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?

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.

Genesis

Genesis by Grimes comes on and I close my eyes to find myself back in my apartment in Hanegi one evening during the week nearly five years ago. I’ve finished work and I’m sitting there on my beige coloured ikea sofa with the red throw on it.

I can see a seven eleven dinner plastic tray with a trace of food I just ate from it lying open on the coffee table in front of me. Disposable wooden chopsticks are sitting on top and a thin rubber band is a short distance away.

My heart, I never feel

I never see

I never know.

I’m restless, I always have been.

My eyes close as I get to my feet and throw my body into some kind of mad dance. I’m doing this in my shoebox space.

Oh, heart

And then it falls

And then I fall

And then I know

I wish this song would never end. It always does and I know it but fuck, I wish it would go on forever.

My

My

My

Ever see, ever be, ever know my heart

Ever see, ever be, ever know my heart

I think I’ll be restless forever. A tear rolls down my cheek and slides into the space between my lips.

My dance becomes more erratic, violent jerks throw me into the walls and tripping over my coffee table.

Home and I know

Playing the deck above

It’s always different

I am the one in love

I bring myself to my feet and I keep going, unable to stop myself. I feel the blood dripping down my left shin and the sting of the scrape.

Ever see, ever be, ever know my heart

Ever see, ever be, ever know my heart

I run down the hallway now and throw the door to my apartment open. Through the entrance and out of my building into a humid autumn night with cicadas screaming to genesis, hidden from view.

I’m screaming in the darkness and no one can see or hear me.

It’s always different

I am the one in love

I disappear.

Haunted City

I live in a beautiful city.

Some even say it’s one of the most beautiful in the world but I think that depends on who is looking and where they are looking from.

There was a time when I would fly, wide-eyed around my city filled with buildings both old and new, streets lined with plane trees and cute little laneways, each turn filled with me wonder and excitement.

But recently something has changed. When I walk the streets, I’m alone and I can’t help but notice them.

They are scattered amongst the new people that pass me by.

The ghosts stare at me with their hollow eyes and shapeless mouths.

I try my best to ignore them but there seem to be more and more.

I enter an arcade that I would spend countless afternoons in all those years ago. One of the cafes in the arcade has this upstairs area where I would sit by the arched window watching the crowds filter trickle through for whole afternoons.

It was a sacred place.

But now, as part of the trickling crowd I look up to the arched window and see a ghost sitting at my table, mouth gaping open and staring at me.

I decide to walk another way.

Food tastes bland and powdery, the buildings look weathered. The world around me is becoming a tired amusement park, the rides haven’t changed and things are starting to break down.

I’m not making new memories like I used to.

No – surely not.

I look through my phone to convince myself otherwise but most of my photos are of food, buildings or myself. The smiles that occupy my older photos before this all started are filled with warmth and feeling. Something has changed, I have changed.

What have I done?

Where did I go wrong?

Whatever I did, wherever I went wrong, there are only ghosts following me around and standing in my way.

This is no longer the city I grew up in, the city that shaped me into who I am.

And when I look under the thin veil it is very much apparent that at some point I stopped living.

How long have I just barely been existing?

I see you

We’d just had sex, relishing in the warmth of post orgasm cuddle play when he looked me in the eyes, “You know I really like you.”

My chest swelled with euphoria and fear and I smiled, “Me too!” But just as my reply reached his ears the sparkle disappeared from his eyes, his lips curled down ever so subtly – the post coitus warmth had dried up and my bed felt like winter.

“It’s okay, I know you don’t.” He said, the eye contact was broken now.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

He was looking out the window, his thoughts were now as far as the mountain ranges in the distance. He started speaking, “You don’t want a relationship. You don’t want a boyfriend. You’re so lonely but you only want guys that are temporary but then when they are willing to stay in your life you back away because you’re so scared of getting close to someone.”

All I could do was nod. I didn’t know what to say but I couldn’t disagree.

He continued, “I feel sorry for you, I don’t know what happened to you but I’m really sorry that it happened. In all the time I’ve spent with you, I still have no idea who you are.”

Just like that it was gone, my jig was up. An act even I wasn’t actively conscious of up until that point.

Again, I just nodded and looked down at the messy linen sheets, really deep into the thread work and imperfections – speckles here and there, lumps and bumps.

Slowly I took my gaze up to my reflection in the mirror where I only saw myself. He was all but gone.

Rather than looking at my reflection, I was looking through myself in the reflection. My eyes glazed as I floated out from my body to imagine me viewing myself alone in the room watching myself look through my own reflection.

I felt so empty.

Fat

We’re sitting there after dinner and he puts his arm around me as we talk. “Dinner was absolutely great.” He leans in closer to kiss me.

I feel the familiar wet, warmth of lips touching mine and I block out my surroundings. His hands slowly move lower as they inspect me. They stop on my hips – left hand pinches my hip fat. With a discovery made, both hands crawl and pinch and work towards my stomach where I feel another pinch.

Through our kiss I feel his mouth open and hear a little laugh, “You’re actually a bit on the chubby side – I didn’t expect that.” He says.

There’s that sick feeling again. The twang in my heart.

My eyes are open and fixed on something in the distance that I can’t make out. I softly push the guy away and try to not let my emotions betray me, “Well if you don’t like it then you can go find someone else.”

He looks guilty and perhaps realises what he’s just said, “Oh no, that’s not what I meant, you’re really sexy but it’s just cute that you have fat. I don’t mind, it’s totally fine.”

I don’t know how to respond.

He’s trying to hug me again and apologise but it feels worse. Now it’s pity. Anything beyond this point is just pity for the guy who wasn’t as perfect and someone imagined him to be.

My chest is tight and my eyes have glazed over.

I find myself on the No.59 tram heading home alone, looking at my fading reflect in the glass being swallowed by night.

At home and I’m in front of my mirror in my underwear looking at my deformed body. Nipples too big, hips too much fat, bulge not big enough, not enough definition in my chest which accentuates my nipples.

In the bathroom in front of another mirror and I’m still the same crying into my toothbrush because now everything is all starting to make sense.

In bed, floating in the darkness waiting to disappear. There’s a flash to my left as my phone lights up and my eyes focus in to see there is a message from the guy and the first line looks like an apology of sorts.

I stare at those words until the light disappears and I’m back to floating towards the abyss once more.

My body shudders with the sound of the passing train.