a conversation with my alter-ego

I’m sitting in this room, having tea and scones with myself. It’s rather a very fancy space. Painted white bricks, a nice table, red velvet chairs. The tea is earl gray, and the scone comes with a little pot of cream. Of course, this whole set up has been stolen from one of my memories- how else is imagination made? I am indeed quite rusty at this process, for fear has been nagging it’s tail in my face. But today, emotion has prevailed and I can’t find myself doing anything else but writing- for it is all I can really make myself do. You got to always give something back in this energy exchange.  You take in the form of breath and space and time. You have to give back. It can be in the form of creativity, happiness, awareness… Anything pure. So, everything else has been crossed out on the  “giving” list, and writing sits there like an awkward child, waiting for me to claim him finally.
My alter ego sits opposite me, across the table. She’s been served the same as me: tea and scones. I want to say hello, but I’m scared and disgusted. She has my face, and it is really the only time I can fully see myself directly in real life. I have this narcassistic need to crawl up to her, look at her from every angle, but then I remind myself that she is not me. Right? Her name tag says Anthea.

“Speak,” The voice that comes out of her lips is of a higher tone, but of course it is, why am I taken aback? The only voice of mine that I’ve heard is but an echo in my defective human eardrums.

She crosses her legs, and I don’t. Before speaking, I really take a good look at Anthea. Her hair’s flying everywhere, as if no one had touched it in a year: mouldy, hay-like, half-black, half-yellow. But in contrast, mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick has been applied perfectly to her face. Two little ghostly shadows rest on her cheekbones: she is thinner than me. Her skin glows like a halo, her fingers are like a pianist’s, but a real pianist. Maybe she plays piano? She wears a huge white shirt with a blue circle- I recognise it. It fits her like a huge bag, it’s obvious how tiny her body is beneath that cloth, and it looks good. Not the way it looks on me. As she waits for my reply, she brings her hands up to the table, and graciously lifts the teacup to her mouth. Her arm is covered in porcelain ink tattoos, drawings of flowers and some other amorphous slightly dark shapes. The skin is pulsing and red and raw.

“Those new?” I ask.

She stops midway, and places the cup back down. The ding between the ceramic and glass table seems like it is made in heaven.

“Yes.” She speaks with confidence. “Who are you?” she adds on.

“I am me.” I look down at my hands. I’m wearing something I think seems familiar. “And you, are my alter-ego.”

“Oh no, no. You, my dear, are my alter-ego. I am original. A unique creation.” She replies, with that voice that just seems too abnormally high in pitch.

We both lean forward at the same time: I guess we do have the same brain with the same reflex-impulses. I stare into my own eyes.

“What do you do?” The words barely come out of my dry lips. I’m sweating and she’s stone cold.

“I’m an artist, a writer. I’m intense. I like adrenaline, and caffeine and rushes- I like extremes.” As she says this, she lights a thin cigarette that she allows to balance precariously before her food. She cuts the scone into a million tiny slices.

“I like my body to extremes- these bones, seeing them, remind me of my mortality. It’s what drives me to live my life. And the feeling of this smoke? It makes me lightheaded, and the fact that it’s slowly destroying me just puts me in the best mood for creation.” She says this, as she keeps the smoke lurking in her lungs. Her small, pinpoint breasts roll outward, then inward.

“You are destroying yourself to make art?” I say. I don’t know what to feel. This all sounds too familiar of an idea.

“I don’t know, really. This is all just so temporary. I’m just playing around like an alchemist, with these limbs, this face, this living breathing machine. I like to be in control. I’ve written books about my  emotions- killed my way to get up top. I have a girlfriend – I think she hates me, but also maybe secretly loves me. You see, I’m just oh so paranoid she’s going to run off, so I like to interrogate her, tie her up. In my free time, when I’m not networking, of course. That’s me, that’s what I do. There you have it.” She says all at once.

“Friends?” I inquire, almost desperately.

“Oh, so many. I get invited to parties, I’m an artist! A self-destructive manipulative artist, testing the limits- who doesn’t like that at a party? I have pictures of my friends, but I can’t really remember all their names, of course. Human memory is stunted.”

My whole body starts shaking and I stare at my veins portruding. She watches this happen but doesn’t speak a word. Goddamnit. I take the teapot sitting next to me and throw it right at her face. I want to watch her disappear, disintegrate like a projection. It hits her, and she bleeds and her head hits the wall behind. She screams. Fuck. Who made me throw that? Why did I throw that? I’ve never heard myself scream since I was 13. It’s a painful sound that cuts me to half and makes me forget everything but that.

She doesn’t disappear. She’s real and she crouches down on the floor, grasping her eyes. There’s no anger when she cries. It’s like she knew it would come.

Salty tears start building up and soon enough I’m crying, at the same rate as her, and in the same position.

“Oh, my alter-ego. Why are you so cruel?” She weeps and squacks out. Her voice is scratched now, patchy.

Those words hit me like ten blows. I want to say, Look at who you are. I thought you were who I wanted to be.

Then I look at myself.

I don’t say a word.

We spend the next thirty minutes patching up. We place the teacups, teapots, scones back to exactly where they stood. We clean the blood off the floor, we place the chairs where they were meant to be. We smell the flowers. Then, for last, we sit at our respective places and eat.

She looks more reserved now, as if scared to talk. Her cat-eyes glance at me, like a hurt creature. We both swallow the food. She takes smaller, planned-out bites.
“So what do you do?” She breaks the silence after an hour.

“Well…I’ve just finished school. I’m hopefully going to a monastery for six months. I’ve been trying to write my first book, but I’ve completely hit a block. I’ve been trying to be a good person, I guess. I have lots to do on my mind, I want to get it done. I want to help. But yeah, I wake up, have some food, try to be okay half the day, try to meditate, think of what to have for dinner. If I have to go out, I need to keep my heart in check: it races like crazy.” I reply solemnly.

It just spills out, as if someone had pressed some inner button.

“So in short, you don’t do much.” Her voice assumes one of a therapist, non-judgemental and full of hidden questions. I recognise that tone.

I nod.

“Did you attack me out of jealousy?”

I shake my head, after a moment of hesitation. Then I do it with more assertion.
As if some bell rang, we both get up in unison, with force, like little kids at the last class before break. She sticks her bony, pale hand out. I look at her once more. I only recognise myself in the eyes. I stick my hand out too, to shake her hand.

“I will never understand you, my alter-ego. How can you live this way?”

“Me neither, my alter-ego. How can you live this way?” I reply.

Before I can grasp her hand, and have some kind of closure, she disintegrates.

I, too, disintegrate a split second after her.

I can only hope to become a balance between the two.

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opal eyes

She always sat on the same swing, and no matter the weather or the day, he always found her there. Mostly still, hands wrapped tightly around the two chains like pillars and guardians by her side. When she swung in the air, the few rare times she did, her grasp would slightly loosen- and he often thought about how easily he could push her off. Did he plan on pushing her off? No, of course. Never. But it was simply a thought, in the myriads he had about the thousands of opportunities presented before him. He often thought of meeting her, but once again, it played out all in his head: as either a simple, “Hello, I’m Tom.” to “Hello, you baffle me everytime I pass this playground to go for work. I’ve thought of the many times I could introduce myself, and I guess this is it.” He never actually even dared to see her face. All he had to do was walk in front of the playground and not behind, but he was scared that too would ruin the moment, her moment. With her spine gorgeously upright, wood-colored hair tickling the swing seat, muscles tense, she seemed deeply engrossed or entranced by something. What was she staring at? Or was she inside the realms of her mind, just like him. So her, and the thought of who she might be and could mean to him always hummed like a bee in his head, disrupting the music coming from his earphones. At 9:20am, as he made his way to the office, he would witness the epitome of beauty. It was a moment in which he found he was most human. He was a simple human, searching for the beauty in life. And somehow, it had always presented itself to him in her form.

She always wondered who the footsteps belonged to. Everyday, when the sun took up a particular spot in the couch of the sky, a particular set of shoes would hit the ground. How could she tell?

She was blind.

She saw in different ways: the feeling of transparent heat tiptoeing from her lap to her arms, would tell her the whereabouts of the sun and whether noon had striked yet. She could pick up the movement and crunching of gravel and estimate the shoe size and heaviness of a person too. So just as she picked up all kinds of patterns in her life, she picked up this one.

It was a slower stride, the gravel moved languidly under the heavy soles. It was a man, she concluded, after the first 3 times of his passing. Sunlight would heat up her fingertips and that was the signal. Scrunch scrunch scrunch. Then there would be a pause. He was probably looking her way. She never turned around though, for she wanted to keep him spellbound, to keep her assumed beauty intact. Refusing to wear sunglasses, her blind eyes remained wide open, like two big milky opals dominating her face. They took all the attention away from her praised facial features, thus, ruining her to-be witchcraft on men.

And both of them went on like this, her hair melting down her spine, merging with tufts of silky clouds in the sky. Him, like a hungry beggar, following behind, yet never getting too close. Both too scared human touch and voice would interrupt the sacredness of the moment. Both never realising they had become each other’s highlight of the day, each other’s break-for-a-second, where breaths felt fresher and life, brighter.

She only ever heard him, and he only ever saw the idea of her beauty.

“Nothing gold can last.”

One day, when fall was undressing into winter, it got too cold and she decided to walk back to grab a coat. Picking the stick lying on the floor, she turned around a minute too early, for the sun didn’t shine that day. He was passing by, as usual. Both were slightly too slow to realise what was happening until a small gasp crossed the air between them. Tom pondered upon those eyes, then regained his footing and walked past her. He walked away, towards his office, and towards finding another source of beauty.

The next day, she didn’t sit on the swing, neither did he walk past it. And neither the day after that, or ever, in fact.

Like humans do, he moved on to the next spark and she moved on with life as if there had never been any interruption.

bip bop (lonely) future

stip

step

boots

stampeding

over

plastified

cellophane

faces

 

blip

blop

ro-

bots

you forgot

the smell

of books replaced by

blink, blink,

blank

screams

blank ego

inflation

(followed by deflation)

bright

light

bite my pride

like my fluorescent

lies.

 

scrip

scrap,

wrap

the world up

with

me

me

me.

 

mommy where are

the fish?

(the ocean seems

far too empty)

oh honey,

no matter,

only we exist (now)

scrip

scrap

the rest.

 

it’s only

us

us

us

and maybe

a bit

of

bip

bop

ro-bots…

A stranger and two enemies

The bus lurches to a stop. I press my coat against the suspended windows and I turn my head. The rain is sliding down, shimmering, running across the image of the moon melting into the clouds. The world is crying.

The bus doors open silently: they are trying to keep the sleeping passengers dormant. Carrying my bulky bag with both hands off the bus, my wallet drops on the floor. I hastily pick it up. Dropping it into my coat pocket, I notice two other strangers by my side. They’re busy. Or maybe they are just scared of being lonely. Either way, I shouldn’t care

 

“It seems like you don’t have an umbrella.”

One of the strangers glances at me, fleetingly. She has a curious glint in her eyes. Her tight platinum colored hair reflects green highlights. She lets me step under her umbrella and we start walking. A strange feeling of safety settles through my mind.

 

We listen to the pitter-patter of the rain.

 

“The rain’s telling us a bed time story,” she states, and I watch her rubbery boots hit a small puddle.

 

“You’re right,” I say after a moment.

 

I ponder over her statement again. The more I think of it, the more it weighs on my mind. I can’t decipher it.

 

We suddenly stop walking.

 

Together, we look around the half asleep city. Shards of sharp moonlight shine through the puddles. Our eyes trace the fluorescent rows of windows from apartments nearby. I feel my mind has stopped working. I can’t help but behold such sight.

 

The city is wrapped in the moon’s soft but firm grasp. Looking up, watery streetlights are delicately glowing. My eyes take in each detail, hungrily but cautiously. I am afraid everything will unfold before me too fast. I taste out all the sensations of the moment. Nature has just decided to put together two enemies, the rain and the moon, and made a miracle out of it. It is so beautiful. I lose my breath.

 

The stranger’s silhouette shrinks and I feel drops of moisture slide down my body. I raise my hand to say goodbye. She winks, one hand in her coat pocket. Just like that, she melts away from my sight. I slide my hands down my pockets too. The wallet is gone.

Plants, People & Music

I really adore plants, of any type, if that matters: young ones you can barely see and those that could almost overshadow you; dying plants, which cripple out complaints, and blooming ones that let out strange green auras. There are just so many types of plants; my head wants to spin in awe. There is so much variety, and they all live along together in a quiet flow of calm.

It’s especially refreshing when I find them in unexpected places. I’ll turn into an alley – and there’s a plant crawling up the windows – “Oh! How charming!” I’ll say to myself. I let its green tenderness sink through my thin skin and into my veins. Maybe at that moment, I can feel a little less worried from this life. Occasionally, the plants exhale a gentle blow of oxygen towards me as a thank-you – that is when I feel grateful.

At times, that even makes my day.

. . .

I hurry a bit faster towards the Yoshios’ apartment. Ms.Yoshio has asked me to babysit her newborn baby. Being slightly broke, I did not refuse such offer. I will exit that house with a bit more money. Continue reading