He knows these facts and yet he still can’t help wonder, in some small corner of his mind, if he is still wrong; Have they tried to talk to me…have they? And have I just not listened?…Despite what I know, what I damn well know, how in the hell can I still wonder if it is just me…if it was just me, borne this way, an isolated neurotic freak from the get go…unable to be helped…if I am the disease…the failure?
He sits in the car with his dad, waiting on the bus. His dad is talking about something…something. It sounds like the same thing his dad said the morning before and the morning before that and probably every morning he can ever remember, sitting here in this spot. It isn’t mean or hostile or invasive conversation. It just seems more like an exchange of words that are unreal or fake or rehearsed or perhaps, simply irrelevant. It is mundane…mundane and without a soul. Mundane filler conversation occupying the space of where true, soulful conversation should reside: sustenance replaced perhaps by avoidance or minimally, a much lesser awareness. So, to combat both this non-sustenance and the fear and anxiety that swell in his gut at this time every morning, he has been attempting to shift his own intense awareness away from these pathogens, and instead, focus upon something else…anything else that is outside of their realm. He becomes determined to figure out a way to escape his torment, which seems to him just as unreal and irrelevant and unnatural as the routine morning conversation that he always had with his father. He wants a real existence; he wants a natural existence without the “occurrence” afflicting him every day; he wants sustenance; he wants to abolish his fear; he wants relevance and he wants not to ignore a cycle of insanity, thus assuring its perpetual survival. He wants to be free of his demon. At some point, this desire, his desire, evolved into a specific approach.
He willfully dives his consciousness into the music playing on the car radio; he dives deep, very deep, into its cool water and into its melody of complex undercurrents, where the darkness from below and the refracted light from above interplay with one another in a shimmering dance. It was a dance, enigmatic in nature and flow, and overtly impassioned with synergy and reverence in the way that each of its elements perpetually reacted and responded to one another.
His buoyancy, the very same type of buoyancy that many years later he would associate with the suffering of Angels, and most specifically, the Angel known as Verna Lee Cribb, would inevitably yank him back out of the rhythmic, harmonizing waves; waves that were spawned in the melodies of still water and wind; waves that would also eventually crash against the harmonies of sand and shore; waves that always eventually yielded their violent energy of percussion to evolve back into the octaves of peace and stillness; waves that gently bathed everything in their cadenced and corresponding serene caress before they ultimately flowed back in the tide of their birth to begin the whole process once more.
These waves, which initially presented themselves to him in the form of music, were much more poorly understood by him in his childhood. Nonetheless, they were his first salvation; his first glimpse at the answer and to this day, he still wonders whether that stumbling step upon salvation was just deaf, dumb, and blind coincidence or something more. Was the music a force of compulsion, acting as a grace to pull his soul out of hell, or was it a mere distraction and not a damn thing more? Were those waves a turning point in his life that altered everything henceforth? Would a similar turning point have saved his mother? Could one such “change in direction” save every Angel? These questions would forevermore remain answerless and only the teasers of inconclusive pondering.
The buoyancy was the damn killer; the stealthy murderer of Angels everywhere. It seemed so natural to only focus on trying to bob and breathe, gasping all the while, but the only salvation was to dive; dive in and among the notes and cords and octaves and crescendos, and the symphony swirling about it all, where awareness belonged; kick hard at the surface tension and thrust downward into the deeper currents, allowing them to carry you so effortlessly as you float within their embrace. It was imperative to submerse your consciousness within the wholesome vortex created by all of those elements; not just some tiny portion or incomplete fragment, but the whole damn swirling ubiquitous mass. You had to accept that floating within primordial pools and silent seas, and being drowned in the savagery of tsunamis and typhonic tempests, were both just different facets of the same existence. It was the only existence and you had to stop fighting the individual fractions of its total sum for its ebb and flow to complete you. To refuse, to choose otherwise, to fight, was futile and a choice to step into persistent madness and premature non-existence.
That awakening stumble step day was the first time that he was able to push back against the madness and his fear. It was the first day in many months in which the occurrence did not plague him; there was no uncontrollable retching or heaving or vomiting that day; no involuntary expulsion of gastric contents that burst forth from his throat and mouth to splatter the school bus windows or slop onto the school bus floor; no spastic-chunky-vomit-school-bus-painting exhibited by him to give the other children something to gawk at. His fear was not conquered completely by that single victory and there were many days post-stumble step day that he lost his nerve in great embarrassing glory, but that was of minimal relevance, because he had proven that he could win the battle of one day…..he had damn well proven it, and when one day can be won, many, if not all days can also be won.
To be continued…