Two long weeks felt like an eternity. A dark force crept over me instilling me with the thing I feared the most: being alone. Yet I had to do it if I was ever going to be friends with Tom or anyone for that matter. such was my karma. I knew it and worse I could feel it.
I thought I heard Tom shuffling about at night. I wanted to call out to him, but was scared of awakening some other primal monster. Fears multiplied dimensionally as only fear could. I wanted to run, but where could I go? If it hurt so much here how much more painful was it over there. Unable to move, I stood my ground – if running on empty could be called. Maybe one day somebody would come and save me. Until then I took my beatings like the bad little boy I was. I wanted to cry out for Tom, but couldn’t. He was my student and I was his teacher. I couldn’t burden him with my problems. It wasn’t right. He had enough of his own. No, I had to stand on my own two feet and be a man or at least learn what one was.
In swirling shadows of ineptness senses screamed and retreated. Now ‘senseless’, I fell into the dark bottomless pits of the mind. Skulking along in the death of night, people became silhouettes. Fear all! Trust no one! Believe nothing! Hate everything! Run! Run! Run!!
As proof of my littleness and society’s hatred for me, a new store appeared overnight at Davie and Burrard ominously named ‘On the Run.’ My mind knew names changed all the time, but the worst case scenario clung like an infectious disease. It was no ordinary name change. No it was the new HQ set up to get me. Not knowing what I could’ve done to provoke such outrage, I surrendered to one single fact: I wasn’t bad, just bad enough! They knew where I was headed and would get me before I could do any more harm.
Yet still I tried. Holding on, clamping down on my mind, feelings, thoughts and actions with whatever energy I had left. If I didn’t, they’d get me, all of them, one by one in every combination and permutation they could. Even the empty set exploded and imploded with magnificent tormenting beauty. Together they writhed within with a life and will of their own. It didn’t make sense that God, the Grand Maker of All, would make a mind that didn’t work. But without control what else was there? What if I was missing something? I smiled. The answer was so simple. If I already knew everything what would be the purpose of life if there was no growth? Control was just one plant of many in my Garden of Eden.
I was Adam cast out from the Garden of Eden, I felt alone and forsaken by God, my heavenly Father. Then it hit me. Adam was just like Hansel in the story of Hansel and Gretel. Tom was Gretel. The blind wicked witch of the West was anyone out to hurt us. Vancouver was like the gingerbread house, ensnaring people with its cakes and candies. But Hansel was smart: he’d left a trail of breadcrumbs and pebbles in the forest to find his way home and tricked the witch into believing he was skinny. What if I’d left a trail of markers in the forest of my lifetimes? Would I? I would if I knew the hell I was going to end up in, but that was a big if! Already skeletal, I’d play the game all right. I’d trick the witch into believing I was no good to eat. Then I’d get free and free Tom and others too. A mad ploy from a madman made it almost normal. Using insanity against itself had to be the craziest thing I’d ever heard, but I was out of options.
Inspired, I struggled to remember the hidden jewels, morals and truths in other children’s stories and fables I loved as a kid. I’d read countless other books too and learned countless reams of information conveniently packaged under the title of education, but for what? Why did society depend so heavily on facts and figures? It didn’t matter now anyway? I couldn’t possibly understand any of it with a polluted mind. So many things to think about, yet no time to think about anything! Drugs, sleep deprivation, poor eating habits and insanity fueled feelings of being hunted, despised and betrayed spiraled into oblivion.
Mind splintered spewing forth rational and irrational contents: possible, certain, impossible, probable, improbable; past, present and future; before, now and after; passive, dormant and active; either, and, or, and/or; received, accepted and given; never, maybe and ever; bad, good and ugly; everything, nothing and something; too much, enough and not enough; less, equal and more – all yet not all were aspects of a mind so alive, so potent, so active.
As my mind raced to comprehend the mechanics of being on the run while on the run one factor stood out each time: for some reason I always seemed to get away. If war took no prisoners then was I already in hell being ‘cooked’ alive like a slow roasting pig on a spit like Prometheus. I wanted to end it once and for all, but where was the Devil, Beelzebub, Abbadon, Asmodeus, whatever name the big bad Cheese went under? What would I say even if I did meet him?
Finally seeing the futility of endless running, I stopped and pulled out a stainless steel penknife. It gleamed in the sun’s bright rays. Voices shrieked: ‘he’s going to do it. He’s actually going to do it!’ Pulled from my catatonic state by their shrieks, I now thanked them for revealing my kill-or-be-killed killer instinct. Yet what would be the point if I ended up a coward with a conscience?
Looking over the landscape of my life I folded the knife and put it away. Like Lady Galadriel who refused the ‘One Ring to rule them all‘, I chose life in its entirety including the madness, torment and should it come to it death. I passed the test.
© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –
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