I am thinking about all of the stories I could write, and wondering which ones I should write. There will definitely not be enough time in my life for all of them.
A few months ago, I started writing a song. A few lines came to me, melody and lyrics, and I wrote them down, hoping someday I could write a full song that I wouldn’t be embarrassed by a few years later.
That dream belongs in a different life, one where I actually learned to play an instrument instead of making a half-hearted attempt at guitar and piano before abandoning them (entirely by accident, but clearly a choice was made). I can still sometimes hear accompaniments in my head that I’ve come up with, but I have no way to bring them to the world where anyone but me can hear them, because I can’t play any instruments.
I kept up with singing, from an early age all the way through college, because it came easily to me, and someone else was paying.
Unless you’re the rare, ridiculous prodigy, learning any instrument takes work–at least, to get to a point where you can do anything good or interesting with it.
That song I began, I could just turn it into a poem, but it doesn’t feel right as a poem. And I don’t really write poetry anyway.
In one of many other universes, it actually became a whole song. Would I actually be proud of it, if this were that universe?
Is it really only the 12th?… but then, at the end of the month I will be thinking, where did July go?
Some condensation from my water glass drips onto my foot as I take a drink. The touch of the water droplet is surprisingly light.
Behind my eyes is that sensation of sleepiness–the struggle to make them stay open, the strangely dull sting that persists until I finally give in and let my eyelids meet. A moment later they flutter apart again the the miniscule respite was enough to let me continue on for a little while longer.
I sometimes leave books and other items on the sides of my bed rather than moving them. The edge of a hardcover Jane Austen pokes just a little bit into my thigh. It’s not uncomfortable, really.
Throughout the day, one eyelash continues to point itself right into my eye. It’s doing so now. I poke at it to make it move, but it seems quite determined.
There is no chill in the air, but the recent heat sort of makes it seem that way. I sit rather cool, wondering if I should retrieve a sweater, or just go to sleep, wrapping myself in a blanket cocoon until morning.
Have you lost my address?
Knock once for yes, twice for no.
My expectations are low, but my desires are high. The opposition creates a pressure system centered in my head, making my throat tighten and my eyes sting. It condenses wisping thoughts into rain, which escapes from my eyes and runs down my cheeks, tributaries feeding into the unknowable void of the universe.
I want to be a character in one of those dramatic change-of-life novels that always seem to occur at the beach. Because those characters are always artists who don’t seem to have day-to-day commitments, so they just get to lose themselves in the constant leisure and spend all their time working on their craft, creating some masterpiece or other. I bet if I lived in those circumstances, I’d have a novel done in no time. And it wouldn’t be one of those dramatic change-of-life novels that takes place at the beach, with a little temporary romance thrown in. It would be – how shall I say – larger than that.
“You and I are very alike. We make the same mistakes over and over again. I guess in different ways, but there they are. We want much more than what we think we can have. We want to connect, but we don’t know how – we have theories about it, although we don’t know for sure, and we’re frustrated that the entire world doesn’t agree with us in that way, and many others. You and I, we hold things inside because we just don’t know where else to put them. We hoard moments of pleasure or contentment – little shreds of what looks like happiness – to use as stepping stones across vast stretches of hard times. We stare out of windows and try to take opportunities that aren’t really there. We are treading air, about to fall, and we can hardly breathe. Maybe you, maybe I, should have given up a long time ago.”
“But we’re still here, so that says something…”
The flat brick and stone walls of this urban area line the sidewalk down which I plod, nearly forgetting where I’m going, as low-tide waves gently brush the curb and then retreat back toward the sea.
I wish I could just pluck explanations out of the air. I’d look in one directions and it would become clear, no more questions, no more doubts. Instantaneous instances of certainty. Sometimes I feel like I need it. And it would be the real explanation – the “truth” – although sometimes I think that truth isn’t real, but that’s a story for another time – and not just a possibility born out of fear or something else.
But you’d think, if it did happen that way, I’d have to be crazy to believe it.
What if the version of you that exists in one universe has to be miserable so that you can be happy in another reality? And what if you’re the one stuck in the unhappy existence? Would the balance be trans-universal, or contained within each universe itself (that is, which makes more sense)? Is there really a balance at all?