Monday, May 31, 2010

The Death of Virtue: Part II

There it was again. Reality detached itself from his mind. Vertigo was all Peter knew. The impact of her words sent him careening. Except this time the words stuck with him. Reality was gone; all that was left was dizziness, burning, and those three words.

Annie could not get comfortable. The wooden coffeeshop chairs were harsh and unforgiving. She shifted her weight in every way possible, and yet her body ached. Annie knew it wasn’t the chair that made her so uncomfortable. Despite her best efforts, she could only look at the cold, ceramic table from under her clenched right hand.  The phone line was silent, hollow.

Telling Peter the news was difficult. That was an understatement. Telling Peter was excruciating.  The news was heavy enough, relaying it was a burden, but explaining to someone who rejects all ideas of hope and afterlife that one of their best friends was dead? That was near impossible. And yet, she knew she had to.  Peter deserved to know.

And now he knew. She had done the most difficult part; she had played the messenger. So, why didn’t she feel any better? Why did her stomach still churn, her heart still ache, and her head still throb? The silence from the phone wasn’t relieving any of her anguish.

She was expecting him to take the news badly. They had known each other for nearly their entire lives. She was expecting tears, yelling, rejection, anger, even a hang up, but silence? The absolute void staring her in the face from the other end of the phone line was even more unbearable than the actual dialing of the phone. And that had taken her ten minutes. She just kept staring at the keypad, heart fluttering, palms sweating, and stomach nauseating. She ran through every scenario she could think of, every one of Peter’s typical reactions. But she never expected silence. And now she couldn’t handle it. She had to say something. Anything. Any noise would make this echoing, evil silence disappear.

“Peter. I am so so sorry. I’m sorry about James, I’m sorry it happened, I’m sorry you had to hear about this fro-“ Peter cut-off her hurried and unpolished apologies.

“ Yeah, Ann. Me too. Thanks for telling me. I guess we’ll probably be talking soon.” Then, nothing but the slow, measured beep of her phone telling her the call had ended. Annie looked at the screen. Contact: Peter R. Call time: 3:50. Three minutes, fifty seconds. That’s all it took.

Annie shook her head, sniffed and coughed, wiped her eyes with the back of her sweaty palm, and closed her phone. Nearly four minutes. It took her longer to order her coffee than to tell Peter that James had died. ‘God. I hate this’ The thought screamed in her head as she subconsciously threw her paper cup away and shuffled towards the door. With her head down and her mind a hundred thousand miles away, Annie didn’t even notice the man in front of her until she bashed straight into his left shoulder. Normally, Annie would have felt terrible. Normally, Annie would have stopped, apologized, helped to pick up the 3.36 in change that sprayed from his hand across the painted cement floor. Normally, Annie would have looked the man in his dark green eyes and tried to form any bit of human contact with the stranger.

But not today. Today was far from normal, and so was she. Annie hurried through the glass doors without even thinking of turning around to see the man whose path she had just interrupted hunkered over the floor, delicately picking up every coin. Her soul ached so badly, and her focus was so keen on contact with people far away and long gone, that she didn’t even notice the immediate, physical contact she had just initiated.

It all just hurt too much.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Death of Virtue: Part 1

His ears were ringing. No, they were burning. All he could hear was a sharp, popping noise. His ears felt like he was in the ocean, water pressure pushing on every micrometer of his eardrums, and coral was all he could hear.

He was staring at the carpeted staircase, but he couldn’t see anything. Somehow the fog had crept its way into his living room.

His hands were heavy, and too far away. His blood felt diluted and sluggish. His heart was an un-oiled engine, with every pump more difficult and more damaging than the last.

He hadn’t felt like this since the car crash.

Slowly, the ringing gave way to something else. A soft, but growing noise that hurt as it built upon itself. Reality was ripping its way back into his conscious. The noise culminated in a painful crescendo as he became aware of holding the phone to his ear again. Her words were like audible lightning, and her usually sweet voice seared as it left the clammy, black receiver.

“Peter? Peter did you hear me? Are you still there?” Earth regained its axis; gravity kicked back in; and oxygen flooded into his lungs once more. He was clutching the railing of those carpeted stairs; his body was holding itself up, but he had no idea how.

“…I’m here. Sorry. So sorry. Wait… What did you say? Please tell me I didn’t hear what I think you just told me. You’re kidding. You have to be. This is some sick joke. Annie, this isn’t funny. Stop it. Please tell me this I heard you wrong. Please tell me -“ The soul completely bypassing his brain, his words streamed out at hurricane force. Emotions sped past so quickly that his voice could not keep up the pace. It cracked and strained as he spat out syllables, sounds, anything. The silence coming from his phone was as hollow as the tightening in his gut. Then her words came crashing back with all the force of a sonic boom.

“Peter. I’m so sorry. Its… I…” Annie stopped. Words stumping her flustered brain. She breathed deeply. Reset herself, closed her eyes tightly, and tried to exhale without sighing, but couldn’t. The sorrow escaped her lungs, “James. James is…” She reset herself again. Her tear-stained palm involuntarily clutched to her forehead. She was freezing, shaking, and nauseous. Every mumbled sound felt like a scream, no matter how hard she tried to stay level and quiet. She could only smell the copper of blood and taste the salt of tears. “James is dead.”

There it was again. Reality detached itself from his mind. Vertigo was all Peter knew. The impact of her words sent him careening. Except this time the words stuck with him. Reality was gone; all that was left was dizziness, burning, and those three words.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Staring at a White, Blank Page...


It's kind of a funny word. It has such a positive connotation. It makes you think of muses, music, and melodies. Basically: Beauty.

But that's just the thing about inspiration. It never flourishes in beauty. 
Inspiration only visits the dreamer when he's having nightmares. 
The beauty only comes from the breakdown.
 The real beauty, that is.

There is something. Some deep, dark, and hollow spot buried in every human. When it's struck, when something else, some inspiration, raps on its edges, it resonates. And it echoes within those hollow spots in others. And it's that rattle and hum that we call Beauty. Even Genius.

Somehow, we've managed to place our descriptions of the most hurtful, or most longing, or most destructive, at the very apex of our Beauty hierarchy.

We're enraptured with our own self-destruction.

Perhaps that's just sin.

So what's the point of all this melancholy macabre?

Simply to say that inspiration comes when life is here, at its fullest.

Sometimes that muse drops in on the Dreamer when he is clutching the sheets. Uncomfortably strewn across his bed. Neck back, ears clenched, and deep in a cold sweat. But other times she comes when he is sound in his sleep. His eyelids flickering from the rapid movements underneath. Sometimes inspiration reveals her gorgeous and demanding face when the Dreamer is overwhelmed in the well of information that is somehow coming from his own brain. Simply put: Inspiration is unpredictable. The only method of determining when she'll strike next is to know when she won't. And that's when the Dreamer is comfortable. When he is so far in his own sleep that he doesn't even dream.

After all, glass needs either fire or lightning to be formed.

In the Layman's terms: Busyness has served me well, there's a lot to write about as soon as I have the time to jot it down.