By Maya Schofield
In the words of Bruce Springsteen, he was halfway to heaven and a mile from Hell. The mosquito light reflected itself on burnt, crystalized spoons like a carnival mirror stretching the figures of fat kids; the fire in front of him danced across the scars on Cass’s face with tidal waves of shadow, hearths of dependence.
“We contain multitudes, y’know, Cass? We are these, like, havens of clear water that’s’ hidden except when we excavate it. Like the ice tunnels in the arctic, right?” He said ‘right,’ but not in search of agreement. He ended sentences with questions so the world would know that he was still sagacious, his mind not wan- not like Cass.
“Babe, you don’t know what,” Cass replied haltingly. She reached for a spoon, really she was searching for a hit, for the doorway into Nirvana.
Nirvana is beyond all concepts, she had read. “That’s… misguided,” Cass thought this peaceably, without reproach. Whoever had wrote that had never experienced being infinite. Worlds pushing against you, molding and transforming your essence; turning consciousness into a dream or a billboard you once drove by. She looked tiredly at the rugged, cloud eyed man across form her. She used to be a narcissist, now she read his thoughts and prodded at her dormant dreams. All emotions are pain. This one was true; love tore at the needle bones of her soul, hate sprung from the scars on her elvin face.
“Do you hear yourself?” Chortled the man. “You’re so done! You’re like a flower that was too eager for spring. Shot up, torn out, wilted.” He pointed at her papyrus fingers, raw and beaten. “See?”
Cassie blew at her bangs, uninterested. The spoon-man thought this was her attempt at flirtation, reaching over the lamp to stroke her imitation arms with their slim joints rusting prettily under light fabric. He recoiled back. The poignant scent of burnt hair tickled their noses. Scrunched them.
“Tune in, turn on, drop out,” Cass muttered through veils of smoke.
Maya Schofield lives in British Columbia, on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples. This piece was written when Maya was 16, as a tool with which to unpack the unsaid power dynamics within co-dependent relationships.