3: Bottoming Out.
~ The wind gushes past, roaring into my ears and tearing rain across the steel deck. I can hear people; men running, frantically trying to get the gargantuan ship under control.
The ocean is beyond tempestuous and as the boat rocks from side to side, I can see massive waves crashing over the rails and flooding the entire vessel, dragging us further down into the deep, dark abyss.
I scream and scream, but no one hears.
The ship's sinking now and still I scream.
I'm terrified, as the black sludge that looked like water from a distance covers my feet and quickly creeps up the rest of my body.
I struggle, kicking and clawing at the water below, above and all around me; but it’s not enough. My breath has run out now and I'm drifting, drifting gently into the shadows.
I give up and the fear goes away, as I accept that there's no way out and nothing I can do.
So I open my mouth; and breathe... ~
I sit up as I wake in my bed, gasping desperately for breath as I claw at my chest and realise I'm covered in cold sweat...
Again; are you serious...
I've been having these, well, I suppose you could call them night terrors, on account of just how vivid and petrifying they are.
Zzzzzz...........*turn over*...........*turn over*...............
I slapped my head down for a few extra minutes, but couldn't shut my mind off. So I just get dressed and go downstairs to get something to eat....
No one's in the house that I can tell, so I at least have the morning to myself for a change, which is nice since today's a free day.
I make myself a fry up and sit down at the table, then pull my pipe and grinder out of my pocket and set to work. I figured that since I felt to sick it wouldn't be a bad idea to let my brain breathe for a couple of hours, even if just to let myself eat, forget about my ex and not feel so stressed out about how stuck in a rut I feel.
After breakfast I'm feeling quite bored and so decide to go and play some guitar in the garden, since it’s another sunny day outside and I can never feel too down in the sun.
I spend about an hour playing the blues and eventually end up smoking some more weed because it just reminds me of my ex...
So I turn to reading and actually manage to lose myself in a not to bad story; until a bit comes up where the main character gets jilted and I have to chuck it at the far wall in frustration.
Four pipes and an action movie later and I've ordered a takeaway curry, that I have to go and pick up from the place down the road. It's a nice mild summer night just outside my window, where a cooling cross-breeze is just whistling into my room and caressing the back of my neck as I walk out the door.
I trample downstairs and as I'm nearly out of the the house; Penn calls me from the living room.
‘Dude, that you?’ comes his unmistakable voice.
‘Yeah,’ I say sigh a sigh, ‘just gonna' go pick up a curry.’
‘Aar sweet, I could do with some grub, you mind if I tag along?’
I think about it for a few seconds...and decide that I haven't spoken to him properly these past few weeks and it might be nice to take a walk together. ‘Yeah sure man, come along.’ I say.
Penn immediately appears in the hallway, smiling as usual, puts on his black bomber jacket and follows me into the warm night air.
We walk a few steps down the street, houses are shutting their lights off one by one and asides from a few locals that we smile at, Penn and I are the only ones around.
‘So how ya' been bro? Haven't seen much of you since...ya' know,’ he says after we pass a middle-aged lady with a massive, fluffy, white dog.
I think about what I want to say. In the end I go with, ‘same ol' same ol', you know me man.’
‘Yeah...but you're not the same person anymore; are you?’ he says looking at me with a sorrowful expression.
I have to ponder what he means by this.
‘I feel...cold...’ I say finally.
He looks like he already knew that.
‘We already know that.’
Ha! He's been sent on behalf of everyone, so predictable...but not exactly much of an enigma myself really, am I...
‘Cole's especially worried you know, he's convinced someone's gonna' come to the front door and tell us you're dead, the way you've been acting-‘
‘AND HOW HAVE I BEEN ACTING PENN?!’ I snap at him.
We've stopped walking now and are stood staring into each other. I pant heavily as I breathe the fire out of my lungs.
Penn's trying to think of not just what to say, but the best way to get the point of it across to me. In the end he goes for something simple.
‘Like you're hurting, all alone and there's nothing anyone can do.’
Bang, I think, you got me...
‘I really miss her man...’
‘I know you do.’ Penn says putting his arm around my shoulder.
‘Hey Penn...’ I say.
‘I'm sorry I can be such a dick...’
Penn laughs softly, ‘ha, but I love you.’ he says smiling broadly.
We didn't really speak about it after that, we didn't really need to.
Once we'd gotten my curry – and a few extra bits for everyone at home – the two of us headed back, munching on poppadoms and laughing about the things I'd missed out on, while moping in my room all alone and locked in my cage of oblivion.
The day after...I had work...
I worked solidly for the next six days, doing my absolute best to keep my head down; but with a boss like mine, ideas like that don't always go to plan.
‘What the fuck do you think you're doing?!’ I hear whispered – with furious intent – from the storage cupboard to my right. It’s the sixth day and I'm stood at one of the tills getting a customer their bill, when I decide to open the door and see what's actually happening.
The angry whispers stop as the door creeks open, to reveal my dick of a boss harassing one of the new girls. Her name's Laura, she's very pretty in sort of Snow White way and has really big tits, she also has tears streaming down her puffy red eyes.
‘What's going on in here?’ I ask, looking at Laura so she knows I don't care what he has to say.
She sobs and sniffs and looks at our boss, almost as if she feels she needs his permission.
‘Nothing’s going on, so just get back to work, or I'll dock your hours again. This one,’ he points at Laura, ‘just got a customer's order wrong for the unteenth time and decides that it’s ok to cry like a fucking spoiled brat, after just one customer gets annoyed with her. She’s pathetic.’ he finishes, turning back towards Laura as he says the last.
She bursts into hysterics.
‘I'm...I'm so-...I'm so sorry...’ she chokes through a river of tears.
I don't even know how long this has been going on for, normally he dumps on me in private for seven-or-so minutes, before deciding to let me go back to work, just so he can get at me again for being behind because of those seven minutes he's spent destroying my morale.
I stare at him with my teeth cemented together and my fist shaking violently.
‘Whatever,’ he says with his saliva ridden lisp, ‘I have better things to do than be disrespected by things like you.’ He sort of turns his nose up and makes a, “hmphing” noise before storms off to pester the Indian guy on the salad bar.
Laura’s sobbing still, but looks grateful that I managed to get rid of him.
‘You ok?’ I ask smiling and putting my hand out for her; she looks at it for a second, before grabbing it lightly and letting me pull her up to her feet.
‘Yeah,’ she says with a cute sniff that reminds me of my ex.
‘Are you ok?’ she asks looking a little confused.
‘Yeah…I’m fine why?’
‘You just look…sad is all,’
I shrug my shoulders, ‘eh, everyone I know at this place looks that way’ I smile as warmly as I can manage.
Laura giggles slightly and I let her lead the way out of the storeroom.
The rest of the day goes on without a hitch…but I’m consumed by thoughts of my ex…
By six in the evening I’d finished my shift, left the mall and sat down on a bench just outside that I usually use to smoke on after work.
I stare at the pipe in my hands for a few minutes…then decide I’d rather walk home sober for once; I want to feel this night for some reason.
So I’m about halfway home when I come to the church.
It’s called St. James church and it’s sat still as a mountain of faith since long before I was born. I always pass it, I even remember being forced to go to it a few times as a child, when my Catnanny (that’s what we call my Nan in my family) used to make us go to things like Passover and Midnight Mass…I never did enjoy those much.
But I digress; so I’m walking past and stop in front of the sign that they put outside to attract people. The sign says:
Come get some answers!”
Well…praying couldn’t hurt right now; I guess…
I take a few steps and start to walk across the grass.
I stop just in front of the massive wooden doors – this is one of those old school dusty pews and tall arches gig – and just stare at the lion’s head bronze handle…
I grab a hold of it and feel the cold weight; reminds me of my heart…
Slowly, I turn the handle and push open the heavy double doors. They creek and the sound echoes through the entire building, like some kind of alarm for trespassers, or maybe that’s just how I feel, I mean, I’m not exactly wholesome am I, and to be perfectly honest, being inside this church’s making me feel a little uneasy and…like I’m being watched or something…
I start walking down the aisle of pews and take in all of the hymn books and knitted prayer cushions, all lined up neatly for everyone to just take and use once they’ve sat down, No one likes kneeling on a hard floor I s’pose.
The massive concrete arches tower over me ominously, making me feel small, like a child who’s about to ask his father for something he knows he shouldn’t; like I’m gonna’ be chastised for praying.
My footsteps resound throughout, bouncing off the walls merrily as I come closer and closer to the front steps, where everyone takes communion with the bread and wine, before the Priest and the cryptic carving of Jesus Christ on his crucifix, looking both sad and humble, the personification of how a true man should be in the face of death…he makes me wish I could be more like that, if I’d just been nailed to a cross I’d be screaming the Earth to pieces.
So I come to the front steps and; get this feeling, like I’m being watched or something…nonetheless I kneel down and shut my eyes with my head leaned forward, trying to think of something to say.
I feel sort of silly here on my own, about to plead to a statue of a probably imaginary person – the feeling that someone’s watching me isn’t really helping either…
Well; here goes nothing…
‘Err…’ I clear my throat, ‘dear God? Err…’
I try to clear my head and just focus on that one thing my soul craves above everything else.
‘Dear God…’ what am I writing a letter? ‘………..I miss her…like I really miss her…I understand why she left but; that doesn’t mean it hurts anymore…people keep telling me that it gets better with time and I’ll be fine, but I know they’re just trying to make me feel better…truth is, it gets worse with time; everyday’s spent in pain missing the one thing on this planet I love above everything else and all I want is to feel her stroke my hair again or call me beautiful or; just kiss me…
…I’m so miserable God I’ll do anything, literally anything to have her back…to just be happy again…just; please? I’m begging you-” sharp pain lances into my chest as images of my ex flash through my mind, like a slideshow of lovely, painful memories that make me feel like my head’s gonna’ explode, “I don’t understand…I don’t understand how I can miss one person so much…I don’t understand why she isn’t hurting the way I am; and I can’t bare it...I love her, more than I ever thought I could love anything and I can’t just pretend I’m ok, because I’m not, not without her...please help me Lord…please…I-I just miss her so much; I want her back.’
I finish my prayer from fear of getting too worked up and crying again or punching something, neither of which see very appropriate to me in a like this.
After a few minutes of staring at the tiled church ground, with gritted teeth against the pain and my knuckles pushed down on the cold floor tiles, I get up and walk out of the church.
The feeling that I’m being watched stays with me as I walk out, but I don’t turn around or make any move really, I feel too numb with all the emotion I’ve laid out and had to hold back at the same time. I just keep walking home, still feeling lost, still feeling cold, still feeling alone…and still missing my ex as if she’d been the last person on the planet.
The night air’s moist with a light mist and my steps feel heavy on the pavement.
After ten minutes I smoke a pipe full of weed, but it doesn’t really help, just makes my steps feel lighter…
Eventually I make it home.
It must be around eleven o’clock by the time I walk through the door, I see the backs of a few heads watching tv in the lounge, but can’t be fucked with people at the moment, so I just go upstairs, pull down the makeshift staircase to my loft room and crawl into bed.
I don’t sleep for hours and kill the time by staring at my wall, stoned and miserable, which amounts to not much more than cold apathy.
I miss Taz...
Taz is the name of my ex.