Not Even Cake

The blood in my heart must have left for my cheeks, because I got my colour back but I felt empty. I expected a deep yearning, that burning tight feeling you get on the left side of your chest from time to time, when the face of the one you lost appears before your mind’s eye. Sometimes the visage arises like smoke from an extinguished candle, wafting in unnoticed at first and suddenly surrounding all of your senses. Other times the familiar smile, the certain look in the eye seems to come hurtling at you like a canon ball, full-force. But either way, his features mustered no more than a muted flicker of melancholy inside my chest, except for on rare occasions when I came across an old photograph which captured a kiss, or some song of significance fell uninvitedly upon my ears.

No, mostly I felt an empty space where heartbreak should be. You’d think that nothingness would be preferable to the pain of torn cardiovascular muscles, but in fact it brings with it its own kind of hell. There are no tears to let trickle hot and tickly down reddened cheeks, no hard, convulsing sobs into a pillow, I could find no release for the misery that I found myself in. Where does one obtain catharsis for a pain that can’t be healed because it refuses to show itself? What sudden cowardice of emotion had I acquired? I found myself static, usually prostrate, staring blankly into the white canvas of the ceiling above me, what I was looking for I don’t know. Sometimes thoughts whirred in chaos and without apparent providence, other times it was as though I had no brain inside my skull at all. At any rate, my physicality became unmovable, solid and heavy as the bed I laid upon, arms like lead, without an ounce of life inside me.

And though at first it might sound laughable, I only realised that my current situation had become so dire when even the thought of the cake sat in the fridge not twenty feet away from me wasn’t enough to wake me from my corpse-like state. “Not even cake” I heard myself whisper. Not even cake. They would not go down in history as words of great profundity. I felt an irritation stir at my being so unpoetic during a period of such sincere and fervent heart-break. Indeed, it was not the fact that I did not want the cake that awakened me from my deadened state, but the ridiculousness of the sentence I had just uttered. And then, quite suddenly and at once the irritation evaporated along with the overwhelming sense of nothingness and I felt the muscles in my face tighten as I began to smile from the sheer absurdity of the picture I had just created.

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A Funeral

There is a funeral tomorrow,
I didn’t know her very well,
But I liked her,
She always had a smile for everyone.

Her friends didn’t like me much,
So we never got a chance,
But I liked her,
She always seemed like a kind person.

I won’t go tomorrow,
I want to but it doesn’t feel right somehow,
But know I liked her,
I always liked her.

Some Things Must Matter

You sit there and you stare at me and say with self-accredited authority “once you realise that nothing matters, life becomes a lot more simple.” I say “some things matter, some things must matter.” And you tell me that I haven’t figured it all out yet, as if in life there is one great and final epiphany and the rest is all just intro and outro. As if the answer’s deigned to present itself to you but not to me.

Life’s great lesson might look like one big bang, but inside the magnificent explosion is an immeasurable number of sparking catalysts. That’s what an epiphany is, it’s a match being lit in slow motion. But I don’t say this to you, I don’t say anything at all.

You don’t know the half of my existential crisis, you don’t know how brightly or how fast my sulphur burns. I haven’t just looked into the blinding heat and light, I’ve walked dauntlessly into it and out again. I know what it is to be engulfed by the ineffable emptiness and futility of it all. I know what it is to understand that death is as meaningless as life and only half as much of a struggle.

Still, for some reason, we refute the answer with our very being. We negate the conclusion by continuing to exist, by sitting right here – you and me. We choose light over darkness, noise over silence, sensation over numbness. Why? Are we afraid of the unknown? I don’t doubt there’s truth in that. But fear alone isn’t enough to feed the soul day after day. Fear alone isn’t a reason for living.

Whenever I wake instead of sleep, whenever I eat instead of starve, whenever I breathe instead of asphyxiate, I know that some things matter, some things must matter. And when I find out what those things are I won’t try to enlighten you, I’ll let you strike your own match.