I keep getting these bursts of sadness that come over me like tidal waves at the beach. They come to me at such odd times and stop before I can shed a tear. I got one while listening to an NPR broadcast and another while watching Iron Man 3. They feel so strange, like no sadness I have ever felt before. To me they feel like something else, like longing for a bygone era or a world I never knew. They ripple through me as if I was nothing and as they do I feel as if I am nothing but a shell. Yesterday I woke up feeling so strange, like Aomame in 1Q84. I feel as if I have entered a new world exactly like my own except that I do not belong, except that I am the foreigner. I wonder why this is, I am sure it’s something to do with the stories I am writing, the love that I am feeling. I think it’s strange, how writing one thing can change the way you feel. I think it’s strange how sadness can come and then be gone leaving nothing but a thin trace of white foam upon the shore.
He messages you on Facebook and invites you out to eat—somewhere small, just down the road from where you live. “They make the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat there.” He types and then adds a winking smiley face that looks like this: c; You wonder what he’s winking about but you don’t bother asking. It’s been a while since you’ve hung out with another man, it’s been awhile since you allowed yourself to date. You stress about what to wear; nothing too fancy, it’s summer time and you’re not going to a five star restaurant, shorts and a nice t-shirt will do just fine. You hope he’s not wearing anything fancy. You hope he doesn’t outshine you.
You’re twenty minutes early or he’s ten minutes late, who really knows with these sort of things. You sit outside in your car and wait for the appropriate timing to order. You contemplate texting him but wonder if that will make you too needy. Are you too needy? Your last boyfriend thought you were too needy, that’s how you two broke up. You wanted something serious and he did too, just not that serious. You don’t know what he even means: not that serious. You didn’t think you two were going to get married or live together. You just wanted a date right? Him to bring you flowers, maybe take you out to the park? You wanted to kiss him in public and hold his hand. You wanted to let the world know that you were gay. You wanted to change your Facebook status to In a relationship. Oh God, you are needy aren’t you? That’s what you are: emotionally needy. You’ve been that way ever since you were in middle school and all your friends left you. This is their fault right, they’re the ones that screwed you up so long ago. It can’t be you, it can’t be that you’re neurotic in paranoid and what was that other word he used, oh yeah, psycho.
After ten more minutes he arrives and you come in after, making it seem like he was the one that was early and that you were late. You order something and sit down across from him. His eyes are bright blue and they remind you of a boy you used to have a crush on in high school. You can’t remember the high school boy’s name, you guess that’s a good thing. You talk about a lot of things and he makes innuendos. You wonder if that’s what he wants, to fuck you. You wonder if that’s what you want, to fuck him. You wonder if that’s all you’ve ever wanted, just to have sex. You wonder if that’s why your previous boyfriend broke up with you because all you’d do is try and touch him. You wonder if that makes you a horrible person. You think that makes you a horrible person. You don’t know if you telling your previous boyfriend that you thought you were a horrible person would have changed anything. You wonder why it even matters what happened now that it’s. You wonder how many times you’ve had that same thought in the past three months.
The conversation goes nowhere. There’s nothing in common and it turns out he’s a republican. You can’t date a republican; it goes against your values. You wonder how any gay guy can be a republican. You wonder how anyone can be a republican. You wonder if you should just let him take you back to his place to have sex anyway. You wonder what a republican cock actually looks like.
You pay and drive back home. Your apartment’s a mess, clothing on the floor, dust, dirt, a rug full of small bits of this and that, dirty dishes in the sink, a bed that’s never made. You promise yourself you’ll clean it up a later—once you get the strength. A bus passes by outside, breaking the silence of your lonely apartment. You wonder if you should kill yourself. You wonder why that thought even crossed your mind. You wonder if you really even meant that thought. You wonder if you were just being over dramatic. You curl up in your bed anyway, drawing the shutters and turning off the lights—just to be safe. You wonder what love is. You wonder if you’re too needy. You wonder if needy people can be in love. You wonder if neurotic people can be in love. You were in love once right? You were in love with him, but was he in love with you? Is love a joint-union, does it require two pairs? Can you love someone without them loving you? No, it’s not possible. Before you fall asleep you decide you should disconnect your Facebook. You decide that you should move away, get a fresh new start, delete all your contacts, re-create yourself. You should buy new clothes and go out to a bar. You hate drinking though. You hate crowds. You wonder if you should have let him take you home. You wonder what you did to make things fall apart. It has to be you right? It can’t just be the universe. He wasn’t wearing anything fancy after all, you totally outdid him. You wonder if that’s a bad thing. You wonder if it’s a bad thing that he didn’t even try. You decide you’ll call him back later, after you wake up. What’s the worst that could happen?
I see prose blogging as a personal exercise in perfecting the autobiographical form. Fiction is nice and all, it’s a great passion of mine that I pursue with my whole heart, but the autobiographical work plays better for a blog-audience. People don’t follow a blog (generally) for it’s stories, they follow it for the person behind the stories; mixing the two allows for a strange blend of fiction and autobiographical.
Rewriting your history through the lens of prose is liberating; crafting your identity through truths is comforting. If you throw out enough information, people start to believe it’s all false. It’s a strange conundrum.
I awake from another dreamy with the lingering taste of your name on my lips. It would be easy to say that I have been dreaming about you; that you appeared somewhere in the confines of my dream, a dark and shadowed figure off in the corner, a beacon of light guiding me forward, a hint of euphoria bursting onto the scene. It would be easy but not correct. The images which show themselves now fade from my mind. I know their forms, I can sense their structures, and so, with the faded image of some short and even structure—high lines and curls at the beginning and the end, a form which starts out heavy, evens out and then curls into itself. I know their general form and so I ascribe meaning, attaching something to nothing.
I told my mother that I always feel as if I need people more than they need me. I asked my mother why people I love always leave. I doubt she knows that I’m talking about more than just my friends. I doubt she understands that azalea blossoms mean more to me than the coming of the spring. I doubt she knows that death has touched me hard, decay has stained me. I doubt she knows those things even though she knows so much.
My mother tells me that I might put on a happy front, but people can tell deep down inside that I’m not alright. That thought frightens me, that people could know more than what’s on the surface, that the world is like a dream: surface level hazy but still the form is known.
It would be easy to say I spend the day chasing away my dreams, my nights welcoming them to me. I am writing three stories about people who craft dreams and read futures, about the end of the world, future tellers, and dream-readers. I am writing about a person that steals the past from someone’s dreams. I suppose that character is rather real: a shadowed figure stealing away from me my collective past, rearranging my days with false illusions. I wonder how far dreams can reach. I wonder if that is what I’m really doing: bringing into reality what isn’t known, drawing out the form from within my subconscious, making it real so that it can no longer steal from me what I hold precious.
I search sometimes for Alke’s spirit, my life in turmoil I seek out the futures that even Apollo could not foretell. I know it is coming fast, the time when I will be stripped from my homeland; the security that has been these concrete walls and padded texts with lofty ideals of harmony found in words. I know that I will be forced to work till my fingers are raw, diving my own fate, weaving my own string. But the beauty is in the unknown, that is what I have grown to understand, and perhaps in someways Alke inhabits the unknown. Unlike Athena my own Aegis carries no otherworldly inscriptions, only humans who have, for whatever reason, taken it upon themselves to bind my mortal coil to their own. Perhaps the jump into the unknown is always frightening, perhaps the willingness to do it anyway is in its own way reminiscent of Alke’s spirit.
My mother and I had a long conversation in a dirty garage miles away from bustling civilization. We spoke about friendships and relationships, what happens when people don’t need you but you need them, we spoke about the future and what promises it can bring. “I always believed she’d be the one that had it all.” My mother told me. “And now look at me, I’m the one who’s got everything.” Perhaps there is an inevitable fate which ties families together. Perhaps I have always been like my mother was: obsessive, controlling, fearful, and ignored. Perhaps our shared heritage is the last child in the family, the baby, the young one, the deaf, the obsessive, the needy, the demanding, the Alke searcher. How many times after all has my mother woken up from night terrors? How many times after all has my mother searched for the courage to keep on providing and how many times has she found it?
I told her it would be easy to blame it on one particular thing, that unhappiness stems from something that can be corrected, that fear is derived from a simple physical mechanism. But this is not the case, as we all know to well. My fate and hers are intertwined, It is hard for me to deny this. Where she has walked so will I, where she has fallen, so will I, and in ten years time I will no doubt find myself pacing around my kitchen worrying about the seating arrangements, when the food will be ready, how the plates look on the table, what games we will play to keep company satisfied. In no time I will find myself worried about something else, something foreign and distant from myself. I will worry about making others happy at my own expense. I feel the pull already.
And perhaps I have been wrong to think that my own Aegis carries no inscription—it does. The spirit of my mother and her mother; a generation of fierce females are sketched across my breast protecting me from evil. I have been searching for Alke in vain, she already exists, personified in my mother’s form which wraps itself around my twenty-year-old body as if I were still a child.