June 8th, 2016
I haven’t dreamt about Rose since that sleepless night a few months back. I was grateful that the next night, she didn’t plague my thoughts again, or the night after. There was no series of nightmares like there used to be; what I thought would be a season of Hell turned out to only be an evening. But here I am again, waking up all flustered, with the feeling of imminent doom entering my lungs and my bloodstream. Here I am, waking up and out of another nightmare. Rose was yelling at me, screaming profanities, and her voice would get deeper and more ominous with each word she hollered. I was cowering in front of a mirror, but I stayed looking at the ground; I refused to look at myself. Rose stood behind me, I couldn’t see her, just hear her voice, and she told me to look at myself. Look at what I’ve become. When I took the courage to stare at my reflection, I saw my eighteen-year-old self, young and stupid, cocky and inattentive. Though I heard Rose’s voice behind me, boring into the back of my head like a laser, she wasn’t in the reflection in the mirror. It was just me and the darkness surrounding.
I decide that today would be a good day to try getting my life in check. I’ll start off with grocery shopping, buying cleaning products and then going H.A.M. on the apartment, clearing things away and wiping surfaces. I know for sure that dust lurks in every undisturbed corner of the house, and like a map, I only disturb a few corners every day. Everything else around me is neglected an abandoned. I think back to the phone conversation with Sofia the other day. Even though she told me she would call to talk a bit more about it, she never did. She didn’t even leave a text. The younger, freshly-divorced me would probably have bombarded her with phone calls, drunk or sober. I need to keep my dignity, however. So I’ll just take her word and I’ll act on it. Today is the day that I turn my life around.
After packing away everything I got from the wholefoods store, I quickly pour myself a cereal and a glass of orange juice, forgetting that it’s almost noon and I haven’t even eaten anything yet. The sickly heat of June leaves indoors feeling like a conservatory, and I thrust the window wide open once I’ve slurped down my food in less than a minute.
I moved into this apartment two years ago after selling out the suburban home that Sofia and I used to live in, just around fifteen minutes outside of the city. It hurt to let it go, but I could no longer financially support living in it by myself, especially once I quit my job. My next stop was to find a place in a reasonably priced condo, more inner-city and closer to all the shops I would need. Sofia and I used to drive a few more miles into town to go grocery shopping, which would sometimes be a bore, but I liked the structure we had. Every Sunday noon, we’d have breakfast in bed, sometimes watch a Catholic televangelist program to remind ourselves of our childhood upbringings and morals, and then we’d haul our asses to the market with Hudson in the backseat of the car. The location of my apartment means now that everything is practically walking distance, and this encourages the lack of structure I’ve had in my life. I can go wherever I want at whatever time. I thought that was a freedom once, but I now feel it to be a deficit of purpose.
A lot of the time, whenever I start cleaning, I get distracted by the mounds of paperwork filling up the desks and shelves. I end up sorting out all the envelopes, letters and correspondence, and any other miscellaneous items that have no real place to go but needn’t be disposed of, either. So before I can even get to wiping worktops and dusting corners, I’m sucked into the distraction of sorting out the mini office in the corner of the living room.
I have tonnes of letters regarding work, bank statements, rent warnings and whatnot. I just put most of them to the side, or try categorising whatever I can. The act of shuffling around the papers of my past work leaves a heavy feeling in my heart, knowing that none of these are fresh letters. My business has been dead a for a while. Bret Walker Photography was something I started on my own just before quitting my job, without letting Sofia know I was making such a huge risk. She had just left and I didn’t see the point in letting her know about my new ventures. It genuinely wasn’t too bad at one point; I would photograph events like gigs, club nights and weddings. Clients would pay me to take shoots in the city or more out in the country where the landscapes were more natural. I had a good flow of money coming through, but for some reason, I didn’t know how to handle it. Nights out drinking became a regular, and I couldn’t juggle the sporadic income with the expectations of my periodic payments such as rent and bills. I had no priorities, so it fell flat after a while.
My heart hurts, because I remember why I started the business, and I wish I could have remembered why I did when I let it spiral out of control. Back as a teenager I would take photos of all my friends. I would take photos of the city I was raised in, and all the Beverly Hills-esque mansions that surrounded us in the Upper Bluebeach golfing district. I was affluent enough to afford decent cameras of the time, just before the birth of the new millennium, where technology was yet to become a promise for the masses of all socioeconomic classes.
Though I stupidly threw a portion of the photos away the other month, I still have a load stacked away somewhere in the apartment. Some blurry, some grainy, some clear photos of Rose’s face, cheesing off to the camera, or Naomi and her sultry gaze illuminated in a quick flash. I have shots of Tanner and Jonesy at the skate park, and a few disposables of Sofia and I, back when our romance began in sophomore year of high school. The memories of these faces long-gone made me appreciate the art of capturing moments like fireflies in jars. I think back to me and my high school friends; we were the Rich Kids, the Heirs and Heiresses of our town, and we had the whole world at our fingertips. We were idiots, we were chaotic, we were shooting stars and we were car crashes. We were perfect, we were everything. We were corrupt, we were chaotic.
We shook up Bluebeach to the point of no return.