I am a sad American woman. My child died and so I have come on holiday with my husband to bond over our mutual loss. We wanted to be alone so we have chosen to go on tour in Morocco with a host of other American tourists. It’s ok, though, because we are morally and aesthetically superior to them so we can remain aloof. I am angry with my husband. I show this by clenching my teeth. I fall asleep on the coach, staring moodily out at the Moroccan landscape. Only I can appreciate its beauty. Suddenly, I am shot through the window. This is surprising.
I’m about ten years old and I live in the hills in Morocco. I like to watch my sister undress! This is really quite normal as I am young and curious but if a filmmaker were to document my story they would probably portray me and my sister as little perverts. My dad bought a gun and it is so cool! I can shoot much better than my brother even though he is bigger than me! The gun is to shoot the jackals that are going after our goats. It’s fun. I wanted to test it. Me and my brother started firing at a truck! We’re only kids, after all!
I live in Japan. Nobody understands me. Like, literally, as I am a deaf-mute, and also, like, emotionally, as I am a troubled teenager. I hate my father. I am coping with both the fact that my mum died horrifically, and very young, and also the fact that I am still a virgin. This is the worst thing ever. The boys are mocking me, they can’t see my inner beauty, so I decide to show them. I take off my knickers and open my legs.
I love my nanny. She is Mexican. She takes care of me and my sister because my parents are too busy dealing with their own pain to do it themselves. She can’t get time off to go to her son’s wedding due to the near fatal shooting of my mother. But she goes anyway and she takes us with her. To Mexico. Her crazy, Mexican nephew drives. Of course, being repressed white children, we needed to be taught by the Mexicans how to have fun. This involved killing a chicken. Mexicans are so in touch with their primitive side.
I am almost fatally injured. The other tourists on the bus do not understand my pain. Not a single solitary one is sympathetic to me and they all want to abandon us in a tiny Moroccan village. This is surprising. I have a broken clavicle and I may be bleeding to death, but I can still turn to embrace my husband. There’s nothing like a near death experience to make you fall all over again for your nearest and dearest. He even helped me pee. That’s how much he loves me.
I heard that an American woman was killed on the road. I am really worried. Me and my brother were only fooling around! We’re only young! No one ever taught us the value of human life and restraint! How are you supposed to know anything about morality when you are brown and live in a little hut in the hills?! I don’t know what to do. We’re going to have to tell our dad. Oh no, the police are coming!
I still have no knickers on. I’m going to the dentist. I will try to seduce him. He responds badly. I leave. I arrange to meet my friends for some kooky fun. We take drugs in the middle of a business district and then go to a club. I can’t hear the music, but my lack of one sense means that I am totally more intuitive and perceptive. The silence is enlightening. Go figure.
We need to go home so my nanny’s crazy, Mexican nephew says he will drive us over the border even though he is drunk. If I was any older I would surely see that this is a silly thing to do. Crazy Mexicans. We get to a border control and the police start questioning my nanny about us – we are a different colour to her, you see. Her nephew flips and drives off with the border police in hot pursuit. There is shouting and screaming and I am scared. Eventually he drops us off on a slip road in the dark. This makes me cry. I am scared of the dark.
+ + +
I am in pain but at least I still look beautiful. My husband can’t get through to anyone who can help us. I need an ambulance. A Moroccan woman gives me some opium. The bus that we were on drives off and leaves us in the village. Can you believe that people can be so callous? All of them? Every single one? Out of all of those people not one has a conscience. This is surprising. For a while I think I may have to give up and let my soul join the sad, ethereal others that float in a loveless void. This is what I am trying to communicate behind my eyes. But then an air ambulance arrives and takes me to safety. We fly high above the barren Moroccan landscape. I emerge from a car at the embassy looking older and wiser. I have learned to love again.
The police are after the shooters. They have found the man who sold the gun to my dad and terrorised him into giving them our names. Me and my brother tell our dad everything. I m really scared! I didn’t mean to hurt anybody! We flee across the hills. The police see us and open fire! They hit my brother. I am angry so I start shooting back. I do not understand what is happening! My brother is dying! I decide to tell the police it was me, maybe they will save my brother. My act of self-sacrifice is mature for one so young, I think. I am a mixture of child and adult. I walk towards the police. I do not think my life will ever be the same again.
The police keep coming to my stark, soulless apartment to question my father. They will not leave us alone about my mother’s death. What a drag. The boy I thought was into me kissed my best friend at the club. I went home and called the policeman. I take off my clothes and go to him. He touches my breasts. Cool. It is right. No, it is wrong. He probably wrestles with his conscience. He covers me with his jacket and sits with me. I am vulnerable. He goes and I wait for my father. I am naked again. I stand on out balcony high above Tokyo. The city is beautiful. My father comes to me and holds my hand. I have emotionally thrown off the shekels of my memories, and literally thrown off my clothes. I can be happy again.
Instead of waiting for daybreak on the road, my nanny takes us into some scrubland. The sun rises and it is hot. I am tired and thirsty. She leaves me and my sister to try to find the road. I cannot believe an adult would do that. Not even a Mexican. She eventually finds the police. They don’t believe we are there. Maybe they will never find us! But they do. They deport my nanny back to Mexico. Who will look after us now? Probably our mummy and daddy as they are coming back changed. I don’t think we will be looked after by nannies anymore. And maybe I’ll be able to sleep with the lights off again.
Monday, September 17, 2007
I want to be a journalist, so I thought I'd move to New York. I'm a bit edgy - I wrote a piece on janitors when I was at university and I live with my boyfriend who's a bit foreign looking. He may even be from immigrant stock. And my other two best friends are a black woman - with short hair - and a man who may or may not be gay, but he sure knows his fashion designers, he's like, totally clued up. So anyway, I take this job as assistant to the editor-in-chief of Runway magazine, which I've like, never even heard of, despite the fact that I'm into journalism, and should really have a passing interest in all major publications. But, like I say, I'm a bit edgy. I don't care about my appearance at all, I really like frumpy jumpers and sensible shoes. My jumper is vermillion, you know, not blue ( I learnt that at Runway). I didn't even straighten my hair the morning of my interview, and I ate an onion bagel. Get me. So I went, and they all made fun of me because of my clothes, and like, looked down their noses, but I got the job, because I made an impassioned speech about working hard. And the job started taking over my life, and I didn't even want the deep fried buttered cheese with extra butter and cheese toastie that my boyfriend made for me one night. Then I got upset becaue I made a mistake and got shouted at, and I wanted sympathy from my gay confidante at work (every girl's gotta have one) but instead he, like, totally put me in my place and told me I wasn't trying, so then I had the great idea, of like, making myself look super fashionable and I looked, like, totally on the pulse, and everyone looked at me, and went 'Who's that?!', and do you know who it was? It was me. And I became the best goddam assistant the boss had ever had. But then I became like, totally work crazy, and missed my foreign looking boyfriend's birthday, but I did look totally fabulous, and then this journalist guy who writes for serious newspapers but is inexplicably always hanging round all the fashion parties, kept asking me out, I mean, can you believe that?! God. So anyway, then I went to Paris for fashion week, and completely trampled all over the dreams of the other assistant, Emily, who was first in line to go, and I had a great time, and I had sex with the journalist guy (my foreign looking boyfriend had dumped me because 'we had nothing in common anymore') and in the morning he called me 'baby', and I said, 'I'm not your baby' and swished my hair. That showed him. Huh! And then I went to a party, and my boss totally screwed over my gay confidante friend, and then in the car on the way back, she said I was like her, and I was like, 'No, I'm not!' and she was like 'Yes, you are', and I was like 'Why?', and she was like 'Cos, honey, you know how to get what you want', and I was like 'I would never do what you did!' and she was like 'You already did. To Emily' and I was like, totally horrified. And then I said 'But maybe I don't want to live like this', and she said 'But everyone wants what we have', and then I like, had a total epiphany, which I showed by moving in slow motion, and turning my head and walking away. And then I threw my phone in the fountain. How totally symbolic is that?! Yeah. So then I went back to New York and I gave my foreign looking boyfriend this totally sincere speech about how I had totally negelected my friends and family, and I did it in this understated cafe with formica tables, to show how much I had reverted to my roots, and he said we could work it out. So then, totally by chance, I had a job interview for this serious paper, and he told me my reference from Runway said that he would be a fool not to hire me. Wow! Who would have expected that?! And then I finished the film by seeing my old boss from across a busy road, and she just looked at me, and then I sort of smiled a knowing smile to myself, and strutted down the street. I totally rule.