The first time I saw him was upon the stage at The Gorgon', a working-class bar miles away from any place proper for a decent girl to be, I however wasn't a decent girl. My mother had tried her hardest, through etiquette school and debutant balls, private tutors and trainers of every degree and purpose. My mother had failed. All her money spent upon vanity was in vain if it concerned me, for nothing attracted me more than black t-shirts and faded jeans.
I remember how dark it was, the bright lights upon the stage blinding me as my ear-drums threatened to burst. The distorted squealing of a Fender Strat pulled at my hearts strings and I found myself falling head first into that dismal abyss, that hellish entrapment that is young love, or to put it more appropriately, young lust. I desired Cetus more than anything in the world. I desired to reach out and touch him as he screamed into the microphone, longing to touch his bleeding fingers, kiss him upon his blistered lips.
I want to ravage you Destroy you with my words As I pull you into my arms And declare my unending love The lie is all too true I want to ravage you!
Yes! I wanted to scream, succumbing to him in my mind, to feel his touch, to share his warmth, to taste his sweat and satisfy his hunger; that was my aspiration. I swayed to the music, as a battle raged around me, I was close enough to try and reach out. I stood staring, and stuck out my hand, trying to touch but the hem of his black denim pants. I couldn't help but stare, as I began disappearing in those beautiful green eyes of his. His sweat fell upon me as he shook his head, his long, black hair glistening with perspiration and grease.
I felt a hand grab mine as the lead guitarist had his way with the song, and my feet left the ground as I gave into the force that was pulling me up. I opened my eyes, finding myself upon the stage, I surveyed my surroundings, realizing that I was in the arms of Cetus, and almost fainted. Oh, fate of fates, so wondrous to me! He pulled me closer, and his guitar hanging behind him, kissed me. My heart stopped. The world stopped. All fell silent. There were only us. Only my beloved and I standing upon the stage beneath the flashing lights, sharing what can only be described as a divine experience. I succumbed to him, feeling myself falling completely in love, my heart melting and running down my sleeve.
He pulled away, his forehead resting against mine, and stared into my eyes. Eternity passed around us, and time no longer was. Forever seemed to be now, but forever would not be enough. Slowly the world came to, awakening gradually until everything was once again swallowed by full-fledged pandemonium. I was left standing there wondering, pondering the events that had just occurred. For a split second I had known Heaven. I was in absolute bliss. Cetus turned his attention back to the crowd, and I closed my eyes. My heart was beating too fast, as if it might explode at any second. I closed my eyes and fainted.
I found myself, two hours later, upon a ratty old sofa backstage at The Gorgon'. I sat up slowly, rubbing the bump at the back of my head. Looking around me, I noticed that I was the only person in the room. I fell back, closing my eyes again and drifting off to sleep. Suddenly a loud noise caused me to jump up from my relaxed, but vulnerable position, into a pose that can only be described as hysterical.
I'm sorry Love, didn't mean to give you a fright! I relaxed again, nay, nearly swooned at the sight of my beloved, at the sight of Cetus standing in front of the recently slammed-door, a cup of steaming green-tea in his hands. I fell back unto the sofa, as he approached. It's okay, just a bit jumpy, I guess I felt like a fool, and he smiled at me.
You had quite a fall on stage, how's your head feeling, miss? He handed me his cup of tea, and I stared into the cup trying to remember my name.
You can call me Andromeda, that's my name, but Andy will do and my head's fine thanks. I felt myself going red. I was talking to a real life rock-star! The lead-vocalist-slash-rhythm-guitarist of Serpent', the most amazing band I had ever had the pleasure of hearing! What's more, he kissed me! The most attractive man in the world kissed me! Me, an insecure, suburban brat!
Okay, Andy, you can call me Cetus. He took my hand and planted a kiss upon my pale knuckles. My heart raced, the blood in my veins spiraling out of control, I lunged forward and kissed him! I could sense the surprise in his reactions at first, but then I felt his hand upon the back of my neck, and knew that it was meant to be
The sun had risen mere moments before I entered the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Owen. The white gate slammed noisily behind me, and I rushed to the door, anxious to get inside before my parents got up. It was Saturday, and that meant that they'd be sleeping in, unless something or someone woke them. Unlocking the kitchen door, I snuck in slowly, silently as to avoid discovery. I closed the door softly, and turned around, heading for the stairs, only to be greeted by my mother. Where have you been young lady? Her question was rhetorical, she didn't really care about where I had been, but rather that I had disobeyed her orders and ignored my curfew. I just went out for some fresh air I said, staring at my feet. She approached, threateningly, not that she'd dare do me grievous harm, but emotional scarring can be fatal too.
Fresh air? You don't smell like someone who'd been out for some fresh air you smell like a liquor factory amidst the city's smog! Her disgust was quite clear, much clearer than my mind which was still with Cetus in a never-ending embrace.
Okay, okay, I went out last night, as you may well know, and came back late, I didn't realize what the time was, and so I came back in the early hours. I slept on the porch, for fear of waking you with my entry, deciding to let you get a few hours more sleep. This was all utter hogwash of course, but somehow convincing enough. My mother has this flaw, a very easily exploited flaw. She does not wish to hear anything bad about her daughter, for having a bad daughter would mean that she had married a bad man, or, dare I say it, been a bad parent.
Oh, dear, I'm sorry! You're still to be punished though, but I will consider you consideration of others! She embraced me, and let me go off, upstairs, to my room where I fell asleep, where I kissed my beloved, once again.
Perseus, a handsome man in his early twenties, and the dear darling of Mother, was sitting downstairs when I woke up. It was late afternoon. I entered the living room, still in the clothes I had been wearing the previous night, and he was sitting in my dad's chair sucking on a fag. He exhaled the smoke, nefariously letting it flow through his nostrils. Why, good morning Andy dear, how are you? I shot him a disgusted look, a look that would pierce the heart of any man with enough brains to be registered as a sentient being, a look that proclaimed my hatred for him. He ignored it, and jumped up to embrace me. I struggled free from his muscled arms, Leave me alone! I shouted as I retreated to the kitchen. Switching the kettle on, I closed my eyes, trying to regulate my breathing. Mother would love to see the two of us get married; I'd rather die. The door opened and closed behind me as the creep joined me at the table. Aw, c'mon babes, don't be so hard on me, you know you love me. Your mother has arranged everything! We'll get married in September, and go to Hawaii for our honeymoon. He put his hand on my lower back, and I bit my lip. The blood dripping from my lower lip must be better than the obscenities that could be oozing from my mouth. I wanted to scream, but Mother would probably punish me for that. Must keep up appearances. Leave me alone. I said forcefully, violently, but softly. I removed his hand from my back, and left him standing in the kitchen alone. Its okay love, I have to go now anyway, but I'll see you after work. I heard the backdoor slam as he left for work.
He's a cop. A public servant of the pork variety, the maggots eating away at his brains, disease flowing through his veins; he's as corrupt as the drug-lords he extorts. If only Mother knew, she's too blind though, and my pleas fall upon deaf ears. I pick up my Ch Guevara bag, and slinging it over my shoulder, I leave.
I don't know where I'm going, and I don't particularly care. I soon find myself in the centre of Soho walking past busking musicians, painters, actors and the like, their hatmen and trained chimps collecting their pay from the audience of onlookers. Walking through Village Square I pass lots of small coffee shops and bars when a poster catches my eye. Cetus, Live and Unplugged', the show starts in a few hours. I feel my heart beating with wild excitement as I make my way inside.
The interior of La Boheme is exquisite. The hardwood floors and mahogany tables with their black, iron-wrought chairs offering a welcome atmosphere, the darkness of the dcor bidding me warmth and protection against the cold, unfeeling world outside.
For three and a half hours I sit in the near empty coffee shop, sipping my coffee with a practiced slothfulness, trying to make it last for as long as possible. I am filled with joy as I hear a crowd bursting in through the doors. I look around, and am overjoyed when I see that my original suspicion has been confirmed. Indeed, Cetus and his entourage of band members and roadies have arrived. I continue sitting in my secluded corner, admiring him from afar. Suddenly he looks about him, as if he had felt me staring, and notices me. He strides across the room, purposefully towards where I am chocking on my coffee. Why, fancy meeting you here! He says, and his voice makes my heart melt. For a moment I am speechless, but then I awaken suddenly as I realize that this is no dream. Uh, yeah, I saw your poster outside, thought I'd come check it out.
Oh He starts laughing, I hate that photo though, I don't know what the photographer was thinking, honestly, I look so preppy. It's a horrid picture. I smile, how can a rock star, a man with millions of young girls who wish to touch only the hem of his jeans, millions of fans who adore him, be so insecure?
I think you look quite handsome I say, But I'm pretty sure you always do. I don't think you're capable of being not-handsome. I blush as I hear myself babbling about him like a nave school girl talking about her first crush. He's laughing. I'm going to shut up now. And I do. He looks at me, our eyes meeting, my heart racing, but the moment is broken as one of the roadies calls his name. Hey, Cetus, time for the sound check! He looks at the roadie, and then redirects his gaze at me. I'm sorry love, duty calls. And off he goes, to the stage. I sit there chain-smoking in the corner as I watch him strolling about the stage, tapping microphones, strumming chords. He's beautiful. I think I love him, I think so.
Time passes quickly and the coffee shop fills up with young, eager fans coming to see their hero. I still have my secluded table at the back, and I'm relieved when I see that my view will remain unhindered. The waiter brings me a new ashtray as I sip my hazelnut latte, compliments of the band. I'm happy.
Cetus comes on stage, and the whole shop is filled with jubilation as the wait is over, their messiah is here and on stage. The man they all came to see is ready. He sits on the black bar stool, picking up his old electric-acoustic. Good evening He's much more reserved tonight than he was at the club last night. The crowd roars anyway, brimming with excitement. If you're used to our other shows you'll be in for something else entirely tonight, for this evening we're stripping it all down. The crowd continues hooting, and there are people outside, looking in through the large windows. They open the show with an acoustic version of one of their older songs, and the audience loves it. His vocals are much more soulful tonight.
The darkness is quiet Quite poetic, quite sickening The evil, so vile yet beautiful Overwhelming, sullen silence As you bleed in the midst of my violence The kiss of death I plant upon you Succumb to me, give in to these feelings you abhor Kiss me; pull me closer, beg for more
The small crowd surrounding the stage are entrapped within the music, swaying to the sensual beat, the erotic bends and slides; I get up, entrapped, entranced by his voice. I walk towards the stage, my heart drowning out everything but his vocals, strumming the strings of my heart. I'm coming undone under his visage, I'm coming undone; I'm tearing at my clothes. God, it's hot in here. I'm up against the stage, sweating, melting under the small spotlight. His eyes pierce my soul, looking into the very core of me as he sings his song, I can see it's meant for me.
After the show Cetus invited me to join them for a little celebratory drink. Their idea of a celebratory drink turned out to be several bottles of hard liquor, which I helped them consume in due time. Once again I found myself sneaking into my room, this time without being caught, which is much better since I was still intoxicated. Intoxicated and infatuated, Cetus, my drug.
I went to sleep and was woken early by the rising sun, making my head explode every time I opened my eyes. The pounding in my mind nearly matched the pounding of my heart as I remembered the previous night. The way Cetus had held me, the way he had kissed me goodbye, the way he looked at me while he was singing. I was in love. I went downstairs to find the scourge of my existence sitting in the kitchen with Mother; as usual Father was already off to work. Well, good morning dear! You slept well? Poor Mother, so oblivious. Yes Mom, I did. I busy myself with the rinsing of a cup, trying my best to ignore the grinning pig sipping his coffee. Unfortunately the thing has the ability of speech. And no kiss? Mother, only realizing now that I had not yet greeted him, immediately pointed out the due course of action. Why, Andromeda, how should poor Perseus feel? Give him a kiss! Poor lad, waiting for you all this time.
At this Perseus' grin doubled in size, as he waited for me to obey my mother's wish. The rage, simmering for so long, started boiling over as I felt my fingers clenching into fists, my fingernails piercing the palm of my hand. Why in the name of all that is profane would I kiss him? I'm not you, mom! If you love him so much, why don't you kiss him?
Stop shouting dear, we have company I could feel Mother's disapproval, her scrutinizing eyes trying to intimidate me into sitting down. You have company, mother! I don't! He isn't, and never will be my type, so stop trying to play Cupid! Mother's jaw was hanging with disgust and disbelief. Perseus was getting up, slowly approaching me. Sit down babe; you shouldn't talk like that to your mother. I could feel the vomit slowly crawling up my throat, staring into his disgusting face, his vulgar, pretentious eyes. Leave me alone! I tried pushing him away, but to no avail, for he was twice my size.
Why? You know you love me! He's trying to force himself on me, in front of my own mother, and she just sits there, smiling. I don't love you! I'll never f--king love you! I love Cetus! It slipped out. Mother, enraged, got up, Cetus? I hope you don't mean that silly, wicked boy, that evil musician!
Yes mother, that's exactly who I mean! I love him, and he loves me! I'm screaming now, and even Perseus backs away a bit. And I saw him last night, and I'll see him again later, and you can't stop me!
With that I grabbed my bag, and left.
For hours I ran, without real direction. I had written Cetus' number on my pale, white arm. I stopped at a phone-booth to call him. We agreed to meet at The Gorgon'.
When I got there, he was sitting at a table, smoking hookah with one of the many unusual patrons that usually carves out their nest in the belly of the beast. He got up, embraced me, his lips delicately touching the top of my head. I sat down, sucking on the small pipe protruding from the glass bowl.
My mother is probably looking for me now. I really pissed her off. He smiled at me, his eyes immediately calming me down. Have no fear love; I doubt she'll find you here.
My heart was beating very fast, maybe it was the adrenaline, the fear of my mother finding me. Maybe it was the way his hair fell over his eyes when he leaned forward, or how he peered at me over the rim of his hi-ball. My fingers danced on the veins of his hands, thick, blue veins. I got up, and taking his hand, led him to the back room.
The room was exactly as it had been that first night. We sat down on the couch, and, his hand caressing my face, started kissing. I pushed my lips harder into his, his hands roaming along my spine. Everything seemed to fade away, disappearing in the nuclear explosion of my want. I pulled him unto me as I lay back on the decrepit old couch. Even the rats in the ceiling stopped moving, as if their breathing alone might disturb this fragile romance. The tension was unbelievable, slowly building, the excitement, the wonderful suspense. His breath was comforting upon my neck, his heart beat matching mine, his hands reaffirming my existence, as we shared our whole beings in one moment.
So caught up were we in this moment that we didn't hear the door slowly opening, we didn't hear or sense the approaching figure. We didn't hear the cocking of the hammer, and the eventual release. We were unaware of everything up until the moment of impact, as it stilled the heart of my beloved. Screaming, I looked about, trapped beneath the bleeding form of my dead lover.
There he was. The grinning pig, pistol smoking in hand, a fag hanging limply from his obscene lips, laughing he stood. Slowly he came closer, and ruffled Cetus' long black hair before pulling him up by his hair. The sickening smile of my beloved, once so beautiful, caused me to cry out in despair. Cursing Perseus I got up. Pounding against his hard chest, he laughed, grabbing my hand, throwing me to the corner. I cowered in the darkness, tears running down my face. How could he?
He locked the door, and continued with the messy work of dismembering Cetus in front of me, in the dusty interior, within the belly of the beast, I saw my lover being torn apart. The remains of my heart thrown into a black plastic bag and thrown into the trunk of his car, as he bundled me into the front of his Red Cadillac, we drove off.
I love you. He had the nerve to break the silence with this obscene deceit. How the hell can you call this love? You took away the one thing in the world I cared about! I was staring out of the window, the deserted wastelands stretching out before me. Yes, your mother will be quite pleased. I felt sick, I wanted to scream, I wanted to jump out of his car and die, but he had secured me to the seat. You will be my wife. Always grinning, always grinning. I hate him; I despise him, the very core of him. I despise everything.
It was a quiet day, a beautiful day. The sun was shining and birdsong filled the air. The church was filled with expectant faces, as my funeral march sounded in the distance. I walked down the aisle, Perseus standing there in his black and white tux. My mascara was already running, ass though to escape some massacre about to come. The sepia light illuminating the church through the huge glass windows did nothing to illuminate the darkness in me. Their eyes stared at me, in my flowing red dress tainted with black string, the veil covering my eyes so much like that reserved for mourning. I was mourning. Today I was marrying the man who killed my hope, the man who had destroyed my soul, devoured all the joy with his evil, and replacing it with sorrow. I marched down the aisle, the eyes of the congregation upon me. Why, isn't she a vision? I heard my mother say, as my aunt burst into tears. It was all so clich.
The priest led us through our vows, so treacherously torturous. I wish I could burst into flames, burn away; fade away. Let the wind carry the ashes of the sorrowful. We said our I do's', but all I could think of was Cetus, all I could hear was his voice, all I could see were those eyes of his. His song filled my heart, and a smile crossed my lips. A vulgar, malevolent smile filled with promises of retribution.
Finally, I thought I'd never get you alone. The pig was taking off his shirt, staring at me sitting on the edge of the bed. But then again, I never thought we'd actually get this far, you know, marriage.
The tears are welling up in my eyes, but I bite my lip, drawing blood. I nod, going along with the deception. Listen love, why don't you get into bed, while I go slip into something more comfortable? Insert seductive wink, and leave, sailing gracefully to the bathroom. Deep breaths, deep breaths, I tell myself, as I undress, slipping into that something special' my mother gave me as a wedding present. I open the door slowly, my hands behind my back, I shyly enter the bedroom, to find him under the covers, waiting for me. So clich, I think for what must be the hundredth time today. Just like in the movies.
Hey, I'm ready for you, baby. He pats the empty part of the bed. I want to puke, but instead I approach, turning off the lights. The hunting knife behind my back glistening in the moonlight, I get into bed. He wasn't that ready.
Copyright: Andre Darius Labuschagne (23 September 2008)