Man! challenge in a can Man!





Feeling Blurred

It's the tiniest things most of the time. Miniscule slivers of everyday that set someone off. Today, for Jubilee, it's the paper picture that came with the frame she bought. At the mall, in her zone, with her girls, all she saw was the cataract-causing yellow paint flecked with even more yellow glitter, and she knew that was manufactured by one of Santa's elves gone bad, gone into retail, and he'd had her in mind, no doubt. Who else would buy it? Kitty made a gagging noise; Rogue just laughed. Jubes didn't give a flying fuck, it was perfect.

Back at the Mansion, picking through her booty of the day, Kitty ripping the tags from her new clothes, singing along with Missy Elliot, Jubilee got a better look at the place-holder behind the glass. Just random people, doing their vacuous smiles, but she's transfixed. Turns the frame over, pushes the brackets aside with her "Blissful Sunbeam" lacquered finger, and pops the picture out. Gets up close, right on it, about two inches from her face. At this distance, she can see the pixels bleeding into one another, red dot in the midst of blue, green marring black, all of it fuzzy held in this not-intended sort of way. It's meant to be discarded immediately, tossed in the waste-paper basket and forgotten about completely, not scrutinized.

Sitting here on her bed in the safe-haven she's found for herself, looking at the grinning faces of people who might be dead, might be robots, might be anti-mutant rabble-rousers, she goes through the list one by one, Jubilee's chest constricts, feels full, tight, over-whelmed. There's no reason for it besides the fact that the family, mother, father, little boy, all look vaguely not caucasian, something else, asian, native, latin, she can't tell in the hazy bleed of too close, can't tell from normal distance because of the soft focus. And she gets the part that she's not supposed to know the ethnicity there. Just random people with dark hair, happy, disposable, not-white family. But today she doesn't feel like a user, a disposer, she feels like someone who holds onto things.

She replaces the back on the glass, twists the brackets, and folds the paper picture in four squares. Pulls out the drawer of her bed-side table and shoves the picture under the stack of English flashcards she stuck in there a year ago. Flips through the snapshots Kitty had developed last week and picks one with as many people crowded into the frame as possible--Bobby, Kitty, John, Piotr, Rogue, herself, Prof X, and Miss Grey sitting on the arm of his chair--too many people for the point and click camera, everyone just out of focus, and Jubilee thinks maybe that's best, so you can remember your own way, scrub out the parts you don't like. Like someone could remember a picture of a smiling family with a mother, a father, and a little girl instead of a boy, a hazy memory that could be augmented with a blurred photo looked at in half-light. That could happen to someone, sometime, she thinks to herself as she clamps the brackets on her new, blindingly yellow, glittery picture-frame.

Jubilee. Full. Picture.

Man! challenge in a can Man!