The Bear

There is a bear.

He stands tall on his hind legs like a two-legged creature, his head is turned upwards and to the right. By his side is a little thing. Big ears, elephant-like, but smaller than a mouse. They are walking into the sunset.

I like to think there is an ocean before them, frothing and foaming and if they were to take one step further they would float down into its murky depths. Poor quality imagery, no details, fine lines taken away stroke by stroke, muddy waters brushed over the image until it is as lucid as the ocean in which they should fall.

Sadness is a heavy, dull emotion. You can’t always contain it. It seeps like octopus ink, making marks on everything I touch. Large questioning eyes. Tears when one should be laughing.

Accusation everywhere, deep insecurity, and overwhelmed burnout.

See I don’t know what that bear and elephant-mouse are looking at. I see them everyday in the shower, when I brush my teeth, when I cream my face. Same motions, autopilot, but I always find my eyes drifting to meet that bear, tall, six foot, seven, eight, even. I like to think he is looking off at the answer. And that he might know what it is.

There are several of him, you see. Identical bears, their backs to me, better places, better sights, better feelings.

Each bear is a muddied, marbled grey abstract on a large rectangular wall-tile in my bathroom.

Image Credit

Sad.

I’ve forgotten how to write. I’ve forgotten how to read.

Hell, I’ve even forgotten how to live.

I’ve forgotten how to smile and make conversation. I’ve forgotten how to make my eyes light up when my lips stretch from side to side.

I only know how to drink copious amounts of water with lemon squeezed in and a daily bowl of instant noodles with fresh lemon and coriander.

I know how to walk for hours a day, amassing over 20,000 steps to nowhere and running my eyes over hundreds of houses decorated flamboyantly for Christmas.

Sometimes, Christmas is the worst time ever. I don’t blame people for wanting to celebrate a non birthday at this time. People need something to look forward to in this dreary, grey, dull time of year. They need magical lights and bright tinsel to light up the darkness. When the sun comes out, flooding weak rays through naked trees, heat dissipating with the low lying mist that spreads damp fingers along every crack and crevice, every hole in clothes, I feel depressed.

I remember the smell of stale cigarettes. A hacking laugh. Tall, gaunt, skeletal. Long feet with bony white toes. Filthy kitchen, deceased dog. Cigarettes. Dependancy on a puff of weed. Unkempt pale brown hair. Long, face, large head. Skinny, skinny pale legs. Disgusting jokes about kicking me in a place no woman should ever be kicked. Hacking laugh.

I realised yesterday that I really did ruin my life. That even when I do want to publish my book, I can’t put my name on it. Because he will find it and then find me. I have no freedom because I am still afraid of him. No, petrified. That even in my happiest moments he is lurking somewhere in the background and I can’t ever escape, and I always, always have to be careful.

I realised that I threw everything away because I was a stupid, stupid girl.

I realised that I still think about him.

Every.

Single.

Day.

I laugh at a joke and then my insides suddenly curl up and a stinking, dripping rot spreads through my gut and I feel sick with fear because I am reminded of him. I hate that I am reminded of him.

And at night I still lie awake and tremble. For hours and hours. When my husband falls asleep I turn on the lamp because I can’t bear to lie in the darkness. Sometimes in my house I can smell that faint, sickly sweet smell of cigarettes and dirty clothes and I want to hurl. I rush around putting all the candles on and scrubbing until my fingers are raw.

The smell is in my mind. It is not real. But I can smell it as though it is there. I think I am going mad. I clean and clean and clean but I can still smell it. It makes me feel dirty.

I hate this country. I hate these people. I hate this atmosphere. I hate this season. And I have given up trying to catch up with the world. It has long left me by the wayside.

I also loathe myself for allowing myself to make such a stupid mistake.

I realised that I have not healed. And even when I think I have, the dreary winter sun will come out and remind me forcefully, miserably, that I have not. I think all my happiness has been sucked out by him and I will never ever feel joy again.

And it’s been more than three years. I don’t know when I will stop feeling like this.

 

The Scream

I have this scream that I do in my head sometimes when the going gets too tough.

It started when I was young. I stopped a moment and looked out of the large, metal framed windows in the flat I lived in; the view was dusty, solid buildings, ugly and radiating curly heatwaves. I stopped amid all my exam stress and my bedroom junk and my disorganisation, and I screamed.

It was an internal scream, a scream in my head. It was loud, raging, desperate. But it also had an order to it; it followed a tune.

AAAaa-AAA-aa-aa-aaaaaargh.

It isn’t a bad tune, as tunes go. It is my tune of solace. A vent of sorts. A screaming tune with a lilt to it. Sometimes it makes me laugh. Sometimes it makes the pain of nostalgia cloud the stress and make my mountainous pile of Things To Do a little less steep. Sometimes it just clears my head and allows me to get back on track and get on with what I have to do. Sometimes it highlights the frantic, anxious emotions that accompany the stress, and I have to call my mum and have a cry.

It started when I was about ten years old, living in the hot desert of Arabia, where my father had whisked us off when he decided to follow his career.

It still resonates with me now. On this cold island, surrounded by the raging seas of winter and politics.

The fantastic thing about this Scream folks, is that I can do it anywhere, at any time, and nobody will know.

So, right now,

AAAaa-AAA-aa-aa-aaaaaargh.

There. Deep breath. Carry on. God bless.

snow_covered_trees_painting-t2.jpg

Peace and quiet.