On Being Lost

I don’t want to know you until you become everything I know you can be.

A lone hum reverberates. It’s a faint sound against the cacophony of gusts, howling as the coyotes once did. Behind the running line in the silken sand, there’s a shadow of a city. From afar, one could easily mistake the city as a place of prosperity. Its growing shadow foretold of an expansive land with buildings rising high into the heavens. Infrastructures devoid of flesh whistle as the wind pierces their hollowed bodies. It is a place of vultures.

The humming begins to splutter in a fit of asthma. The rider glances to the engine, then to the horizon in repeated succession. It was nothing he didn’t expect. In fact, he knew his bike would only take him out of the city so far. Perhaps it was an idiotic tendency to work against his expectations. But fuck it. He was still within the city’s shadow. The bike crawls to its final death. Alas, with a cough, it ignites into an inferno.

“Fuck!” The rider dismounts and runs for cover. He leaps and covers his head. A second has passed. A minute. The rider still has his head pressed into the sand. Feeling foolish, he turns back when his bike finally decides to explode. As a final ‘fuck you’ the bike hurls a steel gear towards his head. The impact offers him a second of a reverie. A woman appears against the sinking sun. She is as angelic as he remembers, or perhaps as angelic as his circumstances have made her. He frowns at such a memory and sleeps.

Pain. Wet pain. His body instinctively brought his hand to his temple. His fingers remove the scabbed blood. Back to sleep. More pain. And then a strange sensation pries his eyes wide open. His wound began to itch. Again, he brushes the wound. A terrible realization slaps him into consciousness. He screams as a bug licks his temple repeatedly. “GET OFF ME!” He flails, finding strength as he races head first into the sand. Sand has a nasty tendency of getting everywhere, including the dent in his temple. He sits up coated in the miserable material.

Time doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. He looks back to his renounced home, had it ever been a home. From far away, it looks hideous. Rings of highways orbits the city, and memories of wasted hours in traffic resurge. He saw himself in his car, turning from radio station to radio station, and he remembers that it was always the same few songs that played. Back then, he reasoned it was a conspiracy –that the music industry had been trying to indoctrinate the mass public with pop songs about money, relationships, and unachievable dreams of happiness. He shakes his insanity away. A throbbing in his head leaves him in groans.

He allows himself to bake in the bright, morning sun. Its heat is unbearable, and he can feel his skin sizzle. The light, intensely white, burns his retinas but he refuses to look away. Again, he hears the buzzing. It wants to land on his temple to lick his wound. “I’m going to kill you!” He snaps awake to a huge fly. It is the size of a grown man’s shoe. He chases the hideous menace, the most useless creature in existence. But it’s not like he has anything else to do. The fly is slow, often spinning out of control as it attempts to take off. He catches it with ease. He brandishes his shoe. A cruel laughter erupts from his chest, his soul.

Cornered, the fly raises its twig hands and rubs them in mercy. He watches it grovel. For whatever reason, seeing a giant fly grovel, returns him from the edge. He sits down, realizing his entire body is drenched in sweat. His shirt and underwear sticks to him. “What do you want? You’re probably hungry like me. You were just looking for a snack, weren’t you? Well I’ll probably be dead in a bit.” He squeezes the skin around his temple, wiping the blood on his finger. “Here. Go on. Eat.”

The fly is doubtful. It casts doubtful glances between the blood and the rider. But hunger wins. It eats feverishly. The rider watches in disgust as the fly’s tongue laps at his finger. Since when did flies eat human blood? A troubling thought enters his atmosphere. What if there are more shoe-sized flies that feed on human blood? “This is a one-time thing, you. Don’t go telling your friends about me, all right?”

He stumbles to the detonation site. The engine betrayed him. He stares at the ashen sand in contempt. It’s a long road to nowhere, and he can’t go back to the city. He is a lost man. He stumbles down the road, if you could even call it a road, when he hears a buzzing from afar. “I already gave you food. Go away before I kill you!” The fly u-turns. “Good! Go on! Fly away, scumbag!”

The isolation is hauntingly beautiful. Waves of sand sweep down the hills to his right. Cacti would pose like people, inviting him over with hopes of conversations. He told himself so many times that they weren’t real people, but he fell for the illusion each time. “Nothing’s different.” Heat, exhaustion, and hunger, all of which is death for the man. He collapses and waits for eternal sleep.

*

There was a place of fertility. There was a place of structure and a place of family. The man had been a prince, not of natural birth, but through the courting of a royal’s daughter. Sure, in that time he thought he did the best he could, but did he truly know what was best? Who was the man but a boy then? A boy who hadn’t seen enough of the world, but he had decided he was enough. In the Palace, they grew together only to have found they could no longer grow if they stayed together.  Growth is change, and change is inevitable. “Goodbye.” They said to one another. “Goodbye.” There was a place of fruit trees and shrubs. There was a place their dogs roamed happy and free. There was a place of family and friends. But it is only a place of the past. Nothing more.

*

AHHHHHHHHH! The rider has a habit of screaming himself awake. He doesn’t know when the strange awakening became habitual. Today, he screams himself awake and feels the cooked sand sift through the crannies of his hand. He had not moved much since he last lost consciousness. His shirt, his favorite shirt, is coated in dried, stiff blood. “I am alive,” he says to his disappointment. To the horizon, there is the road to nowhere, blazing in the intense, crimson sun. He remembers a time when he had been rigorous with a schedule. It drove him mad.

To the heap that is the remnant of his bike, he mourns it for the brief journey it offered. After all, it did what it was meant to; take him away. How can he be mad at it? He was always helplessly sentimental. He tries his best not to look to the city, but its looming presence and expansive shadow calls to him. “Damnit!” He looks back, too often.

Nourished by sleep, he walks down the road to nowhere. His movements are lethargic and his line of vision sways. There is a hole in his head. His tongue is parched that it feels shriveled. A salty taste manifests when his tongue touches the walls of his mouth. He walks and he collapses and he walks. “I would really like to die.”

The buzzing echoes in his ears. His eyes open to his fly friend. In its twig hands, it holds a small paper cup. “Is that for me?” He drinks it. It taste bitter, sour, and then sweet. “What is that? That better not be piss! I hate you! What do you want? You want more blood? Here!” He presses his fingertips to his temple again, feeling the rough texture of congealed blood like rubbing one’s fingertips over pavement. He peels away the healing, and offers fresh blood to the fly. “I want to sleep. Leave me alone.”

BZZZZZZ.

“Follow you? Why would I follow you?”

BZ

“You found water? And some food? But you’re too weak to carry it to me. I just have to walk there. That’s all I have to do to carry on?” The rider squints at the fly with suspicion and a smile. “You want me alive so you can keep snacking. OK, I have no purpose in life. Show me.”

A purgatory of barren landscape stretches as far as the man can see. “I am doomed to roam this place until I finally die.” It’s a strange mindset to occupy for an extensive period of time. In fact, it can drive a man mad. People need to belong somewhere, to something. Prolonged periods lost can leave a man feral.

The rider’s imagination wanders to the possibilities his life could bring him. It was fun to revel in potential, but it was another thing to actually work toward something. The man walks. He walks with the illusion of an oasis welcoming him with a cool bath. But he accepts there is no predicting what could happen to him. It was always outside his ability to foresee a clear path. And so it is surrender.

He could feel the sun’s oppressive light lessen. Each time he looks up, the sun shifts. This fly would be the death of him. How was it that the fly still had so much energy? He didn’t give the fly that much blood did he? He looks back, realizing that the city’s shadow still captures him. And why couldn’t he return? Why not, then, return to the Palace, to family, to a sense of belonging?

He stops. The city with its hollowed buildings calls to him with an otherworldly whistling. The longer he stares at the city, the stranger the illusions he sees. His exhaustion plays tricks on his eyes. The air wavers with heat. People begin to pour forth from the outlets of the city. Ancestral zombies stumble toward him with groans, greedily grasping for his flesh. He shudders.  He recognizes them vaguely of his bloodline. Somehow he was a piece of their puzzle. In the grand scheme of humanity, they were very much a part of him. They invited him to death, step by step. He shudders.

The fly lands upon his shoulder –a reminder of reality outside his mind. He touches his wound with the suspicion that his perspective of reality was no longer reliable. He feeds his new pet and trudges onwards, choosing to lose himself in the sand with its billions of pebbles.

A tent looms before him, and he wanders inside. It is a dark place. Smoke infuses with a dull, blue light. “Watch where you’re going!” A giant’s voice steals him away from his illusions. The fly is gone. A giant of a man towers over him.

“Where’s my fly?”

“What fly?” The giant looks confused, noticeably annoyed. He huffs from his pipe, exhaling a pungent cloud of something.

The man coughs. The smoke infiltrates his lungs and nose, scraping the walls like a hurricane of shrapnel. “I have this pet fly. I feed him blood, and it was taking me somewhere.”

First confusion, then the giant offers a smile. “You’ve been smoking something powerful.”

“No, I have this hole in my head, and I can’t think straight. I don’t know what’s real anymore. And I’m lost.”

The giant offers a disgusted look as he examines the festering wound. Then a look of sympathy. “You must have traveled a long way to reach here.”

“I think I did. What are you smoking?”

*

A memory is a call of the past. A memory is an invitation to revel in an exaggeration of one’s own bias, an emotional distortion of the collective reality. This memory was of sadness. She had been a sweet girl who gave everything to him. But it was never enough, was it? How could one admit that without becoming a villain? To live is to experience these tragedies. She was a sweet girl, who deserved better.

She wanted nothing more than to make him happy. She would plan trips outside the Palace to make him smile. But he was an anxious wreck, who could not handle all the joys and pleasures that was offered to him. He was a coward, afraid of life. And so they would be a miserable pair. But it was not to say he didn’t love her. He loved her with everything he had. He wanted nothing more than to see her become everything she could be. It was a foolish enterprise on his part. Another person’s growth was outside his control and capabilities. He was hubris itself to think he could better someone. And so in the final days of their relationship, they burned more than necessary on a pyre of their own imagined problems.  He had to go because he had to. She deserved better.

A dead city. A dead city, he had come to a dead city. He had tried to make a home in the dead city. The streets would talk to him. Deep in the night, when the gusts run fast, the city would animate with whistling. It was a haunting sound of ruins. He had wandered there, but he could not stay there. It was too perfect for him, a place of loneliness that would too easily become his mausoleum.

*

In the tent, he watches the giant across him bite into the roasted scarab. CRUNCH, the shattering of exoskeleton. The giant clearly enjoys the meal. The giant tells him his name is Jackel. They are in the company of Jesuits, who make a hobby of venturing into the desert to bake their brains and to write of the goo their brains excrete.

The way Jackel relishes his bug almost makes the man want to try his own steaming bug graciously placed before him by a Jesuit. It is a sickening thought, maybe because he thinks of his new fly friend who had disappeared. His stomach growls in impotence. He can’t put up the fight any longer. He takes a bite. It is delicious. It is horrifying.

They smoke together on the sandy plains. They laugh together between swaying palms. The man is fulfilled for now. He touches the wound on his temple, even after he thought he had forgotten about it.  It has scabbed over again. The man stares at the pipe mysteriously. His father had been a smoker. He had convinced his father to quit smoking. It is a bit of irony that he would begin to find solace in smoking. “I really enjoy this.”

“If you’re going to kill yourself, you might as well smoke the good stuff,” Jackel laughs. He offers his pipe and his leaves.

“No thank you, I like the cooling feel of this one.” The man glances over to the Jesuits. They are wrapped in white cloth, huddled beneath a tree with papyrus and ink. They laugh because they enjoy their time together. The man looks over, admittedly with some envy. “Do you like it here?”

Jackel stares off into the vast plains. “It is an interesting place.” He looks to his ringed fingers, sparkling with jewels. “This place has been good to me. I met many beautiful women here. But I do not like it. I am happy I came here though.”

The man smiles. They were two very different people who had walked two very different paths. Yet they met here. It was perhaps fate, if one could believe in such things. There was something about Jackel that made the man feel as if he could speak freely. “Can I be honest with you? I’m lost. I don’t know where I’m going. I ended an 8 year relationship with the sweetest woman. I feel as if everything that had been an infrastructure in my life crumbled. I am a man with nothing. ”

“8 years? You must have met her when you were young! I’m sorry, my brother. Let me think about this.” The giant looked to the plains. They stood in silence, watching the sand sweep in waves. “I have felt what you feel now. But I’ve learned to embrace the feeling. There’s sanity in solitude, sometimes. You are not lost. You are free. I think about the past a lot. I see my reflection sometimes and I say, ‘Who the fuck are you?’ I don’t recognize myself. But I like what I see. I like who I am now.” He flashes his fingers in a blaze. He points to his long braided hair and laughs. “A year ago, I could never imagine myself like this. Of course this is all superficial. None of these things matter, but I like them! My best friend always tells me, ‘You must know who you are, Jackel! Never forget where you came from!’ And it’s true. No matter what you show on the outside, you must know who you are. You must know where you came from. You’ll find yourself this way.”

They return to the tent. Jackel retrieves a drum from his bag. He taps a mesmerizing beat. “There’s something about music that makes me happy. When people hear music, they are lost. And that feeling is good. They can escape. I want to make beautiful music one day. This is my gift to the world.”

The man smiles. “One day I’ll write something beautiful.”

“I believe it. You and I are artists!” They share a laugh, perhaps acknowledging the delusions of their dreams. At the same time, it’s this delusion that drives them to become something better. And maybe that’s worth something, anything.

“Then it’s a promise. We will make it one day.” They shake hands with firm conviction.

The Jesuits prepare the wagons. Jackel and the man embrace. The man feels warmth, and his glossy vision has faded. He looks across to the sweeping plains of sand. “I’m happy to have met you.”

“I am too. You’ve given me a lot.”

The man gives a doubtful look. “But I didn’t give you anything.”

“You have.” He smiles. “It’s funny. You know I said the same to my best friend back then. And he would say the same thing.” The giant laughs. “Keep your head up, my brother.”

*

Dear Lost Love,

I miss you like no other. You hate me like no other. We were each other’s worlds, but that’s a tragic responsibility. I was a drowned boy who thought he could save us both. I wanted to protect you and raise you high above my shoulders. I wanted to give you blue skies. You’re the best I know, but oh how they hurt you. I’m no better than them. I never was… The last I heard of you, you were in pain –pain that I caused. I want to retreat to you when I don’t want to grow anymore. I always said you need to become your own person. I don’t know why it has to be this way, but it just does. I hope you find yourself. I hope you learn to stand on your own, as I’m learning to. And I hope you find a man who can help you grow in the ways I couldn’t. I think about you every day, but I’m romanticizing the past. You know me like no other. You know I am hopeless. Please take care of yourself. After all the ugly and evil I’ve done to you, after all the pain you’ve passed to me, and after our time, I want to see you happy more than everything. I’m sorry I was the one to hurt you.

*

In the desert, there is a bridge to nowhere. It is wedged between two great boulders out in the middle of nowhere. Who knows why it was built there? Another human endeavor, of which meaning is lost to time. But there is no better place to fulfill fantasies of suicide. The man has a fear of heights, but he is tired of being a coward. He is tired of being an anxious fuck. He had heard stories of these jumpers from travelers. “They leap from the bridge and watch the floor reach for them. The trick is to keep your eyes open the whole time.”

The man began the climb up. In between periods of silence, the winds howl with the echoes of the forgotten coyotes. He has a long way to climb. He still has a ways to go, but the view is starting to become increasingly majestic; a dampened blue stretches as far as his eyes can see. Great clouds slowly sail across the sand. He looks up to his fly friend, already at the top. “That’s not fair, Buzz!”

His hands are blistered. His arms ache. And his legs are sore. But he can see the bridge. Screams of the jumpers leave him shaking. His gut feels twisted. Alas, his hands stretch over the platform and he props himself up with the last of his strength. He rolls over. His body is coated in sweat and sand, that most miserable material. The jumpers help him up. They pat him on the back and welcome him to their shared pursuit of insanity.  Next is surrender.

They strap him with rope. “Don’t hesitate,” he repeats to himself in his mind’s voice. “Don’t let them see you shake. You are as brave as you show them. The ropes are tightened and they count down. He takes the plunge with no hesitation, much to his own surprise. “Keep your eyes open,” he chants his mantra. “Watch the floor.” He swings up. He’s flying over the desert. For second he sees the clouds reaching for him. The fear escapes him. He laughs. The rope squeezes his ribs, but he laughs. I was a coward when I was with you. Are you proud of me now? I want to be brave for once in life.

*

A hole in the head, a wound that never heals, and the embrace of a feral heart: what does it mean to be one’s own person? The sky spins on with transient clouds, from spark to smother. There’s a road that never ends, only a life that can end. Oh, the invitation is there –the invitation to sleep eternally and never to feel pain again.

But in this time, in this moment, is there anymore than the sea and the thrashing of waves? The man stands on the shore and watch the waves drift inland then return to some primordial origin. He had always feared the ocean. But he wandered a long way, inhale and exhale. He had lost himself in his reflection a few times, and failed to recognize the man staring back. There is art upon his shoulder and across his chest that had been needled in. The pain is a good pain, for it is the price of beauty in this world. It is also change that is visible, a point of no return.

To his friend, Buzz Aldrin, he gives him some of his blood. The fly is happy. Blood for friendship, would it be any other way? They have traveled a long way to reach the ocean. It is a reprieve to the vast barren plains. The smell of salt, the cooling breeze, and a fear to face invited them.

“Buzz, I was always too afraid to swim with her in the ocean. I have a new rule. Whenever I go to the beach, I must go into the water. I can’t believe I let that fear stop me from enjoying something so pure and simple as the beach.” He wallows into the water. The cool touch of the sea chills him. He can see her by his side. He wants to hold her hand and go into the sea together. The water hits his chest. He shudders. He inhales and submerges.

*

The man screams himself awake in horror. I am still alive. It is an existential horror to know there is no end, no final chapter, nor episode, only a target looming in the interminable distance. There is a cooling breeze that brushes the hole in his head. It’s a long way from the city. It’s a longer way from the Palace of her. He had been lost for some time now.

From his travels, he learns there is a dark place at the epicenter of the desert. In the most remote places in the world, there are shadowed towers that climb down from the heavens. They spiral with strange architecture. The man who was once lost has a destination; he wishes to see the dark tower and its secrets. Many write the towers will change a person. They write of seeing demons, and they say that the demons reveal the most horrible realities of this world. The man thought he had already seen enough in the desert.

At the horizon, there is a black glimmer. It’s especially illuminous. It is a summoning; one must willingly wish to see the dark tower with his entire being. It has been months in the desert. He didn’t recognize that it was the dark tower he wished to see all along. But in times of being lost, there is always the chance that wandering will take a person exactly where he needs to go.

He screams, “I found it,” unaware of the terrible truth he’ll learn. It is a race against the falling sun. He stumbles across the mire of sand.  If he can find the tower before sunset, he can enter. At night, the towers disappears, then reappears farther away when there is light again. Men have spent their whole lives chasing the dark towers. He can feel his sanity slip. An alien laughter erupts out of him between his attempts to catch his breath. I’m sorry, he begins to chant in his mind.  I think this is all for you.

The light is falling fast. There are days the sun saunters across the sky. But today, it feels as if the sun were diving for the sand. He runs, with the black glimmer nowhere closer. It is another hopeless endeavor. Stupidity and arrogance seem the drive the man. Another endeavor casted to the winds. He screams at himself for all his attempts in the world. They seem as menial and impotent as his curses at the air.  It is an endless cycle of failure and building himself up. How many cycles must he endure until he is changed?

The tower pierces through the atmosphere. It falls with its pinnacle diving. A shadow of its impact looms above the man. He screams at the sight of the meteor. He runs for cover, but the shadow still captures him. Two steps that way, three this way. He looks up and feels the unfathomable gravity pressing down on him. His running is futility. There is only surrender. “Do it!” He screams, “Kill me!” The tower stops just high enough for the man to reach. It’s within his grasp like some celestial fruit. He jumps and flails for a ledge. He raises himself up, and suddenly the tower rises. The desert stretches farther and farther… The entire shithole of a desert is within sight. “Buzz Aldrin, we’re in space…” He searches for his friend but again the fly has disappeared.

He peers down. He can see the fading sky. Farther down he can see the distant desert. “FUCK!” He screams down for his own elation. His voice echoes down the chambers of the tower in a cumulative, amplified FUCK. His fears of heights reawakens, and he almost wishes to plunge down, feel his heart fall with him in his chest until he is offered relief with the explosion of his innards, the shattering of his bones, and the complete erasure of his body.

The tower invites him to a room, where there is a fountain set at the farthest end. It is a reflective pool that points him to the ceiling. It is of purest white, evocative of the blazing sun. He wonders why such a place would exist.  It hurts his eyes to stare at the white for too long. An instinct awakens in him. He dips his hand into the water.

He sees himself as a child with bruises on his legs and his arms. His ears are torn from being pulled too hard. Blood trails down his neck. This was his foundation for love. He watched himself as a child fade away. He saw himself as a prince. He was with the princess. She had been crying because he had struck her. He was no prince. He is no man. He is a hideous demon with twisted ears, red angry skin, and a damned tongue. He is everything he despised. He was just another cruel gear in a machine of abuse. And there it was –the truth. He had to leave because he was abusive. He hurt her, and he stopped her from being happy. He saw him and her. She gave him a look of loathing and said, “I don’t want any part in comforting you. But of course, you helped me become a better person. Of course you pushed me to change and have better relationships with my family. Of course, you took care of me when no one would.  You were my best friend. You gave my life purpose and reason. I liked all of you, even the rougher edges. But you did some really evil things to me. How could you when you love me? No one made me feel as low as you did…”

The man returns to the room. He sees himself in the pool. Behind his reflection is the demon that hides beneath his skin. He cannot run away from the truth any longer. There is no absolution. There is no forgiveness. He has to live with what he has done until he dies. “I hurt the one person I loved the most. That’s why I’m out here. I’m an evil person.”

*

Every day, the man returns to the pool to see his demon reflection. He stares at the creature that beckons him. Deeper in the water, there are memories of him and her. There are the ugliest moments. There are the happiest moments. They are stacked together like a deck of cards. He reaches into the pool whenever a bad memory surfaces. “Why did you do that? Why did you say that? You could have been completely good to her…” Every time his hand touches the water, the memory dispels. He only sees himself, a demon.

The days and nights blend together endlessly in an infinite, slow march onwards. He touches the wound in his head, feeling the grooves of his calcified flesh. He is afraid to probe the wound any further, afraid that he might feel his brain. In between moments of lucidity and dreams, he turns to his old fly friend. “It’s lonely here in space, Buzz.”

How much time has he spent by the fountain? He eats a little to keep on living. He has enough to keep going. He is reduced to skin and bones, but there is no end until death. He writes letters to her, to which he sends them to the wind, hopelessly watching them fly wherever they’ll go. He imagines she and him are no different; they are casted to the wind, knowing god-knows-where they’ll go. Sure, you can plan and aim and you can strive but ultimately it is surrender. A year ago, he had resolved to give his entire life to her. Day by day, we cling to illusions of stability and certainty. Change seems to loom in the horizon incessantly, whether by one’s own faults and devices or by circumstance. But this change makes sense. He was her tormentor. He doesn’t deserve her. She deserves better…

He is not within reality. All these days longing for her, there has to be a reason these emotions drive him to aim for something. He leaves the fountain. He climbs down the stairs. And he arrives at the platform. The tower reacts to him. A trembling resonates through the structure. The tower lowers him down to the desert floor. He sees the horizon, a slice between a blue sky and the endless amber. This is what he wants.

The floor is within his reach. He makes the jump. There is no rewriting of the past with all its effacements, but there is a hope to make things better. He could become better. He can feel her sadness and he can feel her pain –he could help her, he could show her things will be different. He will bring her happiness because he would never make her his only hope of happiness, never again. A white rose materializes next to him. He takes it, and he will win her back with his transformation.

*

He returns to the Palace of her, starved and haggard.You do not belong here anymore.” The words he has dreaded strikes him bluntly, verbatim as he imagined.

“I remember you. This place has nothing for you. Leave.”

“I want to see her again.”

“So you can hurt her again.”

“I want to make things better. I’m changed. I’m not asking for forgiveness.”

“No one can offer you forgiveness.”

“I want us to be happy. I can make her happy. I was a coward. I’m different. I will never strike her again.”

“You don’t get that chance. She’s no longer here. She’s on her own journey.”

“Where?”

“If I tell you, you’ll hurt her again. People don’t change so easily. Prove to me your change, prove to me your remorse and guilt. Burn the hand you used to hurt her. Let the searing pain seep into your flesh and understand that her pain was doubled yours.” The guardian plucks a piece of charcoal from a pit of fire. “Press it into your hand.”

The charcoal breathes in, as the man. “I don’t want to. But she didn’t want the pain either.” He pressed the charcoal upon his flesh. It begins to sear his skin. He bites down his scream and holds it there. White intense light begin to cloud his vision. He looks upwards, quivering, until the scream erupts from his teeth. His hand is mutilated. The skin bubbles upwards. The meat beneath is striated in crimson and coagulated with blotches of white pus. He pours disinfectant over the wound. Sensation has already left his hand.

“I will bandage your hand.”

“No! I want to see it every day. I want the scars so I know the evil I’m capable of.”

“She left a few days after you did. She had written a note. I will show you and maybe you will find your way back to her. Fate might not be so kind.”

I am so tired. I hardly sleep since you left me. I don’t know how you did the things you did to me. I miss you but I’m tired of hurting over you. I’m leaving because I deserve better. I’m heading to the coast and I will find myself there.

*

On no day particular, the man finds her. He had searched the coastal cities. He then wandered back deep into the desert. It was not the place he expected to find her, but there she was in the middle of nowhere. She sat across him, at first she was a silhouette with a vaguely familiar essence. Well, there are times in life when one can be in tune to some sort of cosmic intertwining. He calls her name with too much enthusiasm. She turns, revealing a different person than he had remembered. A look of surprise transforms into half a smile. She invites him to sit with him.

“I’m sorry for everything.” The words he had been waiting to say to her erupts out of him. “I realize I want to be with you. I can be different. I am different. I want us to be happy, happy together.”

She shakes her head in disbelief. “What are you saying? How can you say you’ve changed if this is what you’re saying?”

“I want to do all the things I’ve been too scared to, with you. I want to make you feel like you’re the only person that matters when I’m with you. I was a coward back then. Let me show you. I want to be good to you.” He hands her the white rose.

“No. I can’t. I won’t. I will never respect myself if I go back to you.”

“I know I’ve hurt you. I saw it… I saw all the memories and I know I can’t take any of it back. I’m not asking for forgiveness. I know I have to live with what I did until I die, but I can be good to you.”

“So can others. Why would I return to you?”

“I know I was a monster. But you were my best friend. I was your best friend. I know there were ugly moments. But we had happy moments too.  I miss you. I want to give you myself as a changed person. I want to share only the good with you. Please.” He again offers the white rose.

“I’m happy to hear you think you’ve changed. But I have no desire whatsoever to experience and understand your changes… You were the one who told me to become my own person. I did that. I found my own path and I found happiness outside of you. You need to take your own advice. Back then… every night, I wished for the same thing. I wished for your happiness. I’m not the one to give you happiness.”

“I have found happiness. But I want to share it with you. I want to swim in the ocean with you. I want to dance together–”

“It’s not what I want anymore. Let me go. There’s no going back to the past. We’re both different now.”

“I want to win you back. Give me a chance.”

“Listen to what you’re saying. How can you say you’ve changed if you’re saying these things? You should go. Goodbye.”

“That’s fine… I knew there was a chance you’d say no. I just had to try. I don’t care it took this long. I don’t care about the pain I went through. You’re worth it.”

“Goodbye.”

“Take care of yourself.” He watches her leave. He then walks on the road away from her, to nowhere. She was happy and she was doing well on her own. She had become her own person. Was that not his wish? Shouldn’t he be happy that his wish came true after all? He half smiles and places the rose on the desert floor. “Thank you for everything.”

 

 

From Man and His Symbol

“Our attitude must be like that of the mountain pine: it does not get annoyed when its growth is obstructed by a stone, nor does it make plans about how to overcome the obstacles. It merely tries to feel whether it should grow more to the left or to the right, toward the slope or away from it. Like the tree, we should give in to this almost imperceptible yet powerfully dominating impulse, an impulse that comes from the urge toward unique creative self -realization. And this is a process in which one must repeatedly seek out and find something that is not yet known to anyone. The guiding hints or impulses comes not from the ego, but from the totality of the psyche: the Self.

Each of us has an unique task of self-realization.”

Dear you,

I have no place saying this but choose him; choose happiness with your complete being. Yes, the fear is there -the fear that things will be the same as it were with me. But life’s too tragic not to, believe me. This is coming from someone who is depressed all the fucking time, for as long as I can remember. Life’s not worth living if it’s just that constant misery. If he is the man who can provide you happiness, then choose him with your complete self. And there is the risk of pain, but that comes with every decision, every relationship. The feelings of love will follow. You have to give it time, and let it grow as it did with you and me. And of course you deserve it despite how damaged you might feel. I have nothing to offer you but haunted memories and sadness. He can offer you everything I have and more. He is ready to help you, and he makes you happy. It’s up to you to respect yourself, set your boundaries, and establish what you need from him. Love yourself, and treat yourself like you would a friend. That goes beyond your next relationship. Would you want your friend to starve herself? To purge after her meals? To not sleep? No, you’d probably freak out and lecture her. It’s time you treat yourself better. There are things you have to work on yourself, but maybe he can help you. He can go along your journey of self-improvement. He won’t be as tyrannical as I was because you’ll set the boundaries this time. Not everyone will be like me. I received great life advice from a mentor I looked up to in my last job. It’s never too late until it’s too late. So if you don’t like yourself, then keep trying to change, which I’m sure you’re doing.  One day you’ll become the charismatic, confident, tough person you’ve been striving to become. I can tell you’re becoming this person already. But once in a while, take a breather and stop reprimanding yourself. You have to acknowledge all your progress as well. Don’t let others tyrannize you, but you can’t tyrannize yourself either. As for the sadness, there will never stop being sadness. This piece of mind and ultimate happiness waiting to be obtained will never fucking come. Stop hurting yourself too much along the way. You’re meant to share your pain with people; it’s not leaning on them. They want to share their troubles with you too. And if romantic feelings form, then that’s fucking awesome. And if you’re having existential problems, makes sure your basic needs are being met first. I read a lot of the existential problems we think we have stem from hunger, thirst, not enough affection or socialization. Don’t let all the damage I’ve done to you bog you down anymore. Tell people. Talk to them. I told people all the terrible things I’ve done to you. I confessed it all while they stood there in shock. I will bear my self-hatred. But you, you don’t deserve to hurt anymore. Not you. It’s OK to be happy. Sometimes if a little happiness comes your way, its OK to enjoy it. I think that’s all we get sometimes, and you deserve to be happy. Listen to your women friends too. They have better perspective about this shit than I do. I don’t have anymore pretty words. Writing this felt like dying. And I know I’m being hypocritical.

Can’t Blame You

Your words cut like knives

But I’m happy you’re doing things for yourself

I still wish you the best

Whether that’s with me or not

I’m sorry you’re not eating

Remember I tried to help too

I’m sorry you’re hurting

I’m not trying to sway you

I’m just as hurt and confused

I’m just as hopeful for you

But I’m a lot more than pretty words

I just need to write or I can’t escape…

It breaks my heart to hear you’re not well

You deserve better and that’s why I want to be better

Whether you’ll come back or not

 

I wrote this back in May… I’m sad you see me as an asshole, but I accept I was never good to begin with. It’s something I’m working on.

My 8 year relationship ended because we want the best for each other, and we finally recognize and acknowledge that we are not the best for each other. Despite all the work, despite the nights talking, despite trying time and time, we had to let each other go. Because she deserved much better, and if I were truly thinking of her best interest, I would admit that I had not treated her better. Therefore, as I laid alone in that field at a concert, I decided to give her the chance to find someone better.

Take care of yourself; I can’t handle the idea of you hurting. I hope you eat more, sleep more, and laugh more. I’m glad he helps you and I’m glad he makes you feel loved. I wish I was the man I am today for you back then. But I know that couldn’t have happened without first losing you. Just remember I left you because I doubted whether I could make you happy anymore. I wanted you to be with someone who could love you with his all. I want to be that person again. But in a weird way, I got my wish. Wubba.

Frank Ocean – Ivy

My mind is like my room, which I need to clean

When I see your car model, I get excited it’s you. I’m retracing our steps. Through the parks, I see our ghosts. I lie down where we should have laid down. I confess I don’t know the extent to how I’ve changed. I’m premature with my proclamations. Today, I feel at peace. It’s up in the air whether we’ll be together again. And it’s certainly out of my control. In the meantime, I’m going to become something amazing. I can’t pause life… It’s a lot of work just to take a few steps forward, but doing nothing, staying still seems like death.

I just gotta find my peace. Remind myself sometimes the little joys I encounter daily is enough. Those things are meant to be savored. I ate too many cookies. What else… Keep myself busy. Try to do work when I feel down, and to meditate. Keep the adventures coming. Talk and listen to strangers more. All good things. I hope you’re happy and I hope you sleep enough.

Can’t Sleep Gotta Write

You were a sweet voice in the morning

A hand to hold when I felt lost

Laughter at midnight and an embrace that warmed me

Pirate teeth that you no longer wear

You were a friend and a lover

I held you close and you made the world a little less scary

Dear lost love. How are you doing? I’m doing well. I’m finding more meaning in my job. I’m connecting with my parents. I like how I look in the mirror. I have more tattoos and some interesting scars from my misadventures. I have a lot to tell you when I meet you again one day. I understand myself and what I need a lot more now. I’m not abandoning my sense of self as much anymore. I hope you’re finding yourself well. Life is good if you look for good things. I’m sure you know this already. Sleep tight tonight.

 

 

 

A musing after I scraped my fucking thumb

One does not value the good until the good has been stripped away from him. Case in point, I really wish I still had the strip of skin on my thumb. Every time I brush against something, it fucking hurts. This level of appreciation is unnatural though. Who goes through their days, praising the skin on his thumb? Conversely, this lack of appreciation can contort the most wonderful things one can possess in life. How does one straddle the line between delusion and truth then? Are things as good/bad as one makes it? Perhaps, in the end, a person only has his perspective; to lose is to widen one’s perspective. Enough neckbeard philosopher talk: I miss you.