When something happens – it could be anything – it's hard to say whether that thing that's happened is definitively good or bad. Even when you might feel feelings about it, and think a certain way, you can't tell whether your feelings are the right ones, or whether they're discoloured by some attachment you have to what's going on. Maybe there aren't even any right feelings, they just are. There. They just exist and you feel them and then they leave and who cares anyway because what the fuck even are feelings except thoughts made of fairy-floss for sissies?
And it's hard.
I promise this will make sense later, I'm not just telling you because it's funny, although that is one reason why I want to tell you that... yesterday, twice, I sat on a toilet and looked about in a panic, suddenly realizing that my cubicle had no toilet paper. Twice... some people don't even sit on a toilet twice in one day at all, but I guess I don't get to be one of those people. This is one thing I have feelings about.
The second time I was in a trendy bar in Liverpool and it was around 8pm, I had met up with Faye, a girl I met at a comedy show in Melbourne earlier this year, and another friend of hers to drink and be merry. I escaped my dilemma in in the toilet when I found a few scraps of paper on the windowsill. Afterwards we all left for her friend's twin sister's house, I played pool against some Liverpudlian (oooooh that's weird and fun!) guys and we got proper drunk. I woke up in the morning on a deflated inflatable mattress in a room that smelled intensely of mango-scented candles.
The first time I'd found myself trapped in a toilet was just after eating breakfast at some diner, it was £6.50 and fine – everything sort of tasted the same. I tore out a page from my notebook this time – reminiscing about Bolivia where I learned that trick – and then pulled up my pants from the floor to hear the unexpected PLOP of my phone dropping into the bowl. My knuckles may have brushed poop – it all happened so fast I can't remember exactly – but when I got it out it was broken, so an hour later I bought a new one.
Before that, in the morning, I went for a walk from my hostel, which I had booked for the wrong weekend but luckily, upon arriving the night before managed to secure a bed at anyway after five minutes of gripping terror at the prospect of having spent £21.50 to take a cab from one place I wasn't allowed to sleep at to another. The stroll took me through thirty minutes of bleak semi-industrial blocks, fenced off areas, and a highway without crossing lights, in the rain, which definitely became heavier the further I walked from shelter.
The night before I had been on a flight from Geneva to Liverpool which left at 9:45pm, I ordered a chicken soup because I thought it would be nice, and “some water” because I thought it would be free. Neither turned out to be true, and after paying £7 for the two and taking a sip of my water I contemplated the depths of my own righteous fury, which distracted me for the rest of the flight and well into Liverpool's John Lennon Airport, where I finally realized that I had left my three-pound bottle of water on the plane.
So yeah, these are all stupid things and mostly my fault, and I keep noticing myself in these situations and genuinely laughing at my dumbfulness... and then I get confused, why am I laughing? Phones cost money. Bums need to be wiped. Sleeping on the street on you first night in a new country is not a thrilling adventure, and £7 is a lot of fucking money... I am reacting strangely to this world.
Like right now I'm sitting in a dorm room at a hostel with five other guys, none of whom are talking to eachother, and one of whom keeps clearing his sinuses in that really gross INWARD-SNIFF way that I admittedly have been guilty of before, in my feebler moments. I am fuming with rage right here, but I can feel how unreasonable my negative reaction to this all is – I keep looking around wide-eyed like someone is going to turn to me and go, “I KNOW RIGHT! This dorm sucks haha! Let's go get cocktails!” But they don't, they just keep watching movies and scratching their various itches and that one guy's sinuses just keep needing to be sniffed clear while he sits on his bed eating CHIPS!!?
Really though I think I'm just feeling a little isolated, delicate, and precariously alone.
At the airport, in Geneva, just before walking through the security screening gate, where I would clumsily pull my laptop out of my bag and unwrap the towel that I keep around it for padding. Before I lost my first bottle of water and my almost-new can of deodorant to the border patrol. Before I hurriedly stuffed books in my pockets to make sure my hand-luggage would be light enough to travel after hearing that oversized bags would be turned away, and before I knew how stupid the next 48 hours would be. Before all of that, I shared a hug, and a kiss – the last one – with Mélanie Cartal, the girl I fell in love with three years ago, and have second-guessed ever since. We shone under fluorescent lights. That night we took one last breath, and then closed the book, and ended our story together.
It's... intense. You know? Because for three years I've held a tiny hope for me and her, and that doomed flame has kept me going at times, but that night we extinguished it, because if we're both honest with ourselves, it was never going to burn again on its own anyway. There is sadness there, but also joy because now for the first time in almost three years, in that part of me, I think I just may be right with myself.
I don't know why this guy with his fucking chips is making me brainstorm efficient strategies for night-time murder-suicides, or why I'm laughing while my life, which I have packed into two bags that both pre-date my high school graduation, is falling apart around me, those feelings confuse me. But thinking about the end of that thing that ended on Friday, strange and indefinable as it was, that's not confusing, it's just hard. It means that I'm feeling slightly shaky right now, because my heart is a little bit broken from doing the right thing for once.
Oh my god he just fucking sniffed again I'm actually going to burn this fucking place to the ground.