I can see the sky through the window, the clouds moving this way. A cold wind is coming through, but I don’t mind the cold; I never have. What was I thinking about? I’m getting forgetful these days. My back is against the wall, my legs stretched out, like always. The wind blows the curtain over my head. The screen in front of me is playing something; I don’t really know what. I can’t seem to focus on it, but does it matter? It must be something I like. One of my favorites perhaps. I do this a lot; playing something so I won’t think, keeping my mind from wandering. What was I thinking about? Was it about her? Something I did today? Yesterday? three years ago? I’m not sure. I can’t hold on to my thoughts. I can’t control them anymore.
My room is looking like a junk shop. Wherever I look, I see something old, mementos holding memories in their hearts, waiting for my eyes to fall on them; to release them. Old books are scattered everywhere. On the floor, on the shelf, hiding under the dirty clothes, next to week-old dishes from a meal I don’t remember. Their rotten smell feels the air. By the way, when did I last eat? Doesn’t matter. The statue she gave me is on the table, following me with his eyes, his hand in the air; like he’s trying to call to me, shout at me, get my attention. I try to avoid it. I Lay my head back. The ceiling is old. Older than me probably. There is a watermark up there. I have seen it a million times, maybe more; looked at it, stared at it for hours. There is something about this mark. it’s a shape, I’m sure of it, but no matter how long I stare, I can’t tell what it is! Sometimes I think I know it, I’m sure I see it, and then all of a sudden it changes. How long have I been under this old ceiling?
“Look at the ceiling! It’s filthy!” My room smells like lilacs and gooseberry. Like her. Her hand is in my hand. She’s wearing blue. We’re sitting on the floor. Her eyes looking up. Happy. “No, it’s just a watermark. I like to look at it when I’m alone. Sometimes I think it’s looking at me too….”
“you’re weird!” I look at her, she’s smiling. It makes me smile too.
“Good weird or bad weird?” She looks at me for a second. The smile goes away for only a moment, then returns. She thinks I missed it. I never do.
“Good weird, I think….” She looks around at my new books stacked on top of each other in the corner.
“Why do you buy so many books?” Why did she ask me that?
“I like to read when I’m alone. It keeps me busy.”
“Well, you should spend more time with me! Then you wouldn’t be alone so much and you wouldn’t have to buy all these books!”
Why is she saying this? He doesn’t like it. I shouldn’t have brought her here. I try to smile; I don’t think it works.
“We can’t be with each other all the time. And anyway, I’d bore you if we spend more time together.” She’s smiling, but her eyes are sad. I see pity in her eyes. Her hand retreats from mine, slowly. He wants her gone. I have to get her out of here; he doesn’t want her to be here. I’m scared to look up. She has to go.
“I’m hungry!” She touches my hand again as she says it.
“Yes! let’s get something to eat.”
Blue is sitting in front of me in a café. The walls of the café are also blue. They always play nice, calm, peaceful music here. Here, everything is her. He has no power here. She’s playing with her watch necklace, making it dance in her long slim fingers. It’s a beautiful watch, blue like everything else she’s wearing. Its second hand is ticking, moving in its circle. Her other hand touches mine. The world is moving around us I suppose, other people are talking, eating, laughing; I wouldn’t know; I see only her. We talk a lot. I sound happy. I don’t mind being outside and with other people! I think I look happy, too. We’re far, far away from that room. She’s telling me something and I’m listening! Really listening! And I’m glad, staring at her, trying to find something in her eyes, seeing nothing but her. I look up, the ceiling is made of mirrors. I shouldn’t have looked at it. It comes to me. It finds me somehow and everything changes. The sadness comes crawling in, devouring the color from my world, from my blue and suddenly everything is lifeless; blue is colorless. It presses me into myself. I feel my bones being crushed; my head pushed down. I look down. In my tea I see the reflection of the ceiling. I look up.
My room’s ceiling is filthy. The shape is looking down on me, frowning.
There is something still playing in front of me. Someone’s shouting in the street. I try not to think. Not to remember. Not to fall into my reveries. My memories are like a net, trying to catch me, entangle me. I can’t let that happen. The sadness is coming. I try to push it back, but I can’t! It’s like an ocean, above me, over me. No. I push it back, but I feel it coming all the same. Then I go all queer. Did I hear that somewhere? Maybe I read it. Nothing to be done.
I’m here now. This is me. That person is gone. Like the others. What was I thinking? Why can’t I remember? What’s that sound? The phone! it’s ringing. Should I answer? I don’t want to talk to anyone, to hear my own voice, but the ocean is getting closer. Maybe it will help.
“Hey! How’re you doing… Oh, I’m alright… No, no. Nothing’s wrong… Yes, sure. We should hang out soon… What? Tomorrow? Yeah, ok. Sure… Ha-ha yeah right… Ok see you then.” What the hell was that? I don’t want to see them; he doesn’t like to see them. Why did I agree? I have to stay here. I have to be alone. He doesn’t want us to see anyone yet. Maybe ever. No. Don’t think about that. They’re my friends, I will see them again. My lighter glimmers from inside the cigarette ashes. It was one of them that gave it to me. I pick it up. There is a half-smoked cigarette next to it. I light it up. The smoke burns everything inside me, then gets tired of me and leaves my mouth and feels the room
Another memory catches me in it’s net.
I exhale the smoke upwards. My friends are sitting around me. I can see the full moon in the sky. It’s cold in the park and we’re sitting on the grass, there are yellow leaves everywhere. The trees are all dead and bare. The cigarette burning between my fingers warms my hand. Someone is saying something; it must be a joke because I’m laughing, really loud! Do I laugh like this? It seems normal to them. Yes, I guess I do. I do this often I suppose. I see them, we hang out, we laugh… Is it really me with them? I shouldn’t be thinking about this, I should be having fun! I think I look like I’m having fun.
The moon looks weird tonight, that shape on the moon, I can see it clearly tonight. It looks like a watermark…
“Hey! It’s your turn man! Where are you?” Right. We’re playing mafia. I’m supposed to find out which one is hiding something, which one is lying about who he is. But I’m doing the same thing myself. Trying to hide him.
“I’m right here, and he’s the one! No, no. let me tell you, I’ve known him for five years and I know when he’s trying to hide something.”
They can’t see me. They don’t know me. The shape on the moon looks like a face. The clouds cover the moon and its face. I feel like it’s staring at me. I have to go. He wants to be alone. I feel him clawing at my chest, squeezing my heart in his hand. the wind brings the smell of rain with it. I put my cigarette out on a dry yellow leaf.
A face! It looks like a face! I’ve stared at this watermark for a million years and I never saw It! There is a face in my ceiling. The wind is blowing harder now, replacing the smell of rot with the smell of rain. The curtain is flying in front of me, covering my face. I see the sky again; dark clouds are covering it now. No. Not now…. The face is looking at me… I have to do something. A book! I should read something. It always helps. They’re lying all around me. I’m on my hands and knees looking at them. Which one should I read? There! I see its black cover under some white papers. I pick up the papers. There is something written on them. My handwriting. I’m not supposed to read them. He throws them away. I open the heavy book. There is something written on the first page: “Happy birthday, and I hope you find peace wherever you’re going.”
I’m sitting in my chair by the road. It’s a cold autumn night. My birthday gift is in my hands. A book I’ve been looking for, for years and someone got it for me. They just left in their car.
“You’re not coming?”
“No, I’ll stay a bit longer. See you guys tomorrow and thanks for the book!”
It’s our favorite spot. You can see the whole city from up here with its beauty, it’s lights. I can’t bear this town anymore. He’s standing against the car, behind me. His face is covered with darkness. If there is anyone who knows me, it’s him. He’s the only one who really knows me, the only one who can tell me what I should do. He’s known me since I was born, we’ve known each other all our lives. The cool clean mountain air is suffocating me. Yes, I remember….
“I’m thinking of getting out of here. I can’t stay here anymore. I’m drowning here. I’m suffocating!”
“Where will you go?”
“I’ve got no idea. Some other town… anywhere.”
“What will change?”
“I don’t know. All I know is that I can’t stay here anymore! Maybe something will happen, maybe I’ll meet someone. That might help!”
“I don’t know!” I turn my head to look in the side mirror of the car; he’s right behind me.
“Don’t!” The earth shakes as he yells. I felt empty and hollow; his voice echoes inside me like a cave.
“You know I won’t leave you.”
“wherever you go.”
“I’ll let you have your fun, but remember, you’re nothing but an empty shell without me.”
I look down at the book in my hands with its cover, black and heavy; hiding what it has inside.
The book hits the wall hard. The black cover can’t take it anymore. It lets the precious white pages fly away, floating free around the room and landing heavy on the floor. Broken. Empty. The curtain is flying now. The wind is coming in by force, invading my room with yellow leaves. I’ve never liked autumn. I was born in autumn. Something breaks. I don’t look to see what. One of the pages lands on the head of the statue. Her statue. She was supposed to help. She was supposed to change something. Nothing changed. I met her in autumn. The first time we went out we went into the woods. Her hair matched the color of the leaves. She was wearing blue. I don’t even have the strength to sit anymore. I guess I’ll lie down.
“So, how is living alone? Don’t you get lonely? Do you go out a lot?”
A cool breeze is playing with her long hair. The sound of a stream nearby gives music to her questions.
“No, I usually stay in. I don’t really go out unless I have to.” Her watch necklace dangles freely over her chest as she speaks.
“Don’t you get bored?” She’s staring at me with innocent eyes while crushing the yellow leaves beneath her small feet. The ground is covered with them. The wind lifts some of the leaves up. They dance in circles around us and then get down and sit back on the forest floor when they get tired. My eyes follow them all the way. Suddenly I wish I was alone.
“Don’t you get bored?” My eyes fall on hers. There is something in those round things. They have a force, a gravity, pulling me into them, away from him. What’s so good about being alone?
“I keep myself busy, usually reading or watching something. I Can’t really stand myself in silence.” I must have given her a smile because she returned it. The smell of lilacs and gooseberry is intoxicating. What’s so good about being alone?
I can’t see anything. I can’t find the strength to open my eyes. My head is laid down on its side on the floor. The ocean is right above me. There is no escaping now. The ceiling is gone. There are tons and tons of water. It’s coming down inch by inch. Pressing the room and the air, crushing my room like a dry yellow leaf. The shape is not a watermark anymore. The whole ocean has a face now. Even she couldn’t hold him back. She was the one and she wasn’t even strong enough. If she couldn’t, nothing could. He’s invincible now.
“You’re two persons. One that I know and one that I don’t. One that loves me and one that doesn’t. I never know which one I’m getting.”
She’s wearing yellow, matching the yellow carpet of leaves beneath her feet. The only blue thing left is the watch necklace. I try to keep my eyes on it to avoid her eyes. The second hand moves, but it’s stuck in the same place. It goes one tick forward and then falls back where it was. The wind is howling in my ear, yelling at me, angry. Her lips shiver when she speaks.
“I can’t go on like this. I can’t make him love me. Sometimes I feel like you hate me.” Her eyes are wet. She’s my last hope.
“But they both love you.”
She looks in my eyes. The moment feels like an eternity. There is something in those eyes. She looks deep into my soul, right at him; speaks to him.
“No, they don’t.”
Suddenly all I want is to escape from her. Her eyes, there is something about them, they’re looking at me, into me, seeing something no eye should glimpse upon. They’re kind and sad, but they’re burning me. They’re burning him.
No. They don’t.
The ocean is right above my head now. I’m afraid to open my eyes, but I know I can touch it if I reach out. It’s the closest it has ever gotten. There is no place to escape. My heart is being crushed into a pea; I can’t feel it beating anymore. All I can feel is the ocean, there is nothing but the ocean. It’s getting closer, it’s looking at me. It wants to touch me, crush me, suffocate me; it has a face. I feel a drop get separated from it and fall down towards me. I don’t need my eyes to see it, I know it’s coming; the ocean is finally touching me. I’m ready. The drop lands on my forehead and explodes like a missile. The explosion forces My eyes open. I devour the air as if I haven’t breathed for minutes. There is no ocean here. Just the ceiling. I look up and see the sky, now black with dark clouds. It’s raining. No, not just raining. The wind is blowing so hard it’s knocking down everything in the room.
I get up to look outside, but as I stand up a wall made of yellow leaves rushes through the window and blinds me. I take a step back and feel something get crushed under my foot. I look back at the room. Yellow leaves are everywhere. Suddenly I feel someone looking down at me. I look up. There is a face on the ceiling. I know that face! Where have I seen that face before? Could it be…? I run to the bathroom, the only place I can find a mirror. Just when I’m at the door the wind shuts the window so hard its glass shatters into a million pieces. I don’t look up. The door opens as I touch it and I fall inside on the white tiles. There is broken glass on the floor. I grab the sink and drag myself up. It’s gone. Broken. I touch the frame with my right hand, trying to remember what happened when I see the bandages on it.
How did this happen? I feel pain on my knuckles for the first time. It sounds like something is crashing into the apartment over and over again. I have to know; I have to see! I fall to my knees on the bathroom floor. I have to see! In the corner there is a broken piece of the mirror. I run to my room. The floor is covered with yellow leaves and glass shards. I look into the piece of mirror in my hands. There is a face in it, so horrible and terrified I want to run away from it. The mirror shifts a little in my hands. Now I can see another face behind me. It’s the same face, with a horrible hideous smile. I’m lying in the leaves. When did I fall? The ocean is back, but this time it’s inside me. I feel it drowning everything inside me and every atom of it crashing into my hollow skin, struggling to get out; a whole ocean clawing into my skin! I can’t keep it in anymore. I can’t bear it….
I feel the broken glass in my right hand. The statue is right in front of me, trying to get my attention again, trying to save me; but it has to end. My hand moves, the cover is cut, and the ocean is free. It’s leaving me. It’s red. I look out of the window. The storm has stopped. My eyes are shut, but I know now, the face is gone.