Another time, another place.
I’m staring around my blue painted room in panicked desperation. The computer, tabs flicking between Word and AltaVista’s ‘asian blowjob’ search results. A gothic poster that I hoped would look cool if a girl ever came here. Books from my recent childhood. My family unheard, in bed, perhaps asleep. It’s late. I’ve been drinking coffee. My heart races unevenly.
Do they know?
I can’t focus because of the gloomy pit of despair that twists like a cruel, bloated worm from my throat to my bowels. It’s there most of the time. Been there for years, growing and squirming inside me. I wake up to it and fall asleep with it. I’m sometimes amazed that I’m still alive. How can I feel like this, for so long, and yet move and breathe like a normal person? The feeling is so physically and emotionally painful that I’m sure it must eventually give me cancer or a heart attack. Sometimes I hope that it does. I am twenty but I feel like an old man looking back at my insubstantial life with regret.
I have few friends. The ones I have are getting sick of me and are trying to fade away but I persist, turning up at parties to which I have not been invited, ignoring their embarrassed confusion, talking hopelessly to girls even I find unattractive. I have no girlfriend. I have no achievements to my name. I stare at the ceiling, thinking again of my parents who have their own problems.
Do they know?
I roll over, flick again to the back pages of the local paper. Advertisements for brothels. There’s one not so far away, in an industrial area. But, do I dare? Perhaps I should find one further away in case I see someone I know. Or they see me. Really, I shouldn’t go at all. The first time should be special. If I go, I will be stuck with that memory forever. What if I can’t get it up? What if I’m too nervous or too disgusted at the prostitute or with myself? A waste of money at the very least and maybe I’ll get beaten up. It isn’t sexual frustration that drives me to this obsession. It is my life. One day I will be dead. Shouldn’t I try it once, just to see what it is like? One day I will be dead. One day.
Perhaps there were warning signs that my life would turn out like this. I think over the miserable disappointments of my childhood yet again. I do not yet have adult memories. I think of how the girls at school regarded me with contempt. How I was picked on and vulnerable. Quietly observing the human race from the bushes like Jane Goodall, except she liked the chimps but I hated those dangerous beasts whose main use for me was sadistic entertainment.
Another voice fights back. But, remember when a few girls liked you? One was too young. Others, you ran away from. And there was that one brief girlfriend. You touched her tits (through clothes) and she seemed to like it. What about that?
The other voice is stronger. That was long ago, it says. Not a whisper of hope since then. See how terribly it went, and how brief? That’s how it will always go. And things are going to get worse. Imagine . . .
I don’t want to imagine. But the voice won’t shut up. It is now the dominant part of my psyche.
Imagine. Imagine . . . how long do you think you’ll live for, Nikolai? Another fifty years? Sixty? Imagine another sixty years of this. Sitting in your room, staring at the ceiling, wanking as other men put their penises into the mouths of enthusiastic Asian women who would never dream touching a piece of shit like you. You like looking at that. You like the ones where you can see the cock. Two cocks is better. You have a file that contains a selection where there are many cocks. Look after that file, Nikolai. You’ll still be looking at it in sixty years. Then you’ll get sick. Cancer probably. And you’ll have no family to care for you because you’ll have no friends, no girlfriend, no wife, no children. You’ll waste away alone. And on your very last night, you’ll realize that it’s the end and you’ll look back on your life, and what will you see? This. Your room, like a cell. Asian porn. Back pages of the local paper and the whores you are too scared to fuck. While everyone else moved on, did things, partied, fucked, loved and lost. You, left behind and forgotten like a child raised by wolves. But even that child had the wolves. You have nobody.
Do they know?
From the cloudy two a.m. haze, ideas. Solutions. How can I avoid the sixty years? Those sixty horrifying years that creep out and haunt me every night? The obvious solution is ruled out. It would destroy my parents. Although . . . what if it were an accident? We only have one car, better not smash that up. What about murder, or war? A land mine. Civil strife.
From one lonely night to yet another, a scheme materializes, its parts drawn from dark recesses rarely examined. It involves a job. A dangerous, third world country. Unnecessary risks. How long would it take? Five years? Maybe seven. It would work. My family would get over it. They could brag that I died doing good. Better that than answering everyone shame-faced, “Oh, he hasn’t discovered girls yet” for the rest of their lives. I would avoid the sixty years. Cut it down to seven. Seven, I could do. Seven is nothing. I start taking steps, moving firmly and surely towards the only outcome that the laws of the Universe will allow. I reach year two. I feel sad, but invincible. Such is the lot of a man who embraces oblivion as his only friend.
Do they know?
But now it is fifteen years later. I still exist. Fate intervened and I survived the voice that tried to kill me. It is not always easy, living with a murderer in my head, but from the outside you’d never know.
I don’t hate that voice. I feel sorry for my dear Black Dog. He is sad and afraid. He needs reassurance. I wonder sometimes, why is he there? Where did he come from? What is his purpose? When will he come back, and will I be ready when he does? I think so. He’s like malaria – he will return at a moment of weakness. Actually, I haven’t thought about by Black Dog for a long time.
And, I think they never knew.
Further reading: I Used To Be A Good Man
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