Him & Them

Him & Them

Day after day he continues the slow, dark climb out of obscurity. Exposure, the never-ending chase for … for … he runs; he examines; he punches himself in the face until … until the person around whom his entire world revolves takes notice and delivers … delivers … the semblance … a semblance of … resolution. He wants to go to there; there is where he will … will … the will to dare to dare to … want … the wanton … he stops; he paces; he wrings his hair between the unscrupulous grasp of his fists to force the mind to … give … to reveal … to tell all its secrets. The lies he tells himself satisfy him no longer, and when reality meets expectation, he runs with the perception … a perspective on … the perceptive nature where … when the behavior reflects the person behind the reinforcement.

She came to him in but only the vaguest sense. He felt her, the warmth, the love, the heat of longing between their sexual intercourse, and just as she was willing and able to give him everything he desired from her, only her, she vanished. Hidden, he remembered to tuck her behind his ear. Forgotten, that is when he lost her behind his ear. Every so often, when in the clutches of the luckiest of situations, she whispers to him in the cold, dark nights of forgotten dreams and remembered nightmares. Vastly unknown to the typical passerby, he sits, anxious, astutely aware of everything and yet, nothing makes any sense to him at all. He wanders, not as a not-lost wanderer. He feels, quite lost, most often times. The obscurity defines him in exactly the way that he would like to be defined. He moves within the world largely unnoticed. The people do not see him unless they know to look for him, but what kind of person looks for something about which they know nothing? He wonders, not as a self-seeking victim.

And there in the distance, a speck of light lighted and now lit by the flare of nostrils, an eyebrow lifted. He walks toward it; the lit light that was lighted grows. Closer now, he attempts to sneak up on it; the lit, lighted light retreats. He reaches a hand out towards it and easily takes hold of it. He ignites the light with a smooth, even blow of his breath. The light springs to lively life and scatters like confetti. One more deep breath in, Find her, he exhales. Consumed. The back of his right ear begins to burn. A gentle whisper, I am hidden; he remembers. You are lost, the gentle whisper continues. I am sleeping, he echoes within himself.

His eyes blink open; upon his back, the soothing, warm rays expanding above him suggest morning. Warm. He rolls over and feels the silken skin of a woman. No, he does not believe. Running his hand up the side of a naked, female body, the flesh is warm as his hands melt into the woman beside him. His hand reaches the shoulder of the female body, and just as he presses to roll the woman over to look upon her face, the gentle whisper of the voice he knows to belong to the woman he so desperately hopes is the woman lying besides him now envelopes him, I am hidden. Wake up. The droplets that release themselves from his face collect, and as the air meets them, a cold chill resonates from around the creases of his nostrils and that border where his face becomes scalp. His eyes open wide, wide awake. On his side, facing a wallpapered wall, he feels cold. Tears … the tears that burn … the burn of emotion … a stream of forgotten dreams that dry … the dried tears that salt the waters that brings life to all life. As he sits up the loneliness … the emptiness … no … he remembers. The feelings represent something more akin to despair, although, despair is not quite the word either. He’s been alone and lonely for so long now that the feeling feels normal. Honestly, he is sure, he does not know if he would like to depart from his feelings of loneliness; it sounds so … so … exposed.

“This is how the crazies live,” they say, “ They like to perch.” Perched, he slides on his butt down to the foot of his bed so that he may look over the balcony, into the common area. The common area is a large, vaulted open room with two dozen sets of stairs lining three of the four outer walls. The fourth wall, if standing directly in the middle of it, looking toward it, to the right, houses the doorway into and out of the common area, which leads to the waiting room, a comfortable room where visitors may visit, and where other sorts of administrative necessities are found. The fourth wall, to the left, houses one large doorway into and out of the common area, which leads directly to an outdoor, lushly lawned, activities-conducive space and leads down a short corridor through which the dining area is accessed. In between these two doors, the wall consists almost solely of large, floor-to-ceiling windows.

“The crazies like it this way,” they say, “They like to hear the goings on of other people.” The ladders lead to the semi-private sleeping areas of the sufferers. Each ladder boasts colored steps of all different variants, but they [the steps] are of all the same size, about a foot deep and a foot apart, vertically. Upon assignment of each sleeping cubby, the staff offers each incoming, new registrant the option to choose among a variety of colors for their ladder. These options, however, are not endless. What is available, nevertheless, ranges from a monochromatic scheme in a tint or shade, coordinating complementary colors, a rainbow-ordered set, or a random assortment. All must choose a color package, or a color package will be chosen for them. To look around the common area, at the ladders today, three ladders are missing the steps entirely, which means the sleeping cubby above is unoccupied. Some sufferers have opted for a random assortment, but most, oddly enough, have chosen the rainbow set. One sufferer has a monochromatic scheme of green tints, while one other has a monochromatic scheme of purple shades, “The closest,” they say, “to black without being black, which, of course, is not an option.”

At the top of each ladder, a cubby—the width and depth of which is large enough to house a bed large enough to sleep a large man comfortably, enough space for that same large man to lay on the floor next to the bed with arms and legs almost fully outstretched, a small dresser drawer that doubles as a bedside table, and as for the height, the ceiling of the cubby would force this same large man to bend nearly at the hips—reaches up and back, away from the common area’s walls. The three walls of the cubby are windowless and outfitted with wallpaper of various nature scenes, which may also be chosen. Lined with a balcony half the height of the cubby, the fourth wall serves as the cubby’s entrance and exit point. The banisters of the balcony must also be colorful, but usually, the installers simply match the colors of the banisters to the colors of the steps. Only once has a different color arrangement for the steps and banister ever been requested, but most believe this is due mostly to the fact that the sufferers simply do not know that they may request an alternate color arrangement. Lest not forget that the cubbies themselves are meant, first and foremost, for sleeping. Rest and leisure time, despite this, may be spent within, no matter. Each sufferer, however, must also clothe themselves within this space so as to not be in the nude when descending the ladder into the common area, but when the clothing is simple and slightly uniform, wriggling into each day’s outfit is no chore. The sufferers may also opt to don a simple robe and clothe themselves in their bathrooms.

As a point of concern for the safety of each cubby’s resident, the ladder also serves the purpose of … safety. Pressure sensitive, the steps of the ladder turn on the one light inside the cubby. That light, of course, may then be switched off via the touch-sensitive pad that controls the cubby’s light and temperature. Thus, when an intruder attempts to enter a cubby in which that intruder does not belong, the lights of the cubby turn on with hopes that the inhabitant, if at night, is awoken to the intruder’s presence. The steps also light up a small notification in the security room. No incident has ever come to fruition due to the seemingly unsafe nature of the ladders. That’s not to say, however, that none will occur, but since none has yet to occur, the ladders remain as a seemingly fair resolution.

To the right of the foot of each ladder is a small door that leads to a private bathroom beneath each sleeping cubby. The bathrooms are fairly typical in that the entire space is molded of some sort of rust- and mold-resistant material that is easily wiped down. This, of course, is for each sufferer’s safety. There are no bits and pieces that can be removed from other pieces. Sizable, there’s floor space where a large man may lay down upon the floor between the sink, toilet and bathing areas, but who would want to do such a thing?; no matter, the option has been made available. The bathtub, also of a size that may fit a large man comfortably, has only a faucet, which prohibits the act of showering and removes the need for a shower curtain along with its accoutrements. Small areas around the bathroom light up to reveal where to press to flush, per se, command hot or cold water to flow, soap to dispense, etc., etc.

An analyst makes her way through the common area, which at this time is being used for group games and artistic projects, toward the bottom of the monochromatic ladder of green tints. He sits, perched upon the edge of his bed, arms resting upon the banister, chin upon the arms, looking out with little interest at the activities below. The analyst looks up at him, “You have a visitor.” “There are no approved visitors on my ‘Approved Visitors’ list,” he responds. “Yes, but this is a matter of … clinical interest. Your visitor has requested to visit you, despite whether or not you will benefit from the visit.” “I do not wish to visit with my visitor.” “Unfortunately, you do not have a choice.” “If my visitor is, in fact, here to visit me, then of course I have the choice to refuse. If my, quote, visitor is not, in fact, a visitor, then label him or her accordingly.” The analyst sighs, “It’s such a battle with you. You’re the one who wants to be here. So, comply.” He’s always had a soft spot for this particular analyst, the no-bullshit type, and he’s always kind of thought it odd that she was the only one, after who knows how many tried, who understood him. “I see,” he supposedly concedes. “As if,” the analyst retorts, “I’ll give you five minutes. He’s in the waiting room.”

Doubling

Doubling

It’s official. The work that I thought needed to be done in order for us to start our business here in Colorado has doubled. We had a business idea that worked well, together, as one entity, but now nary the twain shall be. Instead, we must now develop the organizational structure of two business, and we must incorporate and launch them both at the same time.

Honestly, I never thought that I would ever come up with an idea so complex that it would not only require more than a million dollars, but also, it’s now so complex that two businesses must rise from nothingness simultaneously. Goodie. I feel as though I would normally be excited by the complications, but instead, I feel disbelief.

The reality is that I do not really know how to do the thing I aspire to do. What I do know is what I want it to look like in the end, but getting from here to there seems ridiculously challenging. I can’t see it. I cannot create images in my mind about what my life will look like in the future, building this concept. Obviously, I’m doing the work right now, so it’s not impossible; I’m doing it. But the fact that I am figuring it out as I go is not an exciting prospect. At least, it’s not as exciting as I had imagined this process being, when I imagined my life now, six months ago.

And the taunting words keep rattling around in my mind, “Nobody wants to hear you.”

I do not believe I have an express purpose so much as I have a bunch of grievances against shit I can no longer stand. The world needs to change. Education needs to change. Businesses need to change. Everything about the way that we live needs to change, or else, we will not make it to the future we are all hoping for most. It’s the fucking 21st Century, and yet, so much about the way that life is lived and business is managed  makes me feel as though I’m still trapped in the 20th. Lame.

The Last Word

The Last Word

A rooftop restaurant that overlooks the rhythm of a halcyon sea, with the strung light markings of platitude, as servers preserve table-top candles that blink in that way that make people feel as though they ought to be entranced, Isla sees the form of herself as her form sits in a pair of red heels that present her as adventurous, a backless dress to reveal her female confidence, that silken hair in just-off-the-beach waves. Isla waits for the arrival of the guest she so vividly remembers, but alas, he never shows. The form of her gestures for the check as a server delivers it. Where is he? Isla wonders. Feeling anxious, as the form of her continues to sit and sip the last glass of the wine bottle, Isla walks purposefully to the edge of the balcony to see if she can catch a glimpse of the streets below. She can, and so, Isla takes a lap around the entire rooftop terrace looking for him. A miracle, she spots a man staring right back at her. He waves. She looks to see if someone near her is perhaps the person at whom the man waves. He points. She waves. He waves. He motions for her to come down. Desperate, she runs.

“Did you find what you’re looking for?” the man asks as she recalls the question he first asked her upon the roof decades ago. “But what was I looking for?” Isla responds. “You tell me,” the man shakes his head. “I was trying to find purpose.” “And to find your purpose is purpose enough?” “Yes,” Isla sighs. “No.” “I was trying to find myself.” “At what point do you decide that you are who you are?” the man urges. “I guess, I don’t know. I guess … I just thought I would know,” Isla answers. The man chuckles to himself. “Just tell me then if you know such high and mighty things,” Isla shouts a bit impatient with gestures of sarcasm. “Start from the beginning,” the man instructs.

“There’s no need. I relived every moment of my twenties as if the lies I told others and myself were the truth,” Isla begins. “And did you learn the truth?” the man asks. “Why are you here? Who are you?” “Those are questions of such irrelevance that if you cannot get past this, there’s no point.” “No point for what?” “For you.” “For me, how?” “But you know. At least, I think that is what you learned.” “What did I learn?” “You tell me.” “What if I don’t want to tell you!” “Then you will tell no one.” “Fine! Then no one knows.” “But to speak your knowledge aloud, if only into a void, is to know that knowledge.” Isla crumples into a heap upon the ground. “Get up. Let’s walk,” the man suggests, “There’s a nice boardwalk just beyond these buildings.” “Yes, I know,” Isla whines as she peels herself from the sidewalk and joins him along the beach.

They walk together along the boardwalk, close enough so that they may easily hear each other, but far enough apart, he assures, so as not to cause any emotional confusion. He hums. “Who are you,” Isla asks once again. “It doesn’t matter,” he responds. “But how do you know things about me?” “I’ve been following you and watching you for quite a while.” Isla begins to feel something but discomfort is not it, and then she begins to wonder why that piece of information does not make her feel uneasy. “I told you,” he begins as he looks up into the starry, night sky, “It’s like I said; it doesn’t matter.” “Why are you here?” “That, I will honestly tell you, I do not know.” “How long have you followed me?” “A few years.” “Why?” “I thought you were someone you are not.” “Who did you think I was?” “I doesn’t matter.” Beginning to understand the program, and especially since she can no longer determine whether or not any of this is even real, she moves on, “How long did you follow me?” “I can’t be sure, but it’s probably been a few years now.” A little pinge pinches her deep in the stomach. Isla stops walking; he continues to meander whilst peering deep into the night sky.

From a distance far enough to require shouting, Isla shouts, “How did you know I was going to die?” The man stops and turns to face her, “You didn’t die.” “What do you mean? I died the day after this day, and then I lived my own personal hell of revisiting every horrible aspect of myself.” “No,” the man tritely offers. “No, what? I’m not dead, or this is not hell?” “I don’t know. I’m just the messenger. I cannot divine any meaning or purpose for you,” he explains. Isla’s face turns to utter shock and frustration. She begins to pace back and forth across the width of the boardwalk. For an unknowable amount of time, she vigorously paces. At some point, he finally states a few words of solace, “But you learned what you needed to, Isla. All you have to do is speak your knowledge.” Isla immediately comes to a stop, turns to face him, and with a pointed finger points directly into his face, “You! You’re the lie! You’re the fraud whose purpose it is to just fuck with me endlessly for some godforsaken reason!” Arms flailing now, Isla screams, “You’re the devil! You brought all of this hell upon me! I’ve done nothing wrong! I lived a good life! I searched and searched the goddamn fucking universe for a purpose! I wanted to know what I should do! All I ever wanted was to … And then, you all holier than thou, you fucking cocksucker! You’re just the asshole messenger who woke up one day after, what can essentially be considered, stalking me for god knows how long! You fucking pervert! Where the hell do you get off? Isla!,” she screams up to the skies in futility. “Isla! Wake up! WAKE UP! WAKE UP, GODDAMMIT!” Isla crumples again into a heap upon the boardwalk and begins to cry. The man, unmoved, stands emotionless as Isla cries in a pathetic heap of a mess for hours.

Somehow, no one will ever truly know how, he manages to convince Isla to, at the very least, sit up and answer him a few more questions. “Fuck you!” she spits. Crouched down to meet her eyes more easily now, he asks, “What was it, Isla? All you wanted to do was what?” Still sniffling, as she wipes her face with her hands, Isla looks into his face and says, “All I ever wanted was to be remembered.” “Yes,” he states flatly. “I … I … just,” Isla stammers, “I just want to be remembered.” “Why?” “Because if someone, anyone remembers me, then that means that I … I had meaning, or I was someone great, or I did something no one else had done or could do. I just want to matter. I just want my life to have, I don’t know, been something special.” “But what do you know now?” the man interjects. “That a life of meaning is a life of learning.” “I see,” the man says as he drops his head, seemingly disappointed. “And that somehow, a person must learn how to learn, and if that person fails or is failed by the people around her in how to learn, that person can never live.”

The man, still crouched as Isla sniffles, stands, “So where will you go now?” “Home,” Isla states as she makes her way onto her feet, “I want to go home.” “What will you find there?” “I guess I will find what I’m looking for.” “Will you?” “Fuck you! We’re done!” “Very well,” the man states as he begins to walk away from her. “But wait!” Isla shouts at the back of his head. The man stops and turns. “Who are you?” “It doesn’t matter,” the man states for the last time. “It matters to me!” Isla demands. “Yes, but you don’t matter to me,” the man shrugs as he continues to walk down the boardwalk. Stunned, Isla screams, “I fucking hate you! Leave me alone! If I ever … ” “Don’t worry about that, Iss. You’re not worth remembering,” the man flatly states over his shoulder as he disappears into the night.

Bright sunlight blinds her for a moment as Isla steps into the uncharacteristically sunny orbital of her youth. The orbital is an old-gen system where the subtleties of climate and weather were unpredictable at best, torrential at worst. Dressed for the typically cold, dark atmosphere, Isla feels warm, way too warm. She begins to sweat. Off in the distance, she can barely make out the familiar shapes of her family. Being the oldest of four during a time of familial modesty, only one other sibling remains within the same orbital as their parents. Isla offhandedly waves as they all make their way to each other. “Hi, Dear,” her mother states with a loving embrace. “It’s so good to have you home,” her father reiterates in line with her mother’s affection. A hug from her youngest female sibling, “Hey, Iss. It’s so good to see you.” “You too,” Isla generously offers despite her feelings. “It was such a nice surprise to receive your message with such short notice,” her mother continues. “I’m sorry if the timing is less than desirable,” Isla apologies. “Oh, no, Honey. It’s no problem at all. You’re welcome here anytime! You could’ve just shown up on our doorstep!” her father genuinely exclaims as they all make their way to their designated monorail. “How is it that we’ve been so lucky to be granted this visit?” her mother finally asks once they are all aboard the transportation vehicle and comfortable. “I … I just … I’ve been looking for some meaning, I guess,” Isla honestly, to her parents’ surprise, confesses. “Oh, Honey,” her mother and father simultaneously console. Her mother continues, “As our daughter, Sweetie, you mean the world to us!” Isla sighs as she shakes her head in disbelief. “What is it?” her father asks after seeing the distraught look on Isla’s face. “Fuck!” Isla shouts as she keels over in her seat, hits the floor of the train in an unconscious slump, and dies.