ANTHOLOGY COMPLEX


THE HUMAN CONDITION (1:1:4:33)


I'm a few yards away from Chase Mart's front entrance walking in the direction of my home thinking about how the clouds are beginning to separate so that the Sun's light might be visible once again, but what I don't know at the time is that our entire building won't have power for two days and two nights, and for such a short storm it definitely wasn't worth it.

I guess what I should be thinking about is how I mistreated Julia, and that I should be more considerate towards the ways other people may feel. I know what happened will stay in the back of my mind, but it will never make it to the front.

I walk up the stairs and when I reach the top, I see Mary in the distance entering an apartment. Mary does not live on this floor, but she is friends with one of the people who do. I head towards my apartment and open the door and then sit on my couch. This lovely couch.

Julia's facial expression echoes in my mind, and piece by piece I begin to remember the things we did together. In an effort to not fall asleep I grab my television remote and press the power button, but nothing happens. I forgot that the power was out, which reminds me why I went to the store in the first place.

I knock on Lynne's door, and this time it's Sarah who answers, this cute little kid. "Mommy, it's your flower friend." What is a flower friend? Lynne comes to the front door and I hand her the batteries and I let her know she doesn't have to pay me back. Lynne asks me if I'm busy, that if I'm not doing anything if I would like to come over. She tells me that since the power went out, her and her mother and kids are just sitting around talking, trying to pass the time and hoping that the power will be back on in an hour or two.

Even though I hate sitting around talking, I find it difficult to say no to her, and then she invites me in. She tells the kids that I brought over batteries for their games. They both run into their room and then run back out with these little devices, then Lynne puts batteries in them both, and then David and Sarah are instantly in another world.

Emily, Lynne's mother, says hello and I greet her back and Lynne tells me to sit down. Lynne almost looks nothing like her mom. Sometimes a trait might skip a generation due to the lack of genes necessary to create that combination for that trait, so there is a chance that Sarah might end up looking more like her grandmother than her mother. I kind of know Lynne and her behavioral properties, but I have no idea what Emily is like, but the question I have is if Sarah will behave more like her grandmother than her mother as well.

Someone told me once that many kids rebel against their parents and that they would try to become what their parents weren't, so in turn the kids that these kids would have in the future would also rebel against them therefore being what their grandparents were. Something tells me it's more complicated than that, though.

There have also been stories about identical twins who end up being separated from each other, but because of a sort of "genetic memory," they ended up behaving very similarly, sharing certain elements in life such as their hobbies, the type of friends they have and the career paths they chose.

All of this makes me wonder if there is a certain combination of which switches need to be on and which switches need to be off in the human body to achieve a genetic peace. This switch needs to be off, but this one needs to be on, and maybe if you can get the code one hundred percent correct, you will be at peace. Maybe the world is also capable of a genetic peace.

The three of us begin to converse, and then Lynne shows me a drawing that Sarah made for her a little while ago. On Mother's Day, to be more specific. It's the childish drawing of a smiling white rose with a smiling Sun in the background, and I immediately realize that this is what inspired Lynne's painting, a gift from her daughter. Sarah named her drawing "Happy Flower," Lynne named her painting "White Lights."

Emily makes a joke about how all Lynne got her for Mother's Day was a bunch of flowers and how that was so boring. All that was really on my mind was what I would say if either of them asked me what I got my mother for Mother's Day. I could always lie and say I got her flowers as well; people bring flowers to the graves of those that have passed away all the time.

The night that had already begun to fall long before has finally completely fallen, and the candles and flashlights come out. David and Sarah, who are now tired and bored of the other world come back to ours and are running around the apartment shining their flashlights. What was small talk turned into long talk and then became interrupted by flashlight talk.

After such a long time I start to get up and tell Lynne and her mother that it's getting late and that I should probably get home, but before I can really finish my sentence, the flashlight slips out of David's hands and hits me right on the side of the head. Lynne rushes to me as if I had just been shot and keeps asking me questions I can't really understand because the flashlight hit me so hard. After a few seconds of clenching my facial muscles and rubbing the side of my head, for some reason I begin to laugh.

As Lynne is looking at me confused, wondering if I'm okay, I put my hand on her shoulder and tell her I'm all right. I continue to laugh and then she smiles, and then the two little ones start to laugh. The only person who isn't laughing or smiling is Emily, probably because she thinks Lynne doesn't have the sense to tell her child to apologize to me, or maybe because David doesn't have the sense himself. Maybe both.

Lynne asks me again if I'm okay, and then asks me if I would rather stay instead and spend the night. She tells me that during a blackout, the more people you have the faster the time goes by. Unable to say no I sit back on the couch, and then Emily tells David to say sorry to me. David apologizes, and I can tell he really feels bad. Either that or he is pretending to feel bad to fool Emily.

We all sit down, the children included, and there is an awkward silence that passes by until Lynne suggests that we play a game. She goes into the kids' room and then comes out with some board game I had never seen before, but it would be the new instrument that helped us kill time. Emily says she is too tired to play anything and that she was going to go lay down in the bedroom, so it's just Lynne and her two kids and I.

Throughout the game, while having a decent time with these people, I continue to think about Silvio and how he might split them apart. How he might do something to make every thing that is so right now so wrong later.

David and Sarah eventually fall asleep where they sit and only Lynne and I are awake in the apartment. Maybe in the entire building. Maybe not, I think Boris works a graveyard shift. Lynne gets up to go use the bathroom, and maybe six or seven seconds later I get up to look out the window to see how full that big white dot is. Before I can find the big white dot something else catches my eye. Far into the distance, way down the road in the middle of the road an entire tree has fallen from its roots. The entire tree has fallen across the street, from sidewalk to sidewalk, but has miraculously missed all of the cars. That's how it looks from here anyway. When Lynne gets out of the bathroom I tell her to come look at it and she says it's nothing she's ever seen before, that she wants to take a closer look.

Curiosity must be one of the oldest behaviors of humankind. Not too long ago, where I was staying then, I had an entire wall full of diagrams of what could possibly be beyond our universe. My curiosity for things surrounding the human condition was so severe that I let it get the best of me. Maybe I have changed, and maybe if I go back there again someday to the time where my mind was eaten up by fiction, I could do better, but then again the behaviors and instincts of people rarely change.

According to theories, things like fear, curiosity, self-preservation and conflict have been around since before the beginning of man and have not changed in the least. New people are born but the behaviors never die.

Lynne and I get into her car and she drives towards the fallen tree, the streets are completely empty from pedestrians. I ask her why we are driving such a short distance when we could have walked it, and she says because she would like to drive around and see what else the short but powerful storm did.

When we get to the tree, it's even more bizarre than we expected. We get out of the car and see how the root of the tree just completely exploded. I start to wonder how many red blood cells this tree is going to stop from doing their work.

After looking at the tree, we get back into the car and drive around for a bit, and we come to realize there are fallen trees throughout the town, and even more than that, many branches laying on the sidewalks. Some parts of the town are so dark because the street lights have no power. If I didn't know any better I would say this is beginning to feel like an adventure. Fallen trees, dark streets.

Lynne turns on the radio and starts to flip through stations, and she passes by one that catches my attention so I tell her to flip back to it, and on a radio news station, three men are debating what the real solution to the war on drugs in America is.

Soon after they begin to talk about how the violence in the city has increased, and about how two cops were shot and killed earlier today because of drugs and violence. This makes me wonder where Derek is, and what he's doing right now.