Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In Search of a Different Existence


I always ignored my late maternal uncle's irreverent greetings as I had no wish to quarrel. Wendell was a widower with years of richness, unhappiness and loss buried deep inside him. I silently sat in a low-backed, wooden chair taking care to sidestep his intense gaze. As he lost himself in his layered memories I often permitted my mind to wander in search of a different existence. Nothing too extravagant, something more than memorable, something entirely unforgettable.

I imagine a completely perfect man in the company of a completely perfect woman. This calms me. It gives me time to forget what most preoccupies me. The woman and I are both high in spirit and wander in a place where sweet flowers grow. Uncertainty, anxiety, painful surprises and evil cannot creep up on us and destroy our exquisite nature. We candidly grapple with existential questions: 'Why does a species such as ours not possess a well-shaped head similar to that of a camel?' - 'Why does bindweed proudly choke my plants?' and perhaps the most vexing question of all, 'Why do we sag with a heavy load as we traverse this earth until we die?'

The woman and I are not fools. We speak of the complexity and stupidity of many things including the question of human love, of fate, of creation, of renewal, of desire. Our walk from the garden leads us to the edge of a splendid lake. The world seems captured in the slight silent water and in our pools of thought. Such moments of contentment last only a few minutes, but are worth hanging onto while they last for they bring me a bolt of happiness.

'You're an odd one. Why can't you make a clean sweep of things? Two children by two different woman and still not married! Your behavior is reprehensible.' Wendell's vitriolic voice jolts me from thought; I sigh, acquiesce and turn my eyes towards his gaunt face. 'I'm senile, worn out and have savage dreams,' Wendell exclaims. 'There's nothing left for me to discover in this world. Nothing.' I like Wendell: his intense thinking, his distaste for human ignorance, his mood that can toss like a leave in spring, his contempt for pity, his acceptance of growing old.

Wendell remained active until his demise; sometimes taking a bus into town and a taxi home: the downside being that he stole the vehicles and picked up passengers on route for no charge. I usually had to post bail and collect Wendell from a police station. He lamented, at times: 'Why is my hair snowy-white?! I don't even like Christmas!' And while I was driving, 'A fine boat you have here. Goes at a good pace. In this mist it's hard to tell where the shore starts or ends. How can you see?'

*
Reflection: I was the only boy to drop out of college because I was pregnant. The psychoanalyst said I was obviously starved for attention and fabricated the pregnancy to skip class. When I give birth she jumped from the Brooklyn Bridge. An observer believes her last words were: 'I'll never eat kangaroo meat again'.