Teen Bed Zombie

She lay on her back in the corner of the tiny room on a futon covered in the lightest mosquito net. So light that if you stood at the door, you could see if her eyes moved. They never did, she just lay there like a hypnotised chicken with it's beak stuck in the sand, a piece of furniture, her eyes open, her expression slackly quizzical, a look of understated concentration. I thought perhaps someone had nestled into her vulnerable core and planted a conundrum.

I lived in a musty, damp, rat infested giagin house in Tokyo. It was there I met my first teen bed zombie. A middle aged, oily, soft skinned American with a religious diploma had one. He lived down the hall, we shared kitchen and lounge with 10 others, communal situation. He'd waft around the house with his silk dressing gown and a puffy, just woken expression that still contained a bemused cunning. He--after all-- kept a glassy eyed soulless husk upstairs. He would leave his door open and sit at his desk with his back to her and write letters, swing around and talk to people as they passed, sometimes even inviting them in, never referring to or acknowledging his 19 year old teen bed zombie.

I saw him put down his pen once from the far end of the hall, he swung his chair and contemplated his woman, then stood and walked towards the door, our eyes met and the door seemed to close very slowly. She was there over a month, she spoke no English [I never saw her speak at all] I was pretty sure he wasn't injecting her. I checked her out on various trips to the bathroom, she had a post traumatic stare (some alien-lightyears away-suddenly feels watched). I know heroin, Heroin doesn't look like that. Maybe he'd found her next to the tracks with her exam results in hand, maybe life had given her, with a sudden jolt, more than she could, or would ever want to comprehend. Maybe it wasn't a case of an older man with all the false serenity that age presents to the young, taking advantage of an empty vessel and lucking out with a sex toy, if not willing, at least grateful for the solitude between fucks. I see myself in the people I distrust and wonder--are you living my guilt free life or do I hate you?

© MARTIN EWEN 1998

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