The fishes peep at me through the pink sewer grates, the filth and dirt and greed of city eating their eyes, the loneliness scratching at their fins.
I look at them as if they are a painting hung on an illuminated wall – the last standing wall. The vapors of dissipated life, dissolved flesh spread all around it – the waste of everyday life the waste of silent war.
But it lasts only a moment my gift of vision, my ability to detach only lasts so long. The hunger in my bones, once again, makes me look away.
I get up and walk. I move my feet to the beat of the song being spun in my corrupted mind I am tempted to increase the volume to find a pitch that resonates with the air here. The point where everything bleeds and nothing heals what will happen to me there, what will happen to all of us I wonder.
But I have walked these roads before I now know more than anything that I only yearn to live. Slowly, I have learned to protect my ailing tissues. I have learned to gaze lovingly at my broken mind. So, I press pause. I continue to persevere.
That feeling when something of this world rushes past you and you are nothing else for that moment but the afterimage of what has gone by, something that definitely was unlike your own self that never appears but only haunts.
I don’t know how people cope with that overwhelming storm of knowing the worlds that you can morph into and all the things that maybe you always were.
When you become a floating hat and its silent river, when you become the knob of the radio, the glass feeling the air before the snow, the shredded corners of a letter that weeps, the loudspeaker at the corner of the road with its abundance of sound and silence, the sundress peeled away, the flow of time and fate.
I don’t know what to make of this. I sit on tables filled with people who know a thing or two about life and they talk as if they have always been their skin, as if no one can be anything else but themselves. So I become the table feeling the soft elbows pushing down some loneliness with its weight. I become the napkin held in a fist.
I am now the sky looking down at me and now the child that I lost long ago. I am breaking and being taken over by all the beautiful lonely things. I feel I was probably made for this.
I guess now I am the cruel one- the one people fear to love. This scenario was meant to be sad, but it isn’t somehow. (Why do the worst cases taste so bland to me when finally they arrive?) I guess it makes me relieved, if not happy, to feel loneliness more often than feeling distance. No one knocks at my door, and I can’t help but smile knowing it also means no would leave me. No one would leave me in love, leave me in pieces, leave me hating myself again. (Why do my hopes sound like running away even if I am facing life in every way I can, the only way I am allowed to, the only way forward that doesn’t require sacrificing myself again?)
Now that I have grown in height and I cannot forget my name even if I want to, no one comes looking for me when I go missing.
When I go missing, when I finally succeed in getting lost I buy a new plant, walk through strange streets, come back home with my worn out heels and new pictures on phone, takeouts from restaurants whose name feels weird on my lips, knowing more roads that can take me home.
I sit defeated and happy as I realize getting lost means nothing if I can breathe just fine in this world, if everything here can be my home.
But still there is sadness in me for losing everything that only that small world could hold.
At the right turn I faced another street where someone I know once lived. For all I know, their present might still look like my ‘once ago’. From where I stand and where I see my present is their “what a nightmare, thank god it is not true/thank god it is not me.“
Maybe with their shocked and sorrowful faces they will ask me this “Tell me it is not true.“ and I will probably tell them exactly that because I do not want them to think “thank god is it not me“ or “god has been kind to me. god loves me more.“ Because maybe then, in that moment, I may hate my lovely friend and my lovely god, and the lovely lives that I am not part of.
So I take another turn, seeking other roads- roads where the ones I knows, the ones with question do not have to look at me. And I do not have to see my tragedy, my loneliness paint them as villain when they are not, when maybe they are the only ones that care.
Things I now remember are mostly absurdly simple and painful. Like the last time we met like this, you had a white suitcase that seemed like your new pet. It looked at peace with the snow that was getting on your nerves. When you smiled all I could think was now you cannot bear the weight of your old green bag pack, now you cannot bear the winters I am part of. All I could think was that you are growing old somewhere far without me. I didn’t know that the next thing I would have to do, after facing such sad realization, would be to smile for my sake more than your.
Things I now recognize are are only those that I don’t know how to fix anymore. Like today as I helped you out of your heavy white coat, as I made the coffee of your liking I kept staring at your small form and your frightening transparency. I looked at the scribbles of black marker at the corner of suitcase. I wondered where were you when you drew that. At what point of your journey you could no longer pretend this was a life of your choosing? Is your loneliness so overwhelming that you are not afraid of buying and ruining whites? Is your loneliness of my making? Is that why you wear it so dearly?
I have spent 10 years of my life decorating my wooden coffin, giving food, giving faces, and adding height to my imaginary friends and painting forgiving smiles on my imaginary gods.
I won’t mind if someone out there decides to call me “coward” or “delusional” or “hopeless” or “sorta weird” I won’t mind if this qualifies to be called “running away from reality and life”.
Even if I ignore the words like these, even when I have found a way to survive alone I am still left with these corrosive, acidic feelings. Feelings don’t help – when all they do is speak, wail louder each day.
They remind me again and again that even a beautiful death is a death, that loneliness is still loneliness, that in spite of the ribbons and flowers and posters the smile on my face is still not as bright as the one love used to give me, even if I have now less reasons to cry.
It is not easy – this peace, this staying away from the want to be seen, to be loved, this wanting to cry over something again. It is not easy – to keep myself awake and alive when feeding myself, seeing the light only makes my fears stronger.
But now I am not me anymore. Now I cannot hate myself like I used to before. Liking myself was never option, for me anyway. If only I could be one person with a constant heart, maybe then I could have understood myself with enough time, could have found the heart to see myself as a mere human that I am. But this, this possession of my body and my heart by a new unknown everyday is tiring. Today the loneliness that I couldn’t show, the songs I was supposed to forget, the kiss that never left my lips all become my new self. Tomorrow it will be something else. But it is a tiring relief to lose my hate to confusion.
With my back to the my cold family name the metallic alphabets printing hard on my clothes, I stand with my feet half out of my pretty shoes – with my painted nails still hidden in the skin of another animal, my hands revolving the beautiful replica of Saturn around the plastic heart on my elaborate key chain- a stage of its own. I stand and wait for you to open your door on the floor above. I hear a faint click, a phone ring, footsteps running away from the world (why do I feel such sadness when I hear that?), a door left open (to everyone but me) I sit in the middle of my living room floor staring up, at the underside- the creeping mold of the stage where I played your lover, your nemesis. It is cruel and incomprehensible that we can still live, take calls, make jokes, eat, and still have the want to live. After hurting ourselves and the world for the sake of love, after all that, is this is it? When you find your room, your world without me which direction does your heart turn towards? Do forget from time to time that we are supposed to forget each other? When I find my loneliness becoming greater than me, when it starts spilling out of me on dinner table, when it makes me lose my mind, am I allowed to let go of you? Is this what this distance, this decision means? I hear your window open, I hear your excited voice (why do I feel color of anger filling me again?). I wonder if you have really found your new life or is this an act you have put for my benefit? Your kindness could only be in my head, as was your love. TV drowns your voice again and I thank all the accidents, all the things out of my control, everything that moves us away from each other. Otherwise, I never could.