Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It was only natural to laugh.

I remember it very clearly. It was midnight and I was on something; it kept the dull buzzing down and replaced it with a stillness, like wood. Through this, I could hear the soft rustle of the rain, gentle and persistent against the walls and the roof and the ground outside.

I kept the door unlocked those days, for visitors. They would have been welcome regardless, but it was only polite. So the water pooled into the house, slowly, as the doorframe caught the drops at a certain slant of the wind.

At the end of the trail of rain and lightning, your shadow was stooped in the dimness of the corridor. You were drying off your feet. I didn't get to see your face, not again, but the slope of your shoulders and the arch of your back let me know that your eyes were the colour of tea. So they were, and it was only natural that you wore nothing.

"How is the weather?" I said loudly. You made conversation. Of course, it was wet. And it had been a long journey here, so long, the route winding and mazelike, the kinks turning to dead ends. The road twists and turns, you see.

"There's hot water in the geyser, if you want."

I watched, fumbling with my nightshirt, as you picked up your towel from the rail and traipsed to the bathroom. As the steam seeped from the open door, it carried with it the smell of that dust-scented shampoo I was so fond of. Dust-scented shampoo, and soap flavoured in soil. When did I buy it? I must have gotten it because I liked it.

I went into the kitchen, brushing the cobwebs from the table with my hand. There were still five beers left from the six-pack in the crisper, and I brought two out, uncapping them against the counter edge. When you came to join me, I had already finished half of my beer. You thanked me, and we sat in the greyness, with the moulding table between us, your hair weighed by your shower and dripping into your drink.

"I thought I'd try a microbrew," I said. You told me that it tasted like sand, which I disagreed with, but the beer was definitely bitter. It stained the lips. You told me about that time we went to the fair together, the funny story about the draught and the beer tent and the ambulance. It was the first time I heard that one. It was only natural to laugh.

After a while, I noticed that you had turned your head towards the kitchen entrance. I thought you were getting ready to leave, and reached a hand out to your silhouette.

"It's too windy. Will you stay a while?"

You wanted to know if I was going to finish my drink before we left the kitchen. I shook my head.

"It's not a good idea for me to have more. I shouldn't even be drinking."

So we went to my room, where the bed was made. You on the left and me on the right, as it was. I turned so I was facing your curled body. Closer to you, the pillow was already wet, and the low buzzing returned and became louder. Sometime then, it became very loud, because I could see it clearly, even with my eyes closed.

In the morning, I took the two empty beer bottles outside, and set them on the ground next to my doormat, next to the other one. The rain had stopped, and the rising sun lit the flat plain with the pink light of the dawn. I had stood there for a while, hoping you'd get home safely, as there were no footpaths.

But of course you had. You had come at midnight.

I had woken to an empty bed. You must have made your side before you left. The pillow on your side was still damp, and smelled faintly of dust.

You passed away two years ago. I know, because you told me.

South Africa and the 2010 Soccer World Cup

"I knew you were something special from the moment I set eyes on you."

South Africa blushed, and felt the summer heat rise in his cheeks as he looked up at the 2010 Soccer World Cup straddling his hips. The clocked ticked December and his growing excitement throbbed, anxious for the Soccer World Cup's touch. The Soccer World Cup smirked, and reached forward to unzip South Africa's jeans, fingers brushing lightly over the neatly-trimmed fynbos shrubbery of South Africa's southern regions.

South Africa's breathing quickened. "Soccer World Cup...please..."

Soccer World Cup pulled off South Africa's trousers and leaned down, brushing his lips over South Africa's in a light, teasing kiss. South Africa moaned and kissed back, embracing the Soccer World Cup fully as he writhed in drunk anticipation underneath the sporting championship.

"You know what I like about countries like you," said the Soccer World Cup devilishly, as he kissed down South Africa's neck, "is that you virgins are always so fucking eager..."

"I - I was molested by the Dutch and the English when I was a child," gasped South Africa, barely able to keep his thoughts together as the Soccer World Cup's hot mouth grazed his overwhelmingly sensitive ecosystem, lingering over his delicate flora and fauna.

"Doesn't matter," said the Soccer World Cup, and he disrobed, revealing the massive economic promise that until then had been hidden inside his pants. He flung his clothes aside with a flourish. "You developing countries are all the same. Always dreaming, always craving, always hungering for thick, hard financial gain, with no regard for the consequences..." He bent over South Africa again, resuming his actions on South Africa's attractive geography.

"God, you're so beautiful," he breathed, leaving his carbon footprint on South Africa's natural environment as he trailed lower and lower, until he finally reached South Africa's stiff public sector. He wrapped his fingers around the shaft and flicked the tip of his wet tongue across its swollen head, swirling it around the tip as he took it into his mouth. South Africa moaned and arched his back, longing for more of the Soccer World Cup's ministrations.

The Soccer World Cup grinned at South Africa's reaction and bobbed his head slightly, letting his lips slide down just enough to cover the top before sliding them up again with gentle suction. South Africa groaned and panted at the teasing gesture, before the Soccer World Cup's mouth left his hard public sector, leaving a string of saliva trailing to its tip.

"2010 Soccer World Cup!" South Africa let out a strangled yell, wanting more - but the Soccer World Cup had other plans.

"A - ah!" South Africa cried out in pleasure as the Soccer World Cup took him deep in his throat and slipped a finger into his private sector, his other hand reaching to pump his shaft to the rhythm of his oral assault.

Time passed as the clock ticked to June. South Africa panted heavily, desperate for release as the Soccer World Cup stimulated his public and private sectors with the skill of one experienced in his years.

Suddenly, the Soccer World Cup stopped. South Africa nearly cried in desperation, before he felt something big pushing against the entrance of his private sector.

"You want it," the Soccer World Cup's voice sounded, and the country looked up at him, upright in all his glory. "You want this, don't you?"

"Please," moaned South Africa feverishly, "Please give it to me. I'm ready. My people are ready. My road infrastructure - "

The Soccer World Cup cut him off. "If you want it," he said with an evil grin, "beg for it..."

"Please." South Africa was on the verge of tears with wanting. "Please, Soccer World Cup...I want to feel your massive profits inside me. I want your long, thick investor's confidence to stimulate me...please..."

The Soccer World Cup laughed, and plunged into South Africa suddenly. South Africa gasped at the pain, unprepared for the foreign intrusion, as the Soccer World Cup fucked him, bringing in a new wave of tourists with every thrust.

South Africa screamed as the Soccer World Cup held him down and ravished his susceptible infrastructure, violating him in a mix of pain and pleasure.

"God," panted the Soccer World Cup, unrelenting, "So close - "

And with a shout, the Soccer World Cup came, flooding South Africa's insides with soccer players as he pulsed inside him. He withdrew himself roughly, and got off the bed.

"Serves you right, you whore."

South Africa lay there, weak with economic downturn as the soccer players dripped out from inside him, and watched the Soccer World Cup leave his apartment, never to return again.


"I don't know any others, apart from this one."

Our legs are almost touching. Leaves, pavement, leaves. You're wearing that blue parka again, and today it is as crisp as the ripples of air between my fingers.

I asked if you knew mine. I did not expect that you would be as short with me as you were then, and your words struck me with their dispassion.

"I said already. I don't know any others, apart from this one."

So not even me. That was strange, because I knew what your hands were doing in your pockets. You were winding the loose threads around your fingers and breaking them with the force of your tugging. Slowly. I wondered if you noticed it too, that you would do this when you were irritated.

You do it often.

So I followed your eyes, onto the grey pavement. I wondered what you were thinking. I wondered if you were thinking at all. I smiled a little and tried to be wry. It was working, and now your eyes were narrowed as you faced me, your stare as hard as your words.

"If I closed my eyes, if I walked away, if I unsaw you, what would be the difference?"

For the first time, I was at a loss, and against the dead-end of your question all I could think of was how your hands were writhing, snapping those threads. Even without seeing them, I knew how they were moving; your palms folded and your fingers tense with urgency. If there was none, I thought that it was odd that you took my silence for agreement.

Cross, uncross, after which your feet were pointing to mine. You had an interesting way of sitting. On this bench, in this cold, your neck and your shoulders sloped gently to meet with the curvature of your spine. I looked up, across the road, and made a remark about the trees. You agreed, and we talked at length about them. You had a nice smile, and spoke with your hands. You liked trees. You were fascinated with their self-similarity.


"You're shivering. Why don't you go home?"

Perhaps I should have, but I shook my head.

"Well, I'm going to go. Maybe if I'm alone, I can stop pretending."


"That I'm not."

I opened my mouth a moment before you got up from the bench, so that I was balking at your legs, face-to-face with your knees.

"Maybe I'll see you around."

In that sudden rush of air as you straightened, I lost what I meant to say. I looked up at your retreating back, trying to remember, until you disappeared.

You avoided my eyes as you turned to leave, so I could only look at my palms and tell them that they were everything to me.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Another day of numbth

Sunny weekend at the start of a Capetonian spring. The weather is fantastic.

...I am sitting in my underwear in front of the computer. I don't remember why I took my clothes off. I think I was getting ready to shower and forgot to leave my seat.

I fit through the window in my balcony. This is fucking ridiculous. I am half-naked in my apartment half-listening to Anthony and the Johnsons, half on my way to the shower, and all I can think about is how it would feel to fall out the third story of this apartment complex. It would probably hurt. Or halfway down with air friction in my ears I'll regret what I did when it's too late.

Almost on my fourth week of bupropion. Before I took it I laughed off the black box warning about suicide risk as inherent to the study group. If you're depressed enough to take antidepressants, it makes sense that you'd consider suicide more than your average Jane.

I am not laughing anymore. This shit feels BAD. I don't know if it's the drug removing some emotional mechanism that damps my suicidal thoughts, or if by some action is inducing the suicidal thoughts, but either way, the change is real, and it's getting more and more difficult to restrain myself.

Suicide isn't something I would plan out. If I have enough rationality left to plan a suicide, I have enough rationality left to dwell on the reasons I shouldn't go through with it. It would almost certainly be a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. It's laughable, walking home at night and staring into tens of headlights, into truck carriages, and thinking about momentum. Then the cars go past me and I flinch. Playing chicken with the traffic. It's laughable.

I wonder if one day I'll read back on this stuff and be ashamed of what I wrote. I appreciate the optimism that comes with the assumption that I'll live that far into the future. But yeah, probably. I know I'm ashamed of all of this now, about how meta and cynical and rueful I am. I don't know how anyone could form any sort of lasting bond with someone who has no drive to live. Those who do do it out of the hope that things will change one day. I'm not sure about this myself.

The fuck kind of life am I living? I feel like some comatose guy on life-support. I'd love to get closer to people but I'm so fucking scared I'll hurt them so much by virtue of being like this, and they'll lose hope and move on. I don't blame them, but it's painful nonetheless.

I wish I were normal and happy and productive or I wish I were dead. Not like this. Living like this is like being in limbo. I hope the drug works properly soon. I've been getting some pretty shitty side-effects, so hopefully that means that I am a typical case and the situation will improve in a week or so.

If I say that I hate my life and why, there's always the question of "why don't you do something about it?". I am. I spend every waking moment trying to change what I hate about my life. I try to go home less. I try to eat right. I distract myself. I take vitamins. I try to see people more often. I try to study harder through the fog. I go to therapy. I am taking antidepressants. I walk everywhere. I have limits, though. I think I feel hopeless because I am trying everything I can think of, and I still feel like this. I hate this. I have no fucking idea if this is a losing battle or my perception is just clouded at the moment, even though everyone tells me it is the latter.

I wish I could give my assets away to people who'd appreciate them and just fucking disappear. The things that I have to live for, like my skill with language, problem solving, making people laugh, dressing up, sharp pitch sensitivity, ability to fake confidence and a body in reasonably good condition, it's all wasted on me. It's sad to think that people wish they had some of the things I have, who would use it to its full potential in life, while I squander it all fantasising about death.

Please drug, work. Work like you mean it. For fuck's sake, work.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Not subtractive, but additive.

There is the age-old adage about life being too short for x, where x is some compromise, or unfelicitous action, or undesirable attitude. I wonder if the length of the life in question is the average human life expectancy, or if the length is as variable as each individual is, in which case the premise of the adage is a mockery. I don't know why I expect truth in idioms.

I can't shake the feeling that I don't have much time left. The years have left their mark. I'm tired of restraining my impulses, although I'm still fully capable of doing it. All I can hope is to distract myself from the sinking feeling, and the fear of being swallowed whole by the void. Every moment distracted is another moment I am alive. And at this point, it is another moment closer to when these drugs will work. If there will be such a moment.

I like Scrabble. There is something comforting about scanning for the optimal play in a game with so many restrictions. It eliminates some of the uncertainty that is inherent to life. You play with the hand you are dealt with, within certain universal constraints. Plays are not acataleptic in the way that humans are. All you need to do is to respond to the plays of your opponent, under these universal constraints. Humans don't work that way. People restrict themselves in different ways, at different times, with different strengths. Even the social structure that arises from a group is not enough. You do not lose by default if you do not subscribe to them. And even without this problem, reality still has too many variables.

I wonder how well I can play with my hand. It's a bad hand, but I am not a weak player. Sometimes the feeling is overwhelming, the challenges that I perceive to be insurmountable by myself. Rationally, there are none.

I am not a perfectly rational being.

I wonder if I am buying into the gambler's fallacy, or if my outlook is clouded by my depression. Come to think of it, there's no reason why it couldn't be both. It doesn't matter how much I intellectualise all of this. The truth is that I want to die, but I can't, and I won't. The rational reasons for why I should not is one of them, but I also made a promise not to.

That is my restriction. To keep playing. And in a way, I like restrictions.

I am not counting down to the day I die. I am counting the days that I stay alive. Not subtractive, but additive.