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Previously on this page;
Cocoons and Caterpillars
One step at a time
On the greatness of small things (a draft)
With fingers crossed (for F.B.)
THE PSYCHOSIS OF OTHER PEOPLE
The clink of glasses. Sunshine glancing off a passing windscreen, catching my eye. The slow silent smile of a cat which is more menace than pleasure. And so secret. So. Secret. A tongue which will not speak, just lap roughly with harsh and sandy buds at obstinate words until they start to bleed helplessly.
Harsh sunlight breaking everything up into many fragments..
On days like these I feel alone beyond anything; more so because of all the people all around. For moments that can last for weeks I feel like I will never speak to anyone new again, and to those I do, that they will never understand.
Thereís a girl sitting at the table behind me, her back turned to mine, close enough that could touch her quite easily; close enough that I have to be careful not to when I stretch myself to straighten out the slouch into which I tend to lapse.
I have the overwhelming urge to do it. To just lean over an lay a gentle hand, soft and dry, upon her shoulder with a smile ready in my eyes. But I donít do it. Instead a spray of pigeons break from the trees across the road, and I smile at them instead, and try to lose myself in them instead, and try to find some joy in them instead. I succeed; but the spell is wearing thinner.
I did it once, on a day just like this. It went as I expected, and not as I had hoped. She turned around Ė though it was another girl; though all girls were the same across such vast and silent distances Ė a shocked look on her face when she didnít recognize me took the place of the initial surprised look which had been designed to say ďOh! I didnít expect to see you here!Ē regardless of whom it had been directed at.
I hadnít said anything. Iíd taken my hat and left, having made all other preparations in prior expectation of exactly this.
Sometimes I worry about psychosis or the onset of schizophrenia. I heard somewhere that in many cases it only appears in the late Ď20ís, in which I still have a while to fidget nervously about it.
But thatís not really what I worry about either, at least not the type of psychosis where you really canít tell what is real and what not; which world truly surrounds you and which is merely carried within the compass of your own mind. Rather, Iím scared of making a choice that it sometimes seems is within my power to make, and that is to choose for a world I know to be fictive over one which assails constantly with its very solidity. No Ė fictive is not the right word either Ė it is a world I know exists, but which can seem so far away, so intangible, as wispy as a sweet perfume Ė and as evocative. (And so it starts, perhaps! That, and the fact that writing this is in some way already a betrayal.)
It always comes when I feel as lonely as this, when I am feeling particularly excited about something Ė a book Iíve read, a song Iíve heard, something I saw in passing on the road Ė things Iíve learnt the people who surround me every day will not understand. By now Iíve graduated to indulgent smiles from them, instead of mocking incomprehension. Iíve learnt to sweeten the pill with irony about everything I hold dear, to make little jokes at my own expense and present my foibles as self-aware quirks. Iíve learnt how rare it is for people to feel delight at anything.
But all this is never quite enough for me to forget that somewhere far away there are people who would be as excited at these things as I am. People who need not deprecate themselves for the delight they feel in little things: a full-fledged dreamerís movement, for whom life is a mostly empty book to be filled with pretty things that sometimes hurt but always makes them smile again.
(Just once I thought I met someone who answered to all this. And then I fell in love with her when she did not want that, and I lost her irrevocably. Thatís the way my life has been.)
And I know Ė know their names, where they live, what they do, even (mostly) what they look like. Yet, at times like these, it seems like they never will turn into anything more than black marks on a palely flickering screen, when all I want is the vital heat of another person in a hug.
And I must guard ceaselessly against choosing this against everything else, at times.
But the world is always wont to call me back: The clink of glasses. Sunshine glancing sharply off a passing windscreen to snatch at my eyesÖ the sudden shouted greeting of someone from across the road, happy to see me.
And I Ė suddenly, immensely Ė them.