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?

Beep Beep Beep

It’s late afternoon and the faint smell of the foccacia I baked lingers in the air. Sesame is on the bed out of my sight probably sleeping or looking out the window and through the open balcony door in my living room I can hear the symphony of construction machines beeping as they move around.

My eyes sting with a lack of sleep coating my lids like some residue I can’t lift. My dreams were violent last night and the guided meditation before bed made it worse. Rika popped up in my dream at some stage; she didn’t look well and had scabs around her mouth. I wasn’t happy to see this but I wasn’t sad either. We didn’t interact but she was always around, mouthlessly wording things at no one in particular.

I don’t know if it’s a headache or just the drain of dumping my mental state on my new psychologist just now but I pop two painkillers. It’s a packet I picked up in transit at Hong Kong Airport on my way home from Bangkok last year.
I travelled nearly 7 times last year but today international travel has been banned and my predictions of societal collapse seem to be happening a lot more sooner than even I thought they would.

Can I fit in a nap before heading to family dinner?
Honestly, I’ll need to so I can function and not breakdown crying in front of everyone.

The beeping of the vehicles is less frequent now but there is some other power tool, the bang of a hammer periodically. Another lot of instruments have taken over but the symphony continues.

Congratulations

It’s Friday morning and I’m walking from the station to work when I pass Norma’s Drycleaning as I do every other weekday. Out of the corner of my eye I can still see the dress that’s been there since we moved into the new building nearly four years ago now.

I’m going to say it’s an African dress of some sort but I could be wrong and I have little reference to go off other than the colours and the patterns.
The dress is wrapped in plastic, hanging with the other clothes except that it’s positioned facing the street. Facing me.
I pass the store and it leaves my sight but today something makes me stop in my tracks. The thought of another day of a strict routine in a job that I hate is too much to handle so I start acting out of my routine like I’m about to do.
Instead of walking toward work, I’m walking backwards V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y as if unsure of what I’m doing but now I’m more sure than ever…I think.

I peek the pattern of green, yellow and red lines streaming out of the black circle in the chest of the dress like the rays of some other wordly sun. Entering the store I notice there is no one at the counter and I just stand there unsure of what to do next.

A man comes out from the back and looks at me with tired eyes, “Yes?” He’s balding and has a weak nest of salt and pepper hair around the bald crown poking out like some disappointing egg.
I raise my arm and point to the dress behind him, “I’m here to…pick that up.” comes out in a stammer.
The man’s tired eyes sharpen as he looks into me before turning to look back at the dress and back to me again. “Are you sure that’s what you want?” He says.
“Yes.” I’m sure of it now.
It’s at this time that I notice that the store is quiet, so quiet it’s almost as if we’re in a vacuum. Another dimension so far from the one I usually inhabit.
The only sound I hear is the light crunch of the plastic surrounding the dress that he’s now bringing over to me. In fact, I can’t even hear the sound of my blood pumping violently through my body, I can only feel it.
He hands over the dress and I take it into my hands.
The lights start to grow dim before completely darkening. Now, I can’t see the man, the dress or even my own hands.
Then just like that, the lights grow dim and come back to full brightness. The man is looking at me, but the dress that was just in my hands is gone.
He’s smiling, “Congratulations, you’ve found the key and you can move on to the next stage.”
I blink.
I blink again.
Without another word, he turns around and walks to the back of the store, disappearing from site in amongst the other clothes waiting to be collected.
I back out from the store to the outside world.
Everything is the same but also quite different.
There are doors where there weren’t doors before and new things in place of old things.

I let out a breath of relief.
After all this time, this is where it was.

I smile to myself.

Twilight

She asked me which point I felt like I was at in my life. I sat there for a moment and thought about everything. I was only going to get as much out of these sessions depending on how honest I was with myself.

I opened my mouth and started speaking,

I’m stuck between two places. On the one hand I acknowledge that I’m fortunate and incredibly lucky to be where I am right now. I’m both comforted and pacified by my current place in life.

So, while there is something stirring within me telling me that I’m destined for so much more, the comforts I have and my own insecurities keep me right where I am.

She’s nodding as she types something on her laptop. Rapid tapping is all there is to bridge the silence.

I continue,

Let’s put it this way, I feel like I’ve taken an afternoon nap, it’s been an amazing nap but I’m starting to wake up. In my state of twilight a part of me wants to go back to sleep because sleep seems ideal. Truth be told I have no recollection of how sleep actually feels but I tell myself that feel good because I instantly seek to return to that state as begin to wake up from it.

But then, there is another part of me, it’s this voice telling me to wake up because if I continue to sleep then what happens later on when I eventually do wake up. Sleeping way beyond what I should have.

This is the tension I feel now, the decision to be made.

Do I go back to sleep or do I wake up?

A brief pause, then the sound of typing. She looks directly at me now and opens her mouth to speak.

Where I’m not meant to be

I’m writing to think about something else that isn’t thinking about social media and dating which numb my mind. To not think about the place where I spend most of my week sitting in, I want to write even more and I want to be where I’m meant to be.

I think about people who have a passion and then succeed at it and I imagine them staying up late at night burning the candle at both ends until they free themselves because there is no gain without struggle or freedom without a fight. Those who succeed only get there with struggle right? You have to endure tears and pain to get it right. Right?

And then I wonder if I just float through life as I am, not devastated and relatively comfortable, can I live with this feeling that follows me around like some masked menace? And while sometimes I forget he’s there, as soon as I turn around he’s poking around and smirking at me like some smug asshole.

I know I don’t fit, that much is obvious and it’s pointed out to me everyday. I used to think it was socially but recently I’m realising that it’s more to do with what my place is in the world. Those around me, like the characters in a dream are very much aware of an outsider – they turn to me and say, “Why are you doing this? You know you’re meant to be doing something else right?” All I can reply is by using humour to deflect the fact that I know but I don’t know where.

My world falls quiet and everyone stops moving, speaking and expressing. They turn to me and each and every one of them holds up a sign that reads, WRONG WAY.

What am I? An imposter? A wolf in sheep’s clothing? A cuckoo or a Lyrebird? Possibly a chameleon? Sitting and waiting, planning, or just copying because mirroring is all I know.

You take a left step so I take a left step too.

You reach for coffee so I reach for coffee too.

You suggest this a holiday so I suggest that very same holiday.

Your eyes thin slightly in suspicion and so do mine.

You laugh and then I laugh.

I even express the slight discomfort that comes across one’s face when they feel they are being mirrored. Or is it you that is mirroring me? Deep down you know but you’re not sure enough to say anything and that’s all I need.

Now the train tells me I’m at where I’m not meant to be and I get off one more time. For another day I tell myself that maybe I take life a little too seriously and think a little too much. I see what’s ahead and I can’t stop chewing the inside of my mouth. At this very moment when no one is watching, I’m not copying anyone.

Wall

I made this wall to keep the harm out, it has served me well but there is something else. After years behind the wall, I’m getting this growing sense that I am somehow missing out.

I see you and you see me but as we go to touch, something stops us.

The wall keeps you out too.

Now I sit here in my space where I used to feel so safe. But now, it’s not just that I’m missing out but something else – I feel something sinister here with me, invisible to my eyes as I look around.

It’s just me, there is nothing in here, what could it be?
That’s when I catch a glimpse in the reflection of the glass.
It is in me, it has been growing in me and changing me.

I realise now is the time to let down the walls. I’m not ready but I don’t think I will ever be.

All I know if I don’t I will cease to be me.