Chapter 3 “The Night in the Kitchen”
Insomnia – greatest self-destructive system. It comes out when you are troubled, floating somewhere in between reality and dream.
My only safe place, no matter where and how… I’m drawn to the kitchen.
It seems quite strange by many means. As I, grown-up, sit on the kitchen floor. Hands holding a cup of coffee, eyes staring into space. Like that shadow over there is the answer to something that is bothering me.
But all I really see is just the hollow nothingness of that point blank I stare into. The dreams of dying ‘Light’ recently keep me up through the night.
Somehow this bit of cold place called the kitchen is just where I feel safe. In a way, like in a story by Banana Yoshimoto “Kitchen”, yes, somehow to some of us it is the best place to “hide”. This moonlit darkness, in blue hues, really makes me feel at ease.
When I was in the room, on his bed… His bed?
Head shook a few times, fingers brushing through hair.
“Who is Light? What have I forgotten?” – thinking to self, as I lean back against cabinets.
“Are you alright? You seem out of it.” – said Orchid, standing a few steps away. Barely any sound made, as she approached.
She stood, her gaze examining me. Like she’s burning a hole in my skull. In side glance – she looked beautiful. Her hair is like stardust in a moonlit kitchen. Her night dress – short and pale.
Heh… What can I explain regarding this moment? I am here in the middle of the night, without light, looking out the window trying to get a glimpse of stars. There is something that tries to get back in my memory and I still don’t know what it is. Or why. But I truly do not wish to share that.
“Something on your mind?” – Spoke Orchid. – “I might not be someone who will understand, but I can try.”
I kept on plainly looking ahead. She took a deep breath. Then I went to sit on a chair in the kitchen. Swift and silent movements.
“Can you tell me about yourself? Even a bit of how you became the way you are. I want to know.” – She let out.
Her questions were the oddest kind. Right now I was curious why.
Telling about self to this young brat that was pushed onto me. Not like I enjoyed her presence here, nor she was fond of my company. It’s like she’s here because it’s needed so.
“How I became this way.” – I let my frustration seep through. – “What way?”
I gave her a glance. She got surprised. Definitely not expecting words to backfire. She was seeking for the right words now – I saw it in her darting eyes. Looking at the surroundings, trying her best.
“The way you’re into Terra and exploring its ways. It’s very rare to have a person to be this much into a subject.” – She was trying to sound so much less agitated, then she was – it was showing.
I kept my mouth shut.
“I apologize.” – She let out in defeat. – “It was rude of me to use words I used. I want to genuinely know more of you.”
“Why?” – I saw how she was doing her best at covering up whatever she was up to.
Now she was at a loss of words.
Few minutes later she managed to find her reply, in spite of her real ideas.
“I feel like I can learn from you.” – She let out.
“Learn?” – I was annoyed, – “By flaunting questions, not trying to be attentive to answers, harassing someone by insisted presence and pestering by all means? That does not sound like learning. Sounds more like a stalker or offender! Which one are you?!” – My voice grew into an angry shout.
Now she looked frightened.
“What? Didn’t expect I’d pick up on it?” – I was annoyed and irritated.
I got up, opened the top cupboard, pulled out a bottle of strong liquor. Once I turned around – I opened the bottle and downed some. I gave her a glance, then sat back down.
She kept her mouth shut. So did I.
Half a bottle later I kept my eyes on the sky. Now it was covered in dark clouds, with silver grey rims from the moonlight behind.
“Cat?” – Orchid spoke.
“What?” – I heard my tired voice.
I sounded exhausted, pathetic.
“I’m not the best choice, but at least I can listen.” – She sounded more honest. Voice dropped the pretence tone she used before.
“The hell with it, maybe it’ll lighten.” – my mind gave a short thought.
I felt my fingers tremble, as I raised the bottle, drinking more. Once the burning feeling coursed through me – I closed my eyes, my tired voice softly echoing in the kitchen.
“I am not very good at explaining my feelings. I can’t seem to find the right words. Others become offended or misunderstand when I try to explain. I am bad at it. It’s just that I have not been taught how to express my feelings right. It’s a mixture of what comes to mind on how to let them know what goes inside. Saying something rude whilst happy, or cheesy when sad. When mad – I can’t say things right at all. I end up bluntly speaking out. That I was not in charge of making in my head.” – I felt my own breathing.
I was feeling the faint trembling inside, then, as if off, it dissipated. I felt that my ‘Light’ hugged me, wrapped tight. I still don’t know who or what it is – but the warmth seems so real.
Orchid kept watching me. Her gaze felt heavy, burdensome. Then she looked out.
“Guess I’m a little miserable that way. When I really have something in my heart that eats me up – I just make up a good side to it. Pretending that all is for the best. Although the pain does not go away. It keeps pulsating inside, reminding me of self every time I wake up in the morning. That’s making me sort of pitiful.” – My head leaned back, eyes looked up.
Still the same ceiling. Same lamp. I heard how Orchid shifted in chair. My trembling was already faint. Warmth left me. Once again I felt loneliness.
“But then again, not all in this world is best or perfect. I am still working it out to find the most suitable words to describe what possesses my mind. At times it is a delusion. A collision of two differences that make a mess inside. I just can’t get it right. I keep fiddling with words, mulling them over. In the end what I spit out – are the things that have nothing in common. That is where most wave their quizzical ‘What?’. Unable to understand – they complain about it. But how can I explain that – what lies in my head is not easily said. Sometimes it’s better on paper instead. Mostly then – it seems to make more sense.”
The bottle raised to my lips, a harsh drink falling down in my bodily pit.
I breathed out.Trying to find the passage for eyesight to catch onto stars, that hand cannot reach.
Orchid turned to check me, then let out a deep breath. Unable to understand, she shook her head.
“You tend to speak in riddles. Sometimes sounding like an old creature. Sometimes pain is the most common return to the faith you give. Yet you sound like you ate the pain and let it grow. Although you never looked that way. Always positive, always inspiring” – Orchid said her piece. She was tired of seeing me tired.
I really couldn’t care for her shenanigans. My irritated sarcasm was unsheathed.
“Many speak of the Wise Men they meet on the path of their life.” – I began, – “They say they learned a lot during that moment in time. Yet they do not use the knowledge they got. They just mind it inside themselves and forget what they’re told.”
Orchid seemed offended. I let out a smirk. Yes, facing up to your shit can be tough indeed.
Eyes glued to the stars that shone bright in the sky.
Odd sensation that they were similar to ones I looked at with beloved ‘Light’.
Who are you? Why don’t I remember? These darn feelings…
“These stars – amazing beauty are they not?” – I said. Right now my dearest wish would be to remember this precious ‘Light’.
Orchid just looked up, giving the expression of “This? Is this it?” – she really is shallow.
I shook slowly my head in disappointment. Then downed what was left in the bottle. Sense of being drunk got me. The exhaustion fell like a ton of bricks. I now felt like speaking to self more, then telling someone.
“I remember the days when I saw stars, similar to these – but different. As if from someplace else. Back then my view would be accompanied with strange forests and swamps. Small houses made of wood and bricks, with no lights in windows. Covered by moonlight. Sound of a train passing somewhere nearby. I was gazing at the stars, when I heard a voice – girly voice from inside. She said, ‘I wish there would be someone like me, so I’d share what I see and that person would share what he saw with me.’
And I was awed. Wasn’t sure what was on – but spoke in return: ‘I am here. You’re not alone.’ The voice gasped with surprise. I think she thought – there would be no one to reply to her, that moonlit night. ‘My name’s Niko’ she said. ‘You can call me Erick’ – I replied.”
“I spoke to her and she spoke to me. We became one – her and me. Somehow I could see what she saw, and she saw what I’ve seen. That was magical. Her voice was nice to hear. I was struck with the belief that we were the female and male sides of one soul. Sounds like a mystery and something quite crazy. But that is what we ended up thinking about us.”
I felt my mouth corners slowly rise in a smile. Such distant memories, slowly falling on me like that petal rain.
“One time I heard her sobbing. I asked her to tell me more of what bothered her… Abused, physical pain, poisonous words and lack of ones who would take her the way she was – those were the poison bullets and lashes which took her bit by bit away to see Belphegor and Mammon. Eventually to be frightened by these creatures of witchcraft.
Each time I tried to strike a conversation with her – she cut it short. I could hear her hollow out slowly each time. No matter how much I showed her the life here – the nature that I enjoyed, the creatures… No matter how I tried to cheer her to get out of misery – it didn’t work. She distanced herself further. One day I could no longer see what she saw. Neither she heard me anymore.”
“Then, I noticed things here, which bore similarity to what I saw through her eyes. I felt pain. I could feel part of what she felt as I looked closer at what was going on. What I saw deep inside the system gave me shivers. Made me mortified with fear, hatred, disgust. Made me hollow and miserable – just like her.”
“ From then on I was walking through this world – seeing grime everywhere. Unsure how these things could be in existence. Then I stopped one day. I was poor. Had no living soul who would take my hand, say something to make me believe in the world I live in again. It was a horrid time – back then.”
“Just as I was about to kick the bucket and say my last goodbye to the world: as I stood on the hill looking across the city I was born, smelling the night air and scent of narcissus – eyes closed, silence around… I hear a familiar voice in the background.
‘Erick, – she spoke softly, – I am here, next to you, looking at the dark sky, surrounded by the scent of narcissus and the chill of the night. I know what you feel. I feel the same, but look at all closer, yet from far far away.’
‘Beneath us – people, rushing somewhere, beeping car horns, crying police sirens, swearing and yelling, words of love falling and someone caring for some other one. There are so many of us, still unaware of the Hell, that crawls back at them, if they meddle from the path they are on. The buzz never stops. Even if we both go, they will keep on being. Some might be wrong, some are right, some are strong, some are weak, even the inside of their mind can be fragile.’ – She spoke with a smile on, yet with great pain in heart, that was tattered apart. – ‘You know, it’s been years since I saw your stars.’”
“I kept my gaze fixed on the stars. Somehow, I was warmed up again to hear that someone was beside me, holding my hand. Knowing the path through which we went.”
“‘Niko, where were you? I tried many times to see through your eyes, but never again have I managed to get to you. What happened?’ – I wanted to know. I was eager to know. She was a part of me, to begin with.”
“‘Eh…’ – she let out. – ‘There was a lot going on. More sorrow, more pain and more loveless of heart. Aching to become someone’s beloved, but somehow that dream fell apart. But then I fell close – with nature, with stars and with dreams, hopes for someone to love. You know, Erick, I tried to become someones ‘the one’ – but ended up stranded in things that I was not really ready for. Ended up hurting someone. But I learned that once you are alone – just like then – when looking at the stars and the forest of swamps with trains that go by nearby. You just see the peace still dwelling within. In little doses – in something small – you nibble on this bit of happiness, from recalling the feeling of before and adding it to the bit which became more.’”
“‘You know, I am here with you now. Aren’t we two halves of one? I love you, Erick. No matter how long and how much more we will struggle, feel pain or disappointment – I am sure that we, heart in heart, can overcome things that will try to break us apart.
We can apologise for the trouble we caused along the way. Minding our paths as we shall stay. Promise me that we shall keep on going.’ – She said then.”
“All I could muster to reply to her was that I promise to walk on, heart in heart, struggling along. I was crying – so was she. We were happy inside. From then on, we were always together, side by side. I still see what she sees and she sees what I see. She laughs at my jokes and my sarcasm. Through laughter we keep on going.” – I felt myself smiling. My eyes closed.
“So, I was where the hell was all cold and frost was biting, chilling the heart to the core. With the last of the light I had in me – she saved me, just like I have saved her before.” – Very slowly I felt things starting to untangle. I remembered her. But I felt there was more.”
Orchid was greatly puzzled by my seeming nonsense. Seeing her knit brows made me let out a giggle.
Orchids’ eyes traced my moves, as I got up.
“You’re drunk.” – She stated boldly.
“Pfft!” – I let out, – “Don’t want to see me drunk – go to sleep.”
She got up and went back to her room, the door shutting loudly behind.
Her tantrum throwing made me laugh.
“Yeah, drunk. But you heard of my real past, you brat.” – I smirked, grabbed the water and went to sleep in my study.
“Yeah, yeah, I remember.” – Floated in mind. – “Didn’t mean to offend her, but she jumped the loaded gun. Researching me must be fun.”