Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Night the Birds Fell From the Sky

My eyes opened at twilight. The empty city was bathed in the ghastly glow of diminishing bursts of light from abandoned streets and dimly illuminated windowsills. The quiet roll of waning thunder and the glorific medical center lights beyond the silhouette of trees just outside the window were all that could be seen beneath the blanket of darkness creeping out of the city.

I woke up on a porch somewhere in Houston. Now, I know exactly where, [my cousin’s apartment], but instead of a comforting familiarity to welcome me back to consciousness, I instead felt an lingering uneasy sense of betrayal, abandonment, and foreign, merciless vindication. As if we had somehow merited the wrath of the dark and deadly storm that had passed, that we somehow for some reason had been punished. A cool, unfettered breeze brings comfort now in this dark sweltering world, remnants of the monster that had come banging on our weak and unprepared doors. A waning memory of the howling wind that would shake your very soul serves as the only reminder that taking anything for granted is the deadliest sin of all.

It was morning. Water flowed in canals we used to call streets. A melancholy hush swept across the stretch of town completely empty of traffic but boasting a rush of stragglers curious to see what the storm lay waste to. There is a constant industrial grinding of generators and other machinery in the distance cutting through an uneasy silence of a community sleeping through recovery, struggling slow attempts at picking up the pieces.

Ike is its name. Boasting power this city had not seen in a storm for quite some time, and undoubtedly weakening in its own path somewhere northeast of us, a widespread devastation left in its wake. The flicker of candlelight weakens as the moments pass, my ambitious writing growing faster and more frantically illegible on this scrabble scorecard, a remnant of one form of entertainment we needed to turn to in this ordeal and the faint aroma of grilled meat from our recent makeshift dinner hangs in the air. All constant reminders of our very limited resources, and our confused and fearful minds. How long can we keep this up? The bellows of faint traffic sound every now and then, the city’s failed attempts at achieving normalcy immediately after quite the apocalypse. We looked up at the grey cold sky that loomed above us, giving no trace of the danger that came before it. We looked up a lot. And for fun, just for fun, we then looked down. And saw them. The birds lined the streets. Broken wings. Broken necks. Everywhere. And then slowly…as time went on, as days went by and turn into weeks…the birds went back up into the sky. And I will always be sitting here, watching those birds in the sky, waiting for the next moment to happen.

I find myself at the mercy of a nightly bottle and a repeat run of the hit show The World’s Funniest Moments. Life is getting quieter again. Life is getting lonelier again. And I’m coming home much more exhausted, staying in the company of my work past lights out almost nightly. Miles between here and home are racking up as the days go by, and the happiness I find in typing jokes to my closest friends through online chat rooms during the workday is a good indicator that something vitally cathartic and necessarily visceral is rendering my life, at the moment, severely incomplete. I can only reflect on the words I read that won’t stop running through my mind, “Trust me homes… when we look back on how great this COULD have been, it will be on you,” and it is all I can do, NOT to ultimately believe them. So I’m sorry but sometimes, it is nice to forget about things, the same way they have forgotten about you. Even if you have to make it happen. Even if it means having to destroy your coffee table. I'll make a list of things to do. I'll make a list of things to be. I'll make a list of things never to look forward to again. And i will make a list of things I will wait til world's end to see one last time.

I’ve never been through an apocalypse before. I didn’t ask for a front row seat. All the same, I hear this whisper in the distance…of a bigger storm yet to come.

Current Songs: Dashboard Confessionals – Stolen, Saliva – Rest in Pieces

Earth-Shattering Revelation #23: It’s okay to feel like less than a part of your life sometimes. Or less than a part of others'. Even in the ones that are most important to you.