He’d been called many names in the past. Some of them negative; ‘loser’…’asshole’…no one’s ever topped ‘limp-dick fucknugget’, though… Every name conjured a moment best left forgotten, or repressed under a two-tequila shot minimum.
He’d also been blessed with the best names available in life; ‘beloved’…’husband’…’daddy’… Names that defined a man, that gave him a purpose to be and a reason to continue. The warmth alone that radiated from his chest with each of these wrapped him in a blanket of distance from the moment, letting him remember what should be, or now, what once was.
But one name he’d never been given was “insignificant”. It was a moniker his tongue couldn’t force a repeat of. “Okay, sure, there’s way too many people in the world to give a shit about me and whatever I did. You know what, I don’t give a shit about them. I gave a shit about Lillian! About our boys! You can’t tell me otherwise!”
“You’re right, I cannot,” it said, as it started to climb a staircase that wasn’t even there to step on. “It is not up to me to debate the root truth of your memories, their fidelity is irrelevant in the end. What matters is your perception of them now.”
“Why now? Shouldn’t it matter through my whole life, if this is whatever comes at the end of a life?”
It stopped at the peak of an invisible perch and sprawled out upside down, but never closing its unblinking eyes in a moment of respite, “They are one in the same, only a perceived measure of time.”
He reached out to lean on whatever staircase was supposed to be there, only to be further annoyed when his hand passed through nothing, “So….what the hell does that mean?”
“As I said, everything you were and would never be is right here. Yet this is the environment you have generated from what you consider ‘true’. Alone, isolated, refusing to open his eyes to what he claims to value.”
That made him pause for a moment. But I remember!…don’t I? What should have been the songs of angels playing through his adulthood were no longer there, lost to whispers from a dark closet somewhere in the aged hovel he was standing in. “Where are they?! Why can’t I hear them anymore! You’ve spoken in their voices once, do it again!” he howled, shaking the false wood under his feet. “Please…let me hear them again…”
It rolled right side up, tilting its head. “Is that what you truly want to hear?”
“Yes! Let me hear them again…just one more time,” he pleaded, almost cradling its head in his hands.
The noise that it emitted from its ever-smiling lips was damming. It only lasted a few seconds, but the combination of every scream his children had ever hollered, every shriek of pain his beloved had emitted was enough to crush the soul of anyone and anything ever made flesh. But it was the indomitable roar of the blaze that took him from his feet to his belly. “No! No! Please, God no! Make it stop! NO MORE!”
It relented upon his request, leaping down from its roost to sit in front of him, nearly nose to nose. “Those are the memories that you hold on the surface, the ones that have shaped all of your perceptions of the moment.”
“But…how can that be possible? I… THEY SHOULD BE ALIVE, NOT BURNING TO DEATH!!” he yelled over the racking tears.
“Then why is that what you cling to now?” It posed with a cock of its head.
“Because…because… BECAUSE I KILLED THEM! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR, YOU SADISTIC FUCK! I KILLED THEM! I KILLED THEM! ITS MY FAULT!” His voice broke into the creaking shriek of the broken, his fists beating down on the floor again and again until they should have been shattered bone. And yet, there was nothing but the cold, indifferent silence.
“Now do you see the corruption and falsehood of memories over truth?” it posed to him after an eternity of pause.
“Does…does it even fucking matter anymore?” he whimpered, cradling his chest from the ache of the breakdown. “This is all there is, isn’t it… this is all you’re gonna show me…it’s all I deserve.”
“If that were the truth, Simon, then this moment would have already ended. Are you ready to see your truth and not the memory you’ve sealed yourself in?”
So, it’s been a bit since I’ve visited this scene, and honestly, this is due to two reasons. 1: This particular sequence takes a certain focus or exact idea to make it feel like it’s ready to continue. And 2: I have honestly no idea where/when/how/if it will end. And, I’m completely okay with that for now, since there’s probably a good reason for that buried in here somewhere.
I hope you all enjoy.