The world is a dark and twisted place, though many may beg to differ. We label people we don’t know the first thing about to offer some sense of sustenance or to our ever present loneliness. A flare of excitement. A long awaited change to a bland routine. The slighest sense of superiority to fuel souls that can’t ascend to greatness with or without it. The same souls that makes the world a cruel place. The same cruelty that many have yet to be subjected to. The cruelty that hides behind a mask of kindness. That provides a frame too small to an artist whose imagination yearns for so much more than the confinement of four panels of wood. More than having a limit stamped on his art. Of having it’s meaning pre written by hands too cold and unhuman. The panels that seem to close in on him inch by inch until his confidence is in tatters. Until the rare beauty his works held is almost unrecognizable. Until doubting himself becomes a second nature. We tell ourselves lies so thickly sugarcoated they can swifty pass for the truth. We assume too much and care too little. We drive the artist to madness. For he was forced to stand infront of a mirror and look upon the image of a man he no longer knew.
The forest was cool and damp. His boots sent mud splashing everywhere but he didn’t care. Not after everything that had happened. The canopy of trees formed an umbrella, hiding him from the sun or hiding the sun from him. He had always liked the rain. Not the duration in which it rained but the events that followed. Everything being washed clean. Everything but the torment that nagged at him with inexplicable constancy. A few rays of sunlight escaped the barrier of leaves and caressed his face and he winced. More out of emotional agony than the physical one. It was like being catapulted through time and space into a different world altogether. A world where he saw her running barefoot across the field of grass, turning back from time to time making sure he followed, the sunlight making her look ethereal and majestic. He shoved past his remembrance of the past and walked. He didn’t want to bump into a second tree. It was another five minutes before his suspicions were finally granted confirmation from something as meagre as a snap of twigs. He was being followed. Whoever it was wouldn’t be winning awards for discretion any time soon. He chuckled and kept on walking. After two days of indomitable solitude, he was willing to welcome any company. That and he needed to let out his anger on someone or he would have no choice but to revert to self destruction. The trees left a soreness in his hands. A feeling he didn’t enjoy all that much. A human substitute would do. He told himself he’d relish beating his father’s lapdog to a pulp immensely. No commoner would dare defy his father and make it all the way out to the forest unseen, accompanied by the looming terror of facing the wrath of a man who was basically known for his wrath. Well, his wrath and the largest administration of death penalties. So yeah, there was a very little chance of that. But deep down, he secretly wished for it to be someone else. Some rebel who had outsmarted the man responsible for his current predicament. Who had been fuelled by a hatred as fiery as his own. For behind the seemingly insurmountable wall he had built around himself after Theresa, was a boy who yearned for a friend. For someone willing to take the wall down brick by brick by brick.
I stand on the threshold of the world
Being allowed a peak into the great beyond
Yet I can’t help but lift my head
For what lies above me is more compelling than the world ahead
And so I am plucked out of the dream and plopped back into reality
But what they don’t know is
One tiny peak was enough,
Enough for me to tear through this forged joviality
I shake off the despair, having it gather inside for far too long
For if I was weak before,
Now I am ten times as strong
She was lying awake in bed staring at the ceiling trying to figure out what century the paint was from. Peeled off at some places, completely missing at others. All that was missing now were a few mice scampering up and down the walls with their tiny feet and then her room would reach the level of magnificence she deemed herself worthy of. Not a drop more. Come to think of it, this room could be the means to forming an orchestra. The creaking sound her bed made every time she plopped down on it more out of boredom than exhaustion, the rattle of hinges every time she pushed past the door into the outside world, the dripping of water on a floor that could not be restored to it’s original state with all the water in the world and to top things off, there was a lot more where that came from. She shoved these thoughts aside and made her way to the window. That was the only time she felt the rush of being alive. Heard her heart thump in her chest. Smiled. A smile as radiant as the fresh summer’s eve that awaited her at the window. Her heart did cartwheels as she finally reached it. Her means of escape from the constant prowling of hard times. From the harsh derisive laughs thrown at her without a second thought. From the voice at the back of her head building strongholds of unsurety. But a mere hole in the wall , some timber, and a panel of glass-that she had chafed her skin raw scrubbing-made it all better. She threw the window open with both hands, barely containing the excitement that she was filled with to the brim. Wind clashed with her skin. Played with her hair. Sent a tingling sensation down her spine that she longed for and she laughed. She laughed out all the fear, all the pain and all the regret locked within for sixteen long years. The feeling of being at peace, as fleeting as it may be, was beautiful.
It had all happened so quickly. He was standing there with his arm outstreched and hand reaching out, shouting at Theresa to hurry up. She seemed to have aged thirty years in those few minutes. Something made his head flip to one side and he waited. Gunshots. They were closing in on them. He felt it in his bones. “Theresa, you have to do it now!” he shouted. He looked at her pleadingly. Something hardened inside of her. It seemed as if the fear written plainly across her face not a moment ago had packed it’s bags and vanished. This was it. She was going to do it. A loud creaking noise to her left made him avert his eyes from her face. His expression turned to horror as he saw what was happening. “Theresa! Now!” was the last thing he remembered saying to her as he made his way across the forest later. The full weight of the words-probably his last words to her-hit him and his knees sank to the ground. His vision tunnelled as he was overcome by a wave of different emotions he was having trouble pinning names on. He remembered it all like it was yesterday, which it was. He remembered a high pitched scream-the same one he had since heard every time he closed his eyes-followed by a loud crash as the concrete pillar came into contact with the ground where she had been standing. He remembered his throat feeling like sandpaper due to breathing in the dust that had arisen straight after. Remembered coughing till his hand came away red. He remembered trying to call her name, while all that came out were muffled noises. He remembered the sound of footsteps. Harsh and in sync. He remembered reaching for support that wasn’t there. He remembered running till the crunch of glass beneath his feet had turned to the soft thump of grass. He remembered falling and not getting up.
You promised me flowers in the company of people. The same flowers that lay forgotten when we were alone. I trusted you. The same trust that you shaped into daggers. I had to shake myself free of the illusion. The same illusion that had once felt like the truest thing in the world. I had to force myself to look away from that eyes that had once sparkled with the promise of everything. The same eyes that were now hollow pits indifferent to my feelings. I had to distance myself from the mere shadow of a person I thought was real. The same person who had once built me palaces from scratch. The same person whose memory seemed to have been wiped clean. The same person who just decided to think that I’d be okay with it all. That one minor blow wouldn’t affect me. The same person who was in the dark about the hundreds of blows I suffered everyday. About the feeling of dread that accompanied me everywhere. About feelings too big confined in places too small. Still, I really did try. I tried to build a bridge and get over it, only to have it turn to rubble beneath my feet. Only to open my eyes to find myself catapulted back to square one. And here I am, left shouldering a job meant for two people. The same two that you were supposed to be one half of. And here I am, left fighting battles. The same battles that you were supposed to be a part of.
And all I can ever think is,
Why did you do it?
The most frequented question that has left my lips and went unanswered is “Why me?” Nothing fancy. Nothing that demands more attention than it deserves. Just a short, straight to the point, why me. Five bucks says a dying man will have no problem saying the two words. Unless he’s dumb. You never know. For instance if I parade a group of people to the sort of crime scene that rarely leaves survivors to prove my point, the supposed ‘dying man’ could pull the last trick up his sleeve and just be dumb and look at me with proud satisfaction since my humiliation played out so nicely. Getting back to the point I have so relentlessly abandoned, maybe he’ll be lucky enough to get an answer? The answer? I could work with either. Why you ask? Or not ask since I’m going to tell you anyway. It’s because people tend to be more flexible when you’re either maimed or dying or already dead. Especially if you’re already dead. If your great fortune has plopped you into any of the aforementioned categories then I shit you not bending people to your will will come as easily as tweeting comes to Donald Trump. But that’s a whole other topic for a whole other time. So yes, in this miserable and petty little hellhole that is our planet Earth, every second person would very much like to know “Why me?” as per circumstance. A stuttering child being thrown to the front of the class for some presentation? Someone facing unemployment and running through savings that aren’t there faster than the speed of light? Melania Trump being asked to deliver a speech that is completely her own? Someone watching their kids slowly starve to death while going through the same process only quicker? Snoop Dogg running out of reefer? Like I said, every second person. And that folks is how you know something or everything(it’s debatable) is very wrong. That the entire system is corrupt. That it has poison seeping through bones that are already brittle. And how long before a wisp of air sends it all crashing down and we find ourselves amidst conflict like never before.
A damaged heart, puffy eyes and a tear stained face
Happiness that lay forgotten, smiles that lay crumpled on the floor
All plastered with damnation in that one brief moment
A violent slash at the throat that had left a streak of fresh blood on the white door
The same door that had opened into a busy street
Yet not so much as a casual glance in your direction
Maybe if the red had tainted your hands and face, you would have been prone to some attention
Messy hair, a hastily wiped face and a fierce determination to not cry
A cigarette held between your teeth
Whose smoke swirled up to greet the sky
A head bent low by burdens that were no more
The same head that was now now held high
And a faint smile played across your lips
As to the world, you said goodbye
Countless times I have felt the conspicuous feeling of having the ground swept from under my feet. Of having sharp edges of the rough earth gnaw at my skin, making me feel completely and utterly powerless. Of having a weight so large seated on my chest and for what purpose only god knows that I am left fighting tooth and nail to come back from the vast gloomy pit of my thoughts from which shadows arise to embrace me, to fill me whole, to terminate the tiny shred of hope inside my damnable body, to hunt down and kill the part of me that still wishes for happiness, for the light at the end of the tunnel. Exposed, raw and vulnerable as my skin may be, it struggles to match the magnitude of damage that has befallen my soul. I tell myself that it is my pride that keeps me from confronting another soul about the horrors that I am left to face alone. Left to face alone by my own self. I have faked happiness in the futile attempts to fill the gaping hole in my chest that threatens to take permanent residence there. I have found myself wishing, no praying for a mind devoid of all these complications so as to widen the constricted airways that are slowly suffocating me to the point I shall no longer be able to cry out. To the point the enfeeblement of my body will threaten to corrupt my mind. I have spent nights laying awake in bed in the hope that I might stumble upon some means of dearly awaited, sweet, sweet absolution. I have spent countless hours trying to wash away the sins that stain the fabric of a reality that is completely my own yet feels alien nonetheless. I tell myself that the horrors bestowed upon and faced by me are such that if shouted at the top of one’s lungs in the market square, the amount of attention attracted would match the disdainful look directed at a beggar in search of alms, that they would go unheard. And why shouldn’t they. For I am as much to blame as any other man. I have associated myself with the cheery personality of a teenager with nothing to fear when my reality begs to differ. This carefully crafted net of complications I am unable to leave behind is of my own making. Or at least the bigger part of it is. A conundrum as big as the one I face can never be the prized possession of one man but only a group project of many. And so I fear the moment I will have to drop the pretense, a mere façade crafted by the part of my soul untouched by utter helplessness. Or at least, untouched for the moment. I fear it with every inch of every curve of every muscle of my god given heart. The pretense being that I can stop it all if I truly want to, that I can shut it all out with the mere flick of a wrist, that I can rid myself of the ever consistent weight if I try.
“NOTHING REALLY GOES AWAY, IT’S ALWAYS THERE.”