Monday, September 22, 2008

Breathing in the Smoldering Crumbs of Us

There are days when reality seems more like a place where people I know live. I can see it from where I stand, but it exists for me only in the sense that I exist in the blurred lines of my own image on the shower-fogged mirror. I can almost convince myself I am sufficiently happy for small moments, if I can but shush the self-pitying lost-dog sniffles buried deeply enough they can almost be drowned out with a lullaby. And it works for me, this myopic life of dazzling sunrises spilling through threadbare curtains , or crippling glimpses of hellish shadows flickering on sleep-deprived ceilings. The highs are enough, barely, to get me through the ugly twists and treacherous curves that can lead just as easily to ruin as to prosperity, and that often carry off a fallacy of better days ahead.

I want to say is that it is possible to get by. To muddle through ones life without seeing or feeling much except small shocks of palpable reality that are sweet even if horrible, just because you can raise goosebumps when you run your fingertips along your own backside. It it possible to clank along as an automaton, outwardly functioning, raising children, earning a promotion, electing leaders and do so with very little true interaction with yourself, or anyone around you. You can maintain with little thought and even less feeling and what becomes of you at last does not change much.

But the difficulty is giving over to this charade completely. Acceptance does not come without a battle, and only if you are not victor, for no one wins acceptance. And laying inert on shores of Omaha Beach, clutching your last flag, thinking it would be easier to let it be what it will, you notice a glint of light spread across the offing and bleed upwards into the sky. You lay for a moment watching the colors fuse and become something altogether different. something with substance and heat and a pulse. You let your body warm, imaging you can feel the beads of nighttime tears dispersing from your clammy skin. The enemies of your soul retreat, and you are victorious against the aches that held you steadfast for an eternity of minutes and hours until you were ready to throw up your hands and in your towel.

Revived by this, you march back into the world with renewed, seemingly bona fide confidence, the sanguine arch upon your brow, and insist you will not surrender. Not now, not today. You dress yourself, pour your coffee, and wipe away the frost from your windshield. The mango-colored morning warms your half-full cup of hope. "Maybe it's not so bad", you say, quietly chiding yourself for being so pitiful. Laughing a little at your vulnerabilities and for acting so much like the people you despise who wallow in their I-Cant-Change-It worlds, holding out their hands for quarters.

And you will go on this way for as long as possible, recognising the holiday from reality for what it is. You laugh were you can, and take pictures in hopes they will jog your memory like peppermint and tobacco. Life seems back to normal, and relief can be read in headlines on your face. But in the back of your mind, you dread the moment that once again you will realize the stage you stand upon, feel the grooved wood pushing against your bare feet. You see again where you are and cringe at sight of the empty seats before you, collapsing once more and crying out for the lost shards of your soul.


Char said...

I love the visual of your writing here

Periodically Consistent said...

Some days coffee in large amounts after sleeping in small amounts clarify things a bit.

Thank you.