As a young man, I purchased this land. The rolling hills, the smell of fruit drifting in the wind. I knew it. It was my destiny. I never wanted to ‘change the world’, I just wanted to live for myself, to do what made me happy. And, after time, I found that this was having room in my own head, to have the freedom and space to be content. In that youth, I discovered much about the world, more than I care now to remember. How to connect with people, how to dance, how to fall in love…
From those discoveries, I learnt that all things ‘human’ are fleeting, and that what I wanted must last. That realization left me a wondering soul, traveling about aimlessly across the ruins of Andalucía. The beauty of the death and despair I witnessed in various historic ruins still leaves me comfortably empty, with a smile softly growing on my face. That was, until, I saw it, ‘TERRENOS EN VENTA’.
I had bought it as a young’un when my childish spontaneity got the best of me. At the time, I fell in love with the sweetness of the breeze, the birds that serenaded me, but most of all the look… Of the place of course, however, this was largely secondary to the admiration I would receive. When young women realized that this handsome fellow owned a cherry farm, they could hardly resist; in those days you didn’t have to offer her breakfast or ask for their hand in marriage to have your way with them, not like all that feminist shit these days.
Now, people look at me and all they see is a fat, ugly old man. Catching someone looking at me is like staring into a mirror, I feel the same disgust and embarrassment when I look in the lake.
Over time, many things have changed. There is so much pleasantry on this earth and I’m sick of it… the very thought makes me nauseous. When I first felt it, I wisped it away, but like some malignant disease it would come back… Once. Twice. Thrice. It just wouldn’t leave me alone until I felt a ball of sickness grow from the bottom of my throat and migrate to the back of my tongue. All the beauty surrounding me went into a slow decay, twisting into a never-ending jealousy for that forgotten love of life.
The breeze, the birds, and the women now mocked me with their howls, song, and smiles. I craved bitterness but even the sun would not allow me this kindness.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I blocked out my windows with blankets and stuffed old T-shirts under the doors. Walking from room to room only tiny blades of light pierced through the black. It was suffocated by my acrimony, as I had been by the bliss of everyone else.
However, the cogs soon began to whirr. I couldn’t cope with the heat of my long-lost love, Andalucía. So, I began to starve myself, with nothing but water and lentils for what felt like months. I needed to stay alive, to be conscious as much as possible. To feel the hatred burn out of me and pour into the land like a river of blood. This ritual would infect all those that it touched, tempting them with a reality they had forgotten in their own abhorrence.
Just like before, this soon wasn’t enough. I was desperate and I didn’t know what to do. It had only been a fortnight since I began this journey, in which I had adhered to my inverted mind. Yet, while I was lying on the floor, crawling to water, in the hope that its icey temperature would keep me awake just a little longer, I felt the condensation on the side of the glass, and in a moment of total mental clarity, I smashed it on the concrete floor. My weak fingers could feel the blood flowing out as I held the fragment in my eye line… I couldn’t help but smile.
The blood that ran down my throat as I chewed the first piece of glass seemed to finally wash away the ball of sickness that had laid there for weeks. Minute remains of the savior stuck in me, like pretty little geodes between my gums and rotting teeth, while red rivers went rushing out. In a mindless binge, I swallowed the thick shards from the base of the glass, and felt it running down like scissors, cutting the sides of my throat as if they were paper.
‘Finally,’ I thought, ‘The sweetness has gone’.
Written by Samantha Cooke | Illustrated by Hermione Ross