Generation Terrorists

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Cry From Behind
Shannon Wagner
15 June 2002

It's something you fall into willingly, a trap door covered with a sheet so white and pure it's practically see through.

Maybe it is peer pressure, maybe not. It's always unvoiced though. Not like those bullshit anti-drug commercials with the crisp, fresh, clean-cut twelve year olds being told that it's the "cool thing to do". It's not like that at all. If one of our friends goes straight edge we encourage it, tell them we love them and move on. Like they died or something. In a way they did I suppose, they always have that dead look in their eye, that feeling of hopeless emptiness but not being able to do a damned thing about it. Eventually we start to see them less and less, they drift away and become friends with people with "direction" and "plans" and all that other bullshit a reasonable seventeen year old girl should be thinking about.

I guess drugs are like sex. No one ever comes straight out and tells you to do it, but hell. The pressures been on our weak, adolescent and impressionable minds for as long as I can remember. Shit, I mean, every abstinence campaign makes us want to do it more. Maybe if we didn't have to hear about it so much, but I've been listening about it through the stalls of the girl's bathroom since I was twelve. It just gets to a point, a point where it simply does not seem like that big of a deal anymore. Even when another pregnant teen pops up in my third period trig class, even when I see Alicia Plakten whither away with an incurable virus she got from her own mother, I still think that it won't happen to me. Call it naivety, I know it's true. To me though, those things are just reminders that life can get really shitty at any second, that life is short. So why not make the most of what you have now?

The average age in America when girls start drinking is thirteen, for boys it's eleven. Kids that start drinking before the age of fourteen are more than four times more likely to gain an alcohol dependence. So, what does that say to you? That the average American is an alcoholic. So I guess it's true, everyone really is doing it. Nearly half the people in this country have used marijuana. Millions of people can't be wrong, I guess it's just the other half that are the problems. Personally, I'm not big on weed, it makes me sort of tired and paranoid, but the pot heads I do know are the best people. Happy, on and off it. Certainly not the people to say, start a war over a fucking oil plot.

Maybe if more drugs were legalized there'd be less problems, less violence and depression and suicide. Even though over the past twenty five years the average suicide rate has decreased, the rate for kids between the ages of fifteen and twenty four have almost tripled. Well I'm only two years into that statistic and sometimes I wonder if I'm going to make it out alive and well. Or just alive.

Then again, I know that drugs are really killing me. Cigarettes rot your lungs, but candy rots your teeth, right? And what are drugs but sweet forbidden candy?

Did you ever wonder what's so wrong with being out of your mind?

Did you ever think that big screen TVs are absoloutely pointless? The picture's all the same.

When I was very young I remember being in all the programs at school, I remember at one point standing in the parking lot of my school when I was around sixth grade with the rest of my classmates. They told us to put our hands on our hearts and promise ourselves we'd never smoke cigarettes or do any sort of drug. I was hesitant at first and how ironic that it was Alicia Plakten (one of my elementary best friends) who'd nudged me with her elbow in the back. I'd slapped my hand on my heart and said the words. Even though, I'm pretty sure I knew then. Knew then that I would do drugs, that I would be smoking this cigarette six years later. It's just like standing up to say the pledge of alliegance in the morning at school, no one really pledges shit to the flag. I'm sure most people don't even know what they're saying anymore.

To me getting old is scary. Responsibility is scary. Dwelling on insignificant shit, trying to get the grade, get the cushioned job, get the family with three perfect little kids who'll make all the same mistakes I do. Because no matter what, you're going to fuck your kids up. Your parents did it to you, thier parents did it to them. The main problem I think is age, my mom had me when she was thirty, but she's fourty-seven now. And I always see those commercials where it says you have to be a parent to your child and not a friend, but who says you shouldn't try and be both?

Get your mind out - out of whatever hole you've let it fall into.

Television tells us we need a superhero, a savior, but all we seem to be getting are cosmetic christs on superficial crosses.

I want so much to be in love that it weighs my entire existence down. I mean real love, to be able to completely give myself to another person in any way that they can take me. To be completely vulnerable and completely afraid, lost in the moment of the hopelessness but being able to breathe in it.

To me, love isn't the ability to turn to someone when you're upset, but to be able to simply fall with that person. To hit complete rock bottom with them and have the hope and knowledge that when you eventually stand they'll be there beside you, on the boundary of happiness, the foundation of your own reality, willing to take that next step with you.

Yet if I can't find the ledge to fall from, how will I ever reach where I need to stand?

Maybe I just think about this too much. Maybe I've had too much back seat romance, too much dissalusionment to ever let myself be that vulnerable.

No one understands though, no one knows exactly how it feels to know that I will never, ever fall in love. Ofcourse I'll have boyfriends, I might even get married and become all the things I hate, but I'm too far gone to be completely in love with someone.

(Maybe it's also that I know no one could ever really love me.)

He tells me he does though, he tells me he does as he takes a deep pull from the blunt. I can see the smoke, sift through his lungs like he's see through (trap door) and he exhales with his mouth closed. He opens his eyes and they're cloudy and grey (maybe it's just the dark room.)

I would find what I have become pathetic if it wasn't for what everyone else is.

(He tells me he hates himself.)

To me life is life is life. To me everyone just sort of is, things just happen.

If I were to die right now, I tell him, eventually you'd swallow it.


Move on.

Life would resume like I hadn't really lived at all. People would remember me, but only in the back of thier heads as the girl with the tragic death and empty life.

(He says never.)

Life is only a prelude to death. You're alive for so short but you're dead for an entire eternity. Eventually we'll all die. Years from now no one will remember our faces or our middle names.

No one is really happy. Everyone just exists. It's the longing to be more than content all the time that depresses people. It's the social standard, the declaration of codependance, the need, the filth, the want.

You have to escape anyway you can. You have to pull yourself into that alternate reality, because what is real to you is the only thing that's real at all.

(Die young. Die tragic. Die beautiful.)

This is a cry from behind. Muffled and ignored.

Live in the moment.

(He tells me he wants to die.)

I tell him he will.

It's so dark. Are we alone?

(Are we ever not?)

I tell him I want to die for him. He doesn't say anything but silence, and that's the worst thing to say.

Dissect life and tell me what's important to you.

I am the flower and it seems I have been picked, plucked from the earth by the stem. Snapped and twisted away from my roots while my petals fall lifeless to the ground.

I am a child again, sprawled motionless underneath the old willow tree in my grandmother's back yard. My leg is bent backwards, the bone broken, and I see the branch where I made my fatal fall as I listen to the sound of my father's birthday party coming from the house.

For a moment, laying there and staring through the branches of that great tree and into the stars, everything makes sense. At that moment I knew I'd never be really happy there, at that moment I wanted to climb into the tree again, climb and climb until I reach the stars. But my leg hurts and fresh tears stream and stain my cheeks. Strong arms lift me, my father. I don't remember if I knew then that he was dying, but I do remember a look of fear in his eyes as he lifted me off the ground and carried me into the house.

He abandoned me, and not in the easy sense that he left home. He escaped forever, got off this earth, the cancer ate him from the inside out. He'll never wake up, and what is left on this earth of him but me, a complete fuck up who'd he'd abandon all over again if he had the chance. And you know what? I can't remember what college he went to, I couldn't tell you how much money he made a year or where he bought his clothes, but I can tell you that he gave me my green eyes. I can tell you that he was the only person that knew me. Do you know what that's like, to have no reason to be alive anymore? To have the only person that could ever really love you, if only by parental law, evaporate from your presence forever?


Move on.


Sitting here with him, hearing him say my name like he means it, makes me feel so alone it's like I'm beneath the willow tree again. (He tells me he can see the stars in my eyes.) All I see is smoke in his.

Foggy water, empty dreams, empty life.

For a moment I forget as the fuzzy feeling floods my brain, and the candy relieves me of the bitter feeling on the tip of my tongue where his name once resided.

Where does it all start? At what point does your life become completely hopeless? A garden that's slowly burning down, the innocence so easily destroyed at the delicate petals.

I am the stereotype. I am the product of pop culture radio. A walking advertisement, a living ant-drug campaign. Someone could make a movie out of my life if I wasn't just a mere representative of the youth of America. Take a look around, we are the future.

Sit at school, sit at your desk, watch the seconds on the clock drag on to the drone of education. The information we need to be an informed member of society. I see the look on my peers faces in the hallway, the blank stare, the quiet realization that this is what thier life is. That these days are the best it's going to get.

It's not just another bad day, it's just another bad life.

Another poorly written prelude.

(Do you love me?)

I ask him what that means. "What is love, Renton?" Rock bottom.

(Never being afraid.)

When I'm with him all I am is afraid. Afraid that he'll come to his senses and realize he's been wasting his time for so long for nothing.

Pull me out of this god damned cliche.

The room is dark. I have no idea what time it is by now, it seems like I've been here with him for my entire life, just watching him breathe in and out. I have no more breath to give. I am just so god damn afraid.

(I love you Darla, and I'm not scared of what that means.)

Pull me out of the fire?

He doesn't understand, but I don't either.

His eyes are inquisitive, acute, desperate.

He sees in the way I look at him that I mean everything I'm not saying.