whispers in the game

There comes a time when surviving becomes more than just surviving, but also the way you might lie. You didn’t sense the temptation because you’ve already made the choice: nothing can be worse than what’s passed behind you. It was the worst time of your life, because the last worst time was better. Always you were certain the most recent fall was final. Now this conceit will be your undoing.

You may eventually live a shade of black that’s indiscernible to anyone else from every other maximum loss. This is because no one wants to live in a world that permits what you’ve seen, so it’s just easier to erase, correct, and forget. And when it happens, you’ll ask what happened to common sense, ask when it was the world decided to stop treating you and so many others like human beings, and therein lies the biggest conceit ~ a reason you can take for why this is happening, if you still need one:

It was never about you, nor anyone else. Vonnegut tried to sway us all with his aphoristic “so it goes.” Tried to hint at the indifference behind the stories we tell ourselves about being alive. And it is this: the story is always more important than your life. Narrative is just as powerful as ever. Moreover, it is also the most unconscious, and therefore real, force.

But when public desire becomes simpler than a children’s book, that’s when the full tour of american horror really takes you, and without recognition, or end or help or hope of catharsis. The language of recovery is too complicated for relating. So you can live a little hell, but you won’t be allowed to say it. You just have to take it. And smile.

Welcome to real life.

This is where the first-person is supposed to resume, but, as Derrida knew, I had to say something, even if nothing is all I’m allowed. Maybe someday I’ll say more, but I just can’t now. Please understand. Maybe in five, or ten, or twenty years. I know, of course, I can choose when to say, but not when I’ll be heard. That’s up to something much bigger, and slower. I don’t know when or if it’s ever really coming, but.

Thank you, reader, for sticking around.

I can, however, speak to the general. In the last two years, I’ve rethought friendship like never before. And through the seasons I found a new kind of sincerity, more visceral and unrelenting than ‘new sincerity,’ more self-aware than modern, more tender than nuanced. I’m finally writing again, although very, very slowly. The weight is heavy, and I spend most days not being crushed.

For instance, no one knows how I really pay my bills. When someone asks, I tell them I have a private sponsor, letting the third s of anonymous plurality slip silently by. Sometimes I laugh, in a scary sort of hysteric wave, at the new depth behind cliche lines like wishing one knew then what one knows now. If I could go back to 2014, or even 2016, and warn myself of what was coming — what I’d find — I don’t think I would have believed myself. If I cited my proof to that very young man, he might even commit himself. What’s shocking is my feeling like it might have been the better call.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and see myself like ripped stitches of one finger of an unseen and very sinister puppet. It checks this body I use out, assessing its eyes to see what it can really do for me. It’s so strange seeing the object before the subject, to view yourself as something to work with, instead of that old and naive first person.

I’ve been nearly silent on social media because I’m almost ready. There’s nothing to carry on, only a new direction. And I know, since it’s not about me, I don’t owe the past a thing.

Everything before was exhibition. For better or worse, I am whispers in the game now.



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