Friday, 9 February 2007

i can make you happy

This story was written in the winter spring of 2004. i was living in dalston at the time, in a house with no windows, and a lot of wine drinking.
ok, this was probably the unhappiest i had been in a long time. a lot of shit was hitting the fan, and one day i got my a5 niceday ringbound pad and wrote it all down. everything came flooding out, everything that i was feeling about myself, about my relationships and about observations i was making about relationships around me. this was the result.
it took me a long time to show people.i was pretty scared of people reading it, because it gave me such a strong reaction, and it still does. anyway, i sent it to a magazine and they published it, and as life got merrier i was able to show more and more people.
it is generally everyone's favourite these days, and mine as well.
so, there's the background. below is the story.

I can make you happy
Siân Norris:

The bus is making me feel sick. Everyone is playing a game of musical chairs that they haven’t told me about. Every time it jolts to a stop, everyone seems to get up to swap seats, and I’m just left sitting here. The man behind me is talking about the weather.
This is the most awful bus journey. It is worse than the one with the woman talking to me about her boyfriend who used to beat her up, or the one where the man tried to kiss me and I had to push him away hard.
It jolts again to a stop and it is my turn to leave the game. I walk fast down the street, it’s dark, and each time my foot hits the pavement I jump that it is someone else’s. My whole life I have been afraid of the no one behind me on the street.
My key sticks in the lock, but I battle it open. The living room is crowded with lived in mess. There’s drinking, but I go to bed instead.

My body slides down, sinking into the valleyed mattress. The covers are heavy, but I’m not warm. I daydream about a mattress that I don’t sink into. That doesn’t collapse along with me. My room isn’t dark, but it’s peaceful. The water pipes gurgling remind me of my childhood. Being afraid of the witch that lived in the boiler cupboard.
Next door, I can hear my housemate having sex. She has thoughtfully turned the music up, but all it does is emphasise the fact that there is another noise to cover.
The mattress is swallowing me. My back is melting into it in a sticky mess and I can’t unglue myself. My legs have stopped working. I grab the top of my left thigh to see if it is still there. I think maybe it is. I imagine my hand is yours. Whichever one of you.
My fingernails are dirty.
It’s disgusting. I know I should clean them, but you can pretend they’re not.

Sometimes, when it starts to go this way, when it gets to feeling that my bones collapse; I can feel every filament in my body. I can feel my brain moving against my skull, it is creaking, and when I move my eyes, I can sense the scraping of them against the sockets. I feel it in my neck. I can see every little pore in my lungs open up. I can track the blood rushing to all the drought-ridden places in my body, I can hear it squealing. I can feel the cells’ pain when they split and break and crack into two parts. I can feel a tension under my breastplate every time my heart remembers to try and convulse.
It makes me wonder what my body looks like to an outsider. How it feels to the hands that grab it and to the tongues that smear it. What it is in my body that inspires such strength in another, that triggers that burst of love and steals that loss of control, and what it is in my body that defies all that, so the hands scuttle away like little crabs.
Slut body.
Sick body.
My body.
It belongs to all of you.

It isn’t that no one cares. It is that no one cares enough. And the hands that grab and touch, and the lips that grab and touch, push me away and I fall back on the mattress that swallows me up. Gulp.
Lying in bed, my body shrinks to the size of a pin. My legs retract and my head and my arms are pulled in and I lie there, a pin. I’ll prick your prick your prick pricks me.
But it’s changing. Now my body crumples in on itself, and I crinkle and crack and all that’s left is a piece of dirty newspaper, with two hands kneading it, and I can see my mouth in its folds. Or is it more than two?
The hands pull the paper flat, and suddenly I’m white and clean and smooth and plain. I lie there still and blank, and you can write me, as you will.

You draw me a face of the wide eyes of your ex, while You and You put on the big lips of the girl you’re in love with, and of course there’s You who paints on the cute smiling cheeks of the girl that You are in love with still, whilst You let me keep my nose, to remind you that it is me you’re using, but You lengthen my hair and give it a new shade to suit a generic fantasy. Then I’m ready for all of you. And I lie here for you all, I’m hidden, I’m curled under my flat stomach and I love you all and I love you all and I think yes this is it this is it this time surely one of you will stay. But then you collapse on my breasts and then you rumple my hair fondly and then you stand up. My eyes behind her wide eyes are blinded. You lift the white sheet with its attractive additions and go back to who they really belonged to all along. You leave me my nose and my flat stomach.

Anytime you want me to, I can make you happy.
There’s nothing I won’t do, just to make you happy.

And you all know it.
And you all know it.

So you can leave me with the safe knowledge that I won’t.
So you can go back to the real wide eyes and the real big lips and the real cute cheeks and the original better, bigger, brighter mix of parts, and know that you can always come back. Lay a clean sheet over the crushed blood and bone on my dark dark dirty sheets and re-draw me to make you happy.

It’s good to be here.
It’s some kind of bliss.

But you know and I know that my bed isn’t enough. You are all frightened to admit it, but I know that you all know. So although I lie here in wait, it is no surprise to me when you don’t come back.
I lie here in wait for the next time you need attention and flattery.
And for you, I lie in wait for the next time you argue with her and need some comfort.
Whilst you know I lie in wait for you for when you want to feel good about yourself and your power over me.

The longer I wait, the more changes you all need to make to the paper. Soon you must close your eyes when you come; to make sure you don’t catch sight of my real face behind what you paint over it and I fake it oh and I fake it ah and I fake it don’t stop and I fake it that’s right and I fake it harder and I fake it faster and I fake it yes!

Anytime you want me to, I can make you happy.
There’s nothing I won’t do, just to make you happy.

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