Category Linkin Park
The Morning After
The Morning After
by Jun-Ko (formally known as Alice Fortuna)
"Cut and bruised by the fall again, lick my wounds like a dog again
Is that a light at the end of the tunnel that I see, please let it be but don’t
Wake me ‘till the morning after..."
~ Chester Bennington, The Morning After
It's been some time since I last wrote here. Almost can't believe it. I bought this book almost six years ago, when our album first came out so I could record what had happened since then but obviously I never got around to doing it. I'm writing now because I think it's all unraveling and I want to cry. It's ending, I guess.
I used to see a shrink. I can't remember when I began seeing him, though. All I knew was that it was after I had that one nightmare that started the shakes, where I tremble so hard that I can't even write anymore, so I'd go and see him and just lay back and bitch. About everything. Mostly about her, though. I knew I had it good but what's the use if it doesn't mean shit to me? I complained. I mean, I can't keep hanging on to the money because then she'll just take it and spend it and she doesn't do anything to deserve it. I didn't used to think that way when I still loved her, but when the hate began to form and every day she looked a little older and scalier and uglier I had to start clenching my fists and gritting my teeth every time she spoke.
Shrinko asked, "why do you hate her so much?" and I shrugged. Her arrogance, maybe. I think it started when I told her that I couldn't go with her on a vacation. Almost three years ago. But what could I do? We were working on an album and all she could think about were tan lines and getting a bikini wax. When I told her, no, I couldn't go, she started freaking out and crying and kicking like a spoiled child. I never would have thought that she had such great accuracy and coordination. She'd hit me square in the balls with a force that was beyond a woman her size, and ran from the room crying while I pounded on the table screaming into my fist. Now I wear a jock strap every time I absolutely have to go home.
After that, it was silence for a while, and then it was like living with a stranger for me. I didn't know her anymore. She discovered a new religion and bought a box of plaster statues of Jesus Christ; then on my credit card she bought paint, brushes, sandpaper and clay. With it, she sanded off his beard and left his hair long and molded breasts and painted his robes bright feminine colors, and suddenly she was The Flying Nun, attacking from every direction, this way and that, ranting about how men like me were the ones responsible for this fucked-up world and how, if women had been given authority from the very beginning then everything would be so much better. "A woman-God would have not driven Adam and Eve from the garden -- a woman-God would have Adam eat dirt and run laps outside of Eden and only let him come back when he'd promised to never be as gullible and idiotic as that ever again." Never mind that it was Eve who gave him the fruit.
"I hate her because she's a bitch," I told the shrink. "I hate her because she told our marriage councilor that I was a failure as a man especially in bed and refused to associate the fact that my not wanting to have sex with her had anything to do with how I have to shut myself in my studio if I ever want to escape her insults. 'Don't think of yourself as a writer -- any idiot who can read can write.' I swear, if she had been married to Shakespeare he would have ended up becoming a used car salesman."
And then I started seeing you after she began to want to always be on top. Well, I've always seen you, of course -- Mike brought in that tape of you singing over the phone from several years ago and I already knew from them that I would love to get to know you. And then I saw you. And I thought, just, wow.
I've never told anyone about this. Especially not Monica. You became the one escape from this mad mad world and I was so grateful for it. I keep trying to remember, but it takes a while for the dregs of forgetfulness to clear. Most of the time I'm asleep anyway. And when I'm awake the most I do is piss in the washroom then come back and sleep again. Sometimes I'll eat. And then I'll write, because that's what I'm good at and that's what I'll do.
I remember: I used to keep everything you sent. Even little notes slipped under my hotel room door with scribbled lines of inspiration. When you went away, even for a little while, my irrational fear of you never coming back disintegrated with the arrival of letters and photographs. Letters of your scratchy masculine handwriting and I imagine the pen you hold in your hand. They make me laugh. Especially the randomness of the footnotes in the margin, like "don't forget to pick up the dry cleaning" you've scrawled on hurriedly to yourself. And the photographs...
You sent one once that would not have meant anything to anyone else but me. I opened the envelope and skimmed the letter with it, then took out the photograph to take a look. Someone (probably Mike) had taken a picture of you sitting at a table with your hand near your collarbone and you were faced so that your profile was tilted and your eyes were closed and your lips were pink and wet and slightly open -- and I had to swallow hard. To anyone else it would have looked like you'd chosen to look away from the camera at the wrong moment, but I had seen you make that face before and I knew it was on purpose. When you were bathed in moonlight and sweat and panting and moaning my name, screaming at me to fuck you harder, you would make that face. I was so turned on in that instant that my cock immediately leapt up and suddenly I was very aware of your absence. I couldn't wait until you came back.
But that time I knew that something was wrong. Lover's intuition? Monica was in her Holy-Mary-Mother-of-God routine, crawling on her knees from every station of the Cross she put up around the living room, murmuring low prayers. She didn't even notice me come in and went upstairs to get a change of clothes. I thought she hadn't even seen me when, just before I walked through the backdoor she called out, Brad, and it wasn't in her bitter spiteful tone, but a kind of sad voice that made her sound as though she were about to cry. She said nothing afterwards, just went back to praying, and I wondered what that was about. Nevertheless, the happy anticipation of your arrival suddenly dissolved into thin air, mingling with my name.
The more I thought about it, the more disturbed I became. Suddenly everything didn't seem as right. The sky was too dark for a spring day. The wind was cold and my hands kept shaking as I gripped the steering wheel. I had to take a moment to calm myself down once I arrived at the airport. I kept telling myself no it's okay everything's fine, and did she even say anything at all? I'm losing it. I need more friends. And a vacation. I went inside and got myself a cappuccino and the shaking stopped. I threw the cup out and waited a few meters away from the gate waiting for you.
Happy champagne bubbles fizzed in my chest then, as the minutes ticked by and soon it would be four o'clock and you'd be back and then I'll take you to your house where Samantha will not be because she's out getting her hair done and we'll make love on your bed and I can sleep easy and not have to think of the F.N. at home, with her bullshit religion, until I had to decided where to stay for the night.
I could feel myself smiling and my eyes lighting up when you walked through the gate but for some reason you didn't look too happy. You looked nervous. I could tell. Your eyes scanned the area until you finally saw me, and I smiled and waved, but you didn't come rushing over. You made sure I was watching your eyes as they lowered and traveled down to direct my gaze at your hand -- your hand, which Mike was holding.
That evening I tore all of the photographs and burned all of the letters.
Something's happened. A year ago. I try so hard to remember but I can't. This morning I opened my eyes, took a breath, then leaned over the side of the bed and vomited hard. I felt like everything was trying to escape from inside of me -- my lungs and heart and stomach and the yards of intestines that hold my shit. My sickness.
Am I sick? I'm so afraid now. I can't walk straight.
I was going around the room when I found the picture you sent but I wasn't aroused. I was angry. So angry. Like someone had flicked a switch in me and suddenly I was screaming and yelling and crying, and I found a weird strength that I never knew I had -- next thing I'm know I'm throwing myself against the wall so hard over and over. Then I was tearing up the bed sheets with my nails and scratching my face, pulling out my hair and threw a chair across the room so hard that the wall crumbled where it hit. I could feel tears burning my face. And then it was like something grabbed me and forced me to lie down and then I was out. I don't know what caused me to faint, but I hallucinated several large men in white clothes bursting into the room and shoving pills down my throat and needles into my veins. When I woke up, it was like I had imagined the whole thing. The room was in pristine condition, although I couldn't find the picture anywhere. Not that I really wanted to see it again, but it seemed important that I did. Only I didn't.
And just now... I remember... balloons. Sparklers. The sweetness of cake icing on my tongue and the warm stickiness of something else on my hands. Plaster residue on my fingers. My head starts hurting whenever these visions begin, and it drives me insane because I don't know where they're coming from or what they mean.
It was around this time last year... no, a little later that that. Around this time last year I had a nightmare where I was a wolf and I was chasing a little boy through a forest. It was night and all I remember was thinking that I had to kill this boy, whoever he was. It didn't matter to me that he was crying as he ran through the trees. He was naked and white in the moonlight. I wanted to trace the tattoos on his back with my claws. I wanted to feel the crunch of bone between my teeth. Suddenly I was Monica and I was looking down at myself on the floor, sobbing and begging for my life as I (or Monica through my eyes) lifted one of the female-Jesus statues over her head and brought it crashing down, into my skull. Blood sprayed out over my face and my body below me collapsed onto the floor, facedown, brains spilling out onto the white carpet and I kept on screaming, "why, why, I loved you, you wouldn't even give me a chance!" I hit and kicked at the corpse over and over long after I knew it was dead. I shrieked with rage that burned through my body, and I turned and started beating the shit out of everything in sight -- the table and TV and walls and the entire dining area. I tore down the banner that said "Happy Birthday" in bright golden letters. Then my heartbeat started to slow down and the room was beginning to dissolve.
At first I thought that it must have been my subconscious telling me what my wife had wanted to say to me for years. I looked at my hand and realized that I was once again in my own body, since it was not Monica's delicate hands clutching the statue. By the light of the sparklers on the birthday cake, I reached down and turned the body face-up, only to see you. Chester. Your pupils were dilated. All black, like shark eyes. Your skin was pale and sprayed with blood. I thought, if this weren't a dream, I would not be laughing like this. I took your body by the arm and dragged it over to the closet, where Monica tumbled out limply onto the floor as I opened the door. I propped her back up against the wall and shoved you in after her. And then I was awake.
My skin was flushed, I was sweating and I had never been more afraid in my life. Except for tonight, I've only ever had that dream once. Something tells me that there's something I'm missing, though. Some big important piece of the puzzle and I'll never be whole without it.
I figured something out. I remembered. The morning after, I woke up after the dream that I had exactly a year ago, got out of the car and into the house. Everything was dark and buried in shadows but I could still feel my way through the house as I stumbled towards the bathroom. Without turning the lights on I turned on the tap and washed my hands. Just washed and washed and washed until my skin felt raw. I washed my face and neck and changed clothes in the dark. And then I walked through the living room where I couldn't see anything but everything, I thought, was normal, and walked out through the front door, back into my car and drove to the studio where I used the phone there to book an appointment with a shrink.
Why do you hate her? Why do you hate her?
Because she fucking ruined the carpet.
I remember now.
Mike came up to me and -- questions, always questions -- asked me, where's Chester, and I told him to go and fuck himself because Chester wouldn't anymore.
What the hell are you talking about, Brad?
It was all in my head, careening dangerously around the corners within inches of a collision. But all that noise would mercifully spin itself into a silk of silence every time I entered the shrink's office.
What carpet, Brad? Shrinko asked.
The fucking shag carpet! I screamed. She made such a fucking fuss about getting it in the first place and she can't even get her own stains out of it! I told her that it would be a nuisance to clean, especially at birthday parties when there would be all sorts of messes in the living room but she wanted to get it anyway and I wanted to shove the whole thing into her mouth -- the anger was rising again, even now as I sit here in the white hospital room writing this.
Where is Chester, Brad?
I'd woken up a few days after that and realized that Chester was gone.
You were gone -- transcended the physical limitations of the human body -- you learned to fly, and you were gone, but I still craved your skin. It took a while to figure it out. It took a whole year for me to make the memories resurface and realize that they were not dreams although I kind of wish that they really were.
I had done it, snapped while I planned his birthday party. It was the twentieth. A Monday. I bought balloons and sparklers and hung the sign above the dining table and when Monica came home with beautiful new nails and a lovely new hair cut I grabbed the nearby plaster statue by the neck and let the anger come spilling out, and I was smiling and thinking, into the closet with you. And then, you arrived looking tense, and I smiled and said, “happy birthday.”
He's gone, Mike. He's gone.
The morning after I said that, I returned home – after how-many days of absence. There were patrol cars outside, police tape across the gate. I walked inside and felt the carpet beneath my foot squelch with wetness -- blood. Your blood. Monica's blood. Your stains. The broken remnants of a birthday party, the cake and shattered presents, were rotting on the floor. I saw…
Chester's glasses were smashed to bits, and beside it was the statue of Jesus, stained red, with breasts and long hair and eyes that haunt me still.