It is not really the 18th, or not anymore. It is not Tuesday. It is not real. Time is creepy-crawling.
This is about how low I have sunk, as much as it is about two opposing forces coming together. It is possible that the Red King and the White Queen finally met, as was meant to occur. The demon and I would have a cease-fire. But before that could happen, I had to find him. While he was only a five minute drive away from the hotel, a tired mind cannot be expected to figure out how to reach a high shelf, let alone an apartment complex hidden in the dark city landscape. An hour after I set off to make my way towards Cody, I was still going in circles, looking for a bridge he told me indicated I was near his address. Once again, I removed my ability to think reasonably. I felt that I was lost, not because I have always been terrible with directions, but because Fate was interfering in our meeting. There were better plans in store for us both, and enemies really should stop getting together for tea.
Every thought I had was interrupted by phone calls from both Jackie and Cody. They made respectable efforts at calming me down, but the noise was only making the desperation worse. I stationed the car outside of a convenience store, where an employee immediately ran up to me, asking if there was anything he could help me with. Barely coherent, I told him about the bridge, and how Cody was waiting for me. It didn’t occur to me until much later, that there was little chance he knew the man I spoke of. Through a cloud of cigarette smoke, he said there were no bridges in the area. As I prepared to notify Cody that I was giving up the search, the man ran up to me once more, suddenly remembering the bridge. A smile so large marked his face, that it made me wonder why men of the Pacific Northwest had such an affection for a row of wood. He pointed behind me, and said that I was to turn right at the corner. I followed instruction, surprised that I was capable of being so obedient. Soon enough, I got to see the bridge with my very own eyes. Despite the potential my opinion has to anger a small percentage of the opposite sex, I have to say that there was nothing spectacular about it.
Shortly after, I managed to get lost once more. I pulled into a parking area to call Jackie, when a stranger approached my window. He tapped on the glass. I opened the door to tell him that I had no clue where I was. I got out of the car, followed him up a flight of stairs, and into an apartment. It wasn’t until I was inside, surrounded by black walls, and the sound of Nine Inch Nails playing in the background, that I recognized Cody. I looked around a mostly barren space, as he turned off the sound coming from his television set.
Here, again, I have a blurred recollection of what took place. I wanted so much to continue studying him, but could find no way to articulate the questions that would aid in my acquisition of a complete picture. Instead, I told him that I much preferred pancakes over waffles, which is nothing short of a lie. Only psychopaths and the shockingly ordinary would choose pancakes. I cannot explain why the lies spilled forth with such facility, other than it was a strange attempt at hiding who I am. I wanted to get close to him, while avoiding him getting close to me.
Run, child of the moon, the ever-present voice inside my head screamed. There was a slight unease in our exchange. And yet, it could still be described as comfortably uncomfortable. I was steady, so steady. I sat close to him, with my legs resting on his lap. Perhaps it is because we are both so much like Lord Byron in his prime. We share a contempt for authority. A desperate and obsessive need for someone, followed by a sudden disconnect. We have touched lips with hundreds, but held on to none. We are soundly asleep, asleep. Pseudo-intellectuals, fed by a revulsion for the ordinary, for those of ill-repute, for an entire world we judge with severity. We are both, as Caroline Lamb once said, “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”
Suddenly, a notification coming from his cellular phone interrupted us. He made mention of how it was simply a work-related message. The interesting thing about two figures so alike, is how it is impossible to lie to the other. Without any evidence, with only intuition as a guide, I will always know any truth he wishes to conceal. The message came from a woman, but he would not risk that I could take offense, and abandon his side. I wanted to assure him that I was not going anywhere until we both left with a piece of each other, that I brought not a weapon with me and he would have to give me a pint of his black blood willingly, that I was as docile as he would allow me to be. When I started on a way to prove that, Juliet began to obsessively call me, afraid there was someone attempting to break into the hotel room. Cody dismissed this as a drug addict’s paranoia, and asked if I believed she would remain sober with no one to chaperone her. I took umbrage at his doubts, feeling he had no right to remark on any aspect of my life, centered on mere assumptions. Wanting to steer the conversation away from current and private matters, I complained of my long limbs, and small breasts. This was inspired by a need to find myself more relatable to him. Just like the rest of the world, I have a set of insecurities that make self-acceptance challenging. However, I complain about the length of my limbs, only because they ache. I complain about my breasts, because it seems appropriate to do so, though I feel they are one of the only beautiful things about me. He then offered views on his own body. That he is not tall, so he wears clothes that create the illusion of height. That he is not as physically fit as he would like. His cat, bored with our half-sincere self-criticisms, repeatedly leapt up on the couch, landing in between us. It was a perfectly good and acceptable cat.
My specimen was under the microscope. He looked at me with thoughts I could not hear, or guess at. He leaned into me, a product of a sleepy head. Because I did not understand this at the time, I kissed him. I no longer remember how his lips taste, but I remember feeling the cross on my rosary cutting into my chest, and that his kiss was just as violent. It was all a desperate need to merge together, as if it was a prophesy we were being forced into fulfilling. As if we had been born as one, but ripped forcibly apart.
The two of us, we are a religion that demands absolutism from those that will foolishly subscribe to our ideology. We are the hidden knowledge, lived through in aching pulses. We are power corrupted, but no less potent. We are sadists when the light is shined upon us, and masochists in the darkness of our own torment. But to live that way, is to always need a tourniquet, because the brain will bleed out a synthetic curling of thoughts.
Experiencing severe depersonalization, I pushed him away to resume our conversation. This time, he would tell me about his father’s death, the strained relationship with his mother, and his past drug use. The performance that followed on my part, pretending I was being presented with new information, was barely passable. I wanted to tell him that I knew what I should not, that I was sorry about his father and his mother, that my own parents were never of much use, and always of great harm. That what he has lived through wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t right. Instead, I listened to his heart, as it beat more calmly than my own.
Many will say that most hearts beat alike, and I will say that they have not listened closely enough. They each have their own voice, and his was one that I had heard before. In a dream. In a nightmare. In a house that once saw love, but now sits in neglect. In everything that has come to matter to me. And for this, for listening to what is often ignored, he kissed my forehead, removing an ache that had become a blue devil.
Look at the things I took notice of. It is all devoid of poetry and elegance. But see, reality had shattered expectation. Instead of finding myself repulsed at how primitive a painting fashioned out of a description can turn out, I was in awe. Though, I would vocalize just the opposite. I would tell him that he was an absolute disappointment, and that I required something substantial to feel the evening was worth the fall. At my most exposed, I am afraid, defiant, and confrontational. But he would not participate. Neither would he turn away. To my demands he offer more than what was being provided, he would say that it was my task to find what I sought. He would go on to say that he never did learn how to please me. This would lead to another argument, that while short-lived, did away with the patience I marveled at moments earlier. He pushed me off him, stood up, and sat back down across from me on the coffee table. I felt some satisfaction in finally finding a button that would bring him to life, after I had repeatedly accused him of being dead on the inside. My words have never been as meaningless, as they were that night. Feeling it was the perfect time to part ways with him, I stood up, ready to make an exit. Except, that didn’t happen at all. Instead, I fell into him once more, and kissed him with such devotion, you would have thought my belief in a deity was centered in it living inside him.
We had existed as enemies, only because there was physical distance. All around us, the ill will we had toward the other, once fed faithfully like a mother would her hungry child, decayed at the speed of sound. The unforgiving sea had hidden all her tumult in the walls of that man. Still, he held me like a thing so delicate, a raindrop could break me apart. The weight of something we had denied, was settling in our bones. Wanting to be nearer his warm skin, I struggled to take off his sweater. I was unsuccessful, because his zipper was as complicated as his character. With an ease that briefly led me to believe he had the special powers I had spent so much time trying to develop, he took it off. So, I kissed his stomach, wanting to remove the pain of his past. Then, his shoulders to remove every terrible thing we had ever said to each other. Then, his neck to remove everything that stood between us. Finally, I kissed his lips to hang on to my own life, before I would be swept away once more by the responsibilities that had been thrust upon me. Where once I rejected a human itch to bond, I now realized that it can never be a thing to be controlled, only to submit to with humility. I wondered if he would make a more daring move, already knowing the answer. I wondered if I would allow him to ever come near me again, already knowing the answer. I wondered so many things, knowing I would allow for the moon to devour the dragon that held my hand.
“You cannot lie to me. Promise me, you will never lie to me,” I said to him, kissing his Navajo forehead, his German nose, his Nordic cheeks, his Spanish lips. I looked to pass on a holy blessing. A cross for protection, a cross for the Catholic faith that has us by our throats. He said he would not lie to me, and I believed him. He is capable of so many terrible things, including lying about me, but never to me.
He asked if I would ever contact him again. I said that I would not, to which he replied that he was well-aware that was the course of action I was most likely to take, but that it would not prevent him from reaching out to me. Even without a clock near, I could hear the ticking, pressuring me to end our meeting. It was time to leave, to rip apart what had kept us connected throughout the years, and prolonged silence. Anything that could have come of us would be slaughtered, and I had to be the one to do it. In an undeniable show that I am the more powerful of the two, I would have to reject the possibility of a friendship blossoming from our exchange. In our time, which runs fast and works against us, I have not accepted that the human experience is nothing more than the human experiment. Through self-created events, and a healthy dose of introspection, I have failed at annihilating the doubts that have plagued me. I am too proud, too afraid to trust. Or maybe the truth is much simpler, yet one that I hesitate to process. The commonalities that exist between us are few, basic, and include those that make us terrible people.
I sit alone, fully. Sister in next to me, sleeping her need for drugs away. I repeat, I am alone. The thought that I may never see Cody again, seems unnatural to me. As if someone just fabricated the most ridiculous lie in the world. I do not see myself in anyone he interacts with, as I do not see him in anyone I interact with. The two of us, together, are nothing more than a monochrome bedlam.