some fall in love. i shatter.

Ghosts Of A Recollection (#43)

In Stories Volume 2 on February 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm

It would have been unfair to say the beach was ugly because it was beige and yet, as he stood on the thin and tattered wooden walkway separating the beach from the street, he couldn’t help but blame the visual malaise on the particular beigeness of that particular sand. All sand is basically beige, he thought, but there should be radiance, hopefulness, promises of joy, recollections of memories. The sand should be like the best doorman, the red carpet, the welcoming committee ready to impart kindness and warmth. But this sand appeared to be infused with nothing but grayness. An entire gray scale in every grain of sand.

 

He swept his vision along the length of the beach. A landscape of sand dunes blown into lumpy existence by the hot breeze that blew through the November afternoon. The Gulf of Mexico retained a measure of beauty, the sometimes deep blue and sometimes emerald water shimmering in the spotlights of sun that broke through the cloud cover. But to reach that water, first the great lumps of sad sand, the tendrils of green shrubbery that struggled to grow through the graininess, the faded red and white remnants of picket fences that used to cordon off portions of the beach. A wasteland landscape; not another individual had bothered to wander outside.

 

A glance backward and his eyes fe

 

“Hey!

 

ll upon his father’s new vacation home on Sandy Boulevard; a tired old building of weathered whi

 

“Hey! I’m talking to you, asshole. Just because you think you control me doesn’t mean you can ignore me!”

 

Uncertain of what he was hearing, the Writer slipped his fingers off the keyboard, gazing at the backlit laptop screen and then looking towards the closed window of his 5th floor apartment. Someone on the street?

 

“Not over there, pal. Back down here.” His eyes drifted back toward the laptop screen where his story sat incomplete. The cursor blinked where he’d left it. “I know what you’re doing, Writer. Just because you haven’t written it all out yet doesn’t mean that you haven’t already transferred your thoughts and intentions into the work. Don’t think I don’t know what you have in mind.”

 

“Oh yeah? What do you think I intend to do?” Why am I having this imaginary conversation with the Character, he wondered. Then he realized he’d spoken the words aloud to the computer.

 

“I know that you’re planning to kill me. As a metaphor. To make a point about love.”

 

“That’s absurd!”

 

“Is it really?” The Writer paused before speaking again. What the Character had said was true; he’d responded as he had simply as knee-jerk reaction.

 

“Well, I’ve thought about the possi –”

 

“Screw your sense of possibility, you have the entire thing mapped out already. You send me into the water, unafraid of the waves, unaware of the rip current, and then you beat me down with the waves, sending me unknowingly into the current in search of calmer waters.” He’s in my head, the Writer thought. Of course he’s in my head, he’s born of my head, he’s nothing but my head. “And then the current pulls me out, I’m too panicked and tired to think of a sensible escape, and I eventually give myself over to the idea of drowning. How fucking romantic.”

 

“It’s not meant to be about the romantic aspects of love, it’s about the overwhelming force of it. The way that it comes up and hits you like a tidal wave, hits you in a way that you had no expectation of, overwhelms you.”

 

“Yeah, I can see the way that it’s going to overwhelm me. And I can follow your logic a little bit, I’m deep in your head enough to follow that, but why the current? Why do I need to die for this? Don’t you make your point well enough otherwise?”

 

“Your death is the second metaphor –”

 

“I know my death is the second goddamn metaphor! But why? Why do you need a second fucking metaphor at my expense? What’s wrong with just wringing out the overwhelming nature of love in the first go-round? Why should I die for this?”

 

“Because it’s about the way that we succumb to love.”

 

“And the submission in the waves isn’t enough?”

 

“The waves are the unanticipated force and impact of love. You escape from the waves. That’s not submission, that’s you fighting against the force of love, against the ways that it pushes you around, bends you to it’s will, tries to make of you something that you’re not.”

 

“An anomaly. Unexpected.”

 

“Exactly!”

 

“Don’t get so excited just because I follow a part of your logic. That’s only the first part. I still don’t comprehend the need to kill me. Shouldn’t the strength of love be enough to carry your story?”

 

“A lesser story, sure, but I’m trying to say something about love’s unexpected thrust and how a person then responds.”

 

“A person could respond two ways, you know. A person – who for the sake of personalizing things let’s just refer to as myself – could not give over to love, not succumb, and instead fight back.”

 

“But that’s not the story I’m writing. I’ve had this for a long time. I want to have a situation where the essence of succumbing is played out and the immensity of it is given description.”

 

“Absurd.”

 

“It’s not absurd. To fall in love, to give oneself over to another person, is to succumb in certain ways. I’m not saying that drowning is the best metaphor but it does visually convey this idea of sublimating the self, of giving over, of letting the other person wash over you and entering into a different world.”

 

“That’s such a flawed metaphor. Nobody gives himself over completely. Nobody wants to, nobody would; it’s simply too much. We all retain pieces if not most of ourselves when we enter into relationships.”

 

“I know, I know, and I said it’s not perfect, but it’s making a point. You’re against this idea of complete sublimation, and I’m not saying that I’m for it, but so many people seem to take the stance of remaining fiercely independent and not giving anything over. This is a fierce example but it shows how one man can be so unprepared for love, and then caught off guard, swept off his feet, and even beaten down by it. He flees it, thinks he can find a safe ground away from it, only to find himself caught up in the pull. And it’s not that it saps his will, but it gradually insinuates itself into his body, into his mind, and into his emotions. He’s panicky but eventually he slows down, looks around, and realizes that he’s in love. At that point, a peaceful abandon comes over him. So it’s not exactly sublimation to an unseen person as much as it is the idea of realizing that love has taken hold and that he’s no longer afraid of it or of what it means.”

 

The Character had taken seat on a naked root while the Writer gave his little speech. As the words trailed off, he stood and began walking towards the water, leaving his towel, keys, and phone behind. He still wore the sunglasses and the sun worked with vigor to burn away the clouds.

 

“I guess,” he began before coughing on the sand that blew into his face. He glanced skyward, where he presumed the Writer to be, and scowled. “I guess you have a point. Thing is, I’m not in love. And while I admitted that you may have a point, it means little to me in the abstract, you understand? Dying for love when there isn’t in fact any love seems a hollow fate.”

 

“But you’re just a character I’ve created.” Again, the skyward scowl.

 

“Correct that you created me but incorrect that I’m just a character. You brought me to life. You gave me a family, a bit of background, an emotional motivation. You gave the hints and the edges of a life beyond this and with that comes certain hopes and dreams. Just because you haven’t spilled them onto the page for everyone to see doesn’t mean that they’re not there. Details aren’t a necessity for the essence, especially if you consider yourself any good, which I don’t know. Our little relationship here is fairly new. I don’t even know your name.”

 

“I don’t know yours either.”

 

“Well maybe you’re not that good then.”

 

“Maybe the name isn’t important. Maybe it’s something to do with universality.”

 

“Lot of maybes, boss. And for someone so uncertain about something like a name, why would you kill me for the idea of love when there could be real love for me somewhere. I’m not sold on the idea but I’d much rather die for actual love than the metaphor.”

 

“That’s a little too over-the-top, don’t you think? There’s a greater power in the metaphor. I’m trying to reach people.”

 

“Who are you trying to reach?”

 

“People.”

 

“People. Forget abstract people and think about this person you’ve plunked down on this page. Save one soul with a purpose instead of a handful without.” He was walking the length of the beach, getting further from the items he’d dropped onto the sand but still existing in a place without other humans on the beach. A slim part of him hoped that he’d find someone in the creative corners of the Writer’s mind, an unexpected offshoot that could change the trajectory of the story. The further he walked though, and the more he realized just how barren the beachscape was, the more convinced he became of the Writer’s conviction and commitment to the storyline already plotted.

 

“It’s not so easy. I care about the world, maybe more than the world cares about me, but I want to say something and have an impact. You’re… I’m sorry, but you’re a tool in that goal. You’re a character and yes, you have both meaning and import, but only in the sense that I give it to you. I’m going to need you to head back towards your father’s house. I’ll need you to put your things down and go into the water, and it wouldn’t make much sense to have that happen way out here, away from where you began.”

 

“Maybe I was looking for love out here, some human connection that could save me from what seems to be an inevitable fate.”

 

“You can’t be saved from the inevitable; you can’t be saved from fate. Go.”

 

He turned around and began back, dragging his feet through the sand, coming to appreciate its dry abrasion with the knowledge of what was to come. The Character picked up his things and continued towards his father’s house. The sunglasses he pulled back to the top of his head, no longer minding the glare of the sun; appreciating it actually, the way it stung his eyes.

 

Somewhere, he thought, beyond the horizon, beyond the limitations of the Writer’s hands and imagination, stood the person that the Character loved. He couldn’t say whether it was man or woman, he wasn’t that self-aware, but he knew that the person existed and that they deserved at least some chance with one another. But he was powerless to the notions of the Writer. One dedicated to the quiet power of the individuals; the other dedicated to the loud nudging of the masses.

 

Ahead, the Character could see where he’d stepped onto the beach. He contemplated running but as he did so, a gust picked up against his face, reminding him that the Writer was inside his head as much as he was inside the Writer’s.

 

te wood that looked as if it belonged floating upon the sea. His father, renewed by new love and a new marriage, looked upon it as an impending retirement project to while away the winter months when Delaware held less appeal than it used to. His new wife had vacationed near this place in her childhood and the stories of pleasantly wasted away afternoons had lured him in. They had both been asleep while he slipped through the house, quietly opening creaking cabinets while searching for the blue and white striped beach towel that now sat folded underneath his arm.

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