I am a worthless piece of scum. Not as scummy as some, but still scum none the less.
The scum treat each other like scum, leaves a whole world blind.
I am a worthless piece of scum. Not as scummy as some, but still scum none the less.
The scum treat each other like scum, leaves a whole world blind.
I stared into the mirror making direct eye contact with myself for a moment, that seemed to last for hours. My eyes looked especially dead today. I pulled my sunglasses down from on top of my head and placed them to rest upon the bridge of my nose. I flicked the lock and pulled closed the front door behind me. It was 8am and the sun was already unleashing its Vitamin D and UV Rays through fast moving sparse clouds, onto the world below. It was a cool spring morning with a strong breeze that was warm and dry as it whipped against my face and breathed life into the trees lining the footpath.
I set a steady pace towards the tram stop, along the same path and past the same houses that I had walked past at least twice a day for the last two years. I stared at the concrete under my feet. I was in auto-pilot. I often wondered how I managed to put one foot in front of another and walk anywhere without more than glimmer or spark of brain activity. Green means go. The pedestrian crossing signal was green so I jogged to cross the road. Waited for a gap in traffic and crossed again.
I now stood at the tram stop with what little memory I had of getting there already seemingly erased from my brain. I stood in the warm sun leaning against the railing as I suddenly felt the blood slowly draining from my head. A euphoric feeling washed over me as I felt light and free, like I would suddenly lift off the ground and float away. This was instantly replaced with a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. I predicted I was either going to pass out or throw up. What was wrong with me?
I steadied myself on the railing behind me and closed my eyes. People were looking at me now.
All I could think was how grateful I was for my sunglasses. I needed to sit down. The tram was approaching in the distance; I reassured myself I could make it. I repeated it over and over. You can make it. The tram pulled in beside me, the cool breeze and shade it supplied was somehow soothing to my condition. I caught my reflection in the tram doors as I eagerly waited for them to open. My face looked especially white today.
Any seat would do, I slide into the closest. Rested my head on my knees and breathed. Surely this feeling would pass. I breathed, in, out. Focused on the breathing. Focus on the breathing. I finally felt my composure return. I raised my head and looked around. I could think again, but I didn’t feel normal. I felt strangely hollow. Oddly cold. I assumed my anaemia had just returned, shrugged it off and grabbed the novel I have been reading out of my handbag.
I found my place and started to read, ‘You’re dead. Now don’t be alarmed. Everyone dies. ‘
What? That makes no sense, I refused to believe they would kill off the main character already I am only a third of the way into the book maybe I was on the wrong page. I checked I hadn’t lost my page marker. Flicking through the pages I had already read, but they all read the same. ‘You’re dead. Now don’t be alarmed. Everyone dies.’
What was this, some sort of practical joke? What the hell was going on? I kept reading. ‘You must believe me when I say this, you are dead. At least the physical body you have known for the past 27 earth years is no longer functional. I am not god. There is no god. I am you. I am your sub-conscious mind or what many like to refer to as a soul. You are currently on the brink of everything and nothingness. This current point in space is the only time we have ever had open communication so I urge you to read closely and trust the words I have prepared for you. ‘ What the actual fuck? I looked up and realised that the tram was still stationery. We hadn’t moved. Nobody had moved. I looked at the lady sitting next to me and realised that she wasn’t even breathing.
I was too confused to be scared. A million thoughts at once entered my head, or what I thought was my head. Did I even have a head any longer? I reached my hands up to check. Yes my head was still there. I breathed a sigh of relief and kept reading. ‘Now look, I don’t have much ‘time’ and cannot answer the many questions you probably have. What I can tell you is that I am the underlying spirit of what has made you who you are. I am the ozone layer and the ozone hole. I am the flowers you admire in spring, the dog shit you avoid on the sidewalk. I am love and hate, jealousy and loss. Sorrow and happiness. I am your childhood memories and your past lives. I know you well enough to know you should understand that much.
I, you, are everything and nothing. You are now and then. Your time as you understand it, in that form, in that dimension is now over. Life as you understand it usually has 2 sides, right, wrong, black, white, yes, no, male, female, ying, yang and fundamentally that is the meaning of life. A single cell organism can spilt and reproduce, and in a sense that’s what is going to happen to us now and always. There is light and dark, good and evil. I, like you, have lived in the form you take now and through-out your life I have tried to help you and teach and guide you in every way I know how just as another soul did for me at a point not always in the right direction, but this is where I have to leave you. This is us, a single organism, two souls living a single life time combined, now we must divide. I will miss you as much as a flower would miss a bee.
I can’t tell you much more, but I can tell you this, I don’t know the meaning of life but I know something of living, something of loneliness. Constantly struggling to make connections and communicate and that is what life is. That is the curse and miracle of life, fighting a constant battle to find that other half and not realising it was there the whole time. Ironic huh? They say that you are born alone and you die alone but we have been born, lived and died together. A never ending cycle of creation and destruction, consciousness and sub-conscious. But now, I must leave you. I don’t know what this ‘life’ holds for me now just as when you were living it was impossible to know what lay beyond death.
But I do know that just as I am here communicating with you now, there will come a time that you must also do the same. In just a moment you will be joined to another, another soul. You will guide them and try and teach them in the way I have helped you in the 27 years of our life together. Just as a parent can never know whether they have done the right thing, I set you free. You may be a fox or fly but you will always be your own soul. Just as a cell divides, as a cub must leave its mother as love fades away so must I now. We are now no longer joined. I wish you all the best for the future or the past because time does not exist as you know it. Only space. Good luck young soul. I know you are a kind soul and for all the time you have spent (thinking you are) alone you will soon know what it feels like to be absolutely together and I guess that’s what heaven is and you have been living in hell. Love and hate always, what was once your other half xo.’
I think too much. I think all the time. The relief that comes with distraction is momentary and before I know it, I’m thinking again. I think in dialogue, a running novel. Even when I sleep I think in my dreams and my dreams make me think. Sometimes I think about not thinking about things, like not wearing a seatbelt. I do it purposefully and think about what would happen if there was an accident and my body was flung through the shattered windscreen and thrown metres into whatever obstruction lays in my trajectory path. I think that it might not be so bad to be dead or brain damaged, so much so that I never have to think again.
I think it can’t be healthy to have these thoughts. That the thing controlling the thinking isn’t performing in the way that it should. Then I think I remember reading that it’s only normal to have suicidal thoughts. I’m stuck in this turbulent brain storm on a never ending basis. A prisoner in my own skull. Sometimes I have the most brilliant ideas. It’s only natural that a brain that thinks so much should come up with good ideas as often as bad.
Right now I’m thinking about how these words look on this page. The black text symbols against the white page background. I am thinking that if anyone should find these words they would consider me to be downright insane. Down right is the appropriate word here. I do get down, all the time, but that’s alright. I get happy too. I get so happy, that it feels like in those happy moments it doesn’t matter if I have even a single moment more because I have experienced true happiness. The type of happiness that can only be experienced once you have known true sorrow. Happiness is only momentary. There is no such thing as being perpetually ‘happy’. Some people appear to be ‘happy’ but I’m convinced they’re either stupid or acting.
Sometimes I think the whole world is depressed. At least that’s the way I feel sometimes. Feeling is a whole new thing altogether and I think I do too much of that too.
At least one day a week, at times even more, I chew off all of my finger nails. Not just the white crescent bit that can be easily ripped off with my teeth, I always go as far as I can possibly go. I keep nawing until the blood starts to seep up through the thin flesh and the nerve endings at the tips of my fingers tingle with pain. I look at the clock, not even a minute has past. I keep chewing at them, inspecting every finger and tearing at the cuticle. Should the skin peel away, I tug at the loose skin which burns as I pull off a strip that leaves a raw line running up my finger.
2 minutes. I imagine myself turning to face the glass wall behind me. I say wall because it’s a glass window that runs from floor to ceiling and wraps around the whole length of the floor. I try never to look out the window, in my mind it may as well be a hologram. A hologram would be just as real to me as the outside world which I never see. 2 minutes and 5 seconds. I imagine myself picking up my stale grey office chair and swinging it through the glass wall as it shatters into a million safe little glass cubes (you know the type of glass they install in bus stops and schools to stop people from cutting themselves) I imagine myself following after. 2 minutes and 15 seconds. The lady in the cubicle across from me stands up and tries to gain my attention. I would hate her if I didn’t pity her. She’s 52, lives alone and has no kids, no friends, no family or even a single pet. ‘Hey Jack, are you ready for this training session?’ I pretend I didn’t hear her, even though that would be near impossible, her mouth is less than a metre from my ear. ‘Jack!’ she shrills. I look up from my screen, 2 minutes and 30 seconds. ‘Sorry! I was just distracted with something (nothing).’ ‘Give me a minute and I’ll meet you in there.’ I say, not moving my eyes from my screen. ‘Alright, but don’t forget the materials, I printed out an extra copy just in case. We’ll be in Meeting Room 4 on level 5.’ She finally waddles her arse out the door and I breathe a sigh of relief. I look down at my right index finger nail and see a small part of nail I missed that I quickly rip off. Sometimes I wonder about all the germs and parasites I must digest because of my nail biting affliction, how many would die in the acidic pits of my stomach and bowel and how many would live, pass through my digestive tracks unharmed. Or even worse, the ones that never leave. 2 minutes and 45 seconds.
I don’t really remember when or how it happened, but I’ve become part of the system. It doesn’t really matter about specifics anymore anyway. They’ve won. It brings me no joy to admit that they’ve beat me, that I’ve spent my whole life being beaten.
3 minutes. The phone rings. I look down at the incoming call number and recognise it instantly. It’s Mum. I haven’t answered her calls all week and this morning she sent me a message that simply said ‘r u okay? cioa mum’ (She thinks she can speak Spanish now since she started dating her 29 year old Columbian boyfriend). I silence the call. The nicotine receptors in my brain scream and I grab my coat and a chocolate out of the charity box (without paying) and head for the door. I’ll probably stand in dog shit on the way home because of it (bad Karma) but right now I don’t really care. I see waddles in the hallway ‘Jack! No point, heading down there the meeting has been re-scheduled for Monday. Cheryl is away and we decided it’s better to postpone then hold 2 meetings.’ Possibly the most intelligent thing I’ve heard all day. ‘Oh, that’s no good!’ I feign interest. ‘Just going to nick downstairs for a minute then.’ I push past her as the elevator door is about to close. I’m alone. There are few things I cherish more than being along in an elevator and I savour the moment. 5 minutes.
I suck down the cancer stick and it’s over before I even remember lighting it. Another filthy habit. I once remember reading that smoking was just a classy way to commit suicide. I tell myself my addiction is a coping mechanism, a breathing exercise akin to Yoga. I let out a deep sigh and take in a lasting breath of momentary freedom before I step back through the revolving doors and back into the elevator. I have company this time, I keep my eyes to the floor and hold my breath. I can sense their eyes on me and the hate in their glares as they smell the smoke on me. One of the older women whispers to her friend something about cigarettes. My stop arrives Cell Block C (aka Level 12). I waste time before I have to settle back into my cell again, I fill up my water bottle and check my reflection in the microwave door. The tap’s left running and my bottle overflows. I look just as pathetic as I feel. 14 minutes.
The only difference between me and Waddles (my cute little nickname for her) is that I am still conscious. She’s dead. I sometimes wonder if she was ever alive, but that was when I first met her and wasn’t aware of the magnitude of her stupidity. We ultimately do the same job, pay the same taxes and spend 8 hours a day in almost the exact same position (a metre apart). Yet she is completely stone cold dead. She stopped caring or thinking the moment she gave in to the system and my hopeless soul is bound for the same harrowing destiny. The only difference (as I see it) is that deep down I still care. I still want more, to do something meaningful. I still have a small flame that flickers deep down and is struggling to stay alight. This small flame is the only thing keeping me from breaking through these holographic walls of my prison cell to my ultimate escape. I hope I make it out alight. 15 minutes.