Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
(This Book Title is Invisible, Jarod Kintz c. 2012)
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of
The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.”
(A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare c. 1596)
It's just a great universe which is available
To be enjoyed by souls who dream about it."
(Betelgeuse Incident: Insiden Bait Al-Jauza, Toba Beta c. unpublished)
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
The first time I stepped into a Church, I was 30 years old. My soon to be wife was breathtaking in her gown and veil. Up to that point, any exposure to religion or dogma had always been served cold. I was expected to partake in each ritual but my heart just wasn't in it. It was not that I had dismissed the idea of the ethereal entirely, I was foreign to any application of such a complexity. A year later found little difference. When the baby came home, I just assumed things would be different but they were not. The tactile experience of holding something you created is profound but all the esoteric rhetoric left me wanting. I didn't see a gift from the universe, I simply saw cause and effect. I did not take notice of what I did have, what I didn't have was completely affirmed. I have never felt the need to search for something greater than myself. I have always found life was better viewed with realism than imagination and faith. As my little girl approached her 10th birthday, I still found myself in that void. Her baptism, then her confirmation had seemed silly to me. Every Christmas morning was more a waste of time and money than a heartfelt experience or snapshot of something to be treasured or recalled. The Bible she gave me for my 38th birthday collects more dust than our vacuum cleaner. I resolved myself to the emptiness. No matter how I tried or how often others attempted to recondition my sense of wonder, the more I recognized the dead place inside me.
The second time I stepped into a Church, I was 40 years of age. As my wife and daughter each lit an altar candle in memory, I sat snoozing with my eyes wide open. My smartphone was in my wife's purse, silenced until after the service. I had no idea just how ironic the ritual would turn out to be. As they used a flame to remember the past, I used several to destroy our future. The fire spread fast. Down the wall and into the tree it moved. I'm told the place went up rather easily after that. The firemen came, the police tried to call me, and my neighbours watched in horror, praying it remained intact and far away from their abodes. It was rubble before we left for home. We saw the smoke and the lights long before we turned onto our street. A crowd had gathered near one of the fire trucks and a police officer was trying to call my phone one last time. I stopped the car when I saw the ashes and we all got out in the middle of the road. There was almost nothing left but a burned out frame and some embers. A pair of first responders were putting out the last of the flames. It was all gone. The house, the garage, everything, lost to stupidity and the daily scores. I looked over at my wife, who was holding my daughter against her. You could tell she was trying not to cry. She looked over at me and asked me if I had done what she asked of me. The police officer interrupted and informed us that it appeared the fire had started in the basement as a result of burning candles. The only thing I could think of, the thing that popped into my head, wasn't about our smouldering belongings. It wasn't even gratitude that we all were safe and that no one had been at home. All I could muster somewhere inside of my head, as I looked at my girls, was where's your Saviour now?
I am well aware of my limitations. I am also very much aware of my responsibility in starting the fire. This did little to silence every word of the Pastor from that night, preaching in my head of God's Mercy and Love and how He lavishes Grace upon us all. The only thing that going to Church on Christmas Eve had accomplished was yet another reason for me not to believe. As I stood counting everybody else's blessings, I recognized that this was no longer a wonderful life. The flames had not only stripped us of all our possessions, it stole our home and destroyed my family. As I stood watching, my wife took my daughter into a neighbour's home and waited for her parents to arrive and carry them both away. Without a word to me, they shuffled into their getaway and left me sitting in my car at the edge of our street, staring at the charcoal remnants of my entire life. As they made an escape, I lingered on the front seat, trying to force even one tear. I supposed, in the most literal of ways, that my wife had been right all along. I was void. I was dead inside. Not even losing it all could make me feel anything but resentment and anger and despair. In that moment, I did something I had never done before. I wasn't even sure that I knew how to do it. I closed my eyes, put my head against the steering wheel and for the first time in my life, I prayed.
Asking a Divine creature for help was very much against my nature. Spending the night alone in a hotel room did not convince me that anything had been listening. In the wee hours of the morning, I could stand it no more. I couldn't just sit there and do nothing. I couldn't sleep. Most of the time, I felt like I could not even breathe. I got in my car and I started to drive. In the deepest, darkest part of the night, I pulled up in front of my burned down home and I got out to inspect what was left of my future. The water that had been used to extinguish my fate had frozen and formed patches of slick ice all around the property. Any snow that had melted due to the fire had joined these pieces. The entire scope of the grounds looked more like a skating rink than a place where my daughter had once played. I didn't pause for a moment, despite the yellow barricade tape wrapped around the seared trees which surround the building. I crunched threw the outer rubble, my scorched existence calling out my name. At what was once the front foyer, I was forced to stop in my tracks. I peered down into the shadows, past what used to be the ground floor. The chasm left by the flames was nothing compared to the growing space within me. I hungered for a glimpse of what had been but all I could picture was the look on my wife's face as she took my daughter's hand and abandoned me in my greatest hour of need. I turned from the place, almost slipping on a slick surface, and left my car sitting on a sheet of glass where our driveway used to be.
I walked away, wandering past all the quaint little homes that used to be part of my neighbourhood. Every once in a while, Christmas lights called out to me, somehow mocking my disbelief. In the distance, at the 6 o'clock hour, the Church we had attended rang out and pierced the night with ding dong merrily on high. I headed in that direction. I felt pulled to journey that way. I trudged through the misery, unable to imagine a life without my girls. I told myself that there was nothing left without them. There was no life to live if it meant this feeling of loss and guilt and horror. The further I walked, the more I convinced myself it was over. I was over. Every part of me cried out that this must be the end. I couldn't go on knowing what I had done and the consequence which had left me all alone. As the dawn began to break, I arrived in town and I sat down on the front steps of the Church and I started to cry.
"I don't understand what you mean. Who are you?" I asked.
"A friend," he assured me. "A friend and an answer to a prayer."
"I'm just sitting here waiting for the Mass to begin," I pointed out in the most obvious of ways. "I'm just here to .."
"To ask forgiveness before you kill yourself," he punctuated.
I looked at him slightly astonished. What he said didn't really even register in my head.
"May I make an observation?" he asked.
"Why stop now?" I affirmed. He, apparently, didn't take the hint and shrugged me off.
"The obvious fact that you are sitting in a place of worship would indicate to me that you already believe in what you are seeking. You could have chosen anywhere else. It doesn't matter where you have come from, it only matters that you are here now." He smiled at me. "You may believe your world is over but I am here to inform you that even the saddest sorrow can turn into the sweetest fate."
It was strange to sit in the very spot where I had been approached in my dream. For the first time, I didn't fall asleep during the service. The priest's words had new meaning for me. The place had new meaning as well. As the congregation began to splinter and head home for the holiday, I looked about me for the man in black. He was nowhere to be found. It must have been a dream after all. As we walked towards the exit, it struck me. There was something I could just not forget. I left my wife quite confused and my daughter calling after me. I walked up the side of the pews, took a match and lit an altar candle. I almost skipped on my way to the car.
The snow had been falling. The car needed warming. I scraped the front window and then the sides and finished with the back. As I opened the driver's door, the Church bells once again rang out of joy to the world and peace, goodwill to man. It was now Christmas Day. I looked into the night sky and I thanked whatever it was that had saved me. Across the street, standing in the heavy flakes of snow as they lingered, I saw the man in black standing on the sidewalk. He tipped his hat to me. I called out "Merry Christmas," and then he was gone. We left for home. I turned the Christmas tree off, checked for burning candles and locked all the doors. I crawled into bed and I held my wife close. It was not long before I drifted off to sleep. There were no flames to put out, no stranger to behold, just visions of sugar plums that danced in my head.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
George Christian had been having an okay day when the octogenarian trio confronted him, face to face. Denial fell like manna from heaven. St. Peter would have been proud. Nothing that any of the group said made a difference. He disappeared rather quickly into the utility room, abruptly halting the conversation. The three sat down in their proper places and waited for him to return. He re-entered the room with a fluorescent bulb and a ladder, positioning himself beneath the ailing light in front of the elevators. This was the first actual work any of the ladies had seen him do in months. They sat in their circle, desperately trying to appeal to his sense of fair play and spiritual conviction. He completely ignored them. As he climbed the ladder, the three grew angry that he had chosen to act as if they were not even there. As their anger grew, so did the energy in the room. Like a crescendo, you could feel the growing flow of rage and hatred from the three women. Suddenly, the light bulb burst, cracking into a million pieces. It flooded over poor George like a white wash. He just stood there, propped up on the ladder, lost in disbelief. It was like a wave of resentment then burst from the trio. The ladder fell straight out from under him and he landed hard on the faux marble tiles. The girls sat quietly, waiting for him to rise. When he shuffled away in defeat, they realized what had happened. They had all witnessed the surge which had come from them. They could see the ripple of emotions as they joined together and shoved the man down.
As time passed, the little old ladies learned to control their newfound powers. Practice always makes perfect. They quickly recognized that these abilities only worked when the three of them sat together in the lobby. They had tried different scenarios and different areas but it was always to no avail. They didn't know why they were granted this gift, as they called it. They barely even questioned its origin and why they had been chosen to wield it. They only knew that as a collective, when as one in the main floor foyer, they possessed this strange ability. It grew strong as they learned to control it.
As a unit, if they concentrated, they could summon an energy and a great deal of force. It wasn't telekinesis or hypnosis, it wasn't a spell or witchcraft. Together, they could tap into something base in nature. The earth gave up its soul in bursts and ripples. They could feel it as they conjured more and more. The result found them more alive indeed. Judy's mind became keen and more aware. Ilene was able to abandon her walker. Martina, on occasion, even smiled for the right person. They went from spending around an hour after dinner visiting, to hovering for most of the day and evening in their new favourite place. George and Sheila Christian did not like it one bit.
The longer the women spent on the ground floor, the less work got done all around them. The dust was thick on the tacky plastic plants that Sheila thought looked classy in the front windows. The rug was heavily stained with muddy track marks and no attention. The faux marble tiles that had welcomed George's rump were covered in layers of this and that. No one vacuumed, no one swept. No one bothered to consider anyone else who lived in the building. Even the maintenance assistant was banned from any tender care, at least until the gang of witches dispersed. In less than three months, the Applegate went from maintained to grim and dismal. For George and Sheila, things went from bad to worse. They initially failed to suspect that the old ladies were behind their newfound karma. He fell on the ice when there was no ice and sprained a wrist. She slipped on a dry tile and knocked herself silly. The apartment they maintained on the same floor as the lobby in itself became a hazard. New pipes broke for no reason. The ceiling crashed on both as they slept during their office hours. Windows cracked, fires started and people immediately got sick if they entered their home. Of course, neither took the time to see the consequence of their behaviour. They simply told themselves it was evil and that their God would protect them from it.
Anyplace on the ground floor was within the reach of the Coven. They quietly relished every bump and beat. They had no agenda, they did not wish to bring anyone harm. They simply wanted what they paid for. There was never an intention. They used their gift as a means to an end, not to bring anyone to their end. Of course, things do not always work out the way we think they should. The best laid plans are usually fruitless. Month after month they lounged in the lounge, waiting for the object of their inspection. Whether it was George, or Sheila, or some innocent who was with them, the three little old ladies made life as difficult as they could for their victims. All the while, George and Sheila plotted in secret to have the space invaders removed. Legally each had paid for the right to use the lobby, but no one ever mentioned to the Christians that constant use of it would become an issue. They felt persecuted and spied on. They convinced themselves that all the "accidents" were a result of the evil which had manifested out in the building's front room.
The snow continued to fall and drifts loomed across the entrance to the garage. The roundabout, for drop-off at the front entrance, disappeared under a dense blanket. Eventually, the street plows came and made things even worse. The ladies could almost smell the Christians when they finally decided to come down the hall and see to the building. At 1 o'clock in the afternoon, it was about damn time.
George grabbed the shovel from the entrance and pulled on a bucket of salt from the corner of the room. He pushed hard against the door, shoving the built up snow out into the circular lane. He grunted and turned to look at the little old ladies, dainty and pretty, and at least in George's mind, not close enough to their final resting place. Getting away with almost everything but murder made him into a cocky and ego driven ass. His wife fared not much better; they believed they were untouchable. As he began to shovel in the most pathetic of ways, she sprinkled some salt here and some salt there. After clearing only a small path to the sidewalk, they folded up their dignity and turned to go inside. George flipped the shovel over his shoulder and glared through the window at the trio. The shovel hit the icicles and the icicles fell down hard. They were enormous. It was almost ironic when the very danger he had ignored for so long then confronted his face. One plunged deep into his left eye and he fell limply to the ground. On his way down, the metal shovel flew into the air and landed sharply, striking Sheila on the head. It stuck in its newfound place. You could almost hear the thud when each one met the ice and snow. They just laid there, finished, and no one really cared. When the building assistant entered the scene, he called 9-1-1 and tried to bring both the bodies inside. A group of tenants gathered in the lobby and joined the three little old ladies in their distance. Pleas for assistance were met with excuses. After all, how was an 80 year-old woman or a 90 year-old man supposed to lift such obese carcasses?
Snow was melting from the winter sun and the day was bright and warm, relatively speaking. It was a lovely scene from the lobby window. Sometime around noon, Judy called Ilene and Ilene called Martina, and they all agreed to meet in the lobby just after three. They knew this time of day brought the least amount of traffic to the area. As each filtered down to the ground floor, they noticed the difference. The world was right once again. Judy took her place first and then Ilene showed up in a few more moments. Martina pulled up the rear, appearing from out back where she had just finished a smoke. They began their dance like any Coven would. Each took their place like they always had. They closed their eyes and each focused. They reached deep inside and found the gift once again. This had not changed. It was still with them. The oldest took the lead and broke the silence.
"I can't believe you did
that," said Judy to the oblivious Ilene.
"Did what?" Ilene inquired.
"You know," she added. "The shovel? The icicle?"
"I didn't do it," she rebuffed. "I thought you did it."
"I didn't do it," Judith maintained.
"I wish I had done it," Martina added, quite pleased.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
The moment I became aware, I knew that I was in heaven. The clouds all around me were a dead giveaway. Everything looked so clean. Dropping dead on the streets of
I half expected the Pearly Gates to pop up out of nowhere, but they didn't. I waited and waited for a guide or an angel or even a direction sign to tell me where I was supposed to go. Eventually, although I had no physical need, I sat down on a patch of heavy cirriform clouds and I began to ponder the situation. If this was heaven, was I the only one that was ever allowed in? Where was Jesus? What about Joan Rivers? I even looked around for Vladimir Putin, but I guess he hadn't arrived yet. He was really the only person I desired to see in this state, but I suppose he belonged someplace else. It gets boring sitting on the side of the clouds with nothing to do but think. I asked myself so many questions, I ruminated with much speculation, but there was nothing but marshmallow after marshmallow staring me in the face. Although I was sure I no longer needed to eat, I didn't even have a match for roasting. I concluded that heaven looked like the Stay Puff marshmallow man had dropped a few pounds all over the place. As I waited, my thinking process corrupted itself.
It was stark and grim to linger. I even wondered if I was in Limbo or Abraham's bosom. I was uncomfortable with the idea. To be forced to spend eternity surrounded by fluff was almost as bad as having to watch an episode of The Bachelor. As what I thought was time passed, I realized how screwed I really was. Fortunately, certain more mammalian traits had been left behind. I didn't need to go to the bathroom. I tried to sleep several times, but I guessed that this was something I had also discarded. I was never hungry or thirsty even though I really could have used a drink. I'm unsure whether my ability to procreate had been affected as I decided not to look. All the primal, all the tactile experiences of being human had become irrelevant. There were no mirrors to confirm it, but I could tell even I looked different. I hadn't had that much hair on my head since public school. The major scar on my foot had just disappeared. As I pointed out, I neglected to examine my centre square, but I suddenly felt au naturel. Slowly, I could feel myself lightening. I seeped like a balloon would, but you couldn't smell anything. It was as if the wind within was released in tiny breaths. The longer I sat, the more I returned to my life on earth. It was like reading from a book that flipped page after page in my noggin. My life passed before my eyes and I never once had to take a pee break.
It's strange the things you remember when memory is all you have left as a form of entertainment. You remember both the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. You also see things clearly, without the emotional attachments one had as a human being. It started as vision from when I was a lad. I saw the death of my Great-Grandfather and the moment that vicious dog attacked me. It was like I relived falling down that flight of stairs with my new 450 pound metal friend. I saw the entire time I was in high school, rehashing every mistake I made, every error in judgment. I saw the blood flow and the pills consumed and I saw myself wake up every time. I witnessed my days at college and university. I met my wife all over again, for the very first time. I watched her die again, for the very last time. I had to stop myself from reeling only to notice even now she was nowhere to be found. I could see my second wedding and have much hope that you will be alright. I saw such awful, despicable things that I did but I also saw the wonderful, lovely moments that I knew. The beauty of a sunset over Sandbanks beach and the pristine climate for a sunrise at the Big Sur. My first memory of my mother and my last memory of my father. I heard all the laughter, the joy I often took for granted in my mortal form. I saw the pain, the confusion, the knowing I was not good enough in God's eyes. I remembered telling myself that I was somehow beyond forgiveness.
I always thought of dying as a trip into the wild blue yonder. There was no blue here, not a speckle of color, only all the white. I started to consider that hell may be painted over in oyster or chalk. The sky had never been and the ground below was gone, if it was ever there at all. I was left all alone in an endless weave of only me and these tufts of rain yet to be. The isolation, the desperation all painted over any sense of joy that came with me. At one point, everything started to twist in my head. The flashes started to speed up, each zipping past my mind's eye like a Madonna video. I became sad at all I had left behind. I was more concerned that there seemed nothing else ahead. I stood frozen as the pictures moved faster and faster right in front of my face. These were not only the grand moments, in fact they were things not even worth the mention on an ordinary day. Every mundane experience raced together to fill in all the spaces. The time I spent sleeping, or going to the bathroom, or watching television, were strung together without a musical bed. At one point, I had seen more than enough and I tried to turn it off. I couldn't turn it off, it just went on and on in a constant motion. When it finally did cease to play, I was met with a sense of completion. Every part of me had been exposed.
At times it was like dancing on the clouds. At times it was hollow, depressing and uncomfortable. I wasn't sure how long the journey was which had been cast upon me. I wasn't even sure that time applied in this place. All I know is that I saw it all. Everything was clear and concise. In a way, it became more like watching one very long movie than flipping through pages in a book. It was like a puzzle coming together, each piece seemed to find its proper place. The best part was there were no commercial breaks. The worst part was there were no commercial breaks. From the day I tried to join my first wife to the day my second wife walked off that train and into my life, I finally understood the path I had lived. I had spent the latter part of that life examining me, but I never was able to really see. Now I stood before myself. I was wicked and careful and kind. I was cursed and I was blessed and I just was. Somehow, some way, I still was. I still existed. Nothing had been able to take that away from me.
I don't know what eternity feels like but I sure have a good idea. The process to re-examine my life seemed to take longer than my actual life did. Most of it was rather boring, a feat I always failed to achieve during my humanity. The longer I sat waiting, the more benign I began to feel. My shell hung on me, I experienced it, it was heavy and harsh. I was overcome with such grand emotions. It was bittersweet to have to say goodbye. There were no voices to usher me forward but I swear I could hear them. Somewhere in the everlasting white came a sense of pulling, a draining of everything I ever was or should have been. For the first time in my existence I was whole, every part of me ready to face this new day. At this point, I started to disappear.
Softly the clouds appeared to draw towards me. Gently they whipped around my frame, caressing me, touching me and calling me. I looked down and my feet began to melt into white. My flesh turned into gossamer which began to circle my calves and then my knees. I did not collapse under my weight as there was little weight left of me. My waist, my hands then my chest morphed into cotton balls of heavenly bliss. Each stretched out and blended with the others. I became one with the swirl until I swirled about myself. Soon, there was nothing left of my human remains, nothing but the mind that speaks to you now. My last effort was to reach out and try to help you understand. My last thoughts are of you. I pray that somehow this reaches you.
The last thing I can tell you, the very last thing I have to share, is not from a tale of woe ending badly. Underneath this blanket of snow, there is love and beauty in all I have seen. This is the voice and I now follow. I am floating here, drifting on by. Remember, we all are clouds and on the other side, the blue.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
I couldn't take it anymore. The screaming, the fighting, it was more than I could handle. I left the same way that I always fought back. I was loud, I was furious and so was the message that I did not fail to convey. I was so angry I wanted to hit someone, to hurt someone, it wouldn't matter who it was and whether they deserved it or not. I brutally slammed the front door shut behind me, ran down the front steps and I didn't even turn around, not once. I considered not going, but the rage within me had to be withdrawn. I needed to be withdrawn. The only way to effectively do so was to remove myself from the situation and flee the scene. I left our row house in the dust and sprinted towards the subway station on the next corner. I could take it all day if need be. I could have space and time alone. Hate seethed within me as I quickened my pace towards freedom. Instant gratification would not be quick enough. I cursed under my breath. I knew it was time that I went for a ride as far away as I could possibly get. I knew there was no other way to escape what I was feeling.
One city block stood in the way of my emancipation. I covered the distance in leaps and bounds. I thundered down the entranceway, through the turnstile and onto the platform meant for waiting. I remained agitated, panicky and quite bemused. This was not the first time we had come to blows. This was not the first time I walked out, ran out any exit seeking relief. I swore I would not return. This was not the first time I had made myself such a promise. This was not the only time I said it was so. I lingered, pacing, praying that the train would soon arrive. As I pondered my fate, as I recognized my disposition, I even considered tossing myself on the tracks below. I questioned if the silence would ever be worth the cost. Would the gain be worth the loss? I was breathless and a moment seemed to take forever. I leaned over the track course and peered down the tunnel, spying for a single bright light that would carry me away from it all. I tried as I may to hold to some hope in my departure but it was impossible for me to find peace when my mind was at war. I couldn't think straight, I could barely form a rational thought. I heard it coming from around the bend.
The platform was almost empty when I arrived. Only a handful of people came forward at the sound of the beast. I looked down, glaring at the subway tracks. I meant to jump. Suddenly, like a red and steel rocket, the train pulled into the station, came to its stop and rested. I had chickened out once again. The doors opened with their normal noise but with little commotion. This time was apparently the best time to take a ride alone. A few rushed commuters came and went, a few remained seated, and I shuffled aboard. The door call sounded, the doors shut and I grabbed a support rail as the metal mole moved deep into the next tunnel. The car was almost empty. Two Asian girls sat up near the door to the next cab, both were lost to their smartphones, oblivious to the world around them. An elderly African American gentleman sat almost dead middle. He glanced at me when I started to move to the back of the car. I took my place in private, huddled against a window in the very last seat to be found. I would have crawled under it if not for the space and the fear of being tossed off the metro. The next stop bid farewell to the old man, and two stops more rid me of those silly girls. I found myself alone, staring at the walls of the tunnel system as they passed at twenty miles per hour. One stop after another and the space remained vacuous. Even my rage dissolved and found its way off of the craft. My pulse stopped racing and my breathing improved. The throbbing headache I had carried ceased existence and I found myself comfortable. This process had always worked in the past. I looked out into the darkness and then closed my eyes to rest. I didn't need to dream.
The subway station was dark and empty but for the distant glow of nearby entrances and exits. Everything appeared to be covered in the very same icing of doom. I was more than a little frightened. I was also very hesitant to leave the artificial safety of rapid transit. I was almost crippled by the fear. I was careful not to take a deep breath and I walked out into the shadows. One foot in front of the other led me into the unknown. I had no idea who or what was out in the muck but I was drawn to the light as it crawled inside from a better place. This world was silent. There were no sounds from travelling trains, no shuffle or bustle of people coming to and fro. The air was still and very stale. Breathing seemed more like drinking soup, a quagmire made up from one billion tiny pieces of somber. I edged forward, scanning from side to side. I reached the outer wall and began to skulk along it, as quiet as a mouse. When I reached the vestibule on the platform, I literally slid over the turnstile and lowered each leg down to the ground. I played dead but just for a moment. There was nothing to startle me or cause me to react. There was nothing at all. There was nothing about. There was only more desert, more dirt and more confusion on my part. I kept to the wall and rounded the way to the light. The tunnel was clear of man or beast, or so it seemed to be. Only dust led the way, dust that had clearly not been disturbed for some time. It was a glaze, unbroken by footprints or tracks of any kind. I ran up the steep and jumped into the bright.
I took that sweet picture frame with me as I walked out the front door and back into the murky light. The sky kept churning above me and the dust kept stirring as I walked along the street. I started to feel quite cheated by it all. I didn't understand why I had been left as a witness to this calamity. It did not seem fair that I should be the only one. I wondered if I was being punished or if I had been spared. Regardless, I screamed out for someone to hear me. Over and over I called for release. It was the weight of my tears that buckled me onto myself. My legs let go and I fell to my knees in the soot. In the center of the road I gave in. In that moment, in that heartbeat, I think I started to pray. I wasn't sure what I was praying to. I barely understood what I was praying for. I kicked my feet from under me and flopped down on my butt. I started rocking. I started weeping. My tears mixed with my dusty face and tiny puddles of goo melted onto each cheek. I collapsed onto the pavement and laid there waiting to die.
I have no idea how much time passed before I finally got up and collected myself. One would imagine that for all the times I had considered tossing myself, it would be easy to abandon it all. The truth is, I could not. I could not give in to the desolation around me. I could not just finish myself in despair. I rose as I found the strength in me. I dusted myself off, looked all around and I started walking. Surely someone else had been left behind. Out in the world there could be many searching, just the same. The further I travelled, the more confident I became. If I kept going, I would discover hope somewhere along the way. I wandered through neighbourhoods, past landmarks and over bridges great and small. All I knew to do was just keep walking. I had to just keep going. There would be no other choice. All my notions got left in a cloud of dust.
"I can't believe she cremated him," the first woman added.
"Where is she going to have him buried?" the second woman questioned.
"Not in the Jewish cemetery, that's for sure," she concluded.