I have always wondered what it is about escape that makes it so inevitably attractive.
I thought I was a Carrie as I sat writing and smoking cigarettes full of tar in the balcony of my expensive sea-facing room. But after a long walk and intense reflection in front of a mirror, I feel more like the old man from Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea – the sixty-year-old, retired ex-playwright who moves into a little cottage by the sea and begins to pen down his memoirs, yet drifting, always drifting from the storyline and looping back to begin over, and finally letting his past drag him back.
I think it is the city that brings out our vices and our insecurities. The city me is awkward, clumsy, angry, depressed, spiteful, egoistic, weak, helpless. Back home, I die a little every day. Back home it is always night, and the night brings no sleep, and there’s darkness hanging from the ceiling and descending onto your fingertips. Back in the city, mirrors are magic; selfies they are called and they cover up blemishes, haze over the corpulence, and reflect distortions of the truth.
The seaside me is, well, happy. The ocean has been a far better mirror. I can hear the chirps in my head again, I can even dance to the brass beats of my mind. I may still be dying, but I am living a little as I die. I may still hate myself, but I am letting the ocean, the wind and the solitude love me just a little.
Continue reading Part 2
I don’t adore the sea anymore. Not like I used to, anyway.
I feel betrayed, though the logical part of my brain says this feeling itself is ridiculous. Despite the upheaval of emotions, this was not betrayal, for there never was a betrothal. It was me in love with the sea. Then, until yesterday, and possibly tomorrow and always, but not today.
I dip my toes into the water, but there’s no response. I wade in a little further, feel the waves lick my knees and retract as though in apology. Frustrated, I yell at the empty, bottomless froth, “Do you not know me?” The only answer I get is silence.
I talk my heart out, confessing my feelings in a whisper. “I admit, ours was an unlikely union – ever since I was a one year old running into your embrace and you threatened to swallow me whole. Yes, I’ve contemplated the depths of your soul as though looking into the eyes of a lover. I’ve been poised at the brink of your being, wanting to forever surrender to your torrential love making. So why do you hesitate now?
I feel betrayed, though you did nothing wrong. I sensed a connection that never existed. You knew we wouldn’t be happy. And I still played the fool.”
Silently swallowing a bitter pill of hard truth, I turn my back on the ocean I’ve come to love. I’ll be back tomorrow as a different me, but for today, I’ll lick my secret wounds and mourn the loss of something unknown.
Oh, how I love being high. The kind caused by liquor. The ‘drunk on life itself’ kind of high doesn’t come to me all that often.
That warm feeling as the rum settles down into your stomach. You feel the air around your face heating up and a flush rising up to your eyebrows. A beautiful cosy feeling of happiness that hugs you and lulls you into believing that everything is going to be so goooddd and you just need to sit back and relax. More alcohol, please.
Then it begins to work its magic on your organs, one by one. It’ll loosen your tongue right up, fire up the no-nonsense neurons of your brain and rattle your humor cells till they burst out in the silliest ways possible.
It’s like time itself slows down. If a friend keeps blabbing on about work pressures, when you’re sober it may bore the shit out of you. But when the world is a blur and time hangs suspended from the ceiling, you do not even realise how long you’ve been thinking and day dreaming about that guy you think you love but can never really end up with.
You realise you have extraordinary persuasion skills and somehow when you’re that high you manage to convince your friend to go to the beach with you in the middle of the night. You get to act the part of the lone artist who keeps alternating between thoughts like death and suicide and depression, and sudden rapturous glee when you watch the waves form in little ripples scurried along by the breeze to join hands across the shoreline and come crashing onto the beach. The sound makes you think of your own life crashing around yourself and the reasons you started drinking in the first place.
You want this feeling to last forever. You’re floating on your own cloud and don’t want that bubble to burst. You can spend hours lost within a moment, wordlessly admiring the sound of the waves echoes in the numbed recesses of your brain, and the feeling of soft sand melting underneath bare feet as the tide swallows the waves into its darkness. All you want is to treasure these ‘I feel alive’ moments with such precision and detail that it can never be filtered or pixelated to a lesser level of happiness than you presently feel.