(written 23 June 1993)*
As I was walking down this quiet road with the undergrowth growing like icicles reaching for the sky I was compelled to turn my eyes on the growing mass of black clouds overhead. The faint rustling of the trees and the otherwise unnerving silence was a forewarning of the coming storm – not only the natural storm but the physical and mental one churning in my head. I needed to think, I had to think but my thoughts were drawn to the seering calmness of my surroundings and it made me consider the underlying deception. Deception seemed to be the root of everything in my life. The very foundations from which I drew my strength and knowledge.
This old, dusty country road was lonely but I was not. I was too filled with rage and hate – a quiet, disarming hate that made me grin maliciously. One of utter contempt and defiance. I came to a fork in the road – another decision, passed without thought, without consideration. What did it matter? This way, that way, our course is already outlined for us anyway. Everything was already decided upon before we were brought into this loveless, merciless world.
Empty nests, destructive words. Through my senses I gathered much from life, mostly the bad things. Was I destined to spend my entire life being distracted from the pure and beautiful thoughts because of the nature of my life thus far? A small, wet drop refreshed the heat-prickled skin on my arm. I looked up and saw that the stormy black clouds were overhead and were dispelling their moist messages from the sky. More tears for the ground, more sorrow for nature to soak up, more heartache for me to drink.
I sat down under a sheltering tree to protect me from these tears from heaven. I would rather watch the depressing mode of time than feel it. I looked down at my hands and started biting the skin on the sides of my fingernails – an annoying habit that I could not stop. How monotonous!
Who really cares what you do during your time on earth? The rain was coming down harder now and I heard the faint trickle of water and felt little drops fall on my head. I will not be remembered for the good things I’ve done whilst visiting this life. People remember hardened criminals more clearly than they remember the saints of the same time. Human nature sees good as boring. Bad is varied and exciting and dangerous. It excites me, it makes me feel alive.
I look down at my hand again, it’s bleeding. I put it in my mouth and the taste of rusted metal fills me with disgust but I leave my finger in my mouth anyway. With my other hand I ruffle my hair and feel the clinging dampness as the rain seeps through the windows between the leaves above. It has a dull, calming effect that rests my soul. It’s an accomplished feeling – like a distressing problem that has just fond its solution. What a cumbersome theory! I close my eyes and take comfort in sucking my thumb. One companion that cannot leave me.
I try to think back to childhood years when everything was so simple. Life was full of meaning, meaning was life. The simplicity of being. I couldn’t! I couldn’t remember!
My life was stained with the marks of yesteryear and they clouded my views and perceptions of their likeness. I couldn’t smell the sweet flowers of December or taste the taste of honey. I couldn’t hear the cheerful songs of the birds or the soft whisper of the wind. Only the pitter-patter of the rain which was now slowing to a fine mist. I took my thumb out of my mouth and considered it for a moment. The creased skin at the knuckles, the large half-moon on my nail. What purpose do they serve? What function do they perform?
My eyes caught on a rapid movement to my immediate left. I was just in time to see the last remnants of lightning as it touched across the sky in a rage of light. The sound that followed was hollow but loud. I started swaying my head from side to side, side to side in a rhythmic pendulum motion. Another comforting habit I’d picked up somewhere, put into action when my thoughts become too deep or probing. My past life is like a black hole, I cannot remember it even when I know I’ve been dreaming about it and have woken up screaming and glistening with tortured sweat. I have disjointed flashbacks and cannot relate them to my past because I don’t know if they’re real or just meaningless sights of a non-existent life.
The clouds have started parting in the distance but overhead the gods are employed in a battle of the fiercest, casting bolts of lightning and causing a thunderous roar to proceed shortly after. I look down at my palms and study the lines, to pass the time. Why are they there? So gypsies can tell me how long I have to live and how many children I’m going to have? I take the pen-knife out of my back pocket, every realist’s best friend, and carve the lines on my palm out. Beads of blood begin to seep out. I closed my hand and opened it again, flexing and unflexing, flexing and unflexing. There was now a thin cover of blood exploring the ridges and depths of my palm. It felt warm and sticky. This I will not put in my mouth as the mere thought nauseates me.
I stood up at this point and started walking along the road again, further and further away from the things and people I knew but did not longer want to know. I was fixated on the dark, crusting redness of the drying blood on my palm, it was starting to harden and began to look like crimson crocodile skin. I stopped and re-opened the cuts on my palm, more fiercely than I had intended and the blood now pulsed out in a steady flow. I put my hand to my face and began to rub it all over. From cheek to cheek, across the bridge of my nose, up across my forehead, down the temple, across the one cheek again and then to my chin, resting there. I laughed. I laughed so loud and so fiercely that the birds that had been nesting the trees overhead swept up in a great mass and flew away. I don’t care. I really don’t care!
The road has now dwindled to nothing more than a narrow footpath. The trees had become larger and the rustling of the leaves had become louder. A stream now accompanied me through the trees and the soft rippling water swept over rocks and sand with graceful ease. The stream grew deep and wide. My cut hand was now pulsating and my temples were throbbing. I can’t take this anymore. I turned swiftly towards the fast-flowing stream and, without removing my shoe or my watch, I stepped into the water. The lightning had stopped but the air was still crisp and moist. I checked my footing in the water and moved in deeper and deeper. The water was now grappling at my waist, cool and refreshing. I was being cleansed and baptised. I moved in deeper and deeper still – to my chin, covering my mouth, my nose, my eyes. I could no longer breathe but wonderful, harmonious thoughts were going through my mind. I have never felt so at peace. The water now covered every inch of my body. The world is so beautiful down here. So serene. I can’t breathe. So beautiful. I pull my head up out of the water and gasp in deep breaths of fresh air.
*I have transcribed this exactly as I wrote it all those years ago – not yet out of my teens – please excuse all the obvious errors.