Natasha looked out at the water. The warm Maui wind blew her hair around her face and shoulders. Her eyes focused, or something else, the contraction that happens before the tears come. Because it was more than water she was looking at. How it felt for her to see the sun setting on the water and how it looked to her were different than for other people. What she saw was the highest form of art. The living moving breathing aliveness, the event, the subliminals tied to it. Subliminals are the cords which connect what is waiting inside us with outer movements. So say I walk into a room and a glass falls at my feet and shatters, what's inside me will determine how I respond.
It was the gap between where the last part of the sun was setting and the rest of the sky she was particularly focused on. It was lighter blue and looked carved out. Around it the sky was turning darker but the colors expanded along the horizon. Eventually including the most beautiful light pink color she had ever seen and an orange that made her accept her least favorite color. The color orange is supposed to stand for creativity.
When Natasha was in her early twenties she went to a community college where her Anthropology I teacher told her and the class that yellow is the opposite of blue. Natasha raised her hand and said no, "Orange is the opposite of blue." They actually argued about it until other students got annoyed and told her to shut up.
"Yellow is the opposite of blue."
"No, orange is the opposite of blue. I've seen a color wheel."
"Not on the rgb scale."
"Ok maybe, but that's different."
Natasha thought, "Rgb scale?" He said it like it was the only thing that mattered, probably because he wanted to be right. Computers aren't the only thing that matter. She wanted to be right. And on top of it she was pretty sure he worked for the FBI. She knew it would be a trap.
Natasha couldn't study anyway. She sat in the library and took notes the wrong way. She had forgotten how to study and the heavy dose of medication she was on made it nearly impossible. She wasn't like the kids at the college. They were kind of slick. Young, focused on their appearance (which was like a shell and not yet incorporated into them), and they had no idea the things she'd already lived. They didn't care about her at all. In fact she felt closer to the teacher she decided she had to get away from than than any one of them. It's nice to meet you, shake my hand, now I might walk away forever.
It would be funny, thought Natasha, if she started threatening people with that. "You'll never see me again." The people she felt had wronged her or might wrong her. Just walk away and never look back. It would be funny she thought because people saw more of her than they might want already. And she was beginning to think that perhaps once she walked away, once she laid down the photographs she kept tossing into the sky of the internets and turned her back on her digital image, then it would begin appearing in unexpected places. In other words, people would start taking her pictures and putting them up for her. And she might not actually be ready for that. Sounds ridiculous right? "I'm going to walk away from this knowing it'll blow up." Which is why she kept that particular show open. The showing of pictures she had control of. Because she was extending it out, like a dribble of frosting left on the spoon. She thought she could get some more off the spoon.
Natasha was sick and tired of the game. Her aspirations were always high. She would go into deep depression only to use it to essentially run, walk, and hide to the top of Everest. Even when she was completely down and out the conveyor belt she was strapped to kept moving forward. Once she stepped off the conveyor belt she would be an original product ready for distribution. Part of her did want to go back, but the outrageous events in her life were addictive. Despite her longstanding defense that she didn't want to be on planet earth, she was curious.
Natasha was right, but her teacher was also right. The mistake the teacher made was assuming she was wrong and later finding out she was misunderstood. This happened to Natasha a lot. She came in with something no one was expecting over and over again and people rose to the occasion of showing her where she went wrong. And while they were arguing over who was right, usually that takes two, they were metaphorically racing each other out of that level.
The reason why Natasha finished the levels faster than the others was because they were building the levels for her now. They would construct one, she would enter the first phase and go straight through to the end often ripping open the construction site on the next one. They had never seen someone as motivated as her. They heard of someone, but they didn't see that person. But she was the one they could see. Natasha was a stair runner, a tight rope walker, an acrobat, a protective presence, a destructive presence, a line crosser, and region changer, and a lover. She was something the world was parched for. She was brand new. They hadn't seen anything like it. The stories were nothing like the reality. When you were on a level with her it was usually because she called you in. At least for the players with larger roles. You got to come on her level. She couldn't go down to other levels that much, because it was too damaging. She couldn't protect herself there from what competitive, damaged players wanted to do to her. They wanted to bring her down. So it was like she was standing at the top of the world, just a few feet away from hands reaching out not to save her, but to pull her down. This is part of the reason she knew she had achieved something more than what appeared on the surface, because there were people who wanted to take it away. She wouldn't let them take it away.
Natasha pulled out of school before her grades could be counted. She was failing Anthropology. She fell on her back in Jazz class with the beautiful, strong woman named Ang. Otherwise the classes were kind of mediocre. She was too busy looking over her shoulder in empty corridors to see if the serial killer was following her. Everyone told her she was crazy. It didn't matter completely what they said even then, because she knew he was real. He had concocted this situation. He was the reason she was told she was crazy. What better way to keep her alive. If he had a legitimate source going around telling people what happened, and that she thought she was being stalked by a serial killer, and if they did something about it then he would be in trouble. So he found a chink in her armor and he discredited her. He took a lot away from her and replaced it with what was convenient for him. He took over her life, one life at a time, one piece at a time. He replaced clothing with other clothing that looked the same. He put tracking devices in her shoes. He replaced her DNA. He erased her fingerprints. He was planning on maybe removing her altogether. He couldn't anymore, she saw to that, but there was a time when he considered it.
The game that was being played was really between them. They were opposing chess players. It was always his side against hers. What happened to the people in between was a result of two opposite teams coming together in epic clashing. And people had to pick their side. Natasha was the closest to beating him. But the truth is it wasn't about beating each other, it was about preserving balance so both sides could coexist and that was where she delivered. She could balance him, everyone else usually got taken out by him. Mr. X. Zero. He would make a calculation and then zero them. He could turn almost any number to a zero.
When Natasha went running she wasn't just running. She got to the gym and set up a perimeter. She felt it out. She watched her back, except for when she completely didn't. Like when she would stand facing the lockers with NIN blasting and set her water down while she looked for her pills. She always tried not to leave her drinks unattended, but she was getting a little sloppy. She wasn't sure how long a glass of water was good for after she poured it. When she ran she saw visual images in her mind of the levels. She wasn't alone there. She saw a guy who was a hoop jumper. The guardians were setting up hoop after hoop for him, because he jumped in and out so fast. He was like a pogo stick. She loosely knew of some other contenders, but most of them were busy on lower levels, they weren't ready to come up. Or someone came up but they got knocked down really fast so she never saw them.
Natasha found herself sitting in the darkness in the sand. This happened to her sometimes. She would temporarily leave her body. Or rather, a larger part of her consciousness would go somewhere else leaving a small consciousness around her body. She would awaken into herself again and find that she was sore, in an awkward position, and really thirsty or something. For fresh pina coladas in the fancy restaurant behind her. But no she didn't have time for $10 pina coladas, even virgin ones. She wasn't ready for the next level, but it had already begun, and it didn't matter what she wanted. The good of the whole was always the trump. And it changed daily.
//Natasha stood up and as she walked toward the water she took her clothes off until she was running and ripping them off. Then she was swimming out, ducking under the waves. Someone else stood up in the darkness by a palm tree. He smiled. A slow, menacing smile. Then he walked over to her jeans and pulled a tiny flash drive out of the pocket, replacing it with an identical one he held in his hand. He glanced at her underwear, a strange expression passed across his face, and he walked away.//