An analyzation; a propagation; an exclamation; a declaration; a conversation; a desecration; a proclamation of truth. Peace and love.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Existential Responsibility

          There was once a lonely man who decided to trap himself inside an abandoned well. He hadn't any friends—they had all gone with his youth—and even the birds would avoid him, abdicating the small pieces of bread he would sometimes throw from his pocket. Any other person would feel sadness in every cell, but not politics or religion or life itself could make this man feel anything. Why waste the head-space, he would reason to himself. (Though, he was already thoroughly convinced.) So, on a delightfully sunny morning in June, the crisp grass supporting shining dew, he set off with only the clothes that kept hidden his clammy complexion, a length of rope, and a match.
          The lonely man had always observed the passion and fervour with which some people lived, grasping at opportunities to lounge among grass or some silly topiary, perhaps a pool, laughing at ludicrous and nonsensical jokes (“ they call them,” he would say to himself, just above his breath, as if somebody could possibly catch his words on the air.)
          He walked into the sunrise, to the East, to a place outside of town. This place pre-dates the town; it used to be a conglomerate of stone hovels, which local legend dictates is medieval, though this legend is dubious. He remembered when he was a child, when he had friends with whom he went to school, he would play with them
(the lovely ignorance, blissful ignorance of a child, where everything is a picket fence)
                                             on the ruins of the hovels, nothing but seemingly random waist-high stone barriers, some curved, but none longer than two metres. There was a well there, among the ruins, the one which every mother of every boy in the town would warn sternly against visiting for any reason. This, of course, prompted all the young school boys to venture to the obsolescent village, to play about the well, which still bore water at that time. The water had since gone, along with the raucous children.
          The man walked across the entire town, eastbound and determined. The town wasn't so large as to be impossible to cross by foot, but it was certainly something of a feat (for any other person; were he another, he would have rewarded himself with an iced tea, dressed in cold condensation, perhaps spiked with a spot of whiskey). As he came upon the stones piled in rows and rows, the retaining walls, where nostalgia slept and crept and pounced, he felt nothing. He made a small trip around the perimeter, appreciating the scene, the last verdant grass and trees. Nothing special. And then he found the well, covered with a shabby, rotting collection of boards, nailed together haphazardly out of concern. Something about child welfare. He pulled the cover off of the round hole, feeling the cold stone, touching it lightly, letting his body temperature drop to match. With no urgency, he spun around and surveyed the area for a tree or a boulder large and stable enough to hold his weight as he propelled himself down into the well. He found an old tree, dead. There was a part of the tree that had come down, either by human force or otherwise, leaving a jagged trunk coming not too far out of the ground. He untied the rope from the belt loops in his jeans and retied it into a noose, which he slid around the trunk and secured. He walked back to the well, and with one last look around and a glimpse to the sky, he stepped up on the edge and started his descent.
          The bottom was very damp, very cold, littered with leaves, dead and dying. First thing's first: He struck his single match upon the driest area of stone he could find, then once again, and a final time. The match illuminated the bottom of the dark well. He knew already that he was about twenty metres below the ground, and now he could really see how far down he was, for light roared up the tubular wall only to be eaten by the shadows half way up. Even the finger-tip of light that used to be the mouth of the well couldn't make it past the antiquated shadows. He held the small flame to the end of the rope and let it burn, like a wick to the centre of the Earth, all the way out of the top and out to the dead tree, his anchor, (though, the mucilaginous shadows almost didn't allow it) and he took a seat on the damp ground. He had arrived. But it never mattered, anyway.

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