Everything exploded. This was, of course, before you met me. I’ve wrapped myself even further into the cold blanket of reality since we met, sardonic wit amplified by life’s propensity to leave me under a deluge of icy water for just long enough to lose feeling in my toes. That may or may not even be a much of a statement, since the boots I pull on every morning make me feel like I’m going to have to cut off my feet at some point anyway. Every year, I go back and reflect on how much I’ve grown up and blah blah blah. I think I’m done trying to track it. It’s been visceral, sentiment becoming harder and harder to deal with as we slowly grow further from what we were and what we imagined ourselves to be. One day we step away and realize that what once was sanguine and bright has become lachrymose little tumors, burlesque caricatures of our youth dancing on the edge of memory.
Having no control over my own destiny right now is a major factor in aging 15 years in the span of two. I think only other service members really get this. We joined an institution that is a fountain of maturity frozen in time, surrounded by grown adults with no idea how to live until they are hit with the realization that this is really all there is. It isn’t similar to any other group of people, perhaps comparable to people trapped in academia for life. One day, you wake up and your mind is 30 while your body is 24 and falling apart like you’re 60. This is the moment of utter darkness, lying prostrate underneath a black sky blanketed with small pins of light. This is life. This is it, an unlit highway through the desert, unmarked by civilization until the tiny towns whose people regard you as a gentile. But, at least there is light.
“It’s all bullshit. It’s all bullshit and then you die,” said Kevin Spacey. Although it was a movie, I devoured this. My soul filled with foreboding while my mind tried to escape into impossible optimism. I repeated this line to someone and their reaction hit like a knife. “Jesus Christ that’s dark, are you okay?”
To which I can only reply; Since when has life been easy? Since when have we been able to lay back and things just worked out? Why does having a firm grip on exactly how shitty things really are make people so uncomfortable? I know why, and I can see it in my head. If I’ve latched onto this level of grim resolution now, in another two years my face will reflect the horrors of the world in a dimly lit bar, sipping scotch and staring into the void while club goers pass and stare for a moment in silent uncomfortable wonder. Is this what we become? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s easier to just enjoy things without wondering than it is to wax prophetic and philosophical. But your stories are never as good without an antagonizing force.
The universe exists to crush the atoms of dead things and redistribute them amongst the stars, and somehow these atoms comprise the souls of men. Everything is shared throughout all the heavenly bodies, and some people just feel the connection harder. The knowledge that we too, are mortal and will one day die, is everpresent in shots from the Hubble depicting massive things dying slowly in time. Nothing lasts, but we are gifted with memory.
Acknowledging how deeply futile existence generally is, to me, is not surrender. So what if nothing matters? If nothing matters, then everything matters. If I died tomorrow, I would be satisfied knowing that I did all I could to help people I’ve passed by or crashed into in this life. Everything is shit, but we’re all here together. And we’re all pieces of each other; no one is an original composition. I could be made of pieces of Hemingway, Hitler, a shark, and dead bits of planets and stars. The matter isn’t the subject matter.
I want to believe that love is real, that our connections are more than just weaving a great web to hold each other up. I want to go back in time, to enjoy the little things like arms around me in the morning and the cold sweat on the windows and the sun shines in. I want to see happy couples, and see something more than two people who will eventually make their progeny, who will be shitheads that inherit the earth. I want to go back and never question someone uttering soft and esoteric admissions of love, sweet nothings into the air whose breathy condensation rose into the sky and became clouds. If I could, I would go back in time and spend a little more time in those moments. Watching a face split into a grin at the sight of someone they know they could love and tolerate for the rest of their years, sighing in awe at the great beautiful gestures we make toward each other. I would enjoy meeting you for the first time, although I already know it will end somewhat tragically. I would hold you a little tighter at night. I would be less of a dick.
But I gave up trying to be someone I’ve already grown away from, because growing backwards has only led to self destruction. It’s gone, and it isn’t something I can teach people younger than myself to enjoy. We all have to fuck it up for a little while before that inevitable sense of inescapable understanding sets in. Nothing matters, and everything in the universe is trying to kill you. So one day you’ll die, and it was all ephemera. You’ll die and the leaves will change and grow again, and then they too will die. None of this means you can’t enjoy it while it lasts, or try to make things a little better for the people who succeed you. In fact, recognizing everything is shit and life is constantly trying to murder me has made the tiny breathy moments that much easier to appreciate.
Nothing matters. Therefore, everything matters.
And then, you die.
So that's it. Give me your feedback, if you feel like it. I'll put something new and interesting about myself and Wally up soon.