Friday, March 9, 2007

great insipid sea

You reach for the light, but the switch won’t work. Rather, the switch works, it does switch, but no light comes on, and you’re still in the dark. Beyond fear now, your heart rate plateaued a while back and you’ve settled into something new, something just outside of fear, a little beyond. The feeling is beyond the scope of words, so you don’t bother wasting any trying to describe the indescribable. But one knows the place if one ever gets there.

Your face and arms are still slick with the nauseating ichor encountered in the last room, and as you fumble about in the dark, you can’t shake the feeling that the source of the unusual, foul-smelling mucous can not be far behind. Imagined or real breath on your neck. You scream, you think you scream, and you think, so this is how it ends. Haunted. Hunted.

Suddenly, your hands find another door and you stumble through, nearly falling to the floor in your haste. There’s moonlight now, across this room, and you bolt towards it, frantically fleeing your pursuer. Within seconds, you’re through a door to the outside, and as you turn your head to check behind, your eyes catch an indefinite shape in the dark of the dilapidated house, something following without any regard for the solid of walls or doors, something wholly unnatural.

But you’re out now and running down the street, heart racing faster and faster, mind clearing a little more with each pump. There are those who do not believe in monsters, and you can’t help thinking their ignorance is something to be envied, that their ignorance is their greatest gift, for if they were to truly understand the nature of the universe, their lives would never be the same.

You’re still running as fast as your legs can carry you, and as you run you’re thinking about how you got here, your mind floating back to the early days of your learning and how the string of discovery went: Barthes led to Foucault, which led to Derrida, which led to Žižek, and on and on. It was really a whirlwind of breakthroughs for you then, with each day spent innocently wandering from café to café with pocketfuls of books and very little in your wallet. My, how thing have changed, haven’t they? Now, you run. And run. Onward and upward – or something like that.

You just want to be home, and your mind flits now to an image of your reflection in the bathroom mirror, and you’re asking yourself, who is that person? Each day you look in that mirror and see him. He’s never a man who looks a day older, but a man who does not yet look as old as he will tomorrow. You’ll call it positivism, taking the simple definition and ignoring everything else that’s built up around the word.

Legs gone numb, you’re nearly overcome by a sensation of gliding down the street. For a moment, you’re able to think about where you’re going and where you’ve been. That monster: the new shape of failure. Something to run from. Something to distance yourself from. Failure means that you would wind up back where you started, not a single step ahead, having gained nothing but memories – and you’re not going back to the beginning.

So you run and run. Past the darkened houses on that moonslicked street. Past the snowy park and its disused play equipment. Past the hollow schools, the locked up service station, and the vacant strip mall. This is the new new. You run all the way through one suburb, not even realising when you’ve entered another. Across a seamless quilt of bland and blander, through the great insipid sea, you flee.

There is sleep between the days, just as there is wakefulness between the nights, living and unliving, unliving and living, with such a fine line between that it is entirely impossible to tell which is which. Sleep: you trust yourself to its ebon arms, even while dreaming of ways to do without. Wakefulness: you welcome it like you would an old friend, with open arms and a kind word – but you can’t wait for him to get off your couch.

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