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Pablo Neruda

Morning. Santiago.

The beautiful sunrise does nothing to soothe him. With his eyes still closed he sits up in bed. Disturbed sleep is a special rung in hell. The birds outside seem cynically chirpy; his head feels devastatingly split. 

These are the days which unearth buried demons mainly because they could overpower him. 

Just as he contemplates going back to bed, she enters with tea and breakfast. The hustle of her footsteps, the smell of soap and fresh flowers, and the aftertaste of lipstick on his mouth as she breaks away from a quick kiss remind him why he does what he does.

The birds don’t sound cynical anymore.

"To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life."


Evening. Holcomb.

He adjusts his glasses, lending a dramatic pause to his punchline. Everyone leans in, enticed; and throws their head back in expected laughter as he finishes. He scans their ecstatic faces, gauging their reaction. The last one he looks at is hers. She is standing at the back of the room, a wine glass held loosely in one hand, her eyes waiting to catch his. They hold their gaze. Her dimples deepen. His confidence soars. He plans his next anecdote.

"We don’t belong to each other. She’s an independent and so am I."

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Night. New York.

He sits at the edge of the bed; his feet crossed, his arms propped on the sides, supporting him. His head is bent. He rubs his fingers, tracing the ink stains. Those never wash away.

His palm sweeps across to her side of the bed. It’s cold and clean. The air is dull, stagnant. The stillness bothers him. He hasn’t smelled perfume in months. He misses the sound her dress would make as she would move around the house, singing her sentences…

He leans back instinctively, eyes closed, eyebrows arched. As he looks up, his shoulders tense. 

Overwhelming nostalgia can be fatal.

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

Elizabeth I

Afternoon. London.

She stands before her people, unsmiling.  Her hands rest on the parapet; her back is straight.  The ferocity in her eyes is equal to the crown. She garners its power; the regalia is merely an embellishment. England was her Kingdom.  She made it her Empire.

"I do not so much rejoice that God hath made me to be a Queen, as to be a Queen over so thankful a people."


Pre-dawn. Mexico.

The gun is still warm in his hand. The smoke hasn’t reached him yet. She is dead. She was dead. Was she here? The glass rolls out of her hand. Blood rises out of the singed edges of the entry wound. 

He feels his insides for the first time in weeks. They want to escape. He bends forward and finds himself supine on the floor. His head bursts with pain.

A soft voice from across the room tells him she is gone. The voice instructs him to leave, to run. He wants to save her, but he is told that it cannot be done. He sees the blood travelling through her dress.

He stands up and walks out. The door is ajar. The stench of burnt flesh and wasted gunpowder follows him. So does the voice.

He knows the voice. He has heard it before. It’s the only one he trusts.

"Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape."

Roger Ebert

Evening. Chicago.

He hates the smell of popcorn. Why anyone would want to taste things while watching a movie was beyond him. There is enough flavor on the screen.

They ask him if he’s comfortable and he replies with a pained smile. He wants the black, flashing countdown. He wants the actors entertaining him. The director’s vision will be his for the next 98 minutes.

The lights dim, the crowd hushes down, and the adventure begins.

"We are put on this planet only once, and to limit ourselves to the familiar is a crime against our minds."


Morning. Paris.

Irritation sweeps across his face briefly. Then comes sympathy. And then, inspiration. The men are waiting for him to reply. His hand is half open, pointing towards them, already preaching.

He takes a moment to clear his head of the lecture he had prepared. A long breath, and - 

"Dare to think for yourself."


Afternoon. Paris.

He nurses the brandy. He doesn’t move when the rain splashes on his shoes. They’re old. They’ve seen the filth of too many street corners to be afraid of rain. They’ve walked up too many stairs to move away. They’ve lived too many lives to deny their owner another experience.


Nothing. Existed.”


The dogs have been barking for the last two hours, and it is only 3 a.m.. His hands drip red. His breath comes out in crystals. His chest wheezes in and out.

The only light comes from a television set. Its repetitive flashes reflect in his glasses, and he turns around. Cautiously. One of the dogs howl. 

His hands are too dirty to touch anything. The stench doesn’t bother him. He walks to the kitchen. The light can’t follow him. 

No one believes that he doesn’t like soup.


Arthur Rimbaud

The familiar silence of melancholia was around him again. He walked down the street and having no one with him didn’t matter. His feet were heavy. They moved on their own. This apathy was five days in the making, but some could argue that it was twenty years overdue. He walked to the coffee shop and inhaled. Sat down, ordered an espresso, waited. His head rested on the dirty wall behind. 

He would spend months, even years, without depression, but it would eventually come back to engulf him. And at the lowest of the lows (where he was now) it felt right. He felt as if he belonged. He felt as if - 

"Unhappiness was my god."