The Sadness

Flowers in Oslo, September 2023

I’ve been here before, maybe you have too. That feeling of floating and trying to grasp onto mist. The wish to bang against the walls within your mind, to have a response, to hear something else. I hold my face in my hands sometimes and just rest there. Maybe I could sleep within my hands. It is dark so early these days and the black just descends like a curtain on the city. I’m not sure if sun would make it better. I’ve felt this thing before in paradise.

I would like to be somewhere where I could see beauty every day, or so I think. I said that it would be lovely to see the sea every day. I talked to S and he said he would like to have kids and to him within their eyes he would see an ocean everyday. To have a house filled with laughter, I can see how that would be appealing.

I’ve been raised in a family and a culture that values delayed gratification. I’ve done it, now what? Do more. And more. Are you secure yet? Plot twist: who truly is? All the trains are going and I stand at the platform letting them go. I see the boards and their destinations and nothing inspires me. There is always a move to make, I repeat this mantra into my hands where my face is still resting. There is always a move.

Tending to focus on my goals, I lose track of my days. I feel this contradiction because I am excited to do my work but it pains me that this is the main thing I’m excited about. It’s a small light that I’m looking at while everything around me is darkness. This is not for lack of love or warmth, that too is all around me – I just can’t feel any of it. I feel like a deaf man at a concert, watching people singing their hearts out and making a beautiful show that I can’t take in. Mythology always warned of kings that had everything that they wanted but could enjoy none of it – see Midas and others.

I’ve been thinking of homes lately because I have the privilege to spend time in a very well crafted one. The small touches, the memorabilia that is placed around, the choice of prints on the walls, the automated lighting system. All of the objects were placed by a hand and with an eye. This is a gendered thing, I believe. I don’t think (cishet) men quite understand how an environment can affect an internal state. Maybe it was this home that was holding all the threads in me together.

I smoked a cigarette on New Year’s Eve. I’ve done well this year and can probably count the number of times I’ve smoked on one hand, many of those fingers belong to S. The fireworks blew up in the sky and the air was thick with smoke. They were Japanese cigarettes, the long thin ones. That was all the nicotine I needed and could handle anyway. It is bitterly cold here and the sounds were loud and people were running around. It was endless, the bangs. Everything seemed unreal with a smoothness to it. I feel estranged from everything and everyone. I don’t think it’s healthy to be so far away from home all the time or to have so many homes splitting your heart.

Sometimes you meet people going about their lives, surfing in the city. They are living somewhere and meeting people and going about living but you ask them some questions and you notice that they’re standing on a life raft of meaning. All of it so flimsy. Maybe I’m projecting because having a sturdiness is something I seek. But I’m always sceptical of hedonism, I find that it’s nihilism smiling. It’s super short term and fairly uninteresting. I want staying power, I want to be surprised. There’s only so many variations of opening moves on a chessboard but an infinite amount of endings.

I sit here at the platform as the trains woosh by. People are crowding and bumping into each other as they try to guess where the train doors will stop. I see a couple and they stand close together. She’s carrying an accordian on her back and him a guitar. He looks like Bob Dylan, I want him to look like Bob Dylan. The stand close together almost like they are transferring heat by each others presence. They embrace each other with their gazes. Their train arrives and they board it heading for Cologne.

I’ll be heading back to Norway soon to the wind and the cold. It’s minus twenty there, apparently and the pipes are frozen. I recall the first verse of Visions of Joana:

“Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it
And Louise holds a handful of rain, temptin’ you to defy it
Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off
Just Louise and her lover so entwined
And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind”

In the dark of many cities I have sat there stranded and shipwrecked with myself. I’ve heard the heaters cough to life or tick, tick, tick like a mechanical soldier attempting to stand up, it’s arm hitting the floor again and again. Have you entwined yourself around someone else? Have you wound your legs together like vines? Have you nestled into the crook of the neck of the one you love and made a home there?

I look down at my hands and see the frayed ends of conversations that could never happen. They are shredded and have rubbed into dust. I am sad these days and sense darkness around me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *