I sit on the toilet, as one does. Don’t know what I ate, but it doesn’t agree with me. I’m wracked by another cramp.
As I try to catch my breath, I gaze into the wallpaper, captivated by its texture. The bumps, the gullies, the islands, the rivers. I follow them with my eye, like a tiny Livingstone exploring the Zambezi. Or the Nile?
I catch the reflection of my eyes in the towel rail. What am I doing?
Unbidden, I begin to cry.
As the tears flow, I struggle for a reason. Why am I crying?
The answer, I decide, is as simple as it is complex. Summed up in seven words, but with a lifetime of explanation necessary. A sob escapes my throat.
This is not the life I wanted.
This is not what my life was meant to be.
Sitting at home, alone, always alone, eating microwave dinner from packets and drinking cheap wine and weeping on the toilet. This isn’t what I signed up for.
Through the tears, I contemplate my hands. The light brings the lines in my hands into sharp relief; my hands are like unto young wood, grained and stretched, in this light. These hands… what a waste. They have no one to cook for. No other hand to hold. No one to to touch, to caress, to hug. These hands are wasted on me.
Don’t get me wrong, I never had any illusions about my life. I never expected to be rich, famous, well-loved by the masses and widely mourned when I’m gone. I never expected to live in a mansion with antique furniture and a cleaning lady and a personal assistant. I never expected any of these things. All I wanted was a nice home, with nice things, and friends to share it with. If the home had a nice view, well, that would be a bonus. My mind floats to the parking lot and my neighbours mangy yappy dogs — the only things I can see from my apartment.
I never even expected to be loved, not really. If my parents couldn’t love me, and I couldn’t love myself, how could I possibly expect anyone else to love me? But I did sort of expect that by this point I’d have at least someone, or someones, with whom I could share my life, share my joys and my defeats, someone I could care for in my own, crippled way.
But that can’t ever happen. If it could, it would have by now. It’s too late, I’m alone forever now.
I’m probably not capable of real love anyway, much less a relationship like that. I’m far too mercurial, as living the life of a hermit will make even the warmest and most open of people.
Where did it all go wrong? … is a stupid question to ask. What am I going to do, go back in time and fix it? Nothing works like that, so why even think that? Why even utter such a ridiculous query, even subvocally?
It doesn’t matter. This feeling will pass, and I’ll be content with my lot in life for a little while again. I always am. I never move ahead, I’m always like this. I haven’t changed since I was 16 other than to become more closed, more hard, more defeated.
Every day in every way, I suffer a thousand defeats and die a thousand little deaths.
What am I doing. The toilet is no place to cry. On the sofa, nursing a bottle of Chardonnay, that’s a place to cry. Get on with it.