Unlike nearly everyone else, my dreams are actually very detailed and captivating tales that aren't just interesting, but captivate entire rooms of people, leaving them in rapt attention throughout their entire telling. I rarely share them, but considering how this one involved so many of you, I felt the need to share.
It takes place in an undetermined amount of years from now. I find myself driving a dirty, beaten-down wreck of a car. I am drunk. Very drunk. I look down at the dashboard to see all kinds of warning lights lit up. I'm swerving all over the road, still taking swigs from a whiskey bottle. It's summer. A bright blue sky lights up the windshield. I can barely see. The sharpness and definition of everything is blindingly painful.
I somehow manage to navigate the thing into a parking lot. I'm cursing it the entire time. I'm older. I'm worn down. I hate myself. I leave my car parked crookedly in a spot, climb out into the harsh daylight and light a smoke. I smell. I'm aware of this, and on some level, I am almost proud of my odor. I can't remember the last time I showered, changed my clothes, or shaved. I'm walking through the parking lot to some rich, deuchey place. I know what lies inside. I know how much it will hurt to be in there, with those people, yet I continue on almost relishing the oncoming punishment. Every step I take increases the sense of impending doom I feel. I yank open the elegant glass doors and shuffle inside.
I stumble into an ornate lobby. I'm acutely aware of the staff's eyes on me. I keep trudging on looking resolutely forward. It's too late to turn back now. Just as I enter the ballroom, a member of the staff stops me. Before I can answer, Christine Feola, who seems to have appeared from thin air, informs him that I'm a guest of hers. She greets me warmly, gives me a hug. I know I'm revolting but she pretends not to notice and beckons me to follow her deeper inside. My attitude is cold and offensive. She again remains unfazed. She's much older, but you can barely tell. The years have been kind to her. She still looks so young and alert. She's wearing a suit and effortlessly carries an air of illustriousness. Everything about her is clean and smart and epitomizes the success she has achieved thus far.
She leads me over to a small group of people. I know all of them: known them for years. Back since before they achieved their fame. They're laughing like they don't have a care in the world. I hate that laugh. I'll never know that laugh the way all of them have. I'll never feel its deep resonance rising up from my belly, galloping out of my mouth. I'll never feel its lightness or its freedom. Everything I have is heavy and full of filth. I slime my way through the garbage of this world. I dwell in darkened corners and seedy alleys. I owe people money, people that will hurt me without a second thought. I am a slimy eel writhing in a puddle of sewage. I don't belong here amongst these soft lights and crystal glasses.
Erik Rudic shakes my hand with an honest, ivory-toothed smile. I shake begrudgingly and grunt a greeting. His suit is probably worth more than my house. Why am I here? Why did I accept? What evil inside me relishes this pain? He asks how I've been getting along. I answer that I've been fine, doing what I've to do get by. I am no one. Why do they care about me? He also overlooks my disturbing appearance and treats me kindly. I hate him. Him and all the rest. I go on, prolonging my self-abasement.
I see the members of Hot Blood. I try to pretend I don't. Matt Kiley runs up behind me, grabs me, and carries me over to the rest of them. They're always so excited to see me. It's a genuine excitement I can't stand to bear. It hurts me to know how far I've fallen whilst others have achieved so much. I watch myself: engaging in silent talk. I wonder how this came to be. Why have I given up? I see myself, and I know I am me, but I am also another. I watch from afar, staring at this strange person I've become, yet that person is myself, while at the same time, another.
We are here for a concert. A sold out stadium. A fishbowl of eyes eager to drink the sights of visions from my past. A multimillion dollar event once thriving in my living room. Time's bedraggled effect now working its alchemy on the masses of hungry, empty minds. Is this all there is? I catch up with myself to discover my body 5 glasses of champagne drunker, scowling at a Doug Zambon. He's not participating in the act. He seems genuinely concerned over my state of health. He keeps asking if I'm okay, if I need anything, if I can even hear him. I respond by insulting him. Him, or the wall next to him. What the fuck does it even matter at this point?
The next few hours are lost in a blur. So many faces. So many words. Why all these faces? Why must everyone talk so much? Just leave me alone! Talktalktalk, looklooklook. I can't take it! Why does any of it matter? Why did I drag myself to this god awful place? Where even am I right now? It's dark. There is noise, but it is muffled. The ground is like quicksand. I need to step quickly as not to get sucked down into its dark waves. I move toward the sound. Where are the walls now? Its as if someone is disassembling the world around me. Is this death? Is His icy hand finally pulling away all I've known, all structure and foundation, before dragging me screaming back to hell? I"m so weary now. I can't go on much further. I find a stool and table. I sit and give my life over to figure draped in darkness. The world is spinning. I'm watching it being pulled from me. I've hit my limit. I cannot take anymore of this. I leave myself and float by as a ghostly spectre. I see myself moaning, squirming on a stool in the back stage area of the concert. I feel shame for this person that is me. Clarity restored, I reexamine the figure of death. It is not death embodied. It is Amy Malkoff. She looks worried. She asks some of the stage-hands to help her take me to her room. The habitus of death was in reality my savior all along. My spirit follows her, thanks her, loves her: my benevolent goddess. I view my body, racked with fear, clouded with drugs, dragged upstairs and lain to rest.
Outside of myself, whilst I rested, I find truth. All of my friends had moved on to bigger and better things, ultimately becoming international stars. I, being the selfdefeater I have always been, drove myself mad and squandered the myriad opportunities I was presented. In secret, they paid my debts, hospital bills, and bribed people to keep me out of prison. They all loved me and cared for me. All anonymously and from a distance. The friendships we formed years ago had actually mattered. I was simply too dumb to see it. I was cut off from the world. My heart had grown hard. I was unable to accept happiness, friendship, or love. I viewed everyone as an enemy. In my eyes, they were all out to get me. They took what they wanted and left me hanging out to dry, but I was wrong. I couldn't accept the fact that anyone could actually care for me. I wouldn't accept success unless it was through my merit alone. I was a fool and a coward. I shut everyone out. I was scared. Who could ever care for me? The truth was, they all had.
I've had a very bad life. I pushed others away. I never asked for help. I'm terrified that I might be broken.
I wake up and I see Judith looking down at me. It's morning. The sunlight gives her an angelic glow. She looks so pretty. In that moment of waking, my self-abasing issues haven't yet caught up to me. Everything is perfect in this moment. I sit up to see a room packed with people worried about me. Alex Rosen pats me on the back and asks if I'm okay. I see all of your faces, golden in the morning's light, and I start crying.