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.
Several woman run into a suitcase. It falls onto the ground. They look surprised.
I approach them.
'Don't worry, that happens all the time,' I say. 'Our shelves are too small.'
'For houses?' one woman asks.
'Obviously,' I reply.
'I thought the suitcases were houses open for inspection,' the woman says.
She holds out a hand.
'I'm Tea,' she continues. 'Not to be confused with coffee' - she smiles - 'I'm too tired of what's going on around the world for making that. I read about how you and others are selling the material for houses that need to be built in New Zealand for people fleeing the Middle East and I'd like to work with you and the rest.'
'Oh,' I say. 'Yes. That was yesterday. I slept afterwards. Thanks for reading about that. No one ever bothers. And it's much nicer working here than Starbucks. The store needs more morning breath though: from people who care mostly about getting somewhere when they're tired - and a writer focused on the task at hand can make it work if she so desires.'
'People will read my face,' Tea says. 'It's like leaves, but even if things so frivolous are what pull people into a figurative cup that's an echo chamber, my words will help them escape their own mind and understand what's happening to people around the world.'
'Sounds sound,' I say. 'Like a lullaby. You're hired. What about your friends?'
'They're backup singers,' Tea says, tapping the microphone attached to the nearest suitcase. 'I'm thinking of moving from one place to another.'
Her friends do.
'Hence the need for a suitcase,' I state, wisely.
'Hardly,' Tea says. 'I work here now. When I say 'place to place' I mean within the confines of the store, when I'm performing for a music video.'
'Feel free to take the floor whenever,' I say.
Tea stomps on the ground.
'It's not budging,' Tea says, shrugging. 'No Alice in Wonderland here, so I guess I should stop moving or trying to move from place to place.'
'Then the only thing left for you to do in a suitcase store is run it,' I announce, tapping the microphone.
'You want me to tell customers what to do?' Tea asks. 'And where to go?'
'You've got their attention,' I say, looking around the store at the people watching us. 'Sell it back to them so they can give it to those in need.'
Tea winks and wheels a suitcase to the register. I follow her.
'This'll be one fine job,' Tea states. 'Now tell me how to sell a suitcase.'
'Oh,' I say, scratching my head. 'I think they do that themselves. They're self-selling cases. They're like YouTube videos: people just wanna watch one while they're meant to be working or travelling, even if it's hard.'
'So we should watch what we're doing while we're working, like our security cameras are used to provide a live feed of the store to YouTube?'
'Sure, why not?' I say. 'We're not going anywhere. Things to do: rest, breathe, converse, raise awareness of humanity. We need to make sure any music videos in production are perfect. And the rest.'
'Tell me about the rest,' Tea queries.
'It tends to be a lot more worthwhile than the West, especially if you're looking at New York,' I state (empire). 'We need more, as much as the area covered by many people in and around the West. And refugees need a place to[o].'
'So if rest needed is equal to area then we sell suitcases to those whom don't need much,' Tea proclaims. 'Coz the area of a suitcase's shell ain't much.'
'Yeah,' I say. 'But others - like refugees - need land and a home. The area's still important when purchasing just one suitcase of many but it must be kept in mind that you can only do so much as a single person. You need the rest. And significant others. One's head is like a laptop after one goes down on a woman, sleeping with her, because one can think more clearly when relaxed. But eventually one may realize that he or she is in Malaysia and can't relax. That's why we sell suitcases, or give them away - as the case may be.'
'When personal space is required,' Tea states.
'Not necessary here,' I add. 'That's why we give it away. We promote it with free breath: hopefully those who come here will be breathing freely. Especially women. They may only require personal space where they're going: where they are not allowed to speak freely to members of the opposite sex in stores like this one (if in Saudi Arabia). Or where books about this - when some beautiful tongue is alluded to - are forbidden (if in Tajikistan). Storage space is necessary. Hence stores.'
'You mean this is like a library?' Tea asks.
'Yeah,' I reply. 'Records are important. We don't just press them but push them. Human Rights Watch and some tape - when what's revealed is noticed - can be like a bandage for slit wrists until more help can be found for those unsure where to go.'
'How long before they're rescued?'
'It's unknown usually,' I state. 'Hence the bandage is prominent.'
'So personal space is important if your life's in danger, but if not then you should share what's happening to others with others, and each case is important and should be opened up, even if cold.'
'Yes,' I say. 'Everyone who comes here wants us to open at least one case for them. And we don't wanna ever be cops in Morocco whom don't listen. When we wrap something up we're more than satisfied something's being done.'
'Some register this,' Tea says, tapping the cash drawer.
'That's important,' I say. 'We need more or we just can't sell anything.'
'What if someone isn't pleased with a case we've opened?' Tea asks.
I nod. 'Usually happens at American airports, like L.A.X. - they'll toss the cases around like they don't mean nothing, as if displeased with people bringing any case up to them or thrown their way, as the case may be. They may simply not be strong enough for shipping arms or cash to Saudi Arabia. That's usually the issue. That's also why the TSA lock's important, so they don't rip them open.'
'Is it that easy for money to pass from the U.S.A. to the corrupt Saudis?' Tea asks.
'Yeah,' I say. 'Those in power in the U.S. - and Australia I might add - have way too much personal space.'
Tea nods: 'that they're not giving away.'
'That they're not giving away,' I repeat. 'They should think about giving it away.'
'Sleep on it?'
'They certainly should. And refugees.'