the moment i walked in i knew there was something familiar, it could have been the smell or simply that it was filled with familiar pieces from places i’ve been; the physical remains of memory.
i’m plagued by the feeling of loss; the cupboard door hangs halfway open, exposing my old clothes, torn and sweat stained.
the smell of something burning.
the next room had a tented roof, or it was done so well that it seemed that it had; in the corner between some 80’s styled tables and a broken chandelier i found it;
a bag that i’ve lost a long time ago. upon opening it i still find the bits of fabric and paint. i feel relieved, relieved that the person who brought it here took care not to disturb the contents.
a peculiar illusion; the joy in finding that which was never lost, like the despair of losing what one’s never had.
we arrive together and push though the crowded space.
we get separated, i’m not worried, my fortune of finding my old bag in tact has emboldened me.
i sit down to wait, maybe you went to the bathroom.
i notice that i am barefoot. no socks, no shoes; the pattern of the rug makes it difficult to search for them.
through the doorway a man is standing naked on a hill of grass next to an empty washing line, i barely recognise him with his body smeared in blue paint, wet, still dripping from his cock, i tell him off, saying i need to look for my shoes; he tells me about his new lover.
i’ve misplaced my bag. i go searching room to room, i find it, i start looking for you.
the floor of the room is covered in bodies twisted like braids between red blankets, moving in a stream past my bare feet. i step carefully between them. an announcer’s voice calls me to exit to the left. i need to keep looking.
the search must have taken up most of the night because the light was already bright on the verandah when i woke up. all the paintings were standing in the middle, leaning on each other, back to back like little houses. massive portraits, about three meters tall. from under one of those tented frames an exited child crawls out and announces the arrival of a dreaded acquaintance, i guessed that’s where i’d find you.
she was smoking dope together with all our / their / your old cronies. i felt sick and sat down on the carpet, i looked at the overlapping patterns and turned the edge of it; cigarette butts, paperclips, used condoms, all the expected things trapped in the dust. by some miracle i found my bag again, i was about to leave when my mother called from a corner of the room. she was in a drunken mood, dancing on a low table. i remember thinking; thank god for those cushions surrounding it, if she should fall. she was posing to some bystanders, instructing them on how to wear a velvet beret (an ugly bit of theatre), the dope-smokers meanwhile got annoyed with her and accused her of stealing the beret.
i finally find you in a cold white room, looking distressed. it could have been a bathroom, some guys were jostling each other at the urinals. we sit next to each other on the bench warming each other’s hands;
when the alarm sounds you jump up and run, i follow you to a place (it may even be underground) where i find a group of old friends trying to fix a broken water pipe;
‘it’s a false alarm’, he says while holding up the gigantic gushing pipe with his powerful arms. his muscles tense under the strain while the water gushes onto his lover’s back. you are not there.
in instant replay i go back to fetch my bag but instead i run into yet another friend, someone i once had a care for perhaps, who insists that i introduce him to another man dancing in the middle of the room, he says it’s extremely important, i decide to help, only to be laughed at; it seems they already knew each other and couldn’t stop laughing at me.
again the smell of something burning.
‘take a few moments to locate the exit closest to you. please note that, in some cases, your nearest exit may be behind you.’
i leave, giving up on finding my bag / shoes / you, only to discover with a panic that i don’t have my knife.