I am not a sane person. I think I am utterly insane. I either am silent, completely indifferent towards life and meek or I am a driven, loud, extroverted and ambitious guy. Sometimes I repeatedly punch the wall through a pillow so I don’t wake up my neighbours. Sometimes I meditate with the sound of a waterfall in my EarPods. Sometimes I mix creatine, Monster Energy, peanut butter and banana slices into my protein shaker just to drink a sip and feel my heart stop.
In order to feel something, I gotta do this kind of stuff. Right now, as I am writing, I imagine myself having the voice of James Gandolfini who played Tony Soprano. I am binge-watching the show for the second time in a row and I secretly wish I was more like Tony during my adolescence. He always took what he wanted and he never took a no for an answer.
This brings me back in time. You know, in order to motivate myself I think about really bad stuff that happened to me. When I think about bas stuff, I think about bad people I met. They are three and they all have a thing in common. Their names start with an “A”.
That’s how I refer to them:
Every single time I need to get something done (studying, lifting, working) and I feel like I don’t want to do that, I simply recall their names, what they have done to me, and how I could have prevented everything bad from happening to me simply being a little stronger, smarter and less naïve. This is how my journal looks like:
I need to study hard. I don’t want to. A3. I was 18 years old. As I am procrastinating, A3 is going to have an advantage and (always A3) is going to beat me again.
That’s how I motivate myself. Of course, I don’t start studying all of a sudden. My blood starts to boil and thinking is impossible for five-six minutes. When it happens, I do this: 50 push-ups, 40 pullups, I count to ten controlling my breathing. Then everything is fine and I am ready to study as hard as ever. I think about my advantage that makes me superior to A3 and, for an hour, the world is as beautiful as it gets. I feel superior. Thinking about an individual who made me miserable six years ago and imagining a comparison between him and (A3) makes me feel superior. That’s why I say I am utterly insane, prisoner of a mistake I made a long time ago.
I will avenge myself.
I will save myself.
The words from The Northman comes to my mind. I am fighting a hopeless fight that doesn’t need to be fought. But I need to feel in charge. I need to have some control over what happened. I can read all the stoicism books I want and train as hard as I can. Outrunning the past is an impossible task.
A1: 14 years old
A2: 17 years old
A3: 18 years old
I look in the mirror and I touch my abs. My six-packs is not as visible as last week. Gotta remove some extra weight and cut. That’s the only way to live.
I was 9 and I attended grammar school. It wasn’t a good time of my life. I lived in a small town, far from home. I felt alone. I had no one to talk to. The days were grey and they were all the same to me: waking up, going to school, sport, studying and so on. I guess it’s a common routine for a child of that age. The days were so identical that I could not even tell them apart.
But at the bottom of this endless greyness, there was a light. I was the proud owner of a Playstation 2 and I had a stack of games inherited from my neighbour. One game title stood out among all.
Silent Hill II is a name that has appeared frequently in these pages. It is hard to convey the emotions I felt the moment I experienced it. I was confused, scared, disoriented. I wouldn’t have described that game as a good experience.
The long walks through the streets of Silent Hill in a thin fog, the monsters with a human appearance and the brutal and sexual nature of some moments made me feel a strong feeling of discomfort. It made me feel dirty. This is a further proof of the masterful job from Konami in painting a psychological picture of such complexity.
I didn’t understand the story perfectly. I didn’t grasp the references to Carl Jung and David Lynch. One thing I understood for sure: a guy was looking for his dead wife in a town full of monsters. And the plot, at least in appearance, is simple as that.
James Sunderland receives a letter from Mary, her wife, who died three years earlier from cancer. She begs him to return and meet her in Silent Hill, the city symbol of their special place. Confused, James leaves for the city but, once he is there, he doesn’t find the idyllic Silent Hill of which he cherished a fond memory.
Now everything is rotten, ravaged and inhabited by disgusting creatures, monsters and humans. On his journey to this hell, James will meet several people. The first is Angela Orosco, a mentally unstable girl whose emotional state is deeply damaged from the continuous memories of the sexual violence she endured inflicted by her father and from the psychological abuse caused by her mother.
Silent Hill and the shadows of the past
As the story unfolds, James meets Eddie Dombrowski, a severely overweight boy who has had severe self-esteem problems due to bullying. Here, the player has the sensation something is slightly off.
How come all the humans James meets are indifferent to the chaos that reigns in Silent Hill? Why is no one worried about the deformed monsters that appear in every part of the city? A further question arises when James meets Laura, an 8-year-old girl with no parents who roams the streets of Silent Hill carelessly.
As it turns out, Laura was friends with Maria, James’s wife, and came to Silent Hill on purpose to see her again. There is definitely something wrong here. It almost seems as if each of the characters is walking into a different and personal version of Silent Hill-Also, this city seems to attract a certain type of person.
One of the most common explanations is that Silent Hill is a purgatory, a place where anyone who has failed to overcome a severe trauma is finally forced to face it. Silent Hill is a shape-changing purgatory based on each person’s fear and trauma.
James still feels guilty about his wife’s death and he can’t get rid of the survivor syndrome. Every monster he encounters is full of sexual allegorical meanings.
Mannequin is an example of James’ clear sexual frustration when Mary was battling cancer. Pyramid Head, the faceless monster who takes what he wants by force. The character of Maria is also noteworthy. Maria is the physical copy of Mary, but her personality is completely different: she is the stripper of Heaven’s Night, a night club situated in Silent Hill. Maria could represent Mary’s split personality, as well as James’s sexual desire.
Still in that city
Silent Hill II is a journey into the depths of the human psyche. No wonder a game so full of metaphors, hatred, trauma and redemption gave me such a negative feeling as a child.
James’s journey will finally lead him to the truth, to the “special place” shared with Mary. There are six available endings. Not a single one of them is canon. I can just talk about the ending I had in my run that I first completed (I never finished the game as a kid) a few months ago. The ending called Leave: James has the opportunity to face his past once and for all and talks to his wife for the last time. James finally leaves Silent Hill with Laura. He has earned the right to process the trauma and leave the city. Silent Hill has one less soul to torment.
I am grateful I experienced this ending: the other epilogues had a much bleaker development. Still, a part of me will always be part of that city. Maybe Jame has abandoned Silent Hill for the moment. But, sometimes, I can still see it in my dreams. James has made his journey. I can’t say the same for me. Silent Hill called me to answer of my past a long time ago. I suspect my journey will be a long one.
I have no idea what to talk about. It happens. I stare at the emptiness of a blank page, emotionless, thinking about that beautiful monologue from American Psycho.
“I had all the characteristics of a human being—flesh, blood, skin, hair—but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that my normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning”.
Here it is. This is one of the best things I wrote in my entire life and it’s not even mine. I can see myself in that description. It reminds me of my time in university. I attended classes, joined more than a social club, spent hours wondering in nature but I simply was not there.
People talked to me, stuff happened, the weather changed with a fast pace since the university was located on an island. I was merely a witness of what happened to me. I remember a hill that overlooked the entire town.
It was pretty popular, however I found out about that only during the second half of my first year. It was 10 minutes distant from where I lived. During the day, the hill was crowded. During the dead of the night (around 03.00 a.m.) it was the loneliest place in the world.
I used to walk all the way up with a torchlight and I seated on one of the three benches that overlooked the sea. At 3 in the morning even birds are quiet. My favourite time was when a full moon displayed in the sky. That was the peak. I didn’t even need a torchlight. I used to seat there for hours. One of the few times I allowed myself to be the real me.
Two years have passed and nothing truly changed. I don’t study but I have a job. That’s the difference. In both situations I try to do as little as possible.
Those years were lonely and I can’t help but miss them. I was 22 yesterday, now I am 24. Where does all the time go? Feel like I am living a fantasy and not a pleasant one.
I overlook the park and I leave. Somehow, I managed to write something. I sigh and I whisper to myself:
I have blond long hair, lively eyes that look like brown bottoms. A genuine smile with a major crooked tooth, a molar. I have a red t-shirt with a shark surfing in Ray-ban. Ripped short jeans, red snickers. I like what I see but it seems like there is something off. I know it’s me but it’s not the ‘me’ I am used to. I seldom smile and I never watched myself doing that. Suddenly I feel stupid. I try to assume a more serious look. This seems more like me. I brush my teeth. I spit water and blood. I brush my teeth again. I splash some water on my face to stay awake. Tonight is the night.
I leave the bathroom and I am disoriented. I know this place but it seems foreign to me. I know where I am and where every room is. It seems like I lived in this house a long time ago. I direct myself to my room that is just next to the bathroom.
I am on the second floor.
I tried to burn the wall of my room.
I live in a residence.
My best friend tried to kill himself.
I am in grammar school.
All these thoughts come randomly to my head. I am not sure if I should scream or simply stay quiet. I choose the second option. There is a particular thought that seems vaguely interesting.
I am on the second floor.
So it means there is a first. Maybe a third. Including the bathroom and my room (which I deliberately choose not to enter yet), there is a second room. I open the door. It’s all dark. I turn on the light.
A two-sized bed, a window, a television screen and a giant wardrobe is all there is. I notice a painting of a man with wings, covering his face with his elbows just above the bed. I assume he is an angel even though he seems angry for some reason. Before leaving the room I decide to walk all the way to the window. I can’t see a single thing. It’s all dark. Not really dark now that I think about it. There is some movement. Something completely grey sometimes appear simply to vanish the second after. It reminds me of a broken tv. It seems night but it’s impossible to tell. It could be early morning or it could be a late afternoon in winter. I look some more until my interest fades away.
I decide to walk down the stairs. There is a huge living room with a big television screen. A table made of crystal (or maybe crystal-like). There are no windows here.
I am home alone.
No one will be here until tomorrow.
You have dinner in the fridge.
No one cares about you.
You have a spare pair of keys.
Fridge. If there is a fridge there is a kitchen. I walk all the way to the main door, a giant portal. I try to look through the door hole. It’s the same as the view from the bedroom. Black and white. I almost can hear the buzzzzz from the television. But I can picture what it seems to be a garden. I try to open the door.
You can’t open it yet.
I try to push the door handle. Then I try to push it.
You can’t open it yet.
I give up. Maybe I could get in trouble if I go outside. On the left of the main door there is another door. I open it. A kitchen. A relatively small kitchen compared to the other parts of the house. A fridge, a gas station, a small table, a window, some storages boxes. I open the fridge. It’s empty.
No, it’s not. There is a bowl of rice and a plate with some chicken inside on the far left. There is also a can of coke at the bottom. I take everything and, for a moment, I have no idea where to eat.
Your room. Second floor.
I go upstairs. It’s pretty hard to walk with all that food on my hands. The door is ajar. I kick it a little and it’s open. There is a bunk bed, a television, some comic books on the floor (mainly Dragon Ball) and a desk with a chair. The desk is full of videogames.
The television is turned on. Black and white. Like outside. I sit on the chair and I eat my food but I can’t. I forgot my fork.
There is a fork beneath Dragonball number 7.
I pick up from the floor Dragonball 7 and there is (with my moderate surprise) a fork. I start to eat slowly. Then a sound.
It’s impossible to describe. It seems like a symphony but I cannot recognize the instruments. I look at the tv. 7 small spheres (at least they look like spheres) move in circle. The first thing it comes to my mind is they are souls. Then the spheres disappear. Letters take their places.
I look at it mesmerized. Did I turned on this thing?
I stop eating. I open the can of Coke. I drink a sip. There is a controller beneath other comic-books (I recognize Saint Seya). I pick it up. Now there are other words. They are foreign and I have some trouble reading them. I only recognize Konami. Then other music. Then other words. Then other music again and two words that stay for a long time on the screen.
Silent Hill 2.
It’s raining. Can’t tell if it’s the game or outside but I don’t care. I press X.
You are having fun.
Everything is alright.
Enjoy it while it lasts.
I start to play. Those thoughts I had gradually stop and I live here again. In the present. I smile.
It’s 2 am and all I can think about is killing myself. It is the most reasonable conclusion to end all of my problems. It’s dark and I can’t see a single thing. I visualize every object inside of my bedroom. A desk, a chair, a closet, a pile of dirty clothes that looks like a Christmas tree.
I vividly remember my Christmas day two years ago. I was alone in a house in the middle of nowhere. I bought vanilla ice-cream, chicken breast and one kilo of rice. I watched something on tv sipping a can of beer like a fine dry gin. Seems like yesterday. I had a good time. For some reason I cannot remember last year Christmas. Memory is a funny thing.
It’s too dark. I open my eyes and I close them. No difference. It doesn’t even seem I am living. I am in another dimension, floating inside a pool of negative emotions. I am almost sure I am not in the real world. It’s similar to the distorted vision of the hotel in Murakami’s novel or in Silent Hill II. There are no noises outside the window. My body is silent. It seems I forgot how to breathe.
Is there a solution for this?
Of course there is. I could stop drinking Monster. I could start by having a positive attitude. I could open up a little bit. Or I could die, living in this ethereal world made of darkness and silence. It’s not that bad. Nothing good will ever happen but, at the same time, nothing bad will happen. The risk is too big. At least for me.
This is the time I feel alive the most.
A place in the heart of darkness made only for me. No job, no talking, no duties… but also no happiness, no catharsis and no life. Mere relief. Maybe this is the reason why I don’t sleep at night. This is where I belong. I don’t want to wake up and join nonfictional life.
I want to stay in this distorted hotel of mine. Every time I am forced to leave it I experience a little death. I decide to get up from the bed. It’s like I have chains all over my wrists but somehow I manage to get up. I dress and I leave my room. Ii put my headphones on. ‘Little Dark Age’ is the first song on my playlist and I press ‘play’ without hesitation. It’s 3 am and it’s raining outside.
There is something surreal and magical in a classroom when everyone is gone. No one talks, no one breathes, no one is here. The sun is about to set and the walls assume a colour similar to orange. I can see the dust filtered by the sunlight moving across the entire class. I am always the last to leave. Staying here and listening to some music it’s a sensorial experience. Right now, my phone (a Huawei last model) is playing “Shiki no Uta” from Nujabes to increase the sense of wonder this place brings me. Suddenly, I remember my BC-41 inside my backpack. I grasp the knife and I put it just under my desk. It’s so beautiful. Just passing the cold iron on the palm of my hand makes me feel strong. Outside the window, I can see the high road flowing like a river cutting the park into two halves. The students are returning home. I guess it’s time for me to go and join them but I have no desire in going home now. There is nothing for me there anyways. Sometimes, I imagine how wonderful it could be if something like an apocalypse happened. Become the last man on earth. Or maybe there could be survivors too. Everything would be decided by the good, old law of violence. No police, no rules. If you are strong you make the rule. No… what am I thinking? This is already the case. This is how this world works. It is subtle but the law of violence is what determines this world. The survival of the fittest. Just because the concept of physical strength is not relevant anymore, social prestige is what gives you strength. Look at Takamura. He has social approval that brings him to be the favorite to everyone. He is the real definition of ‘strength’. More fame brings to more money that brings to more women. I want to be you, Takamura… Everything is so quiet down there. So quiet. Even the melody of the Nujabes suddenly sounds like it’s played in slow motion. ‘Sorry, have you seen my wallet?’ I cannot breathe for a moment. I turn towards the voice. A short combed over haircut is all I can see. It’s all messy now. He probably used a low-quality glue since only six hours are passed from the first lesson. I look with my hand for my earphones. Takamura must have removed it from my ear. ‘No, I did not see it!’ I almost scream. Suddenly, I remember I have a knife on my lap. Instinctively, I push my knuckles in the BC-41. Takamura is not the kind of guy who pretends not to see something. He probably didn’t see it. But still… ‘Ah… that’s a pain! There was no money on it but I need the documents for today. You know… I have the official weigh-in.’ Weigh-in? For soccer? ‘You don’t say! Have you tried looking under your desk?’ I ask trying to sound as sincere as I can. I don’t want him to be around me now. What kind of retard asks someone if they have seen their wallets? I could be a thief for all he knows. ‘Yeah… you are right.’ He walks all the way to the first desk, the one in front of the professor’s desk. My grip tightens. His expression is so worried and confused. It puts me in such a good mood. I put my phone and my earphones in my pocket and I walk towards him. The knife is small enough to fit my pocket and I hide it inside. I decide to follow him. ‘Did you find it?’ I ask. ‘No…’ ‘Don’t be too hard on yourself, my friend. Everybody loses something every now and then. When that happens to me, it really helps to remember where I put the thing I lost before losing it. It may sound like an obvious thing but it’s not. Where do you usually put your wallet?’ His head is still under his desk. I remove my knife from my pocket and I simply shake the point in the air. This knife is just too beautiful not to use it. The dust filtered by the sunlight gently moves from my cutting blows. Should I hit with the point of my blade? Or maybe I could start the game with a single punch. It’s been ages since I hit something with brass knuckles. I never hit a person. I wonder what expression he could do if I just punch his neck. I wouldn’t be able to see it. However, I am sure he will scream something in his pathetic low-pitched voice. The loss of blood would actually help him with his weigh-in. You always win, don’t you? Fucking Takamura. I am so close to him I can perceive his nose breathing. That’s a smart choice. I guess this is how the mind of a winner works. Nose breathing doesn’t allow you only to have a better cardiovascular system: it’s a good habit that helps you to have prominent facial features like a striking chin and a perfectly shaped jawline. As to prove my point, I look directly at his neck. You could cut glass with his jawline. Fuck it. I am just going to punch him to death. It’s almost there. There should be no problems. If he starts to scream too loudly or if someone gets close I could switch the brass knuckles to the blade version and end him with one shot. One and clean. The knife is approaching Takamura’s neck. I want to punch him just to break the ice but it’s like if the knife had a brain on his own; and it already decided to kill him. I can picture him smiling after winning his match, his trophy or whatever. I can picture him smiling and point the finger to the sky as if his success is not really his merit but it a will of some God. People like him make me sick. He should not be allowed to exist. ‘Hey man! You were right! It was under my desk!’ He turns around towards me so suddenly, his right eye faces the point of my blade. I would say there is a gap between one or two inches. His wallet falls on the ground. Everything becomes so detailed. I am focused on his eyes. They are black and small. It kinda reminds me of Mickey Mouse. He doesn’t seem to have any cornea; just an infinite extension of a black pupil. I pass the tongue on my lips. I have never been more excited in my life. All of a sudden, the insecurity I had while I was talking to Lilith is gone. I wish she could see me now. She will definitely be impressed by me. Still thinking about other’s opinions? ‘Shut the fuck up,’ I say but I cannot recognize my own voice. My gaze shifts to his lips. They are shivering. ‘What did you say, Takamura?’ He doesn’t talk. He doesn’t move. I guess Takamura is one of those. Lots of people think there are only two ways to deal with a potentially dangerous: the good, old ‘fight or flight’. However, many people just freeze and they do nothing at all. It’s a curious strategy. I always thought that in the moment you can’t avoid a fight you could always fight back. Even if you lose, at least you tried since they are gonna kill you in both cases. ‘Takamura…’ I claim his attention once again. ‘What the fuck did you say?’ ‘Nothing,’ he finally manages to say. I lower the point of the knife. He still isn’t moving. I slowly get closer to him, so our noses can touch. I have to crouch a little since he is shorter than me. His breathing is warm and irregular. ‘What are you doing?’ He asks me in his trembling voice. If this was a real fight, he would have already lost. I lick his cheek. He has no taste. How disappointing. ‘What do you want to do, Takamura? Be honest with me. Am I pissing you off? Are you willing to die, right here right now, just in order to prove your superiority to me? Want to try punching me in the face? Are you having that kind of fantasies in your head? Wanna hurt me?’ ‘I j-just want to go…’ I sadly nod, ‘Yare, yare. I thought you were like me. I guess you are like the rest of them. I should have expected nothing from you.’ He is still not moving but he is not shivering anymore. Did he stop taking me seriously? I grab him by his left hip, I cover his mouth with my hand and I cut his cheek with the knife. It’s not a deep cut. Only deep enough for some blood to come out. Of course, the guy is screaming. Good thing I was provident enough to silence him. I lick the blood from his cheek. Yes, now there is taste. Now there is passion. Just like Axel. Nothing good comes from peace. Art never comes from happiness. Fighting is the only real way to live this life. I quickly remove my hand from his mouth and I kiss him. There is a whole world of difference. The metallic taste of his blood is intoxicating. In a good sense. ‘Stop screaming or I’ll cut you for good. Don’t think you can outrun me. You sure are a prodigy when it comes to endurance running, but I can assure you I can beat you when it comes to sprinting. Do you understand? Move your head if you understand.’ He moves his head. ‘Good.’ I slowly let him go. ‘Of course, it comes only natural that you will never talk about this to anyone. Not a single person. Or I’ll hurt you. There is no need for you to worry about me. I got what I wanted. You are dead to me and I’ll never talk to you again. Is it all good, Senpai?’ He moves his head. ‘You can talk now.’ ‘It’s all good,’ he says muttering. He is going to leave the classroom. I’m almost sad. It was a while since I didn’t feel lonely. I guess I should thank him. ‘Don’t forget your wallet, Senpai!’ I grab his wallet and I throw it at him. He takes it. His hand is still shaking. ‘I hope your weight-in goes all smooth! See you when I see you!’ He finally walks away from the classroom. I return to my desk and I pick up my phone. I notice with a smile on my face that the Nujabes are still playing “Shiki no Uta” inside of my Huawei. I put my earphones on. Amazing how even music sounds better with Takamura’s blood still inside my mouth. I sit once again. The sun is not set yet and the classroom has never appeared so quiet before. So magical.
Come ho accennato nel post precedente riguardante il mio training arc e quello di Tanjiro, ho un ritmo di scrittura che sto cercando di rispettare ogni giorno. Senza essere troppo fiscale, miro alle 1500 parole al giorno. Non importa cosa scrivo: appunti per lo studio, questo blog o narrativa. L’importante è che lo faccio. Qualche volta, come oggi, mi sento particolarmente stacanovista e ho deciso di sforare.
Sarà perché sono stato ispirato dal tema musicale di Hank Moody.
Sarà perché ho finito di leggere Ham on Rye di Bukowski per l’ennesima volta.
Ecco un post leggero e senza pretese che da qualche delucidazione sul mio training arc. Innanzitutto, la maggior parte dei manga ha un ‘training arc’: ovvero quel capitolo dedicato alla crescita dei personaggi principali tramite duro allenamento. In questo post ho deciso di accostarmi a Midorya di My Hero Academia: un ragazzo che sogna di diventare un eroe ma che è nato senza poteri (ne ho parlato ampiamente negli articoli precedenti). Un giorno Midorya ha l’occasione di ribaltare la situazione grazie all’incontro con il suo idolo, All Might (per gli acculturati, Oromighto). Inizia così il suo duro allenamento fisico per diventare degno di ereditare il One for All.
Mi piace definire la mia routine quotidiana come una specie di ‘training arc’ del tutto personalizzato. Studio, scrittura, esercizio fisico e lavoro. Nel post precedente dedicato a me e Tanjiro (il protagonista di Demon Slayer), ho condiviso la mia prima storia breve che ho pubblicato in un giornalino gallese… niente di importante, ovviamente (quella rivista letteraria la conosceranno in cinquanta persone). Qui, ho deciso di condividere un’altra mia storia (in inglese) che non ho mai avuto il coraggio di inviare a un editore.
Così… tanto per.
Volevo condividere l’incipit del mio primo romanzo di due anni fa… ma ho deciso di dare questa storia al suo posto. Perché? Perché mi serve per una cosa molto segreta per un torneo Tenkaichi letterario segretissimo (chissà quale sarà…) In realtà l’avevo pubblicato ieri mattina, ma l’ho cancellato recentemente. Avere un traffico medio di tre followers aiuta in questi casi!
Comunque sia… ecco la storia breve. Solo per chi è interessato dato che non è il contenuto principale del blog. Il titolo è ovviamente un riferimento a Silent Hill 2. Non ci ho mai giocato. Però la soundtrack è fuori da questo mondo.
I can see the neon lights turn on, then off, then on again. The “t” seems to have a problem or two: it is slightly brighter than the others. This is the kind of place you think exists only in the movies.
I carefully observe my reflection in the dark glass of the building. Two frozen lakes under a cascade of blonde hair like gold. The neon lights shine through my red gold chain strap sequin plunge Bodycon dress by Armani. It is so tight I can barely breathe. I am wonderful. More than wonderful. I am divine. Too divine to be in a queue.
I am just a beginner. There is time…
Maybe I like what I see too much so I look elsewhere. The music changes. The pretty girl in front of me screams, moving her hands in the air at the rhythm. Her not-so-pretty friend timidly joins her.
I would be timid too if I looked like that.
The doors open and we are suddenly allowed to check out the inside of Heaven. You can see the red lights caressing the completely white surface of the dancing floor. A topless girl, as tall as you would think God is, swallows a shot in front of a group of guys and she spits the liquid on them. Her white high heels are of the same color as her skin. The boys in the group punch each other fighting for her saliva. The girls in front of me giggle and they breach Heaven. They disappear into Nothingness. Music changes. The doors are closed once again. I am next.
“Who are you?” asks the man who I reasonably think is the bouncer. His ponytail and his cheap perfume make me think he is a bum.
“Whatever you want me to be,” I tell him biting my lips.
“You look like 13.”
“So, what? Not young enough for you?”
I giggle as I say, “I don’t need one.”
“And why is that?”
I raise my left hand so he can see the mark. I have a smile that is projected just slightly above my elbow.
“I am with Mainyu.”
The bouncer doesn’t act too surprised as he opens the doors of Heaven for me.
“How much flesh is there going to be?” I ask with a smile. I didn’t want to talk to a bum like him but then I remembered that quote from that writer ‘If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors.’ I am so kind. I want to see his face illuminated by the kind words of a goddess.
He does not answer. My laugh dies on my face.
Why is he not laughing?
I hate him. I wish he would die in front of me. I am having difficulties to breathe as he is watching me without any expression of intelligence in his eyes. I’d gladly give my life to make him suffer. I would love to plunge my nails into his throat and drink his blood. But, I don’t. Instead, I say:
“See you on the other side!”
The doors are finally open. It’s my turn in Paradise now. The music increases its pace. I know the song. It is an old remix of the even older song “I don’t care anymore” by Jim Collins. Instead of the guitar, there are bongos.
You even wrote a song to show the world you don’t care about your divorce.
“SO FULL OF HAPPY THOUGHTS AS ALWAYS…” A hard-body with tinted blond hair wearing a black side-buttoned notched–collar wool jacket and a fitted cashmere turtleneck grabs my waist.
“WHY DID YOU MAKE ME QUEUE, MAINYU?” I shout to him and Phil Collins as he directs me away from the crowd.
“Oh-oh-oh, WHAT?” I ask irritated.
“Oh-oh-oh, look at you! You just entered the industry and you already want the special treatment! You really have some guts, doll!”
“I AM BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE! YOU SAID THAT!”
“SAVE IT FOR LATER, LILITH!” he interrupts me. I bit my lips hard enough to make them bleed. “I WANT YOU TO MEET THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE SABBATH!”
“ARE THEY MODELS TOO ?!”
He doesn’t answer. Why does he not answer me? The world is unfair and I am the biggest victim of all.
“Shut up! I thought we were friends!” I scream.
We reach the bar counter. I am on the verge of saying I need a drink, but I suddenly think that there are going to be plenty of them at the lounge. I just hope the people there know who I am. The music changes into a remix of The Demon Dance by Julian Winding. I love that song and the world suddenly appears to be a little more colorful. Once again, I have faith in life despite the horrible way people treated me.
As I try to forget the traumatic experience I have been through, we go upstairs and a bouncer who wears a Searls leather biker jacket and a Tobago patched jeans in blue waves bend the knee as he sees Mainyu. I get a little excited. It makes me wonder how long should I wait before people do that for me too.
Before entering the lounge Mainyu touches my shoulder. I can see the mass of people clubbing just beneath me. I grin. The lights of Heaven Night change color at the rhythm of the music. Blue. Red. Blue. Red. Blue. This is mine. This is all mine.
“This is not yours yet. Try to make a good impression,” he whispers to me as the Demon Dance begins to fade.
“This is our opportunity to make it big. You want to be a real model, don’t you?”
“I would do anything,” I whisper back passing the tongue on my lips.
“This is what I am talking about.”
The bouncer steps back and lets us enter. All I see is black.
“Are you food or sex?” someone asks me as I enter. Mainyu is just behind me. I try to reach his hand but he pretends not to notice.
“Christ! Refn! Can’t you see she is a girl?”
“So? There is a 50 percent chance…”
Heaven’s Night. All I see is light.The neon lights show the symbol of Mainyu all over the place. The smile. I can see them. Not entirely. The man wears a Ted Baker Tailored Fit Black Dress Suit. Short. Pair of glasses. New York’s accent. Maybe Hebrew?
The woman wears a Lani Dress as black as the color of her skin. Now it is red. Now is blue. Now is red again.
“I am not a girl,” I mutter. I hate myself because I don’t sound confident enough.
“That’s obvious. Girls do not wear sequin plunge Bodycon…”
I can sense my own insecurity. I am better than them. They are beneath me. The entire world is beneath me. Even God is beneath me. I should not feel this way. Mainyu laughs as he introduces me.
“She is Lilith. She is going to be the next big star.”
The woman smiles at me, “First Sabbath?” she asks.
“But not last,” I reply as Mainyu tells me to sit just next to the man called Refn. I know him. The entire west coast knows who he is.
“Nice,” he mutters as he fills four glasses with Champagne Dom Pérignon Rosé directly from the gift box in the limited edition released in 2005. I take my glass. I press my lips on the top the glass and I observe the print of my lipstick.
Damn, I realize with shock. I am avoiding eye contact.
“Now, just to make everything clear…” Mainyu says. “We have 20 minutes for the feast. The doors will be completely closed. The walls are soundproof. Lilith will stay with me. She is a first timer. Refn and Miki will be together. We will meet again outside. Doubts?”
No one says a word. I try to drink my champagne when Refn stops me. He shows me a pill in the palm of his left hand.
“Are you sure you want to club without Devi-Devi?”
I take the pill muttering a weak, “Thank you”.
“Just swallow it with a sip of champagne,” Miki tells me gently. “Just like a medicine.”
She is treating me like a daughter. I am doing it all wrong. I do as she says. My eyes roll. I take my hand to my mouth. It is not that bad. It’s colorful just like my future. It’s tasteless just like the animals dancing beneath us.
“Look at her face! She is like a doll! I love you!” Refn screams.
“I love you too!”
The others do the same. Mainyu, Refn, and Miki take the pill. At first, I don’t notice a single change. Then, my heart begins to race. The music begins to be even louder than before. Boom. Boom. Boom. The rhythm is unbearably fast-paced. The lights of Heaven’s Night are now red and red only. I look at Mainyu and he smiles at me. The masses of flesh beneath us continue screaming at the music.
“Are we having a party or something?” Refn suddenly asks. He swallows half of the Dom Pérignon bottle as he stares at the people. Then, he jumps from the lounge. I see Miki reaching him jumping into the heart of the crowd. I wonder what the flesh is thinking right now. I wonder how do they feel now that divinities left the Mount Olympus to join them in their miserable fun.
Now there is just me and Mainyu.
“Do you think I made a good impression?” I ask visibly worried. There is my future at stake.
“It’s too early to tell,” he says. “But I can tell Refn likes you. He has a thing for girls who didn’t even have their periods. Just like everybody else. Well, now that I think about it everyone likes you.”
“Perfect,” I whisper relieved.
The people beneath us continue screaming. However, their scream is quite different from before. It has more passion. More fear. More visceral.
“More ‘passionate’ I would suggest. Art always comes from suffering. Beauty always comes from sacrifice. Never forget that, doll.”
All those screams. All that red. All that music. I can’t stop myself anymore. I need it. I need to be part of the Sabbath.
“Shall we go?” Mainyu knows who I am right now. I wish I could say the same for me.
“Yes,” I say. “And Mainyu?”
“Thank you for this but don’t make me stand in a queue ever again.”
He smiles. No wonder his symbol is literally a smile. As I join the Sabbath I officially become part of Heaven’s Night.