“Do you ever think about suicide? About ending it all? Just vanishing? Being gone? Not existing at all?” he asked, avoiding making eye-contact. He took a sip of his coffee and looked at the people on the other side of the street. She didn’t answer. She didn’t know how. “I do,” he continued. “I think about it. All the time. Not about death itself, but how to make it easier for those around. And I wonder what they will say and who will miss me.” Their eyes briefly met, before he averted his gaze and looked at the clouds in his coffee. “I would miss you,” she croaked, cleared her throat and repeated the same words in a steadier voice. “Why?” he whispered. “Why” was a question that often made his life unnecessarily hard. That three-letter word made him dread and anticipate answers, all at once. “Because the thought of not having you close to me breaks me inside. The void you would leave would swallow me.” Tears welled up in his eyes. He didn’t want to make a scene, but she had a thing with words; always finding the words that forced his emotions to explode. “If you were gone, I would probably follow you. There is nothing keeping me here. If it wasn’t for you, I would not be here,” she whispered sadly. He didn’t know how to react and how to respond. He just covered her hand with his trembling one. She looked at their hands, then she lifted her head to look into his face – into his eyes. “Please don’t leave me behind,” she begged. “Never,” he replied. “I love you too much.” She nodded, wiping the corner of her eye. A tear was threatening to ruin her makeup. Lately, she had thought about taking her own life a lot. She led a happy life, but something dark was clawing at her thoughts. Something devastating was fraying the edges of her fragile soul. Holding on was much more exhausting than she would have ever thought. Why was living and staying alive so easy for most people? Why was it so hard for her? And him too. “Let’s promise each other to stay alive together for as long as we can. There are reasons to stay alive, right? If I remind you of them, and you me, we will be okay.” On the other side of the street, a toddler was crying in his stroller. From her point of view, it looked as if he didn’t like being strapped tightly in the stroller without any means to break free. “Freedom is just an illusion. A creation of the mind. The emotional cage we are living in is a creation of the mind too. It either helps us to stay sane, or we will break and grow insane.” He tilted his head to the side and took a sip of his coffee. It was as if he was seeing her for the first time. He had been too busy with his own thoughts, missing that she was not alright either. “Depression is a selfish bastard,” he thought out loud, taking his hand back. “We should go,” she ignored his statement, got up from her chair and put her bag over her shoulder. He stood next to her, kissed her forehead and let his hand find hers. She looked up at him. The affection in her eyes made his heart race. “I love you,” he blurted out. He had never said the words before, but they had never been this true and important to share either. A genuine beaming smile appeared on her face. She didn’t reciprocate his words. She didn’t have to; he felt her love wafting off her skin. Being alive wasn’t so bad, if he was allowed to do it with her.
(Unedited… I will get to that later…)
I always knew that I wouldn’t be the one to save you. I cannot save myself, how could I possibly save you? See? I thought we had a connection. I really did. After all, you saved me for more than two years. We share the same thoughts and opinions. We share the same fantasies. But that is not enough. It is not enough to be less toxic than it is. Because you are who you are, and I am who I am. Together we are bad for each other. Apart, we are in pain; but it is healthier than any other option. And that’s good. But because I also am who I am, I am willing to submit to you and your wishes. I am willing to forget what I know, I am willing to forget who I am, to be the person you want. But you know what? That’s not how it works. I am a strong woman. I might not always be mentally stable – in fact, a lot of my latest bouts of depression and feelings of unworthiness were fuelled by you. I know that you are blind to that. Or are you just pretending? You are in your head and I am in mine. You are in my head too. I romanticised something that was not romantic in the first place. Or maybe, maybe it was. Maybe it was too much. There is a reason why I keep thinking of you as my twinflame. I allowed you to do things and tell me things I would never have allowed anyone else. Willingly. I gave my consent. I gave you all the control over our situation. I reasoned for myself that it was out of respect for who you are and what you do – being in the public eye and all. But the truth is: I wanted to push away my own responsibility. Truth is, I need someone to take care of me. Someone who shows affection and is attentive to my needs. Someone who tells me what I need to hear. I wanted that person to be you. I assumed things and I projected feelings… It was my own fault. My responsibilities. In the end – you are free as a bird. Caged by your own insecurity and your own mental health. Me, I am not free. I live in my own cage. No, I am not free. And yet, I am the one who tried to demand all these things from you. Mostly, I demanded time and some sort of steadiness. You weren’t willing to give me that. Of course I felt rejected and began to overthink. And I ended up in a spiral that didn’t allow me to break free. I am still holding on, to be honest. Even though I understand your “fuck off” in my direction very well. But – silence is easy. Talking is brave. We are both cowards, though. We had this one opportunity and we didn’t use it. But again, blaming this one opportunity is wrong. We had so much time; we had months and years, but, we chose to keep the distance. We never shared anything physical. Not even once. And this brings to my mind something you said after our last video-call. I said that for the first time, it felt real. You smiled and said: nothing is real unless you are in the same room and breathe the same air. I wanted it to be wrong. But last night I understood how right you were. We were in the same room. We breathed the same air. I even inhaled your cigarette smoke. And yet… We were miles apart. We never tried to bridge the gap. Of course, it would have been my role to play the proper fangirl and try to get to you. But – I am not a fangirl. I never was. You are only human. You have flaws, plenty of them. And I was willing to accept them and you. I deserve and demand a better treatment. I am worth more than that. At a training a couple of weeks ago, we were asked to write down the answer to the question: how much am I worth? I had a good day and so I answered: I am worth more than I allow myself to be.
You once told me that you don’t deserve to be loved. That you deserve to feel pain. I think, you deserve to be loved the way you are. I think, one should not change in order to be loved – no matter who you are and how you behave. And I think that you don’t deserve pain, though I know what you mean when you say you do.
The other day I wanted to mark myself and the upcoming event. But I felt a complete lack of emotions.
Last night, while I stood in the crowd. I felt that lack of emotions too. It’s the opposite of how I am feeling now. Silence scares me. Your silence is at once comforting and torturing. equal to being rejected and being ignored. So what am I doing now? What the fuck am I doing?! I am doing what I kept doing for so long. I am finding excuses for you and forgetting me and my needs. We both know that it was and is all about you. My own needs just coincidentally match some of yours. And you fed me just enough to stay around. Now that you said goodbye, all I feel is empty and I am drowning in a void. Oh Stranger… I can’t let go – I have to let you go. I want to protect us both. I want the best for you. And me. I keep forgetting me. Such a bad habit, isn’t it? And I keep forgetting to learn my lessons, too. This was important for me. Very much so. You said that we will meet in an other life. We only have this one life. I choose to write this final letter. Intense and overwhelming, just how you know me. And how you will miss me. Goodbye dear stranger. I will miss you forever and a day.
Always and forever your Sweetie
Hands on me. Hands on you. A fantasy coming true.
Hands on you. Hands on me. No other place I’d rather be.
Skin on skin. Giving in to exquisite sin.
No amount of positive words he read could change the heavy feeling inside his chest. If he didn’t have all these responsibilities, he would probably leave everything behind. But on top of being a responsible man, he also cared. And he was a coward. If he ran, he didn’t know where to. And the unknown scared him more than anything else. And so, he stayed inside his bubble, breaking to pieces with every breath he took, and falling apart with every thought that flooded his mind. He kept reading every inspirational quote on the internet. It made him angry. But there was nothing he would or could change. Trapped inside his own inability to move on.
Packing her bags, she left that town. She didn’t turn around to see them going on about their lives. No one would miss her. She was invisible. Not good enough. A failure. She heaved her baggage on her shoulders, ran her fingers over the footprints on her soul and vanished into thin air.
There sat a man on the stairs of the tube. His hair was hidden underneath a black hoodie, and his pale hands clutched a mobile phone. His jeans-clad legs were bent, and his knees were hugged by his arms. His head rested on his knees, while he captured the scene he saw on video He looked like a tired, sad man. His eyes were at once empty and overflowing with a raging storm. Maybe he was homeless, maybe life had been tough, maybe his mental health was declining. No one could tell for sure. Appearances can be deceiving in this day and age.
A busker stood next to a pillar. His fingers picking at the strings of his worn guitar, and his voice pronounced every word he sang with as many emotions as he could muster that day. His guitar case lay in front of him; opened wide, so that passersby would be tempted to toss in some of the loose change they kept in their pockets. So far not many coins were spread out on the black velvet. The romance of busking in the underground and being discovered accidentally by someone influential was wearing off. Sometimes he wished he hadn’t quit his day job because of a fluke. He had, though, and there was no turning back. And now, he played for people who hurried past him without seeing him, and for homeless drunks like the one on the stairs across from him.
I stood at the busker’s left and observed both men. Both had a similar aura. Tired of their situations. Not of their lives, like me. I felt a momentary connection with these strangers while I projected my own struggles onto them. The man on the stairs looked lost in thoughts and mesmerised by the busker singing and interpreting songs we knew from the radio. And rightly so. He sang a beautiful rendition of Tears for Fears’ Mad World. I hummed along.
The man on the stairs moved his lips in time with the lyrics too.
Three strangers who had no connection whatsoever connected over a song. It was magic. I smiled to myself. It was a strange and foreign sensation for me. During this brief moment of contentment, the man on the stairs looked into my eyes. He nodded ever so slightly and, to me, it seemed as if his eyes were less tired then. A glimmer of hope was shining through his eyes and enveloped my own hopeless self.
The train arrived and the spell that had surrounded us dissipated and vanished with the throng of people invading this space that had been so magical mere seconds ago. The stranger was swallowed by the masses, and when the rushing brook of busy people had turned into a trickle, he was gone, and the busker was packing his guitar too. I turned to leave. Without direction, without purpose. No connection. I had missed the train.
(This has been inspired by a short clip of a semi-famous musician posted to his Instagram profile. What I saw in the clip is what I described in the first paragraph.)
She didn’t know the answers to many questions. She didn’t know why this special man needed to be a part of her life. She didn’t know how she felt for him. She didn’t know why him. But she knew that she deserved better than him telling her “see you in another life”. She deserved better than that. She accepted that he didn’t want to talk to her. She accepted that she didn’t know why he was like breathing air for her. But she didn’t accept “see you in another life.”
Easy. Nothing is ever easy for Connor, and nothing will ever be. Easy is wrong. Or so it seems. And so, Connor continues to live his life the way he is used to do it. He goes about his usual routines. He goes to counseling twice a week. He goes to work every day. He takes his medication daily at the same time. He arranges his food by colour, and his socks too. He counts steps from one distance to the next, and he counts the minutes until Thomas will be back sitting on his couch. As much as his head wants to deny it, his heart knows that Thomas is the only one he will ever let in. Thomas is the only one who makes him feel safe when he is breaching his personal space. He doesn’t need to feel embarrassed or ashamed in front of Thomas. Never. Because Thomas always seems to understand.
Something clicked recently. And the realisation that they fit profoundly is etched into Connor’s mind now. And this makes Connor’s thoughts a little less dark and a little lighter. It is a phase and he knows it. But he also knows that he needs to savour it. He needs to savour it or it will be over too soon. Right now, Connor’s mind is light as a feather. Soon it will be dark as a cloud again, but he chooses not to think about it. Running on his treadmill, his black curls bounce up and down with every step he makes. His blue eyes are focused on the filing of his music collection, and in his mind he is counting. He is counting the steps he makes. He is counting his heartbeats. He is making the moment count. Connor runs and runs, but it doesn’t feel like running away for once. It is just exercise. Nothing more. Just exhausting his mind and his body. Easy. He slows down, rubbing his face with his towel, catching his breath. He feels a presence before he sees it. It makes him smile.
“What’s that?” Thomas enters Connor’s fitness room. He has leaned against the door jamb watching the shirtless young man. If he weren’t as tormented. If things were just a little easier. But they aren’t, and he learned to take what Connor is offering.
“Thirty-thousand-two-hundred-seventy-eight seconds since you last touched me.”
Thomas gulps. “You counted?”
Connor smiles. “No, I am not that mental. I did the maths,” he chuckles and reaches for a shirt that is folded in a neat square. Thomas puts his hand over Connor’s. “You are having a good day today.” Connor just nods at Thomas’s statement.
“I am a bird today. Not a cloud,” Connor mumbles. But Thomas understands. He most often does. Living a life between clouds and feathers can be a challenge for Connor and for everyone around him. But today, Connor isn’t afraid. And Thomas isn’t either, because today Connor is a feather and that is all that matters.
Every silence makes Connor aware of the screams building up inside of him. Every moment of numbness reminds him of the many moments of overflowing emotions he experiences on a daily basis. He isn’t leading a life that fits the norm. He can’t. Everything needs to be in a certain order. Filed by colours, or numbers, or memories. No one knows what triggers him. Least of all he himself. Life could be so easy. It really could be. But not for Connor. Few people try to understand Connor and his special needs. Thomas is one of the few. But Thomas himself is not an easy characters. Connor once knew how to handle the man who is currently sitting on his couch. But things happened; life happened, and what little trust that had built between these two was destroyed in the blink of an eye after too many fights. Both men can’t say what happened or when they fell out of love. The fights just got too many to ignore. And the words that were spoken in anger left deep wounds that didn’t heal. As it was, Thomas never gave up on Connor. He tried to let him go, but too many sleepless nights were spent thinking about the man who once owned his heart. In the meantime, Thomas had a girlfriend, but it wasn’t the same. He was not able to give her what Connor had gotten so willingly. After Connor had gone, there had been a void in his life no one could replace. The many routines Connor has and which have driven Thomas mad, were now missing from his life. And Connor; his heart has been bruised, and he recoiled into his own little impenetrable shell. The end of their relationship has been a huge failure for him personally. In his mind, his malfunctioning brain is to blame. It isn’t, Connor knows it rationally, but emotions rule his thinking. Thomas is still silent, sitting on the couch, flipping through the channels on the TV. He doesn’t say a word. It is unsettling. If he just said something. If he just insulted him for what had happened earlier. But no. Silence. Silence is louder than the loudest scream. Uncomfortable.
“Say something,” Connor dares to say at last.
“We should order some food,” Thomas replies. His eyes never leaving the silver screen.
“That is not what I meant, and you know that I can’t order takeout. I can’t eat the food someone else touched.” Connor looks at his naked feet. They feel good when he rubs them on the carpet.
“I am hungry. I am going to order some pizza.”
“Here?” Connor needs Thomas to say yes. He cannot be left on his own. But he also dreads the answer. He cannot have Thomas in his sanctuary. He will disrupt his routines, and he will take space Connor needs for himself.
“Of course. Don’t think that I will leave this place anytime soon after your little stunt.” Thomas sits up straight. Muting the TV, he looks at Connor. He knows better than to try and make eye contact.
“We are not a couple and you are here uninvited.” Connor tries to make a point, but it is as weak as it sounds, and he knows Thomas well enough to know that he won’t leave.
“I don’t give a flying fuck about whether I am invited to be here or not. I will not leave until I know that you are okay.”
“I didn’t mean to kill myself…”
“… And yet you tried,” Thomas cuts Connor off.
“Pizza, I am starving. I’ll sleep on the couch. And now, shut up I want to see this.” Thomas takes his phone out of his pocket and orders food, before he turns his focus back on the TV. “It is okay, you know. Just sit here with me for a while. The world can wait.”
Connor doubts the truth of those words, but somehow, he is willing to find out. Something is different. Something feels weird. He sits next to Thomas on the couch and without over-thinking it, he leans into the other man. He is comfortable feeling Thomas’s heat through their shirts. Safe. The thought scares him. He is too far out of his comfort zone to enjoy it. He is too exhausted to be able to find a way to make this easier for him.
She is a thing of beauty. As I cradle her head in my hands, her blond hair lies in waves on the pristine white pillow that supports her. He eyes are closed and the long lashes are kissing her rosy cheeks. Her lips are parted slightly and I feel her moan against my neck rather than hearing it. Gooseflesh adorns her pale skin. Sweat leads a trail down to the center of her breasts. I kiss those fleshy orbs, tease the dark nipples, just to illicit one more of those wanton moans out of her throat. What a beauty she is. One of a kind. A real thing of beauty. I kiss her neck, bite her playfully just behind her ear and lick that same spot with my flattened tongue. Her legs sneak around my hips. I know what she wants. She is close. I can feel the pulsing of her blood. I am buried inside her heat. Oh the agonizing joy. It’s torturing to bring her so much joy. She pulls me down to her and our lips meet for a kiss. Her eyes are wide open, seemingly searching for something in mine. Is she searching for the truth? The one that I am not accepting? I can’t deal with these thoughts. Not now. Go away. I don’t want you. Not moments before I fall off the cliff. I am not sure for how long I can hold back with her. It is in her moans and in her scent. It is in the way she feels around me and the way she tastes. It is overwhelming. She is overwhelming. And I am losing control. Everything inside me is becoming tense. I should stop. I should pull out. But I can’t. I carry death inside of me. There is a real chance that I am sharing it with her if I don’t stop. “Don’t stop! Don’t ever stop!” Her words are slurred. Drunk with lust. Her breathing changes. Her moans are more constant. “Let me cum inside of you,” I beg. I don’t know why I asked, but she consents. And I give in. I release myself into her quivering body. Jet after jet of my poison is now coating her insides. I marked her for life. I made her mine. I shouldn’t feel this ecstatic, but I do. “You’re mine now,” I growl. She giggles. “Forever,” I add and pull out. I feel naked without her skin covering me. “You’re mine now,” she echoes my words. I can’t help but smile. If she only knew.
He’s perfect for me. If he only knew that I marked him for life. His lust, my lust. I couldn’t let him stop. It has been such a long time since a man touched me the way he did. He is mine now. Maybe he will hate me once he’ll find out. Maybe he’ll love me even more. “Forever,” I add with a smile. I am going to do everything I can to keep him in my life. But, if he only knew.
“I had these ideas about you. None of them are true…”
“Well… You’re a smoker.”
“Been one for 30 years. What else?”
“You’re smaller than I expected”
*He groans, rolls his eyes and puts his cigarette out with the heel of his sneaker. She’s embarrassed and nervous, trying to find words to say that aren’t offending or insulting in this awkward situation.
“You are much more handsome than on your pictures.”
*He smiles. She’s back on track.
“I said “no” when you asked about being intimate on our first date. I meant “yes”.”
*The admission leaves her timid and waiting for rejection. She puts a lock of hair behind her ear. It jumps right back to where it was. He stands straighter, anticipating what will be happening next.
“I can’t see how this has anything to do with the way you imagined me to be”
“I judged you. I don’t know you.”
*It’s almost an apology. Almost.
“We spoke on the phone for two years.”
“You know exactly who I am. Maybe not my mannerisms or my daily habits. You know the deeper me. You know me better than anyone else.”
*It’s flattering to hear these words, but she is sceptical. Does he really tell the truth or is this his way of getting what he wants? It doesn’t matter. Who cares? She gives in. No reason to fight the feelings she doesn’t want to fight.
“You had me with that smile, moments before you said hello.”
“Two years ago I told you that I would never fall in love with you and that I only want sex from you. I lied.”
*She blushes and smiles at his feet. She still doesn’t know what he sees in her; she is short and overweight; and he could have every girl he wants.
“Come here… We don’t have a lot of time. Let’s make the best of it.”
*She nods. Their eyes are locked and their breaths mingle, moments before their lips touch. Her heart races and her knees feel weak. Electricity. He tastes of cold smoke and she can feel his smile on her lips. His hands find an immediate way under her shirt. The heat of his skin on her back leaves imprints on her soul that she can never wash off. She needs more of him. All of him. As much as he is willing to give. If he lets her in, she will submit to him, surrender to his needs. She will become his everything. With an urgency, they find the bed behind them. Clothes are quickly disposed of. There is no time to waste. Not even to appreciate the nakedness of the other. He used to ask her to tell him that she loves him. For the first time, these words leave her lips without being a lie, just as he enters her and fills her in a way she hasn’t felt in years. Completion. This encounter is more than she ever expected it to be. It is less too. Two lonely humans giving in to their primal urges after building up to this moment for more than two years. Everything they ever said, everything they ever wrote; every picture they ever shared – everything led to this moment. The moment when two become one. And although everything that is happening right there is ordinary, nothing about it is, in fact, ordinary. Moans, sweat, the scent of sex, the creaking of the bed. Two people who stopped thinking. Only existing. Become one.
First one for a book called Whispers of Hope:
It is an ongoing collection of poetry.
It’s a book callen Burnt Wood
Short pieces of poetry, thoughts and flash fiction can be read here. Once in a while a piece of music is added to a particular piece… I hope you listen to them and find something new that you’ll like 🙂
I hope you enjoy them,
Thank you and have a great week
Red. He can taste the colour. It’s the favourite shade of his favourite colour. Nothing can stop him from craving it. Men, women, children, even animals; they all have it and he wants it. Red. All he wants to taste is red. Feast on weak and limp bodies until every nuance of red has left them to take up residence in his veins. He sees a woman with a red coat and a red umbrella. In the grey neighbourhood on this grey day, she stands out. As if she is calling his name. And maybe that is what the rain is singing when it thumbs down on the ground. It wants him to see her. Red. It’s all he wants. He stops her to ask for the time. An easy smile plays around her lips and they quirk up. Around her eyes small lines are visible. She is beautiful. But his want doesn’t understand beauty. It doesn’t care about esthetics. He wishes that he could play with her. Like a cat plays with a mouse before the feast. He can’t. Tortured red doesn’t taste good. It’s the adrenaline that makes a good meal go to waste. He is a gourmet, he doesn’t want to spoil a delicious dinner.
He thanks her politely for the time and turns as if he wants to leave. But he doesn’t leave. With a seducing smile, he turns back around and he invites the woman for dinner. He knows she can’t resist his charms. No one can. She worries her lower lip before she accepts his offer with a bashful smile. She is perfect, he thinks, and she will be his.
He is perfect, she thinks, and he will be hers.
The shades of red on him are beautiful. She can taste them on her lips. He is handsome. Too bad he fell for her charms. As he fills her veins she feels sated for the night. She turns in an goes to find a peaceful sleep. Tomorrow, her hunt for different shades of her favourite colour will start again. Red. That’s all she has ever been craving. All she needs in her life is more red.
You lie on the floor, dirty and discarded. No one gives you a second look and no one is willing to touch you with their bare hands. You’ve been lying there for a couple of days now, but nobody cares. The stink makes them turn up their noses, but they won’t help you no matter what.
The saddest part is that you’ve lost your significant other. Someone helped her, but ignored you. And while she has a new life, you lie in grime and disgrace. Maybe all that is missing is a hole in your body. Thankfully, it’s not that bad. Yet.
You long to feel a warm body against yours again. Inside of you. But as long as you are like this – dirty and stinky, nobody is going to see you. You fight for attention every day, but you only succeed in being pushed farther away.
You miss your significant other and wonder if she’s found someone new already. You always knew that she would leave you at the first opportunity, but to leave you like this – in this misery, that was low even for her.
You used to be together. Always. You were a pair and did everything together, but she abandoned you and you will have to rot there in the dark. Alone and cold. Scared too. This is not the right life for you. Without her, there is not reason for you to hope and to live anymore and that thought makes you loose hope.
You are a sock after all. You are supposed to have a partner. But you were pushed under the bed and then you were forgotten. You’re all alone. Covered in dust. No body needs one single sock. You wish you could go to sleep, but you can’t. You can hear the life going on around you while you are lost in the dark. No body is missing you. At least not enough to search for you. Socks are lost daily and it is no big deal in the human world.
But what is this? A chubby hand grabs you and you revel in the feel of warm skin against your fabric.
“Mom… I found my lost sock!” the sound is coming out of a little human’s face and it is too loud. And yet, you feel like celebrating. Until he throws you away again. At first it is dark and you are trying to understand where you are, but then you understand that you landed in sock heaven. A hamper full of clothes and underwear and the you see her. Time slows down. She looks just as beautiful as she did the day you were put together at the factory. She sees you too and you know that your pain has ended. The days you had to suffer on your own on the cold floor underneath a bed are over. Soon you will be paired with your loved one again. Being apart was torture, but everything is about to change.
Life for a sock is not always easy, but it’s surely an exciting one.
(Written in 2014)
She runs through the night, heavy footsteps are following her. Eating up the space between her and her predator. Her lungs are burning and her legs are slowing down; her muscles are tired and shaking from the unusual exertion. Her breath puffs out between her lips in visible clouds. Panic is all she can feel. And cold. Icy cold that spreads inside her bones and infests her entire body. The footsteps behind her come closer. She keeps running. At least she tries to keep running. Panting. She is trying to fill her lungs with oxygen, but she doesn’t succeed. Her breathing is too shallow. It’s quiet in the dark. Lonely. She can only hear his steps. Her own steps. The blood in her ears. Please, please. Please! She whispers. She prays that someone will stop the demon behind her, but the cold in her heart lets her know that she will not be saved. Her soul is lost. Rotting. Decaying. Turning to dust. She will be forgotten. Erased from this earth. And no one will remember that she ever existed. She never left a trace. She rounds a corner, losing foot on the slippery pavement. She struggles to get her feet under her body again. In her back, she tries to crawl away from the creature that has been following her. Eyes wide, she finally sees him up close. He isn’t running anymore. Like the predator he is, he comes closer. And closer. One last attempt to get up and run away, but her body doesn’t belong to her anymore. It doesn’t follow her orders, and when he kneels in front of her, with his long cold fingers touching her throat she looks in his dark eyes for the first and the last time. Like obsidian. A dark abyss. Beautiful. Beguiling. Pleading. As if they were asking for forgiveness and permission, all at the same moment. But then he blinks and the gentleness she thinks she has seen a is gone. It made room for something cruel and soulless. The hand around her throat closes and the breathing air becomes less. And less. She tries to gulp in some air, but the hand on her throat prevents it. Her body spasms. “Please, don’t let me die like this” are her final thoughts before she feels a strange and uninvited sense of lust. Her eyes keep staring at him but her soul is on its way out of her body. The horror and confusion she felt will be forever painted on her face. In rivulets, blood runs down her throat from where his sharp claws had held on to her. The demon lets go of her empty vessel and pushes angry tears off his face with the back of his blood stained hand.
I have to do it. He bares his fangs and with gusto, he buries them where his claws have left a bloody wound on her throat.
The heat leaves her body as one last breath, one last puff of air, is pushed past her lips. He stills his hunger. His thirst. And he feels the energy of the young woman setting in his veins. He sighs satisfied, but he wants more. He needs more. It is the nature of things. He lets go of the limp, pale body and gets up. He looks at her. Desperate. He is desperate for a companion, a mate. But who could ever love what he is? Who he is? She was his first for this night. A good start. Growling, he pulls his fangs in again. A tortured sigh escapes his lips again as he turns to leave. One last look at his prey and the peaceful way she looks. All dead people have this look. If he could only feel some serenity. If his tormented soul could only find peace. His hands turn to fists in his pockets as he pushes weak and romantic thoughts aside. This is his life. His hunt continues. It has to. It will never stop. Because if it does, he will cease to exist. And the tiny fragments of the souls of the people he has had the privilege to empty would be gone too. He can’t let that happen. They all are part of him now. Some of them is in his bloodstream and nurturing his body. Squaring his shoulders, he walks into the dark moonless night. He was a man of honour and principles. At least he has been before he turned into this… The taker of the last breath.
And as she is standing on this slippery pebbled shore and sees the world is floating by, she takes a step on wobbly legs and starts on her road to hell. She knows the way and she knows how to get there on her own. No one on this journey with her. No one else to blame. As much as she wants to pretend it’s them – the men she seduces and teases; the words she doesn’t use; the past, the present, and the future. But no – this is about her and her road to hell. Maybe she has found her hell already? But no – this is life. Her life. Her choices. She keeps watching as the world floats by until she understands that she has lost her legs and that she is floating too. Well damn – isn’t this swell – this road to hell.
I run and I run. My legs are burning. They are heavy as lead. But I keep running. I run towards the dark alley that is calling my name. An alley I would avoid at all cost every other night. Not now. Not tonight. You are calling me. And I have to find you. I need you.
“Come Cathy!” I hear it loud and clear. And I keep running. And running. Because I want to catch you. You are my safe haven. I need to find you. Your presence will give me peace. And I keep running towards the dark. And the unknown. Edged on by the hope to find you, my love.
“Come Cathy!” And I want to come to you. But I can’t reach you. No matter how fast I run, you are never there.
“Come Cathy!” It beginning to be frustrating. Devastating. Desperation sets in. How can I reach you? And I run and I run. Until I can’t run anymore and I stop. Everything is dark. There is no sound. Claustrophobic. Empty walls are closing in on me.
“Are you there?” I whisper. It sounds like the loudest scream in this absolute silence. I can hear my blood pounding in my ears. And I realise that I am afraid. Fucking scared, actually. Of this silence. Of this void. Of this emptiness. Of you not being there.
“Are you there?” I whisper again. There is something cold and wet on my cheeks. Tears? And I can’t fill my lungs with enough air to breathe properly.
“Are you there?” I turn around several times. Turning in never-ending circles. I don’t know where I am. Lost and confused. And I am so alone. And so cold. Cold and alone. Inside, and outside too. Lost in the dark. In the unknown. Inside my dream.
“Come Cathy!” But I can’t do what you want me to do. I am not there. I am not real. Nothing is.
I wake up drenched in sweat. I remember the voice loud and clear. I know the voice. Your voice. My heart is pounding against my ribs and I can still hear my blood’s flow in my ears. It makes me deaf to every other sound surrounding me. Around me, the bedroom is bathed in a red hue from the sun touching the closed blinds. “Come Cathy!” resonates behind my eyes, and between my ears. I don’t know what it means. I can’t remember a thing. Nothing that matters. And in my agitated state it feels as if someone is watching me. I am at peace. I am safe. Because this is real, and you are not there.
It has been a while, hasn’t it? May was the last time we spoke. May 8th. Not that I am keeping track, but I remember the day. Since then, I deleted your number from my phone. Not because I despise you or don’t want us to be in touch, but you told me to wait for you and that’s what I am doing. Waiting has never been my strongest quality and I know that I am waiting in vain. This – this entire situation is harder on you than it is on me. I guess it should be the other way around, but I can’t change it. And I don’t regret it either. Sure, for you everything is different and I can’t pretend to understand you, your motives, your reasons, or your actions. I can’t and that’s a fact. Once, we agreed that we need to be friends and trust one another. Maybe we trust each other but I don’t think that we are friends. We never shared anything that really mattered. We never were in love. Just in lust from time to time. And with our lust, desire, passion, we broke limits and boundaries. Maybe a couple times too often? Yes, maybe. Certainly. Some of it was my fault. I enabled you and didn’t stop you when I should have said no. I gave you my control when I should have taken control. I let you be the dominant one when I should have been. I write this right now because I do miss you. For a week now, I wasn’t sleeping right and I blame it on you. Your presence in my mind. And I worry. Also, I want to know how you are. And selfishly, I also want you to remember me. You will never forget me. I know that for sure and yet… I want to touch you again. I like your social media posts just to make you see that I am still there. Maybe we will never speak again. Maybe we will be an active part of each other’s lives soon again – truth is, it doesn’t matter. We will always have our memories. You will be a memory. And in many years time when I can grandchildren, I will tell them all about you. (The censored version! But come to think about it, then there isn’t much to talk about.) I wish that my presence how ever short or intense left some sort of impact on your life. Preferably a good one. I will never know what you won’t tell me.
I am still there…
She lay awake in bed; wide awake. The time on her alarm kept moving forward until it was 04:26 in the morning. She only heard silence. No birds tweeting in the trees, no chirping in the grass. In the far distance, she thought she had heard thunder, but maybe it has just been a plane. What kept sleep so elusive? It was a memory.
“I made a mess,” he chuckled. I need to take a shower,” he said still trying to catch his breath. “Will you stay on the line?” She was somewhat surprised by his request, but she agreed. “I won’t take long,” he added. She heard the rustle of his sheets and the padding of his naked feet on hardwood floors. Doors opened and a shower curtain was pushed aside and then she already heard water running. She could almost see the water cascading over his naked, still flushed body. She heard how the water got caught in his hair and how it was released with a splash against the tiles. She heard bottles being open and shampoo being squeezed out. It was all so mundane, yet so intimate. And then he began to hum. She smiled. She loved listening to him. He wasn’t holding back. Just being himself. It filled her with a sense of serenity. Words were added to the sound of water. They didn’t make sense to her, and yet… She kept listening in. The water stopped and the curtain was pushed back again. Was he brushing his teeth now? The sheets were rustling again. “Are you still there?” “Yes, I am” she said fondly. “I need to go, I need to meet with my brother.” It wasn’t how she had the call expected to end, but he never did the expected. “I’ll get in touch, okay?” “Yes, yes okay. Take care.” “It was nice talking to you, sweetie. Bye” It had taken three months before he got back in touch.
She had been listening to his new record. It had been released weeks prior to her sleepless night and one particular song felt familiar. For days she wondered why. Until it hit her like a brick wall. That day in the shower, he had hummed the melody and sung some of the chorus’s words. Had she inspired a song? He hadn’t said anything in that regard but still… A girl can dream, can’t she?
“It’s in the way you need me,” he sang.
5am. The sky was changing its colour. A little over an hour before the alarm would go off. And she tried to hold on to his memory. A man who had since left her life. She still saw him at the edge of her life, but it became easier to ignore him these days. It became easier to not wait anymore. Most days anyway…
There sat a man on the stairs. His hair was hidden underneath a black hoodie, and his pale hands clutched a mobile phone. His jeans-clad legs were bent, and his knees were hugged by his arms. His head rested on his knees. He looked like a tired, sad man. His eyes were at once empty and overflowing with a raging storm. Maybe he was homeless. No one could tell for sure. Appearances can be deceiving in this day and age.
A busker stood next to a pillar. His fingers picked at the strings of his worn guitar, and his voice pronounced every word he sang with as many emotions as he could muster that day. His guitar case lay in front of him; opened wide, so that passersby would be tempted to toss in some of the loose change they kept in their pockets. So far not many coins were spread out on the black velvet. The romance of busking in the underground and being discovered accidentally by someone influential was wearing off. Sometimes he wished he hadn’t quit his day job because of a fluke. He had, though, and there was no turning back. And now, he played for people who hurried past him without seeing him and homeless drunks like the one on the stairs across from him.
I stood at the busker’s left and observed both men. Both had a similar aura. Tired of their situations. Not of their lives, like me. I felt a momentary connection with these strangers while I projected my own struggles on them. The man on the stairs looked lost in thoughts and mesmerised by the busker singing and interpreting songs we knew from the radio. And rightly so. He sang a beautiful version of Mad World. I hummed along.
The man on the stairs moved his lips in time with the lyrics too. Three strangers who had no connection whatsoever connected over a song. It was magic. I smiled at myself. It was a strange and foreign sensation for me. During this brief moment of contentment, the man on the stairs looked into my eyes. He nodded ever so slightly and, to me, it seemed as if his eyes were less tired then. A glimmer of hope was shining through his eyes and enveloped my own hopeless self.
The train arrived and the spell that had surrounded us dissipated and vanished with the throng of people invading this space that had been so magical mere seconds ago. The stranger was swallowed by the masses, and when the rushing brook of busy people had turned into a trickle, he was gone, and the busker was packing his guitar away. I turned to leave too. Without direction, without purpose. I had missed the train.