Strange and Selfish Things - Part II

Written by Bodhi Jet Atkinson 

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To Read Part I, Click Here


The sharp sting of the cool breeze as I open the sliding door gives me a punch of life.

'Oh,' Her voice, suspiciously raising an octave as she speaks. 'It’s… beautiful'.

Perched on the balcony of my flat, we are looking out at what I promised was a beautiful view, but was, in fact, a bad block of flats and a polluted puddle that somehow weaselled its way into being called a canal.

Stepping to the edge of the balcony, she leans against the railing, her back strategically arched. It’s no doubt she has a very romantic image in her head. The two of us wrapped around each other in a tender embrace, exhaling the cold air and breathing in one another – she’s seen this image before, she’s seen it in movies and pictures, she probably half expects me to ask if she wants the moon, throw a lasso around it and pull it down for her. But this image in her head, it doesn’t exist. It’s a fantasy.

Watching The Unnamed Girl leaning over my balcony, I again hear the jaunty, playful riff of “Red Lights Indicate Doors are Secure” play over in my mind. The cocktail of chemicals is still burrowing through my conscience. That feeling from the cab is back, that discomfort, that surge of guilt. She is a good person, she deserves better than some absolute bell-end who will only lie and try to sleep with her.

But unfortunately for her, tonight, I cannot be left to stew in my imagination. The things my mind will come up with when left to its own devices; the different scenarios, the various men that Rach will find herself with. Fuck that.

So I step behind The Unnamed Girl, doing my best to give her what I know she’s looking for. My arms drape over hers, protecting her delicate body from the testing wind.

When I kiss her neck, I can taste the chalky makeup doused with perfume, the salt on her skin that was once sweat. I smell the conditioner she used just this morning waging war against the cigarette smoke that snuck behind enemy lines and is now trapped in her hair. She’s getting more and more into it, exposing as much of her neck as she possibly can. “Should we go inside?” She whispers.

Wasting no time, we are on the bed, and I’m lifting her dress over her head. I’m not used to the pale skin; it feels more real somehow. The few freckles she does have are tactically placed down her leg and on her lower stomach. My eyes play ‘join the dots’ instinctively. Her naked body instantly draws from me another corny, bullshit line, “I really like you,” I managed to mumble out while our lips are pressed together.

Of course, I don’t really mean it; I don’t even know her name.

'I like you too, I wouldn’t have come home with you otherwise.'

She’s so sweet, an innocent victim in all of this.

I close my eyes to kiss her and hear the only song I’ve heard all evening. That fucking song, that dreadful riff playing like a carnival tune that belongs in a horror film. Just catchy enough to draw you into the house of mirrors before you’re slaughtered by the reflections of yourself. I open my eyes before the massacre has time to unfold but the song doesn't stop, it hasn’t stopped all night. My hands are shaking as my arms start to fill with hot, heavy blood. The rest of my body struggling from collapsing with all the new found weight.

'What’s wrong?' She says, breathing heavily, pulling on my flaccid penis. I stay silent, hoping that by pretending nothing’s the matter, the little guy will just jump into action… he does not.

'I’m sorry, it must be the drugs.'

'What did you have?' she inquires. I stare straight up at the ceiling and say nothing. The onslaught of guilt and shame sits so, so heavy on my shoulders. Discomfort strikes again, and I shuffle around, trying my best to fend it off. But of course I’ve known it all along; comfort is a luxury that’ll never be afforded to me. Comfort is a fortune reserved for those with integrity. With constraint and discipline. For the manipulative, for the selfish, for the heavy souls and me, we are doomed to fidget and squirm. 

Was I ever a decent human being? Or have I been this little fucking loser my whole life? Wishing and wishing I were a big dog, but knowing full fucking well I’m a far cry from it. I’m just a fucked up kid, wanting people to, who knows, think I’m cool? Is that even still a thing? Wanting people to think your cool? When all is said and done, I’m just a little boy that has never been comfortable with what he is. There was a time when I was, at the very least a decent guy, but I’ve not seen that man in a long time.

I feel small hands run over the ridges of my ribcage then up to my chest and around where the pectoral muscles should be, were I not so skinny.

I want her to press down until a bone in my chest breaks and punctures my lung. I want to suffer; I want it to hurt when I draw a breath. I don’t want to calm myself or slow my heart rate. I don’t want to ease my soul. I want to stay in this mind state forever and never make another mistake again.

'I don’t care about you,' I say softly. 'At all… I am only here because I want to fuck you and I only want to fuck you to get my mind off my ex. I don’t even know your name.'

She doesn’t move or say anything for a bit, then, rather calmly, she pulls my arm over her body, so we are cuddled up. Her hands feel far less delicate than I first thought. She sort of laughs, and says, 'That’s okay, I’m the same. I’m coming off a break up as well. And as for my name, I never told it to you.'

'Oh.' I said, slack-jawed. I don’t really know what to say. She caught me off guard. I think she can see me struggling.

'Just don’t worry about it, you’re not taking advantage of me any more than I am you.' She said. 'People do strange things when they feel truly alone. Your not a bad guy.'

People do strange things when they feel truly alone. Ain’t that the fucking truth - strange and selfish things. But it's only ever a way to manage all the love you have left over that has nowhere to go. Love with nowhere to go is grief. Loss leads to grief, grief leads to fear and fear leads to all sorts of nonsense… and for some reason leads to me talking like Yoda.

'Well, if we're not going to have sex, wanna finish off your drugs?' She asks.

If I'm honest with myself, I really don’t. I’ve had far too much already. But I will. I will because I’m still hurting, I will because I wouldn't want to disappoint the girl whose name I’ve still not managed to get. I will because I’m completely and utterly terrified of life at the moment and people who are as scared as I am, they’re going to fuck up. So, I guess, just do your best to fuck up with integrity.