It’s been a tough day.
Not the kind of tough day where your boss chews you out, or a customer goes off on one at you. The kind of day where you see Death claim someone before their natural time.
The kind of day where you see three such events and it’s all you can do to persevere. Losing three fights doesn’t mean you’ve lost the war. It’s a battle that has raged on for as long as life has been here, and will continue until there universe dies.
So you box up the grief, shut away the sorrow and lock back the tears just to carry on with your duty.
You can’t lock it away forever though. Out of sight in the darkness of the mind it festers and grows, seeping out of the boxes and bleeding into conscious thought. The ichor of death slowly taints you.
In some, it destroys them when left unchecked.
The only way I can deal with it is like bomb demolition. A controlled explosion to render it inert.
That’s when I get the CD out.
Locked away inside a small box of varnished pine sits the clear plastic case of a CD-RW, ‘Sad Songs’ scrawled on it in black permanent marker. The recordable media is packed with a collection of songs that get to me.
I have the routine down to a T now. I hit shuffle on the CD player, and start on a pot of snack noodles, chicken flavour, while I let the music do its work.
The juddering of my bottom lip. Sharp little inhalations of air as I let the sensations brought on by song build to a crescendo. My eyes ache as they start to well with tears, eyelids blinking back the swelling tide before it surges forth.
Tears course down my face, my eyes and cheeks going red as the crying progresses. In Hollywood, on the TV, it’s always so neat and perfect looking. I wind up blotchy faced and snivelling nosed, voice thick to the point of being unintelligible with emotion.
And through the tears I eat the noodles, taking comfort in the hot, salty, savoury flavour of the snack. By the time I get to the dregs of flavouring and tiny snippets of noodle at the bottom, I’ve shut the CD off. The lyrical scarificator had done its work, letting the pent up emotions bleed away. The heavy, weary feeling that had clung to my chest on the way home had abated.
I lock the CD back up, dispose of the tissues and the plastic cup my snackfood had come in and take a walk around the apartment, feeling better for my little ritual. My method.
I pull the mask off my face, slip the cape over my head and start on removing my costume as I head for the shower. A hot shower, my comfortable pyjamas and some 80’s music videos will finish off my vice of release. Even with the deluxe hot chocolate I’ll wind up making myself, it’s still a healthier habit than some of the other heroes in the city.