‘UnBoxified’ – BRIEF SYNOPSIS
Two lead characters’ first-account of a, partly fictional/partly based on true events, story in which mystery, gritty reality, comedy, romance and science-fiction, are the vehicles for a journey where the meaning of life, death and everything important in between, are the destination.
It’ll make more sense if you read it in order, though. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find Chaptisode 1 here: | Chaptisode 1: ‘Bloody Hell’ >
(Previously in Chaptisode 3…
‘I inhaled deeply and slid the lock to open the door that led to the hall of the second floor in the two-storey house that I used to share with a guy that, ten years later, I still wanted to punch into oblivion. If this was a dream, and it had to be, despite how scarily real it all felt, even the musty smell of the battered carpet I never thought I would walk on again, this was perhaps my fucking chance to do just that and face no consequence.’)
Déjà vu… I read somewhere that it was French for ‘already seen’.
I don’t know, I’ve never trusted the French, despite being the nationality of the most honest person I ever met. This was not only ‘already seen’, this had already been felt, absorbed by every pore of my skin, embedded into every single one of my brain cells and replayed a million times into the farthest recesses of my mind.
She was standing facing the cooker, with her back towards me, engrossed in her culinary magic, just as I remembered it had happened. I also remembered the surprise I felt that first time that this scene took place in my life. I had gotten into the house through the back door, next to where I was standing this second time around, which led straight into the kitchen, on a break I had taken from work to retrieve a forgotten item, I don’t really remember what it was. I certainly wasn’t expecting to find a stranger cooking at my kitchen, but that surprise was nothing compared to the shocking notion of how it all felt strangely natural to me at the same time, as if the image had been hanging onto a level of awareness I didn’t know I possessed, ready to complete the puzzle of my very self. When she turned around, when my eyes and Audrey’s met for the first time, my miserable life suddenly made sense.
‘I could strangle her right here right now’, there were the demons sucking from my resentment, making a stellar dramatic appearance into my mind before I could even process the fact that I was living, in bone and flesh, and not just in the haziness of a distant memory, the reproduction of the glorious, ecstasy-filled moment, I had treasured for as long as I had lived since its fortuitous occurrence.
That resentment was an insidious abyss, the biggest black hole in the whole fucking universe. But, to be fair, it didn’t own its ginormous dimensions and particular allure just to her. My resentment had other faces stamped all over it and was as old as I was. It started with my unwanted conception and all the sadness and frustration that this carried and it had grown exponentially from the moment I was blamed for my sister Melissa’s death, despite it having been an accident. Not even Molly, the only one from my family who had reached out to me after I fled the house at sixteen, two years after that tragic afternoon, could make me feel like I belonged to that bloodline.
And yet, even from afar, I did nothing else than try to gain their acceptance, as a substitute for a forgiveness I needed not asking for. I believe that desperation was what was behind my decision to stop gigging and overall renounce to my dream of making it into the music industry. Instead, I just settled for my everyday steady and ‘respectable’ job in outdoor maintenance, working in epicormic growth and tree surgery for the town council. I knew my mother had always considered me good for nothing and my father had always deemed music as a pastime not something to take seriously, as a profession. What had happened in this house, what happened with Audrey, had just been the final push into making the next of my ill-fated decisions: buying my own place. Something with which I wanted to impress my family, too, of course, even if this was just thought of unconsciously.
So, I gave up music, got a mortgage, left this house I shared with Logan and Renzo, and lost myself completely.
Took me another few years to understand that there was nothing I could do that would make them see that I was not to be blamed, that I was worthy of their love and respect. Saintly Molly would finally take pity on me, though, as our conversations, over a cup of coffee, which always took place in my old city, located next to the town I had fled to, grew in number and depth over the years. Her pity is the closest to filial love I’ve ever felt. She melted every time I hurt, but, would shut me off, cold as ice, if I wasn’t hurting in some way, if, for a period of my life I felt happy, as I started to feel when I first got to know Audrey, an event that begun right in this room, right at this moment in the chronology of time. This strange parameter of her affections for me only confirmed what kind of person the second of my sisters was: the kind that gets a kick out of being needed, for that makes them feel validated. Nothing in that need of hers was selfless or pure, hence my special nicknames for her. And the funniest thing of all is that she took them seriously and always played the part of the role they pointed at. But, to be honest, aside from having a bit of fun with the nicknaming, I didn’t really judge her, just like I never liked being judged myself. I was just glad that at least there was someone from my blood who made the effort to get to know me, even if just intermittently.
Ten years had passed since I made the decision to lay off the gigging and just focus on the 9 to 5 grind, and then the council made cuts due to the recession and I lost that job I had always thought secure. I searched for other vacancies like crazy, but before me there always seemed to be a never-ending line of people with masters, several degrees and a batshit load of skills, which were as desperate as I was and thus prepared to do any thing at any price. On the other hand, businesses were crumbling like houses of cards at every corner, in a competition, it appeared, to make those lines outside the ones still open, infinitely larger. It didn’t take long until I had to sell my guitars to make the mortgage payments I could no longer afford, and that was for me the beginning of the end, because, even if I only played them at home, whether alone or for friends, or for the women I felt sufficiently inspired to serenade, that at least had kept me alive. Playing music had always kept me alive.
Ten years had passed, since I saw and felt for the first time what I was seeing and feeling at this moment once more, and almost exactly as I did then.
Audrey, the only human being I trusted instantaneously, the only woman I ever loved but never touched, the only person I could say I would live for, no matter what, that very same creature was now a few inches from me once again.
When she finally rejected me, those ten years ago, I got back with Amanda, my cheating ex-girlfriend, for a few months, betting on Molly’s “everyone deserves a second chance” policy. No, Molly, not everyone does. Amanda was all kinds of wrong for me just like she was for herself, but Molly would be there to pick up the pieces and feel oh so much fucking beatific after it. It was a convenient policy for her, of course. On this occasion, Amanda had the decency to at least not cheat on me publicly with her ex-boyfriend like she did the first time we split up, just because she felt insecure for all the female attention I got. No, this turn she decided to lie to me saying I didn’t need the rubber as she was taking the pill. Turned out she wasn’t and got pregnant. An unwanted pregnancy, as I was concerned. Life has a way of kicking you in the gut with the sickest sense of humor, don’t you think? I was to have an unwanted child just like I had been an unwanted child myself. But she had a natural miscarriage. Life had a change of heart, it seems, and decided to have a bit of mercy on me and on that child who I was sure would be doomed to suffer, just like I did, no matter how much I would have tried to love him, despite not having planned or wanted a fatherhood. Amanda and I weren’t meant to last, anyway, so the child would have had a broken home either way. I don’t know… I don’t want to think about it.
After that, it was completely over between Amanda and me. From that moment on, one-night stands were all the intimacy I could handle. And I had plenty one-night stands and lighthearted affairs, to the point that I stopped keeping track of the number… or the names. The women have always dug me big time, and I suppose that kind of should have made it up to me, for how little the ones that mattered to me had truly loved me. Well, it fucking didn’t. Look, one doesn’t seriously consider suicide unless one believes to have plenty of reasons for it. Finally losing the house that had sucked my twenties out of me was the final item on my bucket list of shit that I could take. I had nothing left. Just my mobile, my clothes, eight pounds left in my bank account and a lifetime of gratuitous grief, and well-earned regret.
Yes, I had abundant, generous, colorful, varied sex, with a new body every night if I chose so, and I could feel how those hearts wanted to give themselves completely to me, too, but this just could not make it up to me, at least not anymore. I didn’t want ‘them’. I guess that’s what made every single one, without fail, even more eager for me. I don’t know why so many women lust, fall and sinker for the emotionally unavailable but, fuck, that’s how it is; reeks to putrid centenary brainwash, if you ask me, but, it also lays the ground for amazing blow jobs.
Could I have moved in, until I had gotten back on my feet, with any of the lovers who anxiously waited to see if I would change my mind about commitment? Yes, of course I could have, but that would have been, in my opinion, the truly coward thing to do. I don’t use people. I’m clear, straightforward, and with no double intentions. If I couldn’t give them what any of them wanted from me, in return for the favor, I wasn’t going to take it either.
And I had my pride to keep intact, too; Yeah, I was a proud little motherfucker, to the point that I preferred dying to asking for help. That and begging on the streets were far worse, in my view, than the prospect of the void and so that was the option I contemplated.
Only that I didn’t finally take those pills. I could swear I didn’t. And yet this was no dream, either. I was too conscious, too present, time and space fitted precisely how we process reality. So what the damn fuck was this?!?
Audrey felt my presence. She turned around in the kitchen and our eyes met, just like they did, in this very same spot, all those years ago. For a second and an eternity, nothing mattered anymore, all impulses to strangle that lovely neck of hers bygone. There was no resentment, no grief, no regret, not even one passing light thought, just her and I, me and her, reveling in the discovery of each other’s existence.
I’m a sucker. I still love her.
“Oh… hi there… I’m Audrey… um… Logan’s girlfriend” – the words sprinkled from her lips as her eyes engulfed my soul – “and you must be…”
“Ewan” – I smiled, concealing as I could the sudden disgust I felt as soon as she pronounced his name and their attachment, all in the same sentence. Wait… that was exactly the same reaction I had the first time.
This was a re-run… what a twisted joke… the final mother of nightmares in the string of the night before, it seemed. Or was it still…. tonight? My head started spinning fast, real fast.
“One sec…” – I excused myself and left the kitchen to hide in the living room next to it.
My heart couldn’t take this once again. It had already finished it off the first time… but here it was, though, pounding back into life, as soon as the treacherous bastard had felt her, whilst my mind disintegrated.
Because perhaps this was no dream and no nightmare, perhaps I did die, and that god that my mother used to say punished the perpetrators of suicide existed after all, for all my mocking. And perhaps this wasn’t my own brand of heaven where I could enjoy of harmless re-enactments with different endings, but my own brand of hell where I was doomed to repeat all the same mistakes, all the worst mistakes I ever made.
‘Just get it together, idiot. There’s no hell and no heaven but what you make’, I said to myself.
I inhaled and exhaled deeply to try and calm down. Either way, here I was, and the love of my life stood just one doorframe away. For as long as this lasted, whatever this experience was, this present past, I sworn to change it.