THE BEFORELIFE (1:1:1:4)
I take a composition notebook down from the shelf and I flip to a random page. I find a dream that I had in January of last year. In the dream I'm at a funeral for someone, I couldn't really tell who. There are many people around, some that I know, some that I don't know. Most that I don't know.
We are all just standing there, no one is crying. There is so much mystery surrounding death; almost anyone will wonder where we go after we die, if anywhere. Despite the fact that in most religions the forthcoming idea is incorrect, I'll say that many groups of people believe that if you are a good person, you will go to a good place when you die, and if you are a bad person, you will go to a bad place.
This creates a sort of judgmental role to be taken place in the afterlife, and gives birth to the concept that we as human beings are split up in death. Depending on the judgment, some of us are sent to a good place and some of us to the bad place. Furthermore, if there is an afterlife, and there is a nowlife, it is perfectly logical to assume that there is a beforelife, our existence before we are sent here, to this life. The question that must be asked is if we are judged when we are in the process of moving from the nowlife to the afterlife, why aren't we judged or split up when we are moving from the beforelife to the nowlife.
If we assume that there are good people and bad people in this world, then judgment and separation is absent and from our basis this would be incorrect. If we assume that there are only good people or only bad people in this world, then perhaps we were actually separated when departing from the beforelife. The only problem is that it may be impossible for we as human beings to ever know what is truly good and what is truly bad.
I try to be a good person. I try to be a decent person. I follow the instructions in life. Stop at red. Don't hit your sister. Go to college. I do all of these things, I follow the instructions word for word, but in the end I get nothing for my obedience. Well I guess I do get something, I get to lose my mind. I get to conform and lose my mind just like most of the other people who follow the instructions.
After I went to college, after I got what I needed to be successful, there was still a chance that I could end up homeless. The truth of the matter is that a formal education is not the only thing to consider. So instead of becoming homeless I become aware, and that's what eats away at you the most, that's what makes you lose it. Becoming aware of human nature. Sometimes I wonder if it would pay to be bad. To not follow instructions. To pass red lights.
I put the notebook back in its spot, and I go into the kitchen. As I pass by I notice that the garbage can is empty. Empty garbage bag. I stop and stare into it. Eventually I start daydreaming about the garbage bag being filled with those notebooks that I keep. Maybe I want to get rid of this addiction. Maybe I need to. Before the next thought can come through I hear something bang the wall near my door.
Well, at first I'm not sure if I heard anything, so I wait for a few seconds and then I can hear people talking. "Move it to the right." I go to my door and look through the peephole. This fisheye view.
I can hear people but I can't see them, so I open the door and I see two men moving furniture into the apartment next to Joe's. I go to my window and look outside, I was right, there are people moving into the building. I'm looking at the rear of the moving truck to see what's inside, and then I see a tiny woman get out of the passenger side of the truck. I didn't really notice it at first because she's wearing a long dress, but she has a prosthetic leg. She has a fake leg because somewhere along the road her real leg must've been taken away from her, by something or maybe someone.
I ask myself, what would I do if I lost a leg, I try to figure out how angry I would be. How angry I would be at myself and the world. I try to figure out how much of a disadvantage someone like her is at, and how much stronger she has to be because of it. How much bitter. Not too long after I see two kids get out of the same side. They all go to the rear of the truck and begin to grab things and help bring them inside into their new apartment.
I run back to the peephole and see all three of them as they walk past with these things in their hands, I can hear the woman who I assume is their mother telling them a joke. I know the joke, but when I first heard it a long time ago, it didn't make me laugh. When she's done, I can hear the kids laughing. The joke still doesn't make me laugh, what makes me laugh are the laughing kids. That high pitched fast paced laugh that kids have. It's not until we get older that this laugh becomes low and drawn out. Trying to figure out when it's appropriate to laugh and when it's not.
The moving goes on for some time, and then I hear the truck engine start. I go to the window and I see the truck sitting there, but running. It sits there for a few minutes, and I look around trying to figure out where the two men are. Where the family is.
Finally I see the two men walking from the front door of the apartment building and they enter the truck. As they are driving away I can hear someone walking through the hallway. I run to the door and I look through the peephole and I see the woman walking by. I hear a door open, and then a door shut, and then silence. Silence. Silence. And then I hear a door open again and I look through my peephole. I hear footsteps, but I see nothing. Nothing. Nothing. And then I see that yellow dress and the tiny body inside it.
She's standing in front of Joe's door, as if she is going to knock on it. I can only see her backside, but I know that her face is full of some kind of confusion. She waits there, just stands there, for at least a minute before she finally knocks. An extremely soft knock, as if she was sorry to bother whoever lived there. That tells me that she either doesn't know Joe or that she is afraid of Joe.
There is no answer to her knock. She knocks a little bit harder this time, but she still gets no answer. Joe must not be home. Where would a person like Joe be? It's not enough to not know who Joe is, but what would Joe be doing right now. Maybe Joe can be defined by where he goes and what he does when he gets there. I'm standing here thinking about Joe and suddenly this lady in yellow turns around, looks at my door and walks a bit closer. That slight limp.
I feel the center of my chest clutch and I back away from the peephole. I just stand there in front of the door, knowing that I will hear a knock soon. Soon. Soon. The knock comes. I start to wonder what this woman could possibly want with me. Perhaps she knows Joe, but I'm certain she doesn't know me. Not literally or philosophically.
I open the door and I'm staring down at this smiling woman. I can do nothing else but smile back. She greets me and tells me she just moved into the building. I welcome her. Then she goes on to tell me that there was one small problem with the move. I ask her what that problem is, and she tells me that the moving men didn't put the children's television in their room, and that the cabinet that they were suppose to put it on is pretty high. That the television weighs a ton.
I put two and two together, simple mathematics, and I realize that she is going to ask me if I could move the television to the correct room. The television isn't too big, but it has one of those huge backs, and that's what makes it so heavy.
I'm picking it up from the ground, and when I look up I see her on the other side of the television ready to help. She tells me I can't have all of the fun. We lift it up and I tell her to lead the way. We put the television on the high cabinet, and the kids cheer. They turn on the television and begin to watch. She gives me her thanks, and says now that the kids are occupied it was time for her to start fixing and organizing every thing in the apartment.
I left and returned to my apartment. Before, when we were walking to her apartment to move the television, she laughed and said it was too bad that there wasn't a man in the house, and then she laughed again. Despite the laughs, I could hear that sound of regret in her voice.
That makes me wonder if she is taking care of the two children alone, that the person she was with either died or walked out on them. It makes me think, how could someone so small have so much inner strength. Enough inner strength to tell jokes despite all of the bad in the world. It makes me wonder if I could ever be that strong. That good.