Here are some true things about Katie.
Katie laughs more than anyone I know.
Katie is a thinker.
Katie has a wild imagination.
Katie has not been happy in a very long time.
What do you do when you work out that life, the world and everything you have done or ever will do is pointless? How do you go on when you’ve had your head rudely wrenched out of the sand it was so nicely buried in?
How do you deal?
Katie doesn’t know.
There’s no way of being happy, that’s for sure. You can enjoy brief moments of distraction, but that’s all you’ll ever get. It’s an illusion of happiness. Maybe happiness is just an illusion anyway. Maybe it’s not real. But whatever. Katie will never find it – illusion or not – and she knows this.
Which brings me back to my question – How do you deal?
Katie has a way. It’s not a very good way, in my opinion, but it’s a way none-the-less.
Would you like to know?
Let’s follow her, shall we?
Katie steps out her front door and pulls it shut behind her. She walks down her front steps and out into the mid-afternoon warmth. A short walk down the street brings her to a house. An hour is spent in this house, waiting; making idle chit-chat with people she doesn’t care about, who, likewise, care nothing about her. Then someone arrives. She is taken for a short drive to another house, there is an exchange and then she is returned. Finally, Katie walks home. She is now flat broke but, more importantly, she has a small package enclosed within the fingers of her left hand, which is, in turn, concealed within her pocket.
Katie will not sleep for the next three days.
The following three days will be spent recovering from the first three.
And on the seventh day, Katie will go for a walk again.
Katie keeps what she needs from the package, the rest she sells. It is enough to keep her going. This is how she lives. There is no thinking, no feeling, just existence.
There is no happy or sad. There’s an artificial imitation of joy – a kick; a buzz; a humming through the body; a feeling of freedom and love. Then this passes and there is emptiness. Nothing. The absence of feeling. The absence of self. Consciousness without life. A walking imitation of a living, breathing, feeling human being.
Here are some true things about Katie. Some really true things.
Katie is surrounded by life but takes no part in it. She has her secret force-field to protect her from it. There is plenty to laugh at when none of it is real to you.
Katie spends hours on end, staring at the roof of her bedroom, too tired to move, but her mind too active to sleep. So, she lies there, thinking. She has always been a thinker.
Katie is losing her grip on reality. Strange things are escaping her mind and manifesting themselves in the world around her. It is becoming difficult to differentiate between asleep and awake. She puts it down to her wild imagination.
Katie has not felt anything in a long time, let alone happiness.
She has destroyed her soul. But, her body goes on living, instinctively, basically. She will never stop.
Imagine a life without pain, a life without anguish. No tears, no loss, no hurt. Death cannot affect you, nor the passing of the years bother you. Fear is a distant childhood memory. The word self-esteem has no meaning for you. Appearance means nothing. No responsibilities, no commitments, no-one relying on you. Your life lacks things, but you don’t miss them. You float in a sea of calm.
Katie will never stop. Why would she? And besides, even if she wanted to, she couldn’t. She has passed the point of no return. Her life has been emptied of everything that could possibly bring comfort, happiness or pleasure to a normal human being. She has no family, no friends, no talent, no abilities and no life. She has destroyed them all. Her mind has been damaged. If she stopped, she would have nothing, and no force-field to protect her from the vicious truth.
Sometimes she can see it, that thing: truth. It hovers, indistinctly, drifting in front of her eyes and then fleeing the moment she tries to fix on it. She knows it’s there but she also knows it can’t get to her. So long as she has her weekly package, it is stuck, hovering on the outskirts of her world; bound and gagged at the edge of her chemical oasis. It has grown over the years, louder, larger and more threatening. It has become an inhuman force, a beast that knows no mercy, no compassion, only vengeance and cruelty. More frightening than this, however, is the fact that it has become increasingly harder to contain. It doesn’t like being bound.
But none of that matters, not to Katie.
It is time for us to follow her again.
Katie steps out her front door and pulls it shut behind her. She walks down her front steps and out into a biting mid-afternoon breeze. A short walk down the street brings her to a house. A house that shouldn’t be empty. But one that is empty none-the-less. The front door stands open. The place has been gutted. It looks like they left in a hurry. An hour is spent in this house, making phone call after phone call until her battery goes dead. Nothing. There is nothing she can do.
Katie walks home, with a growing uneasiness. Her left hand is thrust, out of habit, into her pocket.
There is nothing she can do.
Truth, that monster she has kept at bay for so long, is freeing itself from its bonds. It is coming.
She looks around her
as the edges of her world