Patricia Arquette Lost Highway (film), 1997
I have found myself to be as featureless as this ocean, as shallow and unoccupied as this bay, a listless wreck without identification.
Anaïs by Thomas Babeau
Sterling Kauffman · 26 · public relations
Given puppies to tease, drawing paper to shred, electronics to poke, he wants for little as a child. He’s spritely and light-footed in his maroon and white private school uniform. He springs spryly out of conflict’s path; schoolyard fights exist for arranging impromptu bets, not for participating in. On fields and courts, he’s unskilled but picturesque. The air balls he throws are graceful and tender, delivered with long limbs and an undaunted smile. On his high school soccer (“futball,” he always correctly overpronounces it with lips kiss-shaped) team, his gazelle aimlessness is tolerated as a lovely backdrop if not outright renown from the bleachers.
The day he faints in biology class at the sight of blood, he knows something has to be done. He reads The Art of War; picks fights with his father over current events; steals his friends’ girlfriends; he turns to stone against his mother over the course of a year, three hundred sixty-five bricks at a time. The battle he invents is as good as any physical combat he could engage in. He prides himself on his ability to stand against something, and grooms his brand new skills of opposition like a glossy, stabled thoroughbred. It doesn’t matter that he disarms with a smile when he picks the wrong fight or grows bored of the argument. What matters is polishing his silver blade for the Real War, whatever and whenever it may be.
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"Difficult women," he repeats the topic of conversation as if to an audience. Often his responses have to have titles; often he has to announce subject matters to repurpose them as his own. If there were a camera, it would have come to rest on him, centered, finding its clarity in his narrowing his eyes and the cigarette smoke exhaled from the nostrils to clear his throat’s path. "I love difficult women," he brags. He brands. The sedate chuckling of the men around him is the noise of gentle slaughter. The discussion, and all the difficult women in the world, are his.