I don’t know why I do this anymore, but something in me is compelled to stay alive. Call it survival instinct, or maybe even a touch of narcissism, but my mind won’t let me fade away. So I seek forms of escapism: alcohol, sex, and digressing in a shitty WeHo bar, one of the few I’m certain is safe from familiar eyes. If I can’t be destroyed, I might as well drown away any true sense of self. Right now, my vices, vici, vicises….whatever, are to guzzle fermented beverages and act out the major ups and downs of a life now so starved for meaningful human interaction, that it reaches out to its very self through monologue. I’m all that I’ve got, and like most people, the older that I get, the more that I am confronted by my own mortality.
I look around me now and realize that I have no legacy, but by the looks of my inebriated comrades, I’m in good company. Nope, I have left no positive, lasting mark on the earth. Yes, there are those very few who would miss me for a short while, but they would inevitably move on like healthy minded adults should. My death wouldn’t be that much different from my current life, existence rather. And it’s for this reason, a hundred years from now, no one will know that I existed except for a government consensus, on a computer database, in a cold government storage facility; I’ll be just another nameless number to reference voting habits, tax margins, and population records. Well, that and a cautionary tale in the annals of lesbian history.
Don’t misunderstand me. I wasn’t dealt a bad hand. I did this to myself. You see, I am Bette Porter; art mogul, gallery owner, Yale graduate in the top 2% of her class, and high-life mover and shaker of the City of Angels. I own the art world. I am the art world. Anyone who’s someone or wants to become someone comes through me. Talent or not, if you have the will and desire to give me your soul, you will know fame and fortune. I could sell a soiled napkin for tens of thousands of dollars. All you have to do is sign the dotted line and you’ll receive your fair share. I used be known for my impeccable taste and far exceeding standards, but now, now if it’s money, it’ll do.
My work, better known as my life, has been the reason for my existence since that fateful night, exactly one year ago today, when Tina Kennard walked away. My wife… Tina… My life… I’m not sure anymore. She barely escaped with her own soul. Apparently, my abilities are not limited to my work. It would seem that I devour those around me without thought or intention. Alice once called me a psychic vampire, and while she’s lovably insane enough to generally laugh off, this one time I cannot seem to shake her words.
I walk into a room and I empty it of air. I speak to you, touch you, show you even a modicum of attention, and like a siren’s call, you’ll follow me to your death on the rocks of my shore. Without even the slightest intention, I own the hearts, minds, and very souls of those that I encounter. Some would pass it off to my physical presence, but this once, at least to myself, I will admit that I believe Alice may be right. I am a vortex of pain and suffering for any who fall under my gaze. Don’t misunderstand. I don’t think that highly of myself, quite contrary actually. But there’s not a fucking thing that can be done about it. I have no idea why I became this way, I just did.
My wife… Tina… my life… Sigh… She was drawn to me. But at the time, I wasn’t this self-involved. Over the years, as I became this way, she saw who I was, how I was, but loved me anyway; she loved me in spite of it. I was surrounded by her light and warmth but still managed to find the darkest, coldest corner to shelter in.
Tina was my polar opposite. Where I was controlling and hard, she was easy-going and soft. Where I was aloof and cold, she was present and warm. She was my tether, my kite string, and without her I am so very lost. But that’s the way of it, isn’t it? I had the one thing in all-the-world that I needed, more than anything that I ever thought that I wanted, and I cast it away like so much garbage the minute some new piece of Candy was placed in my mouth.
More than that, she could be with me and still retain so much of herself. Not to say that she was unaffected. No, in the last year that we were together, she was most definitely becoming affected; she lost her autonomy, her sense of self, all in the pointless pursuit to hold me down and keep me grounded. But somehow, even at my worst, she was not swallowed whole. She is, quite possibly, the strongest and most gracious woman I have ever known. She has always been the most beautiful, inside and out. From the moment that I met her, I was the one taken in and lost completely. Oh what a way to go out.