I’m conjuring a thunderstorm that matches the cool swirling air in this room; if I looked out the blinds I would see the treetops waving in the wind and the tungsten street lights throwing arched, waving arms of velvet black into the eerily golden leaves. The only thing to do would be to walk to the garage and sit in the slowly rising oil fumes watching the rain splattering in increasing sheets, basking in the blue light from my computer screen. The thunder would shake the lightbulbs in their sockets and if I was really lucky, I’d lose power and the flickering yellow of candles would lick the walls in the absence of whirling motors and fans.
Now, with my headphones on, the delusion is nearly complete. I can nearly feel the wetness creeping along the carpet and the dull rumblings of thunder.
In this space, built from nostalgia, I am free to concern myself with the idea of hope. The abstracted concept sits rather bulky and out of focus in the middle of the room, like an Escher square with obstructed corners and a tenuous grasp on the three dimensional plane. It bears the marks on my child-like handling; its confused edges mix with the sans serif fonts of phrases like god loves you and Everything changes, but it inevitably stays the same. The former, a set of words that are abstracted beyond my understanding, the latter, an abstracted perspective that waffles just outside my grasp. It is a baffling way to use the English language and my confusion leads me to believe it is ill equipped to handle such concepts; the very formulation into words and letters freezes a dynamic concept into a static generality.
Words as placeholders then, as grand generalities that threaten platitudes or overarching blanket statements with every tentatively formed sentence, paragraph. Hope as a placeholder for what dynamic necessity to the continence of the human collective psyche?
A friend recently drew me a picture of a stick person falling from a cliff of an indeterminate height towards a flat, briskly black line. This stick person was apparently me, and I was asked: What happens next?
I hit the ground, but of course this question is a trap.
No, you die.
After much argument, it is agreed that there is a 99% chance that I would die. But my answer concerns itself with the 1% chance of not dying with much more weight than it empirically bears.
And how much of my life do I do this with?
Let me tell you, I eat vegetables and brush my teeth and go to work and listen to music and work on self improvement and am nice to my friends and respect strangers because of some concept called hope. God knows if I’ll ever string together the right words and letters to net the phoenix, but it seems like a moot point regardless.
An abstraction that underwrites my daily experience, yet is impossible for me formulate beyond a vague pen and ink of an illusion.
Why is this so unsettling?
Did you know that the thunderstorm outside is a figment of my imagination and that when I step outside in the humid, sweltering stillness, the heat releasing from the granite walls will warm the side of my face and the yellow-orange lights reflecting from the bottoms of clouds will seem like an altogether alien world. I will be a stranger in a strange land, and the products on the aisles will show their faceless void and I will stare long into the abyss, that it stares back into me.