Figure 8

They say that the strongest link to sparking a memory is through one of your five senses – not sight, taste or touch, not even sound, but through smell.


One. I begin my nights by counting sheep. Why do I do that? Of course, because I want to sleep. I want to sleep because I don’t want to think. I don’t want to think so that I can forget. I want to forget because I want to live. I want to live because I want to wake up.

Five. My intellectual utility evaporated sometime ago yet my mind churns on in the darkness like a runaway motor. When I start trying to do math with amber sunset in my head, I know things are bad. This sleeplessness is my torture.

Thirteen. While the rest of the world embraces their dreams, their eight hours of rest, I toss and turn chasing the white rabbit. So I get off my bed, and wash my hands.

Twenty one. Infinity is a word that I have grown to hate. It always seems to be screaming the words “forever”, “always” and “eternal”. Words that hold a singular meaning for me, now that I am caught up in this everlasting hackneyed routine.

Thirty seven. I want to not think at all, I want to be absorbed into the darkness that the night had promised me hours ago. But for months, I’m unable to get her effigy out of my system.

Seventy three. In my sleeplessness, I am drunk on silence. For hours it has seeped into my soul, dowsing my mind in its thick toxicity. The usefulness of my thoughts left long ago, leaving these fatigued neurons to fire almost randomly- flailing without direction.

One hundred forty eight. I glance in the mirror, take another bottle, shake it to see if it’s empty, then place it alongside piles of stacks of used deodorant bottles, and pick out a new one. But it still doesn’t seem right. So I step down again, and take a bath.

Two hundred fifty six. I want to melt onto the soft foam, wrapped in eider, and drift into the world of dreams. I want to be waking refreshed to streaming white daylight, unaware of the hours between then and now.

Four hundred twenty four. But I see her all over again, coming into my bed, with my hands clamped around her throat to prevent screaming. I see her taking her clothes off, as I light up another cigarette and slide my fingers up her legs, beneath the sheets, while she whispers her reluctance on my nescient neck.

Nine hundred twenty seven. It did not end, it did not begin, but that did not stop it from being. It was there, everywhere, inside me and all around me, closing in on every side. I could not escape it. No one could, not ever. It was probably nothing, but it felt like the world. Eventually, when I tried to find an end or even a beginning, I too was swallowed into the infinite space that our human minds cannot begin to even fathom.

Three thousand six hundred five. Her hair was a soft washed out hazel, like a favourite sweater that’s been washed too many times. Her eyes were black, not soulless nor lifeless. Instead they were like two pristine stones of onyx, that lit up with a purple flare when touched by candle light with all of her emotions bundled into a deep noir.

Fourteen thousand thirty one. And ah, her smell. She smelt like freshly cut timber, like the damp forest after a rainy day. Like fresh-scented pine and honey, intermingling with the outlandish aroma of charcoal flames and cinnamon. Heavenly. I just couldn’t get enough of her aura.

Sixty one thousand two hundred nineteen. Some days I’ll stay up at night sobbing over a beautiful piece of poetry, and sometimes I’ll drink till there is blood in my alcohol stream. In all these wakeful hours, she is a fading spectre and beneath it all is a shock I can’t quite let surface, because every time it comes close my nightmare solidifies, hope fades and the sick feeling returns to my guts, but the scent of lavender remains.

Five hundred thirty four thousand two hundred sixteen. I let her haunt me every night, so I can still have a part of her. I’ve chased your love around a figure eight, and now I need you more than I can take. Its like a noose around my neck but I’m still hanging on.

Eight hundred five thousand nine hundred sixty four. Once again, I step out of the shower, and unload another perfume bottle onto me, only to go back in half an hour later. As light ebbs into the room my heart sinks-another night claimed by insomnia, another long, long day ahead with no chance to rest and the same involuntary routine to follow like the past eight hundred ten days.

Three million two hundred one thousand one hundred seventy nine sheep down, with my contempt intact, I feel closer to the insane extent of infinity than ever At least, being an insomniac has enhanced my ability to count seconds, blinks, words, memories, nights, days,…sheep. And I find myself in the bathroom one more time, trying to launder my skin, pore by pore, with a stronger scent everyday.

They still, smell her on me.

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