“She’s gone” I heard. I turned around and no one was there.
“Am I hearing voices?” I thought
“Yes, you are. I’m Luke by the way”.
“I’m gonna have to lay off the weed. I’m hearing voices now.”
I went back to the couch where Patrick and I were sitting earlier, but instead of going in an in-depth ESPN-type analysis of the play I just ran, I sat down on the other end of the couch and focused on my Twitter timeline. Patrick was entertaining a very intense make out session with a girl, (hopefully?), who reminded me a lot of big Shirley from “Martin”. We eventually had to exchange a few words when they finally emerged from their shared tantric coma, and the conversation was long enough to make realize the girl, who was now sitting right between Patrick and I had some really masculine features but, honestly, at that time of the night, and with that many substances in his blood, it was quite obvious that my brother didn’t care much about how big this marlin was. As soon as they got back to business, I was slowly, smoothly drawn back to my reverie. My mind was in such a daze that I couldn’t possibly consider climbing the stairs up back to my apartment. I had two choices: I was either going to watch the softcore porn production offered by Patrick and his gigantic lady friend, or observe the party and wait for that ultimate moment where I had gathered enough energy to make it to my room. I chose the party. I wasn’t looking at much anyway: everything was blurry. The colors, the smell, the noise and the smoke formed a completely new entity and I was enjoying the view. The multicolored rays emerging from the disco ball on the dancefloor were slowly becoming a code, an equation I was desperate to solve. The lights were the “x”, dancing in front of me like an experienced stripper while the jumping juvenile crowd way the “y”, the dependent. The cold breeze I could feel added to the thick white smoke clouding the dancefloor and the heavy deafening Nigerian clangour were just a couple of other numerical values. I was really trying, but I couldn’t find an answer. Was the “y” solely dependent of the “x” or was it a subtle combination of all of the other values?
“Getting bored, huh?”
I looked around and no one was talking to me. Where was that coming from?
“It’s Luke again. Remember me?”
“Oh come on, how strong was that reefer? I’m hearing voices again?”
I knew that voice from somewhere but I couldn’t identify the source. A very deep and croaky voice. I was definitely not feeling well. I resolved in taking my chances with the stairs. How was I even going to stand up?
“Feeling Tired, huh?”
“Yo, Patrick did you say something? “
‘”hummmm?” Patrick said, trying to mumble his response without stopping his mouth exploration.
“Alright, Bro. I’m going to bed”
This time, he didn’t say anything and for sole response pointed his left thumb in the air. It was time for me to fight gravity and go home. I think I spent like an hour in the stairs. Somehow, a simple activity like walking became the most tiring adventure, the most complex concept. But it was OK for me because I was one floor away from my room, from sleep, from redemption, from freedom. Plus, it was funny to look at all the couples coming from the dancefloor trying to go upstairs for a quick shag.
“One step at the time, just like a baby gazelle”
“Man, Will you leave me alone? You don’t exist”
And it stopped. I was really out of my mind. I promised myself not to drink again. Bold declaration. Finally, after almost an hour of prayers and deep ranting, I reached my door and I couldn’t be any happier at the idea of having only one key for all the doors in my apartment. I sat down on my study chair and I realized I was facing a mirror right there on my table. I didn’t like what I saw. I could barely keep my eyes open but the red sea in which my pupils were swimming couldn’t hide. I was so pale it was amusing. Night of the living zombie. I thought splashing some water on my face would me find some sleep. I stood up, slowly walked to the bathroom and almost went blind when I turned on the lights. I knew I was going to hate tomorrow but I had to go through the night somehow.
“Aren’t you going to remove your t shirt first?”
“Come on bruh, will you leave me alone?”
“I’m in your head, I can’t leave” Luke said, almost laughing.
“Who the fuck are you anyway?”
“You’ve really got a Goldfish memory. I told you my name was Luke”
“So, I’m not drunk? You’re really in my head?”
“No, my friend, you are drunk. And High. But I do exist, and I’ve been with you for quite some time”
“Ok, LUKE! Let’s play your silly game for a quick second. How long have you been living in my mind?”
“Remember that night, first year in boarding school, when you prayed to GOD for a friend?”
“That day you got beat up by another kid and you got sick of tired of being bullied. That night you prayed, and you asked for a friend. You desperately needed someone to talk to, someone that could understand you.”
“Wow, that’s actually true”
“I know right?”
“You don’t have to brag. You’re in my head. You can access all of my memories. Maybe it’s just my drunk self reminiscing on my childhood”
“Not a believer, are you? Let me tell you something: Believe it or not, I was there for all of it. You basically summoned me into your life”
“Are you demon or something?”
“I wouldn’t go that far.”
“What else can you tell me?”
“You’ve always been different from the people around you, from your peers, from the kids your age. Most people think you’re just bizarre but you’re on another level of consciousness.”
“Alright, my cholesterol is high enough. There’s no need to butter my ass now.”
“Seriously, am I not right? They never understood you. The music you listen to, your interests, the books you read, the fact that you question religion and any thought that is forced into your brain by school and society.”
“I’m just a curious individual, that’s all. I like to discover”
“And that deep curiosity have always been setting you apart. They called you a geek but you were just different. They were simple minds. Always will be. People fight what they don’t understand. You just wanted to understand more”
“But are you that friend though? I met Patrick like 5 years after that night. Where were you all these years? I had to find ways to protect myself from bullies on my own”.
“Do you remember that night? Same night I came to your life. After that prayer to the Universe, you decided it was time for you step up “
“The next day the senior prefect forced you to wash dishes for the whole school because he didn’t like the way you looked at him that day. You washed the dishes of the whole school with that muddy water from the nasty toilets you guys had. Within the next couple of days, half of the school was sick. Word came out it was you and from that point forward, they left you alone. They were afraid now.”
I couldn’t help myself but smile at that memory. I never felt so tough in my life to that point.
“Well played, right?” I said
“I don’t think so: in your attempt to protect yourself, you managed to send 45 students to the hospital and I heard a couple of them actually never came back to that school”
“I’m sorry, man. I had to find a way. These idiots thought me the real meaning of survival of the fittest”
“You don’t have to feel sorry. But think about it: where do you think that idea came from?”
“Hell yeah. You got that right. From that day forward, I was there to protect you. I gave you ideas to take down those bullies. And fueled your imagination, enhanced your creativity. Your difference is a gift. The energy in you is dark, deep and powerful and to be honest, you haven’t scraped the surface yet.”
The words out of Luke’s mouth struck me. I thought back on my life. My behavior had changed so much since that night. I was so much stronger than what I used to be.
“Then, why did you choose this particular night to talk to me. I’m half drunk and high as a kite. I might not even remember you in the morning.”
“Check your watch. It’s 4 in the morning. I guess you meant in the afternoon. I chose to talk to you today because I think you’re ready to get on the journey to become your true self. With my help, you will become the greatest version of yourself. You will attain your objectives. You will open up your third eye and access to higher levels of consciousness and knowledge. Your creative mind shall be fruitful till the end of your life.”
“You’re not the humble type, are you? But the question is: Do I even want that?”
“You know you do. I know you do. How are you feeling now?”
“Much better actually, is that because of you?”
“No, the weed and the booze are just wearing off. Clean your face and go to your balcony”
I quickly grabbed a towel behind me and dried off my face. My eyes were not blood red anymore and I felt pumped up somehow. And really hungry. My fridge was full as usual but I settled for a can of sprite and went to the balcony.
“Look at them down there” he said, literally trying to serenade me with his hollow voice.
“Look at them, having fun, rubbing themselves on each other. Most of them are simple minded. No ambitions, no skills, no curiosity, no gifts, no willingness to evolve whatsoever. They aren’t going nowhere in this life but you, my little friend, have something in you and I can help you grow it “
“What do I have to do to achieve my full potential?”
“To attain your full self, your true self, the most complete version of you, to unlock your inner powers as well as your third eye, you need to free your spirit from the dogmas you grew up with. Allow yourself to new understandings and perceptions. Rediscover and redefine basic concepts that you held dear to this point. Energy, Matter, life, gender, knowledge, spirituality, nature. Basically, get rid of the old you. Toss him, or it, in the trashcan.”
“But what about my friend, my family? They might give up on me and leave like so many did already. The loneliness is unbearable.”
“There can only be one seat at the top of your pyramid” he said, slowly.
I kept looking at the jumping crowd down there. They seemed so happy. They seemed so empty too. But some of them were friends now, acquaintances of mine. Apart from Patrick, I never really liked any of them. The conversations were plain and tasteless. I guess the fear of being alone was way bigger than the fear of hanging out with boring people.
“You have to accept the reality. The one around you and the one in you. True loneliness doesn’t discriminate. I know for a fact that you feel alone most of the time, even with people around you. Embrace your nature, your soul is deep, but dark. Your mind is a well of treasures the world is yet to discover. Happiness is a state of mind. Redefine it. Wants, needs, beliefs. And the people, the people.”
This was the first time I heard Luke’s laugh. I’d never heard such a scary chuckle but it didn’t scare me. At all. For once in my Life, I didn’t feel the fear in me. Not like before. I was fueled by it and it made me smile.
“You’re killing me Philippe. The people? Really? The people? Fuck the people!! The chutzpah! The nerve in some of them in trying to decode you! Let me tell you something: The more they don’t understand you, they more they’re scared. They’ll admire you. The more they’ll hate, the more they’re helping. Some people will claim they love you, but they’ll only hurt you. Know this: this journey you’re embarking yourself in, is hard. It’s like art: you’ll have to suffer, cut yourself, bleed, sweat, cry yourself to sleep, endure the loneliness. But you always have to keep the bigger picture in mind. Your Friend Patrick is probably the best friend you’ll ever have in your life. The only one. But you’ll lose him. He’s going to go. You’re going to part ways at some point”
“Why? You know I love Patrick like a brother?” my eyes started itching. Watering. What is this? Why?
“Because you are going to evolve, grow and suffocate everything around you. If you really love him, you’ll have to let him go when the time is right. Remember: only one seat at the top. Keep the big picture in mind. “
I was definitely crying now.
“Philippe, what are you? Some kind of bitch? Dry your eyes and calm yourself. This is life now. This is a wonderful life, it was a beautiful day, like the one before. And you shouldn’t complain. You won’t. You’re different. What’s the people to the king anyway?”
This was definitely the weirdest day of my life so far. And, at that moment, I had an Idea.
“Can I see you?” I asked, timidly.
“I am what I am and everything you want me to be. Look yourself in the mirror”
I slowly walked backed inside the apartment and stood right in front of the mirror in my bathroom. My reflexes came back and I felt like running a marathon. I actually never felt so good. I loved that feeling.
“Look at yourself, what do you see?” he asked me.
“Only my face. And a reminder that I should shave soon.”
I was trying to lean in as much as possible and it happened. A very bizarre scene was unravelling itself right before my eyes. My face was changing. I was looking at a fitter version of myself. The man in the mirror was everything I wanted to be. Swimming in confidence, fit, charismatic. So different from the chubby nerd I was at that point. I smiled at that image and it smiled back at me.
“Do you like what you see, my dear Philippe?”
“Of course” I said, almost blushing.
“The real you is underneath you.”
‘I guess you’re right”.
“Alright, Philippe. I’m going to shut up for a while now but I’m telling you: You’ll enjoy having me around. Its 5 am now. Enjoy the sunrise before bed. That’s rich life you know”
The silence. The only thing I could hear. The party was over and the sunrise was breathtaking. I fixed myself a quick cup of coffee and a joint and sat down at the balcony. Such a beautiful sight. I observed the smoke of the joint dancing to the gloomy vibes of the black keys. “Lies”. Such a beautiful song. It was cool.
“This is a wonderful life “.