Needs

As I reached for the doorknob, he spoke.

“Don’t leave.”

I turned around to face him. Imprisoned within these walls for days, bound by ties whose existence I had no say in, I had become all too aware of the frustration that was seeping through my rapidly eroding patience. Night and day had melted into a continuous gelatinous mass that I waded through with leaden steps- slowly, laboriously. I had finally come through, to what I thought was the end of it. I needed air. Yet his iron grip on my will remained. It was enough to ground me in my tracks every time I stood up to go.

He reached out for me. I felt my skin shrink from his touch like a plastic bag shriveling in the heat of a flame. The door was less than an arm’s length away, but I remained standing where I was. He took hold of my shoulders and tried to steer me away.

“Don’t go, don’t leave me. We’ll watch a movie together, okay? And we’ll talk- we should talk. I miss our conversations. Just don’t go, not now.” His voice rose to a high pitch, slicing slivers off my patience.

How was I to explain that the lack of words between us was not what made me want to escape, if even for a few hours? I was grateful that he didn’t pour himself into my silences as well. His mere presence leached my will to live. I felt old and tired around him, trapped in the haze of the grey area between staying and leaving, between the nebulous idea of a right and a more concrete wrong.

“I need to go- you’ll manage on your own. You were fine before I came, weren’t you?”

My words barely mattered to him. He had convinced himself of his need for me, and there was nothing I could do to twist his thoughts around. I felt the tips of his thumbs digging into the soft space above my collarbones; his animal strength seemed at odds with his wheedling, his persistent, piteous begging for me to stay.

I felt my shoes lose their grip on the floor as he tried to drag me away from the door.

“Don’t go, please don’t go.”

His high-pitched whine chewed my nerves and gnawed at my resolve and made his pleading irresistible.

“It’s time- “

His knees buckled and I sank to the floor with him, leaving my unfinished sentence hovering in the air above us. I grasped his hands as he dissolved into tears, and stroked his hair as he quaked and sobbed and mumbled like a child.

“Let’s get you to bed and get you some tea, and we’ll watch a movie together. I’m not going anywhere.”

I stood up and gently pulled my father to his skeletal feet. He swayed as he stood, a tottering column of bones, the remaining tufts of his white hair clinging to his forehead like soggy snow.

I turned back and took a hold of the door key, locking the world outside behind me.

Lies.

You adore my shiny slivers of insanity,

Mere splinters that caught in my weave

When my being was hewn from madness

 

 I charm you with my quiet ways

While flurries of words drag their nails

On the echoing inside of my skull

 

My evasiveness lures you into my arms

And my heart sinks through my bones

As my pores recoils from your touch

 

My saccharine crust thins on your tongue,

Bruising your mouth and making you run

To something more palatable

Departure

The moment passed slowly, as if in a dream.

As the door swung towards me, what I saw was like a series of frames, moving slowly, as if suspended in the jelly-like past.

The paper snowflake hanging above my single bed. The faint marks from when I painstakingly turned the ceiling into a glow-in-the-dark starry sky. My small, white desk and the funnily shaped lamp on it. The dent in the wall where I once hurled a Jawbreaker against it. The purple-red flourish on the warm yellow wood of the chest of drawers, from the nail polish flying, swooping out of the bottle as it broke. The faint ink stains on the marble floor from when I used fountain pens to write. The books lined up on the shelves in ascending alphabetical order of the surnames of the authors. Rectangular, blurry halos of blue on the balcony floor, a side product of a spray-painting spree. The round cane chair by the window, where I lay curved against its back, mechanically barreling through books when I couldn’t take the world beyond the window.

In that moment, I wanted to lock myself there, in my room, my refuge through eleven years of my life. I wanted to curl up in the chair by the window, surrounded by my little scratches and dents and my pieces of the world that I had obsessively arranged around myself.

The door swung shut on those blue walls and the green, rain-washed world beyond.  As I wheeled my little red suitcase down the hall, I pictured other halls, hours away, and red brick smothered in green ivy. I lifted my suitcase to carry it downstairs. It felt surprisingly light.

Distractible

My thoughts drift, spring, float, jump. Slippery tendrils wrap around one idea, only to slide off and voraciously grasp another, soon giving that up and tickling another, more colourful mental image. Sometimes I have the attention span of an octopus with ADHD and a hundred tentacles. My brain is a hundred-pus. It doesn’t matter if such a thing exists or not. It doesn’t matter if unicorns exist or not. Maybe they did, at one time. Perhaps instead of following the more evolutionarily acceptable path from water to land, they decided to go the opposite way and become narwhals.

On the Overratedness and Ubiquity of Profundity

When all of those around you are constantly lobbing their innermost feelings at you, the choice to not feel so intensely is almost a luxury. To not pretend to be deep when you’re out of your depth. To not mask the mundane and the hackneyed with meaningless, fabricated profundity.

I can be deep, yes. Everyone can. When I’m wallowing in the famed depths of despair, I become a poet, a writer, a philosopher. I drown in my own depth. I exult in my ability to articulate my twisted emotions in twisted sentences.  I believe it possible that I’m one of the greatest thinkers in existence.

I am shallow, too. I can’t, for the life of me, be bothered enough to relate the most beautifully captured photograph with the lyrics of the most beautiful song. A picture of me smiling is the same as another picture of me smiling. I smiled for the camera. Nothing profound there.

I admire sarcasm more than I do profundity. Profundity can be annoying. As can be pointing out way-too-obvious lapses in morality. As can be lyrical reflections on the ups and downs of life.

I can be shallow. It’s quite a relief to know that, really.