I wake up, push the bedspread off me, walk on the white floor, past the wooden cupboard to the bathroom. I sit in my tub and finish the bottle of wine. I walk out and greet my wife.
Me: Good morning.
My wife: Do you ever plan on showering? It’s been five days and you smell of sweat and perhaps a little semen. Your breath is sour. I’m guessing you haven’t brushed too.
I wake up. It’s the fifth day now, and that post-rock melancholia hasn’t left me yet. I think it’ll be a matter of time before my wife leaves though. I’m just getting high, listening to 65daysofstatic and drinking each night. I pull off the coverlet, and I know I stink. My wife’s decided to sleep in the other room, and I guess she isn’t giving me any sex today too. I think I masturbated yesterday or was it the day before? I’m not sure, but I was certainly thinking of some woman in the office who I find more alluring than my wife. I mean Nicole has her charm, but she’s grown so utilitarian and pragmatic over the years. She looks at the cupboard and just sees a brown box, and it’s like each day is a list of things to do. Tick…tick…tick…done. I mean it’s ludicrous. She refuses wine or a little Valium, even though she has these sleep problems. She refuses to see the doctor or talk things out with me. She thinks I’m becoming a junkie and it isn’t true. I mean a little red wine and the occasional joint isn’t a big deal. She wants us to see a marriage counselor, when this is something solvable without the need for therapy. I never believed in therapists. The guy probably jacks off to the thought of your wife, while he’s giving you both advise on how to stay married.
I sat in my tub, like a concave, slightly chipped at the edges tooth, and drank from that bottle of wine yesterday, and I guess I tasted the red – you know the color itself more than the flavor, and I imbibed the effervescence that bright bottle gives you, and I guess I was partially transported to the mind’s antipodes: No, I didn’t have visions of cherubim, but I did close my eyes and see color and pattern, and I guess the bright light in the bathroom with its rays that penetrate through shut eyes in some uncanny yet alluring way contributed. I knew the Old Places of the mind, even if it lasted a few moments, and this isn’t the subconscious. It’s something deeper than mere symbols. And yes, I know I’m borrowing from Huxley, but I had the experience myself. Those patterns turned to bright specks embedded in some surreal transfiguring background, and though it’s just alcohol, a little weed earlier and the natural grind of machinery playing like a raw orchestra of metal in the distant background, I felt alive, but not a caffeinated vivacity, but I felt like air; never the void, but air – existing and yet not. I was jerked out of the moment; yanked like a tooth without anesthesia the moment I heard my wife Nicole foxtrot into my room. If I’m air, she’s fire, but a steady utilitarian burn, which I just hope doesn’t become wild and unmitigated. I walked out of the bathroom, my minimal transcendence now whipped by some angst-ridden purgatory. She heard the hesitancy in my voice like a staccato when I said, “Good morning,” and she gave me her usual stern, hard, piercing stare with a short lecture about my slow regress into her judgments of me. I think lascivious thoughts of another woman in my workplace these days. I guess I want to float and drift with time, and improvise as I go along, like 65daysofstatic with their never here or there, math rock vibe. I don’t want Nicole binding me. She talks of marriage counseling with a Fascist undercurrent running through each syllable, and I despise it, both because I think if she took herself lighter we’d greet each other like we once did, in a natural hypnotic trance. But she’s lost sight of the idiosyncrasies that once made her, so, oddly different. I begin to wonder now if she ever had them at all, or if they were a put-on celebrity oddity – a cry for attention. When you’re first married, the bark isn’t scraped yet, but with time, it peels, and you’re left with a scent, slightly pungent, and slightly malodorous, and it’s an acquired taste, and some couples just can’t dance to rhythm of the same frequency. I also despise marriage counseling because I know the counselor and I find him having this voyeuristic fascination for my wife. He’s waiting for the day we sit on his couch and share our most intimate experiences and will probably feel a sexual energy taking over. I’m not giving him his pleasure. Yes, I think of other women and might have an affair, but Nicole is my yin and yang, my light and darkness, my balance, and I guess I need her even though we’ve drifted apart. And I can’t have her wondering and wandering like me, and I’d be gutted if she’s already done so. I just hope she’s throws away her to-do list and embraces a few moments with me, and then we’ll make many, and commitment and love will ground us like before.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)