You're a leftover, a broken shard of nothingness, pilled up in a corner to home dust. It's comfortably numb in the dark, no longer you have the need to cross collapsed bridges or search for hope in hollow tunnels. You want to break the Gremlin rules you set for yourself during the early hours of the day. Feeding the raging hell within you past midnight is what you call surviving. It only wants to lick your open wrists and consume every cell in your wreaked body. It just isn't one of those days you fight for a better you.
You'll be burning in your own personal cocoon, entrusted with the quest to shatter every ounce of self respect hidden underneath the layers of grey you've painted across your blue deviled soul with.
Detach, just break off from people who merely want to leave you in the dark woods, alone, when you've gone too far to want to entwine your lifeline with their fingertips.
You wake up everyday with a void, it swells as you survive one second at a time, on a loop you tell yourself to trust no one. It moulds into a pie in the sky when you melt for every touch of affection like a desperate, hungry leech feeding off on the streaming red.
"A dollar and 50 cents, a dollar and 50 cents", I kept on repeating to myself. All I had were 2 nickels and a couple of dimes. I ran down to the time-worn, shady buildings behind the church. The lyrical melodies of autumn carried wind through the empty Brooklyn streets. Against the corner of a monochromatic convenient store, a man in rags couched with a placard that read -Help the homeless. God blesses you- He shook his empty pinto beans can, asking for the money I agreed on for a cigarette. "I got 20 cents, that's what I have", I lied. Lying came at effortless ease for me, growing up around compulsive liars who rubbed off their habituality on my nipper mind. He grilled at me till I broke the silence by getting on my knee, his eyes were shallow but I knew he was a thirst bucket. "I'm dead-ass, son. Nothing less than a buck", he hissed back at me. If only I could play my cards right with a poker face, I would get my first smoke for 20 cents. It was brick cold, the falling sun was chasing away the last of rays, it wouldn't be long before the mercury vapour street lights lit up the borough. I stood up to walk away.
Jostling through the early night pedestrian traffic, my hands were inside my hood. I caressed the tripping paper of the stubbed cigarette I've bargained for with one hand and the other was juggling the coins I've got left. While crossing the road, I handed a nickel to an old homeless woman outside the cafe who always smiled at me. "Do the dishes, you don't help around here much, I'm not gonna do your chores for you",my mom yelled from the porch where she was drinking with her beau. I locked myself in my room, opened the window and climbed up on to the roof. It was quite strange, I was holding a cancer stick in my hand, this could kill me. The euphoria it pushes you into, the calmness that dwells through your veins, warmth of smoke engulfing your lungs is weighing against my health. I chuckled, a few puffs of nicotine couldn't and wouldn't kill me more than global warming. It's going to be a one-time temporary relief.
I relit the stubbed cigarette and took a drag. I wouldn't say it choked me to death, but I did, for a few seconds, think my lungs were going to char. It got relatively better, the oppression slowly drew back and my mouth reeked of smoke. I could hear my mom yelling, it was met back with an equal pitch, another drag silenced the buzzing. Happiness is momentary, it comes with a cost, but what remains in you is always the sorrow, its residue doesn't evaporate into thin air. It stays, it haunts, it needs to be hidden before you get caught. The world pities you as a bystander if it catches you in the act. The morning after, I was at the homeless man's feet, waiting for him to wake up. He opened his eyes to me and closed them again. A smirk came across his face, his price was the same, a dollar and 50 cents and I didn't bargain. I walked past the homeless woman, she still smiled at me, but as I turned around the block, I felt guilty. On the roof again, the clattering continued and I was under the stars. I traced the Cepheus constellation with my finger, smoke settled in my lungs and I knew it was eating me away.
His footsteps never warned me, the air that carried his filthy, malodorous aroma did, as he chipped up darkness by leaving the door half shut, my mind circled around his past mastery to cut lifetimes short. I knew he would come for me, like he came for the rest of them who were battered to shards before my time. He cloaked himself as a slice of the cosmos, illuminating lifeless bones with a spark of intimate gesture. I saw him exhibit his tools, in an apple-pie order, his eye for detail and amelioration jammed a dagger into my abdomen.
He slid his hand around my naked waist and the gentle stroking irked the blood beneath my flesh. His eyes speculated my body, I felt his breath thrusting into my lungs as he carved me into a piece of his fantasy. The emptiness inside my heart felt cold whispers prodding it to run for the door. He slammed the door shut and pinned me down on a metal table, spread me wide and came over me with lustrous greed. A wave of sharp pain crushed my bones with every blow I took from his gnawing saw. He didn't let me squeal for help, tossed me around, piled me up close and marked his authority on every limb.
Drilled through the layers of strength I've immured in my arms, reamed my hips and pierced strings of force captivity through the hollow depressions he punctured his sin in. Dolled me up for an audience who wasn't cognizant of the tears flowing behind the curtains, pulled my strings and played me to narrate tales of good verses evil. The ancient Roman myths of Aeneas, Lucretia, Romulus and Remus were told for ages by his fingers, but no one ever heard of where they have been in me. I learned to fake a smile, hid behind characters, blamed the heavens for the pain I've been bestowed upon and let out silent curses even for the slightest of nature's sobs.
My mind, a euphemism for death, woke me up 10 minutes before the alarm was set to go off. I rolled over to the edge, darkness felt uncannily appealing, in those intimate moments of self loathe, I found myself lost in grey reverie. A smirk staggered on my lips, I closed my swollen eyes and rolled over the remaining extra inch that held me back from feeling the cold floor against my suffocation tendencies. I've made peace with the murmurs that pull me up on lapses in judgement and shove me into a trance of endless pity. Sat cross-legged, leaned against my bed while waiting for the sun to rise from the misty mountains of the ever so dead town that never ceased to feed off on ear-splitting silence.
I saw a reflection of my inner self facing me, covered in shabby red with a smug on its face. It leaned closer and caressed the last trails of self esteem with its opium licked lips. The first rays of dawn pierced through darkness to fall on my frail human body.
"Pancakes are ready", she called out. I was petrified to walk into the kitchen, it was the third time that week, the sheets were ruined again. Those eyes I've been trying to shield myself away from fell on me, her dilated pupils threw stomach-churning skeans dipped in proteolytic venom at my 4 year old fragile body. I was yanked by my arm and tossed into the bathtub, was made to wash the sheets and my pajamas. My mother was never the kind of woman who believed in farfetched theories like nightmares and monsters hiding under my bed, punishment and starvation were her modi operandi to make a child learn. On many occasions, she chose the former over the latter. The branded scar on my right wrist is a work of her art, a masterpiece she was proud of till the day they lowered her coffin into an empty grave.
A few years later, I woke up from my nap to a living nightmare, heard screams coming from the backyard, running out of charcoal for a barbeque dinner opened up a can of worms. Affairs and infidelity sprung into the picture, you can't leave the blame game out of it. Red with rage, my old man slammed the back door shut and walked in with a fag in his mouth. He cracked open a beer can with his lighter and chugged it down. He hissed at me and put me down with his choice of words I wish I never heard. "You, you little punk is the reason for this, I had to marry her because of you!" he yelled at me. He pinned me to the couch to put out his cigarette on my collarbone. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I saw in his eyes malice and resentment.
That year at summer school, I was asked to stay back and help around for the coming field day. I stacked up all the chairs to move them out while a prudent man in his early 40s helped me. He observed my behaviour, helped me with my speech impairment and inability to get along. He was fond of me, rather too fond in a way, he slipped his hand into my shorts. After coming back home, I felt strange, my body felt ruined and I stayed up all night questioning myself why I obliged to take off my shorts.
Therapy was a child's play, you don't need to feel emotions to present them to a room full of people. Fake a charming smile, look into a pair of eyes with confidence and work on body language. I wasn't a psychopath, it was a term I least favoured to be tied up to. Bullied from a young age, I had to take out my craving pleasure for torture on life weaker than me, I inclined towards hares, squirrels and my neighbours' dog's whimpering still tops my playlist.
She looked breathtaking in her lace trim backless dress, swayed with grace through the crowd and ordered a glass of red wine to get the night going. Her seducing aroma enticed my nerves and it seeded a passion for authority around her delicate neck. I followed her around, grew jealous of the men she went home with, got obsessed with her mannerisms and the way her fingers tapped the edges of her empty glass while waiting for it be filled again.