"Do you believe in what you’re saying?" I ask. She bursts into a very feminine laughter. "Yeah right now, but not that often…" She hands me her cigarette and I ask about her writing. She tells me that they are like two almost lovers who first met in a bar many years ago, discovered they have a few friends in common and decided to see each other again; but she’s the one who can’t live without writing, and clings to it all the time. Writing is happy to just sip from a cup of tea at the table, in perfect stillness. "This is the path I’ve chosen," she tells me. "And I know it was the right one." "How do you know?" "It’s easy to find, really. You just look for the one that looks clear. All the other paths have road signs all over." "Road signs?" I laugh. "Yes, road signs, don’t laugh." "And what do these road signs say?" "Just the usual: right – wrong, failure – success, happiness – fear. It’s confusing as hell. [...]
It's been another year. Let me pull you gently now and take one last look. You are vibrant and gorgeous, and your mind is insanely cool. But you say, "I am trying to be you, but I am not you," and your hands are too cold and don’t remember how to rub together, and your legs are restless and follow imaginary circles on the kitchen floor. And I swear I don't know what the fuck to say to that. "You stayed kind, smart, loving and badass, and your writing is like candy floss for the brain, and your raw and unfiltered is magical and meaningful," is what I want to use on you already, because it's a bunch of beautiful truths that should soothe your soul. But that wand wouldn’t work either. When your cup is empty, it’s really empty.
I did the maths and the overthinking and then I went house hunting across the city, with my only condition being that the place was unfurnished. After all, it had always been my dream to decorate my first house – where I had, I just knew I had, to live on my own. The first studio was awful. Tiny, smelly, cheap in every way. I was close to taking it only because it would have been mine. That’s how badly I wanted something of my own. The second place, however, was perfection. A one bedroom flat in the city centre at a price beyond reasonable became my home for the next 12 months. I put all my energy and enthusiasm into furnishing it as quickly as I could while sleeping at my best friend’s house. I must have done it all in less than a week, though. Charity shops, friends’ generosity and some savings made this flat look like everything I had ever dreamed of. And then, I moved in. And I cried. A lot. [...]
You want to find more of your people, those who stand at the gates of your dreams only to break them open for you. Those who cut your lies short and ask for the real you to please stand up. Those who make your soul go, That one! Pick that one! Those who take off the veils shading pieces of you and don’t flee away. Those who make you say it, then make you think, Ignore it. But listen. Ignore it. But listen, but fucking listen, please fucking listen. They are such gold to carry and so you carry on living, because you know more of them are out there and you will find them. They see your spark’s gone but are not afraid of the darkness. "I beg your pardon," they will say, "I’ll just be here burning." "Ah, don't bother. The best parts of me aren’t even real," you will admit. "I think I’ve created this person for others to love and I’m a little too tired tonight to bring her out." And they will say, "Bullshit." [...]
I want to believe in God, but I doubt He’d believe in me if I were to make Him up again. I’ve been staring into space for so long now and not once have I had the feeling that we may get on good terms, even if I allowed Him to exist again out of sheer desperation. It wouldn’t be like when I was little and He was bigger than the world, which, even for an imaginative child, was hard to picture. Hell no. It’d probably be more like "ok, you can come out of the bottle now, I’ve got my three wishes, you ready?" I shake my head – in disbelief, may I add – and laugh to myself, and it rattles something awake inside me. It's bittersweet to let myself feel something, no matter how small. I remain loyal to my tendency to shut down in moments of crisis. It’s just that I’m not sure this, too, shall pass. How do I manage, then? Simple. I disconnect. Thinking requires too much efficiency, and efficiency burns you out. [...]
Towns at rest, people going home, intermittent patches of glitter and dark everywhere – life, dear life was happening all around her, dancing restlessly through her lashes. Head leaning against the car window, Kara felt wide awake with fear and curiosity. Houses rolled past her like a tracking shot in a film, blurring and disappearing from view the very next moment, as if reminding her not to bother because everything was difficult, and everything was also fleeting. The houses didn’t hold her interest for long. The passenger seat – the safe haven, and speed – a delicious break from the reality of the moment, were half-assing their jobs too. On the other side of the car Tomás kept giving sighs of helpless irritation, distracting her from her attempt to stay distracted. "Damn you," she mouthed silently to herself, and buried her face in her coat. [...]
When you fictionalise your life you have to make up some of the words yourself – the way they taste, the way they sound in the air – and twist them until no one can tell what hell you dragged them out of, but see them for the engineering marvel they are. When they ask, you tell them you read a lot as a kid, then you let them poke at your surface thoughts to give them better clarity and fill in their doubts about the meaning. They don’t need to know how you encouraged yourself to leave the mind and step onto paper, with all your words held tightly in your arms, careful not to drop them and break the memories they were inspired from. How long you spent rearranging them, until they looked nothing like the story underneath the story. No. They don’t need to know the words are you. You must tell them you were inspired by books and talks and general knowledge, and carry on with your life as if art was merely an insignificant slice of it, and the first time you tried it you ate it whole. No big deal. [...]
I feel everything, everywhere. My intensity is both a blessing and a curse. Not for the faint of heart. I love with both my hands and all of my fingers. When I hurt, I hurt in every colour, from every angle, in any lighting. Other feelings are bland, beige, tasteless. Mine grow into a thick, coarse darkness I have to keep kicking until it bleeds daylight all over again. Fiery, roaring, breath-snatching, red hot soul. Bubbles deep in your stomach and your head spinning and your heart pounding kind of soul. I feel and I feel and I feel, like I am banging at the insides of a cage. There is too much me in me, and all I can do is wait it out until a rage spread thin, like apathy, takes over. I lay down, exhausted at best, empty at worst. I still feel, but at a lower volume. I find comfort in knowing that the opposite of coherent is interesting – just enough to get back on my feet again. [...]