Wandering Rocks



Scene Title Wandering Rocks
Synopsis Eileen's only company is herself.
Date March 16, 2009


In a quagmire of thought and memory, time holds no real meaning — the downward arc of a silver-tipped cudgel just before it connects with Zhang Wu-Long's skull, imploding his face like a rotten melon, is perfectly timed to the lamenting cries of ordinary men and women outside Washington Irving's urban ruins, their voices raw and hoarse with the unparalleled grief of losing a child, and the pain she herself feels lancing through flesh where his lips meet her cheek, blisters and boils erupting across the surface of her skin as the blood vessels beneath it grow black and spidery.

But, in order to go forward, one must first go back.

Her earliest memory reeks of stale urine and cheap liquor, the exact brand of which she is still too small to glean from the bottle's label even though there are many of them hidden throughout the London flat that is her home. Between cushions, inside cupboards, beneath sinks — there is no place their mother won't stash them, and tonight she and Nicholas are free to look, for the lady of the house sleeps face-down on the couch, tangles of dark brown hair plastered to her sallow face by sweat and the specks of dried vomit caking her upper lip. Later, the woman next door will tell her that all daughters are doomed to become their mothers, and for the first time she experiences what feels like to hate.

Dread, silence, dampness soaking naked thighs — as she becomes older, this is what family means to her. One calloused hand cradles her cheek, thumb maundering along the curve of her mouth and the line of her jaw as she hides behind an anxious smile, all chapped lips and straight teeth.

He grips her face until she's nothing inside

To look back is to be in awe of all that can happen in such a short time when you're a girl who trusts too easily, wanting to be loved by someone.


The first time they meet, he touches her hair with his fingers and brushes its curls. Silver and hoary, skin like blemished leather, he is older than anyone she has ever been with, but the Italian promises her he is a good man, a kind man. And he is right.

There are others whose compassion encompasses what the old one's does not. She visits the wolf-man in his bed and while he turns her away, he holds her too, lying supine on a mattress that's at least as old as she is. The names he calls her hold no meaning beyond a vague comparison she draws between his face and the face belonging to someone she used to call Da, but when she closes her eyes and tries to dredge him up from the depths of memory, she discovers time has polluted the well and turned its waters turbid. She simply does not remember what he looks like.

Years pass in the time it takes for a girl who trusts too easily to transform into a young woman who does not trust enough. On the outside: she is stone and wears a doll's mask of porcelain skin and rueful green eyes to hide the severity of her features, chiseled into what they are now by equal parts age and experience. On the inside: doubt grapples with devotion, though neither is strong enough to secure a foothold and forcibly rise above the other until she meets him.

She is nineteen when she crosses paths with the only man she has ever lusted after, but it will be many months before the sympathy and tender affection she feels for him translates to a terrible amalgamation of emotions that, alone, she can name, identify and categorize with ease, but lacks the capacity to understand when overwhelmed by all at once.

It frightens her, and so she tells herself that the person who should mean everything means nothing, that he is a pale imitation of the individual she once knew, tethered to another woman by a thin rope woven with the traits belonging to the person he wishes he could be.

He is as dead to her as she suspects she must be to him, and to everyone.

Conscious thought travels in eddies, lazily circling around the cruxes of her life before it slips back into the greater stream and begins the process all over again, stuck in loop that shows no signs of unwinding soon.

In a quagmire of thought and memory, time holds no real meaning—

March 16th: Just A Man
March 17th: I'm Asking...
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