Only one thought has weighed on me all day long. Do I want to be the writer or the story?
You tell me you are writing me, and I long to be written about. I am the story you were born to write. And since I cannot write my own story, I shall wait. I shall wait for the writer to meet the story.
Meanwhile, I went to a café today, sat outside on quaint wooden chairs, drank some smoke and inhaled some caffeine as the gentle evening breeze caressed my face and the mosquitos danced and welcomed the darkness. A storytelling workshop was going on inside, and a turbaned fellow in folk attire narrated his story, his voice rising to a crescendo and then falling to a whisper as the audience listened in rapt attention. Old people, I thought, observing the white heads lining the window.
A part of me, I will admit, was curious. I wanted to go in and see if the story could move me as deeply. And yet another part of me wanted to be invisible. I could not bear the thought of walking inside in the middle of a story, all eyes on the young newcomer. I could not bear the burden on engaging in social activity without the convenient façade of digital personas. And so I lit another cigarette, and another, and hid behind my laptop and my writing, letting the mosquitos suck my blood and wishing I was the smoke curling up into the fading light. A crescent moon was rising, and with it, my shame, and inside the lights grew brighter, illuminating wrinkled faces and the sound of humans in harmony.
It was a brightly lit evening and we drove through town, chasing drunken taillights and liquor highs, caffeine stops and neon signs, Steven Wilson to keep the head buzzing and some Warren Zevon to mellow our moods and I asked you why this night seems to go on forever and you just smiled and put your hand in mine, and I forget what your exact words were but you told me what my heart already knew. We were following the dancing lights, or maybe the lights flickered in rhythm with our dance, mimicking our frolic, matching our frenzy, the city was alive just for us, writing poetry to our music, watching as our words mingled together, poetry and prose, music and lyrics, a glorious symphony playing out beneath artificial lights, witnessing a fusion of mangled souls mirrored perfectly unto each other.
Happiness is a stop sign with an upside down smiley. Everything else is a fucking freeway – speed, exhilaration, the thrill of the chase, by-lanes, scraping gravel and gaping, never-ending spaces.
Don’t be thinking of stop signs on the road, kindly whizz along. Unbox, put the top down, scream your lungs hoarse. Embrace the wind, watch the road bumps, turn up the goddamn stereo. Life is ordered chaos, my love. Close your eyes and death shall whisper in your ear; stop too long and therein lies your final resting place.
I know you. I know you well, almost as well as I know the back of my hand, or how my tongue knows the edges of my teeth.
You are the lone tear that rolls down my cheek without warning. You are the characters I create to escape my bleary present. In fact, you are all my characters fused into a grey nebulous mass at the back of my mind. You are their voice, their story, their tragedy, their laughter, their strength. I know you; I created you. I know your purpose. I know your beginning. I know your reason to exist.
I wanted no part in your creation. But I had no say in it. And now look, you are no longer a wisp of thought, a broken consciousness. You are a tumor, little grey one.
Now I know. Finally I understand. I will be the first to go. I will go first, so that you survive, so that you outlive me. Not because I want a part of me to stay behind, but because you shall have meaning. Because when you end me, you shall break free.
I was sitting in my usual corner in the café, when I noticed something interesting. A woman was sitting at the table opposite mine, quite unnoticed by me until the person she was waiting for showed up. The door opened, he walked in and she flashed him a brilliant smile that shone in the semi-darkness – pearly white teeth, dimpled cheeks and wrinkles around her welcoming eyes.
I cannot remember the last time I smiled that way, or was even smiled at with such delight. I realize I greet people with curt nods and save my smiles for the moments that are truly deserving. And now those moments have simply passed me by, waiting, hoping and finally surrendering. I have amassed my own smiles, my own unabashed laughter, affection and naiveté. I realize I’ve been trading silly for sullen and smiles for scowls.
I do not remember leaving a trail back to my store of smiles. Maybe I can trade my frowns again. Maybe I shall dance in the rain again. Maybe someday I will smile for no reason and make that my moment to treasure.
It’s lights out and I’m high as a kite, and I keep thinking about me, you, us, him, her and them. This whole generation, the so-called millennials. I keep wondering if we’ll ever stand out. When will we make our point? Is it cigarettes? Travel? Artistic expression? No. Social media? SEO engagement? NO! What, then? And did the past generations know it at the time? Did they know that they would make it to the eternal eras? Maybe they just skipped a heartbeat, and maybe our generation is yet to die out. But I miss the Woody Allens, the Linklaters, and the Scorceses. And where are the Mitchells, the Dylans, and the Floyds, the Armstrongs, the Mandelas and the Musks, and the Hawkings, the Einsteins and the deGrasse Tysons? Are they hiding in plain sight, or have I turned deaf and blind towards the good, the wondrous and the beautiful? I wish I knew. I wish I knew if we are all doomed, doomed to fret wistfully over the adolescence of our times and the beautiful nostalgia of the past.
Inch by fucking inch, ants crawl over the burnt flesh of my fingers. They take their time; it’s not like I can move my fingers or even flex them. Left with a throbbing hand and not much to do, I thrust my other hand down my pants and masturbate. Using my left hand feels unfamiliar and amateur, but I get myself off fantasizing about a stranger groping a shy young girl on the subway. Sick. Twisted. I know. There’s more where that came from. Perhaps it means I was abused as a child and have daddy issues. But no point dwelling on these things. The sky glows orange, then pink and my eyes fade out onto a portion of wall which reflects the changing colours. Words come to me then, words that dance before my eyes, shapeless words forming, burning, rearranging, searching for something worth fighting for. Words that fight sleep, words that scream at the walls of my mind, words that whisper to the voices inside my head, words that coax my fears to come out and play and words that are too shy to be tasted by my tongue.