I used to think you danced with your feet. I would watch my feet and tell them to move around. Then I went to middle school and saw everyone dancing with their arms. So, I started moving my arms around and bouncing a little. I asked my mom after she came home tipsy from a date. She said it’s in the hips. And then I remember Kira told me once that women and India dance with their eyes. For the longest time, I figured you just danced with your whole body. But why does Dizzie’s entire body undulate like a brush fire, and then why does my body only feels like water splishing against the side of a swimming pool?
Tag Archives: Dizzie
Kira’s band was friggin’ phenomenal. And it made Dizzie more than a little jealous. Even so, she was cheering so loud the people around her were giving her funny looks. But you know what? Fuck them.
“That’s my fuckin’ girl up there! That’s my baby girl up on stage!” She elbows the guy next to her. “The brown one on the stage. Isn’t she precious?” Dizzie bounces up and down, screaming at the top of her lungs.
Kira must have heard her yelling like an idiot because she grimaced slightly. She was going to regret inviting Dizzie to the front row.
Unlike their old band, where everyone’s instruments crashed violently together, the [band name] had more of a jazzy appeal and focused on solos. Kira had become a master of the power chord. And again, Dizzie was jealous. What had she done lately? Did she ever even hold a candle to Kira?
“That’s my sweet baby darling! Go get ’em! Fuck ’em up!” The guy next to her had stepped away. There was a small empty bubble around Dizzie on the concert floor.
“Oh well,” she mumbled to herself. “Fuck ’em.”
Kira finished her solo and kneeled down toward Dizzie. “Thank you,” she mouthed. Dizzie winked at her.
Kira winked at
I really hadn’t seen Sadie much once I’d handed her the piano. I figured since I had triggered a suicidal episode, it was best that I keep my distance. Even so, it was really lonely for a while. Kira was mad at me for a while (and I guess with good reason), Dakota is Canadian (as usual) but also I heard Chev was up there to. I’m still a little torn about that whole idea ever since he told me. Seamus and I didn’t talk too much after what happened but now he’s set sail for Ireland, of all places. I’ve always had the same friends; I don’t even know how to make new ones:
“You okay?” Sadie asks.
“Yeah, I was just thinking,” I tell her.
“That’s so un-Dizzie-like.”
“Yeah, I know. But look at you, all smiles. Remember when you used to spend all lunch staring at your food? I always thought your lunch must have had some interesting things to say.”
“Is that why you wanted to talk to me back then? To find out what my lunch was saying?”
“Oh, I was such an attention whore. You know that!”
She looked good. Healthy. Her hair had grown out but she kept it trimmed back so it didn’t cover her face. The wind from the moonroof whipped her hair violently but her eyes were closed, her face serene. I was jealous.
The Foo Fighters “All my Life” was playing quietly on the radio. “I like this song,” I said, wanting to change the subject from high school and the past. The energy from the song, quickening my heartbeats. Kira once told me that music rises out of the Earth and it needs somewhere to go. Try to contain it and you’ll just go crazy. Music needs to rise. So, I usually keep the moonroof open when the radio’s on. Kira also said that her ears lost their virginity when she heard Dave Grohl for the first time. I guess I really can’t escape from the past.
“Do you think every song has a collective memory?”
Sadie opens her eyes, taking this question more seriously than I’d anticipated. “Maybe. I think it’s more that music invokes something from our own personal memories. But you never know. There could be something locked inside there that comes from something more spiritual.”
Sadie talks like that now. I mean, she always said weird shit, but she’s been focused on spirituality a lot, even if she’s not completely sold on the same interpretation of God that her mother believes in.
We pull to the curb. I haven’t seen Sadie’s place in forever. It all looks the same from the outside. But smaller, I guess. Isn’t that how shit always works?
“You won’t recognize it,” Sadie says. “We redecorated.”
I really didn’t. The second we walked in, I could see sunny wallpaper all over the place. Then I looked down and there was a huge piano taking up a third of the living room.
“What the F is that monstrosity?” I gasp.
“It used to belong to my aunt.” I stayed respectfully silent. Sadie had a time where she lost someone close to her every year. I took her as proof that God doesn’t exist. “Mom had it in storage and took it out when she saw me practicing in the hospital.” She is almost jumping up and down now and I wonder if she just downed a shot of Monster while I wasn’t looking. “Take a seat! I want you to listen.”
Before I know it, I’m being ushered to an old twine-seated chair, planting my butt on a must cushion. Sadie takes a seat on the piano stool and begins playing a somewhat familiar tune. Then she starts singing:
“I’ve got a little black book with my poems in…”
Her voice is like holding a fragile baby bird in my hands. I don’t think I’d ever heard Sadie sing before. I’m entranced and the music flows through me or out of me. Maybe both. She has some false starts and is in the wrong key at parts, but she is completely into it. Sadie’s been practicing her ass off for the past year to get to this point.
When Sadie ends on “roots,” the last key dies out and I feel like something was left unfinished. My dad used to play that song when he was sad and drinking. I always wanted the singer to finish what he was going to say. It was always something of a relief when he started singing about Vera Lynn.
Sadie is just sitting there on the stool. My twine chair creaks as I move toward her. She wipes her face and I touch her shoulder. “Sadie?”
Her voice is fragile and broken. “I’m okay.” Delicate as a tiny bird.
I hug her from behind and kiss her on the top of the head. “You’re amazing.”
I’m not sure what is going through her head, but she seems to relax. Something she is holding inside just seems to rise right out of her lungs in one wrenching sigh.
If I had a dime for every time I had this dream, I would shoot myself. I’m walking down a hallway and Sadie is sitting there with blood on her hands. Sometimes she says it’s her own blood. Sometimes it’s mine. Or Chev’s. Or she’s licking it off her fingers. Occasionally Chev comes by with an axe or a chainsaw. Sometimes he sneaks up on me and I turn around and the dream ends. There are nights when the dream repeats over and over again. I will wake up in my bed only to see Sadie there with blood on her hands. At first it freaked me out, then I got angry, and now I’m just exhausted. When I wake up to see Kira standing over me, I know that it’s probably just another dream again.
“Why haven’t you returned any of my calls?”
I think it was at this time I realize that she is real and I panic. I shoot up in the bed and hit my head against the wall trying to get away from her. I’m not sure why the real Kira standing there is more shocking than a dream Kira. Just unexpected, I guess.
“Whoa, Diz,” she was cracking up. “I’m sorry. I just wasn’t–” she catches her breath, “I wasn’t expecting that.” She wipes away a tear. “Are you okay?”
Seeing Kira in my room laughing at me makes me want to cry, and not because I’m upset at her. It’s almost a release seeing Kira here again. I want to unload all my worries on her, but still…
“Why are you in my room?” I ask, rubbing my head.
She stops laughing and pulls out her phone. I watch her with my jaw locked and my gut tells me something bad is coming. Maybe this is a dream after all.
From underneath a pile of clothes comes The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.”
Kira clicks the phone shut. “That’s my ringtone, is it not?”
“Mhmm,” I grunt, palming a hand over my eye and through my hair. I probably look like a mess.
“So why haven’t you been calling me back. We can’t get through to Chev or Sadie, either, and your mom just said she didn’t know what the Hell was wrong with you. So?”
“So what?” I snapped. “I didn’t feel like calling you back. It’s fine.”
“It’s not fine.”
“What do you even care anyway? You’ve already moved on, started a new band.”
“I’m sorry. I thought we were still friends. I didn’t realize I was just your lead guitarist.”
“Don’t try that guilt trip shit on me.”
“Get dressed and be downstairs in ten minutes. We’re going for a walk. You don’t come down, I’m dragging your sorry ass down.” She slams the door on the way out.
Red lights on the clock tell me it’s almost noon. Why do I feel so tired? My head keeps humming with Sadie mumbling about blood on her hands. Outside the window, the jays are chirping. If only the world could stop and be quiet just for one moment.
It only takes me two minutes to get up and get dressed but I was sitting in bed the other eight. Kira is in the kitchen having a cup of coffee and chatting with my little brother.
“Morning, sunshine!” Kira says, chipper and put together. Her jeans and shirt look washed and her hair is tied back in a ponytail. I must look like a mess. My hair always sticks up in strange places in the morning.
Seamus was smiling but now that I’m here, he’s staring gloomily at the table. We haven’t talked much since that night. And when he does, he only talks about visiting Sadie. I yelled at him about how she’s a dyke and he needs to stop getting in her pants. We haven’t spoken a word to each other since then.
“Want some coffee? Breakfast? You guys have real maple syrup here! I’m so excited about it.”
“No, I’m okay.”
“Let’s just get this over with.”
Kira sighs and pushes back her chair. She pats Seamus on the shoulder and says something in his ear. He’s smiling again, though I can’t help but wonder if it’s at my expense. Whatever.
Silently, we grab our coats. It’s one of the warmer days so far since the beginning of the month. I can’t even see my breath when the door opens and I wonder if I need a jacket. I glance over at Kira and she doesn’t say a word.
In fact, the entire walk occurs in silence. It wouldn’t be so bad if my head wasn’t tumbling around in a million directions.
“So, what’s up?” I ask. Kira stops abruptly. I turn to see her standing with her arms crossed.
“You tell me. Why has everyone dropped off the map? Seamus says he doesn’t know what’s up but he’s a terrible liar.”
“At least he knows when to keep his mouth shut.”
“So that’s it? You’re keeping something from me? Why? Because I haven’t been there to hold your hand?”
Kira breaks her stance to free up her hands. She puts a finger at my nose. “Come on, Diz! Are you really such a fucking baby all the sudden?”
I can’t meet her eyes.
“It’s none of your business.”
“Fine. I’m heading over to Sadie’s house next since it’s on the way to Chev’s. Maybe they can tell me something.” She spins on her heel and walks back to her car.
“Seamus didn’t tell you? About Sadie?”
“What about her?”
“She won’t be home right now.”
“Don’t fucking play games with me. Where is she?”
“She’s under surveillance at the hospital.”
Kira taps her foot three times and sighs deeply. “Get in the fucking car.”
“You can explain or not explain but you’re coming with me.”
“I can’t.” An image of Sadie with blood on her hands and Chev sneaking up on her with an axe comes to mind. It makes me shiver.
“Why? Tell me, please.”
“I just… please don’t go to Chev’s, Kira.”
“Does that mean you’re coming? What else are you going to do all day?”
Stay inside and watch T.V.
“Fine. Let’s go.”
Maybe I’m still dreaming, I think as I buckle the seatbelt. The wheels scratch against the ground as the car pulls away.
“She’s not answering,” I had called Sadie’s phone five times in the last two minutes. “Should I call an ambulance?”
Dizzie’s mouth was scrunched up in deep thinking. I tapped my foot impatiently. “Dizzie? Should we—”
“Shut up! I’m thinking!”
I kept tapping my foot. I needed to do something. I’m not sure why, but I felt partly responsible for Sadie. Maybe it was because I liked her or maybe because I was guilty about what happened with Chev. Dizzie would never forgive me after tonight.
“We don’t know what happened to her. She could be fine.”
“She could be dead.”
“Shut up! Shut the fuck up!” Dizzie was shrieking like a banshee. There was a wild look in her eye and she stepped on the gas pedal. I didn’t say anything for the rest of the car ride, even though I was scared for my life and, above all, for Sadie’s.
We pulled up to her duplex and Dizzie kicked me out of the car. “I’m going to find parking. Keep knocking on her door and don’t stop.”
I ran up to the door and began pounding at it. Someone the next building down shouted at me to shut up. I didn’t stop, and he eventually poked his head out.
“Shut the fuck up!”
“I need to get in!” I yelled, still banging on the door.
“I’m calling the police!”
Fine with me. Dizzie ran up to me by this time. “Nobody’s answering!” I told her, a little out of breath.
“Fine. You can stop knocking.”
“Someone’s next door says he’s calling the police.”
“We don’t need this,” she said under her breath. “Can you drive?”
“I’m not leaving.” I sounded braver than I felt.
Dizzie looked at me for a moment before scratching her head. “We don’t have time to argue.” She looked up at the building. “Window’s open a smidge. Give me a boost.”
Fueled by Chev’s meth, I cupped my hands and pushed her up to the window. “A little higher,” she said. I was also feeling the ass-whooping I got from Chev, but Dizzie was able to slip her fingers under and pop the window up. “Yes!” She kicked my head crawling in.
I looked around, panicking about people watching. Aside from a few moths in the streetlights, the streets were pretty empty at this time of night.
“Dizzie!” I whispered shrilly to the window. She didn’t answer. “Diiizie!” I tried to jump up but it was slippery on the ledge. A hand shot out of the window like the saving moment in an action movie.
At the other end was my big sister’s scowling face. “Get up here and help me!”
I dug my feet into the wall as she hoisted me up. Dizzie pulled me through the window frame and fell over backwards. “Phew! You really shouldn’t be so heavy if you’ve been taking meth.”
“It was just that one—”
“Come over here for a sec. I need your retard strength.”
It’s pitch black in the room except for one light coming out of the back.
“I can’t hear anything coming from inside,” she said quietly, though the room seemed to make even our breathing seem obscenely loud.
“You think she’s all right?”
“I don’t know.”
I ran to the door and began pounding on it. “Sadie? Sadie! It’s Seamus!” My mind kept running to the worst case scenario, that I would find Sadie sprawled out, pale as a ghost with vomit running caked to her cheek. I rammed my shoulder into the door and busted a hole in the exterior after the fifth time.
“Seamus! Hold on!” Dizzie pushed me out of the way. “Sadie! Can you hear us?” She knocked again. “It’s no use.” She pulled out her phone and tossed me the car keys. “I’m calling for an ambulance. Check the drawers in the kitchen for a screwdriver.”
I darted off toward the kitchen and started throwing open drawers. I could feel my heart trying to tear itself out of my chest. I kept repeated the word in my head: screwdriver, screwdriver, screwdriver, screwdriver. I was amazed to find it already in my hand. I was so excited that I nearly stabbed Dizzie on the way back.
“Shit! I’m sorry!”
“The door!” she screamed. “Get the fucking hinges off!”
I started at the top and then removed the bottom hinge. I held on to where my shoulder had cracked through and pulled the door toward us. A bright light filtered into the room. Dizzie ran in as soon as I had the door out of the way. I threw it aside and heard it thump against a wall.
Dizzie had already reached Sadie and was checking her pulse. Sadie lay there wide eyed and moving her mouth open and closed like a suffocating fish. The bathroom smelled a little acrid.
“She vomited before we got here. That’s good.” Dizzie was mumbling to herself. Without even taking her eyes away, she said, “Get her some water.”
I threw open all the cabinets in the kitchen before I found a plastic Scooby Doo cup to use. It went under the tap and then into Dizzie’s hand.
“Drink,” she told Sadie and poured the water gently into and on her mouth. “Help’s coming.”
Sadie coughed. “I. Wanted.”
Dizzie shushed her gently.
“N-no. I wanted. Let. Go.”
“I’m not letting go of you, Sadie. I’m right here.”
I wasn’t sure what to do or say then. Watching my sister folder her arms around her, I felt embarrassed that I ever thought that I loved Sadie. It was ridiculous to think that I could be as strong as Dizzie had been tonight with Sadie and Chev. Though I guess that wasn’t really my fault. I guess I was mostly ashamed for making her go through the trouble of taking care of me and being my big sister. She didn’t deserve a screw-up brother like me.
“Seamus,” Dizzie said, this time looking straight at me, her face like stone, her friend limp in her arms. “Go home.”
I left out the window and took the Mini Cooper to our house. I tried to drive slowly and it just ended up being sporadic toe-tapping on the gas and the brake to keep with the speed limit. There was one police car out on the way home. I immediately made a right turn just to get out of the way of him. It took a lot longer to get home than it should have. All the while, I was thinking about Dizzie and Sadie and Chev.
When I finally got home, I couldn’t sleep. I was incredibly parched so I grabbed a glass of water and paced around back and forth most of the night. Dizzie got home the next morning and reported that Sadie would be okay.
After this, my sister did something I’d never seen her do: she cried. I stood there for a moment just watching her face get rid and contort until I didn’t even recognize her face anymore and she was just a sobbing mess. I folded my arms around her like I’d seen her do.
“They’re gone, Seamus. I don’t have anyone left.” I don’t think I really understood what she meant back then. Still, the words caught me in the throat. We stood still for what could have been at least ten or twenty minutes. All the while, my heart was beating hard against my chest, trying to break through.
After that awkward kiss with Sadie, I needed something harder than wine to keep my head clear.
“I’m sorry,” Sadie whispered.
“It’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”
“That was my first kiss.”
“Why are you telling me that?” I stepped on the gas.
“I don’t know. I just want…”
I’m not sure why I was so tense. Maybe it was Dakota’s physical absence or Chev’s absence of mind or Kira thinking she’s just better than us now that she’s in college and doesn’t have enough time for us anymore.
“Sadie, I can’t give you what you want. I’m not gay, for starters. And you don’t even want to be with me. Trust me on this one. I’m not worth it.”
“I’ve never wanted anything more in my life.”
“Then you’re not at smart as I thought!” I immediately regretted those words. I wished I could have taken them back. Why was I even mad at Sadie anyway? I glanced over at her and the look she was giving me just broke my heart. And it scared me a little. I think she’d always tagged at me like a puppy dog, and I had just kicked her. Now, she was hurt and confused. But Sadie’s not an animal, she’s a human being, and I caught a very human sense of loathing in those eyes.
The rest of the ride was silence.
“Are you gonna be okay?” I asked. She shut the door and walked inside.
I needed something stronger than wine. But where was I going to get it aside from Chev? Grinding my teeth, I make a u-turn at the stoplight on her corner and head in the opposite direction of my house.
I was drenched in sweat that evening from the humidity. It was going to rain. New England weather sucks anus, but summers I can take. Winters on the other hand. Well, at least it’s not… Canada. I step on the gas.
* * *
I pull up to Chev’s apartment. He lives with his dad but he’s always away on work, so Chev usually has the place to himself.
“It’s me!” I shout, knocking on the door. “Open up, mother fucker!”
He takes a while and I imagine at this hour he’s either passed out or maybe with some bimbo. He finally cracks open the door and looks like he’s seriously tweaking.
“Hey, Dizzie. What’s cracklin’?” He hovers at the door.
“Can I come in or are you just going to keep getting in my way?”
“I’ve had a bad night. Weed and alcohol, please.”
“Well, since you said please.” He thinks he’s being charming, I guess. I’m beyond caring at this point.
” ‘Kay. Musta been killer. Let’s start with some shots.”
He pours something from a Jager bottle but I’m not even sure it’s Jager at all. Tastes like rocket fuel and the tears of a newborn child with some urine mixed in for kick. I hold out the shot glass again. “Hit me.”
“She’s feelin’ it tonight!” He can’t stay still. He keeps scratching at stuff on the counter.
I put the next one back and it tastes even worse somehow. My throat feels like it’s coated in venom. “You know there was a band meeting, right?”
“Oh, was there? Shiiit! I bet Kira was mad.”
“Kira didn’t come. It was just Sadie and me.”
He comes back with his bong. It’s shaped like a cock.
We light it up and he keeps staring at me. He has the most terrifying bags under his eyes. “What?”
“You’re sexy right now.”
He leans over and kisses me.
“Chev! What the fuck!” I push his face away.
“What? Let’s do it!” He reaches for my crotch and I smack it.
“Me likey!” he whoops.
“Chev, no. Chev. Chev!” He doesn’t listen. “Chev, what is wrong with you?”
He keeps kissing my face while I’m moving it away. His tongue feels dry like a lizard’s. I’m tired of being kissed tonight.
I start hitting him but he takes this as a cue to put his entire body weight on me. He’s lost his fucking mind.
Someone else is in the room. “Chev! What the fuck? That’s my sister!”
“Fuuuck,” Chev whines. He’s upset about being interrupted. “I told you to leave out the fire escape, bro.”
“Chev, get off my sister… Chev. Get. Off. My. Sister. Now.”
Seamus tries to pull Chev off unsuccessfully. He tries punching the bigger guy but Seamus has always been built like toothpicks. Chev gets up and knocks my little brother over. I don’t even try to yell at him. He’s too far gone. He knocks over Seamus and starts kicking him. I go for the closest lamp, which doesn’t come with me, probably because it’s plugged into the wall. Chev is still beating the shit out of my little brother. I pull the plug on the lamp and run over to Chev, swinging the lamp into his face. Something shatters. The lamp hits the ground and breaks.
I pant heavily, my heart thumping in my chest. Seamus is back on his feet already, hugging himself with and rubbing his arms. “Ow! Is he okay? Should we call an ambulance? We should call someone.”
“We probably shouldn’t for both your sakes.”
We stay for about twenty minutes to plug up Chev’s nose. He may have had a concussion but he looks fine. “Seamus, get in the car.”
“Get in the fucking car. I don’t want to deal with you right now!”
Chev is holed up against the wall with a freezer bag full of ice against his face. “You’re a fucking bitch,” he spits.
How had it come to this? What had happened to our friend to make him such an incredible douchebag? I’d met his friends before, but so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. But to get Seamus mixed up in this? I want to kick some sense into him. Or just kick him. But it’s really not my problem. “Get some help, asshole.”
Seamus is pacing impatiently around the Mini Cooper. “Get in the car, Seamus!”
“It’s locked!” Whatever. I’m too angry to think straight. I dig for my keys and click it unlocked.
“There! Now get in!”
We pop into the car. Seamus tries to run his mouth. “Dizzie, I–”
“We’ll talk about it later. I need to focus on driving right now.” The car is silent for a moment. In spite of my own words: “You’re such a fucking idiot Seamus. What were you even thinking. No, don’t even say a fucking word.”
My phone, which had been plugged into the car charger, starts vibrating.
“It’s a text from Sadie,” Seamus says. “You have eight. That doesn’t seem normal.”
I sigh and run a light just as it turns from yellow to red. Someone honks. “Shit! She’s probably just upset about tonight. Don’t worry about it.”
Seamus is already pawing at my phone. “Put down my phone!” I smack it out of his hand.
“Dizzie. We need to go to Sadie’s.” I want to laugh at Seamus’s shaky voice.
“Really, Seamus. It’s not an emergency.”
“She says she needs you there. She took some pills.”
What the fuck is with tonight?
* * *
Summer break crashed into our lives before we even knew we were high school graduates.
“Can you even believe we passed?” Dizzie cackled.
I smirked. “Yeah. Especially after that essay arguing the pros and cons of stab wound fucking as a military weapon.”
“Mrs. Johannsen was such a bitch about that essay. It was totally on topic with our assignment on military history!”
“I still don’t know how you found so much information on that.”
“Well, just be thankful she let you redo it.”
* * *
I don’t think anyone realized before then that Dakota was the pin holding us all together. After he left, Chev went off the deep end. We already knew he was hanging with the druggies, but we didn’t realize back then how far his problem went. He and Dizzie started hooking up again though they both knew it was a terrible idea. Kira was pissed about the whole thing and has been kind of AWOL, especially with her college workload. It tore me apart from the inside but I still stayed by her side. The last time the Deviants met, it was just me and Diz.
“Want to break open some wine from the basement?” Dizzie asked me.
“Won’t your parents notice?”
“They won’t care.”
“I’m not so sure about that.”
“Well, I don’t give a shit.”
I watched in silence for a moment, trying to understand what she was feeling. “…Dizzie.”
“Don’t. Just stop, Sadie. The band’s broken up. Even if we could rope Kira and Chev to play, he’d be too much of a mess to be any good to us. And you know Kira hates his guts for choosing drugs over music. It doesn’t even fucking compute in her mind, she’s so straight-edge.”
“She’s just passionate about her music.”
“Whatever!” She sounds harassed. I’ve elicited the same sigh from my mother a thousand times over. “They say the band follows the drummer. When did it get so… Ah, fuck me, I need a drink.”
She starts toward the wine rack.
And that’s when I kissed her.