What is reality?
We tend to remember and describe situations and people through the measuring cup of our own morals and ideas of what is and isn't important.
A baker at a party might notice and appreciate that the host put a lot of effort in making treats for the guests, and therefore doesn't really care that her fridge ran out of beer within an hour. The host's mother though, might consider her chaotic and uncaring, for not making a big enough effort. Her daughter unintentionally ignores the baker's compliment; it just does not reach her. Her mom's critique though, the only thing she can hear, is the final drop of many that recently have been overflowing the shit-bucket better known as her life. It felt like a stab in the heart, like the one in-between her legs 4 weeks earlier, when the doctors aborted her unborn child because it wouldn't survive outside her womb.
I'm not a drop in an ocean, she thinks. I'm not taking part in something bigger. I'm not a gear inside a clock. I'm the ever fading horizon you can never catch or reach. I'm the shadow of the moon; a figment of the stars. I'm not inside an ocean. I'm stuck in a great big mud pool.
It might not come as a surprise that the daughter packed her bags that very evening and left for Canada, with the intention to never come back again. If you would ask the guests at the party 'what happened that night?', they will probably all tell you a different story. Perspective. What is it? Reality is subjective. Keep that in mind.
When he kissed me I couldn't feel my feet. Maybe because he ate them and the trauma of that event put me in survival mode, or, simply, because I was floating in the air, and didn't need to use them anyway. Who needs feet when flying? They're body parts only useful when you want to touch ground again. Something that I wasn't aiming for. I was happy up in space, away from the rotting planet I came from.
Everything on it rots. Everything that has been alive at some point, at least. When I was younger, I believed in recycling: how an animal becomes a part of me, due to the apple I ate, from the tree that fed its roots with the soil that recycled the animal's flesh when it died and fell to the earth. All very reasonable, a nice thought, but it doesn't erase the fact that at some point, we will all rot.
As a child, the idea of my body rotting, terrified me more than the idea of a certain death that would trigger and set said rotting into motion. Dying was fine. Just not the ugly aftermath of it. To make up for nature's smelly reality, I decided that my body wasn't me anyway. There must be something else, that survives when I die, surely.
The bones of my knees were splintered from his teeth but I didn't care. The blood stains around his mouth didn't bother me either, nor did the trails of it or the puddles inside my own head. The air was red and the mind was clear. I had given my body willingly, on my own accord. It was a small sacrifice to make for a promise, even when I didn't know for sure if that promise would ever turn into an apple I could eat. If it did, I'd be in heaven, baking apple pie, all day long. If not, well. We'll all rot in the end. I might as well rot on an empty stomach: in the long course of the universe, it doesn't matter how I decay.
While I think about apple cider, he points at an iron ball in the sky. A planet that doesn't rot sounds like a perfect home to me. Although of course, there will be rust, but I'd take rust over rippling skin and decomposing flesh any day. When I was seven, I told my father I'd like a metal coffin for my death's birth. Now, I was getting a metal planet. Sweet childhood dreams and fears, intertwining and melting into a perfect nightmare. Is this reality? If so, it's bittersweet.
The man is a machine and I hold onto him and I cannot let go. I am willingly, hopelessly, lost. And I do not care, because I am barely different from a clock. One day, I will stop. Until then, it doesn't matter how many hours won't or will pass. The original function of a thing doesn't change because it breaks down. It just gets a new, second name: trash. I just hope for the clock it doesn't mistake a bomb for a battery, and ticks into garbage early. What's early though, if time doesn't mean a thing?
I am the debris of the human race. Fragments of technology and cells and left-over bones, accidentally formed but deliberately thrown away. I do not fear death.
I become one with the iron ball. He lets me go. I do not struggle, for I have no arms anymore. I do not scream, for my mouth is made of metal now. I give up. I surrender. I become nothing.
Then, darkness, followed by.. Light?
It's me. I am the light. I feel naked. Sounds that sound familiar but I cannot place penetrate my, something. Do I have ears again? What am I? Where am I? I feel pain.
Curved flesh. A.. smile? Big faces; and I am small. I see things that will decay. I'm back at the start, and I cannot escape. The same cycle all over again. Has this happened before? I can feel my collected memories fade, and all I can think is: Fuck. I was wrong.
I'm angry. I scream. I cry. Then, warmth. Two arms hold me tight.
I'm infinite and ending. I am nothing and everything. I am the rotting flesh and the breathing lungs, the flies on the mold and the cry in my mouth, the naked baby on the table, and it doesn't matter, because I know won't remember.
But maybe I don't want to anyway.
I hope you've escaped your demons and have found peace Lazygunn.
Christian Atkin 1979-2016.
The Children: Short stories revolving around dreams and nightmares and life and death.