Chapter 10: Dragonfish

A bright white light shines like a star, making silhouettes of the band in front. The middle of the floor is oddly empty; everyone gathered around the edges of the room as if existing only in the periphery.
“We’ve come all the way to Foxbarrow for this?” I ask Jasmine who stands wearing band merchandise beside me, the band’s logo on her t-shirt with a guitar going through the writing.
Jasmine smirks, “Do you like anything?”
The lead singer is singing about a dirty magazine, “Would It surprise you,” I pause to get myself psyched up to say this, “if I said this band sounds okay to me?”
Jasmine raises a brow, “Only okay?” She shrugs, “If that’s the best I’m gonna get from you then its good enough for me.”
It’s atmospheric, ambient music. My favourite kind, but I won’t tell her that. The crowd of people is slowly dispersing throughout the hall so that we’re no longer just filling in the edges. Some people are swaying to the beat of the music; others are laughing and taking tokes of what I gather to be marijuana.
“Another dirty magazine to see me off to bed,” the band sings, and some people in the crowd join in.
I pull Jasmine to the bar away from too many mingling bodies,”Can we just sit here for a bit?”
Jasmine smiles, and for the first time, it seems like a sincere, warm smile, that smile only women know how to do that spreads a warmth with it. It’s like a smile that caresses you, makes you feel cared for, for a moment.
She lights up a cigarette casually and sits down, “Sure.”
Maybe it’s the music working on us like a drug, calming our nerves.
“Do you know what my soul sounds like?” I ask her, my eyes almost half shut from feeling so mellow.
“Like an explosion.”
I look at her lips, “Why an explosion?”
“Because you’re a wreck?” She shows her teeth in a grin, trying to pass it off as a joke. But we both know it’s true.
“No the explosion is history; this is the aftermath.”
I take a swig from my drink, “No, this music.”
We sit around for another hour not doing much, just taking in the dark atmospheric guitar strings ringing out with the deep voice now singing about poisoned kisses that they’re still chasing after. It’s their last song before they start packing up the stage in front of us and the hall starts to empty.
The hall erupts into silence, and we just sit back in our chairs. Jasmine looks at me, a question forming on her lips.
“What?”
“Do you…” She seems shy all of a sudden gazing down at the table drawing invisible circles with her finger, “Do you really want to die?” I meet her eyes for one fleeting moment, both of us averting each others gazes immediately, “I’ve seen your internet history,” She explains, “All your searches about suicide.”
I get up out of my seat and look down at my laces.
“Can you just answer me this one question, Gilly? Do you really want to die?”
I shrug my shoulders, “I don’t know.”
She lifts her gaze to my face; I stare at her lip. “You don’t know?”
“I don’t know if ‘want’ is the right word.”
She draws lines back and forth with her finger now, “now that I’ve heard your soul I can’t help but feel sad.”
“But I thought you liked this music?”
“It’s good music, but it’s also sad music.” Her chair scrapes across the floor as she gets up to leave, the scratching sounds echoing through the hall. A man is stood waiting at the door holding it open for us, keeps shouting over that they have to get the hall ready for the ballroom dancing. Jasmine grabs my hand and starts running to the door; she flips the man off and giggles. The man looks crossed but doesn’t respond, just closes the door. ”What was that for?” I ask her
”Just felt like it.” She smiles as we wait for a car to drive past and then she pulls me across the road towards the pier.

The street lights wash the roads in orange like we’re living inside a tangerine. In the beginning, God made an orange. The evening breeze rustles through our hair. Jasmine runs ahead of me letting go of my hand giggling against the hush of the sea. I walk fast to try and keep up with her, the further we get away from the roads and onto the pier the less orange the world becomes, getting darker like we’ve reached the periphery of our existence. My lightbulb head flashing against the near black vastness. I can see her, just a figure at the end of pier leaning on the railings and I can smell the awful smell of marijuana before I see the smoke billowing out of her mouth like a chimney. I lean on the railings next to her, and she hands me the spliff. It’s funny to think how averse to germs, and human contact I am yet a very primal drive in me has allowed me to get past that and I’ve licked this woman out, kissed her lips! Just thinking about that at this moment when my primitive instincts aren’t currently ramped up by all the hormonal changes of sexual friction makes me want to heave. I take a deep breath; I mustn’t overthink this. I take a small drag and hand the spliff back to her. The hushing of the ocean lulls me into sleepiness. I turn to watch the lapping of the waves just visible in the dark and take a leak onto the sand between the railings, before I tuck myself away she grabs my dick,
“Here?” I look over my shoulder left and right as I feel her take me into her mouth. I’m getting hard, and into the moment driven by my primitive side again, I watch the waves blankly as her head bobs up and down on my cock, the fingers on my right-hand curling in her hair. I check over my shoulder and am stunned silent by a dark figure, who I take to be a man just leaning against the right side of the pier watching us. I pull myself out of Jasmine’s mouth in panic, but she moves forward and wraps her lips around me again before I can put myself away, “someone…” I utter through the conflict of pleasure and fear. I try to pull out and I want to hide and never be seen again.
She wipes my semen from her lips and is laughing till she peers at the figure down the pier. She stares startled then looks at me wide-eyed, “how long has he been….Shit!” She curses.
“I don’t know.” I lie

 

 

 

 

Under the Iron Sea

Under the iron sea

 

 

 

It was 2006, and my head was just beginning to emerge from under the iron sea.
I was in a psychiatric ward due to severe depression.

I always remember these words during a review meeting, “You were very unwell when you arrived.”
Before then I had never viewed myself as having been ‘very unwell’ despite the self-harm and wanting to kill myself It still hadn’t registered with me that I was ‘seriously unwell’ I considered that kind of talk to be reserved for ‘real’ mental illnesses like schizophrenia.
I just viewed myself as a loser who couldn’t cope with life.

What did I have to be depressed about anyway? Sure I was teased a lot at school but compared to what some people go through who are bullied, it seemed like something I should just be able to shrug off. Sure my mobility had lessened for no reason that any doctor could find, and I used (still use) a wheelchair for long distance. But again, what did I have to be depressed about?

There were problems in time that I would realise I had, through the ever-growing self-awareness we possess. Each problem became something to tick off my list when ‘solved’ something that I could say, “aha! This is where the depression spawns itself and leaks into the rececesses of my mind from!” only to find once that problem dwindled, or was solved that actually my depression would remain.
Granted some of my problems cannot be ‘solved’ and only ‘treated’ with drugs and a ‘wait and watch’ approach. But the point is those problems get ‘treated’ and the pain from them becomes ‘lesser’ even if they sometimes come back with a vengeance every now and then.

But still, the depression persists like a cyst that keeps reopening it’s wound.

I’ve noticed stages to my depression throughout my life. Through childhood, I now realise I was already depressed very early on, but it was an emptiness that I could just about for short periods distract myself from. This made me a very demanding friend though, and I was insistent on always playing out, a friend that denied me my fun would anger me. How dare they feel too tired to play out, or heaven forbid just simply, ‘not feel like playing.’
What do you mean you don’t ‘feel’ like playing out? You think I ‘feel’ like it? No! I HAVE to play out! Because if I don’t, I’m left with my own emptiness. 

This persistent need to always be playing outside continued on into my teens but my depression was getting darker, and I was becoming more and more desperate. My thoughts soon turned from playing out to another way to escape. Thinking about death in general and specifically suicide. Depression had taken me whole now, and I didn’t even see much point in having friends anymore either.
Most of them had started to distance themselves from me by this point anyway, they didn’t realise I was just as tired of me as they were. Or maybe they did.
I understand I was toxic. Something negative radiated from me, how could it not? I always lied to save face every time I was caught out crying or just looking too miserable. Some really unforgivable lies passed my lips.
They were never planned out lies, there was never an intelligent manipulating mastermind behind those lies. They spilt out of my mouth in moments where I’d been caught out feeling too miserable for words to comprehend. How does a teenager who doesn’t really understand himself what the fuck is going on in his head explain his feelings? I didn’t have a word for it. ‘Sad’ didn’t fit, it wasn’t ‘sad’ it was more, it was worse than sad. I could have said, “Actually now that you ask if you must know I feel like the world is a dark place that has beaten and eaten me and spits me back out. My world is upside down, or it’s the right way around, I don’t know. But what I do know is that I have this despair filling my lungs and every moment of every day feels like I’m drowning. Death would be a good escape for me, but I’m afraid of the pain of dying so tell me, how do I walk the path to death without the pain? Also, does the world look dark to you too? I don’t mean metaphorically, I mean physically does it look dark to you? Those lights above our heads, aren’t they really murky and dark and give off hardly any light what so ever?” But who wants to listen to that? So when some kid who would usually be laughing at me one day for some bizarre reason unknown to me decides to ask me if I’m okay, because “god you look miserable” sometimes just being asked that question alone would make me burst into tears. And then they’d say, “Woah, what’s up? Tell us?” And since I couldn’t say the above I’d find myself saying something like, “One of my dogs just died.” But none of my dogs just died. In fact, the dog that has come to mind died when I was baby but she has a name, and so it’s an easy lie to tell, it’s a real dog that was once alive and had a real name, so I didn’t have to make it all up on the spot. It was there for me, and these kids knew no better. “Oh I’m so sorry,” They’d reply. And my tears would seem less pathetic because death had happened and who doesn’t cry when their dog dies?
Because most of the time I was crying at nothing that could be proven to be ‘real’ I was crying because I was crying any reasons behind it be damned. Yes depression was the ‘reason’, but there was often no catalyst like an actual dog dying other than those words, “Are you okay?” So there were no words to say when they asked me “are you okay” and I burst out crying other than some lie I could think of on the spot to make my tears look reasonable. Crying has always been something I reserve as something I do on my own, but in those moments for whatever reason, I just broke.
The truth is I only have two basic facial expressions for people to understand, still to this day, one is crying, the other is laughter.

Fast forward to 2006 and I’m in a psychiatric ward and on visits home my mother would always be playing a Keane Album in her car called under the Iron Sea. Now everytime I listen to that album it takes me back to the car seat. It takes me back to waiting in the car while she picked up my prescription from the hospital pharmacy and the music became a soundtrack to a silent emptiness that was somehow filling me. I was better than I was, I was back to the empty numbness of my childhood. It’s an emptiness with a glimmer of hope but somehow it’s all the more painful. It’s a more silent form of depression than the one where I couldn’t help but cry. Becuase I have no words again and no tears either just this growing deep brooding feeling. The car feeling too small, like I’m suffocating in it, suffocating within myself, my lungs suffocating from breathing. The doctors in the review meeting earlier on that day were all smiles and congratulations for me, for how far i’d come. And there I was sat in the car with this silent depression inside me with no way of expressing it. They were talking about me going home for good, not just for tea or for a weekend, but for good.

And i’ve been in this depressive cycle ever since. Back and forth from crying more easily than is normal to this silent depressive, oppressive thing inside me. Never really reaching a point where I’m passed the depression. Like being trapped in that car but I’m locked in, no words to describe it, at least not adquately enough.

No words are ever enough
And not speaking at all is torture.

Wind

The wind against my face
With no one around
To see I’m part of the human race
Going at my own pace
I don’t care for empty platitudes
I don’t wanna talk to you

I’ll be alone in my own mind
And I don’t care cause I got the time
I don’t keep on your watch
I don’t walk the line
Not so linear
In this head of mine

I’m always in the wrong place
For I don’t fit in, anyway
So what do I care if I step behind
Never keeping up
With you men in your ties
It’s just a noose around your neck

I’m running loose
Cause, what the heck
I don’t need those shiny shoes
I won’t slick my hair back
And look like you

I’ll listen to Bob Dylan
In my car with the window open
On a winters day
Cuz we got the blues
And only the wind knows what to do.

Writing on the spot

I’m getting a little out of breath
Finding these words for this marathon
I think I’m a little out of my depth
Can I keep going on?
Let’s see if I can think of a rhyme
From the top of my head
Hit it
This is my time
Cymbals
Crushing that lime?
Being hydrated is my favourite pastime!
Are you ready for this ragtime
Premonition in song of a good night
Who says I can’t be a one man band
I’ve got it all in my sights!
Look at me man
Drowning in this
What the fuck it is
I don’t know
I’m writing for NaPoWriMo!