Suddenly, I noticed a darkness slowly stealing over the room (or, more correctly, an awareness of it stole over me). Quietly as a thieving priest, I waltzed out of the lounge and into the kitchen. The light was brighter there... A sandwich. I needed a sandwich. I took four slices of bread and arranged some sliced chicken breast from the fridge upon two of them. I lathered mayonaise on the other two, but suddenly thought, "what if she wants one? She's a vegan! she can't eat mayonaise!" I took a fresh slice of bread to complete the second sandwich.
Closing the refridgerator door, I noticed it was there. A lynx-pinemartin cross, black pelt with black stripes, inferno eyes that could take the soul of a better man than me. I quietly thanked my former self for not being a better man, and took up the sandwiches. But still it wanted something. A lightless butterfly, it jumped around the room, flapping, tiny but immense. I ran down the hall to my bedroom.
Slamming the door behind me I lent against it, catching my breath; seconds passed, then it thumped on the door, crashing against it near the top, pushing it half a foot open. On the third push it burst into the room, and the door fell hard, and still, closed. Small and dark as iron-sand on velvet , its wings beat hummingbird-fast, but at the same time blurred and trailed like slowed down film; yet it flitted, mosquito mad, never seeming to be in the right place.
I needed to escape. If I could just go to sleep, maybe I could find some light. I jumped into bed, and pulled the covers up, over my shoulder... As it blurred around my face, I closed my eyes loose. Time slowed. It lolloped around with a vengeance, not leaving me. Yet slowly unconsciousness collapsed upon me. And I fell into the strangest dreams.
Back in the old days, when the ocean was red and the sky, there was a girl who liked to play by the sea. Her father always warned her against the wolf-rays, those hungry anxious beasties that would ride in on the surf and skittle thirstily along the beach for the blue, human blood across the sands. The stories just made her want to see one more. She'd play relentlessly on the shores, hoping to cut herself on a shell, so she could trail her luring track along the coast. Maybe she could catch one, if she were patient enough!
One day she gave up hope. She stopped visiting the beach, and settled into an indoor life. The red sky that had worshipped her so barely saw her again... Its sorrow overwhelmed it, turning it to a gentle, melancholic blue. The sea merely mirrored in sympathy.
Their love floated down upon him like a duvet of feathers - but heavy.... Like heavy feathers.... He loved the way it wrapped around him, furled around his limbs and encaptured his body. He knew it would be impossible for him to lift the soft weight off of him, but why would he want to? It settled heavy on his chest, holding his heart, warming him through. There was no wind or earthly force that could lift this weight from him - the soft, flowing need of its heaviness was too honest, too real. He was still, and at peace, and in complete comfort...
Amongst this sweaty fearful sadness, a pimple rose on its cheek. The tears would pool around this pimple. Before long it had grown to a throbbing boil and was pulling the skin so that all the tears of the face flowed with it, or away from it. The throb of the boil was the Rome of the face. Micro-organisms set in, and made deep pits and furrows in the face, sinking limitless tears into their beyond.
By the time the boil was lanced, much harm was done. In its removal, a great scar formed down the middle of the face - jagged turning, between the eyes, to one side of the nose... Long since that time, the scar has healed, but it will never completely fade. The face, however, has born its troubles well. Its survival leaves it with dignity in the face of its injuries. He may be old now, but the Grandfather is certainly, at least, a dignified man at last.
But there was no blackness that poured out, only the light of a million galaxies.
He knew that already, of course, but he had to be certain...
Now that the hand is gone, it lies limp on the bedside table, as spiders build a cobweb forest of thorns around it...
The slipper waits for Cinderella's foot to return.
He would make extravagant detours just to walk past the place, going its local florist even though there was one much closer to his house, or making excuses to see a new exhibition at the local gallery, which was was never remarkable. On such occasions, he'd always pray for rain as he walked by, just so he had an excuse to pop into the foyer for shelter. One of his favourite parts was entering the building. As he pushed past the doors and drew himself inside, he always felt a warmth rush over his body, and a tingling up his spine as he sank into the worn leather couch that sat there.
It was on one such visit that he first made acquaintance with Vadim. An eccentric, slightly ratty little man, with shaky movements, Vadim was the janitor of the building. Having never spoken to Vadim before, Jonas found him exceedingly approachable. In fact, being so regularly ignored and starved for company as he was, Vadim latched onto him in the manner of a stray dog. In no time at all he had dragged Jonas up into his small one room cubby hole, and was pouring him a glass of cheap vodka. They spent all night there, drinking vodka, and listening to Vadim's extensive collection of 8-track recordings of soviet propaganda.
These evenings became a regular occurrence for Jonas; the highlight of his week. Even though his new friend spoke incessantly about his favourite topic, for which Jonas had no interest (although he quickly believed he did), and in such a quick and raspy voice - only half in English - Jonas was ecstatic. Mainly because Vadim was also excited to answer any of his questions about the workings of the building; and to show him around. To get to see the insides of the building drove Jonas wild. To drum on its old copper pipes, to smell the grit of the boiler room... He had free rein to explore the backstage of his theatre, whenever he pleased.
Jonas began to lie to his girlfriend about where he was going all these evenings, as the highlight of his week became practically the highlight of his day. As his lies got more and more imaginative, she quickly began to doubt him. One day she followed him, to see him entering the building, and waited outside all evening, until he came out at 3am. She was distraught. After doing the same thing the next night, she confronted him, but none of his explanations - not even the truth - would convince her to believe anything other than that he was seeing another girl. She moved out the same day.
After parting upon such harsh terms (and harsh words), Jonas felt a wave of depression pass over him. His need for comfort and security drove him back to the building. It was only then that he realised the true nature of his obsession. He fell into a deep hatred of himself, his madness, and how he had hurt his girlfriend. He stopped going to the building entirely. The pain and longing built up in him stronger than he had ever felt in his life.
The weeks wore on, and he found himself going out to bars and having foolish one night stands, to try to drive the sense of loss away. But none of it satisfied him. Every lobby he used to shelter from the rain drove him mad for desire for that worn leather couch, and every radiator reminded him only of that old boiler...
He stopped talking to girls at bars, and would simply mope in the corner swilling down cheap vodka, drawing further and further into himself. He kept this up for what seemed like years, but was really only weeks. Then one night...
"I like your hat"
"Would you mind if I bought you a drink?" Well, he was pretty broke...
Something seemed different about this girl. Was it the way she smelt? The way she carried herself? Or something... deeper? They talked and laughed late into the night, and at 2am, she dragged him, giggling into a taxi. As they pulled up outside her building and he staggered out of the taxi, he found himself stunned sober, as his heart exploded with passion. As they entered the foyer and his hand brushed casually against a worn leather couch, he found himself staring at this beautiful girl, and thinking only one thing... I am going to love this woman, for ever.