He’d tell me of a feeling he’d get from time to time.
When-wariness would drowsily lower her shield, drunk on lethargy,
when things would grab hold a little too tightly
and the beats would become synonymous with scarcity of breath.
He’d describe it as a sorrow
and a guilt
and a regret.
and an anxiety
and the deepest passion.
It’s all of these things, he’d say, and it leaves me goddamn empty.
In stained red fabric I take my seat
as doors around me shudder shut.
A bitter stench of sweat and urine
stumbles into the adjacent chair.
Telltale signs of spirits.
He’s standing at the exit,
pouring music from his belt.
Shoulder blades bouncing under his leather jacket,
as he dances with the dapper man outside the door.
He shakes his ass, half exposed,
falling deeper in love with the echo of his beat.
Cautiously, I repositioned my feet and braced myself against the playful gusts. My eyes peered over the edge, following the gravel as it descended from cliff to water.
The ocean roared at the preemptive sacrifice, waves foaming with bloodlust.
In another step – the brink. But I could go no further.
As I began to turn, a child appeared beside me on the cliff: a son I would have in thirty years’ time. My own disappointed eyes looked back at me: Had I not followed through? Had my stories of peril and grandeur been mere myth?
I grinned at the kid.
And we jumped together.
I sit under a tree. The park is deserted, save for a mute passerby or a focused cyclist. The ground feels hard but never have I felt this great a sense of tranquility.
It seems impossible now to find refuge from the perpetual claws of civilization, and yet here I sit, under my tree.
Gravity itself seems to pull me into an embrace, expecting me to join it at the Earth’s molten core. Only the compact soil under me prevents its desires. Still, its tug on my body deepens my state of relaxation.
As I rest my head against the tree bark, a beetle scuttles away before leaping and buzzing noisily to a branch above. Perhaps inspired by a distant bird’s song, it joins in the ballad and I close my eyes to enjoy their improvised masterpiece.
To the east, a confused cricket also seems to contribute a beat, joining in nature’s song. To the south, a wind laughs as it’s tickled by the youthful maple leaves. I can’t help but smile as well. Far to the north, a chick calls for its mother, while farther still, thunder grumbles amidst white clouds. The West brings sounds of distant lawnmowers and drills, disturbing my peace, and so I open my eyes.
Readjusting and inspecting my hands, which have been pressed against the blades of grass, reveal lines and symbols written in long-forgotten languages – nature’s hieroglyphs.
A squirrel dances up in the branches. Perhaps celebrating the bird’s and beetle’s performance, or perhaps searching for a place to store it’s loot for the distant winter. As it hurries by, its small legs set loose a few leaves that flutter down; supervised by a piece of bark. I pick up this canvas amidst the leaves and examine its long crooked bands – left over paint from a careful brush – resembling mountains of earth like the Himalayas, Kilimanjaro or Fuji. Possibly places the artist had previously visited.
It takes me only a while longer to realize my headache has dissipated.
I slowly stand up, putting a yellow plastic hat firmly on my head and nod: “We’ll build it here.”