lust for life, a short story
I had been going politely insane. So many standard drinks still left to drain out of my head. The party was a huge cabaret performance. A disaster, really. All the semblance of normality in this irrational binge-drinking, pot-smoking weekend fest was disappearing beneath my bare feet. In fact, I don't know why I left the house without shoes. I think I'm going crazy. My toes were numb, but I can't really tell. I can't tell it apart anymore, I don't think.
Pat looked at me sadly the entire evening. I was and always will be surrounded by my brothers in guard, until the day I bark at them to fuck off; never the other way around. Still she stared at me with stone stoner blue eyes, uncapable of telling me off for irrepairable behavior. She told me off in her quiet manner; the one of always: never approaching me, not even once for the formalities of a hello, but plainly and openly observing me from the back of the house, her head leaning against the fence gates.
I don't really know what I'm doing. All of this is starting to become redundant. Look, I have this fear. It's not unfounded either: I know too much. Everything bores me. I have stopped, or stalled, or fallen down; missed something important along the way. All I can tell is that there are no more challenges. I don't know where to go. I don't know where to go.
I can see through everyone. The phenomenal but annoying thing is that I always will too, until the day I die. I have made such a fantastical advance from years of living surrounded by other people that live the present tense, that I just ran myself out of the race while everyone else is still in the first lap. I have all this get-to, make-do know-how but it feels like I cheated, like I won some rare console in a raffle, but it came with no games. There will never be games either. I have seen men rise and decay in the dirt of their putrid egos; I have seen more than your eyes could ever fester on. I have heard things that would shock your ears. I feel like I've seen too much, too soon. I'm overloaded.
I was stumbling out of the pathway and into every bush and patch of grass. This was a no man's neighbourhood. Dark suburbia and families of blonde children, roast dinner nights and the smell of money perfuming the air at seven. This was not my place, but I belonged somehow. I ravaged those streets every dawn like they were mine. The alcoholic warewolf. The stoned fucker. The king of vomits. Me.
I ran into a dent in the concrete right in front of the Bowls Club and with a sidestep I was palms first onto a slab of wet grass. "Good one mate," I rasped, half laughing, half lurching my head forward, feeling the involuntary needs creep up my throat. This was unsatisfactory. Noteworthy but starting to scare the shit out of me. So fucking wasted. Anyway, I held my breath and took a gulp to clear this upcoming mess-up. It seemed to work, so I moved slowly into a crawling stance. Tiger stance. I was a motherfucking praying mantis, even: I was whatever the hell I wanted to be. There hasn't been anyone to tell me how I should be and what I should do for a long long time now. I'm my own goddamn influence. I tell myself what to do. Literally: I actually don't hear a word other people say. They call me rude; I call myself smart. But oh well indeed; I guess this is why I have almost like a cult-following behind me, an anorexic state of minds staring up at the puppet stringer. The king, the sixties clad fool, the idiot that puts in his mouth everything that he finds amusing. It amuses them. They have never known things differently. They could never begin to imagine what it would be like if I wasn't around. Dude, I'm not even painting this in colours when in reality it should be black and white. They follow and I follow others too, although lightly. We all fucking follow each other. We're friends. We're all brothers and shit. We couldn't bear to break the waving tide of our colaborative.
But the truth is tonight I snapped, and that I said shit and acted out of character more than the usual biggotry I pull. Party host Alex Patterson more or less kicked me out. I let him. I could have stayed and charmed my way out of it. And the worst part is that he would have accepted it. But instead here I am, isolating myself for a definite, leaving behind all the monsters I created.
I don't really know myself. I mean, I know the fucker that I am by miles of points, I lead courses in the night, I am heard, I make myself center student. I'm not naive enough to think I do this out of pure charismatic joy, pure positivity; no, I will manipulate if given time and space. And I reap the benefits selfishly in my quiet corner, like licking the bowl all by yourself. Yeah, whatever, it may be said out loud, I have a gigantic ego, a bubble monster that froths the night away, chasing sidewalks to smoulder with cigarettes and glory. But the point being and the point taken: I have created this trend and these kids. I have created us all.
I snapped. I don't want to mention what I did. I'm not embarrassed; I was just too sickly drunk. The concrete sent the unpleasantries of cold stone down my hands. I ought to stand up. I should really stand up. So I did, tumbling to the side, my shoulders swaying, my muntled head barely erect.
I tried carrying on. Not too far now. Just up the road, and to the left... I could manage it. I just had to keep blinking to clear out this nausea. So cold. So fucking cold. It was clear to me, then: I ought to listen to classical music. The most pure art form known to my ears; Chopin, telling me of my mediocrity. Any day now. I ought to pick Lewis' dad vinyl collection, because he's practically dead really, and the music just what I need to stay alive. If I die... If I was ever to die, in future and shit, then I would have wanted a classical soundtrack at my funeral. The real deal, the tragedies, the tormentous pieces: a real Mozart symphony, none of this acoustic twang sobriety of these dawn days.
Tonight would have been perfect for that kind of sound: crescendos at the sight of my lighter. I set up a beautiful invention. I had doused the used-up paper towels with that foreign grog Pat's friend had brought for us. I made myself boy scout. Creating flames for the meek. Starting a wondrous thing, obsessively centered suddenly; looking for foil paper in the trashed house, absorbed in my culture. From thin air then, there was fire: the flames of interruption. People running around. A fucking beginning to this end. A very merry end to all my heart's desires. I have desires, you know. I used to have them, by the bunches, I could barely contain my enthusiasm: this lust for life you have when you're 16, always. Before I became consumed in this asfixiating thought; this pleasant mind of pleasantries and control. Domination and all that shit.
I started a fire in Alex's kitchen floor. All I remember was laughing manically, and Pat looking at me, terrified.
I took a swig of my bottle and stared right back at her.
I don't know what's worse, my mounding hate for the innocent simplicities of everything that surrounds me, or my own blind eye. I feel sick. I feel sick, I thought without much concern, and once more I found myself falling, staring at the ground, defying it almost. It couldn't go any worse from here.
A positive thought. If I just stayed put, I wouldn't fall again. My legs wouldn't hurt. I could brace myself a bit too, hold my own warmth. Touch my feet. No, no. It hurt too much. Leave them be frostbitten, I could still savage the rest. If I just rested here, behind this car for a little while, I could muster some energy. My lip quivering like some malcontent young child pretending sadness. But I was cold. I think. My smoggy breath hovering in the darkness that now lay on me, slowly. Squashing me in silence. I am always surrounded by... and these thoughts are fading quickly. I feel quick and faded, I thought very slowly. I thought, I like to think I know a few things... I wish I knew more but deep in the mist I know so little... It feels so little, in here. It's cold.
I wish I could think clearly, I wish I had been different, I wish I had had the guts to love her. I wish I had let it go. I wish to stay right here, where it feels warm and my head is still full of liquid, a fishtank: my eyes two gold fishes, swimming.
I turned on the sidewalk and stared at the sky. There are things on my brain but they're just words. I feel something in my stomach and it's like, this dum... dum... dum... this beat. I can hear my heart. It's so warm where my heart beats. Dum... dum... dum... it's so warm in my heart in my stomach. I can feel it and everything around it is feeling a bit colder, but no: I feel warm. Fuel to burn off. Fire and... cold concrete. Pat is a nice girl... if the neighbours find me here I hope... the sky looks really pretty tonight. Life. Living is pleasant. I swear, I swear. Life is a dazzling creature. I wish I could... that lust for life I used to have, I...