Do not think me naïve, do not think that I am stupid, I am not. Do not assume that you will understand this, because, dear reader, you will not. I am very sorry but this is not for you, you in no way participate. You will not relate, you will not sympathise or empathise. This is for me, my documentation, my confessional, a sojourn. If you think I am selfish in doing this, you have made an error, dear faithful reader. This is mine; I will have it to myself, to consume, to devour, and to do with as I please. No, do not think me naive. You will find my story strange, you will find motive… wanting, to this degree we will have something in common.
My story begins and ends in Neudorf, North of the city Graz in the Styrian state, a small district where day and night have for many years converged into a stasis of low light. Due to the unfortunate placement of the Alps the winds are permanently low, the rainfall is short and never enough, and the air is thick with lack of freshness. I have no culture here, no ties. What may come as unsurprising; no relationships that can be counted, save for the vermin that prowl my shop. I am the bastard son of a dancer from Stuttgart, and so identity is something that has never been a problem for me; I do not consider it. My identity is what people see in me, and what people see in me I have no consequence with or care to think. My appearance does not matter as I am rarely seen, you dear reader, could pace right by me and not even notice the look of rudimentary loathing creep over my face.
I was sat in the corner of a room, my hands wrapped tightly around a glass of ale. Three Russians were stood around the small bar, their faces dirty and marked, not unlike the wood on which they rested their grease stained glasses. They were jovial and laughing over a story that one has just told. It goes as such… he knew two lovers from Prague, the rest of their lives seemed intertwined and belonging to one and the other for the rest of their days. He tells the other men of how one day, when the man was walking past a parade of shops his eyes glanced across the cobbles of the road to the other side of the street; he thought he saw his lover walking through the crowds. Advancing across the road to greet her he realised with great surprise and profound confusion he had mistaken her for someone else, with his apologies he continued down the cobbled street. From that moment on nothing was the same for him, he was so sure that he had seen his lover that he could not bear to trust his eyes anymore, he rid himself of the glass image delicately constructed over the years of their time together and found… a woman he did not know when he stared into her eyes. She had changed and he had not, he had been left in the confines of a lovers tie. Their relationship was broken and destroyed. Sick with yearning for something infinitely impossible he was found not long after hanging from the beams of his cottage. The men’s laughter pierced the low music that pulled itself through the room as if being whipped. Through the howling of the men I was struck with the urge to vomit. Swiftly leaving the bar I headed for the alley that led down the side. Throwing up in the snow that had built up through the day, I fell stiff for a few moments on my hands and knees and watched as my vomit melted through the fake white sheet of the snow. My mind raced as I thought of the horrific gentlemen and the story of which they enjoyed so frivolously. Policy of life and what it governs grasped my intention to find another establishment in which to drink. Raising myself up against the wall I continued down the street. A quick question, dear reader, (no, I have not forgotten you) why do you read? To relax? Or, more personally, why are you reading my story? This is no time for repose. Policy of life once again. Capitalist values such as property, competition and exploitation need to be considered as more than mere questions of market and ideology, don’t you understand? (Please keep up). The influence of these values on social relations cannot and will not be denied. The results of the authoritarianism of state are reproduced and reflected in emotion (jealousy, possession and insecurity) and situations (competition, betrayal and lies), policy is life. For when you see a poor unfortunate lover dear reader, I see a damned fool. A vessel that deserved no better a fate! Where is my pity? I hear you say. I am the rope, and I am the beam from which he hangs.
I digress. I continued down the street, the lamps that work gave shreds of light to the ground, it is contemptible. Pacing quickly in the distance is a woman; I could not see what she looked like as the darkness had a light mist to aid it in its discretion. I did not know why nor wish to give a reason in retrospect, but I followed this woman, my legs matching the pace in which she stepped. I could see that she was tall, although still smaller than I. Maybe you think that I wished to be with this woman? That my heart sprang with wanting from the story I had overheard in the bar, and that I wanted to experience something of which I had never before felt? Approach this woman and ask her to forever be mine and promise in secret whispers that dance from my mouth into her delicate ear that I would forever be hers and hers alone? If this is what you think then you have not been paying attention. Do you think that in a surge of emotion coming from the decrepit and diseased part of my soul, all the anger that rages through me would come forward, shaping a tool of my hatred for humanity, and it would strike down upon her from behind, with the violence of every age of man, beating without sense, killing the sweet moments on which you may linger, the happiness of man, everything in which I loathe, taking my fist and striking her, over and over? You are closer.
As we walked through the dark streets, through mere questioning of reality, I took a brush of my imagination and painted upon her back my mother, the bargirl who had served me in that filthy room, the woman who stared at me in a restaurant whose eyes pierced my skin and saw only vile things; I painted every woman I had ever known onto her back with the skill of Eugene Delacroix, of Verdi, of the combined ability of every craftsman that man has ever known. If you could have seen you would have commented, ‘Why, that is undoubtedly the single most beautiful artistry I have ever seen, it brings tears to my eyes and I shall never be the same again from seeing it!’ But you could not see it and this is not the purpose for which I use it. I followed her to a doorway in which she reached into her pocket to attain some keys. Re-tracing her footsteps in the snow I soon came to look upon her back. Leaning over her left shoulder, I whispered, my breath fogging the air next to her face, slowly and without falter, ‘Why are you here?’
Dear reader, you have been ever so… faithful and patient. What I am going to tell you is not a dramatic re-make, nor is it as pretty a picture as you may find in the theatre, or maybe even as succinct as you may have read in books. But, without dispel or regret it is what happened. The woman, with a burst of movement turned to meet my eye, as a cautious smile graced her lips, my hands raised and felt their way around her neck. Her eyes were electric with a thousand stories of love, betrayal, passion and remorse. In one second you could see a thousand lives, all at once drowning with every breath becoming shorter and lapsed. This was not the death of one woman, but of every life she has touched and every one she could have. My eyes did not fill, did not quiver, my mouth did not bend for latent remorse. My mind did not flood with regret, or even passion with colours of red and orange! Kneeling over her body which had now lost the function of its legs, my hands still firm, imagining themselves to be the last hope of a man hanging from a ledge, I thought of the three men in the bar, the hanging fool and the vile lover. All at once and for everything in one second, every moment of my life converged into one space and formed the body of the dead woman.
And I felt nothing.
I raised myself out of the dirt and snow as I did from the alley. Following what I thought was the breath that lingered in the air from when I had passed just before. I soon came upon the street where my story ends. Opening my shop door I entered and slowly closed it, locking it behind me. Walking to the side of the room I placed my hand over the back rest of a chair and dragged it into the middle of the room. Slowly bending down, I sat, hands resting on my legs and my head raised. With my eyes closed I let the heavy air enter my lungs, and breathing out, I followed the air that came from my lungs, I went with it as it exited under the door and onto the street, we embraced as we danced through the trees on the streets and into anything or nothing. Dear reader, this was not for you, this was for me.