In spite of the world
My every day has become a mockery, a bad joke from a terrible bully that has gone too far and on too long.
It was always going to come visit. These dark days like an estranged relative. Then at some point, you recognize and must acknowledge, they meant no harm. They simply told you the truth, and it would visit time and again to make sure that the truth was remembered.
People, when telling stories of epiphany, like to open with “Then one day I just woke up and realized..” but I don’t agree with that at all. I think that’s something from the movies and any claims of it happening in real life is really just the result of a person’s laziness to urge his mind to recall the actual moment it hit.
For me, it was a moment of clarity as I was emptying my bladder during a quick five-minute piss break from a job I loathed.
In between the act of zipping my pants up and instinctively looking at myself in the mirror just before I wash my hands, I let out an internal sigh. I sighed for the broken world we live in.
It was as if an urgent message had been received by my soul. A message from somewhere not within me. The message was a question, cool and casual.
“How’s the party?”
I washed my hands, splashed water on my face, and wiped with the sleeve of my hoodie and answered.
“Terrible. You know what’s worse? The hope that it may get better keeps you around. Also, it would bring pain to the very few that I value if I left early. They were kind of the ones who invited me here, after all.”
The message just stared at me, not saying anything. It made me uncomfortable so I went on even when I really didn’t feel like saying more.
“I mean, look around you. Start with the right half of this room. Those guys are having a ball. Look at that. They’ve hauled all of the drinks and snacks over there. That’s way more than they can consume if they partied for two lifetimes. Why do they need to keep the left half of the room starving and thirsty? Isn’t this supposed to be a party? Why should some be miserable and others cruel and frivolous?”
The message thought about it for a while. He got me rolling and I wasn’t about to stop now. Not if he wanted me to.
“Look at those people.” I said.
“To the right or to the left?” He asked.
“Either. Just look. You’ll know which ones I’m talking about.”
He scanned the room a bit.
“I think I see what you mean. The ones who aren’t floating in their individual bubbles? I heard that you can even customize the neon lights on those things.”
“Actually, I meant the ones who are.”
“What about ‘em?”
“They’re hopeless. They’re fifty percent of the reason why this party is the worst. They give parties a bad name and I’ve only ever been to this one. The other fifty would be the snack and drink haulers over there. They’re intolerable and short-sighted and you know what the bubble people and the haulers have in common?”
“They only ever talk about their bubbles and hauls. They gather in groups and talk about their bubbles and their consumables. That’s all they do. Right up to the point where the bubble people die of asphyxiation and the haulers die hauling or consuming too much of their haul.”
“That’s pretty dull huh? Pretty simple too. They all look happy though. Isn’t that what matters? Bubble or no bubble, huge hauls or hermit-sized reserves, isn’t happiness the only desirable ending?”
“If you think that these Bubbles and Hauls have found, let alone have befriended the ghost that is happiness, then this party can’t be saved. If that’s happy, then I don’t want to be.”
“Then what do you want?” The message that had once been a casual one, had become rather intrusive. Therefore, it deserves the truth from me.
“I want to understand, and I want them to understand. I want everyone’s bubbles to cease existing, I want the haulers to understand the pointlessness of their hauling and that their ignorance and fear has become greed and selfishness.”
The message, as if realizing that he’d overstayed and that he had a bus to catch or something of the sort, made a face and jerked the lone shoulder strap of his backpack up and sighed.
“You know, it’s pretty selfish of you to want them to discard everything they know and believe to see through your eyes.”
I smiled at the irony, looking at nothing in particular. Just looking down. Then I met his eyes.
“That’s why I never ask them to.”
“That’s why the party will always suck.” He said. Then he left the way he came in. To nowhere from nowhere.
I went back to work.