Me thinking, dreaming, wishing for something more.
Remnants of a time long past, a time just beginning. A history in the throws of balance with the present, the future, the end. A melting pot of justice, of injustice, of mundane, of extraordinary. A healing of death, the lie of honesty. A matter of the mind, the decay of the body. What can really be said about the world we live in? What's been said? What hasn't? To be terrified would be tragic in itself. Holding on to humour is effortless, for everything is at the pinnacle of humour. This fragile test of time, breaking the seal of impenetrable darkness, a glimmer of horror feasting on the minds of mankind.
Trapped, in seeming endless days, a vicious cycle of loneliness, from being alone to feeling alone to utter aloneness in the depths of myself, alone in fear, in need, in hope, in a hotel room. "Tomorrow will be a washout," she said, as she changed my towels and cleaned my toilet. "Take advantage of this nice day." It was laughable, taking advantage of a nice day in the days of coronavirus. Taking advantage was nearly illegal. But I had walked to the gas station for some more food and water, and a bottle of wine. I was embarrassed because I had forgotten my mask, and after walking so far without even thinking of this pandemic... Now that was laughable. I covered up my nose and mouth using my shirt as best I could. But that was yesterday. My day in the sun. Today... Well, today is a washout. Staring out into the rain, the dark haze, the impending doom of my soul. Seems a magic wants to overtake me, but perhaps I scare it for it keeps its distance. The loneliness is too still. I reach out to my younger self, the small person I left in the past, the stupid smart kid with dreams, such childish dreams. Thinking of the captured memories of my past. The things that penetrated my soul from long ago. They still grip me, but I've shied away from the magic. I've grown up. But today, it grips me. I saw a quick commercial during intermission of my favorite comedy turned horror, The Big Bang Theory, for love leads to terrible dreams. The commercial introduced me to audible books. Intriguing, but also condescending. "I am not too lazy to read," I say. But listening just seems appealing, comforting, passively engaging. So today I browse the selections, which is every book ever written apparently. But my mind falls on this lonely kid in need of magic. Longing for magic. If no magic commeth, I will surely die. So I browse. Stories I've read long ago peak to the surface of my mind. If only I could capture the feelings, the emotions, the essence of my being. I realize I am not who I am. Not even close. It's not magic that makes me see. Perspective is all that's needed, twisting one's brain like a pretzel and baking it to a crisp. I see things, but nothing I haven't seen before. My mind has always been like this, but today I see it. Perhaps that is magic. It is mine, so I can name it. The voices from the samples talk to me, bring me back, lead me on a journey through time. I need to pick just one. I need to be drawn from this place, this prison, a prison of body and mind, some twilight zone bullshit, for that is the days of coronavirus, a sad and confusing place this is in the days of COVID-19.
The aromas switching off between coffee and tea as I take glances of the empty wine bottle from the previous day, another wasted day with my thoughts, another sickening evening with my unbearable self. Divorce haunts my every passing dream, from every passing night, melting away like ice in a deep freeze throughout my passing days. No escape from the maddening that suffocates my brain. Nearly forgetting my freshly brewed tea, I make my way to the Keurig. Reflecting on the emptiness of another gone day, week, month, year. How long can this last? Time heals. The lie that keeps me alive. I'm no stranger to loneliness, but for a moment, the moment that ruined everything, I learned grass is much greener on the other side. Sipping on tea, typing away, my life is a blur of mistakes, but from where, when? Can this really be the same me from long ago, the curious and creative youngster trapped in a different loneliness, the loneliness of adolescence, of finding myself, of coming to terms with myself. Of that, I never really have. It would seem I never grew up at all. So many years, and not a day has passed. Sipping on my tea. It brings me back. Lisa slipping between mothballed coats hanging in a wardrobe and emerging into a thicket surrounded my endless hills of snow and beauty. So the adventure began, her adventure, their adventure, my adventure. Swords and honor and nobility and a lion and a semblance of a religion I was brought up to know. A story of the ages, a deep sorrow when the last word was read, cover closed, put away to collect dust. Sipping on tea.
My studies, learning, embarking on a path of enlightenment, a life forging a statue from clay, or blasting a road though a mountain. Bombarded with never-ending learning, pretending, escaping into my world, an abyss of wonder and enchantment, of fear and triumph, of decay of truth and growth of unparalleled power. A teacher had the class read a book. It changed my life forever, or maybe that's me pretending again. I found solace in the protagonist, a relationship I cherished beyond all else. To see through his eyes, to hear through his ears. To see the world as he saw it, or at least generally speaking. For his story was in space. I felt how Ender felt. I wished what Ender wished. I wished I had friends. Ender was a genius, too smart to have stupid friends. So I pretended. So I had no friends. Sipping on tea. The heat has dissipated, so I chug the last pinch of cold liquid herbs. So I continue. A boy who plays games, commands armies, kills buggers. An object of my adoration. An example of my restrained darkness. A life alone, conceived for one purpose, a driving effort of desperate men, the mind of a boy trained to obey, to destroy, to commit Xenocide. My cries for help go unanswered as I silently choke back the revealing tears. I go on. A life beyond me I search for. I pretend.
I leave behind the wretched learning, the studying. I learn to follow orders, study the Blue Jacket Manual. A life of service, following in my hero's footsteps. A proud sailor destined for foreign shores. Two towers transformed into a memorial cemented my future of war. "Assalaam 'alaikum" as I passed a contracted worker from a local village, fine grains of sand sucking into my lungs, a grip of home-sickness in the depths of my stomach. Our birds were launched and recovered day in and day out, supply always on the job to keep 'em flying. The days melting together, the dust never settling, the dreamer always dreaming. I never fit in, never knew why, still don't, always moving on, the great pretender.
Time for more tea. As it brews, I think. Horrid were those days of seclusion, the empty feeling of complete and utter loneliness, in a squadron doing a job, day in and day out. Sandstorms would develop with barely a notice, for you look out and see nothing, for there's nothing ever to see. The months finally passed, destined finally for home, home base. I made my way through the greeting families, the kissing lovers, around the gifts and "Heroes, welcome back!" placards. The emptiness of my soul, the rock-bottom feeling quivering on my lips, as I made my way to the waiting shuttle, shuttling me back to the barracks. It was good to be home.
Sipping on tea. Years go by, deployment after deployment under my belt, still dreaming, still wishing, still pretending. The mountains were my great escape, roaming the passes alone, immensely enjoying the adventure of another jagged hill, bending road, fallen rock, icy formation, sunsets beyond comprehension, the things of dreams. Leaving that squadron was bittersweet as I made my way across the ocean to where America's day begins. With no life ambitions, reenlisting just seemed right. Being trapped on an island in the middle of the Pacific seemed a great metaphor for my existence. I grew to love it, I grew to hate it, I grew indifferent. Leaving it behind was hard, leaving it set me free. The chains of service were released, a newfound freedom of uncertainties. Money to travel, so travel I did, from sea to shining sea. Loneliness wanted to kill me, loneliness was my dearest friend. As the miles slipped into the past, my journeys never satisfying, the Badlands to Yellowstone to Glacier National Park, I couldn't stop moving, chasing, running, a shadow always haunting, a loneliness never dying. My best friend.
Sipping on tea. Seeking a life of meaning, a reason to love myself, a way to live with myself, I journeyed south to the Sunshine State. I cherish the time I spent with my nieces, watching them multiply from one to three, caring for them like a father, helping my brother and his wife. A change in my life, a good change, a difficult change, a scary change, a meaningful change, finally. Then came the day, the happiest day of my life, the day my best friend died.
Sipping on tea. My daughter, my new wife, my son, my fulfilled life, finally. The years were filled with joy and sadness, a roller coaster of emotion as any marriage would. Full of love, vibrance, romance, grief, depression, alcohol, nicotine, as any marriage would. Full of distrust, anger, hate, negativity, and unfaithfulness, as any marriage would. Full of arguments, separation, resentment, replacement, divorce, as any marriage would. My best friend was back.
Sipping on tea, holding back a tear. This is my life. This is my story. Here I am, sitting in a hotel room, waiting for the end. Hoping for the end. And not ready to start a new chapter. Never ready. Time heals. I repeat the lie. Betrayed and helpless, hoping for a change. These are the days of coronavirus. Ready to set off on a new adventure, a new life, a new chapter. Trapped in my hotel room ending my story. These are the days of COVID-19.