Not much to say about this one. I found it in a random journal of mine and was instantly drawn back and reminded of a version of me that was a little more optimistic and youthful in his outlook on the world. A version of myself that I sometimes struggle to be. It is not that I am necessarily a nihilist now as my youth grows shorter by the day, but nihilism is nonetheless an undesirable facet of my life now. I struggle with it and fight it off most days as best as I can, but in the end it is the belief in the beauty of brokenness described below and the overcoming of fear of self that I have faith will win the day. And truly it is in the light of hope and of love in which I am guided to a more blossoming tomorrow.
As I walked out from all those who were still mourning I began to feel utterly bizarre. Clarity… such clarity as I soon became unable to distinguish my voice from one now gone. I knew now what was wrong. Honesty, true honesty. That at first I wasn’t even sad about his passing. Part of me can’t help but feel awful about that, but it was true. No, I was just afraid. So afraid that without him I would have to see what I wished so dearly not to, all that I was and wasn’t ever to be. But… But I’m not scared anymore. For the things that scare us most usually aren’t quite as frightening as they may seem. And though they seem terrifying to us at first, as we work through them little by little, their horror soon fades from sight. We then come to see that what we were in fact scared of was ourselves and who we believed ourselves to be. That we were scared to be let down for we thought ourselves deserving of such. We were scared of being hurt because we ourselves are hurt. We were scared of being alone because deep down we thought we were. But this must not be for I… we are so beautiful in our brokenness, our fallibility, and fault. We are the young and the troubled and it is ourselves that we fear most. But when love… when it comes and we finally share it with ourselves all our fears… they do fade and anxious hearts in bliss are remade.
There is always, when writing, an unending desire to write more. To tell a grander story. To bring so much more to life than even possible by one mind. But alas I lack the diligence or the courage to do such at this moment. This piece of a piece is all I can summon. Maybe there is more to this story, maybe there is not. But then again stories worth writing always start in such a way and there is seemingly always an air of doubtful lust in their stay. Doubt that you can do much more and lust for something so much more.
The night was crisp and full of promise as he walked into the bar. He was arriving late, a fact none of his friends would be to entirely surprised to see. But he wasn’t there to see them, at least not in the grander scheme of things. Why he was there was quite different. He was there, in this place, to meet someone else. To meet a stranger, though strangers they soon would not be.
Upon approaching a group of familiar faces that he knew to be his friends, he smiled. They were a bunch of hooligans and jokers and this they knew. They had never tried to be anything other. As they greeted one another with cheers and insults he continued to smile as they smiled too. Beers were dispersed as jeers and more insults continued to flow, but he began to feel off put, displaced as if he had somewhere else to be. This was an odd feeling for him because this is exactly what he had come to witness. His friends. This sharing of drinks and tales long gone. This was his destination and any goals he had conjured up for the night were set in exactly this context, but it wasn’t… It wasn’t where he was supposed to be.
As the feeling grew more and more distinct he began to absolve into anxieties of a precarious sort. And with these shuttering feelings emerged ever so more a loss of words and he began to shift his gaze amongst the room. First to his friends hoping none had caught a glimpse of his rising dismay. He didn’t want any of them to think something was going on, let alone ask what was wrong for it was a question he hadn’t the slightest answer to. Then he peered outward to the window at the far end of the room. There weren’t many people outside. No, just one man not much older than him. One man sitting there gazing off into the night with a cigarette simmering near the edge of his lips. Go… Go… This word, it was all he could now think. Go… Go…
At first he did his best to ignore this word calling him to the outer realms of the bar. Calling him to dive into the solitude of another, but the harder he tried to shut this calling out the greater the pull came. Go… Go… These words became his reality. They became his all. He couldn’t stop them. They were breathing in him. The best he could do was to hold that breath for a moment or two, but this was just as futile as an attempt to hold his own for too long. For as soon as he could hold it no longer it would release again in rage as the gasping of air came out even louder than before. To ignore them any longer was nothing short of asphyxiation.
GO… GO… He was transfixed. He was ungrounded. All of him was unceasingly taunted by this stranger's call. A call to be with one he knew not. A call to be cast out into the night without the guidance of familiar stars. But he had no choice. He could fight it no longer. Outside of all that he knew and expected this stranger was the only company he now sought.
Requiem. This was the first thing she said to me. Requiem. This was the last thing she said. I did not know her, not in this life at least, but she seemed to know me. It was the way she looked at me, much more than what she had said. No one had made eye contact with me in so long, but when she did I felt recognized for the first time in eternities.
Requiem. This is what she said to me as she passed me in this place of mourning and remembrance. She passed me for I was still and seemingly unable to move from my present position. As I pondered this word more it became more mysterious to why she had said it. It was a word that did not hold much meaning to me, but she said it as if it would. Was she trying to tell me something. Was she trying… The longer this experience lingered in my thoughts the more familiar she appeared to be and the more captivated I was with her word. Her eyes were surrounded with dried tears and her voice was a folly between fear and care.
Who was she, I thought to myself. Who was she and why was she here? I had often drifted to this location to be alone. For in this place I was encompassed in true solitude, no longer surrounded by eyes that would stare right through me. But why was she here? An abandoned sanctuary on the outskirts of town is a rare place to find a companion, even as brief as our interaction had been. Her perfume… It was so familiar. It was as if I was embraced by its aroma and comforted in its stay.
Who was she? Who was she? I was still standing there. Transfixed by the wake of her presence. Human contact can be utterly intoxicating when one is deprived from it for as long as I have been. Requiem. This is what she said to me. This is what she said. An unholy sacrament to those long dead. Was I dying? Was I already dead? I have often thought these things from time to time. Sometimes it’s the only thing that makes sense, but then again what difference does death make to those not seen. Maybe I was dead. Maybe she was just trying to make me aware. Aware of my own untimely condition. Or maybe I was just going mad.
As I sat down on the steps that lay before the altar long empty I found an air of rest. I had been standing for so long I thought I had forgot the comfort that can be found in sitting with one’s legs stretched outward. There was a smooth breeze that rustled in through the broken stained glass windows. It had been blowing on and off for some time now. Every once in awhile its flow disturbing the dust that had come to set in this vacant, holy place. And as the dust gently fell upon new spaces I gazed up at the only thing left hanging. The Crucifix.
The slain God stared at me, just as I was staring at him. His agony… My agony… They seemed so much the same. It is no wonder so many had come to pray at his feet for he was the universality of those who suffer, of those fated to die. Requiem. Her words soon returned to me as I drifted back to thoughts of her. Requiem. Requiem. Who was she? Who am I?
I was overjoyed when my editor and dear friend Eric Cooke first asked me to write a book with him, but, as I should have known, it was no simple task that he was asking me to partake in with him. Eric, who is currently working on his PhD in Criminology (and is probably one of the smartest people I have ever known), wasn't just asking me to write a book about the anxieties of youth, as I am akin to, but something much more complex and demanding. Without giving anything away (if there is much to give away at all at this point in the process) I will say I have never embarked on a writing project such as this. With topics ranging from crime syndicates, human trafficking, Nitzschean Ethics, Post-modernity, and a score of others this novel will require both a breadth of research and a meticulous attention to detail that I have yet to experience in writing fiction. Luckily, for my sake, I won't be going at it alone. As daunting as the task may seem I am overly excited to see Eric's writing style in full force and to see where he takes his brilliant ideas for this story! But in the mean time here's a short teaser for the book. A short glance into the mind of our man antagonist, the Baron.
A cancerous Elysium consumed me as cigarette smoke danced over a pallet long drenched in the blood of red wine. With every inhale I expedited my own demise. With every exhale I smiled. There was a certain impotence to the habits I pursued. A certain blissful folly that most confused with stupidity and ignorance. But I knew what I was doing. I know what I have done. What I have done and continue to do. They say there is no sin in the heart of a good intentioned soul. Well if that be the case count me a sinful man. A soul ever so damned. Horror. Disease. Moral Famine. Of these I count my friends. The devil in man is the devil in I. And oh how charming I can be. Seduction. Erosion. Both I use to play my game. But in the end the sin is all the same. I use you, you don't use me as we dance the dance of satanic serenity.
I don't know how much explanation this particular piece needs. Just came from the heart of one very blessed grandson. Love ya Grandpa.
There was an easing silence between the two of us as we drove along pleasant suburban roads. Our destination was nowhere in particular and our purpose was quite unknown. Well at least that’s what we like to tell each other. Yes, our plans were quite random from time to time and rogues we might have been, but our intention was all too clear and we knew why we were here. We were friends, my grandpa and I. We were friends and being with one another was a celebration of that. Whether it was driving aimlessly by neighboring structures or pontificating out on his front porch together, the only thing that mattered was… that we were together. And when we were time’s expanse slipped away for a moment as youth and age old wisdom became one in spirit while we smiled and we laughed in one another’s company. There is much I learned being with him. He was, if he was anything, a breathing genealogy of all which had come before and all which was on its way. A birthing point of knowledge that I but tried frantically to witness. There is much I learned being with him. Hell I like to think I might have taught him a thing or two from time and time again. But all and all we were friends and that’s not something everyone gets to say. For we were always blessed with each other’s company. Where youthful laughter was shared and life’s mystery were summoned forth and christened by the presence of our joy.