It’s a party. I’m an introvert.
Monthly Archives: December 2016
Presents, laughter, and singing:
It happened almost naturally,
A footstep, a raised head.
It emerged from the shadows,
From confinement so deep and still,
From an invisible cage,
From living death.
Seemingly unaffected, it stepped forward,
Creating, completing as once before.
Until the trembling, the fear,
Consumed without warning, without cause
Eroding the ground from beneath its feet,
Consuming the light and sound,
Sucking away even the air
In a terrible pressure,
Pushing it beyond endurance,
Beyond hope until it shook
With the violence of an earthquake,
A silently screaming storm –
Collapsing, unable to stand,
Over-doing and under-thinking
Works about as well as you’d think…
Matt didn’t even think to object but stumbled the few steps to the edge of the field and collapsed on his behind. Leaning his elbows on his knees, he let his head fall back and tried to catch his breath. His lungs screamed with each burst of cool air, and his heart pounded in his ears. He listened to them numbly and stared up at the sky.
Turning his head to the side felt like the hardest thing he’d ever done. Even his eyes seemed too tired to focus properly at first. Or maybe that was because the blackened ladle was so close to them, and the heat boiling from him made the cool water in it shimmer like a cruel mirage.
Suddenly, all the aches, pains, and burning were consumed by a ravenous thirst. He snatched the ladle and brought it to his mouth. The abused muscles of his arms shook and twitched enough to send splashes of water onto his shirt and legs, but even that felt good – cool and soothing. And the sweet taste of it was like a gift, a new breath of life. He couldn’t get enough of it fast enough, and he could feel it spreading through his body, dulling the aches and dousing the fires.
It was empty too soon. But small hands took it from him and an instant later it reappeared, miraculously full again. The second round was even more refreshing, and this time, some of the coolness reached his brain. Like a water pumped that was finally primed enough to run. Shaking his head to clear it, he did his best to calm his breathing.
“Are you all right?”
Sarah was kneeling next to him. Her hair was frazzled and curling around her sweaty face in wisps. Her little face was screwed up with concern.
“Do you want more?”
He swallowed, promptly coughed and wheezed, and shook his head.
“Thanks,” he managed.
There’s this song from the musical Working called “If I Could Have Been.” The first time I heard it, I laughed to myself a little because it’s so gloriously vague (“If I could’ve been what I could’ve been, I could’ve been somethin’.”), and all I could think was “That’s why you didn’t – you never had a specific plan or goal.” Harsh, yes, but true.
Even as I was enjoying the irony of the song, however, I was struck by the power of one line in particular:
“I never took no for an answer – it was tougher to fight all those ifs, ands, or buts.”
I think an artist of any kind has faced that struggle of being henpecked to death by other people’s doubts, ideas, and fears. In fact, I think it’s a common problem in any job. And in many ways, all those little attacks are much harder to deal with than a single “No.”
You see, no ends. The rest… not so much.