Friday, November 12, 2010

(c)rheak. no reproduction allowed

The House

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I got a message I can't read (Radiohead, In Limbo)
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When Bob left, they followed him for a while by the footsteps in the grass, but they grew tired and Gerard turned around and walked straight back. He looked at the sky and it was huge and stretched on like a giant canvas above just like it did ever since he could remember: blank, an ever present shade of yellow. Or gray. Or both. He doesn’t know.

After that Ray turned pebbles around in front of the house and Frank turned circles around the house. Gerard never said anything.

Mikey thought about how Bob was blond and had translucent skin and how he saw Bob lying naked in the grass. He was blond everywhere.

Sometimes he went back on Bob’s tracks, to the top of the hill, until the house was a dot of black in the green distance. He went there and breathed in and it was lonely and vast and there were no birds in the sky. Sometimes Frank came with him for a while and when Mikey returned he always found Frank sitting in the grass smoking. Ray never came, or Gerard, and after a while neither did Frank.

Mikey walked through the grass until the dew made his pants wet and the grass grew back and there were no tracks left.

One day they found Ray hanged in the upper chamber. He hung from the ceiling and his hair was in his face but Mikey knew he was all bloated underneath and wanted to look. Gerard slapped his hand away, then slapped him across the face and Mikey felt odd, and sorry too because Ray had always been nice to him and Ray smelled like cinnamon and tasted like mouth and tongue and teeth and Mikey missed that.

Frank drowned. And Gerard had wept and screamed and for a while it was just him and Gerard in the house, all quiet and grey and cold and the grass all around them to the horizon.

When Gerard came one night and the bed creaked under him and he felt Gerard’s face on his skin, under his shirt, and Gerard’s cold fingers on the sides of his body, he didn’t say anything, just let Gerard do what he wanted because he missed Frank too and with Frank Gerard had never felt so cold.

He didn’t register the fact that it may have been sad. The sad part came when it was clear that there would be no sound in the house other than his breathing or Gerard’s breathing, or the water dripping slowly from a towel.

Sometimes Mikey went where Ray and Frank were buried under the grass and slept between the graves. He stopped counting the days since Bob left, or the days since he saw Frank’s hand trembling on the doorknob to the chamber where Ray hanged; he stopped counting the days since Frank floated over the water--blue lips and pale flesh, and Gerard wouldn’t stop screaming. There, between Ray and Frank he wanted to cry and the earth under him felt cold and humid.

His earliest memory was of waking up in his bed and Gerard by the window. He said: you are Mikey, and Mikey didn’t say anything because Gerard sounded so convincing, he didn’t know what else to say. He can’t remember anything before that.

It took getting used to, but he stopped wondering if Gerard is alright on his own, locked inside his room. Only sometimes, usually at night or early in the morning, did he get scared that Gerard might do something like Ray and he’d be alone forever. Then he just looked through a creak in the door at Gerard breathing underneath the cover and he was alright.

Mikey didn’t dream much, but when he did he usually remembered things like Bob’s shoulder full of freckles, or Frank’s laughter, or Ray’s embrace. Sometimes he dreamt he couldn’t breathe. Like there was something over his chest, crushing him underneath, slowly, and Mikey dreamt of falling and feeling dizzy. Then Mikey dreamt of grass.

It was routine, him staring at Gerard sitting at the table, asking: where did Bob go? And Gerard never answering. Gerard always hated Mikey asking about everybody in one sentence but Mikey thought they were few enough to bother. So he asked: Are there others like you and me and Bob and Frank and Ray? Enumerated all the names like beads on a rope, but aside from a mere flinch at Frank’s name, Gerard did not respond. It seemed easier for Gerard to talk to the walls, to Frank’s chair, to Ray’s guitar, to the empty air around him and never expecting a reply, but Mikey found it difficult. Gerard? And it always reduced itself to one question really, with the silence banging at the walls, grabbing at his shoulders with icy fingers:

Why is no-one coming?

Except there was never an answer and Gerard usually left so Mikey thought Gerard didn’t know either.

I want everything to go back to the way it was.

It was early morning and the windows a blur when Bob came and lay down against Mikey’s shivering body. And it was unexpected (because Bob left months ago) and Mikey startled, his legs tangled between the sheets, whispered: you need to go see Gerard, and Bob had said: not now Mikey, I’m tired, and Mikey said nothing (because he was happy) and let Bob lie next to him, his nose against his nape, blowing warm air slowly into the hair growing there. And Mikey could feel himself shivering and Bob’s sweater grazing at the skin of his back and Bob’s knee inside his own bent leg and he held on to Bob’s fingers and asked: where did you go? Only Bob said nothing, put his hand between Mikey’s legs instead and Mikey felt dizzy (because this felt real again and nothing really mattered).

Did you see Bob, he asked when he woke up later that day and went downstairs, and Gerard stared at him with this odd, ghostly expression. Bob was here last night.

Bob is dead, Mikey.

And Mikey had run, all the way through the grass and it cut his knees and Mikey didn’t find the footsteps again and least of all did Mikey understand.

When Mikey sat on the porch later he wanted to cry, felt like crying and couldn’t. Gerard sat down next to him and Mikey would have wanted Gerard to hold him, but Gerard just put his hand on his shoulder and said: but you knew that already, Mike, you knew that. And Mikey didn’t know anything.

Gerard hated repetition. That’s why they never did anything twice. That’s why they sat on different seats every morning, that’s why Gerard woke up early, or late, or anytime in between. Sometimes Gerard woke up in the night--Mikey knew because he heard Gerard crying downstairs--and talked to himself or smoked Frank’s cigarettes. It was so long ago since they found Frank in the pond and yet Gerard still smoked Frank’s cigarettes. Mikey thought how everything eventually ends and how Frank’s cigarettes never seemed to. It was the only repetition Gerard allowed. Mikey thought repetition was good because he never knew what was expected of him otherwise. And with Gerard it seemed something was always expected of him.

Mikey was there when Bob left and Frank had said oh fuck it and Gerard said don’t curse. Then Bob had left and Ray held on to himself a little too tight, Mikey could see it by his knuckles turning white, and Mikey was sad because he couldn’t do the same now that Ray was doing it. So he just held on to the door-frame as Bob disappeared behind the hill top.


Mikey’s doing the dishes and Gerard goes:

I miss Frank. And I miss Bob and I miss Ray and I miss you.

And Mikey turns around, says, but I’m here.

Gerard keeps his head between his hands. No. You’re not. You’re just... and then he sighs, gets up and goes outside. The door creaks then bats against the frame for a while. Mikey puts a plate aside and stares at an ant crawling over the window frame, then outside where the sky is great and dull and Gerard is sitting in the grass near the pond where Frank and Ray are buried.


He said: you are my brother and Mikey didn’t know what that meant other than it was something special and he was somewhat important because Gerard had said you are like me and he didn’t say it to Frank or to Ray or to Bob.

He doesn’t remember.

It doesn’t matter anyway.


Gerard is talking to the walls, to the chair where Frank used to sit in front of the window, on a pillow someone made and Mikey doesn’t remember who. Sometimes Gerard talks to him and Mikey doesn’t say a thing afraid that maybe he’ll ruin something and Gerard won’t talk to him again. But Gerard grows tired and stops anyway. Always.


Go away, Gerard said one day, go away. Screamed it in his face and Mikey didn’t know what to do, stood there with a towel in his hand and stared at Gerard till Gerard jerked it out of his hands and Mikey was left with a burning on his fingers.

Leave me alone.

And Mikey left, went in the direction he remembered Bob leaving and walked until he couldn’t see the house anymore. There was nothing but grass around him and no road, just grass and sky stretching on infinitely and Mikey walked for a very long time.


I want everything to go back to the way it was.


Bob left two weeks ago and Mikey walks through the grass on the hill. When he goes back Frank sits in the grass, smokes, says: I had a dream, and Mikey says nothing but looks at him for a while, sits down next to him in the grass. He can feel the ground cold underneath.

I dreamt I was famous, and Frank laughs and Mikey laughs with him even though he doesn’t know why. We were all famous and you and Gerard--Frank turns around, looks straight at his mouth--you were so pretty. Mikey smiles faintly. Then Frank looks at the ground, swings his arms and stretches on the grass, takes a drag from his cigarette and his eyes cross a little and Mikey supposes he’s watching the smoke.

Ray is a genius, he says, you know? And Mikey nods a little.


Gerard says if you wish for something really bad, like really really bad your wish will come true. You think it’s true?

I don’t know.

Mikey wishes for Bob to come back but Bob doesn’t and he thinks that maybe he doesn’t wish it really really bad and asks: Ray, what do you wish for? But Ray just looks out the window, whispers: I wish Bob came back, and Mikey feels warm and holds Ray close because two can make a wish stronger.


I can’t remember much Mikey, but this dream felt so real, you know? and Mikey keeps nodding because he doesn’t know, he doesn’t dream much.
It’s just that... something happened and it wasn’t good anymore. And Mikey nods.


You are not here.


Crazy! ... Mikey sits and stares at the sky ... You are crazy! You hear me? You’re crazy, Gerard! ... He takes his glasses off, rubs them against his shirt for a moment, puts them back on. ... Stop it! ... He can’t hear Gerard’s voice but he knows what he says ... Stop it! ... It’s always Frank’s voice he hears, Gerard keeps saying the same thing; he doesn’t have to hear it to know. ... Please stop it! But Gerard won’t stop and Frank runs out and breaks down crying outside, behind the house where he thinks no-one can see. A forced panting, rather than crying. And Mikey sees because he‘s sitting on the roof and he stops dangling his legs because he doesn’t want Frank to see him when Frank wants to cry and can’t.


You are not here.


In the middle of the field, grass below and sky above, Mikey stopped and sat down and thought for a very long time.

If he dreamt, the images had no shape and he couldn’t remember anymore: Bob’s shoulder, Frank’s laughter, Ray’s embrace, nothing; he couldn’t remember Gerard. And he felt sad.

If he slept, the images strangled him in their ugliness and even though he saw Ray and Frank when their bodies were cold and stiff, even if he saw Gerard’s face screaming at him, even if there was no one out there with him but ants and pebbles and grass, and he was all alone, where no one could harm him, he dreamt of being strangled and he dreamt of being crushed and he dreamt of blood and he trashed and he wanted to cry but couldn’t.

It occurred to him that all those months, the whole time, he didn’t, ever, see anyone else cry other than Gerard--when Frank died, he didn’t, ever, hear anyone else cry other than Gerard--when it was dark and quiet and Gerard thought he slept.


I want everything to go back to the way it was.


Before, right after he woke up and Gerard told him his name, they used to go outside and Ray would show him how to play guitar, Frank would smoke and Gerard would laugh while Bob just lay there naked in the grass by the pond.


I remember something. I mean, I dreamt it but this felt like memory not like dream, you know? And it doesn’t make sense. Mikey looks at the tips of his shoes in the grass and Frank mumbles something, something that sounds like I died, but Mikey isn’t sure, could have been I lied. But that’s stupid, Frank says. I can’t remember that. And he laughs, short and awkward and Mikey looks at Frank looking at the field. It was probably because I fell from my bed. And Frank laughs again, like a stupid three year old, and Mikey doesn’t laugh, smiles, because Mikey can’t remember what a three year old means and after a while Frank doesn’t laugh either just stares into the distance.

When there was nowhere left to walk to and nothing but grass and sky, he saw a house in a valley by a pond, and on the porch there was a person.

Gerard didn’t see him at first.

There was this time when Mikey slipped from the roof. He didn’t fall, his leg slipped, because his shoes have smooth soles and the roof was a little damp with dew and he slipped. It was a second and Mikey caught the chimney nearby and hung on to it. He didn’t fall. It was just for one second. And his palms hurt because they had scraped at the chimney, and his knees shook and for a while Mikey couldn’t breathe and he knew he’d felt like that before, somewhere. It was just a second and after that Ray came and said let’s eat, Mikey saw him standing in the grass looking up at him and Mikey couldn’t let go of the chimney.

Gerard wouldn’t let him climb the roof after that.

You are not Mikey.

That night he sleeps in his old bed and it’s Gerard strangling him and he can’t breathe, can’t understand, can’t move and can’t see that Gerard is crying, and repeating I want it all to go back, over and over and over and over and over until Mikey doesn’t breathe anymore and it’s all dark and there’s nothing left. There are flashes, little flashes of bright light, red and blue and red and blue and there’s something over him, so heavy, and Frank’s face turned in a weird position, staring at him and Mikey knows this isn’t here, this isn’t now and then he sees something from before, like the inside of a bunk and the walls are not straight and it’s just a second and then he doesn’t see anything at all just thinks I remember, I have to remember this, this is important, I have to remember.

Another message I can't read (Radiohead, In Limbo)

When he opens his eyes--there’s this feeling, something in the back of his mind (a dream, it was important, I can’t remember; something important)--the room is empty, a bed and concrete walls. It’s a blur and his hand searches instinctively for his glasses. He knows he’s wearing glasses. He doesn’t need to remember. And even though he doesn’t--remember that is--anything before waking up, his name, his life, anything, he trusts that person in front of the window giving him a name, saying: good morning Mikey. He doesn’t notice how the person looks so tired and how his words have a vague spacing when he says: I am Gerard.
He will, later, when the house will be empty and the field will be empty and there will be an accident (an unexpected and undesirable event, especially one resulting in damage or harm; again) Gerard will cry and there will be nothing but grass from here to nowhere, over and over and over again.