The double bed is taking up most of the space in the lounge-bedroom. I have been lying here for an hour, no more, an hour and a half. The room is dark and serene. I like it that way as it is helping me to think. The room is cooled by the draught that blows off the sea and in through my window. Only the light from the streets three hundred feet below and the neon lights illuminate the dark corners. On the desk is a dimly lit frame of photographs of a beautiful woman. Outside on those streets I hear the sound of a thousand cars constantly moving. I hear the breaking of the waves on the beach; they too are in constant motion. And I hear people; a shouting child periodically interrupts the monotonous din of the voices.
Down the road I can visualise a hall with the rays of bright yellow lights projected on to the monuments punched into its walls. The gardens along its perimeter stand out like oases in the paved sidewalks and cobbled roadways. And, in the park next to this hall a stone statue rests with an epitaph carved in memory of the soldiers who died for “the sake of their country.” I wished I was in that hall where a group of friends were standing around laughing and talking and renewing old acquaintances.
But I was not there. I was here, alone. “That cold north wind they call “La Bise” is swirling round about my knees, trees are crying leaves into the river;…” the words of a song drifts through the air from a small radio on the side table. “… And my love, she too has gone, she had to fly, take care it’s such a lonely sky, they’ll trap your wings my love and hold your flight…” I find myself listening to the song, the music intermingling with the images and thoughts of the woman I loved that I am forming. I glance over to the photographs and barely make out the smile that is spread across her face. This woman is a wonderful memory. For me she stood out as a young woman, unique in her ways. But she has left my life as abruptly as she had entered. She had flown onto a new life. Why did she leave? Why had I given her up?
It has been eight months since my life has been turned upside down. I was in a world where I felt secure though I knew that this superficial security only lasted a short time. Though I was trying to break out, I was really retreating. Retreating into myself. She filled my thoughts. I wanted to be with her. I had watched her and studied her. But really, in the end I had lost her. My mind moved about the thoughts as if it were a computer searching back and forth for different pieces of data. First, I think of her, then I try to think of the reasons why I still loved her the way I did, then I moved on to myself and my religion, then back to her, then back to me, then to those reasons. I was racing through a maze of complicated avenues although they all led to the same destination. A mind so perplexed, so confused that I had to retrace my footsteps, redo the groundwork to move from that murky destination to one with more hope and inspiration.
As I lie on the bed I think back to that day eight months ago. That day I will remember forever.
The dawn is a pink frown across the forehead of the night. Trees and bushes stand rigid, waiting to be touched by the warmth of the sun. In the distance doves relay their first messages of the day. And with all of this I find myself in meditation. Pondering over the last few years. I think of her. I think of her with great esteem.
I had made a decision. A decision that would change my life. The options: a lifestyle I had known for twenty two years or a young woman I had known for one. I wanted each of them so badly, though I knew that, in the real world, these two desires could never merge.
I chose this young woman, choosing her for her beauty showing in every moment; the epitome of true womanhood. Every evening I came home and looked at the same photograph, showing the same person, giving out that unchanged, phenomenal smile, and all backed by those identical flowers, but every time a renewed idea or a new thought would emerge from within. A thought that mesmerized me into a world far beyond the power of man. And when I awoke from that thought in a shiver I cried out; crying out for that which is mere fantasy to be the reality of my world. When I looked into those eyes, even if only for a moment I marvelled at her graciousness, clothed in wonder and mystique, and the saying, “To the world you’re just a person, but to me you are the world”, brought a thundering pound to every corner of my brain.
I remembered sitting in a room filled with people, laughing and talking as I waited in anticipation. Waiting for her to appear; tapping my foot on the carpet and my hand on my knee as if I were a drummer, and all the time hiding those emotions so strong. When she arrived every organ in my body screamed out for her in unison. A scream, if audible, would shatter even the most deafening silence. But all this time I hoped that no one would notice.
I am going over the words: If you love someone, then set them free. If they come back, they’re yours. If they don’t, they never were.
There’s a part in each of us that no man knows. It’s that part that hides our deepest emotions, our deepest realities of life, and it’s with this part I capture my feelings for her. I hold, I cherish and I savour them, combining the truth with imagination, for I know the truth hurts too much.
The wind is blowing gently now. The dry, yellow grass dances in different ways, then it is still as if waiting for the next wind tune. My shirt is ruffled by the breeze. The sun us hot as the clouds have disappeared without the chance to cry. But I continue to meditate. As I return my thoughts to the woman I loved, I think of her embarking on a new life as right now she turns from the altar, her vows a ratification of the bringing together of two people. And as she walks down the aisle into the world I hope that her beauty, with the same abundance, will continue capturing the hearts of those who see her and while giving out her joy, she fascinates those around her.
As the sun disappears its brilliance is once again recaptured as if a mirror of this morning. The trees and bushes becoming darkened, returning to their rigid state, till the rising of a fresh morning sun. The lights of the surrounding area come into view, flickering constantly. In the background, I hear music coming from my car. It drifts slowly towards me as if afraid to intrude into my thoughts. I wonder as I watch this sunset, “How can a man be sad?” But there is this sadness. It’s a sadness we enter when we travel from what we once had into the unknown and not knowing the true comparisons. With the still of the night my thoughts are more concentrated. The subconscious mind longs for a reversal of today. Still my body aches. It aches because the weight of my heart is too much. It aches because I am worried about the future.
As she has left to fulfil her womanly role, I know that she will be this eternal image, delicately carved as if from pure gold gleaming with every turn.
I stand up and walk to the kitchen turning on the light as I go. It is small and narrow. Above the sink a steel cupboard is fastened to the wall. I open it and remove a glass. Holding the glass I move over to the fridge. In it, amongst the foodstuffs are three bottles. I grab the first. The colourless liquid peeks around the label. I pour some of this liquid out into the glass and replace the lid. With the second bottle I again only empty a small amount into the glass. It immediately mixes with the first. I watch it for a moment, the green liquid moves around the clear in a slimy movement. Finally I put the contents of the third bottle into the glass. It too is colourless like the first though this one emits bubbles. With this one I fill the glass to the top. There is a diluted green colour in the mixture. I return the three bottles to the fridge and walk away.
I walk to the window and look out, my vodka, lime and lemonade in my hand. The streets below show the cars and people I had been listening to. Though it is eight o’clock in the evening the traffic has not quietened down. Maybe because it’s Friday night, I wonder. I stare far out to sea. There is a tear in my eye. Can I really go on like this? Do I have the will to continue fighting the trauma and hardships I have become accustom to? These are the thoughts plaguing my mind. I take a sip of the liquor, then another. Suddenly I realise I am gulping it down, my hands trembling and shaking the glass. As I finish I gasp for breath. I shouldn’t have done that. I know I shouldn’t have. But who cares? Who is there to say what I should and shouldn’t do? There is no one. With that thought I awaken to the fact that I am alone. All alone. I think of that hall with people. I want to go to them, to talk to them.
The music from the radio has stopped. I have to put something else on. In the cassette box AC/DC stands out, its striking grey and red cover catches my eye. I want to play it loud so the bass drums shoot through my body. I need that but this is a hotel and I can’t upset the neighbours. I put it to the loudest I can. The drum beats attack my heart beats. They are different, opposite. Through this music I feel a heavy weight has been placed inside of me, but I am enjoying it. Again and again I walk to the fridge and repeat the procedure I had done a few minutes before. Each time there is more vodka and less lemonade. “How long will it take?” I say out loud. At the window the cool breeze enters my lungs. I can feel my mind swimming and my thoughts are less concentrated. I try and remember her, the sight of her photographs on the table burn into the back of my brain. Although I must leave her to her own life I know I don’t want to forget her, forget my feelings for her.
“If you are ever privileged to know her like I have then you are one of the very few people who are able to experience the pure beauty that she radiates from within, while being able, through the power of her extraordinary feminine ways, to envelope her graciousness upon those who are willing to be drowned in her joy. Yes, she is that woman many men dream of as being a true gentlewoman.
I walk over to the bed. In the drawer lies a small pistol. A pistol powerful enough to blow a large hole in my head. I stare at it. The impression terrifies me. I have to end it. End the pain, the suffering, the anger, the hatred and give up everything I had hoped for. I am tired of wishing for a “better” life. She’s gone. I don’t want anyone else.
Slowly I move my hand towards it. My fingers open in preparation to receive it. Its metal is cold and black. It touches the inside of my palm and I jump with imaginary fright. But I grab it and lift it upwards, out of the drawer. In my lap I just stare at this monster, this destructive monster. My eyes cloud up with tears. In the beginning a few, then more and more. I don’t realise what has come over me. I check the chamber. Only one bullet. One is all I need. This golden projectile sits there ready for the thrust to send it down the barrel. I’m clenching my hand around the handle. Certain areas are in pain as the force pushes the gun deeper into my hand. The sweat is starting to come from my forehead while my heart pounds faster, louder. I again glance at the photograph in a grey shadowy grave, the Perspex reflects the light from a distant globe. I lift the pistol up. Up toward my head, my brain. I have to make a clean blow. There can be no second chances. I feel the end of the barrel touching my right temple and the hair above my ear rises.
In the distance I hear footsteps. They are coming towards my room. Towards me. Suddenly I am panicking uncontrollably. The footsteps, the footsteps of a woman, are getting louder. My mind is listening to them, riveted to the thud of each step. In the remoteness of my imagination I think, “could it be her?” Quickly I drop my right hand to my lap and get ready to hide the pistol again. Then, as hastily as they began the footsteps stopped. I am safe. They are not coming for me. No one knew of my intentions therefore no one would come. With urgency I lift my hand. I had to try again. Suddenly, there are quick repeated knocked on a door. Next door. My mouth instantly dries. I have to swallow hard at the lump in my throat. My hands are shaking. “Now, now, now”, I think. My finger wraps around the trigger.
But instead I withdraw, release my grip and return the pistol into the cupboard. All I end up with is, “Why”…