"You can't just make me different, and leave.." Connections

Hello again, I feel like I may have gotten one of the best parts of the book to make connections on. Despite it being a tad bit sad, it's also beautiful. Before I read this quote, I had no words to describe being changed by someone you love, and that love leaves. I had no words. But Pudge gave me some.

   I stood up and stared down at him sitting smugly, and he blew a thin stream of smoke at my face, and I'd had enough. "I'm tired of following orders, a**hole! I'm not going to sit with you and discuss the finer points of her relationship with Jake, godda** it. I can't say it any clearer: I don't want to know about them. I already know what she told me, and that's all I need to know, and you can be a condescending p**k as long as you'd like, but I'm not going to sit around and chat with you about how godd***ed much she loved Jake! Now give me my cigarettes."

"You don't even love her!" he shouted. "All that matters is you and your precious f***ing fantasy that you and Alaska had this good***ed secret love affair and she was going to leave Jake for you and you'd live happily ever after. But she kissed a lot of guys, Pudge. And if she were here, we both know that she would still be Jake's girlfriend and there'd be nothing but drama between the two of you--not love, not sex, just you pining after like, 'You're cute, Pudge, but I love Jake.' If she loved you so much, why did she leave you that night? And if you loved her so much, why'd you help her go? I was drunk. What's your excuse?" The Colonel let go of my sweater, and I reached down and picked up the cigarettes.

So, the whole situation sucks there's all these emotions, which come with loss. Anger, bitterness, hate, angst, fear, sorrow, pain, aching, heartbreak, and just plain utter loss for words. Someone loving a taken dead girl does not want to hear about the relationship she had, which was not him. Pudge is stuck; he does want to know. But he also really doesn't. It's an even split. Either one of those 2 options leave scars. With what the Colonel says, I think that, Alaska loved multiple people and in different ways, after thinking long and hard about the way Alaska reacted to Jake and the words Pudge used to describe him, as Alaska most likely saw him...

I don't think she loved Jake. She loved the idea of him: a mature, model-esque, hot guy, who caters to her sure, and treats her like the most beautiful thing in the world. But when it came to Pudge, I think he was a bit of a mystery to Alaska as well. She knew boys like him, he was the typical inexperienced, a bit nerdy boy. She wondered why though. She had engaging conversation with Pudge, and shared her thoughts, her mind with him. Even though he didn't quite understand hers, she still showed him. Speaking about the Labyrinth, the book collection, the tragic losses in her life.

(p.172) I wondered if there would ever be a day when I didm't think about Alaska, wondered whether I should hope for a time when she would be a distant memory--recalled only on the anniversary of her death, or maybe a couple of weeks after remembering only to have forgotten.

With such mystery in a loved-girl, now stuck in death, does that wound ever scar? Or stay always? Being scratched at the seams and stitches, bleeding every so often. Perhaps silently, unnoticeably, but still bleeding.

(p.172) She made me different.

"You can't just make me different and then leave," I said out loud to her. "Because I was fine before, Alaska. I was fine with just me and last words and school friends, and you can't just make me different and then die." For she had embodied the Great Perhaps--she had proved to me that it was worth it to leave behind my minor life for grander maybes, and now she was gone and with her my faith in perhaps. I could call everything the Colonel said and did "fine". I could try to to pretend that I didn't care anymore. but it could never be true again. You can't just make yourself matter and then die, Alaska, because now I am irretrievably different, and I'm sorry I let you go, yes, but you made the choice. You left me Perhapsless, stuck in your good***ed labyrinth. And now I don't even know if you chose the straight and fast way out, if you left me like this on purpose. And so I never knew you, did I? I can't remember, because I never knew."

Pudge, doesn't know what's out "there" but his subconscious does hope she exists out "there" somehow. He saw the world, his life, society, emotions, love, friendship, and intelligence all differently. Because she gave him a part of her. But now it's almost as if he wants to tear it out, like it's burning him. She's not there to make the piece fit better. Now Pudge is left with a bittersweetly painful wound in his chest. That was not healed. That was not finished being"sewn" together. It turned to clumsy stitches with memories, thoughts, and lessons from her to scratch at the stitches on their ways both in and out. Pudge knew her pretty well, but he shouldn't beat himself up about it too much. I'm not so sure it was possible to even fully, completely know Alaska. My connection is Earlier in the the book she said the point was not to figure her out. With what Alaska had gone through, that was her defense mechanism. It's mine too. I often find myself saying after someone says, "I'm just trying to make sense of you or figure you out." That is the point. I don't want you to fully know me, It gives me an edge on everyone else. Alaska doesnt what people to see the darkest parts of her. Because she's a good actor, despite the demons she keeps. Connection: Like when she talks about her home life, she doesn't want others to see with their naked eye, the scars and wounds it left. Pudge said he feels different. And i've been there, exactly I don't know if anyone else has but I have.

With no closure, when a loved one leaves or "leaves", with questions unanswered and pieces of them you've now made into yourself. I found myself saying, you can't just change me, and then be gone. You cannot just switch pieces of yourself with some of mine. Because you no longer know what to do with the pieces that are yours, they sit and fester. They hurt they bleed. You forgot what you used and had them for anyways. And now there are holes where they took pieces of you. The ones you knew better. And your missing things. But you can't put a finger on what that actually is. I think  this is how Pudge feels.

Pudge and the Colonel are trying to figure out how drunk Alaska was that night (p.179) I wonder if Alaska was an alcoholic. Or a soon to be. She may have been the best drinker among them, but how and why did she get there? Because the Colonel has not reached the level of intoxication Alaska was at. And it isn't a "fun" drunk to them. What was it to Alaska? Did she enjoy being that drunk? Or did she do it to rid herself of the Labyrinth for a while?

I don't think Takumi, or the Colonel or Pudge ever fully knew Alaska, because she was a mystery. It's what made her so amazing yet was her protection as well. Their school life  and friendship was derived of solving the forever mystery of Alaska Young. However, it could not be done. But they still tried. And they all changed. Grew wiser, more confident.Despite her end "All" decision, she left the boys with wander of the world. Of life. While they may remain sad for now, I think they take Alaska's existence in their heads, and use it to get them by in life. That is my take, what are your thoughts?



Audrey Lu said...

Alaska Young is an enigma, this is made clear very early on in the book. She isn't meant to be untangled or figured out-- not to us, not to Pudge, or Takumi or Jake or anyone. I think she's just a mystery to everyone involved. And she makes for a very tragic and interesting character in that sense.
My take is similar to yours, she will stay with them in their memories and they'll use those memories to get by in life and remember to not make stupid decisions like she did sometimes. To be fun and spontaneous but to not be reckless, joking and funny but not to push it too far. Her spirit is still alive, in a way, through them remembering her.

Kathy Z said...

I really have to say that Alaska did love Jake, as is evidenced by the fact that she didn't immediately break up with him when Pudge came around. Long distance is tough shit and if she didn't love him she would have put herself out of that misery. Alaska is certainly an alcoholic, as is a symptom of depression and is to be expected with her addictive personality. She pretends she's in control and sometimes she is, but the moments when she isn't are the worst things in the world and end up being her fatal flaw.

Scott Dietzler said...

I think we all know how much I love Alaska's character, and one of the best parts about it is how self-destructive she is. Obviously that's not a good quality to have, but a damn entertaining one to see; not a good entertaining, though, like a train wreck: it's horrible to watch but you can't look away

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