Tiny Feet

by Antique Rice

Love started in February 1994, and should have ended with my own suicide in May that same year, much appropriate at the dangerous age of 17.

I have had myself stolen many times, never bought and never sold, but in what I understand to be a traditional fashion I’ve seen myself handed down, hand to hand, through the unholy and wonderful thieves’ guild that is the female gender. Katrin was the first criminal, and that’s a hard thing to forgive. I fell in love with her for the first time on a snowy February Stockholm evening, she stole me from the street. We kissed by the waterside on Parliament Island, frozen to our bones, but somehow still protected behind the muffling curtain of a million hesitating snowflakes. It was very romantic, very Stockholm (in a Söderberg kind of way). In no way representative of the chaos that was to follow.

She lived in the high rises north of the station, a 15 minute ride on the 692. Highest stop on the mountain before the bus headed back for the freeway, speeding toward the farmlands and fields already visible from where I’d get off. Prima-ballerina soul, spirit and tiny feet she was, already at 80 studio hours a week, glow-in-the-dark disturbingly beautiful redhead, egomaniac randomly raging rascal of a 17-year old, and just that one evil angel that does not let us live on after having been under her wings. That is, you can, of course, luckily for all of us, you just don’t see it when you’re in it. One of her routines was to randomly walk into one of those artsy suburban interior design shops at the mall and act out having some kind of motor neuron disorder, trembling and swerving dangerously between the porcelain loaded narrow tables, but insisting in barely intelligible phrases to the increasingly panicky staff on seeing and holding expensive pieces, and occasionally actually dropping them. No one ever called her on her act, she was too convincing, just as she was with me. On other occasions she’d turn into a Jehovah’s witness in split second, middle of a crowded train, converting and flirting – in a disturbing mixture – with white collar middle age daddies. Untouchable she was. Two times she had me believe that she was pregnant, once over 2 days. Again, just playing games. Guess I should be thankful for that one. I haven’t been fooled by that trick since.

Chaos between us peaked as Kurt Cobain put a shotgun to his face that black year of epic drama, and my first lesson in love ended in a much humiliating fashion. Like some kind of stalking conductor I had followed her from her mountain, by bus, train, subway, all the way downtown, where she finally told me to go fuck myself for ever. Something that, like clockwork, she would promptly regret 2 weeks later, and just about 3 days too late. Her kind does that on purpose.

My designated suicide note at the time, early afternoon May 1994, was scribbled in red on a cheap paper napkin, and read something like this: ‘blahblahblahblahblah.’ It wasn’t signed, and I still have it stored away at my parent’s house. The note was meant to be handed to any random fellow commuter at the subway station the seconds before I swayed of the edge just as the train raced up out of the black gaping tunnel, and I had written it right there by the tracks, the very minutes after my ballerina girl had impatiently and annoyedly put an end to all discussions, and disappeared up the stairs, swearing blind to never ever look at me again. Yes, she was a drama queen. And so was I.  Still am.

Male self-pity is never pretty, and frankly, always rings a bit false even when heartfelt. All too used are we to single-minded, single-headed male predators routinely leaving tears, loneliness and cheap abortions in their trail too easily switch perspectives. Even for a second. Still, it inevitably has to be done. Boys, girls, same thing, oh pity me. That black, gaping tunnel was definitely an option worth considering. With tiny footed balerinas there’s just no other way.