I'll never forget the day that I first met him.
I was in the city, just walking. Feeling numb. Empty. It seemed to be par for the course for me. Ever feel like you have a hole inside you that you can't seem to fill? I tried flooding it with booze, and pills and powders and things that I went to dark places to get, and even darker places afterwards. It was all shallow though, fleeting. It's so hard to fix yourself.
Grey, lifeless concrete towers loomed over me. Sometimes I glimpsed people swarming about, going about their normal lives, repetitive, consistent, like bees in a hive. I envied that. Not anymore though, not after him. There were probably people up there feeling even more hollow than me. How must it feel to have all these positives in your life and still go home, to an empty house, a bottle of Scotch on the counter, half-empty. You're good at your job, you make a decent wage, you buy nice liquor. And you sit in your nice, comfortable chair, watching shitty tv till that fake warmth finally settles, and you can close your eyes and sleep, thinking of nothing. It's funny. When I walk around at night, and see the lights dotting the highrises in such an intricate pattern that my eyes hurt, and actually feel the heat from the gaudy neon signs decorating the street, I feel like the night is sunnier than the day. Who says your sun has to be up in the sky?
Man, this story seems depressing as hell. It's not. Kinda. I promise.
So, I'm plodding. Thumping my feet down on the concrete. Thump, thump, thump. Shoes are wearing pretty thin, I guess. This ground feels hard. I sip at my coffee. It warms me up. Oh look, there's some knob and his mates. Being loud, exuberant, frustrating. Through no fault of his own, I hate him. I'm not sure why. Maybe being sad makes you hate those who are happy, those who are happy while you try to figure out how you're gonna get out of this quicksand without any help. It sours you.
I saw him look at me. He was brawny and muscled, eyes lacking any real light. He quickly looks away. I guess I'm not interesting enough. I'm not gonna argue. I tend to avoid the mirror. I don't exist, apparently. He keeps walking. Swaggering. I swear I didn't use to be this much of an asshole. I guess it developed as my bed got more and more uncomfortable. Thoughts bouncing around my head like a ball of needles. That saying about a needle in a haystack? Right now I would settle for a piece of inert, harmless hay in a bed of blades.
I probably should of been looking where I was going. But I wasn't. I bumped into him. He got covered in my coffee. Oh shit.
I'll always remember the look in the brawny idiot's eyes. I could paint you a fucking picturesque comic strip of that entire encounter. Because that's how I met him.
I walk into him. I accidently (I swear) bump the hand holding my coffee into his chest. THe thin styrofoam flexes, bends, and my wrist gives way. I spill coffee onto a shirt, the label of which I could sew onto a piece of toilet paper and sell for 250$. You know the sad thing? I was kind of looking forward to being hit. Being struck. Some actual feeling being interjected,forcefully, into my life. I'm gonna guess that when physical violence becomes less of a hassle, and more something that you hope will actually make you feel something, you gotta do something to sort that shit out. I'm not delusional. I just talk a lot of shit. I dramatize, entrance, surprisingly, I'm even quite charming. Make you feel involved, and then scare you off. When your ego is glued together with broken pieces of glass, making someone want you, desire you, can do wonders. Even if, two days later, you knock back too much liquor, alone, sitting on a couch that has never had more than one occupant, trying to stem the flow from your eyes.
Why am I even telling this fucking story?
He walks through the crowd. So this whole theme about light and darkness? He blew that shit out of the fucking water. People parted before him. Those he touched looked like they were fucking enlightenend. Like they just saw some bearded motherfucker that will forget all their sins. What bullshit. I'm still being collared by some muscle-bound, beautiful, asshole. Fuck you, pretend-Jesus.
I'm a very angry person. I pretend to be all nihilistic and apathetic, tell people I simply don't care. Underneath that mask is a seething, boiling rage. Not at the world. Not at my friends, my parents, my enemies. At myself. For all the mistakes and wrong turns and bad choices that took me here. I'm sure I could've done better.
I realised it's empty. I realised it's pointless. Rage burns away at everything inside of you until there is nothing left but rage, and then you finally release it. It erupts out of you, usually at someone who most likely doesn't deserve it. And then there's nothing. Nothing at all. Emptiness. You're left staring at yourself in the mirror, contemplating that hollow inside of you, and knowing, knowing like you know that its pretty fucking likely that the sun is gonna rise tomorrow morning, that it wasn't worth it. Anger is a fuel that burns away far too fucking fast.
I didn't have these insights when the collar of my shirt was being bunched by someone who was probably at critical mass himself, of course. I'm still not sure that these are insights, or that they mean anything to anyone other than myself. But they changed me. He changed me. And I will forever be greatful.
"...The fuck dude? What the fuck did you do that for?" (eloquence was clearly one of his many qualities) "Look, uh..." I faltered. What in fake-Jesus' name was I supposed to say now? I'm sorry? That was so lame. And I wasn't sorry. I smirked. Time to deflect, provoke, ignore what was going on in the important part of my brain. The part that keeps me from being greviously injured by people so much bigger than me. "Sorry, I just thought the coffee stain would add to your overall aesthetic. Clothes taken from the neighbourhood skip can just be so...dull. He goggled. He actually goggled. Eyes bulging, like a freaking frog. I mean...I've read it in books. In short stories written by intoxicated teenagers. You just can't do it justice with words. I had the most disturbing desire to poke one of the white globes straining from its socket, just to see if it burst. I honestly didn't know eyes could do that.
That nostalgia. That glowing, warm feeling in my stomach. It burns so bright you can see it. I used to be a fuckwit. Someone who invited loathing. Hatred. It makes me feel better, after what happened. With him. But in those moments before you fall asleep, what do you think about? Stupid things. Things that shield you from the outside world, plans to make the oustide world yours, or simple, peaceful darkness. Once in a while you might think about who you are. What makes you, you. And sometimes, only sometimes; I doubt.