This hell question. I just don’t know. I do know it isn’t in the places you might imagine. I looked in a fair few of those. I tried finding it in people too but each and every one, no matter how hard and tough and mean they looked on the outside, just turned nice on me. Angels and demons eh? Honestly, life is mirroring art – or is it the other way around?I suspect hell is hidden out of sight really, not down the dark alleys or in the mudflats, or in street-wise kids with sneers or big men with tattoos on their faces. Hell is probably a flat, the warm yeasty smell of posset mingling with stale fat; and a baby that won’t stop screaming. Or a gleaming penthouse in which two beautiful people sit either end of a white leather sofa, staring into their perfect space. Or maybe Hell is simply being trapped inside a mind where the synapses are misfiring.
The closest I came to it on my London trip was sitting in an Internet café in Islington. The computer was old, the keyboard sticky. The place smelled of stale cigarette smoke, Bombay mix and sweat. I was swiftly catching up on emails, knowing I’d be offline for 24 hours (hmm, maybe Hell is being out of touch? Or is that Heaven? Do we know the difference anymore?).
‘Oh for fuck’s sake.’ The chair behind me scraped along the scuffed vinyl floor. I kept typing – as you do.
‘No! This cannot be happening.’ Keys being crashed. The air crackled. A phone rang.
‘No. You don’t understand.’ Pause. Scrape of chair.‘No. You’re not listening.’ Pause.
‘But I’ve lost everything. Everything.’ Pause. A strangled sob turning into anger.
‘WHY DON’T YOU LISTEN TO ME?’
|Roses for Hecate by Solange Noir|
She threw back her chair and stumbled out of the café, leaving her coat behind. I went to pick it up and run after her but realised she had stopped outside, on the pavement. Even in the middle of meltdown, she was being polite. Sheesh, us humans and our social mores. I watched her through the glass front. She looked stricken.
What had she lost? And who wouldn’t listen?
What is worse, the losing or the not being heard?
Some music? Wyrdly, I left my iPod behind when I was in London...but these have been playing non-stop since I returned.