October 08, 2008

Sometimes the hardest part of life is just living

I am still working on Fragments of Fiction. I need to figure out where I want to insert this and how the characters are going to interact.
Sometimes the hardest part of life is just living. Sometimes the most challenging thing you do is force yourself to get out of bed and get dressed. That is because there are forms of pain that prove to be too difficult to impart in words. They are beyond description because nothing can accurately describe the kind of mental anguish that you feel when your soul is slowly ripped apart. You just can't appropriately convey the pain of watching a piece of yourself die...slowly.

There is a reason why some people suffer a complete breakdown. There are explanations for going catatonic. The sheer horror, the magnitude of these situations is just too much to take and so the mind shuts down. I rather imagine there is a little person inside the brain that flips a switch and closes the blinds. Sorry, we just liquidated our entire inventory--the warehouse is dark and empty, the shop is closed.

Whenever I think about this I can't help but envision empty streets and a gray skyline punctuated by stale air and the feeling that there is something rotting away nearby. The carcass of a large animal. I can almost smell it. Little hints, whiffs of vapor that tickle my throat and make me want to gag.

When you live life veiled in shadows and darkness it is just that much harder to be happy. You fake a smile and force yourself to laugh, but the smile is strained and the laughter is hollow. A sad empty feeling. Look in the mirror and you can see the shell of someone who once was.

Once upon a time there were tears that could be shed over the loss of so much. Tears to be spilled over the passing of friends and family and tears that cascaded down his face over lost love. There was a time when the reason for the tears made sense to him. A moment when he cried about unfulfilled dreams and potential that would never be realized.

Forlorn and lost he wandered the streets searching for something, but he never did know what that something was. It was an enigma to him a mystery that he couldn't quite figure out. At times it felt like he was right on the verge of figuring it out. It was like those first few moments after you wake up when your dreams mixed with reality. And just for a moment you felt like it made sense and then the moment was gone. A second before you remembered your dream with perfect clarity and then poof.

That was a neverending source of frustration. It always felt like the answers were in reach. If he just tried a little bit harder. If he stretched a little bit farther he'd finally grab that brass ring and gain all that came with it. In the end it never worked. It was like trying to grab a handful of water. The tighter he squeezed the faster it dribbled out between his fingers.

Maybe that is why he started drinking. Maybe that is an explanation for why someone who could have been something more decided to become something less. He once told me that there was honor in being a drunk. It was a profession of the world and the common man and something that all people could relate to. I think that he wanted, that he tried to make it sound noble. I think that for a moment I saw a light in his eyes turn on and then just as quickly it was extinguished and he was just one more person beaten down by life.

If you never have experienced the harder side of life it is not easy to relate. It is much easier to pretend that people like him don't exist. Most people prefer to watch the movies in which the boy gets the girl and the villain goes to prison. They don't want to watch that same boy die a long and painful death. There is no desire to see the wreckage and pain caused by unexplainable loss. They can't stand the pain anymore than the walking invisible.

You might be surprised at how fast you can shed your own humanity. The things that you never could have imagined doing are quickly rationalized and forgotten. The indignities are things that you do because that is how you have to live and you don't have time to pretend otherwise. It doesn't take long for life to age you so that you look far older than you are. You needn't spend years on the street to obtain that weathered look. No, that is a gift that the lucky gain in far less time than that.


Tabitha Welles said...

This is haunting, sad and beautiful. I've felt this way and have felt the subject's pain. Thank u.

Rozelle Wentzel said...

Wow. Amazingly written.