It’s cold. The wind is a rusty blade sawing into my flesh, cutting down to the bone. I’m wearing socks, underwear, boots, two shirts, a sweatshirt and a coat and it’s as if I’m naked. As if I’m not wearing skin, as if I’m exposed raw meat, my whole body a wound and the wind is made of salt. It doesn’t snow anymore but winter will punish you. It will smother the earth with darkness and stab your heart with shards of ice.
Sleep is uncertain, aloof. It holds and caresses me half the time and then it tosses me back into the desert of consciousness before I’m ready. At 2 in the morning, sometimes earlier. My circadian rhythm is in an odd meter, an experimental bar not meant for a man. Sometimes I wake up at midnight, already 4 hours deep into my sleep. Why am I awake? What impish neuron fired the waking signal? Which grumbling organ upset my anxious soul?
Some nights I sleep nine hours. Others I sleep 4. I’m two different people depending on how much I sleep. When I get 8 hours of sleep I enjoy being alive and I like other people. Food tastes good and I look forward to going places. Lifting weights is fun and I welcome challenges.
When I don’t sleep the day is torture. I carry a stone tablet around my neck. Everything is mud and I’m sinking. My vision becomes tinted, my brain spoils and rots. I smell the stale air in my head. I hate my dull thoughts but I’m too tired to outrun or quiet them. They’re a droning, undead commentary on a plodding, aimless episode of my life.
People taunt me. A smile is a cruel insult. Why are people happy when they’re stalked by suffering? Because even when they’re awake, they’re unconscious, like all the other animals, like mechanical dolls, like everything but me. Consciousness is isolation. I think, therefore I’m alone.
Other people keep us from disintegrating. Without them I can feel myself losing molecules.
Everyday is work. It’s waking up in a cold, dark cave and listening to the rain drip from the ceiling while everyone else is dreaming. I wake up miles away from another soul. I work and then come home and my cat is waiting. It helps to pet her but she’ll never understand me. She needs me for food and warmth but I need human recognition.
All the neurotic fears about my health, my body and my diet. Counting calories, balancing macronutrients, worrying about losing muscle mass and strength. Researching supplements and worrying about declining testosterone levels. My habits revolve around my comfort but my relationships are weak; I’ve done nothing to preserve them. Close friends are a glimmer of a faded past. They’re holograms. It hurts to think of them and how distant they are now.
My tendency is to drift along until I’m stranded at sea. Staying in touch doesn’t get easier by default. There’s no structure holding people in place. Your whole life they throw people in your way until one day no one’s around. You took those easy connections for granted when they felt natural and automatic. At least if you weren’t a nerd or a mutant. Then I don’t know what to tell you, it’s always been hard.
Loneliness will kill me faster than a bad diet. Solitude makes the longest life not worth living. All the fish oil in the world won’t fix broken bonds. And if I write everyday, if I workout and read and have a sculpted body, what good will it do me if I’m lacking love, if I’m a part of nothing?
I sometimes wonder, in moments that stretch themselves out to eternity, if the choices I’ve made and the person I’ve become fit together into a consistent picture, if they tell a coherent story. And then I wonder if following my impulses at every turn was worth it. I write in fragments because I can’t recollect who I’ve been.
Need to edit but there’s no time. Nothing is what it could be, so I’ll let this stand as incomplete, as permanently unfinished.