"You know, lately, I just am not getting you. Maybe it's me. Maybe you haven't changed, and I have, and I just don't realize it. Maybe that's it, you know, you are still you, but I am now someone a little different somehow."
"I doubt that's true. You seem pretty much the same to me."
"Well, if I'm the same, then it's you who's changed, right?"
"I suppose that's right. I haven't given that very much thought, but that sounds right to me."
"Okay. So what is with this unbelievably insane fatalism that you seem to be tripping on lately? What the hell is up with that?"
"Hmm. Life changes, I guess. They make you reassess, make you rethink things that you had always taken as givens. Although I don't really think that what I'm doing can be called life. Life sentence maybe, but not life. I don't really have a life anymore, if I ever did."
"Yeah, that's part of it, that's part of what is bugging me about you lately. You don't think you have a life. So what are you, dead?"
"Well, for all intents and purposes, as they say, yeah, pretty much. It's an existence, it's not a life. It's me waiting to see when she is going to die, and hoping against hope that she goes before I do, and doing my best to write everyday, and trying to just get by. Marking time except for writing. Got to write. Got to set it all down, leave a record, maybe even a legacy or some bullshit like that for my girls."
"Seriously. You are just existing? Come on, that is crazy talk."
"No, I don't think it's crazy talk at all. It's reality talk. It is what it is. I don't really have anything anymore. Sure, things to do. People I see, mostly because I can't avoid them. But nothing really holds a thrill anymore. Except for the writing. That's the only time when I really do still feel alive anymore. It's kind of hard to explain."
"That's good to hear, that hard to explain part, because I am having a really hard time understanding, so it's comforting to me to hear you say that it is hard to explain, because you are not explaining it worth shit. Your explanation is worthless so far."
"Well, I am at the place where I hope you never find yourself. Out of time, out of luck, out of love, out of everything, including hope and ambition, the two things that always seemed to be constants in my life. Even through all of the really hard things that I've endured, there was always hope, and there was always ambition. Now, I am mostly tired, and I have had enough hopes dashed, and enough ambition cut off at the pass, that I am really ready to just hang everything up, and go."
"Go where? Are you thinking recklessly here?"
"No, I don't do reckless, any more than I do perky. And I do not do perky. I am just finished. I've had enough. I don't want anymore. Other than wishing that I will outlive her, so that she doesn't have to bury me, I really am all done. It's just that simple."
"That is too simple to be believed. What about your work? What about your book? What about all the people who care about you, and count on you? You just forget all about them?"
"My work is either going to be of lasting value to someone or not. There isn't anything I can do about that now. My work is what it is. And the book, well, hopefully that will sell soon, and I will be around for that. That would be great. But if it doesn't sell, or if it sells after I'm gone, well it will be for my girls. Which is fine. And as far as all the people who care about me goes, well let's just say that I am no longer the master of the art of self-deception that I once was. The truth is, there are really not very many people who care about me, if there are any. Mostly, I am surrounded by people who still do have lives, who still do have hope and ambition. Who still find great reasons, everyday, to get up and have another go at it. And there isn't anyone left who counts on me anymore. My girls don't count on me like they used to. They're all practically grown. And that doesn't figure into this anyway. They will lose me eventually. They will handle it. I'm not worried about them."
"You sound so incredibly selfish that I cannot express it in words. You realize that, don't you, how selfish and self-absorbed you sound right now?"
"You know, I don't really think of it that way, although I can see how maybe you do. I think of it as simply being realistic. Not putting any icing on the cupcake. Bare and unadorned. Raw. That might seem selfish, but to me, right now, it is just accepting reality. Accepting my own mortality. Of course, all that said, I don't really give a crap if anyone, including you, think I am being selfish. Think whatever you want: it is not going to change a thing, and it also is not going to break my heart. No heart left to break. Bent backward 180 degrees, snapped, shattered, lying in pieces on the ground."
"I wish I knew how to snap you out of this. I wish to hell that I had something that I could say that would reel you in from wherever the hell you have wandered off to."
"That's a noble thought. I'm proud of you for even thinking of trying. But this isn't talking me down off of some freaking ledge or something. I'm not jumping. I'm just not going to try to stop myself from falling. There's a big difference, you know."
[to be continued]
February 1, 2009.
Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.