She stood above me at the top of a long, plush staircase—each stair padded with a thin layer of foam and encased in a red velvet shell—holding the spiritual implement of my death in her sticky, blood-stained hands. Her yellow shirt was paired with white shorts, white knee socks, white shoes, and a white hat. Her smile was matched by the shy innocence reflected in her glassy eyes. Already the look of happy recognition was vanishing from her face as the existence of my memory erased itself from her usually flawless recollection. She saw me not as a friend nor a stranger nor an acquaintance, but as a whisper of wind that touched her cheek and stroked her hair; a cooling breeze on a hot day; a comforting blanket of warmth and understanding on a cold night. She saw my physical being no more and would not miss me because she never knew me. Yet I remembered.
I remember walking in the rain on a summer night mutually enjoying each other’s company and the wet touch of hands. I could feel her body in my arms and the scent of her hair teased my nose. I knew her fears, her desires and her joy of walking by the water on a foggy fall afternoon. She, on the other hand, knew nothing about me and never would. The total loss of existence tends to be a very permanent and exclusively personal experience.
What began slowly continued at the same pace as my perception began to fade. Walls, floors, tables, and a vase of purple and yellow flowers melted into nothing. After an unknown while, (for by now the idea of time had been vanquished), all that remained was the blazing staircase and my memory of her. My body denigrated and its existence was forgotten even by me, yet her memory persisted and soon all that remained was the memory which floated in a vast grey cloud of thoughts of similar fates. And there the memories waited patiently to be discovered or rediscovered by some spirit.
And so another shadow is born.
I walk outside under the intense orange and harsh florescent glow of the streetlights that guide me through the night. Six shadows spread out around me like petals and are my companions on this midnight walk. The shadows grow, shrink, and move from the rear of me to the front as I pass under each light. I strain to see the vast orchestra of stars that must be playing above me, but the lifeforce of my only company blocks my view of the heavens. The lush grass lining the fresh sidewalk looks inviting for a barefoot trek or a brief repass, but small signs warn of the toxic chemicals recently sprayed on the grounds to promote growth. I can faintly make out the artificial smell creeping about me and the lawn no longer looks so inviting. The destruction caused in the name of perfection is sickening as a powerful urge to turn off the lights and lay in a field speckled with dandelions and other weeds overtakes me. Screw the appearances! I want to be able to enjoy the imperfections and drink in this seemingly chaotic mess of nature, but my ambition to project a flawless image prohibits my mind from being freed in this manner.
Six shadows move back and forth constantly cycling around their ideal of stability, but never resting upon any one goal.
People keep disappearing from my life. This is not a welcome practice as it can be quite a painful experience at times. What really disturbs me, however, is the occasional resurfacing of the missed soul who briefly teases me with their charm and company before quickly flittering away into the darkness once again. I try to pull people into my sight, but nothing works. Perhaps it is due to my attempts to keep people illuminated that they vanish. I would leave this never ending circle of torment if not for the brief glimpses of hope and my own inability to disengage myself from my own feelings of loneliness.
Six shadows never resting are chased into eternity by the threat of light only to reappear in areas just vacated.
The universe is said to be expanding toward chaos and yet everything appears to be one complex system built from a seemingly infinite layer of sub-systems which all depend on each other for survival. Does one life matter or should maintaining the system be the ultimate status quo? The answer is that the scales must remain balanced and therefore life must remain a vicious circle. Death is not an option; extreme emotions of despair and happiness are unheard of. An eternal Tilt-A-Whirl spins and throws you in directions that seem spontaneous yet are carefully planned by some unknown force. When you want to spin, you are halted. When you clutch the rail and pray for rest, the spinning intensifies. Occasionally you will get what you desire, but those moments are soon forgotten as the unpleasant memories siege your past in an icy grip.
The sun begins to appear on the horizon and one by one the lights flicker off and hide themselves from this powerful expression of nature. The shadows remain, but are now too faint to see. The cycle continues into another phase; another day begins.
Six shadows plus me makes seven.
The mighty power of the truth liquifies the facade erected under the cowardly excuse of self-protection causing the veil of metaphors to float to the ground. I say to the bluntly, honestly, and thus: I think you are an awesome person. I extend to you the timeless bond of friendship and take with me your sweet memory.
As for the end, well, a circle is never-ending.