Listen as the wind blows from across the great divide
Voices trapped in yearning; memories trapped in time
-Sarah McLachlan, "Possession"
See dust clinging to the window glass in patterns- see how it clusters brownly around the cracks and the delicate metal panes, strips of dark grey and black against the blurry view. And the emptiness beneath- the old bench sagging near the middle from over use and its regular inhabitant gone far away- off somewhere exciting, somewhere fabulous, or perhaps a dimly lit hospital room for all this creaky bench knows. Watch the dishes stacked in the dirty sink- they're towering, and perhaps ready to fall down? But they won't- no, they can't- for falling would mean shattering, chips of porcelain flying across the room, scratching the wood floor and disrupting the fuzzy blanket of dust. And the apartment is silent and still. It won't stand for noise and the loud crashing of plates against floor. Drama. Death.
The red and yellow and brown smears of former meals congeal and crack, forming bubbles and hard crusts over the dishes. A lone stalk of broccoli loses its colour and fades pale green and sad. Limp. Weary. There's dust too- and the occasional deceased fly, sticky and trapped in its own decrepit food. Unwashed and untended, the dishes wait in the sink- sleepy, mouldy and inconspicuous. Fading. Fasting.
I used to believe in God. It was abstract, silly and esoteric- as if God was as liberal as I was, as if my morality was the same as God's morality. Never mind the bible- I knew the truth and everyone else was wrong or at least unenlightened. But that was before everything that was ever going to happen happened.
The last year of the world has snuck up on me- and I can hardly be blamed for not noticing, what with all the talk of 2000 being the apocalypse and computers coming to devour us, all because of a faulty calendar. Just picture that- the ATMs and calculators and digital watches twisting their metallic wires around us and eating us alive, bones crunching as loudly as crushed plastic buttons. You can only credit this theory to people- we do have an uncanny knack for mixing the powers of imagination and mass hysteria. But there was no one who stood up and said that 2000 would never come, no matter how much we tried to fear it. We've waited so long and our apocalypse won't ever be delivered. See children dawdling and dazing in line at the fair- see them sweat and swat at mosquitoes and the promise of those in the cool rush of air who have made it onto the Ferris wheel. The line ups absorb people who wait and wait and never receive. See the dusk arrive all too quickly, and the wheel closed down and the tired children who are dusty and disappointed.
I lie a lot nowadays. I lie to Mark when he asks about my blood work, my cell counts, my dideoxyinosine prescription. I lie to my doctor and myself. It's one way to keep the peace, especially since Mark is going to drive me crazy with his continuous failed attempts to be nonchalant about my illness. Or affliction, you could say. It's more biblical and I am certainly a sinner to be punished. I ought to be burning in the red-hot flames of eternal hellfire by now, but instead I am a bitter Bohemian atheist condemned to a slow death. The best and worst things about AIDS is the stigma- even in my grave, I'll continue to make the three-piece-suits shudder. So I lie, because I still can.
Last night, I dreamt of an angel. It was blurry and strange- not nearly white or gold or even the palest blue, but a fusion of every colour- and the music, unearthly and great, singing from the wings and the effervescent black water that lapped the shores from beyond the wall. I knew then and now that I was from everything and everywhere- that AIDS is not just New York City or somewhere else. The world is dying. I can feel it getting slower, the rhythmic beating at the heart of everything pounding harder in pitiable attempts at salvation. When will all be lost? Why?
See the veil gently drifting in careless wind…grey-mauve-transparent and loose. Love Loss. The sounds of forever waltz with this wind as if one could catch another, ever. As if time could save us now. Time is our secret downfall, but it is a sweet and painful downfall, just short of epic. See Roger die his own death and bring the world down with him, because he would have it no other way. I hallucinate, but who are you, you blank-faced spectator, to say that hallucinations are not real? Everything is real life- I digress- but dreams dance on their own before you can ever catch them and they dance for real. I'll teach you to judge forever! You never knew me and you never will, but for now we are here in this land of in-between. What is fiction and how is it any falser than truth?
I almost saw the other place- just yesterday, in fact. The heart monitor was failing and everything was so prepared. I was tempted to leave right then and there. I could have just sailed away and you never would have noticed me slip effortlessly into the blue. I only refused this offer on a silver platter because I had the true forever to live beyond the divide and only a few more "todays" to suffer on this side. Salvation. Sin.
And now, see the land of the dreams. See presidents die and presidents born, see the buzz and hum of ignorance and grace among the people. The cars crawling like scratchy jewels upon the bones of the cities. You almost notice an unwashed, unkempt apartment crouching ashamed among its prettier companions- but don't. New York City will come to you. It doesn't need searching or finding or being alive, for it has all of those things and doesn't even need them.
I'm going to have my memorial service in a tiny church planted haphazardly upon a graveyard in the belly of the beast. If you squint you might see the awkward adults clad in tissues- the broken glass of the framed pictures, the beads of sweat on clipped roses. We haven't come very far at all, I'm afraid. That's alright. The angel will wait as long as it must- the people won't. Fly away. Fate.
Goodnight, all. I think the starlight is beckoning and who is this junkie to refuse a hit? The days have passed, every one of them. I know I've had my share. Ecstasy. Ever after.