For those that follow me on social media(that's a fancy way of saying "my family on Facebook") the following chapter is nothings new, but it's one that I've grown fond of, so l'm posting it here. Let me know what you think.
The lights fade, and everyone gets quiet. It's this moment I anticipate. It's right now that I find my Zen.
Roughly an hour before this, I'm staring down at a stone slab asking myself if it's granite. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it is. The top of it is rough cut, giving it that pre-eroded look that's probably in a catalog somewhere. Some horrible, fucked up catalog. The clouds above are slightly lighter shade of gray than the stone at my feet. The wind is cold, and it tries to rip off the hoodie draped over me. It finds the gaps where it I'm not tucked in, and it pulls. It's Winnie the Pooh's Blustery Day armed with Teflon coated gusts that pierce my T-shirt and thermal.
My trademark look. Her trademark look.
I realize that I'm yelling at the stone. Maybe I'm yelling at the little plaque below it with her photo. It doesn't matter, the obscenities streaming forth from my mouth are directed at an idea, not a thing. Not a person, Jesus Christ… not a person. I'm ranting and raving about the injustice of it all like a crazed homeless person warning of the Apocalypse. I feel stupid, naïve. I know she probably can't hear me, but I have to try, right?
I don't know when, but at some point tears have begun rolling down my cheeks, leaving trails that feel like liquid nitrogen. It burns, and I wonder if anyone will notice them in an hour before the lights fade. I close my eyes, and I pretend that I'm in The Black right now. It's too bright, and I can see the sickly pink of the light barging through my eyelids. Illusion ruined.
The incense on top of the gravestone has burned down halfway now, and with a pang of guilt I realize it's probably time to wrap it up. A voice tells me that a dutiful husband would spend at least another hour here. A dutiful husband would visit a lot more, too. So fuck you, voice. I'm not that guy. I call for Brophy, say goodbye to Chris, and we're on our way.
I can't see very well outside of the archaic automobile I travel in. The behemoth that somehow fits myself and my lift. I don't know these streets despite the fact that I've lived here for… How long? Half a decade? No… Longer than that. I forget that time continues to pass. The gray of the overcast sky blends in with the pavement, mirroring the cemetery that I just left. I give myself a mental high-five for thinking of something artsy that I'll be able to write about later. Good for me, seriously.
Pull into the parking lot, and someone has parked in the unloading zone of every single handicap spot. I can hear the blood pumping in my eardrums. A hundred thoughts of horrible things to do to these people races through my mind before I quell each one with the same reason: I can't do anything about it, I am powerless. My reason for inaction is the same thing that makes it all that much more frustrating. The world is full of injustice, from assholes who take up handicap spots to apathetic and careless doctors who take away your best friend. Everything comes back to that, one way or another… that's something I learned really early on.
The mall is a bustling hive of neon activity, stark contrast to the monochrome Winter's day outside. People are laughing, holding hands, and walking children on leashes. It's an end-of-the-civilization sideshow that no one realizes they're participating in. I see it, I understand. I hope that it won't be long before all of this gets washed away, and the whole thing gets reset. Before the slate is wiped clean, and we're all made equal. Someday everyone will be brought down to my level, and they'll realize how hard it is to get through tragedy. I'm not the first person to face tragedy, I understand that. I realize that people have it worse than me, but I also realize that the people that care most about me… they don't know what this Saturday is like for me. They'll hear that I went to the mall, went to see a movie, and they'll feel relief that I'm doing better.
(I'm doing better?)
Our tickets are paid for, torn, and we’re directed to our theater by a bored geek like me. I wondered briefly if we would be friends under different circumstances.
Maybe this time Brophy and I are seeing something ridiculous, maybe it's something good, it really doesn't matter. I'm here for the escape, for the difference in temperature from whatever is outside, for a little bit of peace from my terrifying brain. Just for a while. I then realize that I talk about my brain as if it's a separate entity from me far too frequently. I add it to a list of annoyances about myself.
We choose the same designated seat smack dab in the middle of the theater. The same seat every time. For me it's an empty space next to the theater chair. I look over, and wonder if it's comfortable. I never ask; guess I don't care that much.
The coming attractions play, and everyone still talks. I'm no better. I marvel at all of the previews that make me wonder if I've fallen into some sort of sick parody dimension. This can't be real. Really, this can't be real. It is. How sad.
The lights fade, and everyone gets quiet. It's this moment I anticipate. It's right now that I find my Zen. The seconds In Between. Everything inside is as quiet as the theater itself. My guilt, my depression, my anger, and my anxiety all are overcome with a kind of hush… as if they too are reverent of the sanctity of the feature film. It's a funny thing I discovered about myself. It's like the Narrator's addiction to support groups in Fight Club: it's my peace and serenity. It only lasts for a few seconds, but what follows during the movie is almost as good.
The void of light frames the movie screen. Sterile Hollywood sex scenes, overproduced violence, and clunky dialogue fills my field of vision, but it's not where I am. I reside in the places In Between, the black between scenes, between frames, between uncomfortable blasts of reality. I watch the movie, don't get me wrong. I understand what's going on, but it's not what takes priority. In this moment, nothing is pressing. There is nothing that demands my attention… the film understands if I have more important shit going on.
For roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes, I meditate on the few seconds of absolute serenity that I was able to achieve earlier. I ponder the possibility that the answer to everything might actually reside between the feature film and the coming attractions. I've clawed desperately at that concept, at the idea that maybe the solution to my problems might float in a nebulous cloud in the negative space of my life.
The movie ends, I come home, I eat, and I pay the price for sitting up with milligrams of painkillers. It's a small price to pay for penance, and for a glimpse at The Black.