Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Storyline 2

What if 'to be continued' was actually the end? The end of the story. What if there was no more? Like the way we go to sleep one night thinking there is a 'to be continued' subtitle to life, that our story continues to next day. What if we don't wake up?

If. If. IF. Everything somehow rotated around this phantom of hope. I didn't want to wake up. I wanted to be able to hope that somehow magically, if I closed my eyes, the pain, the aches, the broken pieces, everything would somehow float up and away, along with my soul, and that when the cold morning light finally broke, I wouldn't wake up. The catch was that I had given up on hope and somehow hope just stuck to me irritably; a pesky piece of Velcro that no matter how much I shook it, it would detach only to stick again only stronger, and the more I fought it, the more I clung onto the hope that hope would let me go.

It stuck to me almost noticeably. I was exhausted with fighting it. If I ventured out, I was self-consciously certain that everyone was stare at the big swollen hope that had made itself at home on me, like a parasite - how could they miss it? I couldn't cover it up. If I tried to sit on it, I found myself floating on this balloon of hope, if I tried to stick it under my sweater, I looked like I was pregnant. Pregnant with hope.

How was it possible to be accompanied with hope and be so firmly entrenched in the deepest pits of despair? The irony did not escape me even when I was holding myself close, recounting ways of escaping life itself. Hope was a reminder. It let everything in the crack in the window, and suddenly it was frigid inside, everything frozen and everything so immeasurably brittle that all it took was one breath, and everything was breaking, everything was falling, everything was shattered. Hope just kept stabbing at you and making your wounds open and reopen, and wouldn't let you heal. Wasn't hope supposed to be healing?

I wanted to heal, I didn't want to heal. I didn't want to want. I wanted to be so completely numb that I couldn't tell if I was numb or not. I wanted to be the brittle ice that was ready to break and never come together again. I was that already, but why was I able to feel every single shard of myself even as far it had fallen off from me?

I didn't want to feel. I didn't want to be. I didn't want to. Life was all a stage. We were all pretending anyway. No matter how much we felt things from our hearts, or felt that life was a journey that was joyous or full of hope, we were all pretending. From the time we were children, isn't this what we learnt? Playing cops and robbers, doctor-patient, indians and cowboys. We were all conditioned to pretend, to grow up and keep pretending. We were all just an army of moving mouths, an elaborate play with our scripts coming to mind from a playwright unseen. You either know your part or you don't. When you forget your lines - then what?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Storyline

I'd wanted to be alone. So, I lost myself in the crowds. I wanted to forget. Forget who I was, forget the deafening silence of cold nights, curled up,  voices and memories hammering on my head. Forget the pain and exhaustion. The hole inside of me.

I didn't want to go back to the usual hangouts. They were burnt out memories. Ruination.  I did a quick search, and in the silence of the quiet night that shrieked at me like nails on chalkboards, I readied myself to join the crowds. I'd stopped looking in mirrors. Avoiding the emptiness reflected at me. Avoiding the spectre that reminded me that I was still alive. Alive for what?

As I slipped into the crowded room, the noise came at me like a soothing shadow on a hot day. Here was a place where I couldn't hear myself think. Here was a place where I was a stranger, where no one knew me, and where I didn't have to care. If I didn't care, I didn't hurt. It was strange, I thought to myself, as I slid into a seat, how I needed a place where I couldn't even feel I existed. Stranger yet how I wanted to be alone in a place where I was surrounded with people.

Slowly, people took notice of me. They asked me to dance. I didn't want to. I wanted to remain unnoticed, unseen. Someone took a seat nearby and pulled me into a conversation, and a bubble of kindness overpowered my resistance. I didn't want this.

I ran out in a panic. What was I doing? What was the point in anything anymore? Against a cold brick wall, I cried as the rain came down on me. The lamposts flickered dimly and I wandered through the night, another night without sleep, until I reached my door and crashed on my bed as the sun began its ascent.

The next night, inexplicably I found myself back at the new place. Despair was too strong a toxic substance that if its presence was all I had for company, I would submit to its addiction. What was so bad in that? A bubble of resentment pulled at me and I felt like screaming. I looked around me, surrounded by mouths. Moving mouths, smiling mouths, smirking mouths, mouths imbibing in drinks, mouths with shiny gloss, mouths all moving for some purpose. What purpose could there be in an army of moving mouths that threatened to conquer sanity?

Sanity was a notion I considered as if it were an alien unknown but theoretical. Was I so bereft of everything that I couldn't locate my identification for sanity? I patted myself down and found that I no longer knew who I was. The thought brought me comfort, and for the first time in a long time, somehow, I smiled.

To my horror I found that someone was smiling back at me. He approached and sat himself down and proceeded to speak. I was riveted by my horror at having a moving mouth directed straight at me. I needed to throw up. I was being pulled by that humanistic tendency to socialize and I was ready to die.

Death was something I was not stranger to. I'd considered various methods of dying. When moving mouths were too loud, and the mute button wouldn't work, I found that death was a welcome channel. Jumping from the highway overpass, walking into the flooded winter rivers, sitting in the subzero rain, ingesting toxic substances.

The moving mouth was offering me some substance. I blinked at the kindness and shook my head. Unspeakably, I found my mouth moving and I had uttered two polite words. The fish grabbed the bait and ran with it, and I was trapped into the world of moving mouths, enslaved to the phenomenon of small talk. Like a fish who'd gone without water for too long, I gasped and found that words were like a welcome drink. A drink I partook of too much for my own good. Within the night's end, I was made not only an acquaintance but a friend.

I didn't want to get close to anyone again. Ever. I was riddled with bullet holes and racked with agony from the electric shocks that had run through my body again and again. Years of mental despair that had eroded too much.

Every night, I found myself pretending to be someone I was not. I was somehow the one who made everyone laugh, who talked energetically, and, worst of all, smiled incessantly. Soon, I was hit by the realization that this was not what I came here for. That despite the luxury accorded to me for the few hours I was here, everything was just the same, if not worse. I was living a lie. 


To be continued.