here first. until we are there.

because it’s apt. thanks andrew.

You’d Be Out Of My Mind

Wouldn’t miss you these days and nights, walking at night at the hour where most of me sinks into REM. It was like listening to mute music: a droning signal of silence addictive in its tranquil irritation. Numb like a drug, I keep coming back, knowing all too well how wrong to.

One night, I tried you out of my head. Spiraling down neural upstairs, taking steps in mouthfuls, maybe listening humdrum to the drone in sweet little tastes, knowing that this would be the last. Then: found you at the center, you were always at the center, gently draped over All What. Clutching the sides, the edges of Everything That Is You, I tearfully tore open your membrane, revealing the speakers in my brain. Music flowed once more, so loud this time as if I’d never heard at all in my life.

Then the night was over, and I woke up. Went about the routine, yes I did, humming the vibes in my head, readying for another bright day. I suppose it was normal in every other sense, but somehow a ghost of the night that I don’t remember during day followed me in shadow. I found myself blurting out to myself, for no reason during break time: “But I’m still left moments again.” It wasn’t reassuring.

Next night, all is different. I trod up a downstairs this time, and it’s a hard, sweaty climb. Strenuous grips me like cold fiber, but I dare not let go. I have to see the center. Limbs move up, twice, thrice, until I’ve exhausted all the rungs of the psycho-symmetric ladder. I look over the edge, trying to catch my breath, but what I see at the center takes it all away. It’s surreal and weird where you used to be. You’re gone, and I’m left with Things.

*****

It’s not hard to cope with the detritus that appeared after our last night. Deep, empty shells creeping over the speakers, leftover skins from the used up music getting up in sentience. Crawling over my center. Dead matter, empty bodies that once carried harmony, skittering around the speakers, moving at will over my mind. Zombies. Scared me, very well, these Things, I retreated back to the waking world. But before, I took a good retrospect, and at an effort to stop the Things, I decided to cut off the music. Music, fueled of course by the days, generated nightly as something that I might as well call a by-product. How do I stop the music? I cut off the source. Decide that when I wake up, to start playing White Noise. So during the day, I tell myself nothing.

Tell myself you’re gone. …This phrase catches me unawares during one of the days. It’s so hard to keep track of time. Lost in me, lost in myself, trying to just block it all out, keep the nothing. They say ignorance is bliss, but this isn’t.

You’re still. …Pops up from nowhere, from my nothing. Like the ghost of an ancestor, blurring across my mental vision during the day, thoughts slip by in blinks, teasing me to remember something. I want to. It’s just that the Things… I don’t want the Things back. I want them gone.

Haunts me. I feel a need, deep in my heart? My heart is so far away from my center, but re-memories seem to keep coming from there, so I formulate a plan. This night, I will go there. In my emotional memory, I will search for this thing that keeps me thinking. I close my eyes, blaring White Noise out of my ears, so that there’s nothing to feed the music, nothing to feed the Things, then I go down.

It’s all-silent down here, so far away from the center. I’ve never been down this way before. I hear beating in the walls all around me, and I know that I must be close. It gets so warm after a while, and then I stand before a small, brittle core floating in red and yellow and blue darkness. It’s almost black, but I know the beating, like wings in the clouds of memory. Access an archive I have never opened. What pops out of the dark core, a small white light, I bend over and peep, and the brightness washes over me. You’re not still the only one. …I wake up. What does that mean?

*****

Realizing comes after a while. I become more conscious of my emotional memory: a beat thumping in my chest. I can no longer rely on the mind, infested with Things, so I draw strength from the core. I start recovering, juice flowing back into my body, and I start thinking straight again. Unlike in REM, we remember what goes on in the core, even during the days. I start to remember you, and what it was like. All this time, afraid and cowering in a corner, I was trying to forget our loved ones. I destroyed you, in fear because I wanted too much, so you were finally gone.

The moment ends, and you are all that I need. But there’s nothing of you left the find, to clutch, to grip in my palm and pull back to me. I tore you open, murdered you in cold blood. Music rang when you died.

It’s funny: when we tell ourselves nothing, everything comes full scope, like looking through a magnifying glass. Detail comes in, addictive these days are, like you used to be, I take it all back in. Follow the core, the core is the way, the core is all I know. Start feeding myself again, and the void of nothing is refilled. The White Noise dies down. I am free.

We own to lie our friends. Core, detail, days, nights, all spent away from the center, self-deceiving in bliss. Life has meaning again. I am reinvigorated, inspired, and full of vigor. Typing away madly at my computer one night, still missing you, I suddenly realize that there is music playing again in my mind. Must’ve been for some time now.

I shiver.

*****

“Over and I’m fine now,” I tell myself. I keep going to the core at nights, and the dark of it has grown. Dark shell peeled away; all that floats there now is serene light, brightness filling the space around me. I am at peace in the night, blissfully rested and tranquil.

This is true ignorance.

One night, I go back into me, and I pass the stairs again. The downstairs, I’m at the bottom, and I look up at the center. Music, loud and clear and beautiful, echoes down to me like a heavenly choir. And something else, I hear. Another ghost. Something skittering. Rumbling around the speakers. Moving, plotting. I see it in the corner of my eye. The Things: crawling down the long winding downstairs, so many now, coming at me fast. An invasion. I speed to the core at top velocity. It tells me that I need you, and I say, “She’s out of my mind”. She’s out of my mind.

Said. I have to remember. It’s gone from the archives, as if the core let it go to me a long time ago. Skittering erupts in the tunnels; they’ve made it past my mind, running down the maze of me around and around, this undead army. I have to remember. It’s getting louder. I need to remember. Skittering bursts through the tunnel, and it can’t be far at all.

You’re not still the only one.

Glint in my eyes. I rush away from the core, up a back way, just as the Things burst through the wall and invade my heart. I don’t look back. These germs going across my whole body, zombie shells of the music running wild, they will not relent. They’ve taken my mind. They’ve now taken my heart. All I have left is me…

…and a memory of you.

Still. I make it to the center, pushing past the Things, avoiding their touch, which is cold and sharp and painful. Couldn’t stop, even to rest, just had to get to the center. It’s all brimming with Things, cloistered and clustered around the speakers, blaring beautiful music that falls away too soon into lifeless husks to be reanimated. I scream. This is my mind. This is my mind.

You’re not still the only one. Yes, there are more where you came from. I throw myself over the speakers, and I stretch and I stretch, until the music stops. The Things fade away, like dreams, as if they were never there. They were never there when you used to be here.

I’ve taken you’re place now.

*****

It’s not like when I used the White Noise. No, I’m not empty, I don’t tell nothing. Here, in your place, I can feel it. The music, not gone, not stopped but flowing still through me, filtered and transformed. Pure. Silent songs playing out, to last me for ages.

Missing today. I wake up, go to sleep, REM washes and I’m fine. I’ve realized now. Something special, important, planted deep down inside that I’d never know never know at all, if I wasn’t where I am now. This isn’t an end. It’s an “and…”

“And…” I’ve realized, that when I thought you were gone, when I though that I killed you and destroyed All That Is You, I didn’t. It wasn’t the core that whispered italics to me. I heard something in the emotional archives, but that was just a memory. You’re not.

You’re still not out of the head.

(andrew drilon)

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