Going through my old highschool book collection since I’m home, I’ve been rereading some of my favorite texts for the first time in six years. Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides (1993) has become a cult classic, but it seems especially fitting for this time. Quoting Dazed editor Claire Marie Healy, as many find themselves confined to their bedrooms reminiscent of highschool nights, this pandemic has made us “teenagers again. Waiting for our lives to begin.” The film by Sofia Coppola turned twenty during quarantine, setting the bedroom-bound Lisbon sisters in our crystallised collective consciousness for the foreseeable future and perhaps resonating with us more than ever in the midst of a pandemic.
The cotton plants swayed gently in the breeze as a shrouded figure walked across the plantation. A large metal cross dangled from his waist as gnarled hands gripped a rosary. As he walked, two men stood in the distance waiting for him. One, the plantation owner, clad in rustic wear with a fat face and menacing glare in his eye. The other, a political man in an expensive suit holding a pocket watch as he checked the time every few moments.
Regina Beaker was a shriveled onion of a woman with the light-hearted disposition of a sack of bricks. Her cheeks looked as if they were trying to touch each other inside of her mouth while her sharp, excessively prominent cheekbones were said to cut anyone who touched them. That is assuming anyone ever dared get that close to her. Her entire body was cold as a corpse with barely a suggestion of color. Her wrinkled lips sported a grotesque off-white. Her eyes were a cloudy gray. If one looked closely enough they could see memories of blue haunting them, but those days were long gone. Regina’s dark but slowly graying hair was pulled back in an intense bun on the back of her head. Each hair was pulled very straight. She did not believe in extraneous movement of any kind. Everything had a purpose. It is said that once she did not move for an entire day for she had no reason to. She sat perfectly still and stared at the wall. Her heart only pumped enough blood to keep her alive and allow her to proficiently do her required duties. With regimented control such as that, keeping her hair in place was hardly an unimaginable feat.
What kind of an arsehole parent would do that to their kid? I mean seriously? Who in their right mind calls their kid ‘Rodger’ when their last name is also Rodger.
There was never really a thought to use water. To comb out that hair with water. Those brush strokes made sounds of ripped branches that came out of resistance. It resisted itself from the coarse-textured nappy headed hair that told colourful stories. Tales often heard through wired telephones. Most of these stories rhymed with many different types of black and brown skinned heads. Mama would always say, “that’s why you gotta brush your hair out every day. If you did, maybe it wouldn’t hurt as much."
Her heart skips. She’s been waiting for over a year for the third book in the series to come out, and like her dumb-self, she never pre-ordered. There is something about going to the bookstore and seeing it on the shelf, she tried to convince herself each time she was close to pre-ordering it on Amazon. Now, as she looks through the new release section of her indie bookstore, she knows she totally screwed up.
It’s a nice day today, the ideal day to go out for lunch. David, thinking this as he awoke this morning, does exactly that. John left earlier for work, giving David more time to prepare for the day. Again, he chooses a flamboyant dress, but of a different colour and pattern. It’s time to leave, even though it takes him nearly an hour to put make-up on. Little kids with their parents pass David as he moves slowly down various Brunswick streets, hoping to find a reputable cafe to eat at. Nothing interests him save an unknown little place he ends up spotting by chance. 'This is where I’ll flaunt my stuff,' David says under his breath as he pirouettes ridiculously across the road.
David is walking into school. He’s carrying two bags: one holds his papers for school, the other books, CDs and what-have-you. There are also a few classical music books scattered here and there. He’s somewhat late for class, but his class waits for him. David has a good relationship with them. Two small headphones sit lodged in his ears, blaring out music from an Australian comedian’s comedy album.
Late in my first semester of college, my roommate, Hannah, announced she would go home that upcoming weekend. By this time, the men in my life irritated her last nerve, and her obsessive-compulsive need for cleanliness and habit of leaving passive-aggressive sticky notes around the apartment drove me batty. She couldn't study if I clicked my ink pen while reading in the next room, and she had to put the wall clocks facedown to stop their ticking when she was trying to concentrate. We decided to make it through the rest of the school year together and then find more compatible roommates.