She told me 'look up', so I looked down at a dictionary to look 'up' up and realized I'm down when she's not up and around. She told me confidence is the key to a woman's heart but she kept breaking mine with one: a twist in the path to her heart, and turn of a key of turmoil while I'm burning with desire desiring to be kissed, hurt from never being needed by another, by an unnecessary existence. Wishing for release, a touch, a breeze from a breath, a rush, sweet lips close enough to touch, love, lust, my fear of loneliness to be hushed, sweet whispering, but not much more than silence, a loving look, and relief from receiving acceptance.
I wander around aimlessly, in a store, a salesman forever on sale, never inspected, never sold, never loved, circling books like they're nothing but words of advice I follow but get nowhere, a vulture longing for love, craving attention and affection, caught and cornered (like I'm a commodity one can make a killing from) by depression spread by the indifference of women toward me.
One breath would bring me to life but they keep it to themselves, like their sweat I can never smell. Call me a pervert: I can never tell. Silent, still, behind a cage of the materialisation of 'longing for change' I can't escape from or change like it's a light bulb, seeking no personal space for a change, seeking warmth and her smooth arms wrapped around my body as a replacement for sorrow.
I place a camera on a shelf and walk away from it, backwards.
This is where I work: a suitcase store. We sell luggage for those who go back and forth between countries, back and forth, back and forth, while we walk down aisles again and again explaining to customers why one suitcase is apparently better than another like we're comparing suits to others in boring boardrooms, like we're judging suitors the covers, like we're marriage counsellors or ministers, like we're marrying people, but we're not.
We're stuck here, alone.
Did I say 'we'? That's wishful thinking. I meant 'me'.
Every day I find myself walking into and out of this store, like I'm in and feeling out of it, in and out, in and out, like I'm addicted to coming here, but no one's holding me back like I my tears (and maybe that's why my thoughts are like literature). No one's asking me to stay here, at least not outside the store.
Outside, where I perpetually pass a place where chicks promote flossing. Fuck materialism! Sure, they've got a point - of a toothpick - but I find myself wishing I could run into them, leaving them breathless, before they've had time to prepare themselves for interactions of consumers, and find I'm covered in naked morning breath like the tongue I'd ostensibly slip into before any item of clothing in this simple shopping complex.
So when it finally hits me, the complex emotions are too hard to fathom. Hard. That is all. I can only think that I've finally found that point far better than a toothpick's. The point of life. The rush (like it's pre-Christmas and her breath's a limited edition). The adrenaline. The nervousness. The exhilaration. The satisfaction running smack into the front of me as she pins me up against a wall in the storage room, where the sweets are where we eat and where the cameras aren't seen like us, and where she places her sweaty and seemingly beating palm over my mouth before covering my nose with the sensual space between her two lips and whispering: 'never forget me'.
I smile. I can't do anything but.
This is where I play: a suitcase store's storage room.
'You can't write about this,' she says, seemingly bursting at the seams, seemingly saturated with equal amounts of satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and elation, looking like a red suitcase filled to the rim (overflowing, like breath falling over her lips) with romance novels. I don't even have to try.
I take a deep breath.
Her scent. Don't lose her scent. Every moment is magical.
'Hey, you hear me Matthew? Do NOT write about this!'
I know she'll say it to my face if I don't reply. I stay silent for my sake, for my face to become encased in her breath.
'I can't stop you, can I?'
'No one will believe it,' I say, smiling. 'I've written about you before. I'm the boy who cried wolf just waiting for a female wolverine to take a deep breath and tell me I'm somebody even if no one else will ever believe me. At least I won't forget what comfort, bliss, and receiving acceptance smells like. At least I know for one brief moment what it feels like to be loved.'
Again the palm pushes my mouth like it's hard drugs. (For every action of hers there's an equal reaction that's writing which she's now promoting like my mouth and hers). Again I'm grateful. Again I'm intoxicated. And her breath now seems to be what's wandering around the store, and getting lost in the storage room like suitcases we can't sell. You can't buy this moment. You can't buy this chance. You can't buy her demeanor, nor this feeling, and customers are angry, ringing a bell repeatedly, seemingly begging for service.
You can't buy her naked, intense stare. It's duly given.
With it she tells me she'll be back. With it she tells me she'll be coming back here soon.
You can't buy her anything, because materialism is fucking dead.
Take a deep breath and repeat after me: materialism is dead.
No wedding, just an affair. Materialism is dead.
Back in the store she sells a suitcase and toothbrush to a woman with red lips, white teeth, and no sense of adventure.
Soon, sadly, her bacteria will be dead.
I don't try to save them. Instead I wait patiently to savor those in the mouth of my muse, listening to her vocalizing musings during her time of the month.
I'm already jelly. She'll be coming back here soon.
'I can stand in line for the time being
what it is to wait patiently for a kiss/
Catch me in line if you like, or on the [T/t]ube like your lipstick when you spill a bit on it like it's liquid/
Spill it all like details coz I just wanna smell your real lips and to feel significant/
If you come here you're just like me coz you lift dicks/
Find me in the store. I'm a misfit, not fitting into the floor so you trip on my wrist. Watch where you're going. Can you fix this second hand you broke? If time stops, then yeah, coz you're fit like a wrist for using when getting off, getting off of it, and I'll cover your nose if you cover mine with your big lips,' I rap, warily, standing in line with the customers, waiting to be served.
'Aren't you working here?' a stone-faced male asks.
'Most certainly,' I state. 'Expert on shells since forever.'
'But, ironically, not too good at putting on a front,' he states.
'Well, that's because I'm observing the figurative shells - including my one, looking like introversion, and women's as I wait for women to come out, and out of 'em - from afar.'
'When, ironically, you're standing so close to me,' he says pressing me for a reply, as though his voice is pressure.
'I'm seeing stone,' I say, like I'm reading his lips. 'Every time I close in on you you're quiet, possibly coz I'm speaking, but you should interrupt me so you can speak and breathe well.'
'Fine,' he says. 'I have my eyes on a stone case. You feel me?'
'Oh. I see what you're saying. It's probably inappropriate if we're in one of the countries in a line stretching from the north of Africa to the Middle East that isn't Chad,' I state.
'You're just gonna go running back to Chad? If you take the stone suitcase it may be symbolic like a cross you could carry with bare arms with no bullets.'
'I'm actually looking for women, presently,' I press. 'I'm trying to smell the breath of your wife. Sorry for the strange discussion. But this is heavy.'
I'm carrying a stone.
'Well, the Samsonite ones are lighter and more flexible,' the man states, claiming my job for himself.
'Like cars one can live in in New Zealand, when without a home,' I say. 'But notice how we're distancing ourselves from those whom need our help?'
'Precisely. But there is no peace far beyond the Pacific Ocean, in the Middle East, and we should pay close attention to where we are.'
'They do look really nice though,' the guy says, perplexed. 'But you think we should focus on stones and reporting from where we're a stone's throw away from the action? In this case moving suitcases like arms can be extremely sadistic. We cannot sell stone suitcases in the Middle East. It's just wrong. Even if stones are already everywhere.'
'Cars are no better,' I say. 'Unless . . . maybe it's best we just focus on New Zealand for now. I don't know. I mean, I really like your wife more than you do - since you appear to be gay - but I wouldn't want you to be left alone in the Middle East, or even here in India. India's like Chad, you can still be imprisoned.'
'Like I am now? In a loveless marriage?'
I scratch my head.
'Please don't go to the Middle East,' I say. 'Grab a Samsonite suitcase and go to New Zealand. Leave your wife to me and we'll discuss whether or not she's into me before deciding where she should go.'
'I wanna be a martyr,' the guy says. 'Like Jesus. Hit me with an awfully heavy case rather than a hand.'
'No,' I say, placing a hand on the man's shoulder. 'You're not gonna die. Let me offer you a job. I'm gonna keep an eye on you at all times and we're not gonna die, okay?'
There's a tear in the guy's eye.
'You mean it?' he asks.
'You can help out the women in the store when they're only interested in relationships and not sex, because you won't be thinking about fucking them all the time,' I state.
'Seems reasonable,' he replies. 'And I can tell them where they should go.'
'Probably to the register, where I'll be standing,' I say, smiling. 'Where they can purchase suitcases for their trip to New Zealand. Coz it's like they need more shells and glass ceilings over there, given they still have no idea what things are like for people in the Middle East. Women can explain to them what's going on in the safety of new houses. And the new women will soon not have shells to come out of but homes - large homes, where many women and many men live -, and the glass ceilings will be gone too: there will be more room to breathe instead, and the rooms will have normal ceilings and not ones that can and should break easily.'
'Are you talking about placing lesbians and gays and bisexual people in some home?' the guy asks.
'One where I'd certainly like to live,' I state. 'A home because those fleeing the Middle East may need professional care and supervision for some time. And furthermore polyamory may be an appropriate form of therapy, after they've been discriminated against for so long.'
'The bottom line is that suitcases are needed?' the guy asks. 'Lots and lots of suitcases. Light ones. That's the true line of suitcases that matters: one from Nigeria to India, all of them dropped from planes, light enough to not hurt anyone, strong enough to not break (if only it could be dropped all at once: a line, a note everyone could read, men and women - 'I'm leaving you. You have not been taking care of me' addressed to leaders of groups and small families, because independence is so important).'
'And everyone deserves to be loved,' I say. 'With enough suitcases one can build a house. It just takes time and some exploration of some bodies (human; or of planes and cars). We've come a long way since the Stone Age and we should act accordingly. People need the means to be free. And to see that all a house really is is companionship and shelter. Not a barrier made of stone. We only sell shells here, but I can see the point of also selling a place to live and work. It's about making sure the glass roof over your head is open to others. They can do this in New Zealand easily, as many already live in shells, but need to learn about other shells. Breaking free from people is just the beginning. Shells can be better too. Break 'em if you can, carefully and in the right places. Preferably where mouths are, so people can speak.'
A woman behind me is tapping her foot.
'I'm waiting,' she says.
I turn to face her.
'For a job or home?' I ask.
'Just to return a suitcase,' she says, holding up a rock.
'I'm glad you didn't throw it away,' I say. 'It could end up in the wrong hands. It should only be used to break glass ceilings. Otherwise what's the point of travelling anywhere? Would you like something lighter for your arms?'
'My arms are fine,' she says.
'I agree, they smell amazing. So does your breath. Tell me more about your life.'