To know what the mind wants in a world where there is no existence worth understanding, is painful. I open my eyes and everything I see is washed out versions of what they should be. My life stays dormant for as long as my eyes are open, taking in mundane images and detailed little rules that are needed to be believed in and abhorred to. I have nothing against the rules but I feel my personality splitting to accommodate for the world that I see when I walk in my standard 9-5 life.
My 9-5 is this; Open eyes, sit up on my sofa, reach for an aspirin and ignore the other pots of pills that sit beside it. Walk down the hall, pour some coffee and wait for my ride to pick me up to go to work. He leaves me waiting most days, three to four hours if I’m lucky. When he does arrive he plays with the cars on the road like his own little death game. That part is always fun. I am a strong believer that anyone who gets into a car like that should also have ensured they have said goodbye to all the loved ones they could think of... Just in case.
Once the journey is complete, I once again find myself in the same place I have been for the past five years. The building is grey and nothing grows around the outside. I don’t blame them, if I were a plant, I wouldn’t grow there either. The people inside are nice. They are pleasant and talk with a smile and nod. They ask you how your day is and laugh at your jokes, but it’s the same premise every day; sit, work, eat, sigh and go home again.
So I wait for my ride to take his head out of his superior’s arse at the end of the day and brace myself for my dice with death once more. I get in the car and not one word is muttered aside from the expletives that leave his mouth when another driver dares to complain as he overtakes them on a bend.
I’m home now and the washed out day is complete. My brain has been patient all day and now it gets what it wants. I sit on my space on the sofa, rest my head against the side and feel consciousness slip silently away.
I’ve always been able to log what happens from the moment I fall asleep to the moment I wake again. Most people can only remember the dream part, if that, but me? I can see it all.
At first nothing happens, darkness takes over and everything around me is the most still I have ever known. But even this is somehow better than my day because the richness of that dark is so much more intense than the washed out colours of my living room. I bask in it, feeling nothing and expecting nothing. It’s what I would have deemed as perfect... until pure perfection arrives.
It starts with a single spot of colour, usually a deep purple or a warm orange. I watch it, perfectly spherical, pushing at the darkness around it, desperate to fill the space with what it has to offer. The bigger the colour gets, the more tones are applied, and soon there is a whole rainbow of Technicolor that sends a shiver down my spine and makes me want to burst into laughter and scream ‘I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore!’
I watch the colours wash over the newly formed ground in front of me and push their way under my feet and into the space behind me. I always make sure I focus on that when it happens so I can always have that breathtaking feeling when I look up from the ground and see what my mind really wants to see. It’s beautiful, there are intense turquoise colours in the sky and in the lake ten feet away from where I stand. The bank that surrounds the lake, shows a couple of centimetres of chocolate brown until the emerald green shade of grass takes over and continues to where I am. The trees that tower over me on both sides are rich in colour, oak to my left and the most intensely bright orange tree to my right. I step forward and pick an orange, allowing the orange peel to fall on the floor behind me as I make my way towards the lake. Once I reach the bank I see my chair, it’s lilac and big. The daddy of all armchairs, and it looks out onto the lake, giving a perfect view of the action on it. I sit on it and get that feeling from my very core. Today isn’t a day for watching what happens on the lake, today we’re doing something else.
The colours merge into a blur around me as the realisation hit me and suddenly I’m no longer outside, instead I am in my flat, only nothing is plain about it. Everything is rich and sparkles and the walls are somehow bigger than in my wakened state. I smile, I know where I am, I know this place, not because I’ve lived in it for eight years, but because I’ve dreamt in it for four.
I stand and take the tour of my small flat, allowing my fingertips to touch everything I pass, each touch sends a tingling sensation soaring through my body. A tear falls down my cheek as I realise the pure joy that I am feeling in this moment, I am happy, happier than I have ever been. I can feel the familiar sense of frustration near the small of my back, it sits there most nights, niggling away, never completely gone because it knows, this isn’t where I get to stay.
The room shifts on me and I’m suddenly in my kitchen, only I don’t remember walking in there. I know what this means, it means he’s getting impatient, it means he wants to be found. I smile to myself and walk to the entrance of the utility room, peering round the side to see two legs sticking out from the cupboard under the sink.
"Enough with fixing the sink.” I say. “You know it works really.”
He pokes his head out of the cupboard and smiles his crooked smile.
“I also know you like me as a handyman.”
I laugh slightly at that and role my eyes. I take his hand and drag him out, sitting on the floor in front of him I pull him towards me and allow him to kiss me ever so lightly as I watch his eyes cloud over with desire. I rest my forehead against his chest and sigh, a deep contented happy sigh.
But in spite of all of this the frustration in the small of my back gives a twist and tears fall from my eyes. I pull my face away and let my hands rest on his chest. I concentrate on the fabric of his denim shirt over his white stained t shirt. I let my fingers trace over the seam and rest at the buttons, I can feel the material, I can smell his aftershave, I can taste his breath so close to mine. The frustration presses against my spine and weaves into my stomach and I cry again. Only this time I sob heavily, desperation takes over me and I claw at the man in front of me, pressing myself as close to him as I possibly can. He soothes me, I can hear him whispering calm words in my ear. I can feel his hands rubbing my back, attempting to ease the sobbing away.
I haven’t opened my eyes but I know the place has changed. He’s still with me but we aren’t in the flat anymore, I open my eyes and see we’re at the bowling alley, only it’s outside and it’s snowing. I shiver, he takes his denim shirt off and wraps it round me. It makes sense, he couldn’t possibly be any colder than he already is.
Callie is throwing a bowling ball down the lane, Tim is cheering her on. They’re dressed for summer, Callie in a yellow maxi dress, Tim in his horrific tropical surfer shorts and a sleeveless shirt. Callie scores a strike and Tim lets out a whoop of support, grabbing her and spinning her round.
I’m frustrated today, I want this place to be the normal happy place it usually is, but it bugs me that all three of them are in the snow and don’t look cold.
“It’s snowing.” I say. “You need jumpers and jeans for snow.”
Callie laughs at that, “We don’t need anything.” She replies.
I can feel him squeezing my waist in support, without looking I know he’s staring at me in concern. I wish this place wouldn’t have so many holes in it to prove it’s inaccuracy. All it’s doing today is showing why these people now only exist here.
Callie has a scar by her collar bone, she doesn’t notice it but I hate that tonight I did. The bowling ball she picks up to play is grey. I scream in frustration as I see my place crack around me.
I can no longer feel his hand at my waist, I don’t want to look around because I can’t stand the idea that he’s not there anymore. I close my eyes and scream again and then I open them and look at the washed out colours of my small living room. I reach out and take an aspirin, ignoring the other pots of pills that sit beside it.