Particular Moments

More Stars than There are

Tag: nonfiction

Deep Waters

The floor is lined with wooden tiles; in perfect geometry they lay—ordered patches of vertically  and horizontally aligned rectangles, altogether shaping an unity that’s furnished with a touch of quiet variety. Painted jet black and finished with plastic coating, they reflect in a dull gleam the filtered, white fluorescent lights on the ceiling.

And you wonder, you wonder how you feel about all this—the modern, monolithic theme that leans so inconsequentially on Black and White to convey its contrived notions of streamline simplicity and sleekness. It really is rather…puzzling:

Why am I fond of this depressive sight?

Yes, why? Why like it, despite your outward disdain for it?

Well, it is striking, in its bold way. Maybe you like the convenience of it all—how it unapologetically defines its lines and boundaries in two of the most metaphoric and quintessential hues, altogether illustrating a drastic solution to the complications of your own state of being: at best in shades of uncertain and cumbersome gray; intertwined—no clear cut floors or ceilings, resembling nothing of the interiors you are “absent-mindedly” observing.

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Outside, it is getting nearer and nearer to that fully-bloomed season, yet during the prized moments of each day, when you get to take a few strides in the open air, all the fields and branches in bright greens—bursting with vitalizing scents, all seem to escape your senses.

Maybe one cannot forcibly smell the roses?

Or maybe that somehow, too wrongly you indulged in your busy vocations that its endless clusters had lulled you under a paralyzed complacency, one that sneaks up and renders you senseless. Constantly moving onto the next assignment, diving into, one after another, the new projects, have you carelessly abandoned your deeper and far more intimate connections?

Your unfinished scripts and drawings, sitting neglected, in a room that is left to dust. Letters received and nothing written back—you irresponsibly leave 6-month, cruel gaps in the priceless exchanges between you and faraway kin.

Am I really that caught up?

You like the simplicity of this hallway. It causes you to fantasize—maybe one day,  you might just in a single sweep, trash all that is not necessary; throw everything away. No souvenirs or mementoes. Sentimentality is your deeply entrenched trait; you like to remember and record the value of moments and occasions, but what’s the damned point, if all they do is cause you to resign in stagnation?

Away with the trifles, and lay down the black tiles, then properly match it with smooth, splash resistant pale walls—physically and beyond. A quick but effective fix to it all.

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But really, that’s exactly what’s wrong with the commercial nature of society nowadays, isn’t it? Everybody wants a slice of convenience at his/her disposal—use and pile atop of it, and when it is milked messy and dry and full of garbage, away with it and snatch a new but soon-to-be disposed one; do this over and over without immediate consequence in hindsight, it’s an easy ride. And when supply runs short and spacing gets tight, just source the merchandise from a new land, so far as it’s not our land.

Perhaps you like this modern, nearly non decorative design that which you are numbly sitting in and inexplicably mesmerized by, for reasons synonymous to the above nature. Maybe you like it because it has got plenty of room for you to ruin, just as you did your own personal life. You like it because it’s a metaphor for a cop-out cure.  You haven’t got the time to slowly and carefully sort things out, right? Right?

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And there you sat, dazed, while a higher conscience wrestled against your implanted, paralyzed, and desensitized self.

 

 

A Fleeting Panic In Red Rock Canyon

 

Running through the coarsely paved trail—-chunky granules of sand and jagged,  protruding red rocks who have been pensively buried underneath the Earth for too long, as it were—as if they grew weary of the pressurized molding underground, and in an uprising defiance, thought themselves better suited for the harsher but more adventurous polishings under the sun. These cataclysmic formations were more of a personal statement than the gradual results of tectonic movements.

It wasn’t exactly hometown, in the sense that where you stood was nearly six-thousand feet above sea level—which really shouldn’t have been anything of a major obstacle, but given your lungs have long been conditioned to the superfluously abundant air of the great, flat plains (a shame, really), your time spent (less than two days) in the new heights did not suffice to fully acclimatize.

Quickened movements became a toil; each step forced you to further dismiss the nimbleness of your formerly established agility. In spite of self-proclaimed quick-feet, your lungs grew heavy, constricted, and became exasperated all too swiftly to render the distance traveled rewarding.

You did not wish to stop, but in effort to remain physically frugal, you slowed down to a light jog, for as frighteningly ambivalent as the distance ahead appeared, this suddenly ensued notions of adrift-ness and fear were not going to resolve themselves until your senses have received their proper consolation.

It was quiet, and the sun had not too long ago retreated its last radiance behind distant, western peaks. You were stuck in the aftermath—a vast, silent solitude of the twilight, the graying, vague in-between. It seemed, in the absence of direct daylight, Nature’s milieu had turned off its unseen switch, and muted its multifaceted acoustics.

Normally, you’d have savored this moment as a rare gift: a precious time of reflection—it is only in its absence, could one truly feel Nature’s touch intimately—its solemn, orderly vibrations beneath what appears to be senseless chaos.

However, in the company of another, your priorities had, without your own active knowledge, shifted.

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“I will meet you the other way around.” she mentioned, before you split your ways at the fork, separated by a sizable and lengthy rock formation.

“Let’s. See you on top.” You replied with certainty—the place was not obscure enough to lose track of one another, so you thought.

Having soon traversed around the mighty obstacle that split the earlier straight trail into two, standing atop the inclined terrain, after having surveilled the ground below again and again, you came to realize that she was no where to be found. You trotted your way back to the fork, upon not seeing anyone there, you then pushed the same way back to the alleged rendezvous; no one in sight.

And in a very-unlike-you instant, you panicked:

Am I lost, or did she lose her way? Encounter with a malicious stranger in the wilderness? In harms way? Large predators in the path?? No, no, no way. The biggest “beast” around here can only be that tiny brown hare you saw just moments ago.

Shit, she could have just left and made her way back to the car and abandoned you here—for reasons not known to you. What would they be if she did?

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It was out of these quickly compounding, irrational frights, that you involuntarily set out kicking dust, ran and ran, until you were helplessly gasping for the air that which your cursed lungs failed to hold on to. Alone, you would have only sought after peace of mind, but something about having a travel companion changed your subconscious motives, and thus needs—by then, your urgent need was to track her down.

This was not you and how you respond to things—you became well aware of this in the midst of frantic searching: you rarely ever panic. Calmness through calamity is a skill you prided yourself on. Were you afraid of being alone? No it can’t be: solitude has been, on and off, your long-time, indispensable friend. Perhaps it was centuries of conditioning by the intolerable affairs of the human civilization—engraining deep inside you a litany of incurable attributes of a social, pack animal, one that is obligated by its immutable nature to stick to its compadres, that drove you excessively concerned of her whereabouts.

It is only natural to be worried, isn’t it?

As insensitive as it might have been, you were, to a large extent, as worried about finding her as you were worried about ensuring yourself—confirming that you weren’t being ruthlessly abandoned. It was ridiculous, but it was the cursed and damned truth.

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Why should they have crept up  on you at such an arbitrary and inconvenient occasion—distant memories of having been frequently forsaken: walking down busy town center streets,  past the colorful amalgam of street vendors and merchants, who became too tragically calloused over the course their own survivals, to help a five-year-old boy’s unguided quest in search of his father.

Visits to playmates’ houses—orderly, well-kept, warm—displaying all signs of wholesome families; they might not have been entirely functional, but nonetheless, they were together. The kids didn’t have to grow accustomed to having no adults around for extended periods of time,  with slips of cash to work things out on their own juvenile accords.

Bloody hell, cash was enough. Better than none. You had a good childhood.

You refuse to place serious blame on or express grim dissatisfaction at anyone; no one truly owes you anything, nor would anyone ever will. 

It was all too silly. It didn’t bother you as a child, but why has it implanted such latent insecurities that would only surface to haunt you in your rare moments of vulnerability?

You’ve relentlessly watched and learned from the old fashioned men in your life, the efficient talent of controlling your emotions—by simply not keeping in touch with them. It’s wrong, but more importantly, it works. As long as you could tap into the intrinsic emotions of your surroundings, you are satisfied with leaving those of your own unexamined.

You hate it when your strenuously constructed, layered onion gets peeled. It’s not a matter of rigid, conventional masculinity (a subject matter better saved for a entirely separate story), instead, you are by experience, simply stronger in detachment.

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It was no time to reason—there was a need to be met—a person to be found. Regardless of physical discomfort, you had to instinctively move forward, all the while panting desperately—the sun has already set, leaving the trails vacant and eerily still; somehow, because of this, your intensified respirations, as drastic as they were, were drowned out by the immensity of silence being exuded all around.

You had begun drawing out contingency plans (drawing out ideas from your totally ridiculous but self-convictingly serious street-smart wit chambers):

Okay…go back to starting point and check on the car—if the car’s there, you either got your wires crossed and missed your rough point of convergence, or she is in trouble. If the car’s there…if the car’s there, run back to the trail and search once more. If she doesn’t pop up in a hour, make an attempt to contact authorities. It’s foolish but it’s better than being sorry in hindsight. Do not take chances at reluctance if you have a hunch that someone is in danger.

If the car isn’t there, she simply left. Okay. Your keys and supplies and cash are in the car. So you won’t have those…How to get home? Hitch hike? No. That’s gone down the drain decades ago, thanks to the fuckers who kidnapped unwary road-warriors and kept them in basements and abused them for years. Oh hey! You’ve got your wallet. Thank God. Okay. Okay. Spend all the money on the card. You’ll make it back without much peril.

If the car isn’t there, someone could have kidnapped her and drove away in her car…shit, ugh okay, don’t go there just yet.

After having gone back and forth the same way two times, you decided to make it to high ground, but return on a slightly different path—one that somewhat ran parallel to the by then beaten one. All the while. your thoughts raced in a frenzy, they shouldn’t have. On the run, on the search, for what was absolutely paranoid nonsense.

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Soon, without much of a catharsis, her silhouette appeared in the near distance.

Before getting closer, you slowed down, caught your breath, and took a knee (of the mind). You had to appear untroubled—after all, it would have been all too laughable to turn up stirred and out of breath, as if during the few brief minutes you had lost track of each other, you had gone through a drastic and unnecessary whirlwind, which you absolutely did.

No way anyone was going to find out what an anxious fruit you could be.

Closer, you found her in an odd configuration—facing what appeared to be no more than a patch of shrubs, with her shoes off and held in her right hand, and sneaking onward slowly in her white socks; it always surprised you how she didn’t mind getting her clothes soiled or dusty.

“Shhhhhhhhh!” She beat you to the first word, and by the tone of it, appeared rather agitated by your presence.

“…What?”

“Your footsteps are too loud, you are going to scare the animals away.”

“Um, I don’t see any around here.”

“Ugh..trust me, they are here. They are just hiding because you are being loud.” She was, in an almost child-like but determined attempt to silently approach and catch a better view at some rodents who were nearby.

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Just like that, all the former panic had become suddenly, absurdly irrelevant.

 

 

 

 

 

Afterwords:

Recalling past events, as well as ventures, I frequently run into trouble in giving full recounts of my experiences in a wholesome (or objective) manner, for doing so has proven to be too painstakingly a process to render storytelling, personally, worthwhile.

Should it be worth your while? I know not, but I am aware of my institutions in personal narrative—honesty in fragments, for I only remember everything in fragments—discretized, small instances that shine more factual lights on the emotional states of a character than the whole picture could. This short piece spans over the course of a few minutes, but the fact that so much had gone through the narrator’s mind in this brief period of time, cause the conflict, one that which I hope is relatable.

Thus, under my care, if an attempt were made to recollect an entire memory all at once, the “complete” story, thought over and completely written in one stroke, would be filled with lies.  

I’m not a writer-writer. I try to write with a fair degree of emotional candidness–and that is all I care for at this particular stage in life (so…READ MY SHIT PLEASE).  

 

Backtracking

Paying a visit to particular, neglected artifacts, you couldn’t help but to have noticed a person behind their marks of past usage—prints from a younger pair of hands.

After having been away for ages, remnants of another time was refreshing, yet you couldn’t have help but to have felt thoroughly estranged at their sights.

They are comprised of words, methods, and thoughts of an entirely separate man, someone once at the dawn of his making—energized, humorous, and light-heartedly sarcastic—ambivalent of his future endeavors yet managed to enjoy that lack of clarity with ease.

As you sifted through the pages and retraced the steps that, at the time being taken, seemed inconsequential—curtains were drawn and the illusion set in, history regained vitality, and you began sensing the former vigor filling your present network of veins.

And so drastically different was this old essence—in fact, so rejuvenating and bright and untamed it felt—that you were overcome and rendered irretrievably deplorable by it: this blood has become foreign.

That certain green air which you once carried, no longer suited so nicely as your natural skin—as they were.

As frequently as you enforce (reassuringly) upon yourself the notion that age has left you unscathed, in the face of solid, tangible vestiges of a fresher man—who has been left behind in between the old pages—you are helplessly, helpless, for they hold firm and irrefutable proof that, you too, have inevitably aged.

 

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**Comic Relief:

 

“fuck.

 

agh…UGH. 

 

—whatever.”

Neighborhood Tomboy

Down the street lives a family of newcomer-neighbors. Parked next to their side walk is a red, bulky pickup truck that rendered its respective portion of the street only wide enough for one car to pass through at any given time. The truck is always parked there. Other neighbors do not complain, neither do you—rumor has it that the husband is afflicted with brain tumor.

The adults are rarely seen out, but ever since their move-in, this side of the community has lightened up several notches. The children of the Red-Truck residence, being such active roamers as they are, really brought about a new air in this neighborhood full of folks who have settled here since the 60’s.

The boldest of the little ones is a girl, no older than 5 or 6 by appearance; she stands out like a protagonist before a subordinate, background crowd. More so an outside kid, she is always seen sporting slightly oversized T-shirts and knee-length athletic shorts; every now and then she’d have a baseball cap on backwards—a quintessential tomboy whose childhood is fortunately left untempered.

Never prim and pretty, but she is beautiful, no amount of androgyny could mask the conspicuous elements that so clearly identify her as who she is.

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In the summer, she frequently rode her bright yellow, 4×4 motorcycle. Judging by the implied personalities associated with the parked truck, one could presume that the motorbike was a result of her father’s influence. But regardless of where her habits arise from, it was evident that she naturally enjoyed speeding up and down the steady incline leading to the turnaround at the end of the street.

The 4×4, designed more for rougher outdoor terrains—was let loose on flat asphalt roads.  She’d unleash waves of loud rattling throughout the neighborhood. As she made her way, one would hear the gradual amplifications her automobile’s distinctive droning: getting louder, closer, more and more vexing; then right before the noise burns through one’s last straw of tolerance, it’d slowly fade away as she drove off into the distance. The whole process would repeat; the volume of her motor revving would go up and down, getting closer and further progressively, like the affairs of a sinusoidal wave.

She’d wave her hand and smile with her dimples, showing an un-corrected set of juvenile teeth—squinting her eyes against the summer sun, she was a cheery rascal.

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The fall comes and the place grows quieter. Perhaps due to some neighbors having finally made their confrontations, the Red Truck now belongs to the driveway. You often come home to a vacant scene, with no children playing in the streets. School, maybe—is summer the only and true time to rightfully be a kid?

You don’t like the mood change, for it has gotten so deflating.

Much to your surprise, a few afternoons back, as you pulled into the driveway, there she was again, walking down the street with the sun on her back; her pony tail had gotten long and frazzled, subtly fluttering from side to side as she walked in her distinctive gait.

The sight of her made you smile—how could this little person, merely a feet taller than a fire hydrant, while waddling down the sidewalk, encompass such promise and livelihood?

For a second, you couldn’t help but to have envied her untamed stage in life. Age and all that you have irreversibly become. The things that chronically cause you to beg, ‘how did I get like this?’ The things that you’ve become as time moved on; you have become them—without a clue as to how. You are terrified at how things have turned out; all the things that are seemingly stuck and cannot be shed off. Oh how you wish for an impossible shot at backtracking your steps.

But it was all okay. Just like the little tomboy is still around—just like how you and everyone else had accepted, even cherished her summer-time, deadening engine thrums.

Nothing hampers the spirit of youth, especially its embodied symbol of ever-uplifting hope. With age, certain things gray, and chance begins to offer fewer and fewer prospects, but there will always be youth to keep its neighbor’s lights on—its time defying innocence and energy manifesting themselves time after time, bearing the torch-flame of life forever long.