The television lights the room in soft phosphorescence. Shadows grow to extremes and recede in the flickering light. The mood is hushed as we lie together; an audience of two. The time has passed far enough now that I feel the difference in the night. The excited conversation at dinner contrasted to this muted attention. My awareness flutters inside me. At first it’s an uncomfortable rumble in the pit of my stomach but now I feel it traveling to a controlled extreme. Soft in its infancy I shift and control this to a rising hush. This transmits as a loud gasp, intense in its shock, and I look to my loved one. I smile, she begins to mirror me but then reverses. Her eyes grow wide as her nose contorts.
Still looking deep into her eyes I whisper, “Maybe we should open a window.”
So began my life at its zenith, or so I thought. Hills are larger when one has not experienced the mountains to contrast. We are all naïve in these early pastures climbing hilltop to hilltop.
I was young once, as we all were. Excitement of menial tasks, thoughts of immense and unimaginable mountains pushed my limbs to greater lengths. Wonderful and glorious with their white caps they present as a definite goal for our life. Little do we know the pitfalls within these farther hills. Little do we see in the clouded eyes of imagination the sharp points and fragile architecture these mountains possess. The road to Oz is not flat, nor is it paved in gold. Friends do not always stick with you along the way. The solution is not always within you all along and your greatest problems are not so easily washed away.
I was young once traveling ever forward to greater heights. Time and distance brought seasons and discomfort. Paths diverged, forked and twisted, ended and faded into the overgrown, lesser traveled woods. Leaves of change opened possibility with false promise of better days and better sights to be followed by dark, decaying winter. A cold death filled the woods. Snow blanketed my pastures; covered my paths.
Spring arrives to surround me, the world is reborn. Flowers thought once gone peak out from their resting place beneath the snow. The winter melts away and so do its cold memories. I am rejuvenated, but I am young.
Each year I experience these seasons of trust, promise, defeat and rebirth. They begin as a part of nature but will soon mirror my life.
Growing older now, my reflection overflowing these mirrors once too large for the person I was shines back at me. My attention diverts to the fields to see I am not alone. Others have gathered gazing into streams and lakes shining of age mesmerized by the foreign features having formed under their noses. We travel together up these hills knowing nothing of each other. Some keep to themselves while others find common footsteps to share paths.
The sky does not remain blue. This we have seen, the meaning of I will soon learn. The fields hold our greater, growing numbers. The days see couples hand-in-hand, others limping along. The night hears contrasting screams and whispers. Partners separate, people travel away, many disappear. We take such advantage of this ground we walk we lose sight of where our footfalls. Our heads held up to these mountains which increasingly gain focus in every forward step throws us off to the dangers we face. With my eyes on the clouds I cannot see the frozen lake I hazardly traverse.
My feet no longer grace the green fields of my youth but rather have fallen through the ice of this horrid terrain. My arms swing forward to catch the slippery edge in futile panicked attempts. The water beneath me encompasses me, takes all sensation forcing its cold numbness to my body. Others have been forewarned, for some this was enough as they watch from their perch on the shores.
My pleas, my entreaties are ignored, or not heard. Those passing by relinquish all care and concern in their vapid exploration. They ignore my warnings and turn blind eyes with cold cheeks to my folly.
From beneath the ice I can hear their footsteps pushing with little impact, with little care. ‘Perhaps they have caught vision of these mountains and found the climb to be too steep. Perhaps they have rationalized themselves into believing these majestic mountains are not worth this life’s pursuit,’ I thought. I felt sorry for those footsteps, for now I do not understand them. For now I have concerns of my own.
Months trapped I reach to what I believe may be up. All direction has been lost; I am the spinning needle of a bewildered compass. Any moment now I will find my north. Any moment now I will awake in a cold sweat under the stars at the foot of my mountain. Any moment now…
Struggling, I flail my limbs attacking the liquid atmosphere cradling my numbed body. My lungs exchange air with water as I scream to indict the heavens for this curse. What treasonous act have I performed to be treated with such violent repression in this seventh circle?
With time I begin to bargain my self worth. I will be good, as I have always been. I will treat others fair, as I always have. I will be kind, I will listen, I will prove myself, and I will do anything you demand. The world returns a silent response. The sun is lost behind the icecaps, my world is dark. In my new world I am alone.
For relief I beg the heavens. My plea is sent out to the farthest reaches of my voice. Through the icy floor above I wish upon every star falling from the sky and all others hanging in anticipation for a warming hand to pull me from this frozen prison. Time passes.
Every second of every day rings a little harder, the hours pass like weeks, the year is unkind. I know not where I stand. Am I floating or have I fallen deeper? Have I risen, if so to what extent? My eyes are closed to keep images inside to hold my chosen memories of the autumns that fell at summers end and the springs that vanquished even the coldest winters; to keep this foreign site from replacing them.
My heart now beats in mechanical obedience like the pistons of a machine. Rise and fall, never excite. This callous muscle weighs heavy in my chest. I contemplate how to jettison this excess baggage for a buoyant response that I may break through the surface and feel the sun once more.
There are times I think I hear the footsteps passing above. I believe I see a hand reach out only to disappear shortly thereafter. I have no choice but walk this ocean floor.
My eyes have become grayed and fogged with distrust when I look up, knowing my feet are atop the deepest bottom. I try to wipe them of their deceit when I see a most beautiful image looking into the water. Perhaps she caught her own reflection and was frozen from her own startling beauty. The piston in my chest misfires; the first spark I felt in years. Her hand reaches down, must be to wipe the image from the water’s surface. No other reason can find foothold in my lost logic. This hand stays, it cannot be real. Our eyes share line of sight. Such graceful hands enter the cold wiping from them all warmth. I have no time to question the validity of their truth for even in my imagination can I not allow such beauty be disturbed. I reach up pushing the hand out into the sun, ‘Save yourself!’ I plead. It grabs hold each finger breathing life to each cell. I feel in my hands the first sign of life in years. This foreign touch scares me but I will not deny it.
I have caught a reprieve from my appeals. How did this happen? I wonder if a star, falling in blazing descent, its tail in streaming pursuit, caught my words then crashing far away gave birth this angel that is now pulling me from these darkened depths. I am freed from the water, a blind man now seeing his first light, I blink wildly as the brightness hurts my eyes. The water rushes from me taking with it its empty grasp. I am winter turned spring in the light of this angelic figure with her summer eyes. Her smile brings life to my drowned heart. ‘You have given this wooden boy life’ I think aloud. My heart is a stump in a forest clearcut of all its passion begins to push rivers of warmth to my every limb.
We walk through fields of green; flowers of contrasting orange extend to the furthest border of the longest horizon. I see others walk the fields in soft embrace and slowed pace. I think back to the footsteps I thought to be defeat from beneath the ice. My eyes grow ever wider, clearing clouds of miscalculation. These persons had found it was not those mountains we marched towards to be the meaning of our life’s pursuit. We were not meant to look down on others as our greater purpose. We had thought it was the business of climbing this summit higher and faster than any other as the goal for us to reach. These two along the way discovered greater heights than any that can be seen from any physical high.
Her hand pulls on mine, still entwined. I turn to her, to express my revelation to be silenced in her close attention. Her lips speak to me every word of every truth of every question I have ever asked or thought without so much as a single breath carried between them. Her eyes show me a life of colors beyond the endless spectrums inhabiting the deepest imaginations. Our silence screams of the greatest passions and echoes of the softest noise.
In this I forget the world I left. In her I leave the world I know. Together we will paint a blank canvas with shared dreams. We will compose new verses with secret whispers, enamored musings reaching into enchanted depths. Together we will create and climb new mountains. Together even the heavens will bring us no end.
I actually wrote this 2.5 years ago before I met my girlfriend and while I was unemployed from a company layoff. It goessss liiikeee thhhiiissss
I've been on my own for a while and now that I don't have my parents around I find myself performing those certain tasks my mother would have killed me for. For instance:
-Running around the hall with sciccors in my hands and not wearing the proper safety devices for such an activity.
-Not eating my veggies. (look nothing against veggies its just that I see it like smoking. No, not that its hard to quit just that I've never started but a part of me always wanted to)
-Clothes go in a Hamper? Whats that?
-Eating that pizza slice in the half open box on the floor that had been there all night.
-petting the furry animal? next to said pizza box
-Sniffing glue as a means to fall asleep
-Fruit snacks are a meal
-I enjoy sitting no more than 3 feet from the television while watching morning cartoons with quick action and flashing lights.
-I may yell, jump and curse at the television if it tells me anything I do not wish to hear
-noon is a good starting point for any day
-I do make my bed... into a kickass fort!
-I do my own laundry, by putting the shirt on the floor on a hanger and into the closet. Yay me!
Preface: I wrote this up about 9 years ago in 2000. It started in my Freshmen College Rhetoric Class where we had to take a conventional idea and place a spin on it. I decided to write about the Persecution of the Trix Rabbit. Well it was such a rave that she had me read it to the class and I felt proud of myself. I then decided to add to it some other cereals and my thoughts. These were them:
Tony The Tiger (Frosted Flakes)
Ok this one is obvious. Lets go through a commercial. We are presented with a child, small, puny and pathetic. He is attempting a sport he's never done before or is simply bad at. Perhaps he got the football pads for christmas and doesn't want to dissappoint mommy and daddy it doesn't matter. He goes in, gets crushed, a tiger jumps in at him. He says if you take this you'll be good at sports... Don't get ahead of me people. So, these corn flakes with a special frosting are presented and BAM! the kid is Legit. They're Grrreeeeeaattt! he says. They're Steeerrrroooiiidddsss! I say.
Trix Rabbit (Trix)
"Silly rabbit Trix are for kids!" The translation of that statement? "Silly pathetic malnurished desperately in need of a meal begging, nay pleading, stranger. I'm selfish!" What's yours is yours and by no means can you part with anything, especially if you can afford it, to help another out even if your inaction forces them to resort to special tactics. Oh, and make sure to laugh at them when they reach defeat.
Sonny (Cocoa Puffs)
What's cool about Sonny is that he will be a bit hyper at first, fun, and quite persuasive to get some cocoa puffs. Also, he's willing to share to get some. We call that negotiating. The moment it enters his system (check him for track marks) he's off shooting towards the sky (high?). Just as quick as he reaches his peak he falls to the ground and sits there in a daze until he can spit out some nonsensical "I'm coocoo for cocoa puffs!" No Sonny, you are addicted and have a serious problem. Get help please. (Heroine)
Snap, Crackle and Pop (Rice Krispies)
Count Cholcula (self title)
Shows us that vampires are cool which may be contradictory to the previous thought that all vampires suck.
Whigger Frog (Smacks)
The classic underachiever. He will never be as cool as the others so he dresses up, outside his character, hat backwards trying to relate. He acts like your friend, must be a nice guy right? Oh and he sells smack (street name for heroine).
Honeycombs craver is the tie in to all the other cereals. Where the other cereals offer some relief Craver only offers hunger. He says take this and you’ll want more and more! He is the link, the craving, the thirst, he is addiction. (could also be a reference to pot. Take this and you’ll be hungry?)
This morning I was peering out my window to catch the sun on its rise. Peaking over the mountains like a child through the seams of a favorite quilt, it looked upon the populace with hesitant intensity. The city pretending to be asleep as it lay out below, glowing in secondhand reflectance from the ocean ahead. The groans of men, women and children could be felt as a soft, and relatable, collective awakening from my perch above. I imagined inside each house as window shades ignited from the morning sun like lamps illuminating the rooms which their eyes would so desperately try to escape.
Beyond the groggy rooms the Pacific mirrored the sun's morning fluorescence, pushing the light in waves towards the little town, which seemed to have been at its pinnacle of rest. Atop the orange blanket of the glowing sea bedbugs masquerading as ships scoured the fiery water moving like rowboats on some serene lake under the cotton clouds in the bloodshot eyes of the morning sky.
With glass of water in hand, in my bedclothes from my perch up high I watched in awe as the world awoke.
See, I know what it's like. I've been walled up on three sides with a company branded personal computer and my own counter space. I've had drawers filled with 'files'. Plenty of 'files' just in case. In case of what? I have no fucking clue but they're there. Waiting and collated or waiting to be collated, but that’s a separate space altogether.
I've had those days that like my bad grammar can run on or hiccup into a million tiny segments. The emphasis often falls short and the breaks are all to brief.
I know the cold hard truth. I don't look at a Dilbert comic strip and think funny. Then again everyone does but that's beside the point. Directly next to the point actually, like they came separately and just happened to park alongside one another. I look at Dilbert and I see a warning. Yeah, be afraid because in a few years, that's you. They shouldn't call it Dilbert they should call it Your Name Here. Whoever 'they' are.
I know what it's like to sit at a desk, in a cubicle. I know what a cubicle is having seen one, touched one, owned one, I’ve even decorated one with schedules and pictures from home.
"Oh what's that? That's the holiday schedule silly. What? No, not that? Oh, that's my life before this bullshit. What am I doing? What the fuck do you think I'm doing? I'm fucking smiling. No it's not because a ‘higher up’ is telling me an unfunny joke that I must laugh at. You don't remember what a smile is?" That's Bob folks. Bob has been around the company for too many years. He graduated to office years ago. An office is like a cubicle only larger. An office has a real door instead of the one Betty down the hall imagines and tells people to knock at before entering. She too has been here a long time but is missing the grades to graduate to office.
I have seen people forget the 'real' world after their substitution for this one. To them the world is like that presented in “The Giver”. I would hope someone remembers that book. The world is black and white. Everything is tasteless and monotonous. Only the elder man, the Giver, knows the world for what it is. In an office the role is reversed. Only the youngest man knows the world for what it is. The rest, especially the elder, see black and white as plain as typeface.
I know what it is like to undergo useless banter. I have been through the conversations over and over.
Conversation A: The morning conversation.
"How are you?"
"Good and you?"
Conversation B: The plan.
"Hey Bill how are ya?"
"Good Bob, you?"
"Good. Say, you get that meeting maker?"
"You mean for the 4 O'clock?"
"No, the 3 O'clock."
"Ohhh the 3 O'clock. Yeah I got it."
"Yeah I'll be there."
"Alright good. I'll see you there."
"Good, see you there Bob."
Conversation C: The stir-up.
"Hey Bob how are you?"
"Good Tom, and you?"
"Oh I'm good. Say, did you hear that Patty in Development Affairs is having a thing with Ted in shipping?"
"I haven't heard that. I wonder what Pete in HR is thinking."
Slight laughing, but not greatly noticeable, from either.
"Well, see you at the 3 O'clock."
"Oh, I'm not going to make that but I'll be at the 4 O'clock. See you there?"
Conversation D "The Evaluation"
"Hey, how's it going?"
"Good and you?"
"Good. Everything working out ok, partner?"
"Yes, everything is well."
"Alright, let me know if anything is not well."
I have been in that meeting. Yes, both the 3 and 4 O'clock. I have heard the droning of businessmen talking of figures. What's a figure? It's a purely imaginable number constructed from possible outcomes. A figure is bullshit. Completely fabricated to keep us moving and to keep their jobs. A figure is the end result of their 'busy work' in between tee-times.
I have sat through that meeting. I have watched Bob enter the room and greet every single person.
"Hey! Bill how are you? Pete! Brian. Tom. Patty and Ted … . Dave. Joe. Hank. ."
Do I watch the slides? No, everyone else watches the slides intently. They need to. They will need to ask a question at the end. Any question will do.
"Say will the fiscal quantitation be below the average market yield due to the gross outcome of the Field's account?" Bob, that doesn't make sense. Hell though, it sounded good. Yes Bob, it will. Here comes your treat. Wait for it…
"Great question Bob thank you for asking."
Good boy! Now go lay down.
I do not watch this. My entire focus is at the window. What if a room does not have a window? I will draw one in my imagination or on my notepad. It is not the window that is important. It only exists to me in its partial reflection. It's quite eye catching. Jose does a good job cleaning. That's right Jose. He's Mexican. And yes, he's underpaid. No one else notices when the window is clean. However, leave streaks and it's back to the fields for you Jose. We'll trade you in for a newer model.
I'm not really looking at the sky or trees or whatever represents the background either. I do like a sunny day though. If not then I want a storm. None of this in-between misting bullshit. I like my hurricanes and tropical depressions. There is something I find familiar and comforting about that name. Tropical depression, it sounds like being happily sad. There is a drug relation amidst the oxymoron I choose not to chase.
I am looking at the space between the sky and the window; the air between. That is my space. If I see you invading my space it's a nudge and, "Pay attention" for you. I know you will, to ask that all important question you must. I will speak this just loud enough so the few people within nudging or mean-look range can join in. That is my space! Here I am free to do whatever I want. Usually it takes half a meeting for me to remember exactly what I want. I want to touch my space. This is a great place for a dick or fart joke but I won't have it. Not while I'm in my space.
I have a favorite scenario I like to run through over and over. The meeting has just started. Slide 1, figure 1. The door bursts open, entering like I'm that fucking Kool-Aid animation. I use my foot to bust open the doors, sometimes a midget, depending on my mood (nothing against the vertically challenged, he's always a mean midget). I am in full sprint through the room. The executives they don't see me. They see a blur. That is all they can manage through their hundred dollar bifocals. I yell out. It's the same word every time. Every time it is shrieked in the same high pitch trailing manner. It is heard in the same way I am seen a blur.
I am making my way through the boardroom with spectacular haste. I lean my shoulder down, the reflection is my quarterback. Every time I shatter that glass like it were made of rock candy. It's nothing to me. It's nothing because I am free.
Here breaks my dream.
"Hey, Brian why you smiling? You have a good question?" asks Bob, eagerly. His flop sweat in dangerous proximity.
"No Bob" spoken softly, "I'm thinking about jumping through that window over there."
He doesn't miss a beat. "Not before me." There is a sadness in his eyes. I don't need to look at him to see this. It's always there.
Still, I keep watchful eyes to my space, and then briefly assign them to Bob. I'll speak, soothing, yet loud enough for others to hear my reply. "Pay attention Bob. You might miss something." He always does...
If ever there were truth in statement it would be this: You can not contend with the Laws of Thermodynamics.
Upon simple thought I have concluded that Santa just can not be. By same turn of fact, if ever he was he would be no more.
The fairy tale begins with Mr. Claus, in his ever expanding benevolent judgment visiting every house in all the world of those whom believe in his representative truth. Every passing year brings with it the erasure of deeds both grand and fowl for those who have shown kindness and mercy shall be thusly rewarded. Accompanied by such benevolence is a ray of hope for the more burdensome. The time between Christmas Day and the oncoming New Year is the shaking period, erasing the Etch-A-Sketch of our magnetic sins.
Let us begin with the initial obstacle by saying Santa wishes to visit every house in the world. Heck, let us say a tenth of the world will be graced by His Jolliness. A simple mathematical expression of time versus distance would have our Mr. Claus traveling well past the speed of light. This is a feat Einstein himself explicitly forbids.
It has not been the experience to think of Santa as moving anywhere in the vicinity of mach 3. In the traditional vision he is witnessed, most often by a glassy-eyed child who has been aborted from society but finds love in life and good in charity or the middle aged man for whom pixie dust and happy thoughts fell short in contest to gravity and reasonable thinking, as a string of ornaments casually chugging along the dimly lit sky. Oddly, the vision never shows the merry parade stopping at any residence but rather shows Santa grandstanding in his magic sleigh bellowing a Merry Christmas, surely to be followed by his overused tagline of ‘Ho Ho Ho’ through his megaphone vocals.
However, Santa will need to travel the speed of light or greater to reach his destinations. In doing so the heat generated (collisions with small particles even oxygen causing this rise in mercury) would engulf Santa in an, albeit glorious flame. As the lead of this charge, Rudolph’s head would burst like a Halloween pumpkin under the foot of some reprobate this past All Hallows Eve. The others, not worthy of individual song, would surely fall to pieces in the debris of the red-nosed wake.
Ok, let us say Santa has a force field to protect himself. Sure, that’s fine… implausible but fine. He needs to land right? Remember his group is moving at extreme velocity. The force with which he will touch your roof surely would shatter ceilings to basements. He’d rip through your shingles like Oprah through a box of ring dings. God forbid lil Timmy have the room upstairs for he will meet Santa’s sleigh.
“What do I want for Christmas Santa?” may ask little Stephanie standing beside the fire trucks. “How about you fix my damn roof,” she’s a sassy individual.
Let us take this a bit further. Let us even go outside the realm of thermodynamics to drop into biological fact. People leave cookies out for Santa. It is a kind gesture but cities have been known to collapse under the foot of good intentions. After maybe two states, I’ll even grant Rhode Island as having the same stature as California, Santa would fall into shock and then shortly after lapse into a diabetic coma. Even if Santa has a trick in his mighty bag of tricks to counter the sugars it would not be a far stretch that after a few hours some child would be certain to find Santa leaving presents in their restroom. Make sure not too use too much wrapping paper Santa.
I’ll concede there could have been a merry fat man gifting children throughout the world. Once, there could have been. Surely though, he would have collapsed on his trial run in flames or in a blessed comatose sleep.
Perhaps this is the hidden truth of Santa Clause. To transcend space and time he must reside in us all through acts of kindness and feelings of generosity. With some of us possessing anorexic deeds of good will while others are obese with benevolence. To see Santa on his sleigh is to find in oneself the belief of a better nature in us all.
So, on Christmas eve night if you happen to lay your eyes upon the sky and find yourself lost in the majesty of the stars and all the truths and wonders they hold in their thousand year light, to see one of the invisible millions fall with glorious flight I pray you make one simple, unselfish wish. “Please, oh please let this not be the fall of another Santa this night.”
Then, lay your ears upon the frigid dark for a chance that by some narrow sight you should hear his bellows resonate from within. Know that it was for this world’s greater wealth such true fire had been ignited. Know that although his gifts may have been lost in the pursuing tale of his comet’s decent it will forever remain true that his epic glory, gratitude and generosity can forever light your sky and in this brighter world all the hopes and all the dreams sent forth from the sleepy-eyed will certainly reflect ten fold in simple gestures, smiles, hugs, kisses and December thoughts as the sparks to warm the millions of hearts this, and every holiday season.
Merry Christmas to all, and God Bless you, you magnificent daredevil, wherever you may lie this Christmas Day.