December 1998

Close your eyes

Close your eyes. You see the night spin around. People calling out your name. Hovering on the periphery of your vision, they sway and snarl and form into bizarre warped street lamps, giving out a fake glow. Like a Ferris wheel. An amusement park. The spokes on a BMX- shattering out fragments of sound and light.

You have drunk too much this night. Somebody's cheap gin mixed foully with coke. It slickers and burns down your throat and becomes acid as it hits your stomach. Your insides retort upwards, but you hold the nausea back. Clench your fists and smile through your teeth...

The vortex swirls more -- a demented maelstrom of laughter and vomit and sticky air. You start out again from the ditch in which you just pissed, but you fall over half way toward the conversation. You half see stinking beer being passed around, a hand come down to your armpit to hoist you flaccid back to your feet, a pat on the back that sends you reeling again, spinning on your heels like a slap-stick dancer. The girl standing next to you is flirting outrageously with you, slugging closer, laughing a breathy stale laugh in your ear. She is all teeth and breasts. You let her touch you. But it's not long before you're off again, surveying the surreal surroundings. Even the hanging air smells like liquid -- melting like condensation over everyone -- making them look and sound and feel like murky amber. You wade over to a friend, and stumble through a sentence before he gets up to leave. Close your eyes. Look at yourself.

This is some way to celebrate the last night of your last stage performance at school. A performance in which you starred- paced the stage with flair, with talent. You were truly alive under those throbbing lights, with the heavy presence of an audience in the palm of your hand. Commanding. Delivering. You were good, probably the best on stage. Close your eyes now. Imagine that feeling. Crisp, clear clarity. The sharpness of your breath. The way of life it presents. The way there is no limit -- an endless sponge. Now you're here. Stumbling around in the dark. Cheap. All because of one thing.

Close your eyes. Because what you are watching cuts you -- it tears at you, annihilates clarity -- as you pick up another drink, grasp it, and steam it down. The guy you have liked and thought about for an eternity is kissing a girl -- around the corner beside the pool. And they look perfect. Perfect, as their bodies become twined and warm together, as their lips part and mesh. So perfect, so easy.

You want to throw-up, to hurl the chair across the pavement -- grab your biceps and scream. You want to. You want to run, and run and run, and stumble and shiver, and ply them apart. But even that is not allowed. You want to tell everybody that you liked him first -- run around and badger everyone on the shoulder with the news, just so they couldn't get it wrong. You want to. You want to lose your voice, cut off your hands and throw them in the bin, lose all your future for the injustice. The travesty of perfection. They are perfect. But perfection is prohibited. For you.

Just close your eyes, drink your drink. Hold the clarity of the stage, your fake obsessive world, where life is reciprocated, like a flickering memory. Close your eyes.

Life continues on the inside.



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