to the Isadora song, please. I like it in particular.

Lovely, as always, to see you.


Navas said...

Follower...makes me sound like some kind of stalker, or that you're some great religious prophet, instead of merely being a way of keeping track of your blog!

Anna MR said...

Keep a secret, Navas - I am a great religious prophet, and it's very clever of you to notice. But shhhhh...mum's the word. We don't want everyone knowing, it'll get all crowded and there'll be the paparazzi and everything, it's just messy. Better keep it quiet and intimate down here.


Navas said...


Reading the Signs said...

I'm telling the paps, Anna. Heh!

Anna MR said...

I see. Alright, then, Salome Signs, tell the paps and dance for the King (or get your daughter to do so) (and, incidentally, is it with a mweh you'll betray me?). See if I care? I'll just love you all the same.

And Navas, specially for you, something I've never done in public: :-)

(oh, the shame and horror. I almost wish I wasn't a great religious prophet after all)


Reading the Signs said...

Anna, I'd quite forgotten about the 30 pieces of silver. You're quite right, I must make a bit of money out of this - credit crunch and all that.

Tell me, O prophet, is 'future of my past' about to slide irrevocably into the past or due to envisage a resurrection? You are quite at liberty to fudge this answer or be totally obscure. Just, you know, asking.

(Cockadoodle doo!)

Reading the Signs said...

"due to envisage a resurrection" doesn't make sense. I know that, ok? Neither does zegufjl. Sheesh.

Anna MR said...

No, Signs, "due to envisage a resurrection" makes perfect sense. This may or may not be to do with my various disorders (test courtesy of you). Check out my score:

Paranoid: Moderate
Schizoid: Moderate
Schizotypal: High
Antisocial: Low
Borderline: Low
Histrionic: High
Narcissistic: High
Avoidant: Moderate
Dependent: Moderate
Obsessive-Compulsive: Moderate

So, you know, a-wibble. But to answer the question you so deftly hid there, no, this blog isn't going to be buried (too pretty for the grave), yet it's not very lively either (this may be true of me too). And you'd better save your thirty pieces (a platter for my head is enough, thank you), for I am only like the one crying in the wilderness, yea, and there's a greater one whose hooves I'm not fit to wash, not with all the locusts and honey in the world. Verily.

A-wibble, a-wobble, a past-midnight blogger. Signs, I really miss you. I hope you had a rooting-tooting birthday time (came out as "tie", at first. I think you'd look spiffing in a rooting-tooting birthday tie, too, to be sure). I'm sorry about the cock-up on the card front but I thought about you. How are the Dark Arts going?

I remain, as always, yours most sincerely, losing my marbles

mweh mweh mweh

(and speaking of cock-a-doodle-doo, check out this one)

Reading the Signs said...

Anna, I'm knocked speechless by the sight of it. I mean, never mind the boat race, look at the size of his -

but what were we talking about? Brilliant news, Baptista, that you are still with us, preparing the way of He whose hooves you don't want to wash (however much he might appreciate that).

Speechless too at the fabulous score you achieved in the disorder department. Do you have to be better at everything, Sees? Ach, but I don't begrudge you, it's the gift one's given. I'm really working to bump up my schizotypal and narcissistic disorders so watch out.

I'm glad you thought about me on my birthday and hope you saw my recipe for orange and almond cake because it's one of the best things I know, which is saying something. I had a truly lovely day, which is also saying something because you know how pear-shaped these things can be.

I am happy to say that the Arts are getting very Dark indeed, as are the sessions with Shrink. We bicker endlessly and it's hell - what more can a humble analysand ask?

Missing you too, muchly, but am patient and realistic about the demands of RL (even though I have yet to receive proof that RL really exists but I won't get all metaphysical with you).

Cock-a-doodle-doo, babe x

egusvymp - a fledgling vampire with a big ego

Reading the Signs said...

My mouth is too full of Dark Arts to say anything more than MWAH!. Laters.

Anna MR said...

Well yes, Speechless one, I kind of knew how it would all end when they asked me the question "Do you believe you can sense unusual things, such as people's presence?", but I couldn't lie, could I? Of course, now they have my IP address on record and no doubt the presence-police will get me soon (I was more careful when answering the paranoia questions - don't want them to realise I'm onto them).

Very pleased you had a lovely birthday. Also very pleased to be talking to you - it's no longer really that fabled RL that's kept me schtum, it's more of a case of the disorders hitting my keyboard. If you catch my drift.

But that is thorougly good news that you've taken to eating Dark Arts. I hope they inspire you in their dark fashion (tried to get a few samples of every shape available - if you discover particular favourites, make a mental note and let me know in view of future deliveries). Many multi mwahs coming your way, Artiste of Dark.


cusp said...

OOOOOhhh haven't been here in a while and now I'm presented with an incredible piece of writing and a memory that sends shivers....I didn't just chnage my number but went abroad for 4 months without telling hardly anyone where I was going or when I was coming back...bit extreme maybe...but it did the job: except every now and then I get an unexpected reminder, like this ;0) x

Anna MR said...

Oh Cusp - sorry if I sent you down a dark alley of memory which you'd rather not revisit. But it is lovely to see you, truly, and - you know me - I'll take the "incredible writing" as not only referring to Ntozake the Unpronouncable, but also - just a little - to yours truly, and hence I say thank you Cusp, and I'm glad you got rid of the bastard.