About the Author
TweetHeart - A Twitter Novel By Douglas Sovern
CHAPTER EIGHT: August
Cold & gray & damp & chilly.
This weather matches my mood.
I remember when it was 85 in January.
Now it’s 55 in August?
The world has spun on its axis.
The mist is blowing right through me and my hollow bones.
Maybe it’s time for me to try someplace new, get out of Cali, maybe experience the 4 seasons again, back east somewhere.
I don’t feel like I have much of a future here.
A change of scenery might do me good.
I know Dante would be glad 2 be rid of me.
It’s sad that I have no roots.
Nothing holds me anywhere.
I am cut loose like a boat off its moorings.
I saw this beautiful succulent in the forest.
Gorgeous, spongy, full of color. I reached down 2 touch…& it came right out of the ground.
Its roots were so dry & shallow they didn’t even connect it to the dusty soil.
It just skittered along, disconnected & alone.
don’t mean 2 be morbid but I think death and I are learning to get along better the longer I live.
People don’t think about dying enough.
I know nobody wants 2 but it’s a part of this whole life thing ain’t it?
The way the world works there’s really no choice.
Either get comfy w/Death or he’ll make u very Uncomfortable over the course of a lifetime
It can be beautiful.
Native cultures have a healthier way of handling it than we in the West do.
It’s all about letting go.
I think my soul will live on, so what’s the big whup about clinging to this broken body of mine anyway?
I really do think most people die the way they live, if they have any say in the matter.
Dante will probably webcast his demise.
The way my mom died makes me think I’m not long 4 this world either. When Death comes knocking, I just hope I’m ready to answer the door.
I’m far more worried about getting arrested/sued/dragged into court/thrown into jail than I am about dying.
Round about midnight I felt like a feral cat on the prowl.
Sometimes a girl just needs a little lovin’ u know what I mean?
I had 2 weigh my options: crawling into Dante’s room would just confuse an already weird & complicated situation.
So I hit the street in search of rayRay. Long time no c. Found him easy enuf. Damn was Milo happy 2 see him.
They were all over each other!
Soon enuf we were too – rayRay still really loves me & he missed me hella bad.
It felt good to be with him again.
I don’t see going back on the pavement on a permanent basis or anything, but I had to scratch that itch.
Besides I feel like I’m about to go on some sort of journey, so I might not see rayRay for a while anyway.
Had to touch base.
It’s kinda weird.
I’m a loner at heart.
Just me & my puppy.
Not even my shadow is welcome.
I’ve been craving people.
Maybe cuz I can’t really talk right now?
Maybe tweeting whets my appetite?
Got a long letter from my stepmother.
Yeah my dad’s new wife.
I don’t know her from shit.
Seems kinda weird 2 me.
But she wrote me this long long letter, in florid calligraphy, all curls & swirls & big loops.
Can’t hardly read this shit.
She wants me to come to a “family barbecue” at my dad’s.
Wants to broker some peace.
Thinks she’s Hillary fucking Clinton.
I don’t know who she means by “family” at this thing. Is my bro coming from NYC? Or does that mean HER kids? I think she has 2 of em.
I am sitting here actually thinking about going.
Crazy huh? I don’t know.
Miss everyone right now.
OK it kinda weirds me out 2 begin with that random strangers can read my inner thoughts on Twitter. Strange enough right?
But suddenly, inexplicably, I have all kinds of new friends, all over the world.
Which is flattering I suppose – that any1 cares, I mean.
Someone tweeted to me in Spanish this morning – actually late last nite. And they were writing to me from Barcelona!
She wanted 2 tell me to stay positive, that she cares about this “chica in Berkeley” even tho she’s never met me.
So now, out of the blue, I have some new penpals – especially in the Phillipines & also in Istanbul for some crazy reason.
What 2 make of my sudden status as the world’s tweetheart?
Hello world – have u met my dog Milo?
The consensus seems 2 be that I should take the plunge & be brave & go to my stepmom’s family bbq this weekend.
Confront my dad? Risk his scathing disapproval?
U know what, world?
I think I may just do it.
Big question tho: should I bathe first?
Well that was a disaster wasn’t it?
If I were sober it would have made me even more crazy but instead I just have 2 laugh.
I would’ve tweeted during the event itself but my batshit crazy stepmother shut me down as soon as I whipped out the iPhone.
Don’t be rude, she said, no texting or twittering or whatever you’re doing.
We’re here with family now, put away your toys.
Toys??? That’s what she calls the ubiquitous devices that every1 in the world (but her) including the POPE uses obsessively? Ok then, Marla.
Yes her name is fucking Marla for fuck’s sake.
Let’s all be present, she told me, let’s really engage with one another.
Oh my lord, so many fish in the deep blue sea & my dad hooks this one.
No word from them for months & now they want me 2 be “present.”
I’m not sure I’ve ever had less of a connection w/someone than I had with Lady Marla.
Where 2 even begin with this fiasco?
Although I will say, the younger of my 2 new stepbrothers, Jason, is hella cute.
Maybe this won’t be a TOTAL disaster…
Back to Sunday’s BBQ.
I really haven’t been thinking about much else.
I debriefed w/Dante, he had warned me not 2 go.
I had him in hysterics w/my tale of the insanity & I must say, I think he was a tad jealous when I started gushing about Jason!
First off, Her Highness Marla would not let me bring Milo in the house.
I left him in the car, with windows down, and of course he ran away.
My dad’s instinctive sneer of disapproval when he laid eyes on me would’ve made Elvis look like a smiley face.
I swear his upper lip actually went inside his nose.
It’s probably still in there.
Maybe that’s why he didn’t eat so much.
Course I didn’t eat anything, and mainly grunted and sputtered instead of talking, cuz of my jaw & all.
That went over real well.
My sister Becca fawned all over me, trying hella hard 2 be nice but it came off as ass-kissy overcompensating.
Dad ignored me.
Older stepbro Randy is some sort of blond do-gooder, but clearly on a very shallow level cuz he was utterly appalled by me in every way.
And then there was Jason…dreamy, long-haired, sweet-eyed Jason.
23 years old just right, just out of school & very very available…
Examining my nails.
Each one is maybe a quarter-inch long.
I swear Queen Marla’s were 3 inches at least.
And God that woman’s hair was more colors than a Pride Day flag. Brittle as straw from her many desperate attempts 2 hide Unstoppable Aging.
Watching her try 2 eat spare ribs with those long long nails was a real hoot.
And who wears an all-white pantsuit when serving BBQ?
There was relief all around when I finally told them I had 2 go.
I had 2 write it down actually cuz no1 could understand a word I said.
Except 4 Jason, who walked me 2 my car.
Which is when I discovered Milo had escaped.
I freaked & Jason helped me search 4 him.
Found him 3 blocks away, in the middle of the road. I screamed & ran & this car swerved & the guy smashed into a tree.
So I freaked some more & grabbed Milo & Jason ran w/me & we hightailed it out of there & hid & watched 2 make sure no1 chased us.
Which no one did.
I hope the guy was ok.
Jason was a little scared too.
We were breathing hard.
Nothing happened – but we clicked.
God I so wanted 2 tweet during my date tonight, but I resisted the urge.
That’s no small feat for some1 as ADD as me.
I know there are certain tweeple dying to know what’s going down.
Here’s the skinny: I texted Jason & we met for dinner.
My pretext was that I wanted 2 talk about the family but really I wanted to spend time with him.
He met me at La Med in Elmwood.
It was about the most aggressively normal evening I have had in a hella long time.
(Except 4 the part about him being my stepbrother!)
I mean I went out on an actual date that didn’t involve drugs or running from the cops or squatting by a gutter.
Of course I didn’t TELL Jason it was a date & I’m not sure he knows it was one.
It was just new stepsibs getting 2 know each other better.
But damn he is hella cute & super sweet & he seems 2 like me despite my knotty hair, ripped jeans & wired-shut jaw.
Or I think he does anyway.
I hope he does!
Nothing happened at the end, just a nice warm hug & look how early I’m back home.
I know, I have Love ADD too, I flit from 1 guy to the next, but this guy seems different, leaves me with a special feeling inside.
Sorry I haven’t tweeted much lately but I’ve been in heaven and there’s no cell service there.
What can I say?
OK so Jason & I are officially an item now.
Sorry I suddenly sound like a schoolgirl but I feel like one, you know?
I’m all giddy, feel like I’m back in high school or something.
Still trying 2 figure out why he likes me…
We spent a lot of time together over the weekend.
Didn’t tell my dad or his mom.
Tiptoeing around, keeping it on the down low.
Dante suspects something is up but hasn’t said anything.
Funny how he doesn’t seem 2 want me himself but is jealous of my other guys.
Jason is really sweet, sympathetic, supportive.
Doesn’t seem put off by my issues.
He thinks I’m really hot.
What more could a girl want?
Oh and Milo L-O-V-E-S him.
They romped around on the grass at Willard.
Match made in heaven.
It’s hard 2 make out with your jaw wired shut u know?
Can be done tho! Going 2 doctor this week so I should find out when wires come out.
How do u explain why u like someone?
Is it animal attraction? Sympathetic electric frequencies? Connection on some cellular level?
Sometimes it’s intellectual, sometimes spiritual, sometimes purely physical.
U know it when u just click, right?
I’ve had relationships that are entirely sexual & some that are 100% platonic but as deep as any physical connection.
The best of course are the ones that hit the trifecta: your minds connect, your souls are in sync and damn the sex just rips your head off.
I think I may have found the combo platter in Jason: soul-mind-body. He hasn’t made me cry in bed yet like Dante. But he did make me scream.
I know what you’re thinking: but Zoe he’s your stepbrother!
Dude I just met this guy a week ago for fuck’s sake.
I didn’t even go to the wedding.
He’s only been my stepbrother for like a year or something.
He’s not my blood brother or anything.
No right now he’s just Mr. Dreamy and I plan 2 ride this as far as it will take me.
U know it’s about time something good happened in my life.
I’ve been living on Shit Street for too fucking long.
People take life for granted.
They think they’re entitled.
Believe you me, it can all go to hell with the snap of a finger.
I had it good, going to a good school, healthy, pretty, all going my way and look what happened 2 me.
It all fell apart.
So nobody begrudge me a little bit of happiness.
You hear that @beccagold? I know you disapprove but please don’t fucking tell dad.
It seems like so long ago I was with rayRay but that was like just two weeks ago.
And then of course there’s Dante.
I haven’t been home too much.
He doesn’t follow me on Twitter and that’s a damn good thing.
Shit! I wonder if Jason is on here somewhere…
Beautiful hummingbird is hovering by my face, checking me out.
Flit, dart, zip, this way and that.
Checking me out with those tiny eyes.
Cocks its head, sees me from different angles, wings beating a gazillion times a second. Like running in place, but never for very long.
How does it do that? She moves so fast that she stands still.
Always flying on, doesn’t stay anywhere long enough to get in trouble.
Weird that this bird just appears on the front porch today.
Is this my mom’s spirit, come to check up on me?
Does she know about Jason?
Jason and I feel like Romeo and Juliet.
What would our family say?
Dude I can’t even go there.
I searched Twitter.
Wherefore art thou Jason?
Not on Twitter, as far as I can tell.
Only 1 tweeting right now is this little bird…
I whisper my secrets to the world on Twitter.
Shhh, don’t tell any1, I’m in a secret relationship!
Any1 else out there see the irony here?
This whole concept spins my head. I am Alice down the rabbit hole.
The Royal Marla would certainly holler “off with her head!” if she knew I was fucking her precious baby. And my Dad? OMG.
Luckily most of you following me don’t even know me, or my family, so my secrets are safe with you, right?
I must be giving off some sort of love scent.
Everywhere I go last couple days, men check me out, eye me up & down like I’m food.
What is it that men think exactly – if I stare/smile/leer at this hot young thing, maybe she will fuck me right here and now?
The funny thing is, what they don’t know is that in my case…I just might do it.
But dude don’t tell anyone!
Today is a big day: back 2 the doctor 2 get wires taken out of my jaw, assuming it’s healing the way it’s sposed to.
It doesn’t feel fixed.
Still clicks and clacks whenever I move my jaw up & down.
I don’t suppose it will ever be 100% though.
I will ask him again to check out my brain, which I know got rattled around when I fell, even tho they swear I have no head injury.
They’re gonna do all kinds of tests.
Not thrilled with the medical care I’ve received, as my regular followers know.
It will be weird tonight, when Jason finally hears my normal speaking voice for the first time.
How odd to be so intimate with someone and not know what they really sound like when they talk?
I can’t imagine that.
I hope he doesn’t flee once I start yakking.
There’s something to be said for a lover who can’t talk back.
I am devastated.
I don’t know if I really want to tweet about this.
It’s very private.
Am I sure I want this out there?
On the other hand, I seem 2 have become an advocate of sorts, for what I’m not really sure, so maybe people should know.
Got my wires out.
My jaw is free.
No brain damage, they insist.
It’s not fixed, not even close, but it works, and I can speak again.
But they did all these tests – blood, scans, u name it – and I got some crushing news.
I have hepatitis C.
It could be worse, I know. It could be HIV.
That’s where I thought the doc was going.
But no, it’s just Hep C.
I don’t know much about it.
Stayed up all night on Dante’s computer looking it up.
Some new drugs but they sound horrible.
The assumption is I got it from all those needles I used on the street, not from sex.
Doc says I’m lucky that’s all I caught.
Doesn’t feel lucky 2 me.
Feels like the end of an age of innocence.
Feels like my whole life just changed, and forever.
Why is the world always against me? Had about 3 seconds of high-flying joy when he took off the jaw wires.
Then I come crashing down again.
If it’s not 1 thing it’s another.
What did I do 2 hurt the universe anyway? I seem 2 have some hella huge fucking cosmic debt 2 pay off.
Milo remains my lifeline, my 1 true love. He perked up & gave a little yip around 11:36 & sure enuf, seconds later…#earthquake!
It was only a quick shake rattle & roll but it’s always fun when the earth decides to get your attention & remind u who’s in charge.
I wish my dog could be more than my earthquake early warning system.
Why can’t he sense impending doom in my personal life?
He could’ve barked “don’t go 2 the doctor mama!” or “don’t let that guy Rory get in your car!” But no, he just lies there & licks his balls.
I feel small personal earthquakes all the time.
I stopped asking “did u feel that?” long ago – cuz no1 ever does.
It’s just me & my brain.
Which right now is cathecting about whether & when & how 2 tell Dante and/or Jason my Hep C news.
Hella freaked out.
This is a tremor through my whole soul.
My tectonic plates have shifted and ripped a scar in my landscape.
Just broke my news to Dante.
He was really supportive and consoling.
Kept saying “it could be worse, it could be worse.”
He’s right of course.
I don’t have the HIV!
Dude I’ve had this gnawing fear that I have AIDS – thank fucking GOD I don’t.
He gave me a big hug but I felt like he was holding back – like he wants 2 be there 4 me but is also afraid 2 touch me.
In typical Dante fashion he immediately was all “ok what’s the next step.”
He always just wants 2 fix everything.
The mind of an engineer.
He also was obsessing about whether I got it from needles & can it be sexually transmitted.
Pretty clear he’ll never fuck me again!
I feel like NO one will ever fuck me again.
I still haven’t told Jason.
He’s been calling, wondering where I’ve disappeared to.
What a cruel trick to restore my voice but take away my sexuality on the very same fucking day.
I believe in love.
I really really do.
I know Dante loves me & I will always love him.
I know my dog & I have unconditional love.
I wouldn’t call what Jason & I have love just yet.
It’s sort of forbidden fruit at the moment, clandestine & passionate & electric.
Love is what gets me through.
I have so many dark days, so many long hard hours, there is so much pain sometimes in my soul.
If it weren’t for the love I give and get I don’t know what I would do.
I probably wouldn’t bother with this struggle.
I’m really not some kind of ho sleeping my way around the street.
It’s all about looking for more love and connection and acceptance.
And now I guess I have 2 pay the price 4 the way I’ve been living the last couple years. Stick needles in my arm & not get sick? Yeah, right
I texted Jason, apologized 4 not being in touch, made a date 4 tonight.
I’m going 2 tell him.
Taking many deep breaths.
Just breathe Zoe…
Jason can go fuck himself, you feel me?
Dude it’s clearer than ever who really loves me & who was just getting some secret verboten pussy.
I’m not sure what I expected from him.
A new stepsister he just met a few weeks ago, now his new girlfriend, and I drop a bomb on him.
But shit, Dante responded with tenderness & concern.
Jason’s basic reaction was: whoa dude.
I didn’t sign up for this shit.
We are young but life is short.
You never know what’s gonna be around the next corner.
I mean seriously, we could all get hit by a bus.
So I guess I shouldn’t blame him 4 not being sure he wants to be with me so much that he’s willing to deal with my issues.
But oh God how I wish he was.
I wish it so bad my whole body aches inside.
I just want to be loved for who I am, 4 what makes me ME.
I’m not so sure this was anything more than a fling, a little Romeo & Juliet vignette within the otherwise tragicomic drama that is my life.
Jason said maybe we should back off & think about things for a few days.
He wasn’t sure this was a healthy relationship even before this...
I just don’t want to end up sad & alone, like so many people. Life is so hard 2 figure out, u know?
A constant test, & I think I’m failing…
I think Jason really liked having sex with a girl who couldn’t talk back. We’d laugh together at my wire-taut teeth & my spitty little voice.
Now that I have a voice he doesn’t seem 2 like what I have 2 say.
Party time is already over & shit’s getting way too heavy for him.
I turn out to be more than he bargained for.
Last night he breaks the news 2 me: he’s going to grad school back east.
Like next week!!
When was the motherfucker going to tell me this?
He swears he hadn’t made up his mind.
He was sposed 2 go but then he met me.
And that had his head spinning & his heart aflutter & blah blah blah.
He was seriously reconsidering, maybe deferring a year.
But now he says, he realizes that being involved w/his stepsister is a doomed proposition. “We don’t really have a future,” he says to me.
Hey dude I’m the one with hep C.
I’m the one with no future.
Yours is apparently boundless & enhanced by a masters degree. You fuck.
Sitting here in limbo beneath a redwood tree that’s been living & growing & soaring since maybe 1850.
Think how much it has seen.
It is surrounded by its family: little green shoots & sprigs, younger redwood clones, even some bay trees & pines taken into its circle.
Its bark all scrabbly & worn, the color of a roan horse, shreds & threads peeling off but that thick hide still guards its heart deep inside
Who guards my heart?
Where is my family circle? There is no mighty mama or papa redwood keeping me safe.
I’m like some forlorn sapling left to twist in the wind alone in some bleak corner of the forest.
The birds shit on me.
I fucked up. Sooner or later my dad & Marla will find out about Jason.
I am going 2 be pushed even farther out of what’s left of my family.
So many of you tweeple urged me 2 try 2 get back with my family.
Well I did & look how I screwed it up.
One of them fucked me, literally, & the rest really never stopped fucking me in the first place.
This is why I adopt other orphan trees around me 2 form my own family. Our barks are different colors but we can be just as close & strong.