Friday, February 19, 2010

False Alarms

I imagine that of all the things that can provide quick and instantaneous comfort to a person, a false alarm is probably the best.

....That second right after the doctor tells you that what you thought was a malignant tumor is actually a harmless skin protrusion...
....When you get a call saying your house is on fire only to rush back and discover that the person called the wrong number...
....When your boyfriend is dying in a dark, candlelit room after being shot by a gang.... and then you wake up from your dream in a cold sweat...

Those feelings associated with a false alarm are good ones: happiness, gratitude, and extreme relief.


But there's another kind of false alarm.
The kind where you think at first that everything is going to be fine and everything is going to end up working out.
But then you find that it's not going to at all.
The kind where you fall to the floor after being chased hundreds of miles, relieved that it's finally over
only to look up and realize that you have a hundred more to go.

...When you think that you no longer have to spend days in despondent misery
and isolation and a helpless, hopeless loneliness.
When the weight of the ton of bricks that you've been carrying around is finally taken off your back,
that everything that has been going on for so long is over at last...


...only to find that it isn't. That the world isn't any warmer, that spring isn't coming, that God really doesn't care, that those bricks are still yours to haul.

That the people who gave birth to you still despise your existence,
That you're still oppressed and tracked and hated with every crime you didn't commit,
That you've still got bloody battles to fight,

That you're still very, very much on your own.


2 comments:

  1. I almost don't know what to say. I feel on some level we're in the same boat, or at least, in boats on the same treacherous ocean. It's good to know I'm not alone, but it still sucks.

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  2. It's your intelligence that's "despise[d]," "oppressed," "tracked," and "hated." Your intelligence that makes you stand out, that leads you to see things differently, that gathers your strength to stand alone and fight the battles that need to be fought.

    "Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours." -- Hesse

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