Perhaps this story can be said to be similar to a dream. Yes. I think it is similar. But in what way? Let me tell you my opinion on dreams first, just to have a ground basis to work on.
Dreams should be personal, as is my story which I only know how to read, so I ask you to think of a dream. Any majestic dream, but I guess we can all say that a dream should be as distant from reality as possible, unless you want it to be a nightmare.
How long did your dream last?
A night you might say; a night they all might say; I say it lasted for only a moment of vision, a moment of clarity, but because it’s a moment of vision and clarity, it has stretched itself beyond time and hovered for the length of your sleep over your conscious thoughts; a moment of eternity which will eternally recur before our lidless third eye: the artistic reproduction of your imagination. You only awake to blindly plunge and drown in a blurry consciousness again. What is a moment but a gateway facing two streams: the stream of infinite past and infinite future. Eternity’s component is a moment. A moment is not a fleeting ‘now’. In a moment everything recurs, everything matters, all is alike. And yet it is part of eternity: negligible, light, nothing matters, still all is alike.
So how is my story similar?
It has stretched itself beyond time and is always hovering above my conscious thoughts. Moments hover. It is a bright light that follows your vision when you look at something very luminescent. This radiance glows from every image of a boy smiling, a girl laughing, a mother crying, a father patting his son, a couple holding hands, two people eating together in a sushi bar: joy. The radiance glows from the void that exists between me and all the people around me. Our difference is sourced in the same schism between nothing and everything; nothingness haunts me.
But still it is different from a dream. I told you a dream should be as distant from reality as it can be; my story is real and true. My story is a nightmare.
I can tell you what happened in detailed description, but I do not want to draw that picture again for someone who will never see it as it should be seen. This story is written on my skin: This Boy’s Life, but I am the only one who can read this story, or better yet, I am the only one who understands it.
Let me tell you what didn’t happen because the border of nothingness is everything.
I was eighteen years old. I did not get my driving license. I did not feel legal. I did not feel threatened by responsibility. I did not feel response-able towards my life.
I was seventeen years old. I did not sit for a SAT exam. I did not apply to a university. I did not plan ahead. I did not think of a future. I did not feel the present. I did not cherish the past.
I was sixteen years old. I did not feel the thrill of being punished for staying up on a school night. I did not feel the thrill of smoking, drinking and getting high.
I was fifteen years old. I did not have my first kiss from a girl I liked. I did not try-out for the football team. I did not ennoble any passion with any form of attempt.
I was fourteen years old. I did not watch and share porn videos with a friend or a brother. I did not learn how to play the guitar. I did not spend hours talking nonsense and gossiping on the phone.
I was thirteen years old. I did not go to the arcades with my pals. I did not blush when I talked to girls. I did not feign sickness in order to skip school.
I was twelve years old. I did not laugh or blow out candles on my birthday. I did not share intimate stories about puberty with same-age cousins or boys.
I was eleven years old. I did not play video games or sports or ride bikes. I did not look in front of me or to the sky when I walked.
I was ten years old. I did not celebrate my graduation from primary school. I did not even realize it exists. I did not perceive myself as Infant Joy when I saw a baby picture of me.
I was nine years old. I did not see any family member watch me play the xylophone at the elementary school music concert. I did not see anyone. I did not participate in the concert.
I was eight years old. I did not play with kids in recess on monkey bars. I did not have a lunchbox full of sandwiches and juice and sweets. I did not get in trouble for having bad handwriting.
I was seven years old. I did not buy comic books or Goosebumps books from the Scholastic book fair. I did not play with action figures or remote-controlled cars.
I was six years old. I did not get the chance to wet my pants in front of the whole classroom in utter humiliation. I did not swim with or without inflatable armbands.
I was five years old. I did not have an imaginary friend to play with. I did not hope for anyone. I did not get affected when I watched This Boy’s Life. I did not flinch or shed a tear when Robert De Niro beat the hell out of Leonardo DiCaprio
I was four years old. I did not squeeze myself between my father and mother at night. I did not enter my house holding a sibling’s hand. I did not return smilingly. I did not leave miserably. I did not return. I climbed higher upon a mountain with a heavy burden on my back. The more I climbed the more I stared down into a deeper abyss. But then the burden fell off and I was light again. I experienced a moment belonging to eternity. A moment: you live it for the first time again and again and again, perpetually.
Can you begin to see clearly what DID happen in all my enduring years?
I am nineteen. I am lost. I am alienated. I am estranged. I am separate. I am experienced. I am aware. Black is all around me and maybe this is what it is like to be free.
The radiance hits my eyes and I see my mother, my father, my brother, my sister: silent, unobserving, victims and fugitives greeting me with a thunderous silence. The burden is put on my back again and its heaviness crushes me. The silence calls my suffering meaningless.
I am still the crying Infant Sorrow trying to find an explanation for what has happened; trying to find meaning for the etched marks on his skin.