People talk about palpable tension, tension that you can cut with a knife. Those people are idiots. You know what happens if you cut tension? Just take your knife and slice right through it? Your life drops into a spiral, readers put books down, your music isn’t as interesting, and the lords of chaos rejoice in all the new threads they get to tangle. Or your knife gets stuck and you look like an idiot. Forget cutting tension, the key is to keep your tension balanced and neatly strung. I have in my acquaintance the epitome of tension mastery. She is also the pinnacle of patience. It is completely unfair.
I think she finds the way I strum my fingers over the threads between us amusing. It is not a smile I can see, just one I sense. It creates an itch between my shoulder blades. She rarely touches them herself. Just waits and waits until my impatience gives her a chance to offer me another string, and I take it. I can manage the strings. She doesn’t have enough to make a marionette of me. Most of them don’t last anyway. They fade away after the agreement is done. I’m careful. I know she’s evil. It’s just that she can be nice in her disturbing evil way.
Like, she offered to murder my ex and meant it. Because she thought it might make me feel better. It would not. But she offered. In her weird brain she wants me to be happy. I know that, and I ignore it. If she was not evil, well, evil and dead, I would wish the same to her. I mean, outliving your culture has got to suck.
We’re both looking for ways out. Ways to escape one another and the strings that keep us tight together. It’s like hunting for those metaphorical knives, but we both know we need certain blades and steels to cut just the strings we want to sever. I want to cut strings to send her back to the pit she crawled out of and she wants to cut strings so she can wander free. We both require very specialized knives with opposite purposes. That tension is not visible, but it is thick and buried and moves both of us more than is comforting. And I am very much afraid that even if I find a knife, it won’t be sharp enough to cut through the tightly woven threads that hold us together.
The first line of this piece was stolen from my friend Kathryn over at Nine Pages. See the original work on her blog tomorrow.