I think that I have come, at last, to a crossroads; a point of uncomfortable realisation. A crossroads which leads, in every direction, to a dead end and a realisation that I have finally reached the last page of my own, personal dictionary. I have come to the point where I have used – and abused – every word that was ever known to me. I have twisted and contorted them into myriad sentences and phrases until all meaning that they might have once held has been lost, all connection to anything other than themselves distorted. As I sent each one on its way, safely wrapped as it was, like a child in a winter coat, cosseted by others to which it bore no relation, I watched it drift away. I watched as they gathered and then dispersed high, high above my head, dipping behind the clouds, never to reappear.
And, eventually, as I reached my hand deep into myself to take hold of another random collection of letters, I found nothing between my fingers, nothing within my grasp. My fist was filled with the emptiness of silence, the silence of a stilling heart.
And then the empty words within my head, the final ones that would leave me, spelled out their message: there was no more to say.
A short piece taken from the collection of poetry, prose and lyrics entitled ‘Another Tease’ (links at the end of the post. Enjoy!
I sat on the bus, watching the night-lit streets as they passed by like frozen, shrouded memories. The juddering, stop-start motion seemed to bring an uneasy comfort to my body, detached as it was from my consciousness. Other vehicles, heading in the opposite direction, appeared and then disappeared as if they were on some mythic quest, their headlights dull and dim below my position on the top deck of the bus, illuminating nothing but the first few steps on a journey without end. For a moment it seemed as if only they knew the direction in which to move in order to find some salvation, some respite from the pain, and yet I knew, contained within each metal box, was nothing more than one more lonely figure hoping beyond all hope that something, some miracle, would appear to snap them out of their coma.
Buildings rose up on either side of me now; giant monoliths, some pale and dark, devoid of life, tired and waiting for release, others still humming under the electric glow which gave them purpose. Their eyes stared out without seeing through the dark, and were gone again, lost to me as I moved steadily on. Their facades hung momentarily in my mind like all the faces of people I had met in my life, before fading into a sea of ashen memories. The night around me seemed to tighten its grip as, like an abandoned vessel, we sailed on.
To both the right and to the left of me roads sprouted off from the main artery down which I was travelling. They sparkled and twinkled with the hope of the newborn before even their lights were swallowed by the darkness into which, it seemed, the whole world had fallen. I shuddered as the bus lurched around a corner: not from the cold – I had long since become immune to that – but from the impending realisation that we were, at last, nearing my stop, my final destination.
And then everything was quiet, but for the pounding in my chest and the pulsing in my head. What if I were to remain on the bus? Would it eject me when it reached its destination, its point of termination, or would it show a glimmer of empathy, offer up a hand and cradle me to its heart? After all, my brain reminded me, what point was there to alighting, to leaving the bus to continue without me, if you were no longer there to welcome me home?
There was a time when I was your hero; your idol, your deity. It was a time when nothing could take my place – there had been nothing before me and even the thought of anything beyond me was unimaginable. I was the first thing that your eyes saw when they opened and the last picture that they held as they closed with the days end. It was a time when I filled your every waking thought and gave meaning to every moment of your life, no matter how small or fleeting. I was the star around which the planet of you revloved; I brought you light in the daytime and dreams which filled your nights with wonder, joy and promise. There was no sacrifice too small, no challenge that you would refuse with me by your side. Your blood ran with my words, my thoughts and my desires, and you took them all as your own. I was your hero, your idol, your everything.
But now, as the turning wheel has worn the threads thin, and the veil has begun to slip from your eyes, you see me with clearer sight. My face has lost its magic, its magnetic pull weaken by over-use. My words, the music that once plucked so easily at your heartstrings, has lost its tone, its melody merely a feeble imitation of what it had once appeared to be. The etched pane has cleared, as if a sea mist had lifted, and you see me now as I truly am. And you realise that I am nothing more than a man, and all that I had to say was nothing more than words; no more or no less than any other.
And the thought remains that I was once your hero, your idol, your everything.