When at the end of the late nineteen-seventies at a time when he had owned that beat up copper and white dodge commercial van he once became so drunk and contentious that he had climbed upon its roof while his girlfriend of the time drove off down a short distance on the highway. Thankfully, she pulling off the road after a block into a small parking lot before any damage had been done to him. She was not taking his prank in the same spirit it had been offered. Demanding that he immediately get down off the van’s roof and back into the passenger seat. To which he reluctantly complied. This acting out in such a careless carefree manner merely his own expression of the buoyant nature of those times.
Now forty years later he sat alone within the semi-darkness of yet another forgettable Sunday morning by himself complacently living out the last embers of existence. Asleep like a parrot in a cage where the canvas cover of night was barely removed anymore. Reliably falling asleep whenever the light was low and his belly was once again full, or sometimes not. All the possible chances for change in his life now used up. The blinds were still drawn shut and he slowly tugged upon the chain to open the vertical slats so as to let the light of day in. That monotone gray that shuffled in instead seeming an affront to his senses.
The unexpected announcement had come about the rapidly deteriorating medical condition of his last living aunt. Another close relative was evidently now descending that winding staircase of no return into oblivion. The long years of being part of a family was now a distant memory locked up out of sight within the recesses of his head. The stark tableau of an empty desert replacing what had formerly been an everlasting fertile plain of hopeful blooming. Those same skies above outside this day losing all definition beyond a long low metallic highlight following parallel along the line of an unpromising persistent grayness. What could there be left when everyone that he had once known from way back in his childhood was now permanently gone?
So much of his existence had been scrupulously logged upon CD/DVD’s over thirty years since the time that a technology had become available to do so. Letters, emails, images, movies; not to mention all manner of versions of his many attempted enterprises. All stored somewhere upon nearly two and a half thousand plus silver disks. Now it had become obvious that his life as he might have once known it at different various junctures lay hidden in a state of misfiled fragmented confusion. He might sample it here and there searching for a given month or year to possibly find clarity for a vague recollection that was once so meaningful. But those past worlds that he once inhabited long before and after seeing same only remained fundamentally unchanged in a very superficial distant sense. The facsimile of his own smiling image taken with his parents on the occasion of the last of his birthdays that he would ever spend with them together as a family appearing to be on another stranger’s face.
He had been emotionally betrayed! Looking back at all those past times searching for the dim visages of the many people that he had once known. Some regularly, some intimately! Now, all of them offered in such a piecemeal fashion to an imperfect persistently failing memory. There was no depth of feeling left to be had within him left over from the sea of it enjoyed in those epochs. Evidently barely nothing to be shared with the present. It had all been exhausted to bare remnants by too many passing’s. He felt that he as himself was nearing the point of his own extinction. Feeling so bad at times, but could no longer summon any resources to respond consciously. Though his body by contrast, seemed prone on its own to psychosomatically become wracked by unbearable pain. What hope was there in furthering the possibility of a new future now?
The intervening years of subsequent financial failures had emptied him of desires. Carrying on the fiction for those in public with what might have been mistaken for a normal state of every day behavior. Presenting an opaque bottle whose outer label belied a certain sense of peripheral blandness. The crowds about him, both distant and invisible, within a phantom landscape now scarred by past reminiscences. And that equally strange visage of his own appearing occasionally in sharp focus within the mirror permanently indistinguishable from just another ‘selfie’ derived from that current mass of humanity meandering in his wake.
How pathetic to simply be able to play the part of a voyeur of your own previous existence? That shadowy phantom place that still contained everything that you desired to wish to continue with, but now lacked the ability to assemble in the present ongoing exercise of a monotone life. That eggshell hard emptiness that your knowledge of the past cannot fill nor even begin to crack. What did it matter to try to do anything? He had done it so many times all before. It was simply a case of surrendering one’s self to become another anonymous stranger. Unknown to yourself like any other strange face peering deeply into a cheap empty glass fish bowl serving as your ersatz crystal ball..
That world that had once seemed so wide and generously inviting to travel now collapsed down to his two bedroom overstuffed apartment. Available space filled to the brim with useless worthless artifacts that he still held on to only because they had once served him. But that he had no longer any facility with which to employ. Though perhaps more physically fit than in decades past, now accustomed to scarcity; he was far beyond any ability to take them up in hand beyond contemplation of their possible use in any realistic useful enterprise. The heavy blanket of a malaise of the spirit wetly descending upon the last dying embers of his former identity now withered and gone to ash.
The nagging slim hope in resting off stage in the wings of his own sense of theater, in one day leaving something of meaning behind defiled by the hard reality of that hard experience of continual disappointments. That everything in life, sooner rather than later, loses its vitality and then quickly fades into final mortality. Those many great plans along with the requisite knowledge to employ them having been meticulously amassed over successive decades of uninterrupted effort now gone to rot. And he forever cast as a ‘would be’ Icarus whose wings never were sufficient developed to raise him off the ground even an inch towards the glorious Sun. His final lasting soliloquy embodies in that memory of that old patchwork scratch built roadster of pine and metal scraps. The onc built long ago in the folly of childhood that collapsed instant that it sailed down the driveway and off the curb to fall apart in total collapse.
This current life fraught with its monumentally smaller disappointments ever expected now unaccountable to supposing further starting points that might strive to reach beyond. But to fail in thought before they go anywhere near a raised hand to begin them. The apogee of a surrendered existence embracing fantasy to conveniently overshadow all the best of immediate intentions. That once indefatigable will unable to trick his final destiny into believing that he ever wanted to believe in a larger cliche ridden universe.