Let’s try this again. A. confesses to being inoperative since growing is ongoing and she’s been at it too long a time. Luckily, she wears it well. Her cheeks don’t sag and her feet don’t shrivel up in her shoes. But how much longer must she pay for the melanin mercantilism, till her skin accepts it is all sunlight? She is tired, she says, of all the extra hard work.
The superfluous syllables in a person’s name succeeding a first letter common to most languages, an earworm decidedly done without, are libel, or so B. feels, much like how a small but mighty prefix assaults what is meant to be an ordinary trait. B. is too loud, and when unheard often too short-tempered.
C. couldn’t appear for comment, on account of there being a country-wide sale on skincare.
For D., excess is the abscess existence is addicted to touching. It’s bunches of mercurial anythings, like too many berries and moods that are too much that can be counted temporally, collected experientially and constricted with control at the neck. A soundless, helpless throat’s had it worse for centuries, more than the liver which fails because of much too much drinking. Every morning D. clutches his hair in horror as he loses a little bunch of life.
We were first gathered here for a pleasant acrostic but now things have changed, E. declares solemnly, turning to look outside the window. This meeting is ketonic. We are, all of us, practitioners of autophagy, so before we leave we might regenerate any lost hope.
Hear, hear! Let’s gather the bad we’ve all hoarded inside and burn it, F. toasts, with wine. Out with the failed emotions, she means to say, that make us this way. Since some sommeliers imprecisely feign grape when they precisely mean vinifera, of the grape genus Vitis, F. concludes all labelling as cultural dictation. Overlooking the biological sciences of fermentation, she thinks of her mouth as terroir and lessons as failure.
Seated uncomfortably next to her, G. recalls a pious lesson hinging ease on the promise that nothing is good and nothing is bad. But what is ease in comparison to acting too easy, without character, without self-control. They tend not to forgive themself what ought to be forgiven, thinking of too much opinion as a mediocre rite.
H. is angry because people all over the world mispronounce her name and it makes her irresponsible, with many personalities to manage. Suddenly, at the back of the room, I. also materializes because I. can’t help it.
We’re addicted to thinking because of our brains, but a thought is not like saliva or discharge. We have a say in its texture. If we don’t speak up, we’re overworked soils extracting more than we’re comfortable with, more than we intended on, more than we planned for before stopping, J. whispers to B.
Sure, it can seem alright to say no altogether, be too lazy, since your little presence undoubtedly causes little harm. But K.’s absence is an addiction they’ve passed a lifetime in, making a métier of performing past-tense vocabulary and seeing only as far as today. They can’t understand the others’ real life concerns about waking up after the dream.
On paying close attention to extremes – yes and no – it appears spectrums are respectable but polarities are not. Without possibility, L., a young adult, cannot make the journey from loser to lover.
A parade of old timey freaks tears through the captivity of the room with a broken flow; M., N., O., P. loop by doing ungraceful pirouettes seemingly without feet, but still they dance and they do it well, while others watch awe-fully how a metaphor looks so much like itself on display.
It’s about breaking free. Not breaking down. Everywhere suppression promises stead, somewhere a happy child wakes up unhappy. Say, Q., who has not spoken clearly in months, afraid that he is of how others will perceive him. He shall give them nothing, he thinks.
Siblings R. and S. discuss Q. too loudly. They find his tight-lippedness perfunctory, as if he has not learned to say nice things so chooses, failingly, to say nothing at all. Q. overhears an echo of misinformation, says nothing, does nothing, and shrinks further.
Now T. stands up for what she thinks the rest ought to believe in. Though everyone’s gathered of their own volition, no one really cares to listen because self-absorption makes the ears ring too innocuously for it to look like real damage. Engage, engage, she shouts. But they can’t yet. They aren’t ready. T., with the best intentions, can also fail.
U. are here too. Perhaps U. didn’t know, but all the addictions we carry have labels for them. Except, we pass the calligraphy on to the hand that does. V. admits the addicted do not always write them out, because we think addictions are preposterous enough to announce themselves with their own fanfare. They aren’t subtle engineers. Oh, yes, but they are.
They’re intruders, thieves even for W., who ignored the weight of their labels and found, on deeper reflection before dying, they were reduced to all the bad habits they could not give up.
E. hands out a cross like X. for all the addicted, everywhere, to hold in their palms when they just want to scream. Mark your triggers here, here and here. [Even Q. gets up to grab a sticker, forgetting body language.]
How often do you ask Y.?
In the face of a final letter, Z. makes note of the words that are easy to spell but loom large if you can’t use them in a sentence. Something as nefarious as a plea to understand because to ask is to murmur its non-existence. Without a shape, water spills, so consider for this moment how feelings don’t fit the body and take to star-gazing without stars, like a madman. Even if you wouldn’t use the word in a sentence. Even if you wouldn’t believe a part of you could be what it means. No, no, the word is for someone else. You cast it aside as baseless, but someone else picks it up and returns it to you.