Journal 13/01/2022

The reflection of the fan blades on the dark screen of my phone. Is it a [BLANK]? It definitely isn’t but I check anyway.

Trying to break a [BLANK] I don’t wanna break deep down.

I wonder if everyone spends as much time [BLANK] to work as I do. What else would they be doing?

Telling myself once I get through the ones left on my [BLANK] I’ll settle down and be content.

That’s what I call telling myself a goddamn [BLANK]. They say, to be a good [BLANK, you need to first convince yourself of your own [BLANK].

Do you think [BLANK] knows?

When [BLANK] looks at me when we [BLANK] do you think he wants to [BLANK] me?

To be honest I feel like deep down everyone wants to [BLANK] me one way or another.

Yeah, I know – I’m a real [BLANK]. You don’t need to tell me what I already know.

Bored with [BLANK] when I have it but yearning for [BLANK] when I don’t have it. I’m a classic [BLANK]!

Do you follow [BLANK]?

Oh, no I don’t use [BLANK].

Oh…[BLANK]!

I think I’m gonna [BLANK] before I [BLANK].

Week 2


It’s been a weird week.

I’m sitting on my balcony at 10:05pm, 23̊c and 64% humidity. Someone is smoking weed above, below, left or right of me. Maybe they all are, maybe I am too – maybe no one is and I’m that person at the bar who asks if anyone can smell weed but really there is no weed but then everyone thinks they can smell it too.

This week makes me feel like someone has taken everyone I know and love out of Melbourne and replaced them with complete strangers. Things are open but they’re not, no one is anywhere. Radio silence.

I think she’s isolating, maybe she’s got it?
He definitely has it, I can’t believe he turned up to work with symptoms.
They’re escaping because it’s all too depressing.
Didn’t you go away anywhere?
Are you sure you don’t have symptoms?

The weed smell has gone and now I can smell the donut place down the street on the corner. I love their donuts, but I hate waiting in there because the smell of the oil soaks into my clothes and hair. A high price to pay for high calories. The guy who runs the place is a bit of a hottie, but I wonder if he permanently has that smell because he’s there all the time.

The streets below are quiet again. No people running and yelling down the street to get more drinks at a bar or drink outside. Just the hum of the air-conditioning fan and a cough in the distance.
Do you think he has it?

I realised recently how deeply uncomfortable it is to be called perfect.
How stressful it is to be over-complimented.
When you put someone up on a pedestal, they will eventually fall off and you will walk away because they aren’t good enough to keep any more. You feel betrayed by the stranger in front of you who only looks somewhat like the fantasy you’ve created by filling in the gaps as you please.

The weed smell is back. I wonder where the breeze is carrying it from. Some laughter comes from somewhere, a gathering unseen. Aside from a car driving under the streetlight below and the leaves quivering in the light breeze around me, I see no one. It’s just me.

Sometimes when I come home, I half expect to see you there. When I walk alone along a busy street, I expect to meet your eyes. I know it won’t happen right now, or maybe even ever because that is how it’s meant to be. But I do feel sad. I do feel loss even though it wasn’t meant to be. I guess I don’t have it together as everyone thinks.
Sometimes, I’m a fool too.

The oil fryer smell is back, I need to take my melatonin and go to bed.

Night

I don’t know what his name was but it was a great time.

Would I go there again? Probably not.

Do I regret it? Absolutely not.

My watch tells me I’ve beat my previous exercise record. Yeah, you’re telling me!

Flinders is further than Southern Cross but I decide I can make the train from Flinders. This part of Flinders Street is weird, there are four or five kebab stores right next to each other, some crappy hotels and on the other side some apartments and two rail bridges blocking clear line of site to the Yarra.

Soon enough that lightening bolt building comes up. It’s all black and has a lightening bolt on it. I don’t know what it is but this guy is standing in front of it. The very guy who tapped me before online. We look at each other and he looks away quickly. He’s got a real romper stomper vibe about him, but it’s all aesthetic. All bark and no bite. He’s scrolling on his phone but it’s just the Home Screen.

I play some songs on repeat as I bound towards Flinders Street.

Thinking about a lot of things.

Thinking about how when you have music in your ears that you’d life feels like a music video. Even when a homeless person says something to you as you walk past but when you’ll look, the only words coming out of their mouth are the lyrics to the song.

Thinking about how I feel flexing my freedom.

Thinking about how I get random threats on the app from someone who knows way more about me than a stranger should.

I’m thinking about what lies ahead and I really don’t know.

It’s more of the same but better.

Through the ticket barriers and past a station man helping someone with their myki.

Down the steps and I see an emaciated woman in a loose fitting tatty pink dress peeing on the wall and screaming. But the words coming out of her mouth are the lyrics to the song.

My heart is pounding in my chest.

Up the stairs and look at that, two minutes to spare.

Journal

Always tired but can’t sleep. That melatonin couldn’t arrive soon enough. It’s not like I need sleeping pills, I just need something that lets me rest continuously for whatever length of sleep I need so I don’t feel tired. I went through a sample pack a few weeks back, damn it was good.

When I’m not alone, I want to be alone so I can do my thing, but when I’m alone yearn for human contact and end up fidgeting or jumping between twenty menial tasks. Everything except the thing I said I needed to be alone to do.

During my disrupted sleep, I wake up at around 3 am and go to the toilet. That’s not the weird part though, when I get back into bed, I start thinking the worst thoughts. I become resolute in undoing things and completely detaching from everyone. I piece together gaps in my understanding of my world with the most negative thoughts. I hate it but I can’t stop myself. Then just like that I fall asleep and wake up feeling totally fine. I laugh at how ridiculous it all was and feel thankful for all I’ve achieved up until this point.
Though, in the back of my mind I know that I’ll have one of these episodes again.
Am I dreaming when I have them?
Or am I awake?

Do you ever wonder if sleeping on your side makes your face more asymmetrical than it was in the first place? I wish I could sleep on my back, but I really can’t. If I’m having a nap I fall asleep on my right side like it’s no one’s business. If it’s night time then I can only sleep on my left side. Definitely not on my back.

Word keeps telling me to use more concise language for my reader.
Word can fuck right off.

Good night.

Bega

We’ve been driving forever.

Mum got sad and stopped talking when Ayla asked if we were there yet for the hundredth time. Sometimes the white noise from the radio stops and a few words come through.

Eva-

Do not-

Las-

Dad whistles half a tune every now and then.

White noise, gravel road and the rumble of the car. The sky is blue.

Ayla is fixated on something in the corner of the window near her seat. The windows are locked – we aren’t to wind them down.

Whenever we drive somewhere for the holidays it always takes so long and the last time we did I was sick and vomited on the seat. Even after we cleaned it there was still a smell but Dad got a new work car since then so I promised I would tell them if I felt sick so they could stop the car. I haven’t been sick yet and I think I won’t vomit the whole way.

Dad’s eyes are fixed on the road. Usually when I look into Dad’s eyes, they are bright like the sunlight bouncing off little puddles after the rain. Right now they look empty, like the eyes on one of Ayla’s stuffed toys.

A green sign passes but I can’t read it. The sky is grey-brown.

With a blink, Dad seems to come to life, “Guys! Only 20k’s to Bega!”. He glances around, beaming.
I don’t know what Bega is and I don’t know why we’re going there. We’ve been driving non-stop since last night I think. Mum and Dad woke us up at night and told us we were going on a holiday. We didn’t even get to pack our bags but they said we could buy things when we got to Bega.

God-

Mass-

Shel-

Mum looks back at us for a moment and smiles faintly. Her eyes are red, she looks past us a for a moment and her face changes. Eyes wide, I can see the red around the edges. Lip quivering. She quickly turns back and grabs Dad’s arm as he drives, her knuckles are white. Dad doesn’t say anything.
I want to look back but the last time Ayla and I tried to Mum and Dad both screamed at us. Dad never screams but I never saw him look so scared when he did.

Mum and Dad are looking at each other now, he’s not looking at the road anymore.
Mum’s crying and so is Dad. They both smile while they’re crying. I don’t know why.
How long has it been? I don’t know.
They both look back at us, “Only 15 k’s to Bega! Why don’t you two have a rest before we get there? We don’t want you napping when we’re walking around town.” Mum smiles through the tears. Her smile doesn’t seem real.  
The sky is a red-brown, it’s almost glowing and getting brighter like a weird sunset.

Ayla has stopped playing and is asleep.

Do- on the cor-
Ou- in t-e street
Willy and the – are playin’
Bring a ni-, ta- your feet-

Oh, it’s that song that used to be on the radio all the time when I was in prep. I remember how hot the summer was back then. It feels like it’s getting that hot now.

The glow is getting brighter as I close my eyes. I feel sleepy.

Enemy

This unseen enemy is wearing me down,

Eating away at the corners of my colourful dreams little by little like silverfish at paper.

At first I didn’t even notice and I felt like it was no match for me. I danced around it confidently thinking I was to win but here’s the thing, the whole time it laughed at me and I simply could not see.

Now my dreams are fast fading and my world is looking grey. I’m cold and alone while others dance and play.

I’m shut in and it feels like so many things have been taken away.

One Way Street

I’m running down this one way street towards you with everything in my arms.

I’m running toward you like some desperate fool even though I know it’s not going to be good for me.

In front of me I see your heart so full and fresh but when I look behind me and I see mine a little wilted and depressed.

The sweat is running down my face and I’m started to pant real hard. My chest is tingling but I cannot stop and rest.

I can see you smiling in the distance, not too far now I tell myself.

Then I drop to my knees, I can’t anymore. I’m sorry, I’m sorry I couldn’t give you everything I wanted to give you. My head hangs in shame. The world is dark and I’m alone.

For a time there is silence, isolation and nothing but my shame.

I feel a hand pat my head from above and I look up to see you. You’re laughing at me. Tears are streaming down my eyes, I’m confused and I don’t know what to say.

You laugh even more and so much so that your eyes disappear before you say ‘Hey, you’ve been running down this one way street all along but you’ve gotta let me meet you half way.’

Grid

You’re not next to me but you’re with me.

I know that, I swear I do.

It’s a Saturday night isolated but I know I’m not alone. I know I’m loved. Especially by you.

Despite this, I can no longer focus on whatever I put on the TV that I thought would distract me enough. I look down to that grid. I’m scanning the grid knowing you wont be there. My brain and my heart are telling me to stop looking but as if by some phantom habit, my body now moves on it’s own.

This search also turns up nothing.

I don’t feel relieved.

I feel empty,

I feel dark,

I feel uncomfortable.

My eyes close, I reset and open up to find the grid is gone.

I’m pacified for now but I know I have to be stronger next time, I know I can’t go on like this.

I’m praying for strength and most of all I’m praying for faith.

Gravity

We’re tangled on the sofa watching something. The movie doesn’t matter so much, just this moment, the afternoon sun streaming through into the room and the comfort your warmth gives to me. How long have we been sitting here? Minutes? Hours? Who even picked the movie? I don’t know and I don’t care.
Despite trying to ignore the feeling, I can’t ignore the fact that I have to go to the toilet and dread to break this moment but I get up to do it anyway.
As I start to rise, I’m pulled back onto the couch, gently, so gently. Maybe I didn’t give myself enough push going up? I look at you, half expecting you to meet my gaze but your face is focused on the movie and you don’t look at me. For the briefest of moments you smile the most secret, quiet smile that only I can see and hear.

That’s when I know it’s you.

You’re the gravity that keeps me from floating away.

Split

It’s been nagging me for years since I came back. That feeling I left something of myself behind.

Because when I go back I feel so alive and I feel myself. Why is that? I could never figure it out.

But today during my session with the psychologist, it came out that perhaps I left a part of myself there, the part of myself I actually like.

So when I’m back there I’m whole again, when I leave I’m not.

If I’m not whole and the part of myself that I like and truly want to be is not here then what is it that came back?

Could it be that my shadow came back and forgot it was a shadow and just took my place? Meanwhile my true self is over there infinitely walking home from the station on a still autumn night in awe of everything around him not realising what has happened.

How do I make myself whole again?