Puzzles

Her eyes had faded to a foggy grey-white, looking onward with a glossy forever stare. She looked beyond death and beyond me. Her cheeks sat high up on her face; the left cheek had sunken slightly from the blow and made her look ugly. In this yellow light, the blood shone like thick tar across the backs of my knuckles. I tried to wipe the blood away, but it had worked its way into my skin and, as I raised my hands to the dying bulb that slowly swayed from the ceiling, I could see the outline of every cell – every cell marked in a thick border and made to stand out. I examined my skin and followed each cell as it interlocked with the next; it formed an endless puzzle of me.

The television had been switched to a station of static during the struggle. Perhaps we had accidentally rolled over the remote control? The television hissed at me as I picked up a small shard of glass from the floor. This fragment was once a part of a champagne flute, now it tells a story of something more. An empty champagne flute represents celebration, perhaps the celebration is yet to happen or maybe the party has already taken place. The flute glass is a synecdoche of good times, wealth and progression. A smashed fragment of a champagne flute, however, speaks beyond itself in such an uncanny way. The sharp glass piece cuts through the perfect image of celebration and turns it into tragedy. This shard represents the fall – a fall from the height of celebration. Now what went wrong?

I pressed the glass into my skin and carved out a cell. Well, nothing went wrong because the celebration was a lie that she chose to believe. Tragedy was always expected from tonight. I knew this and, to some extent, I think she knew it too.

The glass moved away from my skin to reveal one singular cell balanced delicately on its point. This was a part of me. It still is, but it now lives out of context: an artefact to an unknown city. This singular cell can now break away from me and live its own existence yet is also still historically connected to everything that has happened before. It is a lone puzzle piece which exists in its own right, but will forever evoke the ghost of the entire picture. This cell is my lone puzzle piece for those who protect our rights to be civil, who fight to keep the monster at bay and the idea of morality intact. You call these people the law and you run scared. You hide beneath the wings of the law because you are afraid of the chaos that can be found within yourself when you are completely unbound from civilised structure. This part of me will be a gift to keep those men and women, who protect you from yourselves, searching for the entire picture. In the end they will find the monster they are searching for. I hope they say “thank you”.

My blood filled the incision quickly and created a tiny dot which held a dome shape for a few seconds before the surface tension gave way and let the blood dribble down my skin. My blood washed with hers. A sex of dark reds raced down to my elbow and formed a large drop on the tip of my elbow. The drop swelled until it released itself and fell to the floor. A vacuous calmness had now occupied the space that primal thrusts and drives had resided moments ago. The ancient snarling animal subsided into the darkness and all that remained was silence.

I sat there by her side until the morning. We stared into each other, unblinking. I worked her face into a pretty smile and invented a little life for her. She had not previously told me her profession, but she looked like a teaching assistant. She – her name is Macaria – would early arrive to class, twenty minutes before even the teacher, and go over the plan for the day. Macaria was enthusiastic for everything in life, had the ability to flood a room in a calm that could wash over all.

‘She was magnetic, in a sense that life was drawn to her’, Mr Macaria will say through tears, eyes staring deep into the lens of public sympathy. ‘She was so kind…I just don’t know how anyone could do this to her…My beautiful baby girl’. The end of the sentence will be sobbed out violently, the words will be barely audible, but we will all know what was said. How unoriginal death makes us. There is a plethora of adjectives in the English language and all that can be said about the dead is how ‘good’ and ‘kind’ they were, even if they were absolute demons. You never see that, a man stand up in church and speak the truth about his dead daughter: ‘She was a slut and I haven’t seen her for years because of it!’ Now that is passion, my friend! But no, Macaria was not a slut… or a terrible person. I had not known her long enough to see anything about her character that suggested this, thus I decided that she was in fact an amicable young lady. She had given herself to me and for that I was eternally grateful.

Unfortunately, Macaria was now all used up and she needed to leave my life. I took a serrated knife from my suitcase and began to turn her into a puzzle. The flesh cut well, but the bone needed to be broken. I stamped down hard. I was a hammer. Fuck me, this made things extremely messy. By the time I had broken her down enough to fit into my suitcase, chunks of flesh swam like islands in blood. She had exploded into the pieces of herself and now I saw in her what I had always been – a scattering of pieces slowly drifting away from each other. There were no words, no communication between my pieces, just a continuous overlapping of broken thought. A mind muted by the vacuum of violence between its pieces.

After I cleared away all the blood, I walked over to the hissing television with my luggage prepared. The static stations always reminded me of pins and needles in the feet – such an uncomfortable buzz of broken noise. The power button made a numb click as I pressed it. The television sighed, the light on the screen raced from all corners to its centre and then, darkness. I opened the door to the hotel room and paused momentarily to listen to the night. Silence. Well, not complete silence. A faint murmur swam below the surface. I closed the door behind me. The murmur followed me into the night. It was drowning dead air – static noise, perhaps; an endless game of Chinese Whispers and, of course, chaos.

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