I read the note she’d written for me.
Everything I’ve done has been my own choice. Dont blame me, please don’t blame me.
I can’t take Sleeping Sickness anymore.
When we know babies die and we can stop it. When there’s hunger and we can stop it. What do we do but dream on, nurture our waking sleep because we see our dreams but not our realities. No-one chooses that, but it’s what happens with Sleeping Sickness. We all have it and it’s contagious.
I cant be part of it anymore.
I love you. Please, don’t blame me.
I came home early. She wasn’t there. Or rather, she was.
I knew straight away she had the Sleeping Sickness because she was still in bed, sleeping.
She looked so young, like the beautiful girl that had saved me from my self-destructive battle with the city, from my self, saved me and made me laugh.
She lay, peacefully sleeping; unmoving, memories filled the room, eluding me, half forgotten, whispered, clipped-winged memories.
Her hands were over her stomach. The walls were breathing for her. The beautiful silence stopped me crying out.
I didn’t understand Sleeping Sickness. I do now.
We saved a little. Sometimes we had to not eat on a Thursday to save a few quid. Sometimes we stayed in bed all day. Sometimes we argued.
We had worries. She told me she was pregnant. Then she told me she wasn’t. Lines creased her mouth. She grew silent, only her eyes speaking, a foreign language. When she slept I checked her arms for punctures, track marks. Relieved, I was glad we lived a normal life.
She still laughed sometimes.
I love it when you laugh, you look so beautiful, I told her.
Tigers in cages, she said obliquely.
She’d told me about the Sleeping Sickness, but I’d never understood. I didn’t have to anymore because a year later everything changed.
We’d shacked up in a cheap flat in a godawful area. We got jobs. Long hours, but we had money for the weekend provided we turned up. We went to the pub, supermarket, bank. Did normal things.
This is my dream, I said.
That’s the Sleeping Sickness, Sadie said sadly, you have it.
We did normal things.
She grew old from doing normal things. From being in prison. From electing to have me as jailer.
From Sleeping Sickness.
The foyer was itself a cinematic epic, dazzling pictures of silver screen icons, bright, mirrored surfaces, people milling around made brilliant and reflective, starlike, by the light reflected off other reflections.
“See you inside,” she whispered, then disappeared.
I bought two tickets anyway and walked in. I couldn’t see her at first, she was slumped in a seat, legs over the back of the chair in front.
She laughed. “You paid for me? I said– oh never mind!”
Titles for The Feral Man appeared onscreen.
"This isn't about you then," she giggled.
I tried hard not to smile.
Two men followed Sadie through back alley shortcuts, stepping softly, gradually closing.
In a gap between garages they struck: hand over her mouth, the other grabbed her arms.
She bit through fingers and palm until teeth met, head shaking side to side; knee then foot into the others balls.
One scream, one groan, fingers spat out.
Then she spotted the dropped knife.
“Cunts!” Quietly spoken.
Retrieving it, she tore gashes through the stomach of one then smashed the blade repeatedly down into the face of the other.
Tears came as she walked away, shaking. But at least she walked away.
Trying to see which buttons not to press on these feral girls is like learning Chinese algebra in Braille. Wearing gloves.
Sadie tends the wounds she inflicted on me with compassion. There’s no apology for the attack. Why should there be? I’d pressed that button, she’d reacted. The logic was unquestionable. Painful, but unquestionable.
I know nothing of her history save what little she reveals. She’s a wild animal, trying to be tame in a wild society that pretends to be tame.
And I’m too naive to see the buttons she’s shown me. That’ll be my loss. And her burden.
Her name was Sadie. I called her Sadist for a joke. Her smile disintegrated.
That’s why I had a crush on her, her stunning smile. Be wrong to say I loved her, but she made me happy and laugh so I let myself fall. Sadie was awesome. Except when I called her Sadist. But the other girls laughed, so I said it again.
She flew at me, screaming shit about hate and pain, crying, punching, kicking, until suddenly she stopped, her fists bleeding, her face contorted. She screamed “I fucking hate myself!” and walked out, sobbing heavily.
I followed, uncertain.
/Motion. This way/That. Darting. Rapid-Move: quick. Dart/Dash. From shadows. Swift in light, flash movements, jog to steal/ to pocket/ to sprint. Return. Back to shadows./
I’d been beaten by the city. The City tried to hammer me into shape, but I was too rebellious, so in the end it just hammered me. And that’s where they found me, these angels, in a doorway, so cold I couldn’t stand.
Warehouse-warmed. Restored. /Wildcats, they prowl/. Perfect. Teach me your beauty.
I’m faster now. In/Out. Go/Get. Retrieve. All actions by reflex. /Like thought/ Flash. Return. Back to shadows.
I'm learning. Slowly.
This aint where it’s at. Here’s glamourpusses, babes, babydolls, preloved goods recycling old lies: sanitised, discharged release to the well-heeled and poorly-souled. Muzak sex, Costa Starfucks, Anytown Inc.
I leave, unimpressed. Gimme feral girls every time. Big eyes, short hair, lithe bodies. They bite and scratch in passion as much as in life, but in passion they draw the line. In life as in fights, there’s no line. Their life is the fight, every opportunity fucked dry: but stick around, watch their backs, they will back you to the end of the road.
And that’s where it’s at.