(Ross) SCENE 4: in the middle of something?
A wise man once reasoned that when you are at the bottom, the only way you can go is up. There was a time in the not too distant past when I said this wise man may be wrong; that a man at the bottom could be still, could look deep into his own soul and meditate on the multifarious facets of his very being and moreover, that the fallen simply must do so in order to appreciate fully where they are and where they want to end up.
With a profound sigh, the wise man told me to get on the fucking elevator or he would push the door-close button.
‘Shutting yourself in only makes matters worse!’ I cried through the ever-diminishing gap between us. I don’t think my efforts to touch him were wholly in vain and my bloody, fractured finger that got caught between the doors will be a perpetual reminder that, if nothing else, I tried my best. My only wish is that he takes time to contemplate the symbolic undertones of how our encounter came to an end as he wipes my blood from his glasses. See, my friend, see.
My hitting bottom and being touched by Jeff’s plight in my sleep preceded this event from last night. It was quite the night. So many people touched and roused in so many different ways. Then writhing in the depths of nothingness and garbage, little did I know that I would soon be meaningfully disturbed like never before.
My personal rude awakening reared its head at 21.06 (a time significant in itself, since 2, 10 and 6 are the ages of the children whose mother Jeff is no longer allowed to contact) and in the form of a faceless and possibly one-armed girl wielding a shovel. Admittedly, some of the finer details of description are nothing more than supposition, but judging by the high-pitched squeals and distinct lack of physical prowess of the silhouette-shrouded perpetrator, they stand to reason. Of course, she may have been no more than an hallucinogenic vision induced by my scrumptiously psychotomimetic brew of Pledge and oven cleaner, but either way, she helped to open mine eyes.
And when they did open, Jeff was standing over me, pitifully lost, drunk on Champagne and incoherently babbling some nonsense about pork chops, two adults getting a stew on and new pants. I think I heard mention of a small pony and picket fences too. He needed my help and fast.
This is how I came to set aside childish things—things like deep-rooted grudges and mouthwatering carcinogenic tonics—and once again take up residence indoors. By being so pathetic, malodorous and hopeless, Jeff gave me reason to turn myself around and I can only hope I can return the favour one day.
Progress has been only slight since I re-assumed my role as guide/teacher/nanny. Aside from Jeff’s unpredictable bladder functions, our greatest hindrance has thus far been communication. The unintelligible volleys of gibberish that spew forth from his mouth the minute it opens are a clear indication of a man in the throes of distress, but I think our recent mutual decision to communicate only by way of written word will soon work to successfully circumvent the problem. There are times, however, when I am reminded how far we’ve yet to go.
Adamant that we partition the flat with duct tape (on account of his suspicions that I might yet be one of ‘them’ and ‘out to get’ him), Jeff still at times resists my help. Worse than that, he is sometimes taken by the urge to lash out at the one person who has nothing but his welfare in mind, as was the case when I woke in the wee hours to see him trying to piss over the line. It broke my heart to watch him do up his fly and stand motionless, a single tear snaking over his cheek as the dawning realisation that he was facing the wrong way crept upon him.
Other things Jeff has done to hinder our progress:
-After writing an official declaration of war on one of my walls, Jeff has since been obsessed with making territorial gains, his most recent acquisition being a two foot-squared patch at the foot of my bed. He posts himself on sentry duty every night and his chilling gaze, along with his ice-cold breath on my feet, makes sleeping all the more challenging.
-Perturbed by my refusal to wear a tinfoil, “telepathy-blocking” hat, Jeff wears a wet tea towel around his head at all times and sporadically swats the air with a stringless badminton racquet when he thinks I’m trying to read his thoughts.
-Completely disregarding my telling him that he can use the washroom whenever he pleases, just not while I’m in there, Jeff has taken to sneaking through the window to make sure I’m not flushing secret messages to his enemies in the sewers.
-Being convinced that some secret messages have gotten through to “them” via the drainage system, Jeff dug up the water main, successfully flooding his own room and several rooms of the landlord’s flat upstairs.
-Having run out of lint and beans, Jeff now lives on a diet solely of Champagne and things he finds down the back of the couch. More worrying is the fact that the couch is also his “enchanted canoe,” as well as his “fun potty.”
Now, alone in his soiled territory, he is content for the time being playing with a little-green-plastic army man, though I’m not sure where he got it from since he told me just the other day that he’d lost the only one we had left. The future is uncertain, but that, as it is to a child who wears a bike helmet on the school bus, is of little concern to Jeff. At times, I feel like the blood is on my hands… I did, after all, leave Jeff all alone with his twisted thoughts while I searched for purpose and meaning during my self-imposed exile…but I soon remind myself that it’s not. Most of it is in on the wall of an elevator at the nearby skytrain station