I’m not a fool
I just love that you’re dead inside
I’m not a fool
I’m just lifeless too
The horizon is in a state between light and dark—the sky a mix of lavender and misty blue, the moon outlined faintly amidst silver wisps of clouds, and if I look closely I can see the brightest stars shine through the haze. The air a cool blanket gently covering my bare shoulders, the breeze sends shivers through my fingertips and down my spine.
I watch the smoke of my cigarette waft up in opaque curls of white and mingle with the darker shadows of the landscape, layers of grey and muddles of black.
Whether it’s dusk or dawn, I can’t tell.
Nightmares for me are normal dreams, and what you call normal dreams do not exist in my mind.
I’ve seen bodies on railroad tracks, spines cracking as the train runs them over, a bone-crushing symphony blossoming into the screeching fanfare of metal on metal and metal on flesh, as the red spills over nuts and bolts and wooden planks. The Rite of Spring, some call it.
I’ve seen female bodies floating in the sewers, a tar-like mixture of rot, slime and blood, the aftermath of rape and pillage. Their faces still contorted, hands still clenched, their skin a shade of grey not meant to be adorned by a living human.
A never-ending videotape of an emaciated woman’s navel, hoola-hooping a hoop of thorns. The background a faded beach, somewhere in the north. An exhibit full of portraits, people smiling and hugging but when darkness falls, their faces look like death, white foreheads and sunken cheeks and half-open mouths that are gaping caves of black. Their eyes follow you wherever you go.
I’ve killed with bullets, with knives, only to save myself from others doing the same. I’ve ran and fought off murderers, only to have my own obituary read in front of me. I’ve had an eye gauged out, a crimson well in replacement, the remnants of sight in my hand.
I’ve created an eternal horror film in my mind, a dystopian kingdom from my unconscious.
Sleep does not bring any rest.
So next time you let me rest my head on your chest and fall asleep in your arms, think of this—embrace me a little tighter, kiss me once more on my forehead. Give me a light as I meander through this world.
This is my mind’s creation. It comes alive only at night, only as I close my eyes and retreat into the folds of unconsciousness.
But it is reality for some.
And as long as I have my eyes closed, it is reality to me.
II. Prelude: Sun & Moon
I’m sorry baby, you were the sun and moon to me.
I’m on my own tonight.
No more lonely nights, always the last one awake, staring at your closed eyelids flutter and your figure move to the rhythm of your breathing.
No more pressing against your chest and nestling my head in the nook created by your neck, hiding from the shame that burdens my body and constricts the air from my lungs.
I’ll never get over you, you’ll never get over me.
No more closing my eyes to block the sad whispers of the moon—stop child, stop hurting yourself—futile warnings from a mother far off.
No more putting on your baggy t-shirt in the morning in an attempt to cover my naked body from the stunning daggers of the sun.
You’ll never get over me.
No more of your prodding, no more gentle words and artificially sweetened promises paving way for fragile hope that one day I would be more than a carcass forgotten in the desert, that one day I would stop rotting and that those tiny maggots would stop gnawing on the sinewy threads that hold me together, that one day you’d reverse the process; that one day we would be equal.
No more of the prickly curls on your chest, the perpetrator of the blossoming red on my body the day after, a continuous reminder of your infectious disease contaminating my body, my poor body—isn’t the body supposed to be a temple?
No more of your chains around my arms, my mobility undermined, always your way, always what you want, when did you ever caress me? When did you ever listen to me with more than one ear, when did you ever look at me like I was more than a slab of red meat? You devoured me like a carnivore.
I’m sorry baby—
Your words I erase, but the echo remains.
I’m on my own tonight.
III. Dark Night of Soul
I haven’t owned a hairbrush, let alone used one since sometime in high school.
I remember I had long hair then. It would tangle in the back, and sometimes I couldn’t even untangle it with my fingers. I wore my favorite men’s oversized red and black-checkered flannel, borrowed from my roommate, and paired it with ripped tights and Doc Martens. I only gave it back at the end of the year. She didn’t mind. She keeps me calm; she keeps me grounded. I love her to death.
You’ll learn to love how to dream.
It was winter. It was my first time seeing real snow. White, icy and cold, it floated gently on top of my knit hat and powdered my red coat over my shoulders.
It was something I could deal with. Don’t show them, whatever you do don’t show them what you are—keep on smiling, laugh at the smallest things, always be ready to have fun—everyone tells you how great your smile is. Don’t show them any weakness, just keep on going.
But the laughter stopped when I snuggled into my sheets, when I felt the pain sear across my mind, whenever I was isolated from the others. I tried not to let it affect anything outside of my mind.
And the pain throbbed through everything in my daily life. I didn’t know they could swell so much, two tennis balls on either side of my pelvic bone. Every step was agony, every step a reminder. There was no anger, just shame.
He wouldn’t have known unless I told him. And then, just like that, I was no longer the sole keeper of my secret. He saw me full of holes, all of my weaknesses, exposed. I broke in his arms. And all he could do was watch me shatter into a thousand pieces, little shards cutting through his fingers, dropping to the ground in miniature explosions. My sociopath, he felt the anger when I didn’t. He projected when I did nothing. He attempted to mend me with threads of logic and rationality—only to realize there was nothing to piece together.
It was my darkness, mine. I curled up with it and wallowed in it. My baby.
Sometimes Despair mingled with Chaos and then there was no more room for Sanity. I felt my mind go blank, a blinding white, and the world go black in front of my eyes. My voice went from screams to hoarse cries to nothingness. I broke in his arms.
You’ll learn to love how to dream.
I fought with everything I had—or did I? I still don’t know. I rejected you with all of my limbs, I told you to stop, no, no no no, this was not what I wanted. Did I fight with everything I had? I don’t know, please don’t ask, I don’t know. I gave up, because it was easier, because it was bound to happen. I gave up. I closed my eyes and retreated to my dreamscape. Layers and layers of grey and black, an occasional red smear. But this time, opening my eyes wasn’t going to save me. I heard Tchaikovsky’s 4th somewhere in my mind.
“This is fate: this is that fateful force which prevents the impulse to happiness from attaining its goal, which jealously ensures that peace and happiness shall not be complete and unclouded, which hangs above the head like the sword of Damocles, unwaveringly, constantly poisoning the soul. An invincible force that can never be overcome—merely endured, miserably.”
—Tchaikovsky, in a letter to Nazehda von Meck, 1878
Do you see me now? If I ever see you again—
I could teach you to dream.
IV. Interlude: Paper Crane
Fold me over with your hands
And leave your mark on my skin
I am yours to restrain.
Make my creases sharp
And my edges pointed
I am yours to shape.
Bend my limbs with your fingers
Curl my spine with your tongue
I am yours to contort.
Give me my wings
And teach me how to fly.
I am yours to free.
It was one long reverie from January onwards.
I slipped out of his arms and landed in a small country of six-foot tall blondes, bitterly cold winters, streets that smelled like pastries, and telly-tubby toddlers puffed up in bright snowsuits.
It was the first time since I jumped into his bed and claimed him as mine that he wasn’t there to protect me. I was on my own. A bird, a crane, in a winter wonderland.
The sun set as early as four, but when the night closed in, the candles would take over with their soft glow, a warm orange illumination that produced the perfect ambience of cozy—hyggelig, they called it. We had candles in our rooms, we brought out candles to every dinner; the last thing we blew out before going to sleep was their flickering flame.
Everything was new. I explored what I once lost the courage to. It started off with one, then two, quickly escalating to three, never mind him on a different continent. Soon I had trouble keeping their emotions in check, keeping mine in check—I still regret hurting some the way I did. And I learned that even communication could not solve everything.
This is for you, the one unlucky enough to be the first: I’ll only mention this once—I’m so sorry—it was going so well in the beginning. You treated me well; you gave me a nest when I was still lost. It still haunts me that I was capable of bringing forth such raw emotion in another human. I remember hearing you swear on the top of your lungs and punch the door right as I left your apartment, irritated with your possessiveness. And the staircase light of my kollegium you shattered—the trail of blood led right to my door. I remember your frustration when you told me you weren’t used to being the “nice guy”, that I had turned your world upside down. I remember you pleading with me, simultaneously pinning me down and almost tearing up, to be as passionate with you as I was with others. Your agony, it stabbed me in the chest.
And all I could do was hug you tightly. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t able to reciprocate.
By that time I had already met my European counterpart.
We meshed perfectly, naturally. We took over the scene, we danced with our eyes, we danced with our fingers, we danced a footless dance in bed. We danced alone in your room, speakers blasting drum & bass or old school dubstep or UK grime or happy hardcore, more times than I can count.
I can still recall the smallest details—the surprise on your face when you tasted your first cupcake (it was so sweet), the nights we watched Game of Thrones or Adventure Time or The Following (you would have the nutella and I would bring the strawberries), the polaroid picture your mother took of us the morning after the warehouse rave in London (she let me borrow a clean shirt and said the color suited me; your father wordlessly polished my scuffed Doc Martens).
“Ma petite Mio,” you would say, and cup my cheek with your hand. You spoke French to me like you were speaking to a baby.
You reinforced my world and added so much to it.
The way we sat on the ground around the corner, me sitting in your lap. Hugging, arms around each other tight. I could feel your skin radiating on my skin, I could feel your touch, your warmth, your heartbeat, I could feel the energy flowing. The sounds of the night and of people disappeared; it was only our breathing and our blood pumping, meshing into one. It was a juxtaposition of calm and intensity, of fluidity and electricity. I could have stayed there with you forever.
We both felt it.
It was so simple, wasn’t it? I miss it terribly.
It was a Tuesday night in May when I sat on the corner of your bed, out of sight, while you skyped your primary partner; trying to soothe her, stop her tears, a forced smile on your face. I had just come back from the 2B kitchen, the taste of Czech peach vodka and kalimotxo still on my lips. From a pleasant nighttime gathering of friends to something of a darker nature. After ending the call, you left the room to take a walk, alone. Leaving me, also alone. The darkness of the room closed in, no longer a softly lit, comfy shelter.
And all the uncertainty of the things I left behind came back—the fear, sadness, anger, confusion—all of the negative feelings came seeping in at once. I sat on your black and grey sheets and stared blankly ahead. Her pain transferred to you, and from you to me.
You came back, took off your noise-blocking headphones, your dark olive military jacket and black polished combat boots. I wiped my eyes clean; you didn’t need a second girl crying in front of you the same night. You went down on your knees, rested your upper body on the bed. We looked at each other. Somehow this became about us, about everyone who was important to us.
And we obtained clarity. You climbed up on the bed and laid your head in my lap. I hovered over you and took you in my arms, a little protective layer from all your external enemies.
I am your silver lining.
This is what all dreams should be like.
On May 25th, I woke up from my fantasy.
“I miss you.”
“Moi aussi Mio, plus souvent que tu ne le crois.”
In the end, I’ve realized that
I have too much love to give.
I relate to everything
I feel everyone’s pain
My heart, it goes out to the world.
And all I can do is present to you
And you, and you, and you
What I am.
You belong to the world
Let me be your muse
Dance in the flames, play you the song
Of your nightmares.
Look at me burn
I’ve created your light, your guiding light.
If you stand alone in the dark
Feel my arms around you
I am your companion.
I know that I’m saying too much
Even though I’d rather hold my tongue
Feed me your thoughts
Burden my soul
I’ll be the keeper of your secrets.
And I’ll pull you closer holding on to
Every moment until my time is done
I’ve performed under the night sky
A violin fantasy
To thousands, in a foreign land.
This is no different.
I can be your vision
I know I should leave you
And learn to mistreat you
I belong to nobody
Because you belong to the world
And to everybody.
And girl, I want to embrace you
Dance with me
And I can show you magic.
But you belong to the world
Let your demons loose—
Let me see who you are.
You belong to the loneliness of filling every need
You belong to the temporary moments of a dream.
A List (in order of significance)
- My four muses, and one devil.
- The Weeknd – You Belong to the World (video)
- Above & Beyond – Sun & Moon
- Tchaikovsky – Symphony No.4 in F minor
- The Weeknd – Love in the Sky
- Stravinsky – The Rite of Spring
- Sarasate – Carmen Fantasy
All Images via Google Images