I emptied my stash from my tattered 5 string acoustic and began to play the opening notes to Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana. It’s a solemnly sweet song. Melancholy; perfectly representing life as whole, rendering all memories contemplative, second guessing the nature of music, love and life. I feel the calluses return to their former blistering formation atop my outstretched bony fingers. Like one of my own, I clean her, dusting the base, the body, the neck with the outstretched sleeve of my tattered trench coat and using the last of my saliva to rub away her marks of poverty. Gently caressing the frets with my loveless touch, I begin to weep.
I have not shed a tear in a while. A once lost feeling of moisture returns to my blistered eyes. It is cold, and I am alone. Though I hear the call of the intoxicated youth from the streets adjacent, I feel as though I am the only man left alive in the world.
My chest soon curls to meet my sharp knee caps as I shiver through the night, companioned only by a friend who has since forgotten what it means to be alive. I feel the sheer malice of Mother Nature’s coldest breathe gnaw at my weary limbs, my bare skin and my open wounds. I feel my stomach twist as my mind dives into the depths of its own despair. I sleep, knowing that I will ultimately only awake to the same grim nightmare.
Though I sleep, I sleep not soundly. The roar rises among the busy streets of Leicester and my eyes soon open to a sight I had not expected. As I look over to my faithful friend, I see a tattoo has been forced upon her with a permanent marker. I rub and I rub but alas she is still marked. It seems someone took it upon themselves to name my companion.
The mysterious artist remains to be seen, but as I scan the overtired public running errands in the early hours of a late December morning, rushing to work or to catch the bus from one of the many stops along Charles Street. The death of a year has come. The death of a decade has begun. I call it: December Mourning. The blues surrounding the year’s weight begins to subside for the majority of the public. The stress of cooking and cleaning for, and since dining with, the remains of their desperately depressed relatives and especially close friends and neighbours, has passed. They all turn their glance onto the new year, and henceforth: the new them.
Some look to improve their health or social standing; others seek to match the conventions of modern beauty in the many sweat pits, or atop the power stages throughout the city and beyond. I hear the piercing screech of an Alto Saxophone over the pitter-patter of rainfall and the gossiping groups of young girls holding their Starbucks coffees, keeping distance from the businessmen in their suits holding their Starbucks coffees.
Timidly, I roll out the last of tobacco for the day, as passers-by share their second hand riches with myself and the other unfortunate souls left out to bare this Winters kiss. One man bestows upon me a five pound note. I bless him with my gracious thanks but he looks on, never turning back to see my smile. He needs no justification to perform good deeds; he is just good. Kindness flows through his very veins from a first impression, yet I know nothing of him: his name, his family, his life. I must just guess; I must only observe.
I watch those who know and those who don’t with a different gaze. Those who know, know never to look back. Those still searching aren’t sure what they’re looking for. I feel the weight and sickness of depression strike me once again and I bow my head.
I wish I could sleep.
I wish I was dead.
The whistle and roar of industry rolls on as I roll onto my side. It hurts to breathe. It hurts to think. It hurts to think about breathing. I ache from top to toe. My head feels like an anvil. The pressure of this worlds gravity presses my head into the ground and my tears dry from dehydration. I wish I could go home; but my home is gone forever.
Why do I feel as though I’m being punished. Was my misdeed to live without regret, or to then regret living. Am I wronged in my own suicidal endeavours. Did I cross a cosmic line that I can’t go back over? Did I anger you Lord? Did you forget me all this time?
“When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers” ~ Oscar Wilde