That Novel

In fact, I wasn’t that angry at people, I was angry at myself; but people gave me enough reason to be angry. When you were happy, they wanted to see you sad; when you were sad ,they’d pretended to help then stopped talking to you for a while. I never understood it: why did they appear when you were happy only to hate on you and measure their lives’ with yours’. It made no-sense. So, even when the sun was shinning, I kept myself isolated, at least I could imagine a world where people were different…The more I kept alone the more I wanted to see people; the more I saw people the more I felt alone.

To live happily and to be a real human simultaneously was so, so difficult. One could not keep both things in the same body– the soul grappled to the ground if you tried. At times, thing’s would get so bad that ending you life was the only thing that could be done. Mrs. Dean had done just that. I remember her funeral still: at least 150 mourners, dressed in black; the priest saying the same old thing he would of said if it was a murderer being thrown into the ground for eternity: “she touched many lives…blah…blah.” It’s where I met Saunders the prick (Yes! That is what people call him).

The beautiful Melancholy of a spring evening had a hold over me. The sun was setting, reflecting its power on the leaves, reflecting into the blacked-out sunglasses of the professional mourners. It wasn’t light but not dark either; perfect for bottle of beer or, in my case, a bottle of red wine, presumably on my own. I won’t BS: I was thinking about drinking a bottle of wine on my own during the proceeding’s. The priest was blahing away, all I could think of was the wine I’ll be having later. It was absurd– and I had just finished reading Albert Camus ‘the stranger’: it touched on the absurdity of life. I felt exactly that– absurdity. A tinge of guilt run through my body like a anxious shudder, as I -just like the protagonist, Meursalt, in ‘the stranger’- felt no intention of mourning. But it was not my fault, the wine beckoned in such a attractive day. Then, as if to divert thought from my emotionlessness, the fact that this woman died from loneliness-she said so in her suicide note- was at odds with the amount of people in attendance. Not only did they attend: they were mourning so…Hard. Then why was this woman, now eternally sleeping, so lonely…Where were these mourner’s when she was alive ? The wine seemed like a innocent thought: at least I visited Mrs. Dean when I could when she was alive. Just then, Saunder’s tapped me on the shoulder

“Excuse me ! Are you Leo,” and without pause, “Remember me? I used to sell weed to Mrs.Dean.” I did not remember him: “I think so,” I said. Strangely for a drug dealer, he spoke with a perfect diction. “Ahaha! You don’t do you ?, he said ” Maybe this would fire-up your memory:

“I was with Mrs.Dean- selling her my usual shit- when you walked in and gave me a dirty-look, to which I replied: “cheer-up son, I’m not trying to take your girlfriend.””

Indeed, I now remembered him; he had to refer to a memory where he was the prik to recollect our meeting. Only Saunder’s had to do such a thing.

“Oh, yes, I remember now”

Pretending not to care by fiddling with his phone, he laughed and proceeded to tell me something I really…well…didn’t care much for:

“You know, this is life, Leo; you die and that is it; nothing, and I mean nothing, beyond this exists. We are born, pampered, then thrown into a chaotic world where routine is the norm. Without routine, you’re a outsider. If so much routine exist’s, why the chaos ? Do we feed on it…or…do certain people feed on it ? The more routine and order we have, the more chaotic the world get’s. The ancients, although they had immense problems, they nevertheless experience order and chaos in their own live’s. They woke, ate, socialised, created, got high, experienced: All of these thing’s, might I add, were rightly, considered to be natural right’s: we- we as in: humans- have the right to live, experience, eat, get high, socialize and, most importantly, love. But we are denied this…Working 40 hours a week gets you a reached existence; all the while the people you’re working for have the privilege of experiencing life, but they choose not to: They choose to fly in private jet’s, buy expensive clothes drink expensive wine, wine and dine with expensive clothes worn by cheap, cheap people. And, like a typical idiot, they often visit work. None of this is life; not the one we live or the one the ruler, boss, king live’s. Worst of all, this goes on with the knowledge that we will die. Now, i’m not suggesting that we go back to being ancients, but we have only gone backwards in terms of progression. Yes, I have a phone which allows you to contact me for drugs, but we are all lonely…Amazingly lonely. We don’t love, we fall for romantic gibberish; we do not eat, we chew on something as fast as we can; we do not work, we slave (I sell drugs, so I’m fine in this respect). Now tell me: what is the point, really?… is another life not possible ?”

Baffled, I stared at him for a few seconds; luckily, the priest asked me step-up to make a speech for the deceseaed— it saved me from replying to that semi-lecture. The cream coloured dress the priest wore annoyed me all evening. It was time he left the stage and gave us a turn at pretending to care— I actually did care.

“Mrs.Dean, God bless her soul, was a lonely woman. I began to spend time with her a-year-ago after I graduated from University. She was lonely then, she told me she was lonely before and she died a lonely woman. But, she had me; I had her. We had great times-even though it was a short-while. Films, dinners, reading sessions with Mrs.Dean were thing’s I looked forward to after work. Now that she is gone, I’ll feel her absence; an emptiness will be with me, all the time…I’ll miss you Mrs.Dean. Rest in peace.”

I had to keep it short, to the point, steady and precise, for there is no need to draq thing’s on and pretend you care more than you actually do. But I do feel I cared enough. She was- unlike the other’s- a part of my life, a human being that touched moment’s of mine—she is now a part of the mischenally of my existence.

The proceeding’s went on until late afternoon.
Wanting to get home quickly, knowing I had errands to run, I, almost running, power walked to my car. As I took out my key’s, someone tapped me on the shoulder: it was, of course, Saunder’s.

“Here take my card…call me,” he said and with a child-like smile: “ we both liked Mrs.Dean therefore we must have something in common.” My immediate reaction was: “you carry a business card ?”
“Yes I do, Leo— it doesn’t say I’m a drug-dealer on it, so it is fine.” He then walked away; I put the card in my jacket pocket, knowing that I’ll never call him— was I supposed to listen to another lecture by the Mr.drugdealer Sartre ?

When Igot home, my landlord, Miss. Lowanski, was sitting on the kitchen table with a few letter’s in her hand, sobbing her eye’s out. At first I hesitated to sit down for various possibilities: maybe it was the dark ambience reflected by the black and brown cupboards, the clutter that made this significantly big kitchen seem small, the lack of light coming in through the window or it was the feeling of having had enough of seeing people sob— I had just come back from a sobbing marathon. “Miss. Lowanski ! are you ok, I said.” She turned her face towards me, slowly; her greying, oily brown hair covered half her face, she replied: “Nothing, nothing is wrong…just remembering the past, that’s all.”
“Wanna talk about it ? it the letter’s again ? Miss. Lowanski was once in love with a man whom she exchanged letter’s with— she’d often read’em to herself whenever she felt nostalgic. This time, however, she seemed far more…sad than usual.

“Yes! Leo, you know me for a long-time; I’ve been your landlord, for around 14 month’s now…You know I have a broken heart; I’m, indeed, a broken person—and I have been able to get over it, since,” she said, sad but composed.
Without saying anything, I poured two glasses of water from the filtered tapped, sat across the sobbing woman in the dark brown, round dinner table and placed a glass in front of her. Anxiously, said: “Take a sip, Miss. Lowanski, and tell me all that is going on.”
A pinch of sadness filled the air as she picked the glass for a tiny gallup. “I don’t know where to begin, Leo.”

“It was 27 year’s ago today, I came out of work-was working in the bank as a cashier- and I dropped by the usual coffee place. And there, he was, sitting with his book in hand, tea on table— I felt my heart fluctuate: Immediate attraction took my body hostage. I fell for him there and then. His thin but long blonde hair, blue jean jacket that covered his broad shoulder’s…Creme shirt breaking free from his jacket, resting on its collar; the sun reflecting on him…oh how I still remember that day… His name is Georgio…to cut a long story short: I began seeing him on a regular bases, so I conjured up the courage to give him my number; he called me. We began dating and, after a few month’s, we were married, with a child— Our only child. He is 27-years-old now; his name is Saunder’s. Now, he is gone— he developed dementia and now live’s somewhere in France”

Anybody would of thought that same thought I did: Saunder’s the prik. “Miss. Lowanski, is Saunder’s the tall, blue-eyed, blonde haired bloke who hang’s around the the rifle’s pub?”
“I’m not too sure where he decide’s to spend his time— but he is tall and has blonde hair, blue eyes and a strong cheekbones.” “Is his hair long,” I said, Hoping that it wasn’t him.” Then she gave me the answer I did not want to hear: “Yes. Yes! I saw him a week a go and he had tied his hair back.”

The image of Miss. Lowanski, lodged deep in my mind, had been-unintentionally- shattered. How could she be his mother ? Nothing like him, she was. I had to be alone, losing two people in one day was too much for me. A moment of silence settled deep into the conversation. Proceeding this moment, she took a deep breathe and said: He promised He’ll visit more often.” Oh God, why…I thought. Not only was I living with the mother of an annoying brat, I may seem him regularly…Oh, I may have to sit with him…Good Lord, what if he stay’s over ? We are going to look like sibling’s. The thought of Saunder’s took over the Miss. Low I began to stammer. The words would not come out, in fact, I didn’t know what to say— I just wanted to leave. “You want anything from the shop,” I said, as I didn’t know what else to say, and I needed that wine. She slowly pushed her self up from the chair, picked-up the letter’s and said: “a can of foster’s would be nice.”

As I left through the front door, the greyness of a late London afternoon took control of my loneliness, how could it not: isn’t grey the loneliest colour ? My blue, stripped raincoat alway’s gave me a feeling of security; curled up in its arms, I began my thoughtful journey to buy our drugs. Thought’s fluctuated in and out of my mind— but one was ambiguities. My life; now what do I do with it ? What now ? I have nobody, only a employment that lurks in the border of useless. I’m in deep ruckus with myself…

The roads were wet from the last night’s trizzle; wrapped in his thick clothing, lenny the tramp was sitting, curled in front of orange and yellow decorated store front; cars was scarce as I crossed the road; the lady in the flat above the store shaking the dust off her carpet, smiled at me; the wind blew from the right, pushing the little hair I have flat onto the left; I walked into the store. Flanders, the store owner, as if with no care in the world, starring straight at his T.V., greeted me with the usual: “How are ya, my son.” “Not too bad brother,” I said, obviously not meaning it— I was bad. I knew which wine I wanted; the £5 one that tasted not so bad. I walked straight to the shelve, grabbed the wine, and snatched foster’s from the fridge next door- placed the merchandise on the narrow counter covered with chocolate’, sweets and chewing gum. “That’ll be £6, young lad,” “Say wasup to the old lady for me, ay,” he said in his usual Colloquial language.

The street was silent, the only noise came from the sigh the cities echo left behind. I had a lot of walking to do, but nowhere to go except be on my desk, staring into the screen. It was supposed be a usual night: Drunk, on Facebook, binge listening to songs, calling people I haven’t spoken to in ages and, as if a necessity before I conk out, take a huge gallup of water.

That night ended as usual, with one acceptional difference, however: I brought a train ticket to Paris. Yes Paris. Sad, angry and lonely, wanting a change seemed…apt. By 4pm I had to leave to catch my train at 6.30pm. I could of sat down and convinced my self not to go or went for a walk to clear my head up about why I spent money for no reason; perhaps I was still drunk and running to Paris seemed a better rationale than strolling around in London. I, however, packed the very little stuff I had and, without thinking, called the taxi that would take me to the airport. Maybe I was still drunk. I don’t know; it doesn’t matter…

Mr. Patel drove me to King’s cross station. He told me to be careful and have a great time, and, strangely, said: “Make sure you remember me.” Baffled as to why he said that, I replied with: “don’t worry, I won’t cheat on you with French cab driver’s.” He laughed, but sadness —sadness that I’ll be going, maybe never to return, had obviously touched him in someway. Maybe our absence is what touches people…just like the mourner’s who were touched by Mrs. Dean’s absence; but none of it matter’s when we are gone.

King’s cross station was full of people rushing, rushing for thing’s that’ll you do not understand but can understand the feeling. Sometimes we rushed for no reason, just like I was doing right then: I was hurrying to reach a train that wasn’t due to leave for the next 45 mins; but I rushed, nevertheless. Seeing people rush, often made me rush.
I stopped myself when I realised I was rushing for a departure I was early for, decided to sit somewhere-cafe, maybe- and drink a cup of coffee or consume more alcohol. I sat in a cafe, decorated in a way that can only be called: French— very cliche for a place that calls itself a Ka-fay. I felt France already.

The world was running away from the confines of my grip as I stared at the ever revolving life around me. The grappling hysteria around not having enough time strangled the live’s of everyone. Someone was going somewhere in search of something, and, when the end revealed it self, dissapointment came readily available with it. Our mind’s produced future realities that detached itself from rationale— we perceived the best and, just like any romantic, we despaired at the end result. We —all of us- trying to match a certain image, perception or, even, idea forced ourselve’s to a limit, a limit aimed at the unreachable: an absolute version of the dream— to which they’d not be happy if reached. Millimetric manifestations of thousand’s of live’s filled the air as I sipped through the bubbly latte; couples kissed and cried at the departure of their loved one’s; A man, dressed in a cream suite with a blue shirt and brown stellos ran to his train with a hurried look on his face; A backpacker placed an orange pouche on his knees, presumably figuring out his platform; all were chasing, not an particular instance in their live’s, but something that was part of the whole, a whole that’s existence was never proved; they had to or the vast nothingness, emptiness of the universe dulled life’s most theatrical dreams. Couple’s were not giving farewell’s to their loved one’s, they were reproducing an act that they believe is necessary for the return or future of the person walking towards a destiny; the backpacker fulfilled the image of a traveler; I was fulfilling a non-existence, not a thought surrounded this act, an idea never rose from the fog of nothingness; nothingness was what I was diving into. “It is better this way, I’ll have no expectations and anything that come’s will be a bonus,’ I thought, taking the last sip in.

The train ride flashed through, during which I felt like a used tea-bag— dark, thrown away and forgotten; the juiced sucked out and replaced with a dryed out inner life that once drenched in potential. After all, a trip with no destination filled my time, I was on my way somewhere but I was going nowhere— I seldom had an idea of where I’d stay: hostel for the broken, perhaps ? Always found it amusing that Hostel sounded too much like Hospital, for hostel’s are what we associate with the broken— hotel’s are where everyone else is.

Garde de nord Station, Paris, at 10pm (French Time) I slipped out from the exit and stood there, taking it all in, not knowing where to go. A hostel is what was priority: a place to say with clean beds, people to socialise with and cheap as can be. I needed a slumber, ASAP. Swiftly, I walked into the next cafe. “Bonjour, Monsieur, Comment allez-vous ?” said a handsome looking waiter. With broken French I replied: “Bonjour! Tori bien, Merci, Et vous ?” “Merci, said the waiter.” I sat down onto the table closest to the door. “Je ai use Biere,” I said to the him, as I was thirsty for a beer. To anxious for a room, I asked the waiter: “où puis-je trouver une auberge.” He told me his friend new somebody who ran a small hotel two Kilometres away from the city centre.


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