Friday, September 21

Smile Dominos

I AM IN a pit of miserable despair. Sometimes I escape it but it is only for an hour or two.
I am sick of people asking how I am, or, more accurately, I am sick of telling people how I am when they ask me. I try to be honest but how awful to go on about yourself like that; where’s the dignity; no dignity, not here. So I lie and say – ‘OK’. Why don’t I have my own place by now? Why aren’t I being a good person? I try to think of things I would like to do, but come back empty-handed.
There are two things I would like to do these days: write great novel after great novel, and kill myself.
Some people love life, I am aware of this. They say things like – ‘All part of life’s rich tapestry’ or ‘Loving life’ but I am not one of those. I don’t even understand those people. I cannot understand their sentiment, not in the slightest. Life does nothing for me; it doesn’t interest me and, truthfully, I am not very good at it, either on an evolutionary or a spiritual or a human level. I have no God, no love, very little hope and the most vapid of affections for my artistic pursuits. I approach art the same way I lift a toilet seat.
But I continue. I continue. I continue. I continue. I could never end myself, I’m not brave enough, especially while my mother is alive. I could not kill myself while she is around, yet when she asks me if I’ve ever thought about suicide I flat-out deny it – ‘No, course not. Don’t be so fuckin’ ridiculous.’
I think about it all the time. I think about killing myself all of the time and how I’d do it and where I’d do it and what it would look like to the people who’d find my body. Whenever I think about it, though, something – often something small and unimportant – snaps me out of it. Today I was in the coffee shop with a headache and was, again, thinking of killing myself, when, out of nowhere, a girl collected her coffee and I burst out smiling. She was nothing to do with me. I did not even know her name. When she collected her cup she had this endearingly nervous and cute face and I just burst out with a smile and a man with a handbag saw me and he smiled at me. That domino of smiles made me smile even harder. I’d forgotten about wanting to kill myself for fifteen minutes, and sometimes that’s all it takes.
Everyone in the office was asked to clear their desks, to throw out old paper, to have a sort-out. Binbags were filled and thrown into the corner until they made a formidable six-foot-high mountain; corners of bound documents tore through the plastic, folders lay discarded, the odd pizza box. Some removal men came to take them away. They started, going back & forth with bags in each hand, like mobile weighing scales. I was deep in thought until I heard one young gentleman ask the other – ‘You still writing’?’
I thought – ‘A writer?! A fellow writer?!’
I sat there and watched him carry the bags and wondered if he was as sad as I. I let him be. We should both be alone. He had a very sad face of pale skin and prickling black stubble and he always looked down, just like me. A writer. I brushed my papers aside and watched him work. That was all there was to it. Once again, for a moment, I was saved.
My dog, in this cursed decay of September, is dying. Tumours are shackling her body. The tumour on her front paw has swollen and burst through the skin. She gnaws on it and nobody stops her. Very often it bleeds. The other night I came down to see that she had painted a homicide scene on the kitchen tiles. With big brown eyes she looked up at me, the bulbs reflected in them, a stellar bloom. Blood streaked around her. She licked her paw. The tumour is red and brown and grey and it changes colour, moving in, moving out, swelling, smelling, the plug pulled from her bathtub. I am watching her die. Not long now. She lies on the rug my mother has put in the living room. The gentle licks she covers the tumour with make me feel sick because it is almost with affection that she caresses the very thing that is killing her.
I lick my tumour, too.
Darkness is over my town when I arrive home at night. The cold wind that tickles the underbellies of giggling clouds during the day is now running down the street. ‘Ah, yes, autumn’ I say. Refusing to wear a jacket or a coat, I feel the chill grip a hold of me; my hands seizing up, nipples rubbing, breathing short, limbs a little stiffer. I notice, and not without some glee, the pavement that sparkles in front of me. The streetlight, an innocent bystander, highlights the small slivers of flint in the tarmac and as I walk atop of them so they sparkle and shimmer.
The angle of the light & the mix of the tarmac pavement does not last long and soon the footpath ceases to shine. Then I am bored.

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