Cyberpunk: Twisted love

Posted on Posted in Refleksjoner om livet

Jeg tenkte i dag helt enkelt å dele et litt mer “soft” kapittel fra boken min. Den begynner å vokse til en ganske grei størrelse og jeg har nå begynt å skrive mer seriøst på bokens andre hovedperson: Ben. Hittil har jeg skrevet så å si hele historien ferdig for den første hovedpersonen, Alex, sin del. Det jeg merker, som er ganske fascinerende, er at jeg må faktisk gjøre en indre endring i meg selv for å gå fra den ene personen til den andre. Alex er den svært feilbarlige, ekstremt menneskelige og tidvis både voldelige og perverse. Ben er mer en abstrakt reflekterende entitet som transformeres til en slags skytsengel. Det kreves mildt sagt en annen mental holdning å skrive på Ben sin del av boken, og det går liksom ikke an å “fake” det.

Så en svært interessant sak for meg akkurat nå er å gjøre den reisen jeg trenger å gjøre for å skrive ferdig. Det krever faktisk mye av meg å gjøre overgangen, og det synes jeg er en spennende prosess. Vi får se hvor den ender.

Men her er en bit fra Alex – en litt mykere del av hans historie enn den forrige jeg publiserte. God fornøyelse!

 

“How fond we are of the ideal love stories – the artificial and logical path from a meeting of naïve souls passing through a perfect phase of courting until a formal bonding allows them to live happily ever after. If there’s one thing this Dark Age has taught us, it is that the real deal is found at the end of some endless cleansing pit that shows us what actually matters and rips off the imagined constructs of how things should be… to reveal what truly is.”

-Fereshteh Binai, Philosopher, Mundus Novus Institute, Rome

Unlikely love stories

She had asked me to meet up with her here. It was, of all things, an old fashioned coffee shop all in muted tones. Soft couches and deep chairs surrounded black round tables of actual wood. The prices of what we were drinking confirmed it as actual coffee from actual farms with actual fields. It was almost confusingly wonderful to my palate so used to the synthetic stuff. And we sat there, talking in muted tones matching the colors of the walls. It somehow made me happy just conversing this way. There was an obvious undercurrent of soft sexual tension, but also of some… fondness… between us. It was an unfamiliar feeling and hard for me to fully grasp.

I knew she was going to take me for a ride. And that’s exactly why I hung out with her. Playing it smart and playing it safe would probably have been healthier and more intelligent of me. But the potential thrill and heartbreaking depth hidden in her wry smile and glowing eyes sucked me right in. I knew we would open a door that could not be closed – throw ourselves into an abyss to fall endlessly. It is a strange, scary and electrifying feeling to stand so close to that transition, not quite daring to take the plunge yet knowing the time would come. I could hardly imagine what would happen, but the incredible pull in my sternum dragged me ever closer to the maelstrom of energies around her. Watching her watching me made me feel like a little boy with a prepubescent crush – stripping away the years of dirty fucks, street fights and bullet storms that had hardened me.

I took a deep breath.

“Are you alright, Alex?” It had been more than a little out of place there in our quiet bubble of tension.

“Yeah, sorry, I just needed to collect myself a little. I’ve been a little stressed out of late.” Yeah, stressed out, that’s a good excuse.

It felt as if this string of events between us had somehow brought me to a new place – uncovered a new side of me that wanted something… some deeper connection to another human being. I hadn’t really believed myself to be the type to have a lover, someone who’d actually be let in to hear my thoughts and feelings apart from the purely sexual kind.

The writings in the sand washed away, marking yet a new beginning. And isn’t it just so that everything we believe set is just an ever-changing illusion? Stone tablets turn to dust over the ages – dust that even the lightest rain can dissolve and gently trickle away. In short… I might be willing to have someone around for more than a night… as long as I could keep my freedom. Maybe this was a way to go, a path to follow for a while?

There was a dilemma, though. I was never looking for the one who could recognize my strength. They were many and demanding in their needs. No, I would only ever give my Self to the one who could see, carry and love the vulnerable in me. Would this be something she could manage – did she have the ability to be a stabile mountain in those moments when I faltered?

“Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining, Mister Anderson…” Haha, good one.

“Are you telling me there is metaphorical urination going on?”

“Look, I know your whole tough guy mentality. I’d have to be both blind and numb not notice the scars.” She paused for effect… “But you’re not really fooling me, you know?” No, I didn’t know… Deaths of innumerable people flashed before my eyes – my gifts to Hades.

“Really?” That single word came out a little more indignant than intended… Some unconscious defense mechanism at work?

“Yes, really. I’ve never really bothered with the fighting side of you. You might think it’s what you have on display, but it’s transparent to anyone bothering to look. And behind it is the… other you, the interesting you. To me, anyway.” Well, perhaps.

The interesting thing was that I saw her too for what she was. Although she had managed to show only her seductive sides and her pleasant warmth, I’d been involved in reading people’s minds for way too long to just buy her act at face value.

“And I, Taliya, see you. You’ve been all smiles, soft touches and sensual winks. But you know what? I think you can be a real psychotic bitch as well. I think you can throw some temper tantrums that’d lead to an interior decorator becoming very rich in the aftermath. I can picture you being a first class asshole to men who try to pick you up, but don’t manage to catch your interest. Even though you have such a multi-layered deep personality, I think you have just as much ability in being superficial and vain – a real fucking handful to deal with.” And I kind of loved it, to be honest.

She threw her head back and laughed loudly and charmingly at that. It was genuine delight in my calling her bluff. I guess I’d opened up the possibility of keeping her around. And that was as it should be. After all, I’d never been one to make a choice that took my life further into boredom. Why would anyone go for the plain vanilla in life? In a world so rich with flavor, it required a very specific and extremely boring kind of madness to stay inside the box.

“So how about it, you bitch? You want to hang out a bit and see where it leads?”

“Sure thing, emo-kid. Just don’t start crying on my shoulder right off the bat, ok?” As if.

“Deal. And don’t let me catch you giving me lip, or I’ll have to use my bat to give you a beating – get you back in line.” A little lame, but not a bad retort, I thought.

“Well, as far as I recall, your bat gave me quite a bit of enjoyment…” And so it began, the outrageous flirting sealing our deal.

 

After a wonderful talk we both had to go. A sensuous and warm kiss put the perfect period at the end of the sentence that had been our time together that day. She had to go to work and I had to go home to prepare a briefing for the next mission. There was a surprising amount of “paperwork” involved in the corporate world of elite mercenaries.

On the way home I had to admit I didn’t enjoy knowing what she did for a living. Although she was on a very different level of clientele than the average prostitute and only catered to a very select group of people, jealousy reared its ugly head. It was an unusual emotion for me. I guess love cuts deep. Leaving oneself that vulnerable will never be just a blissful affair. It must be that the knife’s edge thin balance between pain and pleasure is what creates both the intense moments of connected joy and the tearing agony of heartbreak. So there it is… My metaphor of love: a knife. Great…

 

I chose to walk for a bit to clear my head – I didn’t really think too well on public transportation.

On the billboard up high on the skyscraper ahead I saw a commercial for one of the more commercial mercenary teams that so many young men found appealing. The character shown was a kind of supposed super ideal for a soldier: shredded without fat, bulging muscles, a handsome face and an unwieldy rifle that almost shouted “penis enlarger” at you – although the latter modification was readily available from any clinic these days. Guys would be guys when it came to loving impressive gadgets, endowed like a horse or not.

I didn’t really know any soldiers like that, though. Sure, the appropriate medicinal support and surgeries would have done the trick, but it was infinitely impractical. Most of us were scarred and weathered and our bodies were functional rather than something you’d see in underwear commercials. Outsiders in general couldn’t pick us operators out from a crowd, and that was the whole idea if you were involved in our trade. Besides, the body builder kind wouldn’t be able to even complete our morning workouts – most likely gassing out during the warm-up run. And to survive the potentially long marches you wanted your weapon as small and light as possible while still maintaining precision and stopping power. “Don’t believe the hype” was the moral of the story.

Deep in thought and with my eyes way up in the air, I wasn’t paying proper attention. I heard an engine way too close. I had wandered out in the street and a large, heavy piece of metal on wheels was heading straight for me. Crap! It was too close to avoid. Was this it? Death at the hands of a random driver after years of being shot at… It was a kind of cliché that didn’t tempt me – the soldier that survived years of combat only to fall victim to some everyday hazard like a car, a bottle of whiskey or a violent mugger in a back alley.

Suddenly things… changed… What the fuck was this? My perception of time was that it suddenly flowed ever so slowly like a faucet that was almost but not quite shut off.

Because what is time really but an abstract sequencing of events – a highly personal opinion that experience is happening as one thing after another instead of all at once? With these boosters engaged it was like every second was sliced into thinner slivers ad infinitum, a perspective of having all the time in the world because time was just a concept to be adjusted as needed. As I sped up, the world slowed down to a pace I could deal with… which would have been useless if my enhancements hadn’t given my muscles superhuman rapidity in contraction and reinforcements deal with the strain. Those smartass docs at the clinic had gone the extra mile with me – this hardware didn’t come cheap!

I stepped aside and the vehicle screamed past me, just centimeters from where I now stood. The wind created in the car’s slipstream sucked me slightly off balance and then it was past me.

Standing there, I swallowed deeply and caught my breath. Shit… That could have been it. I would have died a very embarrassing and stupid death and stepped out of this world as roadkill if not for the Company’s decision to spend some part of the budget improving on one of their assets – a pat on the back from HR for a job well done. They could have told me, though. Either it was a bureaucratic error or they were waiting to surprise me at the next team meeting. No matter, I was just thrilled to be alive… Adrenaline was giving me the shakes and my breathing was shallow and rapid. Why did I react like this from a near miss with a car when I’d had narrow escapes with just about every weapon under the sun? Some had hit me as well, come to think of it…

I was bewildered… Method of dying aside, what was different? Did I now have more to lose than I used to? Had the baptism of this strange bonding with Taliya molded in me some additional care for my own well-being? I sat down on the curb, looking at the square in which I’d almost just been run over. I would perhaps have to admit that in my life, freedom had been the most significant factor in all my choices. My most important belongings could in no time be put in a duffel bag and within hours I could be on another continent. And for sure my relationships with women had always been… temporary… insubstantial…

I picked up my phone and looked at it. Was I really going to be a desperate loser about this – the guy who called here up just hours after a meeting to utter some sentimental words proclaiming loyalty and love? Or did I stick to what was comfortable and safe to me: freedom and movement? I turned the phone over and over in my hands.

Sometimes the sacrifice must be made. I guess it’s in human nature to hope for the safety in all things, but it’s only an illusion. We’re never more than a heartbeat away from ceasing to be, and life may sometimes call on us to give up existing for the sake of something truly important. At the moment of realizing this flash of truth, there is a window of opportunity for understanding a greater insight into what it truly means to be human – that the journey here and now matters. It is all you really have, right? And so I threw myself through that metaphorical window.

“Taliya? Alex here…“

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