((This is from 3/3/03))
It read like the end of a book. Like I had turned onto the last page. All the context and subtext and super text were the same. The stage and backdrop were set. The obvious characters laid out before us like a door to door salesman’s ginsu knives, choose a pair… any pair. The plotlines seemed like they were coming to a close, depending on which ones you picked. The friendships, the relationships, the enemies, the lovers, all being born and reborn a thousand times. And yet it feels like the hand of god(RayBradbury) was descending upon us to turn the final pages. At the end of the Martian Chronicles, Mars is still after a great war rips Earth apart. The denizens thereof consigning themselves to staring at the vast emptiness of the earth rising above them, many fled to earth, many stayed behind. But in the end both planets lay dormant. We are a nation be-plagued with evil people. Evil is relative, this evil is relatively intense. It breeds itself, it usurps power completely, and it brings war. Like a dormant evil force awakening after the keys have been set into place. The adventure is nearing its end as the Dark God is summoned to earth again. That Dark God is war, and as time has passed, his hunger grows more terrible.
In my apartment however. We are not speaking of war. There are three of us. And we sit talking about the past. Smiling, happy and sad memories, flowing
through us like vestibules of history, reminiscing upon freer days before stress entered into our lives. We sigh longingly as we remember arms spent in the embrace of past lovers. We feel our consciousness butt against the cold walls we’ve used to harden our hearts to the intrusion of caring into those forgotten chambers. Locked up so very tightly. But occasionally the wispy scent of a perfume long remembered cracks those barriers and threatens to bring the whole mess crashing down. Spiraling the owner into chaotic freefall towards unfathomed depths. Who knows just how deep love can stretch? Unfortunately this books pages close before we find the answer. It leaves the mystery of love everlasting. The world crumbles to dust, and with it crumbles years of sacrifice, pain and yearning. Nothing left behind except one great imprint that mankind will leave on the universal psyche. But what will our imprint be? Will it be the flashing flaming sword of war. The passionate caress of love. The heart-beat-skipping gasp of pure joy? I can’t say. But in my story I know what we will leave, because I felt it. I felt it as we sat there talking of the future. We were not full of regret or joy or love or hatred. We are ready. We are ready for anything. We may not be able to deal with it when it comes, but we are willing for it to happen. We are no longer afraid of the future. Nor do we look at it with wide eyed wonder. Past are the days of smiling, laying in bed, thinking of rockets painted gold, surrounded by rings of platinum blasting conically into space, carrying brave intrepid explorers to distant planets that seem like Earth. Upon arriving the spacemen remove their helmets and breathe the air. But we are ready for what tomorrow brings. If it brings our deaths, we will be ready. we wont run from the future. If tomorrow brings love, we will crash into that as well.
That night we spoke of parenthood. And watching children grow older. Going to their graduation. We lived out a thousand possible lives with our possible sons and daughters. We talked of supporting our children. Playing catch with them. Playing tricks on them. All sorts of things I hope I never forget. In the sleep of death I hope I remember these things forever. I hope that when my father dies. He remembers only happy times he spent with his children, not sad times he spent watching his father die. If life brings such joy, and death such unhappiness. Why then do we spend so much of our time focusing on it. why does it loom over all our lives? Why don?t we let ourselves be tortured by the thoughts of what life will be like when we wake up with our husbands or wives in our bed. And our young child asleep between us. Why don?t we dream of watching our children walk. These dreams are scarce and in between. In etween dreams of blood and murder.Exalt children of children. Open your eyes to the glory in abundance around you. Let the celebration of life permeate your souls. Allow the glory of childhood to resonate freely like a shout in a cavern.
And as our conversation climaxes we are all left laying limply in our couches, eyes drooping heavily, weary smiles on our faces. The taste of possibility upon our lips and the sting of ambition still fresh on our hearts. I comment as I stare up at the ceiling that I think I would raise a boy much better than I could raise a girl. But her answer comes quick and hard like a train, she says I would be a good father.
These are words I’ve never heard. Words I’ve never contemplated. Despite my nearness to them. Despite how much I want them to be true. Despite how close we’ve come. For a moment those titanium locks shiver with the Herculean force smashed upon them, they strain for release. They make me want to be ridiculous. Throw my hands into the air and give the world a big hug. But the smack to my heart clears the cobwebs of apathy and reawakens altruistic feelings long since buried deep in my being.
My self, my id, my knowledge of what I am, is a Rubix cube. A puzzle being constantly worked and reworked. And now, the painful part has temporarily been shifted away, and a face is almost fixed, a face of content and happiness. But its not perfect. And those few little squares are so very very hard to finish.
At least I’m trying to solve the puzzle.
At least I’m ready for tomorrow.