Part 3: “Turn up the lights, I don’t want to go home in the dark.”- O.Henry
I’m leaving. I don’t know where I’m going, but I know that I am leaving. That’s what important right now. I’m writing this note for you. I don’t know who you are exactly. But you know who you are, I think. But that’s what is important right now. Not who I am, but who you are. Yes…yes that’s right. Because I am leaving. And when you leave you leave behind footprints, among other things. But I’m not burning out beautifully, no. I’m covering up these footprints with the hopes that no one should ever find the courage to seek them out. Because they don’t lead home. These footprints lead over the edge of a cliff or a building. And you deserve better than that. I am dying. Not yet, but quite soon. Quickly. Faster than you, you, you, you, and even you too, sir. But don’t be afraid. Please don’t be afraid.
I miss when I didn’t need coffee to keep me awake. I miss when my sister didn’t need pills to smile. The loss of innocence is a slow burn, like cancer or church. And when the idea of this note came to me, under the beautiful artificial light of the Mona Lisa, I realized that she burned out beautifully, gracefully. But how was I supposed go? Alone, in a half empty apartment full of half empty frames? No. You’re reading this for answers or for evidence, I know. But indulge me in one more explanation of what lays before you.
I once read a story about a man who was afraid of his shadow, in a quite literal sense. He was deemed crazy, as most geniuses are, and committed to a mental home. This man, let’s call him Steven, found a tree in the mental home’s courtyard, and sat beneath it. Steven sat under this tree and never moved from its shade until the sun went down. This went on for years until one day, one of the doctors finally decided to ask Steven why he sat under the tree. To which Steven replied, “I can’t stand the sight of my shadow because if I see my shadow it means that I still exist. I don’t want to exist.” The contrast of two shadows becoming one shadow is staggering. And I can’t stand the sight of it any longer. Wait, what am I doing?
This is about you now.
Hold out your hand. I know, I know, just listen, please. Now, raise it even with your shoulder. Palm up and close your eyes. Now, imagine there is a book being placed onto your hand. Now two books, now three books. Each book becomes heavier and heavier as they are placed upon your hand. Do you feel that? The weight, I mean. Now imagine that each book isn’t a book. It’s a challenge. It’s the weight of the world being placed into the palm your hand. Because the weight of the world will be placed on your hand. Jobs, school, approval, love, happiness, depression, death, drugs, denial, fear, etc, etc. At this point your hand should be straining to stay raised. This is good, this is natural. We are all afraid. Now…now this is the important part. Open your eyes. Remember that your hand is empty. Look, I know that was dumb, but I’m supposed to give some kind of advice in this thing. What I am trying to say is, all too often the weight and fear that we compress ourselves under is all too often made up in our own minds. You’re not alone. You never have been, okay.
Raise your hand.
So, this is my note I guess. This is where I apologize for what I’ve done. One last hurrah of apologies for walking off stage mid-act. That’s how this works right? I am sorry, I really am. But I don’t belong here anymore. Because, to be honest with you, I don’t know who framed the Mona Lisa. Not a clue. And I’ve looked. And sooner or later, no one will know me. But that’s okay. That’s what I want. No footprints. So I guess these are my last words… Please, find someone who understands the beauty in the in-between. Because they will see the beauty in you. But most importantly, you will see the beauty in yourself. Now, don’t be sad for me.
For I am done counting.
And for God’s sake, cremate me.
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