THE NIGHTLY CHILL
By Steve Arviso
Why Don’t We, Together.
FIGHT THE DAWN!
As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.
The Nightly Chill is the unstable experience of the mind and madness of Steve Arviso (@AmoralCrackpot). Mon-Fri. Ish.
- BETWEEN THE CRACKS
- TRACK OF THE NIGHT
- MORBID MOMENT
Where the Hell did September go?
Anyway. New tales of twisted romance and body horror coming to The Nightly Chill in October! New pages every night! Subscribe for FREE so you don’t miss a single word of Grand Ghoulish, in which a photographer falls into a whirlwind affair with the lonely wife of a successful surgeon who loves a little blood on his hands!
BETWEEN THE CRACKS
My husband of fifteen years refuses to touch me in any way other than confusion, our son won’t stop stalking and making vague threats to cats online, and I’ve recently found myself fantasizing about the elderly Filipino man who operates the coin laundry. I have everything I could ever want. Why do poor people make me sad?
Irritated in Irvine
Tell me more about this elderly Filipino man.
The girl sat in a chair in the kitchen of a small house in an unincorporated corner of Anaheim, a bed sheet tied around her neck. Polyps stretched and reached from seemingly every pore on her face. The skin there twitching and pulling taut as slender tendrils, some several inches long, writhed, flicked, and teased at the thin slits of light slipping in from where the curtains were drawn and pinned shut. And a boy, not much younger than the girl, stood across from her, a pair of his mother’s scissors trembling in his chubby fist.
I think this is going to hurt, the boy said.
The girl nodded, Yeah. Do it.
TRACK OF THE NIGHT
Tarzan Boy (1985) by Baltimora
MORBID MOMENT (2019.09.30)
“Why don’t we die together when you or I feel like dying?”
Nearly a year ago, a Japanese woman in her 80s died in the home she shared with her son, a man in his 50s. The son suffered (and continues to suffer) from various disorders his whole life, and ultimately became a “hikikomori,” a not-uniquely Japanese sort of reclusive individual who struggles to engage in normal social behaviors like school or work, with the most severe ceasing to leave the house entirely. In this case, it was so bad this man almost never left his room, and kept his bedroom door shut at all times. When his mother died, the son was unable to complete any of the several calls for help he attempted. As a result, his mother’s body wasn’t found for some two weeks. And even then, it was by pure luck. The woman’s daughter, sister to her son, had coincidentally stopped by for her monthly visit. She found her mother’s body, and her brother, who had survived on what little food was left in the refrigerator and the small vegetable garden he grew from his window.
When police investigated, they found a note from the mother to the son (the son is mostly non-verbal, due to his condition, and prefers to communicate by written notes when needed). In it, she had written the question above. “Why don’t we die together when you or I feel like dying?”
Since then, this poor man has received a proper diagnosis, he’s getting the help he desperately needs. But more importantly, he’s found it in him to make even the smallest of change in his life. And while he still doesn’t leave his room–assistance provided by the Japanese government (and its people) ensures his rent is paid and things like food are delivered to him–he now willing allows strangers into his home and leaves his bedroom door ever-so-slightly open.
I’m no stranger to mental illness, to severe social anxieties and to the way the world–all of its people and sounds and chaos–can not only be overwhelming on a deeply emotional level, but threateningly so. My reasons and experiences are much different than the man in this story. But there’s something about the note left by his mother that resonates with me. And I wonder if he took solace in the knowledge that, no matter how painful his life had been, that his mother not only cared for him, but understood and felt his pain to such a degree that she would present such a seemingly morbid offer.
Perhaps being faced with death in such a visceral way is what motivated this man to change the way he has in the past year. Or maybe it was the pain of losing the one person who knew him so well. But it’s never too late to get the help we need; to change in the ways we want and need; to learn to reach out, even in the smallest of ways, to others. And even the most heartbreaking stories and experiences can be a catalyst for positive change and growth.
That said. The most interesting thing I can think to take away from this, is this: Mom lived on until her last breath, and her son is still here. Neither one wanted to go.
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YOU ARE NOT ALONE
THE NIGHTLY CHILL