"I don't know what counts as my first kiss, or even my first love," Nadya told me between sips of her drink. "Maybe that sounds sad, but I think it's rather common."
"Certainly. It's human nature to reduce our pasts into a more streamlined narrative."
"It does(more) make for better stories. The Heartbreaker and the Heartbroken. The Traitor and the Betrayed. The First Love. The One That Got Away. Blah blah blah. It's always more complicated than that."
She stood up, pointing at her empty glass to hint she was going to refill it, but remaining in place.
"We have this urge to repackage our lives like they're movies,"
she continued, gesticulating theatrically. "Predictable ones, at that."
Her impassioned tone sparked a wave of stolen glances from nearby patrons, whose eyes lingered on her undulating silhouette. As she shimmied up to a nearby table to ask for a lighter, I could see she was fully aware she moved like a movie star.
Xyto was 45 now, colouring in the truck only just outside the lines. Everything was the right colour except the yellow face of the man inside it. He had faint memories of designing a new truck engine when he was 7 -which is, the psychologists believe, why trucks are(more) his favourite toys- but to Xyto it was a memory of playing with friends, that’s all he could understand it as. His rough hand, grey hairs dripping down the side, clasped the crayon with a reasonable amount of certainty. On floor beside him were broken crayons, the result of misjudgements.
Xyto aged physically as any normal person did: his body peaked around his 30s and started its descent into decay. His mind however, after the first two years of confusion, was fully matured at the onset, and then gradually declined into immaturity. Scientists marvelled at the anomaly of his DNA, Buddhists loved him for his increase innocence, the general public felt uncomfortable in his presence. In his youth he was a prodigy, solving the engineering problems his father had set out. In his 30’s he fell into a drug problem, which his aged body could not handle as well as his teenage mind-set. Then, eventually, he replaced drugs with drawing. It was kind of beautiful.
You could tell how close he was to death by the size of his ego; he became less and less set in his ways as he aged. Everyone knew when he was completely present, reacting to everything with a fresh mind, that he was close to the end. With death came innocence.
In the lane as light flickers blindly the savior emerges, a ghastly thing, a yellow call in that pitch black night. Surreptitious, enigmatic, there is no answer but the man at the door. He's yelling a dream, he's coaxing a condor.
(more) No, today is not the morning when existence eclipses into your mind. Today is the day that lips melt into two and your bodies seep into the ground and every word on your breath is anointed with death.
Scream and call. Beckon like you're begging for life. There's a messy smile and a tipsy kiss and your whole mind is blurred into nothingness. The words seek you and the days turn tom fragile to health. Strong is just another concept. Love is just another lie.
So I weep in my room, unsure how a fuck-up like me could ever live in this world. Then other time I feel like sand: divine, personified, a human abroad. My heart locks into something deep and no one tells me I'm beautiful anymore.
I get lockjaw from sucking your cock and he's talking to me in the dark and no body is lying anymore so let's find a stranger to drown. There is no one else and nothing else, just a pressure in your spine and that thing zipping into you like it's cancer.
Fuck. Fuck me. Fuck everyone. I'm wet and you're hard so let's slit our throats together, watch as the blood seeps into a pretty poem. Thank you baby, thank you for fucking this pussy so good. Too vulgar? Who cares. We'll all be dead by tomorrow anyway.
So today I live in that weary lie. Today I press my bones into a strange man and call into the black and every little bow is tying up my messy heart. (less)
What a burden, the cross! What a fate, to be drowned by the tears and woes of the masses! What a sentence, a restriction, priest's collar chafing like chains on the soul. How quaint, how queer, to see man toil solely for the sake of another!
O, ye pur(more)e souls that fly straight to heaven, pause not at the fate of those without your strength. (Not all of us can ignore the biological imperative. Not all of us can set aside our own welfare.)
Humanity, corrupt, (im)perfect humanity. Created in a god's image, an image of bleeding sores and sin-stains, of pustules and purity, of male ego and female opression. Blessed inequality, that which follows us even into death, balance our scales in the next life. Let the murderer be reborn pious, the tycoon clean, the child grow again until she is ancient and jaded.(less)
Sally rubbed her hand on Peter’s back as he hung his head over the edge of the toilet. He retched, and Sally could feel the convulsions shake him from his shoulders to his feet. He was pale, cool sweat pooled on his neck and drenched his shirt in (more)a sickly stench. His hands clung to the porcelain bowl as if he were afraid to let go. He retched again and Sally heard the plop of water on water.
When he stopped he looked at her. “Holding my hair during detox wasn’t exactly one of our vows,” he said.
“Sure it was, in sickness and in health, and all that.”
Peter’s laughter turned into a groan as the retching began again.
She looked at the hands clinging to the porcelain bowl. They were so strong, Sally was afraid the toilet might crack beneath their grip. She remembered them, remembered how they’d held hers on a windy autumn walk through a park, how they’d pulled her close and held her strong, how they’d pried her fingers from the hilt of a knife after it’d sliced across her skin.
“We’ve been through a lot, haven’t we?” Peter said.
Sally smiled. “Just a little,” she said.
“I’m glad you’re here.”
Peter ran his hands along her forearm.
Sally felt his fingers encounter the healed over scars she wore on each wrist.
He grasped her hand. “I love you,” he said. He vomited and his grip tightened.
“Me too,” she said. “Me too.”
Its amazing how we got this far,
feels like we spent our whole lives chasing,
the dream, the wish, the goal.
I never thought we would actually make it,
now that we have, I have my doubts,
I have my reservations.
(more) You see, I spent my whole life chasing and now I'm here,
the problem is I never imagined what I would do now,
how I would carry forth this voyage,
how to reach the final page.
“Dammit man, close his eyes! He is staring right through me!” Jonathan clenched his pocket watch through his three-piece suit. The doctor pulled the eyelids down, but the corpse’s face remained menacing.
(more) “Silly Jonathan,” he said in his deep European accent, “the true effect of the theater is not experienced during the play … it only creeps into your heart in the dark silence after the curtain falls.”
His breathing had become laboured. As I sat beside him, I could see him deteriorate. He was failing, and fast. For so long now I had been bracing myself, preparing, psyching myself up and now that it was upon us, I all of a sudden felt so rushed. It was as if all(more) I had planned to do and say had got trapped in the funnel of my emotions and I found I couldn't bring myself to do or say anything. His hand felt both cold and clammy at the same time. I could hear my own heart beating in my throat. It seemed the stronger mine sounded, the weaker he looked. I had so many unspoken words to say to this man. How could I thank him and also forgive him for the so many rights and wrongs he had done to me in my life. The room was heavy with the scent of hopelessness. The frame that could strike terror in me as a small boy was now diminished. It barely caused a lump under the bedclothes. This was the end. "Father....." I faltered, encountering an unfamiliar obstruction in my throat. Was this the elusive lump in the throat that people spoke of? "Father..." I tried again. "Spit it out boy", rasped the old man, losing none of his impatience in the face of death. He dissolved into a fit of coughing. "Father, I'll keep the business going, after, you know, after.....". His shrewd eyes cleared for a moment, it was as if for the first time he was looking me and really seeing me with clarity. "Behind safe in the store room, find the secret stow shelf, take the letters, never let them be found". At this the light faded from his eyes. The curtain came down.(less)
Jimmy tried not to let the nerves show. The crowd was enthusiastic but had not wandered into total drunkenness yet. This was the opportunity he was waiting for, had waited for all night.
(more) Earlier, when the first act come on he sat at the back of the club. There weren't many people there at that stage and they treated her like background noise. He felt sorry for her, and them. She was very good. Her nerves did get the better of her a few times. She hid it well and he didn't think anyone noticed. Well, wouldn't have noticed it they were listening.
Her songs were bitter sweet ballads about lost love and lost innocence. She had a few uptempo songs thrown in and these did manage to get some feet tapping.
The second act got more attention. This was largely due to him coming on and hurling a serious amount of abuse at the crowd for ignoring Lydia. He suggested that they all fuck off if they didn't want to listen to the music. One or two people laughed thinking he was some sort of alternative comic but a stare that splurged pure evil in their direction corrected their mistake.
Not unexpectedly his songs were angry, even his love songs. It was actually quite interesting to see someone singing about total and utter devotion to another human being while being vein pulsingly red faced from the effort of reaching maximum force and volume.
Now it was his turn. He liked to think of it as the headline slot but it wasn't really. He was the guy who just got lucky. Well to be honest it was act two who got lucky and made his choice first, then Lydia, then he got the last slot.
Everyone was in position. The Corilino brothers had the stage manager tied up in his office. Simon had the Girl and James was all set up by the stage lights. Three months of planning and the night was finally here. This was it. Tonight we ether live or we(more) die. It's the closing act.(less)