She catches my smile upon her face and lets it melt without movement. ‘You make me sad,’ she says. ‘Not for you but because of you.’ She takes me into her eyes and blinks slowly. ‘Your misery is contagious,’ she says, shuttered. ‘It’s an infection.’ We breathe in turns and the air grows thick and warm. ‘It will kill love,’ she says. ‘It will spread its tendrils into my affection and strangle it dead.’ I will find a cure, I tell her, I can be well. ‘I know that’s true,’ she says, ‘but I’m not sure that you do.’
After the lights go out a second shade of black falls behind my eyes. It’s not absence of light but the addition of everything, a morass of thought that swells and blends and churns away in consumption. I find that I must open my eyes to let the world back in to abate this myopic misery. What is it about the mind that lends itself so well to intimate destruction. I so often wake in an eviscerated state and scramble to reconfigure self. With the lights restored the shadows scramble but they’ve left their mark, indelible like radiation burns.
I can sense a rime of salt caked into the upper rim of my ears. After tears. I shouldn’t cry on my back but I like the way it feels, a milder misery than the wracking hunch or mirror stare manoeuvre. The tears run of course, down my cheeks and into the auricles, crusting, sometimes for days, as though the sandman had missed his mark, wept and moved on. I do feel tired though, which is different from sleepy and accrues an internal kind of crust. I cup my hands around my ears and listen to the ocean die.
I haven’t felt too great lately, so it’s been a while since I thought about suicide. It always comes alive like a safety mechanism locking into place, you know, like how surge protectors work. I put it in play to kill vanity, but it bores me now. I’d like to blame Franny and Zooey, but if I started targeting my influences I’d simply be left in different shreds with nothing to enjoy. Usually I try to focus on not focusing on it, but even wallpaper can drive you mad over time. I only want to enjoy my misery more.