When the family breaks up, the child is alone. He has a mother and he has a father, but his love for his mother induces guilt for the love of his father, and the love for his father bristles painfully due to the protective feelings he has toward his mother. So he is alone. There is only jarring disunity – and the self.
“Why can we not all be one again?” he thinks, “why can we not eat together, sing together, love together – as once we did?”
Must everything fall apart?
Maybe later he tries to resolve the wound by severance altogether. He rejects half of himself and clings to one story about his past. “I never had a father” he says. But the pain is obvious. The wound remains. Every day is a confrontation with that which has been severed. There is no completion without the whole, without mending the broken bond, the self made from two. The more anger at the wound, the deeper perhaps the severance, the more insistent that there must be one to blame, to hate, to expel from the self – to be whole again, but lesser.
Your mother and father lurk within you, and no amount of hate can purge them. There is only one way to heal the wound, to forgive together, love together, eat together once more.
And some wounds will never be healed… only pray and dare to hope that this one is healed, because some wounds, though longstanding and septic, still are.
You had your heart set on a thing for a long time, longer than you want to admit. Finally it has passed the point where it is impossible. Finally there is no more space to cling to hope.
Pain, the ache in the eyes and the knife in the heart. Please accept this joyful agony, finally you are free.
This door barred forever, this fruit inaccessible, now if you can bear to sit out the gnawing in your chest you can look around at the garden, the rich bounties God has provided you.
Oh but how you wanted, how you will miss hoping, dreaming, imagining. You rebel against the beauty of the garden and the richness of your meat in it. Barren is the heart denied, you curse the lands that their soils be as parched as your soul.
Feeling sick to your stomach, you run what you wanted to say, what you should have said, through your head. If only you had explained this or that? If only you had another chance to put forward your case, to put everything into it’s fullest context.
Sadness passes over you, then inside a small voice of hope is faced by an army of anger and doubt, “we will defend this kingdom against your falsehoods” cries doubt, “you would speak kindness about those who will destroy us?!” cries anger. The small voice looks up helplessly, ever trusting at you, begging you to grant her freedom, to give her the opportunity to sow joy, even if only briefly.
What good is hope, only to be crushed? Better to be vanquished here inside, than vanquished by foreign forces. Better that we smother the child than let her be captured and raped.
Tears reach out in desperation, trying to avoid the inevitable descent from their ocular peaks. “Don’t let us fall” they cry, but it is too late.
The castle is surrounded and the siege is on. The garrison surrounds the child awaiting your instruction, to slaughter so beautiful a being to save her innocence, or to allow her hostage taking by alien powers.
Your heart ever wavering, you wish you could be firm, you hate that child so much in this moment, because you love her with your whole soul. There is no way you could order her death, your mouth tries to utter the command, but your heart rebels and steals your voice.
The enemy storms the gate, the castle falls, the child is taken, you are imprisoned in your own dungeon, pensively awaiting your fate. As they drag her off, she even now tries to give comfort. “I will petition my new liege for mercy, he may still grant you that which you desire, our love will never die, adieu!”
Rot in the dungeon of your own making, but do not blame the child.
When you were younger you thought madness was almost glamorous in a way. You believed that all great men were somewhat insane, all brilliant art was born of suffering and you wished to be great yourself, to taste that intensity and that unsocial stubbornness that comes with delusion.
You had no craft, but you decided life would be your canvas, and you set about attempting to make yourself the eternal outsider, swirling in chaos.
You tried, you really did, but every time you approached the precipice you withdrew. The warmth, or coldness, of human feeling always drew you back from the solitary world of the maniac. You attempted to force the matter by many means, chemistry, illumination, lack of sleep. None of it was enough, not because it couldn’t be, but because you were a coward, because you never had the heart to finish the thing. You were never fully able to betray life, to truly stand in condemnation of the normal.
And then there she was…
When she came into your life, she showed you real madness. Not the glamour of greatness achieved because or despite of it, but the pure substance, acrid and violent. There was no beauty in it, no softness, only endless terror. She had no special powers, no special charisma – not even the redemption of a quaint eccentricity. Only terror and stubbornness in equal measure, tears and threats of suicide, screaming and noises you never knew the human mouth could utter.
You would do almost anything to free her from her affliction, to ease the pain, end the suffering. That which she regurgitated upon the canvas of life should never have seen the light of day. Without poetry, without harmony. Jagged edges, disgust, terror – arranged haphazardly, as though the scribbles of a child.
Those which the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad… and now you sense a twinge of fear. What if it one day happens to you?
For years you avoided making any kind of commitment, no matter how trivial, because you understood the gravity of the thing. You did not pick up the weight because you might drop it and even if you didn’t you would have to carry it for life.
In a giddy fit of romanticism though, you broke with convention. You – starry eyed – declared you would carry most heavy burdens for Him for ever. You would do it all because He would be there to support you. He would give you the strength. You knew that with His help you could do it.
After the promise was made, you wavered. “Where is He?” you asked, “will He not help me bear this Cross?”
And at the wayside, there stood another. Weaker, denser, full of fear and self doubt. “Help me” he cried.
“Are you there?” you shouted to Him. Silence.
So you put down the Cross and crossed to tend the wounded. It gave you much joy – but the Cross remained, lying tattered and battered in the road. You regret dragging it this far, you regret it sitting there, taunting you, reminding you of promises broken.
“I will never leave you alone” you tell him. But now you know what you are capable of betraying, and you fear it.
You catch yourself feeling desperate. You reach out over the wires, over the fibres, to someone, to anyone.
“Validate my existence” you shout at the seething mass, too shy to direct your need at any specific individual. In return you hear the echo, voices, millions of voices crying in refrain “validate us, tell us we mean something, that we matter”.
You walk down the street, get on a bus, sit and watch the people. Eyes downcast, trying to avoid catching a gaze. Burying themselves in books and magazines or walking briskly with purpose, eyes dead ahead like a protective shield.
Then you catch one, a pair of eyes outside the window, frozen in horror to be noticed, just like you. The bus moves on, the eyes accelerate away from you, relief is followed by regret.
You should have smiled. Made a connection. Let down the barrier.
You go on your computer and send words to anyone and no-one and swear next time you will reach out to someone real.