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Sick and Pale with Grief

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But soft, but soft, but –

Soft. What light through yonder window breaks?

It’s nothing but. Nothing but. It’s nothing except –

Yellow curtains. Even is spending the evening hanging up yellow curtains. Stringing up yellow curtains all over his room. Half of it isn’t even curtains, because who has that many curtains? Not Even. Not him. Not he.

They’re fake curtains. Fake curtains, fake moments, because this isn’t another time in the same universe. This isn’t an infinity. This isn’t an endless moment or an endless love story.

This is nothing but yellow paper, this is nothing but an old yellow t-shirt, this is nothing but yellow, yellow, yellow.

Once, Even spent five hours reading about colour theory. He loves the internet, because it has link after link after page after page and Even spent five whole hours learning all about yellow. About colour theory. The theory of colours, of how colours change people, change situations. Colours make you feel things. Think things. Be things.

Van Gogh ate yellow paint, tube after tube. He thought that it would make him feel on the inside how it looked on the outside. Maybe yellow curtains are Even’s yellow paint. Maybe if he gets enough of them, hangs up enough of them, maybe then Even will be able to paint his room the colours of his apologies.

In Japan, yellow is the colour of courage. Yellow is the colour of standing up, of kissing him in the street. Yellow is the colour that his name is when you write it on paper, you know, you’ve tried – you’ve seen it. Yellow is the way his face lights up, like the sun.

Yellow is the sun and you’re burning when you touch him. Burning when you’re standing near him. Burning, burning – it is the East, and he’s shining like the sun. Isak is the sun. Isak is the sun, and you’re Icarus, flying too close to the sun. You’re Icarus, fashioning wings out of wishes and yellow curtains, and –

And Isak told him to stop texting. Isak said he didn’t understand. Isak said he needed Even to go, to stop. Stop.

Stop.

Think. Breathe.

Even remembers how to breathe. He breathes throughout everything, every moment. If he’s high, or if he’s low. Breathing.

Breathing happens every day, on average, people breath between 17,000 and 30,000 times a day. Maybe more. That’s on average.

Even is breathing. Even is thinking.

Even thinks about his life being like a film a lot. Sometimes, he thinks about what it would be like if the film ended. What would it be like if everything faded to black. The last cut of the movie. Sometimes, Even thinks: maybe you’re an actor.

Maybe, every night, he’s someone else. Maybe he walks out of his bedroom and Even falls away and he’s standing there, in another world. Another universe, one of Isak’s infinities, except it’s an infinity without Even.

Look at your hands, Even thinks.

Maybe he’s not even real.

This is what he was talking about, back then – back when Isak’s bed was a blue boat and Even was sailing soft, forget the storm out to see, Isak was his anchor, his sail, his captain. Forget that, now. This is what he was talking about. This is the bad response to the infinity – this is the alone in his head feeling.

This is stuck, on his own, this is -

This is the void.

Even thinks about the void a lot, gets stuck in the void in his head, in his mouth. Not the real void, but a fake kind of void, a Donnie Darko thunderstorm void, and the plane is crashing into his room because of all the yellow, yellow, yellow.

In nature, yellow is a caution sign. Animals go yellow so they don’t get eaten. So they don’t get swallowed up whole. So they don’t get stuck like Even has got stuck.

Maybe this is Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, and Even’s fallen down the rabbit hole, and maybe Isak is the cake that says eat me, maybe Isak has a sign that says drink me, and maybe Even has been consuming the things he loves for years now, until they fill him up, instead. Maybe Even feeds off the people around them, pulls their skin off like wrapping paper and gorges on their insides because he can’t survive off his own.

Maybe Even’s the Cheshire cat, nothing but teeth and claws and the moon to guide him. Maybe Even is the colour purple, deep and royal and the colour of a bruise, of a punch.

Maybe Even’s been knocking out Isak’s teeth since the moment they met. Gathering them under his pillow and waiting for the reward of Isak’s head next to his.

Except, no, scratch that. Even looks down at his fists sometimes and sees only spools of ribbon. Sees only the fraying ends of pieces of string. Even doesn’t want to fight. Even wants to be calm, to be sweet. To be soft.

But soft, but soft, but –

Soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It’s still the East, and Isak is still the sun – and Even is the Cheshire Cat moon, Even is Romeo, climbing up a balcony, listening in on thoughts that he was never invited to. Even is burning his hands on the heat from Isak’s bones.

Even knows there are hundreds of ways to kill himself, but he thinks that cutting himself on the edge of Isak’s smile would be the most welcome.

The most wanted.

Even tried to be the director of his own life. Even is trying to be the director of his own life. Even looks in the mirror, every morning and says action and he thinks about his actions, and his moments, and Even is trying to decide what’s going to happen.

Except directors aren’t obsolete. Except, sometimes, director’s get shut down. Sometimes films don’t get made. Sometimes they make it to the box office and they crash and burn, and sometimes Sonja feels like a critic that’s giving him 0.3% for a movie he spent his life working on. For a movie that is his life. For his life, his breath, his bones. For everything he gave to her and everything he can’t give to her.

Even doesn’t want to get angry, but sometimes he’s so angry. Sometimes he wants to tear the walls of his world down like wrapping paper, uncuff the skin from his wrists and let it all peel off – like the skin of an orange, left to rot in the sun. Even doesn’t want to get angry, but sometimes the words get stuck in his throat, and he can feel the world shifting underneath him, spinning wildly out of control.

He’s Icarus, and he’s crashing, and the sea is below him and he’s about to get swallowed up, and the ocean is six miles deep and Even can feel all of it pressing down on him from above, and Isak is on the surface, and –

Even is alone.

Even is endlessly, wholly, completely alone.

Even is trying to tell Isak about the water – he’s on the Titanic and the ship is sinking and he’s ready to form words, but the water is so cold, and Isak is a better swimmer, and Sonja’s on a lifeboat, and everything is drifting away. Away. Away.

But soft.

What light through yonder window breaks?

No light. No light. The yellow curtains are too thick.

There is only blackness here.