September 28, 2011

I had an ugly green couch. It was dirty and greasy. Worst of all, it wasn’t mine.

Today, I wrestled this awkward hunk of lumber and upholstery out of my space. It wasn’t the weight that made it difficult, it was the bulkiness that refused to fit through the door.

After 30 minutes, I had finally manoeuvred it into the fire escape. I staggered back into the apartment with my head pounding and my heart racing wildly. My limbs felt weak and hot. I knelt over the toilet and gagged until the drooling stopped. I spat the phlegm from my burning throat and drank a glass of water.

What compelled me to do this alone, I do not know.

Unknown Being #9: Verdant Soul

September 28, 2011

A foray into colour.

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September 26, 2011

Words are data. Laughter is proto-language. Laughter is stress balancing. What is humour? Recognize the tools of the species.

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September 25, 2011

I step into a vast half-finished hotel somewhere on the outskirts of town standing alone amidst desert flats. Inside is cool and dark. Conditioned. The broad carpeted hallway extends away from me and on each side are large panes of glass displaying two chapels being set up for celebration.

I ignore them both and swish down the hallway. I am dressed in a dark-red and black brocade suit with dragging cuffs and thick embroidery of intricate patterns. A velvet-soft hood is pulled up over my head, trimmed in black fur with 3 red panels radiating outwards from my cheek and forehead. I feel large and powerful and arrogant in this outfit.

I step into the massive cafeteria, but it is mostly empty except for a few people eating a few leftovers and simple meals, probably workers. I am looking for guests to the event. I continue to wander until I find an outdoor patio. I feel strange stepping out into the shaded area while still wearing my elegant suit. I see a woman eating urgently at one of the tables, dressed all in baroque black. She seems unaware of what is going on around her until she sees me, and she immediately latches onto my side, following me around, talking rapidly.

We leave the patio and walk back through the air-conditioned halls towards the chapels and her mind is going a mile a minute. She is grabbing me and holding my arm, babbling almost incoherently, jumping from topic to topic as she spots new things.

I want to bring her back to my car which is parked outside, where I know she will climb on me. However, my unease begins to rise as she becomes increasingly hyperactive and wild.

We step into one of the chapels I noticed earlier. It is in the midst of decoration for the holidays, and the decorations are mere swaths of coloured paper of no particular pattern or formation. The room remains mostly empty except for a large plinth sitting at knee-height at the windowed end of the chapel. The two of us wander over to it, and some of the workers say, “Well, it’s not yet the holiday, but I supposed we can start giving them out now.” They lift up the corner of the satin sheet laid over the plinth and beneath it is a vast array of gourmet sweets.

My date immediately begins eating some, and I take one as well, but before we have even started, the room begins filling up with hundreds of guests jostling for a place around the table. The satin sheet is torn off and the hungry crowd begins to dig into the desserts with abandon. The woman I am with begins to go into a frenzy and starts to eat as fast as she can while simultaneously shoveling as much of the sweets somewhere into her black dress. They spill all over and the whole crowd tries to do the same, stuffing the sweets into their mouths and pockets. I feel disgusted and I take the arm of the woman I am with and drag her away from the scene, pastries and treats spilling out of her bodice as I struggle her away from the table.

We step into the relative quietness of the hallway outside, the melee still going on in the room, and I am suddenly aware of the woman again. I am not sure why I had her come along with me other than it felt good to have someone want me so badly. I’m not sure I want her.


September 24, 2011

I stepped into a Sesame Street waiting room after leaving my name with the receptionist. Garish couches and too-small chairs in purples, yellows, and reds awaited me. None of them looked comfortable.

I sat in the middle of the small purple couch, a print of sunflower fields behind me, wondering if this was all something that was observed and noted. It was not a comfortable space. It was not a waiting room, more like a hallway with some couches. There was much traffic.

The psychiatrist, and I cannot remember his name, came out and greeted me. He was middle-aged, clearly well-off and respected. He brought me to his office and told me to take a seat. Of the five, I took the one nearest his desk and dropped my bag of prescriptions onto it. He started going through my medications. I took the opportunity to glance around the room. Behind me was a well-manicured fish tank with some non-descript and low-maintenance fish. Behind him, glued to his cabinet were photographs of his sons playing hockey. I didn’t ask about either.

He finally looked up and asked, “Why do you think you are here?”

“My doctor thinks I might be depressed,” I replied cautiously.

I wasn’t sure I was depressed, and it had suddenly dawned on me that once you are officially diagnosed with something like that, it might not be something so easily escapable. Did I really want to take more medication?

He looks at me, “Do you think you’re depressed?”

“No, I think my life just sucks right now, and why shouldn’t I think that?”

He pauses before responding, “I don’t think you’re depressed.”

I realize I don’t like this doctor. I give him my warmest smile, “I don’t think so either.”

After I left, I realized I had fed him a bunch of lies and that I probably am depressed, but damned if I’m going to let that cocky bastard know.

Unknown Being #7

September 18, 2011

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Broken Buildings

September 11, 2011

It was the first day of a new semester. The morning was bright, crisp, and beautiful. Summer squeezed it’s last remnants of warmth out onto our frigid city before the long winter.

My footsteps joined hundreds of others, an excited babble of voices lurching and swaying like gusts of wind. It was a building I had never been in before, and the general confusion of first classes was spinning my mind in a thousand different directions.

I saw two old friends of mine from my old neighbourhood. I had known them since I was a young boy careening my bike up and down our tidy suburban streets. They were grown-ups now, or so it seemed. I didn’t feel like an adult yet. I entered their conversation sidelong and overheard Justin saying that someone had flown a plane into a building in New York.

I let out a small laugh of nervous shock and said, “Really?”

He turned to me and said, “It isn’t funny. This is happening right now.”

The classroom door opened and the surrounding mass of fresh students entered in a slow constricting press. We slipped into seats near the back and it was a long time before the excited hubbub died down to reveal the professor’s words.

“We extend our thoughts and prayers to the people of New York City who are suffering in this tragedy.”

9/11 wasn’t a noun then. It was today. It was now. People were dying at this very moment.

The teacher’s words roiled in my head and I didn’t hear him go over the syllabus or dismiss the class.

I wandered out in a daze, following the crowd that ended up in a packed student lounge, watching the scene on a big screen of the tower being hit over and over by an airplane. The impact, the explosion, and the spew of debris struck like a blow to the chest each time, despite the muted audio. The students themselves were muted, perhaps in awe of our first collective experience, our first glimpse of something larger than ourselves, of our fearsome world. Death and destruction and hatred made palpable.

I never saw Justin or Bryan again.


September 7, 2011

His shadow fell across a swath of glowering vermilion leaves; their colour hinted at ripeness and poison.


September 5, 2011

Michael was shot yesterday.

I woke up this morning and memories of him were already dim. No one mentioned it. It was another day.

I cannot remember who shot him or why, but I remember feeling angered at the casual manner of his death. Why did the hunter not care? Why did we not care?

My unease fades away with the morning chill.

Another day like yesterday.