It is not a complete exhaustion. It is a little burning around the edges. It is a desire for a change of pace, from the rapid fervent insectile energy to a more assured and relaxed tempo. From the constant near-harangue of our jobs, from the needs of our families and our friends, from our own thoughts, our fears, dreams and desires pinging back and forth in our skulls.
Ideally, it should go from a stroll to a jog to a run. We’ve been running, flat-out from the get-go. Can we slow down and smell the sea and feel the salt on our faces, wiggle our toes in the smooth sand. Can we be in the moment, in this moment, where we are not needed anywhere, by no one and only by each other?
The noise has been there for so long. You do not hear it anymore. There is no longer silence. The noise becomes the silence. All that surrounds you, all that is inside you is the crashing of the waves. One after another after another, smashing themselves against the shore.
The following moment, nothing. No sound, not even the fresh bursts of the bubbles in the sand. Total blackness. Perfect dark. You do not feel the transitions from swell to silence. The waves became a stream of your consciousness. The same way you cannot tell at what point one thought morphed into another, the surges segue completely into nothingness.
The wind shifts imperceptibly. It switches from the sea to the land and from the land towards the sea with barely a whisper. It is only when you rise with the sun and the fishermen and the hungry birds when you see the flip and discern the moment when all is still. In that instance that seems to take an eternity, the palms do not rustle, and the breeze seems to stop thoughtfully and slowly turn around.
You are both the heroes and the villains in your narratives. In your stories, you are the good and the bad at the same time. Like Janus, you exist in a central place, two beings, creating and experiencing worlds that only you fit in best. Looking forward and backward, you see the good and the bad only you want, respectively.
It would end here. It is neither a good nor bad thing. However, since we are talking about the stories of humans, we embellish, censor and silence. You paint Yourselves as colourful or as dreadful as it suits you, caring nought for objectivity or truth, or you altogether eliminate Yourselves from an occurrence – by avoiding responsibility, by casting blame on everything but Yourselves.
There is a mode of talking about Yourselves that attempts to hide pain and make light of poor judgement. You paint Yourselves in a self-deprecatory, sarcastic and ironic way to avoid seeing Yourselves for what you are/ were. Often, you come across as cartoonish buffoons, unaware of your actions and pushing the consequences aside with the proverbial “Meh.” and “Ha ha, we were so silly.”
It is lazy and beyond getting a few laughs, it is the literary equivalent of white bread. Tasty and ultimately unsatisfying and unhealthy, for the reader and you the writers. Speaking openly and honestly, for writing is a form of talking, is hard. It is hard mainly because you have to look Yourselves in the eye and admit that maybe you are not as good as you like to think. You should have handled things better because you knew better.
In this way, you come out as villains, well-meaning, confused and sad villains. Not-too-bad fellows. And, in this way also, not-too-good fellows. Lukewarm, boiled unsalted potatoes. You are on a fence, unwilling to admit to a side. To claim you are good would be a lie, yet you do not have the courage to say you are not good. You hem and haw. And mediocrity follows. Your words taste insincere, even to Yourselves, but you do not want to change your diet.
But, one day, you do change your diet, and do you glow! Your past becomes a shit pile from which you mine diamonds with which you adorn Yourselves. “Look at what I made of myself from the muck.”. You polish them and show them to the world. And not a whiff of yesterday remains. However, the more you scrub, the less shiny your gems become. They turn to rocks. Dull and scratchy. You persist, hoping to reclaim some glory from the bloodshed you left behind. There is something missing. You are unfulfilled.
Then it comes to you, slowly at first, like a shy hungry kitten. You ignore the sensations, the faraway-sounding gongs of your conscience. Then, a mistruth rapid knocking on your mind. You never said you were sorry. You never admitted that you were wrong, that you were despicable. This mistruth is what was shining through, rendering your words just words. And when you embrace the thorny sides of Yourselves, piercing Yourselves, your stale insides finally breathing, by way of reparations hurting Yourselves, your words leave you.
Have you ever had a need as urgent? A need to explode into smoke in the wild winds, to run away from what you think you know, what you cherish and distaste, and go somewhere no one knows you, somewhere you can recreate yourself again, forge your life anew, or eliminate whatever passes for life, exchange it for… something else.
You occupy a slice of the universe but you hate that you are bloating the space up. You also long for the absence of your absence. You miss yourself being without. You long to not be, to be unpresent. If you could, you would percolate into the ether, become weightless and drift into nothingness.
Everything becomes common-dull. Blasé becomes your state. Layered as it is in humour, irony, and sarcasm, it peeks through, re-asserting itself. Nothing feels fresh. What brought you joy you now want to end. You rush through yourself. Impatient, you rush yourself, rushing others. To where you cannot yet know. Just not here. Not this muggy world of old things with new polish.
Growing up or growing out, out of what you have been told since you became solid and knowing, knowing what is important, what is needed. But, important for whom, needful for you? When you question, your light is doused in a semblance of compassion. If they cared, they would set your mouth free.
They told you to set your mind on fire and you did. Now that you can burn them, they call upon tradition. You cannot choke any more. You need the air of ceasing to be what you are, what you are to them, and become what you want to be for yourself. To satisfy your need to exist by not existing. To explode. You will, if your luminosity does not get an outlet. Can you see your edges already turning to ash?
I tend to look in her direction when we watch cartoons, hoping to catch her eye, seeking approval that this aspect of myself is palatable, the giggling puerile juvenile me is as well liked as the sober, sane, proper me. I laugh, prompting her to laugh too. When did I become like this?
Maybe I was always this way, pining for something different and outside myself, to be embraced by someone exotic, someone who fit into my grooves almost perfectly. I have not had to gouge myself to accommodate her. I only dusted myself and let her light in to chase away the staleness of a heart gone musty.
Her aunt told me that I am a man in love. This was after I gave the obligatory speech about how brilliant and engaging I found her niece. She sounded like a character in an old-time movie, the ones who narrow their eyes and smile knowingly. It was like we had shared a delicious secret we did not even know was there until that moment.
Those words are sand in my mouth and I want to spit. But, when I am with her, they flow, cool fire out of my throat. I am in love. How long will this insanity last? How long until the flames are quenched by the world’s exigencies, the petty concerns that bedevil people in proximity?