A lone, lonely figure, the inspiring and essential epitome of survival, of taking chances time and time again after being stung a time or two by failure upon failure, mixed with more than occasional moments of pure blinding brilliance, strolled across the stage wearing an elegant tux to celebrate a gala event for two brothers, one of whom had a woman's name. The shadowy figure did what was asked for in his entirely unique mesmerizing style, presence unmistakable and as his want, left his observers wanting more while not quite knowing how to react to what they had just seen.
Two of the eyes watching and soaking it all in belonged to another solitary figure- one who now lay day after day in his room, stirring from his futon only to shake some of the grogginess from his noggin and to try and understand what the bright sunlight that shone through his two bedroom windows and illuminated his room made him feel. Hot? Uncomfortable? Blinded? Warmth? Hard, haunted, reckless, forlorn, and desperate? He played a tape of the performance over and over and figured out the reason he couldn't stop watching was it was about enduring and finding a way to push on even when all seemed meaningless and was drifting ever so dangerously into pointlessness. This fragile soul was yet to meet a woman who in a very white lunchroom under the din of blowing air, told him she hated her name as a child because it was a boy's name. And it was even before she appeared first in his predictable novel written with great heartache. Still more amazing it was before he had met his mirror image who upon further reflection confessed she had always lacked her map maker, thus was not only lost but more than a bit adrift.
"Our good luck will be suspended. I found the happiness I've waited for. The only girl I was waiting for. Soon, little cabin that will find us safe. All our cares so far behind us. When you are mine this world will be in tune. Let's make that day come soon..."
She walked away briskly and quietly and when she got into her car the days of marshmallow leers and obscene bikini bottoms were over. He just couldn't quite comprehend (or was it a lack of acceptance?) how over it really was and soon the end came. He would increasingly become a parenthetical thinker, mind jumping from one relative thought while his heart tugged in a whole other direction. Tight and erect. What he was to remember and thus miss most was her desire to be great in whatever endeavor she undertook. She didn't want to be less than the best in anything. It was a desire that had long been missing from his own heart. He had pressed forward only now to realize at this late hour how he had been walking around in circles.
"It's a never ending battle for a peace that's always torn..."
The tongue stung from the diabetic abuse of a poisonous sugar breakdown. She invited him over for a taco salad and a curing game of backgammon. She commented on his court coverage. But his hare like reflexes were a bit shaky and his nerves seemed raw to the bone. The senses were leaving one by one: his ability to see past yesterday; his ability to listen to any voice let alone his own; the way she smelled; his appetite; allowing anyone to touch him; his often praised, sometimes mimicked and more seldom than not now mocking sense of humor.
In his hospital room the door was left a little ajar. The florescent light that shined at the head of his bed made things seem so sterile. Night after night he heard a figure shuffling in the hallway. How had things reached this point? It was at the campus copy center where she screamed upon seeing him. She started sobbing hysterically. He left the room quite shaken only to run into his mentor, the first of many he would disappoint. The juxtaposition of encounters was more than a little unsettling. He tried to remain calm. Tried to not let on the storm he had just witnessed and was winded by. But he knew he couldn't hide the horrible look on his face. (It was a similar horrible look which was left on the face of the walker who brought him back to this place ten years later, who got him to accept some of the past only to leave in such an eerily similar manner.) His mentor definitely noticed something was amiss or perhaps he just needed to smoke a cigarette.
This boy was in trouble. Deep trouble. The cross he received after his last day of performing his duties as an acolyte (where he learned the invaluable and eternal lesson of first lighting the candle by the window and putting that candle out last) was lost somewhere in his childhood bedroom. He soon had to return to clean it out.