A Zombie in Chicago

*looks into the bathroom mirror of the Delta Suit Hotel Chicago, begins… *

Slipping into nothingness again.

I narrowly escaped a group conversation as the mimosas filed in. A perfectly neat circle of awkward formalities. A moment ago, a more jolly version of myself graced these painted faces. As per usual they smiled for me to see, and as I walked away, they  hustled their masks off. As if I didn’t notice. I imagine that in my apparent nonchalance I agitate the dissonance between their lying eyes and the truth tucked away underneath them. And I take pride in that.

I’m again struggling with all the “necessary” occupations of my schedule, to reassert my function in this world. I ‘m at a work party ; The winding paradox of my life.  Finding myself in the company of men with filled spaces around them and nothing fulfilled within them.

The fried Hors d’oeuvres, the cleavage, the Katy Perry looming in the background, it all feels two dimensional, flat and inaccessible.  Miserable in paradise, that familiar song.

There has been a mental tugging at my sleeve, refusing to let me go. Let it all go. I guess from brief dabbles in love, possibly, or short moments of success, and they were all too brief.

dock

I’ve been really staring into the faces I meet lately. Captured by how they’ve managed to travel so far from their owner’s thoughts. I know they feel it, I know you feel it too. Like the expensive clothes we buy, to cover it all up, to never let the world see.I’m uncomfortable in them.

*************************************************************************************

I am searching for a new religion.

I masturbate every morning, careful not to stir apartment 108 next door. I stir the ice in my glass at night, religiously.  And then I pray, on bended knee, not for these vices, no, I beg forgiveness for the empty shell I meet in the mirror. His strong jaw line and primped facial hair  disgust me. It’s all so well put together and something is missing. I want to see an athlete, or a musician, or a philanthropist in Bali.  I feel like a car with no engine while their roars echo my emptiness and still I am not shaken. Just stirred.

My breakfast will be okay, my day at work will be okay, but I am not okay. My entire existence is like, distant.

There is a girl, I guess. She’ll expect to hear from me. I think I’ve been provoking fights because I find some strange reverie while she yells and I shut the hell up. She wants to bleed on me.

window

” Look at you, you just lay there, wallow in your shit. You won’t bring me to whatever dark place you’re in, I won’t go with you,” Jessie says.

There’s no fight in me. My spirit has left and she’s noticed, meanwhile I barely noticed her entrance.

“What happened to us? all these weird vibes, where did we go wrong? ”

“The moment you thought you could go right.”

“What?”

“You lost yourself Jay. All you do is spend your life trying to do right in everyone’s eyes. You work so hard to build yourself into something perfect, something that they all will accept. You lost your creativity, your honesty, the  truth that is you. You put up with all the things you think you have to live with, pushing yourself away from all the things you dam well know you can’t live without .

How did she even get in here?

“Seriously Jay look at yourself.  You couldn’t possibly recognize a thing. You are a passive, big fat bag of pink matter. You look like death, under some spell forced to live and endure it all. I really pity you man .

God, Jess…

” Okay, wow , Malfoy, someone must have skipped breakfast. Haha. There’s food in the fridge grouchy.” My face was smiling, my throat burned, and my fists were clenched.

” Jesus Jay, Passion, passion, passion. Find some. Fight, dig, climb, but for heaven’s sake, you’re dead, find some. ”    

Hidden underneath my  social media accounts, parental approval, GQ magazine, and all my streams of validation was that truth. For hours I sat in a catatonic silence.

Four days passed. I called her cell phone,

” Listen, I don’t think this, whatever this is,  will work anymore. I need something different. I’m going away for a while. Oh and thanks.”

*Click*

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“there is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”

-Nelson Mandela”

by Stephan Ledain

@sledain

photo by Yasmin Al-Samarrai

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