Tuesday, May 28

Going Up?

The singed metallic smell and sudden orange darkness of the elevator made me feel as though I had somehow been transported back to London. Though which elevator, in which semi-industrial building, I had no idea.

Such a strong feeling of nonspecific displacement brought to mind the potential fragility of my day to day reality. What defense do I really have against the eventuality that a cosmic switch might flip at any moment and land me in an utterly different life?

This was an instant out of time and place. That moment of disorientation upon waking. Not knowing in which bed I lie, in which country, or even with whom. Perhaps this is a function of the rediscovery of satisfaction with my surroundings, this almost-fear that I might awake and find it all a dream.

Awake to find myself still a child in Scotland, with the past years nothing but an imagined coming of age. Awake to a ceiling fan overhead, fleas in the mattress, and my onetime lover / keeper snoring beside me. Awake, perhaps worst of all, not myself at all, but an unknown individual who keeps me as an internal persona, trapped as the figment of a stranger's psyche.

Fortunately, the elevator doors open onto the expected corridor, and when I wake from unremembered dreams I find that I still have what so recently seemed unattainable: a life in which I am at last my own master.

Thursday, May 16

Is This What They Call Afterglow?

Afterwards, I went to the bathroom. Isn't that what you're supposed to do? Perhaps there was some effort on my part to enforce normalcy on this situation that was so utterly new to me.

For a long time I stood there, surrounded by the dingy grey tiles and fluorescent flicker of a stranger's toilet, staring at the girlwoman in the mirror wearing nothing but an outsized chocolate brown cardigan which she clutched close around her. For modesty or protection.

Too little, too late.

She didn't look so terribly different from the girl I'd seen that morning. But I knew. I knew something she didn't. I knew that though there was no blood, no physical manifestation, this was a wound that could not heal straight. I knew that she would come to long for that absent blood, if only to prove the legitimacy of the injury so casually inflicted.