Interlude Monologues 2: These Walls
I’ve been counting the days, the time, the weeks.
I don’t even know what that is anymore.
I don’t know how long it’s been.
I thought this was going to last a week but a week turned into months and now it’s been a year.
I’ve been sitting here watching the shades of these walls when they change colour. Now black. Now grey. White. And when the sun goes down, some orange and yellow.
My bed is still in the same place where it was five years ago when we moved here. There’s an armchair on the opposite side of the room and a wardrobe standing against the wall with all my clothes in it, especially the ones I didn’t get to wear this year and the rest of it is just novels I never really got a chance to read, scattered all around the floor. I started buying so many, I ended up not having enough space. I mean it’s getting tighter in here.
I need space.
I could do with some extra space but that’s just something that doesn’t exist anymore.
I just bought a small desk the other day and a lamp to put on the desk and now my room just looks like my own prison cell, except it’s still my room.
Every day, I do the same.
I wake up, I eat, I dress up (not really, I end up wearing the same clothes all the time), I work a little, I have a cup of coffee, then I eat again, back to work, eat some more, go to sleep and then I wake up again the next morning.
The same thing, over and over again.
It wears you out after a while.
I mean, at the beginning, it’s fun. You’re home all the time, don’t even have to get on dirty public transports to go to the city. Can get everything done from home. Gym classes are online and you even have more time to text and video call people than you ever did before.
Easy peasy right?
Well, it should feel that way.
Except, you’ve done nothing else and seen no one that stands beyond these walls. Friends and other people have just become names on a screen and strangers on the other side of a Zoom meeting.
And what once was the comfort of home isn’t anymore.
Remember when being at home used to feel so relaxing?
Now, it’s just torturous to spend most of my days between my room and the living room, then there’s the kitchen which is not even a kitchen cause this is one of those all fucking modern apartments where you can’t even find an excuse to go from your room to the kitchen because the kitchen is actually in the living room.
I just find having a life these days a fucking struggle.
It’s almost as if you’ve pressed pause and now you’re in this capsule that it’s not really going anywhere and you’re inside of it like trapped in it and all the life you had before has completely dissolved. You start thinking about the things you’ve left on-hold before you came into this capsule and it all just feels so insignificant. The more time you spend thinking about the way your life used to be, the more of it you just don’t really care.
I mean there’s nothing you can do.
And all the people, opportunities, places you wanted to go, it just feels like they’re all floating in circles around you and you keep trying to keep a hold of them, you keep trying to pull them closer and closer to you but the longer gravity pulls, the further they get.
And not being able to do anything about it, just sitting there and watching it all go, knowing there’s nothing you can do to keep some things going just makes you so mad. Some things inevitably die and that sucks because you feel so connected to them, you want the connection to stay and maybe if this was another life, it would’ve stayed.
I had this dream the other day about Paris, my study room, this guy I met abroad in America and Shawn Mendes. I don’t even listen to Shawn Mendes but he was there too.
I remember taking this American guy to Paris with me on a video call. There was a fire exit and when I opened the door we were in Paris.
He was so happy to be in Paris with me.
I mean, this guy wasn’t really with me. I’ve only been with him once in real life. The last time we met was a while ago. We’ve been video calling ever since, trying to keep whatever there is between us alive. But it probably won’t last. These things never do.
The walls disappeared and we were in Paris. I mean, he was still someone on the other side of a screen which felt bizarre because in that dream, I got my freedom but he still wasn’t there with me.
He is real, as in a real person, but I only know him from texts and phone calls. And sometimes I wonder if the conversations we have and the things we say mean something or if it’s just me making things up for what I want us to be.
I wonder if he thinks the same. If he’d think the same when we finally get a chance to meet again, in person.
I wanna touch him.
I wanna know what touching him feels like.
I wanna know what he smells like.
It’s been a while since I’ve been with someone.
I miss people.
I miss hugs.
I miss hugging people.
Well, this guy, I know how he looks like and he doesn’t look like Shawn Mendes at all. So, I don’t know why I ended up meeting Shawn Mendes at night, sleeping on the floor in my study room.
So, I took him out digitally with me and I was so happy to finally be out.
It was over.
The nightmare was over and I felt relieved that I wasn’t inside these walls anymore.
I was standing in front of the Eiffel Tower when this old lady turned to me and said that this is not the Eiffel Tower and I’m not in Paris.
Am I not?
Back to the nightmare.
Suddenly, I woke up in my room, wishing I was next to the Eiffel Tower, wearing a red beret and striped t-shirt, eating ice cream and arm-in-arm with this American guy, who I’ve only seen once and I can’t even remember his name.
I lay on my bed in silence for a while, trying to make sense of what just happened. It’s funny how the brain uncannily recreates memories, pastes them together and comes up with some nonsense.
You know that thing we all do after we’ve had a weird dream when you try hard to remember it exactly as it happened?
Well, I can only make up fragments of it, can’t remember the whole thing.
I feel trapped.
Just wanna escape, wanna go back to Paris.
I wish I was in Paris.
I mean, not the city but a Paris state of mind.
Then, I think about Poe and maybe this is what he means by a dream within a dream.
That’s how it feels like these days.
I think there’s a basic human need to reach out and touch.
Just to touch someone, anyone, and feel their skin against yours.
It sounds simple, right?
But I almost forgot how to go about doing these things.
When their hair brushes against your face and it touches your nose by accident, you almost sneeze for a second but then the sneeze goes away and then comes the calm of security and before you even know it, they’ve left their perfume all over your shirt.
But you only notice a few moments later when they leave and even when they’re gone, there’s a part of them in you. There’s something so intimate about that exchange of odours and perfumes.
The energy, it stays.
When someone holds you so so tight, the kind of tightness that almost breaks your bones, you get that rush of adrenaline and suddenly, you become so aware of every part of you you weren’t even aware of before, every molecule, every cell and the warmth of skins pressed against each other.
That’s intimacy, to be one with another person and be humans together.
Some people think intimacy is all about sex.
But I think what they’re afraid of saying is that when they’re looking for sex, they’re actually looking for intimacy.
It makes them feel vulnerable to admit they wanna get intimate with someone.
And no one likes feeling vulnerable.
To be intimate with someone, that’s quite something.
You’re giving yourself to them and that’s it.
But you trust.
You trust they’ll take care of you in the process and that takes a lot. To trust someone, I mean.
It’s snowing outside.
I look out the window and it’s snowing.
Wish every day could be like this.
I mean the snow makes it less dull and even though it’s cold, it makes everything look so beautiful.
And I just can’t remember the last time I saw snow, I mean not like this. Not like in a postcard or as in the movies.
I see it falling on the streets and on the trees.
And the trees, they’re completely naked but covered in snow.
And I try to picture how life used to be behind these walls before the snow and the cold came.
So, I open the window and I’m looking down on the streets. I’m looking down at the pavement and I feel so close to it that if I lean a little more, I could probably touch it and I can’t remember the last time I felt close to something as I feel close to touching the pavement right now. And maybe if I fell, I’d land on a hill of snow so soft and thick that it wouldn’t hurt as much and with the cold, my body would probably become numb to the point where the blood pouring out of me onto the floor staining the snow would just freeze and I wouldn’t feel anything.
And standing here with an open window, feeling the cold on my cheeks and watching the snow, I think about all the possibilities of killing. And I’m not talking about killing myself but how these walls have slowly eaten me up and been killing me every day and every day, I feel like I’m just slowly dying and waiting for death to come. And all these possibilities of killing and dying just make me think about life and the meaning of it. That if you’re stuck and you’re not moving forward and not going anywhere, you’re just existing.
Then, isn’t that the same as being dead?
I think about all the times I’ve ended up killing myself because I just wanted something everybody has that no one really cares about. And now, I just think that it’s not worth it.
People kill themselves for love and when they get none in return, they wonder if all the sacrifice and the pain that comes with it was actually worth it. All the investment on the other person to have them either disappearing on you or telling you that they don’t feel the same.
But I think one of the very few things in life that is worth killing oneself for is love because love and death are what keep us going. And I do kill myself every day when I wake up in the morning to realise that there’s no fire exit leading me to Paris and no American guy is waiting for me on the other side of a screen. And instead, all I keep having are the shades of these walls to remind me that this is not over yet.
But I keep going.
I keep going because I have to.
It’s either love or death and every day, I choose life.
I keep going because when I look outside and I watch the snow falling on the streets, I see the white, I see people leaving their homes. I remember this one time, a man smiled at me. He just looked at me and smiled and I smiled back not really knowing why we were smiling at each other.
And even though this man was a stranger, a complete stranger, there was just something so familiar about that smile. Like I’ve seen it before.
Not that I’ve seen it but felt it.
The cold. I felt the cold.
And the smile of a stranger on a snowy day.
And that’s it. That’s all you need, hope.
All we need is hope.
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