Love in the Time of Corona

“It was the year they fell into devastating love. Neither one could do anything except think about the other, dream about the other, and wait for letters with the same impatience they felt when they answered them.”

- Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

I have grown unreservedly weary of the notion that if it’s too good to be true it probably is. Have we become so jaded that we no longer believe that we are entitled to pleasure? I, for one, reject that premise entirely. If we can grasp even the slightest moment of contentment in this absurd and irrational realm with every damn nigh apocalyptic occurrence currently transpiring ad nauseum why fucking shouldn’t we? I am confidently apathetic as to whether or not it fits others’ anticipations of how happiness should appear and am unaffectedly indifferent apropos of the antiquated conventions it is expected to meet. To finally be truly gratified, fulfilled and secure amidst the dumpster fire burning furiously around us? I will undoubtedly sink my teeth into that shit and not a fuck am I relinquishing my grip. 

It is, to some extent, bewildering that all it can take is a singular, profoundly incredible human being to illustrate that you have exhausted 32 years of your existence utterly delusional vis-à-vis the conventions of romantic love. All of the calamity, the waterworks, self-loathing, cross-examination, torment, self-harm and substance abuse. The ostensible ardent melancholy; the aspirant, unambitious originators with their deep-rooted misery and unrelenting malaise. That cloying fairy-tale can remain buried within the pages of angsty dark romance novels where the tired trope of the tortured artist belongs.

Those who persistently weighed you down, made you feel less-than, imbibed your verve and joie de vivre with the ferocity of a ravenous succubus. Those that made you feel insignificant so that they might feel extraordinary, superior. Unswervingly placing you on trial and condemning you for their own inadequacies and failures and disenchantments. Those whose voices were deafening all the while refusing to hear. Those who floundered in their darkness and expected you to do the same, simultaneously dragging you into their very own personal circle of hell. Those who held you responsible for their misfires, incompetence and undoubtedly their own repentances, negating any accountability for the circumstances of their own creation. 

No. 

That is not love. 

Love, as I have recently come to comprehend and conceivably clandestinely yearned for, can best be described as the quintessence of euphoria. Love, to quote Kundera, “causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights,” filled with unadulterated elation and pure nirvana. Love is veneration, growing together, motivating each other, albeit through the trivial and inconsequential absurdities of everyday life. A love that is rooted in conviction and fortified by a sense of humour. Rather than wallowing in pain and disappointments, love should be supporting one another, having each other’s backs. Making that person, your person, feel remarkable, adored, and validated every goddamn day. To wake up exultant and at ease, to truly not let anything or anyone have the power to bring you down. 

That, my friends, is what fucking love should be all about.

M xx

Home



"For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree."

- Herman Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

It is a somewhat peculiar albeit nostalgic excursion to return to one’s childhood home. No matter how long one is away for, or how frequently one returns, what remains unchanged with each visit is the distinct awareness of the familiar which is somehow entirely disconcerting at the same time. Perhaps this is because the nucleus of it all is fundamentally identical to the home you grew up in, spent your formative years, as it were, yet wholly dissimilar in a deeply unsettling and unnerving fashion.

You enter your bedroom and gone are the brightly coloured posters of long-departed performers adorning the walls; the sycophantic tributes to famous writers scribbled in marker long-since washed from the remaining furniture; the writing desk, once littered with curious knick-knacks, long ago relocated. What remains is a mere shell of the clutter and character that once breathed life into these four, now bare, walls. Where once hung an obscenely large, framed print of The Beatles ambling across Abbey Road now hangs a modest sketch of a wild cat, framed in respectable gold against a verdant backdrop.

You step outside onto the top of the stairs leading into the vast, capricious garden that lies beyond the cracked masonry of the dividing wall and perch on the edge of the peeling paint and overgrown ivy. This is the wall you broke your elbow jumping off of at age 7. Although decades have elapsed since then you can still recall the crack as your shoulder pulled back and twisted your arm beneath the weight of your body. The cast your classmates signed. The struggle of attempting to scribe with your non-dominant hand.

Your gaze is then drawn to the Mulberry tree, in all its splendour, because, oh, the secrets it houses between its ample branches. You recall the whispered giggles of sisters playing pretend. The tree not a tree at all, but rather an enchanted castle with never-ending, opulent rooms, occupied by day-dreams long since forgotten. Silkworms and tire-swings and purple-stained feet and sticky, ice-cream-stained fingers. You smile inwardly, taking in the tree, because it has certainly not lost any of its magic. The branches and leaves almost reaching out toward the house and kissing the grass beneath its shade, creating a curtain that secrets away the veiled fairy hideaway that lies beyond. 

These residual reminiscences sway across the lawn and cobblestone like exultant hauntings before your eyes. Constructing dance routines with your cousins to Patricia the Stripper; rehearsing Waiting for Godot with your best friend for drama class in high school; first kisses stolen under a blanket of stars; playing catch with your childhood dog; shooting your sister with a BB gun; drunken conversations laid bare across the old trampoline; birthday parties; holidays; endless joy, laughter, tears and even grief. From the broken bones and the buried rodents to the jumping castles and rusted dinky toys in the sand.

And the palm tree, once still slight enough for you to hurdle over as a child, now more than twice your height. All this beautiful, glorious foliage, once mere saplings, now stretching their branches high into the sky, reaching for the sun. It is a rather disquieting epiphany that tends to strike at the most inopportune moments, as most have the tendency to do. That terrifying realization of the unyielding and unrelenting passage of time. Of how much time has passed. Of what has been achieved, of all your disappointments and repentances over the years.

Yet, somehow, simultaneously, through the ache of melancholy and nostalgia, that garden, those trees, the memories, like a seedling piercing through the soil, a bud of hope.

- M xx

Somewhere Between Delinquency & Conformity


"It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream."
- Edgar Allen Poe

Another day barrels rapidly towards nightfall. Another day squandered. As unforgettable as those that precede it. Yet I yearn for those midnight hours, the devil's hours, that time of night when sleep beckons, even so I resist. Calm in those precious moments. The howling wind well-nigh serene in its ferocity.

I fear my countenance is slipping into the abyss. Trepidation gripping its arctic fingers around my heart and compressing the last inkling of vigor out of me. This dreadful suspicion that I have become a ghost wandering the halls of my own life is entirely debilitating. No longer able to recognize whether I am dead or alive.

Gripped by the paralyzing fear that I am somehow running out of time. Unable to stop the incessant ticking of the proverbial clock. Tortured endlessly by my own self-doubt and self-loathing. 

I am drowning, gasping for air. Reaching out for help. But there is no-one reaching back to seize me and raise me from perdition. All I see is some twisted-faced, grotesque version of myself. A wicked doppelgänger. Gazing down at me. A malicious grin mocking me from above. Watching me slip further beneath the surface.

Is all of this, this existence, this reality, this mise-en-scène, little more than an exercise in futility?

- M xx

The Haunting


"Don't leave me, even for an hour, because then the little drops of anguish will all run together, the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift into me, choking my lost heart."
- Pablo Neruda, Don't Go Far Off

Fear, in my experience, is as powerful a motivator as love. The pair are but two sides of a single coin. Intertwined and interchangeable. There cannot be one without the other. That thing, that despairingly soul-crushing angst that what you have is nothing more than a fugacious moment in time, dissipating into the ether. That loss is inescapable and ineluctable. It is a suffocating realization. A haunting inevitability that chokes you, weighs you down, torments you through every moment of happiness, every ephemeral juncture of elation or euphoria.

The unavoidable terror of the thought of losing the person, or people, that mean the most, are closest to you can smother you, snatch your breath away. Razor-edged, piercing agony rips through your entire body, and you are paralyzed. Adrift in a sea of despair, self-loathing and deep-running, soul-destroying terror. Paranoia that plagues your every waking moment. An unwelcome nightmarish visitor in the fits of restless sleep. Taunting your subconscious, always there, just under the surface, jeering, teasing, mocking you endlessly, relentlessly.

Until you are nothing more than a shell of the person you once were, left contemplating who this person is that you have become. Utterly impotent in the face of heart-wrenching despair. An unconditionally terrifying and overwhelming experience.

- M xx

Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas



“In a closed society where everybody's guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”
- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

These people's lives are dull and repetitive. Cyclical, really. Repeating the same thing day in and day out, ad nauseam, expecting varying conclusions. The definition of insanity. It was unequivocally depressing. It had the innate ability to suck the life right out of you. Leave you empty, a shell of your former self. These dreary individual's joyless existences inexorably intertwined within the fabric of your own life. Leaving you to question your own mortality and the sheer transience of it all. The impermanency of jouissance, as it were. Any former glory they once might have possessed reduced to little more than a fading memory, recaptured fleetingly through the obscure haze of whiskey-coloured glasses. Their sadness dripping off the bar counter, hanging about in the air like stale cigarette smoke.

Fake laughter and feigned interest. Sickeningly saccharine honeysuckle little more than a cloying veil for antipathy and despair.

This place.

The air is feverish, thick and suffocating. The hum of the fridges, their garish neon lights taunting me, drilling through my skull. Jeering smirks, off-colour comments flung like knives. The cool, moist bottles forgiving against my sweaty palms. The throb in my ankle, the knot in my stomach. The desperation for my imminent escape palpable. Lurid, twisted faces like reflections in a fun house mirror. Contorted, deformed, terrifyingly human.

M xx