There was a point in which I should have known, that it was just like before, that I was going too far but I couldn’t tell you that it is what it was.
-“What was it?” rigidly bouncing off of their teeth, death rolling off the tongue.
“Nothing” I said, but I could hardly mutter out the words because no matter how much I wanted to say it, I felt within the core of my being that it just wasn’t true.
-“You quit your mumbling, stupid.”
Let me explain to you how it felt, as I don’t feel a simple word of no thing can properly convey where I was standing. From the outside, it simply looks like a bowl, checkered on to the brim with a collaboration of colors resembling a rainbow that was cut up, moved around, shaken in a bag and dumped back out. The colors overlapped and the places where the colors did not meet were filled with emptiness, it was the absence of all things that carry anything. The top took on the function of those popcorn machine lids, that are mostly meant to keep in heat until the popcorn starts to violently explode, spilling over into a container that nobody thinks about until they see the buttery globules of maize, filled with fatty amazement and salty goodness. Just staring at it, you can feel your arteries begin to shrivel and the glorious numbness in your left side loudly stating, “IT IS TIME!” Inside…
-“Um, hello?! You did say something to me, didn’t you?”
“Yes” I said solemnly. All I wanted was time, an effort, maybe just a second to understand the gravity of what I was going through.
I just wanted to say, “With it all, I felt loved and cared for, but that caressing of the me that cannot be seen has disappeared. It has faded like the moon as the sun rose, and with it came the light, nay — the knowledge that my life is a wish.” Whoop, I did.
-“I don’t even know what that means, why must you always be so cryptic? Lord, you’re annoying sometimes.”
Lord, indeed. I wanted to believe, it was always a part of my life, but I never have. I couldn’t muster the strength to believe in the unseen, the unproven. Except, my life is a wish. You are a dream. I am a thought. Looks like I do believe, just not as I should and have been told to.
-“Why can’t you just do what you’re told?” Oh how their voice slides into my ears and implants itself. It wriggles around; it burrows but never bites, not even once.
Inside this bowl, it’s an empty vessel – it can never be filled. I think at one point I wanted to and tried hard to, but it always seemed like the more I put in there, the less it felt like anything had been added. Sort of like the way you can get an answer for one question, but then two more arise from its ashes. Could this be where the ember that heats my core resides? I had thought that the fire burned out, no warmth was left, love lost and lying in the wake of my newness. I am old; the world turns but the scenery does not. This must be what a black hole is like, except the light has already escaped and so the pull is because the darkness feels ever so lonely. I should note that I do not, nor have I ever, equated emptiness with darkness, as it is possible to have both without the other. That state of mind is not a nation I fight for, it exists outside of the boundaries of the bowl.
-“Alright, I’m leaving. Leave the key under the mat when you’re done here. See ya” they said. For a long while, I concentrated on that last moment, wondering why people end with things like that. See ya. Seriously?
At some point, I should decide on getting up, on grabbing my things and doing as they said, leaving the key under the mat. I wanted to do it a long time ago, pack up my stuff and just go. I could never get myself to do it because no matter how much I believe I should do something, I can never do it. I’m weak. I know in the recesses of my soul what I should do, that what needs to be done is what I’d rather not do, the words that could be spoken never are – I simply don’t believe in myself enough. Why should I? In my existence I’ve heard it all too many times, to keep quiet and conform, bend over backwards because I would never be enough, that I’m too sensitive and need to grow the fuck up, that I am not only worthless – I have no value.
-“I forgot my coat, I’m surprised you’re still here. Don’t forget to take out the trash on your way out.” The rush of air as they walked out smelled like them, I’m going to miss it. Autumn mixed with a fresh spring rain, a hint of peppermint undertone from the morning cup of tea and all of it carried in on the crisp winter gust that brushed past them.
Uncertainty clouds my mind, thoughts fractured and broken like the organ that once resided between my fifth and sixth rib. The hollow oblong crevice contains only a visage of the naïve ideas I once held; believe me when I tell you that I do not long for it to be filled again. This was never a ship that sailed, it wasn’t a kayak on a lake or a canoe on a river; there was only ever water with no shore in sight. It’s difficult to fathom the sheer volume of blue that was my life, but the depravation that subsequently crashed back was deafening. I can’t stand it anymore, but this has been a long time coming. The wave of change is upon me, I am neither anxious nor afraid, my sorrows have asphyxiated on this amorphous feeling long enough.
Maybe I should write a letter, well…type a letter. My handwriting is horrid. I could spend some time maybe explaining that I’d never lost hope, it merely existed as the hope of hope, but no matter how I choose to spin it, a solemn question and phrased answer was always scrawled across my forehead: What is temporary?
I once believed the colors that ran across the wall were a message from some entity that was greater than how I felt; perhaps I wasn’t just chasing the silhouette of happiness or the remnants of wishes buried under the ruins of the gladiatorial pits bearing my blood, sweat and tears. I lived for the battlefield, relished in the victories and did my best to rise above my losses. Invisible scars covered my torso, the muscles in my legs began to atrophy because I never ran, my hands callused from the strangling grip on my chosen weapon, and my arms toned from having to pick myself up again and again. Now, I’m just tired. Now, the creases around my eyes and furled brow look weathered and pitted like the winds of time eroded the elasticity I once had. Now, I’m ready.
I am and the key is under the mat.