Chapter One: Sonia
by William Lou White
We eventually sat at a bar after a very long, deep debate on the medical uses of opiates as we took draws from the blunt she provided outside in the smoking area. Everyone stared at us as we occupied our space, but that might of been because she proved herself to be a firm debater, an avid listener and i gave her the same respects she gave me. We spoke about De Quincy and if he really intended for people to stop using opiates, and the working class matters of it all. Her red lipstick slightly smeared from the wine glass she appeared to be in love with; every so often ushering a barmaid to fill the glass up with a flick of the fingers. She reminded me of an ancient aristocrat, fingers embodied with rings and jewels and her neck draped in gold as she whispered her quires about me.
“So, you are a writer huh?” she didn’t so much ask the question as more directed it as a challenge. I smiled, revealing in the personal interest she just invested in me and sat coldly on the stool.
“Well,? Are you or are you not an participator of the most obsolete craft?”
She smiled fiendishly at me, as she knew she struck a cord. And of course, I knew the point she was making was a valid one, but I didn’t feel the need to acknowledge that.
“Are you a waster of the space everyone seems to occupy?” I rebutted. I took a melodramatic draw of my cigarette and blew the smoke in her face to emphasis the sarcasm I was trying to convey. To my surprise though, she sat and stared at me and pondered for a moment. The music blared erratically as another generic baseline pumped through the floorboards.
“Well, yes, but aren’t we all?”
To be honest, I was taken back. I didn’t really know this girl too well besides her name and her ability to debate, so I marvelled at her. She was magnificently beautiful, and stunningly intelligent. She also was very talented, so she was a triple threat. I knew she would of been hard to conquer, but it was beginning to feel like she was the one who intended on doing the conquering.
“A good point to make, but are we wasting it or just the spawn of the outcome?” I smiled, having taken this so far as a tongue in cheek affair until I saw some sort of dusk come to cloak her eyes. Her lips slanted into a frown as she let her head down, and permitted the conversation to fall silent for a minute. I studied her, and felt intrigued enough to ask her for her thoughts.
“Well,” her voice broke slightly so she cleared it, making a delicate sound as she did so.
“Well, I think we’re both. Our parents wasted the time they had to birth us, and thus we’re the wastes they’ve created wasting the time they intended for us to act on. It’s a continuous paradox, and instead of opiates its now children that are the working-class evils. You’re born, you breed, you work to feed and then you die hoping that you kids don’t end up on their knees.”
She stopped and smiled to herself, noticing the rhyme she just created mindlessly.
“Back in the old days, opiate abuse wasn’t considered a problem because of the medical uses attached to it. You know, you take the cure because your sick and it becomes your cure for all alignments. So it was considered a working class evil, as only the high social classes would look down on the opium smokers in disgust.”
Again, I was rather surprised. She related and changed topics so seamlessly it intrigued me to understand her train of thought. She took another deep swill of her wine with her right hand while ushering for another with her left. A little stream of wine ran down her face and she whipped it off timidly, conscious of my prevalent stare. She smiled embarrassingly and continued.
“Because the higher class could afford their habit, they didn’t understand what an addiction was. Now, it’s the same concept now but with kids. If you’re a working class person, you seem to have more than one kid who creates more debt for you than just the one kid that the high rollers tend to create. Thus, having the higher class look down on you for just being stupid enough to reproduce without understanding why or how its done. Have you ever seen a more realistic metaphor for ‘working on someone else’s time’? You work, make money while getting yourself in debt then die as your kids inherit the time both of you and your children put into earning that debt.”
Her name was Sonia, and she was from the Orient, if I recall correctly japan. She was one of the few artists I knew who retained some intellect. She had a cajun accent, but no one was really sure where she got it from. She was just another oddity influenced by the misconceptions made by reality. I knew her for only a month before she committed suicide less then two weeks later after our last meeting. She paused, and sighed. She motioned for another drink carelessly but with a sense of urgency, like she was hiding the need for more. A lock of hair fell elegantly against her face. The black hair looked pristinely well kept while seeming unnaturally straight. Her smile lavishly exaggerated the brightness in her almond shaped eyes.
That was the point i saw potential in her: the miss matched spectrums she pieced together in her mind only made her more attractive. Her ramblings revealed so much more and when she rambled her accent broke.
“If you look at it, when politicians start going on about the dangers of marajiuana; if people don’t sit there in disgust and wonder how they can lie through their teeth, i don’t know what they do when they watch them. Every study they bring up is a government study. Every example of pot drug casualties, most indirectly caused. None of them by drug overdoses. Sure, you can say how drugs are bad because people die in drug deals, but the drugs didn’t kill them. The dealer did. Then they feel the need to blame the drug instead of society. The person came to the man for drugs, but he died because he was buying drugs from the wrong guy: but ask yourself this. Is the laws in place helping the stoner, the person who is actually affected by these drug laws? No. Not really, because the government could make money off it, but the revenue for fines and taxes, medical bills and the such make too much money. They’d rather the stoner buy his drugs in a seedy alley and hopefully get mugged or caught. They go to court, or hospital and pay bills. They want you to get addicted, to go to rehab. See, drugs make more money indirectly through the effects then if they ever legalised the drugs themselves. Look in the case of heroin: All the junkies, their the governments dreams. Their statistics to make money off, to make everyone look at and go:
“We need to help these wretched beings from their own reality. Not abiding the social laws we set in place. Look at them, stewing in their own mud; full of an array varying from discontent to disability. The life they once lived is now a life they are now wasting. Quick, people; cattle; stocks, give your government money so we can help these poor beings!” They resemble circus criers or swindlers at a carnival. They say they have good intent, and that their goal, which someone becomes yours; is achievable. So you give them money, in hopes to accomplish, to destroy societies flaws. And then you watch, and play, and lose, so you repeat thinking the more money you give the more likely it’ll happen. It never happens like that. Society follows the standards the government sets, and not vice versa. In a world where the government is meant to work for it’s people, the people seem to only be working for the government cliche as it sounds but cliches are cliches for a reason. People don’t really the power of a mob. Laws should change when societies standards change, and not the other way around. When the masses demand the legalisation of weed, the government should have nothing to do but adhere to that. When society wants to be nonsecular, they should have no choice but to do that.
To put it in an analogy: Two groups of people are at a party. One doesn’t drink, even though they expect others too and the other group obviously does. Now the host is faced with a decision: Does he take to the standards of the non drinkers, and have a alcohol free party to please them, knowing that the other half will not enjoy the party so thoroughly and probably leave and drink elsewhere? No, he lets the people who like to drink, drink and tells the ones who don’t to get over it because the latter doesn’t affect the former, the former affects the latter. And if they reply with ‘But their obsessive loud drunken noses will irritate my soberness’ he would naturally respond with:
‘But they have to deal with your constantly complaining and behind the back judging when they respect you for your choices.’
So how can the government act any differently?”
I was amazed, and my jaw was slightly askew after she said this. We continued the conversation and eventually left the bar in a blaze of staring eyes.
That particular night ended back at her place. Before we entered her room, she showed me her photos. I knew she was a zealous photographer (the night we met she held a camera religiously) but I didn’t know she held talent. So I made a joke to her:
“So, I guess you have the most money in your photography class?” I said, as I stared at a particularly zoomed out photo from staten island. There was other photos, some of art and of her family but this one took my interest.
It was taken in black and white, or edited to appear that way with some ridiculously expensive lens I assumed. I gave her my best “Im joking but I’m really not” grin before she could even make a brash comment. I stared back at the photo, and wondered how she managed to take it. It seemed like she would have had to be in a space shuttle to take such a birds eye view.
“What do you mean?” she enquired. “Are you calling photography a joke?”
I laughed to myself as she took the bait. I knew that would have pulled a few strings in her, and thats what I wanted. She stared at me heavily with a half smile that implied “you really want to do this?” and the stare I gave back suggested I did.
“Well, it just seems” I said, as if I was preoccupied with a more interesting thought.”It just seems that photography is just a huge black hole that you kind of just throw money into and in return, you get ‘talent.’” I couldn’t help but feel superior as both of us knew I was in control of the conversation. I took out a cigarette and looked at her.
“You can smoke in here.” She smiled innocently. “But first you have to admit that photography require talent.”
“Yes, I agree then,” I said as I lit my smoke. “I agree that photography requires the talent of making more money for lens and new pretty flashes. Realistically, the “art” of photography only came about because of the government. If they didn’t put so much emphasis on the media, who then dictates whats beautiful and whats needed, cameras would be only used for artistic qualities instead of fuel for the economy.”
She forced herself not to laugh, and asked how cameras funded anything.
“Well, they don’t exclusively run the economy but think about it: everyone owns a camera if your arty or not. Look at the camera adds you see, the person with a pretty shitty, non professionally photography standard camera takes a perfectly professional shot? It leads you to believe you can do it, it’s just that easy. Now look at every art student: They think they can be the next big photography, but really all they do is hold a 6000 dollar machines, wasting three years of they’re life spending 8000 dollar a semester on fees to learn how to use them at university. The whole idea of photography is ridiculous. If writing was gloried to make it look easy, that it promised you women and money with no real hardships, everyone would do it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if your talented enough because it seems like if someone has a better camera with a sweeter setting you’ll be outdone. “
She smiled and turned away from me. She floated effortlessly down the hallway to her bedroom door. She stared at me and beckoned me to follow her. I took a long draw out of my cigarette and continued to stare at the photo. I couldn’t really pick out if it was staten island, or another american landmass that resembled the stereotypical architecture of every city avenue. To say the least, i was endlessly intrigued by the city streets laid out in such a conventual way but i forced myself to sever my interest and direct it to Sonia.
We stared at each other for the moments I walked down the hall. The green eyes that gazed back at me seemed to spiral endlessly in circular ripples. But, admittedly that could have been from the heavy amount of amphetamines i took. She silently cut through the air, breaking the space and tension between us and placed her silk pillow lips onto the chapped skin of mine. She broke the embrace, making that finishing kiss sound that everyone tends to make when lips separate. She bite her lip as her almond eyes appeared to stop swirling and solidified into emeralds.
“Will you accompany me?” she said, coyly. She turned the metallic doorknob and put her sanctuary on display. She turned and stood in the door frame, shyly staring at me with sexuality stirring in her body. I watched as she started to breath a little heavier as the atmosphere intensified. She was nervous, one could tell that easily if they managed to stare past the brave face and study her body language. Her knees went wobbly, her speech started to slur as she slowly, apprehensively let go of her inhibitions.
“Of course, but what shall i accompany you on?” i replied sarcastically, turning to look at the decorations in her room as i pushed past her in the doorframe. “I can only play piano, barely so…”
I stopped mid sentence as i turned back to her. I must have been studying her room for a substantial period of time for she had undressed into nothing, lying on her back. The velvet bedspread accentuated the sleekness and curves of her body.
She was slim, with what seemed to be an inverted stomach. Her ivory skin seemed like rice paper against her bones. Her collarbone and ribs poked out hungrily, as did her hips. She was pretty, but she was model pretty. Too pretty, like the cherry blossoms that greet japan in summer, you didn’t want to mess with the scenic value of the picture. I strolled slowly, hiding the eagerness i found in the moment and sat on the bed. I kissed her there, softly at first on the lips then deeper and more passionately. I kissed down her slender neck, and reached her collarbone. I stopped to stare at the godly temple i’ve discovered, taking in the aesthetic qualities before me.
I’ve always thought: to see a girl naked is like seeing behind a magic show. You’re never entirely glad you saw all the smokes and mirrors that went behind the spectacle. To be honest, it ruins the mystery and half of the value. But Sonia remained to be one of the most beautifully decorated canvas’ i’ve seen. And with that, i took her breast into my mouth. Her body started to tense up as her hands frantically grab at my clothes, tearing them off. Erratically, i began to cup, paw and claw at her body as i kissed further down, feeling each curvature of her spine against the firmness of my grip. She gasps, slightly, or was it more a sigh of release? Maybe more of redemption but not of personal gratification. But she sighed that ever so slight breath as she urged my head lower, to the start of her pelvis. I nuzzled there for a moment, softly biting her soft, pearl skin and took in her scent and her soul.
When i resurfaced, her face was flushed. She smiled in between heaves and brought my face back to hers. She kissed me, in this certain way. I can’t explain it in a few words but it was just different. Her lips found mine with ease, and she held me in such a way that it didn’t seem like she would let go. The kiss wasn’t passionate, but it didn’t lack feeling. It wasn’t sexual, but it did stir feeling. Not feelings of love or lust, but feelings of content. As if this moment created was just for us in some celestial way. I kissed her neck once again, even though all sexual intent remained, i didn’t mean it to lead anywhere. It was just a simple kiss, placed sweetly on her neck and that was all.
But it was just a small, fleeting moment. In a quick moment, she grabbed me in my entirety once again, captivated me further with her body and made me forget everything before her.
After both of our multiple orgasms, Sonia eventually passed out. I remained up however due to heavy amount of speed i’d induce ( i’ll get to the importance of that later). I looked at her, and it’s odd how you notice the little things about people when they’re sleeping. Not just the funny things you see like one nostril being bigger or one ear being slightly higher then the other; no, it’s the faces they make during sleep. You’ll never see them at another time, at first, when they first fall asleep it’s a serendipitous face, an angelic one of content. They’ve just found peace, but then, as the dreams start so slip over their body, making them dead still: thats when the most interesting faces appear.
I eventually got out of bed around sunrise, making sure not to disturb Sonia. She slept soundly on her side facing away from the window, toward where i laid. I went to my bag and found my pen and note book, and sat against the wall on the floor. I started to write about nothing, as i usually did if i felt uninspired to write until i realised i wasn’t really writing about nothing. I was writing about the girl that laid 10 feet away.
To be honest, this shocked me. I mean, i usually wrote of women and of sex but never of a girl specifically. This doesn’t add to my point, actually, this experience contradicts some of the points i’ve made so far. But i felt the need to write it, because it remains true enough to talk about.
When sonia woke, i was passed out. I can’t remember passing out, but i did at some time before she got her camera and took a photograph of me. I might reiterate that i did not mention putting on clothes at any point before this. Neither the click nor the flash was what woke me up, it was Sonias childish cries of complete merriment. I didn’t know whether to act casual or flip into a fit of rage but i couldn’t do either because she kissed me before i could act.
“Heres the photo of you,” she handed me a polaroid while she sat on top of my lap.
“You know what i like best about pictures?” she stared around her room which was covered in photographs. Her faced eased up into a slight frown for some reason i didn’t know at the time, but now it was all too obvious. She perked up instantly again.
“Their pretty much instant now a days, and you can keep them forever if you don’t loose them. You can capture so much in a picture. Not just like a simple forced simple on a beach as a kid picture, but more the others. The ones people waited until four in the morning to get the perfect shoot of the sunrise hitting the landscape Or the empire state building. You can just see the feelings and real dealings of people. There can be so much angst, so much love, so much nudity” she referred to the picture in my hand.
I looked down, the picture finally developed and yes i was indeed nude. My brown hair in ruffs and strewed carelessly across my face. Legs spread, everything on show.
“Okay then miss China Doll” I said playfully. “What does this photo tell you? That I’m some sort of what? porn slut?”
She uttered a squeal of discomfort, like the word porn invaded her selective ears. She playfully hit me and stared at me like she was possessed. This kind of worried me.
“Never call one of my photographs porn, it’s art.” She broke the act and laughed.
“How can this be art, you can see my pubic hair and everything.” I wasn’t very enthused, i don’t like to be fooled. I knew this wasn’t art, really.
She looked inquisitive as if she was analysing each thought. Her tongue poke to the side and forced itself against her cheek. She abruptly said:
“maybe not to you but to me it is.”
“Oh well good, we can watch french gang bang porn together and call it an independent art film.” i snapped back, jokingly.
“Oh hahaha.” She laughed sarcastically but deep down she was enjoying the debate.
“Look, you may be naked, but at least you look like you’ve got some relief. You look like you’re brain has finally gotten rest from whats going on in there. Its picturesque nearly. You’re in such a raw state, not caring where you were because you were so dedicated to writing in your little note book but sleep eventually won.” She smiled and winked at me. “But it is pretty hot, i’ll admit that lover.” She kissed me, once again and i noticed for the first time her arms. I didn’t mention them to her then, but they were covered in track marks.
We spoke for the rest of that morning, and she told me we should see each other another time; but not soon as she was going back to her country of heritage. I didn’t find this suspicious in the slightest because she lent me all of her camera equipment and photos to prove that theres more to photography. I noticed before i left, she had the house to herself, literally. No one else appeared to live there. No cars, no other rooms appeared to be occupied even though the beds were there. I just tossed it up to her probably being an exchange student having well off parents. I mean, how else could she afford all the cameras she gave me? Before i left, i turned to her and smiled and tried to give her my best scatter brain wave. As i was walking i could tell she was laughing at me, and i felt humiliated. Not badly, or like embarrassed. Just that weird “Oh no” dread feeling you get when you did something in absent mindedness, but then it goes away. You noticed that it wasn’t so bad, and to the observer it was actually quite funny and you become kinda glad you did that. I realised i left on a good note, making her laugh could of been the best thing i’ve done in a whole.
But as i said, she died two weeks later. The point in all of this? Well, when i went to her funeral later on in the month (it was november because we met on the night of my birthday in september) and saw her family. Well, lack there of. I only found out about her funeral because i went back to her house, and there was stacks of mail in the screen door and i couldn’t get through. I remembered she went away but recalled she was only going for two weeks, so i asked her neighbours where Sonia was. They told me the worst, that it happened probably 3 days ago before anyone found her and that the funeral was tomorrow. So i went, and saw her cousin Steven and her other cousin Lucy. That was it. They told me what i thought originally and more. She was an exchange student. She was meant to get to deported because she hadn’t fulfilled her visa student requirements, rent got too much taking part in a craft that cost so much but she kept telling them she would rather die then sell her lenses. And that was the moment i realised that Sonia was indeed a true Artist.
It was hard dealing with that loss, indeed It was no unsurvivable blow and her existence barely affected my life, before and after. But the betrayal i felt from her death, and the meaningless waste of talent that was lost ended up with me seeking to escape. And so i did, the next month was a binge.
I drank obsessively: vodka and absinthe mixed with soda water became my poison of choice. I eventually got to the point where i could engulf four or five drinks in an hour without feeling the need to immediately vomit. I’d drink to the point where if i got too drunk, i’d get take out this little blue box.
See, i loved this box and it loved me. It was gold engraved and was given to me by an ex partner of mine. She had the words “love is in the song of birds” delicately etched into it. I can’t remember the particular relevance to quote or her name but i think it was a poem she wrote for me. It was originally meant to be filled with scrap note paper and anything small and important enough was to be kept but eventually, it just came to store gear.
Why did i love it? I always pondered this but i guess I thought it was a fine representation of me. Simple, elegant looking with heavy hints of class. You think what you see is what you get, like me. That night, i dressed in a thin silk collared shirt, mostly see through except for the pockets placed carefully over my chest. My pants were tight black denim, and black slightly heeled boots that gave me an extra inch of height. I looked simple, maybe a little bit elegant but mostly played the act of an open book.
But really, once you get to know me, once you open up the little blue box, your whole opinion begins to change. You see i can be much more, i can give you much more, just like whats in the box. You fall in love with me in a night.
All the class i had, the brightness of my eyes; the eager little smile and that slight, sly wink that you cant define if it was intended or not? It’s all because of whats in the box. All of whats inside of me, i confuse you and entice you; i spark your curiosity.
I look elegant, i look loved and well kept but really, deep inside i’m a harsh cunt. Just like speed, i’ll keep you up all night, make you feel the most of it, warm and loved but when morning came round, you felt dirty, ; like shit: Like what i did to you. I’d make you feel perfect, give you a tremendous high that goes all night, all through your body until you feel asleep. The nights lust wears off, and i leave. Like the gear, i’ll make you regret what you did last night, make you regret how you feel in the morning. The aches and pains just become bitter reminders of last nights escapades.
Thats why i loved my little blue box, it kept my class, and it kept me, me. We had a personal connection, a deep one. It accepted me for me, in my entity and did the job it needed it to do, and i accepted the come down it would give me in the morning. I relished both, the intense high and the rotten lows; both were things to write about equally.
My friend Taylor, who decidedly became my travelling companion, told me a month was enough. Admittedly, i hadn’t attended university at all in the past month, and she knew enough bouncers in most clubs to tell me i wasn’t welcome in the valley anymore.
I sold my most worldly possessions and eventually accumulated $7843 dollars. I bought a plane ticket and bought air luggage as i owned no suitcases, just a tan back pack i got two years ago.
I sold everything, all of my books except for my first edition of “Naked lunch” and a paper back cover of “Wetlands” . Even my bed, anything and everything that wasn’t bolted down in my room. I sold practically my room but my notepads, my fountain pens, Sonias cameras and the two books.
Taylor picked me up on the 17th, and that lead me to the next part of my life: Travelling.