Tuesday, Sept. 29
I haven't written anything in a week.
Not since the day I introduced you to Law and I was sure he'd steal you because of that glow between you and him. A week has passed since you came to my room to prove me wrong.
You came to my white room to save me.
How come I haven't written a single word since then?
I just realize that the only time I write is when things are fucked up. I'm browsing this journal, and it is full of fucked up moments. My depressing 'Journal of Fucked-up Things'.
I'm not like that anymore.
I haven't written anything in a week because, against all odds, this last week has been the best week of my entire life. And I just now realize that I simply used to skip the good things that have happened to me. There have been good things every now and then; I just never wrote them down.
I didn't believe in the good things.
Good things weren't meant for me and would be taken away from me sooner or later. Usually sooner. And there was nothing I could do about it. I didn't want them to be in this book to remind me of what I'd lost.
I'm starting to believe in the good things now.
I let them show. I look at them.
It was blindingly scary at first, white flashes whenever I tried to open up to them. The first one almost burned me. It was when Annie called me a good person who deserved happiness. A massive flare-up, close to physical pain. But I withstood it. Because she meant it. Because she believed it. No flickers.
She is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and she believes in me.
And though it still feels as if the ground opens up under my feet to swallow me, I'm willing to believe in the good things in return, because that's all she's asking for... a little faith.
My hands are shaking as I'm writing this.
She believes in me. After everything she's learned about me. This is big!
Not pink and yellow big, but God... it is a mighty wave, and I'm not afraid of drowning anymore. I'm only afraid of losing her, afraid that she could disappear.
Yes, I still brace myself for the day she'll leave me.
Faith – it's not easy. But I try, I really do.
I'm starting my 'Journal of the Good Things' today.
Beginning with my chronicle of the previous week.
For you, Annie. Because I owe you.
And because I WANT to have something to remind me, once you'll be taken away from me again.
At least it won't be as if you'd never existed...
Tuesday, Sept. 22
(7 days ago)
I'm trying to write more coherently than I used to do. I want all of this to make sense when you read it. Because I think you will read this one day. I know you've read my journal before; I saw it in your patterns when I took it out that morning in your bedroom. The sight of it did weird things to you. I didn't intend to read you like that, it just happened. I'm always too open in your presence.
I don't mind that you read my journal. I want you to know me.
This is new too, not wanting to hide. Not being on guard all the time. It actually stretches back to include our very first conversation on the train when you encouraged me to talk about myself. Do you remember your talking lesson? You were killing me, Annie. You ripped me open before I knew it. From the very beginning, I was at your mercy, unprotected. I can't remember when I had ever been that unshielded before, but somehow I was able to deal with it.
It was a miracle. I loved you right then.
Every day with you is full of miracles. But I still can't wrap my head around everything that happened that day when you came to my room and told me that you wanted me to be myself with you. I feel like I'm starting my life all over again, like I'm starting LIFE finally.
I'm a newborn. I feel like I died and was reborn. It was a nameless relief, but also a searing pain... like drawing in the first lung-ripping breath when breaching the surface of the water in the nick of time. It burned.
If it wasn't for you, I would have never dove that deep in the first place. But I would have done anything you'd asked, no matter how frightening the idea. I was willing to do whatever it took to keep you in my life as long as possible, or drown trying.
Because I had fucked things up so many times that day, I could hardly believe you were still there with me. After asking you to be my girlfriend, like you were a High School girl? Panicking like a deer in headlights when you found out about my synesthesia? Acting like a goddamn psychopath when I saw that thing between you and Law? Not to mention my numerous failures of the day before.
I couldn't handle my unshielded self. The stream of perceptions and sensations scared me, but I couldn't keep it from flooding in. I was excited and intimidated and love drunk. Oh, so love drunk. And then I saw the two of you together, and I just lost it.
I'm sorry about the way I snapped at you and Law. I'm sorry I took it out on both of you.
You asked me about the Black. It's hard to explain what it is.
What do I see? How does it feel?
Do you know the feeling when you get up too quickly out of bed in the morning? That almost-blackout? The brief moment of nausea and weakness? A little like that. But most of all it is a helpless anger. Like being unjustifiably attacked or punished for something you haven't done, without any chance to get things straight. You know that things will get worse if you don't stay calm, but you can't help it.
A desperate rage comes over me, and the world turns into a colorless, black and white scenario with just very little light left. It gets harder to breathe, like a heavy weight has been put on my chest, and I literally want to kill someone. As if shedding someone else's blood could stop the unfathomable threat I am subjected to. There's no reasonable thinking.
It is very physical. And it is very dangerous. I hate it. I hate what the Black does to me, and I hate myself when it happens. It's a monster, existing somewhere inside of me, and the Black unleashes it.
I don't want to be a monster.
But as for Law, I was right, you know? He has a crush on you, or maybe he is even in love with you. I don't know. We don't talk about it, but I can see it. He's not doing well these days, and I know we should talk, but I'm still fighting the Black. I'm getting better at it, but there's no way I can sit down and have that conversation with him, now.
Is that jealousy? I don't know. I've never been jealous before. But he is so much better for you than I am, by all means. How the hell could I ever compete with Law?
He is so easy to be with; I don't even know why he is still single – apart from the fact that his crazy nephew is probably keeping him from having lady visitors. He never says that he regrets taking me in, but I'm quite sure he does. Sometimes, at least.
I'm running off track, right? Please be patient with me, I'm still practicing to write more consistently.
I just realized we made love five times that day.
Once in the morning, after I had almost scared you away with my stupid girlfriend question.
Then in my room... I never knew it could be like that. Maybe I will find the words one day to tell you what it was like for me. But I doubt it. It changed everything for me, it changed ME. And then I couldn't get enough of you. I couldn't get close enough to you. And for some unfathomable reason, you felt the same.
And then once again, after you'd met Lu (What was it with Lu anyway?) and I'd met Alice, in your bedroom.
Jesus Christ, five times in one day? That was five times more than I had ever been intimate that way with a woman before. To be honest, I had never been with a woman that way before.
I didn't tell you. I don't know, maybe you'd be uncomfortable, knowing you were my first?
I didn't want to stay that night, but I literally passed out in your bed. I was so exhausted from everything, the good and the bad events of that day. The sex, yes – that too. And the crying.
The crying was confusing. I never cry, not even when I was a child. At least I don't remember it. So this is new to me... The crying was very exhausting, physically and mentally. It wasn't good or bad. It was just somehow right. Like taking a shower though you don't feel it's necessary, but then you look at the turbid water running down the drain and you know it was about damn time to get rid of that shit.
It was dark when I woke up. You were sitting there like the night before, watching me. And there was my backpack next to you.
Instead of shaking me awake and sending me home, you drove to Park Road Village in the middle of the night to get my insulin. You had borrowed Alice's car and knocked Law out of his sleep to make sure we could wake up in each other's arms the next morning.
God, I loved you so much that it hurt.
Good things I skipped:
It was a good thing that the kid I had beaten to a pulp two years ago didn't die of his injuries.
If I had killed him, which had clearly been my intention, I wouldn't have been able to live with myself. And I would, without any doubt, be in jail right now. Or maybe I would have killed myself. Either way, I never would have met you. So yes, I'm thankful he survived. Even though he was an asshole.
I love you, Annie.
And I'm getting better.
(6 days ago)
We said goodbye at the station in the morning, and when I watched your train depart, it was like I would never see you again. I didn't tell you after, but I had a severe panic attack right there on the platform. It was bad. It was ridiculous. But there I was.
I wished you'd left me something of you, like a souvenir, something I could touch with my hands. Something to witness that you existed.
I mean, of course I knew you existed. But I couldn't feel you anymore; and I needed that. My newborn self needed guidance, needed you to be with me. I felt so exposed to everything. I was lost. I was disconnected. The fear was back in an instant, and it was worse than I remembered. I wanted my walls back, but none of my mental exercises would work.
I sat down on a bench, because my knees were shaking so badly, and stayed there, looking down at my shoes for thirty minutes or so, trying my best to shut the world out. As soon as I could trust my legs again I walked all the way back to your house. I needed to see it; I needed to touch the solid wall next to your front door to assure myself that the few last days hadn't been a dream.
I didn't tell you any of that, it was too embarrassing and I didn't want to creep you out. I stood there, with my hand on the wall, staring at your name next to the doorbell, like I was possessed. But it helped, touching and seeing some evidence that you were real. I took courage from it.
I know I said this would be my journal of good things. But it's not like I could just snap my fingers and everything becomes new and perfect. No, definitely not. There were several more relapses since Wednesday. But that first one hit me hard, I just hadn't expected it.
It was Alice who saved me. I heard someone call my name, and when I looked up, I saw her waving down from your balcony. I didn't recognize her at first, because she didn't have hair. She called down to me, asking whether I'd like to come upstairs. I nodded yes without thinking.
I didn't wonder what to say to Alice or why she was in your apartment in the first place. I didn't care about being late for work. I just knew that up there was my chance to make you even more real to me. Maybe I could find something to take with me, some small item I could borrow to help me make it through the day. Or maybe I could just collapse on your bed, blank out my brain and keep on inhaling your scent until you came home.
I stood in your living room like an idiot while Alice whirled around, talking nonstop. She almost looked like a man that day. Almost. She wore jeans and a wifebeater with a tight knot in the front so her belly was exposed. She had wrapped a bandana around her head. And of course she had hair, but it was ultra short. Still, her nails were bright red, and I'm sure she wore mascara too.
It was disturbing to look at her. I immediately steeled myself for the onslaught of static, all fake that she was. But there was none. She was genuine and pure. Absolute integrity. She didn't pretend, she just was. She was pink and yellow.
I didn't get a single word of what she was saying, I just stared at the colored dots as they dropped off her body with each of her dance-like gestures, leaving shimmering pink and yellow vapor trails in the air. They were brighter when she raised her voice in the middle of sentences, and seem to fall to the floor and bounce when she dropped the tone at the end, in that special lilt of hers.
I only noticed I was grinning at her when she suddenly put both of her hands on my shoulders and asked, 'See something you like, honey? Or what earned me that panty-dropping smile?'
I answered truthfully that I indeed liked what I saw. She responded with a high, clear laugh, and I joined in because the whole room exploded with pink and yellow sparks. She asked me whether I was sure that I was straight, and we laughed even more. It felt good to laugh. She said that you had asked her to paint your bedroom. I agreed to stay for awhile and lend a helping hand.
She is amazing, Annie - a happy pink and yellow person!
I was immediately comfortable around her, it was crazy. She told me that the first name in her passport was Eric, but she adopted the name Alice for her drag queen career, so she was Alice Northman now. She said Alice was her favorite character from Twilight. She winked at me as if we were partners in a giant conspiracy, and I pointed at the dog-eared book on your shelf and asked if this was it. She nodded yes, and I shrugged and said I didn't know anything about it.
She looked at me as if I had lost my mind. She was virtually scandalized that I hadn't read it. Then she kept on chattering like a wound-up toy for more than half an hour about vampires and wolves while I helped her cover the bedroom floor with a plastic tarp. I told her that I had tried to borrow your copy, but without success. She giggled and offered to lend me hers if I would help her to carry your couch downstairs, which she pointed out was now her couch, and I said, 'Deal!'
When we had managed to maneuver the black monster down the stairs and into Alice's place, I must have muttered something like, 'I wouldn't miss that thing and its noises'. Alice laughed, thrust a bucket of wall paint into each of my hands and told me that's exactly the reason why you didn't want it any more. Because of the noises.
I swear, my heart skipped a few beats.
And Alice had noticed it too. I saw it clicking in, and then she narrowed her eyes and whispered conspiringly, 'It is you, right? She gives her couch away because you don't like the noises.'
I knew she had to be right, but I was too dumbstruck to answer. I stared at the paint buckets in my hands and the big letters on their lids. 'Ultra Pure White'.
I had a sudden adrenaline rush.
Alice was dancing through her apartment, searching for something and giggling. Finally she returned to me, tucked a book under my arm and lightly patted my ass to indicate that we could go upstairs again now. I didn't even mind that it was a little too intimate of a gesture; I suddenly felt all pink and yellow myself.
I couldn't believe you were doing this. Was it about me? What did it mean – a place in your life?
Alice was positive about it. She said you had to be quite besotted with me if you already cared about species-appropriate keeping. I swear, those were her exact words.
I wanted to believe it too, because this was way better than just sneaking away with your pillow or something. Knowing that you were doing this for me carried me through the day.
It was a damn good thing.
Only comparable maybe to the moment when you surprisingly showed up in the middle of Lu's Lieder recital that night... your face, and the look in your eyes, when you watched me play the piano.
Good things I skipped:
It was a good thing that Law came into my life.
I never even knew that Mom had a younger brother until he suddenly was there to bail me out of jail. I wasn't very grateful. I didn't trust him, like I didn't trust anyone. He suddenly appeared out of nowhere and said he'd been rambling around for years, until the motorbike crash had put a sudden end to his globetrotter existence. The way he talked to everybody concerned with me and poked his nose into my records annoyed the shit out of me. He got me a lawyer, against my will, and somehow convinced the court to let me fulfill my charitable work at Park Road Village under his supervision.
Law is definitely a good thing that has happened to me. He is a good guy, and truth to be told, I don't know where I'd be now without his help. I never told him that. I guess I should. And yes, he believes in me too. Obviously. How could I not have seen this earlier?
I love you, Annie.
And I'm getting better.
Thursday, Sept. 24
(5 days ago)
I couldn't wait to finally pick you up at the train station on Thursday night.
However, it hadn't been as bad as the day before - no panic attacks. To a certain extent I had managed to put up my walls again while you were gone. But whereas I had found peace in that self-induced numbness in the past, I hated that feeling now.
I had used my lunch break to help Alice with the finishing touches in your bedroom. Some time midway, she officially offered me her friendship, like it was a contract I had to sign. And she sounded as if there was the term 'life long' somewhere in the small print. Regardless, I told her I'd be happy to call myself her friend. We hugged, and she said, 'It's ok, you and I are gonna be great friends.' When I left, I felt like I'd been extraordinarily social, and I was a little proud of myself.
A very unfamiliar feeling. But a good thing.
I got more and more anxious during the afternoon, but it was bearable. Law laughed at my nervous demeanor and prompted a mild episode of Black which almost made me lose my shit, but I fought it and stayed calm.
And then it was almost time. I headed for the station, only stopping once to collect what I had bought for you that morning, and then I waited on the platform for the best part of my day to begin.
Like always I could breathe easier as soon as I saw you. It was like when you have a nasty headache and you finally feel the pain meds set in. The tension that never left me in your absence decreased within seconds.
When you stepped off the train you hugged me and smiled at me. I opened wide and took all of you in, and it felt so much like home that I moaned with relief. You still wouldn't kiss me in public, but I didn't mind. I was just happy you were there. It was inebriating to have you back and be able to let my shield down. A good thing.
You demanded to know about the little box I was carrying but I told you it was a surprise and that you couldn't open it before we were at your place.
You said you had a surprise for me too. That was when I realized that you had no idea about Alice's and my collaboration on your bedroom renovation. With no experience whatsoever in receiving presents and surprises, I couldn't decide whether to tell you the truth or to play dumb. I didn't want to spoil the joyful anticipation that radiated from you and just hoped for my new friend Alice to handle the situation.
When we arrived at your place you dropped your bag and jacket and pinned me to the wall of your hallway, kissing, giggling and whispering to me how much you had missed me. You looked so confused when I pulled back and used my free arm to stop your more than welcome endearment.
I explained to you that what was in my box couldn't wait any longer, and you looked at me warily. I suddenly felt insecure about what I had bought for you. And then you said we should better get over with whatever it was, because you couldn't wait any longer either. You winked at me and we both laughed.
The laughing is almost as confusing as the crying. For the same reasons. I've never laughed so much in my life. But I can easily laugh with you. And well, with Alice too. It's a good thing.
When I unbolted Carlisle's cage and held the small box against the opening, your eyes widened and you breathed an excited 'Ohmygod'. You gasped when the young budgie hopped into the cage. I was beyond thrilled with your reaction. My heart was throbbing so loud, I was quite positive you could hear it.
After two more 'Ohmygods' you literally tackled me and threw your arms around me. You bombarded me with questions, without even leaving me enough time to answer, but I didn't complain. I was just watching you, enraptured and totally love drunk. I bit back the three words that wanted to burst out of me, because I knew they would probably put a sudden end to your enthusiasm. You insisted that I should think of a name for the bird, and I promised to come up with something, internally making a note to myself to check that Twilight book for a good name, because that would probably impress you.
No one in the room, however, was happier than Carlisle. He bolted to and fro on his perch, feathers ruffled, chirruping and nodding his little head frantically. His new mate shyly squatted in one corner, stiff and silent. But I knew she would be alright, she just needed time to adjust to the new situation. I felt for her though – I knew quite a bit about adjusting problems myself...
I had spent an hour in the pet shop, sitting in front of the aviary to pick the right one. When the irritated looking salesgirl came to ask me whether I actually intended to buy something or just wanted to fluster the birds, I had found the perfect pal for lonesome Carlisle. She had beautiful colors, on both counts. It was a good thing.
When you took my hand and said that now it was your turn, I got nervous again. I had relied on Alice to help me, but she wasn't there. You lead me to your bedroom and told me to close my eyes. I obeyed, still undecided what to do. I heard you open the door and then you hollered, 'Taadaa!'
I wanted to open my eyes, but I knew in an instant that my pathetic acting skills wouldn't fool you. When I was just about to spill, you shut me up with a kiss, and said, 'Thank you for helping to turn my bedroom into a screen.'
I looked up and found myself in a room, different from the one that I had left earlier that day. The walls were not only white, they were blank now. The framed posters I had hung up a few hours ago, were gone. The broad wardrobe was hidden behind a white curtain, and so was the window. A white rug covered the floor, and white cloths cloaked the nightstands.
You clapped your hands like a little girl and explained to me between giggles that Alice had called you yesterday as soon as I had left your apartment, and that she'd told you everything. So you two had hatched a plot to surprise me nonetheless.
I was speechless, and pretty much remained speechless for the rest of the night. But I need to tell you now how incredible this gift of yours is. You made room for me in your life, for my true self. Not only do you tolerate who I am, you embrace me. I can not thank you enough.
I should have told you right away, but you snatched the white blanket off the bed and pulled me into the living room, leaving me no time to compose myself. You spread the blanket on the floor, right where the couch used to be. And when you undressed, explaining something about 'fresh color' and 'evaporation' and not 'ready for use yet', the only thing I could still articulate was your name. And it was a good thing.
Three good things actually, as the night progressed.
I guess I just started to develop a sense of humor? What do you think?
God, I miss you. Every single moment, I feel your absence physically.
I'm counting the hours.
Good things I skipped:
It is a good thing that my probation will end in 99 days.
I never thought about what to do with my life once I'd be free to go wherever I want. I didn't expect that 'freedom' to last long anyway. It's always been just a matter of time for the Black to fuck things up again, so why make plans?
That too has changed. It's scary though, because I honestly have no fucking idea what to do with my life. But I want to try to become the good person you mistakenly already think I am. So doing something that has a meaning is certainly going to be a part of it.
I love you, Annie.
And I'm getting better.
Friday, Sept. 25
(4 days ago)
I woke up in a silly sentimental mood on Friday morning. Don't laugh... I thought, 'anniversary'. Ok, laugh! I know...
It's a week now. I can't believe it is just a week now. It feels like you've been in my life forever. In my life and in my heart. MY heart? Fuck, my heart isn't mine at all. No more. Is there such a thing like phantom heart pain? If so, that's what I feel when you're not with me.
That night in the park... god, you scared me to death. I never really talked to you about it, right?
From the moment I got off the train, I knew you were following me, but I had no idea why. First, I thought you were maybe a relative of someone I had messed up or maybe a PI. My paranoid self gave me the craziest of ideas, and things were starting to get black. I knew I should have run to not make things worse, but I couldn't. I was in full Black mode when I stopped and waited for you to appear; I was so angry! All I could think was, who is doing this to me, and why?
And then you just said 'Hi!', and for a second you sort of flared up; a warm and bright yellow spot in midst of my raging Black. Sparkled up and died down in a blink. I wasn't even sure I had actually seen it. And most certainly, I hadn't allowed myself to see anything like that.
I asked you whether you were following me, and when you said yes, it happened again. And this time it didn't fade. You were glowing like a campfire in the darkest of night. That was the moment when I realized that I was unshielded – against my will. You had unshielded me!
I nearly attacked you physically, demanding to know WHY? Yes, my question was not about the reason why you'd followed me; it was about why – and how! - you'd ripped away my walls.
Then I think I sort of growled at you? You were scared, but your colors only brightened more the closer I got to you. I would have hurt you in my anger, Annie, badly – but I couldn't bring myself to destroy the beautiful bright spot that was you.
I didn't even want to see it, I didn't want to read you, but there was no escape. It's not like those things would disappear when I close my eyes, you know, and my walls lay in ruins around my feet. I had no defense for you from the very first moment.
And then all I could sense was your Want. The campfire turned into a giant, engulfing wave of heat. It washed over me and everything was pulsating, yellow, orange, red, violet... all black was gone. And you were so pure; your Want was so pure. No hidden intentions, no pretending, just Want. And you said what you wanted, and you did what you wanted. No static.
I was floating on the wave of your Want for me. Without anger, without fear.
Can you imagine what it was like for me? Probably not. Were you even aware of the nature of your Want in that very moment? It wasn't just physical, though the red stream was pretty dominant. But there was more. You wanted all of me then. The wave carried devotion, protection, possessiveness, freedom... and yes, love.
You made me feel like someone who could be loved. I was your child, your brother, your lover, your mate. It was overwhelming, I almost passed out. I gave up fighting it, I just fell. And you caught me.
I know I acted like a moron. Hell, I came in my pants like a fourteen year old. And then I somehow jolted out of my rapture and I panicked. This couldn't be true, this couldn't be happening. So I ran.
I didn't even make it to the gate of Park Road Village before I broke down and threw up on the sidewalk, shaking and heaving. I know that sounds terrible, but I was in shock. I had fled you, but Annie – all I wanted to do was turn around and run back to you and feel that Want again. I wanted to give myself to you... my heart, body and soul. I wanted to give you power over me.
But you couldn't be meant for me. From all I thought I knew, this could only end badly, do you know what I mean? Does this make any sense? I didn't believe in the good things. I got angry again, because I couldn't understand why fate would be so cruel to tempt me with a glimpse of something I - as a matter of fact - could never have.
I tried to put my disentangled self together again. I tried for two days. But it didn't work anymore.
With some effort, I finally managed to reinstall a few mental filters. Yes - not everything I'd learned in my therapies was crap; some exercises had proven themselves to be quite useful. But you? I couldn't get you out of my system. You had ripped me open, and it was as if a huge hole had been punched through my chest. Phantom heart pain.
I really wasn't hoping for anything, but I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep, or eat, or even breathe easy again until I'd seen you and talked to you again.
I'm so glad I did.
If there's any good thing I can claim for myself, that it was my persistence to talk to you.
We christened your new screen bedroom on our anniversary Friday. Making love to you is still like drowning. A beautiful death; a glorious heaven. You consume me entirely. You own me, and yet I've never felt such freedom with anyone.
When I was holding you afterward, the both of us blissfully worn out, I said those three words again. I just had to. And though you didn't say them back – I swear, if I wasn't the pathetic loser I am, if I had anything to offer at all, I would have asked you to marry me.
Yes, I want to be yours forever.
I already am.
Good things I skipped:
She is a real good friend. I always thought she's just able to cope with me because she's crazy herself. Because she is. Crazy, but in a good way. It's like nothing could ever be too weird to surprise her. She takes things as they are. But she sees things in a different way too. Like seeing through things. She made me play the piano again. She said my hands were meant for more than just cleaning bedpans in the hospital ward. Lu is one more person who believed in me when I didn't. I guess I need to apologize to quite a few people.
I love you, Annie.
And I'm getting better.
Saturday, Sept. 26
(3 days ago)
This entry is an epic setback in my journal of the good things. Once again, I fucked things up. I'm not even capable of holding it together for a single week. All I can say is: I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I yelled at you, for my impatience, my temper. I'm so sorry I made you cry. I didn't mean to hurt you.
But Annie, you were wrong... so wrong!
(to be continued...)