The clocks blinking 5:00AM. Its blinking at me. It’s winking. It’s not 5 in the morning. I just went to bed. The clocks playing its cruel jokes on me, does it think I am stupid? I remember I had dinner with her; she was looking stunning in her red evening dress. She left after midnight. Afterwards I watched some movie on tv. It was a romantic comedy of sorts, I don’t remember the name. I should. I am good with names. But I can’t seem to remember the name. Playing the dinner over and over in my head. Going over every word. Every gesture. Again and again until the reel wore out in my head and I had to throw it away. The movie had finished. I washed up. I know I did because my breath doesn’t smell like last night’s dinner. Then I went to bed. It was barely an hour ago. Why is time playing games with me again?
I can make it easier for him. Poor Sam, he never learns. But its just too much fun to watch. Morals dictate that I should be a good friend. But I have been a good friend. He’ll realize whats happening in a few more min. Just when the big hand comes around to again, he’ll finally get back into his senses. It’s a process. I shouldn’t interrupt his process. It happens every now and then, he wakes up sweating and cursing, to him its not figment of his imagination, its real. He falls for the trap, he grovels and squirms, in the intricate web of his own imagination. Until his own headsets himself free. It’s a funny thing, a brain so fractured that it manufactures its own alternate realities. We all live in our own fabricated worlds. Some more then others. Painting it as we see fit. The occasional drifts of imagination, the occasional selective registration of people and events. Some more then others. So much so that the lines blur and you can’t tell the real from the surreal anymore.
I had one of my episodes again, as Gracie would call them. The immaculate Gracie; always rational and calm. She’s the one who suggested I call these occasional lapses in my memory episodes. Sounds better then fits she says. Fits. Its so vulgar. Makes it sound like a child throwing a tantrum, or an epileptic having seizure. I don’t convulse or have arrests. I just wake up sweating, like from a bad dream. Only it’s not a nightmare, rather recollections of my life. Or what I think to be my life. Existence seems like such a distant dot in the distance from this prison. A prison without the crudeness of walls or guards, rather the vastness of infinity stretched beyond me, and no one but myself to humor me.
I wonder where she is.
‘I am here Sam’
How does she always know when I am thinking about her?
‘Because like everything else, I am also a creation of your mind’
Oh yes. I forgot. Here I am God.
‘No Sam, you’re not God, otherwise you would have the power to leave all this behind’
Ah yes, Gracie, always the one with all the answers.
‘That is how you imagine me to be Sam, that’s how you want me to be in your mind’
Speaking of which, I would kill for a coke right now.
‘Then have one. It’s on me. Chilled as you like it. This is your mind Sam; we’re inside your head. Literally. You didn’t forget did you?’
Funny how it sounds when you put it like that, every situation has its subtle humor, if you look close enough. No how could I. This is the room I had when I was twelve; I still remember the posters I put up on the wall. Otherwise they wouldn’t still be here. In my mind, this is my safe haven, the only place I felt safe in as a kid, except for all the cruel and hideous monsters under my bed.
‘It’s the only way to survive. This is a creation of your mind Sam, all of this. Including me, I am a amalgamation of all the people you admired so much. Really Sam, you could’ve been more original.’
If I were God, maybe I could’ve been. But this really puts in perspective all the effort he puts in to make us all so different. You have to admire the man’s creative genius.
‘Has all this made you a religious man then?’
Not at all. I was trying to be funny. But you already knew that. Because I am talking to myself, you’re just a fictional character. I think I am going to lose my mind.
‘Too late for that Sam’
‘Oh God, Sammy looks horrible’ winces Kevin
‘Hello Kevin, you look terrible’
‘Hey doc’, looks down on his tattered jeans and faded ‘Banana Republic ‘ t-shirt, running his fingers throw his hair, pulling it back, ‘Yeah well not much of a sleeper these past few days’
‘You shouldn’t self destruct Kevin, Sam’s going to be fine, we’re doing what we can’
I shouldn’t self destruct! The hell he knows what he’s talking abt. Seeing Sammy with all these tubes coming out of him, all these machines with blips, huffs and puffs keeping him alive. How can a man keep sane seeing something like that?
‘I’l leave you two be now. There’s nothing more we can do right now. Talk to him’
Does he even hear me?
‘Hey Sammy, how you holding up there’ utters Kevin in a quiet almost apologetic voice. His voice weighed down by some unnamed guilt, ‘Everything’s going good man, we just want you to come back, everyone’s missing you’
I should’ve done more for him. Shouldn’t have let him drive, not that night of all nights, the storm and the call he got about his mother passing away, I should have made him stay the night. Stupid stupid stupid. Everything makes sense in retrospect, each event, a turning of a small cog, until everything crashes. It’s so clear now, staring me in the face, mocking me. As if to say, see you could’ve done it differently and avoided this, but you were too blind. Now sit and eat yourself with remorse and regret.
Maybe I deserve it.
There’s something ironic about being in the same room you had as a kid only now you’re too big too fit in it. And yet strangely enough, there’s a sense of security about it.
I have no concept of time in this place. Or space. Feels like I am in my room, and beyond it is a void, empty space, in which we float, like a speck on the vast ocean. Thrown around by waves, risk crashing into the rocks. Staring into the void, the void stares back into me. I feel myself becoming a part of it. Leaving behind the life I had behind. Here where I am alone with my thoughts, I have weaved my own world. I create, I perceive, I live. I am alone here, inside my own head. I have created a perfect friend. Gracie, from scraps and bits of everyone close to me, she always says the right thing, always knows when to say the right thing. She reminds me partly of my mother, I suppose I never really had a chance to mourn her. So this is me coping with her loss. I’ve become accustomed to the seclusion. I don’t long for human contact. What good will does that ever do. People always frustrated me. They always strike me as shallow, maybe that’s why in my real life, I never really did make many friends. Those who I did have are here in my head. Gracie. She carries them all inside her fragile body.
I am his friend and his family. I worry for him. He’s starting to love this alternate reality, this secluded existence. Never the social butterfly, he’s happy to be rid of the complications of human relations. The dynamics he says, are too complex, and people too cruel.
I’m anxious he doesn’t want to go back anymore. There was a time when he wouldn’t acknowledge any of this. He would fight. Hit the walls, break the doors, run and run until he’d catch himself short of breath. Now, he sits and watches; content and calm, like he has all the time in the world. He’s given up struggling to grasp what is real and what is fiction. Maybe even hope of going back. But what I am afraid of is that even If he could reclaim his old life, he wouldn’t.
I can’t push any buttons in here. It’s not in my power. He longed for company, so he willed me into existence. I am a part of this place. His subconscious. He’s letting the void drown him, like waves crashing on the shore, taking bits of sand with it to sea.
I suppose this is eternity.
Note: For ‘Life’s too Short’ Short Story Competition
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