hot potato
Everybody wishes their lives were something different than what it already is. It's the greed in us all. It's the Hollywood glam we all wish were. Every little girl wants her life told through a storybook. The pictures would glitter and there would be a prince, a castle, and a slain dragon. But no blood. The little girl's hair would be golden with curls. And she would be happy. That's how her life would be told. Every little boy, he wants his life spilled out like a movie. Not a chick flick. Not an action-adventure. Some little boys want explosions, but only on the inside. Something radiating off of his chest, bursting through his ears. The kind of independent movie that Natalie Portman would star in. But not every movie gets played out the way it’s supposed to be seen. It's clipped. It's Cut. Press. Print. It's something like that. Like my life.

My life didn't start until the summer I was fifteen. Cut to that day.

Cut to that night, actually. Hard into the afternoon, I was getting lost at the carnival. My fingers were sticky with the cotton candy I had. Cut to my waiting in line for the Ferris wheel. The hay beneath my feet made absolutely no sense, because I hadn't seen an animal all day. Girls chattered behind me. The couple in front of me, they were making faces at each other; Eskimo kisses. Me, I felt like an idiot. Me, all alone with sticky hands and nobody to ride with. The ticket taker, he tells me, "You can't ride alone, Kid. Sorry."

Sorry. Print that as the only word I've ever been told.

Somebody says, "I'll ride with him," to the side of me. I look at the little pink ticket being passed to the ticket taker and I follow that hand with my eyes. Attached to the ticket hand is a pole-thin arm and attached to that, well. Attached to that ticket-hand and the arm attached to it, is a boy about my age with his face painted like the moon and sun had a fist fight before this scene. He ducks under the railing and tugs me forward. We sit and he says, "I'm Ryan."

Cut to my throat being too dry to talk. Cut to Ryan telling me that heights aren't his thing when he gets to the top. Ryan squeezes my sticky hand, pinches his orange and yellow eyes shut and he says, "You're having fun, right? You wanted to ride, and this is fun for you?"

I finally say, "Yeah." I look at our hands. "I'm having a good time."

Press good time as the only affect Ryan's ever had on me.

Cut to the scene where Ryan takes me to an anger management class. Cut to Ryan always doing things like this. We take our seats in the back. Always in the back for the better view. For the fights. Ryan says that we should always bring popcorn. But we never do. Ryan says, "People who are angry need to control their anger. They have to admit that they're doing wrong. The monster inside of their hearts only wants to be fed with love." And it's the exact same thing the guy in the front of the room with the clipboard is telling the class.

I ask, "Why do we do this? Why are we here?"

Ryan snaps his neck to look at me. He says, "To help ourselves. To see what we could be some day. What we shouldn’t." He pushes his hair from his face and then does the same for me. He's like, "Bren, we have to learn what our parents did wrong."

Yeah. There's that. Cut to Ryan's home life being shittier than a public bathroom wall. Don't even exclude the graffiti. Because there's that too. There's that whole deal where Ryan's father kind of hates that he doesn't get work every week. The fact that Ryan really looks like his mother too much.

Cut to Ryan shoving scissors into my hand. "Short," he tells me. Demands. "Bangs or something." Cut to the scene where Ryan holds my hand down the street and we're going to that vintage shop, the one with all the hats and scarves. Where everything smells like my grandparent's house. The one with jackets on one side, and flowery skirts on the other. The one where Ryan sits on the foot stools for shoes and tells me stories through the changing room doors.

Cut to that changing room. The one where Ryan and I both fit. He slips a navy blue vest on over his white t-shirt. And I'm wearing one of his white t-shirts. "You have to be a canvas when you shop," he says. And then he tells me this story about a little girl and a hot air balloon. The way she leaned too close to the flame, burned her arms off and learned to paint with her teeth. Ryan's mouth a mile a minute in his Sunday school drawl. He's all, "The funny thing is that her teeth were the display in the end. The paint killed her. The toxins in them suffocated her." He presses his palms to my back, smoothing out wrinkles in my plum jacket. He spins me around. "I like this one."

I let Ryan button a couple of the brown buttons and I ask, "Is that a real story?"

Ryan shakes his head. "Is anything real?" He looks up at me. "You have money, don't you? This color on you is too good to pass up."

Cut to the scene where Ryan loves summer too much and drags me to two tree stumps whose roots are intertwined, thick, like they're holding hands for eternity. He sits me down, starting to sweat. By now, Ryan’s eighteen, and I'm seventeen. I'm the only one who ever cuts Ryan's hair. Ryan's the only one I'll go shopping with. The only one I can stand phone calls from at 4AM. I'm the only one Ryan will go on the Ferris wheel with. By this point. By now, Ryan's read so much, passed along so many books to me, I feel like my head is the library. He uncaps a black permanent marker. He tests the color on his jeans. A thick B is forever inked on the knee of his favorite stretchy jeans.

Ryan's tree stump has two hundred and twelve rings. Mine has two hundred and eleven. "They're us, only older," Ryan whispers. He kisses my nose. He says, "Have you ever thought about getting a tattoo?" And I haven’t. I roll my eyes and shrug. I have a sore throat, so Ryan's told me not to talk.

Sore throats. Print that as the disability to every summer since diapers.

I have my arms folded on my knees, my mouth pressed to my forearms. I shake my head no. I've never really thought about a tattoo. And I don't have time. Ryan's drawing straight lines, jagged lines. Coloring in those lines. All where my mouth is pressed behind my arm. I can only watch him. His bottom lip stuck between his teeth. His brow pushed downward and together in concentration. All I hear is this bird singing to us. Feel Ryan's forefinger and thumb against my elbow, holding me still. Like I want out of my current situation.

After a few minutes, Ryan smiles. "Done." He's like, "It's not that bad, actually." Then he blows on it to dry before my sweat smears it. When I look down, I think I see crooked teeth.

Gravel and sore throat, I ask him, "What is it? Teeth?"


"It's not a mouth?"

"You're close."

"Ry, what is it?" I twist my arm to see. "Piano keys?"

Ryan shrugs. "You play really well. It's almost how you talk." He fixes my arm to that it's over my mouth again. "I've heard you play when you're mad. And when you're not. And when you're awake before I am when I sleep over. It's like - You almost don't need a mouth. The piano just always knows what you want to say."

Cut to the scene later that day where I'm trying my hardest to keep my hand steady, writing on Ryan's wrist in permanent marker. It's thick, black words of 'Mad As A Hatter' on one wrist. 'Thin As A Dime' on the other. When I ask what that even means, Ryan's like, "Tom Waits is God."

I think about that, and then, "I don't know if I believe in God. You know, what with it being pushed on me my whole life. I guess it's like believing in the Tooth Fairy anymore. It's all myth."

"Come over later, then," Ryan says and I'm finishing Dime. He says, "We can make you a believer."

Cut to the scene just after the Ferris Wheel ride. Ryan asks me what my name is. I finally get to tell him that my name is Brendon. I thank him for riding with me, even though he was scared. He shrugs. "How come you don’t have your face painted, Brendon?"

Because I love sugar, had ten bucks and ate all day long. "I don't have anymore money."

Cut to being inside a tent and having Ryan paint my face. Cut to my going "Oh" when I realize Ryan works at the carnival. At sixteen, Ryan's been painting faces for a long time. He holds a brush with his thumb on my jaw. "What do you want done?"

There's this chart or whatever, you know, kind of hanging there and Ryan pulls the pins out and hands me the pictures. I could be the sky like Ryan. All golden and halfway through the day. Like when I met him, the way the sky looked then. I could be a lion. A fairy. The Tin Man. A ventriloquist doll. And I ask for that one. Rosy cheeks and black lines down the sides of my mouth, like dark blood. Ryan pushes my hair back. He says, “Nobody asks for that one anymore. Me, I thought you'd pick the lion."


"Alone. Brave." Ryan shrugs. "I don't know. Here - hold your head up like this."

Cut to the scene in Ryan's room where I'm finally sixteen and will be driving soon. Cut to the part of the scene where Ryan's got my pinned to his bed, stretchy tight jeans to stretchy tight jeans and I'm wondering how long it'll take us to get off together for the very first time. It's like, Lights, Camera, ACTION! and I feel like I'm just learning how to breathe.

Ryan, him with his bony knees around each side of me. His canary yellow V-neck riding at the bottom. Me, focused on the pink, little heart on the breast of the shirt. Ryan's like, "Brendon?" And I'm like, "Yeah?" And Ryan's fingers, they're fiddling with my belt. All faux white leather, plastic studs falling off. Ryan says, "Are you okay? Like - I mean, we don't have to - " Except, I answer Ryan when I didn't mean to. I throw my head back and arch up a little, because his fingers are on the zipper, and me I'm just like, "Fuck."

Print the roll of film where if my parents were here, they'd scold me for swearing and having sex before marriage. With a boy.

Cut to the part of the scene where Ryan kisses me before he locks the door, just in case his mother came home early. His father, he's not home. He hasn't been for a couple of days. He did call from a motel, though. But, Ryan, Ryan with his eyes half lidded, sweeping his tongue across my lip, he doesn't seem to mind. Yeah, well, we all hide things somehow.

Give birthday presents somehow. My sixteenth birthday, it just happened to be the one where I didn't get, more like gave. More like felt like I got. It was less confusing than it sounds now.

Cut to the scene where my mother and I got into a fight right before I went to the carnival and met Ryan. The fight was about smoking pot at some festival where dressing up and playing games to win goldfish was a sin. A sin to her. And just for the record, I never smoked pot at the carnival. I was fifteen. I told her that same thing. And then my father got in my face and told me that if I were to come home with my face colored, I might as well not come home at all.

Cut to the scene at the end of my face painting where I'm asking Ryan if he lives really far, and if it would be okay if I maybe spent the night. Cut to Ryan licking his lips, fading the yellow on his mouth. Cut to Ryan like, "Yeah, not too far. You want a candied apple?"

Print and press the scene where Ryan eats the apple after I eat all the red hard candy off of it. Cut to where I meet Ryan's mother, and she says, "It's so nice to see Ryan make friends." And, "go wash up, get ready for bed." And, "Ryan, I found this great new bookstore and look what I got." Cut to Ryan reading me to sleep, a book of Shakespeare poetry and sonnets. Him at the top of the bed. Me at the bottom, never having washed the doll-face off my face.

Cut to the montage part of the movie where I cut Ryan's hair for him again. The part where we have our first fight over writing songs. Our first make up after our first fight. Cut to clips and scenes where we're in Ryan's basement, crowded by moldy cardboard boxes labeled THE BEATLES. Labeled THE DOORS. FLEETWOOD MAC. Labeled RYAN'S BABY CLOTHES. Labeled LETTERS. Cut to the slow montage of Ryan and me dressing up in pearls and netted veils, dressing up a mannequin in the attic. Making out and pulling off a wedding in the attic.

Yeah. Press Play now.

The mannequin is the minister. Ryan talks for her, though. In a pitched voice, it's Ryan all like, "Do you, Brendon, take Ryan to be your lawfully wedded wife?" And then, Ryan with his fifteen year old face painted in lipstick and eye shadow waiting for my answer. Expectant.

Me, I go, "I do."

Ryan pitches his voice again and we look at the headless torso, and she says, "And Ryan, do you take Brendon to be your lawfully wedded husband?"

Ryan, he looks at me again. He goes, "I do."

The pitched voice of Ryan, the Minister Mannequin, she says, "I now pronounce you husband and wife. you may kiss and be married."

Cut to my first kiss being my fake marriage. Cut to it being really dusty, moth-filled, and muggy. Print it as smeared lipstick, the feel of Ryan's tongue, somebody else's tongue the first time in my life ever. Cut to my first kiss leading to hitting the wall of the attic, knocking over Minister Mannequin.

Cut to the credits rolling. Cut to smiling at my fifth grade history teacher's name being stupid. Cut to the extras names I don't know, never remembered. Cut to the part where a sappy song plays out over a sunset, the color Ryan's face was when I first met him. Cut to fade to black.

Cut to the scene that leads to the credits. Ryan's dragged me back out to those tree stumps all hand holding in the woods. Ryan says, "Brendon, remember when we were younger?" And I go, "Yeah. I remember." By now, we're out of college, majored in music theory and composition. Choir conductor and music producer. Cut to us actually being successful. Having beards and writing songs together that actually make sense and mean something, whereas they barely were legible as kids.

"I really love you," Ryan tells me.

Press the roll of film where this is the first time he's actual ever told me this. Ryan strokes the place on my arm where once he drew a piano set of teeth there because they spoke for me when I couldn't. Cut to me holding his wrists where I wrote lyrics there, I feel a quick pulse.

Cut to me not being able to say anything and just dealing with the idea that I get a happy ending.

Roll credits.

©2008-2009 ~missxscissorhands

@музыка: хорошая

@настроение: среднестатистическое

@темы: Райден <3, for translation, Urie, нам слэш как свет в засилье гета©, фанфикшн