Anatomy of the Mind (1): Alter Ego

Anatomy of the Mind (1)

I look to the right, to an opened bottle of herbal, monastery liquor I bought in Italy. It tastes even better on a chilly summer night. And it keeps me foggy, a little intoxicated, and going.

I won’t tell you my name. You don’t have to know. I’m just the voice on the screen.

But I can tell you what I am. I’m a playground of voices. Sometimes they echo, fighting each other, eating themselves up into ouroboroi of thoughts and screams and whispers.

But that’s normal. Everybody has voices inside their head.

I’ve got plenty. Be them the one that agrees with people and tells me I’m ugly, that one that’s just my thirteen year-old self, the one who tells me what to write and say, the ones that speaks when I’m angry, the one that tells me to ‘do it’, whatever it is, no matter how good or bad, or the one that tells me to lay still and not breathe for a while, and it will all be OK, or the one that tells me to–

Well, like I said; I’ve got plenty. But none of them is as close to me as one is.

I don’t know when exactly it started. He’s older than me. I don’t know how old he is now, but by the time I was thirteen, he was already twenty-five. And he drives. He drove me places. We usually don’t talk when he drives, just listen to music.

It’s good to live with him when you can still find excuses in calling him an ‘imaginary friend’, but then you grow up, and the excuse doesn’t qualify anymore, even to yourself; you need something more concrete.

So I’ve been trying to find his substitute, a personification, an avatar of this disembodied man who was me, but also somebody I’m infatuated with.

I’ve had the fortune and privilege to find exactly one person in my life who fits the description.

He was a bit older than me, we were so much alike, and apparently too much. We were friends for a while, listened to the same kind of music, like teenagers do, and traded books and CDs or names of favourite or newly discovered bands, so we can find and download on LimeWire, so we had more things to talk about. We were happy.

That is, until we had a fight. I never talked to him since.

(I’ve never even talked about him in details with anybody, except for one person; a friend whom I get to meet only once every two years.)

You can’t fall in love with yourself and live in peace. You can only drown, and die.

So it turns out I’ve never found anybody who could embody the voice and stay. So I started calling them both, the guy and the voice, by the same name. Let’s call them D.

Sometimes I confuse one D for the other. But then, it doesn’t make much difference.

Sometimes I wish I was born a D. I would never have to worry about being ugly. I would never have to worry about being called improper. I could just live.

So I lived, live, as me, and as D.

Then one day, I did something right for the first time in a while. I got into another band, a band that was seemingly more serious and permanent than the ones I was during my early teenage years. We were making music, making covers, we had gigs and we had our own little tours.

When I got nervous on stage, D would take over for a while and give me the presence I needed, then he’d give the stage back to me. It was beautiful.

But then dreams collapsed. It was never meant to last. Of course, I was happy. How could it have lasted?

I was fallen. I’m back to being the one looking up on stages, on the faces and the lights and the voices. Beautiful, hoarse, silky, flowing voices.

The lights, I remember.

D sometimes yearns to go back up there. So do I.

It’s good that I still write; poetry, lyrics, fiction, or just stream of consciousness of sweet nonsense. So I keep writing.

But writing isn’t enough anymore. I’ve got a voice. I’ve got lots of voices. I can’t use any of them. I’ve got to admit it hurts. It hurts to know you can actually get to do what you love, all of them, but maybe you’re just too ugly to go up there ever again. Too rusty. Maybe you lack the talent. Maybe I wasn’t even good about it in the first place, I just thought I was.

Some voices just keep telling me I can’t. And I listen. And so D has to. I’m in control. I haven’t lost my mind.

I ran, but there is no escape. I’ve taken everything with me. Every voices.

And yet I still long for my past lives.

D is usually supportive of me. But earlier today, he did the strangest thing; he told me; “Maybe you should stop dressing up for the stage.”

I didn’t ask him why, because I knew; he thought it didn’t look like I’ll be going up there ever again.

I don’t know. Maybe I should.

Maybe I was never meant to utter, only listen, and be the voice on the pages.

To be a voice inside other people’s heads.

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