Ah, those years between 18 and 22 when you are supposed to be "sorting your life out"... When your emotions range from euphoric to despair in the space of minutes, even seconds. Another chapter from the book I never finished. Another excerpt can be found on the blog under the title Run, Run Away.
It’s too hard to get out of bed today. I know that the moment I step out from under the covers I am going to have to deal with life again, and I just wish, for one day, that I didn’t have to deal with it. Just one day, world, just one day of peace and quiet and silence. No classes, no work, no bars, no alcohol, no talks, no demands, no… No him. I mean that I need a day when he doesn’t pop into my head every two seconds and distracts me from life. A day away from life, where I can disappear for a time, be it into some oblivious sleep, some faraway country or just some dream world I concocted when I was a child.
I first learned what the word “oblivion” meant during my first week at the Lycee back in the 90’s. My English teacher had the words “oblivion” and its antonym (it could have been “consciousness” but I really can’t remember anymore) stuck up on one of his pin boards that were hanging on the wall. It attracted my attention, and when I finally had enough courage to ask him what it meant, I decided that it had to be used in my first book. I think I may have told my teacher that, and I hope that somewhere, somehow, he will see this and remember too, although he unfortunately isn’t here with us anymore. In any case, oblivion is one of my favourite words and also the word that will always be the best explanation of what we want to fall into during those times when we fall down, down, down.
What is oblivion to you? To me it is just somewhere where none of all this that we have to live with and deal with every day exists, and where we don’t have to remember or listen to anything or anyone, and when we come back from it, well, we won’t even remember that it existed anyway. Kind of like the characters in an episode of Lost. You don’t remember the island or anything that happened on it once you are away from it. But once you are there you are away. Maybe I just have a rosy vision of what oblivion really means, maybe it means just gone away for good, unaware of anything, in a catatonic state? I prefer my view. Oblivion is a soft, down-filled bed that I can sink into, like a fluffy white cloud on a sunny day in spring.
Merriam-Webster defines oblivion as being one of the following: “the fact or condition of forgetting or having forgotten; especially : the condition of being oblivious” or “the condition or state of being forgotten or unknown”. I still prefer my definition, it’s just more… Poetic maybe? In any case, this week I just want a day of what I see as oblivion, and although I know that it won’t happen, it doesn’t hurt to dream.
Anyway, I just don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t want to have to go on the tram and be squished up against some pervy man again like yesterday. I don’t want to have to have another attack of the low blood sugars in the middle of class, just because I couldn’t face breakfast again before I left the house. I don’t want to have to deal with all of the idiots who are still in my class because they haven’t dropped out yet, the ones who think they are just too cool. I don’t want one of my professors to yet again ask me what I think about such and such writer, just because they know I am the only one who will dare to say something at least meaningful, or at least thoughtful. Or maybe I just think my responses are meaningful, and they only ask me because I can be bothered to answer. I’m probably already taking myself too seriously, and I haven’t even left my bed yet. I suppose oblivion is not for today, yet again.
The phone is back on the hook again, with at least 5 messages from him. I can’t bear to be woken up by the sound of it ringing and ringing, all night long, with both of them telling me that I should be with them, that they miss me, singing me songs and telling me that I should be out on the town with them, getting drunk, laughing, hugging, kissing, talking to the late hours of the night about everything and nothing. We are not going to save the world, and the world is not going to save us, but we can still talk about the impending doom and the sunrises over the horizon, contemplating what life would be and what life could be and listening to our favourite voices push us on through the night towards a goal that still hasn’t been created in our minds.
I love these boys. I suppose I should really say men, because we are all adults now, but I can’t bring myself to. We are all still so naïve but bolshy at the same time, we know it all but haven’t built those walls of protection around ourselves to save ourselves from the pain that is obviously going to come hurtling down on us at some point. The other night we were all sitting around my make-shift coffee table, drinking Desperados out of cans, listening to Tom Waits on vinyl, smoking Gauloises Blondes and talking about Israel and the anti-Israel politics in France. Sometimes I feel like a few of us pretend to be right wing, but are really left-wing, and I live my life on my own political spectrum terms, which go from the far left to left of center, sometimes hopping over the border to dip my toes and always running back again to my safe haven. We are all so smart and full of ideas, but they always only end up being coffee table ideas, as no one really has the energy to really go for it. It’s come to a point though where I need to move along, make my own way. While I was sitting there mainly listening to them all talk I just realized that I needed more. Instead of talking I need to see, feel, hear, be there. I can’t stay here like this, dreaming about being born in another century, or at least another year, pretending that everything is allright, that one day I will miraculously wake up somewhere else, somewhere better, in a different life, in a different place. Back to that oblivion, maybe it’s time to make the oblivion I want a reality.
I listened to the 5 voicemails, all drunken laughter, songs, mainly Jacques Brel and Leonard Cohen, “we love you” and “wish you were here”. I know you wish I were there, but I just can’t do this anymore. I can’t continue to be in love with someone who is in love with someone else, it’s just not possible anymore. If I stick around long enough he will marry me, that’s what he has always said, but I know that I need to live a life for myself before I can accept that and even agree to that. Only because I know that I am the comfort zone, and the others are all the chase, the idea of something different. I don’t want to be someone’s comfort zone, I want to be someone’s muse, I want to inspire someone and to be inspired at the same time.
Hiding away in my apartment and just concentrating on my thesis, my classes, my books, my writing and my depression is my only way of letting go. Leaving the protection of my house is always a chore, that nervous bubble that grows in my stomach, then the building of those protective layers to stave away the pokes and the stabs that are surely going to come my way in the outside world. Eyes to the ground and book in hand I make my way to each destination as fast as possible, hide away in my tiny classes at university, sit in the library for hours taking notes and doing research, teaching my students in the different locations, shopping and then home, to the pure comfort of my bed. I love to have people over, and to cook for them, but I am really struggling with being sociable and happy in public right now. If I go out he will be there, we will drink and talk and kiss, and then I will go home and watch him walk away to the new girlfriend’s house, knowing full well that she is waiting for him there, and I am going home alone. So what if I have his mind and his sociable hours? She has his love and she has him in her bed at night. I am just not pretty enough for him, or just not young enough, or just not something enough, I don’t know. In any case, this is my way of letting go of him. It’s time to branch out, it’s also time to leave the protective group of all my male friends and find someone who will love me for who I want to be. Or something in that vein. In the meantime I need to stave off that feeling of worthlessness, and hide from wanting oblivion too much. Every day I battle these feelings and every day I feel like I fail a little bit more.
Once I finish this thesis it will all be over, unless I want to continue and study for a PhD, and I know now that it’s too early for that. So what next? Run away? Start a new life somewhere else? This world is so large and there are so many places I have to see, but I just don’t know how. Can I leave the comforts of today and go? Can I just pick up and see where the wind drops me? What about my family and friends and cat and belongings? Will I feel the same any place I go or will I feel like a different person? All of these questions keep going around and around in my head, and I can’t keep my brain quiet any longer. I just want to get out of all of this. I need to remove myself from the feeling that if I throw myself in front of a tram on the B line that it will be a quick end. Or take a lot of pills and just fall asleep. Or just never wake up one morning and it will all be over. No more pain or feelings or sadness or confusion or hurt or shyness. No more keeping my mouth shut to avoid confrontation, no more wondering what life would have been like if certain things hadn’t happened. No more missing a person who will never ever come back. And no more hating a person who I can’t fully hate, even if I have every right to. There are so many days that I just want it to end. Too early, too late, never the right time. I just want it to end.
But I know I could never do that, only because I know what the pain is to lose someone in that way and I don’t have the heart to put anyone else through that. No one deserves that, however bad it may be, it could be worse, right? I’m sure there is an answer for me, and I am determined to find it.
Oblivion can wait another day.