Madness?

“Eric.”

I awoke and nobody was there.

She haunts my dreams. A faceless fascination or a memorable machination of my imagination? 

She called my name. It was just a whisper, but I heard it distinctly.

Eric.

Perhaps I have finally gone round the proverbial bend.

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Run…

“Who are you running from? You can’t run all your life,” he stated, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

I don’t know who I’m running from. 

All I know is, I can run pretty far.

I can run to the hills, to the sea, to salty kisses on a winter’s day, to a silent day spent under the cherry blossoms.

I can run deep into my imagination, where no time, tide, or being can affect me.

I can run and leap into a cool sea of thought, diving to the depths, again and again, not having to consider rules or limitations.

I can run to the depths of my mind, but I can’t run from my shadow.

I can’t run from myself.

Shall we dance?

The music blares through the speakers, the red lights swerve and contort shapes and forms.

I watch from the shadows. Taking a step forward, I emerge, drink in hand (it’s only water), bathed in the scarlet lights. 

She is dancing, twisting lithely, turning sharply. She is staring straight at me, calling me in for a dance. It’s as if she knows…

Turning back a few hours, we are strangers. I am plonked opposite her at a table, and look up into her eyes. Her eyes gleam, as if someone had plucked stars from the sky and given them a face to inhabit.

I draw out a smile, and then accomplish a laugh. 

The light in her eyes dances.

I watch from the shadows.

The cup is empty and I have no excuse not to dance with her. Yet my eyes feast upon her movements, and I cannot move.

I cannot move. I cannot breathe for want of watching her.

She is stealing my breath, robbing me of my logic, plundering my thoughts, resurrecting a heart. I blame the stars in her eyes.

She smiles. I am smiling too, I can feel it. She draws near, and all rational thought is far gone.

We are close enough to touch. I begin to lift a hand, to reach out, and she darts away like timid deer; only she is teasing, playing. Suddenly, we are children caught in a game.

She turns circles around me, and I turn to meet her halfway. I cannot lose the stars. She smiles, as if she knows…

Hours later, the music dies away, and the bleeding lights turn bright yellow. Movement stops, and I am left to confront the stars in her eyes.

I want nothing more than to take her hand and walk into the night, beneath an ivory moon, saying everything and nothing.

But there is no time.

The game has ended, and it is now time to return home, before the last train departs. 

Before a walk in the moonlight. Before I think about the dance again. Before I fall deeper. Before I want to see her again. Before I need to see her again.

Before I need to kiss her.

Late-night thoughts on a sunny morning

[A little something something I wrote on the train… I could probably make a whole story/series around this imaginary girl]

She is on the train, she occupies the purple blue seat opposite me. The morning sun caresses her face. Her hands rest on the plastic white table that separates us.

She is looking outside the window, admiring the lush green scenery and captivating Scottish landscape.

I can’t see that place beyond the window. I can’t see the horses grazing or the houses swirling past.

I can’t see beyond her.

I reach out tentatively; I want to hold her hand. To feel her.

She giggles, her hand slips out of the way before I reach her. She looks right at me, as if through me. The table is cold beneath my fingers. I recoil and sit back. I blink.

I step off the train and onto the platform. The concrete beneath my feet reminds me I have to engage my muscles. They must engage so I can stand.

I stand alone.

A trick of the light. A product of early morning delirium and a lapse of memory. That’s all it is. That’s all she is. All she ever was.

Lapse of memory. Early morning delirium. That’s all.

Thoughts that are late-night visitors

I close my eyes.

I can feel her there, warm against me. I can feel her breathing.

There is nothing between us. Nothing to separate her from me or me from her, except consciousness. She is asleep, I lie awake. She doesn’t even know I am staring into the abyss of silence. She doesn’t know I lie awake, missing her while she travels in another realm.

I am wishing she was awake. I would probably say nothing, and so, it might make no difference. But I am wishing she was awake. I am wishing I could speak to her with a gentle caress, but she is not there to hear it. Her warmth tells me she is here with me. But it lies – she is gone, she sleeps, she dreams, she travels.

And yet, I would not wake her for the world. I hold her, I know she is here, that is enough. It must be enough.

How fickle the heart is; it tears the mind in two. My love would wake her and it would let her sleep – it does not do to be in love.

Does she know? Does she know what it does to me? She probably does… but then, she would not be so cruel as to leave me alone beside her.

I am not alone.

For I can feel her there, warm against me.

I can feel her skin, it burns. It is warm against my arm, wrapped around her. I hold her, because she is my shield against myself.

Nothing between us.

I feel her breathe.

She is not mine, but I ache to protect her. She restores my humanity. She reminds me. Flutters into my thoughts when I am meant to be focused. I smile, because I am not hers, but she protects me – from me.

I have no faith without her. I have no fear with her. I can be a devil or an angel.

I can be broken, and it will not matter, because I am me, and she loves me.

I open my eyes, and she is not here.

The world retracts.

I cannot breathe.

I feel ill. A sense of dizzy disgust settles, like guilt in a person’s soul.

Then I remember. It is a lie, a construct of my tired mind. It is easier, so much easier to forget. Easier to believe the lie, than remember the truth.

There is nobody here. Not even me. I am but a fraction of who I used to be.

Yet still, I can be a devil or an angel. I can be broken. And it will not matter, because it was she who broke me.

I cower in the darkness. Like a child who just broke a mirror, I am holding the pieces of what is left, wondering helplessly how to fix it. And I clench my fist around a shard, as if wishing it could cut.

I can feel no one there, warm against me. I can feel no one breathing.

For Aine

I miss you.

It never hit me so strongly as it did tonight, when I realised it would be your birthday soon.

In a flash, I remembered the excitement of getting your letters; opening them carefully, as if it were a practised ritual; taking in the spidery writing, the mellifluous flow of your pen. 

It was you who instilled in me the idea that words allow us to travel – in a way. Countless times, you wrote to me from waiting rooms at airports, or told me about Karlsruhe, or Singapore, and even sent me postcards from a plane to Australia, I believe. We wrote about a lot of things, but I seem to remember your letters always felt like dreams. Reading a letter from you felt like I was touching the haze of a dream, through your eyes, and through your reality.

I still have them, you know. 

Your letters. 

All of them.

Well, they are back in Cyprus, but I have opened them time and time again since I first received them, when I felt the need for sage advice. They weren’t always relevant, but it felt like I had someone there, someone to listen. 

And our conversations! Do you remember them? Singing to me through the distorted sound of MSN chat, despite a sore throat?

>Do you remember the music?

We had our moments. I guess we still do, but now they pass so fleetingly. We can’t stop time from blundering on into the future, which I guess is why all moments are so precious, they slip through our fingers; it’s like trying to contain water in your palm.

Nostalgia and melancholy don’t really have a practical day-to-day application and thus I have harvested them for my own ends. I hereby declare that I am locking Time in this letter, because I want to stop the clock ticking for a second, long enough to say thank you.

I would list it all, but it is ours to know, and nobody else’s. I just thought it had been a while since the last time I told you how grateful I am to have met you.

Thank you for everything.

Yours sincerely,

Eric.

Hunger was good discipline

Hunger has thrown out plenty of other thoughts and notions, although somehow at the moment, my pride is holding me back from sorting through rubbish and such. It impresses me, however, how resourceful I become when “want a snack” transforms into “need something to eat”. For example, I felt I was being more intelligent with the way I used the few coins I had left yesterday, or simply more inventive in the way I ‘ration’ the biscuits I have.

To be honest, it feels terrible to wake up and not know when I will have a meal again, but it feels like a great way of sorting out what is important and what is not. I suppose that is where fasting comes in handy. Maybe people who fast have something resembling true clarity.

Finally, people sometimes ask that question “what would you take to a desert island?” to determine what your most important possession is. Think of your answer, then go out while leaving your money at home. 

Try hunger for a day or two – not to the point that you pass out, mind – and then think about your answer to that question again. Is it really that important?