Friday, October 3, 2008

the trouble with being born

One day he said, I’m going to show you what it’s like to be born. Please do, I thought, show me what that might be like, and I will steel myself for the surprise, whatever it might be. But he began smoking hash, the strong stuff, then Ecstasy took him, the substance. Oh, he said, it was so good, I had such a good time. And I knew he would never show me, that being born was, for him, too dark and heavy, without the possibilities given to the never-quite-born of taking flight. So he excarnated. Et excarnatus est, courtesy of Ecstasy. He became unmade, fragmented, splintered into particles of light that were ground into dust and blown away. Then there was nothing but echo, the same old words repeated. Or perhaps he was really showing me, as he promised he would, what it might be like. For we are born, one way or another, from this one or that, into this place or that and there may be white silk coverlets, there may be broken glass or a manger full of hay. And sometimes there may be no life at all to be born into, but you fall at once into the arms of death. So many ways to be born.

I think of him now, living in his damp underground rooms like a mole, coming out in the small hours to walk along a stony beach littered with broken bottles, finding a public telephone to dial my number, his voice like a thin wind blowing through reeds: yeah right, yeah good, see you before too long, take care.

8 comments:

Nicola said...

That is the tradegy for him, surely, that he is too dark and heavy, without wings? It's how many of us are born, which doesn't mean there isn't the possibility of metamorphosis, I hope - hope being the operative word...
...and the difficulty for those who live alongside...
You describe it so achingly well.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Nicola - he was very bright but Ecstasy really did for him - left him empty. I don't see him any more, but sometimes he comes to mind. A lovely guy.

Kahless said...

I am sory that Ecstacy left him empty. Maybe things have changed for him now.

Reading the Signs said...

He's ok, Kahless, but only just. No, nothing's changed.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Signs

Brilliantly observed. It says a great deal about our times I think. We very much go our own way, at least I do.

xxx

Pants

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Pants - yes, he's still doing that, going his own way. And no-one said things had to turn out happy ever after.

montag said...

I like this form.
It is so brief; it reminds me of the 1 minute films at the Toronto Urban Film Festival.

"yeah right, yeah good, see you before too long, take care."
If he laughs too long at odd places in the conversation, it would be quite painful.

Reading the Signs said...

That's a nice observation, Montag, and I can see what you mean. I suppose keeping a writer's notebook for years has got me into the habit of doing one-minute film-type observations.