Swylce

Musings and Writing of GG Alexander

Savage Writing: Tripping

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Theme for this week was “The Void.” Certain things in my mind came to a head. Sorry.

_

He was tripping, and tripped up to the void again. Last time he came to this place, there had been a coat-hook, on the lip of the abyss, and on that hook had hung a skinsuit of himself, facial and bodily features sagging down like a deflated balloon. When a breeze blew up from the void, it had flapped with a plastic-sounding slap, threatening to fly off the hook and into nothingness forever. That suit had been the “him” that he put on to face the world, the presentation of himself that he had grown into, and it was taken away from him when he came to the void. He’d hoped to never come here again.

But tripping pulls you into strange places, and the void yawned back at him like an old, hated relative.

Now bodiless, only a first-person awareness of existence, he looked down, and the gap looked back at him. As he stared into its colourless depths, he became acutely aware of how much was missing from his life and his soul. After all, he decided, there can’t be a void if a person is completely whole. There was some confidence, some knowledge, some security and satisfaction missing from him, and that gap had festered into this void in his mind.

It made sense. He’d always known there was something wrong with him, deep down. When he sat still in quiet moments, it loomed behind him like a childhood monster, hovering above his neck, ready to engulf him. And his life had been full of little reminders of those moments. Like that time that James Collins decided he wasn’t his friend any more, and ignored him completely. Like that time Hannah Amis said that asking him out had been a joke. Like when his father told him he wasn’t as smart as his brother. Like when Lucy said that he only ever thought about himself. Like the time James, and Chris, and Ben, and dad, and mum, and everyone else said “It’s not normal to…” and “Boys/Men aren’t meant to…” and “That, are you weird?”

Deeper now, deeper the void gaped in front of him, no colours, no stars, no swirls, no movement or sound. Just deeper. Lucy had said he only ever thought about himself. He walked past beggars on the street and in his head he justified giving them nothing when he had plenty of change in his pocket. He refused to do good because being selfish meant doing nothing uncomfortable. He didn’t really give a shit about what was on the news. He’d be dead before anything catastrophic ever affected him. The idea of being swindled and made a fool hurt him more than the idea of someone spending the night hungry on the street. When he went out, he called the girls he fancied “sluts” when they looked good and were up for fun, and “bitches” if any turned him down. He made remarks that Lucy should cook dinner because she was the woman, then told her she was being overemotional and should learn to take a joke, in order to shut her up. Any time his brother or friends made a remark that hurt him, he pretended it was true and joked back, because if he protested it would only get worse. If he bumped into a person of a different race on the street, he always checked to see if his wallet was still there. He laughed at mean jokes, purely because other people laughed at them.

Deep, deep down, he didn’t understand why people didn’t see him as important. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t get what he wanted all the time. He wished he was a spy. He wished he was an action hero. He never wanted to die. He couldn’t imagine a world without himself, and the idea that he was insignificant hurt him more than anything ever could, sent him spinning out into panic and nothingness. He did not want to die. He was a coward, a worthless man, but he was all he had, and he never, ever wanted to die.

The lips of the void changed shape into a grimacing mouth. With a growl, its pointed teeth gnashed together, and the void was gone.

The bedroom came into view again. The green carpet, the TV, the posters on the wall. Reality came into focus. Beside him, Chris sighed and lit a cigarette.

‘Weird one.’

He took one out of Chris’s packet, and lit it with shaking hands, pressing the memory of the void back into nonexistence, forgetting every awful revelation he’d seen and every half-baked resolution he had made.

‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘bad trip, man.’

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Written by G.J.

28/11/2013 at 12:01 am

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