Marlen is sweeping the floor with an old, frizzy broom. I’m sitting on the couch made of wooden planks and blankets, with two stools underneath standing as feet. The smell and smoke of yellow Camels fills the air and makes it look thick and dustier than usual. I look up to the skylight and see small sun rays trying to get through the thick blurred glass. The light in the room is the same as always – the blurred rays on the dusty floor and shadows in the corners of the room. Sometimes it gets hard to tell the weather while sitting in this dusty room, since there are no real windows and the door is always closed. Plus, the building itself never get sunlight straight, so it always looks cold and dark inside.
Marlen is sweeping and sweeping and as my cigarette ash drops on the floor, I watch her in total silence. I watch as the dust spins round and round as she sweeps around it, beginning to look like a small tornado. I think of the world. The world as this garbage Marlen is trying to get rid of. There are small pencil, the ones that are too small to hold between your fingers, cigarettes butts and ashes, different colored clips, bottle heads, lighters, tiny scratches of paper, packets of single-use coffee, teabags… Everything we ever used in this room is now lying on the floor and my friend is trying to get rid of them. This is one of those moments where you start thinking about your life and what to do with it, what to do with yourself and why things have become this way. You know that these thoughts are just for a moment, everything will be the way it was before, but you hope it won’t. You sit there, frozen to the couch and look at something so remotely ordinary and you are scared of what will happen the second you move, or even shift you leg.
I wait for my senses to get me back to normal. They slowly do.
I hate Marlen. I always hated her. She’s like so many of my friends who I accidentally befriended. Through talks about music, taste, movies, food and all. I know too many people who are like that, I should get rid of them, I know.
Marlen and I used to talk so much. About Hemingway, Pink Floyd, Guy Ritchie, Bregovic, Hollywood, Independent films, trash movies. We could talk about anything. Religion. Family. Marriage. Friends. Art. University. Everything but sex. She is afraid of sex. She starts screaming when she hears the word, but when it comes to erotica in art, she’s all for it. She’s an art hypocrite. She hates something, but she loves it in art. She hates the color pink, but she uses in the most in her oils. I hate her for that. People don’t notice small details like that, but I do, that’s why I hate her, and that’s why I hate people. They don’t notice everything I do and they blindly believe everything they see, everything the people want other people to see in them.
I haven’t talked to Marlen for months. I don’t really want to, not like she asked me to. She annoys me with her innocence and childish behaviour. She’s dumb and totally not ready for this world. This cruel world, as people say. She’s too innocent for it, too soft, too fragile. But I don’t know anymore. Maybe she’s faking it. Maybe I think she’s faking it because I’m jealous of her imagination and her artistic nature. The way she carries herself with her long red hair, like a fairy. The way she hates herself and thinks she’s not worth anything. The way boys always like her, talk to her, and nobody pays attention to me. The way she is 2 heads higher than me which makes me feel like a dwarf. I hate her for sitting on her knees like a fairy and picking up the stuff that might actually come in need from the dusty garbage on the floor, not giving a fuck about dirtying her hands a clothes. She’s an artist. She doesn’t care about dirt.
I’m tired. Tired of being tired. Tired of analyzing everything and everyone but still my brain does it for me everytime! I’m tired of people asking why I’m not talking so much anymore. I’m tired of not having a reason for not talking. I’m tired of talking to everyone, tired of people. Tired of their problems, their happiness, their friends and boyfriends. Their disfunctional and functional families. I want something for myself. Want to feel like a character, not a spectator. There are two roles in life – The main part, and the supporting -The one that throws in witty comments in a few scenes and then never appears again. The one that spends the whole movie doing everything for the main character, but gets nothing in return. Because the supporting character doesn’t do it for her benefit, she does it for her friend and her happiness. Because the supporting character is a fucking saint. Yes, I’m good at sarcasm, cynicism, irony and all.
I’m tired of my cynicism. I want to trust people, I want to believe, love their flaws. But I can’t.
I put out my cigarette just as Marlen tries to empty the ashtray. We exchange slight smiles. Mine is bitter. Hers is sweet.
Bitter. Bitter. Bitter.
Why won’t she talk to me? Does she hate me? Does she know I hate her? I hate the mystery of her? Maybe she’s just too much into her work – cleaning out the room, as I sit there like an empress on the throne, not bothering to move my ass even a little bit as she triess to sweep around the couch. It’s nothing. She won’t say anything anyway, she’s too much of a coward.
I think about lighting another cigarette just as Marlen ties the garbage packet and throws it in the corner. She swipes her long hair from her face and looks around for a place to sit. I don’t move an inch. She sees a small stool under the low table and puts in to the wall. She sits on it and leans on the wall painted with figures of Jesus and his other Saints. I watch her slow, elegant fingers light a cigarette and put it into her lips. No wonder boys jack off to her.
The cigarette butt is in the newly emptied ashtray.
-So what have you been up to? Sorry we couldn’t have a chance to talk like we used to. – She says in her waiflike quiet voice.
-Nothing much, you? – I say, smiling at her.
-Same here. Hey I noticed you haven’t been yourself lately, too quiet. Is something wrong?
I don’t want to answer the question. But I do.
-Well, nothing much, just tired and sleepy, you know me, I’ll get better.
-Okay… – After a long pause she says something I have been dreading. Something that will bring me back to reality and make the bitterness of the last 20 minutes go away. – You know, yesterday I watched this awesome movie!