Monday, June 22, 2009

schlachthaus fünf

the way that i feel write now is so bonkers that i am being driven to write it down. i have no idea what i am feeling, and thus no idea what it is that i am about to say. your guess is as good as mine.

the way i feel right now may be the way one feels as they are about to die. i feel like parts of my life are flashing before my eyes. better yet: i feel like i am literally, physically, mentally, and emotionally living out parts of my life all over again. better yet: not living out again but, watching, almost like a movie, from behind my eyes, just like everything happened the first time. its like i am sitting in the skull that was, watching everything on two oval-shaped television screens that are placed side-by-side. not only can i see these things but i feel like my limbic system is plugged into the limbic system that was, and i can feel everything as though it was really happening.

and like that, its no longer just television. i get up from the couch. i look around me. i am no longer in my apartment. i am in my mothers house—my fathers old house—and i see them both there. it is night. the pool is open. somebody is swimming in it. probably my sister. i hear lawn mowers in the distance. the sun is setting behind joslin hill. it is still as humid as a lung outside. i hear bugs. but im not outside. im inside. walking through the kitchen. my cat is probably watching intently what is going on in the pool area—as he always does—waiting for somebody to begin their approach from the pool area to the back door—giving him an opportunity to escape outside to eat some grass—roll around in the dirt. i can hear the fan upstairs. i feel the fan blowing on my legs now.

i am currently describing what i literally feel and see. i am sitting down. i am walking through the kitchen. the fan is real. i know that much. i turned it on to dry my clothes because the dryers in my apartment are atrocious.

i get a text message from my girlfriend, probably. i answer it. i am probably in a bathing suit—never taken off after an afternoon outside. i will start work at the high school soon. as soon as i graduate this upcoming weekend.

i smell like chlorine. my skin feels dry.

i go upstairs and the old wallpaper is still there—the bookcase with all of my sister’s and my old books from childhood. that big book of fairy tales my meem got from i-dont-know-who. i will read tales from there soon—i am sure—as i do every time summer begins. i am not too old for it.

if there is one thing that i find to be most sacred and most important, it is this: that i never ever forget how to be a child.

i have the physics regents exam coming up this week. im not even going to study. im not going to study because i know it all like the back of my hand—and who studies for cumulative exams like that anyway? what a great class this was. i am going to miss mr. frye.

i shower now. wash off the pool water and chlorine. the smell of outside. i get into whatever evening wear ive been sporting. probably some pair of cotton shorts with a drawstring. a white t. i go downstairs and dish out a bowl of ice cream. im sure ive gotten another text message by now. ‘i love you too, amanda.’ i devour the ice cream. it probably isnt mint chocolate chip but more something along the lines of cookie dough—or cookies in cream. something vanilla, im guessing.

so ive just gotten skewered by my hair stylist—my hair is as short as i am tall. so i try doing it a different way. it works. i dont know it yet but this is how i will wear my hair for the next year and a half. time flies. its friday and i havent shaved in days—there is barely any hair there. but i like how it hides my babyface. amanda and my mother agree—i look horrible. so i go to the graduation rehearsal. tonight my right ankle will start acting up. i think its the weather aggravating it—i had sprained and fractured it 6 years ago. i dont know it yet but cracking it will become a bad habit i wont break until it becomes so routine that i forget to do it. i go to sleep.

i wake up and apparently my life is supposed to be on the brink of a major ending—and another beginning. i actually dont look half bad in my cap thingamajig. mom takes pictures. i go do my hair. i go to the gym. we’re all excited. for the first time in 6 years i am not playing pomp and circumstance at the high school graduation—im walking out to it. only a month earlier i was walking out to that stupid ‘i’ll be your crying shoulder’ song with amanda on my arm. and damn did she look beautiful.

to this day: she looked beautiful.

so i walk out and cant believe it. i sit down. and graduation progresses. i get awards. i get my diploma. i almost botch my photograph with whoever-he-was. i sit down again. someone talks again. i throw my cap where i can easily retrieve it. i pick it up. graduation is done. there are lots of hugs, tears, high-fives. etc. my family approaches me. im sure theyre crying, too. and theres amanda—bless her: she sat through the whole, sweltering 2.5 hour ceremony, just to watch her baby graduate. arent i lucky or what?

so now theres more photos being taken and i still have them on this very computer. we go home. amandas mother is there, i think. amanda apparently went graduation shopping for me. a belt buckle i will never wear. one of those white stone surfer dude necklaces that i will wear every single day until we break up. i think. a green shirt that i dont know where it ended up—its probably in good condition but id swim in it, im sure. a pinstripe sport coat from hot topic that sits in my closet next to me. i wore it to my graduate school interview for ualbany. and ive worn it to many other important functions as well.

some things you just never lose use for.

i get into comfortable clothes—i cant even breathe from my shirt and tie. i drive amanda to my grandfathers down the street and around the corner—hes got beagle puppies. theyre adorable. i go home. get all of my graduation party invitations. get in the car. my parents drive me to party number one. they drive amanda home. i go to some parties. i go home. my family comes home from my despised cousins graduation party. my mother and sister—some other family members, im sure, go down to the vfw on acme road. they begin setting up for my party.

‘i love you too, amanda,’ and i go down into the cellar to play my new video game that my mother bought me for graduating—the only material gift that i got.

and now that i think of it, this is where we arrive to the beginning of my tale. or maybe it was the end of the next night. in which case i wasnt in the pool all day--

i am getting dolled up. into my suit. with this new off-grey shirt and snazzy tie. ive lost the tie now—somehow—i will always regret losing it, too. i get dropped off by my father at glenns graduation party. its kind of awkward. dad picks me up, and we go to my party. i have photos from this, too. on my computer. this one.

my friends came. my teachers came. amanda stayed for the whole damned thing—again. bless her. and now everybody is leaving. i take the car, stuff it full of my friends, and drive to nicks party. this is nice. and i hit somebodys car as im backing out. not too badly, though. just grazed it. whoops.

somehow everybody gets where theyre going. my house is dark inside. the windows may or may not be open. my graduation balloons are everywhere. the big ones are deflated—are taped to the back of my bedroom door in my old house. my fathers old house.

it happens.

and here i am. i think i am back in my apartment. it doesnt smell like my apartment—it doesnt smell like anything. the fan—the one that was real—its still blowing, from the opposite side of the room than usual—over where my closet and now-dry clothes are. i like how it feels from this angle. i might just keep it there.

i really, truly feel—maybe even believe—that i just did all of that all over again. maybe not over again—maybe its always happening. still happening. right now. why not? i cant do or say anything differently but, so long as i remember it—if im only remembering—then it must still exist. the way everything looked, smelled, tasted, felt. if i remember it all—if i can sense it all—then it must still be there.

and i am glad that it is. that was a good time in my life. that was a good summer.

these are things i have not sensed—and i will now use the word ‘sense’ instead of ‘remember’—in a very long time. i have had glimpses—but never like this. i cant even imagine what my brain activity must look like right now on an fmri—i have described here details that i could not have possibly remembered otherwise. otherwise what? i dont know. details that i could not have possibly remembered unless i were describing everything in such detail like this? details that i could not have possibly remembered unless this actually just happened again?

i dont know.

i know i didnt actually physically go anywhere. but i sure felt like it. and thus described it as such. it was a nice ride, anyway. didnt you enjoy it?

the point is this: something in my brain snapped this evening and my conscious was sent somewhere. somewhere i have been before. and done things before. maybe it was a dream. maybe it was a memory. or maybe our brains are truly able to walk us through times in our life in such detail as we could have never consciously tried to remember it—that is to say, we simply did. and we dont know why.

i told you from the get-go that i had no idea what i was about to say. i still barely remember what ive just typed. i have nothing stellar or spectacular to end this trip in time with.

none of this was revised. i will re-read it now and content myself to make no revisions. how can i revise what has already happened?

and here, now, the author is stripped of his freedom to edit: whats done is done.

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