Friday, July 24, 2015

Into the Night ( A Short Story)

     He looked at her as if the moment wasn't really happening. Her beautiful dress reflecting warm light across time and space, reminding him that what lives in that dress is being subdued by it. Her beauty was more than he could take.

     This could not be him and she could not be her. He met her at a wedding. She was pretty in a way he had never seen before. She was that blossom tree that you see while driving that takes away your breath and beckons you to turn around and go back to it. But you don't ever, at least he never did. Beauty like that was something he wasn't accustomed to. So he would usually keep driving.

     She was warm and promised more than beauty for a week before she would die all over the ground. She wasn't a girl he deserved or pictured himself with. Really, he didn't picture himself with anyone at all. Yet she loved him like he was the only person on the earth.

     He looks across the isle and stairs into her eyes. He wasn't a person who cried much, but this moment tested his resolve. She was an angel. She was the only person in this world that would save him. He knew that the day they met.

... a decade

     She looked at him while he shouted in her face. He called her names and threatened to leave. She shouted back and accused him. They fought until they both felt awful, then would go to bed crying and hopeless.  No matter the offense, it was always the other's fault. It was always something that the other had done that was unforgivable. They had many moments of peace and harmony, but the bad days were very bad days.

    She would think about that dress she wore and that smile on his face and it kept her working. He would think about his life before and the warmth of every time she had touched him. They both had a longing for each other that they couldn't voice. Both were so proud and stubborn. They would fight, but hope was found in the moments of anger evaporated by certain looks resolving into moments of laughter.

...another decade

     He was comfortable. She was comfortable. They rarely fought anymore. They watched television and drank together as if there wasn't a very sick world outside. They would laugh at the same time when someone said something that triggered an inside joke. She made his appointments and he made sure her cell phone was always up to date. They both loved the only way they knew how to love. It wasn't that they didn't know how to love the best way it would be perceived; it was that they were still both so stubborn and proud.

 ... 3 decades

     He sat up in the bed. The nurse came in to give him something that would make him tired in about a half an hour, but would help the pain. The problem with this medicine was that it made him let go of her hand and lose focus on her eyes. At the very moment before he would close his eyes to sleep, he would worry about whether he would wake up, then become anxious and regretful that he had been so proud his entire life. He wanted to tell her that he was sorry for all of the fights he knew he was wrong in, but made himself heard anyway. He wanted to tell her that she was the only reason he had lived such a wonderful and normal life. He was never destined for a normal life. She was that blossom tree that never died. The only beautiful thing he had ever gone back to. He wanted to tell her how very much he loved her, but he had lost his ability to speak weeks ago. The illness had taken away his ability to fight anything or anyone. In that moment, he could only squeeze her hand and fall asleep forever.

     She felt his hand in the night. He squeezed her's harder than she could ever remember. He was speaking to her. She looked into his eyes that were glossed over and fighting to leave. Every time they would begin to fail, they would fight themselves open again. She knew this was the very last bit of love he could show her. She put his hand to her face and let her tears fall over his fingers. She brushed his hair back and kissed his head. "I'm sorry too," she said as he slipped away into the night.



Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Abyss

     The eruption occurred without warning. I was thrown from where I was lying into the side of the hull, then jerked back left into a maintenance closet. Sparks and small flames lit up what little I could see. No time to think about anything, I just started wriggling out of a labyrinth of wires until I was too tangled to get to my feet. My legs felt weak and my arms hurt on both sides. I was bleeding as far as I could tell from somewhere above my eyes as I felt the warm trickle of vicious fluid roll off my brow. The ship settled. "No submarine!" I remembered.

    "I am Victor Gost. I am in the United States Navy. I have been on this sub for 2 years. The president is Kellen Murphy. The year is 2033." I continued to reassess my brain function. The bleeding had stopped and the hull also free from leaks. I regained my composure and emerged from the wires and out of the closet. My legs were still weak, but I managed to crawl to the sub window by the fern garden and pull myself to my feet. I looked inside and the room was bursting with green so dense I couldn't see beyond the plants to the other side. As far as I remembered the seeds were planted only a few days ago. I could be wrong.

     I made my way to the corridor 23 and entered with my keycard. I approached the wooden desk next to the hull window and peer outside into the abyss that has become my home. The water was dark and it appeared the lights from the sub were cut off. There were no fish that I could see, which was wasn't a rare occasion, but it wasn't frequent either. The fish always tend to hang close to the sub to ward off predators. I couldn't see anything that would cause such a jarring blow from that angle, so a moved to the other side of the corridor and looked out the other window. What I saw, not a single person would have believed. I had smashed into and through the hull of a sunken ship. There were old plates and chairs floating around the water, still held up by the sea bottom that was stirred up and roaring from the ocean floor.

     I made my way to the control room to find Captain Denning. As I progressed to Sector 1, I noticed the lack of officers. I noticed a lack of anyone at all. No rattling, no talking, and no radios. I noticed silence, save for the hum of the engines underneath me. I passed the specimen lab, then the mess hall, then the one stirred or made a single noise. I felt all of the sudden lonely. I reached Sector 1 and entered through a door rarely left open. No one. Nothing. The lights on all of the panels were lit with their normal colors and the depth screen was accurate to the sea floor. I sat down at the communications desk to go through the manifests. In the cabinet was a hard drive. I plugged it in and saw Captain Denning on the screen emaciated and pale. He was crying and apologizing. To me.

     He said they tried to get me out, but they were too weak to lift me through the airlock. He said he was sorry he gave me that order. Then he said goodbye. The video went to black and the time stamp lit up November 5 2034...nearly a full year since I can could remember hearing a date. I played the next video, then the next, then the next. I played 5 terabytes of apologies and goodbyes. Most felt guilty for the war. Other's just lamented about the smell of flowers and the taste of real meat. I traced the videos backwards and watched the men grow in weight and shrink in facial hair. When the video footage was finished, I opened the second file on the hard drive labelled "Media." I spent the better part of 2 entire days watching the footage. I could not believe what I saw. We, the Americans, launched a nuclear missile from a submarine (which I now gather was me and my crew). The missile struck France and obliterated 5 entire cities. In retaliation, Germany launched, then Iran, then Israel. The entire world was shown in pictures flashing across my eyes. Everything was melting. The final transmission was made by a man who spoke gravely alone in a studio. His eyes were sunken in and his skin sloughing off. He spoke about the end of civilization and sounded much like my crew in their goodbye videos.

     I closed the file and opened the third and final file on the hard drive. It was labeled "For you who remained." It was a video dated the same day as his last, of Captain Denning, again emaciated. He explained what happened to me in case I ever woke up. He explained my demise to no one in case I slept forever. I had tried to kill myself. The order was given from Washington to launch the missile. I am a bombardier and I pressed the button. I can't remember it or what happened after. He guessed I had gone crazy over it. I took all of the pills I could find and fell asleep. They resuscitated me. The crew medic diagnosed me with anoxic brain injury with a guarded opinion on whether I would ever wake up. He told me they were all going to set themselves free into the water. He was very sorry they couldn't bear my weight.

      I recovered my legs and toured the ship. I cut down the pants, devoid of any edible fruit and waited to die. I got hungry, then more hungry. I saw my reflection in the mirror and didn't recognize who it was at first. I shrieked and almost spoke in excitement at the stranger. Maybe I wasn't alone! But he mimicked me perfectly and I knew I was alone and would die alone. I was the last man on Earth and I was in the sea.


     He pressed stop on the controller after rewinding the video a dozen times. "This is our father," he tells Lincoln. "This is our father!" "You heard him say that?" asks Reagan. "He just said he was the last man on the Earth. He didn't know about Roosevelt or Liberty!" He is our closest relative to what was before. Do you get what this means?" asks Lincoln. "Enlighten me," replies Reagan. "It means we have the answer to what happened to humanity! We know what they looked like and we know about the bombs, but we didn't know about their desire to die," says Lincoln. "This answers why they killed each other. They all wanted to die," continues Lincoln.

     Washington walks into the room. "Why are you guys watching that video again? You're 9 years old," he says. "Dad, you kind of have to watch the videos you are supposed to be writing a report on. This is fascinating. This is my connection to 15 centuries separating me from this man in this water vessel," says Lincoln. Reagan rolls his eyes. "No son, it is a video found before the beginning of our time about the death of their time. It means nothing more than our ancestors all killed each other and this man died in a boat hundreds of feet under water all alone because he he followed an order and pressed a button and ruined our planet," says Washington. "This isn't a connection to the past; it's a lesson to be learned from fools. While he starved to death and rotted under the sea, two toddlers placed in a bomb shelter with canned food and bottled water grew and had children. Their children had children and no one has shot a missile in centuries. We learned from idiocy. That is the only connection we have to them," he continues. Washington turns off  Lincoln's computer and pats him on the head. "Let's go see what your mom has made for dinner."


Thanks for reading...Z

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What's in Front of You

My last blog was stupid and I don't like it.

I do things spontaneously. I feel a certain way for a moment and if that moment is strong enough I write it down. I had a lot of strong moments that moved my fingers across the board for the last bit. It wasn't untrue. It was how I was feeling and how I have been feeling, but it wasn't the image I wanted to portray.

So here are some things I need to get out about those feelings.

1. I feel really angry, and when I'm angry I try to blame anyone that isn't the person that is to blame. I had just spent the day with Will's kids and every single moment hurt me. I got angry that they will end up being more like anyone around them than Will. Because he quit. I love him and will always take his side, but he quit on them and it makes me angry. I'll speak to him about it in heaven.

2. It upsets me that I feel like God let me know this was going to happen and it did. It makes me feel more responsible for their lives. I didn't help them. In many ways I hurt them.

3. Regardless of what the actual word of God says, I guess I still felt privileged and except from loss. Some people have to learn the hard way. I am that person. When God promises heartbreak, He means it. It doesn't make Him less beautiful.

4. I am to blame for any and all hard feelings. I wrote things about being God being unfair, but it isn't true. Life isn't fair. God never promised anything different. God promised tears until the day we would be perfected. I think He gets pretty mad about it too.

5. If you mix certain feelings with certain songs, you create a monster of sadness. Sometimes your ghosts become powerful. You may not think of them much, but when you smell something or hear something ancient, you awaken to the most vivid emotions. Many times, I become overwhelmed by certain moments and it doesn't reflect what is really going on beyond that moment.

So what really is going on?

I'm living my life.

Nothing has changed. My wife and children bring all of the light into my life. I just returned from a visit with my brother Andy which made me smile for 8 days straight. I've lost much, but I'm making new friends and I really like them. I'm not lighting rockets, but I am placing fuses. I work hard and I like my job. I'm doing things I have always liked to do. I'm playing music and writing, I'm thinking a lot, which is good. Thought produces better results than emotion.

I am happy with who I am. That's enough for now. I believe in my God and will continue to. I'm going try to pray more and see things without bias or pride. I'm going to start from 0. It will be as if I have never known anything. I want to be a blank canvas.

I am starting over.


Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Leftovers

     Which is worse; losing the guys you grew up with, or losing the God that has been with you all along? Anger and negativity mutes the colors of everything around you. Things seem darker than they appear because that's the only way you know how to see them anymore. I've never been a person to hold least not up until 5 years ago. I could forgive so easily. This isn't the case anymore. I find myself writing people off before they ever get a chance to prove my pretentious mind wrong. It's a pretty sad state to be in. It isn't what I should be. I am nowhere near who I should be. I've been given so much and yet I cannot shake this resentment and anger. I have been given every reason to believe that God exists and loves me dearly. I know the facts of the matter. I know what He did and what my friends did. I know that God grieves with me, both for them and for me. But I cannot divorce myself from the feelings that God simply isn't fair and doesn't appear to have ever been.

     I'll explain the best I can and please understand that I know I'm not at all rational in this. I know the counter arguments for all of my queries into who God is. I know about Job and I know I haven't lost even a fraction what he did. Yet, I still feel anger, and I can't conquer it. I don't think it's fair to give a broken and destitute kid all of these beautiful people, then rip them away violently one by one. It leaves that kid an even more destitute man. I don't think it's fair to take both sons from a mother and father that have always worked so hard to be good parents. I don't think it's fair that 7 children have lost their fathers and don't even have an adequate answer as to why they were left behind. I don't think it's fair that the world will forget about two people that saved my life. Or that the world will forget about anyone. It isn't fair that we are so insignificant. We don't feel that way, so why does it have to be?

     It isn't fair that I have always believed I would lose half of who I am. I told my wife and I told my brothers that I felt something terrible coming a decade ago. I felt it as a kid. I always felt this dread of the future and hopelessness. I felt like nothing good could last. I know this isn't true as I look at my family, but I also can't help but be angry because two very significant people aren't in the car with me rehashing old stories and visiting stomping grounds. They aren't doing anything on earth at all and that pisses me off.

     I feel like in some ways I am starting my entire past over. It simply isn't fair to give a person all of these great memories of being a teenager, then take away the very people you wish to share them with. I drive past places that great things happened and I want to call Will. I want to call Joe. I want to laugh about these crazy memories, but I can't. So these memories bring me sadness. They are like a thousand little ghosts that haunt everywhere we had been...the very places I still reside. It's just not fair.

    I know I am whining. This is the paragraph I dedicate to reality. God is good. God doesn't kill, sin does. Evil took my brothers, and mental illness. I have the most beautiful life. I still look at my wife the same as the day I met complete love. I am breathing and my heart still beats. I am very much alive and happy to be. God doesn't cause terror. God is all knowing and powerful, but He doesn't deal in mind control. We aren't perfect and He doesn't force us to be. This is the very thing that attracts me to Him in the first place. I am not perfect and He loves me. How can I blame Him for not preventing mistakes from people I love. God never promised me or anyone safety. In fact, God promised persecution and sorrow.

      I don't write much like this anymore. I would rather mask these things into short stories. But I read something I said here years ago and it was a promise to never lie to you or myself. I wanted my life to be transparent. I have been anything but transparent lately. I have been hiding everything. This isn't who I want to be. I want to be the guy that has no secrets and the guy that people want to be around because of his honesty. So here it is. I am broken. I am confused. I am angry. I am sad. I am lonely. I want to feel the warmth of God again.


Thanks for reading...Z