I’ve had countless conversations with dear friends about how at different times we’ve lacked direction and been afraid that we’re wasting our lives away. Our fear… that we were wasting our time, terminally lost in a transient state but never really moving onto the next step in our lives.
We’d gripe and moan about how unfair it all seemed, like the universe was somehow conspiring against us. But the glaring truth is … our lack of direction, our indecision was all because we were afraid of making the wrong choice. Some of us were even depressed by our aimlessness and barely made it out alive.
I pondered on all this as I sat there alone, in the parking lot at work, staring at the pale green wall overwhelmed by an acute loneliness. Maybe it was the night air, but a keen chill slithered over me and when I caught my reflection in the rearview mirror I didn’t recognise who I saw.
It was in those blurry moments I decided to make some serious changes.
Eddie. It was time to let go. The excitement between us would get me through the days but it would never be enough for either of us. Our delicious intrigue helped us bear the mundanities of work and social propriety but it also held us back. It was also the most selfish thing I’ve ever done, and in a way I’d never thought possible.
That night I wrote a letter saying I couldn’t carry on with the way things were, what was happening between us never made sense and it wasn’t fair. I told him I couldn’t just coast along piggybacking on his relationship. His fiancée would never hear anything from me and she deserved his love completely. I wrote, lastly, I would remember him always.
I left the letter on his doorstep. And that, was that.
I sometimes regret it, but had I tried to say any of it to him face to face - I would have changed my mind.
I cried for two days, mourning the lost connection I’ll never get back. But, when my heart slowed and my breath returned, everything seemed better. Clearer.
People sometimes underestimate the value of a good all-out cry. The sweet overpowering relief as the tensions and stresses of the world pour out of you in a comforting stream of salty-sweetness.
For some reason we fight back the tears and then wonder why. Just when we think we’ve triumphed over our emotions, how come we don’t feel any better for it.
As a dear friend always tells me “It’s ok to feel whatever you feel. Cry, scream, or yell - do whatever you have to do.”
We sometimes trap ourselves in our own way of thinking and can’t find anything else. The challenge we present ourselves becomes cyclical there’s no end in sight.
The only thing truly stopping us, from letting go and relinquishing our self control long enough to let the tears flow, is fear.
If you’re stuck, choose to act on the changes you need. Accept your fear. Choose to feel, to cry and maybe you’ll find the measure of clarity you need to move forward. Choose your life.
Coulda... Woulda... Shoulda... but didn't. (fiction)
I must say things are moving along much more smoothly in life, there’s less angst, fewer lies, no sneaking around and a lot more of everything else. It’s a strange sensation really. Like a suffocating fog has been lifted. All this is because Eddie is gone.
However, the severing of our connection I must write about later, as I’m not quite ready to share that much about it just yet. There’s still some clarity to be found… to say the least. I must say flying solo isn’t too much different to when he and I were “together”, the more noticeable difference being there’s just a lot less sex. I suppose that realisation in itself is confirmation enough that I did the right thing. More on that at a later date.
Only a few weeks following that train wreck, during another one of my late night net surfing sessions, I was greeted with an instant message from the likes of my brother’s best friend Nate and funnily enough a lengthy and very truthful chat ensued. It’s delightful how confessions make for such intriguing material. We’re all such suckers for indecency and intrigue.
It started out innocently enough with chitchat about movies and various creative projects we’ve been working on, me with my various scratchings and blogs, and him with his number of multimedia creations. The minutes dwindled away and the next thing I knew it was the early hours of morning. It was about that time we’d finally arrived at the topic we’d evidently both been wondering about.
I have to say the wonders of technology may be super handy in the ways of research and keeping in touch with loved ones, but they’re also just another portal through which trouble can find you. Or is it just me…? I sincerely hope not.
Last summer Nate had come to stay with my brother and me, for about a week, it was a surprise for mon frere’s birthday. Over the first few days we’d spent some time together whilst, Anson, my brother-dearest was busy with work slash study commitments and in that time I’d begun to feel that familiar magnetic pull. The strange gravity which I’ve never really been able to name, though I know it so well. At the time I put it down to a proximity-crush (ie: the crushes you get when that particular someone is always around). Even though I practically chewed his ears off about all my Eddie-related woes, I doubt he realised I was also “checking him out”. What can I say I’m a multitasker - efficiency is my game. From then on we were on sporadic speaking terms, chatting online whenever one or both of us was bored and felt the need to talk to someone. Our only real connection was my brother, now that I think about it. I can’t quite figure out at which point it all changed.
The party was a swirl of neon orange-red lights, fiddly finger-food and booze. Surrounded by so many people I didn’t know other than Nate and my sister Lane, it was hard to find any kind of natural rhythm and connection to what was going on. As hard as we tried to intermingle with the chic clique gathering of my brother’s group, it was just down right tedious to be honest.
The music was blaring and swallowed us whole, amber fluids and other sweet libations drained down our excited throats and tempered our better judgements. As we danced I couldn’t distinguish between my heartbeat and that of the aural magnificence pouring out of the speakers, the tempo saturated the air and clung to my skin. The same drawing feeling as before flared up and moved my body closer and closer to Nate’s. My mind, on the other hand, screamed for me to run the other direction. The scratching voice rattled around in my skull and no matter how many intoxicants I imbibed, it would not leave me be. My mind, unfortunately for me, has always had a knack for ruining a perfectly good time.
For fear of the repercussions, more specifically the very possible unhappy reaction of Anson, I kept a reasonable distance from Nate… well for the most part anyway.
For a few moments I’d lost myself to the beat and pulsing energy, Nate’s hand wrapped at my waist, and not so suddenly the electrified sensation of our bodies pressed together. My conscience piped up louder than before. STOP STOP STOP - NOT AGAIN. So as subtly as I could manage, I hastily yelled out to a couple of family friends that showed up late and together we made our way outside. In the beer garden we’d seated ourselves and began to suck down some death sticks. Of course, I invited Nate to come along, it would have been not to - right? The look of disdain on his face, as I put the cigarette to my lips, still makes me chuckle. Strangely enough moments later he plucked the smoke from my fingers and put it to his mouth. The hypocrite. I, also, couldn’t help but notice the slightest flick of the tip of his tongue - I wondered if he tasted the lipstick.
We sat there cracking jokes, shooting clever quips and chatting away happily about our transient jobs and various dalliances with the opposite sex. It was rather short-lived and only twenty minutes or so before the others, having had their fill of ‘fresh air’, decided to head back inside.
Once again I found myself dangerously close to Nate. Maybe it was the feeling of the liquor fizzing beneath my skin, or even just the sweet ambient night. He stood to my side, things like “saying we should go,” and “Anson might be looking for us” - The messages were conflicting. His words said ‘we should leave’ but he didn’t make any move towards the door and he didn’t seem to be in sincerely as much of a hurry as the others. I remember thinking “It would be so easy. If I could just pull him in close enough”. The air was heavy I stayed seated, and took just a moment or two before forcing myself to go in after them.
The air was cool and the stars seemed brighter. Everything was very still, strangely so, not a trace of wind. The party was swirling around and the liquor disappeared far too quickly down our eager gullets.
We sat and talked about life’s little injustices and all we saw wrong in the world. Like teenagers we knew everything, but in reality knew nothing at all. We sat and felt we knew the truths of the world and how everything worked.
There was no special occasion, the party was simply for the sake of it.
I spent the better part of the evening in my usual manner, chatting (albeit a little uncontrollably), and watching the invisible chemistry. The pulsating energy in the space between bodies was hypnotising. I especially liked the little tells, the tiny silent communications everyone was broadcasting without even realising.
For a fleeting moment it felt as though I were living an episode of National Geographic. I watched in quiet amusement and imagined a deep and articulated voice-over in my head (no, it wasn’t an auditory hallucination) as I continued to watch everything play out.
One of the females (Beta) is competing with the others for the attentions of the younger attractive males. Notice the change in her posture as they come into the entertainment space - she draws attention to her bare legs and her cleavage. She is constantly drawing attention to herself in one way or another. Also, if you listen carefully, her voice pitch becomes slightly higher and in conversation her quips are loaded with sexual innuendo.
A few hours later the evening seemed sweeter and everyone was nicely inebriated, lubricated and joyously engaged in conversation. I was glad to be there, I hadn’t been out in a social setting for a long time and forgotten how enjoyable it could be. More to the point, I forgot how good it felt simply to be around others just to enjoy their company. When I finally stopped acting like some kind of wannabe anthropologist, I struck up a conversation with the other women in the circle we’d formed. They were mostly older than I, but to my surprise we had similar views on many subjects.
Meanwhile, Beta was flitting about the garden like a young girl trying to impress the older boys with all her dancing and dallying about. Her attentions seemed focused on the more handsome of the two men, Charlie. Whenever he spoke to her she’d touch her hair or find some way/reason to touch him. He and Leo were entertained by her antics, though it didn’t last very long, they soon grew tired of her attention seeking. As their focus slowly diverted from her onto others, Beta’s voice got louder, while her displays grew bolder. Ultimately she resorted to blatant showing off by falling to the ground doing the splits, then trying to entice Charlie and Leo’s baser appetites with allusions to acts of lesbianism between her and one of the other girls, Nina. It wasn’t too long after that Charlie and Leo grew bored with that too.
Soon after they started chatting with me, and from what I could tell it was only because I chose not to pay them any mind unlike Beta. Charlie in particular unleashed a barrage of questions to initiate conversation.
Now watch as the alpha male non-verbally signals to the other female he’s singled her out as his most desired of the group. He offers her drink as a gesture of interest but doesn’t take her refusal as rejection, but rather as encouragement to try harder.
The cheese and crackers were gone, the wine bottles laid empty on the grass and the neighbours slammed their windows in anger. At that point it was a choice for us to either shut it all down or move it elsewhere. We moved it next door to a kind (and eccentric) couple’s balcony. There we mused some more about our troubles, the evils and importance of tequila, and together wished out loud for life to be easier.
Then came the moment when the music came on and for a little while at least we got lost in awe. Bob Dylan, a classy choice by our new gracious hosts. Beta started up again with her flouncing about, no one paid her any mind, much to her frustration.
Feeling the slow creeping onset for the need of sleep I took myself to the kitchen for some water.
Ah, one of the females has separated herself from the group. And, like an animal hunting for prey in the wild see how the male stealthily closes in on her.
I had my back turned for a moment, rummaging through the cupboards for a glass, and from out of nowhere Charlie appeared. I was rinsing the glass out in the sink when I felt his hands on my hips, suddenly he spun me around and the next thing I knew we were slow dancing in the kitchen. It was deliciously unexpected.
Nothing eventuated between Charlie and I, much to his disappointment. If we’d had more time maybe something would have. But the universe, as it seems, had other plans.
They say the hardest thing about cheating is all the lying and the sneaking around. While all of that may to true, I suppose it’s just a matter of opinion. In my case, between Eddie and I, the thing I hate most is the waiting. Waiting to hear from him, waiting to see him, and mostly waiting to get away from everyone else because they just don’t get it. They don’t understand the rush through the veins, the soaring feeling within your own skin and to come back down to dull reality is oh so painful.
And before you jump to any conclusions of sickening obsession, infatuation or true love and blah blah blah, let me just tell you now, it’s nothing of the sort. In fact, it’s more like an addiction and I am the addict. The hopeless junkie itching for her next fix. Instead of twitches and ticks, I get lost in fantasy and drown under fleeting images of when we were last together my mind can’t help but wonder off to some other delectable place searching for that next high, constantly searching until the next time I can feel blissful once again… To feel the sensations of skin and breath and falling into nothing.
I must be a wicked wicked girl for all these things that I crave and want for nothing. It’s stands to be asked though, where does this want and desire come from? And Eddie, so distant and available at the same time, why does he want? Questions questions questions … so many and so little time. Are we all just bored little children in grown-up meat suits playing games because we’re ever so bored?
We’re all clawing our way out of the muck and grime, wading through the remnants of Mother Nature’s unholy tide, unleashed and unexpected. The tide mark drawn halfway the side of corner shops and houses all lucky to be far enough away from the river. The battered leftovers of lives are strewn across the city, tossed onto the kerb for garbage pick-up. Once quaint side streets are unrecognisable, gorgeous golf greens have been reduced to swamp land. The smell of decay and waste hangs over us, an intangible reminder of the hardships to follow.
A flood ravaged through my fair city not two weeks ago, torrential rains coupled with a vicious river system made for the perfect disaster. The likes of which hasn’t been seen in thirty-five years. For four days I, like many others, was stranded at home with my eyes plastered to the television screen, my brain saturated by the coverage of raging water and destruction. Stories poured into our livingrooms of smashed cars, decimated crops, missing people and drowned children. People crying, people dying and there was no way anyone could have stopped it. All we could do was watch from the insecurity of our own homes. And now, comes the clean up.
I drive through the streets and every time my heart sinks to new levels as I see people trudging through the mud, carrying buckets, brooms and shovels. Traffic moves through at a crawl and everywhere you look are people conversing with others they would have never otherwise met. Hopeful and understanding smiles pinned on their faces. I get a warm, uplifting feeling and then I wonder how long it’ll all last. Couches, chairs, television sets, cabinets and scraps of their former lives collected in small piles on the sides of the road. They look like sad little heaps of the past tossed aside and waiting to be collected by big obnoxious trucks.
One thing is for certain something like this definitely puts life in perspective, fewer people whining about their steaming piles of shit and more people walking around grateful also hopeful. The tragically trivial things we once worried about, like having the latest mobile phone and what we were going to wear to the upcoming work do, become arbitrary.
I realised that amongst all the waste and broken pieces something else belonged there. During the entire time a natural disaster tore through my town, I didn’t get any word from the one person I cared about and whom I thought cared about me. Not. One. Word. Kind of makes me wonder if they care at all. Only time and a serious conversation will tell.
The first time we fucked was like an interplanetary collision. Brief, incredibly heated and terrifyingly delectable. We were intertwined constellations, a stellar mingling of sweat-glazed limbs and mixed breaths. All of it was too much and not enough, all at once. Whatever cosmically crossed our metaphysical paths and threw us into each others’ orbits left us so desperately charged, it was inevitable.
Every taste, smell and touch turned the cosmos inside out. It was for lack of a better word … delicious.
We’d ventured these paths before and teetered ever so close to the edges of oblivion. We’d come inches away from indiscretion, then suddenly all our senses would return and we’d run in opposite directions. We’d need time to cool off and get our heads reattached to our bodies, though it never lasted long.
Eventually those unspoken boundaries became so blurred, we didn’t know which end was up. After years of to and fro skittering about calling each other friend, it all came down to a moment of weakness.
Life had gotten too complicated for me to handle that day.Ty had called once again to convince me our lives were incomplete without each other. He’d asked me to take him back after so long and so much. It was 3AM and as always I passionately, though politely, disagreed with him. I awoke at sunrise feeling empty and lost. At a more reasonable hour I called Eddie for help. I called, he came. He’s always been good that way.
We talked it out over coffee and Eddie convinced me once again Ty was merely trying to make himself feel better. Pure and simple. Selfish as always, and as always I’d let it get under my skin. After a while of conversing in my kitchen the quiet descended on us. Time didn’t slow and the world didn’t melt away, but the closer we got the more intense the pull of our shared gravity became.
A blinding animalistic craving took over, it set off tingles in every muscle and burned the surface of every bone. The craving for flesh on flesh, the salty-sweet taste of lust and sweat. It made us want to climb up walls, tear off skin and devour one another. We settled for tearing off clothes instead. Like two ravenous magnets, we couldn’t help ourselves. We would have had better luck fighting the tides.
It wasn’t love, lust or even friendship, but rather an entirely different beast. The mutant bastard child of convenience, chemistry and secrecy. The perfect coupling of a shared intrigue and sweet understanding detachment.
There’s nothing sexier than doing something you know is completely wrong.
I had a boyfriend at the time and my consort in the clandestine had a fiance. Somewhere in the time and space between my front door and hello we’d forgotten them both.
How had it come to that? I’d asked myself over and over again in the strange stillness that followed. I’d temporarily lost my mind in my best friend and together we’d betrayed the ones we both cared about. Of course, not my finest moment.
We laid on the couch, Eddie’s arm draped over me. He ran the tip of his fingers along my arm. I looked at him once, his dark brown eyes slowly drifting away like receding flood waters. No more tingles. We’d reduced ourselves to animals, enslaved to our baser instincts. What had happened between us was a force of nature. My head fully understood this but my theoretical heart was completely mute on the matter. I’d expected to feel differently after such a sinful transgression, but I felt nothing. At that moment I remember wondering, shouldn’t I be feeling something, anything … guilty?
Perhaps because it meant nothing. Or perhaps I’m so tragically accustomed to numbing myself I simply can’t tell anymore. Who knows? I knew something between us had changed. Was I imagining things? Had I changed? How can one tell? I look in the mirror every morning, same face, nose, ears everything. Now every time I look at him, I don’t see my friend any more. He’s something else. He’s a curious hybrid between lover and friend - gladly untainted by the element of romance. Now I see my dirty little secret.
It started on a Thursday about three weeks ago. Like a dying flame being prodded away from oblivion by a gentle breath. A revelation induced in a metaphoric seizure during a random late night chat with an ex-boyfriend from a million-and-one lifetimes ago. Some kind of tiny light revealed an undiscovered region of my mind, all thanks to my first stupid love. There have been a couple more since then, stupid ones, I mean. My first, was always my go-to sob story. The one who drew out feelings of pity and ignited midnight commiserations amongst my peers. Anyone who has lived through enough will understand exactly what it’s like. Past misjudgements go down a lot easier with a couple of vodkas and half pack of menthols, only to be forgotten until the next time.
Thankfully, blessed hindsight has wizened me up, and now the only considerations I have toward him are along the lines of, “you have got to be kidding me” and “what was I thinking”. During our little virtual exchange I found the bullshit he used to pass off as his own brand of self-deprecating, loser charm wasn’t so intriguing anymore. Ah it was glorious transparency right down through to the sad little truth. He was bored and inescapably miserable with whatever was in his sad little life. His attempts at smooth and clever were in fact neither. Quite the opposite actually. How tragic, I thought. It’s funny how things turn out. Very funny indeed. I chalk it up to a lesson learned.
Ex-boyfriend, for his anonymity’s sake we’ll call him Ty, as usual initiated conversation with the poorly hidden intention of instigating some sort of sexual cyber tryst. Ha. And again, ha. It took less than five minutes for me to figure out where the conversation was headed. Here’s a taste…
Ty: So how about you? How’s work, life etc? :)
De: Can’t complain – eating, breathing, writing, occasionally sleeping and working. You know how it is.
Ty: It must get pretty boring and lonely for you.
Ty: Are you with anyone?
De: I have someone to keep me company, if that’s what you’re wondering.
Ty: Oh really? Who is he?
Ty: How long have you been with him?
De: A while. We were friends first. He’s a good sort.
Ty: Like you and me were back in the day.
Ty: Oh c’mon talk to me. Is he good in bed? Does he get you off?
De: So anyway… how’s that girlfriend of yours??
Ty: I want to know what gets you off. Tell me.
Ty: What will it take to find out?
Ty: I want to experience you.
(That last gem made me laugh out loud for a good ten minutes)
-Delilah has mentally checked out of the conversation-
Lying from the start I could tell. Despite his best efforts to convince me otherwise, Ty and his ladyfriend weren’t in an open relationship as he’d so vehemently claimed. She still probably has no idea he’s trying to wrangle some pussy on the side from me and whomever else.
A few days later in another conversation he’d mentioned sometime soon he’d be coming to town to visit a mutual friend. He wanted to see me too. But of course, I thought. As we went on he didn’t even try to hide he actually wanted to conquer that one and only territory he never got to. To be clear I mean the one in my pants.
His goal was a grapple between the sheets to make himself feel better. It was his idea of validation, a meagre triumph all rolled up in tangled limbs and covered in saliva. I did like his spin on it though, it was to make up for all the awful things he’d done when we were younger.
'I want to make up for fucking up. And to finally do what we didn't get to.” - interesting choice of words. Speaking of fucking up …
As before, it is just so now. His answer was sex. Not even sex. It was to fuck. It was a fuck he wanted. Nothing more, nothing less. Not the lie of redemption or to pay any kind of penance. Just a brief moment of carnal release disguised as an guilty offering for the ground zero we called a relationship. Typical.
Eons ago when we were together the air would become electrified and my insides would spin on some unearthly axis. I would lose my mind and everything attached to it. It could have been great. Coulda, woulda, shoulda – but didn’t. End of story.
You hear the cliches all the time, the cleverly worded truths passed through the mental innards of nameless masses and turned into sentimental fodder for the downtrodden and romantic. You always want what you can’t have or It’s better to have loved and lost, than blah blah blah. According to the mighty Shakespeare -
The truth is truth, to the end of reckoning.
The truth was, in this case, Ty wanted what he couldn’t have then and can’t have now. He can’t because he wanted me/us for all the wrong reasons. He ended our connection then, and I’m keeping it ended now. I call no takebacks.
And so finally I get to the light bulb moment. From the sage-like ink scratchings of Shakespeare to the worn out romanticism of modern day rom-com regurgitations, I discover a glaring truth. They lied. Whomever said time heals all wounds may not have stopped to consider desire and regret to be wounds. Are they? Aren’t they? Or perhaps they’re just unsightly scars of our indescretions? Regret experienced years later can sting just as much as a monumental mistake. Regret, at times, stings even more so. Don’t you think?
I’m parked on the leather couch enveloped by the summer heat, though the hour reads almost 3am my eyes and brain feel deceived as my body disagrees with the clock. Every move I make coaxes muted rumble sounds from the skin to couch friction. I sit here pondering the direction of everything. How will it all turn out? Life, love, lust, work, play and more especially the played out everyday minutia that takes over everything and leaves most of us feeling nothing. How did I end up here?
I have a theory that we hold out for those small glimpses of light in a blacked out room, those moments of joy that will hopefully stay with us long enough until the next one comes along. One thing you’ll come to realise about me is, I think too much.
I remain hopeful life, the Fates, Buddha, Krishna, God or even the universe will deliver some kind of metaphysical constellation by which I might find my bearings. It’s almost dawn when sleep begins stroking my eyelids and I find myself silently dreading the possibility of the wakeful sleep of a monotonous life. Waking, working, eating, fucking, sleeping and then doing it all over again. I’m terrified of my time on earth being described as dull, a waste - a life un-lived and going through existence without experiencing every single facet it has to offer good and bad. At the very least I’ll take any experiences old destino can throw at me and run with them. Run as fast as I can. To where exactly? I don’t know.
Simply the thought of that silent desperation, the cookie-cutter dream makes my feet itch and hands tingle. I find myself craving the extraordinary, the unattainable dream that Hollywood likes to peddle with it’s cliches and romanticism. It makes me twitch and my heart tighten. Must be the instinct kicking in, fight or flight…?
Fight for what? Or against what?
Fly towards? Or from?
Half empty? Or half full?
Will I eventually want that all-rounder dream of two point five kids and blah blah blah, or will I find something else? All I can say right now is that many social conventions make no sense to me. Perhaps it’s the fact I’m an Aquarian (whatever criteria that entails), or that I was born a middle child, or that since birth I just can’t sit still. Maybe I’m just wired wrong? Perhaps it’s genetic, though I highly doubt it.
I make no apologies for the lost nature of my ways, nomadic tendencies, my constant pondering and amusement at the importance of societal norms. They change all the time. Like people, they all change.
And so, adrift in these musings and swaying along the tides of life, I write. It’s the only way I can ease my neurotic contemplations as I await the Sandman’s visit. I wait, engulfed in stifling summer humidity, the air clings to my skin and music playing in the background quietly soothes the tension from my mind. Sandman, you tardy bastard. Please hurry.
One day it will all make sense to me, to you and everyone else. I intend to write it all down in the hopes that sweet retrospect will provide some small measure of clarity.