Unplug and burn it to the ground

An excerpt near the end of my fiction novel about a woman named Sam who is in her late 20′s and a techno-crazed mess who gets herself in all kinds of crazy trouble on a grand scale, tentatively titled ‘Based on True Tweets’. Some of you may remember her and posts on this blog from that piece. I’m threading it together in my head, albeit in tiny slices of moments in a workday when I’m not deluged with minutiae of tasks but she’s still there, trying to work her way through me!

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She unplugged herself. She pulled the power bar out, yanking in an abrupt, angry pull so everything went black all at once.  Then she picked up her iPhone and deleted her Twitter account. “Are you sure?” Yes. I’m fucking sure.

She sat in the silence that followed. She heard a small dog bark repeat itself like an apartment minuet and she realized she’d never heard the dog that lived above her before. Tweets had obfuscated her ability to be aware of her surroundings. Digital noise had filled her mind with clutter and in her hampster-wheel life, she’d mistaken the noise for a kind of promise. She had dulled the sharp points of her judgement with replies, retweets, and a kind of sharing that had led her as far away from her self as an information highway possibly could.

In that moment, Sam realized she had to move. Everything about her apartment reeked of desperation. She would have liked to burn it to the ground and stand in the ashes so her feet smelled of smoke and effort and survival. She’d have to settle for a storage locker and a suitcase. Slightly less dramatic, but she would at least know there were ashes where they should be: in her heart, snuffing out the danger that had lit her world on fire in the first place.

She shook her head in disbelief. It all seemed so simple in this moment. At what point had she woken up? She found it hard to believe she could have been so asleep, so utterly unaware of her own destruction. She had to acknowledge she alone had chosen to walk that road to find love, that she had led herself into those places,  kissed men not to find love but to prove it didn’t exist. She only wished she could run down that road now and pull her self back, tug on the coat sleeve of her misjudgment and prevent the inevitable moment when her illusion had turned on her, revealing its true dysmorphic disorder in all its glory. She wanted to whisper to that self: This isn’t what you think it is.  It never will be.

She stood still in the middle of her apartment unwillingly turning back to the past one last time for a look at his face.

Over. Get on with it. Stand up. Move. Pack. Burn it all down. Get your shoes on for chrissakes said an instructive voice in her head suddenly. For some reason, it sounded like Holly Hunter and it was kicking her ass. She left her laptop on the table, her iPhone still plugged into it and wrapped a scarf around her neck absently as she fumbled for her keys in the glass bowl. She’d waited for this moment, when she finally stepped in and saved herself. It felt like tap-dance happy. It felt like salvation. It tasted like a communion wafer that never melted. She wondered, as she closed the door, what her father would think then realized she didn’t care anymore.

2 Comments

Filed under Fiction

2 responses to “Unplug and burn it to the ground

  1. “Tweets had obfuscated her ability to be aware of her surroundings. Digital noise had filled her mind with clutter and in her hampster-wheel life, she’d mistaken the noise for a kind of promise.”

    YES! Thank you Mags, and Sam, for shining such a succinct light on the land of digital delusion. I, like Sam, have now deactivated my Twitter account. It does feel a little bit like salvation.

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