There was a hole in my soul and you fell right through
I cried my eyes out of their sockets and lost my brain in my pockets
Now I am the queen of my thoughts who calls the shots
Addicted to filling unfillabel voids and remembering a past of being soiled.
Naked, bare. Enduring the stare.
You dare to cut old wounds open and expect me to be broken?
I will find my mind and leave all this behind
I lock your pictures in the corner of my brain
And reassure you that you never ever deserved to be my man…
I put tulips under all the pillows, and then I set fire to the house. I watched from a safe distance and listened to the wails of the approaching sirens. I was convinced that the house was haunted and the only way to get rid of the evil spirits was to burn it down. I sound crazy, and maybe I am, but what’s done is done. The flames ate at the house, and the clear blue sky turned to a dusty gray. It was hot, and I jumped back when the first windowpanes exploded. A crowd had gathered to look at the spectacle. My neighbor looked on in shock. I heard the voice of his ex-wife and saw her with the kid on her arm. She looked more annoyed and less alarmed. I didn’t like her. I should have burned her too. Evil witch. I turned to go, but my neighbor held me back. “I am so glad you made it out of there alive,” he pulled me into a hug. I froze on the spot. Why did he care about my well-being? No one cared about crazy old me. I didn’t move, and I didn’t return the hug. I pushed him away and made my way through the gawking crowd. I passed the firefighters who were laughing and joking. It was just another day at work for them. One of them was showing his cell-phone around. “I cheated on my spouse. And it wasn’t the first time.” He laughed out loud, and his colleagues clapped his shoulder as if they admired him for deceiving his spouse. For the second time in a short time, I froze. I knew I had to kill him too. He was a sinner. There is no place for sinners in this world. I moved closer to the firefighter. His scent reminded me of the smell of the T-shirt from a B-52’s concert I had bought in the 80s. A strange association, perhaps only made because their song “Rock Lobster” was blaring from the stereo. Rude. These firefighters were rude. I remembered the time Leslie called me a leech. It was time to spring into action and get closer to the firefighter. “I was in that house,” I announced, feigning breathlessness. I saw his eyes blaze. He clearly loved to be a hero. “Let’s get you to a paramedic then,” he had his arm around my shoulders, and I took the opportunity to play the weak victim. I melted against him, and he straightened his shoulders to catch me. “I feel so weak in your arms,” I breathed against his neck. I felt his breathing change, and I smiled to myself when I dropped my arm to brush it against his hard bulge. He was an easy one. In no time I would have him where I wanted him to be. “Take me away from here, please. Take me somewhere private.” He just nodded and snapped his fingers in the direction of another firefighter. “I’ma gonna take this fellow somewhere safe. Got it? Cover for me.” The other man’s smile spoke louder than words as the hero escorted me off the premises of the burning house. I stirred him to a hotel down the block. I insisted on checking us in, and he agreed without putting up a fight. The room was tiny. A typical cheap hotel room. It was perfect to finish this hero’s life. Above the bed hung a picture with a man wearing a plate on his head. It was odd, but the vivid colors made it something special. For a long time, I looked at it. The man pushed his body against mine, and I let him. He kissed my neck, and I let him. We undressed clumsily. He was in a bigger haste than I was. I ordered him to lay down on the bed, and he did. This was going to be so easy. He was beautiful to look at. I straddled him and kissed his lips. It was the last kiss he would ever taste. The kiss of death. The only one this sinner deserved. He struggled a lot. But I was stronger than he was. I was stronger and possessed by the voice in my head. I needed to end his life. And I did.
After I got dressed again, I picked a tulip out of the floral arrangement on the small table and placed it on his lifeless body. I stepped out on the street. The smell of fire clouded the road. I took a deep breath and exhaled with a satisfied sigh before I turned to walk down the pavement; never looking back to where I was coming from.
My grandfather lied to my grandmother, I guess it runs in the family. Didn’t Shirley Bassey sing about history repeating itself? I looked at the letters on the table in front of me. My grandfather had written them to his mistress, and now, after his passing, I had found the mysterious box in the back of his closet. It had taken some effort to open it. Keylocked without a key. The tingling in the pit of my stomach had been right. Secrets. Hidden for decades. I chuckled. But, there was no humour in the sound. I had been lying to my wife too. I had written letters to my mistress too. Well, emails, but it was the same, basically. I scrambled the sheets of paper together, folded some of them neatly and put them in their hiding space again. I shook my head. The revelation, the impact of it all, and the way it would change my whole family if I chose to not keep this hidden, had come in an innocuous coffee shop. Of all places. Family secrets were strewn on a worn Formica table in a public place. I felt embarrassed. I looked at the other tables around me. No one seemed to mind me. The table next to mine was vacated, all that was left were dirty dishes and five bucks on the table. I waved the waitress over and asked for another double espresso and a blueberry muffin. She smiled at me, taking the purple lollipop out of her mouth. For a moment I thought I had seen a piercing on her tongue, but maybe I was wrong. The air smelled of the artificial sweetness as she held the lollipop between her fingers while she jotted my order down. The woman was nice enough to look at, but I wondered why she couldn’t remember two simple items. She winked at me, put the lollipop back in her mouth – and, this time I definitely saw the shining piece of metal on her fleshy tongue before she turned and moved to the counter. I looked after her. Definitely someone I would take to the hotel, I thought to myself. I released another mirthless chuckle and looked at another letter. I almost blushed from the words I read. The handwriting was pleasant and easily readable, but the words… It was more descriptive, more detailed than I ever wanted to know. My grandfather seemed to have been quite the stallion in bed. I thought back to my business trip to Berlin last summer. I changed positions to accommodate my emerging boner. Yeah, my grandfather and me, we shared the same genes. On a whim, I decided to keep the letters to myself and ask the young waitress out. If she was only half as good as the German girl from last summer, she knew exactly how to use to piercing in a way that would bring me lots of pleasure. I grinned when she approached. I didn’t have a guilty conscience because of my wife. As I said, I guess it runs in the family.
What if we said: “fuck it, I’m doing this the way I want to do it”?
We meet people and in our minds we imagine an entire persona based on the glimpses we get to see. We expect them to be a certain way based on appearances we string together as facts in our minds. Even if it is an unconscious thing, we label them. We put them in a box in our mind and add other people or things to that same box.
But what if we are wrong with our assessment? What if we label someone as strong and they are really breaking inside? What if we are annoyed by someone’s constant ramble, but they only do it out of insecurity? What if we expect too much?
Isn’t expectation the straightest path to disappointment.
And what if we stopped doing what is expected of us because we are put in this or that box, and start living the way we want to live? What would happen if we stopped giving a fuck about other people’s assumptions about us? A few people would roll their eyes. Some would turn their backs. Others would smile. And we, the ones who broke out of their box would be happy. Content. Free. And a new label would be found. Hippie, misfit, outsider… And it would feel great, because no one would know what to expect anymore.
But it isn’t so. At least not for me. I am not brave enough to get out of my box and step on top of it. I am not brave enough because as much as I want to be seen, I don’t like people looking at me. I am already a misfit in many situations. I am the weirdo with the liberal thoughts and the many opinions. I am the writer who published books and writes poetry – looked upon with a sneer and a pitiful, condescending glance every time it is mentioned at a family dinner. I am not one of them. And I don’t need to be. I am one of a kind. Unique in my own simple ways. Easily bruised. Strong enough to walk on with blistered feet. Hoping to be loved and liked and appreciated just the way I am. Faults and quirks and all.
Don’t expect anything from me, please. I cannot promise to live up to your (or even my own) expectations.
I can only promise to be kind and grateful for every person who chooses to be a part of my journey, for every person who left the path here or there, and for the lessons I learned.
I digressed, I think. But that’s okay.
Cast them out
Don’t allow them into our circle
They will infect our perfect world with imperfections.
What’s wrong with me?
Who made me this kind of wrong?
Why can’t my thoughts be less wrong?
Will I ever learn how not to be wrong?
I was wrong for too long.
It left me raw.
In their eyes my kind of wrong will never be right.
Turn life off. This is all wrong.
Once, dreams brought solace to the struggling mind
Now it just deepens the sorrow, destroying hopes with nightmares.
Nights used to be an escape
But the loneliness is amplified by the silence that surrounds the jaded soul.
I grant you this teardrop
it is my last emotion for you.
Take the memories when you close the door
and erase the broken melodies.
Our friendship is forever stained
and it will never be how it was.
You moved on
and I am still right here.
I’ll make the same mistakes again
countless times and more
Take this last teardrop from me,
lock it up and keep it safe
no need to say sorry
it is just another lonely goodbye.
We are different. We all have different minds and different things that shake our worlds. My madness is not worse or better than yours. It is unimportant to the grand scheme of it all. But, little things can have a huge impact. Words carelessly thrown at a stranger might leave them bruised or uplifted. A smile or a hug can change entire lives. A broken string can mean much more than just a broken bracelet.
I used to wear the bracelet on the picture around my wrist. Every day for nearly a year and I never took it off. Never. The threads were worn thin and there was a moment when I was in a near panic-like state when I thought about losing this simple piece of jewelry. But I also knew that the day would come. Inevitably. For most, it is just that – another weird thing Cathy wears and fondles all the time. But it is – and was much more. Little things have memories and meaning. And, this piece is unique. It doesn’t exist a second time. I had it custom made for me with these exact words. I needed those words with me. I needed to be reminded of them. I was losing a battle. Not a war, but a battle. Inside. And while I was living, I forgot to exist. I was not there.
Are you there? Is the title of a song (shared at the end of this post). It is also the question I was asked several times by the person who inspired most of last year’s writing, and my personal change and growth in recent times too.
Those words, worn against my pulse, were a daily reminder. As I said, different small things shake our worlds in different ways.
This broken thread would be easily replaced and everything would be fixed. But it is not that easy. It never is as easy as it seems.
Letting go of this little thing means letting go of something else. It means letting hope float to different – distant, shores. The memories and the meaning that were attached to that bracelet will remain with it, always. But sometimes we can’t or shouldn’t fix what is broken, because it will not be the same anymore. It will always just be the thing that was once broken and is fixed now. And it can work, but not for this. Not for me.Sometimes, it is good to put the memories in a box and close the lid on it.
I knew that the day would come the bracelet would come undone. And in my mind, I also knew, that this moment would be emotional. Because it is not something meaningless. To me, this was – this is, meaningful.
The beauty of life, isn’t it? What’s meaningful to you could be absolutely meaningless for me (and the other way around).
Are you there?
He asked and she said yes. She would always be there. Waiting for him.
Are you there?
She wondered about herself. The answer was No. She was not. She lived in a world of unfulfillable fantasies. And he had brought her back.
Back down to earth.