SHORT STORIES: Dressing Up
He lay with his pale face pressing heavily into the coarse texture of the carpet. He had spent the last two hours there, watching the clock hands slowly turn towards evening, trying his hardest to empty his mind.
But he knew full well it wasn’t possible. Why did he feel this way? How was he so tired?
He shuffled uncomfortably to redistribute the weight from his ribs onto his bare hip. His body ached so, yet he knew not why. He had done what the doctors said, he had strived for physical perfection, but somehow gotten lost.
Twenty past six. He would have to leave in twenty minutes.
He slowly sat up, and was dizzied by the feeling of blood rushing to his temples. As he tucked his cold hands into his armpits, he shivered and let out a meek whisper of distress. Why couldn’t he be what he wanted? Or at least what he was?
What to wear? Smart casual? Or something more baggy?
He stood up, only to sit immediately down on the bed. He stared out across the cold, dimly lit room, and another barrage of questions rolled in. Why hadn’t he written anything in so long? And why was he drawing these horrible cartoons?
He used to love going out. He used to love staying in. He used to love.
Pulling a creased plaid shirt from the drawer, a sense of disorientation comes over the young man. He cannot feel his right leg, and the extremities of his hands are operating without feeling. Does everyone feel like this? Do you get used to it?
He pulls the shirt across his meagre shoulders and slides on a pair of jeans from the corner of the room.
The whiskey poured from the neck of the bottle, and gently burned his throat. Physical feeling. Nothing more. Why was he never happy anymore? Why was he never sad anymore? Was he even human anymore? Was there anything he could do to help himself? Was this the solution or the problem? Why did he feel nothing? How had his life just become a series of appointments with silence in between? Was there anything more to life? Is this how people die?
He brushed his teeth hurriedly.
How could he escape this? Could he go back to how I was? Surely that wasn’t possible? Was he to move forward or backward? What terrible choices! How to handle another day! This immeasurable void! This acid within him! A vitriolic panic! Nothing more! Nothing more!
The doorbell rings and he walks calmly towards the door.
The fires burn but there is no heat. The caves deepen but nothing is ever found. The seed is watered yet there is only quagmire. The image is being deconstructed. The bath drained. The carcass gutted. The silence screams. A young man dying.
“You alright mate?”
“Never been better!”