Doubt. It seeps in like a creeping fog, permeating the air and turning it grey as rotting flesh. It seems to spread a contagious infection and resists all hope of a cure. It is a cancer, aggressive and eats away at the mind and the soul, leading to a vicious circle of negativity and poison. It is an uphill battle to keep it at bay and stop the nagging thoughts, a classic struggle between darkness and light.
If i stop moving, it will get me. The slimy, scaly fingers will snake and slide up my legs and grasp me tightly-i will be dragged over the edge and plummet to the dirty depths. I will be forced to inhale the filthy air, the toxic, decaying fumes. It will turn my organs black. I will rot. Rats and spiders will crawl over me, gnawing, nibbling. It is the place where hope dies a death. I will become a tiny shell with no brain, a haunted version of myself, a decomposing whisper. I can’t stop moving.
It never fully goes away. It’s always there, gnawing away heartstring after heartstring, lurking beneath the glassy calm of my fleeting serenity. It knows exactly when to strike.
I can feel it begin as a clammy fist around my lungs. A lump in my throat. It rises steadily to my spaghetti junction brain, clouding my vision. Everything is silent, murky, underwater. My soul turns a dirty, inky black.
I start to think and feel foreign things. As though i inherited a new brain via transplant. The overwhelming desire to walk into traffic and be knocked swiftly into a numb, floating limbo. The world turns a brilliant white.
I hop from one foot to the other and bite my lip until it bleeds.
Fight or flight. Fight or flight. Fight or flight.
Oh god, i’m never sure what anchors my feet to the ground.
I think about him a lot. Everytime i look out the window to my left, every time i pass the spot where he died.
I heard a loud clanging, crashing noise. I thought it was to do with construction in the garden, but it wasnt. I began to hear pleading cries. Urgent yet apprehensive footsteps. I approached the window overlooking the fire escape. There was a man clinging to the outer cage, intent on jumping. People begged him not to. Several others in the garden stood frozen in terror, witnessing the horror unfold.
He let go.
Screams echoed all around as he hit the ground with a nauseating, revolting thud. That sound will never leave me. Neither will the sight of his crumpled body. They wondered how he could do such a horrid thing. I understood exactly. A cup of tea eased the shock of the afternoon, but im not sure anything can eradicate it from my memory.
I looked like a Christmas gift. Red velvet dress, red velvet hair ribbon, white tights and licorice black Mary Janes. I stared at my reflection in the elevator mirror and gritted my teeth. I had grave forebodings about this soiree. Schmoozing and schmalzing were not my strong points.
“You need to lose weight. Tub of guts, so you are. Fat shit.” His stinging observation brought me back to the present. I should have been used to them by now, but that certainly smarted. He scanned me up and down, obviously nauseated at the sight of my apparently monstrous appearance. I stifled the urge to point out his own beer-swelled belly, straining against his ugly shirt, threatening to pop a few buttons.
We had reached our floor. The elevator doors groaned open, revealing a raucous party in full swing.
The hosts came to greet us, cooing and gushing with saccharine sweetness. He headed straight to the bar. I loitered around the bowls of popcorn and cheese doodles, playing with the ends of my hair and watching him down the first of many whiskeys that night.
Eventually a group of people my age came to my aid and invited me to join them. My mind relaxed and wandered as they hobnobbed and guffawed, laughing gaily at topics that were largely foreign to me. I smiled politely and feigned interest.
As the night wore on, I noticed him becoming more and more intoxicated. His eyes were glazed, he was slouching and having trouble conversing, by the looks of things. I decided to make my way over and suggest we leave. As I did, I noticed a figure in the corner. She stood out from the rest of the guests, yet nobody appeared to notice her. She was wearing a bloody, grotesque mask and stood forlornly as a willow tree. I blinked, and she had disappeared. I felt full of trepidation, and a wave of cold terror washed over me. I had to get out of there. I walked over to the bar and practically had to surgically remove the glass from his hand. He sidled his way over to the door and into the elevator. I told him I wanted to get a taxi home. He silenced me with a stinging slap across the face and insisted he drive.
As I buckled my seatbelt, I felt sure I was going to die before I made it home. I don’t know why I didn’t get out. He belched and drooled and fumbled with the keys before miraculously starting the car.
We screeched out into the traffic, and the battered old Buick began to lurch, along with my stomach and its contents. He said it wasn’t his fault. His speech was so slurred. The car continued to jerk, apparently of its own accord. Already, I could hear sirens. Soon enough, a police car came into view. They tried to pull us over, but alcohol won.The car accelerated down the hill and with an almighty crash my world turned inky black.
Searing pain. My eyes flew open. I choked on the tube that ran down the back of my throat as tears soaked my cheeks. I was on an operating table, being operated on. The burning! The blistering, white-hot burning! The surgeon called for more anaesthetic. As I floated into a drug addled haze, I noticed a figure in the corner. She was wearing a bloody, grotesque mask and stood forlornly as a willow tree. I flatlined.
Solitude is more addictive than any drug. The more time i spend in my own world, the more i crave it. Being around people, having to make conversation and enjoy myself….it makes me queasy. Its dizzying. It requires enormous effort and i am simply exhausted.
The problem is, solitude can be very, very dangerous. Especially when you muse and brood and daydream as much as i do. It’s a poisonous habit to have. It lures me in with false promises of comfort and security, when really im being lead down a rabbithole to a world filled with formaldehyde. A place where everything is suspended and frozen, and where people just float forever. Like a sinister Neverland.
In my world, its always nighttime. Spring is hurtling towards me, and soon ill have nowhere left to hide.
The wounds had begun to knit. Slowly the ooze dried and crusted and scabbed. The intense weight on my chest started to lessen, ever so gradually. I could take deep breaths instead of choking once the air reached the back of my throat. I was getting used to being nothing, being worthless, being ugly, being subpar. Always being second string. I was by no means content, but i had grown to accept a certain way of life.
Then again he appeared. Amidst the crowd i could sense him, the man in the death mask. He approached me stealthily, invisible to everybody else. A glimmer….a syringe. He plunged the needle into my neck and instantly my insides began to freeze and slow. Ihateyouihateyouihateyou. He reminds me of the horror. He apparates when i least want him to and brings it all back.
The scars burst open and the goo rushes back out. I am back at square one.
If only i could kill him.
It’s back. Like a cancer it spreads its dirty infection to my heart, my lungs, my brain. I can no longer bear thinking or feeling. I am dusty and decomposing on the inside….rotten to the core. When i wake, a crushing loneliness pierces me like a rusty pneumatic drill. The feelings of loss and despair and isolation permeate every minute of my day and cloud my eerie dreams at night. I feel as though i am a ghost, that i can see people but they cant see me. Never before have i felt so invisible, like i don’t matter or don’t belong. Happiness is a foreign concept, a glistening memory, one i can’t imagine feeling again in this lifetime.
The road ahead is treacherous and bleak. I’m not sure i’m prepared for the journey.
Life has become a symphony of monotony. Drab, dull, dreary, stale, stagnant. Days are like slow dribbles that form months of standing water. Im tied to railroad tracks waiting for a train to come hurtling towards me, pulverising and dismembering me before reassembling me like a ragdoll and sending me off into another life.
Im lying on a raft in the middle of a nameless ocean, waiting for the current to pull me somewhere, anywhere. Im suffocating, confined. Im wearing a straitjacket and a gag.
Too many colourless dreams, searching for people i cant find.
Something’s got to give.
I’m lying in a gutter. I cannot move and I am still winded. Rats scurry around my head. My left eye is swollen shut. My feet are in a puddle. Somebody is dropping bowling balls on my chest. My ribs are smashing and everything is caving in.
A truck turns into the alley, headlights off. It’s too dark for him to see me and I’m too tired to move.