She comes to me, and in her absence
I am known.
Her void is what I fight for.
Comfort escapes through her overwhelming darkness
Oblivion comes to me in the unexpected.
Unaware of the ruin that surrounds her.
When she arrives, I stand waiting.
This world has never deserved my soul
I will give my breath willingly without a fight
because her void is all I have ever known.
I hear the music filling me as these words make their place on this paper. More useless words filling my now dishevelled notebook. They fit my ever descending mood. God is what I know, but his gift he will not bestow upon me. I know not what to pray for anymore. Do I pray for death or simply the strength to endure this irrelevant life? I give in to the fact, fully and absolutely, that I don’t know what he wants.
In the meantime my music is all that sustains me. It is the only thing that makes me feel what others call whole. Me, I don’t understand whole. I understand black-hearts, I understand lament. I comprehend whole in a desolate way, a way that, as with God, I will never fully understand.
I pull out my guitar, my seeming other half, and begin the noise that becomes an extension of myself. This song is perfect for tonight, for how I’m feeling, for who I am. I sit and sing over and over until the song and I are one. We are me and I am ready.
Tonight is here, and picking my attire feels like a futile endeavour designed to make me fit in by standing out. They all must know I am not them, I am outside of them. They will know this through my music, through my clothes, through myself. I feel a strong desire to ensure they understand where I fit in. I choose black jeans, a black shirt and a black leather motorcycle jacket. I am the darkness. I become the void.
When I walk into the dank cafe that calls itself a venue, I survey the crowd, about twenty souls in attendance tonight, better than usual. I recognize only two faces and go immediately to sit with my friends who double as roommate and manager. At least these two get me, the part of me I’ve chosen to show them anyways, because even those I love wouldn’t want my sorrow imbued upon their already tired spirits. So I show them all of me but the grave that is always at the forefront of my thoughts. I save them from that at least; it’s not what they deserve.
We talk about the lighter parts of life, inane philosophies about work and music. Nothing makes much leeway in my mind, I have my beliefs and no one can interfere with them, but I dutifully listen to pass eternity until it is time for me to play.
As I walk up to the pathetic non-stage and begin to set up my equipment and tune my pride and joy, this beautiful dark-haired girl materializes out of the shade. I am immediately overwhelmed by her glowing presence; she is illuminated by the swampy dive that surrounds her. It is as though the light emanates off of her despite the lucid darkness. With a sharp intake of breath at her terrifying presence, I begin,
“God I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry. I don’t know how to trust and I can no longer pray.”
My first song, an older one, seems to have enraptured. I am better than this somewhat comedic venue displays. The audience is in my melodic control, and I finally feel. I decide to try my new song,
“Oblivion comes to me in the unexpected”
I let my eyes scan the sparse crowd, gauge reactions. Do they enjoy my sermon? Are they accepting my lecture? My dark eyes rest on hers and she half smiles at me before coyly turning away. In that look I am hers,
“I will give my breath willingly, without a fight”
I end to quiet applause and catch site of my two friends. I see smiles on their faces. They liked it, but I’m sure they didn’t appreciate its reality. Not really. Finishing up my short set, I begin to pack up my limited equipment for my one man show and go to have a drink with my only allies. I don’t sigh relief that it’s over, though, because despite my boundless nerves, up there, telling the masses, that is where I become myself. It is an alter ego of my everyday self, a self that would not belong in this society. So I hide when I have to and live for these transient moments where I can say my words, tell them all what’s really on my mind. And they all smile and clap and encourage me without a single one of them realizing the truth. The truth of how badly I want to die.
Before I go for a smoke I find my girl and ask her to join me. An alluring aura envelops her person; her fairness is a kind I have never before encountered. She stands to join me as I continue to ponder her peculiar beauty.
We talk about the music with each exhale of my cigarette. She compliments my songs but with a distinct sadness in her eyes. When I question it, she asks me, “How long have you wanted to die?” I am taken aback by her abrupt insight and can think of nothing to do but answer her, “Always,” I say simply. She tells me she listened to my illusive lyrics and almost wept for the inner turmoil that shone so obviously through me. I was astonished and partly concerned that I may frighten this calamitous wonder away if I didn’t explain, if I didn’t say something to ease the worry I assumed must be forming in her mind, but before I could talk she said, “me too. Call me sometime” and she gave me her number and a smile and walked away.
Over the next few days, I wrote and sang and played and dejectedly went to my job, the one that was necessary to pay for my real purpose, or at least what I had been living as my purpose for years now. Whether music was the purpose for my perpetual and down trodden existence, I will never know, but it is the closest I have come to finding something amidst the mundane formalities that the masses call living.
By the end of the work week I’m exhausted and want, for once, to expire in the not-so permanent way. Just let me sleep through the night, and the day, and maybe the whole weekend. My co-workers, those that were astoundingly considered intelligent within the company and within the business world, were so taxingly ignorant, that I often fantasized about their pain, about causing their pain. My simmering anger would begin Monday, rested and controlled, but by Friday would be so close to the edge that sleep was all I assumed could contain it. So when Leda’s number came into my view amidst the rubble on my dishevelled bedroom floor, I was surprised when my excitement at seeing her momentarily assuaged my sleeping sickness.
Immediately upon answering I recognized her slightly androgynous though melodic tone. Just her hello erased memories of the unending work week. How could this stranger have influenced me so deeply? So quickly? I was feeling something inside of me that I had never felt before.
She agreed to a date at eight o’clock and my obvious happiness apparently amused her. She told me I was cute. Was that a compliment for a 28 year old man? All I could do was hope.
I spent the next two hours preparing my mind for this potentially fatalistic meeting. I played through some of my old material, not to practice, just to calm my troubled nerves. Then, fifteen minutes before I was to meet her, I threw on a black button-up and a pair of dark-wash skinny jeans. My fake army boots on and my worn leather jacket in hand, I was ready for the end.
I took her to a park nearby where we snacked on juice and strawberries. We spoke of philosophy and religion and art and I realized that this girl was even more intelligent than she was beautiful. Our conversation kept focussing around death, a topic Leda apparently found very appealing, although I was never sure what her stance was. She always seemed intrigued by my views, my beliefs, and the fact that I, honestly, wanted to die.
Caught up in my own voice, I never stopped to ask her whether she too felt out of place here, whether she too sought comfort in death. It was, however, clear that she didn’t fear death as most people did. Instead she relished in its intrigue, never ceasing her questions to me about my mind. “How would you want to die?” She’d innocently asked. The method never mattered. “Where do you think your soul goes?” That, of course, was in God’s hands. “Why don’t you belong here?” No one really belongs here.
A number of times I tried to ease the conversation away from its morbid state by asking her inane questions that were beneath us both. I asked her where she worked, what she did for pleasure. At each of these interludes she just gave a short laugh before leading the questions back to me and my philosophies. Why she was so interested, I can’t fathom, but her mystery was magnificent, and on her, I was sold.
We began seeing each other regularly, first to talk and get to know one another, then for more. The first time I kissed her, a jolt of expired electricity shot to my very soul. When our naked bodies entwined it was energy, it was lust, it was everything. This girl had come into my life and while she didn’t altogether remove my desire to desist, she understood it and that gave me something incomparable. She was absolutely infatuated with me and I with her. One evening after we had physically exhausted ourselves, we were laying together, overlapping, and talking about our inner selves once more. I finally thought to ask about her feelings on death, she responded beautifully,
“At times I hate death. I am the antithesis of death. I never fully grasp its reality or its purpose, yet its being is constantly surrounding me. Then there are times when death seems to be everything and I suddenly see perfectly clearly that death and I are one. Contradictions cloud my thoughts, but in the end I can’t escape it anyways.”
At those few words, I knew this goddess understood in ways that most people never would, in ways that most people avidly avoid. I wanted to inhale her, to keep her perfect empathy inside of me forever. She felt despair on this earth as I did, she asked the questions as I did, and she didn’t fear exile. She welcomed it just as I did. She was the other side of me.
It wasn’t until about a month after meeting Leda that this sudden and overwhelming fear took hold of me. What was I doing? How had this happened? Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe, my heart was racing, my arms and legs were numb. Knowing I wasn’t blessed enough to be dying, I knew something else was internally suffocating me. Visions of the last blissful month smothered me, but they were accompanied by my past. Past love, past hurt. It was all too much and all I had planned to stay away from. I didn’t want a girlfriend and as much as I was falling for this phenomenon, I was convinced I wasn’t ready. I downed half a bottle of whiskey just to fall asleep.
When I groggily awoke the next morning I had a strong conviction to do the right thing. I would not break this already broken girl, I wouldn’t give in to love because it burned and it ruined. This potential for love had to be extinguished no matter how right she was. No matter how well we seemingly fit together. The thought of this scorched me, but I knew I had no choice. My other half had to be let go before our two souls were ruined forever.
I asked her to come over that night, wanting to get this awful dissolution over with. Visions of our potential future had already invaded my thoughts; lacklustre feelings of faltering love instead of the intense emotions that came with a beginning. How could I continue if we both knew that anger and hate were the only things the future could promise? But there was something else too; all my senses were telling me this had to end. When I told her my thoughts, the blurred memories of our lustful weeks brimmed in her eyes before expelling their sorrowful tears. “I am exactly what you’ve always wanted but you’re giving yourself to fear instead of me?” I realized in that moment that Leda was the personification of exactly what I had wanted my entire life, but I also knew of no other way. “I can’t! I can’t! I just fucking can’t!” I screamed in sudden frustration. She responded readily, “I know more of fear and death than you ever will. On these subjects alone you should have come to me. I could have saved you from your life. Now you are nothing but fear and I am nothing but death.”
She left, and I let her. I wanted to run after her, but I didn’t. I believed in my convictions no matter how they tortured me. This was the only way.
Almost instantly, there was a loud crash just outside that I ran to investigate. I ran to the driveway behind my house and saw her empty body lying inches from a parked car. Her radiant obscurity was gone; it no longer filled her corpse. I could barely recognize this body as hers. She was death. She had succumbed. And she hadn’t taken me with her.
Now all that’s left is my music. Another gig that isn’t quite fulfilling my desirous need today. I’ll give them my new words and melodies, but they’ll never know how close I came to all I’ve ever understood. They’ll never really know.
Rightfully belonging to me.
Rightfully gone, because of everything and my weakness.
Incessant longing for the rotten.
And in the one moment I walked away.
From now, I deserve this sordid life.
From now, I deserve the torment of my mind.
She came to give me the rest of my soul
and I gave it back to her instead.
So now she exists in disbanded bliss, and I deserve nothing but my willing fear.