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Home Truth

It was the smell of rain that I missed the most and the sound of a lawnmower and the waft of cut grass. It was being out in the open and standing bare foot! Blue skies part and parcel of it all; the thunder that would blast over and leave―the coming of a tropical sundown, an evening of barbecues, of warm pools, beer splattering on concrete. The bed awaiting, a vest, a body glistening from perspiration and a sleep of pillows constantly changing sides, a mosquito in the ear. Sleepless nights that were all you knew. And then, one day I left it behind. I moved to a city, to grim faced pallid movements, and there I became with them a ghost on the sidewalks. Dimly, ambling along with my face down, watching my steps and hurrying towards my quotidian activities.

Winters I spent indoor in solace. My flat mates―the friends I had―worked day and night. They were accustomed to leaving the soul behind, the need for money was so official. I would spend nights in the strange house, with creaks of a wall I did not know, and sit by the phone that our landlord had locked, and think of conversations of the past, of my mother’s voice ringing, of my best friend whom I would lose contact with, and I would write letters, letters I would never send, letters that clutched the truth―that only I knew. I would cry, tears staining the ink, a smudged idea of love. I was temping then, doing mindless data entry, tapping words into a computer, and moving on wondering what worth there was, and how to find it. My flat mates would come home just before midnight―Mark and Craig, my two best friends. I would smile inwardly and outwardly and make them tea, a sandwich, sit with them and live their lives, hear their stories, flourish in company. Sleep would be eschewed, I yearned for comfort, and company eased the etching of loneliness.

I drank a lot, I had a job and I met people, and I continued my ambling in a city that was not mine. Every Friday my work offered free drinks and I catapulted towards the bar, I sipped ferociously at the wine, the beer, I got horrifically drunk and so the person that I was not, but so yearned to be would come out. She, loud, vivacious, articulate would spend the evening conversing with strangers, laughing and sometimes, flirting! I seemed to step out of myself and watch in amazement. After drinks, I would stumble to the Palladium to meet Mark and Craig―they both worked there as ushers. I would arrive as they were finishing work and we would sit in the bar and I would continue, I would drink.

One night we fell drunk into the house. I lit a cigarette; I sat down and my mind triggered off dull thuds of depression. I went to the bathroom and in a mode of translucent mania I took out a razor blade and in numb motions slowly cut at my wrist, tears streaming down my face, I stopped as soon as I started, my aim was wrong―it was in the name of attention, except I would tell nobody, the attention was all to myself. Quietly, I wrapped my stinging arm with toilet paper, walked to my room and put on a jersey so as to cover the threat, the childish self abuse. I lay and quickly wiped my tears as I heard the friendly footsteps of Mark and Craig. They stood and bantered and eventually I followed them downstairs, and listened to Bob Marley, and Redemption song, my favorite song―”Sold I to the merchant ships…”

And so, I stood on the tube, Dollis Hill to Marylebone and I stared at the scars on my wrist. The scars of stupidity that only I knew of, I was entranced, as though it were not me―it’s never me. I swayed to the motion of the train, the city was corrupting me, my soul was slowly bitten, I wanted to yell out my mind, but it all seeped inwards, I was boring myself with my own pleas.

It got better, as it does get better, as you know no better and I sunk into my life, I slowly enjoyed its offerings, I adjusted to the climate, to the people and one day as I walked outside my new flat―not mine of course, but my temporary abode that I rented, as I took out the garbage on a autumn Saturday―in my pyjamas, with the TV and the glow of comfort, I looked at the grey, I sucked it in and I quite enjoyed it―it’s romantic quality, it’s gloom appealed to me, as it would eventually with my nature. I liked it. I went inside, and shivered―a content chill, I enjoyed the cold and the idea of being able to get warm and I lay on the couch with my toes under a cushion, an inane program keeping me entertained. It all grows on you.

I went home, eventually. I spent five months appreciating the beauty, the climate, the content natures surrounding me. I ate healthy food, I listened to a language I had forgotten about, I roamed on farms that were not mine, went to wine harvests, put on high factors to shield out the sun, spend days lamenting the heat. But, it was not time, I was unable to indulge as the city, London, was still with me, my love and loathing relationship was still continuing, I was still meant to be there, whether unhappy or not. I could not explain it, it’s not the city I suppose, it’s me―I need to be content. I left, I left what I love so much, no great epiphany, just not at that moment. One day home will come to me, or I will go to home and I await the knowledge in peace.

 家的真相

 雨水的气息最让我怀念,还有割草机的声音和那扬起的草屑。赤足站在户外,头顶一片蓝天,雷声在头顶响起,然后逐渐远去――在热带地区的一个黄昏,一个烧烤的夜晚、在温暖的池塘边,啤酒洒落在水泥地上。静默的床、背心、汗湿的身体,辗转难眠,蚊子在耳边嗡鸣――一个个不眠之夜,那情景就像你所知道的那样。然后,突然有一天,我抛开了一切,移居到了城市,迎向毫无生气的城市生活,成为众多麻木如行尸走肉的城里人的一员。我稀里糊涂地,每天低着头,盯着自己的脚步,日复一日地忙碌于生活。

  冬天,我独自躲在屋里。室友,也就是我的朋友们,每天从早忙到晚。他们习惯了没有思想,赚钱才是天经地义的事。我整夜整夜地一个人呆在这个陌生的屋子里,只有墙壁发出些莫名其妙的声音。我坐在被房东锁上了的电话机旁,回忆着过去的一些对话――那是妈妈的声音,还有已失去联络的好友说的话。我写信,写从来不寄出去的信,里面全是只有我才知道的真心话。我哭,泪水把字迹化掉,把爱念涂污。那时我正在打一份临时工,每天机械地把资料输入电脑,边打字边质疑着做这些工作的价值,以及如何才能实现它的价值。我的室友马克和克雷格――我最好的朋友,要到午夜时分才回来。我会带着满心的欢喜和满脸的笑容,帮他们泡茶、做三文治,和他们坐在一起,感受他们的生活,听他们的故事,和他们一起激动。睡眠也被省略掉了,我渴望安慰,和别人呆在一起才能缓和孤独的侵蚀。

  我喝很多酒,有一份工作,结交朋友,并且继续在一个不属于我的城市里游荡。每逢星期五,我都可以因工作之便享受免费的酒水。那时,我总是像一支箭似的冲去酒吧,大口大口地喝着各种各样的酒,直到酩酊大醉。这样,我才能展现出我的另一面,做我渴望做而又不能做的事――这个她,说话响亮、活泼好动、伶牙俐齿,整晚和陌生人说说笑笑,有时甚至跟他们调情。我仿佛脱离了自己,惊讶地旁观着这一切。喝了一通后,我会踉踉跄跄地到帕拉狄昂剧院与马克和克雷格碰头,他们两人都在那里当引座员。我通常是他们临近下班的时候到那,然后我们就一起去酒吧,我呢,就继续喝酒。

  有一天晚上我们跌跌撞撞地回到住所。我点燃一根香烟;坐了下来,脑子里突然充斥着抑郁的感觉。我走进浴室,在迷迷糊糊的烦躁状态下,我拿起剃刀片,麻木而缓慢地朝自己的手腕割下去。泪水顺着我的脸庞流下来,但刚一割下去我就停住了,我的目的是错的――我想引起注意,除非我不告诉别人,就只有我自己会注意到。我静静地用纸巾包好刺痛的手臂,回到房间,穿上运动衣盖住那吓人的伤口,那孩子气地自虐所带来的伤口。我躺了下来。听到马克和克雷格那熟悉的脚步声,我就迅速地擦干眼泪。他们站在我跟前,逗我笑,最后我跟着他们到楼下听鲍博・马利的《救赎歌》,我最爱的一首歌――“把我卖到商船上……”

  就这样,我站在从多利斯山开往玛丽莱宝的地铁上,凝视着手腕上的伤疤。这是象征着愚蠢的伤疤,只有我才知道。我恍恍惚惚,仿佛我已不是我――不可能是我。我的身体随着列车摇动,这座城市让我渐渐沦落,我的灵魂逐渐地被吞噬,我希望把我的想法喊出来,但它却全部都潜藏在我心里,连我自己都对自己的渴求产生了厌倦。

  后来,情况有了改善,好像注定会有所改善似的;但在外人看来,我并没什么变化。我融入了自己的生活,我慢慢地开始享受生活所给予我的东西,我适应了这里的气候、这里的人,直至有一天我走出新的公寓――当然,那公寓并不属于我,而是我租来的临时栖身之所,当我在那个秋日的星期六,走出门外倒垃圾时――当时我穿着睡衣,屋里电视机开着,我感到舒适自在。我看着灰色的天空,吸了口气,挺享受的――是这种浪漫、阴郁吸引了我,因为我本性如此。我喜欢这样的感觉。我回到屋子里,身体在颤抖――一种让我心满意足的寒意。我喜欢感到寒冷,并喜欢知道自己能够取暖的感觉。我躺在沙发上,脚趾缩在软垫下面,一个无聊的电视节目也能让我觉得开心。我已经完全习惯了这样的生活。

  终于,我回家了。我花了五个月的时间欣赏美景、气候和身边知足的人。我吃健康的食品,听几乎被我忘记了的语言,在不属于我的农场里漫步,参加酿酒庆祝活动,涂上高防晒系数的防晒油抵挡阳光,连续好几天为高温烦恼。但是,始终还不是时候,我不能融入这样的生活,因为那个城市――伦敦,仍然留在我心里,我和她之间的爱恨情仇仍然在继续。无论开心还是不开心,我依然注定是要留在那里的。我也解释不清楚。我想这是我而不是城市的问题――我要知足。我离开了,我离开我所深爱的地方,没有什么顿悟,只不过那还不是时候。有一天家会向我走来,或者我会回家,我会心平气和地等待这一天。

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