oscar keys

We live – the three of us – in an 800 square foot flat. In some corners of the world, that would seem spacious, and definitely welcome. I do find it quaint, and bright and sunny. The wooden floors give it character and the large lattice wall enclosing the terrace gives it a certain kind of charm. The felines definitely seem quite pleased. Still, the sofa serves as someone’s bed and the lounge, and her bedroom. A teenager’s room, in the lounge. It looks chaos-stricken more often than not. The more room the teenager occupies, the less this leaves for everything else.

Mostly this doesn’t bother me. However today it does. I feel squeezed, like I cannot take up the space I need to, in order to prevent the chaos of my surroundings from taking up residence in my brain. I already have chaos rooted in my brain – the pathological kind that accompanies bipolar disorder. I have to work diligently – like a sort of Cerberus – to keep the mind goblins out and my sanity intact. Today I feel as though the levy will breach.This place feels so small I can hear the others breathing. I feel like I’m suffocating. I have no space within which to unfurl my being. This disturbing restlessness has become an unbearable weight, prowling, clawing its way out of my head, and into the very marrow of my bone, where it sits like a stone.

My thoughts have piled up like smashed glass, off to the corner of my mind. I feel like a half-creature, living suspended between the present and the future. Everything is contingent upon what will happen next. Yet, time limps like a thief pierced by a hundred arrows and wounded beyond survival. And so, I feel as though next will never arrive, as though my existence will pass through a series of nows exactly like this now, strung together like a fragile string of pearls.



christopher campbell.jpeg

A giant, savage and pounding ache gnawed at her from the inside, exploding and scattering its poison like a perforated viscus. Sobbing violently, she sat on the edge of the bathtub, watching the steam rise from the blistering hot water filling the tub. Once she filled the tub to within a few inches of its edge, she reached over and shut the tap off, then stood, opened her red kimono and let it slip off of her shoulders and onto floor behind her.

She stepped into the bathtub, and instantly the blistering heat of the water bit her skin. She slouched down into the water nonetheless, trying to trade one pain for another. Only, it doesn’t work that way. She felt that razor blade glaring at her from the corner of the bathtub. I can help you satisfy those ravenous mind goblins, it whispered to her, reach for me; I will provide deliverance. These whispers grew louder and louder. And she so wanted to believe them, so wanted to believe they made sense. And they did. And this didn’t frighten her in the least. Sitting there, in the scorching hot water, with the mind goblins raging in her head and the razor blade singing its own love song to her, she felt as though caught between the Scylla and Charybdis.

And so she watched herself draw a line along the inside of her right wrist. She wanted to inflict as much damage as she could, and so she cut lengthwise instead of crosswise. She drew slowly, oh so slowly, to maximize, and also to minimize, the suffering. And she had to apply more pressure on the blade to pierce through her skin than she ever thought she would. Her sobs dissolved to whimpers as she watched the crimson life force flower from her wrist. It comforted her, somehow eroded the savage ache that’d been eating away at her. Tired, tired, she felt so tired, the kind of tired a thousand sleeps couldn’t ever cure. And so she sank, further and further into the water, until all she could see was a surface as gaudy as poppies.