It occurred to me the other day, while waiting in a queue - the queue was like any other, and it’s purpose had no bearing on my revelation - just how insignificant I am. I examined the back of every head in that line. A streamlet of skulls, perfectly alike, despite the latest hairstyle or balding scalp. Transfixed, I narrowed my eyes, blurred my vision and as I lost focus I saw the streamlet flood. Spill out on each side until I was confronted by an ocean, an ocean of skulls, each the same and united in one grey wash. As the tide stirred, so did my innards, and before I vomited on the head in front of me I left, running for home as fast as my legs would carry me.
Home brought no solace. It felt like a tomb as I sat alone, surrounded by an accumulation of trinkets that hold no meaning in life, let alone death. To die now would bring me some comfort, but only as much as sleep would. The guarantee of sleep, undisturbed, is a tempting one. I haven’t managed more than a few hours a night of late. But then what would I leave behind; a home that isn’t mine, full of junk that I’ve hoarded over the years, like a bowerbird hoping to attract a mate. And the mates that have flitted in and out of my life were never anything to write home about, so impermanent, so ineffectual.
My parents would regularly complain about my relationships, and the fact that I have never had a child. The implication that life is lived through ones children has always bothered me, and it would seem that my life, lived, was never enough for dear old Mum and Dad. A grandchild being their second chance if only I would allow it. This is a modicum of control that I cherish, and my resentment for their apparent disappointment in me is the main reason that I have avoided procreating.
Children are considered second chances by most anyway, a chance to live again. A chance to make something of themselves, having messed up first time round. Selfishly the human race will reproduce and pray that their offspring will become one of the handful that are worthy of remembrance, and in turn becoming worthy of remembrance themselves. Of course this is pointless. Who remembers the parents? Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Alexander the Great. Their parents skulls are just a couple more specks of grey, awash with the rest.
Of course most would argue that it is because of love, and I’m sure that this is what most believe. Perhaps they’re right, when loving a child. I have never experienced it and if I did, perhaps I’d feel the same. But love for the other sex, is for precisely that reason; sex. Love is thickly masked lust, and the investment in relationships and marriages is the guarantee and ownership of more lust to come. All emotions are lies; Admiration for others is deep routed jealousy. Sympathy is the relief that the grief is not their own. Gratitude a hollow formality, expressed to ensure more of the same fortune in future.
You may think me a pessimist, and I would whole heartedly agree with you. I have always believed that to be a pessimist leaves open the opportunity to be surprised, optimism leaves only room for disappointment. Though, in my thirty-two years on this earth, I have yet to be surprised.
Morning again, and I have decided to avoid work, dismantling my mobile phone as a statement only to myself. I’ve had enough of my dependency on others, and the constant ringing, pecking at my brain. Today is for me, and my plan.
There have been estimations as to how many humans have ever existed; one hundred billion is the daunting approximation. I am just one, and the few that have been remembered are a grain of sand on an expanse of beachfront. I pondered last night, as I lay restless in bed, just what will become of me. I could die tomorrow, leaving a disgraced corpse, and none would be any the wiser. I would bloat and fester in this armchair until the chair and I become indistinguishable, my tomb exhumed only when my pungency becomes an inconvenience for the neighbours. They will clear me out of this room as a dog walker would bag shit in the park to avoid a fine. My parents would mourn, probably for the lineage that I would have selfishly ended, but that wouldn’t last long. And that would be my legend; a raindrop in a rainstorm. Noticed only when it lands and then immediately forgotten by the next that falls.
Television reinforces a lie that is instilled in us all as children. The notion that everyone is an individual, and that we are all special in our own way. As I watch it now I feel nothing but bile for the faces that are imposed upon us all. Smug, self satisfied and safe in the knowledge that they are someone. They have fame, for what it’s worth, and they will be remembered for it. But television is a relatively new invention in the grand scale of things, I take some comfort in the hope that most will be forgotten, their five minutes of fame being just that and nothing more. Legends are not made by television alone, to become a legend you need more than winning the final on a cookery game show, or conquering the charts with a number one single.
I have taken all I can from the box today so I switch it off. I can think better in silence, and the static of the television seems to saturate my thoughts. The silence that collects my thoughts, is also the state in which I feel most alone, and the futility of life bears down on me so much sometimes that I could take a razor blade to my wrists. But I refuse to disappear, I want to be remembered, and not just for a short while. For years now I have thought about this, certain that I will amount to nothing unless I take control of my life.
The path to recognition is a long one, and the road is laden with deeds that can take a lifetime to achieve. This is the righteous way; arduous and full of adversity. Martyrdom is usually the climax to such legends and sacrifice is a price that I am more than willing to pay. But I will not go down this road. Like most today I am lazy and impatient.
If good is light, and evil is darkness, then there is something to be learned from this. This antithesis is certain and each end of the scale is equally recognised. To be someone I will have to pick an extreme, and being who I am, what society has sculpted me into, I have picked my side. In the absence of light there is darkness, and vice versa. But this is not so straight cut; light requires constant energy while darkness prevails in the complete lack of it. I am exhausted with life, and therefore have no energy left.
I digress, as I so often do, my digression mere postponement. Tonight is the night, I have made up my mind (yesterday was also the night, and the night before that) and all it takes is that one leap of faith, the fall has it’s own momentum. So now I watch the sun move across the sky, and live my one last normal day on earth, because as soon as the moon shows itself, I will transform like the fabled werewolf, but I will be more, unrestricted by the lunar cycle. I am my own man, and tonight I shall show the world what I can be, what anyone can be if they wanted to become someone.
Getting dark now, and my neighbour plays his music. So loud, that tattoo through the wall only hastens my heart, quickens my blood. The adrenaline certifying the beginning of the new me, and the scenario has been played cyclically in my mind for years now. Though I have seen it play out, I have no actual plan. When I step out of this crypt and into the world I will go on instinct, trusting myself in the hands of fate. And in my hands will be the tool of my ascension; a simple kitchen knife. A piece of metal and wood, totally inanimate on its own, but in my hand, as an extension of myself it can become so much more. This knife will become part of my legend, this simple utensil will harbour an eerie sadism, will become a totem of horror. The things a simple processed mineral can achieve astound me and I will make sure that it will astound the rest of the world.
I think I will start with my neighbour, and from there, I will let the legend write itself.
© Copyright 2016 Daniel Mullaney. All rights reserved.