The Homeless At Home
The television stares at her, watches her, flicks her over to the next channel – it goes loud, makes her giddy; but then she’s put on mute. Muted by the sunset that is seven o’clock. She runs up to her room and forces herself on her knees, kicking out at her toys as if they were cockroaches. Creaking stairs like a knife stabbed into fingernails. Her door hurricanes open. The inevitable question: have you said your prayers? Like a mouse she whispers yes, swallowing heavily, her stomach rumbling. Then get into bed. He slams the door and she’s alone.
He slams the door and she’s alone. She thinks she likes it. Happiness is synthetic, malleable, adaptable… there is pride in her desire for loneliness. She desires her lot. But she won’t desire it anymore when she learns there’s a world beyond loneliness.
Man Losing Faith
Some might say it feels like losing a part of yourself. But really… it’s more like emigrating. You know how the sun illuminates the surface of the sea at noontime? It’s spectacular, isn’t it – you just want to stare at it for as long as you live. But the brightness soon begins to hurt the eyes. So you close them. The world behind your eyelids is a pirouetting pyre of oranges. And you feel relaxed, don’t you? You have the best of both worlds; the sun and sea and their warmth – without the discomfiture of the painful brightness.
To lose faith is to gain that relaxing warmth without having to force yourself into staring directly into a brightness that demands attention.
Allegro non troppo
The day has come for her, the sunrise brings crimson promise, gleaming through the misty horizon so violently near. She rises wearing a smile that hurts like a death mask. Every step she makes echoes in that other country beyond the future’s borders. Over her bare shoulder her hair so heavy and spiral goes un-felt and discarded, even as it bops so frivolously in time with her tip-toeing steps. Naked feet soft yet unapproachable, they are hers, yes, they are hers. She brushes her teeth and looks at herself and her outlines – beautiful, irresistible, brushing faster, toothpaste in the gums like barnacles, this is me, successful, loved, happy, look at me now – spit, rinse, gargle – the wind blows open the balcony window. She stops. Her heart pounds in her neck. A sigh. Calm. Breathe. It’s not her father, carry on, brush, dress, have breakfast.
Downstairs in the breakfast room where people say good morning with egg-tainted orange-juice on their breath. She sits on a solitary silken table beside the large glass windows and watches the sea tranquil outside. Out there, the sun rises, just for her, she eats, drinks, and the sun burns helium in her honour, tasting interstellar sausages – concoction of anti-matter and pork – smiling at waiters gliding by, at neighbours by the by, at seagulls on the fly, on and on and wildly on. Until her father walks into the room.
No, he’s going outside, not to her.
And breakfast tastes once more like a solar wind.
Man Enjoying Cruelty
It’s like the rush a matador feels when the bull glides past him in a flurry of sweat and heat. The haze of that bloody moment when dizziness is the promise of respite.
And there’s love in it too – adrenaline is the star-stuff from which romantic constellations are forged. As the blood sweats from rouged cheeks a fury builds, molto vivace, that is both nuclear and lacerating. He feels a goodness inside him. For the pain he inflicts brings him a rumble of joy. A joy which he promises – I promise! – to cocoon in a web of kindness, kindness for her. The long road to loving her starts with the whip, the fist, the unadulterated screech.
It works just the same with any goodness. It’s no one-horse alley. The goodness we give out is nothing like the goodness that immigrates back to our heart of hearths. Goodly be the wicked, wicked be the goodly.
But there is something in the shunting pulse of her sobbing that blinds him with unforgiving anger. Anger delivered with a lilting smile.