Chapter Twenty Five
It’s not easy falling into nothing. Nothingness takes over and refuses to release its grip. It holds you tightly between its black fingers. During Amy’s absence, Zev was gripped by nothingness. But he wasn’t threatened by it. He embraced it. Leaned into it. It was a nothingness that was permeated by a pervasive sense of pleasurable inertia. It was a kind of nihilistic Buddhist emptiness. Zev reached states of complete atrophy by not moving much and smoking copious amounts of weed. Zev finally suffered the final blow of his depression. He had withered. Zev wouldn’t shower for days. He wore the same clothes. He walked slowly down hallways with his hand in the back of his pants. Sometimes he walked around with his hand down the front of his pants, fondling his limp penis. He had fallen apart.
Zev thought about nothing but Amy. He thought about how much she was deceiving him. He thought about how betrayed he felt. He thought about what he thought she was doing. There was an elaborate idea in his brain that she was very in love with Arthur but she was keeping the extent of her feelings from him. She loved Arthur, Zev was sure of it. The thoughts about how deceived he felt kept him up at night. It’s like being knocked over the back of the head without knowing. You didn’t see it coming. You’re startled and trying to come back into your senses but the pain stifles you. Zev couldn’t believe that Amy had done this to him. Amy had become one of those deceptive women and he was the one with a broken heart. Deceived by the woman he loved. How could this happen at the height of his career?
Zev would sit in his backyard garden and smoke cigarettes. His thoughts were all crumpled together like a piece of crunched up binder paper. Zev had stopped rolling his own cigarettes because it had gotten too hard. Now he smoked the ones that come in a pack. It only made him smoke more and when he showed up at the liquor store to buy more cigarettes for the second time that day, he looked like some aged nineties shoegazer who refused to outgrow his youth. You don’t see many of those often. When back at home he would pass the day smoking cigarettes in the backyard. He couldn’t concentrate much. He was running from everything. He couldn’t even handle the burden of rolling cigarettes. There were moments when Zev was so high when he wondered if he had gone insane. Had the shock of Amy’s betrayal knocked him over into some mentally ill realm? Had he lost his mind? He was ignoring everything and thinking continuously. He was playing with his cock too much and started talking to himself. The music he listened to was music made by madmen. It sounded like walking on hands and knees through underground tunnels. One album he had on repeat was Tape Loop Meditations by Blood Stereo. The sound matched his inner state.
Zev lost track of time. He ate when he wanted to. His nothingness had become him. The marijuana cushioned him within a cotton like numbness. There was no world out there. Marijuana freed him from the ordinary and banal constraints of his mind. It made sounds tunnel through his ears and magnify in his head. It made bats fly in front of his face even though they weren’t really there. There was the continual sound of squishing a wet rag in the background. Zev couldn’t figure out what it was. Maybe spirits were talking with him. Had the same thing happened to him that happened to Artaud? Zev would hallucinate images of Amy sucking Arthur’s cock and Amy taking it from behind. Just like he had watched through binoculars during their home sex shows. Zev saw vaginas and he desperately wanted to stick his mouth on one. When stoned he became possessed by an erotic urge and ended his torment by masturbating in the bathroom while watching Pornhub. He had his food and weed delivered and bought beer and cigarettes at the liquor store. Zev knew that nothing would ever be the same for him.
When Amy entered the house, she was startled by the smell of cigarettes and marijuana. She heard strange sounds coming from Zev’s home studio. She wasn’t surprised that Zev was still there. She knew he wouldn’t leave. Where would he go? She put her bags down and checked her phone to see if Arthur had texted even though they were just together. She then looked in the refrigerator for something to drink. She wasn’t happy to be home. She felt like she was back in the drudgery. It was incredibly difficult living around Zev. He was getting in the way of her joy and becoming an imposition. Why couldn’t he get his life together? Why couldn’t he accept that most marriages don’t last forever and move on with his life? He had the money. When Amy knocked on Zev’s door he was startled. He yelled as if his home was under attack. Amy told Zev that it was just her. Zev had lost track of the day. He had lost track of time. He didn’t expect Amy but he jumped off the couch and told her to come in. He walked over and gave her a hug. Amy hugged Zev back.
Zev was happy that Amy was home. He had missed her immensely without knowing the nothingness he had been experiencing was a result of the grief consuming him during Amy’s absence. And to some extent Amy missed Zev. She wasn’t unhappy hugging him. She looked around the studio which was a mess. Records everywhere. Books on the floor. Cups filled with dead cigarettes and ash on the floor. Zev’s hair was a mess and he was dressed in black sweat pants and a black t-shirt with ash stains on it. He wore black wool socks which had a hole in one of the toes. The room reeked of tobacco and weed. Amy asked Zev why he couldn’t go outside to smoke. The patio door was right there. He told Amy that he was too lazy and Amy knew he wasn’t in good shape. But she didn’t want to be inconvenienced. She was in a good mood. Zev Bauhaus was a grown man and could figure himself out. He wasn’t her problem anymore. Amy told Zev that he should take a shower.
Zev had set up a bed in his home studio. He and Amy no longer slept together. His home studio had become his bedroom and their bedroom had now become Amy’s bedroom. She made the bedroom her own by bringing in more plants and hanging art she liked on the walls. She moved the bed to a different location. While Amy was putting her clothes away into her closet and drawers Zev walked in. He sat down on the bed and used a towel to dry his hair. Amy asked him if the shower was nice. Zev asked Amy about her trip and Amy didn’t have much to say. She told Zev that she had a good time. That she had a lot of fun. Zev felt angry but tried to keep it down. He wanted to ask about her and Arthur but he kept it to himself. He wanted to get along with Amy tonight. Maybe they could watch a movie or something. Amy made them something to eat and they sat at the kitchen table together. They didn’t talk much. Zev told her that he hadn’t been doing anything. Amy agreed to watch a movie and said that sounded nice. They watched the The Joker on Amy’s bed, the bed Zev had slept on for years. But now he had been exiled from his bed and his previous life. He would sleep in this bed no more. The organic mattress that he and Amy had bought together was now hers. He was sleeping on a shit mattress from Ikea and had lost the right to sleep in what was once his marital bed.
As Amy and Zev watched The Joker with their backs propped up against the wall, Zev thought about asking Amy if she wanted to have sex. He wanted to stick his dick inside her. He had a pulsating erection. But he got the sense that Amy wasn’t into it and he didn’t feel very attractive. He felt embarrassed being the only one in this pathetic shape. Amy seemed to be doing fine. Maybe she didn’t ever love him as much as he thought she did. Amy fell asleep halfway through the film. It was three hours later for her and she was all sexed out. Zev turned off the television and then shut Amy’s door. He went into the bathroom and masturbated into the sink before struggling to fall asleep.