I think the worst feeling in the world is being alone. I could be wrong, of course, but I don’t think I am. I don’t mean having no one…
For quite some time, I have remained in a state of limbo, dancing between decisions, calmly sinking in the shallow end of life. As I was reading The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, it hit me. Somewhere in the midst of a thought about reading Carl Jung’s work on the Shadow while reading Murakami, it came to me that all the elements of my life make up my story. The heartbreak, the loss, the glory, the triumps. And within each story, are all the universal elements that make up every great story, every myth. How foolish it is to waste time wishing for a different story than your own! You have all the parts you need, and if there’s anything missing, maybe it’s you.
It is New Year’s Eve Eve, I am somewhere in Shibuya, again. My beer is Yebisu (the Y is silent). The synths ring like robots singing praises to their battery overlords. It’s like 1999 in 2018, and I feel at home in this moment. As the year comes to an end, we all reflect, right? We scrape up the parts of ourselves that started to fade, hoping to salvage something close to a feeling of wholeness. No one wants to feel incomplete. Maybe I don’t feel good complete. Maybe that’s why when I have something I see what happens when I lose it. Ultimately, we define our lives and vision. For some it could be cultivating the best orchard, with the sweetest, juiciest, crunchiest apples ever. Apples so good maybe God would have given Eve a second chance. Or for some, going as deep as possible into a feeling, such as nostalgia, to find out what’s really there. Do you miss her? Do you miss how she made you feel? Do you miss all the surrounding truths at the time when she loved you? Is it all of these? None of these? I love questions. I love questions maybe more than answers. Dr. Jordan Peterson, a mentor of mine, has helped me immensely with this. It’s these questions that pull us forward, into the unknown, into the chaos, out of the comfort of our own deceit. I don’t ever want to be okay, I want to be alive. To quote Carl Jung, I’d rather be whole than be good. What’s next?
I bet you will think I am making this up, that this is all just some made up story for the internet. Or, if you have a bit more depth, you might approach it with doubt but enough curiosity to give it a chance to live in your mind as real, whatever that means. But if you were me, if you’d felt the alien touch, tasted the kiss in a dream, then real would not come close enough to describe the story I am about to tell you.
I’m waiting on the edge of the platform, a thousand feet above ground. I can see, through the rush of the new model Tesla commuter ships, the beauty of the city. From this high, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between the movement of android or human. I get lost for a moment watching them when my phone rings. The infamous Apple ring tone sounds eerily the same as the one from long ago, despite the different world it rings in.
“Yo it’s Aki”, my voice finds a place between the humming of ships in bay.
“I saw her, it was really her man” my friend says to me, his voice piercing.
“Where did you see her?” I step back as my ship comes in, catching a glance from a girl next to me, her eyes distract me for a moment.
“In the abandoned city, about 3 kilometers off the limit” he says, static in the line.
Static means one of two things: bad connection when you’re off the limit
A monitored line from an Android hack.
I was in the deepest part of the city, so static meant the latter.
“I’m going to call you back, man” I hang up. The girl next to me on the platform smiles, her blonde hair reflects the sun in a way not natural, she asks me if I live around here.
“I’m new here” I say, “still looking for a place, I hear the elevation block has the best view”
“I suppose that depends on what you enjoy looking at” she says, her eyes glimmer for a moment, then I realize that it’s not the sun shining but her processor analyzing my face.
For a few seconds the September air feels cool, then is washed away by the heat of the engine. I tell her goodbye before I step on the ship,
“See you around”
I’m still learning to tell the difference between real and make believe.
The smell of fuel danced up in front of me, the light from early Autumn over the dashboard of the ship, this was the ride that was always there for me. If I wait long enough, memories creep up, ones that know they don’t belong in this world any more. There’s one that always stays a little longer, the one with her- mid summer, I’d pick her up, she always liked the sound of the engine. My model was one of the last to use Freon, but it was almost impossible to find it now, unless you went deep enough in the lower block in East 7, so I had to go fast with the vents open to keep us cool. She liked that better though.
I can’t remember all we talked about, but there’s one thing she’d always say back to me. I’d say to her after I’d start the engine,
“How fast can you handle?”
“No limit”, she’d say,
her smile different than any other I’d seen.
I’d look down smiling, engage the drive, and even though summer was dying, it felt cool when she was with me.
Of course, now my engine starts in a different world, the sound a shell of what it used to be.
The static comes in on the system, no hack, just the wiring. My friends voice cracks through,
“Man, you gotta see this”
To be continued.
“The life of man upon earth is a warfare” — Job 7:1
It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything. I do not know where to start. Lost? Broken? Empty? What words would you use to describe a feeling without enough fuel? I don’t know, but what I do know is I have drifted from my true form. I allowed others, past lovers, friends, real and fake, to pull me from myself. No one is to blame, just me.
That is an important point, don’t forget it: you are running this game. You don’t get your freedom until you take it with fangs bared.
Music has been the force, along with God, that has kept me together. It has allowed me to take pieces of myself, pain and pleasure, and put them into something beautiful. Thankfully I have found an audience that has felt these songs, but somewhere along the way I stopped moving.
What causes something, or someone, to stop moving? To move, you must have fuel. And I was running on the wrong fuel. Cheap, empty fuel.
See, maybe some part of me thought that by writing the right song for her, I’d get her back. Maybe some part of me thought that writing words to the right beat, rapping them with the right cadence, could summon what no one in all of time has ever summoned: the past.
To get the dead back, you have to run on death’s fuel.
What is death’s fuel? Regret. Sorrow. Self-Pity.
I ran on these for a while, that Monte Carlo took the fuel I put into it. With death’s fuel I was welcome in certain neigborhoods. Those decaying welcomed me with open, rotting arms. The self-absorbed fools staring at themselves in dirty mirrors were always down to talk, but only with words of destruction. What am I doing here? Surely I am not damned to such a place. What troubled me is all the familiar faces I saw when I was there. People that had given up. People that had so much, yet burnt it all as a sacrifice to what they’d lost. People I cared for. What scared me most was I was doing the same.
Comfort can kill you, and I was dying.
See, it was my monsters who saved me. They reminded me who I really am, who I am designed to be. God did not design me to get lost, he designed me to win.
I shifted into 2nd gear, popped the clutch into 3rd, then 4th, speed gaining now. I could hear them, the lost, calling for me, crying for me to stay. “Keep going” my monsters would say, God would say. Some of the lost would almost catch up, grab on, bodies ripping in two from the speed. My foot goes to the clutch, 5th gear, 90 mph. They can’t handle that, but I can.
I turn the dial, my music louder now, the sun is rising, monsters smiling. I have tasted the dark, I have walked the pits of despair. God is my fuel, truth is my fuel. What songs will I make now? I still have a story to tell, a legend to write. Whatever they may be, I hope they bring you closer to the freedom I am just now starting to taste.
And one more thing:
it is not my fangs that got me there in the pits of hell,
it was my fangs that got me out.
Nintendo Characters in the Japanese Ukiyo-e Art Style made by Jed Henry
Set sail with Dali and Disney.