|fearsheep||Mar. 6th, 2005 12:03 pm begin|
I felt dumb, slouched, a kid of the angst against the glass. I was on a bus and hot. Very dry in my eyes and salty from too much forlorn bus-station food, I crooked my head against the window.
I guess I was pretty lucky to have the window seat. You see, there is always a bubble next to the window, a sanctuary of cold air just barley managing to fight through the transparent and smudged glass. It felt kind of sick, the thought, so many people leaning their heads against this glass of mine. The shared torture of sleepless faces emanated through the putrid air, from the arm wrests, the semi reclined seats. The whole bus kind-of reminded me of my back, disjointed and all these dead like people with there own bags and shit just sitting around and twisting me out of joint. It’s a slightly deformed metaphor, but appropriate.
Earlier I listened to the same song on repeat for an hour, a meditation to the fucking silence. Now I am at wits end with the music. Its well-formed feelings and structured rifts of thought disturb me. My disjoint feels more at home in the broken quiet and rumble of the bus, pulling me down the pallor highway like a newspaper sailboat along the rushing the gutter.
There was a guy next to me, an amazing talent for sleep. In my putrid hours I had named him Freddy, an exquisite writer. I picked up that last part from his notebook. It had this quote on the front, “Live like someone is watching.” There was no notice of the author being referred to. Maybe it was an original, produced by him as an actor, or simply a man with a dreary opinion of those dark individuals composing his world, desiring nothing but to hide himself from them. He could have simply been referring to an omnipotent God, but I saw no other reference to any deity, in fact, I noted a limp atheist magazine sweating on his lap, just breathing out from under his crumpled brown coat.
We had been falling forward along our asphalt path for a very long time when he suddenly awoke in frenzy. Actually, he was rather calm about it, but you could see by his eyes, they were dull blue, that the word “frenzy” was appropriate.
He looked at me in sharp panic, as if spotting the mugger a single instant before guns were pulled. The terror faded as he realized for the first time that he was on a bus and that I was nothing but his pitiful company. In the end he didn’t really give a damn. He stretched his lips and pushed his hand all over his wrinkling face. His fingers became particularly intrigued in this one eye and brow and went to work rubbing it into smooth complacency. He shortly removed his hand and gave my face a look, as if as a slow cement roller on thin pavement until I was completely transparent, my distaste and my ingrate and my profane glance. He slowly peeled his dry lips apart, closed them again in hesitance, and then seemed to give in to the extent of pure confidence.
“Your reality is half perception, half fact,” he grazed in. “But the problem is, even if you know this, fact itself is implacably elusive. The search manufactures legends of God, or the curse of faith. You can’t be sure of anything because fact and perception never overlap.” He put up his time worn hands with the cracking nails, as if declaring a touchdown, stoic in his point. “This is reality, between my two hands. Where we come in is right here.” He pointed to the outside of his left hand. “And I don’t know what’s here,” pointing to the opposite side of his other hand and grated on, “God maybe, if you’re the religious type. I’ll use his name for the variable anyhow. So the fifty-percent of the spectrum on our side is perception, the tool of human nature, the best we can do at creating or deciphering reality, and on God’s half is fact. Pure, solid, true, whatever. So we, in our ever present addiction to seek the grass on the other side of the fence, try and look through all of the vastness of perception into the unreachable realm of fact, try and become alike to God, all “knowing”. What we need to realize is that perception is our reality. Chicken Little was correct; the sky is falling. What made the whole thing go wrong was when it was taken as a fact. They all believed her to the extent that they thought she had broken through the walls of perception into God’s impenetrable world, which is a place where everyone agrees because there is no question. Then the fox comes in and realizes their folly. He dupes them smoothly and gets an easy meal. You see, those who think they know are bound to get abused by those who know better. And another example, Little Red Riding Hood. She knows it’s her Grandma, he’s knows its not, and through her utter denial, she’s in his stomach. Also, in the original version there is no Wood Cutter. We just need to realize that reality is fallible because we are not God. We our non-existent outside of our senses, which are nothing but chemicals and synapses, we might as well be on a constant hallucinogenic. We can be no surer of perception then of the possible enlightenment of drugs. It’s all just in the name of our safety, in the end. Thought is just a tool to keep you alive and happy. My only advise to the world is to resist the temptation to fall into the false safety of religion and dogmatic beliefs. All I really care about is knowing it myself though, I just do this for simple entertainment.”
I turned my head to the window, he looked away. The loudspeaker chimed in, a brusque female voice came deeply, “We’re coming up on San Duski. We’ll be stopping here for a little, so take your cigarette break and get back on in a few minuets.”
“Ah, a smoke, yes, I need it.” He got up and threw on his brown, trashy suit coat.
It was a grey, green day. The snow fell in its halfhearted way and left a layer of slush half an inch thick. The bus station was the only building around that looked like a palpable human habitat. The other sparsely sewn buildings in site sprouted up more resembling ramshackle arrangements of desert rock formations, partially collapsed under the heat. If it weren’t so cold I’d describe the whole scene as desert. The vast expanses of white blurred in color and appear more as dirty, grey sand. The one tree here had had the majority of its limbs severed and approached my vision as a slightly haywire cactus. The station seems to have been swept up in a wind and carried here, pulled apart from any area holding its predilection. It was lost and slightly paranoid of the men and women that circled it in blank trepidation. It must have been locked, and I'm sure it was glad of it. That was no place to let your-self open for the masses.
Out by a lonely trashcan shackled to the building I could see him, his hand up to block the sharp breeze, flicking a lighter. The small flame burned the air in icy depredation, and the white, self-rolled cigarette alit, silhouetted orange on the dull, watery greens of the slush-ridden grass. His burn-brown blazer whipped crisply, a big rip patched with flowery fabric down the left side from the back of his armpit to the tip of his hip. He cracked his neck and smoked upwards to the crusty-grey clouds.
He returned to the bus too long after the driver, and she gave him a bit of a look, his uncaring cheek. He sat down and prepared for another quick sleep. “So, what’s your name?” I posed.
He looked at me confused. It took him a moment to remember that people have names and that they refer to each other as such. It’s a rather odd concept, he must have thought, a name. But eventually his foggy memory cleared out, “Martin.”
I readily rattle off mine, “Gyst.” We shake hands ritualistically. “What was that you were saying? Is life a lie?”
“Sleep is of the essence, it doesn’t really matter.”
“I can’t help think about it. So I sleep, so I get high, I write and fast for days, that’s my reality, and fallible or not, that’s how I am going to live until my inevitable, imminent death.” His brow was creased and dripped invisible sweat. His eyes closed in resignation and he pressed himself flat and stiff against the submissive backrest. He looked to be asleep and in the throws of an intense and unforgiving dream.
Unable to resist, he began again from his nightmarish position, “Life is a performance, an interaction between you and everyone else in an attempt to express the unattainable depths. We are the beehive. Each one of us is a hexagonal cell full of honey, but we can only see where it drips out, we can never enter each other’s cells. We are prisoners in plush or vacant rooms, and our only means of communication is to yell through the thick walls. I am sick of it.”
He fell asleep within seconds.
She picked at her food more like an anorexic then a girl on her second breakfast. Her well-groomed long hair fell around her dry face, just showered and damp, hair stringy in clusters and light as dead flowers.
The sun, an early morning white, cast a long shadow on my small, rounded cup of cheap, diner tea. The little chunk of lemon sat restlessly on my white tea-plate, and a round, brown trace of liquid, a shimmer of light. Her one side was lit and shining blond, the dark side a damp, dirty blond. I thought of Two-Face; the side of my mouth that does the smiling did its close-mouthed thing, a smile of distaste. She was all the bright side now. Chipper for eight AM, early morning eyes lined with black were a tube into the sick and dull insides, a prejudice for peace and a will for nothing but the obsolete.
Next table, the way they talk, it was sickening. Every motion was for attention, and every idea for show. They moved like a circus act and like a purely cynical cluster. You could never tell, when they were far away, how many of them there where, they blended together. But when they got close enough, you realize that it didn’t matter. Their numbers did not cause diversity. They only intensified. Each added body was just a tribute to the strength and charisma of the original personality, which had separated and become something else, an intangible entity they desired to attain.
How ironic it was that this shared, ridiculous intention gave them all a stronger sense of place then I had ever possessed, and I hated every inch of their singular body for it.
I sat there listlessly and closed, endlessly bored. Directionless, a heap of dirty clothes with no desire for the wash, and across from me a girl found willing just to wear them. No exchange, just serene routine.
But intention, it was closer to my sought-after lover then my idea. Inside my oblique mind I breathed, “Fuck their oblivion. Happiness is not relative. Whether they have found some repulsive form of community or not, I am not happy. I am so far from being sated, that it is not even my intention to be so. I have to fuck it all and live for the process.
So fuck her.”
“Ashley, why are we here?”
“Because it’s a beautiful morning, Gyst.”
“I am done with this relationship.” I sat calmly, festering with conclusion.
“Gyst, don’t be dumb, where did that come from,” she whined, bitterly, “It’s the dance next week, not now.”
“You’ll whore in some lucky boy, don’t worry.” All she did was look at me. She still thought her passive attempts at plunging a knife through my stomach work. Her mind moves like honey, sweet and slow. “Shut up, how can you live your life like a swamp, unmoving, growing stale. All you can imagine to desire is a flat smooth surface, a community of undefined thought. You are so engulfed in the idea of just being that you don’t realize that your water level has just dropped, and that a tidal wave is coming in from the ocean you decline to admit is directly attached to your exclusive, secluded, quaint, scum ridden pond.
You want a boyfriend functional like the sun and moon. But don’t you dare forget about the stars, about the life outside of you two. Because you know what, I'm not going to save you when your husband falls into a midlife crises, and when some star of a girl at work just gets so big that she bursts into a full fledged red giant. And remember, each one of those tiny pinpricks is just as big or bigger then your damn sun. And if you let off your gravity for an instant, if you just take off the charm for a moment, the moon goes flying with all that momentum its got stored up, and when you turn back all you’ll see is your moon and some damn star, having sex. And you also have to realize that it has been scientifically proven that we are slowly moving away from the sun. And so we know that eventually your loveable, little satellite will have drifted off into the big, expanding universe.”
She wrung her face in detest. “I am not a damn planet.”
The diner door closed behind her, as the bell laughed. My neck ached. I needed a massage therapist girl friend right then, so she could counteract all the goddamn stress.
“Hey Gyst, how was the trip?” He sat with his legs crossed on the boards. The dead, black trees of the forest shot pathetically upwards, morbid, three-dimensional wallpaper on the walls of the nursery, constructed with “2 by 4”s, the cradle in the treetop, waiting to fall. Half completed, it perched, nailed like Jesus to the cross. It was haphazard but insured, laden and lazy. A metal ladder was still propped up against the side. No better lift or stair had been constructed. I stood most the way up that ladder, at rest. My whole weight trusted up against its cold metal.
I replied after a minute, with very little care, “Um, exquisite. By the way, I just broke up with her.”
“Her? Ashley?” aghast, disbelieving, “I thought you were good.”
Still with very little emotion, but that of resignation, “No we weren’t nothing went wrong, nothing even went. Get over it, I had very fickle love for her, I’d say I hate her now. Pure obsession brewed in stagnant tracks. We were a train barreling grudgingly along a track, a track that’s all. And I was out there with her, clearing off the massive piles of brush, or virtual mountains set in our way, and when you reached each one it was as light as our conviction to our diverse opinions, essentially non-existent. And I thought, ‘I could do this for the rest of my life’. I never bothered to question whether I wanted to. Wasn’t worth it.”
“But won’t you miss the connection?”
“Connection through agreement is lacking in the life-sustaining feature which is the reason for the relationship in the first place. I hate it, attachment though similarity, blending of thought, strengthening of relationship. No.”
Head shook, eyes open, “Why is contrast quintessential?”
“Excitement, change, growth, progression,” my whole body bobbed against the ladder, the rhythm of the conversation, catching.
“All of my life is the same state of being, not a progression for an end.”
“Check it, you contradicted yourself.”
“Meaning must be held in every moment, not in a goal.”
“Expound for me, won’t you?”
“Progression as a single point in time, for the act of progressing, not for the progression.”
“Meaning, serenity, completion,” we both came to a stop. I breathed and looked down at the poison ivy. We had chopped it off the giant tree. You could still see the chip marks in the bark, but the vine lay over the ground, death and brittle. I laughed because I could see Ashley in that ivy, still and hairy and stricken dry. “Completion,” I came to conclusion, “thought every moment being whole and independent from past and future and yet having the same intention as all other moments, therefore creating the community of progression which becomes my fourth dimension, the passage of time.”
“Life as a single state of being,” he agreed, lips tucked back in his mouth, scratching the bridge of his nose.
I leaned on the ladder; hands latched to my hair, the whole world a webbed, blur of unreliable thought.
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