“Hello Jarvis, and Denis,
and Janis and all of you-imaginary friends.
I’m so glad to have you here tonight…”
It’s the sudden awareness of utter loneliness that makes me jerk awake at night every now and then. I often have visions of me sitting in some basement of a hundred storey tall sky-scraper, its floors made of crystal glass, secured by shiny beams of steel. There are people walking above me, familiar people, familiar faces. Faces which surrounded me for years, from dawn till dusk, blurring together into a colourful carousel of voices, smiles and gestures. I see them, effortlessly floating above, interacting, smiling at each other, shaking hands, when all of a sudden they stop and look down until they notice me. Ecstatic I begin to wave and shout, like a passenger on a ship that’s about to get devoured by the hungry ocean. But their faces remain cold and indifferent, they tilt their heads to the side like monkeys in the zoo. But who is the monkey? I am the monkey, sitting at the bottom of a vacuum glass well, waving, grimacing, yelling. Their faces remain cold and distant as always.
Like a broken elevator, which hawser snapped under the weight of anguish, my mind catapulted me back to the reality, making me sit up in my half-warm bed. The neon display of my alarm-clock showed 2 a.m, and my head was heavy and hollow like cast-iron, the shadow of sleep long gone from my room through the half-open window.
In the dim light of my bed-side lamp, I studied the walls of my room as if seeing them for the first time in my life. Pictures of faces, the same old faces that stared at me through the glass sheets just a minute ago now smiled in exultation. In the tangle of arms and heads I could see myself, part of a one big happy gang of youngsters, clasping an ivory piece of paper-my college acceptance letter.
There was a phone book lying beside me, longing to be opened, but never used.Time and time again I’d flick through its yellowing pages aimlessly reading through
the names and number I knew off by heart and slamming it shut again.I wanted to pick up the receiver and dial in the first number that came to my head.I wanted to sit all night long and listen to the distant din of familiar voices on the other end of the wire, whispering Chinese riddles and Voltaire to fill in the empty pages of my heart.