dissolution

M.R. ~ Tom Ford

In offbeat on October 3, 2009 at 11:46 am

He left his apartment. Gliding his hands into his satin lined pockets, he anticipated the cool, slippery feel of the material with careless certainty and glanced towards his stomach. The sensation of his trouser material and smell of his jacket made him think of his father, but he wasn’t sure why. Checking his thoughts, he gazed upwards. The houses that lined his street were unpleasantly illuminated as the clean, afternoon sun glinted off their shiny exterior. Smiling oddly for a few seconds, he considered their unforgiving facades. Even in this flattering light, which now, he realised, did not hide the fact that it was a rather cold day, they were anonymous. His arms flattened to hug his sides.

Thoughts danced to the morning just a few hours earlier. His mouth reformed into a crooked smile as he greeted several photographs that obediently flashed into his mind. A seed of warmth grew in his head and seeped down to his shoulders as he was shown himself meticulously preparing for the day. An expensive tweed suit was lovingly laid on a four-poster bed, and then two pointed shoes were laced up slowly. The shock of thick, black hair above his eyes was precisely greased, patted and prodded in the mirror. ‘50s’, his mind sullenly muttered, a Hollywood film star’s echo that reverberated around the memory. ‘50s’, his brain’s voice repeated, as if narcissistically congratulating its own sound in the mirror.

Turning the corner of his road, the warmth that had settled in the base of his neck turned quickly into a sickly cool sweat as he remembered something from a recent party. He’d been surrounded with boorish figures, those who gazed drunkenly at him like expectant puppies, ceasing their chatter when he began, always drawn in by his lowered voice and studiously lazy eyes. Days previously he had asked Steven, his hairdresser, to give him a new haircut. ‘Similar to John Lennon circa 1962…but undoubtedly tidier’, he had said. He was unspeakably happy with it. Some arse at the party had laughed, however, saying that he looked like Floyd from ‘Dumb and Dumber’. He hadn’t even seen ‘Dumb and Dumber’ which made it worse. People giggled nervously leaving him to grapple awkwardly for a facial expression to suit the situation, and to cement the insult, the man had pushed his shoulder jovially. Even now, just thinking of it, it jarred his slender frame like a bully’s shove.

He composed himself. Turning the corner of his street, he was intoxicated with thoughts of the previous night, which caused his crotch to stiffen slightly as he remembered the girl he had brought back to his impressive home. She was blonde, bordering on beautiful, and slightly less intelligent than he. Struggling to remember whether she reminded him of Marilyn Munroe, or Cameron Diaz, this basic quandary annoyed him thoroughly. Before he even began engaging her at the party, in the same droll conversation he used to ingratiate everyone, he knew she would be round eyed and awe-full of him. He could not help, however, but employ the same practiced tone of voice, facial movements and carefully constructed hand gestures he used repeatedly and almost against his will. These blurry, cartoon human motions had grown silently tired to him, yet were still externally potent from endless parties and introductions. Oh, how he swam knowingly in the warmth of his own social comfort!

The low lying sun, he now noted, had rested behind a purple, bulbous cloud and the chill of the spring day wrapped around him cruelly. His outline cut a lonely image in the hushed street. Quickening his step, he wondered for a brief moment if he was in control of his replicating shell or whether he even enjoyed the company it commandingly grasped. His eyes winced into an uncharacteristic slit and he caught his reflection in a car window. Readjusting his hair, he encouraged his mind to move on.

His eyes wandered down and he began watching the two animals beneath his chin, the twin pistons propelling his path. He did this for some time, losing the sense of their movement and enjoying the absurd detachment the experience brought. ‘Why do these move?’ he thought, his brow coming downwards as if to speak to the legs themselves. ‘I do not instruct them to’. Just as he was raising his head, returning to the task of direction, an oafish blare filled his immediate path, shattering the air like glass, ‘mmOIIII Ronson! Fahhhckin Wankahhh!’ Animalistic laughter followed, tinkling the broken shards that the initial cacophony had created. His eyes met the noise’s source and his face slumped visibly.

It was a scene he was miserably familiar with, a drunken hog who had recognised the front of his head. His thoughts started to race. It was the 8th time it had happened this week and the effects were beginning to sear into his skin. Usually this tired episode would bring a sigh and a shrug, or perhaps a witty retort (always silent of course). But this seemed different. Like the red, exasperated mother sick of a child’s incessant cheek, the man lost his cool. A hot, empty orb in his stomach brought tears of sweat all over his body and his head began to whirr like a broken mechanism.

He checked to see if the shouting figure had gone and quickly steadied himself on a bollard, confused by this new sensation. Feeling positively sick and as his temperature fluctuated with disorientating rapidity, his mind swamped itself with a thousand different images, sounds and thoughts. He had never fainted before, but considered this was as close as one could get. He almost wished to lose consciousness, and wake up feeling normal. Without consulting his brain, his hands took a packet of Marlboro Lights from his pocket.

I’m Mark Ronson. Look everyone, it’s MARK Ronson. Is that Mark Ronson?… Mahhk Ronnzzen. The words ceased to mean anything in his thoughts as he sucked desperately on the cigarette he knew he wouldn’t enjoy. He ran his fingers through a moistening forehead and scalp. His hair was now more like a damp, knitted jumper unravelling atop his beading features as it began to escape from its previous duress. As an uncontrollable shaking took over his body, a rushed slideshow filled his mind. He could see Mark Ronson introducing himself to people at parties. Yes, there was the unnatural, grotesque face he used to greet fleshy figures in his pointless vicinity. Now, his album covers. Their shallow brashness flashed into his mind’s lens like an unpleasant photograph negative, and the pretentious way he held himself became apparent in disgusting clarity.

As he sat down on the pavement, half a cigarette smouldering beside him, his exhausted brain developed fully a new and strange dimension of himself. It wasn’t him looking at ‘Mark Ronson’. It was an increasingly detached, glossy representation, like an advertisement or lurid TV slogan repeated until meaningless. It was the staccato 3 seconds of ‘Mark Ronson’ spliced with a million other bright, hideous images seen by hundreds of middle class 32 year olds flicking over the television or leafing through magazines. He was in the skin of a brown-haired teenager as she chatted to her friend, seeing through their eyes as they took a fleeting interest in a ‘Mark Ronson’ set at a soulless festival. Jesus Christ!

On his hands and knees now, an involuntary bout of retching brought a small ball of hot sick, which was spat quickly on to the ground. The vomit seemed to relieve some of the pressure in his temples, and his nauseating thoughts began to peter out. A brisk wind was blowing, and may have been for some time, but the man was now grateful for its awakening chill as he gradually came to his senses. ‘It’s fine’ he said, in his head, or perhaps via his throat, he wasn’t sure. ‘Fine’, he repeated, his own shaky but reassuring voice now undoubtedly filling the air.

He erected himself on the pavement. Frantically looking about the silent street, he checked to see if anybody had witnessed what had just occurred. No one. The relief poured over him like a warm glow, and, flattening his hair, he set off walking again. He had people to see, and there were conversations to be had.

The juxtaposition of what had just happened, next to his imminent meeting with friends, presented itself in all its terrifying gravity. The infinite series of anticipated future social scenarios, each slightly different versions of past events, seemed almost superfluous now. Straightening his jacket and curling his lips into an insouciant pucker, he attempted a safe return to his perceived self. Nobody must find out. Retreating to his usual thoughts and actions was paramount, and as he strolled towards the main high street, he concentrated with conscientious attention to this end.

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