So. You go watch a few hours of stand up comedy that resonates through your existence. Some of it so true that you laugh just so as not to cry. You go out after and talk and titter and drink for an hour or two, because that’s what you do after such an event. Then you remember that someone who embodies winning, someone who doesn’t care, doesn’t worry, doesn’t think about the surface grind, has a night in a room at the back of a local pub. So you go, and you drag a friend along, and you dance and the friend eventually leaves and after a while you start to wonder if the person who’s won at life has won at anything at all. If you’re able to see through all this in the state that you’re in, then what fucking right has he to cluck around the place like some sort of Jay Gatsby. Why doesn’t everyone set fire to the façade and cheer as the flames and heat consume the lies and confusion. What good is a dance when no one knows the steps? What’s the point of acting if everybody left knows of the fiction.
That’s when you realise you’re truly alone. There are no heroes or humans aloof. Nothing can detach you from this game that you simply can’t win. The only person who’s won is he who has slunk off early to lie next to his bride, to just revel in the warmth of another. No expectation. No deliverance. Just body temperature and knowledge. Belief and faith. Waking up together. Continuing as such. And to see that is beautiful, pure, embarrassing, humbling. Swift. You watch a being you felt was oblivious, crumble and drift, to form the patterns that you know make no sense, but to allow them to distract and transfix. A pretty face that will never accompany you, a body that can only accept you temporarily. And for what? For a fleeting moment that can find the same satisfaction from a sock or fist. All that grief, all that effort, all that time and self. Wasted on a dream. The truth is you could open a drawer, twist and heave, and the end result would be as is. Empty.
You smile and you walk away. You’re aware now that nothing can end well here. That the best that anyone can hope for is to stumble home, sleep deeply, and hope that the morning will bring a heaviness that grants distance. A history that celebrates not just the victor, but the idiot who remembers it, regardless of the facts fresh in his mind. Then carry on as if it never happened; the character of your creation. Hair and T-Shirt and vapid little routine. Start and filler and death, all constructed by you, all painted by numbers that don’t quite add up and have no discernible key. You might be sleeping without company tonight, but at least the space is honest. At least you understand that gap.
Somewhere, not far away, the dance may be continuing. It may have moved to a house or flat. Words and desperation might have got as far as a mattress, a pleasure, a regret and awkwardness tomorrow. But somehow, amongst the envy and petty lust, you begrudgingly accept that this is what is right. The headache, fried food and catch-up television of Saturday morning alone is more than you deserve, and you smile again, because you feel like you’re starting to understand something. Even if you’re not quite sure what it is. Even if a part of you longs for the touch of the deceit of the animal. Even if understanding is just you.
And you sleep.