LA VIE EST DOULEUR
#Moods, Men, & Mommy Issues
LIFE IS PAIN.
I was thirty-one when I decided success required being a fraud. But even fraud has its limits. I thought of Frank Abagnale from Catch Me If You Can. That poor, bold, and unlucky dreamer. He wanted to be bigger and better than he felt he was, so he faked his way into the life he thought we wanted. And then he got found out.
I was on my way to work at Austin Public, walking up Talbot Street. This was before the weather changed and I started taking the train one stop to Forest Hills. I remember thinking that I had to smile more, and even when I didn’t want to.
I’d just gotten hired at Austin Public maybe two weeks before, and I didn’t want the bitter bitchiness I’d accumulated after one year at Tap House to follow me down the block. I didn’t want to wind up with the same reputation as Alexa. In her defense, poor girl, anyone who worked at Tap House as long as she had was entitled to their bitterness. She made her bed to lie in. She deserved to be a miserable bitch.
That place is a literal shithole. Fuck that place.
I was determined to do well at my new job; in spite of that that I’m sure the head server/assistant manager immediately hated me on general principal, on account of the fact I had fucked one of her favorite server’s on-again-off-again boyfriend. Whoops?
Small world, Forest Hills.
He motioned with his eyes to the American Spirit still barely burning in her right hand.
“Can I have that?”
“Sure,” Caitlyn held the cigarette to his lips.
Michael wrapped his fingers around her wrist, pressing his thumb into her palm as he inhaled.
Caitlyn glanced briefly at his crotch, where Paula’s left hand clutched his thigh tightly in place as she focused on adding a swirling tribal pattern to his oblique.
“Is this weird for you?” Michael asked.
Caitlyn brought her eyes to his.
“I’ve never been fired before.”
“No,” he said. “I meant watching Paula fake tattoo me naked.”
“But the world around us makes everyone go to school, get a job, and play by the rules of the field they’re in. And Art is a field too. And ‘the scene’ has a texture, but it lacks substance. You know, ‘the scene’ is cool. But it’s not Art. And it’s disgusting to me, to have to consider and carve out a place for myself inside of that, to have to play by society’s rules inside of Art. Creativity is a beast. I want to let it out and play with it. But society, the scene, is like this cage within a cage within a cage.”
Whatever Michael’s game, his winning meant Caitlyn needed to want his time and attention. He needed her to be willing to compete for them, to play along, and succumb to his phony charms. But she wasn’t going to because she didn’t care.