A waste of paint:
I have been sick for a very long time. It is not the kind of sickness that requires me to be hospitalised, or even given special treatments. I do not need needles stuck into me, and rarely a test will be taken to help cure me. I am sick all the time. My bedroom looks like that of a sick person, tissues, and clothes. Piles of books have tumbled and fallen, old dishes left to mould.
I haven’t left my bedroom in a week. It is the longest I have stayed indoors for a very long time. I might infect the family, that if I open the door my pores will open too and swirl through the air and into the lungs of everyone.
Instead I stay in sanctuary, a small space with black and white walls and a little window where I watch the rain pelt and hear the wind gasp. The grimace of winter crawls through the gaps and strokes my arms silently. I will keep my curtains closed from now on.
I have not left my bedroom now in nine days. I have found something I thought I had lost. I feel ideas lace themselves across my mind and my fingers itch. I saw the image of a couple, so immersed in love they gazed into one another as police powered toward them in riots. I carefully draw their outline and pour my own longing into them.
I feel the need to tidy. I bag and bin the clutter I was hoarding since childhood. I find my guitar tuner and decided to play. As my hands grip the cold neck my fingers align themselves perfectly to make a chord. I play until my thumb blisters and my fingers have perfect ridges of hard skin, puckered and bloody.
Day 11: I have been immersing myself in music. With my heartbeat and harmonies pounding the noises make sense to me. I have spent my day collecting lyrics, bits of words that are important, that could even change the world if I could only feel them. I will change my world with one idea: paint and music together. Red and black are the colours that will release me into a creative revolution.
The colours slide into one another, making a neat swirl of solid black and slimy red. Merged together but still completely separate. I had made a sketch, a white portrait of myself in the middle, blank and expressionless. The room of the sick person is material. I use cotton wool and dip it into the paint. The colours never become one, black on top of red, red on black, splodges, dots. I no longer feel dominated by illness; I want to feel the paint. Trembling I rub the dripping cotton on my twig arms. Sighing from relief, I place my index finger on to the plate and feel the cold sensation rise up my hand. One by one my fingers slip into the splatter. I push my palms together until paint starts to surge out of the gaps. I run my hands over my face. I peel my nightshirt off of my lean shoulders. I stand in my underwear and run my sopping hands all over my body. Clavicle, chest, my stomach, thighs and legs. I feel the colour sink into me and dry through my flesh. I feel pity for the canvas in front of me. It can't be art anymore. I am art. I laugh.
Suddenly for the first time in days, I hear a knock on my door.
Over the telephone the squawking and spitting seemed to accumulate in a downpour of incomprehensible drivel. My mother, hanging up had ripples behind her eyes and her puffed out cheeks with violet and blue veins spotting and breaking as her lips curled into a smile.
“Oh I am glad you’re finally home!” elated, she said.
Putting my bag down, I heard my spine pop as she launched into a silvery tale,
She told me she was taking my siblings and moving to Australia with my step father in 12 months. There they would begin romantic new life together going from destitute poverty on the beach to multi successful business pioneers where her two golden haired children would make friends with Koala bears and ride in Kangaroo’s pouches.
“But I have a life here!” I exclaimed as lists of faces, places, my relationships and aspirations swirled around a future that was trickling out of my pores in nervous perspiration. Mid reverie, she interrupted,
“Oh you are being over dramatic,” she replied picking fluff from her dress.
“You’re not invited. For one you are far too pale skinned.”
4 o’clock in the morning:
I feel terribly alone. My calendar has started to curl and yellow from cigarette smoke, each little ink line began bleeding into one another.
I have taken the time to tailor a world just for me on my computer. I have over 300 ‘friends’ on my Facebook page. I am top of the league on most of the games and the best part of it is that I don’t have to discuss my interests with other people, but merely ‘like’ them. And they like them back!
I have even created a blog about the plot holes in Doctor Who and now I have 50 followers who debate and read every word, every line. There is a little button on the side in the shape of a heart that turns red when you click it; it means that you agree with what this person is saying. I think they really do like me.
I have made playlists to share at the push of a button. One for driving, one for walking, one for falling in love, one for breaking up, one for being born and one for dying. Really, there’s something for everyone.
It has been a long time since I first took the tentative plunge online and cultivated a digital world for myself, but even as time passes I still can’t help but feel these strange pangs of unknown desire.
In a caffeinated haze I stuck my USB cable on my tongue and plugged the other end into the computer, hoping that my body would be pixelated and thrown on to someone’s screen, we would travel through internet, them and me. Instead I got a nasty shock and had to have a lie down.
One day, when it all just got too much and the pangs became bludgeon’s in my stomach, I texted my mother for any wisdom she could impart after her years of raising children and interacting in this world.
“Son,” she gently said. “Have you ever tried going outside?”
Confused, I replied “Is there an app for that?”