The Sad Journeys of Rainer Wolfe
My name is Rainer Wolfe but that doesn’t say much about me. I’m a young man, 23 years of age… I live in Connecticut; perhaps one of the saddest places in the world, a place inhabited by a mixture of old redneck farmers and sad families of differing wealth and values, a place to large to have a warm small town community feel to it, but to small to achieve the bustling excitement of a genuine city. A truly depressing place populated by truly depressing people.
I enjoy the sordid feeling of the night in Connecticut, I like the feel of the stiff breeze reddening my face, and I like the strange and sad silences that haunt the dusty back alleys…. I like the dirtiness of it.
It was Tuesday just before midnight and I was making a point of soaking up the sordid atmosphere as I walked slowly up Hill Street towards my apartment, the town was silent except for the wind and the occasional piercing cry of some sad youth in the town centre. I was feeling a little hung over but this was overridden by the glowing after effects of the myriad of drugs I had consumed the night before, unfortunately my soul was to damp and depressed to be able to enjoy the warmth of this glow, also the inside of my head was making a strange clicking sound every time I took a step and this was beginning to worry me.
Relishing the beads of sweat that had begun to form on my forehead as I belatedly trudged up the cursed street towards my apartment I gazed distantly at the houses of my neighbours. Half way up the hill a cheery looking middle-aged Japanese man with a paunch emerged from his dwelling with an enormous armful of rubbish. I had to stop and watch. The man was wearing newish looking white sneakers, plain black workpants and a t-shirt with the Easter bunny on it. He tottered down the footpath leading from his front door to the road and dumped his rubbish in the wheelie bin at the front. I squinted to see the rubbish… it was mostly milk cartons and Easter egg wrappings.
The man seemed to wear a permanent smile. I loved that man, I wondered what dark secrets and pain was hidden behind his smile, I wandered how much his children loved him and when he was going to die, I wandered what religious belief got him through the day, I wandered where he worked and if he gave money to charities and worried about politics, then I became very sad and jogged all the way to my apartment to escape these thoughts.
I gave a sigh of relief as I closed the door behind me and entered my apartment; I always loved to come back to my apartment, I could never stay there for to long though, lest I sink into the twisted reality of it and become distorted. I made my way straight to bed, thinking myself to be tired enough to catch an easy rest. Unfortunately as soon as I laid down thoughts started racing around in a merry-go-round in my head and once it started I couldn’t stop it. It was 4am before I finally drifted into sleep with tear-stained cheeks.
I was awoken 4 hours later by breakfast noises emanating from the apartment next door; I hated the interference into my universe and gave way to irritation. I despised myself for it, but I couldn’t stop hating the neighbours for getting up and working…. I had to think about the smiling Japanese man.
After another couple of hours of restless sleep, I slowly got up, had a wholly unsatisfying breakfast of stale toast with peanut butter, I was jealous of the happy breakfast noises of my neighbours… then I had a painfully long shower from which I emerged tireder that before, irritably dripping.
It was now just before mid-day, I had a lunch appointment with my best friend Clancy at 2.00pm in a nauseatingly fake bohemian café. I hated some things about Clancy, but I could never tell him.
Since I was a university student, it was still Easter break and I had nothing to do, sure I could have worked on my soon to be due in papers, but I felt guilty about not living enough if I did them in any moment other than the last minute, although I didn’t do much living in those couple of hours before the lunch appointment, I just brooded like a dark shadow throughout my apartment.
I caught a bus to the café, I was sickened by the trip, by the glowing ordinariness of the bus and all the people on it, I began to feel very alien, I didn’t belong with these sad folks, I wanted to be somewhere darker and happier. It got worse at the café, at least the people on the bus were kind of real, the people in the café all seemed very fake, I knew some of them were not, but it was hard to tell without knowing them, like Clancy, he seemed to be the fakest of them all, but I knew he really wasn’t. I sometimes worried about how fake I seemed.
Clancy was very excited when I arrived and he immediately began telling me about this girl he had fallen in love with, she worked part-time at the cinema and loved The Coen Brothers just like him, she really didn’t sound like much of a girl to me and I doubted whether she truly appreciated The Coen Brothers. I began telling him that she sounded to sad for me and how I only liked girls that were either strange or fraught with insecurity and how that was true beauty and how we should emancipate each other.
I was halfway through this tirade, which was really an attempt to convince myself of these things not Clancy; because I truly feared that every girl, every person, was really hollow inside and once you got beyond peoples loves and fears they are nothing but sad animals who are dictated by physical and mental urges… and are never free or real, just sad and mean. Well I was halfway through convincing myself otherwise when the waitress came to take our order, she had an interesting voice, or I found it interesting anyway, it caused me to glance up, I was instantly transfixed by her smiling eyes, she noticed the admiration that shone from my face and gave me a quick smile…. immediately I was in love with her.
She had shoulder length brownish hair that was cut in a funny, delightful way. She was a smiling happy person and I dearly wanted to know what she was thinking. Clancy didn’t even notice her and that annoyed me, it annoyed me he could be so shallow and it burned my insides to think that she would probably go for him over me. As I ordered my food I made some dumb joke and both Clancy and the waitress laughed…. I didn’t think it was very funny and I felt distant and plastic when they roared with laughter.
I wanted then, like I often want, more than anything, to be away from people in a dark and warm forest, but I ate my food quickly and afterwards as the waitress finished her shift I went and asked her on a date, I thought that she would say yes because I asked in a nice shy way and good people usually like that. She did say yes, her name was Joanne. For the next ten minutes I was elated.
I went and bought a CD that looked like it was happy.
Then as I walked back up Hill street I started to think about how nothing is ever good because there is no absolute moral truth, but then I contented myself with thinking that there can be happy lies, or pure little truths within the happy lies, but it was to late, the sadness had overwhelmed me.
We had exchanged phone numbers and arranged to meet at her café the next day and then go somewhere else to eat, because we both hated the place.
But when tomorrow came I could not bring myself to go, I stayed in my apartment and became distorted. I thought about her waiting for me and then sighing and going home… I began to cry. Then I felt that particularly dangerous type of depression, the type where you sort of want to melt yourself and then get poured down the drain…. into the sewerage where you belong.
I was fiddling with the CD I had bought as I sat by the phone hoping against all hopes that she would ring me, knowing she wouldn’t. Then I looked again and discovered that someone had broken the CD in half, it was lying shattered on the floor. After I few moments of bewilderment I realised that no one could have done this except me…. This worried and excited me, I was losing control, I longed to give my mind up to either madness or monotony but it just wouldn’t happen; so I sat there, by the phone, for a while longer.
Then I got up and ran to the liqueur cabinet I needed desperately to escape, I would of preferred the narcotic drought but I had used all my drugs in a wild binge the week before. There was some old dodgy looking wine and half a bottle of cheap whiskey in the cabinet. I drank the whiskey first, taking long painful shots straight from the bottle.
After drinking the whiskey I knew what I had to do; I rang up Joanne I could tell she was surprised to hear me, she could tell straight away that I was drunk and took advantage of it by demanding to know why I had not shown up. I told her the truth; I was scared.
By that time I had begun to gulp the wine down, I was very dizzy and my speech was slurring. I told her things I should not of, scary personal things, things that meant I would never want to see her again because she knew me to well.
I could tell by her voice that I had upset her and that I had made her like and feel sorry for me. This wouldn’t do, I tried to be mean and nasty to make up for it but I just couldn’t execute it properly…. I liked her too much.
I started to cry again and I knew this meant I would never be able to speak to her when I was sober; I’d be too ashamed. I got angry and threw the phone against the wall.
It smashed… and I was alone again.
Fortunately I was to drunk for the dangerous depression to seep into me and I ended up passed out on the floor. I awoke a few hours later feeling pretty terrible, the depression seeped in then, I had no hope of stoping it.
It was worse than ever before… I had another shower and again emerged irritatingly dripping. The dripping was hell, I wanted the water to disappear but I didn’t have the energy to use a towel.
I stumbled naked into the kitchen. I looked at the steak knives… they glistened. I looked at my wrists.
I couldn’t do it.
I turned on the heater and lay on the kitchen floor, I thought of Joanne and my eyes filled with strange tears of what might have been.
For a while I simply couldn’t move… I just lay there, it was like I was lost in a mist…but at least I was dry and warm.
After a long time I began to think of the Japanese man again, I thought of his smiling face and I began to wish.
I wished that I could invite every person in the world to my house for dinner together, I wished I could cook them all their favourite foods and that they would eat in utter, happy silence.