"Hey, will you hold this for a sec?" the fear in his eyes was palpable, yet something inside of me moved my hand to reach for the sleek, inky box. Call it trust, call it naïveté, the promise of "a sec" lingered in the air as the man disappeared from where he stood, the only trace of him, the slight scent of amber wood. Welp, guess I finally developed full-on schizophrenia, I thought to myself.
I stood there, dumbfounded, in the middle of a busy sidewalk, holding this mysterious, surprisingly heavy, thing with both hands as I tried to make eye contact with anyone who passed by to confirm that I had, in fact, not gone crazy; that someone else, too, had seen a man pop in and out of our visual reality as if it were a video game.
Now, what to do with the box?
I couldn't stand here forever, I had to get to class. But, I also had sorta kinda promised that dude, in the act of taking the box, that I would hold onto it for a bit. Ah-ha! He told me to hold the box, but what he didn't tell me was whether I had to stay in the same place... At least, that would be my argument if he showed up, angry at my having left the place of our first meeting.
Ok, going to class with a mysterious, possibly explosive box-- totally not gonna blow up in my face. I chucked to myself at my accidental pun, then suddenly remembered the look on that guy's face. He was afraid. Running from something? Afraid he was gonna get caught with the box? Ah shit! I looked down at my watch, which glowed the numbers 12:55-- I was gonna be late.
the beginning of the end
When our electricity went out for the third time this month, we simply took out the extra candles we had stashed under our kitchen sink and continued our routine the best we could. The myriad of leftover scents, from pumpkin spice to ylang ylang to candy apple, were a necessary evil as the sun fell under the horizon.
As it got colder, we took out our wool ski clothes and layered up. They smelled of our cedar chest and were incredibly itchy, but it was better than waking up in the middle of the night, chilled to the bone, reaching for a blanket that wasn’t there. We also brought our fur blankets to the living room and sat there together, as to conserve heat and light.
“Phone’s out of battery,” my little brother declared, tossing his phone haphazardly to the other side of the couch, “and I had finally just gotten through Hugo’s architectural tangent, too.”
“You’ll be able to finish it soon,” our dad lowered the New York Times he had saved just for this occasion and the candles casted a haunting shadow across his sullen, tired eyes.
“We should just go to bed then...” my mom started.
“I’m not even tired. Why do you get to decide when we go to sleep? It’s probably not even 9. Let's talk about the trilateral negotiations of...” Evan started to complain.
My mom knew that if she didn't nip this in the bud, Evan would be up all night, debating with whoever would listen. “Y’all have a long day tomorrow at school and you’ve been complaining all week about not getting enough sleep,” she countered, blowing out the few candles we had left sitting on the coffee table.
It was decided.
The moonlight saved us from sudden darkness-- in it you could see what was left of the smoke, curling into the air. With it, our sense of normalcy seemed to drift away as well.
Bang, bang, bang, our door bounced on its hinges, sending our dogs into madness.
I rolled over and threw my covers off. “Ugh who is that?” I complained, “doggies, it’s okay, c’mere,” I patted the couch, but the person at the door was persistent.
“Will you please get it?” my mom grumbled.
We had a sleepless night, being awoken by the screams and fireworks that usually accompany a blackout in Texas. When it got cold enough, people would tie their sleds to the back of their pick-ups and glide around the neighborhood. It got old after a while, and my dad thought that those people “disregarded the gravity of the situation," but I think it helped people stay sane, despite their childishness. As I walked to the door, I was prepared to tell our neighbor, Brian, that Evan and I did not want to join him in the fun.
I knew that some kind of “But the ice is so slick this morning!” argument would be in my future, followed by a very short (I would make sure of it) moment of banter before I could snuggle back under the covers and finish my dream.
Not that it had been a nice dream, it was more of a reoccurring nightmare actually— I was late for class again and I didn’t know where the classroom was. That’s so ridiculous, I thought to myself, I would never be late for class.
I opened the door to see a not-so-excited Brian Williams.
"We are leaving for Mexico right now and I wanted to say goodbye," he reached out for a hug that I did not return.
Shocked, I said, "what, like right now? What do you mean? Why?"
He looked at me like I was a crazy person, "the power-- it's completely down."
Oh that's what this was about. I guess that the Williams finally had their last straw. They had been meaning to get out for a while, but I didn't think it would come this soon. I had to keep them from leaving.
"Yeah, the power-grid's been out before, remember when we..."
"Julia, wait. Did you not hear the gunshots last night?" he looked very concerned, not like himself at all, "it's not just our power that's out, it's everyones. Anyone without a backup generator, one that hasn't been run dry by the latest outages I mean, doesn't have power."
who are “we”
an interpretation of "the world" as "humanity" is an insight into exactly what we need to change-- expanding our defintion of what matters and ameliorating suffering we are blind to.
thoughts of aug 25
in-fighting-- so many movements are slowed down because we create guidelines for who can talk, who can support, etc. you can't just be an advocate, you have to devote your life to the cause to have credibility.
there is no such thing as a true version of history, everyone will have a different perspective to contribute to the story. there will always be details left out.
Helen of Troy was blamed for causing a war because she was kidnapped?? make it make sense
the irony of gratitude: it's hard to feel grateful when you feel like those things are just going to be taken away... but that is exactly why we should feel grateful
we judge a dog's smartness on how loyal they are to us
Something to strive for, though never pure
To put other's needs and desires before your own is, in fact, a desire in and of itself. Selflessness, although often held up as the ultimate virtue, is impossible.
Selfishness is pervasive-- it soils the soil of life. A seed cannot sprout without the nutrients the soil bears and as so we cannot function without the motivation that selfishness provides. This is the unthinking, unavoidable, unwelcome truth of humanity.
Those who claim to be selfless create an unatainable ambition for others, and their hypocrisy festers what is left of the moral mind, making it beleive that it will never be good enough, and so, it shouldn't even try.
Every action, good or bad, is motivated, and therefore, is grounded in one's own perspective, desires, and values. A sacrifice, although on the surface, a selfless act, is simply a selfish one. Despite this, sacrifice can still stand tall as an act of love, of hope, and of communal betterment.
This truth, as all things of the world, carries an inherit intricacy that engenders frustration and uncomfortability. As the world is rarely explained by clear answers to clear questions.
To that point, to be selfless requires and embodies empathy, detachment from the material world, and deep connection. And so, though not fully attainable, selflessless, in its myriad of forms, is an essential quality that must be strived for more often.
accept yourself, the world-- the good, the bad.
it's hard to accept it when you are sad.
listen to your heart, aching for peace.
just let go and be relieved.
eternity is yours
who is to say
what eternity is
there are so many ways
that its face can be missed
eternity is 65 trips
around the sun
for another, maybe 6
what is forever
is all that is perceived
when our endeavors
have been achieved
once it is over
what did it mean
and who is wrong
about all of this
about justice, pain
what will we be
when those we love
forget our name
lost amongst the clouds
or in the dirt
an inconceiveable ending
that is for sure
there is so much
that we don't know
but will that fact free us
or make us let go
what worldly things matter
when all is said and done
these trips around the sun
so fickle and trite
yet so important it all feels
as our eternity is the only one
what we feel is all we are
listen-- you can hear it
your heartbeat runs sore
your windows down
sun on your skin
nothing could hurt you
you think with a grin
listen to the notes
and expect each one
when the song is done
and your trip is complete
that feeling is over
you're under your feet
but what does that matter
you lived your bliss
eternity was yours
and it will not be missed
As it has always been: power in immoral hands who have lost loyalty to humanity
Her foot taped on the ground with the incessancy and ferocity of a runaway train car. There was no escaping it, and with each bounce, her guilt seemed to grow. The Tartarusian pit in her stomach deepened and was starting to make her feel nauseous as well. It should be raining she thought. It felt like the world should be crying with her, but alas, it was sunny as ever.
She kept playing that moment over and over again in her head. She should've done something-- jumped in front of the bus and pushed that little boy out of the way, screamed for someone else to do something maybe... anything but stand frozen in fear as she had.
But there was no taking it back, no magic time machine or portal to another dimension through which she could travel to live. She had felt like she was a good person, a moral one. And yet, the consequence of her inaction mocked the very notion. When faced with something real, she thought, you did nothing. You were a nothing but a bystander to that boy's death.
this apartment is so cold
all of this is growing old
politicians can escape this trap
but we are here and all we can do is nap
listening to old Disney tunes
hoping they will drown out the blues
the snow was fun for a moment or two
but what to do now, I have no clue
no school, no work, no wifi, no water
maybe I'll go read some Harry Potter
But really though, we haven't had classes all week and now we have a water-boil notice. Can't wait till it warms up again. Hope y'all are staying safe out there if ya live in Texas too.