by Maru Pabón

Illustration by Kat Hsu

published March 14, 2014


Emilio (or James or Tony) sits on the copper sand staring wistfully (or longingly) out across the sea (and/or ocean.) He exists solely to make a point, and at the end of this passage he will die. I warn that re-reading will serve only as an overdose of nostalgia for this fictitious, evidently lonely and freckled young man. The point of him is the beach he sits on. The beach is a lot of little sands and water, or the edge of a culture in some more profound respect. The swishing curls of sea foam would look friendlier in the company of a pretty boy dressed in white, so for the benefit of this episode, an animal of just that description is placed upon a high dune, maybe 20 feet from where the water chases up the sand. Maybe 30.

My name is Want. That’s German (or maybe English) for everything the boy is thinking, feeling, and hoping in this particular moment. Some decadent gathering of his contemporaries is happening in a grand beach house perhaps 400 feet behind him. Inside, young adults dance on floors sticky with melted pill capsules, saliva (and/or silly string and sweat.) Some bodies chase vodka with fistfuls of shiny things, others unravel their skins as the tempo increases.

The creature, after sampling half-chewed contempt and unrequited lust from a platter of human emotions, has fled to the beach hoping that someone notices his loneliness and comes to console him. Or better yet, the object of his desire could arrive to have sex with him, and their little world would pulse and change colors for anything up to forty perfect seconds.

Want is invisible, sharp, and bites into bounds. First, I will sever a knot that makes him rational, and perhaps tie the threads loosely to my own deep-set, aesthetic needs. That done, I find the boy sitting up, carving the impression of his legs upon the sand, tracing tiny hearts (or stick figures) with the idle tips of his toes. Painfully straight, his hands rest upon his thighs, but ever so occasionally they slide down past his knees like tanned tectonic plates of flesh and like some fantastic wooden doll he changes form and his head sinks to his lap and his blonde (or brown) hair brushes across his forehead, and sat thus, he weeps. A pathetic, prophetic sort of weeping.

O, how he wants to drip red onto emotional blankness.

O, how his mouth tastes like watercolor disappointment.

The beach house has antique windows. By has, I mean it was built with them. The boy has limbs, but his limbs aren’t him. The beach house as a whole is the beach house, the windows are a bit of beach house.

The boy, and the sand, and the perfectly pleasant house, all align themselves carefully to construct the most beautiful picture of life in this century. The most happily contrived thing I have ever dreamt of, the boy and his p(r)etty thoughts, drifting amidst the pastel haze of an anonymous seaside town. I can make him anything, and I choose to make him unfulfilled and shallow and fleeting. The perfect world in the higher planes of my dreams revolves inconsistently, and each day it sneezes more loudly. The colors dribble, the sands blow up and away and out of view. The boy can be made to stand on the edge of panic, walk out of the frame of my imagination. I can make him swallow more pills and choke on chunks of sand, and perhaps I just did.

If he is foaming at the mouth, then the soles of his feet have burst open. If the handle of vodka has shattered, find him sinking fast and struggling against the current. Meanwhile, I can bring down the beach house, brick by window by brick, and I just did, consider them all overdosed and broken, dead and buried. The house made splinters, fire dancing with more passion than human muscles ever could. Consider the whole happy picture black and solemn, blank and undesigned. Consider the real world for a second, and then the happy planes of the imagination. The only place I cannot be is within the worlds I create, sifting through sands and skins and layers. Struggling with the real, too, it seems I'll sit exactly between life and dreamt up beaches. Staring out the window of a 100th floor glass suite, the sky and the Earth blue and green and glowing below, and faded and unfocused in my peripheral vision, in the foreground, a kind of painted diorama, of the pretty boy and the pretty house and the beach and my mind.

Now don't finish this, please, I pray of you, I’ll—