This, She Thought.

By Bradley Sutherland

Gwen didn’t have any plans last night. Not because the best plan was no plan or some other cliché that served to justify a lost and/or purposeless and/or reckless way of living, but because she had to cancel them at the last minute. She just had to. And don’t think for a second her Friday night would consist of a bottle of Pinot Noir and Netflix Original Series or a Rom Com and pint of Mint Chocolate Chip, like how all the Rom Com’s told her it would.

Don’t think for a moment any of this was about a boy, or a boy who didn’t go see about a girl, or a woman living in a man’s world, or bad hair, or broken nails, or shark week, or just one of those days, or a missed connection, whether by air or in print, or an abandoned glass slipper, or hormones, or gossip, or betrayal, or heartbreak, or headache, or cold food, or warm beer, or bad taste, or being alone, or with the wrong one, or just feeling a little bit emotional right now. Gwen was tough and fragile and pissed and sad and able to laugh at it all because all was everything she was thinking about.

Gwen thought about posting a much more condensed version of the above, but she hated when others did the same or something similar or sometimes anything at all. Like, who cared really? “Hey guys, I’m having a really bad day and I know you’re going to say exactly what you’re supposed to, playing a role, you and me, but I’m gonna do it anyway and hover over my phone and not really feel better and actually eventually forget why I even felt bad or was in any closely related state enough for me to get myself to even post something about how I thought I was making myself appear to be feeling in the first place.”

Each scroll, nonchalant but crudely direct. Her actions a manifestation of her trying to convince herself she was above it all while knowing she was not. The ol’ I Don’t Care But I Really Do move, she thought, and you can tell how much I care by the number of times that I insist otherwise.

Gwen tried to laugh it off with the casual scroll and whatnot, but she had many times before deactivated and reactivated her account for lesser reasons.

Did it make me stupid that I did it or that I saw through what I did and did it anyway? she thought.

Less the specifics, Gwen knew she deactivated because it made her so angry. Never a start to the day she wanted but was desperately used to. Why stop now? The wear-it-on-your-sleeves-and-comment-on-how-well-you-wear-it method was a chicken shit way to bring in weekly riches.

But so was her way, she thought.

An insider of sorts. Not having to play the same game as all the rest. Posing. Posturing. Smile. Flash. Good side. Flash. Bring in more thumbs, the life of the Poster Child. How can I live with myself, she thought. Was I the only one seeing through the BS that created me, she thought. This would make for a good post. Just vent. Because if you didn’t post it, did you even ever really feel it? she thought.

She knew she would get the manufactured response she was loathing slash hoping for, which was everyone telling her how Real it was, which was the very thing that made it the opposite.

‘Oh, you go girl. So provocative. I feel you girl. You’re just doing what you have to!’

They’d share it with a THIS.

It’s such BS, she thought. THIS. Period. Share.

THIS. THIS. THIS.

Like if you agree.

Gwen’s thumb alternated between scrolling and quickly diving to the settings level and hovering over the deactivation link before x-ing out and scrolling down some more.

Ugh. She thought. Always posting his second-by-second struggles. Cook a better breakfast, she thought. Or don’t keep it so vague, she thought. Lay your dirt out down and dirty. I want DEETS!

I swear one of these days I’m going to make a fucking collage of all your pity-me-pretty-please posts, as well as everyone else who is separated by those like myself by less than six degrees, and show you how the same people, plus or minus a few, post the same goddamn motherfucking stupid ass piece of motherfucking stupid ass shit response. Every time! It’s BS! DO YOU FEEL BETTER YET?!?!?!?! she thought. Can’t wait for your next empowering THIS, she thought. It’s all BS! THIS period THIS!!!

Gwen took a deep breath and traded some sweat from palm to thigh. She had been scrolling since she hopped aboard.

LelandExclamation Cant wait to see what @Gwensa10 comes up with this week!!!

ClarissaPanderbear @Gwensa10 hey gurl! I hope your latest break has been good. We all need them! We’ve been following your break the whole way. LOVE the new hair. Glad to hear you’re back on and CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YvonneCoconutapotamus Just doing a little friends cleanse. If you see this congrats you made it and thanks for always being there for me. Been going too fast lately. #trimmingdown #simplelife. #Gweninspired

HenryOutraged Just took a #gwenbreak from MyFace as well. So inspiring. Check out my latest post to see what I was up to! Can’t wait to see what @Gwensa10 was up 2 on hers!!!!

Gwen felt her skin tighten. She wanted to pull her hair out and eat it and then spit it up all over herself. Please just do what I do and make it about you cuz it’s all about you after all. But also please don’t do what I do because it makes me sick because it’s what I do and I see all that shit while trying to escape from what I do. So, yeah, thanks for the memories, she thought.

Gwen wanted to post that as a comment too, but Gwen grew more flustered that that would just be Making Something About One’s Self about her, i.e. One’s Self, and she hated slashed loved how she could see that.

She was just about to close her phone and try to take a power nap because she didn’t really sleep much last night, even though she canceled her plans at the last minute cuz she just had to, and it was still early enough that back in her party days it would still constitute as going to bed, so she didn’t hate herself too much for going to bed so early-late, much less felt compelled to post about how she used to but/or no longer did, given that she no longer didn’t not sleep due to bad decision making.

A familiar shout stopped Gwen from ranting herself to sleep. It came from the car back, muffled through the plexiglass on the connector door. Gwen scanned the car with a slow swivel, like the slower she turned her head it would erase a scene she wasn’t not trying to see.

There’s no way, she thought.

Her head turning to the other side, even slower than before. So slow she could hear a clumsy minor chord sneaking its way to crescendo. Her eyes reached the back door. Don’t stand up and go over there, she thought, as she stood up and went over there. She knew what she wasn’t about to hope she would see.

​As she approached the connector door, a car full of bikes came into view. She pressed her nose to the plexiglass and let her twinkly, foam green eyes sift the car.

She jumped back.

She both hoped for and hated the idea of him being able to move on so easy, even though it was her that told him she couldn’t do this anymore. And there’s no way she could. Unless it was maybe replicated with someone else. But not him. Ew, she thought.

She also thought it would be just like him to act so natural to make her think he wasn’t following her which would mean it was the opposite of Moving On, or his version of such. Like he was somehow convincing her through convincing himself that he could be around her and finally be okay with it by showing himself to be in an animated conversation with some cute hippie chick sitting across from him in a public setting.

What a creep she thought.

She watched for a second or two more, but when he jumped up and stomped toward the door, Gwen ran back to her seat and pulled her hoodie tight over head. She waited for the connector doors to open, but they never did. Her phone buzzed and it made her jump, and it buzzed again, and she was sure it was him. He did see me, she thought. But when it buzzed a third time, she realized it was nothing more than the new Top Trend List, which she hated she knew, and clicked on the notification to see what they were.

She laughed to herself as she scrolled down a new dazzling world of feed. But as soon as she clicked on the notification, she got all worked up again, at the sight of stolen thunder.

Seriously, she thought?

She didn’t really know what the story was all about in that she didn’t really know what it actually said. She knew about it in that it was anything everyone was now talking about, which was all anyone needed to know in that everyone was talking about it, which meant it was everything, and if you didn’t know, well then you weren’t anything, but if you did know, along with everyone else, well then you were nothing special because what did you know that anyone else didn’t? Everything that everyone didn’t really know, and that’s what.

And for not knowing everything that everyone already didn’t know, she was all the more angry/embarrassed that it had pushed her latest comeback post so far down the Top Trend List, so she closed the feed and deactivated her account, slamming down her phone on the seat beside her.

THIS, she thought.

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