III: Wind-Slapped

Is it still me that makes you sweat,

Am I who you think about in bed?

When the lights are dim and your hands are shaking

As you're sliding off you dress?

Then think of what you did

And how I hope to G-d he was worth it

(when the lights are dim and your heart

is racing as you fingers touch his skin. . . .)

I've got more wit, a better kiss

A hotter touch, a better fuck

Then any boy you'll ever meet

Sweetie you had me

~ "Lying is the Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off"

by Panic at the Disco

Freedom is a strange thing.

It dances on the tip of the tongue, on the spaces of the mind, tucking a smile and wanting to slip under your skin but too allusive to do such a thing. Freedom must be earned; freedom will not be given simply because you want it. If you are lucky enough to always know freedom, for the sake of all good things please cherish it.

Freedom is like water.



Slipping so easily through the fingers.

I stumbled into the office and blinked away the mantle of confusion and sleep. There are those who say that the disproportionate incidence of eating disorders in Jewish women is because of need to relive the events of the Holocaust in the modern age. They perhaps fail to note the equally disproportionate number of Jews in the upper-class and the heightened incidence of eating disorders in upper-class women.

But I digress.

Tony smiled at me as I shakily sat down, using every ounce of self-control not to show how I shook. That is always that way it is in the beginning. You bound with energy, thrilled by the high of watching your spinning body rely on so little. You want to dance, to show them that you're fine, fine, fine that way you're light of air, just a breath. You are like a tree, feeding strong from sunlight and soil, your root deep and buried in the cool cool earth. At the same time you are delicate and precious as a flower, and they should marvel at your fragrant, passing beauty, appreciate you even more because aren't you so very very breakable then?

I brushed my hair back from my shoulders and turned my focus to the computer screen. Enough with vanity. I had more important things to do than moon over boys like a high school girl. Not that I'd spent much time mooning. You don't have that luxury in a war. I was fifteen when I lost my virginity in a weapons carrier. It's so perfect – destruction and creation right next to each other, his fingers and a bayonet both tangled in my hair. When my father asked me why I'd done it, I returned that did he really believe that the Palestinian guards were usually so careless in their surveillance, and did he or did he not want to know where Israeli prisoners were being kept? I don't know if he realized that I lost my virginity that time. I don't know that he would have even cared.

And when I made love to Michael for the first time all those months later, when he entered me I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and didn't know why for the longest time, except to venture that maybe I couldn't stand for him to see me like that, broken like spat out food, a bag for bones. I did not think he could love me. No one loved me. And didn't I prove it with the badges of my protruding ribs, with the broken blue nails and jutting hipbones and dull, limp hair that broke when he pushed it out of my face? He smelled like fresh coffee. . . .

"Ziva?" Abby's clear voice broke my thoughts and I shook my head to clear the cobwebs. Focus. "You in there?"

"I am here, Abby," I replied. "Did you want something?"

"Kinda." A streak of discomfort flashed across her face, piquing my curiosity.

"I am pretty sure it is a yes or no question," I almost immediately regretting the words. Don't be such a bitch, Ziva, this is why you don't have friends. Must I do everything around here? You're like a little child: Careless.

"Well, you see I got these passes or tickets things, I don't really know what you would call them, for this spa that's opening in Georgetown, because my friend Drake who's totally cool has these coupons left over from when he worked there but now he's moving because his girlfriend is going to France for this job – he's going to propose to her in the airport! It's going to be so awesome, I helped him pick out the ring. I hope she likes it. It's a white diamond, which I thought would be nice because it matches so much, right, but I don't know it could be a little boring oh God I hope he doesn't not get her because of me because that would just be so awful and –"

"Abby, the tickets?"

"Right! So the next opening they have isn't for like three months, but I booked a day at the spa and it's a free all access pass for me and friend, so I thought you might be my friend!" she said with cheery aplomb. I smiled at her.

"That sounds nice. I would enjoy that." Three months distance – there was no reason I couldn't lose thirty pounds in that time. A day at the spa was an apt reward. Now that was the sort of nourishment I needed. Not food. I didn't need food. I was stronger than any supposed physical force. I could reach out of myself and grab whatever I needed to get going, to keep on. Food was just a creation of the mind. I only needed hum of my mind to know that doing fine, and it was all overrated. And maybe if I drifted long enough on that dreaming high of nothing I could crash at last into a velvet darkness where there was no more screaming.

The nightmare goes on and on.

Always the screaming.

Always the faces.

I can feel my body grow hot and slick with the blood of others and I see and feel him on me. Half-cradled and half-choked, the bite of my lips has an edge and I don't know if he's going to bite my tongue right out. He might rape me. He might kill. He might make love to me until I'm raw and bleeding. And I can Hit. Every. Spot. But it doesm't matter because he'll drain me until there's nothing left, the vampire. And the only time he's left me alone in the last six months is when I fell asleep at Tony's house and woke up in his arms. . . .

I'm so tired.

I need my life back.

I need the dark.