(Text by Pierre Feltz)
Peter is nervous and something deep seated is bothering him tonight.
Peter is laying in his bed and, as it is most nights, he scratches his dry scalp and combs through his unkempt, brown hair with his bloody, dry-skin hands. Despite the redness, and irritated nature of his skin, and, the dryness of his character, he finally achieved the impossible two weeks ago; a girlfriend.
Not just any girlfriend. A woman of beauty and intellect, just how he likes them. Peter likes that he can ponder on many topics with her; politics, the state of the world, the relationship between men and women, God… Eva does hold a good head on her shoulders, in more than one way.
Though, she gets a bit clingy and worries too much about his skin issues. It’s like, she worries more than he does! Still, he accepts all this, mostly, because of her skin. She is incredibly smooth. Not just in her physicality, and the way she moves, gesticulates, and speaks, but her character! She can adapt so easily without losing her grid!
Peter, on the other hand, is not smooth, not even a bit. Any friction whatsoever roughs him up, increasing the dryness of both his skin and character; getting upset or angry would only make it worse as it would lead to more friction and thus more dryness. Hence, he remains in a complacent, and dry, state of character.
Just the other day, Eva had to intervene because Peter did not wish to talk to the manager of a games store. He had issues returning a video-game that was faulty and Eva had to step up as the manager did not want to accept the return, though it was within Peter’s rights to request such a service.
In Peter’s usual ways, he urged Eva to stop helping him in such matters as it contradicts his nature. This, she cannot understand as it is within his rights to demand a return for a faulty product. He responded that he didn’t wish to grasp for any rights, given that he doesn’t have to. Out of annoyance with a perceived sort of pettiness and cowardice, Eva furiously asks what it is that he must do then. Might it be nothing at all, or, just letting people trample over him? What about showing affection and love to life and people he likes? He simply answered that all he must do is die and that everything else is purely optional.
This sent Eva into even more of a fury. A quiet kind of anger, which is bound to wreak havoc, or so, Peter fears. Now he is panicking, which is deeply uncharacteristic of him, and moves to apologetically kiss her on the cheek, but she draws back. She gets teary eyed out of frustration, worry and rage. She walks out of the store, leaving Peter to his own, awkward and displaced devices. He feels the irritation of his dry scalp and his hands act up and decides to leave the game in the store and go home himself.
His head feels empty.
Eva is everything Peter isn’t. People around Eva are naturally drawn to her, a social butterfly with all the right pre-requisites. Her friends and family love her and they often poke fun at the odd couple that Eva and Peter make. They joke about how she has saved him. Though, to Peter, that is not much of a joke given his own situation in life.
He doesn’t know how long his family is going to continue to put up with him. He has no wishes at twenty-nine and endlessly continues his university studies. He can’t deal with his family, his father on the forefront, and not even with his own emotions. So how is he supposed to deal with Eva, being the woman that she is? But if he can never deal with this then… Otherwise… well, who knows what might happen then?
Still, out of nowhere, Peter jolts up, now sitting upright in his bed. He feels deeply annoyed at his incapability to figure himself out. He violently begins scratching away at his scalp, ducking down and looking at the bloody flakes of skin falling on his bed sheets. He should be able to at least figure himself out! His relationship with Eva might be on the line here and right now she really pushes his ego.
He needs this. He needs her. He craves and loves her even if she triggers friction and thus irritation within him. Even if she’s fucked his peace up for him, his self-constructed heavenly prison, he must remain with her. She’s bitten into him and he can’t let her white, smooth and grinding teeth loosen now. That is what love is, he thinks. He feels like she is part of him. Peter hopes that Eva hasn’t shut the gates on him, which he had opened for her.
“My child, no worries
For one like Eva
Never would drop you
Like an old Lolli-pop”
“What the fuck!?” Peter shouts and looks at a crow sitting next to him on his nightstand’s lamp. He stares in pure bewilderment and thinks about how it came into his room.
“The path was open
The window to you
And your thoughts, like dew
They seem to me”
Still not fathoming what’s going on, Peter worries if the pent-up dryness of his entire being turned him into a schizophrenic.
“Gate opener, you are not
Sick nor are you proper well
The human tied the knot
That’s who you are”
Peter hears footsteps coming up the stairs and merely has time to think “oh oh” before the door swings open and his father asks him in an annoyed tone of voice why he has screamed. Peter stares at the crow sitting on his lamp turning its head in observation of the two men facing each other. His father appears to be oblivious to the bird. Peter stutters and wonders why his father cannot see the animal but he merely gestures with his hands “forget it” and slams the door shut.
“Only those who wish it
Shall perceive it, that is
The powers that be”
The young man is chuckling to himself; the entire absurdity of the situation suggests to Peter that he may as well play along. Sure, why the fuck not. It doesn’t matter if this is real or not, his life appears to be generally unsalvageable anyway. He looks at the crow’s left eye with strong intent and asks: “Why are you here?”
“I appear to those with the strongest regrets
Those who wish it all undone, turn back
You, however, are a special case, opener
You let people in, but not much else
I am here to cease your hesitation
Those who’ll pass your doors will fly
You, however, remain at the gates
Perfectly still, and on dry land,
But somehow running out of time”
Peter hears himself reflected in the words of the raven. Peter says: “I see myself in what you speak of, nonetheless, I don’t think that I need help. I won’t ask why you have appeared just now and not earlier and what your plan is, given that it is unlikely I will understand your providence, mission and intent as it is, you know, the whole “God works in mysterious ways” bullshit. I just know that I am fucked and that that is okay…
The absurdity of my existence has given me a certain amount of calm. As though anything is possible now; that’s what your appearance has shown me. So Eva may return to me still.”
“Then you are misguided, young man
The hurt you carry is real and so is your skin
The bloody, dry nature of your being
That’s no coincidence and the wish,
The longing for which you yearn,
The very real pain and anguish,
Those won’t go away but the dry
Will take over
The powers that be can only do so much
Believe it or not”
Peter raises his skin-flaked eyebrows, and his chin drops just a little. He collects himself fast though. He does not wish to appear stupid nor disrespectful, not in front of God, the one who shows incapability at that. Peter asks: “How can you help me then? Will you help me?” Peter is annoyed at his own unraveling of an inner need for help. This means more friction and his already bloody scalp itches so he decides to scratch away at the back of his hands instead.
“Love may be what you thought it was earlier;
A biting into the other, never letting go…
Though, Eva has a different effect altogether
So let me recite a little wisdom from you…
Love is about…
When it’s the hottest night of the summer
And you’re feeling off, a sad lil’ bummer,
So hot, you can’t even wear a t-shirt,
Still, you decide to go to bed to flirt
With sleep and you find yourself feeling drowsy
After waking up from a half-sleep, cloudy
It has become outside, the heat broke
Love is part of…
Noticing a slight chill in your bedroom
In a half-conscious effort to remove gloom
From your mind, you reach and pull the bed sheets
Over and around you, but your curled feet
Are poking out, but never mind, you drift
Off into a deep sleep, oh, what a gift
In fact, love is that reaching, that gesture,
When you pull warmth towards you, at ease, inner peace
A small ball of comfort erasing gnawing doubts and all discomfort”
It hit him like a bullet in-between his eyes, cracking open his skull, tunneling through his bloody and overloaded nervous system, coming out the other end with all the bad shit, leaving only a jumbled mess in his head. A striking migraine hits him and nausea spreads from his stomach, weakness to his legs, and nothing but bile up his throat. He swallows it at the last second. “Bergh, that’s annoying, irritating, disgusting and fascinating! And I hate to admit it. Dear God, you’ve said it as it is, earlier and just now. We can, if we wish, believe or not. That is confusing at it is, but, one can make sense of it, if one wishes and I’ve already paid the price for it. Look at the state of me… I do not believe that this is how I should be living. I can live otherwise, I was born into this world, so I have a right to exist to the fullest of extents, even if there will be friction. The dryness of being is what has held me back but I am ready now to stay with the trouble, to become human, oh, all too human, even. Thank you, oh my dear friend, my feathery… Where has it gone?” Peter looks around his room, yet there is no sign of the crow.
Fueled with renewed sense of life and a power never felt before, he gives his thanks and grabs his phone to call Eva. She picks up without making a sound. Peter audibly gulps down his nervousness and speaks: “Eva, I… I’ve learned something new tonight. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot for this to happen. My pride, my comfortable awkwardness, my lazy dryness, and the disgruntled simplicity of my life. Still, I realized I’d rather have friction and tension, maladaptation, and a learning curve, than no change at all! I can only ever feel pain and suffering, tremble at my own physical and mental constitution, but I have courage. And the latter does not have to be remembered from now on because it will never be forgotten.”
Silence. For a good handful of second this sound is deafening to Peter. Now, he has truly opened his gates and Eva, realizing this, sobs a little bit, chuckles, and very simply answers, with a clenched throat, but sounding relieved nonetheless:
“Go to bed, you pseudo smarty pants. I love you and have a good night.”