In Hell With My Ex – But There’s An App For That
Sometimes, there’s nothing left but the pain.
I think I died yesterday, I’m not sure…but I remember this sharp sting at the back of my neck, and the voice of someone I knew. However, what I did know was that where I was once I opened my eyes wasn’t home. This new place was different to what I imagined…the air felt empty, in that there wasn’t any…no fire or brimstone. I think this is what the vacuum of space feels like. The landscape was vast – as far as my eye could see. Although, there was only land in front of me…the beaten road of black stone I stood on, and the eerie looking town or village at the end of its kilometer stretch. From what I could make out from this distance, its skyline was like that of every ghost town ever conceived for television. Either side of that, just empty grey…like an incomplete thought of a tired mind. I believe it to be night…but can’t be sure, it’s not a sky I recognize. Just more strange tones of blandness with blemishes of black seeping through.
I’ve been standing here aimlessly in what I’m assuming was on my body when whatever it was killed me. Black shoes, my favourite pair of slim fit blue jeans, singlet, and a white shirt only half tucked in, full of the creases of the unloved and homeless – as my mum would say to me growing up. I’d guess ten minutes passed without me moving an inch, not so sure what I’m scared of…probably that this isn’t heaven, and I’d have to confront the idea that I’m not the ‘good’ person I believe I am…was. Maybe I should have given my local vagabond some more of my loose change, I didn’t need it. No, he’d just of used it to buy more alcohol or cigarettes, if he was really even homeless…’Shhh that’s the kind of thinking that probably got you down here – idiot’.
Eventually, I calmed my active mind enough to formulate the necessary motor skills to walk forward. To where I could feel, I deserved to be. It was only after a few hundred meters of the loneliest stroll my mortal self could never of conceived, that I heard it. A sound that made my stomach clench violently, like trying to vomit when you’re already empty. It was beyond anything I’d heard before, I can only describe it as the collective, elongated screams of the people you love. But, I didn’t know these voices…yet it felt like hearing them be hacked to death in front of me. I couldn’t walk anymore, the sound was crippling, I felt blood trickle from my ear canal – It felled me to my knees. Adrenaline was rushing through my body as I cried the saddest tears I didn’t understand. This just kept going on and on, I realised that it wouldn’t stop and begged my heart to give up.
Sometimes, there’s nothing left but pain.
-“ Bonjour Monsieur” – I felt a small hand touch mine. It was warm and soft like a child’s. It told me to stand up and suddenly I could. I turned to look at this person, and was taken struck by the design of his features, he spoke again, telling me his name in a light jovial voice that muted the noise and the pain. “ Je m’appelle George”. George was about 5ft 5 in height, and black hair styled into what a child who stole his father’s hair gel, might think was a smart adult look. Although dressed in a sophisticated, fitted, light grey tweed blazer, and trousers to match. The bright yellow V-neck jumper of home crafted patterns, lowered his tone, to one matching the hopeful smile on his special face. His cumbersome, faded brown brief case was tightly gripped in the hand not touching mine. Both it, and the presidential blue tie resting securely on his clean white shirt, did a lot to balance his appearance. Half child looking for play at nursery, half concerned passer-by in between office meetings. His face, were most of my attention kept returning – was clearly that of someone with downs syndrome; the scrunched up features, cheeks coloured red with mischief, and the A typical thick neck of an Olympic wrestler.
He helped me to my feet, I went to brush myself clean, but there was no evidence I’d been laying in fetal position on the stone road. As I wondered briefly, about how many other souls had walked this path before me, I all but forgot the gut wrenching pain I was just in. The grinning stranger just kept looking at me like I was a lost puppy he’d found in the park.
-“Who are you?” I asked him calmly, while fighting this peculiar compulsion to hug him tightly.
-“My name is George, and I’m an angel.” Intuitively, I knew this to be true.
-“ You speak English?”
-“Yes, we speak all the languages of your earth.” He spoke those words without a tone or mannerism that would imply the diminished faculties I would expect. “I personally prefer French, but you don’t think your French is as good as it used to be.” I just nodded obediently without picking up the real meaning of his words. He continued, “You are in hell but only at the start, the spirits down here call it the demon’s tail. The pain you were hearing and feeling was the voices of all the people you’ve hurt, other’s experience different things on the demon’s tail, but guilt is your ‘self harm’. I didn’t know how to respond, his insights were swift and cutting like a blade. He reminded me of the voice in my head that finds me in the night. The one that’s become a bedtime story of wants and hurts.
-“What’s that town at the end of the road” I asked to avoid thinking anymore about the home and life I’d lost.
-“Nowhere you want to be Alpha, but somewhere Nusodar of The Regrets wants to take you.”
-“Him.” George said pointing away from the stone path to a pale-headed figure in all black. It had the stature of a man, but even from the fifty-meter distance it was currently at, the lazy, struggle-ridden movements towards us, felt simultaneously inhuman yet palpably depressed. His approach ominous; fear, and wanting salvation soaked my bones. I hadn’t felt anything like it, since the long car journey’s home from terrible parents evenings with my father.
Sometimes there’s nothing left but pain.
“Don’t worry yet.” He said sympathetically, before passing me my iPhone.
-“How’s this going to help?” I whisper, as my spirit deflated into thoughts of what’s to come.
-“Do you want to get out of here?” I didn’t respond…I knew the answer I wanted to give, but for some reason it felt lodged in my throat. “You have to say it or I can’t help you.” As he spoke those words his expression changed, no longer was it one pleased to see me. I felt the weight of this moment press me, and I forced the word out uncomfortably.
-“Good, because there’s an app for that” the happiness returning to his face like the beaming rush of the amused. “Open the app called ‘Tri-force’”, I did. “You’ll see that there are three boxes, each represents the three stages of ascent from hell. Tap on the first one.” As I followed George’s instructions, I couldn’t help but notice that the one he called Nusodar, was still ambling towards me. At this closer distance, I could see the unnerving expression on its hairless and deeply wrinkled face. There was sorrow and hardship clung to it like the ancient guilt of a retired executioner. My pulse rate speed up as my hands started to sweat, but I trusted George like a dear friend from childhood, so I focused on his gentle voice. “You see, now you have three choices.” He said, as we both stared intently at the phone in my hand.
-“I don’t understand, what does ‘X past, present or future’ mean?”
-“It means my little friend, that your first trial is to choose who you want to confront. An ex girlfriend from your past, present of future?”
-“Future? I’m pretty sure I’m dead.”
-“There are many possible paths, and this, your death – is just one, selecting that box will allow you to experience one of them.” George said casually, as if they were the rules some popular child’s game.
-“What about that thing in black coming for me?”
-“Alpha, don’t worry George is here, plus when you’re in the trial, Nusodar of The Regrets can’t interfere.”
-“Do you have to say that whole title every time?”
-”Definitely, it really doesn’t like abbreviations.” The idea that this foreboding entity could be in an even worse mood, than his current expression and posture suggested, was terrifying. So, I started thinking on my choices. My heart began beating to the rhythm of my lost loves, pounding to the feel of the woman I left in death, and resonating the warmth of experiences reserved for my un-lived mortal selves. I knew who I wanted to see…
-“Excellent, tap your choice and enter the door that will appear.” I did, and instantly a large oak wood door materialized. It had these words scorched into it,
‘The After Life is,
Kinematics & Cessation
This, is After Life.’
They sounded very familiar, but aware as I was of how close the colourless thing in black was getting; I didn’t dwell on it, simply just turned the cold metallic doorknob and walked into a dimly lit room I recognized instantly. There she was.
Sometimes, there’s nothing left but pain.
-“What do you want Alpha?” Her voice stated, as she stood with her back to me. She posed stubbornly beside the computer that faced the window. She was wearing her cherished baggy blue hoodie, the one from her first dance group –‘Boy Blue’. The jeans she wore continued her infamous loose fitting style, with those almost comically small feet poking out from beneath the enveloping boot cuts. I’d forgotten just how short she was.
-“I Just want to talk to you Clo.” I said more timidly than intended. Maybe I was still taken aback by the feeling of being in her bedroom of her parent’s house again. The doubled bed where we watched endless episodes of friends, the home PC where I would copy the latest magic system album onto my iPod, and the wardrobe I would watch her get dressed at, before her Saturday morning class teaching ballet. ‘Those kids are so lucky’ I would think to myself, as I lay cocooned in her doublet-quilted duvet. But those pleasant memories are double edged…with each living long enough to become villainous.
-“You’re so f***ing annoying, I blocked you, your friends, and all your brothers from Facebook, then when I saw you working at the same fitness first I taught at, I changed jobs. Isn’t that clear enough?! I don’t even want to look at your face!” She yelled, all still while having her back to me, her head never turning away from the window that looked out to the driveway.
-“Yeah, but why? Why are you actin like a crazy b****? It’s been literally 10 years, how can you still have feelings for me?? Don’t say you don’t, coz you obviously do if you can’t even look me in the eye. Or, you really are just insane.” I voiced in exasperation.
-“urrrgh, but why do you still want to talk to me?? I obviously don’t want you in my life, so why the hell do you still want to be in it?? Only a crazy person wants to be friends with someone who hates them.”
-“But why do you f***ing hate me so much? What the F*** did I do? Yeah so I dumped you? And what?! Did I cheat on you? No! Did I F*** your best friend, No!”
-”BUT ALPHA, WHY DO YOU STILL WANT TO BE MY FRIEND?!” She repeated her sentiment vehemently. However, this time it penetrated my almost uncontrollable impulse to speak over her. The feeling was a strange yet familiar sting. I knew the answer, and always have. I hate the idea of someone not liking me…especially when I don’t know why. Do I have a compulsive need for people to like me? I’ve never thought so, but maybe this says different. Just then, I felt words escape my mouth on their own.
-“I’m a good person…why don’t you see that Clo…?”
-“You mean good like when you hit me…?”
Sometimes, there’s nothing left but pain.
To Be Continued…
By Alpha Maurice Cidade Cauwenbergh
© Alpha Maurice Cidade Cauwenbergh – Storyteller, Poet & Intern at Wordsmith Inc 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alpha Maurice Cidade Cauwenbergh – Storyteller, Poet & Intern at Wordsmith Inc with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.