When I was young, the world was a wonderful place. A place of mystery. A place of magic. A place where dreams didn’t come true, because they already were true.
Growing up, I’d run through the local parks and prairies and wastelands and soak in nature’s benevolent sun. Our relationship was symbiotic; we would compliment each other. Nature would lavish me with Her luscious green and open my eyes and my nose and all my senses to Her gushing beauty, and I would connect the dots that She drew on me, the dots that only a human can connect.
In this way, and in this state of natural ebriosity, the world was a blank canvass, and my mind, my imagination, my person, a wand. A wand that was forever equipped with paint, ready to draw, ready to sing, ready to make sense where there was no sense to be made. Every experience was felt anew. Every corner, every word, every person, every emotion was fresh and untainted by the weight of past, by the weight of expectation, by the weight of soulless travail – by the weight of the adult’s so-called, “reality.”
But then, I grew up.
I went to school. I graduated. I went to university. I graduated. I found a full time job. I worked. I worked. And I worked some more.
It was all ever so interesting in the beginning. There were offices and desks and fancy computers. There was a constant paycheck resting there patiently every second Friday, waiting for me to blow it on booze and fancy food and stuff. There was lots of stuff.
The work was even fun; it engaged and stimulated me intellectually. I met some new people. I made some new friends. I even fell in love. Her name was Suzie. She worked in the IT department. She had blue eyes big blonde hair and a pure heart. She was beautiful, Suzie.
I got a promotion real quick, too. After two years I was made a junior manager. It was great. My career was progressing rapidly. Much quicker than I had anticipated. I could afford a European luxury car. Well, I could afford to take out a small loan to afford it.
Five more years went by in this way. The work was okay. It got boring after two years. A bit stale. A bit dry. A bit humdrum. But it was okay. After five years, I become a senior manager. Another promotion. This one wasn’t as big comparatively, but it was enough to let me take out a mortgage. Buy an apartment. Something central, compact quaint, in a high rise – you know. Everything was coming together.
Suzie and I broke up; she went travelling and we lost touch. But I found a girl, a woman, a lady, a beautiful person. We met through a friend, hit it off, and were going steady after a few months of having known each other. Three years, three months, two weeks, and five hours went by, together.
We got married, Jennifer and I. It was perfect; exactly how she wanted it. White. Big. Expensive. Noisy. There was a church and a reception. There was cake and there was coke. There was beer and there were slurs and there were people whose names I did not know and still do not know and will not ever know. There were flowers and hopes and broken smiles and a single, broken hallelujah made in our honour. Beautiful.
I managed to keep my job through a period where my firm made mass redundancies. They needed me, they said. Jennifer quit her job to stay at home, even though neither of us wanted kids. She figured she could rely on my salary and pursue her dreams of early, idle retirement. It, my salary, was enough, thankfully, to sustain us both. Oh, did I mention; I got another pay rise? It was pretty big, too. Who’d have though, I really was valuable? Funny that.
The work didn’t change much though. I acquired a bit more responsibility. And a bit more boredom. Day in, day out – all the same.
Ten years went by like this. Ten years. Every day. The same. Day in. Day out. The same.
I grew to hate the world, the world that I once loved. The world that once loved me. It looked dry and dirty and dead. Dead. Beyond resuscitation. It stopped sparkling. It lost its wonder, its awe, its beauty. Just like Jen did.
Turns out that an early retirement wasn’t all that she expected it to be. She got bored, too. Like me. But unlike me, she had time on her hands. Lots of time. Time that she used quite constructively. Time that she used to bang her personal trainer. Who was a girl. Named Suzan. A different Suzan to the one you might be thinking of. Jen divorced me after fifteen years of marriage. How? By leaving a note on a bright yellow Post-it that sat on the kitchen bench when I got home. It read: “I’m a lesbian. Sorry. Keep my things if you like, as a reminder. I still do love you; I’m just not in love with you. Good luck, Brian.”
Just like that, she was gone.
Anyway. It’s all in the past now. It’s all been said and done. It’s all over. A chapter written into a parcel of history that will never be opened. I’m gone now, too. Floating around through space, riding a wave of nothingness. A cloud of stardust, a dome of memory, a bubble of demise.
I still ask myself – what did I do wrong? Where did I mess up? Why can’t I look back on what was and smile?
What could I have done differently?
I wish I knew the answer to this question. Maybe one day I will. Maybe one day it’ll float up to my surface and let me see its light. Then maybe, on this day, I’ll come back to life.