I woke up a couple times wishing reality isn’t quite the way it is.
I need to move on. But how? And what does that mean, actually?
I woke up a couple times wishing reality isn’t quite the way it is.
I need to move on. But how? And what does that mean, actually?
11:08. 20th Thursday, 2017. The sun has finally crossed the horizon to light the other side of the Earth. The asian part of humanity. Asia. That reminds me of last september when i went to Tokyo. Weirdest, in a good way, experience of my life so far. Lonelyness at its finest. No knowledge of the language. Barely scratched the surface of the culture. No bearing none what so ever, and above all, no guide to show me around. Internet was a great help. Although, i got lost a couple of times. I was free, kind of.
Back to my appartment. My thoughts vanished. I stared blanckly at the table settled in front of me. The camera caught my attention. Photography. I want to keep on trying to catch fragments of the world as i see it. Well, i’m not there yet. Again, need to pratice. Then the big TV at the end of the room gets my focus, along with the technology surrounding it. On the right, there’s a small jewelry box in shape of my motherland. My mother’s land. Madagascar. Been there as well, last year. Saw the differences what i recall and what it became. Came across insensitive humans and the other half of my DNA. A different kind of loneliness. Oppression and frustation were predominant at that time. Although, emptiness was king. I felt nothing. I moved like a ghost of the child version of myself. Administration pissed me off. Family members pissed me off. They all acted like nothing was happening. Smiles, laughters and social conversations felt inappropriate. Yet, i couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t control them. Insensitive.
I tear up more easily than before. It’s annoying. The pain is annoying. As i lean my head back, my eyes land on comics and illustrations displayed on the wall. I look around at everything i’ve drawn so far. The meaning behind each of them gradually became deeper. Darker. My only catharsis. I need those ideas out of my head. I’m tired of being… incomplete. My chest hurts. I can’t stand this feeling. Tears again. Fuck you, Death.
The Messenger | This is a long one | If you have a chance to say one last thing to someone you lost: what would you say?
The lasts scenes were something i personnally lived. Seeing an empty appartment – once again – but this time, the goodbye was slightly different. More like a ‘real farewell’. The kind i didn’t expect to say or feel before i would be very old. Or never, actually. But it happened.
This will also be – hopefully – my lasts drawings about it. I’m moving forward. I can’t stay still forever.
I waited five minutes before the only door at the end of the hallway opened. A man appeared behind it. A dark suit on with a white shirt and a red tie. I thought it was a bit too dress up for a psychologist. But whatever. I stood up as he greeted me then suggested i enter in his office. The room was pretty large, allowing a desk surrounded by three chairs, a couch and a library to coexist. It was quiet. The closed door isolated us from any sound coming from the outside world. A bubble. Safe and dangerous at the same time. He offered me a seat on the couch, right away. I waited for him to sit first then mimicked him. I sat at the edge, far away from him. I look at him: he had a notebook he already wrote on. When he was done, he looked up to me, gave me a smile then waited. After a long minute, anxiety grew in me.
– ‘What are we supposed to talk about?’ i asked.
– ‘I don’t know. What do you want to talk about?’ he replied.
– ‘Euhm, i don’t know.’
– ‘I see that you keep on looking around. What’s on your mind?’ The remark surprised me. I thought i was subtile. I shook me head and raised my shoulders as an answer. ‘You must be thinking of something.’ he insisted.
I hated those kind of questions: what do you think about? Do you trust me? Well, before you asked me that, i did trust you. Now, i think you’re suspicious. So, no, i don’t. When the psychologist said i must be thinking about something, my mind went blank: i stayed quiet. He looked at his watch. I checked the clock on the wall. Seven minutes has passed.
– ‘So we just let the hour pass in silence?’ I slightly nodded. ‘Why did you came here for, then?’ He asked.
– ‘I was asked to. My brother… asked me to.’
– ‘And you always do what he ask you to do?’
– ‘Not always.’
– ‘Why did you choose to do this?’ I thought about it: i was about to say that i didn’t know, but, obviously, it would end the conversation short.
– ‘I don’t know.’ I said it anyway. ‘By curiosity… I guess’ He wrote it down.
– ‘Just out of curiosity? Do you know why he asked you to come to therapy?’
– ‘Euhm, i guess because he’s going to therapy himself. Maybe he wants me to experience the same thing. So that i can undersand.’
– ‘Understand what?’
– ‘Why he’s going to therapy.’
– ‘And do you understand it?’
– ‘I do.’
– ‘Sounds like you didn’t need this to get it.’ I smiled. ‘And why do you think he’s going to therapy?’ I took a minute.’Do you think you need it too?’ I remained silent. ‘How are you doing?’
– ‘I’m good.’ Another question that i hated.
– ‘That doesn’t sound like an honest answer.’
– ‘It didn’t sound like an honest question.’
– ‘Do you think i’m a dishonest person?’
– ‘No. I just think it’s… not a sincere question.’
– ‘Why do you think that?’ I sighed. ‘Tell me.’
– ‘Usually, when people ask that question, they don’t really want to know how the other person is doing. All they want to hear is ‘yes, i’m doing well’. Whether they are a good person or an asshole.’
– ‘What makes you think that?’
– ‘Just…Observation.’ My lips were sealed. He let go of a smile.
– ‘What if i’m really interested in knowing your state? What would be your answer?’
– ‘I’m good.’
– ‘Same answer. Why?’
– ‘Because i am.’
– ‘You don’t open up to people much, do you?’ I looked at him straight in the eyes.’Why is that?’
– ‘No special reason.’ He smiled again. He let a moment pass.
– ‘Tell me: why now?’ I didn’t understand. ‘I’ve been following your brother for few weeks, now. He told me about you, a few times. He told me he asked you many times to come before. So why now? What changed your mind?’
– ‘…It’s her birthday, soon.’ i whispered.
– ‘Your mother’s?’ I nodded. ‘When is it?’
– ‘And you felt like you needed to talk to someone? How do you feel about it?’ A ghost passed by. ‘What are you going to do that day?’
– ‘I don’t know. Probably nothing.’
– ‘Are you going to meet with your brother?’
– ‘Probably not. I don’t feel like being around people…’
– ‘You feel better on your own?’ I shyly smiled, my look was stuck on the carpet. ‘What are you doing when you’re alone?’
– ‘I stay busy: watching shows, videos, drawing, listening to music…’
– ‘Drawing? What kind of drawing?’
– ‘Euhm, whatever comes to my mind.’
– ‘What was your last drawing?’
– ‘A photography that was taken when i was smaller. I think.’
– ‘You think?’
– ‘I’m not sure that picture truly exists or it’s just a memory i made for myself.’
– ‘You don’t have it?’ I shook my head. ‘What was it?’
– ‘It’s my mom and i in front of our old house. She’s, sort of, leaning on me.’
– ‘So you recreated it?’ I nodded. ‘You think about her often?’
– ‘Every day. Every time i do something, i think about calling her, telling her everything.. But i can’t. Not anymore.’ I paused. Then a laugh slipped as tears blurred my sight.
– ‘What’s funny?’
– ‘Euhm, i…now that she’s gone, i want to talk to her. But, before…I didn’t have anything to tell her. That’s just… that’s just… fucking dumb…I’m an…hyprocrite.’
– ‘Why do you think that?’
– ‘I don’t feel like i have the right to… feel this way.’
– ‘You mean being sad?’ I nodded. ‘You know it’s human. You just lost someone you loved.’ As i satyed quiet, he continued: ‘Why do you feel like you don’t have the rights to be sad?’
– ‘I’ve never… I haven’t shown her my affection. I was cold and mean to her… I rejected her.’ A tear dropped on my hands.
– ‘It’s not your fault, if she’s…’ The psychologist’s sentence faded away.
Dumb sentence. I closed my eyes when that thought immerged in my mind. I took few seconds to recollect myself. Then when i opened them, i found myself at my desk, a dozen of files to work on for the day. Noises from the background gently arrived to my ears: people talking, laughing, greeting each other, sounds of printers, computers starting, keybord being smashed by cafeinated fingers. Suddenly, a closer voice pulled me out of that confusing state between reality and dream: ‘Are you ok?’ I looked at my left and saw my co-worker’s concerned face. I realized that my eyes were filled with salty liquid and my chicks were wet. My heart was pounding and my throat closed on itself. I opened my mouth to answer but words couldn’t get through. I stood up, apologized rudly and walked as fast and as discretly as possible to the bathroom.
As soon as i locked myself, i broke down. Fucking imagination…
I fucking miss you. Shit hurts.
7 billions. We are 7 billions souls on this big piece of rock. When you think about it. When you think about yourself amongst those 7 billions people, you are small. You are no one. Until you meet those that make you important. Those who prioritize you. Those who love you. Truly.
Amongs those several millions minds, I only had two members of this community that are by my side. At all cost. They are my priorities, my world, my anchors. My everything. Without them and because of them, I became who I am today.
I haven’t always been this way. Others would describe me as an introvert. Shy. A man of few words. But my friends know who I am. And why I became who I am now. A certain event appeared in my biography. Sad event where randomness, gun, panic, fear, misunderstanding, bullet and blood meet. That event changed me. I’m not afraid of admitting it: the loss is unbearable. It all went from white to black in one night. Since that moment, I shut myself in. My world stopped moving. My mind went into a deep coma. My body entered an automatic mode. The 6,999,999,997 other human beings kept on moving. Most of them don’t know. It feels unfair and inconsiderate of them to live their lives like nothing happened. But they don’t know. So it’s hard to blame them. On the other hand, few of them know. A very few. They also keep on living normally, but every time they are around me, they have that weird energy where they need to show their compassion, their understanding of my feelings. When it’s unnecessary. In the end, no matter who I am around with, I will never be true to them. I created a fake smile, a fake state of happiness so that I won’t see those pity eyes anymore. As time goes by, the fake became true but fragile. Every now and then, it cracks to fall apart. I try to keep myself together. Thinking that I have to. I need to.
After a while, I fing myself laughing. With my heart. Some random objects, sentences or behaviours remind me memories. Memories that used to be painful are now nostalgic. I understand now what the feeling of missing someone means.
The world keeps on gravitating around the sun. Days keep on passing. Then weeks turn into months. Soon I will experience holidays without them. Soon I will overcome this feeling. Soon I will feel undepressed. I’m fighting this darkness inside of me every single day, at every single hour, minute and every single second. I don’t want to become a negative person. I don’t want to project a negative energy into this world. There’s already enough of that. I need light back in my life. And I feel like I can’t have it from anyone else. No one has experienced what i’m living now. Even those who lost a member of their family. I will never understand their loss because I don’t know their relationship with the lost ones. I don’t know how much important they were to each other. I will never understand their loss. And they will never understand mine. So instead of waiting for someone to enlighten my mind, I decided to do it myself. Slowly but surely, brightness will overcome darkness. Slowly but surely, I will be better.
Mike had a determined look on his face as he said those last words. A silent followed. Then a female voice came from his right: ‘Thank you for sharing, Mike.’ The latter nodded as everyone repeated shyly those words. Few minutes later, after someone else spoke, the meeting ended. Everyone stood up: some of them took a cup of coffee to slowly get back to reality, others helped putting the chairs away and cleaning the room. As for Mike, he immediately left without a word. The fragile state of happiness seemed to have been shattered. He went straight to his appartment, ignoring few of his neighboors. As he locked his door, tears came up. His heart beat faster and faster, skipping a beat every now and then. He could barely breathe. He managed to put himself together for a split second then fell down on his knees.
An urge of rage and anger needed to come out. He stayed still for a moment, tears flowing on his chicks. His body let itself fall on the side, defeated by grief. Slowly, tears became rare, thoughts left his mind and his muscles relaxed. He fell asleep.
I miss her. It feels like a dream. I feel like there’s a before and an after. And it’s noticeable by the way I’ve been lately. Am I gonna be this way til I pass away? Semi-sad every now and then, more often than before? At the verge of crying every time I hear something that she might like or say?
I was laughing right before he called. I remember having a good day: finished on time for once and preparing myself to walk out and embrace the sun that waited for me. When I received the phone call. From him. He never calls me. When I picked up, his voice was trembling, he tried to hold his tears. He asked me where I was and if I was alone. Then added that I needed to go home asap and not take any other calls, especially from my cousin. But why would I? And mostly, why would he call me? On my way, my pace fastened as my thoughts ran into my head. Something happened. To her. Something bad. I think I knew deep down what was going on but I didn’t want to jump into conclusion to fast. I needed to hear it from a solid source. As soon as I stepped into my appartment, I sat down, redialed the last number in my history and waited. Straight to voice mail. I tried one more time. Voice mail again. I decided to wait for him to call me back. Few minutes passed. Then, the sweet melody of the song ‘All of the light interlude’ came to my ears. He started with small talk, very small, then dropped the bomb. I didn’t know what to say. My mind went blank. We stayed on the phone for a minute or two: I asked how they found out and what could be the cause. Then he had an incomming call from our cousin. As soon as he hang up, I broke down.
The first thing I did after calming down, was my laundry. My rationnal mind stepped in. The next day, I had to go to her house and after that, I wasn’t sure of my staying. Oddly, when I lied down in my couch, I felt exhausted. As if all the fatigue I cumulated over the last six months just fell on my shoulders. As if I had to carry my entire world on my own.
The next day, I took my luggages, got into my car and drove for five hours. Five hours in a complete silence. No music, no thoughts in my head. When I arrived there, I saw three cars parked in front of the house. I recognized two of them but the third one was unknown to my memory. I stepped to the front door: do I ring the bell? Knock? I decided to go inside. I heard noise above my head. I went upstairs, widened a second door and paused. I saw my brother sitting in the hallway, facing piles of papers. Next to him, there was his girlfriend. She noticed me before notifying my brother. He stood up and walk to me. How are we supposed to act? Do we hug? Or… We greeted each other like we use to do, like two strangers. I did the same to his girlfriend, my cousin’s wife and finally my cousin. They all had those saddened eyes as they looked at me. I tried not to shed any tears in front of anyone but my cousin said something that made me almost crack: ‘My condolences.’ I nodded then turned my face away. Fast forward to later in the afternoon, we went to the funeral office. I held it down pretty well so far. But on our way, I got car sick. Usually, it’s just an headache and a slight stomach ache. This time was different. Way different: my body started to freeze. It started in my left hand, but I thought it was because I held the seatbelt too tight. Then it progressed in my legs to right hand. At that moment, I suspected that it wasn’t usual, so I asked if we could stop for a while. As soon as the car slowed down, I opened the door and stepped away from it. I sat down. The feeling slowly went up to my chest. I ddin’t understant what was happening. I felt paralized, I couldn’t move. It scared me. They told me to relax, to try to calm down. They put me in the car. They tried to reassure me. They succeded a little bit. Then I massaged my left hand, like she taught me once. I relaxed a bit. As I did so: I fell apart.
Arrived at the funeral office – I don’t how to translate that in english, sorry – they talked about what kind of care to did on her so far and explained to us the process of her funeral. Then we went to see her. My brother asked if I wanted to see her. ‘I don’t know.’ I was scared and didn’t really want to see her. It would make it all too… real. He told me to come anyway. When we entered the room, I saw her lying on the bed, in the middle of the room. I walked in front of her. She stayed still. Her chest wasn’t moving. Her eyes were closed. I looked at her, tears came up. I tried hard to keep them in, waiting for her to sit down and laugh to our faces, like she made a bad joke. But nothing happened. The silence killed me. I cried my eyes out in front of her inanimate body. I didn’t understand.. how could it happen? In between tears, I managed to say something: ‘This is so stupid…’ As he heard that, my brother took me in his arms. For the first time, I didn’t feel alone.
A moment. Few seconds. Only few seconds were needed to take me back to the world of wonder, full of questions and, let’s face it, sadness. Just an image.
I was minding my own business. My focus was at its best. My eyes didn’t leave the screen one bit for the last few hours. My hands were moving faster than my thoughts. I was in the zone. When, suddenly, for a split second, i saw it. The image that made me stumble. Even almost fall. In front of me, a man interrupted a woman. Few words:
‘Allison! This is my daughter. No. I’m not proud!’
Irony could be heard in his voice and seen on his face. She was in his arms, hiding her face against his chest, embarrassed or shy. A little of both. He held her tighter for a millisecond then kissed her on her forehead. A smile was drawn on both of their faces. He let her go. As they walked away, side by side, almost like a reflex, he put his arm around her. And they disappeared behind a wall.
I smiled as I witnessed that love in between a father and his daughter. Then i wondered how could it feel like. Unanswered questions, that i thought i buried once and for all, emerged at the surface. My mind was slowly pulled down. I tried to fight it. Thinking about something else: focus back on work. I managed to keep my head out of the water. My dream helped me. But a little voice kept on talking in my head: Is he proud of me? Can he be proud of me? The need of answers came back like a urge. Then, i remembered a promise i made to myself: confront him face to face before my 25th birthday. I started to plan my journey to that point of my life that i need to reach. Going back to my ‘roots’. But it would be after my 25th birthday. Next year, i’ll go back to that big island i was raised in, relive my childhood through memories and see him in person. Hopefully…
In moments like these, i miss having a father.
He opened his eyes. The sun blinded him, instantly. His body was lying but he felt nothing underneath him. It took him a minute to remember: he was floating. Instinctively, he put his body upright and gazed around him. Near him, the surface was flat. But on the horizon, something scary was drawing. There was a wall of fog coming fast in his direction, accompanied by dark clouds. The peaceful surface wasn’t anymore. The agitation grew as the storm approached. He swam as fast as he could away from the danger. But his wet clothes were heavy and slowed him down. And soon, he ran out of energy. The storm caught up to him. First, dark clouds blocked the sunlight. Then a heavy rain prevented him from seeing more than a meter in front of him, followed closely by gigantic waves. Quickly, he was surrounded. To survive, he decided to swim through the waves as much as he could. He did well for a moment, but the weather got worst and he started to be out of breath. In the middle of his way under the ocean, water made its way to his lungs. He got out in extremis, coughing foreign elements out of his body. He didn’t have the time to catch his breath that a huge wave stood in front of him. It took him away in an instant. He was dragged according to the stream. He tried to swim to the surface but he was taken too deep under that he lost his bearings. He started to panic: he gesticulated in all direction using what was left of his energy. But it was in vain. He hardly held his breath. The need of oxygen became urgent. He reached his limits. Water made its way into his stomach, filling him up until he lost consciousness.
Where am I?…Oh, right: in the middle of nowhere. How did I end up here? I remember being on a stable ground. I was doing fine. Then I made a mistake. A stupid mistake. But they didn’t want to forgive me. So they tied me and force me to walk on that plank of wood. Someone pushed me, as I didn’t want to jump. I flew for a moment then found myself in the water. The rope wasn’t tight enough and I could free myself. But they left. I was alone in the middle of nowhere. I let myself carried away and miraculously fell asleep. Then there was the storm. And I’m dying. Alone.
As the thought of death stuck in his mind, he unconsciously relaxed his body. He was floating into deep water amongst fishes. Salt water filled up his lungs little by little. He couldn’t do anything. He remained lying in the dark. Inanimate.