One thing I learned about myself: I want to be unhappy. I need this mess. I need the blood. I need the tears. Insane, I feel and if you would describe yourself as insane, you’re not completely gone, I was told. I’m bubbling inside, I answered to that. It feels like I keep exploding. As if spiders were crawling under my skin and were pressing against it from the inside, laying eggs, producing more spiders until they eat through my epidermis to the surface and crawl over my skin. Their hairy little legs tickle me, and I feel a restlessness that I cannot describe otherwise. Strongest when I lie secure in the arms of a woman who tries to replace my mother with her affection. The love that others want, I don’t want. I don’t want to break anyone who thinks it’s their job to drag me across the finish line.
I don’t know if I want anything anymore. I had nothing, and I’ve had worse. The remains of my family had been wiped out. I still had cash left, but the money from the inheritance was almost used up. I was about to sell the remains of my childhood home to make ends meet. It was burned down. Not my first encounter with heat. Drunk, I had once burned an 8 in my arm and thing with the fire at the house I had laid myself in. You don’t have to be quick on the uptake to understand that it didn’t work. What reason did I have? The same as any sincere person: life let me fall, then I let it fall and I had no desire anymore to pretend as if I wanted to continue.
But it hadn’t worked and a few lithium pills, and an all-around good mood therapy later, persuaded me to give life another chance. After all, I could still kill myself at any time.
That was a year ago. When I got out of the hospital, I decided to pack my things and move on. The doctor gave me his consent. But I didn’t tell him where I was going. In my city I took a room and was only there to smoke, shower and change my clothes. That went for weeks really well for my soul, let me even believe in life again.
Life is awesome when you have money. It’s no secret. Ask the steak eaters and champagne shooters of the world. Is easier to distract with pleasure from the truth, that the life of an ant could be more fulfilling than one’s own, as long as you had plenty had to enjoy. I didn’t need that much. Once a day I had a good meal, mostly in the evening, when my stomach was empty. Otherwise, I didn’t leave my room.
Now was I back where I started years ago? Where I’ve always been? When I think back, I only remember one lost boy who fled to the city from his father and his sadness.
At the train station they had stolen my money, my means of escape. That was almost six years ago and there I got to know Ätz and slept on his couch for a while from then on and at some point, I was dealing marijuana because he was a drug dealer and he seemed to be doing fine, which I also wanted for myself. Six years, almost nothing had changed. I don’t deal drugs anymore, but I’ve always been lost.
The world is too big not to get lost. That’s the only real problem a human has. And every time I managed to climb even one step higher to get an overview, was halfway well-nourished and didn’t have to look at the money, the moment came when I ended up back where I started. Only I usually landed almost one floor below. Also, I loved to put legs in my own way.
At least I didn’t sleep on a sofa anymore. I couldn’t tell if it would stay that way for long, because the compensation for the pain and suffering of the singing beggar really hurt me. The lawyer, who negotiated it for me, prevented me from ending up in prison, but he demanded an inhumanly high salary. His pay was more than I finally had to pay in damages. I had nothing except one last drink my father paid for. Fucking bastard.
I emptied the jug, the bear flushed downstairs and opened the job pages on the side. I actually wanted to write, but my initial enthusiasm for the craft quickly turned into self-pity. You quickly reach your limits, no matter what you start with. I had thousands of scraps of conversation that I wrote from my memories, impregnated in cocktail napkins, and was absolutely exhausted when I tried to make a rhyme out of the scraps of paper. I might as well have dragged a rock weighing tons up a hill. Imagine Sisyphus happy. A rock would probably have been easier to carry.
And like I said, the damages cut a hole in my wallet. It was enough for a while, but I didn’t read the job pages for fun. The impatience of playing the guitar was already hearable my and slowly he started plucking the wrong string again, so the last time I came by a music shop I went in and asked the salesman which guitar was best suited to smash someone’s skull with. When the realtor called, Mrs. Nerot, I was relieved at first.
“Mr. Schradinski, I’ve found a buyer for your property”.
“Okay, Mrs. Nerot, when do I get the money?”
“I’ll make sure you get it soon. There is only one thing: the couple who wants to buy your property would like to get to know you”.
“I told them you grew up there, and now they want to show you, that they’re going to take good care of it.”
“I don’t feel like it”
“They’re nice people. It is what they believe in. You don’t have to be shy. The man is a published author of children’s books and his wife makes sculptures of birds. She gave me a finch figure and they’re an incredibly lovely couple.”
“I’ll pass anyway”
“It’s a good offer and they insist.”
“No, it would be far”
“Schradinski, get your ass over here if you want to get rid of this ruin”
“All right, if you have to insist”
I admired her, and she straightened my stiff pants. God am I disturbed, I thought after I dumped the tissues in the trash.
The next day I went there. I took the train, got on the bus and got on another slower train that ran through more stations. I left at 10 o’clock and arrived at noon. From the station, I went to my house. A wave of nostalgia sloshed over me. It was triggered by the places of my childhood and the images I associated with them. After some meters with the view on the ground, I strangled them.
I walked my way and turned into my corner and I stood in front of my property. It was like I left it. Darkly charred, burned down building fragments and strangely beautiful. I almost didn’t want to give up the ruins, but what was there to find that I didn’t already have? I didn’t find death here. How absurd everything was.
The couple who took it from me stood in front of it and they had, by the looks, a good conversation with Mrs. Nerot. She was a first-class realtor. Had this friendly game on. Hard to tell whether it was pretend or whether she was by nature like that, I couldn’t say, I didn’t know her long enough for that. But she seemed to have killer instinct, would even sell Andrej Tschikatilo a remote piece of land in the forest if she had to.
She was attractive. Not the littlest wrinkle she had borne from false laughter. She had dressed her body with class, which was handsome for her age. She was wearing a skirt and even knee socks. The costume made so much of her appearance, of the strength that radiated, so much so that I wondered which woman appeared when it was stripped off her.
“New-Age Hippies” she had used due to missing words to better describe the couple. Next to her stood the couple and they looked like I had imagined them according to the description of Mrs. Nerot. They wore hemp cloth and too many chains. Smiled at me friendly, as if I was the second coming from Dumpster-Diver-Jesus. I’m too hard on them, they were actually pretty nice.
The woman had a scar on her forehead. It was ugly, it made the woman uglier. I wanted to paint over it. It caused a compulsion to want to grasp. I tried to hide her, focused on her partner.
Her husband was wearing a headband. He didn’t have a scar, so I didn’t know why he was wearing it. Solidarity probably, she rejected. I wonder if he didn’t see how stupid his look was in the mirror in the morning. Not that I don’t want to be able to tear my face off in the bathroom and instead wear a torn page of a fashion magazine as a visage.
The rest of his outfit was no better. He wore a shirt, also made of hemp, which could be laced up as if he had just escaped from a medieval festival. She was wearing one of these housewife dresses, which was decorated with a sea of purple roses. Both of them smelled like woods, but as long as their money didn’t stink, and I could sell them the ruins of my childhood, I didn’t care. The couple smiled at me when they saw me coming towards them. Here he comes, the Dumpster Diver Jesus.
Mrs. Nerot came to meet me first. She visibly gave me a delighted hand and whispered in my ear that it was a secure thing if I wasn’t to screw it up. I couldn’t resist a smile. That woman had me figured out fast. I nodded to her and turned to the buyer couple. The man took the floor first.
“Mr. Schradinski, it’s nice to finally meet you. I am Luke, and this is my wife Sabine”.
“Call me Nathaniel, I guess”
“Nice to meet you, Nathaniel” the hippie gave me her hand. Her scar pulsated into my face. Voldemort, she whispered. I stared too long. I smiled and let go of her hand. Your husband took the floor.
“I’m glad you took your time. We want to share our vision with you”
“Okay, I still don’t understand why I’m here?”
“Mrs. Nerot told us about your difficult childhood and that she hoped that a new family would find its place and make it a home.”
“Okay,” I replied.
“If there’s anything else you want to know or if you want to look around. We understand that”
“Sure” I said, turning around and looking at the foundation and the remaining blackened stone bricks that no one had cleared yet. That piece of the wall must have belonged to my father’s room. He had this picture, that now only was ashes that scattered in the wind or at the bottom of a residual waste bin. I remembered. I liked looking at it.
A violet standing in front of a mirror. She hung in a vase filled with water in front of a standing mirror. Leaves had fallen off, landed on the table and you could see them mirroring. I tasted blood in my mouth looking at the imaginary picture. Oh, well, there it was. There used to be a small side table. The next day, I wiped it clean. I squeezed out the soaked sponge under the running water outside on the garden hose.
“Mhm?” I turned to her.
“When I was little, I always wanted a house like this. My mother didn’t believe in me and didn’t think much of the idea.”
“My father didn’t think much of my ideas.”
“Well, now we’re standing here”
“And you buy a house because your mother wouldn’t have given it to you and I stand here, because my father wouldn’t have wanted me to sell it. But seen that way, I guess he didn’t want me to burn it down either…this is now a drop in the ocean, I suppose?”
“I didn’t mean to say that.”
“Were you going to say we had come a long way?”
“You will no longer be haunted by the bad energies that emanate from your feelings. The time has come to lock up. It’s time to rob memories of their strength.”
“No?” She looked at me confused.
“You see, that’s all I would have had if I had moved in there. To burn it down and sell it, you can’t really call it that a close. Burning down my youth was basically as fruitless as pretending to run away from the past. The picture of the violets in front of the mirror is still hanging on the hook, so I can do what I want. The memory is still there. My youth is still there. And even now, I have to pretend I don’t feel younger than I should.”
She didn’t say anything at first. Then she nodded her head with a smile as if she could have understood what I was saying.
“You’re right. Every memory is basically a reminder that you were younger. Youth for the head…that is worth preserving”.
I looked at her dead serious. Her face shone with enlightenment. I turned away, was looking at the lawn. I pulled up my eyebrows, wondered if I should say it, decided against it, looked at her and still shot it off.
“If you think that’s profound, then you’re pretty stupid”
And I was expecting a quarrel, because while I was speaking I saw her husband and the estate agent approaching us in silence, but the woman only said, “If you see it that way” and I was disarmed without letting it come to a fight.
“We’re glad we found this” her husband said.
He looks down with satisfaction at the remains. The graffiti on one of the few remaining cornerstones caught my eye only now.
“We’re going to start a family here, you know” his wife said to me.
“Then for your sake, I hope this property doesn’t have the curse of an Indian burial ground”
“Indians in Europe?”
She looked at me confused.
“Don’t people die in Europe too?”
“What does this have to do with the esteemed Indian people?” asked her husband.
“Will you know if your wife leaves you alone and you start to beat up your kid, you will now”
“You seem to connect many evil memories with this place and carry them in your heart. I feel it in your aura” she said in a deep, serious tone. She looked over at her husband. They smiled at each other.
“No, I just told you,” I said.
“Don’t worry, we will clean this property with our love so that the evil spirits will find peace in you”
“Do that?” I said mockingly, but the couple ignored the sound of mockery in my tone of voice and just smiled contentedly at me. Then they signed the sales contract. I was on the train back to town that same night.
The next day, Stacey wrote to me. We hadn’t talked in two weeks. I gave her my number when I was drunk. I guess I had self-confidence in the beginning and expected that she was looking for more than a fuck. She saved hers for me. “Stacey XoXo” -kind of cheap.
“What are you doing today?” she asked me in the message.
You must be lonely, I thought to myself, isn’t anybody listening to you?
I didn’t write her back at first. If her message left the evening and the following morning as unread on the screen, then I opened it around noon so that she could see that I had read it. I didn’t want to let her into my life, but I didn’t want to tell her directly. Decency usually was never one of my virtues. The world is full of good-for-nothing, useless, charlatans, idiots, deluded and rats – I don’t have to pretend I’m something better. I just don’t see the need. Still I wrote to her: “Yeah, sorry for not answering sooner, I was busy, but I got time tonight”.
If we didn’t want to;
– we don’t have to be
Put your game face on.
Let’s embrace the irony
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PART OF: TOXIC 24/7
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