We talked, briefly. Then the realities we'd finally come to grips with and uttered with shaky conviction strangled the air from our lungs and left us to dry heave yet again. Regardless of how little was said, each word still reverberates in the air like the echoes of a lonely voice from a mountaintop.

Her face contorted into nervous smiles and I suppressed not only my anger but my love for her, wilted as it may be. I tried to reconcile with myself to find some hidden jewel of resolution in all this angst and disharmony, only to find myself once again locking horns in a war of attrition between my slowly bleeding heart, the distance my thoughts have already travelled from this place and my own inability to find the mouth of this maze.

Words spun around the two of us and were left suspended in the air as blank and half-hearted statements of the stagnant status quo. A frozen prison we're both the manufacturers and prisoners of, wholly aware of these facts to boot, yet hopelessly lost on how to escape this predicament. Other than, well, abandoning everything. But after nearly six years, how can you let go without your flesh tearing off?

Perhaps there is still love here, but it's been cut into small, unrecognizable pieces and torn asunder, locked away in little boxes that litter our shared corner of the world. They are lost in a sea of similar boxes, hiding unspoken truths, slowly growing frustration, questions silenced by fear, words of endearment never uttered... So many things locked away and left to clutter the space around us. Between us. There is a very real wall here, a very substantial construct; one that stifles any attempt to speak freely and discourages the very thought of overcoming it by its sheer height. Make no mistake - all of this has been in the making for longer than I care to admit, but it's nearly impossible not to be crushed by the memory of how beautiful it all was somewhere in the annals of yesterday, no matter how sour and lifeless our gardens of stone have become.

Now I find myself living in an even quieter home with words drowning in sand before they pass through our lips, the only exception being that we've now established, vocally, that the breaking point has been reached and neither of us can draw the rabbit of salvation out of the hat. The heartbreaking feeling of warmth disappearing from our shared life is only emphasised by our civil and cordial behavior towards one another. It seems so contrived my spine twists like a headless snake.

Once, we were perfectly matched and beautifully aligned, more so than just about anyone else I've ever met, but no matter how many bonds we tied between us over the years, they are all crackling and snapping apart under the freezing cold. I doubt neither of us could truly pinpoint the whys and whynots, but it doesn't really matter at this point. We've come to a crossroads we simply cannot pass without pain and trial by fire. As hard as I've tried I can't see a way out of this.

The singular realization of how alone I truly am washes over me like an angry flow of mud while I sink under the surface by the weight of my own inability to find clarity. I feel numb, almost paralyzed. Writing these words down seems to mend my condition in some strange momentary way, as if I were applying a quickly dissolving bandage over an open wound. It's a remedy no matter how hollow, but one that is constantly overshadowed by an crushing sense of loneliness. That all this hurt disappears into a gaping black void of indifference and I'm simply a sucker for wanting to find something more. What I'm providing here by pouring my heart out, no matter how profound and heartfelt from my perspective, is nothing more than social pornography and a secure, distant window into my suffering. Reality TV down a notch (no moving pictures). I have no friends to call and there is no one to offer me any kind of sanctuary or comfort. That is not a call for sympathy, merely a statement of fact. I'm so tired of being strong in silence, strong on my own. Tired of being so completely fucking helpless to mend the situation in any way.

I have to gag myself so I won't start spreading discomfort by wallowing in my woes via whatever social channels are available and around me. I dread the notion of voicing what I'm going through, as I fear it would be nothing more than an invitation for ridicule and apathy to slam the door in the face of my silent search for compassion. Then again, would I deserve more? I find myself fighting a losing battle against an unbelievably idiotic yet frightfully strong sense of my self image. I don't want to come off as a whiny little bitch, so what do I do? Shut off. Clamp down. But then again, who would I open up to? It's a rusty merry-go-round rife with irony and jetblack humor.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

It's pathetic, isn't it? I can't even muster up the strength or conviction to open my mouth anywhere but surrounded by this blank space, groaning bitterly at the great unknown like a teethless alpha male shaking his fist at the mirror. As the prospect of isolation looms in the not-so-far distance, I find myself growing so angry at myself and how I've left so many of my better angels to wither at the wayside. Just about every relationship I've been able to build and maintain feels like little more than a fair-weather friendship and I'm locked in a complete standstill between my inability to trust and my quest for companionship. I suppose it's not all entirely my fault, but I can only speak on my own behalf.

Perhaps I'll continue the dreamtale one day. Perhaps not. Inspiration eludes me and I it. For now, it's for the best, as drawing even a breath of imagination comes at a high cost as every emotion I strip bare is instantly surrounded by shadows and thorns. All I seem to be able to do is let my conscious self fly away while trying to dig myself a little hiding place in oblivion. I feel like a complete coward. Perhaps I am nothing more.


The strangest dream, part I

I looked up. The sky was as blue as the Mediterranean sea, as soft as the softest pluck of the string in the most soothing love song. In the horizon, far beyond any length of distance I could imagine, a slowly moving torn blanket of clouds lined the edge of the world. As I watched it flow gently from one reach of my view to the other, I imagined an endless stream of formless nomads walking towards a land undiscovered. One they would never reach, eternally thankful of the everlong journey.

I peered down. I stood in black water that seemed to stretch beyond the furthest floor of the deepest point, flowing up into the sky on the other side of the world. It looked like a sleeping sea bathed in moonlight, quiet and calm yet so unyielding and impenetrable. So close you could reach down and pick the stars from its surface, yet so vast and mysterious you could never find its hidden treasures. An invisible enigma hidden in a glass jar. Your heart could freeze in awe as its immeasurable ends whispered silent truths about how small you truly are.

Yet I hadn't sunk beneath its waves.

The waters began to twirl and writhe as if trying to hide some ancient unquelled turmoil beneath a masque of slumber. Trickles of water flowed over my feet and between my toes like little serpents, silky and playful. I let out a shy, muffled laugh, yet grew quiet quickly as I realized no echo came to meet my voice. As I looked around for land to no avail, the dead wind swept to life, carrying a greeting.

"So you found your way."

A disjointed, furiously reverberating voice spoke with soft words from afar and close by, yet I saw no one. It was as if the voice stemmed from the sea, from the sky and from my own body, resonating wildly around me like a jolt of light shot into a room of mirrors. My head swung with fast, curious thrusts as I peered in every direction, then again, then once more for good measure. Only the still skyline was gazing down upon me.

"Yes," I replied with a trembling voice, "I believe it was the jackal that guided me here."

"Ah, that playful wretch," said the voice. "A hard one to tame, yet never a hair's length less than exactly what it is. Perhaps that is the lesson you seek here."

I looked around again, searching for my hidden companion. Then I suddenly realized something: the sky was as bright as a summer afternoon, yet the water was as black as midnight. Locking eyes with my reflection upon the water's surface I shuddered with shock and shouted: "Why is my hair gray? And my skin, why is my skin so pale?"

"We do not understand your 'colors' or 'time' here," the voice replied. "These things are alien to us. What we make here is what you make here. You guide us and we deliver as best we can."

"Perhaps this day finds you feeling gray and pale."

I rubbed my cheek and shook my head in confusion. Looking down to see if I had truly seen what I thought I had, it occurred to me that my right eye seemed to be glimmering. I crouched down and opened my eyes as wide as I could while exchanging bewildered looks with my reflection. As the faint sparkle grew and grew, I realized it was something rising from beneath the waves.

"He will help you," the voice said. "Have faith."

I stumbled backwards as a small human body flew from the splashing water and took to the sky with a trail of spatter in its wake. It tossed around and shook aimlessly like a leaf caught by strong wind, like a bird escaping from a lifelong cage. Then it suddenly stopped, turned and began descending towards me. Dripping wet, the being was white as ivory and stood no higher than the length of my arm, crowned with hair so golden it looked like fire in slow motion. It had no eyes or lips, no curves to carve or fill its body, no lines or wrinkles decorating its frail little shell. But in the strangest way... it seemed familliar.

A low, tender voice crept from where its mouth should have been: "Skin. Call me Skin."

I tried to reply: "But..."

Silencing me with a swift gesture of his hand, Skin sunk back under the waves and said: "First and foremost... first things first."

A flash of burning pain slashed my back as my body began to twist and contort uncontrollably. I lunged forward as my head pulled back violently, then the other way around. Grasping at the emptiness around me, I could only hear my teeth grind as my sighs became groans, then screaming. A rush of warm blood spilled through my skin and onto my back as the sound of ripping flesh and crackling bones made my stomach turn. My cries turned into a bellowing howl as my spit and tears trickled down, creating small rivers of spiraling technicolor nightmares with the streams of blood running down my arms and shoulders. I fell to my knees whimpering. My hands sank under the surface and the cold water shocked my senses.

I forced my eyes open and saw the silhouette of giant red wings pertruding from my body. Skin appeared again, twirling his hand like a magician at the apex of his most prized illusion.

"There. That's better."

Steeling myself, I lifted my head and stared at him. In his faceless face devoid of expression I saw a mirror for my own determination, spiriting me onward. My mouth widened into a ferocious snarl and a final tear ran down my cheek as I willed the wings to move. First a small wave, then longer strokes, then smaller sways again. My heavy breathing grew like a crescendo of white noise, so thick in my ears it sounded like the murmur of angry thunder.

Each motion whipped my shivering body with sharp agony, yet the pain was slowly becoming bearable. I clenched my fists so tight my nails broke the skin. I arose from my knees and then, ever so slowly, off my feet.

Skin signaled me to follow. Without hesitation, I did.