Friday, January 2, 2009

Now or Never (Chapter 2)

(Please read Chapter 1 first)

Because anything was better than nothing – that long aching, struggling, painful, sobbing. That empty nothing that spanned the space between his heart and his lungs and grew with every breath and every beat and every thought. And he wished that he could put his fingers on it and crush it to death, but he couldn't because he didn’t know what it was or where it was or why it was. So he would just press his thumb clumsily over his heart and push until he could feel the rigidness of his ribs pressing back and then he would half whisper and half weep:

Never, never, never again.

It was a trembling sort of never, a shuddering, wavering, tear-filled yet tear-free sort of never. And it would resound through the space of his small bedroom and seep through the cracks of the floorboards until it had soaked and permeated everything. And it was on these sorts of days, vodka or gin and dark and painful and fugitive and cloudy and numb and rainy days that they would crawl out and burrow in his heart, just waiting to be freed by a clumsy calloused thumb brushing over his steady yet lifeless pulse.

Adam could never have enough nevers in his life.

Because Adam could never want for any more nothingness in his life.

It wasn't the nice sort of nothingness that you got when you were sick of your relatives by Christmas morning and woke to find they had all gone sledding or skating or skiing without you. It was the sort of nothingness, the sort of sheer and complete emptiness, that would hollow out your eyes and cheeks while you slept, and leave you disoriented and confused in the morning. And it was the sort of nothingness that you would think was something, because it reeked of something and hurt of something and tasted of something, but was actually just nothing in the end. And he would try to convince himself that it really was just nothing and not actually something, because it had to be.

It just had to be.

"Adam, are you okay?" She watched him as he poked and pushed his food with his fork and a withdrawn expression contorting his face. It bothered her how he wore that look for weeks and weeks at a time. She didn’t know why, because she knew that it wasn’t anger or pain or sorrow. It bothered her, because, for once in her life, she couldn’t put a label on it, classify it, sort through it and number it in some way.

"Yeah." It was like being locked in a room with a box and told not to open it. And it was like giving into the insufferable curiosity of it all and gripping the lid tight with trembling hands and white knuckles. And it was like finally lifting the top of the forbidden box.

Only to find nothing.

"You haven’t eaten a single bite." And that was the only way she could explain the emotion that seemed to have plastered itself over his face. It was disappointing; it was empty.

And oh, so horribly vacant.

He groaned and stared at the water stained ceiling tiles with his eyes feeling cold and hard in their sockets. The bed sheets draped over his body were too cold and stiff and his head felt too light. It was two in the morning and his mind was still as sharp as a razor. And he began to think about why he couldn’t sleep and why things always fell apart at the last minute and why he could never find what he was looking for and why it always felt like he was on a Merry-Go-Round that kept spinning faster and faster. And mostly why he was feeling so bloody lonely lying in his bed under the muffled moonlight and why his eyes weren’t getting any heavier and why he was wishing he had something nice and hard and bitter to dip his tongue into.

But mostly why he was still awake at two in the god awful morning.

It was a Mary Poppins sort of night.

All he could think of was sugar and medicine going down and the vague silhouette of childhood memories swimming absentmindedly somewhere in the back of his mind. And he would think hard on them, the sugar and medicine and faded shadows, with a quiet sense of apathy that seemed to rush through the crevasses of his brain, short circuiting thoughts as it ran. And he would decide that it was the sugar’s fault, the hot, spicy, hurtful liquid sugar that coursed through his veins, burning everything in its path to ashes.

And he realized he liked it that way.

He liked it that way, because his brain had been throbbing against the walls of his skull for too long. Because he had stubbed his toe on one of those annoyingly heavy end tables. Because too many diseased prostitutes had been running their disgusting hands up and down his body again, tracing little crop circles in places that he would later scrub raw with soap. Because his toes were hanging cold and bloodless over the edge into the warm summer wind wet with acidic tears.

And because he was too much of a coward to jump. At least for now.


And because of her too.

And somewhere in the dull recesses of his drunken mind, he wondered if he should just jump now and do the stereotypical pondering during the fall. But he didn’t have time for petty thoughts like that, because a firm hand was already reaching out for his billowing robe, damp from the night air. And he was panicking now, because he didn't want that hand to reach him and ensnare him with whatever moral or immoral teachings it might have. And he just thought to himself, it's now or never. And as he tried his hardest to pick now, his mind decided to pick never.

Or at least later.

And so he tumbled; not to his death, but into the waiting arms of his enemy.

(The End)

No comments:

Post a Comment