“You take a look around your college campus, and the world, and politics, and one season of summer stock, and you listen to the conversation of a bunch of nitwit college students, and you decide that everything’s ego, ego, ego, and the only intelligent thing for a girl to do is to lie around and shave her head and say the Jesus prayer and beg God for little mystical experience that’ll maker her nice and happy.” - J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey
So, in continuation of my last post, let’s keep in theme with adolescent unhappiness. Here’s an analytical essay I wrote about Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides. I hope you enjoy it, and PLEASE comment. Not everyone can agree with what I have to say, so tell me why. Speak to me.
Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides: The Constraints of Being a Teenage Girl
The Virgin Suicides by director Sofia Coppola is a look at five beautiful teenage girls as seen through the eyes of four teenage boys. It was adapted from Jeffrey Eugenides’ hauntingly disturbing novel about the mystery of teenage girls in 1970s suburbia. In essence, the film, which was Coppola’s directorial debut, is about the struggles young women face in trying to break away from the expected restrictive model of women. The film shows the male gaze, but also the boys’ struggle to understand the inner workings of these mysterious and deeply unhappy females. The Virgin Suicides struggles to separate the scopophilia surrounding the girls, and their longing for independence. It seeks to place us in the world of repressed teenage girls, all the while keeping us outside of their minds so that we can try to sort out the mystery of their struggles for ourselves. Coppola provides us with clues, but no hard facts.
I spent quite a bit of time mulling over IMDB message boards and blogs, and was taken with the impact that The Virgin Suicides has had on its audience. The film has generated quite the cult following, mostly due to its morbid themes, dream-like quality of filming, fashion, and unanswered mystery. Coppola attempts to go against traditionally formalist and dominant Hollywood cinema styles, therefore categorizing The Virgin Suicides as counter-cinema. The film opposes mainstream cinema by going in an alternative route with the characters and story-line. The plot is fairly abstract; or rather, there really isn’t a set plot. The films is about feelings, emotions, and the repression of human, or particularly adolescent girl, suffering. The Virgin Suicides distances the viewer by challenging what he or she has come to see as the norm, thanks to mainstream cinema. Usually counter-cinema is low budget and independently funded, so it may seem odd that the daughter of such a renowned director as Francis Ford Coppola (of The Godfather films and Apocalypse Now fame) would take on such a project with all her advantages, but with a self-reflexive and transcending style. Coppola does not tackle racism or homosexuality, as many other counter-cinema films do. In fact, there is not the slightest hint of either. But that itself is intriguing, and can also be seen as a comment on the “perfect” and “flawless” environment the Lisbon girls were supposedly brought in to by their parents. This plastic world is the perfect setting for Coppola’s vision of gruesome and desperate unhappiness among young women. Coppola specializes in capturing complex characters, without really explaining anything about them. She also does this exceptionally in her more recent films Lost in Translation and Somewhere. Coppola thrives with material involving sexuality, repression, resentment, and being in a state of limbo, so to speak.
Since the boys are doing the narrating in The Virgin Suicides, everything we learn about the girls is simply just the boys’ perception of them. The narrator of the film does not seem to have any particular insight, and we don’t actually get to know what the Lisbon girls are thinking or feeling. In fact, there is a consistent sense of alienation, prompting the audience to make its own assumptions about the girls and generate its own theories. This seems to be what Coppola was going for, in keeping with the idea of counter-cinema techniques within the film. The boys idealize the girls, and the females come off as angelic and mysterious. Mary G. Hurd speculates on Coppola’s attraction to Eugenides’ story in Women Directors and Their Films, and the attraction seems to be due to the sense of alienation between the audience and the story. When the girls commit suicide, the boys are “frozen in time with their adolescent perceptions of the girls” (Hurd, 132). These perceptions may or may not be accurate, making the girls forever perfect and saint-like in the boys’ minds. This can be regarded as a version of the male gaze. The boys do not want to see any imperfections, so they focus on the girls’ beauty and mystique. They never find out why the girls committed suicide, even though they were aware of their strict parents and the prison-like home they were forced to stay in. In actuality, the boys romantized everything about the girls, and therefore became victims of their own “feverish, adolescent longings” (Hurd, 132). This does not end with the disintegration of youth, as the narrator says that over the years up to adulthood the boys still go over the facts and try to make sense of the tragedy. This is an interesting reversal of power, feminism-wise, as the girls have life-long control over the boys even though they themselves are actually dead. The girls do not need the boys, but the boys convince themselves that they do. When in actuality, it is the other way around. It is misogynistic that they should think they are needed, and they want to take care of the girls and rescue them. But the girls don’t want to be rescued; they want to rescue themselves, and decide to do that through the misguided avenue of suicide.
The structure of Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides is linear. It is set in the 1970s, and sporadically jumps to the present. Coppola tries to “recreate the story on film in order to draw on the innocence and sweetness she found in the book” and to “try to visually reproduce the elegance of Eugenides’ writing” (Hurd, 131). By observing the mother’s relationship with her daughters, we can see the contrast between the young ladies’ budding modernist seventies feminist views and the mother’s old fashioned religious mentality. Interestingly, the issue of suicide is ironic in their fifties style home. The girls’ ambitions and modern beliefs are constantly rejected by their mother. The fifties were a time when women felt so repressed and trapped in their homes while their husbands were off at work, that many committed suicide. By limiting her girls’ experiences with their peers and keeping them on strict and religious schedules, the mother is bringing this type of attitude into their home. According to “Love Story, or Coppola vs. Coppola” by Bert Cardullo, the girls’ collective suicide is an “anomic act in the face of ambiguous and restrictive behavioral models for women in the 1970s.” In other words, they simply cannot move past their current situation of deep restriction, so they resort to suicide.
By researching viewers’ comments and female bloggers, like the highly successful teenage fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson, one can determine whether Coppola has succeeded in causing people to consider the tumultuous lives of young women with an open mind. Gevinson’s websites for young ladies feature extensive conversations about the Lisbon girls of the film, how they could do something so selfish, and the obsessive response the young viewers all feel towards the film, further proving that Coppola has succeeded in captivating an important audience. The girls on these sites are learning from Gevinson and their peers how to be independent and artistic, avoiding repression and the confines of classic female expectations. The Virgin Suicides is more of a feeling film than a plot-driven film, so it is easy to be emotionally captivated by it. This pushes the film further into the counter-cinema frame, as it can teach a lesson, but does not make that it’s main theme or goal. In fact, the film does not have a purpose, except to make the viewer feel uncomfortable and to make he or she think.
Through transcendence, Coppola paints a very different picture of young womanhood than previously shown in other films. She doesn’t directly deal with the negative experiences of the Lisbon girls, but rather expects a level of intelligence from the audience as she leaves the subtle clues through out the film. Coppola transcends the negative construction of females in cinema by not playing on the stereotypes. Jouissance is incredibly evident within the film, as the Lisbon girls are basically commanded to enjoy as little as possibly. They are denied pleasure, and therefore seek it desperately, most notably Lux through her sexual encounters with the various boys in her life. But after a certain point, which may very well be the evening with Trip in the football field, her pleasure becomes pain. All the pleasure Lux experiences only generates more pain and intensifies the pain she already feels with her home life. Therefore, she’s enters a state of suffering, which, in essence, is what jouissance is. We know more about Lux than any of the other girls, even though we barely know anything about her at all. The viewer can only assume that the other Lisbon sisters are experiencing similar issues that probably involve the seeking of pleasure and the onset of depression. When the youngest Lisbon girl and first sister to commit suicide, Cecilia is in the hospital after her first attempt, she is approached by a doctor. “You’re not even old enough to know how bad life gets,” says the doctor. “Obviously doctor, you’ve never been a thirteen year-old girl,” replies Cecilia. The mystery is introduced, and the viewer is left with questions as to why a young, beautiful girl could do such a thing. Another cause could be the male-dominated society of the 1970s, but that is very never made evident within the film.
When viewing The Virgin Suicides, it is important to notice the symbols, as the film is driven my symbols and feelings, these being the subtle hints that make the film so effective. The dying tree in the Lisbon front lawn could symbolize the slow “decaying” of suburbia (Hurd, 132). As the tree dies, so does the girls’ will to live. To most people, there is the idea of a golden era. We idealize the past, and Coppola uses this to create a dreamy setting. The Virgin Suicides is a very beautiful film in that it emphasizes nature and teenage beauty. The only time the film seems at all uncomfortable or ugly is when Cecilia is in the hospital. The suburbs are escapist and protective. The girls bring ugliness into the perfect world when they commit suicide. For some reason unbeknownst to the viewer, Trip leaves Lux in the school football field after they have sex, and never sees her again. As a result, “Lux surreptitiously begins to seek other outlets” (Hurd, 132). This involves secretly having numerous sexual partners on the roof of her home. She does not know that the boys that eagerly try to decode the girls’ lives are watching. This makes her seem like a spectacle and an object. But when she is alone, the boys can see the complexity on her face, and she is therefore transformed from sexual object to emotional and deeply injured human being. Ones the boys and girls connect, they comfort each other with “plaintive messages of solitary longing wafting across the airwaves” (Hurd, 131). The music is their common ground, and also allows escapism in the form of the girls being free from the binds of their overbearing parents, even if only for a short time. The Lisbon girls never quite show respect for the boys. In fact, one could say that they are rude and manipulative towards them, both at school and in their home. This is a feminine approach, hinting that the girls don’t find the need for men in their lives, but rather the need for freedom, both sexual and emotional.
To conclude, according to Cardullo, “the girls’ movement towards and within [the becoming-woman] passages are stilled, made dysfunctional, and their only lucid movements are the ones towards death.” Through her style of filming, the dreamlike music, and mysterious characters, Coppola offers a film without feminist bias or comments on the confinements of society. However, feminist themes, though they may be unintentional, seep through. The boys in the film are captivated by the Lisbon girls, and some may say they are under the girls’ power. The Virgin Suicides is open to interpretation, which I believe Coppola did on purpose in order to have her first film captivate and stimulate audiences in a way that would make them dwell on the film’s themes. Even though the film was not made to be feminist, it has some pretty strong feminist points that cannot be ignored. Lux has been hurt by Trip, the only boy she allowed herself to trust, and he hurts her. This causes her to use boys simply for her own sexual satisfaction, and to continue to use her sexuality as a tool to amuse herself and to get what she wants. In feminism, female sexuality is seen as empowering, and The Virgin Suicides is full of it. Even though the true cause of their suicides is never made clear, there is not enough evidence to suggest that they had to do with males or any kind of rejection the girls might have felt. Rather, the blame seems to fall on their upbringing, although the viewer does not even have enough evidence to be sure beyond a doubt that that it truly the case. Through out the film, the girls are constantly teaching the males lessons, but never the other way around. Still, the viewer is made to feel that being a teenage girl can be dark and conflicting with anti-feminist factors around her like a conservative upbringing, dominating and gazing males, and constraints placed specifically on females.
Cardullo, Bert. “Love Story, or Coppola vs. Coppola.” The Hudson Review; Autumn
2004, Vol. 57, No. 3, pp. 463-470. The Hudson Review, Inc. Web. 5 March,
Colman, Felicity. “Hit Me Harder: The Transversality of Becoming-Adolescent.”
I love minimalism. Here’s a piece I wrote. Please read it and let me know what you think.
In an attempt to relax after a long and tumultuous day at work, I have decided to make my way over to that old run-down theatre on James Avenue and waste the evening. My therapist keeps telling me that I’m letting the world hammer me into the ground and that if I’m not careful, I could become very ill. Her eyelashes are very long and she has a new picture of a different pet on her desk nearly every month. Last month it was a Collie Rottweiler cross and this month it’s a tiny calico kitten. Charade is showing today, and I’ve taken seven Aspirin, so my migraine is subsiding. My therapist prescribed me some medication to calm my nerves, but it makes my toes go numb, and I like to feel my toes.
The theatre is nearly completely empty, which isn’t surprising I suppose since the other theatre in town is showing a recent blockbuster. Kids like those sorts of things; they make them feel alive I think. There is a middle-aged couple behind me making out and I can hear the smacking of their lips in between Cary Grant’s suave lines. The woman four rows to the left of me is crying, even during the funny bits. I wiggle my toes and notice, as usual, the fast beating of my heart within my chest. So I breath in and out very deeply, but try not to be loud since I hate it when people breath loudly in theatres. My therapist breathes loudly and never crosses her legs. Her dresses are always too short and the breathing makes my heart beat even faster.
The boy in front of me is carving the seat upholstery with a switchblade and the weeping lady is eyeing him nervously. Audrey Hepburn screams and the lip smacking stops for a moment. The boy stops with the knife for a second, and then looks at his arm. For some reason my heart isn’t beating anymore; it just sort of stopped. It may never start up again, and I guess that’s for the best. It will certainly make work a whole lot easier. The couple is getting louder now, and the woman is crying harder. I’m out of popcorn and without the beating of my heart keeping time, things seem a little too quiet. The weeping woman isn’t eating her popcorn and I suppose I could ask her for some, but she seems too busy being sad. The couple keeps kicking my seat and I don’t think the woman has a bra on anymore. I once had sex in a theatre, but I was seventeen and the movie was so dull I don’t even remember what it was called. I don’t think I’d ever have sex during Charade; it’s not really that kind of movie. The couple is so loud that I can almost hear their heartbeats, so I don’t really mind not having one myself.
Grant and Hepburn have their final kiss and I still want more popcorn. I always look underneath my seat when I leave a theatre to make sure I never leave anything behind. I have a tendency to leave things everywhere I go, sort of like a trail; a wallet here, a hat there, and a lighter somewhere else. There’s some red lacey underwear under my seat, but nothing else. So I go to the concession for some more popcorn and ask for extra butter. The theatre is showing East of Eden next.
I feel like I’m living my life online, and it’s become ridiculous. This thought is usually in my head when I’m home in the city where I go to school, but being stuck out on the ranch my parents live on for Easter weekend has made me realize it full throttle. This is because I am actually stuck out here. It’s a quarter tank of gas to the nearest town and I have never been good at decision making. Someone needs to do that for me. Like maybe I should put an ad out.
“The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move… . Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.”— Holden Caulfield (The Catcher in the Rye)
Do you ever look back and think, woh, things were so much better when I was a kid? I don’t mean circumstances and relationships, but rather birthday parties, or fun get-togethers, or the size of special church services. Yesterday I went to the Good Friday service with my family, and there was a measly fifty or so people there. I remember when the whole community would come out and everyone had great conversations, then left for the park after for some springtime fun and tossing the ball and such. Instead, yesterday, despite being a beautiful day outdoors, was grey and unfriendly inside, with no one making any sort of post-church plans. Instead of going to the park, my family and others at the church returned home for “naps.” This got me thinking that in a small, trivial way, everything is going to hell. Take staff parties for example, over the past couple years our company Christmas parties have transformed from these wonderful experiences that everyone looked forward to all year, to small get-togethers that ended in half the time and were pretty much devoid of Christmas spirit. Since I was a child, holidays have become unimportant in my family’s house, and I’ve always been a holiday person. I miss Easter egg hunts with the cousins, real Christmas trees, and candle-light Christmas Eve services, and Halloween “bashes” with my best friends. And it’s all just gone. After yesterday, I fully realize that.
The other day in anthropology class we were watching a documentary on commercializing children. Experts say that commercials geared towards children promote toys with their own back stories and scenarios. Meaning that children are using their imaginations less and less during playtime. Essentially, they’re not even playing anymore, they’re just acting out what they see on television. I grew up on a ranch, and behind my house, before the alfalfa field, was this mass of trees, bushes, and piles of leaves. I turned this into my “home” and created a back story all my own, and it was seriously the best thing ever. Sometimes I would wear flowery dresses and pretend that I was lost in the forest, or sometimes I’d pretend to be a fearless hunter. The point is, I never allowed a commercial to tell me how to play. My little sisters are a little like that, as our parents don’t buy them many toys or allow them to mindlessly sit in front of the television all day. But I’ve seen other kids at their school and in play groups. I didn’t believe it till I saw it, and it’s really really sad. I guess what this whole whiney thing is about is Neverland. Basically. How I never want to grow up and wish that I could just go back to those days in that makeshift forest. And you know, I think I buried something special some years back. unfortunately my family has since moved and I don’t know if I’ll ever find out what it was. And I think that people from my childhood are losing passion over time, rather than gaining it. Not the kids, but the adults.
I actually can’t believe that it’s the last day of class today at UBC-O. It just snuck up on me, and everything about it seems surreal. After exams, I will officially be finished my third year of university. Meaning, I have two years left, or a year and a half if I want to be crazy and productive. It’s all happening, and I can’t decide if it’s too fast, or too slow.
Song of the Day: I’m Not the One by The Black Keys
“I was thrown out of N.Y.U. my freshman year for cheating on my metaphysics final, you know. I looked within the soul of the boy sitting next to me. When I was thrown out, my mother, who was an emotionally high-strung woman, locked herself in the bathroom and took an overdose of Mah-Jongg tiles. I was depressed at that time. I was in analysis. I was suicidal as a matter of fact and would have killed myself, but I was in analysis with a strict Freudian, and, if you kill yourself, they make you pay for the sessions you miss.”—Annie Hall
An excerpt from my novel The Evolution of Felicity Jameson
Just because I can….
I took the bus to Clay’s neighborhood. I’m sure that’s not normal. There are no films or books in which the girl takes a bus to her date’s house. At least not in any of the one’s I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot. The bus was filmed with the usual Saturday crowd. Valmore is a small town, and has only just recently gotten a bus system. Normally I would have loved taking the time to walk to Clay’s home in the nice part of town on the hill. It’s a beautiful location with rose bushes and white picket fences; a place that hardly seems to suit the counter culture obsessed Clay. I wonder if he feels like a fraud, coming from a suburb-like home and a typical middle class upbringing. Or maybe he doesn’t even think about it. We can’t all be analytical about everything. But I had spent a good hour on my hair, and felt that climbing up the hill would ruin it. With the sudden bursts of wind that tend to attack Valmore, I was probably right. So I braved the city bus and its high school dropout mothers with their strollers, and the grocery-shopping seniors. One particular older man, poor thing, spilled his grocery bag of fruit all over the dusty bus floor. None of the young mothers even moved, but I knew they wouldn’t. I knelt down and started to pick up an apple, when the man tapped my wrist with his cane.
“Don’t touch my food!” he said, shaking. “It’s mine! I paid for it!”
“I’m just picking it up for you,” I said, offering him a kind smile. “I’m just trying to help.”
“You young people these days are so disrespectful!” he said, pushing the cane deeper into my wrist. “You have no respect or proper ambition.”
“Just leave it alone,” said one of the young mothers, rolling her eyes. “He’s senile, always on this stupid bus making everyone miserable.”
“I’m not talking to you!” he stammered. “I’m talking to the blonde that has her grubby hands on the food I paid my hard earned money on.”
A hand reached for the cane, pushed it to the side, and guided my wrist away from it.
“She was only trying to help,” said Luca. “No one’s trying to take your food.”
“Don’t lie to me,” said the old man, waving his cane at Luca’s chest. “I know what you’re all like.”
“We’re going to sit in the back of the bus,” Luca said, guiding me away from the man and the scattered food. “No one is bothering you.”
The old man started muttering to himself, the creases in his face deepening with his frown. Luca and I walked to the back of the bus.
“What are you doing on a bus?” I asked.
“It’s interesting,” he said, shrugging. “And I had nothing better to do.”
He had another Archie comic in his hand, only this one had Jughead on the cover.
“What’s interesting?” I said, still flustered from the whole ordeal and unused to exchanging actual words with Luca.
“How sad the people are,” he said. “They’re all miserable. Miserable people are far more interesting than happy people. They’re a little more honest.”
“They’re depressing,” I said.
“So you’re happy?” he asked. His eyes were deep brown with green specks. They’re very strange.
“I think so,” I said.
“Well then you’re not being honest with yourself,” he said.
“Oh so now you’re calling me a liar?” I said, feigning insult.
“Possibly, yes,” he said.
“Well what if I was miserable, but have recently felt happier,” I asked.
“Either you’re lying to yourself,” Luca said. “Or it’s a temporary happiness that has you fooled.”
“Well I rather be temporarily happy,” I said. “Than accept being miserable.”
“That’s sad,” he said. And he looked like he truly meant it.
“Well, that’s what I want,” I said. “This is my stop. Thanks for your help.”
With that, I got up and left Luca, big brown eyes and all, and tip toed over the scattered food. As I excited the bus, an apple rolled off it with me. It was the most depressing thing I had seen all day.
New article on my site in which I review Kristen Chenoweth’s new television show GCB. It is also available in the current issue of the UBCO Phoenix newspaper. Comment, subscribe, share, retweet etc. Check it out!
I decided to post this assignment because it’s one of the hardest exercises I’ve ever done. I had to write a recipe in the style of a contemporary writer. So I chose J.D. Salinger, with his war and suicidal undertones, Glass family minimalist conversations, and longing to preserve childhood innocence. I wrote in the style of “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” and Franny and Zooey, with small references to The Catcher in the Rye and sporadic details from Nine Stories.
German Leek and Potato Soup
à la J.D. Salinger
By Laura Sciarpelletti
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped leeks
8 potatoes, peeled and sliced
6 cups water
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 ham bone
1 cup cream
Salt and pepper
The rain was coming down in thick drops outside, and the girl in apartment 189 had no choice but to cancel her plans to go to the park. While she could usually spot about thirty people in the street outside her building most days, today there was only nine. So she braided her thick, blonde hair and attempted to read a chapter of The Metamorphosis by Kafka. Her boyfriend was always trying to improve her — or bring her to his level — but she didn’t always have the patience for it. So she brushed her hair thirty more times with the wooden brush with the green handle, and wiped the excess hair off her blouse. And Kafka sat there on her night table, as if to stare at her, so she pushed it over the ledge and watched it disappear behind the table with the mothballs and old forgotten pennies. There was only one book left on the table and it was an old photo album, so she opened it to pictures of her mother and father by lakes, and cabins, and things like that. On the fifth page was a slightly faded picture of herself and her mother in the kitchen making leek and potato soup.
So she pushed the brush aside — not being the kind of person to pass up an opportunity to banish boredom — and made her way to the kitchen with a pack of cigarettes and a mission. She lit a cigarette and grabbed a large pot, lighting the burner on the stove to medium heat. She sliced the onions thin and sautéed them with butter in the pot. She had never known true burning and slicing — like her father — and the aroma was delicious. The phone rang, and she put her cigarette out next to the cutting bored. She waited four rings while removing the leeks and potatoes from the water and placing them on the cutting board. She picked up the phone.
“Hello?” she said.
“It’s me,” said her brother.
“Me who?” she said.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he said. “It’s been a year toda—”
“I know,” she said.
“Well what do you have to say?” he said.
She winced as she nicked her finger with the knife, and sucked the blood.
“Nothing, Benjamin,” she said. “Nothing at—”
“I think you have more to say than any of us,” he said.
She finished slicing the leeks and potatoes and threw them into the pot with the water and thyme—thyme from the garden her mother had made for her two years ago on her roof. It smelled like being six years old, when she didn’t know how the world could be and could sit and smell herbs without feeling useless. She placed the ham bone in the pot, and switched the phone over to her other ear. She still wasn’t used to ham. During the war, all her family could manage was Spam. Her mother would prepare it as best as she could, and she didn’t mind because her daddy was probably having the same kind of thing wherever he was.
“What are you doing Ja—,” he said.
“Benjamin, why did you call?” she said.
“I miss them,” he said.
The girl heard the click of a lighter.
“Are you smoking, Benjamin?” she said.
“So what? You smoke,” he said.
“You’re too young.”
“Well, when will I be old enou—”
“Never,” she said. “Never get to be old enough. Stay the way you are,” she said.
“What are you doing?” he asked again.
“I need to go Benjamin.”
“You’re cooking aren’t yo—
“I’m doing what she did,” she said. “I need more thyme.”
“How much did you sleep last nigh—”
“Goodbye Benjamin,” she said. “Do your homework.”
She hung up. The soup was boiling and she turned down the heat and covered the pot. She went to the liquor cabinet and poured herself some gin — it was almost empty — and she lit another cigarette. The empty packet said 1948 on the side, and she threw it into the trashcan by the stove. She went to the window and counted the people on the street. There were three less people than she last counted. All of them were adults, walking swiftly with their suits and umbrellas, trying to blend in and act like the world wasn’t going to hell. The apartment smelled of onions and butter, and the girl found a new carton of cigarettes and lit another. After twenty-five minutes, she took the ham bone out of the pot and poured the soup into her blender. It splattered onto her blouse, mixing with the stray hairs already there.
“Goddamn,” the girl said, reaching for a cloth and wiping at the mess. “For Chissake, she would never be this messy.”
She moved her cigarette carefully to her other hand and perched it between her fingers. She blended the soup and then poured it back into the pot. It smelled like her mother had — a long, long time ago — before he had come home and brought her down with him. The girl stirred in the cream, salt, and pepper, and set the stove to low. It was ready.
She poured herself another gin, sat at the kitchen table, and stared at the pot. The rim was caked with soup, and she thought about who would eat it. She poured herself a small bowl, stood up and went into her bedroom, then opened the drawer of her nightstand. In it was a small silver pistol with the label “Father” on it; beside it was a bottle of sleeping pills with the label “Mother” on it. The girl reached for the pills and poured the entire bottle into her bowl of soup.