Red Sleep

red hair

I used to spend my life in bed. I always loved Valium and Xanax and tramadol and just lying around dozing off in dreamworlds. I still remember them vividly, I have lucid dreaming abilities. I used to teach myself how to fly at night. I even managed to progress during my sleep. I flew and watched my reflection in skyscraper windows, floating and moving and taking on different positions. I flew better the next night, always higher and further and finally without needing to run and jump off a cliff to go airborne. I simply lifted my feet up the ground by mere willpower and by concentrating really hard and flew away. I totally lost the ability to dream when i had my mental breakdown five years ago. I didn’t dream for years. I just slept, heavy like a rock, on benzos and booze and drowned in sorrow. Even when I lived in the city, in a beautiful house that belonged only to me, in a beautiful neighbourhood next to a park. I never went to that park, there where other people, people with screaming children and North-African stone throwing teenage punks. I felt a strange affection for the stone throwers and they always said Bonjour to me in a polite manner. The general population was afraid of them but I wasn’t. I almost got an ACAB tattoo myself, I’ve always felt drawn to the outlaws. The lost souls, the rejected, the poor, the miserable. I used to read about them in books. I’ve met so many during the last five years, in psychiatric hospitals, here in the countryside. Crazy people, uneducated ones, simpletons, poor, disabled, obese, having lost a child to suicide, trying to kill themselves over it. One of my new friends cut her wrists sitting on a cliff two weeks ago and wanted to jump. The cops got to her just in time and now she’s locked up in isolation for 40 days again. I’ve seen so much suffering and hardship and pain and made so many friends and felt so much love like never before. The bourgeois feel empty to me now. Ironically one of my new best friends is a Baron himself. But a smart one. A clubber at 14, popping pills and sleeping around with both boys and girls. A dream-life. He lives in a beautiful house in the middle of the woods and his family owns properties in the mountains and at the sea, but I’m not even jealous. I’m happy for him, and his boyfriend. He’s ten years younger than I but that’s a detail. I have friends from all ages, ranging from 7 to 85. They are all the same to me, it’s just a number. I received a video call from an old man three days ago, a neighbour living 2 km away. Ever since I moved here I was aware of who he was. A historian, specialized in this region of the country. He was astonished he hadn’t seen me in all these years but i was locked up most of the time. In my head or in psychiatric hospitals, mourning the past. It’s only logical he never become aware of me living so close. The city girl who bought the big house nobody else wanted. Because it was so big and expensive, and because the valley lies in darkness during the long winter months, without any sun. And because part of the street has a bad reputation because the working class live there. The only ones that truly work in this world. The construction workers, the cleaning ladies, the nurses, the poor. I’m unemployed myself, and officially retired because I’ve been judged too sick to work. I yearned for that decision because I’ve always hated working for someone else, and never had the strength to work for myself. But when the decision was finally made official and the initial euphoria subsided, I broke down, because I felt like my life had lost all meaning and purpose. That my career had been a waste of time and energy. I used to work at the PM’s office, a civil servant for life with a good salary and nice career perspectives. But it killed my fire, extinguished my creativity. I used to write my own PHP code and build fan-listings and design websites and work as a graphic designer and copywriter and translator. All self-taught. I won a competition to get to my civil servant position and was as proud as I’d ever been in my life. I had finally made it, was part of the privileged. In retrospect I think i just wanted to make my parents proud. My mother still lived then. I also married mainly to let her know I had found someone before she died. We got married December 21, she died the 23. No ceremony, no party, just the two of us at the town hall. We walked back home afterwards and had frozen pizza that night for dinner. My mother whispered into his ear she was happy to finally have a son. One of the last things she said to me was that I had beautiful hair. The last thing I ever said to her was that she must not be afraid. Keine Angst. She replied that she wasn’t anymore. She died several hours later, with my father next to her hospital bed, while I was having breakfast miles away, with my younger sister and her husband. My father called and screamed that we where too late, that she had died without us, and we drove there like madmen. I remember the nurses faces when they saw me. Apparently my mother had talked so much about me they all knew who I was. I had very long red hair dyed with henna then and only wore black.

When I saw her lying there dead, I didn’t cry. I didn’t even kiss her dead face. I just picked at the skin of one of her hands and looked at its parchment like texture. She was no longer there, only her body was. I don’t believe in life after death but I also know that life is not the body. Life is just life it can’t really be explained. All I know is that as long as we are alive, we are not dead. It is that simple.

I no longer sleep during the day, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. I never understood that saying until now. Someday I think it’s because I’m probably going to die myself soon. I somehow feel deep down that I don’t have much time left. Because of the pandemic. Or because I’m so happy I don’t want life to end, ever.

If my mother were still alive today, she would take back what she said.


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