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1. Chapter 1 ~ Into the Gray...

Arkaven%s's Photo   Arkaven, 01 Aug 2012

 

   Relationships have always been a sore point for me; I had really never needed a physical one. When all of my friends were coupled, I would always be sitting with them like a poor unfortunate that was still waiting for his one and only. But it was never like that for me. The truth is, I liked being single. Not so I could go out on the lash every weekend and pull a woman, take her home, give her all I'm worth then wake up with a brick in my brain naked with a complete stranger the next morning. I just liked being myself. By myself.

   That's not to say I had no friends or, more importantly, that I had never been in love. I know how love feels.

   My first love was a girl called Hannah. I was seven at the time and we thought we were going to be together forever. Then she moved house, only a few streets away, but it was far enough to make us re-evaluate our future.

   Then I was in school and fancied all hell out of this girl. Of course she was the only one in her clique who was remotely nice to me. After I got punched by the school’s première-prick and she consequently gave me a pity kiss to make me feel better, I asked her out. It went around school like a pandemic and resulted in the worst two weeks of my life. Everyone had a good laugh with that one.

   Then came my third relationship, the one I like to think is the only real one I have ever had. I was in college this time, studying art. I had no real interest, but given the choice between learning something complicated or getting my pencils out, I was gunning for the latter.

   Bowden... If you want to be political about it, his name was Mr. Bowden. A substitute tutor and mostly a teaching assistant. Yes, he was a he. He was mid twenties; I was 18. I was of a legal age and he was breaking college rules. But hey, what we did in our private time, off of campus, was really none of anyone else's business, right?

   So yeah, my first proper relationship was with a guy. It was around this time I had a big early-life crisis. Am I gay, am I straight? Spent ages on porn sites trying to figure it out. In the end I turned the computer off and decided I just wasn't fussy.

   I cared a lot for Bowden, to the point I coined his surname as the name I'd call him by, like the American cliché you often get in books and films. There was never any doubt that my feelings for him were mutual, they were real! Alas he up and left, at break-neck speed, one day. All I got was a box full of my things that I left at his place, stashed in my back garden under a bush... as to not arouse suspicion. It wasn't completely heartless; I did get a note hidden in the bottom of the box saying 'Sorry, I have to leave.'

   After Bowden I came to my senses. I didn't need love. Everything you get out of a good relationship I could get out of decent friends... barring sex. Well, even that depends on the friends really.

   I had the occasional flings, mostly girls I knew from college. Not that I had a line around the block or anything. I just the odd few that added me on myspace or facebook and insisted we should meet up for a coffee somewhere, but I never let it get serious.

   Some said I was burned by love and I guess on some levels I was, but it just helped me see how unpredictable and unnecessary it is. Why put all that time and affection into someone when you don't know what they are thinking? Who is to say the next person I fell for wouldn’t outgrow me and leave again?

***

   Sitting here now sort of ruins the whole process of meeting someone and having a connection. My room's always dark. The windows are lightproof, the air is musty due to lack of ventilation, but the furnishings are above board. The bed is an old antique style one, lots of decorative engravings around the headboard and stuff. Same sort of theme with the dresser, bedside table and wallpaper, all old-fashioned. The whole room is like something out of an old film, the ones where there is hardly any background music; just plastic people walking around talking in monotone, so plain they make nuns look violent. I hate those flicks; They just don't work in this day and age. 'Shock, some big catastrophe tears a picture perfect family apart... the well-to-do daughter has fallen in love with the chimney sweeper and the window cleaner saw mothers leg!' It's all so tame it's about as emotionally gripping as the Teletubbies must be to a serial killer.

   I'm fairly sure this building is a hotel of some sort. I'm making this assumption based on this one room I have seen, because there is an en-suite attached. It only has a bath with a shower built into the wall, a small sink with new taps and a plain old toilet.

   It's always dark in my room, no television, no telephone, no toys, not that I could see them if there was. Yes, there's nothing to do but think. But my days do get broken up by the man who brings me food.

   When he comes in, the hall beyond the door is dark sometimes and light the next. Dark one time and light the next, continuously. I also know there is two of them. I don't know their names but I am familiar with the first one.

   He walks in with a tray balanced on one hand as he shuts the door with the other. He places the food on the blank surface of the dressing table, then he sits on the bed.

   “How are you feeling?” he asks.

   “Cold, I say from the corner of the room, my arms wrapped around my legs as I shiver.

   “Here.” He moves closer with a folded up knitted blanket and wraps it over me hooking it around my shoulders. Then reality clicks, like a switch going off, or a light bulb blowing. My imagination wasn't doing this, he is actually here, now, in the room with me. This is happening, live-action.

   He sits next to me for a time. There’s no way of telling how long for but after a while my mind starts moving in several directions again until eventually he stands and breaks the silence.

   “Your dinner is getting cold,” His voice is calm, smooth, caring, quiet.

   Standing up, I slowly climb onto bed and sit up. I can’t see him exactly but his outline says he has an average build. He is slim but with a strong frame. His short hair is cut suave and he remains nameless.

   The question as to whom this person was always felt somewhat irrelevant. He looks after me; that's all that really matters. He sets the tray on my lap and sits at the bottom of the bed.

   The scent of food wafts over my face and my stomach responds with a rumble,vibrating in my gut. I smile subtly as I pick up the fork.

   “What herb is in this?” I ask following the aroma in the air. My mind begins showing me pictures of plants and a dozen possibilities in the seconds before he replies.

   “Just something I found in the cupboard. Sage or something, I don't know. Remember to drink this first.” He hands me one of the two glasses on the tray. Seconds before I was certain it was empty, but as usual when he handed it to me it wasn't. This happens at every visit. It's always too dark to see what it is. I can't smell it, I can't taste it. It feels like milk only thicker, and magical. It does something to me. The room changes, but I know it's only the way I was seeing it. I stare down at my meal, a fork in one hand, a glass in the other. He had arranged curly sausages with chunky chips, peas and gravy.

   The black of the room appears gray. The drink turns the darkness invisible. I can see him. It’s like I am seeing him for the first time, although I must have seen him before, because this has happened before... He is handsome and not at all like he appears to be in the dark.

   He has an energy sizzling through him, but I can’t tell what colour it is. It looks white at first but shifts to red and when I recognize it as red, it turns gray or white again. It is like each eye is seeing a different colour and they are both fighting to show me what they perceive as real. Everything turns a white-gray and it changes it’s pitch and depth depending on what I focus on. All I can see is a sea of shades of gray.

   It all feels strange, surreal, but deeply relaxing. It is like my drinking that stuff makes everything I look at unreal. It's all in my mind, but it's there, I can reach out and touch the bed covers. He is within arm’s reach. I could poke him in the arm or feel the texture of his skin. It doesn’t look real; nothing looks real. The prickles of his shaven neck and cheek don’t feel real. I snap my hand away from him. The drink is strange and it's effects are alien, but I always drank it anyway. This is the only way I can really look at my carer, not that I will remember after I awake from my sleep into darkness again.

   The other drink is always something more familiar like orange or tea, sometimes coffee but usually just water. The meals vary too but it is always something good.

   “How long have I been here?” I say aloud as I break the curled up meat with the side of my fork.

   “Little over two months.” His voice is almost apologetic, like he is sorry. The me in my mind was someone who would laugh, make a joke out of it and press for more information, but I don’t need answers from ‘that’ him, the him that was there that I can see, through the dark, and touch. I don't want answers from ‘him’. If I want answers I would wait until I am alone and see myself talk to him properly.

   I don’t want to speak anymore. My food has been eaten and my drinks are now empty glasses. The last thing I see is him leaving with his tray as I curl up to sleep.



I hope that my take on things hasn't confused anybody.

I really enjoy writing these stories and it's something I intend to go back too soon. Feedback is always welcome, (When it's nice, xD)


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