Soggy and miserable, I sat on the pavement. I guess me, sitting there, was quite an interesting picture. Me with my longish hair and slightly bleary eyes. Yes. I imagine I was quite a sight. I imagine it was my mood too. It felt right to sit there and gaze at the rain filling the potholes, drenching the town and clearing the debris from all those hidden corners of the city. I saw lots of trash float by that night: paper cups, plastic bags, a condom or two and some odd bits and pieces of unrecognizable trash.
It was an absorbing sight, not that I was really interested. But to do it justice, I was entertained and even riveted at times. The sibilant water sounds, the steady patter and clank of tons of water falling down from the sky had me gazing steadily in front of me.
I guess I would describe my mood as depressed. However, that’s a bit too mild. Shattered. Wasted, or perhaps some such destructive or rather destroyed sounding word would fit better. My thoughts were quite clear and coherent but I was in the grip of my emotions. They had me in a very strong grip. I was crying and my tears and the rain were one. My tears were drenching me, yet I was drained. It didn’t make sense for me to cry, yet I was helpless; I couldn’t stop them even if I wanted to. Nor could I move from that spot.
Hours passed, perhaps even days, before the grip loosened within me. I looked around and took stock of my surroundings. My brown suede shoes were hopelessly done for. That thought struck me and for some reason manic laughter escaped my throat and I laughed and laughed, curling myself into a fetal position from the pain of it. I think I fainted eventually because the next thing I remember is waking up to a blinding headache.
I had returned to my senses, or maybe they had decided to give me another shot at being in charge. In any case it was a rude awakening. I felt warmth and I was a bit surprised since all I could think of was the bone-chilling cold, of me drenched in my tears. The scent of some flower tickled my nose. It was sweet. “I must be in heaven,” was my first thought. That was before the beast sunk its claws into the soft tissue of my brain. The illusion of heaven was easily dismissed. I smiled despite the pain. Slowly I became aware of the brightness. Daylight. Sunlight warmed my face and greeted me as I opened my eyes. They watered a bit from the brightness but I paid no heed.
I was surrounded by a blue room. The sheets were blue. The door, the walls, the desk, the chair, the curtains and the flowers too. Blue. It felt as if the world consisted of only one color: blue. Of course there were shades of blue, but it took me a while to notice that. I was lying on a soft bed and I guessed the pillow was blue too. I turned my head and was glad to discover that this was indeed the case. I was overjoyed at my discovery. A grin split my face and again I felt the claws sinking in. It went dark again.
My world was void. I was surrounded by a nothingness, deep and dark. There was no sound. There were no lights. Emptiness. I couldn’t feel my body. Nothing. I rested nowhere and I was not conscious of breath or body or sight or sound. Senselessness. I guess my senses had abandoned me. I was mildly surprised. Then panic struck. My pulse raced, my breathing quickened. Or I imagined that. My body was nowhere to be found.
Eons passed, centuries unfolded and I fell endlessly, screaming from my nonexistent throat and hearing nothing. Time dissolved.
I grew aware again. This time it wasn’t as bad. My body was nowhere to be found but I sensed light, all around me; tiny pinpricks of illumination scattered all around me. It was like being in a room filled with candles everywhere, but there were no flames, no flickering lights, only those pinpricks as if I were suspended in deep space. There was no order to those lights and no pattern emerged. I was not looking in any particular direction. There were no directions. Yet I was there, aware of it all. For eternity.
Flowers again. Jasmine. Smell. I breathed a lungful of it. Breath, lungs, nose, chilly air and a dry throat. Awareness came in degrees. First it was my breath, then my empty stomach. My ears filled with a rustling sound, of curtains blowing in a breeze. Cool wind chilled my skin. Goose bumps and shivers. My genitals shrank and my toes tingled. I was back and firmly in place. Relief flooded over me and it felt like my body was a string vibrating with energy. I wallowed in that sensation for a while, breathing. Warmth, sweet perfume and the chill breeze.
Music played. Pause. Music played again, softer this time. It sounded sweet, melodious and complex. It was conflicting with my vibration. I was drawn to it but I didn’t want to lose the sense of my own melody. Helplessly I fell apart and felt my senses scatter. I was looking at a shattered mirror seeing reflections that meant something. Confusion. I was irritated. Something clicked. Sharp sound. My eyes snapped open.
Blue again. This was getting tedious. Music. My ears tingled and suddenly the music made sense. “Ah ha,” sounded in my ear. Music again. This time it said, “Good morning, mister.” My attention was drawn to my right. In the midst of all the blue was a pink face. Face and features resolved themselves slowly taking millennia to form into something coherent, sharp and recognizable. Green eyes held my gaze unabashedly. The lips moved and mouthed something that registered momentarily. “Hello.”
It was a cheerful sounding voice; sweet. I recognized the music. This music had shattered my vibration and brought me back. Click. My eyes snapped to the slim pen in her hand. Her. I was aware of her! The pronoun tingled and my eyes rose to her face again. Pink face, green eyes and long hair that reached her shoulders framing her face. The sun was at her back and the light filtering through her hair gave it a halo of gold. She smiled at my staring eyes flashing her perfect white smile. Stunning. I remembered a stunning smile. The memory tugged at my thoughts, but nothing followed.
“If you’re quite done with your staring, I’d like to get on with asking you a few questions.”
Questions. My mind gripped that word and magnified it. I had questions too. I groaned. This was too much. I wanted to shut it all out: the sound, the music, the wind, everything! My head was bursting. I gripped my head trying to keep it from splitting and fragmenting. The pain increased, my legs thrashed and tangled in the sheets. Music, painful, tense and discordant, sprang from nowhere. The woman was shouting. I felt something drip from my nose. I smelt iron. Red filled my vision. Roaring sea sounds filled my ears. Random noise. I was drowning. I felt something grip my arm and then a pinprick. Coldness like death gripped my arm and it fell numb. The noise and roar in my ears were scattering my thoughts. A strong wind was blowing away fragments of my vision. The coldness reached out and crept upwards to my neck and my head. Numbness followed. Then blackness.
The sun shone on a green meadow. Verdant grass bent in the wind rising and falling – Lilliputian waves in a green sea. A gray mountain stood in the distance, accosted by its younger, greener siblings, occupying a broad swath of the horizon. The wind felt wonderful against my face, blowing my hair backwards. I enjoyed the sensation of it rustling my hair, softly as a caress. I was sitting on a tartan picnic spread with my legs splayed out ahead of me, leaning on my arms as I took in the scenery.
I closed my eyes and regretted it instantly. The air grew colder and I opened my eyes to find myself in a deserted street at dusk. She was standing to my left, gazing at the library while she spoke to me. I looked down aimlessly, noticing the dusty pavement and the litter at my feet. Three cigarette butts lay crushed near my right foot where I had dropped them. There was some ash on my right shoe near the toe. I looked at the brown suede and the stitches that held it together; they looked sturdy. I had a thing for sturdy shoes. I often bought boots and walked around in them till they fell apart, never noting that they were worn until the very end.
Inane thoughts drifted through my mind as she spoke. I could hear the monotonous drone of her voice, but the words refused to order themselves and speak to me. They were like smooth glass marbles, impenetrable, falling into the depths of my soul. The marbles simply sank, slipping smoothly into the darkness, fading, disappearing from sight. A few ripples and then the same smooth calm. Quiet. Blank. Empty. And bleak.
Breathe in deeply. Hold. Hold. Hold. Slowly now, real slow. Breathe out. The smoke felt good and I blew it out slowly, watching my breath as it mingled with the evening fog and slowly lost its identity. My breath, my body and the undefined me, I imagined all three would end the same way, dissolving into the elements, losing our identities and our individuality. My body would decay and decompose releasing the elements that were brought together at birth. The oncoming dissolution was depressing.
I peered at the cigarette, almost crossing my eyes. The end lit up as I breathed in a final puff, growing brighter. I wanted to end that way; brightly. I dropped the butt into a puddle. It fizzed out, hissing at me bitterly for drenching its ambitions to consume some more oxygen and for stealing its fire. Flashing an ironic grin at the puddle, I abruptly walked away from her. My head was pounding and my eyes were watery. Salt burned my eyes and blurred my vision to an indistinct white. I walked on heedlessly, blindly. I wanted to run. My feet picked up the pace and responded to my wish. Soon I was flying.
What goes up, comes down. What flies, falls flat was my contribution. I had indeed fallen. Flat was a bit of an exaggeration, but I argued that my back was flat enough. Never mind the splayed legs and the bent knee sticking out. My ass was hurting, my thighs burned and my lungs had turned to ice. All in all, I was sore. I swore and cursed when my breath returned. Ow. I needed a drink. That was a thought. It had its attractions that persuaded me to find the nearest bar.
Screwdriver. Screwdriver, I insisted and requested Grapefruit. The bartender stood there looking at me with his slightly swollen eyes and stooped appearance. I wondered what he thought of me and wondered what kind of place I’d wandered into. He nodded and proceeded to rummage for the vodka bottle. The shape and label were unrecognizable, but I was in too much need to care. It seemed like ages before he slopped the juice and dropped some ice cubes. I was crazed and quite desperate. The waiting had only sharpened my need. Perhaps he knew that and had used it against me. Smarmy bastard.
Ah. The first sip unlocked the doors and wet my mouth preparing it for the taste. The second was more to my liking. The bittersweet taste with the burning taste of vodka down my gullet was much more the thing I was seeking. I guess he’d added a bit of something else or maybe the vodka had its own flavor because I was suddenly reminded of mint. Green mint with its astringent taste.
I blinked. My eyes were dazzled and struck by the blue sky. The sky was clear; no moisture carrying white clouds to punctuate the blue inverted bowl. My mind was void of thought. I figured I was at one with the sky. No clouds and no thought. Mimic and mocker were two names I gave the sky as I stared at it reading the message of the indecipherable shades of blue. Distraction was nearer and carried its own meaning that vied for my attention. I was at once hot and cold. The pebbles on this small hilltop were making dents in my back and their warmth was welcome but painful. “Mazaag”, the Egyptian word, floated up like from the depths of memory.
Bliss was the only word I could use to describe what I felt. The moment lasted forever. I had no cares in this world and nothing intruded on my thoughts. I closed my eyes and my world was filled with red as light blasted through my closed eyelids. The world grew more intimate and snuggled closer, becoming more immediate. My skin, exposed to the elements was a playground; sun and wind painted an elaborate and intricate tapestry of hot on cold. My back, resting on the ground was a theater of warm bumps at once painful and ecstatic. The warmth was lulling me into somnolence. The taste on my tongue reflected my mood, sweet, astringent, and forceful.
Soothing music of the tides swallowed my thoughts, its indecipherable yet regular melodies felt like a soothing caress. She was brushed my hair as she sang a soft lullaby. Her warm supple fingers smoothed my hair softly. Every brushing motion felt frozen on my skin to be written over by the next. Meaningless words of love flowed from her mouth in time with the motion of her hands and slipped into my ears. I could barely hear them but I sensed their calming message and in every syllable the gentle reminder and assurance of her love. My heart sang gladly and the music was joyful, light, melodious, soft, sweet and gentle – hot and cold.
A warm hand fitted itself on my shoulder. I moaned softly, resenting the distraction. Cool droplets fell on my brow and threatened my reverie. She called to me. I nodded and smiled, breathing a lungful of her and brine, keeping my eyes shut. I feared that any motion or sound I made would let slip the already tenuous thread of my daydream. Wet, salt encrusted lips brushed mine and I opened my eyes to find hers. In her eyes I saw a reflection of my eyes reflecting hers reflecting mine reflecting hers…
Pain ran like a thunderbolt through my head. I was frozen in blinding light, stricken and pinned down like a rabbit frozen in its tracks. I was stunned by the magnitude. A mine had exploded in my head.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. The leaky faucet in the kitchen wreaked its revenge on me for some unknown misdemeanor. I cursed it heartily and called it names that I reserved for choice occasions, but to no avail. It was a heartless bastard and very patient. Anger burned inside me, smoldering and smoky, bringing a sour taste to my mouth. My swollen parched tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth. I lay in a heap on the mattress in exquisite pain trying to focus on the steady dripping to keep my mind occupied. Dissolute. The insult swam into my thoughts and dredged some guilt submerged down below. I felt ashamed. I could do nothing about it so I let it fuck around with my thoughts. With the pain I was in, any guilt was a welcome distraction.