Lost in my own thoughts, the only sound I am able to hear is the revving of my car engine as the beer sits nicely next to me in the passenger’s seat. It is a clear night. The car blazes the highway as I ponder the meaning of all life and existence. What happens at the first moment after we die? And how does the mind come to terms with the world it has grown getting used to?
I pass by bars and restaurants and churches with forgotten lights on.
I wish writing were as simple as driving a car – you just hop in and turn on the ignition and let the machine do the rest. Why can’t writing be as simple and effortless?
The sky is clear and the full moon shines brightly and caresses the gentle land with its white light.
I wonder if she still thinks about me…if she remembers her sweet silent beast of a lover quietly reclined in his corner waiting his turn.
The wind enters in waves through my open window.
The confusion in my mind is a revolving automated circle of anxiety.
I wonder what further punishment the gods have in store for me, what dose of pain and misfortune they will administer next.
The howling of the wind can be heard coming in from the northern mountains.
And to think my happiest and most cherished moments weren’t spent learning in school or advancing in a career or running a political campaign…to think the best times were spent writing frivolous lines and making love on the bed sheets, in dark alleyways, behind church walls and in the backseat of the car.
The car is still rolling at 100 km/hr.
The highway is narrowing and turns into a small road that leads to the mountainside.
I go north, north with the road, north with my thoughts gliding like the seagulls over tempest seas.
The road narrows still, same as my thoughts, as I penetrate into a tunnel leading into the abyss of my mind.
The confines of this place are old and dusty, filled with spider webs and dead cockroaches.
The wind is blowing.
To my left is the seaside, the ever-present bay boats beaming their lights across the waves and illuminating the quiet friendly shore.
The people are eating in their comfortable chairs, in their homes and nearby restaurants, watching the sea put on a show, clapping, singing gleefully, trying to escape from the torn reality they live in, the country they’ve been sentenced to, trying desperately to emulate foreign lives they observe daily on their TV sets or hear about.
I wonder whether she still thinks about me, about my arrogance, about my foolishness, about my moments of vulnerability, passionate gestures, insecurity, love, caring, joy, anxiety, stress, sadness, hate.
The beer is still there, unopened and untouched next to me. Its time will come.
The road narrows. The car is still racing and so is my heart.
They say it’s the journey, not the destination – but to me it’s all the same; it’s the thrill of the moment, the need for escape; a yearning unappeased and wanting to be appeased by music, love, beer, words, lights.
The rocky mountain roads appear. A dense forest welcomes adventurous souls venturing deep into the night. Little foxes run across the road in agile fashion hoping the night will turn them into elusive creatures. The scenery has changed, but the feelings remain the same. As I drive further away from the city and push on, I feel a great pressure inside me. I feel the emotions bubbling, boiling, erupting, like a gushing liquid in a container pushing against the lid to be set free.
The night wears on. I finally make it somewhere. It is a large church with a huge statue of the virgin Mary next to it. A historical landmark. A national treasure.
I stop the car. I grab my beer and get out.
The huge statue is looming over me. It is serene, it is peaceful, it is intimidating.
I take a huge hit from the beer. This is all your fault, I shout, you and your gods and your faith and your beliefs. I spit at the foot of the statue. It still looks peaceful and forgiving.
I take another hit of beer. Was she still thinking about me? What about now? Would she ever consider me in my lowest and most pitiful state, a degradation of the human kind and a travesty to human nature?
I take another hit. The beer is half-done now and so am I. The night wears on.
The statue stands there, tall and mighty, waiting for my next attack. I wonder why nothing works out the way I intend it. If humans don’t have the power to control their own fate, then what power do they really possess? What kind of illusion were we living in and allowing ourselves to believe?
This is all your fault, I lash out in the open. This is the fault of whoever is running my life, whoever is in charge of it. Yes, I am accusing you, you and those who are in power, those who the people choose to follow and believe and chant for and light fragrant candles and incense in their honor.
Another hit. I spit at the foot of the statue again. A couple of tourists pass by me and declare me mad. Maybe I am mad. Maybe I am mad for being a hopeless romantic who looks to take on much more than he can handle. Maybe I am mad for believing in virtue and loyalty and holding on to them. Maybe I am mad for expecting too much out of a life, forgetting that it is nothing more than a finite rope we walk along until we touch the end. Some of us go all the way and make it to the other side. Others buckle under the mounting pressure and the rope breaks and they fall and tumble to the ground or worse somewhere undisclosed or maybe even undiscovered by man.
Maybe I am mad for believing in chances and taking things for granted. Maybe I am mad for other reasons I ignore.
Maybe I am mad.
The bottle feels light in my mind, but my chest is pumping with emotion. My heart feels like a little canoe floating in a sea of beer and air. It sinks and I sink with it, in alcohol and turmoil and faithlessness.
I take a few steps back and look at the statue one last time. Its eyes are still as forgiving as ever, imploring me to break free from my madness and listen to reason. I launch the bottle and release it, sending it flying toward the statue. It misses the head by a distance and crashes against the chest. The beer flows and smudges the whiteness of the landmark.
A sick God, a thirsty God, a drunken God…I wonder if an all-mighty deity could really feel all those things, then would he allow us to experience them? If he knows the danger of emotions, would he have created them in the first place? Or would he have molded us into breathless inanimate objects, statues that spend their lives staring at each other?
He could grant us the power to turn sideways in the direction of the ones we love so we could spend eternities looking at them. What a world that would’ve made.
I return to the car empty-handed. I lick the few drops of beer off my palm and fingers.
The music in my car blasts as I drive on. To the hills. To the mountainside. No one really knows.
The night wears on and I drive along.
Behind me the couple of tourists return to face the statue and pray to it as the beer flows from its body.