“Hello darkness my old friend”
It’s so cliché, no? The age old drippy ballad. No matter how hard I try, there are certain fragments of memories that bring my old friend Darkness scratching at the back door like a lost cat. Normally, I am able to catch her before she makes her way to the Vault Door.
In the days after I found the Audio Thief dancing in the very little yard, in a rare moment alone, the glint of a blade would flash, seemingly from somewhere behind me. The first time, it caught me off guard. And then I remembered.
Oh, hello Darkness, you found me. I thought I lost you somewhere in Death Valley on a lonely highway at sunset in the cold winter of December.
I knew why she was here. I knew how she got here. I could try and disregard the reality of the situation, but deep inside, in the dimly lit side altars of the Vault, I knew.
They taste the same. They smell the same. They even fuck the same.
It only felt like a moment – one blink of one human eye – but time is fluid in The Vault, so it could have been months that my attention waivered from the cell door. As flashes of memory lit up the pictures along the Vault Walls, I stopped for just a taste of that bitter sweet time, before he was the Audio Thief. The lock clicked, the tumbler rolled, and the Vault door slips open.
In the fraction of a moment that it took for me to question “Who is this Stranger?”, she exits the cell, relishing with each step, the dark inhibitions falling away like Lodestones sliding off her shoulders. The small smile that forms on her mouth is the only indication of what she is thinking – the cut that leaves no visible trace.
I linger in the Vault, she and I rifling through the memories of the last time I felt something so real. She has been locked away – removed from these memories, barred from the far back reaches of the Vault. Only once in the twenty years since I lured her to that comfortable cell in a rarely visited and never thought about alcove did she find that trail on a Databack Road I never erased. I changed the password at the end of the chain linked path, but it made no difference.
Too late I realize she has broken the code. She wanders the Vault, strolling casually through the remnants of a complicated life. I know by the gleam in her Violet Eyes and the artistic glint of light on steel, that this time, will be the worst time.
It’s not him
I whisper fruitlessly to her as she glides past me through the Vault. After years of listening to the sounds of silence, she pilfers through the Vault, carefully choreographing the timing and impact of each tenuous memory. I stand emotionally paralyzed as she shows me and reminds me that the last time we felt like this was with him.
Because I’m an emotional cutter, I deserve what I get.
Driving up the 101
Sneaking away to Angeles Crest
Hiding out in his room
I am surprised by the elegance and grace she displays with her steel, delicately applying the exquisite cuts. In my emotional paralysis I watch helplessly as she picks up the Vision which softly crept in and danced about the very little lawn to leave his seeds of doubt while I slept. Her Violet Eyes seem to caress me as she glides past dragging the Vision behind her, and wanders out of the Vault.
By the time all the red flags had convinced me I was in a dangerous situation, she had already been woken from her light sleep. The first time the Stranger kissed me, in those 30 seconds or so of intimacy, it was already too late. She caught the scent of The Audio Thief closer than it had been in many years.
The logical part of my brain screamed out to her.
“I don’t care what you smell, I don’t care what you taste, I don’t care what you feel.
IT’S NOT HIM”
She hesitated for just a moment in the threshold of the Vault Door, with the Vision of the Audio Thief dancing and laughing in her firm grasp. She held the Vision up in front of me for the Audio Thief to repeat once again the words he whispered so many years ago
“What are you going to do when you find out that it’s really not me and you have a real Stalker?”
The reality is that I am a coward. The very idea that the break ins were a result of an unknown Stalker sent shivers down my spine. So I do the only logical thing – I turn a blind eye and let her out to do what she does best – deal with my shit. Let her deal with the Interloper, let her confront the Stranger. The cost of this decision is monumental. I know the consequences of allowing her out of the Vault. The invisible cuts, the emotional scars will never be seen, but she will relish each and every stroke of the blade against my emotional Psyche. The emotional cutting is too far over into the realm of clinically insane. It is a far easier cop-out to just give into the pain and let her get the entire situation under control.
The last thing I heard from her before the door shut and the lock tumbled
I promise this will hurt
The blade is sharpened, the door is closed, and it is I who remains within the sounds of silence.