Saccharine Fetish

江崎聖人

I’ve been off the train for five minutes. A somber drizzle rears its unsightly head, and all I can concentrate on is the lingering taste of her in my mouth as I put a cigarette to my desiccated lips and inhale. The cocktail of tar and nicotine does little to mask that taste; I can barely feel it. From behind, two older men are chatting cheerfully of the folly of marriage and of scars from infidelity and deceit. It is wholly ironic, hilarious even, and deeply saddening; I cannot help but let out a cackle. I tell them I am engaged. I don’t listen to their responses, and they disappear ten or fifteen minutes later on a northbound tram. A few cigarettes go by. It feels like a lifetime. Dunbar spoke the truth when he said that unpleasantness makes minutes seem like years. At some point, the light shower became a rain, and even the rhythmic pitter-patter of raindrops on the metal awning overhead does little to quell my uneasiness. Pangs of loneliness and desperation punctuate my every action, my every breath; where once I sought solitude as a means of refinery, I now see that it only strips me down to the necessary components: it empties me out.

The days of yore are all golden now: even the darkest parts seem to sparkle with an iridescent magnificence that only worsens my condition as I realize that they are gone for good. Camaraderie, adventure, unrequited love; even in my sorrow, my enjoyment of life was never stifled. Now, in what I can definitively call the happiest time of my life, for I have all that I could have ever wanted and more, I find myself perplexed at the depth of my melancholy. It is indescribably horrific, acute, and fatal. It is gnawing at the very fibers of my being; I don’t know what it will erode after that, what it can erode after that. I am terrified by the primal, inescapable sense of helplessness I find myself in. Claustrophobia, like being buried alive, only the feeling comes from living alone. Solitude encapsulates me, smothers me like a pillow. As time drags on, I find myself with less and less reason to fight submission.

We sit on the train together; my arm is over her, and my eyes are out the window. Our seats are facing the direction we had departed from, and all I can think of is the pervasive sensation of futility. Our train was escaping the coming storm, leaving behind dark clouds as it moved faster and further south; but no matter how far you travel, no matter how fast you go, you cannot escape your own grief or your own regret. It was almost like satire; a contrast so ludicrously saddening that it is heart-shatteringly funny. It provokes the kind of laugh that scares you as it echoes through you, as it makes you suddenly realize just how hollow you have become. A laugh so empty that it creates the distinct feeling of tears welling up at the eyelids, and yet so cruel as those tears are but phantoms that pull on the tiny, emaciated threads of hope that keep whatever sanity you have left from plunging into a maddening abyss of dissolution and nothingness. They make you wish you could just shed them and be finished with the whole ordeal; but all they do is tease you, bring you further and further to the brink, make every succeeding temptation more and more difficult to bear. It is as if every molecule, every nano-angstrom that comprises my being is ready to burst, but without any climax, without any resolution. The feeling of a lost orgasm permeates throughout my entire being; I am at once horrified, frustrated, and deeply miserable. My thoughts turn toward suicide with shocking frequency; I push down the plunger, and the dark, foul-looking mélange of relief enters my bloodstream. I am okay once more.

The spectre of trust looms over my entire being like some kind of sick joke; a game in which there is no winning move, and no option not to play. Give it freely, and you are betrayed, taken advantage of, made a fool of; refuse to give it, and you are demonized, looked at like a monster for your own common sense. Either path is a poisoningly bitter addition to the tea of my life. I want to stop drinking it. I’ve been taking them for a few days now, and the combination of neuroleptics and benzodiazepines have laid waste to all of my bad feelings; but that is precisely the problem. All of those feelings are gone, stripped away, even the feelings telling me to feel bad about suicide. Logic tells me something has gone horribly wrong, but my mind feels at ease, no longer worrying about the dilemmas of self-termination. And again, a hollow, jarring guffaw rings out, so sad and ironic that I can’t help but find it utterly hilarious. I am so unhappy that I wish to die, yet, my unhappiness is what keeps me from killing myself. If I am unhappy, I wish to die, and if I am not unhappy, I will kill myself. A catch so remarkably brilliant that it must surely be a work of fiction, and I the unfortunate protagonist of such a melancholy and sick tale of woe. I had always wanted to, in some capacity, be the Yossarian of my own tale, and little did I know, funnily enough, I had been my own Yossarian right from the beginning. The discovery of Catch-22 was a satiric complement; my engagement to the Catch-22 girl was icing on the cake. God, and his impeccable sense of humor, had once again cast me as the butt of his cosmic joke, and I obsequiously yielded to Him.

Seeing someone off at the airport is the saddest of affairs, for everyone seems to be going somewhere but you. I hugged her with tears in my eyes, told her that I loved her, and let her go to the checkpoint. I stood for about 10 minutes, though she had left my sight long before that. I never saw her look back after the last time I called to her, not even out of curiosity. I didn’t know how to feel about it; now I just don’t feel about it. Every emotion feels numb; it’s quite nice in all actuality. My world view has changed dramatically, though not all the time; it’s incredibly fickle, shifting in and out. I find that I prefer caring about nothing over caring about everything. I need to get high. I’ve upped the dosage of the antidepressants. I’ve started taking the antipsychotics again, whole pills. I feel very good, in the capacity I’ve always imagined. I feel stoic. I haven’t thought about sex in days; I think I could only write that line because I stumbled across her naked pictures browsing through my phone’s gallery; otherwise, I might’ve forgotten. I feel fucking impressive. I’ve been running a lot. My body feels strong again. I feel like I’ve returned to a previous state, before I had the ability to discern solitude from being together. I feel productive, diligent. I feel very good. I can’t even fathom why I was ever concerned with the implications of killing myself. Should I get the inclination, I see no wrong in it anymore. I really like the feeling. It’s pervasively satisfying. I’ve gotten my will to die back from the clutches of irrationality and emotion. That is the most important thing, I believe, the will to die. It is too important to let go of. At some point, I was polluted, and I lost the way. I no longer feel this way; the medication makes me feel genuine; the heroin makes me feel whole.

My eyes stay open for a very long time now. I have trouble sleeping. I don’t sleep much, like before. It doesn’t concern me anymore though. The little sleep I get is dreamless. It’s nice. I don’t wake up with weird feelings that affect my days anymore. I feel like one continuous state with little interruption, outside of opioid-induced lapses of consciousness. Sometimes, I thought that dreams were like another life that you live between your real one, or maybe it was a parallel life. In any case, the interruption between conscious states always disconcerted me. I feel that disconcert no longer. I feel wholly myself at all times. It is very satisfying. Everything about these drugs is wholly satisfying. I feared them for so long for absolutely no reason. They only serve to make me what I have always wanted to be but was too afraid to make the motion towards: less me. Perhaps before, the adjustment was artificial, and easily broken; I feel now a reassuring strength to my mental capacity. I know it, however, to be temporary. My castle is built not upon sand: it is built upon a mountain of heroin and fentanyl.

I am still sitting at the train station. I’m waiting for my father and brother. I think of my father being arrested. I pointed finger guns at the police and FBI agents present at the time of his arrest. I didn’t understand what was going on. My mother was working in a strip club at the time; she needed to come and get my brother and me. The man who raped me and came inside of me was a dear friend in whom I held more trust than anything at the time. Is this why my fundamental ability to understand human relationships has been so deeply compromised? Perhaps. Either way, I find that that sentence was surprisingly easy to write on the drugs. I feel nothing towards it. It is simply a reality. I remember being afraid of dying when I was eight or nine years old. I heard a rumor that all homosexuals died of the AIDS virus. I have memories of crying watching Tarzan at that time because I thought that my molestation would mean that I would die of AIDS, and I would never get the chance to love anybody. My mind snaps back to my present situation. A man asks me for a cigarette, and I oblige. I don’t know exactly when, but the rain has slightly abated. The man walks away and disappears for a while before he returns and asks for another cigarette and change for the bus. I oblige. He asks me if I am from New York. I tell him no, that I’m from Pennsylvania. He smiles and says he could tell from the accent. I smiled because his interaction was warming to me, even if it could not fully reach me in my then-present state.

At a coffee shop, I sit with my brother and father. We discuss various things idly. I feel my face take control as the conversation steers towards personal disagreement. I feel my relationship challenged by him and my brother. I ride the wave, go along. I feel disgust and contempt. I do not recognize their viewpoints as valid, mostly for the sole fact that they do not fit my own. I am a fool that believes in fairytales and love. I am a fool that knows nothing but to be harmed by others. That is the role of my life. I must accept it. I must live and be trusting and hurt because the alternative is to be viewed as a non-human. At some point, distrust, or maybe even just reluctance to trust, became some kind of worse-than-Hitler evil act. So, I must not be Hitler, though I think that it is absurd, I must not be Hitler and I must be hurt and I must live with uncertainty and doubt but never speak of it for fear of being cast out for the apparent demon that I am. I must be made to live with uncertainty, of things I can never be absolutely sure about and that the pangs of which will haunt me for life but which I must dare not speak about for fear of being seen as inhuman. I must continue to hurt so I may be human. I must continue to let myself be used and destroyed and broken down and recycled over and over and over again so I may be human. So that I may avoid being inhuman. I don’t even know if being inhuman is painful. Maybe I should try it. But I know that there’s a chance it could be, and it’s uncertain, and I can’t trust it and the cycle repeats and repeats and repeats, and if I had a gun I would paint the walls and ceiling with the red of my blood and the pink of my grey matter through a gaping hole in the back of my cranium. But I know I need not a gun, for my destruction lies in the small baggie on the bathroom counter. I’m simply too craven, or perhaps not craven enough, to cook up the whole rock and shoot it up my god damn arm.

I don’t feel it anymore, trust has become a non-issue, everything is a non-issue, I feel great, like I can just exist and ride the wave. I can be human and not be hurt, because now all their bullets and knives and words can’t touch me, it is like divine elevation, like I have made a kind of short ascension to a plane where we can still communicate and touch and talk but that everything is just a bit shifted so that pain and suffering and anger and sadness have been reduced to practically nothing, and it’s great, and all I feel sometimes is this lingering feeling of just purposelessness that isn’t as acute as before but makes me consider seeing what lies beyond this same-old-same-old and I’m more and more curious with the passage of time. I like it. No, I absolutely adore it. I like everything about myself when I’m high, and hate it when I’m not.

I still don’t understand how I feel but I don’t think it matters. I still love her. I’m a bit happy because I feel better for her, like I won’t cause as much damage as I might’ve before. I feel like all the parts I didn’t like were scooped up and out. I feel stable. I feel like I can do things. I feel like I won’t worry and like I won’t have to make her worry about me worrying or being stupid or being a piece of shit or any of that, I think I can be really better, because I was never really good, and now I can be really truly better. And it’s great, and I really like it. It’s really satisfying. Everything is incredibly satisfying lately. I like cigarettes still, but I might quit. I don’t know yet, I haven’t decided. Things are good. I feel less of a need to articulate what I feel, mostly because it’s become very simple. I feel satisfaction all around, it’s kind of nice, and I like it. I lose these feelings as the hours drag on. I must prepare another shot before the pangs of withdrawal set in.

She didn’t call me the first night. I inject a markedly heavier dose. The thoughts didn’t go away, of her leaving, of my becoming obsolete, of never knowing what exactly might’ve happened on those few days and having to live with it for the rest of my life, but they became so much easier to manage, like glass in my brain had finally been yanked out. I don’t feel towards those feelings anymore, I just think of them occasionally. The memory of pain is there, and it is unpleasant, but it is manageable for the time being.

On off days, when I’ve not but to wait for my chemical Messiah, the feelings return, my scorn for my own trusting nature sparks up, and I cannot help but to loathe my present existence. I would gladly be taken advantage of, if only exclusively, for anything that was ever required of me. But it seems that no matter where you go, you cannot find people who are willing to take advantage of just one; no, it must be more, the accumulative pain and suffering must be greater for those around them in order for them to feel satisfied. I am the eternal joke, the court jester of the grand stage of Life.

I go on night walks a lot now. I dare not walk out during the day. My condition is practically staggering. I take a cigarette or two from the pack and put it in my shirt pocket before leaving. On the chemical lobotomy I self-administer daily, everything at night seems to move. There’s always something in the corner of my eyes, just ready to move. There’re shapes that shouldn’t be that disappear as something else seconds later. Most of all, the sounds have started to irritate me. I cannot stand the sound of passing by cars, or especially trains. I have to physically close my ears at the latter.

I have half-daydream hallucinations of you in our room nowadays. They’re saddening. You’re always doing something, or talking to your mom, or just lying there. I can’t see you, but I can feel you and hear you. And when I open my eyes, you’re gone. It’s too hard, love. I’m the only one left. Everyone else, you included, is gone. I miss you all. I want to join you. But I just sit in my room, waiting for texts, and half-imagining (and half-believing) that sometimes, you’re here with me.

And the smell drives me mad, the smell of our accumulated sex and sweat all over the bed, our ejaculation and period stains all over the cyan cover. To sit with this all day is like a lethal injection of forlornity that will surely bring me death should I chance to wade in it for too long. So I go out, cop a chunk of tar, pop some more benzos.

I am slowly realizing of my role in this world. I am not a creator nor a destroyer; I am a parasite. I do nothing but cling onto others and rely on their ability to function. I create or destroy nothing. I bring nothing to existence. I am merely a bystander. I am lower than decomposers, in a cosmological sense: I serve no function.

When on I was on a rather destructive arc of my anorexia, I used to get up early in the morning and watch the sun rise along the big lake next to the middle school I went to. In the afternoons, it got so blue sometimes it was almost blinding, how incredible and impossible and simply wondrous this place was. And in the evenings, when the sun was hung really low, the dark orange-red reflection on the water was so solemn and magnificent that you couldn’t pull your eyes away from it before there was nothing left but darkness.

Strangely, the saddest thing of all, was knowing all the lonesome hours that would have to pass before I could see that beauteous twilight once more.

Even sadder now, is the knowledge that I will never see it again.

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