Thursday, February 4, 2016

Be clutch, don't choke

The steering wheel is already drenched in sweat as I shift up to fourth gear. This isn't where I pictured myself 24 hours ago. Pedal to the metal, golf ball in my throat, speeding towards a watery grave.

The few houses flying past the car quickly change into blurred trees. 

You ever see those movies where there's an intense flash forward or flash back? Everything is in high contrast. Everything is harsh. Sharp, but not clear. Tunnel vision. That's what this feels like. The sky outside is not grey, not blue, but a strange yellow. I can't really seeing the road I'm speeding across, nor the suburbs I'm passing through, but I'm acutely aware of the path I need to take, of exactly what I need to focus on ahead. And yet I still manage to feel a searing pain below my right temple.

Somewhere in the car, maybe the glove box, my phone starts to vibrate loudly. It's a shame this fucking car radio is jammed on the classical channel. My hand shakes slightly (though I can't tell if it's from the speed of the car or the rate of my heartbeat) as I reach forward to turn up the volume all the same.

Road markers become blurred and the trees begin to clear. The Pacific Ocean- or maybe it's the Southern Ocean by now? I was never great at geography - is in full view. I can see waves crashing onto rock as white foam in the distance.  Soon enough, there'll be no road left. 

The car hurtles forward to the end of the cul de sac, and I gasp as the right wheel jolts over the edge of the footpath first. By some stroke of luck (or perhaps, misfortune), the car doesn't roll, but instead drifts along the grass a few metres, but only for mere seconds. I don't know if my foot even comes off the accelerator as I correct the steering wheel and continue on my path once more.

The ride is bumpier now. Tussock underneath, but apart from that, nothing between myself and the cliff face ahead. 20 metres, 10 metres, 5 - my stomach drops and my hands come off the wheel as horror overwhelms me.

The hood of my car sails over the edge of the cliff, almost straight down. In this moment, I can't even grab the steering wheel for comfort. I am open-mouthed, frozen in time, seconds away from my imminent death.

Somewhere in my car my cellphone vibrates once more as my vision narrows to a black hole.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bowie

Do you know how bizarre it feels to actually be in some sort of mourning for a pop star I never met?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Laugh till we cry

It's a strange thing, realising you've destroyed the person you love the most. When Bianca and I considered splitting 18 months ago, we decided to work through it. At least, that's how my brain seems to remember it. She seems much more acutely aware of everything that went on. Just last Tuesday she asked me, "Paul?"
"Yes, honey?" I'd replied, barely looking up from my work. I'm not as busy as Bianca, being in a 9-to-5 while she's a self-employed artist, but sometimes my work comes home with me.
"Do you remember," she began very calmly, which made the question all the more unsettling, "When I asked you not to see Natalie any more?"

The thought of Natalie makes me feel a little sick now. Nothing ever happened, but I was foolish. I looked for comfort in the wrong places.

Bianca continued, "And then I had to go into the studio, but I came home early? And there you were, hanging over the fence talking to Natalie. And then when I looked out the window at you, you made direct eye contact with me and then kept talking to her... Were you trying to hurt me?"

Staying in that house as long as we did almost killed Bianca. She wouldn't stop crying for three months. Sometimes she'd be doing something and just collapse onto the floor, pulling at her stomach with her hands. Her pain was visceral. Once I got mad at her when she had to pull over on the motorway. All of a sudden she was crying too much to drive, but the worst thing was she just sat down in the gravel and wept on the side of the road. Cars kept driving past and I eventually scolded her into the passenger's seat...

"I don't remember that," I'd answered honestly, "But I never wanted to hurt you," I'd replied, looking earnestly at her then. I truly believe I didn't. Now. In the present. It hurts me to think of hurting her.

"Well that's not true," she replied with a gentle shake of her head as she continued folding washing, "If you don't remember, how can you know you didn't want to hurt me?"
I'd asked her if she was alright and she'd just nodded. But the thing is, I think she was telling the truth.

This evening at dinner I teased her about her constant picking on me. I thought we were having fun when she glared at me over her roast potatoes.
"C'mon B," I'd scoffed, "You can't get grumpy when you know just as well how to wind me up!"
Bianca's face fell at this. I almost swore I saw her shoulders slump from her almost perfect-posture.
"I know," she sighed, "You just drive me crazy sometimes."
"Why?" I asked, trying to keep a soft smile on my face.
"I don't know," she answered, her eyes meeting mine, "I feel like I'm a bad person when I'm with you."
My stomach dropped. I walked around the table to kiss her forehead.

I suppose I'm leaving some gaps. Maybe my brain has intentionally left some of those. But last week she asked me, "Are you glad you didn't leave me last year?"
"Of course!" I replied, "It would have been the worst mistake of my life!"
But now I don't really think she was asking me.

I think she may have been asking whether I was worth fighting to keep.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Looper

Life is so very lovely.

Last Night

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Vibrant

A month or so ago I drafted a post beginning:

I have discovered that I am not an easy woman to love.

And all the bullshit that went along with that sentence. The truth is, it's probably hard for most people to love most other people. And I refuse to surround myself with people who make me feel like I'm hard to love.

Because I'm not. It's just hard for some people to love me, and in some cases, I them.

One of the greatest things I have learned over here is that I cannot (and will not) change who I am in order to be loved.

Honestly, I hadn't even realised I'd done it until I arrived here and was allowed to be completely, wholly, self-indulgently me.

I do not want to be selfish, but I have been too selfless in the past. I forgot what it was to be happy, and I'm happy to have found it again.

I tried really hard to be less aggressive and more loving, and I will stick to this resolve, but I will not be a doormat, either.

I foresee a crazy 9 months or so ahead, but I'm feeling pretty stoked.