Egg Dream 1

I don’t know what day it is but I’m in the kitchen cracking pepper on my eggs again at the bench. I look out the window briefly – it’s an overcast day and I can see the central city standing tall in the distance with trees and terracotta suburban rooftops like waves in the foreground. 

I’m lost in thoughts of memories of all the places that fall within my view, pepper cracker inactive in my hands. That’s when I notice a presence behind me. 

There is someone else in the kitchen. I turn around to see Shae sitting on the kitchen floor behind me. 

I’m a little bit confused. 

What is she doing here? 

Shae is a girl I went to primary school with. We also attended the same high school for a short time. She grew up in Essendon too so until I moved out of home I would see her at different points and stages in my life. Down the street, at the tram stop and at IGA with her mother. 

To be honest, I can’t say I’ve ever really spoken to her but she’s always been around. Though, there is one thing I can’t get out of my head every time I see Shae; the horrible things I heard other kids at school did to her because she had Down’s Syndrome. Kids would lure her to the oval under the pretence of wanting to hang out or be her friend and then jab her with their cigarettes or make her do humiliating things to win their approval.  

It made me sick to my stomach. While I did get bullied quite a bit through the end of primary school and early high school, it was nothing like that. 

The train of thoughts are leading me to dark places and it’s the last thing I need right now so I shake my head back into reality and focus on the situation before me. 

Shae doesn’t seem to notice I’m here in the same room with her and I also notice she’s still a child. Shae is older than me and while this doesn’t really make sense I kind of just go along with it. 

She’s even wearing the primary school dress with its blue and white checkers. Shae is distracted as she plays with some unseen object on the floor, humming a tune to herself. Tears start welling up in my eyes and I don’t know why suddenly I feel so emotional. My eyes sting and a stiffness takes hold in my throat. 

I don’t need to be getting like this now, I’ve got things to do. 

Get it together.

Turning back and looking back down at my work, my eyes fix on the bowl with the eggs. The white is flecked with little black unevenly sized chunks. A few of them fall off and it looks like they’re moving. I smile to myself and focus a little more. 

The hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I see a few more pieces move, but this time they’re moving sporadically as if by their own volition. My face moves closer to the eggs in the bowl, now they look less like eggs and more like smooth, white alien planets with little people crawling on the surface – rushing around to nowhere in particular. 

People running blind through life until they fall off the edge. Watching the eye in the sky watching them. 

As I keep focusing I can’t help but think how the cracked pepper almost looks like ants from where my I stand.  

A sick, cool-warm rush comes over me and a jolt of shock climbs up from my stomach up into my throat. 

They are ants. 

There are ants on the eggs. 

Crawling all over the eggs, drowning in the condensation, along the sides of the bowl and making their way up my arms. My skin itches in a hundred places at once as the ants walk in every direction. There are too many to count. 

Where did they come from?

I stumble back and drop the pepper cracker, the thing smashes on the floor next to me with a black mass of ants oozing out before crawling in every direction.

My knees feel weak and I fall to the ground. 

There’s a dull pain in both knees and I look to see all the ants are gone. 

Fuck. What’s wrong with me? 

That’s when I remember Shae is behind me. My knees still have a dull pain as I use my hands to pivot myself in Shae’s direction.

She hasn’t noticed me. 

I still can’t quite make out what she’s playing around with so I focus a little more.  

That’s when I see them, there are ants on her legs walking really slowly. They stroll over her pale, nearly translucent skin with the veins like a network of roads for the ants. 

Shae stops moving and goes quiet. And then so do the ants. 

Time stops, the birds outside are frozen mid-flight, the trees do not rustle in the wind. 

The world around me is quiet and I wonder if I’m frozen too. 

Then everything starts again. 

The ants spring into motion at this frenzied pace and Shae starts to scream. She’s scratching at her legs to get the ants off but more of them keep coming. 

Her legs are turning red with scratch marks. 

I can’t help her. 

My mouth opens to scream out to her but nothing comes out, just saliva which starts dribbling down my chin and onto the ground. 

That’s when I smell this sickly sweet meat stench in the air. 

Her screaming grows louder and the pitch is insufferable. I stumble back and I’m against the kitchen cupboards under the bench not able to escape any further. Not even putting my hands over my ears blocks the screaming. 

I’m going to be sick. 

I grab my stomach as I feel the contents churning and attempting to escape from me. 

My mouth wrenches open by reflex and at first that pre-vomit saliva comes out. 

Shae is still screaming but I can’t see her anymore.

Something is moving up my throat now. 

First a belch followed by some smooth form that comes up into my mouth and into the floor.

I stare in disbelief.  

It’s one of the peeled hard boiled eggs. 

Then another. 

And another. 

I can’t stop, one after the other the eggs keep pouring out of my mouth covered by slimy saliva.

Soon the floor is covered with eggs and I find myself slipping in my own saliva unable to keep myself up.

And as I’m lying on the ground, the eggs just keep coming out of my mouth and onto the floor around me.  

Shae’s screaming is louder than ever and I just can’t stop vomiting these goddamn peeled, hard boiled eggs. 

I wake up. 

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.

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?

Me/You

I don’t think I wanna do that.
Just be more open.

What the fuck are you doing?
You know you like it, you’re a slut.

I don’t like it when you spit on me.
Come on, it’s hot.

Please don’t hit me like that again
Don’t be so boring.

It really hurts.
Just a little longer baby, it feels so good. Please.

Please, I’m tired.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to do anything.

I’m not feeling it.
Fucking hell, what did you think we were gonna do? 

Don’t leave any marks.
Why? You don’t want your other guys to know?

I’m exhausted.
Arch your back. DOWN!

Did you take it off?
Come on baby, it feels so much better. Don’t you want my load?

No one’s really interested in me apart from a hook up.
You seem like the type who would cheat though.

Can we please use a condom?
What, you’re not clean? I am.

I couldn’t fucking breathe!
Sorry baby, I’m really sorry.

Yeah, I’m fine don’t worry about it.
Oh, you didn’t cum? I guess I can finish you off if you want.

 

Scared

I’m scared.

Scared to love, scared to be loved.

I’m scared of closing my eyes and I’m scared of speaking up.
I’m scared of making an impression, scared of being forgotten.

I’m scared.
Scared that I’m doing it all wrong.

Scared to be the first, scared to be the last.
Scared of permanence and scared of being vulnerable.
Scared that this is it and that nothing will change.

I’m scared that I’m silly and scared to look you in the eye.
I’m scared of being left behind.

Scared that everyone rolls their eyes when I leave the room.

I’m scared.
Scared that I have made some terrible mistake and there is no going back.

I’m scared that no one is listening.
I’m scared that everything will change.  

Scared to disappoint and scared to impress.
Scared of being admired and scared of being hated.

I’m scared of what I see staring back at me when I look in the mirror.
I’m scared that I’ll be found out.

I’m just scared.

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.

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.

7:13 am

I get to the platform with 2-3 minutes spare and take my usual place between the right side of the ticket barrier and the toilet block.

The mother who wears adidas originals as her comfy commuting shoes is standing and chatting with her three daughters who are already exceeding her in height.

They laugh and always seem to look my way as I take my place.

The two guys a little closer to the ticket barrier stand right near the edge of platform and seem to be talking business as usual. The look like they really know what they’re talking about and will likely tell you that you’ve got it wrong.

The train pulls up and today it’s one of the old Comeng trains that might be retrofitted.

I hop on and everyone is there doing their usual thing.

The two guys have gotten onto the carriage next to me but the mother and girls get on my carriage and stand slightly over from the door which is going to be opening every stop until North Melbourne.

The young, shorter guy who always wears shorts and no socks with his shoes but a down jacket is on his phone, probably looking through Facebook leaning against the door on the side of the train where the doors won’t open.

I pull out my kindle and start reading my book and usually I’m on the side of the train where the doors don’t open, preferably against a wall but that’s prime real estate which is usually all but gone by the time the train pulls in to Moonee Ponds.

At Ascot Vale about three friends of the school girls get on and they all greet the mother who slowly steps back as the circle opens, the new arrivals join and she takes a step back. The mother is now going to spend the rest of the time I’m on the train looking in as an outsider while her daughters start talking about a world far from her own. Every now and then the mother will try to make eye contact with someone in the circle before pulling her phone out to play candy crush or some Harry Potter mobile game.

One day, one day.

At Newmarket the girl with olive skin gets and assumes her usual power stance in the middle of the carriage. This girl gets on the same connecting train with me at North Melbourne. She generally doesn’t take her backpack off even when the train is crowded and for that I’m kind of not a fan.

At Kensington the young boy gets on with either his mother or father. They both carry his bag for him while he looks out the window of the train door and rattles out observations about the pattern of train departures from North Melbourne. The school bag his parents carry is nearly as big as him.

At North Melbourne a bunch of us get off and proceed up the stairs. It’s always the guy with the shorts, no socks with shoes and the olive skin girl who end up on the same platform with me, the others continue on the loop.

Just as I get to the top of the escalators, like clock work the young guy with some kind of physical disability is making his way along the rail of the concourse before heading down.

There’s never enough room on the middle escalators so you can’t really stand to the left or people get annoyed as they rush for their trains bound for Southern Cross or Flinders.

The Metro lady is standing with her microphone pleading with people not to congregate around the base of the escalators and move down the platform.

My side of the platform is quiet and I wait for the 7:28 train because I usually just miss the 7:22 train unless it’s one or two minutes late.