CW: Drugs, Addiction, Mental Disorders
The empires collapsed to rubble. Skyscrapers dragged down to the ground. It was chaos. I could smell the end. It smells of tequila, cannabis, and strawberry shampoo. It’s so cold so cold so cold. But I’m not shivering from cold. My own teeth are frigid icepicks. Carved diamond hard, I think I’ve cut my lip. Maybe it was someone else’s teeth that nipped me.
Haha, nipped. What a strange word. N-I-P-P-E-D. Something valid rhymes with it. Ah yes, tripped. That’s what happened to me. Why I was on the floor. The floor, I could hardly see it. I stand up. Gracefully I think. Maybe I’m too drunk for that. Ah well. I’m up either way, squashed between two shirtless dancers. One’s a woman, I note with vague interest. I need to move.
People were packed like sardines in those decorated tins that you peel open. Tins that you peel back like bananas. A flash of yellow breezed past me. A bunch of bananas?
And someone flies off the 22nd floor. The party rages on, who gives a fuck?
Forget everything and lose control. Someone whistles in my ears. I turn. Nobody is there, at least not anyone who isn’t dancing wildly, minding their own business.
Elbows kiss brows and toes bruised up. Why don’t I feel it?
Set yourself free of your societal burdens. A girl strips off her designer dress. Capitalist slop. Stains remaining, stickiness and sweat.
*tears clothes off and throws them off the balcony*
Ecstasy passed tongue to tongue. I think I already have some on my tongue. That’s a funny word too. Ecstasy. It’s sticky on my tongue. The word. It’s a snake hiss. SSSSSYYYY.
The tempo beats an unforgivable demand.
This is just entertainment, less acceptable than TV more acceptable than …
Someone plays a cowbell -shreds the heck out of it- a girl picks up a fiddle from thin air -or so it seems as she attacks the strings. Paganini reincarnate it seems. The party rages on and on. The beat changes to something far more severe, it stinks of desperation in here, or is it perspiration?
The danger of the statement flits in and out of trances. The cowbell reminds me of moocows. Moocows were there when you were little. Your granddad milked them. You had a grandad, back then. He was a nice, wrinkled man with very bushy brows and now I think of how gran made fun of those. Gran smelled nice – of cookies and soap. Not this desperate perspiration…or was it desperation? Their house had different noises. Moocows mooed, they didn’t jingle like cowbells. Something clucked though – chickens. I don’t eat those anymore. I’m glad I don’t, they sound sweet. Less violent and heartrending than the fiddle.
The girl looks possessed. I think I want to possess her.
No, that sounds wrong. I’m no creep. I’d like to know her name. She’s beautiful and as she plays her bosom bounces and her hair covers her face. Why is she playing the fiddle?
I don’t think I’m at a concert or gala. No, this is his house, that blond one never met him but he said something. He promised it’d be worth it.
Again I think of gran, I saw her when she died. I think I saw something leave her, not a spirit as those bible people say. No, it was the rosiness of her cheeks and the twinkle in her eye. She was in her favourite brown chair by the fire because they had a fireplace. Very rural that house.
She smiled at me and I smiled back then suddenly her book fell to the floor. Shaggydog started to howl. The dog didn’t have a name, not that I recall. Very impersonal, I remember thinking. Why was the dog howling? I heard that dogs can sense when a spirit leaves the body. I think I read it in a book or magazine. I used to read books by the wheelbarrow-full, literally.
When I was nine, I was a scrawny child. Momma and daddy were too busy so I’d walk to the library and carry books out. Armful by armful and wheel them home. Wait, not always straight home. There was that empty field that I would read in or nap in, under the great oak. It was a lonely oak.
I always wondered why it had no fellow trees around. I asked her once (for I liked to think the oak was a she seldom does one see a man so lonely) whether she ever felt lonely or worse. I asked her whether she hated her life as I did, as I do. Of course you’ll say trees don’t talk but if you listen real closely you’ll hear it in the rustling of the leaves and the gyrating of the branches.
Speaking of gyrating, the party was getting wilder. The lights flashed blue and red, that made me think of the police. Why hadn’t anyone called them on us yet? Oh wait, this is an abandoned hotel a mile off the motorway. Or was it the blond boy’s hotel?
Either way it was in the middle of nowhere like the oak tree, like gran and grandad’s house, like Auntie’s house too. She lived a private life which I assumed was solitary until one day when I was twelve momma told me that she had a partner. I asked if they were married. Momma hesitated. Her hesitation told me all I needed to hear. Not that I realised it then. I thought at first that she was with a married man.
Society has a strange way of being very patriarchal. It didn’t occur to me until years later that Auntie’s partner was Auntie Eve. Even then only when Auntie Eve asked me whether I had a crush on someone. She didn’t say on a boy like society would assume and that made all the difference. I told her no boys caught my eye.
Johnnie spoke about girls in a disgusting way. Unmannered and uncivilized, Emma would say wrinkling her nose in disgust. I would nod and think Emma was awfully grown up. I wish I had independent thoughts. Maybe society engineers my thought process too much. I want to be opinionated and decisive about real issues and politics, like Emma.
I really liked Emma. I didn’t realise it then. Billy told me I was jealous of her. In fact, he sounded jealous as he said it.
There! An opinion unconditioned by social norms!
He didn’t understand then why I avoided him. He used to be my best friend. I taught him how to whistle with your fingers and he showed me how to make music with grass blades.
Music… that’s what the racket and chaos is. The loudness pulled me back to the present. Someone was brushing up and down against my leg. I blinked to clear my vision realising I had moisture running down my cheeks.
Tears –I was crying.
I haven’t cried since —
–since Blue said that I repulse her. That was three years ago. I was young and foolish then. Her parents were pastors, I should have known. I should be thankful she didn’t tell them. Momma would never forgive me if her church knew. Daddy didn’t even know. He wasn’t to know that I was ‘one of those’.
I haven’t seen Auntie since Momma found me crying. It was after Emma moved away. At first she simply assumed we were friends. Society’s patriarchal pollution acting on her too.
When I refused to eat for three days, she knew. Maybe she’d been dreading it, or avoiding it like a plague. It may have been the plague the way she muttered on about a cure.
Cure. I needed one. I needed a cure desperately. But not for that. That wasn’t the disease. The disease is far more. I can’t stop. I simply cannot stop.