In a sun drenched stroll through the blooming gardens, pondering the nearing fatality of an old man's life, I was amazed at the tame discourses I managed to bundle together, otherwise known as the Disease. My work was a cancer that infected this brave new world, places that made nightwatchmen at cemeteries yawn at the first twinkle of sunlight. My thoughts have infected thousands and yet I sat slumped upon a stool, warmed up for decades before me with other cursed dreams and hands dipped in blood clutching glasses of scotch, poorly cleaned by unambitious bartenders with head nods instead of real answers.
I stood up showing her how tall I was, daring her to show her grace while she unknowingly spurred my natural senses. And she playfully whispered words and sounds that branded the heart. My pranks and her grace were not enough to make me fear a hallway full of stranded ghosts, wandering aimlessly from this world to the next with little wisdom and the recklessness of a 17-year old skipping algebra class to go smoke cheap weed behind the supermarket.
Mesmerized by her entrance, and sensibly in grief, a weepy Ophelia showered the stage with flowers.
"Rosemary for remembrances...My thoughts had arrived at withered ends. No more to contemplate. Wretched farewells were not my way of expressing good fortune to my departing friends. At your age, love humbles judgments. To live under the wet blanket of a distasteful family, one is unable to forget. Visitations during holidays bewilder and anger me. Fighting souls and dysfunctional alcoholics doomily look upon each other, incestuously glancing into mirrors from time to time, and checking their pulses to insure the madness will not continue.
Pansies for thoughts...
and Herb of Grace of Sundays."
"Repent what is past," is what Hamlet uttered to his hysterical Mother before he disappeared into the misty night. Will the heavens welcome me into their open arms when it's my time to be judged? Will all my sins add up to an afterlife of banality and powerless remote controls? A beast no more? Anyone with Godlike reason and spited scruples could honor my struggles, but condemn the remainder of my means and strength and will, all of which have been obliterated by gross examples of my misfortune. My vows are unanswerable. My slanderous words have been misinterpreted and thrust out into the airwaves, hijacked without mercy by fanatical snail-eating zealots.
Why is it that the clouds hang over me for eternity it seems? Is that the quintessence of my nobility? I am not alone in standing at the mouth of a river, watching a mourning widow overwhelmed with sorrow and unmanly grief, my fortified heart shielded by her angelic apprehension? Sharing in her misery, the calamity looked us all in the eye. Those were moments when I found myself lost, my thoughts and weary emotions carelessly side-stepped through an unweeded garden, where pricks of razor sharp thorns splattered trails onto my raw flesh, and the frailty of my defenses were exposed with the perfect droppings of my foul blood as my destiny cried out to me.
"My time is almost gone. I must render up the last serious statement I can utter," the spirit of my forefathers confided in me, although I was forbidden to share our conversation with anyone, it stuck with me like two spears from the hands of a revengeful warrior. My humbled philosophy crumbled at the core of our bustling society, trampled underfoot, like a piece of scrap paper stuck to the newly shined shoe of a Lower Manhattan businessman.
The beautified movements of her walk allowed butterflies to flutter inside my intestines. The long strides and the galloping bounce of her soothing hair lulled me out of the danger of inert fear when she walked in the magnificent sun in between high rise apartment buildings, where doormen with reserved voices wore pristine white gloves and starched pea-green uniforms and flashed false smiles. Drunk on her scent and intoxicated by the early morning air, I visited her face too roughly. She snickered and scratched my arm. Normally, I was opposed to the deceptive frailty of thy woman and I would hold my breath with the same stubbornness that I hold my silence.
My actions lent significant burden to my mad outlook. True madness? Not anger, but a honest wave of pity and insanity fueled me and I wondered what was the cause of my defect. My inner emotions, often clouded by morality and civility, were sometimes the substance that thrust me towards perfection and nirvana. My lunacy was my demise. My crafty madness was the key to opening the dozens of locked doors ahead of me.
I used to sleep late on rainy afternoons, where the swift winds whipped raindrops onto the slick windows through which I observed the world before me. My prison, my window. My world, my mind. All worlds are prisons, all minds are behind bars, and my soul sits on a damp prison floor, with narrow walls and infinite time to allow my bad dreams to haunt me. My conceit burnt my fingers. My motives dried up friendships. My wistful passion opposed many a man, without riches and wickless candles, those false entities dressed like middle class soldiers.
Yet I spilled out my thoughts on her gaudy apparel to anyone within earshot. Her aloof kiss distracted my melancholy for several months, while I wrapped up all of her wicked presents and hid them underneath my dirty socks. Her long letters on purple stationary were not enough to end the heartache, although her truthful and affectionate words tickled me with memories of touching moments. Alas, in due time I abused the beauty of our orchard, the one that we grew together and had watched flourish high up on a hill before I shuffled off into the dusk of another out of joint evening, returning eons later, like a prodigal son, nearly extinct to everyone but her, who silently prayed for me, the coward, out of respect.
It was noble to suffer as a youngster, now it grinds my head to the pavement. My dignity no longer matters to me, and I have let those moments slip away like a fading tourist attraction that no traveler returns to ever again. She spoke to me without a tongue, and I answered her without moving my lips or blinking my eyes. My enterprises were poisoned and the thick hue of my aura made little children fall asleep at first sight. My unhatched habits, once years away from forming into monkeys on my back, slowly sprouted among the urine of the fish mongers. My sins have cloned themselves and I see reminders everywhere.
The beauty of the world cannot make me answer questions about the Disease... about the resolution about the pleasing shape that it forms for some, and the dreadful messages it stirs up for others. All I wanted to do was to catch a fleeting glimpse at the conscience of our King, and somehow, someway, my message made her turn her head and leave with the breaths of Hell pulling her away from me.
"What a piece of work," I muttered rubbing the anguish out of my eyes.
Tenzin McGrupp is a writer from New York City.