KOOKABURRA

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,

Merry merry king of the bush is he.


He sits on a park bench sometimes, and sometimes she watches him. He seems pensive, although that expression could also register as constipated. She tries to avoid him most of the time, like she always has, but when she can't, he acts like he's okay. He's dumb, drunk and alive. He always acts like that, except when he's on the park bench.

She never talks to him – talking to him would be opening the door to a whole plethora of demons she can barely keep contained anyway. Sometimes she thinks; that maybe, if she had been better at talking, she could have asked Cassidy the right questions, maybe made things turn out different; not exactly better, at least for her, but something different. She guesses that, more likely than not, asking the right questions of Cassidy would have just gotten her killed – yes that would technically be different, but really not what she was hoping for.

If she's watching him, she hides. She doesn't force him to put the mask back on, make a dumb joke and and just be okay, be alive. People walking through the park give him odd looks; a few ask if he's alright. They both know no-one who knows him is meant to see him like this, see him not okay. She remembers that feeling – right after it happened, she had hidden in her house, not wanting anyone to see the mess Cassidy had made of her. Even as she came back out into the world, she always hid how bad she still was. Then she had gone to college and her roommate had been promptly raped, so the world forgot about her. She preferred it that way.

She had almost thrown up the first time she thought of what would have happened if Parker wasn't raped, if she stayed Victim of the Year. If her friends had to keep asking her "Are you okay?", not having someone better to pity. It made her nauseous because she was grateful that they all stopped paying attention to her, and yeah, she hated herself for that. It still makes her a little sick, feeling that way, but it's not like Parker has any idea.

She remembers how Dick had shown up at their room the night before the rape; banging on the doors, looking for Parker. After it, Mac had wondered if it could have been him, paranoia made worse by talk of the Pi Sigs; serial rape as... what? A hazing ritual?

She had wanted it to be him. She had wanted a clean break, erasure of anything that reminded her of winter carnivals and Sadie Hawkins dances; Pizza Quest '06 and the Phoenix Land Trust. She had wanted Dick to be just as evil as Cassidy was; nature not nature; finally putting to rest her pathetic fantasies of a world where Woody Goodman just kept his hands to himself. But Dick continued to be inconvenient and not a rapist, so she went on.

Everyone else is just too stupid to notice she and Dick are still not fucking okay; but then again, everyone, including them, was too stupid to notice how not okay Cassidy was. She remembers things; how he never was enthusiastic about her, never wanted to take it further (until that night) – she thought it weird, and doubted herself, but never delved to the darkest sorts of reasons. She had cried in the shower that night, before he stole her clothes – she thought it was her fault, that she just wasn't good enough to make him want her; God, she was an idiot. She should have known. It really wouldn't have done any good, for her to have known (months too late), but she should have anyway.

Sometimes Dick insists on talking to Veronica, which is stupid, because Veronica hates him, but puts up with it when he arrives. Sometimes Mac theorizes that he's looking for an explanation in the one person who did figure it out – Mac thinks that plan weirdly masochistic. She knows Veronica hasn't told her exactly what has happened, but she always neatly avoids asking her friend: What happened? What haven't you told me?

Sometimes she considers going up to that bench and sitting down, telling him she knows he's not okay. But she always loses ideas at that point; what she would say, what she could say. She kind of doubts he'd wide up appreciating it if she interfered with his pain (then again, Cassidy didn't appreciate people interfering with his pain), and she really doesn't want to tear off the layers and layers of duct tape she's put over her Cassidy-shaped wound; sidestepping Dick is just another part of that.

She hates Cassidy; for the things he did; the bus, the plane, how he left her all alone in the hotel room. She somewhat obviously hates Woody Goodman; the things he did to Cassidy and how, for some reason, she's still not allowed to blame it all on him. She even hates Veronica a little, for figuring it out and winding up on that roof because she was trying to save Mac; getting Cassidy where it was just too easy for him to kill himself (Mac did love him and misses him) and that bit became her fault.

Most of all, she hates Dick. She hates him for letting Cassidy get signed up for Little League in the first place (even though she can't really blame him for not knowing before it happened), for not figuring out what was going on while it was going on; for being such a drunk, insensitive asshole; the personification of why Cassidy needed to hide what happened to him so badly.

But Cassidy was her boyfriend and she loved him; Veronica is one of her best friends and in Dick, she sees herself. She sees herself being too stupid to figure out everything but then and being one of the few people bothering to miss a mass-murderer now. Sometimes she wonders if he feels the same way about her; if he sees all guilt and history and at least a dozen dead people. She never asks, of course, and the question isn't all that important.

She's self-centered about this, she accepts that. But what point is there to asking questions? No, it's easier to patch up the wound and pretend she's moved on; to pretend he's moved on and when he takes a swig of his beer and makes another lewd comment, it means something. But yes, she knows he'll keep winding up on this bench, looking pensive-cross-constipated, and worse, she'll keep winding up watching him.


Laugh, Kookaburra laugh.

Kookaburra gay your life must be.