the black blackness, or how to overcome the void


to live within the black blackness is to be in an invisible cage, to star in “blue lagoon”, and to miss connections on a daily basis – even if your ticket is right.

however, the black blackness doesn’t tear you up

(not as soon as it should) no. it works deviously, and it works like this.

the black blackness wordlessly convinces you that there is no black blackness. that you are simply tired, that you are expecting to use too many of your 24 golden hours. stop going to all these events for goodness sake. the black blackness works with your friends to have them ally against you. it’s faking their letters.

the black blackness creeps into your bedroom overnight and climbs under the blanket, it keeps you warm in the morning and nails you to the wood of the bed.  you, initially seduced, give in at first. then, the black blackness decides that your spooning must last a lifetime. it rebels, it doesn’t want to be taken out. the black blackness likes rooms that match its colour. it likes the shutters down, the doors locked, the lights off. the black blackness doesn’t like you being on top. when the hold is hindering your breath, and you persuade the black blackness to leave the house, the black blackness hangs behind you like an insistent younger sibling, holding your wrist, and instead of pointing to what surrounds you, pointing to you.

(you ask yourself, how one can be heavier than something immaterial yet be dragged down by it? isn’t a heart heavy enough to counteract the tug?)

the black blackness has decided it is your plus one to all social events, the black blackness is your new taunting tutorial partner as you stutter a wrong answer, the gleam in a corner as you miss a dance move in a zumba class, the black blackness sits in the sink when you burn your wrist making tea. the black blackness likes to cooperate with things beyond your control. it makes it rain when you are about to go out, and feeds you its own special cocktail medicine of knacker-her-out so that you are too exhausted to move as everyone outside picnics and giggles.  the black blackness absolutely loves the past. it throws polaroids, old clothes, and broken friendships back at you. see? i love you. see? this is what used to be. the black blackness isn’t too keen on the future, for it has heard you utter one time too many that you envisage one without it.

the black blackness is small, but strong. when you punch it, it escapes your lunge and kicks you in the stomach. when you ignore it, it hums in your ear. you can take flights away from the black blackness but it is the only extra checked baggage that easyjet will never frown upon. the black blackness knows how to scuba dive, it knows how to get onto the tube, how to jet to mars.

the black blackness works like a field mouse, innocent looking at first, cutely gnawing its way into your clothes until it reaches your personality and being and you realise your soul is gaping and torn by holes. sometimes, you can hear it scuttling within you. a hand dives into your soul and retrieves it. the black blackness squirms, and bites your hand, yet for one moment, you have won.

the black blackness unleashes its hardest bullets against your family and friends, so that you spit and hiss and snarl at them, all as the black blackness is on the other end of the walkie talkie. the black blackness pulls hair off your head as you kiss someone, and it pushes your glasses against your nose and blows hot breath on them as you widen your eyes whilst watching life of pi.

winning isn’t easy when you lose arguments daily. counteracting the black blackness is hard work. you laugh and sing and party in an attempt to leave the black blackness behind. sometimes it works. other times, you must compromise, and greet the black blackness when entering your room at the end of the evening again, for an afterparty. on several occasions, the black blackness has a party of its own, a party in your mind.

no one is invited, except for you. it is an extremely exclusive do.

there are times when you think that the black blackness is you, for identity and insanity are often one and the same, and you have small fragments of the person you were before the black blackness came along. maybe, one day, you’ll be forced to marry the black blackness. when you say things like this aloud, you realise that one thing divides you: the black blackness has no voice. so you talk of divorce. you talk of lives apart. you talk of ambition, of love, of truth. the black blackness despises you and wriggles, running nails down walls and engulfing you in a suffocating embrace. you somehow, sometimes, can escape.

for the black blackness may have bullets but you have nuclear bombs, stashed away in a brain which is still strong enough to rebel. they are few, and rare, and you dispatch them after a well-thought out process. you know that the boomerang of your arms could cost you a soldier of the one-woman army you have assembled.  the black blackness has made all kinds of assumptions, amongst these, that you are an ally. and strategic thinking becomes vital. you have made plans and schemes to eradicate the black blackness, weakening it until it can no longer manage to drag itself behind you. part of it has succeeded,even if it has left you a stack of post its of self hatred. you rip them up, but they seem to be designed on the pattern of a life spent together. weekly visits mean that you can secretly slip these into the black blackness’ shadow, and watch them dissolve.

sometimes, the black blackness comes for a minibreak with you. sometimes, it sits waiting for you on your bed when you get back from home, a surprise visit tinted with glee. your weekend plans are burned to the ground as you take the black blackness by the hand and try to complement your sunnier existence with its ability to fizzle the sun out. inevitably the black blackness whines and drags its feet, but

but more often, you can leave the black blackness behind and dream of almonds and summertime. your forced light has blinded it, if only partially, if sometimes artificial. you have lit candles, waved lighters, let an ocean of warmth flood rooms and apartments.  your talking and shouting and writing has almost completely silenced it.

one day, the black blackness should be nothing more than an aged aunt, forgetful of scheduled visits, hard to trace down, far enough to need a few days’ travel to manage to reach you. the trains in its far-away hamlet will be two a day, and it’ll have lost all memory of the successful days in its past. someone will speak of the black blackness to you as you clink glasses. sooner than you can imagine, to you, its name will be nothing more than a faded mosquito buzz.



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