LESS THAN MORE THAN EQUAL TO (1:1:2:13)
It seems as if no matter how far you travel, people are alike all over. The culture may change, the language may change, the things they do for recreation may change, but the basic human behaviors and instincts, they remain the same.
In every corner of the world, there are those who take less than what they need, and then there are those who take more than what they need. People who believe in non-violence and those who believe in violence. Those who give and those who steal, and some who do both. I visited a few different countries two years ago and that was what I noticed. I realized that no matter how far you travel, people never change. No matter how far away you try to get away from it, the damn thing is always there.
Eleven months ago, I had a dream where I was living in this run-down apartment building in a city located in a desert. I was laying on my bed, and I looked to the right to see a glaring stream of light coming from the window. I got up from my bed and looked out of the window. I looked out and saw a world where people weren't alike all over. After such a long time of searching, I finally found the peaceful place I was looking for.
This place where there were no negative genes. No anger gene, no murder gene. No competitive gene, no jealousy gene. People lived in harmony, and they all shared with each other. No one took more than they needed and no one had to take less than they needed. There were apples on both ends of the table, finally there was balance in this equation that I once thought could never make any sense. I was at peace with myself and the world, but the time came when I had to leave. I had to return to the world in which I came from because it was now someone else's time to find this peaceful place. Simple mathematics.
In order for every one to be able to experience this utopia, this good place, when someone wants to come in someone else has to leave to keep the balance, otherwise this good place becomes the bad place. I turn around and look back at my bed for one last time, this place where I slept so peacefully. There is a woman lying in it.
For a moment I'm at sixes and sevens, and I forget what I am suppose to do. After a few seconds I remember and I start to walk away from this place, and it gets darker and darker with each step until it's completely black, and then I wake up. I look to the right and I see my composition notebook, and I do what I always do. I write down the dream.
Three nights ago I was checking my mail, and I decided to see how Lynne's flowers were coming along. Her zinnias, her shade garden. I go outside and I see that they are beginning to grow. As I'm standing there admiring her work, I see her walk through the front apartment building door with David and Sarah. She takes a look at me, and I smile at her. Something I got used to doing.
The thing was that she didn't smile back at me, she just continued walking. She was in some sort of a rush and I guess she didn't have time to say anything, or smile back. She puts her kids in the car and then she gets in and she drives away.
Later that night I'm sitting in my living room watching television and I hear a loud banging. Bang, bang, bang. I get up and look through the peephole. This fisheye view. Now the man is banging and shouting. I can hear him, I'm sure every one in the building can, but I can't see him. After about a minute he stops, and then he walks away. I see him pass by, but it's too quickly for me to see what he looks like. I'm positive he is coming from Lynne's apartment because I know I heard the name "Lynne" somewhere in his barrage of expletives.
I start to assume that this is what Lynne was hiding from. After he walks by, I'm still looking out of the peephole, staring at Joe's apartment door.
Right now I'm standing over Lynne's body in her bedroom. She's deep asleep. I can tell she's physically and psychologically tired. Tired of every thing. A few hours ago she knocked on my door to apologize about not greeting me the other day.
She tells me that the whole time she was at the hotel with her kids, trying to hide from her antisocial ex-husband, she was thinking about how she just walked away without acknowledging me. I tell her it's okay, and I invite her into my apartment in an attempt to find out why she has these bruises on her face.
She's sitting on my couch telling me about her ex-husband, but not once does she mention how she got the bruises. I assume it's just a part of her life that she will not talk about. Everyone has those. Then she starts to talk about how she feels so alone at times.
I start to tell her about Maria, how even when I was with her I still felt alone at times. I think to myself, sometimes we are alone and in pain for so long that after a while we can't feel the loneliness or the pain anymore. I tell Lynne that even if you find someone, there is still a chance you will feel alone.
As I'm talking, the phone begins to ring. That damn ringing sound. I tell her that I'll be back, and I answer the phone. It's the hospital, some lady telling me that they are going to move Joe to another room. A room where they put other coma patients who have been in a coma for a long period of time. I go back to the living room, and I find that Lynne has fallen asleep on my couch. I was gone no more than five minutes.
I start to say her name out loud, but she's not waking up. I rub her shoulder, but she still doesn't wake up. Deep asleep. I think to myself, what should I do. Just let her rest here until she wakes up? I say her name out loud one more time, this time even louder, but she still doesn't wake up. At this point I'm thinking of getting a large bucket of cold water, but instead I go to her apartment door and I see if her door is open, and it is.
I decide that I will just carry her to her bed. It would probably be very weird to her if she woke up on my couch in the morning. So I open her apartment door wide open and then I go back to my apartment, I go back to her. I say her name louder one last time. And then I rub her shoulder harder one last time. She still will not wake up. I pick her up, this tiny woman, and I carry her to her bedroom and I place her in her bed. I look down at her for a little while. I wonder what she is dreaming about, hoping that she is in some kind of peaceful place. Her utopia.
I look down at her legs but I can't see her fake leg because she's wearing jeans again, but I can however see her feet. She didn't wear shoes when she was coming over to apologize. I'm looking at this plastic foot, and then I reach out and touch it. I slide my hand across it. That cold plastic. This one part of her body that doesn't have to deal with pain anymore.
I pull the blanket over her and as I'm walking away I hear her say something, but I can't understand it. I turn around, and I realize she's talking in her sleep. She talks in her sleep.
I laugh and then I go across the hall, to the kids room. I put my hand on the doorknob, and I think for a little while, and then I open it and I see David and Sarah sleeping. In the corner I see the television on that high cabinet. David and Sarah should be arguing about what cartoons to watch, but instead they have watch their mother take a beating in the places that are still prone to pain.