It was on days like this, when the sun shone bright and yet the rain would fall in a heavy drizzle, angled by the strong summer winds, that I would find my center and a sense of wellness and unbridled hope for the future. It had been a long time since I had felt that way.
Rainy summer days with skies hanging rainbows had come by the dozens, but it was my core that was somehow rotten, infected with some sickness that would not abate. Rather, whatever had invaded my innermost being had cast its roots deeper, pervading my being.
The year had grown cold, uncharacteristically so, in the early months and with it had come a grayness that permeated the general atmosphere. Constant rain that would vary between incessant drizzles to full-on deluges provided a constant backdrop of nature’s white noise, which made me feel like the world just wanted me to go to sleep, force me into some sort of hibernation.
I had lost my job the year prior but had managed to remain optimistic about my prospects. I kept sending out resumés to places I had always wanted to work at and even more to those I never considered or rather hoped I wouldn’t have to. Sheer volume should have guaranteed that at least some of the prospective places of employ would eventually get back to me with a positive.
The months accrued and lapsed into the following year and I had heard nothing back of any import. Always a reason not to hire me at the time; overstaffed, no openings in my specific area of expertise, overqualified, you name it. I had been doing some freelance work just to keep myself earning, producing, so as not to starve, but that, too, was a stream that was drying out. It was a little ironic, the imagery of water just pouring down from the heavens without respite, but where I needed things to flow a drought had overtaken the ecology.
The strange things didn’t quite start when my mood had already dropped to below zero, no. In hindsight, I can identify hints and insinuations of the otherness even when I was most busy toiling and networking and fighting to keep my head above water. It had been with me all that time, and likely even before.
There was something familiar about it and about my depression, something warm like the womb despite the biting cold. My house had become a fortress of solitude, like Superman’s, but unlike him and his super-powered outlook on life, I had become the king of winter, lost in a progressively darkening mood. There was, nevertheless, a sense of belonging, like I had always been meant to be alone like this.
I had plenty of friends, some more genuine than others, of course, but most of them at least passably good-natured. I’d had, until recently, a relationship of sorts with a woman, but the demands of the romantic ideals society and the media have conditioned people to subscribe to, and that she firmly held as ideals, did not meet well with my often taciturn ways and stark regard for the ritualistic indoctrination that was supposed by the institution of love. Romance, after all, can only be upheld for so long in the heart of the poet, burning like the sun, before it becomes steady warmth like that of a bonfire.
As a product of my inability to maintain the intensity of early courtship, things grew cold and distant with her. As well it should, I had no desire to share myself in the ways demanded by most in matters romantic. We spoke now and again, asked how the other was doing, friendly but guarded, though, I sensed, her concern was genuine like mine.
On most days, now, I would wake slowly, as if dragged away from a better place than the waking world. My eyes would take long minutes to adjust to the brightness of this world’s light, subdued and dark though it was under the layer of cloud that covered the sky.
The humidity of the season had brought with it a cold that would hurt to the bone, but after some time I grew somewhat accustomed to it. Rather than wear clothes to keep myself warm, I began to wear less and less clothes all together. It is a strangely welcome feeling, the burn of the cold seeping into my flesh, until a feeling of numbness comes over me and I am no longer afflicted by the cold but rather lulled by it. It also makes me impervious to the Other’s caresses.
I began to notice its presence in small ways. I would find my perception of the world around me faulty, catching glimpses of movement out of the corner of my eye, seeing objects move on their own one moment but they would stop just as my mind focused on them consciously, after it had registered that this was abnormal. I blamed it on my scatterbrained absentmindedness; I had been quite forlorn and lost in thoughts, fugues of intellectual wandering without any purpose or North. The rising incidence of these phenomena robbed me of any such notion, however. It was clear that I was not alone in my fortress.
It is hard to say exactly how it began to take a hold of me. What I can say with some degree of accuracy is that it has been nine days since it established its dominance over my body, and thus my interaction with the world at large.
Today’s rain and sunshine, the rainbows and gusts, they do nothing to alter my mood, my emotions perfectly balanced into a state of bland bleakness. Voices over the phone have increasingly become more distant, as if from a plane entirely different to mine, the connection and signal having to pass through so many layers of the universe that what finally arrives is a sound tinny and faint, a wisp of sound, really. Even today, as my mother called to ask about my health, I could hardly focus on her voice, let alone understand what the words she said meant, like there was nothing there to be conveyed. After a minute or two of ineffectual attempts at communication I simply hung up the phone. Who had paid the bill? It was truly a miracle that I still had working electricity. Perhaps there was an angel, somewhere, in human guise, who had seen to my basic needs, though my soul was clearly now beyond saving. It belonged to the Other.
I think about my situation and it seems to be quite fitting. It pleases me, in a strange way. I am no more than I expected myself to be, despite having so many ambitions and dreams, once. I have fallen by the wayside while the world moved on, unable and, perhaps, unwilling to exert the effort necessary to cling to the train, to snatch away some of its momentum, harness it, and propel myself to a new place, a new height, a new self… It really is quite fitting.
I take one final gaze at the outside world, feeling in my soul that I am soon to expire from this mortal coil. Where will I go? I do not know, but wherever that is, I hope I am left alone to sleep a dreamless dream. No music, no feeling, no scents, no sights… no warmth, just nothing.
I can feel the Other’s pleasure as my own. For a moment here and there I might question whether my sense of calm and acceptance is truly mine or just a projection of the Other’s will, a subjugation of my own. The thoughts are fleeting, though; ephemeral like human existence may seem to a greater being.
I glimpse images, as I have for days now, of people who seem important for a moment, poignant. I catch memories and feelings that scream at me about life and moments joyous… but they slip always, like dreams that fade the more you try to recall them.