13 December 2015

Magpie Tales 298: Dark Star

Image via Magpie Tales

What did we really think, back in the days of gold and glory? That the world would stop spinning at our command, our armor would never tarnish and split, our suns would not go out? Of course we did. Gold plated and bullet proof, we were. Legends in our own minds.

All of us except Ronnie, perhaps. He always seemed a bit wiser than us. No, wiser is perhaps unfair. Who understands wisdom when you never have had the world break your heart? Ronnie was less naive than us. We were unaware that his heart maybe was broken before we had the capacity to understand. Maybe that is why he left to put it back together before we even realized it would happen.

Jimmy died in the war protecting his mates. No surprise, he was always testing his bravery, it's what he wanted to do. I miss him. Caroline wove her way in and out of several time-wasters until she hit it big with writing. Funny how a story about a boy who grew up believing he was Satan could be turned into a living, with six novels and a screenplay under her belt. She deserves the accolades.

Lynn used to be a nurse until one day she decided that acting was better suited to her mindset. A beautiful mindset, it should be said, and after witnessing her perform you could understand the meaning of "doing God's work." I'll bet her patients never forget her, though.  Nathan is a lawyer now. Apparently a life of big suits and small cigars, washing the blood off of the money. Skill in arguing has its own peculiar rewards, I suppose. Too bad I lacked the ambition to follow his lead.

My body is on a river, milky brown like sweet coffee. My mind is somewhere between there and what used to be home. It floats in the gauzy humid air, the gnats flitting about my wet face. A tiny bee sips sweat from the corner of my eye. I hesitate to disturb it, this creature fulfilling its nature. I, too, sip at the sweat of the universe, all these years of searching.

We ease the boat upriver. The liquid swish of the oars ending in muted clacks of wood on wood. The guide murmurs something about stopping soon as nightfall is not that distant. He sounds far away and as if wrapped in cotton. I know we need to stop. But I cannot. The years fall away as layers of the onion. At the center is Ronnie. I haven't heard from him in years, but the quantum waves of his broken heart have disturbed the star in the center of mine.

Gravity. Starlight. A broken heart looking to be repaired in the fixing of others. He left decades ago to do good work, and in the process, broke a little of us. I keep looking, searching, scenting the fading trail laced across this world. He is out there, somewhere in the green hellishness of this life. Yet I think, maybe he is sitting right here in the boat. Maybe his heart is mine, lacerated, shattered, and looking to come home.

06 December 2015

Sunday Meditation #44: Interstitial Crisis

I have spent my life making much of the in between. The places no one thinks about, the leftover, the marginal, the edges of the edges. 

I am the interstitial. I am the space between. I am the floor between floors holding things rarely in mind unless they break. The floors that matter only if the power fails or the air conditioning gives up. This is my life, my head space to carry the pipes and the ducts that allow others to do the talking. It is my bed and I must lie in it.

Floor 13-1/2. Duck your head when stepping off the elevator. A condition of existence when one chooses to live in the margins of the book. Is this a cry for pity? No. No pity needed. This path is voluntary, if somewhat regrettable.

The battle cry these days seems to be "No regrets!", but in my mind I think that is just rationalization of emotional laziness, an unwillingness to acknowledge that what we have done may have hurt others. To swallow the pill of No Regrets is to announce to the world that we have not been paying attention to our lives, to living. To live honestly is to experience regret.

A digression, if I may be indulged. To my ears most of those people whom I have heard say "No regrets!", or have it tattooed somewhere on their person, seem to be overbearing types who have made a lot of willful mistakes. Their hoisting of the banner of No Regret is an attempt to disown responsibility, to avoid a reckoning of the emotional damage they may have wrought.

If I were to campaign my life on the platforms of no regrets, it would be from the perspective of not having done or said something regretful in the first place. My life would be lived in such a way as to do the things I want to do the way I want to do them, without hurting others in the process. An ideal, I know. One that is impossible to attain.

Ah, I see this has gone off the rails a bit, has it not? Somehow I drifted from a meditation on living in the in-between to a screed about pretending to live without regrets. How does this happen? A side effect, perhaps, of living life in the interstices, where one thinks too much and maybe really lives not enough. This is what I get for insisting on living at the edges, for making my home in the spaces in between.