The Malaise

Saturday, 25 September

I noticed something very strange during the bus journey to the university library yesterday morning. As I passed by the student houses on the main road it appeared as though the white wooden frames on the bay windows of the terraced houses had turned a subtle shade of pink. Not red or cerise, but the lightest shade of pink. At first I thought that there was a discoloration in the window of the bus, but when I focused on a window frame for a few seconds the pink colour seemed to fade into the frame until it returned to its usual shabby white colour. 

This isn’t the first time that I’ve noticed this 'pinkness' in and around objects and I would be inclined to think that I am seeing auras, if only I believed in that kind of nonsense. But my other thought was much more repulsive; have Luke and I indulged so much in our over-exuberance that the residue is bleeding through into other parts of my body? God forbid, my eyes? It is a ridiculous notion I admit, but it turns my stomach nonetheless. I prefer to believe that I am seeing auras or that I am developing problems with my sight. I really should shut down my computer and go outside.

I mentioned this peculiar ‘pinkness’ to Luke when we were alone together in Elmfield House later that afternoon. He was unable for account for it and he suggested that I should pay no attention to it, so I will heed his advice as he has been consistently accurate with his advice so far and he has put my mind at rest on several occasions when I have voiced concerns about physical or behavioural abnormalities that I have noticed about myself. For instance, a few weeks ago I began to experience a bizarre set of symptoms that would normally send me running straight to a doctor. These episodes typically begin with a white smoke-like substance that hangs in the air before my eyes and clouds my vision. My head becomes heavy, I feel tired and I become incredibly dizzy as though I am in danger of passing out at any moment. This dizziness is accompanied by the feeling that I am ‘fading out’ and disconnecting from my surroundings and I sense the presence of a wet and musty substance at my back accompanied by the stomach-flipping sensation that I am quickly falling backwards into it. When I spoke to Luke about these dizzy spells he laughed and said that ‘weird and wonderful feelings are part-and-parcel of being a woman’, but when I pressed him further on it he confessed that he regularly experiences the same symptoms too. He calls it ‘the malaise’ and he warned me that these episodes will increase in frequency over time because I will have more memories to dwell on, more worries, more regrets. He also said that ‘the malaise’ is not only a sign that emotional and psychological changes are taking place within my mind, but it is an indication that chemical changes are taking place within my body... 

I am never sure how to respond to the blasé way that Luke makes these kinds of worrying comments; it is as though they are entirely acceptable aspects of everyday life and I am foolish for being anxious about them. In fact, Luke’s lack of concern for his own wellbeing - combined with the dark themes running throughout his poetry and the manner with which he introduces the most heretical philosophies into our discussions as though he is simply discussing the weather - is causing me to worry about his state of mind. He often switches from melancholy introvert to outrageous extrovert in the blink of an eye but his character has been much more unpredictable recently, even manic at times. There is something wild in his eyes that both intrigues me and makes me fear for his sanity. And this odd behaviour is creeping into our email correspondence too. For instance, the email that I received from him this morning did not include the usual photographs from our sessions but instead it contained several horrible pictures depicting a demon-like creature seated on the chest of a sleeping person. Luke may believe that he is consoling me by demonstrating that my night-time encounters are not uncommon, but I find the pictures to be very disturbing and far from reassuring. Even the accompanying poem has a sinister edge that comes directly from the darker side of Luke's personality…

Supper with Heylel
I am the light-bearer.
I herald the first sun
And my armour shines in the light from your prayers.

I am the watcher.
My eyes weep and burn in the light of day
And my skin gathers dust, hair and memories.

I am the son of man.
A vile and pestilent sack of gasses,
Stripping carcasses and breathing poisons.

I am your mother,
Your Father, your God,
But never your child.

I am the blood wolf.

And I will drive away the good shepherd
And devour you all.