Among those familiar place names, I chose to visit one that was unfa- miliar. It might be a secluded but safe corner.
Two men, German, stood in front of Matsusei bar. They were talking, lightly, in their native German. One of them lit up a rolled cigarette, making his surroundings dispersed with a smell like as if the Black Forest was on fire. I walked through that air. The guy who lit the cigarette called and stopped me. He asked me where was the nearest underground station. My fingers were wiggling, out of agitation, on the handles of the plastic bag that was containing my dinner. Told them that it would be a 15-minute walk. Got it, thank you, said he. I gave back a you-are-welcome smile, lowered my head, left them, and walked towards the alley’s mouth.
Sometimes I found my very fragile. Sometimes I felt indifferent, a state in which I couldn’t care less wherever I was dumped. Sometimes I felt strong and tough. Sometimes I felt as if I could even hear the echoes inside me. When I felt low, I would try to avoid going back to that crooning self, and that vacant room. There was no hug, no light, no sense of security. I would rather take enough effort to ignore, slowly, time itself. As if I wouldn’t have to care about what really hap- pened, because they would not matter that much anymore.
Memories are always far more assuring, Susan Sontag explained, because they are no longer able to intimidate us. I had a small bag of sweet peppers in the fridge. They had been laid on the second rack for two whole weeks in silence. Each of them could no longer recall their expiration date. I woke up from a deep dream. There was no sunshine outside the house (there was no sunshine inside me). I pulled out some ice cubes that I was going to put in whisky, wiping off some fabric shreds that got stuck onto them. They suffered the slight ache from doing so and they said nothing.
That, was a very glum afternoon. It was raining. I lay on the wooden floor, and I could hear nothing.
No missed call on phone. It’s already two a.m. Under such weather, the clothes hanging outside had not even a bit intention whatsoever to make themselves dry and comfy. Having no one to talk to, my throat became coarse, dry and shriveled. I lay once again in the bathtub to idle. Beneath water, everything looked flat. My body looked flat. My palms looked flat, like a piece of mopping cloth. I wouldn’t be able to breathe fast, as my chest now bore the thickness and the weight of water, and it’s warm. I stared at my knees, wishing today was my birthday, because I was desperate for gifts.
松青酒吧(Matsusei Bar)前面站著兩個德國男人,他們輕 聲交談,說著俐落的德語。其中一個人點起捲煙,讓身旁 瀰漫著類似黑森林燃燒的氣味。我走過那團空氣,點煙的 人叫住我,他問我附近有沒有地鐵。我的手指頭因為緊張 所以搓揉著裝著晚餐的塑膠袋提手,我跟他們說,這裡離 最近的地鐵站,大概要走上十五分鐘。我明白了,謝謝, 他說。我露出不用客氣的微笑,低下頭離開了他們,往巷 口走去。
有些時候我會感到自己十分脆弱,有些時候我十分無所 謂、一種被丟去哪裡都沒關係的狀態,有些時候我覺得 自己很強悍,有些時候我覺得自己甚至聽得見身體內的回 聲。我感到自己很低的時候我就會避免回去面對低沈的自 己,那個空曠的房間,沒有擁抱,沒有光亮,沒有安全 感。花足力氣,用緩慢的方式拋棄時間。好像也不很在意 到底發生了什麼事情因為好像沒這麼重要了。
過去的記憶總是令人比較心安,上次蘇珊鬆塔有說過,因 為它們已經無法威脅到我們。冰箱裡面放著一小袋甜椒, 它們躺在第二層架子上歷經了兩個禮拜的沈默歲月,同時 彼此對於距離保鮮期限的記憶已不可考。大夢初醒,屋外 沒有陽光(體內沒有陽光),我從睡褲口袋裡掏出了準備 放進威士忌裡的冰塊,把沾到絨屑的地方拍乾淨,它們忍 受著那輕微的力道,不出聲。
沒有未接來電,凌晨兩點,晒在外頭的衣服因為天氣的緣 故,沒有一絲一毫想要變成乾燥舒適的意思,我的喉嚨卻 因為沒有說話的對象而變得粗劣而乾癟。再次躺在浴缸裡 面發呆,水面下,什麼東西都看起來是扁平的,我的身體 扁扁的,我的手掌扁扁的,好像一片抹布,呼吸不能太 快,胸口承載了水的厚度和重量,暖暖的。我盯著我的膝 蓋,希望今天是我的生日,因為我需要禮物。
photo by Paul Paper
text by Shauba Chang