There had been no better way to shut him up than to be mad at him, because selfishness was a price in itself, to which there was no better consequence than death. Either death to conversation or death to warmth makes no difference. I am satisfied with the fact that I had successfully cut ties with him.
But it had been difficult for me, thinking of the hunger and the ache in my stomach and in my brain, because it was always hard for people to gauge humanity when humanity was hungry physically and otherwise. However I have to admit that humanity at its worst state of hunger always looked the most real.
Humanity well fed looks like a faulty mirror – a mirror without truth, a mirror with reflections predetermined by the expectations of children. It is always that mirror, the fake one, that tends to break the vulnerable because the vulnerable are the ones who don’t know what to expect. I guess I cannot blame myself for being one of those vulnerable people, for being one of those who were susceptible to too much pain – pain that has been endowed to the entire world and pain that has struck us the worst because we saw the arrows flying but were too lazy to dodge. At the point in my life when I fell in love with him was the time his arrow hit me and I knew – God, I knew! – that I should make the effort to avoid his next shot.
He’d always eat in front of me. Always. While I’m writing an article about the hostage taking in the neighbouring town, reviving in my memory the stench of blood on the streets and the nauseating sight of the arm dangling from the orange stretcher and the gasps of the onlookers. Hands over mouth, tears on either cheeks. Flash! Flash! Photographers everywhere, field reporters pressed against the police line and newspaper writers like me gawking at the hell-like quality of that shitty hostage taking, knowing deep in my gut that the stupid hostage-taker’s motive was to avoid the loneliness of dying alone.
In the restaurant afterwards where a diversity of new odours flooded my nostrils and swirled my imagination. Human bone in the ox-tail soup and eyelashes in the glass of cold water. He’d slurp the noodles and bite the tips of the chopsticks before digging in for another twirl of noodles, eating and eating and eating and slowly transforming himself to a glutton that could devour the entire universe with one bite. Sauce on his chin and salt in his breath.
I think in the end it was and wasn’t my fault that I was one of those people who were branded weakest in our day, in our society, and in our second. Nobody else may not realize it, but the seconds of our lives life count in a way that arithmetic cannot sense, that there is bravery in the very way you breathe but you do not realize it because you’re always searching for the MORE in life, and in that search you forget that the MORE is the sin which drives people further and further away. It is the sin that made me love him not.
Had things gone differently in my life I might have tried to save him from tipping the bowl into his mouth and raising his hand to ask the waiter for a refill of his beer, but salvation wasn’t what he needed in those seconds. He needed to be destroyed more than he needed to be salvaged, because being salvaged would have cost the two of us, and I was selfish and I wanted to live for so long that it didn’t matter that I’d break my heart for five seconds at the loss of him so long as I could live a couple more seconds afterwards.
I didn’t mind that I’d live the longer seconds in agony, as long as those seconds would be spent away from the sight of him in restaurants with the menu covering his face while he talked to me, because I wanted MORE and he couldn’t be part of it because all he knew to do was to deliver the bad news to the people on TV and later pig out in restaurants of his choice.
He had to die and depart from me. It was my choice, so I presume it did break his heart and his soul and the souls of the people he carried, that I was a fucking selfish person who could not think of anybody but myself. I was greed at its best, love at its worst, and if he ever wanted me home next to him it was because he never knew my existence in its entirety. He never could have guessed the enormity of my hate for pigs who could eat after their fellow pig had been slaughtered.
The entirety of my opinions and my hate would be too much for him to put into his mouth, too sour for the tongue, too cold for an empty stomach, and too bitter for a senseless brain. He was a dysfunctional robot; he did not have a heart. He searched for the MORE, he found me, but he was not my MORE, so he had to pass through the exit door. He had to pass. He had to pass. He had passed, and I had surprised myself that I did not even feel shame in letting him pass; that no ignorance could save the both of us because we were not connected by blood nor water, but by the ugliness of the fate wherein there is MORE but there is no MORE in either of us, so I permitted his soul to be cut off from mine, like a Shinigami if we were Japanese. This was as simple as words could tame the ugliness of our senses, of our sights, of our hurts, of the secrets we would die to bury.
That no life on earth would suffice, no word, no song, no music, no tone – nothing can ever suffice and give justice to what I am not telling him. That there is so much sound bottled up in my neck that if he ever stabbed me with a corkscrew and pulled hard, and I am hurt enough to release the beginning of those sounds, I might frighten him, and that fright might lead him into knowing he’d rather not have known me at all. I could live with the knowledge that I instigated the abandonment, but I cannot live with the prospect of living further seconds knowing I’m alone because he chose to leave me instead of me leaving him.
That I can no longer swallow because swallowing belongs to the category of normal human functions – reflex as we call them – and I’d begin – no, actually, I’d be forced to acknowledge that there was nothing normal in the way we lived. We forgot the sun, we forgot the rain, we forget the clouds, we even forget the hills and that was horrible because the hills were where our childhood sprouted and died, and I didn’t want it to die.
I told him I wanted more seconds, because I wanted an eternal pursuit of the more and the more did not exist where he existed. More kindness. More compassion. More grieving for what we had become as human beings.
We were evil. We were monsters. We were schoolboys who desired nothing but the destruction of the humanity that existed in the good that existed in the world that existed in the sun that existed in the very core of the human soul.
That I breathe and I do not understand why I must breathe, that I die and I do not understand why I must die, that I love and I do not understand why I must be discontent, that I live and I do not understand why it must be so full of pain, that it is painful but I am smiling. I do not understand why I am so full of pain I do not deserve. That I see myself now, so full of the ugliness I had vowed to depart from, and I thought for a few seconds before he was gone that I do deserve the abandonment of my soul. That I do deserve this because I brought this to myself, that I am an ugly human. But before I go to bed, I assume that I will begin to think differently tomorrow. That tomorrow is as good as day as any to begin to think differently, that tomorrow is another day in the calendar that marks twenty-four hours without me having to shoulder the burden of thinking of his evil, because he was a selfish pig, and one day I will get back at him for the ignoring the monstrosity of our world, for the MORE that he could not give, for the compassion he could not learn to give because he was just another one of the bad air we inhale and exhale into each other, that there was nothing in him but a void of sadness.
I am the sun and I will not be coerced into acting the evil that he was, because he is a star doomed to fail. He is ready to explode. He is an evil in this world, he is going to explode, and when he comes crawling to me for help, I will say that you ate when the rest of the world was dying, and that you are the most selfish person there will ever be.
The waitress arrives with my Ramen. Once I start eating, my thoughts reconcile and I forget what I had been thinking about and why I had thought about them in the first place. Man, I was hungry.