Chapter One + Thirty +
As the light rain plinked the flat’s pipes outside–like a song of despair–Lucian thought about how every day was the same as the one before.
How getting up and going to work were the same, a chore. How his ever-loving desire for happiness in simple things had been depleted years prior. They had washed away years ago. Truth be told, Lucian thought every moment spent alive felt like a chore amongst everything else in his life. How everything else felt like worthless activities of life, his interests felt so numb.
They said everyone lived for a reason, Lucian heard, but Lucian never knew what his reason was; he lived wanting a day to die for, but he never exactly knew what that something was. Gradually nearing the feeling of death, he felt tired. Deflated. Exhausted.
Above all, he felt lonely.
And those feelings have lingered for the past ten years. He had never felt loved completely. He neared death closer than he imagined, but above death laid life; not even dying for, but a reason worth living was what he really lacked. His cruel treatment from home had reminisced in his mind as soon as he saw the birthday card his sister sent him. Only just one card a year. A card from his sister and no one else. Just a lonely, flimsy card, one bought from ASDA.
And inside, the words were always the same.
“Be happy,” they said. Always the phrase he hated. Said so juvenile without a single thought for the motive of Lucian’s situational living. How could he? Lucain never understood happiness about many things anyway, nothing to be happy for. Being happy was even exhausting for him.
As they said, acting as if you were not was exhausting, and his mind had been stuck in a state of worthlessness for years. Comfortable, it was.
“Be happy you are here!” Everyone said that. But that was exactly the problem. He didn’t want to be there. Not anymore.
“Be happy you have friends!” Lucian didn’t have friends. Simple. Even trying to communicate with them exhausted him, so he simply chose not to.
“Be happy, you are only greedy if you care about yourself.” That statement didn’t even make sense to him. Caring so much about others gave him the mindset that he didn’t matter. People were always first; it was a common concept that he grew up with, that people came first and himself later. But he was never able to get to himself anyway; when he tried to, he always succumbed to his activities of dread and fear.
Along with dread, even the slight actions reminded him of the dreadful deeds in his past; the rain, the noxious smoke, the loneliness. The rain of his father’s funeral, the smoke of his mother’s cigarettes, and the loneliness of that one night.
That one night. The nights after.
Why was he so lonely? Like every kid, he had friends and a loving situation, but he experienced an event that no person–or kid for that matter–should ever have faced.
Ever since then, he felt so lonely.
Today, celebrating his birthday just seemed like a bother now, celebrating the day you came out of your mother’s womb, only wishing you were never in it.
Moonlight lilies were the sole genuine thing outside his flat, just between the pavement and the grass. He wondered how they even got there in such ragged and swampy conditions, but it further proved his point of how strong they could be. He wished to be as strong as those flowers. Quite a juvenile state of mind, but one he had often. Lucian loved lilies, always envious of them, surviving in the harshest of conditions.
The whiteness of lilies also represented the whiteness of Lucian’s skin, uncared for and ghostly in nature.
Days were dull.
Days were broken.
Without a doubt, drowsiness filled Lucian’s living room; blue, cold, and vast with nothing left inside. His flat–a petite studio in the middle of Manchester–had dark, wooden walls and cold tile flooring. A television, beige curtains, and a minimalist carpet; all he ever needed for housing. However, to compliment that depressed one-room housing he lived in, his window opened to the view of the city lights, of which he often ignored.
His face had not brightened up at anything in ten years, not his longing sense of feeling essential. He wasn’t essential, he thought, just a slave to society, scarcely waiting for death to bestow upon him.
Sometimes, he wished it would come much faster, some days he felt as if it had already come.
The words, “Happy Birthday,” written in a cursive font bled through the yellow card he grasped. It had a drawing of a cat at the bottom and the signature Alice at the bottom. When he threw the card, it scraped across his cluttered coffee table of clothes, empty food packets and scribbled sketches, then fluttering to the floor. Sitting back and looking at the ceiling, he eyed the ceiling fan with intoxication, his tangled hair draped over his shoulders.
Taking another drink of whiskey, replacing his purposefully lost nutrition, he blinked rapidly to hold back the tears.
He whispered, “happy birthday to me.” Unable to hear how melodramatic he sounded, he continued, “happy birthday to me.”
Falling to his side, his couch cushioned his sottish fall.
No one was there, just him and his solitary soul. No family. No friends. No one cared for him. Living alone was a virtue, but it often backfired when he wished someone was just there to help him out of his ruinous urges. No one wished to accompany him when he needed it, np open to celebrate even his birthday. Just the television streaming channels in a low volume.
For the past twenty-three years, he had been all alone, drinking every day since that one night.
That one night.
The air conditioner blew a cold breeze into his face, the whirring of the mechanics filling the silence. To most, it was quiet; but to him, it was loud. Even when it was frigid in the United Kingdom, he always felt comforted by the temperature since it was all he’d known. Gripping the neck of the whisky can, it slipped out of his hand, clinking against the floor; his intoxicated movements couldn’t hold on much longer. The gaunt shadows of the raindrops showered over the bottle, concealing it from his view along with the other dozens already emptied. The rain continued to stain the window.
Lucian sighed loudly, shuttered breaths escaping his mouth, the kind you had so you wouldn’t get beaten for crying as a child. While wafting his arm over his eyes to cover the upcoming tears, his lips trembled. He continued.
“Happy birthday dear Lucian de Carré. Happy birthday to me.”
Narrowing his eyes and batting them, his tears rolled down his sunken cheeks, a lonely groan escaping his mouth.
Days were grim.
Days were idle.
Days were dying.