People ask me, “Yo Farrah, why don’t you like writing?”
Well here’s fucking why…
I can’t tell if it’s some curse, some God-given gift or just mother-nature taking a shit on my life, but the reason is one word. Jack. Mother -fucking Jack. Oh sorry, not one word. Sue me!
So let me teach you a bit about Jack. He’s my husband; married for 2 years and dating for 8 (yes we can give a lot of celebrity couples a run for their money). Sex life – nil. Never had one. Never gonna have one. Never ever ever! So why am I with Jack? Why has our relationship been going on and strong for so many years?
I can tell you it’s no thanks to the therapist. She was just a waste of money. She even tried stealing Jack from me. Had to rub a bitch out of our lives. Let’s not dwell on deleted bitches. Let’s prepare for man-stealing whores to come. Wars fought with lingerie, whips and cuffs are the most brutal of all.
So, I met Jack in Lamu during our school field trip as part of our IB workshops. Didn’t think much of him then; he was a no one. Just another boy in my life; he’d come and go as quick as I could write down my thoughts in that diary with that small, sorry excuse of a lock. I still think that lock is the foundation of all my trust issues.
Jack had other ideas. He thinks of himself as one of those keeper guys. Calls himself a dime in a dozen, a natural gem, God’s gift to this earth. Of course he is a scrumptious, heavenly sculpted man. If you see him, you’ll know God grabbed that hammer and chisel and carved Jack himself. Lucky the Big Man was very charitable in the lower regions. Drizzle a little warm chocolate down his body with some whipped cream and I could just eat him up. I’m going to let my size 40 pants answer how many times I’ve done that.
So why would such a man stop me writing?
Jack is (what would you say?) one of those clingy personalities. Everywhere I go, Jack is there. Any how I try to hide from him, Jack is there. He was once amusing; teenage me, trying to identify and pick my place in this world, loved all the attention. I finally had a boyfriend. I had the best boyfriend. We shared stories together, read books together cuddled in my room, watched movies and even went out to eat. He met my mum, my dad and my friends adored him. But no one adored Jack more than Jack himself. Mother-fucking Jack.
As a writer struggling to find their voice, I usually spent a lot of time writing. Some stories I’d keep. Some I’d burn, some I’d loose over a drunken brawl with the metallic statue. But Jack was always there. He’d whisper what I should do. Once in a while even add comments or changes in my writing. I’d appreciate it. I was learning and I loved his help.
It was all good until Jack thought he could do so much better than me and so it happened. I walked to the café sat down at my usual spot and ordered my usual drink. I opened my laptop just for show when in fact I loved writing on pen and paper. That feel of a pencil running on paper was my calm, my muse and my focus.
I was a naïve girl in love with her perfect guy; all I could spill from my soul were heartfelt words of star-crossed lovers from opposite ends of the social structure. It was a tale like time itself. Easily flowing. My story was almost complete. The lovers would have their inevitable and (of course) predictable happy ending, until Jack popped up. He stood there stomping his feet as he watched my pencil free-style through those lines. He watched me devour those pages with a story that would make any cold-hearted-love-denied human melt to the overwhelming sense of desire.
But there was my Jack, stomping his feet with his hand on his chin looking down at my work. Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! Stomp!
“Hmmm,” he said as he rubbed his chin. He was shirtless. He loved to walk around shirtless. But who could blame him? Any cloth that chose to hide that chest was committing a sin against God himself. I even told Jack that I would not be opposed to him walking naked. Let him show these average couples what man I lay with. Let them bow to his mighty sword.
“What is it Jack?” I asked calmly.
“Well this story is too cliché.”
“That’s ok. I like it the way it is. Let the writers write, you go around doing what you do.”
“Hun,” He looked at me. “You know you wouldn’t be this far in your writing if it weren’t for me? You wouldn’t be the big star you are now if I wasn’t there for you. I’m the talent. You’re the embodiment of my talent.”
“It’s true. There’s no need to be offended by it.”
“Jack what-ever-your-stupid surname is. Is that what you think of me? That I’m talentless?”
“Well not talentless. I mean…” he rubbed his chin, “I’ve never seen anyone who can devour a pizza as fast as you. Or ice-cream. That’s a talent.”
“Oh honey. Don’t be offended. I don’t mean for you to get mad,” he sounded genuinely concerned, but I was beyond that point.
“How can I not get mad, when you just insult me for the one thing I’m good at?!”
“Relax honey. You can be so dramatic at times. If only your character had so much psssazz!”
“What?!” my voice went so high-pitched it croaked.
“Shhh. You’re in a public place. You really don’t want to create a scene here.”
“Jack. You can’t tell me how to write my stories and you sure as hell can’t tell me where I can create a scene or not. I’ll damn well create a scene right here.”
And I did create the scene. I didn’t notice it at the time. But all the people in the café all stared in horror as I barked at my notebook. And when my voice ran out, I took a sip of coffee and barked even more. I didn’t stop until one terrified waiter came and stopped me. I was eventually forced to leave (of course in the nicest way possible).
When I got home I took a few shots of vodka and a sip of tomato juice to taste and I was ready to write again. I left the love story as Jack had already ruined the mood for me. Now was a time for those angry- slashing-people-for-no-apparent-reason- kinda stories. The kind of stories you name the characters after people you really hate. It didn’t take long for me to drown into that story. It was so clear. So therapeutic. I could see the beginning and feel the end. I would be able to finish this in fifteen minutes but then guess who popped up? Jack. Mother-fucking Jack.
“Well at least you’re back to normal,” he scratched his abs. He did that when he was a bit nervous. “Had me worried for a moment there babe.”
I ignored him. He didn’t notice. He never did.
“So what are we writing now?” he looked down at the lines as my pencil scratched through the page and began to stomp his feet. I looked at him for the slightest moment and continued writing.
“Hmmm,” He stomped his feet and rubbed his chin. “Hmmmm.” He moved to the top of the page. “Honey why is everyone in your story dying? No one wants to read such a sad story. Not even those really Goth people, even they’d think you’re weird, sugarplums. ”
“It’s how I feel right now,” were the only words I could say under my breath.
“Well you see, this is why you have me. If you let your emotions run your writing…like you always do…it wouldn’t be a page turner or finger scroller.”
I don’t know how it happened but I just remember dropping my pencil and continuing the fight that we left off in the café.
“Wooooaaahhh. Wooooooah babe.” He put his thumbs on his belt and pushed them down.
“I am so furious at you now.”
“But, why? I just tell you these things because I love you. I need to look out for you,” he said with his defensive tone.
“How is you insulting me, somehow justified as you looking out for me?”
“Well, I tell you the truth that no one else has the guts to. And because you know I love you, you’ll know I’m doing it in your best interest.”
“Fuck off Jack.”
“Woooah. Young lady. Do you kiss your husband with those lips?” He charmingly smiled.
“Why don’t you just let me write down the story the way I want to?”
“Because the way you write is….mediocre. And I say that with all the love in the world hun.”
I shut the book and went away. A few drinks were in order. I drank more than I could handle and passed out on the sofa for the next ten hours.
A hangover, two panadols, a drink of cold water and I was ready to face Jack.
But that’s fine. Right? Relationships have their ups and downs. If lovers don’t fight then can that really be true love? We need to make time to talk to each other and sort stuff out. Jack and I would eventually get through this. Maybe he was right. Maybe my writing was not as good as I would like to think. Maybe I had handled that situation badly.
I opened my book again and began to write. Jack showed up as always, except this time he didn’t look happy. He had a shirt on and didn’t stomp his feet at my story. He rather stood there stomping his feet at me. That’s how he got when he wanted an apology.
“What?” I asked. As far as I remember, I still had the upper hand in this argument.
“Is there anything you’d like to say to me?” he asked with his arms crossed.
“I think I should be asking you that question.” The words escaped me before I could help them.
“Should I remind you of what intoxicated you did last night?”
I didn’t recall anything.
“Well lets recap.” He walked on to the lines of my paper. “You refused my gracious help. You knocked the book on my face. You went drinking. You stripped and danced to Enrique on full blast. God! You know how I hate Enrique and then you went to your library and picked out my book and began writing in it.”
At that point I knew what it felt like to get the shit scared out of you. “Oh. My. God.”
“Oh your God knows, he probably also looked down on you yesterday judging you…for listening to Enrique,” he said and squinted. I could see he was a breath short from rolling his eyes. He sat on the last word I had written. “Do you know what drunk, naked you wrote?” He licked his finger and rubbed the tittle on the word ‘insect’. You wrote Jack is an asshole. Jack can go die. Jack is an asshole. Jack isn’t my guy.”
I was frozen.
He crossed his legs and looked at me. “That’s Ok. I let your raging hormones have that.” After that, you went ahead and rubbed part of my story and edited in your new twist. You wrote Jack is a lil bitch be cause lil bitch. Jack is gonna get it.”
“Oh you think that’s funny?” It was. I usually got slightly out of hand when I’m drunk. Most of the drunk threats were Ludicrous and abstract.
“Do you also think it’s funny that you married me to a wrestler called Bruce?”
I burst out laughing. “What?” I said, as I gasped for air through my laughter.
“Ha ha,” he said sarcastically and rolled his eyes. “Go change it Farrah. Go change it now. I’ve been hiding from Bruce for the past four hours. Do you know how traumatizing that is?! For a big guy he’s fast. The only place he can’t come is in this stupid story you wrote where everyone dies. He’s scared cause he’s black that he’ll die really fast.”
My laughter ended as fast as it started. “My stupid story?”
“Yeah. We both know it’s stupid. There’s no storyline. Its like you’re making your reader walk right into the middle of a senseless war and leaving them there through the whole thing. Just watching people die.”
“We can deal with your story later. Can you remove Bruce from my life?”
“My. Stupid. Story.” I was going to remove Bruce from Jacks plot. Even that was pretty extreme in my opinion. But then why should I change the story? It dawned on me that Jack needed to learn. All this time Jack was always in charge of me. He thought nothing of me. Bullied me around and up until recently I never noticed it.
“So what are you waiting for? Go change it Farrah.”
“No. I think I’ll leave Bruce there for you. Maybe he can teach you how to be a gentleman.”
“He wants to teach me how to bend over!” I could see the vein popping from the side of his neck. He was now standing with his chest out like a cock preparing for a fight. “Is that what you want? Do you want me to bend over?”
“Well.” I sat back on my chair. “It wouldn’t be so bad.” I shut the book. There was no need to deal with Jack. Let him face his own situations. I don’t know what happened with Jack and Bruce. Please don’t ask. Please do speculate. All I know is since that day, Jack was no longer my husband. Our marriage ended as efficiently as it had begun; with two lines after ‘they lived happily ever after’.
Ever since that day, any story I would attempt to write would be bombarded by Jack. Mother-fucking Jack. He would run in right when I’m in the middle of the plot and pull the words off the page and throw them out. He would drag the ruled line lines. Literally bite parts of the words and spit them out. Even stomp on the words. It was a good laugh for me. In fact I’d write a story just so he could come and throw his fit. I’d always laugh and say “You’re a real bitch, Jack,” and that would push him over the edge and he’d start peeing on all the words as he ran across the page.
It was amusing and entertaining until I had deadlines to meet; assignment I had to write for university. He shredded my dissertation with his crazy behaviors every time I tried to write it. I knew I had to talk to him, so I started a story just so he could come and we hash things out. As always, he ran in like a maniac; his hair greasy, jeans worn out and even torn on the sides. He looked like he hadn’t showered for a while. I actually felt glad that I couldn’t smell him.
“Jack. Enough. You need to stop this now. It’s been over four months of me tolerating your childish behaviour,” I spoke like I was his mother.
He stopped and looked at me with his crazy eyes for a second than began tearing at the words again.
“Jack. Stop it!”
“You should know babe” he tore at the word love like an animal. “That actions have consequences.”
“Enough. This fight has gone on long enough.”
“Oh it’s not even started woman!” and he began to kick words around. He would fall with some of the words he threw away but just got back up and continued with his tantrum.
I tried reasoning with him for over an hour but he refused. Every single time I tried to write on paper, Jack would destroy it. So I took to using the laptop. Just like that my problem was solved. It was much harder for me to concentrate and it took twice the effort for me to be creative on this large white screen, but I eventually got the hang of it and was getting through all my stories and my dissertation.
Just when I was about to complete my back log, I remembered Jack. Maybe I was too hard on him. Maybe I should care about what happened between him and Bruce. I’d deal with Jack after I was done with the necessities. I’d correct the timeline.
I finished the conclusion and reference section on my dissertation and just as I moved the mouse to save, Jump jumped in form the corner of the screen on to the mouse and dragged it down. It barely responded to my finger movement. He jumped around the screen like Tarzan on cocaine destroying my work.
All I could do was gasp.
“Honey. Do you think I couldn’t get here?! I could smell your shit writing from all the way here!”
Before I could say anything, Jack tore through the word document. He took the bars of my charts and used them like a cricket bat to hit my words off my word document. He knocked at the images till they cracked and fell. All I could do is sit there with my hands over my mouth. A whimper came out of my mouth and that was it. Jack. Mother-fucking Jack.
All my work was ruined. We went back and forth as I tried to get Jack to let things go. I tried changing his timeline but nothing worked anymore. The only solution was killing him in his book. I sat for hours trying to gather the courage to do that, but I just couldn’t. He was Jack. My crazy Jack. Every time I tried to go to his story to see what I could do, he would jumble up the words so I couldn’t do anything.
Between my love for writing and my love for Jack, Jack always seems to hold my heart. I’ve tried writing love poems. He actually lit them up on fire. God knows where he got the lighter. I lost one of my favorite notebooks cause he burnt it to a crisp. He was and still is unapologetic about that. I don’t think this war with Jack will ever end, not until one of us dies.
So ask me again why I can’t write.
Maybe this time I’ll tattoo the answer on your skin so you can see him first hand.
It’s all about one guy. Jack. Motherfucking Jack.