As always, I wake before him and sit watching him sleep. It is like watching a child sleep, so peaceful, so innocent, not innocence in a certain sense, but certainly innocence of the mind or perhaps the soul. Tom is a mystical ghost in my nightmare. Not the kind of nightmare that comes to me within darker hours, but the kind of nightmare that devours your entire soul, yet holds a certain fascination that keeps your feet implanted on the ground. You cannot run. You cannot breathe and you have no intentions of ever escaping the nightmare before you.
I dreamt the most nonchalant of dreams last night. Tom and I were walking arm in arm down the city’s main strip. We kissed in front of anyone who cared to look in our direction and we had made love on the steps to a restaurant. Right there in the middle of the street, for all to see. Cameras had flashed in my dream and I did not care. I had no concern for the media who had seen us fornicate in public. I did not care that we would make the front page of every publication throughout the country and perhaps the world. I had been in a transparent mood and my openness was obvious for all to see.
I wonder how someone such as Tom can impress such beauty on my mind at one moment and then become a mystical ghost the next. How can I think of him as my eternal nightmare and then dream such a dream? Is it possible that the darkness that creeps into my mind during my more sombre hours is now controlling me completely, distorting all my thoughts and imposing on the ambience that is now incumbent to my soul, or am I just an ember in the crucible of some demented mind, who bears me no sympathy, except that my life be lived within an eternal nightmare, offering me nothing but the temptations of sin and the knowledge that one day I will return. Return to that place in the dark as punishment for whatever sadistic behaviour I have once been in contempt of.
My mind is in utter torment, perhaps, because I have not told Tom about the cancer or perhaps it is just my penance. I do not know. I do not really care. It is not my burden to harbour such thoughts, but if I do not, I will be at a loss. I need the torment as much as I wish it gone. It is in my nature and I know that I cannot live without it. Then again, perhaps it is not in my nature. Perhaps that nature belongs to someone else.
Tom shifts slightly in his sleep, and I know he is about to awaken. I watch as he stretches his body out before he opens his eyes.
“Good morning,” I say as our eyes met. “How did you sleep?”
“Better than I have in a long time. I really enjoyed last night Davad.” He tells me then sits up. “Why are you doing so much for me lately Davad?”
I smile at him and run my fingers lightly down his back.
“I just want to make up for the time I was away.”
“You don’t have to...I know you love me Davad.”
“Yes, I know...I just want to make you happy and if that means making up for twelve months all in one hit, then that is exactly what I will do.” I kiss his neck. “I have a surprise for you, but I need to talk to Natalie about it first. You should call up room service while I go see Natalie and I will be back before you even miss me,” I tell him as I get out of the bed.
The limo I have borrowed from the hotel pulls to a halt beside a red corvette. I am at Joseph’s home. A little double storey log cabin nestled comfortably in the hills. I ring the chime continuously, until the door finally opens. Joseph stands before me in red boxer shorts. I raise my eyebrows, as I invite myself into his cosy living room.
“Won’t you come in Davad?” He says, practically to himself, as he shuts the door. “Do you know what time it is?”
“Of course I do. I have come to collect that favour,” I tell him with a smile, then glance around at the music awards on the wood panel walls and the animal skins scattered across the furniture.
“Couldn’t it wait ’till later...I have company.”
“You know exactly who it is.” He cuts me off.
“Did you tell him about the favour you were doing for me?”
“What do you think? He’d have my balls if he knew...I’ll go get them for you,” Joseph says, as he leaves the room.
Joseph is a real sweetheart. He is loyal to Blood n Fire, yet, when I asked him to do a favour that involved their arch rivals, Banners, he jumped at the chance to impress me, regardless of the tensions that may come between himself and the Bloods.
It is interesting how all of them will do anything that I ask of them. They all have this need to impress, to make sure that they stay on my good side. It is as though I hold a kind of invisible power over them. Fancy that!
When Joseph returns he is holding a blue envelope and as he hands it to me he looks towards the front door.
“You should go Davad, he’s awake and I don’t want him to see you here.”
“Why? Will he get aggravated at you? Will he think that you are cheating on him, with me?” I ask, as I stand and walk to the front door, “You know that you and I can only ever be a dream, Joseph, nothing more, nothing less.”
I hold the blue envelope in my hand as I wait for the maid to wake Natalie. It is not long before she descends the white marble staircase with the presence of an angel. Her red spiral hair sways freely around her pale face. Her white robe accentuates her slender figure and she seems to glow in the morning light that pours through the windows along the staircase.
“Sorry to wake you so early Natalie.” I apologise as she sits in one of the armchairs.
“That’s okay Davad. I would have been getting up soon anyway. Where’s Tom?”
“Still at the hotel,” I inform her, “That is why I am here.”
“Oh, is something wrong?” she asks, before picking up a handful of red wine grapes from a fruit bowl on the glass coffee table. I watch as she slips a grape into her mouth, squeezing it between her luscious red lips. I have momentary thoughts of Rome and all the gods who supposedly ruled for centuries.
“No. There is nothing wrong. I just needed to speak with you about my plans.”
“Go ahead Davad,” she insists in a very pleasant and perfectly sweet voice.
I sit forward, resting my elbows on my knees and my chin on my hands.
“Can I ask you a question first, Natalie?”
“Of course, anything you like,” she tells me, then leans back in the armchair. She sits with her legs crossed, her bare ankles swaying gently. I do not realise that I am staring at her ankles until she speaks.
“Davad, are you staring?” She startles me.
“I guess I was. I am sorry. I have just never seen you without shoes before.”
“That’s okay Davad. You don’t have to apologise.” Natalie smiles.
I take a deep breath. “How do you feel about me Natalie, about me being back?” I finally ask.
“What do you mean? I’m really glad you’re back.” She says honestly, and stands. She walks around the coffee table and sits beside me, placing her hand ever so gently on my right thigh. “I’m really glad you’re back.” She repeats.
“That is not what I mean. I want to know how you feel about me taking up so much of Tom’s time.”
She looks me in the eyes and then drops her gaze. “I don’t have a problem with you and Tom.” She tells me, still looking down.
I place my hand under her chin, lifting her head, until our eyes meet.
“Why are you lying, Natalie? I want you to tell me the truth. It is important that we are honest with one another. I would really like it if we could be close.”
Natalie leans back on the sofa and curls her slender legs up. I watch as she wraps her arms around her shins. She sits there, not saying a word, as though she is a million miles away, trapped somewhere in safety, trapped in her own thoughts. As I watch her sitting there my mind flashes to some point in my past, a similar place: A place where a beautiful young woman sits the very same way, her slender arms wrapped around her shins. However, the woman I picture has shiny tears running down her face, tears of horror and pain. They are the tears of a young mother; who has just given birth to a bastard.
“Sometimes I wish Tom spent more time with me,” Natalie says, breaking the silence, “but then I like having you around Davad. You make him so happy. It’s also nice that I get to see you.”
“Whatever do you mean by that, Natalie?” I ask, interested.
“Nothing, I just like having you around, that’s all,” she tells me rather quickly.
“You are sure that you do not have a problem with the way things are?”
“Then I should tell you about my plans,” I say, then pause, handing her the blue envelope, “Perhaps I should show you...Open it.”
Natalie hesitantly opens the envelope and takes two plastic coated cards out. “These are access all areas to Banners concert and supposedly impossible to get! You’re taking Tom?” she asks.
“Yes...I was going to take you both, but Tom and I need some time alone and he really adores Banners, so I thought this would be the best thing for us to do.” I explain. “Are you disappointed that I have not invited you?”
’To be honest Davad, I am a little disappointed, I mean, I adore Banners too, but I also understand that you and Tom need time alone.”
I lean across and kiss her gently on the cheek, then take the envelope from her hands.
“Too slow Natalie. You could have claimed one of those for yourself. You know possession is nine tenths of the law and all...Too late now,” I joke as I stand. “I have to go. I promised Tom that I would not be long.”
Natalie walks me to the door and kisses me lightly on the lips. “I’m sure you know how I really feel about you Davad,” she says as she closes the door behind me.
I sit with my legs stretched out on the seat of the limo, turning the envelope over and over in my hand. I try to imagine the smile that will cross Tom’s lips. Will it be the smile that he had smiled when I had given him the ring or will it be the smile he smiles to Natalie?
Natalie is an exceptional woman and knows all too well that I can take Tom from her grasp if I choose to, but she is also aware that I will never make such an imposition on her. The fact that she flirted with me at her front door amuses me. If I were any other man she would not have done something so bold. It is a strange situation being so close to a lover’s wife. It would not seem normal to the average man, but to me it is so natural. The fact that Natalie can hold lust in her heart for me as well as for Tom makes the situation even more pleasant than could ever have been imagined.
Fancy that! Natalie holding lust for me is such an inconceivable situation, in which I can never return that lust onto her. Admiration is all I can return. To think of her as a goddess of some kind, or a Madonna, if I were a religious man, but to think of any kind of lust towards her will send me spiralling into an abyss. It will possibly see to my evaporation into oblivion.
At one point my lust for Tom held me under the same duress. A kind of contempt that I would eventually surpass, only to find that my lust would last for many years and the contempt would hide deep inside my soul. My soul is not a place that anyone can touch, not Tom, not even myself. It is a dark place that only becomes visible in those darker hours, and then perishes with the dawn.
At this moment, I feel as though my entire being is untouchable, so far away from that place that harbours somewhere inside, where no one can intrude. No one will bring burden on my heart or force me into that nightmare again. Of course I know that is not true, as I can never escape it. It is a part of me that will thrive until the very end and no matter how hard I try, if I do indeed try, I will remain forever within the nightmares grasp.
When I arrive back at the penthouse, Tom is sitting on the sofa with his legs stretched out, resting on the coffee table. The television is on and Tom seems enthralled with a program. I stand in the doorway silently watching him. I know exactly why the program interests him so much. It is a special, on some unknown channel. I say, unknown, because I never really watch television, I see it as such a waste of time. Movies however, hold an interest for me, especially if Tom is in them, but not television. To me it seems like a collection of meaningless banter. Tom generally feels the same way that I do about television, however, he will sit down to watch it on the odd occasions when there is a good special on or when he is on Glamour Television, which is practically every night. Tom has a collection of videos, on which he has taped himself on GTV, or perhaps Natalie has taped them for him. I do not know whether it was he or she, but it seems like a rather absurd thing to do.
The special that intrigues Tom right now is not about him, but the face of the man on the screen is familiar and seeing Tom watching him brings a smile to my lips. It is obvious why the special is on television today, as it is a Banners’ special and the first show of their new tour is tonight. The show that Tom and I will be attending.
J.D Banners looks exceptionally attractive on the television screen. He has the most beautiful blue eyes, sky blue and a mass of blonde hair that falls down over his forehead as he speaks. I have always thought that J.D Banners has a boyish charm, for a man of thirty-four years and as I watch him on that television screen, I realise that he even looks ten years younger than his age.
“How long has this been on?” I ask Tom as I join him on the sofa.
“It’s almost over.” Tom tells me without looking away from the screen.
“That must be disappointing.” I say, placing my arm around his shoulders.
Tom ignores my comment, keeping his eyes glued to the screen as J.D talks about the tour or something. I do not take any notice of the words he speaks. I am busy studying Tom’s face. It is as though he is in some kind of trance, staring at that screen. He seems a million miles away, lost somewhere in the hotel room where J.D Banners sits, giving his interview. If only Tom were aware that J.D Banners is five floors below him right now…
Tom does not even flinch as I remove my arm from around his shoulders, place the blue envelope in his lap and walk away into the bedroom.
“Oh my god, Davad, you’re the greatest,” I hear him scream after half an hour has passed, and I know the special is over and that Tom has opened the envelope. He is in the bedroom within seconds and flings himself on the bed, smothering me with kisses.
“Does this mean you like your surprise?” I ask as he lies beside me staring at the passes in his hands.
“I love it! But I can’t go tonight, I’m working,” he tells me, almost in tears.
I smile and kiss him gently on the cheek. “You are not.” I tell him. “I have taken care of it. You have the entire night off. It will be just you and me alone with Banners.”
The smile on Tom’s face tells me that my intentions have been successful.
“You know, Tom. If the television did not entrance you so much, I would have told you that J.D is staying in this very hotel.”
“What? He’s here at the hotel?” Tom asks, sitting up on the bed.
“Yes, but I doubt that he is here now...He is probably down at the arena doing sound checks or something.”
“Yeah, I guess so...You still could have told me.”
“Did you even know I was on the sofa with you?”
The lights are low, but Tom’s face glows in the darkness of the front row while we wait for Banners to come on stage. We are seated with friends and the wives of some of the band members. They all look like super models of some sort, all very glamorous, but somehow Tom seems to steal the spotlight from them.
He is sitting there in his blue jeans and white t-shirt, looking so attractive that the women beside him become almost second rate.
The lights go out and music begins to play. A spotlight illuminates the stage and J.D Banners stands before us, looking as exceptional as he had on the television special. His blue jeans are rather tight and the shirt he wears hangs open at the front revealing his smooth brown chest. The sight of him standing there in the spotlight makes me realise that I have certainly lost Tom’s attention for the rest of the evening, although this does not worry me as it is exactly what I had wanted.
J.D Banners is speaking to the crowd when he notices Tom in the front row. “Tom, I’m so glad you made it,” he says, smiles and then continues talking to his fans.
The smile on Tom’s face is extraordinary. I have never seen him beam so much. Not even when I had given him the ring. In a way it is disturbing to know that another man, such as J.D Banners, can cause him to smile in such a way. However, it does not matter, after all J.D Banners is just as Tom is to his adoring fans. An untouchable figure who will possess your dreams and love you in the darkest hours of the night, but in the morning everyone is expected to go their own separate ways.
I study Tom’s face as the band breaks into their first song. I know from the music that they are going to sing Tom’s favourite song, ‘Vodka till dawn’.
“There are times within our lives, times of hardship and pain, times when we all go a little bit insane. And sometimes it hurts to even feel, but you know I always feel for you.”
As J.D Banners sings the words I realise for the first time how much meaning this song really holds. I know that this only became Tom’s favourite song after our discussion about me going away for treatment in France and the song had only been out for about a month.
“Did I tell you I saw you the other day? I think you saw me and looked the other way. It doesn’t faze me, it’s not your fault, cause I’m the one who called it off.”
We had listened to this song while we had discussed the treatment. Tom had polished off an entire bottle of vodka throughout the discussion, so the song had probably been appropriate. The appropriateness of the song is more than that though. It means so much more to me now as I consider my life and the torment I am suffering from the tumours, as well as my loss of twelve months from our relationship.
“Sometimes love just hurts so bad and other times it can drive you mad. I’m on the verge of suicide, all I want is you back by my side.”
The verse could have almost been an expression from my heart. Love certainly does hurt. It hurts more than separation, even more than death itself, and I know I have already been driven crazy. Tom did that to me a long time ago. He is a lust that will drive me into torment so bad that I will never pull myself out, and now as I face the force of my convictions I want him more than I ever knew I could possibly need him.
“I wanna give you everything, a sponge bath in the morning, a shoulder to lean on when you’re yawning. I’ll give you sunlight when it rains, fantasies in the moonlight and vodka until dawn.”
It is so ironic. The words are a carbon copy of my love for Tom. I do want to give him everything and that is exactly what I have been doing since my return. I gave him sunlight and especially moonlight. I wonder if any thoughts are crossing Tom’s mind, right now as he listens to these words. I wonder if he realises how much this song is a silhouette of our relationship at this very point of our lives.
It is as though J.D Banners had sat down one night and written these words with this moment in mind. The whole presence of the words, the music, the darkness of the arena, gives an aura of something mystical. Something unexplainable, yet, at the same time is being told to every person present. Our lives are being openly cascaded over the entire audience, for all to see.
“I’ll be sitting on my own, alone tonight, thinking about you and me, listening to love songs that you played for me, wishing things could be, wishing you were here with me.”
Written for the moment is certainly a good analogy. Here I am. Sitting here with Tom tonight, yet, in some strange twist of fate I am alone. I am alone in a stadium full of people, alone with my thoughts of Tom and myself, thoughts of this song and the irony of it all. Just hoping that things will go as I have planned, and hoping that Tom will not turn away from me when I finally tell him the full story.
“I wanna give you all I got, a morning to live for, a shoulder to die on, sunlight when it’s raining, fantasies, moonlight, Vodka till dawn.”
These last words leave me alone, entirely alone with my thoughts. The songs that follow do not even register to my mind. I am in another place, one that harbours my soul. Perhaps even inside the tumour inside my brain. I am not sure which place I am in. I just know that I am no longer in that seat in the arena. The words possess me and the sweet music that has stolen my heart, has stolen my life. The words have taken away the very essence of my being. They are mine; belong to Tom and myself, yet they come from within another, an attractive man, a man whom I can no longer see.
I am leaning against a wall in the band’s hotel room, drinking. Not alcohol, just water and as I take a sip from my glass I wonder where Tom is. He is not in the room, not where I can see him. J.D Banners is also out of sight. Perhaps they are together. Perhaps they are not. I do not really care. I only care about leaving this room, as I do not like being surrounded by the bands’ groupies.
I wonder how old some of the young girls in the room are, and I wonder if they are even old enough to apply for a job at Macdonald’s. I do not know why I have this thought. Why does Macdonald’s come to mind? I do not eat at fast food stores, as I strongly believe that they enlist the slave labour of young boys and girls. This is what the room reminds me of. A room full of slaves who will do anything, anything!
This is not my kind of place, not tonight, not ever. I feel as though I have stumbled into one of my many nightmares and the headache that now attacks my brain is aching beyond the point of toleration. I stand against that wall watching them drink and fornicate wherever they see fit. I feel every beat of the music that plays at an ear piercing volume hit against the tumour inside my head and explode. The aching is growing, welling inside my skull. I have never experienced so much pain in my entire life and now it chooses to induce my mind into one giant aching drum.
I slowly move away from the wall and walk around the room, avoiding any and all contact with the wretched souls who surround me. I am searching for Tom, trying to find him so that we can leave this place of sin.
Tom’s hair blows ever so slightly in the breeze as he sits on the ledge of the balcony. J.D is beside him, sharing Tom’s bottle of vodka.
“Then Danielle and I decided it would be better if we separated,” J.D tells Tom.
“What! Are you and Danielle going to get a divorce?” Tom asks surprised.
“I don’t know. We don’t want to do that because of the kids and all, so I guess we’ve separated so we can try to sort things out.”
“And this is all because of the tour?”
J.D has a drink from the vodka bottle. “She thinks I spend too much time with the band and not enough time with her and the kids...You know how it is.”
“But she goes on tour with you, I don’t understand, what’s her problem?” Tom asks as he takes the bottle and J.D watches as Tom has a drink.
“You’re going to get drunk Tom.” J.D tells him with a smile that shows off his perfectly straight white teeth.
“I hope so.” Tom drapes his arm around J.D’s shoulders. “Then maybe you’ll take me to bed’.”
J.D laughs at this comment and retrieves the bottle from Tom. He takes a long drink from it then smiles. “I thought I was the one who had to get drunk to...Um, you know...With you.”
“You are cruel,” Tom laughs, “but very attractive, so I’ll take that as a maybe.” Tom looks towards the door at that point, and notices me standing in the doorway. “Davad, there you are.” He says, getting down from the ledge. “J.D and I have been having a good chat.”
“I know.” I tell him. “You did not have to get down.”
Tom walks across to where I stand and wraps his arm around my waist. “That’s okay Davad. I wanted to.” He tells me then proceeds to kiss me on the cheek.
“Not in public,” I object, holding my hand between his face and my own.
“Sorry,” Tom apologises and removes his arm from around my waist. “I’m just a little drunk.”
“I know and I came to tell you that I am leaving.”
“We’re leaving?” Tom asks.
I rest my hand on his shoulder, standing face to face with him. “I said I am leaving. You can stay if you want...I will see you back in our room, later,” I tell him before walking back into the room.
He follows behind me and stands in my path as I reach the front door. “Are you sure I can stay...I mean, you’re not going to get angry if I do, are you?”
“I promise I will not be angry.” I smile. “You want to talk with J.D, so stay and I will see you when you come upstairs to bed.”
“You’re positive about this?” he asks.
I nod and smile.
“Well okay, Davad, I won’t be too late.”
“Stay as long as you want.”
“Really? Thanks Davad.” He says as I open the door to leave and I am almost out the door when he grabs hold of my arm, hindering my exit.
“I love you Davad.” He says and blows me a kiss.
“I know that you do...and I do too,” I tell him before closing the door.
By the time I am inside the penthouse my head feels as though it is about ready to implode. The aching has not let up, not even for a second. I walk straight to the bedroom and lay down on the bed. My head seems to spin and I feel drunk, nauseated and the optic nerves at the back of my eyes begin to sting, as though they are digging into my brain. This is not a good thing. It is not something I have ever experienced before. It is something I do not wish to experience any more. I begin to wish that Tom had come with me, as it would have been the perfect time to tell him about the cancer. Yet, I know that I am wrong. This is not the perfect time. Tom is drunk, very drunk and it would not be fair to bring him down from his high, just because I am in agony. It would also have been wrong to ask him to come with me. It is Tom’s night after all and I want him to have a fantastic night. That is exactly how things would be downstairs with Banners. Tom will be catching up with J.D, finding out what has happened in J.D’s life since the last time they saw one another and telling J.D all about how happy he is, now that I am back.
That is a lie. He will not be talking about me. He will not even be talking about himself. Tom will be sitting out on that balcony, letting J.D do all the talking. He will probably sit there all night, listening to the guys’ problems, offering his support and sympathy when required, and Tom will love every second of it. Tom will be in heaven tonight.
I am in hell. Satan has taken a huge bite from my brain. He probably spat it out right away. My brain is poison. So much so that even Satan would die from one small bite.
Erratic thoughts devour me, taking me away to the darker regions of my poisoned mind. Taking me to places that have been uninhabited for centuries, which have been dwelling there, holding onto the torment, nurturing, growing and developing evil desires that can devour me at moments such as this, when I am unable to shut the doors on it, unable to lock the martyr away.
I can see the martyr’s eyes on the ceiling. Blue silhouettes surrounded by pure white, with the slightest hint of red. A laughing mouth engulfs the room, swallowing me amidst tormenting laughter. It is a mouth that laughs often but never smiles. A smiling mouth would be the end of it all. It cannot smile. It cannot love. Yet, it can hurt and hate. It can strip my being of all desires; take away all that I own, all that I love. It can do anything it desires and I am helpless. I am a slave to judgement, a slave that has no strength when in the martyr’s power. I am all but ash in a huge mountain of dust, unrecognisable and undesirable. Soon to be put to rest. Never to be discovered for the love I possess inside.
The crying mother is now by my side. I feel her tears fall onto my cheek. Feel them run down my face and hear them crash onto my pillow. She is afraid. Afraid for the child in her arms and the life it will live, and afraid of the father who maliciously impregnated her without any consent. Most of all she is afraid of me, afraid that I will steal that child from her arms. Steal it away and torture it for eternity.
The darkness has taken total control of my mind. I am no longer myself, no longer the beautiful man who loves and gives generously. I am not even the cynical bastard who demolishes his friends without the slightest hint of remorse. All I am, laying on this bed is darkness, darkness and mist, nothing more...