Ringtones From The Radio: Breezeblocks


alt-J – Breezeblocks

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White walls have always been too bright for Gretchen to look at and this place is full of them. And the people are fake in a too-nice way. And the tight clothes she’d arrived in no longer fit but she can’t stop sweating so they cling more than before.

She’s learned that systems punish if not paid into with compliance, that the world is a circle, pointless, a cycle; malcontents get sent to places where the point is to leave.

Success is minutes away, stroke of a pen, turn of a page. She plans to turn the radio all the way up on the ride home; she’s missed loud noises, they’re not welcome where the wild things go to die but Gretchen is alive, every part of her as much as the other.

The fight inside rages on – whoever she is is too big for her slimy skin, venom-filled, cold-blooded, slither, shedding – a person’s opinion of themself can never be lower than when leaving a place that exists to fix – if you’re still you at the end obviously you aren’t okay.

But that isn’t what they say. When asked the answer is ‘time served equals problems fixed. Simple logic, easily grasped if you would just try.’ Problem is that doesn’t work as a follow-up to an ask of why.

“Your ride is here.”

The office is barely big enough for three people; Gretchen stands by the door. 

Conversation: short. 

Signature: scribbled. 

Reassurance: provided.

Sun, brighter than she remembers, evaporates sweat and causes new drops to appear; the leather seat of the Cadillac she sits in makes it worse, a minor readjustment for comfort peels skin.

Reach for the radio – turn the knob – static rolls over silence.

He shuts it off. “You probably hate me.”

The radio goes back on.

He stops himself from repeating the process. “I am sorry but you gotta know I only want the best -”

She keeps turning the dial: commercial.

He rolls all the windows down and sighs; the slight breeze flowing through stops with them at the red light. He puts a hand on her thigh.

Another station, another ad.

“Please look at me.”

Her gaze is out the window; she recognizes this neighborhood.

“I love you so-”

Bouncing foot – clenched knuckles – the trapped eyes of a wild animal searching for an escape – the door is unlocked – open – Gretchen does not look back.

Continue reading Ringtones From The Radio – Preset 3

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