"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One-Two Punch

They say it's the old one-two punch.

THE JAB: Something horrible happens, or has been happening, or is about to happen. Maybe the dreadful-awful-very bad thing has been happening so long that you assumed it was just the way life happens for everyone...that it was "normal" to feel stuck and trapped and small...that the panic that lived under your first layer of skin was the very smallest part...and all the gory details and horror flick frames were actually lurking in deeper sub dermal layers, cloaked in some kind of anonymity that posed as faulty wiring. And then one day maybe you realized "normal" was anything but, or you reached the point where "normal" was gonna be the end of you so you might as well leap from the cliff and grasp at the rope swing. The miss and fall was always a possibility, but you never thought the rope would reach out and hang you.

THE CROSS: You decide to hope...a sliver beam of "if I tell, it will end" and this last possibility grows like a sunflower until it is tall and strong and facing only light. Maybe you ditch school and hop a bus. Maybe your fists are clenched so tight you can barely release the quarter. The sound it makes rattling down into the receptacle is so loud you flinch, thinking it will sound the alarm. "The" alarm. You notice that "the" alarm is always poised to strike. Flower to sun. Flower to sun. Flower to sun. Turn. The bus stops and you manage the longest most hopeful two steps taken since the first moon walk....at least it feels that way. With the heat at your back...the sun..the strength..you are propelled.

The building is imposing. The elevator smells oily. The secretary is startled, having seen your photo gaining height throughout the years but never expecting the image to open doors. You are ushered in.

Afterwards, as you lay on the floor, the wind knocked out of any sail that stupid sunflower had dared to unfurl, the boat begins to sink. The bitch of it is, that it really was easier before you thought there was a boat. Before hope...before the only person who might hold the magic power turned it against you. "You are at fault. Therefore, it is."

Only decades later did you realize the weakness of the power. It shrunk in the presence of evil, and evil was all there was back there. The only power available to you had been in re-writing the story...until you ran out of paper, or ink, or metaphor. Then evil catches up and the power has to come from your broken bones...reset....healed...stronger. Maybe it was the last time you went to your father for help, and rightfully so. You can get your punches elsewhere, much cheaper.