I feel such a strange nostalgia, I wish I could paint with words those feelings about when I was young even better than a painter could do with his brush.
I still remember it all so suspiciously well, and now I would relive and revive the past, find a way to describe love through my sentences. Ah yes, those were the years, the years of love, the sweet, sweet years of sad and ungrateful high school love, now gone forever.
I wish I could say I was in love just with one of my classmates, but they were all, or so many of them, so beautiful, so young, as beautiful as a total eclipse! I never could decide myself. There were Anna, and Vanessa, beautiful. Clare, so delicate and pale, Arianna, Barbara, Valeria, Francesca and many others. I loved them all.
They were all haughty, usually belonging to the high class society, and all of them died very young, adolescent at the most, as it is agreed that is appropriate to happen in good families. They lived in the most luxurious tombs of the town, or even in large mausoleums, or in the ancient catacombs of the undertown. Anna’s father had them built, such a wealthy dis-respectful businessman, and the others were daughters of lawyers, camerlengos and chamberlains. Only one of them was of humble origins, and lived in an old loft, a place still nice here in the ghostly city of Sadness, dark, gloomy, dreary and fashionable. I know, she invited me once, together with the all class, for the typical deathday with classmates.
What skeletons, guys! Just remembering them, I shake and shudder again with passion and lust, those bones, lean and sinuous, femurs a kilometer long, thrilling bodies. At the time, I do not know what I would have given to have the chance to penetrate them… but what am I saying? It would have been enough just to worship them for hours! They were rotten! Rotten to the core! Completely decomposed inside, matured properly and decaying as just a few others in the whole ghostly City of Sadness.
I remember the livor mortis, the bluish skin that glowed under the neon of the autopsy room in the school, it was unparalleled! They seemed to have died recently. They used small trick at the time, they did not even dye their hair. I still meet them occasionally, and the time has passed, we all have changed, perhaps now they use some stronger necrocosmetics, but they always seem, however, always seem to be fresh corpses, they are mummified in a workmanlike manner. Shy, yet, I look at them, I whisper to myself: “You are always beautiful, Goddess!”
It was usual at the time to decorate themselves with rotten seaweed, as if they had died at the sea, become dirty with slime and saltiness, and stained the morgue tunic with brackish regurgitations. As I said, I was not yet dead at that time, and that’s the reason why I wasn’t considered at all by them. I was also very timid and thoughtful. I was thinking too much, acting too little, and I was considered unfit and an outcast, but full of desires, nonetheless.
Occasionally, one of the outcasts had the blessing of being able to attend them, but in secret; it must have been wonderful to have the chance to touch them, and smell them up close. Sometimes, one my friends –also only half dead at the time, in a coma- was able to hang out with some of those cadaverous goddesses. I envied them; and all of them died soon after! And as usual, they started to disappear from our lives, not speak to us anymore, they considered themselves better than me.
It took me a while to die, so I had a lot of time to ask myself what it would be like to be near them, and to have the privilege to inhale that smell of ammonia that I could perceive from a distance. I was aroused just by the thought of their strong stench of NH3, dripping from the inner thigh, the vaginal pouch was full of it, and also the rotten placenta of cleaved abortions, bloody clotted ovulations not completely expelled for years. They were all wonderful, I would have kissed and licked all that for hours in adoration and in front of a pagan altar of lust.
The girls of the ghostly City of Sadness, it must be said, are all, or almost all, very good looking, the average of beauty is very high; but furthermore, in all my classmates the neuronal necrosis was always perfect and permanent, not a single thought was flickering in those motionless skulls and still synapses. Those flat brains, well decomposed, were all equally physically and morally corrupted and rotten; rotting to the depths of that legendary area of the body which is traditionally labeled as “soul”.
But in my school, not only the immediate abiotic phenomena were perfect, but, a real rarity, even the consecutive ones were wonderfully evident: people were cold, hard, chill and totally dehydrated and dried as Scandinavian stockfish, smelling like Icelandic kæstur hákarl. “Blessed be the degradation of adenosine triphosphate, and blessed be all the chemical bridges between muscular proteins!” I often repeated to myself almost as a form of exorcist mantra after having studied enough chemistry of decomposition.
Vanessa was the most athletic one, her rigor mortis was like marble, especially in the ass! Slender, she had not shortened sarcomeres due to her muscle contraction. Barbara had a light brown tinge hypostases, caused by potassium chlorate, which was envied by all others. That marvelous lividity! Claire’s pallor was as delicate and soft as warm butter, she was so rotten than if touched, her arms would have fallen on the ground, the rest of the meat would have become detached and flaked into my hands. Oh, I would have eaten her, so strongly I desired her! Valeria was particularly macerated and rancid, she was the “alternative one” of the school: solitary, dark, a precursor of the emos, she died by suicide, hanging herself with the laces of her Converse, she was so thin. She felt an evident contempt for us all. Federica was wealthy and promiscuous, more perverse and cynical than the others, she died by a toxic overdose, while Francesca was always playing with the feelings of the still living ones, she was so wonderfully cruel!
All the others were trying to imitate them, but they were just not as equally rotten inside. In fact, nobody else was as rotten as they were, and there was nothing to do about it! All the others had, yes, they had ebony teeth, an hazy and muddy attitude. They roamed about haughtily as it is typical of the town, ignoring and not looking at you with their mustard yellow and black bleeding eyes; some were puffy and brown, others were strangled with fishing line, or perforated by a blade, pierced by a sword, or their neck was broken and the head was hanging to one side, due to a car accident, but no one equaled that golden elite in the City of Sadness. In no other school were there such young beauties, and death in such abundance.
No one dared to address them, but sometimes, someone fearfully sneaked into the bathroom and captured a snapshot, a x radius, or one spectrogram, of their rotting bodies. Then we went running to the boiler room to share the stolen swag between us, a sooty and peaty society of loosers, and we masturbated fiercely side by side, confessing to each other our innermost desires, the craziest and wildest resolutions: embraces and necrophilia in the cemetery, prohibited kamasutra in the public morgue, sadism and postmortem tortures.
When those beauties appeared again, like dancing one meter from the floor slabs, sinuously the shreds of linen were swaying in the pre summer breeze, the chubby nerds soaped and foamed with rage, being not able to compete; their autolysis and the self digestion devoured them internally, they swelled and blew up from the gas of inflated and deformed bellies, ugly and dark rot. We, the males, in an outpouring of desire, remained silent and dull, the tongue in our mouth trembled speechless.
At the time, we were all too shy, and if one of them did lay her danger-sea-green eyes on us morituri, maybe just when we were about to declaim in public, stunted and awkward, some passages of some famous Greek tragedy, or the Divine Comedy, the typical access of somatization would have gripped us restlessly, nausea would have choked us for the smell of putrescine, cadaverine and the amine, and we would have ended up vomiting profusely in front of everyone. It was hopeless, we would have spewed abundant jets of vomit, virulently, loudly. Everyone laughed then, publicly humiliating us!
The intransigent professor of literature and necrosis, with his graying skin the texture of parchment, his teeth visible up to the molars, and the skull still adorned with a few ruffled and horrible white hairs and age spots, would have gone crazy with anger. The aged corpses did not understand our needs and generational diversity, but they took pleasure in erecting a communicative barrier to us, like that dusty old bookworm mummy. We gritted our teeth and forced a smile to keep from puking again, pretending to be indifferent to the unburiable charm of feminine death.
Often we were punished, made to sit back in the farthest pews, but for us it was an occasion to admire them from the back, our longed-for and unobtainable companions, while they were busy in hopeless study, immersed as they were in their full brain dead concentration; here and there a silkworm peeped coquettishly from their small cerulean ears, hair was always well encrusted with salt or mud, blood clots under broken fingernails, cuts, always perfectly marked, where drawn by scarlet or black crusts of blood. Every detail was perfect! The moss and mildew stains spread on slender hanged necks and rotting shoulders, and nothing was left to chance, not even the black and blue spots on their back, appearing from behind bra straps, yellow bruising, fake or real, and done with the purpose of being even more beautiful.
Hidden from the gaze of the blind and sour morthematics teacher, whose empty but alert sockets were full of cobwebs, or from the thanatology teacher, the Reverend, a sacred and deconstructivist philosopher, the most severe and elderly of all with his two hundred years of teaching experience, the girls decorated the nails of their hands and feet, scraping some smuggled ground form the cemetery, which was sold right in the school by the most rootless and enterprising of the dead pushers. Then sometimes, in the spring, we purposely dropped a pencil on the ground, in order to bend down and look closely at their nun’s sandals and the result of the decoration. We could not find another system to get close to them, we were never invited to the funeral celebrations in the chapel, where they were naked in Satanic rituals.
Adorable scars adorned the face of those beauties, I still remember every stitch, the cuts made on the operating table traversing, with the sophisticated art of a laboratory, the abundant necklines, carved as a Y, of Claire and Anna. An accurate and expensive medical-surgical procedure that only the wealthy can afford even today. The pathologist had also made excellent work of Federica, who mostly shone for her beautiful natural acidification of tissues, indeed.
But to me, the most vivid and coveted, to be frank, is one memory in particular: how delightfully the shotgun had cauterized the skin of Vanessa’s neck, making it just as charming as miraculous imperfections can do.
Before anatomical pathology of classical Greek classes, or philosophy of death Latin lessons, I dipped my pen in the inkwell and traced love letters with squid ink. Letters that were never delivered, because they would have disliked them. “I am a poet, I am a poet” I cried inside of me, in vain: “I am still alive, yes, naive, yes, poor and goodhearted, but I am a poet! Does this not mean anything to you? Scornful and icy beauties of precious sarcophagus!”
No! Damn bitches! It counted for nothing, as nothing matters now! Now I know it, how indifferent is death in the city of Sadness; we are all dead now, for some time, and as you know, we’re all equal at last, and nobody loves anybody anymore.