A walk by the sea (63)

Sunlight tickled the skin of his taut abdomen, and coffee was brewing in his kitchen. The fact that it was Angela preparing it for him already shaped his mood into that of an elongated, gloomy cloud that veiled the happy sun of his older self. He had a headache, and the upcoming night did not exactly bring blissful thoughts to his already deranged ones.

She was alive. She had duped him, maybe not on purpose, but she had fooled him into believing that she was gone. All those hallucinations had been true, all of them. She was in the same city, and she was going to exhibit… well, him, and her emotions for him. Exposed as he felt ever since the signing of the contract, and the first encounter with Angela, it was impossible for him to imagine how Mary could be capable of disclosing their tendermost affections and everything that was sacred for him in a long time. Once again, the sense of having been utterly and shamelessly used by her surfaced among his wounded thoughts. He had been a pawn, nothing more.

Not feeling like moving at all, he stayed on his back with his lower arm over his eyes to shield himself from a brand new day. Isolated in his room, with the only person he could trust at the moment doing stuff in the kitchen, he felt relatively harboured from yet another heartache; in the darkness projected by his soul, he allowed no flicker of light to penetrate, no hope of a happy future. He had no future, not one he wanted to have, not one of freedom of choice and freedom of will. The moment Mary materialized from the dead, he saw it as clearly as ever that it was she, an old, insecure artist who had given him more happiness than he could remember ever receiving in any stage of his life. The relationship of clinging and healing and drowning in worlds previously unknown to each other was the happiest memory of his old life. The irony of it was pulling at the scab of his wound; past was the pain he had felt for losing her, past was the horror of the certainty that he was a murderer; they gave way to the shakiness of a puzzled mind and a trapped spirit. She seemed so old… like her own ghost that she eventually was. How could they ever have nurtured any beliefs, nay, hopes of a shared happiness? The faces of age, of reality, of all the obstacles he had been too stubborn to notice rolled one after another, grey masks of stone, and they piled up before him like a wall reaching to the sky and beyond, insurmountable, cold, the end of his journey, where he could do nothing more than collapse and wait for his passing.

-Coffee’s ready, dear –Angela broke into his cave and placed a kiss on the soft skin of his lower arm.

He groaned and left her to realize he was not going to get up on her request. She did, eventually, and left him in peace, if a state of anger and helplessness and regret can be called peace.

He slept fitfully, hungover and tired of weighing possibilities and obstacles. Once in a while, whenever he cast a weary glance at the sunlight, he noticed how it was following him, shining on him despite his desire to be engulfed by darkness. The grains of dust sparkled on the lightbeam as he watched them lazily. They exchanged places with each other, but kept rotating around the beam, remaining close to the heart of its energy. It was a sight that reminded him of how intricate the world was, how peculiar and exciting, unlike his life, unlike his thoughts, which pushed him deeper and deeper into self-pity and self-hatred.

Noon came, and then afternoon… time went by, very much noticed, very much detested. Joshua willed it to go by, and stay immobile, and perhaps implode unto itself, together with him. It was too tiresome. He could not think, not about her, not about himself, and certainly not about the two of them, if there ever had been such an entity as „them”…

-You know what? You’re pathetic.

He opened his eyes, startled at Angela’s tone. She was standing there with her hands on her hips, her face angry, which was no news… but still, her anger seemed to refine her complexion, her features softened by something he could not fathom.

-I mean, for Christ’s sake. Get up. Wash. Do something.

-Why.

-Why? Because you’re a young man, that’s why. You have a blooming career in front of you. You have millions of fans ready to get you back, to love you again, and embrace your music.

He laughed, irony gurgling up his throat. Love… they never loved him… they only loved his image. Like Susan. Like Mary.

-I think I’ll just stay and wait for stuff to happen –he said merrily, turning on his side to face her easier.

-You sound like my 5 year-old nephew –she stepped closer and jerked the cover off him, then pulled a face. –You smell. Do you know that? And look at your beard. It’s like an overgrown jungle.

-I like it that way –he replied, enjoying the fact that she was beyond herself with rage.

-You are a pathetic thing, lying there, feeling sorry for yourself –she retorted, taking the pillow from under his head also, before he could stop her. –I mean, what kind of crime had the music business committed against you, that you feel duped, and cheated, and the biggest shmuck in the world? So, you signed a deal that sold your soul. Well, let me tell you, most of the world is doing that, and they don’t go on whining about it.

-I beg to differ –he sat up, starting to feel annoyed. –The whole world is fucked, one way or another. Can’t you see? Can’t you see what we’re doing here? Can’t you see what you, and me, are doing to each other? We run away from ourselves, and find someone who is willing to put up with the crap. Why are you in my apartment? What do you hope to get from me? Do you think this is love?

She stopped for a moment, seemingly disconcerted, then jerked the sheet harder, and as he lost his balance, he ended up on the floor, but was having way too much fun to be angry. He only laughed and scampered to his feet.

-Oh my god. Angelic Angela has lost her temper –he smirked and scratched his bum as he walked toward the bathroom.

-You are such a big pile of shit, you know that? –she said quietly, and stood before him. He stared at her, at her wide open eyes, the stubborn lips, the curious sheen in her eyes. –I thought you were different. I thought you were special.

-You are not the only one, babe –he grinned, feeling a sad melody start to float inside him. –Apparently everyone thought I’m the biggest thing. They all fell on their faces. Dragging me with them.

-Oh, there you go again… you, the biggest martyr in the whole wide world… –she rolled her eyes and pummeled into his arm. –What? What the hell happened to you that you want to be pitied forever?

-Exactly that. Hell – he replied in a subdued voice and slammed the door before her, then started the water.

He hated her so much… he felt like killing her. Stopping her from talking ever again. The urge to destroy, physically annihilate another human being was new, and liberating. He felt he could do it. Cold water was waking him up, and he felt freedom lurk around the corner. He could just kick her out of his life, then and there. End the hateful relationship that was never more than a life-belt… a compulsion to stay alive. She had no idea about him… she never loved him… and he never loved her.

As the water showered down on him, he forgot to acknowledge the fact that she did, indeed, save his life. He forgot gratitude, he only knew he wanted out of it, out of where he was, out of the moment he seemed to be painfully stuck in.

-Are you still here? –he asked her when he walked out naked.

-I’ll be gone by the time you get home –she replied quietly and turned away. It might have been an act, it might have been real, he was past caring. She was not needed, she had to go.

He dressed, and left the apartment with his hair and beard wet. His legs were carrying him, to the nearest bar, to the nearest counter, to the nearest bottle. The only times he could really feel something were when alcohol got the best of him… so he paid his dues, and more, and by the time his legs were wobbling under him, he felt really light.

Almost happy.

(tbc)

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