The life and pseudocide of a celebrity
© Darren Freebury-Jones 2013
Cover photography: © Nicola Pearce
For the memory-makers.
"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?"
"For every man alone thinks he hath got
To be a phoenix"
The rain drummed incessantly on the windowpanes that night. I was sitting in my bed, reading alone and remembering when I'd been a writer. My eyelids were bound by heavy sleep. Too tired to reflect on Dorian Gray's plight, I folded the corner of the page and placed the book next to my bed, beside the oil lamp. I'd been reading a lot during those latter days.
I closed my eyes and let darkness engulf me, trapped myself in the limbo between sleep and wake, dreams and reality. I eventually dragged myself from that darkness, pushed the blanket away and wiped my damp brow. The rain still drummed on the windowpanes. Harder now. Even more relentless. I sat up and brooded in silence, steeped in memories, letting the sound of the rain filter through my thoughts. A heavy storm made its way to my window - as fitting as any use of pathetic fallacy in my novels.
I swore and peered through the glass. The wind blew hard and the storm's cheeks cracked, bringing a mysterious chiaroscuro to the landscape. The rumblings and peals of thunder grew louder.
I gave up on trying to go back to sleep and gazed at the contorted shadows creeping across the flashing walls. I remained motionless for a moment. Until an unexpected presence entered the room. My heart beat hard against its cage as I closed my eyes, hoping the feeling of dread would pass. But it wouldn't.
When I reopened my eyes, a flash of lightning revealed a figure standing beside me, within touching distance. I strained to see the figure clearly: a woman with blonde hair and strikingly blue eyes that sparkled despite the darkness. I couldn't make out what she was wearing. I was drawn to her familiar face as she smiled at me.
'W-what?' I stammered.
Another flash of lightning tripped across the room. In that instant, she became distinct, raising her finger to her lips in a childish manner, telling me to hush.
I leapt out of the bed and called her name.
She'd gone, sunk into the darkness. Into nothingness.
What was she doing here? I thought to myself.
I made my mind up at that moment.
I believe I've told my story truthfully in this book. I've been completely honest about my life and how my experiences have shaped me as a person.
I'd tried to escape my previous life, the superficiality of the tabloid press. So I chose to deny the world the satisfaction of a narrative ending. But it had been wrong to give up so much. I'd neglected my memories. That night, I began to learn the most important lesson of my life, acknowledged my transgressions. New memories were waiting for me. And those memories were at home.