Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The story of my descent

As I tumble, I see all that my mind can see. 
From when I was only three, learning how to pee, 
Up till thirty-three, still learning how to be. 
Each stair my body crashes against is another blow to my soul. I spent my entire life on and off the dole, not knowing my life's role, trying desperately not to fold. Yet now all I feel, is cold.
*

My foot teeters on the edge of the staircase. My balance wavers and my heel slips off the top step. Did he push me? Or did I fall on my own accord?

Time stops going forward and goes in every direction. Memories don't link linearly. They're a mash of threads all wrapping around a central point. They trigger countless others as you pick at them, like a spider walking across its web.

I saw what I needed to see. And all the things I never wanted to see again. I saw it all. The tears I shed for boys who treated me like dirt. The tears of joy when I first held him in my arms. The tears when my 'friends' didn't pick me for their volley-ball team. The constant steady stream of tears when I had no real fears, just felt emotional for no apparent reason. Tears, so many tears. Until I had no more, and was just laying, gasping on the floor, doubled over and sore, with nothing left inside me any more. 

I saw them laughing at me. Arguing with me. Rolling their eyes. It flooded back a myriad of memories. It was all so happy at the start, meeting all these new people. I rode his coattails again of course to find them. For years we built friendships. But then, familiarity breeds contempt. I'd sucked the sweetness down to the sour centre. Everyone stopped listening to me and stopped taking me seriously. They all turned against me. Even him. 

He was my best friend. My entire world. Everything I did I got his approval for, and his opinion on. Everything he did I followed. He was my confidant. My protector. We knew each other better than we could possibly know anyone else. But something simmered under the surface. 

We were sitting at the kitchen table. He said he was full. I prodded his belly and told him food had nothing to do with it. He was already full, so why stop now? It was so long ago I barely recalled saying it, but now I could see it all again as clearly as watching a movie. I noticed the glimmer of hurt and sadness in his face as he picked up the fork and stared into the food on his half-filled plate. A fraction of a second later and he was old, fat, depressed, and shovelling food inside his mouth, with tears running down his cheeks. 

I noticed friend's faces as I told them the same exact story again and again. As I piled upon them my woes. The first time, when they showed genuine worry. The second time, when they nodded politely. And the third time, where they stared off in the distance thinking about something else. Why did I tell them the same worries over and over? They gave the same advice each time and I never followed it or grew as a person. Just kept worrying. And what simple worries they seem now. No wonder they are sour now, as I chipped each layer down every time I opened and closed my mouth. 

He said he wanted to be an opera singer and I laughed at him. He said he wanted to dance and I questioned his interest in women. He said he wanted to be happy and I threw in his face a list of reasons why he should  already be happy, how ungrateful he was, how selfish. I found him curled up in the cupboard under the kitchen sink once. He didn't want to come out. I told him to stop being stupid and dragged him out by his ankles. Why didn't I ask what was wrong? Or how I could help? My memories were not kind. My memories are worse than I remembered. I saw the fear flash on his face when I opened the cupboard door. He was afraid of me, but I had no idea. 

Eventually I hit the bottom landing and came crumpled to a stop. My mind, exhausted of all its memories began to float above it all. Painlessly it watched the broken body, collapsed upon the floor. It watched as no one came to help. I knew why, I accepted it, I didn't analyse it or worry about it. Perhaps I have atoned now. Perhaps I have given him release. The stars are out. The cicadas are crying a mournful song in the dark blue moonlight. A possum crawls along the front fence, pauses a moment as if it sees me, then continues slower than before. The dew on the grass is glistening. Life goes on. I'll leave them to live it. 

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